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Horatia. How are you, sir?
Support the swelling tumult of my soul.
sir ! My brothers
Horatius. Here, go to the field again,
Horatia. Are they engag'd ?
Enter a Servant, who gives a paper to HORATIA, and
retires. What paper's that? Why dost thou tremble so? Here, let me open it. (Takes the paper and opens it.]
From Curiatius I Horatia. Oh, keep me not in this suspense, my
Horatius. He tells thee here,
Horatia. Dies !
Horatius. I see by this Thou hast endeavour'd to persuade thy lover To quit the combat. Couldst thou think, Horatia, He'd sacrifice his country to'a woman? Horatia. I know not what I thought. He proves
too plainly, Whate'er it was, I was deceiv'd in him Whom I applied to.
Horatius. Do not think so, daughter; Could he with honour have declin'd the fight, I should myself have join'd in thy request, And forc'd him from the field. But think, my child, Had he censented, and had Alba's cause, Supported by another arm, been baffled, What then couldst thou expect? Would he not curse His foolish love, and hate thee for thy fondness? Nay, think, perhaps, 'twas artifice in thee To aggrandize thy race, and lift their fame Triumphant o'er his ruin and his country's. Think well on that, and reason must convince thee. Horatia. [Wildly.] Alas I had reason ever yet the
power To talk down grief, or bid the tortur'd wretch Not feel his anguish ? 'Tis impossible. Could reason govern, I should now rejoice They were engag'd, and count the tedious moments Till conquest smild, and Rome again was free. Could reason govern, I should beg of Heaven To guide my brother's sword, and plunge it deep Ev’n in the bosom of the man I love:
I should forget he ever won my soul,
done! The glorious expectation of success Buoys up my soul, nor lets a thought intrude To dash my promis’d joys! What steady valour Beams from their eyes: just so, if fancy's power May form conjecture from his after-age, Rome's founder must have look'd, when, warm in
youth, And Alush'd with future conquest, forth he march'd Against proud Acron, with whose bleeding spoils He grac'd the altar of Feretrian Jove Methinks I feel recover'd : I might venture Forth to the field again. What ho! Volscinius! Attend me to the camp.
Horatia. My dearest father, Let me entreat you stay; the tumult there Will discompose you, and a quick relapse May prove most dangerous. I'll restrain my tears, If they offend you.
Horatius. Well, I'll be advis'd.
'Twere now too late; ere this they must have con
quer'd. And here's the happy messenger of glory.
Enter VALERIA. Valeria. All's lost, all's ruin'd! freedom is no more! Horatius. What dost thou say? Valeria. That Rome's subdu'd by Alba. Horatius. It cannot be. Where are my sons ? All
dead? Valeria. Publius is still alive-the other two Have paid the fatal debt they ow'd their country.
Horatius. Publius alive! You must mistake, Valeria. He knows his duty better. He must be dead, or Rome victorious.
Valeria. Thousands as well as I beheld the combat. After his brother's death he stood alone, And acted wonders against three assailants; Till forc'd at last to save himself by flightHoratius. By flight! And did the soldiers let him
pass Oh, I am ill again ! — The coward villain !
[Throwing himself into his chair. Horatia. Alas, my brothers !
Horatius. Weep not for them, girl.
Tears a fond father's heart, and tamely barters
oppos'd him? Horatius. Die ! 6. He might have died. Oh, villain, villain, villain!" And he shall die; this arm shall sacrifice The life he dar'd preserve with infamy.
[Endeavouring to rise. What means this weakness ? 'Tis untimely now, When I should punish an ungrateful boy. Was this his boasted virtue, which could charm His cheated sovereign, and brought tears of joy To my
old eyes ?--So young a hypocrite ! Oh, shame, shame, shame!
Valeria. Have patience, sir; all Rome Beheld his valour, and approv'd his flight, Against such opposition.
Horatius. Tell not me!
Whate’er 'gainst Rome your awful wills decree,