Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

The populace fill the Stage. Brutus is discovered upon

the Forum. The dead body of Lucretia is on u bier beneath. COLLATINUS LUCRETIUS and the Female Attendants of LUCRETIA stand uround her corpse. VALERIUS and others are seen.

Br. Thus, thus, my friends, fast as our breaking nearts
Permitted utterance, we have told our story
And now, to say one word of the imposture,-
The mask necessity has made me wear.
When the ferocious malice of your king, -
King do I call him ?-When the monster, Tarquin,
Slew, as you most of you may well remember,
My father Marcus and my elder brother,
Envying at once their virtues and their wealth,
How could I hope a shelter from his power,
But in the false face I have worn so long?

Ist. Rom. Most wonderful !
2nd. Rom. Silence! he speaks again.

Br. Would you know why I summond you together ?
Ask ye what brings me here? Behold this dagger,
Clotted with gore! Behold that frozen corse!
See where the lost Lucretia sleeps in death!
She was the mark and model of the time,
The mould in which each female face was form’d
The very shrine and sacristy of virtue !
Fairer than ever was a form created
By youthful fancy when the blood strays wild,
And never resting thought is all on fire!
The worthiest of the worthy! Not the nymph
Who met old Numa in his hallow'd walks,
And whisper'd in his ear her sirains divine,
Can I conceive beyond her ;-the young choir
Of vestal virgins bent to her. 'Tis wonderful
Amid the darnel, hemlock, and base weeds
Which now spring rife from the luxurious compost
Spread o’er the realm, how this sweet lily rose,-
How from the shade of those ill-neighbouring plants
ller father shelter'd her, that not a leaf
Was blighted, but, array'd in purest grace,
She bloom'à unsullied beauty. Sucli perfections
Might have call'd back the torpid breast of age
To long-forgotten rapture ; such a mind

Might have abash'd the boldest liberrir.e.
And turn'd desire to reverential love,
And holiest affection ! Oh, my countrymen!
You all can witness when that she went forth
It was a holiday in Rome; old age
Forgot its crutch, labour its task,-all ran,
And mothers, turning to their daughters, cried,
There, there's Lucretia !” Now, look ye, where she

lies!
That beauteous flower, that innocent sweet rose,
Torn up by ruthless violence-gone! gone! gone
All. Sextus shall die!

[Shout
Br. But then—the king-his father-
Ist. Rom. What shall be done with him?
2nd. Rom. Speak, Brutus !
3rd. Rom. Tell us! Tell us!
Br. Say, would you seek instruction ? would ye ask
What ye should do? Ask ye yon conscious walls,
Which saw his poison'd brother, saw the incest
Committed there, and they will cry, Revenge!
Ask yon deserted street, where Tullia drove
O’er her dead father's corse, 'twill cry, Revenge!
Ask yonder senate-house, whose stones are purple
With human blood, and it will cry, Revenge!
Go to the tomb where lies his murder'd wife,
And the poor queen, who loved him as her son,
Their unappeased ghosts will shriek, Revenge!
The temples of the gods, the all-viewing heavens,
The gods themselves, shall justify the cry,
And swell the general sound, Revenge! Revenge !

All. Revenge! Revenge!

Br. And we will be revenged, my countrymen! Brutus shall lead you on; Brutus, a name Which will, when you're revenged, be dearer to him Than all the noblest titles earth can boast. [Shout.

Ist. Rom. Live, Brutus !
2nd. Rom. Valiant Brutus !
3rd. Rom. Down with Tarquin !
2nd. Rom. We'll have no Tarquins !
Ist. Rom. We will have a Brutus:
3rd. Rom. Let's to the Capitol, and shout for Brutus

Br. I, your king !
Brutus your king !--No, fellow-citizens !
If mad ambition in this guilty frame
Had strung one kingly fibre, - yea, but one-
By all the gods, this dagger which I hold

Should rip it out, though it entwined my heart.

Val. Then I am with thee, noble, noble Brutus!
Brutus, the new restored! Brutus, by Sibyl,
By Pythian prophetess foretold, shall lead us !

Br. Now take the body up. Bear it before us
To Tarquin's palace; there we'll light our torches,
And, in the blazing conflagration, rear
A pile for these chaste relics, that shall send
Her soul amongst the stars. On! Brutus leads you !

[Exeunt ; the mob shouting, L.

END OF THE THIRD ACT.

ACT IV.

SCENE 1.-A court belonging to Tarquin's palace.

In the front a grand entrance, with folding gates closed.

Enter TULLIA, R. Tul. [ Alone.] Gods! whither shall a frantic nunther

fly?

Accursed siege of Ardea! Tarquin, Tarquin,
Where art thou ? Save thy wife, thy son, thy city!

Enter Titus, R.
Ti. Where is the prince? where's Sextus ?

Tul. Where? Oh, heavens !
His madness hath undone us! Where is Sextus ?
Perhaps ev’n now the barbarous ruffians hurl him
Alive into the flames, or piecemeal drag
Along the rebel streets his mangled trunk-
Ti. No more. I'll save him, or avenge

[Going, HORATIUS meets and stops him.
Hor. Turn, noble Roman, turn;
Set not your life upon a desperate stake! [Shout.
Hark, they are at thy gates !

(Shout. Tul. Does my son live !

Hor. Furious he sprang upon the rabble throng,
And hew'd his desperate passage: but the time
Admits no further question-Save yourself!

Tul. Who leads them on ?
Hor. Your new-named fool, your Brutus.
Ti. Death! my father!

Tul. Brutus in arms !
Oh, Sibyl! Oh, my fate! farewell to greatness !
I've heard my doom.

Ti. Earth, earth, enclose me !
Tul. Hark! it bursts upon us ! [Shouts are heard.

Hor. Ha! nearer yet! Now be propitious, Mars !
Now, nerve my arm with more than mortal fury
Till the dissembler sink beneath its vengeance.

[Exit Hor. Tul. Fly! save my child-save my-save your Tar

quinia ! Ti. Or die defending.

[Exit Titus. [The shouts and tumult become very violent,

and the battering at the gate and wall com

mences. sul. Ah! if amidst my legions I might fall, Death were not then inglorious ; but to perish By the vile scum of Rome-hunted by dogsBaited to death by brawling, base mechanicsShame insupportable!

[Shouts heardthe gute and wall are shattered

down-the palaces behind are in flamesthe soldiers and populace rush over the ruinsBrutus appears in the midst of them, and ad

vances to the front. Br. Seize the parricide !

[They advance and surround her. Tul. Avaunt ! I am your queen. Br. Tarquins! we cast you from us. Tul. Give me a sword, and let me fall like Tullia.

Br. No, we reserve our swords for nobler uses
Than to make war with women : to the Tarquins,
To your adulterous son we leave that shame.

Tul. If then 'twill better sate thy cruelty,
Precipitate me quick into those flames,
And with the wreck of empire mix my ashes.

Br. Take her to Rhea's temple; take her hence,
And lodge her with her ancestors !

D

Tul. Ye gods! My father's sepulchre !I'll not approach it! Br. 'Twill furnish wholesome recollection. Hence ! Tul. Not to that fatal place! Send me not thither! Br. 'Tis fix'd. Tul. Choose the most loathsome dungeon ere

confine me,

Or give me death instead. My heart recoils
Against that temple.

Br. There, and only there,
By your dead father's tomb, you must abide
The judgment of the state.

Tul. Then, by the gods
Whom, for the last time, I invoke,--
If no means else
Of ready death present themselves,
No particle of food shall pass these lips,
Till, in the void of nature, hungry madness
With blank oblivion entering, shall confound
And cancel all perception.

[Exit TULLIA, guarded, k

Enter Titus, L., who meets BRUTUS as he is yoing off, R.

Ti. Turn, oh my father, And look upon thy son.

Br. What would'st thou ? speak !

Ti. If thou hast reason, oh, have mercy also !
But if in madness thou hast done this deed

Br. I am not mad, but as the lion is,
When he breaks down the toils that tyrant craft
Hath spread to catch bim. Think not we will suffer
These monsters to profane the air of Heaven.
Shall Titus, then, oppose our great design?
Shall Brutus meet a recreant in his son ?
Banish this folly !-Have a care, I know thee
There is a lurking passion at thy heart
Which leaves but half a soul for Rome and me!

Ti. You wrong me. Like a Roman I exult
To see Liicretia's murder thus avenged-
And like a son glory in such a father!
Yet hear me through.-Nay, do not frown, but hear

me.Br. Go on; confess thy weakness, and dismiss it. Ti. 'Twas in the sleep of my dear father's reason,

« AnteriorContinua »