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XV. Norfolk's advice to the Duke of Buckingham,
to restrain resentment.
I ADVISE you,
(And take it from a heart that wishes towards you
Honour and plenteous safety,) that you read
Your enemy's malice and his potency
Together: to consider further, that
What his high hatred would effect wants not
A minister in his power. You know his nature,
That he is revengeful;, and I know his sword
Hath a sharp edge; it's long, and it may be said,
It reaches far; and where 'twill not extend,
Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel,
You'll find it wholesome.
Let your reason with your choler question
What’tis you go about. To climb steep hills
Requires slow pace at first. Anger is like
A full-hot horse; who being allow'd his way,
Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England
Can advise me like you: be to yourself
As you would to your friend.
Hcat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself. We may outrun,
By violent swiftness, that we run at,
And lose by over-running. Know you not,
The fire that mounts the liquor till it run o'er,
In seeming to augment it, wastes it? Be advis å ;
I say again, there is no English soul
Who's stronger to direct you than yourself;
If with the sap of reason you would quench,
Or but allay, the fire of passion.
XVI. John of Gaunt encouraging his son Boling.
broke going into banishment.
ALL places that the eye of heaven visits Are to a wise man ports and happy havens. Teach thy necessity to reason thus;
There is no virtue like necessity:
Think not the king did banish thee;
But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
Go say—I sent thee forth to purchase honour,
And not the king exil'd thee: or suppose
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,
And thou art flying to a fresher clime.
Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou com’st.:
Suppose the singing birds, musicians;
The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence strew'd;
The tiowers, fair ladies; and thy steps, no more
Than a delightful measure, or a dance:
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it, and sets it light.
Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in council!
Cæsar's approach has summon'd us together,
And Rome attends her fate from our resolves.
How shall we treat this bold aspiring man?
Success still follows him, and backs his crimes :
Pharsalia gave him Rome: Egypt has since
Receiv'd his yoke, and the whole Nile is Cæsar's.
Why should I mention Juba's overthrow,
And Scipio's death? Numidia's burning sands
Still smoke with blood. 'Tis time we should decree
What course to take. Our foe advances on us,
And envies us even Lybia's sultry deserts.
Fathers, pronounce your thoughts: are they still fix'd
To hold it'out and fight to the last?
Or are your hearts subdu'd at length, and wrought
By time and ill success to a subinission?
Sempronius. My voice is still for war. .
Gods! can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slav'ry or death?
No; let us rise at once, gird on our swords,
And, at the head of our remaining troops,
Attack the foe, break through the thick array
Of his throng'd legions, and charge home upon him.
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.
Rise, fathers, rise! 'tis Rome demands your help;
Rise, and revenge her slaughter'd citizens,
Or share their fate! The corpse of half her senate
Manure the fields of Thessaly, while wo
Sit here delib’rating in cold debates
If we should sacrifice our lives to honour,
r wear them out in servitude and chairn.
Rouse up for shame! Our brothers of Pharsalia
Point at their wounds, and cry aloud-To battle!
Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow,
And Scipio's ghost walks unreveng'd amongst us!
Cato. Let not a torrent of impetuous zeal
Transport thee thus beyond the bounds of reason :
True fortitude is seen in great exploits
That justice warrants, and that wisdom guides :
All else is tow'ring frenzy and distraction.
Are not the lives of those who draw the sword
In Rome's defence entrusted to our care?
Should we thus lead them to a field of slaughter,
Might not th' impartial world with reason say,
We lavish'd at our deaths the blood of thousands,
To grace our fall, and make our ruin glorious ?
Lucius, we next would know what's your opinion.
Lucius. My thoughts, I must confess, are turn'd op
Already have our quarrels fill’d the world
With widows, and with orphans: Scythia mourns
Our guilty wars, and earth’s remotest regions
Lie half-unpeopled by the feuds of Rome:
'Tis time to sheathe the sword, and spare mankinds
It is not Cæsar, but the gods, my fathers,
The gods declare against us, and repel
Our vain attempts. To urge the foe to battle,
(Prompted by blind revenge, and wild despair,)
Were to refuse th' awards of Providence,
And not to rest in Heaven's determination.
Already have we shewn our love to Rome,
Now let us shew submission to the gods.
We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
But free the commonwealth; when this end fails,
Arms have no further use: our country's cause,
That drew our swords, now wrests them from our hands,
And bids us not delight in Roman blood,
Unprofitably shed; what men could do
Is done already: heav'n and earth will witness,
If Rome must fall, that we are innocent.
Semp. This smooth discourse, and mild behaviour, oft
Conceal a traitor- Something whispers me
All is not right---Cato, beware of Lucius.
Cato. Let us appear nor rash nor diffident; Immod'rate valour swells into a fault; And fear, admitted into public councils, Betrays like treason. Let us shun 'em both. Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs Are grown thus desp’rate; we have bulwarks round us : Within our walls are troops inur'd to toil In Afric's heats, and season'd to the sun; Numidia's spacious kingdom lies behind us, Ready to rise at its young prince's call. While there is hope do not distrust the gods : But wait at least till Cæsar's near approach Force us to yield. Twill never be too late To sue for chains, and own a conqueror. Why should Rome fall a moment ere her time? No, let us draw her terın of freedom out In its full length, and spin it to the last. So shall we gain still one day's liberty; And let me perish, but in Cato's judgment, A day, an hour of virtuous biberty, Is worth a whole etornity in bondage.
Enter Marcus. Marcus. Fathors, this moment, as I watch'd the gate, Long'd on my post, a herald is arriv'd From Cæsar's camp, and with him comes old Decius The Roman knight: he carries in his looks Impatience, and demands to speak with Cato.
Cato. By your permission, fathers, bid him enter. Decius was once my friend, but other prospects Ilave loos’d those ties, and bound him fast to Cæsar. llis message may determine our resolves.
Decius. Cæsar sends health to Cato-
Cato. Could he send it
To Cato's slaughter'd friends, it would be welcome.
Are not your orders to address the senate?
Decius. My business is with Cato; Cæsar sees
The straits to which you're driven; and, as he knows
Cato's high worth, is anxious for your life.
Cato. My life is grafted on the fate of Rome. Tould he save Cato? Bid him spare his country. Tell your dictator this: and tell him, Cato Disdains a life, which he has power to offer.
Decius. Rome and her senators submit to Cæsar; Her gen'rals and her consuls are no more, Who check’d his conquests, and denied his triumphs. Why will not Cato be this Cæsar's friend ?
Cito. Those very reasons thou hast urg'd forbid it.
Decirls. Cato, I've orders to expostulate,
And reason with you, as from friend to friend;
Think on the storm that gathers o'er your head,
And threatens ev'ry hour to burst upon it;
Still may you stand high in your country's honours.
Do but comply, and make your peace with Cæsar.
Rome will rejoice, and cast its eyes on Cato, -
As on the second of mankind.
Cato. No more:
I must not think of life on such conditions.
Decius. Cæsar is well acquainted with your virtues,
And therefore sets this value on your life:
Let him but know the price of Cato's friendship,
And name your terms.
Cato. Bid him disband his legions, Restore the commonwealth to liberty, Submit his actions to the public censure, And stand the judgment of a Roman senate. Bid him do this, and Cato is his friend.
Decius. Cato, the world talks loudly of your wisdom-
Cato. Nay more, tho' Cato's voice was ne'er employ’d To clear the guilty, and to varnish crimes, Myself will mount the rostrum in his favour, And strive to gain his pardon from his people.
Decius. A style like this becomes a conqueror.