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Val. Yet stand, Horatius; bear but one brunt more,
The arched bridge shall sink upon his piles,
And in his fall lift thy renown to heaven.
Sex. Yet enter.
Val. Dear Horatius, yet stand
And save a million by one powerful hand.
Calarum, and the falling of a bridge.
Aruns and all. Charge, charge, charge !
Sex. Degenerate slaves ! the bridge is fall'n, Rome's lost.
Val. Horatius, thou art stronger than their host;
Thy strength is valour, their's are idle braves;
Now save thyself, and leap into the waves.
Hor. Porsenna, Tarquin, now wade past your depths
And enter Rome; I feel my body sink
Beneath my pond'rous weight; Rome is preserv'd,
And now farewell : for he that follows me
Must search the bottom of this raging stream.
Fame, with thy golden wings renown my crest,
And Tiber take me on thy silver breast.
[he leaps into the river. Por. He's leap'd off from the bridge, and drown'd himself.
Sex. You are deceiv'd, his spirit soars too high To be choak'd in with the base element Of water; lo! he swims, arm’d as he is, Whilst all the army have discharg'd their arrows, Of which the shield upon his back sticks full. [flourish. And hark! the shout of all the multitude Now welcomes him a-land : Horatius' fame Hath check'd our armies with a general shame; But come, to morrow's fortune must restore
This scandal ; which I of the gods implore.
Por. Then we must find another time, fair prince, To scourge these people, and revenge your wrongs. For this night I'll betake me to my tent.
Tar. And we to ours; to morrow we'll renown Our army with the spoil of this rich town. [exeunt
Enter Porsenna and SecreTARY.
Por. Our secretary.
Sec. My lord !
Por. Coinmand lights and torches in our tents.
Enter SOLDIERS with torches. And let a guard engirt our safety round, Whilst we debate of military business • Come, sit, and let's consult.
Enter SC ÆVOLA, disguised.
Sca. Horatius, famous for defending Rome,
But we have done nought worthy Scævola,
Nor of a Roman: 1, in this disguise,
Have pass'd the army and the puissant guard
Of king Porsenna: this should be his tent;
And in good time, now fate direct my strength
Against a king, to free great Rome at length.
[stabs the Secretary.
Sec. Oh! I am slain! treason! treason !
Por. Villain! what hast thou done?
Scæ. Why, slain the king.
Por. What king ?
Por. Porsenna lives to see thee tortur'd
With plagues more dev'lish than the pains of hell.
Scæ. Oh, too rash Mutius, hast thou miss'd thy aim ?
And thou base hand, that did'st direct my poniard
Against a peasant's breast, behold, thy error
Thus I will punish: I will give thee freely
Unto the fire, nor will I wear a limb,
[puts his hand into the fire. That with such rashness shall offend his lord.
Por. What will the madman do?
Sca. Porsenna so,
Punish my hand thus, for not killing thee.
Three hundred noble lads besides myself
Have vow'd to all the gods that patron Rome,
Thy ruin for supporting tyranny:
And though I fail, expect yet every hour,
When some strange fate thy fortunes will devour.
Por. Stay, Roman! we admire thy constancy,
And scorn of fortune; go, return to Rome,
We give thee life, and say, the king Porsenna,
Whose life thou seek’st, is in this honorable ;
Pass freely; guard him to the walls of Rome,
And were we not so much engag'd to Tarquin,
We would not lift a hand against that nation
That breeds such noble spirits.
Scæ. Well, I go,
And for revenge take life even of my foe.
[exit. Por. Conduct him safely: what! three hundred gallants
Sworn to our death, and all resolv'd like him!
We must be provident, to-morrow's fortune
We'll prove for Tarquins, if they fail our hopes,
Peace shall be made with Rome; but first our secretary
Shall have his rites of funeral, then our shield
We must address next for to-morrow's field. [exit.
Enter Brutus, Horatius, VALERIUS, COLLATINE, and LUCRETIUS,
Bru. By thee we are consul, and still govern Rome,
Which but for thee, had been despoild and ta’en,
Made a confused heap of men and stones,
Swimming in blood and slaughter; dear Horatius,
Thy noble picture shall be carv'd in brass,
And fix'd for thy perpetual memory
In our high Capitol.
Hor. Great consul, thanks !
But leaving this, let's march out of the city,
And once more bid them battle on the plains.
Val. This day my soul divines we shall live free
From all the furious Tarquins; but where's Scævola?
We see not him to-day.
Scæ. Here, lords, behold me handless, as you see.
The cause,-I miss'd Porsenna in his tent,
And in his stead kill'd but his secretary.
The ’mazed king, when he beheld me punish
My rash mistake, with loss of my right hand;
Unbegg'd, and almost scoru'd, he gave me life,
Which I had then refus'd, but in desire
To 'venge fair Lucrece' rape.
Hor. Dear Scævola,
Thou hast exceeded us in our resolve;
· But will the Tarquins give us present battle?
Scæ. That may ye hear;
[soft alarum. The skirmish is begun already 'twixt the horse.
Luc. Then, noble consul, lead our main battle on!
Bru. O Jove! this day balance our cause,
And let her innocent blood destroy
The heads of all the Tarquins ! See, this day,
In her cause do we consecrate our lives,
And in defence of justice now march on ;
I hear their martial music, be our shock
As terrible as are the meeting clouds
That break in thunder; yet our hopes are fair,
And this rough charge shall all our loss repair.
[exeunt ; alarum, battle within.
Enter PORSENNA and ARUNS.
Por. Yet grow our lofty plumes unflagg’d with blood,
And yet sweet pleasure wantons in the air :
the battle, Aruns ?
Aru. 'Tis even balanc'd ;
I interchang'd with Brutus, hand to hand,
A dangerous encounter; both are wounded;
And had not the rude
press One liad dropp'd down to earth.