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Col. An Ursini! Head of the Ursini!
Ursini. Mine only brother!
Rie. And darest talk thou to me of brothers? Thou, Whose groom—wouldst have me break my own just laws, To save thy brother? thine! Hast thou forgotten When that most beautiful and blameless boy, The prettiest piece of innocence that ever Breathed in this sinful world, lay at thy feet, Slain by thy pampered minion, and I knelt Before thee for redress, whilst thou-didst never Hear talk of retribution! This is justice, Pure justice, not revenge! Mark well, my lordsPure equal justice. Martin Ursini Had open trial, is guilty, is condemned And he shall die !
Col. Yet listen to us!
If could range before me all the peers,
Prelates and potentates of Christendom-
The holy pontiff kneeling at my knee,
And emperors crouching at my feet, to sue
For this great robber, still I should be blind,
As justice. But this very day a-wife,
One infant hanging at her breast, and two
Scarce bigger, first-born twins of misery,
Clinging to the poor rags that scarcely hid
Her squalid form, grasped at my bridle-rein,
To beg her husband's life; condemned to die
For some vile petty theft, some paltry scudi-
And, whilst the fiery war-horse chafed and reared,
Shaking his crest, and plunging to get free,
There, 'midst the dangerous coil unmoved, she stood,
Pleading in broken words and piercing shrieks,
And hoarse low shivering sobs, the very cry
Of nature! And when I at last said no-
For I said no to her—she flung herself
And those poor innocent babes between the stones.
And my hot Arab's hoofs. We saved them all
Thank heaven, we saved them all! but I said no
To that sad woman, 'midst her shrieks. Ye dare not
Ask me for mercy now.
Sav. Yet he is noble !
Let him not die a felon's death.
Ye weary me. No more of this. Colonna,
Thy son loves my fair daughter. 'Tis an union,
However my young Claudia might have graced
A monarch's side, that augurs hopefully-
Bliss to the wedded pair, and peace to Rome,
And it shall be accomplished.
A fair good-morrow. (Exit all but Savelli, Colonna, and Ursini.)
Sav. Hath stern destiny
Clothed him in this man's shape, that in a breath
He deals out death and m
marriage ? Ursini! Colonna! be ye stunned ?
Col. I'll follow him!
Tyrant ! usurper! base-born churl! to deem
That son of mine-
Urs. Submit, as I have done,
For vengeance. From our grief and shame shall spring
A second retribution.
The fatal moment
Of our disgrace is nigh. Ere evening close,
I'll seek thee at thy palace. Seem to yield,
And victory is sure.
Col. I'll take thy counsel.
Vanoc. Now Tribune :-
Valens Health to Vanoc.
Van. Speak your business.
Val. I come not as a herald, but a friend;
And I rejoice that Didius chose out me
To greet a prince in my esteem the foremost.
Van. So much for words—now to your purpose, Tribune.
Val. Sent by oựr new lieutenant, who in Rome,
And since from me has heard of your renown,
I come to offer peace : to reconcile
Past enmities ; to strike perpetual league
With Vanoc; whom our emperor
To terms of friendship; strictest bonds of union.
Van. We must not hold a friendship with the Roman
Val. Why must you not ?
Van. Virtue forbids it.
You thought our friendship was your greatest glory.
Van. I thought you honest, I have been deceived
you deceive me twice? No, Tribune; no. You sought for war-maintain it as you may..
Val. Believe me, prince, your vehemence of spirit,
Prone ever to extremes, betrays your judgment.
Would you once coolly reason on our conduct-
Van. Oh, I have scanned it thoroughly-night and day
I think it over, and I think it base :
Most infamous ! let who will judge—but Romans.
Did not my wife, did not my menial servant,
Against my crown, against my fame, my life?
Did they not levy war and wage rebellion ?
And when I did assert my right and power
As king and hus nd, when I would chastise
Two most abandoned wretches—who but Romans
Opposed my justice and maintained their crimes ?
Val. At first the Romans did not interpose,
But grieved to see their best allies at variance..
Indeed, when you turned justice into rigor,
And even that rigor was pursued with fury,
We undertook to mediate for the queen,
And hoped to moderate-
Van. To moderate!
What would you moderate—my indignation ?
The just resentment of a virtuous mind ?
To mediate for the queen!—You undertook !
Wherein concerned it you ?—But as you love
To exercise your insolence! Are you
To arbitrate my wrongs ?-Must I ask leave ?
Must I be taught, to govern my own household?
Am I then void of reason and of justice ?
When in my family offences rise,
Shall strangers, saucy intermeddlers, say,
Thus far, and thus you are allowed to punish ?
When I submit to such indignities ;
When I am tamed to that degree of slavery-
Make me a citizen, a senator of Rome.
To watch, to live upon the smile of Claudius ;
And sell my country with my wife for bread.
Val. Prince, you
Van. Who shall confine it?
The Romans ?-let them rule their slaves ; I blush,
That dazzled in my youth by ostentation,
The trappings of the men seduced
Val. Blush rather that you are a slave to passion ;
Subservient to the wildness of your will;
Which, like a whirlwind, tears up all your virtues,
And gives you not the leisure to consider.
Did not the Romans civilize you?
Van. No. They brought new customs and new vices over,
Taught us more arts than honest men require,
And gave us wants that nature never knew.
Val. We found you
naked. Van. And you found us free. Val. Would you be temperate once, and hear me out. . Van. Speak things that honest men may hear with temper, Speak the plain trut and varnish not your crimes. Say that you once were virtuous—long ago A frugal hardy people, like the Britons, Before you grew thus elegant in vice, And gave your
luxuries the name of virtues. The civilizers !-the disturbers, say;
The robbers, the corruptors of mankind;
Proud vagabonds !--who make the world your home,
And lord it where you have no right:
What virtue have you taught ?
Van. Oh, patience!
Val. Can you disown a truth confessed by all ?
A praise, a glory known in barbarous climes ?
Far as our legions march they carry knowledge,
The arts, the laws, the discipline of life.
Our conquests are indulgencies, and we
Not masters, but protectors of mankind.
Van. Prevaricating, false-most courteous tyrants ;-
Romans! rare patterns of humanity !
then here, thus far through waves to conquer,
To waste, to plunder, out of mere compassion ?
Is it humanity that prompts you on
To ravage the whole earth, to burn, destroy?
To raise the cry of widows and of orphans ?
To lead in bonds the gerrerous free-born princes,
Who spurn, who fight against your tyranny ?
Happy for us, and happy for you spoilers,
Had your humanity ne'er reached our world
It is a virtue—(30 it seems you
called it) A Roman virtue that cost
And dearer shall it cost if Vanoc lives,
Or if we die we shall leave those behind us
Who know the worth of British liberty.
Val. I mean not to reproach your ancestors ;
Untaught, uncultivated as they were ;
Inhospitable, fiery, and ferocious;
Lions in spirit, cruel beyond men;
Your altars reeking oft with human blood.
Van. Hence, insulter; nor tempt me into rage ;
This roof protects thy rashness; but begone.
I cannot answer for my indignation.
(Gustavus disguised as a peasant.)
Gustavus. Ye men of Sweden, wherefore are ye come?
See ye not yonder, how the locusts swarm,
To drink the fountains of your honor up,
And leave your hills a desert !-Wretched men!
Why came ye forth? Is this a time for sport ?
Or are ye met with song and jovial feast,
To welcome your new guests, your Danish visitants ?
To stretch your supple necks beneath their feet,
And fawning lick the dust ?—Go, go my countrymen,
Each to your several mansions, trim them out,
Cull all the tedious earnings of your toil,
To purchase bondage. Oh, Swedes! Swedes !
Heavens! are ye men, and will ye suffer this ?
There was a time, my friends, a glorious time!
When had a single man of your
Upon the frontiers met a host in arms,
His courage scarce had turned; himself had stood,
Alone had stood, the bulwark of his country.
Come, come on then. Here I take my stand!
Here on the brink, the very verge of liberty;
Although contention rise upon the clouds,
Mix heaven with earth, and roll the ruin onward,
Here will I fix, and breast me to the shock,
Till I or Denmark fall.