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a strict discussion : I shall immediately seek
my father, whom I have not yet seen.
Pen. If I accuse him falsely, it is not restitution of the debt he owes me, nor all that I possess besides,-no, nor my life itself, that can atone for the calumny.
Aurelius. What answers for this pile of bills, my lord ?
Catiline. Who can have sent them here?
Aur. Your creditors!
As if some demon woke them all at once,
These having been crowding on me since the morn.
Here, Caius Curtius claims the prompt discharge
Of his half million sesterces; besides
The interest on your bond, ten thousand more.
Six thousand for your Tyrian canopy;
Here, for your Persian horses—your trireme:
Here, debt on debt. Will you discharge them now?
Cat. I'll think of it.
Aur. It must be now; this day!
Or, by to-morrow, we shall have no home.
Cat. 'Twill soon be all the same
Aur. We are undone!
All will be well; but hear me-stay-a little :
I had intended to consult with you-
On our departure—from—the city.
Aur. (Indignantly and surprised.) Rome !
Cat. Even so, Aurelius! even so; we must leave Rome.
Aur. Let me look on you; are you Catiline ?
Cat. I know not what I am,—we must be gone!
Aur. Madness! let them take all ?
Cat. The gods will have it so!
Aur. Seize on your house ?
Cat. Seize my last sesterce! Let them have their will.
We must endure. Ay, ransack-ruin all ;
Tear up my father's grave, tear out
The world is wide-Can we not dig or beg ?
Can we not find on earth a den, and tomb !
Aur. Before I stir, they shall hew off my hands.
Cat. What's to be done!
Aur. Now hear me, Catiline :
This day 'tis three years since there was not in Rome,
An eye, however haughty, but would sink
When I turned on it: when I passed the streets
My chariot-wheel was hung on by a host
Of your chief senators; as if their gaze
Beheld an emperor on its golden round;
An earthly providence !
Cat. 'Twas so! 'twas so!
But it is vanished-gone.
Aur. That day shall come again ; or, in its place, One that shall be an era to the world!
Cat. What's in your thoughts !
Aur. Our high and hurried life
Has left us strangers to each other's souls :
But now we think alike. You have a sword!
llave had a famous name in the legions !
Aur. Have the walls ears ? alas! I wish they had;
And tongues too, to bear witness to my oath,
And tell it to all Rome.
Cat. Would you destroy?
Aur. Were I a thunderbolt!
Rome's ship is rotten:
Has she not cast you. out; and would you sink
With her, when she can give you no gain else
Of her fierce fellowship? Who'd seek the chain,
That linked him to his mortal enemy ?
Who'd face the pestilence in his foe's house ?
Who, when the prisoner drinks by chance the cup,
That was to be his death, would squeeze the dregs,
To find a drop to bear him company ?
Cat. It will not come to this.
Aur. (Haughtily.) I'll not be dragged,
A show to all the city rabble ;-robbed, ----
Down to the very mantle on our backs,-
A pair of branded beggars ! Doubtless. Cicero
Cat. Cursed be the ground he treads! name him. no. more.
Aur. Doubtless, he'll see us to the city gates ; 'Twill be the least respect that he can pay To his fallen rival. With all his lictors shouting, “ Room for the noble vagrants ;. all
Cat. (Turning away.) Thus to be, like the scorpion, ringed
with fire, Till I sting mine own heart! (Aside.) There is no hope !
Aur. One hope there is, worth all the rest-Revenge!
The time is harassed, poor, and discontent;
Your spirit practised, keen, and desperate,
The senate full of feuds—the city vext
With petty tyranny--the legions wronged-
Cat. Yet, who has stirred ? Aurelius, you paint the air With passion's pencil.
Aur. Were my will a sword!
Cat. Hear me, bold heart. The whole gross blood of
Could not atone my wrongs! I'm soul-shrunk, sick,
Weary of man! And now my mind is fixed
For Libyia: there to make companionship
Rather of bear and tiger,—of the snake, -
The lion in his hunger,—than of man!
Aur. I had a father once, who would have plunged
Rome in the Tiber for an angry look !
You saw our entrance from the Gaulish war,
When Sylla fled ?
Cat. My legion was in Spain.
Aur. Rome was all eyes; the ancient tottered forth;
The cripple propped his limbs beside the wall;
The dying left his bed to look-and die.
before us was a sea of heads;
behind a torrent of brown spears :
So on we rode, in fierce and funeral pomp,
Through the long, living streets.
Cat. Those triumphs are but gewgaws.
All the earth, What is it? Dust and smoke. I've done with life!
Aur. Before that eve-one hundred senators~
And fifteen hundred knights, had paid-in blood,
The price of taunts, and treachery, and rebellion !
Were my tongue thunder—I would cry, Revenge !
Cat. No more of this! Begone and leave me !
There is a whirling lightness in my brain,
That will not now bear questioning. Away!
(Aurelius moves slowly towards the door.)
Where are our veterans now? Look on these walls ;
I cannot turn their tissues into life.
Where are our revenues-our chosen friends?
Are we not beggars ? Where have beggars friends ?
I see no swords and bucklers on these floors!
I shake the state! I-What have I on earth
But these two hands? Must I not dig or starve ?
Come back! I had forgot. My memory dies,
I think, by the hour. Who sups with us to-night?
Let all be of the rarest,-spare no cost.
If 'tis our last;—it may be-let us sink
In sumptuous ruin, with wonderers round us !
Our funeral pile shall send up amber smokes;
We'll burn in myrrh, or-blood!
Douglas. Oh jealousy, thou aggregate of woes!
Were there no hell, thy torments would create one.
But yet she may be guiltless--may ? she must.
How beautiful she looked ! pernicious beauty !
Yet innocent as bright seemed the sweet blush
That mantled on her cheek. But not for me,
But not for me, those breathing roses blow!
And then she wept— What! can I bear her tears?
Well—let her weep—her tears are for another:
Oh, did they fall for me, to dry their streams
I'd drain the choicest blood that feeds this heart,
Nor think the drops I shed were half so precious. (He stands
in a musing posture. Enter Lord Raby.)
Raby. Sure I mistake-am I in Raby Castle ?
Impossible ; that was the seat of smiles ;
And cheerfulness and joy were household gods.
I used to scatter pleasures when I came,
And every servant shared his lord's delight ;
But now suspicion and distrus dwell here,
And discontent maintains a sullen sway.
Where is the smile unfeigned, the jovial welcome,
Which cheered the sad, beguiled the pilgrim's pain,
And made dependency forget its bonds ?
Where is the ancient, hospitable hall,
Whose vaulted roof once rung with harmless mirth,
Where every passing stranger was a guest,
And every guest a friend ? I fear me much,
If once our nobles scorn their rural seats,
Their rural greatness, and their vassals' love,
Freedom and English grandeur are no more.
Dou. (Aavancing.) My lord, you are welcome.
Raby. Sir, I trust I am ;
But yet methinks I shall not feel I'm welcome
Till my Elwina bless me with her smiles;
She was not wont with lingering step to meet me,
Or greet my coming with a cold embrace ;
Now, I extend my longing arms in vain :
My child, my darling, does not come to fill them.
Oh, they were happy days, when she would fly
To meet me from the camp, or from the chase,
And with her fondness overpay my toils !
How eager would her tender hands embrace
The ponderous armor from my war-worn limbs,
And pluck the helmet which opposed her kiss !
Dou. Oh, sweet delights, that never must be mine!
Raby. What do I hear?
Dou. Nothing: inquire no farther.
Raby. My lord, if you respect an old man's peace, If e'er
you doted on my much loved child, As 'tis most sure you made me think
did, Then, by the pangs which you may one day feel, When
like me, shall be a fond, fond father,
And tremble for the treasure of your age,
Tell me what this alarming silence means ?
You sigh, you do not speak, nay more, you hear not;
Your laboring soul turns inward on itself,
As there were nothing but your own sad thoughts
Deserved regard. Does my child live?
Dou. She does.
Raby. To bless her father!
Dou. And to curse her husband !
Raby. Ah! have a care, my lord, I'm not so old-
Dou. Nor I so base, that I should tamely bear it;
Nor am I so inured to infamy,
That I can say, without a burning blush,
She lives to be my curse!
Raby. How's this?
Dou. I thought
The lily opening to the heaven's soft dews,
Was not so fragrant, and was not so chaste.
Raby. Has she proved otherwise ? I'll not believe it.
Who has traduced my sweet, my innocent child ?
Yet she's too good to escape calumnious hands.
I know that slander loves a lofty mark:
It saw her soar a flight above her fellows,