« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
not nave acted better! Why, had you not elected them, Appius would have gone without his left hand, and each of his two feet.
Ser. Out! you are dishonest !
Citizen. (From behind.) Down with him! he does nothing but insult the people. (The people approach Dentatus threateningly.)
(Enter Icilius suddenly.) Icil. Stand back! Who is it that says, down with Siccius Dentatus ? Down with him! 'Tis what the enemy could never do; and shall we do it for them ? Who uttered that dishonest word ? Who uttered it, I say? Let him answer a fitter, though less worthy mate, Lucius Icilius !
Citizens. Stand back, and hear Icilius !
. What! hav'nt I voted for the decemvirs, and do I snarl at his jests? Has he not a right to jest ? the good, honest Siccius Dentatus, that, alone, at the head of the veterans, van: quished the Æqui for you. Has he not a right to jest ? For shame! get to your houses ! The worthy Dentatus! Cheer for him, if you are Romans! Cheer for him before you go! Cheer for him, I say.
(Exeunt citizens, shouting.) Den. And now, what thanks do you expect from me, Icilius? Icil. None.
Den. By Jupiter, young man, had you thus stepped before me in the heat of battle, I would have cloven you
down-but I'm obliged to you, Icilius—and hark you! There's a piece of furniture in the house of a friend of mine, that's called Virginius, I think you've set your heart upon-dainty enough-yet not amiss for a young man to covet. Ne'er lose your hopes ! He may
be brought into the mind to part with it. As to these curs, I question which I value more, their fawnings or their snarlings. But I thank you, boy—Thanks, Icilius.
Icil. Thanks to me? No, Dentatus—Icilius is the debtor. So, a fair good-morrow, noble Roman.
Den. Good-morrow, boy. (Exit Icilius.) Don't lose your hopes. (Enter Virginius.) Noble Virginius, I am glad to see you! This meeting's to my wish._I have news for you—brave news.
Vir. Well, your news, Dentatus—is it of Rome?
Den. More violence and wrong from these new masters of ours, our noble decemvirs—these demi-gods of the good people of Romne! No man's property is safe from them.
The senators themselves, scared at their audacious rule, withdraw themselves to their villas, and leave us to our fate.
Vir. Rome never saw such days!
Den. And she'll see worse, unless I fail in my reckoning, -But how is thy daughter—the fair Virginia ? I was just wishing for a daughter.
Vir. A plague, you mean.
Den. Do with her? I'd give her to Icilius. I should have been just now torn to pieces, but for his good offices. The gentle citizens, that are driven about by the decemvir's lictors like a herd of tame oxen, and with most beast-like docility, only low applauses to them in return, would have done me the kindness to knock my brains out; but the noble Icilius bearded them singly, and railed them into temper. Had I a daughter worthy of such a husband, he should have such a wife, and a patrician's dower along with her.
Vir. Dentatus, Icilius is a young man whom I honor, but he has had, as thou knowest, a principal hand in helping us to our decemvirs. It may be that he is what I would gladly think him ; but I must see him clearly-clearly, Dentatus. Ah! (Looking off :) Here comes the youth—'tis well!
(Enter Icilius.) Vir. Boy, Icilius ! Thou seest this hand ? It is a Roman's, boy; 'Tis sworn to liberty-It is the friend Of honor-Dost thou think so ?
Icil. Do I think
Vir. Then you'll believe
Icil. I dare, Virginius.
Vir. Then take it! is it weak in thy embrace ?
Welcome! my noble friends, we meet in joy! Now may we bear ourselves erect, resuming The kingly port of freemen! Who shall dare, After this proof of slavery's dread recoil, To weave us chains again ?—Ye have done well.
Montalba. We have done well. There needs no choral song,
The silence of our foes
Proc. I know some voice in secret must have warned
which gives release; if there be power
Mont. In our passionate blindness,
Proc. Whatever fate hath of ruin
Mont. Why what Sicilian youth unsheathed, last night,
Against his country's chiefs ?-He that did this,
Proc. And who is he?
Proc. My son !
Guido. I would not wear
Proc. There was one
Mont. (Aside.) You shall be childless too!
Proc. Was it you, Montalba ?-Now rejoice! I say.
Mont. What means this, my lord ?
Proc. Why, should not all be glad who have no sons
Mont. I am not used
Proc. Friend! By yon high heaven,
brow To furrows, not of years; and bid your eye Quail its proud glance; to tell the earth its shame, Is born, and so, rejoice!"--Then might we feast, And know the cause :--Were it not excellent?
Mont. This is all idle. There are deeds to do; Arouse thee, Procida !
Proc. Why, am I not
Mont. Now this is well!
Guido and others, seated as on a tribunal. Procida. The morn lowered darkly, but the sun hath now, With fierce and angry splendor, through the clouds Burst forth, as if impatient to behold This, our high triumph.-Lead the prisoner in.
(Raimond is brought in fettered and guarded.) Why, what a bright and fearless brow is here! Is this man guilty ?-look on him, Montalba !
Montalba. Be firm. Should justice falter at a look ?
Proc. No, thou sayest well. Her eyes are filleted,
Raimond. I arraign