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Brutes may bear bondage — they were made for it,
When Heaven set man above them! but no mark,
Definite and indelible, it put
Upon one man to mark him from another,
That he should live his slave. O heavy curse !
To have thought, reason, judgment, feelings, tastes,
Passions, and conscience, like another man,
And not have equally liberty to use them,
But call his mood his master! Why was I born
With passion to be free — with faculties
To use enlargement — with desires that cleave
To high achievements — and with sympathies
Attracting me to objects fair and noble,–
And yet with power over myself as little
As any beast of burden? Why should I live ?
There are of brutes themselves that will not tame,
So high in them is nature; whom the spur
And lash, instead of curing, only chafe
Into prouder mettle ; — that will let you kill them,
Ere they will suffer you to master them.
I am a man, and live!
Duke. Here, Huon, sign,
And Catherine is your wife.
Huon. I will not sign.
Duke. How now, ny serf !
Huon. My lord, I am a man;
And, as a man, owe duty higher far
Than that I owe to thee, which Heaven expects
That I discharge. Didst thou command me murder,
Steal, commit perjury, or even lie,
Should I do it, though a serf ? No! To espouse her,
Not loving her, were murder of her peace.
I will not sign for that! With like default,
To compass mastery of her effects,
Were robbery. I will not sign for that!
To swear what I must swear to make her mine,
Were perjury at the very altar. Therefore
I will not sign! To put forth plea of love,
Which not a touch of love bears witness to,
Were uttering a lie. And so, my lord,
I will not sign at all! O, good my liege,
My lord, my master, ask me not to sign !
My sweat, my blood, use without sparing; but
Leave me my heart - a miserable one
Although it be! Coerce me not in that,
To make me do the thing my heart abhors !
I beg no more !
Duke. Huon, I love thee well;
And would not do thee harm unless compell’d.
Thou shouldst not play with me, and shalt not. Take,
Therefore, thy choice — death, or the paper.
Huon. Death !
Duke. Thou makest thy mind up quickly, in a strait.
Huon. I do not wish to live. Set here thy point;
'Tis right against my heart! Press firm and straight ;
The more the kinder!
Duke. As thou wishest death,
I will not kill thee for thy disobedience.
An hour I grant for calm reflection. Use it.
If, on the lapse of that brief space, I find
The page without addition, thou may’st learn
That even slavery hath its degrees,
Which makes it sometimes sweet. Our felons throng
The galleys; but ’tis hard, or we shall find
A bench and oar for thee. (Exit.)
Huon. My lord, come back !
My lord! What now my mind, be sure 'twill be
At the end of the hour! of the day! of my life! — My lord !
He does not hear, or will not. Most sweet cause
Of most insufferable misery.
Wouldst thou not weep at this ? Couldst thou look on,
And keep pride sitting in thy woman's eye -
The proper throne of pity – which for me,
The melting queen has yet refused to fill,
And to the stern usurper all abandoned !
Wouldst thou not weep? Or would my name alone —
My sole condition set ’gainst all myself;
The vivid thoughts, the feelings sensitive,
The quick affections, passions of a man,
Despite his misery of birthright; flesh,
Warm, warm ; of as high vitality as tho’
His lot had been a heirdom to a throne -
Would that, prevailing 'gainst such odds as these,
Prevent thee? Yes! Thou wouldst not weep for me.
0; knew I what would make thee! Would my corpse ?
Then to thy father! own my passion for thee,
Tell him his serf aspires to love his daughter.
Boasts of it, though he sends him to the galleys,
Will glory in it, chain'd beside the felon,
Aye, with the tasker’s whip whirling above him,
Reiterate it, when he threatens me,
And when again he threatens, justify it,
On the broad rights of common human nature,
Till with his own hand he transfixes me.
Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in council ;
Cæsar's approach has summoned 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
Received 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 Libya’s sultry deserts.
Fathers, pronounce your thoughts: are they still fix'd
To hold it out and fight it to the last ?
Or are your hearts subdued at length, and wrought
By time and ill success to a submission ?
Sempronius. My voice is still for war.
Gods! can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slavery 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 plains of Thessaly, while we
Sit here deliberating in cold debates
If we should sacrifice our lives to honor,
Or wear them out in servitude and chains.
Rouse up, for shame! our brothers of Pharsalia
Point to their wounds, and cry aloud — To battle!
Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow,
And Scipio's ghost walks unrevenged 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 towering 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 the 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 turned on peace.
Already have our quarrels filled 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 sheath the sword, and spare mankind.
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 the awards of providence,
And not to rest in heaven's determination.
Already have we shown our love to Rome;
Now let us show 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; heaven 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;
Immoderate valor swells into a fault;
And fear admitted into public councils,
Betrays like treason. Let us shun them both.
Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs
Are grown thus desperate; we have bulwarks round us :