As it is now acted in
Printed and ſold at the New Printing-Office,
Rapatio,―― Governor of Servia.
Limput,―― Married to Rapatio’s Siſter.
Hazlerod,―― L.C. Juſtice. Brother to Limput.
Dupe,―― Secretary of State.
P――p,―― An Officier.
Gripeall,―― Captain Baſhaw.
Bagſhot,―― Aga of the Janizarie.
Meagre,―― Brother to Rapatio.
E――r,―― A Friend to Government.
Brutus,―― Chief of the Patriots.
Marcus, a Young Patriot.
Act I. Scene I.A ſtreet in Servia. Enter Brutus and Cassius
Is this the once fam’d miſtreſs of the north
The ſweet retreat of freedom ? dearly purchas’d!
A clime matur’d with blood ; from whoſe rich ſoil,
Has ſprung a glorious harveſt.—Oh! my friend,
The change how drear! the ſullen ghoſt of bondage,
Stalks full in view—already with her pinions,
She ſhades the affrighted land—th’inſulting ſoldiers
Tread down our choiceſt rights; while hoodwink’d juſtice
Drops her ſcales, and totters from her baſis.
Thus torn with nameless wounds, my bleeding country
Demands a tear—that tear I’ll freely give her.
Oh ! Brutus, our noble anceſtors,
Who liv’d for freedom, and for freedom dy’d:Who 006 A3v 6
Who ſcorn’d to roll in affluence, if that ſtate
Was ſicken’d o’er with the dread name of ſlaves:
Who in this deſart ſtock’d with beaſts and men,
Whoſe untam’d ſouls breath’d nought but ſlaughter—
Graſp’d at freedom, and they nobly won it ;
Then ſmil’d and dy’d contented, Should theſe heroes,
Start from their tombs and view their dear poſſeſſions,
The price of ſo much labor, coſt and blood,
Gods! what a pang ’twould coſt them; yes, they’d weep,
Nor weep in vain. That good old ſpirit,
Which warm’d them once, would rouſe to noble actions.
E’re they would cringe they’d bathe their ſwords in blood;
In heaps they’d fall, and on the pile of freedom,
Expire like heroes, or they’d save their country.
Oh ! Caſſius, you inſpire a noble paſſion,
It glows within me, and every pulſe I feel,
Beats high for glory.—I ſprang, and Oh ! it fires me,
I ſprang from men, who fought, who bled for freedom:
From men, who in the conflict laugh’d at danger :
Struggl’d like patriots, and through ſeas of blood,
Waded to conqueſt.—I’ll not diſgrace them.
I’ll ſhow a ſpirit worthy of my fire.
Tho’ malice dart her ſtings ;—tho’ poverty
Stares full upon me;—tho’ power with all her thundder,
Rolls o’er my head,—thy cauſe my bleeding country
I’ll never leave—I’ll ſtruggle hard for thee,
and if I periſh, periſh like a freeman.
You’re not alone—there are, I know, ten thouſand,
Ne’er bow’d the knee to idol power—Repeated insults
Have rous’d the moſt lethargic. E’en the old man
Whoſe blood has long creep’d ſluggiſh thro’ his vains,
Now feels his warmth renew’d—his pulſe beat quick—
His eyes dart fire—he graſps his ſword,And 007 A4r 7
And calls on youth to aid him—yea my ſon,
My little ſon, who ſportive climbs my knees,
Fondly intreats my aid, and liſps out freedom.
But ſee our friends—their generous boſoms glow.
With manly Sentiment:—I will accoſt them.
All hail my friends!――
Well met I truſt, and with one heart and mind,
We have lately ſeen a piece of pageantry,
Near Imports manſion, big with mighty meaning.
The period dawns, when all thoſe parricides,
Who long had ſported with their country’s, ruin.
Begin to tremble—Shame, contempt croud on them.
The boy deſpiſes, and the ſtripling ſmiles.
’Tis well—here lies my hope:—let but a ſenſe,
A manly ſenſe of injur’d freedom wake them.
The day’s half won. The cold inactive ſpirit
That ſlumbers in its chains,—at this I tremble.
Oh ! patriots rouſe. The diſtant branches lop’d,
The root now groans—let not the thought of power,
Ungenerous thought! freeze up the genial current.
’Tis not a conquest, merely, leads to fame――
Th’ attempt enobles. Yes, the ſuffering patriot
Tow’rs while he bleeds, and triumphs while he dies.
When Brutus ſpeaks, old age grows young.
Whatever right I’ve loſt! I’ve still a dagger,
and have a hand to wield it—’tis true it ſhakes—
With age it ſhakes: Yet in the cauſe of freedom,
It catches vigor. You ſhall find it ſtrike
The tyrant from his Throne.
Thou good old man.
Thy words a noble ardor kindle in me.
Come patriots, let the bright example fire you.
By all that’s ſacred ! by our father’s ſhades !
Illuſtrious ſhades ! who hover o’er this country.
And watch like guardian angels o’er its rights :By 008 A4v 8
By all that blood, that precious blood they ſpilt,
To gain for us the happieſt boon of Heaven:
By life—by death—or ſtill to catch you more,
By Liberty, by Bondage. I conjure you.
Nor is it vain. We ſwear, e’er we’ll be ſlaves,
We’ll pour our choiceſt blood. No terms ſhall move us.
Theſe ſtreets we’ll pave with many an human ſkull.
Carnage, blood and death, ſhall be familiar,
Tho’ Servia weep her deſolated realms.
’Tis bravely ſpoke. And now thou power ſupreme !
Who hateſt wrong, and wills creation happy,
Hear and revenge a bleeding country’s groans;
Teach us to act with firmneſs and with zeal:
’Till happier proſpects gild the gloomy waſte.
While from our fate ſhall future ages know,
Virtue and freedom are thy care below. Exeunt.
Scene II.A Chamber in Repatio’sRapatio’s Houſe. Enter Rapatio, ſolus.
Hail happy day! In which I find my wiſhes,
My gayeſt wiſhes crown’d. Brundo retir’d,
The ſtage is clear. Whatever gilded proſpects
E’er ſwam before me—Honor, places, penſions—
All at command—Oh! my full heart! ’twill burſt!
Now patriots think, think on the paſt and tremble.
Think on that gloomy night, when, as you phras’d it,
Indignant juſtice rear’d her awful front,
And frown’d me from her—when ten thouſand monſters
Wretches who only claim’d mere outward form,
To give a ſanction to humanity
Broke my retirement—ruſh’d into my chamber
And rifled all my ſecrets—then flung me helpleſs,
Naked and deſtitute, to beg protection.Hell 009 B1r 9
Hell! what a night was this—and do they think,
I’ll e’er forget ſuch treatment! No. Ye gods—
If there is any ſecret ſympathy,
Which born, and bred together, they may claim,
I give it to the winds—out! out! vile paſſion,
I’ll trample down the choiceſt of their rights,
and make them curſe the hour that gave me birth;
That hung me up a meteor in the ſky,
Which from its tail, ſhook peſtilence a nd ruin.
But here comes Dupe, a creature form’d by nature
To be a ſycophant—Tho I deſpis’d him,
Yet he’s too neceſſary for my purpoſe,
To be relinquiſh’d—I’ll take him by the hand—
Give him a bow, and buoy up his hopes—
He’s mine for ever.――
It gives me higheſt joy to ſee your honor
Servia’s ſole ruler—what tho’ not complete,
And primly ſeated in the chair of power,
Yet all the reins of government you hold.
And ſhould that happy period e’er arrive
When Brundo quits for thee entire poſſeſſion,
Remember Dupe, and think on former friendships.
I’ll not forget. And well thou ſaid I held
The rains of power; and I will make them feel it.
And, happy for me, all the poſts of honor,
Are fill’d with beings wholly at my service.
The b――h what are they ? Creatures of my own ;
Who if I ſpoke, would mangle law and reaſon,
And nobly trample on the higheſt ties.
And hence the ſoldier, whoſe ſecurity,
Is the prime baſis of my government,
May ſcoff, inſult, nay, in the face of day,
Abuſe the citizens, yet go unpuniſh’d.
P――p too, an happy creature this
To ſerve a turn—tho’ men whoſe breath was ſlaughter,
Should urge the meaneſt of our ſervants on–
To bathe their daggers in their maſters blood,B P――p 010 B1v 10
P――p ſtays, proceedings—At my nod,
Will break thro’ every tie of law and juſtice,
And bid thoſe monſters go—In ſhort all orders
Obey my ſummons, and perform my will.
What halycon days!—And have I liv’d to ſee them?
And ſhare them too? enough—I’ve liv’d my day.
But tell me Dupe, they ſay theſe muttering wretches,
Grow fond of riot, and with pageantry;
Do ridicule the friends of government.
The thing is fact—The worthy citizen
Finds property precarious—all things tend
To anarchy and ruin.
I’ll make the ſcoundrels know who ſways the ſceptre,
Before I’ll ſuffer this, I’ll throw the ſtate,
In dire confuſion, nay I’ll hurl it down,
And bury all things in one common ruin.
O’er fields of death, with haſtning ſtep I’ll ſpeed,
And ſmile at length to see my country bleed:
From my tame heart the pang of virtue sling,
And mid the general flame like Nero ſing.— Exeunt.
End of the firſt Act.
Act II. Scene I.Enter Brutus and Cassius.
Ha! is it come to this?—and did you ſee it?
I ſaw it—and could paint a ſcene of woe,
Would make the ſun collect his ſcatter’d rays
And ſhroud himſelf in night—While numbers crouded,
Thoughtleſs of harm to ſee the pageantry,And 011 B2r 11
And ſportive youths play’d gameſome in the ſtreet,
That wretch, that curſed E――r,
Whom long this country bluſ’hd to own her ſon—
Urg’d on by hell and malice, unprovok’d――
Hurl’d thro’ the croud promiſcuous death and ſlaughter――
One youth, unhappy victim fell――he lies
Reeking in gore, and bites the hated ground.
Oh! this poor land—what ſcenes await it!
This is the dawn――if murders open here,
What will the day diſcloſe! Oppreſſion ſtrews
Her earliſt paths with blood—gods! are we men?
And ſtand we ſtill and bear it? where’s our ſenſe?
Our ancient ſenſe of freedom? even the boy,
Should we be tame, would feel his pulſe beat high:
And nobly graſp the ſword he ſcarce could wield.
It muſt be ſo—we’ll right ourſelves or die—
But what approaches here?
Ha! Brutus, take the ſword and bravely plunge it!
Let not one motive damp thy riſing ardor――
The parent weeps his child, the ſtaff of age,
Untimely ſlain. Pity, revenge—rage—fury――
Ten thouuſand boiſtrous paſſions glow within me
And call for blood. Not this poor wretch alone—
The grand prime ſpring ſhall fall a ſacrifice.
Tho’ all his legions fondly hover’d round him.
I’d cut my way thro’ all――and this my ſword
Drench in the tyrant’s blood, then on the pile
Of bleeding freedom, pour the rich libation.
Stay, Portius, ſtay—let reaſon calm thy paſſions.
Let us not fully by unmeaning actions,The 012 B2v 12
The cauſe of injur’d freedom; this demands
A cool, ſedate and yet determin’d ſpirit
Brutus, thy mind compos’d can reaſon well,
But when I ſee even innocence itſelf
Can find no ſhelter—my pulſe beat high!
I’m all on fire?――ſpeak to the diſtant winds!
Command a ſtorm! or lull an hurricane!――
But hear me, Portius, one word more I aſk thee.
You know the foes of freedom, eagle-ey’d,
Watch every deed. They wiſh to ſee us act
Up to the character, they long have painted.
Rather to juſtice drag the murderer.
Brutus you know, who fill that ſacred bench.
Rapatio’s tools, mere creatures of the tyrant.
Depend upon’t they’ll vilely wreſt the law,
And ſave the villain—yes, depend upon’t
Should he be brought before that brib’d tribunal,
They’ll plead his cauſe, and ſave the murderer’s life.――
Well Portius, that’s with them.
We’ve done as patriot’s ought—like men who ſcorn life.
The name of faction— men who nobly act
From ſenſe of honor. If they ſave the villain
Theirs is the guilt of blood: and he who holds
Impartial juſtice, will demand an anſwer
’Tis well—you’ve charmed my angry ſoul to reſt
I’ll go and ſoothe the boiſterous multitude,
Calm all their ſouls, and make them act like freemen.
Oh Caſſius—Oh! my friend—my heart It bleeds,
it bleeds to hear the groans of gaſping freedom.
Could but my life atone and ſave my country,
Pleas’d cou’d I bare this breaſt, and die in tranſport.
No Brutus, live to reſcue virtue.
For this ten-thouſand motives croud upon us.
Our fathers ſeem to murmur in their tombs,
And urge us on, Laſt night as I lay muſing,On 013 B3r 13
On evils paſt, and trembling at the future
A gleam of light broke in on my retirement
My father’s ghoſt burſt on my ſtartled fancy.
And froze the current of my blood!—he ſtar’d
Horrid he ſtar’d—then frown’d and ſpoke in thun, der,
Caſſius attend. Where is that noble ſpirit,
I once inſtilled—behold this fair poſſeſſion
I ſtruggled hard to purchaſe, fought and bled
To leave it your’syours unſullied—Oh defend it,
Nor loſe it but in death. he ſpake and vaniſh’d
Yes, I reply’d, thou injur’d ſhade, I will defend;
And e’er I’ll loſe it meet ten thouſand deaths
Nor theſe alone—all thoſe who fought for freedom,
Chide the unmanly ſloth—mean while, my friend,
Let’s ſee the mournful obſequies perform’d
Give to the duſt, the relics of a youth,
Untimely crop’d, and loſt—like ſome gay flow’r
Which vernal zephyrs fan’d and gentle ſun beams
Wak’d to life—awhile, it chear’d our ſight
And promis’d—pleaſure when the rigorous north
Blaſted its bloom, and froze up every ſweet,
Let’s pay this laſt ſad tribute to the dead,
Together in the funereal pomp let’s go
Share in theretheir grief, and join the general woe.
Scene II.Enter Bagshot, and Rapatio
It muſt not—ſhall not be—the dirty ſcoundrels
Foaming with paſſion animate each other—
Abuſe my men and trample on my bands.
Inſulting dogs! and are they wrought to this?
’Tis well—a ſcene now opens to my mind.
And hark’ee Bagſhot—ſhould theſe high ſwoln wretches
Again inſult, remember you are ſoldiers—
Well then, ſince you approve,
I’ll give thoſe orders, which I dare not do
By my mere motion,
Repeated wrongs have blown up all their courage.
They ſtretch like ſteeds, and ſnuffs the diſtant battle;
And like the vulture, couch in dreadful ambuſh
And wait a day of carnage—ſire, adieu—
SeneScene III.Changes to a ſtreet in Servia. Enter Brutus, ſolus.
To be the ſport of every flying moment.—
The butt at which old time may throw his ſhafts
And vex him oft—light tennis ball of fortune—
This is thy fate, O man. Weak helpleſs creature,
Deſign’d to crawl with other little reptiles
Round this dull globe of earth—to ſport a while,
And wanton in the ſun ſhine of an hour.
Frolic and gay he trifles on the ſtage,
Nor ſees the various ills behind the ſcene.
Theſe dart their baneful ſtings unnotic’d at him
And ſpoils his mirth—misfortune treads on joy,
And every hour comes loaded with new ſorrows.
This I experience—each ſucceeding day
Affords freſh ſcenes of woe—not only one
Deaf to the call of nature pleading in him
Imbrues his hands in blood—ten thouſand join him.
The ſoldier heated by the curs’d example,
His poinard whets,
And ſwear to fill theſe ſtreets with blood and ſlaughter,
Oh! Brutus, what a ſcene! the hour is come—
Our fates are at a criſis—Servia ſhakes—
Thro’ this once happy ſeat of gaiety and pleaſureThe 015 B4r 15
The ſoldier foams, and belches nought but ſlaughter.
This fatal night, the plan before concerted,
Burſts into flames—the virtuous citizen
Flies from one death; and ruſhes on another.
Hard by I ſaw a little innocent,
Whoſe quiv’ring tears might make e’en Nero weep,
Claſp the rough knees of the inhuman ruffian.
And beg for pity—but he begs in vain—
High o’er his head the ſabre dreadful gleam’d
He fell and ſpake no more—but hark!—
It muſt be fo――
Brutus, the citizen now falls a victim
To brutal malice—ha!—a gun—another—
And another ſtill—O my poor country,
When will thy troubles end!――
Th’ inhuman ſoldiers ſtamp he hoſtile ground,
His garments ſtain’d with blood,
The ſtreets of Servia ſweat with human gore.
Oh! Brutus, I’m on fire—hand me my ſword
And give me to the foe—
And if we die—let’s die like men
And bravely fall expiring on the foe.—
That man dies well who ſheds his blood for freedom.
Oh! had you ſeen promiſcuous ſlaughter hurl’d—
Or had you heard the groans of innocence,
’Twould rouze you into action.
While I can boaſt one ſhort reprieve from death,
I’ll breathe revenge. This unſtain’d guiltleſs dagger
Shall ſweat with blood, and ruſt with human gore.
’Tis well—there Portius ſpoke like himſelf,
Let’s wake the latent ſeeds of honor into action.
What do I ſee?—or is it merely fancy?
Methinks yon riſing ghoſt ſtares full in view,
Points to its wounds and cries aloud――Revenge――My 016 B4v 16
My country groans—and can ye hear her ſighs,
And hear them tamely—Oh! my heart ’twill burſt.
Her ſighs?—and hear them tamely? never- never――
Who knows the ſecrets of my ſoul,
Knows ’tis on fire, and burſting for revenge.
What tho’ I totter with a weight of years,
And palſied age relaxes every nerve,
Yet ſuch foul deeds have rouz’d the genial current
That long had lag’d――this life by nature’s laws,
Like an old garment muſt have ſoon been dropp’d:
And never could I had I liv’d to ages
Have dy’d ſo well as now—to die at eaſe
And drop into the grave, unheard, unknown
This is but a common fate――
He, who bleeds in freedom’s cauſe, expires illuſtrious.
He falls, but catches immortality.
While greatful millions croud around,
And with a generous tear bedew his urn.
Scene IIIIV.In a large Hall. Enter Brutus and a croud of Citizens. With ſervants bearing the dead bodies.
Here lay them down, and bare their bleeding boſoms,
That I may feel their wounds, and weep upon them.
Theſe would gape wide, and ſpeak expreſſive language,
They ſpeak your ſtate, the ſport of every ruffian,
Who plays with death and thirſts for freemen’s blood.
For you they fell,—but hark! They cry Revenge.
True ’tis a mournful ſight—to ſee a brother
Fall by a brothers hand—the deſart ſavage,Who 017 C1r 17
Who kills his foe and feaſts upon his fleſh,
Yet ſpares his kindred—the foreſt monſter,
Who ſtains the paſſage to his den with blood,
Abhors ſuch deeds—but ſhocking as they are,
They teach a powerful leſſon
This ſoon may be your fate, the furious ſolider
Breaths nought but death――
Theſe twinkling ſtars that glimmer in their orbs
And ſeem to weep—theſe pale and ghaſtly forms—
This ſcene of woe, and death’s incumbent ſhade,
All join to rouze us—theſe embers here conceal’d
If ſet on fire, would burſt into a flame,
And burn up the globe—take hence theſe bodies,
And decently entomb them――
Croud round their bier, and weep upon their graves.
Oh! what a ſcene of woe! you oft, my friends,
have found me pleading in the cauſe of freedom,
And warding off the blows intended for her.
I’m ſtrugling now with a ſuperior ſtream,
It baffles every effort――But the conflicts glorious
Should we ſucceed an happy tide of comfort,
Flows on the ſoul—new ſcenes of joy await us,
And gild the ev’ning of our days.
But if we chance to fall, we fall for virtue.
The cauſe diſarms the tyrant of his ſting
And wards off his ſhafts—while our memories
For ages live and bloſſom round the tomb,
Such thoughts as theſe now buoy up my ſpirits,
And brighten all the gloom;—what tho’ misfortunes
And ſcenes of blood and carnage croud upon me;
E’re long my ſoul ſhall leave
Theſe diſmal tracks of miſery, and go
Where tides of joy in happier currents flow.C Where 018 C1v 18
Where the proud wretch that laugh’d at every tie,
And from the breaſt of virtue forc’d a ſigh;
No more invades—but endleſs pleaſures roll,
And one eternal ſun ſhine chears the ſoul.
End of the ſecond Act.
Act III. Scene IA ſpacious Hall. Enter Junius, Brutus, Cassius,Citizens,&c.
It’s time, high time to check the rage of ſlaughter
And let out actions ſhow that we are freemen.
Welcome thrice happy day! for ſo I call thee,
Tho’ ſcenes of woe attend us――
I feel a ray of hope that richeſt gem,
Which glimmers in the darkeſt night,
And gilds the gloom—that firm determin’d ſpirit,
Which ſeems to animate this grand aſſembly,
The moſt auguſt that ever ſet in Servia,
We’ll reſcue freedom—yes, thy wounds my country
Shall ſoon be clos’d, and from the precious gore,
Which ſtains thy ſtreets ſhall ſpring a glorious harveſt
Now is the criſis; if we loſe this moment,
All’s gone for ever――Catch the happy period,
And boldly hurl oppreſſ from her baſis.
And can you want for motives to perſwade us?
Go to yon tomb and aſk the weeping marble,
The fate of thoſe, who ſleep within it’sits boſom.
They fell in cries (and liſten to the tale)
Unhappy victims to inhuman ruffians;
Who wiſh to drink this countries richeſt blood,
And crush expiring freedom—Tell me ye patriotsWill 019 C2r 19
Will you ſubmit to fall without a ſtruggle?
The very worm you tread on ſhews reſentment.
’Tis true there’s mighty danger—
But ſhall that thought, that mean ungenerous thought
Damp in the leaſt our ardor!
We ne’er can be ſeduc’d by gaudy charms of riches
Pleaſure’s fantaſtick ray――
Leave this for weaker minds—We ſcorn them all.
Rather let Servia tumble from her baſis.
And in one general ruin cover all,
Than ſee her citizens oppreſs’d with chains
And ſweetly ſlumb’ring in the gilded fetters.
The man who boaſts his freedom,
Feels ſolid joy—tho’ poor and low his ſtate,
He looks with pity on the honor’d ſlave,
Theſe are ſentiments, Which make us men.
Has life ſo many charms,
That it can ſweeten every hour of bondage?
Look to the Turk, and reliſh if you can,
A life in chains—he ſighs, but ſighs unpitied.
Groans are ſo frequent, that they paſs unnotic’d,
And no one counts the ſteps of miſery.
Oh! Heaven! ſee yonder ghaſtly form,
It comes to puſh us on, and cries again Revenge.
Points to it’s wounds, and beckons us away.
And ſhall we faulter?
There glow’d the flame of heroes.
If thus reſolv’d, ſome to Rapatio ſpeed;
Tell him we are determin’d—fix’d as fate—
The ſoldier ſtay no longer—if deni’d—
A ſcene of woe ſhall quickly open.
Yon ſun ſhall ſet in blood—the weeping moon,
Shrink in her orb—we’ll dare, what men can dare;
And with our daggers force a way to freedom.
Scene II.The great Hall. Enter Rapatio and Senators.
Well, friends, you hear the iſſue of their councils.
The ſoldier goes, or elſe they ſwear to bathe
Theſe ſtreets in blood—aſk my reſolution.
Say, ſhall the ſoldier go?
The people’s fury’s rais’d: they ſcorn to triffle longer.
’Tis not the efforts of expiring faction—
The weak attempts of a diſtracted party.
But men, who act on principles of honor,
Now graſp the ſword, and glorious in the ſtruggle.
Will force their way to freedom――
True, but remember――
Theſe troops;—no power of mine
Can contract—I’m but a ſervant――
But ſtop, Rapatio, ſtop.
’Tis the cauſe of freedom they defend:—
Thy very life’s connected with the iſſue.
They will not ſuffer unreveng’d:
You too may fall――
Go mark the gloom that broods on every feature.
Where mournful echo heaves along the wall,
And ſtrikes with all the elegance of woe.
No headſtrong oppoſition actuates.
They cooly weigh, and cautiouſly determine;
Speak what they feel, and what they feel they act.
Well, I’ll see Bagſhot, as he adviſes
So will I act――
Unhappy ſtate of mind!
What tho’ ten thouſand pleaſures beam around him,
The gilded couch—the airy poſt of honor.
No balm of peace, can mitigate his pain.
The ghoſt of freedom haunts his midnight hours.
This is thy ſtate, O guilt—to ſtop, is ruin—
To follow on is death—give me but virtue,That 021 C3r 21
That ſun-ſhine of the ſoul—enough—I’m happy.
The cauſe is loſt! the Patriot’s up in arms,
Pant for revenge—the ſoldier must retire—
Say, Bagſhot. Can you ſtand the gathering ſtorm?
’Tis an hard caſe indeed—what can I do?
A ſoldier’s honor ſhould remain unſullied.
True to his poſt, ſhould laugh at every danger,
Enjoy his fate, and ſmile amid the ſtorm.
But when ten thouſand furies burſt upon me,
Deſpiſe my utmoſt force, and breathe defiance—
Honor ſays, ſtand—but prudence ſays, retire.
But, Bagſhot! how this scoundrell mob will triumph.
Rather rouſe up ſome noble purpoſe in you;
Burn down their airy towers, and let the flames
Light thee to conqueſt.
Theſe are charming words.
Cloſe in his cell, the calm philoſopher
Enjoys the ſtorm, graſps at the palm of glory,
And fights the diſtant battles of the world.
It will not, cannot do—if they’re determin’d
We yield to conquering fate, and curſe our fortunefortune.
Bagſhot farewell—I’ll to the hall,
Scene III.The upper Hall. Enter Rapatio and Senators.
Since you advis’d to this, call in the patriots—
It grieves my ſoul, to hear the groans of freedom;
And I’m reſolv’d, whatever it may coſt me
To heal theſe wounds and ſave my bleeding country,I’ve 022 C3v 22
I’ve ſtruggled hard to get the cauſe remov’d.
The ſoldier goes—and ’tis my fervent prayer――
Each other wrong may find a quick remove,
And prince and peaſant may join in mutual love.
Patriots all hail! the happy hour approaches,
When vanquiſh’d freedom rears again her head.
And ſweetly ſmiles. Our conſtant, manly conduct
Has won the day—the ſullen foe retires――
Oh! What a burſt of joy was that—there broke
The warm effuſion of an heart that feels
In virtue’s cauſe. Gods! what a throb of pleaſure!
To look around this vaſt, this crouded hall
And hail them freemen—what tho’ ſome have bled,
Unhappy victims—what tho’ I have wept,
And ſtruggled hard to reſcue thee, my country,
This glorious harveſt richly compenſates
The dangers paſt—nature looks gay around me,
And all creation ſeems to join my joy.
With tranſport now I take my little offspring,
And hug them to my boſom, while they catch
The throbs I feel, and prattle out their joys.
Now I can toil for them contented—freeze
In winter’s cold, and burn in ſummer’s heat,
And ſing my cares away, while what I earn,
I’ll call my own, and leave it their’s for ever.
And hence, ye patriots learn an uſeful leſſon――
He who in virtue’s cauſe remain unmov’d
And nobly ſtruggles for his country’s good:
Shall more than conquer—better days ſhall beam,
And happier proſpects croud again the ſcene――
Scene IV.Enter Rapatio, Limpet, Meagre, and P――p.
What ſay my friends? ſhall patriots, grov’ling patriots,
Thus thwart our ſchemes? puſh back the plan of action!
And make it thus recoil? miſtaken wretches!
Unthinking fools! they work their own deſtruction.
Let them amuſe themſelves with thoughts of freedom,
And baſk amid the ſunſhine of an hour;—
They hover o’er the ſecret precipice—
The leap is death. Come, cunning be my guide,
Beleagu’d with hell—Come all thoſe hateful paſſions,
That rouſe the mind to action.
And here’s a ſoul, like thine, that never linger’d,
When prompted by revenge—If thirſt of power;
A ſpirit haughty, ſour, implacable,
That bears a deadly enmity to freedom,
But mean and baſe; who never had a notion
Of generous and manly; who would ſtab,
Stab in the dark, but what he’d get revenge;
If ſuch a ſoul is ſuitable to thy purpoſe,
I thank thee—thy fraternal love
I always knew, twin brother in affection.
Bagſhot complains his numbers are but few:
We muſt have more: and here the field’s extenſive.
But then their dev’liſh coolneſs comes athwart us,
To repreſent them factious and rebellious;
Mov’d on by malice to attack the ſoldier—
There lies the doubt—the ſimple bare aſſertion
Would ſway but weak.
If this is all you want—
If breaking thro’ the ſanction of an oath,
And trampling on the higheſt obligations
Would back this good deſign—here’s one will do it.In 024 C4v 24
In youth when all my ſoul was full of virtue,
And growing age had not matur’d my practice,
I felt a pang and ſhudder’d at a crime.
But thoughts like theſe have long ſince ſlept; old habits
Have ſear’d my conſcience—Vice is now familiar—
Preſcribe whatever form you chuſe—I ſign it—
’Tis well—then ſwear—that in our general meeting,
This was declar’d, that long before that night,
In which we ſnuff’d the blood of innocence,
The factious citizens, urg’d on by hell,
Had leagu’d together, to attack the ſoldier;
Trample on laws; murder the friends of power
And bury all things in one common ruin.
All this you call the majeſty of heaven
To witneſs to as truth――
I do, and ſwear.
There’s one thing more and then my mind’s at reſt.
Thoſe noble men who fought for government
Are now confin’d, and ſoon muſt have a trial.
Let’s all unite and uſe our utmoſt efforts
To get them off. There’s worthy Hazlerod
Who hears with too much joy the groans of freedom,
To see her executioner’s expire.
On you my dear P――p much depends.
And is Rapatio grown diſtruſtful of me?
Of me, who long had ſacrific’d my honor,
To be a tool?—who’ve cring’d and bow’d and fawn’d
To get a place?—Fear not I e’er ſhould prove
An alien here—Go waſh the æthiop white
The bid my ſoul grow fond and pleas’d with virtue.
Then I’m ſecure—Know patriots this and tremble.
Grief ſhall again its wonted ſeat reſume,
And piles of mangled corpſes croud the tomb.
Thro’ all the wanton ſtreets of pow’r I’ll rove,
And ſoar exulting like the bird of Jove,
On lofty pinions put a ſovereign ſway,
And glow illuſtrious in the blaze of day.
End of Third Act.
Act IV. Scene I.Enter Rapatio and Gripeall.
Hail, halcyon days! when every flying moment,
Affords new ſcenes of joy; what tho’ the ſoldier
True to my purpoſe hurls promiſcuous ſlaughter;
He lives and triumphs while the ſcales of juſtice,
Thus by my tools are held. The day is ours.
Such acts my Hazlerod, demand promotion――
And thou ſhall have it—Yes, the time approaches,
The happy period dawns, when thou ſhall ſwell
The chair of ſtate, and roll in wiſh’d for honors—
Thus while each poſt is garniſh’d with my creatures,
I’ll ſhow my pow’r, and trample on my country.
’Twas nobly ſpoke—there breath’d the ſoul of Cæſar.
Nor will I pauſe—my faithful myrmidons
Wait thy command and hang upon thy will.
I’ll uſe the little pow’r that’s lodg’d within me.
I’ll cramp their trade ’till pale ey’d poverty
Haunts all their ſtreets, and frowns deſtruction on them.
While many a poor man leaning on his ſtaff,
Beholds a numerous, famiſh’d offspring round him.
Who weep for bread. God’s how his boſom heaves!
Ghaſtly he rolls an aching eye upon them,
Then blaſts my name, and with a groan expires.
What throbs of joy—Nero, I tow’r above thee.
Scene II.Rapatio’s Houſe.
Could I have tho’t my ſtars would be ſo kind
As thus to bring my deep laid ſchemes to bear.
Tho’ from my youth ambition’s path I trod,D Suck’d 026 D1v 26
Suck’d the contagion from my mother’s breaſt;
The early taint has rankled in my veins;
Diſpotic rule my firſt, my ſov’reign wiſh.
Yet to ſucceed, beyond my ſanguine hope,
To quench the generous flame, the ardent love
Of liberty in Servia’s free born ſons,
Deſtroy their boaſted rights, and mark them ſlaves.
To ride triumphant o’er my native land,
And revel on its ſpoils—But hark!—it groans!
The heaving ſtruggles of expiring freedom!—
Her dying pangs—and I the guilty cauſe:—
I ſhudder at the thought—why this confuſion?
The phantom conſcience, whom I’ve bid adieu—
Can ſhe return?—O let me, let me fly!
I dare not meet my naked heart alone.
I’ll haſt for comfort to the buſy ſcenes,
Where fawning courtiers, creatures of my own,
With adulating tongue, midſt gaping crouds,
Shall ſtrive to paint me fair—the day is lucky—
The divan meets and Hazlerod preſides.
’Tis true in rhetoric he don’t excell
Demoſthenes or Cicero of old:
But what of that, his gratitude to me,
Will animate each period of applauſe.
I from a fribbling, ſuperficial dabler,
A vain pretender to each learned ſcience,
A poet, preacher, conjurer and quack――
Rear’d the obſequious trifler to my purpoſe,
Rob’d him in ſcarlet, dignifi’d the man:
An hecatomb of incenſe is my due.
How grateful to my ear, theſe flatt’ring ſtrains!
His fulſome requiem’s ſooth my ſoul to peace.
Who elſe wou’d place in ſuch a ſacred ſeat,
Credulity inwove with the extremes,
Of servile, weak, implacable and pround.
But ſee he comes—ſee that important phiz,
A ſpeech prepar’d, but what I muſt correct,
If interlarded with profuſe encomiums.—
To hold me up the paragon of virtue—
But it may paſs— of modern compoſition,
That’s the teſt――Enter 027 D2r 27 Enter Hazlerod
――Welcome, my dear Hazlerod.――――
My friend, my brother, or ſtill dearer name,
Thou firm abettor of my grand deſign!
Thou now canſt cover what the world call crimes.
We’ll then ſecurely cruſh the ſcoundrell mob,
And Claudia like, the citizens ride o’er,
And execute what Nero durſt not do—Hazlerod going haſtily off, Rapatio ſtops him.
I’ll call my myrmidons, they ſhall attend,
Swell the parade with all the venal herd.
Gripeall, that minion of oppreſſive power,
With ſimple Dupe, the ready tool of ſtate;
And vituous Limput perjur’d only once,
Then indiſpenſible to ſerve a cauſe
Which truth would ruin; doubtlesſ they’ll be there.
Scene III.Opens with a proceſſion of coaches, chariots, &c. Changes to the Chamber, where the Divan is opened with a ſpeech by Hazlerod, highly pleaſing to the creatures of arbitrary power, and equally diſguſting to every man of virtue. Enter Hazlerod.
Rapatio— hail! ’tis by thy fauſlt’ring hand,
This happy day beholds me rob’d in honor.
Pow’r! ’tis a charm that gods can only know:
Theſe, while they view this little globe of earth,
And trace the various movements of mankind,
With pleaſure mark that ſoul, that dares aſpire,
To catch this heavenly flame and coppy from them.
And ſure Rapatio, if mortality
Could ever boaſt an elevated genius,
That ſcorns the duſt, and tow’rs above the ſtars;
A ſoul that only graſps at high atchievements,
And drinks intoxicating draughts of power,
The claim is thine—while ſimple yet they ſtation,
True greatneſs peer’d, and promis’d future glory—
Yea while an infant, hanging at the breaſt,With 028 D2v 28
With life, you largely ſuck’d the luſt of power.
In youth, in age, invariably the ſame.
Thy eaſy flow of paſſion, happy talent!
Which work’d on unſuſpecting minds ſo ſtrangly,
Puſ’d on the plan, and pav’d the road to honor.
With this in view, you’d imitate devotion,
Which like a mantle, cover’d great deſigns,
With virtue glow, and ſet among her ſons:
While theſe with tranſport liſtned to the tale,
Gaz’d as they heard, and wonder’d how they lov’d.
To catch this prize, in what have you not toil’d.
When nature ſlept, thy buſy mind awoke,
And por’d on future ſcenes, and plan’d thy fate.
Then, when the ties of virtue and thy country,
Unhappy check’d thy luſt of pow’r— like Caeſar,
You nobly ſcorn’d them all, and on the ruins,
Of bleeding freedom, founded by all thy greatneſs
And what a rich, a glorious compenſation
For dangers paſt— gilded all o’er with penſions,
Here like a mighty deity you ſit,
Enthron’d in ſtate, nor envy Jove his thunder.
While aw’d by thee, the diſtant nations gaze
And thouſands yield their tribute of amaze.
Meanwhile at humble diſtance I purſue,
And grow illuſtrious as I copy you.
Then when I’ve trampl’d on my country’s fate,
And no one lives my actions to relate,
With my own aſhes light the funeral fire,
Die as I liv’d, and in a flaſh expire.
End of the fourth Act.
Act V. Scene I.Enter Brutus
O my poor country!――
I’ve wak’d and wept, and would have fought for thee,
And empted every vein, when threatn’d ruin.Lowr’d 029 D3r 29
Lowr’d o’er thy head; but now too late. I fear
The manacles prepar’d by Brundo’s hand,
Cruel Rapatio, with more fatal art,
Had fix’d, has rivetted beyond redreſs—
My indignation’s rouz’d, my ſoul diſdains,
Nor will I longer ſtay where poiſonous breath,
Of Sycophants applauſe, pollutes the air.
The ſhameleſs tyrant ſnuffs the baſe perfume;
With unrelenting heart and brazen front
He rears his guilty head amidſt the fear
Of Servia’s virtuous ſons, whoſe lateſt breath
Shall execrate a wretch, who dare enſlave,
A generous, free and independent people.
――If, ye pow’rs divine,
Ye mark the movements of this nether world,
And bring them to account—cruſh, cruſh theſe vipers,
Who singl’d out by a community,
To guard their rights—ſhall for a graſp of oar,
Or paltry office ſell them to the foe.
Scene II.A Prison.
It’s done; not all their boaſted pow’r can ſave me:
Not Hazlerod himſelf with all his art,
Who long had buoy’d up my ſinking ſpirits,
Can ſoothe the ſullen paſſions of my ſoul,
Or pour one ray of comfort on my mind.
Condemn’d!—to die! perdition ſeize them all.
Where are now all the gilded airy proſpects
That ſwam before me—Honors, places, penſions—
’Tis all a cheat, a damn’d a cruel cheat.
The wretch that feaſts himſelf on promiſes,
Purſues a phantom, and but graſps at air;
Th’ illuſive vapour leads him to a bog
Then leaves him to his fate—curſed enticers!
Ye who ſeduc’d my ſoul to laugh at virtue,
To give up all my right to future bliſs,
And bid me dare to ſtamp the die for ever:
Ye who encourag’d me with hopes of pardon,To 030 D3v 30
To glut your vengeance, for the cause was yours,
On the weeping innocence; to act a deed,
Which ſportive fame ſhall blow about the world.
Where are ye now?――
What loſt to grief!—dejected! can it be!
Can the poor verdict of ſome half form’d peaſants,
Unmeaning dull machines, thus damp your courage
Rouſe up my friend, for friend I ſtill will call thee:
By every tie that links the humane mind,
That ſureſt ſympathy which cement ſouls,
Which like two rivers mingle mutal ſtreams,
And roll together—thou art and ſhalt be mine.
Know then we all have met and all determin’d
To aid the cauſe in hand—decrepid Meagre
In whom a paſſion of revenge is virtue;
And he, the life of all:—whoſe ſimple breath
Sways every action, cautious Latat
Whoſe ſoul ne’er knew one generous ſentiment,
Which gives a ſanction to humanity.
Steady and vigilant, in one ſole plan,
To cruſh the friends of freedom, extirpate
The dear remains of virtue, and like Nero,
At one dread blow to maſſacre his millions.
Steady to this one plan, tho’ dreary ſpectres
Scare all his ſoul and haunt his midnight ſlumber.
Yes, we will ſtill protect thee.—’Tis impoſſible
A cauſe so much at heart, ſhou’d droop and languiſh,
And we not lend an aid—when S――r bled,
We ſnuff’d the rich perfume, the groans of youth.
Gods! they were muſick in our ears—you therefore
Shall one day leave this diſmal tenement,
Again with pleaſing ſcenes of blood and carnage,
To glut our vengeance—yes—by heaven we ſwear,
You ſhall be free whatever pangs it coſt us.
We’ll laugh at all the howls of patriotiſm.
Should virtue check, ſhould conſcience whiſper terror,
And laſh our troubled minds, we’ll brave it all.—
Scene III.Enter Brutus, and Marcus a young Patriot.
It muſt be ſo—our fates are too unkind.
Who would have thought, beneath an air of virtue,
Solemn grimace, and proffer of fair deeds,
Should lurk ſuch boaſeneſs—To ſee the Patriot,
Reeking in gore, excites the keeneſt tranſport,
Oh! my poor country! when I ſee thee wounded,
Bleeding to death—it pains me to the ſoul
Long have I wept in ſecret—nay, could weep
’Till tears were chang’d to blood—When will it be,
When high-ſoul’d honor beats within our boſoms,
And calls to action—when thy ſons like heroes,
Shall dare aſſert thy rights, and with their ſwords,
Like men, like freemen, force a way to conqueſt
Or on thy ruins gloriouſly expire.――
Oh! Brutus, you excite a generous tranſport.
In ſuch a cauſe, pleas’d could I bare my boſom,
And pour my choiceſt blood—yes, I have ſeen,
Tho’ young I’ve ſeen, ſuch crimes by ermind wretches,
And would have ſhock’d a century, one thing I wonder,
That deed ſo foul ſhould find ſuch warm abettors.
You little know the world—there greater vices,
Lead to preferment, the man of honeſt mind,
Whoſe generous ſoul diſdains a grov’ling action.
And graſps alone at virtue—ſinks neglected:
Yes, my young friend, would you be great and powerful
Loaded with wealth and honor, be a raſcall,
Stoop low and cringe—ſtick not at oaths, nor let
Thy ſhrinking ſoul, ſtart at the thought of murder,
Then to Rapatio go, and Hazlerod,
And all the band ſhall give a hearty welcome.
Oh no! I ſcorn it—better live a poor man,
And die ſo too—while virtue and my conſcience,
Speak peace within!—better, tho’ hate and malice,
May shoot their ſhafts againſt me—better thus
To make my Exit, while the ſoul with comfort
Reviews the paſt and ſmiles upon the future.
Yes, Marcus, poverty muſt be thy fate,
If thou’rt thy country’s friend—Think upon it
When I’m gone, as ſoon perhaps I may be
Remember it—thoſe men whoſe crimes now ſhock,
May cloſe their meaſures—Yes, the wiſh’d for period
May ſoon arrive, when murderers, blood and carnage,
Shall crimſon all theſe ſtreets; when this poor country
Shall looſe her richeſt blood; forbid it heaven!
And may theſe monſters find their glories fade,
Cruſh’d in the ruins they themſelves had made.
While thou my country, ſhall again revive,
Shake off misfortune, and thro’ ages live.
See thro’ the waſte a ray of virtue gleame,
Diſpell the ſhades and brighten all the ſcene.
Wak’d into life, the blooming foreſt glows.
And all the deſart bloſſoms as the rose.
From diſtant lands ſee virtuous millions fly
To happier climates, and a milder ſky.
While on the mind ſucceſſive pleaſures pour,
’Till time expires, and ages are no more.