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No hope sheds its ray on thy death-pointing track!
Keep faith with the faithless? The gods will forgive
The balking of such. O, live, Regulus, live!
Reg. With the consciousness fixed in the core of my heart,
That I had been playing the perjurer's part?
With the stain ever glaring, the thought ever nigh,
That I owe the base breath I inhale to a lie ?
0, never! Let Carthage infract every oath,
Be false to her word and humanity both,
Yet never will I in her infamy share,
Or turn for a refuge to guilt from despair!
Sert. O, think of the kindred and friends who await
To fall on thy neck, and withhold thee from fate;
0, think of the widow, the orphans to be,
And let thy compassion plead softly with me.
Reg. O, my friend, thou canst soften, but canst not subdue :
To the faith of my soul I must ever be true.
If my honor I cheapen, my conscience discrown,
All the graces of life to the dust are brought down;
All creation to me is a chaos once more-
No heaven to hope for, no God to adore !
And the love that I feel for wife, children, and friend,
Has lost all its beauty, and thwarted its end.
Sert. Let thy country determine.
My country? Her will,
Were I free to obey, would be paramount still.
I go to my doom for my country alone;
My life is my country's; my honor, my own!
Sert. O, Regulus ! think of the pangs in reserve !
Reg. What menace should make me from probity swerve ?
Sert. Refinements of pain will these miscreants find
To daunt and disable the loftiest mind.
Reg. And 't is to a Roman thy fears are addressed !
Sert. Forgive me. I know thy unterrified breast.
Reg. Thou know'st me but human as weak to sustain
As thyself, or another, the searchings of pain.
This flesh may recoil, and the anguish they wreak
Chase the strength from my knees, and the hue from my cheek;
But the body alone they can vanquish and kill;
The spirit immortal shall smile at them still.
Then let them make ready their engines of dread,
Their spike-bristling cask, and their torturing bed ;
Still Regulus, heaving no recreant breath,
Shall greet as a friend the deliverer Death !
Their cunning in torture and taunt shall defy,
And hold it a joy for his country to die !
V. - ANTONY AND VENTIDIUS.
Enter ANTONY, Right, meeting VENTIDIUS, who enters Left.
Antony. Art thou Ventidius ?
Ventidius. Are you Antony?
I'm liker what I was, than you to him
When that I left
Ant. I'm angry.
Ven. So am I.
Ant. I would be private; leave me.
Ven. Sir, I love you,
And therefore will not leave you.
1 Ant. Will not leave me?
Where have you learnt that answer ? Who am I?
Ven. My emperor; the man I love next heaven,
If I said more, I think 't were scarce a sin ;
You 're all that is good and noble.
Ant. All that's wretched !
You will not leave me, then ?
Ven. T was too presuming
To say I would not, but I dare not leave you ;
And 't is unkind in you to chide me hence
So soon, when I so far have come to see you.
Ant. Now thou hast seen me, art thou satisfied ?
For, if a friend, thou hast beheld enough ;
And, if a foe, too much.
! Ven. Look, emperor, this is no common dew;
I have not wept these forty years; but now
My mother comes afresh into my eyes ;
I can not help her softness.
Ant. Sure, there 's contagion in the tears of friends,
See, I have caught it too. Believe me, 't is not
For my own griefs, but thine. Nay, father
Ven. Emperor !
Ant. Emperor! Why, that's the style of victory.
The conquering soldier, red with unfelt wounds,
Salutes his general so; but never more
Shall that sound reach my ears. I lost a battle.
Ven. So has Julius done.
Ant. Thou favor'st me, and speak'st not half thou think'st;
For Julius fought it out, and lost it fairly :
Ven. Nay, stop not !
(Well, thou wilt have it) — like a coward, fled,
Fled while his soldiers fought ; filed first, Ventidius.
Thou long'st to curse me, and I give thee leave.
I know thou cam’st prepared to rail.
Ven. I did.
Ant. I'll help thee. I have been a man, Ventidins.
Ven. Yes, and a brave one ; but
Ant. I know thy meaning,
But I have lost my reason, have disgraced
The name of soldier with inglorious ease.
In the full vintage of my flowing honors
Sat still, and saw it pressed by other hands.
Fortune came smiling to my youth, and wooed it;
And purple greatness met my ripened years.
Ven. You are too sensible already
Of what you've done, too conscious of your failings;
And, like a scorpion, whipped by others first
To fury, sting yourself in mad revenge.
Ant. Dost thou think me desperate
Without just cause ? No; when I found all lost
Beyond repair, I hid me from the world,
And learned to scorn it here ; which now I do
So heartily, I think it is not worth
The cost of keeping.
Ven. Cæsar thinks not so.
He'll thank you for the gift he could not take.
You would be killed like Tully, would you ? - Why, then,
Hold out your throat to Cæsar, and die tamely.
Ant. No, I can kill myself; and so resolve.
Ven. I can die with you too, when time shall serve; But fortune calls upon us now to live, To fight, to conquer,
Ant. Sure thou dream'st, Ventidius.
Ven. No; 't is you dream ; you sleep away your hours
In desperate sloth, miscalled philosophy.
Up, up, for honor's sake! Twelve legions wait you,
And long to call you chief.
Ant. Where left you them?
Ven. I say, in Lower Syria.
Ant. Bring 'em hither;
There may be life in these.
Ven. They will not come.
Ant. Why didst thou mock my hopes with promised aids, To double my despair? They 're mutinous.
Ven. Most firm and loyal.
Ant. Why did they refuse to march?
Ven. They said they would not fight for Cleopatra.
Ant. What was 't they said ?
Ven. They said they would not fight for Cleopatra.
Why should they fight, indeed, to make her conquer,
And make you more a slave ?
Ant. You grow presumptuous.
Ven. I take the privilege of plain love to speak.
Ant. Plain love! Plain arrogance, plain insolence !
Thy men are cowards ; thou an envious traitor.
0, that thou wert my equal, great in arms
As the first Cæsar was, that I might kill thee
Without stain to my honor !
Ven. You may kill me.
You have done more already — called me traitor.
Ant. Art thou not one ?
Ven. For showing you yourself,
Which none else durst have done? But had I been
That name, which I disdain to speak again,
I needed not have sought your abject fortunes,,
Come to partake your fate, to die with you.
What hindered me to have led my conquering eagles
To fill Octavius' bands? I could have en
A traitor then, a glorious, happy traitor;
And not have been so called.
Ant. Forgive me, soldier ;
I've been too passionate.
Ven. You thought me false ;
Thought my old age betrayed you. Kill me, sir !
Pray, kill me! Yet you need not ; your
unkindness Has left your sword no work.
Ant, I did not think so ;
I said it in my rage. Priythee, forgive me.
(They shake hands.)
Thou shalt behold me once again in iron;
And, at the head of our old troops, that beat
The Parthians, cry aloud, Come, follow me!
Ven. O, now I hear my emperor! In that word Octavius fell.
Ant. O, thou hast fired me! My soul 's up in arms,
And mans each part about me.
The nobleness of fight has seized me.
Come on, my soldier !
Our hearts and arms are still the same. I long
Once more to meet our foes, that thou and I,
Like Time and Death, marching before our troops,
May drag fate on with us, mow out a passage,
And, entering where the utmost squadrons yield,
Begin the noble harvest of the field.
VI. - THE GAMBLER'S SON.
ORIGINAL TRANSLATION. M. de Ferrières (pronounced Ferryaır), after years of extremo poverty, has
risen suddenly to opulence. His son, George, returns home from sea, and questions his father as to the source of his wealth. The father evades his inquiries. George follows him the gaming-table, sees him play with M. Dubourg, and win all his money, and satisfies himself that his father cheated at cards. He stands overwhelmed, and, in the following scene, intimates to his father what he has discovered. If convenient, there should bo a table on the stage, with a pack of cards on it, and a chair on either side of the table.
Enter M. DE F. first, Left; then GEORGE, Right.
M. de Ferrières. What would you, George ?
George. (Aside.) How shall I broach it?
M. de F. You tremble, my son! What's the matter ?
George. (Looking around him.) No one can enter? Are we sure of that?
M. de F. Why all these precautions ?
George. (With much emotion.) Did Dubourg lose all — all — at cards? Did you win his all ?
M. de F. The luck went against him.
George. (Mustering courage.) But that money — you will give it back to him ?
M. de F. How ?
George. You will give it back to him -- will you not?
M. de F. Are you mad ?
George. 0! keep it not, my father! Keep it not! Dubourg is a merchant. He must have that money in order to meet his engagements. Without it he is ruined. Give it him back. It is all I ask.
M. de F. (Looking at him with surprise.) I do not under
George. (Aside.) Yes, it is my duty! (Aloud.) You must renounce all that you won from Dubourg ; absolutely, you must.