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the factious leaders are our friends, that spread
Syph. Meanwhile I 'll draw up my Numidian within the square, to exercise their arms, (troops and, as I see occasion, favour thee. I laugh, to think how your upshaken Cato will look aghast, while unforeseen destruction pours in upon him thus from every side. So, where our wide Numidian wastes extend, sudden, th' impetuous burricanes descend, wheel through the air, in circling eddies play, tear up the sands, and sweep whole plains away. The helpless traveller, with wild surprise sees the dry desert all around him rise, and, smother'd in the dusty whirlwind dies.
Exeunt. ACT III. SCENE I.
Enter MARCUS and PORTIUS. Marc. Thanks to my stars, I have not rang'd a. the wilds of life, ere I could find a friend ; [bout nature first pointed out my Portius to me, and early taught me, by her secret force, to love thy person, ere I knew thy merit, till what was instinct, grew up into friendship.
Por. Marcus, the friendships of the world are oft confed'racies in vice, or leagues of pleasure; our's has severest virtue for its basis, and such a friendship ends not but with life:
Marc. Portius, thou know'st my soulin allit's weak. then prythee spare me on it's tender side; [ness ;
indulge me but in love, my other passions : shall rise and fall by virtue's nicest rules. [love.
Por. When love's well tim'd, 't is not a fault to The strong, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise, sink in the soft captivity together. I would not urge thee to dismiss thy passion, (I know 't were vain) but to suppress 't is force, till better times may make it look more graceful.
Marc. Alas, thou talk 'st like one, that never felt . th' impatient throbs and longings of a soul, lhat pants, and reaches after distant good ! a lover does not live by vulgar time; believe me, Portius, in my Lucia's absence life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden; and yet, when I behold the charming maid, I’m ten times more undone; while hope and fear, and grief and rage, and love, rise up at once, and with variety of pain distract me.
Por. What can thy Portius do to give thee help? Marc. Portius, thou oft enjoy'st the fair one's presthen undertake my cause, and plead it to her, [ence, with all the strength and heat of eloquence fraternal love and friendship can inspire. Tell her, thy brother languishes to death, and fades away, and withers in his bloom; that he forgets his sleep, and lothes his food, that youth, and health, and war are joyless to him; describe his anxious days, and restless nights, and all the torments that thou seest me suffer.
Por. Marcus, I beg thee give me not an office, that suits with me so ill. Thou know'st my temper.
Marc. Wilt thou behold me sinking in my woes, and wilt thou not reach out a friendly arm, to raise me from amidst this plunge of sorrowse.
Por. Marcus, thou canst not ask what I'd refuse; but here, believe me, I've a thousand reasons! Marc. I know thou'lt say, my passion's out of seathat Cato's great example and misfortunes [son, should both conspire to drive it from my thoughts. But what's all this to one, who loves like me? O Portius, Portius, from my soul I wish thou did'st but know thyself what 't is to love! then would'st thou pity and assist thy brother.
Por. What should I do? if I disclose my passion, our friendship's at an end: if I conceal it, the world will call me false to a friend and brother.
[Aside. Marc. But see, where Lucia, at her wonted hour, amid the cool of yon high marble arch, enjoys the noon day breeze! Observe her, Portius; that face, that shape, those eyes, that heav'n of beau. observe her well, and blame me if thou canst. (ty!
Por. She sees us, and advances - Marc.
I'll withdraw, and leave you for a while. Remember, Portius, thy brother's life depends upon thy tongue. (Exit.
Enter Lucia. Luc. Did not I see your brother Marcus here? why did he fly the place, and shun my presence?
Por. Oh, Lucia, language is too faint to show his rage of love; it preys upon his life; he pines, he sickens, he despairs, he dies : his passions and his virtues lie confus'd, and mix'd together in so wild a tumult, that the whole man is quite disfigurd in him. Heavens! would one think 't were possible for love to make such ravage in a noble soul!
Oh, Lucia, I'm distress'd! my heart bleeds for him; ev'n now, while thus I stand blest in thy presence, a secret damp of grief comes o'er my thoughts, and I 'ın unhappy, though thou smil'st upon me.
Luc. How wilt thou guard thy honour, in the shock of love and friendship? Think betimes, my Portius, think how the nuptial tie, that might ensure our mutual bliss, would raise to such a height thy brother's griefs, as might perhaps destroy him.
Por. Alas, poor youth! what dost thou think, my his generous, open, undesigning heart [Lucia? has begg'd his rival to solicit for him. Then do not strike him dead with a denial, but hold him up in life, and cheer his soul with the faint glimmering of a doubtful hope: perhaps, when we have pass'd these gloomy hours, and weather'd out the storm that beats upon us
Luc. No, Portius, no! I see thy sister's tears, thy father's anguish, and thy brother's death, in the pursuit of our ill-fated loves. And, Portius, here I swear, to heaven I swear, to heaven, and all the powers that judge mankind, never to mix my plighted hands with thine, while such a cloud of mischiefs hangs about us: but to forget our loves, and drive thee out from all my thoughts, as far-as I am able.
Por. What hast thou said? I'm thunder-struck! rethose hasty words, or I am lost for ever. [call
Luc. Has not the vow already pass'd my lips? the gods have heard it, and 't is seald in heaven. May all the vengeance, that was ever pourd on perjur'd heads, o'erwhelm me, if I break it!
[After a pause. Por. Fix'd in astonishment, I gaze upon thee;
like one just blasted by a stroke from heaven,
Luc. At length I've acted my severest part;
Por. Hard-hearted, cruel maid!
Oh, stop those sounds, those killing sounds! Why dost thou frown upon me? my blood runs cold, my heart forgets to heave, and life itself goes out at thy displeasure. The gods forbid us to indulge our loves, but, oh! I cannot bear thy hate, and live!
Por. Talk not of love, thou never knew'st it's force. I've been deluded, led into a dream of fancied bliss. O Lucia, cruel maid ! thy dreadful vow, loaden with death, still sounds in my stunn'd ears. What shall I say or do? quick, let us part! perdition 's in thy presence, and horror dwells about thee!Ah, she faints ! wretch that I am! what has my rashness done! Lucia, thou injur'd innocence! thou best and loveliest of thy sex! awake, my Lucia, or Portius rushes on his sword to join thee.
Her imprecations reach not to the tomb, they shut not out society in death.But, ah! she moves! life wanders up and down through all her face, and lights up every charm.
Luc. O Portius, was this well to frown on her that lives upon thy smiles! to call in doubt the faith of one expiring at thy feet, that loves thee more than ever woman lov'd!