Imágenes de páginas

Fortune came smiling to my youth, and wooed ity
And purple greatness met my ripened years.
When first I came to empire I was borne
On tides of people, crowding to my triumphs*.
I was so great, so happy, so beloved,
Fate could not ruin me; till I took pains,
And worked against my fortune, chid her from me,
And turned her loose : yet still she came again.
My careless days, and my luxurious nights,
At length have wearied her, and now she's gone,
Gone, gone, divorced forever.

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 learnt to scorn it here; which now I do
So heartily, I think it is not worth
The cost of keeping.

Cæsar thinks not so;
He'll thank you for the gift he could not take.
You would be killed like Tully,* would you? Do
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, 'tis you dream; you sleep away your hours In desperate sloth, miscalled philosophy. Up, up, for honor's sake; twelve legions wait you,

* Marcus Tullius Cicero, a distinguished Roman orator, was born 106 B, C Ae was slain by a party of soldiers, agents of Antony, B. C. 43.


And long to call you Chief. By painful journeys
I led them, patient both of heat and hunger,
Down from the Parthian marches to the Nile.
'Twill do you good to see their sun-burnt faces,
Their scarred cheeks, and chapped hands; there's virtue in

Ant. Where left you them ?
Ven. In Lower Syria.

Bring them hither;
There may be life in these.

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.

Yet they will not march
To succor me. O, trifler!

They petition
You would make haste to head them.

I am besieged.
Ven. There's but one way shut up — how came I hither!
Ant. I will not stir.

They would perhaps desire
A better reason.

I have never used
My soldiers to demand a reason of
My actions. 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 ?

You grow presumptuous. Ven. I take the privilege of plain love to speak.

Ant. Plain loye! Plain arrogance ®, plain insolence ! Thy men are cowards; thou an envious traitor;

Who, under seeming honesty, hast vented
The burden of thy rank, o'erflowing gall.
O, that thou wert my equal; great in arms
As the first Cæsar was, that I might kill thee,
Without stain to my honor!

You may kill me:
You have done more already, — called me traitor.

Ant. Art thou not one ?

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 been
A traitor then — a glorious, happy traitor!
And not have been so called.

Forgive me, soldier; I've been too passionate.

: 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.

I did not think so;
I said it in my rage: pr’ythee, forgive me.
Why didst thou tempt my anger, by discovery?
Of what I could not hear ?

. No prince but you
Could merit that sincerity I used ;
Nor durst another man have ventured it.

Ant. 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. Methinks you breathe


Another soul; your looks are most divine;
You speak a hero..

Ant. O, thou hast fired me! my soul's up in arms,
And mans each part about me. Once again
The noble eagerness 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 taste fate to them; mow them out a passage,
And entering where the foremost squadrons yield,
Begin the noble harvest of the field.
1 CON-TĀ'Giọn. The communication 4 DỊ-võrced'. Separated by a legal

of disease from one person to an process, as a husband and wife; other by contact ; communication separated or disunited, as things of a like quality or feeling.

closely connected. 2 VIN'TẠGe. The produce of the vine 5 MÄRCH'ĘŞ. Frontiers ; borders. for the season.

6 XR'RO-GẠNCE. Conceited presump8 TRIUMPHIS. Processions or ceremo- ' tion; haughtiness.

nies, at Rome, in honor of victori-7 DỊs-CÔ V'ER-Y. Act of finding out; ous generals.

here, disclosure.



DICKENS. (This piece is taken from Master Humphrey's Clock. A poor, feeble old man and his little grandchild, Nell, the stay and comfort of his life, are homeless wanderers. One evening, in their wanderings, they come to a village, and are offered shelter for the night by the schoolmaster.]

1. Without further preface, he conducted them into his little school-room, which was parlor and kitchen likewise, and told them they were welcome to remain under his roof till morning. The child looked round the room as she took her seat. The chief ornaments of the walls were certain moral sentences, fairly copied in good round text, and well-worked sums in simple addition and multi

plication, evidently achieved' by the same hand, which were plentifully pasted around the room; for the double purpose, as it seemed, of bearing testimony to the excel. lence of the school, and kindling a worthy emulation in the bosoms of the scholars.

2. “Yes,” said the schoolmaster, observing that her attention was caught by these specimens, “ that's beautiful writing, my dear.” “ Very, sir," replied the child, modestly; “is it yours ?” “Mine!” he returned, taking out his spectacles, and putting them on, to have a better view of the triumphs so dear to his heart; “I couldn't write like that nowadays. No: they are all done by one hand; a little hand it is; not so old as yours, but a very clever? one.”

3. As the schoolmaster said this, he saw that a small blot of ink had been thrown upon one of the copies; so he took a penknife from his pocket, and going up to the wall, carefully scratched it out. When he had finished, he walked slowly backward from the writing, admiring it as one might contemplatea beautiful picture, but with something of sadness in his voice and manner, which quite touched the child, though she was unacquainted with its cause.

4. “A little hand, indeed," said the poor schoolmaster. “Far beyond all his companions, in his learning and his sports too. How did he ever come to be so fond of me! That I should love him is no wonder, but that he should love me —” And there the schoolmaster stopped, and took off his spectacles to wipe them, as though they had grown dim. “I hope there is nothing the matter, sir,” said Nell, anxiously.

5. “Not much, my dear," returned the schoolmaster; “I hoped to have seen him on the green to-night. He was always foremost among them. But he'll be there tomorrow.” “Has he been ill?” asked the child with a child's quick sympathy.

6. “Not very. They said he was wandering in his

« AnteriorContinuar »