Boston: Printed and sold at the New Printing Office Near Concert Hall, 1773
"Then let us rise my friends, and
strive to fill
This little interval, this pause of life,
(While yet our liberty and fates are doubtful)
With resolution, friendship, Roman bravery,
And all the virtues we can crowd into it;
That Heaven may say it ought to be prolonged."
Is this the once famed mistress of the north
The sweet retreat of freedom? Dearly purchased!
A clime matured 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 -- the insulting soldiers
Tread down our choicest rights; while hoodwinked 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 lived for freedom, and for freedom died:
Who scorned to roll in affluence, if that state
Was sickened over with the dread name of slaves:
Who in this desert stocked with beasts and men,
Whose untamed souls breathed naught but slaughter --
Grasped at freedom, and they nobly won it;
Then smiled and died 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 it would cost them; yes, they'd weep,
Nor weep in vain. That good old spirit,
Which warmed 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 laughed at danger;
Struggled like patriots, and through seas of blood
Waded to conquest. I'll not disgrace them.
I'll show a spirit worthy of my fire.
Tough malice dart her stings; though poverty
Stares full upon me; though power with all her thunder
Rolls over my head; thy cause my bleeding country
I'll never leave -- I'll struggle hard to thee,
And if I perish, perish like a free man.
You're not alone -- there are, I know, ten
Never bowed the knee to idol power. Repeated insults
Have roused the most lethargic. Even the old man
Whose blood has long creeped sluggish through his veins
Now feels his warmth renewed, his pulse beat quick,
His eyes dart fire. He grasps his sword.
And calls on youth to aid him.. Yes 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 flow
With manly sentiment. I will accost them.
Enter Junius and Portius
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 crowd on them.
The boy despises, and the stripling smiles.
'Tis well -- here lies my hope: let but a sense,
A manly sense of injured 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 lopped,
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 --
The attempt enobles. Yes, the suffering patriot
Towers 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 over this country,
And watch like guardian angels over its rights:
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 a human skull.
Carnage, blood and death shall be familiar,
Though Servia weep her desolated realms.
'Tis bravely spoken. 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.
Enter Rapatio, alone
Hail happy day! in which I find my wishes,
My gayest wishes crowned. Brundo retired,
The stage is clear. Whatever gilded prospects
Ever swam before me -- home, places, pensions --
All at command -- Oh! my full heart! it will burst!
Now patriots think, think on the past and tremble.
Think on that gloomy might when, as you phrased it,
Indignant justice reared her awful front,
And frowned me from her -- when ten thousand monsters,
Wretches who only claimed mere outward form
To give a sanction to humanity,
Broke my retirement -- rushed into my chamber,
And rifled all my secrets -- then slung me helpless,
Naked and destitute, to beg protection.
Hell! what a night was this -- and do they think
I'll ever 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 and ruin.
But here comes Dupe, a creature formed by nature
To be a sycophant. Though I despised him,
Yet he's too necessary for my purpose,
To be relinquished, I'll take him by the hand --
Give him a bow and buoy up his hopes --
He's mine forever.
It gives me highest joy to see your honor
Servia's sole ruler. What though not complete
And primly seated in the chair of power,
Yet all the reins of government you hold.
And should that happy period ever arrive
When Bundo 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 filled 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 unpunished.
P_____p too, a happy creature this
To serve a turn, though men whose breath was slaughter
Should urge the meanest of our servants on,
To bathe their daggers in their masters' blood,
P_____p stays, proceedings -- At my nod
Will break through every tie of law and justice
And bid those monster go. -- In short all orders
Obey my summons, and perform my will.
What halcyon days! And have I lived to see them?
And share them too? Enough -- I've lived 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 scepter.
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.
Over fields of death; with hastening 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.
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 scattered rays
And shroud himself in night. While numbers crowded
Thoughtless of harm to see the pageantry,
And sportive youths played games in the street,
That wretch, that cursed E______r,
Whom long this country blushed to own her son --
Urged on by hell and malice, unprovoked --
Hurled through the crowd 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 earliest 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?
Enter Portius and a crowd
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 thousand boisterous passions glory within me
And call for blood. Not this poor wretch alone --
The grand prime spring shall fall a sacrifice.
Though all his legions fondly hovered round him.
I'd cut my way through 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 sully by unmeaning actions
The cause of injured freedom: this demands
A cool, sedate and yet determined spirit.
Brutus, thy mind composed 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 a hurricane!
But hear me, Portius, one word more I ask thee.
You know the foes of freedom, eagle-eyed,
Watch every deed. They wish to see us act
Up to the character they long have painted.
Headstrong -- rebellious -- factious -- uncontrolled --
Rather to justice drag the murderer.
Brutus, you know who fill the sacred bench.
Rapatio's tools, mere creatures of the tyrant,
Depend upon it, they'll vilely wrest the law,
And save the villain -- yes, depend on it,
Should he be brought before that bribed tribunal,
They'll plead his cause and save the murder's life.
Well, Portius, that's with them.
We've done as patriots ought -- like men who scorn
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 free men.
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,
Pleased could I bare this breast and die in transport.
No Brutus, live, and live to rescue virtue.
For this ten thousand motives crowd upon us.
Our fathers seem to murmur in their tombs,
And urge us on. Last night as I lay musing
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 stared --
Horrid he stared -- then frowned and spoke in thunder.
"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 yours unsullied -- Oh defend it,
Nor lose it but in death." He spoke and vanished.
Yes, I replied, thou injured 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 -- meanwhile, my friend,
Let's see the mournful obsequies performed.
Give to the dust, the relics of a youth,
Untimely cropped, and lost -- like some gay flower
Waked to life -- awhile, it cheered out sight,
And promised 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 funeral pomp let's go
Share in their grief, and join the general woe.
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 swollen 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 snuff the distant battle;
And like the vulture, couch in dreadful ambush
And wait a day of carnage -- fire, adieu --
Enter Brutus, alone
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,
Designed to crawl with other little reptiles
Round this dull globe of earth -- to sport a while,
And wanton in the sunshine of an hour.
Frolic and gay he trifles on the stage,
Nor sees the various ills behind the scene.
These dart their baneful stings unnoticed at him
And spoil 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 cursed example,
His poniard whets,
And swear to fill these streets with blood and slaughter.
Enter Cassius in much agitation.
Oh! Brutus, what a scene! the hour is come --
Our fates are at a crisis -- Servia shakes --
Through this once happy seat of gaiety and pleasure
The soldier foams and belches naught but slaughter.
This fatal night, the plan before concerted
Bursts into flames -- the virtuous citizen
Flies form one death, and rushes on another.
Hard by I saw a little innocent
Whose quivering tears might make even Nero weep,
Clasp the rough knees of the inhuman ruffian,
And beg for pity -- but he begs in vain --
High over his head the saber dreadful gleamed,
He fell and spoke no more -- but hark! --
[a confused sound of voices, clashing of arms, with frequent oaths is heard.]
It must be so --
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! --
Enter Junius Portius and others, in much agitation.
The inhuman soldiers stamp the hostile ground,
His garments stained with blood,
The streets of Servia sweat with human gore.
Oh! Brutus, I am 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 hurled --
Or had you heard the groans of innocence,
It would rouse you into action.
While I can boast one short reprieve from death,
I'll breathe revenge. This unstained 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 country groans -- and ye hear her sighs,
And hear them tamely? Oh! my heart it will burst.
Her sighs? -- and hear them tamely? Never. Never --
Who knows the secrets of my soul,
Knows it is on fire, and bursting for revenge.
What though I totter with a weight of years,
And palsied age relaxes every nerve,
Yet such foul deeds have roused the genial current
That long had lagged -- this life by nature's laws,
Like an old garment must have soon been dropped.
And never could I, had I lived to ages
Have died so well as now. To die at ease,
And drop into the grave, unheard, unknown
This is but common fate.
He, who bleeds in freedom's cause, expires illustrious.
He falls, but catches immortality.
While grateful millions crowd around,
And with a generous tear bedew his urn.
Enter Brutus and a crowd 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 wounds 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 brother's hand -- the desert savage
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 naught 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 rouse us -- these embers here concealed,
If set on fire, would burst into a flame,
And burn up the globe -- take hence these bodies,
And decently entomb them --
Crowd round their bier, and weep upon their graves.
Exeunt. With the bodies attended with a long train of mourners. The bells tolling.
Brutus: 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 struggling now with a superior stream.
It baffles every effort -- But the conflicts glorious
Should we succeed, a happy tide of comfort
Flows on the soul -- new scenes of joy await us,
And gild the evening 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 though misfortunes
And scenes of blood and carnage crowd upon me,
E're long my soul shall leave
These dismal tracks of misery, and go
Where tides of joy in happier currents flow.
Where the proud wretch that laughed at every tie,
And from the breast of virtue forced a sigh,
No more invades -- but endless pleasures roll,
And one eternal sunshine cheers the soul.
Enter Junius, Brutus, Cassius, Citizens, etc.
It's time, high time to check the rage of slaughter
And let our actions show that we are free men.
Welcome thrice happy day! For so I call thee,
Though 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 determined 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 closed 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 forever -- Catch the happy period,
And boldly hurl oppression from her basis.
And can you want for motives to persuade us?
Go to yon tomb and ask the weeping marble,
The fate of those, who sleep within its bosom.
They fell in cries (and listen to the tale)
Unhappy victims to inhuman ruffians;
Who wish to drink this country's richest blood,
And crush expiring freedom -- tell me ye patriots,
Will you submit to fall without a struggle?
The very worm you tread on shows resentment.
'Tis true there's mighty danger --
But shall that thought, that mean ungenerous thought
Dampen the less our ardor!
We never can be seduced by gaudy charms of riches
Pleasure's fantastic 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 oppressed with chains
And sweetly slumbering in the gilded fetters.
The man who boasts his freedom,
Feels solid joy -- though poor and low his state,
He looks with pity on the honored 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 unnoticed,
And no one counts the steps of misery.
Enter a ghost with naked breast
exposing his wounds.
Oh! Heaven! See yonder ghastly form.
It come to push us on, and cries again Revenge,
Points to its wounds and beckons us away.
And shall we falter?
There glowed the flame of heroes.
If thus resolved, some to Rapatio speed.
Tell him we are determined -- fixed as fate --
The soldier stay no longer -- if denied --
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.
A number are sent to Rapatio's with an account of this resolution.
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 raised: they scorn to trifle longer.
'Tis not the efforts of expiring faction --
The weak attempts of 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 unrevenged:
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 coolly 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 though 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 sunshine of the soul -- enough -- I'm happy.
Scene changes to a private apartment.
Enter Rapatio and Bagshot
The cause is lost! The Patriots up in arms
Pant for revenge. The soldier must retire.
Say, Bagshot, can you stand the gathering storm?
'Tis a 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 scoundrel 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 determined
We yield to conquering fate and curse our fortune.
Rapatio: Bagshot farewell -- I'll to the hall.
Enter Rapatio and Senators.
Since you advised to this, call in the patriots.
It grieves my soul to hear the groans
And I'm resolved whatever it may cost me,
To heal these wounds and save my bleeding country.
I've struggled hard to get the cause removed.
The soldier goes -- and 'tis my fervent prayer --
Each other's wrong may find a quick remove,
And prince and peasant join in mutual love.
Scene changes to the Senate House
Patriots all hail! The happy hour approaches,
When vanquished freedom rears again her head,
And sweetly smiles. Our constant manly conduct
Has won the day -- the sullen foe retires --
[He is interrupted with a universal shout.]
Oh! what a burst of joy was that --
The warm effusion of a heart that feels
In virtue's cause. Gods! What a throb of pleasure!
To look around this vast, this crowded hall
And hail them free men -- what though some have bled,
Unhappy victims -- what though I have wept
And struggled hard to rescue thee, my country,
This glorious harvest richly compensates
For dangers past -- nature looks gay around me,
And all creation seems to join my joy.
With transports 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 theirs forever.
And hence, ye patriots learn a useful lesson --
He who in virtue's cause remain unmoved
And nobly struggles for his country's good:
Shall more than conquer -- better days shall beam,
And happier prospects crowd again the scene.
Enter Rapatio, LImpet, Meagre and P__________p
What say my friends! Shall patriots, groveling 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 balk amid the sunshine of an hour;
They hover over the secret precipice --
The leap is death. Come cunning be my guide,
Beleagued with hell -- Come all those hateful passions,
That rouse the mind to action.
And here's a soul, like thine, that never lingered,
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 devilish coolness comes athwart us,
To represent them factious and rebellious;
Moved on by malice to attack the solider --
There lies the doubt -- the simple bare assertion
Would sway but weak.
If this is all you want --
If breaking through the sanction of an oath,
And trampling on the highest obligations
Would back this good design -- here's one will do it.
In youth when all my soul was full of virtue,
And growing age had not matured my practice,
I felt a pang and shuddered at a crime.
But thoughts like these have long since slept; old habits
Have seared my conscience -- Vice is now familiar --
Prescribe whatever form you choose -- I sign it --
'Tis well -- then swear -- that in our general meeting,
This was declared, that long before that night,
In which we snuffed the blood of innocence,
The factious citizens, urged on by hell,
Had leagued 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 confined 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 executioners expire.
On you, my dear P________p, much depends.
And is Rapatio grown distrustful of me?
Of me, who long had sacrificed my honor,
To be a tool? Who cringed and bowed and fawned
To get a place? Fear not I ever should prove
An alien here. Go wash the Ethiope white,
Then bid my soul grow fond and pleased with virtue.
Then I'm secure -- Know patriots this and tremble.
Grief shall again its wonted seat resume,
And piles of mangled corpses crowd the tomb.
Through all the wanton streets of power 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.
Enter Rapatio and Gripeall
Hah, halcyon days! when every flying moment
Affords new scenes of joy; what though 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 wished for honors --
Thus while each post is garnished with my creatures,
I'll show my power and trample on my country.
'Twas nobly spoken -- there breathed the soul of Caesar.
Nor will I pause -- my faithful myrmidons
Wait thy command and hang upon thy will.
I'll use the little power that's lodged within me.
I'll cramp their trade till pale-eyed poverty
Haunts all their streets, and frowns destruction on
While many a poor man, leaning on his staff
Beholds a numerous, famished 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 tower above thee.
O fortunate! --
Could I have thought my stars would be so kind
As thus to bring my deep-laid schemes to bear.
Though from my youth ambition's path I trod,
Sucked the contagion from my mother's breast;
The early taint has rankled in my veins;
Despotic rule my first, my sovereign 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 over 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 haste for comfort to the busy scenes,
Where fawning courtiers, creatures of my own,
With adulating tongue, midst gaping crowds,
Shall strive to paint me fair -- the day is lucky --
The divan meets and Hazelrod presides.
'Tis true in rhetoric he doesn't excel
Demosthenes, or Cicero of old:
But what of chat, his gratitude to me,
Will animate each period of applause.
I from a fribbling, superficial dabbler,
A vain pretender to each learned science,
A poet, preacher, conjurer and quack --
Reared the obsequious trifler to my purpose,
Robed him in scarlet, dignified the man:
A hecatomb of incense is my due.
How grateful to my ear, these flattering strains!
His fulsome requiems soothe my soul to peace.
Who else would place in such a sacred seat
Credulity woven with the extremes,
Of servile, weak, implacable and proud.
But see he comes -- see that important phiz,
A speech prepared, 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 --
Welcome, my 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 scoundrel mob,
And Claudia-like, the citizens ride over,
And execute what Nero durst not do.
[Hazlerod going hastily off, Rapatio stops him]
I'll call my myrmidons, they shall
Swell the parade with all the venal herd.
Gripeall, that minion of oppressive power,
With simple Dupe, the ready tool of state;
And virtuous Limput perjured only once,
Then indispensable to serve a cause
Which truth would ruin; doubtless they'll be there.
Rapatio -- hail! 'tis by thy faltering hand
This happy day beholds me robed in honor.
Power! 'tis a charm the 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 copy from them.
And sure Rapatio, if mortality
Could ever boast an elevated genius,
That scorns the dust, and towers above the stars;
A soul that only grasps at high achievements,
And drinks intoxicating draughts of power,
The claim is thine -- while simple yet they station,
True greatness peered and promised future glory.
Yea while an infant, hanging at the breast,
With life, you largely sucked the lust of power.
In youth, in age, invariably the same.
Thy easy flow of passion, happy talent!
Which worked on unsuspecting minds so strangely,
Pushed on the plan, and paved the road to honor.
With this in view, you'd imitate devotion,
Which like a mantle, covered great designs,
With virtue glow, and set among her sons:
While these with transport listened to the tale,
Gazed as they heard and wondered how they loved.
To catch this prize, in what have you not toiled.
When nature slept, thy busy mind awoke,
And pored on future scenes, and planned thy fate.
Then, when the ties of virtue and thy country,
Unhappy checked thy lust of power -- like Caesar,
You nobly scorned them all and on the ruins,
Of bleeding freedom, founded all thy greatness.
And what a rich, a glorious compensation
For dangers past -- gilded all over with pensions,
Here like a mighty deity you sit,
Enthroned in state, nor envy Jove his thunder.
While awed 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 trampled on my country's fate,
And no one lives my actions to relate,
With my own ashes light the funeral fire,
Die as I lived, and in a flash expire.
O my poor country! --
I've waked and wept and would have fought for thee,
And emptied every vein, when threatened ruin.
Lowered over thy head; but now too late. I fear
The manacles prepared by Brundo's hand,
Cruel Rapatio, with more fatal art,
Has fixed, has riveted beyond redress --
My indignation's roused, 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 amid 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 powers divine,
Ye mark the movements of this nether world,
And bring them to account -- crush, crush these vipers,
Who singled out by a community,
To guard their rights -- shall for a grasp of oar,
Or paltry office sell them to the foe.
It's done; not all their boasted power can save me!
Not Hazlerod himself with all his art,
Who long had buoyed up my sinking spirits,
Can soothe the sullen passions of my soul,
Or pour one ray of comfort on my mind.
Condemned! -- 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 damned a cruel cheat.
The wretch that feasts himself on promises,
Pursues a phantom, and but grasps at air;
The illusive vapor leads him to a bog
Then leaves him to his fate -- cursed enticers!
Ye who seduced my soul to laugh at virtue,
To give up all my right to future bliss,
And bid me dare to stamp the die forever;
Ye who encouraged me with hopes of pardon,
To glut your vengeance, for cause was yours,
On 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-formed 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 human mind,
That surest sympathy which cement souls,
Which like two rivers mingle mutual streams,
And roll together -- thou art and shall be mine,
Know then we all have met and all determined
To aid the cause in hand -- decrepit Meagre
In whom a passion for revenge is virtue;
And he, the life of all: -- whose simple breath
Sways every action, cautious Latat
Whose soul never 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, though dreary specters
Scare all his soul and haunt his midnight slumber.
Yes, we will still protect thee. -- 'Tis impossible
A cause so much at heart, should drop and languish,
And we not lend a aid -- when S___r bled,
We snuffed the rich perfume, the groans of youth.
Gods! they were music to 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.
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 baseness -- 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 changed to blood -- When will it be,
When high-souled honor beats within our bosoms,
Amid calls to action -- when thy sons, like heroes,
Shall dare assert they rights, and with their swords
Like men, like free men, force a way to conquest
Or on thy ruins gloriously expire.
Oh! Brutus, you excite a generous transport.
In such a cause, pleased could I bare my bosom,
And pour my choicest blood -- yes, I have seen,
Though young I've seen such crimes by ermined wretches,
As would have shocked a century. One thing I wonder,
That deeds 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 groveling 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 rascal,
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, though 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 art 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 wished-for period
May soon arrive, when murders, 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,
Crushed in the ruins they themselves had made,
While thou, my country, shall again revive,
Shake off misfortune, and through ages live.
See through the waste a ray of virtue gleam,
Dispel the shades and brighten all the scene.
Waked into life, the blooming forest glows.
And all the desert 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.