Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT III — - Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays
ACT III — - Joseph Addison, Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays 
Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays, ed. by Christine Dunn Henderson and Mark E. Yellin, with a Foreword by Forrest McDonald (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
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- The Life of Joseph Addison
- Addison the Essayist
- Cato, a Tragedy
- Editors’ Note
- Cato: a Tragedy
- Prologue By Mr. Pope 2
- Dramatis Personae
- Act I —
- Scene I
- Scene Ii
- Scene Iii
- Scene Iv
- Scene V
- Scene Vi
- Act Ii —
- Scene I
- Scene Ii
- Scene Iii
- Scene Iv
- Scene V
- Scene Vi
- Act Iii —
- Scene I
- Scene Ii
- Scene Iii
- Scene Iv
- Scene V
- Scene Vi
- Scene Vii
- Act Iv —
- Scene I
- Scene Ii
- Scene Iii
- Scene Iv —
- Act V —
- Scene I
- Scene Ii
- Scene Iii
- Scene Iv
- Epilogue By Dr. Garth. 1
- Selected Essays
- Tatler, No. 161
- Tatler, No. 162
- Whig Examiner, No. 5
- Spectator, No. 55
- Spectator, No. 125
- Spectator, No. 169
- Spectator, No. 215
- Spectator, No. 219
- Spectator, No. 231
- Spectator, No. 237
- Spectator, No. 243
- Spectator, No. 255
- Spectator, No. 256
- Spectator, No. 257
- Spectator, No. 287
- Spectator, No. 293
- Spectator, No. 349
- Spectator, No. 446
- Spectator, No. 557
- Guardian, No. 99
- Guardian, No. 161
- Freeholder, No. 1
- Freeholder, No. 2
- Freeholder, No. 5
- Freeholder, No. 10
- Freeholder, No. 12
- Freeholder, No. 13 1
- Freeholder, No. 16
- Freeholder, No. 29
- Freeholder, No. 34
- Freeholder, No. 39
- Freeholder, No. 51
- The Life and Character of M. Cato of Utica [ ]
ACT III —
- Thanks to my stars, I have not ranged about
- The wilds of life, ere I could find a friend;
- 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.
- Marcus, the friendships of the world are oft
- Confederacies in vice, or leagues of pleasure;
- Ours has severest virtue for its basis,
- And such a friendship ends not but with life.
- Portius, thou know’st my soul in all its weakness,
- Then prithee spare me on its tender side,
- Indulge me but in love, my other passions
- Shall rise and fall by virtue’s nicest rules.
- When love’s well-timed ’tis not a fault to love;
- 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 ’twere vain,) but to suppress its force,
- Till better times may make it look more graceful.
- Alas! thou talk’st like one who never felt
- The impatient throbs and longings of a soul
- That 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.
- What can thy Portius do to give thee help?
- Portius, thou oft enjoy’st the fair one’s presence:
- Then undertake my cause, and plead it to her
- With all the strength and heats 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 loathes 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.
- Marcus, I beg thee give me not an office
- That suiteth me so ill. Thou know’st my temper.
- 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 sorrows?
- Marcus, thou canst not ask what I’d refuse.
- But here believe me, I’ve a thousand reasons—
- I know thou’lt say my passion’s out of season;
- That Cato’s great example and misfortunes
- Should both conspire to drive it from my thoughts.
- But what’s all this to one who loves like me!
- Oh, Portius, Portius, from my soul I wish
- Thou didst but know thyself what ’tis to love!
- Then wouldst thou pity and assist thy brother.
- 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.]
- 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 heaven of beauty!
- Observe her well, and blame me, if thou canst.
- She sees us, and advances—
- I’ll withdraw,
- And leave you for awhile. Remember, Portius,
- Thy brother’s life depends upon thy tongue.
- Did not I see your brother Marcus here?
- Why did he fly the place, and shun my presence?
- 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 confused,
- And mixt together in so wild a tumult,
- That the whole man is quite disfigured in him.
- Heavens! would one think ’twere possible for love
- To make such ravage in a noble soul!
- Oh, Lucia, I’m distrest! 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’m unhappy, though thou smil’st upon me.
- How wilt thou guard thy honour, in the shock
- Of love and friendship! think betimes, my Portius,
- Think how the nuptial tie, that might insure
- Our mutual bliss, would raise to such a height
- Thy brother’s griefs, as might perhaps destroy him.
- Alas, poor youth! what dost thou think, my Lucia?
- His generous, open, undesigning heart
- Has begged 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 passed these gloomy hours,
- And weathered out the storm that beats upon us—
- 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.
- What hast thou said! I’m thunder-struck!—recall
- Those hasty words, or I am lost for ever.
- Has not the vow already passed my lips?
- The gods have heard it, and ’tis sealed in heaven.
- May all the vengeance that was ever poured
- On perjured heads o’erwhelm me, if I break it! [After a pause.]
- Fixt in astonishment, I gaze upon thee;
- Like one just blasted by a stroke from heaven,
- Who pants for breath, and stiffens, yet alive,
- In dreadful looks:—a monument of wrath!
- At length I’ve acted my severest part,
- I feel the woman breaking in upon me,
- And melt about my heart! my tears will flow.
- But oh I’ll think no more! the hand of fate
- Has torn thee from me, and I must forget thee.
- 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!
- Talk not of love, thou never knew’st its force,
- I’ve been deluded, led into a dream
- Of fancied bliss. Oh Lucia, cruel maid!
- Thy dreadful vow, loaden with death, still sounds
- In my stunned ears. What shall I say or do?
- Quick, let us part! perdition’s in thy presence,
- And horror dwells about thee!—hah, she faints!
- Wretch that I am! what has my rashness done!
- Lucia, thou injured 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, hah! she moves! life wanders up and down
- Through all her face, and lights up every charm.
- 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 loved!
- —What do I say? my half-recovered sense
- Forgets the vow in which my soul is bound.
- Destruction stands betwixt us! we must part.
- Name not the word, my frighted thoughts run back,
- And startle into madness at the sound.
- What wouldst thou have me do? consider well
- The train of ills our love would draw behind it.
- Think, Portius, think, thou seest thy dying brother
- Stabbed at his heart, and all besmeared with blood,
- Storming at heaven and thee! thy awful sire
- Sternly demands the cause, the accursed cause,
- That robs him of his son! poor Marcia trembles,
- Then tears her hair, and frantic in her griefs
- Calls out on Lucia! What could Lucia answer?
- Or how stand up in such a scene of sorrow?
- To my confusion and eternal grief,
- I must approve the sentence that destroys me.
- The mist that hung about my mind clears up;
- And now, athwart the terrors that thy vow
- Has planted round thee, thou appear’st more fair,
- More amiable, and risest in thy charms.
- Loveliest of women! heaven is in thy soul,
- Beauty and virtue shine for ever round thee,
- Brightening each other! thou art all divine!
- Portius, no more! thy words shoot through my heart,
- Melt my resolves, and turn me all to love.
- Why are those tears of fondness in thy eyes?
- Why heaves thy heart? why swells thy soul with sorrow?
- It softens me too much—farewell, my Portius,
- Farewell, though death is in the word, for ever!
- Stay, Lucia, stay! what dost thou say? For ever?
- Have I not sworn? if, Portius, thy success
- Must throw thy brother on his fate, farewell—
- Oh, how shall I repeat the word?—for ever!
- Thus o’er the dying lamp the unsteady flame
- Hangs quivering on a point, leaps off by fits,
- And falls again, as loth to quit its hold.
- —Thou must not go, my soul still hovers o’er thee,
- And can’t get loose.
- If the firm Portius shake
- To hear of parting, think what Lucia suffers!
- ’Tis true; unruffled and serene I’ve met
- The common accidents of life, but here
- Such an unlooked-for storm of ills falls on me,
- It beats down all my strength. I cannot bear it.
- What dost thou say? not part?
- Hast thou forgot the vow that I have made?
- Are there not heavens, and gods, and thunder o’er us?
- —But see! thy brother Marcus bends this way!
- I sicken at the sight. Once more, farewell,
- Farewell, and know thou wrong’st me, if thou think’st
- Ever was love, or ever grief, like mine. [Exit.]
- Portius, what hopes? how stands she? am I doomed
- To life or death?
- What wouldst thou have me say?
- What means this pensive posture? thou appear’st
- Like one amazed and terrified.
- Thy downcast looks and thy disordered thoughts
- Tell me my fate. I ask not the success
- My cause has found.
- I’m grieved I undertook it.
- What! does the barbarous maid insult my heart,
- My aching heart! and triumph in my pains?
- That I could cast her from my thoughts for ever!
- Away! you’re too suspicious in your griefs;
- Lucia, though sworn never to think of love,
- Compassionates your pains, and pities you.
- Compassionates my pains, and pities me!
- What is compassion when ’tis void of love?
- Fool that I was to choose so cold a friend
- To urge my cause! compassionates my pains!
- Prithee what art, what rhetoric didst thou use
- To gain this mighty boon? She pities me!
- To one that asks the warm return of love,
- Compassion’s cruelty, ’tis scorn, ’tis death—
- Marcus, no more! have I deserved this treatment?
- What have I said! O Portius, O forgive me!
- A soul exasperated in ills fall out
- With everything, its friend, its self—but, hah!
- What means that shout, big with the sounds of war?
- What new alarm?
- A second, louder yet,
- Swells in the winds, and comes more full upon us.
- Oh for some glorious cause to fall in battle!
- Lucia, thou hast undone me! thy disdain
- Has broke my heart: ’tis death must give me ease.
- Quick, let us hence; who knows if Cato’s life
- Stands sure? O Marcus, I am warmed, my heart
- Leaps at the trumpet’s voice, and burns for glory.
Sempronius with the leaders of the mutiny.
- At length the winds are raised, the storm blows high,
- Be it your care, my friends, to keep it up
- In its full fury, and direct it right,
- Till it has spent itself on Cato’s head.
- Meanwhile I’ll herd among his friends, and seem
- One of the number, that whate’er arrive,
- My friends and fellow soldiers may be safe. [Exit.]
- We all are safe, Sempronius is our friend,
- Sempronius is as brave a man as Cato.
- But, hark! he enters. Bear up boldly to him;
- Be sure you beat him down, and bind him fast.
- This day will end our toils, and give us rest!
- Fear nothing, for Sempronius is our friend.
Cato, Sempronius, Lucius, Portius, Marcus.
- Where are these bold, intrepid sons of war,
- That greatly turn their backs upon the foe,
- And to their general send a brave defiance?
- Curse on their dastard souls, they stand astonished! [Aside.]
- Perfidious men! and will you thus dishonour
- Your past exploits, and sully all your wars?
- Do you confess ’twas not a zeal for Rome,
- Nor love of liberty, nor thirst of honour,
- Drew you thus far; but hopes to share the spoil
- Of conquered towns and plundered provinces?
- Fired with such motives you do well to join
- With Cato’s foes, and follow Caesar’s banners.
- Why did I ’scape the envenomed aspic’s rage,
- And all the fiery monsters of the desert,
- To see this day? why could not Cato fall
- Without your guilt? Behold, ungrateful men,
- Behold my bosom naked to your swords,
- And let the man that’s injured strike the blow.
- Which of you all suspects that he is wronged,
- Or thinks he suffers greater ills than Cato?
- Am I distinguished from you but by toils,
- Superior toils, and heavier weight of cares?
- Painful pre-eminence!
- By heavens they droop!
- Confusion to the villains! all is lost. [Aside.]
- Have you forgotten Libya’s burning waste,
- Its barren rocks, parched earth, and hills of sand,
- Its tainted air, and all its broods of poison?
- Who was the first to explore the untrodden path,
- When life was hazarded in every step?
- Or, fainting in the long, laborious march,
- When on the banks of an unlooked-for stream
- You sunk the river with repeated draughts,
- Who was the last in all your host that thirsted?
- If some penurious source by chance appeared,
- Scanty of waters, when you scooped it dry,
- And offered the full helmet up to Cato,
- Did he not dash the untasted moisture from him?
- Did he not lead you through the mid-day sun,
- And clouds of dust? did not his temples glow
- In the same sultry winds and scorching heats?
- Hence, worthless men! hence! and complain to Caesar
- You could not undergo the toils of war,
- Nor bear the hardships that your leader bore.
- See, Cato, see the unhappy men! they weep!
- Fear, and remorse, and sorrow for their crime,
- Appear in every look, and plead for mercy.
- Learn to be honest men, give up your leaders,
- And pardon shall descend on all the rest.
- Cato, commit these wretches to my care.
- First let’em each be broken on the rack,
- Then, with what life remains, impaled and left
- To writhe at leisure round the bloody stake.
- There let’em hang, and taint the southern wind.
- The partners of their crime will learn obedience,
- When they look up and see their fellow-traitors
- Stuck on a fork, and blackening in the sun.
- Sempronius, why, why wilt thou urge the fate
- Of wretched men?
- How! wouldst thou clear rebellion?
- Lucius (good man) pities the poor offenders,
- That would imbrue their hands in Cato’s blood.
- Forbear, Sempronius!—see they suffer death,
- But in their deaths remember they are men.
- Strain not the laws to make their tortures grievous.
- Lucius, the base, degenerate age requires
- Severity, and justice in its rigour;
- This awes an impious, bold, offending world,
- Commands obedience, and gives force to laws.
- When by just vengeance guilty mortals perish;
- The gods behold their punishment with pleasure,
- And lay the uplifted thunderbolt aside.
- Cato, I execute thy will with pleasure.
- Meanwhile we’ll sacrifice to liberty.
- Remember, O my friends, the laws, the rights,
- The generous plan of power delivered down,
- From age to age, by your renowned forefathers,
- (So dearly bought, the price of so much blood,)
- Oh let it never perish in your hands!
- But piously transmit it to your children.
- Do thou, great liberty, inspire our souls,
- And make our lives in thy possession happy,
- Or our deaths glorious in thy just defence.
Sempronius and the leaders of the mutiny.
- Sempronius, you have acted like yourself,
- One would have thought you had been half in earnest.
- Villain, stand off! base, grovelling, worthless wretches,
- Mongrels in faction, poor faint-hearted traitors!
- Nay, now you carry it too far, Sempronius;
- Throw off the mask, there are none here but friends.
- Know, villains, when such paltry slaves presume
- To mix in treason, if the plot succeeds,
- They’re thrown neglected by: but if it fails,
- They’re sure to die like dogs, as you shall do.
- Here, take these factious monsters, drag ’em forth
- To sudden death.
- Despatch ’em quick, but first pluck out their tongues,
- Lest with their dying breath they sow sedition.
- Our first design, my friend, has proved abortive;
- Still there remains an after-game to play:
- My troops are mounted; their Numidian steeds
- Snuff up the wind, and long to scour the desert:
- Let but Sempronius head us in our flight,
- We’ll force the gate where Marcus keeps his guard,
- And hew down all that would oppose our passage.
- A day will bring us into Caesar’s camp.
- Confusion! I have failed of half my purpose:
- Marcia, the charming Marcia’s left behind!
- How! will Sempronius turn a woman’s slave?
- Think not thy friend can ever feel the soft
- Unmanly warmth and tenderness of love.
- Syphax, I long to clasp that haughty maid,
- And bend her stubborn virtue to my passion:
- When I have gone thus far, I’d cast her off.
- Well said! that’s spoken like thyself, Sempronius.
- What hinders then, but that thou find her out,
- And hurry her away by manly force?
- But how to gain admission? for access
- Is given to none but Juba and her brothers.
- Thou shalt have Juba’s dress and Juba’s guards.
- The doors will open, when Numidia’s prince
- Seems to appear before the slaves that watch them.
- Heavens, what a thought is there! Marcia’s my own!
- How will my bosom swell with anxious joy,
- When I behold her struggling in my arms,
- With glowing beauty and disordered charms,
- While fear and anger, with alternate grace,
- Pant in her breast, and vary in her face!
- So Pluto, seized of Proserpine, conveyed
- To hell’s tremendous gloom the affrighted maid,
- There grimly smiled, pleased with the beauteous prize,
- Nor envied Jove his sunshine and his skies.