Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT V. - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. IX The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Alzire, Orestes, Sémiramis, Catiline, Pandora) and Part II (The Scotch Woman, Nanine, The Prude, The Tatler).
ACT V. - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. IX The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Alzire, Orestes, Sémiramis, Catiline, Pandora) and Part II (The Scotch Woman, Nanine, The Prude, The Tatler). 
From The Works of Voltaire, A Contemporary Version, (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901), A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming. Vol. IX The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Alzire, Orestes, Sémiramis, Catiline, Pandora) and Part II (The Scotch Woman, Nanine, The Prude, The Tatler).
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cato,with part of the senate in arms.
- [To Cato.
- What! whilst the senate armed for its own safety
- From busy faction’s power can scarce preserve
- These sacred walls; thus shall a proud plebeian
- Insult us? shall a people, born to freedom,
- Be treated like dependent slaves? by him,
- Shall Rome’s best friends, the conquerors of the world,
- Be put in chains? because he is a consul,
- Shall he condemn his masters? Catiline’s self
- Were less despotic, and less dangerous:
- With you I feel my country’s wretchedness,
- And weep her fate; but cannot, will not, see
- The senate thus disgraced.
- Disgrace attends
- On those alone who merit it—but know,
- The blood of nobles, your patrician friends,
- Debased by guilt, should rank below the meanest;
- Those who betrayed us are condemned to death:
- Cicero condemned them; he who saved your country,
- The glorious consul, whom ye dare accuse,
- Because he loved you but too well: yet fear
- And tremble all, ungrateful as ye are
- To join with traitors, for an equal fate
- Shall soon o’erwhelm you; Catiline’s at our gates.
- What Cæsar hath determined yet we know not;
- Whether he means to save, or to destroy
- His country: Cicero bravely acts alone,
- And hazards all for Rome, whilst you despise
- Your best of friends, and treat him as a foe.
- Cato has more severity than courage,
- And ever rigorous, hates not guilt so much
- As he loves punishment: reproach us not,
- Nor act the censor when we want a friend.
- Whilst the destructive flames of war surround,
- ’Tis not a consul’s edict can defend us.
- What can your lictor and his fasces do,
- Against a band of fierce conspirators?
- You talk of dangers, and of Cæsar’s power:
- Who does not know that Cæsar is the friend
- Of Catiline? you have pointed out the ills
- That threaten Rome; it were a nobler task
- To show us how we may remove them.
- And so I will: I would advise the senate
- To be aware of Cæsar, and of—thee;
- Nay, more—but see our father comes.
cicero, cato,part of the senate.
- [To Cicero.
- Great Cicero, the sons of thankless Rome:
- Approach and save us; envy’s self shall soon
- Fall at thy feet, in humble admiration
- Of such transcendent virtue.
- Friends and Romans,
- The love of glory is my ruling passion,
- Fame is the fair reward of human toil,
- And I would wish to merit it from you:
- I have done little yet, perhaps hereafter
- I may do more to serve my country: Rome
- Was full of open and of secret foes;
- Patricians, and plebeians, citizens
- And soldiers, all in wild confusion, seemed
- To thirst for blood: I saw the gathering storm
- That threatened universal ruin; saw
- The bold conspirators tumultuous rise,
- And bear down all before them: at their head
- Were Sura and Cethegus; them I seized,
- And gave to justice; but the Hydra faction
- Hath many heads which still successive rise,
- And mock my labors: Catiline boldly pushed
- To the Quirinal gate; by gallant deeds,
- Almost incredible, he kept the field,
- And forced a passage to his army; Rome
- Beheld him with amazement; Antony
- In vain opposing Sulla’s hardy veterans,
- Was baffled and subdued; Petreius strove
- To succor him, but with unequal force
- And fruitless valor: thus on every side,
- Surrounded by calamities, great Rome,
- The mistress of the world, is on the brink
- Of ruin; Cicero trembles for her fate.
- What part hath Cæsar taken?
- He hath behaved
- As Cæsar must, with most undaunted courage,
- Yet not as Rome could wish a zealous friend
- Would act in her defence. I saw him quell
- The rebel foe; yet after that, stir up
- Seditious spirits, and by every art
- Of smooth insinuation, work himself
- Into the people’s hearts. Amidst this scene
- Of blood, methought a secret joy o’erspread
- His glowing cheek, whilst his all-soothing voice
- Courted applause, inviting Rome to be
- His slave hereafter.
- I was ever fearful
- Of Cæsar’s power; he is not to be trusted.
the senate, cæsar.
- Well: am I still suspected in the senate?
- Is Cato’s stubborn virtue still my foe?
- Of what does he accuse me?
- As a friend
- To Catiline, the sworn enemy of Rome;
- You have protected him, and leagued with those
- It had become you better to chastise.
- I would not stain my laurels with the blood
- Of such vile miscreants: Cæsar fights with none
- But warriors.
- What are these conspirators?
- A dastard crowd, contemptible and vile:
- They fled like slaves before me; but the soldiers
- Of Sulla are a formidable band,
- And boast an able chief; from them indeed
- Rome hath some cause to fear; Petreius sinks
- Beneath his wounds, and Catiline marches onward;
- Our soldiers are alarmed: what says our consul?
- And what has he resolved?
- I’ll tell thee, Cæsar:
- Grant, heaven, we may succeed!—thou hast deserved
- Suspicion, but I’ll give thee the fair means
- To clear thy honor, and avenge thy country.
- I know thee well, thy virtues and thy frailty;
- Know what thou canst, and what thou darest not do;
- Know Cæsar would command, but not betray,
- A noble friend, and a most dangerous foe:
- Whilst I condemn I cannot but esteem thee.
- Away: remember that the eyes of Rome,
- And of the world, are on thee: go, support
- Petreius, save the empire, and deserve
- The love of Cato: we have men, but want
- A general to conduct them; Cæsar best
- Can lead them, and to him alone we trust
- The safety and the glory of mankind.
- Cicero on Cæsar safely may depend;
- Farewell: I go to conquer or to die.
- You’ve touched him in the tenderest part; ambition
- Will urge him on.
- Great souls must ever thus
- Be treated: I have bound him to the state
- By this firm confidence; I know his valor
- Will now support us: the ambitious still
- Should be distinguished from the traitor; I
- Shall make him virtuous if he is not so
- Already. Courage, as directed, forms
- The mighty hero, or the mighty villain;
- And he who is renowned for guilt alone,
- Had glory fired his breast, to him had been
- The incense poured, to him the temple raised
- For his exalted merit: Catiline’s self,
- By me conducted, had like Scipio shone:
- Though many a Sulla is in Cæsar hid,
- Yet doubt I not but Rome shall find in him
- Her best support.
- [Turning to the chief of the Lictors, who enters armed.
- Well: these conspirators,
- What have they done?
- My lord, they met the fate
- They merited, but other foes rise up,
- Sprung from their blood; like Ætna’s flames, that burst
- From the parched entrails of the burning mount:
- Another Hannibal, but far more dreadful,
- Because amongst the guilty sons of Rome
- He finds his traitorous friends, is at our gates.
- A hundred voices roar for Catiline,
- Condemn your laws, and curse your tardy senate;
- Demand their ancient rights, and cry aloud
- For vengeance on the consul.
- Well indeed
- They may, while Cicero tramples on the laws,
- And spurns his equals thus; perhaps the senate—
- Clodius, no more; restrain thy envious tongue,
- Nor rashly blame the guiltless; my short power
- Will soon be wrested from me; whilst it lasts
- It shall not be controlled; you will have time
- Enough to vex and persecute hereafter;
- But whilst the state’s in danger, Cicero claims
- The tribute of respect: I know too well
- This fickle world to hope for constancy
- And candor from it; foul ingratitude
- Is all that I expect; on false surmises
- Great Scipio was accused; he thanked the gods,
- And quitted Rome: I too will pay my vows
- To gracious heaven, but will not leave you; no;
- My days are all devoted to my country,
- And all shall be expended in her service.
- Suppose I were to show myself in Rome,
- Perhaps my presence might disperse the crowd,
- And be a check on Cæsar, whom I own
- I much suspect: if fortune frowns upon us—
- We cannot do without you in the senate;
- I’ve given my orders; Cæsar’s in the field;
- Thy great example may be useful here,
- And Rome’s expiring glory be restored
- By Cato’s virtue—but behold he comes,
- And crowned with victory.
- [Cæsar enters; Cicero embraces him.
- Most noble Cæsar,
- Hast thou preserved the state?—
- I hope so: now
- The consul will believe me—brave Petreius
- Has gained immortal glory: here we fought,
- Beneath this sacred rampart, in the sight
- Of our domestic gods that fired each soul
- With nobler rage: Metellus, and Murena,
- With the brave Scipios showed in Rome’s defence
- The same exalted courage that subdued
- Asia and Carthage; they have merited
- Most nobly of their country: touching Cæsar
- Let others speak: the desperate remains
- Of Sulla’s army seemed to brave their fate,
- And in the agonies of death breathed forth
- Their curses on us: midst the general slaughter,
- The fiery Catiline long undaunted stood,
- Fought through a host of circling foes, till spent
- With ceaseless toil, and covered o’er with wounds,
- Bravely he fell: I must admire the soldier,
- Though I detest the rebel: once I loved him,
- I own it; but let Cicero judge, if ever
- To friendship Cæsar sacrificed his honor.
- Cæsar is all that Cicero could desire,
- All that he wished, and all he hoped to find him:
- Go on, brave youth, preserve thy noble spirit,
- And be thy country’s friend; may heaven protect
- And guard thee: never may thy generous soul
- Be stained with vice, nor false ambition urge
- Thy spotless youth to quit the paths of virtue!
End of the Fifth and Last Act.