Title page from Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays

Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays

First produced in 1713, Cato, A Tragedy inspired generations toward a pursuit of liberty. Liberty Fund’s new edition of Cato: A Tragedy, and Selected Essays brings together Addison’s dramatic masterpiece along with a selection of his essays that develop key themes in the play. The play is the account of the final hours of Marcus Porcius Cato (95–46 B.C.), a Stoic whose deeds, rhetoric, and resistance to the tyranny of Caesar made him an icon of republicanism, virtue, and liberty.

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Key Quotes

Literature & Music

Bid him disband his legions, Restore the commonwealth to liberty, Submit his actions to the public censure, And stand the judgment of a Roman senate: Bid him do this, and Cato is his friend.

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Thy steady temper, Portius, Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Caesar, In the calm lights of mild philosophy; I’m tortured ev’n to madness, when I think On the proud victor: every time he’s named Pharsalia rises to my view!—I see The insulting tyrant, prancing o’er the field Strowed with Rome…