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Yes; and how left me, cruel as thou art,
True, thou must die.
Yet thou dost not.
Chor. Now then prepare to die.
I am prepar'd.
I can hold no longer'! .
Oh Druid, Druid, at thy feet I fall:
Chor. Virgin, arise. His virtue hath redeem'd him,
THE CAPTURE OF CARACTACUS.
FROM THE SAME.
Ye bloody priests, Behold we burst on your infernal rites, And bid you pause. Instant restore our soldiers, Nor hope that superstition's ruthless step Shall wade in Roman gore. Ye savage men, Did not our laws give license to all faiths, We would o'erturn your altars, headlong heave These shapeless symbols of your barbarous gods, And let the golden sun into your caves.
Chor. Servant of Cæsar, has thine impious tongue Spent the black venom of its blasphemy? It has. Then take our curses on thine head, Ev'n his fell curses, who doth reign in Mona, Vicegerent of those gods thy pride insults.
Aul. Did. Bold priest, I scorn thy curses, and . thyself. Soldiers, go search the caves, and free the prisoners. Take heed, ye seize Caractacus alive. Arrest yon youth; load him with heaviest irons, He shall to Cæsar answer for his crime.
Elid. I stand prepar'd to triumph in my crime. Aul. Did. 'Tis well, proud boy-Look to the beauteous maid,
[To the soldiers. That tranc'd in grief, bends o'er yon bleeding
corse, Respect her sorrows. " Evel.
Hence, ye barbarous men, · Ye shall not take him welt'ring thus in blood,
To show at Rome, what British virtue was.
Fear us not, princess,
Would too to Heav'n,
The Romans fight
Chor. Go to, we will not parley with thee, Roman : Instant pronounce our doom. Aul. Did.
Hear it, and thank us. This once our clemency shall spare your groves, If at our call ye yield the British king: Yet learn, when next ye aid the foes of Cæsar, That each old oak, whose solemn gloom ye boast, Shall bow beneath our axes. Chor.
Be they blasted, Whene'er their shade forgets to shelter virtue !
Enter BARD. Bard. Mourn, Mona, mourn. Caractacus is captive! And dost thou smile, false Roman? Do not think He fell an easy prey. Know, ere he yielded, Thy bravest veterans bled. He too, thy spy, The base Brigantian prince, hath seald his fraud With death. Bursting thro’armed ranks, that hemm’d The caitiff round, the brave Caractacus Seiz'd his false throat; and as he gave him death Indignant thunder'd, “ Thus is my last stroke The stroke of justice.” Numbers then opprest him: I saw the slave, that cowardly behind Pinion'd his arms; I saw the sacred sword Writh'd from his grasp: I saw, what now ye see, Inglorious sight! those barbarous bonds upon him.
Enter CARACTACUS. Car. Romans, methinks the malice of your tyrant Might furnish heavier chains. Old as I am,
And wither'd as you see these war-worn limbs,'Trust me, they shall support the weightiest load Injustice dares impose
Proud crested soldier, [To Didius. Who seem'st the master-mover in this business, · Say, dost thou read less terror on my brow,
Than when thou met'st me in the fields of war · Heading my nations ? No, my free-born soul Has scorn still left to sparkle through these eyes, And frown defiance on thee. Is it thus ! .....
[Seeing his son's body
Droop not, king.