Слике страница
PDF
ePub

To cultivate the wild, licentious savage
With wisdom, discipline, and liberal arts,
The embellishments of life ; virtues like these
Make human nature shine, reform the soul,
And break our fierce barbarians into men.
Sy. Patience, just Heavens! Excuse an old man's

warmth.
What are these wondrous civilizing arts,
This Roman polish, and this smooth behavior,
That render man thus tractable and tame?
Are they not solely to disguise our passions,
To set our looks at variance with our thoughts
To check the starts and sallies of the soul,
And break off all its commerce with the tongue ?
In short, to change us into other creatures
Than what our nature and the gods designed us ?

Ju. To strike thee dumb, turn up thy eyes to Cato!
There mayst thou see to what a godlike height
The Roman virtues lift up mortal man.
While good, and just, and anxious for his friends,
He's still severely bent against himself;
Renouncing sleep, and rest, and food, and ease,
He strives with thirst and hunger, toil and heat ;
And when his fortune sets before him all
The pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish,
His rigid virtue will accept of none.

Sy. Believe me, prince, there's not an African
That traverses our vast Numidian deserts
In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow,
But better practises these boasted virtues.
Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chase ;
Amidst the running stream he slakes his thirst,
Toils all the day, and at the approach of night
On the first friendly bank he throws him down,
Or rests his head upon a rock till morn;
Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted game,

[ocr errors]

And, if the following day he chance to find
A new repast, or an untasted spring,
Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury.

Ju. Thy prejudices, Syphax, won't discern
What virtues grow from ignorance and choice,
Nor how the hero differs from the brute.
But grant that others could with equal glory
Look down on pleasures and the baits of sense ;
Where shall we find the man that bears affliction,
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato?
Heavens! with what strength, what steadiness of mind,
He triumphs in the midst of all his sufferings!
How does he rise against a load of woes,
And thank the gods that throw the weight upon him !

Sy. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul I think the Romans call it Stoicism. Had not your royal father thought so highly Of Roman virtue, and of Cato's cause, He had not fallen by a slave's hand, inglorious; Nor would his slaughtered army now have lain On Afric sands, disfigured with their wounds, To gorge

the wolves and vultures of Numidia.
Ju. Why dost thou call my sorrows up afresh ?
My father's name brings tears into mine eyes.

Sy. O that you'd profit by your father's ills !
Ju. What wouldst thou have me do?
Sy. Abandon Cato.

Ju. Syphax, I should be more than twice an orphan By such a loss.

Sy. Ay, there's the tie that binds you !
You long to call him father. Marcia's charms
Work in your heart unseen, and plead for Cato;
No wonder you are deaf to all I say.

Ju. Syphax, your zeal becomes importunate;
I've hitherto permitted it to rave,
And talk at large ; but learn to keep it in,
Lest it should take more freedɔm than I'll give it.

Sy. Sir, your great father never used me thus.
Alas! he's dead; but can you e'er forget
The tender sorrow and the pangs of nature,
The fond embraces and repeated blessings,
Which

you drew from him in your last farewell ?
Still must I cherish the dear, sad remembrance,
At once to torture and to please my soul.
The good old king, at parting, wrung my hand, -
His eyes brim full of tears, – then sighing cried, ,
"Pr'ythee, be careful of my son !” His grief
Swelled up so high, he could not utter more.

Ju. Alas! the story melts away my soul. That best of fathers ! how shall I discharge The gratitude and duty which I owe him?

Sy. By laying up his counsels in your heart.

Ju. His counsels bade me yield to thy directions
Then, Syphax, chide me in severest terms,
Vent all thy passion, and I'll stand its shock
Calm and unruffled as a summer sea
When not a breath of wind flies o'er its surface.

Sy. Alas! my prince, I'd guide you to your safety.
Ju. I do believe thou wouldst; but tell me how.
Sy. Fly from the fate that follows Cæsar's foes.
Ju. My father scorned to do it.
Sy. And therefore died.

Ju. Better to die ten thousand deaths,
Than wound my honor.

Sy. Rather say your love.

Ju. Syphax, I've promised to preserve my temper
Why wilt thou urge me to confess a flame
I long have stifled, and would fain conceal ?

Sy. Believe me, prince, though hard to conquer love,
Tis easy to divert and break its force;
The glowing dames of Zama's royal court
Have faces flushed with more exalted charms;
The sun, that rolls his chariot o'er their heads,
Lights up a richer color in their cheeks :

Were you with these, my prince, you'd soon forget
The pale, unripened beauties of the north.

Ju. 'Tis not a set of features, or complexion,
The tincture of the skin, that I admire.
Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.
The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex:
True, she is fair, — O, how divinely fair!
But still the lovely maid improves her charms
With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom,
And sanctity of manners.

Cato's soul
Shines out in every thing she acts or speaks,
While winning mildness and attractive smiles
Dwell in her looks, and with becoming grace
Soften the rigor of her father's virtues.

ADDISON.

129. A Search after Happiness.

• How happy I'll be to-morrow!” exclaimed little Slyder Downehylle, in anticipation of Christmas, —“0, how happy I shall be to-morrow !”

“Couldn't you contrive to be happy a little now?” replied uncle John, who had learned somewhat to distrust anticipation and its gorgeous promises.

Happy now, uncle John!” retorted little Slyder Downehylle, rather contemptuously, - "happy now! what with, I should like to know what shall I be happy with — now? Where are the cakes, the candy, the pies — where the hobby horse that somebody's going to give me - and all the Christmas gifts? How I wish to-morrow was here! What a long day — what a long evening - what a great while I've got to

sleep!”

Little Slyder Downehylle became quite cross, and uncle John whistled. Twenty-four hours afterwards, little Slyder Downehylle was still more cross; he had been happy with candy, with cakes, and with pies, until he was very uncomfortable indeed; he had been happy with toys, until he had quarrelled with his little companions, and strewed the room with broken playthings; he had been happy with his hobbyhorse, until he got a fall.

“O, what a stupid day!” said little Slyder Downehylle. “I wish to-morrow would come - I'll be so happy at aunt Betsy's."

It is unnecessary to intrude at aunt Betsy's, for the events there were of a character strongly resembling what had already occurred. Little Slyder Downehylle went to bed in tears.

It was always so with the unfortunate Slyder Downehylle. Throughout life he wanted something to be happy with ; and, strangely enough, it universally occurred, that, when he had obtained the thing, it did not prove to be exactly the thing he wanted. His expectations were never realized, and he was, therefore, constantly in a state of disappointment. Unlucky Slyder Downehylle! It was deplorable, too, that such should be the case, for Slyder Downehylle was anxious to be happy — he was always looking forward to be happyfor something to be happy with.

When he got up in the morning, it was always his resolve to be happy in the afternoon; and, if not successful in accomplishing his purpose at that time, he endeavored, as far as possible, to retrieve the failure by forming a similar determination for the evening. No one ever had a greater variety of schemes for living happy- very happy — than he; for living happy next week, for living happy next month, or next year; but it appeared to him that a malignant fate was sure to interfere, in order that his projects might be frustrated.

At school, he was always thinking how happy he would be on Saturday afternoon ; but then sometimes it rained on Saturday afternoon, or his companions would not do as he

« ПретходнаНастави »