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Wherefore thou fledst? For, that base fact un- Where like a nest of night-worms did they glitclear'd,

ter, We hold no further converse.

Sprinkling the plain with brightness. On I sped Arri. O ye gods !

With silent step, yet oft did pass so near, Am I the son of your Caractacus ?

'Twas next to prodigy, I 'scap'd unseen. And could I Ay?

Cho. Their number, prince? Cho. Waste not or time or words:

Arvi. Few, if mine hasty eye But tell us why thou fled'st?

Did find, and count them all. Arvi. I fled not, druid;

Cho. O brethren, brethren,
By the great gods I fled not ! Save to stop Treason and sacrilege, worse foes than Rome,
Our dastard troops, that basely turn'd their backs. Have led Rome hither. Instant seize that wretch,
I stopt, I rallied them, when lo! a shaft

And bring him to our presence.
Of random cast did level me with earth,
Where pale and senseless, as the slain around

CHORUS, ELIDURUS, ARVIRAGUS.
me,

Cho. Say, thou false one ! I lay 'till midnight: Then, as from long trance What doom befits the slave, who sells his counAwoke, I crawld upon my feeble limbs To a lone cottage, where a pitying hind

Eli. Death, sudden death! Lodg’d me and nourish'd me. My strength re- Cho. No, lingʻring piecemeal death; pair'd,

And to such death thy brother and thyself It boots not that I tell, what humble arts We now devote. Villain, thy deeds are known ; Compellid I us’d to screen me from the foe. 'Tis known, ye led the impious Romans hither How now a peasant from a beggarly scrip To slaughter us ey'n on our holy altars. I sold cheap food to slaves, that nam'd the price, Eli. That on my soul doth lie some secret Nor after gave it; now a minstrel poor,

grief, With ill-tun'd harp, and uncouth descant shrill, These looks perforce will tell ; It is not fear, I ply'd a thriftless trade, and by such shifts Druids, it is not fear that shakes me thus ; Did win obscurity to shroud my name.

The great gods know, it is not: Ye can never : At length to other conquests in the north For, what though wisdom lifts ye next those gods, Ostorius led his legions : Safer now,

Ye cannot, like to them, unlock men's breasts, Yet not secure, I to some valiant chiefs,

And read their inmost thoughts. Ah ! that ye Whom war had spar'd, discover'd what I was;

could !
And with them plann'd, how surest we might Arvi. What hast thou done?
draw

Eli. What, prince, I will not tell.
Our scatter'd forces to some rocky fastness Cho. Wretch, there are means
In rough Caernarvon, there to breathe in freedom, Eli. I know, and terrible means;
If not with brave incursion to oppress

And 'tis both fit, that you should try those The thinly-station’d foe. And soon our art

means, So well avail'd, that now at Snowdon's foot And I endure them : Yet I think, my patience Full twenty troops of hardy veterans wait Will for some space baffle your torturing fury.. To call my sire their leader.

Cho. Be that best known, when our inflicted Cho. Valiant youth

goads Evel. He is -I said he was a valiant youth, Harrow thy flesh! Nor has he sham'd his race.

Arvi. Stranger, ere this is tried, Cho. We do believe

Confess the whole of thy black perfidy; Thy modest tale: And may the righteous gods So black, that when I look upon thy youth, Thus ever shed upon thy noble breast

Read thy mild eye, and mark thy modest brow, Discretion's cooling dew. When nurtur'd so, I think indeed, thou durst not. Then, only then, doth valour bloom mature. Eli. Such a crime

Arvi. Yet vain is valour, howsoe'er it bloom : Indeed I durst not; and would rather be
Druid, the gods frown on us. All my hopes The very wretch thou seest. I'll speak no morea
Are blasted; I shall ne'er rejoin my friends, Cho. Brethren, 'tis so. The virgin's thoughts
Ne'er bless them with my father. Holy men,

were just :
I have a tale to tell, will shake your souls. This youth has been deceiv’d.
Your Mona is invaded; Rome approaches, El. Yes, one word more.
Ev'n to these groves approaches.

You say, the Romans have invaded Mona.
Semicho, Horror ! horror!

Give me a sword and twenty honest Britons, Arvi. Late as I landed on yon highest beach, And I will quell those Romans. Vain demand ! Where nodding from the rocks the poplars fling Alas! you cannot : Ye are men of peace : Their scatter'd arms, and dash them in the wave, Religion's self forbids. Lead then to torture. There were their vessels moor’d, as if they sought Arvi. Now on my soul this youth doth move Concealment in the shade, and as I past

me much. Up yon thick-planted ridge, I sny'd their helms Cho. Think not religion and our holy office Vid brakes and boughs trench'd in the heath be- Doth teach us tamely like the bleating lamb, low,

To crouch before oppression, and with neck 7

sence.

Outstretch'd await the stroke. Mistaken boy! Who ev'n converses with a villain, need
Did not strict justice claim thee for her victim, As much purgation, as the pallid wretch
We might full safely send thee to these Romans, 'Scap'd from the walls, where frowning Pesti-
Inviting their hot charge. Know, when I blow lence
That sacred trumpet bound with sable fillets Spreads wide her livid banners. For this cause,
To yonder branching oak, the awful sound Ye priests, conduct the youth to yonder grove,
Calls forth a thousand Britons, train'd alike And do the needful rites. Meanwhile ourself
In holy and in martial exercise,

Will lead thee, prince, unto thy father's pre-
Not by such mode and rule, as Romans use,
But of that fierce portentous horrible sort, But hold, the king comes forth.
As shall appall ev'n Romans.

[Ereunt priests with ELIDURUS Eli, Gracious gods! Then there are hopes indeed. O call them in- CARACTACUS, ARVIRAGUS, CHORUS, EVEstant,

LINA. This prince will lead them on: I'll follow him, Car. My son, my son! Though in my chains, and some way dash them What joy, what transport, doth thine aged sire round

Feel in these filial foldings ! Speak not, boy, To harm the haughty foe.

Nor interrupt that heart-felt ecstacy Arvi. A thousand Britons,

Should strike us mute. I know what thou wouldst And arm'd! O instant blow the sacred trump,

say, And let me head them. Yet methinks this Yet prithee, peace. Thy sister's voice hath clear'd youth

thee, Cho. I know what thou wouldst say, might And could excuse find words at this blest mojoin thee, prince.

ment, True, were he free from crime, or had confest. Trust me, I'd give it vent. But, 'tis enough,

Eli. Confest ! Ah, think not, I will e'er- Thy father welcomes thee to him and honour; Arvi. Reflect.

Honour, that now with rapt'rous certainty Either thyself or brother must have wrong'd us : Calls thee his own true offspring. Dost thou Then why conceal

weep? Eli. Hast thou a brother? no!

Ah, if thy tears swell not from joy's free spring, Else hadst thou spar'd the word; and yet a sister I beg thee, spare them: I have done thee wrong, Lovely as thine might more than teach thee, Can make thee no atonement: None, alas! prince,

Thy father scarce can bless thee, as he ought; What 'tis: to have a brother. Hear me, druids! Unblest himself, beset with foes around, Though I would prize an hour of freedom now Bereft of queen, of kingdom, and of soldiers, Before an age of any after date,

He can but give thee portion of his dangers, Though I would seize it as the gift of heav'n, Perchance and of his chains : Yet droop not, And use it as heav'n's gift, yet do not think,

boy, I so will purchase it. Give it me freely, Virtue is still thine own. I yet will spurn the boon, and hug my chains, Arvi. It is, my father, 'Till you do swear by your own hoary heads, Pure as from thine illustrious fount it came : My brother shall be safe.

And that unsullied, let the world oppress us ; Cho. Excellent youth !

Let fraud and falsehood rivet fetters on us; Thy words do speak thy soul, and such a soul, Still shall our souls be free: Yet hope is ours, As wakes our wonder. Thou art free; thy bro- As well as virtue. ther

Cur. Spoken like a Briton. Shall be thine honour's pledge ! so will we use True, hope is ours, and therefore let's prepare: him,

The moments now are precious. Tell us, druid, As thou art false or true.

Is it not meet, we see the bands drawn out, Eli. I ask no other.

And mark their due array ? Arvi. Thus then, my fellow-soldier, to thy Cho. Monarch, ev’n now clasp

They skirt the grove.
I give the hand of friendship. Noble youth, Car. Then let us to their front-
We'll speed, or die together.

Cho. But is the traitor-youth in safety lodg'd ? Cho. Hear us, prince !

Car. Druid, he fledMona permits not, that he fight her battles, Cho. O fatal flight to Mona! 'Till duly purified : For though his soul

Car. But what of that? Arviragus is here, Took up unwittingly this deed of baseness, My son is here ; let then the traitor go ! Yet is lustration meet. Learn, that in vice By this he has join'd the Romans Let him join There is a noisome rankness unperceiv'd

them! By gross corporeal sense, which so offends A single arm, and that a villain's arm, Heaven's pare divinities, as us the stench Can lend but little aid to any powers Of vapour wafted from sulphureous pool, Oppos'd to truth and virtue. Come, my son, O pois' nous weed obscene. Hence doth the Let's to the troops, and marshal them with speed man,

That done, we from these venerable men

spy

Will claim their ready blessing: Then to battle; Does thus our love, does thus our friendship end!
And the swift sun, ev'n at his purple dawn, Was I thy brother, youth, and hast thou left me!
Shall us crown'd with conquest, or with death. Yes; and how left me, cruel, as thou art,
(Exeunt CARACTACUS and ARVIRAGUS. The victim of thy crimes !

Cho. True, thou must die.
CHORUS, EVELINA.

Eli. I pray ye then on your best mercy, fathers, Cho. What may his flight portend ! Say, It may be speedy. I would fain be dead, Evelina,

If this be life. Yet I must doubt ev'n that, How came this youth to 'scape ?

For falsehood of this strange stupendous sort Evel. And that to tell

Sets firm-ey'd Reason on a gaze, mistrusting, Will fix much blame on my impatient folly : That what she sees in palpable plain form, For, ere your hallow'd lips had given permission. The stars in yon blue arch, these woods, these I flew with eager haste to bear my father

caverns, News of his son's return. Inflam'd with that, Are all mere tricks of cozenage, nothing real, Think, how a sister's zealous breast must glow! The vision of a vision. If he's fled, Your looks give mild assent. I glow'd indeed I ought to hate this brother. With the dear tale, and sped me in his ear Cho. Yet thou dost not. To pour the precious tidings : But my tongue Eli. But when astonishment will give me leave, Scarce nam'd Arviragus, ere the false stranger Perchance I shall.–And yet he is my brother, (As I bethink me since) with stealthy pace And he was virtuous once. Yes, ye vile Romans, Fled to the cavern's mouth.

Yes, I must die, before my thirsty sword Cho. The king pursued ?

Drinks one rich drop of vengeance. Yet, je Evel. Alas! he mark'd him not, for 'twas the robbers, moment,

Yet will I curse you with my dying lips : When he had all to ask and all to fear,

'Twas

you, that stole away my brother's virtue. Touching my brother's valour. Hitherto

Cho. Now then prepare to die. His safety only, which but little mov'd him, Eli, I am prepar'd. Had reach'd his ears : But when my tongue un- Yet, since I cannot now (what most I wishid) folded

By manly prowess guard this lovely maid: The story of his bravery and his peril,

Permit, that on your holiest earth I kneel, O how the tears cours'd plenteous down his And pour one fervent prayer for her protection, cheeks!

Allow me this, for though you think me false, How did he lift unto the heav'ns his hands The gods will hear me. In speechless transport ! Yet he soon bethought Evel. I can hold no longer ! him

O druid, druid, at thy feet I fall : Of Rome's invasion, and with fiery glance Yes, I must plead (away with virgin-blushes) Survey'd the cavern round; then snatch'd his For such a youth must plead. I'll die to save spear,

him And menac'd to pursue the flying traitor : O take my life, and let him fight for Mona! But I with prayers (O pardon, if they err'd) Cho. Virgin, arise. His virtue hath redeem'd Withheld his step, for to the left the youth

him, Had wing’d his way, where the thick underwood And he shall fight for thee and for his country: Afforded sure retreat. Besides, if found, Youth, thank us with thy deeds. The time is Was age a match for youth?

short, Cho. Maiden, enough,

And now with reverence take our high lustration: Better perchance for us, if he was captive : Thrice do we sprinkle thee with day-break dew But in the justice of their cause, and heav'n, Shook from the May-thorn blossom ; twice and Do Mona's sons confide.

thrice

Touch we thy forehead with our holy wand: Bard, CHORUS, ELIDURUS, Evelina.

Now thou art fully purg'd. Now rise restor'd Bard. Druid, the rites

To virtue and to us. Hence then, my son, Are finish’d, all save that which crowns the rest, Hie thee to yonder altar, where our Bards And which pertains to thy blest hand alone: Shall arm thee duly both with helm and sword For that kneels before thee.

For warlike enterprise.
Cho. Take him hence,
We may not trust him forth to fight our cause.

CARACTACUS, CHORUS, ARVIRAGUS, EVELINA. Eli. Now by Andraste's throne

Car. 'Tis true, my son, Cho. Nay, swear not, youth,

Bold are their bearings, and I fear me not The tie is broke, that held thy fealty :

But they have hearts will not belie their looks. Thy brother's fled.

I like them well Yet would to righteous heav'n Eli. Fled!

Those valiant veterans, that on Snowdon guard Cho. To the Romans fled.

Their scanty pittance of bleak liberty, Yes, thou hast cause to tremble.

Were here to join them; we would teach these Eli. Ah, Vellinus !

wolves,

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(Erit Eli.

"Though we permit their rage to prowl our coasts, Free from alloy of passion. Give me courage, That vengeance waits them ere they rob our That knows not rage; revenge, that knows not altars.

malice ; Hail

, druid, hail ! we find thy valiant guards Let me not thirst for carnage, but for conquest : Accoutred so, as well bespeaks the wisdom And conquest gained,sleep vengeance in my breast, That fram’d their phalanx. We but wait thy Ere in its sheath my sword. blessing

Car. O hear his father! To lead them gainst the foe.

If ever rashness spurr'd me on, great gods, Cho. Caractacus !

To acts of danger, thirsting for renown; Behold this sword: The sword of old Belinus, If ere my eager soul pursu'd its course Stain'd with the blood of giants, and its name Beyond just reason's limit, visit not Trifingus. Many an age its charmed blade My faults on him. I am the thing you made me Has slept within yon consecrated trunk. Vindictive, bold, precipitate, and fierce : Lo, I unsheath it, king; I wave it o'er thee; But as you gave to him a milder mind, Mark, what portentous streams of scarlet light O bless him, bless him with a milder fate! Flow from the brandish'd falchion. On thy knee Evel. Nor yet unheard let Evelina pour Receive the sacred pledge.—And mark our words. Her pray’rs and tears. O hear a hapless maid, By the bright circle of the golden sun,

That ev’n through half the years her life has By the brief courses of the errant moon,

number'd, By the dread potency of every star

Ev'n nine long years, has dragg’d a trembling That studs the mystic zodiac's burning girth,

being, By each, and all of these supernal signs, Beset with pains and perils. Give her peace; We do adjure thee, with this trusty blade, And, to endear it more, be that blest peace To guard yon central oak, whose holiest stem Won by her brother's sword. O bless his arm, Involves the spirit of high Taranis :

And bless his valiant followers, one, and all. This be thy charge; to which in aid we join Ourselves, and our sage brethren. With our

ELIDURUS entering, armed. vassals

Hear, heav'n! and let this pure and virgin prayer Thy son and the Brigantian prince sball make Plead ev'n for Elidurus, whose sad soul Incursion on the foe.

Cannot look up to your immortal thrones, Car. In this, and all,

And urge his own request: Else would he ask, Be ours observance meet. Yet surely, druid, That alĩ the dangers of th' approaching fight The fresh and active vigour of these youths Might fall on him alone: That every spear Might better suit with this important charge. The Romans wield might at his breast be aim'd; Not that my heart shrinks at the glorious task, Each arrow darted on his rattling helm; But will with ready zeal pour forth its blood That so the brother of this beauteous maid, Upon the sacred roots, my firmest courage Returning safe with victory and peace, Might fail to save.

Yet, fathers, I am old; Might bear them to her bosom. And if I fell the foremost in the onset,

Cho. Now rise all, Should leave a son behind, might still defend you. And heav'n, that knows what most ye ought to Cho. The sacred adjuration we have utter'd

ask, May never be recallid.

Grant all ye ought to have ! Behold, the stars Car. Then be it so.

Are faded; universal darkness reigns. But do not think, I counsel this through fear: Now is the dreadful hour, now will our torches Old as I am, I trust with half our powers Glare with more livid horror, now our shrieks I could drive back these Romans to their ships ; And clanking arms will more appall the foe. Dastards, that come, as doth the cow'ring fowler, But heed, ye bards, that for the sign of onset To tangle me with snares, and take me tamely; Ye sound the antientest of all your rhymes, Slaves, they shall find, that ere they gain their whose birth tradition notes not, nor who fram’d prey,

Its lofty strains : The force of that high air They have to hunt it boldly with barb'd spears, Did Julius feel, when, fir'd by it, our fathers And meet such conflict, as the chafed boar First drove him recreant to his ships; and ill Gives to his stout assailants. O ye gods ! Had far'd his second landing, but that fate That I might instant face them.

Silenc'd the master bard, who led the song.
Now forth, brave pair ! Go, with our blessing go;

Mute be the march, as ye ascend the bill:
Arvi. From his soul that son doth thank ye, Then, when ye hear the sound of our shrill trum-
Blessing the wisdom, that preserves his father

pet, Thus to the last. O if the fav’ring gods

Fall on the foe. Direct this arm, if their high will permit,

Car. Now glory be thy guide! pour a prosperous vengeance on the foe! Pride of my soul, go forth and conquer. I ask for life no longer, than to crown

Evel. Brother,
Steel then, ye powers of Yetone embrace. O thou much honour'd stranger,
Steel my firm soul with your own fortitude,

I charge thee fight by my dear brother's side,
And shield him from the foe; for he is brave,

Cho. Be thy son's

The onset.

The valiant task.

heav'n,

angry air,

And will with bold and well-directed arm Where creeps the ninefold stream profound
Return thy succour. (Ereunt Arvi. und Eli. Her black inexorable round,
Cho. Now, ye priests, with speed

And on the bank,
Strew on the altar's height your sacred leaves,

To willows dank, And light the morning fame. But why is this? The shivering ghosts are bound. Why doth our brother Mador snatch his harp Twelve thousand crescents all shall swell From yonder bough? Why this way bend his step? To full-orb'd pride, and fading die, Car. He is entranc'd. The fillet bursts, that Ere they again in life's gay mansions dwell: bound

Not such the meed that crowns the sons of Li. His liberal locks ; his snowy vestments fall

berty. In ampler folds; and all his floating form Doth seem to glisten with divinity!

No, my Britons ! battle-slain, Yet is he speechless. Say, thou chief of bards,

Rapture gilds your parting hour; What is there in this airy vacancy,

I, that all despotic reign,

Claim but there a moment's power.
That thou with fiery and irregular glance
Should scan thus wildly? Wherefore heaves thy Swift the soul of British Aame

Animates some kindred frame,
breast?

Swiftly to life and light triumphant flies, Why starts

Exults again in martial extacies,
ODE.

Again for freedom fights, again for freedom dies. Cho. Hark! heard ye not yon footstep dread, Car. It does, it does ! unconquer'd, undis That shook the earth with thund'ring tread ?

may'd, 'Twas Death. In haste

The British soul revives-Champion, lead on, The warrior past;

I follow-give me way. Some blessed shaft High tower'd his helmed head:

Will rid me of this clog of cumb’rous age; I mark'd his mail, I mark'd his shield, And I again shall in some happier mould I spied the sparkling of his spear,

Rise to redeem my country. I saw his giant arm the falchion wield;

Cho. Stay thee, prince, Wide wav'd the bick’ring blade, and fir'd the And mark what clear and amber-skirted clouds

Rise from the altar's verge, and cleave the skies

O'tis a prosperous omen! Soon expect On me (he cried) my Britons, wait,

To hear glad tidings. To lead you to the field of fate

Car. I will send them to thee. I come: Yon car,

Cho. But see, a bard approaches, and he bears That cleaves the air,

them: Descends to throne my state :

Else is his eye no herald to his heart.
I mount your champion and your god.
My proud steeds neigh beneath the thong :

Bard, CHORUS, CARACTACUS.
Hark! to my wheels of brass, that rattle loud !

Car. Speedily tell thy tale. Hark! to my clarion shrill, that brays the woods Bard. A tale like mine,

I trust your ears will willingly pursue (Here one of the Druids blows the sacred Through each glad circumstance. First, monarche trumpet.

learn,

The Roman troop is fled.
Fear not now the fever's fire,

Cho. Great gods, we thank ye!
Fear not now the death-bed groan,
Pangs that torture, pains that tire,

Car. Fought they not ere they fled? O tell Bed-rid age with feeble moan:

Bard. Silent, as night, that wrapt us in her These domestic terrors wait

veil, Hourly at my palace gate;

And when o'er slothful realms my rod I wave, We pac'd up yonder bill, whose woody ridge These on the tyrant king and coward slave

O’erhung the ambush'd foe. No sound was heard, Rush with vindictive rage, and drag them to Step felt, or sight descry'd : for safely hid, their grave.

Beneath the purple pall of sacrifice

Did sleep our holy fire, nor saw the air, But ye, my sons, at this high hour

'Till to that pass we came, where whilom Brute Shall share the fullness of my power :

Planted his five hoar altars. To our rites, From all your bows,

Then swift we basted, and in one short moment In leveli'd rows,

The rocky piles were cloth'd with livid flame. My own dread shafts shall shower.

Near each a white-rob’d druid, whose stern voice Go then to conquest, gladly go,

Thunder'd deep execrations on the foe. Deal forth my dole of destiny,

Now wak’d our horrid symphony, now all With all my fury dash the trembling foe Our harps terrific hang: meanwhile the grove Down to those darksome dens, where Rome's Trembled, the altars shook, and through pale spectres lie;

among !

me all.

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ranks

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