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Protecting gods shall spread their shields around him,
And love shall combat in Horatia's cause. '
Horatia. Think'st thou so meanly of him ?--No,

Valeria,
His soul's too great to give me such a trial;
Or could it ever come, I think, myself,
Thus lost in love, thus abject as I am,
I should despise the slave who dar'd survive
His country's ruin. Ye immortal powers i
I love his fame too well, his spotless honour,
At least I hope I do, to wish him mine
On any terms which he must blush to own.

Horatius. [Without.] What ho! Vindicus.
Horatia. What means that shout - Might we

"not ask, Valeria ?"
Didst thou not wish me to the temple ?-Come,
I will attend thee thither; the kind gods
Perhaps may ease this throbbing heart, and spread
At least a temporary calm within.

Valeria. Alas, Horatia, 'tis not to the temple That thou wouldst Ay; the shout alone alarms thee. But do not thus anticipate thy fate; Why shouldst thou learn each chance of varying

war, “ Which takes a thousand turns, and shifts the scene “ From bad to good, as fortune smiles or frowns ;" Stay but an hour perhaps, and thou shalt know The whole at once.--I'll send--I'll fly myself To case thy doubts, and bring thee news of joy.

Horațio. Again, and nearer too-1 must attend thee. Valeria. Hark! 'tis thy father's voice, he comes to

cheer thee.

Enter Horatius, and Valerius. Horatius. [Entering.] News from the camp, my

child! Save you, sweet maid !

[Seeing Valeria.
Your brother brings the tidings, for, alas!
I am no warrior now; my useless age,
Far from the paths of honour loiters here
In sluggish inactivity at home.
Yet I remember--

Horatia. You'll forgive us, sir,
If with impatience we expect the tidings.

Horatius. I had forgot; the thoughts of what I was
Engrossid my whole attention.--Pray, young soldier,
Relate it for me; you beheld the scene,
And can report it justly.

Valerius. Gentle lady, The scene was piteous, though its end be peace. Horatia. Peace? O, my fluttering heart! by what

kind means? Valerius. 'Twere tedious, lady, and unnecessary To paint the disposition of the field; Suffice it, we were arm’d, and front to front The adverse legions heard the trumpet's sound : But vain was the alarm, for motionless, And wrapt in thought they stood; the kindred ranks Had caught each other's eyes, nor dar'd to lift The fault'ring spear against the breast they lov'd.

Again th’alarm was given, and now they seem'd
Preparing to engage, when once again
They hung their drooping heads, and inward mourn’d;
Then nearer drew, and at the third alarm,
Casting their swords and useless shields aside,
Rush'd to each other's arms.

Horatius. 'Twas so, just so,
(Tho' I was then a child, yet I have heard
My mother weeping oft relate the story)
Soft pity touch'd the breasts of mighty chiefs,
Romans and Sabines, when the matrons rush'd
Between their meeting armies, and oppos'd
Their helpless infants, and their heaving breasts
To their advancing swords, and bade them there
Sheath all their vengeance. But I interrupt you
Proceed, Valerius, they would hear th'event.
-And yet, methinks, the Albans-pray go on.

Valerius. Our King Hostilius from a rising mound
Beheld the tender interview, and join'd
His friendly tears with theirs; then swift advanc'd,
Ev'n to the thickest press, and cried, My friends,
If thus we love, why are we enemies ?
Shall stern ambition, rivalship of power,
Subdue the soft humanity within us?
Are we not join'd by every tie of kindred ?
And can we find no method to compose
These jars of honour, these nice principles
Of virtue, which infest the noblest mind ?
Horatius. There spoke his country's father! this

transcends

23

The Alight of earth-born kings, whose low ambition
But tends to lay the face of nature waste,
And blast creation !-How was it receivid?
Valerius. As he himself 'could wish, with eager

transport.
In short, the Roman and the Alban chiefs .
In council have determin'd, that since glory
Must have her victions, and each rival state,
Aspiring to dominion, scorns to yield,
From either army shall be chose three champions
To fight the cause alone, and whate'er state
Shall prove superior, there acknowledg'd power
Shall fix th’imperial seat, and both unite
Beneath one common head.

Horatia. Kind Heaven, I thank thee! Bless'd be the friendly grief that touch'd their souls i « Bless'd be Hostilius for the generous counsell “ Bless'd be the meeting chiefsi”and bless'd the tongue, Which brings the gentle tidings i

Valeria. Now, Horatia,
Your idle fears are o'er.

Horaiia. Yet one remains.
Who are the champions? Are they yet elected ?
Has Rome---

Valerius. The Roman chiefs now meet in council,
And ask the presence of the sage Horatius.
Horatius. [ After having seemed some time in thought.]

But still, methinks, I like not this, to trust The Roman cause to such a slender hazardThree combatants! 'tis dangerous

Horatia. [In a fright.] My father!
Horatius. I might, perhaps, prevent it-

Horatia. Do not, sir,
Oppose the kind decree.

Valerius. Rest satisfied Sweet lady, 'tis so solemnly agreed to, Not even Horatius's advice can shake it. Horatius. And yet 'twere well to end these civil

broils : The neighb’ring states might take advantage of them. -Would I were young again! How glorious Were death in such a cause! And yet, who knows Some of my boys may be selected for it Perhaps may conquer- Grant me that, kind gods, And close my eyes in transport!-Come, Valerius, I'll but dispatch some necessary orders, And strait attend thee.— Daughter, if thou lov'st Thy brothers, let thy prayers be pour’d to Heav'n, That one at least may share the glorious task. [Exit. Valerius. Rome cannot trust her cause to worthier

hands. They bade me greet you, Lady, [To Horatia. " Well, Valeria, This is your home, I find: your lovely friend, “ And you, I doubt not, have indulg'd strange fears, " And run o'er all the horrid scenes of war, Valeria, Though we are women, brother, weare

Romans, “ Not to be scard with shadows, though not proof “ 'Gainst all alarms, when real danger threatens."

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