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Horatia. [With some hesitation.] My brothers, gen.
tle sir, you said were well. Saw you their noble friends, the Curiatii ? The truce, perhaps, permitted it.
Valerius. Yes, Lady,
Horatia. Sent they no message ?
Horatia. Said Caius nothing ?
nowO yes, I do remember, when your brother Ask'd him, in jest, if he had ought to send, « A sigh's soft waftage, or the tender token « Of tresses breeding to fantastic forms,” To sooth a love-sick maid (your pardon, lady) He smil’d, and cry’d, Glory's the soldier's mistress. Horatia. Sir, you'll excuse me-something of im
portance My father may have business- Oh, Valeria!
[Aside to Valeria. Talk to thy brother, know the fatal truth I dread to hear, and let me learn to die, If Curiatius has indeed forgot me.
Valerius. She seems disorder'd !
Valeria. Has she not cause?
Valerius. You talk in riddles !
Valerius. What could I do? this peace has ruin'd
While war continued, I had gleams of hope;
Valeria. Yes, now you must resolve to follow
l'alerius. Cruel Valeria,
Valeria. By Heaven, I do not;
For hope to dally with. “ When friends are mad,
“ Valerius. Yet we first " Should try the gentler.
“ Valeria. Did I not? Ye powers ! 16 Did I not sooth your griefs, indulge your fondness, " While the least prospect of success remain'd? “ Did I not press you still to urge your suit, • Intreat you daily to declare your passion, " Seek out unnumber'd opportunities, " And lay the follies of my sex before you; " Valerius. Alas! thou know'st, Valeria, woman's
"s heart " Was never won by tales of bleeding love : " 'Tis by degrees the sly enchanter works • Assuming friendship's name, and fits the soul • For soft impressions, ere the fault'ring tongue, " And guilty-blushing cheek, with many a glance “ Shot inadvertent, tells the secret flame. " Valeria. True, these are arts for those that love
at leisure; " You had no time for tedious stratagem; " A dang’rous rival press'd, and has succeeded."
Valerius. I own my error-yet once more assist meNay, turn not from me, by my soul I meant not To interrupt their loves. —Yet, should some accident, 'Tis not impossible, divide their hearts, I might, perhaps, have hope : therefore 'till marriage Cuts off all commerce, and confirms me wretched,
Be it thy task, my sister, with fond stories, Such as our ties of blood may countenance, To paint thy brother's worth, his power in arms, His favour with the king, “but most of all, “ That certain tenderness of soul which steals “ All women's hearts,” then mention many a fair, No matter whom, that sighs to call you sister.
Valeria. Well, well, away. Yet tell me, ere you go, How did this lover talk of his Horatia? Valerius. Why will you mention that ungrateful
subject? Think what you've heard me breathe a thousand times When my whole soul dissolo'd in tenderness; 'Twas rapture all; what lovers only feel, Or can express when felt. He had been here, But sudden orders from the camp detain'd him. Farewell, Horatius waits membut remember, My life, nay, more than life, depends on you. [Exit. Valeria. Poor youth! he knows not how I feel his
anguish, Yet dare not seem to pity what I feel. How shall I act betwixt this friend and brother? Should she suspect his passion, she may doubt My friendship too; and yet to tell it her Were to betray his cause. No, let my heart With the same blameless caution still proceed; To each inclining most as most distrest; Be just to both, and leave to Heav'n the rest! [Exit. ACT II. SCENE I.
Continues. Enter HORATIA and VALERIA.
Valeria. Think, my Horatia,
Your Curiatius still remains the same.
news Has brought him back thus early. Oh, my heart I I long, yet dread to ask him, Speak, Valeria.
Horatius. Return’d, Valeria!