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ANCHARIUS, a Senator.
Q. POMPEIUS's Son.
Guards, Lictors, Ruffians, &c.
Martha, a Prophetess.
[Within. Liberty! Liberty! Liberty! Marius and Sul
pitius! Liberty! Liberty! Liberty! &c.] Enter METELLUS, ANTONIUS, CINNA, and Senators.
Met. When will the tut'lar gods of Rome awake,
To fix the order of our wayward state,
That we may once more know each other; know
Th' extent of laws, prerogatives, and dues ;
The bounds of rules and magistracy; who
Ought first to govern, and who must obey?
It was not thus when god-like Scipio held
The scale of pow'r; he, who with temp’rate poise
Knew how to guide the people's liberty
In it's full bounds, nur did the nobles wrong,
For he himself was one-
Cin. He was indeed
A noble born; and still in Rome there are
Most worthy patrons of her ancient honour;
Such as are fit to fill the seat of pow'r,
And awe this riotous unruly rabble,
That bear down all authority before them,
Were we not sold to ruin.
Met. Cinna, there
Thou'st hit my mark: we are to ruin sold;
In all things sold; voices are sold in Rome:
And yet we boast of liberty. Just gods !
That guardians of an empire should be chosen
By the lewd noise of a licentious rout!
The sturdiest drinker makes the ablest statesman.
Ant. Would it not anger any true-born Roman,
To see the giddy multitude together,
Never consulting who 'tis best deserves,
But who feasts highest, to obtain their suffrage?
As 'tis not many years since two great men
In Rome stood equal candidates together,
For high command : in ev'ry house was riot.
To-day the drunken rabble reeld to one;
To-morrow they were mad again for t'other;
Changing their voices with their entertainment:
And none could guess on whom the choice would settle ;
Till at the last a stratagem was thought of:
A mighty vessel of Falernian wine
Was brought into the forum, crown'd with wreaths
Of ivy, sacred to the jolly god.
The monster-people roar'd aloud for joy:
When straight the candidate himself appears
In pomp, to grace the present he had made them,
The fools all gap'd. Then when a-while he had
With a smooth tale tickled their asses' ears,
He at both ends tapp'd his butt, and got the consulship.
Cin. This curse we owe to Marius's pride,
That made him first most basely bribe the people
For consul in the war against Jugurtha :
Where he went out, Metellus, your lieutenant;
And how the kindness was return'd, all know.
I never lov'd his rough untoward nature,
And wonder such a weed got growth in Rome.
Met. What says my Cinna?
Cin. That I like not Marius, Nor love him
Met. There Rome's better genius spoke.
Let us consult and weigh this subject well.
O Romans, he's the thorn that galls us all.
Our harass'd state is crippled with the weight
Of his ambition : we're not safe in Marius.
Do I not know his rise, his low beginning,
From what a wretched despicable root
His greatness grew ? Gods! that peasant's brat,
Born in the outmost cottages of Arpos,
And foster'd in a corner, should by bribes,
By cov'tousness, and all the hateful means
Of working pride, advance his little fate
So high, to vaunt it o'er the lords of Rome!
Ant. Ambition raging like a dæmon in him,
Distorts him to all forms she'as need to use:
In his first start of fortune, oh how vile
Were his endeavours and submissions then!
When suing to be chosen first Edilis,
He was by gen’ral vote repuls’d, yet bore it;
And in the same day shamefully return'd,
T'obtain the second office of that name.
Equal was his success, denied in both :
Yet could he condescend at last to ask
The prætorship, and but with bribes got that.
Yet this is he that has disturb’d the world,
Rome's idol, and the darling of her wishes.
Met. I must confess it burthens much my age,
To see the man I hate thus ride my country:
For, Romans, I have mighty cause to hate him.
I was the first (and I am well rewarded)
That lent iny hand to raise his feeble state.
When first I made him tribune by my voice,
I thought there might be something in his nature
That promis'd well. His parents were most honest,
And serv'd my father justly in their trust.
Then, as his fortunes grew, when I was consul,
And went against Jugurtha into Afric,
I took him with me, one of my lieutenants.
'Twas there his pride first shew'd itself in actions,
Oppress'd my friends, and robb’d me of my honour.
Cin. The story's famous.' Base ingratitude,
Dissimulation, crnelty, and pride,
I'll-manners, ignorance, and all the ills
Of one base-born, in Marius are join'd.
Met. Ev'n age can't heal the rage of his ambition.
Six times the consul's office bas be borne:
How well, our present discords best declare.
Yet now again, when tiine has worn him low,
Consum’d with age, and by diseases prest,
He courts the people to be once more chosen
To lead the war against king Mithridates.
Ant. For this each day he rises with the sun,
And in the field of Mars appears in arms,
Excelling all our youth in warlike exercise:
He rides and tilts, and when the prize he'as won,
He brings it back with triumph into Rome,
Ard there presents it to the sordid rabble;
Wbo shout to heav'n, and cry, let Marius live!
Met. He shall not have it, by the gods he shall not.
There is a Roman, noble, just, and valiant,
Sylla's his name, sprung from the ancient stock
Of the Cornelii, bred from's youth in war,
Flush'd with success, and of a spirit bold,
And, more than all, hates Marius; still has crost
His pride, and clouded ev'n his brightest triumplis :
He's consul now. Then let us all resolve,
And fix on hin, to check this havocker,
That with his kennel of the rabble hunts
Our senate into holes, and frights our laws.
Cin. Agreed for Sylla.
All. All for Sylla.
This. monster Marius, who has us'd me thus,
Ev'n now would wed his family with mine,
And asks my daughter for his hated offspring.