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Caius Gracchus, a Tribune of the people.
Fulvius Flaccus, a Senator of the party of Gracchus.
Opimius, the Consul,
u Zof the party of Gracchus.
Rutilius, a Senator.
Cornelia, the Mother of the Gracchi.
Servilia, Wife of Caius Gracchus.
Sempronia, his Sister.
Cælius, the leaders of the several tribes,
Are they instructed to possess the forum,
With all their numbers ?
· Yes, and by my orders Furnish'd with arms.
With arms ? 'Twas rashly done. May Jove preserve the state. The multitude Furnish'd with arms! Who shall restrain their fury? Again our streets shall reek with civil slaughter.
CÆlius. Thou know’st what deep alarm has seiz'd the senate. Hast thou forgotten when their frantic rage
Beat down to earth Tiberius' sacred head ?
When these, the vaunted fathers of their country,
Blush'd not to shed a tribune's blood ? My friend,
I tremble for the life of Caius Gracchus.
Our arms for just defence are necessary.
For just defence? 'Tis we provoke the war.
The senate never will unsheath the sword.
Peace best assures their power, and fear of change
Still guides their councils. But if now the rashness
Of our adherents rush to violence;
Their friends are powerful, prudent, firm, united.
Ours, a disorder'd rabble, 'wavering, fickle,
Timid, and faithless. In the hour of danger
They left Tiberius, and will leave his brother.
One certain motive still decides their conduct,
The sense of present interest. And believe me,
Nor fear, nor fickle temper drew the people
To leave Tiberius. Want of prudent foresight
And staid precaution, such as now we use
Offer'd the foe, th' advantage which he seized.
But the experience of that fatal time
Points out the path to fair success. You wrong
The people's virtue, and our Caius' prudence.
They bear their arms under appointed leaders,
Nor move but by his orders.
Look, behold, The Senators are passing.
(Here the Senators are seen, in mourning habits,
passing over the stage to the Senate House.)
Are my eyes deceiv'd,
Or do they wear the garb of mourning, such
As to th’ amazed people still proclaims
When the state totters on the verge of ruin?
It is a paltry artifice, Duilius,
To shake the public mind; but do not fear,
'Twill fail its purpose.
· By th' immortal Gods, It is a sight that moves me.
How, Duilius !.
The fathers of the state! The sacred Senate !
Under whose auspices the Roman greatness
· Has risen above the nations ! On whose rolls What name but by some signal act distinguish'd Of service to the state !
: What, dost thou falter ? Wilt thou betray thy friends ?
Cælius, not so.
But on my life, the form of legal power,
Th' authority which waits upon the image
Of Rome, our common mother, in the Senate
Visibly shewn, has force to awe the bravest,
And will affect the multitude, accustom'd
To move at their command to war, and bow
To their decrees.
Thus still doth wavering fear, Ev’n from herself, with plausible pretence, Strive to conceal her trembling. True it is The people feel the greatness of the Senate, And therefore lift avenging arms against them, Because they smart under their iron rule. These proud imperious nobles wrest the laws, Grasping the wealth, and greatness of the state,