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Strike as thou didst at Cæsar; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him better Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
Bru. Sheathe your dagger:
Be angry when you will, it shall have scope;
Do what you will, dishonour shall be humour,
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb,
That carries anger, as the flint bears fire;
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark,
And straight is cold again.
Cas. Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief, or blood ill-tempered, vexeth him?
Bru. When I spoke that, I was ill-tempered too.
Cas. Do you confess so much? Give me your hand.
Bru. And my heart too.
Cas. O Brutus !
Bru. What's the matter?
Cas. Have you not love enough to bear with me, When that rash humour, which my mother gave me, Makes me forgetful?
Bru. Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth, When you are over-earnest with your Brutus, He'll think your mother chides, and leave you so
9.-ORESTES DELIVERING HIS EMBASSY TO PYRRHUS.
Orest. BEFORE I speak the message of the Greeks,
Permit me, sir, to glory in the title
Of their ambassador; since I behold
Troy's vanquisher, and great Achilles' son.
Nor does the son rise short of such a father:
If Hector fell by him, Troy fell by you.
But what your father never would have done,
You do. You cherish the remains of Troy;
And, by an ill-timed pity, keep alive
The dying embers of a ten-years' war.
Have you so soon forgot the mighty Hector?
The Greeks remember his high-brandished sword,
That filled their states with widows and with orphans;
For which they call for vengeance on his son.
Who knows what he may one day prove? Who knows
But he may brave us in our ports; and, filled
With Hector's fury, set our fleets on blaze?
You may yourself live to repent your mercy.
Comply, then, with the Grecians' just demand:
Satiate their vengeance, and preserve yourself.
Pyr. The Greeks are for my safety more concerned
Than I desire: I thought your kings were met
On more important counsel. When I heard
The name of their ambassador, I hoped
Some glorious enterprise was taking birth.
Is Agamemnon's son despatched for this?
And do the Grecian chiefs, renowned in war,
A race of heroes, join in close debate
To plot an infant's death? What right has Greece
To ask his life? Must I, must I alone,
Of all her sceptred warriors, be denied
To treat my captive as I please? Know, prince,
When Troy lay smoking on the ground, and each
Proud victor shared the harvest of the war,
Andromache, and this her son, were mine ;
Were mine by lot; and who shall wrest them from me?
Ulysses bore away old Priam's queen;
Cassandra was your own great father's prize:
Did I concern myself in what they won?
Did I send embassies to claim their captives?
Orest. But, sir, we fear for you and for ourselves.
Troy may again revive, and a new Hector
Rise in Astyanax. Then think betimes-
Pyr. Let dastard souls be timorously wise; But tell them, Pyrrhus knows not how to form Far-fancied ills, and dangers out of sight.
Orest. Sir, call to mind the unrivalled strength of Troy; Her walls, her bulwarks, and her gates of brass, Her kings, her heroes, and embattled armies!
Pyr. I call them all to mind; and see them all Confused in dust; all mixed in one wide ruin; All but a child, and he in bondage held.
What vengeance can we fear from such a Troy?
If they have sworn to extinguish Hector's race,
Why was their vow for twelve long months deferred?
Why was he not in Priam's bosom slain ?
He should have fallen among the slaughtered heaps
Whelmed under Troy. His death had then been just
When age and infancy alike in vain
Pleaded their weakness; when the heat of conquest,
And horrors of the fight, roused all our rage,
And blindly hurried us through scenes of death.
My fury then was without bounds: but now,
My wrath appeased, must I be cruel still,
And, deaf to all the tender calls of pity,
Like a cool murderer, bathe my hands in blood-
An infant's blood ?-No, prince-Go, bid the Greeks
Mark out some other victim; my revenge
Has had its fill. What has escaped from Troy
Shall not be saved to perish in Epirus.
Orest. I need not tell you, sir, Astyanax
Was doomed to death in Troy; nor mention how
The crafty mother saved her darling son :
The Greeks do now but urge their former sentence:
Nor is't the boy, but Hector they pursue;
The father draws their vengeance on the son:
The father, who so oft in Grecian blood
Has drenched his sword: the father, whom the Greeks
May seek even here.-Prevent them, sir, in time.
Pyr. No! let them come; since I was born to wage
Eternal wars. Let them now turn their arms
On him who conquered for them: let them come,
And in Epirus seek another Troy.
'Twas thus they recompensed my godlike sire;
Thus was Achilles thanked. But, prince, remember,
Their black ingratitude then cost them dear.
10. GLENALVON AND NORVAL.
Glen. His port I love: he's in a proper mood
To chide the thunder, if at him it roared.
Has Norval seen the troops?
Norv. The setting sun
With yellow radiance lightened all the vale,
And as the warriors moved, each polished helm,
Corslet, or spear, glanced back his gilded beams.
The hill they climbed, and, halting at its top,
Of more than mortal size, towering they seemed
A host angelic, clad in burning arms.
Glen. Thou talkest it well; no leader of our host
In sounds more lofty talks of glorious war.
Norv. If I should e'er acquire a leader's name,
My speech will be less ardent. Novelty
Now prompts my tongue, and youthful admiration
Vents itself freely; since no part is mine
Of praise pertaining to the great in arms.
Glen. You wrong yourself, brave sir; your martial deeds
Have ranked you with the great. But mark me, Norval;
Lord Randolph's favour now exalts your youth
Above his veterans of famous service.
Let me, who know these soldiers, counsel you.
Give them all honour: seem not to command,
Else they will hardly brook your late-sprung power,
Which nor alliance props nor birth adorns.
Norv. Sir, I have been accustomed all my days
To hear and speak the plain and simple truth;
And though I have been told that there are men
Who borrow friendship's tongue to speak their scorn,
Yet in such language I am little skilled:
Therefore I thank Glenalvon for his counsel,
Although it sounded harshly. Why remind
Me of my birth obscure? Why slur my power
With such contemptuous terms.?
Glen. I did not mean
To gall your pride, which now I see is great.
Norv. My pride!
Glen. Suppress it, as you wish to prosper.
Your pride's excessive. Yet, for Randolph's sake,
I will not leave you to its rash direction.
If thus you swell, and frown at high-born men,
Will high-born men endure a shepherd's scorn?
Norv. A shepherd's scorn!
Glen. Yes; if you presume
To bend on soldiers these disdainful eyes,
As if you took the measure of their minds,
And said in secret, You're no match for me,
What will become of you?
Norv. Hast thou no fears for thy presumptuous self?
Glen. Ha! dost thou threaten me?
Norv. Didst thou not hear?
Glen. Unwillingly I did; a nobler foe
Had not been questioned thus; but such as thee-
Norv. Whom dost thou think me?
Norv. So I am
And who is Norval in Glenalvon's eyes?
Glen. A peasant's son, a wandering beggar boy ;
At best no more, even if he speaks the truth.
Norv. False as thou art, dost thou suspect my truth ?
Glen. Thy truth! thou'rt all a lie; and false as hell
Is the vainglorious tale thou toldest to Randolph.
Norv. If I were chained, unarmed, or bedrid old,
Perhaps I should revile; but as I am,
I have no tongue to rail. The humble Norval
Is of a race who strive not but with deeds.
Did I not fear to freeze thy shallow valour,
And make thee sink too soon beneath my sword,
I'd tell thee-what thou art. I know thee well.
Glen. Dost thou not know Glenalvon, born to command
Ten thousand slaves like thee?
Norv. Villain, no more!
Draw and defend thy life. I did design
To have defied thee in another cause;
Norv. Another voice than thine,
That threat had vainly sounded, noble Randolph.
But Heaven accelerates its vengeance on thee.
Now for my own and Lady Randolph's wrongs.
Lord Ran. [Enters. Hold! I command you both! the man Makes me his foe.
Glen. Hear him, my lord; he's wondrous condescending!
Mark the humility of Shepherd Norval!
[Sheathes his sword.
Now waves his banner o'er her frighted fields;
Suspend your purpose till your country's arms
Repel the bold invader; then decide
The private quarrel.
Glen. I agree to this.
Norv. Now you may scoff in safety.
Lord Ran. Speak not thus,
Taunting each other, but unfold to me
The cause of quarrel; then I judge betwixt you.
Norv. Nay, my good lord, though I revere you much,
My cause I plead not, nor demand your judgment.
I blush to speak: I will not, cannot speak
The opprobrious words that I from him have borne.
To the liege lord of my dear native land
I owe a subject's homage; but even him
And his high arbitration I'd reject.
Within my bosom reigns another lord;
Honour, sole judge and umpire of itself.
If my free speech offend you, noble Randolph,
Revoke your favours, and let Norval go
Hence as he came, but not dishonoured!
Lord Ran. Thus far I'll mediate with impartial voice;
The ancient foe of Caledonia's land