SEJANUS, A TRAGEDY. As it was intended for the STAGE.

WITH A PREFACE, wherein the Manager's Reasons for refusing it are set forth.


—Qui nimios optabat honores,
Et nimios poscebat opes, numerosa parabat
Excelsae turris tabulata, unde altior esset
Casus, & impulsae praeceps immane ruinae.

LONDON: Printed for R. MANBY and H. S. Cox on Ludgate-Hill. MDCCLII. [Price 1s. 6d.]


WHEN awful Virtue adds to Grandeur's Blaze,
She truly then deserves the Stretch of Praise,
Then like the Sun's, her Beams strike ev'ry Eye,
By her supported Fame can never die.
Great in her own Existence she aspires,
And fills th' immortal Soul with glowing Fires.
Superior still to popular Applause,
Presiding Genius o'er each glorious Cause,
She stands the Base, of Liberty and Laws.
She dares be just, and vigorously bold,
Nor wink at Vice, behind the Glare of Gold.
[Page iv] The subtlest Schemes of wily Statesmen trace,
Tho' lur'd by proffer'd Titles, and a Place.
She bids BRITANNIA's Sons be bravely free,
And shews her native Worth in — ORRERY.
A Muse unskill'd in all the Arts of Praise,
Thus boldly dares her honest Voice to raise,
Ne'er tainted yet by prostituted Lays.
Tho' young, ambitious to arrive at Fame,
She strives to emulate a lasting Name;
Yet self convicted in the fond Desire,
Trembles and fears, with Justice to expire.
To shield from Fate, and critic Rage to foil,
She flies for Refuge to illustrious BOYLE.


IT were an Imposition on the Town, and an In­justice to the Memory of the inimitable BEN JOHNSON; should I publish this Play, without acknowledging that most part of the Plot, some of the Scenes, and many of the Speeches, are almost literally copied from a dramatic Work of his, with the same Title. An Attempt at altering a Piece of his, is, I believe, unprecedented, and indeed bold, for one who never before, either burthen'd the Press with his Labours, or dar'd the Critic's Censure. I was allur'd to the Task, by a Number of very noble Sentiments, which are scattered through the Original in many Lines, neither harsh or unmusical; wherein there seems to breath the true inspir'd Spirit of Poetry; and fancy plays within her proper Sphere, under the Restraint of a well temper'd critical Judgment; but much more by the strong Contrast of virtuous and vi­cious Characters, with which I found it adorn'd; which is the most useful, laudable, and consequently the funda­mental Part of the DRAMA.

[Page vi] To reduce the Multiplicity of Characters, the Train of Incidents, to make the Parts of LIVIA, and AGRIP­PINA, somewhat interesting, which in JOHNSON are very near despicable; to select his Beauties, and by pro­per Means to bring about the Catastrophe; seem'd, at first, an Enterprize as difficult, as toiling for Wealth in a Mine; and almost startled me from my Design; But however, as I had begun, I determined to pro­ceed; and of my Success, the Perusal of the Piece will make you a Judge.

JOHNSON's strict Adherence to History, in his two Plays of SEJANUS and Catiline, would have been highly commendable, had it not been manifestly preju­dicial to him; since he has been so scholastically nice, as scarcely to omit a single Person or Incident, mention'd in the Lives of these great wicked Men; nay he has even translated literally, in his SEJANUS, several Lines from CORNELIUS TACITUS: By this Means his Tragedies became rather dramatic Histories, than Entertainments suited to a modern Theatre. From this I have ventur'd to deviate; I have kept CAESAR at ROME, to preside at the Conviction of SEJANUS; as I think it adds much Spirit, to the closing the Ca­tastrophe; I have drawn him of a Disposition much milder than he was in Reality. The pious Resolution of repealing the Oppressions, and healing the constitutional Wounds made by SEJANUS, which I have put into his Mouth, in the last Speech of the Play, I thought ne­cessary [Page vii] to preserve Poetical Justice; to which I think History should give Way; for the real Use of dramatic Performances is, to instil Virtue, and raise an Ab­horrence of Vice. Example is a strong Argument; nothing conduces so much to our Reformation, as pu­nishing the Wicked and rewarding the Virtuous, 'tis then that the Moral is truly strong, indeed the Guilt­less must sometimes fall, to heighten the Distress, and impress us with a just Pity.

If these Liberties should to the Critics appear Er­rors, I honestly confess them Errors of my Judgment; and for my Confession expect to be mildly treated. By the Critics, I would be understood to mean only the judici­ous, not such teizing Insects, such buzzing Drones of Society, as those at present distinguish'd by that Name.

Who fret and strut their Hour upon the Stage,
And then are heard no more.
Each Wight who reads not, and but scans and spell,
Each Word-catcher that lives on Syllables.

From such I neither wish or expect Indulgence, let them be ridiculous at my Expence, if they please; my Pity they may move, but not my Anger. From the Penetration of the Judicious, I shall be glad to meet Correction, their Clemency I doubt not, for still like the Brave, they chuse rather to spare than destroy. My [Page viii] asserting that I had a national Advantage in View, in this Subject may be thought chimerical, at first, but when the following Abstract from History, of the Life of SEJANUS, is considered, what I have advanced may perhaps be allowed.

AELIUS SEJANUS the Son of SEIUS STRABO was born in TUSCANY. He served, when young, with some Reputation, under CAIUS CAESAR, Nephew to AUGUSTUS, and afterwards in the Praetorian Band under the Command of TIBERIUS; to the various Turns of whose Disposition by conforming, he gradually crept into his closest Secrets, and was the first in his Esteem. When TIBERIUS mounted the Imperial Throne, he allowed this his favourite, such an Extent of Power, as rendered him the Terror of honest Men, and the Idol of Sycophants. The taking off GERMA­NICUS, Husband to the AGRIPPINA, who is intro­duced in this Play, and Nephew to the Emperor, a Prince remarkable for the greatest Virtues, though the Odium of it was artfully flung on GNEIUS PISO, GERMANICUS's Lieutenant, was generally and justly attributed to him: This was his first close Attack upon the LIBERTY of ROME, and procured him the Hatred of the People. After this by the Means of LIVIA, Wife to DRUSUS, EUDEMUS her Physician, and Lygdus an Eunuch, who was SEJANUS's CATAMITE, he contrived and effected the Death of DRUSUS, Son to TIBERIUS, and Heir apparent to the Empire. The [Page ix] Reason assigned for his Hatred, was a Blow which DRUSUS one Day gave him; but his future Proceed­ings shewed, Ambition, not Revenge, was the Motive which urg'd to the Deed; for he had determin'd to remove every Bar, which lay between him and the Throne. This was but a Prelude to his future Vil­lainies. AGRIPPINA, her Sons, and all who were Friends to the Family of the dead GERMANICUS, were next to be disposed of. This was effected by re­presenting them to CAESAR, who was naturally of a jealous Disposition, as aspiring and ambitious, and consequently dangerous. CAIUS SILIUS was first mark'd out for Sacrifice; who being, before the Se­nate, criminated by VARRO the Consul, and finding his Death had been premeditately resolved on; by a voluntary Wound anticipated a public Execution.

SABINUS, another Adherent to the Family of GERMANICUS, was next taken off, by the Means of LATIARIS, his Relation and profess'd Friend: who having often, with much seeming Sincerity, rail'd at the Oppressions and Tyranny of SEJANUS, and thus, by touching him,

Ev'n on the tend'rest Point, the Master String
Which made most Harmony, or Discord in him.

Having wrought him up to join in his Invectives, He fix'd two Senators, who were Creatures to [Page x] SEJANUS, in a secret Place, whence they might overhear the Discourse between SABINUS and him; who, on his too freely censuring the Conduct of CAESAR, rush'd from their Ambush, accused him of Treason, and after a formal Process, he was, by Death, eased of the Pains which he endured, for the Sufferings of his Country.

SEJANUS next, with the Concurrence of TIBERIUS, removed AGRIPPINA and her Sons, so that he had none now left to oppose his Interest with CAESAR, or Designs upon the Throne. Her he had banish'd to PANDATERIA an Island in the TYRRHENE Sea, NERO to the Island of PONTIA near NAPLES, and DRUSUS confined in the most abject Part of the Palace.

Being thus successful in all his Schemes, what he aimed at became more and more apparent. To faci­litate his Designs on the EMPEROR, he endeavoured to demean him in the Opinion of the People, by ridi­culing his Defects and Imperfections on the public Theatre. This first induced CAESAR to examine more nearly into his Conduct; and he soon found it was ab­solutely necessary for his own Safety, to hurl this COLOSSUS of the ROMAN STATE, suddenly down the Steep of Fate. To effect this appeared scarcely practicable, since he feared the Fall of this stupendous Pile, would drag down with it contiguous Ruin, in which he himself might be involved. However he at [Page xi] last compassed this coveted end, by the Assistance of MACRO, and a Shew of encreasing Friendship and Trust, which rendered SEJANUS still more secure, when his Glory was on the Verge of expiring: He was, when even such an Attempt must have seem'd impos­sible, accused by a Letter from TIBERIUS then in CAPREA, supported by Proofs in full Senate, of the most flagitious Crimes; condemned with Ignominy, and to the unexpected Joy and Surprize of every honest Roman, precipitated from the topmost Height of For­tune to the lowest Depth of Adversity and a shameful Death. It is generally and justly remarked, that the Sunshine of Prosperity animates a Number of buzzing Flies, who disappear with its Decline. The Truth of this Observation was never more apparent than in the Case of SEJANUS, for not one of the Number of Syco­phants and Dependants, who had been the Instruments of his villanies, and who held large Fortunes and Titles from his Bounty, offered to defend him at his Fall, or even wore the Face of Concern; nay so far from it, they were his most sanguine Enemies, and hurried him onward to his Fate.

SEJANUS seemed to have been mark'd out by Pro­vidence as an Example to Futurity, of that Justice which will at one Time or other overtake the Great bad Man who uses his Power to oppress, or to curtail the Liberties of his Country. And were this his History [Page xii] to be performed either publicly or privately for mini­sterial Amusement, an excellent and persuasive In­struction must ensue from it.

The same Soil which was blessed with a BRUTUS, a CATO and a GERMANICUS, was cursed with a SE­JANUS: BRITAIN who feels herself happy in an ORRERY, a CHESTERFIELD, and had in the Person of her late generally and justly lamented PRINCE of WALES, all that ROME boasted in her GERMANICUS, knows not what SEJANUS may rise in future Times to wound her Peace.

Business detaining me in the Country, I requested my Friend Mr. DERRICK to present this Play to Mr. GARRICK, which he accordingly did, and was pro­mised by him an Answer in four or five Days. Mr. DERRICK waited on him again about that Time, when with a Punctuality, which is not at all answer­able to the Character generally given of theatrical Managers, he returned the Piece with some Compli­ments as to its Merits, alledging, that it had too much Declamation in it, to succeed on the Stage; and I am induced to believe, that though this Play was not in­troduced to Mr. GARRICK under any particular pre­vailing Influence, he took the Trouble to peruse it, and on that alone founded his Answer.

[Page xiii] However I suppose you expect to find me severe on the Manager, for presuming to repulse my Offspring; but you are mistaken; I am ever ready to receive, and thankful for Instruction. It being an approved Maxim with me, that Approbation is very pleasing; but Correction more profitable; and therefore say with SHAKESPEARE's BRUTUS, though more in earnest,

I shall be glad to learn of able Men.


WHEN Vice corrupts and cankers in a State,
It surely brings, tho' slow, the Frowns of Fate.
When plodding Ministers by wicked Arts,
Can blind the Eyes, and rule a People's Hearts;
Then Tyranny and Faction rage around,
And lawless Acts eternally abound.
The Nation groans beneath indignant Chains,
Where proud ambitious Statesmen hold the Reins.
Such was SEJANUS, such he flourish'd long,
For Patriot Opposition much too strong.
By direst Means and Artifice he rose,
And step'd tow'rds Empire on the Necks of Foes.
No Honesty before his Pow'r could stand,
Poor harass'd Virtue fled the suff'ring Land;
Wounded, she labour'd for a safe Retreat,
And weeping Blood forsook her ancient Seat:
While Vice, in all the Pomp and Pow'r of Pride,
Did at ROME's venerable State preside.
Yet tho' thus deck'd, with most alluring Charms,
Who would not fly to banish'd Virtue's Arms?
Titles like Bubbles that on Waters play,
Are by a Breath both rais'd and puff'd away,
'Tis Virtue that alone feels no Decay.
She gives her Proselytes a lasting Store;
Beyond the Worth of sordid glitt'ring Ore;
Her Joys are of a higher nobler Bent,
They balm the Mind, administring Content.
Thus much it necessary seem'd to say,
Concerning the chief Purport of the Play.
And now a second Charge I must fulfill,
Our Author, Alterer, or what you will,
Humbly requests the Critics may be still.
Not that he fears;—the snarling Train he slights,
For under JOHNSON's laurell'd Shade he writes.
If you will damn, he says, his Fall is great,
Since honest BEN must e'en participate,
And so ally'd he dares the Frowns of Fate.


  • TIBERIUS, Emperor of ROME.
  • DRUSUS, His Son.
  • SEJANUS, Chief Favourite to the Emperor.
  • VARRO, The Consul.
    • AFER,
    • NATTA,
    • SATRIUS,
    Senators, Creatures to SEJANUS.
  • EUDEMUS, A Physician.
    • SILIUS,
    • SABINUS,
    • LEPIDUS.
    Senators of Patriot Principles, Enemies to SEJANUS.
  • LIVIA, DRUSUS's Princess, in Love with SEJANUS.
  • Guards, Lictors, &c. Priests and Choristers.
Scene ROME:

[Page 1] SEJANUS.


You're rarely met at Court.
— Therefore well met.
'Tis true: A Court of Vice is not our Sphere.
We want the glossy Arts and thriving Use,
Should make us share the Sun-shine of this Place:
Which is the Soil of Flatt'ry and Deceit.
It is a Garden full of baneful Herbs,
Known by the Names of Sycophants and Slaves.
No Roman Spirit here could dwell at Ease,
Among the busy Herd of Knaves and Fools.
We have no Change of Faces, no cleft Tongues,
No soft and glutinous Bodies, that can stick
Like Snails on painted Walls, or on our Breasts
Creep up, to fall from that proud Height, to which
We did by Slavery not Service climb.
We burn with no black Secrets, that can make
Us dear to the pale Authors, or live fear'd
Of their still waking Jealousy, to raise
Ourselves a Fortune by subverting theirs.
We stand not in the Lines that do advance,
To that so coveted Point.
Heav'n forefend we should.
Yet here dwell some that do. SATRIUS SECUNDUS
[Page 2] And PINNARIUS NATTA, two of the servile Herd,
The great SEJANUS' Creatures. These are Men
Know more than honest Councils; whose Breasts
Were they rip'd up to Light, would plain appear,
The gloomy Cabinets of ev'ry Vice.
It is a simple Sin, to which their Trunks
Have not been made the Organs; they can lie,
Smile and betray, impeach the guiltless Man;
Sell to their Suitors, (shallow grapling Fools,)
The empty Smoak that flies about the Palace.
Laugh when their Patron laughs, frown as he frowns,
Change every Mood as often as he varies—
Gods! are these Men? Suffer ye Slaves like these,
To take your own great Likeness on themselves,
And act such Baseness in a human Shape!
Why are they not distinguish'd by a Form,
Vile and abhorred as their treach'rous Souls?
Then Honesty might seek a different Clime,
Divided from these Proselytes of Hell.
Nay so universal is the Malady,
That all our Consuls, and no little part
Of such as have been Praetors; yea the most
Of Senators, so worthy is our State,
Start up in public Council, and there strive,
Who shall propose most abject things and base.
So much, that even TIBERIUS hath been heard,
Leaving the Court, to cry, "Oh Race of Men
"Prepar'd for Servitude"—Why ev'n he,
Who least the public Liberty should like,
Is sham'd, and blushes at their servile Deeds.
Well, we deserve it all, nay and much more;
Who with our Riots, Pride and Civil Hate,
Have so provok'd the Vengeance of the Gods.
We who within these fourscore Years were born
Free, equal Lords of the subjected World,
And knew no Masters but Affections:
To which, betraying first our Liberties,
We since became the Slaves to one Man's Lust,
[Page 3] And now to many.—Ev'ry ministring Spy
That will accuse and swear, is Lord of you,
Of me, of all our Fortunes, nay our very Lives:
Our Looks are call'd in question, and our Words,
(How innocent soever) are made Crimes.
We shall not shortly dare to tell our Dreams,
Or think, but 'twill be Treason,—Where is now
The Soul which animated Godlike CATO,
Who durst oppose, when CAESAR dar'd do wrong?
Or where the constant BRUTUS, who being proof
Against the Charm of Benefits, did strike
So brave a Blow into the Tyrant's Heart,
That basely meant to captivate his Country?
Those mighty Spirits now are fled the Light,
And not a Spark of their eternal Fires,
Glows in a present Bosom.
It pains to think,
How much beneath our Ancestors we fall;
Who guarded sacred Virtue with their Lives,
And dy'd with Honour, or liv'd ever free.
Oh good SABINUS let Remembrance cease.
'Twere better be incapable to think,
Than thro' Reflection to observe these Times.
See the great Mistress of the World enslav'd,
Oppress'd with Woes and harass'd out with Cares,
While her abandon'd Sons (quite lost to Fame)
Who should her sacred Liberty defend,
In Luxury and Riot spend their Time.
Become the voluntary Tools of Pow'r,
And work the Chains to manacle themselves.
The only Spark of Virtue, that remains
Within the Verge of this detested Court,
Dwells in the noble DRUSUS' God-like Soul.
He with a Heart of Heaviness and Woe,
Beholds the Vices which inhabit here,
Reluctant Views his Father's abject State,
Not Emperor, but Pandar to SEJANUS.
[Page 4]
'Tis true in DRUSUS Center all our Hopes,
I love him for opposing this SEJANUS,
This mighty Giant that o'ertops us all.
In him the Sons of good GERMANICUS,
Find a sure Refuge from oppressive Pow'r.
GERMANICUS—To think of that great Man,
To think how much our Country lost in him,
How with him fled all Honour from our Court;
Howe'er unworthy Tears may seem in Man,
My Eyes will pay some tributary Drops.
No more, here comes that Poison to our Souls,
The great SEJANUS and his vassal Crew.
Now mark the Stoops, the Bendings and the Falls.
SIL. and SAB. retire.
Enter SEJANUS, SATRIUS NATTA, Attendants, &c.
My Lord, a Gentleman of Rome would buy,
How call you him, you spoke with even now?
It is EUDEMUS Physician to the Princess?
What, DRUSUS' Princess?
Aye, my good Lord.
On with your Suit, would buy you say—
A Tribune's Place, my Lord.
What will he give?
Fifty Sestertia.
LIVIA's Physician, say you, is that Fellow?
Aye my honour'd Lord, your Lordship's An­swer,
'Tis for a Gentleman you will approve;
And one the Grant will certainly make yours.
Well, let him bring the Money and his Name;
Know you this same EUDEMUS, is he learn'd?
Reputed so, and held in high Esteem.
Then go and bring him to my Chamber straight,
I would confer with him about a Grief.
Exeunt Sej. Satr. &c.
[Page 5] SILIUS and SABINUS come forward.
Gods! What a Train of Baseness there moves on:
Oh desperate State of Honour in Decay.
Dost thou see this, oh Sun! And wilt thou shine?
Methinks 'twere just the Day should lose its Light,
When worthless Men have lost the Sense of Shame,
And for the empty Circumstance of Life,
Betray their Cause of living.—Let us retire.
The Time at last may come, when we shall stand,
Asserting Freedom for our native Land,
In bold Defiance to all slavish Ties;
And Virtue once again triumphant rise.
SCENE changes. Enter SEJANUS solus.
That DRUSUS views me with an hateful Eye,
Is plain evinc'd by ev'ry Act and Word.
His sharp Invectives 'gainst my growing Pow'r,
Declare and prove, he is an envious Foe.
Besides, he stands a Bar to stop my Course;
Remove him then—oh study that, my Soul!—
Let not Thought rest, till he can think no more.
Plot Brain with direst Vengeance fraught,
To fix my Fortune on a stedfast Base.
Ambition places in my raptur'd View,
The sov'reign Rule, the Empire of the World;
And shall this DRUSUS cloud the gilded Scene?
No, first be Rome and all her Sons extinct;
If he is mortal, I will rule his Fate.
This same EUDEMUS must transact the Deed,
Whom I will quicken with inspiring Gold,
That certain spur—The Bait of sordid Fools;
That surest Med'cine to enslave the Soul,
And drive away each conscientious Qualm.
Conscience, the Deity of tim'rous Hearts,
Still rules predominant o'er sickly Minds,
A terrible tho' but an empty Shade.
[Page 6] Why should the Scarecrow of each languid Soul,
Aw'd by Religion and her phantom Laws,
Be ever suffer'd to assail the Great?
No, let the Poor be subject to her Sway,
Whilst Men, like me, possest of towring Souls,
O'erleap all Bounds at great Ambition's Call.
This is the Gentleman, my Lord.
Is this?
Give me your Hand, we must be better known,
And nearer yet acquainted with each other.
Report hath, Sir, been lavish in your Praise,
And I am glad I have so needful Cause,
(However painful in itself and hard)
To make me known to one of so much Worth.
Your Lordship binds me ever to your Service,
To think me worthy of your smallest Trust.
You are Physician to the Princess,
Are you not?
I am, my gracious Lord.
So shalt thou be to me, but in such sort,
As will for ever eternize thy Fame.
Thou shalt do more than Physic ever did.
For thou shalt heal a Fever in my Mind.
My Lord, the Man now breaths not vital Air,
Whom Inclination would direct me serve,
(In any Act that leaves my Honour free,)
Before our Country's Glory—great SEJANUS.
Thou can'st no Honour lose in serving me.
What in the Eyes of Men would seem most vile,
Done for my Service, I can so requite,
As all the World shall stile it honourable.
Knowest thou the vast Extention of my Pow'r,
That I can even make and unmake Kings?
Who is there dares accuse a Friend of mine?
To be a Person fix'd in my Esteem,
Will clear thy Character from ev'ry Stain.
[Page 7] Therefore inform me, what I long to know,
(Not that I fear the Danger of his Hate,
But as I study for the Love of all,
And hourly labour to promote his Sway,)
Do'st thou not sometimes hear the haughty Prince,
Condemn my Character in abject Phrase?
To thee his Converse and his Thoughts are known,
Then frankly speak—it never shall escape,
But lie as deeply, hidden in this Breast,
As if 'twere center'd in the Womb of Earth.
Oh my good Lord, if I should so betray
Their Councils, by whose Bounty I am fed,
What would your Highness think then of my Faith?
A Breach of Confidence 'twixt Man and Man,
Betrays a shallow and abandon'd Soul,
As such, could I seem worthy of Repose?
I believe thou art secret—and I'll trust thee.
Yet I must charge thee to be just and true,
For if by any Means thou should'st disclose;
Expect a Storm to pour upon thy Head,
From which, with less than Life, thou can'st not 'scape.
Doubt not, my Lord, most steady Faith and Love.
By all the Pow'rs which rule the World, I swear,
As I shall hope to live beneath your Smiles,
And taste the Bounty of your noble Soul,
I'll act with utmost Secrecy and Care.
Would'st thou be great, and soar on Fortune's Wing,
E'er idly, drudge an abject Life away?
Would'st thou be listed in the Rolls of Fame,
And like a Comet shine to wond'ring Eyes;
Observe me well—And I'll point out the Way?
Know that the Princess holds my Heart in Chains,
(As thou ha'st Opportunity and Time,
To sound the Inclination of her Soul)
Would'st thou but be the Herald of my Love,
And gain Admittance, for my fervent Vows,
[Page 8] Such Wealth, such Pow'r, such Honour shalt thou wear,
As none beneath Regality e'er held.
Happy am I, my Lord, in this Employ,
The Princess oft' to me has sigh'd your Name,
And languishingly wish'd she had been yours.
DRUSUS her present Lord she holds in Scorn,
Nor does indeed, my Love attend him much;
Not only for he treats me with Contempt,
But still your Lordship has engag'd my Heart.
Let me embrace thee, pull thee to my Breast,
Thou in fond Love shalt be my other self.
But say, thou dearest Patron of my Wishes,
How I in private may the Princess see,
Declare my Love, and offer up my Heart.
My Lord, this Day you secretly shall meet
Within my Gardens, there I'll lead your Lordship,
And when Success shall all your Wishes crown,
Then think, my Lord, how much I prove me yours.
Use thy best Speed to find the beauteous fair;
And but affect her with SEJANUS Love,
Thou art a Man, made to make Consuls.
I promise you, my Lord, your utmost Wish.
Let me adore my AESCULAPIUS,
Why this is truly Physic to the Mind,
Beyond the Worth of poor corporeal Drugs,
This ministers Content, and would be cheaply bought
With an imperial Crown—fly my Friend,
Not barely stiled, but created so.
Expect Things greater than thy boldest Hopes
To overtake thee. Fortune shall be taught,
How ill she has behav'd, thus long to lag
Behind thy Wishes and Deserts—haste and prosper.
Exit Eudemus.
Why this looks well, my Schemes run nobly on,
The Structure of my Greatness rises fast,
And soon will hide its Head among the Clouds.
If DRUSUS Wise, as he says, holds me dear,
(And I have Reason to believe it true,)
[Page 9] The Way lies plain to circumvent my Foe.
This Wretch, whom I have gain'd with fine spun Phrase,
And puff'd with Promises of large Extent,
Shall be the Instrument to gain my Ends.
What's he, that says, I act a Villain's Part,
Would not all act the same with equal Pow'r?
Let none but timid Proselytes obey
Where stinted Maxims circumscribe the Way,
Do thou SEJANUS follow Glory's Call,
Nor slack thy Pace, till thou art Lord of all.
LATIARIS rise, I will not have thee kneel.
Our Empire, Ensigns, Axes, Rods and State,
Take not away our human Nature from us,
Look up on us, and fall before the Gods.
Right mighty Lord—
I prithee Peace,
These Flatteries do much offend mine Ears,
They are most irksome to a gen'rous Soul,
Base sordid Minds are fed with empty Praise,
And fondly dwell upon a Train of Titles,
Mere Trinkets of a childish Vanity.
Whence are those Dispatches?
(Gives Papers.)
From the Senate.
Are they sitting now?
They wait your Answer, CAESAR.
(Aside to Sabi.)
Were this Man's Mind but equal to his Words,
How great a Blessing would he prove to Rome?
But when his Grace is merely but Lip good,
And that no longer than he airs himself
Abroad in public Eyes; this is a Case
Deserves our Fears, and doth presage but Ill.
[Page 10]
This Answer to the rev'rend Senate bear.
I still shall labour to deserve their Loves,
And say there can be nothing in their Thoughts,
Shall fail to please us, once approv'd by them.
Our Suff'rage rather shall prevent, than lag,
Behind their Wills; 'Tis Empire to obey,
Where such so great, so grave, so good determine.
What says your Highness to the Suit of Spain,
Does your high Will accord with their Request,
T'erect a Temple dedicate to you?
The Offer merits, and has gain'd our Thanks,
But potent Reasons loudly speak against it.
We must (with Pardon of the Senate) not
Assent thereto, Compliance were a Fault.
My Royal Lord, 'twere best assign some Cause,
The ASIAN Cities gain'd a like Request,
And this Denial may create a Jealousy.
Let our Defence for suffering that be known,
Since deify'd AUGUSTUS hinder'd not,
(In Honour of himself and sacred ROME)
A Temple to be built at PERGAMUM,
We who have chose to copy all his Deeds
Follow'd that pleasing Precedent, because
With ours, the Senate's Approbation join'd.
But as t've once receiv'd it, may deserve
The Gain of Pardon, so to be ador'd
Thro' all the Provinces, were wild Ambition
And unbounded Pride.—'Tis ample Glory
To deserve the Name of King.—They shall add,
Abounding Grace unto our Memory,
Who shall report us worthy our Forefathers,
Careful of State Affairs, constant in Dangers,
And not afraid of any private Loss,
For public Good, such Attributes will be,
Temples and Statues fix'd upon your Minds;
The fairest, and most lasting Imag'ery.
Divinely spoke—the ORACLES are ceas'd,
That only CAESAR with their Tongues should speak.
[Page 11]
Their Choice of ANTIUM, there to place the Gift,
Vow'd to the Goddess for my Mother's Health,
We will the Senate know, we much approve.
As also of their Grant to LEPIDUS,
For his repairing the AEMILIAN Place,
And Restoration of those Monuments.
But for the Honours which they have decreed
For our SEJANUS; to advance his Statue
In POMPEY's Theatre, they have outgone
Their own great Wisdom in such skillful Choice,
And placing of their Bounties, on a Man
Whose Merit more adorns the Dignity,
Than that can him, and gives a Benefit
In taking, greater than it can receive.
I am much pleas'd that they so honour him.—
Haste, and to the Senate bear our kindest Love.
Most noble Father, whom my Soul reveres,
With strict Sincerity and filial Love,
Let it not seem Presumption in a Son
To speak, where public Good so loudly calls.
I fear the Consequence of Honours heap'd
In such abundance on this artful Man,
Who creeps into your Breast, but with Design
When Time may serve, to sting you to the Heart.
I still have us'd thee with paternal Care;
Bred thee to Honour, and a lasting Fame,
Then let me not be frustrate in my Hopes.
The gen'rous Mind above pale Envy soars,
And smiles when Merit meets a just Reward.
I charge thee then repeat thy Fears no more,
They are unworthy of a kingly Soul,
Of Inconsistencies and Vapours form'd.
SEJANUS more deserves than I can give,
If thou would'st keep a Place in my Esteem,
United still in strictest Friendship move,
Caress and think him worthy of thy Love.
[Page 12]
Then has my Father lost all Sense of Fame,
He is of Life grown weary, and of Rule.
To dress an Idol up with Pomp and Praise,
Give Honours to a sycophantic Slave:
Make him his Mate to rival him in Empire.
A Serpent too that labours to destroy,
And gorge his Hunger in his Patron's Blood.
True, noble Prince, it is a dang'rous Slave,
And wants not Inclination, but the Pow'r,
To prey on all, who dare oppose his Will;
But if with these high Honours he is crown'd,
Then Honesty must quickly fly this Land,
Or else in Tortures it will meet Reward.
The first Ascents to Empire still are hard,
But enter'd once, there never wants, or Means,
Or Ministers to help th' Aspirer on.
Nay even those my Father furnishes.
So studious is he to prefer this Man,
That Favours still outsoar Ambition's Wing.
SEJANUS crosses the Stage attended, jostles DRUSUS.
What, is your Highness grown so blindly bold,
That you will make us Foot-steps for your Pride?
Give Way then.
What to such a Peasant Slave as thou?
A Serpent that is gilded all without,
Within all Poison and Corruption.
Rail on, for I can tamely hear and scorn,
The empty Satire of thy headlong Youth,
Which knows not how to judge of Noblemen.
Thou Noble, Reptile, thou art all that's base,
Envy, pale Envy and her ghastly Train,
For ever dwell within thy gloomy Breast.
When thou wert born, each Virtue frighted fled,
And left thy Frame the Citadel of Vice.
Thou know'st my Duty bids me not revenge,
Therefore no more.
Ha! dar'st thou frown at me,
And come ye here to brave me to my Face?
(Strikes him.)
[Page 13] Be taught by this, how I regard your Highness,
Nay come, approach. What stand ye off at gaze?
It looks too full of Death for thy base Soul.
Avoid my Sight, vile Caitiff, or my Sword
Shall make your Greatness fitter for a Grave,
Than for a Triumph; your Pile of Greatness,
And all the partial Honours you enjoy,
By me shall soon be levell'd to the Dust,
A dread Example of ambitious Pride.
A Blow—rash Youth—that Stroke thou'lt dear­ly pay,
For if the subtle Engine of my Brain,
Can work a Tangle to ensnare thy Life,
By great Revenge thou shalt not live a Day.
Before I had resolv'd upon thy Doom;
But this shall be a Spur to urge it on.
He who can bear such Wrong with steady Mind,
Knows how with fit Occasion to retort.
Wrath wrap'd in Darkness carries certain Fate,
Revenge were lost, should I profess my Hate.
Vengeance shall gather like a Summer Storm,
No Clouds shall low'r, till Fiends the Deed perform.
Take him, when unprepar'd to stand the Blast,
And make one fatal Stroke, the first and last.


PHysician, thou art worthy of an Empire,
For the great Service done unto our Loves,
And but that fairest LIVIA, bears a Part
In the Requital of thy Faith and Care,
I should despair of having Means or Pow'r,
To make thy Friendship ample Recompence.
[Page 14]
EUDEMUS, I will see it, shall receive
A fit and full Reward, for his large Merit,
In gaining me the great SEJANUS Love.
Which more than tributary Worlds I prize.
Thou brightest Object of my panting Heart,
Thou Joy and Source of ev'ry pleasing Thought;
Not Glory, Fame, or ought on Earth to me,
Can hold a Balance equal to thy Love.
By Heav'n I ne'er knew Transport till this Hour;
My Days have all been idly spent till now.
Like one without the Use of precious Sight,
Long have I stumbled thro' a gloomy Shade;
But now thy Day breaks in upon my Soul,
The Clouds disperse and all around is bright.
How pleasing is the Sound of soothing Words,
From the dear Object of one's tender Love.
But will this ardent Passion ne'er expire;
Can'st thou transgress the Rule of all thy Sex,
So constant prove to keep thy promis'd Faith,
Nor slight Possession of a doating Fool?
Oh! should'st thou negligently fly my Arms,
Should in thy Breast the Flame of Love expire,
Life would no longer then be worth my Care.
Do not my Eyes unfold my inmost Thoughts,
Do they not speak thee Empress of my Soul?
Oh! beauteous Princess, whose transcendent Form
Strikes with Astonishment each wond'ring Eye.
And like the SUN great Nature's Source of Life,
Indulgent Beams to gladden all around.
How dark is all, when thou art from my Eyes?
How tedious Time when thou art from my Arms?
With thee he leaves his Instruments of Flight,
Nor seems to move, when uninspir'd by thee.
Then if in Absence I do ever mourn,
Nor taste of Comfort but when thou art nigh,
Thou need'st not sure suspect declining Love?
Think if I fear 'tis only for thy Sake,
So much thou art the God of my Desires,
[Page 15] So much the Joy and Comfort of my Life,
So much the Object of my hourly Thoughts,
That I would grudge ev'n Heav'n it's Part of thee,
And have thee hail no other Shrine but Love.
It is too much, by all the Pow'rs I swear,
Empires are poor to such Expence of Love,
Nor can a Mortal the large Boon repay.
Nay it would task the mighty Pow'r of Gods,
To give a Blessing of an equal Worth.
Had lov'd SEJANUS been my wedded Lord,
Then had my Hours in Joys transporting pass'd.
But cruel Fate ran counter to my Will,
Join'd me to one, who never shar'd my Heart,
For it has ever waited upon thee.
Why here thou speak'st the Malice of our Fate;
Oh! Gentle Love, were but one Bar remov'd,
The Road to perfect Happiness is plain.
DRUSUS I know thou mean'st, and much I wish,
For thy dear Sake, he now surviv'd no more.
He is thy Enemy, a deadly Foe.
Yet more; should he e'er note our secret Loves,
What sure Destruction must that Period bring?
Heav'ns how I tremble at the rising Thought,
It strikes a Terror to my shiv'ring Heart.
One Way there is quite open to Repose;
If thou dost hold SEJANUS in thy Love,
Nay if thy Life or Peace be worth thy Care,
Thou wilt adventure what I shall propose.
Thou hast the Pow'r, the Means to fix our Peace,
And bid Defiance to the Frowns of Fate.
If I have Pow'r, then Safety is our own.
List then to what Precaution does advise.
In DRUSUS' Death alone our Fears can end.
EUDEMUS shall prepare a potent Draught,
Which thou with Care must mix in DRUSUS Cup:
'Twill give quick Passage to his fleeting Soul,
And we shall taste uninterrupted Joys.
Yet think a little, I'm his wedded Wife,
[Page 16] And tho' he stands not fix'd in my Esteem,
I should not be the Minister of Fate.
'Tis barbarous, nay terrible to think,
And makes my Blood run chilly thro' my Veins.
Is there no gentler Means of Safety left,
But must I perpetrate the horrid Act?
Nature commands us to protect ourselves,
Undaunted then th' important Task perform,
Nor let such pallid Fears assail thy Breast,
Think, if once done, 'twill fix thee safely mine.
Thy Arguments o'er Nature have prevail'd,
Nor will I live with Happiness in View,
And thro' vain Fears reject the hop'd for Bliss.
Fate shall not bar me from my Wish's Lord.
So to preserve SEJANUS wholly mine,
I will administer the fatal Draught,
The Potion which EUDEMUS shall prepare.
Thou bright and reigning Mistress of my Heart,
So much thy Beauty had enflam'd my Soul,
I thought no Pow'r could have enhanc'd my Zeal.
But now I see your Readiness and Will
To execute the sure and only Means
Will fix thy future Happiness and mine,
I own the Constancy inspires my Breast,
And fires my Heart with yet more ardent Love.
A Spirit so aspiring great as thine,
Was ne'er created for an idle Second,
To DRUSUS' languid Flame,—'twas form'd to shine,
Bright as the Moon among the lesser Lights,
And share the Sov'reignty of all the World.
Then LIVIA triumphs in her proper Sphere,
When she and her SEJANUS, shall divide
The Name of CAESAR, and AUGUSTA's Star
Be dim'd with Glory of a brighter Flame.
When AGRIPPINA's Fires are quite extinct,
And the scarce seen TIBERIUS borrows all
His Light from us, whose folded Arms
Shall make one perfect Orb.
[Page 17]
My noble Lord,
To fix our Safety calls for utmost Speed;
Therefore we'll haste to banish anxious Fears:
For since it must be done, it should be soon;
While now the total Softness of my Sex,
Is fled far off, on thy Persuasion's Wing.
Farewell, when next we meet, expect with Joy to hear,
That he who bars thy Way to Empire is no more,
Then judge how far I venture for your Sake.
This one embrace and then, farewell my Love,
Till that blest Hour that makes thee wholly mine,
No perfect Joy can dwell within my Breast.
I will but change your Words, my Lord farewell.
(Exeunt LIVI. and EUDEM.)
If this be not Revenge, when it is done,
And made quite perfect; let AEGYPTIAN slaves,
PARTHIANS and barefoot HEBREWS brand my Face,
And mark my Body full of Injuries.
Thou lost'st thyself, Boy DRUSUS, for to think
Thou could'st outstrip my Vengeance, or withstand
The Pow'r I have to crush thee into Air.
Thy Follies now shall feel what kind of Man
They have provok'd, and thy fond Father's House
Crack in the Flame of my incensed Rage;
Whose Fury shall admit no Shame or Mean.
Adultery?—It is the lightest Ill
I will commit. A Race of wicked Acts
(Such as are stil'd so by your virtuous Fools)
Shall flow out of my Anger, and o'erspread
The World's wide Face; which to Posterity
Shall thunder out the mighty Deeds and Daring,
Of great SEJANUS, Fortune's darling Son.
On then my Soul, nor stop thou in thy Course,
Tho' Heav'n drop Sulphur, and Hell belch out Fire;
Laugh at their idle Terrors; tell proud JOVE,
Between thy Pow'r and his, there are no Odds,
'Twas only Fear, that first created Gods.
[Page 18] Enter SILIUS and SABINUS.
Mark ye how the Beagles of SEJANUS,
Keep beating round the House of AGRIPPINA?
There is some Game here lodg'd, which they must rouse
To make their Master sport.
I note them well.
Did you perceive how much they rail'd at CAESAR?
Meer Gudgeon Baits for us to take the Hook;
If on the Tide of Vice one Virtue floats
Th' industrious Crew catch quickly the Alarm,
And angle for it with their utmost Skill.
AFER their Orator I well observ'd,
He that hath Phrases, Figures and fine Flow'rs
To strew his Rhetoric with, he who flies,
And ever is the foremost to get Note
Where Blood and Gain be Objects, steeps his Words,
(When he would kill) in artificial Tears,
Deceitful as the Crocodile of Nile.
And yet this Man's a Senator of Rome,
And holds a Place among the foremost Rank.
The foremost, now, is a disgraceful Rank,
The very Title Senator a Shame.
By Heav'n 'twere better be a Peasant Drudge,
To toil and labour in the Summer Sun,
Or freeze and shiver 'midst the Winter's Cold,
Than share the Grandeur of our wicked Court.
If I but thought we might not hope a Change,
A Reformation in the State of Things:
I wear a friendly Weapon by my Side,
Should rip out Life, and ease me of the Pain.
A Pain indeed to every noble Mind,
But Hopes must give us Patience to endure.
And they alone can shew the Way to rest.
Say who would suffer the tormenting Pangs,
Which oft attend on bodily Disease,
But thro' the Hopes of fresh returning Health,
To heal their Pains and give them Life anew?
[Page 19]
Behold the noble AGRIPPINA comes.
Whither, my Friends, oh whither shall I fly?
No longer can I find Repose at home;
The Slaves of Power cluster all around,
And watch with haggard Eyes each Step I take.
I fear my Children stand on slipp'ry Ground,
For them a thousand anxious Thoughts crowd in.
I fear those Fiends who boldly dar'd to strike
At so exampless and unblam'd a Life,
As that of the renown'd GERMANICUS,
Will not sit easy with his Death alone.
If, righteous Heav'n, pure Virtue be thy Care,
Why fell GERMANICUS a Villain's Prey?
Who was a Man of ever spotless Fame,
In ev'ry Action nearer to the Gods,
Than Men in Nature by their outward Forms.
The crowding Virtues mingled all in him
So perfect, that he seem'd design'd by Heav'n,
A bright Example for th' admiring World.
And yet this great, and Godlike Hero fell,
A Prey to Treason, and the Foes of Rome.
Oh! that my Eyes had shut out Light with him,
Nor liv'd to shed so many widow'd Tears;
Nor to behold such harsh Oppressions rise,
As now weigh heavy on each ROMAN Breast.
Dark lurking Daggers wait for honest Hearts,
Nor can we claim a certain Day of Life:
Like poor despairing Mariners we roll,
Amidst the Surges of an angry Sea,
And view around a Group of horrid Rocks,
Which, low'ring, fright our Tempest-shaken Souls.
I could with Ease shake off the Load of Life,
And hush my Sorrows in the friendly Grave.
Death has no Terror, in its Sting, to me.
But then, my Sons, they summon all my Care,
Those dearest Pledges of my much lov'd Lord.
The rav'nous Vultures hover o'er their Heads,
[Page 20] And hourly seek to seize them for their Prey.
First perish all, each Traitor piece-meal die.
By all the Love I ever bore GERMANICUS,
By his great Soul, and all we hold most dear,
Long as the Tide of Life shall swell my Veins,
My ev'ry Care shall wait your Royal Race.
Nor shall the last Remains of ROMAN Virtue,
Be sacrific'd, while I have Pow'r to save.
Much am I bound to thank your friendly Zeal,
Thou ha'st a Soul, unfit for modern Days,
And 'spite of Powr ar't Virtue's stedfast Friend.
Such let me ever be, or be no more.
I swerve not so from Honour's rugged Path,
To loll supine upon the Down of Vice,
Or smoothly glide upon her icy Way.
Whene'er I fall to such an abject State.
Let Shame and Poverty o'ertake my Steps.
Such likewise be the Lot mark'd out for me,
When I prefer not Honesty to Gain,
Empire, or ought that Greatness can bestow.
Most gracious Princess, here I offer up
My Life, my Fortune, all I can command,
To save the sacred Lives of you and yours.
Alas, I fear, my Friends, our Strength must fail,
Before the great SEJANUS' Giant Pow'r.
He with his Grasp can crush the State of ROME,
And all our Lives depend upon his Nod.
'Tis true, great Princess, he o'ertops us all,
They only flourish who enjoy his Smiles.
Gods! that TIBERIUS can be so misled,
To let this Minion lord it o'er the State.
Nay o'er himself, and Royal Kindred too.
With Patience see him undermine his Throne,
And subtly steal its chief Supports away.
Then have I not just Cause to fear, my Friends,
That he, who views me with an envious Eye,
And knows my Children lie across his Way,
The Bars to Empire; will by direst Means,
[Page 21] Strive to destroy, and triumph in our Fall?
There is no Safety where Ambition rules.
Ambition is indeed an hellish Fiend;
Where that insatiate savage Fury dwells,
A Train of Vices bear unrival'd Sway,
And such we see presiding now at ROME.
Yet in one Place you have some Safety left.
The noble DRUSUS with sincerest Love
Espouses still the Interest of your Sons.
Therefore be comforted, nor doubt but Heav'n
Will keep them safe from cruel Violation,
As some Attonement for their Father's Death.
When will my niggard Fortune pay your Loves?
Oh! gentle Friends, may those just Powers above,
That read the Hearts of Men, reward your Faith.
Your Words have much compos'd my lab'ring Soul,
And Comfort's Smiles dispel the Gloom of Woe.
Still then remain the Pillars of my Hope,
To you I trust the Safety of my Sons.
Each with an ARGUS Care observe his Charge,
For Tyranny is watchful o'er its Prey.
We will not fail in Duty, or in Love,
Our Loyalty let future Actions prove;
We'll guard 'em safely on the hostile Shore,
And Freedom to this suff'ring Land restore,
Or drag the galling Chain of Life no more.
When Fears assail the Monarch of the World,
SEJANUS, Is't not fatal?
Yes, to those fear'd.
And not to him?
That is impossible,
If, royal Sir, he wisely turns on them
That Part of Fate which in his Pow'r he holds.
That, Nature, Blood, and Laws of kind forbid.
Do Policy and State forbid it?
[Page 22]
Then ought beside is quite unworthy Note,
They must be criminal, if once your Foes.
Think but the Hate which on such Acts attends.
If Hatred frights, think not of sov'reign Pow'r.
All sickly Qualms of Conscience must give Way,
To him that, safely, would possess a Crown.
God's! should the World's great Master be confin'd,
By pedant Rules of Piety and Love,
Nor stop the Progress of aspiring Foes,
Because forbidden by a soft Remorse?
Consider why the Gods have giv'n you Pow'r,
Why plac'd you high on an Imperial Throne,
And made the World dependant on your Nod,
But for your Pow'r to make that World obey?
Know'st thou, SEJANUS, where our Fears arise?
If my Suspicions but accord with yours,
Her, and her proud Race.
Proud—nay, CAESAR full of Danger and Distrust,
For full in them GERMANICUS appears.
The same seditious and repining Spirit,
Dwells in their Breasts, and cankers in their Hearts.
They live t'upbraid us with their Father's Death,
And (if Prevention waits not on our Councils)
My Fears interpret to revenge the same.
There I think thy Fears are without Grounds,
The Act's not known.
Not prov'd, as yet, I grant,
But bab'ling Fame, that busy, meddling Fiend,
Knowledge and Proof does to the Jealous give.
It is not fit the Children long remain,
Who suck in Fury from a Parent's Death.
The latent Sparks may lurk a while unseen,
But once inkindled by seditious Breath,
Bursting to Flame they'll rage destructive round,
And dart at all, nay, CAESAR's sacred Head.
Ha!—Think'st thou, my SEJANUS, they will dare?
The Thunderbolt is never seen till felt,
[Page 23] And then it wounds beyond the Reach of Cure.
Be not secure; none sooner are undone,
Than those whom Confidence betrays to Rest;
Let not your daring make your Danger such;
All Pow'r is fearful once it grows too great:
CAESAR, 'tis Age in all Things breeds Neglect,
And Princes that would keep old Dignity,
Must not admit too youthful Heirs stand by,
Not their own Issue,—but so darkly set,
As Shadows are in Pictures—to give Height
And advantageous Lustre to the rest.
Thou hast convinc'd me of the lurking Danger.
And to prevent the Stroke of ambush'd Fate,
I will command their rank Thoughts lower down,
And with a stricter Hand than yet put forth,
Will bate their Titles, Feasts and Factions.
How thinks your Highness to proceed therein,
The Point is critical, and Care requires?
Confinement shall impending Ills remove.
Their close Cabals, Sedition's Nursery,
Shall be dissolv'd, to frustrate all their Hopes.
They are too great, and that too faint a Blow,
To give them now; it would have serv'd at first,
When with the weakest Blow their Knot had loos'd:
But now your Care must be to keep conceal'd,
Your just Suspicions, from their wary Eyes;
For such who know the Weight of Prince's Pow'r,
If once the least Discovery they note,
Like the seen Snakes will raise their Stings to wound,
Who else had folded in their Circles lain.
The Course must be to let them still swell more,
Riot and surfeit on blind Fortune's Cup.
Give them more Place, more Dignity, more Stile,
A Shew of Friendship is the surest Snare.
Then by some Means take off their strongest Friends;
The Lyon once of Teeth and Fangs bereft,
May roar and rage, to feel th' indignant Lash,
But has no longer Pow'r to oppose.
[Page 24]
We would not kill, could we with Safety spare;
But yet 'tis better give a Grave than Throne.
Is there no Way to bind them by Deserts?
Wolves change their Hair but never change their Hearts.
While a relenting Weakness sways your Mind,
Your erring Reason Safety does oppose:
Self Preservation is the first of Laws.
SEJANUS, thou art still my better Angel,
And I'll no longer mask my Thoughts from thee.
Thy Sentiments accord with mine in all,
And we but prove their Voice in our Designs.
Which by assenting thou hast more confirm'd,
Than if great JOVE, to countenance the Deed,
Had from his hundred Statues bid us strike.—
But say, thou Guide of all our dearest Councils,
Who of the List shall first become our Prey?
If I may rule, 'tis CAIUS SILIUS first;
He is our surest Mark, most full of Danger.
First hurl him down the Precipice of Fate.
By how much his Fall does give the louder Crack,
'Twill send more wounding Terror to the rest:
Command them stand aloof, and make more way
To our surprizing of the Principals.
Were it not well to lop SABINUS off?
Let him grow awhile—he's but a weakly Branch,
He is not ripe for Fate, we must not pluck
At all together; lest we crush ourselves.
Have we the Ground for SILIUS' Accusation?
Trust that to me; let CAESAR by his Pow'r
Command a formal Meeting of the Senate;
I will have Matters and Accusers there.
But how? Were it not better we should consult?
We shall by such Delay (needless to our End)
Lose the Time of Action. Councils are unfit,
In Deeds, where Rest may prove pernicious.
Actions of this close Kind, if once propos'd,
Thrive more by Execution than Advice.
[Page 25]
Do thou prepare the Subject of Conviction,
The Senate shall be summon'd strait to meet.
Thus far each subtle Artifice prevails,
And Fortune's Current in my Favour flows:
Like an indulgent Mother still she smiles,
And guards me from the Outrages of Fate.—
The surest Way to set a Prince in Blood,
Is to make Dangers greater than they are,
By huge Description and the Pomp of Words;
As setting Suns protract the Evening Shades.
Fears are the surest Spur to Cruelty.
Work then my Arts on CAESAR's Fears, till they,
Who stop my Way to Greatness are—remov'd,
Now my EUDEMUS, what's the News thou bear'st?
Sure 'tis important, for thy eager Eyes,
Seem striving to anticipate thy Tongue.
The fatal Draught which I with Care prepar'd,
Was secretly convey'd to DRUSUS' Cup,
Which when receiv'd began to operate.
To countenance the Deed, I strove to help,
And seem'd to wonder at the deadly Fit:
But such the forceful Poison I'd prepar'd,
No human Art the Torments could remove.
So 'spite of all my seeming earnest Care,
His Pain-rack'd Soul burst from its earthly Cage,
And fleeting left the breathless Coarse behind.
Then the chief Pillar of my Fear is fallen.
Now my EUDEMUS think of a Reward,
And task SEJANUS' utmost Means and Pow'r.
Observe that thou in Public mourn his Fate,
And frame by Art some probable Excuse,
To make the People think 'twas Nature's Act;
So dissipate Suspicion of our Guilt.
Doubt not, my Lord, my utmost Art shall work,
To blind Suspicion's penetrating Eye.
[Page 26]
Away then, to be seen with me may cause Distrust,
The lordly Oak has felt the biting Axe,
Whose tow'ring Branches kept me in their Shade.
My Soul disburthen'd of a cumb'rous Weight,
Now lightly bounds, and soars to regal Sway.
Oh! great Ambition (thirst of noble Souls,
Th' inspiring Parent of heroic Deeds)
Do'st thou not smile upon thy awful Throne,
To see the glorious Sacrifice I make,
In adoration of thy Pow'r divine?
If then thy Votary deserves thy Grace,
If I have ever waited on thy Nod,
And bent obedient to thy pow'rful Sway,
Now aid me to the glorious End propos'd.
With Eagle's Wings assist my tow'ring Flight,
Let subject Worlds derive from me their Light;
To fill my Coffers Nature's Riches drain,
Make tributary Kings compose my Train,
And let SEJANUS Lord of Mankind reign.


'TIS only you must urge against him, VARRO,
Nor I, nor CAESAR may appear therein,
Unless in your Defence, who are the CONSUL.
Here are the Notes what Points to touch on, read;
Be subtle in them, AFER has them too.
But is he summon'd?
No, CAESAR has concluded it most fit
To take him unprepar'd.
And prosecute all under Treason's ame.
(They retire conferring.)
What should this Meeting of the Senate be?
That can yon subtle Whisperers tell ye;
We are the good, dull, noble Lookers on,
And only call'd to keep the Marble warm.
What should we do with those deep Mysteries,
Proper to such fine Heads?
See their Action.
Ay! now their Brains are lab'ring, now they work;
Their Souls the Looms of Vice are subtly weaving
Some curious Cobweb, to entangle Flies.—
Hark, this Trumpet speaks TIBERIUS near.
Now they take their Places, mark them well,
And you shall see 'em flatter CAESAR's Grief,
With pageant Sorrow, for his noble Son.
The good SEJANUS too will mourn his Fate.
Enter (to them) TIBERIUS, SATRIUS, NATTA, LATIA­RIS, &c. The Senate sits.
Hail to the Senate and the State of Rome.
Great Emperor to whom our inmost Souls,
With zealous Love and strict Obedience bend;
With weeping Hearts and bitter Pangs of Woe,
Your faithful Senate mourn great DRUSUS Loss.
But Sighs and Tears are poor in such a Cause;
Were it not certain that we all must die,
This Stroke of Fate would claim eternal Woe.
The righteous Gods are just in their Decrees,
They may recal the Blessings they have giv'n,
And Mortals, tho' oppress'd, should not complain.
Much I am bound to thank ye for your Loves,
'Tis true the Loss as Father claims my Tears;
But as the Public is my chiefest Care,
To ROME's Advantage private Griefs give Way.
Our Mother now is struck with hoary Time;
Ourself with aged Characters impress'd,
And DRUSUS gone. We must betimes reflect,
On those that may a timely Succour bring:
[Page 28] Therefore our only glad surviving Hope,
The noble Issue of GERMANICUS,
We to the Senate's Care do recommend,
May all the GODS consent to CAESAR's Wish,
And add to any Honours that may crown,
The Royal Issue of GERMANICUS.
I thank ye, noble Fathers, in their Right,
And since I've been the happy Instrument,
Of your so much desired Affection
To this great Issue; I could wish, the Fates
Would here set peaceful Period to my Days.
However to my Labours, I intreat,
(And beg it of the Senate) some fit Ease.
The Burden is too heavy I sustain,
(On my unwilling Shoulders) And I pray
It may be taken off, and reconfer'd,
Upon the CONSUL or some other ROMAN,
More able, and more worthy than myself.
To be so held, in Guardianship and Trust,
Till the young Princes gain a proper Age.
I know my Weakness and so little covet,
(Like some gone past) that Weight which will oppress,
That my Ambition is the counter Part.
But ROME the mighty Mistress of the World,
Whose Nerves, whose very Life, relies no less
On CAESAR's Strength, than Heav'n on ATLAS,
Cannot admit it without general Ruin.
Ah! Are you there to bring his Highness off.
(A [...]
Let CAESAR then no more decline to rule,
Nor urge a Point that doth so much oppose
His People's Welfare, and his Country's Good.
Though I could wish, nay long to be at Rest;
Yet if Rome's Senators command me serve,
I must be glad to practise my Obedience,
And strive to be whatever they ordain.
Words are but poor to speak our grateful Hearts,
For all those Blessings which you spread around.
[Page 29] Oh! may your Influence continue long,
Still may Prosperity attend your Reign,
Be still our Guardian Angel and our God.
Proceed to the Affairs which call us here.
Stand forth CAIUS SILIUS.
On what Cause?
That thou shalt hear.
What can this mean?
Speak on.
CAIUS SILIUS, for thy late Victory,
Gain'd on SACROVIR thou had'st a Triumph,
Which no Man envied thee; nor would CAESAR or ROME
Admit thee, then to be defrauded
Of any Honours thy Deserts could claim;
In the fair Service of the Common-wealth.
But if—after all these Instances of Love,
It shall appear to CAESAR and the Senate,
Thou hast defil'd these Glories with thy Crimes?
Ha! Say'st thou Crimes?
Patience SILIUS.
Preach Patience to thy Slaves, and not to me,
I am a ROMAN—What are my Crimes?—Pro­claim 'em
Am I too rich, too honest for these Times?
Have I or Treasures, Jewels, House or Lands,
Which some Informer gapes for? Is my Strength
Too much to be admitted, or my Knowledge?
These, in our present State, are counted Crimes.
Nay if the Name of Crimes touch thee so near,
With what Impotence and feeble Vindication,
Wilt thou endure the Matter to be search'd?
I tell thee, AFER, more with Scorn than Fear.
Tho' I'm to stand against thy Heart and Tongue,
Those mercenary Tools of bribing Knaves:
Where's my Accuser of these mighty Crimes?
Here, 'tis I that will accuse thee, SILIUS
Against the Majesty of ROME and CAESAR,
[Page 30] I do pronounce thee a most guilty Cause,
Of drawing out the War in GALLIA,
For which thou late did'st triumph, dissembling long
That SACROVIR to be an Enemy,
Only to make thy Entertainment more,
Whilst thou tyrannically poll'd the Province.
Wherein by base Desires of sordid Gain,
Thou hast discredited thy Actions worth,
And been a Traitor to the State.
'Tis false.
If I not prove it, CAESAR, but unjustly
Have call'd him unto Trial here; I bind
Myself to suffer what I claim 'gainst him,
And yield, to have what I have spoke confirm'd,
By Judgment of the Court and all good Men.
CAESAR I move to have my Cause deferr'd,
Till this Man's Consulship be out.
We cannot,
Must not grant it.
Why shall he mark out
My Day of Trial? Is he my Accuser?
And shall he be my Judge?
It hath been usual,
And is a Right which Custom hath allow'd
The Magistrate, to call forth private Men,
And to appoint the Day,—which Privilege
We must not in the CONSUL see infring'd.
CAESAR, this Fraud is worse than Violence,
SILIUS, mistake us not, we dare not use
The Credit of the CONSUL, to thy Wrong:
But only do preserve his Place and Pow'r,
So far as it concerns the Dignity
And Honour of the State,—by the CAPITOL!
And all the Gods I swear—but that the dear Republic,
Our sacred Laws and just Authority,
Are interess'd therein, I should be silent.
Please, CAESAR, to give Way unto his Trial.
He shall have Justice.
[Page 31]
Nay I shall have Law,
Shall I not, AFER? Speak.
Would you have more?
No! My fine Orator, I would no more,
Nor less, might I enjoy it natural.
Divested of your undermining Arts;
Not taught to speak unto your present Ends,
Free from thine, his, and all your cruel handling,
Foul wresting, and impossible Construction.
He raves! He raves!
Thou durst not tell me so,
Had'st thou not CAESAR's Warrant; I can see
Whose Pow'r condemns me.
This betrays his Spirit,
This doth enough declare him what he is.
What am I? speak.
An Enemy to the State.
What? because I am an Enemy to thee,
And such corrupted Ministers of th' State,
That here art made a present Instrument,
To gratify it, by thy own Disgrace?
This to the CONSUL is most insolent,
And impious. if Magistrates are thus despis'd!
If the rude Tongue of Slander thus may wound,
Where reverential Awe should Duty pay,
Bondmen and Slaves may rule it o'er the State?
Ev'n this alone is criminal enough.
It speaks aloud a daring Rebel Mind.—
A Pride above Authority should fall.
Right, vindicate your Deeds, reveal yourselves.
Alas! I scent not your Confederacies,
Your Plots and subtle Combinations.
Think'st thou COLOSSUS of the ROMAN State,
I am so blind as not to see thy Hate?
To know that all this Boast of Law's, but form,
A Net of VULCAN's filing, a meer Engine,
To take that Life, by a Pretext of Justice,
Which you pursue in Malice?—Oh! ye GODS!
[Page 32] Whom not a World of wolf-turn'd Men,
Shall make me to accuse, howe'er provok'd.
Have I for this so oft' engag'd myself?
Stood in the Heat and Fervour of the Fight,
When PHAEBUS sooner has forsook the Sky,
Than I the Field?—Against the blue-ey'd GAULS,
And crisped GERMANS; when our ROMAN EAGLES,
Have fann'd the Fires of War with lab'ring Wings,
And no Blow dealt, that left not Death behind it.
When I have charg'd, alone, into the Troops
Of curled SICAMBRIANS, routed them, and came
Not off with backward Ensigns of a Slave,
But Marks, in Front; Wounds on this faithful Breast,
Were fest for thee, O CAESAR, and thy ROME.
And have I this Return?—did I for this,
Perform so noble and so brave Defeat
On SACROVIR? Great JOVE! Let it become me
To boast my Deeds, when they whom they concern,
Can thus forget them.
These are the common Customs of thy Blood,
When it is high with Wine, as now with Rage.
This well agrees with the intemperate Vaunt,
Which late thou mad'st at Agrippina's House.
That when all other of the Troops were prone
To fall into Rebellion, only yours
Remain'd in their Obedience.—You were he
That sav'd the Empire—which had else been lost,
Had but your Legions at that Time rebell'd.
Your Virtue met, and fronted ev'ry Peril,
You gave to CAESAR and to ROME their Safety.
Their Name, their Strength, their Spirit and their State,
Their very Being's Donative from you.
Is this true, SILIUS?
Save thy Question, CAESAR,
Thy Spy of matchless Credit has affirm'd it.
If this be so, there needs no farther Cause
Of Crime against him?—What can more impeach
[Page 33] The royal Dignity and State of CAESAR,
Than to be urged with a Benefit
He cannot pay?—In this, all CAESAR's Pow'r
Is made unequal to the Courtesy.
His Means are all destroy'd, that should requite.
Nothing is great enough for SILIUS Merit.
His huge Deserts not Royalty can pay.
Why do ye strain Invention—thus hunt
And labour so about for Circumstance
To prove him guilty whom ye have foredoom'd?
Take shorter Ways—I'll meet your Purposes.
The Words were mine,—and now I more will say,
Since I have done thee such great Service, CAESAR,
Thou still hast fear'd me, and instead of Grace
Return'd me Hatred—so soon all Deserts,
With jealous Princes, turn deep Injuries
In Estimation when they higher rise,
Than can be answer'd, with your utmost Ease.
Your Studies are not how to thank, but kill.
It is your Nature to have all Men Slaves,
And he that might your dearest Friendship claim,
Shall soonest perish, if he stand in View,
Where he but front, or may oppose the Great.
Suffer him speak no more,—mark well his Spirit.
This shews him in the rest, let him be censur'd,
For proud Rebellion speaks in ev'ry Word.
He hath said enough to prove him CAESAR's Foe.
Such self Sufficiency and vaunting Pride,
Will ever hold the State in Disregard.
A turbulent and still repining Spirit,
Is to the Constitution a Disease,
And may prove mortal, if not quickly mov'd.
Therefore 'tis just immediate Censure pass.
Stay, busy Senate, yet a Moment stay.
Since I must fall a Prey to factious Vice,
And feel th' Effect of great SEJANUS Pow'r,
'Tis fit I ease the Burden of my Mind,
And hold a Mirror to your dazzled Eyes.
[Page 34] That you are ROMANS, being Sons of ROME,
The World allows; and therefore so are stil'd:
But where's the ROMAN Attributes my Friends
The Virtues which should ever wait the Name?
That Independency, and Justice uncorrupt,
Which plac'd your Ancestors in Rolls of Fame,
And set them up so high to mate with Gods?
Would they have been the Instruments of Pow'r,
And taught their Voices to obey Command?—
But I have done,—yet think not I have plac'd,
My Guards within me, against Fortune's Spite,
So weakly, but I can escape your Gripe,
That are but Hands of Fortune—she herself
When Virtue does oppose, must lose her Force.
All that can happen in this brittle Life,
The Frown of CAESAR, great SEJANUS Hatred,
Base VARRO's Spleen and AFER's bloodying Tongue [...]
The Senate's servile Flatt'ry—all these,
Muster'd to kill, I'm fortified against,
And can look down upon, they are beneath me.
It is not Life whereof I stand enamour'd,
Nor shall my End make me accuse my Fate.
The Coward and the Brave must one Time fall,
Only the Cause and Manner how, distinguish,
ROMANS if any be in this assembled SENATE,
Who'd know to mock TIBERIUS Tyranny?
Look upon SILIUS, and, so, learn to die.
(Stabs himself.)
Oh! Desperate Rage.
An honourable Hand.
My Thought did prompt him, SILIUS farewel,
Be ever famous for this glorious Deed.
Is he dead?
Ay! to thy Vengeance CAESAR,
Thus hath my Arm for Freedom, ever struck;
And been successful in the noble Cause.
Thus do I end an honourable Life;
Nor would I, to exist in such bad Times,
[Page 35] Had I the Pow'r; prevent the Ebb of Life.
Oh! Death thy Terrors are transform'd to Smiles,
And thy harsh Gripe, now, proves a fond Embrace.
We are not pleas'd with this sad Accident,
Which hath so suddenly prevented Mercy,
That we intended to this noble ROMAN.
Excellent Wolf, now, he is full, he howls.
Most mighty CAESAR's Clemency doth Wrong,
His Dignity,—nay Safety, thus to mourn,
The End deserv'd of so profess'd a Traitor.
An ill tim'd Lenity doth still instruct,
Others as factious to the like Offence.
Remove the Body—let Citation
Be issu'd for his Wife—let her be proscrib'd—
And for the Goods, I think it meet, that half
Go to the Publick, and to his Children half.
Let this be ratified in our Decree,
Other Offenders we'll at Leisure try.
And for this Meeting break the Senate up.
Father's I do commend me to your Loves.
(Exeunt Senators.)
This, my SEJANUS, hath succeeded well,
And quite remov'd all jealousy of Practice,
'gainst AGRIPPINA and our Nephews—: Now
We must bethink us how to plant our Engines.
For t'other Pair, SABINUS and ARRUNTIUS,
Nay and GALLUS too. Howe'er he flatters us,
His Heart we know.
Give it some Respite, CAESAR,
Time shall mature and bring to perfect End,
What with such goodly Vizors we've begun.
SABINUS shall be next.
Thou dearest Friend,
To thy sage Council will TIBERIUS yield:
For well thy Zeal and Loyalty we know.
[Page 36] Go forward in our main Design, and prosper.
The chief of my Designs, I hope, will thrive,
Nor can it fail, while thou art thus misled.
Hear then my Flatteries digest my Schemes,
And may they lay that Hold upon thy Senses,
As thou had'st snuff'd up Hemlock, or ta'en down
The Juice of Poppy and MANDRAGORA.
Think me the chief Foundation of thy Throne,
And lean secure thy Weight upon my Care:
Till subtle Artifice can find a Time
To slip—and let thee tumble from thy Height.
Then on thy Ruins soar to regal Sway,
And smile in Triumph at thy abject Fall.
Already by Hypocrisy I've gain'd,
A Knowledge of his secretest Affairs.
Drawn all Dispatches through my private Hands,
Know his Designments, and pursue my own.
Make my own Strength by giving secret Bribes,
Conferring Dignities and Offices.
The Minister who would betray his Prince
Must many large Dependencies appoint,
And those through Int'rest will defend his Cause.
When once I clap my Foot upon the Throne,
Even those who hate me now, will own my Sway;
For when they see me Arbiter of all,
They must observe, or else with CAESAR fall.


WHY are my Thoughts still ministring fresh Pain?
Why are new Cares still rank'ling in my Mind?
Nature aloud calls out for balmy Rest,
But all in vain. My ever waking Soul,
Sits brooding o'er a Train of Images,
That constant rise in terrible Array,
And shrink my Resolution into Fears.
But wherefore should vain Fancies thus appall?
Is not an Empire subject to my Rule?
Have I not all that Fortune could bestow;
In ev'ry Thing but Name, an Emperor!
Is not Ambition glutted with my Store?
And yet that faithful Mirror of the Mind,
Reflection, still a gloomy Prospect shews.
Remorse the Raven of a guilty Mind,
Is ever croaking horrid in my Ear;
Often I rouse to banish it away,
But the Tormentor still returns again,
And like PROMETHES' Vulture, ever gnaws.
What then is Glory, without soft Repose?
If sweet Content is banish'd from my Soul,
Life grows a Burden, and a Weight of Woe.
Oh! that I could run o'er my Race again,
Then would I chuse to tread the humble Vale,
Nor lab'ring climb up Greatness painful Hill.
But my past Deeds have set me beyond Cure,
And I must still go on or worse endure.
Assist me, Furies, with your hellish Aid,
Nor let the Tyrant Conscience more invade;
Since I am stain'd with Blood, thro' Blood I'll wade.
[Page 38] Enter EUDEMUS.
Wherefore, EUDEMUS, are these earnest Looks?
My Lord, the Princess LIVIA—
What of her?
Struck with Remorse now flies distracted round,
And vows she'll speak the Cause of DRUSUS' Death.
From whence this unexpected curst Mischance?
She says that DRUSUS' Shade appear'd last Night,
And charg'd her all your Actions to reveal;
As some Attonement for her guilty Life.
Possess'd of this she flies o'er all the House,
Crying aloud for Vengeance on SEJANUS.
A Tongue whose Words are of such dire Import,
Should not be suffer'd to have Motion free;
She must be silenc'd or she ruins all.
They shall be try'd, and tho' I loath her Sight,
(So much Enjoyment has pall'd all Desire)
Yet I will speak to her in raptur'd Phrase.
If the dissembl'd Passion can prevail,
No farther we'll proceed—but if it fails,
Then our own Safety loudly claims her Death.
But see, she comes—EUDEMUS thou retire.
Enter LIVIA.
Where is the Monster that ensnar'd my Soul?
Oh thou Fiend of Mankind, most accurst,
Death of my Honour, Instrument of Shame,
How can'st thou stand in open Face of Day?
Thou should'st cohabit with the Gloom of Night,
Emblem and Picture of thy Cloud wrap'd Soul.
Doth not the Sound of Murder haunt thine Ear,
And lawless Love invade thy hellish Heart?
Or can the Fiends, Projectors of thy Deeds,
Afford thee Strength of Mind at all to smile,
And brave the Justice of avenging Heav'n?
Hark! the murder'd DRUSUS calls upon thee,
And groans for Vengeance from the Womb of Earth.
[Page 39]
Does LIVIA then upbraid the Act of Love,
What but thy Beauty could provoke that Deed?
For thee I would have sacrific'd the World,
And with the World have thought thee cheaply won;
That art the Joy and Comfort of my Life.
Imbitter not thy Sweetness with Reproach;
But calm the raging Tempest of thy Soul,
Nor let these phantom Thoughts disturb thy Mind.
Thro' me the God of Love invites to Peace,
And, smiling, gently wooes thee to be blest.
Too well I know thy base designing Heart,
And the dissembling of thy fine spun Phrase,
To fall a second Time thy easy Prey.
I have already lost my Peace of Mind.
Quick crowding Horrors compass me around,
And Life is burthensome with cumbrous Pain.
Reflection makes me curse my natal Hour,
The hallow'd Womb of her who gave me Birth;
The Pow'rs who have permitted me to live,
The Day, the Night, the Race of human Kind,
But chiefly thee, who led me first astray.
Thou could'st not stray and find such ardent Love.
The Gods are envious of our perfect Bliss,
Thinking it more than Mortals should possess
They mingle this Perplexity of Mind,
To disconcert, and bitter all our Joys.
What Joys? Do any Joys remain in Hell,
Or what's the same, a Croud of guilty Thoughts?
Who can repose upon a Bed of Thorns?
Yet that were Pleasures to the Pangs I feel.
Envelop'd with Despair, I wish to die:
But Conscience whispers to my lab'ring Soul,
I shall not rest from Torture in the Grave;
But find that awful, silent Bed of Death,
The gloomy Mansion of eternal Woe.
I'll fondly sooth the Sorrows of thy Breast,
If thou wilt kindly take me for thy Guide,
And shew the Way to Comfort and to Peace:
[Page 40] Nor shalt thou labour thro' a thorny Path.
Let not SEJANUS plead his Cause in vain,
But as he claims in thy Affection place,
As thou hast blest him with thy heavenly Charms,
And once did listen mildly to his Vows.—
Blast the Remembrance of the hateful Time,
Oh! that great Jove upon that cursed Day,
Wherein I gave up Innocence and Fame,
Had struck me with a Thunderbolt to Earth.
I then had been a Subject of the Grave,
And never known a Guilt so great, so dire.
But wherefore should I thus protract thy Life?
Great CAESAR shall behold thy worthy Deeds,
'Tis he shall thank thee for his murder'd Son.
He shall behold thee in thy proper Light,
Just as thou art, the Serpent of his Blood.
Stay yet a Moment, lovely Princess, stay,
Why would you strive to ruin thus the Man,
That knows no Blessing equal to thy Smiles?
Nay on thy self bring dreadful Ruin down,
For such must wait thy unadvised Tale.
If thou can'st bid me die, then Life farewell,
For all is lost, if I am lost to thee.
Nor would I live to hear thee wish me dead,
Were I convinc'd thy cooler Reason rul'd.
But well I know the Fever of the Mind,
This sudden Gust that irritates thy Soul,
On calm Reflection will abate and cease.
Go in, my Love, enjoy a short Repose,
And lull thy ruffled Thoughts with healing Rest.
I'll bring a Cordial shall compose thy Cares,
And banish all Phantasmas from thy Brain.
I guess the friendly Purpose of your Heart,
And know the healing Balm you have prepar'd.
It is a Med'cine I'd receive with Joy,
If thou wer't not to triumph in my Fall,
And longer live a Burden to the Earth.
Think not thy Cobweb Arts shall now prevail,
[Page 41] They are too flimsy to oppose my Rage.
Heav'n is grown weary with thy num'rous Crimes,
Which cry aloud, and bellow for Revenge.
The Arm of Fate now brandishes her Dart,
That is to mark thy Body for the Grave,
And hurl thy impious Soul to blackest Hell.
Then since thy Reign is drawing near a Close,
I will be foremost to compleat thy Fall.
This to my injur'd Husband here I vow.
It must be so—I'll stab her treach'rous Heart,
Her Death till proper Time may be conceal'd.
Since then relentless Rage thus rules thy Breast,
And thy SEJANUS must a Victim fall,
Give one Embrace to comfort him in Death.
When thou shalt see me in my dying Pangs,
Drop but one Tear in Pity to my Fate,
And that will smooth her most tormenting Frowns.
If ev'ry Joy were only in my Gift,
I would disperse them among common Slaves,
And lavish them on ev'ry abject Wretch,
E'er give a Grain of Happiness to thee.
Therefore expect the dread Approach of Fate,
When thou wilt curse thy horrid Crimes too late:
When thou shalt be expos'd to public Shame,
And hear the Rabble Crowds revile thy Name.
Blasted by me, thou shalt fall headlong down,
And Tortures meet, for an imperial Crown.
All thy ambitious Hopes in Death shall end,
Without the Comfort of one pitying Friend.
As thou hast ever labour'd to enthral,
And hated liv'd, despis'd by Slaves thou'lt fall.
With Rapture all must view thee Gasp in Death,
And bless the Moment of thy parting Breath.
Nay then I will prevent thy purpos'd Tale.—
[Page 42] LIVIA goes out, he draws his Sword to follow her, and the Ghost of DRUSUS rising prevents him.
Ha! What Daemon has the Sorceress rais'd?
SEJANUS, from the Cave of Death I'm come,
To wound thy Heart with thy approaching Doom.
Why am I thus! all Pow'r of Motion lost.
My Limbs deny their Office and are numb'd,
My throbbing Heart, leaps as 'twould break its Bounds,
My Eye-strings strain with Horror at the Sight,
And ev'ry Nerve is touch'd with the Surprize.
Art thou in Substance real, or a Shade,
Which troubled Fancy raises to my View?
I am the murder'd DRUSUS' vengeful Shade,
By thy vile Plots to sudden Death betray'd.
Tremble to hear the Hour is drawing nigh,
Wherein thou wilt, bereft of Greatness, die.
Thy Titles, Pomp and Heaps of sordid Gain
Will then be found most transitory vain,
Nor give thee aught but everlasting Pain.
Like an ill-founded Fabrick shalt thou fall,
And with Fate struggling, may'st for Mercy call;
But no one God will take the smallest Care,
To ease: the racking Torments of Despair.
A guilty Mind shall pain thy latest Hour,
And Conscience all thy future Peace devour.
When down the Precipice of Fate thou'rt hur'ld,
I'll meet and hunt thee thro' the future World.
Oh! Resolution whither art thou fled?
Why is my Soul thus shook with abject Fear?
Why does my Blood run chilly thro' my Veins,
As if the Spectre still remain'd in View?
What, ho' EUDEMUS, come thou to my Aid.
Why looks, my Lord, so much appall'd with Fear?
Why speak your Eyes such Terror and Amaze?
[Page 43]
Oh! my EUDEMUS, they've beheld a Sight
Enough to turn Spectators into Stone.
The Shade of DRUSUS came before me here,
And spoke such Words of Terror to my Soul,
That much I fear, Content will ne'er return.
My Lord, encourage not such idle Dreams
Unless you mean to sacrifice yourself.
What dost thou call a Dream? Is't possible
My Eyes could err with ev'ry Sense awake,
And all my Intellects in order rang'd?
As plain as thou, he stood before me here.
I am not easily o'ercome with Fear,
But when the silent Tomb yields up its Store,
Nature will start, and tremble to behold.
But what design you with the Princess, Sir?
Ha! Midst my Fears, she had escap'd my Thoughts.
Has she got forth to blast us with her Tongue,
Must all our Glory earn'd with Pains and Care,
Our Greatness' Structure fall a Woman's Prey?
She struggl'd to get forth, but, knowing well
How fatal that might prove, I cross'd her Way.
And by so doing thou hast baffled Fate,
For with her Breath we'll stop her bab'ling Tongue.
No living Foes shall whisper dangerous Tales,
If the Dead speak, 'tis what we can't prevent.
Therefore come thou assist me in this Deed.
E'er we will fail, let wounded Nature bleed,
And tho' Stars frighted drop from out their Spheres,
We'll drown in Blood, all our convulsive Fears.
Spite of the thund'ring Gods we'll stem the Tide,
And cast Adversity on either Side:
Till Fate, thus conquer'd, shall be forc'd to own,
That daring Minds reign, uncontroul'd, alone,
And ev'ry Act is just to gain a Throne.
Still dost thou suffer Heav'n?—Will no Flame,
[Page 44] No Heat of Guilt make thy just Rage to boil,
In thy distemper'd Bosom, and o'erflow
The pitchy Blazes of Impiety,
Kindled beneath thy Throne?—Still can'st thou sleep
Patient, while Vice doth make an antick Face,
At thy dread Pow'r?—JOVE, will nothing wake thee?
Must vile SEJANUS pull thee by the Beard,
E'er thou wilt ope thy stern-lidded Eye,
And frown him dead?—we'll snore on dreaming Gods,
And let the last of the proud Giant Race,
Heave Mountain upon Mountain 'gainst your State.—
Pardon me Fortune and ye sacred Pow'rs,
Whom I expostulating have profan'd.
I see what's equal to a Prodigy,
A great, an honest and a noble ROMAN
Live an old Man—Oh MARCUS LEPIDUS,
When is our Turn to bleed—thou and I
Without a Boast are almost all the few
Left to be honest in these impious Times.
What we are left to be, we'll be, ARRUNTIUS,
Tho' Tyranny did stare as wide as Death
To fright us from it.
It hath so on SABINUS.
I saw him now drawn from the GEMONIES
A piteous Object of tyrannic Hate.
We are the next, the Hook lays hold on MARCUS,
What are thy Arts, good Patriot, tell them me,
That have preserv'd thy Hairs to that white Dye,
And kept so reverend and so good a Head,
Safe on its comely Shoulders.
None but the plain and passive Fortitude,
To suffer and be silent, never to stretch these Arms,
Against the Torrent, live at home
With my own Thoughts and Innocence about me.
[Page 45]
I would begin to study them, if I thought
Security were worth the smallest Care.
There is a Piece of News, thou hast not heard,
Which were we not enur'd so much to Pain,
Thy honest Bosom would, I am certain, feel.
But we have almost lost the Sense of Ills,
Our young Prince NERO is by a sudden Order
Of his good Uncle's banish'd into PONTIA.
How! Has the Wolf then got among the Lambs.
And DRUSUS the younger Brother's Prisoner here.
But soft the wretched AGRIPPINA comes.
Most injur'd Princess of all Joys bereft.
Oh! all ye Pow'rs that rule this nether World,
Why have I liv'd to see this woeful Day?
To have my Blood ta'en from me Drop by Drop,
To have my Children torn away by Force,
And made the Prey of base SEJANUS Pow'r?
You must have Patience, royal AGRIPPINA,
Who can have Patience 'midst such Shocks of Fate?
Philosophy is vanquish'd in the Strife,
And Ills conflicting rouse the Passions up.
Not only Nature calls upon me now,
But e'en Humanity demands my Rage.
Who that is just can see Oppression Fall,
And crush the Innocent, with equal Mind?
Patience were now unworthy of my Soul:
I will have Vengeance, and that were Nectar
To my famish'd Spirits—Oh! my Fortune!
Let it be sudden thou prepar'st against me,
And ease me from the Torments of Suspence,
If my poor Children are to fall in Death,
Strike all my Pow'rs of Understanding blind:
[Page 46] Let me not fear that cannot hope.
Dear Princess!
These Torments on yourself are worse than CAESAR's.
Was it to make them Prisoners and Slaves,
He gave his Nephews to the Senate's Care?
Curst be the Arts of all such wicked Men.
Just Heav'n with Patience hear my humble Pray'r,
May base SEJANUS feel thy Wrath divine,
Make him a dire Example amongst Men;
Let but his Fate be equal to his Crimes,
And keenest Malice could not wish for more.
To that all honest Souls will say AMEN.
Is it the Happiness of being great,
Still to be aim'd at, still to be suspected?
To live the Subject of all Jealousies?
Of ev'ry painted Danger? Who would not chuse
Once to fall, than thus to hang for ever?
In all things we are taught to hope the best,
'Tis true the monstrous Actions of these Times,
The daily Cruelties that wound our Eyes,
Have left us but the Shadow of faint Hopes.
Nay not so much, 'tis vanish'd all and fled.
Hope to a Flatterer is now transform'd,
A perfect Courtier to betray with Smiles,
And if encourag'd, would secure us still,
To deeper Ruin in the Gulph of Fate.
We therefore must expect the worst can come,
And that will as a Preparation serve,
To mitigate the Torments we may feel.
As for my Part I think of nought but Woes,
For oh! most sure, the fatal Trap is laid,
And the next Step may noose us in the Snare.
'Tis true the Terrors which afflict this Land,
Seem to point out the Cave of dark Despair;
Yet Heav'n in Pity to our Suff'rings here,
I doubt not will clear up the present Gloom,
And in its gracious providential Care,
Make you and yours, in Joy and Safety live.
[Page 47]
To that our Expectation cannot strain,
No Place is safe, but that where nothing is:
While thus you stand by me, you are not safe,
Was SILIUS safe? or poor SABINUS safe?
They were the strict Espousers of my Cause,
And therefore fell to rav'nous Wolves a Prey.
Therefore away, no long Stay by me.
Here to be seen is Danger, to speak, Treason,
To do me least Observance, is call'd Faction,
Leave me I pray, and let us live apart,
Nor in my Ruin sepulchre my Friends.
In Separation all our Safety dwells.
Then let's divide the Children of Despair,
To sigh in Shades, and ruminate on Care.
If the just Gods in Pity to our State,
Kindly avert the dreadful Frowns of Fate,
(And free us from these arbitrary Slaves,)
Like Mariners escap'd tempestuous Waves,
Smiling we'll meet upon the friendly Shore,
Nor longer dread the angry Waters Roar;
But praising Heav'n for all our Dangers past,
Implore its Aid to make the Blessing last.
The Deed is done, and LIVIA breaths no more,
Now all my Fears in her are safe secur'd.
Hark! methought I heard her Voice—it cannot be,
Unless the Daemons have restor'd her Life.
Enter NATTA.
Safety to great SEJANUS.
Hear's not, my Lord, the Wonder?
No! speak it.
I meet it violent in the People's Mouths,
Who run in Crowds to POMPEY's Theatre,
To view your Statue; which they say sends forth
[Page 48] A Smoak, as from a Furnace black and dreadful.
Some Traitor has put Fire in to stir the People.
Some Slave has practis'd an Imposture on't.
Go,—order the Head be instantly ta'en off.
My Lord! the Head's already taken off,
I saw it, and at the opening there leap'd forth
A great, and monst'rous Serpent.
Monst'rous! why monst'rous?
Had it a Head and Horns? No Heart—a Tongue,
Forked as Flattery? Look'd it of the Hue
To such as live in great Men's Bosoms?
May it please the most divine SEJANUS,
I have not seen one more extended,
Foul, venomous and hateful to the Sight.
If I may judge, it is a Prodigy,
And other Omens do concur therein.
My Lord, in taking your last Augury,
No prosp'rous Bird appear'd—ill-boding Ravens
Hover'd up and down—and from the Sacrifice,
Flew to the Prison, where they perch'd all Night,
Flapping the Air with their expanded Wings.
I dare not counsel, but I could entreat,
That great SEJANUS would attempt the Gods,
Once more with Sacrifice.
Of all the Throng that fills th' OLYMPIAN Hall,
I know not that one Deity but FORTUNE,
To whom I would throw up in begging Smoak
One Grain of Incense; Or whose Favour buy
At smallest Cost. Her I indeed adore,
And always keep her Image in my House.
Then bid the Priest for Sacrifice prepare,
These Omens soon we'll vanish into Air,
And you with Shame your idle Fears confess,
When Fortune smiling shall my Off'ring bless.


FORTUNE, pow'rful Goddess hail,
To our Off'rings now attend;
To thee in all Things we appeal,
And to thy Shrine thus humbly bend.
Raise, raise, your Voices raise,
Loudly sing the Goddess Praise,
And let the sprightly Notes resound,
Thro' the Vaulted Roof around.
Crown with Bliss thy darling Son,
On our great SEJANUS Smile;
Bless the Works he has begun,
And Glory still on Glory pile.
So we will rejoice in thee,
Hail thy Name,
And sound thy Fame,
While the Years in Transport flee.
[Page 50] After the ODE SEJANUS speaks.
THOU darling Goddess of my Soul,
Who can the Frowns of Fate controul;
As on thee I ever call,
Selected from th' OLYMPIAN Hall.
And to thee constant Homage pay,
Grant the Things which now I pray.
Ne'er let Adversity presume,
To cloud with worse than STYGIAN GLOOM:
But crown his Hopes with high Success,
Who does thy boundless Pow'r confess.
And off'ring Incense at thy Shrine,
Pays thee Homage most Divine.
Some there are of human-kind,
Will madly vouch that thou art blind,
To real Merit still unkind.
Such empty bab'ling Fools there are,
The Children of dark brooding Care.
But I adore thy just Decrees,
And therefore still desire to please.
Then as a Token of thy Love,
Smile propitious from above.
Brightest Goddess of the Skies,
Accept and grace my Sacrifice.
(Thunder and Lightning, the Image turns away.)
Behold! the Image starts, and turns away.
Avert this dreadful Omen, sacred Powers,
Somewhat the anger'd Goddess does displease.
Hold, babling Priest, your vile Constructions hold.
Can it not thunder but you shake with Fear?
[Page 51] Why should you still interpret things the worst?
This Riddle I can easily expound.
FORTUNE's asham'd to see me bend and pray,
That am more like a Deity than her.
She always hath my faithful Servant been;
Would not a Bondman blush, and turn away,
If he beheld his Lord and Master kneel,
Praying for that which he might well command?
Goddess, I thank thee for this just Rebuke,
And will possess the Honours thou hast giv'n,
Untainted by Religion's sickly Qualms.
I blush to think Credulity could move,
Or win me to such base Servility.
Thunder and Lightning, the Image of Fortune breaks to Pieces, and DRUSUS' Ghost appears on the Pedestal in its Room.
Behold, my Lord, this sudden wond'rous Change.
The very Form of DRUSUS as he liv'd,
It is an Object terrible to Sight.
Wherefore should this be, or whence the Cause?
Our Eyes deceive us and there's no such thing.
Nay, my Lord, the Vision is most plain,
The Proof speaks loudly in the dread Effects;
The Blood hath left your Cheeks, mine too runs cold,
And all around are struck with wild Amaze.
Why should it thus appall?—Hence pale Shade,
Nor longer shake our Souls with abject Fears;
Make not our Eyes thus Poinards to our Hearts.
Hence to the gloomy Cave of silent Death,
And wrap thyself in everlasting Night.
(Ghost sinks.)
[Page 52]
Lo! Behold it vanisheth.
So, 'tis gone,
The Gods have sent this Phantom to affright,
And punish for mistrusting of their Care.
My Lord, 'twere best the AUGURS were con­sulted,
It hap'ly may prevent approaching Ills.
When the Gods threaten thus, they should be fear'd.
I tell thee, Priest, I have explain'd the Cause,
Why should we pray who never yet have fail'd?
Let them implore who labour under Ills;
When FORTUNE freely gives us all we wish,
'Tis Avarice to importune for more.
This, and this only causes her to frown.
'Tis wonderful.
And fatal much I fear.
Give to the Winds your Fears, they're idly vain,
And serve but for unnecessary Pain.
Let us such phantom Prodigies despise,
They never should appall the bold and Wise,
Howe'er my Nerves may tremble at the sight,
My daring Soul it never shall affright.
Hath our most dear SEJANUS yet been call'd,
Our Court were vacant should he not appear;
He is the very Basis of our Throne,
And valu'd Partner of our inmost Thoughts.
'Tis true, most mighty, and Imperial CAESAR,
He is much more than Eloquence can speak.
His Bosom glows with firmest Patriot Zeal,
His King and Country are his chiefest Care.
[Page 53]
VARRO, thou speak'st the Meaning of my Heart:
For such he always has appear'd to me.
Therefore I've labour'd to advance him high,
And still my Favours shall in Bounty flow;
Let him be summon'd with the utmost Speed
To meet the Senate.
I'll wait upon his Lordship,
And speak great CAESAR's Message, whose Com­mands
I'm well assur'd are Musick to his Ears,
And utmost Pleasure to his loyal Heart.
I shall gain some Advancement by my Care.
We shall expect him on the Instant—Lead.
If in hereafter I could meet with Ease,
Were it not well to cast off loathsome Life?
If it were good, the Change is easy wrought.
Would Being end with our expiring Breath,
How soon Misfortune could be puff'd away?
A trifling Shock can shiver us to Dust.
But the Existence of the immortal Soul,
Futurities dark Road perplexes still.
Tho' in fair Liberty's and Virtue's Cause
'Tis Honour's chiefest, fairest Deed to die,
To me 'twould furnish everlasting Pain.
If the frail Body feels disorder'd Pangs,
Then Drugs medicinal can give us Ease;
The Soul, no AESCULAPIAN Medicine can cure,
And 'tis the Soul that ever must survive;
Therefore who dies to ease a guilty Soul,
Flies like the Moth into a deadly Flame.
Where is the Refuge then for wretched Man,
[Page 54] Loaded with Guilt and circled round with Crimes,
Reflective Thought administring fresh Pain?
Plung'd in the Gulph of Misery so far,
That strugling, serves but to immerge him more.
I am so tangled in the Mesh of Fate,
I cannot fortify my Breast, nor guard
Against the Horrors of besieging Crimes,
They will rush in, in spite of all my Cares,
Crowding they tear, and harrass my rack'd Soul.
Oh! that Oblivion could with Crowns be bought,
Then, and then only can I hope for Ease.
But I must bear me up to public View,
Or all will be inevitably lost.
Enter AFER.
Hail to the noblest, most renown'd of ROME.
By CAESAR's Order is the Senate met.
Greeting he sends a Summons to SEJANUS.
The Senate call'd so suddenly to meet,
And I not pre-acquainted with the Cause;
Sure CAESAR's Love decays, or my fell Foes
Have o'er his Soul acquir'd some secret Pow'r.
Hear'st thou the Cause of their assembling thus?
To try CREMUTIUS CORDUS and the rest,
Whose Trials the last Senate were put off.
Nay AGRIPPINA now will be impeach'd,
And all Things settled to our utmost Wish.
Thou bring'st me Tydings which revive my Soul,
And shalt receive a fit and just Reward.
Nay all my Friends shall Fortune's Bounties share.
Why this indeed outstrips the swiftest Hope,
CAESAR doth labour in SEJANUS' Cause,
But come let's wing our Steps with utmost Speed,
[Page 55] The swiftest Haste is laggard to the Deed.
SCENE the last, TIBERIUS in the SENATE seated.]
I doubt not, Fathers, but it gives Surprize,
To be thus summon'd with unusual Haste.
But where there is a mortifying Limb,
Quick Amputation must the Body save;
So in a State whose Health your Wisdoms rule,
All tainted Members should be soon cut off,
Lest vile Contagion might o'erspread the Land.
This to prevent are ye assembled here.
Your Highness still has been most just and wise.
Where is our skillful Minister SEJANUS?
He did not use to shun our Councils thus.
Hath he been summon'd to Attendance here?
AFER hath Charge to bring his Lordship hither,
And well I know his Love will give him Wings,
When he doth hear dread CAESAR needs his Presence.
Why doubt we his Fidelity and Love?
His Lordship comes—room for the great SEJANUS.
Now LEPIDUS behold the servile Crew,
How, Spaniel-like, they cringe and fawn and bow.
Health to great CAESAR and the State of ROME.
That to preserve, are we assembled here,
And tho' perhaps not plain to public View,
Yet, Rev'rend fathers, 'tis endanger'd much.
Such hellish Practices are hourly wrought,
[Page 56] As to be told will strike ye with Surprize:
The wife SEJANUS can unfold them all.
Speak then, our dearest Counsellor and Friend,
Of what you know concerns the ROMAN State,
Nor fear to pain in probing of our Wounds.
I know thy tender and relenting Heart,
Feels utmost Pangs for such abhorred Crimes;
But yet would smooth th' Offences of my Blood,
Nor give true Colour to my Kinsmen's Guilt,
Lest it should fix a Stain upon my Name.
But as thou hold'st thy Prince and Country dear,
Speak ev'n thy Fears without the least Disguise.
To be thus honour'd by my sov'reign Lord,
To have such Confidence repos'd in me,
Is more than all my Services can claim,
But what I can, I will, with Duty pay.
Since I must speak, (yet would 'twere not my Task)
In AGRIPPINA all our Dangers lurk.
She madly thirsting for Imperial Sway,
Doth hourly plot among conspiring Friends,
To place her darling Son upon the Throne,
New mould and overturn the present State.
With specious Promises, fallacious Tears,
Many she gains to her rebellious Ends;
Such discontented and repining Slaves,
As hope by Revolution to amend.
Already some have suffer'd for the Cause,
As SILIUS and SABINUS—more remain,
Which as they merit will I hope be us'd.
I hope so too, and shall if I have Pow'r.
My Lord SEJANUS shall determine all,
His Voice shall crush these Cankers of the State.
He is a worthy, and right noble Lord.
Determinate and just in his Decrees.
Hark, the Court Birds now all in Chorus join,
SEJANUS whistles, and they learn the Tune.
[Page 57]
Most Reverend Fathers, for my single self,
I could be most content with private Life,
Abstracted from the Turmoils of the State.
Peaceful Retirement best would suit my Mind.
But for my Emperor's and your lov'd Sakes,
What Pains, what Perils would I not endure?
I have not sought the Honours I enjoy.
Nor yet impress'd by interested Views,
My weak Ambition never soar'd more high
Than to approve me loyal to my Prince,
And still industrious for my Country's Good.
These were the Principles I still preserv'd,
While overflowing Bounties paid my Deeds.
They have been all deserv'd and many more.
Fathers let's build a Temple to his Fame,
He is the great Protector of our State,
And therefore should be rank'd amongst the Gods.
AFER, well mov'd—the Senate will approve.
Fathers, forbear, ye know not what ye do,
The swelling Tide of unrestrain'd Success,
Has flow'd so high, as near to break its Bounds,
And Deluge in Destruction o'er the State.
I will remove the Blind which stands before
And stops the Penetration of your Sight,
Shew you this Traytor 'circled round with Guilt,
Whom I have rais'd upon the Wing of Hope;
More to torment him with the Shock of Fate,
Which like the unseen Thunderbolt now falls
To crush this Heap of Villainy to Earth.
Behold this Slave as Serpent to my Breast,
He is the VULTURE would devour us all.
How's this SEJANUS?
Ay that very Slave,
Whom I have nurs'd and foster'd with my Blood,
Whom rais'd to highest Honour and Renown,
Fathers, ye all seem much amaz'd—he looks surpriz'd.
[Page 58] As if that Guilt were foreign to his Soul,
Dissimulation shall not save thee now.
Where is my Son, thou Traitor? turn'st thou pale.
What Fate will your grave Wisdoms here decree
To him, who robb'd my noble Son of Life?
With sudden Accusation thus surpriz'd,
I know not what to answer to my Prince,
'Tis hard that Supposition should condemn,
And blast my faithful Services at once.
May I not hope so much your Highness' Grace,
As Time of Preparation for Defence?
Too well I know thee to let Favour smile
Or give thee Opportunity to 'scape.
Thou would'st have Time t' alarm the servile Herd
Which by the Pow'r I gave, thou hast obtain'd,
As slavish Sycophants to aid thy Cause.
I have ta'en Care to seize thee unprepar'd;
And by our awful CAPITOL I swear,
Thou shalt meet Fate before an Hour's Space.
If any here oppose the just Decree,
He shall be deem'd a Traitor and my Foe.
Will then great CAESAR sentence me to Death,
And criminate without an Evidence?
To strike him dumb bring that EUDEMUS forth.
This is most wonderful.
Beyond all Belief.
Now LEPIDUS behold the Courtier fry,
How prone they are, how liable to change.
This was the Slave by thee suborn'd to act,
This was the Pandar of thy Hellish Schemes.
Who now repenting has confess'd it all,
In Hopes to gain a Pardon from the State;
For shewing the Distemper of our Blood,
And bringing Justice on thy wicked Head.
[Page 59] (Aside)
Nay then I am undone.—This is no Proof.
Brib'd by my Enemies he will say aught,
Those Enemies I made by serving you.
Most grave and reverend Senators of ROME,
For strictest Justice in your Councils fam'd;
You see me here a most unhappy Wretch,
Stung with Remorse, abhorring my own Guilt,
Of basely joining in such wicked Acts,
As this SEJANUS won me to perform.
Great DRUSUS fell by our complotted Schemes,
And I've, for ever, lost my Peace of Mind.
And will a Tale form'd by an artful Slave,
Without Foundation, and devoid of Truth;
So sway where awful Justice should preside,
As to assail my Life and rule my Fate?
Can'st thou so bravely then deny the Fact?
The Guilt is plainly pictur'd in his Look.
He is a Monster fraught with foul Deceit.
Oh! do the Birds begin to change their Notes?
Since he has Confidence to brave his Guilt,
And to arraign the Justice of the Court.
Fathers but send a Messenger with me,
I will produce an Object shall declare,
And speak so loud in Proof of his Misdeeds,
Evasion will no longer find a Plea.
Say what thou can'st produce.
Most mighty CAESAR,
The faithless LIVIA, our lost Prince's Wife,
Betray'd by him to Infamy and Shame,
Now lies expiring by his murderous Hands,
Lest she should all his Villainies reveal.
Go thou, ARRUNTIUS, prove the Truth of this.
Then Fate conspires against me, and I must fall.
[Page 60] This Trouble spare, I now confess it all,
And think it is but just, Guilt should be found,
That took no better Care to silence bab'ling Tongues.
Art thou not terrify'd, abandon'd Wretch,
To think what Tortures wait upon thy Crimes?
Henceforth no Trust be held, 'twixt Man and Man,
Since he, whom I still labour'd to promote,
Rais'd from Obscurity to mate with Kings,
Could use that Pow'r unto such wicked Ends.
Had'st thou no grateful Feeling of my Love?
Wretch! whence could all thy Villainies derive?
Since they are found, what Matter whence they sprung;
But if thou wilt be told, know from Ambition.
Your Folly rais'd me to such glaring Height,
As made me hope to step into a Throne,
And my Thoughts soar'd to universal Sway,
Which I had nearly brought within my Grasp.
Now the gay Dream is vanish'd from my Sight.
The Clouds of Fortune to the Glare succeed.—
Yet I complain not—had I been a King,
Death must one Day have seiz'd upon my Crown—
But come, ye thirsty Bloodhounds of the State,
I see ye long to lap my vital Stream,
Dispatch then, and at once my Fate decree.
Let him be stripp'd of all his Honours first.
His Images disrob'd and strait defac'd.
Most bloody Villain!
Most abandon'd Traitor!
Then let him be led forth to publick Death.
Such as his Crimes deserve.
To the most shameful!
Aye, and cruel.
Right, ye time-serving Sycophants and Slaves,
But now ye were dependant on my Nod,
Bask'd in my Looks, and dwelt upon my Smiles:
Nay strove with Emulation, how to raise
[Page 61] Such Trophies as might eternize my Name.
Now with full Cry ye run me to a bay,
And snarling strive who takes the foremost Bite;
Nor would TIBERIUS meet a better Fate,
Were he but once within your currish Fangs.
Ye all are just and wise to publick View,
While Villainy lies lurking in your Hearts.
Ye are my Judges who were once my Slaves.
Base veering Weathercocks of ev'ry Blast,
Who have not Stedfastness to brave a Gale;
But on the Centers of your Interest turn.
Your rotten Hearts still float with Fortune's Tide,
But never dare run counter to the Stream.
Which of ye all, when I had Pow'r to serve,
And feed with Bribes your avaritious Souls,
But would with Pleasure have obey'd Command;
Nor ever felt a conscientious Qualm?
It is a Comfort at the Close of Life,
That with my Life such Reptiles I forsake.
Thus then I take my everlasting Leave.
May all your Tongues, as ye together cry,
Together rot, and in Oblivion lie,
All Plagues that Heav'n can send to human Kind,
All Pangs of Body and all Racks of Mind,
With Jars intestine, Discontents and Strife
Be your Tormenters thro' each Scene of Life,
May Tyranny and Blood o'erwhelm ye all,
And may ye like the curs'd SEJANUS fall.
O Miracle of Villainy confess'd,
Audacious and abandon'd to the last.
Fathers, break up the Senate for To-day,
To-morrow we'll assemble here again,
To heal those Wounds by base SEJANUS made;
To free my Nephews, AGRIPPINA's Sons,
And all whose Virtues have of late been press'd,
Beneath the Pow'r of this tyrannic Slave.
[Page 62] Thus thro' Reflection's Mirror we may view
What dire Effects from lawless Acts ensue,
Heav'n for some Space may suffer Vice to reign,
But her Foundation cannot long remain,
When once the Gods their awful Pow'r assume
She meets a certain, and a horrid Doom,
The solid Bliss which never feels Decay,
Can only flourish warm'd by Virtue's Ray.

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