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And Italy, nay the world, to be laid waste

By cursed Catiline and his complices.

Lay but the thought of it before you, fathers,

Think but with me you saw this glorious city,

The light of all the earth, tower of all nations,

Suddenly falling in one flame! Imagine

You view'd your country buried with the heaps

Of slaughter'd citizens that had no grave;

This Lentulus here, reigning, as he dreamt,

And those his purple senate; Catiline come

With his fierce army; and the cries of matrons,

The flight of children, and the rape of virgins,

Shrieks of the living, with the dying groans,

On every side t' invade your sense; until

The blood of Rome were mixed with her ashes I

This was the spectacle these fiends intended

To please their malice.

Cet. Ay, and it would

Have been a brave one, consul. But your part
Had not then been so long as now it is:
I should have quite defeated your oration,
And slit that fine rhetorical pipe of yours,
In the first scene.

Cato. Insolent monster !

Cic. Fathers,

Is it your pleasures they shall be committed
Unto some safe, but a free custody,
Until the senate can determine farther ?

Omnes. It pleaseth well.

Cic. Then, Marcus Crassus,
Take you charge of Gabinius; send him home
Unto your house. You, Caesar, of Statilius.
Cethegus shall be sent to Corniticius;
And Lentulus to Publius Lentulus Spinther,
Who now is fpdile.

Cato. It were best, the praetors

Catiline 169

Carried them to their houses, and deliver'd 'em.

Cic. Let it be so. Take them from hence.

Gees. But first
Let Lentulus put off his prsetorship.

Len. I do resign it here unto the senate.

[Exeunt Prcetors and Guards, with Lentulus, Cethegus,
Stattlius, and Gabinius.

Cces. So, now there's no offence done to religion.

Calo. Caesar, 'twas piously and timely urged.

Cic. What do you decree to the Allobroges,
That were the lights to this discovery ?

Cras. A free grant from the state of all their suits.

Cces. And a reward out of the public treasure.

Cato. Ay, and the title of honest men, to crown them.

Cic. What to Volturtius?

C<es. Life and favour's well.

Vol. I ask no more.

Cato. Yes, yes, some money, thou need'st it:
'Twill keep thee honest; want made thee a knave.

Syl. Let Flaccus and Pomtinius, the praetors,
Have public thanks, and Quintus Fabius Sanga,
For their good service.

Cras. They deserve it all.

Cato. But what do we decree unto the consul,
Whose virtue, counsel, watchfulness, and wisdom
Hath freed the commonwealth, and without tumult,
Slaughter, or blood, or scarce raising a force,
Rescued us all out of the jaws of fate?

Cras. We owe our lives unto him, and our fortunes.

Cces. Our wives, our children, parents and our gods.

Syl. We all are saved by his fortitude.

Cato. The commonwealth owes him a civic garland:
He is the only father of his country.

Cces. Let there be public prayer to all the gods,
Made in that name for him.

Cras. And in these words:
For that he hath, by his vigilance, preserved
Rome from the ftame, the senate from the sword,
And all her citizens from massacre.

Cic. How are my labours more than paid, grave fathers,
In these great titles, and decreed honours!
Such as to me, first of the civil robe,
Of any man since Rome was Rome, have happen'd;
And from this frequent senate: which more glads me,
That I now see you have sense of your own safety.
If those good days come no less grateful to us,
Wherein we are preserv'd from some great danger,
Than those wherein we're born and brought to light,
Because the gladness of our safety is certain,

170 Ben Jonson's Plays

But the condition of our birth not so;

And that we are sav'd with pleasure, but are born

Without the sense of joy: why should not then

This day, to us, and all posterity

Of ours, be had in equal fame and honour,

With that when Romulus first rear'd these walls,

When so much more is saved, than he built?

Cces. It ought.

Cras. Let it be added to our Fasti. [Noise without.

Cic. What tumult's that ?

Re-enter FLACCUS.

F lac. Here's one Tarquinius taken,
Going to Catiline, and says he was sent
By Marcus Crassus, whom he names to be
Guilty of the ronspiracy.

Cic. Some lying varlet.
Take him away to prison.

Cras. Bring him in,
And let me see him.

Cic. He is not worth it, Crassng.
Keep him up close and hungry, till he tell
By whose pernicious counsel he doth slander
So great and good a citizen.

Oras. By yours,
I fear, 'twill prove. [Aside.

Syl. Some of the traitors, sure
To give their action the more credit, bid him
Name you, or any man.

Cic. I know myself,

By all the tracts and courses of this business,
Crassus is noble, just, and loves his country.

Flac. Here is a libel too, accusing Caesar,
From Lucius Vectius, and confirm'd by Curing.

Cic. Away with all, throw it out o' the court.

Cces. A trick on me too !

Cic. Tt is some men's malice.
I said to Curius I did not believe him.

Cces. Was not that Curius your spy, that had
Beward decreed unto him the last senate,
With Fulvia, upon your private motion?

Cic. Yes.

Ca>s. But he has not that reward yet?

Cic. No.
Let not this trouble you, Csesar; none believes it.

Cces. It shall not, if that he have no reward:
But if he have, sure I shall think myself
Very untimely and unsafely honest,
Where such as he is may have pay to accuse me.

Catiline 171

Cic. You shall have no wrong done you, noble Csesar,
But all contentment.

Cces. Consul, I am silent. [Exeunt.

SCENE V. The Country near

Enter CATILINE with his Army.

Cat. I never yet knew, soldiers, that in fight
Words added virtue unto valiant men;
Or that a general's oration made
An army fall or stand: but how much prowess,
Habitual or natural, each man's breast
Was owner of, so much in act it shew'd.
Whom neither glory, or danger can excite,
'Tis vain to attempt with speech; for the mind's fear
Keeps all brave sounds from entering at that ear.
I yet would warn you some few things, my friends,
And give you reason of my present counsels.
You know, no less than I, what state, what point
Our affairs stand in; and you all have heard
What a calamitous misery the sloth
And sleepiness of Lentulus hath pluck'd
Both on himself, and us; how, whilst our aida
There, in the city, look'd for, are defeated,
Our entrance into Gallia too is stopt.
Two armies wait us; one from Rome, the other
From the Gaul provinces: and where we are,
Although 1 most desire it, the great want
Of corn and victuals forbids longer stay:
So that of need we must remove, but whither,
The sword must both direct, and cut the passage.
I only therefore wish you, when you strike,
To have your valours and your souls about you;
And think you carry in your labouring hands
The things you seek, glory, and liberty,
Your country, which you want now, with the fates,
That are to be instructed by our swords.
If we can give the blow, all will be safe to us,
\Ve shall not want provision, nor supplies.
The colonies and free towns will lie open;
Where, if we yield to fear, expect no place,
Nor friend, to shelter those whom their own fortune,
And ill-used arms, have left without protection.
You might have lived in servitude, or exile,
Or safe at Rome, depending on the great ones;
But that you thought those things unfit for men;
And, in that thought, you then were valiant:
For no man ever yet changed peace for war,
But he that meant to conquer. Hold that purpose.

172 Ben Jonson's Plays

There's more necessity you should be such,

In fighting for yourselves, than they for others.

He's base that trusts his feet, whose hands are arm'd.

Methinks I see Death and the Furies waiting

What we will do, and all the heaven at leisure

For the great spectacle. Draw then your swords;

And if our destiny envy our virtue

The honour of the day, yet let us care

To sell ourselves at such a price as may

Undo the world to buy us, and make Fate,

While she tempts ours, fear her own estate. [Exeunt inarching.

SCENE VI. ROME. The Temple of Jupiter Stator.

Enter Lictors, Praetors, (POMTINIUS and FLACCUS,) CICERO,
SYLLANUS, C^SAR, CATO, CRASSUS, and other Senators.

1 Sen. What means this hasty calling of the senate ?

2 Sen. We shall know straight: wait till the consul speaks.
Pom. Fathers conscript, bethink you of your safeties,

And what to do with these conspirators:

Some of their clients, their freed-men, and slaves,

'Gin to make head. There's one of Lentulus' bawda

Runs up and down the shops, through every street,

With money to corrupt the poor artificers,

And needy tradesmen, to their aid; Cethegua

Hath sent too to his servants, who are many,

Chosen and exercised in bold attemptings,

That forthwith they should arm themselves and prove

His rescue: all will be in instant uproar,

If you prevent it not with present counsels.

We have done what we can to meet the fury,

And will do more: be you good to yourselves.

Cic. What is your pleasure, fathers, shall be done ?
Syllanus, you are consul next design'd;
\our sentence of these men.

Syl. 'Tis short, and this.

Since they have sought to blot the name of Rome
Out of the world, and raze this glorious empire
With her own hands and arms turn'd on herself,
I think it fit they die: and could my breath
Kow execute 'em, they should not enjoy
An article of time, or eye of light,
Longer to } oison this our common air.

1 Sen. I think so too.

2 Sen. And I.

3 Sen. And I.

4 Sen. And I.

Cic. Your sentence, Caius Caesar.
Cces. Conscript fathers,

Catiline 173

In great affairs, and doubtful, it behoves

Men that are ask'd their sentence, to be free

From either hate or love, anger or pity:

For where the least of these do hinder, there

The mind not easily discerns the truth.

I speak this to you in the name of Rome,

For whom you stand; and to the present cause:

That this foul fact of Lentulus, and the rest,

Weigh not more with you than your dignity;

And you be more indulgent to your passion,

Than to your honour. If there could be found

A pain or punishment equal to their crimes,

I would devise and help: but if the greatness

Of what they have done exceed all man's invention,

I think it fit to stay where our laws do.

Poor petty states may alter upon humour,

Where, if they offend with anger, few do know it,

Because they are obscure; their fame and fortune

Is equal and the same: but they that are

Head of the world, and live in that seen height,

All mankind knows their actions. So we see,

The greater fortune hath the lesser license.

They must not favour, hate, and least be angry;

For what with others is call'd anger, there

Is cruelty and pride. I know Syllanus,

Who spoke before me, a just, valiant man,

A lover of the state, and one that would not,

In such a business, use or grace or hatred;

I know too, well, his manners and his modesty;

Nor do I think his sentence cruel, (for

'Gainst such delinquents what can be too bloody ?)

But that it is abhorring from our state;

Since to a citizen of Rome offending,

Our laws give exile, and not death. Why then

Decrees he that? 'twere vain to think, for fear;

When by the diligence of so worthy a consul,

All is made safe and certain. Is't for punishment?

Why, death's the end of evils, and a rest

Rather than torment: it dissolves all griefs;

And beyond that, is neither care nor joy.

You hear my sentence would not have them die.

How then? set free, and increase Catiline's army?

So will they, being but banish'd. No, grave fathers,

I judge them, first, to have their states confiscate;

Then, that their persons remain prisoners

In the free towns, far off from Rome, and sever'd;

Where they might neither have relation,

Hereafter, to the senate or the people.

Or, if they had, those towns then to be mulcted,

Ben Jonson's Plays

As enemies to the state, that had their guard.

Orrint*. 'Tis good, and honourable, Caesar hath utter'd.

Cic. Fathers, I see your faces and your eyes
All bent on me, to note, of these two censures,
Which I incline to. Either of them are grave,
And answering the dignity of the speakers,
The greatness of the affair, and both severe.
One urgeth death; and he may well remember
This state hath punish'd wicked citizens so:
The other, bonds, and those perpetual, which
He thinks found out for the more singular plague.
Decree which you shall please: you have a consul,*
Not readier to obey, than to defend,
Whatever you shall act for the republic;
And meet with willing shoulders any burden,
Or any fortune, with an even face,
Though it were death; which to a valiant man
Can never happen foul, nor to a consul
Be immature, nor to a wise man wretched.

Syl. Fathers, I spake but as I thought the needs
Of the commonwealth required.

Cato. Excuse it not.

Cic. Cato, speak you your sentence.

Cato. This it is.

You here dispute on kinds of punishment,
And stand consulting what you should decree
'Gainst those of whom you rather should beware:
This mischief is not like those common facts,
Which when they're done, the laws may prosecute;
But this, if you provide not ere it happen,
When it is happen'd, will not wait your judgment.
Good Caius Caesar here hath very well,
And subtlely discours'd of life and death,
As if he thought those things a pretty fable
That are deliver'd us of hell and furies,
Or of the divers ways that ill men go
From good, to filthy, dark, and ugly places:
And therefore he would have these live, and long too;
But far from Rome, and in the small free towns,
Lest here they might have rescue: as if men
Fit for such acts were only in the city,
And not throughout all Italy; or, that boldness
Could not do more, where it found least resistance 1
'Tis a vain counsel, if he think them dangerous:
Which if he do not, but that he alone,
In so great fear of all men, stand unfrighted,
He gives me cause, and you too, more to fear him.
I am plain, fathers. Here you look about
One at another, doubting what to do,

Catiline 175

With faces, as you trusted to the gods,

That still have saved you; and they can do it: but

They are not wishings, or base womanish pray'rs,

Can draw their aids; but vigilance, counsel, action;

Which they will be ashamed to forsake.

'Tis sloth they hate, and cowardice. Here you have

The traitors in your houses ; yet you stand,

Fearing what to do with them; let them loose,

And send them hence with arms too, that your mercy

May turn your misery, as soon as't can !

O, but they are great men, and have offended

But through ambition; we would spare their honour.

Ay, if themselves had spared it, or their fame,

Or modesty, or either god or man;

Then I would spare them. But as things now stand,

Fathers, to spare these men, were to commit

A greater wickedness than you would revenge.

If there had been but time and place for you

To have repair'd this fault, you should have made it;

It should have been your punishment, to have felt

Your tardy error: but necessity

Now bids me say, let them not live an hour,

If you mean Rome should live a day. I have done.

Omnes. Cato hath spoken like an oracle.

Cras. Let it be so decreed.

Sen. We all were fearful.

Syl. And had been base, had not his virtue raised us.

Sen. Go forth, most worthy consul, we'll assist you.

COBS. I am not yet changed in my sentence, fathers.

Cato. No matter.

Enter a Messenger with letters.

What be those ?

1 Sen. Letters for Caesar !

Cato. From whom ? let them be read in open senate.
Fathers, they come from the conspirators,
I crave to have them read, for the republic.

Cces. Cato, read you it. 'Tis a love-letter,
From your dear sister to me: though you hate me,
Do not discover it. [Aside to Cato.

Cato. Hold thee, drunkard. Consul,
Go forth, and confidently.

Goes. You'll repent
This rashness, Cicero.

Prce. Csosar shall repent it. [The Prcetors attempt to seize him.

Cic. Hold, friends!

Prce. He's scarce a friend unto the public.

Cic. No violence. Caesar, be safe. [They all rise.} Lead on.
Where are the public executioners ?

176 Ben Jonson's Plays

Bid them wait on us. On to Spinther's house.

Bring Lentulus forth. [He is brought out.] Here, you, the sad


Of capital crimes against the public, take
This man unto your justice; strangle him.

Len. Thou dost well, consul. 'Twas a cast at dice,
In fortune's hand, not long since, that thyself
Should' st have heard these, or other words as fatal.

[Exit Len. guarded*

Cic. Lead on to Quintus Cornificius' house.

Bring forth Cethegus. [He is brought ouf.] Take him to the due
Death that he hath deserv'd, and let it be
Said, he was once.

Get. A beast, or what is worse,
A slave, Cethegus. Let that be the name
For all that's base, hereafter; that would let
This worm pronounce on him, and not have trampled
His body into Ha! art thou not moved?

Cic. Justice is never angry. Take him hence.

Cet. O, the whore Fortune, and her bawds the Fates,
That put these tricks on men, which knew the way
To death by a sword! strangle me, I may sleep;
I shall grow angry with the gods else. [Exit, guarded.

Cic. Lead

To Caius Csesar, for Statilius.
Bring him and rude Gabmius out. [They are brought out.] Here

take them
To your cold hands, and let them feel death from you.

Gab. I thank you, you do me a pleasure.
Stat. And me too. [Exeunt Gab. and Stat. guarded.

Cato. So, Marcus Tullius, thou may'st now stand up,
And call it happy Rome, thou being consul.
Great parent of thy country ! go, and let
The old men of the city, ere they die,
Kiss thee, the matrons dwell about thy neck,
The youths and maids lay up, 'gainst they are old,
What kind of man thou wert, to tell their nephews,
When, such a year, they read, within our Fasti,
Thy consulship


Who' s this ? Petreius !

Cic. Welcome,

Welcome, renowned soldier. What's the news?
This face can bring no ill with ' t unto Rome.
How does the worthy consul, my colleague ?

Pet. As well as victory can make him, sir.
He greets the fathers, and to me hath trusted
The sad relation of the civil strife;

Catiline 177

For, in such war, the conquest still is black.

Cic. Shall we withdraw into the house of Concord?

Cato. No, happy consul; here let all ears take
The benefit of this tale. If he had voice
To spread unto the poles, and strike it through
The centre to the antipodes, it would ask it.

Pet. The straits and needs of Catiline being such,
As he must fight with one of the two armies,
That then had ne'er inclosed him; it pleased fate
To make us the object of his desperate choice,
Wherein the danger almost poised the honour:
And as he rose, the day grew black with him,
And Fate descended nearer to the earth,
As if she meant to hide the name of things
Under her wings, and make the world her quarry.
At this we roused, lest one small minute's stay
Had left it to be inquired, what Rome was;
And, as we ought, arm'd in the confidence
Of our great cause, in form of battle stood;
Whilst Catiline came on, not with the face
Of any man, but of a public ruin.
His countenance was a civil war itself,
And all his host had standing in their looks
The paleness of the death that was to come;
Yet cried they out like vultures, and urged on,
As if they would precipitate our fates.
Nor stay'd we longer for them: but himself
Struck the first stroke; and with it fled a life,
Which cut, it seem'd a narrow neck of land
Had broke between two mighty seas, and either
Flow'd into other; for so did the slaughter;
And whirl'd about, as when two violent tides
Meet, and not yield. The Furies stood on hills,
Circling the place, and trembling to see men
Do more than they; whilst Piety left the field,
Grieved for that side, that in so bad a cause
They knew not what a crime their valour was.
The sun stood still, and was, behind the cloud
The battle made, seen sweating, to drive up
His frighted horse, whom still the noise drove backward.
And now had fierce Enyo, like a flame,
Consumed all it could reach, and then itself,
Had not the fortune of the commonwealth
Come, Pallas-like, to every Roman thought:
Which Catiline seeing, and that now his troops
Cover'd that earth they had fought on, with their trunks,
Ambitious of great fame to crown his ill,
Collected all his fury, and ran in,
Arm'd with a glory high as his despair,

178 Ben Jonson's Plays

Into our battle, like a Libyan lion

Upon his hunters, scornful of our weapons,

Careless of wounds, plucking down lives about him,

Till he had circled in himself with death:

Then fell he too, t' embrace it where it lay.

And as in that rebellion 'gainst the gods,

Minerva holding forth Medusa's head,

One of the giant- brethrei felt himself

Grow marble at the killing sight, and now

Almost made stone, began to inquire, what flint,

What rock it was, that crept through all his limbs,

And ere he could think more, was that he fear'd;

So Catiline, at the sight of Rome in us,

Became his tomb: yet did his look retain

Some of his fierceness, and his hands still moved,

As if he labour' d yet to grasp the state

With those rebellious parts.

Cato. A brave bad death !

Had this been honest now, and for his country,
As 'twas against it, who had e'er fall'n greater?

Cic. Honour'd Petreius, Rome, not I, must thank you.
How modestly has he spoken of himself 1

Cato. He did the more.

Cic. Thanks to the immortal gods,
Romans, I now am paid for all my labours,
My watchings, and my dangers! here conclude
Your praises, triumphs, honours, and rewards,
Decreed to me: only the memory
Of this glad day, if I may know it live
Within your thoughts, shall much affect my conscience,
Which I must always study before fame.
Though both be good, the latter yet is worst,
And ever is ill got, without the first. [Exeunt.





Dame PURECRAFT, a Banbury Man.

WINWIFE, his rival, a Gentleman.

TOM QUARLOUS, companion to WIN-
WIFE, a Gamester.

of Harrow.


ADAM OVERDO, a Justice of Peace.

Horse Seller (Toyman).


NIGHTINGALE, a Ballad-Singer.


Courser, and a Ranger of Turnbull.

VAL. CUTTING, a Roarer, or Bully.


TROUBLE-ALL, a Madman*




POCHER, a Beadle. '
FILCHER, \ Door-keepers to the
NORTHERN, a Clothier (a Northern

PUPPY, a Wrestler (a Western Man).


DAME PURECRAFT, her Mother, and

a Widow.
GRACE WELLBORN, Ward to Justice


JOAN TRASH, a Gingerbread- Woman.
URSULA, a Pig-Woman.
ALICE, Mistress o' the game.

Costard - Monger, Mousetrap - Man,
Corn - Cutter, Watch, Porters,
Puppets, Passengers, Mob, Boys,



Your Majesty is welcome to a Fair;
Such place, such men, such language, and such ware
You must expect: with these, the zealous noise
Of your land' 's faction, scandali ed at toys,
As babies, hobby-horses, puppet-plays,
And sach-like rage, whereof the petulant ways
Yourself have known, and have been vext with long.
These for your sport, without particular wrong,
Or just complaint of any private man,
Who of himself, or shall think well, or can.
The maker doth present: and hopes, to-night
To give you for a fairing, true delight.


180 Ben Jonson's Plays



Enter the Stage-keeper.

Gentlemen, have a little patience, they are e'en upon
coming, instantly. He that should begin the play, master Littlewit,
the proctor, has a stitch new fallen in his black silk stocking; 'twill
be drawn up ere you can tell twenty: he plays one o' the Arches
that dwells about the hospital, and he has a very pretty part. But
for the whole play, will you have the truth on't? I am looking,
lest the poet hear me, or his man, master Brome, behind the arras
it is like to be a very conceited scurvy one, in plain English. When't
comes to the Fair once, you were e'en as good go to Virginia, for
any thing there is of Smithfield. He has not hit the humours, he
does not know them; he has not conversed with the Bartholomew
birds, as they say; he has ne'er a sword and buckler-man in his
Fair; nor a little Davy, to take toll o' the bawds there, as in my
time; nor a Kindheart, if any body's teeth should chance to ache
in his play; nor a juggler with a well-educated ape, to come over
the chain for a king of England, and back again for the prince, and

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