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? Mid the lone majesty of untam'd nature,
Enter VelLINUS and ELIDURUS.
Where dwells the seer? Vel. In yonder shaggy cave; on which the moon Now sheds a side-long gleam. His brotherhood Possess the neighb'ring cliffs. Aul. Did.
up the hill Mine
caves, Delv'd in the ridges of the craggy steep; And this
still another. Elid.
On the left
Are tenanted by Bards, who nightly thence,
Prince, I did not moor
If here the monarch rests, Presumptuous chief! thou might'st as well essay To pluck him from yon stars: Earth's ample range Contains no surer refuge: underneath The soil we tread, a hundred secret paths, Scoop'd through the living rock in winding maze, Lead to as many caverns, dark, and deep: In which the hoary sages act their rites Mysterious, rites of such strange potency, As, done in open day, would dim the sun, Though thron'd in noontide brightness. In such dens He may for life lie hid.
We know the task
My mother, say'st thou, Roman?
Elid. She did : and we submit.
To Rome we bear you;
precious. Elid. And dost thou taunt us, Roman, with ourfate? Aul. Did. No, youth, by Heav'n, I would avert
that fate. Wish ye for liberty?
Vel. and Elid. More than for life.
Name the task.
Ye lead his credulous step? there will we seize him;
If the Druids
Gods, shall Mona perish? A.Did. Princes, her ev'ry trunk shall on the ground Stretch its gigantic length; unless, ere dawn, Ye lure this untam'd lion to our toils. Go then, and prosper; I shall to the ships, And there expect his coming. Youths, remember, He must to Rome to grace great Cæsar's triumph: Cæsar and fate demand him at your hand.
[Exeunt Aulus Didius and Romans.
FROM THE SAME.
Caractacus among the Druids, where he is to be consecrated one
of their number.
Caractacus; Evelina, daughter of Caractacus; and Chorus.
Car. This holy place, methinks, doth this nightwear More than its wonted gloom: Druid, these groves Have caught the dismal colouring of my soul, Changing their dark dun garbs to very sable, In pity to their guest. Hail, hallow'd oaks!
Hail, British born! who; last of British race,
To be the thing,
Car. But I am lost to that predestin'd use Eternal wisdom will’d, and fitly therefore May wish a change of being. I was born A king; and Heav'n, who bade these warrior oaks Lift their green shields against the fiery sun, To fence their subject plain, did mean that I Should, with as firm an arm, protect my people Against the pestilent glare of Rome's ambition. I fail'd; and how I fail'd, thou know'st too well : So does the babbling world: and therefore, Druid, I would be any thing save what I am.
Chor. See, to thy wish, the holy rites prepar'd, Which, if Heav'n frowns not, consecrate thee Druid: See to the altar's base the victims led, From whose free gushing blood ourself shall read Its high behests; which if assenting found,