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and, by Anicetus's means, to destroy her by drowning. A solemn feast, in honour of their reconciliation, is to be made; after which she being to go by sea to Bauli, the ship is so contrived as to sink or crush her; she escapes by accident, and returns to Baiæ. In this interval Otho has an interview with Poppea : and, being duped a second time by Anicetus and her, determines to fly with her into Greece, by means of a vessel which is to be furnished by Anicetus; but he, pretending to remove Poppea on board in the night, conveys her to Nero's apartment: she then encourages and determines Nero to banish Otho, and finish the horrid deed he had attempted on his mother. Anicetus undertakes to execute his resolves; and, under pretence of a plot upon the Emperor's life, is sent with a guard to murder Agrippina, who is still at Baie in imminent fear, and irresolute how to conduct herself. The account of her death, and the Emperor's horror and fruitless remorse, finishes the drama." MASON.

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'Tis well, begone! your errand is perform'd. [Speaks as to Anicetus entering. The message needs no comment. Tell your


His mother shall obey him. Say, you saw her Yielding due reverence to his high command:

Alone, unguarded, and without a lictor,
As fits the daughter of Germanicus.

Say, she retired to Antium; there to tend
Her household cares, a woman's best employ-


What if you add, how she turn'd pale and trembled;

You think, you spied a tear stand in her eye, And would have dropp'd, but that her pride restrain'd it?

(Go! you can paint it well) 'twill profit you, And please the stripling. Yet 'twould dash his joy To hear the spirit of Britannicus

Yet walks on earth: at least there are who know
Without a spell to raise, and bid it fire

A thousand haughty hearts, unused to shake
When a boy frowns, nor to be lured with smiles
To taste of hollow kindness, or partake
His hospitable board: they are aware

Of the' unpledged bowl, they love not aconite.


He's gone: and much I hope these walls alone
And the mute air are privy to your passion.
Forgive your servant's fears, who sees the danger
Which fierce resentment cannot fail to raise
In haughty youth, and irritated power.


And dost thou talk to me, to me, of danger,
Of haughty youth, and irritated power,
To her that gave it being, her that arm'd

This painted Jove, and taught his novice hand To aim the forked bolt; while he stood trembling, Scared at the sound, and dazzled with its bright. ness?

'Tis like thou hast forgot, when yet a stranger To adoration, to the grateful steam

Of flattery's incense, and obsequious vows
From voluntary realms, a puny boy,

Deck'd with no other lustre than the blood
Of Agrippina's race, he lived unknown
To fame, or fortune; haply eyed at distance
Some edileship, ambitious of the power
To judge of weights and measures; scarcely

On expectation's strongest wing to soar
High as the consulate, that empty shade
Of long-forgotten liberty: when I

Oped his young eye to bear the blaze of greatness; Show'd him where empire tower'd, and bade him strike

The noble quarry. Gods! then was the time
To shrink from danger: fear might then have worn
The mask of prudence; but a heart like mine,
A heart that glows with the pure Julian fire,
If bright ambition from her craggy seat
Display the radiant prize, will mount undaunted,
Gain the rough heights, and grasp the dangerous


Through various life I have pursued your steps, Have seen your soul, and wonder'd at its daring:

Hence rise my fears. Nor am I yet to learn
How vast the debt of gratitude which Nero
To such a mother owes; the world, you gave him,
Suffices not to pay the obligation.

I well remember too (for I was present) When in a secret, and dead hour of night, Due sacrifice perform'd with barbarous rites Of mutter'd charms and solemn invocation, You bade the Magi call the dreadful powers, That read futurity, to know the fate

Impending o'er your son: their answer was,
If the son reign, the mother perishes.

Perish (you cried) the mother! reign the son!
He reigns, the rest is heaven's; who oft has bade,
E'en when its will seem'd wrote in lines of blood,
The' untaught even disclose a whiter meaning.
Think too how oft in weak and sickly minds
The sweets of kindness lavishly indulged
Rankle to gall; and benefits, too great
To be repaid, sit heavy on the soul,

As unrequited wrongs. The willing homage
Of prostrate Rome, the senate's joint applause.
The riches of the earth, the train of pleasures
That wait on youth, and arbitrary sway:
These were your gift, and with them you be-

The very power he has to be ungrateful.


Thus ever grave and undisturb'd reflection
Pours its cool dictates in the madding ear.
Of rage, and thinks to quench the fire it feels not,

Say'st thou I must be cautious, must be silent,
And tremble at the phantom I have raised?
Carry to him thy timid counsels. He

Perchance may heed them: tell him too, that one
Who hath such liberal power to give, may still
With equal power resume that gift, and raise
A tempest that shall shake her own creation
To its original atoms-tell me! say,
This mighty emperor, this dreaded hero,
Has he beheld the glittering front of war?
Knows his soft ear the trumpet's thrilling voice,
And outcry of the battle? Have his limbs
Sweat under iron harness? Is he not
The silken son of dalliance, nursed in ease
And pleasure's flowery lap ?-Rubellius lives,
And Sylla has his friends, though school'd by fear
To bow the supple knee, and court the times
With shows of fair obeisance; and a call,
Like mine, might serve belike to wake preten-

Drowsier than theirs, who boast the genuine blood

Of our imperial house.


Did I not wish to check this dangerous passion,
I might remind my mistress that her nod
Can rouse eight hardy legions, wont to stem
With stubborn nerves the tide, and face the

Of bleak Germania's snows. Four, not less brave,
That in Armenia quell the Parthian force

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