"Curse On His Virtues! They've Undone His Country"
Context: Cato of Utica (95 B.C.–46 B.C.), great-grandson of Cato the Elder, is a symbol of probity in public life. Violently opposed to Julius Caesar and fiercer against the conspiring Cataline than was Cicero, he supported Pompey in his break with Caesar, and even after defeat at Pharsala, fled to Africa to continue resistance. After Caesar crushed Scipio at Thapsus, in 46 B.C., Cato decided on suicide. Addison's excellent classical tragedy in blank verse, following the rules of Aristotle, is only one of many dramatizations of the story. Performed in 1713 and interpreted by the Whigs as an attack on the dominant Tory party, it was a great success on the stage because of its political implications. It also went through seven printed editions that same year. Throughout Latin America in the nineteenth century, when Spain prohibited local plays about revolution, a Spanish translation of Cato was widely used to whip up resistance to Spain. Here is the scene when Cato announces his decision to commit suicide.
LUCIUSWhile pride, oppression, and injustice reign,The world will still demand her Cato's presence.In pity to mankind, submit to CaesarAnd reconcile thy mighty soul to life.CATOWould Lucius have me live to swell the numberOf Caesar's slaves, or by a base submissionGive up the cause of Rome, and own a tyrant?LUCIUSThe victor never will impose on CatoUngenerous terms. His enemies confessThe virtues of humanity are Caesar's.CATOCurse on his virtues! they've undone his country.Such popular humanity is treason.. . .