[The Flaminian Way outside of Rome. Off the road a wooded hillside. In the
background loom the walls and the heights of the city. It is evening.]
[CATILINE stands on the hill among the bushes, leaning against a tree.]
CATILINE. I must! I must! A voice deep in my soul
Urges me on,--and I will heed its call.
Courage I have and strength for something better,
Something far nobler than this present life,--
A series of unbridled dissipations--!
No, no; they do not satisfy the yearning soul.
CATILINE. I rave and rave,--long only to forget.
'Tis past now,--all is past! Life has no aim.
CATILINE. [After a pause.]
And what became of all my youthful dreams?
Like flitting summer clouds they disappeared,
Left naught behind but sorrow and remorse;--
Each daring hope in turn fate robbed me of.
[He strikes his forehead.]
CATILINE. Despise yourself! Catiline, scorn yourself!
You feel exalted powers in your soul;--
And yet what is the goal of all your struggle?
The surfeiting of sensual desires.
CATILINE. [More calmly.]
But there are times, such as the present hour,
When secret longings kindle in my breast.
Ah, when I gaze on yonder city, Rome,
The proud, the rich,--and when I see that ruin
And wretchedness to which it now is sunk
Loom up before me like the flaming sun,--