|Sardanapalus Monologue by Lord Byron|
- SARDANAPALUS: Farewell!
- He's gone; and on his finger bears my signet,
- Which is to him a sceptre. He is stern
- As I am heedless and the slaves deserve
- To feel a master. What may be the danger,
- I know not: he hath found it, let him quell it.
- Must I consume my lifethis little life
- In guarding against all may make it less!
- It is not worth so much! It were to die
- Before my hour, to live in dread of death,
- Tracing revolt; suspecting all about me,
- Because they are near; and all who are remote,
- Because they are far. But if it should be so
- If they should sweep me off from earth and empire,
- Why, what is earth or empire of the earth?
- I have loved, and lived, and multiplied my image;
- To die is no less natural than those
- Acts of this clay! 'Tis true I have not shed
- Blood as I might have done, in oceans, till
- My name became the synonyme of death
- A terror and a trophy. But for this
- I feel no penitence; my life is love:
- If I must shed blood, it shall be by force.
- Till now, no drop from an Assyrian vein
- Hath flow'd for me, nor hath the smallest coin
- Of Nineveh's vast treasures o'er been lavish'd
- On objects which could cost her Sons a tear:
- If then they hate me, 'tis because I hate not:
- If they rebel, 'tis because I oppress not.
- Oh, men! ye must be ruled with scythes, not sceptres,
- And mow'd down like the grass, else all we reap
- Is rank abundance, and a rotten harvest
- Of discontents infecting the fair soil,
- Making a desert of fertility.
- I'll think no more.
Credits: Reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron. Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.