|Bajazet Monologue by Jean Racine|
- ACHMET: Would'st thou have me learn
- Now at my age the worthless lore of love?
- And shall a heart that years of toil have harden'd
- Blindly submit to follow vain delights?
- Nay, she attracts my gaze with other charms,
- I love in her the blood of royal sires.
- Through this alliance to the throne and brought near
- By Bajazet, I thus secure a shield
- To guard myself against him. Some offence
- Is sure to rise, for scarcely has vizier
- Been chosen ere the Sultan fears his creature,
- And greed or envy soon effects his ruin.
- To-day he honours me and courts my favour,
- The risks he runs incline his heart toward me.
- But stablish'd on the throne, this Bajazet
- Perchance will throw aside a useless friend:
- And, if my faithful service be forgotten,
- The day may come when he will dare to doom me
- To death--. I say no more, but 'tis my purpose
- To keep him waiting for my head full long.
- I know the duty that I owe my masters,
- But 'tis for slaves to humour their caprices,
- Nor am I so besotted as to lick
- The hand that strikes me. Thus it comes to pass
- That I within these walls have free admittance,
- And with mine eyes may look upon Roxana.
- At first she listen'd to my voice, herself
- Unseen, and fear'd to break the rigid laws
- That guard the harem. But those irksome scruples,
- Our converse hampering, ere long were banish'd.
- She has herself chosen this nook remote
- Where eyes may hearts discover unrestrain'd.
- A slave conducts me by a secret passage--
- But here she comes, with her loved Atalide.
- Stay, and be ready, should there need arise,
- To ratify the statement I shall make her.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Jean Racine. Trans. Robert Bruce Boswell. London: George Bell and Sons, 1911.