|Mithridate Monologue by Jean Racine|
- MITHRIDATE: It well becomes a traitress to talk thus,
- Who, nursing in her heart illicit loves,
- When I was raising her to glory's height,
- The blackest treason had prepared for me!
- Have you forgotten, false, ungrateful woman,
- Worse than the Romans, my sworn enemies,
- From what exalted rank I dared to stoop,
- To offer you a throne, little expected?
- See me not as I am, defeated, hunted--
- But as I was, victorious and renown'd.
- Think how in Ephesus I you preferr'd
- To all the daughters of a hundred kings,
- And, for your sake neglecting their alliance,
- Laid at your feet innumerable realms.
- Ah, if the vision of another love
- Made you insensible to gifts so splendid,
- Why did you leave your home to find a husband
- You hated, keeping silence till to-day?
- Did you postpone confession so unwelcome
- Till Fate had robb'd me of all other treasure,
- Till, whelm'd beneath a flood of countless evils,
- I had no hope of happiness but you?
- And now, when I am willing to forgive
- The grievous wrong and bury its remembrance,
- Dare you to bring the past before my eyes
- Again, accusing him whom you have injured?
- I see infatuation for a traitor
- Flatters your hopes. Gods! How ye try my patience!
- What was the secret charm that check'd a wrath
- So prompt to punish with severity?
- Seize the brief moment that my love affords you:
- Come, this shall be my last appeal, nor draw
- Superfluous perils on your head for one
- Whom you shall never see again, a son
- Who scorns me. Boast not of your faith to him;
- 'Tis due to me. Let him be lost to mind
- As well as sight. And henceforth by your sense
- Of gratitude deserve this proffer'd pardon.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Jean Racine. Trans. Robert Bruce Boswell. London: George Bell and Sons, 1911.