A Florentine Tragedy Monologue
|A Florentine Tragedy Monologue by Oscar Wilde|
- SIMONE: Well, well, so be it.
- I would have wished for fuller converse with you,
- My new friend, my honourable guest,
- But that it seems may not be.
- And besides,
- I do not doubt your father waits for you,
- Wearying for voice or footstep. You, I think,
- Are his one child? He has no other child.
- You are the gracious pillar of his house,
- The flower of a garden full of weeds.
- Your father's nephews do not love him well.
- So run folk's tongues in Florence. I meant but that;
- Men say they envy your inheritance
- And look upon your vineyard with fierce eyes
- As Ahab looked on Naboth's goodly field.
- But that is but the chatter of a town
- Where women talk too much.
- Good night, my lord,
- Fetch a pine torch, Bianca. The old staircase
- Is full of pitfalls, and the churlish moon
- Grows, like a miser, niggard of her beams,
- And hides her face behind a muslin mask
- As harlots do when they go forth to snare
- Some wretched soul in sin. Now, I will get
- Your cloak and sword. Nay, pardon, my good Lord,
- It is but meet that I should wait on you
- Who have so honoured my poor burgher's house,
- Drunk of my wine, and broken bread, and made
- Yourself a sweet familiar. Oftentimes
- My wife and I will talk of this fair night
- And its great issues.
- Why, what a sword is this!
- Ferrara's temper, pliant as a snake,
- And deadlier, I doubt not. With such steel
- One need fear nothing in the moil of life.
- I never touched so delicate a blade.
- I have a sword too, somewhat rusted now.
- We men of peace are taught humility,
- And to bear many burdens on our backs,
- And not to murmur at an unjust world,
- And to endure unjust indignities.
- We are taught that, and like the patient Jew
- Find profit in our pain.
- Yet I remember
- How once upon the road to Padua
- A robber sought to take my pack-horse from me,
- I slit his throat and left him. I can bear
- Dishonour, public insult, many shames,
- Shrill scorn, and open contumely, but he
- Who filches from me something that is mine,
- Ay! though it be the meanest trencher-plate
- From which I feed mine appetite--oh! he
- Perils his soul and body in the theft
- And dies for his small sin. From what strange clay
- We men are molded!
Credits: Reprinted from Salome; La Sainte Courtisane; A Florentine tragedy. Oscar Wilde. London; Methuen; 1909