|Sardanapalus Monologue by Lord Byron|
- JACOPO FOSCARI: [In a dark prison.]
- No light, save yon faint gleam which shows me walls
- Which never echo'd but to sorrow's sounds,
- The sigh of long imprisonment, the step
- Of feet on which the iron clank'd the groan
- Of death, the imprecation of despair!
- And yet for this I have return'd to Venice,
- With some faint hope, 'tis true, that time, which wears
- The marble down, had worn away the hate
- Of men's hearts; but I knew them not, and here
- Must I consume my own, which never beat
- For Venice but with such a yearning as
- The dove has for her distant nest, when wheeling
- High in the air on her return to greet
- Her callow brood. What letters are these which [Approaching the wall.]
- Are scrawl'd along the inexorable wall?
- Will the gleam let me trace them? Ah! the names
- Of my sad predecessors in this place,
- The dates of their despair, the brief words of
- A grief too great for many. This stone page
- Holds like an epitaph their history;
- And the poor captive's tale is graven on
- His dungeon barrier, like the lover's record
- Upon the bark of some tall tree, which bears
- His own and his beloved's name. Alas!
- I recognize some names familiar to me,
- And blighted like to mine, which I will add,
- Fittest for such a chronicle as this,
- Which only can be read, as writ, by wretches. [He engraves his name.]
Credits: Reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron. Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.