Sejanus, His Fall Monologue
|Sejanus, His Fall Monologue by Ben Jonson|
- SEJANUS: What excellent fools
- Religion makes of men! Believes Terentius,
- If these were dangers--as I shame to think them--
- The gods could change the certain course of fate?
- Or, if they could, they would now, in a moment,
- For a beef's fat, or less, be bribed t' invert
- Those long decrees? Then think the gods, like flies,
- Are to be taken with the steam of flesh,
- Or blood, diffused about their altars; think
- Their power as cheap as I esteem it small.
- Of all the throng that fill th' Olympian hall,
- And, without pity, lade poor Atlas' back,
- I know not that one deity, but Fortune,
- To whom I would throw up, in begging smoke,
- One grain of incense; or whose ear I'd buy
- With thus much oil. Her I indeed adore;
- And keep her grateful image in my house,
- Sometimes belonging to a Roman king,
- But now called mine, as by the better style.
- To her I care not if, for satisfying
- Your scrupulous fancies, I go offer. Bid
- Our priest prepare us honey, milk, and poppy,
- His masculine odours, and night-vestments. Say
- Our rites are instant, which performed, you'll see
- How vain, and worthy laughter, your fears be.
Credits: Reprinted from Sejanus, His Fall (1603).