|Mithridate Monologue by Jean Racine|
- MONIMA: I cannot keep the secret longer,
- My sorrow is too violent for silence.
- Tho' Duty's stern decree condemn's my tongue,
- Yet must I violate her harsh commands,
- And utter for the first time and the last
- The language of my heart. Long have you loved me,
- Long has an equal tenderness for you
- Moved me with sad concern. Retrace the time
- When first you own'd affection for these charms
- Unworthy of your praise, the short-lived hope,
- The trouble that your father's passion raised,
- Tortured to lose me and to see him blest,
- To bow to duty when your heart was torn.
- You cannot, Prince, recall those memories
- Without repeating in your own misfortunes
- My story too; and, when I heard this morning
- Your tale, my heart responded to it all.
- Futile or rather fatal sympathy!
- Union too perfect to be realized!
- Ah! with what cruel care did Heav'n entwine
- Two hearts it never destined for each other!
- For, howsoe'er my heart is drawn to yours,
- I tell you once for all, where Honour leads
- I needs must follow, even to the altar,
- To swear to you an everlasting silence.
- I hear you groan: but, miserable fate,
- Your father claims me, I may ne'er be yours.
- You must yourself support my feeble will,
- And help me from my heart to banish you;
- Let me at least rely upon your kindness
- My presence to avoid henceforth for ever.
- Have I not said enough, Sir, to persuade you
- How many reasons urge you to obey me?
- After this moment, if that gallant heart
- Has ever felt true love for Monima,
- I will not recognize its loyalty
- Save by the care you take to shun me always.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Jean Racine. Trans. Robert Bruce Boswell. London: George Bell and Sons, 1911.