THE FORC'D MARRIAGE

A monologue from the play by Aphra Behn

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. 3. Ed. Montague Summers. London: Heinemann, 1915.

PISARO: Sir, you are of so strange a jealous Humour,
And I so strangely jealous of your Honour,
That 'twixt us both we may make work enough;
But on my Soul I know no wrong you have.
Sir, I'm in earnest, you have gain'd that Heart,
For which I have receiv'd so many wounds;
Venturing for Trophies where none durst appear,
To gain at my Return one single smile,
Or that she would submit to hear my story:
And when sh' has said, 'twas bravely done, Pisaro,
I thought the Glory recompens'd the Toil;
And sacrific'd my Laurels at her feet,
Like those who pay their first-fruits to the Gods,
To beg a blessing on the following Crop:
And never made her other signs of Love,
Nor knew I that I had that easy flame,
Till by her Eyes I found that she was mortal,
And could love too, and that my Friend is you.
Alcippus, hadst thou seen her, whilst the Priest
Was giving thee to fair Erminia,
What languishment appear'd upon her Eyes,
Which never were remov'd from thy lov'd Face,
Through which her melting Soul in drops distill'd,
As if she meant to wash away thy Sin,
In giving up that Right belong'd to her,
Thou hadst without my aid found out this truth:
A sweet composure dwelt upon her looks,
Like Infants who are smiling whilst they die;
Nor knew she that she wept, son unconcern'd
And freely did her Soul a passage find;
Whilst I transported had almost forgot
The Reverence due t' her sacred self and Place,
And every moment ready was to kneel,
And with my lips gather the precious drops,
And rob the Holy Temple of a Relick,
Fit only there t' inhabit.
My Lord, I knew not that I was a Lover;
I felt no flame, but a religious Ardour,
That did inspire my Soul with adoration;
And so remote I was from ought but such,
I knew not Hope, nor what it was to wish
For other blessings than to gaze upon her:
Like Heaven I thought she was to be possess'd,
Where carnal Thoughts can no admittance find;
And had I not perceiv'd her Love to you,
I had not known the nature of my flame:
But then I found it out by Jealousy,
And what I took for a Seraphick motion,
I now decline as criminal and earthly.

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