A monologue from the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Eight Dramas of Calderon. Trans. Edward Fitzgerald. London: Macmillan & Co., 1906.
  • SERAFINA: Poor argument! I rather draw that he
    Who ventures on such desperate acts can have
    No true respect for her he outrages,
    And therefore no true love. No, daring traitor--
    But I'll not strive to break the heart of flint,
    But wear it with my tears. Hear me, Alvaro,
    In pity--in mercy--hear me.
    This thing is done, there is no remedy,
    Let us not waste the time in arguing
    What better had been done; the stars so ruled it--
    Yea, providence that rules the stars. Well then,
    What next? Alvaro, I would speak of this;
    And if't be right I owe you any thing,
    Be it for this one boon, a patient hearing.
    Listen to me--
    I never draw a breath but 'tis on fire
    With Juan's vengeance; never move a step
    But think I see his fierce eyes glaring at me
    From some dark corner of this desolate house
    In which my youth is buried. And what gain you
    By all this crime and misery? My body,
    But not my soul; without possessing which,
    Beauty itself is but a breathing corpse,
    But a cold marble statue, unsuffused
    With the responsive hue of sympathy,
    Possess'd but not enjoy'd.
    Oh, ill betide that villain love, not love,
    That all its object and affection finds
    In the mere contact of encircling arms!
    But if this move you not--consider, Alvaro--
    Don Juan is a nobleman--as such
    Bound to avenge his honour; he must know
    'Twas you who did this monstrous act, for Flora
    Would tell him all. There is one remedy:
    'Tis this, that you, despairing of my love,
    Which you can never gain--forego me quite,
    And give me up to some cold convent's cloister,
    Where buried I may wear away--