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.
  • LUCIFER: What am I?
    One of a realm, though dimly in your charts
    Discern'd, so vast that as from out of it
    As from a fountain all the nations flow,
    Back they shall ebb again; and sway'd by One
    Who, without Oriental over-boast,
    Because from him all kings their crowns derive,
    Is rightfully saluted King of kings,
    Whose reign is as his kingdom infinite,
    Whose throne is heaven, and earth his footstool, and
    Sun, moon, and stars his diadem and crown.
    Who at the first disposal of his kingdom
    And distribution into sea and land--
    Me, who for splendour of my birth and grand
    Capacities above my fellows shone,
    Star of the Morning, Lucifer, alone--
    Me he made captain of the host who stand
    Clad as the morning star about his throne.
    Enough for all ambition but my own;
    Who discontented with the all but all
    Of chiefest subject of Omnipotence
    Rebell'd against my Maker; insolence
    Avenged as soon as done on me and all
    Who bolster'd up rebellion, by a fall
    Far as from heaven to Hades. Madness, I know;
    But worse than madness whining to repent
    Under a rod that never will relent.
    Therefore about the land and sea I go
    Arm'd with the very instrument of hate
    That blasted me: lightnings anticipate
    My coming, and the thunder rolls behind;
    Thus charter'd to enlarge among mankind,
    And to recruit from human discontent
    My ranks in spirit, not in number, spent.
    Of whom, in spite of this brave gaberdine,
    I recognize thee one: thee, by the line
    Scarr'd on thy brow, though not so deep as mine;
    Thee by the hollow circles of those eyes
    Where the volcano smoulders but not dies:
    Whose fiery torrent running down has scarr'd
    The cheek that time had not so deeply marr'd.
    Do not I read thee rightly?
    Aye, by the light of my own darkness
    Reading yours--how deep!
    But not, as mine is, irretrievable:
    Who from the fulness of my own perdition
    Would, as I may, revenge myself on him
    By turning to fruition your despair--
    What if I make you master at a blow,
    Not only of the easy woman's heart
    You now despair of as impregnable,
    And waiting but my word to let you in,
    But lord of nature's secret, and the lore
    That shall not only with the knowledge, but
    Possess you with the very power of him
    You sought so far and vainly for before?
    All that you have heard and witness'd hitherto
    But a foretaste to quicken appetite
    For that substantial after-feast of power
    That I shall set you down to take your fill of:
    When not the fleeting elements alone
    Of wind, and fire, and water, floating wrack,
    But this same solid frame of earth and stone,
    Yea, with the mountain loaded on her back,
    Reluctantly, shall answer to your spell
    From a more adamantine heart stone-cold
    Than her's you curse for inaccessible!