A monologue from the play by Jose Echegaray

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Masterpieces of Modern Spanish Drama. Ed. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Duffield & Co., 1917.
  • ERNESTO: There's no use. I can't do it. It is impossible. I am simply contending with the impossible. The idea is here; it is stirring in my brain; I can feel it. Sometimes a light from within illumines it and I see it with its shifting form and vague contours, and suddenly there sound in the hidden depths voices that give it life; cries of grief, sighs of love, sardonic, mocking laughter--a whole world of living, struggling passions. They break from me, and spread out, and fill the air all about me! Then, then, I say to myself, the moment has come, and I take up my pen, and with eyes gazing into space, with straining ears, with fast-beating heart, I bend over my paper. --But oh, the irony of impotence! The contours become blurred, the vision disappears, the shouts and sighs die away, and nothingness, nothingness surrounds me! The desolation of empty space, of meaningless thought, of deadly weariness! More than all that, the desolation of an idle pen and a barren page--a page bereft of all life-giving thought. Ah, how many forms has nothingness, and how it mocks, dark and silent, at creatures of my sort! Many, many forms:--the colorless canvas, the shapeless piece of marble, the discordant sound, but none more irritating, more mocking, more blighting than this worthless pen and this blank paper. Ah, I cannot cover you, but I can destroy you, vile accomplice in my wrecked ambitions and my everlasting humiliation!--So, so,--smaller, still smaller. [Tearing the paper--then, a pause.] Well, it's fortunate that no one saw me, for at best such ranting is foolish, and it's all wrong. No--I will not give in; I will think harder, harder, until I conquer or blow up in a thousand pieces. No, I will never admit I am beaten.