A monologue from the play by Ben Jonson

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Sejanus, His Fall (1603).
  • SEJANUS: If this be not revenge, when I have done
    And made it perfect, let Egyptian slaves,
    Parthians, and barefoot Hebrews brand my face,
    And print my body full of injuries.
    Thou lost thyself, child Drusus, when thou thought'st
    Thou couldst outskip my vengeance, or outstand
    The power I had to crush thee into air.
    Thy follies now shall taste what kind of man
    They have provoked, and this thy father's house
    Crack in flame of my incens├Ęd rage,
    Whose fury shall admit no shame or mean.
    Adultery? It is the lightest ill
    I will commit. A race of wicked acts
    Shall flow out of my anger, and o'erspread
    The world's wide face, which no posterity
    Shall e'er approve, nor yet keep silent; things
    That for their cunning, close, and cruel marks,
    Thy father would wish his, and shall, perhaps,
    Carry the empty name, but we the prize.
    On, then, my soul, and start not in thy course;
    Though heav'n drop sulphur, and hell belch out fire,
    Laugh at the idle terrors. Tell proud Jove,
    Between his power and thine there is no odds.
    'Twas only fear first in the world made gods.