A monologue from the play by Gregorio Martinez Sierra

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Plays of G. Martinez Sierra. G. Martinez Sierra. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1922.
  • MARIONETTE: Rum-a-tum-tum! Ladies and gentlemen! Although I am a marionette, I am the Prologue. And invested with so high a dignity, permit me to announce the subject of the comedy which is about to be presented, and to address you in eulogy of the personages who are to appear in it. Ladies and gentlemen! Inevitably it treats of love. Love! Love! I wish, ladies and gentlemen, I were a poet at this moment so that I might present to you in a nosegay of the sweetest smelling syllables a panegyric of the dear misfortune, that delightful pain, that fatal passion, that enchantment, that irresistable effluence of the stars, that fierce consuming of the soul, that death-dealing microbe--or whatever it is that you may decide this delicious inquietude to be, which, through all the centuries, men and women have agreed to call love. You would listen amazed, if I were such a poet, to the crackling and scintillation of my metaphors; you would admire and marvel at the unstable, shifting winds, the soft, unfolding flowers, the broad expanse of heaven, the silver fountains, the caverns, the eagles, the sun rays and the moonbeams, and all the twinkling stars which I should make dance before you upon the rope of my imagination to embellish my discourse. You would twiddle your thumbs with delight, ladies and gentlemen, listening to my discourse, if I were a poet; but I have already told you that I am not one; I am only a marionette and the Prologue. I see you smile. Smile, then, but don't disdain me. To be these two things at one and the same time one must amount to something. Marionette! I see you laugh. Joy sparkles in all your eyes. Do you suppose that it is a small thing to have a name the very mention of which is enough to make people laugh? And do you suppose it is nothing when you have it, to be able to live up to it throughout the ages and to uphold such a reputation with a dignity which, after all, is purely ridiculous? And we have upheld it, yes we have, ladies and gentlemen, splendidly, like kings and princes. Our little bodies are our witnesses. To win applause they disjoint themselves, twist and turn and bend backward, throw off their arms and heads into the air, or lose a leg in a high prance to get it back again in a pirouette. See! We palpitate from head to foot, every inch of us, as if our bodies were all hearts. And yet, ladies and gentlemen, beyond a doubt we have no hearts. What should we need of them when we vibrate and fly from one thing to another so continuously?