A monologue from the play by Josephine Preston Peabody

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Wings. Josephine Preston Peabody. Boston: R.G. Badger, 1914.
  • EDBURGA: I am Edburga, and the daughter of Ulf.
    My mother was a slave. For she was sold,
    And given in her youth unto Svanfleda,
    Sister of Ulf, -- a just and holy woman;
    Who bought and set her free, for Ulf to wed,--
    And had it written in the gospel-book,--
    When that his heart clave to her. That, O monk,
    Thou canst but hear, not heed! And I was grown,
    When Ulf came to be made an ealdorman.
    And Bertric would have taken me to wife,
    Save that I came before the eyes of Ælfric
    The King; and so...
    --What are you, men and monks,
    That you may give us unto such an one
    To bind your lands together? Or to bring
    The sum of twenty spears or more, to follow
    You, at the man-hunt? Women bring you forth,
    As Darkness cherishes the doomful light
    Of the Sun, that being grown, shakes his bright locks
    And puts all to the sword! I'll not be given
    To Bertric, would that Bertric have me now:--
    I, a free-woman, and gladlier free,
    That being yet unborn, I was a slave!
    I am a creature rooted in the dark,
    But born to sunlight and the noble air.
    I will to give; and I will not be given.
    I fear not right nor left, nor east, nor west;
    Nor thee! For that I have is all mine own
    To give or keep. And I am all I have.
    And I am Ælfric's, -- for a kingly gift.