A monologue from the play by Jean Racine

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Jean Racine. Trans. Robert Bruce Boswell. London: George Bell and Sons, 1911.

MONIMA: I cannot keep the secret longer,
My sorrow is too violent for silence.
Tho’ Duty’s stern decree condemn’s my tongue,
Yet must I violate her harsh commands,
And utter for the first time and the last
The language of my heart. Long have you loved me,
Long has an equal tenderness for you
Moved me with sad concern. Retrace the time
When first you own’d affection for these charms
Unworthy of your praise, the short-lived hope,
The trouble that your father’s passion raised,
Tortured to lose me and to see him blest,
To bow to duty when your heart was torn.
You cannot, Prince, recall those memories
Without repeating in your own misfortunes
My story too; and, when I heard this morning
Your tale, my heart responded to it all.
Futile or rather fatal sympathy!
Union too perfect to be realized!
Ah! with what cruel care did Heav’n entwine
Two hearts it never destined for each other!
For, howsoe’er my heart is drawn to yours,
I tell you once for all, where Honour leads
I needs must follow, even to the altar,
To swear to you an everlasting silence.
I hear you groan: but, miserable fate,
Your father claims me, I may ne’er be yours.
You must yourself support my feeble will,
And help me from my heart to banish you;
Let me at least rely upon your kindness
My presence to avoid henceforth for ever.
Have I not said enough, Sir, to persuade you
How many reasons urge you to obey me?
After this moment, if that gallant heart
Has ever felt true love for Monima,
I will not recognize its loyalty
Save by the care you take to shun me always.

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