SARDANAPALUS – Monologue (Myrrha)

A monologue from the play by Lord Byron

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron. Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.


Why do I love this man? My country’s daughters
Love none but heroes. But I have no country!
The slave hath lost all save her bonds. I love him;
And that’s the heaviest link of the long chain—
To love whom we esteem not. Be it so:
The hour is coming when he’ll need all love,
And find none. To fall from him now were baser
Than to have stabbed him on his throne when highest
Would have been noble in my country’s creed:
I was not made for either. Could I save him,
I should not love him better, but myself;
And I have need of the last, for I have fallen
In my own thoughts, by loving this soft stranger:
And yet, methinks, I love him more, perceiving
That he is hated of his own barbarians,
The natural foes of all the blood of Greece.
Could I but wake a single thought like those
Which even the Phrygians felt when battling long
‘Twixt Ilion and the sea, within his heart,
He would tread down the barbarous crowds, and triumph.
He loves me, and I love him; the slave loves
Her master, and would free him from his vices.
If not, I have a means of freedom still,
And if I cannot teach him how to reign,
May show him how alone a King can leave
His throne.

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