The Cid [El Cid] – Monologue (Infanta)

A monologue from the play by Pierre Corneille

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Cid. Trans. Roscoe Mongan. New York: Hinds & Noble, 1896.


Do I remember whose daughter I am? Of course.

I remember it so well, that I would shed my blood rather than degrade my rank. I might assuredly answer to thee,

that, in noble souls, worth alone ought to arouse passions; and, if my love sought to excuse itself, a thousand famous examples might sanction it.

But I will not follow these—where my honor is concerned, the captivation of my feelings does not abate my courage,

and I say to myself always, that, being the daughter of a king, all other than a monarch is unworthy of me.

When I saw that my heart could not protect itself, I myself gave away that which I did not dare to take;

and I put, in place of my self, Chimène in its fetters, and I kindled their passions [lit. fires] in order to extinguish my own.

Be then no longer surprised if my troubled soul with impatience awaits their bridal; thou seest that my happiness [lit. repose] this day depends upon it.

If love lives by hope, it perishes with it; it is a fire which becomes extinguished for want of fuel; and, in spite of the severity of my sad lot,

if Chimène ever has Rodrigo for a husband, my hope is dead and my spirit, is healed. Meanwhile, I endure an incredible torture; even up to this bridal.

Rodrigo is dear to me; I strive to lose him, and I lose him with regret, and hence my secret anxiety derives its origin.

I see with sorrow that love compels me to utter sighs for that [object] which [as a princess] I must disdain.

I feel my spirit divided into two portions; if my courage is high, my heart is inflamed [with love]. This bridal is fatal to me, I fear it, and [yet] I desire it;

I dare to hope from it only an incomplete joy; my honor and my love have for me such attractions,

that I [shall] die whether it be accomplished, or whether it be not accomplished.

Read the play here

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