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A monologue from the play by John Millington Synge
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Well of the Saints. John Millington Synge. Boston: John W. Luce, 1911.
The devil mend Mary Doul for putting lies on me, and letting on she was grand. The devil mend the old Saint for letting me see it was lies. The devil mend Timmy the smith for killing me with hard work, and keeping me with an empty, windy stomach in me, in the day and in the night.
Ten thousand devils mend the soul of Molly Byrne and the bad, wicked souls is hidden in all the women of the world. [He rocks himself, with his hand over his face.] It’s lonesome I’ll be from this day,
and if living people is a bad lot, yet Mary Doul, herself, and she a dirty, wrinkled-looking hag, was better maybe to be sitting along with than no one at all. I’ll be getting my death now,
I’m thinking, sitting alone in the cold air, hearing the night coming, and the blackbirds flying round in the briars crying to themselves, the time you’ll hear one cart getting off a long way in the east,
and another cart getting off a long way in the west, and a dog barking maybe, and a little wind turning the sticks. [He listens and sighs heavily.] I’ll be destroyed sitting alone and losing my senses this time the way I’m after losing my sight,
for it’d make any person afeard to be sitting up hearing the sound of his breath– [He moves his feet on the stones.] –and the noise of his feet, when it’s a power of queer things do be stirring,
little sticks breaking, and the grass moving till you’d take your dying oath on sun and moon a thing was breathing on the stones. [He listens for a moment, then starts up nervously, and gropes about for his stick.]
I’ll be going now, I’m thinking, but I’m not sure what place my stick’s in … [He cries out.] There’s a thing with a cold, living face on it sitting up at my side.
[He turns to run away, but misses his path and stumbles against the wall.] My road is lost on me now! Oh, merciful God, set my foot on the path this day, and I’ll be saying prayers morning and night, and not straining my ear after young girls, or doing any bad thing till I die–