Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT IV. - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. VIII The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Mérope, Olympia, The Orphan of China, Brutus) and Part II (Mahomet, Amelia, Oedipus, Mariamne, Socrates).
ACT IV. - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. VIII The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Mérope, Olympia, The Orphan of China, Brutus) and Part II (Mahomet, Amelia, Oedipus, Mariamne, Socrates). 
The Works of Voltaire. A Contemporary Version. A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901). In 21 vols. Vol. VIII The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Mérope, Olympia, The Orphan of China, Brutus) and Part II (Mahomet, Amelia, Oedipus, Mariamne, Socrates).
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- [A troop of Tartar soldiers.
- Are these my promised joys? is this the fruit
- Of all my labors? where’s the liberty,
- The rest I hoped for? I but feel the weight
- Without the joys of power: I want Idame,
- And, instead of her, a crowd of busy slaves
- Are ever thronging round me.
- [To his attendants.
- Hence, away,
- And guard the city walls; these proud Koreans
- May think to find us unprepared; already,
- It seems, they have proclaimed their orphan king;
- But I’ll be duped no longer; he shall die.
- I am distracted with a thousand cares,
- Dangers, and plots, and foes on every side;
- Intruding rivals, and a wayward people,
- Oppress me: when I was a poor unknown
- I was more happy.
- Well, my friend, you’ve seen
- This proud presumptuous Mandarin: what says he?
- He is inflexible; nor threats alarm
- Nor promises allure him; still he talks
- Of duty and of virtue, as if we
- Were vanquished slaves, and he the conqueror.
- I blush to think how we demeaned ourselves,
- By talking to a wretch, whom by a word
- We might destroy: let the ungrateful pair
- Perish together; mutual is their crime,
- And mutual be their punishment.
- ’Tis strange,
- That sentiments like these, to us unknown,
- Should rise in mortal breasts: without a groan,
- A murmur, or complaint, a father breaks
- The ties of nature, and would sacrifice
- His child to please the manes of his sovereign,
- And the fond wife would die to save her lord.
- The more I see, the more must I admire
- This wondrous people, great in arts and arms,
- In learning and in manners great; their kings
- On wisdom’s basis founded all their power;
- They gave the nations law, by virtue reigned,
- And governed without conquest; naught hath heaven
- Bestowed on us but force; our only art
- Is cruel war; our business to destroy.
- What have I gained by all my victories,
- By all my guilty laurels stained with blood?
- The tears, the sighs, the curses of mankind.
- Perhaps, my friend, there is a nobler fame,
- And worthier of our search: my heart in secret
- Is jealous of their virtues; I would wish,
- All conqueror as I am, to imitate
- The vanquished.
- Can you then admire their weakness?
- What are their boasted arts, the puny offspring
- Of luxury and vice, that cannot save them
- From slavery and death? the strong and brave
- Are born to rule, the feeble to obey:
- Labor and courage conquer all; but you
- Tamely submit, a voluntary slave:
- And must the brave companions of your toil
- Behold their honor stained, their glory lost,
- Their king dependent on a woman’s smile?
- Their honest hearts with indignation glow;
- By me they speak, by me reproach thee, Genghis:
- Excuse a friend, a fellow soldier, grown
- Old in thy service; one who cannot bear
- This amorous sickness of the soul, and longs
- To guide thy footsteps to the paths of glory.
- Nor dare to murmur; ’tis a subject’s part
- To reverence even the weakness of his master.
- ’Tis not in mortals to resist their fate;
- She must be mine; what’s victory without her?
- I have made thousands wretched, and am now
- Myself unhappy: ’midst the venal crowd
- Of slaves that court my favor, is there one
- That can relieve the anguish of my soul,
- Or fill my heart with real bliss? I wanted
- Some happy error, some delusive joy,
- To mitigate the sorrows of a king,
- And lessen the oppressive weight of empire;
- But Octar, who should heal, hath probed my wounds
- Too deeply; I have none but monsters round me,
- Blood-thirsty slaves, unfeeling, merciless,
- And cruel, disciplined to blood and slaughter:
- O for a few soft hours of gentle love
- To brighten this dark scene! they shall not judge,
- Shall not arraign the conduct of their king:
- Where is Idame?—ha! she comes.
- My lord,
- ’Tis cruel to insult a friendless woman,
- And add fresh weight to her calamities.
- Be not alarmed; your husband yet may live;
- My vengeance is suspended for a while,
- And for thy sake I will be merciful:
- Perhaps it was decreed by heaven Idame
- Should be reserved to captivate her master,
- To bend the stubborn fierceness of his nature,
- And soften his rude heart: you understand me;
- My laws permit divorce: embrace the offer,
- And make the sovereign of the world your own.
- I know you love me not, but think what joys
- Surround a throne; think how thy country’s good,
- Her welfare, and her happiness depend
- On thy resolve: I know it moves thy wonder
- To see a haughty conqueror at thy feet:
- Forget my power, forget my cruelty,
- Weigh your own interest well, and speak my fate.
- I am indeed surprised, and so perhaps
- Will Genghis be when I shall answer him:
- There was a time, my lord, you well remember,
- When he who holds the subject world in awe,
- This terror of the nations, was no more
- Than a poor soldier, friendless and unknown;
- He offered me the pure unspotted heart
- Of Temugin, and I with pleasure then
- Would have received it.
- Ha! couldst thou have loved me?
- Perhaps I might; but those to whom I owe
- My first obedience doomed me to another:
- Thou knowest the power of parents o’er their children;
- They are the image of that God we serve,
- And next to them should be obeyed: this empire
- Was founded on paternal right, on justice,
- Honor, and public faith, and holy marriage;
- And if it be the sacred will of heaven
- That it must fall a sacrifice to thee,
- And thy successful crimes, the enlivening spirit
- That long supported it shall never perish:
- Your fate has changed; Idame’s never can.
- Couldst thou have loved me then?
- I could, my lord,
- And therefore never must hereafter think
- On Genghis; I am bound in sacred bonds
- To Zamti; nay, I’ll tell thee more; I love him,
- Prefer him to the splendor of a throne,
- And all the honors thou canst lavish on me:
- Think not it soothes my vanity to spurn
- A conqueror, all I wish is to fulfil
- My duty, and do justice to myself:
- Bestow your favors on some grateful heart,
- Worthier than mine, that will with joy receive them:
- May I implore you to conceal from Zamti
- These proffered terms? ’twould wound his soul to think
- My truth to him had ever thus been questioned.
- He knows what I expect, and will obey
- If he desires to live.
- He never will:
- Though cruel torments should extort from him
- A feigned submission, my firm constancy
- Would soon recall him to the paths of duty,
- Of honor, truth, and virtue.
- Can it be,
- When this ungenerous husband would have given
- Thy son to death?
- He did: he loved his country:
- It was a noble crime, and I forgive him:
- He acted like a hero, and Idame
- Like the fond mother: even if I had hated
- I would not have been false to him.
- Resistance but inflames my passion for thee,
- And the more injured, I but love thee more:
- Yet know, I have a soul that’s capable
- Of rage as well as tenderness.
- I know
- Thou art the master here, and life or death
- Depend on thee: but tremble at the laws.
- The laws! they are no more, or in my will
- Alone are to be found; your laws already
- Have been too fatal to me; they prevented
- That happy union which my soul desired,
- And bound thee to another; but they are void,
- And stand dissolved by my superior power:
- Obey me, madam, I have given my orders,
- And I expect your husband should deliver
- Into my hands the emperor and Idame:
- Remember, Zamti’s life depends on you:
- Let prudence teach you to disarm the wrath
- Of an offended king, who, blushing, owns
- His foolish fondness for a worthless woman.
- Thou seest my wretched fate; the tyrant leaves me
- The cruel choice of infamy or death.
- O, Zamti, I must yield thee to thy fate.
- Rather exert the power which beauty gives thee
- O’er the proud Scythian, you have found the art
- To please him.
- Would I had not! that, alas!
- But makes me more unhappy.
- You alone
- Might soften all the rigor of our fate;
- For you already his relenting soul
- Withheld its fierceness; you subdued his rage;
- Zamti still lives, his rival, and his foe:
- This bloody conqueror stands in awe of thee,
- And dare not hurt him: here he first beheld
- Thy lovely form, here paid his guiltless vows.
- No more: it were a crime to think of them.
zamti, idame, asseli.
- Zamti! what brought thee hither? what kind power
- Hath thus restored thee to my arms?
- The tyrant
- Hath given me this short respite; by his orders
- I came to seek thee.
- Hast thou heard, my Zamti,
- The shameful terms proposed to save thy life,
- And the dear Orphan’s?
- Mine’s not worth thy care:
- What is the loss of one unhappy being
- Amidst the general ruin? O Idame,
- Remember my first duty is to save
- My king; whate’er we boast, whate’er we love,
- To him we owe it all, except our honor,
- That only good which we can call our own.
- I have concealed the Orphan ’midst the tombs
- Of his great ancestors, unless we soon
- Fly to relieve him, he must perish there.
- Korea’s generous prince in vain expects him:
- Etan, our faithful servant, is in chains;
- Thou art our only hope; preserve the life
- Of thy dear infant, and thy husband’s honor.
- What wouldst thou have me do?
- Forget me, live
- But for thy country, give up all to that,
- And that alone; heaven points out the fair path
- Of glory to thee, and a husband’s death,
- For Zamti soon must die, shall leave thee free
- To act as best may serve the common cause:
- Enslave the Tartar, make him all thy own;
- And yet to leave thee to that proud usurper
- Will make the pangs of death more bitter to me:
- It is a dreadful sacrifice, but duty
- Spreads sweet content o’er all that she inspires:
- Idame, be a mother to thy king,
- And reign; remember, ’tis my last command,
- Preserve thy sovereign, and be happy.
- Thou knowest me not: thinkest thou I’ll ever purchase
- Those shameful honors with my Zamti’s blood?
- O thou art doubly guilty; love and nature
- Cry out against thee! barbarous to thy son,
- And still more cruel to thy wife. O Zamti,
- Heaven points us out a nobler way to death.
- The tyrant, whether from contempt or love
- I know not, leaves me at full liberty;
- I am not watched, or guarded here; I know
- Each secret path and avenue that leads
- To the dark tombs where thou hast hid the king;
- Thither I’ll fly, and to Korea’s chief
- Bear the rich prize, the nation’s only hope,
- The royal infant, as a gift from heaven:
- I know ’twill be in vain, and we must die;
- But we shall die with glory; we shall leave
- Behind us names that, worthy of remembrance,
- shall shine forever in the rolls of time.
- Now, Zamti, have I followed thy example?
- Thou gracious God, who hast inspired, support her!
- I blush, my love, at thy superior virtue;
- Heaven grant thee power to save thy king and country!
End of the Fourth Act.