Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT V. - 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 V. - 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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- All then is lost; twice in one fatal day
- Have I beheld thee made a slave: alas!
- What could a helpless woman unsupported
- Against a mighty conqueror?
- I have done
- What duty bade me, carried in my arms
- The royal infant; for a while his presence
- Inspired our troops, but Genghis came, and death
- Followed his steps, the savage herd prevailed,
- And bore down all before them; I was made
- Once more a captive.
- Zamti then must perish,
- And share his master’s fate.
- They both must die:
- Perhaps some cruel torments, worse than death,
- Already are prepared; my son perhaps
- Must follow them: to triumph o’er my grief,
- And aggravate my sorrows, the proud tyrant
- Called me before him: how his looks appalled
- My shrinking soul, when thrice he lifted up
- His bloody hand against the wretched infants!
- Trembling I stepped between, and at his feet
- Fell prostrate; rudely then he pushed me from him,
- And turned aside; the savage guards around
- Seemed waiting for his orders to despatch me.
- He cannot, dare not do it: still, thou seest,
- Zamti is spared, the orphan king still lives;
- Let but Idame sue to him for pardon,
- And all will be forgiven.
- O no; his love
- Is turned to rage; he smiled at my distress,
- Laughed at my tears, and vowed eternal hatred.
- And yet you may subdue him; the fierce lion
- Roars in the toils, and bites his chain; he would not
- Thus talk of hatred if he did not love.
- Whether he loves or hates, ’tis time to end
- This wretched being.
- When heaven hath poured out all its wrath upon us,
- And filled up the sad measure of our woes,
- It gives us courage to support our griefs,
- And suits our strength to our calamities:
- I feel new force, new vigor in my heart,
- ’Midst all my sorrows; henceforth I defy
- The tyrant, and am mistress of my fate.
- But can you leave your child, the dear loved object
- Of all your hopes and fears?
- There Asseli,
- You pierce my heart: O dreadful sacrifice!
- I have done all to save him: the usurper
- Will not descend so low as to destroy
- A helpless infant; for his mother’s sake,
- Whom once he loved, perhaps may spare my child;
- That pleasing hope at least will soothe my soul
- In the dark hour of death: he will relent
- When I am gone, nor carry his fierce wrath
- Beyond the grave, to persecute my son.
idame, asseli, octar.
- Madam, you must attend the emperor.
- [To the guards.
- Guard you these infants; watch the door, that none
- May pass this way.
- [To Asseli.
- You, madam, may retire.
- The emperor send for me?—but I obey.
- Could I have seen my Zamti first! perhaps
- It is a vain request: does pity never
- Dwell in a Tartar’s breast? might I implore
- Your friendship to assist me?
- No: when once
- The royal word is passed, to offer counsel
- Is little less than treason: you had kings
- Indeed of old who gave up all their rights,
- And let their subjects rule; but manners change
- With times; we listen not to idle prayers,
- Nor yield to woman’s tears; by arms alone
- We rule the subject world: therefore obey,
- And wait the emperor’s commands.
- Thou God
- Of the afflicted, who beholdest my wrongs,
- Support me now, inspire me with a portion
- Of my dear Zamti’s courage.
genghis khan, idame.
- Genghis comes
- Once more to humble thy proud soul; to show thee
- Thy foul ingratitude, thy base return
- For all my kindness to thee; yet thou knowest not
- How guilty thou hast been; thou knowest not yet
- Thy danger, nor the anguish of my soul;
- Thou whom I loved and whom I ought to hate,
- To punish, to destroy.
- Then punish me,
- And me alone; ’tis all I ask of Genghis:
- Finish a life of misery, satiate here
- Thy thirst of blood: Idame hath been faithful,
- That is a crime thou never canst forgive:
- Strike then, and be revenged.
- Thou knowest I cannot;
- Thou knowest I am more wretched than thyself;
- But I’m resolved: the Orphan, and thy son,
- Are in my power: for Zamti, he has long
- Deserved to die; the rebel braves my wrath,
- And yet I spare him; if you wish his life
- You must forget him; death will break the chain
- That binds you; then I might with justice seize
- And make you mine; but know, this proud barbarian,
- This Scythian tyrant, whom you treat with scorn,
- Is not unworthy of Idame’s love:
- Abjure your marriage, and I’ll raise your child
- To equal rank and splendor with my own:
- The orphan shall be safe, your husband spared;
- Their lives, their welfare, and their happiness,
- The happiness of Genghis, all depend
- On thee, Idame; for I love thee still:
- But think not I will bear thy cruel insults,
- Thy tyrant scorn, and all the pride of beauty:
- My soul, thou knowest, is violent; take heed,
- Provoke it not, least vengeance fall upon thee.
- Speak the decisive word that must determine
- The fate of Genghis, and his empire; say,
- Or must I love or hate Idame?
- Your hatred were unjust, your love most guilty,
- And most unworthy of us both: I ask
- Your justice; I demand it; ’tis a debt
- Which a king owes to all: if you have lost,
- I would restore it to you, and, in secret,
- I know your conscience justifies Idame.
- Then hatred is your choice; ’tis well; henceforth
- Expect the vengeance of an injured monarch:
- Your prince, your husband, and your son shall pay
- For proud Idame’s scorn, and with their blood
- Atone for her ingratitude: their doom
- Was sealed by thee, thou art their murderer.
- Barbarous, inhuman Genghis.
- So I am,
- Thanks to thy kind regard! you might have had
- A tender love, but you chose a master
- Proud, merciless, and savage, one whose hatred
- Is equal to thy own.
- He is my king;
- As such I reverence him: this single boon,
- Low on my knees entreat.
- Idame, rise;
- Speak, I attend: perhaps some kinder thoughts—
- Might Zamti be permitted for a while
- To visit me in secret?
- My lord,
- But for a moment, ’tis my last request;
- Perhaps it may be better for us both.
- ’Tis strange: but be it so: perhaps the slave,
- Taught by calamity, that best of masters,
- No longer will desire the fatal honor
- Of being rival to a conqueror:
- On you his fate depends; divorce, or death:
- Give him the choice.
- [To Octar.
- Watch here.
- [To the guards.
- Guards, follow me:
- Still am I wavering, still unhappy; still
- Is Genghis doomed to be the slave of love.
- Once more Idame lives; methinks I feel
- New strength and vigor shoot through every vein:
- Now, Genghis, I defy thee!
- O my Zamti,
- Dearer to me than all those conquerors,
- Whom servile mortals flatter into gods;
- My other deity, to whom in vain
- I never sue: alas, my love, too well
- Thou knowest our fate; the dreadful hour is come.
- In vain thy patriot care
- Strove to preserve the orphan king.
- That hope
- Is lost; we’ll think no more on it: thou hast done
- Thy every duty, and I die content.
- What will become of our dear child? forgive
- A mother, Zamti; I have shown some courage,
- And therefore thou wilt pardon me.
- The kings
- Of Cathay are no more; the nobles held
- In ignominious chains; they most deserve
- Our pity, who are still condemned to live.
- O they have doomed thee to a shameful death.
- ’Tis what I’ve long expected.
- Hear me then;
- Is there no path to death but from the palace?
- Bulls bleed at the altar; criminals are dragged
- To punishment; but generous minds are masters
- Of their own fate: why meet it from the hands
- Of Genghis? were we born dependent thus
- On others’ wills? no; let us imitate
- Our bolder neighbors, live with ease, and die
- When life grows burdensome: wrongs unrevenged
- To them are insupportable, and death
- More welcome far than infamy: they wait not
- For a proud tyrant’s nod, but meet their fate:
- We’ve taught these islanders some useful arts,
- And wherefore deign we not to learn from them
- Some necessary virtues?—let us die.
- Yes: I approve thy noble resolution,
- And think, extremity of sorrow mocks
- The power of laws; but wretched slaves, disarmed
- As we are, and bowed down beneath our tyrants,
- Must wait the blow.
- [Drawing out a poniard.
- Strike, Zamti, and be free.
- Strike here, my Zamti, this weak arm
- Perhaps might err; thy firmer hand will best
- Direct the fatal stroke; now sacrifice
- A faithful wife, and let her husband fall
- Beside her: yes, my love, we’ll die together;
- With jealous eye the tyrant shall behold us
- Expiring in each other’s arms.
- Thank heaven!
- Thy virtue never fails; this is the last
- The dearest mark of my Idame’s love;
- Receive my last farewell; give me the dagger:
- Now turn aside.
- There, take it.
- [Gives him the dagger.
- Kill me first;
- Thou tremblest.
- I shudder at the thought.
- O cruel Zamti,
- Strike here, and then—
- I will—now follow me.
- [Attempts to stab himself
- [Laying hold of his arm
- You must not—here, my lord—
genghis, octar, idame, zamti.
- O heaven! disarm him.
- [Guards disarm him.
- What would ye do?
- We would have freed ourselves
- From misery and thee.
- Thou wilt not envy us
- The privilege to die.
- Indeed I will:
- O power supreme, thou witness of my wrongs
- And of my weakness, thou who hast subdued
- So many kings for me, shall I at last
- Be worthy of thy goodness?—Zamti, thou
- Still triumphest o’er me; she whom I adored,
- Thy wife, had rather die by thy loved hand
- Than live with Genghis: but ye both shall learn
- To bear my yoke, perhaps yet more.
- For what new scene of inhumanity
- Are we reserved?
- Why is our fate concealed?
- Be not impatient; ye shall know it soon.
- Ye’ve done me ample justice, be it mine
- Now to return it: I admire you both;
- You have subdued me, and I blush to sit
- On Cathay’s throne, whilst there are souls like yours
- So much above me; vainly have I tried
- By glorious deeds to build myself a name
- Among the nations; you have humbled me,
- And I would equal you: I did not know
- That mortals could be masters of themselves;
- That greatest glory I have learned from you:
- I am not what I was; to you I owe
- The wondrous change; I come to reunite,
- To save, and to protect you: watch, Idame,
- Your prince’s tender years; to thee I give
- The precious charge, by right of conquest mine;
- Hereafter I will be a father to him:
- At length you may confide in Genghis; once
- I was a conqueror, now I am a king.
- [To Zamti.
- Zamti, be thou our law’s interpreter,
- And make the world as good and pure as thou art;
- Teach reason, justice, and morality,
- And let the conquered rule the conquerors;
- Let wisdom reign, and still direct our valor;
- Let prudence triumph over strength; her king
- Will set the example, and your conqueror
- Henceforth shall be obedient to your law.
- Thou art indeed our king,
- And we shall bless thy sway.
- What could inspire
- This great design, and work this change?
End of the Fifth and Last Act.