Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT II. - 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 II. - 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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the duke of foix.
- She cannot sure again refuse to see me,
- And urge me to despair! she dare not do it:
- Fool that I am to give her thus the power;
- How weak is my proud heart to yield itself
- A voluntary slave! go, throw thyself,
- Mean as thou art, beneath the tyrant’s feet;
- Go, make thy life dependent on a word,
- A look, a smile, from proud Amelia; pass
- From love to fury, and from tears to rage;
- ’Tis the last time I e’er will speak to her.
- I go—
the duke, amelia and thaisadvancing from the upper end of the stage.
- There’s hope, my Thais; yet I tremble.
- Would Vamir hazard this bold enterprise?
- ’Tis full of danger; ha! what do I see?
- [Advancing towards the Duke.
- Amelia, what hath this way led thy steps
- I know not, but thy eyes too plainly tell me
- That I was not the object of their search:
- What! still turn from me, still insult the heart
- That dotes upon thee! cruel tyrant, thus
- To blast the laurels planted on my brow:
- O if Amelia’s hand had placed them there
- They might have flourished, but she has forgot
- Her plighted faith, and broke her flattering promise.
- Thou never hadst my faith, I never gave
- Thee promise, gratitude is all I owe thee.
- Did I not offer thee my hand?
- Thou didst:
- It was an honor which I could not merit,
- And which I never sought, but I received it
- With due respect; you thought, no doubt, a rank
- So glorious must have dazzled poor Amelia.
- At length, my lord, ’tis time to undeceive you;
- I do it with regret, because I know
- It will offend you, but I must be plain:
- In short, my lord, I love my king too well
- To think of wedding with his foe: thy blood,
- I know, is noble; mine is spotless yet,
- Nor will be stained with foul disloyalty,
- And I inherit from my ancestors
- The fixed abhorrence of my country’s foes:
- Nor will I e’er acknowledge for a master
- The friend of tyrants, be he e’er so great:
- Such is my firm resolve; perhaps, my lord,
- It may seem harsh, but you obliged me to it.
- This is a language, madam, which I own
- I looked not for; I never could have thought
- That angry heaven, to make me doubly wretched,
- Would choose Amelia for its instrument
- Of vengeance: you have studied long in secret
- The arts of black ingratitude, of scorn
- And insult, and now open all your heart.
- I was a stranger to this patriot zeal,
- This most heroic ardor for thy country,
- This fetch of policy; but tell me, madam,
- Whom have you here but this insulted lover,
- The injured Foix, to succor and support you?
- Thou hast reproached me with my new alliance,
- Those faithful friends on whom I here rely
- For all my safety, and for all my power:
- Without their aid thou hadst been still a captive;
- To them you owed your liberty and life,
- And am I thus rewarded?
- You prolonged
- My wretched days; but are they therefore yours,
- And may I not dispose them as I please?
- Did you preserve me but to make me wretched,
- To be a tyrant o’er the life you saved?
- Ungrateful woman, thou deservest the name
- Of tyrant most, for now I read thy soul,
- See through the thin disguise, behold too plainly
- My own dishonor, and thy treacherous falsehood:
- I know thou lovest another, but whoe’er
- He be that thus hath robbed me of thy heart,
- Fear thou my love, and tremble at my rage;
- For, if he be on earth, I’ll find the traitor,
- And tear him from thee: if amidst its horrors
- My soul could feel one momentary joy,
- ’Twould be to make thee wretched.
- No: my lord,
- Indeed it would not; reason will forbid it:
- Thy soul’s too noble to oppress with woe
- A life which thou hadst saved; but if thy heart
- Should ever stoop so low, thy virtues still,
- Thy goodness in my memory shall live,
- And only thy unkindness be forgotten.
- I pity, and forgive thee; thou wilt blush
- Hereafter at the thought of injuring me;
- Spite of thy threats, my soul is yet unmoved,
- Nor dreads thy anger, nor defies thy power.
- Forgive the transports of a mind disturbed,
- The rage of love embittered by despair;
- Lisois, I find, holds secret conference with you,
- Abets you falsehood, and defends your conduct;
- Leans to the royal party, and combines
- In vain with you to make a convert of me:
- It seems I’m to be governed by your will,
- And not my own: your converse is the same,
- The same your purpose; but why use these arms
- Against me? to persuade my easy heart,
- Why must Amelia seek a stranger’s aid?
- A word will win me, if ’tis spoke by love.
- My heart, I own, hath opened to thy friend
- Its hopes and fears, but he hath done much more
- Than he had promised: pity then my tears,
- Pity my sorrows, be thyself again;
- Subdue a passion which Amelia must not,
- Cannot return: accept my gratitude,
- ’Tis all I have to give thee.
- Lisois, then,
- And he alone, enjoys thy confidence,
- Thy friendship, more perhaps; I see it now.
- You may perhaps hereafter, but at present
- You have no right, sir, to control my thoughts,
- My actions, or my words; no right to blame me,
- Or to complain: I sought thy friend’s assistance,
- And he has given it me; I wish, my lord,
- That you would learn to act and think like him.
- ’Tis well: this base, ungrateful, perjured woman,
- Without a blush, confesses all her falsehood;
- The mystery is unfolded now: one friend,
- One only friend, I had, and he destroys me.
- Friendship! vain phantom, unsubstantial shade,
- So often sought for, and so seldom found,
- Thou ever hadst some wholesome draught to pour
- Into my cup of sorrow; but at last
- Thou, too, like love, hast cruelly deceived me!
- For the reward of all my errors past
- I have but this, that no allurements now,
- No flattering pleasures, henceforth shall betray me;
- For from this hour I will be fond—of nothing.
- But lo! the traitor comes with cruel hand
- To tear my wounds, and make them bleed afresh.
the duke, lisois.
- My lord, I come obedient to thy orders:
- But why that frown, those eyes of discontent
- That scowl upon me? has thy soul, long time
- The sport of passion, weighed in reason’s scale
- Thy interest, and thy happiness?
- My eyes are opened
- To falsehood and deceit; I’ve learned to find
- A rival and a traitor in my friend.
- Too much, my lord:
- Who is the traitor?
- Canst thou ask me who?
- Who but thyself was privy to the wrongs
- I have received, who else must answer for them?
- I know, Amelia hath conversed with thee
- Here, in the palace; when I mentioned thee
- She trembled: this affected silence speaks
- Your guilt more plainly, and I know not which
- Most to abhor, Amelia, or—my friend.
- Canst thou yet listen to that friend?
- Thinkest thou I still am anxious for my fame?
- Dost thou esteem, and canst thou yet believe me?
- I will: for till this hour I thought thee virtuous,
- And held thee for my friend.
- Those noble titles
- Have hitherto conducted me through life;
- But wherefore justify myself to thee?
- Thou’st not deserved it: know, Amelia’s charms
- Long since had touched my heart, before thy hand
- Had set her free, and saved her precious life,
- But by the ties of gratitude she’s thine;
- Thou hast deserved her by thy services:
- For me, I’m more the soldier than the soft
- And tender lover; I despise the art
- Of base seduction, fit for courts alone,
- And flattery’s smooth perfidiousness; my soul
- Is made of firmer stuff: I talked indeed
- Of marriage to her; and that sacred tie,
- Knit by esteem and fair equality
- Of fortune and condition, might have made her
- More happy far than rank and titles could,
- That stand upon a dangerous precipice:
- But yesternight, you know, I visited
- Your ramparts, when your jealous soul alarmed
- Discovered all its passion; I observed it:
- To-day I saw the object of your grief,
- Your loved Amelia, and beheld her charms
- With eyes of cold indifference: o’er myself
- I gained an easy conquest: I did more,
- Pleaded for thee, for an ungrateful friend,
- And urged a passion which I can’t approve;
- Recalled the memory of thy bounties past,
- Thy glory and thy rank, acknowledged faults
- I knew you had, and numbered all your virtues;
- All this against myself I did for thee;
- For my friend’s happiness gave up my own:
- And if the sacrifice is still imperfect,
- Show me the rival that still dares to oppose thee,
- And I will stake my life to do thee justice.
- My friend, thou soarest above me; I am fallen,
- Abashed, confounded: who could see Amelia
- And not adore her? but to conquer thus
- Thy passion! O thou never couldst have loved her.
- I did: but love, like other passions, acts
- With different force on different minds.
- I love
- Too well, my friend, and cannot imitate
- The virtue I admire: my foolish heart—
- I ask not for thy praises, but thy love;
- And if thou thinkest that I have merited
- Aught at thy hands, O do but serve thyself,
- Thy happiness is Lisois’ best reward.
- Thou seest with what determined hate thy brother
- Pursues the Moor, I dread the consequence:
- The people groan beneath this foreign yoke,
- Soon, I foresee, the empire will unite
- Their scattered powers, new enemies still rise
- Against us, the pure blood of Clovis still
- Is worshipped by the crowd, and soon or late
- The branches of this sacred tree, that long
- Have bent beneath the storm, again shall rise,
- Spring with fresh verdure, and overshade the land.
- Placed by thy rank and fortunes near the throne,
- Long time thou wert thy king and country’s friend;
- But in the days of public discord, fate
- Attached thee to another cause; perhaps
- New interests now may call for new connections,
- And what united may dissolve the tie;
- The power of these despotic governors
- May be restrained, and weakened by thy hand—
- I wish it were so; thinkest thou then Amelia
- Would listen to me? if I should embrace
- The royal party, might she still be mine?
- I am a stranger to Amelia’s heart;
- But what are her designs, her views to thee?
- Must love alone decide the nation’s fate?
- In Touraine’s field, when gallant Clovis fought,
- And, o’er the haughty conquerors of Rome
- Victorious, stopped the bloody Arian’s hand,
- That dealt destruction round us, did he save
- His country, thinkest thou, but to please a mistress?
- This arm against a rival is prepared
- To serve my friend, but I would serve him more,
- Would cure him of this fond, destructive passion;
- This love deceives us, we’re too fearful of him;
- We wound ourselves, and lay the blame on him;
- The coward’s tyrant, and the hero’s slave;
- He may be conquered; Lisois has subdued him,
- And shall he triumph o’er the blood of kings
- Who never yet submitted to a foe?
- Awake, my friend, and be our great example
- In every virtue.
- Yes, I will do all,
- All for Amelia; she must yield at last.
- Her laws, her king, her master, shall be mine:
- I have no will but her, and in her eyes
- Will read my duty, and my fate: possessed
- Of the dear treasure, will be reconciled
- To every foe. O how my heart enjoys
- The pleasing hope! I had no cause to fear,
- I have no rival; if thou art not loved,
- I can have none: who in this court would dare
- To cast one look towards Amelia? now
- Her vain pretexts are vanished; reason, glory,
- My interest, and my birth, the sacred right
- Of my great ancestors, all, all unite
- To bind the nuptial chain, and make me happy.
- Henceforth I am the king’s, and will support him
- So virtue bids, and beauty has commanded.
- On this blest day will I confirm the oaths
- I made to love: away, my friend, I leave
- My interest and my fortunes to thy care.
- Permit me, then, my lord, to seek the king:
- I could have wished that this important change
- Were to the hero, not the lover due;
- But be it as it may, the effect’s too glorious
- To blame the cause: I triumph in thy weakness,
- And bless for once the lucky power of love.
the duke, lisois, an officer.
- My lord, the foe advances; we expect
- A fierce assault, and wait your orders; time
- Is precious.
- Cruel fate! to counteract
- My noble purpose! then farewell to peace,
- And welcome, victory! I’ll deserve Amelia:
- I heed not these rash fools: of all the foes
- I have to conquer, there’s but one to fear,
- And that’s—Amelia.
End of the Second Act.