Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT III. - 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 III. - 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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duke of foix, lisois.
- The day is ours; thanks to thy friendly hand
- That guided my rash youth; thy noble soul,
- In peace or war, is my best counsellor.
- The glorious fire that animates thy heart
- Must always conquer, when ’tis checked by prudence,
- As here it was: preserve this happy virtue,
- ’Twill make thee happy, and ’twill make thee great;
- The coward is restless, but the hero calm.
- How is the lover? can he ever taste
- Of sweet tranquillity? But say, my friend,
- This unknown chief, that mounted on our ramparts,
- And with his single arm so long suspended
- The doubtful victory: I grow jealous of him:
- Where is he? what became of him?
- By slaughtered friends, alone long time he stood,
- And braved opposing legions; but what most
- Surprised us, when at length he had escaped
- From every danger, wondrous to relate!
- He yielded up himself a prisoner to us;
- Conceals his rank and name, accuses heaven,
- And begs for instant death. One friend alone
- Attends him, and partakes his sorrows.
- Who can this bold, this fearless soldier be?
- He wore his beaver down: some secret charm
- O’erpowered my trembling soul when I opposed him.
- Whether this fatal passion that enslaves me
- Hath spread its weakness o’er each faculty,
- And left the soft impression on my soul,
- Or that my bleeding country’s voice alarmed
- This conscious heart, and silently reproached me.
- As for the weakness of thy soul, advice
- I know were vain, but sure thy country’s voice
- May still be heard; now is the time to show
- The greatness of thy soul, and give us peace.
- Fortune, that smiled on us to-day, perhaps
- May frown to-morrow, and thy pride be forced
- To sue for pardon to a haughty foe.
- Since thou art happy, and Amelia’s thine,
- Now rest thy glory on the common cause,
- This brave unknown may forward our designs;
- Let us improve the lucky moment.
- My friend, I will do all to serve Amelia,
- Her cause is mine: I must prepare the minds
- Of my brave followers for the change; to thee,
- And to thy happy counsels, every bliss,
- Glory and peace, and hymeneal joys,
- To thee I owe, to friendship and to love.
lisois, vamir and emarat the farther end of the stage.
- It is the noble prisoner, and his friend,
- If I mistake not: this way they advance;
- He seems o’erwhelmed with deep despair.
- O heaven!
- Where am I? whither dost thou lead me?
- Whoe’er thou art, be comforted; thy fate
- Hath thrown thee into noble hands: thou’lt find
- A generous master, who can see desert
- Even in a foe: may I not ask thy name?
- I am a poor abandoned wretch, the sport
- Of fortune, one whose least affliction is
- To be a captive, and from every eye
- Would wish to hide the story of my fate:
- It is enough to be supremely wretched,
- Without this cruel witness of my woe:
- Too soon my name and sorrows will be known.
- Respect is due to misery like thine;
- I will not urge thee further, but retire:
- Perhaps even here thy soul may find relief
- In generous treatment, and a milder fate.
- A milder fate! I must not hope for it:
- O I have lived too long.
- Thank heaven, my lord,
- That we are fallen amongst such noble foes,
- And shall not groan beneath a stranger’s power.
- No yoke sometimes so galling as a brother’s.
- But you were bred together, and the ties
- Of tenderest friendship linked your hearts.
- They did:
- But O the friendship of our early years
- Soon takes its flight: he loved me once, and still
- This heart retains a brother’s kindness for him:
- I cannot hate him, though he conquered me.
- He knows not yet how great a captive comes
- To grace his triumph; knows not that a brother
- Is in his power, whom vengeance had inspired.
- No: Emar, never did a thought of vengeance
- Enter my heart; a different passion swayed
- The soul of Vamir: can it be, just heaven!
- Or is it but the lying voice of fame,
- That my Amelia’s false, that she has broke
- Her solemn vows? for whom, too? added guilt
- To her, and double sorrow to thy friend!
- The sacred laws of nature, and the ties
- Of tender love, all broken, all betrayed!
- Unjust, inhuman brother!
- Knows he then
- How dear a treasure he hath robbed thee of
- In thy Amelia? did not Vamir say
- That he was still a stranger to thy love?
- But she is not: she knows what solemn ties,
- What strict engagements, bound us to each other:
- That at the altar, ere we had confirmed
- Our mutual vows, the barbarous Moor rushed in,
- And tore her from me; the base ravishers
- Escaped my vengeance, and my happier brother
- Enjoys the precious treasure Vamir lost
- Ungrateful woman! came I here, my friend,
- But to reproach her? what will it avail?
- She will not listen to my fond complaint:
- But to my royal master I have lived
- A faithful servant, and to false Amelia,
- And faithful will I die: when she shall know
- How well I loved her, she may shed a tear,
- And in a brother’s arms lament my fate.
- Repress thy sorrows; see, the duke approaches.
duke of foix, vamir, emar.
- This mystery alarms me:
- But I must see this noble captive: ha!
- He turns aside with horror.
- Hateful life!
- Must I support thee still? must I again
- Behold the faithless wretch?
- Alas! too sure I am that wretched brother,
- Thy vanquished foe, a poor abandoned captive.
- Thou art my brother still, and I forgive thee;
- But ’tis most strange, and most unnatural:
- Could the king find no instrument but thee
- To execute his vengeance on my head?
- What had I done to Vamir?
- Made his life
- Unhappy: would that thou hadst taken it from me!
- Dreadful effects of civil strife!
- More dreadful
- Are the deep wounds that pierce the heart of Vamir.
- Against another foe I might have shown
- A soldier’s courage, but I pity thee.
- Pity thyself, the wretch who has betrayed
- His country, and deceived the king that loved him;
- A traitor, and unworthy of thy race.
- Brand me not, Vamir, with opprobrious name
- Of traitor, lest I should forget myself,
- And spurn thee for the insult: no, my brother,
- I’m not that base, ungrateful wretch thou thinkest me;
- Thou seest me ready to restore fair peace,
- And heal the wounds of my divided country.
- Thou heal our wounds! thou—
- Yes: the day that seemed
- So fatal to thy peace shall quench the flames
- Of public discord, and unite us all.
- Of delight
- And joy, the day that crowns my wishes—
- Yes, Vamir, all is changed, and I am happy.
- It may be so: I heard indeed thy heart
- These three months past has been the slave of love;
- And if report say true, most violent
- And fierce thy passion.
- Thou hast heard aright;
- I love her even to madness: thou art come
- In happy hour to make our bliss complete.
- Yes: I will lay my friends, my foes, my every claim,
- Revenge and glory, all beneath her feet.
- Go, tell her two unhappy brothers, long
- [To his attendants.
- By adverse fate to different interests bound,
- Wait but a look from her to be united.
- [To Vamir.
- Blame not my passion, Vamir, when thou seest
- The lovely object, soon thou wilt approve it.
- And does she love thee? cruel thought!
- At least
- She ought: one obstacle alone remained,
- And that shall be removed.
- Inhuman brother!
- Knowest thou what led me to this fatal place,
- And meanest thou to insult me?
- Let us bury
- In deep oblivion every thought of discord;
- Behold, the fair Amelia comes.
duke of foix, vamir, amelia.
- O heaven!
- What do I see? I die.
- Amelia, listen,
- And mark how happiness ariseth oft
- From our misfortunes; this day I have conquered,
- And this day found a brother; thou, my Vamir,
- Shalt be a witness to the power of love.
- What nor Amelia’s prayers, nor her reproaches,
- My generous friend, my country, and my king,
- Long time in vain solicited, her charms
- At length have won: to them I yield submissive.
- Amelia, whilst I was thy sovereign’s foe,
- Thou wouldst not listen to my vows: henceforth
- I have no laws, no friends, no king, but thine:
- So love commands, and love shall be obeyed.
- Vamir, thou’rt free: be thou the messenger
- Of welcome tidings to the court: away,
- And tell the king I hasten to present
- His fair ally, the conqueror who subdued
- A rebel’s heart, and of a dangerous foe
- Hath made a faithful subject; changed by her,
- And her alone.
- ’Tis as I wished: my fate
- Will soon be known: speak, and pronounce our doom.
- Amelia, speak, art thou not satisfied
- With my submission? Is it not enough
- To see a conqueror thus humbly kneel
- Before thee? Can my life alone content
- Thy cruel heart? take it, ungrateful woman!
- I wished but to preserve it for thy sake;
- For thee alone I lived, for thee will die.
- I am astonished, and my faltering voice
- Will scarce give utterance to my words—my lord,
- If thy great soul laments thy country’s fate,
- And feels for her distress, thy generous care
- Must spring from nobler motives than the wish
- To serve Amelia; thou hast heard the voice
- Of powerful nature: what hath love to do
- Where only honor hath a right to dictate?
- ’Tis thy own work, Amelia, all thy own:
- O’er every interest, every passion, love
- Superior reigns; reproach me, cover me
- With shame, no matter: I must force thy heart;
- Come to the altar.
- No, my lord;
- I’d sooner die: my life’s at thy command,
- But not my heart: there is a fatal bar
- Between us, and I never can be thine.
- ’Tis well, ungrateful—dost thou hear her, Vamir?
- But I’ll be calm: I’ll not complain of thee,
- I see thee now: the soft persuasive arts
- That call our passions forth, the flattering hope
- That’s given but to betray, the subtle poison
- Spread o’er our hearts, deceitful all and vain,
- No longer shall seduce my easy faith,
- The eye of reason hath detected them,
- And the same art that bound hath set me free:
- I will not blush before thee, Vamir: no,
- I will not be despised: but let me see
- This hidden rival, bring him here before me,
- And I will yield him up the worthless prize;
- For know, I have contempt enough for both
- To wish you were united; that alone
- Should be your punishment.
- Perhaps, my lord,
- ’Twere fittest for Amelia to retire
- In silence, but I hold my honor dear,
- And must defend it: I have been accused
- Before thy brother, and must answer thee.
- Know, then, I’m destined to another’s arms;
- I own my love, my tender passion for him;
- Amelia were unworthy of his heart,
- Had she e’er given a distant hope to thee:
- But thou wouldst seize my faith and liberty,
- As if they were by right of conquest thine.
- I owed thee much, but injuries like these,
- My lord, discharge the debt of gratitude,
- And cancel all: I saw, and pitied long
- The violence of thy fruitless passion for me;
- Do not then make me hate thee: I rejected
- Thy proffered vows, but never scorned thy love:
- I wished for thy esteem, and gave thee mine.
- Perfidious woman! naught hast thou deserved
- But my resentment, which thou soon shalt know
- Is equal to my love: thou waitedst then
- For Vamir to be witness of my shame!
- I should have thought he was himself the traitor,
- If—but he ne’er beheld thy fatal charms,
- My happier brother never knew Amelia.
- Who is this rival? let me know his name,
- But think not I will tamely yield to him.
- No: I deceived thee there, but cannot long
- Dissemble; I will drag thee to the altar,
- There, as he dies in torment, shall he see
- Our hands united; I will dip in blood
- The torch of Hymen: well I know that princes
- Have been despised for mean and vulgar slaves,
- But I shall find him.
- Why shouldst thou suppose
- This rival so contemptible?
- And why
- Shouldst thou excuse him? Didst thou never know her?
- ’Tis dreadful to conceive it. If thou didst,
- Now, traitor, tremble.
- Vamir tremble? No:
- Too long already I have borne in silence
- Thy cruel insults; know me now, barbarian,
- Know a despair that’s equal to thy own:
- Strike here; behold thy brother, and thy rival.
- Yes: for these two years past
- We’ve been united in the strictest bonds
- Of tender love; the only good on earth
- I wished to keep, thy cruel hand hath strove
- To ravish from me, made my life unhappy:
- Judge of my miseries by thy own: we both
- Are jealous, both were born the slaves of passion:
- Hatred and love, resentment, and despair,
- Possess our souls, and all in the extreme:
- Thou wert my rival, therefore I opposed thee:
- Furious and blind, I ran, I flew to save
- The object of my love; not all thy power
- Restrained me, nor my weakness, time nor place,
- Not even thy noble courage; love prevailed
- O’er friendship, and the ties of blood: be thou
- Cruel like me, like me unnatural.
- Whilst I have life, thou never canst enjoy
- Thy conquest, never canst possess Amelia:
- Strike, then, and punish, shed thy brother’s blood;
- But when thou draggest her with thee to the altar,
- Remember, she’s thy sister, and my wife.
- Guards, seize the traitor, take him from my sight.
- Stay, cruel prince; art thou inflexible,
- Deaf to the voice of nature? O, my lord!
- Sue not for me, Amelia, Vamir’s fate
- Is to be envied: he most claims your pity
- Who hath betrayed his king, and injured thee:
- I am revenged, the victory is mine;
- For thou art hated here, and I’m beloved.
- [Kneeling to the Duke.
- O dearest prince, my lord, see at your feet—
- Away with him: rise, madam, for thy tears
- And fruitless prayers to save a traitor’s life
- But pour fresh poison o’er my wounded heart
- That bleeds for thee; but I will die, Amelia,
- Not unrevenged: when thou shalt feel my rage
- Accuse thyself; the work is all thy own.
- I cannot leave thee: O my lord, yet hear—
- If I must hear thee, speak, go on.
the duke, vamir, amelia, lisois.
- My lord,
- The people are in arms; at Vamir’s name
- They rose tumultuous, and on every side
- Disorder reigns; the affrighted soldiers leave
- Their colors, and in wild confusion fly:
- Meantime the foe unites his scattered powers,
- And rushes on us.
- Go, ungrateful woman!
- Thou hast not long to glory in thy crimes;
- Follow her—
- [To one of her attendants.
- I must to the factious crowd
- And show myself: thou, Lisois, guard this traitor.
- Art thou a traitor? couldst thou thus disgrace
- Thy noble blood, to violate the laws
- Of nature? could a prince so far forget
- His duty and himself?
- I never did:
- The people’s just: my brother is a rebel,
- And has betrayed his master.
- Hear me, Vamir;
- My soul desires no greater happiness
- Than to unite you: long have I beheld
- With deep regret my bleeding country’s woes,
- Our fields laid waste, and nature sacrificed
- To discord and revenge; the haughty Moor,
- Raised on our ruins, menacing the state,
- Which we have weakened by our own divisions.
- O if thou bearest a heart that’s truly noble,
- And worthy of thy race, now save thy country;
- Exert thy power to reconcile the king,
- Soften thy brother, and put out the flames
- Of civil war.
- Impossible! thy cares
- Are fruitless all and vain: if naught but discord,
- Revenge and hatred, led me to the field,
- Had glory and ambition fired my breast,
- Thou mightest have hoped indeed to reunite us;
- But there’s a bar more fatal still behind.
- What could it be! O tell me, Vamir.
- Love that has filled this breast with savage fury,
- And made my brother cruel and inhuman.
- Good heaven! that vain caprice should thus destroy
- The noblest purposes! Almighty love,
- Canst thou reverse the laws of nature, fill
- With unrelenting hate the jealous hearts
- Of fondest brothers, and in every clime
- By private passions work the public ruin?
- Vamir, I feel for both, but long have served
- Thy brother; I must hence, and second him
- Against thy factious friends: the strife is dreadful,
- And much I fear will have a bloody end;
- But I must fly to succor him: farewell;
- Thou art my prisoner, but I leave thee here;
- Give me thy word, that shall suffice.
- Would I could knit you in the bonds of peace!
- But much more to be feared than all thy foes
- And far more fatal, is the tyrant, love.
End of the Third Act.