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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- Soldiers, retire, and leave your queen at least
- The mournful privilege to weep alone.
- [The guards retire to a corner of the stage.
- Just heaven! is this at last my wretched fate?
- My noble blood, my title to a throne,
- All that could promise years of happiness,
- And days of pleasure, turned to deadly poison,
- Have filled my cup with bitterness and woe.
- O birth! O youth! and thou destructive beauty,
- Whose dangerous lustre but enflamed my pride,
- Flattering delusion! unsubstantial shade
- Of fancied bliss, O how hast thou deceived me!
- Beneath my fatal throne forever lurked
- Anguish and care, digging the grave that now
- Gapes to receive the dying Mariamne.
- In Jordan’s flood I saw my brother perish,
- My father massacred by bloody Herod,
- Who now has doomed to death a guiltless wife:
- My virtue still remained, and that the tongue
- Of slander strives to wound: thou power supreme!
- Whose chastisements severe are but the proofs
- Of innocence, I ask not for thy aid,
- Nor for thy vengeance; my great ancestors
- Taught me to look on death unmerited
- Without a fear: take then my guiltless blood,
- But O! defend my fame: command the tyrant
- To spare my memory; let not clamorous falsehood
- Insult my ashes: virtue is avenged
- When she’s respected. But what new alarm,
- What dreadful shrieks are these? the palace rings
- With loud confusion, and the din of arms:
- I am perhaps the cause, they fight for me:
- They force the doors: ha! what do I see?
mariamne, varus, eliza, albinus,Soldiers.
- Hence ruffians; you who hold your queen in bondage,
- Vile Hebrews, hence:—you, Romans, do your office.
- [Herod’s guards go off, chained by Varus’s soldiers.
- Now, Mariamne, thou art free; thou seest
- The tyrant could not bar my entrance here:
- Mazael lies bathed in his perfidious blood;
- At least my arm hath half avenged the cause
- Of injured majesty: haste, Mariamne,
- Seize the propitious moment, and secure
- A shelter from the storm: let us begone.
- My lord, I cannot now accept thy bounty;
- After the vile reproach which Herod cast
- On my fair fame, I should indeed deserve it,
- Were I imprudent to receive the aid
- Thou profferest: I have much more cause to dread
- Thy kindness now than his barbarity;
- ’Twould be disgraceful thus to owe my life
- To Varus; honor says even this is guilt,
- And death alone can expiate my offence.
- What wouldst thou do? alas! unhappy princess,
- A moment may destroy thee: the time presses;
- Still we’re in arms, and Herod may succeed:
- Dost thou not fear his rage and his despair?
- No: I fear naught but shame; and know my duty.
- Am I then doomed forever to offend you?
- But I will do the work of vengeance for thee,
- Spite of thyself; once more I’ll to the field;
- And, if the tyrant comes across me there,
- This arm—
- Stop, Varus; I detest a triumph
- So dearly bought: know, sir, the life of Herod
- Demands my care: his rights—
- Are forfeited
- By his ingratitude.
- But guilt divorces; therefore do not stay me,
- Revenge thyself, and save so many virtues.
- Thou wouldst disgrace them.
- Yet his is sacred still to Mariamne.
- Varus, I know well
- What Herod did, and what I ought to do.
- Patient, I’ll wait the fury of the storm,
- Nor by his crimes would justify my own.
- O noble, brave, unconquerable heart!
- Ye gods, how many virtues have conspired
- To swell this tyrant’s guilt! O Mariamne!
- The more thou shalt disclaim my proffered service,
- The more am I resolved to disobey thee.
- Thy honor disapproves what mine commands;
- But naught shall stop me, naught intimidate:
- I go to search the tyrant, and repair
- The hours I’ve lost in not avenging thee.
- He’s gone, and would not hear me: heaven!
- Let not more blood be shed; O spare my subjects;
- Pour all thy wrath on me, and spare even Herod!
mariamne, eliza, nabal,Guards.
- O Nabal, art thou here? what hast thou done
- With my dear children? where’s my mother?
- The wrath of Herod reaches not to them:
- Thou art the only object of his fury,
- Which kindles at the hateful name of Varus:
- If he is conquered, Mariamne dies.
- The barbarous Zares is already sent
- With secret orders hither; thou mayest guess
- The purport, therefore now exert thy power:
- The people love thee; on their loyal zeal
- Thou mayest rely; the sight of thee will raise
- Their drooping hearts; let them behold thee: fly,
- My royal mistress, let us call the priests,
- All Judah’s sons will rise to guard the race
- Of their loved kings: at length the hour is come,
- To conquer or to die: let me entreat thee—
- True courage lies in knowing how to suffer,
- And not in stirring up rebellious crowds
- Against their sovereign: I should blush to think,
- That, anxious for itself, my fearful heart
- Had ever formed a wish for his destruction,
- Or raised my hopes of safety on his death:
- No: heaven this moment has inspired my breast
- With rage less guilty, and a nobler purpose:
- Herod suspects me, he shall know me now;
- I’ll rush into the battle; strive to part
- The king and Varus; cast myself before
- My husband’s feet, and yield him up my life.
- I fled this morning from that dreadful vengeance
- Which now I search for: banished by his crimes,
- His danger has recalled me: honor bids,
- And I obey: I go to save his life
- Who thirsts for mine.
herod, mariamne, eliza, nabal, idamas,Guards.
- Did they see each other?
- Now, faithless wretch, thou diest.
- Do not, my lord,
- ’Tis the last boon that I shall crave; O do not—
- Begone—guards, follow her.
- [Guards carry off Mariamne.
- Let me not hear her named: perfidious woman!
- Well, my brave soldiers, are there yet more foes?
- The Romans are subdued; the Hebrews bend
- Once more submissive to the yoke; and Varus,
- Covered with wounds, to thy victorious arm
- Gives up the field: O thou hast gained this day
- Eternal glory; but the prætor’s blood,
- Shed by thy hand, will draw on thee the vengeance
- Of proud offended Rome: a crime like this—
- And now for my revenge on Mariamne.
- Unworthy of my love I cast her from me,
- And from this moment shall begin to reign.
- O! I was blind, that fond destructive passion
- Was Herod’s only weakness: let her die:
- Let me forget her charms, and her remembrance
- Be blotted now forever from my soul.
- Are all things ready for the execution?
- How quickly they obey me!
- Unhappy Herod! must she perish then?
- Didst thou say, Idamas, ’twas ready all?
- The guards have seized her person, and too soon
- Thy vengeance will be satisfied.
- She courted
- Her own destruction, and obliged me to it:
- But she is gone: I’ll think no more on it: Oh!
- I could have lived and died with Mariamne:
- To what hast thou compelled me?
SCENE the last.
herod, idamas, nabal.
- Nabal, ha!
- Whither so fast? just heaven! and in tears!
- How my soul shakes with dreadful apprehension.
- My feeble voice
- Dies on my trembling lips.
- Ha! ’tis past then, is it?
- My lord,
- Permit me, ’tis a debt I owe to thee,
- Due to her memory, to her virtues due,
- To show thee what a treasure thou hast lost,
- The worth of that dear blood which thou hast shed:
- Know, Herod, she was never faithless to thee;
- But, even whilst Varus fought for her, refused
- His offered hand, slighted his ardent vows,
- And hazarded her life to succor thee.
- What do I hear? O wretched Herod! Nabal,
- What has thou told me?
- In that very moment,
- Even when her generous heart inspired her last
- And noblest act, thy cruel orders came,
- And she was led to death: thy barbarous sister
- Urged on her fate.
- Inhuman Salome;
- Why did my justice spare that cruel monster?
- What punishments must be reserved for thee!
- But let thy blood and mine—Nabal, go on,
- And kill me with the melancholy tale.
- How shall I speak the rest! the guard, thou knowest,
- By thee directed, led her hence: she followed
- Without a murmur or reproach of thee;
- Without affected pride, or real fear;
- On her fair front sat graceful majesty,
- Tempered with softness; modest innocence
- And heart-felt virtue sparkled in her eyes;
- Her sorrows gave new lustre to her charms;
- Priests, Hebrews, all, with tears and shrieks besought her:
- The soldiers called for death, and wept the fate
- Of Mariamne—and of Herod too;
- For deep, they cried aloud, would be thy grief,
- And horror and remorse attend thee ever.
- How every word strikes to my heart!
- She felt
- For their distress, and as she passed along,
- Spake comfort to them. To the fatal scaffold
- At length she came; there lifted up her hands,
- Loaded with shameful chains, and thus she spake:
- “Farewell, unhappy king; Herod, farewell!
- Thy dying Mariamne weeps for thee,
- And thee alone; may this be thy last act
- Of foul injustice! may thy reign henceforth
- Be happy! Take my people to thy care;
- Protect my children; love and cherish them;
- And I shall die content.” She spake, and bent
- Her beauteous body to the axe; I saw,
- And wept her fall.
- Then Mariamne’s dead;
- And Herod lives: thou dear, and honored shade!
- Ye poor remains of all that once was fair
- And good, and virtuous, to the silent grave
- Soon will I follow thee—Ye shall not stop me,
- Perfidious subjects: from my murderous hand,
- Why will ye wrest my sword? O Mariamne!
- Come now, and be avenged: tear forth this heart
- That bleeds for thee. I faint, I die.
- [He faints.
- His senses
- Are lost; his grief o’erpowers him.
- What thick clouds
- O’erspread my troubled soul! deep melancholy
- Weighs down my senses; why am I abandoned,
- Left to my sorrows thus? No sister here;
- No Mariamne! How you stand and weep
- At distance from me! Dare you not approach me!
- All Judah flies before her wretched king.
- What have I done? why am I thus abhorred?
- Who will relieve me? who will soothe my grief?
- Fetch Mariamne to me.
- Ay, bring her; for I know the sight
- Of her will calm at once my agony:
- When Mariamne’s with me, my blessed hours
- Are all serene, and life glides sweetly on:
- Methinks her very name hath healed my woes,
- And lessened my affliction: let her come.
- Sir, have you forgot
- That Mariamne’s dead?
- Transports him; his mind’s hurt; he’s not himself.
- Ha! Mariamne dead! destructive reason,
- Why comest thou now to tell me this sad truth?
- Down with these hateful walls, this fatal palace,
- Stained with her blood, and let its ruins hide
- The accursed place where Mariamne perished!
- Is she then dead, and I her murderer!
- Punish this parricide, this horrid monster:
- Tear him in pieces, you who weep her loss,
- My subjects; and thou, heaven, who hast her now,
- Send down thy vengeful lightnings, and destroy me.
End of the Fifth and Last Act.