Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT V. - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. IX The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Alzire, Orestes, Sémiramis, Catiline, Pandora) and Part II (The Scotch Woman, Nanine, The Prude, The Tatler).
ACT V. - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. IX The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Alzire, Orestes, Sémiramis, Catiline, Pandora) and Part II (The Scotch Woman, Nanine, The Prude, The Tatler). 
From The Works of Voltaire, A Contemporary Version, (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901), A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming. Vol. IX The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Alzire, Orestes, Sémiramis, Catiline, Pandora) and Part II (The Scotch Woman, Nanine, The Prude, The Tatler).
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- Prepare your tortures, you who call yourselves
- The judges of mankind; why am I left
- In dread suspense, uncertain of my fate?
- To live, or die? if I but mention Zamor
- The guards around me tremble, and look pale,
- His very name affrights them.
- O my Alzire, what a scene of woe
- Hath thy imprudent fatal passion brought
- Among us! we were pleading for thy Zamor,
- The good Alvarez had well nigh prevailed,
- When on a sudden an armed soldier rushed
- With violence in, and bore down all before him;
- ’Twas Zamor’s self; with fury in his aspect,
- And wild distraction, on he sprang to Guzman,
- Attacked, and plunged the dagger in his breast:
- The blood that issued from your husband’s wound
- Gushed on your father: Zamor then resigned,
- With calm submission at Alvarez’s feet
- Fell humble; “take,” he cried, “this guilty sword,
- Stained with thy Guzman’s blood, I am revenged;
- Now nature calls on thee to do thy duty,
- As I have mine; strike here;” then bared his breast
- To the expected blow: the good Alvarez
- Sunk breathless in my arms; confusion followed
- And cries and horror; Guzman’s friends upraised him,
- Bound up his wounds, and tried by every art
- Of medicine to preserve his life; the people
- Accuse thee as accomplice in the deed,
- And call for justice on thee.
- O no; my heart suspects thee not, Alzire,
- Thy soul I know is capable of error,
- But not of guilt: alas! thou didst not see
- The precipice before thee: Guzman dies
- By Zamor’s hand, thy husband by thy lover;
- They will condemn thee to a shameful death,
- But I will try if possible to move
- The council in thy favor.
- Do not sue
- For me, my father, of these cruel tyrants,
- Let but Alvarez live, and love me still,
- I ask no more: Guzman’s untimely fate
- I must lament, because ’twas horrible,
- Because, more dreadful still, he had deserved it:
- Zamor avenged his wrongs, I cannot blame
- Nor can I praise him for it; he must die;
- Alzire wishes but to follow him.
- O heaven, assist me in this work of mercy!
- Now end all gracious power, this wretched being!
- Alas! Alzire, the new God thou servest
- Withholds thy hand, and says thou must not finish
- Thy hated life; the deities I left
- Denied me not the privilege to die.
- Is it a crime to hasten on, perhaps
- A few short years, the universal doom
- Appointed for us all? and must we drink
- The bitter cup of sorrow to the dregs?
- In this vile body is there aught so sacred
- That the free spirit should not leave at will
- Its homely mansion? this all-conquering nation,
- Shall they depopulate earth, destroy my race,
- Condemn Alzire, and I not be mistress
- Of my own life? Barbarians! Zamor then
- Must die in tortures.
- Yes, it is decreed:
- We both must die; beneath the specious name
- Of justice, the tribunal hath condemned us;
- Guzman yet lives, my erring hand had left
- Its work unfinished; the barbarian lives
- To glut his vengeance with Alzire’s blood,
- To taste a tyrant’s savage joy, and see us
- Perish together—to pronounce our doom
- Alvarez comes: I am the guilty cause;
- Thou diest for me, Alzire.
- Then no more,
- For death is welcome if it comes with Zamor:
- O bless the happy hour that shall dissolve
- My ties to Guzman; I may love thee now
- Without a crime, without remorse; receive
- The heart that’s due to thee, and thee alone:
- Yon dreadful scaffold, for our death prepared,
- Shall be the altar of my love; there, Zamor,
- I’ll offer up my faith, and expiate there
- My crime of infidelity—the worst
- Of all our sentence is, that it must come
- From good Alvarez.
- See, he’s here; his cheeks
- Are bathed in tears.
- Alas! who most deserves
- Compassion? this will be a dreadful parting.
alzire, zamor, alvarez,Guards.
- From you we both expect to hear our fate,
- Pronounce it, we are not afraid to die:
- Zamor deserves it, he has slain thy son,
- The son of good Alvarez, of my friend;
- But what, my lord, has this fair innocent,
- What has Alzire done? thou art not cruel,
- Proud, and revengeful, like thy countrymen,
- Distinguished by thy clemency, we loved
- Alvarez; wilt thou give up the fair title
- Of just and good, and bathe thee in the blood
- Of innocence?
- Avenge thyself, avenge
- Thy son; but do not thus condemn the guiltless:
- I am the wife of Guzman, that alone
- Should tell thee, I would save, and not betray him,
- Even though I hated, I respected him,
- And swerved not from my faith, thou knowest I did not:
- Careless of what the slandering multitude
- May think, I rest my character on thee;
- Acquitted by Alvarez, for the rest
- ’Tis equal all: if Zamor dies, Alzire
- Must go with him: I pity thee alone.
- Amazing scene of tenderness and horror!
- That he should be the murderer of my son
- Who was my kind deliverer! O Zamor,
- To thee I owe a life which I abhor;
- It was a fatal gift, and bought too dear:
- I am a father, yet I am a man;
- Spite of a parent’s grief that cries aloud
- For vengeance on thee, gratitude pleads strongly;
- She will be heard:—and thou who wert my daughter,
- Whom yet I call by that dear tender name;
- Think not I joy in the inhuman pleasure
- Of fell revenge; I lose a friend, I lose
- A daughter, and a son: the council dooms thee
- To death, and bids a wretched father pass
- The cruel sentence; I could not refuse
- The dreadful task, and now am come, my children,
- To save you both: it is in Zamor’s power.
- To save Alzire? say, what’s to be done?
- Believe in Him who now inspires Alvarez;
- One word will change your fate: the law decrees,
- Whoe’er becomes a Christian meets forgiveness,
- The God of pardon will himself o’ershade
- Thy every crime, and take thee to his mercy;
- Spain will protect and love thee as a brother;
- Alzire shall be safe, ye both shall live;
- I’ll answer for her life as for thy own;
- Zamor, to thee I speak; of thee I ask
- Another life, I owe thee one already;
- A father asks thee only to be happy,
- To be a Christian, and to save Alzire.
- What says my love? say, should we purchase life
- So dearly? Shall I quit my gods for Guzman’s,
- And be a traitor? tell me, thou sage tyrant,
- When I was master of thy fate, wouldst thou,
- Had Zamor sued, have quitted thy own gods
- For mine?
- I should have done as now I do,
- Implored the almighty being to enlighten
- A heart like thine, and make thee a true Christian.
- O cruel contest! what am I to choose,
- Or life or death, Alzire, or my gods,
- Which must I leave? Alzire, ’tis thy cause,
- Determine it; I think thou wouldst not bring
- Dishonor on thy Zamor.
- Hear me then:
- Thou knowest that, to obey a father’s will,
- I gave another what to thee alone
- I had devoted; I embraced his faith,
- And worshipped Montezuma’s God; perhaps
- It was the error of my easy youth,
- And thou wilt blame me for it; but methought
- The law of Christians was the law of truth,
- And therefore only did I make it mine
- But to renounce those gods our heart adores;
- That is no venial error, but a crime
- Of deepest die; it is to give up both,
- The God we worship, and the God we leave;
- ’Tis to be false to heaven, to the world,
- And to ourselves: no, Zamor, if thou diest,
- Die worthy of Alzire; hear the voice
- Of conscience; act as she alone directs thee.
- Thou hast determined as I thought thou wouldst,
- Zamor shall die with honor.
- Then ye scorn
- Our proffered mercy: hark! those mournful cries—
alvarez, guzman, zamor, americans,soldiers.
- O save Alzire; let me perish.
- I will be joined to Guzman, and to thee.
- My son is in the agonies of death;
- O Guzman, hear me.
- Look on Zamor, learn
- Of him to die.
- [To Zamor.
- Perhaps I may teach thee
- Another lesson: I have owed the world
- A good example long, and now I mean
- To pay the debt.
- [Turning to Alvarez.
- My soul is on the wing,
- And ere she takes her flight but waits to see
- And imitate Alvarez; O my father,
- The mask is off, death has at last unveiled
- The hideous scene, and showed me to myself;
- New light breaks in on my astonished soul:
- O I have been a proud, ungrateful being,
- And trampled on my fellow-creatures: heaven
- Avenges earth: my life can never atone
- For half the blood I’ve shed: prosperity
- Had blinded Guzman, death’s benignant hand
- Restores my sight; I thank the instrument
- Employed by heaven to make me what I am.
- A penitent: I yet am master here;
- And yet can pardon: Zamor, I forgive thee,
- Live and be free; but O remember how
- A Christian acted, how a Christian died.
- [To Montezuma, who kneels to him.
- Thou, Montezuma, and ye hapless victims
- Of my ambition, say my clemency
- Surpassed my guilt, and let your sovereigns know,
- That we were born your conquerors.
- [To Zamor.
- The difference, Zamor, ’twixt thy God and mine:
- Thine teach thee to revenge an injury,
- Mine to forgive and pity thee.
- My son,
- Thy virtue’s equal to thy courage.
- How wonderful a change! amazing goodness!
- Thou wilt oblige me to repent.
- Yes, Zamor,
- I will do more, thou shalt admire and love me:
- Guzman too long hath made Alzire wretched,
- I’ll make her happy; with my dying hand
- I give her to thee, live and hate me not,
- Restore your country’s ruined walls, and bless
- My memory.
- [To Alvarez.
- Alvarez, be once more
- A father to them, let the light of heaven
- Shine forth upon them; Zamor is thy son,
- Let him repair my loss.
- Amazed, confounded,
- And motionless I stand; can Christians boast
- Of such exalted virtue? ’twas inspired
- By heaven; the Christian’s law must be divine:
- Friendship, and faith, and constancy I knew
- Already; but this soars above them all:
- I must indeed admire and love thee, Guzman
- [Falls at his feet.
- My lord, permit me to embrace thy knees:
- O I could die for Guzman; will you then
- Forgive my weakness?
- Yes: I pardon all,
- I cannot see thee weep and not forgive thee.
- Come near, my father, take my last farewell!
- [To Montezuma.
- I see the hand of God in all our woes,
- And humbly bend myself before that power
- Who wounds to heal, and strikes but to forgive.
End of the Fifth and Last Act.