Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT II. - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. X The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Zaire, Caesar, The Prodigal, Prefaces) and Part II (The Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems).
ACT II. - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. X The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Zaire, Caesar, The Prodigal, Prefaces) and Part II (The Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems). 
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. X The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Zaire, Caesar, The Prodigal, Prefaces) and Part II (The Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems).
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- The Works of Voltaire
- The Dramatic Works of Voltaire Vol. X— Part I
- Dramatis PersonÆ.
- An Epistle Dedicatory to Mr. Falkener, an English Merchant, Since Ambassador At Constantinople, With the Tragedy of Zaïre.
- A Second Letter to Mr. Falkener, Then Ambassador to Constantinople.
- Act I.
- Act II.
- Act III.
- Act IV.
- Act V.
- Dramatis PersonÆ.
- Act I.
- Act II.
- Act III.
- The Prodigal
- Dramatis PersonÆ.
- Act I.
- Act II.
- Act III.
- Act IV.
- Act V.
- Preface to Mariamne.
- Preface to Orestes.
- Preface to Catiline.
- Preface to MÉrope.
- Preface to the Prodigal.
- Preface to Nanine.
- 1 Preface to Socrates.
- Note On Mahomet.
- Preface to Julius CÆsar.
- Voltaire the Lisbon Earthquake and Other Poems Vol. X— Part Ii
- Author’s Preface to the Lisbon Earthquake.
- The Lisbon Earthquake. *
- Preface to the Poem On the Law of Nature.
- The Law of Nature.
- The Temple of Taste. *
- The Temple of Friendship.
- Thoughts On the Newtonian Philosophy, Addressed to the Marchioness Du ChÂtelet.
- On the Death of Adrienne Lecouvreur, a Celebrated Actress.
- To the King of Prussia On His Accession to the Throne.
- From Love to Friendship.
- The Worldling. *
- On Calumny.
- The King of Prussia to M. Voltaire.
- The Answer.
- On the English Genius.
- What Pleases the Ladies.
- The Education of a Prince.
- The Education of a Daughter.
- The Three Manners.
- Thelema and Macareus.
- The Origin of Trades.
- The Battle of Fontenoy.
- The Man of the World. *
- The Padlock. *
- In Camp Before Philippsburg, July 3, 1734.
- Answer to a Lady, Or a Person Who Wrote to Voltaire As Such. *
- The Nature of Virtue.
- To the King of Prussia.
- To M. De Fontenelle.
- To Count Algarotti At the Court of Saxony.
- To Cardinal Quirini.
- To Her Royal Highness, the Princess of ***.
- To M. De Cideville.
- To ****.
- Epistle XIII. *
- To the Duke of Richelieu, Marshal of France, In Whose Honor the Senate of Genoa Had Just Before Caused a Statue to Be Erected. *
- To Madam De ***, On the Manner of Living At Paris and Versailles.
- To the Prince of Vendôme.
- To Madam De Gondoin, Afterward Countess of Toulouse, On the Danger She Had Been Exposed to In Passing the Loire In 1719.
- To the Duke Delafeuillade.
- To Marshal Villars. *
- To Monsieur Genonville.
- To the Countess of Fontaine-martel. *
- Written From PlombiÉres to M. Pallu, Intendant of Lyons.
- The Nature of Pleasure.
- The Utility of Sciences to Princes. to the Prince Royal of Prussia, Since King of Prussia.
- Epistle In Answer to a Letter, With Which, Upon His Accession to the Throne, the King of Prussia Honored the Author.
- Epistle to the King, Presented to His Majesty At the Camp Before Freiburg.
- On the Death of the Emperor Charles.
- To the Queen of Hungary.
- Inscribed to the Gentlemen of the Academy of Sciences, Who Sailed to the Polar Circle and the Equator, In Order to Ascertain the Figure of the Earth.
- To M. De Gervasi, the Physician. *
- The Requisites to Happiness.
- To a Lady, Very Well Known to the Whole Town.
- Fanaticism. *
- On Peace Concluded In 1736.
- To AbbÉ Chaulieu. *
- Answer to the Foregoing.
- To President HÉnault, Author of an Excellent Work Upon the History of France.
- Canto of an Epic Poem. *
- Epistle On the Newtonian Philosophy. * to the Marchioness of ChÂtelet.
brutus, antony, dolabella.
- This bitterness of hate, this proud refusal,
- Breathes less of virtue than of savage fierceness:
- Cæsar’s indulgence, his high rank and power,
- At least deserved a milder treatment from you,
- And more complacency; you might at least
- Have talked with him: did you but know with whom
- You are at variance, you would shudder at it—
- I shudder now; but ’tis at hearing thee;
- Foe to thy country, which thou hast betrayed
- And sold to Cæsar, thinkest thou to deceive
- Or to corrupt me? go, and cringe to him,
- Fawn on your haughty lord. I know your arts,
- You long to be a slave; you want a king.
- Yet you are Roman.
- Brutus, I’m a friend,
- And boast a heart that loves humanity:
- I am contented with this humble virtue:
- But thou wouldst be a hero, yet art naught
- But a barbarian; and thy savage pride
- Grew fond of virtue, but to make us loathe her.
- What baseness, heaven! what ignominious slaves!
- Behold, my wretched country, your support,
- Horatius, Decius, and thou great avenger
- Of sacred laws, Brutus, my kindred blood,
- Behold your successors; just gods, are these
- The noble relics of our Roman grandeur?
- We kiss the hand that binds us to the yoke;
- Cæsar has ravished even our virtues from us:
- I look for Rome, but find it now no more.
- O ye immortal heroes, ye who fell
- In her defence, whose images now strike
- My soul with awe, and fill my eyes with tears,
- The family of Pompey, and thou Cato,
- Thou last of Scipio’s glorious race, I feel
- A lively spark of your immortal virtues
- Rebound from you, and animate my heart:
- You live in Brutus still, and in his breast
- Have left the honor of the Roman name
- The tyrant would have stolen. What do I see,
- Great Pompey, at thy statue’s foot? a paper.
- [He takes the paper and reads.
- Brutus, thou sleepest, and Rome’s in chains.
- O Rome,
- My eyes are ever open still for thee;
- Reproach me not for chains which I abhor.
- Another paper! No: thou art not Brutus:
- Cruel reflection! Tyrant Cæsar, tremble,
- This stroke must end thee: no: thou art not Brutus,
- I am, I will be Brutus; I will perish,
- Or set my country free: Rome still, I see,
- Has virtuous hearts: she calls for an avenger,
- And has her eyes on Brutus; she awakens
- My sleeping soul, and shakes my tardy hand:
- She calls for blood, and shall be satisfied.
brutus, cassius, cinna, casca, decimus,Attendants
- ’Tis the last time we may embrace, my friends.
- Buried beneath the ruins of his country,
- Cassius must fall; Cæsar can ne’er forgive me;
- He knows our hearts, he knows our resolution;
- Our souls, untainted by corruption, thwart
- His purposes; in us he will destroy
- The last of Romans: yes, my friends, ’tis past;
- Our laws, our country, and our honor’s lost;
- Rome is no more; he triumphs over her,
- And o’er mankind; our thoughtless ancestors
- But fought for Cæsar, but for Cæsar conquered:
- The spoils of kings, the sceptre of the world,
- Six hundred years of virtues, toils, and war,
- Were spent for Cæsar; he enjoys the fruit
- Of all our dear-bought victories: O my Brutus,
- Wert thou, too, born to crouch beneath a master?
- Our liberty is gone.
- What sayest thou? hark! did you not hear a shout?
- ’Twas the vile rabble: think not of them, Cassius.
- Didst thou say, liberty—that noise again!
brutus, cassius, decimus, cimber.
- Ah! Cimber, is it thou? speak, what hath happened?
- Some new attempt on liberty and Rome?
- What has thou seen?
- Our shame. When haughty Cæsar
- Came to the temple, he looked down upon us
- Even like the thunderer, Capitolian Jove;
- Then proudly told us of his bold design
- Of adding Persia to the Roman empire:
- The people knelt before their idol, called him
- Rome’s great avenger, conqueror of the world;
- But Cæsar wanted yet another title
- To gratify his insolent ambition;
- When, lo! amidst this scene of adulation,
- Came Antony, and bustled through the crowd
- That stood ’twixt him and Cæsar; in his hand
- A crown and sceptre: when, O shameful act,
- Disgraceful to a Roman! whilst we stood
- In silent admiration, unabashed,
- He placed the crown on Cæsar’s head; then knelt,
- And cried out, “Cæsar, live and reign o’er us,
- And o’er the world:” our Romans, as he spake,
- Turned pale, and with their cries tumultuous wrung
- The temple’s vaulted roof: some fled with terror,
- Whilst others blushing stood, and wept their fate.
- Cæsar, who read resentment in their looks,
- And indignation but too visible,
- With well-dissembled modesty, took off
- The radiant crown, and rolled it at his feet.
- Instant the scene was changed, and every Roman
- Welcomed with smiles returning liberty,
- Ill-founded hopes, and momentary joy!
- Antony seemed astonished: Cæsar still
- Blushed and dissembled; and the more he strove
- To hide his grief, the more was he applauded.
- By moderation he would veil his crimes,
- Affects to scorn the crown, and spurn it from him:
- But, spite of all his efforts to conceal it,
- Was galled within to hear the people praise him
- For virtues which he never will possess.
- No longer able to conceal his rage
- And disappointment, with contracted brow
- He left the capitol, and in an hour
- The senate must attend him: an hour hence
- Shall Cæsar change the state of Rome: thou knowest,
- O Brutus! half our senate is corrupted,
- Have bought their country, and will sell it now
- To Cæsar: they are far more infamous
- Even than the people, who at least abhor
- The name of king: Cæsar, already vested
- With regal power, yet wishes for the crown;
- The people have refused him, but the senate
- Bestow it on him: what remains?
- To die;
- To end a life of misery and reproach:
- I’ve dragged it on whilst yet a ray of hope
- Dawned on my country, but her latest hour
- Is come, and Cassius never shall survive her.
- Let others weep for Rome, I can’t avenge
- My country’s cause, but I can perish with her.
- I go where all our gods—O Scipio, Pompey,
- ’Tis time to follow you, and imitate
- Great Cato.
- No: we’ll not be followers,
- But bright examples: the world’s eye, my friends,
- Is fixed on us; be it our part to answer
- The great expectance of our bleeding country.
- Had Cato taken my counsel, he had fallen
- More nobly, and the tyrant’s blood had flowed
- Mixed with his own: he turned his blameless hand
- Against himself; but little did his death
- Avail mankind: Cato did all for glory,
- And nothing for his country: there, my friends,
- There only erred the greatest of mankind.
- What can we do in this disastrous crisis?
- [Shows the paper.
- See what was wrote to me, and learn our duty.
- The same reproach was sent to me.
- It shows
- We had deserved it.
- Quick, the fatal hour
- Approaches, when a tyrant shall destroy
- The Roman name: one hour, and all is gone.
- One hour, and Cæsar—dies.
- Ha! now thou art
- What Brutus should be.
- Worthy of thy race,
- The scourge of tyrants; thou hast spoke the thoughts
- Of my own heart.
- O Brutus, thou revivest me;
- ’Twas what my sorrows, what my rage expected
- From thy exalted virtue; Rome inspires
- The great design; thy voice alone decrees
- The death of tyrants: O my dearest Brutus,
- Let us blot out this infamous reproach
- On all mankind, and whilst Jove’s thunder sleeps,
- Avenge the capitol. What say ye, Romans,
- Have ye the same unconquerable heart,
- The same desires?
- Cassius, we think with you,
- Despise the thought of life, abhor the tyrant;
- We love our country, and we will avenge her,
- If there’s a spark of Roman virtue left,
- Brutus and Cassius will revive it.
- The guardians of the state, the great avengers
- Of every crime, too long the oppressive hand
- Of power hath galled us, and ’twere added guilt
- To spare the tyrant, or suspend the blow:
- Say, whom shall we admit to share this honor?
- We are ourselves enough to save our country.
- Emilius, Dolabella, Lepidus
- And Bibulus, are all the slaves of Cæsar.
- Cicero may serve us with his eloquence,
- And that alone; he can harangue the senate,
- But is too timid in the hour of danger:
- He’ll talk for Rome, but is not fit to avenge her:
- We’ll leave the orator who charms his country
- The task of praising us when we have saved it.
- With you alone, my friends, will I partake
- This glorious danger, this immortal honor:
- The senate are to meet him an hour hence,
- There I’ll surprise, destroy him there: this sword,
- Deep in his bosom buried, shall avenge
- Cato, and Pompey, and the Roman people:
- I know the attempt is perilous and bold:
- His watchful guards are placed on every side:
- The changeful people, fluttering and inconstant,
- Are doubtful whether they should love or hate him.
- Death seems, my friends, to be our certain fate:
- But O how glorious such a death will be!
- How much to be desired! how noble is it
- To fall in such a cause, to see our blood
- Flow with the blood of tyrants; with what pleasure
- Shall we behold this last illustrious hour!
- Yes, let us die, my friends, but die with Cæsar;
- And may that liberty his crimes oppress
- Rise from his ashes, and forever flourish!
- Debate not then, but to the capitol
- Let us away; there he has injured us,
- And there ’tis fit he should be sacrificed:
- Fear not the people, though they are doubtful now,
- Whene’er the idol falls, they will detest him.
- Swear then with me upon this sword; all swear
- By Cato’s blood, by Pompey’s, by the shades
- Of those brave Romans who in Afric’s plains
- Fell glorious; swear by all the avenging gods
- Of Rome, that Cæsar by your hands shall die.
- Let us do more, my friends; here let us swear
- To root out all who, like himself, shall strive
- To govern here: sons, brothers, fathers, all,
- If they are tyrants, Brutus, are our foes:
- A true republican has neither son,
- Father, nor brother, but the commonweal,
- His gods, the laws, his virtue, and his country.
- Forever let me join my blood with yours;
- All linked together in one sacred knot,
- The adopted sons of Liberty and Rome,
- We’ll seal our union with the tyrant’s blood.
- [Advancing towards the statue of Pompey.
- By you, illustrious heroes, who excite
- Our duty and inspire the great design,
- O Pompey, at thy sacred knees, we swear,
- Naught for ourselves we do, but all for Rome,
- We swear to be united for our country;
- We swear to live, to fight, and die together.
- Let us be gone: away: we’ve staid too long.
- Stop, Brutus, I must talk with thee; attend:
- Where wouldst thou fly?
- Thou wouldst have my life,
- Take it.
- No: Brutus, had I wanted that,
- Thou knowest, I could command it with a word,
- And thou hast merited no better fate:
- It is the pride of thy ungrateful heart
- Still to offend me; and I find thee here
- Amongst those Romans whose dark perfidy
- I most suspect, with those who proudly dared
- To blame my conduct, and defy my power.
- They talked like Romans, gave thee noble counsel:
- Hadst thou been wise, thou wouldst have followed it.
- Yet I’ll be calm, and bear thy insolence,
- Will stoop beneath myself, and talk to thee.
- What layest thou to my charge?
- A ravaged world,
- The blood of nations, and thy plundered country;
- Thy power, thy specious virtues that gild o’er
- Thy crimes, thy fatal clemency, that makes
- Thy chains so easy, a destructive charm
- To soothe thy captives, and deceive mankind.
- Reproach like this had suited Pompey well;
- He whose dissembled virtues have betrayed thee,
- That haughty citizen, more fatal far,
- Would not admit even Cæsar as his equal.
- Thinkest thou, if he had conquered, his proud soul
- Had left secure the liberty of Rome?
- He would have ruled you with a rod of iron,
- What then had Brutus done?
- Is that the fate which Cæsar must expect
- From thee? thou answerest not. O Brutus, Brutus,
- Thou livest but for my ruin.
- If thou thinkest so,
- Prevent my fury. What withholds thee?
- [Giving him the letter from Servilia.
- And my own heart: read there, ungrateful, read
- And know whose blood thou hast opposed to mine;
- See whom thou hatest, and if thou darest, go on.
- What have I read? where am I? do my eyes
- Deceive me?
- My father, gracious gods!
- Ungrateful, yes,
- I am thy father: whence this deadly silence?
- Why sobbest thou thus, my son? Why do I hold thee
- Thus in my arms mute and insensible?
- Nature alarms, but cannot soften thee.
- O dreadful fate! it drives me to despair:
- My oaths! my country! Rome forever dear!
- Cæsar—alas! I’ve lived too long.
- O speak,
- I see thy heart is laboring with remorse
- And anguish: O hide nothing from me: still
- Thou art silent: does the sacred name of son
- Offend thee, Brutus? art thou fearful of it?
- Fearest thou to love me, to partake my fortunes?
- Is Cæsar’s blood so hateful to thee! Oh,
- This sceptre of the world, this power supreme,
- For thee alone, that Cæsar, whom thou hatest,
- Desired them: with Octavius and thyself
- I wished but to divide the rich reward
- Of all my labors, and the name of king.
- Thou canst not speak: these transports, Brutus,
- Spring they from hatred, or from tenderness?
- What secret weight hangs heavy on thy soul?
- Thou seemest as if thou durst not call me father.
- O if thou art my father, grant me this,
- This only boon.
- Ask it: to give it thee
- Will make me happy.
- Kill me then this moment,
- Or wish no more to be a king.
- Barbarian, hence! unworthy of my love,
- Unworthy of thy race, thou art no more
- My son: go, henceforth I disclaim thee;
- My heart shall take example from thy own,
- And stifle nature’s voice; shall learn of thee
- To be inhuman: hence, I know thee not.
- Think not I mean again to supplicate,
- No, thou shalt see I’ve power to crush you all:
- I will no longer listen to the pleas
- Of mercy, but obey the laws of justice;
- My easy heart is weary of forgiveness:
- I’ll act like Sulla now, like him be cruel,
- And make you tremble at my vengeance: go,
- Find out your vile seditious friends, they all
- Insulted me, and all shall suffer for it:
- They know what Cæsar can do, and shall find
- What Cæsar dare: if I am barbarous,
- Remember, thou alone hast made me so.
- I must not leave him to his cruel purpose,
- But save, if possible, my friends, and Cæsar.
End of the Second Act.