A monologue from the play by Lord Byron
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron. Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.
Thou rulest in the upper air—
Or warring with the spirits who may dare
Dispute with him
Who made all empires, empire; or recalling
Some wandering star, which shoots through the abyss,
Whose tenants dying, while their world is falling,
Share the dim destiny of clay in this;
Or joining with the inferior cherubim,
Thou deignest to partake their hymn—
I call thee, I await thee, and I love thee.
Many may worship thee, that will I not:
If that thy spirit down to mine may move thee,
Descend and share my lot!
Though I be form’d of clay
And thou of beams
More bright than those of day
On Eden’s streams,
Thine immortality can not repay
With love more warm than mine
My love. There is a ray
In me, which, though forbidden yet to shine,
I feel was lighted at thy God’s and thine.
It may be hidden long: death and decay
Our mother Eve bequeath’d us—but my heart
Defies it: though this life must pass away,
Is that a cause for thee and me to part?
Thou art immortal—so am I: I feel—
I feel my immortality o’ersweep
All pains, all tears, all fears, and peal,
Like the eternal thunders of the deep,
Into my ears this truth—”Thou liv’st for ever!”
But if it be in joy
I know not, nor would know;
That secret rests with the Almighty giver,
Who folds in clouds the fonts of bliss and woe.
But thee and me he never can destroy;
Change us he may, but not o’erwhelm; we are
Of as eternal essence, and must war
With him if he will war with us; with thee
I can share all things, even immortal sorrow;
For thou hast ventured to share life with me,
And shall I shrink from thine eternity?
No! though the serpent’s sting should pierce me through,
And thou thyself wert like the serpent, coil
Around me still! and I will smile,
And curse thee not; but hold
Thee in as warm a fold
As—but descend, and prove
A mortal’s love
For an immortal. If the skies contain
More joy than thou canst give and take, remain!