A monologue from the play by Pierre Corneille

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Cid. Trans. Roscoe Mongan. New York: Hinds & Noble, 1896.
  • DON RODRIGO: Pierced even to the depth by a blow unexpected as well as deadly, pitiable avenger of a just quarrel and unfortunate object of an unjust severity, I remain motionless, and my dejected soul yields to the blow which is slaying me. So near seeing my love requited! O heaven, the strange pang! In this insult my father is the person aggrieved, and the aggressor is the father of Chimène! What fierce conflicts I experience! My love is engaged against my own honor. I must avenge a father and lose a mistress. The one stimulates my courage, the other restrains my arm. Reduced to the sad choice of either betraying my love or of living as a degraded man, on both sides my situation is wretched. O heaven, the strange pang! Must I leave an insult unavenged? Must I punish the father of Chimène? Father, mistress, honor, love--noble and severe restraint--a bondage still to be beloved, all my pleasures are dead, or my glory is sullied. The one renders me unhappy; the other unworthy of life. Dear and cruel hope of a soul noble but still enamored, worthy enemy of my greatest happiness, thou sword which causest my painful anxiety hast thou been given to me to avenge my honor? Hast thou been given to me to lose Chimène? It is better to rush to death. I owe to my mistress as well as to my father. I draw, in avenging myself, her hatred and her rage; I draw upon my self his contempt by not avenging myself. To my sweetest hope the one renders me unfaithful, and the other renders me unworthy of her. My misfortune increases by seeking a remedy. Come then, my soul, and, since I must die, let us die, at least, without offending Chimène! To die without obtaining satisfaction! To seek death so fatal to my fame! To endure that Spain should impute to my memory of having badly maintained the honor of my house! To respect a love of which my distracted soul already sees the certain loss! Let us no more listen to this insidious thought, which serves only to pain me. Come, mine arm, let us save honor, at least, since, after all, we must lose Chimène. Yes, my spirit was deceived. I owe all to my father before my mistress. Whether I die in the combat or die of sadness, I shall yield up my blood pure as I have received it. I already accuse myself of too much negligence; let us haste to vengeance; and quite ashamed of having wavered so much, let us no more be in painful suspense, since to-day my father has been insulted.