Instant Monologues
Euripides Medea Instant Monologue

by Euripides



Women of Corinth, I am come to show

My face, lest ye despise me. For I know

Some heads stand high and fail not, even at night

Alone-far less like this, in all men's sight:

And we, who study not our wayfarings

But feel and cry-Oh we are drifting things,

And evil! For what truth is in men's eyes,

Which search no heart, but in a flash despise

A strange face, shuddering back from one that ne'er

Hath wronged them?… Sure, far-comers anywhere,

I know, must bow them and be gentle. Nay,

A Greek himself men praise not, who alway

Should seek his own will recking not… But I-

This thing undreamed of, sudden from on high,

Hath sapped my soul: I dazzle where I stand,

The cup of all life shattered in my hand,

Longing to die-O friends! He, even he,

Whom to know well was all the world to me,

The man I loved, hath proved most evil.-Oh,

Of all things upon earth that bleed and grow,

A herb most bruised is woman. We must pay

Our store of gold, hoarded for that one day,

To buy us some man's love; and lo, they bring

A master of our flesh! There comes the sting

Of the whole shame. And then the jeopardy,

For good or ill, what shall that master be;

Reject she cannot: and if he but stays

His suit, 'tis shame on all that woman's days.

So thrown amid new laws, new places, why,

'Tis magic she must have, or prophecy-

Home never taught her that-how best to guide

Toward peace this thing that sleepeth at her side.

And she who, labouring long, shall find some way

Whereby her lord may bear with her, nor fray

His yoke too fiercely, blessed is the breath

That woman draws! Else, let her pray for death.

Her lord, if he be wearied of the face

Withindoors, gets him forth; some merrier place

Will ease his heart: but she waits on, her whole

Vision enchainèd on a single soul.

And then, forsooth, 'tis they that face the call

Of war, while we sit sheltered, hid from all

Peril!-False mocking! Sooner would I stand

Three times to face their battles, shield in hand,

Than bear one child.

But peace! There cannot be

Ever the same tale told of thee and me.

Thou hast this city, and thy father's home,

And joy of friends, and hope in days to come:

But I, being citiless, am cast aside

By him that wedded me, a savage bride

Won in far seas and left-no mother near,

No brother, not one kinsman anywhere

For harbour in this storm. Therefore of thee

I ask one thing. If chance yet ope to me

Some path, if even now my hand can win

Strength to requite this Jason for his sin,

Betray me not! Oh, in all things but this,

I know how full of fears a woman is,

And faint at need, and shrinking from the light

Of battle: but once spoil her of her right

In man's love, and there moves, I warn thee well,

No bloodier spirit between heaven and hell.

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