Life is a Dream Monologue
Post on 21-Feb-2015
Final monologue from LIFE IS A DREAM by Calderon de la Barca (1635) - Edward Fitzgerald, trans.SEGISMUNDO That with unflinching duty to your King, Till countermanded by the mightier Power, Have held your Prince a captive in the tower, Henceforth as strictly guard him on the throne No less my people's keeper than my own. You stare upon me all, amazed to hear The word of civil justice from such lips As never yet seem'd tuned to such discourse. But listen--In that same enchanted tower, Not long ago I learn'd it from a dream Expounded by this ancient prophet here; And which he told me, should it come again, How I should bear myself baeneath it; not As then with angry passion all on fire, Arguing and making a distemper'd soul; But ev'n with justice, mercy, self-control, As if the dream I walk'd in were no dream, And conscience one day to account for it. A dream it was in which I thought myself, And you that hail'd me now then hail'd me King, In a brave palace that was all my own, Within, and all without it, mine; until, Drunk with excess of majesty and pride, Methought I tower'd so high and swell'd so wide, That of myself I burst the glittering bubble, That my ambition had about me blown, And all again was darkness. Such a dream As this in which I may be walking now; Dispensing solemn justice to you shadows, Who make believe to listen; but anon, With all your glittering arms and equipage, King, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel, Ay, ev'n with all your airy theatre, May flit into the air you seem to rend With acclamation, leaving me to wake In the dark tower; or dreaming that I wake From this that waking is; or this and that Both waking or both dreaming; such a doubt Confounds and clouds our mortal life about. And, whether wake or dreaming, this I know, How dream-wise human glories come and go; Whose momentary tenure not to break, Walking as one who knows he soon may wake, So fairly carry the full cup, so well Disorder'd insolence and passion quell, That there be nothing after to upbraid Dreamer or doer in the part he play'd, Whether To-morrow's dawn shall break the spell, Or the Last Trumpet of the eternal Day, When Dreaming with the Night shall pass away.