A monologue from the play by Percy Bysshe Shelley
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|NOTE: Prometheus Unbound is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
- PROMETHEUS: Evil minds
- Change good to their own nature. I gave all
- He has; and in return he chains me here
- Years, ages, night and day: whether the Sun
- Split my parched skin, or in the moony night
- The crystal-winged snow cling round my hair:
- Whilst my beloved race is trampled down
- By his thought-executing ministers.
- Such is the tyrant's recompense: 'tis just:
- He who is evil can receive no good;
- And for a world bestowed, or a friend lost,
- He can feel hate, fear, shame; not gratitude:
- He but requites me for his own misdeed.
- Kindness to such is keen reproach, which breaks
- With bitter stings the light sleep of Revenge.
- Submission, thou dost know I cannot try:
- For what submission but that fatal word,
- The death-seal of mankind's captivity,
- Like the Sicilian's hair-suspended sword,
- Which trembles o'er his crown, would he accept,
- Or could I yield? Which yet I will not yield.
- Let others flatter Crime, where it sits throned
- In brief Omnipotence: secure are they:
- For Justice, when triumphant, will weep down
- Pity, not punishment, on her own wrongs,
- Too much avenged by those who err. I wait,
- Enduring thus, the retributive hour
- Which since we spake is even nearer now.