Berenice (1983) Script

Let us stop a moment.

The grandeur of this place is new to you, Arsaces, as I see, This chamber splendid and secluded Is the depositary of Titus' secrets.

It's here he often hides him from his court, When to the Queen he comes to speak of love.

This door is next to his chamber; and this other Leads to that of the Queen.

Go to her now;

Say, that regrettably importunate, alas, I dare to beg a secret interview.

You, importunate, my Lord?

You, the faithful friend, Who've shown such generous concern for her?

You, that Antiochus who loved her once;

You, one of the great rulers of the East?


Can her hopes of being Titus' wife Set such a gulf of rank between you both?

Go, I say; and ask her only this, That I may see her promptly and alone.

Well then, Antiochus are you still the same?

Can you tell her you love her and not tremble?

But look!

I'm trembling now, my shaking heart takes fright Before the moment it has craved.

Berenice, long since, relieved me of all hope.

More, she imposed eternal silence on me.

Five years I have been silent -

And till now the veil of friendship has disguised my love.

As wife to Titus will she more incline To hear me than she did in Palestine?

He marries her: is this what I've waited for, to come and tell her that I love her still?

Arsace, am I admitted?

My lord, I've seen the Queen Though it meant struggling with the ever-surging Flood of the adoring populace That her impending greatness draws behind her.

After eight days of an austere retreat Titus has done with mourning his late father.

A lover, he resumes the cares of love.

My lord, if the word at court's to be believed Perhaps before tonight Berenice Will bear the name of Empress instead.

-Alas! -What?

These words cannot dismay you?

And so I may not speak to her alone?

You'll see her, my lord, Berenice knows your desire To meet her here, alone and unattended.

With a mere glance the Queen conveyed to me Acceptance of your pressing plea to her.

No doubt she seeks a moment to escape

-The stifling attentions of the court. -That's good.

Have you meanwhile remembered all The urgent orders that I charged you with?

My lord, you know my prompt obedience.

Ships in Ostia are well prepared, Ready sail from port at any moment, They only wait only your orders to depart.

But whom are you sending home to Comagena?

Arsace, they must depart. When I have seen the Queen.

-Who must depart? -Myself.

-You? -When I leave the palace I leave Rome, Arsace; and leave forever.

I am surprised, not without cause.

What? It is a long time since Queen Berenice Removed you from the bosom of your country;

Three years ago she stayed your steps in Rome;

And when this Queen, now triumphing in love, Expects you as a witness of this marriage, When the loving Titus, as her groom, -Prepares a glory for her which will shine on you... -Arsace, Let her enjoy her fortune, And drop a subject which I find troublesome.

What caprice makes you an enemy of yourself?

The heavens have set a prince who loves you on the throne, A prince who, witness of your former wars, Saw you seek death or glory in his steps, Whose, valour, seconded by you, At last crushed the rebel Jews

And he recalls that famous, grievous day

Which finally decided a long siege.

The confident foe upon their triple ramparts

Looked, without peril, on our vain assaults;

The battering-ram was but in vain You, and you only, my lord, with ladder in hand, Bore death aloft on to their very walls.

That day came close to seeing your own end:

Titus embraced you dying in my arms, The whole victorious camp wept

your demise.

Now is the time, my lord, you should taste the fruit of all that blood of yours they've seen you shed.

If, urged by desire to see your country again, You're tired of living where you are not king.

Must Euphrates see you come unhonoured?

Are you returning?

Wait for your departure now till Caesar

Sends you home. In triumph, charged with further sovereign titles Such as the love of Rome still heaps on kings.

Can nothing change your mind, my lord?

You do not answer.

What would you have me say?

I await a moment's speech with Berenice.

Well, my lord?

I'll hear how she explains this marriage.

How so?

If her mouth confirms the public rumour, If it is true she is being raised to Caesars' throne, If Titus is to wed her, I go.

-What makes these vows so terrible to you?

-When we have gone, I'll tell you all.

My lord, my mind is troubled by what you have said The Queen is coming. Farewell. Do all as I commanded.

At last, I have escaped too officious joy Of the new friends my fortune brings;

I flee their tedious courtesies To seek a friend who speaks his heart.

I must not lie: so impatient was I to see you I had already charged you with some neglect.

"What!" I said, "this Antiochus, whose deeds have Rome and the whole East to bear witness;

He who has stood by me in all my woes And shared my steps in good and evil fortune;

Today, when heaven seems to promise me An honour that I mean to share with him, This same Antiochus, hiding from my sight, leaves me at the mercy of an unknown crowd?" It's true, then, madam, as your words imply, That marriage is to follow your long courtship?

My lord, I must confide my fears to you Some tears I've shed during these last few days The long mourning which Titus had imposed at court Had frozen up his love in private too.

No longer did he show the ardent care He showed me in our days together.

Silent, laden with cares, eyes filled with tears, He had nothing but sad farewells.

Judge then my grief, who know my yearning soul, I have told you a hundred times, loves only him Had he none of all his greatness now I'd still seek out his heart and virtue.

Has he now resumed his first affection for you?

You were a witness to last night's events When, in fulfilment of his sacred vows, The Senate placed his father among the gods.

This rightful duty done, his piety Has yielded, my lord, to duty to his lover.

And at this moment, without informing me, He's in the Senate, met by his order.

There he enlarges Palestine: he joins Arabia to it, and all Syria too.

And if I can believe what his friends say, if I trust his oaths, renewed a thousand times, He'll make me queen of all these other states, And to join to many titles that of Empress.

He is coming here himself to assure me it's so.

And so I come to bid you farewell forever.

What are you saying? Ah, heaven!

What farewell? What words are these you speak!

Prince, you are troubled and change your countenance.

Madam, I must depart.

What? May I not know why?

What is the matter?

I should have gone without seeing her again.

What do you fear?

Speak, you are silent too long.

What is the meaning, my lord, of your going?

Remember at least that I obey your command, And that you hear me now for the last time.

If in your high degree of power and glory You should recall where you took your birth, Madam, you will recall in those lands too My heart received the dart of your first glance.

I loved - your brother, Agrippa, gave his consent.

He spoke to you for me. And without demur perhaps You would have accepted the tribute of my heart, But Titus, to my misfortune, came, saw, and won your heart.

He stood before you, in all the glory of a man Who carries Rome's vengeance in his hands Judaea went pale. The sad Antiochus Of all the vanquished knew himself the first.

And soon, severe diviner of my grief, Your mouth commanded mine to silence.

I disputed a long time, I made my eyes speak;

My tears and sighs followed you everywhere.

At last your rigor tipped the scales imposing exile or silence on me.

I had to promise, and even swear it.

But, since at this moment I dare speak openly, When you exacted that cruel oath from me My heart made a vow to love you without end.

What are you saying?

For five years Madam, I have been mute, and I shall soon be silent longer.

I accompanied the forces of my rival I hoped to shed my blood after my tears, Or else that name might speak to you, carried by a thousand exploits, since I could not Heaven seemed to promise me an end of pain.

You wept for my, alas uncertain, death.

Vain perils! How great my error!

Titus' valour far surpassed my own fury.

I had to acknowledge his virtue.

Although expecting, madam, the empire of the world, Cherished by the world, loved, above all, by you, He seemed to invite all blows upon himself, While hopeless, hated, weary of his life, His unhappy rival could but follow him.

I see your heart applauds me secretly, I see you hear my words with less regret, And that, attentive to this grim story, For the sake of Titus you excuse the rest.

Finally, after a siege as cruel as slow, he crushed those final rebels, a pale and bleeding remnant From famine, flame and internecine strife, And left their ramparts hidden beneath their ruins.

Rome, madam, saw you enter in with him.

Abandoned in the East, how great my woe!

I remained a long time wandering in Caesarea, Among the dear scenes of my love for you.

Again I sought you in your sad domains, I searched, weeping, in the places where you'd trod.

But finally, succumbing to my melancholy, I was driven by despair to Italy;

There fate reserved a final blow for me.

Titus, embracing me, led me before you.

A veil of friendship fooled both you and him;

My love became the confidant of yours.

But still some hope beguiled my grief;

Rome and Vespasian opposed your love.

Titus, after so much war, may have given up.

Vespasian is dead, and Titus rules is the master now.

Why did I not flee then? I had to see The first few days of his new reign unfold.

My fate is settled. Your triumph is at hand, There are others enough, to witness your feast, Will come to add their joy to your own.

But I, who could share nothing there but tears, Too constant victim of a fruitless love, But glad to have been free to tell my tale Telling my misfortune to the eyes that made them, I go, more in love than I ever was.

My lord, I did not think that on the day Which must unite Caesar's destiny with mine A man lived who could, with impunity, Could come before me to declare himself my lover.

For friendship's sake alone I've heard you out, And for its sake forget your reckless words.

And more, I hear your farewells with regret.

Amid the honours heaven has bestowed I hoped you'd be witness to my joy.

With all the world, I praised your qualities;

Much loved by Titus, you admired him too.

It has been my delight, a hundred times, To feel a second Titus spoke in you.

And that is what I flee. I shun, too late, These cruel meetings in which I have no part.

I flee from Titus, from his maddening name, The name your lips repeat at every moment.

What can I say?

I flee from distracted eyes Which saw me constantly, but never saw.

Farewell, I go, your image in my heart, To await, still loving, the death which is my lot.

You need not fear that my blind pain Will fill the universe with talk of my misfortune. Madam, the death that I most pray for, Alone will show you I had lived till then.


I pity him!

Such faithfulness, Madam, deserved a happier fate.

Do you not pity him?

His prompt departure Gives me, I confess, a secret sorrow.

I would have made him stay.

I make him stay?

No, I should lose all memory of him.

You'd have me humour such demented love?

Titus has still not told you of his thought.

Rome sees you, madam, with jealous eyes. The rigour of her laws makes me afraid.

Romans must marry only Romans here.

Rome hates all kings and Berenice is a Queen.

Phenice, the moment for such fears is past.

Great Titus loves me, he has but to speak.

He'll see the Senate's bring me homage, And his own statues crowned with flowers.

You saw Phenice, the splendour of last night?

Are not your eyes full of its brilliance?

That pyre, those torches, the whole night on fire, Those eagles, those banners, the troops, the throng, That crowd of kings, the consuls and the Senate, Who all lent their acclaim to him I love;

The gold and purple glorying his state, And laurels witness to his victories.

Those eyes, one saw they came from all the world To blend their fervent gaze on him alone.

That noble bearing and that gentle air.

Heavens, with what respect and willingness All hearts gave inward promise of their faith!

Say, could you see him and not think as I, That even were his lineage obscure The world would know his greatness at a glance?

But Phenice, where are these sweet memories leading me.

Yet at this very moment all of Rome Makes vows for Titus, and makes sacrifice To celebrate the first fruits of his reign.

Let's run to offer up

our prayers as well, To heaven that protects him, for a happy reign.

Then, neither waiting nor yet waited for, I will return to find him, and say all That such long-silenced passion may inspire In two hearts each so contented with each other.

Have you informed the King of Comagena That I'm waiting for him?

I ran to the Queen's apartment, Where he was said to be But he had gone when I arrived I said to give your orders to him, my lord.

That's good. And what word of Queen Berenice?

The Queen, even now, cognisant of your grace, Prays to heaven for your prosperity.

I saw her go out, my lord.

Too loveable princess! Alas!

Why be so sad for her sake?

Soon half the East will bend beneath her law.

You pity her?

Paulinus, I'll speak with you alone.

While Rome, still uninformed about my plans, Waits to learn the destiny of the Queen, Paulinus, the secrets of her heart and mine, Have now become the talk of all the world.

The time has come when I must speak.

What are they saying of the Queen and me?

Speak. What have you heard?

On every side, Praise of your virtues, my lord, and of her charms.

What's said about the sighs I breathe for her?

What do they think will come from a love so faithful?

You are all powerful.

Love, or love no more.

The court will always stand behind your vows.

And I myself have seen this heartless court, Too eager at all times to please its masters, Approve the horrors of Nero's crimes:

I've seen it on its knees sanctifying his furies.

Idolatrous courtiers shall never be my judge:

Paulinus, I set myself a nobler stage.

And rather than pay heed to flatterers I will through your mouth listen to all hearts.

This was your promise. Respect and fear Around me shut the path to complaint.

To better see and hear, Paulinus, I've asked you for your own eyes and ears.

I've made this a condition of my love, I'd have you be interpreter of hearts, And your sincerity, through the ring of flatters, should always bring me the truth.

Speak then. What does Berenice want? Will Rome be indulgent or cruel to her?

Ought I to believe so beautiful a queen On Caesars' throne offends their sight?

Doubt not that Rome, through reason or caprice,

Does not want her to be their Empress.

It's known she's charming, and such graceful hands Seem fit to hold an empire over men.

She even has, it's said, a Roman heart.

She has great virtues.

But, my lord, she's a Queen.

Rome, by a law that cannot be repealed, Allows no foreign blood to join its own, And will not recognise the unlawful fruits Born of a marriage made against her rules.

Julius, who first subdued their power by force, And drowned out law with noise of his alarms, Burned for Cleopatra, but said nothing, And let her languish in the Orient alone.

Antony, who loved her beyond reason, Forget his glory and his country in her arms, Still never dared to name himself her spouse.

Rome sought him out and brought him to his knees, And did not slacken its revengeful rage Until it had secured both lovers' deaths.

Since then, my lord, Caligula and Nero, Monsters whose names I mention with regret, Who, keeping but the appearance of men, Crushed every law of Rome beneath their feet, Feared still that law, and never lit the torch Of a marriage odious in our sight.

You've ordered me to be frank.

The brother of the freedman Pallas, Still branded by the irons of Claudius, We saw, my lord, become the husband of two queens;

And if I must obey you to he end, Those two queens were of Berenice's blood.

And you believe that, without slight to us, You'll bring a queen into our Caesar's bed, Whilst in the Orient a slave but lately freed Pass from our own to its own queens' bed?

That's what the Romans think about your love.

I fear before today is out you'll hear The Senate, speaking for the whole Empire, Repeat repeat what I have said to you;

And say Rome itself falls at your feet And asks that you should make another choice.

You must, my lord, decide how you'll answer them.

Alas! how great the love I should renounce!

That love is ardent, my lord, I will admit.

A thousand times more so than you conceive.

It has become my necessary pleasure To see her every day, to love her, please her, I have done more, I have nothing secret from you -

For her a thousand times I've thanked the gods That they had called my father out of Idumea, Brought under him the army and the East, And stirring up the other peoples there Brought blood-soaked Rome into his peaceful hands.

I even wanted my father's place, I, Paulinus, a hundred times, if fate was less harsh, Had wished to stretch to extend his days, Would have given my days to prolong his:

All this (had ill a lover knows which he desires!)

In hope of seeing Berenice upon the throne to one day recognise her love and her loyalty.

And seeing at her feet the world as well as me.

In spite of all my love, Paulinus, and all her charms, After a thousand oaths supported in tears, Now that I can crown her loveliness, Now that I adore her more than ever, When marriage can join our destinies And pay in a single day five years of promises, -I'm going, Paulinus... Heavens! can I say? -What, my lord?

I'm going to part forever.

What, my lord!

Does this magnificence Which will extend her power to the Euphrates, And all those abundant honours which shocked the Senate, Still leave you to fear the name of ingrate?

Berenice is made to rule a hundred peoples.

Weak distractions for so great a grief!

I know Berenice, and know only too well that her heart has never asked for mine.

I loved her and she me. Since that day

(Alas! should I say fatal day, or fortunate?), Having in love no object but to love, A foreigner at Rome, unknown at court, She's passed her days, Paulinus, with no claim Except to see me, or to wait for me.

If sometimes less assiduous I fail To meet her at the time I'm waited for, I'll find her drenched in tears a moment after.

My hand is long busy in drying them.

All that binds most powerfully in love Sweet reproaches, joy ever reborn, An artless care to please, fear always fresh, Beauty, joy virtue: I find all in her.

For five whole years I've seen her every day, and always thought I saw her for the first time.

Come, dear Paulinus: the more I think, The more I feel my cruel resolve begin to fail.

O heavens, what news I have to break to her!

Once more, let's go, and think no more of this.

I know my duty, and must follow it, And not consider if I can survive it.

Forgive me, my lord, if my rash zeal Breaks in on your private solitude.

When all around me your assembled court Resounds with talk of benefits you've loaded on me, Can it be fair that I alone remain Silent and without gratitude?

But, my lord (I understand this loyal friend Knows all the mystery of your heart and mine), Your mourning is ended, nothing stays your steps You are alone at last, and yet you avoid me.

I hear you'll offer me a further crown, But yet I cannot hear you.

Alas! more calm, my lord, and less of pomp.

Can not your love appear only in the Senate?

Ah, Titus! love at last must flee the bonds Imposed on it by duty and by fear.

What new cares must your love be burdened with?

Are states the only thing that it can give me?

When have you thought greatness touches me?

A sigh, a glance, one word from your lips -

These are the sole ambitions of my heart.

See me more often, and give me nothing.

Are all your moments devoted to the empire?

Your heart, after eight days, has nothing to say to me?

How one word would reassure my fearful spirits!

But did you speak of me when I surprised you?

Was I the subject of your secret talk?

My lord, was I with you here at least in thought?

Doubt not, madam, and the gods bear witness, That Berenice is ever in my sight.

And neither time, nor absence, I swear to you again, Can ever rob you of this doting heart.

What? you swear to me everlasting love, And you swear to me with that coldness?

Why call upon the witness of the gods?

You have no need of oaths to bring me round.

My heart, my lord, inclines not to disbelieve you, -I'll believe a simple sigh of yours.. -Madam...

Well, my lord?

But what? Without answering You turn away, and seem much confused.

Shall you now give me only stricken looks?

Does your father's death still occupy your mind?

-Can nothing ease this devouring grief?

-Would to heaven my father, alas, still lived!

-How happy I lived then. -Lord, these regrets Are true expressions of your piety.

But your tears have honoured him enough, You owe to Rome and glory other duties:

I dare not speak of my own interest, Berenice once could comfort you:

You listened to me once with more delight.

How many evils I have borne for you.

I ceased my weeping at a word from you!

You mourn a father. Poor griefs, alas!

And I (the memory makes me tremble)

Would have been torn from all that I adore, I, whose grief and torment you well know When you leave me even for a moment, I, who the day you refused to see me. Would die...

Madam, alas! what are you saying?

Why choose this moment? Stop, I pray you.

You lavish too much goodness on an ingrate.

An ingrate, Lord! How could you be that?

-Perhaps my kindness wearies you?

-No, madam. Never, since I must speak plain, Has my heart burned for you with keener fire.

-But... -Continue.

-Alas! -Speak.

-Rome... The Empire... -Well?

Let's go, Paulinus: I cannot speak another word to her.


What, leave me so soon, say nothing to me.

Dear, Phenice, alas! How baleful an encounter!

What did I do ?

What does he want? And what does this silence say?

Like you, more I think of it the more I'm lost.

But is there nothing you remember, madam, That might have turned him so against you?

See, search your thoughts.

Alas! believe me, The more I seek to remember the past, From when I saw him first, to this sad day, The more I see I was too much in love.

You heard us.

Now keep nothing from me. Speak. Did I say nothing to displease him?

How can I know? Perhaps I was too quick To deprecate his gifts, and blame his grief.

Or is it that he dreads the hate of Rome?

He fears perhaps, he fears to wed a Queen.

Alas! if so... But no, a hundred times He's strengthened me against their cruel laws.

I wish he would explain so harsh a silence.

I cannot breathe in this uncertainty.

Oh, could I live, Phenice, if I must think That he neglects me, or that I've offended him?

Let's after him. But now I search my thoughts, I believe I see the source of this disorder.

He'll know what's happened, The love of Antiochus is what offends him.

He is waiting, I am told, for the King of Comagene Let's look no further for my sorrow's cause.

No doubt this new anxiety I feel Stems from some light suspicion, easy to soothe.

I take no pride in this small victory, Titus.

Ah, would to heaven that, without slighting you, A more powerful rival sought to tempt my faith, Who laid more empires at my feet than you, And offered numberless sceptres for my love, Whilst you could give me nothing but your soul;

Then dear Titus, loved, victorious, you would see The value that I place upon your heart.

Let's go, Phenice, a word will be enough.

Be sure, my heart, that you can please him still.

I ranked myself too soon among the sad.

If Titus is jealous, Titus is in love.

Pity my onerous grandeur.

As master of all the world, I rule its fate.

I can make and unmake kings, But cannot dispose of my own heart Rome, at all times hostile against kings, Now disdains a lovely queen born in purple;

Her brightness of her crown and kingly lineage Debase my passion and offend all eyes.

If now my heart were free, then it could choose To take some low-born love, without reproach, And Rome would gladly welcome from my hand The least deserving beauty in its walls.

Julius himself yielded to this force.

If the Queen does not leave Rome tomorrow, Tomorrow she will hear the people come In rage to ask me to send her from their sight.

Let's save my name and hers from such insults.

If we must yield, then be it to our glory.

My mute lips, and looks, these eight days past, Should have prepared her for these sorry words.

And even now, anxious and eager, She wants me to explain my thoughts.

To relieve the torment of a frustrated lover.

Spare my heart the pain of telling her.

Go, explain my grief and silence to her, And let me above all avoid her.

You be only witness of her tears and mine.

Take my farewells to her, and hers to me.

Flee from a deadly sight which would destroy The remnant of our constancy.

If hope to reign and live within my heart Can soften now the harshness of her lot, Ah, Prince! swear to her that with faithful heart, Lamenting in my court, and more exiled than she, Bearing unto the tomb my lover's name, My reign shall be an endless banishment, Should heaven, not content with taking her, Torment me further with a length of days.

You, are attached to her by friendship, Prince, do not abandon her in her distress.

Now let the Orient see you arrive with her;

And let this be a triumph, not a flight;

May ties of such fair friendship be eternal, And my name sounded always on your lips.

To make your lands more closer to each other, Euphrates shall be your common frontier.

I know the Senate, ringing with your name, Will with a common voice, confirm this gift.

I join Cilicia to your Comagene.

Farewell. Do not desert my love, the Queen, She was the one desire of my heart, and I will love her until I breathe my last.

Thus heaven prepares to do you justice, my lord.

You will leave, lord, but with Berenice.

She's not been snatched away, but delivered.

Arsace, give me time to breathe.

This change is great, my surprise overwhelming!

Titus puts everything he loves in my hands!

Do I believe, great gods! what I have just heard?

And if I believe it, should I rejoice?

How you delight in torturing yourself!

Was ever a great heart more feeble?

Open your eyes, my lord, and let's think, we two, Of all the reasons Berenice is yours.

Since Titus makes no further claim on her The Queen is bound to marry you instead.

Bound to?

Allow a few days for her tears, And let her early weeping run its course.

Then all will speak for you: spite, revenge, The absence of Titus, and your nearness, Three sceptres, that she cannot wield alone, Your two states neighbours, longing to be one.

Interest, reason, friendship, everything links you.

I breathe, Arsace, you give me life again.

I joyfully greet so sweet a prophecy.

Why wait? Let's do what is expected of us.

Let's go to Berenice, since we're ordered, Let's tell her Titus has abandoned her.

But wait.

What was I doing? Is it I, Arsace, who should perform this cruel task?

My heart, for love or virtue, shrinks from it.

Must the fair Berenice learn from my lips She's forsaken? Who'd have dreamt that word Was one that ever could be pronounced to you?

Her hate will fall on Titus alone.

My lord, if you speak, it is at his request.

No, let's not see her. Let's respect her grief.

Others will come to tell her of her fate.

Is it not harsh enough for her to learn The scorn that Titus has condemned her to, Without the further terrible disgrace Of learning of it from his rival's lips?

Once more, let's flee. To bring this news to her Would draw her lasting hate upon our head.

Here she is, lord: make up your mind.

My lord! you have still not gone?

Madam, I see that you are disappointed, And that it was Caesar you sought.

Blame none but him, if having said farewell My presence still distresses you.

Perhaps at this moment I would be in Ostia, if he had not forbidden my exit from his court.

He is looking for you alone: and he avoids us all.

He only kept me back only to speak of you.

-And what did he tell you? -Of me, Prince!

-Madam, yes. -Suspend your indignation.

And what did he tell you?

Others could tell you better than I can.

What, my lord...

Suspend your indignation.

No doubt others, far from keeping silence, Would revel in this moment, and give way With confidence and joy to your impatience.

But I, still trembling, I, to whom you know O heaven! Your peace of mind is dearer than my own, To save that peace would rather disobey you:

I fear your anger less than your dismay.

Before this day is out you'll think

-me right. -Madam, farewell O heavens! What words! Stay.

I cannot hide my trouble from you.

-Titus -You see before you a desperate Queen, Who sick at heart craves but a word from you.

-You say you fear to break my peace of mind. -I made it appear.

Your cruel refusals, far from sparing me, Excite my grief, my anger, and my hate.

-Or be of my hatred assured for ever.

-My lord, if my peace of mind's so precious to you, If ever I myself was dear to you, Explain the trouble that you see me in.

What did Titus tell you?

In the gods' name, madam...

What! you fear so little to displease me?

-If I but speak to you, then you will hate me. -I order you to speak.

-Gods! what violence! -Madam, once more, you will praise my silence.

Prince, you will at once do as I ask, Or be assured of my hatred for ever.

Madam, after that, I cannot keep quiet.

You wish it, and you must be satisfied.

But don't deceive yourself.

I shall announce Misfortunes that you dare not think.

I know your heart.

You must expect me to strike where it is tenderest.

-Titus ordered me... -What?

To say to you That you and he must separate for ever.

Separate? Who? Titus from Berenice?

I must speak justly of him to you.

All that in a sensitive and generous heart Wrung by despairing love, can hold of horror, I've seen in his. He weeps, he worships you.

But what good can loving you do him now?

A queen is suspect to the Roman Empire You must separate, you leave tomorrow.

After so many vows, Titus abandoned me!

No, I don't believe you. But be it true or false Take care for ever to avoid my sight.

Am I deluded too? Did I hear aright?

I should keep myself out of her sight!

I surely will.

Was I not going hence, Till Titus held me back against my wish?

I must indeed depart. Come, Arsace.

She thought to wound me, but her hate's a blessing.

Before, you saw me troubled and distraught:

I went away in love, jealous, despairing;

And now, Arsace, after this defense, I may leave with indifference.

Now less than ever, my lord, should you depart.

What? Stay here to see myself despised?

To answer for the Titus' coldness?

And take the punishment that's due to him?

With what injustice and contempt for me She doubts my word before my very eyes!

Titus loves her, she says, and I am false?

Ingrate! to charge me with such treachery.

And then at what a time!

The fatal hour When I evoked for her my rival's tears, And to console her made him still appear More true and loving than perhaps he is.

And with what cares, my lord, will you load yourself?

Leave this torrent time to flow away.

In a week, in a month, it's sure to pass.

Only remain.

No, I am leaving her, Arsace.

Phenice does not come!

O cruel time, How dilatory you seem to my swift wishes!

I am agitated, I run, languid, dejected;

Strength abandons me, and repose kills me.

Phenice does not come?

Ah! how this delay Appals my heart with terrible foreboding!

Phenice will have no word to bring to me.

Titus, the ungrateful Titus did not want to hear her He flees, he escapes my just fury.

Dear Phenice, well Did you see the emperor?

What did he say? Will he come?

Yes, I saw him, Madam, and described your plight to him.

I saw him shed tears he had rather hide.

Is he coming?

Doubt not, madam, he's going to come.

But must he see you in wild disarray?

Calm yourself, madam, and regain your poise.

Let me arrange these sundered veils for you, And these stray locks that half conceal your eyes.

Let me amend the ravage of your tears.

Let be, let be, Phenice, he will see his work.

Well, Titus, and what now?

Berenice awaits. What rashness brings you here?

Are your farewells prepared? Are you resolved?

Has your heart cruelty enough for this?

For in the fight that's coming, constancy Will count for little, I must be barbarous.

Can I withstand those eyes whose gentle gaze Will always find the way to my heart?

And when I see those eyes, in all their charm, Hold mine and overwhelm me with their tears, Shall I remember my sad duty still, And say, I will not see you any more?

I pierce a loving heart that I adore, who loves me.

And why pierce it? Who orders it? I myself.

Indeed has Rome yet made its wishes known?

Do we hear shouting round the palace walls?

And do I see the state perched on the brink?

Must I make this sacrifice to save it?

All's quiet - I alone, to wound myself, Advance misfortunes that I might dispel.

Who knows if, seeing the virtues of the queen, Rome might not feel moved to call her Roman too?

Rome by its choice can justify mine.

No, no, once more, do not rush anything.

Let Rome still weigh in balance with its laws Such love, such tears, and such perseverance, Rome will be for us.

Titus, look, and see.

What air is this you breathe? Are you not here, Where hate for kings is suckled at the breast And cannot be expunged by love or fear?

When Rome condemned its kings it judged your queen.

You heard its voice the moment you were born.

Have you not heard too the voice of fame Announce your duty even among your troops?

Since Berenice returned to Rome with you Have you not heard its judgement of her too?

Need you be told these things so many times?

Coward! renounce the Empire, live for love.

Go to the world's end, run and hide yourself, And give way to hearts more worthy to reign.

Are these the plans of greatness and renown To make your memory hallowed in all breasts?

For the last eight days I have reigned; and until now, What have I done for honor? I did everything for love.

What can I show for such a precious time?

Where are those glad days I was waiting for?

What tears have I yet dried? In what contented eyes Have I yet read the proof of my good deeds?

And has the great world changed its destiny?

The sum of days heaven grants me is unknown,

With what intent, my lord, has she gone?

Is she finally ready to leave?

Paulinus, I am lost, I cannot survive.

The Queen wants to die. We must follow her.

-Let's save her. -What, my lord! did you not order Just now a guard to watch and follow her.

Her women clustered round her at all times Know how to divert her from these sad thoughts.

No, no, do not worry.

These are the greatest blows, My lord: keep on, and victory is yours.

I know you'll not have heard her without pity;

I couldn't help but feel for her myself.

But my lord, look further on.

Think in your grief What glory will follow a moment of pain, What vast applause the world prepares for you, What far renown.

No, I'm a barbarian.

I hate myself. The much-detested Nero Did not push cruelty to this excess.

I cannot suffer Berenice to die.

Let's go, and Rome say what it will of me.

What, my lord?

I don't know what I'm saying. The excess of pain overwhelms my wits.

You must not disturb the course of your fame Already word of your farewells has spread.

Rome, which lately trembled, rightly triumphs.

Smoke rises from the altars in your name.

The people laud your virtues to the skies And deck your statues' brows with laurel crowns.

Ah Rome! Ah Berenice!

Ah unhappy prince!

Why am I emperor? Why am I in love?

What have you done, my lord?

Sweet Berenice Will die perhaps in her Phenice's arms.

She hears neither tears, nor advice, nor reason;

She begs with great cries for steel and poison.

You, you alone can save her from that desire.

Your name is spoken, and she lives again.

His eyes, always turned towards your room, Seem to ask you from moment to moment.

The sight destroys me, I can bear no more.

What are you waiting for? Go, show yourself to her.

Save such great virtues, graces, beauty, Or else renounce, my lord, all humanity.

Say a word.

No, leave me, I tell you.

Your efforts to retain me here are vain.

I have to see him.

Ah, Lord! Here you are.

Well, is it true that Titus abandons me?

We must separate. And it is he who orders it.

Madam, do not destroy an unfortunate prince;

We must not stir our pity for each other.

The woe that agitates me and devours me's cruel enough Without your tears so dear to rend me more.

Rather, summon up that heart that often Has made the voice of duty plain to me.

I need it now. Compel your love to silence, And with the eye of glory and reason Regard my duty in its sternest rigour.

Fortify my heart against yourself.

Help me surmount my weakness, if you can, Help me to stem my ever-flowing tears.

Or, if we can not command our tears, Let the glory at least support our grief, And let the world acknowledge to the full Tears of an emperor and the tears of a queen.

Because my princess, finally we must part.

Ah cruel! Is this the time to tell me so?

What have you done? I thought that I was loved.

My soul accustomed to the joy of seeing you.

Lives but for you.

Did you not know your laws, When I declared myself for the first time?

To what excess of love have you not led me?

Why did you not say then: "Unfortunate princess, Where do you fix your love, what are your hopes?

Don't give a heart that cannot be received."

Did you receive it but to give it back, Cruel man, when it longed to be yours alone?

The Empire often threatened us before.

There was still time. Why not forsake me then?

A thousand reasons might have solaced me.

I could have blamed your father for my death, Blamed Rome, the Senate, the Empire itself, The whole world, rather than your dear hand.

Their hate so long made manifest to me Had long prepared me for unhappiness.

Thus I would not have had this cruel blow Now, when my hopes are set on lasting joy, When your love can do all that it desires, When Rome is silent, and your father dead, And the whole universe bows at your feet, Finally when I have nothing to fear but you.

And it's only me who could destroy myself.

Then I could live, I could deceive myself.

My heart was careful not to run ahead To seek what might one day force us apart.

I wanted nothing to resist my will, I studied nothing, I hoped for the impossible.

Who knows? I hoped to die before your eyes, Before coming to those cruel farewells.

The obstacles seemed to renew my love.

The whole empire spoke; but glory, madam, Had not yet spoken to me in my heart In words such as it speaks to emperors.

I know what torments I now bring upon me.

I do not know how I shall live without you;

I feel my heart itself departing from me.

But living's done with now, and I must reign.

Reign, then, cruel man, enjoy your glory!

I'll plead no more. I'd waited, to be certain, Until that mouth that swore a thousand vows of love that must unite us for all time, Should swear itself untrue before my eyes, And order my eternal banishment.

I had to hear you in this place myself.

I'll hear no more, and now farewell for ever.

For ever!

Ah, my lord, do you not feel The terror of that word to one who loves?

In a month, in a year, How shall we bear, my lord Our sundering across so many seas?

Or that the day begin again and end Without Titus ever seeing Berenice, Nor all the livelong day can I see Titus

How great my error, and how vain my cares!

Consoled for my departure in advance, The wretch will hardly count the days I'm gone.

To me so long, to him they'll seem too short.

I will not have, madam, to count so many days.

Soon, madam, I expect that sad report Will make you see that you were loved indeed.

You'll learn that Titus could not live without...

Ah my lord! if that is true, why do we separate?

I do not speak to you of a happy marriage vow:

Has Rome said we must never see each other?

Why must you envy me the air you breathe?

Madam, alas! do as you wish. Stay, I'll not prevent it. But I feel my weakness.

I'll have to fight and fear you at all times, Always be watchful to restrain my steps, Which your charms always will draw back to you.

What? Even now, my heart forgets itself And knows of nothing but its love for you.

Well, then, my lord, and what could come of it?

Do you see the Romans ready to rise?

Who knows how they will take this insult?

If they speak out, if murmurs turn to shouts, Must blood be shed to justify my choice?

If they keep silent, madam, and betray their laws, To what do you expose me?

At what cost Of future favour is their patience bought?

What might they not then dare demand of me?

Will I maintain laws which I can not keep?

You set at nought the tears of Berenice!

Set them at nought! Ah! heavens! How unjust!

Why plunge yourself into unending pain For cruel laws that you yourself could change?

Rome has its rights, my lord. Have you not yours?

Or are its needs more sacred than our own?

Say, speak.

Alas! How you tear me in two!

You are an emperor, my lord, and yet you weep?

Yes, madam, it is true, I weep, I sigh, I tremble.

Yet, when I assumed the throne Rome made me swear to maintain its rights I must uphold them. More than once has Rome Put to the test its rulers' constancy.

Ah! if you went back to the city's birth You'd see them always humbled to its will.

One jealous of his name runs to his foes To seek the painful death awaiting him.

One banishes his own victorious son.

Another, with a dry, indifferent eye, Condemns his own two sons and sees them die.

Unhappy man! But fatherland and fam Have always been Romans spur to victory.

I know that Titus, in leaving you, May well surpass their great austerity;

That they cannot approach this great attempt.

But, madam, do you think I am unworthy To leave examples to future ages, That none without great pains may imitate?

No, I think everything is easy to your barbarity.

I think you fit to tear my life from me.

Your every feeling is now clear to me.

I speak to you no more of staying here.

Who? I?

Could I have wished, shameful and despised, To bear a hostile people's ridicule?

I had to hear this last rebuff from you.

It's done, and soon you will not fear me anymore.

Do not expect from me a burst of insults,, Or cries to heaven, the enemy of perjurers.

If heaven mark my weeping as I die, I pray it will forget my suffering.

If I cry out at your injustice, my lord, If on the brink of death sad Berenice Seeks some revenge upon you for her end, She seeks it only in your inmost heart.

I know such great love can't be purged from it, And that my present pain, and my goodness, My blood, which I shall spill within these walls, Are enemies enough to leave you with.

Without repenting my perseverance I look to them for my entire revenge.


-My lord, the Queen's leaving. -Leaving?

This very night.

Her orders have been given. She's offended That Titus leaves her to her tears so long.

Her anger's given way to noble scorn:

Berenice renounces Rome, and Titus too, And seeks to leave before Rome learns of it, And sees her turmoil and enjoys her flight.

I come, my heart pierced by your tears and hers, To calm these sufferings less cruel than my own.

Come, Prince, come: I'd have you see yourself, And for the final time, if I love her.

No, I'll hear nothing. I am quite resolved:

I wish to leave. Why show yourself to me?

Why come again to aggravate my despair?

Are not you happy? I do not wish to see you.

But, please, listen.

There's no more time.

-Madam, A word. -No.

How she torments my soul!

My princess, where does this sudden change come from?

It's done. You want me to leave tomorrow, and I have decided to leave at once -

-I go. -No, stay.

Ingrate! You'd have me stay?

And why? To hear insulting people make These walls resound with noise of my distress?

Do you not hear it too, that cruel joy, While all alone I drown in my own tears?

What crime or what offence has roused them so?

Alas! And what did I do but love you too well?

Madam, I now must make you a true confession.

When I considered the dreadful moment When driven by laws of strict duty I was bound for ever to give up seeing you;

When I foresaw this sad farewell's approach, My fears, my struggles, your tears, your reproaches, I steeled my soul to every suffering The worst misfortune can inflict on us.

Whatever I then feared, I tell you now, I had planned only the least part.

I thought my virtue less inclined to yield, And am ashamed to see it fall so low.

I found before me all of Rome assembled.

The Senate spoke to me. In my dismay I listened without hearing, and repaid Their every rapture with a frozen silence.

Rome remains uncertain of your fate.

And I each moment find myself in doubt If I'm a Roman or an emperor.

I came to you not knowing my intent.

My love dragged me; and I came perhaps To find myself, and know myself.

What have I found?

I see death in your eyes.

I see you'll go from here to seek it out.

It is too much. My sorrow, at this sad sight, has finally reached its final limit.

I feel the worst that can be felt

But I see the way by which I can go out.

Do not suppose that, tired of this disquiet, I mean to dry your tears with wedding vows.

To whatever end you have reduced me, My glory still pursues me ceaselessly.

It shows my dazed soul at every turn That power and love may not be reconciled, And tells me that, my brave commitments made, Now less than ever should I marry you.

And, madam, even less should I declare That I'm prepared to give the Empire up And follow you, contented in my chains, To sigh my life away at the world's end.

You'd blush yourself at such a craven course.

You'd rue the sight, among your followers, Of a base emperor, without court or power, Vile spectacle of the slavery of love.

To escape the torments preying on my soul There is, as you must know, a nobler way;

It is a way I have been shown myself By Romans and by heroes more than once, That when too many woes had wearied them, Each understood the grim perseverance With which fate was resolved to hunt them down As a mute order to resist no more.

If still your tears must flow to grieve my sight, If I must see you still resolved to die, If I must tremble each moment for your life, And you'll not swear to respect its course,

Madam, you must expect a new cause for weeping.

There's nothing I am not prepared to do, And it may be you'll see this very hand Bathe our fearful last farewells in blood.


No, there is nothing I cannot do.

There, now my life is wholly in your hands.

Think, madam, think. And if I'm dear to you...

Come, Prince, come, I sent to look for you;

Be witness to my every weakness here.

See if I love with too scant tenderness.

-Judge me. -I am convinced. I know you both.

But you must know me too in your turn.

You've honoured me, my lord, with your regard, And I, I swear to you without deceit, Have fought to stand among your closest friends, Even to the lavishing of my blood.

You've both in spite of me confided in me, The Queen her love for you, you yours for her.

Let her, who hears me, say it was not so.

She saw me, ever ardent in your praise, Repay your confidence in all I did.

You feel you owe me gratitude for this.

But my lord, could you suppose at this dark hour So true a friend to be your rival too?

My rival!

It is time you knew the truth.

My lord, I have always worshipped Berenice.

A hundred times I've fought to love her less.

Though I could not forget her, I kept silence.

Signs of a seeing change of heart in you Had given me at least some feeble hope.

The tears of the queen extinguished this hope.

Her eyes, bathed in tears, begged to see you.

I came, my lord, to call for you myself.

You have come back. You love, and you are loved;

You have surrendered, that I cannot doubt.

For the last time I questioned myself.

I put my courage to a final test, I summoned up my greatest powers of mind.

Never have I been more in love than now.

It would take greater strength to break such ties.

My death alone destroys them. I run to it.

There, I have told you all I came to say.

Yes, madam, I have led him back to you.

I ma successful. I do not repent.

May heaven pour on you your years together A thousand blessings.

Or if it harbour further anger for you I charge the gods to empty all the blows That might endanger your most precious life On those sad days I sacrifice to you.

Stop, stop. All too generous princes.

In what a plight you cast me, both of you!

Whether I look at you, or him, The image of despair is all I see.

I see only tears. And I hear you speak only Of trouble, of horrors, of blood about to flow

My heart is known to you, my lord: no man can say That it was ever heard to sigh for empire;

Roman grandeur and the Caesars' purple Have never been my dream, as you well know.

I loved,

my lord. I loved and wanted to be loved.

Today, I will confess it, I've been afraid.

I thought your love was ended.

I know my error, and that you love me still.

Your troubled heart, your flowing tears.

Berenice, my lord, is not worth such disquiet, Nor that the sad world by your love, When Titus has prayers of all And that it tastes the first fruits of your virtues Should be starved in a moment of its delights I think that for five years, until this last day,

I have have assured you of true love.

That is not all, I mean at this tragic time By one last effort to crown all the rest.

I will live, I will follow your absolute commands.

Farewell, lord, rule:

I shall not see you more.

Prince, after this farewell, you'll understand I cannot leave the one I love To hear another suitor far from Rome.

Live, and make a generous effort.

To rule your conduct by Titus and by me.

I love him and I flee him.

Titus loves me and leaves me.

Take your sighs and chains far from my sight.

Farewell: let's all serve as an example to the world Of the tenderest and most unhappy love Of which sorrowful tale may be recorded

All is ready.

They await me now. Do not follow my steps.

For the last time, my lord, farewell.