A monologue from the play by G.E. Lessing

NOTE: This translation by Ernest Bell was first published in 1878 by George Bell and Sons, London. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

ANTON: [As if for the benefit of someone hiding just offstage.] Yes, these learned men, how happy they are! What an ass my father was not to have put me to that profession. By Jove! How delightful it must be to know everything in the world, as my master does. My stars! Fancy understanding all those books! If one merely sits among them, whether one reads them or not, one becomes at once quite another being. I feel it, I really do feel it, intellect is being exhaled over me from them. Certainly he is right; without learning man is nothing more than a brute. Stupid brute that I am. [Aside.] I wonder how long he'll let me abuse myself. [Aloud.] We are truly absurdly matched, I and my master. He yields to none in learning, and I to none in ignorance. I will begin reading this very day. If I live to be eighty I may become a fine fellow yet. Only begin briskly. Here are books enough. I shall pick out the smallest, for one must not overdo it at first. Ah! Here I light on the loveliest of little books. Such a book will surely let itself be read and enjoyed. Begin at once, Anton. I suppose it does not matter which end you begin at. In truch, it would be a shame for my master, who is so marvelously, so fearfully, so horribly learned, were he to have such an ignorant servant any longer.

Home · Full-Length Plays · One-Act Plays · 10 Minute Plays · Monologues · Email · © 2000