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Mortal gods and other plays / by Olive Tilford Dargan. Dargan, Olive Tilford, 1869-1968. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-200-30751986 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Mortal gods and other plays / by Olive Tilford Dargan. Dargan, Olive Tilford, 1869-1968. C. Scribner's sons, New York : 1912. 303 p. ; 22 cm. Coleman The mortal gods -- A son of Hermes -- Kidmir. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04498.05 KUK) Printing Master B92-200. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. BOOKS BY OLIVE TILFORD DARGAN PUBLISHED BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS THE MORTAL GODS and Other Plays. I2mo, net, 1.50 LORDS AND LOVERS and Other Dramas. i2mo, net, 1.50 SEMIRAMIS and Other Plays . . . . . I2mo, net, 1.00 THE AND MORTAL GODS OTHER PLAYS This page in the original text is blank. THE MORTAL AND OTHER PLAYS BY OLIVE TILFORD DARG AN NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S 1912 SONS GODS Copyright, 1 b12, by Charles Scribner's Sons All rights reserved Published Norember, 1912- CONTENTS TILE TMORTAL GODS 1 A SON OF HERMES 107 K ID AIR 221 This page in the original text is blank. THE MORTAL GODS A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY HIUDIBRAND, King of Assaria IIERNDA, his daughter CIAIRTRIEN, a Prince of Assaria BORDUC, Prime Minister COUNT DORKINSKI, Court Chamberlain CORDIAZ, King of Goidusan AIEGARIO, Governor of Peonia, a province of Goldusan REJAN LEVAL, a revolutionist SENORA ZIRALAY, his sister ZIRALAY IRUBIREZ I GOLIF'ET nobles of Goldusan M-NAZARAN j' GUILDAMOUR MA.-SIO G;.kRZA\ GONZALO I YSOBEL of Megario's hacienda GRIJA COQURIEZ IPARRO J Guests, officers, musicians, peons, c. TIME: Begins February, 1911 PLACE: Assaria; Goldusan ACT I 'SENE: A vast room in the palace of JIndibrand. As the curtai(n rises the place is in darlkiess save for a cir- clef of golld apparently suspended in mid-air near fthe centre of the room. As the light increases, the outline of a mn's figure becomes distinguishable, and the cir- clet is seen to b)e resting on hlis head. Gradually the riun of gold fades to invisibility, wXhile the figure of the man a2d th/e contents of the room become clear to tf/e eye. The maan might be mistaken for an American citi- zen 'in customary evening dress. He is Hudibrand. At f/ie left are twvo entrances, upper and lower. Rear, left. large wrindows. The wall rear mwakes a rig/it atngle about centre, the apex of which is cut off by a wvindow. Right of centre the room seems to eXtend endlessly rearward, and is arranged to suggest an 'upland grove in tf/e deli- c(ute, venturinlg days of spring. The ground, rising a. little toward right, is covered iwith winter moss and tufts of short silvered grass. The trees are young birch, slig/it maples in coral leaf, cornel in flower, and an oc- casioiial dark foil of cedar. AI brooklet ripples (1o0 the slope and off rear. Birds chirp and flit, and now and then a breeze stirs the grore as if it were one tender body. The lights ure arranged to give the effect of night or d(a1y as one wishes. It is 'winter without, thie climate of Assaria's capital city being tsimilar to that of New York. Double doors lowcer rig/it, through which Count Dorkin ski enters to Fludibratid. 3 THE MORTAL GODS Dor. Your majesty, Sir Borduc has arrived. Hudi. Hot-shod, We'll let him cool. Dor. Where shall he wait, My lord Hud. His usual corner. Keep him off My Delhi rug. [Exit Dorkinski] Poor Bordy's fuming ripe. [Re-enter the Count] Dor. His Excellency calls, your majesty. Had. Which Excellency They are thick as hops. Dor. The Governor of Peonia. Hud. In time arnd tune. We'll see him here. [Exit Dorkinski] A pawn of mine who'd push Beyond his square, and I must humor him 'Neath meditative thumb. [Erter Megario] Hud. Welcome, Megario. Meg. I've travelled far To press your hand. Hud. We made appointment here, Knowing your visit to Assaria touched Nothing of state or office. Meg. [Accepting his cue] Nothing, sir. [Looks about him] I thought I left the springtide in my rear, Three thousand miles or so, but here it greets me. Hud. A gimcrack of my daughter's. She would freak With sun and time. My toyshop has no walls. I juggle too with seasons, climates, zones, But in the open where there's warrior room, And startled Fate may spring against my will, Giving an edge to mastery when I wrest 4 'I' IIE MO R T A L G O D S The whip from Nature, turn it on herself, And set her elemental slaves to filch H1er gold for mc. That, friend, is play. hey. For gods And not as thief, but as divinity, You take from crouching Nature. 1111(1. Men have said I pile up gold because its glitter soothes A fever in my eyes. The elacking fools! I amn no Cheop.s making warts on earth. No munmny brain! God built my pyramids, Slaving through dark and chaos till there rose My iron-lhearted hills, and mountains locked (On age-unyielded treasure waiting me. There slept my gems till longing became fire And broke the grip of stone,-there lay my gold, Be-purged each thousand years till baited Timnc G(ave up the master's hour. [HIernda has come from the grove and moves up to his side] Her. [.I(oringly] And you the master! Hiid. D)aighter, you owe my lord Megario Sonie pretty thanks. 11er. I give them, sir. Meg. No, nlo! I pray your Highness, no! M1y thanks to earth T'hat bears the flower of you, anl(l to the light That makes my eyes your beauty's treasurer, But thanks from you to me, as jewels hung IUpon a beggar's neck, would set my rags Unkindly in the sun. Her. Then I am not Your debtor Meg. Mine the debt, that mounts too fast For feeble payment from thin purse of words. ETHpound;E MORTAL GODS Ah, every moment adds a suitor hope To th' bankrupts in my heart. 11er. I fear, my lord, Your coiner's name is Fancy, and I like Truth's mintage best. [To herfather] What is this debt of mine, So languished that a word of thanks may be Its slender cover Meg. A word, if beauty speak it, May mantle a bare world. Hud. His Excellency Is Governor of Peonia- Her. In Goldusan! Hud. And smoothed my road there Mfeg. Nay, your majesty, My aid was but a garnish on the might That moves with your own name. Hud. Between us then, We saved my holdings through a bluster there, And what they brought me I've tossed here to make This smile on winter. Meg. What You gave her all Her. How, sir One word of mine would robe a world, And my whole self not worth a little spot Twitched from Spring's garment Meg. Oh, I'd grind the stars To imperial dust that you might trample them,- But this-this was a fortuine! [To Hudibrand] Sir, 'tis true You care not for the gold. Had. I care for it As men of hero times held dear the sword That made them lords of battle. 1e1r. You are lord Of Peace! 6 TIHE MORTAL GODS Meg. Write that upon the clouds, that eyes Of men and angels may contending claim The truth for earth and heaven! Hud. Tush, sir, tush! Meg. Can I forget how at your kingly touch My fair Peonia, paling in treason's grip, Thrilled from her (leathward droop, renewed her heart Through safe, ease-lidded nights, and woke once more The rose of fortune Hud. There's no rumble now Of riot Meg. Not a sound comes to our ears But from the toiling strokes that steadily Uproll Peonia's wealth. Hud. Yet those who led The last revolt are free. Meg. Not all, your Highness. A few crossed to Assaria, but expedition W'arnms on their trail. Rejan LeVal is tracked To your own capital. Hud. Nay, mend that, sir. We're safe here from such ruck. Mlleg. The startled eel Will make for muddy waters,-and 'tis sure LeVal found murky welcome here. Hud. My city! What mutinous bolt turns here for him Meg. His friends Are friends of power. How else could he elude The thousand eyes in search Hud. [M11using] Treason at court . Meg. We'll mouse LeVal to 's cranny, do not doubt. Then we shall ask Assaria's great seal For his delivery to Goldusan. Hud. That is assured you. 7 THE MORTAL GODS Meg. But your minister, Sir Borduc, warns Hud. Ha! Warns Meg. He urges that The extraditing power is at pause, Blocked by the people's will. Hud. I've given my word,- A word that mobbish din ne'er added to, Nor yet stripped of one letter that I chose Should spell authority. You ask for more Meg. Pardon, your majesty! It is enough, Beyond all stretch of need. Hud. I call to mind That Borduc waits,-and primed for tongue-work too. The princess will content your Excellency Meg. [With obeisance to Hernda] 'Tis Heaven's honor! I have left the earth! Hud. You waste your art. She's in the milk-maid humor. Would marry Hob. [Exit, lower right] M1eg. The Sefior Hob He says You'll marry him [Hernda laughs] You care not if I die! Her. You'll live, my lord. Meg. You'll marry Hob. I die! Her. lIe is not Hob. That is my father's mock Because he's poor. Meg. [In hope] Ah, poor Her. A beggarly Ten millions,-not a penny more. Meg. Ten millions! Her. But that's my joy. I would not wed for gold. Meg. 0, pity me! I love you, senorita! Her. No, no! I must not hear that. 8 THIlE MlOR1TAL GODS Meg. Ihen I'll pray Silence to l)e my friend and speak my dumb Unuttered heart. I-ICr. You must. not love me, sir. But you may love-my father. When you praised him, You too seemed fair to me. Meg. I'll sing him till The stars lie at our feet, if you Will listen! 11er. He gave your country peace Meg. His royal name Is dear as Cordiaz' in the grateful heart Of Goldusan. That proud land lay unkept, Her ores intomled, her vales Without a plough, Her rivers wasting down to shipless seas, 11er people starving, while her nobles strove For shreds of power,-the clouted thing we called A government. Then on our factions fell, Strong as a god's, the hand of Hludibrand; And nowv, com-pact, we stand by Cordiaz. XWhile every mountain groans with golden birth, And every river turns its thousand wheels, And every valley buried is in bloom. 11er. My dearest father! But I knew 'twas so! And they who starved are fed and happy now They reap the bloom and share the golden flood Meg. All will be well when once we've scourged the land Of rebels that drip poison from their tongues, Stirring the meek and unambitious poor,- Who sought no life but saintly, noble toil,- With strangest rage, till maddened they would bite The fostering hand of God. Her. We've prisons where We put such troublers. Has your land no jails Meg. 'Tis full of them! 1 mean-ah, we have jails, But foes like these are wary, slip all watch,- 9) THlE MORTAL GODS Flee and dart back, our weariness their charter To tread with havoc's hoof. If I could find Rejan LeVal, then might I rest from guard, But not while he-unlassoed warrigall!- May canter from his thicket and paw up Peonia's fields! Her. I'll lend an adjutant. Ask Chartrien, who knows each foggy nook And smirched corner of the capital,- Having once made his pastime serve a quest For such drab knowledge,-ask him help you find This traitor. Meg. Chartrien! Nay, the fox is safe When th' hound too wears a brush. Her. You mean the pi Speak, sir! Who hints me calumny, Shall make the drum his chorus. I'll hear all. Meg. A rumor drifts through Goldusan. Her. Is th An oddity Here rumors are too thick For ears to gather them. Meg. But this-O, princess. . Fairest of earth, forgive me that I speak! Her. You do not speak. And that I'll not forgive Meg. Ah, then,-but first,-is Chartrien near the Her. No nearer than his heart. Meg. I do offend. Her. Offence now lies in silence. Speak, my lord. Meg. When I left Goldusan, 'twas said-and with No muffled hesitance Prince Chartrien aids The rebels there, and lays a train to rend The State apart, that Cordiaz may drop Into the gap,-then he with plausive cleat Will make the fissure stanch, and seat himself In unoppugnMd power. rince at king 10 TIlE MORTAL GODS Why he is lob! [Silence. They both risc] A mad and sorry tale, you see. Meg. I see. Ile's in the capital 11er. Beneath this roof. The- palace is his home. AMy father holds llis meagre millions guarded, nursing them To a p)rinceIs portion. Meg. We shall meet 11er. To-night. Ile's with a friend-a Spanish gentleman,- u3tit not from Goldusan. Meg. I made no guess. I1cr. Deny that with your eyes. Your tongue's cx- emn1pt. Megl. And may I meet the Spanish gentleman 11er. That's as he chooses. I may not command him. [Re-enter Count Dorkinski] Dor. His Highness, sir, is pleased to bid you join him. .lMeg. His pleasure is his marshal. [To Hlernda, softly] I've your leave To love your father. That I go from you To hilni, is heaven's proof I do. [Exit M-egario and the Count] 7ler. The proof I seck, and w-ould not find, is locked in Hell, Not Heaven. Alegario lied. Oh, Chartrien! [Retreats slowly into grore a(ld passes o0t of sight, rear. Enter, upper left, C(hartrien and LeVal] LeV. No, ( ha. Prudence, dear LeVal! LeV'. I shall go mad ShIt in this gilded den,-this stifling hold Of banditry. 7Ier. 11 TIlE MORTAL GODS (1a. Peace, friend! LeV. I'd rather crouch With brats of grime upon an unswept hearth And claw my bread from cinders, than draw breath In this gold-raftered house of blood! C(ha. Come, come! Your wits fly naked, stripped of every caution, And beat suspicion up that else might keep Untroubled bed. Whist! We must move rose-shod Through these next hours, not clack in passion's clogs. LeV. I'll out of this! There's surge in me no fear Can put in bonds. C/ha. Nay, here and here alone Your life is safe. The hounds of Goldusan Sniff through the cellars. They'll not scent you in The royal shadow. That's more brilliancy Than ever lit a rush in houndom. This My home, I share with you. for mine it is Till I've secured my gold from Hudibrand. LeV. Ay, but Megario! While he's here these walls Pen me in fire. Cha. His visit is too brief To be a danger. LeV. Danger! To me, or him If we should meet, his fate as mine would be In that encounter. These are hands would see to 't! C/ha. LeVal, forget- LeV. Forget CUleste My wife Forget she died of blows while he stood by And smiled, because she was my wife! Oh, God! Breathe air with him while this arm hangs A limp discretion! C(ha. Peace! This mood unpent Will wreck us. Keep your room if it must swell. The princess gazes yonder, and your face 1 2' THE -MORTAL GODS Is badged exposal. Go. I'll meet her question. 'Twill not f ash honor if a lie or two Must be our guard. [Exit LeVal upper left. Hernda emierges fromn grove. Chartrieii wtaits for her as she comiies circuiitouisly, lightliy harering and hesitating] Her. [A-It his side] What lover's this-dreams still When love is by. Were he an olden knight He'd ride to tourney and forget his spurs! Cha. lIe would forget the world and fame and God To see your eyes like this! Her. You tremble, Chartrien. Love so cmuch-vet stood here just-a stumip- Cha. That felt you conming, coming like a bird, And watched and waited, envying every bough Where you paused doubting, till you fluttering lit, I)own in the old stunmp's heart- 11er. There, I've forgot! This is my lover ere that lure crept up From Goldusan. Since you came back, I've felt The shadow of a difference, and I've heard The maids of Goldusan can draw men's souls Out of their bodies for a dance in hell. Cha. My love! 11er. 0, Clhartrien, are you mine I feel A question in your worship. WNheni your eyes Are warmest, love lies on them like The shallow moon-gleam on a deel), dark sea That is not kin with it. A sea that once Was mine, and I could go, wvith circling arms, Love-lanterned to its depth. But now the dark Is round me fathomless- Cha. My own! Her. I try to rise, To find my wings-and feel the air again Without your drowning touch upon me- 13 THE MORTAL GODS Cha. IIernda! 11ave I so nearly lost you Come, l)eloved, Sit here, and let me vow me yours again T ill in each word you feel my beating heart. Her. -lly stars shall hear these vows. [Changes the light to pale, evening glowv. Rear, right, are glimpses of sky with frail, moving clouds. faint stars and a new moon] And see, my moon, Intent and virginal. [She sits, and C(hartrien lies on the ground, his breast cov- ering her feet] Now, now my heait Holds not another thing hut love and you! C/ha. No thought of those dread wings hIer. None, none! And you [Bends over hAiti] All mine. I hold you now, fast in my world. Sometimes you enter, come witlin my door, And then I can not shut it for a wind That clings about you from a farther sky. Cha. [Rises and takes herface between his hands] IThere's but one sky! Her. A shud(ldering breath, As from a planet strange, where you have walked And I shall never go. Cha. 0, shut me in, Rose of a heart! I'll not go out though Life Beat at the door, and call her giant storms To knock upon 't. 1er. Is this not life And this The only world Cha. The only world. MNy habitat One perfect hour. Her. One hour Forever, love. 14 THE MORTAL GODS C/ha. 0, vow it for me, sweet,-again, again! Till I believe once more in Arcadies Born of a silken purse. In sunsets caught In tinted tapestries, w ith jaciuth heart (Gold-bleeding through the w -oven breath of (Iream. In soft moon-hours that drop from painted skies, In fairy woodlands aye unwinteringg, In love's elf-ring no boding star may cross, And you, my Hernda, sceptrel in joy's name, Tossing the apple J)lanets in your hands- These little, sovereign bands-as (G(od might do, IHad lie, poor God, your power. Her. Love, you hurt. C/ha. Al, tears in Arcady 11er. Oh, wshat is this Has come between us (Cha. What The universe. I catn not reach you even when my lih)s Are on your heart. Her. WMay I not come to you (ha. From this moon-wNorld No hope of that. Her. See then, The day! [Changes the light to sunrise] Now may I come C/ha. Forever playing! The way lies here. [Steps to window and opens it. A tsnowry blast rushes in] lHer. Stop, Chartrien! Shut it' Oh, You've killed my Spring! (,'ha. You will not come Her. You're mad. [Struggles with the window until she closes it, Chartrien watching her] Cha. You do not like that road. But it is mine. And children walk it. I have met them there. 15 THE iMORTAL GODS Her. Oh, I am frozen ! See! C/ha. [With sudden contrition, pressing her to hiS breast] No, you are fire. A fire that I will clasp, though it should burn My holiest temple and betray my soul To ashes! Her. 0, my love, what secret curbs Your nature to this chafe It rubs even through Your ardor,-stabs nme on your breast. May 1 not know it Is not confidence I)ear blood and life of love Without it, ours Must pale, ghost-cold, a chill between locked arms. Cha. Is trust not love's prerogative More royal sweet than any burdened share Of secrecy Her. Not to the strong! Cha. [Smiling] You strong By what brave test dost know it 1er. And by what Dost know me weak: C(ha. The proof awaits. But now,- Emilio needs me,- Her. Go! C'ha. Sweet, friendship too Has bonds. Not all are love's. Her. He's ill,--your friend Cha. As plague-bit life,-no worse. Her. You'll wait upon My father Bid him but good-night C/ha. No, Hernda. 11er. You shun him, Chartrien. I have watched you keep) A curious distance,-ay, as though your heart Removed itself while your unwarind eyes Made invoice of its treasure. Once you rushed 16 TIHE 'MORTAL GODS 17 Into his counsel as security hlived in his word, ancl vou, denied, were lost. Are those hours gone If you have grown too large For his shrunk wisdom, blindl you to his need. Age unsuslected crowns him, and you take Your young armi out of his. (ha. Ile wants no staff. 11er. You'll go no more to Goldusan C(ha. I mnust. 11er. A\nid soon ('Ca. W hen Il(dibrand is pleased to free My fortune from his ward. 11er. You want it all (C11a. Yes, all. 11er. For Goldusan ('ha. AMy greatest need Is there. 1ler. What is that need ('1C. You question me 1Her. May love not ask (ha. If love could understand. 11er. Ihave I grown dull I do not know you, Chartrien. You're so unfeatured by that Spanish cloud, You're lowering friend. Hie is the universe Bet-ectn our hearts. Ill No. I saw himi here,- A tropic threat. 'Twas rage broke his suave guard, Not illness. ('ha. Hernda! 71er. The Lord Megario hlas asked to compliment a brother guest. Alay he be seen Does his unmannered storm Spare ole a;menity ('ha. Alegario knows 71er. Knows what C'ha. Oh !-nothing. THE MORTAL GODS Her. So much more than naught Your cheek is pale with it. Cha. No matter, Hernda. Her. An ashen matter truly, yet not light As nothing. But your answer. AMay our guests Exchange the roof-tree greeting (ha. No. 1er. Why not That "no" trails consequence. It can not be Your period. C(h1. They are enemies. Her. I knew! (ha. Megario dealt my friend a bitter wrong,- The foulest wrong that man may put on man. Her. He's loyal to niy father. I know that Of him,-and of Emilio-nothing. C'ha. Sweet, I beg one day! Her. One day What's hatching here That's one day short its time [Enter, lower right, Hudibrand, Megario, and Borduc] C'ha. [Drawing Hernda aside] To-morrow, love! 1e1r. To-night ! Hud. You've won your suit, Mlegario. If by our presence in your Goldusan We can advance that sister country's peace, The journey's naught. We'll count it done. 3lI eg. MINy lord, All revolution will dispel as air Before your eye. Our Cordiaz is great, But his familiar subjects are too near To take his height, while you they know to be Of giant measure; and when once they see Your majesties are brothered, Cordiaz Will grow your twin in stature. 18 TIlE 'MORTAL GODS find. You've our word. Meg. I treasure it,-and lest repeated thanks Stale their sincerity, I beg to say (iood-night. Had. You have our leave. Good-night, my lord. [Megairio boi's impre.ssirely to lHudibratnd, slightly to Bor- duc, (Iawl is passing out when Hernda, who hasI( cro.ssed right, iWtercepts him] 71er. You leave us early, Lord Megario. Meg. I (lo not leave, your Highness. I amn driven. I go to dlrU(lgery with my secretaries, Foregoing even the slee) that might have brought Xour drcanid face to me. 7Ier. Is't still your wish rto meet our Spanish guest Meg. Ile grants me that 11Hr. Ile has refused a meeting. Meg. Ali!. . . Refused. 11er. 1hut there's a way, my lord. When you have p)assed The second door without, turn to the left. You'll find a vaulted p)assage,-at the end Ain entrance to my wood. Come in, and wait. Mleg. You grace ie so 11er. It is not grace that breaks fl'e covenanit of salt. But who keeps faith With traitors lie is one, by every sign. An evil thinig l)lown to our royal hearth Tlirotgh C(hartrien's open love that lets all winds PoLir in. And I'll have proof of it.! Mcy. [Orer her hand] You shall. [Exit, lowrer right] C/ha. [Crossinig to Hernda] A long-spun courtesy, and with one merit,- It ended in good-night. 19 THE MORTAL GODS Her. [Ga yly] Unruly yet A truce until to-morrow! (Cha. You believe me her. I would not doubt you for a world compact Of virtues only, but it's no unreason To fear you are deceived. (ha. Dear Hernda Her. Conmc! I love you, Chartrien. Let us have an hour As light as joy, as sweet as peace, and call Your friend to share it. He shall smile for me. I vow it, by his most ungentle frown! C(ha. 'Twill take your deepest magc, for his heart Holds naught that smiles are made of. Her. Bring him here. I'll make that heart my wizard bowl and mix Such sweet and merry potions in't, his griefs Must doff their gray for motley. You shall see! Cha. Art such a witch [Exit, upper left] her. What's this I do My soul Leans shameward, but I'll trounce it up. The man, If innocent, keeps so, untouched and clear. If he aims darkly, creeps a weaponed hate Upon my noble father, do I worse Than cancel so the unwrought half of 's crime, And make him less a villain Bor. May I speak Against this southward jaunt Hud. Loud as you please, My Bordy, but I go. Bor. Your Highness makes Assaria bow too low. Hud. The State shall have No name in this. I go as Cordiaz' friend, Not as Assaria's king. I've interests there THlE MORTAL GODS 21 Trhat sort with quiet venture. Give it out Tlhis move in part concerns my health. Bor. That much I welcome. You should rest, my lord. HIud. Ha Rest The twin of death! I'll rest when I am dust. Nay, then I hope that storm and hurricane Will keep me whirling. No,-I'll not go lame E'ven in report. Say that this move concerns MIy pleasure solely,-solely, Borduc. Her. Father, I have a suit. May I not go with you I long to make that land where you are loved, More vivid than the dream that now it is. Hud. And find what lodestar there draws Chartrien From constancy Well, you shall go. Bor. Tut, tut! Her. Dear father! HIud. This will give domestic screen And color to our tack. Bor. A gadding throne- THud. Good Borduc, we will leave the throne at home. I)o not you stay Bor. I've some authority, You'll not dispute, my lord. Much as may go With broad election. My investiture Lies in the people's choice. HJud. Ay, you're their bark Of freedom, where their pride may hoist full sail, But who wots better, Bordy, that 'tis puffed With winds that know my port Bor. They think their choice Is free. Sincere in that, they give my post A dignity not even your majesty May mock me out of. 21 THE MIORTAL, GODS Hud. Fools are noted most For their sincerity,-a virtue that Must stand a cipher if uncertified By wit or wisdom. Bor. Sir, Assarians Are not the fools you think them. They are men Who have the patriot's heart, and on their flag Where you write "power" their love reads "liberty." Bud. It does, praise be! And they may keep their flag To wear around their eyes long as they will. For then I dance my measure, while they bump In hither-whither hoodman blind and pay My fiddler too! Bor. And what's my part in this Hud. The fiddler's, Borduc. Bor. Sir Hud. And your next tune Is Goldusan. Come, let's rehearse. Bor. My lord,- (Exeunt, lower right, as Chartrien and Lef'al enter left] Her. You've come, dear Sehor! Was it savagery To wrest the hour from you LeV. Too kindly done For such a name,-though I was deep in bond To sober thoughts, your Highness. Her. Be so still. We would not force our humor on your heart, But share your own. LeV. [Smiling] Can you be sad Her. As rains That drench October. As the gray That fringes twilight on the dark of moons. As seas that sob above a swallowed ship, Repenting storm. [Leads to seat, right] Come, sir,-and I'll be sad 922 TIIE MORTAL GODS In what degree you choose, though I could wish it Nearer a smile than rheum, and not so heavy Beit that its sigh may float upon a song, A gentle song that might be sorrow's garland When moan wears down. Wilt hear one now, my lord I have a music-maker yon whose lute Was nectared in a poet's tears the hour Ile lost his dream. Say you will hear himn! Nay, That courtier "yes" can not o'ertake the "no" Sped from your eyes. We'll have no music. Yet The soul must love it ere one can be sad To th' very sweet of sadness. 0, I know! LeV. I love it, but not here. Her. What here forbids My bower! The eye translates its tenderness rTlo fairy sound, nor need of pipe or strings. LeV. I can not hear the bells of fairydom When life is making thunder's music 'gainst This bauble house of play 11er. [Rising] Sir, you forget Le V. Nay, I remember! 11er. What do you remember LeV. Ah! . . . Pardon, princess! C/ia. May I mend this peace Her. [Sitting again by LeVal] It is not broken yet. LeV. Your gentleness tas saved it, not my manners. Her. Oh, my lord, Would I had grace to cover sorrow's breach As smoothly as a gap in courtesy! Then you should smile! LeV. I have a happiness That makes it thievery in me to take Your pity. You've a sadder need. TH E 'MORTAL GODS 11er. I'll yield No jocund vantage to that brow of yours. You hear this sombre braggart, Chartrien Speaks as I were Despair's own fosterling! LeV. You are. As I am Hope's. Do you not gaze On earth's foul spots and cry "A sad world this!" "We must endure!" "The dear God wills it so!" And such and such like seed of misery Till hopelessness sprouts chronic-building then Your house of life amid its smelling weeds, Where you may dance-or pray-till you forget Your creed keeps earth in tears Her. And yours, my lord LeV. Gives her a singing and forefeeling heart Whose courage cleaves renunciation's cloud That swathes her splendor and would sighing keep Her livid 'mong the stars! Her. You would divide Omnipotence with God, and arrogant, Assume the bigger half. But there are woes That even your hope, though it go winged and armored, Must fall before. LeV. Not one that I'll not face Until its features mould me destiny, The shape of radiance it shall wear for man 'Neath an unslandered Heaven! I could not live If in the life about me I saw not The world within this world, and sped my hope The way that it shall take. Her. Is not that way Called Peace, Emilio LeV. Not the peace that spills More blood than war, builds bigger jails. and leaves More waifs to stick the stunting, poisonous breast TIHE MIORTAL GOl)S Of Charity! Peace as white ashes spread Upton injustice' fly-blown wrack- 11er. [Learinig hinm] You are A revolutionist! Le t. And black to you, For revolution leads into the horizon, And must be figured dark to rearward eyes Though God beyond gives welcome. Her. [Comning gentl1y back] IMay we not Be patient even as Christ, who found this world The home of poverty and left it so Did he not say the poor are ever with us LeV. You too must tap that last and golden nail In th' pauper's coffin! Her. It is the nail of truth, If Christ spoke true. LeY. Words uttered to his day, Not to all time. Not as a deathless brand Burning his own millennium. Not meant To take from man his goal, condemning him To hug an ulcer to the sick world's end, Which even your bosom must take to whitest bed Although your festrous partner be not guessed Nor visible. But if he did mean that That vicious thing-then he is false as hell, Denying man's bright destiny,-and I, Who vouch the triumph of an angel race, Am more a god than he! her. You dare blasphlemc- LeV. Because it once was said to men, whom worms Made dust of twice ten hundred years ago, "The poor are always with you," such as you Shall not forever pick your way to ease O'er broken bodies, lifting tip white brows And hiding crimson feet! Daring to make TIlE MORTAL GODS The Christ your sheltering sanction while you feed On others' lives, and keep injustice sleek Even as you cosset that dim thing, your soul, And preen the wings you think bear you aloft The puddled world! 11er. You lie! You do not know Our gentle hearts, our- LeV. Gentle 0, you're nice, You later cannibals, and will not eat Of babes at table, but you'll pipe their blood From unoffending distance, while you pray Your conscience numb and swear the source is clean. Some dare to name that fount the Love of God, And kneel him thanks! Hier. Oh, mad and impious! Who is this, Chartrien, you've dared call your friend [Megario steps from the grove] Meg. He's dumb as prudence, but my tongue is free. This is Rejan LeVal, the man who hates Your father,-and my country's enemy. LeV. [Plunging toward Megario] Murderer! Cha. [Grasping LeVall Come! At once! Meg. Your pardon, prince. I must delay you. I feared your sympathy Would gird itself 'gainst justice, and took care To balk escape. [To officer who appears behind him] Be off with him. You know Your road. No stop this side Peonia's border. Cha. Outlawry this! Stop, sir! You will not dare Kidnap him on this soil! Meg. [Laughs] Where Hudibrand Is king [Exit officer with LeVal, lower right] Her. This strains your privilege, my lord. Cha. His privilege My God! Did you . 26 THlE MORTAL GODS 11cr. I did. Mcq. No third voice here is cordant. I will leave you. My thousand timnes most gracious lady, thanks! Ag\ain I blid you happiest good-night! [Exit] Her. I amn no adder, though your bitter eyes Give ine that name. ('ha. Not bitter. In my heart, Tlat wrappeT)d you as the South its dearest bud, There's notlhing left to w-arnm the thought of you Elven with mnv hate. You are the crown, the peak, Tuie unneianing top of all to which I'm most Inldifferenlt. [ Tiirris aixray] 11cr. Look at me! (h1. I look, and know My eyes till now were cankered, look and see Thme whole fair lie you are. 11er. Nay, Chartrien! ('1a. The book is open. There the brow yet shines As God o'erlilied it,-an altar urn Stuffed withl profane decay. Those are the eyes Like springs within a wood where no road leads Wiith inurking pilgrim dust, yet Innocence There praused looks up no more. That is the hand That as a conlrade angel's took my friend's,- Reached out as though it parted Heaven's veil To draw his grief within, then clapped him down 0o Hell. 11cr. The 1)lace for traitors. Let him go. This moment is for us. 'Tis true your eyes Were cankered, and I thought by surgeon means To give them health, but deeper than the eyes This trouble's seat. Deep as your changed soul, That forfeits its divinity to link With an infection. Here vou stood and heard Those potlire(l-olt p)rofanatiOns wNith no move Or sound of protest. That was left for me. 127 THE MORTAL GODS Cha. What truth may pierce such ignorance, fatuous, thick! That man,-Megario,-with whom you've struck Alliant palm, twisted a lawless law To his deformed desire, and took the lands- The priceless valley lands of Cana Ru- From gentle dwellers there. whose titles bore The rooted claim of dear ancestral graxes Nine generations deep,-and when they stood The guardians of their doors, faced them with guns, Dragged them to his bribed courts, weighed them with fines, And sent them to his burning maguey fields To slave and rot. Her. No-don't Cha. The lands were sold To Hudibrand Her. It can not be! Cha. Not be That cry is stale as ignorance, as old As wrong. I've heard it till my ears refuse To register its emptiness. LeVal, It was, rose first against Megario,- Stood up and urged men to be Man,-and this, That makes archangels in the ranks of Heaven, Was treason upon earth. He lived-escaped- But not his wife. Anointed woman, such As centuries with conjoined virtues breed Once and no more! She was condemned, enslaved, And toiling in the steaming fields, fell down, Was flogged, and died. Her. No! no! no! no! C/la. So she Is free. But now LeVal goes back. My friend! 0, giant heart! I see you stagger, drop, As feverous as the smitten earth- 28 THE MORTAL GODS 11er. Who could Believe such things You're wrong! You must-you shall Be wrong! He was a traitor, bitter-souled, Undoing my father's work! ChAa. Farewell! 1Ier. Oh, Chartrien, I did it for the best! Cha. The woman's cry. She'd wreck a world, and from that earthquake piled Look up to say she did it for the best. Her. You will not go You loved me one hour past. I am not changed. I'm Hernda still. C/ha. The same. And yet I loved you. But no blush need burn The soul escaped enchantment. 'Twas a charm Enringed me with its bale till helpless there, And feeble as a babe in bassinet, I cooed away my manhood,-emptied time With infant fingering toward your protean hair! Her. You lored me! C(ha. -More than ever could be laid To madness' charge, or god that passion whelms With mortal longing till his skies become His prison, and dark earth Elysian ground Beneath the feet he loves! Her. [Wit/h armns beseeching] Here, Chartrien, here! Cha. Even when my eyes-so late -were wide to wrong That binds the race to pain's dread Caucasus, My mad imagination laid the gift Of seership on you, dreamed that you would go To meet the gleam of the delivering days, 11er. With you! (Cha. Sail any sea of venture, beat Through any storm to make the prophet's port,- 29 THTHE MORTAL GODS White priestess vassal to the truth that leads The planet into light! Her. Together, Chartrien! C(ha. That was my dream. Then coming to your side, There was no life but yours,-no world that bled And felt the vulture feeding. Groans of men Grew still, or like the unavailing hum Of far-off, aimless bees, scarce reached my ears That heard, more near, as music from new earth, Your children call me father. Ay, 'twas but The storming undersea of passioning sex That breaking to the sky o'erlaid my stars And wore the mask of Heaven! That ebbless power,, That spawning tide of Nature, by whose might She took primordial forts and made Life hers! Still does it tear belated, unassuaged, In wreck about the Mind's aspiring fanes, And shakes the nesting Spirit from her towers, 11er heavenly brood unfledged! Her. Oh! Oh! (Ch1a. Ilere-now- I beat it back, and go my way ulnlIlated Trill beauty fair as yours has bred a soul And signals me! [Exit] Her. Stay, Chartrien! Oh, my love! 30 [Falls. Curtain] ACT II SCENE: A grove in the out.skirts of a towrn in Goldiisan. Semiii-tropical rerdture. Rocks, shrubberq, trees, ut coit- venience. A hidden cascade mumbles upper right, not loud enough. to disturb conrersationi. .-t upper left, the pillared and viine-wreathed entrance to a mansion. A wall, rear, partly hidden by foliage. Paths. lead off, right and left, lowier, under trees. It is eveninlSg, (1al the grove is lit for revel. Gay flocks of people pass, then Hermda and Megario enter low-er right. Meg. Uiisoft as winter! Thou hast brought thy north, With thee, a frigid shade, here where the hours Are poppy-fingered, and their dreaming breasts Unshuttered as the summer! Her. Is it true, This joy, that smiles as though its fountained heart Could not be emptied Meg. True as that I love you. Her. But if it is no mask, why should revolt O'ercloud your borders Meg. There's no just revolt. Her. But Chartrien said Meg. Are you yet poison-tinct With that old rebel tale his credulous heart Dressed new in his w-hite lhonor till both grew One sooty treason Her. Where is Chartrien now Meg. Wherever lie may hatch a diseonteilt And cluck us trouble. But of late he spurs 31 THE AMORTAL GODS His heart of venture, and dartles to our towns To stir the scum there. Iher. Scum You've such a thing In Cordiaz' happy land I'll see that scum. It breathes, does 't not Has eyes, and tongue Can answer if one speaks Meg. You're merry, princess. TIer. As graves at night. All is not open here. I shall go farther,-knock at doors where Truth Keeps honest house, not gowned for holiday. Meg. One want we have,--that you will stay with us And be the fairy soul of Goldusan. Then must our land, so measureless endeared, Be cherished as the darling care of Heaven, WN here storm may breathe but as a twittering bird That fears to shake its nest. Her. You've only words! Words like these thousand-thousand smiles that seem Half real and half painted,-teasing, strange,- All feeding one illusion round my way Till even the ground unqualifies beneath me And makes each step a question. Meg. 'Tis the doubt You look through that transforms our face Of truth and paints us vaguely hued. 0, for our many smiles, wilt not give one Hler. Nay, there's a darkness fringing on this grove. It creeps above the walls, it touches me, And makes me shudder winding at my feet! Mey. You've sipped of fancy at a witch's knee! [Plucks a flozwer] But see,-your serpent shadows nurture this. Confess to its perfection, and be shriven Of any thought less fair. THE MORTAL GODS 3 Her. Oh, if I might! No, keep it. Let us find our friends. Meg. [Drops the flower] My hand Defiles it for you. Her. Nay- Meg. Where is the fan I carried yester-night her. 'Tis-lost. Meg. 'Tis burnt! Her. What wind's your gossip Meg. Truth paused at my ear. But, princess, if there's any charm will draw Your eyes to me unbiurdenled of their hate, I'll find it thogwh it lie beneath the ruin Of every other hope! 1er. I'll leave you, sir. Meg. Forgive men! Love will speak,-ay, storm its need, Thotiah each vain word pile up the barricade That fends the heart desired. Her. My lord, no hate Is in that barrier. I'm free of that. Meg. Thanks for that little much. Your highness speaks Of journeying. What can I say to gild My own Peonia till it distant gleams The gem of pilgrimage There you will see HoW earth is dressed when the devoted sun Is pledged to her adorning. Trees that mass Their bloom in forest heavens, giving her A nearer sky. Unthwarted vines that scarf Her mountain shoulders with their pendent clouds. Lakes where a dreamer's bark may drift unoared And chance no port save beauty. Everywhere The dart and wave of color that would beckon '33.1 THE MORTAL GODS A neighbor planet looking once this way. Come, be my guest. One day! I'll ask no more. Her. I do not know. Sefiora Ziralay Will be my guide. I go with her. Meg. With her Her. What is't I touch the shadow. You are not Her friend Meg. She hates in secret, while her smile Levies the world for love. Her. I'll hate where she does, And know my soul is safe. Meg. Her husband holds By love and purse to Cordiaz, but she Is a LeVal. Her. LeVal And kin to-him Mieg. Rejan His sister. And I know her nature Is tinted as her blood, whatever hue It wears at court. Her. A sister to the man That I gave up to death. And I have dared To love her-take her kiss Meg. [Cautioning] She's here. [Enter, lowher right, Sehora Ziralay and Guildamour] Her. Sefiora! We spoke of you. Seh. And with such gloom Meg. No, no! Seh. It lingers yet, my lord. Do I in absence cast Such knitted shadows Meg. Safely asked of us, Who know your bright philosophy. How fares That magic broom with which you'd sweep the earth Of every ill Is't still invincible Seh. Much worn of late, my lord, as you should know, Who give it work. 34 TIlE M\ORTAL GODS Meg. You'd leave us not one grief To keep us p)raying and rebuilding Ileaven A. bolish Ileath perhaps lei. True niock! I would Except the death that's like a waiting b)ed WVlhemn not another turn may mend the day; Wihen slee) is sweeter than the thunbed boo0k, Amid hearth-near voiees drowse like wvaves that lap Shores ullnoneernled. Now we are murdered, all. Meg. No. no, Seftora! GIi. Ay! Do we not vaunt, And set it rarely down, a thing to note, If aige iumoor hlie life-disused raft, For th' chartless cruise scel. Now we go hurried out, With half our dreams unpacked, and earth made poor With a few grain.s of dust where should have risen Our wisest years in flower. Meg. Fate, fate, Senora! Weh. What's fate but ignorance And not always that (Coiues hobbling with excuse. Sometimes a man, Whose eyes fling lances at the foes of Life, Is knou ted from the world /eg. No more, I pray! rl'lis is a festal night. Reserve your sermon IFor our next fast. [Al in usical grouzp plays softly under trees left. Fnter loirer right, Hudibrand, Cordiaz, Rubirez, V ardas, Zir- alay, ind others] Haid. Here, daughter You've been sought. (Cor. Tlhe search was mine, your highness. I would beg A grace of you. Her. You grant one as you beg, Your majesty. I'll not do less than give Your own again. But pray you name it, sir. 35 THE MORTAL GODS Cor. This garden where our amity has borne Its fairest blossom shall be called henceforth The Grove of Peace, and we would beg your highness To queen our christening. Her. A queenly part, And royally I thank you, but I'll play it With humblest prayer that Heaven may keep unbroken These new-sworn bonds between my land and yours. C'or. So pray we all. Her. Is this our scene Cor. Not here. Come you this way, my friends. We'll cast the wine To yon cascade, and let the waters bear it Down to my capital. [All go off upper right, except two officers, who remain centre, and a guard who walks to and fro by wall rear, sometimes visible, sometimes hidden by the wood and rocks] First Off. This peace will prove As stout as any spider's thread that swings In a blowing rain. Fah! Second Off. Climb what hill you please, You see the rebels' smoke. First Off. But where in name Of magic does Bolderez get his gold The rebels we pick up have lost no meals. Second Off. Enough he gets it. Goldusan sleeps well. Bolderez is so near that if his men Were eagles they could pick out Cordiaz' eyes And he'd not wake to miss 'em. First Off. Cordiaz Is not asleep, but so bedimmed and fooled By a thievish Cabinet that what he sees Takes any name they give it. Second Off. Ile is old. 36 TilE MORTAL GODS First Off. Alh, there you hit it. Warriors should die young. When age unsoldiers them their field-worn hearts Have no defence against a crafty peace, And falling power will seize on any prop Be't foul or fair, to keel) on legs. Second Off. 'My faith! His crutches are so villanous, a fall Were better than his gait. [Enter Ziralay, lower right] First Off. Well, Ziralay, What news Zir. Where's Cordiaz Second Off. He comes. [Re-enter group from tihe cascade] Zir. [To Cordiaz] Mv lord, The Assarian prince is captured, and is held Within the town. Cor. What Chartrien Zir. Yes, my lord. Cor. Fit period to this dedicated day! Our gentle bonds are nowv forged whole. Tlte man Who was Bolderez' hope, most hlminious Of all who drew rebellion to him, now Is darkly fallen. Rub. This golden aid cut off, Bolderez stands so bare his nakedness Will sprint to nearest cover. Cor. I'll see his face. Bring here the prisoner. Off. I'll speed the order, Your majesty. [Exit] Rub. Shall he be shot, my lord Cor. Shot No. But kept close prisoned. 0 THE MORTAL GODS Rub. That is mercy You have denied the blood of Goldusan. Why grant it to Assaria Var. In him swells A strength was never in LeVal. I urge His instant death. Cor. No, friends. Ile is a so01 Of our great neighbor, and his death would wound The courtesy of nations that is kept By lenience unabraded. Xar. Breath so bold Will from a prison fan the treachery Whose flame would die without it. 1Ier. Father, speak! C'or. We'll hear our friend, Assaria's majesty, If he have word for us. fIud. I pray your highness To let no ghostly and unfounded fear Of my Assaria- C(or. Fear, my lord Hud. I mean No more than ask you to be just, nor let My presence here enforce your chivalry To do your country wrong. Think of your people, Not the approval of a gazing land Whose distant nod is given in ignorance Of your stern cause. Her. Here's not my father! So The clock runs backward, and time ends. Meg. [To Cordiaz] Your higlmmess, My voice is not so loud as others here, But could I send it far as sound may go, It should take mercy's part in this debate. Var. You need no trump, my lord. A limpet's whistle Would tell us where you stand. 38 THE MORTAL GODS JMeg. I stand with Cordiaz, His majesty of Goldusan! Cor. This matter Is not for open market. Come, my friends, Let us go in. Please you to walk before. [Rnb ircz, Ziralay, Vardas, and Megario cener the house, upper left. Their majesties linger at entrance. Guild- amour retreats on path, upper right. Qfifeers go qf, lowier left. Hernda and Sehora Ziralay wrait unino- ticed, rig/lt] (Cor. Is't kindly done, my lord, to pose your station In public against mnine nud. My neutral words You've packed witli import all your own. I strive To bend not right or left, but keep my w-ay As even as Justice. 11er. [To Sefora] Justice! There's a stone That was my father. Cor. Yet, my lord, this prince Is of your house. Hiid. Is it for Cordiaz To teach me mercy C(or. By my soul! Hud. I know Whence starts this softness. Mercy has no fane Where you leave offering. (Cor. I know you too. By holy Heaven, your head was never bared In Justice' temple! You now seek my fall, Because I've turned at last to check the hand That rifles Goldusan. Is't not enough That I've unjewelled all her treasured hills To alien avarice-that her forests bleed The priceless sap of all primeval Springs Into your golden stream But I must lay 39 THE MORTAL GODS My people under bond,-sell them as slaves To buy your stolen railways! Hud. Stolen, sir I've paid Cor. I know what you have paid! You've sent Your henchmen creeping in the night, to buy At beggar's price our toil-built roads, and where You could not buy, you bribed and thieved, till all WN-as yours! Hud. What of my toil, that built the lines Through half your provinces (Cor. You paid yourself! Took from my governors, half gulls, half thieves Of your own breed, a hundred times the worth Of every graded foot, in lands and mines And water-power that holds the prisoned light Of robbed futurity! Now we must buy Once more those tracks, long over-bought,-pay you A value centuple for every mile,- Pay you in bonds-bonds in hell's verity- Whose interest will outrun each reckoned year The summed returns from our fool's purchase! No! That is my word while I am Goldusan! Hud. You wake too late. I'll tell you so, my lord, Since this imprudent burst thrusts courtesy From court. Your ministers have given assent ('or. Have giiven! You'll over-steal enough To quit their boldest price! Htid. I'll not defend Your chosen servants, sir. (Cor. My servants! Oh, What State is free from scuttling greed that bores For treasure through the stanchest hold Hud. This moral chant comes late from you, my lord, Who've fingered heavily in many a pie Spiced in the devil's kitchen. 40 THlE M ORTTAL, GO S Cor. But to sell My people! Pay you this devouring price FIor stock that barely yields the groaning third Of interest on your bonds! What shall we do To pay it Rob our treasury, and ask Our worn-out slaves to fill it up again Not ask, but goad and lash,-for you must have Your own-you honest nmortgagees of babes Unborn ltud. Is all the scarlet on our hands What of that mountain province, sold entire To foreign pockets, and the dwellers there Torn up like shrieking roots and cast abroad To fasten where they could (Cor. And where weas that But in your hell-mouthed mines You wanted slaves, And got them. 1Her. I shall die, Sefiora! Seji. Listen! hud. The tyrant Cordiaz grown pitiful Then stones are butter, alabaster is Uncrumpled down. You should have wlept before The Pueblo strike, then fewer corpses had Gone out to sea. (Cor. Don't name that thing to me! Don't speak of it! I will not bear that curse! Hiid. M\ine aged convert, lies it in your wfill, Or juster Heaven's Cor. 'Twas your property My troops defended-and Rubirez lied. Swore that the men foamed mad as tusked beasts, And must be trashed to place,-men who had asked No more than bread when you shut up your doors- Hud. Not I, my friend. 41 THE MORTAL GODS Cor. Your tool then. One of all Your million hooked hands fast in the heart Of my poor country, shut your doors, thereby To starve the wretches till they crawled to you And begged their chains again. But they-their veins Were not all tapped-they'd blood left, and arose From their dumb prayers to fight for life-and then.... Hud. You sent the troops. Cor. Because Rubirez lied! Haid. Because you knew there'd be no after-sale For your high favors, once let titles drift Unguaranteed. And when your work was done- Your work, my tear-washed saint, why weary patience Could not take further time to count the dead, Or dig so many graves. They were piled up And carted to the sea- (Cor. Oh, every tide Brings back their faces-staring, staring up! Will God not answer them I dare not shut My eyes.... Had. And this is why you weep so late Come, Cordiaz, you're broken. Leave a throne Your own fears shake. You know that I must win. Own you are mastered- Cor. Mastered! While I've breath I am a king. If I win peace of God, And his white angel let my dark soul out, 'Twill be for this-the last throe of my strength Was spent against you! Hud. Madly you've uncased Your madness, and I know my weapons. Cor. So! I too, my lord, know how to sleep and wake With hand on steel. Hlud. Then is there more to say THE MORTAL GODS 43 Cor. All's said. We're waited for. Assaria, Will't please you enter Ilud. I thank you, Goldusan. [Lthey go inj Her. I)on't comfort me, Sehora. Not a breatll. I'll not disfigure shame with comfort's patch, But droop as low as leprous dust, and take Some pride in that. 'Tis dark here, dark. IPray God I am asleep! Sen. Dear princess. Her. Men do well To keep the women blind. If once they knew, They'd breed no more, but let a bairnless world Escheat to God. Yet you, Sefiora, knew, And you have children. By your motherhood You've bound you Life's accomplice,-given it heart And veins and an accepting soul! Seit. I have! Deny our hearts these babes, and we deny The future that we fight for. Ah, defeat May be endured by those who hold in lap The victors of to-morrow! Her. Oh, my father! Sehl. This truth was edged and swift. You should have had Love's lips to teach you 11er. I've been taught, my friend, Salt would not learn. [Rising] Senfora, it was I Betrayed your brother! Seh. Yes.. . . I know. Her. To death! You do not understand. I killed him! Setl. No. There, love,-forget a little. I've a hope He is not dead. 43 THE MIORTAL GODS Her. Not dead What gives you hope Sci. Perhaps the nameless mentor in the heart That tells us when our lolleM shrines are lit And when they're out forever. But there's more. Whenever Lord Megario's eye meets mine There's something couched there speaks me living wrong, Not wrong that's ended-locked within a grave No prayer inay open. He is burning yet With uncompleted vengeance-and its shame. 11er. Sefiora, you've a plan! Scien. 'Twill take much gold. 11cr. Ah, I have that. Seh. And courage. 11er. Well! Sefl. Such as, We're told, no womnan has. 1Her. Here is my life, And any Fate may have it that will make Your brother live. Will you forgive me then Seii. [Kissing her] Ah, dear, you could not know.... Her. How did you hear Seri. From Chartrien. Her. You are friends SceT. So true he seems Not friend but friendship to my soul. And I Talk here, while yonder he- Her. They dare not! No! .My father would.... My father Oh, Sefiora! [Sob)8 h1opelessly] Sfeh. We'll find a door to this. Her. Would Ziralay Not help Sceh. Had he the wit, he w ould not dare. While I'm his wife he must keep double guard Against suspicion. 4; TIlE IMORTAL GODS 11cr. Oh! sieh. If there's one true, "Tis Guildamour. I'll go to him. 1er. At once! lIe took that path. Seih. I know what shade le seeks When lbe wOulll brOod. [IEit ,Secora, iipper rig/it. Hernda itaits (irooping, as if too wreary for thou yuf. .1 group of ladies and genttle- IiCn eneter, loiwer rig/it, amnotig theml Gizl1(1d1amonir] 11er. [Startinig 7l)] Oh !--Guildainour! Gu1i. Your higlhness! [Leares lis party chatterinig lowver left, and crosses to Herutda] 71er. Sefiora seeks you. Gu1i. Ath, about the prince Her. W+e have a hope, my lord, your hand may turn Some stone of rescue. (;6ui. Mine are powerless hands, Pinned to inaction's cross. MAy eyes may turn No way that is not watched. To lift my lids Mlay raise a cry of "Treason!" 1ier. There's no help In all this land no help G11i. Alegario, Could lie le softened to it, is the mian Who might wvith safety slip) a secret bolt For Chartrien. 71er. He! Gui. 11is name is set above The nick of treason by his stern dispatch Of poor LeVal,-and, that struck off, he yet Is chronicled so dark that none would lay A fair deed at his door. Her. MAegario! THE MORTAL GODS Guii. I would not name him, but I know he loves you, And there's no soul that love may not endue With tinge of Heaven. [Re-enter Sefora] Her. Sefiora! Sent. [Panting] I have seen him! Gui. The prince Her. Not Chartrien Seh. Yes! Gui. Escaped Sen. The guards Were of our heart-they let him make the wood- I've hidden him Her. Oh, where Seh. Within the cave Veiled by the waterfall. But safety there Is minute-frail. Gui. What way He'll climb the wall Seh. And drop into the river. Gui. Yes. What guard Walks there I see. 'Tis Miguel. And I know Somewhat of him,-more than he'd tell the winds. Seh. Thank Heaven for a sinner! When he's next Behind the rocks, then to him, Guildamour, And be his palsying conscience. Peg his feet To the earth! Gui. Trust me, Sefiora! SeFt. I'll lead off Those babblers. Princess, you're the watch,-you'll give The signal. + Her. Ah! What is 't Seh. Two pebbles dashed Into the water is our sign. Her. The guard! He's gone! 46 THE MORTAL GODS Gui. It is our time. [Exit into wtood, rear] 11er. [A.s the talkative group iiove up] Take them away, Sefiora! It wvould kill me now to meet A painted smile. Sejt. I'll go. And you--be swift. I)on't stop-don't think. [Joins group] I know where lordings three Wait for as many maids. A young lady. You saw them p)ass Sefl. Disconsolate. Youning Lady. 0, to the river! Another. Come! [They go of writh Sehlora, lower left] H1er. Now! [Tak,-es up two stones. Ziralay andl Megario comne out of houise] Oh! [She drops the stones. They cross to her] Meg. You wait 11er. I read the sentence. Zir. Death. 11er. And when Zir. To-niglt. They've given Vardas charge Of 't. Ile's an eager butcher,-does not know I)elay. Her. You wished his death. Zir. I voted no. Megario laid my doubts. I1er. Did he do that Zir. Ile countered to their teeth. 1er. [To Megario] So merciful Is hate Meg. The prince's death woould mean the fall Of Cordiaz, and our houses rock with his. Her. Be clearer, pray you. Meg. Vardas wants the throne, And we've a sour and guilty faction here 47 T4TILE MORTAL GODS Who'd see him on it, but they dare not move Against a king yet rich in arms and friends. Andl Hudibrand is not so absolute That he inay turn the army of Assaria Otn the sole pivot of his word. For that, Elven he must knock the sleeping nation up Arn(d ask good leave. Her. You'd say, sir, Hudibrand Would favor \ardas Zir. Short and plain, lie does. Her. What then Meg. The Assarians are proud, and where They think their honor's pricked, their pride out-tops 'ITheir judgment. Chartrien's death, whose ugly weight Alust lie with Cordiaz, will inflame their hearts Till LIudibrand may send an army on us, His people clapping to 't. In open day They'll choose the road his cunning cut by night, And pray him take it. Zir. Ay, and where are we, With Vardas crowned in Goldusan Her. I see. Meg. He'd like my million acres in Peonia Sliced for his foreign hounds! [Enter an officer] Zir. What trouble now Off. Prince Chartrien has escaped. Meg. And you in charge Off. I sent him with good men, or so I thought, Being pressed to another way- Meg. His guards,-what namne 00'. Vinaldo, and a sergeant, who Meg. Vinaldo! lie's on the blute list, turning fast to black. Did you not know it 48 TIHE MORTAL GOI)S Off. I held lhim, sir, the pick Of loyalty. Meg. Well,-on. What else Off. They reached The grove, passed in, arid after prudent time, The guards came out, smug as all right, and now They're gone,-clear foot,-will doff you from the hills. Meg. A tale for Vardas! You may save your beard, But not your neck. Off. I'll not shake yet. The prince Is ill the grove. We'll soon unlcover 11ini. Zir. The walls are picketed Qff. A double watch Is on. Zir. That's well enough. Off. On chance he makes The wall, I've reinforced the river guard. Mleg. Both sides Off. A close patrol, both east and west. Though he had fishes' gills and dived the stream, He'd not get by. That way is fast against him As Belam's iron door. Meg. [To Hernda] You're ill Her. No, no! I'm well-quite well. Meg. The lily in your cheek Lies not so bravely. Qff. [To Ziralay] If he gets out of this, He'll steer around the moon. We'll find him, sir. But he's most darkly hid. Has made a coat Of leaves and plays the grouse trick on us. Zir. Come! His majesty must know. [Ziralay and officer go into house] Meg. How may I help you Let the service be Of such poor nature as your dog might give, Afnd pride will whistle to it. 4!) THE MORTAL GODS Her. 0, my lord, I half believe you. When our angels fall, Then devils are not black. And I have lost Mly father. Meg. Devils! You've a tongue. Her. Forgive A heart unmantled, and too wild to choose What word may veil it. I would say, my lord, In this discolored world I now begin To find you fair, Meg. 0, heavenly retraction! Her. And if I ask a service it will be No paltry one, but such as makes the king Bow to the knight. Meg. I'll prove this grace Is native in me, and not solely lent Of your new bounty! Her. Would you save the life Of Chartrien Meg. I would. Though a treasonous tool Of rebelry, he should be held by me A prisoner of knightliest war. her. A prisoner! Meg. You can not ask his freedom! That would give My foes clear argument to pluck me bare, And set me outlawed on the rebel side Of this deplored division. Her. Oh, not free! And in your power! Meg. To hold him prisoner,-that I'd undertake, and make the action good Even to this bloody council. Her. You'd dare that Meg. My policy is open, and I'd dare To put it into deed that must commend me To their unwilling justice. To do more -e TIHE MORTAL GODS Would disarray all sense,-be fullest like The idiot's gesture that disrobes the wretch Of his last sanity. 11er. Megario.... Meg. What secret is so dear these costly sighs, Like gentle )ickets ever reinforced, Let it not pass 11er. A secret No! Meg. But yes. I push me by its fragile guardians, Anrd hear it beating in its citadel. Her. What says it then Meg. You've seen the prince. Her. My lord! Meg. You know what shadow hides him. Her. No, no, no! Mly oath, sir, I've not seen him! Meg. I would trust One negative, not three. Give him to me, And you will know he lives. Let him be found By Vardas' men, and when you wake to-morrow The earth will be without him. Her. No, not you! I'll go to Cordiaz. He'll save the prince As he would save his throne. You've taught me that. Meg. He'd lose it so. Should Cordiaz to-night Set Chartrien free, he'd rise without a lord To bid him one good-morrow. Her. Ziralay. ... Meg. Ask him An ass whose ears if visible Would signal Mars! Say he had courage for you, He'd blunder with the prince to Vardas' arms. Her. Alh, you could do it,-set him free! Meg. Nay-don't- Don't ask it, if you've mercy! Your highness knows 51 TTIHE MORTAL GODS I could not grant so much though lips I love Above my soul should beg that treason of me. Tho- igh they should take again those dearest words That knighted me, and now lie in my heart Like swN-clling seed of fortune! Let me shield His life. In saintliest trust- [She .shluldersfrom hiimi] You fear me so 11er. I (lo! I do! You took away LeVal, And he no longer lives. Meg. Ile does! MlIy oath, lie does! 11er. You spared him Meg. By my soul, he lives! But let the word sleep in your vestal ear, Until these smouldering troubles die to dust And feed the grass above them. For the State Believes LeVal is dead, nor taints me with Such treacherous clemency. See how I lay iIy safety and my honor in your hands I give them, hostages for Chartrien! Ah, you should know how I will guard your trust, For when I say to you lie does not live, Your eyes will slay the single, nurturing hope Of my own life! 11er. [Batfling] I can not! I'm not Fate To (lo her awesome work. Meg. We aid her most With passive hland, as Chartrien's ghost will come Oin mourning nights to tell you. 11er. Oh, I'll speak! . No, no! Ahi, never, never! Meg. [Resolute, giting up his suit] I must join The luiit. There's but one place-the cave- Her. The cave! Aleg. Those guards are fools-or shy of water. 5 o TIIE MORTAL GODS 17cr. Si r, What c(ave Meg. lc's there. Your coll, unca1n1did calln Ials bl)abble(l it. Tlie frost is crafty that Puts out such anxious fire. Her. My lord, if I Should tell you.... MeIq. Quickly then! T1ow canst debate So fatally, knowing delay but rol)s hinim Of venture's favor Every momnent steals A bud of chance. Her. H1ow will you take him out Meg. I'll pass the gates unchallenged. Close wvithou 1Iy car stands by,-a racer never spent, And begs no pause. Know lie is safe, and sleep. Night will be secret, a.n1ld we'll greet the sun In my Peonia- 11er. Alh, Peonias far! Meg. And Vardas near. 11cr. Take these two stones, my lo Cast themn into the falls- Meg. So! I was right! IBut you mIust summon him. 11er. So soon a tyrant Meg. I'll take him from your hands,-no other way. Your trust to me! And with my life I'll guard it! For that you love him is my means to you. Once in your heart, I'll win the thronld place Though all his saints defend it! Her. True, my friend, We shall be nearer, for anxiety Will draw me to you w ith a longing like The aching letch for morning in the eyes P'ain keeps astare. You then. will be the goal Of fondest question,-and from that-who knows it, rd. TIlE 'MORTAL GODS Out of unbroken faith, and kindly shafts 'Tween hearts disponent, bridges have been built For love's plenipotence to cross. Meg. You bid Me hope Her. I do not say despair. Sometimes A presto-worker sits within the soul Of gratitude, and love that must give thanks In name of one beloved, has then been known To pass from the liege object to the heart Whose compass held them both in selfless bounds Of chivalry. And yet-I promise nothing! Meg. I ask no promise but the one I find In words that so deny it. Now the thought Is born, I'll make the naked infant grow Heir of my princely opportunity. Go now. An instant may defeat us. Haste! My purse must buy a guard. [Hernda goes off, upper right. Megario wcalks left and calls] Benito! Ho! You and your fellow! [Enter tro guards] I have work for you. You've seen my gold before. Here's more of it. Stand for my word. [Jlernda returns with Chartrien] Cha. Gods give me time for one Wild kiss! 0, Heaven! To find and lose you in One whirling breath! Meg. [His pistol at aim] You are my prisoner. [Sehora rushes on left] Seh. Oh, princess! Oh! Meg. [To guards] Move on with him. Her. Wait-wait- TIHE MORTAL GODS 55 Meg. No time. 1cr. But I must tell- Cha. Let fiends be dumb. You damned and double traitress, this my hand Could lay you dead! Meg. [To Hlernda, who seems dazed] My goddess, I'll be true! [Kisses her, and goes off, lower right, wi/tl Chartricu atd guards] Sen. You let him kiss you! Her. Who Sen. Megario. Her. I did not know it. I am dead, I think. [Curtain] ACT III SCENE: A yard, uoalled andl spiked, of Megario's hacienda. A 10719, low hut, the men's sleeping-quarters, at right. In upper centre, a smaller hut which serres for kitchen and also as sleeping-room for several women. On left, the yard continues, showing other huts used by famzilie-s. The entrance gate is off stage, left. An unused gate, locked and barred in wall, right. Jlernda, in the guise of a young Maya woman known as Famette, stirs a pan of food which is heating on sonie coals in front of kitchen. Lissa stands its door of hut watching her. Lis. [Stepping out] You mend, Famette. But when you came-all thumbs. A woman grown and couldn't spoon up fislh! Fiam. It was the smell. How can they cat it, Lissa Lis. You'll eat it too. Fain. That Never! Lis. Another week Will starve you to it. [1Ysobel comes out of kitchen bearing apron full of cups and spoons which she places on ground] Yso. [Looking left] Here's Masio in. [Enters hut] Lis. He's always first. [Masio comes up left] How did my boy get on Mas. I wasn't near him in the field. Lis. He did His stint Mas. I never heard. Lis. No eyes, no ears,- All belly, you! 56 THlE MORTAL GODS Mlas. [Taking up spoon and cltp from the pilc] Fish! fish! Lis. Beans first. You know The rules. Mlas. I've teeth canl break 'enm. Fish, Famette! [Fainette puts fish into his cap] There'll be a blessed cleaning-up to-night. Lis. 'More beating Has the master colle 1las. [Nodes] And oil The rounds. He'll clear the yards. News fromi the north Has turneed him red ancl black. Fam. A flogging 0h, If you were nien you'd fight with your bare hands Till you Nere free! Mas. Free ais thc deald. Our blood Would soak the earth and make more hellnequin,- That's all. Fain. Then run aw ay. Mlas. How far The swamps To sleep wN-ith snakes-a week or less Fain. Across The ridges. Alas. Where the sun would lap you dry As crackling cat-guts Thirst would draw you in To th' next hacienda well. The masters own The water, and in this land, that's life. Farn. No chance They never get away Alas. Somletimes a man M\lakes Quito, but he soon comes back. Famn. Comes back Mas. What else In Quito there's no work. He starves. And here-there's beans. So he gives up, and then They send him back. 57 TIlE MORTAL GODS Fam. And he is flogged Alas. Ay, till His bones crack. Fam. Oh! He bears it Mas. Like a man, My dear. Fam. The coward! Mas. So-back to the field, Mute as a snail, and poorer too, for then The dream is gone of any life but this. Fam. They have no spirit-none! Mas. Much as you'll have This time next year. Fam. Next year I shall be gone. My debt was just ten pesos. Mas. [Incredulous] You were sold For that Fain. I'll work it out. Mas. Be 't ten or hundreds, Who comes here stays. You'll soon know that, my bird, And limber your fine neck. [As they talk, men and women enter in groups of scores and dozens until there are several hundred in the yard. They are mostly of mixed blood, their color ranging from the full brown of the Maya to the pale olive of the Peonian aristocrat. At a spout, upper left, they wash their hands, then drop about wearily. One man sits near Famette, his head sunk on his chest. She lays her hand on his shoulder] Fam. What, Garza, you Who were so blithe this morning, on your way To freedom Garza. [Rocking] Mother of God! Oh, Mother of God! Fam. What is it, Garza 58 THE MORTAL GODS Mas. There you have it! You see Who comes here stays. Fam. But he was free! His friend Brought twenty pesos to pay off his debt. Gonzalo. And when he went to pay it, on the books There stood two hundred pesos against Garza. Mas. Two hundred-twenty,-you see, Famette, How much a little "o" can do. Fam. They dare Do that I'll see the magistrate! [The men starc at her] Mas. [Patting her shoulder] Poor girl! Fam. I will! Why not What is he for Gon. What for To see we are well beaten when we ask For justice. He must serve who pays him,-that's The master. Fam. Oh, you worse than slaves! Mas. No names, My proudling. Wait a year, then what you please. [The men hare been eating. Y'sobel stands in door of hut holding a great bowl of beans from which the peons fill their cups. Lissa gives out the fish. Her boy, Idulso, crouches by her skirts] Lis. [To boy] Not eat Now you're a man Twelve years to-day! Fam. [Bending over Iduso] Is't fever, Lissa Lis. [With sullen jealousy] Let him be, Famette. What do you know You've got no children. Famr. I've A little brother. Lis. Brother! Nothing that. Fam. He's just Iduso's age. Lis. [Softened] And has to take A man's work on him Fam. N-o 59 TH IlE AMORTAL GODS Lis. I said it now. What do you know Look at your hands-not stumps Like mine. Mas. Who hugs the post to-night Gon. I heard Of seven warned. sO. Mly man! He hasn't come! Mas. God's mercy, give us peace! It was his turn To put away the knives. [Ysobel leans against hut. Famette takes botcl from her] Lis. There's seven, you say Ben. None from this yard. Famette, you haven't seen A flogging yet Fam. And never will, you beast! Ben. Your never's short,-less than an hour. Eam. AW-hat do you mean Ben. The whip draws blood to-night, And we must all look on, for our soul's good. It is the master's order. Farni. I'll not go! alas. Why, God looks on, Famette, and so may we. All Heaven sees it, and I'll pledge my-fish- That not an angel blanches. Gon. You should see The master! Fain. He is there Does he look on Alas. 0, not quite that. To eye the work Would show too grossly, but you'll see him there,- Somewhat aside, leaning against a yew, Most carefully at ease. Then he will light A delicate cigar that fills the grove With a fantastic odor, like, we'll say, Faint musk that creeps on burning pine. You will approve the quality, Famette. That is his signal. 60 THE 'MORTAL GODS Fain. Olh! J11(a8. Longt as lie puffs, And soft, white rings twirl upward to the leaves, The lashes fall. And when, grown gently weary, As 'twere half accident, from his high thoughts Remote, he clears the cindered tip-like this- The whip is still. Fa in. Where, where am I Mas. In hell, Sweetheart. Fain. W\'ho are you, Masio You are not As these that suffer sI)eechless. Ma.s. Pinch the difference! A little learning, and a few opinions 'That I)rouglht ine here. Fain. [Moring a.sidC with hinm] What did you do Al3as. I spoke The truth too near the ear of Cordiaz, And there's no greater crime. Fain.. You are a prisoner But you're not guarded. Mlas. No, they leave me free, In hope I'll run. Then they will shoot me down. And youi-what. brought you here Ten pesos Could never buy you-nor a hundred either. Farn. I mean to lea(l these men to join Bolderez: Maas. What! Lead them out Fain. And you will help me do it. Mas. WVell, when I want to die. You're mad. We're all Sj)rats in a net. l'ou'll not get out, once let The master see you. Better hide those eyes- Yso. [Running and catching .M1asio by the shoulder] You lied to me! You lied! They've got my Grija! Down in the lower yard! 61 THE MORTAL GODS Grija. [Entering and making his way to her] No! Here I am. Safe in, old tear-box. Yso. Holy Mary! [Tells her beads rapidly as he leads her aside] Fam. [Aroused] Men! If Osa looked from yonder mountain scarp, Would she descend to lead such currish hearts To liberty Gon. We are not dogs. Fam. Then shame To bear the life of dogs! Ben. What do you know Of Osa Fam. Know Does she not guard the shrine Cherished ten centuries in your secret hills Priestess and princess, daughter of your kings,- The ancient poet kings who ruled and sang In palaces where now your huddled huts Give you a slave's foul shelter! A Voice. Will she come Fam. To such as you With heads hung down, and backs Bared for the whip The moment that you hold Your manhood dearer than your life, she'll stand Before you. Then you'll see Mas. For God's sake, hush! The master! Ben. [As all look left] No, it's Coquriez. Gon. With his Gringo. [Co quriez enters with Chartricn. They cross right] Cha. Leave me alone. Coq. My soul, am I not sick Of your dumb lordship Now the master's here, I hope, by Jesu, that our ways will part. 62 THE 'MORTAL GODS [Turns and joins the men, leaving Chartrien seated on the stone step of one of the doors to the long hut, right. Megario enters unseen and stands watching, left. They gradually become awvare of his presence, and all are silent] Meg. Coquriez! Coq. [Crossing left] Here, sir! [The tension relaxes slightly. Lissa and Ysobel quietly distribute food and the men eat in silence. Famette keeps in shadow, a shawl orer her head, and vainly tries to hear what Megario and Coquriez are saying. They talk in low tones at left, then move centre, front] Coq. Shoot the Gringo, sir I thought lie was to live. Meg. It must be done To-morrow. Coq. I'll do it. Meg. Take him on the road, And don't come back with him. Coq. To-morrow, sir Meg. At day-break. Drop him cold. I was a fool To let him live a day! [Fametoe has advanced too far and Megario sees her] Who's that Coq. There Oh! I bought her in last week. Meg. Thle day I left Coq. I think 'twas then. Meg. An old one,-so you said. Coq. About the Gringo, sir,- Meg. What is her name Coq. Famette. [Fainette goes back to the womien] Meg. A figure t Coq. To drop a white-skin- too. It's not so easy 63 J THE MORTAL GODS Meg. Come, Famette! Come here. [She turns and comes slowrly] Old By the gods' Why did you lie to me Coq. My lord . you like none past fourteen. She's that Half over. Meg. Brazen devil! Come, Famette. I like your name. I like your face too, girl. Don't be afraid. Show me your eyes. You won't Where have I seen you Fam. I'm a stranger, sir. My home was in the north. Meg. That fester-spot! A stranger Then we must be good to you. Where do you sleep Fam. There, in the hut. Meg. You'll have A better soon. Next time I'll see your eyes. [Going] Mind, Coquriez, to-morrow! Do that well, I'll pardon this. [Fxit] Fam. What is't you do to-morrow And why do you need pardon You who serve So well Coq. My pretty bird, I've been too slow. Fam. Too slow Coq. I've limped, and lost. Fam. Ah, Coquriez! Coq. You're not afraid of me. You look at me, And turned from him. That's honey on his curse! Fam. Ile curses you And you do all for him! All that he asks you,-things he dares not (1o With his own hand. Coq. You care for that Fam. You risk Your soul, perhaps, 64 THE MORTAL GODS 6D (oq. 'Tis certain. Pray for me, Chiquita. Fain. When Coq. To-morrow I must leave The Gringo in the marshes. Fain. Oh, 'twas that! And paid with curses- Lis. [Calls, as a newi batch of men come in] Come, Famette! Here's work! Fain. We'll talk again. [hlrries to Lissa] A man. The beans are cold. Another. Soured too! Gray MIoses, here's a life! Mlas. Do you complain, 0, comrades Now your hour is come The pearl O' the long ungarnished day The holy hour Of-)eans Why, think! What do we live for, men For sweaty moments I)attling 'gainst the sun rio strip the thorny hennequin For nights Of l)itten sleep in unwashed pens Not so. Lift ill) your cul)s! Here is the crown of toil! Each day we reach our life's supremest (home, And know we're there! Can man ask more Even kins, Though the gold frontal of munificence Is bowed before them, yet must fretting guess Time morrow's store. But we, my friends, we know! Then let each separate and distinct legume, I)ear as the Egyptian treasure lost in wine, 1)elay as preciously- Coq. [Cutting hiitm, across slhouldcrs] Come down from that! There's more for you, my friend, i' the lower yard. I'll tie you "u). FaInI. 0, Coquriez, let him go. You Should not care. His tongue was l)orn with him, And God may mend it. Let the fool alone. 6 5 THE MORTAL GODS Coq. Hmm, if you ask me- Famn. Thank you, Coquriez. I'll stand for him he'll not offend again. Alas. My tongue is glue. 'Twill stick to its place. A man. Fish! fish! Another. Ile's had his share. The man. Not half a cup! 0, Jesu, I am starved. I did my stint, And helped the boy, Famette. Can I do that On half a cup Farn. No, Berto, here is more. Yso. The Gringo does not eat. Fam. I'll take him this. [Fills cup from bowl of beans and goes to Chartrien, who is still seated on the step, listless and observing nothing] Farm. Sefior Cha. Who spoke 0, you, Famette No, thanks. I can not eat. [Turns from her] That's twice I've heard the voice Of Hernda. Madness creeps, but surely comes. Eam. [Over his shoulder] You must escape to-night. C/ha. [Facing her] Escape To-night Fam. Here, hold the cup, and eat. Do, sir! We're watched. To-morrow Coquriez leads you to the woods, Comes back alone Cha. At last I know my hour. Fam. But you shall live. Last night I worked till day At that locked gate. 'Tis open. None suspects. Outside there's water in a flask, and bread,- Beneath the cactus at the left- ('ha. But how Get out I am locked in at night, and watched At other hours. Fam. Eat, eat, and listen, Sefior! To-night a flogging in the lower yard 66 THE 'MORTAL GODS Will empty this. You'll go with Coquriez. Urge him to bring you back. Say you are ill,- For that you are,--and come. Here I shall hide, And as you pass, will suddenly step out And speak to Coquricz. You fall behind, In shadow of my hut, move round it, wait This side, then see what's next to do. A man. [Calling] Famette Where is Famette She doesn't count the beans. [Famette goes back to the mene] ("ha. It is a lure. If I attempt escape, Then Coquriez shoots me dead, his soul just clear Of murder. Coq. 'To Fain eite] Our Gringo's learned to eat, I see. ('ha. Now do they change confederate nods, and gaze Their mated thouighlts. Down, down to dust, my heart! The struggle's off. I'll fight no more. Yon stars Have rest for me. Is't so Vain footing there. What rest have they, that share with man the surge From life to life There Jupiters unfound Whirl cooling till their straining sides may bear Ocean and land and clinging bride of green; And Saturns, nameless yet, cast travailing Their ringed refulgence. Not the frozen moons May fix in stillness, but sweep captive back To flaning centres when their planets call. There old, dead suns, that think their work is done, Meet crashing, ground to cloudy fire whose worlds, Far driven, traverse time and know men's days. Ay, one may go beyond the ether's breath, Farthest of all, to be another First, Undreaming this our God. And I must shift Eternal and unresting as those suns. Then let D)eath haisten. He shall be as one Who timely strips a wrestler of his cloak, 67 68 THE MORTAL GODS And, kindly freed, I shall unnumbered leap To other battle, finding armor where I find my cause. A man. [To Famette] iMly turn. Here, give me that. Fam. The Gringo's had no fish. The mnan. Then give me his. lIe doesn't care. Has run already from The smell. Fam. I'll give you half. The rest I'll take to him. ('oq. He'll come for what he wants. Fair. No, he is sick, poor devil! [Goes to C'haririen] Coq. Humph! Fain. [To Chartrien] You'll take The chance There is no other. C(ha. It's a trap. You risk your life for me, a Gringo No. Fain. You must believe me! Oh, what can I say! (ha. Say nothing. Go. Fain. I love you, love you, Sefior! C(ha. You would persuade me. Fain. Sir, the wine you found Behind your prison door,-and good, clean bread,- I put them there! (Cha. 'Twas you, Famette I thought That Coquriez did it,-feared I'd die before Tle tmaster caine. Fam.. Not his brute heart! And then That night of fever C'ha. Yes! What then Fam. I lay Outside your jail, my head against the wall, That I might hear if once you groaned, or know If sleep had come. ('ha. Can such love be for me TIHE NIORTAL GODS Famn. You must-you miust believe me! Cha. God, your eyes! [She lowers her head] ... ... 'Tis madness, bred of these sun-poisoned days, Aund nights w-ithout a hope ..... . Look up, Famette. I do believe you. Farn. [Kissinqi her rosary] Mother, adored and blessed! Cha. Wilt be a beggar soldier's bride, Famette Iamn. You do not love me, Seimor. C(ha. But I love Your gentle heart that warms mine enipty,-love Your eyes, like memories burning,-and your voice That's linked to an old wound in me,-but most I love your sotul that is as great as truth And strong as sacrifice. You'll come to me In Quito, if I make escape I'll find A way to bring you out- Fairt. You're mine ('ha. Till death. Faii. And after that (ha. I'll give you truth for truth. Beyond this world I hope to meet a soul Who did not walk in this, but ought to have, For here her body dwelt. This side of death, My life--a bitter one, that only you Have sweetened-is your own, if you will have So mean a gift. [Ipparro has entered the yard and becomes a centre of al- tercation. HIe starts out taking Lissa's boy, Iduso. There is a shrie7, front Lissa, and Famette hurries to her] Lis. My boy! My little one! God strike you dead, Ipparro! Fam. You'll not flog The boy 69 THE MORTAL GODS Ipp. He didn't do his stint by half. You know the master's rules. He's twelve years old. Must cut three thousand leaves. Fam. A man's full work. And he's so small. Lis. And sick he is. Two days He couldn't eat. Ipp. You women! Fam. Let him go. A little child, Ipparro. Ipp. Let him go Am I the master of the hacienda He'll tie me up to-morrow! Fam. It will kill Iduso. Lis. Such a little one, he is! A baby yesterday,-to-day a man,- How can that be [An overseer enters left] Overseer. What's up Come on with you! The master waits,-burns like perdition! Come! Come, all of you! The women too! Clear out! [Drives them out. Famette slips into her hut. Chartrien joins the men and follows last with C'oquricz. They stop left] Coq. Won't see the show Cha. I'll not go on. Coq. Come then. I'll lock you up. [They turn back] We'll have an early march To-morrow, mate. Must hit the brush by dawn. There's little sleep for me. Cha. Shall I have more In that hot pen Coq. [Laughs] You'll make it up, I guess. 70 THE MORTAL GODS Cha. I understand. You'll murder me. Coq. My soul! Let's keep our manners, though we sit in helL My occupation's decent, nothing said. The silent deed is clean, but mouth it once, The hands will smell. Pah! [Famette steps out of hut] Here's my kitten! A kiss, my honcy-pot! Fam. I've better for you. [Gives him a bottle of wind] Coq. My ducky! From the master's cellar! ... .... .. How- Fam. No matter. It is good. Coq. Thief of my soul, A kiss! [As he attempts to embrace her she springs back, pointing left] Fam. Look, look! He's gone! The Gringo flies! 0, Coquriez, you'll be shot! Coq. [Stunned for a moment, springs off shouting] Help! Stop him! Help! [Exit left, firing his pistol] The Gringo! Stop him! [Famette runs to gate right, where Chartrien is removing bar] Cha. Come! Fly with me! Now! I can not leave you here! Fam. Go! Do not stop, However weary, till you're safe in Quito. The wounded hare, remember, takes no nap. Cha. Come, come! Fam. No, I am safe. And there's more work For me. They'll come back here to search. Nay, go! Another moment and we both shall die! 71 THIE MORTAL GODS C/ia. [Kissing her] I'll wait in Quito,-then a husband's kiss! [Goes. Famette puts up bar, then returns to her hut and sinks at door] Fain. If I could pray! If I could pray! How far Seems that old God I knew! A playhouse God Who never saw the world! [Leaps up] They're coming hack! [Sits again, abjectly, her shawl over her head. Megario, Coquriez, and peons, enter] Meg. Where is the woman Coq. There she sits,-the witch! Meg. Stand up! Take off that shawl! [Famette stands up. A man snatches the shawl from her head] Meg. Famette! Not you Fam. [Cowering] I, master. Meg. [To mnen] Search the yard. Turn every leaf And stone. [The men scatter] Mas. I'll give that gate a look. [Crosses to gate right] Meg. This was Your drooping modesty! [Turns on Coquriez] You fool!-to let The man escape! By Heaven, you might have burnt The hacienda down and not have made My blood so hot! Coq. - It was the woman, sir. She jumped before me, smiling like a devil, And when I tried to pass she caught my knees And held this thing up, saying 'twas for me. I kicked her off Meg. No doubt! Coq. And when I turned The prisoner was gone. THE MORTAL GODS Meg. [To Farnette] You saw him go Fam. Yes, master. Through the gate. like wings. And then I gave the warning. Coquriez knows I did. Meg. What did she say Coq. She cried "The Gringo flies!" And pointed there. Mas. [Returning] The upper gate is fast. He went that way. [Nods left] Beneath the cypresses Into the maguey fields. A man. He'll not get far. He has no water. Meg. He will die in th' brush, And I shall never know it. Alive or dead, He must be found. I'll flog a man a day, Until I see his bones. Gon. [Coining up] I-He is not here. We've looked in all the huts. Meg. Ipparro Ipp. Sir! Meg. Send men abroad, for fifty miles about, To put the haciendas on the watch. He must come in for water. Choose good men, Who ride, and see no wenches by the way. Coq. My lord, I've served you lon, Meg. Too long, you hound! Where is your lady's token Coq. This, my lord. She thrust it in my hand. Meg. And left it too! Coq. I knew 'twas yours. Meg. [To Famette] A thief too, are you [Fainette crouches, drauing shawl orer her head] Meg. True, Coquriez, you have served me long. I'll add You've served me well until to-night. 0:3 THE MORTAL GODS Coq. 0, pardon! Meg. I trusted you. And held your hand as mine, To make my wishes deeds. Coq. 'Tis sworn your own! Meg. Then prove it. Take this whip. Come, take it, man! Now flog that witch. (Coq. Famette! A woman, sir Meg. The devil's second name is woman. Do it! ('oq. A heavy hand I've laid on men, my lord, But never yet- Meg. Her smile struck deep to make Such putty of your heart. [Co quriez drops wrhip] Pick uip that whip! You want its kisses, do you Pick it up, Or you shall feel them to your traitor bones! I'll have you flogged together! [Coquriez slowly picks up whip. Famette rises, throwing off her shawl] Fami. Hear me, men! For men you are,-not beasts. Your hands are strong In ceaseless toil. Day after day you pile Your master's wealth more high. Day after day You sweat your way a little nearer death, That he may kick your bodies from his path And set your graves in hennequin. But know Who toils may fight! The hand that lifts a spade May bear a sword. The strength you give to him, Use for yourselves. Your master is one man, You are five hundred- Meg. Gods! I'll stop your mouth! You men there-go-you dozen at the gate- Go to the dry-yard-load your backs with fibre And bring it here! [M1len go out] 74 TIHE AlORTAL GOI)S I'll teach you now, you slaves! You ire five hurndred-yes-and I am one, But in me is the might of Golduisan! The power of Cordiaz is in my whip, And hack of that is irondlu(dilbrand! Kill me( to-night, to-morrow you shall die, Each (log of you,--you know it! [Men come ii wfith fibrel T3 row the stuff Against the hut. There, pile it ill). More, more! Now, (o(Iuriez, the genitle, you've refused To ruffle your fond do\-e.-here's sweeter work, And for no halnd hut vours. Put her within, Then fire the hut. [Utter silence] What terror's on you, beasts (oq. In God's name, sir, you dare not! Meg. In the name Of all who know how power is kept, I dare! Move there, you dog! [Coquriez stands motionless] Do you refuse again Then . ... in your heart. [Shoots. Coquriez falls dead] Who 11 1)e the next to stanc1 on feet of lead When I say "Do" Gonzalo! Garza! Out! [The men do not more. Megario lifts his pistol] Fain. Spare them, Megario. I'll go in. [Enters lut, closing door] lcqg. [Trembling] That voice! Who is this woman Speak! Who knows I've heard. Balh! I'm a foo! . . . . . . . Take up that lantern there, Gonzalo. Break it on the fibre. \love! [le stands with. his weapon drawn. The door of the hut is throwrn open and Famette appears. She wiears a rich robe, gleaming uwhite, with blue and gold cabalistic broid- 75- THIE -MORTAL GODS ery. In her hand is a ;.reptre, on her head a crown writh a singIle star. The men, with cries of "O.sa! Osa'" fall iJpon, their knees, foreheads to groulnd, then leap Hp), changed. and glaring. They seem ready to spring upon. ,Mleqario] Fam. Shoot now, Mlegario! [Silence] You dare not do it! Kill me,-kill one of them,-shoot till your weapon Pants its last murder, and a hundred hands Will tear you limb from limb and bone from bone, Till every separate shred of you be cast To its own devil! Shoot, MNegario! [His hand falls. Famette steps into the yard] Where are the masters who can help you now- The mighty ones who know how power is kept Look on these men. Their blood sings as it sang Through centuries gone,-w ith courage that wxas theirs Ere ships came up like night on this doomed coast Unloading hell! Meg. Who are you, woman Who Fam. The spirit of these people, absent long, But come at last to be their hearts' old fire. Four hundred years you've trampled on their bodies, But see-look in their eyes-you have not slain Their God. Meg. Your name! Who are you Fam. Riven hills May hide the shrine of long unsceptred kings, And keep their royal secret year by year. Voices. Hail, Osa! Osa, queen! Meg. What do you want Fam. Three things, Megario. Meg. What are they Fam. First,- That I may pass from here, free as I came, With every soul that will go out with me. 7(j THlE MORTAL GODS lIeg. The way is open. Go. Far-. And you wvith us. Far as the coast, where willing transpsort w\aits To bear us northward. Then you may go free. 1 7'Trns to the people] There l)rothers wait you, men,-tlhere freedomfs tongue Is beacon fire. The whole of northland sings, A caniticle of flallme. You'll go wAithl Ille Mas. [Lowdly] We'll follow Osa! Voices. Osa! Osa! On ! Farn. Gonzalo, choose you men, a thrifty score, To fill the water-jars and get us food From tile hacienda stores [Gonzalo passes out, men followling at his signal] The third demand, Alegario, is this. That key you belt So clos [.llegario claps hand on key] Yes, thlat,-it must be mine, to unlock A dungeon here and free a prisouer Whiomi you for love of torture keel) alive. Meg. No, that's a lie. Fam. Deny it to the stars That saw you vesternight steal up like crime To a dark gratilln, saw yu011 gloat, and fling The crumlbs that will not let your victim die, Though scarce they give him life. Meg. [Gaspiny] A lie! Famn. The key, Megario. Meg. I will not Fain. In my hand! [Megario takes key from. his belt anid hands it to her] I thank thee, God, my hand may turn the key rfhat frees Rejan LeVal! Now forward, men! i 8 THE MIORTAL GODS 0, glorious to be mnen! Ipp)a rro, wvalk Beside our prisoner. Garza, be his aid. Two days of marching, thieni the friendly sea. And if you toil again amid these fields, You'll take the fruit. On' Men. Osa! To the sea! [Ca rtain] ACT IV SCENE: The Grore of Peace, a.s in second act. Late after- noon. 7Tio officers 'meet as curtain rises. First Off. So Cordiaz is fallen. SCcondoi Off. Joggled down At last, poor man! First Qff. When all the ghosts he made Come hack to weep his fall, I'll swell the flood With half a tear, no more. Second Off. Then you're for Vardas First Off. By glory, no! He'll open Goldusan To every thief that knocks. 8econd off. Trust IHudibrand 'o guar(l the door. Till he has plucked the goose,- 'T'hen they may shave it for their plart. First Off. So, friend Second Off. I'hlut! Goldusan's his box of snuff-held so- And ats lhe pleases, tchew !-'tis empty. First Off. Come, I'll walk your way. [They moie, right] What of this truce Goes 't deep Second Off. As flattery may plough. It is our croon Of complimient to our new-seated king First Off. Nay, president. We're a rePublic now. Second Off. Spell 't king or president, it means tlme same. First Off. But with Bolderez ours, the truce should last. Second Off. Why, 't may, till imight. Bolderez, friend, Is not the revolution. 79 THE MORTAL GODS First Off. He's the heft of 't, And 's made a full surrender. Second Off. Made his terms! His officers are guardians of the State, And he-lie's stallion of the court, submits To curb and comb that he may prouder prance And keel) the herd at stare. Surrender Lord! I think it! [Enter Third Officer, fromn left] Third ff. What's stirring, friends Second Off. Sleep-walkers. Third Off. This amnesty makes idlers. Second Off. So to-day, But work brews for to-morrow. Third Off. You've a secret, And I've a guess that picks the lock to 't. Second Off. Conic! These leaves are listeners. [They go off, lower right. Enter by path upper Setora Ziralay and Guil(lamouir] Guai. To find you here Makes my best hope a sluggard, far outgone By th' dear event. Seh. I came five days ago, The princess with me, here to wait return Of Hudibrand. That you have come with him, Makes sober welcome blithe. (Gtui. Seit. That's written plain. G.i. That he yet lives Sehl. He's been He's slack in health. What iron's in the man in conclave G0ti. Yes. Five nights he routed sleep from th' drowsy synod, Xy, right, 80 THE MORTAL GODS 81 And hung upon us turning every flank, Till 1Protest paled and Patience l)led at heart. Seh. And att the end Gai. Ile held our seald bonds, And Vardas sat secure. Seih. The bonds We own Our railways now GuIi. We do. And Hudibrand Owns us,-1that is, the bonds. A good, stout noose For a nation's neck. Seit. And all these days he's been In th' capital Gui. In closest session, though A stage-fed rumor held that lie was gone From Goldusan. The harried people fear Assarian power, and on the jealous watch, Keel) luclibrand in burrow. Seh. Ile's gay-blown With confidence. I hear from Ziralay Ile made a careless peace with all the friends Of tottering Cordiaz. Gui. That carelessness Was sea-(leel) cunning. Favors will go high, Trliey'll find. 'Megario gave full half his lands 1For )lace in th' Cabinet. Sehi. Megario moved In l)laze of censure, and did well to escape Singed of l)ut half his goods. Two I)risoners lost Gai. Ahi, Chartrien and ..... Seih. Rejan! Gui. Be guarded here. Fate rustles at that name. Scih. 0, Guildamour, Fear is the silent warder that divides Our secret hearts. Give it the tongue of daring, THE MORTAL GODS And like a blest interpreter 'twill bring Our hopes together. Gui. There is stir within. Come from these walls, Sefiora. And if your hope Is on the road with mine, I've news will make The wayside sing. Winds gather here and yon That may out-swagger even Hudibrand. [They go back along cascade path, as Hudibrand, Diraz, Mazaran, and Golifet come out of house] Gol. [Holding up letter] Nay, fearless majesty might take more note Of this despatch. Hud. That beggar's mewl Gol. There's power In every word. LeVal must harbor strength We do not know of. Hud. Tush! That is the vaunt Of weakness, not of power. Maz. What is't he says Gol. Avers him free of this imposed truce, And gives a fair foe's warning he'll attack Whene'er and how he can. Maz. Well bragged. Dir. His guns, No doubt, are cooler than his pen. Maz. What more Gol. Repudiates Bolderez, and declares Himself the head of the Insurrectionists, Sole authorized to speak and treat for them. My lord, what shall I answer Hud. Answer Humph! Treat with a rag-pole We'll not sag to that. [Re-enter, right, Sehora and Guildamour] HJud. My dear Sefiora, is our freakish daughter In hiding from us We've not had her greeting. 82 THIE MORTAL GODS Seh. She knew you close engaged, my lord, and left The hour to you. Ill tell her of your pleasure. 1111d. My steps are yours. [To his compan ions] Each where he would, my friends. [Goes in with Sen ora] Dir. I'm for a swim. (Co. And I. Maz. The river With you! Gol. [Leading left] Bolderez' men are gathering op0)osite, Behind the river woods. Jlaz. The pick of camps. Got. They know it too. There's water, and the trees ArIe cool and friendly. Dir. Was it not resolved Bolderez' men should join the Federal Guards Gol. They d(1, in thi' main. This is a straggling wing Left in the hills, that we have given leave To station here. Dir. That's prudence too. Ilaz. Why so Dir. I'm windward of a whisper. Gol. About LeVal Dir. Ile's eireling in. Let Hudibrand laugh low Or the enemvy will hear him. (t,. This LeVal Was (lea1d an(l buried,-three months out of life,- Shook from remembrance as the stalest clutter,- Now, save our eyes, lie's jumped alive and rides Our foremlost thought! Enough to send a man Back to his marrows. I shall pray to-night. Maz. A plunge for resolution! That will cool it. [E.reant lower left. Sejiora comes out of house and crosses to seat, right] 83 THE MORTAL GODS Selt. 'Tis five o'clock. No sign! But he will come. Ile comes! [Enter C(hartrien, lower right. They meet silently and clasp hands] (ha. AMy friend! I thought you far from here. Safe in the capital. But nothing's strange To those who've moved mid miracles. You've seen LeVal Seat. I have. (Cha. I long to greet him. 0, Such walking of the dead renews the earth And makes it habitable! I have heard It was Famette who saved him,-added that To array of deeds that must unlaurel all The heroines of time. Seh. There'll be an hour To talk of that. Now you must see the princess. (ha. Ilernda is with you Here! Se'h. And Iudibrand. No danger there. Ile swants you now, and says You'll find good grass if you will leap the stile. (ha. [Answrering her smile] So blind as that Poor mole, he's been in th' ground Too long. Will never get his eyes. SeTt. Ay, he'll Deny the sun till't bakes him in his burrow. But Ilernda,-O, what welcome waits you, friend! The ivory-crusted temple, shut and sealed To eternal airs, is now a fane of rose, Whose cloistral stairs, that wound so futilely, Will now through fragrant twilight lead you up To windowed heaven. Come! Come, take your own! (ha. No! Wait. . Selh. A lover speaks that word C(ha. SeIora- 84 THE AMORTAL GODS Seh. That wound she gave you here is open yet But you were wrong, and with your wretched doubts Assailed her in the hour she lay on rack To save vou. Cha. On rack for me She gave ine up. Gave me to him,-Alegario,-knowing that Meant death. schl. And yet you live. Cha. I-- Seti. Live. I)o you not know You were to die that night; Cha. I've heard. Sel. Those hours She gained for you meant life. (ha. She gained for me I saw his lips on hers. Seh. You did. And I- I saw her face. The dead arc warmer. She Could bear that touch for your sake, arid on that Bore too your curse. Cha. For me I'll hear no more, Sefnora. Sel. You will see her now Cha. Not now, Nor ever. I am here by pledge, to meet- A friend. [Masio enters lower right] Sehi. Is this-the man Cha. No, but I know him. He's seeking me, I think. Seh. I'll leave you then. Cha. [Seizing her hands] Nothing to Hernda! Seh. Nothing. You and she For what may come. [Goes in] Cha. You, Masio From Famette 8o THE TlE ORTAL GODS Alas. No, from the camp. (Cha. The camp! But she is thcre Mas. That's guessing, sir. There's fernseed on her wvings. She flits invisible, then bat your eyes You see her. (Cha. I've her word she'd meet me here. Ilas. Queer place. You come from Quito C'ha. Yes. 'Twas there I had her letter making this strange tryst. I've travelled from that hour. Famette has left Her name upon the air, and all the way I heard it. Mlas. She's the bird of courage, dares Go far as our LeVal himself. But here's What brought me, sir. [Gires (Chartrien a letter] 'Tis from LeVal. C'ha. His hand! His living hand! [Reads, pales, and stands silent] Alas. Bad, sir Cha. No, good. 'Tis good. Mas. Then I'll be off. -My head's no show variety, But I'd not trust it long in th' grove of Peace. We'll see you soon in camp (ha. To-night, I hope. Famette holds key to that. Alas. The first star bring you! [E.id] Cha. [Reads letter] When you see the princess HIernda, kiss for me the hand that yare me freedom. It was she unlocked my dungeon and nursed my bones to life. What I am is her.s, and therefore yorers. Le Val. Hast grown so spent, 0 Fortune, that one stroke Must deal both death and life-with hand that parts The night, show too my rainbow loss . . . All, all 86 TILE MORTAL G O1)8S My fti ure sold to the gray usurer Grief, XVho gathers uLp as sapp)ed an(l withere(l leaves Time's unimagined buds! No eve, no dawn With lHernda! No brief night that makes The sun unwelcome as lie golds desire, The warm mist-flower where we lie its heart! UInbrace thee here, my courage! Valiancy, First god and last in man, unbuckle here! . . . .How meet Famette Smile on her smiles De- ceive 11cr love She'll lay her head upon my heart. And hear it crying "HIernda! ". . . . .Hernda lost! I must not dream here open to the risk Of her unanswered eyes. Their lure would make D)ishonor, that on wreck feeds rampant, spring Unshamed in me. I would forsake Faamette. [Goes right, upper path. Hlernda coimies fromt house and crosses rapidly to inim] Her. Chartrien! Come! [le trnxs sloirly and meets her] You take my hand, here where You wished me dead (Cha. That you have offered it Proves me forgiven. 11cr. You forgiven Ah, Has my atonement swollen above my fault Till I may nod a pardon where I thought To kneel for one (Cha. LeVal has written me. [Kisses her hand I This kiss is his salute, and that 'tis his, Not mine, makes my lips bold to leave it here. 11er. Forgiven! Dawn is on my sky, that hung Unutterably black! Yes, it is true I saved LeVal. FIrom Fate's own arms I snatched My treachery's sequence, though his meantime pain Is ever writ against me. Yet I too 87 88 THE MIORT AL GODS Knew misery that might be mate of his. And for that other wrong-here where we stand (ha. 'My wrong to you! Nay, don't forgive me that. Leave me a wound to keep me ever paying The debt of pain that solely eases guilt. Her. I had to choose,-Oh, agony of choice!- Between your death as certain as the night And your surrender to Mlegario, That seemed but death postponed, yet held a hope Worth any hazard. That you live is proof My choice was God s. My reasonless despair Held Heaven's sanity. Ah, that you live Is substance of reward, joy's permanent Sweet soil, but there's a flower to spring from lhat, A nodding ecstasy that I may pluck For my own bosom,-is there not Cha. Don't-don't- Her. You turn away You've still a doubt of me Then modesty may save her frigid self. I'll speak for love, the one best thing this side Of Heaven. You've taken my hand, and now my heart, And all myself would follow it. My heart, My body, and my risen soul. Yes, risen! My past of clay is quickened with a breath That waits not death to know itself immortal, And this is all my pride, that by that breath I'm rich enough to give myself to you. (She waits for him to speak1. He makes no answer] I am rejected, having but my shame To cover naked love. Yet vanity Finds me this scanted shroud. Seeing you here, My hunger guessed at yours. I felt you came To seek me, else my heart, timid with fault, Had kept its silence, though my tongue had given As now a friend's good welcome. 88 TIHE moRTrAL (Go)S8 Chia. I have come, But not to you. 11er. For why then I've an ear Of caution. Let my veins, at too swift flood. Grow slow as prudence in what work you w-ill. Now that our aimns are near as once our hearts, You'll let me help I swear by both our souls, And yours the dearer one, that our desires Are one l)ent bosw, and if our arrows speed They'll kiss at the same mark. Cha. I'm fathoms deep, But in a sea as sweet as ever close(l O'er drowned felicity! 1er. Why are yon here ('C1. To keep an oath!-that kept is our division, Yet forfeited would so untreasure me That being's god would blush dislhallowed way Quite out such husk of Inan! H1er. An oath Cha. Oh, first In niade self-curses I'll unload some part Of this stuffed loathing for the wretch I ami! Her. Nay, I'll not listen. Cha. Star that was a maiden, Do not believe I loved you when my days Ran tribute at your feet,- H1cr. Say anything But that. Those days were mine, and true. Cha. False, false' For love is generous as the heart of bounty, Giving defect perfection. Narrowed hours, Beseamed and flawed, take from its seer-lit eyes The unstinted, dear proportion secret yet In Time's full dream. Her. 'Twas I who failed- 89 THE MORTAL GODS C(ha. Not you! Tlhat midnight moment held the dawn of this, All this that now you are, and love had seen The folded glory of yourself had love Been there to see. But I cast dust upon Your sleeping wings, and did not know your heart Till wounds had laid it bare. Her. How could you know MNore than its native bosom where it dwelt Strange and unguessed Ch/a. If I had loved, Such soul of fragrance had not hid from me This unbound blossoming. Her. We must forget Love's morning miracles forever missed. His fair, warm day is left us,-sunset's gold, And evening with the stars. That is enough For me and you Cha. My pledge! I'm here to meet Famette! Her. Famette! I know her. Cha. Know her! You Her. And know she loves. Then it is you she waits Cha. She saved my life. But that unvalued thing Is debt's mere rubble. 'Tis her love makes up The sum unpaid and out of reckoning. And I-how can I tell you Her. If you loved, Look up. No shame can be where love has been. Cha. I've no defence,--vet say that you were lost In midmost desert sands, and suddenly A flower at your feet breathed of the woods And darkling velvet shade where rest might be. ... Her. But that's a miracle. 90 TIHE MORTAL GODS 91 Cha. So was her love To mc. Or say that flamn and falsity Ensnarled your every way till no true thing Seemed left on earth, and then in lifted flash Truth's )riestess eyes looked from a human face An(l you were lovecd,-what startled warmth would say Your heart yet lived Would you keel) back your life In l)arren hug Deny its sunless gray To gentle eyes that, asked but leave to lay Their radiance there 11er. I understan(1. She gave, And I d(ernanded. So thel gods decree Iler lboughs shall bloomn and mine go bare. C/ha. 011, IHcaven! Her. You love her, Chartrien (Cha. Silence he on that. 11er. I'll know it,-hear you say it. Is your heart Mine, or Faimette's (C1. MIy life is hers. I1er. Your heart! C/ha. Is yours. Her. Ah! Then-I give you to Famette. [He kneels to kiss her hIrnd. Hudibrand appcars in (loor of house, left. Smiles, and cros.es to thme] Hud. Up to her lip, you rogue! A humble suitor Gets humble favors. (Ch. [Rising] You, my lord Hend. Your hand, AMy boy. C/rh. It was my head you wanted, sir, When last we met. Hud. Not so. I meant to save you, But Hernda spiked my train. To have you die Quite safely in a runior was the sum Of mIy intent against you. 91 THE MIORTAL GODS C'ha. You're not well, My lord Hitd. Most well' Her. He's lost some sleep. Hud. Tut, tut! (Cha. You stay full long in Goldusan. I thought You nearer home. Hud. I'm cruising in the gulf, By th' morning papers,-the reliable ones. The gutter rags have guessed ime,-but no matter. I've seen the play through, and I go to-morrow. Pouf! It has been a game! C'ha. You speak as 'twc-e At end. Haud. It ends to-day. [Lookls at v(atch] 'Tis just the hour. Now Var(las is proclaimed the president Of a liberated people. C'ha. What of that Hiid. He's bowing now. "I thank you, gracious friends, Most loyal citizens " C'ha. What's that to do With freedom's war Hud. It merely ends it. Cha. What You think we fought for that A change of caps Upon two brigands' heads Hud. Tut, you've won more. You with some justice warred on Cordiaz, But Vardas is of heart so liberal His people shall be rich in privileges As many and as fair as in Assaria. Myvself will vouch it. THE MORTAL GODS Cha. I will vouch it too. As many pits fed with the souls of men, As many images of God deformed In lawless fray to hold the peaks of greed And at the top sit on their goblin gold C(ontent with bestial purr, who might have touched The heavens with song. lhId. Is that for me, my boy ('ha. As many lives tramped out in hunger's scramble, As maiv factories where driven wives Forget the altar dream of babes and home. As many sweating traps walhere flames may feed On flesh of maidens, leaving still, charred bones Whose only fortune is to ache no more. As many brazen mills that noise their thrift Above the ceaseless shuttle of small feet, While you, the great arch-master, think none hears That drow nMd pattering. As many marts Where, in law's shadow, girl-eyed slaves are sold To blows an(l lust. As many cripples thrown Upon the dumip-heap of a soulless Peace, Each season piled to moaning wreck more high Than ever War made in its darkest year. As mnany holes where life must lie with death For privilege of sleep. Oh, I could give Black instances till yonder sun be set Nor end your loathsome list! Hthid. A rare, hot sermon, But I'm not Providence, that from my hand Must pour unfailing bounty. (Cha. Humbl)le, sir I thought you claimed a power that gave the world The shape you chose. Haid. But I must use the stuff I find here. That I can't remake or change. 9)3 THE MORTAL GODS So must my world show flaws and ugly spots Due to its substance, not to my good pattern. ('ha. That stuff, sir, is the same that lifted us From four feet up to two! T'he elements That played like death upon it but aroused Their conqueror. In the embrace of winds It made us ships and gave us wNings. From dust, The very dust that choked it, grew the dream That lifts it deathless, an eternized God. And surely as your grip makes it a slave, You teach it freedom. In your clutch 'twill find Once more the need creative, and upswell With power that shall leave you by the wA-ay As heaving seas leave straws upon the sand. You shall be nothing. As a dream that dies With waking-lost so utterly The sleeper knows not that it was-So you Shall be a vanished thing that man born free Can not reclothe in guess! Hud. Peonia's sun Has touched your wits. You still think of revolt C'ha. I think of victory. Hud. Your comedy Is past its hour. Come, Chartrien, give it up. Confess the war is done. (ha. Bolderez' guns XWill make confession of another sort. Had. 0, ho! I see a light. You have not heard The morning news. Bolderez has come in. ('ha. Come in Your couriers flatter you. Ile hold.s The heights of Gila with five thousand men. Hud. That's yesterday. To-day those brave five thou- sand Are soldiers of united Goldusan. Bolderez is adviser to the State, THE AMORTTAL GODS A, tinker in high place, who solders fast The civic split Chia. You dream! This is not true! Her. Yes, Chartrien, it is true. We've lost Bolderez. Cha. Hle-has-deserted Hivd. No, he proves him loyal To me, his master. (CIha. You Hud. Ile served me always. You fool, this was Inty revolution. Cha. Yours HIud. Bolderez led my troops. It was, for me You fed his bony beggars. Hal! For me You stuffed their hungry pockets with your gold! I loosed your fortune when I knew 'twould save My own a gouge. But I've not dodged the score. Those guns and horses for the Gazza scare Cost me some paper-- C/ha. You AMy God! Youir war hIud. I knew the storm would sweep) out Cordiaz, So strode its back that I might hold the bit When caime my hour. My boy. you fought for me. I made you do it,-I, whom you have said Shlall I)e as nothing. Where's the mighty sea Shall toss me as a straw- Her. 0, father, peace! You see he dies! Hud. Don't waste your tears. He'll live. I've made good oxen out of wilder bulls. HIer. He cannot live! The pain of it, the pain! When aspirations have returned as wounds, Tlen even the soul must die! HIud. They all get up. Stout workers too,-quiet, serviceable, Pestered no more with dreams. here, give him this. [Offers a flasA] 95- THE MORTAL GODS Cha. [Rousing, pushing flask aside] Ay, no more dreams. [Springs up] But action! Keep Bolderez. We have LeVal, whose undiscouraged heart Bears on its tide the conquering desire Of twenty thousand men! Had. lnumph! Where are these Invisible veterans Cha. Some gather now About his banner,-some wait in the hills Till they are sure it is his voice that calls,- Some in your favor wrapped go to and fro In your own camp, feeding a fire your gold Can never light,-some dream till we have oped Their prison doors,-in every part and corner Of Goldusan, there's courage on the leap To reach his side. Hud. What dribble! Cha. Rein this storm No human hand, nor Heaven's now, may leash it. It is the throe when travailing Life is shaken In absolute birth that makes undreamed news Esven in the car of God. HIud. Fanatic! Fool! Have I not tried to teach you Cha. Teach yourself! Hud. Come, come! (Cha. I mean the words. The race has learned Its lesson while you've played with sand. At last The dumb, trod way has spoken 'neath man's feet, And by that word uncovered he has learned What he shlall not be,-knows what heights of sun Are his, and seeing takes his road,-no more Battering in wild and bruised ignorance A destiny of stone. Ay, consciousness has wakened in itself the unknown god That gives the race its eyes. You, you a king 96 THE MORTAL GODS 9 Who do not know that every man is heir To kingship that must leave such thrones as yours Outcoursed and little reeked as the strewn toys Of childhood! flud. MIti-sill d(viasties. You know That I au niaster. (ha. M\Iaster You believe That uiian, at top of conquest, who has made Natture his weariless serf, and set the yoke Froin his owln neck on her divinities, Will seal to you-weak, myriadth part of hinm- Those wizard captives bending to the dream Of his new world Gird you with fortune that Ile wrenched fromn stony ages-let you gorge The magic fruit snatched hy his l)erilled being In starward battle up the abysm-nal steep Hiid. I am a fact,-not. words. (ha. You can believe it At last on dawn-browed heights, w-ith victor foot On mysteries bound the genii of his wish, Ile'll trail his hopes to kennel Let you pluck His universe unflowered. and shrink life To growling brevity 'tween lash and bone A slave to yoiu Obstructive clod, Who could not stir with one life-budding dream Though holy imagination tipped with fire Should score her script upon you! [A physical pain orerco7ites Hiidibrand. hlernda runs to hlis side. He regains coin posu re, hiis ninannerforbidding solicitude] Hiid. I am patient. One word of mine would send you manacled To prison. If you are here to lay down arms Cha. I'mn not. THE MORTAL GODS Her. 0, father! The amnesty! Hud. That shelter Is not for him! ('ha. Then speak your word, and learn You fight not men but man. Wide as the world Ilis spirit blows against you, and little part You'll cage in this one shackled body. Hud. One We'll drag the earth, or net the pack of you! LeVal, marauding ghost, we'll prick his blood Beneath his spectral mask. And that mad trull, Faniette, your holy maid- Cha. She's safe from you! God is about her as she walks among Your hope-lorn slaves and touches their dead hearts To life. Hud. To folly they are sick of! Ah, Once more I've news. Your swarthy Joan has fled, And all her magic warriors of a day Again are beggars. Cha. Fled Hfud. To her cactus lair. But she'll trapse back between two bayonets, Stripped of her phantom wings. ('ha. She is not gone. That heart of truth! When she deserts LeVal There'll be a breach in Heaven, and fiends may claim The day for hell and you. Hud. 'Tis mine without Such warm avouch. Your chaparral cock and hen Have parted company. Her followers now, Cursing and naked, straggle to our canmps- Her. Your pardon, sir! You are deceived. Hud. H O, ho! 98 TIlE TMORTAL GODS 11cr. They're with LeVal. Not one stout heart is lost. i'ainette but lends her captaincy to his Iii needful absence Mind. You are much too wise. 11cr. I know Famette. Hild. You-what Know hler Her. I do. find. This is the fruit of that mad jaunt, Througl Goldusan! Where have you seen her 11er. Here. fid. Not here That womran Are you mad, my girt 7Ier. I love Famette. If we were one, I'd be But cinders in her saintly fire. find. Here, miss Youve had her with you Sniffed and cheeped together, And drowned mny kingdom in a gossip cup 11tr. If men, the l)ravest, are but flies upon Xonr monarch ermine, that with careless shake You scatter, can you fear a -woman fin1d. What M\ocked by a chit I fear You mannerless filly, I've let you plunge and ramp o'er all my fields, B1ut I'll not have you whinnying at the fence T ill roadside jades break through! She has been here 11er. She has. I)ined at my board, slept in my bed, And so slhall do again. HInd. I'll welcome her! And send you trucking home! You shall not wait For any w\N--himiisy this or that! Her. But, sir, fHnd. No trumpery packing,-no unready whine! This hour! That you should moil your royalty TotI(.lihig such scuinmi! 99 THE MORTAL GODS Her. Nay, I was scum until she gave me substance. I had no soul until she made hers mine, No cleanliness of heart till I knew hers, No knowledge till I looked through her clear eyes, No riches till I wrapped me in her rags- Hud. You're raving! Her. No. Ah, father, father, I'm Famette,-your daughter! I've not been in Cana, But in the pits your greed has dug,-down, down Where misery is so vile its own abyss Shudders to hold it. Chartrien, now you know My tale untold. I see your mind runs back To light a way it travelled in the dark. 0, you were blind! I'd know you near though masked In utter change. (ha. I'm folded now in sun That makes me blind again. Are you Famette Her. [Showing her bared arm] See this brown circlet left that you might find A trace of her I've crossed the universe Through hell-and reached you, have I not C'ha. [Embracing her] All sweet Forfending stars now heap their fortunes one And drop it on my heart that borrows heaven To hold the imponderable gift! 11er. Ah, poor Famette! Cha. 'Twas you-in that foul hacienda pen And would not speak 1er. I meant to save you, sir. And had I told you then, would you have set So blithely off to Quito Cha. And left you there! How can you think it Her. Do I, sir Nay, love, Nor ever did. I knew you'd ruin all With your big "won'ts " and " don'ts.' 100 TIlE MORTAL GODS Cha. 0, sagest heart! But here you kept my joy-gates shut so long. Why such slow mercy, golden one Her. You'll hear it There is a teasin, devil in me, Chartrien, That must have play. Chia. Ah, no! Her. Ay, and an ounce Or so of cruelty, that would not let Your frailty go unpinched. C(ha. Nay, 'tis not so! Her. You'd rather think I put to royal test Your godship Wooed with lips so near your own, And found you stanch to honor That may be, But I've a shameless reason dearer still. I wanted all your love for Hernda,-all. And had I said too soon that we were one, Then oIL your breast my heart had never known Which maid you clasped. Cha. You ever, sweet! Her. Yet she Is dear. My joy could never be content Within your heart beside unfaith to her. She must have room there, not in name of love, But truth. So you shall hold us both. C/ha. Like this' Grow to my heart, 0 garland of myself! Be breath of me, till, like a double tree, Root, sap, and bloom are one, And in our noble fruiting Time forgets To mourn Hesperides! Her. Heaven hold thy wish The prayer thou meanest it! Chia. One bliss is man's The perfect angels know not. In the arms, 101 THE MORTAL GODS Warm, rhythmic, round his battling soul, to feel Spur of his noblest blood, and know his dreams Are mated,-find in lightest winds that stir Love's tremulous hair, the brave wing of his hope That needs go farthest,-and when seasons fail, And weary spirit turns from waste to waste, Know lips that he may touch and touching kiss The fallow world to harvest. Thus, and thus! [Jiudibrand, forgotten by the lorers, has fought through another moment of agony, and advances, talking hold of Hernda] Hud. Are you my daughter Her. I an, but I've known hours When shame, a cleansing fire, searched through my blood For any drop that owned you father. Hud. In! Go in! [To Chartrien] And you-I'll rid the earth of you, And take its thanks! [Staggers with a return of pain] her. [Her arms about him] 0, father, let us help! What is it, father Hud. Nothing. Keep away! Away! [Throws her off. Enter, lower right, an officer attended] Off. Your majesty, there's sure report LeVal makes ready to oppose his guns To our weak garrison. Hud. [Ironic] The spectre's near Off. Across the stream,-the east and wooded batik. A hundred times our force could not dislodge His guns from such a vantage. Hud. Guns LeVal Hle has no guns! Off. You'll hear them soon. I beg Your highness' pardon, but your dignity Would not be touched if yoou should hasten out. [Enter, lower left, Golifet, Diraz, Jlazaran] 102 TIlE MORT A L GODS 1O3 Gol. My lord! Hud. What is this tale You, Golifet You are in charge! Gol. 'Tis treachery, sir! I warned Your majesty Hud. Come, what's the story Gol. This. iBolderez' officers whom we gave leave To station near us, thus to put more guard Between the town and rebels that might creep Down from the hostile hills HIud. This egg's all shell. Come, sir, the meat! Gol. They were in secret yoked Most traitorously with LeVal, and all their men WXere coupled to his cause. They gave him cover To lead his army up Hud. His army, sir Gol. His followers- llud. There may be treachery Uncapped among us. Gol. 'Twas by your advice We gave them leave to camp FIud. I trusted fools! Or traitors! You've a choice of names. Off. I beg, Your majesty to come with us. They'll fire At any moment. Hud. Fire Then we shall know At last where we may find LeVal. You've wired To Vardas, Golifet He must despatch The Federal Guards- Gol. It is too late. Iud. Too late M11az. We can not save the town. THE MORTAL GODS Off. The citizens Are fleeing. Do not delay, your majesty! [Fire of guns is hcard] Ilud. Cowards! Before you fly, arrest that man. Look to it, Golifet. You'll answer for him. Let him be trebly guarded. Gol. Is not this The missing lord, Prince Chartrien Hiud. Ay, that traitor! Gol. At this hot juncture, prudence must forbid A needless insult to the enemy 'that may too soon be master. Hiud. Insult! Gol. Come, My lord. Ilud. By every god that was or is [Guns again heard] Gol. Please you, retire, your majesty! [Mlien gather excitedly from different parts of the grove. Guests and servants desert the house] Maz. Come, come! [A shell breaches the wall, rear. Stones fly among the trees. The house is battered and portico torn away] Hud. Grant me this favor. Let me be the last To leave the Grove of Peace. Ha, ha! The last! Her. Come, father! HIud. Go! I've asked a favor, friends. [They turn from him and pass slowly out. IHernda and Chartrien remain] Her. Now you will come BIud. When you have gone! Go, go! [More shells. Chartrien carries Hlernda away, lower left] lIud. [Alone, racked with pain] MTy foe is nearer than those feeble guns. Bah! I could crush them! Here I am fordone. 104 THE MORTAL GODS No, no! I'll not surrender. I will live! I'll keep my world. I fought for it, and won. 'Tis mine! I will not leave it to these mice To scramble over. [The agony seizes him] A coward foe, that gives No even chance. Strikes from the dark, with blade Tempered secure in undiscovered fire. . ... Shall then the world go on and I not here I shall be here,-a pile of dust, no more,- That is the hell of hells,-while other dead, Who made them souls here out of faith and clay, Race on unflagging,-on and leave me still,- The everlasting mute! ..... . . . . Souls That's XI lie. A ranting, toin-tom lie, to ease us on The wheel. I'll none of that. The sick mind's pap! Imaination's vent, lest misery O'er-rack the world! Protective fume Enclouding man's last grapple till none see If he or Death he victor, and on the doubt Ile rides to Heaven! . . . . . . Was 't truth that Chartrien spoke The race has found its eyes Man is no more A blind and hopeless struggler cornered fast By ills unconquerable-his lusting wars, Diseases, hungers, Hludibrands Then what A chance was there, my heart If I had fought Upon his side! . . . That battle would have made Red Fate throw down her bludgeon,-won us place To vanward of the gods! ... . If I had fought With him .....Obstructive clod! . . . . . M\y God! My God [Ile dies. Sunset has passed, and the darkness grows rap- idly until nothing is seen but the gleam of a fallen crow n. Curtain] 105 This page in the original text is blank. A SON OF HERMES A COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS CEARA C TERS BLADES, a young Athenian PELAGON, his uncle SACHINESSA, wife of Pclagon PHANIA, their daughter SYBARIS, a neighbor's daughter CREON, friend of Biades AMENTOR, a senator MENAS, friend of Pelagon CLEARCHUS, an Athenian youth disguised as a dancecr PHILON, a priest STESILAUS, a lord of Sparta PYRRHA, his daughter ARCHIPPE, his wife ALCANOR, his son LYSANDER, friend of Stesilaus HIERON, a young Spartan AGIS, LENON, GIRARDAS, his friends DIANESSA, MYRTA, THEONIS, NACIA, ARTANTE, Spar- tan maidens THE EPHORS Senators, citizens, soldiers, dancers, etc. ACT I SCENE: Pelagon's garden, Athens. Wall, rear, shutting off street. Upper right, path to street gate. Upper and middle left, entrances to Pelagon's house. Lower left, path to a neighbor's dwelling. Lower right, path lead- ing deeper into garden. [Enter, upper left, Pelagon, Stesilaus and Lysander] Lys. A gracious senate! If such welcome keys The tune to come, then our ambassadry Is concord's instrument, and we niay bear Fair music back to Sparta. Ste. Tut, the smiles Of Athens are as flying leaves, divorced From the tree's heart, as apt to light On vagrancy as merit. Pel. Stesilaus Bears hard as truth. Yet I was warmed to note The council's greeting. Ste. Ever Sparta's friend! Pel. And friend of peace. The age no more can bear The locked alarum of our rivalling, States. W\e must the groaning tussle bring to end, Or ends the world. Lys. 'Twas wisdom's cue you gave us,- To say we had our Sparta's sovereign word For Athens' terms. 1Pel. Ay, hold your embassage Unstrictured, friends. In that lies flattery Each lord will take to himself and thereon feed 109 A SON OF HERMES A grace which will, in sort, come back to you. What hour was fixed for answer I lost that. Lys. The last hour of the sun. Pel. The crier stood Wrrong side of my good ear, and I'll not twist To set the gossips nudging me to th' grave, Robbed in a shrug of twenty grizzled years. [Looks about the garden] Where's Biades He's always trailing here, Save in the tick of need. I'd have him bid The ambassadors lie at my house. Lysander, You'll be my suitor to your comrades Say We've heart and room for all. Lys. For all, my lord Pel. And more! [Exit Lysander] Ste. My Sparta thanks you, Pelagon. Pel. Nay, such an honor shall not pass me, sir. Now where is Biades Ste. Your nephew, friend Pel. Ay, Stesilaus. Bar my blood in him, He'll fasten on your heart. Ste. Report has been Too dear his friend. What buzz about a youth Of twenty-five! Sir, Attica is mad To give him captainship. In Sparta now, The spurring callant would be kept in ranks, And yoked with Prudence till he learned her jog. Pel. In ranks! I see him! Well, just in your ear, He sweeps a pretty curvet. With my wife His slave, and Phania neck-deep in love, He rides the very comb of my poor house. If you would say to him, hold here or there, I'd take it not amiss. But I do love him. And now a bout with th' cook. The pest sends word 110 A SON OF HERMES A double score of sudden guests are all He'll have at table. Mine own table, sir! Ha, there is Biades! He'll wait upon you. Pray touch him as I've hinted. But no word About our daughters, friend. We'll let that lie. [Exit upper left. Enter Biades upper right] Bia. Most noble Stesilaus, my heart greets you! Ste. Greeting to Biades, whom Athens makes tier general! Bia. Would, my lord, this dignity Were laid on senior years. Your Sparta's way Is best,-to keep the cool, meridian bays From youth-flushed brows. My moist and charmed eyes Spoke inward to my soul when they beheld The ambassadors before the council, each With staff unneeded, and gray locks that seemed As wisdom's holy place. Ste. You sat with us I did not mark you there. Bia. I kept in modest shadow, Which is youth's fairest mantle,-though my rank Moves back for none. But, sir, the Spartan elders! Ah, might I see more men in Athens who Thus honor age, and age that honors men! Ste. Breathe that into your shrines. Bia. The gods who smile On folly young, must weep when reverend years And wisdom part. 'Mayhap you've noticed, sir, In my good uncle here . . . . a falling off. I would not speak but that I know your eyes Can not keep curtain when the blabbing sun Makes it no secret. Ste. Somewhat I have seen. Bia. Somewhat will grow to much ere you take leave. Ste. I fear it, Biades. illl A SON OF HERIMES Bia. And yet, my lord, Time has not carried him ahead of you MKore years than half a score. Ste. 'Tis ['other way. I'm elder by that much. Bia. Not you, my lord [M a.'CX klatteritilylja] The Spartan way is best. Was 't Pelagon Led you to say you had full power to treat With Athens Ste. It was he. Bia. I thought it. [Sighs] Sir, In the Athenian mind there dwells a child No length of days can age. We do not grow As Spartans. But our vanity's no dwarf. Tops with the highest, you've some cause to know. Ste. What of 't Unlatch! unlatch! Bia. The people, sir, Always our rearward urge, knowing you've power To assent to all they ask, will ask for more Tlhian all. Ste. Think'st that Bia. In your hlrave time you've met .Athenians of the best. Didst ever know One modest -slow to ask for wvhat he thought His own-or what he might ly mere demand Make his Ste. They are well stomached,-true. No doubt lhey'll press us far. Wia. They will. And if refused,- W\ell, they are children,-and must bite arl(n scratch. With strutting rage, may pelt you out of Athens. But why not say you are in part empowered, And must return to Sparta with the terms Before a vowed coulchusion 112 A SON OF HERMES Ste. Late for that, Young sir. The tongue we used to the Council Must serve in the Assembly. We have said We have full power. Biia. To treat, not to assent. That was your word. Ste. Hmm! Now the cloud is off The dunce's script, and I read clear why you At twenty-five have Athens' voice to sail 'Gainst Syracuse. [Re-enter Pelagon] Bia. No word unto my uncle! Ste. My brain will serve. Pel. They've come,-your comrades,-all! If honor now were substance,n my poor wavlls Would groaningly unroof and beg the sky For room to embrace it! Go you, Biades. Repeat my welcome, with increase of grace Your tongue is rich in. [Exit Biades, upper left] Now the full time comes. We'll speak of that that's centre of our hearts,- Our daughters, friend. This is the hour that ends A watch of twenty years. Ste. A patient score. So long your daughter has been mine, so long Has mine been yours. Pel. Like flower upon a stalk Long nursed and tended, comes the end upon This day of budding peace. You've had no whiff, No hint umltoward, that what we did had best Been left undone Ste. Sir, what I do, I do! When we changed babes not least their cradle sleep, My mind then glossed the act with comment fair II,3 A SON OF HERMES As our unfructured hope. So does it still. By Nestor, though I'm thitherward of prime, There's none will say that with accreted years I moult sagacity! Pel. Eh, so! 'Twas well. I've never doubted it. Here have I reared Your Phania, Spartan-thewed, who now shall home W\ith Athens' gentle nurture in her veins To hither yearn in blood of every son She bears to Sparta. And you my Pyrrha bring Back to her land to live a Spartan dame Among Athenian mothers. So we feed The unity we dream on,-quicken time, Foresued, to give our tousing, touchy States One civic heart. Ste. Has Sachinessa kept A secret tongue Pel. A nut not closer sits About its kernel. And your wife, my friend What of Archippe Did she hold for long Against the exchange Ste. She did. Nor ever learned To love your Pyrrha. For that cause,-and that Our even trust might move with even faith, Nor odds of grace to you,-I've stood her guard, And made her comrade where a son might claim The dearest post. Pel. Good thanks, my Stesilaus. From your wife's audit I'd not brush a doit, But to the credit of my dame can set A fairer sum. uneas' curled lad Lay not more dearly in his Dido's lap Than your sweet Phania in the swaddling love Of Sachinessa. Ay, she'll swear me now That not to gain her own will she give up Her foster darling. 114 A SON OF HERMES Ste. Humph! Pel. The little duck! She has so chucked herself into my heart 'Twill put me sad about to oust her. Ste. Duck! When I lose Pyrrha, sir, that hour I lose This good right arm! Pel. [Meditatihe] Inium! So! .... Come, my friend. The dinner's toward, and the host astray. The love's deep-vouclhed that puts such duty off For one more word. [Pauses as the/y more left] We'll give no open voice To our most dear concern till we have met Our daughters. Ste. [Gloomy] Met our daughters! Hav-e it so. [Ekxeuint upper left. Enter, middle left, Phania and Biades] Bia. Come, Phania! The old cocks are off. P/ha. They're gone Bia. Good flitting too! I feared they'd perch till night, Crowing the deeds of Stesilaus the Great And Pelagon the Wise. P/ia. These Spartans! If They'd rest their clubs without the door, our shins Would give them thanks. Why are we so besieged Bia. Why, Phania, why Because your father dotes On dull and sodden peace that never was Save in an old man's dream. We dine our foes! The city must throw ope her gates, forsooth, Lest the dear enemy should take some hurt Scaling the walls! They'd bleed us as we sleep, And lPelagon would vow the sword at 's throat Were Sachinessa's dozing kiss. Pha. ILb, hear The captain speak! You go to Syracuse, And not content 'Tis well there's one cries peace. 115 A SON OF HERMES Bia. What's Syracuse To conquer Sparta,-that Were warrior's work! Your father robs me of it, Bringing the water where I set my fires. But come! I've not made love to a soul to-day Save ancient Sparta. HIa! it is an art That should be spared such sweat. The Heavens mean That I shall pull to yoke these two days left, And love take beggar's chance. Pha. Ah, but two days! Bia. Come to our myrtle nook- Pha. Nay, Sybaris Might turn me out. That is her royal seat When you'll play consort. Bia. What, my Phania I)our Does Creon keep away Pha. I'm not for him. You know it, Biades. Bia. But he does not. Too oft I find him here. PhIia. And Sybaris Comles out of count, knowing you like this spot. Yon path is worn of every blade. Bia. 1er feet Can be so cruel PIha. You love her still! Bia. Nay, sweet. Not for three days. Believe me, cousin! Phia. Cous.8in Athiene save us! See her now,-the plague! Bia. By gentle Eros, Phania, we'll be kind. I loved her once. PhIa. How tall she is! Bia. Ay, moves A very sylph! [Sybaris comes on, lower right] 116 A SON OF lHlIRMES 11C Syb. A fair day's greeting, friends! Bia. WXe double it for thee. Pha. My dearest Syb! Do you turn snail, you keep your house so lon, Why, hour8, I thinlk! Sy1b. Indeed! Bjia7. \Where lovers wvatch The dial, that's an age. l 'a. Oh, so! Bia. [To PlMania] Do I Not know ,Sy/b. An agc Ay, love grows old and fades in 't. Bia. A thousand moons in journey o'er my love Would leave 't no withered hour! By the fair soul Of one who knows mc true! SXY[). That is no woman. P/ia. A pretty oath! Sybv. B3tBt not a new one, dear. Bia. Plead, Phania, dove! Let her not chide Poor penitence on knee. In two days' time I sail to war, yet stony Sybaris Would break love's wings with doubt--p)ut me aboard With sighs to sink my ship Pha. Nay, Sybaris! I'll vow him constant now. Syb. Inconstancy Once stopped for breath, and fools came with a chair. Bia. No thaw in thee Plead, Phania, swveet! Your lips Are unimpeached where mine too oft have w orn Conviction's droop. Pha. Forgive, dear Sybaris! Ilia. Ay, be my tongue! Tell her that as the bee Betrays the honey-buds yet hiveward flies, I've left all by-roads for the true home-path. II1, A SON OF HERMES Syb. Then you have trailed all others stale. There's none Left new but that. Bia. Tell her when I have sailed From Athens' eyes into the sun that eve Mlay skirt with blood- Pha. No, no! Bia. -to walk with you The haven's brim, watching the waves that throw The sea-heart there, and know that from my ship Pulses a heart to love's dream-sandalled feet As constant as the sea to Athens' shore. [Sybaris moves relentingly nearer. Biades behind Phwanii, who sits on bench, leans to talk into her ear, but keeps his eyes tenderly on Sybaris] Ah, tell her, Phania, sleep is slow to come Where warriors bed, and unforgiven hours Are thorny comrades for an age-long night. Syb. Then here's my hand. Pray Pallas 'tis no fool's! Bia. Yours too, my Phania! In one breath I seal Judge and defender mine! [Kissing their hands] Now with my ship Will prayers go tendant, mending every sail That storm may batter. Typhon, whirl the sea To insurrection,-send her meekest wave To crinkle round the sun, and hiss from Heaven The mariner's port-star,-I shall be safe While I have implorators fair as ye To melt the gods! Syb. Ah, Biades, thou must Be loved or die. Is 't heart or vanity, That's so insatiate Pha. Nay, you have forgiven! Syb. But will not coo yet. Is that Creon comes [Looking to upper right] You'll meet him, Phania 118 A SON OF HERMES Pha. He knows his way. Bia. Has news! I'll pick the pigeon. [Goes up right] Pha. 0, my Sybaris, Thanks for this generous peace! But who could long Be harsh to Biades Syb. Such steel 's not in me. I but stood off, a shadow of resolve, To hear him woo me back. His coldest words Are ta'en from music, but when warm in suit, Then music sues to him. Pha. Woo you Didst say Woo you Couldst think-couldst dream-couldst let blind sense So flatter Syb. Blind Well, you've no eye to lend. Pha. His words were all for me, and through my heart Were sifted to your ears. Syb. For you, my dear Now what a gosling 'tis! Pha. Oh! Ask him then! Syb. You'll beat that bush. I have no doubt in cover. [Biades returns with Creon] Cre. You'll not go out Bia. No, friend. Cre. I warn you, sir! It is your reputation left i' the street That knocks for you. Bia. 'Twill care for itself. Cre. Nay, come! Soon every ear in Athens will be crammed Wi' the tale. Syb. WVhat tale Cre. 'Tis said that Biades Was cap and spur to riot that defaced The Hermw yesternight. 11'3 A SON OF IIERMES Bia. Denosed, you mean. Pha. 0, do not jest! I tremble, Biades! (re. You must o'ertake the lie, my lord, ere winds Be up with 't. Bia. Let it fly, my Creon. When Its wings are worn 'twill down for any heel 'lo trample. Cre. Not this feather. It broods on the air, And its dark issue makes eclipse your sun Can push no beam through. Bia. Sinon's pate has hatched The ebon chick. ('re. . You're not far out. Ile wants The generalship. [Enter Hippargus, upper right] Bia. Here comes a tongue to market. TMost purchasable, tho' neither cut nor dried. ("re. The senate's messenger! Bia. Greeting, Hippargus. Hip. Greeting, my lord,-and I must lay command On that, for you are charged on the instant to appear Before the Council. Bia. The instant Cramped to that And what to do there, sir Hip. Give proof you touched With no profaning and injurious hand Our threshold gods. Bia. Go gently back, Hippargus, And tell the senators I pardon them, Knowing they do mistake. They would not lay So dull an antic on me, and this charge Is meant for Bico, my fat monkey here, Whom they may have for trial. Hip. Spare such jest, My worthy lord. A hundred tongues have sworn You said in open street, nor cared who heard, 120 Ar SON OF IIHERIM\ES Wi The guaizrdian IHermtu might he nip)ped of cars, And noses too, yet serve our 1)ious turn, Since they smiell out no faults and citizens Confess none. Bia. Ali! D)o they make w-it a crinme Who have no taint of its color Say 'twere red TIe senators would never be mistook For wvoodpeckers. Gods! When they prate, I know .Athenc's owl is stuffed, and her wise serI)ent An old-year slough! Off now! YouI lanniers full. Trot and unpack. [Exit Ilipparf/yn] Cre. Out! Follow, and deny rlTlis answer! Dare you, standing, on the to) An(l sli)p)ery point of fortune, throw your cap In IleavNen's face Bia. D)are I do less No, friend. The Council fears me, and would see me down. My power is in the people, who for gold Aknd merry flattery give me their love. But now they're on the quibble how to turn, To me or Sinon. I'll not let them see My office brought to question, and myself Outfaced by perjurers in Sinon's keep). Nay, when they find I'm not the senate's groomi, But know myiself, their pride w-ill know me too, And I shall go to bed as I rose utp, The.Athenian general. Crc. The street will bellow. I'll listen to it, and pick interpretation From 'ts roar. You'll come with me Bia. Though oracles, On every curb and step, begged audience, I'd not go out. [Exit Creon] 12 A SON OF HERMES Pha. Oh, me! Bia. Why so I'm not a hare To jump because a leaf falls. Wag the hour, And Pleasure wait on us! If she fill not MNy cup to-day, I fear it must go empty A good twelvemonth. There are fair maids In Syracuse, but they'll peer on me through A crimson lattice. Pha. You'll not see them, sir! Or break a thousand oaths! So oft you've sworn No beauty out of Athens could persuade Your eyes to worship. Syb. Then the Spartan maid Lodged here will let him sleep. Bia. What maid is this Pha. Wythy, Pyrrha,-Stesilaus' daughter. Bia. Here Pha. Ay, everybody's here. Syb. I saw her leave The chariot. Such clothes! Pha. No clothes, you mean! Syb. [In shocked aside] Just to the knees! Pha. And open to the hips! Syb. You say it! Pha. And manners, none. I took her nuts And sugared poppy seeds. She said she kept No parrot. Syb. Here's a guest! Pha. And when I said I lived on them- Bia. My dainty! Pha. -then she asked If that made me so little! Bia. Ay, they feed To grow in Sparta. Breed but monsters there. 122 A SON OF HERMES 1 3 No arts, no grace, no soft and tendrilled speech That creeps to ends of being and looks back Exultant and afraid. They are not mcn, But, wearing human port, would force on us A beastly comradeship. Set me to woo A toad bred in a ditch of Attica, BHut not a maid of Sparta! WNere she fair As was Persephone when she drew the god From nether earth, yet sprung from that hard soil, I'd let her beauty pass. Syb. Hist, Biades! She's yonder. [They look middle left, where Pyrrhia appears] P/ia. I like the garden best when 't wears Pale Cybele's gown. Apollo makes it harsh In black and gold-Ah, Pyrrha! You have found Our blossomy corner. Welcome to it, and know Aily neighbor, Sybaris,-and Biades. Pyrr. I greet you, friends of Athens. Pha(. Will you sit Bia. [hto has not remzored his gaze fromu her sit 'ICe her ctirance] A walk! That was your wish. I'll show the paths. Syb. Nay, here's a seat. Bia. There's Artystone's rose, Brought from the M'Kysian stream P/ha. She'll stay with us. Bia. The ivory cup of Isis, where each night Her one tear falls,-and flowers whose sisters blow In walled Ecbatana. Syb. Come, sit by me, Dear Pyrrha. Pyrr. I would see the garden. Syb. [Rising] Would We'll guide you then. 112'0 A SON OF HERMES P1a. Ay, whlo swould dawdle here Biw. But rest a moment, Pyrrha. I mind me now, Thtt from this spot the eye may best o'erswcep The full design. Yon mass of planes Pyrr. I'll walk Alone. [M1/ores off, lowrer riygd] Syb. Well! Pha. Said I not Sy1b. I)oes nothing that She's asked And stares as though a wonamn's eyes Were made to see wvith, when their chiefest use Is not to see! Plia. Crude as her Spartan rocks! Bia. I'll follow. Syb. Nay, she'd walk alonte! Bia. She's Athens' guest. I'll not be rude, whatever lack in her P'rovokes me to it. Pha. Nor shall I, by all The grace in th' world! Syb. You shame us, Biades. We'll go with you. [Fach takes an arm of Biades as he goes righlt. Pelagon enters, upper left] Pel. Daughter, this way! [Phania returns reluctanitly. The others pass off, right] Pel. MAy chick,- Nay, I'll be brief. I know young, feet would flock. Pha. 0, father dear, I'd please you first! [Kissingi hliii Pel. Well, well! You've seen Lord Stesilaus Pha. Just a peek. Pel. Nay, he's no bear. Pha. He'll bite thouh. I know that. 1-24 A SON OF hIERMES 1E PcI. Now, Phania, now' I have a reason, miss, .A iiost dear reason you should win the love Of Stesilaus. Phla. Love! Pel. I Mean, my dluck, A father's gentle love. Ph/a. But, daddy, lie's- So tall! IPel. Ile has a heart, my dauglhter. Pha. Funi! Are you so sure Pel. Find it the shortest wvay. Remiiember he's your-himnmn !-remember-l-hini!- That lie's a man-as I ani-and his pride But April frost. Be as lie wevre myself P/ia. As you Oh, dear! [Under his arnm] And must I cuddle so Nay, that's for my own fa-fa! Pel. Little Phania! I'll lose my pipit,-lose my bonny l)ird! Pha. Lose mc 0, never, daddy, never! I'm Your pl)psey, wail)sev, umpsev, ownty ow-ri! Pel. [ReIsoln/ely] Wait here. I'll senld him l)y. Pha. But, father, whyv Pel. Nay, that's my secret. Not for little birds. [Exit upper left. Pihan ia (aits 'until hle disappear.,, thein tilrns flying, atid ranishes lowcer rig/it. Irchippe an(1 Sach inecssa enier, mi iddle left] Sac. Blest be Atliene, there's nobody here! T1he house is overrun, and I'elagon Has twenty shadows, one at every door. Out, in,-in, out,-with ears like aprons held For every whisper! Here we're safe to talk. Arc. 0, dearest Sachinessa, what's to do Sac. We'll go to Philon. If he says confess 1-25 A SON OF HERMES Arc. Confess I'll never do it! I will take What way he will but that, though 't he the one Leads out of life. You do not know my lord! Sac. Your Stesilaus is no god, Archippe. I'll tell you that. Arc. If it should come to him We never changed our daughters! If he learns That twenty years I've made him wear the hood, His roof no more would shade me. Nay! Confess Oh, Sachinessa, I should lose him quite! Sac. That could be borne, I think. Airc. But lose my Pyrrha Be driven out from her See her no more sac. There, friend, you stir me. Such a piece of man! To strike like that because a woman's wit Has clipped his own! Ile's not suspected you In all these years Arc. Not once. I've watched myself As I were my own jailer, fenced my heart, And made my love a thief that gave my child No open looks, but by her bed at night Stole comfort as she slept. Sac. Not I, Archippe! I've laughed above the snores of Pelagon, Knowing my darling near, whom he thought far As Sparta. Come! You're taller by a head Than I, yet die with quaking. And I thought Each Lacedemon wife a lioness. Arc. Ah, but their lords are lions. Sac. Well, they've mane Enough, but they'd not shake it in my face. Arc. Will you confess Sac. Why, no. For Pelagon Would play the spousal saint, sit on the clouds, And with a piety intolerable 1,26 A SON OF IIERAMES Forgive his perjured wife. What soIII could bear it But I'll not part with Phania, know you that! Arc. What then Sac. We'll go to Philon. How to keel) Our secret and our daughters,-that's a nut To break the oracle's teeth. fire. If 't can be done! Sac. It must be done, Archippe. Comne,-I hear A chatter. This way out. [Thecy leare, upper right. Biades, 'Pyrrha, Sybaris, and Phlania enter lowter righit] P/ia. W'hat of our garden, Now all is seen Pyrr. Here gods should live, not men. At every turn I seemed to lose the step Of a departing deity. Syb. We are content With our Athenian lords, and seek no charm To turn them into gods. Bia. [Sliowinq a locket] I've here a charm Does more than that. This jewel webbed In mystic rings-and set- Syb. The Persian gem! You prlomised me Bia. It is a magic stone, That gazed upon by a true-minded maid- Pha. [Securing the trinket] I'll see it, sir! I've heard you vow your bride Should wear this locket. Bia. [To Phania] So she shall. [To Sybaris] None else! [To Pyrrha] You hear my oath. Come, Sybaris, sit here And, Phania,-comne! You both shall peep at fate 112, A SON OF HERMES Through a ruby portal, if your hearts be true. Now fix your look Pha. We'll see the same! Bia. Not so. Each fortune's connate with the gazer's star, And tinted as she dreams. Direct your eyes With flawless constancy, or you'll see naught. Pha. Not lift them once Bia. Nay, fasten every thought Deep in the jewel's fire, till I have said The Persian chant of welcome to the spirit Whose magic you shall see. Pha. A spirit Oh! Bia. But she is fair,-framed as divinity For adoration. Syb. She! Bia. Lift not your eyes. [Stands behind Phania and Sybaris and makes the incan - tation an ardent address to Pyrrha] Spirit of Fate, what mystical wooing May win thee to pause where we pray Misers of Dream their locks are undoing,- Mistress of Keys, wilt thou stay Priestess, thyself, 0 fairer than dreaming, Art deity's answer to prayer! Dusk in thine eyes is the seer-burthen gleaming, And moon-wands at rest in thy hair. Far-foot Desire is lost in the winding Of valleys and gardens of thee! Hoop of white arms is cireumferent binding The star-pastured world and me! [Sybaris throws the locket at his feet. lie turns and sec.s that she and Phania have risen and are staring at him] 1 )8 A SON OF HERMES l-29 Py7rr. [After a silence] I do not kIIow this game. Will leave you to it. [Exit, middle left] sS!Jb. And I'll go home! [Exit, lower lef/ Pha. And I'll go tell my father! [Exit, uzpper left] Bia. And I'll go stand in th' donkey mart and bray TI ill a farimer bu-ys me! Witched, and by a Spartan! Mad as the fleeing ass of Thessaly! [Exit, uipper right] [Curtain] ACT II SCENE: The same as first act, a feiv minutes later. Phania is discovered in rear. Stesilaus walks frozenly back and forth, front, while she timidly advances and retreats] Pha. [Azpproaching] I'm Phania, sir. Ste. [Looks at her incredulously, then walks left, leaving her centre] My blood and bone in that! What dwarf-dish has she fed on Ugh! P/la. [Crossing] I've come To walk with you. You like our garden, sir We've bulbuls in it,-and wee, visiting wings From the unknown south. Can see them if you watch A place I know. They dart like breathing bits Of chrysoprase and sard o' the sun. Ste. Humph! You Are Phania Pha. [Braver] Troth, I am! Wilt see a nest- So small as-that! Could put it on your thumb. [Takes his hand] I'll show you, sir. Don't you love little things They wiggle to the heart, my daddy says. You love my daddy, don't you Sle. Ugh! Your-Ugh! Pha. [Defensive] I love him,-yes, and all his friends. I do, Though they're-so tall. I come just to your beard. See now! [Leans against him] Ste. Get off! You squeaking pewit! Ugh! Pha. [Quiveringly] Have I displeased you, sir 130 A SON OF HERMES Ste. Displeased me No. You make contentment creep on honored bones iFar back as Lacedannon's earliest grave That opened for my house. You turn my blood That's not yet ecarthed, and hot as Sparta's pricle, To drops that mutiny 'gainst their own succession And beg to be the end. 1)ispleased Oh, no! [Refires, rear] Pha. Oh, sir-- [Fails, and goes off weeping, lowcer right. Enter, upper right, Biades and (Creon] (re. BHut this confusion, inany-throated, Has single voice and warns articulate. A treasonous tempest rises, and you stand A god indifferent when you should bethink Yourself most mortal. Vilest mouths puff bold In Sinon's service. You must wax your way To th' Council-- Bia. Nay, no bending there! (re. But Bia. Peace! here's Stesilaus! He's most heavy shipped. What is ,aboard And now comes Pelagon, With's threshing-tongue a-ready. Chaff will fly. [Enter Pelagon, upper left] Pel. What thinkst of Phania Is she not a chick Ste. You've tricked me, Pelagon! What fubbery Have you put on me Pel. Sir Now, now! W'hy, friend! Ste. That's not my daughter! Bita. [Drawcing Creon back] Whist! Ste. I'll see my own! My Phania! Not that bil),-that mewvling piece, With th' milk still in her mouth! 131 A SON OF HER'MES Pel. Speak so of her A bud in th' dew! A cherry next its leaf! A pippin on the limb! Ste. Not mine, I say! Pel. If you repent you did beget her, sir, I'll be your shift and own the curtained deed 'yore man and Heaven. Ste. That my child Pel. Yours, friend. Ste. Would she had never left Archippe's lap For Sachinessa's! Patience, cool my tongue! But I've done better by your Pyrrha! Pel. Soft, Beseech you, Stesilaus! Here's no place For trumpeting our secret. And brief time Forbids it present voice. The hour is on To hear the people's answer. Come, my lord. Your comrades go before you. We're past late. Ste. Friend Pelagon, though courtesy be pressed To th' kibe, I'll urge you keep at home. 'Tis best You be not seen in this. The lords, who know You lean to Sparta,-and for that all thanks,- Are pricked therewith to oppose us, when they else Mlight voice us favor. Pel. Ay, they know me, friend. M:y eye sets them at guard. They feel it, sir! Puts them on screw. WVell, so,-I'll stay behind. lIlt let me set you forth. [Exeuit, upper right] Bia. Is 't trick, or truth Cre. Tonch me! A needlle's point Could find no spot amazement hath not taken! Bia. Didst hear it Creon Pyrrha an Athenian! 0, wor(Is of miracle, if ye be true,- Friend, friend, I'm in a whirl upon a way I 1 .02 A S O N F IIF 1 EI2 R S E S I'o use tlis strange utneartnibent for the good Of A thens. You'll be silent. Creon (I re. Nay, I think Bia. And now I've lost fair LPhania! C're. Lost Bia. With Mars i' the dlusk of this debated time, The Athenian general may not w\-ive himself With Sparta. ('re. True! B ia. I might give up commrand, And be no more mIy country s armore(l w atch. Nay, Attica is first! That's sworn. I'll plunge The sacrificial knife dee1) as my love. And nowA 'tis done. Ali, Creon, tend thee well My gentle loss. (Cre. This sets thee o'er thyself! () no1)lest blounty that in grace compeers With emulous HIeaven! What in me Cll pay lia. No more of 't now. But what a secret this! If t solely were my own- (Cre. It is, my lord! 'Tis yours. I have no speech, no tongue for 't! Bia. Thanks, M\Ty Creon, thanks! And will you go once more To th' street, where now it seems I have some need Of loyal ears (Cre. I serve you, Biades. [Exit, upper right] Bia. Fast hooked, and feels no barb. If he'll lie dark Till I would stir the waters ..... . Is it truth Pyrrha! Athenian born and Spartan bred! By Mars and Eros! Here's a captain's bride! There's flutter in me like a forest shook With waking birds! [Re-enter Piania, still weeping] I'll, 194 A SON OF HERMES Bia. Why, Phania! Such a shower, My kitkin! Pha. Stesilaus sh-shook me so! Called me a sque-e-aking pewit! Bia. Ha! Ile did Well, listen to rle, Phania. Come, look up. [Lifts her chini] A maid with little eyes should never weep. Leave that to Juno orbs. They swimi in sorrow Like full moons in a lake, hut beads like yours Are only bright when dry. Shun grief as you Shun mud. [Exit, middle leftl Pha. [Gasping] Why-Biades-he's gone! He said Oh, oh! If I could die-- [Sobs with abandon. Enter Alcanor, upper left. Hie pauses before her. She looks up bewildered] Ale. Ah, gentle star, What shrouds thee in this rain Yet thou'rt not hid. Thy beauty shining on these clouds of pearl Makes every drop that dies reflecting thee A little, falling sun. Pha. Oh, Biades said He said-he said Ale. If what he said so troubles, Let me unsay it with a kiss that makes Trouble forgot and dumb. [Kisses her] Pha. [On his bosom] I'm not-I'm not- Not ugly, sir Ale. 0, dove of Aphrodite! Earth stores her beauty in this single face, That she may show one jewel to the skies When gods boast they have all! [Phania purrs comfortedly, then releases herself] 134 A SON OF HERMES Pha. How dare you, sir, Attack me Who are you Ale. I do not know. P/ha. Not know Ail. Nothing of self or where I am. It may he those are trees on giant guard, And these bright peeping things are flowers' eyes, And this is happy grass we stand upon, And that blue watcher is the faithful sky, But I know naught except my soul is yours, 0, maid-magician, in whose snare I lie Kissing the net that binds me! [Kissing her fallen curls] Phia. But you know Your name! Ale. Not in this world a minute old That now I find me in, but in time past I was Alcanor, Stesilaus' son. P/ia. 0 !-then-why-all is well! You're noble, sir! My father will approve you. Ale. Hast a father And art not magic-born Then I perceive I must go back and find my earthly wits. Pha. Nay, he is Pelagon, your father's friend. Ale. You're Phania, then! Pha. [Giving her hand] I am. Ale. No more than this No kiss Pha. [Very shy] You've had it, sir. Ale. A phantom one! 'Twas in a dream, as two ghost-lovers meet On an Elysian path. Too cold for earth! Pha. [Touching her cheek] Nay, it is warm here yet. [lIe takes her in his arms, and they withdraw lowler right. Pelagon enters, upper right, in time to witness the em- brace] 4A SON OF HIERIMES Pel. [Rousing from lis horror] 11cr 1)rother! Gods! Whip me all hagglers! WVe have stood so long At door of our confession that this shamic Gets by us. Phania and Alcanor! Oh! No shuffling now! When Stesilaus comes, The tale must out! [rEnter Pyrrha, middle left. She crosses, passing Pelagon, who retreats rear, un-seen by her. She loiters right] Pel. Here's op)Iortunity At beck. I'll follow. [Adrances] Ahem ! My daughter,--- Pyrr. Sir You seek your daughter" I will look this way. IGoes farther righit] Pel. I must advance, and take her Spartan guard With gentleness. Mly love, 'tis you I seek. Pyrr. [Stiffly] You'd speak to me Pel. MAy little l'yrrha,- Pyrr. Little! Pel. I think of Phania. In my heart you both Hold undivided place. Shall we not chat a bit, AMy Pyrrha Pyrr. Kitchen maids do that, not men Of State. Pel. Nay, there's a time when one may cast The civic garment and take household ease In modest robe. Pyrr. [.A.ide] A swaddling band would fit him! Pel. You will not hear me Pyrr. I wait upon you, sir. For if your hostship I forget, and leave The fees of grace unpaid, I yet must know You are my father's friend. Say what you will, Mly lord. Pel. That word undears me! Let your tongue Breach colder custom and give me a name I) 6)( A SON OF IE RAMES That bringgs me near in love as Stesilaus. Wilt call ine father, I'yrrha Pyrr. [Retrealtinq] You, my lord Pel. They've frozen her, poor child! Must blow more warm. Indeed a, father. Call me what I am, For so I love yon, Iyrrha. Pyrr. Is it thus The Athens sages talk PGI. Ay, we're not cut Of ice as Spartans are. Here your poor heart Shall know what. sun is, and the Springs you've lost, Betrayed without a bloomn in frigid Sparta, In Athens shall blow fair. You are anmazed, My sweet, )but by this kiss - Pyrr. [Gieing hui) a bloti] You goose-eyed goat! I strike not. at your years, Lord Pelagon. But at your Inind whic!i has not come of age And gives me elder right. fExit, in iddle left. [V /dic Pelagoon iv recorcring, enter St8e.salans, upper riqlht] Pel. Ji'Cecoiiinj9q t/he iuterruJtion] You, Stesilaus So soon, friend, from the Assembly Ste. Late, sir, late! More haste had been more prudence. Pel. Why, why, why! Ste. Where is your buttery nephew. Biades Who slips to the seat of question and melts all Into one potch of folly! Pel. But I'd know Ste. Why I am here, not there A crater mouth That calls itself a people hissed eruption Into my face, and without bow I set My back to 't, sir! A SON OF HERMES Pei. Blame me for all! I knew I should not stay behind! The gods do know I am the voice of Athens. 'Tis no pride That speaks bare truth. I'll go- Ste. Tuh, tuh! A word with Biades- Pel. But not too sharp, MNIy friend. He is of weight Ste. No sharper than My stick! Then I set out for Sparta, where The very ground knows Stesilaus walks! Pel. And Phania goes with you Ste. Not if the chit May corner in your kitchen! She's worth that. Pel. You'll leave her here Ste. It will content me. I'll Surrender both. Pel. What Both! Nay, your free heart Shall not outdo my own. Ste. You'll give me Pyrrha Pel. Friend of my soul, I will! Ste. [Mored] Thanks, Pelagon. She's dearer than my son. More like my blood. Aleanor is too soft and woman-lipped. Too much Archippe in him from his birth, Nor blows could drive it out. Pel. And mine own eyes Have seen a cooing match between himself And Phania. Ste. Zeus! His sister! Pel. While we speak, The fated pair are yonder- Ste. I'll get him home! And leave the witch to you! Had I a doubt 13"8 A SON OF IIERAIES To hold mC hack, this tirn wvotild he D)cisiOi's point. She must stay here. Ped. But how Make answ-er to our wives Our wvisdom's nicked Where it is teliderest if we confess. Stc. What's to confess I know my w-ill and do it. Pci. Av, av, vou l)ear your wife in a sack, but mine Is on her feet andl goes her pace. Look yon! They come together! A brace, and one of them Would tic my tongue. SiC. Tie water in a b)rook! [1 rhi yppc and S ach/linic.Sa enitcr upper rig/lt] Sac. We (lo not come to shame vou, nohle lords And lIlIs)an(ls, though wA-e've that to bear which put To honest ballad would uncrest your pride And clip) a reef or two fronm the tall sail Of diglity. ,'Stc. Whyl, madami, this approach Sac. I walk, sir, in my garden when I l)lease. .Ir(. We have a sulit, my honored lords, which you M\ay think full strange, rememberinig our prayers Of twenty years ago. SiC. What suit canst have If youtl mutst try the goose-step) out of doors, (o thank the gods for suiting you with me, Who save you fromI all suit hy hearing none. Sac. Not hear uis, sir I'll catch you hy the ears And shake the pride-0xool out, hut von shall hear! Suited with you ! And then go thank the gods! Pci. Why, Sachinessa. love! What you, duck Sac. This, Pelagon. When in that sad year gone You took mv child fromt me PCI. What That again ,Sac. Not that, but this. I did not stay you then, Being young in weedlock and my wit at cheep I13"I) A SON OF HERMES In its first feathers. But this second time When you lift up your hand to cut the lrough WhosC root is in my heart, I'll speak so loud That if your dull ear miss, I'll reach you yet By way o' the stars that wvill cry back my wrong When they so hear it. Pel. You wouldl beg for Phania Sac. I would. There is no source of love so great As brooding care. That makes the mother, not The childing pangs. Though she, from the first hour, Will cherish what she must so dearly buy, 'Tis day by watchful day her swelling love Is born. So 1, as new days past, forgot The child of my brief pain, and gave to one That nestled in her place my care-born love. Now you would strike again Pel. Sweet, by my soul,- Nay, Sachinessa, dearest heart, be calm. Your words have never in our miated life Moved me as now. If Stesilaus yields, And his stern will be broken by your plea, I am content. Ste. I'm so far moved, my friend, That I will hear Archippe speak her wish. 1er love for Pyrrha will not match with that Your wife bestows on Phania. Arc. Ay, my lord, I've never loved the stranger as my own, But she is dearer than my own grown strange. I see in Phania all my tender loss, But it is lost forever. Give me, Pyrrha. I have no other daughter. Ste. Keep her, dame. But make this weakness not your heckling ground Where you would spar for favors. No more suits! 140 A SON OF HERAIES PIl. And, Saclhinessa, lecar the same from ime. Sac. You ilorrow feathers and I'll twitch 'ciei out! Ste. [To Archlippe] Lest you shoull badger, footed safe on this, Know that mny judgment's not earxviggedl by you 1o this repeal. b11t llOW configures pat To the act itself, that keeps I constant stel) With our first purpose. Our intent comies out With even edges, tlhoulgh reversed in face. An Athens' mai(l shall be a Spartan mother, Anid here shall dwell I dlame of Spartan 1)lood. P'ci. You hear it, Sachinessa. I'm not one To throw my pack away iii sight of home. ConIe 1m11(d, come mire. I bear my judlgmlent out, As Athetns knows. SUac. I'll swear to it there's no nIan I' the citv better hiides the slll with a sieve! Ste. And seconlly , my dalme, know tlat I've won \Iy high contenition thwat the laws of Sparta Are best for b)reedling earth a go(llike race. iFor here my proof enroots in warmest life 'rhat they can .iggranldize the chalky veins Of pampered Attica to ducts that bear 'Thie re(l, unconiquered sap of Lacedwinon. Sac. So Pyrrha is your proof! 'te. No question there. A weak, Athenian babe grows up time p)ride Of Sparta, while a budling of her own, Nursled by Athenis' soft and careless shiift, Scarce grows to w\omlani's level- Sac. Wh1y, you puffed- You pride-blown ,A rc. Comie with me! Sac. But such a bladder! He'd top a flood into the second world Amid wet but half his skiii! 141 A SON OF HERMES I re. Nay, Sachinessa, Our suit is won. No words! We'll haste once more To Philon's shrine. For this dear joy I'll bend A willing knee. Come, conic! [Draus her awvay, zpper right] Pel. [Capering] Could reel it now Like school-boy 'scaped a N-hipping! Ste. Shamen! Your years W'ill blush. [Goes left] Now Biades, and then farewell! Pel. Alh, there's my mourning cloak! I'll go at once To th' Council, and- Ste. Vain labor, Pelagon. Pel. Nay, I will stir them! [Exit, upper right. Biade. enters left. lie ;s arrayed in a purple gowrn writh long train held up by his mnonkey. A peacock fant swrings from a girdle, and jewel.s (langle from his ears. lIe carries a scroll from li hicl lhe rea(ls as hle wralks, tittering oier the matter. Stesilaus wlatches hltn curiously, then amnazedly recognizes hiil] Ste. Biades! Is 't he May eyes report it to a brain unshaken ...l. Io, sir,-or ma(ldai Bia. D)id you speak, my lord Your pardon! I was buried hiere,-quite drowned I' the honey of this tale. Sir, it suggests,- But that's not it,-the style, so quaint, so pure,- It plays with thoughts and leaves them bright as shells The sea has polished to their curling edges. You'll hear this line 'Tis worth a pause. Eh, not You've never wooed the script A.h, I forget. War is the art of Sparta. Ste. Arc you man Bia. What's that to an artist, sir Life in me packs The germinal grain of all, and what may come To 1)irth and bloomn, I leave to nursing Fate. But you seeni ruffled,-warm. IPray have my fan. 1 42 A SON OF IIERMIES Then take my p)archlncint,-sit you in this nook And read of Corys and his w5 ater-nymiph Until the charin of an unhurrying world Steals wave-like round you. Ste. Olymnpus! Was 't this voice That tripped my reason Led my cautious years To take instruction from a dizzened ape And lose the cause they guarded Was't myself So slubbered judgment- Bia. Ah, must I believe You honored my good counsel Ste. Good! Bia. 'Twas good For Athens. Ha, you slipped into the noose As easily as my finger takes this ring. A wondrous sapplhire here. You kinow the stone This is from Egypt,-hlas the desert fire 'Neath Nilus' liquid smilc. Is 't not a treasure 1ut I forget. Your Sparta has no genis. By Hera's belt, your country goes too bare For this adornMd earth! Ste. Come, Biades! Throw off that gown, and with a captain's sword Deny this folly! Bia. Friend, 'tis not my hour For exercise. Our moods, I see, would quarrel. But here's my thornless world. You'll pardon me. [Reswnes walking and reading as before. Pyrrha enters, mi(Idle left, and stands watching hint. lie looks up and is struck motionless to find her eyes upon himn. She comes nearer for a detached scrutinyJ, then crosses right] Ste. Find me Alcanor, daughter. And this hour We leave for Sparta. Pyrr. I am ready, sir. [Exit, lowver right. Stesilaus goes into house, upper left] 143 A SON OF HERMES Bia. She has good eyes, and used them. Overshot, Bry Hermes! I must follow,-'twixt this fool And meditation's eye must interpose WMv soldier self! [Tears off robe, under which he wears a simple, belted tunic, flings jewels from his ears, and drives out Bico. (Goes off, lower right. Enter Pelagon, much ruffled, from street] Pel. Where's Stesilaus Stesilaus, ho! Find Stesilaus! [Stesilaus returns, upper left] 0, my friend, they're mad, A.nd you must fly! I never was so battered! TIhl1e senators cry out you played with them As though their stationed honors were a row Of last year's weanlings,-first to say you bore Full power to treat, then at their open answer T)o cover and prefer the opposite, 1 )eclarin, that their noble terms must cool On th' road to Sparta! As I speak your comrades Are driven through the gates. You must not stay. They'll have your life, they are so worked. Come, come! I know a way-I'll get you through Ste. I'll go The way I came. Pel. Nay, nay, I'll slip you out! Leave here your wife and daughter. In gentler hour I'll send them after, with your son,- Stte. I'll speak Jo Pyrrha-- Pel. No! This way! The world's at somersault! The turtle's on his back, his claws to Heaven! No one would hear me! Me! The voice of Athens! And jeered me down, for I was Biades' kin,- 1-14 A SON OF HERMES Though why the wind sits so I know not! Cone--conle-I was so battered- [Exeut, upper left. Pyrrha atd Biuades enter, low02er right] Bia. But one w ord! Pyrr. I've let you shower words in hope to drain Your breath of them, but they grow to a hail. 1Pelt me no more, Athenian. Iia. 0, that name I hel(l my learl of honor is becorme A woundin, thorn! I'll wear 't no more. l'yrr. You'll be A Spartan Bia. Ay, if you are one! Pyrr. So vows An Athens' captain. Bia. Nay, I have no place, No rank, no office, duty or pursuit, But this my gage is in. Nor rest till I have won! Pyrr. Then you'll (lie weary, sir. So long 'twill take To make me yours. Bia. If you will love my shade I'll on the instant make myself a ghost! Pyrr. Love's burning deeds do ever lie before him. Ile ne'er gets past to make them history. Bia. 0, hear my oath! Thy birthland shall be mine! Pyrr. Whist, Biades! The gods might hear you too. B1ia. I'll swear it in the ears of Zeus! Pyrr. By what Irrevereneed deity wilt break it Bia. Ah, By none, fair Pyrrha! I'll stake my golden part In love's eternity, no land's more dear Tro my own heart than that which gave you birth. PyJrr. Ay. for on Spartan soil the laurel grow-,s 145 A SON OF HERMES Which you would pluck from drenched defeat and set Among your bays. So dear as that! [A clamor is heard in street] Bia. I'll woo In better time. Till then let this pure gem Speak for me on your breast. 'Tis like mny love, No sudden thing. For as this captive fire Dreamed in the heart of earth and could not wake Till beauty born in man sent down his kiss, So lay my love in Life from her first breath, Deep as unconsciousness, till at your step It knew itself. You scorn the half-hour flame, But in your coming like an instant dawn Find all its brevity. Ay, Pyrrha, sweet! And let my token lie, a patient prayer, Upon your bosom. Heaven should have its sun! [Drops the locket into the folds of her dress. She casts it to the ground] Pyrr. Athens is such a sun, and Sparta as my foot Shall overcloud it! [Exit, middle left] Bia. Had she crushed my gem To bleeding dust, I'd pay it o'er to see Such flame unsheathe. Bright Eos necklaced with A darkling east could not more beauteously Threat earth with storm. [Takes zip the locket] You'll wear it yet, my terror, Or I'll cut out the tongue that can not wag To a woman's heart. (Enter Creon from street] What, Creon Dumb with news Which I will guess before your tongue's uncrimped. We've lost our gentle guests Our Spartan friends Are off Ctre. They're driven out. But that is old. Atop that tale, like mountain on a hump, Comes one will wake you, sir! The tumbling streams 146 A SON OF HERMES That bore the Spartans out, rage back again, A gathere(d flood against you,-you, my lord! wia. Ah! Cre. Sinon's poison sj)reads till men That yesterday lay down before you, now C'ry for your death. I warned you, friend! Bia. You did. lie happy then. Your duty's done. (re. Oh, sir, Your house is sacked, and all your golden plate, Palrcelle(l on rol)ber l)acks, is earried out Anid spots the city with a hundred sulns! lRio. Tlerels more i' the world. Let that not trouble you. Cre. Your robes are in the street, and carters' wheels Grow royal with them! Rvia. Well, there yet are looms. While weavers know their art this is no loss. Crc. Your p)ictures- Bio. What If they've one finger laid Oni those immortal treasures 're. All are riddled! Bia. All, Creon Not myn Zeuxis No! The stones Hurled at it would have )aused as though a god Were hidden there! Cre. All, friend. Bia. Ay, these are tears. 13ut I will ehlide them and think on my sword. Now I mlulst benid me to the senators,- Get leave to call my troops,- [Enter a body of seniators, A mentor at their head] Most noble lords, I wvas albout to seek you. Amiien;. Shifts your mood, I'roud Biades The answer's not yet cold 147 A SON OF HERMES That camne so hot from you,-a two-edged shame That struck into your honor as our own! Bia. Nay, gentle senators, Athenian fathers! That you could note so low, so foul a charge As secret Sinon brought against my name, Gave me the block, the bellows, and the fire Wherewith I forged my answer,-one that kept iMy honor whole, and if your own needs surgery, Lay 't not to me, but let good sense mend all, And give tue leave to go against this mob Now scarring Athens' beauty. A men. Go alone. Bia. I have an army. Amen. Ask Lord Sinon that. Bia. When fishes drown! Amen. Put out your single arm, And feel your army in it. Athens' troops Are now in Sinon's charge. You are no more Her general. You are banished. Bia. Is this so Senators. It is. Bia. Then I am dumb. Words on your heat Would fall as snow,-and I am not a man To let my scars speak, though my body bears Enough to cry you shamne. A men. We know your valor, But with it goes a pride no State could bear But that it must. Make your escape, my lord. The pleoI)le pressed us, and we save your life By this (decree. Bia. 0, Athens that did love me! Amen. And now repents that love, for know you, sir, Though men may be irreverent as they choose, 'They'll follow only who revere their gods. [Exeunt senators] 148 A SON OF HIEIRMES Cre. But you were meek! Bia. If I had let them know I've yet a tongue, they might liave had that too, And in the courts where I must sue for love 'Twill be inv royal member,-all my suite And kingly plenitude. Cre. They will repent. Bia. On knees, sir! Banished! 0, my heart could lend Hot Sirius fire! Cre. You! Banished! Bia. Nay, while sense From wit and speech are undivorced, and courage Knits them in purpose drinking up the seas That distance me from Athens, who shall say I'm banished Bribe mankind and nature too, Ye bleary senators! Suborn the winds! Put me at end of farthest watery leagues! While there's no rift between me and my gods, I'll shake this night as from Apollo's brow And show my day emergent! C(re. Where wilt go Bia. To Persia first, where I amn dear to Phernes. And then, perchance, with I'ersia at my back, Sparta may find me fair, though now I'm black As Pluto's poker. We'll not flag, my heart, Till every fleet o' the world rides here and makes This saucy harbor tremble! What an ague then Shall shake thee, Athens, thinking on this hour! [Curtain] 149 ACT III SCENE: The assembly ground of the Spartans. Maiden.s discovered. A dance is ending. Nac. We limped through that. Apollo! Are there thorns I' the grass We'll better it. Come! Dia. No tinme. I hear The senators. Nac. They wait beyond the bridge For old Aristogeiton. - Come, my maids! You, Dianessa need to school your toes. 'Twas you played wild-foot-twice! Art. Save her a slip When Agis' eye is on her! Nac. Faith, she'd be No bride this year! Dia. What ache for thatHis love Is slight if 't hangs upon my toes. Nac. My troth! Less might catch more! Dia. You, Nacia, are not so lithe As a ferret in a hoop. An Athens maid Might labor so in all her skirts. Nac. lo, ho! A little puff blow such a fire The coals Were hot then! Myr. Nay, my girls, we'll douse you both I' the river yonder if you flame at naught. 130 A SON OF H1ERWMES How, Dianessa, dance the maids of Athens But surely not in skirts! Dia. My father saw them, And so he said. Myr. Why dance at all then Grace That cadent girdles the invisible waves Of flute and harp is born of faining limbs, And hide them who may see it The. No doubt they bob Like bears in blankets, and believe thev dance. Nac. Pyrrha could say. But since she came Athens Who hears her speak from Art. She keeps from all our games, And scorns the wrestle, though our noblest youths Have sent her challenge. The. Ay! Lets Dianessa wear The vestal bays, nor cares if Hieron Be there to see. Myr. Come, Pyrrha, tell us how The Athenian maidens dance with shrouded feet. Pyrr. They wear their robes as Morning does the mist That makes her beauty greater and her dream Live on in men. Dia. Ah, maidens, here's a tale For the other ear. Pyrr. The bare and brazen sun That's up without a cloud, cheers to the hunt, The fight, the bruited path,-makes careful dames Send linen to the ford, and say "Zeus grant, We'll air the beds!" Nac. Ay, wives must know their season. Pyrr. But let night-swimming MNorn come up In foamy veil, and her priest-hearted rose 151 A SON OF IIERMES Stays lusty feet and gives adventure's hour To the achieving soul. Art. What kin is this To th' matter Pyrr. Why, Artante, when we dance Half naked as we do before the youths, They say of us "A bed-mate there, and strong To bear and breed brave warriors for my house." But they in Athens who so watch the dance, See sheatheless Being shine through form that would, Not softened thus, first fill the ruder eye And leave unseen the token of a grace Earth may not shadow. Dia. Nay, you speak Athenian! Let's have it in our tongue. Nac. What grace can le So badgered in a gown Pyrr. Ask flying doves, That rhythm the air till it doth ache with loss When they have passed. So have these maidens taught The silken fold to be their winged part. Myr. Ask her no more. Alack, our Pyrrha drank Of charmed Ilissus,-must go back to Athens! Nac. But come! Our dance! We yet are Spartai maids. Dia. [Taking wreath from her hair] Our flowers are far from morning. See, these buds Are pale as they had never known the dew. But I know where some fleecy clusters blow And daintily edge the stream. Like tiny birds, Green-necked and lily-winged, they are alight A hundred to a stem. I'll have a wreath Of them. Myr. And I. These sad things are less bright Than locks they should adorn. 152 A SON 01' II ERIMES 15 I rt. New garlands, all! W\here grow these favors 1)ianessa, lead! [T7hc!, go off, rc(r left. Pyrria inaits a (l wcitatie itio- n1C7t, then turns tofolloiw. A bong/i bruishes her cheek. S/hc puts up her hand and pllcs (1 binch of berries from it] PIjrr. "I'is like his rtiiy. Nature loved them b)oth With the sarnne kiss,-tlle berry and the stone. [Fastdens cluster to her bosoIii] "Heaven should have its sun." Tlhis sun will fade, But that I threw away had ne'er lost lhuie So near my heart, giving and takiing fire. [Sometinigtli throt'ni fromt t/ic bus/ics falls (it her feet. S/hc gazces (it it. nIot taking it Up] Al ! Biades' jewel ! Who . . . . . [Loolks aboit gitarl- edlC!y] [B iades comes fro)m th/c woods. Ie is (lres.sc(l (is a lelot 2tn a sautit tnieC of goal-skin, an(] wtears a large cap] I'yrr. Whose slave are you, Bold 1Ielot Bia. [Kneelinig] Thine! [Takies off cap, revealing hisi quantity of darkc cnrls] Plyrr. Are you in love with death, That you have come to Sparta Bia. Nay, I come A hanished man. Pyrr. I've heard how you were plucked. Bia. No feather left. Pyrr. Life, sir, is yours, and you Cast it away in Lacednilon. Bia. Nay,- Pyrr. You whose dark outrage made her honor bleed, Think on her burning wound to set the foot Of impudence and live 15:', A SON OF HERMES Bia. I know the Spartans. They will exalt my courage above death. Pyrr. Courage that reckons so bates its own worth Till a coward might disport it. You will meet Death's mercy but no other. Bia. No, the virtue Dearest in them they'll hold dear in myself. But if not so,-blow out your candle, Fate, I'll go to bed. Pyrr. Why not have fled to Persia She's softer mannered,-has no aching pride Your death would poultice. Bia. Pyrrha lives in Sparta. Hlowe'er I set my feet, love turned them here. Which way I bent some tinged thought of thee Crept as a secret sun to every sense And made the hidden threads of being blush Like coral boughs when Aphrodite's foot Is on the wave. Pyrr. Athenian, what canst hope From Stesilaus' daughter Dia. I ask naught. But had a gem of hers that hourly cried To clasp its mistress, and to bring it thus, With Death a looker-on, I thought might make The peasant service shine so sovranly That even her royal and offended eyes Alight gently entertain it. Pyrr. Deck the bark Of yon shag ilex and 'twill wear your trinket With the same grace and thanks. Bia. Thy grace is hers Who walked unrobed from hands of the high gods Grown jealous of the beauty they had made. Not this, nor any jewel may adorn it, Ai SO .N OF 1 E' RME1 1 3 Though swaritest l)pe)l)les migh1it grow ruly p)roud, And rLul)ies thirol) wvith bmreath to b)e so worn. And for thy tlflmiks, I have not coIIIe this way To ask for them. Keel) themn for oiie so loor He lets his heart for hire. [Puts locket slowvly unlder his tunic] And yet my ears Fed on a sighl when I -was hidden there. PIyrr. Alho is so strong as never to have sighed That secret moment wVas my weakest too. I'm iiow a Spartan, and my father's name Is Stesilatus. You maly know it, sir, Who w-ert of Athens, but whose country now Is so Ilmuch ground as you mray l)eg of foes, And that, Zeus icelj), theyll measure without grudge. You're not so tall your grave would sCant a field, Or make a gar(de. less. [Souud.s of approachl aeross bridge, lowrer right] Bia. I)oes Fate come noisy-footed I thought she crept, an(l loved the jungle-leap. Pyrr. Hide, sir! I'll b)e as secret as these shrubs, And not reveal you. sooner. With the night You may steal out of Sparta. Bia. I'll go out winged With Spartan ships, and honor as a bride Shall sail with me! PIyrr. Are you so mad Then (lie! [Euter ephors aud senators, all old ench, followred by warriors, then. youthst, w1ires, maidcens, children, atid attcdant s/ares. Biadees draws his cap dowrn ant lics slonching on the grass. The ephors and senators ta/le seats which the lIelots hare prepared for them] First Ephor. What! Mlust we wait Where are these merry slips 155 A SON OF HERMES First Senator. The woods are dancing yonder. By that sign They come. [Re-enter Dianessa, Myrta, and companions, who dance be- fore the assembly, the figure symbolizing the capture of Persephone. They continue dancing, the youths joining, until every maid has won a partner. Ste. [To Archippe] Our Pyrrha does not dance. Why's that Arc. No why at all. I'll rate her. Sulky chuff! Ste. Ay, you'll be on her heels! Arc. The younger maids Are chosen. She'll be left. There's IHicron With eyes like begging moons which way she goes, But she draws off,- Ste. Well, well! She'll please herself. Arc. In Phania, I'd have had a daughter now Ste. What, madam Gabble here Be done! Agis. [Among the young men] I thirst. [To Biades] Up, slave! Fill me a cup. Con)e, move, you drone! [Biades slowly rises and goes to spring under trees, rear] A Young Lord. What Helot's that Another. Some dog o' the farms. A staff On 's hack might help his legs. Another. I'll put mine to 't. [Biades lazily returns with cup. In handing it to Agis he spills part of the contents] Agis. [Emptying the cup in Biades' face] By Dis and Rhadamanthus! Sot! Whose man Is this Bia. My own, you Spartan whelp! [Gives Agis a blow, so unexpected that it knocks him down. His head strikes the root of a tree and he does not rise. A number of Spartans rush upon Biades. Others bear Agis off, left] 156 A SON OF HERMES Voices. The dog! Tread him to earth! Down! down! Bia. [Springing from them and taking off his cap] What, Greeks You'd kill A brother A Voice. Biades! Bia. My friends Voices. Ha, ha! His friends! Lys. What friending was 't you gave us on the day You drove us out of Athens Hoot and club Then spoke how dear you loved us. We had not Brought off our lives if your desire had dared Blow full on Athens' heat. Gir. Brought off our lives Where's Heracordus Stoned at Athens' gate, And dead upon the road. Bia. Nay, brothers Gir. Ha! If you're a brother, weep beside his grave. I'll show it you. Lys. And all the graves where lie The dead we brought two bleeding years ago From Decalea's wall, where you gave entry Then broke the truce with charge! Bia. But hear, my lords- Gir. Come, wail beside them till they wake and ask What new calamity brews in your tears! [Enter Lenon] Len. Agis yet swoons. That root was edged with death. We fear be's gone. i r. For this alone, Athenian, You should not live,-thouglh all your else-wrought deeds Were inercy's pawn for you. Bia. Ye fathers, hear! If ye know Justice,-and the world has said 157 A SON OF HERMES Her lo\ ers dwell in Sparta,-sliall lie cry To scorn-shut ears, whose injuries taking voice Should pass in thunder where your virtues sleep Hear one whose wrongs have bruised him to your coast, And let it not be said that you from safe Unshaken rocks met suppliant hands with spears! Ste. Ye noble elders, there's a sort of mercy On which dishonor feeds. As p)asty, soft A;s butter in time sun, it chokes time sluice Of reason,-in marshy 0o)1literation lays The marks and bounds of justice,-nauseous spreads Till mind is left no throne. Let it not come Where sit the guards of honor! Bia. I grant you so. But what I ask is not thus natured, sir! Sages of Lacedwirnon, there's a nmercy That veins the very rock of Justice' seat. It is the agent of divinest mould In all the world. By it the min(l grows fair With blossoms (leity may gatlher. 'Tis As precious to tlme soul as soutli-lipped winds To the winter-aching earth. Go bare of it, Though ye know Virtue ye wear not her pearl. I beg, my life that you in saving rnc May save the heavenliest favor given to men, Nor crush it out of Sparta, leaving her The scarred and barren terror gods forsake Second Ephlor. Shall hear his plea lIe may have argu- ment Of worthy note. Second Senator. 'Tis not our way to judge The dumb. Third Ephor. [Very old, creakingly] Why, if a lion, 1)oar, or I)ard, 1J8 A SON OF HERMES AIE9 Or any beast, should pause as we did burn In chase, and beg us hear his cause, I think Our ears would ope. Ste. Ay, and the earth too, sir, Bearing such wonder on it! Folly's self Would le too wise to listen to this man, Yet ye would hear him! Fourth Eplhor. More than would. We will. Bia. This clemency shows like yourselves,-the gem Of mind's adornment, as ye are the lustre Of Sparta's matchless race! Ste. Nowl he is off. Will gallop with us to what ditch lie choose. First Senator. Speak, Biades. Bia. Of Agis then, mv lords,- This newly raw offence,-be my first word. And I'll not stay for garnish. Truth is bare, And bravest so. Though 'twas my HIelot guise Drew Agis' insult on me, think you, sirs, It fell upon a proud and free-born Greek, And who is here that could with putting on A slave's vile dress put on his nature too, Drain off his ancient, high nobility, And in one brutish instant lose the blood That made his fathers heroes Is there one First Ephor. We grant you, none. Bia. Your hearts then struck my blow, Therefore must pardon it. If Agis' death Falls from it. 'tis but accident that sleeps In every motion, and in mine awoke Untimely. Who, so shorn of wisdom, thinks That I, a suitor here for barest life, Meant him a vital stroke that would o'ercry My prayers and make a miock of supl)hiance I'll mourn with you, my lords, but ask you wring 159 .o A SON OF HERMES The neck of Fate, and leave my head w here 'tis To praise the just of Sparta. Third Senator. So wve might But for the heavier charges that engage The sighs of mercy 'gainst you ere they blow r1'llis deed a pardon. What of 1)ecalea Bia. That was a ruse the Spartans taught me, sir, When at Eleusis they ensnared my troops Within the gates, and naught passed out again Save rivers of their blood. If I must die For D)ecalea, die you with me, men, For red Eleusis. Fourirh Senator. This is justice too. I saw Ellensis. He is clear on that. Ste. I warn you, senators! The fleetest wit That pauses on his guile is honey-mired And ne'er gets farther. First Ephor. We'll not keep his road An inch past justice, but we'll go so far. Ste. So you resolve, but Hecate at his smile Would plod beside himi like a market lass, Forgetting vengeance. Bia. Honored Stesilaus:- Ste. Honored Ay, Biades! With gibe and jeer That shook the walls of Athens! By my staff, I'll- Iia. Noble fathers, hear me for yourselves, Who, loved of Pallas, in this council sit H1er earthly heirs and nature's demigods! This rage of Stesilaus is itself Sanction and seal for my adoption here, A son of Sparta. Ste. Ha! Now he would drive The mares of Diomed! Bia. My lords,- 16;0 A SON OF HERMES Ste. Prove this Bia. Why made you Stesilaus head and tongue Of envoy unto Athens For you thought His mind, most apt, fluidic, politic, More quick than danger, would take shape of need, Repairing your (lefense fast as you found Your safety cramped. If I o'ercame him then WXith wit that watched with sleepless spear at door Of Athenis' housed trust, inust you not crown in me The quality held sovereign in him Ste. You hear, you elders,-mnust! Bia. Ay, must,-and must! Or at the fontal spring of justice break Your cups and thirst. No alien dripple may Content you then. Firtst Senator. We listen, Biades. Bia. When swords of an uneven temper meet, Who scorns the better proved Nay, you do set Your love upon it,-in your armory Give it a burnished place. And I who crossed With Stesilaus, for my triumph ask To be of Sparta's armor. Ste. Our dead shall answer! Bia. They shall. For every heart my steel made cold, I I)roof how well I served my Athens,-proof Of loyal heat with which I'll serve the State That makes me hers! A true-bred Greek, outthrust And homeless, seeks a foster-land, that he May lift for her his sword, nor wasteful let The chiefest virtue in him dlie unused While his lost name no more climbs to the gods. Second Senator. Would you ally with us 'gainst Attica Bia. I'm yours for that. By th' mother of the sea, Her tears shall wash your feet! Third Senator. What way wouldst take lfil A SON OF HERMES Bia. The way to Phernes and the Persian fleet Now boastful before Rhodes. Grant me a convoy, I'll forge with Persia Lacedeimon's sword, And cut the crest from Athens. Fourth Senator. We have failed With Phernes. Bia. You'll not fail again. le's sworn My friend. First Senator. Our ships are few. Bia. But Corinth holds Tier sea-wings spread for any need of yours. Ste. Hear me, ye warriors! He will lead Our force afar, then stir up neighbor foes To scourge unarmored Sparta! Think that one, Cradled in silk and fed on nectared drops- Bia. There, sir, I'm bold to say you're off the road Of truth. My nurse was of your people, brought From sterner Sparta for my orphan rearing, By my good uncle Pelagon,-a man Ye know your friend. From her wise hands I took Your doughty-nurturing bread, and broth black-brewed, That drives the shade of fear from veins of men. Ste. I've bread now in my wallet. Let us see Your teeth in 't. [Takes ont a piece of coarse, stale bread and offers it to Biades] Bia. Pardon, sir! I do not hunger. A Helot shared with me. Ste. 'Twill keep till you Would sup. But you must try our broth, sir. Pulse Is seething yonder. Youths, bring here a bowl. We have a guest who'd call his childhood up In good black brew. Hark, Lenon! [Whispers to Lenon, who goes off left] 162 A SON OF HERMES Third Ephor. It is truth. Aimycla wNas your nurse. I know the year That she ws as sent to Athens. Bia. On her lap I learned a love for Sparta that returned In wvNarrior days to blunt my assaulting sword An(l wounid me from your side. She taulght me too Tlhle lYric wafture that deadl hero-lips ScIl( oil un(lyingp,-songs your youlng men sing, Al1(d old men flush to hcar,-anid as a youth I lonlged to make my civil Athens street Echo to Sparta with a brother's call. Third Ephor. But I am moved. Fouirth Ephor. And I. Ste. Art grown so old You'll feed on pap again Come, Biades, A song Anivela taught you! One will prove Your love remembers Sparta. Bia. Sir, I'm not Your zany. Sie. But you'd make my country one, To antic for you. [Re-enter Lenon wvith bowzl of broth] Ste. Here's your portion, sir. Anmvela made no better. Will you drink [(ies 2bowcl to Biades, who regards the black mixture dubioutsly. All are silent, watching hiim. HIe looks at Pyrrhal Bia. [To Pyrrha] Is't poison Pyrr. [Stolid] It may be. Bia. [To Sen ators] Your will 's in this First Senator. It is. Ilia. If this be Juledge that binds me yours, Fellow of b)oar(l and field, I drink long life 163 A SON OF HERMES To our compact. But if death waits here,-to you, 0 comrade shades, and our good fellowship! [Drinks. The Spartans applaud] Ste. You lean to him, and Sparta topples with you! A Young Man. [Entering] Agis is up! He comes! And bears no grudge For a good Greek blow. Says you could give no less. [Enter Agi-s] Bia. High Zeus, I thank thee! Agis, thou dost live To take my pardon and to give me thine! [They take hands] Ste. So soft Lys. Better than blows. Ste. Ha! Like disease He'll spread the woman till our eyes drop tears Instead of fire. When Spartan eagles moult, Tl(hey'll go no farther than Athenian owls. Lys. He's valiant. Ste. There's no braver tongue. Lys. And friend To Phernes. Ste. So he says. Lys. Nay, that's well known. Ste. My captain comrades, and ye aged fathers, If ye had seen him strut, a vanity As brainless as the monkey at his heels, With woman velvets making slut of wealth Trailing foul dust,-a peacock fan at 's cheek Where a soldier's beard should grow, and bangled ears Whose swinging jewels tickled a white neck Soft as a harlot's pillow,-this at time His city laid such honor on his head As would have kept a brave man on his knees For wisdom to uphold it,-had ye looked on this, 164 A SON OF hIERM\ES 1( Ye'd call the weakest naiiden from her wheel To lead our wars ere trust to Biades! First Ephor. A picture this,-shakes faith. Second Ephor. We trust too fear. Ste. Sirs, had ye seen what I but paint-- wia. My lords, I'll wrestle with the stoutest Spartan youth That makes your wars most (dreaded, and these limnbs, Now shrunk with fasting,, wasted an(1 forsook By Fortune that once fed them as her own, Will prove my right to cal)tain Spixrt as host! Stc. Our women could undo voni1, girl of Athlens! Meet his bold brag wvith this. One of our maids Shall throw him! Ay! Thenl he'll betake his shame To any shade will hide it. Hie. Sir, I sue To lay this boast. Agis. My prayer be first, my lords! Voices. A lot! A lot! Ste. Nay, sons, a fall from you Would give him hope to pick his honor up And steal again to favor. Ile will plead That you, full-fed, met him in famished hour, When Fate hung him with bruises leeching strength, And gave you victory. Let my offer hold. A maiden to him, and we'll hear no more Of valorous Biades. First Eplior. We are agreed. Second Ephor. Who is our strongest maid Lys. We've six whose claims Push equal. All in public game have won The bow of Artemis. First Ephor. We'll choose from these. Bia. Olympus, shower me woes! I will not cringe, So they be man's. But save me from a mock 165 A SON OF HERMES That makes misfortune past seem sweet as drops From Hera's healing cup! Dia. A mock The gods Have never honored you till now. M,1yr. See these, My bantling Arms that made Kalides wear A three months' bruise! The. And these have locked the strength Of Lenon in defeat! Dia. Ask Miirador If he liked well the sandy bed I gave him. Nac. Bethink you now how you'll outcrow disgrace, For you'll be short of breath when you've gone through The brash I'll give you. Dia. Then he'll show his reefed And wattled skin, and say that want of bread O'ercame him, not our valor. Art. Look vou, maids! His hollow eyes do beg some pity of us. We'll give him yet a chance, and mate him with Our lame Coraina. She's near well again. Will drop her crutch to be our champion. Bia. Zeus, Behold me patient! Furies, though I lack Some vaunting flesh, the sharpest ill that on My body ravins feeds a spirit that MNight meet with Heracles and give him need Of both his arms! Dia. Ha! Better! Maids, his tongue Will fight yet! Ste. Peace! The ephors choose That Dianessa bear this honor off. She threw strong Mirador, first of the youths, Which puts her o'er the rest. 166) A SON OF HERESAM ES First Ephor. We've else determined That with the fall the Athenian forfeits life. Bia. And if I win, my lords Since life must pay Defeat, should victory not solicit me With counterpoised prize First Eplior. We shall accept you Leader and comrade, and give escort fair To hear your suit to Phernes. Llys. More! The maid Shall be your bride, and bind you son ind brother To Sparta's love. Second Ephor. You, Stesilaus, assent Ste. Since without risk you may pursue your folly, I'll not oppose you. First Eplor. Dianessa, you Abide our will Dia. And welcome it. 'Twill work Like Mars in me, and make my arm The gallows of his fame. The Athenian lady! I'd choose a husband among men. Bia. And I, My generous, dear lords, would woo and win Some mute and humble maid. I would not force The noble Dianessa bend her head To one unworthied by a hostile Fate. First Ephor. Tut, sir! If Fortune's love returns with heat That makes you conqueror, by that same sun Her pride will melt, and you will find her meek As gosling in your hand. Second Ephor. 'Tis settled so. Wear what you win. Pyrr. [Rising] Ye reverend men, and you, My noble father, may my suit reveal My love to Sparta and your love to me, 16-1 A SON O IvF II f R A ES Which has not spoken in this act of yours That overseers me and gives up my due To Dianessa. First Ephor. Ila Pyrr. Though Mirador Was forced below her, never in a bout IHas she ta'en honors from me, while I oft Have left her down. Second Ephor. Speak'st truly Pyrr. Hear herself Avouch it. Dia. Ay, you overmate me, but The gap between us w-ill not cast the match To Biades. And I wias chosen. Fourth Ephor. Nay, You must give place. Pyrr. I've other reason, sir. It is my dear, war-honored father lays This match on Sparta, and my pride of house Would bear his counsel through the act that sets The sage's seal upon it. First Ephor. A daughter, sir! Ste. Bare duty might so speak. Pyrr. This gives me warmth My maiden comrades lack. By every vein My father gave me, his time-laurelled brow Shall never wear a garland less! Second Ephor. Well sworn Pyrr. And for I saw- Third Ephor. More reasons Pyrr. -the rude shame The Athenian put upon the ambassadors, And mine own eyes bore him in lowest semblance, Demeaned from manhood, his dishonor wrapped In purple cost that left it vet more naked, 16i8 A SO0 N OF ItI EIES 169 I swear hli shall not honored lead our wars! If our gray heroes fail us, we have dlaies To choose from,-need not go to Athens! lFirst Ephor. This speaks! The victory's won w-here courage makes Such stout provision. PyIrr. If I fail, my lords, Tlien gods are mnongers andl their favors sell, D)enyivng honest prayers. Ly.s. Come, Biades. Art ready Bia. Ay. long past! lFir4t Ephor. Your )laces then. 9S'e. Delay, you! Bia(1es, wvith mnodesty UInlooked for, hut most fit, you gave tup claim To D)ianessa,- Bia. Nay, 'tVas hut an offer Whose bounty met refusal. Ste. I'll accept it In Pyrrha's nalle. Bia. So pruldent against loss This caution, sir, gives me a victor's heart. Ste. Tritumiph is hers a certain thousand times, And youirs a dicer's once. slipped you between Hiccotugh and snore of gods at shutting time. But since that once will have a thousandth chance To trouble me, I'll grant you free of Pyrrha. Bia. Wait till 'tis begged. Lysander spoke with kind And equal lhonor, which (lid soften me To leave his da(ughter his. And others here Have tendered me the gentle looks that breed The answering l)enison till hearts of earth Feel heaven's element. BHut you, whose hate Should hiss from crawling shape, not upright man's. Wake fires in me that eat through godly patience 169 A SON OF HERMES And sweep to battle. I'll endure no further. Back with your taunts! And if 'twill make you sore Where pride is daintiest, I'll your daughter wed Because she is your daughter! Ste. Bark, you puppy, But you'll not carry it! Bia. Were she featured foul As snaked Medusa,-her brow a hanging night,- Her figure hooped as age when chin and toes Are neighbors,-and of speech so scaly, harsh As Stesilaus,-I, with no more color Or shade of reason than that you deny me, Would make her bride. The ephors gave their word, And what I win I'll wear! First Ephor. We'll see you do. Content you, Stesilaus. None will weep To know your bluff soul matched. To place! To place! [They wrestle. Pyrrha loses. Silence, then applause for Biades] A Lord. My heart upheld him, for I know him brave. Another. I saw his dripping sword on Theban plain Cut through the knotted fray and make two fields O' the combat. Another. He can pray too, Delphi knows! Another. But when his gallant prayers their action find The gods themselves rage in them. First Ephor. [To Pyrrha] Daughter, take Fair thanks from us for brave support of Sparta, And having lost, more thanks for giving her Another soldier. Has defeat made soft Your heart for swift espousal Bia. Let me woo In slower way, good father. Tho' my boast Rose high 'gainst Stesilaus' scorn, I'm not Of heart so rash that I would lose her love 170 A SON OF HERMES By taking it. With Sparta's aid now mine, I'll ask her choose a nol)le guard and sail With nme, that 1, by tiine and fortune graced, May win a double suit, herself and Persia. First Ephor. We'll think of it. Our plans are still unthreshed. Come with us, Biades. [E'phor.s, wit/h Senators and Biades, lead t/e way orer bridge. All follow except Ste.silans and Pyrrha] Ste. How was 't he won And be was livid famine! Scurfed with weeks Of beggary! While you-such armns had saved Antiope from Theseus! [Pyrrha droops silent] Up, my daughter! We'll make this fall our hope. You shall take sail With Biades- Pyrr. Gods hear me, no! Ste. You will. I know his aim. He will betray our force To Athens,-pardon's price. Athenian ease Is in his mnarrow like a siren sleep, And all this hardy show is but to buy His languors back. You'll watch within his ship, With Hieron a second secret eye, And when his treachery ripens, take command And bring him bound to Sparta. Pyrr. Be so near Sail in his ship Ste. Be near him as a wife. Watch close. Lie in his thoughts. though not his bed. And if he presses to the shrine of favor, Here is my dagger. This will be your guard. Let him meet death upon it,-and that death Be honor's sanctuary. Come! 'My brow 11, I 1,12 A SON OF IERMEIIES Must smooth submissive to the senators. C'lear too your face ivith sunmmer policy. fThtis openly we'll hide. The State's turned fool, Anrd naught between her and perdition save An old man and a girl! [E.rit] Pyrr. [Gazing at dagger] If this cold blade Were seeking traitors 't might look in my heart. [Curtain] ACT IV SCENE,: On board a galley otT Athens. Au11 open door left of centre, rear, sho'S a oon1lit seSa. (Cres.sets burn iuq wvithin. Pyrrha (li.scorered, xeated and filugerinq(l a(hqj- ger. A diminiishinig 8ound of dippinig oars and rouer.s sin q ing Y. God of the l)old who ride W\ithI song o'er their (lead Whose unsown graves wvait wvide, The siners' Cled,- Poseidon. I)efrield, l)efrien(d, And the good wind sen(l ! The sirens are on their rocks; Like a p)ierce(1 moon Weeping her gol(l, their locks To the waters run. Poseidon, befriend, befriend, And the good wind send! Fleet are the foam-toothed hounds That hunt unfed, With hunger that aches like wounds, And ships their l)read(. PNoseidon, l)efrien(d. I)efriend, And the good wind send! [Enter Lysander] PqIrr. Lysander! You Is 't b)attle Lys. At dawn wre move Upon the Athenian ships. 173 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. They've come from harbor Lys. Nay, lurking still, fear-cabled to the land, Like weanlings round a skirt. Pyrr. At last a battle! And Biades is true. The watch is done. I'm sick of spying, hanging on him like A doubt with teeth. Ile leaves this galley then Lys. Commands from the Ino, now so brave repaired She sits her place as though the sea and air D)cbated who should claim her, and she no more Adorns both elements than herself 's adorned By our young admiral. Pyrr. Ile is gone So soon Lys. WVent, but is here again, and here must stay These next three hours or more. Pyrr. Why so, Lysander Lys. We sacrifice aboard Thrasyllus' ship, Where now the captains gather, and the band Of one who leads the foe to his fathers' hearth Would cloud the omen. Ile must keep apart. Pyrr. You've told him that Lys. We have not dared. Pyrr. Not dared Way, Spartan lions, for the Athenian puppy! Lys. He's tender with his honor. Pyrr. His honor! Lys. Soft I We shunt all danger if you mew him here Unwitting of our hand. Pyrr. I do not wear. Athene's wgis on my jerkin, friend. Lys. You can divinely drug his vanity Without immortal aid. Attach him by 't, For free he'll chafe. Drift with him in such wise He'll not suspect our rudder. K 4 A SON OF HERMES S Pyrr. Ay, more lies. Lys. Truth is no albsolute virtue. 'Tis a vice If 't takes at screw from safety. Pyrr. There is law Higher than Sparta utters. If not so, What mean our altars, and at kneeling world Lys. 11mn-m! I delay the sacrifice. l)ost know I take my D)ianessa A virgin's hand Ai\ist weave the victim's garland. 1Piyrr. Ali, the nmooon Of Artemis! A virgin's lhand. They ask Not mine LyS. You are a bridle in Sparta's eyes. Wmild Trutth might s)eak it too! For Biades Ih.as won all love but yours. Pyrr. I'll wed no traitor. Ly. What IHe is false Pyrr. Ay, false to Athens. Ly1J. Pliut! [Elnter Hieroit] Hie. How like you this, sir Biades has stri)ped 'I'The galley of its rowers,-sent themii all to his gilded Ino,-every boat in charter lo bear his traippmgs,-parchmnts. IIaps, and( gifts Fromn Phernes,-curtains, instruments Lys. The stiltv Goes witlh tile admiral, and what other way Thlan by the boats Say naught of 't. Ilie. This a time To spend a feathering! Lys. Nay Hlie. And why send all A half-a third-had answered. T1here's not left An oarsman on the galley save the men W1lho brought you from the Thetis. I 75 A SON OF HERAIES Lys. You've the guard,- Yourself its head. Give Biades his way When prudeILce pays no cost. We've hedged and hemmed His wrestling will until his pride is brashed To the rebel quick - Mie. Sst! Ile is here. [Biade-s stands i7 door] Bia. Lysander, They hail you from Thrasyllus' ship. You stay The rites. Lys. [Troubled] But is it time Bia. Full time. Lys. AIy Bia. Is waiting. Lys. I-you, sir Bia. You'll bear my To our priestly captains. Lys. You stay here Bia. I Shall, If you'll not press me other. As you )ray [o r clearer omen an(1 a morning battle, Let only those whose land holds theni untainted Stand in the holy ring. Lys. Above our prayers This act will spetak to Heaven irn Sparta's name And( make her gods your own. Bia. If that might be, Lysander! To have no altars is a fate Man can not bear for lo,. Ilie. The rowers, sir! flow soon do thev return Bia. They've leave to see The midnight toward with their fellow crew On tlme Into. boat- y grace 176 A SON OF IIERMIES Ilie. 'Midnight! Bit. Loyal beggars, all. llhev're sa(l to lose their captain, and I pay Their grieving flattery with this stinted lease From duty here. Thiey'll use 't in prayerful rite- [lie. Not prayer! The casks will drip too free for that. If any prayers come from the heart to throat. They'll (downward -wash agaiu, not out and fly. Sayy'st midnight, sir Bia. I do. They will return III tilme to set the galley from time cast Of morning, daner. Hie. Move again Time ship Is now to rearward, by some rods. hia. She is. And shall go farther. Here's no fighting (leek. Hie. Ay, these soft cabins, Corintih-modelled as A prince, would make a floating holiday, Put soldiers from their l)lalce. Ilia. The ship must lie Full east, on th' safest wave. We've treasure 'neath Thllese sails that make their weathered woof more dlear Than threadecl gold of hlera's mantle. [lie. Ath, You mean the women. Bia. No,-a woman. Come, I ,vs.aller. Lys. Sir, what time wilt take your )lace Aboard tme lmo' Bia. Give me till the midnighdt. I'll from that muoment be your admiral. But for these gentle hours that lie between, I would as merest man use their light wings To chase a hope through heaven. , _7 A SON OF HERMES Lys. [With a glance at Pyrrha] And bring it down, My lord! [Exeunt Lysander, Biades, and Hieron] Pyrr. Now, Impudence, no more's to do! Go up and take thy crown. Before my eyes lie teaches them he wooes me, and my pride Mutely abets his guile. [Holds up the dagger] My fine defence, Thou'rt warder to a bosom unbesieged. In Biades' contempt I have a guard That saves thine office. Go, you glittering mock! [In a passion of resolution she throws the dagger through the door] That's done. No matter. He does not look at me, Or looks as though his eyes begged pardon of him, For their chance stop on nothing. [Re-enter Biades, the dagger in his hand] Bia. Here's a toy Caught from the rigging. Yours, I think. [Offers it to her. She does not take it] It must be dear. I've seen you fondle it. Is it not yours Pyrr. It was. Bia. Then is. And worth Your keeping. A good blade, though Spartan plain. Pyrr. I'm weary of it. In Athens I shall find Another pattern. Bia. [Testing blade] Fine and strong. Will wear A hundred years, then make a door for death. [Turns it against his heart. She starts] You'll take it, Pyrrha. To throw it to the sea Were waste for an Athenian. Pyrr. Keep it then. Bia. You give this blade to me 178 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. I care not. Keep What you have praised. Bia. [Pressing it against his cheek] A gentle weapon,-but I've somewhat 'gainst it. [Goes to door and throwrs it far into the sea] Kiss the waves, my friend! [Retitrnts to Pyrrha and sits by her] Bia. [Softly] I leave the ship to-night. Pyrr. [ Uneasyl And time you led The fleet to battle. You've excused delay Till palling breath became the shroud of action, And yet refused it funeral. Bia. I know How you have doubted. 0, this soul of Sparta, That can not trust! It peeps from every eye, Deepest where kindest. Tags each friendly word With its unspoken dread,-and comradeship, That strives to wrap it in a gala cloak, Strains vainly round the huge, dun doubt, agape In dreary revelation. Pyrr. You are free To leave us. Bia. Free Five Spartan nobles watch Beside me, move with every step, for so The admiral must be honored! Hieron Foregoes his place at sacrifice to serve My dignity. Not for his gods he'll put A furlong 'tween us. Pyrr. He's the ship's good eye. And all the men except the lords of guard Are, by your grace, a-neighboring. Would you leave The galley without watch Bia. No, Pyrrha, sweet. But I would woo you with no ear at the door. 1,9 A SON OF HERMES Pzyrr. [Risiuig] My lord! Bia. [[idifferenl] Nay, then. I can't oppose the sex Of Aphrodite. My one frailty. Pqrr. One! Bia. What I have more Pyrr. The moments of your life Are not so many! Bia. Gods be thanked, I'm young! How may I change to please a Spartan scold Pyrr. Be anything you're not. Bit. You have not heard I am the admiral of the Spartan fleet, With Persian Phernes yonder at my beck, Broad-winged with all lPhcnicia You know not I am a general PJyrr. Oh, to he that name, Not make 't thy bauble! What dost know Of secret, sleepless hours, anid delving thought Trhat nations may lie stife By wNhat grave right Wear you the title What deep sacrifice Bu1(t. Leave sacrifice to fools and women! Ay, iAIore lies are huddled in that saintly wor(l Than ever smirked outside it. T lie strong soul Low bowling there, lies to his god,-the weak Lies to the world behind a holy shield That turns the spear of justice. Pallas, hear! A general makes himself a master, lest The State make him a servant. Pyrr. True in Atlensl B1ut you've another name. I've heard you called 'he young philosopher. Play you at that. 'Twill tire naught but the tongue. Yours will go far. Bia. Nay, spare me toil of spirit searchling through Earth, sea, and sky for phrases magical 18() A SON OF lER- iRA1E1 To wrap creation in, as 'twere a babe Each man might, call his own could he but find Some good-wife fancy to deliver it. No other hope Pyrr. They name you poet, too. Build round your spirit an Elysian clhcat And l)uzz it through upon a golden wing. Is that not idle enough Bia. You touch Ine now With flattery's gold pOint. I wvince and love The pJain. Yet I'd not be a frolic breath At play with Spring and florets in the (dew, Or move in rhvmed courtesies before The smile or frown of ,ods. Trick nm( dear soul In May-day rags to catch a languid eye. Babble of moods an(d minds, how some think this, Some that, and some have never thought. Drone how On such a (laV one strmck another down, Or led a fleet, or laid a. cit- wall. Pyrr. What w-ould you sing then, pray Iia. I would not sing. Was there not S)oetry before nmen sp)ake Id go behind the broidered veil we've wrought Before the face of one that we loved much An1d then forgot for beautiy of the shroud. The old lere's lost, the new but irks our dream. We listen to ourselves, While round ulS ever Are worlds that vainly pluck uis to their doors, G;iving us sign in lightning, heat, and wave, In flake of snow, flint-spark, and crystal rock, Iii stones that make the iron creep, and color, Fair flag and challenge to our shuttered minds. Pyrr. [Moriing nearer] Oh! Bia. [Seembing to forget her] Round our lives is life whose destiny Is that frontier no word of ours has crossed, 181 A SON OF HERMES But man to come shall plant and harvest there, Where his soul sets the plough. Pyrr. [Softly] You know that too Bia. That life shall warm his barest common way Of in and out. In field and market-place, He'll lay his cheek 'gainst its unbodied love And flush translations of its silent touch. Then will be poets! Thought that now must fail In bird-wing flight, shall from a violet's eye O'erlook the sun. Till then I will not sing. Pyrr. Not fight, philosophize, or sing! What's left for an Athenian Bia. [Remembering her] Love, fair Pyrrha! You know the tale how Chaos once uncurled Her laboring bulk from round a fire-leafed rose And sent its petals drifting down to fields Where mortals foot with chance Whoso they touch Are lovers always, and one came to me. Pyrr. Now here's ambition! And you live for that Bia. Ay there's the charm contents me with dull earth, And puts a rainbow in my listless hand. The way is pleasant if the road be love's, And I'd not shorten it by one maid's eye. To be a lover,-that's the graceful thing. Then one moves velvetly, forgets no curve, And lives his picture, line and color true. Pyrr. That r6le's struck from your play, you'll find, my lord. Maidens will smile, but scorn will set the lip, And women's eyes be warm, but hate their fire For you, the traitor. Bia. Traitor Pyrr. [In the door] See the gleam On Athens, yours no more. The softest breast Within her walls is steel when you are named. 182 A SON OF HERMES Bia. But there are maids in Sparta. Pijrr. Not for you, A traitor to the soil that gave you life. Bia. That soil first cast me off. Pyrr. A mother strikes Her child, but should the child return the blow Gods would droop eyes and blush. Bia. But were I true To my own land, I should be false to yours. Pyrr. A virtue that. A maid might love you then. Bia. A Spartan maid Pyrr. A Spartan maid. But now We hold you as no more than loathed bait To capture Athens. Used as a stuck fly To hook a chub! [Enter Hieron] Bia. What saucy fury sports With Hieron His even smile 's unfixed As the middle of two minds. Hie. Sir, Phernes sends Six maidens from his ship to dance before you. The noble Persian chooses time most fit For wantoning,-the hour of sacrifice And battle prayer. Bia. You're justly kindled. What Though it be royal custom in his East,- A grace from king to king,-to garnish danger With frillet of relief that makes death seem The last-dropped toy, we'll dare to let him know That we are Greeks, and walk the edge of graves With eyes upon the gods. Go, pack them off! Hie. Why,-so I meant. The act struck rudely on Our ritual hour. But if his Eastern mind Paints it a courtesy Bia. A sovereign honor. 183 A SON OF HERMES nie. He is of haughty blood,-burns at rebuff- Bia. Ay, like a hornet blind. A thousand times I've eased his fret and run his humor's mould Like summer wax, lest he should break from Sparta That stood in rigid ruin. Now I leave it! His anger can be put to gentlest sleep, But 'tis no babe when stirred. Choose as you will. Hie. The honor is to you. Be yours the answer. Bia. I'm worn with him. Three hours to-day I played His vanity, while chance touched either side, Waiting the word that should cut through suspense And seal him ours for battle. Hie. To huff his pride 'Tween this and dawn would poorly soothe our own At an uncertain cost. But let him leer I' the oracles' face.... Bia. He has not sent Alissa Hie. There's one so calls herself. Spoke out the name As we should fall before it. Bia. She's most free In Phernes' heart. Knows all the honey-ways To his secret soul, and what is said to her He'll hear ere morn. As you love victory, I hope you met her gently. Hie. If surprise Made greeting harsh, I will undo that harm With softer welcome. And beseech you, sir, To suffer this mistimed civility For Sparta's sake. Bia. I will, dear Ilieron, Since 'tis your suit. Hie. Thanks, thanks, my lord. Bia. Let them come in. I'll see their briefest dance, And give Alissa one commending word, 184 A SON OF hIIERMES Which straight as faithful 1)ee she'll hive In Phernes' ear. [E.it Hieron] What think you of it, Pyrrha You (10 aI)ProvCe me Pyrr. Approve y1oultr wits, my friend. lHadl they been Spartan trained, you'd bring them off, Untarnislied still, from argnument with Zeus. 3if. When Pallas praises, bow. Pyrr. Poor Hicron Is now the swveating agent of your will To sec these callets (lanice. Bia. 1 np)itifull! I'( touch 11V limps to Lethe, and you'd snatch 'The oblivious drop fronm me! You know howv- dear The 1)old that shall be cut with sword of law-vn,- So close no seer may tell which shall bleed most, Athens or her lost son. P1yrr. Art low at last Bia. Dun, dun, my Pyrrha, as a Barbary pigeon! So low not all my pride can vaunt me up. Tilhen let me have my wine,--the draught of eyes, Of inusic and of smiles, till I he drunk And sleeI). [Enter si.r Athenian yJoluth5, led by1 (Clearchlis, all dis- gniScd aX Persian dancers. ,As they dance before Bi- ades his pleasure quickens to abandonment] Bia. All, Pyrrha, y-ou've denied my heart All noble love, but here 's a pleasulre left. Soft eyes and gentle l)osoms may be mine Where scorn is taught to sleep and never sting. . ..... . That is Alissa. We must honor her. [He signals Clearchiis, and the others pass out, learing hin to dance alone. As he ientures more flirtatiously about Biades, 13yrrha's disgust inere,.se. and she re- 185 1A SON OF hIERAMES treats. Clearchus, dancing mockingly, follows her to door, and when she has passed through audaciously closes it] Bia. Now! Quick! In name of Zeus! The senators Received my message Clea. [Darting to Biades] Ay, the answer's here! [Gires him a parchment] Full pardon! Athens will lay down her walls To make your entry proud! Her gates are small, For honor she intends you! Bia. [Glances at parchment and sobs] My Athens! Mine! Though she should take my life, And my bruised body fling unburied forth, Yet would my shade drop kisses on her soil And weep to leave it for Elysium! [With sudden control] What of my plan Clea. Adopted, in each item. Soon as the dropping moon is in the sea, The Athenian rowers, coming as your own, Will board this galley and bear her a bird To th' harbor nest. Bia. They've force to meet the guards Clea. Thrice measured, sir. The Theia Bia. My own ship! Clea. Your own-will meet you, every sailor true As when he wept your banishment. And Phaon, Critias, Pelagon, Antiganor, With twenty senators and men of name, Wait on her deck in welcome. Bia. Back, ye tears! The rowers know my signal Clea. Yes, my lord. Three cressets on the left,-set here in this Embrazure. They will watch, near as they dare, 186 A SON OF HERMES And instantly as darts your triple gleam Their oars will sweep you answer. [A commotion wvithout] Bia. Hist! What's wrong [Enter Hieron and Pyrrha. Ilicron goes to Clearchus and tears off his veil and head-dress] Clea. 0, pardon! I'll confess! Ilie. 'Tis you, my lord, I now unmask, not this bought wretch. Bia. What, sir Hie. Your Persian dancers are Athenian boys, All slim as lizards. We o'er-eyed their steps, And on suspicion gave them such a pinch The truth flew out. Bia. Their guilt does not prove mine. Is it my crime that Athens touched me near With bribe of pardon Pyrr. Hear the boy. You are Clearchus And of Athens Clea. I am. Pyrr. You brought His pardon. Did he welcome it Clea. He did. Bia. He lies! The coward lies! (lea. He did agree That Phernes should draw off his fleet and join With Athens. Bia. Oh! Where are the Olympian thunders That they now let you live Hie. Draw off his fleet To-night Clea. Ere dawn. Bia. That such an atom-such A trifle of a body could enclose So great a lie! I1IS, A SON OF HERMES Clea. The Persian is at watch, Waiting the signal Bia. Toad! Clea. If pardon came, Two cressets set Bia. I'll shred himn! Clea. At the left- Just here, my lord, would start the Persian ships For Athens. Bia. Oh! Clea. But if three cressets burnt, Then he would hold to Sparta. Hie. Three Clea. Tiwite, sir. Look in his bosomn if you'd read the proof. His pardon's there. Bia. By the altars I have lost, By Sparta's yet unwon, I swear he lies! [Pyrrha snatches the parchment front hi.s bosono] Bia. You bat-you mole-you cur-born flea Clea. [To Hieron] 0, sir, Your mercy! Save me from him! Hie. Wait w ithout. Pyrr. Full pardon! Bring the irons! We are sold! Irons for Biades! Bia. [Accepting defeat] Ay, let me wear My honor's livery. Every foe-locked gyve Will be my country's kiss, and make my bloo0( Flow proud beneath it. Irons! Load me down, Now that you know me man, and not the thrall Of vilest fear that buys suspected breath With a mother-city's doom. Pyrr. I'll grant you, sir, That by this act you do no longer lie In the unconsidered trash of estimation, 188 A SON OF HER'MES But have crept tup in my surprised mind to where I keep my jewels of regar(d. That. is sooii said,-I)ut for the rest, you die. And more than die, for we shall hurl your name A palsy over Athens. Ilia. You'll not fight Atlhens and Persia! .Pyrr. Persia is not lost. Your signal is unlit. Hie. But we'll light ours! Three cressets- Pyrr. [Stopping Not] Wait! The event's too great To helve with such slight word. That snivelling blab May 'ye lied, or crossed the signals, for the young Are easiest dyed in craft, and take its hue As natively as innocence doth wear Its smile in sleep. Hie. Whatt then Pyrr. You'll go to Phernes. Hie. There are no boats. Pyrr. Tut, take the boats that brought Those purfled cymlings here. Their rowers too. Ah, Biades, you'll serve us still. And thought To trap all Sparta with this tip-toe l)ait! We have a saying, "Wit against the world,-" And( there's another too, "The last lie wins." lIast heard it, Biades We'll bear your word To Phernes that with dawn you move with him Ipon the Athenian sails. IBia. He'll hear no word From Spartan mouth. So 'twas agreed between us, to autllltl such move as this if chance should strip My l)ent of cover. I alone may reach IHis ear with Sparta's Iprayer. 189 1 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. We'll cast for proof Of that. If true, we shall remember, sir, That Sparta has won cities with no aid From Persia. Bia. You'll not go alone to meet The strength of Athens Pyrr. Your far-winged name And sea-born battle-skill shall go with us. Your single arm 's no loss, but in your fame, Yet ours to use, the Spartan strength Is doubled. Ha! They call us landmen,-say We must have feet on ground ere we can fight. But you they fear, bred to the wave, and first Of their commanders. Bia. Let me die, but leave My name unmurdered. Pyrr. It shall be outflung In challenge to the Athenians. They know well The sailor rabble loves you, and will oppose But half a heart to Biades. Some too, Of higher place, believe you wronged, and fear The angered gods will station on your side. By spearman Ares, you shall keep the oath Great-sworn on Sparta's ground, to set her lance Through Athens' triple shield! Ay, though you lie In irons waiting death. Bia. The sunken souls Of deepest, damned Dis have never borne So vile a sting! You can not mean it, Pyrrha. Cast on my soul what P'luto would disbar From his fire-vaulted hell I'll proudly die For treachery to you, but clear my name To Athens. Take not life and honor too! Pyrr. One you may save,-your life. Bia. What do you say 190 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. Draw Phernes back to us, and you shall live. Bia. You offer me but death, knowing I could not live A traitor. Pyrr. You choose to die as one Bia. Oh, Zeus, All-giver, hear! Pyrr. What gain is death to you If reputation dies eternally In Athens' hate Sparta will do as much As spare your life. Bia. Nay- Pyrr. She shall nothing know Of this hour's lapse Bia. 0, bitter stars! 0, Death Past fatal!-reaching o'er thy charnel bouwd To usurp the immortal garden! Die a traitor! Never will dew from a forgiving eye Fall on my grave! Pyrr. Nor will the upbraiding gaze Of heaven be more tender. For you chose To risk your country's life on turn of chance, Having no surety that drawn to danger You then could pluck her out. Ahi, made her fate Your stake at dice, because, escaped the hazard, You'd toss with her to fortune! And your guilt Is heavy in her fall as though your hand Bore down her last defence and fierce untrussed Her heart to th' wolvish air. Bia. Oh, Pyrrha, Pyrrha! Pyrr. Then why haste on to death The noblest shades Will make no room for you where'er they walk. Why rush through the first gate to meet their cold Immortal scorn Bia. But life with honor gone! 191 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. If death could buy it, then 'twere wise To buy so goldenly. But that's too late. Choose life,-with honor such as Sparta lays On those who serve but her. This treachery That we've by hap unbagge(l in 'ts eanling hour Shall be safe snugged again. And cherished too! For in my eyes it is the one brave flo-wer Of your most barren being(. None shall know it, And Sparta, as she will, may laurels w-eaive About your faith. Bia. But Hieron Pyrr. [To Hieron] You'll swear with me [He hesitate.s] In Sparta's name [Take.s hi.s hand] And mine Bia. No, no! IHie. I'll swear. Bia. 011, not that price! No, till the end O' the world! Pyrr. Life, Biades, life! Bia. I will not do it! Athens may singly conquer! Piyrr. Then you die By Sparta's hand, and Athens holds your name Accursed through time. The irons, Ilieron. [Wiades hunches despairingly, hi. face hidden] Pyrr. [Apart] Gods! Ile will yield! Bia. [Looking up] I'll (1o it,-dare to live,- And Akttica may call me w-hat she will. A traitor breathes, and feels the blessed sun. Ile's ne'er so poor lbut can his housing find In alms-lapped Nature. Iler unchoosing airs Ask not his name before they touch his brow And. tell him when 'tis spring. Ile yet may dream In unrebukirng shades, and birds will sing As liquidly ais though lie were not by. Food is yet food, and w-ine is ever wine. 192 A SON OF HERAIES I will not die. [Ri.es] By Maia's son, I'll live! WlXiat is my country hut the l)it of earth Where chiance did spawn men 'Tis no treachery. We're traitors Ulnto love, not hate,-to trust, Not doubt an(1 slander such as Athens poured 1poil me guiltless. PIZrr. [Crosliig to hiiil] So you've found a way To sate both life and lhonor! Bie. Alay a worm Not creep to cleaner dust Pyrrha, be kind. Spare mie the trampling foot. 1Pyrr. We've lost an hour. You'll send to Phernes Bia. First we'll signal hinm. lIe rmiay be setting off. We must. despatch, For if he saw no signl he meant to draw His fleet from doubtful waters and give aid To nieither si(le. [ Takingq up a light] Threee cressets-that was true. When once these lights hlae spoken, he'll receive Your envoy as mnyself. Then flieron May bear conifirmiing, word to him, and bring Assurance back. IHie. [To Pyjrrhaej You do not doubt Pyrr. Doubt now Nay, Ilieron. I'll trust himn with his life. 11w. Butt Bia. [Tremitblintg] 0. ye gazing gods, must it be done. In Athens' living heart set up the torch That leaves her a charred b)lotch where she lay white 'Neatlh heaven and snmiled up to sister stars! Pegrr. COlme, Biades! Bia. Shall not the earth be lost To God's own eye when Athens, quenched, no more Marks where we wander I call not do it! 19.3 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. [Taking the cresset] Too late, My lord! [Fixes light in the open embrasure, then places two others. Biades falls back, mantling his face] Hie. To Phernes now! We must not boggle this! Pyrr. If you've a doubt, sir, look on that. [Points to Biades] Hie. I'll hasten back to you. Bia. But note our light. The galley rowers may return ere you, And move us to the east. Hie. I shall not lose you. Bia. What escort will you take A noble one Will best please Phernes. Hie. Mirador and Agis Shall go with me. Meanthes shall remain To be your watch. Bia. You'll tell them nothing Ijie. Sir, I've sworn. I shall say naught but this. That Athens Proffered you pardon, and you hold to Sparta. [Exit Hieron. Pyrrha watches from the door until the boats put off. The sea is now dark. Biades takes up a harp and strums it] Pyrr. [Turning] You can do that And I-I held my heart At halt, there at the door, nor turned my head Lest pity should emburn my eyes to tears. [Crosses to him] Dost know that all the juniper in the world., Burnt in thy house of honor, would not cleanse Its doors of stench [Throws the harp aside] And you can use that air For breath of song! 194 A SON OF HER'MES Bia. Those are the bitterest words Tlhat ever (lropled nme gall, but I can find A crushe(I lalsaflm in theim,-for they say You might have loved me, Pyrrha. Pyrr. I might. Bia. You did. The moment that I east my Spartan mask And showed men true to Athens, you were mine. That instant there was joy-fall on your heart That swept its icy sentinels with fire, And they were down. Oh, had I then proved staunch, Ta'en helmet off to death and bade him strike, You would have closed my eyes with kisses warm As rose-drift on a tomb- Pyrr. Nay, I'd have kept Those eyes to be my light on earth, not star Elysian skies. Had fought for you against My mother Sparta. Fought as woman fights For her one love,--with wit and armed tongue, An(l cunning that throws puzzle on the gods. Fought till subdued Death had knelt to Fate And prayed your life for me! Bia. Have I lost that Pyrr. You yielded-sank-unlustred even your soul For a poor pinch of time Bia. But if some touch Of heaven could make me true again Pyrr. Look on Those lights, that you with single breath could turn To weeping sinoke,-they've lit a quenchless wreck That all your sighs blow vain against,-a flame IJngovernable to remorse. Not furrowing winds That split the watery fields to Thetis' bed, And make a foamy IUTral of her shore, C(an sweeI) it out. Ay, groan and shake, Anid (draw your mantle up! Behind a cover 195 A SON OF EIIERMIES Thick as Taygetus' sides, I'd see you limnied In shame! Bia. [Springing up] W'hat's shame to love To love fire-sprung From instant meeting of fore-strangered eyes And such was ours, there in that Athens' grove. Imperial of itself, it asks no loan Of subject virtue's smock to drape it royal. As fen-born vapors seem to nest the stars, Yet far below them do but thatch the world When they look down, the vassal qualities May lift no touch to love, that yet must wear, To earth's unvantaged eyes, their reek and hue. Pyrr. Aerial love is but an earthling still, It must come down for food or mortal die, And what but virtues feed it Bia. Nay, you speak Of a fair, lesser thing,-a grace not lit From thurible in uncreated Hand, But coaxed from clay to a persuaded life. Garbed as the days,-patched, plastered, hung with dear Possessive vanities, it serves to make Contentment's bed, and cook a patient meal On comfort's hearth,-even snuggles in the void That else might ache, sings low, and makes Companioned feet tread bravely to the grave. It has a thousand names, but never one Is love. Be thine that white, ungendered spark, And naught can feed it, naught can make it less. Virtue and vice, nobility and shame, Are rags that drop away, while you sweep on, Stripped as a flame, with arms about your star. [Pyrrha is silent. Both start at sound of a noise on the water] Pyrr. What sound is that Bia. The rowers are returning. 196 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. So quietly Bia. [Goc.s to door (wid closes it] The world shall not come in On me and you. Be mine this lroken hour, And Hieron may flute through after-timie At secret doors where you lock up your favors. For you will go witl him. Pyrr. Al prol)Ilet too Bia. You'll make his home, but I shall come an(l go The unseen master there. Piyrr. Now for the visiohl! Bia. You'll watch your door,-the unheard step is mine,- And rock thle babe borni of a drearn of me. And I, far-wandered, lost unto myself, Shall never lose you, Pyrrha. As the light Wrapping the wave reveals its silver dan(e, 1ly l)eing shall exult through shade and wear The chliamys of your gleani. Your voice behind The wind shall draw ine lover-lipped to ineet Adventure's breath. You'll lie i11)on the lhush That girdles eveninrg,-be the thrill wvithin The throstle's note, and siclence when His sonig is done. Pyrr. Nay, it will speak of Plhania, Of Sybaris,- Bia. Ay, an(l a lhundred inore III whom I've soitwhdt for thee, mny Pyrrha, always thee! 'Twill speak of theni as statues sI)eak of shards About their feet,-the sculptor's broken (Ireamis That made the l)erfect one. [The s/hip rocks] Pyrr. We're moving ! Bia. Yes, You knowv,-to safer waters. Listen, Pvrrha, To ime-to Iiee! 197 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. Those sounds Bia. [Kneels] Hear me! My head I'll votive lay till you may set your feet Like tangled roses in my curls- [Pyrrha springs toward the door, but Biades is before her. The noises increase. Groans, blowis, shouts] Pyrr. Aside! I'll pass! Bia. 0, save our bones. I am the stronger. You know 't. Pyrr. You! I'll wind you like a thread! Bia. You didn't. Pyrr. Didn't . . . Bia. When we wrestled. Pyrr. When.... Oh, then! My arm was lame. Come, I will pass! Bia. Nay, 'twas your heart that spared me! Pyrr. Ay, like this! [Throws him aside. Ile staggers against the wvallf6r suip- port. She opens door. Twvo soldiers in armor silenfly oppose spears to her passage. She siowely closes the door] Pyrr. Where are we going Bia. You love me. What an arm! 'Twas never lame! Pyrr. Come! Tell me what's our port, Then I shall know one place we do not go. Bia. Tut, love! Pry into men's afTairs Be calm Pyrr. What does this mean [Advancing] I'll know! Bia. [Retreating] You shall! It means "The last lie wins." We go to harbor. Pyrr. Ah! . , Those rowers . 198 A SON OF HERMES Bia. Faithful and fleet as ever bore An Athenian general home. They came upon Your signal- Pyrr. Mine Bia. They lay at watch, not Phernes. Look on those lights! 0, trinal star, set high By my beloved! My honor's flaming hedge Pyrr. You. fly, But in a net! The Spartans heard those shouts. They are in chase-you'll see- Bia. They're unprepared. The captains off their ships, the guards in doubt, And oarsmen half asleep. But let them come Far as they dare, and if they dare too far From Persia's shelter, the Athenian fleet Will close like jaws about them. Pyrr. [Sits, with sudden hopelessness] You have won, My lord. Bia. I have. Pyrr. What will you do with me Bia. I'll wed thee, sweet. Pyrr. I'll not- Bia. Yes, love, you will. There is a dagger hangs in Phelas' shop, Shall be your bridal gift. A prized blade Of coppered gold, hued like a battle morning. Smooth-cheeked as Artemis, although inlaid With pictured tale. A captured Amazon, Wrought palely in alloy,-a silvered fear On th' bronzen flush of courage,-bows before Her conqueror, a knight who gently bends As I do now- Pyrr. [Thrusting him off] No! Never! I'll not trust Your dolphin nature! Long as fish have fins You'll sport in every sea! Go-go to Phania! 199 A SON OF IIER'MES Bia. [Turns angrily from her] Ay, by my gods that I have found again, I shall wed none but an Athenian maid! [Pyrrha swoons. He rushes to her] 11er heart is still. 0, curse my double-tongue! She's dead-she's dead! She takes the Spartan way- To die, not yield! Oh, Pyrrha, Pyrrha, Pyrrha! [Rushes about distractedly] I will not live! I'll leap into the sea! Pyrr. [On her elbow, as he reaches door] You might catch cold. [le stares at her. She sits up] Is this your grace in love Your pictured ease, with no dissuasive line Bia. 0, Pyrrha, peace! Let us be done with cheat And mockery! Pyrr. [Rising] My heart on that, my lord! Bia. Own thou art mine! My -world wh]ien sunsets (lie' My breath of meadows lying past the moon! Compassionate this earth, and in my soul Fix thee its centre. Say thou 'it come! Pyrr. My lord, Could I be sure ..... Bia. Ah, Pyrrha, there's no liglht Falls from thine eye that does not sway me like A bee in rose wind-shaken. I am thine. There'll be no battle, but a nuptial feast With three great armies for our Irothered guests. Your land and mine are one. Give me your hand. Pyrr. I will. For Sparta's sake. Bia. And love's! Pyrr. [Giving her hand] And love's. [Curtain] coo0 ACT V SCENE: The garden of Pelagon, as in first act. Enter youths and maidens dancing about Pyrrha and Biades. They sing: Hymen, god of bended knees, Who would gain to thee must lose! Take from us thy merry fees, Though our fairest thou dost choose,- Pyrrha and our Biades! Fling the garland and the wreath! Roses, roses consecrate, That upgive their happy breath In an ardor 'neath our feet, Kissing fortune in their death! Sparta 's won, and Athens' wed! Shyest hours of midnight, bring Charm and blessing for the bed Whence a fairer Greece shall spring And her golden peace be bred! [They dance off, louwer right, as Pelagon and Stesilaus enter middle left Pel. Ha, neatly stng! By Hermes, they have made A tickling in my sandals. Ste. Frivol! Pel. Eh Nay, youth must wind his horn- Ste. Not in my ears! 201 A SON OF HERMES Pel. Though he never come to the hunt. But Biades Has run the chase, and 's bravely home again, The game in pack. Ste. Too noble game for him! TMy girl! That I should ever play the sire To a fop of Athens! Pel. If the burn's so raw, You've secret salve for it. Ste. Yes. 'Tis not my blood That so forgets its source! Pel. Sh! Stesilaus! A little butter on the tongue, my friend, Does no man harm. Ste. Butter a hackle, not My tongue! If I'm so rubbed, I'll rasp the winds Till they sprout ears. Don't "sh" me, Pelagon. I'll muffle in no corners. Pel. Hist, I say- Ste. Don't zizz into my beard! W'e are not curs To nose and smell in council! Pel. Ruin's on us! You will be heard [Enter Menas, upper right] Menas. Joy to the noble fathers! Sweet saviors of our city! Ste. Sweet! Menas. What says Our Stesilaus Pel. Ahem! The Spartan joy Is ever dumb. But see him stirred to heart That by a gift from out his very life, His dearest daughter, peace is home in Athens, And 's forced no more to camp and cadge and beg At our shut gates. Yet it goes hard to part Wi' the fairest branch on 's tree. 202 A SON OF HERAIES Mienas. In Biades He finds a treasured son. Ste. By a mermaid's shoes, A precious son! Mleitau. How, sir Pel. Indeed, indeed, A jevel of a son! Will you, friend Alenas, Iloat with the senators, and bring tto shore Report of how they drift,-whiat currents favor And what now counter us MenusICIX88. I'll go, my lords. To hear the latest honor they conclude Best caps your fa me, and b)rin, it in a wvord. [Erit .1Ien s] RSti. I hald two minds to throw the truth in 's face And see himii strangle on it. Pet. Friend, wouldst make My ol01 knees creak to earth I sue to you Be soft as prudence. Shall we now be false To our dearly tendle( hope-uiite( (Greece Now when the fact is oni us, and otur dream Walkls in the dlay I beg you clear your heart Of selfish fire that eats the very pattern Of love's new world. It is ungraced, perverse As altar flanme that w-ould devour the shrine 'Twas lit to honor. Ste. Thinki of Greece What's Gireece, When my own daughter pairs wvith Pet. Nay, but inine. When you are b)itterest set, say to yourself She's of my loins, and when more softly 'taken, Then call her yours. But openly be constant To a father's right in her, and l)rou(dly sire 11er hoonors. And 's for Biades, lie's but A I)rocket vet, his antlers barely bossed. My oath upon it, your reshapingli hand ,1 011 A SON OF HERMES Firm-cupped about his overweening spring, WVill be a second cradle where he'll grow Fair to your fashion. Think on that. Ste. I will. There's comfort. Ay, so, so. The terms of peace Make him a Spartan. Pyrrha stood with me Stout-willed on that. Pel. Then whist! You trust your wife Ste. You speak to Stesilaus. Pel. Eli, I know You've her in hand. My Sachinessa now- [Sighs] But she loves Phania best. That locks her tongue. And, friend, do you not see the high all-ruling Will Has moved behind our own Ste. I think it so. Our aim achieves its heaven, though we smart Beneath it. To the outer glozing fame That now attires us splendent, we may add Inmost applause. When we exchanged our babes, 'Twas for this end and day, and had we held To our first intent and taken our own again, Our hope had died unfruitive. 'Twas there That deity came in and shifted us To th' true sybillic course. Pel. Who dares say else We'll wear the issue as a sacred robe Fallen on us from Olympus. Ste. Which our wisdom Fits comely to us. Forget it not, such gift Had been withheld from minds too poor to be The heirs of Zeus. Pel. But if the clay-eyed mob, Whose pottage traffic up Olympian paths Blocks commerce godly and invisible Ste. Tush, cut the string, if you have aught in bag. L204 A SON OF HER.MES Pei. Why, I would say if some of grosser sight Than our two selves, should fumble on our secret That Pyrrha is Athens born Ste. Nay, put your fears In pocket. It shall not be known. [Enter Biades] Bia. 11a, nunky! Where is my happy father [Sees Stesilaus] A suit, my lord! I've Pyrrha's leave to make our home in Athens If thou wilt bless our dwelling. Crave thy grace For sake of her in whom thy pride best flowers! Here she'll o'erlay all Spartan crudity With suavest bloom, and take e'en native place Where Athens' love would set her. Ste. Never, sir! [E.rit, twiddle left] Blia. The gray fox snaps. Ho, but I'll draw his teeth, And he shall yelp for 't too! Pet. Shame, sir! Not give The road to him The father of your bride Bia. I will when she's his daughter. Pel. What! What, boy Bia. I say when she's his daughter. Let that in At your good ear, and in the t'other one I'll call you father. Pel. Ruin! It's come! Bia. Who thinks I'd make that Spartan grunt my father, knows Not me! What Set that boding beard at head Of my Athenian house Or go to Sparta To hut me where I would not ask a stall For a borrowed horse Pel. But Bia. Scratch my helpless throat With bread a pig would stick at Swallow brew 205 A SON OF HERMES Of salt and soot And chafe my pumiced skin With itching linsey-or an untanned hide, As man were still the beast that wore it Pel. Peace, My son Bia. Say grace for leeks and goose-foot Pel. But Bia. Though Eros pinned me head and foot with shafts, I've saved my eyes, bless my united wits, And know the high-road! I'll not lose me on A pig-trail to a sty. Pel. But if these Spartans hear They'll sack the city! Zeus deliver us! We're lost! we're lost! Oh, Biades! Bia. [Calm] Talk in a muff, good father Pelagon, Or we indeed are lost. Pel. You'll keep the secret Bia. A time. I've plans in seed will make all Sparta A garden for my Athens, where her fame Shall browse to its tallest. Trust me, Pelagon. I'm still a general! [Enter, lou'er right, young men wttho sarronnd Biade8s, ad press him off, singing] Gander now must keep with goose! Biades, 0, Bliades, Thou shalt ne'er the cord unloose, For the mighty god decrees He shall hang who dares the noose! [Re-enter Stesilaus] Ste. He's gone I took My anger off where it might safely blow. This path brushed clear by Heaven must not be closed By our stumbling selves. The widgeon! Ile would fly Above the eagle, but I'll snip his feathers, Give me good time! He'd live in Athens, ha! 206 A SON OF HERMES And swore on Hera's altar he would be A son of Sparta! Pel. Nay, I noted, sir, That Sparta was not named in 's oath. Ste. What now Pel. Naught, naught, my friend! Yet he but swore to make The land of Pyrrha his. Ste. And what meant that But Sparta If his warm wooer's oath must cool, We've winters that will do it. Pel. Caution's best. Slow-mnare will get you home. Ste. A year or two Of good black bread. and free winds on his skin Will take the maiden from his cheeks and set A true mnan's b)eard there. Tush! I thought that Fate, Granting my main desire, gave mee this l)Iague, Wlhich, with the rest, now proves my life has )leased IIighlt arbiters. You're silent, Pelagon. Pel. No, no! Yes, yes! I think so. 'Tis indeed! Ste. Coniie, comne, my friend! We will go forth and meet The occasion as a guest, bethinkin, us We walk between mankind and deity. [They start oat and are inet by Alcanor and Phania 'wi1ho fall before them] Pha. [Kneeling to Stesilaus] Your blessing, father' Al c. [.4f Pelagon's feet] Blessing, dearest father! Pel. What, what Pha. [To Stemilaiis] Forgive your child! Ale. The l)riest Ste. M\y child Ale. The priest has made us one. Pel. What priest Who dlared Defile the altar with such rite 207 A SON OF HERMES Alc. [Rising] Defile Though you're my Phania's father, you shall cast No stain upon that holy ceremony Whose odor yet is round us. Sir, the priest has blessed us. Do you as you please. Come, Phania! Come, sweet! We'll smile at this. Though a father's curse Bethorn our way, a gentler heaven will drop Its soft approval where thy feet must pass. [Going] Pel. Speak, Stesilaus! Stop your wretched son! Alc. Not wretched, sir, while Phania is my own. We shall be blest when you, too late, beseech Unhearing gods forgive you this! Pel. Stay, sir' 0, miserable boy! Pha. No, father, no! lIe's happy in my love as leaf in air, As the sea-crystalled fish, as lotos in Its pool,-and J-O, sir, my joy has wings, And tho' I love you dear and daughterly,- Who gave me life,-your anger has no weight To keep my feet on earth. Like twirling lark Too high for storm to reach, I dance above l)ispleasure's cloud. [Trips off with A/lcanor] Pel. Sweet wretches! Ilere's a turn! My little Phania! Friend, what shall we do Ate. Again the finger of the gods. Piel. The gods To limrbo! I will save my daughter! Ste. Yours Pel. Yea, by each hour of prattle at my knee! By all my care that's been her constant nurse, And every joy that from devotion sprang To meet me like a flower as she grew, She's mine, mine, mine! Oh, Stesilaus, oh, 1'08 A SON OF IERMIES Whosever she may lee, I love the chick, And she shall not be dlainned! [En/er, uipper left, Sac/i itncssa and A rchippe] Ste. Here's a reproach Comes with a dual mouth. If we show doubt, They'll put us under pestle. Rally, sir! Sac. [To Archi ppe] Are you all lumnp Pick ul) your courage. Why! The gods are gods by their audacity. I'll bring it off. Nowl Pelagon Pel. [Who has turned to flee] What, you, Mv love Sac. Such heavy news! Enough to make The gods no more co-venture with a world Augmented so! PCi. What, Sachinessa, what Sac. Our Phania's married to Alcanor. Pel. Eh Sac. Now are you pleased Now is your cruelty Fuill-fed, or must it glut again Pel. My sweet Sac. You'll meddle with high Zeus! Have you enough Pel. Oh, Sachinessa! Sac. Brother and sister bound In an abhorrent union that will drive Their shades forever from Elysian ground! Nay, even Ilades will make fast her gates 'Gainst such offenders, innocently vile! Archippe, speak to that unbending man, Half author of this shamie! I'd thin his beard If Heaven had mocked me with his long, smug face For husband! Ugh! The whiskered horse! Arc. Dumb, sir You've no defence-no master argument To prove your wisdom's never off the road 209 A SON OF HERMES To Zeus' gate Not once in all your life, Although your daughter's to her brother wedded Ste. 'Tis well. I can not doubt the gods. [They stare at him] A rc. Her brother born So foul a hap Ste. A thing too dread in thought, And in the act unutterable if Zeus Be unconcerned in it. Therefore believe His hand here moves, and holy majesty O'errules the mortal scruple, so dividing This horror from its kind. May it not be The blood of Stesilaus hath in 'ts flow A heavenly tinct that makes it not a sin, But rather virtue, to keep pure the stream From baser founts They've done no more than kings And gods before them. Sac. Pelagon, your croak! Pel. I take a lower ground, my dearest dove. All Athens knows me modest Sac. Ay to that! Can blush as deep as any crow that flies! Pel. Now, now! From first to last I've held it truth That breeding scantles birth, and on that count Make Phania our daughter. Sac. Oh, you do Pel. I stand on this, that training is the man. Or woman, let us say, and not the blood We buried with our fathers. So these two Mate not ancestrally, but in their lives That distantly upbred have not between them A structural thread to bind them of one house. Sac. What men are these Arc. I am no more afraid Of him I thought was Stesilaus. 210 A SON OF HER'MES Ste. Listen, You women. Though we are thus righted- Sac. Hlumph! Ste. In man's and Heaven's eye, we yet will bow To your own wish in this. As once we gave Your sighs the right of way, we now will ease This secon(l woe by taking swiftest means To) part this clucking pair. Sac. You'll yield to 71S .lrc. How like you, Sachinessa, this high place Above the (,ods SUc. They shall be parted Ste. Ay, We do consent. Sac. Nay, you shall please yourselves. L or my own part, I will not break their bonds And set their hearts a-bleeding. ,irc. No, nor I. Ste. How now, vap)idity Arc. I mean, my lord, You have convinced me, and this marriage bond Shall be as Zeus has made it. Satc. IPelagon, Your reason captures mine, and I repent My mockery. This strange event 's no more I ncoulth, now you have pried the way for me To wisdom's bled of truth. I clearly see Tlhat mn an id woman of one mother born ivLy be no kin. The marriage shall stand. Pel. It name of Zeus! Arc. Yes, in his name. Ste. Nay, wife, W\e know your simple heart, and read its horror Through this pretence so suddenly clapped on. We slhall reject a forced and sad submission 9211 A SON OF HERMES Pel. Ay, ay, we shall! I'll act at once, and stop Their kisses, riveting a bond unblessed Sac. Unblessed Pel. My golden joy, I speak your thought Not mine. [A clamor in street] Ste. They come for us. Pel. I hear my name. We'll out and greet them. Ste. No, my friend. Let them come in unnoted. Pel. Ay, we'll sit Withdrawn, in gentle argument. Here's shade. [They go aside. Enter Lysander, Agis, Creon, Menas, and a score of Spartans and Athenians] Lys. Is Stesilaus here We must be heard. Arc. He's here. Menas. And Pelagon! Where's Pelagon Sac. His good ear's toward, sir. Pel. [Unable to keep aside] Did I not hear My name Sac. Why, so I said. Agis. (Advancing to Stesilaus] My lord, we come Ste. What haste, good Agis Goes the world so fast Agis. As fast as Fate can drive it, and you, my lord, Are under foot. Pel. [Who has been listening to Menas] You hear it, Stesilaus! Athens is ashes! We're betrayed, betrayed! [Biades, Pyrrha, Phania, Alcanor, and their companions swarm in, lowuer right] Ste. Silence, and let us hear! Now, Agis, speak. Agis. And grieve that 'tis my part. The Spartans know Your treachery- 1212 A SON OF HERIMES Ste. Who dares give such a name To deed of mine Agis. Denial comes too far Behind the proof, my lord. Ste. The proof What proof Lys. 'Tis known to all. The very curb cries out That Pyrrha is Athenian born, the child Of Pelagon. Pyrr. Oh, Zeus! Bia. Bear up, my Pyrrha! Agis. Ay, Athens weds with Athens, and on that You build the peace of Sparta! A bold deceit Of yours and Pelagon's, whereby we're sold To a foeman's pleasure! A Spartan. Though the heart of Athens Be in the knot that binds your traitorous bargain, We'll cut it through! Agis. Will you deny you changed Your babes in cradle [Silence] Bia. Pray you, who revealed This ancient secret Menas. Creon came Bia. Ah, Creon! Menas. Before the senate, then in seat to unfold From rivalrous invention, topless honors For these two lords, whose guilt had long devoured Such labor's root and reason. Bia. Creon came Mlenas. And bared the tale, made his by accident, And swore you knew it too,-that Pyrrha there Is Pelagon's daughter, and Phania is the child Of Spartan Stesilaus. Pha. Oh, oh, oh! Alc. A rope for me then! 213 A SON OF HERMES Cre. [To Biades] Sir, I did not speak, But trusted all to you, until the secret Laid night on Phania's innocence and grew Too foul to keep. Pyrr. You knew this, Biades Bia. And knew you would forgive! Pyrr. This was the sprilo g Of all your oaths! In my espoused hand You'd lay my country's peace, knowing her name Was Attica! This was your proof of love. The oiled wedge that let you in my heart! False in the trothal moment that should make The foulest for an instant pure! Bia. But hear- Pyrr. Oh, in that hour which women wrap in rose And hide where thoughts like guardian doves may go, You set a cautel touching it with death That leaves me treasureless! Bia. My Pyrrha, Pyrr. Not yours! Bia. Howe'er 'twas done, I won you! Pyrr. Won a Spartan! Now keep the shadow. As an Athenian maid I do renounce you! [Escapes him] Bia. Ah! Zeus loves the dice. He's always at the game. But who'd have thought This throw would be against me Hear me, sweet! [ To Sfesila iisl] Dear father, speak to her. She'll heed your voice, Your judgment ripe, and words set out like cups With wisdom's honey. Pel. [Awake to fathership] Ay, my son, I will! Bia. Not you, in name of hope! [Follows Pyrrhla] Alc. Monsters of fatherhood, how dare you show Your faces in this sun Go seek some cave 214 A SON OF HERMES Whose darkest den will not betray a shame Of its own hue! No, Phania, do not cling To my unwilling breast that now must be A hedge of swords to your bird bosom. [HIolds her tighitly] Pha. Oh! Cre. Withdraw your hand, proud Spartan! Aic. I will protect My sister, sir, from any lord of Athens! Sac. Look, Pelagon,-and Stesilaus,-here! Look on this warbling joy hatched tenderly In nest of your conceit, which you've kept warm Forgetting you had hearts where love bechiid Sat in unfeathered cold. If you are fathers, Drink of their ecstasy till every vein Applauds it! Lys. Pray you, peace! The Senators! [Enter Aimentor and other Senuators] Ste. What's your demand A nien. Your life, Lord Stesilaus. And that of Pelagon, in Athens' name. Pel. My life Amnen. Not less will still this wind and save Our homes from undefended sack. They've seized The citadel- Bia. Then on my armor! Wife May whistle when the bugle calls! Amnen. Stay, sir! The Spartans are in power, and any check Means slaughter. There's no help. The Persian fleet Has sailed. The Athenians drop their useless arms And follow at command, knowing no way To win but by a bloodless yielding. Bia. Yield! Amen. Sir, we must grant the Spartans these two lives, Whereon they'll strike no further. So they swear. 0) It 1 A SON OF IHERMES Sac. [To Pelayon] TlLis is your downy Peace wooe( fromt the clouds To hover over Athens! Save the name! She's from a briar-patch, not Heaven! Her wings Are full of burrs! Bia. [Holding Pelagon] Stand to! A scuttled ship Has no choice deck. There's nothing to be saved But dignity. Pel. Nay, that's for Stesilaus! [Breaking away] My life, my life! [Noise mounts without. The wall is broken through, rear, and the breach rereals the streetfilled with angry Spartanm] Amen. Peace! Gir. Give us Stesilaus! Voices. And Pelagon! The traitors! Give them up! Amen. You see them. There they stand. [Misses Pelayon] W'here's Pelagon Voices. We have him here! Bring Stesilaus! Arc. Hold! I am Archippe. Let me speak. Voices. No mercy! Arc. I ask none, friends. The wife of Stesilaus Is not so much in 's debt she owes him aught On mercy's score. Gir. Then speak. AIrc. Is Philon here The reverend priest Voices. Ile comes! Make way! He's here! [Philon comes out] Philon. Speak first, Archippe. I'll follow you. Arc. My friends, I'm such a one as you do most contemn,- A woman disobedient to her lord. But if you judgment give upon that point, 216 A SON OF HERMES Remember that my lord is Stesilaus. When this my daughter here,-yes, Pyrrha, she,- Child of my nurturing blood, I wes. What What Your child A men. Silence! Speak on, Archiippe. .Irc. When she lay A morsel cra(dle(, two montls' breath in her, (ame lie, the father, swearing she must go Tro Sachinessa's breast, and I must take 11er Phallia to my own,-thereby to serve In some occulted way the future good Of Greece. And all the mercy won from him WXas leave to journey w\ ith my child to Athens iSae. But I was not so meek! By Pal las, no! Whmamt-who-was Pelagomi, to rob my bosom Of Hera's giift Who made him greater than The gods 'Tis but a girl, lie said, to mlce. A mother! I went to Philon then, the priest Whom Athens honors, and by holy counsel, We did not change our babes, but let our deed Wear face that pleased them, with a heart our own, Amnd home Archippe went with Pyrrha safe, While I in Athens held my Phania close, And they, fond sires, who knew no difference Bctw-een a girl and girl, hugged their dieep plan And built the phantom of united Greece ltpon it. Arc. If those ghostly towers, now fallen, MIay rise again, it is our act, my lords, Provides them nature's base, and not a dream's. Condemn us, if you w-ill, as erring wives, But as true mothers give us softer justice. And if there's scale or balance that can hold Such torturous weight, lay on it all the pain Of lonely years that saw me turn rmy face 217' A SON OF HERAMES From my loved daughter, lest this man of rock Should know her mine and his. Pyrr. Your own, your own, My mother! Ste. So you slip me, dame, And Pyrrha goes with you. But Biades Is under thumb by this same turn. IHe now Must know himself a Spartan, and shall keepl My terms. Arc. 'Make them full easy. You shall lay No marring hand upon our children's joy As fell on mine. Bia. 0, sue for me, Archippe! Give me my bride! Whatever be her race, Her home is in my arms! Arc. Forgive him, Pyrrha. Not for his pleading, but for love I know You bear him. [Pyrrha permits Biades to embrace her] Alc. [To Phania] Sweet, we know our heaven by Those moments in a hell. Amen. Here's feast enough! Bia. But poor old Creon in this rain of porridge Starves for a spoon. Cre. And you, perforce, take one Of Spartan make. Bia. I'm caught. But in love's lap. I'll swallow Sparta for so dear a bed. Menas. And you need fear no distaff tyranny. My lord. There you are safe. Although your bride Be Hera-limbed, you've proved yourself her Zeus In open match. Cre. How if her moved heart Crept to her arm and slipped the victory Unwon to love [Biades is suddenly embarrassed] 218 A SON OF HERMES Pyrr. [JVith a caress of assuraice] If that were so, my lords, N\y J)ride -would harbor his, and none shouldd know My secret. fte. Senators, anid men of Athens, Art (11n11) when justice waits on you for voice ANhlat censure harve vou for these rel)el Wives, And this unsainte(d P)riest Alinet. [To Piloni] You counselled them To their deceit Ph ilodl. I did. Am e1n1. You'vc no defence Ph/lid. I need none. Stc. Ia! J/iloll. Whoso reveres the gods D)raws of their strength in every mortal inch, AInld in this act I (lid theni reverence, Stand(hing l)ctween their -wish and meddling wits Of these presumpl)tive men. liut pardon them. For it is shame enough to 'v-e thought to make A Ifrislet of their own shake like the locks Of cloud-lhaired Zeus. For me, nmy hand is on MKy altar, and I fear no fall. I iten. No more, Good Phiilon. P'hilon. Ay, a w-ord, This morniingr, sir, I blessed the (Cotn)le here, knowving themn free Of kindred blood,-Alcanor and his Phania. The strands are doubly woven that now bind Sparta and .Athens. Pyrrha and Biades Were first to link them one, and now this pair Unites them o'er. A mlenl. You hear, my Spartan friends. What say you Is it peace Sparfans1. Peace be to Athens! '219 2 A SON OF HERMIES Amen. And peace to Sparta! Hearts and altars guard it! Go, citizens! See that the chariots Glow with new garlands for this double bridal. And let the noble wives of these proud lords Co-queen festivity. All shall rejoice Save this convicted pair,-you, Pelagon, And Stesilaus. You we prison here, Your own sole company, nor shall you speak Save in a rhyme now dim with little use, But shall be better known from this day forth With polish you shall give it. Hear it, sirs: The man who would his ownp. pie bake Must from his wife ten fingers take. [Curtain falls and rises. Pelagon and Stesilaus are dis- covered, their backs to each other, the only occupants of the garden. Through the breach in the wall the festal procession is seen passing. Curtain] 220 K I D M I R A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS CHI1 RA C TERS OSWALD, Earl of (lyffe BERTRAND, sometime VAIRDELAN, his son CHARILUS, a Greek ARDIA, his daughter IBIONDEL and VIGARD, sons of Charilus BANISSAT, Prince of Avesta PRINCE FREDERICK BERENICE, his daughter GAINA, serving-woman to Ardia BARCA, servant to (harilus RAMUNIN, a headsman SEVEN MAIDENS, friends of Ardia Followers of Banissat, soldiers of Oswald, nobles, wedding-guests, dancers, guards, ec. TIME: During the later Crusades PLACE: The southern coast of Asia Minor ACT I SCENE: A hall in the castle of Charilus on the heights of Kidnir. The open rear, throng/i which is seen a snn- set sky, leads to a parapet overlooking the city of Avedsta and the coast of Sidni. Entrances right and left of para- pet. Midway down, rig/t, the door to a chamber. Charilus stands on parapet and looks down toward Aresta. Barca waits within the hall. Char. 0. sea-washed city, must the hail of fire Crimson thy milky walls, and salt windls strive In vain to sweeten ditches dark with blood From thy tapped heart Come, Barca, be my eyes. Who climbs the heights [Barca advances and looks orer] Barca. Lords Vigard and Biondel Are on the pass. Char. My sons so soon returned! No other Barca. Farther down, my lord, I see The knight, Sir Vairdelan. Char. Then we shall hear His sunset song. Barca. The stairway through the cliff Is closed. Shall I give signal, sir, to hoist The upper gate Char. That is my charge henceforth. [Going left] They will be hungered. [Turns to Barca] Scant the board in nothing. [Exit left] [Gaina enters, right, rear, carrying a tray piled with candles] 223 K IDM IR Gaina. Thank goodness, Barca, you're w-here you're wanted for once! Help me with these winkers. [(;iriti him candles] My mistress kept me out on the cliffs whven I ought to 'a' been inside an hour ago doing my honest work. I got her in at last, but I had to be round with her, poor soul! I told her what! Barca. [Placing candles] She was watching for her brothers Gaina. [Puts tray dowvn] Brothers! It was a sight of that singing knight she wanted. He went down the pass this morning and she has gone about all day like a bird with a sore throat. Barca. God gave her eyes, and Sir Vairdelan is good to see. When I look at him I feel somehow as if the sun were just up and everybody had another chance. Gaina. A man who lets his sword rust at home while he goes about tootle-de-rooling on a flute! And she could be the princess of Avesta if she'd look in the right place. Well, if she had may eyes! Barca. What! You would have your mistress marry Banissat An unbeliever (Gaina. A prince is a prince,-and I'd say the same if my mistress were my own daughter. Barca. And you a Christian! ('aina. A Christian of Corinth, I'd have you know. There are Christians and Christians, please you! And for my mistress, dear heart, it would take more than marrying a prince to send her to-to Barca. Let it out. Gaina. Hell, then,-if you want to bite ginger. And who but Banissat can stand between her father and that English Oswald-who is just plain devil arid not an Eng- lishman at all- Barca. Devil A knight of the Cross leading the army of the Lord to Jerusalem. 2;24 KIDMIR Gaina. Nobody but the devil, I tell you! And I wouldn't speak to him if I met him walking with Saint Peter, unless he showed me his bare feet with ten good toes on 'em. It might be all right for Peter, but a woman can't be too careful, and the master took me out of a good family in Corinth. And this Vairdelan who is no more a knight than I'm a lady-the next time he goes down the pass lie will lose his way up again, or my head's a goose- egg, that's all! Barca. Gently, Gaina. You were young once. Gaina. Once I've more hairs than wrinkles yet, which some can't say and tell the truth! Barca. Tongue in! Here's the master. [Mores right] Gaina. My candles! [Seizes tray and goes out, right, as Charilus re-enters left] Char. [To Barca] Look to the supper. [Exit Barca, right. Charilus crosses to parapet and looks dozen] Doubt-blown city, rest. Sleep on my heart. You shall not bleed for me. [Enter Ardia from chamber midway right] Ard. Alone, my father Char. Never alone, and yet My wish was calling thee. [Sits, and draws her beside him] Ard. Ah, not one guard Alout thee Char. The only guard is always near,- A fearless heart. Ard. Then I have none. My heart Is made of fears. Char. No charm but love will lift Our gates of rock. Ard. But who knows love from hate In days like these Some foe with friendship's eyes, Some secret knife of Oswald's 2125 KIDMIR Char. None may tread The guarded pass save our knight Vairdelan And your two brothers. Ard. Vairdelan is late. W'hy went he down Char. Knights true as he, my girl, Are never questioned. Ard. [Starting] Who are at the gates Char. Your brothers come. Aird. So soon That means good news From Banissat. He'll be your strength against This mighty Oswald. Char. Fair his word may be, But I go down the pass. Ard. Go down To meet That fiend Char. The man who calls himself my foe, But named of God my brother. Ard. 0, too much Thou lovest love! A fiend, I say! Char. That name Give unto me when I consent to piece This spun-out life with breath of babes and gasp Of dying mothers. Would you feed these veins, Gelid and old, all golden venture done, With the warm waste of youth whose saved stream Might bear mankind unto the port of gods Ard. But you-you are my father! Char. It is such cries Unsettle justice till her shaken scales Weigh nations 'gainst a heart. Alrd. Must I not love you Char. My Ardia, fair as though thou wert not mine, Or wert all hers who made gray Corinth young, The love that feeds behind a sheltered door 226 K I D M I R Must be unroofed and take its bread of stars Ere it may answer to its holy name. The heart must build no walls ,l rd. I build them not, B3ut find them risen alhout me. You are here, Guardful and best, fending my eyes,-tlhere stands M\lv Biondel,-there \igard lrave,-and there.... (Clar. And there, my daughter Ard. Hark! 'Tis Vairdelan's voice! [Singing heard belowt] O fires that build upon the sea Till wave and foam of ye are part, And burn in mated ecstasy, Ye build again within my heart. O clouds that breathe in flame and run In linked dreams along the sky In me the fire is never (lone, rillough Eve's gray hand soon puts ye by. Christ be my Hand of Eve upon The flamne that tireless, fadeless leaps! Haste holily, 0 Mary's moon, With dew for fire that never sleeps! [Ardia keeps a listening attitude, not heeding the entrance of her lbrothers w'ho come on left] (Clar. Well, sons lion. Ay, well! That is the word we bring. Avestia's h)rince, the gracious Banissat, Is now your sworn defender. lr7. [Turning] And asks no price IBion. No more than your fair self, my sister. I'iq. [As Ardia stands silent] You doubt 'Tis true. He'll make you h)rincess! t i2 K IDM IR Ard. He is old..... Bion. What call you old He's in the fairest top Of manhood. Vig. Old! Ard. And cannot sing. Vig. Not sing! Ard. What need have we of him Can Oswald scale These rock-barred heights Fig. Starvation can. ,I rd. We've food Will last three harvest moons. Bion. And Oswald camps Where plain and sea will feed ten thousand men As many years. Wig. While here our skeletons With bleached grin may watch the feast below! Ard. To starve . . . is that so terrible 'Tis but One way of dying. Fig. Dying Char. Say no more. The morrow's dawn shall light my way to Oswald. Bion. You'll go to him Then death! Vig. [To Ardia] See what you do Ard. Forgive me. [Runs to her father and clings to hiin] Now! Bind me to Banissat. Char. Nay, thou art free. Bion. [To Ardia] Our lives shall thank you. Vig. Thlanks You speak her part. [Ardia leare. her father and moves to edge of parapet] Bion. [Following her] Dost know a better way Ard. I pray you. leave me. Vig. Princess of Avesta! Ard. Your supper waits. Vig. [Stalrting right] ('C'ome, brother! KIDMI IR Char. Though I've supped, I'll sit with you, my sons. Discourse is ever The best dish at the board. Bion. We thank you, sir. [E.reunt Biondel, Vigard, Charilus, right] Ard. And am I wooed and won Dreams of a dream, Where are ye nowv . . . . . . A lover with no song. No carols stealing sweetness from the moon; No trembling hand to drop a morning rose Where I may walk. [Takes a rose froimi her bosom and casts it away] No rose . . . . no V airdelan! [R-cideltr Gaiira]1 Caiti. Here, mistress Dearie dear, a-weeping Ard. No. Gai'na. Say you were, 'twere a better sight than this fetching of dry sighs. They 'most take the skin of a woe that a little tear-water would bring up easy enough. bird. 0, Gaina, Gaina, did you see my mother buried Gaina. Ay, 'twas a sweet grave we laid her in over in Corinth. You'll never make as pretty a corpse, my dear. Ard. Was I there Gaina. Troth, you were, and trouble enough you gave me. You wanted to climb into the coffin and go to sleep too, you said. Ard. 0, had you buried me with her I should not have seen this day! Gaina. Most like you wouldn't. Come, honey dove, come to your room and brighten yourself a bit. There's the new veil just begging to be looked at. I'll put it on you, and Ard. No, I don't want you. [Going, right] Gaina. 0, ho, I can read his name you do want, and not kill a bird for it either. Ard. [Turning] Who, magpie Who K I D M I R Gaina. Your eyes may save my tongue if they squint sou'west. Ard. Is he coming Gaina. Who, my cuckoo Who [Bertrand enters left. Ardia starts off rigqht] Ber. Ardia! Ard. [Weaklly, pausing at her door] Vairdelan. Ber. Will not you stay Ard. I will return. [Exit] Ber. Your mistress is not well Gaina. You've eyes, sir. Ber. This fear of Oswald Gaina. Her trouble's nearer home, sir. Ber. Her father- Gaina. Nay, it wears no beard, though it may in time. Ber. What troubles her, dear Gaina Gaina. A man, my lord. Ber. A man! Gaina. There, don't feel for your sword, for that's at home, and I never heard yet of spitting a Inian with a flute, though it may e'en go to the heart of a woman if she be young and soft like my mistress. Ber. The truth, Gaina! Gaina. I can spare it, sir. My master's daughter is so in love with you- Ber. Angels do not love! Gaina. That may be. I'm speaking of my mistress, "Magpie! " Not meaning you, sir. Ber. She can not love me! Gaina. That's what I said-at first. A roaming creat- ure with only his cloak for shelter, though it's a good gentleman's weave, I'll allow, and I know you'll go away before her poor heart gets too heavy for carrying. It's nigh that now, and before you came it was so light she was tripping and chirping till I could 'a' swvorn she had no 230 K I D M I R heart at all-just toes and wings. And now, dear soul,- but you'll go, sir You know you'd have to hunt the door soon enough if her brothers got a breath of what's between you. Ber. There's nothing between us! Gaina. A bat could see it by daylight. It's been in your eyes all the time. Ber. I never meant it! Gaina. Shame to you then. You'll go, sir Ber. Yes, yes, yes! Gaitia. Here's my lady. Now don't tell her you're going. Just go. Ber. Just . . . go. Gaiiia. [At right] Ay, you've got it. [Exit Gain a as Ardia re-enters] Ard. My brothers are at supper. Will you join them, Or do you fast Ber. I fast. Ard. A stern religion Is yours, my friend. Ber. I've chosen it. Ardia, You know me for a knight. Ard. [Softly] Who wears no sword. Ber. But in the English isle where I was born, I was a monk . . . and true. True am I now, Save that my cell is what men call the world. Ard. Spare speech and me. I know the rest. Ber. Your prayers Then be my bond that Christ may search my heart And find no part not his. Ard. No prayer of mine Shall fetter youth to bloodless vows. And you Look not as one faith-leeched of life Your cheek Is sudden gray, not changeless pale. 'Tis hued Like rebel morning pushing back a dawn 1231 K I D M I R Too eager for its peace. A monk. Our ways Part as our souls. Know you I am to wed Prince Banissat So dumb My father comes! [Meets Charilus re-entering and leads him to at seat] Our guest was telling me of English days. Now you change tongue with him and speak the tale You promised yester night. Why does this Oswald, This war-mad lord of England, on his way To free the holy tomb, forget his path And turn his army's strength against a man No greater than thyself Char. Yes, you shall know. Ard. At last! Char. For morning parts us. Ard. Oh! Not that! Ber. Shall I go in, my lord Char. Nay, Vairdelan. I'd have thee hear. Thou thinkest me a man Of holy heart. Ard. Ah, who does not Char. There's one Has cause for doubt. 'Twas I who slew in rage Earl Oswald's father. Ard. You These hands Char. These hands. Ber. I've heard 'twas so. Ard. You've heard Char. 'Tis thirty years Since Oswald, with his father, John of Clyffe, Marched in Red Giles' crusade. You know of that Ber. My grandsire captained there. Char. I served .nQt Christ, At least as they, with pillage, fire and rape, But there were some among the English youths K I D M I R Who took my heart, and Oswald was mv choice Of all who camrped before the holy gates. Ard. That man! Char. I, too, was young .... and I was wed. Not to my Ardia's mother, but to her Whose heart yet boldly beats in my two sons. In her strange beauty John of Clvfte found death. lie sought her, and I slew him. When his blood Ran at my feet, I fled,-not from the swords Hot on my path, but from that stream of blood. A rd. Dear, dear my father! 'Twas a world ago! Char. I was not of the many who can kill And laugh again, nor vet of hermit-heart, But for myself had made a gentle god Whoin my soul served. Ber. I know, my lord, that sweet Idolatry, and dream what thou didst suffer So shaken from it. Char. Far as man knows the world I fled the scarlet stream that followed me, And on the skyward slope of Himalay, Between the white of snows and blue of heaven, Saw it no more. Ard. [Kissing his hands] 0, white, forgiven hands! Char. There, near to God as man may come nor lose The body's mould, I saw in solvent thought That knows not time, a sinless star,-this earth That shall be. Back unto my world I came, And that my dream might live I lived my dream, Servant to love even where the slaves of hate Whet sword and knife. Ard. 0, true! Ber. 'Tis sung of thee! Char. Now am I old, but love does not deny me One service more. To-morrow I shall go To die at Oswvald's feet- 233 KIDMIR Ber. [Eagerly] You will go down Ard. No, no! He shall not go! Prince Banissat Will save him! He has promised! Ber. [Gazing at Ardia] Banissat So 'twas a bargain. Thou 'rt fair goods to be On th' vender's table. [Turns to Charilus] You choose well, my lord. Ard. What words! Ber. I bring a message from th' earl. Ard. From Oswald [Shrinking] You know him Ber. If any man May know him,-but I better know his son. Ard. The vicious Bertrand Ber. Vicious Ard. 0, so foul Ile shuns the day, and walks on moonless nights Most like his soul! Ber. You speak of Bertrand Ard. Ay! More wolfish than his father,-beast whose sword Should be his body's part as tigers wear Their claws from birth! Ber. A bold delusion this! Char. She speaks untempered rumor. Slander, sir, Is out of breath with sporting Bertrand's name, And giveth way to winds that blow it past Belief's last border. Ard. Slander Ber. What will shake These fancies from your heart Ard. A miracle. Naught less. Ber. Hard terms. [Turns to Charilus] I know this Bertrand well. If any happy merit in myself 9234 K IDM I R Has won your love, bestow the same on him. What I may share is his. Char. Here's living hope! Ber. He, like myself, was cloister-bred, and passed Peaceful, uncounted days until the death Of his three brothers, slain in one mad hour. Earl Oswald then bethought him of the son So early given to Christ. " I have no heir," Ile said, b'but God lacks not for monks." And straight With power and gold bought full release for Bertrand, Save that release his soul and God might give. Char. You make me love his story. Ber. True to peace Even in the camp of wvar, he lives withdrawn, And so gives Rumor sweep for what she would, While in her swollen report the earl conceals his monkish son's true nature. Char. I'll know this youth! Ber. He keeps his tent by day, and steals at night To forest glens, his armor but a cloak, His sword a flute Ard. 0, light from Heaven! Ber. Sometimes He farther goes, even far as Kidmir heights, And at the feet of Charilus he learns A love more true than fane and cloister taught,- The love that made the houseless, barefoot Christ, With open breast to all unbrothered woe,- And now he kneels and of that gentlest love Asks pardon. Char. Bertrand, son of Oswald, rise. There's no forgiving in the sinless star. Ber. [Rising, to Ardia] And you Ard. Ah . . . when I've breath! KIDMIR Ber. What I have said, My lord, makes way for what is yet to say. To-day I waited by Avesta's gate For this [taking out paper] my father's word, response to mine Sent days ago to him. Here, sir, he says: [Reads] "Son of my hope, your words are not more strange to me than these I wsrite with my own hand. If Charilus will come to Suli Castle, the which my swords have taken while you sang and slept, my door shall open to him as Kidmir gates have opened unto you. By Christ, I swear the treatment that he gave my blood he shall have again from me. But if he come not down, then shall I reach him through Avesta's heart, and the love he now spurns will be cold in my sword. Despatch this, I pray you, for I would hasten to Jerusalem, leaving you my con- quered princedom, whose head is Ilon and 'whose 'foot is the city of Ramoor. Thine as thy heart speaks, Oswald." Char. Your father's hand Ber. Doubt flies from it, although The vein is alien, sir. It is his hand, And, I do think, his heart, wherein, my lord, Your gentleness to me, like creeping rain, Has moistened love's dry root, whose pent-up bloom Is by that nurture freed, and magical Now glows before us. Char. This I would believe. [Starts oqf right] Vigard and Biondel must have this news From my slow lips, lest with the sudden truth They strike ablaze. They have their mother's fire. Albanian Gartha was not one to die And leave her sons no part in her wild race. [Exit] Ber. You are not Gartha's daughter 9.36 KID MIR A rd. No, my lord. Claris of Corinth bore me, and my flame Is joy, not anger. 0, this miracle You've wrought for me! Ber. I wrought Ard. 'Tis no less strange When God through his bare tool reveals his hand, Than when invisible his power stirs And makes a chasm in sense. So when vou stood Before me, Bertrand's self, with yet the voice, The eyes, the heart of Vairdelan, I knew That was my miracle. 0 Heaven-sign At which my world grew blithe and shook 'May-boughls With birds in every branch! Ber. You've no more fear For Charilus Ard. None, none. Nor for myself. Ber. Yourself A rd. 0, seems no soul need trouble now In this vast world! [Re-enter Charibis and sons] Bion. You are not Vairdelan Vig. You're Bertrand, Oswald's son Bcr. 'Tis true. Jig. That truth Should cut your throat, and I could lend my sword F'or such a matter. lBion. Come! What knightly plea ('oats this deceit with honor Ber. None, my lord. If I've made trespass deeper than your love Will bear me out, my hope is in your pardon. Bion. A lie made you our guest, and guest you are Until we meet on Suli plain. 1 KIDMIR Char. My son! Ard. Call you that pardon, Biondel Bion. I speak No pardon. Ard. But you shall-you must. 0, say it! You know our father goes to Oswald. Vig. Know That fools and women talk! The gates are sealed. Bion. I'll guard the pass against my father's self If so much rudeness may make stand between His death and life. Char. My sons, I thank your love, But I go down. The guards, the gates are mine, And to my will they open. Vig. 'Tis that girl, That silvery Greek Char. If your quick blood must stir, Let manners grace it. Ard. 0, my dearest brothers, Do you not love me Bion. Better than you know. We love you, serve you, though yourself obstruct The way to safety. Vig. You would trust the man Who wrapped him in a lie to enter here Sat at our father's board and brake his bread To feed an enemy Ber. The bread I brake Fed friendship's heart in me, and made this roof A temple. Do you not know me, Vigard Vig. Nay, I knew a Vairdelan-you are not he. Bion. If Oswald means no harm to Charilus, Let him pass on. Jerusalem awaits His savage sword. 238 K IDM JI IR Char. My son, that Oswald thus Compels me to him is to me but proof That hearts inay greet al)ove long years of hate. In this I see Love beckoning Man across The wastrel lands of war to fields unwet With blood, to days- Vig. Unhearted cowards then! Praise Allah, we yet live where rapiers thresh The fields of men and leave the bravest standing! Is 't not the Prophet's word that Paradise Lies 'neath the shade of swords Char. Allah be yours! But I would walk beneath unrisen stars, Beyond hate's eyeless clouds lrion. 0, spare us, sir! Each day brings its own sun, and by that ligh1t, No other, men must walk. If this our time Be dark to you, 'tis in your vision, not In the lit hearvens, fromn whose shoreless depth No hook of prayer or pxrop)hecy imay (raw One star before its hour. 1Prav you be done With this moon illadness. Banissat will meet The force of Oswald. With the morn he comes To seal his troth with Ardia Char. By no word Of mine. If you have given him pledge, your honor Shall dip to dust and drudge your forfeit out, Ere virgin bondage pay it. Hark, Biondel, And hear me, Vigard! I alone shall meet Earl Oswald. If the blood I shed yet cries For blood, here are the veins shall make it dumb. Bion. But, sir, Char. No more. Your sister stays with you. Regard her will, nor ope these doors unbidden TIo Banissat. 239 KIDMIR Ard. I stay 0, never think I shall not go with thee! Char. You go ,- Ird. I'm safe With thee, my father. Here . ..... X Vg. Here you have brothers! Ard. I mean no slight upon you, but my fate Keeps with my father. Char. I should doubt the God Who bids me go if I denied you this. Thyself art Peace, and where thou goest moves Ier radiance. Make you ready. And good-night, all! Sir Bertrand, know the sleep that fits the heart Flor journeying. [Exit right, rear] Vig. [To Ardia] There's one will stop your way- Prince Banissat! Bion. We'll send him word this hour, For while the edge be on his sudden love He'll thank us to be swift. Ber. You loved me once, Mv lords. Bion. True, son of Oswald. Ber. Though you used Some hitter words, I know your inmost heart Holds me a man undoubted. There I'm stamped In honor's verity; and when I vow, By my soul's faith, that Charilus is safe, You know 'tis truth. Bion. Be you our father's hostage, If this inad thing must be. Stay you with us, And we are silent. Ard. Stay You ask too much. filig. No fear, soft sister. Mark him. We're refused. He'll stuff the air with words, not clear it with One pinch of proof. me40 K I D M I R. Ber. My lords, were I to stay, 'Twould make an act of faith lose point and purpose, And blazon doubt before my father's face. lijy. You mark Ber. 'Twould lou(Ier cry of war; uproot Love's seedlin, in its tenderest hour, aiid make Once more the l)ane and night-weed spring. But hear An oath of mine. If Charilus meet harm In Oswald's caimp, I shall return and ask The same stroke from your hands. Ard. 0, do not swear! Ber. By every hope I have to enter Heaven, Bv the right hand of God, by this white cross That knew my mother's last, death-holy kiss, By every sacred thing I know and love, If Charilus comes up these heights no more, Here shall I lay my life beneath your sword. [Barca re-enters right] Barca. [ To Bertrandl The master asks a word with you, my lord. (Exit Bertrand ivith Barcal Ard. Will you accept his oath X ig. Go to your room. Bion. We'll talk alone. .I rd. Nay, hear me first. You think To force me to the arms of Banissat. Give over that wild thought. Bion. 'Twas not so wild An hour ago. I rd. Fate lifts the hand that laid (1omupulsion on me. I am free. 0, free! No strait of life or death can make ine less Than mistress of myself. Bion. Our destiny Is bound with Banissat. Make him our foe, And where shall we find peace Not on these peaks. 241 KIDMIR Ard. Is he our jailer then This Banissat Our prison his good favor Nay, the world Has many roads, and courage even yet May blaze a new one. Bion. Rooted life is best. I am not one to make my bed on winds, Or stroll the earth for fortune's grudged scraps Snatched from a rapier's point. Ard. Know this. My hand Shall never lie in Banissat's. Give up A hope so barren. There's better pasturage For wits so bold as yours. Now Oswald holds The breadth of Suli plain, the heights of Tor, Winged by the sea from Ilon to Ramoor- A principality whose circuit leaves Avesta as a fly pinned to a wall. Vig. What's Oswald's fief to us We are no sons of his. Ard. Lord Bertrand holds the princedom here While Oswald goes to wars in Palestine. Bion. Ile told you this Ard. Did you not read as much In Oswald's letter There 'twas plainly said. Wion. Still is our surest hope with Baniissat. Ard. When Bertrand is your friend 0, more than friend! A brother! Bion. Ah . . . . . .do you say "brother" Ard. As though he had been born our father's son! Bion. [To Viyard] You hear Vig. With more than Bion. We have L Vig. A brother! Bion. All is clear enough, now that We've eyes for it. Yotir l)ardon, sister. [rue i ears. been blind. 242 KIDMIR Ard. Pardon Bion. Pray you! We thought your scorn of Banissat iMarked you of creeping spirit, when your aim Shot o'er our lowered eyes. Tiy. Ay, she has sped Before our boldest care of her, and left Ir (luty lurching. Alrd. These are drunken words. ig. If you would wed Lord Bertrand,- ,lrd. 0, you think ....... B ion. Your hope has shown its wing. Best bid it fly. 'iy. Speak without fear. This changes all. Ard. You mean You'll not (lelay us You will let us go Vig. And speed you too! High stroke, this anxious hour To journey in his care! Bion. Yet shielded by Our father's dignity. Ard. How you mistake! lIe does not woo me! Vig. Now the modest foot! BHut ,we have seen the other. Trust us, sister. Bioii. Mistake I now recall his looks, his sighs, As from a love immured,-his songs, too warm For piety's cool breath,-and more that tends Tro happy proof. Vig. How dare he woo thee when Mere Vairdelan This blade had stood between! B ion. Such beggar suit would then have cheapened thee Beneath a prince's wearing. [Leading her to door, right] No drooping now! The way lies clear. .ird. 0, brother- Bion. Get you in. A r(1. WTill you not listen Q43 K I D M I R Bion. Leave your hope with us, Your secret is our own. [Closes door upon her] Fig. Here's change of sky. You trust Lord Bertrand JEion. That is now our course. Our father will go down. F-ig. What's in your heart I'll open mine. Bion. I beg you do. Ftiq. Ramoor And Plon now are crownless. Suli's prince TMust have new governors. Bion. But Christian ones. That bars our way. vig. The Prophet's cloak fits well With any fortune. Bion. A.h. vig. We've but to change The color, not the cut. Bion. [Listening] He comes! F'ig. We'll speak. Bion. Not yet, my Vigard. Let this fruiting hope Swell to a golden fall. Wait with the sun. No green and forward plucking. [Re-enter Ardia] Ard. Hear me, brothers Bion. Not now. The prince! [Re-enter Bertrand, right] Ber. I pray your answer, Let us go down unhindered, and my oath I leave with you, a hostage sure as though With iron bonds you held my breathing form; For in that oath I leave no treasure less Than honor, knighthood, and what in me moves Deathless to God. friends. 244 K ID I)M I R Bion. It is enough. Our guest Is free. Ber. Once more my brothers! Bion. Know us ever By that dear name. I17y. iAnd this deep oath you take iFor Charilus' sake, is sworn too for our sister Ber. For Ardia No, my lord. Yig. Do you say no Ber. I must so answer you. For the fell harm That touches her would of myself make end. Miy honor so impeached would cease to breathe The air itself made foul. I could not come Having no life to bring me. B ion. We believe you. Go with our father. Take our sister too. And we upon these heights shall pray, as you On Sluli plain, that Charilus may see His sons again. Ber. Come, let him know! This wished Obedience will give him sleep. [E.xeunt Bertrand, Vigard, and Biondel, right rear] "Ird. Is 't best That Truth be dumb I'll watch this weaving Fate, And feed her web with silence .... . Oh, with hope! [Curtain] 9.45 ACT II SCENE 1. A hall in the ca(st/c of Suli. Heavy doors open Ift, half-way up. Large window with iron grating, rear. Couches, chairs, scattered. Tables from nwhich servants are removing the remnants of a feast. They are quar- relling, chaffing, singing, as the curtain rises. First Ser. Shifty, there! Second Ser. What, can't a soldier eat First Ser. You a soldier, lickspoon Second Ser. I've drawn a sword, sir! First Ser. Ay, and cut a cheese. Third Ser. [Lifting fla.sk;] Here's to Fourth Ser. [Seizing flask] No man shall guzzle my mas- ter's wine before me. [Drains vessel] Third Ser. [Sadly, turning uip emptyfla.sk] Not after you, either. Fifth Ser. Well, well, and two moons back we were saying grace over ditch-water! Sixth Ser. Ay, we were good Christians then. A fill stomach makes lean prayers. Now we've such a plenty we can spare the devil a fillip, and never a grace for it. First Ser. [Tugging at table] Take a leg there! This is no grasshopper. [Others help him move table to wall, right] Look about you! The maskers will be in here. Second Ser. Here They'll be everywhere to-night. Such a jig-making over the new prince! Second Ser. Not a corner to drop into and sleep off a good supper with a clear conscience! Sixth Ser. Sleep What have we to do with sleep We figlit, we eat, we dance. That's my soldier! 246 K I D M I R Second Scr. We kill, we cut, we caper! [Sings] The soldier rides on Fortune's wheel, All. Round we go, Round we go! Second Ser. Now up the head and now the heel, All. Round we go, Round- [Enter seventh servant] Seventh Ser. Quiet, you devils! The master's coming. Second Scr. What, can't a soldier sing Haven't we fought like true men When did we give quarter When did we show mercy And now can't we be happy Can't we take breath Seventh Ser. Sh! and I'll tell you what I've seen. I've seen the daughter of Old Wisdom. Sixth Ser. He get a daughter! Seventh Ser. The maid of Kidmir. Ardia of the Stars they call her, but if the sun could shine in the middle of a dark night she would be like that. First Ser. Foh, the Lady Berenice will put out her can- dle. Seventh Ser. The Lady Berenice is as like her as the back of my hand to Juno's cheek! First Ser. A heathen comparison! There's a Christian blow for it! [They scffle. Enter Oswald in talk with Bertrand. Ser- vants finish their work quietly and go out] Osw. My heart is whole again, now you've escaped The claws of IKidmir. Ber. Say the arms that closed Like God's around me! Osw. Fox, and lion too. That's Charilus. I knew him young,-when blood Tells nature's truth,-ere he had sucked Philosophy's pale milk and made his truce 247 KIDMIR With prudence and long life. The heart then his lie carries now Ber. Then, sir, you must have known The Maker's marvel,-youth that outstripped age And grayest saints in virtue. Osw. Tut! No matter. You're safe. And he is here ... . within these walls. Ber. A guest of faith who holds your honor bound High hostage for his life. Osw. MIy honor Trust mc! I'll care for that. No more I'll blush to lift MNy shield i' the sun. The spot of thirty years Shall be wiped out. Ber. With love, my father Oswv. [After a pause] Ay, 'Tis love shall do it. Ber. [Lifting his father's hand to his lips] You bind my heart to you. 0sw. Too soft, my warrior. Keep such woman's play For Berenice. She will thank you for it. I'm rough and old, and need the soldier clap To start the singing blood. [Clapping Bertrand] A blow with good Red heart in 't! Ber. Berenice Osw. Ah, that takes you! She's here at last. Prince Frederick arrived Three days ago, and with him his fair daughter, Too dear of value to be left behind, The prey of quarrelling kings. You'll dance with her To-night. Ber. You'll pardon me. I shall not dance. Osw. Faugh, there's the monk again! Why, boy, we'll pray The better for a little tripping,-fight 248 K I 1) -MI 12 'Ie l)eLter too. One dance wvith Bereniice! A beallty, sir, w-ho makes me hate the -ears That lie 'tween youth and me. She wvas to eved A son of mine 1)v vow al)ove her cradle, Anl I have lburie(l every son save vou. Bcr. Alay I not keep one vow (0 w. The pope long since Released you. Now 1er. AMy compact wais wvith Christ. 0Oir. Why cling to one whenl all the rest arc broken Ber. It is the one lies wholly in my choice. (sir. You left your cell. Ber. 1)o you forget 'twas y'ou Who shook to ground nmy cloister wvalls, and locked All holy doors against me Os)r.s True, I (li(l it. Aind with goo(l warrant. Broadest Christendom tpiplwd mny right and gave me l)ack my heir. Sinai!ll gain if you refuse to wNed. Aly need Is not for sons l)ut grandsons now. Mly boy, Yon'll let me see your children at mv knee Ilo, hide your face Then there's a heart in you. Wh1y should I toil throughi blood and groans and fire To mnake a name my shroud will wrap with me Ber. Toil then to give this land to God, and live So long as love shall live in men. Omr. PIale fame! Have you no b)lood of mine How could miy fire Father this sluggish monk There w1-as a Maid On Kidmir, Charilus' daughter, who has come In wag of him, which speaks a fearless wvench,- She taught you nothing in those moons you passed Upon her peaks Ber. Sir 249D K I D M I R Osw. When I saw her face Flash from her veil, I could have sworn Your vow was drowned in her lake-eyes, and that 11er captured softness had made easy way For royal Berenice. Now you talk Out of your coNwl- Ber. Not so! I anm a knight! Your words have made me one! Now could I draw This sword that knows not blood- Osw. I'll bout with thee For any woman. Come! Thou'lt be a man Ere long. Come, sir! Ber. You've set a foot most foul Upon the flower of time! OsW. It seems I've hit The mark i' the very eye. Ber. The whitest thought That holds her first must shrive itself! Osu. So, so! Come, end the song. She's yours. 'Tis not the moon You cry for, take an old man's word. Ber. The moon XVere nearer to me! Osw. Trrr-rrr-rr! Ber. My lord Oswr. A woman. Ask and have. I'll send her here. This is the hour to bait you, and I'd not lose it For half of Suli. Ber. Stay! I will not see her. I dare not look upon her lest I lose Christ and myself. 08w. Are you so tuned We'll have A wedding yet. Ber. Forget that word, and I Forgive you for it. 250 K IDM I R osor. A wedding, prince of Suli. This plain shall ring to Antioch. Ber. Nay, father,- And yet I thank you that your heart would make So fair a maid my bride. OSwt'. Fair That's no word. Sle's glory's dlarling pearl,-the morning's eye Thlat makes the night forgot! When you have seen her- Ber. When I have seen her 01,S' Ay, 13er. Do you not speak Of Ardia Osir. Ardia! Gods! Wed Kidmir's trull IMake me a doting grandsire to the heir Of Charilus IHear it, stars! Am I the fool O' the earth (live up my English forests, bare My purse for troops, and foot by foot fight wA-ay To Suli sands,-all this that I may set A droning dotard's line upofl a throne, And be the ass of chronicle 0. poison! Well, well, I'm done. The girl is fair enough. And you shall have her if she pleases you. Butt Berenice-there's your bride, my boy! Ber. Wed Berenice Willi that name you save me. By that I see the darkness coiling deep Along iny l)ridlal way. 'Twas Ardia's name Tlhat lit the path till I dared let my eyes, Though not my will, go venturing on 't. Oswl. My son,- 1Ber. Never again, my father, speak to me In this night's strain. Till morning I shall pray. And then I fast. Good-night. OSw. One moment. One! The sunrise feast Will you not be with us I drink with Charilus the cup of peace. 1251 K I D MI IR Ber. And love that l)reaks no peace Osiv. [Assenting] See how you bend me All that you ask I give, but you to me Yield nothing. Ber. Sir, this sword, my knightly suit, And princely title, make denial for me. Osw. Your pardon. I forget you count it much To give a crust and cell for this broad kingdom. I who have paid my heart out for a crown Must thank you now to wear it. Ber. Good-niglht. Osw. 0, son, Have you no patience with a man grown old In many battles Now feel I my age, Knowing the dearest blows of my long life Have bought me but this shadow. In you is drained Ambition's heart,-my every burning aim Fails here in you, and cools unforged, unshapen. Yet do you turn from me as though 'twvere I Not you who gave the wound that parts us. Ber. I Osu. Of all my sons I loved you best. You think I gave you to the friars with no twinge Here at my heart Your mother said "One son We must return to God," and I said "Yea, So it be not my Bertrand." But her will Ran 'gainst me. When she had her way, I longed Through many a day to hatve you at my side, While you were happy with your songs and saints, Your father quite forgot. Ber. [Stirred] Nay, not forgot. And I am with you now. Osuw. 0, let me feel My son is mine! I'll yield you anything. Ay, even Ardia! She shall be my daughter- K I D MI I R Ber. By heaven that keeps me true, I will not hear That name again! There's maddest music in it. I see her when I hear it. [Covering his eyes] Omsu. [Aside] I see the lime Will catch you. Ber. Again, good-night. 0.sI. One favor, son. And slight too, by 'r lady! Ber. Speak it, sir. Osw. I gave my word you'd -wait on Berenice. I' faith, I know not what excuse to make To Frederick. 'Tis barest courtesy To give her greeting. Ber. I will welcome her, Our guest. 0.Sw. Enoughl! [Going] You'll wait us here Ber. I'll wait. [Exit Oswald. Bertrand sits with head bowred and does not heed inaskers irho enter and dance abont him. TYhey corer him, n'ith their garlands as they go off. A song is heard wzithin] What save winds shall kiss his bones Bleaching on the desert stones What but waves o'er him shall sigh Who doth drownvd sea-deep lie What save wormis to him shall come Locked in earth, bound, kevless, dumb Wild the wind and coll the wvave, Sharp the tooth within the grave! Be such kisses for my g, host, Heart, my Heart, when thou art lost! Love me, Love, an hour and we Mock the cold eternity! 2t)3 KIDMIR Ber. [Taking up a flower] Eternity in this [Ardia enters. le does not see her until she speaks] Ard. Prince Bertrand Ber. [Rising] You Not Berenice! Ard. Ah . . . . you wait for her Ber. Who brought you here Ard. The earl. Your father. Ber. He! What said he Ard. That you prayed to see me, sir. Ber. 0, faithless! Ile deceived you. Ard. I will go. Ber. Stay-tell me how you fare. Ard. Nay, you await The princess. Ber. You've all comfort No least lack Ard. I've food and bed, but little company. Ber. My father's plans press hard, and I'm a part Of them. Each hour he calls me. Ard. I know, my lord, This is not Kidmir. I've my father too. You've yours ... . and Berenice. Ber. Nay, it seems Fate hath her changelings. You have come, not she. Ard. I sought no meeting, sir, but being here, I'll ask you of my father. Is he safe Earl Oswald means no treachery to his guest Ber. At sunrise he will drink the cup of peace. Ard. That's hours away! Ile knows your life is pledged For Charilus' safety Ber. No. I will not wake A doubt against his honor. Ard. Hle should know. I've seen his eyes. Good hap, you have your mothecr's. 2454 K I D MN I R Ber. If he be vile as you so fear he is, M5y pledge would be no leash to his bold will. Ile'd chain me here till lie destroyed your brothers. Let him knowt naught, I'm free to keep my oath. But this should not be spoken. We do wrong To talk of things that have no being save In our own midnight fears. Ard. Well, I shall sleep. Good-night, my lord. Ber. Am I not Vairdelan Ard. Ay, when you smile so. [Holds out her hands, and drops thein, untouched] Far, 0 far from Kidmir! Ber. Yea, an eternal journey my lost soul May find it. Ardia, counsel me. Two ways Stretch long before me, and I faint In daring either. Give me of your strength. Ard. 'My strength I have none. Ber. You have God's. Mfen, proud in valor, stray and lose his hand; The woman holds it ever, walking floods And trampling fire where men go down. A rd. Tell me! How may I help you Ber. Sit then. I wvill speak. [She sits; he stands near her] I have agreed to be the sovereign Of sword-won Suli. Ard. None will better serve Where lie is master. 0, this sPear-torn land Shall flower to heaven and mate her bloom with stars! Ber. A bloom that dies with me Ard. Death cannot make The spirit barren. So;) K I D M I R Ber. [At distance] Through me my father hopes To found a princely house o'er-topping Asia With Christ-lit towers. Ard. Oh! .... Then you will wed. Ber. [His eyes down] My l)ride is chosen. A rd. [Rising] Chosen [Sits again] Nay . . . . I know .... Ber. [Returning] Your hidden eyes hide not the loathing there For me forsworn. WN'hy have I troubled you Look on me, Ardia. I aml not yet fallen. I take your answer. You have chosen my way, And I set forth upon it-not forsworn. Ard. That word is naught. I do not think of it. Ber. Must man not keep) his pledge ,Ard. To mortals, yes. For so our lives are knit, and part to part Keel) sound and whole. But pledges unto God Man cannot make or keel) till he may bind The Will that journeys with the launchild world. So might. His rivers say "Here will we rest, And w-orshiip thee," nor run into the sea, And God must be content though all his fields Burn waterless. So might the winds vow IHim Unbroken calm, and God who needs his storms Must still his own desire while his dear earth Goes pestilent. Ber. Unsentient things! He shares his will with man. Alcrd. But not to enslave his own. Christ sells no bond the lips lay on the soul That is each instant new as life, as change, As the importuning world. Alh, he w,-ho sells To one hour's narrow need the zenith light Of unborn days would snuff out time and know 256 K IDM I R No rising sun. Himself would be a slavedom Where never Christ would walk. Ber. Is 't Ardia speaks Alrd. Truth speaks, not I. If man must vow, Let it not be to love no woman,--wear 'I'lie vest of fire, and in a sunless cell Chain Ileaven-arteried life,-then I)eering out, Cling to the nested eaves transfixed to see Ilis fled desires wear the horizon flanie. lBt let him vow his Christ shall shrink no vein Of brlard and pauseless being; ay,--shall kee) Sweet surgence with his blood, climb with his spirit Time's lifting hills, and hold in watch with him Tlle unshrouding pinnacles where love puts off Trhe okl clouds for the dawn. Forsworn 0, heart Cell-bound, thy very vows deny thy Christ. Who serve him wear no chains. 1T1r. You think me true And yet I felt your wounded, doubting eyes Raining me scorn. Why was it, Ardia A rd. Scorn I have forgot why 'twas-or shall forget. Ber. And there was pity too, that dropped your lids, And would have sheltered me. Is that forgot Ard. Nay, that .1.1. . I'll tell you that. I thought of Love, Man's angel, and the heart-lone wavy of him Who iniissed and found her not. Never to take MIore courage from the fall of her sure feet On heights that wind between death and the stars; Or where his road burns through the shadeless sands, Reach for the hand with fountains in its touch And feel the palm-breath round him. Not to know 11er eyes when night is come, and there's I1o star; Her breast, that pillowing the darkened waste, -7 K I DMI R Keeps warm the bitten earth and gives him dream To meet and match the dawn. So wept my thoughts, Forgetting that you are no wanderer, But kingly housed will rule a tamed realm. Or should a harvest come of spears, not grain, Yet is your princess brave and beautiful, And bears, may be, a mating heart. Love then Will come to you Ber. My princess Ard. Berenice. Your father's choice ... . and yours. Ber. My Ardia! Mine! Could such a lie creep to your soul and find No lances at the door [Kneels, kissing her hands] My love, my love, my love! Let honors fail, and stars forget my name, 'Tis thou shalt walk beside me, thou my chosen! I'll hear thy footfall on the winter steep, And take thy hand where desert noons are white, But close thy breast shall lie upon my heart, Nor pillow the bitten waste, my own, my own! [She moves from him. HIe rises] Why are you silent, pale, and heaven-still Ard. I must be still. I've mourned my heart-walls thin. This joy will break them. Joy to hear your voice With love's mate-music in it cry to me. My joy! I'll drink it all, nor lose one drop, For I shall have no more. Ber. No more No less Than life can hold! Ard. Hear me, my lord. Ber. You love me! Ard. I shall not be your wife. Ber. You're mine--all mine! 258 K IDM I R Ard. You hold your vow yet sacred, breaking it By the sole might of love. You do not feel The vision round you in whose light that vow Falls like a grave-cloth from an angel's limbs. Ab, Christ would be no bridal guest of ours, Shut out by your heart's fear. [He stands as if stricken] You see 'tis true. You listen for his sanction, and you hear The ring of your own vow. [He sits bowed] You hear it now Above your passion's chime. 'Twill fill the air When love's mad bells grow quiet, and your soul Asks the old question. Let me then be far From thee, nor stay to be a clasped fire Eating thy side. Ber. You'll heal me of my fear. [Reaching his hands to her] My fountain and my palm! Ard. Your doubt would stir Beneath your tenderest deep. My nearing step Would as a trumpet start its buried storm To sweep our meeting eyes. Ber. If Christ would give A sign,-leave me no choice,-no other way Ard. The torch of Fate but blinds us when the heart Beareth no light. Ber. Not Fate, but Heaven-there I'd read my sign. Ard. Hope not, my lord, that Heaven Will drive me to your arms. Farewell. Ber. No, no! To keel) you I'll dare liell-- 1259 K I D M I R A4rd. Dare hell DaMy love Walks not that fiery verge, but waits thine own In regions nearev God. There we shall meet, And there will be no hell. [Turns to go, but is drawn back by his grief] Thou art a prince Of Christ. Arise and rule this land for him. There is no sin in you. You've kissed my hands, And they are bright as stars! Ber. 0, can you go You do not love me. In your breast are wings- No heart, but wings that seek the mountain sky. Go perch above me, leave me dying here. And cool your bosom with a virgin song To mateless heaven! Ard. Who is cruel now You have the world to feed on, need not eat Your heart as I must-I, the woman. Dear, Where Kidmir cliffs climb highest to the sky I'll keep my watch, but thou shalt rise above me In thought of men. O'er all discerning shall Thy purpose wing, perhaps be drunk of clouds, But light shall follow where thine aim has sped, And leading upward with your comrade world, Miy Kidmir shall seem lowly, where I walk With stintless ache beneath the cedar boughs On pain's moon nights. And oh, the Springs to pass, When each bride-bud shall be a wound to me, When grasses young, and softly pushing moss, Shall urge my feet like fire, and I must stand Quite still . . . quite still . . . with all my unborn babes Dead in my heart. Ber. [Motionless] You dare not leave me now. You dare not, Ardia. .260 K I DA I R. A rd. I dare not stay. [.As she nears the great doors they rumible shut and are noisily barred writhout] Ard. Ho! Open, open, open! I pray you, open! [Beats on door, then leans to the silence] Shut in . . . shut in! So Oswald's treachery Begins with ine. My father, we are lost. You are to die, and I-to-morrow, oh, AMy honor will go wasting on the fields With every soldier's breath! You hear, my lord We are shut in . . . Ber. The miracle! A rd. Together. Ber. The sign! the sign! A1d. For all the night.. . Ber. For all Eternity! There is no other way. I take you as from Christ. My bride, my bride! [Curtain] SCENE 2. The sanie. Gray of morning seen through grating of inindowv, rear, where Bertrand stands lookiiny out and upward. frdia is sleeping on, a couch. The dawvn- light icakes her and she starts up. Ard. 'Tis morning. Bertrand! You have watched all night Ber. 0, there has been no night. A rd. I slept it through. Ber. Thy body slept, but thou hast been w-ith me O'er all the world, and farther than the world, Out where the life begins. AIrd. That may be true, For I had wondrous dreams. 261 6K I D M I R Ber. You speak of dreams A magic touched me, and I woke from dream Knowing my life. What ways we went! All things Seemed new, warm with the Maker's hand, as young As our own eyes, but 'twas eternity That kept them sweet, unaging. Ard. It was Love Who gave thee eyes to see the world immortal Even in our own. Ber. Do all Love's votaries Walk with such magic sight Ard. In truth! I've seen A beggar woman tread the road-side dust As it were showered gold, because she had Love's eyes. And we-what joys our joy shall find! The pearling skies with rose-breath drinking ours 'Tween sea and dawn! The leaves that turn i' the wind And tremble in our hearts-the brook-song that Began beyond the stars-the woodland nests, Breast-warm- Ber. And one is ours. Ard. The lark that leaves His meadow-mate and reels at the sun's door Dropping his song of fire and clover-dew Down to her heart. Ber. [Kissing her] As this in thine! Ard. And all Life's dearer-veined joys,-the way-side hands That pluck to camp-fire glow,-the smile of age, Gift-sweet and wise beside the garner door- Ber. Ay, dear are these . . . . but when we came again From that far, holy place . . .. Ard. Ah, in your dream. Ber. Where no words go or come . . .. Ard. When we came back 262 KIDMIR Ber. Walking the light between the parted stars, And met the days that knew us .... . naught could hide The eternal joy within it. 'Twas a world Whose beauty lay allwheres. 0. not alone In morning skies and mated larks a-wing! Each rag-hung thing was dipped in chosen time And wore its royal hour. Ard. If that could be! Ber. What seers, what eyes of light, outshone the pain That gave them being! Tears that silvered graves Globed in their pearl the immortal hope of men, And seemed as beautiful as prophecy Burning in its own truth. Ay, where a man Fell murdered, crying "I forgive," the ground Sprang as a garden Ard. Murdered 0, not that! How could you say it I had forgot, forgot! Love in your dream looked you quite through the soul Of Time on things to be What saw you then Ah, tell me! Ber. Then . . Then came this dimmer light Which you called morning, and I saw no more. Ard. I would I knew! Ber. You fear even now Ard. 0, me! Ber. Sweet, leave these shadows-dreams of ancient night That cling too late upon a day-warm world. Must I persuade you still that Oswald means Our happiness Ard. Hark you! They come, my lord. Ber. The sunrise feast. Fit place and time to break The fast of love. Ard. 0, hear! So many feet! 1263 K I I) TM I R Ber. Dear trembler, do not fear. Ard. They're here, my lord. Ber. Welcome the world. It has no eye can make Our own seek earth. [Doors open. Enter Frederick, Oswald, Charilus, Bere- nice, with lords and ladies attending. Servants follow bearing trays, and lay the table. Ardia hastens to her father and they talk apart. Oswald advances to Ber- trand, right, the others lingering left] Os8. I am forgiven Ber. Forgiven! Ask God and Love! I'll thank you all my life That you did force me take my only way To Heaven. Osw. H1mm! And I spent a bitter night Fearing your morning face. Ber. It was my soul's Birth-night. Osw. God bless me, you are grateful, sir. But you've good reason. [Looks at Ardia] I had no suc+ mate To make the dark hours fly. Ber. Pray speak to her. Osw. In my good time. Ber. Nay, now! OSw. The day is long. I shall be gentle, for I owe her much Who gives me back my son. Come to our guests. Ber. Does Frederick- Osl. Ay, he knows all, and bears No grudge. Ber. Knows all Osw. He clapped my plot as though His own thick noll had hatched it. Ber. And the princess- 264 KIDMAXIR Osw. You see her smile There's answer for you. Comen! No blush! Put on a face. Your bridal news Shall sauce our banquet. [They move to guests] Fred. [To Bertrand] Greet you, sir! But why So pale, my lord I fear me you have spent A sleepless night. Ber. Ay, as the stars. A Lord. The stars Ile winked then. by the rood! Ber. What do you say Lord. I say the stars do wink, most gracious prince. Oswv. Come, find your seats, my friends! Yet two of us, Lord Charilus and my unworthy self Must keep our feet till we have drunk the wine Made sacrosanct by one night's rest upon The Virgin's altar. [Bertrand places Jrdia's seat by her father, who stands at the left of Oswald] You, fair Berenice, Sit at my right, and on your other side The graceless prince of Suli begs for room. Bere. Ile beg, my lord I have not heard his tongue, And for his eyes, I fear no leek of Wales Could pull a beggar's tear from them to oil This suit. But he is welcome. Ber. [Taking seat by her] Thank you, lady. [WIhen all are seated save Charilus and Oswald a priest enters bearing a chalice of wine which he places on table before Oswald] Osw. This is the cup by angels visited In night's deep hours. Herein they dropped the peace Of Heaven, which Charilus and I shall take Into our hearts. I know in truth it holds K I D M I R Sweet peace for me-the peace that thirty years My veins have ached for. Charilus, what say you Char. My heart can hold no more of peace than now Doth fill it, but I drink with you, my lord. [Drinks from goblet which Oswald has filled from chalice, and Oswald drinks from goblet filled by Charilus] Osw. [Dropping his glass] Is peace a fire I' faith, this kindles me! Thou smileless priest, take off the Virgin's cup! You think it needs another blessing, sir, Since my bold hand has touched it Out with you! [Exit priest with chalice] That pinch-face has seen hell and fasts to keep The ghost down. I'll not fast. Set to, my friends. Fill up your bowls, for I've a health for you. We drink to Berenice, bride to be Of Bertrand, prince of Suli and my son! A Lord. [As all lift their glasses] We pledge the bride of Bertrand-Berenice! Ber. Drink not, my lords, till you have changed that name To Ardia, daughter of our noble guest, Lord Charilus! Fred. [Rising] If this be sport, Earl Oswald, A world of groans shall pay for 't! Bere. [In mock swoon] Oh . . . I faint.. [Her ladies help her] Osw. You bawling ass! You thousand times a fool! Ber. [To Oswald] You've woven a maze about me, and I'm blind With 't, yet I see to pluck one truth,-my bride Is Ardia. No other under Heaven! My lords, It is the wine Osw. Would then 'twere in your throat! Is this the riddle of your morning smile 266 K I D M I R Your fair compliance, soft submission Sir, By my heart's blood, I'll give you to the sword Ere you shall make me father to a drab- The spoil of your own lust, the- What, you draw Ay, strike me down! Let me be first to fall Beneath your mighty sword! The rust has lain A lifetime on it, and a father's blood May cleanse it bright as Heaven! Ber. 0, my Christ! 0().l. Yea, call on him, and he will hear thee too, Who honorest so thy father! [Bertrand stands speechless] Now, my lords, Since hie no longer brays, I have a tale To tell you. I, too, had a father, though The world has long forgot him. Fred. No, my friend. Well do 1 bear in mind his fair, proud face, Alld glory of his arms. Osir. He was struck down Because a minion, straying from the hearth, Looked on his beauty with her nestling eyes. Fred. For no more cause Osilw. I swear it. Friends, if death Were the cold price for kissing of a jade, Who here would be alive For so slight sin Was any brave father murdered. Charilus, speak! Was not the princely heart of John of Clyffe Ripped with a hate-keen sword,-the sword of him Who claimed the lordship of those rebel lips That chose miy father liege C('a r. It is too true. Oswll. Who better knows Say that a wilding flies The builded bower, hearing a lordlier song Pass on the wind than her dull mate can tune, 2167 K I D M I R Must then the singer die, who scarcely knows his song is heard, or that a bold wing follows (liar. Whether the earl of Clyffe sang then to woo, As I believe, or for the love of song, As you do say, my lord,-his death was sin, And he who wrought that woe shed tears enough To clear his stain, if tears may whiten souls. 08zv. A murderer's tears! But what of mine, the son's Ber. Your oath-your honor, sir! Where is the love You swore should cleanse your shield OSwV. Safe in my heart. And burning for my father. Ber. God of pity! Oswv. That was the love I spoke of. Ber. All be deaf But hell! Osw. Hear the full tale, my friends. I swear The earl of Clyffe died for no more offence Than I have here set out,-and I, his only son, Kissed his red wounds and from his breast unbound This bloody scarf- [takling scarf from his bosom] that then was crimson, now In age-grown black bemourns my step that comes So sluggish to revenge. For thirty years Had passed ere I beheld his murderer, Then face to face we stood . . . . and face to face We stand . . . for this is he, this Charilus Of Kidmir-peace-lipped Cain-gray hypocrite, Whose blood is honey in his veins, whose eyes Stare on the world as he were some bland god Who made it and said "good." Char. Sir, I would send MIy daughter to her brothers. Grant me this. And I am ready for what death you please. 1268 K I D M I R Ard. I will not go. One sword shall strike us both. [Turns to Oswvald] But first a word to you. When Charilus falls, Say farewell to your son. Hle pledged his life To toy two brothers for our father's safety, And you, who know him least, yet know he'll keep 'That pledge. Osw. What, creature, will you lie Ard. I speak The truth. Strike, if you can, this gray old man, Silvered in service to the one high God, Sinless as sunlight, fair in sweetened age,- Let forth his sainted blood, and Bertrand lives No longer than the shortest time between Suli and Kidmir. Osit. That's a lifetime then! Ile shall not step! I'll have him hung with chains Till lie is fast as rooted oaks in earth! Ber. [Stunned] A guest betrayed ..... Osw. Betrayed I promised him Such treatment as he gave my blood. And lie Shall have it-death! Char. Peace be my heir! Ber. [Takes stand by Charilus] Death, sir First break this sword! Thy sin must be unnamed Until the angel who doth write thee damned Gives it foul christening. I break my pledge. I will not go to Kidmir. Here I'll give My life for Charilus. Char. No blow for me! 0, may I unavenged lie forgot, And my forgiving blood make barren ground Alive with asphodel- 26;9 KIDMIR Ber. Nay, I will strike, Though a father's sword meet mine! [Charilus trembles, and supports himself by Ardia's arm] Osw. Commend me, stars! You counselled well. [To Bertrand] Fool, do not draw. There's none Will run against you. Charilus is dead, And by a way more sure. His holy goblet Held one rich drop the angels put not there Nor Virgin blessed. See how he pales-and stares- And cannot get his voice So are we spared A swan-song homily trickling through his beard. Be off, old pray-lip-off, and take with you Your cat-foot peace and milky piety! I serve a vengeful God who armeth men For his own wars! Ber. Heaven, draw thy clouds about thee! [Charilus dies in Ardia's arms] Osw. He's dead! The air of earth is sweet again. I have no enemy! Ber. [Looking up from the body] You have no son. [Curtain] 270 ACT III SCENE: On Kidmir Pass. Moonlight paling to daun. Ardia alone, struggling up the Pass. Ard. [Looking back] They do not follow. I am safe from that. [Sits on a rock] Why should I climb There is no rest up there. But there is death, mayhap,-and that is worth The sorest climbing. 0, my father dear, Is't thy dead self so heavy on my heart Thou shouldst be light upon thy spirit wings, And give me of thy freedom. [Gaina entersfrom abare] Gaina, hast found The spring Gaina. 'Tis farther up. Ard. More steps. Gaina. Wait here. Barca will bring you drink. Nay, sit you still. Ard. I must. How this weak body masters us, Cooling the bravest vill that in strong limbs Might dance to any goal! Yet do we say The will is lord, whose flush is in the blood And fades wi' the paling body. By that lie We cling to Heaven and immuortality. 0, I am lost so deep I need not fear The farthest bolt of God! Out, out the pale Of his concern! Gaina. Why now, honey dear! A sip of fine spring water and you'll be A lark o' the morning! All's not bad, I say. 271 :7 KIDMIR There's Banissat would marry you to-morrow! What pretty words he spoke, and took us in Like a good father-hut I saw him look! And he were shaved he'd have a merry eye. Such meal and honey! I've a thankful tooth! Come now, what say you Run from such a fortune, And stumbling is no matter. Ay, a trip Or two were well enough. Ard. Yes, foolish 'twas To fly from Banissat. Gaina. You know it Well, well, If it's your own right mind you've run to, dearie, There's no harm done past mending. Ard. [Taking a small dagger from her dress] This had saved My feet these weary steps. Gaina. Sweet Mary, save us! Wouldst slay a prince for loving thee Ard. No, wretch. I could not take another's life though 'twere Of all the world the foulest. Gaina. Bless the lass! Ard. But out of pity I could take my own. Wi hy should my heart beat on and labor so For merest leave to beat again Gaina. Now, now! Enter Barca] Here's Barca, praise the saints! Now you'll take heart! [Ardia takes gourd from Barca and drinks] Ard. Thanks, Barca. But there's misery in the draught That makes me keen again. I fear me I'll Yet hope. Barca. Will you walk on Ard. Yes, come. 272 K1IDM I R Barca. [Listening] What's that A noise below! Ard. Some one from Banissat! I'll not be taken! Barca. Come aside, my lady. Here is good hiding. [They go behind a great rock4 half hidden bhy cedars. Ber- trand enters below. Ardia steps out and stands before himz. He kneels] Ber. Spirit, hast come for me I'll join thee, love, When I have climbed this peak and met the sword That sets my honor free. Ard. Nay, rise, my lord. Ber. [Rising] Thy living self Here in the night alone Ard. Barca is here, and Gaina. Ber. Sweet, the moon Makes thee so fair. Ard. [nSmiling] Was I not always fair Ber. [Embracing her] M\y living love! Sit here,-and now thy story. Ard. I'll shorten it to get to thine. Ber. You had The dagger that I sent you [She showrs it to him] My sole gift To love. Ard. 0, it was dear as death then seemed To me! Ber. Cast it away. Ard. No, for love's sake I'll keep it, and it shall do no work save God's. Listen . . . . it prophesies .... I' need it yet. Ber. 0, I was mad to send it! Would you wreck This tent set fair upon the soul's long road, By plain-craft wrought of every whiter dream, Where God may sit with us and map the winds 273 KIDMIR That forward blow and back, the paths laid free To His far end, and those where blind walls rise Breast-piled with thwarted dust Dear soul of me, Would we know Heaven we must listen here, And one word lost may mean a path all dark When we fare outward. This is not for you, This fear-born blade. Away with it! [She clasps it closer] Is not Your danger past Ard. Not while Avesta loves. Ber. 0 God! But tell me now the full, foul story,- Yet not all foul, since you are here alive. Ard. Your father- Ber. I've no father! Ard. -sent me forth With my two servants. When we reached Avesta, The prince mnet us with welcome, much too warm Methought, so in the night we stole away And reached the pass-all with some wit and care, As you shall know hereafter. Now your word. Ber. I was imprisoned. Ard. Yes, I know. Ber. A guard Gave me his sword. I fought the others. Ard. Fought Ber. And killed. Look on this blade. A brother's blood. Ard. My love! Ber. At last I am Earl Oswald's son! Ard. My Bertrand! [Drawing aside his cloak] You are wounded! Vairdelan! Ber. That name is no more mine. Ard. How did you pass Avesta 274 K I DMAtIIR Ber. The guards were friends of Vairdelan. I use(1 the stainless name that I had lost. 0, I have lied to keel) my word, an(d slew That I might die! Ard. Might die You mean . . . my brothers. They must be merciful. Ber. With Charilus slain Ard. 0, me! I too shall die. And that is best, If anything we do be worst or best. I've read within my father's secret script That earth shall lose its heart of fire, and lie Dead-cold and dark with no green thing upon it. Then this black crust shall bear no form of man, Nor trace of him. Why then such ceaseless pain To look a little longer on the sun, When he who seals his eyes this day with dust But leagues with time to reach the journey's end Without the journey's ache Ber. Hast lost thy faith Ber. My heart, say earth must be its own still grave, Our destiny lies farther. But were life A miarch to naught, I'd choose it for the sake Of one bright wonder by the way-your love, My Ardia. A rd. You love me, yet would die. Thou 'rt mine! And I will hold thee, yea, on this warm earth, Not in some strange and tearless world! [While they speak Barca moves up the pass a(d listens] Barca. My lord Ber. Ay, Barca Barca. Men are on the pass. Ard. Above My brothers! Oh! Ber. I go to meet them. Ard. Stay! K IDM I R Ber. They shall not come to me. I go to them. M\y honor, love, my honor! Ard. 0, men, men! You build a shrine to love and ask us fling Our lives, our souls into it. Once within, The door forever shut, there sits a god, A monster-god, your honor, and we must sue For learest room to stand or crouch or kneel Where by your oaths we should be sovereign. Ber. The shrine itself is honor, dear, my heart. That gone, we have indeed no holy place To shelter love. Was 't not yourself who said That man to man must keep his pledge Ard. Ah me, That shining night! That night of golden wings! And now comes this. Can such two nights b)e born In the same world, and but one sun l)etween [Bertrand staggers] You're bleeding still ! Ber. Fast, fast. Ard. My veil- I'll wrap you with it! [Binds wound] Ber. Thanks, for I would live To die upon their swords. A rd. Wait, wait, my lord! 0, do not meet them in their first deep rage- Ber. Farewell! Ard. You shall not see them till my prayers Have turned their hearts from blood. Ber. Part thou with hope And pain will lease thee too. That is the wrench, Not death. Ard. Stay, stay! Are there not miracles yet I'll hide you yonder till- 276 K I D M I R Ber. They come! [Hurries uip pass, staggers and falls] Ard. He fai: The miracle begins! Here, Barca, Gaina, Bear him aside. Be swift! Then come to me. 0, gently, Barca! Haste! [Barca draws Bertrand behind the rocks] He shall be saved! Thou'lt not deny me, Heaven! 0, forget That ever I blasphemed Thee! [Enter, above, Biondel and Vigard] nits! Vig. Who is here Ard. My brothers! Vig. Ardia, by my life! Bion. 'Tis she. What do you here Ard. I go to you. Where else Shall I find shelter in a world now bare Save where your hearts make gentle room for me Bion. What do you mean Where is our father Speak! Alrd. You have not heard Why then do you go down Bion. For word of Charilus. No messenger has come. All night we watched. What can you say More than this fearful meeting tells No word Are you the ghost you look Is Charilus safe Ard. Safe as yon Heaven would have him. He is dead. [Silence] You loved him, though you went another way To find your God. Bion. Our father dead 0, sister, Not cold, not still, not silent to his sons, Who loved his voice even when they most forsook it! Ard. Oswald betrayed us. 2277 K I8DKIDMIR Vig. 0, my sword, 'tis thou Shalt split his heart, though every spear in Suli Then pierce my own! [Going] Bion. Stay, Vigard! Vig. Earth is fire! Can you be still upon it Where is Bertrand With his deep oaths 0, coward! I will seek him- Ard. No need. He'll come to you. Bion. He'll keep his oatl You think Ard. I know he will. Vig. So knew you too That Charilus was safe. Call him to life, And we'll believe you yet! Bion. How died our father [Ardia weeps] No matter now. And Oswald cast you out Afoot Gaina. Ay, so he did! I'll answer that! Ard. He sent us under guard. Gaina. Ay, but afoot! And 'twas a trudge to Avesta. 0, the day! Bion. Prince Banissat gave you no help Gaina. No help Who said so There's a prince! He drew his sword, And swore he'd drive Earl Oswald to the sea, And said "Avesta's yours,"-that to my mistress, She then bedraggled and so full of tears She had no words to thank him. I did that! Then we had sup and bed, and when my bones Were sweet with sleep, why we must up again And tug it to the peak. Bion. [To Ardia] He sheltered you! Then there was hope, which you have trampled down By this mad flight. 1, 278 K I Dl I R Ard. I dared not think the prince Would make my bitter fortunes his. In you Lay my defence, and to your love I came. You must make peace with Oswald. Yes, my brothers, Although you write it with our father's blood. He is all powerful. When Bertrand comes- Vig. Ha, when he comes! Bion. What then Ard. You may demand Whate'er you will of Oswald, if you spare The dear life of his son. vig. I'll have that life And Oswald's too! Ard. He'll make you any terms- Vig. Ay, any terms, and keep none, once his son Is safe. Bion. [Looking down the pass] Who comes-with gleaming lances Ah The prince! Vig. By Allah, he! [It is now dawn. Ardia steps back into shadow as Banis- sat and followers enter. His retainers wait at entrance below while he advances] Ban. Good-morrow, friends. Bion. Hail to you, Banissat! Ban. I seek a dove That fled my hand last night. Has 't flown your way Bion. Our sister is with us. Ban. Then search ends here. Bion. Her flight meant no ingratitude, my lord. Her father's arms grown cold, she came to ours By the shortest way, bringing her honor home Where none might question it. Ban. We love her more For watchful care of what to us is precious 279 K280DKIDMIR As to herself. Heaven-pure must be the bride Of Banissat, and tainted Heaven will put The earth to blush ere she will bring us shame. I offer her my princedom. Ard. [Stepping out] One whose veil Is lost Whose face is common to the eyes Of beggars by the road Ban. 0, bald and bitter! But did not one, our Lady of Paradise, Walk with bare brow among our counsellors And you are pure as she. Who dares to soil The chosen of Banissat with whisper that He saw you on this journey, forfeits eyes And tongue. So silence shall give burial deep To every slander. Ard. You will not forget. Ban. Yourself shall be my dear oblivion. For Beauty keeps no records, has no past; Her arms engird love's moment, and there is No other time. Ard. Nay, Beauty's history Is writ beneath her bloom, and when that goes The deep, uncovered scars are bated more Because of love that kissed them unaware. I dare not wed you, but say that I dared, Wouldst grasp my broken fortunes when you need Strong Antioch's staff and sceptre to make good Your gates 'gainst Oswald And I've heard, my lord, That Antioch's daughter is a prize you seek. Ban. Be not o'er-jealous, Ardia of the Stars, For Antioch shall serve thee. There my suit Is but a fair appearance,-there I woo To make thy state secure, and thou shalt be Bride of my heart unrivalled. 280 K I D M I R A rd. Hear me then! I a.m betrotlled to Bertrand. Ile is sworn T'o mc as I to him. Vig. Death to your tongue! You'd wed your father's slayer A rd. I would wed Lord Bertrand. [Kneels to Biondel] Brother! Vig. Give no car to her! Ard. If you would save Avesta and yourselves, Make peace with Oswald. Trust not Antioch. When Bertrand comes- Viq. lie will not come! lie's not A fool as thou! Ardl. He comes! Viq. [Lifting his suord] Then here's his welcomIe! [Bertrand coneis o0t and walks slowIly to th/e groiip. J Tigard, amazed, lowers his swvord] Ber. My friends, well met. You cut my journey short. [Gires hie sword to Biondel] Bion. You have come back . . . to death Ber. The blow, my lord. Your work is wellnigh done. An easy stroke Will finish it. V ig. And whose is that Bion. Not mine. I do condemn him, but can lift no hand To seal mine order. Vig. I am not so weak. This blow for Charilus! Ard. [Staying hini] If Bertrand dies My honor goes unto a grave so deep No shoot of green will ever from it spring For the world's eye to light on. Bion. You make much Of broken troth. There's many a maid has lived In wedded honor with a second choice. 9.81 K I DMI R Ard. But I may not. Bion. Peace, sister. Ard. Let him live, And Suli's glory will enwrap my name Stainless and safe. Ban. 'Tis safe with me. Ay, safer. Let Antioch enlist with me, and I Shall wear the name of Suli with my own. Ard. You've yet to hear . . . you do not know, my lord. Ber. Sweet, plead no more. Let me go on to Heaven If 't be God wills his gates shall ope to me. Vig. You'll stop in hell a thousand years or so! Ard. Wait! I will tell Vig. You've said too much! Bion. Speak, Ardia. Ard. In Suli castle where I was betrothed To Bertrand, just one sun agone-but one He spent the night with me. Vig. She lies! Ard. Say now If Banissat, or any lord save Bertrand, Will make me wife. Bion. Must I believe you Ban. No. A woman's trick. Ard. There's proof. Ask whom you will Of Oswald's train-the lords who saw me cast From Suli's door, too vile for word or touch. Ask any trooper, jesting by the way, And hear my name made foul. The army rings With it. Ask any gossip of the tents Ban. 0, stop her tongue! It thunders on me! All The air is storm! Peace, or I'll strike her down! 282 K I DTIR I R Bion. This seals your death, Lord Bertrand. Now my hand Is hot and willing. [Enter a viessenger belov, Mle gives a packet to Banissat] Messengei-. Antioch sends this, 0, prince! Bion. [To Bertrand] I had your word above all oaths That you would guard our sister. When the priest Strips bare the shrine, not outraged God or man Shall show him mercy. Ard. Hle is innocent! 'Towas Oswald's plot to cast me in the dust- An(1 there I lie where all the world may see- But Bertrand's soul is guiltless- Vig. Guiltless! Tush! Your puzzle's clear. [To Biondel] She dies with him. A rd. I die If Bertrand dies. But, oh my brothers, we Are young-we love-will you not let us live Bioii. [To X igard] 'Tis best she dies. Ber. You will not dare- Bion. The prince Shall be her judge. Ban. First let us speak aside, For Antioch fails us, and we've more to weigh Than the quick death of this too-guilty pair. [Banissat, Biondel, and Vigard go off abore] Ber. I have brought death upon you. Ard. Life, 'tis life Now beating in the dawn! What music! I-lear it! 0. we shall live, my lord, and live together! Ber. In heaven, love. Ard. True, for this planet too, Ay, even this earth, is set in Heaven as deep As any star. 'Tis we are heaven to eyes !3 KIDMIR In other worlds, and would be to our own Could we believe. 0, hope with me, my Bertrand! No, no, not hope, whose other half is doubt, And to its dark and fearful double owes Its very radiance, too, too unlike Belief's transmuting sun! Ber. Ah, love, no man cre broke Undrained his cup, or brewed again those drops To his desire- Ard. Nay, every man is new In destiny, his star his own, and foots Unmeasured paths. Ber. On mortal feet. Ard. Be 't so, Each birth is a high venture of the soul Feeling an untried way for deity's dream, And none may know where th' deep and twilight trail Shall flash with God-rift, and the dawn be his. Ber. 0. bravest, bow thy head- Ard. Nay, nay, my lord! Lock up your spirit, let mine rule this hour, Or be with me the flame of faith that leaps To deed in God. For we do help him, dear. Our parcelled strength is whole and new in His, A power born that touches us again, Breeding our greater self that yet gives 1)ack His own increase, until the way is strewn Even with his miracles and ours. So works The unending drama out, where every act Begets an act yet greater than itself. Ber. Let me but kiss thy hands. Ard. You will not help You'll not believe Is it so strange That you should live Ber. That hate should let me live. 284 K I DMA I R ;lr(. Is it more strange that hate should grow love-still, l'lan that the w-ind should cease, as no-W it does, To stril) the l)loom from yonder boulgh, and lie U-nfelt within its silent place AMore strange That life should keel) its flow in y-our warmn veins Than that the sun now creeping on the peaks Should wander down and on and lay in (told 'The valleys of the, world, moved by no hand W\e see or name, but know, l)ut knowv ! [IBiondel, Iigard, and Ban iysat re-cdlerj A rd. Ile lives! Bio)n. lIe lives. Speak the conditions, prince. Ban. [To Bert rand] Your life Is spared that she whose name is lost A\Iay wear your own. You shall remain on Kidinir pea k, And make her yours by every priestly rite With open, fair observance. Then Earl Oswald \lust greet as daughter one he vilely mocked I'ro(i his proud door, and far and wvide acclaim her Princess of Sili. Will his love for you So bow his heart Ber. I may not speak for him. Ard. Ile wvill consent. Ban. And, further, lie shall give To Biondel the governorship of Ihon. And grant Rainoor to Vigard. Ber. -Not for price Of my poor life will Oswald yield these towns To anyv save a Christian. Ban. So we think. And therefore will these lords forswear The Prophet for your Christ. Ber. SUch sudden chang- Viy. Not sudden, sir. We've lon, debated it KIDMIR In secret talk, but loved too well our prince To so forsake his banner. B ion. Now the day Is here when as his true and Christian friends We may best serve him, and yet keep the peace For which our father died. Ber. He is alive again If you be true. Though wonder is in the hour I wvill not stare or question. Ard. Question nothing. Do you not live Iion. The prince will summon Oswald To earliest parley, and make our offer known. Ban. Nor lose an instant. Here begins my journey. [Signs to retainers who start douwn the pas.,] Bion. We need not give you thanks when you've our hearts That hold them. Ban. By the sunset hour the earl Shall give me answer. Mleet me in Avesta 'Tween dark and light. Bion. We will, my lor(I. [Exit Banissat] Ber. 0, strange! Will he keep faith Bion. If you must doubt his heart, Trust his affliction. Antioch lost to him, What can he do but smile on Christian Oswald Bry that same argument I am condemned, But beg a respite till this pushing peace, Upsprung in haste. may bear you buds of proof. Ber. What world is this vig. Climb you no farther, sir. Your wounds forbid. Our servants shall be sent To bear you up. '286 KIDMIR Bion. Ay, wait you here, my lord. [Exeunt Biondel and Vigard abore] Ber. Love, see the sun! Ard. It is my heart, my heart! [Curtain] 287 ACT IV SCENE: Same as first act. An altar near wall, left. Seren maidens putting fresh garlands about the hall. Mylitta. She must be dressed loy this. Come, let us sing! Mirimond. No, wait! Our part is yet undone. Here hangs A withered garland. Alenia. Here another. See! And there! Well, we are slack. Endora. Who would not be We've cause for sleepy wits and fingers too, With seven days and nights of revelling. Garla. And Charilus warm in 's grave. Myrana. He'll be no colder Let come a hundred months. Ten years, ten days, 'Tis all the same i' the ground. Daphne. And yet, I think The daughter smiles too soon. Mylitta. Troth, I would smile For such a lord if all the world beside Were wrapped in shroud. MAirimond. I would the English knights Were come! Full fifty, Barca said, would ride From Suli. Mylitta. I know you, chit. Your eyes will find Their way. Mirimond. Mayhap not all of us will take The homeward ship for Corinth. Did we think 288 K I D MI I R W17hen we set sail we'd come in time to see Our Ardia married Mylitta. You will dream. Carla. If dreams Were men, what maid would go unwed Not you, Mylitta. Myrana. Come, our song! 'Tis time! Etidora. Come, all! [They sitig by Ardia's door] Mornings seven have we been Wardens at thy door; Now thy lord shall enter in, And we come no more. Mornings seven have we strewn Lilies at thy door; Now the virgin watch is done, And we come no more. Mornings seven have we sung At thy maiden door; Now the seventhl morn is rung, And we come no more. [Door opens and Ardia comoes ollt. Gaiia followrs] Ard. A kiss to all! Who's happier here than I Shall have my place. Mirimtold. We'll ask Lord Bertrand that. Thou 'rt no more mistress of your yeas and nays. A rd. 0, lfut I am! I have a votary now Who'll make my words his wishes and himself Bring themn to pas-s Mylitta. No doubt. You'll cough In oracles. He'll puzzle o'er your sneeze i89 29 KIDMIR That he may do its meaning. I have heard Such husbands do inhabit a green moon, And one may come to earth. Ard. Kiss me, 'Mylitta! Naught else will stop your mouth. 0, dearest girls, No father's here to give me to my lord, And yet I smile, I wed. For why-his love Is not in earth with his dear body. No! 'Tis all about me here, bathing my heart, Now on my brow, now whispers at my ear, Now runs before my eyes to make a light Where they would rest. He loves this day as I do! Yet I had stayed this busking marriage Had not my brothers pressed me to such haste And peace not waited on it. Think, dear maidens, Peace everywhere! Avesta safe and free, And Oswald's sword in sheath- What is that chanting Gaina. [Looking from parapet] A train comes up the heights. Mylitta. The English Lords! [Enter Barca, left] Ard. Barca, who comes Barca. Prince Banissat, my lady, With all his court attending. Mirimzond. Banissat! This is a Christian wedding. Ard. We are at peace. Barca. He brings you gifts. Your brothers go to meet him. Ard. Where is Lord Bertrand Barca. Near at hand. lie comes This way. [Exit Barca, left] Ard. My girls, wouldst see what dainties lie In yonder chamber 290 KIDMIR 291 Mylitta. Nay, we'll wait. -1 rd. Moonstones For golden hair-crescents and amber stars For tresses dark Girls. O! O! I rd. Veils of spun silver- [Maidens buzz thronqgh door rigdt] A rd. Go, give them all! Ga itna. All, mistress Not- A r(l. Go, go! [Krit Gain a. Bertratnd entiers, left. lie is ini ]rinCely cost wn fl e] Ncr. Art found, my heaven A r(l. Thou 'st not a fear thy Heaven Is lost in me IHer. Ak doubt were my soul's shame. [Points up the hleight-s] I)oes not yon giant cross arise to say Christ reigns on Kidnmii Far as Suli plain AMen see the sun upon its silver sides And liaiids uj)porne in prayer forget the sword That sleeps unwakened. Ardl. Will it sleep for long Ber. Ay, else your father's death were devils' sport, Not Heaven's will. ,Ird. What word to-day from Oswald Ber. You name him Ard. Is he not our father Ber. 0, God's angel thou, not mine! .1 rdl. Does Biondel Now wear the crown of Ilon Bcr. That's confirmed. And Viigard has Ramoor. .J rd. They profit much By their new faith. KIDMIR Ber. Do they not spare my life So Oswald gives these crowns. You think he pays Too dear Ard. 0, barest alms! I'd have the earth, No less,-then want the sun,-ay, circling heaven, And yet he heggared losing thee! But tlhey Must wear their purj)le o'er a Christian heart. I would not doubt and vyet. Ber. They are the sons Of Charilus. A rd. And Banissatt Ber. Ile vows An endless peace with Suli. Ard. And you are Suli. Why am I fearful, knowing doubt is death Ber. Come, love, look down-nay, farther, toward the sea. That sprawling mass that darkens now the plain, Seeming to hugely breathe and cloud-like move, Is Oswald's army making feast to-day, For I, the prince, go wiving. Now I seem To hear our names joined high in Heaven's air, And Christ, too, listens smiling, knowing one land, One throne is his forever. Sweet, 'twas lie Drew me from sheltered cell and flowered garth To be his sovereign servant. Ile it was Who called through you, w ho cried in Clharilus' death To wake my soul that shall not sleep again Till Love has garnere(d all these eastern lands. ,A1rd. Amen, my husband-knight! I am content To be your love next Christ. Within your heart 'Twill be sweet gleaning where lie walks before. Ber. These words be your sole dower, for they hold More sun for me than shining gold! A rd. The guests! Do you not hear themn Leave me now, my lord. KIDDM IR L993 Ber. Thank patience and my stars, we reach the end Of these stale ceremonies! Seven days Of long, superfluous rites to make you mine When our first kiss did wed us! Alrd. [Mocking] So ungenitle To your proud honors, sir Nay, it is fit Ysour wedding be as famous as your namne, 0, Prince of Suli! [f'oices heard, left] Go, to come again! [Exit Bertrand, riqht. .Irdia turnvs to enter her room and faces igard wcho comes on left. She drawt s her rcil] F7il7. Stay, sister. A rd. Would you have me seen Vig. [Throwvs back her reil] Art fair Agalin As Kidmir skies! A rd. It is my joy. [Enter left, Biondcl, Baniissat, and lords. Ban issat pauses. The others pass off, right] Vig. [Taking Ardia's hand to detain her] We have sur- prised our sister. Ban. Blest the hour! Now may I lay this gift within her hand- Poor gift, that has no worth until that hand Caresses it to splendor. [Kneels, offering her a small packet] Ard. [Taking packet] Courteous priIee, My thanks. And mnore than thanks that you should climb Kidmir's uneasy steel) to dearly grace This day-for smiles of friends, more than fair gifts, Do best adorn my bridal. [Drawis her reil and otres right] Ban. Night is come, And through her Imistt the stars! [Exit Ardia] 9K I D M I R Vig. Tier bloom is washed Somewhat with tears for Charilus, but she Will flower again. Ban. Now by the Prophet's soul He who has kissed her lips had better 'ye kissed A flame of hell than so have touched What shall be mine! Vig. As thou dost love revenge, Be patient. Ban. Patience to the ox, to beasts That dream 'twixt cud and whip! Am I not man Vig. You have endured, by truth. Ban. Endured! Vig. And now Revenge! Ere night yon braggart cross shall bear A burden that will start Earl Oswald's eyes When he looks up from Suli plain. Ban. This day Shall see it! Come, once more let us look down. See where the hosts of Allah charge upon The sottish infidel! All yet is well. The banner o'er Avesta signals still The Prophet wins! Vig. And when the tower of Suli Gleams with the hoisted crescent, we shall know Oswald is taken. Ban. Ila! There's no way out! The powers of Ilon, Avesta, and Ramoor, Pen him in bloody triangle. Old rat, You're in the trap! I should be there, not here,- There at his throat Vig. Nay, here, my lord, you'll have Your dearest triumph. Please you now, go in. I'll watch here for the sign. Q94 K I D M1 I R Ban. Your watch be short. [Exit, right. Re-enter Ardia] Ard. [Holding out aflaming ornament] Brother, see this! The jewel of the house Of Banissat. 'Tis sacred to his name. I cannot take it, and he dare not give it. Vig. It seems he dared. Ard. What does he mean, dear Vigard Vig. To honor Suli's princess as most fit. Ard. I tremble still from his deep look of fire, And when I saw this burn methought his eye Was yet upon me. Vig. Fool, go to your maidens! [Enter Barca, left, writh Ramunaniin] Vig. You're late, my man. Ram. And yet in season, sir. [Points up the heights] The cross is bare. v'ig. Get you within. [Exeunt Barca and Raniunin, left] Now, sister- What, do you faint Ard. That face! Ramunin's face. I saw it once, and shuddered many a day Rememberitig it. The public crucifier, Who serves the bloody prince of Antioch. The same. What does he here upon this day Of all the (lays of time Vig. 'Tis by your wish That Kidmir gates are open. Ard. And by yours. Vig. Ay, let the world be witness you are made The honored bride of Suli. Ard. But Ramunin Hle said the cross was bare. Why such a jest K I DDM I R As horrid as his life [Looking out] And all the knights That were to come from Oswald-where are they Vig. They drank too deep last night for journeying Up Kidmir road-or else they dare not cross This outraged portal. Ard. Have we not forgiven Ali, what is there Look, Vigard, do you see A floating crescent! Viq. Where A rd. O'er Suli tower. 0, this is Oswald's greeting to our house, Better than any band of armed knights! He lifts the Prophet's banner to his towers, Even as you set the Savior's crucifix On Kidmir! Now the one eternal God Lives in his sign when cross and crescent smile Love-set in the same heaven! vig. Allah be praise(d! Ard. And Christ-forget not Christ! vig. We'll make an end now. [Exit, right] Ard. An end Am I a bride or sacrifice [Goes in, right, at sound of approaching music. Enter, left, young musicians playing flutes and harps. Theij pause before altar, cross to right and seat themseltves about Ardia's door. Guests enter, filling rear of hall, and parapet. A maiden comes on, dancing the grain- dance and scattering sesame. At the close of dance, Ar- dia's maidens enter, each bearing a lighted candle which she places on the altar. A Greek chant is heard as priest approaches left. All wait his entrance, and the curtain falls, rising again on the close of the ceremony. Bertrand and Ardia stand centre. An aged priest at altar. Biondel and Banissat conspicuous among the guests. Vigard not seen] 296 KIDMIR Bion. Is all now done Priest. All 's done. The spouse of Suli May bow herself unto her master's feet, Bespeaking so the love that has no wish But service, no desire save her lord's will. [As Ardia wrould kneel, Bertrand prevents her] Ber. You shall not kneel. Ard. 'Tis custom, dear my lord. Ber. Then here it dies. .1rd. My mother did so much For hiu who made her wife. Ber. Thy knees shall bend To (Tod, and to none less. Reign at my side, P'rincess of Suli, not my feet. Thoul. We hail The bride of Suli! Guests. Bride of Suli, hail! Vig. [Unseen] 1Ho Seize the traitor! Io! [Enter amnun in, righit, and armned guards] Ber. Who speaks And who Is traitor here I'ig. Thou, foulest murderer! Ber. Who speaks Ti g. Dead Charilus. Ard. 'Tis Vigard's voice. [Vigard steps fort/i] What, Vigard, art thou mad Wouldst shatter the globe Of Heaven I ig. Naay, it was broken that same hour When died our father. Ber. Son of Charilus, speak Your will. If you demand my life, 'tis yours. I hold it by your gentle lease and love. But while I ask not one poor breath for me, I beg you pause, nor cast the innocent 2 7 K I8DKIDMIR To feed the vengeful and life-reaping fire Oswald will kindle for his hapless son. Vig. You think no fires will burn but of his kindling Ard. 0 shame! The crescent over Suli greets The cross on Kidmir! Vig. Ay, the crescent flies From Suli, thanks to faithful Moslem hands That set it there. Ard. Ah . . .. Moslem hands Vig. You fool, To think that Oswald fluttered compliments, When he was dreaming how he'd bid you drink Of that same cup he gave to Charilus! Ban. Now, dearest lady, you are safe. To-day The Faithful battled w-ith the infidel, And that bright crescent is the silent sign We have the victory. Ramoor and Plon With pointed sword bore down on either side The glutted, drunken army, while in front Avesta like a whirlwind swept- Ard. 0, traitor! You vowed unbroken peace with Suli! Ban. Yea, Will keep it too, for I am Suli now. Ard. [To her brothers] Were you not sworn to Christ Bion. We are the IProphet's. Ard. 0, Heaven, hear not this! And Oswald's knights Vig. Sleep in Avesta's dungeons. Bion. Banissat, Avesta's golden prince, speak you the doom Of Bertrand- Ard. Doom 0 Ber. Do not waste the breath A kiss may save. A thousand times, your lips! Ard. [To Biondel] Let him not die! 298 KIDMIR Fig. You'll pray soon that he may! Speak, noble prince. Ban. I, lord of conquered Suli, Condemn the son of Oswald unto death By crucifixion. Be his body nailed Upon the cross now raised on Kidmir peak, That Oswald may behold his groaning son, And every Christian dog look up and see How dies the Prophet's enemy. [To Ramnunin] Away! Prick him with delicate tortures that yet leave Him heart to heave his agony. Hear you! If he live not three days upon the cross Yourself shall hang beside him. Ram. I've a hand Has had some practice, sir. Ban. We know it, fellow, And therefore we employ you. Ram. I put the nails In young Deobus, he who hung five days 'Twixt heaven and earth, and to the fifth eve groaned As lie would pull his heart up. I've a medal Struck by the city for it. Ban. I will match it, If you match me the service. Raam. That I'll do. These English have strong hearts-will suck at Pain As life were in her dugs. [hExit Ramnun in, guards, and Bertrand. Priest and guests follow. The maidens huddle at door, right] Bion. Sister, you stare Too hardly on this grief. It is a woe That Heaven smiles on, and the cure now waits In Banissat's fair mercy. You shall be His royal wife, and Suli's princess still. 2 9 9 KIDMIR Vig. Speak to the prince. Ban. Nay, let her hear my vow. 0, star of Kidmir, dear and beautiful, I'll set thee in a bosom that shall be A tender heaven round thee. Beat to earth Is murmurous suspicion, and again You shine unto the world, swept free of taint By noble marriage with most careful rites- Ard. I doubt, I doubt! One part, one point, one rite, Broken in act, left gaping and divided, One half performed, one half left all undone, Leaves me dishonored still. She is not widowed Who was not wife Vig. All's done! What more canst wish Ard. To lay my forehead on my husband's feet, Which by the ancient custom of our house Is maidhood's closing act, as 'tis the first Of wifehood true. This thou wilt grant - Ii g. You're bound By rites enough! Bion. Canst stand uncertain on So slight a matter A rd. Slight Ah, you know naught Of woman! Teach him, prince, that not a nick, Or turn, or shade of custom would she spare From this most holy ceremony. Wanting but The smallest portion that gives leave to say The measure lacks, she all her life will grieve, Shed secret tears, and wear a blanchen face When none knows why. Bion. You shall not move us. Peace! Vig. A brawling fancy! Ard. Avesta's prince, thou who Shalt be my lord, if any lord of earth Be mine again, wouldst have my love, or hate 300 KIDMIR Ban. Thy love, fair Ardia. Ard. Then I pray you, sir, Move thy forbearance yet one farther step And pluck this boon for me. 'Tis near thy hand, And 0, how small a thing for you to give, But as the sun of all my days to me! Without it I may die Ban. Speak not of death. So sweet I'll shelter thee, Death's self must bloom If he creep near thy bower. Ard. May I, my lord, Keep honored place by thee when memory mocks That place and honor Grant me this, but this, And here I swear if any act of man May move a widowed heart, mine shall grow warm To thee! Ban. Do you speak truth Ard. Believe me, sir, So dear a thing is this for which I sue, That lie who gives it must grow dear thereby; And if he lift to him my prostrate life, This gentle moment shall immortal be And sweeten every hour we pass together. Remembering this, my captive breast shall be His free dominion, and my lips on his, If they know warmth, shall take it from this cause, This first dear tenderness. Ban. We'll please you, mistress. Bring in the man again. [Exit a guard] VW. I beg you, prine- Ban. By Allah, she shall have her beggar wish, For no more reason than she wishes it! Vig. It is her sickish humor, sir, to look On him again. All this wild pother means No more than that. 301 I DK DM I 1R Ban. No more We'll please her then For our good peace to come. Bion. A princely kindness. [They tall: together. Ardia crosses to altar] A rd. Now one more miracle! God live in me, And Christ direct my hand! B ion. What do you say, ,My sister .I rd. But a word to mine own heart. Ban. Nay, mine now-, is it not A rd. So much of it As dearest lenience may buy, my lord. [Bertrand is brought in guarded] Bion. The man is here. Now have your foolish will. [A-rdia turns and lools at Bertrand. le is stripped of hi.s rich (dress and wears only a girdled tunic falling to hi.s kntees. Arms and feet are bare] Ban. [To Bertrand] Sir, we permit the lady of our soul To end as her heart wills the rite that makes Hcer iv ife and widow. Touch her not, nor speak. [Bertrand crosses to altar] ii rd. Why should we touch, when souls inhabit eyes And journey on a look My heaven-lord, I lere is no priest to bless this act of mine, But God will know his altar and the gift I lay upon it. The life we thought to live- That might have failed, and killed the dream now safe From tarnish of the days. Earth has enough Of blind and baffled lives, but great her need Of dreams. Aind ours we leave with her, unworn, vLapaled, warm roun(l the love-seed she shall nurse To million-budded life. Bion. Come, make an end! A rd. An end of love The God of all the worlds Cannot do that. Love born this darkest d(ay 3012 KIDMIR Shall be in flower on man's millennial path And touch his step with Heaven. Vig. Peace! Be done! Ard. Ay . . done. My lord, think thou art in the world Celestial, and from there smile on me-now- [Draws dagger from her bosom and stabs him. ie falls] High God, as thou art Love, I struck for thee! [Bends over body] True aim. Full in the heart. I know the place, For there my home is-there I live--and now My house is down, I, too, must fall- Ban. I'll pay thee! What hast thou done Ard. What done A miracle! Who now can harm my love Ban. Your promises! Your oaths! Ard. I'd keep them, sir-av, every one, If grief would let me live to be your wife. But I am weary, and my heavy stars Have left their skies to hang upon me here. Mly veins are empty, all their strength is out. I)oes 't take so much to lift this little blade And let it fall again [Biondel takes the daggerfrom her] Think you I need So poor a thing Nay, God has struck for me, As I for Him. I go with Vairdelan. [Kneels by body] Look on this brow, if shame will let ye look. An angel shaped it. Ye've unfashioned here The work of Heaven. Sweet lips, no roses left Your hand, my lord, and now the sinless star. [Dies] [Curtain] 303 This page in the original text is blank. _I 1