You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
Saxons : a drama of Christianity in the North / by Edwin Davies Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker, Edwin Davies, 1873-1940. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-247-31689554 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. Saxons : a drama of Christianity in the North / by Edwin Davies Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker, Edwin Davies, 1873-1940. Hammersmark Pub. Co, Chicago, ill. : 1905. 214 p. ; 23 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN05027.08 KUK) Printing Master B92-247. 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. TH E SAXO N A DRAMA OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE NORTH BY EDWIN DAVIES SCHOONMAKER THE HAMM E RSM ARK PU BLISH ING C O M P A N Y. C H I CA G O, I L L., 19 0 5 S COPYRIGHT, FEBRUARY, I905, BY THE HAMMERSMARK PUBLISHING CO. CHICAGO JOHNS F. HIGGINS PRINT Kayo 279-251 EAST MONROE ST TO MY MOTHER PERSONS OF THE DRAMA. THE SAXON UNIT. CANZLER, chief of the Saxons. FRITZ, a shepherd. RUDOLPH,) MAX, foresters. CONRAD, HARTZEL, an old man. WIGLAF, a gleeman. OSWALD, a shepherd, afterward a monk. SELMA, daughter of Canzler. THE ROMAN UNIT. FATHER BENEDICT, the village priest. FATHER PAUL, a friar. JARDIN, the bailiff. JACQUES SAR, an old crusader. JULES BACQUEUR, the smith. HUGH CAPET, the barber. NMADAMi BACQUEUR, wife of Jules Bacqueur. MADAM VALMY, a country woman. RACHEL, aunt of Madam Valmy. ROSA, granddaughter of Rachel. A Boy. THE GREEK UNIT. THE ABBOT OF ST. GILES. LOUIS, the prior of the abbey. PIERRE, the sacristan. ANDREW, an old acholyte. ELY, the porter. SIMON, RENE, BASIL, monks. SOLOMAN, ( LEO, GUIDO, / MACIAS, a hunter attached to the abbey. THE SUPERNATURAL. SIGURD, apparently a dwarf, really something else. HULGA, a witch. ZIP, GIMEL, KILO, gnomes. SUK, ZORY, FAIRIES. Other foresters, monks and villagers, men and women. As for me, Let a man be a man. Outside of that There is no power on earth that dares ask more; No power in heaven that will. THE SAXONS ACT ONE. SCENE ONE-A road through a forest. On either side trees stand thick and dark. Immediately in front the light sifts down upon a rtide bridge spanning a narrow stream. At the roadside, to the right, a large crucifix, apparently new, stands upon a post some ten feet in height. It is elaborately carved and is set in a deep frame to protect it from the weather. At the foot of the post, cut into the mossy bank which slopes toward the road, is a kneeling place with a white sheep's pelt lying upon it. A sound of voices is heard. Fritz and Rudolph enter from the left and pause where a path leads off through the wood. The latter has an ax upon his shoulder. Far in the forest a faint sound of chopping is heard. TIME-Mid-day in summer, in the early part of the thir- teenth century. RUDOLPH-He's worth six. FRITZ- I'll give you five, you pick them. RUDOLPH-I'll pick six. FRITZ- I'll keep my ewes, then. RUDOLPH- And walk To the mountains FRITZ- We have not gone yet. RUDOLPH- But- FRITZ-And if I had my way we would not go. RUDOLPH-Nor would we go had I mine, Fritz. But we Have not our way. The dragon has his way. As far as Nifilheim the North is red. FRITZ-Are we their sheep that we must follow them Or be hung up on trees 7 THE SAXONS RUDOLPH- He follows us. FRITZ-Who do these woods belong to, anyhow RUDOLPH-Where a man puts his foot the dragon puts His belly, and the man's track disappears. Where is the tree that has not felt the storm Have they not disappeared Like leaves the tribes Are scattered. FRITZ- It has blown down trunk and all. RUDOLPH-Forests and rivers and ten thousand graves Lie under that red paw. FRITZ- It stains the world. RUDOLPH-The Weser rolls down bodies to the sea; Their yellow hair is matted in the Rhine; The deer that drinks the Aller in the night Starts back from bloody faces in the stream. They are our fathers, Fritz, who cannot sleep While this coiled Hunger tracks us toward the north. FRITz-And we must feed it, eh We must grub roots, Fatten ourselves on acorns in the wood, As swine do, and then waddle to the swamp And stuff its belly so that it will sleep And trouble us no more, we must do that RUDOLPH-No; we must leave, and starve it. FRITZ- It don't starve. More hunger means more flesh. Let's feed it steel. RUDOLPH-Steel draws the blood and brings the hunger on. FRITZ-Then draw the life. We don't feed it enough. RUDOLPH-It eats the blade- FRITZ- Then feed it hilt and all. RUDOLPH-It eats our swords and they come out in claws. As Canzler says, a thousand spears have but Peeled off its poisonous scales, and where they fall A deadly fire burns and the elves die. FRITZ-We will call Wittikind. RUDOLPH- From out the grave 8 THE SAXONS FRITZ-His spirit will hear. RUDOLPH- Wittikind was baptized. FRITZ-His head was baptized, but his heart was not. A few drops here could not put out a fire That scarred and seamed the dragon till it lashed, Maddened and bleeding, all the tribes away. A spark of him is in this forest. RUDOLPH- Oswald. FRITZ- Yes. RUDOLPH-Silent and shy. FRITZ- Their fate whom Woden loves. He homes the lightning in the silent cloud. RUDOLPH-Weak. FRITZ- In himself, but strong by prophesy. RUDOLPH-Can you or I or chief hasten the day Wherein Val-father's voice shall wake the North What man can say unto the lightning, "Leap" Of Woden's race. a million summer leaves, We are, as it were, the winter mistletoe, A lone green sprig with barren woods all round. Can we shake off the snow and say, "Appear," To the young race asleep within the trees Cry out above the dragon winter, "Die" You cannot hurry in its growth one leaf. Yet you would thrust a sword in Oswald's hands, Thinking to hurry Prophesy along. If naked strength can save us, why not chief's Why Oswald, if the battle is to be now Without the aid of Woden, he is naught. FRITZ-Without it, naught, and with it, everything. RUDOLPH-Val-father calls today then FRITZ- Wiglaf's ears Are where the whispers of the dead go by. RUDOLPH-Heard he the word, "today" FRITZ- And Wiglaf's eyes 9 THE SAXONS Blazed glee-fire and his lips spake Woden's word: "In him shall be the strength of all yotur dead." RUDOLPH-In Oswald FRITZ- In the seed of Wittikind. "The seed of Wittikind shall put forth a sprout Shall make the whole North green." RUDOLPH- The "seed" of. FRITZ- Yes. RUDOLPH-There, Fritz, is where the whole great purpose turns. FRITz-Eh RUDOLPH- Prophesy, you see, walks in the air. No man can say on whom it will lay its hand. FRITZ-Why RUDOLPH- Would not Oswald's seed be Wittikind's Do you not see that some child still unborn, The issue of Oswald's loins, may be the one To take the sword that Woden will hand down Meanwhile, suppose the Christians hear of this. Their spies are all about us. (Dropping his voice and pointing to the bridge.) Who knows FRITZ-(After looking under it.) No. RUDOLPH-Suppose they once get rumor of it. Then Suppose they torture Wiglaf for the rest. Will not a thousand trumpets sound the chase Will they not beat the forest through and through, Set fire to it, and when the stag appears Shall breed the fawn shall grow the golden horns- (As though drawing back a bow-string and letting spring the arrow.) Then what What then FRITZ- We- RUDOLPH- We- FRITZ- We have our swords. I0 THE SAXONS RUDOLPH-We have them now. FRITZ- And we can keep them. RUDOLPH- We Can neither keep our swords nor keep ourselves. Who is it plants the white cross in our land The Frank The Wend The Saxon; we ourselves. No; in that fire that burns up from the south Thousands of our swords have melted and become Scales on the dragon's back and teeth and claws That now tear out our hearts. Today swords strike For Woden, and tomorrow the strange god With those same swords storms Valhal, and lays low Its golden roof. Our ash Iggdrasil dies. Its beautiful leaves fall far off on the sea. FRITZ-Let's kill the worm that bites it, then. RUDOLPH- That worm Hath bit the Northman and the Northman bites Val-father. (A crash is heard in the forest.) FRITZ- It was the tree fell. RUDOLPH- So falls Iggdrasil and the golden roof comes down. When the North bites, Val-father dies. No, Fritz; The South has thrown a snake upon the North, And in its trail no fairy can be found. They, too, have gone to the mountains. FRITZ- Leave our homes RUDOLPH-For all of us it will be better there. The slopes are thickly clothed with oak and pine. There, too, your flock will find good grazing, Fritz. Conrad and I saw ledges thick with grass. FRITZ-It's thick here, too. RUDOLPH- And torrents tumbling down Fill to the brim the basins of the rocks. There, in the dryest season- II THE SAXONS FRITZ- Look down here. (He points down in the stream.) And this inid-summer. RUDOLPH- And game is plentiful. FRITZ-It's plentiful here, too; deer and- RUDOLPH- Chamois And wild-goats browsing on the crags. FRITZ- And here Are wild-boars' lairs and- RUDOLPH- The dragon's den. FRITZ-His den is here, but he feeds everywhere. RUDOLPH-Not on the mountains. FRITZ- They are barren; but He would feed there if we should go there. RUDOLPH- No. FRITZ-He ravages the whole wide- RUDOLPH-(Movinlg his hand horicontally.) This way, yes; But that way (Pointing lip.) No. Hie dare not face the light That father Woden pours upon the peaks. Under Valhalla's eaves the dark elf died When the dawn smote him; so the dragon there. His paws would break off on the mountain sides. FRITZ-We will stay here and cut them off. RUDOLPH- Those paws Those huge, red, century-scarred paws With what FRITZ-They want our woods and crofts, that's what they want. RUDOLPH-The Saxon sword is broken. The great shield That covered all the North lies in the loam Rusting, and the wild-flowers eat its stains. Where are our fathers, Fritz Heimdall, who sees All races, sees not anywhere that race 12 THE SAXONS That stood at bay when Swabian went down, Frank and Bavarian and the great North fell. A paw was put upon its breast and lo, It is scattered, blood and bones and heart and brain! Its hand is here; its heart is in the north; Its head far off an island in the sea; Its blood is everywhere, in grass, in leaves; Its flesh still fronts the dragon in these trees. FRITZ-And we, we men- RUDOLPH- Our time has not yet come. FRITZ-Must be the feet and run, eh RUDOLPH- We must wait Until the heart calls from the silent north. FRITZ-Wait RUDOLPH- You would have us- FRITZ- If we are the hand, For the hand strikes. RUDOLPH- Without the head No, Fritz; We must delay our battle with the beast. A new shield we will shape us on the heights; Temper it in the flashes of the sky And boss it with the terror of the grave. Of mountain metal on the mountain tops, New armor we will forge. Let the old shield Lie here upon the plain, covering the dead. Let the leaves cover it. And for the sword That broken lies between the dragon's paws, Val-father will reach down and put the hilt Of some great Fafnir's-bane in Canzler's hand, Canzler, in turn, in Oswald's when he weds, And Oswald and the girl will pass it on Down to the hand of that child- FRITZ- Canzler go RUDOLPH-Whom Woden shall bid seek the dragon's den, And Siegfried of the North shall slay the snake. 13 THE SAXONS FRITz-Canzler will not go. Canzler! RUDOLPH- He will go. FRITz-Canzler will lay him in the grave first. RUDOLPH- Fritz, Who calls the fairies FRITZ- What of that RUDOLPH- Witchcraft. FRITZ-You mean that they will burn her RUDOLPH- Do they not Burn witches in the city . . . We can die; We on our swords can perish; but the girl . . . (He goes off through the wood, leaving Fritz silent upon the bridge.) FRITZ-(To himself.) Canzler will lay his sword upon her throat. (With bowed head he walks on across the bridge. As he passes into the deeper shadows the white sheep's pelt lying in the bank at the roadside catches his eye. He goes curiously toward it, when, seeing the post, he glances up and stops suddenly. For a time he stands as one appalled.) Rudolph! RUDOLPH-HO! FRITZ- Here! (To himself.) This will break Canzler's heart. (Rudolph reappears and joins Fritz, and the two stand in silence, Rudolph with his eyes fixed upon the crucifix, and Fritz with his eyes on Rudolph.) FRITZ-What do you think RUDOLPH- It was put up last night. FRITZ-YOU still think we should leave here RUDOLPH- Still think FRITZ- Yes. RUDOLPH-Can there be any doubt of what this means Almost its eyeballs gleam between the trees. I4 THE SAXONS FRITZ-And if we leave here, what RUDOLPH- We bear away To some far mountain nest our eagle's egg. We save our hope. (Fritz points to the crucifix.) Only proves what I say. 'Tis some poor burgher who refused to bow And would not leave. (Fritz goes toward the crucifix.) And they have put it up To mock us with the pains they will make us feel If we don't bow. FRITZ-(Bending over the pelt.) Knee prints. He has knelt here; Knelt here and prayed- (Coming back to the road.) to Woden, do you think You know the hand that carved that (Rudolph goes closer and scrutinizes the crucifix.) Your great sword, Where is it now, Rudolph the Fafnir's-bane Val-father should reach down to Canzler's hand; To whose hand will the chief's hand pass it now Out of the dragon's belly will he come, Our Siegfried, with the great heart of the beast Our hope, our eagle's egg, where is it now RUDoLPH-It can't be. FRITZ- Can't be RUDOLPH- Can't be. FRITZ- But it is. At dusk last night I saw him in the wood And he was wending this way carrying that. And there are knee-prints on it. (A pause.) And that thing; I5 THE SAXONS What other hand could have carved out that brow And laid that sorrow there Look at those knees. RUDOLPH-This is why he has shunned us. FRITZ- Say no word To Canzler about this or to the girl. Never will she be happy any more. He will leave now. RUDOLPH-(Contemplating the knee-prints.) Under Val-father's trees! FRITz-Canzler has been a father to the boy. (Rudolph comes toward the road, then turns and looks back at the Christ.) So Balder looked lying on Valhal floor. If the men hear this, they will vote to die. RUDOLPH-He must go quietly and no word be said. (They walk together along the road.) FRITZ-The way he goes, the Saxon race has gone. RUDOLPH-We must go to the mountains, not the grave. FRITz-Canzler has been a father to the boy. RUDOLPH-He may return and bring the Saxon race. FRITZ-Who will deliver him RUDOLPH- Val-father lives. FRITZ-(Bitterly.) Lives with the dead. (He goes out.) RUDOLPH- He may yet be reclaimed. The paths of Prophesy lead far away But still the Powers of the air are bent To guide it and their eyes are on its feet. Let us not doubt Val-father's hand in this. That eye in Mimer's fountain sees through all The dark, gnome-haunted caverns of the earth; The other under his calm brow watches heaven. (He goes off through the forest.) THE SAXONS SCENE TWO-Under an old beech in the edge of the forest. A knoll, like the toe of a large boot shoved in from the rear, butts squarely against the trunk. Up un- der the boughs, left, lies a decaying log with here and there a tuft of rank grass growing from the cores of old knots. Beside it is a small basket filled with berries. At the foot of the beech, bubbles a spring partly walled in with dark mossy rocks, on top of which lies a brown, gouerd dipper. Two worn foot-paths, one winding up the slope into the forest, thc other entering from the left, meet at the spring. The ground is checkered with flakes of sun- light that fall through the leaves, and over all is the silence of the suimmer noon. A crackle is heard as of a dry twig breaking nender foot. The branches on the left swing apart and Selnma pushes through backwards. She is a fairy-like creature dressed in green. Her hair falls loose about her shoulders and upon her head she wears a coronet of wild-flowers. Hold- ing the boughs slightly apart, she stands peering intently to the left, theii, turning queickly, she snatches up the basket and hides it behind the log, and after picking a few green burrs froni the branches above her, darts to the right and conceals herself behind the truink. For a tinte she stands motionless. Then, as if 'upon second thought, she stoops and remnoves the dipper fromn the rocks. Along the foot-path, leading in from the left, Oswald enters. He stops and looks back and for a timte stands thus, as one utntdecided, a forlorn expression uepont his face. He then turns and proceeds to the spring. Nrot finding the dip- per, he lays aside his staff and hat, and stretches himself out upon the flat stone at the entrance of the spring. While he is drinking, Selina leans cautiously froin behind the trunk and raises her ar111 as if to drop somnething. Having evidently seen lier shadow in the water, Oswald glancCs up, butt seeing no one, lies down again and drinks. 17 THE SAXONS From behind the bole Selma tosses a burr into the spring. Oswald continues to drink. Finally he rises, and, taking up his hat and staff, goes up the slope and sits down upon the log. The girl mloves stealthily around the trunk. OswALD-Selma. (After a pause.) Selma. I saw you in the spring. SELMA-I'm there yet, their; you didn't take me out. (She comes round the side of the trunk opposite the log and, stooping over, looks down into the spring.) C you should see the fishes! two, three, four, A troop of them! 0 Oswald, come and see! They're round a splash of sunlight in the spring. See how they twinkle and in the current stir Their little crimson fins. Ah, I've scared them. I really did; I scared them with my hair. See how it fell. (She points to a mass of hair that has fallen past her cheek.) It would not hurt them, though. We must be still; we must not say a word. They never will play if they see us looking. (Oswald points down into the sprinr.) That little green thing That's a beech-nut burr. I threw it in to scare the water-sprite That looked up at you when you stooped to drink. You did not see her' Oh, I did. I peeped Like this, softly, over, over the edge, And saw her peeping from the mossy stones Down in the spring. Her hair was loose like mine And brown as buckeyes, and her lips were stained WVith juice of berries. Then I raised my hand. Thinks I: "I'll drop a beech-nut on his head." Then she raised hers as if to say: "Be still! I'll make the bubbles break against his nose." Was that what made you jump You scared her so. I saw her hair fly up about her face i8 THE SAXONS As I leaped back. She lives down in the spring. This morning as I passed I stooped and said: "I'm going after berries; won't you come" She beckoned to me, too, and seemed to say: "I can't leave home; my little fish will stray. You come down here; I have some pretty shells." Oh, look! Be still! She's let them come again. See them flash. OSWALD- It's the green shell they're after. SELMA-Why, there's no kernel in it. If there were They could not eat it; it would break their gills, They are so very thin. OSWALD- We all do that; We follow shells sometimes. SELMA- 0 Oswald, look! See how the little silver bubbles rise. OSWALD-And we are like the fishes- SELMA- Oh, do look! You are not thinking of the fishes. See! They follow it through the dimples round and round, Paddling the current with their little fins, And poising. They're afraid. They're drawing back. There, by the green stone. OSWALD- They are safer there Than in the current. SELMA- See, there's one that still Nips at it in the eddies. See its scales. You cannot carve like that. Look out! Oh, oh! (She runs down to the outlet of the spring by which the tminnow has passed out, and walks up and down, stoop- ing occasionally to feel amtong the stones of the rill. Oswald goes back and sits down upon the log. After a while Selma rises and looks toward the spring. The trunk is between her and Oswald.) 'Twill grieve her so. I9 THE SAXONS (fit a low chant, abstractedly.) She's sleeping in the spring Under the dark rock where the white sand pours. The moss is softer in the forest there, And there the wood-doves coo. He's going away; they told me yesterday. The forest heard them moan: He will not come. The chestnut burr shall break: The wild bird, feeding, shake Unpicked the purple hartcrops to the ground, And the hushed forest only hear the sound Of antlers knocking where the wild deer rubs. He's going away-away-away. (Staring vacantly into the forest, her back to Oswald, she unconsciously picks the green burrs from the branches above her.) OSWALD-Selma. (After a pause.) Come here . will you SELMA- I'm gathering mast. Mly fawns, they like it so. It makes them sleek. OSWALD-I want to tell you something. SELMA- Tell me here. If I had listened to the forest birds, I'd have no berries. And my fawns must eat. OSWALD-'Tis something serious. SELMA- Ah, you've been to town. (As she saunters toward the log she reaches up in the air.) Gossamers, where do they come from, Oswald You never are gay when you've heard the bells. We are going to the mountains, may be. Then You will not hear them. Are there berries there Rudolph said he saw flowers in the ice. T'hink of that. Blue-bells.-You are like my crow. (She takes a berry from her basket and holds it up between Jicr fingers.) 20 THE SAXONS If you will talk, you may.-I must go home. (She pu/ls down a bough and begins to pick the leaves off, one by one.) OSWALD-I want you to go with me to the bridge. SELMA-I can't. I must go home. Father will think I have been captured by the villagers. (She removes her basket from the sun and lays the leaves upon her berries.) He said: "You will not find them." But I did. OSWALD-Sit down. SELMA- I can't.-It makes my berries red. Father will say: "You see They are not ripe." (She goes about under the boughs selecting the largest of the leaves.) It makes them black, then makes them red again. (After a pause.) I heard bells ring last night. I dreamed I did. I called and they called and you would not come. I thought you could not hear me where you were. OswALD-In a great forest once two children lived. They used to wander about the wood. One day, Playing among the trees, suddenly they heard Small voices calling: "Ho, children !" At that- SELMA-Fairies. (She comes to the log.) OSWALD- The children rose wide-eyed and let Fall the wild-flowers they had gathered and stood Listening. Again the cry: "Ho, children !" (Selma sits down.) Then They, hand in hand, slowly, and half afraid, Moved forward, and the voices, as they moved, Moved onward, sometimes above them in the air Singing, and sometimes in the fernshaws: "Ho, Here we are !" And then a wisp of sun-bright hair Flashed in the deeper shadows of the wood. 21 THE SAXONS The children, shouting, "Catch her! There she goes !" Darted in glee from trunk to trunk. At last The voices died away. The children saw The great trees glooming round them- SELMA- Oh, I know! They cried themselves to sleep, for they were lost, And then the birds brought leaves and-Didn't they OSWAL-As night came on, the elder of them, a boy, Remembering to have heard a holy man Speak of a house-a holy house-where men Live as the angels live- SELMA- Went there OSWALD- To pray. To pray for help. SELMA- For the other child OSWAL- For her. SELMA-What did the fairies do OSWALD- But ere he went, Carved with his knife upon a tree a sign A good man in the wood had taught him, a charm Against the spirit of the forest. Then he Told her strange words to say and leaving her Kneeling upon the moss, her little hands Folded, he went away. (A pause.) Not for himself. SELMA-And did he not come back Tell me the rest. OSWALD-Come with me to the bridge. SELMA- Did he come b OSWALD-I have carved a charm. SELMA- A charm OSWALD- For you. SELMA- For No. ack me (A pause.) Where are you going, Oswald.-(A pause.) See my hair. 22 THE SAXONS Why should it scare the fishes You are wise; Why should it, Oswald It is soft as hers Down in the spring, and if you'll come and look You'll see the smallest minnows twinkle there; They do not fear. OSWALD- It is a snare. SELMA-(Naively.) Is it I would not harm them, Oswald. OSWALD- Father Paul says It is the snare of Satan. SELMA- I know him. 'Tis not my hair he uses. OSWALD-(With horror.) Know Satan ! (He turns away.) SELMA-I did not know his name was-Ah, you run ! You are just like the fishes. Come and play. I will not let it fall. (Throwing back her hair.) I will just peep Over the edge. (Going up the slope to where the boughs hang low, she begins to gather the green burrs. While she gathers them, she sings:) Hark, shepherd, hark; the forest calls Away to the greenwood still. We'll leave the dewy wether-bell To tinkle on the hill. Our ewes shall nibble gowan; We'll gipsy in the wood; Our bed shall be the wild plush moss; Our cruse shall be the flood. The lush blue whortle-berries We'll gather eve and morn And we'll wander where the brocket Rubs the velvet from his horn. 23 T 1EI SAXONCS Come, shepherd, come- I will not sing; the shepherd will not come. I'll go and call the forest children. (She takes up her basket.) OSWALD- Selma. SELMA-Night-bird hooting at noon! OSWALD- Listen to me. SELMA-I'll listen to the jay; he's merrier. OSWALD-You are not of the witches that at night Fly through the air to that far windy crag That beetles o'er the foam of the wild sea And there, with orgies lewd to the black goat, Whirl in the revel with dark Barrabam SELMA-There is no fairy with a name like that. OSWALD-He is the prince of fairies and of fiends. Father Paul says that oft on stormy nights, When stars scarce venture to the brink of heaven, Witches go down the sky scattering fogs, Diseases, blights, and death, and with them go Those whom their cursed arts have wrought upon To taste the air of Hell. Far in the West, From every quarter of the earth and sky And from those awful rivers, they assemble And hold their sabbaths on a windy cliff, A headland hanging over the edge of the world, About whose base an ocean bellows so That nothing dares approach save frenzied things. There, while the moon protrudes an awful horn Far off at sea and rocks among the waves, They curse God's watchful planets from the sky And lead their converts, dizzy with the brew, To trample on the blood of Christ and swear To serve the arch-demon who is known to them As Barrabam. A while ago you said You did not know his name as Satan. Selma,- 24 THE SAXONS SELMA-YOU said he used my hair, but 'tis not mine. The other day I saw him in the stream Snaring the silver chubs. Said he: "My lass, I'll give two shiners for a lock of hair." "To snare the fishes with! You horrid man. I will not give it." And I ran away. 'Tis not my hair he uses. OSWALD-(Aside.) What a child! Walking in darkness to the Tempter's snare. Oh, I would die for you! SELMA- You run away. (He looks at her.) You cannot guess what I found in the wood. OSWALD-YOu do not know what danger you are in. SELMA-I know the ground-bird lays five speckled eggs; That filberts wear green hoods. OSWALD- Oh, what of that What will that profit in the Judgment Day You have not been baptized. You do not hear The terrible, terrible, groanings of the lost. O God, you do not know, you do not know! SELMA-I know the wood-pink is the first to wake Of all the flowers. I know where king-cups grow And wink-a-peeps that sleep when days are dark. I know when shadows lie beneath the boughs As they do now, I know you'll never find A squirrel or chipmunk out in all the wood, For then the forest sleeps. And I know where- OSWALD-O Selma, listen to me just this once, And then forever listen to the years Give back the echo of this golden hour. Do you remember that day in the wood When we were gathering may-apples You ran Shouting: "Here is a large one," and you stooped To pick it, when a snake coiled round the stalk, Hissed at you and you started back in fear. 25 THE SAXONS Had it not hissed you never would have known That it was there, so green it was, so like The stalk it coiled about. You saw that one Because it hissed. But one that hisses not Is coiled about the world, as like the world As was the green one to the may-flower stalk. SELMA-I have heard father speak of it. He says That it is full of bones. OSWALD- And souls of men. Only in holy houses are we safe. SELMA-He said that I should not go near the village In gathering berries. OSWALD- 'Tis the serpent Sin. Oh, how its sting has marred the perfect world! Ready to spring, the fiends couch for us. We Are hunted, Father Paul says, through the world As was the deer the good saint saved, Saint Giles. And men are fleeing from the wrath to come. SELMA-It cannot come up on the mountain tops. OswALD-(Fervently.) Call on the Virgin. Yield to Lord Jesus. Do not reject him. Be baptized. Be saved. Do you not see that I would die for you O Selma, playmate, loved one, promise me- SELMA-I will not eat May-apples any more. OSWALD-Oh, not to understand and yet be lost! (He walks away.) SELMA-I will not eat them, Oswald. I will not Go near them if you do not wish me to. OswAr-Some day you will know why. (He takes up his staff.) Then you will know It was not for myself. You will know why. (He stops near the spring.) You will remember this-this day-these leaves- The golden sunlight on the waters there- 26 THE SAXONS (Thoughtfully, looking down into the spring.) And never will come back forevermore. SELMA-Oh, yes it will. They will not let her grieve. The fairies, when they trip the wood tonight, Will miss her, for she dances with them there. Oh, you should see them, Oswald. When they dance She is no bigger than the fairies are. To see them swing- Oh, 'tis a sight to make the wood-dove gay. (Circling round in a dance.) Lightly whirling round and round Through the forest, scarcely shaking Flower stalk upon the ground. In the leaves the violets waking Scatter perfume. Fairies, bow; Lift their purple hoods and kiss them. Join the dance and leave them now. (Ecstatically.) One night up in the wood, when silver flakes Were dancing with the fairies on the moss, An owl whooped. The fairies scampered off Into the ferns. The little water elf I found up close against a gnarled oak trunk, Hid in a moss-pink in a drop of dew. Oh, she was tiny as a fairykin! Her hair was scattered, she was frightened so. You should have seen her how she looked at me, As if to say: "You here !" I nod, and then We laugh together, thinking of the trick The surly owl played. (Again she circles round in a dance.) OSWALD-(With horror.) This is enchantment! This is the cursed spells of forest devils, Withchcraft and Barrabam, the broth of Hell And the wild mountain and the swirling sea! (Advancing toward her, he reaches into his bosom and 27 THE SAXONS fetches forth a large silver crucifix fastened to a black string that encircles his neck.) Selma, touch this, touch this and say with me: "Pater foster-" come- "qui es in coelis-" SELMA-(Still dancing.) I don't know what it means. OSWALD- "Pater-". Repeat. SELMA-I sav I do not know- OSWALD- It does not matter. SELMA-Then tell me what it means. OSWALD- You must not ask. You show more faith not knowing. "Pater-" Come. 'Patcr noster-" (Reaching toward her.) Will you SELMA-(Snatching up her basket.) What does it mean OSWALD-(Bowing his head.) I do not know. SELMA- You are just teasing me. OswALD-Selma, listen to me. If our dear Lord, Who died upon the tree that we might live, Had meant that we should know what this thing means, He would have told us. Let us show our faith. Oh, let us say it as He taught us. Come, Repeat it with me. "Pater-" (Advancing toward her.) Will you say it SELMA-(Skipping up the slope and disappearing through the boughs.) I will not till you tell me what it means. (Oswzvald stands as one who knows not what to do. Along the path leading in from the left, Father Paul, the friar, enters. For a time he stands contemplating the scene before him.) FATHER PAUL-My son. Come now. Come now. The Lord Christ calls. Delay is death. Give up this heathen world. 28 THE SAXONS You cannot save her here. But there, who knows Prayer can do much. Go now and get the cross. I shall wait for you in the grotto here. ( They go out, right.) SCEN'E THREE-In the depths of the forest. Back through the trees, to the right, is seen the homne of Canzler, a smnall cottage built of logs, with antlers over the door- way. It sits in a space partially cleared, and the light falls golden about it. Amiong the trees in the foreground, where the shadows are thicker, is the stumip of a large oak and a newly fallen trunk extending out left. Over to the right, at the foot of one of the trees, lies a small bundle fastened to the end of a stick. At intervals a bird is heard singing in the forest. Near the stumnp several mnen are gathered. Canuler, facing right, stands beside the log -with his hand resting upon his ax. He is bareheaded. His sleeves are rolled up above his elbows and his shirt, open in front, discloses his broad, hairy breast. Near the stump stands Hartzel, a iiian apparently seventy years of age. He wears a long, white beard and his hands arc folded on top of a tall rustic staff. The others are Fritz and Rudolph and Wiglaf, the gleemtan, in a fantastic garb faded and tattered. On the other side of the log, to the rig/it of Candler, is .Mlax, another woodman, also in his shirt sleeves. WIGLAF-Why did they burn my harp, then I'm a man. FRITZ-(Leaning forward and speaking in a loud voice in Hartzel's car.) You hear what Wiglaf says Says he's a man: Why did they burn his harp, then CANZLER- No, Hartzel; 'Tis not enough with them that we are men; We must be Christians. 29 THE SAXONS WIGLAF- That's it. CANZLER- We must pray The prayers the priests pray. We must go to church, Chant when they chant and what they chant and be Clay, as it were, upon their potter's-wheel. 'Tis not enough the great All-father wrought Us in his image; not enough to live The honest life of man. We must submit To be remolded to whatever shape The potter-priest may give us. So we bear His stamp and pray his prayers and wear the name Christian- FRITZ- Then you can steal or- CANZLER- N-, Hartzel; Mass counts with them much more than manhood does. WIGLAF-Canzler's just right. Who ever heard of them Injuring a man because his life was bad, If his Faith was good (Hartzel puts his hand to his ear and looks at Fritz.) FRITZ- Who ever heard of them Injuring a man because his life was bad, If his Faith wvas good (Wiglaf listens to the bird.) HARTZEL- I don't doubt that some would. (Canzler touches him.) WIGLAF-The birds are free to sing Val-father's songs. Wiglaf must sing the songs men bid him sing Or have his tongue pulled out. CANZLER- Speaking of Faith, How can a good man have a bad Faith Isn't His life his Faith HARTZEL- Life his faith Just so; but- But circumstances, Canzler. If we knew- WIGLAF-He thinks I've been a scoundrel. HARTZEL- I don't saw I don't say that, for I don't know. 30 THE SAXONS WIGLAF- Don't know! (Back through the trees to the left, Selmia is seen going toward the cottage.) FRITZ-(Shouting in Hartzel's ear.) He says you think he's been a scoundrel Think That's why they tried to kill him HARTZEL-( In amazement.) Why-why-n o: I did not hear, Wiglaf; your back was turned. SFL-MA-(Holding up her basket.) I found them, Father. See I said I would. WIGLAF-That island, Canzler, where they say our race Rebuilt its kingdom, who knows aught of it CANZLER-NO word has reached us from that far off land. WIGLAF-It used to live in gleemen's songs, but now- CANZLER-Old men recall it as a forgotten thing. (Selma enters the cottage.) \VIGLAF-111 what sea lies it' CANZLER- Where the Frankish land Looks toward the setting Balder, I have heard. WIGLAF-And does this river off here empty near it CANZLER-First flowing through wide forests and high rocks. (Wiglaf walks to and fro thoughtfully.) HARTZEL-I don't doubt you've been wronged, Wiglaf. I don't Doubt that they're arming. What I do say is Who knows it is against us WIGLAF- Wait and see. HARTZEL-It may be they are mustering a host To take the East again. Nigh forty years Ago now, Frederic Red-beard-Canzler here Remembers; he was young then-mustered Nigh on to four score thousand, Canzler CANZLER- About. HARTZEL-And they were not against us. 3' TrHE SAXONS WVIGLAF-(Taking tip the bundle and starting right.) Farewell, all. C.ANZLER-Where are you going, Wiglaf WIGLAF- There's no place In all this land for Wiglaf. CANZLER- Don't sav that While that roof stands. XN IGLA F- It won't stand long, Canzler. FRITZ-(Clenching his hands.) Twill stand till he won't need it any more. \VIGLAF-Wild deer shall listen and no foot be heard. CANZLER-Have you forgotten your inspired wordv (Fritc and Rudolph e.rchange glances.) \VIGLAF-BUt centuries may pass ere that child comes. (Sc/ma comes from the cottage and begins to gather dry lcaves and chips about the doorway. She is singing to herself and her voice comes faintly through the trees.) CANZLER-Or in these hard days have you, too, lost faith In Woden IVIGLAF-Wiglaf lose faith in Woden! 0 chief! (Lookin, down.) What shall Wiglaf say' Shall the skald, \Whose eve sees through the darkness, see no light Bevond the winter see no spring, beyond The storm, no calm (He starts away.) CAN-ZLER- Stay here with us, Wiglaf. (Selmna enters tile cottage.) WXTIGL xu-Lose faith in Woden when the north wind blows Think the trunk (lead because the boughs are bare Shall the bloom live forever, and the seed Not swell and break its pod and find the earth Val-father sows and reaps and sows again. Our race has come to harvest, and the hands Of southern reapers have laid low the tribes, 32 THE SAXONS Bound them in sheaves and stacked them far away And threshed them out on many a bloody field. CANZLER-And the war-maidens have gleaned heroes there. WIGLAF-Gleaned them and sown them in the earth again. The years fall white upon the silent tribes. Val-father's winter locks them in the ground. (Looking up at the trees.) But 0, 0 chief, these, too, were once down there. CANZLER-The seed of Wittikind shall put forth a sprout. (Fritz bows his head and walks back among the trees.) RUDOLPIH-(From a pent-up heart.) Shall it, Wiglaf CANZLER- The bare North shall be green. WIGLAF-Be red. CANZLER- Wiglaf! WIGLAF- The young leaves come out red. As one who puts his ear against a door (He gets down and puts his ear to the earth.) And hears within a noise of armed men, I hear the washing of Val-father's waves Rushing from Naastrand where their bodies lie Piled on the dark shore where the ships come not. CANZLER-Bringing them back. WIGLAF-(Rising.) With shock of arms, 0 chief, The breaking of the bark. CANZLER- Then comes the leaf. WIGLAF-Red from the breaking of- CANZLER- It shall be green. WIGLAP-Bragi is singing the white years away. (He goes out right.) CANZLER-We may be few, Wiglaf, but- MAX- Stay with us. WIGLAF-He beckons from that island in the sea. Wiglaf must go where Bragi calls. CANZLER- Oh, say 33 TrHE SAXONS "Hail," to that kindred land! (He drops his ax against the log.) From us say "Hail !" (Stepping past the stump.) Oh, if you find them holding up the North, Oh, tell them, Wiglaf, to keep iron hearts! Say that the ancient trunk of Wittikind Shows a green sprout! Say all the North is green! RUDOLPH-GO with us to the mountains! FRITZ- Stay and die! CANZLER-Or say-say, Wiglaf, say-it shall be green! (Smoke is seen curling above the roof of the cottage.) HARTZEL-I did not say he was a scoundrel. Eh (To Rudolph.) Did I Did I, Max (Calling to Canzler.) Where is he going I don't doubt he's been wronged; I don't doubt that. Where's he- (Fritz comes forward.) RUDOLPH (To Max)-We must leave here. FRITZ- We must stay here. (In Hartzel's ear.) He says we, too, must leave here. HARTZEL- Leave What for What have we done FRITZ- But I say stay and die. Let them thresh us out, too. (To Max.) What do you say RUDOLPH-What do you say, Max MAX- I say stay and live. They cannot kill us. RUDOLPH- How so MAX- If they do, They must kill Oswald, too. Then where's the child (Fritz and Rudolph exchange glances.) Where then's Val-father's promised child 34 THE SAXONS FRITZ- Max- RUDOLPH- No. CANZLER-(Returning to the stump.) The question, Hartzel, is not what they've done; It's what they think they have a right to do. They own, they think, our bodies and our brains. There is no thing or thought or word or deed Can take its way, but must report to them And square itself and do a bondman's work. They have a right, they think, to chop the North, Lop off her great green boughs and graft instead The South's pale branches. FRITZ- To bear bastard fruit. CANZLER-The oak's red blood must nourish olive leaves. They would remake the world Val-father made And take the seasons from his great right hand. We must be like them or be not at all. Like them in manhood, Hartzel FRITZ No; in Faith. And even their gods know not the Saxon tongue. RUDOLPH-If a man speak Val-father's name, he dies. MAX-And we must die if we be not baptized. FRITZ-Must even ask of them what we may eat! CANZLER-Why is it not enough to be a man To do a man's work and to live a life Free like the wild deer, and to grow like these (He looks about upon the trees.) You, Hartzel, have lived longer than we have And you have seen more seasons, and you know In father Woden's forests how the trees Grow as they will, acknowledging no lord But him who made them to be lordless, and Obeying no law save that law that bids Each be itself and bring forth its own fruit. In all the populous forests of this world 35 THE SAXONS There is no tyrant tree that lifts its head Above the rest and says, "Obey my law." For each tree hath its own law in itself, And no tree hears another, but each hears The voice of father Woden in the loam Laying the law of selfhood on each seed. The seed bursts and the law starts toward the sky. The acorn lays it softly on the oak, The chestnut on the chestnut, and the pine Upon the loftiest mountain hears its cone Whispering with father Woden in the air, Learning the law it taketh to the ground. Thus by that law that each tree be itself, This forest hath become a stalwart state, A nation governed by one law, a vast Green kingdom of ten thousand happy trees With father Woden monarch in the boughs. The law of selfhood is the law of trees; Who says the law of sameness governs man Because the South has not the girth of trunk To bear Val-father's weight upon its boughs, Must he climb down from ours and let the South Climb up and with its law bind leaf and limb Did he, who made these oaks to grow and spread Their branches, make our branching minds to be Pinched to a point and put inside a ring HARTZEL-But they say that they got that ring from some God that once came down- CANZLER- From their southern skies Who gave the southern cypress mouth to speak Val-father's law unto the northern pine God, do you say, come down to bind men Godf A God that binds (Looking up at the trees.) I see no ring on these. FRITZ-Loki is a smith. He made their ring. 36 THE SAXONS CANZLER-Where in our northern sagas will you find A track of any shackle-bearing god In all the past has any such a god Come down the northern sky All round the walls Of Midgard stand the Asas guarding man Against whatever brings bonds. (Selma conies froni the cottage with a bucket.) FRITZ- Sons of Lok. CANZLER-The southern gods may bring down shackles, but The northern hammer breaks the shackles off. SELAIA-(Fronm back amionog the trees.) I'm going after water, Father. CANZLER-And one shall come to take that hammer up. MIAX-The Asas walk the walls of Midgard still. (Se/ma goes ouit left.) RUDOLPH-Val-father made the mountain rocks to be The bastions of the oppressed. FRITZ- He made the grave. (He sits down on the log and takes his head between his hands.) CANZLER-"In him shall be the strength of all your dead." No, Hartzel; as Fritz says, their ring was wrought Far in the south at that old fire that burns Eternal mid the hills. Of old they forged Law for our fathers, and, -with iron hands, Welded it on them. For five hundred years The noise of that old furnace filled the world, And from her red mouth link on link her hands Drew one continuous shackle, and the North Walked heavily, until Val-father's spear Flashed southward. Then the noise stopped. The great beast, That wore for head and neck those seven hills, Roused her and saw her whelps come bleeding back And heard wild Tyr holloing the tribes for dogs 37 THE SAXONS Round her on every side, and rose at bay And clawed through bloody foam and ceased and saw Her hills go round and round and with a crash Stretched her vast skeleton over all the south. HARTZEL-Then she is dead. CAN ZLER- Rome dead HARTZEL- If she is bones. CANZLER-Bones, Hartzel, are not dead. The life returns. The ghastly thing moves in the silent night When swords are sleeping and the ear hears not. Old hands scratch round old battle-fields and there The skulls that wore the helmet don the hood, And when the morning breaks no man will say. "The thing that stands there is the thing that fell." Our father found it so. For after that Great hunt down in the south, the tribes lay down And slept and woke and saw-they knew not what. It wore a sword, but had no hauberk on. 'Twas robed in black and on each shoulder sat What seemed an eagle in a vulture's plumes. They, too, thought bones were dead, and seeing no Mark of their swords upon it nor anywhere The indenture of those old hills in the south, They showed it all the paths among the tribes. FRITZ-Welcomed it to their homes. MIAX- And took its ring. RUDOLPH-And then lay down and slept and never woke. CANZLER-If Rome is dead, whence all these harried lands, Wigmodia and the Phalias, East and West RUDOLPH-There, even to this day, the clay is red. CANZLER-If Rome is dead, what is this thing that now On hands and knees creeps on us toward the north Gathering flesh for its bones as it comes HARTZEL-MOSt of them have gone over to their Faith. CANZLER-MOSt of them ' Most of them lie, as Wiglaf says, 38 THE SAXONS Piled on the dark shore where the ships come riot. FRITZ-Between the ring and sword they chose the sword. CANZLER-What is this thing that says, "Accept this Faith," But the same thing that to our fathers said, "Accept this Law" It is the same old Rome. The snake hath cast her skin but not her fangs. Witness the rivers red. Witness the charred Track of the dragon and these silent lands. Has she not gathered flesh Has she not clothed Her limbs and filled her bowels with the North Climb to the clouds and call the Saxon race And who will answer Silence. RUDOLPH- And the streams Moaninig and hurrying red waves to the sea. CANZLER-There is a day that would but cannot die. That day- MAX AND RUDOLPH-At Verden. CANZLER- When our fathers died Unarmed, defenceless, butchered, Hartzel. Ah, that day hides her face among the years But cannot hide her hand. Val-father has- (Closing his fingers.) Her wrist in his grasp and holds that hand aloft To drip and rouse the North, and it shall drip Till Ragnarok shall swallow it up at last And vomit it out to bleed forevermore. Four thousand and five hundred in one day! Till set of sun, all day the axes swang, And when night fell the Aller's waters slipped Thick through the headless bodies in her bed. Oh, for once more a day like Dachtelfeld!- (He turns away.) RUDOLPM-Val-father's spear shall flash again, Canzler. There shall a horn wind that shall rouse the tribes And strew those bones again. 39 THE SAXONS FRITZ- Let's wind it now. HARTZEL (To Canzler)-Do you think we should leave here RUDOLPH- Yes. FRITZ- No. MAX- No. Our Wittikind shall come and- CANZLER- They shall hear The North's great hammer ringing round the world. Max, you tell Conrad that we meet to-night. Have Herman come. (Max goes out left.) And, Rudolph, you go down- HARTZEL-(Toitching him with his staff.) Canzler, you said just now the point was not What.they have done. CANZLER- Nor is it. HARTZEL- Then why this Summoning of the men Are we to have war (Fritz and Rudolph, talking together, walk back among the trees.) CANZLER-Hartzel, the past and present are two limbs On one tree. Though the one bears withered leaves And these on this around us here are green, The trunk is the same; the sap is the same; The new fruit is the old fruit. What to-day Is Wiglaf fleeing to the ocean isles But the whole Saxon race What is his harp In ashes but our homes and all this land Are those graves yonder old Were these, our scars, (Opening his bosom.) Handed down from our fathers When we start Alarmed in the night, is it the past we fear There is no past to things that have been dead. It is a scabbard empty of its sword. What shall we do Accept their Faith HARTZEL- No, no. CANZLER-'Without it, we must steal the air we breath 40 THE SAXONS And thank Val-father if we get it then. Their blades are out; shall we not lift our shields Wolves are we Wolves are not hunted so. Bears have the caves; must our cave be the grave There is no room there. How then can wve die' After his great meal, Death hath lain him down. Famine, the gleaner, has the field. There is No plot unreaped, no sheaf unflailed. The barns Are stuffed to breaking with the dead. And we, In this great carnage, in this harvest-home, The last few straws whisked from the threshing-floor, Hunted by that old Hunger of the south From field to wood, from wood to darker wood, Far up strange rivers and-down under them- Hartzel, remember; when we fall, there goes Down the whole North. We alone stand. Of all Val-father's oaks, there's but one acorn left That can re-forest and make green the North. Rudolph and you and I and the rest, save one, Are, as it were, its protecting shell. Off there, A sword is coming toward us, and shall we With hands down take the point and hear the unborn Wail of that child that should have filled the north With shouts and wound his horn upon its hills Behind him, in array, the dead tribes come On fire for the south; their umbered shields Upon the gunwales lour; and shall the snake Swallow the haven where that host must land See the North die Never. (He turns as if to call Ru- dolph.) HARTZEL- Accept their Faith, We need not. CANZLER- Die HARTZEL- We need not. (A pause.) We Knight flce. CANZLER-(Emnphatically.) 41 THE SAXONS Canzler will never vote to flee. FRITZ- Hear that Canzler will never vote to flee. (Coming forward.) Nor Fritz, chief. CANZLER-Where could we flee2 FRITZ- We have already fled. CANZLER-NO. (Hartzcl turns and, with his face to the ground, walks slowly lef t. ) RUDOLPH-Canzler, listen to me. (Unnoticed, Conrad appears cominig through the trees on the right. Several young squirrels hang from the belt about his waist and in his right hand is a cross-bow. Upon his left shoulder ihe carries the crucfix which he has pulled up, post and all.) CANZLER- The red ax They swung at Verden swings clear round the North And her great head falls. (With a jolt Conrad sets the crucifix down and leans it against one of the large trees.) Where did that come from CON-RAD-Over on the road; by the bridge. (Can zler goes toward it. Fritz quickly says something to Rudolph. The latter walks back in the rear.) RUDOLPH-(AS if to draw him away.) Canzler, here. CONRAD-There was a sheep's pelt lying in the bank- (With a motion.) Down here where we could kneel to it. HARTZEL-( Coiin!g back.) What is it CON-RAD-It is the Christians' Irminsul. They chop Ours down to put theirs tup. RUDOLPH- Canzler. FRITZ- The men 42 THE SAXONS That followed Wiglaf must have put it up. CONRAD-They're closing round us, Canzler, every day. If you say stay and fight through, for my part- (Suddenly Canzler turns and looks Conrad fullin the face.) I know I did, but if the rest say stay- (After looking up at the crucifix again, Canzler turns slowly and walks away left.) What is the matter (When near the stump, Canzler again glances back; then drops his head and walks on among the trees.. Conrad turns to Fritz.) What is the matter HARTZEL- (Apologetically, following himt.) Canzler, I hope I have said nothing. I- I did not mean flee-in that sense. (Canzzler goes out.) I meant Leave. (He goes out. T,!ze mnen stand looking after thenta. Rudolph comes forward.) FRITZ-This will break Canzler's heart. CONRAD- What RUDOLPH-(POinting to the crucifix.) Oswald. FRITZ-We tried to keep it from him. RUDOLPH- Selma, too. FRITz-Canzler must never tell her. CONRAD- Where is he RUDOLPH-No one has seen him since last night when Fritz- FRITZ-I saw him with the pelt- RUDOLPHI-( Quickly.) Here comes Canzler. (The men assutmne an expression of unconcern.) CONRAD- ( Aloud.) Whatever Canzler says. If he says stay- 43 THE SAXONS (Canzler appears among the trees. He stops and looks off through the forest to the right, and his brow darkens.) FRITZ-And brought it out from town and put it up. (Rudolph lifts up the squirrels at Conrad's belt.) CONRAD-There were not many in the woods to-day. CANZLER-(COning forward and giving his orders hastily.) Rudolph, you and Fritz go summon the men. Go with them, Conrad. (Fritz glances off through the forest, right.) RUDOLPH- That we meet to-night CANZLER-This afternoon. Be quick. (The inen start back left.) FRITZ-(Huskily.) Oswald. (Conrad glances right.) Oswald. (Rudolph glances right, and the three go out in silence. Canzler, who has stepped left, stands in the shadow of one of the trees. A little later Oswald appears coming through the trees to the right. He is looking about as if in search of something.) CANZLER-(Firmly, but without passion.) There, there it is. Take it, take it and go. OSWALD- (Downcast, stammering.) I- CANZLER-(Lifting his hand.) No word. (Os-wald moves slowly to the tree, takes the crucifix upon his shoulder, and, with bowed head, goes off right.) SELMA-(Calling from the left.) Oswald! (The girl enters with her rwater. She stops, looks after Os- wald until he has disappeared, theta turns with a ques- tioning look to her father.) 0 father! CANZLER- As for me, Let a man be a man. Outside of that, There is no power on earth that dares ask more; No power in heaven that will. (He turns and goes back toward the cottage.) SELMA-(W/ith a sigh, looking ritght.) Oswald, Oswald. 44 THE SAXONS ACT TWO. SCENE ONE-A forest on the mountain tops, the great trees glooming with the shadows of nightfall. In the distance, between the dark boles, patches of sky with the fading light of evening. The scene slopes down into a clump of tangle-wood on the left. Up the slope, upon a stump that stands out from among the trees, Selma is sitting with her head bowed, her face almnost hidden by her hair which has fallen forward across her shoulders. She is dressed in dappled fawn-skin. In her hand she has a spray of dog-wood blossoms from which she is thought- lessly tearing the leaves. From the thicket below, three fairies steal in one after another, having in their hands wild-flowers and ferns. TIME-Early spring, three years later. FIRST FAIRY-(Running a little way up the slope and stop- ping.) Sister, see! (Holding forth her flowers.) Kingcups! SECOND FAIRY-(Running closer.) Sister, see, I bring The laced fern. THIRD FAIRY-(Running still closer.) See, see! Violets, sister! I found them waking in an open place Where the dew falls. (Together they approach the stump.) SECOND FAIRY-(Softly.) Sister! THIRD FAIRY- Flowers, sister. (The first stoops down and looks up into Selma's face. The others whisper together. From the thicket below, two other fairies enter.) FOURTH FAIRY-(Stop ping.) Hark, how it tinkles! 45 THE SAXONS FIFTH FAIRY-It's the dew falling. (They hurry up the slope.) FIRST FAIRY-(Rising quickly.) Her eyes are wet! SECOND AND THIRD-(TO fourth and fifth.) Her eyes are wet! FOURTH FAIRY- Sister, Anemones are opening in the wind. FIFTH FAIRY-And every pink is jeweled in the fells. FIRST FAIRY-And here are buttercups. THIRD FAIRY- And violets. SECOND FAIRY- (Stooping.) See, sister, here I bring the first frilled fern. I found it where the dashing water-fall Sprayed it. It was uncurling near a rock. SFLMA-(Without looking up.) I do not like you, for you will not tell. (The fairies start and exchange glances.) FIRST FAIRY-Oh, see the dew-globes break upon the moss! (She runs back a little way among the trees. The others follow her and they talk among themselves.) SECOND FAIRY-Where is he now THIRD FAIRY- He is making his way To his cold dark cell in the cold dark house Where the lizards dart and the crickets call. FIRST FAIRY-I heard the grind of his wooden shoe On the mountain road; but she must not know. FOURTH FAIRY-We stood in the pines and we saw him pass, A thin white shadow she would not know. FIFTH FAIRY-And, sisters, he turned his face to the stars And we heard him sigh. FOURTH FAIRY- And we heard him sigh. THIRD FAIRY-It must be, it must be, for he cannot see. FIRST FAIRY-He cannot see till he sees no more. SELMA-(As before.) You said he would come when the dog-wood bloomed. 46 THE SAXONS SECOND FAIRY-Oh, see them! THIRD FAIRY- See the fairies! (They all look up the slope.) FIRST FAIRY- Round they go, In their ringlets whirling, whirling. FOURTH FAIRY-At every sparkle racing through the wood, From crottle, kingcup, and green maiden-hair In dainty gowpens fetch the dewy globes And slide them down the sagging gossamers To light them in the dance. (They glance toward the stump. Seeing that they have not succeeded in attracting Selma's attention, they take hands and circle toward her singing.) Hark the bracken rustle, sister. Other elves are waking, peeping, While the cowslip buds are weeping On the downs and in the dells. Trip it softly, softly, sister, Lest the stock-dove, lightly sleeping, Wake and hear our fairy bells. (After circling round the stump and seeking in every way to induce her to join them, one of them tries gently to take the spray of dog-wood blossoms from her hand.) SELMA-(Calling aloud.) Father! FIRST FAIRY-Oh, smell the wood pinks! They are waking now. SECOND FAIRY-The bees are stirring in the gum. THIRD FAIRY- 0 sisters, I know a brake where the brown quails sleep. Let's tip the leaves and let the star-light on them. (Four of them run up the slope one after another and each in turn as she disappears among the trees glances back and calls to Selma.) FIRST FAIRY-Sister! SECOND FAIRY- Sister! 47 THE SAXONS THIRD FAIRY- Sister! FOURTH FAIRY- Sister! (The fifth fairy stands for a time looking after the others, then comes to the stump and sits down at Selma's feet.) FIFTH FAIRY- Sister, If you will come and play, I'll show you slim Young heath-bells in the dingle. Won't you, if We take you where may-apples grow and pinks Bend with their fairy mirrors on the moss VoIcE-(From the thicket below.) 0 sister! (The fairy starts up and skips down the slope.) SELMA-(Without looking up.) Three times it has bloomed and he does not come. SIXTH FAIRY-(Entering hurriedly from the thicket.) We were floating along on the river mist And saw them creep up the mountain side- SEVENTH FAIRY-(Entering.) And heard them plotting and heard them say: "We will throw him down, we will throw him down." SIXTH FAIRY-We called in his ear, but he did not hear. (The seventh starts up the slope toward Selma.) FIFTH FAIRY-Oh, do not tell her! Oh, do not tell! SEVENTH FAIRY-They will throw him down! They will throw him down! FIFTH FAIRY-Oh, catch him with delicate hands as he falls Into the mist and- SIXTH FAIRY- Save him! SEVENTH FAIRY- Save him! FIFTH FAIRY-And I will run to the mountain cave. (The two fairies hasten out through the thicket, the fifth disappears back among the trees, left. Singing is heard up the slope. A moment later, a number of fairies circle in with green boughs in their hands.) On the downs and in the dells. 48 THE SAXONS Trip it softly, softly, sister, Lest the stock-dove, lightly sleeping, Wake and hear our fairy bells. FIRST FAIRY-Oh, something black tumbled into the mist! SECOND FAIRY-And something bright-what was it, sister FIRST FAIRY-A star, I think; it glanced and fell. THIRD FAIRY-Sister, it flashed like a silver cross. FOURTH FAIRY-And plopped into the brook. Did you see the ripples Glitter in the moon SECOND FAIRY- 0 sisters, see! The will-o'-the-wisps rush down the valley fogs, Their white veils trailing round the tall dark crags. (They harry down the mountain. Selmia, startled, gets off the stump and runs a little way back in the wood and, stopping, looks after them.) VOICE OF CANZLER-( Up the slope.) Where are you, child (He enters.) Why do you stand out here In darkness SELMA-They have gone away again. CANZLER-( Who waits till she comes near him.) Do not ask anything to stay, my child. Where the leaf goes the tree goes, and the rocks Flow away with the waters to the sea. (They go up the slope together.) SELM A-He does not come and they will not tell. (She stops and looks back.) CANZLER-Let us go home and watch the stars come out Above the mountains where Val-father lives. Perhaps the Norns will spin us a white thread. (They go out, Selma looking back.) 49 THE SAXONS SCENE TWO-A mnountain cavern with jutting ledges of rock. From the bones that lie about, one would imiagine it to be a den to which wild beasts drag and devour their prey. To the right, a vine, growing out of the crevice int the rear wall, shows by its leaves becominig a darker green as it spreads to the right that the entrance is it that direc- tion and near by. Bowlders, evidently used for seats, lie here and there, and in the rear, center, a smouldering fire throws their shadows about the floor and walls. Sev- eral willow baskets freshly woven hang on pegs driveni into seams in the rocks. To the left, anl old spinning zvheel with a thread trailing fromi it, and near it, utponI the floor, a quantity of black wool. Farther over in the corner, a couch of rushes and forest grass. Fromn the ledge that projects out over it hang bunches of dry herbs. In the left wall, extending to the ceiling and barely wide eniouigth to admn it of on e's passing through, is a cleft wh en ce are heard at intervals the mnuffled sound of hammners far down in the earth. To the right of the fire, Sigurd, the dwarf, is peeling osiers. He is barefooted. About his neck he wears a string of buckeyes. Beside himn, upon the floor, lies a pile of white osiers niewly peeled. Occasionally lie takes the withes in his mouth aned tears the bark off with his teeth. Onl the other side of the fire, reclining upon his elbow, the gnomine Kilo is poking the coals with a stick. Despite the red glow of the fire, the cave is quite dark. KILO-Love the monks, eh VOICE-(To the left.) Kilo! KILO- Granny says you do. VOICE-Kilo! KILO-Hush! I'm tired. VOICE-Loki wants you. (After a pause.) Kilo! KILO-( To himself.) Call on. Kilo don't care. It's sweat and drudge 5o THE SAXONS And puff and hammer the livelong day At the blazing forge, and then all night The big black sledges swing and fall. I'm tired. You love the bells VOICE- Kilo! You hear KILO- Dumb, are you, elf-brat You squealed loud enough The night that Granny found you on the moss White as a hail-stone, thunder-whelped, and cold. "Tweakle! tweakle !' Elf-cub, are you VOICE- Kilo! KILO-( O t of temiper.) Tell him I've gone with Granny. (Fronm the left Zip enters. Under his arni he carries a great sword, the blade of which he is burnishing with a piece of sand-stone.) Zip- Where is she KILO-Darkening the moon. Zip- Is to-night the time KILO-( With a look warning himi of the presence of the dwarf.) Got the runes cut on it (Zip hands the sword to Kilo and goes over and stands near the vine. Kilo examtines the curioously wrought haft.) Zip- Listen! KILO-(Sittinlg up.) What is it (They listen.) Zip-The geese are out. KILO-(To the dwarf.) Hear that, gozzard Do you Zip-Hark! Hissing, they go down the mountain side With flip-flap of their big grey wings. (He returns toward the fire.) Last night The monks' new hunter wrung two ganders' necks. I found their heads in the grotto. KILO-(Poking tile dwarf with the sword.) Hear that, lob You herd the goslets for the holy men Si THE SAXONS Next thing you'll grind the scauper for the monk, And help him carve the cross. Granny'll get you. Zip-Where's Stuk and Gimel KILO- Digging water-herbs Down in the marsh. (He rises and the two walk left.) 'Twas said to throw him off. The young imp shoots his ears out like a snail To feel about for danger to the monks. If he should hear the gnomes are out for blood, You'd see him, he'd be footed like a hare To put the monk on guard. (Fromn the right, Zory enters. He crooks his back, screens his eves with his hand, and walks feebly.) ZORY- "O dear! my eyes! Rosa, is the moon up, dear " Ha, ha! Zory! Zory! (He takes up the sword from the floor, and using it as a cane, walks unsteadily.) Zip-Steal into the abbey, will they KILO- No, no. He's down in the village. At break of day I saw the blur of his big black gown In the mountain mists as he made his way. To-night he will come from the little town. Then Suk and Gimel-the road runs by Where some wild vines dangle. (As though jerking them.) And far below, The waters gurgle. ZORY- They will Ho, ho! KILO-(Huskily, nodding toward the dwarf.) The spy of Woden. ZoRY-(Dropping his voice.) If that's the plan, Then the old dame with her gimlet eye Sees farther than Woden's ravens can. At dusk I crept over behind the town. Some boys were up on the mountain side THE SAXONS Running a cow they were driving down, With puff-balls pelting her brindled hide. On a slope of heather I knew a sink Where a brown backed bunny was wont to squat. To warm his fur in the sun and wink At the shadows darkening a cabbage plot. Says I: "Now Zory will have some fun. He'll start the hare for the village boys And hear them hollo and see them run. With barking of dogs and a hue and a cry They will soon be off, and, flying the noise, Wat will go bobbing across the down. I'm off for the heather when lo, I hear, Behind the sallows that fringe the foss, A sneeze and a sigh and then, "O dear !" Some women are trying to get across. I hide in the dock. The dames pass by With baskets of bennet. I hear one say: "With our dear Lord hanging upon the tree, And oh, such a beautiful, beautiful cross No one ever saw, so the people say Who have peered in the window. And think, la me! In another day and another day MIy every prayer will have been fulfilled. May the Virgin spare us." The other sighs Ana', scanning the shadowy mountain side: "I fear he will never complete it, Clotilde. He climbs that dreadful mountain at night. Can you see him now Oh, I fear, I fear Those awful rocks where the devils hide! It seems so dark. Rosa, is the moon up, dear " To see the old dame as she- (Mimicing with the sword for a cane.) daddled on With her skirt in her hand, through the dewy grass, Her little whisket of herbs on her arm 53 TIL E SA X ON _ S To keep off the devils, and mumbling a mass And snuffling and moaning and sighing, "O dear! It's a wicked world." (He laughs till he falls to the floor where he continues to laugh. Kilo steals to the fire and is about to snap a coal toward Zory when Suk rushes in right.) SUK-Granny! 0 Granny! ZIP AND KILO-What SUK-Where's Granny KILO- On the peaks. SuK-(Rushing left.) Loki! KILO-Stop him! Suy--(Dodging past Zip.) Loki! KILO-Stop him, Zory! (As he darts by, Zory, still upon the floor, catches the gnomze about the legs.) What is it Zip-Over the cliff SUK-(Panti1ng.) Over and over. His black gown- The wind puffs it-like a big bat Swoops after him. ZORY-Whew! V/OICE- (Right.) Cock-a-doodle-doo! SUK-(Breaking away.) Loki! (He rushes out left, followed by the three other gnomes. Fromn the right Gimel enters.) Gi M EL-Cock-a-doodle-doo! The sun's up, Granny! Hear the cock! His morning trumpet wakes the village up. Cock-a-doodle-doo! See the good people in their Sunday clothes. A long procession up the mountain goes With boughs of cypress and boughs of yew. And now the big bell in the abbey tower T-o-l-l-s and it t-o-l-l-s and it t-o-l-l-s. Cock-a-doodle-doo! What makes the big bell 54 THE SAXONS Sob in its tower Can any one tell Why, the monk that pulls at the rope, I ween. Cock-a-doodle-doo! (He follows the others through the narrow passage, left. A moment later, fronm the opposite side, a fairy appears and beckons to the dwarf. The latter, after a quick glance to the left, stealthily takes uip the sword from the floor and follows the fairy from the cave.) SCENE THREE-The monastery of St. Giles, in the moun- tains. An open court, with buildings dimly seen in the darkness. To the right, the dormitory, a large structure built of stone, with high, deep-set windows protected by heavy shutters which are closed. Across the court a high wall, starting in front, extends back some fifteen feet and abuts the side of the chapel before which in outline long stone steps may be discerned. In the center of the wall is an archway with a pair of ponderous iron gates. The night is dark and windy. Along the side of the dormitory comes old Andrew with a staff and lighted taper. He is singing in a low voice. ANDREW-The barque o' the moon, like the Ithican's ship, Heigho, she's swamped on the sea, With her big bags of wind- (Turning the corner and meeting the wind.) Hey! Up, lads! Swell your bellies, sails! Now we're for't! (His candle threatening to go out, he draws back. For a while he stands as if perplexed. Then, rounding the corner, he again turns his shoulder to the wind and, shielding his taper thus, moves sidewise across the court toward the chapel.) Puff, devils, puff, puff! Howl and snap! howl and snap! You'll scare old Andrew, will you By the saints. 55 THE SAXONS I'll have this taper in the chapel sconce In spite of all your snarling. (He throws down his staff and shields his taper with his gown.) Blow! blow! blow! Here's a monk's soul borne to the Virgin's arms Across a strip of Hell. D'you want to leap Out of this greasy world Out with you, then! Here's a fine night to jump in, wind and moon, Roar and the scud of swollen water-bags. Jump, jump, soul! Swounds, here's a coward for you; Here's a tallow-swad that loves swine's belly Better'n the big deep. Shrift, eh shrift and housel Primium con fession, foul monk. Gluttony. (The taper flickers.) Yip! See the devils pluck at him! Quick, priest; St. Giles will lose a lamb. If I damn one, I damn them all; damn the Abbot; damn Andrew. Flesh is flesh. Absolvo te. Secundum. Bibbing, eh Vap or burgundy Vap That's a vile sin; but vap is hell enough. Quid tertio (He pitts his ear to the taper.) St! lower; the Devil's listening. (Starting.) Whee! Bless the saints! God must have gold for that. No gold No gold, no shrift. And here's old Claw-foot Coming through the dark, that needs a furnace tender, A skimmer for his bullion pots, Gramercy, monk. No wench-craft there nor bibbing, soft bells and venison. Limbs hot, hot lungs, hot belly, everything- (The taper goes out.) Puff! Down over the big, windy world. Good jump; Clean to the pit. (Thunder.) Ay, night, smack your black chaps. Rumble! rumble! (He feels about the ground for his staff, and, having found it, walks back and stands under one of the windows of the dormitory.) Soloman! Soloman! The Devil wants you. D'you hear His pipe's gone out. 56 THE SAXONS Give him a coal. (He waits a while, then beats upon the shutter with his staff. A low voice is heard within.) What's that Eh VOICE- Who is it Lucifer ANDREW-Ay, with his light out. (After a pause.) Come, come! I'll have to cut a reed and suck the stars Like the big fool you told of. (The shutter opens and the head of Soloman appears.) Light, light, man! (Soloman whispers.) Pipe out, cricket. Here's the big noisy winds Roarin' in my ears. (Soloman whispers and points to the corner.) Prowling A night like this! Turned wolf, eh There's a fine porker gone. Louis and he were at their wassail cups, Nuzzling a stoup o' hipo' a while ago. (He comes toward the corner.) God bless you, senechal, another stoup. Swine-herd, all-hail! Fill up the Abbot's trough. An he breaks sty, look out! God bless us then! Water and bread, water and bread. Zooks, zooks! The devil's up with Andrew if he finds The oratory dark. (He listens.) Otho! Spot! Hya! Hya! There's something snooping here. (He crosses himself.) I'll get a light And bustle from this place. It's the Devil Walking on wool. (He turns back toward the window.) Water and bread. Sfoot, sfoot! The sheep will find thin food on Andrew's grave. Light, man, light! It's the bats hurtling. (Soloman disappears.) There's a chinch That burrows in the vellum like a mole, A parchment moth what can spin yarn or yarn Like the old dame i' the tale. He reads and reads. 57 THE SAXONS He's got a wit strung like a rosary thread With tales and names and things and things and things. Tell me a tale, says I, something valorous, Something to lighten life for an old man. Tales for tapers, says he. A go, says I. And so I pilfers from the chapel sconce The snuffed stubbs. To lighten life, says I. (Solonoan reappears with a lighted candle.) The lad that rode the dolphin, did he get To land SOLOMAN-He staved upon the sea. ANDREW- And drowned SOLOM1AN-Turned buccaneer and sacked the Christian ships And sold the spoil in Jewry. (Anidrew zalks azvay.) Don't you wish To hear it The tale goes on to tell How Hugh de Bouillon, cruising in the East, Found him upon a cliff and took him down From off a gibbet where the sea-gulls flew, And with his harp upon the deck at night He made the sea-lads merry with his songs. Let's have them now, here at the gates of heaven, Far off from dead men crying in the sea. ANDREW-What makes the lightning go that way, zigzag SOLO.MAIN-The Devil broke it on a gibbet- ANDREW- Tush! SOLOMAN-And hung it upon a sea-cliff. ANDREW- Tush, tush, lad! Don't make game o' the old man. If he's bent, It's with prayer. (He comes back to the window.) SOLOMAN- Sing me a sea-song. ANDREW- It's too raw A night, lad. (He holds his taper up toward Soloman's, when suddenly somne one carrying a light appears at the farther corner 58 THE SAXONS of the dormitory. Solomant jerks back his candle.) Eh It's Bill-o'-the-wisp! God save us, man! Moving! It's a torch. (The light passes behind the chapel. Andrew walks back in the court.) How the wind blows! There's blood in it. Caw, rooks, Chatter and caw. Villainy is abroad. There's blood on the stones somewhere, fresh blood. (He stands looking in the direction whence the light dis- appeared.) It's the new deer-man fastening up the dogs. He hunts in the night when the brockets o' the wood Come to the stream to drink. And none to tell them O' the foul spear. No abbot-stag to say- Standing to his belly in the stream- "Drink will be the death of you." It's a foul world. (Returning toward the window.) The hunter's at the kennel wi' his pups. What's his name He's been here now a sennight. SOLOMAN-Macias. ANDREW- AMacias; that's a good name. SOLOMAN-(Giving Andrew a light.) It's a lean name. ANDREW- Lean name Fat, man, fat. An it was lean we'd have to cast our skins, As the snakes do, and sleep at breakfast time. I tell you, Soloman, there a hunter for you. He's for a beast, he fronts it i' the dark, Blazing its pretty orbs wi' his big torch. His eye's a rook's eye and his spear as true As the bolt o' the buskined hussy what you say Drops from the moon i' the dead o' night and hunts Naked i' the woods. She's a-I'm a monk, though. An you could see him coming through the copse, Shuffling the dews away, zooks, you would say 59 THE SAXONS The burnt faced fellows of Libya were for sure Making a revel feast for the big god. The game! the game! Sweet, tender prickets, Stags and chamois calves, pheasants and geese, Turtles and loaches and toper horse-fish Wi' fins as red as blood. God bless us, though. An the Abbot finds the oratory dark, There'll be thin food for sheep on Andrew's grave. Water and bread. (He starts toward the chapel, humming to himself.) SOLOMAN- What's the song, Andrew ANDREW- Sh! The Abbot hears me trill that heathen song, I'll get no chick-weed. It's a foul song. (He comes forward and looks round the corner of the dor- mitory, then returns to the window.) A cricket chirped it from a chink i' the wall As the old man dozed dreaming o' green fields, Up there. (He sings.) The grass is food for the ewe And the ewe is food for man And wan is food for the green, green grass And the grass for the ewe again. The foul song makes goat's food of us all. Old Andrew's shoots, gowvan, and aigilops For filthy goats to browse on. (He starts away.) Sfoot, I'll fast 'Fore I'll be carried around in a goat's udder. (Suddenly around the farther corner of the chapel the light reappears. Soloman snatches-to the shutter. Old An- drew blows out his taper and gets down upon his knees by the wall. Macias, the hunter, carrying a pine torch, comes forward across the court.) AN-DREW-(Telling his beads.) Adeste, sancti; villainy is abroad. 6o THE SAXONS MACIAS-(IHolding down his torch.) Ay, monk, you're right. Are all the brothers in ANDREW-Abi, fiend! Out with the sooty torch! Old Andrew's prayers can fly to heaven i' the dark. MACIAS-I meant no harm, monk. I was passing by And heard you say there's villainy abroad. I thought perhaps you'd heard the blind bitch howl, As I did, mournful. Did you Did you hear her ANDREW-(Looking up.) Who breaks old Andrew's mass Zooks, it's the Devil Thrusting his grimy face through censer smoke. (Turning to the wall.) Adeste, sancti; villainy is abroad. MACIAS-( Reflecting.) It may have been in my dream. (He walks out in the court.) A few white stars Still burned above the village. (Looking up.) Not a star In all the heavens. (He returns right. Andrew has risen.) Are all the brothers in ANDREW-Up there behind the clouds MACIAS- Did you hear the howl ANDREW-Ay, heard it in the pines. MACIAS- The bitch, I mean. ANDREW-Carnus is dog. Bitch is a carnal thought. I've been at prayer. MACIAS- Within ANDREW- The prayer was in; Andrew was out. MACIAS- Here in the gale' How long ANDREW-Till a soul jumps from the big windy world. MACIAS-Jumps from the world Whose soul ANDREW- The monk's. MACIAS-(Aside.) The nmonk's! There, there it is, the howl of the hound! Death has been here. 6i THE SAXONS ANDREW- Shook and refused to jump Till he was driven off. MACIAS- What! Driven off ANDREw-Av, by the winds. MACIAS- He died not in his cell ANDREW-He (lied here by the wall. (He walks back in the darkness.) IACIAS- Monk, beat the brush; I fear some crime is crouching in the dark. ANDREW-A!', that there is; there's villainy abroad. (He stands listening.) MACIAS-WVhy are vou silent Tell me how hie died. (Andrew returns gloomily and lights his taper at the hun- ter's torch.) ANDREW-His soul was calm until it sniffed the gale And saw the wild-fire grazing in the sky. And then you should have seen him. When he heard The roar of the wind and saw the lean moon Rush through the clouds, tearing them with her horn, Zooks, then he fluttered like a gull on a mast When a big barque is poppling up and down I' the foam. And all the while devils' grimy hands Plucked at him through the dark. (The hunter turns away mumibling to himself.) Eh Mad You're right. An you'd a seen 'em you'd a said they're mad. MACIAs-Where will I find the Abbot ANDREW- Legions of them. They'd seen me sponge him twice with a good shrift. As soon as ever the third foul sin appeared, They pounced him and pitched him down over the world To where the big deep dashes up the sky Spraying the stars of heaven. Down, down, down! (He walks back in the court and stands listening.) Hear it Blood on the stones, fresh blood. (Calling.) Mother! 62 THE SAXO)NS MACIAs-Chattering to himself. It must be he, The ancient acholyte they told me of. Gray hairs and staff- ANDREW- MNother! MACIAS- His ears are keen From listening to the crickets in the stones, Year after y-ear. Jesu, that's a long time. The eagles that were young upon the crags When he came here are gray. God, fifty years! For fifty years to watch the lizards spawn, To feed them, name them, miss them then and see In the green crevices of the old wall Another brood come forth. Each rook that haunts These musty gables here, he knows them all; Knows every tomb-bat in the coffin'd crypt; Can tell the spiders, where they cast their webs In the dark corners, where and how and why; The rere-mice, when they breed; the vermin-God! Fifty long years, fifty! And all that time To count the days like beads and feel them black! I'd rather be a fox. I'd rather be- Never to have chased the chamois up the cliffs! Never to have felt the thrill of stag at bay, Or heard the pheasant in the wild brown brake Whir! (Walking right.) I'd rather be a chipmunk free to- ANDREW-YOU got the dogs shut in MACIAS-(At the corner of the dormitory.) They're shut in. Why' ANDREW-Hear it. MACIAS- I hear nothing. ANDREW- Far down in the dark. There, groaning in the wind. It tries to rise. Some stag or something's fallen from the rocks. Are the dogs in Is Twinkle in, and Spot (Macias walks back.) 63 THE SAXONS There's something moving round it. MACIAS- Stag, you say ANDREW-It's not a stag. Its foot sounds like a paw. Hear it It's dragging off the carcass. Hear MACIAS-Old man, your ears are at the gates of death. What is it that you hear in this wild night Awake you strike the trail I struck in sleep. I have just had a dream in which I saw A stag out on the mountain there dragged down. ANDREW-(Abstractedly.) Its foot sounds like a paw. MACIAS- Twas in the dream. I am just from a dream in which I saw A snow-white talbot pull a stag down. ANDREW- Dream MACIAs-And when the talbot had pulled down the buck A pair of hands, small as a fairy's are, Reached through the leaves and- ANDREW- Mother Mary! Hold! I will wake Daniel. MACIAS- Are all the brothers in (Andrewd beats upon the shutter.) Do what ANDREW- You're right. He'll read it as easy As the old fellow what ate pulse and got Lean as the kine he saw. He knows them all. Says he: "Dreams sleep under the dog-wood blooms And love to hear the patter o' the rain." Why, he knows the color o' their beards, man. Says he, one day, telling me of a dream- Onar was its name, gray-beard like a king- Steals into a tent: "Now you can get the girl; Wake up and fight; now you can get her." (A low voice within.) Eh A dream, God bless us, fire-wing. (The shatter opens.) 64 THE SAXONS He. SOLOMAN- Tell it. (Farther back, a second shatter opens.) MACIAS-First tell me this: Did either of you monks HIfear Fever hovl SOLOMAN- I heard no howl. MACIAS-(Flashing back his torch.) Did you LEO-(In a thin voice.) What MAcIAs-Hear Fever howl. LEO- What's Fever MACIAS- The bitch. LEO- Shame! MACIAS-( To Soloinan.) A while ago I started up from sleep And hurried to the kennel, thinking sure I'd find old Fever sick again; but no; The bitch was sleeping. And yet I heard a howl. It may have been the white hound in my dream. I seemed to be out on the mountain there. 'Twas early morning; a few stars still shone Above the village. Soon, far down the road, I heard a baying as of hounds. Thinks I: "A deer has passed and waked the village dogs. Now for a chase." There must have been a slot Of fresh blood on the road that fired the pack, For on they came like mad. Around the cliff Long bodies swung like shadows through the mist, And tore on up the mountain. Farther up A stag plunged from a hazel copse, and then A snow-white talbot, following close behind, Shot smoking from the brake. "Abloy !" I cried, And leaped upon a rock. The after-pack, Nosing the vent along the mountain road, Heard the loud challenge of the leading hound THE SAXONS And, breaking trail, came crashing through the brush And spied the quarry, and with their heads in air Sprang after up the scree, their steaming mouths Ringing the mountains round. The pretty deer, With nostrils flaming and with dappled flanks Torn by the furze, came skirting round a rock And turned to dash under some low-hung boughs When over a near knoll the hot, sinewy hound, Like to a cat-o'-mountain from a limb, Shot through the air. Crash through the boughs he went, Sprinkling the earth with leaves. Out jumped my knife, And, leaping from the rock, I hurried down To slit the poor brute's throat and save a steak From the mad, hungry pack. The pretty buck Staggered beneath the hound, while the beads of blood Dripped from the quivering hocks. The head fell back, The tender haunches sank on the soft turf, And death was closing up the eyes, when lo, Sancta Maria, what a miracle! (He pauses a nmomenit, then proceeds with more and more animation.) A gale had risen and the clouds that hung Gray in the heavens when the chase began, Foamed, and, flying black before the winds, Grappled the woods and threw his thick, green hair Into the swirling rack of livid sky. Lightnings and thunders, winds and tumbling rocks Charged on the pack of dogs as though they were Devils come up from Hell, and hurled them down Into the pit again. Under the beech Where the white talbot had pulled down the buck Behold the miracle the Virgin wrought! Out of a dallop of green boughs that hung Close to the haunches of the hart appeared A pair of small pink hands that with one wrench Tore the hound's jaws apart. The deer rose up 66 THE SAXONS As from a sleep, shook his brown coat and browsed The succulent green twigs, then wandered off Up the dark mountain side, whilst like a star Between the dim, dissolving antlers shone A crucifix of silver, dripping blood. (Several shutters in, the second story have opened and faces are seen white in the glare of the torch. Old Andrew, frightened, has drawn back in the shadow against the wall.) Lo, then a sight such as I hope our Lord Will visit to these dying eyes of mine In their last hour. The louring mountain brows Brightened beneath a drift of golden feet, And wings waved in the air, and faces bloomed In the edding sky, and the dark towering ridge, Lifting its weight of crags above the storm, Sloughed off its shadow, and the field of pines, Like a green army climbing to the clouds Out of the darkness of the dale below, Shook their victorious plumes, and every rock, Tree, bush, and vine, and weed, and flower sent up Voices of joy till all the mountains rang. LEO-"I say unto you that joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that returneth." VOICE-(From the second story.) Who is the sinner MACIAS-(Calling up.) Are all the brothers in VOICE-(Calling.) Oswald! ANOTHER- Ask Pierre. ANOTHER-(Far within.) He has not returned. (A pause.) ANOTHER-He may have stayed with Father Benedict. He finishes tomorrow. SOLOMAN- Tell this dream To the Abbot. (The hunter disappears round the corner.) A VOICE- Let us hear what Father says. 67 THE SAXONS ANOTHER-Oswald is girt about with prophesy. ANOTHER-Fiends cannot harm hiM. ANOTHER- Jesus is with him. (The shutters are closed hurriedly.) ANDREW-( Alone. ) The Devil is a big, long-legged cranle, Wading the marsh of life, and we are frogs, Tadpoles and water-bugs. I'll fast and pray. (He shields his flickering taper with his gown and makes his way across the court toward the chapel.) SCENE FOUR-A desolate mountain road along the top of a cliff that plunges down from the edge of a pine-wood. Overhead the wind is heard mnoaning in the trees, and upon the ground patches of moonlight wave to and fro. Fromt the left, past some bushes which almost hide the road fromn view, the dwarf, Sigurd, appears carrying the monk, Oswald, limp in his arnms. The latter's face is so emaciated that one would never recognize him as the same person as was seen in the forest some three years ago. His feet, upon which are heavy wooden shoes, drag along the road. Suddenly from somewhere in his clothing the large silver crucifix falls to the ground. The dwarf stoops, and, resting the mionk upon his knee, reaches down and secures the crucifix, which he putts between his teeth. Then, having gotten a new hold, he rises and, with diffi- culty, makes his way up the road. 68 THE SAXONS ACT THREE. SCENE ONE-A grassy ledge far up on the mnountain, side. Tall pine trunks rise here and there. Down the slope, to the left, are russet tops of small oaks newly leaved. To the right, a rocky acclivity of about thirty degrees elevation with scattered bushes and a sheep path winding back and up. In the distance, a blue range of mountains with their bases buried in the white tists of early morning. Some distance back from where the path comes down uepont the ledge, Conrad is broiling woodcocks ont coals. Brown feathers are sprinkled about upon the turf. Upon a rock near by lies a well-filled hutting bag. Frits, with his face to the fire, is reclining upon the grass with a shepherd's staff in his hands. Fromn dowii the slope, conies a tinkle of bells as of sheep browsing on the mountain side. TIME-Two davs later. FRITZ-I was with Canzler when the boy climbed up Among the rocks and handed it to him. CONRAD-What does it look like FRITZ- It's as long as that, (Inidicating on his staff.) And blue as the waters of the tarn down there. Upon the haft are wrought two eagles' heads And, twisted round the blade in coil on coil, A serpent in the talons of the birds Forms the cross piece upon the lower haft. On the blade between the coils what mav be runes Are cut in characters of some unknown tongue: At least. no maln has ever made them out. 69 THE SAXONS CONRAD-Where could the boy have gotten it FRITZ- No one knows. Turn the bird over. CONRAD- It is not brown yet. FRITZ-There is something magical about it all. In the light, the blade bends like a willow wand, But when the sky is overcast with clouds Or in the shade of rock or tree no man With all his might can bend it, and it slips Through tree and rock as through a pawpaw leaf. CONRAD-The boy himself, what did he say FRITZ- He vanished. CONRAD- Eh FRITZ-When Canzler turned to ask him, he was gone. CONRAD-And have you seen him since FRITZ- Where is your bread CONRAD-I have some here. (He reaches zip into the bag.) Has no one seen him since FRITZ-He was out on the mountains every day Before, either by the abbey over there Or climbing in the vines above the tarn, But always in the shade of rock or tree. When he crossed spaces where the sunlight fell 'Twas always in the shadow of a cloud. No one has seen him since he disappeared. CONRAD-(Laying the bread Upon the grass.) You know the song that Wiglaf used to sing, Of how Val-father wanders over the earth In human form- FRITZ- That is what Rudolph says; Val-father turns his dark side to the earth. CONRAD-And leaves swords sticking in the rock and trees. FRITZ-Rudolph insists that Oswald will return. He says that Selma learned it from the trees. She listens in the forest all day long 70 THE SAXONS And when the wind is loud and the boughs sway- CONRAD-HOW could he ever find us here FRITZ- I see How that could be; Woden knows where we are, And where he turns his face the way is clear. CoNRAD-Oswald has turned his back on Woden's face. FRITZ-Blind Hoder wandered once as far as Hell, And he came back, for Woden in his mind Directed him and- Here comes Canzler now. CONRAD-IS that the sword. FRITZ- Yes. CONRAD- What was that he said FRITZ-He must be going down to see the priest. (With the sword at his side and wearing a cap made of a wild-cat's skit, its head upon his head and the rest of the skin hanging down his back, Canzler comes down the sheep path, followed by Rudolph.) CANZLER-More than two years have passed and not a word Was ever said to throw the claim in doubt; But now that Hartzel is about to die They think to get the whole tract for the Church, Upon the ground that he who sold the land To Hartzel was apostate to their Faith. RUDOLPH-They don't deny that the man owned the land CANZLER-He owned the land till he disowned the Faith And by that act he dispossessed himself, And then, they say, the land reverted to God. RuDOLPH-And Hartzel's money, to whom does it revert CANZLER-That is a matter between infidels, And proves, when they rob one another so, There is no honesty outside the Faith. RUDOLPH-The man that sold the land robbed Hartzel, ehl CANZLER-If knavery is all outside the Faith. CONRAD-Will you men have some breakfast RUDOLPII- And did they 71 T H E- S A X O N S Tell Hartzel on what ground they had seized his land CANZLER-"All land is God's, and pagans have no right To own it,"' was the answer that he got. That was a month ago, though. When they found That the wind passed and still the fruit hung on, Thinking perhaps 'twould fall of its own weight. They waited until yesterday and then Unexpectedly they bumped the tree. Hartzel should hold possession during life- He is about to die-and at his death The Church should take the burden of the estate From his dead shoulders, and carry it without charge And with it save his soul from Hell. RUDOLPH- And save His children- CANZLER- From the path that leads to Hell. RUDOLPH-IS that their proposition CANZLER- That is it. The old man in despair appealed to me. RuDOLPH-WXhat are you going to tell theni, Canzler' CANZLER-What am I going to tell them Tell them what Val-father tells the mountains, tells the rocks, The trees, the beasts, the birds, all things that live. Woden, who made all things, made each to be Different from the rest. He made the oak To bear its acorns and the pine its cones. The mole to burrow and the fox to run, The eagle to hatch her brood upon the crag Under the sun, the bat, in the dark cave, The ox to eat grass, and the lion flesh, And each to go its own particular wvay Upon a path as separate and clear As are the curves and risings of the stars. (Fritz and Conrad comne forward.) He made no bell to ring all things that live 72 THE SAXONS To sameness in their lives or in their thought. To keep them, as he made them, different, He gave to each an individual taste And matched the taste within with that without Which, when the two meet, the result is joy. Joy is the voice of each thing as it moves Toward Woden on the path that he laid out. The eagle finds its way without a guide To Woden, and the stars ,without a guide. Each in its own light, and all things that live, From the blind worm to the all-seeing sun, Follow their joy and come at last to him. The eagle's right to go the eagle's way Is not conditioned by another thing Save by the fact alone that it is so; That Wtoden gave to it an eagle's wvings. And so with man. To what man has a right, He has a right because he is a man And not because he is a kind of man. Val-father's bells have each a different tone. You cannot make the million aisles that lead To him one aisle and drive all things through that, Or make the right of each to be and to have Rest on its answering a particular bell. If we admit their principle that Faith, Or anything outside the fact that one Is a man, is the basis of the rights of man, We shame our Saxon fathers who fought and died For a lie, if this be true. For when the South Pushed through the Frankish forest with her sword Between her teeth, and stained with blood. and held Her hands out, saying, "Here, take this or this," Our fathers chose the darkness of the grave From the red hand, and left the black hand filled With that which now to keep itself alive 73 THE SAXONS Eats Hartzel's land and licks its fangs toward us. When the great night came on and they laid down Under their battered shields and broken swords, The trees have told us what their last word was: "The northern air will kill the southern lie; Then we will come again. Remember this." FRITZ-And here we are. CANZLER- It may not be dawn yet, But some are up before the light. FRITZ- And all The dead will rise when Balder comes. RUDOLPH- But now Val-father has his dark side to the earth, And works in his own shadow. FRITZ- But the dawn Will reach down and lift Balder out of Hell. CONRAD-(Drawing the sword from Canzler's belt.) If we concede to every man the right, As you say, Canzler, to his own belief, We must concede to the villagers the right To their belief that they own Hartzel's land. CANZLER-We do concede it. RUDOLPH- Their right to their belief. But not their right to Hartzel's land. CANZLER- With them Men are God's vassals, and the land they hold, They hold in fief to him, on terms of faith. RUDOLPH-And while they keep the Faith, they keep the land. FRITZ-And when they lose the Faith, they lose the land. CONRAD-( Walking aside.) And when they have no Faith, they have no land. (He tries to pierce with the sword a pine tree in the sun- light.) CANZLER-Trv that one in the shade there. 74 THE SAXONS (The sword passes deeply into the second trunk.) FRITZ- Is it through CoNRAD-(Looking behind the trunk.) More than a hand's breadth. FRITZ- If the village dogs Snap at you as they are wont to- CANZLER- I shall have No trouble with them. FRITZ- And yet you expect To tell them what you said just- CANZLER- I expect Hartzel to have his rights. Fetch it here, Conrad. RUDOLPH-The Bailiff, Canzler, is a rabid man. CANZLER-I have no business with the Bailiff. RUDOLPH- Still, To reach the church, you must pass through the street. CANZLER-IS it too narrow for two men to pass (He receives the sword and goes left.) RUDOLPH-For two such men as you two are, it is. FRITZ-With swords on thighs. CONRAD-(Walking back toward the fire.) The hilts might knock. FRITZ-(Following him.) Or blades. VOICE OF SELMA-(Above.) I'm going with you, Father! CANZLER- No, Selma; You- SELMA-( Who comes running down the path.) Just to the dingle; the faries say The heather-bells are out. RUDOLPH- Let her go, Canzler. CANZLER-Throw the white blooms away. SELMA-(Throwing away a sprig of dogwood.) Now may I go CANZLER-They make you sad. (He starts down tihe slope.) 75 TrHE SAXONS SELMA- I'll not cry any more. I'll be gay, Father, if you let me go. (She turns and looks queestioningly at Rudolph, who rods to her. Then, skipping forward, she takes hold of the hilt of her father's sword and steadies herself with it as they go down the slope.) CONRAD-Come back and have a woodcock. (Rudolph walks back.) FRITZ- There he goes. (Shouting.) 0 Canzler! CONRAD- He don't hear you. RUDOLPH- Who CONRAD- The Priest. RUDOLPH-Which way is he FRITZ- Riding down toward town. (Rudolph joins the others, and the three stand looking off left.) CONRAD--(Directing Rudolph.) Up that way from the Abbey. FRITZ- I bet he's been Back to see Hartzel. (Shouiting.) Canzler! CONRAD- He can't hear. SCEAN E TWO-The courtyard of the abbey, as in Scene three of the second act. The large crucifix which was seen in the forest in the first Act is fixed above the door of the chapel. On either side of the door is a stained glass window, the farther one depicting the Transfiguration, the nearer one, the legend of St. Giles. The deer with blood drippin, from a wound in its haunch stands behind the saint who holds inl his hand an arrow with blood upon, its tip. The emnporer and his huntsmen are presenting the saint wit/h golden cups. The deer is watch ing themn. 7() THE SAXONS Several rude benches of stone are ranged alongside of the dormitory. In the rear, about ten feet back from the building, a low stone wall extends across, passing behind the dorinitorn on the one side and the chapel on the other. To the left, far back, is seen the side of the mnountainl Onl which the abbey stands. The upper part is thickly wooded, and below, where the timber is sparse, a road winds down the cliff to the village. Farther down, the slope becomes more precipitous and is covered wit/h bowlders and stunted evergreens, soine of which have been broken off by rocks tumbling from the cliff above. Off to the right, a space of sky with the snow-peaks flash ing in the sun- light. To the left in the last Scene, they are now far to the right. From a door in the dormitory facing the court, Ely and Pierre enter. The formner has a hunting horn suspended fromi his shoulder by a chain, and in his hand a small wooden crucifix. Pierre carries two large silver candela- bra. They come out talking. ELY-For he was old and he had come four miles. PIERRE-A cripple too! When was this ELY- Yesterday. And when I showed him this and said: "Good man, Here is a rood he carved with his own hands," Light filled his eyes. PIERRE- And had he come so far (Ely walks forward and looks around the corner of the dormitory.) ELY-(Turning back.) I must be at the gate when father conies- Four miles on crutches. Suddenly he looked up. He must have seen a wving flash in the sky, For his face brightened with the light of faith, And like a seed he seemed to scent a shower. PIERRE-What did you do 77 THE SAXONS ELY- I asked him to kneel down. Oh, what a power there is in holy things! No sooner had I touched him with the rood Than like a plant he rose up from the stones And blossomed; cried: "Lord Jesus, I am cured!" And down the mountain ran shouting for joy. PIERRE-The Holy Virgin bless us! ELY- Yes, he did; Ran down. I watched him till he disappeared, Then turned to stone. I could not stir, but stood Frightened as though an angel hovered near In the blue sky. PIERRE- Oh, I have felt it too! These two days have to me been like a dream And I am dizzy as on some high place. At night I feel the stars are not far off, And when I wake, it seems to me the dawn Is breaking far below us on the world. So near we are to that which lights the sun, (He holds up the candelabra.) These candles, if I should dare to speak the word, Would burst out into flame. ELY- Pierre! PIERRE-(Still looking up.) Oh, surely, Surely the hands that lifted Oswald up, Lifted our abbey too, and we are close To heaven. Perhaps about us in the air Are voices and the wings of those that hear Our very whispers,-martyrs, saints, Saint Giles. ELY-YOU make it terrible to live in flesh. PIERRE-Oh, terrible! It is terrible to live Where every word drops in an angel's ear. I feel that every breath should be a prayer. ELY-I feel so too, Pierre. These acts of grace- PIERRE-Are but the sparks of power. 78 THE SAXONS (He starts toward the chapel.) ELY- Mere sparks, you think These healings and this rescue from the gulch, Mere sparks PIERRE- Simply the scattered beams. ELY- And yet, The same great light hath kindled one and all. Is it not so PIERRE- All these will vanish when- ELY-Tell me. Go on. PIERRE- When the full orb shall burst. ELY-What do you mean PIERRE-(Moun1ting the steps.) I dare not speak it. ELY- Brother! PIERRE-Ely, we stand in darkness by the Tomb, And little beams flash on us from the chinks, But the full glory, flooding all the vault, Awaits the angel. ELY- Is it the dream you mean PIERRE-No one must ever tell him, Father says. ELY-YOU think then that the dream will be fulfilled That it is Oswald whom the hounds of Hell Will chase up some vast mountain of the soul PIERRE-Soon the stone will stir. (He enters the chapel.) ELY- Pierre! (While Ely stands hoping that Pierre will reappear, loud laughter breaks from the open door of the dormitory, and Simon and Basil come sprawling out. The former is pulling at a piece of flesh. Ely's face shows anger, and he starts left.) BASIL- His crutches! (He laughs aloud.) SIMON-Here he is now. Ely! BASIL-(Calling through the door.) Hear that, Rene The beggar left his crutches for his gift. 79 TI' E SA N X 0 X S (Laughter within.) SImON-YOU ask hlim. Ely! (Ely unlocks the iron gates and passes out.) BASIL- Bring the crutches, man! Simon's got the gout. (Rene comes out and joins Basil in laughing at Simnon. The latter, eating his neat, walks back in the court. Basil whispers to Rene.) RENE- When was it, Simon SIMON-Yesterday. I was sleeping on the bench When the old codger's shouting waked me up. And there he was. (He points uip to the road.) I thought the man was mad, Or had been in the gables robbing nests, For his white hair fluttering in the wind Looked like a pair of pigeons on his poll. He must have thought the Devil- (He sits down on a bench.) BASIL- Or else Ely. RENE-Yes, chasing him for his pay. BASIL-(Indignantly.) His crutches! SIMION-(Drolly. ) He left his sole support. (They all laugh. Basil, who has come forward, peeps round the corner of the dormitory. Withdrawing quickly, he hurries back toward the door.) BASIL-(EExcitedly, in an underbreath.) Rene! (He points back over his shoulder with his thumb.) RENE-(Huskily.) Simon! (Simon leaps up, jerks away his nieat, and, wiping his mnouth with his sleeve, hurries after the others into the dormi- tory. From the right, the Abbot enters followed by a train of monks. He wears a miter and a flowing cope of scarlet, richly apparelled. From the end of a rosary about his neck dangles an ivory crucifix. The monks are all in black and wear their hoods. Upon reaching 8o THIE SAXONS the center of the court, the Abbot raises his staff and the procession stops.) ABBOT-Saint Martin hath restored the golden dawn And put the clouds to flight. The kingly sun Looks on the world like our new-risen Lord Driving the night before Him. And the fiends, That fly with darkness from the pit of death To conjure with the baleful midnight stars And wreck God's holy chime of human souls, Are scourged to Hell, and all the rebel orbs Are thunder-stunned. Vapors and noxious fogs That hatch contagion in rank, drizzling swamps, Will soon beneath the lightning's flagellum- With breezes fan their fevers from the blood, And with pure sea-dews from green ocean urns Sprinkle the parched earth to cool the vines Preparing clusters of our dear Lord's blood. The serpent spawn cf imps and evil dreams, Fairies and witching wanderers of the night. That kennel in the bowels of the earth And taint its waters, blight the tender sprouts, And sow infections through the flocks and herds. Have flown like bats into the squalid caves, And there are numb with fear. O'er Zion's towers The virgin dawn brings forth the sun of God And smiles upon the world. The blessed light Spreads o'er the earth its bright, archangel wvings, Dripping with balmy dews and cassia smells. The day will-(High uip on the mnountain is heard the blast of a trumpet.) Hark! A MONK- It was Ely's trumpet. ANOTHER-Som11e one comes. ABBOT- The asses from Italy, Bringing the wine and frankincense, no doubt. A MONK-And the golden chalices. 8I THE SAXONS ANOTHER- And Father's cope. (Pierre comes from the chapel.) ABBOT-Pierre! PIERRE- What it is, Father ABBOT- Is the ambry clean PIERRE-It is, Father. ABBOT- Go find Louis, and fetch- Fetch the diotas and-let's see-three casks. (He saunters toward the gate. Three monks follow Pierre, right. The rest disperse about the court, the greater part eventually finding their way into the chapel. A few walk back in the rear and stand looking zip at the road. Three monks, who camne in at the end of the procession and who all the while have stood prefectly still, slip back their hoods and discover Simon, Rene, and Basil. At the corner of the dormitory, Pierre and his companions ineet Louis entering.) ONE OF THE MIONKS-The train has come. PIERRE- Father says bring the casks. (Louis reaches under his gown and produces a large iron key which he hands to Pierre. He then passes into the court. The four go out.) ABBOT-( Calcuilating.) Thirty gallons and six-(Turning.) Four casks, Pierre. SImON-The chopin too, Pierre. You know the men, The mule-men will be dry. BASIL- Or Simon will. RENXE-Or Basil. BASIL- Or Rene. SIMON-(With his hand to his mouth.) Or Father. (They laugh.) ABBOT- Louis! (The shutter near the corner of the dormitory opens, and Soloman leans out. He has a parchment in his hand.) SOLO.MAN-QUid est, Leo 82 THE SAXONS LEO-(Telling his beads, on one of the benches.) The wine train has arrived. SOLOMAN-From Paradise. LEO- Don't be irreverant. BASIL-(To Soloman.) Let no man look on wine when it is red. SIMON-I shut my eyes. (Holding their sides for laughter, Rene and Basil stagger back toward the rear. Soloman withdraws from the window.) LEO- Father will tend to you. (Simon makes faces at him and follows his companions.) ABBOT-(Walking aside with Louiis.) Say nothing to the strangers of the affair. LOUIS-Of finding brother Oswald ABBOT- No, not that. His fall, his being found before the gate, All that, no doubt, the villagers last night Poured into their ears. The folk are deeply stirred. From tongue to tongue the flame of rumor runs That heavenly hands bore Oswald from the gulch. They think the holy saints have blessed his palms With power of healing and of miracles. Alms have increased ten-fold. Cattle and sheep, Jewels and coin, and corn and casks of wine Pour in from every side. Within a year, St. Giles will swell her roofs and shine in gold- (Confidentially.) Provided, Louis, provided. You understand Louis-You mean the abbey here will robe herself In purple cloth-of-bodkin stiff with pearl, Provided- ABBOT- This new loom shall keep her huni. Louis-That here red wines will flow to flush her face, Provided- 83 THE SAXONS ABBOT- Hand in hand upon the hills This sudden sun that hath sprung up the sky Shall lead the vine and pour his blood to swell- Louis-That morning when it strikes her eastern gate Will see her heaving heavenward dome on dome, Provided- ABBOT- Ay, that's it. You understand. The quarry for our domes is in our brains. Here, in our brains, your brain and mine, Louis, We have the shuttle of that wonderous loom That shall array her in her cloth-of-gold. Here is the sun, the bridegroom of the grape, And here, from hills of France and Italy, The purple bride shall come and loose her zone And lay her dower in the abbey's lap. Lock up that jewel, Louis, in its case. Let it not get abroad that you suspect- Suspect, I say; you surely do not know- Louis-I only know of what I heard and saw. I heard his voice and- ABBOT- You were fast asleep. Louis-At first I was; then, wakened by the shout, Three times I heard him cry out in the dark: "Haro! help ! help ! ABBOT- A voice, of course; but whosev The night so alters sound you cannot tell. A cat-o'-mountain screaming in the dark For all the world sounds like a wailing child. Louis-But when I see the track, I'll tell you then. The track up by the gate, and it's there now, Is the dwarf's track, four toes on the left foot. ABBOT-Preposterous, Louis, that this hunched devilock, Brought up on witch's dugs, in the dead of night Should be about the service of the Lord. Asses can talk like men when angels bid. 84 THE SAXONS Perhaps the angels, taking him in the act Of throwing brother Oswald from the cliff, Scourged him before them to the abbey gate And made him in his pain cry out for help And set his print to attest the power of God. Who knows Louis-- Brother Oswald, perhaps. ABBOT- Only God. But make no mention of the witch's son. When truth is whist and doubt a favoring gale Blowing toward golden islands in the sea, Let the ship drive before it into port. No one was with you when vou found him. Louis- No one. ABBOT-And no one saw vou. Louis- No one. It was still dark; The brothers were asleep. ABBOT- Say n otlling of it. Let rumor blow it as a miracle. Sweet feet of saints have run down in the night And with a touch enriched a holv house Of no more worth than this of good St. Giles. Rumor of saints can do as much as saints. If thoughts of bright wings stirring in the sky Can kindle hearts to deeds of charity, And by those deeds the Virgin's chapels rise, Let the flame run. We'll blow it through the land. I've had the brothers circulate report That wings were seen dissolving in the dawn Above the mountains. Louis-(With a smtile.) So, perahps, there were- Of eagles wheeling airily in the clouds. Is this not, Father, to build upon the sand ABBOT-To build on sand is to build on a lie. Louis-What is a lie 85 THE SAXONS ABBOT- A lie is not a thing That is not, but a thing that cannot be. Thus to say good is evil is a lie, For good cannot be evil. But to say That that hath been which God hath power to do Is to make faith a fact. In days like these, When the Albigensian heresy is rank, We must support the Holy Writ in this, That what is done in thought is done in deed. Has a good deed been done Then a good thought Has done that deed, and that good thought is God's, And such thoughts we call angels. Louis- Oswald, then, WVas rescued by the angels ABBOT- Without doubt. The globe of fire that Dominic beheld Above our Lady's chapel in the plain Of Prouille was a light in his own mind. Louis-The multitude will never understand This nice distinction. ABBOT- Just so; but shall we Show them the foul body of fair Truth Or the clear spirit Louis- The spirit, Father. I never doubt the end you have in view. ABBOT-You doubt the means, though. Deep down in your heart You smile and say: "But Father is all right. The times are fire, and fight for Benedict. To build the abbey, Father must have gold. To get the gold, the people must be bilked. But Father will return them light for gold. I never doubt the end he has in view." Louis-You are the brain, Father; I, the hand. You know that I would help you. You know that. 86 THE SAXONS ABBOT-Anyway, Louis, I am justified. For simple souls find joy in simple faith. Go down into the village. Guido tells me Their faces shine because of this bright thing. It purifies and cheers them. Cyprian says There is no power that does not come from God. He might have said the same of light and joy. And shall I, to whom what I know this thing is Seems quite as strange as what they think it is- That angels did it-, take their light away Because I know it falls not from a star A thousand lamps burn in the House of Life. Shall I walk through its chambers and say: "This, Children, and this, now these were lit of Hell; But that one there-see how the oil of God Goes up the wick and throws a brighter flame" Unless they see it brighter, it is not. They cannot see it so without my eye. They cannot have my eye and keep their own, And they must keep their own a little while; At least until I get my abbey built, Until I shout the sun from out the sea And with its beams illumine the valley there. And since its rising on their gifts depends, And since their gifts depend on their belief, I cannot tell them their belief is false; 'Twould bring the abbey down upon their heads; And Benedict would shout forevermore, Seeing their night come back without a star. And so I cannot tell them what is true. Nothing is sadder than to see a mind Drifting between an old faith torn away And a new rock not risen from the waves. Their wisp must burn until the sun comes up. Our Lord himself tempered his dazzling truth 87 THJE SAXONS To simple minds, and spake in parables, Leaving the halo on the brow of things. And shall we blow it away Louis- Is it there ABBOT- For them, It is intensely there. And when they come Bringing their little gifts, what can I say They ask me, "Is this light" I say, "Does it Shine" They answer, "Yes." "Then it is light." (A pause.) Is it' (A pause.) Louis Louis- Suppose so; if it shines. ABBOT-And if they say it shines Iuiws-(Aftcr a pause.) I suppose so. ABBOT-Shall Plato take Saint Giles' faith away That. Louis. is the question of all time. Louis-If lie can give him Plato's. ABBOT- If he can. And if he cannot Louis- If he cannot-(He stops.) ABBOT- What Ready to give to one who cannot take, Who cannot see my light beyond her light. Shall I step in upon my mother's prayer 'With noise. and say: "But see, yours is no god." And pick and pound and blow her hope away And loose her tears upon my father's corpse (A pause.) Louis (A pause.) Shall I' Louis-(Walking about ith his head down.) I have naught to say. ABBOT-Do I still seem to be a hypocrite Louis-( Turning quickly.) Father! ABBOT What should I say "Your eve sees false'' 88 Tf rE SAXONS If they think rue will keep the devils off, To kill their thought would bring the devils back And leave them fleeing Hell, not seeking God; A different thing though Benedict knows it not. They are not ready for the larger life, And in a day I cannot make them so. They cannot take my light. Shall I take theirs, Their little light, and leave them in the dark Take from their hearts the glory and the hope How do I know what God means by this thing If they should ask me I must drop my eves And sav: "He hides to-morrow from to-dav," Which is no answer, Louis, and I know it. What can I do No, I must seem to lie: While I am serving God, seem to serve Hell; Pray to the Giver of Light, "Thy will be done," And then give darkness! Oh, for some power, Some angel, Louis, that should come from heaven And free us from these bonds of policy! That we must hide our light like secret parts As though each shining ray were snake of Hell! Oh, that some god would step down on the peaks And make us throw our thought out on the dark, As fields their seeds, leaving the god of growth To separate and slay and bring to sheaf! How I would lay this cope and this aside, And with my face upon the mountains run, Aye, run to meet the bright thing coming down. And cry, "Hail, hail. hail, hail, thou blessed one!" (Shaking with emotion, his vo9ice husk'.) I cannot be a man! Louis- But, Father, that- ABBOT-Accursed bondage harder than the Nile! Louis-That prophesy that Oswald brings, may it Not mean this verv thing, that by his fall 89 THE SAXONS And this bright rumor that the angels saved him, A summer cloud that seems to rain down gold, May it not be that by this very gold Your tower of light shall rise upon this rock And save the North from darkness May it not ABBOT-But who will save us from our policy, From playing hide and seek with God's bright son, From the necessity of withholding truth From those to whom the vital thing belongs, Who do not even hunger for it more, Who live and die about a taper's flame, Calling it star, and sun, salvation, God- And here all round us-Louis, look, the dawn! Louis-The quality of all light is the same. ABBOT-Quality, Louis, is not quantity. The myriad spheres of dew leave the fields dark. The midnight luster on the swamp is light, Enough to guide the wild thing paddling there. The willow leaves give light unto the moth. The stars that fill us with the life to come Leave darkness in the prowling tiger's eye, And rise and set upon its curve of ball. God made the day for higher things than these. -Some light is not enough for something more Than moth and water-rat and prowling maws That find their food in flesh. With what design Lit God the radiant pages For what purpose Hung he the planet Plato in the sky With kindred constellations of pure thought, If I, a mortal man, can lift my hand And leave a shadow in the valley there It fills my life with meaning to know this, That God hath ordered so our spiritual world That every bright thing needs my will to shine, As it needs His to reach the shining state. 90 THE SAXONS Think of such confidence of God in man! And I betray it. (He walks about thoughtfully.) Louis- You betray it How By holding back the truth about the dwarf ABBOT-I hide the light. Louis- You hide it as a seed Which, if the people eat, the famine spreads, But which, if planted. wide the harvest waves. Your own heart tells you you are right in this. ABBOT-But when, when is the feeding to begin If I to-day withhold the seed, who knows That I will not to-morrow withhold the yield, And so continue, building larger barns Meanwhile the people in the valley die. Louis-But God, who sees your purpose in it all. Sees the day coming when this rock shall be A beacon, and this region full of light. ABBOT-'Twill never be while Benedict is here. Louis-Oh, but look yonder, Father! Three hours ago Black clouds besieged the east, and lo, now Day Stands on the mountain tops and sees them not. Where Night has gone there's room for Benedict. ABBOT-I know that, Louis; but the years go by. And oh, to use the little breath I have In doing what I never did before! How is it I cannot tell them what is true Louis-'Twould crush in seed the abbey you would build. ABBOT-How can an abbey rise upon a lie Louis-You said it was not a lie. ABBOT- It is a lie Until they know that it is not a lie. As I do. Louis- Will you tell them ABBOT-( Walking about.) 9' THE SAX)ONS I am bound, Bound hand and foot 1) cursed policy. I cannot be a man. Louis- 'Many a church Has lies like this above the altar place. ABBOT-My abbey was to be part of the one. Louis-(After a pause.) You said, "'Until they know it," Father. ABBOT- Yes. Louis-"As I do."' (The Abbot turns.) Do yoto doubt it was the dwarf ABBOr-I do not doubt the fact in the case, but I mav not limit its significance. Louis-( With, a smile.) An angel or a god, then' ABBOT- Half so, yes. Louis-To free tus from our policy ABBOT- Pray God It may be, Louis, pray God it may be. That unknown god should have an altar here. No, Louis: what I mean is simply this: This thing that we call evil, may it not Be the other side of this thing we call good, The passing of bright planets of the mind, Dreaming eclipse that is no thing at all, Simply the passing of the two things, both bright God ever wrestles with his shadow, Louis, And now the bright goes down and now the dark; And man stands by and watches the great game With heart divided and with swaying mind And lifts whichever falls. The game goes on Forever, and the nations rise and fall Forever, and fall and rise. And so they strive, Like light and shade over the mountain slopes, Each wrestling not for victory but strength. )2 T[1E SAXON S Louis-And you and Benedict ABBOT- I am not his foe. I come from Florence and he comes from Rome. Louis-And you love painted windows. ABBOT- I love God; He loves the Church. There is the difference. He iterates with fire in his eyes That Heathendom shall tumble down to Hell, But not a word that Ignorance shall fall Or Passion lose her lightning in the deep. I wrestle with the bright against the dark. Louis-For the world-soul. ABBOT- Neither of us may, win. In fact, I pray God that wve may not. Louis- How ABBOT-I hope that some free, some free spirit may win, Not one wrapped round with ignorance, nor one Bound hand and foot by cursed policy. But I am not his foe. Louis- But he is yours. ABBOT-Night does not understand. Louis- I cannot see. ABBOT-Louis, the greatest man in this great world Is he who sees all things are going right, Yet fights as though all things were going wrong. (Loulis shakes his head.) I know you don't. But I can do no more Than show mx1 thought. To see it, must be yours. Louis-Then Oswald's fall- ABBOT- Not if it gives him strength To do the work his spirit bids him do, To wrestle with the dark and with the bright. To wvrestle better than he did before. And shake the fruit down of that prophesy. Who knows what God behind the horizon holds 93 THE SAXONS For Oswald till the dawning of that day I somehow feel the dream is, as it were, The warp to which the prohpesy is woof, And that beneath the hills unseen a loom Rocks as it weaves in dogs and storm and deer And underneath the meaning of it all. But I was speaking of the witch's son. This pebble here I take up in my hand. I turn it, yet I always see one side. The other side is toward the underworld, And though I turned it till the Judgment Day, That side would still be round there. Bid it grow, Swell to a bowlder's, now the chapel's size, And now a globe's. And let us hold it thtis. Above us, on our palms. Like Atlas now I stand supporting it. (Pointing as though under the globe.) Down here I see A little night following a little day About a water-drop, a grain of sand, A point in which my spirit lives and moves. (Reaching up and around.) How do I know that up here are not worlds Lit with Gods' providence and bathed with soul What is my thought that it should scale these zones And take my law of good and evil there And recreate that life to what I know Is my eye God's, that it should see all things From what far mountains come the grains of gold That sparkle in the river of my soul Ranges of being and tall peaks of thought May hold up here a brighter metal still, Some burning thing would dry my river bed. The dreams that vein the dark sky of our sleep, As lightnings vein the night and then are gone, 94 THE SAXONS Whence come they and whither go they, that they leave Vast expectation and the vacant eye And out beyond the chalice of our sleep That cases round my dew-drop soul, who knows What oceans roar with life beyond our life, And spray with stars the dark rocks of the void How do I know what creatures come and go Beyond my little line of night and day, Doing the will of the Eternal Mind I am not Benedict to say, "This is He, And this is not." Louis- Not even of the dwarf ABBOT-God is the author of the book we see Whose pages are the mountains and the stars. Though He may sit aloof, his soul pervades Each word and letter. Prowling in the spring, The mountain lion feels Him in her paws, And the wild creatures of the caves are His. Louis-Was He in Oswald's fall ABBOT- 'Tis past my thought How He should not be;-in his rising, too. If God is with me when I climb a hill, When I descend do I leave God somewhere Upon the top If only he ascends, How came he in the valley, then, at first Only the ignorant halve the universe And thresh events and say, "The wheat is God's," Piecing their small minds out with nothingness. The chaff too served its purpose in its time And while it served its purpose it was good And like the wheat it drew its strength from God. Having served its end, is wheat itself not chaff If Oswald's fall is evil in our minds, It is because we do not see its place. But where my knowledge ends, does God end, too 95 THE SAXUNS Our brother tumbling from the bluff that night Into the gorge, but tumbled, as it were, Off of God's fingers into his great palm. Ascent and descent are in one straight line. I see no angle in the universe, A break in things, a point where God begins And Satan ends. If, in this strange event, The people see a movement of the sky And stand amazed, I stand even more amazed At what I see than they at seraphiml. For what I see is darkness giving light, An earth-born thing showing capacity For deeds divine, and busy in the dark Not with its own low nature but with God. I grapple with it and my light goes out. I feel as though I walked in a strong wind Along a reed, with only faith for eyes. Reason calls it to me with a blind man's voice. That helplessness should bring an angel down, Is that as wonderful as that it should bring A devil up to do an angel's work What -we see, Louis, is the miracle. What they see, while it jars our sense of things, Falls nicely into the mental harmony. Louis-Good becomes evil having served its end. flow Benedict would rage should he hear this. ABBOT-Each mind takes of the light what it can hold. Louis-You know that day in the scriptorium, When you were reading the Symposium, What he said, do you remember ABBOT- Yes, I do. Louis-"If I had my way I would burn that thing." ABBOT-A beam of the sunshine hurts the owl's eyes. Louis-And he would peck the stars out if he could. ABBOT-As though our faith were fungus! 96 THE SAXONS Louis- If it be, If it must feed on darkness, let it die. ABBOT-(Walking about thoughtfully.) It need not feed on darkness, Louis. Louis- This Miracle, Father, will bring back the day. ABBOT-( To himself.) The Age is torn and shaken. Passions swell And range like winter rivers. I would have it Lucid and calm as Arno flowing down By sacred Florence. I am far away, Far away and my hairs begin to fall. Louis-This will bring back the day. ABBOT-(To himself.) And nothing done. (He stands with his eyes upon the ground. Then, dreamily.) Young faces radiant with the golden air That Plato breathed among the olive leaves. Louis-(Half aloud.) "If I had my way I would burn that thing.' ABBOT-(Half to himself, his back to Louis.) And if I had my way-(He lifts his face)- Oh, I would build An abbey! I would cut its trenches deep Down into God, the God of all things. Then I would lay the white stones of Philosophy, The Sages who, as gifts to Delphi, brought Small sheaves of wisdom, offering them to God As better gifts than first born bulls and goats. And I would slay the griffin, Policy, And scatter its bright gold about the world And lay its carcass for the corner stone. Its telamons should be those giant men Who propt the fabric of the ancient world. The east and west and north and south should lay Their four white corners on the four broad backs 97 THE SAXONS Of Plato and his solid pupil's mind, Then him who dove too deep for Rome to see, Lucretius, maddening round the seeds of things, And Cicero because he loved the truth. And there should stand all round as peristyle The Bards of Greece in cluster, speaking gold; Young Sappho with the glory of the sea All round her milk white throat and marble arms, Proud Pindar fawning kings, and Sophocles, And he, he, Aeschylus, wild son of fire, Who never swerved for mincing Policy, But spake his sea-thought out and shook the world. Its roof should be the shields of golden song Wherever burning on the hills of Time, Wlherever smouldering in Eternity. And I would have all planets God hath hung Since first His word went forth, "Let there be light," Within our spiritual heaven, shining here Without eclipse forever. And up there, In alto relievo on the frieze. should be Apollo slaving python Ignorance, And Darkness with the face of Benedict Half hung down. heavy, livid, hands and teeth Tugging and biting at the architrave To tear these golden letters from the slab. "THE SOUL IS IN THE BRAIN." And over all, Towering with her calm eternal eyes, Athene, soul of Athens, holy One. Oh, I would build an abbey! Louis-(As in prayer.) Father! Father! GuiDo-(Appearing at the door of the chapel.) The fifteenth chapter has that blue stain on it. ABBOT-(Pointing right.) In the scriptorium, the second shelf; Get the Symposium; I will read that. 98 THE SAXONS (Horrified, the mnonk stands for a moment, then goes slowly down the steps across the court, every now and then glancing back over his shoulder at the Abbot) Louis-(In a low voice.) Remember, Father. Is this policy. (A pause.) You know your abbey is not risen vet. (The Abbot bows his head. Lotuis lifts his hand as a signal. Guido, crossing the court, stops and stands waiting.) One breath of this would bring the rafters down. (A pause. ) ABBOT-(Turning, with his eyes closed.) The other Bible, Guido. (The monk quickens his step and enters the dorinitory .) Louis- And you know Some of the brothers might tell Benedict, And he would send it blazing down to Rome. ABBOT-Lamp after lamp goes out for policy. (He opens the gate through which Ely passed.) Louis-Better one lamp than total darkness, though. ABBOT-Say nothing to the carriers of the affair. Louis-Have you cautioned Oswald, ABBOT-(Astounded.) Cautioned Oswald Louis- Yes. ABBOT-YOU said hie was unconscious. Louis- When I found him 1-e was unconscious. But from what he dropped Yesterdav in his cell, I am sure he knows It was the dwarf that brought him up the rocks. ABBOT-YOU should have told me that. (He walks to and fro.) Louis- Where is he now ABBOT-He had four golden letters to put on. Louis-Down in the village at his work again! Why, Father! ABBOT- He insisted. 99 THIE SAXONS Louis-(Under his breath.) Benedict! (A silence.) ABBOT-Get ready and go down. A word from him, And down the abbey falls. Louis- Never to rise. ABBOT- And yet- I do not think he'll tell it. Rumor, you know, Has stamped an image on the heated mind. They never could efface it by a thought So monsterous as that devils had turned saints And tripped the air with angels, hand in hand, Moving as musically as summer stars. Having no coin that bears the face of truth They never will suspect a counterfeit, And so no one will put the question to him. Unquestioned, certainly Oswald will not speak. Louis-But if he should (A pause.) Awhile ago you prayed Some god to free us from our policy. (A pause.) What time did he go down ABBOT- Before (lay-break. The town at that time would have been asleep. Louis-And Benedict. who never sleeps ABBOT- Go down. Louis-Whose dragon eyes are ever open (He starts toward thc dormitory.) ABBOT- Stay. LouIs-Supposing Oswald has already told If he has, Benedict will come up here Raging as upon a den of wolves. Then. If he should say: "Ha! So it was the dwarf And not an angel saved your monk. And here You pass the deed off as a miracle To swell your abbey's revenues and rob Me of the alms of my parishioners" He sees me coming down the mountain side I00 THE SAXONS And shouts this at me, and I say to him- ABBOT-Surprised, amazed, you lift your hands: "MNIon Dieu! A son of Satan save St. Giles' child! Do devils, then, wait upon men of God Working salvation Do they If they do, What means this storm of banners in the dawn, This, 'Dieu le volt!' and these bright harnassed knights Trampling the Orient into battle smoke Why this vast tumult in the dead sunrise If devils will take up arms and fight for God, Why roll these human surges down the East To smoke and break about the Sepulcher In hard white foam from which the ravens flv Let Hell lead forth her legions from the pit Impervious to drought and pain alike, To take and guard the Tomb. No, Father, no. 'Tis blasphemy, the unforgiven sin, To ascribe to Hell a deed that God hath done." Louis-Says Father Benedict: "But brother Oswald Told me himself it was the witch's son." ABBOT-"Mon Dieu again! Could Father keep his wits After a fall like that, and, rising, say: 'This is the hand that struck me, this that saved" It was the dwarf that threw the brother down." With words like these, chisels of policy, Upon the shield of each returning knight That hath spilt blood about the Sepulcher, We carve an angel that shall plead our cause Through all the fields and villages of France And far on into the North and- Ah, this train! This train shall be the trumpet that shall blow Our miracle abroad through Italy, And Italy is the trumpet of the world. Talk to the strangers then of shooting stars, I0I THE SAXONS Of sounds of heavenly music in the night, But only when a question calls it forth. Climbing the tree gives flavor to the fruit. Be reticent; that will add majesty. Appear subdued and point to yonder peaks Where, in the gray dawn, gleams of vanishing wings Shone on the mountain snows like molten gold. You understand About the witch's son, Adeste cunt silentio. (After passing out through the gate, the Abbot turns and calls after Louis, who is crossing the coirt.) Louis, No word as yet to Oswald of the dream. He would not see the glory of it now, Only the horror. I should fear the result. BASIL-(Coming from behind the chapel.) Macias is coming with another sorel. (Louis enters the dormitory.) Bah, then! Go on. St. Christopher. Plum-head. (Drawing himself up as Rene and Simon come from behind the chapel.) I am the Prior. Down, St. Peter! John! RENE-(To Simon.) Matthew, thou publican! SIMON- Bacchus, thou saint! (Ile points forward to the corner of the dormitory where Pierre and his comnpanions enter with the wine vessels which they proceed to place beside the wall.) BASIL-Simply the old clothes of My Lady Wine. FIRST MONK-The blessed Virgin grant it be the train. I had half yielded to old Adnrew's dream; I feared the train was lost. SECOND MIONK- Another dream FIRST MONK-Last night, between the glances of the moon, While his soul grabbled in the fogs of sleep, 102 THE SAXONS He beheld Father's new cope in a brook, Swishing against a fallen sycamore. The censer and the golden chalices Lay gleaming on the gravel. SIMOiN-(1Who has been tipping the casks.) And the wine FIRST MONK-While he was hunting for it in his dream, Like a blind weasel for a nest of eggs, And had his hand on what felt like a skin, The matins rang. He's been gruff ever since. There's not a holy bell can call to prayer To smooth our spirits with the thought of God, But brings him from his hole with ruffled quills, Threatening the belfry with his palmer's staff. He says he hopes the Devil has snared the train And spurred the asses off the bluffs to Hell. SIMON-Now God forbid, with all that precious wine! LEO-(To Basil.) I shall tell Father on you. BASIL-(Imitating Leo's small voice.) Hear him roar! RENE-If you roar, Lion, when the hunter comes- SOLQMAN-(Leaning out of the window.) Heus, helus, 0 fratres, favete linguis! The train is safe. The tigers of the god Are ramping down the mountain, yoked in vines Whose dangling clusters sway their tawny backs And purple all the sky above the peaks. Limp in the car the noisy Bromios Tips the full cup and stains his ivory breast. Look, yonder his herald, plump Silenus, comes! (He points up the mouintain over the gate through which the Abbot passed.) RENE-Ho, that's the occasion of the trumpet blast! FIRST MONK-No need of casks. BASIL- No need of empty casks. 103 THE SAXONS This is keel that draws five fathoms full. RENE-And where it anchors, there a reef appears. BASIL-And where it founders, there the-sea goes down. RENE-Its beak hath ta'en the color o' the wave. SIMON-(To FIRST MONK.) If Father Benedict had had the train Or been among the muleteers, I'd say No wonder Andrew couldn't find the wine. RENE-Come on, Simon; let's go meet Macias. BASIL-If we can't wine it we can dine it. SIMON-(As he passes Leo.) Bah! Louis-(Dressed for travel, appearing at the corner of the dormitory.) Are they in sight yet PIERRE- It was not the train. 'Twas Father Benedict. (Louis stands as one stunned.) What can it mean (Louis crosses the court and takes a position at the corner of the chapel near the gate.) FIRST MONK-He never came as early as this before. SECOND MON10K-And see how worried Father looks. PIERRE- I fear That some one has told Oswald of the dream, And he has fainted. FIRST MONK- I will loiter about. (With his eyes upon, the ground the monk saunters over toward the chapel steps and, apparently absorbed in telling his beads, loiters about in order to overhear the conversation. The Abbot enters, followed by Father Benedict leading an ass. Green twigs are stuck about the bridle. The Abbot appears thoughtful.) ABBOT-What do you mean by wolves FATHER BENEDICT- Wild paws that prey Upon the fold. 104 THE SAXONS ABBP.OT- And by the fold. you mean-' FATHER BENEDICT-The Church. ABBOT- These wolves live on the mountains here FATHER BENEDICT-They do. ABBOT- And are not far FATHER BENEDICT- Some are not far. Within an eveshot of the peaks. ABBOr- And some Have even made this abbey here their den FATHER BENEDICT-Would make it so. ABBOT- And from these holy halls Steal forth and prey-well, let us say, upon Your flock FATHER BENEDICT-They have preyed there. ABBOT- Since when FATHER BENEDICT-And with the fleeces wiped their heathen mouths, These wolves of Hell. ABBOT- Benedict! FATHER BENEDICT- AXv wvolves of Hell. Hear what I say. Ah, Father, Father! Sometimes we think our Lord is dead in heaven, His enemies so thrive upon the earth. We see the Devil's squatters on our lands With deeds that seem to bear the seal of Heaven; Yea, everything they do seems blest of Heaven. They plow and sow; God gives them sun and rain. Their fields wave green; the frosts are kept at bay. They build their barns; Heaven holds her storms in leash And seems to slumber while the singing foe Silver their scythes beneath the harvest moon. But when the season plumps the golden ears And Satan brings his sacks to get the grain, God puts his sickle in and takes the crop. ABBOT-Or sends a reaper 105 THE SAXONS FATHER BENEDICT- Ay, sends Benedict. When vines are bending and the song is heard Of Bacchus revelling in the bubbling must, The golden trumpets of the sun in heaven Proclaim a festival and wake the skies. Angels come tripping to the foaming vats And, while the devils tread the vintage out, B'rim their bright casks with gushing purple meath To crown the crystal goblets of the saints, Leaving the pulp to slop the swine of Hell. ABBOT-In you I see an angel FATHER BENEDICT- With a cask. ABBOT-And in the abbey here I see the vat FATHER BENEDICT-A goblet. ABBOT- And in myself a- FATHER BENEDICT- Saint. ABBOT- Ha! (Searching the Priest's face.) I do not understand you, Benedict. FATHER BENEDICT-Then I will put it this wayl: See this garb You know I am a shepherd. ABBOT- Yes, I know. FATHER BENEDICT-And tend a flock of sheep. ABBOT- I know you do. FATHIER BENEDICT-And sheep have wool ABBOT- Yes. FATHER BENEDICT- Now we go afield. Do briers grow in pastures (The Abbot nods.) And have flukes ABBOT-I see. You mean to say that flukes tear wool. FATHER BENEDICT-That's what I mean. ABBOT- That, therefore, fromr the shears The fleece comes lighter to the shepherd's hands. FATHIER BENEDICT-And to the Master's. IO6 THE SAXONS ABBOT- Ha! but in this case- For your insinuation I perceive Clearly, I think;-well, in this case, I say, It does not follow that the Master gets Less tribute from the flock; for, Benedict, Remember this: When God's bright seraphim Collect His revenues, it matters not XVhether it be your hand that pays, or mine. FATHER BENEDICT-Provided vour hand pays, it matters not. ABBOT-Ah, now you leave your figure. FATHER BENEDICT- And take yours. ABBOT-YOU climbed the mountain. then- FATHER BENEDICT- To get my wool. ABBOT-And chop the brier FATHER BENEDICT- That belonged to God. ABBOT-Then tell me this: If it belonged to God, How then do you, His shepherd, claim the wool That God's own flukes have pulled from his own sheep FATHER BENEDICT-YOu do not understand. ABBOT- I think I do. FATHER BENEDICT-I did not mean the brier was God's, but this: That it belonged to God to chop it down. ABBOr-The brier, then, has fallen' FATHER BENEDICT- Praise the saints. ABBOT-YOU came to tell me how the blow wvas struck FATHER BENEDICT-I stopped to tell you how I got my wool. ABBOT-YOu need not. FATHER BENEDICT-Why ABBOT- I know. FATHER BENEDICT- You know ABBOT- I do. FATIIER BENEDICT-I have not spoken since I left him. ABBOT- Well. I07 THE SAXONS FATHER BENEDICT-HOW did you learn it, then ABBOT- I had a seed. Your coming was the sun, your words the shower; It could not help but put forth leaves and bloom. FATHER BENEDICT-Strange, very strange. ABBOT- To see a stalk with flukes Put forth a bloom 'Tis not unnatural. FATHER BENEDICT-I do not understand. ABBOT- Nor 1. FATHER BENEDICT- XVhat ABBOT- This: How that a shepherd could believe a wolf Had suckled a lost lamb. FATHER BENEDICT- What do vou mean ABBOT-That it is strange that you, a priest of God, Could see an angel's track upon a slope And say: "Here went a devil up the rocks." FATHER BENEDICT-It is too dark. ABBOT- 'Twill ever be too dark To see aught but an angel in that gulch. FATHER BENEDICT-'Tis midnight. ABBOT- No; for yonder peaks are flushed, And there bright wings are wasting in the dawn. FATHER BENEDICT-Father, what do You mean A I: ror-( Closing h is eves.) Listen, Benedict. In an old abbey down in Italy There hangs an ancient chime of seven bells. Oft when a child I heard them in the dawn Singing like angels in the Apennines, Their tones so blended, so harmoniously Tuned to the planets that. when twilight fell, They were the echoes of the Pleiades. Those old, old bells! I hear them still sometimes. We children called them by the golden names Archangels wear. Well, in a storm one night 108 THE SAXONS Raphael went down. Some say a huge black hand Strangled him in his tower and hurled him down. And others say-mark, Benedict-that God- FATHER BENEDICT-Anathema! ABBOT- God's hand that shaped the spheres And hung them in the belfry of the night To ring through heaven an universal mass, And set the holy bells of earth in tune, And set our hearts in tune with holy bells, That, in the blue cathedral of the air, One chant might rise from hearts and bells and spheres, Some say that His, God's hand, threw down that bell. FATHER BENEDICT-I say, anathema! ABBOT- And so you think- FATHER BENNEDICTr-I think it was the foul hand of Hell. ABBOT- Ah Since withered faces skir along the sky, Might it have been some-witch FATHER BENEDICT- I said the hand And that includes the fingers. ABBOT- So it does. Well, Benedict, there you and I are one. \Ve hold that that wvhich jangles God's great chime, Whether it strike a sphere or a bell or a heart, Springs from the pit and hath its root in Hell. FATHER BENEDiCr-Ay, we agree. ABBOT- Then follow the same path And you shall see your seraph of the night Bleed out his strength upon the spears of dawn. 'Twas thought that Raphael's tumbling down the rocks Had wrecked his silver voice, and so he lay Three years half-sunken in a slimy marsh, His golden throat choked up with water-weeds And fetid lilies breathing of the swamp. 'Twas said that oft when morning woke the bells I09 THE SAXONS Upon the heights, a drowned voice was heard, A strangled booming in the marsh-fogs. Well. One Sabbath while the morning star still burned A lone white taper, on a sudden from his couch The ancient bellman started. The old chime Was singing in its tower, and, like a thrush That eveless hath escaped a narrow cage, The voice of Raphael on his bough again Rang through the woods. The eagles on the crags Shook out their wings and circled in the sky; The mountain shepherds shouted from the rocks, While down the ether. flaming out of the East, Melodious angels in the sun-burst sang. (With his eyes burning and fixed upon the Priest.) Now, Benedict, who lifted up that bell FATHER BENEDICT-'Twas God reclaimed it and restored His chime. ABBOT-And if that bell had been a-soul, who then FATHER BENEDICT-Still God. ABBOT- And if that soul had been- (Vehemently.) Oswald (For a mioment they look into one another's eyes, the Abbot with a penetrating glance, the Priest zwith a look of blank amazement. The Abbot quicklv drops his head and walks aside, his face almost white, the drawn mouth and furrowed brow showing a mind in desperation, cast- ing about for an escape.) FATHER BENEDICT-( With rising resentment.) What does this mean (The monk, who a few yards back has been pacing to and fro in order to overhear the conversation, has stopped and stands observing them. He has the same bewildered expression as the Priest. The face of Louis near the 110 THE SAXONS corner of the chapel reflects the palor and perturbation of the Abbot's.) FATHER BENEDICT- You put my faith to test (A pause.) A damned insult! (His brow darkens and he turns aside. Suddenly his face lights up as with a revelation.) Ah, I see what it means. Out with it, Father. Speak what God commands. (A pause) Before you speak I know what you will say. (A pause.) Out of pure envy you are silent. (He turns away. While the Priest and the Abbot walk about, each occupied with his own thought, Pierre and his two companions approach and stand a few yards away, observing them.) ABBOT-(With a glance toward the Priest.) Out- FATHER BENEDICT-( Without turning.) Of envy, or else fear that I would shrink. You need not, though. ABBOT-(Stopping.) I fear that you would shrink FATHER BENEDICT-To you, too, my great honor has been revealed. (A pause.) ABBOT-I do not understand you, Benedict. FATHER BENEDICT-(Turning and facing the Abbot.) Why do you hide it from me ABBOT- What are you Hiding from me FATHER BENEDICT- You feared that I would shrink To tear those jaws upon the mountain side. Your dropping of your eyes shows I am right. ABBOT-( Walking aside, composed.) I was not sure. FATHER BENEDICT-Why did you think that God Had revealed it only to you ABBOT- I was not sure III THE SAXONS That what I had in mind you had in mind. FATHER BENEDICT-And you thought you would feel about and see If I knew it. And if I did not, "Truth, retire. Do not obtrude yourself on Benedict. He knows the hunter's dream. If he cannot Discover whose hands those were the hunter saw Reach through the green boughs of the Tree of Life And tear the hell-jaws from the holy deer, It is not your fault. And I lose no glory. It is his own crass mind. He comes from Rome. Florence is Athens come to life again." ABBOT-Envy, you think FATHER BENEDICT- I know it. WhVen you asked Whose hand it was that lifted up that bell, I knew that you were feeling me about To see if I knew that the hand was mine. Had I not known it, do you suppose I think You would have told me Of your own accord: "Benedict, God hath chosen you for this. Be faithful to it. The glory is yours" Not much. You pride yourself on what you think is God, Your eruditioll. But I know some things. (He walks aside.) ABBOT-It is hard to know what another has in mind. FATHER BENEDICT-It may be hard for the Athenians. ABBOT-I am an old man, Benedict, and with White hair the eves blur and the mind dulls. You. Vigorous in body and in intellect. Scale heights I cannot climb. Bear with me. then. If I just now, forgetting youth is past, Ventured to tilt with you, is it not enough That you stand there triumphant while I here Lie prostrate with my gray hairs in the dust (He bows his head and walks to the rear.) FATHER BENEDICT-( With a superior air.) 112 THE SAXONS Rome is Jerusalem, the city of God. (Biting down his smile, Louiis advances, his face assumting a doleful expression.) Louis-(In a low voice, barely hiding his irony.) Don't treat the old man that way, Benedict. You do not know how keenly Father feels The issue of this bout. Amazed I stood Just yonder by the chapel steps and watched Your spears break into fire. 0 Benedict, What skill, what skill, what admirable skill! FATHER BENEDICT-In dialectics I do boast some skill. Louis-Compared to Father's admirable skill! FATHER BENEDICT-(With a leer toward the Abbot.) For what I have I thank no heathen sage. Louis-With that composure which the gods must feel Your reached your spear and slipped his lady's glove- FATHER BENEDICT-His lady's glove Louis- The secret from his heart In spite of all his desperate guarding it. (Guido conies fromi the dormitory with a large book under his arm. As he passes toward the chapel he turns his burden toward the Abbot, who gives it an unconcerned glance and walks right.) FATHER BENEDICT-Why should he hide it from me Louis- I can't say. Father is not a man to show his heart. He no doubt had his reason for it. FATHER BENEDICT- Humph! LouIs-I do know, though, that Father admires you. FATTIER BENEDICT- Admires me Louis- Yes. FIATHIER BENEDICT-- Scorns me. Louis- You are wrong. FATHER BENEDICT-HOW (10 You know he does' I 13 THE SAXONS Louis- Before you came, Father had just conceived of a great temple With you in large space on the entablature. FATHER BEN-EDICT-( Opening his eyes.) That is another proof he knew that I Was to have part in that great enterprise And achieve glory. And he lied to me. (The Abbot speaks to Pierre, who turns and goes out, right.) Louis-You may mistake what Father had in mind. He may have thought it would be policy To keep you in the dark about this thing. FATHER BEN EDICT-What cause had he to fear that I would shrink To face the glory of the Lord that day 'Tis only guilt that fears to face the Lord. Louis-You may mistake what Father had in mind. FATHER BENEDICT-Too subtle, I suppose, for my dull brain. Louis-I do not think, though, that he envies you. FATHER BENEDICT-YOU may have y -our opinion. Louis- YOU maa not. I mean you may not know what Father means. FATHER BENEDICT- You two know everything. Louis- I know one thing. You would not have said, 'You two know everything." If you had been here half an hour ago. (Walking aside.) With you in large space on the entablature. FATHER BENEDICT-He need not think that God revealed to him Alone my glory, for I knew it, too. Blood appeared on my hands the other night, And while the congregation sat amazed. The altar cups took fire, and a white dove- (To tic Abbot, zcho has drawu Vicar.) II4 THE SAXONS The night the brother fell I saw some things During service would have made my hair stand tup Had I been less courageous than I am, Or less near God. You would have quaked with fear, And sought the books of some old heathen sage For explanation. I-I went to God, With the result that I am ready now. I have been shown the blood of that great hound. (He looks at his hand.) And I have got God's meaning. I am called. Now, when the chase starts I will make my war Up to the mountain tops and meet the Lord, And Heathendom shall tumble down to Hell. (He espies the wine zessels over against the dormitory wall and goes toward themr, pulling the ass by the bridle.) ABBOT-What did you come up here to see me for' FATHER BENNEDICT-(Stopping.) Come tip to see you ' ABBOT- You are here. FATHER BENEDICT- I an. (/A pause.) It seems You don't know how I got my wool. (He continues his wav across the court. Louis and the Abbot whisper together. In the rear, fromt behind the chapel, Macias, the hunter, enters with a young deer upon his back, and at his belt a brace of geese. Simon, is holding one of the fowls by the tip of its wing, Basil and Rene following.) BASIL-What'1l you have, Simon SIMON- Collops and sauce. BASIL-Pluck-ptudding or crupper' SIMON- B1oth, God bless us. BASIL- Both! RENE-Goose, too SIMON- Av, stuffed with plums. BASIL- Why, you just had I 15 THE SAXONS A hunk of beef. SI'NION- Sh! (He points to the Abbot.) RENE-(NItdgiuzg him.) Basil, see the twigs. (The jesters chuckle and come forward toward the Priest, wh ile the hunter and Simon pass out behind the dormi- tory. The Abbot also approaches the Priest, followed a few feet back by Loutis.) Louis-(Hutskily.) Be wary, Father; it may be a snare. ABBOT-A little wine will bring it to the light. BASIL-Well, it is spring when asses put forth leaves. FATHER BENEDICT-Ay, rue that devils flee from in the dark. (He looks into the casks.) ABBOT-But when you left the town the dawn was bright. FATHER BENEDICT-The dawn was bright ABBOT- The day is two hours old. FATHER BENEDICr-(After a long look at the Abbot.) When I rode out of town the sun's red car Stood hub-deep in the western ocean's sand. I met the morning on the mountain tops Fresh dropt from heaven, with one golden wing Bright on the pines, the other softly sheathed In valley shadows thinning round her plumes. The night I spent far back among the hills. For three hours in the darkness on the road I staked my life upon the ass' step And ass and life upon these slips of rue. (He thrutsts his switch into the narrow necked diotas, and drawing it outt, feels the end.) If anv manna fell upon the heights The Devil must have harvested the flakes; I found none on the way. ABBOT- I fear the fiend Has washed it down with our good Tuscan wine And dressed Hell's tables with the golden cups The Abbot Boldi sent from Aosta. ii6 THE SAXONS The tide is out and the Italian moon Has slipped her sphere that ruled the purple flood. These are the empty shells that held the sea. (Pierre enters, carrying a flagon and a silver cup. Simon follows him.) Hlave something, Benedict. FATHER BENEDICT- Ai, you are good. ABBOT-What could have drawn you back among the hills When every pass was choked with drizzling dag FATHER BENEDICT-I'm like a desert. RENE-(TO Basil.) And there flows the Nile. FATHER BENEDICT-(To the Abbot.) The service of our Lord that knows no flaw, Mountains or darkness or the voice of storms. Last night- Fill it up.-Last night God's- There.- Last night God's dread apparitor- (He drinks.) ABBOT- What's that FATHER BENEDICr-(Tasting his lips.) Rumney, isn't it ABBOT- Not that- FATHER BENEDICT-(With mock seriousness.) Isn't it ABBOT- I mean- FATHER BENEDICT-Pour me another, then; I'll taste again. (Pierre pours.) ABBOT-YOU said God's dreadful summoner- FATHER BENEDICT- Appeared. And clapped his irons on old- (He drinks and again holds the cup toward Pierre.) ABBOT- Benedict,- FATHER BENEDICT-One more. ABBOT- Don't think- FATHER BENEDICT- The night is in my veins. BASIL-(To Rene.) It's a dry night. FATHER BENEDICT-(Holding up the cup.) 117 THE SAXONS But the red dawn is breaking- (He drinks.) RENE-(To Basil.) The abbey here. FATHER BENEDIcT-And lightening- (He drinks.) BASIL-(To Rene.) The great deep. RENE-Come, sing the matins, Simon, for the dawn- ABBOT-Don't think it is the wine I care for. FATHER BENEDICT- Ha! The cup, eh -Take it. (He hands the cup to Pierre and leads the ass back to one of the benches, upon which he climbs and stands fixing the saddle.) ABBOT- A while ago you said God's dreadful summoner appeared. FATHER BENEDICT- Yes. (Pierre goes out.) SIMON-(Following Pierre.) Pierre. PIERRE-NO. SIMON- Just a tiff. PIERRE- No, I say. Whoa! SIMON-(Supplicating.) Brother! (Spitefully.) Dinky! Bed-bug! Pizzle-wizzle! (With a grimace.) U-g-h! (He spits at him and turns back.) FATHER BENEDICT-( Who has mounted.) Now if you get my switch, I think I'll go. (One of the monks stoops and picks up the switch, which he hands to the Priest, who looks from the Abbot to Louis and then from Louis to the Abbot.) FATHER BENEDICT-YOU see, I could ride off without one word. LouIs-Without one word of what FATHER BENEDICT-(Contemptuously.) One word of what! Ix8 THE SAXONS You think I came from town and so does he. ABBOT-What of it FATHER BENEDICT- Simply this: that I did not. ABBOT-We are glad to have learned that. Louis- Delighted. FATHER BENEDICT- Humph! And you don't wish to know where I have been ABBOT-'Tis immaterial. FATHER BENEDICT- That is another proof You envy me. First, you conceal from me That which you feared would blow my name abroad; And now you fear to hear where I have been Because from what you know of me you know Whatever comes I meet events as friends, And never sally out but I return With spoil, and that stirs up the green in you. Now I will tell it though the heavens fall. Old Hartzel's dead. ABBOT- I find no joy in that. FATHER BENEDICT-Of course, you don't. RENE-(Calling across the court.) Old Hartzel's dead! BASIL-(Under his breath.) Thank Godd! (The mzoinks upon the chapel steps and others sitting about upon the benches start zip and gather forward.) FATHER BENEDICT-YOu don't think I told that to give you joy ABBOT-It matters nothing to me in either case. FATHER BENEDICT-But this will matter something. Listen now. (Leaning over and speaking in the Abbot's ear.) I get his forty neat and all the land Between the river and the raddle-hedge South of the village, with the acreage Of tilth and vines that fronts the rising sun Near the White Torrent. Does that give you joy (He strikes the ass with the switch and starts left.) I19 THE SAXONS BASIL-(Alouid.) Thank God! ABBOT-(Lifting his hand.) This is the work of Benedict. FATHER BENEDICT-(StOpping.) You mean that as re- proach ABBOT-I simply mean We had no hand in this; the glory is yours. FATHER BENEDICT-Come with me. (He rides on toward the gate. The Abbot walks beside him. Louis, behind, where he cannot be seen, follows them. The bell rings and the monks move toward the chapel and enter, leaving the court bare.) FATHER BENEDICT- You remember, I suppose, As we clashed spears a while ago I said The abbey here was a goblet, and you a saint. I might say that I spoke in irony, But that would not be nice. ABBOT- And you said, too, Something about an angel with a cask. FATHER BENEDICT-That is a cut at me. I recollect. I said that I would fill your cup. ABBOT- Proceed. FATHER BENEDICT-(Leaning over.) Of this estate you get one cow. You hear That's a fine liquor, eh, Father (To the ass.) Come up. (Pierre comes from the dormitory and crosses the court to- ward the chapel.) You are an old man and your work is done. You may retire now and live on milk. 'Twill nourish that great intellect of yours. Louis-(Under his breath.) As well as anything that you could give. ABBOT-I welcome anything that can do that. FATHER BENEDICT-If it be heathen. ABBOT- Benedict, before you came Louis and I were talking of the things 120 THE SAXONS That late have happened. FATHER BENEDICT- The dream. ABBOT- Oswvald's fall And his unnatural rescue from the gulch. FATHER BENEDICT-'Twas supernatural, not unnatural. ABBOT-A nice discrimination, Benedict. I (lo not see as you do. You were trained By masters who, no doubt, had they heard this Distinction, would have said: "Ben issime!" FAT II ER BENEDICT- (Superciliously.) Well done is optime. ABBOT-( With mock humility.) Just so-just so- My master would have said-yes, optime. A boon it is that words cannot change things. (Pierre, who has climbed the steps slowly, listening the while, enters the chapel.) FATHER BENEDICT-YOU feared that I would shrink to play my part ABBOT-We feared if you should learn what your part is- FATHER BENEDICT-That I would shrink ABBOT- If you should learn your part. FATHER BENEDICT-(Getting angry.) You feared that I would shrink ABBOT-(Hesitatingly.) W-e-l-I- FATHER BENEDICT- Say it. ABBOT- Yes. FATHER BENEDICT-(Shaking his finger.) Deep in your heart you wish I would, old man. 'Twould fill your soul with joy. But mark you this: To give you joy is not my destiny. (He rides out through the gate.) ABBOT-Your destiny, Benedict, is in God's hand. FATHER BENEDICT-Thank God it's not in yours. (A pause.) ABBOT- You must go down. Oswald, by noon, will have finished up his work. I21 THE SAXONS Stay with him till he does, then bring him back. Louis-If I go now, though, Benedict will suspect Something is up. (The Abbot goes toward the steps, Lottis half following himt) As it is, he does not know Tfhat Oswald has returned to work. (A pause.) Besides, After his long, hard ride he will want rest. He will not go near the church. (A pause.) What do you say (A pause.) I will go after service. ABBOT-(After a pause.) Very well. (He enters the chapel, followed by Louis.) SCENE THREE-A street in the village showing a low thatched cottage with a door made accessible by steps. To the left of the door is a small square open window, on the sill of which are garden plants and pots of winter flowers put there to get the morning sen. In the corner of the yard, right, is a well with an old wooden wheel high up on posts. At the end of the chain hanging from it is a bucket from which water is leaking back into the well. Madam Valmy, the country-woman who has just come to town and who has a basket upon her arm, has stopped before the house and is looking intently left. MADAM VALMY-Aunt Rachel! A VOICE-(Back in the house.) Yes. MADAM VALMY-(After a pause.) 0 auntie! THE VOICE- Yes, child, yes. I get this dough off. Rosa! (From the right, AMadam Bacqueur enters. She is bare- headed and carries a child in her arms.) MADAM BACQUEUR- Every day 122 THE SAXONS Some dark deed sends a shudder through all hearts. Who is it this time MADAM VALMY- No one seems to know. It happened on the mountain, Rosa said. MADAM BACQUEUR-I wonder if Father Benedict has re- turned MADAM VALmY-Returned from where MADAM BACQUEUR- He rode away last night Into the mountains. I do hope and pray- (They stand looking left. From the right, Hugh Capet enters hurriedly. Reaching over the fence to the well he swings the bucket to his mouth.) You know so many strange and evil things Have happened lately. Just a week ago Old mother Sar was palsied. Then young Foy, In the dead of night, saw witch-fire on the heath. Next day two cows, their udders drizzling blood, Ran snorting down the road into the wood, And all the village curs that ventured out Canme yelping to their kennels cramped with fear As though the devils chased them. MADAM VALMY- Did you ever! MADAM BAcQUEUR-(To Hugh Capet who hurries out, left.) You will come back and tell us what it is HUGH CAPET-That all depends, Madam, that all depends. MADAM BAcQuEuR-Indeed they did. And that's not all. Thursday A black stone fell from heaven. Father said It was a challenge. And that very night Occurred a wonder during complines. Yes, The golden chalices in the church took fire And circled round the altar. Blood appeared On Father's hands, and while all sat amazed, Looking to see him caught away to heaven, 123 THE SAXONS A snow-white dove flew through the trancept wall, The Holy Spirit, Father says. You know The canvass that they keep covering the cross That Oswald carves, round that it whisked and mioaned, And Rachel says she heard the voice of Christ Under the canvass: "It will not be done." Meaning the cross, I thought; but Father says: "Maybe it means God's will will not be done." And so it proved. Disaster came at dawn. Pierre, the sacristan of good St. Giles, Brought the news down to Father Benedict. But you have heard of the great miracle No And all the world has heard of it MADAM VALMY- You know I have not been to town since Sunday week. MADAM BACQUEUR-Oh, angels have fluttered down on us since then! And will again, so Father says. La me! I tell you, Madam Valmy, if any grave In the churchyard there had jumped a horrid ghost To stalk the moonlight in a rotten shroud, There'd be less stir among the village folk. I know not how it was. It seems they found The dear monk, Oswald, bruised and bathed with blood, (She clasps her child to her heart passionately.) Lying before the monastery gate. MADAM VALMY-Why, Clotilde! MADAM BACQUEUR- Yes, indeed. And that's not all. To think we slept through all of it! To think We did not wake and cry out, "God is here!" And then run up and down and ring the bells. Oh, expectation kindles every bush For our Lord's coming. MADAM VALMY- What MADAM BACQUEUR- Oh, everything! 124 THE SAXONS How wonderful are mountains angels' feet Have trodden on! How beautiful the air! Oh, everything seems different to me now. I half expect to see the stone put forth A human face and speak to me of God. Dear Madam Valmy, trees are not really trees. As Father says, all things have passed away, And with the miracle the other night Our Lord begins his reign upon the earth. For hours I sit and look in my child's face And wonder if he sees. MIADAM VAL-MY- What MADAm BACQUEUR-(Holding up her child.) Fire! fire! O child, child, see the fields, the glory- A VOICE-(To the right.) Fire JULES BACQUEUR-(Eiitering.) Where is the fire iMADAM VALMY- The crowd, you see. JULES BACQUEUR- Whose house MIADAMr VALMY-Rosa ran in and said some one was hurt. .MADAM BACQUEUR-Don't you go with theni. husband. (The smnith goes out, left.) Jardin's been Trying to get the men to storm the heights And kill the heathen and the witch. TIHE XVOICE-(Back in the house.) Rosa! \IADAM VALMIY-She is not here. And he is still alive MAIA)AM BACQUEUR-There's not a night since the dear brother fell But what I've heard her on the roof. MADAM VALNIY- Clotilde! MADAMi BzkCQUEUR-BIut oh, the Holy Ghost was with hill. Yes, His staff they found next morning and his hood- 125 THE SAXONS Thank God for that-they found his hood and staff Down in the gorge, full forty feet below The mountain road. MADAM VALMY- Not over the steep gray bluff! MADAM BACQUEUR-Think of a fall like that! At break of day They found him at the monastery gate Unconscious, carried there by unseen hands- MADAM VALMY-What! MADAM BACQUEUR- Yes, indeed. And those who found him saw Archangels sitting on the mountain tops With golden shields, and there were sounds of war Far off as they were fighting in the clouds; Driving the witches off to hell, no doubt. MADAM VALMY-On these mountains MADAM BACQUEUR- And even that's not all. MADAM VALMfY-(Putting her armns about her.) Dear Madam Bacqueur. MADAM BACQUEUR- I get so dizzy. You must have Rachel tell you. I won't fall. (She takes hold of the fence.) Such wonders and such cures and things to come. I dare not think of much less speak of that. Such brilliance, la! You should see Father's face How it lightens when he speaks of it. His eyes Look far away across the glory fields. "Bretheren, this miracle is but the blossom Whose fruit shall fall in fire upon the world. Pray, all of you, that you may be perpared." MADAM VALMY-For what MADAM BACQUEUR-( Catching her breath.) I am afraid I- MADAM VXALMY- Donlt try, thenr. M\IADAM-,iBAC(u-IW-Tlere is a glory far off in the air. 126 THE SAXONS Father has seen it and his eyes are bright. So bright. Rachel wvill tell you. Or it may be He sees the pilgrims that shall gather here. This morning Marie heard two brothers say There's sure to be a shrine where Oswald fell. Think of it, Madam Valmv, these streets thronged With holy men that live beyond the sea. I never even thought to pray for that. God does all things so easily, though. And- And all for his dear sake. But I don't know. The Scriptures say Satan shall be let loose MADAM VALM-Y-The shrine Indeed I do. In the last days; in these days. then. Do you MIAD.AIm BACQUEUR- How good of you! You always did have so much faith. MADANI VALM Y- You know The dan vour child was christened- AIADAM BACQUEUR- Oh, how true! How like a star his namie will shine! MADANI VALMY- I now Predict again. He'll be a saint. MTADAm BACQUEUR-(Inl utter amnazemtent.) A- MADANI VALMY- Saint. MADAM BACQUEUR-YOU think he will Oh, do you, Madam Valmy Do you, indeed Oh, think of what that means To little Oswald here! To wear a name A blessed saint hath worn and given him With his own lips at the baptismal font; To see a white hand beckon from the sky And hear forever in each vesper chime A saint's clear voice calling his soul to come .\n(1 flower out beneath the holv bells. Oh, think, Fidele, some day when lie is Old 127 THE SAXONS And in his cloister vonder on the mountain, When the dear brothers gathered after prayer Shall talk of holy things. and one shall say: "My father fought with Montfort in the wars" Another: "I have seen St. Bavon's tree"; And some old palmer who hath seen all shrines Shall tell of Subiaco and the thorns Of good St. Benedict. my boy can say: "I grew to manhood in the little town Down in the valley. I have never been Bevond the mountains, but each day have heard, Mdorning and night. St. Giles' dewy bells Ring from these towers the twilight hour of prayer, Yet was I favored. When thev christened me'- Oh, I can see them wonder at him then, And press about him.-"When they christened me St. Oswald stood god-father at the font And blessed me with his hands upon my head, Blessed me and said: 'The Virgin keep this child.' A neighbor said his face shone like a star, He was so full of glory. And the night, The night the angels brought him from the gorge And laid him here before the abbey gate, He wore the holy hood my mother made. They keep it yet inside the sacred chest, There in the chapel." (Faint shouts far to the left.) I am so afraid Jules will go with them. Would you mind if I- (The cottage door opens.) Have Rachel tell you of that awful dream. (She goes out, left. With a staff in one hand and screening her eyes with the other, old Rachel comnes sidling down the steps. Madam Valmy sets her basket over the fence.) RACHEL-Clotilde 'Marie Oh, it's Fidele! Why, child, I28 THE SAXONS When did you come to town MADAM VALMY-(Taking Rachel by the hand.', There's some one hurt. RACHEL-Fidele!. You frighten me. That horrid word! Who is it MADAMX VALMY-The crowd. RACH EL- Where MADAM VALMY- Down bv the church. RACHEL-Those heathen dogs. Are they in town I fear- (They go out, left.) SCENE FOUR-Before the church which stands about twenty feet back from the street. Low stone fences on either side project in to its corners and form with its front three sides of a hexagon. To the right, in a higher fence, also of stone, which runs parallel with the street, is an iron gate, overgrown with vines, leading into the churchyard. Between the palings can be seen white crosses marking the graves. In the corners, just where the fences start in toward the church, stand Lombardy poplars in full foliage, one on either side. The church is built of rough stone, with irregular seams of white mortar. In the center is an arched doorway and beside it two false windows al- most covered with ivy. High up over the door is seen the lower part of a narrow louvre window with several long straws, which the birds have carried there, hanging down from between the slats. In the open space before the church, a crowd is gathered. Upon the steps with his back to the door stands Jardin, the Bailiff. He wears a sleeveless hauberk wrought of chain, and upon his head a heavy open helmet. Some distance to the right, upon a step lower down, Jacques Sar, wearing a leather corselet and a cap of wolf skin, is lean- I29 THE SAXONS ing with his right hand against the church. His right arm is off near the shoulder. The crowd is made up of men, for the most part in their working clothes. Some have no hats on. Among the latter is Hugh Capet, whose red head is seen far in near the steps. Jules Bacqueur, with his sleeves rolled up, stands on the edge of the crowd. Out in the street to the left, is a group of women. A boy is up in the poplar tree, right. As the Scene progresses, other villagers enter, among them the women of the last Scene. JARDIN-Was Jardin right last week when comrade's wife (With a motion toward old Jacques.) Fell palsied and he said: "Let's kill the witch; Next thing she'll strike some brother." Was he right Was he In here is a cross can tell you. Is the cross done Can any man say why The holy monk that carves it, where is he Up yonder on the mountain in his cell, Nigh unto death. Only the Virgin's hands That plucked him from the pit can save his life. And who's to blame Who is to blame, men Eh You men that shout to sail out to the East And swell about the neck as vipers do, Blowing against the Moslems, what do you say To the heathen on the mountain up there, eh Twenty moons and more have risen and set Since they took up their station 'neath the stars And, in collusion with the hag of hell, Shook pestilence and death upon the air. Planets have knocked and fire has fallen and blood Has drizzled over all this region. Eh What do you think our Lord thinks of these things Rescue the mountains; they are His Sepulcher. You want to see Golgotha There it is. A mountain with a heretic on its peak 130 THE SAXONS Is like a spear thrusting a bitter sop Up to our Lord's lips even in heaven. You men Who see the sop and leave it there are Jews. HUGH CAPET-They're Maccabees. JARDIN- As for Jacques Sar and me, We'll wear these arms- JACQUES SAR- Until the Judgment Day. JARDIN-Till our old bodies rot, or see those peaks Waved over with the banner of our Lord. And you think you will live to see that chase. You know what I would do if I were God (He draws his sword.) Gabriel should pass over with his sword And pierce some heart would bow all heads in tears. Then you would go shouting up the mountains. And If this keeps up, you mark me what I say, Crosses will thicken out there on that grass. (He points toward the churchyard. A man reaches out of the crowd and touches him on the leg.) But eat and sleep, though. Feed your coward hearts. Then die. And then what Then the Judgment Day. And after that, what Hell. (He stoops down and the man talks with him in an under- tone.) BACQUEUR- Who is it's dead JACQUES SAR-Dead All of us, he says, an the hag lives. HUGH CAPET-He's right, too. MADAM BACQUEUR-(Entering, right, and hurrying to the women.) Is it Father Benedict JARDIN-(Straightening up.) It was for that that he rode back there. Eh Tell them What for What good would that do What Do they care if the heathen keeps his land I see some of you here that yesterday I3I THE SAXONS Was down at Bacqueur's. Do I Do I see you Somehow it seems to me I recollect Hearing as how old Hulga'd never strike No man no more since God had saved the monk And maybe threw her off the cliff herself. Did any of you hear that Did you men Eh No one, eh So Jardin must have dreamed. Well, in the dream then Jardin seemed to say: "The hag will strike till we have dragged her down, Her and her dwarf, Canzler, the big heathen, And all his kith, and burnt them in the street.' A VOICE-You got him in the church, Jardin MADAM BACQUEUR- La, now! HUGH CAPET- Down with him! JARDIN-Was Jardin right again Has Hulga struck You'd see the ass he rode you'd think she'd struck. Awhile ago here some one shouted out: "Who's in the church " I've got the arrow strung And now I'll tell you, now I'll let it fly. The wine train's lost; three of the mules are dead; Two men were crushed to death; our Lord's dear blood, Witches have poured out on the mountain rocks. Now, has she struck You think she has, eh Hugh, What did we tell them Jacques Sar Bacqueur Eh Didn't we BACQUEUR- How did it happen, Bailiff JARDIN-Some one here asked if Canzler was in here. No. Yes. What if he were or what if he is You think I'd tell you and see you fall dead (Madam Valmy enters, right, leading old Rachel by the hand.) One of the muleteers rode in for help. He only spoke Italian. A friar, though, Told me his tale. Last night when the train reached The Devil's Pass-'twas dark; the moon had sunk- Three withered hell-hags, with the skirring clouds 132 THE SAXONS Flying toward Pampeluna to their sabbath, Lit on a gray crag. Lightning splintered blue About them, smells of sulphur rose, and thunder Clapped the dark rock. The mountain shook. Straightway, Cries of the men rang out. The leaders crashed, Dumb-smitted with horror, mules and packs and all, Down through the chaparral to the gowle below. The witches vanished. All the Pass was still Save through the night the golden chalices Clinking far down the scaur. Then on a sudden (Rosa, excited, runs iIl, right, and hurries to the zwonmen.) The grisly hags, crooning a wild song, rose Tossing the golden cups up in the air, And like a strip of mist went down the wind Toward Pampeluna. What is the matter, women' A MAAN-They say the hiag's in town. ROSA-(II an underbreath.) Sigurd. MIADAM BACQUEUR- The dwarf. THE MAN-They sav the dwarf's in town. JARDIN-(Deeply nmoved.) Men,-! THIE Boy-(Up inI the tree craning his neck.) I see him! Yonder he is by the bridge. He's got something Shining in his hand. JARDIN-(His face paling,.) What was it the hunter saw In his dream, men What was it that roused the dogs- The heathen dogs to chase the brother HUGH CAPET- Blood. JARDIN-(Feeling the tip of his szvord.) Today God stains the trail. A SHOUT- Down with him! JARDIN- Wait. THE Boy-See it! See it flash! It's a dagger! JARDIN- Men! JACQUES SAR- Men! A SHOUT-Come on, men! '33 THE SAXONS JARDIN- Stop them, Bacqueur! Knock them down! Bring those fools back. (Hugh Capet, out in the street, waves with his arm. The men who rushed out, right, return sulky.) ONE OF THEM- Who is the coward now ANOTHER-Hush, Noel. ANOTHER- Let's have no trouble, men. JARDIN- Silence! FIRST MAN-'Cause we ain't seen the wars- SEVERAL- Be quiet, Noel. JARDIN-IS that the way you fowlers take your birds, Rush out and throw the net before their eyes Is it And when the wolves prowl for your lambs, You raise a shout before you stretch the string, Do you Here's Jacques. You think he'd have this cap If he had yelled to the brute, "Watch for your skin," And rushed on him waving a club Do you Eh If you do, I tell you Jardin don't; 'N I reckon Jardin's seen a wolf or two. This dwarf of Hulga's, you don't think he's sly, Do you Eh Well, he is, sly as a newt. You touch the stones once and you'll see him gone. What's to be done, then Listen to Jardin: Deploy. You don't know what that means, do you Some of you here are burning for the East To fight the Moslems. Just cry: "Allah-ho !" And then rush on them, will you Turks, ain't they JACQUES SAR-Right. JARDIN- Listen, men; I'll tell you what it means. You've seen the falcon 'fore she strikes the hern Open her talons, ain't you That's deploy. Well, then we'll open ours. Three of you fellows Skirt the ford yonder and shut off retreat To the cave. There's one claw open. Halt, men. Then two detachments-Here. attention, men; I34 THE SAXONS Wait for your orders.-Then two squads of three March up that way- (He points left.) and when you strike the hedge, Right! left! one along the wold; the other Down through the waddy; each to the river. Then we've got him flanked. There's three claws open And the bird is ours. Now listen. Listen men. You men that mean to cut off his retreat, Take spears. He'll squawk we pinch him, and the old hen, Hearing her chick, will swoop down from the rocks. Then's your chance; stick her. JACQUES SAR- Mine! HUGH CAPET- Let Jacques have her. JACQUES SAR-I'll fetch her head back home to mother Sar. (He and the Bailiff come down into the crowd.) A VOICE-What if the heathen charge down on us HUGH CAPET- Bah! JARDIN-You think he'd leave that peak for all the world HUGH CAPET-After what's happened JACQUES SAR- After this shower of blood BACQUEUR-From that black planet came the thunder stone That tore the field back there. HUGH CAPET- You think he would JARDIN-Now hear what Jardin says. If he could ask, For what he suffered in the Holy Wars, Two gifts of Heaven, and two strong saints should soar Past the green steeples of these poplars here And fold their white wings in that street and say: "Soldier, what are they " What would Jardin say. First this: (He steps back upon the steps.) Up yonder is a holy monk Whom God has blessed above all living men. Abaddon hurled him down to take his life. He's bruised almost to death. Saints, bring him down. We're going to kindle such a fire here I35 THE SAXONS As friends of darkness, glowering from the caves, Shall see and then scoot shuddering to Hell. (The crowd shouts.) Bring him down, then, and let him see the flames Lick up the limbs that tripped him. JACQUES SAR- Right. BACQUEUR- You're right. HUGH CAPET-Let's bring him down! SHOUTS- Right! Bring him! Bring him down! JARDIN-Here, men, put on those caps. You think you're saints If you can fly through air, why bring him down; You can't, then hush and hear what Jardin says. First then I'd say: "Bring down the monk.'- Then this: There's a big fellow on the mountain tops WX hat calls Thor Father, spitting at our Lord. And in the dawn when Christians gather here To holy mass he stands upon the peaks And scowls upon the bells. He and the witch Are brain and bowels to some heathen god Whose dark hand works at night beneath the hills Sapping the towers of Christ. Saints, send him down. Tell him to strap his big old martel on him. He comes down here he'll feel a darmaskin That's sliced the Turks and choked the gates of hell WVith ghosts of Allah, and anotherill go Bloo(ld- and hot to Thor. (Shoutts.) Send him down, saints. Some one here says, "If Canzler comes, what then " He'll cie. WN ho'll do it Listen: Jardin xvill. (He comes downii into the crowd that surges and clamors about hims.) Line up ! (He chooses nine mnens whouIR he arranges in squads of three.) A AN-(In thc first squtad.) 136 THE SAXONS About those spears. JARDIN- Stop at the armory. (Ile produces a great key.) You know your orders, do you A CHORUS- We do. JARDIN- Jacques. Lead. (He hands the key to tile old man, who putts himself at the head of the first squtad.) Bacqueur. MADAMi BACQUEUR-No, no. J ARDIN- Capet. (The two men put themselzves at the head of the second anzd third squads.) JARDI N- larch! MADAM BACOUEUR-(Holdinig out her child.) Husband! (They pass out, left. Madamt Bacqueutr looks after them for a while, then lifts lier skirt to her eyes azd sobs aloud.) R\CII EL-Where are thex going, child JARDIN- Line up nowV, men. We'll strike the front. Women, pray that the saints MIay bring the monk to see this devil burn, And send the old warlock down. He will breathe hard, I slit his entrails once and put this foot (n his big chest. (As he goes alonzg lining utp the Illen with his sword, the chuirch door openis and, pale and emiaciated, the inuzonk Oswald appears.) FIDELE- Clotilde! Auntie! Rosa! THE \WOM1EN-Look! Look! (They fall ufponi their knices.) JARDI N- What is it, women! A MIAN- Look! Look! (The mcnt cross themselves and fall prostrate. Old Rachel and the Bailiff alonie relaian standing.) RACHEL-(Screeninig her eycs.) W\rhat is it, Rosa 137 THE SAXONS FIDELE- Auntie! auntie! (She pulls old Rachel to her knees.) A BREATH-(Through the crowd.) His ghost! OsWALD-What is the matter (Upon hearing his voice, old Rachel, who has continued to stare toward the church, falls with her face to the ground.) A AN-(In a low voice.) Jardin, speak. JARDIN- Father. OswALD-What is its (A pause.) What is the matter JARDIN- Is that you OswALD-What was that shouting (A silence ensues. The mionk puts his palm to his breast and coughs.) JARDIN-(Completing his thought.)-these men aghast here Calls up to Jardin's mind a night in the wars XNchen we were storming Acre. The Infidel, Sallying out, had laid the Lion Heart Low in the dust. The waves of battle clapped Over his head. Barred in with dripping spears Of Turk and Christian, raged the bleeding whelp, His paws red-clotted in his own hot blood. Cleaving the gloom, a burst of crimson light Streamed down the slanting spears and like a prow Rolled back the waves of war. Between the crests Of foam-white faces holy St. Augustine Came walking down the bodies of the dead, And lifting the Lion, fired him. At once Rose on the night the planet of his shield Burning a lane before his falchion fed, And down the slope into the Turks he swept Through dropping shields and sabers thrown in air, A lurid streak of flame. So Jardin now, Seeing this blessed monk the saints have brought, Takes fire, and blown with hate of our Lord's foes, Will lick the crags and leap from peak to peak, Nor shall the flame go out until the wind I38 THE SAXONS Rain heathen ashes on the pit of hell. (Roused by the Bailiff's words, four or five of the men spring to their feet. The rest rise slowly -and remain mute. Oswald comes down the steps.) JARDIN-(Knocking the men with his sword.) Line, line up! (A man points down the street.) ANOTHER- We'll fix him, Father! ANOTHER-He'll never strike no holy monk again! ANOTHER-We'll burn the imp! ANOTHER- Father shall see to it, too! (The Bailiff strikes with his sword. The line marches right, double-quick.) OSWALD-( Excitedly.) Stay, men! Lay no rough hands upon the boy. (The line halts. The monk puts his palm to his breast and coughs.) JARDIN-NO rough hands on- OSWALD- The boy has done no harm. The night I fell- A MAN- Here's Father Benedict. (They wait in silence.) FATHER BENEDICT-Ah, brother Oswald! (He comes rid- ing in, left. The women bow reverently; the men bare their heads.) Benedicite. You see my children gathered here about, How glad they are to see you. OSWALD- And I, Father, To be at work once more. FATHER BENEDICT- Praise the Virgin. (Dismiounting) You show a Christian spirit coming thus, Bruised as you are, to do the Master's work. OSWALD-I promised it should be done tomorrow. FATHER BENEDICT- And- OSWALD-I have two golden letters to put on. FATHER BENEDICT-God hath his eye upon our altar cross; And on you, too, my brother. I39 THE SAXONS OSWALD- God has been Good to me. FATHER BENEDICT-The angels do His willl. Os"'ALo-And even human hands- (He looks down the street.) FATHER BENEDICT- 'Twas marvelous. As I came down I passed the jagged cliff You tumbled over, and there a while I paused Entranced, as it were, by unseen Presences. (The boy, who climbed down from the tree upon the arrival of the Priest, leads the ass out, left.) The mountains wore a new and hallowed look In the morning light. I would give half my life To have stood upon the peaks that night and seen God's ministers drop shining down the sky And blaze the gorge. But God works in the dark. At night His golden ladders are let down And deeds are done and no man knoweth how. At dawn we see the severed hills, the seas Huddled aghast at some vast mountain head That yesterday lay fathoms in the deep. So quietly He worketh in the night That mountain ranges rise and no babe wakes. Who can say: "Yonder God is" OSWALD- None, Father. FATHER BENEDICT- None. The hand that executes His purposes Is hidden like the purposes themselves. He dwelleth in the storm and in the calm, Yet both look round and say: "Where dwelleth He" The sun that shines on all, shines not on Him. He goeth forth at night and doth His will, Yet the moon sees Him not. I rode along Thinking upon your providential Escape from death that night and of the work 140 THE SAXONS God hath reserved for me in the great chase, For half the glory is mine. I prayed our Lord That if it be His will I might catch some Glimpse of the dogs far off. I could not see My hand before my eyes in spirit, but With eyelids down, rode on, probing the dark, Sounding deep in my soul the ocean of God, And finding there bottomless waters. The night of ebony and the golden dawn, The deed the past holds and the future's deed, Rose half way up the sky and called across Fathomless spaces: "Who are you" And I Thought answer: "Thou art Fall; and thou, with hair Bright with the morning and with frightened eyes Fleeing the noise of dogs behind thee, thou Art Resurrection and the Peace of God." Connection I could find none. Stark and lone They stood upon the twilight fields of air, Strangers, each looking in the face of each, When through the gloaming came a glittering link Star-like with the image of our Lord Bleeding in silver on a silver cross, A marriage ring that married them, and I Deep in my soul knew the Eternal and Saw Prophesy grappling the North and heard Heathendom hiss and coil and loose her folds; And then a voice filling the heavens: "Well done." Speaking to me, for the glory is mine. Your crucifix has not been found yet OSWALD- No. FATHER BENEDICT-And will not be. OSWALD- It must be in the brook. I had it in my hand just as I fell. FATHER BENEDICT-'Tis in the hand of God where it shall be Until the morning breaks of that great day 14' THE SAXONS When Heathendom shall tumble down to hell. Then it shall dangle bloody from the sky While all the mountains shake. OSWALD- What do you mean FATHER BENEDICT-The mountains trembled in the tempest. OSWALD- When FATHER BENEDICT- During the great chase. (A pause.) Is it possible You start upon the chase with darkened eyes OSWALD-I do not understand you. FATHER BENEDICT-(ASide.) Can it be They have not told him of the dream Mum, then. OSWALD-Brother Andrew told me. FATHER BENEDICT- And you understand On whom this dark calamity shall fall OSWALD-It has already fallen. FATHER BENEDICT- Already fallen! You think the stag is down, then, do you OSWALD- Stag FATHER BENEDICT-YOU think the chase is run (Oswald looks at him blankly.) You seem to think The dream has been fulfilled. OSWALD- I do. How not This last calamity fulfilled the dream. FATHER BENEDICT-Fulfilled Nay, nay. The chase has not begun. The bruised stag is resting in the grove. The hounds of Hell have yet to strike the trail, And when they do, my feet are on the hills, And the loud talbot's baying shall be still. OSWALD-YOU speak as one whose joy is in the chase. FATHER BENEDICT-(Glaring at him.) You mean by that that I- OSWALD- I mean, Father, You speak as those that chase the deer with hounds- 142 THE SAXONS FATHER BENEDICT-YOU mean to intimate that I lead the dogs OSWALD-As hunters do. (The Priest searches the monk's face.) You spoke of a stag and a trail. FATHER BENEDICT-To show you that the dream is not ful- filled. OSWALD-Have you not heard it, then The train is lost. FATHER BENEDICT-The- OSWALD- Thrown from the cliffs. A MAN- The witches did it. ANOTHER-Blue devil-fire sputtered on the crags and sul- phur- ANOTHER-Two men were struck by the hags. ANOTHER- The wine, too, Father, They've poured it all out on the mountain rocks. ANOTHER-Old Hulga did it. SEVERAL- And the dwarf. THE CROWD- The dwarf, too. OSWALD--(With a nod toward the church.) One of the men who rode in town for help Is with the clerk. (The Priest starts toward the church.) JARDIN-(Stepping forward.) Can Jardin say a word One night at Acre when the camps were sick, And smells of corpses tainted every breath, Jardin was pacing watch. Through the darkness, Pierced by the burial torches of the Turks, A smoke-thin shadow passed across the plain Between the armies, blotting one by one The drifting death-fires of old Saladin. Nearer it came, and Jardin heard a moan, And walking toward it found a Turkish lad Half eaten by hunger, in a fever trance Low-moaning piteously: "Dates, mother, dates." Did Jardin say, Because the Turk's a boy I'll spare him Did Jardin give him dates No. 143 THE SAXONS He'd made a vow never to spare no foe Of Mary's Son, so, like a starving hound, This Christian blade, drinking his little blood, Licked up the crumbs that Famine's jaws had left. Did Jardin right FATHER BENEDICT-Our Paternoster says: "Thy kingdom come." How could the kingdom come If heathens were allowed to- JARDIN- If the young Turk, Instead of wobbling in a fever trance As weak as smoke a breath could blow away, Jardin had found astride a Christian corpse Holding his red dirk up against the moon For Allah's eyes and laughing at the blood, Had Jardin spared him then- FATHER BENEDICT- Then the red dirk Had hovered over your gray hairs like a hawk Until your day of death, and when your soul, Fresh from the holy lustral dews, had sprung Singing toward Mary's bosom in the sky, That red-plumed vulture swooping through the dark Had chased it down to Hell. JARDIN- Line up, men. OSWALD- Stay! You know not what you do. FATHER BENEDICT- What does this mean JARDIN-It means that Jardin is a soldier still, Still fighting as a servant of the Cross, And never, while this arm can lift a sword, Will this sword ever spare a scoffing imp To invocate the devils of the air, And pointing to the gouts of holy blood Upon the mountain rocks, say: "Aha, see! The Master's slave bleeds as the Master bled." (Pointing with his sword down the street.) '44 THE SAXONS The son of Satan. A MAN- It's the dwarf, Father. FATHER BENEDICT-( Solemnly.) God lifts the curtain and the Play is on, Whose last act shall unfold above the clouds With Tempest and with Earthquake that shall shake Hell to the very bottom. Seize him. OswALD-(Exrcitedly.) No! No, no! The boy has done no- (Coughing.) JARDIN- Come on, men! Shall bloody daggers drip on our gray hairs, And chase us through the deep Shall they Come on! (The line swings off.) Never will Jardin patch a truce with Hell Until her towers, stormed by angels' wings, Shall bow like Acre to the Son of God. OSWALD-Stop them, Father! Until I tell you! FATHER BENEDICT-(Overcome with rage.) This, This is the worst I ever did hear. (Looking aboitt hinm while Oswald coughs with great distress.) Men.- (Seeing that all the men have gone, he shouts after them.) Pile your wood here, men! We shall have sacrifice! (He goes toward the church.) OswVALD-(Frantically.) Father! Father! (He falls upon his knees.) FATHER BENEDICT-A burnt offering. (Oswald rises quickly, his face full of horror, and flees in the direc- tion of the Abbey, coughing violently.) FATHER BENEDICT-(Froni the steps, calling after him bit- terly. ) If Benedict, whose "joy is in the chase," Shall "chase the deer with hounds as hunters do," Perhaps this devil that goes up in smoke Will drop somewhere upon the mountain paths And pluck your haunches from the talbot's teeth. '45 THE SAXONS Pray God he may, when Benedict turns hound. (He enters the church and closes the door.) SCENE FIVE-The same street, projected to the out- skirts of the v4illage. On the right, is a wagon bridge built of logs. Some slabs, left over from the building of the bridge years ago, lie in a pile at the roadside. Farther back, across the river the course of which is marked by a line of sycamores, the mouintain rises abrupt and green, with here andd there patches of bare rocks and trees thick- ening as it extends back and up. Away to the center and left, a stretch of bottom land with cultivated fields. One gets a nearer view of the snow-capped peaks seen from the mouintain side in the first Scene and from the courtyard of the abbey in the second. In the foreground at the roadside, is a large olive tree with its dark shadow lying directly beneath it, for over the landscape is a clear light as of a noonday sunt shining from a couldless sky. Under the tree, with several willow baskets strung together lying upon the ground beside him, sits the dwarf, Sigurd, polishing Oswald's silver crucifix upon his knee. He holds it out in a bit of sunshine that falls through the leaves and, after flashing the light about, resumes rubbing it upon his trousers. JARDIN-(Left, shouting as to men far off.) Close in, men! Close in! (The dwarf rises to his knees and looks in the direction of the town. Then, hiding the crucifix in his bosom, he comes out in the road and looks in the opposite direc- tion as though trying to discover who it is they are after. Stones strike in the road and go clattering across the bridge. A moment later Jardin and his men come rushing in.) 146 THE SAXONS ONE OF THE MEN-(With his hands to his mouth, shouting across the river.) We've got him! ANOTHER- Fellows I (He makes for the pile of slabs. Several of the men follow him.) ANOTHER-We can get shavings up at Bacqueur's shop. (They load themselves with slabs. Jardin, who with the dwarf is in the center of the crowd, suddenly holds aloft the silver crucifix.) JARDIN-You know who threw him down now, don't you, eh A CRY OF RAGE-Devil! JARDIN-Don't knock him, men. This is God's work. CRIES-Down with him! Burn him! JARDIN- Fetch your slabs, men. CRIES- Come on! (They start toward the village.) SHOUTS-(Froni over the river.) Look out! Look out! (The men carrying slabs glance back, then throw their loads down and go fleeing toward the village.) CRIES- Men! Men! (The crowd flees, leaving lardin holding the dwarf by the collar standing in the road.) A VOICE-(From across the bridge.) Let go that boy. JARDIN-This is a day of miracles. (Canzler enters.) Heathen, Between us is a grave. (He lays his hand upon his sword.) CANZLER- Let go that boy. JARDIN-(Advancing to meet him.) With Christ in one hand, and in the other this. (Canzler draws his sword, and a duel ensues. The Bailiff, protected by his armor which Canzler has twice struck and failed to pierce, lays his blows on as though he '47 THE SAXONS would end it all at once. Cancler deliberately draws back into the shade of the tree. Lungincg mnadly, Jardin follows hiM. The villagers reappear with stonies in their hands, and try to get where they will not hit Jardin when they throw.) CRIES-Run him through, Bailiff! Run him through! JARDIN-( Iithi a linlg c.) There! A CRY- Ha! (Canzzler has parried the thrust, and his sword has passed through the chain hauberk deep into the Bailiff's breast. The latter staggers back, his astonishmnent that steel armnor should be pierced by miortal sword giving way to a look of chagrin, and after endeavoring to steady himself wit/, the blade of his s-word, falls flat, his armzor clanking on the road. The villagers drop their stones and flee terror-stricken. Canzder stands for a mnoment, wipes the perspiration front his brow, then reaches down and takes up the Bailiff's sword by the point.) CAINZLER-(SWinginIg it arouind his head and hurling it to- ward the village.) You men in steel! (He goes back under the tree and gets the baskets and conies oit into the road. The dwarf stoops to pick up the crucifix that lies in the dirt aboutt a yard from the Bailiff's hand.) CANZLER- Nay, let it lie, my boy. (He takes the boy by the hand and they retuirn across the bridge. The Bailiff stirs, lifts himself to his elbowc, and stretches his hand toward the crucifii. He cannot reoch it and falls back and lies still.) 148 TI-IE SAXONS ACT FOUR. SCENE ONE-In the cavern, as in Scene two of the second act. The spinning wheel stands against the wall and above it from a peg hangs a heavy skein of black wool. The baskets lie upon the floor. To the right of the low fire, a heap of chips, pine cones, and broken limbs. The cave is quite dark. From the left the gnomnes enter stealthily, one after another. TIME-The same night. KILO-(Huskily.) Gone. ZIP-(Calling back.) Gone. \VOICE-(To the left.) She's gone. (Gimel enters and, after him, Suk. Kilo crosses the cave and stands listening.) ZiI'-(Stoppintg.) W\hat is it (Giimel putts out his hand. palmn back, warningly. Suk stops. Suddenly, to the left, a sound of wlhistling is heard.) SUK-(Huskily, to silence himu.) Zorv! (The whistling stops.) KILO-( Turning back.) It's a frog booming on the river bank. GIM EL-The villagers should hear it they would squeal: "Ave! Ave !" and hurry to the church And take their pennies to the Priest. Curse them! (While the rest snoop about the cave in search of food, Kilo putts somie kindling upon the fire, and getting down upon his knees, blows it into a flampie. He then stretches hiniself out 'upon the floor, and proping his head upon his elbow, begins to poke in the ashes with a stick.) KILO-Gimel, you're mad because your monk's alive. (Zip goes out right on tiptoe.) '49 THE SAXONS SuK-I wonder if Granny knows we killed the bat GIMEL-I haven't had a bite since. SUK- Yesterday I found a cricket down among the stones Still numb with winter's cold. GIMEL-(Fearfully.) What is it, Zip KILO-(Nonchalantly.) Gimel, if the monk was sleeping there On Granny's couch and you had Loki's sledge,. Think you could kill him SUK- Sh! (Kilo sits up.) GIMEL- Zip, what is it ZiP-(Re-entering.) It's going to storm. The clouds are scudding fast And thick and dark, brushing the mountain tops. SUK-She gets the owl, she'll be here. (Kilo lies downe. The other gnomes, as if fearing the en- trance of the witch, walk, left.) SUK- Better get up. Zip-She'll -flog yotu. Kilo, if she finds you there. KILO-I'll play I'm Sigurd. Zip- Then she'll drub vou sure. You see these baskets here To-night at dusk The boy crept tiptoe to the entrance there And threw them in. I holloed at him: "Hey! You'd better run! Granny's been looking for you." (Kilo rakes a coal fromn the fire and blows the ashes from it.) KILO-YOU say the wind's up, Zip Zip- It's going to storm. SUK-(Looking aniong the dry herbs.) There's not a leaf of Odin's helmet here. KILo-Gimel! (He blows the coal.) GIMEL-(To Suk.) 150 THE SAXONS She's taken it with her. She knew If we should get out in the air- KILo- Come here. GIMEL-She'd never see us in this cave again. VoIcE-(To the left, in a monotone.) A rat and a cat and a cat and a mouse. SUK-I wonder when she's going to make us broth. GIMEL-She said we'd be as thin as chestnut leaves Before she put the cauldron on again. SUK-How can we toil when fire won't burn, When Loki's hammers are soft as lead, When her charms all fail wherever we turn, When blight won't gather and murrain won't spread How can we toil when there's not a Nix But turns to stone at a crucifix (From the left, Zory enters.) ZIP-What are you chewing, Zory ZORY- Slippery elm. GIMEL-She's scared herself at the pesky thing. Often as here by the coals she's sat Crunching her pignuts and stroking her cat, Many a time I've heard her say That Thor's arm shriveled that April day When out of a cloud in a thunder shower He threw his bolt at the tall gray tower. It shivered a poplar tree near by. The church stood sound with its cursed crest, While the god went bellowing down the sky, Clutching his shoulder in terrible pain. Now he rides to the east and he rides to the west- So Granny says-and he's never seen Lashing his goats through the driving rain. Dark and fireless the clouds drift round; Their waters fall without any sound. It's Hoder that drives them now, I ween. 151 THE SAXONS ZORY-(Leaving the herbs.) She'd left a slip of the Devil's herb, (Skipping to the right.) You'd see me sweeping along the sky; I'd straddle the moon and ride her down. Zip-Be quiet, Zory.-You'd better not. You hear (Zory goes out.) SUK-The fairies too are bolder now. Every hour you can hear them call From forest and bracken and water-fall. Even at midday, when I've been clearing Ore from the mountains and stood a peering Through cracks in the cliff, I have seen them at play Catching the drops of silvery spray, Running with emeralds and amethysts To the stones where the purple iris rests. With hands to their mouths, from the mossy ledge, They boom to the bittern far down in the sedge On the river bank. They are in the air. Woodland and water-everywhere. GIMEL-And there's not a place even down in the ground, No matter how dark, but that elves are found Whispering and prying, their little eyes Darting and glancing like fireflies. SUK-They say that's the cause of Loki's fright. Zip-And well it might be, if this tale is true. Sleeping he lay on the ground one night- He had guzzled his fill of Granny's brew- When, thinking he heard his bellows blow, He opened his eyes and spied the glow Of flames on his forge, the sparks a leaping, And a score of elves-they thought him sleeping- On trough and anvil and on the ground Clapping their hands as they fell around. Then he stirred, when lo! there was not a spark; 152 T H E S AXONS The bellows was still, the stithy was dark. KILO-(Rising quickly to a sitting posture.) The tale is as true as the master's steel. Here on the stones I lay that night, Curled like a cat in the fire-light, While there by the wall with a whirring sound Granny's old spinning wheel went round. It whirred and it whirred so I could not sleep, So I lay and yawned and began to peep And nudge the fire, for the night was cool. Around the big wheel the wether's wool Ran black, the dame's foot under her skirt Paddling the pedal for Sigurd's shirt. The wheel stopped a moment, and during the hush I had dropped to a doze, when there came a rush Of the coldest air that ever warped skin, And Loki, frightened, dashed up and in From the rift in the rocks. (He rises to onie kntee.) His face was white And the smut upon it showed black as night And his limbs were so weak that he almost fell. When he got his breath he began to tell How, roused from his sleep by a noise in his shop- Then Granny spied ine and nudged him to stop, And the two went out. I leaped to the ledge And peered through the crack. Far up on the edge Of the cliff where the hazel bushes grow, The pines were glossing; the gnomes, I trow, Were choking the caves to get in the ground And hide in the dark lest they should be found When Balder should roll his bright wheel on high. Already his lances waved in the sky Bedabbled with blood. The heavens were pale And the peaks were bright with his burning mail. I lost not a trice. As quick as a Wink '53 THE SAXONS I rushed to the roots and out through the chink With the Devil's herb I followed the pair. Darting invisible through the air, I squatted toad-like on the turf and heard Them babble their plans, heard every word, Heard Granny wheeze and the master say- As they rose from the rock and turned away- "We must nag on the gnomes or the cross will rise. They must take the monk's life or put out his- ZORY-(Rushing in.) Look out! (He dashes out, left, followed by the other gnomes. Fromn the right, the witch enters. In her right hand she Jolds a big black owl by the wing; in her left, a large club. She is tall, raw-boned, and weaseled. Her hair is of a stringy gray, and a skein of it hangs upon her cheek. Her breath coines short, and there is a wheeze in her voice.) WITCH--What's this Burning my wood (Shouting.) Sigurd! Ay, ay! You'd better hide, you lazy, crooked dwarf. You'll pay for this. (She throws the owl down, and taking the sticks from the fire, beats the flames out upon the floor.) You'll pay for this, I say. You'll gladly sleep upon the coldest stones, But you'll not close an eye. You'll moan all night, Dragging your red-puffed soles across the floor, And beg the gnomes for snow. I'll teach you how To burn my kindling up. Here I must trudge Up to the blasted cliffs day after day, Strip bark, drag brush, break limbs, and gather cones Among the pines, the bait of all the winds, And barely get enough to heat my brew, And here you'll lie roasting your wretched bones. I'll warm your cursed shanks. I'll put your feet I54 THE SAXONS To blister on the red-hot coals again And flog you limping up the rocks for wood. (Hanging up the baskets.) Let the monks take the geese. They're out there now Flapping their wings and gaggling at the moon To call the Christians down. You'll keep their necks! You'll swear by father Thor you fetched them up And penned them in the lot. I'll beat you, though; I'll whale you with these rods until you're sore. (She piles her wood against the wall.) Let the monks steal the geese. You'll gather wood. You'll find it scarce, I vow. There's not a day You're by the stream. You're tup among the crags, Beating the eagles from the new-dropped kids. You feed the woodman's ewes. You hunt the hills For sorrel-grass to see the lambkins eat. You never drain an udder for my sop, Or bring me honey from the gum. Sneezeweed You never dig or nightshade from the marsh. You play among the logs. My nuts and corn You steal to feed the striped chipmunks with. All day you're in the wood or on the slope, Listening to hear the noisy Christian bells. You love the damned sound. You love the monks. You fetch them pine knots from the big green ridge To singe the gnomes and light their altar fires. You've learned to fumble buckeyes on your breast. I'll teach you how to pray. Ay, ay! You hear I'll weave my dwarf a cowl. Ha, ha! You hear Sigurd! I'll get you in the morning. (A rumble of thunder.) Eh (Thunder again.) Ay, ay, Thor! I'll have them there! (Shouting.) '55 THE SAXONS Gnomes! Gnomes! Zip! Gimel! Kilo! Lazy broth-suckers! Here's work for you, you knaves! Work and broth! (Louder.) Broth. I said! You hear Zory, you scamp! (Feeling about her dress.) Hear what I say Kilo! Suk! Gimel! Here's broth for you! (In an underbreath.) If you'll work. You don't, I'll lamn you, you toads. (Shouting.) You hear Ay, peak about! peak about! Thor wants you. (The gnomes enter tinmedlv, half-afraid.) SUK-( Whimpering.) I'm hungry. WITCH-Hungry! Out in the air with you, then! Suck the lightning's dugs! Guzzle in the rain! (Low muttering thunder.) Hear that Can you Can you bark Ay, ay, Thor! (As the thunder dies away, the gntomes rush wildly toward the witch.) Ay, here's your herb! Out with you now, every last one of you! Zip-(GiZving himi a leaf.) Up with you! (Zip disappears.) Kilo! There you go! (Kilo disappears.) Now Suk! Now Gimel! Now you can get him! (The gnomies, taking the slips, disappear.) I56 T1HE SAXONS Ay, ay! Chase the monk! Crack the big bells! Pluck up the pines and knock the steeples down! ZORY-(Rushling it.) Me too, Granny! WITCH-Ay, you scamp! (Giving him a leaf.) Bark now! Skedaddle in the air! ZORY-I'll straddle the moon and- (He disappears.) WITCH- There You go! Ay, straddle her! Ride her through the clouds! There they are, Thor. Now for my dwarf. (Picking up her club.) I'll bruise him a little. (Shouting.) Sigurd! I'll get you. (She gocs out, left.) SCEN'E TWO-The scriptori .um inl the dormitory of the abbey. The walls are of stone. In the left wall, near the corner, a door opens iinto a hall that leads thence to the courtyard. Near it, forward, an enormous chest with metal trimminlgs and handles of embossed stags' heads, the antlers gradually disappearing into the panel. Upon, the chest, as though thrown there carelessly, lies a heavy cloak. About ten feet from the door, against the rear wall. stands a small pricedie covercd weit/ a rich altar-clot/h intetrwoven with the fignurc-scen in old arras-of St. Giles sittin-g upon a rock wzeit/i the deer resting its head in his lap. Behibid the dleer is a c/u iump of branibles. The kneeling piece, which projects fromn under the folds of the altar-cloti, is of dark wood huighl/ polished. Upon it is a scarlet cushion. A little above the priedieu, in a semicircular niche in the weall, is set a bronze crucifix some I57 THE SAXONS ten inches in height. Before it burns a small taper. Far- ther to the right, a second door leading into a corridor which connects with the sleeping apartments. Between this door and the priedieu are shelves filled with books and old manuscripts. Beyond the door, which s-wings in and is partly open, an old buckler hangs upon the wall, and be- neath it, upon two iron spikes, a long spear. Between the spear and buckler is fixed a parchment clt nuitriforni and bearing in large illuminied letters the inscriptions HUGH DE B3UILLON CUM\ DEO ET CUSM GODEFRIDO NICALIS ANTIOCHIIS HIEROSOLYMIS MIL NONAG SEPT OCT NOV. Farther to the right, in the corner, a Saracen coat-of-mail filled with spears which, converging center and spread out above and below, look like a sheaf of steel. Across the breast of the coat-of-mail is a strip of parchment with the inscription illumined as before: A MOHAMED FILIO SATAN CHRISTO FILIO DEL. In the right wall are apertures of two deep-set windows, near which are three carrels, each with an old mianutscript spread out upon it and ink-pots and other copy- ing and illumniinating materials. Hanging beside them are finger rags smeared with various colored stains. On one of the carrels lies a sprig of flowering mountain laurel. Near the center of the room, a few feet to the right, stands a long table rutnning parallel with the side walls. It is overstrewn with old manuscripts, some of them discolored and half unrolled; others, ncar the forward end, piled in the form of a nhinattire pyramid. Farther back, a small brass lamp, pitcher-shaped and with a wick protruding from its spout, butrnts with a yellow flame. The room is bult dimly lighted, as a large room would be, with a single lamp burning upon the table and a little taper winking in the niche in the wall. To the right of tire table, in a square, high-backed chair with anzimal-feet, sits the Abbot in a black gown, bareheaded. His feet, which are under the table, are cased in slippers 158 THE SAXONS of sheep-skin with the white fleece still upon it. Fromt his right hand, which hangs beside his chair, a scroll of parch- ment trails upon the floor. Farther back, upon the oppo- site side of the table, stands the Priest, his left hand rest- ing upon the back of a chair the front legs of which are raised a few inches from the floor. At the further end of the table Oswald is standing with his finger wipin, away the tears that trinkle down his cheeks. Thunder is heard intermittently, and from time to time the windows are shaken by the violence of the wind. FATHER BENEDICT-( White with wrath, turning to the Ab- bot.) Endorse this, Father OSWALD- Father, I did not say it. ABBOT-Ira, Benedict, altis urbibus Causa cur perirent. Let him explain. FATHER BENEDICT-I say, do you endorse this OSWALD- I did not say it. ABBOT-I endorse nothing till I hear both sides. FATHER BENEDICT-I gave you both sides. ABBOT- Sit down, Benedict. FATHER BENEDICT-YOU think I'd sit down with these things spread here, (With a wave toward the manuscripts.) And Christ thrust yonder in the little niche Not while I have in mind the first Psalm. ABBOT- Yet You seem to have forgotten what cya7rdh means, As found in that third chapter of St. John. (He lays his parchment upon the table and reaches over and takes a book from the pile at his right.) FATHER BENEDICT-Not while I have in mind the first Psalm. ABBOT-(Turning over the leaves of the book.) If You thought more of the Gospels- '59 THTE SAXONS FATHE R BEN DIT ( Sarcastically.) As heathens (10. ABBOT-What is it to be a heathen Is it not To act uLnchristlike' FATHER BENEDICT- What is it to be a dog OSWALD-I did not say that Father was a- FATHER BENEDICT- What! Just now you did confess- OSWALD- I sai(1 vou spoke- Spoke as hunters- FATHER BENEDICT-That's a lie! ABBOT- Benedict! Be circumspect, lest in your anger you Bay at him and turn that which y-ou do scorn. FATHER BENEDICT-I scorn the imputation which his pride Popped at me. As though all the saints in heaven Bowed down to him because the other night- (Turning away.) Oh, but God hates the proud man! ABBOT- And, therefore, Wisdom doth bid you keep an open ear And leave the scroll of judgment still unsealed. For how shall Mercy find the iron leaf WVill Heaven's book be open if we close Ours When men cry to Lis, if we shut our ears, We shut out Heaven's whispers. Oh, nothing- Of all the deeds men do that vex the sky- Nothing so rankles in the heart of God As to see lips, fresh conei from prayer for grace, Refusing justice. (The Priest has walkcd forward at an angle from the table and stands with his back to the Abbot. Reaching under his go-wn he draws a dark string across his breast and begins, secniingly, to untie a knot. The Abbot regards hli m ill silencc. ) Will vou hear him i6o THE SAXONS FATH ER BENEDICT-(Gruffly.) Go on. ABBOT-NO, Benedict; do it dispassionately. You say God hates the proud. So he does. Yet Wrath is more perilous to a man than pride. For while pride turns a man's face to the sky, 'Tis wrath that shoves him where the thunders fall. FATHER BENEDICT-( Under his breath.) Ill drop some thunder on you. ABBOT- Now, my son, Speak as though angels heard you. 'Tis almost Midnight. and the Sabbath draweth nigh. OSWALD- ( To the Priest.) Father. ABBOT-DO you hear-He shuts his ears. Proceed. Remembering that truth is God's own bread. He hungers for it. OSWALD- Oh, I have not lied! I did not say that Father was a dog. ABBOT-I know you have not, Oswald. The three years That you have been here never have been stained With pride and falsehood. Those that now malign, God knows where they shall go when the end comes. OSWALD-I will explain just how it came about. Then, if you think I have done Father wrong, Tell me and let me do penance for it. I- I will not be here long. ABBOT- My son! OSWALD- I feel The darkness gathering round me. ABBOT- Don't say that. You will be well again. You will be strong Some day, my son, and many years shall pass Ere the Lord calls you. Hath he not given proof A shepherd to you, surely God hath been. Three nights ago at this time, where were you i6i THE SAXONS Lying down in the gorge, and the night wind Passed and you knew it not. But God watched there, And sent his servant-for all things serve Him- And here you are safe in the fold again. That deed unclasped a volume of bright days. God doth not put his hand forth and lift up As he hath lifted you, and then cast down Ere the knees be straightened. Your tears should fall For joy, my son, not sorrow. Think how near Your foot was to the gates of darkness when God turned your face around and there flashed out A jeweled finger pointing toward a dawn- Far off it may be or it may be near- When the last shred of darkness shall vanish. Let those that hound you, fear, for God shall cleave A chasm in the earth for them; but you- No, no, my son, not darkness, light. God's light And glory from the new Jerusalem Will shine upon you on the mountain tops, If dreams are tapers lighting what is to be. As some believe they are. (The Priest reaches under his gown and takes something ill his right hand, and with the other draws the string from around his neck and drops it into his right hand, after which he pulls the sleeve down over it till only the knuckles are visible.) Therefore, my son, Lift up your face and let white words go forth And usher in the Sabbath. Truth in the heart Is fire under water, but on the lips It lighteth every man the Way of Life. (The Priest goes toward the chest near the door.) Benedict, will you do as Pilate did FATHER BENEDICT-IS he the Lord ABBOT- He is- i62 THE SAXONS FATHER BENEDICT- Then who are yotu ABBOT-He is a child of our Lord's. FATHER BENEDICT- So ani I. ABBOT-SO you are, Benedict, a full grown child. FATHER BENEDICT-Even if I don't pray here (With a disdainful motion toward the priedieti.) ABBOT- A full grown child; Large enough, one would think, to have slain the wolf Of hate in you. (The Priest takes lip the cloak from thc chest and begins to put it on.) Is it the truth you fear (A pause.) You dare to go out under the open sky With hatred in your heart, a night like this' (A1 pause.) If you go now I know the reason why. You fear to lav your heart down here and let The light shine on1 it with Osxvald's. side 1) side. OSWALD-(To the Abbot.) Father,- FATHER BENEDIC-r-( Over /i is shoulder.) Call a dog Father ABBOT- Benedict, Exasperating beyond word in this Conduct of yours. You comle up here as one \Whose honor has been wvounded, and you throw Your charge down and when Oswald takes it up To answer it, you will not hear him. hut You slink away. A travesty on man Is he who has but one ear, and that filled With his own voice. (Rising.) But I will settle this. (Lifting his hand.) My son, I now absolve you from all- FATHER BENEDICT-( Turning quickly.) Hold! i63 Trl 1-. SAX () N S (He pulls his cloak around so as to hide his right hand, then comes forward.) Your haste to wash his heart is evidence- ABBOT-YOU tacitly admit N-our charge is false By the eagerness- FATHER BENEDICT-What are you talking of ABBOT-Your eagerness to get out in the dark. FATHER BENEDICT-Who said that I was going (To Oswald.) Now then, you Lay your heart down under the lamplight here, And I will show a hunch-backed devil in it. ABBOT-Tell us, my, son, just how it came about. Let truth spring out upon the table armed. (He resumes his seat.) OswALD-When Father spoke this morning of a chase, A stag pursued by hounds and things like that, I simply said that- FATHER BENEDICT-'Si7nply said !" OSWALD- I said- FATHER BENEDICT-I was one of the hounds, the talbot hound That led the pack. OSWALD- Wlhy. Father! FATHER BENEDICT-(Advancing toward himt.) You say that A second time, and bv the- ABBOT- Benedict! Sprinkled with eyes, a wheel of God's own car Attends our brother. You would best beware. You know God hath him circled round about With that that shall uproot the steadfast hills. (Through, the door, rear. Louis cezters. carrying a flagon and a silver cup, his face showing terror. Seeing the i64 TI-IE SAXONS Priest, he stops sudden/v, as thouglh amaZed, then enters slowly.) FATHER BENEDICTI-I care not were lie nine times circled round, As Hell is, I would- ABBOT-(Lifting his hand.) Let me finish. Then, If with eves open you will venture on, Do it. The night is wild. Heaven hath shaken down Many a pine upon the mountain tops, And steeples too, no doubt, and towns, who knows No man can tell what dawn shall look on. Even This house of God-Ilark how the thunders break! The winds are play-ing havoc with the world And Order frightened hath plunged into the sea. Louis-The southern gable has been blown down. ABBOT-(After a look of surprise.) And Thrice in the mossed chapel tower the bell Hath rung, and no hand touched it; as it were A tocsin to alarm the world that Hell Hath landed. Though the seas be blown away And the everlasting hills be tumbled down, In summer calmness still the soul of man Stands like a fortress, sure against assault And terrible as a gorgon's head to Hell, And adamant to all her engines. But Let wrath break out inside, and crash! the gates Are down. FATHER BENEDICT-(Tapping hiniself mipon his breast.) And Hell comes in. ABBOT- An(l Hell goes in And ravins there. FATHER BENEDICT-In ine. ABBOT- The lightning bath No power to strike a tree while the blue sky i65 THE SAXONS Bends over it. But let the wrath of Hell Build up a cloud and fire it, and the tree Falls shattered. But God calls the cloud away And His winds blow it into nothingness. FATHER BENEDICT-The tree is- ABBOT- Oswald there. He stands secure. FATHER BENEDICT-And the cloud- ABBOT- You. You blacken over him And, charged with passion, make an atmosphere Of sulphur and in it, as in native air, Hell slips her flamne and the trunk tumbles down To darkness. But God calls the cloud away To judgment, and its shadow is seen no more. If you will venture further in your wrath, Do it, for I have done. (A pause.) Very well, then. You may resume, my- OSWALD- I will undergo Whatever ordeal Father may suggest; Will walk hot irons or put my hand in fire Or anything. ABBOT- You hear that, Benedict FATHER BENEDICT-He knows the Pope has banned the ordeal. (To Oswald with scorn.) Brave! OsWALD-I call the saints- FATHER BENEDICT-(To Louis.) Do I look like a hound OSWALD-I said you spoke as those that hunt- FATHER BENEDICT- By that Meaning that I should tarre them on him. OSWALD-(With a puzzled look.) On Me ABBOT-How did you come to say it, Oswald OSWALD-I grew up, Father, in a forest where Men used to hunt, and I have often sat i66 THE SAXONS In winter round their fires and heard them tell Tales of the chase. And so when Father spoke Of a chase my mind went back- ABBOT- Did you say this After he told you of the hunter's dream OSWALD-Dream FATHER BENEDICT-I told I did not tell him. (Instantly the Abbot frowns silence at the Priest.) Speak out. ABBOT-Non sonhniwm venatoris- OSWALD- What dream PRIEST-( Contemptuously.) As if he did not know it! ABBOT-(Agitated.) Ne-ne dic! Non scit somnium. PRIEST-( Opening wide his eyes.) That's the trick, then! I'm to believe that, am I OSWALD- Father, what- FATHER BENEDICT-I'll tell you what. The hunter- ABBOT- Benedict! FATHER BENEDICT-If he don't know the dream, I'll tell him. Macias saw a pack of- ABBOT-(Striking the table.) Will you stop' Eurm ad insaniami adiges. FATHER BENEDICT-Let it drive him mad. (As though provoked beyond expression, the Abbot passes his hand across his brow and casts a scornful glance to- ward the Priest.) ABBOT- Oswald, you go back Into your cloister. OSWALD- Drive who mad, Father FATHER BENEDICT-You. The hunter saw the furious hounds of Hell i67 THE SAXONS Chasing you up a mountain, while a storm- ABBoT-Benedict, God's curse- FATHER BENEDICT- On his enemies ABBOT- On- FATHER BENEDICT-(Stretching out his right arm.) On those that aid them ABBOT- Yes, and on- FATHER BENEDICT- Him, then. (Front his right hand he drops the silver crucifix and, with the forefinger of his left, points at Oswald. The latter starts, shrinking in terror from the curse. The Abbot and Louis, duinbfouitded, stare wide-eyed at the crucifix which dangles from its cord about the Priest's finger. The latter, after regarding with an expression of triumph the astonishment of the Abbot, lets the crucifix fall to the table and, reaching across to the other side, pulls the flagon over to himself and proceeds to pour out a cup of wine.) You're a smart set. You've wormed your way around To let him out of calling mue a dog; Now let him out of that. You've made it seem- (He sips the wine.) ABBOT-Where did you find it FATHER BENEDICT- To yourselves, no doubt, That he was ignorant of the dream when he Insinuated that I led the pack That chased him. (After a sip of wine.) Or would lead it. ABBOT- Where did you Find it FATHER BENEDICT-Where do you suppose Louis- In the brook FATHER BENEDICT-A cauldron of hell-broth would be nearer it. And you (The Abbot shakes his head.) i68 THE SAXONS On his best-beloved. Louis- On Pierre FATHER BENEDICT- On the dwarf. (He drinks.) Wages for his services, I suppose. (While the Priest drains the cup, the Abbot nods to Louis, who steps quickly toward Oswald as if to hurry him11 viii) FATHER BENEDICT-Hold up! You let him stay. OSWALD-(Excitedly.) You had no right- FATHER BENEDICT-(Lifting his hand.) It's my turn to explain. (He begins to fill the clip.) ABBOT- Oswald, retire. OSWALD-I want to clear myself. FATHER BENEDICT- Clear! Let him stay. (Ciep in hand, to the Abbot.) After your pretty speech this morning I, Reaching the village, found your monk, here, and Jardin at swords' points. Some one had espied The dwarf, it seems, in town. And the people, Remembering what he did the other night, Shouted, and the Bailiff's voice rang loud For vengeance. OSWALD- But 'twas the boy- Louis- You be still. FATHER BENEDICT-Jardin proposed that they should burn him. He Opposed it, fought it, he did. Just then I Rode in. Jardin appealed to me, and I Urged them to seize the devil. Then it was This upstart here let loose his venomous, Vile, hell-suggested intimation that I had turned hound. OSWALD- I did not- FATHER BENEDICT- Not a word. The upshot of it all was- Ah, but God WVill pour his wrath out on your head for this! i69 THE SAXONS In view of what then happened, I now call This night, this midnight hour, and wake tip God To witness that these mountains shall be cleared Of heathen; that the dews of heaven shall fall Baptizing bodies of the unbaptized Stiff among the wild-flowers. For this young week, That in this storm hath stepped upon the world, Shall see a storm more terrible than this On mountain tops uprooting human trees And choking Death and Hell and Darkness. Or let the infant Sabbath, born this hour, Put not a foot on earth, but like a bird Wander upon the winds, and in the dark Grope for the morning star and find it loot. Let the gates of the morning be shut and let no bell Wake up the world, unless it wake to see Death ravining on the mountains and white Faith Painting her banners there in heathen blood. But Mercy shall be shut tip in the caves, For this accursed deed shall be tracked down, And Vengeance ranging like a wild beast-Thou, Above these maddening winds that wreck this world, Hear me, hear me, HEAR ME. Thou in heaven! (Out of breath.) And you-and you who caused all this, may God- ABBOT-Benedict! FATHER BENEDICT-But let God have his- (He swallows the wine.) His will. And he will have it, mark you that, young man. (To the Abbot.) Strange are the ways God hath of rousing up The slothful to a work he long since laid Upon the world and the world shirked it. But It shall be done now, it shall be done now. If for three years the heathen on the heights 170 THE SAXONS Have served their idols, in less than three days Their idols and themselves shall be in Hell. Lead the chase yonder, Father, lead it there! Beneath them shake the mountains. Let this hand Strike for Thee there, and serve Thee, striking them, That this accursed deed may smell no more, A putrid carcass rotting under heaven. This is how God hath roused us up at last. (He drains the cup and sets it down.) My people armed with vengeance had swung down And reached the bridge, and Jardin, valiant man, Soldier of God, Knight Templar of the Cross, Who in the heathen land fought for ten years To stamp out Satan, even in his old age A furnace burning with the breath of God And firing those about him to the work Of ridding these mountains of the heathen, he- May God reward him for it in the world Without end, Amen-he had grabbed the dwarf To drag him off and burn him- OSWALD- It was wrong- FATHER BENEDICT-His blood is on your hands. OSWALD- (Frantically.) You murdered him! You had no cause to kill him. FATHER BENEDICT- I!. Hear that. OSwALD-The boy had done no harnm. The night I fell Twas he who- Louis-(Seizing him.) Will you hush ABBOT-( White with fear.) Oswald, retire. Your fever-you're excited. (Rising.) Benedict, D)on't press this matter further-now. FATHER BENEDICT-(Bewildered.) The boy! ABBOT-Louis, take him- FATHER BENEDICT- No cause to kill the boy! OSWALD-He- 17' THE SAXONS Louis- Father has forbidden it. FATHER BENEDICT- Urm-lrnm! I think I see-I think-I think I see. A\IIioT-NVhat FATHER BENEDICT-SO he told you it was the dwarf, eh Louis-(A411 the -while shoving Oswald toward the rear door.) Just his imagination Father. I- I was the one who found him at the gate. He knew no more about it than a stone. 'Twas night; the stars were shooting in the- FATHER BENEDICT- WXVhen Louis-When he was brought up. W hy he- ABIoT-( Quickly.) Louis! (Searching the Priest's face.) You asked If he told us- FATHER BENEDICT-It was the dwarf was killed. ABBOT-He told us that you had burned him. FATHER BENEDICT-(Fiercely to Oswald.) God shall burn You, griffon, son of Tophet, damned thing! (Terrified at the dark in the corridor and with a wild ex- pression upon his face, Oswald clutches hysterically at the door janibs.) OswVA.D--No, no, 11o, no! (Piteously, as he is shoved along through the hall.) Father, Father! FATHER BENEDICT- Call Hell! I pray to God- ABBOT- Breathe no curse, Benedict. I will inquire into this affair. If he hath done aught culpable- FATHER BENEDICT- If! If! ABBOT-If he hath spoken unbecomingly- FATHER BENEDICT-IS Jardin's life then nothing I sup- pose Not, to you. (He turns and goes toward the door, left.) 172 THE SAXONS ABBOT- What FATHER BENEDICT- I suppose not, to you. ABBOT-YOU mean to say- FATHER BENEDICT- Go your way; I go mine. ABBOT-To say the dwarf killed- FATHER BENEDICT- You have espoused the cause of the guilty. ABBOT- Of the guilty I espoused (Following with the light.) Don't tell me Oswald had a hand in this. Benedict, this is pure malignity. FATHER BENEDICT-And no mouth in it, either, I suppose. ABBOT-YOU mean he instigated this attack FATHER BENEDICT-(At the door, buckling his cloak about him.) Go your way; I go mine. ABBOT- I don't believe it. I don't believe it. It smacks too like the charge That he called you a dog. If you can prove That any word of his caused jardin's death, I will attend to him. FATHER BENEDICT-BV cursijlg mie. ABBOT-YOu know whyt I- FATHER BENEDICT- You needn't apologize. ABBOT-YOU, Benedict, not I, are needing grace. You have assailed a child of God, and you Know what our Lord said: " 'Twere better a mill-stone Were hanged about his neck and he were flung Into the sea, than offend one of these." You even seemed to take delight, to relish Harrowing his soul up with the hunter's dream And breaching it for horror to peep through. FATHER BENEDICT-YOU wait. (He reaches down behind the chest.) ABBOT- God will hold you responsible 173 THE SAXONS If anything should happen to him. FATHER BENEDICT- You Take care he does not visit you. ABBOT- Just now You said yourself that it was you who urged Jardin to seize the dwarf. FATHER BENEDICT- And so I did. ABBOT-Whose fault is it if the dwarf killed him, then FATHER BENEDICT-We will let God decide whose fault- Move this. ABBOT-(Setting the lamp down upon the floor.) You even said Oswald opposed it, and For that just now you blamed him. FATHER BENEDICT- You think you Understand everything. You think you do. (They pull the chest from the wall.) ABBOT-Then tell me. FATHER BENEDICT-(Reaching down and getting his staff.) The dwarf did not kill him. ABBOT- How Is he not dead FATHER BENEDICT-By this time, he may be. ABBOT-I still don't see where Oswald's fault comes in. (He takes up the lamp.) FATHER BENEDICT-We will )et God decide whose fault it is. (He goes out.) ABBOT-How did it happen FATHER BENEDICT-God was there; ask him. (Louis reappears.) ABBOT-Stay, Benedict, tell me explicitly- FATHER BENEDICT- This is the last time you will see me here. ABBOT-Eh (Holding the light above his head.) What do you propose to do FATHER BENEDICT- You wait. I74 THE SAXONS ABBOT-I fear for you, unless you quench your wrath. (A moment later, he turns back.) LOUIS-Again safe. ABBOT- Barely. Louis- What was that he said The last time he would come here ABBOT- I hope so. (Thunder.) Louis-And don't let Oswald- ABBOT- Close tight the shutters. Louis-And don't let Oswald go down there again. We would be risking all that we have gained. The brothers, begging in the town to-day, Brought in four hundred franks, a silver cup. Three rings, a pair of bracelets, and a pearl Big as a pea. ABBOT- A very good day's work. Louis-If this keeps up, the chest won't hold it all. ABBOT-(Suddenly, glancing about upon the table.) Benedict-did he take-the crucifix Louis-(At the window.) Oswald took it.-Do you think Benedict Found it where he said he- ABBOT-(Aghast.) Oswald! Louis- Why ABBOT-The hunter saw it blood-stained in his dream. (A gust of wind blows out the light in his hand.) Louis-Perhaps it got blood on it when he fell. Benedict may have washed it off. I thought It might help quiet him. Shall I get it ABBOr- No; You may be right. Louis- Still, if you think- ABBOT- You fetch- I'll take the lamp and cup; you fetch the wine. I will have Pierre watch with him tonight. 175 THE SAXONS (Louis turns back to the window. The Abbot relights his lamp at the little taper in the wall and these goes left.) Louis-By the way, Father, old Andrew has gone mad. The storm has blown his mind's last spark out. Yes; He tried to take the bracelets from Luigi And would have dragged the chest out. ABBOT- And did he Louis- No; But it was all that four of us could (1o To hold him. He is on the seas again, And peers abroad and swears he sees great ships- (Out in the storm is heard the booming of a bell. They listen. Louis crosses himself and mutters.) Sed libera. nos a malo. Father- (The Abbot lifts his hand) What Do you think it means (A pause.) ABBOT- Come to my room. (To himself, as he goes left.) If The etherial gods, as the wise poet says, Dwell afar off and in the affairs of men Interfere not, our domes shall rise yet. (Turning.) Louis, Bring the scroll. Louis- WThich ABBOT- Lucretius. On the floor. (In the doorway he stops and listens as for the bell. As he goes out.) If. (Louis takes uip the parchment which lies upon the floor near the Abbot's chair and, going to the rear door, shufts it and slides the bolt. He then blows out the taper in the wall.) Louis-(Listening.) The witches have their way in heaven tonight. (He comes to the table and, taking up the flagon, goes out, left.) 176 THE SAXONS SCENE THREE-The court yard of the abbey, as in Scene Three of the Second Act. A storm is heard roaring through the mountains, with an occasional rumble of thunder and in the darkness sudden luster as of lightning far off. In these flashes, the scene gleams wet as after a hard rain. From the right, comes a faint sound as of a stick tapping on stone, and soon along the side of the dormitory old An- drew appears, carrying a staff with which he is feeling his way through the darkness. ANDREW-Here a black squall, sou'-wester, south-south-west. Star-star gone! Where's the pole (Shouting.) Furl the main, lads! On she spins, whirling past world on world. Hip! Feel her-feer her heave! (Shouting.) Take in the mizzen! A thousand thousand fathoms down, the moon Shines like a fish. (He peers around the corner.) Black as- Hear the masts crack. Watch Alvinach! Watch for the ninth wave, lads! (Lightning.) Put out that broom! You'll have the witches here. Mother, they've burnt the baby !-Hya! Lie down. (He walks out in the court.) Here's a night, God bless us! Here's a gale To make the sea-girls sing. Scylla! Carribee! Shake your dead bones! Shake 'em and sing! Blow, then. Growl, Scylla! Growl, ocean-bitch, bark and growl! Now, Carribee, whirl! Shake the big gulf and slush! Gulp down the worlds with stars and moons and moons! (Lightning.) Yip, there they go! Suck 'em down! suck 'em down! Arcturus down! Down Cancer! down the Scales! Whirled into the pit! Weigh the devils, Scales! Weigh the big Serpent! Weigh Beelzebub! Hands ahelm! Ahull, boys! Lash her to the lea! I77 THE SAXONS Lash her to the lea! Splinters! Watch out, lads! Saint Telme! Saint Telme! Hold the gunnel there! (The bell sounds in the chapel tower.) Who's dead Who's dead, i' the Devil's name Fetch me those rings. Now throw him overboard. Scrub these stains, Luigi. Keep the dog back there. This gold will glitter on the Judgment Day. I hear you whispering, scoundrels !-Hya! Lie down. (He walks back, singing.) There's wind up in her pitch-black flag; There's foam around her keel. Nowv we're scu(ldiln,. Right through the Dipper- (Lightning.) Ahoy! Ilmo! Elmo! Light up! light up. man! Argo's to the larboard! Signal her! Ahoy! Ship ahoy. Cap! Ship ahoy! Ship full of gold! She's whirling south! Man the boats! Lay to! lay to! Here's a squall winks at the pirates, lads! Mount her. hardies! Break her hatches! Gold under 'em. (Singing.) There's foam ulp it her pitch-black flag; There's wind around her keel. . (Shouting.) Watch Alvinach. though! Keep the lantern dry! (He stops and listens.) I hear you whispering, scoundrels!-Hya! Lie down. Who said so Ioulis lied. Stand back, I say! Four on an o0l man! Dogs! Let go mnv hair! (A loud clap of thunder.) The shrouds break now, God bless usi! here's a wind Will blow tus far off to the Pleiades And swamp us. (Lightning.) That was the Bear went b1. And Virgo has sunk here jewels in the south. Sink 'em deep. girl! Pirates abroad.-What's this (Calling down.) 178 THE SAXONS Got it, boys Got the gold See it, see it shine! Throw your cloak over it. Don't let God see this. Ho, Prester John! sailing among the stars Here's your chest, John! Here's y'our sparklers! Where is he Where is he, boys Throw the king overboard Pitched him to Plato on his big fork, eh Odi Persicos. Like their gold, though. Up, Up with it, lads. Heave, now. Chest broken open. Leak, gold, leak, leak! Here's your spring, Crashus! Here, Jew! here you can cool your tongue! Traders, drink! Drink, worms! Pigs! Pastors! Devils! Drink, drink! Everything drink! (Stooping dowzn.) Here's a dead man's ring. Finger's in the coral. Bracelets and gems. Topaz from Tartary. Emeralds from the East. Garnets. Eh Garter-buckles! (Reproachfully.) Lads! lads! (A glare of lightning reveals him with his hand close to his eyes.) "From Carlos." Chloe's gone bathing, Carlos. Turned cold nymph. Let go! Let go, I say! Androphanes! Strike him, Juba! Slash him with the broad-sword! You hand that back here, then. Hell-dog. Here's a widow's mite: bought a monk's praver. Flip it into the sea. Judas! here you are! (Thntider.) Rumble on! Growl and growl! Who cares for Heaven now Rain or not rain. We can fight, too, old boy-. Wipe your lips, Scariot. Take the chamois bag. There's thirty-two. Off with you.-Wallets! Old coin! Rich man, miser. knave! Sick, eh Quick, your gold! Take it to the priest, then you can jump Right through the needle's eye. (He gets down npon his 179 THE SAXONS knees.) Well, God bless us! Sacked the sea-king's coffers. See the pearls! Crescents and ear-bobs. Here's a brooch fine as Sparkles on Memnon's sister. What's this clammy thing Cold, bloody hand! Hand with a locket in it! Unlock it. Ho! picture, eh Say mamma, baby! Mamma's in the sea-weed. That's a foul deed. Throw your cloak over it. Don't let God see this. (Calling up.) Who's there (Rising.) Who calls Andrew Stand down on the ground. The lid is off. (Stooping.) Parchment deeds, eh I. X. If Andrew's Andrew, then I. X. is eleven. What shines Silver. (A pause.) Monk's cross. (A pause.) Wet. (Flash of lightning.) Red! (With horror.) Lads! lads! We'll sink for this, God bless us! Pretty muss! Who daubed it (Thunder.) Hear that. Horror in the dark Doffs his big plume at this. And up there- Here! Wash it! wash it in the sea! In with the chest, lads! Murder like a foam-bird dashed upon the prow Shakes her red wings. And there- Look! (Shouting.) Wash it clean! Heaven's golden scales are rising from the deep! Off! lay her-lay her off, lads! They'll weigh us! (A sharp flash of lightning. Andrew is seen with his left hand up beside his head, which is drawn down, backing fearfully through the door into the dormitory. The thunder rumbling in the darkness sounds like the growl of an enormnous wild beast.) I8O THE SAXONS ACT FIVE. SCENE ONE-A street in the village. Low thatched cot- tages, with deep, wide eaves overhanging the street, stand in a dark mass. To the left, a little way from the others and back a few paces from the street, is a small house, the home of Jardin. Through a window in the room on the right side comes a faint light as from a low-burning lamp. To the left of the window, one feels that there is a door, though, either on account of intervening bushes or per- haps because of a porch that makes it darker there, one does not see it. Out in the yard where the light from the window falls upon the bushes near the casement, the glistening of the leaves shows that it has been raining. The windows of the other houses, like vacant eyes under deep brows, are dark, and there are no signs of life any- where. Over the roofs and through the great trees that rise up behind them flows a greyness that emphasizes the quiet of the hour. About the street lie several limbs that were broken off by the storm during the night. TIME-Sunday morning. Day is just beginning to break. A CRY-(Far to the left, full or terror and anguish.) Haro! Haro! (Drawing nearer.) Wake, people! Help, oh, help! (After a pause.) Will no one hear Will no one hear (Near by.) O men of God! Dear men of God! (A pause.) Oh, run, Run to the mountains, men! (Pierre enters half on a run, breathelss. There is a wild light in his eyes and his thin frame is shaken with sobs.) I8i THE SAXONS Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! (He glances toward the lighted window as though in doubt whether or not to rouse the inmates of the house. Then, as though to flake up even for the moment he has lost, he hurries along the goes out, right.) People! Christian people! (The light in the window grows dimmer and suddenly dis- appears, leaving the house in total darkness.) Will no one hear Will no one hear Wake! Oh, wake! (In the distance.) Haro! VoIcE-(To the left.) Jules! SECOND VOICE-(Nearer.) Ho FIRST VOICE- Who is it SECOND VOICE- Some brother. (Jules Bacqueur enters.) Pierre. FIRST VOICE- The abbey's Blown down, perhaps. HUGH CAPET-(Entering.) Where are all the people JULES BACQUEUR-At special mass for Jardin. (He glances back toward the house where, at that moment, the door opens and the light appears.) HUGH CAPET-(Hurrying on after Pierre.) Come on. JULES BACQUEUR- Wait. Let's hear how the Bailiff is. (Hugh Capet returns to the corner of the cottages that are flush with the street and the men look back to where two figures, one after the other, appear in the lighted doorway of Jardin's house, a man who comes out and anl old woman with a white cap on who carries a small lamp. A little later the door is closed.) HUGH CAPET- Who is it, Jacques JULES BACQUEUR-He spent the night there. HUGH CAPET- What a night it was! 182 THE SAXONS Just see these limbs. JULES BACQUEUR- And there's some fellow's hat. HUGH CAPET-The roof's off Pirot's barn, and Lisette- JULES BACQUEUR- Here. (He comes forward to the edge of the street.) HUGH CAPET-(Following him.) And Lisette found a big bird in her yard With a broken wing, blown in here miles and miles, From the Holy Land or Joppa or some sea. JULES BACQUEUR-(Pointing right.) Look at those yew trees in the church yard there. Bless God, they've pulled up dead mens' skulls. (A pause.) HUGH CAPET-And those men there- BACQUEUR- Are filling up the graves. And where's the cross (A pause.) HUGH CAPET- Not on the steeple Say, That monk- There's something up. When dead men's bones Are thundered over in the night, and graves Ungorge like that with wind, strange birds, and things- VoIcE-( Left.) Who is that shouting HUGH CAPET- Don't know. BACQUEUR- How's Jardin JACQUES-(Entering.) Eh HUGH CAPET-He didn't hear you. JACQUES- What's he shouting for BAcQUEUR-The storm tore up the dead last night. HUGH CAPET- The abbey's Blown down, perhaps, or- Come on. Hurry, men. BACQUEUR-How is the Bailiff (Distant thunder.) HUGH CAPFT-(Hurrying out right.) Going to have another'n. JACQUES-The soldier had a bad night. In his fever He picks the sheets, mumbling: "Saints, send him down," And: "Listen, men !" and things like that. And once, 183 TIHE SAXONS Jumps him clean out of bed and cries out: "There !" As he had run the woodman through and through, And wipes his sword like on his pants, and then, As though he felt his wound, falls back and pop! The wind or something blows the light out and We hear the banshee singing in the storm, Wild-wild. I fear the bell with toll 'fore night. (They go out.) SCENE TWO-The open space in front of the church. In the corner of the fence, left, the top of the poplar tree, boken off by the wind during the night, hangs out in the street almost brushing the ground. To the right of the steps is a large wooden cross which was blown from the steeple. It lies sidewise, having been split off at the bot- torn. The gate into the church yard is slightly ajar, as though some one had lately passed through, and against the dark grass the taller of the white grave markers lean as though the wind had been among them. Over the low fences where one looks back into the church yard on the one side and into an open space on the other, is seen yel- low light from the side windows of the church, pouring out into the gloom. From within, comes the sound of the service. CONGREGATION-His spear was lifted over Acre, Lord, And his right arm hath made the heathen quail. FATHER BENEDICT-And he hath spread thy glory through the East. CONGREGATION-And he hath spread thy glory through the East. FATHER BENEDICT-Let not the flags be draped that fluttered high Above the strongholds of the Infidel. 184 THE SAXONS CONGREGATION-Let not the flags be draped that fluttered high Above the strongholds of the Infidel. FATHER BENEDICT-Let not the scorners from the moun- tain tops Look down and see the dark procession go; But lift him up and lift up trembling, Lord. CONGREGATION-Let not the scorners from the mountain tops Look down and see the dark procession go; But lift him up and lift up trembling, Lord. FATHER BENEDICT-Keep death off, Lord, until the gates of death Receive the accursed hand that laid him low. CONGREGATION-Keep death off, Lord, until the gates of death Receive the accursed hand that laid him low. FATHER BENEDICT-Let not thine enemies triumph over thee. Thunder it, brethren, so that God may hear. CONGREGATION-Let not thine enemies triumph over thee. FATHER BENEDICT-The mountains are afraid of thee, 0 Lord. Shake their wild tops and shake the heathen down. CONGREGATION-The mountains are afraid of thee, 0 Lord. Shake their wild tops and shake the heathen down. FATHER BENEDICT-SO shall thy Church with loud hosannas ring. CONGREGATION-SO shall thy Church with loud hosannas ring. FATHER BENEDIcT-World without end. CONGREGATION- World without end. FATHER BENEDICT- Amen. PIERRE-(Far to the left.) Haro! haro! FATHER BENEDIcT-Accept, 0 eternal Father, the offering that is here made to Thee by Thy minister, in the name x85 THE SAXONS of us all here present. It is as yet only bread and wine, but by a miracle of Thy power and grace will shortly become the body and blood- PIERRE-(Drawing nearer.) Help, help! Oh, help! FATHER BENEDICT-(After a pause, as though he had heard the cry.) -the body and blood of Thy beloved Son. He is our high priest and He is our victim. By Him and- PIERRE-O men of God! Dear men of God! (There is a hush in the church.) Will you not help Will you not- (He enters with his hands to his head, fearful lest he has disturbed the service.) FATHER BENEDICT-(Resuming) He is our high priest and He is our victim. (Pierre throws himself down upon the steps, sobbing.) By Him and through Him, we desire to approach- Sit down, men! (A pause.) Women! Men! Sit down! (The noise in the church increases.) A VOICF- Sit down, brethren! Don't desecrate the Lord's house! FATHER BENEDICT-(Shouting.) You hear me A WOMAN'S VOICE-Husband! FATH ER BENEDICT-(Enraged.) Malediction! (The church door is jerked open, and the people come pour- ing oiut with anxious faces lest something terrible has happened. Back in the church, above the heads of the people, is seen the altar ablaze with lights, and high behind it a colossal cross with a beautiful carven Christ upon it. The wound in the side shows red and over the thorn-crowned brow is an arch bearing in golden letters the inscription:FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY- The DO has never been put on.) z86 THE SAXONS PIERRE;-(Staggering up from the steps.) Run, run to the mountains, men! Quick! quick! They're dragging him off! They're dragging him off! O run, run, run, run, run! CRIES-What-where-who is it PIERRE-Yonder! yonder! Oh, get torches, Get torches and run And kindle fires on the mountain tops So he may see his way! No, that won't help! Oh, that won't help! But he can hear, though! Call, call to him! Search all the places where the blind may be! Run shouting "Oswald! Oswald !" through the woods! Find him, oh, find him before Satan comes! Before the storm breaks! They'll track him by the blood drops! They'll tear his body on the mountains! O men, dear men- (A clap of thunder. Pierre dodges.) What-what was that Oh, God said something! God said something! (Pointing up at the sky.) He knows! He knows! Lord Jesus knows that it was not his fault! And He will pay-oh, He will bless you, men! Do, do, do run! FATHER BENEDICT-Make way! PIERRE-O Father! Father! (In his snow-white chasuble, the priest appears pushing his way through the throng about the door. In his hand he has a silver communion plate with the bread upon it.) FATHER BENEDICT-Why all this clamor This is the Sabbath and the hour of mass. I87 THE SAXONS PIERRE-It's done! It's done! FATHER BENEDICT-(Descending the steps.) How dare you cry out on this holy morn PIERRE-Oh, last night, Father, last night in the dark White angels, oh, white angels in the storm- It tore their wings and blew them from the sky, And then-and then-O father, then the fiends- He saw them in the stones and-screamed and-Oh, They did a deed of horror in the dark! (He presses his hands into his eyes as if to shut out the sight of it.) Oh! Oh! Oh! FATHER BENEDICT-What is this PIERRE-(Bending up and down.) Oh! Oh! Oh! FATHER BENEDICT-Pierre! (A pause.) Pierre, if Hell hath done Some wild deed in the night, be sure that God Will right it. PIERRE-Will He, oh, will He, Father, make him to see- See the blue sky again FATHER BENEDICT-Who is it Hell hath blinded in the night PIERRE-(With his hands to his eyes, sobbing.) Brother-brother- FATHER BENEDICT-Pierre! PIERRE-O, Oswald! Oswald! (With a cry, Madam Bacqueur falls fainting upon the steps. The women about her take her child from her arms and support her back into the church. The crowd stands silent.) PIERRE-(Bending up and down.) Say something! say something! FATHER BENEDICT-(Almost overcome.) Can this be true Can this be true, Pierre PIERRE-Oh! Oh! Oh! I88 THE SAXONS FATHER BENEDIC T-Swift fly the avenging angels from the Throne. Guilt like a red cloud passes from the sky, And day looks in and sees where eyes have been. PIERRE-(AS though his heart would break.) Brother! brother! brother! FATHER BENEDICT-Praise be to God! The tempest shaketh showers upon the grass; The storm wind cooleth the low violet; But the proud pine I shatter, saith the Lord. He shall go down and toss his boughs in hell. The coffin-worm shall slime him. He shall not Mock me upon the mountains, saith the Lord. Praise be to God! (Pierre glances up at the priest and then, as from something infernal, falls flat and hides his face against the ground.) The lights are out in Babylon the Proud, And the Lord God in blackness sitteth there Among the ruins, dealing judgment. (The rising wind blows shut the door of the church and leaves the scene enveloped in the half-light of early morning.) My scales are hung in heaven, saith the Lord. I weigh them in the darkness of the night. They balance with the Dragon on one side. Glory be to God in the highest! (Shouting off demoniacally in the direction of the abbey.) Lift up thy head, 0 Lucifer, in hell, And see what God hath written on the sky In letters that burn through thy broken panes. (With his finger as though tracing the letters.) "Weighed and found wanting! I amn the Lord God. In Me the moon goes down; in Me the sun 189 THE SAXONS Rises; I am the night and day. If over any man a light break forth And make his brow bright, let him not think It shines for him alone, and be puffed up Because of it, and speak Bitterly, saying: 'See what pure prayers can do.' For when his lungs are empty, saith the Lord, Then I will give him flesh unto the dogs. I will put out the light that kindles pride, Saith the Lord God, and with the light the eyes." (In a wild chant.) Praise be to God who doeth all things well. Shinar hath seen the glory of the Lord. Nimrod, who piled up Babel to the stars. Lies sprawling under it. and the thunders laugh. (Shouting in the direction of tire abbey.) Who lieth under Babel -Up, Pierre; I have a message. Rise, for you Must bear it to your sainted abbot. (Pierre rises and, with his head thrown back and his hands covering his face, without waiting, goes straight out, left.) "Benedict to his brother in Christ, Greeting: Who lieth under Babel You were right In saying that the storm would shake the world. It hath indeed played havoc. Certain trees In the churchyard tore the graves up, and the dead Have shaken roofs and spires in the town. We lost our cross. I hear you, too, lost somewhat. Gables though Can be repaired. We should both thank our Lord he hath not let A lamb he careth for be scathed. Who lieth under Babel " I90 THE SAXONS (Comting out in the street and shouting after Pierre.) And to the brother, the dear ward of God, Convey felicitations! Ask him to Tell you the color of the abbot's hair This morning. Wake him! Say: "The stars are flying in and out the clouds The mountain tops are tinging; Night passes; Rouse up, and behold the Dawn Pouring her beautiful gold upon the world !" Tell him to Run down and see the print the bishop John Sent me from Rome. Bllind Samson's head. who pulled the pillars dowrI. Under a dog's pawers in the Gaza streets. And in his ear, as a salutation for the Sabbath, Bark this from Benedict. from Benedict. the dog: "Pride is a wind that from the shores of light Bloweth far off where neither sun nor moon Nor stars shine nor shall shine forevermore." God hath heard one prayer. Come in, men. (He enters the church. After a silence the iiieni about the steps begin to talk among themselves in undertonzes.) ONE OF THE-M-(Calling through the door.) Father! ANOTHER-If he don't let us go, let's go ourselves. FATHER BENEDICT-(Reappearing.) Who called (A pause.) What is it A MAN-Before you come out, Father, the monk spoke Like as how the chase wvas on. ANOTHi ER-"Run to the mountains. mlen I9' THE SAXONS ANOTHER- "Quick! quick !" ANOTHER-Said we should find him before Satan comes. ANOTHER-That was before you came out. FIRST MAN-Spoke like as how the dogs were on his trail. FATHER BENEDICT-Run, some one, and fetch Pierre back. (Two men dart out, left.) IHe did not tell me this. (A pause.) Arm yourselves, men. (In a mass the men hurry out, left, a confused hum of voices rising for a moment, then dying away in the distance. The scene has grown darker. A gust of wind blows to the door of the church.) FATHER BENEDICT-(Alone upon the steps.) This is the day. (A pause.) Inscrutable are the ways of God. Dark, dark, Unfathomable the sea in which He moves. He changeth as the waters change, and yet The mountains strike their roots in Him and stand. (Thunder right. The priest comes down from the steps and out into the street, where he stands looking up at the sky.) Thy ways are not our ways. Thy voice is heard Abroad upon the firmament. The stars That should have been put out an hour ago Burn bright upon the edges of the storm. Satan hath laid his hand upon the sun, And the day gropes, feeling her way far off As doth the blind. But yesterday the morn Walked beautiful on the mountains, with her lamp Kindled as for the Resurrection. This is the Sabbath, yet Golgotha's gloom Hangs o'er the Sepulcher, and like a torch Thrown down upon the mountains burns the dawn A scant blue flame far down behind the world. (A pause.) 192 THE SAXONS God shall not call in vain. (Looking left.) I will forgive The bitter words. The lost shall be reclaimed. (He walks briskly back and climbs the steps and enters the church. A man with a shovel on his shoulder appears coming from back in the churchyard. He stops by the fence and looks about.) THE MAN-Don't see them. A VOICE-(From back in the churchyard.) Someone's moaning in the church. (Another mnan appears with a shovel. They listen. Faint shouting, left.) FIRST MAN-Let's leave our shovels here. (They put down their shovels and get over the low fence into the open space before the church and start, left. Pierre is heard returning.) PIERRE-But it was not his fault. (Between the two men he enters wringing his hands.) It was the fiends that did it. 'Twas his hand but-(Starting back.) They're hiding-they're hiding back of there! (He points to the broken top of the poplar tree that hangs out in the street. The men from the churchyard come front behind it.) Oh, they've been by the graves! (He covers his face with his hands and bends up and down, sobbing hysterically.) ONE OF THE MEN- What has he done (With a great shining crucifix upon a staff, the priest appears in the doorway and conies hurriedly down the steps.) FATHER BENEDICT-Pierre, in the name of God, all-hail! I greet you as one having holy lips, Since God hath chosen you to set on fire With one bright word all days to be. Pierre. 193 THE SAXONS Which way hath he gone God is waiting. The seraphim-Nay, fear me not, for I IHave been baptized with fire that hath fallen Suddenly from heaven. Which way hath he gone To the high places fly the seraphim And banners flash and fade among the clouds. The Lord of Life into my power hath given The life of him who spoke-I will forgive The bitter words. This is the day of days. Within I shine, though round about the storm Spreadeth her gloom. Even my hands are dark. The thunder peals the muster of the dead. (Faint shouts, left.) PIERRE-(Falling upon his knees.) They've bitten him! they've bitten him! Pray! pray! pray! FATHER BENEDICT-Nay, Pierre, these are shouts of them whose mouths Shall sing upon the mountains when my hand Shall rend the hound and pluck the blind from death. His breath is in the hollow of my hand, And though he taunted me and though I might- (He blows in his palm..) The dream shall be fulfilled. Throughout all time All dreams shall hail this dream a hoy thing That hath chosen from all days this holy day To wake and run. While from the Sepulcher God rolls the stone back, the dream opens hell And slips the dogs while angels have the world. Henceforth the Angel of the Resurrection, Hand in hand with the hunter's dream, shall run With fiery feet over the ages leaving Luminous the eyes of holy men. For me this is a great day. From the clouds The purposes of God, in fold on fold, Fall round and mantle me with light. Pierre, 194 THE SAXONS In what dread shape came Blindness through the halls Of the abbey, feeling for the brother's eyes In the darkness What did he say when God With one blow blotted out the moon and sun Forever, and the faces of his friends Forgiveness did he cry for, for the things- But that is past. I have been and shall be, Yesterday and to-morrow, Benedict. To-day, as nameless as the stars of heaven, Forgetful of all injuries like the winds, I rush about the earth and, like the lightning, Will strike where God shall throw me. Like the rain, I shall fall mercifully on hot eyes that lit But a few hours before with pride and scorn But now are dark forever. PIERRE- Oh! Oh! Oh! FATHER BENEDICT-I will not say that. God in his power can make The blind earth fill the sockets of the blind With balls as bright as orbs of seraphim, Or without eyes can fill the soul with light. Your brother, Pierre, fell upon the dark- My brother; I will say it and forgive- Our brother fell on darkness not last night, But long since turned his shining face away From light, and gradually as the sun Sinks, sank low down where sun and moon and stars Say, "Vanity !" and the grave is over all. (The sobbing of Pierre is heard.) But he shall rise. I thank God for this power. It shall be to my glory that for hate I returned love. Vengeance is His, and I Simply a wind to blow and do His will. God shall have praise, but I shall have praise, too. Names shall be written high and lamps shall burn '95 THE SAXONS Under them, so that all the saints may see. (He comes out in the street and stands looking in the direc- tion in which the men went, talking to himself.) Then some who with high heads walked this low earth-- 'Tis not my prayer, but if God so decide- What a day will bring forth no man can- (Turning back.) Pierre, Did he speak of me when the blow fell Did he say, "I wronged that holy man Did he say that With what word bade he farewell to the stars Did not remorse-Why do you look at me With eyes of horror PIERRE- (Sh u ddering.) Out into the dark As if to- (He presses his hands into his eyes.) FATHER BENEDICT-With no word PIERRE- "The dogs! the dogs !" FATHER BENEDICT-And called, then, I suppose, upon the dwarf. Did he appear and give him back his eyes I judge not, from these tears that trickle down. And did no sinner's wail go up to God God, Pierre, will plant eyes in his blind soul. With what cry hoisted he sail for the dark land PIERRE-(Between sobs.) "Father-Woden !" FATHER BENEDICT-Ha, and he saw him, then! Cried to the Father that the heathen god Was putting out his eyes! 'Tis well. In that Last flash God showed him whence the darkness came. (One of the men who came back with Pierre whispers to the Priest.) PIERRE-Lord Jesus knows that it was not his fault. i96 THE SAXONS FATHER BENEDICT-(Amiazed.) Did he do that, Pierre, did he do that PIERRE-'Twas not his fault. FATHER BENEDICT- Pitt out his eyes himself! PIERRE-Oh, in his fever- FATHER BENEDICT- What will sin not do! PIERRE-And someone- FATHER BENEDICT- Rather than look upon my face! By this deed he admits the charge I made. PIERRE-And someone-someone told him of the dream, How that the dogs should tear him- FATHER BENEDICT- Stop right there! You come down here to cast his blood on me I see the hand inside this hellish glove. (He turns and conies straight out into the street.) PIERRE-( Timidly.) Twas that that did it. FATHER BENEDICT-(Lifting his hand and shouting aloud.) Go back, men, go back! We wvill stay here! This I will not forgive. (He returns toward the church and climbs the steps. On top lie stops, stands for a moment, then sets his crucifix in the doorzway and conmes back down. Pierre, fearing he is about to be attacked, draws back. The priest fol- lows him.) I know who sent you down here and I know Why. (Shaking his finger.) Pierre, had this word not been distilled Under old fangs and put in your young mouth, This sting should cost you something. As it is, In you I overlook it. (Hoarse with wrath.) The old snake! God shall pass judgment between me and him. The seraphim shall burn his mouth with coals. 197 THE SAXONS Accursed envy! He beneath the wreck Of Babel lies and thence looks out and sees Me in white garments on the mount of God Going toward glory, and it rankles in him. (Women appear in the doorway.) And so he seeks to terrify my soul With: "Hide from the lightning! God is in it !" As though I went toward Ramoth-Gilead With Ahab's hand smoking with prophets' blood. That is why he told you to tell me this. But I will not be terrified by him. (Pierre backs out.) Accursed envy! And you tell him so. Much rather would he see the brother lost- (The women press too close and the crucifix tumbles down the steps.) What is it you do Go back in there! God's curse- (Looking after Pierre.) On any man who would much rather see A dear son lost than see me glorified. Tell hien to hide. The wind that curls these clouds Is the same wind that blew last night. Does he With black mouth cry to me my hand is red If it be, if he think so, you tell him to stand On his wrecked gable and watch Benedict Walk right straight up to God with this red hand And take the crown and leave no finger marks. (On tip-toe, Madam Valmy steals down the steps to recover the crucifix.) As for his charge that I have done this deed, Tell him it smells of Hell.-Go back in there! (Madam Valmy goes back up the steps and the women with- draw from the door.) Daunted shall I be by lying lips Shall flelial reign' Shall God call twice and thrice i98 THE SAXONS I will not leave my cup of glory stand Untouched because the old snake cannot drink; Because he, having wormwood on his lips, Cries: "God boils in the wine upon the heights " I will drink it. (Armed and with Jacques Sar at their head, the men enter silent, their faces showing disappointment. In the disorder in which they enter, there are traces of three lines into which they had been drawn up.) FATHER BENEDICT- We will go, men. (The men brighten up and become turbulent, and the three lines immediately reappear. The priest walks back to- ward the church.) Pick up- (A mail goes toward the crucifix that lies on the ground. The Priest steps upon the steps and turns, facing the mhen. While he speaks, Jacques Sar marches the lines right and wheels them around so as to face left, the direction in which Pierre came and went. For others who keep coming in, he finds places in the lines and, examining weapons and moving the men about, goes ,up and down with the air of an old commander.) FATHER BENEDICT- Men, This is the grandest day that ever mixed Her golden hair with banners. The hunter's dream, That flashed and vanished in the night, after Lying like out Lord three days in darkness, Bursts like a shining angel upon the world (He receives the crucifix.) And dazzles. We see not clearly, for the light Blinds as the darkness doth. All night the earth Tumbed as a man in fever. Saints on fire Walked grandly on the mountain combs and called, And the graves opened, and the silent ones- What can it mean that of the churchyard dead '99 THE SAXONS Only the soldiers rose And that, too, when Hell's hand was heavy on the brother Men, At midnight riding down the mountain, I Saw wonders and heard things I dare not tell. What the hounds are I know not, but I know One up there hath a snare laid for them. And I- I see my name in fire on those clouds. These winds shall blow it luminous, and all The world shall see it. and all time. Then some Who now accuse me will comne round with smiles. For I will not be terrified by him. (He says something tinder his breath and conies quickly down the steps anld out into the street 7where he shouts after Pierre.) Tell the old man f go upon this chase Out of no love for him or for his monk, For I despise them both. You Tel! him just what I sav and why I go. Tell him the storm hath spoken to me. Say I saw a hand of fire in the night Beckon, and heard a trumpet peal in heaven. He thinks I am a coward. So I am; I fear to disobey the voice of God, And therefore go. Listen to me, Pierre! You tell him this: Had Heaven not delivered Its orders to me, by the throne of God, Not a spear-flear me '-not a single spear Should redden in the rescue of this monk. As for his charge that I have done this deed. Tell him it smells of Hell. (Thuider right. The priest turns and for a time contein- plates the sky in silence.) One of you men Run and ask Pierre which way hath he gone, For there are trails and trails. 2c0 THE SAXONS (A man darts out, left.) JACQUES SAR- Fly fast now, Noel. FATHER BENEDICT-(Rapt, looking off at the sky, right.) Why should the storm move that way, if the chase- (Turning left.) Lies yon way We will wait. (Aloud.) God seems to call Up yonder where the lightning cracks the sky. (After a silence, with his eves upon the heavens.) Like golden links your names shall hang to mine And dangle down the ages. Men shall say: "This man and that man were with Benedict Up in the glory of the Lord that day When heathendoni went tumbling down to hell." Oh, vou shall live forever envied men! (He walks about butried in hi's thought. Occasionally hie stops for a mnomnent in meditation, theni resumes his pace. Old Jacques. hesitating/l and stopping whenever the priest stops, follows him about as though he zheished to comnnumicate somnething, but was uncertain whether to break his reverv. The meen watch then in silence.) FATHER BENEDICT-(Approaching the lines, his chin still upon his breast.) Something I have to tell you, hitherto, For his own good. religiously concealed. For adulation maketh pride to swell And man becomes an idol. (Looking up.) Years ago A prophesy wvent sounding down the south That sent a thrill through Christendom. From Rome The echo came to us. The rumor ran That in the Saxon forest lived a boy Through whom the North should come contrite to God: A shepherd as was Mloses and therefore 201 THE SAXONS Prepared to lead his people. Friar Paul Was sent to flash the light upon his way And win him unto Christ, to make his staff Put forth green Christian buds. With what result I need not tell you. Few, few men can bear Honor and the favor of the Most High. He, Moses himself could not. "Watch Moses now;" And struck the rock. And then God: "Now watch Me; And gave his staff to Joshua. And here I find a lesson, this: Glory shall pass From the proud man to the humble man. To-day I take that prophesy up in my hands And with it seek the mountains of our God, And Heathendom shall fall like Jerich- THE MIAN-(Returning.) Says He don't know which way. Lost him in the dark. (Thc crowsd stands silent, not knowing which way to go. A woman appears in the doorway.) WOMAN-Madam Bacqueur in her swoon hath thrice cried out: "O keep from the mountains! Look! See there! The fire of God falls on the hills. See! See! FATHER BENEDICT-The voice of Hell that fears our com- ing. Woman, Baths her entranced brows with holy water. ( The wonan goes back in the church. Jacques speaks to the Priest.) A 'IAN-(After a pause, front the rear line.) Let's go toward the abbey. ANOTHER-(In the front line, pointing right.) This way. ANOTHER-(SakinZg his head, as though fearing the storm.) No. SECOND 'MAN-(Shoutilng, left.) Jules! 202 THE SAXONS (He walks on a few paces and, frowning with impatience, beckons in with his arm.) FATHER BENEDICT-This is a sudden beam on the dark web. JACQUES SAR-And his blood shed down yonder by the bridge. FATHER BENEDICT-And the storm moving toward that mountain top. (To the mnen.) Jacques tells nie that our honored bailiff lies His martial limbs half hanging in the grave. JACQUES SAR-I fear the bell will toll 'fore night. FATHER BENEDICT-(Dccplay mnoved.) The dead Soldiers are uip to meet their sergeant. (He 7walks qiuckly back and climbs the steps.) Men, Wing and wing this terrible morning, fly Two avenging angels toward one mountain top. One in his hand two bloody eyeballs bears; The other, an old man's picture with a wound Swollen and with Death's finger in it. Fixed On two eves are their four eyes. Toward one man Four wings and two bright swords are on their way. They light! They beckon me! I see it all! From two wounds two red trails converge in one! The hounds that have their noses on the track Of the brother, had their tongues in Jardin's blood! The big white talbot is Caitzler! (There is a mnomnent's silence so intense that the wind is heard whistling amzong the white crosses in the churchyard. Then a terrible shout goes up.) SHOUTs-Down with him! To Hell with the hounds! Lead us! Lead us! (Jacques strikes with his sword and the lines inove swiftly 203 THE SAXONS to tihe left, the direction of the abbey.) FATHER BENEDICT-(TO himself.) God's purposes begin where man's prayers end. JACQUES SAR-(0n fire.) Right about! Face the heathen and face God! (The lines wheel and face right, the direction in which the storm is nioving.) FATHER BENEDICT-( Transported.) This is most wonderful. _Men, Hell hath here Packed all her seeds in one infernal bloom. And who knew till this beam fell where to turn Henceforth let no man say he knows the way That God will move on the morrow, for in a flash The hem of his great garment passeth by. (Bacquenr enters with an armnful of swords and spears. On his left shoulder hans, great shield.) JACQUES SAR-Here s twio men have none. CRIES- Here, Jules! Hand me one! FATIIER BExNE DICT-(Half to hnimself, hiis face upturned to tire sky.) What have I done that Thou shouldst honor me With glory such as no man ever-Nay, 'Tis not for me this glory is prepared, For I have ever labored for another. Thou movest in her and she in me and I Am but a cloud upon her gale and storm. Let no man move a foot. I know my time. You see me but vou see not what I see. God hath arranged to bring us face to face. This is no combat between merely men. All Heathendom gives chase in this big hound. Our brother stands for all men lost to God. And m! hand is the hand of Christendom. (Bacqtcrir offers hiitr a sword.) 204 THE SAXONS Nay, I have weapons that ye know not of. (Looking off at the storm.) The lightnings whip the foothills and the clouds Sag with the weight of the wrath of the Lord of Hosts. (His face becomes luminipous.) Who hears what I hear Speak out. Then be still. (With an old scarlet flag, amid the folds of which sections of a white cross are seen, Hugh Capet comes running in. Seeilng the Priest entranced upon th steps and the men hushed with awe, lhe checks himself.) FATHER BENEDICT-(Lifting his hand, without turning.) If any man moves I will call down fire. (A silence.) To-day the last great tower of Hell goes down. (He combes dewn the steps.) JACQUES SAR-(His voice quiVering with em;iotioni.) This banner once waved over Acre, men. HUGH CAPET-And we will plant it on Jerusalem. SHOUTs-God's with us! God's with us! FATHER BENEDICT-(Lifting his hand.) Hear my last word. JACQUES SAR- Silence! FATHER BENEDICT- Let there be No shouting or any noise. Let us go Quietly as befits the Sabbath day. The vales blow white. Yonder the mountains stand Like quiet altars waiting sacrifice. You, with the holy banner of God, stand here. Now if there be among you one who hath Guilt, looking upon this storm let him step Out, lay his spear down and stay here and not Tempt the wrath of God. For soon upon the heights The heavens shall blacken and there shall be a loud Burst of His power and the shining glory of God. I pause a moment. Let that man step out Now. (A pause.) 205 THE SAXONS Then you have naught to fear. The innocent Are safe. God's shield is over them. Come. JACQUES SAR-The signal, Father. FATHER BENEDICT- The signal shall be this: JACQUES SAR-Attention, men! F.ATTIER BENEDICT- I shall uplift the Christ. (He raises the crucifix.) And God, burning the clouds to ashes, will throw Lightning upon Antichrist. Then you Charge. (A roll of thunder.) The trumpets of the heavenly host. JACQUES SAR- Now, men! Up with your spears. FATHER BENEDICT- There shall be wonders done. (He starts right, the lines following him.) In years to come, men, tell your children this: When God crowned Benedict upon the heights It was not Benedict but the Church He crowned. (They go oft silent. The scene has become darker and the wind is heard whistling among the white crosses in the churchyard. Back in the church through the open door is seen the beautifully carven Christ with overhead in golden letters the inscription: FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY-. The DO has never been put on.) SCENE THREE-The mountain side, as in Scene one of the third Act. There is heard a steady roar as of wind over vast forests, and all about are signs of an approach- ing storm. At intervals an unnatural, ghastly light as from rifted clouds swiftly driving overhead passes across the scene. In a moment the gloom has returned and the trees are racing back into the shadow. 206 THE SAXONS Back upon the ledge, his long yellow hair tossing in the wind, stands Rudolph watching the gathering of the storm. RUDOLPH-( To himself.) Flying on starless wings the Powers of night Keep back the bird of morning till the Norns Have traced the lines of guilt and set the snare. (A moment later Canzler appears coming down the sheep- path.) CANZLER-What was that shouting down the mountain for RUDOLPH-(Turning quickly.) The whirling of the wheel! CANZLER- The wheel RUDOLPH-(Hurrying forward.) Look there Where the vast felly flies! Far out it swings And sways the forests. Look at it, Canzler! For miles around below the mountain heads The storm goes racing in a wheel whose hub Turns on the village spire. (Canzler follows him back along the ledge.) Awhile ago, Divinely guided through the mountain ways, A common cloud, afloat upon the dark, Blotted the stars that glimmered in the tarn And whirled into a wheel. Around the rim Flows the white cloud-wool, and a thread is drawn Under the hills. The distaffs of the Norns Grow big with fate, and, sitting there in silence, Their withered fingers from this flying skein Loop off the lives of men. Val-father takes In his almighty hand the reins of things And drives them either way through earth and air. (Shouting far down the mountain.) CANZLER-I heard that far up on the mountain tops. 207 TrIlE SAXONS RUDOLPH-In some procession honoring their god. CANZLER-BUt louder now. RUDOLPH- And nearer. CANZLER- Where is Fritz RUDOLPH-Rounding the sheep up. (Shouting again.) They have crossed the bridge. CANZLER-( Turning and looking at Rudolph.) Honoring their god upon the mountain side RUDOLPH-'Tis the great dragon crawling through the hills. CANZLER-No wonder darkness fills the valley. (After a pause.) And in a storm like this! RUDOLPH- Hunger. CANZLER- No doubt. And there is hunger in the heavens, too. RUDOLPH-And the two face. (They listen.) The Asas all night long Were loud above the mountains as though some Vast purpose long pent up were finding way. CANZLER-And Selma heard it like a river flow Washing the peaks and down the wooded slopes Into the valley where the dragon lies. (Shouts still afar but growing nearer.) That belly levels all things in the plain. (Thunder.) RUDOLPH-Val-father's voice from out the clouds mid-air Meets with the dragon's voice and devours it. Hark! CANZLER-It may lay hands on Fritz. (He goes back along the ledge and starts down the moun- tain.) RUDOLPH- Be careful, chief! The wheel moves this way. CANZLER- It is following them. RUDOLPH-Here he comes running up the mountain! CANZLER- Where RUDOLPH-Wait till the lightning shows the slopes again. 208 T HE I S A X ONS (They listen. The shouts draw nearer.) CANZLER-The Bailiff's blood has roused them. RUDOLPH- With that blood Val-father has enticed it from its lair To tempt the mountains and to seek for more. (Lightning.) Up here! Coming up here! CANZLER-(Shouting.) Fritz! RUDOLPH- The dark bloom, Whose scattered roots the years have fed, at last Unfolds its petals to the sun. The North In all her graves is waiting for the dawn. To-day Val-father lays his shadow by. CAN ZLER-Go up the rocks and blow the battle horn. (Rudolph goes leaping up the rocks.) And let the battle cry be "Dachtelfeld"! RUDOLPH-The peaks are tipped with day! (He disappears up the rocks.) VOICE OF SELMA-(Above.) Where are you, Father (Lightning.) CAN!ZLER-Stay from the timber! Don't get near the trees! (Thunder.) Stay in the open, Selma! (The form of Canzler, who stands back upon the ledge, dis- appears in the gathering gloom.) VOICE OF SELMA- Father! VOICE OF FRITZ-(Down the mountain.) Chief! (There is heard, at first scarcely audible but rising more and more, low music as of spirit voices. Above, just where the sheep-path enters the bushes, Selina appears coming hurriedly down. Hearing the music, she stops and, listening, becomes as one entranced.) SELMA-(Almost in a whisper.) Father! (Canzler comes forward into view. The girl, still trans- 2019 TYHE SAXONS ported and more like a being of the air, has come further down the path.) Oh. hear them! CANZLER- Go back, go back, child! They shall not harm you. (She rushes to hint.) They will not come up here. (The girl lays her hand on7 his arm. They listen.) Only Val-father's voice along the storm. VOICE OF FRITZ-Chief ! CANZLER- It is Fritz. SELMA- The trees-the trees are singing. The wild vines and the mountain flowers-Oh! O Father, see! CANZLER- What ails you, child SELMIA-The elves-the storm elves gather in the air, And up the mountain there- Hear them. Father! Hear the fairies calling! Oh. the white ftakes! The dog-wood blooms are falling! (She reans wildly up the path.) He's coming. Father! Oswald's coming! (She disappears among the bushes. In the rear Fritz is seen climnbing uip the -mountain.) FRITZ-( Who goes leaping onl uip the rocks.) Chief ! CANZLER-Here I am. (Fritf leaps back down to the ledge and comes hurrying for- ward.) FRITZ-(Out of breath.) They've killed-they've killed the sheep! Like hungry (logs. It's us they're after, though. Dashed in and slashed them with their swords. Hear that! (Wild shouting below.) That's for ozt- blood. (They listen.) If we don't arm, chief,- CANNZLER- Hark! 210 THE SAXONS FRITZ-(After a pause.) If we don't arm- (Up the miountain sounds the battle horn.) To have lived to see this day! (He hurries up the path and disappears.) CANZLER-Val-father's winds have blown them here to die. (He goes uip the path. The muiisic is nlow distinctly heard above the noise of the stormii. A flash of lightning re- veals, in the rear, the dwarf climbing uip the mountain, leading Oswald by the hanid. Inistantly loud and pro- longed shotitin- bursts up fromt abouit a hundred feet below. The two comze hutrrying forward along the ledge. Oswald's face is streaked with blood and fronm the end of its black cbrd, his silver crucifix, likewise stained, danigles almost to his kniees. Gradually it slips lower and lozuer till it finally falls and lies upon the grass. Having reached the path, they miiake their way up and are soon lost to viezw. That peculiar light which one sometimes sees when clouds are rifted during a storm illumines the scenie and makes the green grass and trees show almost like flamne. Below, voices are heard, and soon, climbin, utp the miiountain, Father Benedict appears, his face pale, his eyes set before hint. Upon the skirt of his snow-white chasuble there is seent, slant- ing down, a red streak as though he had pressed against a bloody sword-blade. Behind hint, scattered, comte, first, Hugh Capet with the great flag blown straight out in the wind, then Jules Bacqueur and Jacques Sar, their swords drippin-, anid. after thenm, the other vil- lagers. ) JULES BACQUEUR-Straight ahead. Father! Straight ahead! A VOIcE-(From below.) See them, Hugh JACQUES SAR-YOU come on; we'll find them. (Instead of coimingl forward to the path, which the bushes 211 TIH-E SAXON-\S and bowldevs hide from their view, they go pushing straight on uip the rocks.) HUGH CAPET-Come on, men! JACQUES SAR-Stay together, men! (A pause.) Hold her low, Phil! (Up the mountain sounds the battle-horn.) CRIES-Hear that! Hear that! JACQUES SAR-Don't get scared, men! CRIES-Don't get scared! Don't get scared! A VOICE-God's with us! ALL-God's with us! God's with us! HUGH CAPET-Come on, men! JACQUES SAR-Wait for the signal! \V ait for the signal, men! (All look to the priest.) Now then. JULES BACQUEUR-Now, Father. A VOICE-Now. (A pause.) HUGH CAPET-Signal! signal! (Above, sounds the battle-hornt, this time nearer.) JACQUES SAR-NOW! JULES BACQUEUR-NOW then! CRIES-'NOW! Now! NOWV! (Slowly the priest lifts the crucifix.) Ai.L-God's with us! God's with us! (They go springing up the mizountain. A flash of lightning strikes the uplifted crucifix and clings for a mnoment like a wreath of blue fire round the brow of the priest whose face shows white as chalk. The crucifix slips from his fingers and he reels and falls backwards.) CRIES-Men! Men! 'Men! (As the men turn and see the priest, whomn Jules has caught in his arms, borne backward down the slope, some of them throw down their arms and flee terror-stricken down the mountain. There is a loud crash of thunder 212 THE SAXONS followed, above, by the shouts of the Saxons who come charging down upon them. Attempting to rescue the priest's body, before which Bacquteiir has thrown his great shield, the villagers receive the shock and are driven back fighting down the miouintain, Fritz hacking at Huigh Capet's head with his battle ax, Rudolph charg- ilng old Jacquies, while Canzler with one slash of his meagic sword slices in two Bacqueiur's great shield which falls like paper from his hands. Even after they have disappeared, fromn dozen the mnountain can still be heard the voice of old Jacques calling to his mnen in, God's name to stand. Up the slope, caught in the bushes where it fell, hangs the cruicifix, the figure of which is tarnished and melted by the lightning. On the ledge just below, outstretched upon the grass, his fingers bent as though still clutching the crucifix, lies the body of the priest. The scene gradually becomes darker and the thunder is still heard reverberating throzugh the tnouin- tains.) SCENE FOUR-A forest on the mounmtain tops. Un- touched by the storm, which has swept the lower slopes, the trees here stand calmn and mnotionless. Flowers are everywhere. Far off, between the innumnerable trunks, is seen a space of dark sky rifted near the horizon and bright wzcith the red and gold of the new dawn. Fromn the left, into this forest stillness, silent as the scene itself, comes the dwarf leading Os-wvald by the hand. There is now no blood upon the latter's face which, slightly upturned, is lighted as with a sold consciouts of a great crisis and hear- ing its approach in the least noise. Suddenly, from far to the right, the voice of Selma is heard. Instantly the dwarf vanishes. Os-wald starts and stands as one in a dream. 213 TIH-E SAXONS SELMA- (At first afar, then drawing nearer and nearer until at last she rushes in gleefully. She is dressed, as in the first Act, in green, and uhoni her head she wears a coronet of wild-flowers.) Oswald! Oswald! Oswald! Oswald! Oswald! (She starts, and throwes herself at his feet, covering her face with her hands. The disc of the sun, emerging above the line of clouds, shoots its myriad golden needles through the wood. Revealed in the light, like things seen in a mirage, a number of fairies are discerned watching the two. From far downt the mountain comes the sound of a bell tolling.) 214