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Collected plays and poems (vol. 2) / by Cale Young Rice. Rice, Cale Young, 1872-1943. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-251-31802686v2 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. Collected plays and poems (vol. 2) / by Cale Young Rice. Rice, Cale Young, 1872-1943. Doubleday, Page, Garden City, N.Y. : 1915, c1908. 2 v. : port. ; 20 cm. Coleman Microfilm. v. 1-2. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1995. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN05059.07 KUK) Printing Master B92-251. 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. COLLECTED PLAYS AND POEMS This page in the original text is blank. COLLECTED PLAYS AND POEMS BY CALE YOUNG RICE VOLUME TWO GARDEN CITY NEW YORK DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1915 Copyright, I904, I909, ig9o, by DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMIUANY 11 rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian Copyright, i908, i909, i9i5, by CALE YOUNG RICE CONTENTS MANY GODS " All's Well". The Proselyte Recants Love in Japan . Maple Leaves on Miyajima. Typhoon. Penang When the Wind Is Low. The Pagoda Slave . The Ships of the Sea. Kinchinjunga . The Barren Woman . By the Taj Mahal . Love's Cynic. In a Tropical Garden The Wind's Word . The Shrine of Shrines From a Felucca The Egyptian Wakes PAGE 5 8 1 2 '5 ' 7 '9 22 24 27 28 3I 34 37 44 47 48 49 50 CONTENTS The Imam's Parable. Songs of a Sea-Farer. A Song of the Sects . The City . Via Amorosa . Dusk at Hiroshima . In a Shinto Temple Garden. Far Fujiyama . On Miyajima Mountain. Old Age. On the Yang-tse-Kiang . The Sea-Armies . The Christian in Exile The Parsee Woman . Shah Jehan to Mumtaz Mahal Princess Jehanara . A Singhalese Love Lament . On the Arabian Gulf. The Ramessid . . Immortal Foes . The Conscript The Cross of the Sepulchre Alpine Chant . The Man of Might . In Time of Awe . Sunrise in Utah. Consolation. PAGE 5' 53 55 58 . 59 6i 62 63 64 66 67 69 71 73 75 77 78 8i 82 83 85 87 88 go 9I 93 94 Vl CONTENTS Waves . Vis Ultima Meredith Vii PAGE . . . 96 . . . 98 . . . 100 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles di Tocca, a play. NIRVANA DAYS Invocation The Strong Man to His Sires The Fairies of God . A Song of the Old Venetians Nirvana Days The Young to the Old Off the Irish Coast . A Vision of Venus and Adonis Somnambulism. Serenata Magica . O-Shichi and Moto . A Prayer . The Infinite's Quest . Lad and Lass. At Stratford . The Image Painter Wanda. lo9 245 246 25I 253 255 268 270 27I 273 275 278 287 288 289 291 292 294 Viii In a Storm Antagonists Seeds . The Soul's Return Romance On the Atlantic . The Great Buddha A Nikko Shrine The Question. I'll Look No More Night's Occultism Uncrowned Written in Hell At the Helm Dead Love Mortal Sin Sea-Mad . Wormwood Quest and Requital Love in Extremis. Quarrel . Of the Flesh . A Death Song. On Ballyteigue Bay Night-Riders Honor. . . Brude. . . CONTENTS PAGE 298 . 299 301 . . . . . . . 302 . . . . . . . 302 304 . 306 )f Kamakura to the Sphinx 307 309 . . . . . . I 3II . .. . . . . . 3313 314 315 . .. . . . . . 3i6 . I. . . . . . 321 . .. . . . . . 322 -. .... 324 . .. . . . . . 32,5 . ... . . . 327 . . . 329 . . . . . . ... - -336 . . ... . . . 338 . .. . . . . . 340 . . . ..I 343 . . . ... . 345 . .. . . . . . 349 . .. . . . . . 352 355 CONTENTS SONG-SURF With Omar . Jael To the Sea . The Day-Moon A Sea-Ghost . On the Moor . The Cry of Eve lary at Nazareth Adelil. Intimation In July From Above By the Indus. Evocation . The Child God Gave. The Winds . . Transcended . . Love's Way to Childhood Autumn. Shinto . Maya. A Japanese Mother . The Dead Gods . Call to Your Mate, Bob-WI The Dying Poet . PAGE 377 . ... .390 . . . . . .....396 . . . . . 399 . .. . . . 40I . .. . . 403 . .. . . . 405 . .. . . . 409 . I. . . . 412 . .. . .414 .. ... 4I5 . .. . . . 4i8 . .. . . . 4I9 . .. . . . 42I . .. . . . 423 . .. . . . 425 . .. . . . 428 . 429 . .. . . . 43I . .. . . . 432 . . 434 . .. . . . 436 ... . . 438 hite. 442 444 ix C[)IE'.NTS The Outcast . April. August Guests To a Dove At Tintern Abbey Oh, Go Not Out . Human Love . The Victory . At Winter's End . Mother-Love . To a Warbler.. . Songs to A. H. R. The World's. and Mine Love-Call in Spring Mating. Untold Love-Watch . At Amalfi The Atoner . . The Ramble . Return Lisette . From One Blind . In a Cemetery Waking Storm-Ebb Lingering PAGE . 447 450 . 452 . 453 .... 455 . 457 . 459 . 460 461 463 465 467 468 469 470 47' 47' 473 474 477 480 482 483 485 486 488 x [TENT Faun-Call . The Lighthouseman . Serenity. Wanton June . Spirit of Rain. Tearless Sunset-Lovers. The Empty Cross Song. To Her Who Shall Come Storm-Twilight . War Wildness. Before Autumn . Fulfilment . Last Sight of Land . Silence . DAVID David, a play. 'S xi PAGE . 490 492 494 . 496 . 498 . 499 50I 503 505 So6 509 . .. . . .510 5I" 5I2 5I4 5i6 5I8 I.. . 525 co)N This page in the original text is blank. MANY GODS FIRST PUBLISHED I9IO To FINIS KING FARR AN OLD AND DEAR COMRADE This page in the original text is blank. "ALL'S WELL" The illimitable leaping of the sea, The mouthing of his madness to the moon, The seething of his endless sorcery, His prophecy no power can attune, Swept over me as, on the sounding prow Of a great ship that steered into the stars, I stood and felt the awe upon my brow Of death and destiny and all that mars. II The wind that blew from Cassiopeia cast Wanly upon my ear a rune that rung; The sailor in his eyrie on the mast Sang an "All's well," that to the spirit clung 5 MANY GODS Like a lost voice from some aerial realm Where ships sail on forever to no shore, Where Time gives Immortality the helm, And fades like a far phantom from life's door. III "And is all well, 0 Thou Unweariable, Who launchest worlds upon bewildered space," Rose in me, "All or did thy hand grow dull Building this world that bears a piteous race O was it launched too soon or launched too late Or can it be a derelict that drifts Beyond thy ken toward some reef of Fate On which Oblivion's sand forever shifts" IV The sea grew softer as I questioned - calm With mystery that like an answer moved, And from infinity there fell a bairn, The old peace that God is, tho all unproved. 6 MANY GODS 7 The old faith that tho gulfs sidereal stun The soul, and knowledge drown within their deep, There is no world that wanders, no not one Of all the millions, that He does not keep. THE PROSELYTE RECANTS (In Japan) Where the fair golden idols Sit in darkness and in silence While the temple drum beats solemnly and slow; Where the tall cryptomerias Sway in worship round about And the rain that is falling whispers low; I can hear strange voices Of the dead and forgotten, On the dimly rising incense I can see The lives I have lived, And my lives unbegotten, NVamu Ainida Butsu pity me! 8 MANY GODS I was born this karma Of a mother in Chuzenji, Where Nantai-zan looks down into the lake; Where the white-thronged pilgrims Climb to altars in the clouds And behold the holy eastern dawn awake. It was there I wandered Till a priest of the Christians With the crucifix he wore compelled my gaze. In grief I had grown, So upon its grief I pondered. Namu Amizda Butsu, keep my days! It was wrong, he told me, To pray Jiso for my children, And Binzuru for healing of my ills. And our gods so many Were conceived, he said, in sin, From Lord Shaka to the least upon the hills. 9 MANY GODS In despair I listened For my heart beat hopeless, Not a temple of my land had helped me live. But alas that day When I let my soul be christened! Namu Amida Bulsu, 0 forgive! For the Christ they gave me As the only Law and Lotus, As the only way to Light that will not wane, May perchance have power For the people of the West, But to me he seemed the servitor of pain. For in pain he perished As one born to passion: In some other life no doubt his sin was great, Tho they told me no, Those who followed him and cherished. Namu Amida Butsu, such is fate. so MANY GODS So again to idols Of the Buddha who is boundless, While the temple drum is beating thro the rain, I have turned from treason Into Meditation's truth, From the strife the Western god regards as gain. And if now I'm dying As the voices tell me, To the lives that I must live I'll meekly go; Till my long grief ends In Nirvana, and my sighing. Namu Amida Butsu, be it so! LOVE IN JAPAN I Dragon-fly lighting On the temple-bell, Whose soul do you bear On the Day of the Dead The soul of my lover Ah me, the plighting Between two hearts That were never wed! Dragon-fly, quickly, The priest is coming! Oh, the boom Of the bitter bell! 1 2 MANY GODS Now you are gone And my tears fall thickly. How of Heaven Do the gods make Hell! II The semi is silent (Autumn rains!) The wind-bells tinkle (How chill it is!) The quick lights come On the shoji-panes. Come, 0 Baku, Eater of dreams! The maple darkens (Pale grow I!) The near night shivers (The temple fades.) r3 14 MANY GODS Haunting love Will not cease to cry! Come, 0 Baku, Eater of dreams! The wild mists gather (Ah, my tears!) The pane-lights vanish (For some there is rest.) But for me - The remembered years! Come, 0 Baku, Eater of dreams! MAPLE LEAVES ON MIYAJIMA The summer has come, The summer has gone, And the maple leaves lift fairy hands That ripple upon the winds of dawn Where the dim pagoda stands. They ripple and beckon yearningly To their sister fairies over the sea, But help comes not, So they fall and flee From Autumn over the sands. And down the mountain. And into the tide, Some are blown where the sampans glide, And some are strewn by the temple's side, I MANY GODS And some by the torii. But Autumn ever Pursues them till, As ever before, She has her will, And leaves them desolate, dead and still, Ravished afar and wide; Leaves them desolate; crying shrill, "No beauty shall abide!" TYPHOON (At tHong-kong) I was weary and slept on the Peak; The air clung close like a shroud, And ever the blue-fly at my ear Hung haunting and hot and loud; I awoke and the sky was dun With awe and a dread that soon Went shuddering thro my heart. for I knew That it meant typhoon! typhoon! In the harbour below, far down, The junks like fowl in a flock Were tossing in wingless terror, or fled Fluttering in from the shock. The city, a breathless bend Of roofs, by the water strewn, 17 MANY GODS Lay silent and waiting, yet there was none Within it but said typhoon! Then it came, like a million winds Gone mad immeasurably, A torrid and tortuous tempest stung By rape of the fair South Sea. And it swept like a scud escaped From craters of sun or moon, And struck as no power of Heaven could, Or of Hell - typhoon! typhoon! And the junks were smitten and torn, The drowning struggled and cried, Or, dashed on the granite walls of the sea, In succourless hundreds died. Till I shut the sight from my eyes And prayed for my soul to swoon: If ever I see God's face, let it Be guiltless of that typhoon! 118 PENANG I want to go back to Singapore And ship along the Straits, To a bungalow I know beside Penang; Where cocoanut palms along the shore Are waving, and the gates Of Peace shut Sorrow out forevermore. I want to go back and hear the surf Come beating in at night, Like the washing of eternity over the dead. I want to see dawn fare up and day Go down in golden light; I want to go back to Penang! I want to go back! I want to go back to Singapore And up along the Straits 19 20MANY GODS To the bungalow that waits me by the tide. Where the Tamil and Malay tell their lore At evening - and the fates Have set no soothiess canker at life's core. I want to go back and mend my heart Beneath the tropic moon, While the tamarind-tree is whispering thoughts of sleep. I want to believe that Earth again With Heaven is in tune. I want to go back to Penang! I want to go back! I want to go back to Singapore And ship along the Straits To the bungalow I left upon the strand. Where the foam of the world grows faint before It enters, and abates In meaning as I hear the palm-wind pour. I want to go back and end my days Some evening when the Cross 20 MANY GODS 2 1 On the southern sky hangs heavily far and sad. I want to remember when I die That life elsewhere was loss. I want to go back to Penang! I want to go back! WHEN THE WIND IS LOW (To A. II. R.) W\hen the wind is low, and the sea is soft, And the far heat-lightning plays On the rim of the \Vest where dark clouds nest On a darker bank of haze; When I lean o'er the rail with you that I love And gaze to my heart's content; I know that the heavens are there above - But you are my firmament. When the phosphor-stars are thrown from the bow And the watch climbs up the shroud; When the dim mast dips as the vessel slips Thro the foam that seethes aloud; 22 MANY GODS 2.3 I know that the years of our life are few, And fain as a bird to flee, That time is as brief as a drop of dew - But you are Eternity. THE PAGODA SLAVE (At Shuae Dagohn, in old Rangoon) All night long the pagoda slave Hears the wind-bells high in the air Tinkle with low sweet tongue and grave In praise of Lord Gautama. All night long where the lone spire sends Its golden height to the starry light He hears their tune And watches the moon And fears he shall never reach Nirvana. Round and round by a hundred shrines Glittering at the great Shwe's base Falls the sound of his feet mid lines Droned from. the sacred Wisdom. 24 MANY GODS Round and round where the idols gaze So pitiless on his pained distress He passes on, Pale-eyed and wan- A pariah like the dogs behind him. Oh, what sin in a life begot Thousands of lives ago did he sin That he is now by all forgot, Even by Lord Gautama Oh, what sin, that the lowest shun His very name as a thing of shame - A sound to taint The winds that faint From the high bells that hear it uttered! Midnight comes and the hours of morn, Tapers die and the flowers all From the most feted altars: lorn And desolate is their odour. 2 5 MANY GODS Midnight goes, but he watches still By each cold spire the moon sets fire, By every palm Whose silvery calm Pillar and jewelled porch pray under. Is it dawn that is breaking . . No, Only a star that falls in the sea, Only a wind-bell's louder flow Of praise to Lord Gautama. Faithless dawn! with illusive feet It comes too late to ease his fate. He sinks asleep A helpless heap, Tho for it he never may reach Nirvana. 26 THE SHIPS OF THE SEA Into port when the sun was setting Rode the ship that bore my love, Over the breakers wildly fretting, Under the skies above. Down to the beach I ran to meet him; He would come as he had said: And he came -in a sailor's coffin, Dead! . . . . . . O the ships of the sea! The women they set apart! The tide has nothing now to tell me, The breakers break my heart! 27 KINCHINJUTNGA (ITFhicir is t/IC next highest of mnountains) I O white Priest of Eternity, around Whose lofty summit veiling clouds arise Of the earth's immemorial sacrifice To Brahma in whose breath all lives and dies; O Hierarch enrobed in timeless snows, First-born of Asia whose maternal throes Seem changed now to a million human woes, Holy thou art and still! Be so, nor sound One sigh of all the mystery in thee found. II For in this world too much is overclear, Immortal Ministrant to many lands, From whose ice-altars flow to fainting sands 2S MANY GODS Rivers that each libation poured expands. Too much is known, 0 Ganges-giving sire; Thy people fathom life and find it dire, Thy people fathom death, and, in it, fire To live again, tho in Illusion's sphere, Behold concealed as Grief is in a tear. III Wherefore continue, still enshrined, thy rites, Tho dark Thibet, that dread ascetic, falls In strange austerity, whose trance appals, Before thee, and a suppliant on thee calls. Continue still thy silence high and sure, That something beyond fleeting may endure - Something that shall forevermore allure Imagination on to mystic flights Wherein alone no wing of Evil lights. IV Yea, wrap thy awful gulfs and acolytes Of lifted granite round with reachless snows. 29 MANY GODS Stand for Eternity while pilgrim rows Of all the nations envy thy repose. Ensheath thy swart sublimities, unscaled. Be that alone on earth which has not failed. Be that which never yet has yearned or ailed, But since primeval Power upreared thy heights Has stood above all deaths and all delights. And tho thy loftier Brother shall lie King, High-priest be thou to Brahma unrevealed, While thy white sanctity forever sealed In icy silence leaves desire congealed. In ghostly ministrations to the sun, And to the mendicant stars and the moon-nun, Be holy still, till East to Vest has run, And till no sacrificial suffering On any shrine is left to tell life's sting. THE BARREN WOMAN (Benares) At the burning-ghat, 0 Kali, Mother divine and dread, See, I am waiting with open lips Over the newly dead. I am childless and barren; pity And let me catch the soul Of him who here on the kindled bier Pays to Existence toll. See, by his guileless body I cook the bread and eat. Give me the soul he does not need Now, for conception sweet. Hear, or my lord and husband Shall send me from his door 31 MANY GODS And take to his side a fairer bride Whose breast shall he less poor. Oft I have sought thy temples, By Ganges now I seek, Where ashes of all the dead are strewn. And is my prayer not meek.- The ghats and the shrines and the people That bathe in the holy Stream Have heard my cry, 0 goddess high, Shall I not have my dream The women of Oudh and Jaipur Look on my face with scorn. Children about their garments cling, To me shall none be born2 The death-fires quiver faster, O hasten, goddess, a sign, That from this doom into my womb Thy pledge has passed, divine. 3 2 MANY GODS 33 Woe! there is naught hut ashes, Now, and the weepers go. Lone on the ghat they leave me, lone, With Jut the River's flow. Kali, I ask not jewels Nor justice, beauty nor shrift, But for the lowest woman's right, A child - tho I die of the gift! BY THE TAJ MAHAL Under the Indian stars, MIumtaz NMahal, I am sitting, Watching them wind their silent way Over your wistful Tomb; Watching the crescent prow Of the moon among them flitting, Fair as the shallop that bore your soul To Paradise's Room. Under the Indian stars, With palm and peepul about me, With dome and kiosk and minaret Mounting against the sky, I seem to see your face In all the fairness without me; 34 MANY GODS In all the sadness that fills my heart To hear your lover's cry. Under the Indian stars I look for your Jasmine Tower, Along the River whose barren bed Lies gray beneath the moon. And thro its magic doors You seem like a spirit flower, Wandering back from Allah's bourne To seek for some lost boon. Under the Indian stars I see you softly moving, Among your jewel-lit maidens there, A sweet and ghostly queen. And the scent of attar flung In your marble font seems proving That passion never can die from love, If truly love has been. '35 MANY GODS Under the Indian stars He comes, " the Shadow of Allah," Jehan, the lord of Magnificence, The liege who holds your heart. The silver doors swing back And alone with him you hallow The amorous night-whose moon has made Such visions in me start. Under the Indian stars - But the end of all is moaning! I hear his dying breath that from Your Tomb shall never die. For every jasper flower He set in its dream seems loaning To Beauty a grief, Mumtaz Mahal, And unto Fate a sigh. 36 LOVE'S CYNIC O you poets, ever pretending Love is immortal, pipe the truth! Empty your books of lies, the ending Of no passion can be -Youth. "Heaven," you breathe, "will join the broken .' Come, was the Infinite e'er wed, That He must evermore be thinking Of your wedding bed It Pipe the truth! tho it clip the glamour Out of your rhymes and rip your dream. Is death a wench you would enamour, Wistful thus, with a word-stream 37 3MANY GODS No. It is but a Sponge that passes, One the Appeaseless e'er will squeeze Back into Lethe's flood - whose lasting Is eternities. HII "False!" cry you, "and an unbeseeming Blasphemy! "- Weell, look around. Is it not only in blaspheming Truth is ever to be found Whether it be, one thing I ask you, Lovers and poets, tell, I pray, Was there ever a love-oath ended Ere the Judgment Day IV "O," you answer, "ill is in all things." But in an ancient lie what's good Is it not better just to call things What they are -not what we would .38 MANY GODS When you are clinging to your mistress, Love does seem for Eternity. Cling to her then, but know that Wanting Fools the best that be. V "Yet her brows and her eyes that murmur All the music," you say, "of God"' Press her lips but a little firmer - You will feel that they are -sod. "But there is living soul beyond them, And it is love's till all things end" Children alone build Paradises With but pence to spend. VI "Ai-ho now! that is like the cynic," Pitying runs your poet-smile, "He has sat at the Devil's clinic With some dead love up the while." 39 40MANY GODS Dead or alive are one with passions, Under the potent knife of Truth They will be seen composed of craving- And a little ruth. VII "Then the world on a lie is living" Many a lie has filled its maw! "Better illusion tho than giving Such assent to a loveless Law Well, there's a saying Socratean That in his ditch the swine is sure. Yet does he prove by his contentment That it will endure VIII Clasp her close! But the truth is in you, Tho you have rhymed and rammed it down, Hid it with honey-words that win you Wreaths that you know bedeck the clown. 40 MANY GODS Kings they will call you and uplifters Of your kind Lord save the mark, That we are still for fire dependent On so false a spark. rx And so fond! for you hold immortal What has been born a day or two! "But it was destined" Ay, your portal Only has God to heed -- and you! He with his trillion thirsty planets, All in the throes of death and life, Surely has time to spare for choosing Your )ehooven wd ife! x By my faith, there is not a creature Mad as a poet, pants the breeze! Give him a mistress and he'll preach her As creation's Masterpiece. 4 r 2MANY GODS Let him but lean for half an hour Over her lips and he will swear That he would dive thro death unfathomed To regain her there. XI And believe that his oath is able! That there is not in all the sea Water enough to quench the fable Of his soul's intensity. Yet there was never a rose that blossomed And endured beyond its day. There was never a fire enkindled But Cold had its way. XII "Pessimist," is your mortal answer, W Wait till the love-wind pierces you!" Wait I have been the veriest dancer To it, and, dupe still, would do 42 MANY GODS 43 Truth to the death - shall I confess it - For but a moment on one breast. Wherefore I add -and Adam bless it! - Who loves once is like the rest. IN A TROPICAL GARDEN (Peradeniya, Ceylon) I The sun moves here as a master-mage of nature all day long, With fingers of heat and light that touch to a mystical growth all things. The spell of him puts pale Time to sleep, as an opiate strange and strong, And a waft of his wand, the wind, enchantment brings. II The python roots of the rubber-tree, where the cobra slips in peace, Are wonders that he has waved from the earth as a presage of his power. 44 MANY GODS And the giant stems of the bamboo-grass, the pool astounded, sees, Are a marvel to keep it still hour after hour. III The long lianas that reach in dream) to tree Are dazed with the sense of sap tangle of their sprays. The scarlet-hearted hibiscus stands the torrid bee Is husht upon its rim, as in amaze. y rout from tree he calls to the entranced and IV And there the palm, the talipot, with its lofty blossom- spire, The cocoanut and the slim areca listening await What sorceries of his trembling rays of equatorial fire Will next be laid upon some lesser mate. 45 MANY GODS V For all day long it is so; his hot hypnotic eye commands With steady ray; and the enchantment forth. And all night long in the voiced hyla-bands Chant of it in chill strain earth obeys and brings humid dark the high- from South to North. VI A wondrous mage is he, in a land where dreams to verity Are wrought as swift as clouds are wrought, when winds wing up the South. The mage of a land born of the sea, and destined e'er to be Beyond all fear of famishing and drouth. 46 THE WIND'S WORD A star that I love, The sea, and I, Spake together across the night. "Have peace," said the star, "Have power," said the sea; "Yea " I answered, " and Fame's delight!" The wind on his way To Araby Paused and listened and sighed and said, "I passed on the sands A Pharaoh's tomb: All these did he have - and he is dead." 47 THE SHRINE OF SHRINES There is in Egypt by the ancient Nile A temple of imperishable stone, Stupendous, columned, hieroglyphed, and known To all the world as Faith's supremest shrine. Half in debris it stands, a granite pile Gigantic, stayed midway in resurrection, An awe, an inspiration, a dejection To all who would the cryptic past divine. The god of it was Ammon, and a throng Of worshippers from Thebes the royal-gated Forever at its fervid pylons waited While priests poured ever a prophetic song. And yet this Ammon, who gave Egypt laws, Is not - and is forgot - and never was! 48 FROM A FELUCCA A white tomb in the desert, An Arab at his prayers Beside the Nile's dark water, Where the lone camel fares. An ibis on the sunset, A slow shadouf at rest, And in the caravansary Low music for the guest. Above the tawny city A gleam of minarets, Resounding the muezzin's Clear call as the sun sets. A mystery, a silence, A breathing of strange balm, A peace from Allah on the wind And on the sky his calm. 49 THE EGYPTIAN WAKES I woke at night in my eternal tomb The desert sands had hid a thousand years, And heard the Nile-crier across the gloom Calling, "The flood has come! beseech the gods!" I rose in haste, and ran amid blind fears To the barterers of grain and oil and wine, Culled for the praise and service of divine Great Isis, by the slave who for her plods. But as I passed along, woe! what was this, Strange faces and strange fashions and strange fanes Standing upon the midnight; Oh, the pains That swept across my startled thought's abyss! I moaned. My body crumbled into dust. And then my soul fled Here - where all souls must. 50 THE IMAM'S PARABLE Behold, the wind of the Desert rose, Khamsin, in a shroud of sand, And swept the Libyan waste, across To far Somali-land. His voice was thick with the drouth of death And smote the earth as a burning breath, Or as a curse which Allah saith Unto a (lemon-band. The caravan from the oasis Of palm-engirt Kirkr Shuddered and couched in shaken heaps, The horror to endure. Its mighty Sheik, like a soul in Hell Who longs for the lute of Israfel, 5' 52 MANY GOD)S Longed for the trickle of Keneh's well, Imperishably pure! Three days he longed, and the wind three days About him whirled the shroud. Then did a shrill dawn bring the sun- And a gaunt vulture-crowd. A few bleak bones on the Desert still Lie for the Judgment Day to thrill Again into life - if Allah will: Let not your heart be proud. SONGS OF A SEA-FARER Many are on the sea to-day With all sails set. The tide rolls in a restive gray, The wind blows wet. The gull is weary of his wings, And I am weary of all things. Heavy upon me longing lies, My sad eyes gaze Across sad leagues that sink and rise And sink always. My life has sunk and risen so, I'd have it cease awhile to flow. 53 54MANY GODS II All the winds of the sea weary, All the waves of the sea rest, All the wants of my heart settle Softly now in my breast. All the stars that in heaven anchor, Golden buoys of Elysian light, Send me across the gulf promise That I am faring right. So while clouds that are left lonely At the gates of the far West Wait, so still, for the moon's coming To renew their quest, I am held by a low vesper Haunting afar the vague twilight, Then with my soul at peace whisper, Hallowedly, good-night. 54 A SONG OF THE SECTS (In a Jerusalem tavern) A Latin and Greek, praise God, are we, Armenian and Copt, And we're all drunk as drunk can be, for we've together sopped. Not one of us but spits at the creed the others mouth and purr, But we all believe, we all believe, in the Holy Sepulchre! The Armenian sings The Copt comes out of Egypt-land and with a brag- gart face He'll tell you that his fathers piled the Pyramids in place. 55 MANY GODS In his Monophysite Christ we set no faith, the blasphemer ! But we all believe, we all believe, in the Holy Sepulchre! The Latin sings The Greek will curse you if you call his Ikons images, And damns your soul to Hell -no purgatory, if you please! About Procession of the Ghost he's prickly as a burr, But he believes, as we all believe, in the Holy Sepulchre! The Copt sings Of heretics God leaves unburnt, Armenians are worst, They will not celebrate the Day, that was for Christ the first. No wine with water mixed for them, as well mix heathen myrrh - Or not believe, as we all believe, in the Holy Sepulchre! MANY GODS The Greek sings The Latin swears his Roman Pope is judge infallible. Wherefore you may be very sure the Devil from his skull Will drink a toast unto all liars, who such a lie aver - Tho they believe, as we all believe, in the Holy Sepulchre! The Four again A Latin and Greek, praise God, are we, Armenian and Copt, And we're all drunk as drunk can be, for we've together sopped. Not one of us but hankers to hang all Jews on a Juniper, For we all believe, we all believe, in the Holy Sepulchre! 5 7 THE CITY Soft and fair by the Desert's edge, And on the dim blue edge of the sea, Where white gulls wing all day and fledge Their young on the high cliff's sandy ledge, There is a city I have beheld, Sometime or where, by day or dream, I know not which, for it seems enspelled As I am by its memory. Pale minarets of the Prophet pierce Above it into the white of the skies, And sails enchanted a thousand years Flit at its feet while fancy steers. No face of all its faces to me Is known - no passion of it or pain. It is but a city by the sea, Enshrined forever beyond my eyes! 58 VIA AMOROSA (To A. H. R.) When we two walk, my love, on the path The moon makes over the sea, To the end of the world where sorrow hath An end that is ecstasy, Should we not think of the other road Of wearying dust and stone Our feet would fare did each but care To follow the way alone When we two slip at night to the skies And find one star that we keep As a trysting-place to which our eyes May lead our souls ere sleep, Should we not pause for a little space And think how many must sigh 59 MANY GODS Because they gaze over starry ways With no heart-comrade by When we two then lie down to our dreams That deepen still the delight Of our wandering where stars and streams Stray in immortal light, Should we not grieve with the myriads From East of earth to West Who lay them down at night but to drown The longing for some loved breast Ah, yes, for life has a thousand gifts, But love it is gives life. Who walks thro his world alone e'er lifts A soul that is sorrow-rife. But they to whom it is given to tread The moon-path and not sink Can ever say the unhappiest way Earth has is fair to the brink. 60 DUSK AT HIROSHIMA Softly the bamboo bends As the sun sinks down unglowing, Softer the willow ends A sigh to the dusk around. Quickly the brief bat wends His flittering way, tho knowing How numb is the autumn air, That is husht of the city's sound. Temple and thatch and stream Are forgetting the light that lingers, Mountain and mist in dream Already are lost, afar. Faintingly comes the beam Of the moon-then vriewless fingers That tinkle a samisen, And astir on the East is a star. 6ji IN A SHINTO TEMPLE GARDEN Under the torii, robed in green, The old priest creeps to his shrine. Over the bridge the still stork stands, The crow caws not in the pine. Far in the distance bugles blow, War's bloody memory wakes. The priest prays on - for his sons that are dead, And the heart within him breaks. 62 FAR FUJIYA-MA Against the phantom gold of failing skies I see the ghost of Fujiyama rise And think of the innumerable eyes That have beheld its vision sunset-crowned. The peasant in his field of rice or tea, The prince in gardens dreaming by the sea, The priest to whom the semi in the tree Was but some shrilling soul's incarnate sound And as I think upon them, lo, the trance Of backward time and distant circumstance, Of Karma's all-remembering necromance, Lies suddenly before my boundless sight. It is as if, a moment, Buddhahood Were given to me; as if understood At last were vague Nirvana's vaguer good; As if time were dissolved in living light. 63 ON MIYAJ1MA MOUNTAIN To A. H. R. Out on the sea the sampans ride And the mountains brim with mist and sun. 0, the spell of Japan again Is on us! The spell of the old enchanting East, Of Buddha and many a blissful priest, The spell that has never, never ceased To haunt us ! Glad we behold the temple-tops And the lanterns in religious row Standing, like acolytes of stone, To serve us. And o'er them the old pagoda prays 64 MINANY GODS 65 Blessing upon their dreaming days, And on the eightfold sacred ways From Sorrow! Ah, and the torii too is there, Where the sea enters to his shrine When for its tidal mystery 'Tis ready. He enters now, as the nuptial sea Of love first entered our hearts, to be Lord of their tides eternally, And Master' OLD AGE I have heard the wild geese, I have seen the leaves fall, There was frost last night On the garden wall. It is gone to-day And I hear the wind call. The wind . . . that is all. If the swallow will light When evening is near; If the crane will not scream Like a soul in fear; I will think no more Of the dying year, And the wind, its seer. 66 ON THE YANG-TSE-KIANG Down the Yang-tse bat-wing junk And tatterdemalion sampan glide, Sails of brown and black and yellow swinging. Down the Yang-tse bat-wing junks Fish-eyed and gaudy take the tide, Forth to the sea in sloth they ride, The coolies singing. Off in the field the peasant toils And along the canal the low tows slip, Fruit of the red persimmon piled upon them. Off in the field the peasant toils - With lip and brow the dull years strip Bare as a tomb - for life's gray grip Has grimly drawn them. 67 68 MNAANY (;ODS High on the hill the yamen rests And the temple beside it sleeps in sun, Far in the distance faints the city dreary. High on the hill the yamen rests, And dun dead shadows o'er it run: This is the land where Time begun And now grows weary. THE SEA-ARMIES The wild sea-armies led by the wind Are following in our wake, White-crested shouting millions moving on. They have broken their camp of Calm and o'er The world rebellion make, With banner of cloud and mist above them drawn. They have heard the call of infinite Death, The ordering of his word, "Arise, go forth and conquer where ye can; For that is the only law ye know, Its mandate men have heard, Let them beware when they your path would span. "Let them beware, for I am lord Of all earth dares to name, 69 70o MANY GODS And unto you is given most my might. Ride on, ye have many a ship to rend, And many a mast to maim, And many a land to lash and soul to fright." So on they ride, a ravaging horde, From shore to shuddering shore, Beyond us in the bleak star-buried dawn; Nor know that when they have camped again And sleep, Life will restore Unto her world the hope they have withdrawn. THE CHRISTIAN IN EXILE (Mllandalay) The palms along the old fort wall are paling, The mountains in the evening light are red, The moon has dropped into the moat from heaven, A spell barbaric over all is spread. But what is that to him, a stranger lonely, In a land strange to all his faith and dim He cares not for old splendours, he would only Hear on the air a simple Sabbath hymn. The paddy-birds their snowy flight are taking From the tall tamarind unto their nest, The bullock-carts along the road are creaking, The bugles o'er the wall are sounding rest. 7' 72 MANY Gv (S On a calm jetty looking off to Mecca Sons of Mahomet watch the low day's rim. He too is waiting for it - with an echo Upon his lips of a believer's hymn. The red gate-towers rise against the twilight, The palace of the heathen king is hid, The white bridge bent across the moat beside it Seems now of all unbolinesses rid. He wishes it were so with all this city Whose Buddha-built pagodas skyward swim; But he can only gaze on them and pity - And sing within his heart a Christian hymn. THE PARSEE WOMAN (At Bombay) Cast me out from among you, I will not lay my child There, aloft, where the vultures May clamour for him, wild! The earth you say is holy, Not to be soiled by death, And a Parsee still should hold divine WN hat Zoroaster saith. Ay, and so I will hold it, But see his pale sweet face, As pure as the palest flower Left dead in Spring's embrace. The sun we worship daily Shrined it for seven years, 73 MANY GODS Then shall it go to cruel beaks, There where the sea-wind veers No, no, no! tho you send me A beggar from your door, You, my lord, whom I honour, And you, his sisters four, To whom there have come no children To make your bosoms feel How even a thought so full of throe Can make my sick brain reel. Ah, you are deaf you scorn me And loathe, as a thing defiled My lord, I am but a woman Who longs to see her child Laid safe in a tomb, entreasured Under the shrouding sod. O would I had never given birth, Or that earth had no God! 74 SHAH JEHAN TO MUMTAZ MAHAL I see as in a pale mirage The palm that o'er you sways, The waters of the Jumna wan are beating. One pearl-cloud, like a far-off Taj, A dome of grief betrays - Its beauty as was vours will be too fleeting! The world is wider than I knew Now that your face is gone! While you were here no destiny seemed boundless. So I am lost and find no clue To any dusk or dawn! Life has become a quest decayed and groundless Come back! come back ! or let me find The jungle leads at last 75 76 MANY GODS Unto your lips and bosom recreated! o somewhere I again must wind My arms about you, cast Into one word my love all unabated ! PRINCESS JEHANARA Where the road leads from Delhi to the South, And dingy camel-trains creep in the dust Past ruin-heaps of old Firozabad And Indropat unpitied of the drouth; By a lone tree, above a Pool whose sad Prayer-water all the turban-people trust, Is a heat-hidden tomb, and on it just A few faint blades of bent and grieving grass. "'Jehanara's it is-" with ready mouth A Moslem tells the travel-worn who pass To lordlier-rising tombs- "Jehanara's. One time her heart, heavy with pity, said: The covering of the poor is only grass, Let no more then be mine when I am dead." 77 A SINGHALESE LOVE LAMENT As the cocoanut-palm That pines, my love, Away from the sound Of the planter's voice, Am I, for I hear No more resound Your song by the pearl-strewn sea! The sun may come And the moon wax round, And in its beam My mates may rejoice, But I feast not And my heart is dumb, As I long, 0 long, for thee! 78 MANY GODS.7 In the jungle-deeps, Where the cobra creeps, The leopard lies In wait for me. But 0, my love, When the daylight dies There is more to my dread than he! Harsh lonely tears That assail my eyes Are worse to bear, For the misery That makes them well Is the long, long years That I moan away from thee! 0 again, again, In my katamaran A-keel would I push To your palmy door! Again would I hear The heave and hush 79 MANY (GODS Of your song by the plantain-tree. But far away Do I toil and crush The hopes that arise At my sick heart's core. For never near Does it come, the day That draws me again to thee! ON THE ARAB1AN GULF From a far minaret of faithful cloud A wraith-muezzin of the sunset cried Over the sea that swung with sultan pride, "Allah is Beauty, there is none beside! Allah is Beauty, not to be denied By Death or any Infidel dark-browed!" And every wave that worshipped, every one Under the mosque of heaven arching high, Lifted a white crest with assenting sigh And answered, "Let all gods but Allah die, Yea, let all gods! until the world shall cry, Beauty alone is left under the sun!" 8I THE RAMESSID Upon an image of immortal stone, Seated and vast, the moon of Luxor falls, Lending to it a stillness that appals, A mystery Osirian and strange. The hands outplaced upon the knees in lone And placid majesty reveal the power Of Egypt in her most triumphal hour, The calm of tyranny that cannot change. It is of that Great king, who heard the cries Of millions toil to lift him to the skies, Who saw them perish at their task like flies, Yet let no eye of pity o'er them range. What rue, then, if his desecrated face Rots now at Cairo in a mummy case 82 IMMNIORTAL FOES At Bedrashein between the pyramids I saw the winged sun fold up his pinions And sink into the nether world's dominions Where Set sent ill upon the Egyptian dead. I saw the ancient Desert, that outbids The Nile for the date-lands between them spread, Fling over Memphis that is vanished, Another shroud of sand, then bid his minions, The winds, lie down upon their boundless bed. 7 saw where temples vowed to Serapis And granite splendours men name Pharaonic Are kept by Time in silence and sardonic Concealment - mummied in deep mystic tombs. 83 MANY (GODS And when the stars came out in quiet bliss, I heard Eternity - with all its dooms Past and to come - sound softly the mnemonic Of Death who waits all worlds that Life enwombs. THE CONSCRIPT The camel at the old sakiyeh Toils around and round. Aweary is he of the Nile And of the wailing sound Of the slow wheel he turns all day To lift the water on its way Over the fields of Ahmed Bey, That with green grain abound. Aweary is he, too, of fellaheen Who compel him on, With thick-voiced chanting till the day Over the West has gone. For the bold Desert was he made, The Bedouin, his lord, to aid, 85 MANY GODS Not for this peasant wheel of trade That ever must be drawn. But on he toils while dahabiyeh And dark felucca glide Below him o'er the glassy flow Of the gray river's tide. On, on, and then at night lies down, In sleep the servile day to drown - Like all whom Life turns with a frown From their true fate aside. THE CROSS OF THE SEPULCHRE Within the Holy Sepulchre, breast-high, There is a cross uncounted lips have kissed, Millions the world to dust has long dismissed, Millions that now hope of it but to die. Pilgrims, I saw, from out far fervid lands Of superstition, North and West and South, Bend to it each a trembling, reverent mouth, Then kneel where Christ was said to loose Death's bands. And then I wondered if He who believed In the One God were wounded sore by this, Whether He shrinks at each ecstatic kiss, Or knowing how humanity is grieved, Knows too that it is better to give Hope Than Truth, if only one is in man's scope. 87 ALPINE CHANT I'm tramping thro the mountains, They are rising white around me, Snow peaks like patriarchs That Winter has enthroned. I'm tramping up the valleys Where the cataracts sound me Thunders they have shrilly From eternity intoned. I'm tramping thro the mountains, With the clouds for my companions. Soft clouds that float and cling From crag to cloven crag. I'm passing by the chalets That o'erhang the high canons, 88 MAN'Y GODS Passing where the shepherds And their fair flocks lag. I'm tramping thro the mountains Where the pines in proud procession (limb like a hardy host To halo-heights of sun. I'm listening for the sallies Of the avalanche'-its Hessian Hurl of ice and granite Into gulfs Avernian. I'm tramping thro the mountains And the wind is yodling to me Yearnings of the glaciers To flow to summer lands. I'm treading up the valleys With no wanting to undo me- For to-day I'm goalless And the great God understands, THE MAN OF MIGHT No moment drooped between his thought and action, No morrow died between his dream and deed. Within his soul there was no fatal faction That could betray him in his hour of need. g0 IN TIME OF AWE The fierce sea-sunset over the world Springs like a wounded spirit. And ships in the gray gale's lair have furled Their sails - well may they fear it! The night will be but a monstrous seethe Of terrors elemental. And all the lives in the sea beneath By fear shall be made gentle; And sink down, down to the nether deeps, Below the foam and fretting, Below the lonely wreck Death keeps To guard him 'gainst forgetting. And there in the ominous vast calm They'll harbour fear-enchanted; 91 02 MANY GODS There float till again they feel the qualm Of hunger thro them panted. And then once more far up will they spring, To drift and float and plunder. To the sea, 0 God, does horror cling, And haunting past all wonder. SUNRISE IN UTAH The dun sand-cliffs that break the desert's sea Rose suddenly upon my sight at dawn, And terrible in an eternity Of death took silently the sunrise on. Purple funereal from rifted skies Swept down across their proud sterility. Only to die as here all glory dies, On barrenness I did not dream could be. O God, for a bird-song! or opening lips Of but one flower upon the fatal air, For but the voice of water as it drips, Or stir of leaves the day-wind makes aware O God, for these, for life! or from the face Of the world wipe so irreparable a place. 93 CONSOLATION I Come to me, shadows, down the hill, Lie softly at my feet. The sun has worked his will And the day is done. Come to me softly and distil Your dews and dreams, that heat And hours of heartless glare Have overrun. II Come to me, shadows, down the hill And bring with you the night, Fire-flies and the whippoorwill And ah, the moon- 94 MANY GODS Whose soft interpretings can still The tongues of wrong and right, And tangled hopes and fears That haunt the noon. III Come to me, shadows, down the hill - And let there follow Sleep,- God's ancient tidal Will That overflows The fretted world - effacing ill, And in its soothing sweep Murmuring more of mercy Than man knows. 9., WAVES The evening sails come home With twilight in their wings. The harhour-light across the gloam Springs; The wind sings. The waves begin to tell The sea's night-sorrow o'er, Weaving within their ancient spell More Than earth's lore. The rising moon wafts strange Low lures across the tide, On which my dim thoughts seem to range, Stride Upon stride, 96 MANY GODS 97 Until, with flooding thrill, They seem at last to blend With waves that from the E'ternal Will \NVcnd, Without end. VIS ULTIMA There is no day but leads me to A peak impossible to scale, A task at which my hands must fail, A sea I cannot swim or sail. There is no night I suffer thro But Destiny rules stern and pale: And yet what I am meant to do I will do, ere Death drop his veil. And it shall be no little thing, Tho to oblivion it fall, For I shall strive to it thro all That can imperil or appal. (j 8 MANY GODS 9go So at each morning's trumpet-ring I mount again, less slave and thrall, And at the barriers gladly fling A fortitude that scorns to crawl. MEREDITH What am I reading. Heis dead He the great interpreter And seer-England's noblest head XX'hat am I reading It is hushed The deepest voice that life had found To read a century profound With all time's seethe and stir Why, it is but a scanty score Of days, since, at his side, Clasping his hand with more than pride, I felt that the immortal tide Of his great mind would long break o'er The cold command of Death. Still in my ear is echoing I00 MANY GODS The surf of his strong words, and still Against the wild trees on the Hill His cottage sheltered under, I see the toss of his gray locks, Like Lear's - for he had felt the sting Of all too greatly giving The kingdom of his mind to those Who for it held him mad. O England, guard thy living Like him from a like fate! For not the mighty thunder Of thy proud name from all the rocks Of all the world can compensate A nation whom no Song makes glad, And whom no Seer makes great. 101 This page in the original text is blank. C IARLES DI TOCCA FIRST PUBLISHED I903 To MY WIFE This page in the original text is blank. ACT I CHARACTERS CIHARLES Di TOCCA . Duke of Leucadia, Tyrant of Arta, etc. ANTONIO D)i ToCCA.i/JA Son f IE MON. . . . . . . . . . A Greek Noble and 1wl. BARDAS. . . . . . . . . . His Friend CARDINAL JULIAN . . . . . . The Pope's Legate AGABUS . . . . . . . . . . 4 mad Monk C ECc(O. . . . . . . . . . .enescihal of the Castle FULVIA COLONNA . .nder the Puke's Protection H ELENA S..ster to Ifletnon GUILIA . . . . . . . Serving uF/Zvia P'AULA. . . .. . . . Set-ving H/elena LYGIA ......... Revellers ZOE BASIL NALDO, a Boy, and DIOGENES, a Philosopher A Captain of the Guard, Soldiers, Guests, Attendantg, etc. ACT I SCENE: The Island Leucadia. A ruined temple of Apollo near the town of Pharo. Broken col- umns and stones, making breaches, are strewn or stand (desolutely (ab)OUt. It is night-the moon rising. ANTONIO, who has been waiting impatiently, seats himself on a stone. By a road near the ruins FULVIA enters, cloaked. Antonio (turning). Helen--' Fulvia. A comely name, my lord. A ntonio. Ah, you My father's unforgetting Fulvia Fulvia. At least not Helena, whoe'er she be. Antonio. And did I call you so Ful tia. Unless it is These stones have tongue and passion. lo9 CHARLES DI TOCCA Antonio. No; the night, Recalling dreams of dim antiquity, Was at some spell upon me. But whence are Your steps, so late, alone Fulvia. From the Cardinal, Who has but come. Antonio. What comfort there Fulvia. A vain. The moody bolt of Rome broods over us. Antonio. My father will not bind his heresy Fulvia. You with him walked to-day. What said he A ntonio. I With him to-day Ah, true. What may be done Fulvia. lie has been strange of late and silent, laughs, Seeing the Cross; but softly and almost As if it were some sweet thing that he loved. Antonio (looking of). As if it- Pardon, he is strange, you say Fulvia. Stranger than is Antonio his son, I I CHARLES DI TOCCA Who but for some expectancy is vacant. [She moves to go. Antonio. Stay, Fulvia-I am so; but stay, listen. Last night I dreamed of you. In vain, it seemed, You strove to reach me out of swift Charybdis [A low cry. They start. Fulvia. A woman's voice! [Looking down road. And hasting here! Antonio (anxiously). Alone Fulvia. No, with another. A ntonio. Then go, Fulvia. Go, go! 'tis one who comes to speak with me. [She goes. [Enter HELENA, frightedly, with PAULA. My Helena, what is it You are wan And tremble as a blossom quick with fear Of shattering. What is it Helena. Say not true! Oh, say 'tis not! A ntonio. What have you chanced upon 112 CHARLES DI TOCCA Helena. Say no to me, say no, and no again! .4ntonio. Say no, and no Helena. Yes; I am reeling, wrung, With one glance o'er a precipice of ill! Say his incanted prophecies spring from No power that's more than frenzied fantasy! A ntonio. Who prophesies Now, who upon this isle More than the visible and present day Can gather to his eye Tell me. Helena. The monk- Ah, chide me not!-mad Agabus-who can Unsphere dark spirits from their evil airs And show with them all things of love or death, Seized me as I stole to thee. With wild looks And wilder lips he vented on my ear Bodings more wild than both. "Sappho!" he cried, "Sappho' Sappho!" and probed my eyes as if Destiny moved dark-visaged in their deeps. Then tore his rags and moaned, " so young to c-ease' " CHARLES 1) TOCCA 1 13 Gazed then out into awful vacancy, And whispered hotly, following his gaze, "The Shadow! Shadow"' Antonio (half-moved). And then went his way Doing no harm save with his superstitions Why, be it then, my Helena! Helena. But he Has often cleft the future with his ken, Seen thro it to some lurking mar of love, Or the dim knell of death heard and revealed. Antnonio. He has not! but is only a witless monk Who thinks God lives to fill his prophecies. Heleuza. I would he were! But well you know 'tis said In youth he loved one treacherous, and in Avenge has made fierce league with Hell that lends him Sight of all ills that rise to human hearts.- Yet look not so, my lord! I'll trust thine eyes That tell me love is master of all times- And thou of all love master! CHARLES DI TOCCA A ntonio. And of thee Then will the winds return unto the night, [Clasps her. And flute us lover songs of happiness! Helena. Nor dare upon a duller note while here We tryst beneath the moon A ntonio. My perfect Greek! Anthene looks again out of thy lids, And Venus trembles in thy every limb! Helena. Not Venus ! (with new dread) ah, not Venus! Antonio. Now; again Helena. 'Twas at this temple's ancient gate she found Wounded Adonis dead, and to forget, Like Sappho leaped, 'tis said, from yonder cliff Down to the waves' oblivion below! Antonio. And will you read such terror in a tale Helena. Forgive me, then. A ntonio. Too quickly you're unstrung. And yet-there is- [Troubled. l114 CHARLES DI TOCCA Helena. Is what, Antonio Antonio. Nothing; I who must ebb with you and flow, A little was moved. Helena. Antonio . . . Not you I'll change my tears to laughter, if a fancy May so unmettle you! Antonio. Well, let us off, My Helena, with these numb awes that wind About our joy. Helena. Thy kiss, then; for it can Drive all gloom out of the world. Antonio. And thine, my own, On Fate's hard brow would shame it of all frown! Helena. Yet is thine mightier, for no frown can be When no more gloom's in the world! Antonio. Then no frown is! (Teasingly.) And yet-if I pressed other- Helena. Other, my lord [-Stands from him. I I i 6 CHARLES DI TOCCA You should not know that any other lips Could e'er be pressed. I'll have no kiss but his Who is all blind to every mouth but mine. A nionio. Oh-Well ! Helena. "Oh, well! "-Then it is well I go. Antonio. Perhaps. Helena. "Perhaps!" A ntonio. Goodnight! Helena (feigning). Goodnight. Antonio (turning). Still here Helena. There's gloom in the world again. Antonio (with a kiss). Then now 'tis gone! Helena. Not all, I think. Antonio. Two for so small a gloom Helena (closing her eyes). The vainest glooms to-night seem ominous, As cloud-flakes flung upward before the west. [Suddenly starting, But who-who comes [Looks off. Antonio. Helena! CHARLES 1)I TOCCA Helena. Agabus! AGABUS enters, unkempt, distracted. Agabus. O-lovers! lovers!-Lord have none of them! A ntonio. Good monk- Agabus. Oh, yes, yes, yes. You'd give me gold To pray for your two souls. (Crossing himself.) Not I! not I! For know you not love's brewed of lust and fire It gnaws and burns until the Shadow-Sir, [Searching about the air. Have you not seen a Shadow pass A ntonio. A Shadow Agabus. Silent and cold. A-times they call him Death. I'd have him for my brain-it shakes with fever. [Goes searching as before. HELENA is motionless. Antonio. There; he is gone. Helena. Yes-gone. , 1 7 , 8 CHARLES DT TOCCA Antonio. And you are calm Helena. Of impotence-as one who in a tomb Awakes and waits. Antonio. He is but mad. Helena. But mad. Antonio. Yet fear you still Helena. It is as if the earth Were wind under my feet. As if . . . Antonio! [A column she has leant against falls. Her terror is greater. Antonio! see, see, it is fallen! . . . fallen! Antonio. And if it has, are all things thus become Omen and dread to you Helena. Oh, but it is The pillar grieving Venus leant upon Ere to forget she leaped-and lonely wrote, "When falls this pillar tall and proud Let lovers weave their shroud." Antonio. Mere myth! a myth! You must not, Helena! CHkRLES DI TOCCA 1X9 Helena. The shroud' . . . the shroud! It coldly winds about us-coldly-coldly!- But touch me lest I sink, Antonio, In this unnatural awe. (lIe takes her to him.) Ah, how thine arms Warm the cold moan and misery of fear Out of my veins! I ntonio. Then, we will weave no shroud- But wedding robes and wreaths and pageantry! And you shall he my Sappho! but thro' days Such as shall legend ecstasy about Our knitted names when distant lovers dream! Helena. I'll fear no more, then A ntonio. Yet- Helena. My lord, let us Unloose this strangling secrecy and be Open in love' And let us tell thy father And tell my brother Hxmoh of our hope And sweet betrothal! Antonio. That cannot be-now. 120 CHARLES DI TOCCA Helena. It cannot be! and you a god I'll bow Before your eyes no more. Say that it can! Antonio. Not yet-not now. For Hxrmon is. we know, Suspicious and bitter- And must be won with service. And you are Greek-a name I never heard Pass to my father's ear, till yesterday, But it came out his mouth headlong with curses. Helena. Yet he has smiled upon me oft of late. A ntonio. My father No-or smiling only dreamt And saw you not. Helena. Then have you also dreamt! For he looked as do you, when, under the moon, You call me- A ntonio. I will call you so no more. Helena. And why, my lord A ntonio. Because, 0 Heart of me. WVords, were they miracles of beauty, Could not reveal you- CHARLES DI TOCCA. More than a taper's ray the rim of night! [A pause. Helena. And yet- AX nton io. Helena. If sometimes they trip A nionio. Or to my Helena. A n/onio. He smile( Helena. And yet- I'll hold you not too out upon your lips. father's eye false If for thy sake. d, you say As one forgetting pain. [They sit. Antonio. Perhaps. For some unwonted softness seems Near him. On yesterday he asked for song, Dancing and wine. Helena. Then tell him! For we live In peril years, and secrecy must seem Yoke-mate of guilt! A ntonio. Fear has bewitched you, fie! Helena. No: but love's wave, Antonio, has cast 1 2 T 1 22 CHARLES DI TOCC.\ Us high-and now I would do all lest-(starting up) Paula! [Turns, fearful. Paula (who has approached from walching). My lady, some one comes. Helena. Who Paula. I saw not. Helena. Antonio! . . . if it welc-Haer A nionio (cloaking her). Wis. Helena. You'll wait him Broodings smot in his moods, Fevered and bitter. Antonio. Kindness, then, shall quench t1 non! h it! rider hem! [Kisses her. But now, away. And lose this dread-to be By day my lark, by night my nightingale- Not a sad bird of boding' Helena. As I have Antonio. Remember, you are only a little stept From your life's shore, out on the infinite Of love whose air is awe and mystery. CHARLES DI TOCCA 123 Helena (going). Think of me oft. At dawn all will be well. A ntonio (seeing them off then turning quickly to watch). Mly father it is! . . . And Hxmon with him friendly [Steps aside. Enter CHARLES and HmoN. Charles. So' you will go no farther with me Hamon. No, Sir, if you'll grant it. I Charles (twittingly). Some rendezvous Who is she Ah, young blood and Spring and night! Hismon. No rendezvous, my lord. Charles. Some lay, then, you Would muse on Harmon. Yes, a lay. Charles. And one of love The word, you see, founts easy to my lips. (Archly.) 'Tis recent in my thought-as you will learn. CHARLES DI TOCCA Hammon. How, sir, and when Charles. Oh! . . . when Be not surprised. Well, to the lay! [Goes. Haemon. Yes, to the lay! while here He wastes the bread of honesty and age With bloody, drunken soldiery who lust To tear all innocence away and robe Our loveliest in shame! . . . While me, a Greek, He suddenly befriends. Antonio (stepping out). Hxmon Haemon. Ah! you Antonio. There's room between your tone and courtesy. Haemon. And shall be while I'm readier to bend Over a beggar's pain than prince's fingers. Antonio. I think you know me better Heemon. Than to believe You're not Antonio, son of Charles di Tocca Antonio. I'd be your friend. H&emon. So would he-and he smiles. 124 CHARLES DI TOCCA Antonio. There are deep reasons with me. Hamon. As with him! A miracle, if you are not his heir' A ntonio. It would be well, I think, for you to listen. My confidence once curbed- Heamon. May bite and paw And trample Let it! . . . Go, and threaten cowards. For were you Tamerlane and mine the skull 'To cap your bloody foes, I'd-! Antonio. Still be blind Hwzmon. To your fair graces No, my lord, your svword And doublet are sublimely worn, sublimely' Your tresses, too, would tempt the fairest fingers. Antonio. And yet my anger's silent. Hemon. Give it tongue, then, And not this subtle pride,-as Bardas says. You, you would be my friend A friend to me Did not your father I25 1 2 ) CHARLES 1)I TOCCA Into a sick and sunless keep cast mine Because he was a Greek-and still a Greek- And would not be a slave And has his power Not whispered death about him as a pest He, for a friend and you and I on him Should lean for succor Antonio. Yes. For tho' he's stained, The times are tyrannous and men, like beasts, Find mercy preservation's enemy. And you are heated with a doubtful wrong. But here's my hand as pledge- Ilasmon (refusing it). That you'll be false [Enter BARDAS. Or that . . . Bardas' Bardas (stops). Harmon, I've sought you. Ah, And you, my lord. My way was to your door With a request. A nionio. Which gladly I will hear, And, if I can, will grant. Bardas. My haste is blunt- As is my tongue. CHARLES DI TOCCA1 Antonio. Then yield it us at once. Bardas. At your command. Harmon, I love your sister! [A stonishinent. Not love! I am idolatrous before Her foot's least print and cannot breathe or pray But where she's sometime been and left a heaven' Harmon. And therefore you will cry it to the streets Bardas. Necessity's not over-delicate. So my request, my lord, is-sue for me. You have been apt in all love's skill, they say. Your words, sown on her ear, Would not lie fruitless tho' they bade her yield More than her most. HIazmon (gushing). Bardas! . Bardas. Haxmon! peace Antonio, answer. Anton io. To this strange request Helena, whom I've seen, would little thank The eyes that told her own where they should love. Bardas. I saved your life, my lord. 1 2 7 CHARLES DI TOCCA A nionio. And I have searched Occasion often for a worthy chance Well to repay you. But if it is this I am distrest. I cannot plead your suit. Bardas. You cannot, or you will not 1 ntonio. I have said. Ask me for service on your foes, for faith, Gold or devotion, friendship you're aloof to, For all that will and honor well may give With nicety, and I'll be wings and heart- More-drudge, to your desire. Harmon. Noble! my lord. And he shall rue this shame he goads me with. Why have you shown it here Bardas. Do you ask why [To ANTONIo. My lord, a little since, your father's guard Gave a command in seal to Helena Upon the streets to instantly repair Unto his halls-which she must henceforth honor. You knew it not 1 2X CHARLES DI TOCCA 129 A nionio (amazed). My father! Bardas. Oh! well feigned. Be sure none will suspect he is too old For knightly feat like this or that he has A son! Antonio. To Helena' my father' sealed [BARDAS turns away. A pause. Harmon (clenched). So it was there, my lord, your friendship moved Antonio (to BARDAS). Do you mean that- Bardas. Until this hour I thought The race of Charles di Tocca bold, or other- But empty of all lies in deed or speech. Antonio. Then you are mad-mad! now to sus- pect it. I'm naked of this thing and hide no guilt Either in word or wonder of my face. For paradises brimming with delight I would not lay one shadow weight of shame On her you namc. CHARLE S 1)1 TOCCA . 130 BarddS. A pretty protest-but A breath too heavenly. A ntonio. Then hear me say You have repaid yourself-cast on me words Less to be borne than treble loss of life. And know, that between Helena and shame I stand with flaming heart and fearless hand. [Strides angrily off, leaing them. Hcxmon. And is he false wearing this mien of truth Bardas. I'll not believe him! Heemon. Helena was seized Bardas. For him who stands " with flaming heart" between! Have we no flesh to understand this passion Will he, bound to the wings of bold ambition, Choose her undowered worth Into suspicion's fire I would not cast The fairness of his name; but doubts in me Are dumb with proof. Hamron. Full CHARLES DI TOCCA Bardas. And unfalterable. Harmon. He could not' he would dare not. Bardas. Yet the rogue Cecco, the duke's half-seneschal, half-spy, I passed upon the streets as I came here, O'ermuch in wine, and to a jade spouting With drunken mockery, ' "Sweet Helena! Fair Helena!'-0 wench, My eyes, but the Lord Antonio knows sound nuts! And sly! why, hear you now! he gets the duke- The duke to seize the maid' The fox! the rat! And hear now' have I not-not heard him-nights- Within his chamber, at his window, puffing Her name with drawls-as many honeyed drawls Of passion-as-as-as-as June has buds! 'Sweet Helena! fair Helena" he says. ' My rose! my queen '-MNy sun and moon and stars ! Thy lips, my Helena! thy arms! thy breast!' Um, oh! a rare damsel! . . . I'll make ways Between her purse and mine, wench; do you hear" 1.3 T 1,3 2 CHARLES DI TOCCA Hamon. Well-well Bardas. No more. When I had struck him down He swore it was unswerving all and truth. Hasting to warn I found Helena gone- And sought you here. Hamon (groaning). Ah! Bardas: Helena, who is All purity! Ha'mon. And all. . . . Ah, sister, child! [Choking. Have I been father, and with tenderness A mother been, to thy unfolding years But to see now unchastest cruelty Pluck the white bloom to ease his idle sense One fragrant hour-If it is so, no flowers Should blossom, only weeds whose withering Can hurt no heart. Bardas. And tears like these should seal Fierce oaths against him. Hemon. Fiercest! And they shall! God wreck him in the tempest he has raised! CHARLES 1)1 TOCCA ,33 Bardas. And may I be the rock on which he breaks [Shouts and laughter are heard approaching. But who . . . who comes (Looks off.) Revel- lers.-Let us step Within this breach until their mirth is past. [They conceal themselves in the stones. The resellers enter, as bacchanals, dancing and singing: Bacchus, hey! was a god, hei-yo! The vine! a fig for the rest! With locks green-crowned and lips red-warm- The vine! the vine's the best! He loved maids, O-o-ay! hei-yo! The vine! a maiden's breast! He pressed the grape, and kissed the maid- The cuckoo builds no nest! [All go dancing, except LYDLk and PHAON, who clasps and kisses her passionately. CHARLES DI TOCCA Lydia (breaking from him). Do you think kisses are so cheap You must know mine fill my purse! A pretty gallant from Naples, with laces and silks and jewels, gave me this ring last year for but one. And another lover from Venice gave me this (a bracelet)-but he looked so sad when he gave it, Ah, his eyes! I'd not have cared if he had given me naught. Phaon. Here, here, then! [Offers jewel. Lydia (putting it aside). They say the ladies in Venice ride with their lovers through the streets all night in boats; and the very moon shines more passionately there. Is it true Phaon. Yes, yes. But kiss me, Lydia! Take the jewel-my last. But be mine to-night, no other's' We'll prate of Venice another time. Lydia. Another time we'll prate of kisses. I'll not have the jewel! Phaon. Not have it! Now you're turning nun! a soft and virgin, silly nun' With a gray gown to hide these shoulders, that-shall I whisper it '.34 (CHIARLES DI TOCCA 135 Lydia. Devil! they're not! A nice lover called them round and fair last night. And I've been sick! And-I-cruel! cruel! cruel! [Revellers are heard returning. There, they're coming. Phlaon. Never mind, my girl. But you mustn't scorn a man's blood when it's afire. [Re-enter Revellers singing: Bacchus, hey! was a god, hei-yo! etc. [After which all go except ZOE and BASIL. Zoe. 0! 0! 0! but 'tis brave! Wine, Basil! Wine, my knight, my Bacchus! Ho! ho! my god' you wheeze like a cross-bow. Is it years, my wooer, years Ah! [She sighs. Basil. Sighs-sighs! Now look for showers. Zoe. Basil-you were my first lover-except the Duke Charles. Ah, did you see how that Helena looked when they gave her the duke's com- mand I was like that once. [HAEMON starts forward. CHARLES DI TOCCA Basil. Fiends, nymphs, and saints! it's come! tears in her eyes! Zoe, stop it! Would you have mine leak and drive me to a monastery for shelter Zoe (sings sadly and absently): She lay by the river, dead, A broken reed in her hand- A nymph whom an idle god had wed And led from her maiden land. Basil. Oh, had I been born a heathen! Zoe. He told me, Basil, I should live, a great lady, at his castle. And they should kiss my hand and curtsey to me. He meant but jest-I feared- I feared! But-I loved him! Basil. Now, my damsel-! Zoe (sings): The god was the great god, Jove. Two notes would the bent reed blow: The one was sorrow, the other love Enwove with a woman's woe. 136 CHARLES DI TOCCA 137 Basil. Songs and snakes! Give me instead a Dominican's funeral! I'd as lief crawl bare-kneed to Rome and mouth the Pope's heel. 0 blessed Turks with their remorseless harems!-Zoe! Zoe (sings): She lay by the river, dead: And he at feasting forgot. The gods, shall they be disquieted By dread of a mortal's lot [She Sipes her eyes, trembles, looks at him and laughs hysterically. Bacchus! my Bacchus! with wet eyes! Up, up, lad! there's many a cup for us yet! [They go, she leading and singing. He loved maids, 0-o-ay! hei-yo! The vine! a maiden's breast! etc. [HLMEmoN and BARDAS look at each other, then start after them, terribly moved. CURTAIN This page in the original text is blank. ACT I I This page in the original text is blank. ACT II SCENE: A it audienec hall in the castle of CHARLES DI Toccx, the next afternoon. The dark stained walls have been festooned with vines and flow- ers. On the left is the ducal throne. On the right, sunlight through high-set windows. In the rear heavily draped doors. A w-ine table with wines. Enter CHARLES, who looks around and smiles with subtle content, then summons CECCO, who enters. Charles. The princess Fulvia. Cecco. She comes, sir, now. [Goes. Enter FULVLX, strainedly. Fulvia. My lord, flowers and vines upon these walls, That seem alwavs to bear the memorv 141 142 CHARLES 1)I TOCCA And mist of grief What means it Charles. A grave thing They sprung, a greedy multitude, in the fields. Citron and olive by them were left hungry, So by the might that's in me they are quelled. [Smiles. Is it not well Fulvia. A magic dwells in flowers To waft me back to childhood. (Takes some.) Poor pluckt buds, If they could speak, like children torn from the breast. Charles. Now, are you full of sighs and pity Fulvia. Yes; Of pity and-of doubt. Charles. And what divides you Fulvia. This Greek-I do not understand. Charles. Nor guess You have not seen nor spoken to her Fulvia. No. Charles. We'll have her. Cecco! (Enter CHARLES D)I TOCCA 143 CECCO.) Say that we wait her here, The lady Helena. [C(SIcco goes, bowing. But you must know she's frightened, Fulvia. Fearing her father found too deep a rest here in our care. Yet she has hope that holds The tears still from her lids-for I've smiled on her- Smiled as I passed-and she- Why do you cloud Fulvia. I would this were undone. Antonio. Undone Undone This that I crave Fulvia. Yes. [Enter HELENA. Charles. Greek-our Fulvia, Who is as heart and health about our doors, Has speech for you. And as I've business- Fulvia. Go, go, my lord. Charles (going). You will be brief Fulvia. As may be. [Then alone with the girl, and moved. Girl, child- Helena. Why do you look upon me so 144 CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. You're very fair. Helena. And was so free I thought The world brimmed up with my full happiness. Fulvzia. But find it is a sieve to all save grief Helena. If it is grief--and not a graver thing! For I am girt by emptiness that aches, Surrounds and whispers what I dare not think, Or see shaped forth! Fulvia. Upon the morrow's face Helena. You look at me-I think you look at me- As if- Fulvia. No, child. Helena. Why am I in this place Why bidden here-You fear for me! Fulvia. Fear Helena. Yes! A dumb dread trembles from you sufferingly. Fulvia. It is not fear-or, no '-has vanished quite, Ashamed of its too naked idleness. CHARLES DI TOCCA 1 4- Helena. He cannot! will not!-Yet you feared! Fulvia. Be calm. Beauty is better so. Helena. And best unborn. For you can see great shadow reach at me, Yet lend no light '-By gentleness I pray you What said he Fulvia. Child- Helena. Ah what! A moment's dread Brings age on us!-If not by gentleness, Then by the love that women bear to men, By happiness too fleeting to tread earth, I pray you tell the fear your heart so hides! Fulvia. You are the guest of Charles di Tocca. Helena. None! For guests are bidden not commanded.-Where, Where can Antonio be gone! All day No token, quieting! Fulvia (quickly). Antonio, girl [Re-enter CXARLEs. Antonio is it true 146, CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles (as they see him). Truth, Fulvia- Has brewed more tears than lies. But why now does It mated with Antonio's mere name Prey so upon your peace Fulvia My lord- Charles. You falter No matter, now. (To HELENA.) But you, my fair one, put More merriment upon your lips and lids. And this- (gives pearls) upon the luster of your throat. Hither our guests come soon. Be with us then, And at your beauty's best. Now; trembling so [As she goes. Yet is the lily lovelier in the wind! [Is looking after her, musing. FULVIA waits. Fulvia (at length). My lord- Charles. Aih, Fulvia, as titles go. Fulvia. My lord CHARLES DI TOCCA 147 Charles. Twice-but I'm not two lords. Fulvia. To-night I think you are. But quench these jests. Charles. In tears And groans Where borrow them Fulvia (turning away). So let it be. Charles. Why do you say so let it-and as if Naught could again be well Fulvia. Ah! Charles. Now you frown Fulvia. This hope you nurse, then, if it prove a pang Of serpent bitterness. Charles. To whom and why I for an "if"-but that!-must pluck it from me Fulvia. So I believe. Charles. Pluck, pluck it from me! . . Will you, Now will you have me mouth and foam and thresh This quiet in me to a maelstrom-This Is mine, this joy, and still is mine-though I 148 CHARLES DL TOCCA To keep it must bring on me bitterness And bleeding and . . . . I rage! Fuhiia. That I may cease And say no more-No, you are on a flood Whose sinking may be rapid down to horror. And she-this girl! It has been long since you Gave licence rein upon your will, and spur. Do not so now. Charles. Licence Fulvia. She is all morn And dream and dew. Make her not night! Charles. You think-! Fulvia. Wake her not, ah, not suddenly on ter- ror! Charles (laughing). 0-ho! Fulvia. You have laughed nobler. Charles (ceasing). Upon terror Friend of my unrepaying years, do you, Who know that I in empire youth forgot, Not know as well how now the presage-dew Of nearing age upon my brow can shake me CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. I-did not, but have waited oft such words. Charles. Ah, what! This hope, this leaping in me, this White dawn across my turbulence and night, From licence . . . Hear me: I have sudden found A door to let irn Heaven on my heart. Had I not laughed to see your dread write on it, "Licence " . . . perilous had been my frown. Fulvia. Then you- Charles. Yes! yes! About her brow shall curl The coronet! Her wishes shall be sceptres Waving a swift fulfillment to her feet! Her pity shall leave ready graves unfilled, Her anger open earth for all who offend! She shall- Fulvia. Ah, cease, infatuate man. Will you Build kingdoms on the wind, and empires on A girl's ungiven heart Charles (slowly). . Unto such love As mine all things are given. 149) CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. All things but love. Charles. Then . . . then . . . what meant her pleading-as unto Her cheeks came hurried roses from her heart And her large eyes, did they not drift to mine Caressing-yet as if in them they found The likeness of some visitant dear dream Fulvia. The likeness of some dreamn Charles. Question no more. She is set in the centre of my need As youth and fiercest passion could not set her. Supernally as May she has burst on Mly barren age. Pain, envious decay, And doubt that mystery wounds us with, and wrong, Flee from the gleam and whisper of her name. Fulvia. And if your coronet and heat avail Not with her as might charm of equal years- And beauty Charles. Then, why then-why-there may slip An avalanche of raging -and despair- Out of me! Hope of her once taken, all T,50 CHARLES DI TOCCA The thwarted thirsting of my want would rush Into the void, with lightnings for revenge! [Enter ANTONIO. With lightnings! . . . lightnings! . . . A ntonio (bowing). Sir; I am returned. Charles. Boy-you My eyes had other thought -and blacker. Open your news; but mind 'tis not of failure. Antonio. We seized the murderous robbers as you bade, And o'er the cliff, as our just law commands, To death flung them. Charles. So with all traitors be it. Antonio. So should it. Charles. Well, 'twas swift. In you there is More than your mother's gentleness. Antonio. Else were SMy name di Tocca, sir, and not myself. Charlcs. You have my love.-But as you came met you I jl CHARLES DI TOCCA The Cardinal Antonio. So close, he should by this Be at our gates. Charles. He'll miss no welcome. And- Perhaps-wve shall-(smniles on them). Give me that cross you wear, My Fulvia; it may Antonio. Sir, this is good! We earnestly beseech of you to hear The Pope's ambassador with yielding. Charles. Ah Then you, boy, draw out of this solitude You late are sunken in. You should think but On silly sighs and kisses, rhymes and trysts. Must I yet teach your coldness youth [Stir at the gates. Draw out! Antonio. I have desired some words of this to- dav. Enter CECCO. Charles. Well, fellow, who- 1 52 CHARLES DI TOCCA 153 Cecco. The Cardinal, your Grace. Charles. Then bid our guests. And bring Diog- enes, Our most amusing raveller of all Philosophies. Say that the duke, Humbly desires it. And stay, in Is-lady Helena. Antonio (starting). My lord! Charles. V his brother, her chamber vell, what, boy [When CEcco is gone, to Fui Do you perceive him there, my Fulvia, We must look to this callow god, my son, For had our court two eyes to drown his heart, I'd give good oath-a goodly, it were done. .VIA. [Goes to throne. Fulaia (to ANTONIO). You heard No word of Helena! Charles. Now, secrets Fulvia. He scorns me, sir, a drop of confidence On my too thirsty questions. 154 liAULlI .1 Charles. Tightly seal up his spirits Fulvia. To prison on stale bread, my Believe he's full of treasons! Charles (laughing). You hear, sir Though you Justice is not impossible upon IV LA-A Does he so Put the rogue lord. I half And may spill are a son and loved, ycu. [The guests enter, among them HENmON and BARDAS, who follow the CARDINAL JULIAN and his suite; then, last, HEL- ENA, whom FULVL1 leads aside. Julian. Peace, worthy duke! Charles. And more, lord Cardinal. I would to-day enlarge my worthiness With you and with great Rome. Julian (bows). Whose cause I bear, And hope in. [Sits. Charles. Then, here unto all our guests, I humbly disavow my heresies- no - D 1 - UC ATan n CHARLES DI TOCCA For faith's as air, as ease to life-and seek At your absolving lips release from all Rough disobedience. Nor shall I shun The lash and needed weight of penitence. [A mutermiur of approval. Julian. These words, great lord, fall wise and soothing well. Who so confesses plants beneath his foot A step to scale all impotence and wrong. Our royal Pope's conditions shall be read, [.1Motions SECRETARY, wsho advances. Pledge them consenting seal and you shall be Briefly and fully free. Charles (to SECRETARY). WVe'll hope. Begin. Secretary (opening and reading): "Whereas the Duke di Tocca, of these isles And Arta, has offended"- Julian. Pass the offence. Be it oblivion's. The penalty. ,;5 CHARLES DI TOCCA Secretary. "Therefore the Duke di Tocca, hum- bling himself 'Must pay into our vaults two hundred ducats Charles. It shall be three. Secretary. " And send an hundred men Armed, at the foes that threaten Italy." Charles. We will, Antonio, and ere the dawn. Secretary. He must also yield up the princess Fulvia, Who fled her father's house and rightful marriage." [All start, and look at CHARLES. Fulvia (to JULIAN). You told me not of this- no word, my lord! Julian. My silence, as my speech, is not my own. Charles. Ha -Ne will hear a measure more. Read on. Secretary. " And for the better amity and weal Of Italy and Christ's 'Most Holy Church, He is enjoined to wed with Beatrice [Commotion. Of Florence. And if boldly thus he grants 156 CHARLES DI TOCCA Obedience, his sins shall melt to rest- Under the healing calm of full forgiveness." Charles. A mild . . . a courteous, Oh, a modest Pope! I must tear from my happiness a friend Who fled a father's searing cruelty, And cast her back in the flames. And I must bind My crippled years that fare toward the grave In the cold clasp of an unloving hand. ...No! .. . So, sir and Cardinal, 'tis not enough. I pray you swift again to Rome and plead Most suppliantly that I for penance may Swear my true son is shame-begot; or lend My kin to drink, clean of its fouling damp, Some pestilent prison! And 'tis impious, too, That any still should trust my love. Beseech His Holiness' command for death upon them! Julian. This is your answer Charles (rises). A mite! a mite of it! The rest is. I will wed where I will wed Is 5 7 CHARLES DI TOCCA Though every hill of earth raise up its pope To bellow at me infamous damnation! [Is convulsed. I-I-will--I- Fulvia. Charles' ah! wine for him-wine! [Runs to him. Antonio. Lord Cardinal, spare yourself more and go. [Brings udne. . . . JULIAN goes. Charles. I-I will-I-! (falls back). Off, off my throat! (recovering). He's gone You, Fulvia . . . it seemed a fiend swung on me. A fiend of wrath who would have driven me But no . . . (To the guests, calmer.) Forgive, friends, this so sudden wrench Upon your pleasure. One too quick made saint Stands feebly. And I will atone at once. Where is Diogenes-where is he . . . Ay! His tangled skein of wisdom shall divert us. [DIOGENES, who has stood heedless of all, is pushed forward. I ,S8 CHARLES DI TOCCA Ah, peer of Socrates and perfect Plato, Leave your unseeing silence now and tell us- [Enter AGABUSS. Who's this Agabus (gazing). Where went he-the Shadow whither the Shadow Charles. Who's this broke from his grave upon us Agabus (searching still). Whither I followed him-he sped and there was cold! Behind him blows a horror! (Suddenly.) Ah, upon her! [Stops awed before Helena. His touch ! . . . his earthless finger ! . . and she rots ! Antonio. Vile monk! Agabus. To dust! to dust! Antonio (seizing him). Are there no men, That you must wring a woman so with fear T59 i6o CHARLES DI TOCCA Agabus. Ha, men Christ save all men but lovers! all! [Crosses himself. Charles. Antonio, what speaks he A ntonio. Sir, he's mad With a pestilence of evil prophecy. [To guards. Forth with him. Charles. Stay. I'll hear him for myself. [To AGABUS. Come hither, friend. So. Now, why do you gaze .Agabus (who has gone to CHARLES and stares with suppressed excitement). A lover! a lover! and he loves in vain. Come, go. There is a cave-(takes his hand). We'll curse her-come! Charles. Out! out! [Strikes him. Agabus. Christ save all men but . . . Ah, the Shadow! (Seeks vacantly. CHARLES DI TOCCA Has no one seen him none -the Shadow none [Goes, dazed. The guests whisper, awed. A moment's silence. Charles. He is obsessed-vile utterly! A Guest. Sir, yes. But I must go. Another. And I, my lord. A Third. And T. Charles. Friends, no, you shall not-no. This pall will pass. Mly hospitality is up; you shall not. A Lady. Nor we, 0 duke Charles. Nor you. A grudging wind Blows us away from mirth, but 'tis in view. We've lute and dance that yet shall bring us in. 2d Lady. Oh, dance! Charles. Cecco, our Circes from the Nile. [CECCO goes. 3d Lady. The Nile ah, Cleopatra's Nile Charles. Her own. CHARLES DI TOCCA And sinuous as Nile water is their grace ! [Enter two Egyptian girls, who dance, then go. Guests (applauding). 0 bravely! brave! Charles. Do they not whirl it well With limbs like swallowv wings upon the blue! ist Lady. 'Twas wvitchery! 2d Lady. Such eves! such hair! 3d Lady. And thus, Did Cleopatra thus steal Antony! Wrap him about with motions that would seize His senses with an ecstasy ! Oh, oh To dance so! Charles. And so steal an Antonv We'll frame a law on thieving of men's hearts! 2d Lady. Then, vainly !-'tis a theft men like the most. Charles. When in its stead the thief has left her own. But shall we woo no boon of mirth save dance A lute! a lute! (One is sought.) Some new lay, Haemon, come! 162 CHARLES DI TOCCA But every word must dip its syllables In Pindar's spring, to trip so lightly forth. IIarmon. I have no lay. Charles. The lute! (It is o Sing us of love- That builds a Paradise of kisses, thinks The Infinite bound up in an embrace. Of love' whose sighs are hurricanes of pain, Whose tears are seas of molten misery. Iharmon. I have none-cannot. Charles. Now, will you fri Again our timid cheer Harmon. While she, my si! [A Ji63 ffered.) ght off ester-! Defuses. I cannot! will not. Charles. Will not will not . . . Look! I had an honor pluckt to laurel it, A wreath of noble worth, a thing to tell- Harmon. Honor upon dishonor sits not well. Charles (not hearing). Heat me not with denial. Is new bliss . 1CHARLES DI TOCCA Raised from the dead in me but to fall back As stone ere it has breathed . . . Now is it, is it Be slow, I say, to tempt me. In me moves Peril that has a passion to leap forth. HEmon. Antonio! speak then! where is inno- cence And where deceit Fulvia (low to him). Ask it not, or you step On waiting hazard and calamity. Charles. New fret . . . and new confusion In the blind Power and passing of this light is there Conspiracy!-plot of some here or of That One whose necromancy wields the world I care not'-I care not! We must have mirth! Have mirth' though it be laughter at damned souls. Harmon. And I must wake it I, with laugh and lay Doting upon dishonor Charles. What means he 164 CHARLES DI TOCCA.- IHerenon. Give me again my sister from these walls. Since might is yours, strip from me wealth and life And more and all !-but let her not, no, no, Meet here the touch and leprosy of shame! Charles (laughing). Said I not friends, my friends, we should have mirth You shall laugh with me laughter bright as wine. Antonio. But, sir, this is not good for laughter -sir! Ha'nion (to ANTON IO). Ah, put the lamb on- bleat mock sympathy ! Charles (still laughing). Fulvia, oh, he foots it in the tracks Of your own fear, and wanders to delusion! Hwrmon. Will you laugh at me, fiend! Charles. Boy Ha'nzon. Had I but Omnipotence a moment and could dash Annihilation on you and your race! [Strikes ANTONIO. ., CHARLES DI TOCCA Helena. Haemon ! Fulvia. Helena, back ! Charles. ( And could Omnipotence make such a There must be two gods in the world I-r'mn on. She shall not-! Antontio What Charles. strikes [Attem;;pts to (preventing it). Fury ! woulk you do Can such things be A Helena. Oh, let me spi speak ! Charles. Not now, girl, breath Be venom for thee! (To without our gates Till be repent this fever. shrink.) If you stare Will the skies stop! Have Dmnipotence fool to do it. kill HELENA. Fury! . . sister, yet he [HA.4MO N is seitzed. wak to him, sir, let me no, not now-lest in his the guard.) Shut him (To the guests, who so I not arm in arm l O6( CHARLES DI TOCCA Friended this youth-and meant him honor still [II1EtIoN is led out. Lease me. I had a thing to tell, but it Must wait more seasonable festivity. (To PAULA.) See to your mistress, child. stay. Antonio, [All go but ANTONIO and CHARLES, who leaves the throne slowly. Antonio. Father Charles (unheeding). Did I not humble me Antonio. Sir- Charles. Did I ask more than a brevity of joy To bud on my life's withering close Antonio (anxiously). Sir, sir! Charles. If it bud not-! Antonio. WVhat thought is it that wrings These angers from your lips Charles (slowly, gazing at him). You're like your mother. i6J7 CHARLES DI TOCCA Antonio. In trouble for your peace, more than in feature. Charles. Peace-peace Antonio, a dream has come. To stir-to wake-to learn it is a dream- I must not, Wvill not look on such abyss. You love me, boy Antonio. Sir, well; you cannot doubt it. Charles. There has been darkness in me-and it seems Such night as would put out a heaven of hopes, Quench an eternity of flaming joy. I have sunk down under the world and hit On nethermost despair, flown blind across An infinite unrest ! Antonio. Forget it now. Charles. Had I drunk Lethe's all, 'twould not have stilled The crying of my desolation's want. Within me tenderness to iron turned, Gladness to worm and gloom. But 'tis o'erpast. i68 CHARLES DI TOCC;\ A rift, a smile, a breath has come-blown me From torture to an ecstasy! Antonio. Sir Charles. To Such ecstasy as sways Hyperion's sun, Or Pleiads sweeping seven-fold the night. Antonio. And this breath-is [Chokes. Charles. How' . . . You are pale and press Your lips from trembling. Antonio. No-yes-well-This breath This ecstasy Charles. Is love! a love for . . . ! But- You feign! distress and groaning do tear in you! Antonio. No. She you love- Charles. 0 Eve new-burst on Eden, All pure with the prime beauty of God's breath, Was not so! Antonio. She is Helena-the Greek Charles. Helena! whom you've seen! Who- But you are i6() 170 CHARLES DI TOCCA Not well and cannot share this ravishment. I will not ask it now. This ravishment !-Ah, she has stayed the tread And stilled the whispering of death; has called Echoes of youth from me, and all I feared. ... I think you are not well. Shall we go in [Takes his arm. They turn. CURTAIN. ACT III This page in the original text is blank. ACT III SCENE: The gardens of the castle. Paths meet under a large limc-tree in the centre, where seats are placed. The wall of the garden crosses the rear, and has a postern. It is night of the same day, and behind a convent on a near hill the mnoon is rising. A nightingale sings. Enter GUILIA, CECCO, and NALDO. Gulilia. That bird! Always so noisy, always vain Of gushing. Sing, and sing, sing, sing, it must! As if nobody else would speak or sleep. Cecco. Let the bird be, my jaunty. A tale tells That nightingale and shrew were never friends. Guilia. No more were shrew and serpent. Cecco. Well, what would You scratch from me 1 73 CHARLES DI TOCCA Guilia. If there is anything To be got from you, then it must be scratched. Cecco. Yet-shrews do not scratch serpents. Guilia. When they're caught \Where they can neither coil nor strike Cecco. '\Tll, I Begin to coil. Guilia. And I'll begin to scotch you Ere it is done.-Give me the postern key. Cecco. Your lady's voice-but you are not your lady. Guilia. And were I, you not long would be your lord's. Give me the key. Cecco. I coil! I coil! Guilia. And soon You will be ready for a strike Pah, then-! Does the duke know you've hidden from his ear Antonio's passion (CEcco starts.) Does he - Ah! and shall I tell him -ah 174 CHARLES DI TOCCA 175 Cecco. You know it Guilia. He likes well What's kept so thriftily. Cecco (scowling). You want the key To let in Boro to chuck your baby face And moon with you! He's been discharged-take care! Guilia. The duke might learn, too, you're not clear between His ducats and your own. Cecco. There, then (gives key). But- Guilia. Oh And shrews do not scratch serpents-You may spy But others are not witless I can tell you ! [CECCO goes. Now, Naldo-(hands him key and writing) do not lose the letter. But Should you, he must not come till two. For 'tis At twelve the Greek will meet Antonio. [NALDO goes through the postern; GuILIA to the castle. CHARLES DI TOCCA Enter HELENA and PAULA from another part of the gardens. Helena. At twelve, said he, at twelve, beside the arbor Paula. Yes, mistress. Helena. I were patient if the moon Would slip less sadly up. She is so pale- With longing for Endymion, her lover. Paula. Has she a lover Oh, how strange! Is it So sweet to love, my lady -I have heard Men die and women for it weep themselves Into the grave-yet gladly. Helena. Sweet Ah, yes, To terror ! for the edge of fate cares not How quick it severs. ... Paula. On my simple hills They told of one who slew herself on her Dead lover's breast. Would you do so Would you. mv ladv 176 CHARLES DI TOCCA Helena. There's no twain in love. My heart is in my lord Antonio's To beat, Paula, or cease with it. Paula. Though he Died far away Helena. Far sunders flesh not souls. Across all lands the hush of death on him Would sound to me; and, did he live, denial, Though every voice compassionless should speak it I should not hear. But he is near! Paula. Oh, no, Not yet, my lady. Helena. Then some weariness Has pluckt the minutes' wings and they have crept. Paula. It is not twelve- else would we hear the band Of holy Basil from their convent chant. Helena. Nay; hearts may hear beyond the hark of ears. His step thrills thro' the earth-into my breast! [The postern opens. 7 7 CHARLES DI TOCCA 'Tis he! go, Paula, go. But sleep not. Paula. No. [Goes. ANTONIO cnters. Hclena. Ah, my Antonio, I breathe again Now that I know betiding has not fallen To stay thee from me. Antonio. Stronger than all betiding This hour has reached and drawn me yearning to thee ! [ Takes her in his arms. Helena. So may all hours! Antonio. All! . .. though we two 'will still Be more than destiny-which cannot grasp Beyond the grave. Helena. 'Tis sadly put, my lord. Antonio. Sadly-and loathly! But, my Hel- ena Helena. I would not sink from it, the happy sun, Fade to a tomb ! . . . What dirging hast thou heard to mind thee of it f78 CHARLES DI TOCCA 17I9 Antonio. Love is a bliss too bright to dwell on earth. With it God should give us ever to soar Above mortality. Helena. And above-fear- But no! tell me not yet! dimly I see The burden in your eyes, but dare not yet Take it into my own. Let us a little Look on the moon forgetting-the pale moon! [They sit. Antonio (musingly). These hands-these-and this hair-! Helena. Like a farewell Your touch falls on them. Antonio (;;zot ed). To a father yield them Helena. Antonio Antonio. No, no! it cannot be, Helena. This dread, then, and this shrinking- let me have it! You mean-look on me-mean your father- CHARLES DI TOCCA Antonio. Ah I It must not! Helena. But you mean-you mean he-No\! Let him not touch me even in thy thought, To me come nearer than a father may! Antonio. lie's swept by the sweet contagion of you, wrapt In a fierce spell by your effulgent youth. Helena. Say, say it not! To him I but smiled up- But smiled! Antonio. And he knew not such smiles could dawn In a bare world! And now is flame, would take Your tenderness into his arms and hear, Seized to him, the warm music of your heart. Oh, I could be for him-he is my father- Prometheus stormed and gnawed on Caucasus, Tantalus ever near the slipping wave, Or torn and tossed to burning martyrdom- But not-not this ! 180 CHARLES DI TOCCA Helena. Then, flight! In it we may Find haven and new nurture for our bliss. Antonio. And from his hunger snap this hope, so he Must starve Push him who has but learned there's light fack into yawning blindness '-No! Helena. Then whats- I know he is your father, and my days H-ave been all fatherless, though I have made Me child to every wind that had caress And to each lonely tree of the deep wood- Oft envious of those wvlho touch gray hairs, Or spend desire on filial grief and pang. I know, too, you have kept a softness in him, Been to him more than empire's tyranny- But baffled none can measure him, or trust. .Antonio. Yet we must wait. Helena. \When waiting shall but goad The speed of peril ' 181 CHARLES DI TOCCA Antonio. Still; and strain to win Him from this brink. If vainly, then birth, pity And memory shall fall from me! all, all, But fierceness for thy peace! Helena. My Antony ! Antonio. A fierceness without falter! Helena (in his arms). I am thine! Thine more than immortality is God's ! Hear, does the nightingale not tell it thee The stars, do they not tremble it the moon Murmur it mystically into thine eves Antonio. Ah, sorceress ! You need but breathe to put Abysm from us; but build words to float us On infinite ecstasy. Helena. The where thy kisses Sing in me! Antonio. They but send thee from my heart Echoes born of thy beauty mid its strings. Helena. Then would I lean forever at thy lips, Lose no reverberance, no ring, no waft, I82 CHARLES DI TOCCA 1S3 Hear nothing everlastingly but them. [A mournful chant is borne from the con- vent. . . . They unclasp and listen, awed. Antonio. Weary with vigil does it swell and sink, Moaning the dead. Helena. Ah, no! there are no dead To-night in all the world. Could God see them Lie cold and wondrous still, while we are rich In warmth and throb Antonio. Yet, hear. The funeral tread Of the old sea sighs in each strain and breaks. Helena. As I were drowned and heard it over me, It cometh! . . . As . . . as if I were drowned. [Her head droops back on his arm. Antonio (starting and touching her face). Helena! You are cold! . . . your lips! your brow! And pale . . . pale as with a prophecy. Helena. Oh-oh!- 184 CHARLES DI TOCCA A nionio. Your spirit . . . is not in you-but Afar and suffering! . . . Helena. A vision sweeps me. Antonio. Awake from it! Helena (recovering). A waste of waves that beat Upon a cliff and beat. Yet thou and I Had place in it. Antonio. Come to yon arbor, come. The moon has looked too long on the sad earth, And can reflect but sorrow. Helena. Oh! I fear! [They go, clinging passionately together. Enter CHARLES and CECCO. Charles. And yet it is a little thing to sleep- Just to lie down and sleep. A child may do it. Cecco. If my lord would, here's sleep for him wrapped in A quiet powder. Charles. Sleep is the mate of peace And ever should go with it. I have slept CHARLES DI TOCCA In the wild arms of battle when the winds Of souls departing fearfully shook by, Or on the breast of dizzy danger cradled Have soft been lulled. Potions should be for them Who wrestle and are thrown by misery. Cecco. And is my lord at peace Charles. Strangely. Yet seem For sleep too coldly calm. Cecco. So were you, sir- I keep your words lest you may need of them- On the same night young Hxmon's father found A secret way-to death! Charles (darkly). Which . . . you dare name me Cecco. Pardon, I but- Charles. Smirker!-Yet was it so That night indeed Cecco. Sir, surely. Charles. And the moon Hung in the east, stainless, even as now Cecco. Sir, half, even as now. x8, CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles (as to hitself). Since that hour's close To this I have not stood in so much calm. Still, was he not in every vein of him, And breath, a traitor A Greek who,-I'll not say it. Since she is Greek I must forget the word Is diapason to all perfidy. Cecco. Mdy lord thinks of the la;y hlelena Charles. And if I do Cecco. Why, sir- Charles. We II Cecco. Nothing. But- Charles. Subtle ! your nothing bulges with some theft Of spial. Cecco. Sir-I-no-that is- Charles. That is- It does! . . . Must I persuade it from your throat [Threatens to choke him. Cecco. It was of Lord-Antonio- 186 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. Speak, then. Cecco. Have you not marked him sundry of his moods Charles. Well Cecco. On his back in the woods, as if the leaves Sung fairy balladry; then riding wild Nowhither and alone; about the castle Yearning, yet absent to soft speech and arms!- He'll drink, sir, and not know if it be wine! Charles. So is he; yet this morning he un- sheathed His skill and bravery. Cccco. And did not crave A boon of you Charles. None. But you put my thought Not ill to it. His aspiration flags. Cecco. Ah, flags Charles. New wings it needs and buoyancy. My trust in him is ripe. For fruit of it, He shall be lord of Arta-total lord. Cccco. He begged no softer boon 18 7 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. Cunning! again Sleek questions of a sleeker consequence Cecco. It was, sir, only of Antonio Charles. Worm, you began so. Stretch now to the end, Or-will you Cccco. I would say-would ask-and hope There is no thorny hint in it to vex you, May he not be- (low) Amorous, mellow-sick, upon some maid Charles. Have you so labored to this atom's birth Is a boy's passion so new under the moon You gape at it Cecco. But if, sir Charles. I had thought Woe was your ending-some Titanic woe No human catapult could war uponf! Some dread colossal doom frenzied to fall! And had it been he's traitor to my throne, Or ready with some potent cruelty 183 CHARLES DI TOCCA To blight this tenderness new-sprung in me, I should-even have listened! [Starts. But .. . a step [The postern is softly opened-to admit H2EMON. Charles (confounded-as HAMON stops, pale). Keys you -to this Keys! and a guilty stealth Hazmon. I have excuse. Charles. A-hoh !-And to my gems And secrecies, a better Shall I not Reveal their hiding rubies and fair gold [CEcco steals off, Htnmon. Charles. You come Enter this And seem sir Mistake me not, my lord. I could not, sir! at midnight-a most honest hour! postern-a most honest way! most honest! Then . . . how could I. 8,9 CHARLES DI TOCCA Ha'non. You wrong me and have wronged me. I but come To loose my sister. Charles. As to-day you would With an imperious piercing, into death Hcrnon. Rather, Antonio, could I! Yet now, neither. Since you, not he, are here, my passioi, melts Into a plea. Humbly as manhood may Charles. This fever still Harmon. This fever! Must I be As ice while soiling flames leap out at her Be passionless-as one cold in a trance Rigid, while she in stealth is drugged to shame Be voiceless, and be vain, unstung, and still I must wait softly while her innocence Is drained as virgin freshness from the morn Tho' he were twice Antonio and your son, An emperor and a god, I would not! . . Charles (staring). Ever, And ever bent upon Antonio- Ig)o CHARLES DI TOCCA Be not a torrent, boy, of rush and foam. Be not; ha, no. Yet-look: Antonio You said Antonio Hccmon. Yes. Charles (troubled). Then you did ill To say it! I-le is my son. Hw'mon. I care not. Charles. Have You cause-a ground-some reason Men should when Suspicions curve their lips. Hermon. Ah, reason! Charles. No He is my son. His flesh has memories That would cry out and curdle him to madness. Palsy and strangle every pregnant wish, Or bring in him compassion like a flood. Ha'mon (contemptuously). Oh- Charles. Then-what reason What... EA voice is heard off. 1gr CHARLES DI TOCCA The Voice. My lord! my lady! [They start. PAULA enters hurriedly. Paula. IMy lord Antonio! my lady! (seeing CHARLES). 0! Charles (strangely). Come here. Paula. 0, sir! Charles (taking her wrist). W\ere you not in a haste Paula. I-I-I do not know. Charles. Girl !-Why do you then Drop fearful to your knees Paula. 'Tis late, sir, late. Let me go in! Charles. You have a mistress who Keeps quick temptation in her eyes and hair. A shy mole, too, lies pillowed on her cheek. Does she rest well Paula. My lord- Charles. Ah, so most well But sometimes walks asleep and you have come To fetch her 192 CHARLES DI TOCCA Paula. Loose me, sir! Charlcs. Or she has left Hier kerchief in some nook; you seek it Paula. Oh, Your eyes! your eyes ! Charles. I have a son. .. are his Not like them Paula. Sir, mn, wrist! Charles. It was-at night, then You could not see him clearly Paula. Mercy! Charles (looking about). Yet Perchance he, too, walks in his sleep. WVere it Quite well if they have met, these two that walk Paula. My lady, my sweet lady! Charles (releasing her). Go, for she Still wonderful may lie upon her couch, One arm dropt whitely.-If you prayed for her- If you should pray for her-something may chance: There is so much may chance-we cannot know. [PAULA goes. 1(3 CHARLES DI TOCCA So much we cannot know! for even this child, Who serves about her, swathing up her hair, Has might too much! Harmon. My lord! o'er whom You fog me. Charles. Be still. Hrrnon. Antonio Charles. Can I not think, "Helena," but you link " Antonio " to it Can they not be, yet be apart Will winds Not bear them and not sound them separate! If angels cry one at the stars, will they But echo back the other-This is froth- The froth and fume of folly. You are thick In falsity and in disquietude. Another rapture rules Antonio's eye, Not Helena. Hemon. And you know it, yet lead Her to his arms Charles. No! mole, who burrow so Under a blind and muddy misbelief! To mine is she come here . . . and only mine! 194 CHARLES DI TOCCA And were he a seraph who from Paradise Desired to fold her-were--ay!-were he No mercy !- But, I will speak as a child; As he who woke with Ruth fair at his feet. Long have I gleaned amid the years and lone: She shall glean softly now beside me, softly, Till sunset fail in me and I am night. Harnion. This is a gin, a net, and I am fast. Charles. A net to snare what never has been free Ha';non. It must be-all ! For tenderness lives false Upon your lips. Charles. Though you live still who say it Hrmon. Then . . . shall he rest, lie easy down and rest In treachery Charles. Who Haenzon. Ah! Charles. Antonio Harmon. Is it not clear Is it not open .Charles (confusedly). NO. I95 CHARLES DI TOCCA Harmon. This maid who called-did she come idly here By chance Charles. Yes. Hwinon. And did I, at a strange hour Charles. Say on. Hcbnon. And have I entered a strange way Charles. You pause and ever pause upon my patience! 'Twill heave unbearably! Ha'mnon. Then hear the whole. Senseless against a bank I found a boy, Hurled by some ruthless hoof. Near him this key And writing-that avers- Charles. On, on! Harmon. Mid lines, Clandestine of purport, Antonio And Helena under these shades at twelve- Charles. Enough! This brings a furious deso- lation! Go: call me Fulvia. i6 CHARLES DI TOCCA Harmon. Not there is trust! She is aware and aids in this deceit. This writing says it of her. Charles. Fulvia No! No, no! . . . Though she had sudden whispers for him! A lie! . . . Yet fast belief fixes its fangs On me and will not loose me: for against My hope she set a coldness and a doubt! O woman woven through all fibres of me! (Starting up.) But he-! Ha'Mon. Ah, then, you can remember, can- With pangs that answer mine Charles (quietly). They still may be . . . Hawmon. Under these shades Charles. And lips to lips! Ha',non. My lord! You see at last Charles. Hush! something. No, it was But fate cried out in me, not any voice. Hxrmon. We must be swift. 197 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. It cries again. I will Not listen! He's not flesh of me-not flesh I A traitor is no son, nor was, nor shall be I Though it shriek desolation utterly I will not listen! Harmon. Do not. Charles. And to-day He shook, ashen and clenched, remembering The guilty secret in him! HaIImon. He! who's free. Charles. My words fell warm as tears-" A rift has come, A rift, a smile, a breath "-men speak so when They've crept from madness up into some space Whose element is love. Hwinon. Then will you sink Now to a palsy you who should o'erwhelm With penalty Charles (rousing). No! all and ever false Is he who's so when most he should be true! I98 CHARLES DI TOCCA 199 I will make treachery bitter to all times ! Bring dread on all to whom are given sons. Down generations shall they peer and tremble, Look on me as on majesties accursed !- Search every shade-search, search! You stand as death. I am in famine till he give me groans. [They go in opposite directions. enters, distrcst, with GUILIA. FULVIA Fulvia. Guilia. Fulvia. Yet passior Guilia. Fulvia. You not aE Guilia. Fulvia. Peacelessly Guilia. He was with Haxmon On that seat. Convulsed iless His words were low. Why were sleep I- Did he pace the path as he said it I was behind- CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. And could not see But heard their names from him The Greek is still without Guilia. MNv lady, yes. Fulvia. Your voice is guilty. How came Hat- mon in Answer me, answer. No, go quickly, go, Learn if the duke has entered. I.f he has not [Words and swords are heard, then a shriek from HELENA. CHARLES rushes in, furious, a wouind in his arnm. He is followed by HELENA, ANTONIO, who is dazed; and from the castle by HAS- MON, CEcco, the guards, etc. Antonio. Sir! father! you . . . I knew it not, so swift Your rage fell on me. Charles (to Guard). Gaping, ghastly fool! Do you behold him murderous and lay No hand on him! Antonio. But, sir-! 200 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. Let him not fawn About me! Seize him! God forgives not Hell. Not this blood only but my soul's be on him. Hclena. Oh, do not, he-! Charles. Stand! stand! Touch me not with Your voice or eyes or being! They are soft With perfidy, and stole me to believe There's sweetness in a flower, light in air And beauty in the innocence of earth. Bind him! Leucadia's just cliff awaits All traitors . . . 'tis the law, they must be flung Out on the dizzy and supportless wind. Fulvia. But this shall never be! No ... though your looks Heave out with hate upon me. Charles (convulsed, then coldly). You are dead, And speak to me. Once you were Fulvia- No more! And once my friend . . . now but a ghost Whom I must gaze upon forgetlessly. [To GUARDS. 201 CHARLES DI TOCCA Obey, at once! And at to-morrow's sunset. [ANTONIO is sci,:cd and led out. Helena (at CHIARLES'S feet). You cannot, will not ! . . . Oh, he is your son- And loves you much ! Charles. Touch me not! touch me not ! (To H2Em.ON-.) Lead her away-and quickly, quickly, quickly! [HAFMON obeys. Friends, friends-(clutching his wound). I am quite friendless now! . . . Ah-quite! [Faints. Fulvia. Charles! ah ! my lord! return! return! (down by him.) A numbness Has barred the war of soothing to his breast! CURTAIN. 202 ACT IV This page in the original text is blank. ACT IV SCEINE: A chamber in the castle, opening on the right to a hall, curtained on the left from an- other chamber. In the rear is a windowu through Which may be seen silvery hills of olive resting under the late afternoon sun; by it a shrine. Chairs, etc. Enter the CAPTAIN of the GUARD and a SOLDIER fromt the hall. Soldier. There is no more Captain. Not if you understand Soldier. That do I-every link of it ! I've served Under the bold de Montreal; and he, For stratagems-well, Italy knows him! Captain. You must be quick and secret. Soldier. As the end Of the world! 205 206 CHARLES DI TOCCA Captain. Our duty's with the duke. But then Antonio has our love. Soldier. That has he! Ah, That has he! Captain. Well, be close. None must escape, Remember, none be hurt. As for the princess, We'll hear the chink of ducats with her thanks. Soldier. Madonna save her !-The Judas of a father Who robs her rest! (Listens.) She comes! Captain (looking down hall). Yes, it is she. So go, and haste. But fail not. Soldier. If I do Bury me with a pagan, next a Turk! [Goes. Entcr FULVIA. Captain. Princess- Fulvia. Our plans grow to fulfilment-are No way misplanted CHARLES DI TOCCA Captain. Lady, all seems now Seasonable for their expected fruit. Fulvia. No accident appears to threaten them Captain. Doubt not a fullest harvest of your hope. The duke himself shall for this deed at last Have benediction. Fulvia. May it be! He's quick- Though quicker in forgetting. I will move Him as I may. Captain. The kind and wise assaults Your words shall make must move him, gracious lady. [Is going. Enter HAEMON. Harmon. I seek the duke. Fulvia (dismissing CAPTAIN). You would seek penitence Were you less far in folly. 207 208 CHARLES DI TOCCA Harmon. Oh-if he's Not here- Fulzvia. Regretting, too, would strain your lips, Not cold defiance. Ha',nmon. Pardon. If you know, Where is he Fulzia. WVas it easy to o'erwhelm Under the ruins of her dreams, a sister Hanmon. Better beneath her dreams than under shame. Fulvia. Your rashness cloaks itself in that ex- cuse, Your ruth, and your suspicion that has doomed One innocent. H1mnon. Fa ! innocent. His thought Had but betrayal for her. Fulvia. 'Tis the Greek In you avows it, no true voice. Ha'mon. Then 'tis My father murdered, whose last moan I hear CHARLES Di TOCCA Driven about me in this castle's gray Cold spaces. And the dead speak not to lie. Fulvia. But to admonish, do. So you in vain Are braving with the spur of this belief. Harmon. What do you want of me Fulvia. This: and at once. An ache, a restlessness are on you- Hcrmon (impatiently). No. Fulvia. And doubt begins in you, that as a wolf \Will scent the wounded quarry of your conscience. HIarmon. After be lured and wooed her under night And secrecy Fulvia. Not running there will you Escape its dread pursuit. Haernon. He frauded. duped His father's trust! Fulvia. Or there ! But one refuge Have you against its bitter ceaseless tooth, And that above the wilds of self-deceit. [A pause. 209 CHARLES DI TOCCA HIrmon. No refuge can be from an hour that's gone. Shall we invert the glass or tilt the dial To bring it back Fulvia. But if there wvere Horizon. WVhere is The duke I will not bauble. Fulvia. If there were Hermon. I will no longer listen to the worm You set to feed upon me, torturing. The sun melts to an end, and with the night Antonio will not be. Fulvia. Yet there is time. H ermon. The duke is fixed. Fulvia. And I. Against the lurch And power of this peril we must lean. Hwrmon. When Fulvia. Now. Herm on. You have a plan Fulvia. One that is sure. [Steps are heard. 210 CHARLES DI TOCCA But one for wisdom. So, for more seek out The captain of the guard. I wait the duke. [HxNiroN goes through the curtains. CHARLES enters worn, dishevelled, with CECCO. . . . Sees FULVIA and pauses. Fulvia. I come to plead. Charles. Ah, Nature should have pled With her, your mother-against conception; go ! [Moves off. Fulvia. Your trust is causelessly withdrawn. Yet for A breath again I beg it-for a moment! Charles. A moment were too much-or not enough. Is trust a flower of sudden birth, we may Bid bloom with a command Fulvia. Ah, that it were, Or bloomed as amaranth in those we love, Beyond all drouth and withering of ill !- But, hear me- 21 1 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. Leave these words. Fulvia. Will you not turn Out of this rage Char/cs. Leave them, I say, and cease! Still down the vortex of this destiny I would not have you farther drawn. Futlvia. Then from It draw yourself! Charles. Myself am but a hulk- NWhose treasures have already been engulfed. Fulvia. Yet shrink from it Charles. A son, a friend, a-No, She was not mine!-I will not turn. Fulvia. It is Your fury that distorts us into guilt. For tho' Antonio will not crush his heart, But flings you stony and unfilial speech, Fearing for her- Charles. Leave! Fulvia. We- Charles. Thrice I have said it! 212 CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. Yet must I not until your will is wasted. Charles. Ah ! (Sits.) . . . Cecco ! Cecco. My lord Charles. The hour Cecco (at the window). It leans to sunset. [FULVIA goes. Charles. The sky-the sky Cecco. A murk moves slowly up. Charles (wearily). There should be storm . . . gloating of wind and grind Of hopeless thunders. Lightnings should laugh out As tongues of fiends. . . . There should be storm. [His head sinks on his breast. (Suddenly.) Yet !-yet !- Cecco. My lord- Charles. The glow and glory of her seem Dead in me! Cecco. Of the Greek Charles. And yearning has Grown impotent-as would an ash of fully, 213 CHARLES DI TOCCA A left and quickly quenched desire of youth Kindled in me !-To youth alone love's sudden. Cecco. Sir, dare I speak Charles. Speak. Cecco. W hen Antonio- Charles. Cease; but a whisper of his name and I Am frenzy-frenzy-though the stillness burns And bursts with it! [CECCO steps back. The sun, how hangs it now Cecco. Above the bloody waving of the sea, Eager to dip. Charles (staggering up). Ah, I was in a foam- Bitten by hounds of fury and despair! Did you not, Fulvia, pleading for them, say They quailed but would not flee and leave me waste Cecco. She is not here, my liege. Charles. Antonio! Boy, boy! Thou ever wast to me as wafts Of light, of song, of summer on the hills! 214 CHARLES DI TOCCA1 Soft now I feel thy baby arms about me, And all the burgeon of thy youth, ere proud And cruel years grew in me, comes again, On wings and stealing winds of memory! Cecco. Oh, then, sir- Charles. Yes. Fly, fly! and stay the guard! He must not-ah !-down fearful fathoms . . . down Into the roar! [CECCO starts-he stops him. Yet me he has flung from Immeasurable peaks and I have sunk Forevermore beneath hope's horizon. WVho falls so close the grave can rise no more. [.4 silence. Cccco. This your despair wvould wound him more than death. Forget the girl. Charles. She . . . Ah, my sullen, wild And gloomy pulse beat with a rightful scorn 2 t CHARLES DI TOCCA Against the hours that sieged it. Stony was Its solitude and fierce, bastioned against All danger of quick blisses . . . till with fury For that mute tenderness which women's love Lays on the desolation of the world, She ravished it !-and now has left it cold. Cecco. As it should be, sir. And remember she Moved you unknowingly. Charles. A woman's smile Never was luring, never, but she knew it, As hawk the cruel rapture of his wings. Cecco. She though is young and youth- Charles. Must pay with moan And shriving !-Go; the sun-the sun-where burns it Cecco (at the window). Upon a cloud, whence it must spring to night. Charles. So low Cecco. Sir, yes. Charlesr. It is so low 2i6 CHARLES DI TOCCA 217 Cecco. Red. now. It rushes forth. Charles. A breathing of the world. And then-! Antonio! Cecco. Again a cloud \Withholds it. Charles. Boy-mv boy! Cecco. It dips, my lord! Charles (frenZied). Ah, will great Christ upon it lay no fear ! Let it sink down as if its swooning sent No signal unto death-and plunge, plunge thee, Antonio, forever from the day! Has He no miracle to seize it vet! Nor will not lend his thunder to cry hold, His lightning to flame off the hands that grasp, Bidden to hurl thee o'er Cccco. Tis sunk! Charles (rushing to window). Yes !-yes! (Starting back horrified.) The vision of it! Ah, see you not, see CHARLES DI TOCCA They lift him, swing him-now! down, down, down, down! The rocks . . . the lash ! . . . the foam! [Sinks exhausted in his chair. CECCO pours out aine. Enter hurriedly a SOLDIER. Soldier. Great lord! Cecco. Fellow, what now be gone! what now It is ill-timed. Soldier. Great lord, there's mutiny! Cecco. And where Soldier. Hear me, great sir, there's mutiny! Cecco. Within the town Charles (rousing). Ay- Soldier. Mutiny! your haste. Charles. Oh-mutiny. Soldier. Sir, yes! Charles. And do the ranks Of Hell roar up at me - It is not strange. 2i8 CHARLES DI TOCCA Soldier (confused). The ranks of- Pardon, lord. Charles. Do the skies rage They were else dead to madness. Soldicr. Sir, it is Your guard beyond the gates. Charles. Tis every throat Of earth and realm unearthly has a cry Against me and against! Soldier. No; but a few-! Charles. You doubt it -Are my eyes not bloody Say! Soldier. Sir! sir! Charles. My lips, are they not pale with mtrder, Bitterly done Soldier. Pale-no. Charles. Yet-I have killed; Spoke death with them; not reasonless-yet death. And all the lost have echoes of it; hear You not a spirit clamor on the air 2 11 CHARLES DI TOCCA Ploughing as storms of pain it passes through me. Mutiny . . . Go. I could call chaos fair, And fawn on infinite ruin-fawn and praise. [SOLDIER goes. Yet will not yield! (To CECCO.) My robes and coronet! [CECCO goes. I'll sit in them and mock at greatness that A passion may unthrone. If we weep not, Calamity will leave to torture us, And fate for want of tears will thirst to death. [Enter JULIAN. Ah, priestly sir. Julian. Infuriate man! Charles. Speak so. I lust for bitterness. Julian. What have you done! Charles (shuddering, then smiling). Watched the sun set. Did it not, think you, bleed Unwontedly along the waves Julian. Oh, horror! Horrible when a father slays and smiles! 2 20 CHARLES DI TOCCA 221 Charles. Not so, Lord Cardinal, not so !-but when He slays and smileth not. Julian. Beyond all mercy! Charles. Therefore I smile. Men should not mid the trite Enchanting and vain trickery of earth, Till they no longer hope of it or want. Smiles should be kept for life's unbearable. Julian. Murderer! Charles. Ah! Julian. Heretic ! Charles (goes to shrine). Well [Casts shrine out of window. Julian. Fool! fool ! Charles. There are no wise men, 0 Lord Car- dinal! Julian. Heaven let Antonio's death under the sea Make every wave a tongue against your rest, CHARLES DI TOCCA And 'gainst the rock of this impenitence! [CHARLES listens as to something far off. No wind should blow that has not sting of it, No light stream that it stains not! Charles (sighs). You have loosed Your robe, lord prelate, see ! jluian. Oh, stone ! thou stone ! Charles. Have peace. A keener cry comes up to me Than frenzy can invoke; a vaster pain Than justice from Omnipotence may call. Julian. My lips shall learn it! Charles. " Father," moans it, " Father! "- It is my ears' inheritance forever. Enter FULVIA. FPlvia. Lord Cardinal, one of your servants has Been struck in quarrel, and, it seems, mortally. Attend to him; then I may plead of you Escort to Rome. Julian (as CHARLES stares). I do not under- stand. 2 22 CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. But shall. Charles. Fulvia. With the dear minutes To Rome Do not pause here to learn of a dying man. [JU'LIAN goes. Charles. You baffle and bewilder me..... Yc yes !. I am beat off by it. Fulvia. Ten years of shelter You have held over me. Charles. Ten years- Fulzia. Whose Whose every moment else had been a torture. Charles. Now- Fulzia. I, perhaps, must go. Charles. Must .. . still I g Fuizia. Must go! . . . Though in this ca aged calm And melancholy dusk no shadow is Or niche but may remember prayer for you. days, -rope. .stle's 2 23 Iu- 2 24 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. To Rome ... You must . . I am under a spell. Fulvia. We, you and I, after the battle's foam Or chase's tired return, have often breathed The passionate deep hours away in rest And sympathy. Charles. So; oft. But, on-I marvel-! Fulvia. And at the dawn have looked and sighed, then slow With quiet clasp of fingers turned apart. Charles. Unto calm days. But in your tone I feel- Fulvia. Have we not fast been friends Charles. What hath your voice Fulvia. Such friends have we not been as grow up from Eternity Charles. You say it-and I wake. Fulvia. E'er such . . . until last night within the garden You changed as the sea changes under storm. CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles. I had forgot!-forgot! . . . the sun! the sea! The sea!-Antonio! . . . The cliff-the surf! The shroud and funeral fury of the waves! Fulvia. Be calm. Charles. I'll stay it! [Up, excitedly. Cecco! our fleetest foot! A rain of ducats if he shall outspeed This doom to us. Mfore ! more! a flood of them, If he- Fulvia (reseating him). Be patient-calm. Charles. I-I-remember: 'Tis night! Fulvia. Yes, night. Charles. The sun's no more. It hath Gone down beyond all mercy and recall. Fulvia. Perhaps. Charles (quickly). Fulvia . Fulzvia. It is hard to think! Charles. You utter and he seemeth still of life! 2 25 CHARLES DI TOCCA Fulvia. He was a child in mimic mail clad out When first this threshold poured its welcome to me. Charles. Softly you muse it . . . and call to your eyes No quailing nor a flame of execration. You do not burst out on me from me do Not shrink-as from an executioner Fulvia. I am a woman who in tears came to Your strength; in tears depart. Charles. And will not judge But fear me ! fear, and flee . . . You shall not go. Fulvia. Perhaps. Charles. Again you hide behind " perhaps " To Rome -I say you shall not. Fulvia. Yet should he, Antonio, from those curtains come- Charles. Should-should You speak not reasonably. Why do you say "If he should come" because . . There is no reason . . ! 2 26 CHARLES DI TOCCA You've led me trembling from reality. Those curtains-those-just those ... You shall not go. Fulvia. I will not, then. Charles. But something breaks from you, And as an air of resurrection stirs. Speak; on your words I wait unutterably. Fulvia. Did not a soldier lately come, my lord, Breathless, with eager speech of mutiny Charles. HIe did. Fulvia. WVithin your guard. Charles. No-yes. The guard What do I see yet cannot in your wvords Fulvia. The mutiny was raised at my com- mand CharIcs. Say it, say all Fulvia. To save you the mad blot Of a son's blood. Charles. Antonio- Fulvia. Lives! .. . He lives! 2 27 CHARLES DI TOCCA Charles (staggering back). Low . . . low! Joy come too furious is frenzy. He lives -You have done this with these soft hands, These little hands, held off the shears of fate Have dared and have not feared Fulvia. Your danger was My fear-that, and no more. Charles (with joy). He lives . . . I have No deed to answer this! no gratitude, No gift, no worth, no glow, no eloquence But would sound poor in richest words of earth. He lives.- Years yet are mine. Too brief they'll be To muse with love of this! Fulvia. No, no, my lord. Charles. But where is he Belief, tho' risen in me, Strains as if fast enfolded still in cerements That seeing must unbind. 228 CHARLES DI TOCCA Then turn and see.. [ANTONIO steps from the curtains. Antonio !-boy, boy! (as they embrace). My father ! . . . Re-enter JULIAN. Julian. If your decision Fulvia. Your Princess, and desire are still- [Sees ANTONIO. eyes look upon flesh, lord Cardinal. [A cry is heard, then weeping. Antonio (startled). Whose pain is that . . . strangely it hurts me-strangely! Enter CECCO, disturbed. Cecco. My lord, the lady Helena's little maid- [Secs ANTONIO. Shrinks from hiM. Antonio. What of her Are you horrified to stone Her maid . . . There are than risen dead worse things- And worse to dread !-her maid Fulvia. Charles. An tonio 229 CHARLES DI TOCCA Cecco. Si r Antonzio. Forth with it Has she revealed some direness to her mistress That earth has opened and abyssed her up Or butterfly or bud turned asp to bite her Cecco. Sir-she-the maid-craves audience with the duke. Antonio. Fetch her, and quickly. [CECCO goes. Fulvia. Reason, Antonio. [it suspcnse. She'll only whimper, tell what overmuch Of grief her mistress makes for you, of tears Your sunny safe returning will dry in her! Antonio. These hours come not of any good, but are Infected with resolved adversity. This dread-! Fulvia. They ever dread who have but quit The shadowv of some doom-and the dismay. 2 W3o CHARLES DI TOCCA 2 3 T [Rc-cnter CECCO, with PAULA WCCpitg. Antonio. Girl, girl Your mistress Paula (shrinking). Oh! Antonio. I am no ghost. Your mistress Paula. -Mary, Mother! [Sinks prams ing. Antonio (lifting her zip). Look on me. See! I have not been down in the grave, nor even A moment beyond earth. Do you not hear Paula. Sir! Antonio. Tell me. Paula (hysterically). Go to her, oh, go to her! A-ntonio. But, child- Paula. She, oh ! go seek her, oh, she is- Antonio. Where. Paula Paula. Blind all dav she moaned and wept- Antonio. My Helena! Paula. And when the sun was gone, Came quiet, kissed me. . . . Oh, go seek her, sir! Antonio. Kissed vou- CHARLES DT TOCCA Paula. Then to me gave these jewels. C And darkly cloaked stole out into the night. Charles. Alone Antonio. Whither, quick, whither Paula. Ah, I do Not know, but she- Antonio. Pray, pray, tell out your dre Paula. Last night she said " my heart is in lord Antonio's to beat or cease with it." I learned her words-they seemed so winning. Charles. Ah! Antonio (dazed). Why do you gasp -Paul Charles. If she. .. the cli Antonio. The cliff! The- [Staggers dizzily, then rushes out. Charles. Us what hath passed. Cecco. Let one go with him, bring Sir, yes. [Goes. )h ! ad. my iff! 232 CHARLES DI TOCCA Paula (with uncontrollable terror). My lady! Charles. Child, I cannot bear thy voice upon my heart! It hath a tone-a clutch- No more, no more! I cannot bear it ! We must wait. No hap Has been-no hap, I think-surely no hap. Enter BARDAS, deprecatingly, followed by ANTONIO. Bardas. Not in the sea, Antonio You live ilntonio. I say, where is she Bardas. You are mortal Antonio (groaning with impatience). Oh. This utter superstition! (Pricking his arm.) Is it not blood Bardas. You live and live But let her think your death You've let her! here devising for yourself Safety and preservation Antonio. She's not safe Bardas. Ha, safe-if she had shrift. Charles (hoarsely). The dead are so I Bardas. Ay, so. 233 CHARLES DI TOCCA Antonzio. And none above the grave . . no answer Bardas. She came unto the cliff amid her tears. Iler being all into one want was fused, You down the wave to follow. Antonzio. But you grasped- You held her Bardas. Yes. Antonio. Then well Bardas. She had a phial. Antonio. God! God! Bardas. Out of her breast she drew it swift, And instant of it drank. Antonio. A little all No, no !-no! but you dashed it from her lips She did but taste Bardas. Only; and then- Antonio. SMore more Bardas. " Is't not enough," she pled to me, " Enough That I must wander the cold way of death 234 CHARLES DI TOCCA 235 Unto his arms Leave me! There is no rest. I will go down and clasp him, drift with him To some unhabited gray ocean vale God hath forgot. There we will dwell away From destinv and weeping, from despair!" Anidonio. But you still held her Bardas. Still; her hand in mine. But revellers came and saw us-jested her Of taking a new love!-She broke my grasp- Charles. And leapt! on the wide air Bardas. Swifter than all Prevention. A ntonio. Helena! . . . my Helena! Has all thy loveliness so fared to this, Thy glory gone in dark calamity Bardas. I saw her as she leapt, and until death Shall see no more. Antonio. Nor may you, may you, ever! [Distractedly. But mav her sorrow and her fairness stand CHARLES DI TOCCA Imprisoned in your eye, to haunt and cry Relentlessly this crime.-But no; but no. [Turns blindly, swaying with grief, and passes out. Paula. Let me go to my lady! Charles. Still her! she Forever hath a fluttering, a cry Unbearable. It presses the lone air With sensitive and aching agony. Paula (witlessly, in tears). I know thy song, my lady, I know, I know! 'Twas pretty and 'twas strange, but now I know. [Sings Sappho! Sappho! In maiden woe (Let alone love, it spurns and burns!) Wept, wept, and leapt- 0 love is so! (Let alone love, it burns!) 236 CHARLES DI TOCCA Mly lady! oh, my lady! my sweet lady! [She is led out. Fulvia. This is most sad-most sad and pitiful. Charles. I cannot bear her voice upon my heart. [AGABUS enters, gazing. And now this monk this dog of death he-now Agabus. My trusty Shadow! (madly.) Ha, he has been here ! My king of the worms and all corruption! (Approaches Charles.) Lovers and lovers! Oh, she leapt as 'twere To Christ and not sin's Pit! . . . And he has gone To follow her! Fulvia. My lord! Agabus. To follow her. [Wanders about. The devil's nine wits are too many. Fulvia (staring). Oh! [Then seeing CHARLES rigid. 23 7 2,J8 CHARLES DI TOCCA Never an end . . . but . . . now . . . more (To him.) Move, rouse, my lord! It is not truth but madness that he speaks. [A cry and clanking of armor are heard without. A SOLDIER bursts into the chamber-and sinks to his knees. Soldier. 0 duke! 0 duke! Charles (gazing at him). Rise-go-and if t canst- To pray. Soldier. Oh, sir-! Charles. You have no tidi Soldier. Si Charles (desperately3). None, fool! but corn say what silence groans, What earth numb and in deadness raves to me. To tell Antonio hath gone out and o'er A precipice hath stepped for sake of love. This is not tidings. Hath it not on me Been fixed forever It is older than .hou ngs. e to CHARLES DI TOCCA Despair, as old as pain! . . . (To HAEMON, who entcrs.) Your sister- Bardas. Hxemon-! Julian. Hold him not in this anguish. Fulziza. She and our Antonio have left us to our tears. [HA:NION stands Motionless. Charles. Let no one groan. I say let no one groan. [Rocks blindly. Fury on him that groans! . . . Fulvia. 'My lord! Charles (taking her hand). Well, come. [As in a trance. There's much to do. W'e will think of the dead- Perchance 'twill keep them near us-Speak to them, And they may answer while we wait, may float Dim words on moonbeams to us. Oh, for one That shall sound of forgiveness and of rest ! [Mfore uildly. 239 240 CHARLES DI TOCCA Oh, I have started on the mountain's brow A tremor that has loosed the avalanche, And penitence, too late, too late, too late, Was powerless as flowers along its path! [Sinks back in his chair and stares hope- lessly before him. CURTAI N. NIRVANA DAYS FIRST PUBLISHED I909 To JAMES LANE ALLEN WITM FRIENDShIP AND FAITHFUL ESTEEM This page in the original text is blank. INVOCATION (Froms a High Cliff) Sweep unrest Out of my blood, Winds of the sea! Sweep the fog Out of my brain For I am one Who has told Life he will be free. Who will not doubt of work that's done, Who will not fear the work to do. Who wvill hold peaks Promethean Better than all Jove's honey-dew. Who when the Vulture tears his breast Will smile into the Terror's Eyes. Who for the \Vorld has this Bequest- Hope, that eternally is wise. 245 THE STRONG MAN TO HIS SIRES Tonight as I was riding on a wave Of triumph and of glory, A Question suddenly, as from the grave, Rose in me, culpatory. "Whence come to you this joyance and this strength," It said, "this might of vision This will that measures all things to its length, That cuts with calm decision "This blood within your veins, that is as wine Which Destiny's self blesses, Whence flows it, from what grape that is divine, Or trodden from what presses 246 NIRVANA DAYS "Do you so proud forget what hands have borne You to the heights and crowned you Would you behold what sackcloth has been worn That laurels may surround you" . . . And "Yea! " I answered with affirming breath, "I would! you who arraign me! Whose words are as a sound sent forth of Death, And like to Death entrain me. "I would! For if the flesh of me and soul Are fibred with the ages, My triumph is of them and manifold Of all life's mystic stages." So, forth they came-a vast ancestral line, Upon my vision teeming, All shapes whom birth and nature could affine Unto me, faintly gleaming. 247 NIRVANA DAYS I knew them as I knew myself, and felt The Day of each within me; And so began to speak, the while they dwelt About-they who had been me. "My Sires," I said, " think you I have forgot The fervor of your living How into me is moulded all you thought, Of getting or of giving "Think you I do not feel my every drop Of blood is as an ocean In which are surging and will never stop All things your hope gave motion "My senses, that are swift to take delight And shrine it in their being, Are they not born of all your faith, and bright '\Vith all your bliss of seeing 248 NIRVANA DAYS "And my full heart within whose fount I hear Your voices that are vanished, Can it forget its gratitude or fear The foes you braved and banished "No.-But the blindly striving years that led Your eyes first up to Beauty, Or taught you out of III to disembed The golden veins of Duty; "The wasting and incalculable wants That in you quailed or quivered; The longing that lit stars no dark now daunts- I know, who stand delivEred! "To you then from whose throng the centuries Long dead slip now their shrouding, Who from oblivion's profundities Rise up, and round are crowding, 249 NIRVANA DAYS 'I say, Immortal do I hold your will! Its gathered might ascending Is sacred with the unconquerable might Of God-who sees its ending; "Of God-on whose strong Vine, Heredity, Rooted in Voids primeval, The world climbs ever to some great To-Be Of passion or reprieval." I said-and on night's infinite beheld Silence alone beside me; And majesty of greater meanings welled Into my soul, to guide me. 250 THE FAIRIES OF GOD Last night I slipt from the banks of dream And swam in the currents of God, On a tide where His fairies were at play, Catching salt tears in their little white hands, For human hearts; And dancing, dancing, in gala bands, On the currents of God; And singing, singing:- There is no wind blows here or spray- Wind upon us! Only the waters ripple away Under our feet as we gather tears. God has made mortals for the years, Us for alway! God has made mortals full of fears, 251 NIRVANA DAYS Fears for the night and fears for the day. If they would frce them from grief that scars, If they would keep all that love endears, If they wouild lay no more lilies on biers- Let them say! For wce arc swift to enchant and tire Time's will! Ouir feet are wiser than all desire, Our song is better than faith or faine; To whom it is given no ill e'er camne, Who has it not grows chill! Who has it not grows laggard and lame, Aor knows that the world is a M1instrel's lvre, Smitten and never still! . Last night on the currents of God. 2,52 A SONG OF THE OLD VENETIANS The seven fleets of Venice Set sail across the sea For Cyprus and for Trebizond Ayoub and Araby. Their gonfalons are floating far, St. Mark's has heard the mass, And to the noon the salt lagoon Lies white, like burning glass. The seven fleets of Venice- And each its way to go, Led by a Falier or Tron, Zorzi or Dandalo. The Patriarch has blessed them all. The Doge has waved the word, 253 NIRVANA DAYS And in their wings the murmurings Of waiting winds are heard. The seven fleets of Venice- And what shall be their fate One shall return with porphyry And pearl and fair agate. One shall return with spice and spoil And silk of Samarcand. But nevermore shall one win o'er The sea, to any land. Oh, they shall bring the East back, And they shall bring the West, The seven fleets our Venice sets A-sail upon her quest. But some shall bring despair back And some shall leave their keels Deeper than wind or wave frets, Or sun ever steals. 254 NIRVANA DAYS I If I were in Japan today, In little Japan today, I'd watch the sampan-rowers ride On Yokohama bay. I'd watch the little flower-folk Pass on the Bund, where play Of " foreign " music fills their ears With wonder new alway. Or in a kuruma I'd step And " Noge-yama! " cry, And bare brown feet should wheel me fast Where Noge-yama, high 255 2' NIRVANA DAYS Above the city and sea's vast Uprises, with the sigh Of pines about its festal fanes Built free to sun and sky. And there till dusk I'd sit and think Of Shaka Mluni, lord Of Buddhas; or of Fudo's fire And rope and lifted sword. And, ere I left, a surging shade Of clouds, a distant horde, Should break and Fugi's cone stand clear- With sutras overscored. Sutras of ice and rock and snow, Written by hands of heat And thaw upon it, till 'twould seem Meant for the final seat Of the lord Buddha and his bliss- If ever he repeat 256 NIRVANA DAYS This life where millions still are bound Within Illusion's cheat. II Or were I in Japan today- Perchance at Kyoto- Down Tera-machi I would search For charm or curio. Up narrow stairs in sandals pure Of soil or dust I'd go Into a room of magic shapes- Gods, dragons, dread Nio. And seated on the silent mats, With many a treasure near- Of ivory the gods have dreamt, And satsuma as dear, Of bronzes whose mysterious mint Seems not of now or here- 257 NIRVANA DAYS I'd buy and dream and dream and buy, Lost far in Maya's sphere. Then gathering up my gains at last, -Mid " sayonaras " soft And bows and gentle courtesies Repeated oft and oft, Mly host and I should part-" 0 please The skies much weal to waft His years," I'd think, then cross San-jo To fair Chion-in aloft. For set aloft and set apart, Beyond the city's din, Under the shade of ancient heights Lies templed calm Chion-in. And there the great bell's booming fills Its gates all day, and thin Low beating on mokugyo, by Priests passioning for sin. 258 NIRVANA DAYS And there the sun upon its courts And carvings, gods and graves, Rests as no light of earth-lands known, Like to Nirvana laves And washes with sweet under-flow Into the soul's far caves. And no more shall this life seem real To one who feels its waves. "No more! " I'd say, then wander on To Kiyomizu-shrine, Which is so old antiquity's Far self cannot divine Its birth, but knows that Kwannon, she Of mercy's might benign, Has reached her thousand hands alway From it to Nippon's line. And She should hear my many prayers, And have my freest gifts. 250 NIRVANA DAYS And many days beside her should I watch the crystal rifts Of Otawa's clear waters earn Their way, o'er rocks and drifts, Beside the trestled temple down- Like murmurs of sweet shrifts. Then, when the city wearied me, To Katsura I'd wend- A garden hid across green miles Of rice-lands quaintly penned. And, by the stork-bestridden lake, I'd walk or musing mend My soul with lotus-memories And hopes-without an end. III Or were I in Japan today, Hiroshima should call 260 NIRVANA DAYS My heart-Hiroshima built round Her ancient castle wall. By the low flowering moat where sun And silence ever fall Into a swoon, I'd build again Old days of Dainivo thrall. Of charge and bloody countercharge, Wihen many a samurai Fierce-panoplied fell at its pale, Suppressing groan or cry; Suppressing all but silent hates That swept from eve to eye, While lips smiled decorously on, Or mocked urbane goodbye. Tlien to the river I would pass And drift upon its tide By many a tea-house hung in bloom Above its mirrored side. 201 NIRVANA DAYS And geisha fluttering gay before Their guests should pause in pied Kimono, then with laughter bright Behind the shoji hide. Unto an isle of Ugina's Low port my craft should swing, Or scarce an island seems it now To my fair fancying, But a shrined jut of earth up thro The sea from which to sing Unto the evening star of all Night's incarnations bring. Then backward thro the darkened streets I'd walk: long lanterns writ With ghostly characters should dance Beside each door, or flit, Thin paper spirits, to and fro And mow the wind, when it 262 NIRVANA DAYS Demanded of them reverence And passed with twirl or twit. What music, too, of samisen And koto I should hear! Tinkle on weirder tinkle thro The strangely wistful ear What shadows on the shoji-door Of my dim soul should veer All night in sleep, and haunt the light Of many a coming year! IV Or were I in Japan today, From Ujina I'd sail For mountain-isled Miyajima Upon the distance, frail As the mirage, to Amida, Of this world's transient tale, 263 NIRVANA DAYS Where he sits clothed in boundless light And sees it vainly ail. Up to the great sea-torii, Its temple-gate, I'd wind, There furl my sail beneath its beam; And soon my soul should find XN'hat it shall never, tho it sift The world elsewhere, and blind Itself at last with sight of all Earth's blisses to mankind. "Nliyajima! TMaiyajimal" How would enchantment chant The syllables within me, till Desire should cease and pant Of passion press no more my will- But let charmed peace supplant All thought of birth and death and birth- Yea, karma turn askant. 264 NIRVANA DAYS For on Miyajima none may Give birth and none may die- Since birth and death are equal sins Unto the wise. So I Should muse all day where the sea spills Its murmur softly by The still stone lanterns all arow Under the deathless sky. And under cryptomeria-tree And camphor-tree and pine, And tall pagoda, rising roof On roof into the shine Of the pure air-red roof on roof, With memories in each line Of far Confucian China where They first were held divine. And o'er Miyajima the moon Should rise for me again. 265 NIRVANA DAYS So magical its glow, I dare Think of it only when My heart is strong to shun the snare Of witcheries that men May lose their souls in evermore, Nor, after, care nor ken. V Yes, were I in Japan today These things I'd do, and more. For Ise gleams in royal groves, And Nara with its lore, And N\ikko hid in mountains-where The Shogun, great of yore, Built timeless tombs whose glory glooms Funereally o'er. These things I'd do! But last of all, On Kamakura's lea, 266 NIRVANA DAYS 267 I'd seek Daibutsu's face of calm And still the final sea Of all the West within me-from Its fret and fever free My spirit-into patience, peace, And passion's mastery. THE YOUNG TO THE OLD You who are old- And have fought the fight- And have won or lost or left the field- Weigh us not down With fears of the world, as we run! With the wisdom that is too right, The warning to which we cannot yield, The shadow that follows the sun, Follows forever! And with all that desire must leave undone, Though as a god it endeavor; Weigh, weigh us not down! But gird our hope to believe- That all that is done 268 NIRVANA DAYS 269 Is done by dream and daring- Bid us dream on! That Earth was not born Or Heaven built of bewaring- 'Yield us the dawn ! You dreamt your hour-and dared, but we Would dream till all you despaired of be; Would dare-till the world, Won to a new wayfaring, Be thence forever easier upward drawn. OFF THE IRISH COAST Gulls on the wind, Crying! crying! Are you the ghosts Of Erin's dead Of the forlorn Whose days went sighing Ever for Beauty That ever fled Ever for Light That never kindled Ever for Song No lips have sung Ever for Joy That ever dwindled Ever for Love that stung 270 A VISION OF VENUS AND ADONIS I know not where it was I saw them sit, For in my dreams I had outwandered far That endless wanderer men call the sea- Whose winds like incantations wrap the world And help the moon in her high mysteries. I know not how it was that I was led Unto their tryst; or what dim infinite Of perfect and imperishable night Hung round, a radiance ineffable; For I was too intoxicate and tranced With beauty that I knew was very love. So when divinity from her had stolen Into his spirit, as, from fields of myrrh Or forests of red sandal by the sea, Steal slaking airs, and he began to speak, 271 NIRVANA DAYS I could but gather these few fleeting words: " Your glance sends fragrance sweeter than the lily, Your hands are visible bodiments of song. You are the voice that April light has lost, Her silence that was music of glad birds. The wind's heart have you, and its mystery, When poet Spring comes piping o'er the hills To make of Tartarus forgotten fear. Yea all the generations of the world, W\hose whence and whither but the gods shall know, Are vassal to your vows forevermore." And she, I knew, made answer, for her words Fell warm as womanhood with wordless things, But I had drifted on within my dream, To that pale space which is oblivion. 272 SOMNAMBULISM Night is above me, And Night is above the night. The sea is beside me soughing, or is still. The earth as a somnambulist moves on In a strange sleep . . . A sea-bird cries. And the cry wakes in me Dim, dead sea-folk, my sires- Who more than myself are me. Who sat on their beach long nights ago and saw The sea in its silence; And cursed it or implored; Or with the Cross defied; Then on the morrow in their boats went down. 273 NIRVANA DAYS II Night is above me . . . And Night is above the night. Rocks are about me, and, beyond, the sand . . . And the low reluctant tide, That rushes back to ebb a last farewell To the flotsam borne so long upon its breast. Rocks. . . . But the tide is out, And the slime lies naked, like a thing ashamed That has no hiding-place. And the sea-bird hushes- The bird and all far cries within my blood- And earth as a somnambulist moves on. 274 SERENATA MAGICA (Venetian) My gondola is a black sea-swan, And glides beneath the moon. Dark palaces beside me pass, Like visions in a beryl-glass Of what shall never be, alas, Or what has been too soon. Like what shall never be, but in The breathing of a swoon. My gondola is a black sea-swan, That makes a mystic way From door to phantom water-door, While carven balconies hang o'er 275 NIRVANA DAYS And casements framed for love say more Than love can ever say. Say more than any voice but one Of silent magic may. My gondola is a black sea-swan- Rialto lies behind. And by me the Salute swings, A loveliness that must take wings And vanish, as imaginings XWithin an Afrit's mind; As vague and vast imaginings That can no substance find. My gondola is a black sea-swan: San Marco and the shaft Of the slim Campanile steal Into my trance and leave a seal Upon my senses, like the feel Of long enchantment quaffed: 2 -, 0 NIRVANA DAYS 277 Of long enchantments such as songs Of sage Al Raschid waft. My gondola is a black sca-swan And gains to the lagoon, Where samphire and sea-lavetnder Around me float or softly stir, While far-off Venice still lifts her Fair witchery to the moon, And all that wonder e'er gave birth Seems out of beauty hewn. O-SHICHI AND MOTO O-Shichi, all my heart today Is dreaming of your fate; And of your little house that stood Beside the temple gate; Of its plum-garden hid away Behind white paper doors; And of the young boy-priest who read too late with you love-lores. II O-Shichi dwelt in Yedo-where A thousand wonders dwell, Gods, golden palaces and shrines That like a charm enspell. 278 NIRVANA DAYS O-Shichi dwelt among them there, More wondrous, she, than all- A flower some forgetful god had from his hand let fall. III And all her days were as the dream On flowers in the sun. And all her ways were as the waves That by Shin-bashi run. And in her gaze there was the gleam Of stars that cannot wait Too long for love and so fare forth from heaven to find a mate. IV O-Shichi dwelt so, till one night When all the city slept, When not a paper lantern swung, 27.) NIRVANA DAYS When only fire-flies swept Soft cipherings of spirit-light Across the temple's gloom- Sudden a cry was heard-the cry that should O-Shichi doom. v For following the cry came flame, A Chaya's roof a-blaze. And quickly was the street a stream Of stricken folk, whose gaze Knew well that when the morning came Their homes would be but smoke Vanished upon the winds: now had O-Shichi's fate awoke. VI And waited. For at morning priests In pity of her years 280 NIRVANA DAYS And desolation led her back Behind the great god's spheres; The great god Buddha, who of beasts And men all mindful was. O Buddha, in thy very courts O-Shichi learned love's laws! ViI Love of the body and the soul, Not of Nirvana's state! Love that beyond itself can see No beauty wise or great. O-Shichi for a moon-a whole Moon happy there beheld The young boy-priest whose yearning e'er into his eyes upwelled. viii So all too soon for her was found Elsewhere a kindly thatch. 28i NIRVANA DAYS And all too soon O-Shichi heard Behind her close love's latch. They led her from the temple's ground Into untrysting days. And all too soon that happy moon was hid in sorrow's haze. Ix For now at dawn she rose to dress With blooms some honored vase, Or to embroider or brew tea's Sweet ceremonial grace. Or she at dusk, in sick distress, Before the butsudan, Must to ancestral tablets pray-not to her Moto- San! x Not unto him, her love, Her breast, as moon the who sways tide, 282 NIRVANA DAYS Whose breath is incense-Ah, again To see him softly glide Before the grave god-idol's gaze Of inward ecstasy, To watch the great bell boom for him its mystic sutra-plea. XI But weeks grew into weariness, And weariness to pain, And pain to lonely wildness, which Set fire unto her brain. And, " I will see my love! " distress Made fair O-Shichi cry, "Tho for ten lives away from him I then must live and die." XII Yet-no! She dared not go to him, To her he could not come. 283 2NIRVANA DAYS Then, sudden a thought her being swept And struck her loud heart dumb. Till in her rose confusion dim, Fear fighting with Desire- Which to O-Shichi took the shape of Fudo, god of fire. XIII And Fudo won her: for that night Did fond O-Shichi dare To set aflame her father's house, Hoping again to share The temple with her acolyte, Her lover-priest, who, spent With speechless passion for her face, in vain strove to repent. XIV But ah ! what destiny can do Is not for folly's hand. 284 NIRVANA DAYS The flames O-Shichi kindled were From sea to Shiba fanned. And it was learned a love-sick girl Had charred a thousand homes. Then were the fury-smitten folk like to a sea that foams. xv And so they seized her: but not in The temple-O not there Had she been led again by priests In pity-led to share Her lover's eyes; no, but her sin Brought not one dear delight To poor O-Shichi-who was now to look on her last rite. xv1 For to the stake they bound her-fire They lit-to be her fate. . .. 285 286 NIRVANA DAYS O-Shichi, have I dreamt it all Your face, the temple gate, The fair boy-priest shut from desire In Buddhahood to-be Then let me dream and ever dream, 0 flower by Yedo's sea. A PRAYER One cricket left, of summer's choir. One glow-worm, flashing life's last fire. One frog with leathern croak Beneath the oak,- And the pool stands leaden Where November twilights deaden. Day's unspent desire. One star in heaven-East or West. One wind-a gypsy seeking rest. One prayer within my heart- For all who part- That on some portal, God may join at last, immortal, All who keep love's quest. 287 THE INFINITE'S QUEST All night the rain And the wind that beat Dull wings of pain On the seas without. All night a Voice That broke in my brain And blew blind thoughts about. All night they whirled As a haunted throng From some dim world Where there is no rest. All night the rain, And the wind that swirled, And the Infinite's lone quest. 238 LAD AND ILASS I heard the buds open their lips and whisper, Whisper, " Spring is here!" The robins listened And sang it loud. The blue-birds came In a fluttering crowd. The cardinal preached It high and proud, Spring! And thro the warm earth their song went trilling, Trilling, " Wake ! Arise! The kingcups quickly 289 NIRVANA DAYS Assembled, strong. The bluets stept From the moss in throng. Like fairies too Came the cress along. Spring! And love in your breast, my lass, awaking- Waking, Love was born! Your eves were kindled, Your lips were warm, WVild beauties broke From your face and form. And all my heart Was a heaven-storm, Was Spring ! 290 AT STRATFORD I could not sleep. The wind poured in my ear Immortal names-Lear, Hamlet, Hal, Macbeth, And thro the night I heard the rushing breath Of ghost and witch and fool go whirling by. I followed them, under the phantom sphere Of the pale moon, along the Avon's near And nimbused flowing, followed to his bier- Who had evoked them first with mighty eye. And as I gazed upon the peaceful spire That points above earth's most immortal dust, I could have asked God for His starry Lyre Out of the skies to play my praise upon. I could have shouted, as, 0 WVind. thou must, " Here lies Humanity: kneel, and pass on." 291 THE IMAGE PAINTER Up under the roof, in cold or heat, Far up, aloof from the city street, She sat all day With brush and clay, And painted, sadly human. And if she thought of ease and rest, Of love that spells God's name the best, Her few friends heard but one request- " Pray for a tired little wonman.- She sat from dawn till weary dusk. Her hands plied on-with but a husk- But one, to break And for Christ's sake To eat: was He not human 292 NIRVANA DAYS Then when the light would leave her brush She'd sit there still, in the dim hush, And say aloud, lest tears should rush- " Pray for a tired little woman." They found her so-one morning when A knock brought no sweet welcome ken Of her still face And cloistral grace And brow so bravely human. They found her by the window bar, Her eyes fixed where had been some star. 0 you that rest, where'er you are, Pray for the tired little woman. 293 WANDA "She shall be sportive as the fawn That wild with glee across the lawn Or up the mountain springs;" I'm Wanda born Of the mirthful morn So I heard the red-buds whisper To the forest beech, Tho I know that each Is but a gossipy lisper. I taunt the brook With his hair outshook O'er the weir so cool and mossy, 294 NIRVANA DAYS And mock the crow As he peers below With a caw that's vain and saucy. Where the wahoo reds And the sumac spreads Tall plumes o'er the purple privet, I beg a kiss Of the wind, tho I wis Right well he never will give it. I hide in the nook And sunbeams look For me everywhere, like fairies. Then out I glide By the gray deer's side- Ha, ha, but he never tarries! 295 NIRVANA DAYS Then I fright the hare From his turfy lair And after him send a volley Of song that stops Him under the copse In wonderment at my folly. And Autumn cries " Be sad ! " or sighs Thro her nun lips palely pouting. But then I leap To the woods and keep It wild with gleeing and shouting. And when the sun Has almost spun A path to his far Golconda, I climb the hill And listen, still, While he calls me-" Wanda! Wanda!' 29)6 NIRVANA DAYS 297 And then I go To the valley-Oh, My dreams are sweeter than dreaming! All night I play Over lands of Fay, In delight that seems not seeming. IN A STORM (To a Petrel) All day long in the spindrift swinging, Bird of the sea! bird of the sea! How I would that I had thy winging- How I envy thee! How I would that I had thy spirit, So to careen, joyous to cry, Over the storm and never fear it! Into the night that hovers near it! Calm on a reeling sky! All day long, and the night, unresting! Ah ! I believe thy every breath Means that Life's Best comes ever breasting Peril and pain and death! 298 ANTAGONISTS Life flung to Art this voice, of mercy bare, " Fool, to my human earth come you, so free, To wreathe with phantom immortality Whoever climbs with passionate lone care That shifting, feverous and shadow stair To Beauty-which is vainer than the sea On furious thirst, or than a mote to Me Who fill yon infinite great Everywhere Let them alone-my children! they are born To mart and soil and saving commerce oer Wind, wave and many-fruited continents. And you can feed them but of crumbs and scorn, And futile glory when they are no more. Within my hand alone is recompense!" 299 NIRVANA DAYS II But Art made fierce reply, " Anathema, On you who fill flesh but the spirit scorn. WN'ho give it to the unrequiting law Of your brute soullessness and heart unborn To aught than barter in your low bazaar- Though Beauty die for it from star to star. You are the god of Judas and those who Betrayed Him unto nail and thorn and sword! Of that relentless worm-bit Florence horde Who drove lone Dante from them till he grew So great in death they begged his bones to strew Their pride and wealth and useless praise upon. Anathema! I cry; and will, till none Of all earth's children still shall worship you. 300 SEEDS A thousand years In a mummy's hand A seed may lie, Then, planted, spring Into life again Under sun and sky. A thousand days In a soul's dark ways A word may wvait. But a touch at length May arouse its strength And the word proves-Fate. 301 THE SOUL'S RETURN Let me lie here- I care not for the distant hills today, And the blue sphere Of far infinity that draws away All to its deep, Would only sweep Soothing the farthex from me with its sway. Let me lie here- Gazing with vacant sadness on this weed. The cricket near Will utter all my heart can bear to heed. Another sound Would but confound Still more my life's bewilderment and need. 302 NIRVANA DAYS 303 Let me lie here: For now, so long my wasted soul has tossed On the wide Mere Of Mystery Hope's wing alone has crossed, I ask no more Than to restore To simple things the wonder they have lost. ROMANCE (To A. H. R. on North Cliff, Lvnton, Dez'on) White-caps hurry to meet the shore An hundred fathoms down. Gray sails are shimmering on the wind Far out from Lynmouth town. High crags above us are whispering keen, The heather and the ling Laugh to the sky as driven by The wild gulls cry or cling. And, where the far sun like a god Scatters the mist, lies Shore. Is it Romance's magic realm Spring reigns forever o'er 304 NIRVANA DAYS s3o; Romance that our morning hearts could see Across the darkest foam Then (1o we know it well, my love, Because it is our Home. ON THE ATLANTIC (To A. H. R.) Who stood upon that schooner's driven deck Last night as reefed and shuddering she hove Into the twilight and all desperate drove From wave to angrier wave that sought her wreck Who labored at her helm and watched the wind Stagger the sea with all his stunning might, Until in dimness dwindling from our sight She vanished in the wrack that rode behind We know not, you and I, but our two souls That followed as storm-petrels o'er the waves Felt all the might of Him who sinks or saves, And all the pity of earth's unreached goals. Felt all-then swift returning to our love Dwelt in its peace, uplifted safe above. 306 THE GREAT BUDDHA OF KAMAKURA TO THE SPHINX Grave brother of the burning sands, Whose eyes enshrine forever The desert's soul, are you not worn Of gazing outward to dim strands Of stars that weary never Infinity no answer has For Time's untold distresses. Its deepest maze of mystery Is but Illusion built up as The blind build skies-with guesses. Nor has Eternity a place On any starry summit. 307 NIRVANA DAYS The winds of Death are wide as Life, And leave no world untouched-but race, And soon with Night benumb it. And Karma is the law of soul And star-yea, of all Being. And from it but one way there is, Retreat into that tranced Whole- Which is not Sight nor Seeing; Which is not Mind nor Mindlessness, Nor Deed nor driven Doer, Nor Want nor Wasting of Desire: But only that which won can bless; And of all else is pure. Turn then your eves from the far track Of worlds, and gazing inward, O brother, fare where Life has come, Yea, into its far Whence fare back. All other ways are sinward. 3OS A NIKKO SHRINE Under the sway, in old Japan, Of silent cryptic trees, There is a shrine the worldliest Would near with bended knees. Green, thro a torii, the way Leads to it, worn, across A rivulet whose voice intones With mystery of moss. A mystery that is everywhere: The god beneath his shrine Seems but a mossy shape-yet so Ensheathed is more divine. 3O9 310 NIRVANA DAYS For tho Nature has muffled him And sealed him there away, The meaning of all faith remains- That men will ever pray. Aye, and as long as sore-distressed Will kneel on any sod, Or at the lowliest of shrines That waken in them God. THE QUESTION I shall lie so one day. With lips of Silence set; Eyes that no tear can wet Again: a thing of Clay. I shall lie so, and Earth Will seize again her dust- Though she must gnaw and rust The coffin's iron girth. I shall lie so-and they Who still the Day bestride, Will stand so by my side And with sad yearning say: 3"1 NIRVANA DAYS " What is he now, this man, Shut in a pallor there, His spirit that could dare, What-what now is its span " A withered atom's space Within a withered brain Or can it from the Wain To far Orion race" And, like all that have died, I shall but answer-naught. Yet Time this truth has taught: The Question-will abide. I'LL LOOK NO MORE I'll look no more! thro timeless hours my eyes Without intent have watched the slowing flight Of ebon crows across quiescent skies Till all are gone; the last, a lonely bird, Scudding to rest thro streams of golden curd That flow far eastward to the coming night. And as I turn again to foiling thought, Beside the kindled lamp that seems to grieve, My spirit leaves me as faint zephyrs leave Each tree. Till, when the night comes, full- enfraught With silence, and the slow oil sinks beneath The noiseless burning wick of yellow flame, It is as if God back to him would breathe All the world's given life, and end its Aim. 313 NIGHT'S OCCULTISAI Northward the twilight thro dark drifts Of cloud-wreck lingers cold. Southward the sated lightning sinks Beneath the wooded wold. Eastward immovable deep shade Is sealed with mystery. Westward a memory of dead gold Wakes on a sunset sea. Under, is earth's still orbiting; Over, a clearing star: In all, the spirit litany Of life's strange avatar. 3T4 UN CR0 WN ED I am not other than men are, you say But faulty and failing And your love can lend No glory of illusion to o'erlay The lack, and make me seem one in whom blend Nobilities wherein your heart may lose All that it feels of flaw in me, or rues Can it so be Did ever woman love Whose faith wreathed not about the brow she chose Aureolas illuming him above All that another thinks he is, or knows I ask it bravely, for the way is long, And, haloless, should I not lead you vrong 315 WRITTEN IN HELL (By Sir Giles, whom the Wnitch of Urm leads to Judas Iscariot) Against a castle moated gloomily by a bitter drain of blood, From whose fetid wave contumely Of all truth was reeking fumily And infectiously, I stood; Waiting for her sign- A shriek repeated nine. I shrank at every aspish quivering fear set crawling in my breast. But betimes I felt a shivering, As a shriek cut thro me slivering 3i6 NIRVANA DAYS All my soul with sin's unrest- Christ! it raised the dead Out of the moat's black bed. Nine times-and then across the thickening reek a rusty draw was dropped; For her was it: and soon, quickening, O'er she sped-a shadow sickening All with horror as it stopped- Stopped to laugh a laugh No devil's soul could quaff. I swear its clamor tore the stuttering leaves from shrub and shrunken tree; Swear no limbo e'er heard muttering Like that spawn of echoes sputtering Midnight with their drunken glee Yet, ere half were done, I could not hear a one. 3I7 NIRVANA DAYS She put her finger burning eerily to my lips-I heard them lock; Led me then a march-way, cheerily- Tho the quick ooze spurted drearily Thro root-rotten curd and rock. Things like water-ghouls Slid slimily in pools. She stepped just once upon a hideous burrow dank and haired with grass; Fixed upon me eyes perfidious As a fiend's are, yet insidious- Questioned if I dared to pass. "I will search all Hell To find him," from me fell. And so was drawn thro dark cadaverous with the sound of gabbling dead. Oft we heard them hoot palaverous, And beside us saw unsavorous 318 NIRVANA DAYS In the mould some glutton head Grin to a hissing bat, That scraped him as he spat. And tho I knew her witch turned shepherdess to a soul blind as a sheep's, Still I dogged her on, as jeopardous Sped she-like a leashless leopardess- Down . . . till, mid miasmic deeps, "Swim," she gasped behind- And like a she-wolf whined. It almost seemed to me a deadening as the sluice of dreary Stvx. Fire and foulest slush soul-leadening Did I drink, and swam leagues reddening With my lunging weary licks. Up a sulphurous bank We climbed. and there I sank. 3r9 NIRVANA DAYS And then once mbre that laugh-a shrivelling, ghastly, gaunt, uncanny spate. Up I sprang and cursed my snivelling- Cursed my weary soul for drivelling, And for so forgetting Hate. "You will find him there," She pointed, thro her hair. I write these words from Hell where bloodily locked with him in fight I woke. Where we fall down gulphs spilt ruddily With a glazing gore: or, muddily, In mad night and horror choke. Yet I do not care, For he groans by me there. 320 AT THE HELM (Nova Scotian) Fog, and a wind that blows the sea Blindly into my eyes. And I know not if my soul shall be When the day dies. But if it be not and I lose All that men live to gain- I who have little known but hues Of wind and rain- Still I shall envy no man's lot, For I have held this great, Never in whines to have forgot That Fate is Fate. 321 DEAD LOVE If this should never end- This wandering in oblivious mood Along a rutless road that leads From wood to deeper wood- This crunching with unheedful foot Acorns' I think, and withered leaves Perhaps a rotten root- If this should never end- This seeing with insentient eyes Something that seems like earth, and, too, Like overbending skies; This feeling, well-that time is space, Space, time; and each a pallid glass In which Life sees her face- 322 NIRVANA DAYS 323 If it should never end- The road, the wandering and the feel Of dead infinities that seem O'er our dead sense to steal, And like seas cease above- Would it much matter, love MORTAL SIN (Song for a drama) Much the wind Knows of my heart, Though he whispers in my ear That he has seen me burn and start WVhen I dream of your breast, my dear Much the wind Knows of my soul! For no soul has he to lose On a mistress who can dole Kisses that drug as poison-dews. 324 SEA-MAD (A Brcton Maid) Three waves of the sea came up on the wind to me! One said: "Away! he is dead! Upon my foam I have flung his head! Go back to your cote, you shall never wed !- (Nor he !)" Three waves of the sea came up on the wind to me. Two brake. The third with a quake Cried loud, " 0 maid, I'll find for thy sake His dead lost body: prepare his wake!" (And back it plunged to the sea!) 325 326 NIRVANA DAYS Three waves of the sea came up on the wind to me. One bore- And swept on the shore- His pale, pale face I shall kiss no more! Ah, woe to women death passes o'er! (Woe's me!) WORMWOOD (In Old England) What is he whispering to her there Under the hedge-row spray "Spring, Spring, Spring "-Is the world so fair To him, fool, that he has no care As he cuckoos it all day. Is he quite sure-quite sure the sap Of life's not hate, but love If I should tell him there's no gap Between her and a . . . nameless hap, \\rould he still want his " dove" Or would he go as blind to buds As I am, who watch here. 327 NIRVANA DAYS While o'er her face a rapture scuds, As he is pouring poet floods Of passion in her ear It would be swords-swords! .And his steel Should rip death from my breast. But would he ever know the feel Of Spring again, of its ribald reel, As once I did, the best No! He would curse henceforward leaf And flower and light-as I. Spring-It is fire, lust, ashes, grief- All that is Hell's, in hope or fief! . . He'll learn it ere he die. 38 QUEST AND REQUITAL (Before He Comes) Sweet under swooning blue and mellow mist September waves of forest overflow The hills with crimson, amaranth and gold. Winds warm with the memory of scented hours Dead Summer gathers in her leafy lap, Rustle the distance with dim murmurings That sink upon the air as soft as shades Dropt from the overleaning clouds to earth; While golden-rod and sedge and aster hushed In sunny silence and the oblivion Of life drawn from the insentient veins of Time, Await the searing swoon of Autumn's reign. It is a day when death must seem as birth, And birth as death; and life-till love comes-pain. 320 NIRVANA DAYS II (He Has Come) These are the leafy hills and listless vales Of iridescent Autumn-this the oak Against whose lichened bole at peace I leant Thro the long sunny hours of afternoon. Here are the bitter-sweet and elder sprays I fingered, dreaming to the muted flow Of breezes overhead-and here the word I wrote unwittingly upon the soil. How long ago it was I cannot tell: The loneliness of unrequited love Lies like a blank eternity between Those hours and these I hear slip thro my heart. I only know all days I've ever seen .Must seem now of some other life apart! 330 NIRVANA DAYS 331 III (HIe Loves) "WN'ill you let any moment dip its wing Into your heart and find no love of me To tint with deathless Dream "-he said-" and Spring, Its flight to the dim bourne of memory Will you have any grief that can forget How grief should find forgetfulness in love And since your soul in my soul's zone is set Will it sometimes ask other spheres to rove Where touch and voice of me shall not be met Ah no! in all the underdeeps of Death Or overheights of Life it still shall be At tryst with mine thro moan or ecstasy. In all ! " . . . Yet ere a year he'll draw no breath But is another's !-Will God let it be NIRVANA DAYS IV (Betrayed by Him) All day I've bent my heart beneath the yoke Of goading toil, remembering to forget, To still upon my lips his kiss that woke Me in elysian love one word has broke- One stinging word of severance and regret. All day I've blotted from my eyes his face, But now at evening tide it comes again, And memories into my darkened soul Rush as the stars into high heaven's space. As the bright stars! But, ah, tomorrow! when Once more I must forget and see life's goal, That was so green, with sering laurel hung. Tomorrow and tomorrow! till is wrung Peace from the piteous hours I strive among! 3.32 NIRVANA DAYS V (Finding No Peace) I say unto all hearts that cannot rest For want of love, for beating loud and lonely, Pray the great Mercy-God to give you only Love that is passionless within the breast. Pray that it may not be a haunting fire, A vision that shall steal insatiably All beauteous content, all sweet desire, From faith and dream, star, flower, and song, and sea. But seek that soul and soul may meet together Knowing they have forever been but one- Meet and be surest when ill's chartless weather Drives blinding gales of doubt across their sun. Pray-pray! lest what seemed love shall change an(] tether You to aborrence past oblivion. 333 NIRVANA DAYS VI (In After Years to Him) You say that love then led us-you and me I say 'twas hate, that wore love's wanting eyes: Hate that I could not tear away the lies That wrapped you with their silken sorcery. Hate that for you I could not open skies Where beauty lives of her own loveliness; That God would give me no omnipotence To purge and mould anew your soul's numb sense. Aye. hate that I could love you not tho love Pent in me ached with passion-born distress- While thro unfathomable dark the Prize Seemed sinking, as my soul. from heaven above. Love, say you love and hate rent us apart I tell you hate alone so tears the heart. 334 NIRVANA DAYS VII (To Him. After His Death) God who can bind the stars eternally With but a breath of spirit speech, a thought; Who can within earth's arms lay the mad sea Unseverably, and count it as sheer naught; With his All-might could bind not you and me. For tho He pressed us heart to burning heart And sanctioned, as it seemed, our passion's all, Still did our souls unblending stand apart As aliens beating fierce against the wall Of dark unsympathies that would upstart. Stand alien, aye! and would tho we should meet, Beyond the oblivion of unnumbered births, Upon some world where Time cannot repeat The feeblest syllable that once was earth's. 335 LOVE IN EXTREMIS I care not what they say who hold We should speak but of life aTAl joy; I have met death in one I love, Death lusting to destroy. And I have fought him vein by vein, Loosened his cold and creeping clutch. Driven him from her-twice and thrice- With might too much. Yet with too little! for I know That she at last will lie there still. Then all my fire of love shall fail To thaw that chill; 336 NIRVANA DAYS 337 For it will freeze light from her eyes, Pulse from her breast and from her soul Me, whom no opiate of peace Can eer console. None: ..'.ill I follow her, in time, And find her, though all Dust deny! With that to be I'll front the day, And fronting die. QUARREL And is it so That two who stand Heart closed in heart, Hand knit to hand, Can let love go, And, as its foe, Strive thus, nor understand Does one ask much One give too small Till so is lost, It may be-All For but a touch Of pride shall such A heaven be let fall 338 NIRVANA DAYS 339 No !-But to Fate Say with me, " Go: Death may bring dross But this I know; Love can abate Life's harshest hate, So loving I bend low." OF THE FLESH (At M1onte Carlo) We met upon the street: Quick passion sprung into the eye of each- No dilettante heat ! For tho no more I love her-or beseech God for her-do you think We once again could face, signor, nor fear To leap the fatal brink And clasp each other-tho Hell hung a-near No, no! Such love as ours Stabbed peace heart-deep and burnt the flesh to mad. It scorned the simple powers Of sympathy and mild repose. and had 340 NIRVANA DAYS One thirst alone-to hold Each other mouth to still unsated mouth Until, perchance, the cold And (lamp of death should end some night its drouth. But that cold would not come- Day only would-to show us duty's eye Calm, pale, and sternly dumb. And so we'd swear never to kiss or sigh Again-for well we knew God grants such boons only to man and wife. But night distilled the dew Of loneliness-and so, once more, that lhie. And how was the spell burst Each long embrace seemed sweeter than the last; Each dulling heart-beat nurst The shame, till . . . well, I tore me from the past, 34T NIRVANA DAYS And cried, " I hate my soul, And thine and this false love! " . fell. And so I kissed her . . . stole The ring that choked her finger . . . whereon she . said farewell. And since then Time has pressed Ten restless years. But if I saw her lay Her hand upon her breast, As once she used, and send her soul to say A word with those dark eyes . . . Ha, what is that. signor " Respect . . . My wife" That's as may be. You rise Adieu, signor. Fate deals the cards in life. 342 A DEATH SONG (For a Drama) Toll no bell and say no prayer, Iet no rose die on my bier. All I hoped for shall appear Or be wvell forgotten, there. (Like the waves of yesteryear.) Toll no bell and drop no sigh, Bear me softly to the tomb; Life was dark, but light is nigh- Light no sorrow shall consume (And no kiss of love-or cry). 343 344 NIRVANA DAYS Toll no bell: the clod will toll Grief enough for any ear. 'When the last has sounded clear, Know that I have reached the Goal (Which is God seen thro no tear). ON' BALLYVTEIGUE BAY IEve heard the sea-dead three nights come keening And crying to my door. \V'hv will they affright me with their threening Forevermore O have they no grave in the salt sea-places To lay them in Do they know, do they know-with their cold dead faces !- Know . . . my sin There's blood on my soul. The Lord cannot wipe it Away with His own blood. I've beaten my breast with blows that stripe it, And burned His Rood 345 NIRVANA DAYS With kisses that shrivel my lips-that shrivel To sin on the air. But the night and the storm cry on me evil. Does He not care There's blood on my soul: but then . . . she should never Have said it was his-the child- And hers-for she knew I'd never forgive her . . . I grew so wild There was just one thing to be done-to kill her: Just one-no more. I took the keen steel . . . one stroke would still her . . I counted four. And she fell-fell down on the kelp-none near her. But when she lay so fair I kissed her . . . because I knew I should fear her, And smoothed her hair; 346 NIRVANA DAYS And shut her two eyes that fixed me fearless Of death and pain. And the blood on my hand I wiped off tearless- And that on my brain. And I buried her quickly. The thorn-trees cover Her grave with spines. I pray That each in its fall will prick her and shove her To colder clay. But . . . yonder! . . she's up! and moans in the heather A whimpering thing! Ill bury her deeper in Autumn weather . . . Or Winter . . . or Spring. And then if she comes with them still to call me Each night, I'll tell her loud He was mine! and laugh when they try to pall me With sea and shroud. 347 348 NIRVANA DAYS And I'll swear not to care for Christ or Devil. They'll skitter back To the waves, at that, and be gone with their revel.. . God spare me the rack! See them mount in the dead of night- Men, three hundred strong! Armed and silent, masked from the light, Speeding swartly along. What is their errand manly fight Clench with a manly foe I would rather be dead of wrong Than ride among them so. See them enter the sleeping town. Hear the warning shot! Keep to your beds, free men-down, down! Dare you to move -dare not! I This clan of tobacco outlaws in Kentucky during 1907- xoo8 cast such disgrace on her good name as years will not suffice to erase. 349 NIGHT-RIDERS' NIRVANA DAYS These are your masters-these who crown Black Anarchy their king! I would rather my hand should rot Than have it do this thing. See them steal to the house they seek- Brave men, 0, brave all! There lies a sick boy, fever-weak; Who comes forth at call A woman " Go in, you bitch! " they reek. " Give us the old man out! " Rather my bitten tongue should fall To palsy than so shout. And-they have him, " the old man," now, Bound-with nine beside. One, a Judge of the Law's grave brow, Sworn by it to bide. "Lash him! "-a hundred lashes plow A free-born back with pain! 350 NIRVANA DAYS God, shall we let such cowards ride And burn and beat and stain O the shame, and the bitter shame, That thus, across our land, Crime can arise and write her name Broad, with a bloody hand! o the shame, and the bitter shame Upon our chivalry. I would rather have led the band That diced on Calvary. So, Night-errants, ride on and ride- Avenging, wrongly, wrong. But when the children at your side Grow lawless up and strong; When at their drunken hands you've died As beasts beside your door, You will repent, God knows it-long, These nights to Hell made o'er. 35 HONOR (To thc Night-Ridcrs Who Mzurdcred Hcdges) Honor to men Who leave their homes And children safe asleep. To take the cover of night and fright Women that wake and weep! Honor, again, To those who mount For blood-hounds in a pack! But let us honor the most of all- Men that shoot in the back! For, it is good To fare a-field And frighten helpless things, 352 NIRVANA DAYS And how good with a torch to scorch A poor man's harvestings. But, if you would Do something high And blameless, brave not black, Ride till you find a peaceful man- Then shoot-shoot in the back! Why, there was one In Palestine Who gave a certain kiss. More, fine friends, do you give who live In a land not far from this! For wrongs he had done EIl hanged himself- Shame made a sick heart crack. But you will muster and ride again- And shoot-shoot in the back! Oh, and you mav! But wait, the Day 353 354 NIRVANA DAYS Shall come-in wrath shall come! The Sovereign Law that you flaunt and daunt, Will not lie always dumb! Her prisons gray They are slow, but wide; When they open, you will lack Many a thing-but most, fair friends, The chance to shoot in the back! BRUDE' (A Dramatic Fantasy) Dealing with: Boadicea, queen of the Britons. Lamora, a Gaulish captive. Brude, a Druid. Cormo, a warrior. Corlun, Druid high-priest, and Horma, a wandering hag. SCENE: A Hall of hewn wood, on the island of Mona, in which BOADICEA sits enthroned and attended. On her right, warriors, long-haired, I This sketch, written in i898, was in no sense conceived for the stage. 355 NIRVANA DAYS mustached and painted with woad. On the left, a band of Druids robed in white: among them BRUDE, whomn she watches jealously from tine to time. On the floor in front of her cringes LAMORA, held by COR-MO. Boadicea. Britons, hear! Ye know how my lord, Caerleon's liege, Swore feal to the Romans His lorn wife and daughters- When the wolf, Death, Gnawed life from his heart. Ye know how the Roman, Ravenous traitor, Slaves us with thongs Of brutal behest. Will ye still daunt Your necks to the noose AU. No! no! Queen! no, no, no! Boadicea. Then, warriors of iron, 356 NIRVANA DAYS Sworded with terror, Fly to your henges ! Fight till ye crowd Hell with the ghosts Of ethlings that Britons hate. 14"arriors. To the slaughter! slaughter! Hro ! to the [They rush from the hall in haste. Boadicca (continuing). Heard by the gods, Feared by the fiends, Ye must away! To your dark fane, The gaunt oak-forest Holy with mistle! White-robed as spirits, Gold knives uplifting, Sing to the serpents, Seek the Charmed Egg! And ye, Druid seers, 35 7 NIRVANA DAYS Druids (bowing with weird signs). Great is the Queen. Her Druids hear. But shall no gift be made Boadicca. Yea . . . since Lactantius, God more than all gods, Will not be soothed By sheep or cattle, On your high altar Slay ye this maiden of Gaul! [Points to LAMORA, who cries out to her! then to BRUDE: Lamnora. Nay, Queen, 0 pity! 0, Brude, win pity! Let her not yield me Prey to the gods. Rather in battle 'Gainst the hard Roman Would I be trampled Into the grave. 358 NIRVANA DAYS Trampled by war-hoofs . . . Into a grave of blood! Boadicea. Proud-lip! mocker! Dare you sputter Shame on the awful gods [Strikes her down . . . BRUDE helpless. Corlun (coming forward). Then bear her away! Meet me at midnight, Druids' day, Deep within Mona's wood. Kneel, Druids, kneel! [They kneel, then go, bearing LAMORA. SCENE II: Sunset. A rocky cave near the forest. BRUDE pacing back and forth with restless mut- tering. Brude. 0 thou Lactantius, Whom other gods watches 359 NIRVANA DAYS Worship with trembling, While their star-chariots Roll to the sea ! Symbolled by circles, Endless in being, Dost thou love life-blood As Druids say When the white maiden's Pierced on the altar Dost thou drink praises From her wide wound So teach the seers, So did I, Brude, swear- Till I saw Lamora! Her eyes are love-fires, Her words are sorcery Stronger than god-laws! But . . . who comes hither [Has hcard a moan. Hither harasser Of these my thoughts 36c NIRVANA DAYS Ha! is it Lamora Followed by Cormo Curses like vampires Fall on his head! [Steps aside. Lamnora (entering in despair). 'Mother! sweet mother, Far in the Eastland, Soon must thy daughter Pass from earth's day! Ne'er shall a boy-babe Suck from her bosom Valor to strangle Wolves in the lair! Never shall husband From the red war-fields Bring her the foeman's spoils! Cormo (behind her). Lamora, proud one- Lamora. Leave me, viper! Stand from me farther! 36i NIRVANA DAYS Will you e'en now With tongue spit poison On my last ebbing hour Corino. Nay, maiden, cruel, But I will aid thee. Words are as smoke, Deeds as flame! Hear! I will save thee From Druid talons And bear thee whither thou wilt: Give but thy vow to wed me! Lamora. Wed thee -thee . . . INsever-while cliffs O'er the plain jutting Plight void death to the leaper! Never while waves Curl gray lips Yearning to gulf the doomed! Cormo. Then thou shalt die! shalt die! Druids shall gash 362 NIRVANA DAYS Streamings of life Out of thy shrinking sides! Lamora. Then die I will! But not thro fear, Coward of Britons, WVill I e'er mother Child of thy loins. Rather let flames, Tongues of the gods, Suck the red life from my breast. Yea, let the gods, Glutless as men, And, as women, Treacherous, vain- Strike, at the call of thy Queen! [Goes, followed by CORMO. Brude (coming forward). No! thou shalt live, live, live ! [Goes into cave, then conmes forth with a knif e. 363 NIRVANA DAYS SCENE III: Midnight. A stormy glade in the for- est. On one side a croinlech whereon LAMORA lies bound: CORLUN beside her with an uplifted blade of gold. On the other side Druids- around a pot of serpents over a fire in the cav- ern of an uprooted tree. [BRUDE is among them, watchful. Corlun (chanting). Orpo !-Ai !- Now shall the Roman Backward be driven, O gods! Orpo !-Ai !- For to the death stroke Lamora's given, o gods! Orpo! Ai!- Her skyward soul Thro the dank dark shall rise, As the morn's sun 364 NIRVANA DAYS Unto your halls Far o'er the skies. And she shall say Thus Druids crave Help of the helpers of men. Druids (incanting around the cavern). Orpo !- Ai !- Serpents are spawned Of devils' spit, O gods! Orpo !-Ai !- Spit boiled with blood In caverns lit By fungous fangs From Mona's wood. [They circle. BRUDE steals behind CORLUN. Orpo !-Ai !- Serpents are spawned In magic broth To coil and wriggle, 365 NIRVANA DAYS Writhe and twist; Till their froth Becomes a mist, Till the mist An egg shall form- Charm that Druids prize. Brudc (with a sudden cry). Corlun, the gods Wait for thy soul! [Slays hilt. Lamora, fly! With me, fly- Thro the black forest! [Has cut her bonds. Great Lactantius, Maker of gods, Loves not the maiden's death-cry'! [They escape. Druids (in terror). Corlun is slain! Corlun! slain! Woe to the Druids! 366 NIRVANA DAYS Woe from the heavens! Woe from the ireful Queen! [They pursue contusedly. SCENE IV: Dawn; far in the forest. Enter BRUDE and LAMORA faintingly to a spot whore HORMA, the hag, unseen by them is gathering herbs. Lamora. Strength no more Wings me for flight. With hunger of sleep I faint. [Falls. Brude (sinking by her). Yet ere thy sleep, Maid like the dawn, List to my heart's wild uttering! All I have dared Was for thy love- Tho but to love thee Would I dare all! Lamora. Ah! What is love, Brude wise and noble 36 7 NIRVANA DAYS Is it this burning Far in my breast Melting my soul to thine Is it this power hid in my eyes Shaping thy face On hill and cloud Is it this whisper, As of sea-waves, Singing thy name to me Yea! So now we may sleep. [They lie down. HORMA, the hag, whohas heard then, creeps maundering up and gazes at then. Horma. Owl and eaglet Have they fled Then let witch-toads sing! Oaths forgotten, Would they wed Then let bull-bats, 368 NIRVANA DAYS Wild a-wing, Flap the moon from heaven! Deep in the forest- Ha! ho! ho! [Breaks off, hearing shouts. Continues. They'll be slain! [Fleeing. They'll be slain! Brude (waking). What was my dream . [Hears the shouts. Lamora! Lamora! [They start up and look at each other. Silence. Lamora (at length). So was it doomed. Now we must cross Thro the death-fog Unto the blest. 369 NIRVANA DAYS But side by side, And ere they come. [Hands him her knife. Here we shall die. But in the Meadows Where the thin shades Wander and wander, Ever in love we'll live! Fold first thy arms around me. [They embrace. Brudc (starting from her). Hear! they have come- Cormo! The Queen! . . . Lamora. Then strike! for thy face Alone would I see in death ! Brude (killing her then himself). Cormo! . . . Queen ! . . . Death ! Ye shall never . . . tear us apart! [Falls with her in his arms, as BOADICEA and warriors enter. 370 NIRVANA DAYS 371 Boadicea (seeing them). Dead! . . . Leave them, food For beast and bird! Leave them! away! away! [All go with pride and spurning. This page in the original text is blank. SONG-SURF FIRST PUBLISHED I900 To MY SISTERS This page in the original text is blank. WITH OMAR I SAT with Omar by the Tavern door, Musing the mystery of mortals o'er, And soon with answers alternate we strove Whether, beyond death, Life hath any shore. "Corne,fill the cup," said he. "In the fire of Spring Your IVinier-garmwzent of Repentance fling. The Bird of T'ize has but a little way To flutter -and the Bird is on the W ing." "The Bird of Time" I answered. "Then have I No heart for Wine. Must we not cross the Sky Unto Eternity upon his wvings - Or, failing, fall into the Gulf and die" 37 7 SONG-SURF "Ay; so, for the Glories of this World sigh some, As now, for the Prophet's Paradise to come, You sigh. Take, Friend, the Cash - the Credit leave, Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum ! " " And, having taken, spend - without a throe- All on the Wine spend all The while I know A possible To-morrow may bring thirst For Drink but Credit then shall cause to flow" " Yea, make the most of what you yet may spend, Before we too into the Dust descend; Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie, Sans Fine, sans Song, sans Singer, and-sans End !" "Into the Dust we shall descend -we must. But can the soul not break the crumbling Crust In which he is encaged To hope or to Despair he will - which is more wise or just" 378 SONG-SURF "The worldly hope men set their hearts upon Turns Ashes - or it prospers: and anon, Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face, Lighting a little hour or two - is gone." "Like Snow it comes - to cool one burning Day; And like it goes - for all our plea or sway. But flooding tears nor Wine can ever purge The Vision it has brought to us away." " But to this world we come and IWhy not knowing, Nor Whence, like water willy-nilly flowing; And out of it, as Wind along the waste, We know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing." "True, little do we know of Why or Whence. But is forsooth our Darkness evidence There is no Light - the worm may see no star Tho' heaven with myriad multitudes be dense." 379 SONG-SURF "But, all unasked, we're hither hurried WIhence And, all unasked, we're lIT'/ither hurried hence 0, many a cup of this forbidden I Vine .ltust drown the memory of that insolence." "Yet can not - ever! For it is forbid Still by that quenchless Soul within us hid, Which cries, 'Feed - feed me not on WVine alone, For to Immortal Banquets I am bid.' " "JlVell oft I think that neve; blows so red The Rose as where some buried Cesar bled: That every Hyacinth the Garden wears Dropt in her lap from some once lovely Head." "Then if, from the dull Clay thro' with Life's throes, More beautiful spring Hyacinth and Rose, Will the great Gardener for the uprooted soul Find Use no sweeter than - useless Repose" 380 SONG -SURF " te cannot know - so fill the cup that clears 7'o-daY of past regret and fiuture fears: To-morrow! - IVhy, To-nmorrow we may be Ourselves with Yesterday's sev'n thousand Years." "No Cup there is to bring oblivion More during than Regret and Fear-no, none! For Wine that's Wine to-day may change and be Marah before to-morrow's Sands have run." "My1sclf whlen young did eagerly frequent Doctor and .S'aint, and heard great argumnent About it and about: but evermore Came out bo the same Door where in I went." "The doors of Argument may lead Nowhither, Reason become a Prison where may wither From sunless eyes the Infinite, from hearts All Hope, when their sojourn too long is thither." 381 SONG-SURF " Up fromn Earth's Centre thro' the Seventh Gate I rose, and on the throne of Saturn sale, And manv a Knot unravelled by the Road- But not the Master-knot of Human fate." "The Mfaster-knot knows but the Master-hand That scattered Saturn and his countless Band Like seeds upon the unplanted heaven's Air: The Truth we reap from them is Chaff thrice fanned. Yet if the Soul can fling the Dust aside A nd naked on the air of Heaven ride, 1Wer't not a shame - -er't not a shane for him In this clay carcase crippled to abide" "No, for a day bound in this Dust may teach More of the Sdki's Mind than we can reach Through xeons mounting still from Sky to Sky - May open through all Mystery a breach." 382 SONG-SURF " You speak as if Existence closing your Account, and mine, should know the like no more; The Eternal Scikifromn that Bowl has poured .If illions of bubbles like us, and will pour." "Bubbles we are, pricked by the point of Death. But, in each bubble, may there be no Breath That lifts it and at last to Freedom flies, And o'er all heights of Heaven wandereth" "A moment's halt -a momentary taste Of Being from the WTell amid the I1'aste- And Lo - the phantom Caravan has reached The Nothing it set out from - Ol, make haste!" "And yet it should be - it should be that we Who drink shall drink of Immortality. The Master of the Well has much to spare: Will He say, 'Taste' -- then shall we no more be" 38 SONG-SURF 384 " The Moving Finger writes; and having writ, Mooves on; nor all your Piety nor WIit Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it." "And were it other, might we not erase The Letter of some Sorrow in whos2 place No truer sounding, we should fail to spell The Heart which yearns behind the mock-world's Face " "Well, this I know; whether the one Trite Light Kindle to Love, or Ifrath-consume me, quite, One flash of it within the Tavern caught Better than in the Temple lost outright." "In Temple or in Tavern 't may be lost. And everywhere that Love hath any Cost It may be found; the Wrath it seems is but A Cloud whose Dew should make its power most." "But see Ills Presence thro' Creation's veins Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains; Taking all shapes front Md/i to M11dhi; and They change and perish all - but He remains." "All -it may be. Yet lie to sleep, and lo, The soul seems quenched in Darkness -is it so Rather believe what seemeth not than seems Of Death - until we know - until we knous." "So wastes the Hour -gone in the vain pursuit Of This and That we strive o'er and dispute. Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit." "Better - unless we hope that grief is thrown Across our Path by urgence of the 'Unknown, Lest we may think we have no more to live And bide content with dim-lit Earth alone." SONG-SURF Then, strange, is't not that of the myriads who Before us passed the door of Darkness through Not one returns to tell uts of the Road, IlThich to discover we must travel too" "Such is the Ban! but even though we heard Love in Life's All we still should crave the word Of one returned. Yet none is sure, we know, Though they lie deep, they are by Death deterred." "Send then thy Soul through the Invisible Some letter of the After-life to spell: And by and by thy Soul returned to thee But answers, 'I myself am Heaven and Hell.' " "From the Invisible, he does. But sent Thro' Earth, where living Goodness tho' 'tis blent With Evil dures, may he not read the Voice, 'To make thee but for Death were toil ill spent'" ,386 SON-G-SURF "Wl'ell, when the Angel of the darker drink At last shall find us by the river-brink And ofering his Cup invite our souls Forth to our lips to quaf, we shall not shrink." "No. But if in the sable Cup we knew Death without waking were the wilful brew, Nobler it were to curse as Coward Him WVho roused us into light - then light withdrew." "Then Thou who didst with pitfall and with gin Beset the Road I was to wander in, Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round Enmesh, and then impute my fall to sin." "He will not. If one evil we endure To ultimate Debasing, oh, be sure 'Tis not of Him predestined, and the sin Not His nor ours - but Fate's He could not cure." 387 SONG-SURF " IVet, all, that Spring should vanish with the Rose! That Youth's sweet-scented Mlanuscript should close! The Nightingale that on the branches sang, A h, whence, and whit her flo-wnt again, who knows " "So does it seem -no other joys like these: Yet Summer comes, and Autumn's i.cnoured ease; And wintry Age, ist ever whisperless Of that Last Spring, whose Verdure may not cease" "Still, would some winged Angel ere too late Arrest the vet unfolded roll of Fate, And mnakc the stern Recorder otherwise Enregister, or quite obliterate!" "To otherwise enregister believe lie toils eternally, nor asks Reprieve. And could Creation perfect from his hands Have come at Dawn, none overmuch should grieve.' SONG-SURF i8o So till the wan and early scent of day We strove, and silent turned at last away, Thinking how men in ages yet unborn Would ask and answer - trust and doubt and pray. JAEL JEHOVAH Jehovah ! art Thou not stronger than gods of the heathen I slew him, that Sisera, prince of the host Thou dost hate. But fear of his blood is upon me, about me is breathen His spirit-by night and by day come voices that wait. Athirst and affrightened he fled from the star- wrought waters of Kishon. His face was as wool when he swooned at the door of mv tent. The Lord hath given hirn into the hand of per- dition, 390 SUNG-SURF I smiled -but he saw not the face of my cunning intent. He thirsted for water: I fed him the curdless milk of the cattle. He lay in the tent under purple and crimson of Tvre. Hle slept and he dreamt of the surge and storming of battle. Ah ha! but he woke not to waken Jehovah's ire. He slept as he were a chosen of Israel's God Al- mighty. A dog out of Canaan! - thought he I was woman alone I slipt like an asp to his ear and laughed for the sight he Would give when the carrion kites should tear to his bone. 391 SONG-SURF I smote thro' his temple the nail, to the dust, a worm, did I bind him. My heart was a-leap with rage and a-quiver with scorn. And I danced with a holy delight before and behind him - I that am called blessed o'er all unto Judah born. "Aye, come, I will show thee, 0 Barak, a woman is more than a warrior," I cried as I lifted the door wherein Sisera lay. "To me did he fly and I shall be called his de- stroyer - I, Jael, who am subtle to find for the Lord a way! " "Above all the daughters of men be blest - of Gilead or Asshur." Sang Deborah, prophetess, then, from her waving palm. ,30 2 SONG-SURF "Behold her, ye people, behold her the heathen's abasher, Behold her the Lord hath uplifted - behold and be calm! "The mother of him at the window looks out thro' the lattice to listen - Why roll not the wheels of his chariot why does he stay Shall he not return with the booty of battle, and glisten In songs of his triumph - ye women, why do ye not say" And I was as she who danced when the Seas were rended asunder And stood, until Egypt pressed in to be drowned unto death. My breasts were as fire with the glory, the rocks that were under 393 SONG-SURF My feet grew quick with the gloating that beat in my breath. At night I stole out where they cast him, a sop to the jackal and raven. But his bones stood up in the moon and I shook with affright. The strength shrank out of my limbs and I fell, a craven, Before him - the nail in his temple gleamed bloodily bright. Jehovah! Jehovah! art Thou not stronger than gods of the heathen I slew him, that Sisera, prince of the host Thou dost hate. But fear of his blood is upon me, about me is breathen His spirit-by day and by night come voices that wait. 394 SONG-SURF I fly to the desert, I fly to the mountain - but they will not hide me. His gods haunt the winds and the caves with ven- geanice that cries For judgment upon me; the stars in their courses deride me - The stars Thou hast hung with a breath in the wandering skies. Jehovah Jehovah! I slew him, the scourge and sting of Thy Nation. Take from me his spirit, take from me the voice of his blood. With madness I rave - by day and by night, de- famation' Jehovah, release me! Jehovah! if still Thou art God! 395 TO THE SEA ART thou enraged, 0 sea, with the blue peace Of heaven, so to uplift thine armed waves, Thy billowing rebellion 'gainst its ease, And with Tartarean mutter from cold caves, From shuddering profundities where shapes Of awe glide thro' entangled leagues of ooze, To hoot thy watery omens evermore, And evermore thy moanings interfuse With seething necromancy and mad lore- Or, dost thou labour with the drifting bones Of countless dead, thou mighty Alchemist, Within whose stormy crucible the stones Of sunk primordial shores, granite and schist, Are crumbled by thine all-abrasive beat, 396 SONG-SURF ;97 With immemorial chanting to the moon, And cosmic incantation, dost thou crave Rest to be found not till thy wild be strewn Frigid and desert over earth's last grave Thou seemest with immensity mad, blind- With raving deaf, with wandering forlorn; Parent of Demogorgon whose dire mind Is night and earthquake, shapeless shame and scorn Of the o'ermounting birth of Harmony. Bound in thy briny bed and gnawing earth With foamy writhing and fierce-panted tides, Thou art as Fate in torment of a dearth Of black disaster and destruction's strides. And how thou dost drive silence from the world, Incarnate Motion of all mystery! Whose waves are fury-wings, whose winds are hurled SONG-SURF Whither thy Ghost tempestuous can see A desolate apocalypse of death. Oh, how thou dost drive silence from the world, With emerald overflowing, waste on waste Of flashing susurration, dashed and swirled O'er isles and continents that shrink abased! Nay, frustrate Hope art thou, of the Unknown, Gathered from primal mist and firmament; A surging shape of Life's unfathomed moan, Whelming humanity with fears unmeant. Yet do I love thee, 0, above all fear, And loving thee unconquerably trust The runes that from thy ageless surfing start Would read, were they revealed, gust upon gust, That Immortality is might of heart! '398 THE DAY-MIOON So wan, so unavailing, Across the vacant day-blue dimly trailing! Last night, sphered in thy shining, A Circe -mystic destinies divining; To-day but as a feather Torn from a seraph's wing in sinful weather, Down-drifting from the portals Of Paradise, unto the land of mortals. Yet do I feel thee awing My heart with mystery, as thy updrawing Moves thro' the tides of Ocean And leaves lorn beaches barren of its motion; 399 SONG-SURF Or strands upon near shallows The wreck whose weirded form at night unhallows The fisher "For him! - that unawares! " maiden's prayers - storms may take not So wan, so unavailing, Across the vacant day-blue dimly trailing! But Night shall come atoning Thy phantom life thro' day, and high enthroning Thee in her chambers arrased With star-hieroglyphs, leave thee unharassed To glide with silvery passion, Till in earth's shadow swept thy glowings ashen. 400 A SEA-GHOST Or, fisher-fleet, go in from the sea And furl your wings. The bay is gray with the twilit spray And the loud surf springs. The chill buoy-bell is rung by the hands Of all the drowned, Who know the woe of the wind and tow Of the tides around. Co in, go in! Oh, haste from the sea, And let them rest- The throng who long for the air - still long But are left unblest. 401 SONG-SURF Aye, even as I, whose hands at the bell Now labour most. The tomb has gloom, but Oh, the doom Of the drear sea-ghost! He evermore must wander the ooze Beneath the wave, Forlorn -to warn of the tempest borp, And to save - to save! Then go, go in! and leave us the sea, For only so Can peace release us and give us ease Of our salty woe. 402 ON THE MOOR I MET a child upon the moor A-wading down the heather; She put her hand into my own, We crossed the fields together. I led her to her father's door - A cottage mid the clover. I left her - and the world grew poor To me, a childless rover. 2 I met a maid upon the moor, The morrow was her wedding. Love lit her eyes with lovelier hues Than the eve-star was shedding. 403 SONG-SURF She looked a sweet good-bye to me, And o'er the stile wvent singing. Down all the lonely night I heard But bridal bells a-ringing. 3 I met a mother on the moor, By a new grave a-praying. The happy swallows in the blue Upon the winds were playing. "Would I were in his grave," I said, "And he beside her standing!" There was no heart to break if death For me had made demanding. 404 THE CRY OF EVE DowN the palm-way from Eden in the mid- night Lay dreaming Eve by her outdriven mate, Pillowed on lilies that still told the sweet Of birth within the Garden's ecstasy. Pitiful round her face that could not lose Its memory of God's perfecting was strewn Her troubled hair, and sigh grieved after sigh Along her loveliness in the white moon. Then sudden her dream, too cruelly impent With pain, broke and a cry fled shuddering Into the wounded stillness from her lips- As, cold, she fearfully felt for his hand, And tears, that had before ne'er visited Her lids with anguish, drew from her the moan: 405 "Oh, Adam! What have I dreamed Now do I understand His words, so dim To creatures that had quivered but with bliss! Since at the dusk thy kiss to me, and I Wept at caresses that were once all joy, I have slept, seeing through Futurity The uncreated ages visibly! Foresuffering phantoms crowded in t-he womb Of Time, and all with lamentable mien Accusing,without mercy, thee and me! And without pity' for tho' some were far From birth, and had no name, others were near - Sodom and dark Gomorrah-from whose flames Fleeing one turned . . . how like her look to mine When the tree's horror trembled on my taste! And Babylon upbuilded on our sin; And Nineveh, a city sinking slow Under a shroud of sandy centuries That hid me not from the buried cursing eyes Of women who e'er-bitterly gave birth! SONG-SURF 406 SONG-SURF Ah, to be mother of all misery! To be first-called out of the earth and fail For a whole world! To shame maternity For women evermore - women whose tears Flooding the night, no hope can wipe away! To see the wings of Death, as, Adam, thou Hast not, endlessly beating, and to hear The swooning ages suffer up to God! And Oh, that birth-cry of a guiltless child In it are sounding of our sin and woe, With prophesy of ill beyond all years! Yearning for beauty never to be seen - Beatitude redeemless evermore! That birth-cry! soon so sadly to awake That thou, Adam, dear fallen thought of God, Thou, when thou too shalt hear humanity Cry in thy child, wilt groaning wish the world Back in unsummoned Void! and, woe! wilt fill God's ear with troubled wonder and unrest! " 407 4o; SONG(-SURF Softly he soothed her straying hair, and kissed The fever from her lips. Over the palms The sad moon poured her peace into their eyes, Till Sleep, the angel of forgetfulness, Folded again dark wings above their rest. MARY AT NAZARETH I KNOW, Lord, Thou hast sent Him - Thou art so good to me! - But Thou hast only lent Him, His heart's for Thee! I dared - Thy poor hand-maiden - Not ask a prophet-child: Only a boy-babe laden For earth - and mild. But this one Thou hast given Seems not for earth - or me! His lips flame truth from heaven, And vanity 40( SONG-SURF Seem all my thoughts and prayers When He but speaks Thy Law; Out of my heart the tares Are torn by awe! I cannot look upon Him, So strangely burn His eyes- Hath not some grieving drawn Him From Paradise For Thee, for Thee I'd live, Lord! Yet oft I almost fall Before Him - Oh, forgive, Lord, My sinful thrall! But e'en when He was nursing, A baby at my breast, It seemed He was dispersing The world's unrest. 4IO SONG-SURF 4 Thou bad'st me call Him " Jesus," And from our heavy sin I know He shall release us, From Sheol win. But, Lord, forgive! the yearning That He may sometimes be Like other children, learning Beside my knee, Or playing, prattling, seeking For help - comes to my heart. . Ah sinful, Lord, I'm speaking- How good Thou art! ADELIL PROUD Adelil! Proud Adelil! Why does she lie so cold (I made her shrink, I made her reel, I made her white lids fold.) We sat at banquet, many maids, She like a Valkyr free. (I hated the glitter of her braids, I hated her blue eye's glee!) In emerald cups was poured the mead; Icily blew the night. (But tears unshed and woes that bleed Brew bitterness and spite.) 41 2 SONG-SURF 413 "A goblet to my love!" she cried, "Prince where the sea-winds fly!" (Her love! - it was for that he died, And for it she should die.) She lifted the cup and drank -- she saw A heart within its lees. (I laughed like the dead who feel the thaw Of summer in the breeze.) They looked upon her stricken still, And sudden they grew appalled. ("It is thy lover's heart!" I shrill As the sea-crow to her called.) Palely she took it -did it give Ease there against her breast (Dead - dead she swooned, but I cannot live, And dead I shall not rest.) INTIMATION ALL night I smiled as I slept, For I heard the March-wind feel Blindly about in the trees without For buds to heal. All night in dreams, for I smelt, In the rain-wet woods and fields, The coming flowers and the glad green hours That summer yields. All night - and when at dawn I woke with the blue-bird's cheep, Winter with all its chill and pall Seemed but a sleep. 414 IN JULY THIS path will tell me where dark daisies dance To the white sycamores that dell them in; Where crow and flicker cry melodious din, And blackberries in ebon ripeness glance Luscious enticings under briery green. It will slip under coppice limbs that lean Brushingly as the slow-belled heifer pants Toward weedy water-plants That shade the pool-sunk creek's reluctant trance. I shall find bell-flower spires beside the gap And lady phlox within the hollow's cool; Cedar with sudden memories of Yule Above the tangle tipped with blue skullcap. The high hot mullein fond of the full sun 415 SONG-SURF 416 Will watch and tell the low mint when I've won The hither wheat where idle breezes nap, And fluffy quails entrap Me from their brood that crouch to escape mishap. Then I shall reach the mossy water-way That gullies the dense hill up to i s peak, There dally listening to the eerie eke Of drops into cool chalices of clay. Then on, for elders odorously xvill steal My senses till I climb up where they heal The livid heat of its malingering ray, And wooingly betray To memory many a long-forgotten day. There I shall rest within the woody peace Of afternoon. The bending azure frothed With silveryness, the sunny pastures swathed, Fragrant with morn-mown clover and seed-fleece; The hills where hung mists muse, and Silence calls SU()N(;-S; Rx1 41 , To Solitude thro' aged forest halls, WVill waft into me their mysterious ease, And in the wind's soft cease I shall hear hintings of eternities. FRONI ABOVE WHAT do I care if the trees are bare And the hills are dark And the skies are gray. What do I care for chill in the air For crows that cark At the rough wind's way. What do I care for the dead leaves there - Or the sullen road By the sullen wood. There's heart in my heart To bear my load' So enough, the day is good! 4i BY THE INDUS THOU art late, 0 Moon, Late, I have waited thee long. The nightingale's flown to her nest, Sated with song. The champak hath no odour more To pour on the wind as he passeth o'er- But my heart it will not rest. Thou art late, 0 Love, Late, For the moon is a-wane. The kusa-grass sighs with my sighs, Burns with my pain. 419 4-:o SONG-SURF The lotus leans her head on the stream - Shall I not lean to thy breast and dream, Dream ere the night-cool dies Thou art late, 0 Death, Late, For he did not come! A pariah is my heart, Cast from him-dumb! I cannot cry in the jungle's deep- Is it not time for the Tomb - and Sleep 0 Death, strike with thy dart! EVOCATION (Nikko, Japan, I905) DIM thro' the mist and cryptomeria Booms the temple bell, Down from the tomb of 1Rvasii Yearning, as a knell. Down from the tomb where many an xon Silently has knelt; Many a pilgrimage of millions - Still about it felt. Still, for I see them gather ghostly Now as the numb sound Floats, an unearthly necromancy, From the past's dead ground. 421 SONG-SURF See the invisible vast millions, Hear their soundless feet Climbing the shrine-ways to the gilded Carven temple's seat. And, one among them - pale among them - Passes w aning by. What is it tells me mystically That strange one was I . Weird thro' the mist and cryptomeria Dies the bell -'tis dumb. After how many lives returning Shall I hither come Hither again! and climb the votive Ever mossy ways Who shall the gods be then, the millions Meek, entreat or praise 422 THE CHILD GOD GAVE "GIVE me a little child To draw this dreary want out of my breast," I cried to God. "Give, for my days beat wild With loneliness that will not rest But under the still sod!" It came - with groping lips And little fingers stealing aimlessly About my heart. I was like one who slips A-sudden into Ecstasy And thinks ne'er to depart. "Soon he will smile," I said, "And babble baby love into my ears - 423 424 SON',-SURF How it will thrill!' I waited - Oh, the dread, The clutching agony, the fears!- He was so strange and still. Did I curse God and rave When they came shrinkingly to tell me 'twas A witless child No . . . I . . . I only gave One cry . . . just one. . . I think . . because . . You know . . . he never smiled. THE WINDS THaE East Wind is a Bedouin, And Nimbus is his steed; Out of the dusk with the lightning's thin Blue scimitar he flies afar, Whither his rovings lead. The Dead Sea waves And Egypt caves Of mummied silence laugh When he mounts to quench the Siroc's stench And to wrench From his clutch the tyrant's staff, The West Wind is an Indian brave Who scours the Autumn's crest. Dashing the forest down as a slave, 425 SONG-SURF He tears the leaves from its limbs and weaves A maelstrom for his breast. Out of the night Crying to fright The earth he swoops to spoil - There is furious scathe in the whirl of his wrath, In his path There is misery and moil. The North Wind is a Viking - cold And cruel, armed with death! Born in the doomful deep of the old Ice Sea that froze ere Ymir rose From Niflheim's ebon breath. And with him sail Snow, Frost, and Hail, Thanes mighty as their lord, To plunder the shores of Summer's stores - And his roar 's Like the sound of Chaos' horde. 426 SONG-SURF 427 The South Wind is a Troubadour; The Spring 's his serenade. Over the mountain, over the moor, He blows to bloom from the winter's tomb Blossom and leaf and blade. He ripples the throat Of the lark with a note Of lilting love and bliss, And the sun and the moon, the night and the noon, Are a-swoon - When he woos them with his kiss. TRANSCENDED I wHo was learned in death's lore Oft held her to my heart And spoke of days when we should love no more - In the long dust, apart. "Immortal" No - it could not be, Spirit with flesh must die. Tho' heart should pray and hope make endless plea, Reason would still outcry. She died. They wrapped her in the dust - I heard the dull clod's dole, And then I knew she lived -that death's dark lust Could never touch her soul! 428 LOVE'S WAY TO CHILDHOOD WE ARE not lovers, you and I, Upon this sunny lane, But children who have never known Love's joy or pain. The trees we pass, the summer brook, The bird that o'er us darts - We do not know 'tis they that thrill Our childish hearts. The earth-things have no name for us, The ploughing means no more Than that they like to walk the fields Who plough them o'er. 429 4.30 SONG-SURF The road, the wood, the heaven, the hills Are not a World to-day - But just a place God's made for us In which to play. AUTUMN I KNOW her not by fallen leaves Or resting heaps of hay; Or by the sheathing mists of mauve That soothe the fiery day. I know her not by plumping nuts, By redded hips and haws, Or by the silence hanging sad Under the wind's sere pause. But by her sighs I know her well - They are like Sorrow's breath; And by this longing, strangely still, For something after death. 431 SHINTO (M1iyajinzd, Japan, i905) LOWLY temple and torii, Shrine where the spirits of wind and wave Find the worship and glory we Give to the one God great and grave- Lowly temple and torii, Shrine of the dead, I hang my prayer Here on your gates - the story see And answer out of the earth and air. For I am Nature's child, and you Were by the children of Nature built. Ages have on you smiled - and dew On you for ages has been spilt - 3 2 SONG-SURF 4.j3 Till you are beautiful as Time Mossy and mellowing ever makes: Wrapped as you are in lull - or rhyme Of sounding drum that sudden breaks. This is my prayer then, this: that I Too may reverence all of life, Lose no beauty beneath its sky, Miss no word of it wonder-rife' That I may build, with music, fair Temples and torii on each place That I have loved - Oh, hear it, Air, Ocean and Earth, and grant your grace' MAYA (Hiroshima, Japan, 1905) PALE sampans up the river glide, With set sails vanishing and slow; In the blue west the mountains hide, As visions that too soon will go. Across the rice-lands, flooded deep, The peasant peacefully wades on - As, in unfurrowed vales of sleep, A phantom out of voidness drawn. Over the temple cawing flies The crow with carrion in his beak. Buddha within lifts not his eyes In pity or reproval meek; 434 SONG-SURF 435 Nor, in the bamboos, where they bow A respite from the blinding sun, The old priest - dreaming painless how Nirvana's calm will come when won. "All is illusion, Mfaya, all The world of will," the spent East seems Whispering in me; "and the call Of Life is but a call of dreams.' A JAPANESE MOTHER (In Time of War) THE young stork sleeps in the pine-tree tops, Down on the brink of the river. My baby sleeps by the bamboo copse - The bamboo copse where the rice field stops: The bamboos sigh and shiver. The white fox creeps from his hole in the hill; I must pray to Inari. I hear her calling me low and chill - Low and chill when the wind is still At night and the skies hang starry. And ever she says, "He's dead! he's dead! Your lord who went to battle. 436 SONG-SURF How shall your baby now be fed, Ukibo fed, with rice and bread - What if I hush his prattle" The red moon rises as I slip back, And the bamboo stems are swaying. Inari was deaf - and yet the lack, The fear and lack, are gone, and the rack, I know not why -with praying. For though Inan cared not at all, Some other god was kinder. I wonder why he has heard my call, My giftless call - and what shall befall. Hope has but left me blinder! 4.37 THE DEAD GODS I THOUGHT I plunged into that dire Abyss Which is Oblivion, the house of Death. I thought there blew upon my soul the breath Of time that was but never more can be. Ten thousand years within its void I thought I lay, blind, deaf, and motionless, until - Though with no eye nor ear - I felt the thrill Of seeing, heard its phantoms move and sigh. First one beside me spoke, in tones that told He once had been a god - "Persephone, Tear from thy brow its withered crown, for we Are king and queen of Tartarus no more; 438 SONG-SURF "And that wan, shrivelled sceptre in thy hand, Why dost thou clasp it still Cast it away, For now it hath no virtue that can sway Dull shades or drive the Furies to their spoil. " Cast it away, and give thy palm to mine: Perchance some unobliterated spark Of memory shall warm this dismal Dark. Perchance - Vain! vain! love could not light such gloom. " He sank. . . . Then in great ruin by him moved Another as in travail of some thought Near unto birth; and soon from lips distraught By aged silence, fell, with hollow woe: "Ah, Pluto, dost thou, one time lord of Styx And Acheron make moan of night and cold Were we upon Olympus as of old Laughter of thee would rock its festal height. 4.39 4SONG-SURRF But think, think thee of me, to whom or gloom Or cold were more unknown than impotence! See the unhurled thunderbolt brought hence To mock me when I dream I still am Jove!" Too much it was: I withered in the breath; And lay again ten thousand lifeless years; And then my soul shook, woke - and saw three biers Chiselled of solid night majestically. The forms outlaid upon them were enwound As with the silence of eternity. Numbing repose dwelt o'er them like a sea, That long hath lost tide, wave and roar, in death. "Ptah, Ammon, and Osiris are their names," A spirit hieroglyphed unto my soul. "Ptah, Ammon, and Osiris -they who stole The heart of Egypt from the God of gods: 440 SONG-SURF "Aye, thev '- and see vou' with them other wraiths Rise up around -- Baal, Ormuzd, Indra, all Whom frightened ignorance and sin's appall Have given birth, close-huddled in despair." Their eyes were fixed upon a cloven slope Down whose descent still other forms a-fresh From earth were drawn, by the unceasing mesh Of Time to their irrevocable end. "They are the gods," one said - "the gods whom men Still taunt with wails for help."- Then a deep light Upbore me from the Gulf, and thro' its might I heard the worlds cry, "God alone is God"' 441 CALL TO YOUR MATE, BOB-WHITE O CALL to your mate, bob-white, bob-white, And I will call to mine. Call to her by the meadow-gate, And I will call by the pine. Tell her the sun is hid, bob-white, The windy wheat sways west. Whistle again, call clear and run To lure her out of her nest. For when to the copse she comes, shy bird With Mary down the lane I'll walk, in the dusk of the locust tops, And be her lover again. 442 SONG-SURF 443 Ay, we will forget our hearts are old, And that our hair is gray. We'll kiss as we kissed at pale sunset That summer's halcyon day. That day, can it fade . . . ah, bob, bob-white, Still calling - calling still We're coming - a-coming, bent and weighed, But glad with the old love's thrill! THE DYING POET SWING in thy splendour, 0 silent sun, Drawing my heart with thee over the west! Done is its day as thy day is done, Fallen its quest! Swoon into purple and rose, then die: Tho' to arise again out of the dawn: Die as I praise thee, ere thro' the Dark Lie Of death I am drawn! Sunk art thou sunken how great was life! I like a child could cry for it again - Cry for its beauty, pang, fleeting and strife, Its women, its men! 444 SONG-SURF 445 For, how I drained it with love and delight! Opened its heart with the magic of grief! Reaped every season - its day and its night! Loved every sheaf! Aye, not a meadow my step has trod, Never a flower swung sweet to my face, Never a heart that was touched of God, But taught me its grace. So from my lids then a moment yet, Fingering Death, hold off till I see Lifted by memory all that I met Under Time's lee. All, to the coming, at last, of love! . . Still you can answer, my heart, the thought! Still like a mountain-born rapid can move, Joyous, distraught' . . SONG-SURF And, by her side again, walk, in the wood! - Come, 0 invisible Death with thy mask! Shall I not learn if she lives and could I more of thee ask . . Turn me away from the ashen west, Where Jove's sad planet unveils to the dusk. Something is stealing like light from my breast- Soul from its husk . . . Soft! . . . Where the dead feel the buried dead, Where the high hermit-bell hourly tolls, Bury me, near to the haunting tread Of life that o'errolls. 446 THE OUTCAST I DID not fear, But crept close up " Is he not here . to Christ and said, They drew me back - The seraphs who had never bled Of weary lack - But still I cried, With torn robe, " Dear Christ! "So long ago! Is he not here As mortal flow 447 clutching at His feet, He died Three days, unfleet SONG-SURF "Of time I've sought - Till Heaven's amaranthine ways Seem as sere nought!" A grieving stole Up from His heart and waned the gaze Of His clear soul Into my eyes. "He is not here," troubled He sighed. "For none who dies "Beliefless may Bend lips to this sin-healing Tide, And live alway." Then darkness rose Within me, and drear bitterness. Out of its throes I moaned, at last, "Let me go hence! Take off the dress, The charms Thou hast 448 SONG-SURF "Around me strown! Beliefless too am I without His love - and lone!" Unto the Gate They led me, tho' with pitying doubt. I did not wait But stepped across Its portal, turned not once to heed Or know my loss. Then my dream broke, And with it every loveless creed - Beneath love's stroke. 449 APRIL A LAUGHTER of wind and a leaping of cloud, And April, oh, out under the blue! The brook is awake and the blackbird loud In the dew! But how does the robin high in the beech, Beside the wood with its shake and toss, Know it - the frenzy of bluets to reach Thro' the moss! And where did the lark ever learn his speech Up, wildly sweet, he's over the mead! Is more than the rapture of earth can teach In its creed 450 SONG-SURF 4-I I never shall know - I never shall care! 'Tis, oh, enough to live and to love! To laugh and warble and dream and dare Are to prove! AUGUST GUESTS THE wind slipt over the hill And down the valley. He dimpled the cheek of the rill With a cooling kiss. Then hid on the bank a-glee And began to rally The rushes -Oh, I love the wind for this! A cloud blew out of the west And spilt his shower Upon the lily-bud crest And the clematis. Then over the virgin corn Besprinkled a dower Of dew-gems -And, I love the cloud for this! 452 TO A DOVE I TRY mellow passioning amid the leaves, That tremble dimly in the summer dusk, Falls sad along the oatland's sallow sheaves And haunts above the runnel's voice a-husk With plashy willow and bold-wading reed. The solitude's dim spell it breaketh not, But softer mourns unto me from the mead Than airs that in the wood intoning start, Or breath of silences in dells begot To soothe some grief-wan soul with sin a-smart. 2 A votaress art thou of Simplicity, Who hath one fane - the heaven above thy nest; 453 SONG-'U tRRF One incense - love; one stealing litany Of peace from rivered vale and upland crest. Yea, thou art Hers, who makes prayer of the breeze, Hope of the cool upwelling from sweet soils, Faith of the darkening distance, charities Of vesper scents, and of the glow-worm's throb Joy whose first leaping rends tLe care-wound coils That would earth of its heavenliness rob. 3 But few, how few her worshippers' For we Cast at a myriad shrines our souls, to rise Beliefless, unanointed, bound not free, To sacrificing a vain sacrifice! Let thy lone innocence then quickly null Within our veins doubt-led and wrong desire- Or drugging knowledge that but fills o'erfull Of feverous mystery the days we drain! Be thy warm notes like an Orphean lyre To lead us to life's Arcady again! 454 AT TINTERN ABBEY (June, 1903) o TINTERN, Tintern evermore my dreams Troubled by thy grave beauty shall be born; Thy crumbling loveliness and ivy streams Shall speak to me for ever, from this morn; The wind-wild daws about thy arches drifting, Clouds sweeping o'er thy ruin to the sea, Gray Tintern, all the hills about thee, lifting Their misty waving woodland verdancy! The centuries that draw thee to the earth In envy of thy desolated charm, The summers and the winters, the sky's girth Of sunny blue or bleakness, seek thy harm. 455 456 SONG-SURF But would that I were Time, then only tender On thee my touch should fall as o'er I sped; Of every pillar would I be defender, Of every mossy window - of thy dead! Thy dead beneath obliterated stones Upon the sod that is at last thy floor, Who list the Wye not as it lonely moans Nor heed thy Gothic shadows grieving o'er. O Tintern, Tintern! trysting-place, where never Are wanting mysteries that move the breast, I'll hear thy beauty calling, ah, for ever - Till sinks within me the last voice to rest! OH, GO NOT OUT Ont, Go not out upon the storm, Go not, my sweet, to Swalchie pool! A witch tho' dead thy heart may charm, Ay, and befool! A wild night 'tis: her lover's moan, Down under ooze and salty weed, She'll make thee hear - and then her ownI Till thou shalt heed. And it will suck upon thy heart - The sorcery within her cry - Till madness out of thee upstart, And rage to die. 457 SONG-SURF For him she loved, she laughed to death! And as afloat his chill hand lay, "Ha, ha! to hell I sent his wraith!" Did she not say And from his finger strive to draw The ring that bound him to her spell Till on her closed his hand whose awe No curse could quell Oh, yea! and tho' she struggled pale, Did it not hold her cold and fast, Till crawled the tide o'er rock and swale, To her at last Down in the pool where she was swept Hie holds her- Oh, go not a-near! For none has heard her cry but wept And died that year. 458 HUMAN LOVE WE SPOKE of God and Fate, And of that Life - which some await - Beyond the grave. "It will be fair," she said, "But love is here! I only crave thy breast Not God's when I am dead. For He nor wants nor needs My little love. But it may be, if I love thee And those whose sorrow daily bleeds, He knows - and somehow heeds!" 459 THE VICTORY OH, SEE! - the blows at his breast, The fangs at his back, The perils and pains that pressed, The doubts in a pack, That hunted to drag him down Have triumphed and now He sinks, who climbed for the crown To the Summit's brow No! -though at the foot he lies, Fallen and vain, With gaze to the peak whose skies He could not attain, The victory is, with strength - No matter the past! - He'd dare it again, the dark length, And the fall at last! 460 AT WINTER'S END THE weedy fallows winter-worn, Where cattle shiver under sodden hay. The plough-lands long and lorn- The fading day. The sullen shudder of the brook, And winds that wring the writhen trees in vain For drearier sound or look- The lonely rain. The crows that train o'er desert skies In endless caravans that have no goal But flight -where darkness flies - From Pole to Pole. 46i 462 SONG-SURF The sombre zone of hills around That shrink in misty mournfulness from sight, With sunset aureoles crowned - Before the night. MOTHER-LOVE TH:E seraphs would sing to her And from the River Dip her cool grails of radiant Life. The angels would bring to her, Sadly a-quiver, Laurels she never had won in earth-strife. And often they'd fly with her O'er the star-spaces- Silent by worlds where mortals are pent. Yea, even would sigh with her, Sigh with wan faces! When she sat weeping of strange discontent But one said, "Why weepest thou Here in God's heaven- Is it not fairer than soul can see" 463 464 SONG-SURF " 'Tis fair, ah! -but keepest thou Not me depriven Of some one - somewhere - who needeth most me "For tho' the day never fades Over these meadows, Tho' He has robed me and crowned - yet, yet! Some love-fear for ever shades All with sere shadows - Had i no child there - whom I forget" TO A WARBLER "BEAUTY! all -all -is beauty" Was ever a bird so wrong! "No young in the nest, no mate, no duty" Ribald! is this your song "Glad it is ended," are you The Spring and its nuptial fear 'And freedom is better than love" beware you, There will be May next year! "Beauty!" again, still "beauty" Wait till the winter comes! Till kestrel and hungry kite seek booty And the bleak cold benumbs! 465 466 SONG-SURF Wait nay, fling it to heaven The false little song you prate! Too sweet are its fancies not to leaven Even the rudest fate! SONGS TO A. H. R. I THE WORLD'S, AND MINE THE world may hear The wind at his trees, The lark in her skies, The sea on his leas; May hear Song risc So glad in its ringing That every star God has seems singing. But I have a music they never can know- The touch of you, soul of you, heart of you, Oh! All else that is said or sung 's but a part of you- Be it forever so! 467 SONG-SURF II LOVE-CALL IN SPRING NOT only the lark but the robin too (Oh, heart o' my heart, come into the wood!) Is singing the air to gladness new As the breaking bud And the freshet's flood! Not only the peeping grass and the scent - (Oh, love o' my life, fly unto me here') Of violets coming ere April's spent - But the frog's shrill cheer And the crow's wild jeer! Not only the blue, not only the breeze, (Oh, soul o' my heart, why tarry so long!) But sun that is sweeter upon the trees Than rills that throng To the brooklet's song! 469 SONG-SURF Oh, heart o' my heart, oh, heart o' my love, (Oh soul o' my soul, haste unto me, haste!) For spring is below and God is above - But all is a waste Without thee - haste! III MATING THE bliss of the wind in the redbud ringing! What shall we do with the April days! Kingcups soon will be up and swinging - What shall we do with May's! The cardinal flings, " They are made for mating!" Out on the bough he flutters, a flame. Thrush-flutes echo, "For mating's elating! Love is its other name!" 469 470 SONG-SURF They know! know it! but better, oh, better, Dearest, than ever a bird in Spring, Know we to make each moment debtor Unto love's burgeoning! IV UNTOLD COULD I, a poet, Implant the truth of you, Seize it and sow it As Spring on the world. There were no need To fling (forsooth) of you Fancies that only lovers heed! No, but unfurled, The bloom, the sweet of you. (As unto me they are opened oft) Would with their beauty's breath repeat of you All that my heart breathes loud or soft! SONG-SURF 47[ V LOVE-WATCH MY LOVE'S a guardian-angel Who camps about thy heart, Never to flee thine enemy, Nor from thee turn apart. Whatever dark may shroud thee And nide thy stars away, With vigil sweet his wings shall beat About thee till the day. VI AT AMALFI ComE to the window, you who are mine, Waken! the night is calling. Sit by me here - with the moon's fair shine Into your deep eyes falling. 41 SON(;-SURF The sea afar is a fearful gloom; Lean from the casement, listen! Anear it breaks with a faery spume, Spraying the rocks that glisten. The little white town below lies deep As eternity in slumber. 0, you who are mine, how a glance can reap Beauties beyond all number! And, how as sails that at anchor ride Our spirits rock together On a love-sea - lit as this tide With tenderest star-weather! On a love-sea - till the dawn's up, Over the moon low-lying. Till we have drunk, soul-deep, the cup Of a delight undying! 4 , 2 THE ATONER WINTER has come in sackcloth and ashes (Penance for Summer's enverdured sheaves). Bitterly, cruelly, bleakly he lashes His limbs that are naked of grass and leaves. He moans in the forest for sins unforgiven (Sins of the revelous days of June) - Moans while the sun drifts dull from the heaven, Giftless of heat's beshriving boon. Long must he mourn, and long be his scourging, (Long will the day-god aloof frown cold), Long will earth listen the rue of his dirging - Till the dark beads of his days are told. 473 THE RAMBLE DOWN a road that asters tangle, Thro' a gap where green-briar twines, By a path where dry leaves dangle, Sere, from the icy vines, We go -by sedgy fallows And along the stifled brook, Till it stops in lushy mallows Just at the bridge's crook. And then, o'er fence, thro' thicket, To the mouth of the rough ravine; Where the weird leaf-hidden cricket Chirrs thro' the weirder green! 474 SONG-SURF And we leap -as wildness tingles From the air into our blood - With a cry thro' golden dingles Hid in the heart of the wood Of the wood, with winds a-wrestle! With the nut and acorn strown! Of the wood, where creepers trestle Tree unto tree o'ergrown! And we climb the ledging summit Of the hill in sunny glee. For an hour we gaze off from it Into the sky's blue sea. Till a bell and sunset's crimson Soon recall the homeward path. And we turn as the glory dims on The hay-field's mounded math. 475 476 SONG-SURF Thro' the soft and silent twilight We come, to the stile at last, As the clear undying eyelight Of the stars tells day is past. RETURN Ait, IT was here -September And silence filled the air - I came last year to remember, And muse, hid away from care. It was here I came - the thistle Was trusting her seed to the wind; The quail in the croft gave whistle As now - and the fields lay thinned. I know how the hay was steeping, Brown mows under mellow haze; How a frail cloud-flock was creeping As now over lone sky-ways. Just there where the catbird's calling Her mock-hurt note by the shed, The use-worn wain was stalling In the weedy brook's dry bed. 477 SONG-SURF And the cricket, lone little chimer Of day-long dreams in the vines, Chirred on like a doting rhymer O'er-vain of his firstling lines. He's near me now lay the aster, Beneath whose shadowy spray A sultry bee seeps faster As the sun slips down the day. And there are the tall primroses Like maidens waiting to dance. They stood in the same shy poses Last year, as if to entrance The stately mulleins to waken From death and lead them around: And still they will stand untaken, Till drops their gold to the ground. Yes, it was here - September And silence round me yearned. Again I've come to remember, 41-8 SONG-SURF 479 Again for musing returned To the searing fields' assuaging, And the falling leaves' sad balm: Away from the world's keen waging - To harvest and hills and calm. LISETTE OH . . . there wvas love in her heart -no doubt of it- Under the anger. But see what came out of it! Not a knave, he! - A petty rhyme-smatterer, Cloaking in languor And heartache to flatter her. And just as a woman will - even the best of them - She yielded - brittle. God spare me the rest of them! For! though but kisses-she swore!-he had of her, Was it so little She thought 'twas not bad of her, 480 SONG-SURF Said I would lavish a burning hour-full On any grisette. And silenced me, powerful! But she was mine, and blood is inflammable - For a Lisette! My rage was undammable. . Could a stiletto's one prick be prettier Look at the gaping. No - then you're her pitier' Pah! she's the better, and I . . . I'm your prisoner. Loose me the strapping - I'll lay one more kiss on her. 4,S T FROM ONE BLIND I CANNOT say thy cheek is like the rose, Thy hair like rippled sunbeams, and thine eyes Like violets, April-rich and sprung of God. My barren gaze can never know what throes Such boons of beauty waken, tho' I rise Each day a-tremble with the ruthless hope That light will pierce my useless lids - then grope Till night, blind as the worm within his clod. Yet unto me thou art not less divine, I touch thy cheek - and know the mystery hid Within the twilight breeze; I smooth thy hair And understand how slipping hours may twine Themselves into eternity: yea, rid Of all but love, I kiss thine eyes and seem To see all beauty God Himself may dream. Why then should I o'ermuch for earth-sight care 482 IN A CEMETERY WH9EN Autumn's melancholy robes the land With silence, and sad fadings mystical Of other years move thro' the mellow fields, I turn unto this meadow of the dead, Strewn with the leaves stormed from October trees, And wonder if my resting shall be dug Here by this cedar's moan or under the sway Of yonder cypress - lair of winds that rove As Valkyries sent from Valhalla's court In search of worthy slain. And sundry times with questioning I tease The entombed of their estate - seeking to know Whether 'tis sweeter in the grave to feel The oblivion of Nature's silent flow, Or here to wander wistful o'er her face. Whether the harvesting of pain and joy 483 SONG-SURF Which men call Life ends so, or whether death Pours the warm chrism of Immortality Into each human heart whose glow is spent. And oft the Silence hears me. For a voice Of sighing wind may answer, or a gaze, Though wordless, from a marble seraph's face. Or sometimes from unspeakable deeps of gold, That ebb along the west, revealings wing And tremble, like ethereal swift tongues Unskilled of human speech, about my heart - Till youth, age, death, even earth's all, it seems, Are but brave moments wakened in that Soul, To whom infinities are as a span, Eternities as bird-flights o'er the sun, And worlds as sands blown from Sahara's wilds Into the ceaseless surging of the sea. . . Then twilight hours lead back my wandered spirit From out the wilderness of mystery Whence none may find a path to the Unknown, And chastened to content I turn me home. 484 WAKING OH, THE long dawn, the weary, endless dawn, When sleep's oblivion is torn away From love that died with dying yesterday But still unburied in the heart lies on. Oh, the sick gray, the twitter in the trees, The sense of human waking o'er the earth' The quivering memories of love's fair birth Now strown as deathless flowers o'er its decease! Oh. the regret, and oh, regretlessness, Striving for sovranty within the soul! Oh, fear that life shall never more be whole, And immortality but make it less! 485 STORM-EBB DUSKING amber dimly creeps Over the vale, Lit by the kildee's silver sweeps, Sad with his wail. Eastward swing the silent clouds Into the night. Burdens of day they seem - in crowds Hurled from earth's sight. Tilting gulls whip whitely far Over the lake, Tirelessly on o'er buoy and spar Till they o'ertake 486 SONG-SURF 487 Shadow and mingled mist -and then Vanish to wing Still the bewildering night-fen, Where the waves ring. Dusking amber dimly dies Out of the vale. Dead from the dunes the winds arise - Ghosts of the gale. LINGERING I LINGERED still when you were gone, When tryst and trust were o'er, While memory like a wounded swan In sorrow sung love's lore. I lingered till the whippoorwill Had cried delicious pain Over the wild-wood - in its thrill I heard your voice again. I lingered an(l the mellow breeze Blew to me sweetly dewed - Its touch awoke the sorceries Your last caresses brewed. 488 SONG-SURF 4S9 But when the night with silent start Had sown her starry seed, The harvest which sprang in my heart Was loneliness and need. FAUN-CALL OH, wHo is he will follow me With a singing, Down sunny roads where windy odes Of the woods are ringing Where leaves are In a tangle Of vines that vie But to vault tossed from branches lost to clamber high - and dangle! Oh, who is he - His eye must be As a lover's To leap and woo the chicory's hue In the hazel-hovers! 490 SONG-SURF 49r His hope must dance like radiance That hurries To scatter shades from the silent glades Where the quick hare scurries. And he must see that Autumn's glee And her laughter From his lips and heart will quell all smart - Of before and after! THE LIGHTHOUSEMAN WHEN at evening smothered lightnings Burn the clouds with fretted fires; When the stars forget to glisten, And the winds refuse to listen To the song of my desires, Oh, my love, unto thee! When the livid breakers angered Churn against my stormy tower; When the petrel flying faster Brings an omen to the master Of his vessel's fated hour- Oh, the reefs! ah, the sea! Then I climb the climbing stairway, Turn the light across the storm; 492 SONG-SIURF 493 You are watching, fisher-maiden, For the token-flashes laden With a love death could not harm - Lo, they come, swift and free' One - that means. 'I think of thee:" Twao-' I swear me thine"' Three - Ah, hear me tho' you sleep'- Is, that I know thee mine' Thro' the darkness, One. Two, Three. All the night they sweep: Thro' raging darkness o'er the deep, One - and Two - and Three SERENITY AND could I love it more - this simple scene Of cot-strewn hills and fields long-harvested, That lie as if forgotten were all green, So bare, so dead! Or could my gaze more tenderly entwine Each pallid beech and silvery sycamore Outreaching arms in patience to divine If winter's o'eri Ah no, the wind has blown into my veins The blue infinity of sky, the sense Of meadows free to-day from icy pains - From wintry vents. 494 SONG-SURF 495 And sunny peace more virgin than the glow Falling from eve's first star into the night, Brings hope believing what it ne'er can know With mortal sight. WANTON JUNE I KNEW she would come! Sarcastic November Laughed cold and glum On the last red ember Of forest leaves. He was laughing, the scorner, At me forlorner Than any that grieves - Because I asked him if June would come! But I knew she would come When snow-hearted winter Gripped river and loam, And the wind sped flinter On icy heel, 496 SONG-SURF I was chafing my sorrow And yearning to borrow A hope that would steal Across the hours - till June should come. And now she is here - The wanton! -I follow Her steps, ever near, To the shade of the hollow Where violets blow: And chide her for leaving, Tho' half believing She taunted me so, To make her abided return more dear 97 SPIRIT OF RAIN (Afbnoshif, Jabpan . TO c,5) SPIRIT of rain - With all thy mountain mists that wander lonely As a gray train Of souls newly discarnate seeking new life only! Spirit of rain! Leading them thro' dim torii, up fane-ways onward Till not in vain They tremble upon the peaks and plunge rejoicing dawnward. Spirit of rain! So would I lead my dead thoughts high and higher, Till they regain Birth and the beauty of a new life's fire. 498 TEARLESS Do WOMEN weep w-hen men have died It cannot be! For I have sat here by his side, Breathing dear names against his face. That he must list to, were his place Over God's throne - Yet have I wept no tear and made no moan. Do women weep -not gaze stone-eyed Grief seems in vain. Do women weep - I was his bride - They brought him to me cold and pale- Upon his lids I saw the trail Of deathly pain. They said, "Her tears will fall like autumn rain." 499 500 SONG-SURF I cannot weep! Not if hot tears, Dropped on his lids, Might burn him back to blessed years Of yearning love, would any rise To flood the anguish from my eyes - And I'm his bride! Ah me, do women weep when men have died SUNSET-LOVERS UPON how many a hill, Across how many a field, Beside how many a river's restful flowing, They stand, with eyes a-thrill, And hearts of day-rue healed, Gazing, 0 wistful sun, upon thy going! They have forgotten life. Forgotten sunless death; Desire is gone - is it not gone for ever No memory of strife Have they, or pain-sick breath. No hopes to fear or fears hope cannot sever. Silent the gold steals down The west, and mystery 5or 502 SONG-SURF Moves deeper in their hearts and settles darker. 'Tis faded - the day's crown; But strange and shadowy They see the Unseen as night falls stark and starker Like priests whose altar fires Are spent, immovable They stand, in awful ecstasy uplifted. Zephyrs awake tree-lyres, The starry deeps are full, Earth with a mystic majesty is gifted. Ah, sunset-lovers, though Time were but pulsing pain, And death no more than its eternal ceasing, Would you not choose the throe, Hold the oblivion vain, To have beheld so many a day's releasing THE ENIPTY CROSS THE eve of Golgotha had come, And Christ lay shrouded in the garden Tomb: Among the olives, Oh, how dumb, How sad the sun incarnadined the gloom! The hill grew dim - the pleading cross Reached empty arms toward the closing gate. Jerusalem, oh, count thy loss! Oh, hear ye! hear ye! ere it be too late! Reached bleeding arms - but how in vain! The murmurous multitude within the wall Already had forgot His pain - To-morrow would forget the cross - and all! 50.3 504 SONG-SURF They knew not Rome, before its sign, Bending her brow bound with the nations' threne, Would sweep all lands from Nile to Rhine In servitude unto the Nazarene. Nor knew that millions would forsake Ancestral shrines great with the glow of timne, And lifting up its token shake Aeons with thrill of love or battle's crime. With empty arms aloft it stood: Ah, Scribe and Pharisee, ye builded well! The cross emblotted with His blood Mounts, highest Hope of men, against earth's hell! SONG TIER voice is vibrant beauty dipt In dreams of infinite sorrow and delight. Thro' an awaiting soul 'tis slipt And lo, words spring that breathe immortal might. .50 TO HER WHO SHALL COME OUT of the night I cry to thee, I call, As, in a loveless chamber where no ray Of unbelievable light and freedom fall, Might cry one manacled! And tho' the ways Thou comest is unseen; tho' my heart's sore With emptiness when morning's silent grays Wake me to long aloneness; yet I know Thou drawest nearer to me and wilt go Beside me, when I have found thee, evermore! 2 So, in the garden of my heart each day I plant thee a flower. Now the pansy, peace, And now the lily, faith -or now a spray Of the climbing ivy, hope. And they ne'er cease So6 SONG-SURF 507 Around the still unblossoming rose of love To bend in fragrant tribute to her sway. Then - for thy shelter from life's sultrier suns, The oak of strength I set o'er joy that runs With brooklet glee from winds that grieve above. 3 But where now art thou Watching with love's eye The eve-star wander Listening through dim trees Some thrilled muezzin of the forest cry From his leafy minaret Or by the sea's Blue brim, while the spectral moon half o'er it hangs Like the faery isle of Avalon, do these My yearnings speak of days as yet untrod Sweet, sweet, O! as the ecstasy of God, My own, must be our meeting's mystic pangs. 4 And will be soon! For last night near to-day, Dreaming, God called me thro' the space-built sphere 5o8 SONG-SURF Of heaven and said, " Come, waiting one, and lay Thine ear unto my Heart - there thou shalt hear The secrets of this world where evils war." Such things I heard as must rend mortal clay To tell, and trembled - till God, pitying, Said, "Listen" . . . Oh, my love, I heard thee sing Out of thy window to the morning star! STORM-TWILIGHT TOSSING, swirling, swept by the wind, Beaten abaft by the rain, The swallows high in the sodden sky Circle oft and again. They rise and sink and drift and swing, Twitterless in the chill; A-haste, for stark is the coming dark Over the wet of the hill. Wildly, swiftly, at last they stream Into their chimney home. A livid gash in the west, a crash- Then silence, sadness, gloam. 509 WAR A HOST of struggling centuries lie prone Upon the fields of time, but still the wake Of progress loud is haunted with a groan That seems all aspiration's soul to shake. We bid the courier lightning leap along Its instant path with spirit speed, command Stars lost in night-eternity to throng Before the eye of science; yea, we stand On glory's peak and triumphingly cry Our mastery of earth and sea and air. But unto War's necessity we bare Our piteous breasts and impotently die. ,51O WILDNESS To drift with the drifting clouds, And blow with the blow of breezes, To ripple with waves and murmur with caves To soar, as the sea-mew pleases! To dip with the dipping sails, And burn with the burning heaven - My life! my soul! for the infinite roll Of a day to wildness given! S5" BEFORE AUTUMN SUNMMER'S last moon has waned- Waned As amber fires Of an Aztec shrine. The invisible breath of coming death has stained The withering leaves with its nepenthean wine- Autumn's near. Winds in the woodland moan- Moan As memories Of a Nevermore. Magnolia seeds like Indian beads are strown From crimson pods along the earth's sere floor - Autumn's near. 512 SONG-S IRF Solitude slowly steals, Steals Her silent way By the songless brook. At the gnarly yoke of a solemn oak she kneels, The musing joy of sadness in her look - Autumn's near. Yes, with her golden days - Days When hope and toil Are as winds at rest- Autumn is near, and the tired year 'mid praise Lies down with leaf and blossom on his breast - Autumn's near. FULFILMENT A-BASK in the mellow beauty of the ripening sun, Sad with the lingering sense of summer's purpose done, The shorn and searing fields stretch from me one by one Along the creek. The corn-stalks drop their shadows down the fallow hill; Wearing autumnal warmth the farm sleeps by the mill, Around each heaxy eave low smoke hangs blue and still - Life's flow is weak. Along the weedy roads and lanes I walk - or pause - Ponder a fallen nut or quirking crow whose caws Seem with prehuman hintings fraught or ancient awes Of forest deeps. 5 14 SONG-SURF ; , Of forest deeps the pale-face hunter never trod, Nor Indian, with the silent stealth of Nature shod; Deeps tense with the timelessness and solitude of God, Who never sleeps. And many times has Autumn, on her harvest way, Gathered again into the earth leaf, fruit, and spray; Here many times dwelt rueful as she dwells to-day The while she reaps. T'iii: clouds in woe hang far and dim: I look again, and lo, Only a faint and shadow line Of shore - I watch it go. The gulls have left the ship and wheel Back to the cliff's gray wraith. Will it be so of all our thoughts When we set sail on Death And what will the last sight be of life As lone we fare an(d fast Grief and the face we love in mist - T[hen night and awe too vast 5 t0 LASTSIGHTOF LANI) SONG-S URI sI Or the dear light of Flope - like that, Oh, see, from the lost shore Kindling and calling "Onward, you Shall reach the lvermorel" SILENCE SILENCE is song unheard, Is beauty never born, Is light forgotten - left unstirred Upon Creation's morn. D AV I D FIRST PUBLISHED 1904 AFFECTIONATELY TO MIY BROTHER L. LACY RICE This page in the original text is blank. ACT I CHARACTERS SAUL. . . . . . . King of Israel JONATHAN . . . . . Heir to the Throne ISHUI . .... His Brother SAMUEL . . . . The Prophet of Israel ABNER .... Captain of the Host of Israel DOEG .An Edomite, Chief Servant of Saul and Suitor for Michal ADRIEL . . . . . A Lord of Meholah, Suitor for Merab DAVID .. ....A Shepherd, secretly anointed King ABISHAI . . . . . A Follower of David ABIATHAR . . . . . A Priest and Follower of David A PHILISTINE SPY. AHINOAM . . . O . The Queen MERAB . . . . . . i MICHAL . . . . jDaughters of Saul and Ahinoam MIRIAM .... . . A Blind Prophetess, and later the "Witch of Endor" JUDITH . LEAH . . . . . . Timbrel-players of the King ZILLA . . . . . . J ADAH . . Handmaiden to Merab A Chorus of Women, a Band of Prophets, Followers of David, Soldiers of Saul, People of the Court, etc. ACT I SCENE: A Hall of Judgment in the palace of SAUL at Gibeah. The walls and pillars of cedar are richly carven-with serpents, pomegranates, and cherubim in gold. The floors are of bright marble; the throne of ivory hung with a lion's skin whose head is its footstool. On the right, by the throne, and on the left are doors to other portions of the palace; they are draped with woven curtains of purple and white. In the rear, which is open and supported on pil- lars, a porch crosses a court. Through the porch, on the environing hills, glow the camp- fires of the Philistines, the enemies of Israel. Lamps in the Hall burn low, and on the floor JUDITH, LEAH and ZILLA are reclining rest- ively. Judith (springing to her feet impatiently). 0 for a feast, pomegranate wine and song! Leah. Oh! Oh! Zilla. A feast indeed! the men in camp! When was a laugh or any leaping here Never; and none to charm with timbreling! [She goes to the porch. Leah. What shall we do Judith. I'll dance. Zilla. Until you're dead. Judith. Or till a youth wed Zilla for her beauty I'll not soil mine with sullen fear all day Because these Philistines press round. As well Be wenches gathering grapes or wool! Come, Leah. [She prepares to dance. Leah. No, Judith, I'll put henna on my nails, [Sits down. And mend my anklet. Zilla (at the curtains). Oh! Oh! Oh! 526 DAVID Judith (starts). Now, hear her! Who, who, now, is it dog or fox or devil Zilla. All! Judith. Then 'tis Ishui! (Bounding to cur- tains.) Yes. Ishui! And fury in him, sallow, souring fury! A jackal were his mate! Come, come, we'll plague him. Zilla. Shall we-with David whom he hates Judith. Aie, David! The joy of rousing men to jealousy! Leah. Why hates he David, Zilla Zilla. Stupid Leah! Judith. Hush, hush, be meet and ready now; he's near. Look as for silly visions and for dreams! [They pose. ISHUI enters. JUDITH sighs. Is/hi. Now, timbrel-gaud, why gape you here Judith. 0! 'tis Prince Ishuf! 5 27 DAVID DAVID Zilla. Prince Ishui! Then he Will tell us! he will tell us! Leak. Yes! Judith. Of David ! 0, is he come when, where-quick, quick-and wvill He pluck us ecstasies out of his harp O will he, till we're wanton for him, mad, And sigh and laugh and weep to the moon Ishui. Low thing! Chaff of the king! Judith. The king! I had not thought! David a king! how beauteous would he be! Ishui. David Judith. Turban of sapphire! robe of gold! Ishui. A king o'er Israel Judith. Who, who can tell Have you not heard Yesterday in the camp, Among war-old but fearful men, he offered Kingly to meet Goliath-great Goliath! Ishui. What do you say to meet Goliath 528 Judith (laughing in his face). Aic! [He thrusts her from him. [She goes, dancing, with ZILLA and LEpound;U. Adriel (who has entered). Ishui, in a rage Ishui. Should I not be Adriel. Not would you be yourself. Ishui. By . . . Israel's God! [Then cooling cunningly. But you say well, I should not, Adriel: So pardon-and-unto our business. Adriel. What was the offence Ishui. Turn from it: I have not Bidden you here for vapors . . . tho' they had Substance as well for you! Adriel. For me Ishui. Who likes Laughter against him Adriel. I was laughed at DAVTD 5 29 DAVID Iskui. Why, It is this shepherd! A driel. David Ishui. With his harp! Flinging enchantment on the palace air Till he impassions to him all who breathe. Adriel. What sting from that He's lovable and brave. Ishui. Lovable lovable Adriel. I do not see. Ishui. This, then: you've hither come with gifts and gold, Dream-bringing amethyst and weft of Ind, To wed my sister, Merab A driel. It is so. Ishui. And you've the king's consent; but she denies Adriel. As every wind, you know it. Ishui. Still denies! And you, lost in the maze of her, fare on Blindly and find no reason for it! 530 Adrid. How What reason can be women are not clear; And least unto themselves. Ishui. Or to their fools [As ADRIEL stares I say it, to their fools You shall behold. [Goes to curtain, and draws out ADAM. Your mistress, Merab, girl, whom does she love Unclench your hands. Ada/. I hate her. Ishui. Insolent! Answer; I am not milky Jonathan, Answer; and for the rest-You hear Adah. She loves The shepherd David! Adriel. Who, girl Adak. I care not! She is unkind; I will not spy for her On Michal, and I'll tell her secrets all! And David does not love her-and she raves. DAVID 53I DAVID Ishui. Off to your s Adriel (holds him). Ishui (gnashingly). "lovable" he is Jeep; be off- [Makes to strike her. Ishui, no. [ADAH goes. Then see you now how I tell you that he stands athwart us all! The heart of Merab is swung, as a censer, to him, My seat at table with the king usurped! Mildew and mocking to the harp of Doeg As it were any slave's; the while we all Are lepered with suspicion. Adriel. Of the king Ishui. Ai! and of Jonathan and Michal. Adriel. Hush. [Hears voices. [Enter MICHAL, passing, with MIRIAM. Adriel. Michal, delay. Whom lead you Michal. Miriam, A prophetess. 532 Adriel. How of the king to-night Michal. He's not at rest; dreads Samuel's prophecy The throne shall pass from him, and darkens more Against this boundless Philistine Goliath Who dares at Israel daily on the hills, As we were dogs! Adriel. Is David with him Michal. No; But he is sent for-and will ease him-Ah! He's wonderful to heal the king with his harp' A waft, a sunny leap of melody, And swift the hovering mad shadow's gone. Adriel. I thank you. Ishki. And (wrilkes) I curse! Michal. What anger's this Ishui. Disdaining Doeg and his plea to dust, His waiting and the winning o'er of Edom, You are enamored of this David too Michal. I think my brother Ishui hath a fever. [She goes, calmly, with MIRIAM. DVI D 5.33 Ishui. Now you are kindled-are you quivering, Or must this shepherd put upon us more Adriel. But has he not dealt honorably Ishui. No. A driel. Why do you urge it Ishui. Why have senses With Samuel the prophet not enshroud Some secret, and has Samuel not told The kingdom from my father shall be rent And fall unto one another Adriel. You are certai Does he n [SAUL'S voice within. Ishui. Is not the proof pouring into my ears Can you not hear Adriel. The king Ishui. And Samuel With prophecy or some refusal tears him! [They step aside. SAUL, followed by SAMUEL, strides in and mounts Ike throne. DAVID 534 Saul. You threat, and ever thunder threaten- ing! Pour seething prophecy into my veins, Till a simoon of madness in me moves. Am I not king, the king chosen and sealed Who've been anathema and have been bane Unto the foes of Israel, and filled The earth with death of them And do you still forbid that I bear gold And bribe away this Philistine array Folded about us, fettering with flame Samuel. Yes,-yes! While there is air-and awe of Heaven Do I forbid! A champion must rise To level this Goliath. Thus may we Loose on them pest of panic and of fear. Saul. Are forty days not dead A championI None will arise-'tis vain. And I'll not wait On miracle. Samuel. Offer thy daughter, then, Michal, thy fairest, to whoever shall. DAVID 535 Saul. Demand and drain for more! without an end. Evervexation! No; I will not. Samuel. Then, Out of Jehovah and a vast foreseen I tell thee again, thou perilous proud king, The scepter shall slip from thee to another! [He moves to go. Saul. The scepter. Samuel. To another! Saul. From me! No! You rouse afar the billowing of ill. I grant-go not!-I grovel to your will, Fear it and fawn as to omnipotence, [Snatching at SAMUEL'S mantle. And vow to all its divination-all! Samuel. Then, Saul of Israel, the hour is near, When shall arise one, and Goliath fall! [Goes slowly out by the porch, SAUL sinks back. Ishui (after a pause, keenly). Oh, -subtle! 5 36 DA.-VID Saul. Thus he sways me. Ishui. Subtle !-subtle! And yet I must not speak; come, Adriel, [As if going. No use of us is here. Saul. Use subtle Stand! Ishui. No, father, no. Saul. What mean you Ishui. IDo not ask. Yet how it creeps, and how' Saul. Unveil your words. [Comes down. Ishui. Do you not see it crawl, this serpent scheme Goliath slain-the people mad with praise, Then fallen from you-Michal the victor's wife. . Saul. Say on, say on. Ishui. Or else the champion slain- Fear on the people-panic-the kingdom's ruin Saul. Now do the folds slip from me. DAVID 537 Ishui. And you see How, then, if one arise-If one arise Saul. Death, death! If he hath touched this prophet-if Merely a little moment!- Ishui. If -I've seen Your David with him. Saul. Death! if-- (uncertain) Come here: David Ishui. In secret. Saul. Say you Ishui. Yes. Saul. The folds slip further; To this you lead me-hatred against David! To this with supple envy's easy glide! Ishui. I have but told-- Saul. You have but builded lies, As ever you are building and forever. I'll hear no more against him-(calls) Abner! (a pause) -no. (To ABNER, who enters.) David, and with his harp. 538 DAVID DAVID A bner. My lord-- Said. He is not come Forever he delays! Abner. Time's yet Said. He should be swift as But no, 'tis he! . . sings! Not come [Remounts throne. to pass. There is not. Am I king eagles. Bring me wine. [Then as a harp sounds. . 'Tis David! . . . And he [Rises. avid (bravely, within). Smiter of Hosts, Terrible Saul! Vile on the hills laughs he who boasts None is among Great Israel's all Fearless for Saul, King Saul! [Entering with people of the palace. Ave, is there none Galled of the sting, Will at the soul of Goliath run 539 Di 4AIJVI I) Wring it and up To his false gods fling . . . None for the king, the king [He drops to his knee, amid praise, before the throne. Saul (darkening). Forego this praise and stand Away from him; 'tis overmuch. (To DAVID.) Why have You dallied and delayed David. My lord, delayed Saul. Do not smile wonder, mocking! David. Why, my lord, I do not mock. Only the birds have wings. Yet on the vales behind me I have left Haste and a swirl, a wonderment of air, And in the torrent's troubled vein amaze, So swift I hurried hither at your urgence Out of the fields and folding the far sheep! Saul. You have not; you have dallied. [Motions rest out. 540 You have dallied. [Comes down indeterminately. And now-- David. And now the king with darkness foams, With sheeted passions like to lightning gusts. [All have gone. Shall I not play to him Saul. You shall not, no. [Slowly draws a dagger. I'll not be lulled. David. But show a tiger gleam Terrible fury stealing from the heart And crouching cold within the eye, 0 Saul Saul. I'll not endure. They say that you-- David. They say What is this raving in you Does the truth So limpid overflow in palaces Never an enemy to venom it Am I not David, faithful, and thy friend Saul. I'll slay you and regretless. David (unmoving). Slay, my lord DA;VIDL 541 DAVID Saul. Do you not fear And brave me to my breast David. Have I done wrong that I should fear the king Reed as I am, could he not breathe and break me And I should be oblivion at a word! But under the terror of his might have I Not seen his heart beat justice and beat love See, even now! . . . Saul (torn). I will not listen to them! David. To whom, my lord, and what Saul. Ever they say, "This David," and "This David! " It is lies. ... [Goes to throne. But think you, David, I shall lose the kingdom David (starting). My lord! . . . Saul. Pain in your eyes you think it Deem I cannot overleap this destiny David. To that let us not verge; it has but ill. Deeper the future gulf is for our fears. Forget it. Forget the brink may ever gape, 542 And wield the throne so well that God Himself Must not unking you, more than He would cry The morning star from Heaven! Then, I swear it, None else will! Saul. Swear David. Nay, nay! Saul. You swear David. But words, Foolishly from the heart; a shepherd speech! Give them no mood; but see, see yonder fires Camping upon the peace of Israel, As we were carrion beneath the sun! Let us conceive annihilation on them, Hurricane and a deluging and ruin. Saul. Ah, but the prophecy! the prophecy It eats in me the food of rest and ease. And David, nearer: Samuel in my stead Another hath anointed. David. Saul, not this! This should not fall to me, my lord; to me! You cannot understand; it pains beyond DAVID 543 544 DAVID All duty and enduring! Saul. Pains beyond .. . Who is he know you of him do you know you You sup the confidence of Samuel Who bids me give my daughter, bids me give-- I'll search from Nile to Nineveh-- David. My lord! Saul. Mountain and desert, wilderness and sea, Under and over, search-and find. (Rising.) And when Enter MICHAL joYOUSly. Michal. 0 father, father! David! Listen! .. .Why All here is dark and quivering as pain, And a foreboding binds me ere I breathe! David, you have not been as sun to him! David. But Michal will be now. Saul. Child, well, what then Michal. Father, a secret' Oh, and it will make DAvv r) Dpawn and delight in you! Saul. Perhal Michal. Oh, I have heard . . . ! Saul. ;4,i is; then, well [Stops. Have heard!-Why do you pale [She stands unaccountably moved. Now are you Baal-bit David. Michal! Michal (in terror). Daxid! .. . David! What does it mean I cannot speak! It shrinks Shivering down upon my heart in awe! David. And numbs you so- Saul. Let it rush from your lips! Am I to gape here, muffled in a mist Of silly megrims! Speak, what is it Al ichal. I know not; danger rising and its wing Sudden against my lips! David. To warn Ah! AIMichldl. It shall not! There-now again flows joy: I think it flows. DAVID Saul. Then-you have heard . . . Michal. Yes, father, yes! Have you Not much desired discovery of whom Samuel hath anointed Sard. Well AIichal. I've found-- [DAVID blenches. Almost have found! A prophetess to-day Hath told me that he is a [Realizes. Saul. Now you cease [She stands horrified. Sudden and senseless! Michal. David !-No! Saul. God! ( Have I not bidden swiftly! Ever then Vexation I could-Ah. Will she not speak! Michal. I cannot. Saul. Cannot! Are you flesh David. My lord, not anger! Saul. Cannot! (up) Has she I GodI of me )reath 546 DAVID David. Yea, yea, 0 king-and I! Yet-- (with pleading passion) It is thus' Her lips could never seal upon a wrong. Sudden divinity is on them, silence Sent for the benison of Israel, Else were it shattered by her love to you! Believe, in all the riven realm of duty There's no obedience from thee she would hold. If it seem other-- Enter ABNER, hurriedly. Abner. Pardon, 0 king. A word. Saul. I will not. Do you come with vexing too Abner. The Philistines-some fury is afoot; A spy's within our gates-and scorns to speak. Saul. Conspiracy of silence' . . Back to him. [ABNER goes. (To DAVID and MICHAL.) But you-I'll not for- get. I'll not forget. [Goes trembling, his look bent backward still upon them. 547 David (casting off suspense). Forget! anoint- ing! peril! What are they all Michal!-for me you have done this, for me [She stands immovable. 0 has a princess in whose veins there flow Sympathy and all love unto a father,- Has she so shielded me AMichal. You are the anointed David. I am-oh, do not flint your loveliness!- I am the anointed, but all innocent In will or hope of any envious wrong, As lily blowing of blasphemy! as dew Upon it is of enmity' Michal. Anointed! You whom the king uplifted from the fields! David. And who am ever faithful to him! M-ichal. You, Whom Jonathan loves more than women love! David. Yet reaches not my love to Jonathan! Michal. You-you! David. But, hear me! 546 DAVID Michal. You, of all! David. 0 hear' Of my anointing Jonathan is 'ware, Knows it is holy, helpless, innocent As dawn or a drift of dreaming in the night! Knows it unsought-out of the skies-supernal- From the inspired cruse of Samuel! For Israel it dripped upon me-yea! For Israel must drip until I die! Or till high Gath and Askalon are blown Dust on the wind, and all Philistia Lie peopleless and still under the stars! . Goliath, then, a laughter evermore! . . . Still, still you shrink do you not see, not feel Michal. So have you breathed yourself about my heart, Even as moonlit incense, spirit flame Burning away all barrier! David. But see! Michal. And all the world has streamed a rap- ture in, DAVID 549 DAVID Till even now my lids from anger falter And the dew falls! David. Restrain! 0 do not weep! Upon my heart each tear were as a sea Flooding it from all duty but the course Of thy delight! Michal. Poor, that I should have tears! Fury were better, tempest! 0 weak eyes, When 'tis, my father, and with Samuel You creep to steal his kingdom! David. Michal! . . . Miche M1ichal. Yes, steal it! David. Cruel! fell accusal! Ye Utterly false it is and full of wounding! LI! a, [A pause. And yet so be it-so-unto the end! [As if broken. Delirious wings of hope that fluttered up, At last to fall! [Moves to go. 550 Michal. David! David. Farewell! Michal. .. . You must not! David. Peace to you, peace and jo:' Michal. You must not go' fIle turns. She sways her arms. But as DOEG and MERAB amid dismal. and reaches to him they move together appear, then vanish Michal. 'Merab and Doeg! David (has sprung to her). Yet what matter, now! Were it the driven night-unshrouded dead! Under the firmament is but one need, That you will understand! Michal. But Merab! ah, She's cunning, cold and cruel, and she loves thee; Hath told her love to Ahinoam the queen! And Doeg hates thee-since for me he's mad! David. Then be his hate as wild, as w ide as winds DAVID 55I1 That gather up the desert for their blast, Be it as Sheol deep, stronger than stars That fling fate on us, and I care not, care not, If I am trusted and to Michal truth'- Hear, hear me! for the kingdom, tho' 't may come, I yearn not; but for you! Mizchal. No, no! David. For yvou! Since I a shepherd o'er a wild of hills First beheld you the daughter of the king Amid his servants, leaning, still with noon, Beautiful under a tamarisk, until All beauty else is dead Michal. Ah, cease! David. Since then I have been wonder, ravishment and dream! The molded light and fragrant miracle, Body of you and soul, lifted me till When you departed-when you left me- DeAV ID 55 -; Ah! MIichal. David. I fell thro' infinity of void: Micizal. No more! David. Then came the prophet Samuel with anointing! My hope sprung as the sun! Michal. I must not hear! David. Then was I called to play before the king. 1Here in this hall where cherubim shine out, Where the night silence- Michal. David! David Where it strung me, I waited, shepherd-timid, and you came, You for the king to try my skill! you, you!- And then divinely on thro' days we swept, Far from the birth unto the bourne of bliss, Until to-night you would not, tho' bereft, Reveal my helpless chrism, give me to peril! Say but the reason! Michal. David! David. Speak, 0 speak! DAVID 55 3 Michal. And shall I, shall I how this proph- etess Miriam hath foretold-- David. Some wonder speak! Alichal (springs up the throne, then down). No, no' horror in me moans out against it. Wed me with destiny against my father Dethrone my mother Ah! David. Not that-no wrong! Alichal. Then swear conspiracy upon its tide Never shall lift you! David. Deeper than soul or sea, Deep as divinity is deep, I swear. If it shall come, the kingdom-- Alichal. "If!" not "if." Surrender this anointing! Spurn it, say You never will be king though Israel Kingless go mad for it! David. I cannot. Michal. Ha! David. I cannot-and I must not. It is holy! 554 DAVID Michal. Then must I hate you-scorn you- David. Michal! AMichal. And will. But to reign over Israel you care, Not for the peace of it' David. And Michel cares, In saying so, only to rend and wrong me. [Loftily. And yet let her behold yon Philistines Whose fires lap up the night with bloody tongue; [A commotion is heard within. As God has swung the world and hung forever The infinite in awe, to-morrow night Not one of them shall burn! Alichal. And wherefore David. None! Michal. What is this strength' It seizes on me' No, I'll not believe; no, no, more than I would From a boy's breath or the mere sling you wear DAVID 555 DAVID A multitude should flee! And you shall learn A daughter to a father may be true Tho' paleness be her doom until she die! [She turns to go. Enter JONATHAN eagerly. Jonathan. David' David. My friend-my Jonathan! 'Tis you [They embrace. MICHAL goes. Jonathan. Great heart, I've heard how yester- day before The soldiers you . . . But Michal's gone No word David. The anointing. Jonathan. Ah, she knows David. All. Jonathan. And disdains Believing tell me. David. No, not now-not now. Let us forget it in a leap of deeds. [The commotion sounds again. 55j6 D)AVID For hear that murmur misty of distress. What is it sprung of the Philistines new terror This sounding giant flings again his foam Jonathan, I am flame that will not wait. What is it I must strike. Jonathan. David David. Tell me, And do not bring dissuasion more, or pause. Jonathan. The king comes here. David. Now Jonathan. With a spy who keeps Fiercely to silence. David. Then is peril up! Jonathan . . . ! Jonathan. David, you must cool from this. Determination surges you o'er-far. I will not see you rush to perishing, Not though it be the aid of Israel. David. I must. . . . I will not let them ever throng, Staining the hills, and starving us from peace. DAVID Rather the last ray living in me, rather Death and the desecration of the worm. Bid me not back with love, nor plea; I must! Jonathan. But think-- David. No thought! Jonathan. 'Twere futile-- David. Hear; the king! Jonathan. The madness of it! David. No, and see; they come. Jonathan. Strangely my father is unstrung. David (unchangeably). They come! [Enter SAUL With SAMUEL: Soldiers the spy; A1m1NOAM with AP-N',R, all the court in suppressed dread. with and Saul (to SAMUEL). scorns me, and his lip Bitterly curve and grapple Learn there is torture to it He will not speak, but s . But he shall ! Set him forth. [The SPY is thrust forward. 558 Tighten his bonds up till he moan. [It is done. Aye, gasp, Accursed Philistine! Now wilt thou tell The plan and passion of thy people 'gainst us Spy. Baal' Saul. Tighten the torture more. . . . Now will you Spy (in agony). Yea' Saul. On, then, reveal. Spy. New forces have arrived, Numberless; more than peaks of Arabah. [General movement of uneasiness. Unless before to-morrow's noon one goes To overthrow Goliath . . . Gods! the pain! Saul. Well Well Spy. Then Gibeah attacked, and all, Even to sucking babes, they'll put to sword' [A movement of horror. Aiinoam. All Gibeah! DAVID 559 A Woman. My little ones No, no! [She rushes frantically out. Samuel. Then, Saul of Gibeah, one thing and one Alone is to be done. A champion, To break this beetling giant down to death! Saul. There is none. Samuel. Is none! Call! I order it. Saul. Then who will dare against him! [A silence. See you now. [DAVID quivers. Samuel. You, Abner, will not Abner. It were death and vain. Samuel. Doeg, chief servant of the king Doeg. Whv me Had I a mother out of Israel I am an alien, an Edomite. Saul (angrily). And so there is none. Therefore We-- [Rises. 560 DAVID David (suddenly). My lord! [SAUL turns as lie pushes forward. There is! for this is not endurable. Futile and death Alien Edomite Has not this Philistine before the gates, With insult and illimitable breath, Vaunting of vanity and smiting laughter, Boasted and braved and threatened up to Baal And now unless one slay him, Israel From babe to age must bleed and be no more I am a shepherd, have but seized the lion And throttled the bleating kid out of his throat; Little it then beseems that I thrust in Where battle captains pale and falter off; But this is past all carp of rank or station. One must go out-Goliath must have end. Doeg. Ah, ah! and you will! Ishui. You Jonathan. No, David! Saul. You David. Sudden you hound about me ravenous DA.-VID .,. ( DAVID Have I thrown doom not daring to your feet, Ruler of Israel, that you rise wild, Livid above me as an avalanche Doeg. A plot! it is a plot! He will be slain- From you, my lord, dominion then will fall! Or should it not . o . Samuel. Liar! it is no plot. But courage sprung seraphic out of night, Beautiful, yea, a bravery from God! Michal (behind the throng). Open! and let me enter! Open! Open! [She enters. [Then not knowing what has passed. Father! It is not false but now the uttermost Is that if this Goliath still exult, There's peril of desolation, bloody ruin Samuel. I answer for him; yea. Michal. Then to your will, Father, unto will of yesterday I bend me now with sacrificial joy. 56 2 Unto Goliath's slayer is the hand Of Michal, the king's daughter! David joyously). Michal! Michal! Doeg. See you, my lord Do you not under- stand Ishui. It is another coiling of their plot! Michal. Coiling of plot What mean you Alerab. Ah! You know Not it is David offers against Goliath Michal. David (Shrinking.) David [A low tumult is heard without. Enter a CAPTAIN hurriedly. Captain. 0 King, bid me to speak! Saul. Then speak! Captain. Fear is upon the host. There will Be mutiny unless, Goliath slain, Courage spring up anew. David. My lord, then, choose, Ere longer waiting fester to disaster. Samuel. Yea, king of Gibeah, and bid him go, And Michal for his meed! or evermore DAVTD .56. Evil be on you and the sear of shame- And haunting memory beyond the tombl Saul. Then let him-let him. And upon the field Of Ephes-Dammin. But I am not blind! (To ABNER.) Let him, to-morrow! Go prepare the host. Yet-I am king, remember! I am king! [SAUL goes; murmurs of relief . . . A l follow, but MICHAL, past DAVID with ioy or hate. David. Michal! [She struggles against tears, but, turning, goes. He stands and gazes after her. Then a trumpet sounds and soldiers throng to the porch. David (thrilled, his hand on his sling). For Israeli For Israel! [Goes toward them. CURTAIN DAVIDL s64 ACT II This page in the original text is blank. ACT II SCENE: The royal tent of SAUL pitched on one hill of the battlefield of Ephes-Dammnin. The tent is of black embroidered with various warlike designs. To one side on a dais are the chairs of SAUL and AHINOAM; also DAVID's harp. On the other side, toward the front, is a table with weapons. The tent wall is lifted along the back, revealing on the opposite hill, across a deep narrow valley, the routed camp of the Philistines; before it in gleaming brazen armor lies Goliath slain. Other hills beyond, and the sky above. By the small table, her back to the battlefield, sits MERAB in cold anger. AHi- NOAM and several women look out in ecstasy toward DAVID, SAUL, JONATHAN, and the army, returning victorious, and shouting. First Woman. See, see, they come! they nearl they come! Second Woman. They come I DAVID An avalanche' over the shining brook, Over the brook, and bright amid hosannas! Third W17oman. And now amid the rushes! First Woman. And the servants! Goliath's head high-borne upon a charger! The rocks that cry reverberant and vast! The people and the palms! Third Woman. Yea, all the branches Torn from the trees! The waving of them-O! Second Woman. And David, see! triumphant, calm, between The king and Jonathan! . . . His glory All the wild generations of the wind Ever shall utter! Hear them- [The tumult ascends afar. "David! David! " O queen! a sea of shouting! Ahinoam. Which you crave Then go and lave you in this tide of joy. [The women go rapturously. AHINOAM turns. 568 Merab. Mother! Ahinoam. My daughter Merab. Speak. Ahinoam. They all are gone. Merab. And Michal, where Ahinoam. I do not know, my child. Mlerab. Why did my father pledge her to him you Not hindering Ahinoam. She is your sister. You Are pledged to Adriel. Merab. And as a slave! And if I do not love him there is-riches! If he is Sodom-bitter to me-riches! Ahinoam. But for the kingdom. Mferab. For my torture! What Kingdom is to a woman as her love Ahinoam. Then David still enthralls you Merab. Though he never Sought me with any murmur or desire! DAVID 56o 5 70 DAVID Though he is Michal's for Goliath's death! Michal's to-day, unless- Ahinoam. Merab, a care! Too near in you were ever love and hate. [The tumult nears. AHINOAM goes to look out. DOEG enters to MERAB. Doeg (low). News, Mlerab! Merab. \Wel1 Doeg. A triumph for us, yet! The king is worn, as a leper pent, between Wonder of David and quick jealousy Because of praise this whelming of Goliath Wakes in the people. AMerab. Then the triumph Doeg. This. [The tumult, nearer. I've skillfully disposed the women To coldly sing of Saul, but of our David- [Watches her. With lavish of ecstasy as to a king. DAVID Merab (springing up). Then I will praise him! Doeg. David, you Merab. As he Was never-and shall never be again. [Takcs a dagger. But- Give me the vial. The poison Come-at once! What will you do (seizes vial). At once with it. [Dips daggcr in. Doeg. You'll stab him Merab. As any fool Wait. And the rest now, quick. This timbrel player, Judith is she ready Doeg. And ravishing. I've told her we shall send her Sudden, as Michal is alone with David, Doeg. Merab. Doeg. Merab. Doeg. Merab , 7 r DAVID To seize him with insinuative kisses, And arms that wind as they were wonted to him. Michal once jealous-and already I Have sowed suspicions- [Laughs. .1Merab. May it be their rending. [The tuimult near. But come, come, we must see; and show no frown. [They go to look out. Shouts of "David! David! " arise, and timbrelers, dancing and singing, pass the tent opening; then priests with the Ark and its chcrubim of gold. DAVID, SAUL, JONATHAN, ISHUT, and the court then enter amid acclamations. Before them the head of Goliath is borne on a charger, under a napkin. SAUL darkly mounts the throne with Aii1- NOAM, to waving of palms and praise. 5 7 2 A Woman (breaking from the throng). Our little ones are saved! Hosanna! joy! [Sie kisses DAVID'S hand. Jonathan. Woman, thy tongue should know an angel-word, Or seraph syllables new-sung to God! Earth has not any rapture well for this! David, my brother! David. Jonathan, my friend! W'hile life has any love, know mine for you. Jonathan. Then am I friended as no man was ever ! And though my soul were morning wide it were Helpless to hold my wonder and delight! o people, look upon him! People. David! David! Jonathan. Never before in Israel rose beauty Up to this glory! David. lonathan, nay- Jonathan. Never! [Looses his robe and girdle. 5 73 DAVI D Therefore I pour him splendor passionate. In gold and purple, this my own, I clothe him. David, my brother! People. David! David! David! Saul (rising up livid). Am I to stifle, full-of- lauding fools! Of breath and ravishment unceasing! Ahinoam. Saul! Saul. Is it not praise enough, has he not reached The skies on it David. 0 king, my lord- Saul. Had Saul Ever so rich a rapture from his son Ever this worshiping of utterance David. My lord, my lord, this should not fret you. Doeg (derisively). Nay! David. 'Tis only that the soul of Jonathan, Brimmed by the Philistines with bitterness, Sudden is joy and overfloweth- Doeg. Fast- DAVID 574 David. Upon his friend, thy servant, David. Doeg. Aie! [He turns away laughing, Saul. Why do you laugh Doeg. " Thy servant David!" Saul (more darkly). Why! A Woman (without). King Saul has slain his thousands! Doeg. 0-ho-ho! Woman. But David his ten thousands! Doeg. Do you hear King Saul has slain his thousands, David ten! Thy servant, is he servant David. Yea, 0 king! . Therefore be wielded by no venom-word, As a weed under the wind! Saul (afoam). 'Tis overmuch ! I'll burst all bond of priest or prophecy. Nor cringe to threatening and fondle fear. [He seizes a javelin. I'll smite where'er I will. DAVI D 5 7 DAVID David. My lord! my lord! Saul. I'll smite, I tell you smite! David. And then, 0 king - [Goes to him. Have rapid palsy come upon thy hand, An impotence, a shriveling with fear, Avenging ere thou shed offenseless blood [SAUL'S hand drops. Is this thy love, the love of Saul the king, WNho once was kindlier than kindest are For but a woman's wantonness 6f word And idle air, my life Ahinoam. Saul, Saul! Jonathan. 0 shame ! David. Some enemy-does Doeg curve his lip- RIath put into her mouth this stratagem Of fevered, false-impassioned overpraise. [SAUL, tortured, sweeps from the tent, en- treated of JONATHAN. Many follow in doubt, whispering. 5 76 DAVID Doeg (at door, to DAVID). This is not all, boy out of Bethlehem. Goliath's dead- David. But not all villainy [Only MICHAL and 'MERAB are lcft. DAVID waits. Merab (at length, as if loathly). A shame it is! I burn for it myself! Burn, heart and brain ! David. For what, and suddenly Merab. WMy father so ungenerously wroth ! And wrought away from recompense so right. Can you forgive him David. Mlerab Merab. Is it strange That even I now ask it David. Merab's self J.Mcrab. Herself and not to-day your friend; but now Conquered to exultation and aglow S77 To wreathe you for this might to Israel, Beautiful, unbelievable and bright! Noble the dawn of it was in your dream, Noble the lightning of it in your arm, And noble in your veins the fearless flow And dare of blood !-so noble that I ask As a remembrance and bequest forever, In priceless covenant of peace between us, A drop of it- [Shie draws dagger and offers it to him. Upon this sacred blade . . . David. Such kindness and such honor Merab. Poor requital To one whose greatness humbles me from hate. David (slowly). Then of my veins whatever drop you will. But, no . . . (Pauses.) You do not mock me Merab. With high truth I crave it more than holy, priceless nard. David. Or perfume out of India jewel poured [He searches her eyes. 5 78 DAVID Or than-I may believe -a miracle Of dew, were you a traveler upon The illimitable desert's thirst Or than- [He draws his own dagger, pricks his wrist, and hands it her. Than this Merab. Shepherd! David (quickly). Treachery, treachery, then Under a sham of tribute poison Michal. Merab! David. And I of vanity should prick it in I a mere shepherd innocent of wile A singer from the shearing and no more . . . The daughter of King Saul has yet to learn. [She goes. He turns to MICHAL. But you, fairest of all my hopes, what word! The vaunting of this victory is done. We are alone at last. Michal. Yes. David. That is all .. . DAVI D 5 79 DAVID For Israel I've wrought to-day-and for You . . . who were round about me as a mist Of armed mighty angels triumphing. Michal. Yes: It was well. David. To you no more to you Whom not a slave can serve unhonored Michal (struggling). Nothing. David. Empty of glow then seems it, impotent, A shriveled hallowing . . . Ashes of ecstasy that burned in vain. Michal. No, no! I- David. Michal Michal. No, divine it was! And had I cried my praise the ground had broke To Eden under me with blossoming. Where was so wonderful a deed as this, So fair a springing of salvation up Glory above the heavens could I seize, Wreathing of dawn and loveliness unfading, To crown you with and crown! David. 0 lips! 580 DAVID Michal. With but A sling, a shepherd's sling, you sped the brook, Drew from its bed a stone, and up the hill Where the great Philistine contemning cried, Mounted and flung it deep upon his brain! David. This is the victory and not his death! Tell, tell thy joy with kisses on my lips! Thy mouth! thy arms! thy breast! Michal. No, no! David. Thy soul! [Clasps her. Too much of waiting and of severance, Of dread and distance and the deep of doubt! Now must I fold you, falter all my love And triumph on your senses till they burn Beautiful as eternity with bliss. Michal. Loose, loose me! David. Nay, again! immortal kisses ! Michal. A frenzy, 'tis a frenzy! Let me free !- This irremediable victory 58r DAVID Over Goliath severs us the more. [The tumult, again, afar. Hear how the people lift you limitless! Almost to-day and in my father's stead They would that you were king. David. But ere to-morrow Dim shall I be, and ere the harvest bend Less than a gleam in ilicir forgotten peril Michal. 0 were it, were it ! But all silently Jehovah fast is beckoning the realm Into thy hands. David. Then vainly we resist The gliding on of firm divinity. And yet whatever may be shall be done. Michal. All, all David. That for thee reverently may Michal. The anointing then shall be forgot David. Michal! Michal. It may be told my father and I may Say to him all the secret ,582 DAVID David. Murder in him, insatiable I fled upon the wilderness Michal. He would not! David. Michal. David. Michal (coldly). Then David. Michal. This stroke to- ath's head) no love of David. A love, a passio The tread and tremble of s Along the infinite. Michal. You us David. Michal. A step to rise David. So bitter are all Michal. You snared me David. And provoke though and famine Nay. I'll plead with him. In vain. . . .it is as I thought. You are distraught. -day (pointing to Goli- me had in it. n fervid through me as eraphic song e me! and riot you, Use in ambition ! still, even in to you ! 'Michal! 8.3 DAVID Michal. Cunningly With Samuel netted fears about my father, Till I am paltrily unto you pledged. David. Enough. Michal. Too much. David. No more: the pledge I fling Out of my heart, as 'twere enchantment dead, And free you; but no more. [He moves from her. Alichal. As if it were Enchantment dead . . . Ah then 'tis true-there is Another-is another! David. Now, what fever A gentleness clad once your every grace. Michal. There is some other that you lure and love. David. It is not Michal speaking; so I wait. Michal. Then you will learn . . . [JUDITH glides in. Who's that (to her). Why are you here 584 DAVID Judith (to DAVID, with a laugh, as if zwith amor- ous joy). Brave, it was brave, my love! beau- teous! brave! [Goes to him. David. Woman Judith. The Philistine, a brazen tower, A bastion of strength, fell to the earth ! David. WN oman, who are you . . . Take away your flesh! [Shte has clasped himt. Take it away, the heat and myrrh of it. Judith. So cold are you It is no longer fair (Wantonly.) Oh! Ah! I understand! the prin- cess! Oh ! [Goes laughing and shaking her timbrel wickedly. Michal. A dancer, then, a very timbrel-player! David. Until this hour T never looked upon her. It is chicanery of chance or craft. You who are noble, though in doubt adrift, Be noble now! DAVID Michal. And loving Oh, I will- Now that I know what should be done. Be sure! David. Michal! AMichal. Now that I know what should be done! [Sweeps out. He understands and sinks to a seat. AHINOAM enters. Ahinoanz. David, the king. . . (Gently) But what is this David. 0 queen It is but life. Ahinoam. Nay. David. Life that ever strings Our hearts, so pitifully prone for it, To ecstasy-then snaps. Ahinoant. I love thee, David. David. Then gracious be, and question here no more, Where words are futile for an utterance. But tell on of the king. 586 Ahinoam. He's driven, still; And hither comes again, and must be calmed. Your harp take you, and winds of beauty bring, And consolation, as of valley eves When there is ebb of sorrow and of toil. Oh, could you heal him and forever heal! David. Then would I be-! [Breaks off with great desire. Takes the harp and seats himself. Ahinoam. At once, for he will come. [A strain of wild sadness brings SAUL, and many, within. He pauses, his hand to his brow, enspelled of the playing: then slowly goes up the dais. Ahinoam. My lord, shall David sing-to ease us Saul. Let him. David (with high sorrow). 0 heart of woe, Heart of unrest and broken as a reed! [Plays. DAVID S87 DAVID o heart whose flow Is anguish and all bitterness of need! [Plays. o heart as a roe, Heart as a hind upon the mountain fleeing The arrow-wounds of being, Be still, 0 heart, and rest and do not bleed! [Plays longer with bowed head. O days of life, Days that are driven swift and wild from the womb! [Plays. o days so rife- Days that are torn of trouble, trod of doom! [Plays. MICHAL enters. 0 days of strife- Days of desire on deserts spread unending, The burning blue o'erbending, 0 days, our peace, our victory is the tomb! [He plays to a close that dies in anguished silence. 588 DAVID Saul (rising in tears). David! David. My lord Saul. Thy song is beauteous! Stilling to sorrow! . . . Oh, my friend, my son! David. To me is this I do not dream The king Again is kind, and soft his spirit moves Saul. To you! David. How shelter o'er me then will spring, And safety, covering! Saul. It ever shall. Loveliest have you been among my days, And singing weary madness from my brain. [MIICHIAL starts forward. How I have wronged thee! Michal. Wronged him David. Michz Saul. Michal. You have not wronged him! David. (in fury). al! Girl Mlichal! 589 DAVID Michal. No! but he Is jeopardy and fate about you! drive Him from you utterly and now away! [Murmurs of astonishment. Saul. What mean you Ishui. Speak. Saul. What mean you Michal. This! David. No word! Michal. I'll not be kept! David. But shall be; for to tell Would rend silence forever from you-pale Your flesh with haunting of it evermore! All, all your being would become a hiss, A memory of syllables that sear, A living iteration of remorse. I-I myself will save your lips the words Of this betrayal leaping from your heart. [Goes nobly to SAUL. You seek, my lord . . . you seek whom Samuel Anointed. 590o DAVID Yes. Then know that it is I. [Consternation. Saul. You! David. Guiltless I, no other! [SAUL sei-hcs a javelin. I, though I sought it not and suffer, though- I would it had not come and fast am sworn Never against you to lift up- Merab. Hear, hear! Now he will cozen! Doeg. He, "thy servant!" Ishui. Hear! [Goliath's head is upset. A Voice. A thousand Saul hath slain! but David ten ! Saul (choking). Omnipotence shall not with- hold me more. [Lif ts javelin. Die, die! Jonathan. No, father . . . hold! Saul. David. 591 Alichal (as SAUL flings). What have I done [Reels. Jonathan. David, unhurt Awav, the wilder- ness! Saul (with another javelin). He shall not, no! Da-vid. Then king of Israel -! [Ruzhes up the throne, aflame. Murderous king, afoam with murder-heat, Strike me to darkness and the waiting worm! - But after be your every breathing blood! Remorse and riving bitterness and fear! Be guilt and all the hideous choke of horror! [SAUL trembling cowers, the javelin fall- ing from him. DAVID breaks, then, through the throng and escapes by the door. MICHAL sinks to her knees, her face buried in her hands. CURTAIN DAVID 502 ACT III This page in the original text is blank. ACT III SCENE: A savage mountain cliff in the wilderness of Engeddi. On either side gray crags rise rugged, sinking away precipitously across the back. Cut into each is a cave. The height is reached by clefts from all sides. Between the crags to the East is the far blue of the Dead Sea; and still beyond, bathed in the waning afternoon, stretch the purple shores of Moab. During the act the scene growtos crimson with sunset and a thundercloud arises over the sea. Lying on a pallet of skins near the cliff's verge, DAVID tosses feverishly. Three of his follow- ers and a lad, who serves him, are gathered toward the front, ragged, hungry, and hunted, in altercation over a barley cake. David. Water! the fever fills me, and I thirst. Water! DAVID First Fol. Listen. Second Fol. He calls. David. Water! I thirst. The Lad. Yes, yes, my lord. (Takes up a water skin.) Ah, empty, not a quaff! They've drunk it all from him! My lord, none's left. I'll run and in the valley brim it soon. [He goes. DAVID sinks back. Second Fol. (to FIRST). You drank it, then. First Fol. And should I thirst, not he Give me the bread. Second Fol. If it would strangle you. First Fol. I'll have it. Second Fot. Or betray him spitingly It is the last. Already you have eat. And we are here within a wilderness. First Fol. Be it, but I'll not starve. Third Fol. He utters right. Why should we but to follow a mere shepherd Famish-over a hundred desert hills 596 DAVID The prophecy portending him the throne- Is folly, not fate! though it is Samuel's. I'll trust in it no more. First Fol. Nor I. Third Fol. And Saul Has driven us from waste to waste-pressed us Even unto the Philistines for shelter, And now unto this crag. And does not David Brood but of Michal, not of smiting him And, with a host, of leaping to the kingdom [DAVID stirs to rise. First Fol. He moves; peace! Third Fol. Let him. Second Fol. Peace. Third Fol. And fawning too David (sufferingly). Men-men, we must have news. Perpetual, Implacable they stare unto each other, This rock and stony sky. . . . WNe must have news. [Rises and comes down to them. They are silent. 597 DAVID Longer is death. 'Tis over many days Of sighing-and remembered verdancy; Remembered here, where dew comes never up. Who will go now and bring us word of Saul Third Fol. Have not Abishai, Abiathar, And others gone David. Bravelv. Third Fol. And none returned! David. Not one of all. Third Fol. Well, then, we are not swine; And life's but once.... So we will follow you No longer hungered and rewarded never, But perilously ever. David. It is well. [He looses a bracelet from his arm. This was a gift from Saul. In it is ease. [Gives it THIRD FOLLOWER, who goes. This ring was Jonathan's. The jewel tells Still of the sunny haven of his heart. g(8 DAVID Upon my hand he pressed it-the day we leapt Deeper than friends into each other's love. [Gives it to FIRST, who goes. This chain- Second Fol. I want it not. David. You have not thoug Tis riches-such as Sidon marts and Tyre Would covet. Second Fol. I care not. David. None else is left. Second Fol. No matter. I but want . . . Th was of Gibeah A woman-dear to me. Her face at night . . . Weeping among my dreams. ... ht ; ere The prophecy Is unfulfilled and vain! David. And yoa would go Second Fol. The suffering-this cliff. David. I understand. (Motions.) So, without any blame, go-to content. [The SECOND, faltering, goes. ;o r9 DAVID (Quietly.) A desolation left, of rock and air, Of barren sea and bitterness as vast. Thou hast bereft me, Saul! . . . and Michal, thou! [He moves up cliff, gazes off, then kneels as to pray. My flesh cries for oblivion-to sink Unwaking away into the night . . . where is No tears, but only tides of sleep.... No, crieth Not for oblivion and night, but for Rage and revenge! Saul! Saul! . . . My spirit, peace. I must revenge's call within me quell Though righteously it quivers and aflame. As pants the hart for the water-brook, so I! [He bows his head.... MICHAL enters in rags zwith the lad. She sees DAVID rise and wander into cave, right. Michal. This is the place, then, this Lad. Yes, princess. (0oo Michal. Here So long in want and sickness he hath hid Under the livid day and lonelier night Lad. I brought him water, often. Alichal. Little lad! But he has heard no word from me-not how Mly father, Saul, frantic of my repentance, Had unto Phalti, a new lord, betrothed me How then I fled to win unto these wilds Lad. He heard not anything-only the tales I told of Moab, my own land. . . . But, oh ! [DAVID plays within. It is his harp. Michal. And strains that weep o'er me! . I'll speak to him . . . and yet must be unknown! A leper as a leper could I . . . Lad. Why Must he not know you Michal. Ask me not, lad, now; But go a little. DAVI D 6oT Lad. Yes. [He sets down the water skin and goes. Michal (delaying, then in a loud voice). Un- clean ! Unclean! [Conceals her face in her hailr. David. Who crieth here Michal. Unclean! David (appearing). \Who cries unclean Poor leper in these wilds, who art thou Mlichal. One Outcast and faint, forlorn! David. Then you have come To one more bitter outcast than yourself- One who has less than this lone void to give, This sterile solitude and sun, this scene Of leaden desolation that makes mad; Who has no ease but cave or shading rock, Or the still moon, or stars that glide the night. One over whom- AIichal. Yet, pity! DAVID 602 The pale hours, David (slowly"1 Flow dead into eternity. Michal. Ah, vet . .. David. My cloak, then, for thy tattered limbs. Or, no- This chain of Ophir for thy every need. Once it was dear, but should be so no more. (Flinging it to her.) Have it, and with it vanish memory Out of my breast- Alichal. No, no. David. And from me fall Link upon link her loveliness that bound. Michal. Oh, do not! David (starting) Woman . . . Michal. Nothing. A chain like this I once beheld wind undulantly bright O'er Michal the king's daughter. David. Woman, the king's Michal. Pity! David. Who are you AMichal. Stay! Unclean! DAVID 603 DAVID David. A spy A spy of Saul and hypocrite have crept Hither to learn . . . Michal. Have heed-unclean! David. How, then Wandering came you here Michal. Unclean! Unclean! David. AMy brain is overfull of fever, mad. Almost and I had touched thy peril, held Thy hideous contagion. Michal. Nay! David. Then who Art thou to know and speak of her, of Michal Michal. One who has served the king. David. And you have seen Michal, you have beheld her Mllichal. Once, when she In face was fairer and in heart than now They say she is. David. And heard her speak 604 DAVID' Michal. A night Under the leaves of Gibeah-when she Sang with another-David. David. Say no more. Michal. And from afar, under the moon, blew faint The treading of the wine-presses with song. David she loved, but anger-torn betrayed, Unworthy of him. David. Speak of her no more, Nor of her cruelty, unless to pray He she has ruined may forget her. Mlichal. Yet If deep she should repent-if deep she should [A cry interrupts. They start. David. A jackal (Listens.) No, the signal! Word at last! (To MICHAL.) He who is near may prove to thee less kind. [She goes. He leaps up the cliff. 6oS DAVID Abishai Abiathar . . . It is! But staggering and wounded breathless torn The priest with bloody ephod, too, and wild [Watching, then springing to meet them as they reel in. Abishai, what is it that you bring Abiathar, up! answer! Abiathar. Water! David. Up! [He brings the water skin. They drain it fiercely. What is it now so fevered from you stares, And breathing, too, abhorrence Gasp it out. Abiathar. I stifle-in a universe-he still- Has breath in. David. Saul Abiathar. Ill scathe him! Scorpions Of terror and remorse sting in his soul ! David. If you have tidings, tell in words less wild. Abiathar. Then ask, and hate shall calm me. 606 DAVID David. Abiathar. Seek if he lives! David. W Abiathar. Founts yet in Judah! David. Abiathar. Dead-and of tidings Ask On, on! ho Seek if prophecy Samuel . .. Is dead! more calamitous. [A pause. David (hoarsely). Tell on. I hear. Abiathar. Saul gloating to believe The priests who gathered sacredly at Nob, Plotted assisting you, hath had them- David. No . ..! Abiathar. Slain at the hands of Doeg-mur- dered, all! David. But he-your father Abiathar. Was among them; fell. [He stands motionless. 607 David (gently). Abiathar, my friend! . . . Ap- peaseless Saul! Abiathar. Hear all, hear all! Thy father, too, and mother, Even thy kindred, out of Israel Are driven into MIoab; and this king, Delirious still for blood as desert pards, With Merab, whelp of him, and many armed, Is near us now-a-quiver at Engeddi For your destruction: [DAVID struggles for control. And yet you will not strike. David (low). No, but of Michal, tell me good at once, Lest unendurable this lot, I may- Mounting o'er every oath into revenge. Abiathar. Ha-Michal! David. She withholds her father's wrath Abiathar. She's well. David. Not if you say no more. DAVID 608 DAVID Abiathar. I Nothing of her. David. Your look belies. Abiathar. Perhaps: As did her love. David. That is for me. Abiathar. Well, wha A woman who betrays David. Speak, not evade; And judge her when earth has no mystery. Abiathar. Then from your craving put for-she is Unworthy any tremor of your veins. David. Dawn-lilies under dew are the worthy, And nesting doves are horrible to heaven. I will not so believe. Your reason Abiathar. Saul Has given her-and she will wed him, aye- To Phalti, a new lord. David. Untrue of her! I know r her- i un- 6og at DAVID Abiathar. Cry. Yet you will believe it. David. Not until The parable of verdant Spring is hushed Ever of bloom, to prove it. Never till Hermon is swung into the sea! until The last void of the everlasting sky [Looking up, he -alters, breaks off, and is strangely moved. Abiathar. Now what alarm Abishai. What stare you on Abiathar. Hes mad [Then, suddenly seeing. No, no! .. . an eaglet!. .. Pierct ! . David (watching). And falling here. ... And beating against death unbuoyantly. [The bird drops at their feet. A destiny, a fate in this is hidden! [Bends to it. Abiathar. And-why oIO David (starts back). The arrow is his! his, and no other's ! Quick, no delay. Efface all trace of us. [Takes water skit. Abiathar. But how be clear. David. We are discovered-in! On us is death. Open the secret chamber Amid the cave, for from the bow of Saul Is yonder bleeding-from no other. Abiathar. Saul's So soon! was any here David. To-day, to-day. A leper wandering. Abiathar. We are betrayed. [ABISHAI hastes to cave, right, DAVID and ABIATHAR listen. Noise of approach is heard. David. They near. Abiathar. And many. DAVID ,I I 'DAVID David. King of Isra Inexorable! Abiathar. 0, rebuke him, do! David. Almost I am beyond this tolerance. Abiathar. In truth. Therefore it is you i and shake Out of his power the scepter! David. Tempt me not! Mercy and memory almost are dead, And craving birth in me is fateful ire. Lel! -ise [But a shout rings out as they flee, into the cave: yet hardly have done so when SAUL and his men pour in. Saul. On, to him! search the caves I in, in, and bring Him to my sword and Michal with him. (Pacing.) They Shall couch upon eternity and dust. 61 2 (Weakly.) I am the king and Israel is mine. I'll sleep upon their grave, I'll sleep upon it, And hear the worm. .. .! [To a soldier recentering from one cave. Where is he Bring him. Soldier. 0 king- Saul. You've slain him and you tremble! Say it. Soldier. No. Saul. Then hither with him; hither! Soldier. He's not here. Saul. A treachery! You cunningly contrive To aid him, so. ... [To a soldier from the other cave. Bring me his head. Soldier (fearfully). My lord, He is not there. . . Saul. I tell you it is lies- Because you deem that he shall be the king, DAVID 613 DAVID And treasure up reward and amnesty. [Rushes wnldly to caves in turn, then out among them. From me ill-fruited, ineffectual herd! Away from me, he's fled and none of you Is servant and will find and for me seize him! [They scatter. From me-I'll sleep-I'll rest-and then- [As they go. I'll sleep. [ABNER and DOEG remain. SAUL enters cave, left. Abner (to DOEG, significantly). The Evil Spirit, and none is here to heal him. Doeg. It came as never before-as drunken- ness. Abner. Then-safe to leave him Doeg. Will he brook denial Abner. And Merab, too, will soon be here. Doeg, Well, come. 614 Abner. I'll go and look upon him. [Goes. (Returning.) Already he sleeps. So we may seek us water; (then suddenly) no, abide ! [Is held by MICHAL entering. Woman, who are you,'who M1ichal (quaking). Unclean! away! Doeg. Unclean a leper in this place there No stones to stone you Hence! And had A brother such as thou- Mihchal. Pity! Unclear Are I not [She quickly goes, then they. A space; then she returns, trembling and fear- ful. I'll call him! I will save him! David! I his discomfiture and ruin !-David! David !- [Searches. DAVI D 6 i5 I I ! DAVID Hear, David! hear me! David! [Sees SAUL. The king! My father! I cannot-am not-whither shall I, whither . . . [Flees, as a scuffling is heard and DAVID'S voice. David. Loose me, I say. 'Twas Michal, and she called! [Appears, withheld by ABIATHAR. (Breaking free.) I say that it was she! Abiathar. Foolhardy, no; Return into the cave, and ere too late ! [MERAB, veiled, enters behind them. David. 'Twas Michal and no other. Abiathar. You are duped. David (searching). The breathing of arch- angels could not so Have swung the burden from me as her . . . Ha! [Sees MERAB; slowly recoils. Merab. It is not Michal. 6i6 DAVID David. No-it is not Michal. [Mlotions the priest aside. Merab. Yet it is one who- David. Need not lift her veil, Or longer stay. The path she came is open. Mcrab. I'm here-and here will speak. I've hither stolen, Yearning-I say it-yearning-and I will. David. These words I do not know. Merab. Because you will not. More all-devouring than a Moloch is This love within me David. Love and you are twain, As sun and Sheol. Micrab. False. I am become For want of you as famine-wind, a wave In the mid-tempest, with no rest, no shore. David. I do not hear the unashamed words Of one who has but recently another, Adriel, wedded. Alerab. You refuse me, then 6I7 David. I beg you but to cease. Merab. Goaded, chagrined No, but this will I do. The Philistines, For long at rioting within their walls, Gather again and break toward Gilboa. David. Merab of Saul! Merab. To-morrow must my father Return from hunting you and arm for battle. But-many would that you were king. David. Were . . Merab. King! David. I do not understand your eyes. Merab. I will For love of you arouse rebellion up, Murmur about the host your heaven-call, And lift you to the kingdom. David. To the-Stay! Your words again. Merab. The kingdom. David. Awful God! Merab. What is your mien you will not DAVID 6ig DAVID David. Twice the words- Full from her lips-and to betray her father. [ABIATHAR discovers SAUL. Merab. You will not answer! David. Odious utterly! As yonder sea of death and bitter salt! As foam-girt Joppa of idolatry, As Memphian fane of all abhorrencies! [A pause. Morning would move with horror of it, noon A livid sepulcher of shame span o'er, And night shrink to remember day had been! Mlerab. You scorn-you scorn me David. Jonathan ! your sister! AMerab. Then Saul shall rend you dead. And Jonathan! . [She laughs shrilly. Perchance you had not heard that Jonathan Knows to the Philistines you fled-and loathes you! David. I have not heard. DAVID Merab. Nor have not, ah how Michal Is given to the embraces of another [DAVID shrinks. You desperately breathe and pale at last [She laughs more bitterly. To me for aid, to me you yet shall come. [She goes. DAVID lifts his hand to his brow in pain. Then ABIATrHAR abruptly descends from SAUL'S cave to him. Abiathar. David- David. Leave me. Abiathar. Not till you know-and strike! David. I tell you, go. Abiathar. I tell you 'tis the king. David. Who breaks forbearance-yes. Abiathar. Who lieth yonder, And sleeping lieth-for a thrust to end. David (his sword quickly out-struggling). Then shall there be an ending-of these wounds That wring me-of this wail 620 Under the deeps of me against his wrongs. Saul, Saul! . . . Michal! . . . Oh, never-ceasing ill ! [Flings down the sword in anguish. Abiathar. You will not come David. The sun-is set. Abiathar. Has S Hunted you to this desert's verge David. Enough! Abiathar. Has he pursued you, all his hate leashed Are Samuel-the priests, not slain my father The kingdom is not in decay, and falls You are not prophecy's anointed one Seize up the sword and strike-or I myself! David. Or-you yourself . . . aul an- [Puts them aside, takes sword, and goes to SAUL'S cave. Abishai. What will he do . .. listen -MICHAL enters unseen. DAVID 62I DAVID Abiathar. If Saul cries out- Abishai. Be ready. Michal (to them). What is this [DAVID reenters-haggard and wild; a piece of SAUL'S cloak and the sword still in his hand.... Michal (when she sees him, with a cry). Ah, you have slain-have slain him wretch of God And sleeping as he was slain him in sleep And merciless (as rage takes DAVID) and now will slay me too David (who has seized her hand yet speaks as to the skies). She is the leper then, in faithless rags. Who drove me a prey upon this wilderness! Upon the blot of it and death and sear! The silence and relentless burning swoon! She is the leper, who has broken troth And shut the cry of justice from her breast! Who's stifled with me desolation's woe, Who's followed still and still has me betrayed! Michal. Betrayed No, loose me. 622 David. Slain thy father slain [Flinging the piece of SAUL'S cloak at her feet. See how I might-see, see you, yonder he lies, A king who quits the kingdom, though a cloud Of Philistines is foaming toward Gilboa; Jeoparded leaves it, undefended, for Pursuit of me and pitiless harrying! A king who murders priests. Michal. Priests David. Stifles God With penitence that He has shaped the world! Have slain have slain him! I have slain him ! Ah! Ah, that I had thy falseness and could slay him! Michal. David . . . ! David. Nevermore near me! never with Thy quivering-thy tenderness-thy lure- Thy eyes that hold infinity of fate- Thy breathing cassia-sweet, but sorcery! Afichal. Oh . DAVI D 6 2. DAVID David. Never thy presence pouring beauty, swift, And seething in the brain as frantic wine! I'll be no more enspelled of thee-n ever! I will not hear thee and be wound by words Into thy wile as wide as Ashtoreth's; Rather, 0 God . . . eternity of pain! [He goes in agony-the priest and ABI- SHAI after. MICHAL stands gazing tearless before her as SAUL, awakened, comes slowly from the mouth of the cave down toward her. CURTAIN 624 ACT IV This page in the original text is blank. ACT IV SCENE: The house of MIRIAM, the " Witch of En- dor," by Mount Gilboa-where SAUL is en- camped against the Philistines. It is of one story, built rectangularly about an inner court, which is dimily lighted. Under the gallery which ranges around the court are doors lead- ing to the sleeping and other apartments; be- fore one of these, a lattice. On the left is the gate opening to the street. At the back to one side, the teraphim, or image of divination; on the other side a stairway mounts to the roof. Above is the night and vague lightning amid a moan of wind. During theAct comes dawn. Forward on a divan sits MIRIAM alone, in blind restlessness. Miriam. Adah! . . . The child is sunken in a sleep. DAVID Yet would I have her near me in this night, And hear again the boding of her tale. Unto the blind the vision and the awe Of the invisible sway ever in, The shadow of nativities that lead Upon fatality. Girl! Adah! Girl! [The wtind passes. ADAH enters from a chamber, rubbing her eyes. Thou art awake Adah. I slumbered. Miriamn. Stand you where Fathoming I may feel within you Now, Again: you've hither fled your mistress Merab, In fear of her Adah. Yes. Miriam. At Engeddi Michal By Saul was apprehended Merab now Plotteth against her-she and Doeg 6 29 Adah. Still. Miriam. And 'twas in Merab's tent you heard, the king Despairing of to-morrow's battle, comes Hither to-night to bid me lift the spirit Of Samuel out of the dead and learn The issue Adah. Doeg said it. Miriam. 2 Many within the army urge Would cry him king, if Saul Adah. [A knock at the fearful. AI riam. roof, And-you hear- for David, were slain 0 many. gate. They start up Who seeks blind Miriam of Endor's Under the night and unextinguished storm Come you a friend David (without). A friend. DAVID 629 DAVID M1iriam. As knows my soul! [Throws open the gate. DAVID enters and ABIATHAR cloaked. Thy voice again !-this blindness of my eyes- If it be David, speak. David. Yes, Miriam. Miriam. David of Jesse, Israel's desire! ILet me behold thee (her hands go over him) with my fingers' sight, And gather in them touch of thee again! Thy voice is as dream-dulcimers that stir The silent deeps of memory and joy. But, aie ! why are you here You have been there David. Yes-in the camp of Saul. Miriam. In spite of Death! Do you not know- David. I know-that Saul would rather O'er-trample me than a multitude of foes. That it is told him I who shun his ire- Though death were easier, if dutiful- 63o DAVID Am come up with the Philistines to The kingdom. That he would slay fought For Israel !-But, Michal!- Miriam. Aie- David. She was not in the camp. Miriam. Mlen all And you who should be never. David. She i Some peril. Miriam. You, in more! And in Swiftly away, for Saul is David. I mu iliriamn. Unholy! David. Yet unholier we M.1iriam. You are the anointed! win me though I What brews are mad! .s in ust from here 3t see her. ere flight. Z' [A heavy knock at the gate. Ah, calamity! You would not heed-'tis Saul! 63 r DAVID David. Miriam. That I shall call up Samuel. David. The awful dead Saul (calls). Woman o Miriam. The lattice yonder! Saul. Womar Here He is come You, you- f Endor! Hide I i of Endor! Woman! [DAVID and ABIATHAR withdraw. The knockinga hastier. Woman of Endor! Woman of Endor! Woman I Miriam. Who crieth at my gate Saul. Unbar and learn- Miriam. To danger Saul. None! Miriam. To thieves Saul. To rueing if You tarry! [She lets him in, with ISHUI and A.DRIEL. Miriam. Whom seek you 632 Saul. Witch of Endor, you, Who of the fate-revealing dead divine. Out of the Pit you call them! Miriam. What is this Saul. I say that you can raise them! Miriam. You are come With snaring! knowing well that Saul the king Is woe and bitterness to all who move With incantation. Saul. He is not. Miriam. Depart! Saul. I must have up out of the Awfulness Him I would question. Miriam. Perilous! Saul. Prepare Before thy teraphim. No harm, I swear, Shall come of it. Bid Samuel appear. The battle ! its event ! Mliriam (with a cry). I know thee now! Saul! thou art Saul ! the Terror! Saul. Call him up. DAVID 63,3 DAVID Ready is it, the battle-but I am Forsaken of all prophecy and dream, Of voices and of priest and oracle, To augur it. Miriam. A doom's in this! Saul. He must Hold comfort, and the torrent of despair Within me stay and hush. Miriam (sloulv). Then must it be. LEHas sunk by the teraphim, and incants amid wind and lightning. Prophet of Israel, who art beyond The troubling and the terrifying grave, Th' immeasurable moan and melancholy Of ways that win to Sheol-Rise! Arise! [She waits. . . Only the wind gust. Then up, with wide-stretched arms, and with wild blind eyes. Prophet of Israel, arise! Not in The name of Baal, Amon, Ashtoreth, 6.34 DAVID Dagon or all the deities that dream In trembling temples of Idolatry, But of Jehovah ! of Jehovah! rise! [ ,n elemental cry is heard out of the earth. Then wavering forms rise, vast, in continuous stream. MIRIAM, with a curdling shriek, sinks moaning to her knees. Saul. W'oman, I cannot-dare not-look upon it. Utter thy sight. [The Spirit of SAMUEL begins to take shape through the phantoms. Miriam. I see . .. ascending Forms as of gods in swaying ghostliness, Dim apparitions of a dismal might, And now is one within a mantle clad, Who looketh- Saul. Samuel! Miriam. Who looketh with Omniscience in his mien, and there is chill DAVID About him and the cling of eternity! His eyes impale me! Saul. Spirit, give me word! [He falls heavily to the ground. Samuel (as afar). 0 evil king! and wretched king! why hast Thou brought me from the quietness and rest Saul. The battle on the morrow- Samuel. Evil thou art For underneath this night thou hast conspired Death to thy daughter Michal-if at dawn The battle shall be lost-lest she may fall Into the hands of David. David (in horror). 0! Ishui. WNhose cry Samuel. I tell thee, Saul, thy scepter shrivels fast. The battle shall be lost-it shall be lost. [The Spirit of SAMUEL disappears. A wail of wzind. Adriel. Ishui, true Is Michal to be slain 636 Ishui. This is no hour for fools and question- ing. Saul (struggling up). The battle, Ishui, at once command It shall begin! To Jonathan and say it. [IslIui goes. No prophecy shall sink me and no shade. I am the king, and Israel, my own. [Frenzied he goes. A silence. David (breaking forth). Michal to die Israel to fall! Prophet of prophets, Samuel, return! Out of the Shadow and the Sleep, return, Compassionate, and tell me where she is, That I may save. Again appear and say That Israel to-morrow may not fall- Not fall on ruin! Adriel. David is it thou David. Meholah's Adriel, your conscience Adriel. You were concealed and asks. DAVI D 637 DAVID David. And I have heard Out unto Saul! Betray me, cry you o Adriel. Betray David. Is the word honey Adriel. David, I've wronged you- David. H Adriel. And ask now no forgiveness-not until Michal is won from peril! David. Do you kni More of her still Adriel. I only know that SE 1. Cry then ut! Is it balm aply ! Jealously. IOW LUl- [Fearful. Has given Doeg power- And that somewhere in Endor he conceals her. David. God! Adriel. Ay, and that himself's not far away. David. Ahaste, and bring him then by force or guile, 638 DAVID6 In any way. that we may from him win Where she is prisoned. [ADRIEL goes. The quivering Quicksands of destiny beneath her stir. Is heaven a mocking shield that ever keeps God from our prayers AMiriamn. David, contain thy heart. [A faint Uproar begins afar; and dawn. David. The battle ! on the wind. Abiathar, Speed out upon the mountain-side and cull All that befalls. [ADA11 opens the gate. The priest goes. Adah, (springin'g back). Oh! David. Child, why do you quail Adah. My mistress, Merab! David. Girl Adah. I saw her-she- Is coming hither ! Do not let her-she- I fear-I fear her! David. Hither coming 639 DAVID Adah. She ! [The gate is thrown open fiercely. Merab (entering). Woman and witch, did Ad- riel, my husband, Come to you with the king [Sees DAVID, stops. David. Unnatural, Unkind, most cruel sister! Merab (shrinks). You are here David. Once me you would have poisoned, but the coil Within your bosom I beheld. And now Michal your sister is the victim. Merab. I- Know not your meaning. David. The battle burning yonder, If it adversely veers, the king has planned Michal is not to live lest she may hap Unto my arms. 640 Merab. That Michal shall be slain [The tumult agair:. David. Almighty, smite, and save to Thee thy people ! And save Thy altars unto Israel! [He bows his head. A stir comes at the gate. Merab. David, 'tis Adriel! Adriel. Ope! open, you! David. At last the word. Merab. Girl, Adah, draw the bar. [She does, with awe, as DAVID cloaks his face. ADRIEL enters, and DOEG, who pauses in quick alarm, as DAVID goes between him and the gate. Doeg. What place is this Why do you bar that gate Mlerab, 'tis you Why do you gaze, rigid And this is the blind witch, Miriam David. It is. [He throws off the cloak. DAVID 64r Docg. Lured I am snared a trap David. Where have you Michal Docg (drawing). No closer! David. If she is an atom harmed-! Where is she Doeg. I was the servant of the king, I but obey him. David. And thy horrible heart. Then speak, or unto frenzy I am driven. Doeg. I'll drive you there with- [Brcaks off with low laugh. David. Tell it! Doeg. Unto your Soft sympathy-and passion (Laughs.) She is dead. David (immovable, then repressed). If it is so, the lightning, that is wrath Within the veins of God, should sink its fang Into thy bosom and sear out thy heart. If it is so, this momentary calm, This silence pouring overfull the world, DAVI D 642 Would rush and in thee cry until thy bones Broken of guilt are crumbled in thy groans. Dead, she is dead Miriam (starting). No, David, mv lordI. he lies' [Strangcly, as it a trance. To wound you, lies! David. Miriamn. Not dead I see her eves! [All listen nltazved I see her in a vision. She is near- Is in a cave-is bound-and is alone. I will go to her-quickly bring her. Doeg. Not- [Lunges at her. If this shall reach you. David. Ah! . . . and, near, it did' [Guards MIRIAM out. But now, 0 plotter, bloody, false, and foul, Who as a pestilence of midnight marsh Have oozed corruption into all around you, Now shall the realm be free of you at last. DAVID 643 Within its arteries you've flowed, poison, Incentive of irruption and unrest, Of treachery and disaffection's sore, Till even the stars that light it seemed as tares. Sown hostile o'er the nightly vale of heaven. [Draws firmly. Coldly, skillfully proaches for attack. Doeg (retreating). No farther! David. Unto the end! unto the ei [He rushes in; they engage; DOEG ap- wounded. Your villainy is done. [Quickly forces him under. The gate then opens and ABIATHAR hurries in. Abiathar. David, the battle-! [Sees DOEG and stops, pale. David. Fetter him. Abiathar. Only fetter (His dagger out) the murderer Of priestly sanctity and of my father DAVID 644 nd ! i s David. Abiathar! You know obedience [DOEG is sullenly bound and led aside. Then a panic is heard afar, and dins laments. DAVID, who has sunk to a seat, springs anxiously up. Listen! that cry ! A Voice. Woe! woe! David. What is its wail The Voice. The battle's lost! David. Abiathar- The Voice. Saul flees! David. Abiathar, is lost Abiathar. I fear it. David. Then, (pointing to DOEG) Off with his armor for me. I will go And backward bend defeat, backward bend it! Duty to Saul is over. Adriel. You must not. A fruitless intrepidity it were. Abiathar. Remember your anointing! DAVID 645 DAVID Abishai. And its need! [The gate opens. And Michal! remember Michal! for she lives! [DAVID turns. MICHAL enters with MIIR- IAM. Adriel. Hosanna! Miriam. David! David- Michal (pleading, to him). It is I. Miriam. The cords were cruel, hungrily sank in Her wrists and ankles. Alichal. David! look on me. David. My words must be alone with her- alone. Adriel. Come, all of you-the battle. [They go out the gate. M.ichal. My lord! . .. my lord! [He is silent. I ask not anything but to be heard- Though once I would not hear. Has all of life No glow for me 646 DAVID David. Betrayers should have none. Michal. I was a woman-the entanglement Of duty amid love we have no skill To loosen, but with passion. David. You too late Remember it is so. Michal. Nobility All unbelievable it seemed that you Could innocently wait on time to tide You to the kingdom. Then forgive, I plead. David. But, in the wilderness, your perfidy! Michal. Doubt of it welleth thro' your voice. No, no, To save you strove I-! David. Michal! AMicwal. Not to betray! From Saul, my father, penitent I fled, Seeking you in Engeddi's wild. David. And Phalti M1ichal. 'Texas wedding him I loathed. David. Say true! 647 DAVID Michal. Unfailingly into And spared me, This knife my breast had sunk had not flight. David. This-this can be [A great joy dazwn itg in hi. Beyond all hope it is, even as day's Wide empery outspans our littleness. A tithing of thy loveliness were beauty Enough for earth. Yet it is mine, is mine Mlichal. David . . . . ! [Is starting to his arms, but cries beat back their joy. Then the gate is flung open and ADRIEL enters, shaken. He looks from one to the other. David (at last). Adriel! Adriel! What have you Adricl. Saul-is slain! Michal. My father Adriel. Slain! And Jonathan- 648 David. No! Adriel. Fell beside him down. The fray was fast-Israel fled-the foe Fierce after Saul, whom Jonathan defended. Michal. Mly father! David. And my brother Jonathan! If I believe it will not miracle Alone bring joy again unto my pain [Then as wails arise. 0 Israel, the Infinite has touched Thy glory and it changes to a shroud! Thy splendor is as vintage overspilt, For Saul upon the mountains low is lying, And Jonathan beside him, beautiful Beyond the mar of battle and of death. Yea, kingly Jonathan! And I would give The beating of my life into his veins. Willing for it would I be drouth and die! . . . [As thc wails rearise Yea, peaks of curst Gilboa, I would die! So let dew leave you, and as sackcloth let DAVI D 649 Clouds cover you, and ashes be your soil, Until I bring upon Philistia And Gath and Askalon extinguishing, And sorrow-and immensity of tears! [Relieved, and going to MICHAL who dazedly weeps. But we must calm the flowing of this grief, For tho we cannot see now thro our pain, How love, as sandal-breath and trickling balm, Will heal us in the unbegotten years, Too headlong must not be our agony. Hush now thy wounded heart and dry thy tears, For see, the East uplifts us wings of Dawn. [They climb the stair to the housetop. As they look away toward the battle's rout the clouds part, and over them breaks the full brightness of the sun. ... THE END 65o DAVID THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS GARDEN CITY, N.Y.