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Title: Plays and Lyrics
Author: Rice, Cale Young
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Plays and Lyrics" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



by The Kentuckiana Digital Library)



  PLAYS

  AND

  LYRICS



  PLAYS

  AND

  LYRICS

  BY

  CALE YOUNG RICE


  LONDON
  HODDER AND STOUGHTON
  27 PATERNOSTER ROW

  NEW YORK: MCCLURE PHILLIPS & CO.
  44 EAST TWENTY-THIRD STREET

  1906


UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED. PRINTERS, WOKING AND LONDON.


To

IDA M. TARBELL

WITH FAITHFUL FRIENDSHIP



PREFACE


_This volume contains "Yolanda of Cyprus," a hitherto unpublished play;
many new lyrics; some others that appeared in "Song-Surf," a volume
whose publishers failed before it reached the public; and "David,"
which came out in America in 1904. The author's desire has been to
include only his best work._



CONTENTS


                               PAGE

  YOLANDA OF CYPRUS                                                    1


  LYRICS--DRAMATIC:--

  JAEL                                                                91

  MARY AT NAZARETH                                                    96

  OUTCAST                                                             98

  ADELIL                                                             100

  THE DYING POET                                                     102

  ON THE MOOR                                                        105

  HUMAN LOVE                                                         107

  O GO NOT OUT                                                       108

  CALL TO YOUR MATE, BOB-WHITE                                       110

  TRANSCENDED                                                        112

THE CRY OF EVE                                                       113

THE CHILD GOD GAVE                                                   116

MOTHER-LOVE                                                          118

ASHORE                                                               120

LOVE'S WAY TO CHILDHOOD                                              122

LISSETTE                                                             123

TEARLESS                                                             125

THE LIGHTHOUSEMAN                                                    126

BY THE INDUS                                                         128

FROM ONE BLIND                                                       130

AT THE FALL OF ROME, A.D. 455                                        131

PEACELESS LOVE                                                       133

SUNDERED                                                             134

WITH OMAR                                                            135

A JAPANESE MOTHER (IN TIME OF WAR)                                   144


LYRICS--NON-DRAMATIC:--

SHINTO (MIYAJIMA, JAPAN, 1905)                                       146

EVOCATION (NIKKO, JAPAN, 1905)                                       148

THE ATONER                                                           150

INTIMATION                                                           151

IN JULY                                                              152

FROM ABOVE                                                           154

SONGS TO A. H. R.:--

     I. THE WORLD'S AND MINE                                         155

    II. LOVE-CALL IN SPRING                                          156

   III. MATING                                                       157

    IV. UNTOLD                                                       158

     V. LOVE-WATCH                                                   159

    VI. AS YOU ARE                                                   160

   VII. AT AMALFI                                                    161

  VIII. ON THE PACIFIC                                               163

THE WINDS                                                            165

THE DAY-MOON                                                         167

TO A SINGING WARBLER                                                 169

TO THE SEA                                                           170

THE DEAD GODS                                                        172

AT WINTER'S END                                                      175

APRIL                                                                176

AUGUST GUESTS                                                        177

AUTUMN                                                               178

THE WORLD                                                            179

TO THE DOVE                                                          180

AT TINTERN ABBEY                                                     182

THE VICTORY                                                          184

SEARCHING DEATH'S DARK                                               185

SERENITY                                                             187

TO THE SPRING WIND                                                   188

THE RAMBLE                                                           189

RETURN                                                               192

THE EMPTY CROSS                                                      194

SUNSET-LOVERS                                                        196

TO A ROSE (IN A HOSPITAL)                                            198

UNBURTHENED                                                          199

WHERE PEACE IS DUTY                                                  201

WANTON JUNE                                                          202

AUTUMN AT THE BRIDGE                                                 204

SONG                                                                 205

TO HER WHO SHALL COME                                                206

AVOWAL TO THE NIGHTINGALE                                            208

STORM-EBB                                                            210

SLAVES                                                               212

WAKING                                                               213

FAUN-CALL                                                            214

LINGERING                                                            216

STORM-TWILIGHT                                                       217

WILDNESS                                                             218

BEFORE AUTUMN                                                        219

FULFILMENT                                                           221

TO THE FALLEN LEAVES                                                 223

MAYA (HIROSHIMO, JAPAN, 1905)                                        224

SPIRIT OF RAIN (MIANOSHITA, JAPAN, 1905)                             226

THE NYMPH AND THE GOD                                                227

A SEA-GHOST                                                          228

LAST SIGHT OF LAND                                                   230

SILENCE                                                              231


DAVID                                                                233



  YOLANDA OF CYPRUS


CHARACTERS

  RENIER LUSIGNAN      _A descendant of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus._
  BERENGERE            _His wife._
  AMAURY               _His Son, Commander of Famagouste under the
                         Venetians._
  YOLANDA              _The Ward of Berengere, betrothed to Amaury._
  CAMARIN              _A Baron of Paphos, guest in the Lusignan Castle._
  VITTIA PISANI        _A Venetian Lady, also a guest._
  MORO                 _A Priest._
  HASSAN               _Warden of the Castle._
  HALIL                _His Son, a boy._
  TREMITUS             _A Physician._
  OLYMPIO              _A Greek boy, serving Amaury._
  ALESSA        }
  MAGA          }      _Berengere's Women._
  CIVA          }
  MAURIA        }
  SMARDA               _Slave to Vittia._
  PIETRO               _In Vittia's pay._

  _Priests, acolytes, etc._

  TIME--_The sixteenth century._
  PLACE--_The island of Cyprus._


ACT I

     SCENE: _A dim Hall, of blended Gothic and Saracenic styles, in the
          Lusignan Castle, on the island of Cyprus near Famagouste.
          Around the walls, above faint frescoes portraying the
          deliverance of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, runs a frieze
          inlaid with the coats-of-arms of former Lusignan kings. On
          the left, and back, is a door hung with heavy damask, and in
          the wall opposite, another. Farther down on the right a few
          steps, whose railing supports a Greek vase with jasmine, lead
          through a chapel to the sleeping apartments. In the rear, on
          either side, are guled lattice windows, and in the centre
          an open grated door, looking upon a loggia, and, across the
          garden below, over the moonlit sea. Seats are placed about,
          and, forward, a divan with rich Turkish coverings. A table
          with a lighted cross-shaped candlestick is by the door, left;
          and a lectern with a book on it, to the front, right. As the
          curtain rises, the Women, except_ CIVA, _lean wearily on the
          divan, and_ HALIL _near is singing dreamily_,

    Ah, the balm, the balm,
    And ah, the blessing
    Of the deep fall of night
    And of confessing.
    Of the sick soul made white
    Of all distressing:
    Made white!...
    Ah, balm of night
    And, ah the blessing!

                  _The music falls and all seem
                  yielding to sleep. Suddenly there
                  are hoof-beats and sounds at the
                  gates below._ HALIL _springs up_.

    _Halil._ Alessa! Maga! Stirrings at the gates!

                  (_All start up._)

    Some one is come.

    _Alessa._         Boy, Halil, who?

    _Halil._                           Up, up!
    Perhaps Lord Renier--No: I will learn.

                  (_He runs to curtains and looks._)

    It is Olympio! Olympio!
    From Famagouste and Lord Amaury!

    _Mauria._                        Ah!
    And he comes here?

    _Halil._           As he were lord of skies!
    To lady Yolanda, by my lute!

    _Maga._                      Where is she?

    _Alessa._ I do not know; perhaps, her chamber.

    _Mauria._                                      Stay:
    His word may be of the Saracens.

    _Halil_ (_calling_).                Oho!

                  (_He admits_ OLYMPIO, _who enters
                  insolently down. All press around
                  him gaily._)

    _Mauria._ Well what, Olympio, from Famagouste?
    What tidings? tell us.

    _Maga._                See, his sword!

    _Olympio._                             Stand off.

    _Mauria._ The tidings, then, the tidings!

    _Olympio._                                None--for women.

    _Mauria._ So, so, my Cupid? None of the Saracens?
    Of the squadron huddling yesterday for haven
    At Keryneia?

    _Olympio._   Who has told you?

    _Mauria._                      Who?
    A hundred galleys westing up the wind,
    Scenting the shore, but timorous as hounds.
    A gale--and twenty down!

    _Maga._                  The rest are flown?

    _Olympio._ Ask Zeus, or ask, to-morrow, lord Amaury,
    Or, if he comes, to-night. To lady Yolanda
    I'm sent and not to tattle silly here.

                  (_He starts off, but is arrested by
                  laughter within. It is_ CIVA _who
                  enters, holding up a parchment._)

    O! Only Civa. (_Starts again with_ HALIL.)

    _Civa._                                How, Olympio!
    Stay you, and hear!--May never virgin love him!
    Gone as a thistle! (_Turns._)

    _Mauria._          Pouf!

    _Alessa_ (_to_ CIVA).     Now, what have you?

    _Civa._ Verses! found in the garden. Verses! verses!
    On papyrus of Paphos. O, to read!
    But you, Alessa--!

    _Alessa_ (_takes them_). In the garden?

    _Civa._                                 By
    The fountain cypress at the marble feet
    Of chaste Diana!

    _Maga._          Where Sir Camarin
    And oft our lady--!

    _Civa._             Maga will you prattle?
    Read them to us, Alessa, read them, read.
    They are of love!

    _Maga._           No, sorrow.

    _Civa._                       O, as a nun
    You ever sigh for sorrow!--They are of love!
    Of valour bursting through enchanted bounds
    To ladies prisoned in an ogre's keep!
    Then of the bridals!--O, they are of love!

    _Maga._ No, Civa, no! of sorrow! see, her lips!

                  (_She points to_ ALESSA, _who,
                  reading, has paled._)

    See, see!

    _Civa._   Alessa!

    _Alessa._         Maga--Civa--Ah!

                  (_She rends the parchment._)

    _Mauria._ What are you doing?

    _Alessa._                     They were writ to _her_!

    _Mauria._ To her? to whom? what are you saying? Read!
    Read us the verses.

    _Alessa._           No.

    _Mauria._                   Tell then his name
    Who writes them, and to whom.

    _Alessa._                     I will not.

    _Mauria._                                 Then
    It is some guilt you hide!--And touching her
    You dote on--lady Yolanda!

    _Alessa._                  Shame!

    _Mauria._                         Some guilt
    Of one, then, in this castle!--See, her lips
    Betray it is.

    _Maga._       No, Mauria! no! (_holds her_) hush!

                  (_Forms appear without._)

    _Mauria._ O, loose me.

    _Maga._                There, on the loggia! Hush, see--
    Our lady and Sir Camarin.

    _Alessa_ (_fearful_).     It is....
    They heard us, Maga?

    _Maga._              No, but----

    _Mauria_ (_to_ ALESSA).           So? that mouse?

    _Alessa._ You know not, Mauria, what 'tis you say.

                  (BERENGERE _coldly, as if
                  consenting to it, enters._)

    She is seeking us; be still.
              (_Stepping out._) My lady?

    _Berengere._                          Yes.
    Your lamps; for it is time
    Now for your aves and o'erneeded sleep.
    But first I'd know if yet Lord Renier----

                  (_Sees their disquiet--starts._)

    Why are you pale?

    _Alessa._              I?

    _Berengere._              So--and strange.

    _Alessa._                                  We have
    But put away the distaff and the needle.

                  (CAMARIN _enters._)

    _Berengere._ The distaff and the needle--it may be.
    And yet you do not seem----

    _Alessa._                   My lady--?

    _Berengere._                           Go;
    And send me Hassan.

                  (_The women leave._)

                        Camarin--you saw?
    They were not as their wont is.

    _Camarin._                      To your eyes,
    My Berengere, that apprehension haunts.
    They were as ever. Then be done with fear!

    _Berengere._ I cannot.

    _Camarin._             To the abyss with it. To-night
    Is ours--Renier tarries at Famagouste--
    Is ours for love and for a long delight!

    _Berengere._ Whose end may be--

    _Camarin._                      Dawn and the dewy lark!
    And passing of all presage from you.

    _Berengere_ (_sits_).               No:
    For think, Yolanda's look when by the cypress
    We read the verses! And my dream that I
    Should with a cross--inscrutable is sleep!--
    Bring her deep bitterness.

    _Camarin._                 Dreams are a brood
    Born of the night and not of destiny.
    She guesses not our guilt, and Renier
    Clasps to his breast ambition as a bride--
    Ambition for Amaury.

    _Berengere._         None can say.
    He's much with this Venetian, our guest.
    Though Venice gyves us more with tyranny
    Than would the Saracen.

    _Camarin._              But through this lady
    Of the Pisani, powerful in Venice,
    He hopes to lift again his dynasty
    Up from decay; and to restore this island,
    This venture-dream of the seas, unto his house.
    'Tis clear, my Berengere!

    _Berengere._              Then, _her_ design?
    And what the requital that entices her?

                  (_Rises._)

    Evil will come of it, to us some evil,
    Or to Yolanda and Amaury's love.
    But, there; the women.

    _Camarin._             And too brief their stay.
    What signal for to-night?

    _Berengere._              Be in the garden.
    Over the threshold yonder I will wave
    The candle-sign, when all are passed to sleep.

    _Camarin._ And with the beam I shall mount up to you
    Quicker than ecstasy.

    _Berengere._          I am as a leaf
    Before the wind and raging of your love.
    Go--go.

    _Camarin._ But to return unto your breast!

                  (_He leaves her by the divan._)

                  (_The women re-enter with silver
                  lighted lamps; behind them are_
                  HASSAN _and the slave_ SMARDA.
                  _They wait for_ BERENGERE, _who has
                  stood silent, to speak._)

    _Berengere_ (_looking up_). Ah, you are come; I had forgotten.
    And it is time for sleep.--Hassan, the gates:
    Close them.

    _Hassan._   And chain them, lady?

    _Berengere._                      Wait no longer.
    Lord Renier will not come.

    _Hassan._                  No word of him?

    _Berengere._ None, though he yesterday left Nicosie
    With the priest Moro.

    _Hassan._             Lady--

    _Berengere._                 Wait no longer.
    Come, women, with your lamps and light the way.

                  (_The women go by the steps._
                  BERENGERE _follows._)

    _Hassan_ (_staring after her_). The reason of this mood in her?
        The reason?
    Something is vile. Lady Yolanda weeps
    In secret; all for what?--unless because
    Of the Paphian--or this Venetian.
                    (_Seeing_ SMARDA.) Now,
    Slave! Scythian! You linger?

    _Smarda._                    I am bidden--
    My mistress.

    _Hassan._    Spa! Thy mistress hath, I think,
    Something of hell in her and has unpacked
    A portion in this castle. Is it so?

    _Smarda._ My lady is of Venice.

    _Hassan._                       Strike her, God.
    Her smirk admits it.

    _Smarda._            Touch me not!

    _Hassan._                          I'll wring
    Thy tongue out sudden, if it now has lies.
    What of thy lady and Lord Renier?

    _Smarda._                         Off!

                  (RENIER _enters behind, with_ MORO.)

    _Hassan._ Thy lady and Lord Renier, I say!
    What do they purpose?

    _Smarda._             Fool-born! look around.

    _Hassan._ Not till----

    _Smarda._              Lord Renier, help.

    _Hassan._                                 What do you say?

                  (_Turns, and stares amazed._)

    A fool I am....

    _Renier._       Where is my wife?

    _Hassan._                         Why, she....
    This slave stung me to pry.

    _Renier._                   Where is my wife?

    _Hassan._ A moment since, was here--the women with her.
    She asked for your return.

    _Renier._                  And wherefore did?

    _Hassan._ You jeer me.

    _Renier._              Answer.

    _Hassan._                      Have you not been gone?

    _Renier._ Not--overfar. Where is Yolanda?--Well?
    No matter; find my chamber till I come.
    Of my arrival, too, no word to any.

                  (HASSAN _goes, confused._)

    You, Moro, have deferred me; now, no more.
    Whether it is suspicion eats in me,
    Mistrust and fret and doubt--of whom I say not,
    Or whether desire and unsubduable
    To see Amaury sceptred--I care not.

                  (_To_ SMARDA.)

    Slave, to your lady who awaits me, say
    I'm here and now have chosen.

    _Moro._                       Do not!

    _Renier._                             Chosen.

                  (SMARDA _goes._)

    None can be great who will not hush his heart
    To hold a sceptre, and Amaury must.
    He is Lusignan and his lineage
    Will drown in him Yolanda's loveliness.

    _Moro._ It will not.

    _Renier._            Then at least I shall uncover
    What this Venetian hints.

    _Moro._                   Hints?

    _Renier._                        I must know.

    _Moro._ 'Tis of your wife?--Yolanda?

    _Renier._                            Name them not.
    They've shut from me their souls.

    _Moro._                           My lord, not so;
    But you repulse them.

    _Renier._              When they pity. No,
    Something has gone from me or never was
    Within my breast. I love not--am unlovable.
    Amaury is not so,
    And this Venetian Vittia Pisani----

    _Moro._ Distrust her!

    _Renier._             She has power.

    _Moro._                              But not truth.
    And yesterday a holy relic scorned.

    _Renier._ She loves Amaury. Wed to her he will
    Be the elected Governor of Cyprus.
    The throne, then, but a step.

    _Moro._                       But all too great.
    And think; Yolanda is to him as heaven:
    He will not yield her.

    _Renier._              Then he must. And she,
    The Venetian, has ways to it--a secret
    To pierce her from his arms.

    _Moro._                      Sir, sir?--of what?

    _Renier._ I know not, of some shame.

    _Moro._                              Shame!

    _Renier._                                   Why do you clutch me?

    _Moro._ I--am a priest--and shame----

    _Renier._                             You have suspicion?

                  (VITTIA _enters unnoted._)

    Of whom?--Of whom, and what?

    _Vittia_ (_lightly_).        My lord, of women.

                  (RENIER _starts and turns._)

    So does the Holy Church instill him.

    _Renier._                          You
    Come softly, lady of Venice.

    _Vittia._                    Streets of sea
    In Venice teach us.

    _Renier._           Of what women, then?
    My wife? Yolanda?

    _Vittia._         By the freedom due us,
    What matters it? In Venice our lords know
    That beauty has no master.

    _Renier._                  Has no.... That,
    That too has something hid.

    _Vittia._                   Suspicious lord!
    Yet Berengere Lusignan is his wife!
    And soon Yolanda--But for that I'm here.
    You sent for me.

    _Renier_ (_sullen_). I sent.

    _Vittia._                    To say you've chosen?
    And offer me irrevocable aid
    To win Amaury?

    _Renier._      All is vain in me
    Before the fever for it.

    _Vittia._                Then, I shall.
    It must be done. My want is unafraid.
    Hourly I am expecting out of Venice
    Letters of power.
    And what to you I pledge is he shall be
    Ruler of Cyprus and these Mediterranean
    Blue seas that rock ever against its coast.
    That do I pledge ... but more.

    _Renier._                           Of rule?... Then what?

    _Vittia_ (_going up to him_). Of shame withheld--dishonour unrevealed.

                  (_He half recoils and stands._
                  SMARDA _enters hastily to them._)

    _Smarda._ My lady--

    _Vittia._           Speak.

    _Smarda._                 _She!_

    _Vittia._                        Who? Yolanda? comes?
    She's not asleep as you averred to me,
    Was not asleep, but comes?... My lord--!

    _Renier._                                I'll stay,
    Stay and confront her.

    _Vittia._              Ignorantly? No.

    _Renier._ I'll question her.

    _Vittia._                    Blindly, and peril all?

    _Renier._ I will return. You put me off, and off.

                  (_By the loggia, with_ MORO,
                  _he goes; the slave slips out_.
                  YOLANDA _enters, sadly her gaze on
                  the floor. She walks slowly, but
                  becoming conscious starts, sees_
                  VITTIA, _and turns to withdraw._)

    _Vittia._ Your pardon--

    _Yolanda._              I can serve you?

    _Vittia._                                If you seek
    The women, they are gone.

    _Yolanda._                I do not seek them.

    _Vittia._ Nor me?

    _Yolanda._        Nor any.--Yet I would I might
    With seeking penetrate the labyrinth
    Of your intent.

    _Vittia._       I thank you. And you shall,
    To-night--if you have love.

    _Yolanda._                  That thread were vain.

    _Vittia._ I say, if you have love.

    _Yolanda._                         Of guile?

    _Vittia._                                    Of her
    You hold as mother, and who is Amaury's.

    _Yolanda._ Were it so simple, no design had ever
    Laired darkly in you, but to my eyes been clear
    As shallows under Morpha's crystal wave.

    _Vittia._ Unproven you speak so.

    _Yolanda._                       And proven would.

    _Vittia._ If so, then--save her.

    _Yolanda._                       Who? What do you--?

    _Vittia_ (_with irony_).                             Mean?
    It is not clear?

    _Yolanda._       Save her?

    _Vittia._                  The surety flies
    Out of your cheek and dead upon your heart:
    Yet you are innocent--oh innocent?--
    O'er what abyss she hangs!

    _Yolanda._                 O'er no abyss.

    _Vittia._ But to her lord is constant!

    _Yolanda_ (_desperate_).               She is constant.

    _Vittia._ And to his bed is true?

    _Yolanda._                        True.

    _Vittia._                               And this baron
    Of Paphos--Camarin--is but her _friend_,
    And deeply yours--as oft you feign to shield her?

    _Yolanda._ He is no more.

    _Vittia._                 Your heart belies your lips,
    Knows better than believing what you say.

    _Yolanda._ Were, were he then ... (_struggles_) Lord Renier knows
        it not!
    And never must. I have misled his thought
    From her to me. The danger thus may pass,
    The open shame.
    Sir Camarin departed, her release
    From the remorse and fettering will seem
    Sweet as a vista into fairyland.
    For none e'er will betray her.

    _Vittia._                      None?

    _Yolanda._                           Your tone...!
    (_Realising with gradual horror._) The still insinuation! You would
        do it!
    This is the beast then of the labyrinth?
    And this your heart is?

    _Vittia._               No, not ever: no.
    But now, if you deny me.

    _Yolanda._               Speak as a woman,
    If there is Womanhood in you to speak.
    The name of Berengere Lusignan must
    Go clean unto the years, fair and unsullied.
    Nor must the bloody leap
    Of death fall on her from Lord Renier's sword,
    A death too ready if he but suspect.
    No, she is holy!
    And holy are my lips
    Remembering that they may call her mother!
    All the bright world I breathe because of her,
    Laughter and roses, day-song of the sea,
    Not bitterness and loneliness and blight!
    All the bright world,
    Of voices, dear as waking to the dead--
    Voices of love and tender earthly hopes--
    O, all the beauty I was once forbid!
    Yes, yes!--
    She lifted me, a lonely convent weed,
    A cloister thing unvisited of dew,
    Withering and untended and afar
    From the remembered ruin of my home,
    And here has planted me in happiness.
    Then, for her, all I am!

    _Vittia._                Or--hope to be?

    _Yolanda._ The price, say, of your silence.--I am weary.

    _Vittia._ And would be rid of me.

    _Yolanda._                        The price, the price.

    _Vittia._ It is (_low and ashamed_) that you renounce Amaury's love.

                  (_A pause._)

    _Yolanda._ Amaury's love.... You then would rend me there
    Where not Eternity could heal the wound
    Though all the River of God might be for balm!
    Cruelty like to this you could not do?

                  (_Waits a moment._)

    A swallow on the battlements to-day
    Fell from the hawk: you soothed and set it free.
    This, then, you would not--!

    _Vittia._                    Yes.

    _Yolanda._                        You cannot!

    _Vittia._                                     Yes.

    _Yolanda_ (_wrung for a moment then calm_).
    I had forgotten, you are of Venice--Venice
    Whose burdening is vast upon this land.
    Good-night.

    _Vittia._   And you despise me!

    _Yolanda._                      More am sick
    That love of him has led your thought so low.
    To-morrow--

    _Vittia._   Not to-morrow! But you must
    Choose and at once.

    _Yolanda._          Then----

                  (_They start and listen.
                  Approaching hoofs are heard._)

    Vittia.                    Ah! Amaury?--It is?
    His speed upon the road? now at the gates?

                  (_The fall of chains is heard._)

    What then, what is your purpose--to renounce
    And force him from you, or to have me breathe
    To Renier Lusignan the one word
    That will transmute his wrong to madness?
    Say quickly. Centuries have stained these walls,
    But never a wife; never----

                  (_Enter_ BERENGERE.)

    _Yolanda._                  Mother?...

    _Berengere._                           Amaury
    Has spurred to us, Yolanda, from his post,
    Secret and sudden. But ... what has befallen?

                  (_Looks from one to the other._)

    _Yolanda._ He comes here, mother?

    _Berengere._                      At once.

    _Yolanda._                                 No!

    _Vittia_ (_coldly, to_ YOLANDA).               Then to-night
    Must be the end.

    _Yolanda._       Go, go.

    _Berengere_ (_as Vittia passes out_). What thing is this?

    _Yolanda._ Mother, I cannot have him--here--Amaury!
    Defer him but a little--till to-morrow.
    I cannot see him now.

    _Berengere._          This is o'erstrange.

    _Yolanda._ Help me to think. Go to him, go, and say
    Some woman thing--that I am ill--that I
    Am at confession--penance--that--Ah, say
    But anything!

    _Berengere._    Yolanda!

    _Yolanda._               Say.... No use.
    Too late.

    _Berengere._ His step?

    _Yolanda._             Oh, unmistakable;
    Along the corridor. There!

                  (_The curtains are thrown back._)

    _Amaury_ (_at the threshold._) My Yolanda!

                  (_Hastens down and takes her,
                  passive, into his arms._ BERENGERE
                  _goes._)

    My, my Yolanda!
    To touch you is as triumph to the blood,
    Is as the boon of battle to the strong!

    _Yolanda._ Amaury, no; release me and say why
    You come: The Saracens----?

    _Amaury._                   Not of them now!

                  (_Bends back her head._)

    But of some tribute incense to this beauty!
    Dear as the wind wafts from undying shrines
    Of mystery and myrrh!
    I'd have the eloquence of quickened moons
    Pouring upon the midnight magical,
    To say all I have yearned,
    Now, with your head pillowed upon my breast!
    Slow sullen speech come to my soldier lips,
    Rough with command, and impotent of softness?
    Come to my lips! or fill so full my eyes
    That the unutterable, shall seem as sweet
    To my Yolanda. (_Lifting her face, with surprise._)
                   But how now? tears?

    _Yolanda._                         Amaury----

    _Amaury._ What have I done? Too pitiless have pressed
    You to this coat of steel?

    _Yolanda._                 No, no.

    _Amaury._                          My words,
    Or silence, then?

    _Yolanda._        Amaury, no, but sweet,
    Sweet as the roses of Damascus crusht,
    Your silence is! and sweeter than the dream
    Of April nightingale on Troados,
    Or gushing by the springs of Chitria,
    Your every word of love! Yet--yet--ah, fold me,
    Within your arms oblivion and hold me,
    Fast to your being press me, and there bless me
    With breathèd power of your manhood's might.
    Amaury!...

    _Amaury._ This I cannot understand.

    _Yolanda_ (_freeing herself_). Nothing--a folly--groundless frailty.

    _Amaury._ You've been again at some old tale of sorrow,

                  (_Goes to the lectern._)

    Pining along the pages of a book--
    This, telling of that Italy madonna
    Whose days were sad--I have forgotten how.
    Is it not so?

    _Yolanda._    No, no. The tears of women
    Come as the air and sighing of the night,
    We know not whence or why.

    _Amaury._                  Often, perhaps.
    I am not skilled to tell. But these--not these!
    They are of trouble known.

    _Yolanda._                 Yet now forget them.

    _Amaury._ It will not leave my heart that somehow--how
    I cannot fathom--Camarin----

    _Yolanda_ (_lightly, to stop him_). No farther!

    _Amaury._ That Camarin of Paphos is their cause.
    Tell me----

    _Yolanda._ Yes, that I love thee!

    _Amaury._                          Tell me----

    _Yolanda._                                     Love thee!
    As sea the sky! and as the sky the wind!
    And as the wind the forest! As the forest--
    What does the forest love, Amaury? I
    Can think of nothing!

    _Amaury._             Tell me then you have
    Never a moment of you yielded to him,
    That never he has touched too long this hand--
    Till evermore he must, even as I--
    Nor once into your eyes too deep has gazed!
    You falter? darken?

    _Yolanda._          Would he ne'er had come
    Into these halls! that it were beautiful,
    Holy to hate him as the Lost can hate.

    _Amaury._ But 'tis not?

    _Yolanda._               God shall judge him.

    _Amaury._                                     And not you?

    _Yolanda._ Though he is weak, there is within him--

    _Amaury._                                            That
    Which women trust? and you?

                  (BERENGERE _enters. He turns to
                  her._)

                                Mother?

    _Berengere._                        A runner,
    A soldier of your troop within the forts
    Has come with word.

    _Amaury_ (_starting_). Mother!

    _Berengere._                   It is ill news?
    I've seen that battle-light in you before.
    'Tis of the Saracens? you ride to-night
    Into their peril?

    _Amaury._               Come, the word, the word!

    _Berengere._ Only this token.

    _Amaury._               The spur? the spur? (_Takes it._) They then
    Are landing!

    _Yolanda._    How, Amaury; tell your meaning!

    _Amaury._ The galleys of the Saracens have found
    Anchor and land to-night near Keryneia.
    My troops are ready and await me--
    So, no delay.

    _Yolanda._     I pray you (_strangely, with terror_) do not go.

    _Amaury._ Yolanda!

    _Yolanda._          If I am left alone--!

    _Amaury._                                 Yolanda!

    _Yolanda_ (_sinking to a seat_). I meant it not--a breath of
        fear--no more.
    Go, go.

    _Amaury._ I know you not to-night. Farewell.

                  (_He kisses her and hurries off....
                  A silence._)

    _Berengere._ Yolanda----

    _Yolanda._                Mother, I will go to sleep.

                  (_She rises._)

    _Berengere._ A change is over you--a difference
    Drawn as a veil between us.

    _Yolanda._                  I am weary.

    _Berengere._ You love me?

    _Yolanda._                As, O mother, I love him,
    With love impregnable to every ill,
    As Paradise is.

    _Berengere._     Then--

    _Yolanda._              I pray, no more.
    To-night I am flooded with a deeper tide
    Than yet has flowed into my life--and through it
    Sounds premonition: so I must have calm.

                  (_She embraces_ BERENGERE; _goes
                  slowly up steps and off._)

    _Berengere_ (_chilled_). What fear--if it is fear--has so unfixed her?
    It is suspicion--Then I must not meet
    Him here to-night--or if to-night, no more.
    Her premonition!--and my dream that I
    Should with a cross bring her deep bitterness.

                  (_Thinks a moment, then takes the
                  crucifix from her neck._)

    Had Renier but come, perhaps I might ...

                  (_Lays it on table._)

    O were I dead this sinning would awake me?...
    And yet I care not (_dully._) ... No, I will forget.

                  (_Goes firmly from door to
                  door and looks out each. Then
                  lifts, uniting, the cross-shaped
                  candlestick; and waving it at the
                  loggia, turns holding it before
                  her._)

    Soon he will come up from the cool, and touch
    Away my weakness with mad tenderness.
    Soon he will ... Ah!

                  (_Has seen with terror the
                  candlestick's structure._)

    The cross!... My dream!... Yolanda!

                  (_Lets it fall._)

    Mercy of God, move in me!... Sacrilege!


                  (_Sinks feebly to the divan, and
                  bows, overcome._)

    _Camarin_ (_appearing after a pause an the loggia_).
    My Berengere, a moment, and I come!

                  (_Enters, locking the grating
                  behind him, Then he hurries down
                  and leans to lift her face._)

    _Berengere._ No, no! nor ever, ever again, for ever!

                  (_Shrinks._)

    Go from me and behind leave no farewell....

    _Camarin._ This is--illusion. In the dew I've waited,
    And the night's song of you is in my brain--
    A song that seems----

    _Berengere._          Withhold from words. At last
    Fate is begun! See, with the cross it was
    I waved you hither. Leave me--let me pass
    Out of this sin--and to repentance--after.

    _Camarin._ I cannot, cannot!

    _Berengere._                 Pity, then, my fear.
    This moment were it known would end with murder,
    Or did it not, dishonour still would kill!
    Leave, leave.

    _Camarin._    To-morrow, then; but not to-night!

                  (_He goes behind and puts his arms
                  around her._)

    Give me thy being once again, thy beauty.
    For it I'm mad as bacchanals for wine.

                  (YOLANDA, _entering an the balcony,
                  hears, and would retreat, but sees_
                  RENIER _come to the grating._)

    Once more be to me all that woman may!
    Let us again take rapture wings and rise
    Up to our world of love, guilt would unsphere.
    Let us live over days that passed as streams
    Limpid by lotus-banks unto the sea,
    O'er all the whispered nights that we have clasped
    Knowing the heights and all the deeps of passion!
    But speak, and we shall be amid the stars.

                  (RENIER _draws a dagger and leaves
                  the grating. With a low cry_
                  YOLANDA _staggers down: the Two
                  rise, fearful._)

    _Berengere._ Yolanda!

    _Yolanda._            Mother, mother!... Ah, his eyes!

    _Berengere._ What brings you here--to spy upon me?

    _Yolanda._                                         Listen!...
    Think not of me--no, hush--but of the peril
    Arisen up.... Your husband!

    _Camarin._                  Renier?

    _Yolanda._ Was at that grating--heard. And from its sheath,
    A dagger--! Ah, he will come.

    _Berengere_ (_weakly_).          What does she say?

    _Yolanda._ Find calmness now, and some expedient.

                  (_She struggles to think._)

    _Berengere._ I cannot die.

    _Yolanda._                 No, no.

    _Berengere._                       My flesh is weak,
    Is poor of courage--poverished by guilt,
    As all my soul is! But, Yolanda, you--!

    _Yolanda._ Yes, something must be done--something be done.

                  (CAMARIN _goes to the curtains and
                  returns._)

    _Berengere._ The shame ... the shame ... the shame!

    _Yolanda._                                          There yet is time.

    _Berengere._ You can deliver! you are innocent.

    _Yolanda._ Perhaps. Let me but think.--He came----

    _Berengere._                                You see?
    There is escape? a way from it?

    _Yolanda._                      Perhaps.
    He came after your words ... yes ... could not see
    Here in the dimness ... but has only heard
    Sir Camarin?

    _Berengere._ I do not know!

    _Yolanda._                  Go, go,
    Up to your chamber and be as asleep.
    There is a way--I think--dim, but a way.
    Go to your chamber; for there yet may be
    Prevention!

    _Berengere._ I--yes, yes.

    _Yolanda._               There is a way.

                  (BERENGERE _goes._)

    Strength now to walk it! strength unfaltering.

    _Camarin._ What do you purpose?

    _Yolanda._                       Here to take her place,
    Here at the lowest of her destiny.

    _Camarin._ I do not understand.

    _Yolanda._                      But wholly shall.
    Clasp me within your arms; he must believe
    'Tis I and not his wife you have unhallowed,
    Your arms about me, though they burn! and breathe me
    Thirst of unbounded love as unto her.

                  (_He clasps her, and they wait._)

    Ah, it is he!

    _Camarin._    No.

    _Yolanda._        Yes, the words; at once!

    _Camarin_ (_hoarsely_). With all my body and soul-breath I love you,

                  (RENIER _enters with_ MORO.)

    And all this night is ours for ecstasy.
    Kiss me with quenchless kisses, and embrace
    Me with your beauty, till----

                  (YOLANDA _with a cry, as of fear,
                  loses herself, pretending to
                  discover_ RENIER, _who is struck
                  rigid._)

    _Moro._                  My lord, my lord!...
    It is Yolanda.

    _Renier._ Then--

                  (_The dagger falls from him._)

    Why, then--Amaury!

                  (YOLANDA, _realising, stunned,
                  sinks back to the divan._)

CURTAIN.


ACT II

SEVERAL DAYS HAVE ELAPSED.

     SCENE: _The forecourt of the castle, beyond which is the garden
          and in the distance the mountains, under the deep tropical
          blue of morning. On the right the wall enclosing the castle
          grounds run back and is lost in the foliage of cypress,
          palm, orange; it is pierced by an arched gate with lifted
          portcullis. On the left rises the dark front of the castle,
          its arabesqued doorway open. Across the rear a low arcaded
          screen of masonry, with an entrance to the right, separates
          the court from the garden. Before it a fountain, guarded by a
          statue of a Knight of St. John, falls into a porphyry basin,
          By the castle door, to the front, and elsewhere, are stone
          seats._ HASSAN _is standing moodily by the screen, left,
          looking out the portcullis. He starts, hearing steps, and as
          the old leach_ TREMITUS _enters, motions him silently into
          the castle; then muttering "the old blood-letter," stands
          as before, while_ CIVA, MAGA, _and_ MAURIA _are heard m the
          garden, and enter gaily bearing water-jars to the fountain._
          CIVA _sees his look and breaks into a twitting laughter. The
          other two join her._

    _Civa._ Look at him! Maga! Mauria! behold!
    Was ever sight so sweet upon the world!
    His eyes! his lips! a prince!

    _Mauria_ (_critically_).      Now, is he not?
    With the price of vinegar upon his face.

                  (_All laugh._)

    The price of vinegar! who'll buy!--Not I!
    Not I! Not I! Not I!

    _Hassan._            Wench.

    _Civa._                     Verily!
    And not a man! he has discovered it!
    You're not a man, Mauria! we were duped.

                  (MAURIA _slaps her playfully._)

    But see him now--a mummy of the Nile!
    Who died of choler!

    _Mauria._           Then, a care, he'll bite.
    He's been in the grave a long while and he's hungry.
    A barley-loaf, quick, Maga!

    _Civa._                     To appease him!
    But ssh! Beware! There's something of import.

                  (_They stop in mock awe before
                  him._)

    What does he think of?

    _Mauria._              Sphinxes and the spheres.

    _Civa._ Or little ants and gnats that buzz about him.

    _Mauria._ And how to make them smart for sauciness.

    _Civa._ Or of Alessa!

    _Maga._               No, no, Civa! come;
    Enough of teasing.

    _Civa._            Of Alessa!

    _Maga._                          No.
    Your pitcher, come. He's troubled by the tale
    Of lady Yolanda----
    And waits for lord Amaury from the battle.

    _Civa._ The--! heigh! heigh-o! awaits! la, la! he does!

                  (HASSAN _starts at her tone._)

    For lord Amaury! does he so indeed?

    _Hassan._ What do you know? Be silent.

    _Civa._                                 Ho!

    _Hassan._                                   Itch! would
    You have lady Yolanda hear? She comes
    Now, as she has this morning thrice, to ask.

                  (YOLANDA _appears on the threshold
                  with_ ALESSA.)

    Lord Renier's gall, remember, if she learns.

                  (CIVA _flouts him, but goes to the
                  fountain. The others follow, fill
                  their jugs, and, singing, return to
                  the garden._ YOLANDA _then crosses
                  to_ HASSAN, _who waits evasive._)

    _Yolanda._ My want is still the same--words are unneeded.

    _Hassan._ To know of lord Amaury?

    _Yolanda._                        Lord Amaury--
    He has not yet returned?

    _Hassan_ (_loathly_).    I have not seen him.

    _Yolanda._ Nor heard?

    _Hassan._             Nothing.

    _Yolanda._                     I cannot understand.

                  (_Goes to the gate, troubled._)

    _Hassan_ (_low_). Liar that I am to say it!

    _Yolanda._                                  I cannot--cannot!


                  (_Returns._)

    The Saracens we know were routed to
    Their vessels--all the Allah-crying horde.
    And lord Amaury--said the courier not?----
    Rode in the battle as a seraph might
    To the Holy Sepulchre's deliverance.
    And yet no word from him.

    _Hassan._                 Perhaps--with reason.

                  (_She looks at him quickly--he
                  flushes._)

    With reason!... knowing, lady, what, here, now,
    Is rumoured of a baron
    And lady Yolanda!... Pardon!

    _Yolanda_ (_slowly_).        Of a baron
    And lady Yolanda.

    _Hassan._         Yes: it is the women
    Who with their ears ever at secresy
    Rumour it. But, lady, it is a lie?
    This Camarin, this prinker,
    Whose purse is daily loose to us.... I curse him!
    His father.... Well, my mother's ten years dead
    And flower lips breathe innocent above her.
    But I'll avenge her shame.

    _Yolanda._                 On--him?

    _Hassan._                           On him!
    And--you, who do not hush this tale of you,
    Though it is truthless--hear:
    I have a stab for Camarin of Paphos
    Whenever he has lived--but say!--too long.

    _Yolanda_ (_who has listened rigidly. After a pause_).
    Come here ... look in my eyes, and--deeper.... Shame!

                  (_He is quelled._)

    Pity alone we owe to sin not blame.
    And they who love may stray, it seems, beyond
    All justice of our judging.--
    Is evil mad enchantment come upon
    The portals of this castle?

    _Hassan._                   I would serve you.

    _Yolanda._ With murder? no. But if you would indeed,
    As oft you have----

    _Hassan._           Lady, I will.

    _Yolanda._                        Then watch
    The Venetian, and when Amaury comes
    Find me at once. What sound was that?... A bugle?
    It is! it is! Alessa! (_Overjoyed._) Do you hear?
    His troop! Amaury's! O the silver chime!
    Again I breathe, I breathe!
    My heart as a bird's in May!
    Amaury!... Come! we'll go to him! we'll go!
    Before any within Lusignan--!

    _Alessa._                     Lady!

    _Yolanda._ At once! it rings again! again! we'll go!

    _Alessa._ And tell him!

    _Yolanda._              Warn! Warn him a fever's here
    That he must fend his ear from. 'Twill suffice.
    And I again shall see him, hear him speak,
    Hang on his battle-story blessedly!
    And you, Hassan.... But why do you stand stone?
    You know something.... He's dead!

    _Hassan._                         No, lady, no.

    _Yolanda._ Not? ah!... then what? 'Twas not his trumpet?

    _Hassan_ (_after a struggle_).                           No.
    And I will lie to you no longer.

    _Yolanda._                       You?

    _Hassan._ Though for obedience it be or life;
    And at Lord Renier's command.... It is
    Not true that lord Amaury from the battle
    Has not returned.

    _Yolanda._        But he--you mean--is here?

                  (_Stands motionless._)

    _Hassan._ Here: came on yesterday at dusk. Was led
    Up to his chamber....
    So much Lord Renier who slipt him in
    Revealed, that I might guile you.

    _Alessa_ (_sharply_).             And you have?

    _Hassan._ Yes.

    _Alessa._      Though you boasted love to me?

    _Hassan._                                     Now, woman!

    _Alessa._ Lady, I would have wed him--wed this toad!
    Who'd kill the Paphian, too?

    _Hassan._                    Yes!

    _Alessa._                         Worm! with dust?
    Heeling away from him?

    _Yolanda._             Be still, be still.

                  (ALESSA _turns to her._)

    These words can wait on what may yet be helped.
    This may undo me! First of all I should
    Have seen Amaury! Now----!

    _Hassan._             The Venetian!

                  (_They start._ VITTIA _enters from
                  castle._)

    Lady, I will go in.

    _Alessa._           And I; to wait.

                  (_They go._)

    _Yolanda_ (_suddenly_). But I to see Amaury.

    _Vittia._                                    What?

                  (_Stops._)

    _Yolanda._                                         To see,
    Vittia Visani, who withholds Amaury----
    Who came last night at dusk, as well you know.

                  (_They face, opposed._)

    What have you told him?

    _Vittia._               Hah?

    _Yolanda._                   Insolence, false
    And feigning! But no matter; lies are brief.
    I'll go myself to him.

    _Vittia._              To be repelled?

                  (BERENGERE _enters._)

    _Yolanda._ If he could trust you--but he could not.

    _Vittia._                                           Knowing
    A Paphian ere this has fondled two?

    _Yolanda._ You hear, mother? (_To Vittia._) Out of my way at once.

    _Berengere._ Stay, stay! She has not told him! nothing!... Yes,
    I too have been aware and kept you blind.
    But, nothing! for he still is overworn.
    And now his wound----

    _Yolanda._                      Wound! he is wounded?

    _Berengere._                                          He sleeps.

    _Yolanda._ And is in danger--jeopardy?

    _Berengere._                           In none;
    If the leech Tremitus has any skill;
    And that you know.

    _Yolanda._         I thank ... Madonna ... thee!

                  (VITTIA _laughs and goes._)

    But you, mother, are come at last to say
    Your promises, broken two days, are kept?
    You've spoken? won Lord Renier to wisdom?
    Pled him to silence which alone can save us?
    Dear mother----?

    _Berengere._     Do not call me so again.

                  (_Turns away._)

    I have not--and I will not.

    _Yolanda._                  Oh!

    _Berengere._                    I cannot....

    _Yolanda._ But can leave me so laden here within
    This gulf's dishonour? Never!... So return
    And pledge him but to wait!
    For this Venetian has now, I bode,
    Something of evil more,
    When once Amaury hears all that has passed.
    Return!

    _Berengere._ I cannot.

    _Yolanda_ (_proudly_). Then hear, hear me! I
    Too am a woman, and the woman wants,
    The beauty and ache and dream and glow and urge
    Of an unreckoned love are mine as yours.
    I will not lose Amaury; but will tell him
    Myself the truth.

    _Berengere._      Then--I'll not stay for death,
    And wait for shame. But now with Camarin
    Will go from here.

    _Yolanda._         Mother!

    _Berengere._               To some retreat
    Away!

    _Yolanda._ Where still pursuit would follow! even,
    I fear, Amaury's!--
    And overtake you though it were as far
    As the sea foams, or past the sandy void
    Of stricken Africa. It would be vain.
    Vain, and I cannot have you. No, but listen----

                  (_Breaks off seeing_ RENIER, _on
                  the castle threshold. His look
                  is on her, but he comes down
                  addressing_ BERENGERE.)

    _Renier._ She troubles you too much.

    _Berengere._                         My lord?

    _Renier._                                     Too much.
    You cherish her and reap unchastity
    For gratitude--unchastity against
    Our very son who was betrothed to her.
    Yet see her shameless.

    _Berengere_ (_dully_). No; I think you wrong her.

                  (YOLANDA _moves apart._)

    _Renier._ Nobly you pity! But it will not veil her.
    Rather the convent and the crucifix,
    Matin and Vesper in a round remote,
    And senseless beads, for such.--But what more now
    Is she demanding?

    _Berengere._      Little.

    _Renier._                 Not the means
    Still to deceive Amaury?

    _Berengere._             Renier ... no.

                  (_Speaks loathly._)

    But I have a request that, if you grant,
    Will lead peace back to us ... and from us draw
    This fang of fate.

    _Renier._          Ah.

    _Berengere._           Yes.

    _Renier_ (_slowly_).        And we might be
    As those that wedded love?

    _Berengere._               Perhaps.

    _Renier._                           That--love!

                  (_A pause._)

    Then it shall be, at once ... But no, I first
    Have a confession.

    _Berengere._       You?

    _Renier._               A pang!--For days

                  (_Takes her hand._)

    Before I found Yolanda on the breast
    Of Camarin of Paphos----
    I suffered in the furnace of suspicion
    The fume and suffocation of the thought
    That you were the guilty one--you my own wife.

                  (_She recoils to_ YOLANDA, _who
                  comes up._)

    I did; but rue, rue it!...
                                 ... Yet--it is just
    That you recoil even as now you do
    From stain upon your wedded constancy....
    But Time that is e'er-pitiful may pass
    Soon over it--
    And leave only forgiveness. And perhaps
    Then I shall win you as I never have.--
    Now the request.

    _Berengere._     That now ... I cannot plead.

                  (_Sees_ YOLANDA _harden. Is
                  impelled._)

    And yet I must ... It is that, till I bid
    Amaury may not know of this ... not know
    This trouble fallen from a night or evil--
    Pitiless on us as a meteor's ash.

    _Renier._ Not of it? he? not know?

    _Berengere._                       Trust to me.

    _Renier._                                       How!
    And to this wanton's perfidy to bind
    Him witless to her--with a charm perhaps--
    Or, past releasing, with a philtre? She
    Whom now he holds pure as a spirit sped
    From immortality, or the fair fields
    Of the sun, to be his bride?

    _Yolanda._                   Sir, no!... She means
    Not I shall wed him! (_Winningly._) Only that you spare
    To separate us with this horror; that
    You trust me to dispel his love, to pall
    And chill his passion from me. For I crave
    Only one thing--innocence in his sight.
    Believe!--believe!

    _Renier._          I will--that you are mad.
    Yet madder I, if to this coil my brain
    Were blind.

    _Yolanda._ As it will be! with deadlier dark,
    If you attend me not!
    And may have destiny you cannot know.
    But you will heed?
    For somewhere in you there is tenderness.
    Once when you chafed in fever and I bore
    White orange blossoms dewy to your pillow
    You touched my hand gently, as might a father.

                  (_Caresses his._)

    Once on the tower when alone at dusk
    I sang--I know not why--of lost delights,
    Of vanished roses that are ere recalling
    May to the world, you came and suddenly
    Lifted my brow up silent to your kiss.
    Ah, you remember; you will hear me?

    _Renier._                           No!
    Though you are cunning.--Thus you wove the mesh
    About Amaury--till he could not move
    Beyond you.

    _Yolanda._ For his sake I ask it.

    _Renier._                          For
    No sake but to o'ersway him with your eyes
    In secret, thus, and with
    Your hair that he believes an aureole
    Brought with you out of Heaven.

    _Berengere._                          Again--wrong.

    _Renier._ So deem you and, my Berengere, I grieve,
    Desiring much your peace.

    _Berengere._              It grieves you not.

    _Renier._ Then not! and half I fear--you here?--it should not.
    There's midnight in this thing and mystery.
    Does she not love--Camarin?

    _Yolanda_ (_trembling_).    Say no more.
    Be all--all as you will.

    _Renier._                That brings you low:
    But brings to me no light--only again
    The stumbling in suspicion.

    _Yolanda._                  It should not.

    _Renier_ (_with a sudden gleam_).
    To-morrow then, unless Amaury runs
    Fitting revenge through Camarin of Paphos,
    Your lover, you shall clasp him openly
    Before all of Lusigman.

    _Yolanda._              No; no, no!
    The thought of it is soil!... Rather ... his death!

    _Renier._ What, what?

    _Berengere._          My lord, she knows not what she says.
    The unaccustomed wind of these ill hours
    Has torn tranquillity from her and reason.

    _Yolanda_ (_realising_). Yes, as she says--tranquillity and reason.

                  (_Strains to smile._)

    These hours of ill!

    _Renier._           I'll send her Camarin.

                  (_Goes, looking steadfastly back._)

    _Yolanda_ (_turning, then, to_ BERENGERE).
    His mood and mien--that tremor in his throat,
    Unfaltering. I fear him.

    _Berengere._             Life is fear.
    No step was ever taken in the world
    But from a brink of danger, or in flight
    From happiness whose air is ever sin.
    It sickens me.

    _Yolanda._     Mother!

    _Berengere._           Nothing; a pain
    Here in my breast. (_Sits._)

    _Yolanda._         And it is all through him
    Who as a guest came pledged into this house.
    Came with the chivalry and manly show
    Of reverence and grace, and on his lips
    Lore of the east and wonders of the west.

                  (CAMARIN _appears from garden._)

    Ah, and he seeks us now! unwhelmed of it!
    Ready of step, impassive, cold! And see--

                  (_He bows, then listens rigidly._)

    A flawless courtesy! as 'twere a king's.
    Can he not smile too on his handiwork?
    Our days were merciful and he has made
    Each moment's beat a blow upon the breast.
    Honour was here and innocence lies now
    A sacrifice that pain cannot consume.

                  (_Pauses._)

    _Camarin._ Or death.

    _Yolanda._           Then have you not, unshameable!
    A help for it or healing? you who know
    So well the world and its unwonted ways!
    A man would have, a man.

    _Camarin._               And I am barren.
    My brain an arid waste under remorse.
    Only--one thing it yields--the love of her
    My love has made unholy.

    _Yolanda._               While to me
    The shame is left, and silence--no defence,
    When it is told Amaury, "See her you
    Blest with betrothal and the boon of faith,
    Chose as the planet-mate of your proud star!
    While, in the battle,
    You with the weal of Cyprus on your brow
    Dared momently peril,
    We found her" ... Ah, the memory is fire!----
    I will not bear it.

    _Camarin._          Then how? What?... You must.
    Though for your suffering I am pitiful.
    You must! (_Takes her wrist._)
    For to one thing, one only now I'm bent----
    That Berengere be saved.

    _Berengere._             To-day ... no more.

    _Camarin._ Suspicion and the peril-feet of shame
    I must keep from her still.

    _Yolanda._                  Though driven o'er
    My heart they trample the lone flower of hope.

                  (_Shaking off his hand, then,
                  unnaturally wrought up._)

    And even now perhaps Amaury hears

    And turns away in horror!

    _Camarin._                What? Come, come.
    Enough is here without----

    _Yolanda_ (_as before_). I'll go to him!
    Despite of them! in to his side and say
    That I am innocent--as the first dawn
    And dew of Eden!... Yes!

    _Camarin._               A frenzy! Mere
    Folly! you wander!

    _Yolanda_ (_listening_). Whose that anguish? whose?

    _Camarin._ Amaury still is many leagues away--

                  (_Hassan appears._)

    At Keryneia! Do you hear me?

    _Yolanda._                   Hassan!

                  (_Is numb as he hurries down from
                  the castle to her. A pause; then
                  her voice falls hoarsely._)

    I hear you, speak. His wounds I know. The rest!
    They've told him?

    _Hassan._         The Venetian, who nurst him
    Last night, pouring his potions--
    She and Lord Renier. They broke his sleep.
    He listened to them as one in a grave.
    Then they besought of him
    Some oath against you, were they right: he would not.
    Now he has risen,
    Silent and pale and suffering in leash.
    He's coming here.

    _Camarin._        Why, you are mad!

    _Yolanda._                          Be still.

    _Camarin._ Amaury was not then delayed? is--here?

                  (_Voices are heard perturbed within
                  the castle. Then_ AMAURY, _putting
                  aside_ RENIER _and_ TREMITUS,
                  _followed by_ VITTIA _and others,
                  enters down._)

    _Amaury._ I'll not return unto my couch though twice
    These wounds and all your wants were urging it!
    Yolanda! my Yolanda!--Never, never!

                  (_Takes her to him._)

    Until I prove you that a word against
    Her that I hold here in my arms is more
    To me than any peril.

    _Tremitus._           But, sir--!... Aeih!
    My precious physic wasted!

    _Amaury._                  Till I prove it!
    For ... my Yolanda!...
    You who are purity if Mary still
    Is mother of God and lighteth Paradise!
    You in whose presence I am purged as one
    Bathing a thousand years in angel song!
    They say, you, who are stainless to my eyes
    As is the sacring-bell to holy ears,
    So undefiled even the perfect lily
    Pendant upon your breast fears to pollute it!
    Listen, they tell me you--A fool, a fool
    Would know it unbelievable and laugh.

    _Renier._ As now a fool is doing?

    _Amaury._                         O, sir, pardon.
    You are my father, and, I must believe,
    Mean well this monster breath's unchastity,
    As does this lady (_of_ VITTIA) who has gently nursed me.
    But you were tricked; it was illusion swum
    Before your sleep. Therefore my purpose is
    Now to forget it.

    _Tremitus._       Aeih! and to return
    Now to my drugs.

    _Renier._        Stand off!--As dogs forget
    The lash in hunger of the wonted bone?

                  (_Laughs angrily._)

    _Amaury._ A poison so incredible and dark
    You cannot duped innoculate me with.
    Trust in my veins makes of it but more love.
    And to dispel your minds (_goes to_ CAMARIN) I'll clasp his hand
    Whom you have so accused.

    _Vittia._                 O do, my lord!

                  (_Smiles disdainfully._)

    And then embrace him in whose arms three nights
    Ago she was embraced.

    _Yolanda_ (_to her_). Can you so say!

    _Vittia._ Yes, and will add----

    _Amaury._                       Lady of Venice, nothing!
    But this to all, I answer!--
    There is my mother, see,
    Wounded with wonder of this plight, and pity.
    Yolanda has dwelt by her
    As the fawn
    By the white doe on mount Chionodes.
    I would as quick believe that she had given
    Her holiness up to contamination
    As that Yolanda----

    _Yolanda._          Amaury, enough!... I know!

    _Amaury._ As quickly!

    _Yolanda._            Then ... quell this delirium!

                  (_A pause._)

    Out of your thought forever let it fall,
    Hear no more of it, ever!
    Be deaf to it as to a taunt of doom,
    In triple mail to every peaceless word,
    Granite against even its memory.
    Say that you will, and now!...

    _Renier._                      So that you may
    Allure him yet to wed you?

    _Amaury._                  Sir!

    _Renier._                       She would.

    _Yolanda._ No, no! But let him.... Then I will go far
    Away from here to any alien air,
    To opiate India, a lost sea-isle!
    To the last peak of arid Caucasus.

    _Renier._ With Camarin of Paphos?

    _Yolanda._                        With whoever
    Your peace and this compelling pain ... Ah no!

    _Renier._ With him, with him, I say?...

    _Amaury._                                You drive and drain her.
    To me her words shall be--me and no other.
    So my Yolanda now dissolve the cling
    Of this invisible but heavy hydra;
    I've striven with it till no more I can.
    If any tare has been unseemly sown
    Upon the April vision of our love,
    Say it at once that I may rend and fling it
    Away from us. Say it!

    _Renier._             Vainly implored.--
    Yet ask her this, If she three nights ago----

    _Amaury._ I will not so insult her----

    _Tremitus._                             Aeih----

    _Renier._                                        Insult?
    She knows what I would bid and does she hurl
    Her soul in any disavowal?

    _Amaury._                     I
    Will speak to her alone. Go all of you
    There to the fountain.

    _Yolanda._             Yes, Amaury, then
    One searching of my face shall free your fear.
    Alone, alone.

    _Renier._     Still to befool him!

    _Yolanda_ (_warningly_).           Choose!
    I cannot suffer more of this.

    _Amaury._                     Nor I
    To breathe ever the burning of this mist
    Of anguish and insatiate accusal.--
    This wound upon my throat, fever it not
    With longer fire of doubt, Yolanda.

    _Yolanda._                          Ah!

    _Berengere._ I am not well. I will go to my chamber.

                  (_She passes into the castle._)

    _Renier._ But I never until this guiler grants
    I found her in the arms of Camarin,
    Drinking the frenzied wine of passion he
    Poured from his soul.

    _Amaury._             Yolanda?

    _Renier._                      She is silent;
    Dumb to deny it.

    _Amaury._        But she will, she will.
    You've driven her with dread and awe.

    _Vittia_ (_lightly_).                 And truth?

    _Amaury._ Have wounded her. But do not fear, Yolanda,
    Fiercely disown.

    _Yolanda._       Amaury ... it is true.

                  (_He staggers slowly back._)

    No, no; I have not been faithless to you--
    Even a moment
    To the divinity of love high-altared
    Here in my breast! to the immutable
    Beauty of it!... look, look not on me so--
    As I had struck, murdered a little child!
    Or palsied one who put a hand to help me;
    Or through eternity had desecrated,
    Vainly, virginity and trust and truth!
    No, my Amaury! I ... do you not see?

                  (_Hysterically._)

    Not faithless, hear! it is not true! not true!
    But only this----

    _Camarin._ Yolanda!

    _Yolanda._           I----

    _Camarin._                Yolanda!

                  (_A moment, then she sinks down,
                  her face in her hands._ AMAURY
                  _groans; then starting goes
                  fiercely to_ HASSAN, _and taking
                  his sword recrosses trembling to_
                  CAMARIN.)

    _Amaury._ The day you first set step in Lusignan
    An image of the Magdalen within
    The chapel yonder fell--presaging this.
    Only your death, your death or mine stands pale
    Between us now, awaiting silently.
    Draw, and at once.

    _Camarin._         Amaury, I will not.

    _Amaury._ Out, quickly.

    _Camarin._               Do your will. I'll put no more
    To the guilt I bear, or to the misery
    That guilt has brought upon you.

    _Amaury._                        Coward!

    _Camarin._                               Strike!

    _Amaury._ You play a part! (_Raves._) And 'tis that you may live
    Still in the love that you a thief have stolen.
    So, with your steel----!

    _Camarin._               It stays within its sheath.

    _Amaury._ Then I will not be thwarted though I must
    Crush you as one a viper with his heel,
    Though I must take your leper throat into
    My hands and strangle life from it!
    For the same sky you breathe I will not.
    The sun that falls upon you shall not foul
    My being--
    Though I must go down into hell for it.

                  (_He starts, frenzied, to strike,
                  but suddenly staggers; then clasps
                  at his throat, drops the sword, and
                  sinks down moaning._)

    _Yolanda._ His wound!

    _Tremitus._            Aeih, aeih! at last.

    _Yolanda._                                  Amaury! Oh!

                  (_Runs to him. He struggles to his
                  feet._)

    Amaury! Amaury!

    _Amaury._       Stand away from me.

                  (_She falls back; he laughs in
                  derision._)

    I to believe her pure as my own mother!

    _Vittia._ Had you but trusted me, Amaury.

    _Amaury._                                 You?

                  (_Looks long at her._)

    Henceforth I will.

    _Vittia._          And wholly?

    _Amaury_ (_significantly_).     She ... shall do it.

                  (_Starts into the castle._)

    _Yolanda_ (_dauntedly_). Amaury! what is this?

    _Vittia._                                    That, ere a dawn,
    Guileless Yolanda, you shall wed with him
    Your paramour of Paphos----

    _Yolanda._                 Camarin?

    _Vittia._ And from these gates be led wanton away.

                  (YOLANDA, _for a moment whelmed,
                  tries to laugh scorn; but, turning,
                  her eye meets_ RENIER's _full of
                  suspicion_. _He follows_ AMAURY
                  _meaningly into the castle._)

CURTAIN.


ACT III

THE SAME DAY.

     SCENE: _The Hall and loggia of Act I.; but toward sunset, and
          afar, on the flushed sea, are seen the fisher-boats returning
          pale-winged to shore. In the left distance, also, a portion
          of Famagouste is visible above the waves--its orient walls
          and towers, white domes and houses, interspersed with tall
          palms. The interior of the Hall is the same; only the divan
          is placed to the front and left, the lectern near the balcony
          leading to the sleeping apartments and to the chapel._ SMARDA
          _is lying lithely on the divan, beguiled with her charms and
          amulets, and from time to time giving a low, sinuous laugh._
          VITTIA _enters, watches a moment, thoughtful, then advances_.

    _Vittia._ Smarda----

    _Smarda_ (_springing up_). Lady ... your slave!

    _Vittia._                                       I think you are.
    Think that you are--if ever the leopard yields.

    _Smarda._ To you, lady? A-ha! let him refuse.
    Command!

    _Vittia._     And you will heed it well; I fear not.
    But first I have thought of requital.

    _Smarda_ (_avidly_).                  Ouie!

    _Vittia._ Those amulets----

    _Smarda._                   Of jade--and sard!

    _Vittia._                                      And which
    You prize so----

    _Smarda._        From my home in Scythia
    Across the sea (_darkening_) they came with me.

    _Vittia._                                       The home
    Whence you were torn by the Moor who was your master.

                  (_Sees_ SMARDA _snarl._)

    Is it not so?

    _Smarda._     The spirits strangle him!

                  (_Works lividly at the charms._)

    _Vittia._ Well, if I win to-night what is begun
    You shall not want, I think,
    Of gold for weightier witchery upon him.

                  (_The slave's eyes gleam._)

    But listen, every sinew will be needed
    Still to achieve this wedding, though we have
    Camarin with us, willing. So I've learned
    A ship has come from Venice.

    _Smarda_ (_quickly_).        Pietro!

    _Vittia._ Yes, Pietro, it must be, has arrived
    With papers that will help.

    _Smarda._                   Ha! Fortune's touch!

    _Vittia._ It is, but tardy. Therefore I must have
    Them instantly.

    _Smarda._       Ere he has time, lady,
    To vaunt of love in Lusignan and babble.

    _Vittia._ A wooing dolt! but safe--because he fears.--
    I shall be in this place with lord Amaury,
    Whom I must ... but no matter.
    He left me suddenly
    A season since, seeing his father's look
    Strangely upon his mother: for that doubt,
    His father's, still I've been compelled to feed,
    To move Yolanda.--
    Here I shall be, then, here within this place.

                  (_She goes engrossedly._)

    _Smarda_ (_recalling the pledge; evilly_). A-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! If
        she but win!
    A talisman with might upon the Moor!

                  (_Begins to dance--a charm held up
                  before her._)

    If she but win! a-ha! a curse on him!

                  (_Whirls faster with a wild grace,
                  swaying to and fro, and chanting
                  softly the while, till suddenly a
                  laugh in the corridor stops her,
                  and_ PIETRO _is heard through the
                  curtains adoring_ CIVA, _who pushes
                  him into the Hall, then runs away
                  laughing._)

    _Pietro_ (_after her_). Hold, fair one! Stay!

                  (_Turns._)

    _Smarda._                                       Pietro!

    _Pietro._                            Slave! (_Vainly._) I greet you.


                  (_Bows grandly._)

    _Smarda._ A-ha!... So!

    _Pietro._              I, Pietro, as you see,
    Who, you're aware, am sought
    Of all the loveliest
    Attendant on the lords and high of Venice.

    _Smarda._ Yes.... Ha!

    _Pietro._              "The gentle Pietro," they say.
    You may remember.

    _Smarda._         Ha!

    _Pietro._             "Proud Pietro!"
    And then they sigh.

    _Smarda._           Sigh. But you've papers--

    _Pietro._                                      Then--
    They weep and pine--until I must console them.

    _Smarda_ (_going to where he poses; contemptuously_). And for all
        this, O prince of paramours,

                  (_He is startled._)

    My lady has no doubt bid you to sail
    From Venice.

    _Pietro._    Slave?

    _Smarda._           And she will hear with love
    That you delay the powers of the Senate
    Sent in your keeping to her.

    _Pietro._                    She!

    _Smarda._                         Oh, with

                  (_As he twitches._)

    Love and delight--for urgently she waits them!
    And then--then of your amorous mouthings yonder!

    _Pietro._ You will not, slave! but quickly take them to her,
    The papers ... quickly!

                  (_Fumbles for them._)

    Dear slave, you will--and say if she inquire
    That I was led astray
    By the little Cyprian with guiling eyes
    Who fell enamoured of me at the gate.

    _Smarda._ Civa!

    _Pietro._        The same! I sought to run away,

                  (_Still searching._)

    O slave, say to her, but I could not for--
    For--for a lady by the marble knight,
    That is, by the fountain, swooned, as----

    _Smarda._                                Swooned!

    _Pietro._                                         She did.
    Out by the fountain.

    _Smarda._            As you came? who? which?
    Lady Yolanda? lady Berengere?

                  (_He stares at her ardour._)

    Did no one say?... My mistress must know this!
    The papers, quickly!

    _Pietro._            Slave, you----! By my sins!

                  (_She has seized them, and is gone.
                  He follows amazed. Sunset begins
                  without, crimson and far._ AMAURY
                  _appears from the loggia, reckless,
                  worn. He pauses, looks about him,
                  troubled._)

    _Amaury._ Not here yet.... There is more in this than seems.

                  (_Goes to divan and sits._ VITTIA
                  _enters behind._)

    More, Camarin of Paphos, than is clear!

                  (_Starts up._)

    And she must tell me! (_Sees Vittia._) Lady, you I mean.

                  (VITTIA _advances inquiringly._)

    What is beyond this shame upon Yolanda?

    _Vittia._ My lord----?

    _Amaury._               What! It is moving in me clouded,
    Deeper than sight but pressing at my peace.
    My father's look! you saw it!

    _Vittia._                     Ah!

    _Amaury._                         And saw
    Fear in my mother!

    _Vittia._          Yes, implanted deep.

    _Amaury._ And did not wonder?

    _Vittia_ (_sits_).        When I knew its source?
    No need, my lord--though your pang too I marked--
    For, trust me, ere to-morrow it will cease--
    If you are firm.

    _Amaury._        I? who know nought? In what?

    _Vittia._ That do not ask, I pray. (_Deftly._) Another could
    Fitly reply, but I----

    _Amaury._              No other better!

    _Vittia._ Then ... it will cease, my lord--
    So as a flail of doubt it should not still
    Beat in you--when Yolanda
    Is wed with Camarin ... no, do not speak;
    The reason for your sake I must withhold.

    _Amaury._   Though as under sirocco I am kept. (_Sits._)
    Sirocco!

                  (_Rises, a pause._)

             Yet you speak gently.

    _Vittia._                      No; unblushingly!

                  (_He looks surprised._)

    Unblushingly to one who knows--though by
    A chance--my love to him.

                  (_Turns away._)

    And yet I cannot rue
    That he awaking sudden from the potion
    Surprised the dew of it upon my lips.
    No, and I would that gentle words might be
    As waters of enchantment on his grief----
    But of Yolanda--

                  (_Rises._)

    _Amaury._       Still I love her, still!

    _Vittia_ (_strainedly_). As well she knows, so may refuse to wed
    With Camarin.

    _Amaury._    She?

    _Vittia._         Since you are Lusignan,
    Heir of a sceptred line,
    And yet may reach--the realm.

    _Amaury_ (_pierced_).         No ... not for that
    Her hope was?

    _Vittia._     Were it folly to make sure?

                  (_A pause._)

    _Amaury._ How? speak.

    _Vittia._              Again unshameful? No; one thing
    Alone would serve you. That I must not bring
    My tongue to falter.

    _Amaury._            Be it so.

    _Vittia._                      And yet ...

                  (_He has turned away._)

    My lord, my lord, I will!
    Will ... for you suffer!
    Will, though indelicacy seem to soil
    What bloom I boasted.
                          Let her think ... let her,
    But for to-day,
    That you, for she's aware of my affection,
    Have chosen--to wed me.

    _Amaury._               You!

    _Vittia._                    For to-day.
    To-morrow I return to Venice, then--
    Denial.

    _Amaury_ (_moved_). Lady--?

    _Vittia._                   Yes.

    _Amaury._                        This is most kind.

                  (_She waits repressed--as he
                  struggles._)

    Kind; I will do it.

    _Vittia._           Will?

    _Amaury._                 Grateful, intent
    For the issue's utterance. And this wear you,
    This token of our race,

                  (_Takes off his ring._)

    For a proof to her of any tie soever.


                  (_He puts it on_ VITTIA'S _finger._)

    But now--for the sails make home along the sea--
    Now of my mother.

    _Vittia._         More, my lord?

    _Amaury._                        This only;

                  (SMARDA _glides in._)

    To-morrow ... Scythian!

    _Vittia._               Who! My lord?...

                  (_Sees the slave's look, which
                  stirs him._)

                                           Smarda!
    Why are you here?... Those papers--but your lips!

                  (_Takes the papers._)

    Not these alone have brought you thus; then what?

                  (_Follows_ SMARDA'S _eye._)

    Of lord Amaury?

    _Smarda._       Of his mother.

    _Vittia._                       How!

    _Smarda._ She swooned of terror at the castle gate.
    She lies in danger. Hear--'twas as she fled
    The lord of Lusignan.

    _Amaury._             My father?

    _Smarda._                        He.
    And you are sought below, I heard it said:
    Some officer of Famagouste--and men.

                  (AMAURY _turns dazed and goes._)

    _Vittia_      (_with fervour, then--yet awed_).
    This is again fortune!... fortune!

    _Smarda._                          Lady?

    _Vittia._ Is! though an instant since it seemed disaster.

    _Smarda._ And how?

    _Vittia._          Yolanda, does she know?

    _Smarda._                                  Nothing.
    Nothing. She was returning from the rocks
    Where nest the windy gulls (_gloatingly_)
    As I came hither. I stole there at noon
    To see her suffer.

    _Vittia._          Then.--I can compel her.
    She will come here. Go to the curtains, see.
    If she is near, the Paphian is in
    The bower by the cypress: go, tell him,
    _The loggia--at once ..._ Ah!

                  (YOLANDA _enters._)

    _Yolanda_ (_to herself_).      "Ah" indeed.

                  (_Her look of purpose changes to
                  one of distrust. But she firmly
                  fronts to_ VITTIA, _as the slave
                  slips out._)

    _Vittia._   My gratitude! I wished, and you are here.

    _Yolanda._ And--for some reason of less honour--you.

    _Vittia._   I, a dear guest? fa!

    _Yolanda._                       Were you! and not one
    This ne'er-before-envenomed air would banish.
    (_Slowly_) One whose abiding
    These walls would loathe aloud--had they a tongue
    To utter.

    _Vittia._ Yet I may be mistress of them,
    Ere all is done--since still it is my purpose.

    _Yolanda._ Gulfs wide as the hate of God for infamy
    Would lie preventing; so there is no fear.

                  (_Sits._)

    _Vittia._ A prophesy!

    _Yolanda._             A deeper than disdain.

    _Vittia._ Or than your love of Camarin of Paphos!

    _Yolanda._ Which you would feign, but cannot.

    _Vittia._                                     Still, before
    Evening is done, you will become his wife?

    _Yolanda._   If, ere it come, all under Lusignan
    Do not look scorn on Vittia Pisani.

                  (_Rises._)

    _Vittia._ What! how?

    _Yolanda._            Plentiful scorn! (_With joy._) A thing may still
    Be done to lift my hope out of this ruin!
    To bring Amaury grateful to my feet!
    And I will do it.

    _Vittia._         Tell?... vowing him first
    To win his father's lenience?... No ... I see!
    You would when she who's guilty
    And this enamoured Paphian are fled!

                  (YOLANDA _turns pale._)

    When they are fled! ha ... And it is too late.

    _Yolanda._ Too--? You by some trick--a trick have--!

    _Vittia._                                              Hindered? Little
    I needed ... Her wings are flightless. She is ill,
    Verging--go learn!--to death.

    _Yolanda._                    No!

    _Vittia._                         To the grave.
    And you alone, she knows, can put it far--
    Since she is numbed and drained
    Momently by the terror of her husband,
    Whose every pulse seems to her a suspicion.

    _Yolanda._ And it is you ... you who have urged again
    His doubt that would have sunk!

    _Vittia._                       It was enough
    Merely to sigh--and fear her innocence
    Can only seem simple again as dew
    If you wed freely Camarin of Paphos.

    _Yolanda._   And that, you could! though in her heart remorse
    Trampled and tore!
    Though with the wounds of battle he you "love"
    Is livid still.

    _Vittia._       And grieves?--Be comforted!
    For _he_ is--now security has come.

                  (_Shows ring;_ YOLANDA _falls
                  back._)

    As _he_ is, do not fear.

    _Yolanda._               Amaury!... Oh!
    He is not! no, Amaury!... He? so soon?--
    Ah, you are merciless!

    _Vittia._              Only aware
    How to compel your pity to my ends;
    For you will spare his mother.

    _Yolanda._                     Yielding--still,
    And past all season of recovery?
    Shattering love for ever at my feet?
    No, you are duped. For empty, cold are the veins
    Now of submission in me; numb and dead
    The pleading of it. And upon you, back,
    I cast the burden of your cruelty.

                  (_Slowly._)

    And--if she dies in terror of the lips
    Of Renier Lusignan--on your peace
    The guilt be!

    _Vittia._     No.

    _Yolanda._   The heaping mass of horror!

    _Vittia_ (_moved_). No, on her own; for she has sinned.

    _Yolanda._                                           And suffered!
    But you----

    _Vittia._   I say her own. I've done no crime.
    And you will wed him.

    _Yolanda._            Were I Venetian!
    But am not; so remorse has come in you!
    There at the gates that guard your rest you hear
    Dim now the risen phantom cries of it,
    The presage beat of them like hungry hands
    That will o'erwhelm you!
    All that I could to spare her I have done;
    All that was duty and of love the most.
    But you it was who struck and kindled first
    Within Lord Renier fire of suspicion.
    Then yours the penance!

    _Vittia._               Liar!... ah ... enough.

                  (_Recovers herself._)

    A babe I am so to be fed with fright.
    You--well I know--will not desert her thus
    To ... the medusa of his doubt.

    _Yolanda._                      I will not.

                  (_With exultance._)

    Will, will not, will not, will not!
    But you it is--
    For in the worst that live there still is heaven!--
    Must null his doubt and ease the sobbing ebb
    And flood of her sick spirit; you who must
    Go to his fear and with persuasion say
    That it is folly of him and of you
    So to suspect her, since in Camarin's
    Arms I was found. You will!

    _Vittia._                   And--then go pray?

                  (_Draws out the papers scornfully._)

    Rather I'll bring you this:--Authority
    Sent me of Venice
    To make Amaury lordly over Cyprus,
    Or to abase him even of Famagouste;
    Which I will do--

                  (_Goes to her._)

    Unless I have the pledge that you will wed,
    Though not to be his wife and free to leave him,
    This Paphian,
    And with him from Lusignan hence will pass,

                  (CAMARIN _appears on loggia._)

    And he has come now for your answer.

    _Yolanda._                           Here!
    In league with you! in this!

    _Vittia._                    Most loyally;
    And ready skilfully to disavow,
    With every force, your innocence--if you
    Attempt betrayal!--
    Enter, my lord of Paphos--


                  (CAMARIN _enters desperately._)

                               I have spoken.
    She has not pledged to wed you--though the life
    Of Berengere Lusignan fall for it,
    And though Amaury ... But you may avail.

                  (_Moves off._ YOLANDA _stands
                  silently between them._ CAMARIN
                  _looks at her, falters, then turns
                  on_ VITTIA.)

    _Camarin._ As an anchorite for immortality,
    Venetian, I covet this--covet!
    Yet ... I will not entreat it of her.

    _Vittia._                             What!

    _Camarin._ I swore in dread, but will not!

    _Vittia._                                  Now!

    _Yolanda_ (_low_).                              Madonna!

    _Vittia._ Now you refuse?

    _Yolanda._                He does--he does!

    _Vittia._                                   The whole?

    _Yolanda._ Lady of Venice, yes; for very shame!

                  (_With grave joy._)

    Bitterly tho' it be, he must, for shame!
    Though he would waste the air of the world to keep
    The breath still in the veins
    Of her his love so wronged,
    He cannot ask me more than breast can bear
    Knowing I have already borne for her
    Infection worse than fetid marshes send
    From Mesaoria--
    Have lost the sky of love that I had arched
    And all the stars of it. See, he is dumb!--
    He cannot.

    _Camarin_ (_coldly_). No; but to your heart I leave her
    And to your pity.

    _Yolanda._        Say not pity to me!

                  (_The word overwhelms her anew._)

    Am I not needy, fain of it, and can
    Endurance ever dure!
    What have I left
    Of joy to ripple in me or of light
    To sway me to forgetting--I to whom
    Dawn was enchanted incense once, and day,
    The least of earth, an ides of heaven bliss.
    What to me left! to me!
    Who shepherded each happy flock of waves
    Running with silvery foaming there to shore,
    Who numbered the little leaves with laughing names
    Out of my love,
    And quickened the winds with quicker winds of hope,
    That now are spent ... as summer waters,
    Leaving my breast a torrent's barren bed.
    Pity and pity! ever pity! No.

                  (_Enter_ HASSAN.)

    A nun to pity I will be no more.
    But you, cruel Venetian ... Ah, ah,
    Mother of God! is there no gentleness
    In thee to move her and dissolve away
    This jeopardy congealing over us?

                  (_A pause._)

    _Vittia._ You see, none.

    _Yolanda._                Ah, for sceptre and for might
    Then to compel you.

    _Vittia._           Still, there is none.

    _Yolanda._                                None ...

                  (_Sinks to a seat in despair._)

    Yet could I think!

    _Hassan._          Lady Yolanda--

                  (_Advances._)

    _Yolanda._                         Were
    My brain less weary!

    _Hassan._            Lady Yolanda--

    _Yolanda._                          Well?

    _Hassan._ There is a means--a might.

    _Yolanda._                           Well?

                  (_Is half heedless._)

    _Hassan._                      To compel her.

    _Yolanda._ To ... what?

    _Hassan._               If you will dare it.

    _Yolanda._                                   Will--?

    _Hassan._                                            I swear.

    _Yolanda_ (_rising_). Your thought! I have no fear.

    _Hassan._                                        Then ... let me but
    Seize her and shut her fast an hour within
    The leprous keep, and she shall write whate'er
    You order; then upon a vessel quick
    Be sent to Venice whence she came.

    _Camarin._                         Mad! mad!
    Venice would rise!

    _Hassan._          And Cyprus, to be free!--
    But 'tis not, lady! and Lord Renier
    Shall have a letter of her guile and flight.
    Venture it, venture!

    _Yolanda_ (_after a long pause_). If it can be done,
    It shall be.

    _Hassan._    Ah!

    _Yolanda._       And must be.

    _Vittia._                     Fools, to me!

                  (_She stands defensive, as_ HASSAN
                  _prepares to close in._)

    _Yolanda._ Quickly, and take her.

    _Hassan._                          Now.

    _Camarin_ (_with sudden horror_).       No!... Sateless God!

                  (_His eyes are fixed on the
                  balcony._)

    See, see!... Berengere! Oh! fury of hell!

                  (_They look and fall back appalled.
                  For slowly down the steps comes_
                  RENIER _following_ BERENGERE,
                  _whose eyes turn back in fluttering
                  trance upon him._)

    _Yolanda._ Ah!... he will kill her! Stop, my lord! mother!
    Lord Renier!

                  (_Runs; takes_ BERENGERE _in her
                  arms._)

                 Cold is she, stony pale,
    And sinking!... Go away from her, go go!

    _Renier._ No ... she shall tell me.

    _Yolanda._                           Mother!... Tell you that
    You are her murderer?

    _Renier._             The truth!

    _Yolanda._                       The truth!

                  (_Laughs bitterly, and at a loss,
                  as if amazed. Then, almost against
                  her will, led, to the end_--)

    It is suspicion! is that mad suspicion
    That you have had of her.

    _Renier._                 It is! It is!

    _Yolanda._ And--all because I have these days delayed
    To wed with Camarin.

    _Renier._            Delayed?

    _Yolanda._                    Because
    I show befitting shame that I was here
    Found in his arms ... when to Amaury
    I was betrothed!

    _Renier._        Power of--! No!

    _Yolanda._                        Because
    I grieve to leave Lusignan, this my home--
    Where I have dwelt as under tented love--
    Though I am bidden.

    _Renier._           This can be?

    _Berengere_ (_faintly_).              Yolanda!

    _Renier._ I say--only delayed? and you--?

    _Yolanda._                                 Yes, yes.
    Now I will wed him, heedless, wantless, wild.
    Send for the priest and for Amaury, for
    Laughter and lights and revelry--for all
    Within this castle. But first to her bed,
    And to tranquillity,
    She must be borne, she your cold violence
    Has driven here.... Alessa--Tremitus!

                  (_They have entered._)

    Lead her within. O mother! piteous mother!----
    Ah, it was ruthless, kindless!

    _Renier._                 We shall see.

                  (_To_ HASSAN.)

    Bid Moro and Amaury.--As for her,
    I soon may come and seek forgiveness.

    _Berengere._                          No!

                  (HASSAN _goes._)

    My brain and breath!... the pall ... where am I ... how
    Long must I lie!...

    _Tremitus._         She speaks to visions. So,
    So can the blood do--trick us utterly!

                  (_He supports her--with_
                  ALESSA--_slowly up steps and off._
                  YOLANDA _covers her eyes._ HASSAN
                  _returns with_ MORO, _then, and_
                  AMAURY, _whose look seeks_ VITTIA.)

    _Yolanda_ (_as all stand silent_).
    Speak, speak, and tell him!

    _Renier._                   Yes, Amaury ... you
    Are sent for to behold Yolanda wed,
    As you commanded,
    Here unto Camarin. Shame has till now
    Withheld her, but ... what ails you?

    _Amaury._                            On; go on.
    The sudden blood up to my wounds.

    _Renier._                           It has,
    I say, withheld her. But she now has chosen.

    _Amaury._ So; and ... it is well. And here are her
    Vows I have kept--


                  (_Takes a packet from his breast._)

    Vows and remembrances ... I shall aspire--

                  (_Hands it; she lets it fall._)

    That I may loathe her not o'ermuch; and to
    Muffle my sword from him that now she weds.

                  (_His voice breaks tonelessly._)

    Come, let it be.

    _Yolanda._       Amaury!

    _Amaury_ (_angrily._)    Priest, be brief!

    _Moro_ (_before them; as_ CAMARIN _takes_ YOLANDA'S _hand_).
    The Church invests me and the powers of
    This island here to make you man and wife.
    Be joined, ye who have sinned,
    In soul, peace and repentances for ever.

                  (_He signs the cross._ YOLANDA
                  _stands dazed. A silence. Then a
                  shuddering cry and all turn toward
                  the balcony, where_ ALESSA _bursts,
                  pale, wild, and striving to speak._)

    _Yolanda_ (_with dread, awe, premonition_). Alessa!

    _Alessa._                            Lady Yolanda! you have wed him?

    _Yolanda_ (_pausing._) Yes.

    _Alessa._                  Lady Berengere is dead.

    _Yolanda._                                         No!... No!

                  (_Chokes rebelliously._)

    It cannot be! mother! cannot! awake her!
    And tell her I have wed him! mother! cannot!

                  (_Goes trembling, belieflessly,
                  up the balcony. A strange doubt
                  seizes_ AMAURY. _On the rest is
                  silence, consternation, and fear._)

CURTAIN.


ACT IV

     SCENE: _The Chapel of the Castle--or Chapel of the Magdalen--a
          few hours later. It is of stone, low-arched, gloomy, and
          adorned with Byzantine mosaics of gaunt saints on backgrounds
          of gold. The altar is in the rear, and above it a large
          window, through which pours the still moon. In front of it,
          to either side, rise two pillars supporting the roof, and
          on one of them, halfway up, stands a stone image of the
          Magdalen. Forward are two other pillars whose bases form
          seats. The right wall has, set midway, a large door hung
          with heavy curtains. In the rear are smaller doors leading
          to a sacristy. The altar lamp and a few tapers burn._ ALESSA
          _enters, rubbing her eyes as if to clear them of vision,
          looks around, then calls uncertainly_--

    _Alessa._ Good father! Father Moro!... He is not here.

                  (_Rubs her eyes again._)

    The dead are strange! I knew not all their power.
    It is as if her spirit still imprisoned
    Hovered beneath the pallor of her face
    And strove to speak. Good father!

                  (_Enter_ MORO.)

                                      Ah, you were
    There in the sacristy.

    _Moro._                Yes. Your desire?

    _Alessa._ The acolytes summoned from Famagouste
    To aid your rites before her burial
    Have come, and wait.

    _Moro._              Send hither two.

                  (_Looks closely at her._)

    _Alessa._                             At once.

                  (_Is going. He stops her._)

    _Moro._ Woman, this passes silence. There must be
    Some question. Do you understand this wedding?
    The evil that has risen in this house?
    Speak.

    _Alessa._   I may not.

    _Moro._                As says Yolanda, who
    Has been to-day impenetrable in all.
    But who, now, in a lofty grief above
    The misery that blasted her, seems calm,
    And answers only,
    "God in His season will,
    I trust, unfold it soon; I cannot, now!" ...
    And yet I heard
    Her darkly bid the Paphian be gone----
    From here--without her.

    _Alessa._               And he would not?

    _Moro._                                   No.


                  (_A pause._)

    Does she not see lightnings now in Amaury,
    Plunging for truth? What is't?

    _Alessa._                      The acolytes
    Are waiting.

    _Moro._        Go ... But if this hour bring forth
    What you shall rue----

    _Alessa._              Father!

                  (_Goes quickly, troubled._)

    _Moro._                        In blindness still!
    For Vittia Pisani, who alone
    Seems with these twain to share this mystery
    Is silent to all importunity.
    Oh, Berengere Lusignan!
                            But 'tis mine
    To pray and to prepare. (_Listens._) The acolytes.

                  (_Two enter, sleek, sanctimonious._)

    (_To First._) Come here ... You're Serlio,
    Of the Ascension. You?

    _2nd Acolyte._          Hilarion.
    From Santa Maria by the Templars' well,
    Which God looks on with gratitude, father.
    For though we're poor and are unworthy servants
    We've given willingly our widow's mite.
    And now we ...

    _Moro._         You are summoned to this place
    For ministrations other than the tongue's.
    Prepare that altar--masses for the dead.

    _Hilarion._ Man is as grass that withers!

    _Moro._                                   Kindle all
    Its tapers. The departed will be borne
    Hither for holy care and sacred rest.
    So do--then after
    Look to that image of the Magdalen,
    Once it has fallen.

    _Serlio._           Domine, dirige!

                  (MORO _goes. They put off cant and
                  set to work._)

    _Hilarion_ (_insolently, lighting a taper_).
    We'll have good wine for this!

    _Serlio._                      The Chian! Hee!
    None's like the Chian! and to-morrow, meat!
    Last week old Ugo died and we had pheasant.

    _Hilarion._ When we are priests we'll give no comforting
    To wife or maid--till we have sipped!

    _Serlio._                             And supped!
    Though 'tis a Friday and the Pope is dead!

                  (_Silence. They work faster._)

    _Hilarion._ There, it is done. Now to the image.

    _Serlio._                                        Well,
    Olympio, the cock who fetched us, said
    That image fell first on the day----

    _Hilarion._                          Tchuck! tchuck!
    Better no breath about that lord of Paphos
    Or any here. For till the dead are three
    Days gone, you know--! But there's the woman. Feign.

                  (_As_ ALESSA _re-enters;
                  hypocritically._)

    The blessed dead! in Purgatory may
    They briefly bide.

    _Serlio._          Aye! aye!

    _Alessa_ (_still troubled_).     What say you?

    _Hilarion._                                   Ah!
    I lay that it is wise never to foul
    The dead, even in thinking,
    For they may hear us, none can say, and once
    My mother saw a dead man who had gone
    Unshriven start up white and cry out loud
    When he was curst.

    _Serlio._          O Lord!

    _Alessa_ (_staring_).      No!... Well, such things
    There are perchance. And now they say that Venus,
    The Anadyomene, who once ruled this isle,
    Is come again.... But you have finished? Soon
    They bring her body here.

    _Hilarion._               Now have I, now!
    It will not totter again. (_Descends._)

    _Alessa_                                    Would that it might
    Upon the head of ---- (_catches herself; calmly_)
            You are awaited
    There in the sacristy.... The chant begins!

                  (_The acolytes go. She grows more
                  disquieted._)

    Begins! and lady Yolanda still awaits
    Heedless, though Lord Amaury's desperate
    As is the Paphian!... They near!... The curtains!

                  (_Goes to them and draws them
                  back. As she does so the chant
                  swells louder. Then the cortège
                  enters_--MORO, _the acolytes
                  with tapers_; BERENGERE _on a
                  litter_, AMAURY, RENIER, VITTIA,
                  _the women_, HASSAN, _and last_
                  YOLANDA. _The litter_, AMAURY
                  _by it, comes to the altar; the
                  chanting ceases._)

    _Moro_ (_as_ AMAURY _bows, shaken_).
    No moan or any toil of grief be here
    Where we have brought her for sainted appeal.
    But in this holy place until the tomb
    Let her find rest.

    _Amaury._          Set down the bier.

                  (_It is placed._)

    _Moro._                               Lone rest!
    Then bliss Afar for ever!

    _Amaury_ (_rises_).       Be it so!

                  (_Turning; brokenly._)

    But unto any, mother, who have brought thee
    Low to this couch, be never ease again.
    To any who have put thy life out, never!
    But in them be the burning that has seemed
    To shrivel thee--whether with pain or fear!
    And be appeaseless tears,
    Salt tears that rust the fountain of the heart.

                  (_Sinks to a seat. A pause._)

    _Moro._ My son, relentless words.

    _Amaury_ (_up again_).            To the relentless!

    _Moro._ God hear you not!

    _Amaury._                  Then is He not my God.

    _Moro._ Enough, enough. (_To the rest._) But go and for her soul
    Freight all of you this tide of night with prayer.

    _Amaury._ Never!

    _Moro._    I bid.

    _Amaury._         And I forbid those who
    Have prized her not!
    For though nought's in the world but prayer may move,
    Still but the lips that loved her
    Should for her any sin beseeching lift.

                  (_Looking at_ YOLANDA.)

    They and no other!

    _Yolanda._         And, you mean----?

    _Amaury._                             Not one.

    _Yolanda._ Then, mother----

                  (_Goes to bier._)

    _Amaury._                    That name again?

    _Yolanda._                                    While I have breath.
    (_Nobly._) Yes, though you hold me purgeless of that sin
    Only the pale arch-angels may endure
    Trembling to muse on!
    Or though yon image of the Magdalen,
    Whose alabaster broke amid her tears
    And her torn hair, forbade me with a voice.
    And you, whose heart is shaken
    As in a tomb a taper's flame, would know
    I speak with love.

    _Camarin._         Unswerving love.

    _Amaury._                           Then, by
    Christ, and the world that craves His blood, I think
    She, if she would, or you, could point to me,
    Or you, Vittia Pisani,
    The reason of this sudden piteous death
    Hard on the haunted flight before my father,
    Whose lips refuse.

    _Camarin._         She knows no shred of it.

    _Amaury._ You lie to say it.

    _Camarin._                   Then will, still--if there
    Is need.

    _Amaury._ Because you love her?

    _Yolanda._                      Peace, peace, peace.

    _Amaury._ A hollow word for what had never being.

    _Yolanda._ Look on her face and see.

    _Amaury_ (_at bier_).                Upon her face!
    Where not oblivion the void of death
    Has hid away, or can, the agony
    Of her last terror--but it trembles still.
    I tell you, no. Grief was enough, but now
    Through it has risen mystery that chokes
    As a miasma from Iscariot's tomb.
    And till this pall of doubt be rent away
    No earth shall fall and quicken with her dust!
    But I will search her face ... till it reveals.

    _Camarin._ He raves.

    _Amaury._            Iscariot! yes!

    _Yolanda._                          Again, peace, peace!

    _Amaury._ That you may palter!

    _Yolanda_ (_gently_).          That she may not grieve.

                  (_Goes again to bier._)

    For--if 'tis near--her soul with this is wrung.
    Near! would it were to hear me and impart
    Its yearning and regret to us who live,
    Its dim unhappiness and hollow want.
    Yes, mother, were you now about us, vain,
    Invisible and without any voice
    To tell us of you!
    Were you and now could hear through what of cold
    Or silence wrap you, oh, so humanly
    And seeming but a veil--
    Then would you hear me say--(_suddenly aghast_)
                                 Ah, God!

    _Amaury._                             Yolanda!

                  (_She starts back from the bier._)

    Yolanda!

    _Renier._   Girl, what rends you?

    _Yolanda._                        Saw you not?

                  (_Rushes to bier and shakes it._)

    Mother! you hear me? mother!

    _Renier._                    Girl!

    _Yolanda._                         She breathes!

                  (_Consternation. Some fall to their
                  knees._)

    _Vittia._ What? What?

    _Yolanda._            Mother! Her breast! Mother! She moves!

    _Amaury._ God! God!

    _Yolanda._          Stand off from her ... Mother!

    _Camarin._                                         Her eyes!...
    They open! open!

    _Yolanda._       Mother!...

    _Amaury._                   See; her lips!
    They strive to speak! O faintly, O so faint!
    Can you not hear?

    _Berengere._      Yolanda!

    _Yolanda._                 Mother!

    _Berengere._                       Renier!

    _Renier._ Yes, yes?

    _Berengere._          Yolanda--

    _Renier._                       Speak!

    _Berengere._                           Christ, save me ... Christ!
    Yolanda's innocent, and I ... 'twas I.

    _Amaury._ What? what is it she says?

    _Berengere._                          Camarin! Ah!

                  (_She shudders and dies, amid
                  low-uttered awe._ RENIER _bends,
                  lays his hand a moment on her
                  breast, then, with a cry of rage,
                  springs from her and draws, and
                  rushes on_ CAMARIN, _who awaits
                  him, desperate._)

    _Amaury_ (_confused, as they engage_).
    Yolanda; what is this?

    _Yolanda._                Amaury, in!
    Compel Lord Renier back! he cannot live,
    You only could against Camarin now!
    Wait not to question, but obey me! if
    You ever--! (_As he rushes in_) Holy Magdalen, defend him!

                  (RENIER _falls back._)

    Now, now defend him, if to chastity
    Thou'rt vowed in heaven.

    _Vittia._                   Fool!--Camarin, strike!

    _Yolanda._ He's wounded!

    _Camarin._               Oh!... Berengere!... treachery!

                  (_He staggers and sinks back
                  heavily toward the pillar. There
                  is breathless, strained suspense.
                  Then he strikes the sacred column,
                  and as he does so the image above
                  sways, totters and crushes upon
                  him. A cry, "The Magdalen!" goes up
                  around._)

    _Hassan_ (_hurrying to him; after awe and silence_).
    He's dead.

    _Alessa._ The Magdalen!

    _Hassan._                No breath in him.

                  (_A pause._)

    _Renier_ (_low, harshly_).
    Bear him without then ever from this place,
    That never more shall know a holy rite--
    And from these gates, I care not to what tomb.

                  (_To_ AMAURY.)

    Then shall you hear this mystery's content,
    That still as a madness measures to your sight.
    Bear him without.

                  (_The limp body is borne away.
                  All follow but_ AMAURY, YOLANDA,
                  RENIER.)

    Now you shall hear, with shame,
    But with exalted pride and happy tears;
    Then come obliteration!
    Speak, girl ... Nobility
    Had never better title to its truth.

                  (_Kisses her hand and goes._)

    _Amaury._ Yolanda!... he!... this reverence as to
    An angel? Speak!

    _Yolanda._ Amaury----

    _Amaury._             O pause not!

    _Yolanda._ Then--to save her who's dead--from death and shame,
    I took her place within the Paphian's arms.

    _Amaury._ O!... and by me, driven by me, bore this!
    (_Overcome_) Pure as the rills of Paradise, endured?

    _Yolanda._ For you!--and her who sleeps forgiven there,

                  (_With deep abandon._)

    Now while her spirit weightless overwingeth
    Night, to that Throne whose seeing heals all shame!
    For her I did! but oh, for you, whose least
    Murmur to me is infinite with Spring,
    Whose smile is light, filling the air with dawn,
    Whose touch, wafture of immortality
    Unto my weariness; and whose eyes, now,
    Are as the beams God lifted first, they tell us,
    Over the uncreated,
    In the far singing mother-dawn of the world!--
    Come with me then, but tearless, to her side.

                  (_They go to the bier and stand as
                  in a dream. A pause; then her lips
                  move, last, as if inspired._)

    While there is sin to sway the soul and sink it
    Pity should be as strong as love or death!

                  (_With a cry of joy he enfolds her,
                  and they kneel, wrapped about with
                  the clear moon._)

                  THE END.



LYRICS



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 my tent.
    The Lord hath given him into the hand of perdition,
    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 Tyre.
    He 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 Almighty.
    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.

    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 who're of Judah born.

    "Aye, come, I will show thee, O 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 destroyer--
    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, under her waving palm.
    "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 rendered 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
    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.

    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 vengeance 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, defamation!
    Jehovah, release me! Jehovah! if still Thou art God!



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

    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.

    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!



OUTCAST


    I did not fear,
    But crept close up to Christ and said,
    "Is He not here?"

    They drew me back--
    The seraphs who had never bled
    Of weary lack--

    But still I cried,
    With torn robe, clutching at His feet,
    "Dear Christ! He died

    So long ago!
    Is He not here? Three days, unfleet
    As mortal flow

    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

    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.



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.)

    "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.)



THE DYING POET


    Swing in thy splendour, O 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 sink,
    Tho' to arise again out of the dawn.
    Sink while I praise thee, ere thro' the dark link
          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!

    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.

    Off, from my lids then a moment yet,
    Fingering Death, for again I must see
    Miraged by memory all that I met
          Under Time's lee.

    There!... I'm a child again--fair, so fair!
    Under the eyes does a marvel not burn?
    Speak they not vision, song, frenzy to dare,
          That still in me yearn?...

    Youth! my wild youth!--O, blood of my heart,
    Still you can answer with whirling the thought!
    Still like the mountain-born rapid can dart,
          Joyous, distraught!...

    Love, and her face again! there by the wood!--
    Come thou invisible Dark 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 love'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.



ON THE MOOR


1

    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.

    She looked a sweet goodbye to me,
      And o'er the stile went 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.



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!"



OH, GO NOT OUT


    Oh, go not out upon the storm,
    Go not, my sweet, to Swalchie pool!
    A witch tho' she be dead may charm
        Thee and befool.

    A wild night 'tis! her lover's moan,
    Down under ooze and salty weed,
    She'll make thee hear--and then her own!
        Till thou shall heed.

    And it will suck upon thy heart--
    The sorcery within her cry--
    Till madness out of thee upstart,
        And rage to die.

    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?--
    But on her closed his hand--she saw ...
        Oh, who can tell?

    For tho' she strove--tho' she did wail,
    The dead hand held her cold and fast:
    The tide crawled in o'er rock and swale,
        To her at last!

    Down in the pool where she was swept
    He holds her--Oh, go not a-near!
    For none has heard her cry but wept
        And died that year.



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 locust tops,
      And be her lover again.

    Ay, we will forget our hearts are old,
      And that our hair is gray.
    We'll kiss as we kissed at pale sunset
      One 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!



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!



THE CRY OF EVE


    Down the palm-way from Eden in the moist
    Midnight lay 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.
    Sudden her dream, too cruelly impent
    With pain, broke and a cry fled shuddering
    Into the wounded stillness from her lips.
    Then, cold, she fearfully felt for his hand,
    While tears, that had before ne'er visited
    Her lids with anguish, stinging traced her cheeks.

    "Oh, Adam!" then as a wild shadow burst
    Her moan on the pale air, "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 the womb
    Of Time, and all with lamentable mien
    Accusing thee and me!
    And some were far
    From birth, without a name, but others 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 Nineveh, a city sinking slow
    Under a shroud of sandy centuries
    That hid me not from the buried cursing eyes
    Of women who gave birth! And Babylon,
    Upbuilded on our sin but for a day!

    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 O 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!
    And I whose dream mourned with all motherhood
    Must hear it soon! Already do soft skill,
    Low-babbled lulls, enticings and quick tones
    Of tenderness--that will like light awake
    The folded memory children shall bring
    Out of the dark--move in me longingly.
    Yet thou, Adam, dear fallen thought of God,
    Thou, when thou too shall 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!"

    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 her wings above their rest.



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--
        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.



MOTHER-LOVE


    The 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?"
    "'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?"



ASHORE


    What are the heaths and hills to me?
        I'm a-longing for the sea!
    What are the flowers that dapple the dell,
    And the ripple of swallow-wings over the dusk;
    What are the church and the folk who tell
    Their hearts to God?--my heart is a husk!
        (I'm a-longing for the sea!)

    Aye! for there is no peace to me--
        But on the peaceless sea!
    Never a child was glad at my knee,
    And the soul of a woman has never been mine.
    What can a woman's kisses be?--
    I fear to think how her arms would twine,
        (I'm a-longing for the sea!)

    So, not a home and ease for me--
        But still the homeless sea!
    Where I may swing my sorrow to sleep
    In a hammock hung o'er the voice of the waves,
    Where I may wake when the tempests heap
    And hurl their hate--and a brave ship saves.
        (I'm a-longing for the sea!)

    Then when I die, a grave for me--
        But in the graveless sea!
    Where is no stone for an eye to spell
    Thro' the lichen a name, a date and a verse.
    Let me be laid in the deeps that swell
    And sigh and wander--an ocean hearse!
        (I'm a-longing for the sea!)



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 flowers 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.

    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.



LISSETTE


    Oh ... there was love in her heart--no doubt of it--
        Under the anger.
    But see what came out of it!

    Not a knave, he!--A Romeo 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!

    Aye! though 'twas but kisses--she swore!--he had of her.
        For, was it little?
    She thought 'twas not bad of her,

    Said I would lavish a burning hour full
        On any grissette.
    A parry!--and powerful!

    But--"You are mine, and blood is inflammable,
        Flaunty Lissette!"
    My rage was undammable....

    Could a stilletto'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.



TEARLESS


    Do women weep when 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.

    No! but to lids, that gaze stone-wide,
          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."

    I cannot weep! Not if hot tears,
          Dropped on his lips,
    Might burn him back to life and 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?



THE LIGHTHOUSEMAN


    When at evening smothered lightnings
    Burn the clouds with opal 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;
    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!"
        _Two_--"I swear me thine!"
    _Three_--Ah, hear me tho' you sleep!--
        Is, "Love, 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.



BY THE INDUS


    Thou art late, O 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, O Love,
    Late,
        For the moon is a-wane.
    The kusa-grass sighs with my sighs,
        Burns with my pain.
    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, O 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 Nirvana's sleep?
        O Death, strike with thy dart!



FROM ONE BLIND


    I cannot say thy cheek is like the rose,
    Thy hair ripple of sunbeams, and thine eyes
    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 are not less divine,
    I touch thy cheek--and know the mystery hid
    Within the twilight breeze; I smoothe 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?



AT THE FALL OF ROME

A.D. 455


    Drink to Death, drink!
    He's god o' the world.
    Up with the cup--
    Let no man shiver!
    Up with the cup--
    Let no man shrink!
    Drink to death,
    He's lord o' the breath
    Of mortals hurled from the world
    Into Oblivion's river!

    Drink to Death, aye!
    And then--to the dust!
    Fill with a will--
    And quaff like a lover!
    Fill with a will--
    Who dares a Nay!
    Drink to Death!...
    He lies who saith
    That life is just--'tis a crust
    Tossed to a slave in his hover!

    Drink to Death!--So!
    Who recks for the rest?
    Love is above--
    Or Hate, what matter?
    Love is above--
    Or Hell below.
    Drink to Death,
    For vile is the peth
    Of Rome, and Shame is her name!
    Then drink, and the goblet shatter!



PEACELESS LOVE


    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 for ever been but one--
    Meet and be surest when ill's chartless weather
    Drives blinding gales of doubt across their sun.
    Pray--pray! lest love uptorn shall seem as nether
    Hell-hate and rage beyond oblivion.



SUNDERED


    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
    Unserverably, and count it as sheer nought--
    With His All-might can bind not you and me.

    For though he pressed us heart to burning heart,
    Knowing this fatal spell that so enthralls,
    Still would our souls, unhelpably apart,
    Stand aliens--beating fierce against the walls
    Of dark unsympathies that 'tween us start.
    Stands aliens, 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.



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.

    "_Come, fill the cup_," said he. "_In the fire of Spring
    Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling.
      The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing._"

    "The Bird of Time?" I answered. "Then have I
    No heart for Wine. Must we not cross the Sky
      Unto Eternity upon his wings--
    Or, failing, fall into the Gulf and die?"

    "_So some for the Glories of this World; and some
    Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
      But you, Friend, take the Cash--the Credit leave,
    Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!_"

    "What, take the Cash and let the Credit go?
    Spend all upon the Wine 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 unto Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
    Sans Wine, 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?"

    "_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 Why 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."

    "_But, all unasked, we're hither hurried Whence?
    And, all unasked, we're Whither hurried hence?
      O, many a cup of this forbidden Wine
    Must 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 Wine alone,
    For to Immortal Banquets I am bid.'"

    "_Well oft I think that never blows so red
    The Rose as where some buried Caesar 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 Gard'ner for the uprooted soul
    Find Use no sweeter than--useless Repose?"

    "_We cannot know--so fill the cup that clears
    To-day of past regret and future fears:
      To-morrow!--Why, To-morrow 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."

    "_Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
      About it and about: but evermore
    Came out by the same door wherein 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."

    "_Up from Earth's Centre thro' the Seventh Gate
    I rose, and on the throne of Saturn sate,
      And many a Knot unravelled by the Road--
    But not the Master-knot of Human fate._"

    "The Master-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
    And naked on the air of Heaven ride,
      Wer't not a shame--wer't not a shame for him
    In this clay carcass crippled to abide?_"

    "No, for a day bound in this Dust may teach
    More of the Saki's Mind than we can reach
      Through aeons mounting still from Sky to Sky--
    May open through all Mystery a breach."

    "_You speak as if Existence closing your
    Account and mine should know the like no more;
      The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has poured
    Millions of bubbles like us, and will pour._"

    "Bubbles we are, pricked by the point of Death.
    But, in each bubble, hope there dwells a 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 Well amid the Waste--
      And Lo!--the phantom Caravan has reached
    The Nothing it set out from--Oh, 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?"

    "_The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
    Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
    Nor all your tears wash out a word of it._"

    "And--were it otherwise?... We might erase
    The Letter of some Sorrow in whose place
      No other sounding, we should fail to spell
    The Heart which yearns behind the mock-world's face."

    "_Well, this I know; whether the one True Light
    Kindle to Love, or Wrath--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 His Presence thro' Creation's veins,
    Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
      Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; 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 know_."

    "_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 the Shadow 's thrown
    Across our Path by glories of the Unknown
      Lest we may think we have no more to live
    And bide content with dim-lit Earth alone."

    "_Then, strange, is't not? that of the myriads who
    Before us passed the door of Darkness through
      Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
    Which 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
    Through Earth where living Goodness though 'tis blent
      With Evil dures, may he not read the Voice,
    'To make thee but for Death were toil ill-spent'?"

    "_Well, when the Angel of the darker drink
    At last shall find us by the river-brink,
      And offering his Cup invite our souls
    Forth to our lips to quaff, we shall not shrink._"

    "No. But if in the sable Cup we knew
    Death without waking were the fateful brew,
      Nobler it were to curse as Coward Him
    Who 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."

    "_Yet, ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
    That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
      The Nightingale that on the branches sang--
    Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows?_"

    "So does it seem--no other joys like these!
    Yet Summer comes, and Autumn's honoured ease;
      And wintry Age, is't ever whisperless
    Of that Last Spring, whose Verdure may not cease?"

    "_Still, would some winged Angel ere too late
    Arrest the yet unfolded roll of Fate,
      And make the stern Recorder otherwise
    Enregister or quite obliterate!_"

    "To otherwise enregister believe
    He toils eternally, nor asks Reprieve.
      And could Creation perfect from his hands
    Have come at Dawn, none overmuch should grieve."

    So till the wan and early scene 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.



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 are starry.

    And ever she says, "He's dead! he's dead!
        Your lord who went to battle.
    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 Inari 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!



SHINTO

(MIYAJIMA, JAPAN, 1905)


    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--

    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,
    Beauty, and power and miss no high
    Awe of a world with wonder rife.

    That I may build in spirit fair
    Temples and torii on each place
    That I have loved--O hear it, Air,
    Ocean and Earth, and grant your grace!



EVOCATION

(NIKKO, JAPAN, 1905)


    Weird thro' the mist and cryptomeria
          Booms the temple bell,
    Down from the tomb of Iëyasu
          Yearning, as a knell.

    Down from the tomb where many an aeon
          Silently has knelt,
    Many a pilgrimage of millions--
          Still about it felt.

    Still, for see them gather ghostly
          Now, as the numb sound
    Floats as unearthly necromancy
          From the past's dead ground.

    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 waning 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?



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 revelrous 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.



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.

    And when at dawn I awoke,
      At the blue-bird's wooing cheep,
    Winter with all its chill and pall
      Seemed but a sleep.



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
    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 its peak,
    There dally listening to the eerie eke
    Of drops into cool chalices of clay.
    Then on, for elders odorously will 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
    To Solitude thro' aged forest halls,
    Will waft into me their mysterious ease,
        And in the wind's soft cease
    I shall hear hintings of eternities.



FROM 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!



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 the song rise
    From the breast of a woman
    And think it as dear
    As heaven tho' human.
    But I have a music they can never 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--
    Ever to me 'tis so!


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!

    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!"

    They know! know it! but better, oh, better,
      Dearest, than ever a bird in Spring,
    Know we to make each moment a 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!


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 hide thy stars away,
    With vigil sweet his wings shall beat
    About thee till the day.


VI.

AS YOU ARE

    Dark hair--dark eyes--
    But heart of sun,
    Pity and hope
    That rill and run
    With flowing fleet
    To heal the defeat
    Of all Life has undone.

    Dark hair--dark eyes--
    But soul as clear,
    Trusty and fair
    As e'er drew near
    To clasp its mate
    And enter the gate
    Of Love that casts out fear.

    Dark hair--dark eyes--
    But, there is seen
    In them the most
    That earth can mean;
    The most that death
    Can bring--or breath
    _There_--in the bright Unseen!


VII.

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.

    The sea afar is a fearful gloom;
    Lean from the casement, listen!
    Anear, it breaks with a faery spume,
    Spraying the moon-path's glisten.

    The little white town below lies deep
    As eternity in slumber.
    O, you who are mine, how a glance can reap
    Beauties beyond all number!

    "Amalfi!" say it--as the stars set
    O'er yon far promontory.
    "Amalfi!" ... Shall we ever forget
    Even Above this glory?

    No; as twin sails at anchor ride,
    Our spirits rock together
    On a sea of love--lit as this tide
    With tenderest star-weather!

    And the quick ecstasy within
    Your breast is against me beating.
    Amalfi!... Never a night shall win
    From God again such fleeting.

    Ah--but the dawn is redd'ning up
    Over the moon low-dying.
    Come, come away--we have drunk the cup:
    Ours is the dream undying!


VIII.

ON THE PACIFIC

    A storm broods far on the foam of the deep;
    The moon-path gleams before.
    A day and a night, a night and a day,
    And the way, love, will be o'er.

    Six thousand wandering miles we have come
    And never a sail have seen.
    The sky above and the sea below
    And the drifting clouds between.

    Yet in our hearts unheaving hope
    And light and joy have slept.
    Nor ever lonely has seemed the wave
    Tho' heaving wild it leapt.

    For there is talismanic might
    Within our vows of love
    To breathe us over all seas of life--
    On to that Port above

    Where the great Captain of all ships
    Shall anchor them or send
    Them forth on a vaster Voyage, yea,
    On one that shall not end.

    And upon _that_ we two, I think,
    Together still shall sail.
    O may it be, my own, or may
    We perish in death's gale!



THE WINDS


    The 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
    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.

    The South Wind is a Troubadour;
        The Spring, 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.



THE DAY-MOON


            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;

            Or strands upon near shallows
    The wreck whose weirded form at night unhallows

            The fisher maiden's prayers--
    "For _him_!--that storms may take not unawares!"

            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 arrassed
    With star-hieroglyphs, leave thee unharassed

            To glide with silvery passion,
    Till in earth's shadow swept thy glowings ashen.



TO A SINGING 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?
    "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 there are so few crumbs!

    Wait? nay, fling it unbidden,
    The false little song you prate!
    Too sweet are its fancies to be chidden,
    E'en of the rudest fate!



TO THE SEA


    Art thou enraged, O sea, with the blue peace
    Of heaven, so to uplift thine armèd waves,
    Thy billowing rebellion 'gainst its ease,
    And with Tartarean mutter from cold caves,
    From shuddering profundities where shapes
    Of awe glide through 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?
    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
    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
    'Gainst isles and continents and airs o'erspaced!

    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, O, 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!



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 I thought I lay within
    Its Void, 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;

    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.

    But think, think thee of me, to whom or gloom
    Or cold were more unknown than impotence!
    See the unhurlèd 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 unwound
    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:

    "Aye, they! and these;" pointing to many wraiths
    That stood around--Baal, Ormuzd, Indra, all
    Whom frightened ignorance and sin's appall
    Had 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!"



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.

    The sombre zone of hills around
    That shrink in misty mournfulness from sight,
    With sunset aureoles crowned--
        Before the night.



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?

    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!



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.



THE WORLD


    _Vox desperans._

    The World is a wind--on which are blown
    All mysteries that are.
    Out of a Void it sprang--and to
    A Void shall spring, afar.

    _Vox sperans._

    The World is Visible God--who is
    Its Soul invisible.
    There is no Void beyond that He
    Abiding fills not full.



TO THE DOVE


1

    Thy mellow passioning amid the leaves
    Trembles around me in the summer dusk
    That falls along the oatlands' 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 within the dead primrose's heart,
    Or breath of silences in dells begot
    To soothe some grief-wan maid with love a-mort.


2

    On many sylvan eves of childhood thou
    Didst woo my homeward path with tenderness,
    Woo till the awing owlet ceased to cow
    With his chill screech of quavering distress.
    At phantom midnight wakened I have heard
    Thy mated dreams from the wind-eerie elm,
    And as a potion medicined and myrrhed,
    As an enchantment's runic utterance,
    It would draw sleep back to her lulling realm
    Over my lids till day should disentrance.


3

    A priestess art thou of Simplicity,
    Who hath one fane--the heaven above thy nest;
    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 dark'ning distance, charities
    Of vesper scents, and of the glow-worm's throb
    Joy whose first leaping rends the care-wound coils
    That would earth of its heavenliness rob.


4

    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!



AT TINTERN ABBEY

(JUNE, 1903)


    O Tintern, Tintern! evermore my dreams
    Troubled of 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.
    But would that I were Time, then only tender
    Touch upon thee should fall as on 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
    Is wanting mysteries that move the breast,
    I'll hear thy beauty calling, ah, for ever--
    Till sinks within me the last voice to rest!



THE VICTORY


    See, see!--the blows at his breast,
      Abyss at his back,
    The peril of dark 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!



SEARCHING DEATH'S DARK


    When 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 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 flow, or here
    Wander as gleam and shadow flit her face.
    Whether the harvesting of pain and joy
    Ends with the ivied slab, or whether death
    Pours the warm chrism of Immortality
    Into each human heart whose glow is spent.
    Nor do my askings fall on the chill voids
    Of unavailing silence. For a voice
    Of sighing wind may answer, or it leaps,
    Though wordless, from a marble seraph's face.
    Or sometimes from unspeakable deeps of gold
    That ebb along the west revealings wing
    And tremor, like etherial swift tongues
    Unskilled of human speech, about my heart--
    Till, youth, age, death ... even earth's all, it seems,
    Are but wild 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 sea....

                      Then twilight bells ring back
    My wandered spirit from the wilderness
    Of Mystery, whence none may find a path
    To the Unknown, and like one who upborne
    Has steered the unmeasured summer skies until
    Their calm seems God, I turn transfigured home.



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 or silvery sycamore,
    Outreaching arms in patience to divine
        If winter's o'er?

    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.

    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.



TO THE SPRING WIND


      Ah, what a changeling!
    Yester you dashed from the west,
      Altho' it is Spring,
    And scattered the hail with maniac zest
    Thro' the shivering corn--in scorn
    For the labour of God and man.
    And now from the plentiful South you haste,
      With lovingest fingers,
    To ruefully lift and wooingly fan
    The lily that lingers a-faint on the stalk:
      As if the chill waste
      Of the earth's May-dreams,
    The flowers so full of her joy,
      Were not--as it seems--
    A wanton attempt to destroy.



THE RAMBLE


    Down the road
    Which asters tangle,
    Thro' the gap
    Where green-briar twines,
    By the path
    Where dry leaves dangle
    Down from the ivy vines,

    We go--
    By sedgy fallows
    And along
    The stifled brook,
    Till it stops
    In lushy mallows
    Just at the bridge's crook.

    Then, again,
    O'er fence, thro' thicket,
    To the mouth
    Of the rough ravine--
    Where the weird
    Leaf-hidden cricket
    Chirrs thro' the weirder green--

    There's a way
    O'er rocks--but quicker
    Is the best
    Of heart and foot,
    As the beams
    Above us flicker
    Sun upon moss and root!

    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.

    Oh, the wood
    With winds a-wrestle!
    With the nut
    And acorn strown!
    Oh, the wood
    Where creepers trestle,
    Tree unto tree o'ergrown!

    With a climb
    The ledging summit
    Of the hill
    Is reached in glee.
    For an hour
    We gaze off from it
    Into the sky's blue sea.

    But a bell
    And sunset's crimson
    Soon recall
    The homeward path.
    And we turn
    As the glory dims on
    The hay-fields' mounded math.

    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


    Ah, 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 cat-bird's calling
    Her mock-hurt note by the shed,
    The use-worn wain was stalling
    In the weedy brook's dry bed.

    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 by 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,
    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.



THE EMPTY CROSS


    The eve of Golgotha had come,
    And Christ lay shrouded in the garden's 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!

    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 time,
    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!



SUNSET-LOVERS


    Upon how many a hill,
    Across how many a field,
    Beside how many a river's whispery flowing,
    They stand, with eyes a-thrill,
    And hearts of day-rue healed,
    Gazing, O 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
    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 days releasing?



TO A ROSE

(IN A HOSPITAL)


    Why do I love thee?--
    Not because thy wak'ning lips
    Were wooed to bloom by minstrel wind
    Of Araby or Ind.

    Not because thy fragrance slips
    Into my soul--as if thou must
    Be sprung of a mother's dust.

    Not because _she_ gave her breast
    To thee for one long night--she whose
    Pure heart I ne'er shall lose.

    But when I lay in sick unrest
    Afar from those who are my own,
    Thou camest from hands unknown:
      Therefore I love thee!



UNBURTHENED


    Not pain nor the sunny wine
    Of gladness steepeth my still spirit as
    I lift my gaze across the winter meads
    Engarmented in stubble robes of brown.
    For, as those solitary trees afar
    Have reached unbudding boughs
    To the dim warmth of the February sun,
    And melted on the infinite calm of space,
    So I have reached--and am no more distraught
    With the quivering pangs of memory's yesterday.
    But the boon of blue skies deeper than despair,
    Of rests that rise
    As tides of sleep,
    And care borne on the plumes
    Of swan-swift clouds away to the sullen shades
    Of quelled snow-storms low-lying in the west,
    Have lulled my soul with soft infinitude.
    And now ... down sinks the sun,
    Until, half-arched above the marge of earth,
    It hangs, a golden door,
    Through which effulgent Paradise beyond
    Burns seeming forth along the path of those
    Who, crowned by Death with Life, pass to its portal.
    How soon 'tis closed--how soon! The trumpetings
    Of seraphs whose gold blasts of light break o'er
    Purplescent passing battlements of cloud,
    Sound clear ... then comes the dusk!



WHERE PEACE IS DUTY


    Dimming in sunniness, aerily distant,
    Valley and hillside float;
    Up to me wavering, softly insistent,
    Wanders the wood-brook's note.

    Anchored beyond in azure unending
    Cloud-sails await wind-tide.
    Oh, for the skylands where soon they'll be wending--
    And, unabiding, bide.

    Where Time aflow thro' infinite spaces
    Stays for no throttle of pain!
    Where the stars go at eve to their places;
    Where silence never shall wane!

    Where there's no sense but of beauty's wild sweetness,
    Thought but of sweetening beauty!
    Where wanting's stilled in unwanting's completeness--
        Where peace is duty!



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,
    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, still, believing
    She taunted me so,
    To make her abided return more dear.



AUTUMN AT THE BRIDGE


    Brown dropping of leaves,
    Soft rush of the wind,
    Slow searing of sheaves
      On the hill;
    Green plunging of frogs,
    Cool lisp of the brook,
    Far barking of dogs
      At the mill;
    Hot hanging of clouds,
    High poise of the hawk,
    Flush laughter of crowds
      From the Ridge;
    Nut-falling, quail-calling,
    Wheel-rumbling, bee-mumbling--
    Oh, sadness, gladness, madness,
    Of an autumn day at the bridge!



SONG


    Her 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.



TO HER WHO SHALL COME


1

    Out of the night of lovelessness I call
    Thee, as, in a chill chamber where no ray
    Of unbelievable light and freedom fall,
    Might cry one manacled! And tho' the way
    Thou'lt come I cannot see; tho' my heart's sore
    With emptiness when morning's silent gray
    Wakes me to long aloneness; yet I know
    Thou hast been with me, who like dawn 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
    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 to thee of days thy feet
    Have never trod?--Sweet, sweet, oh, sealing sweet,
    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
    Of heaven and said, "Come, waiting one, and lay
    Thine ear unto my Heart--there thou shall 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!



AVOWAL TO THE NIGHTINGALE


    Though thou hast ne'er unpent thy pain's delight
    Upon these airs, bird of the poet's love,
    Yet must I sing thy singing! for the Night
    Has poured her jewels o'er the lap of heaven
    As they who've heard thee say thou dost above
    The wood such ecstasies as were not given
    By nestling breasts of Venus to the dove.

    Oft I have watched the moon orb her fair gold,
    Still clung to by the tattered mists of day
    And look for thee. Then has my hope grown bold
    Till almost I could see how the near laurels
    Would tremble with thy trembling: but the sway
    Of bards who've wreathed thee with unfading chorals
    Has held my longing lips from this poor lay.

    None but the sky-hid lark whose spirit is
    Too high for earth may vie for praise with thee
    In aery rhapsody. And since 'tis his
    To sing of day and joy as thou of sorrow
    And night o'erhovering singest, thou'lt e'er be
    More dear than he--till hearts shall cease to borrow
    From grief the healing for life's mystery.

    Then loose thy song! Though no grave ear may list
    Its lyric trouble, still 'tis soothing sweet
    To know that songs unheard and graces missed
    By every eye melt on the skies that nourish
    Us with immortal blue; and, changed, repeat
    Their protean loveliness in all we cherish.
    For beauty cannot die, howe'er 'tmay fleet.



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

    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.



SLAVES


    A host of bloody centuries lie prone
    Upon the fields of Time--but still the wake
    Of Progress loud is haunted with the groan
    Of myriads, from whose peaceful veins, to slake
    His scarlet thirst, has War, fierce Polypheme
    Of fate, insatiately drunk Life's stream.
    We bid the courier lightning leap along
    Its metal path with spaceless speed--command
    Stars lost in night-eternity to throng
    Before the magnet eye of Science--stand
    On Glory's peak and triumphingly cry
    Out mastery of earth and sea and air.
    But unto War's necessity we bare
    Our piteous breasts--and impotently die.



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!



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 tossed from branches lost
        In a tangle
    Of vines that vie to clamber high--
        But to vault 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!

    His hope must dance like radiance
        O'er the shadows
    Of clouds that fling their threatening
        On the stubbly meadows!

    And he must see that Autumn's glee
        And her laughter
    From his lips and heart will quell all smart--
        Of before and after!



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 and the mellow breeze
        Blew to me sweetly dewed--
    Its touch awoke the sorceries
        Your last caresses brewed.

    But when the night with silent start
        Had sown her starry seed,
    The harvest which sprang in my heart
        Was loneliness and need.



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.



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!



BEFORE AUTUMN


    Summer'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 chilling yore.
    Magnolia seeds like Indian beads are strewn
    From crimson pods along the earth's sere floor--
        Autumn's near.

    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 at peace and rest--
    Autumn is near, and the tired year 'mid praise
    Lies down with leaf and blossom on her 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 cut and searing fields stretch from me one by one
                  Along the creek.

    The corn-stooks drop their shadows down the fallow hill;
    Wearing autumnal warmth the farm sleeps by the mill,
    Around each heavy 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.

    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.



TO THE FALLEN LEAVES


    I hear the moaning rains beat on your rest
    In the long nights of Winter and his wind--
    And Death, the woeful, guilty of your fall,
    Crying that he has sinned.



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;

    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 allusion, _Maya_, all
    The world of will," the spent East seems
    Whispering in me, "And the call
    Of Life is but a call of dreams."



SPIRIT OF RAIN

(MIYANOSHITA, JAPAN, 1905)


          Spirit of rain--
    With all thy ghosts of mist about the mountain, 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.



THE NYMPH AND THE GOD


    She lay by the river dead,
    A broken reed in her hand,
    The nymph whom an idle god had wed
    And led from her maidenland.

    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.

    She lay by the river dead,
    And he at feasting forgot.
    The gods, shall they be disquieted
    By dread of a mortal's lot?



A SEA-GHOST


    Oh, 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.

    Go in, go in! O haste from the sea,
    And let them rest--
    A son and one who was wed and one
    Who went down unblest.

    Aye, even as I whose hands at the bell
    Now labour most.
    The tomb has gloom, but O the doom
    Of the drear sea-ghost!

    He evermore must wander the ooze
    Beneath the wave,
    Forlorn--to warn of the tempest born,
    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.



LAST SIGHT OF LAND


    The 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 and fast?
    Grief and the face we love in mist--
    Then night and awe too vast?

    Or the dear light of Hope--like that,
    O see, from the lost shore
    Kindling and calling "Onward, you
    Shall reach the Evermore!"



SILENCE


    Silence is song unheard,
      Is beauty never born,
    Is light forgotten--left unstirred
      Upon Creation's morn.



DAVID


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            _The Queen._
  MERAB           }
  MICHAL          }  _Daughters of Saul and Ahinoam._
  MIRIAM             _A blind prophetess, and later the "Witch of Endor."_
  JUDITH          }
  LEAH            }  _Timbrel-players of the King._
  ZILLA           }
  ADAH               _Handmaiden to Merab._

  _A Chorus of Women. A Band of Priests. Followers of David.
  Soldiers of Saul. People of the Court, &c._


DAVID


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 pillars, 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 restively._

    _Judith_ (_springing to her feet impatiently_). O 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!

    _Judith._                               Now, hear her!
    Who, who, now? who, who is it? dog, fox, devil?

    _Zilla._ All!

    _Judith._ Then 'tis Ishui! (_Bounding to curtains._) 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 _entering sees
                  them._ JUDITH _sighs._)

    _Ishui._ Now, timbrel-gaud, why gape you here?

    _Judith._                                      O! 'tis
    Prince Ishui!

    _Zilla._      Prince Ishui! Then he
    Will tell us! he will tell us!

    _Leah._                        Yes!

    _Judith._                           Of David!
    O, is he come? when, where?--quick, quick. And will
    He pluck us ecstasies out of his harp,
    Winning until 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?

    _Judith_ (_laughing in his face_).           Aie!

                  (_Thrust from him, she goes,
                  dancing with_ ZILLA _and_ LEAH.)

    _Adriel_ (_who has entered_). Ishui, in a rage?

    _Ishui._                                       Should I not be?

    _Adriel._ Not would you be yourself.

    _Ishui._                             Not? (_Deftly._) You say well.
    I should not, no. Pardon then, Adriel.

    _Adriel._ What was the offence?

    _Ishui._                        Turn from it: I have not
    Bidden you here for vapours ... tho' they had
    Substance as well for you!

    _Adriel._                  For me?

    _Ishui._                           Who likes
    Laughter against him?

    _Adriel._             I was laughed at?

    _Ishui._                                Why,
    It is this shepherd!

    _Adriel._            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?

    _Adriel._                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!

    _Adriel._                          How?
    What reason can be? women are not clear;
    And least unto themselves.

    _Ishui._                   Or to their fools.

                  (_Goes to curtain, draws out_ ADAH.)

    Your mistress, Merab, girl, whom does she love?
    Unclench your hands.

    _Adah._              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?

    _Adah._                        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.

    _Ishui._ Off to your sleep; be off--

                  (_Makes to strike her._)

    _Adriel._                           Ishui, no.

                  (ADAH _goes_.)

    _Ishui_ (_gnashingly_). Then see you now how "lovable" he is?
    I tell you that he stands athwart us all!
    The heart of Merab 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._ Ah! and of Jonathan and Michal.

    _Adriel._                              Hush.

                  (_Enter_ MICHAL, _passing, with_
                  MIRIAM.)

    Michal, delay. Whom lead you?

    _Michal_.                     Miriam,
    A prophetess.

    _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--
    As magic!

    _Ishui._ Michal.... Curst!

    _Michal._                   What anger's this?

    _Ishui._ Disdaining Doeg and his plea to dust,
    His waiting and the winning o'er of Edom,
    You are enamoured of this David too?

    _Michal._ I think my brother Ishui hath a fever.

                  (_She goes, calmly, with_ MIRIAM.)

    _Ishui._ Now are you kindled--are you quivering,
    Or must this shepherd put upon us more?

    _Adriel._ But has he not dealt honourably?

    _Ishui._                                   No.

    _Adriel._ Why do you urge it?

    _Ishui._                      Why have senses. He
    With Samuel the prophet fast enshrouds
    Some secret, and has Samuel not told
    The kingdom from my father shall be rent
    And fall unto one another?

    _Adriel._                  You are certain?

    _Ishui._ As granite.

                  (_Voices are heard in altercation._)

                         Yonder!

    _Adriel._                    The king?

    _Ishui._                               And Samuel
    With prophecy or some refusal tears him!

                  (_They step aside._ SAUL, _followed
                  by_ SAMUEL, _strides in and mounts
                  the throne._)

    _Saul._ You threat, and ever thunder threatening!
    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 champion!
    None will arise--'tis vain. And I'll not wait
    On miracle.

    _Samuel._   Offer thy daughter, then,
    Michal, thy fairest, to whoever shall.

    _Saul._ Demand and drain for more! without an end.
    Ever vexation! No; I will not.

    _Samuel._                      Then,
    Out of Jehovah and a vast foreseen
    I tell thee again, thou perilous proud king,
    The sceptre shall slip from thee to another!

                  (_He moves to go._)

    _Saul._ The sceptre....

    _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!

    _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._                                Do not ask....
    Yet how it creeps, and how!

    _Saul._                     Unveil your words.

    _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.

    _Ishui._                               And you see?
    Ah, then, if one arise? If one arise?

    _Saul._ Death, death! If he hath touched this prophet--if
    Merely a little moment!--

    _Ishui._                 I have seen
    Your David with him.

    _Saul._              Death! if ---- 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 for ever.
    I'll hear no more against him--Abner!--no.

                  (_To_ ABNER, _who enters._)

    David, and with his harp.

    _Abner._                  My lord----

    _Saul._                               Not come?
    He is not come? Forever he delays!

                  (_Remounts throne._)

    _Abner._ Time's yet to pass.

    _Saul._                      There is not. Am I king?

                  (_A harp is heard._)

    See you, 'tis he!... 'Tis David!... And he sings!

    _David_ (_bravely, within_).

              Smiter of Hosts,
              Terrible Saul!
    Vile on the hills shall he laugh who boasts
              None is among
              Great Israel's all
    Fearless for Saul, King Saul!

                  (_Entering with people of the
                  palace._)

              Aye, is there none
              Galled of the sting,
    Will at the soul of Goliath run?
              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._) 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, O Saul?

    _Saul._ I'll not endure. They say that you----

    _David._                                        They say?
    What is this ravage 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?

    _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?
    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._           I will not listen to them!

    _David._ To whom, my lord, and what?

    _Saul._                              Ever they say,
    "This David," and "This David!"

    _David._                        Ah, my harp!

    _Saul._ 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,
    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 rush and 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; no more!
    You cannot understand; it pains beyond
    All duty and enduring!

    _Saul._                Pains beyond...?
    Who is he? know you of him? do you? know you?
    You sup the confidence of Samuel?
    I'll search from Nile to Nineveh----

    _David._                            My lord!

    _Saul._ Mountain and desert, wilderness and sea,
    Under and over, search--and find.

    _David._                          Peace, peace!

                  (_Enter_ MICHAL _joyously._)

    _Michal._ O 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
    Dawn and delight in you!

    _Saul._                  Perhaps; then, well?

    _Michal._ Oh, I have heard...!

    _Saul._                  Have heard!--Why do you pale?

                  (_She stands unaccountably moved._)

    Now are you Baal-bit?

    _David._              Michal!

    _Michal_ (_in terror_).         David!... the dread
    What does it mean? I cannot speak! It shrinks
    Shivering down upon my heart in awe!

    _David._ And numbs you so?--Let it rush from your lips!
    Can any moving in the world so bring
    Terror upon you! Speak, what is it?

    _Michal._                           Ah!
    I know not; danger rising and its wing
    Sudden against my lips!

    _David._                To warn?

    _Michal._                        It shall not!
    There--now again flows joy: I think it flows.

    _Saul._ Then--you have heard...?

    _Michal._                  Yes, father, yes! Have you
    Not much desired discovery of whom
    Samuel hath anointed?

    _Saul._               Well?

    _Michal._                   I've found----

                  (DAVID _blenches._)

    Almost have found! A prophetess to-day
    Hath told me that he is a----

                  (_Realises._)

    _Saul._                      Now you cease?

                  (_She stands horrified._)

    Sudden and senseless!

    _Michal._             David!--No!

    _Saul._                           God! God!
    Have I not bidden swiftly! Ever then
    Vexation? I could--Ah. Will she not speak!

    _Michal._ I cannot.

    _Saul._           Cannot! Are you flesh of me?

    _David._ My lord, not anger! Hear me ...

    _Saul._                                Cannot?

    _David._                                       Hear!
    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, O 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 forget.
    I'll not forget.

                  (_Goes trembling, his look bent
                  backward still upon them._)

    _David_ (_casting off gloom, then joyful_). Forget! anointing peril!
        What are they all?
    Michal!--for me you have done this, for me?

                  (_She stands immovable._)

    I'm swung with joy as palms of Abila!

                  (_Goes to her._)

    A princess, you! and warm within your veins
    Live sympathy and all love unto your father,
    Yet you have shielded me?

    _Michal._                 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!

    _Michal._                               You,
    Whom Jonathan loves more than women love!

    _David._ Yet reaches not my love to Jonathan!

    _Michal._ You--you!

    _David._          But, hear me!

    _Michal._                       You, of all!

    _David._                                     O 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 inspirèd cruse of Samuel!
    For Israel it dripped upon me, and
    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 rapture in,
    Till even now my lids from anger falter
    And the dew falls!

    _David._             Restrain! O 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! O weak eyes,
    When 'tis my father, and with Samuel
    You creep to steal his kingdom!

    _David._                          Michal!... God!

    _Michal._ Yes, steal it!

    _David._                 Cruel! fell accusal! Yea,
    Utterly false and full of wounding!
    (_Struggling, then with control._)    Yet,
    Forgive that even when thy arrows sink
    Deeper than all the skill of time can draw,
    I spare thee not the furrowed face of pain ...
    Delirious wings of hope that fluttered up,
    At last to fall!

                  (_Moves to go._)

    _Michal._          David!

    _David._                  Farewell!

    _Michal._ ... You must not!

    _David._ Peace to you, peace and joy!

    _Michal._                             You must not go!

                  (_He turns. She sways and reaches
                  to him her arms. As they move
                  together_ DOEG _and_ MERAB _appear,
                  but vanish from the curtains as_
                  MICHAL _utters dismay._)

    _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 wide as winds
    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!

    _Michal._                   No, no!

    _David._                            For you!
    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, ecstasy and dream!
    The moulded light and fragrant miracle,
    Body of you and soul, lifted me till
    When you departed----

    _Michal._              No, you rend me!

    _David._                                I
    Fell thro' infinity of void!

    _Michal._                      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.
    Here in this hall where cherubim shine out,
    Where the night silence----

    _Michal._                    David!

    _David._                            Strung me tense,
    I waited, shepherd-timid, and you came,
    You for the king to try my skill! you, you!

    _Michal._ Leave me, ah leave! I yield!

    _David._                               And often since
    Have we not swayed and swept thro' happy hours,
    Far from the birth unto the bourne of bliss?

    _Michal._ And I----

    _David._           To-night you did not to the king
    Reveal my helpless chrism, give me to peril.
    Say but the reason!

    _Michal._             David!

    _David._                     Speak, O speak!

    _Michel._ And shall I, shall I? how this prophetess
    Miriam hath foretold----

    _David._                  Some wonder? speak!

    _Michal_ (_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!

    _Michal._ 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----

    _Michal._                          "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._                           Guile!

    _David._ I cannot--and I must not. It is holy!

    _Michal._ Then must I hate you--scorn you----

    _David._                                     Michal!

    _Michal._                                            And will.
    But to reign over Israel you care,
    Not for the peace of it!

    _David._                   Thus all is vain;
    A seething on the lips, I'll say no more....
    Care but to reign and not for Israel's calm?
    I who am wounded with her every wound?...
    Look out upon yon Philistine bold fires
    Lapping the night with bloody tongue--look out!

                  (_A commotion is heard within._)

    As God has swung the world and hung for ever
    The infinite in awe, to-morrow night
    Not one of them shall burn!

    _Michal._                     You pall me!

    _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
    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 yesterday 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 me forget it in a leap of deeds.

                  (_The commotion sounds again._)

    For there is 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'erfar.
    I will not see you rush on 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.
    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._                                     They come.

                  (_Enter_ SAUL, _with_ SAMUEL;
                  _soldiers with the spy_, AHINOAM
                  _with_ ABNER; _and all the court in
                  suppressed dread._)

    _Saul_ (_to_ SAMUEL). He will not speak, but scorns me, and his lips
    Bitterly curve and grapple. But he shall
    Learn there is torture to it! Set him forth.

                  (_The spy is thrust forward._)

    Tighten his bonds up till he moan.

                  (_It is done._)

                                       Aye, gasp,
    Accursed Philistine! Now wilt thou tell
    The plan and passion of the 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 moon one's sent
    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._)

    _Ahinoam._ All Gibeah!

    _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.

    _Samuel._ You, Abner, will not?

    _Abner._                        It were death and vain.

    _Samuel._ Doeg, chief servant of the king?

    _Doeg._                                    Why me?
    Had I a mother out of Israel?
    I am an alien, an Edomite.

    _David._ My lord, this is no more endurable!

                  (_Steps forth._)

    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?
    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 ...

    _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!

                  (_She enters._)

                                        Father!
    It is not false? but now, the uttermost?
    To-morrow, if 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.
    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 understand?

    _Ishui._ It is another coiling of their plot!

    _Michal._ Coiling of plot? What mean you?

    _Merab._                                  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._                           O 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
    Evil be on you and the sear of shame--
    And haunting memory beyond the tomb!

    _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 ...
                  All follow, but_ MICHAL, _past_
                  DAVID _with joy 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 Israel! For Israel!

                  (_Goes toward them._)

CURTAIN.


ACT II

     SCENE.--_The royal tent of_ SAUL _pitched on one hill of the
          battlefield of Ephes-Dammin. The tent is of black embroidered
          with various warlike designs. To one side on a daïs 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 armour lies_
          GOLIATH _slain. Other hills beyond, and the sky above. By the
          small table, her back to the battlefield, sits_ MERAB _in
          cold anger_. AHINOAM _and several women look out in ecstasy
          toward_ DAVID, SAUL, JONATHAN, _and the army, returning
          victorious, and shouting_.

    _First Woman._ See, see, at last!

    _Second Woman._                   They come!

    _Third Woman._                               An avalanche!
    Over the brook and bright amid hosannas!

    _Second Woman._ 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._)

    _Merab._ Mother!

    _Ahinoam._       My daughter?

    _Merab._                      Well?

    _Ahinoam._                          They all are gone.

    _Merab._ And Michal, where?

    _Ahinoam._                  I do not know, my child.

    _Merab._ 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.

    _Merab._                        For my torture! What
    Kingdom is to a woman as her love?

    _Ahinoam._ And David still enthralls you?

    _Merab._                                  Though he never
    Sought me with any murmur or desire!
    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, Merab!

    _Merab._                   Well?

    _Doeg._                          A triumph o'er him, 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.

    _Merab._             Then? the triumph?

    _Doeg._                                 This.

                  (_The tumult, nearer._)

    I've skilfully disposed the women
    To coldly sing of Saul, but of our David

                  (_Watches her._)

    With lavish of ecstasy as to a king.

    _Merab_ (_springing up_). Then I will praise him!

    _Doeg._                                         David? you?

    _Merab._                                                    As he
    Was never--and shall never be again.

                  (_Takes a dagger._)

    _Doeg._ But----

    _Merab._        Give me the phial.

    _Doeg._                            The poison?

    _Merab._                                       Come--at once!

    _Doeg._ What will you do?

    _Merab_ (_seizes phial_). At once with it.

                  (_Dips dagger in._)

    _Doeg._                                   You'll stab him?

    _Merab._ As any fool? Wait. And the rest now, quick.
    This timbrel-player, Judith?

    _Doeg._                      She is ready
    And ravishing!

    _Merab._       Well, well; then--?

    _Doeg._                            We will send her
    Sudden, as Michal is alone with 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._)

    _Merab._                   May it be their rending.

                  (_The tumult 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 cherubim of
                  gold._ DAVID, SAUL, JONATHAN,
                  ISHUI, _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_
                  AHINOAM, _to waving of palms and
                  praise._)

    _A Woman_ (_breaking from the throng_). Our little ones are saved!
        Hosannah! joy!

                  (_She 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!
    While 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._          Jonathan, nay----

    _Jonathan._                         Never!

                  (_Looses his robe and girdle._)

    Therefore I pour him splendour passionate.
    In gold and purple, this my own, I clothe him.
    David, my brother!

    _Saul_ (_livid_). Brother!

    _Ahinoam._                  Saul?

    _Saul._                           Thou fool!

    _Jonathan._ Father?

    _Ahinoam._          My lord?

    _Saul._              Thou full-of-lauding fool!
    Of breath and ravishment unceasing!

    _Ahinoam._                          Saul!

    _Saul._ Is it not praise enough, has he not reached
    The skies on it?

    _David._         O king, my lord----

    _Saul._                              Had Saul
    Ever so rich a rapture from his son?
    Ever this worshipping 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._ Upon his friend, thy servant, David.

    _Doeg._                                       Aie!

                  (_He turns away laughing._)

    _Saul._ Why do you laugh?

    _Doeg._                   "Thy servant David!"

    _Saul._                                         Why!

    _A Woman_ (_without_). King Saul has slain his thousands!

    _Doeg._                                                  Why, my lord?

    _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, O king!...
    Therefore be wielded by no venom-word,
    As a weed under the wind!

    _Saul._                   'Tis overmuch!
    I'll burst all bond of priest or prophesy.
    Nor cringe to threatening and fondle fear.

                  (_He seizes a javelin._)

    I'll smite where'er I will.

    _David._                    No!

    _Jonathan._                     Father!

    _David._                                No!
    For rapid palsy would come on thy hand,
    Awful and sceptre-ruined lord of men,
    An impotence, a shrivelling with fear,
    Avenging ere thou shed offenceless blood!

                  (_Saul's hand drops._)

    Is this thy love, the love of Saul the king,
    Who once was kindlier than kindest are?
    For but a woman's wantonness of word
    And idle air, my life?

    _Ahinoam._             Saul, Saul!

    _Jonathan._                        The shame!

    _David._ Some enemy--does Doeg curve his lip?--
    Hath put into her mouth this stratagem
    Of fevered, false-impassioned overpraise.

                  (SAUL, _tortured, sweeps from the
                  tent, entreated of_ JONATHAN. _Many
                  follow in doubt, whispering._)

    _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
                  left with_ DAVID; _he waits._)

    _Merab_ (_after a pause, then as if in shame_). I burn for it!

    _David._                                     For what, and suddenly?

    _Merab._ My father so ungenerously wroth!
    And wrought away from recompense so right.
    Can you forgive him?

    _David._               Merab?

    _Merab._                      Is it strange
    That even I now ask it?

    _David._                  Merab's self?

    _Merab._ Herself and not to-day your friend; but now
    Conquered to exultation and aglow
    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 for ever,
    In priceless covenant of peace between us,
    A drop of it----

                  (_She draws dagger and offers it to
                  him._)

                    Upon this sacred blade ...

    _David._ Such kindness? in all honour?

    _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._                                           Rather upon
    Its edge one vein of you--than priceless nard.

    _David._ Or perfume out of India jewel poured?

                  (_He searches her eyes._)

    Or than--I may believe?--a miracle
    Of dew, were you a traveller 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._                         Poison?

    _David._ And I of vanity should prick it in?
    I a mere shepherd innocent of wile!
    A singer music-maudled 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?...
    For Israel I've wrought to-day--and for
    You, ever round about me as a mist
    Of armèd mighty angels triumphing.

    _Michal._ Yes: It was well.

    _David._                    To you no more? to you
    Whom not a slave can serve unhonoured?

    _Michal_ (_struggling_).                   Nothing.

    _David._ Empty of glow then seems it, impotent,
    A shrivelled 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._                       O lips!

    _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 to eternity with bliss.

    _Michel._ Loose, loose me!

    _David._                   Nay, again! immortal kisses!

    _Michal._ A frenzy, 'tis a frenzy! From me! see!
    This irremediable victory
    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 room
    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 their forgotten peril!

    _Michal._ O were it, were it! But all silently
    Jehovah fast is beckoning the realm
    Into thy hands.

    _David._          Then futile to 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._ That anointing, then----

    _David._                          Of that!... not that!

    _Michal._                                               Yet grant
    It may be told my father; that I may
    Say to him all the secret!

    _David._                     And provoke
    Murder in him, insatiable though
    I fled upon the wilderness and famine?

    _Michal._ He would not!

    _David._                Nay.

    _Michal._                    I'll plead with him.

    _David._                                          In vain.

    _Michal_ (_coldly_). Then ... it is as I thought.

    _David._                                          You are distraught.

    _Michal._ This stroke to-day (_pointing to_ GOLIATH'S _head_) no
        love of me had in it.

    _David._ A love, a passion fervid through me as
    The tread and tremble of seraphic song
    Along the infinite.

    _Michal._           You use me!

    _David._                        Use?

    _Michal._ A step to rise and riot in ambition!

    _David._ So bitter are you, blind? even in all?

    _Michal._ You snared me to you!

    _David._                        Michal!

    _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._)

    _Michal._                  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.... Who's that?

                  (JUDITH _glides in._)

                                       (_To her._) Why are you here?

    _Judith_ (_to_ DAVID, _with a laugh, as if with amorous joy_).
    Brave, it was brave, my love! beauteous! brave!

    _David._ Woman?

    _Judith._       The Philistine, a brazen tower,
    A bastion of strength, fell to the earth!

    _David._ Woman, who are you?

                  (_She clasps and kisses him._)

                                 Take away your flesh.
    (_Free._) Take it away, the heat and myrrh of it.

    _Judith._ So cold?

    _David._           Hireling!

    _Judith._                    It is no longer fair?
    (_Wantonly._) Oh! Ah! I understand! the princess! Oh!

                  (_Goes laughing and shaking her
                  timbrel wickedly._)

    _Michal._ A dancer, then, a very timbrel-player!

    _David._ Until this hour I never looked upon her.
    It is chicanery of chance or craft.
    You who are noble, though in doubt adrift,
    Be noble now!

    _Michal._     And loving? Oh, I will--
    Now that I know what should be done. Be sure!

    _David._ You mean ... that Saul----? You would not, no!

    _Michal._                                               Rest sure.

                  (_A hand is seen at the door._
                  AHINOAM _enters._)

    _Ahinoam._ David, the king ... But what is this?

                  (MICHAL _goes_.)

    _David._                                         O queen ...
    It is but life.

    _Ahinoam._      Nay.

    _David._             Life that ever strings
    Our hearts, so pitifully prone for it,
    To ecstasy--then snaps.

    _Ahinoam._              I love thee, David.

    _David._ Then gracious be, and question here no more,
    Where words are futile for an utterance.
    But of the king--the king----?

    _Ahinoam._                     He's driven still.
    And hither comes again, and must be calmed.
    The 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 for ever 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 daïs._)

    _Ahinoam._ My lord, shall David sing--to ease us?

    _Saul._                                           Let him.

    _David_ (_with high sorrow_).
              O heart of woe,
    Heart of unrest and broken as a reed! (_Plays._)
              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, O 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._)

              O days of strife--
    Days of desire on deserts spread unending,
              The burning blue o'erbending,
    O days, our peace, our victory is the tomb!

                  (_He plays to a close that dies in
                  anguished silence._)

    _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.

                  (DAVID _starts toward him._)

    How I have wronged thee!

    _Michal._                  Wronged him? (_in fury_).

    _David._                                Michal!

    _Saul._                                         Girl?

    _Michal._ You have not wronged him!

    _David._                            Michal!

    _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 for ever 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.

                  (_Nobly before_ SAUL.)

    You seek, my lord ... you seek whom Samuel
    Anointed.

    _Saul._     Yes.

    _David._         Then know that it is I.

                  (_Consternation._)

    _Saul._ You!

    _David._     Guiltless I, no other!
    I, though I sought it not and suffer, though--

                  (SAUL _seizes a javelin._)

    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 withhold me more.

                  (_Lifts javelin._)

    Die, die!

    _Jonathan._ No, father ... hold!

    _Michal_ (_as_ SAUL _flings_).     What have I done?

                  (_Reels._)

    _Jonathan._ David, unhurt? Away, the wilderness!

    _Saul_ (_with another javelin_).                   He shall not, no!

    _David_ (_aflame_). Strike, strike, then! strike, strike, strike,

                  (_Rushes up throne._)

    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 falling from him_. DAVID
                  _breaks through_ DOEG _and_ ISHUI
                  _and escapes by the door_. MICHAL
                  _sinks to her knees, her face
                  buried in her hands._)

CURTAIN.


ACT III

     SCENE: _A savage mountain-cliff in the wilderness of Engeddi.
          On either side grey 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 grows 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 followers 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!

    _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 Fol._              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?
    The prophecy portending him the throne--
    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 is not David's
    Thought 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.... We must have news.

                  (_Rises and comes down to them.
                  They are silent._)

    Longer is death. 'Tis over many days
    Of sighing--and remembered verdancy;
    Nor any dew comes here or odour up.
    Who will go now and bring us word of Saul?

    _Third Fol._ Have not Abishai, Abiathar,
    And others gone?

    _David._           Bravely.

    _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 to_ THIRD FOLLOWER, _who
                  goes._)

    This ring was Jonathan's. The jewel tells
    Still of the sunny haven of his heart.
    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 thought;
    'Tis riches--such as Sidon marts and Tyre
    Would covet.

    _Second Fol._ I care not.

    _David._                   None else is left.

    _Second Fol._ No matter.

    _David._                 Then----?

    _Second Fol._                      There was of Gibeah
    A woman--dear to me. Her face at night ...
    Weeping among my dreams....
                                The prophesy
    Is unfulfilled and vain!

    _David._                   And you would go?

    _Second Fol._ The suffering--this cliff.

    _David._                                 I understand.
    (_Motions._) So, without any blame, go--to content.

                  (_The_ SECOND, _faltering, goes._)

    (_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 with the lad. She
                  sees_ DAVID _rise and wander into
                  cave, right._)

    _Michal._ This is the place, then, this?

    _Lad._                                   Yes, princess.

    _Michal._                                               Here
    So long in want and sickness he hath hid?
    Under the livid day and lonelier night?

    _Lad._ I brought him water, often.

    _Michal._                          Little lad!
    But he has heard no word from me?--not how
    My 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.

    _Lad._             Yes.

               (_He sets down the water-skin and goes._)

    _Michal_ (_delaying, then in a loud voice_). Unclean! Unclean!

                  (_Conceals her face in her hair._)

    _David._ Who crieth here?

    _Michal._                 Unclean!

    _David_ (_appearing_).               Who cries unclean?
    Poor leper in these wilds, who art thou?

    _Michal._                                  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----

    _Michal._          Yet, pity!

    _David._                      The pale hours
    Flow dead into eternity.

    _Michal._                  Ah, yet...!

    _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----

    _Michal._             No, no.

    _David._                      And from me fall
    Link upon link her loveliness that bound.

    _Michal._ Oh, do not!

    _David._                                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?

    _Michal._                    Stay! Unclean!

    _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._ My brain is overfull of fever, mad.
    Almost and I had touched thy peril, held
    Thy hideous contagion.

    _Michal._                Wrong!

    _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?

    _Michal._                      Once, when she
    In face was fairer and in heart than now
    They say she is.

    _David._           And heard her speak?

    _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.

    _Michal._                           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._)

    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, not in words so wild.

    _Abiathar._ Then ask, and hate shall calm me.

    _David._                                      Ask?

    _Abiathar._                                        On, on!
    Seek if he lives!

    _David._            Who?

    _Abiathar._              Seek if prophecy
    Founts yet in Judah!

    _David._               Samuel...?

    _Abiathar._                       Is dead!
    Dead--and of tidings 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--murdered, all!

    _David._ But he--your father?

    _Abiathar._                   Was among them; fell.

                  (_He stands motionless._)

    _David_ (_gently_). Abiathar, my friend!... Appeaseless Saul!

    _Abiathar._ Hear all, hear all! Thy father, too, and mother,
    Even thy kindred, out of Israel
    Are driven into Moab; and this king,
    Delirious still for blood as a desert pard,
    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.

    _Abiathar._                                     I know
    Nothing of her.

    _David._          Your look belies.

    _Abiathar._                         Perhaps:
    As did her love.

    _David._           That is for me.

    _Abiathar._                        Well, what?
    A woman who betrays?

    _David._               Speak, not evade;
    And judge her when earth has no mystery.

    _Abiathar._ Then from your craving put her--wide; she is
    Unworthy any tremor of your veins.

    _David._ Dawn-lilies under dew are then unworthy,
    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!

    _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, falters, breaks off,
                  and is strangely moved._)

    _Abiathar._ Now what alarm?

    _Abishai._                  What stare you on?

    _Abiathar._                                    He's mad?

                  (_Then, suddenly seeing._)

    No, no!... an eaglet!...

    _David._                Pierct!

    _Abishai._                      Pierct?

    _David._                                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?

    _David._      The arrow!--His! (_Starts back._) His and no other's!
    Quick, no delay. Efface all trace of us.

                  (_Takes water-skin._)

    _Abiathar._ Be clear, clearer.

    _David._                 We are discovered--near
    On us is death. Open the secret chamber
    Within the cave, for from the bow of Saul
    Is yonder bleeding--from no other.

    _Abiathar._                          Saul's?
    But how; 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._                      King of Israel!
    Inexorable!

    _Abiathar._   O, rebuke him, do!

    _David._ Almost I am beyond this tolerance.

    _Abiathar._ In truth. Therefore it is you rise and shake
    Out of his power the sceptre!

    _David._                        Tempt me not!
    Mercy and memory almost are dead,
    And craving birth in me is fateful ire.

                  (_They follow into the cave: but
                  hardly have done so when, at a
                  shout, pour in_ SAUL _and his men,
                  bloodthirstily, from all sides_,
                  DOEG _and_ ABNER _leading._)

    _Saul._ On, to him! search the caves! in, in, and bring
    Him to my sword and Michal with him.

                  (_Pacing._)

                                         They
    Shall couch upon eternity and dust.
    (_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 re-entering from one
                  cave._)

                      Where is he? Bring him.

    _Soldier._                                O 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,
    And treasure up reward and amnesty.

                  (_Rushes wildly 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!
    From me--I'll sleep--I'll rest--and then--

                  (_As they cringe, going._)

    I'll sleep.

                  (ABNER _and_ DOEG _remain_. SAUL
                  _enters cave, left._)

    _Abner_ (_to_ DOEG, _significantly_). The Evil Spirit.

    _Doeg._                                Yes; upon him swift
    It came as never before--as drunkenness.

    _Abner._ Then--safe to leave him?

    _Doeg._                           Will he brook denial?

    _Abner._ And Merab, too, will soon be here.

    _Doeg._                                     Well, come.

    _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?

    _Michal_ (_quaking_). Unclean! away!

    _Doeg._ Unclean? a leper? in this place? Are there
    No stones to stone you? Hence! And had I not
    A brother such as thou----

    _Michal._                 Pity! Unclean!

                  (_She quickly goes, then they. A
                  space; then she returns, trembling
                  and fearful._)

    I'll call him! I will save him! David! David!--
    I his discomfiture and ruin!--David!

                  (_Searches._)

    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 archangels could not so
    Have swung the burden from me as her ... Ha!

                  (_Sees_ MERAB; _slowly recoils._)

    _Merab._ It is not Michal.

    _David._                   No--it is not Michal.

                  (_Motions the priest aside._)

    _Merab._ Yet it is one who----

    _David._                      Need not lift her veil,
    Or longer stay. The path she came is open.

    _Merab._ 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.

    _Merab._          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.

    _Merab._               You refuse me, then?

    _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._                                  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 sepulchre of shame span o'er,
    And night shrink to remember day had been!

    _Merab._ You scorn--you scorn me?

    _David._                          Jonathan! your sister!

    _Merab._ 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.

    _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_ ABIATHAR
                  _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
    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 Saul
    Hunted you to this desert's verge?

    _David._                           Enough!

    _Abiathar._ Has he pursued you, all his hate unleashed?
    Are Samuel--the priests, not slain? my father?
    The kingdom is not in decay, and falls?
    You are not prophesy's anointed one?
    Seize up the sword and strike--or I myself!

    _David._ Or--you yourself?...

                  (_Puts them aside, takes sword, and
                  goes to_ SAUL'S _cave._)

    _Abishai._                         What will he do?... listen

                  MICHAL _enters unseen_.

    _Abiathar._ If Saul cries out----

    _Abishai._                       Be ready.

    _Michal_ (_to them_).                      What is this?

                  (DAVID _re-enters--haggard and
                  worn--from the cave, a piece of_
                  SAUL'S _cloak and the sword still
                  in his hand_.... _The pause is
                  tense with emotion._)

    _Michal_ (_at last, with a cry, as David clenches_).
    Ah, you have slain--have slain him! Wretch! thou wretch!
    And sleeping as he was!

    _David._                And it was you...?

                  (_Rage takes him._)

    In lying rags?

    _Michal._      Have struck him in his sleep!
    And merciless! And now will kill me, too?

    _David._ The leper, you! The faithless leper, you,

                  (_Grows frenzied._)

    Who drove me a prey upon this wilderness!
    Upon the blot of it and death and sear!
    The silence and relentless burning swoon!
    You are the leper, who have broken troth
    And shut the cry of justice from your breast!
    Who've stifled me with desolation's woe,
    Who've followed still and still have me betrayed!

    _Michal._ Betrayed? No, loose me!

    _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
    That quivering and tenderness of lure.
    Those eyes that hold infinity of fate,
    That breathing cassia-sweet, but sorcery!

    _Michal._ Oh ...

    _David._         Never thy presence pouring beauty, swift,
    And seething in the brain as frantic wine!
    I'll be no more enspelled of thee--Never!
    I will not hear thee and be wound by words
    Into thy wile as wide as Ashtoreth's,
    Back into hope, eternity of pain!

                  (_He goes in agony--the priest and_
                  ABISHAI _after._ MICHAL _stands
                  gazing tearless before her as_
                  SAUL, _awakened, comes slowly from
                  the mouth of the cave down toward
                  her._)

CURTAIN.


ACT IV

     SCENE: _The house of_ MIRIAM, _the "Witch of Endor," by Mount
          Gilboa--where_ SAUL _is encamped against the Philistines.
          It is of one story, built rectangularly about an inner
          court, which is dimly lighted. Under the gallery which
          ranges around the court are doors leading to the sleeping
          and other apartments; before 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 the act comes
          dawn. Forward on a divan sits_ MIRIAM _alone, in blind
          restlessness_.

    _Miriam._ Adah!... The child is sunken in a sleep.
    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 wind passes._ ADAH _enters
                  from a chamber, rubbing her eyes._)

    Thou art awake?

    _Adah._         I slumbered.

    _Miriam._                    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?

    _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._                And--you hear?----
    Many within the army urge for David,
    Would cry him king, if Saul were slain?

    _Adah._                                 O many.

                  (_A knock at the gate. They start
                  up fearful._)

    _Miriam._ Who seeks blind Miriam of Endor's roof,
    Under the night and unextinguished storm?
    Come you a friend?

    _David_ (_without_). A friend.

    _Miriam._                       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!
    Let 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
    Quivering myrrh 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-tramble me than a multitude of foes.
    That it is told him I who shun his ire--
    Though death were easier, if dutiful--
    Am come up with the Philistines to win
    The kingdom. That he would slay me though I fought
    For Israel!--But, Michal!--

    _Miriam._                   Aie----

    _David._                            What brews?
    She was not in the camp.

    _Miriam._                Men all are mad!
    And you who should be never.

    _David._                     She is in
    Some peril.

    _Miriam._ You, in more! And must from here
    Swiftly away, for Saul is----

    _David._                      I must see her.

    _Miriam._ Unholy!

    _David._          Yet unholier were flight.

    _Miriam._ You are the anointed!

                  (_A heavy knock at the gate._)

                                  Ah, calamity!
    You would not heed--'tis Saul!

    _David._                       Here?

    _Miriam._                            He is come
    That I shall call up Samuel.

    _David._                     You, you--
    The awful dead?

    _Saul_ (_calls_). Woman of Endor!

    _Miriam._                         Hide!
    The lattice yonder!

    _Saul._             Woman of Endor! woman!

                  (DAVID _and_ ABIATHAR _withdraw.
                  The knocking hastier._)

    Woman of Endor! Woman of Endor! Woman!

    _Miriam._ Who crieth at my gate?

    _Saul._                          Unbar and learn.

    _Miriam._ To danger?

    _Saul._              None.

    _Miriam._                  To thieves?

    _Saul._                                To rueing it
    You tarry!


                  (_She lets him in, with_ ISHUI
                  _and_ ADRIEL.)

    _Miriam._ Whom seek you?

    _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!

    _Miriam_ (_with a cry_). I know thee now!
    Saul! thou art Saul! the Terror!

    _Saul._                          Call him up.
    Ready is it, the battle--but I am
    Forsaken of all prophesy 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._                Then must it be.

                  (_She turns to the teraphim,
                  amid wind and pallid lightning
                  prostrating herself._)

    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 springing up, with wide arms,
                  and wild blind eyes._)

    Prophet of Israel, arise! Not in
    The name of Baal, Amon, Ashtoreth,
    Dagon or all the deities that dream
    In trembling temples of Idolatry,
    But of Jehovah! of Jehovah! rise!

                  (_An elemental cry is heard. Then
                  wavering forms rise, vast, out of
                  the earth, in continuous stream._
                  MIRIAM, _with a curdling shriek,
                  sinks moaning to her knees._)

    _Saul._ Woman, 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
    And cling about him of eternity!
    His eyes impale me!

    _Saul._             Spirit, give me word!

                  (_He falls heavily to the ground._)

    _Samuel_ (_as afar_). O 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_).     O!

    _Ishui._                    Whose cry?

    _Samuel._ I tell thee, Saul, thy sceptre shrivels fast.
    The battle shall be lost--it shall be lost.

                  (_The Spirit of_ SAMUEL
                  _disappears. A wail of wind._)

    _Adriel._ Ishui, true? Is Michal to be slain?

    _Ishui._ This is no hour for fools and questioning.

    _Saul_ (_struggling up_). The battle, Ishui, at once command
    It shall begin! To Jonathan and say it.

                  (ISHUI _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 and 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 asks.

    _Adriel._ You were concealed?

    _David._                      And I have heard. Cry then
    Out unto Saul! Betray me, cry you out!

    _Adriel._ Betray?

    _David._          Is the word honey? Is it balm?

    _Adriel._ David, I've wronged you--

    _David._                            Haply!

    _Adriel._                                  Jealously.
    And ask now no forgiveness--not until
    Michal is won from peril!

    _David._                  Do you know
    More of her? still?

    _Adriel._           Saul----

    _David._                     Saul----?

    _Adriel._                              Has given Doeg
    Power of this.... And to some spot of Endor
    Here he has brought her.

    _David._                 God!

    _Adriel._                     And now himself,
    David, himself cannot be far away.

    _David._ Ahaste, and bring him then by force or guile,
    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?

    _Miriam._             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.

                  (ADAH _opens the gate. The priest
                  goes._)

    _Adah_ (_springing 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?

    _Adah._                            She!

                  (_The gate is thrown open
                  fiercely._)

    _Merab_ (_entering_). Woman and witch, did Adriel, my husband,

                  (_Sees_ DAVID.)

    Come to you with the king?

    _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.

    _Merab._      That Michal shall be slain?

                  (_The tumult again._)

    _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.

                  (DAVID _throws a cloak to his face,
                  as_ ADAH _obeys_. 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?
    Merab, 'tis you? Why do you gaze, rigid?
    And this is the blind witch, Miriam?

    _David._                             It is.

                  (_He throws off the cloak._)

    _Doeg._ Lured? I am snared? a trap?

    _David._                            Where have you Michal?

    _Doeg_ (_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----

                  (_Breaks 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,
    Would rush and in thee cry until thy bones
    Broken of guilt are crumbled in thy groans.
    Dead, she is dead?

    _Miriam._          No, David, my lord, he lies!

                  (_Strangely, as in a trance._)

    To wound you, lies!

    _David._            Not dead?

    _Miriam._                     I see her eyes!

                  (_All listen amazed._)

    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, to pierce a woman!

                  (MIRIAM _finds her way out._)

    You've plotted, have been false and bloody, foul,
    And as a pestilence of midnight marsh
    Have oozed corruption into all around you.
    The kingdom thro' you is in brokenness,
    Within its arteries you flow, poison,
    Incentive of irruption and unrest,
    Of treachery and disaffection's sore,
    Till even the stars that light it seem as tares
    Sown hostile o'er the nightly vale of heaven.

                  (_Draws firmly. Coldly, skilfully
                  approaches for attack._)

    _Doeg_ (_retreating_). No farther!

    _David._                           Unto the end! unto the end!

                  (_He rushes in; they engage_; DOEG
                  _is 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._ Abiathar! You know obedience?

                  (DOEG _is sullenly bound and led
                  aside. Then a panic is heard afar,
                  and dim 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 armour for me, I will go
    Forth and may backward, backward bend defeat.
    Duty to Saul is over.

    _Adriel._             You must not.
    A fruitless intrepidity it were.

    _Abiathar._ Remember your anointing!

    _Abishai._                           The prophesy!
    And Michal! (_The gate opens._) Michal who lives! who
    lives! who lives!

                  (DAVID _has turned and sees her
                  enter with_ MIRIAM.)

    Hosanna!...

    _Adriel._   Ever!...

    _Miriam._            David----

    _Michal_ (_pleading, to him_). It is I.

    _Miriam._ The cords were cruel, hungrily sank in
    Her wrists and ankles.

    _Michal._              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._)

    _Michal._                               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?

    _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?

    _Michal._                         Not to betray!
    From Saul, my father, penitent I fled,
    Seeking you in Engeddi's wild.

    _David._                       And Phalti?

    _Michal._ 'Twas wedding him I loathed.

    _David._                               Say true!

    _Michal._                                        This knife
    Unfailingly into my breast had sunk
    And spared me, had not flight.

    _David._                       This--this can be?

                  (_A great joy dawning in him._)

    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?

    _Michal._ David--for ever!

                  (_She starts toward his arms. But
                  cries and confusion of 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?

    _Adriel._      Saul--is slain!

    _Michal._                      My father?

    _Adriel._                                 Slain!
    And Jonathan----

    _David._          No!

    _Adriel._             Fell beside him down ...
    The fray was fast--Israel fled--the foe
    Fierce after Saul, whom Jonathan defended.

    _Michal._ My father!

    _David._             And my brother Jonathan!
    If I believe it will not miracle
    Alone bring joy again unto my pain?

                  (_The wailing again, and deeper
                  groans._)

    O Israel, the Infinite has touched
    Thy glory and it changes to a shroud!
    Thy splendour 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 the wails re-arise._)

    Peaks, mountains of Gilboa! let no more
    Dew be upon you, and as sackcloth let
    Clouds cover you, and ashes be your soil,
    Until I bring upon Philistia
    And Gath and Askalon extinguishing,
    And sorrow--and immensity of tears!

                  (MICHAL _goes to him. He folds her
                  in his arms._)

    But we must calm the flowing of this grief.
    Though yet we cannot mind us to remember,
    Love will as sandal-breath and trickling balm
    O'erheal us in the unbegotten years,
    Too headlong must not be our agony.
    Hush now thy woundedness, my Michal, now.
    See, o'er the East the lifted wings of Dawn.

                  (_They climb the stair to the
                  house-top. As they look away toward
                  the battle's rout the clouds part,
                  and over them breaks the full
                  brightness of the sun...._)

THE END.


+The Gresham Press+,

UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED.

WOKING AND LONDON.



     Transcriber's Notes:

     Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
     preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

     Simple typographical and spelling errors were corrected.
     Considerable latitude was provided the dialogue and poetry.

     Italics words are denoted by _underscores_.

     Elaborate fonts are denoted by +pluses+.





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