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Title: Joyzelle
Author: Maeterlinck, Maurice
Language: English
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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 "Joyzelle" ***

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                  _BY MAURICE MAETERLINCK_
  Crown 8vo, cloth, designed cover, gilt top, 5s. net each


                 Translated by ALFRED SUTRO

    The Life of the Bee                 [_Ninth Edition_

    The Treasure of the Humble
          With an Introduction by A. B. WALKLEY
                                        [_Sixth Edition_

    Wisdom and Destiny                 [_Fourth Edition_

    The Buried Temple

             *       *       *       *       *

                       Translated by
                ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS

    The Double Garden                  [_Second Edition_

             *       *       *       *       *

                 Translated by ALFRED SUTRO
         Foolscap 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 3s. 6d. net

    Thoughts from Maeterlinck

             *       *       *       *       *

       Small crown 8vo, half cloth, 3s. 6d. net each

    Aglavaine and Selysette: A Drama in Five Acts
         With an Introduction by J. W. MACKAIL
                                        [_Third Edition_

    Monna Vanna: A Drama in Three Acts

             *       *       *       *       *

                Translated by BERNARD MIALL

    Sister Beatrice; and Ardiane & Barbe Bleue: Two Plays

             *       *       *       *       *
                       Translated by
                ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS
     Small 4to, half cloth, gilt top, 3s. 6d. net each

    My Dog. With 6 Illustrations in Colour by G. VERNON
      STOKES

    Old-fashioned Flowers and other Open-air Essays. With
      6 Illustrations in Colour by G. S. ELGOOD


                   [Illustration]



                      JOYZELLE


                         BY
                 MAURICE MAETERLINCK


                    TRANSLATED BY
             ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS


                       LONDON
         GEORGE ALLEN, 156 CHARING CROSS ROAD
                        1907

               [_All rights reserved_]



  _Copyright in the United States of America, 1903,
                by_ EUGÈNE FASQUELLE


         Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.
              At the Ballantyne Press



    _CHARACTERS_

  MERLIN
  LANCÉOR, _Merlin's Son_
  JOYZELLE
  ARIELLE, _Merlin's genius, invisible to the others_

      [SCENE: _Merlin's Island_



JOYZELLE



ACT I


_A Gallery in MERLIN'S Palace_

      [_MERLIN is seated near ARIELLE, who is sleeping on
      the steps of a marble staircase. It is night._

MERLIN.

You sleep, my Arielle, you my inner force, the neglected power
which slumbers in every soul and which I alone, till now, awaken at
will.... You sleep, my docile and familiar little fairy, and your
hair, straying like a blue mist, invisible to men, mingles with the
moon, the perfumes of the night, the rays of the stars, the roses
that shed their petals, the spreading sky, to remind us thus that
nothing separates us from any existing thing and that our thought
does not know where the light begins for which it hopes, nor where
the shadow ends which it escapes.... You are sleeping soundly and,
while you sleep, I lose all my knowledge and become like my blind
brethren, who do not yet know that on this earth there are as many
hidden gods as there are hearts that throb.... Alas, I am to them
the genius to be avoided, the wicked sorcerer in league with their
enemies!... They have no enemies, but only subjects who know not
where to find their king.... They are persuaded that my secret
virtue, which is obeyed by the plants and the stars, by water,
stone and fire and to which the future at times reveals some of its
features: they are persuaded that this new and yet so human virtue
is hidden in philtres, in horrible charms, in hellish herbs and
awful signs.... No, it is in myself, even as it resides in them; it
is in you, my frail Arielle, in you who were once in me.... I have
taken two or three bolder steps in the dark.... I have done a little
earlier what they will do later.... All things will be subject to
them when they have learnt at last to revive your goodwill, even as I
have revived it.... But it were vain for me to tell them that you are
sleeping here and to point to your dazzling grace: they would not
see you.... Each one of them must find you within himself; each one
of them must open as I do the tomb of his life and come to awake you
as I awake you now....

      [_He bends over ARIELLE and kisses her._

ARIELLE.

(_Waking._) Master!...

MERLIN.

This is the hour, Arielle, when love must watch.... I shall often
trouble your sleep in these coming days....

ARIELLE.

My sleep was so long that I am always relapsing into it; but I feel
stronger and become happier at each new awakening that your thought
imposes on me....

MERLIN.

Whither are you taking my son and when shall I see him again?...

ARIELLE.

I was following him with my eyes in my attentive dream.... He is
approaching us.... He thinks that he is lost; and his destiny leads
him where happiness awaits him....

MERLIN.

Will he know me?... It is many years since the prescribed proof
exacted that we should live as strangers to each other; and I am
eager to be able to embrace him as I did long ago, when he was a
child....

ARIELLE.

No, fate must be allowed to decide freely; nor may the proof be
falsified by the love of a father of whose existence he must not
know....

MERLIN.

But now that Joyzelle is here, close to us; now that he is coming
towards her, does the future become more clear, can you read further
into it?...

ARIELLE.

(_Gazing upon the sea and the night, in a sort of trance._) I read in
it what I read from the first moment.... Your son's fate is wholly
inscribed within a circle of love. If he love, if he be loved with a
wondrous love, which should be that of all men, but which is becoming
so rare that at present it seems to them a dazzling folly; if he
love, if he be loved with an ingenuous and yet clear-seeing love,
with a love simple and pure and all-powerful as the mountain stream,
with an heroic love, yet one that shall be gentler than a flower,
with a love which takes all and gives back more than it takes,
which never hesitates, which is not deceived; a love which nothing
disconcerts and nothing repels, a love which hears and sees naught
save a mysterious happiness invisible to all beside, which perceives
it everywhere, in every form and every trial, and which, with a
smile, will even commit crime to claim it.... If he obtain that love,
which exists somewhere and is waiting for him in a heart that I seem
to have recognized, his life will be longer, fairer and happier than
that of other men. But, if he do not find it before the month is
past, for the circle is closing; if Joyzelle's love be not that which
the future holds out to him from the high skies; if the flame do not
burn its full span, if a regret veil or a doubt obscure it, then
death triumphs and your son is lost....

MERLIN.

Ay, for all men the hour of love is an important hour!...

ARIELLE.

For Lancéor, alas, it is the inexorable hour!... Within these next
few days he will reach the summit of his life. With groping hands, he
touches happiness and the tomb.... He is dependent entirely on the
last steps which he is taking and on the act of the virgin who is
coming to meet him....

MERLIN.

And if Joyzelle be not she whom fate selects?...

ARIELLE.

Indeed, I fear that the proof which we are about to attempt is the
only one which it offers; but man must never lose courage in face of
the future....

MERLIN.

Why attempt the proof if it be uncertain?...

ARIELLE.

If we do not offer it, fate will offer it; it is inevitable, but it
is left to chance; and that is why I try to direct its course....

MERLIN.

And if he love Joyzelle and she do not love him with the love which
fate demands?...

ARIELLE.

Then we shall have to intervene more openly.

MERLIN.

How?

ARIELLE.

I will try to learn.

MERLIN.

Arielle, I conjure you, as this concerns the dearest being, much
dearer than myself; as I have only one son and he can become what
we well know that I could never be: is it not possible to make an
unexampled, an almost desperate effort with regard to the future; to
violate time; to snatch from the years, even were they to revenge
themselves upon us two, the secret which they conceal so strictly and
which contains much more than our own life and our own happiness?...

ARIELLE.

No, strive as I may, I can reach no further.... The future is a world
limited by ourselves, in which we discover only that which concerns
us and sometimes, by chance, that which interests those whom we
love the most.... I see very clearly all that unfolds itself round
Lancéor, until his road meets Joyzelle's road. But around Joyzelle
the years are veiled. It is an effulgent veil, a veil of light,
but it hides the days as profoundly as a veil of darkness.... It
interrupts life. Then, beyond the veil, I again find happiness and
death awaiting him, like two equal, indifferent, inscrutable hosts;
and I cannot tell which is the nearer, the more imperious.... It is
not possible for me to know if Joyzelle is the predestined one....
Everything promises that it is she, but nothing confirms it.... Her
face is stretched towards the coming years ... and, call to her as I
may, with all my might, she does not answer, does not turn her head.
Nothing can distract her; and I have never seen her features, which
I can only imagine.... One sign alone is certain: it is that of the
very sharp and cruel proofs which she will have to overcome.... By
these proofs alone we shall know her....

MERLIN.

And, therefore, starting from this point which I can surmount, we
must submit to unknown powers, question facts like other men, await
their reply and try to conquer them if they threaten harm to those
whom we love....

ARIELLE.

But here they come, in the breaking dawn.... Let us hasten away, they
are coming near.... Let us leave to their destiny, which is beginning
its work, the solitude and the silence which it demands.

      [_Exeunt MERLIN and ARIELLE. A few moments after,
      while the daylight swiftly increases, JOYZELLE and
      LANCÉOR enter from opposite sides and meet._

JOYZELLE.

(_Stopping, astonished, before LANCÉOR._) What are you seeking?

LANCÉOR.

I do not know where I am.... I was seeking a shelter.... Who are you?

JOYZELLE.

My name is Joyzelle.

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle.... I am saying the name.... It is as caressing as a wing,
the breath of a flower, a whisper of gladness, a ray of light....
It describes you completely, it sings in the heart, it lights the
lips....

JOYZELLE.

And you, who are you?

LANCÉOR.

I no longer myself know who I am.... A few days ago, my name was
Lancéor; I knew where I was and I knew myself.... To-day, I seek
myself, I grope within myself and all around me and I wander in the
mist, amid mirages....

JOYZELLE.

What mist? What mirages?... How long have you been on this island?

LANCÉOR.

Since yesterday....

JOYZELLE.

Strange, they did not tell me....

LANCÉOR.

No one saw me.... I was wandering on the shore, I was in despair....

JOYZELLE.

Oh! Why?...

LANCÉOR.

I was very far from here, I was very far from him, when a letter told
me that my old father was dying.... I took ship at once. We were long
at sea; then, in the first port at which the ship put in, I learnt
that it was too late, that my father was no more.... I continued my
voyage, at least to be on the scene of his last thoughts and carry
out his last wishes....

JOYZELLE.

Why are you here?

LANCÉOR.

Why? I do not know, nor do I know how.... The sea was very still
and the sky was clear.... We saw only the water slumbering in the
azure.... Suddenly, without warning, the waves were invaded by thick
blue mists.... They rose like a veil, which clung to our hands, to
the rigging, to our faces.... Then the wind blew, our anchor broke
loose and the blind ship, driven by a current that made her timbers
creak, arrived towards evening in the unknown harbour of this
unexpected island.... Sad and disheartened, I landed on the beach; I
fell asleep in a cave overlooking the sea; and, when I awoke, the fog
had lifted and I saw the ship disappear like a radiant wing on the
horizon of the waves.

JOYZELLE.

What had happened?

LANCÉOR.

I do not know.... I would have tried to follow her, but I could find
no boat in the harbour.... I must wait, therefore, until another
vessel passes....

JOYZELLE.

That is curious.... It is like myself....

LANCÉOR.

Like you?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes, I too came to the island through a thick fog.... But I was
shipwrecked....

LANCÉOR.

When was that? And how?... Where do you come from, Joyzelle?...

JOYZELLE.

I was coming from another island....

LANCÉOR.

Where were you going?

JOYZELLE.

Where some one was awaiting me....

LANCÉOR.

Who?

JOYZELLE.

One whom they had thought right to choose for me....

LANCÉOR.

Were you betrothed?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

LANCÉOR.

Do you love him?...

JOYZELLE.

No.

LANCÉOR.

But then?...

JOYZELLE.

My mother wished it....

LANCÉOR.

Do you intend to obey her?

JOYZELLE.

No.

LANCÉOR.

Ah, that is well!... I like that!... And my father, at the moment of
his death, wished that I also should choose her whom he had chosen
for me.... He had his reasons, very deep and serious reasons, it
appears.... And, as he wished it and as he is no longer alive, I must
obey him....

JOYZELLE.

Why?

LANCÉOR.

We cannot evade the wishes of the dead.

JOYZELLE.

Why?

LANCÉOR.

They can no longer be altered.... We must have pity, we must respect
them....

JOYZELLE.

No....

LANCÉOR.

You would not obey?...

JOYZELLE.

No.

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!... This is horrible!...

JOYZELLE.

No, the dead are horrible, if they want us to love those whom we do
not love....

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!... I am afraid of you....

JOYZELLE.

I said.... What did I say?... Perhaps I was too quick....

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle, your eyes are moist at the thought of the dead and belie
your words....

JOYZELLE.

No, it is not for them.... Perhaps I was harsh.... And yet, they are
wrong.

LANCÉOR.

Let us speak no more of the dead.... You have not told me how your
shipwreck....

JOYZELLE.

We lost our way in a thick fog.... A fog so thick that it filled our
hands like white feathers.... The pilot mistook the course.... He
thought he saw a beacon.... The ship struck upon a hidden reef....
But no one perished.... The waves bore me away; and then I saw
the blue water glide before my eyes as though I were sinking in a
stifling sky.... I went down and down.... Then some one caught hold
of me and I lost consciousness....

LANCÉOR.

Who caught hold of you?...

JOYZELLE.

The lord of this island.

LANCÉOR.

And who is this lord?...

JOYZELLE.

He is an old man who wanders like a restless shade about this marble
palace....

LANCÉOR.

If I had been there!...

JOYZELLE.

What would you have done?...

LANCÉOR.

I should have saved you!...

JOYZELLE.

Was I not saved?...

LANCÉOR.

It is not the same thing!... You would not have suffered, nothing
would have come to you.... I should have carried you on the crest of
the waves.... Ah, I do not know how.... Like a cup full of precious
pearls, of which not one must be touched by a shadow; like a flower
of the dawn, from which we fear to shake a single dewdrop.... When I
think of the dangers which you, so fair, so fragile, ran among the
cruel rocks, in that old man's arms!... What he did was fine; he did
the impossible.... But it was not enough.... How did you reach the
shore at last?...

JOYZELLE.

I awoke lying on the sands.... The old man was there. Then he had me
carried to this palace....

LANCÉOR.

Is he king of this island?...

JOYZELLE.

The island is almost desert, one sees none but a few servants who
move about in silence.... He can have for his subjects only the
trees, the flowers and the happy birds with which the island seems
filled....

LANCÉOR.

What he did was well done....

JOYZELLE.

He is good and kind; and he received me as my father himself could
not have received me.... Yet I do not like him....

LANCÉOR.

Why?

JOYZELLE.

I believe he loves me....

LANCÉOR.

What!... He dares!... No, it is not possible, or else the years no
longer have the weight they should have and reason escapes us when
death draws near....

JOYZELLE.

And yet I fear it.... He gave me to understand.... He is strange and
sad.... They say he has a son who is very far from here, who is lost,
perhaps.... He is always thinking of him.... When he thinks that he
will see him again, his face lights up, he.... Here he is!...

      [_Enter MERLIN._

MERLIN.

I was looking for you, Joyzelle.... (_Turning to Lancéor, with a
threatening glance._) As for you, I know who you are and I know the
reasons that have brought you to this island, the trick of this
pretended shipwreck and the name of the enemy who sent you....

LANCÉOR.

Me?... But it was a mere accident that flung me on this coast....

MERLIN.

Let us waste no phrases.

JOYZELLE.

What has he done?

MERLIN.

He intended, alas, to do the basest thing that man can do: to betray
kindness, deceive friendship and sell to the enemy the too generous
host who was going to welcome him....

JOYZELLE.

No!

MERLIN.

Why? Do you know him?

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

MERLIN.

Since when?

JOYZELLE.

Since I first saw him.

MERLIN.

And when did you see him?

JOYZELLE.

When he entered this room....

MERLIN.

That is hardly....

JOYZELLE.

It is enough.

MERLIN.

No, Joyzelle, and soon proofs and facts will show you that it is not
enough and that an honest look, an innocent smile and ingenuous words
often conceal more dangerous snares than those of thankless old age
or of love that has but little hope....

JOYZELLE.

What do you mean to do?

MERLIN.

I am waiting for the final certainty; and then I shall do what it is
lawful and necessary to do to remove all fear of an enemy who would
stop at nothing. The pitiless measures which I shall take concern
your safety as much as my own; for the same plots surround us both
and we are united by fate.... I can tell you no more to-day; have
confidence in me; perhaps you already know that your happiness is
mine....

JOYZELLE.

You saved my life, I remember that....

MERLIN.

You remember it without any kindliness: but I hope that one day
you will do me justice.... (_To LANCÉOR._) As for you, go. The
information which I have received is not open to doubt. When the
facts which I fear have confirmed it, I shall act. Meanwhile, you are
my prisoner. You will be shown the part of the palace reserved for
you. If you go beyond the limits laid down, you become your own judge
and pronounce your own sentence. There will be no appeal. Go, my
orders are given....

LANCÉOR.

I obey, but only until you recognize your error. We shall meet soon,
Joyzelle....

MERLIN.

No, bid her farewell; for it is doubtful if you will ever see her
again.... Nevertheless, Joyzelle, chance may bring you again in this
man's presence. In that case, fly from him; your life and his depend
most strictly on your prompt flight. If I learn that you have seen
each other, you are irrevocably lost.... (_To LANCÉOR._) Do you
promise to fly from her?

LANCÉOR.

If her life is at stake, yes.

MERLIN.

And you, Joyzelle?

JOYZELLE.

No.



ACT II


      _A wild, neglected garden, full of weeds and
      brambles. On the right, a very high and gloomy wall,
      pierced by a railed gate._

      [_JOYZELLE is discovered in the garden, alone._

JOYZELLE.

This is the garden which no one visits. The sun does not enter here;
the poor wild flowers upon which men wage war because they are not
beautiful here await death; and the birds are silent. Here are
the violet, which has lost its perfume, the trembling, shrinking
buttercup and the scarlet poppy, which sheds its petals without
ceasing.... Here are the scabious begging for a little water, the
deadly spurge hiding its green blossoms, the blue campanula silently
shaking its useless bells.... I know you all, you humble and despised
flowers, so good and so ugly!... You could be beautiful; it needs
scarce anything: a ray of happiness, a minute's grace, a bolder
smile to attract the bee.... But no eye sees you, no hand sows you,
no hand gathers you; and I have come among you to be also alone....
How gloomy everything looks!... The grass is neglected and parched,
the leaves are sick, the old trees dying; and spring itself and
the dew of dawn are afraid lest they should grow sorrowful in this
solitude....

      [_LANCÉOR appears behind the railed gate._

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!...

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor!...

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!...

JOYZELLE.

Go away!... Go away!... Take care!... It is death if he sees you!...

LANCÉOR.

He will not see us; he is very far from here.

JOYZELLE.

Where is he?...

LANCÉOR.

I saw him go away. I watched his departure from the top of that tower
in which I am a prisoner.... He is at the other end of the island,
near the blue forest that shuts in the horizon....

JOYZELLE.

But he may return; or some one will tell him.... Go away, go away, I
say!... Your life is at stake!...

LANCÉOR.

The palace is deserted; I have gone through the rooms, the gardens
and the courts, the long box hedges, the marble staircases....

JOYZELLE.

Go away, it is only a trap.... He has a design upon your life; I know
it, he said so.... He suspects that I love you.... He is only seeking
an excuse for what he would like to do.... Go away!... As it is, you
have done too much....

LANCÉOR.

No.

JOYZELLE.

If you do not go away, then I shall go.

LANCÉOR.

If you go, Joyzelle, I shall remain at this gate until night brings
him back to the palace.... He will find me on this forbidden
threshold.... I have passed the limits assigned to me; I have
therefore disobeyed him and I wish him to see it and I wish him to
know it!...

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor, have pity! I entreat you, Lancéor!... You are risking all
our happiness!... Do not think only of yourself!... I will go where
you please, if you will leave this gate!... We shall see each other
elsewhere, later, another day.... We must choose the time, we must
take care, we must make our preparations.... See, I am stretching out
my arms to you ... what would you have me do?... What must I promise
you?...

LANCÉOR.

Open the gate.

JOYZELLE.

No, no, no, I cannot....

LANCÉOR.

Open, open, Joyzelle, if you would have me live....

JOYZELLE.

Why do you wish me to open?...

LANCÉOR.

I want to see you closer, I want to touch your hands which I have not
yet touched, to look at you once more as I looked at you on the first
day.... Open, or I am determined to be undone; I shall not go away....

JOYZELLE.

Will you go away then?...

LANCÉOR.

I promise you, Joyzelle.... As soon as you open the gate, before a
swallow, before a thought has time to hasten from wherever it may be
to surprise my hand as it touches yours.... I beseech you, Joyzelle:
this is too cruel.... I am standing at this gate like a blind
beggar.... I can see only your shadow moving among the leaves....
These bars are hateful and hide your face.... One look alone,
Joyzelle, in which I shall see you wholly; and then I will go like a
robber flying with a great treasure dragging noisily behind him....
No one will know and we shall be happy....

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor, this is terrible!... I never tremble, but I am trembling
to-day.... Perhaps it means your life; and it already means mine....
What is that light which rises so quickly?... It has come to threaten
us, it is going to betray us!...

LANCÉOR.

No, no, it is the sun rising behind the wall.... It is the innocent
sun, the good May sun, which has come to delight us.... Open, then,
open quickly: each minute that passes adds its dangers to the dangers
which you fear.... A single movement, Joyzelle; a turn of your hand;
and you really open the gates of life to me! (_JOYZELLE turns the
key; the gate opens; LANCÉOR crosses the threshold._)

LANCÉOR.

(_Taking JOYZELLE in his arms._) Joyzelle!...

JOYZELLE.

I am here!...

LANCÉOR.

I hold your hands and your eyes, your hair and your lips, in the
same kiss and at the same moment, all the gifts of love which I have
never had and all its presence!... My arms are so surprised that they
cannot carry them; and my whole life cannot contain them.... Do not
turn away your face, do not draw back your lips!...

JOYZELLE.

It is not to escape you, but to be closer to you....

LANCÉOR.

Do not turn your head; do not deprive me of a shadow of your lashes,
a gleam of your eyes: it is not the hours, but the very minutes that
threaten our happiness....

JOYZELLE.

I was seeking your smile....

LANCÉOR.

And your own meets mine in the first kiss that passes between our
lips to unite our destinies.... It seems to me to-day as though I
had always seen you and always clasped you and as though I were
repeating, in reality, on the threshold of paradise, what I did on
earth when embracing your shadow....

JOYZELLE.

I used to embrace you at night when I embraced my dreams....

LANCÉOR.

I knew no doubt....

JOYZELLE.

I knew no fear....

LANCÉOR.

And everything is granted me....

JOYZELLE.

And everything makes me happy!...

LANCÉOR.

How deep your eyes are and how full of confidence!...

JOYZELLE.

And how clear are yours and full of certainty!...

LANCÉOR.

How well I recognize them!...

JOYZELLE.

And how well I know yours!...

LANCÉOR.

Your hands rest on my shoulders just as when I lay waiting for them
without daring to wake....

JOYZELLE.

And your arm is round my neck just as it was....

LANCÉOR.

It was thus that your eyelids used to close at the breath of love....

JOYZELLE.

And it was thus, too, that the tears came to your eyes when they
opened....

LANCÉOR.

When happiness is so great....

JOYZELLE.

Unhappiness does not come so long as love binds it....

LANCÉOR.

Do you love me?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes....

LANCÉOR.

Oh, how you said "yes!"... "Yes" from the depths of your heart, from
the depths of your thought, from the depths of your very soul!... I
knew it, perhaps; but it had to be said; and our kisses themselves
did not count without it.... Now it is enough, it will feed my life;
all the hatred on earth could not wipe it away nor thirty years of
distress exhaust it!... I am in the light and the spring overwhelms
me!... I look up to the sky and the garden awakens!... Do you hear
the birds making the trees sing and repeating your smile and that
wonderful "yes;" and do you see the rays that caress your hair like
diamonds sparkling among the flames and the thousands of flowers that
bend over us to surprise in our eyes the mystery of a love which they
did not know?...

JOYZELLE.

(_Opening her eyes._) There was nothing here but poor, dead
flowers....

      [_She looks around her, stupefied; for, since
      Lancéor's entrance, without their noticing it, the
      gloomy garden has become gradually transfigured by
      magic. The wild plants, the weeds that poisoned it
      have grown and each, according to its kind, has
      increased its flowers, blooming to a prodigious size.
      The puny bindweed has become a powerful creeper,
      whose wonderful blossoms engarland the trees weighed
      down with ripe fruits and peopled with miraculous
      birds. The pale pimpernel is now a tall shrub of
      a warm and tender green, with bursting flowers
      larger than lilies. The pale scabious has lengthened
      its stalks, from which spring tufts like mauve
      heliotrope.... Butterflies flit to and fro, the bees
      hum, the birds sing, the fruits swing and fall, the
      light streams down. The perspective of the garden
      has become infinitely extended; and the audience
      now sees, to the right, a marble basin, half-hidden
      behind a hedge of oleanders and turnsoles cut into
      arches._

LANCÉOR.

There is nothing here now but the flowers of life!... Look!...
They are coming down, they are streaming down upon us!... They are
bursting on the branches, they bend the trees, they entangle our
steps, they press against one another, they crush one another, they
open out wide, one within the other, they blind the leaves, they
dazzle the grass; I know none of them and the spring is drunk; I have
never seen flowers so disordered, so resplendent!...

JOYZELLE.

Where are we?...

LANCÉOR.

We are in the garden which you would not open to my love....

JOYZELLE.

What have we done?

LANCÉOR.

I have given the kiss that is given but once; and you have spoken the
word that is never respoken....

JOYZELLE.

(_Swooning._) Lancéor, I am mad, or else we are going to die....

LANCÉOR.

(_Supporting her._) Joyzelle, you are turning pale and your dear arms
are pressing me as though you feared that a hidden enemy....

JOYZELLE.

Have you not seen...?

LANCÉOR.

What?

JOYZELLE.

We are caught in a trap and those flowers are betraying us.... The
birds were silent, the trees were dead, there was nothing here but
weeds, which no one dug up.... I recognize them all and remember
their names, which still remind me of their former wretchedness....
Here is the buttercup, laden with golden disks; the poor pale
pimpernel is changed into a bush of lilies; the tall scabious are
dropping their petals over our heads; and those purple bells which
shoot up over the wall to tell the world that they have seen us, are
the foxglove, which was pining in the shade.... It is as though the
sky had shed its flowers.... Do not look at them; they are here to
ruin us.... Ah, I am wrong to seek and I should have understood!...
He muttered confused threats.... Yes, yes, I knew he had spells
at his command.... They told me so one day, but I did not believe
them.... Now it is his time; it is well, it is too late; but perhaps
we shall see that love also knows....

      [_A horn sounds._

LANCÉOR.

Hark!...

JOYZELLE.

It is the horses' hoofs and the horn sounding the recall.... He is
returning. Fly!...

LANCÉOR.

But you?...

JOYZELLE.

I have nothing to fear, but his hateful love.... Go!...

LANCÉOR.

I will stay with you; and, if his violence....

JOYZELLE.

You will ruin us both.... Go!... Hide there, behind those spurges....
Whatever he may say, whatever he may do, do not show yourself and
fear nothing for me: I shall know how to defend myself.... Go!... He
is coming!... Go!... I hear his voice....

      [_LANCÉOR hides behind a cluster of tall spurges. The
      railed gate opens and MERLIN enters the garden._

MERLIN.

Is he here, Joyzelle?...

JOYZELLE.

No.

MERLIN.

Those flowers do not lie; they inform against love.... They were your
keepers and have been faithful to me.... I am not cruel and I forgive
more than once.... You can save him by pointing to the bush which
hides him.... (_JOYZELLE stands motionless._) Do not look at me with
those eyes of hatred.... You will love me one day, for love goes by
dark and generous paths.... Do you not believe that I will keep my
promises?...

JOYZELLE.

No!...

MERLIN.

I have done nothing, Joyzelle, to deserve such hatred or such an
insult.... Since you wish it, I will let fate take its course....

      [_A cry of pain is heard from behind the cluster of
      spurges._

JOYZELLE.

(_Rushing behind the cluster._) Lancéor!...

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!... I am hurt.... An adder has stung me....

JOYZELLE.

It is not an adder.... It is a horrible animal.... It is lifting
itself against you!... Let me crush it underfoot.... It is
foaming.... It is dead.... Lancéor, you are turning pale!... Lean
on my neck.... Fear nothing, I am strong.... Show me your wound....
Lancéor, I am here.... Lancéor, answer me!...

MERLIN.

      (_Approaching them and examining the bite._)

The wound is mortal.... The poison is very slow and its action is
strange.... Do not despair.... I alone know the remedy....

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor! Lancéor! Answer me! Answer me!...

MERLIN.

He will not answer, he is sound asleep.... Withdraw, Joyzelle, unless
you wish this mere sleep to end in the grave.... Withdraw, Joyzelle:
you will not be betraying him; you will be warding off death....

JOYZELLE.

First make the sign that shall restore him to life!

MERLIN.

(_Looking at her gravely._) I will make the sign, Joyzelle.
(_JOYZELLE exit slowly, turns back and withdraws at last, before a
grave and imperious gesture from MERLIN. MERLIN, left alone with
LANCÉOR, kneels down beside him to dress his wound._) There, have no
fear, my son, there, it is for your happiness; and may all my heart
open in the first kiss that I am able to give you.

      [_He embraces him long and fervently. Enter ARIELLE._

ARIELLE.

Master, we must hasten and lay the new trap.

MERLIN.

Will he fall into it?

ARIELLE.

Man always falls into a trap, when his instinct leads him; but let us
veil his reason, let us change his character; we shall behold a sight
that will make us smile....

MERLIN.

I shall not smile, for the sight is a sad one and I do not like
to see a noble and beautiful love, a love that believes itself
predestined and unparalleled, thus reduced to nothing, at the first
proof, in the arms of a phantom....

ARIELLE.

Lancéor is not free, for he is no longer himself and I have abandoned
him to his instinct during the past hour....

MERLIN.

He ought to have conquered it....

ARIELLE.

You speak like that because I am submissive: but remember the time
when I was less docile.

MERLIN.

You think yourself very docile because I have conquered you; but you
retain some shadow even in the light in which I have been able to
train you and I find in you a certain cruelty that takes too great a
pleasure in men's weaknesses....

ARIELLE.

Men's weaknesses are often necessary to the purposes of life....

MERLIN.

What will happen if he yields?...

ARIELLE.

He will yield: it is written. The question is if Joyzelle's love will
surmount the proof.

MERLIN.

And do you not know?

ARIELLE.

No; she has a mind which is not wholly within my sphere, which
depends upon a principle which I do not know, which I have never seen
except in her and which changes the future.... I have tried to subdue
her; but she obeys me only in little things. But it is time to
act. Go and find Joyzelle and leave your son to me.... Go, lest you
should spoil the proof.... I shall revive him, I shall renew and make
still deeper and blinder the intoxication into which I have plunged
him; and I shall become visible to his eyes in order to deceive his
kisses....

MERLIN.

(_In a voice of smiling reproach._) Arielle....

ARIELLE.

Go, let me be.... You know that kisses given to poor Arielle pass
like the flash of a wing that closes over running water....

      [_MERLIN retires to a distance. ARIELLE goes towards
      the marble basin; and there, half-hidden behind the
      hedge of oleanders, she half opens the veils that
      cover her, sits on the grassy steps that surround the
      basin and slowly unties her long hair, while LANCÉOR
      awakes, groping with his hands._

LANCÉOR.

Where did I fall asleep? Some strange poison has entered my
heart.... I am no longer the same and my mind is wandering.... I
am struggling against the intoxication and I do not know where I
am going.... (_Catches sight of ARIELLE._) But who is that woman
behind the oleanders? (_Approaching the hedge and looking._) She is
beautiful!... She is half unclad and her curved foot, like a prudent
flower, is trying the water, which smiles and encircles it with
pearls.... She raises her arms to bind her hair; and the light of the
sky glides between her shoulders, like gleaming water over marble
wings. (_Approaching closer._) She is beautiful, she is beautiful!...
I must see her.... She is turning round and one of her bare breasts,
peeping through her tresses, adds rays to the rays that strike it....
She is listening, she hears; and her wide-open eyes are questioning
the roses.... She has seen me, she hides herself, she is going to
fly.... (_Passing through the hedge._) No, no, do not fly from
me!... I have seen you.... It is too late!... (_Taking ARIELLE in his
arms._) I want to know the name of so pure a vision, which plunges
into darkness all that I have loved!... I want to know also what too
faithful shadow, what profound retreat concealed the marvel which I
hold in my arms!... What trees, what caves, what towers, what walls
were able to stifle the brilliancy of that flesh, the fragrance of
that life, the fire of those eyes?... Where were you hiding, you whom
even a blind man would find without difficulty in a holiday crowd?...
No, do not thrust me away; this is not the passion, the intoxication
of a moment; it is the lasting dizziness of love!... I am at your
knees; I humbly embrace them.... I give myself to you alone.... I am
only yours.... I ask for nothing but a kiss from your lips to forget
the rest and seal the future.... Bow down your head.... I see it
bending towards me, I see it consenting; and I call for the token
which nothing can efface henceforth.... (_He kisses her passionately.
A cry of distress is heard from behind the bushes._) What is it?...

      [_ARIELLE releases herself from his embrace, flies
      and disappears. Enter JOYZELLE._

JOYZELLE.

(_Dismayed._) Lancéor!...

LANCÉOR.

Why, where do you come from, Joyzelle?

JOYZELLE.

I have seen and heard....

LANCÉOR.

Well, what?... What have you seen?... Look around you: there is
nothing to see.... The oleanders are in flower, the water in the
basin sleeps, the doves are cooing, the water-lilies are opening
their petals: that is all that I see, all that you can see....

JOYZELLE.

Do you love her?

LANCÉOR.

Whom?...

JOYZELLE.

The woman who has just fled....

LANCÉOR.

How should I love her?... I had never seen her.... The woman was
there; I happened to pass.... She gave a loud scream.... I ran up....
She seemed to have lost her footing and, as I held out my hand to
her, she gave me the kiss which you heard....

JOYZELLE.

Is it really you speaking?

LANCÉOR.

Yes, look at me: it is really and wholly I.... Come nearer, touch me
if you doubt it....

JOYZELLE.

The proof was terrible; but this is mortal....

LANCÉOR.

What?...

JOYZELLE.

Was this the first time that you saw that woman?...

LANCÉOR.

Yes.

JOYZELLE.

I shall not speak of it again.... I shall understand, perhaps; in any
case, I forgive....

LANCÉOR.

There is nothing to forgive.

JOYZELLE.

What do you say?...

LANCÉOR.

I say that I have no need for the pardon with which you overwhelm a
fault which I have not committed.

JOYZELLE.

Which you have not committed?... Then I did not see what I saw nor
hear what I heard?...

LANCÉOR.

No.

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor!...

LANCÉOR.

Lancéor! Lancéor!... If you called me by my name for a thousand years
and more, it would alter nothing in what was nothing!...

JOYZELLE.

I do not know what is passing between your happiness and mine.... Oh,
look at me and touch my hands, that I may know where you are!... Oh,
if you speak like that, then it was not you whom I saw this morning
in the wonderful garden where I gave away my soul!... No, there is
something that is mocking our strength.... It is not possible that
all is thus lost because of a single word.... I am seeking, I am all
astray.... I saw you, then, and saw all truth and all trust, as one
suddenly sees the sea between the trees!... I was sure, I knew....
Love did not deceive me.... It deceives me now!... It cannot be that
all this should crumble away for a yea or a nay.... No, no, I will
not have it!... Come, it is not too late; we have not yet lost our
happiness.... It is all in our hands, which close upon it.... What
you have just done was mad, perhaps.... I forget it, I laugh at it,
I saw nothing, I tell you!... It does not exist: you can wipe it out
with a word.... You well know, as I do, that love has words which
nothing can resist and that the greatest fault, when confessed in a
loyal kiss, becomes a truth more beautiful than innocence.... Speak
that word to me; give me that kiss; confess the truth, confess what
I saw, what I heard; and all will again become pure as it was and I
shall recover all that you gave me....

LANCÉOR.

I have said what I have said; if you do not believe me, go away, you
annoy me....

JOYZELLE.

Look me in the face.... Do you love her, since you lie like that?...

LANCÉOR.

No, I love no one and you less than the others....

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor!... What have I done?... Perhaps, without knowing....

LANCÉOR.

Nothing, it is not that.... But I am not what you thought and I do
not care to be.... I am like other men; I wish you to know it and
make the best of it.... I want all our promises to be scattered to
the wind of some new dream, like this dead leaf which I crumple in
my hand.... Ah, the love of women!... Well, so much the worse for
them!... I shall live like other men in a faithless world, where no
one loves, where all oaths yield to the first test.... Ah, tears!...
They were bound to come, I expected them!... You are hard, I know,
and your tears are scarce.... I count them drop by drop!... You did
not love me!... Love which comes thus, at the first call, is not that
on which happiness is based.... In any case, it is not that which I
hoped for.... More tears!... They flow too late!... You did not love
me, I did not love you.... Another would have said.... Ah, another
would have known!... But you, no, no; go away!... Go away, go away, I
say!...

      [_JOYZELLE moves away silently, sobbing. When she has
      taken a few steps, she turns back, hesitates, looks
      sadly at LANCÉOR and disappears with a suppressed
      cry_, "I love you!..." _LANCÉOR, overwhelmed,
      bewildered, staggers away and leans against the trunk
      of a tree._

LANCÉOR.

What have I done?... I am obeying ... what?... I do not know.... What
have I said?... It is not I speaking.... I have lost happiness,
the present, the future.... I am no longer my own master.... I do
what I hate to do... I do not know who I am.... Joyzelle!... Ah, my
Joyzelle!...

      [_He falls, sobbing, with his face to the ground._



ACT III


SCENE I.--_A Room in the Palace_

      [_LANCÉOR is discovered before a mirror. He appears
      emaciated, bent, aged, unrecognizable._

LANCÉOR.

Who am I? In a few hours I have aged thirty years.... The poison is
doing its work and sorrow too.... I see myself with terror in this
mirror which shows me the wreck of myself.... Yet, it does not lie.
(_Going to another mirror._) For here is another that says the same
thing ... unless they all lie, even as everything seems to lie and
to mock at me in this extraordinary island. (_He feels his face._)
Alas, they are right!... These wrinkles which my hand follows are not
formed by their malevolent crystal.... They are in my flesh!... And
these hideous blemishes which will not come away, I feel them under
my fingers.... These bent shoulders refuse to straighten themselves;
my hair is colourless, like pale ashes after the flame has died away;
my eyes, even my eyes, hardly recognize themselves.... They used to
open, to laugh, to welcome life.... Now they blink and their glances
avoid me like the glances of a knave.... Not a thing remains to me
of what I was; my mother would pass by me and not see me.... It is
finished.... (_Drawing the curtain of a tall window._) Let us hide
ourselves; let complete dusk cover up all this!... (_He lies down in
a dark corner of the room._) I give up, I consent.... I have done
what love can never forgive.... I am losing my life at last, as I
have lost Joyzelle.... She will not see me again, I shall not see her
again....

      [_A door opens. Enter JOYZELLE._

JOYZELLE.

(_Surprised by the darkness, she stands a moment on the threshold.
Then, casting her eyes around the room, she perceives LANCÉOR
lying in a corner and rushes towards him with outstretched arms._)
Lancéor!... Ah, these last three days I have lived like a mad thing!
I looked for you everywhere. I went to the tower.... The doors were
closed, the windows too. I crouched on the sill to catch a glimpse of
your shadow, I called, I screamed, no one answered.... But how pale
you are, how thin!... I am talking to you without thinking.... Give
me your two hands....

LANCÉOR.

You know me?...

JOYZELLE.

Why not?

LANCÉOR.

But then I am not...? I am still myself?... Look at me!... What
trace of me remains?... (_Going to the window and tearing aside the
curtain._) Look! Look!... What do you know me by?... Tell me, is it
here?... Is it my hands, my eyes, my clothes, perhaps?...

JOYZELLE.

(_Looking at him and throwing herself, weeping, in his arms._) Oh,
how you have suffered!...

LANCÉOR.

I have suffered, yes, I have suffered!... I deserved it but too
well, after what I said, after what I did!... But that is not what
matters or overwhelms me.... I would willingly die, if you could
but see once more, were it only for the flash of an eye, that which
you once loved.... I cling to myself, to the little that remains of
me.... I should like to hide myself, to bury my distress; and yet
I want you to see me first, so that you may know at last what you
would have to love, if you still loved me.... Come, come, nearer,
nearer.... Not nearer to me, but nearer to the rays that shine upon
my wretchedness.... Look at these wrinkles, these dead eyes, these
lips.... No, no, do not approach, lest disgust.... I am less like
myself than if I had returned from a world which life had never
visited.... You do not recoil? You are not astonished?... You do not
see me as these mirrors see me?...

JOYZELLE.

I see that you are pale and that you seem tired.... Do not put
away my arms.... Bring your face closer.... Why not let me put my
lips to it, as I did when all things smiled to us in the garden of
flowers?... Love knows many days on which nothing smiles.... What
matter, if it be there to smile when we weep?... I am pushing back
your hair which hid your face and made it look so sad.... See, it is
just like that which I pushed back in our first kiss.... Come, come,
do not think about the lies of the mirrors.... They do not know what
they say; but love knows.... Already life is returning to those eyes
which see me again.... Have no fear, for I have none.... I know what
we must do and I shall have the secret that will cure your pain....

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!...

JOYZELLE.

Yes, yes, come nearer; I love you more dearly than at the happy
moment when all united us....

LANCÉOR.

Ah, I understand that; but the other, the other thing!...

JOYZELLE.

What thing?

LANCÉOR.

I understand that one can find one's love in ruins, that one can
gather up its remnants and loves them still.... But where are the
remnants of our love? Nothing is left of it; for, before fate struck
me as you see, I had crushed out of existence all that it could not
destroy.... I have lied and deceived; and, at the very moment when
the least lie begins again in a sphere where nothing is wiped out,
a fault which love might have pardoned.... Truth is dead in our
one heart.... I have lost the confidence in which all my thoughts
surrounded your thoughts, even as a transparent water surrounds a
still clearer water.... I myself no longer believe in it, I no longer
believe in myself; I have nothing pure left into which you can bend
to find my shadow; and my soul is even sadder than my body....

JOYZELLE.

Did you kiss that woman?...

LANCÉOR.

Yes.

JOYZELLE.

Did she call you?...

LANCÉOR.

No.

JOYZELLE.

And why did you say that I was mistaken?...

LANCÉOR.

What good would it be to tell you, Joyzelle? It is too late....
You would not believe me, for you would have to believe the
incredible.... I was walking in a trance, in a sort of invincible,
mocking dream.... My mind, my reason, my will were all farther from
themselves than is this shattered body from what it was.... I would
have liked to tell you, to shout to you again and again that I was
a lie that had escaped control and that the shameful speeches that
defiled my lips stifled, in spite of myself, the tearful confession
and the ardent words of desperate love that were leaping towards
you.... I made efforts fit to burst my throat, to break my heart; and
I heard my faithless voice betray me and my arms, my hands, my eyes,
my kisses were powerless to disown it; for, except my soul, which you
did not see, I felt myself a prey to a hostile force, irresistible,
alas, and incomprehensible!...

JOYZELLE.

But ah, I did see it!... And I knew at once that it was not you that
were lying, that it was impossible....

LANCÉOR.

How did you know?...

JOYZELLE.

Because I love you....

LANCÉOR.

But, what am I, Joyzelle, what do you love in me, in whom I have
profaned and others destroyed all that you once loved?...

JOYZELLE.

You.

LANCÉOR.

What remains of me?... Not these hands, which have lost their
strength; not these eyes, which no longer have their brightness; not
this heart, which has betrayed love....

JOYZELLE.

It is you and still you and none but you yourself!... What matter who
you are, so long as I find you!... Oh, I cannot tell how to explain
that!... When one loves as I love you, she is blind and deaf, because
she looks beyond and listens elsewhere.... When she loves as I love
you, it is not what he says, it is not what he does, it is not what
he is that she loves in the man she loves: it is he and only he, who
remains the same, through the passing years and troubles.... It is
he alone, it is you alone, in whom no change can come but that which
increases love.... He who is all in you, you who are all in him, you
whom I see, whom I hear, to whom I listen incessantly and whom I love
always....

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle!...

JOYZELLE.

Yes, yes, embrace me, crush me in your arms!... We have to struggle,
we shall have to suffer; we are here in a world that seems full of
snares.... We are only two, but we are all love!...


SCENE II.--_A grove._

      [_JOYZELLE lies sleeping on a grassy bank, before
      a box hedge, cut into arches, in which lilies are
      flowering. It is night. A fountain ripples gently.
      The moon is shining. Enter ARIELLE._

ARIELLE.

She sleeps.... The breaths of the garden are hushed around her to
listen to her breath; and the nightingale alone, deputed by the night
which bathes her in silver, comes to soothe her slumbers.... How
beautiful and peaceful she is; and how pure she looks, a thousand
times purer than the water that trickles yonder, flowing from the
glaciers, in the snowy whiteness that sings under the pale leaves!...
Her sweet hair lies spread like a flood of motionless light; and
the moon cannot tell to whom belongs the gold that mingles with the
azure in which its beams float.... Her bright eyes are closed; and
yet the light that falls from the stars tremulously raises her loving
eyelids to seek beneath them the last memory of the fair day that is
past.... Her mouth is a moist, breathing flower; and the lilies have
poured dewdrops on her bare shoulder, to give her her share of the
pearls which night distributes in silence, in the name of the heavens
that open over the treasure of the worlds.... Ah, Joyzelle, Joyzelle!
I am but a phantom lost in the night, more lost than you, for all my
clear-sightedness, and nearer the tomb where happiness expires.... I
am not my own mistress; I obey my master, I can give nothing but an
invisible kiss, which cannot wake you and is not even mine.... But I
love you, I love you, as a less happy sister loves her whom love has
chosen first.... I love you, I encompass you with all the powers that
are not named in the prayers of men; and I would that my master had
met you earlier, before fate, which hurries forward that incomparable
hour, had fixed the tearful future that awaits him and awaits me
with him.... I spread my powerless, troubled affection over your
calm sleep.... Here is the only kiss that I can give you.... Ah, why
does not he of whom I am but the unconscious and docile shadow come
himself to lay it on your lips, which call to mine even as all that
is beautiful calls to mystery!...

      [_She kisses JOYZELLE on the forehead._

JOYZELLE.

(_In her sleep._) Lancéor!...

ARIELLE.

One more.... The last, even as we drink of the well defended by the
angels who keep the secrets of time and space, the well at whose
brink we shall never rest again....

JOYZELLE.

(_Sleeping, talking as in a dream._) Is that you, Lancéor?... How
sweet your lips are at the breath of dawn!... I swoon beneath the
flowers that fall from paradise....

ARIELLE.

Faithful in sleep and constant in her dreams!... The demons of the
night will steal nothing from the love that fills the past and
future of a heart!... Ah, my master and father!... It is she whom
your only hope awaited, in vain, to avert the fate that threatens
your old age!... O master, if you be willing, there is yet time; and
happiness is here: you have but to gather it!... It sways uncertain
between your son and you; a gesture would be enough to fix it upon
ourselves.... Come hither, she is yours!... Come, come, come, I am
calling you.... I know that I am right and that man must not renounce
life and ruin himself to save those whom he loves....

MERLIN.

(_In the distance, in a voice of grave reproach._) Arielle!...

      [_He enters, wrapped in a long cloak._

ARIELLE.

I am speaking for you and my voice is your voice.... I speak in the
name of your heart, which loves deeply and dares not confess it....
You had, at this prescribed moment, to meet that sleeping woman, in
order to avoid one who will destroy your old age....

MERLIN.

Begone, it is too late....

ARIELLE.

No, it is not too late; this is the one moment; and your destiny
depends on the movement which you make....

MERLIN.

Begone, do not tempt me, or I will plunge you back into your impotent
shade.... I drew you from it to open my eyes, not to mislead me....

ARIELLE.

To listen to the instinct by which alone men are saved is not to be
misled.... Think of the terrible days which Viviane is preparing:
Viviane, whom you must love if you do not love this one....

_Merlin._

Viviane?... Is it in this life or in some other world that that name
resounds within my secret heart like a name of madness, sorrow and
shame?...

_Arielle._

No, it is in this life, the only one that you possess.... It is the
name of the fairy who, in Brocéliande, where your fate leads you,
awaits your appearance to shatter your old age.... O master, I see
her!... Have a care, she approaches and will win your heart!... So
soon as this love, so pure, so healthful, has lost its claims, hers
crawls out of the shadow.... Master, I entreat you!... My eyes are
counting her wiles: she entwines you with her arms which travesty
love; she takes away your power, your reason, your wisdom; she
snatches from you at last the secret of your strength; and, like an
old, drunken man, you fall to the ground.... Then she strips you,
mocks at you, rises to her feet and closes on us the door of the
mortal cavern which will never open again....

MERLIN.

It is inevitable, then?...

ARIELLE.

You know, as I do, that nothing can deceive me where you are
concerned.... Master, I beseech you, both for yourself and for me,
who love the light and who must lose it with you!... This is the
irrevocable hour!... Choose, choose life!... It still offers itself
and therefore it belongs to us and you have a right to it!...

MERLIN.

Begone, it is useless.... Besides, this one would never have loved
me....

ARIELLE.

It is enough that you love her and that he whom she loves no longer
stands between you.... That is what I read in the two futures....

MERLIN.

(_Wiping the sweat of anguish from his brow._) Begone, for I know....
And so it was written that, by loving this child, I could have saved
myself.... But she is not for me; and my hour is past.... This is
the hour of those who come and who have met as time ordained, as
life ordained.... Begone, begone, I say!... (_ARIELLE, veiling her
features, exit silently._) I surrender my share; and it is for you,
my son, that I complete the proof.... (_He takes off his cloak and
appears taller and younger, dressed in clothes similar to LANCÉOR'S
and presenting a strange resemblance to him. Approaching JOYZELLE._)
Ah, my innocent Joyzelle!... You will suffer too, you must suffer
still more, since destiny lies hidden in your tears; but what matter
the sorrows that lead to love?... I would gladly exchange all the
joys that I have known in my poor life for the most cruel of those
happy sorrows.... (_He leans over JOYZELLE._) Arielle spoke truly.
I have but to make a movement to put back the hours and the days and
thus escape the horrible end which fate reserves for me.... Yes, but
that movement destroys him whom I love more than myself, him whom the
years have chosen for the love for which I had hoped.... Ah, when we
thus hold in our hands our own happiness and that of another man;
when we must crush one so that the other may survive: it is then
that we feel how deep are the roots that bind us to the earth on
which we suffer; it is then that life utters a superhuman cry to make
itself heard and to defend its rights!... But it is then also that we
must give ear to the other voice that speaks, to the voice that has
nothing definite or sure to tell us, that has nothing to promise and
that is only a murmur more sacred than life's inarticulate cries....
Lancéor and Joyzelle, love each other, love me, for I have loved
you.... I am feeble and frail and made for happiness like other men;
nor do I surrender my share without a struggle.... Love each other,
my children; I am listening to the little voice which has nothing to
tell me, but which alone is right.

      [_He kneels before JOYZELLE and kisses her on the
      forehead._

JOYZELLE.

(_Waking with a start._) Lancéor!...

MERLIN.

Yes, it is I: the darkness has led me to you; and I come to wake you
with a new kiss, so that you may....

JOYZELLE.

(_Springing up and looking at him in terror._) Who are you?...

MERLIN.

(_Putting out his arms to embrace her._) You know who I am, Joyzelle,
and love must tell you....

JOYZELLE.

(_Drawing back violently._) Ah, do not touch me, or I shall summon
death to come to put an end to this horrible dream!... I know not
what phantoms have haunted this night, but this is the vilest, the
basest, the most cowardly that the darkness has sent!... I do not
believe in it yet!... I am bruising my eyes in trying to awake
myself!... Ah, do not come near me!... Back!... Begone!... You fill
me with horror!...

MERLIN.

Look at me, Joyzelle!... I do not understand you; and doubtless sleep
still troubles....

JOYZELLE.

Where is he?...

MERLIN.

Wake, Joyzelle....

JOYZELLE.

Where is he and what have you done with him?...

MERLIN.

He is wherever I am; and, if your eyes mislead you....

JOYZELLE.

Do you not know that I carry him here, in these eyes which see you
and compare what he is with what you are?... Have you not seen what
he is in my heart, that you should copy him thus?... You, beside him;
you, in his clothes and under his aspect: ah, it is as though death
pretended to be life!... But there might be twenty thousand of you
resembling him and he alone be changed from what he was yesterday;
and I would sweep away the twenty thousand phantoms, to go to the
only man who is not a dream among the other dreams!... Oh, do not try
to hide in the shadow.... You retreat too late; I have discovered you
and I know who you are... I know your spells; and how I should laugh
at them, did I not fear that, by your witchcraft, when usurping that
dear and unrecognizable shape, you have caused him to suffer!... What
have you done to him?... Where is he?... I will know.... You shall
not go without answering.... (_Seizing MERLIN'S hand._) I am alone, I
am weak.... But I insist, I insist.... I will know, I will know!...

MERLIN.

I love you too much, Joyzelle, to do him any harm, so long as you
love him.... He has therefore nothing to fear.... Do you not fear me
either. I am not here to take advantage of the darkness and surprise
your heart. I had another object.... Listen to me, Joyzelle; it is
no longer the rival or the unhappy lover that speaks to you; it
is a prudent and anxious father.... Before he came who conquered
you, as never man in this world conquered woman, I had, I confess,
caught a glimpse of a happiness which it is idle to pursue in the
decline of years.... To-day I retire, sadly, but in good faith....
I know how much you love the poor unconscious being whom malevolent
chance has placed upon your road.... And do not mistake me: I am
speaking of him now without hatred or envy, but not without dismay,
when I think of the heart-rending days which he is preparing for
you.... That is why I insist on enlightening you as regards him, at
the risk of displeasing you.... I have no other care than to make
you turn away from an unhappy love in which nothing but tears and
disillusion awaits you.... I have no hope for myself.... I do not ask
you to love me in his stead.... You have shown me fully that that is
impossible.... I desire only that you will cease to love him: that is
all that I implore of the kindness of fate; and fate to-night hears
my prayer....

JOYZELLE.

How?...

MERLIN.

The proof is grave and sad; I would have liked to spare you.... But
you know better than I that there are salutary sufferings, before
which it is shameful to fly.... A sign will be enough to overturn a
world.... A little movement of that neck which as yet bends without
anxiety, a single glance of those eyes, too confident and too full
of innocence, will destroy before my sight the most beautiful thing
that love has created in a woman's heart.... And yet, it must be....
It is right, it is well that this thing should to-day be lost in
tears which it may yet be possible to wipe away; for later it would
have had to sink in sorrows which nothing could have consoled....

JOYZELLE.

What do you mean?...

MERLIN.

That, at this very moment, when all that is spotless and true, limpid
and ardent in your heart, when all the transparent virtues of your
soul, all the faithfulness, all the loyalty and all the innocence of
your virgin blood mount up towards him whom you had selected to make
of him the purest, the happiest of men, he is there, behind us, at
two steps from this bank, sheltered by those leaves which he thinks
impenetrable, in the arms of the woman with whom, the other day, as
you yourself saw, he profaned the marvellous love which you have
given him!...

JOYZELLE.

No.

MERLIN.

Why do you say no, without looking?...

JOYZELLE.

Because he is myself....

MERLIN.

I do not ask you to believe my words: I simply ask you to turn your
head....

JOYZELLE.

No.

MERLIN.

Do you hear the murmur of their voices mingling and the song of
kisses answering kisses?...

JOYZELLE.

No.

MERLIN.

Do not raise your voice to interrupt a crime which you do not wish
to see.... They will not hear you; they listen only to the sound of
their lips!... But turn, Joyzelle, I beseech you!... Your life is
at stake and all the happiness to which you have a right!... Do not
reject the proffered truth that comes to save you if you have the
courage at last to accept it! It will not return except to make you
weep, when it is too late!... But look! Look!... You need not even
turn your head!... Your star is kind to you and does not tire!...
Do not close your eyes, it is coming to unseal them!... See!... The
shadow of their arms, lengthened by the moonlight, is creeping along
that arch and covering your knees!... Open your eyes! Look!... It is
coming to defy you, it is rising to your lips!...

JOYZELLE.

No.

      [_A pause._

MERLIN.

I understand you, Joyzelle.... You must not deny what remains of your
love while I am here.... I leave you to yourself, face to face with
your duty, face to face with your destiny.... Such sacrifices ask
for no witnesses: they demand silence.... The truth is there; it is
cowardly to fly from it.... You will know how to face it when you are
alone.... There is yet time.... I admire you, Joyzelle.... Your life
and your happiness invoke your courage and depend upon a glance....

      [_Exit MERLIN. JOYZELLE, for a long moment, remains
      seated on the bank, motionless, with wide-open eyes,
      staring fixedly before her. Then she rises, draws
      herself up and goes out slowly, without turning her
      head._



ACT IV

_A Room in the Palace_

      [_At the back, to the right, is a large marble
      bed, on which LANCÉOR is lying lifeless. JOYZELLE,
      anxious, dishevelled, is busying herself around him._


JOYZELLE.

Lancéor! Lancéor!... He cannot hear me.... His eyes are wide open....
Lancéor, I am here, I am bending over your eyes.... Look at me, look
at me!... No, he does not see me!... Lancéor, for pity's sake!...
If your voice is too weak, give a sign of life!... I take you in my
arms, my arms that love you!... Come, come, come to yourself, in
our great love!... See, see, it is my hands that are lifting your
head.... Do you recognize my hands, as they stroke your hair?... You
so often told me, when we were happy, that the least caress of these
dear hands would recall your soul, even from the greatest happiness
of paradise, from the greatest darkness in the depths of.... No, no,
it is not there!... But his head is drooping, his arm falls back
lifeless and his fingers seem to me colder than this marble....
(_Mechanically feeling one of the columns of the bed._) No, it is
not that.... But I must know.... And his eyes are no longer....
(_Raising his head._) Is it his or mine that are so dim?... No, it
is impossible!... No, no, I will not have it! Ah, I will open your
lips!... (_She places her lips on LANCÉOR'S._) Lancéor! Lancéor! All
the ardour of my life shall enter your heart!... Do not fear, do not
fear! It is the saving flame and life that restores life!... Breathe
it all in the last efforts of my breath which loves you!... I would
gladly suffocate in exchanging my life for yours!... I give you my
strength, my hours, my years!... Here they are, here they are!...
You have but to make a movement, to open your lips!... It must be
so!... It must be possible thus to give new life to those whom we
love better than ourselves!... When we give them all, they cannot but
take it!... (_Raising her head to look at LANCÉOR._) He is falling
back! He is going from me!... (_Infatuated, she takes him in her arms
again._) Help!... No, this is too much!... Help! Hasten! Hasten!...
Ah no, I know better, no, no, it is not that.... Death does not
come like this when love threatens it!... No, no, I fear nothing,
no, no, I will not have it!... But I am crying for help! I cannot
remain alone, I cannot fight alone against all the strength of death
approaching!... If no one comes, it will end by conquering!... Help,
I say!... You must come to my aid!... Life must help me, or it is no
longer possible and we shall succumb!...

      [_She falls sobbing on LANCÉOR'S lifeless body. Enter
      MERLIN._

MERLIN.

I am here, Joyzelle....

JOYZELLE.

(_Starting up, as though to go to him, while still holding LANCÉOR
in a close embrace._) Ah, it is you!... So it is you!... At last
here is help and life coming!... Look at him! See!... It is time,
he is falling back!... I fling myself at your feet!... Yes, yes,
you can do all; and I have seen clear in all things!... Ah, at such
moments as this, one would see clear in the depths of a darkness
which worlds have never traversed!... Oh, I entreat you, tell me what
to do!... I am no longer Joyzelle, I am no longer fierce and I have
no more pride.... I am broken and dead: I drag myself at your feet;
and it is no more a question of this or that, of love or kisses, or
of trifling things!... Life and death stand face to face, they are
fighting under our eyes and must be separated.... You do not move a
step!... Ah, I know how great your hatred is and how you detest that
defenceless man!... Yes, you are right, he is anything you please, he
is a coward, he is a rascal, he is your enemy, he is a twenty-fold
traitor, since you will have it so!... Yes, I admit it, I was wrong,
I confess it, and I no longer love him, since you wish it, and I am
ready for anything, provided he be saved!... But that must be done
and that counts and all the rest is madness!... But come, come,
come, I tell you death is triumphing and will carry him off!... See,
his hands are turning blue and his eyes are growing dull and it is
horrible!...

MERLIN.

Joyzelle, fear nothing; his life is in my hands and I will save him,
if you wish me to save him....

JOYZELLE.

If I wish you to save him!... But do you not see that, if you were
to hesitate, do you not know that, if for his sake, I had to.... No,
no, I meant to say ... my distress bewilders me.... He has ceased to
breathe, I no longer hear his heart.... You seem to me so slow!...
Do you think that there is no danger, no need for haste?... I will
speak no more; I am making you lose minutes which perhaps were
passing to save him.... If you will not help him yourself--and I can
understand that, for you do not love him--tell me only what I must do
to assist him; and I shall know how to do it.... But I can see, I am
sure that he cannot wait and that we must make haste....

MERLIN.

I have told you, Joyzelle, his life is in my hands and cannot escape
without my consent. I warned you of it. The poison is doing its work
and I can see it. I alone can cure him, snatch him from death, call
back his vigour, his beauty, which are fading away, and restore him
to you as he was before....

JOYZELLE.

Ah, I entreat you, do not dally thus!... What is his beauty to me, if
his life escapes us?... Give him back to me as he is, whatever he may
be, what care I, if only I have him back, if only he breathes!...

MERLIN.

Yes, I will give him back to you. I have already twice done--and each
time repented--what I will do again for the last time, since you ask
it: but it is a sacrifice which none but you could have obtained.
By restoring his life, I risk my own. To rouse his strength, to
recall his soul, I must give him a part of my strength, a part of my
soul. It may be that he will take from me more than I have left and
that I shall fall dead beside the rival whom I shall have restored
to life.... Time was when I would thus risk my existence to save a
stranger by the wayside, almost without hesitating and without asking
anything in exchange.... But to-day I am more prudent and more wise.
As I am offering my life, it is but fair that I should be paid for it
and paid in advance; and I will give it to him only if you promise me
the dearest moment of your own....

JOYZELLE.

How?... What am I to do?...

MERLIN.

(_Aside._) O poor and all too innocent child!... And you, my chaste
thoughts, oh, take no part in the odious words which my voice must
now spread around their love!... I blush at the proof and am ashamed
of what I am now compelled to say.... You will forgive me when you
know all.... It is not I that speak: it is the future, which man
ought not to know, the shameless, pitiless future, which reveals a
day and throws light upon a destiny only to conceal the rest and
which wishes that I should know whether you are she whom it marks
out....

JOYZELLE.

What are you saying?... Why do you hesitate?... There is nothing in
the world; examine myself as I may, I see nothing in the world, in
our world or in the other, that I could be asked and not be ready
to....

MERLIN.

See, I will cease talking in riddles.... That man whom you see and
whom you hold pressed in your arms lies stretched as near death as
though he were laid on the slab of his tomb.... A movement can bring
him back to life; a movement can make him fall on the other side....
Well, at the very moment when you say yes and before the echo which
slumbers yonder under those marble vaults has time to repeat that you
have consented, I will make the certain movement which will snatch
him from the darkness, provided that you promise to come to-night,
here, in this room in which I shall restore him to you and on this
same bed over which you are leaning, to give yourself to me, without
shame, without reserve....

JOYZELLE.

I?... Give myself to you?...

MERLIN.

Yes.

JOYZELLE.

I, give myself to you, when he is restored to me?...

MERLIN.

So that he may be restored to you.

JOYZELLE.

No, I have not understood.... There are words, no doubt, which I
do not understand.... No, it is not possible that a man who is not
one of the princes of hell should come thus, at the moment when all
love's sorrow knows not what to hope for nor what to undertake....
No, I have mistaken you and I am doing you an injury.... You must
forgive me, I am a virgin, I am ignorant, I do not quite know what
those words imply.... But I see now.... Yes, you are right.... Yes,
yes, you mean to say that it is fair that I should bear a share of
the danger and that my life should be joined for a moment to yours,
in order to create the other life which is to revive him.... But I
want that share, I want it for myself alone, I want the whole of it,
the greatest possible share, and I never hoped that it could be given
me....

MERLIN.

Joyzelle, time presses.... Do not seek elsewhere: you know what I am
asking and the word means all that you dare not believe....

JOYZELLE.

Then, at the very moment when he comes back to me, when I see him
once more breathing in my arms and smiling at the love which he will
have found again, I shall have to snatch from him all that I have
given?... But what remains for him if you take everything from us;
and what shall I tell him when he kisses me?...

MERLIN.

You will tell him nothing, if you wish for his happiness....

JOYZELLE.

But I must tell him everything, since I love him!... No, no, I can
see clearly, that cannot be, that does not exist; and there must
be gods or demons to prevent such things: if not, I cannot see
why one should wish to live.... I have confidence in them, I have
confidence in you.... It was only a proof; and all this is not,
cannot be real.... It seems to me that already you look at me with
less ill-will.... See, I beseech you, I throw myself at your feet and
kiss your hands.... I will confess all to you.... I did not love you,
you hated him too much; but I never believed that you were unjust or
unworthy of love.... When you came in, I did not hesitate, I went up
to you, I asked you to snatch from death the only man I love; and yet
I knew that you love me too.... But, I do not know why, my instinct
told me that you were generous and capable of doing what I would have
done for you, what he himself would have done; and, when you have
done what we would have done, you shall have in our hearts a part of
our love that is not the least good part, nor the least fine, nor the
most perishable....

MERLIN.

Yes, I know: when I have given him back his life, at the risk of
my own, he will have the kisses, the lips and the eyes, the days
and the nights, all, in short, that forms love's vain and ephemeral
happiness!... But I, I shall have something much better; and
sometimes, by chance, in passing, I shall be vouchsafed a kindly
smile, which will not perish, provided that I refrain from demanding
it too often.... No, Joyzelle, at my age we are no longer satisfied
with illusions of that kind nor with those deceptive dregs. The hour
of heroic falsehoods is past for me. I wish to have what he will
have. I care little for your smile, which I know to be impossible:
I want yourself; I want you absolutely, were it only for a moment;
but I shall have that moment: he will give it me.... (_Approaching
LANCÉOR._) Look at him, Joyzelle: his features are becoming
distorted; we have waited too long and the danger increases with each
minute that passes.... Will you come?...

JOYZELLE.

(_Casting a bewildered glance around her._) Nothing bursts, nothing
falls and I am alone in the world!...

MERLIN.

(_Feeling LANCÉOR'S body._) The danger is becoming grave.... I know
the symptoms....

JOYZELLE.

Well, then, yes, I will come!... I will come to-night! I will come
this evening!... But save him first and restore him to life!... See,
his eyes are hollowing and his lips are fading and I stand here
bargaining for his life, as though it were a question of....

MERLIN.

He shall be restored to you; but remember, Joyzelle, if you are
not true to your promise, the hand that cures him will strike him
mercilessly....

JOYZELLE.

But I shall be true to it and I would go on my knees to the end of
the other world to remain true to it!... Ah, I will come, I tell you!
I give myself absolutely and I am wholly yours!... What more do you
want?... I have nothing left!...

MERLIN.

It is well; I have your promise; I will fulfil mine.... (_Aside,
taking LANCÉOR in his arms._) Forgive me, my son, in the name of
your destiny, which demands this torture.... (_He leans over LANCÉOR
and presses a long kiss on his eyelids and lips. Aloud._) See, he
returns from the regions without light.... Life is restored to him,
but he will awake only in your eager arms. I leave you to your work.
Remember your word....

      [_Exit MERLIN. JOYZELLE has taken LANCÉOR in her arms
      and looks at him in anguish. Soon her lover's eyes
      half open and his hands move feebly._

JOYZELLE.

Lancéor!... His eyes have opened and closed again and I saw the light
bathe in their blue! And here are his hands, which seem to seek
mine!... Here they are, Lancéor, here they are in your own, which
are no longer frozen!... They dare not leave them, lest they should
lose them; and yet I would support your shoulder and embrace your
neck which droops upon my breast.... Ah, all the good things are
returning and returning together!... I hear his heart beat, I breathe
his breath: they took all away from me, but they have given it all
back!... Listen to me, Lancéor: I want to see you, I am looking for
your face, do not hide your forehead in my hair, which loves you; my
eyes love you still more and want their share too!... (_LANCÉOR lifts
his head a little._) Oh, he has heard me and listened to me!... He is
here, he is here, there is no doubt of it now, he is here, before me,
more living than life!... He is here before me and the roses of dawn
and the flowers of awakening have brought colour to his cheeks and
are covering his smile, for he smiles already as though he saw me!...
Ah, the gods are too good!... They have pity on men!... There are
skies that open! There are gods of love! There are gods of life!...
We must thank them and love one another, since they also love!...
Come, come, come to my arms; your eyes still seek me, but your lips
find me.... They open at last to call to mine; and mine are here,
carrying all love!...

      [_A pause; she kisses him long and eagerly._

LANCÉOR.

(_Recovering consciousness._) Joyzelle....

JOYZELLE.

Yes, yes, it is I, it is I; look at me, look!... Here are my hands,
my forehead, my hair, my shoulder.... And here are my kisses, which
yours recognize!...

LANCÉOR.

Yes, it is you, it is indeed you, it is you and the light.... And
then this room, too, which I saw before.... Wait a little.... What
happened to me?... I remember, I remember.... I was lying yonder,
yonder, I know not where, before great doors which some one was
trying to open.... I was buried and was turning cold.... And then I
called to you, I called without ceasing and you did not come....

JOYZELLE.

But I did, I came, I was there, I was there!...

LANCÉOR.

No, you were not there.... I was seized with icy coldness, I was
seized with darkness and I was losing my life.... But now it is
you!... Yes, yes, my eyes see you, they behold you suddenly as they
emerge from the dark.... Scared though they be by the glaring light,
it is you they see and I am passing from the tomb to the joy of the
sunlight in the arms of love! That seems impossible to one coming
from so far!... I must touch you, I must cling to the caresses of
your hands, to the light of your eyes, I must seize the real gold of
the hair that bears witness to the daylight!... Oh, you could never
believe how one loves when dying, nor how I mean to love you after
losing you and finding you again!...

JOYZELLE.

I too, I too!...

LANCÉOR.

And the joy of returning to the arms which press one and which still
tremble, because they had ceased to hope!... Do you feel yours quiver
and mine adore you?... They seek, they enlace one another, they fear
lest they should lose one another, they no longer dare to open....
They no longer obey, they do not know that they are hurting us and
are like to stifle us in their blind intoxication!... Ah, they know
at last the worth of clasping a glowing body; and one would die to
learn life and to know love!...

JOYZELLE.

Yes, one would die....

LANCÉOR.

It is strange: when I was down there, in the frozen region, some one
approached whom I thought I recognized....

JOYZELLE.

It was he.

LANCÉOR.

Who?

JOYZELLE.

The lord of the island.

LANCÉOR.

He?... But he hated me....

JOYZELLE.

It was he.

LANCÉOR.

I do not quite understand.... Did he then bring me back to love, to
life?... Was he willing to restore me to her who loved me and whom he
loved himself?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

LANCÉOR.

But why did he do it?...

JOYZELLE.

I besought him until he consented.

LANCÉOR.

Did he hesitate?

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

LANCÉOR.

Why?

JOYZELLE.

He said that, in saving your life, he risked his own.

LANCÉOR.

Nothing compelled him to it.... And then, quite simply, he gave back
life to the only man who is taking away all hope of the love that
would make the happiness of his life?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

LANCÉOR.

And without asking anything, from kindness, from pity, from
generosity?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

LANCÉOR.

Ah, we were unjust and our worst enemies are better than we
believe!... There are treasures of nobility and love even in the
heart of hatred!... And this thing which he has done!... No, I really
do not know that I could have done as much; and I would never have
thought that that poor old man.... But is it not almost incredible,
Joyzelle, and is it not heroic?...

JOYZELLE.

Yes.

LANCÉOR.

Where is he? We must go and fling ourselves at his feet, confess our
error, wipe out the injustice of which we were guilty when we did not
love him.... He must have his part and the best part of the happiness
which he restores to us!... He must have our hearts, our joy, our
smiles and our tears of love, all that one can give to those who give
all!...

JOYZELLE.

We will go, we will go....

LANCÉOR.

Joyzelle, what is it?... You scarcely answer me.... I do not know if
my senses are still in the power of the night whence I am issuing,
but I do not recognize your words and your movements.... You seem to
be seeking, doubting, dreaming.... And I, who return to you full of
love and joy, find so little of either in your eyes, which avoid me,
in your hands, which forget me.... What has happened? Why recall me
and restore me to life, if, during my absence, I have lost what I
love?...

JOYZELLE.

Oh no, no, Lancéor, you have not lost me!...

LANCÉOR.

Your voice seeks a smile and finds but a sob....

JOYZELLE.

Yes, I wanted to smile and I am smiling now.... But do not be
surprised: I have wept so long and so desperately that the tears
still rise in spite of myself.... Joy was so far away that it could
not return with the first kisses.... It will need many before it
recovers confidence in my heart; and I am almost sad in the midst of
my happiness....

LANCÉOR.

Oh, my poor Joyzelle!... Is that what your grave silence means?...
And I was distressing myself like a stupid child!... I am thinking
only of myself, I am drunk with life and understand nothing.... I
was forgetting that in your place I should have lost courage.... It
is true, you are right, it is you, not I, returning from death; and,
when two beings love as we do, the one that does not die is the only
one that really dies.... Do not hide your tears.... The sadder you
appear, the more I feel that you love me.... Now it is for me to
take care of you, now it is for me to call back your soul, to warm
your disconcerted hands, to pursue your lips and bring you back to
the midst of the happiness which we had lost.... We shall soon be
there, since love is our guide.... It triumphs over everything when
it finds two hearts that give themselves to it fearlessly and without
reserve.... All the rest is nothing, all the rest is forgotten, all
the rest withdraws to make way for love....


JOYZELLE.

(_Staring fixedly before her._) All the rest withdraws to make way
for love....



ACT V


SCENE I.--_A Gallery in the Palace._

      [_Enter MERLIN and LANCÉOR._

LANCÉOR.

Father!... Then it is true, and you are my father!... And indeed it
seems to me, since you told me, as though I had always known it in my
far-seeing heart.... (_Coming closer._) But how wonderful it is!... I
see you again at last as I saw you amid my childish sports; and, when
I look at you, I see myself in a graver, nobler and more powerful
mirror than those which reflect my features along this room. But
what will Joyzelle say?... How she will laugh when she remembers her
fears, for she imagined.... No, she herself shall tell you what she
thought, to punish her for her senseless terror.... She used to hate
you, but with a softened hatred that already smiled like one about
to be pierced by the rays of love.... But where is she hiding? I
have been seeking her for nearly two hours in vain.... Have you seen
her? I must tell her at once of the unspeakable happiness which this
evening has brought us....

MERLIN.

Not yet. I must remain in her eyes, until the close of the day, the
pitiless tyrant whom she curses in her heart. My poor, dear child!...
How I have tortured your adorable love!... But I have already told
you the object of these proofs.... In making you suffer, I have but
been the instrument of fate and the unworthy slave of another will,
whose source I do not know, which seems to demand that the slightest
happiness should be surrounded by tears.... I have but hastened, in
order to bring happiness more quickly, the coming of those tears
which hung in suspense between your two destinies.... You shall know
some day by what power, a power which has no magical or supernatural
quality, but which still lies hidden at the bottom of men's lives,
I at times command certain phenomena, certain appearances that
bewildered you. You shall also learn that I have acquired the gift,
often a useless one, of reading the future a little more clearly and
a little further than the rest of men.... And so I saw you, groping
for each other, in time and space, for an unparalleled love, the
most perfect perhaps that the two or three centuries over which
my eyes have turned concealed within their shade.... You might
have met each other after many wanderings; but it was necessary to
hasten the expected meeting, because of you, my son, whom death
claimed in the absence of love.... And, on the other side, nothing
marked out Joyzelle for the hoped-for love, save a few scattered
and uncertain points and the proofs themselves which she was to
surmount. I therefore hurried on the prescribed proofs: they have
all been painful, but necessary; the last will be decisive and more
serious....

LANCÉOR.

Serious?... What do you mean?... It will not be dangerous for
Joyzelle, or for others?...

MERLIN.

It will not be dangerous for Joyzelle, but it imperils, for the
last time, the predestined love to which your life is linked....
That is why, in despite of all, in despite of my confidence, of my
anticipations, of my certainty even, I am afraid, I tremble a little
at the approach of the decisive hour....

LANCÉOR.

If Joyzelle is to decide, love has nothing to fear.... Come, do not
hesitate, Joyzelle will always be the source of joy.... But I do
not understand how, knowing the future, you are not able to see her
triumph beforehand?...

MERLIN.

I already told you, before we came in here, that Joyzelle can change
the future which she faces.... She possesses a force which I have
seen in none save her; that is why I do not know whether the great
victory which your love expects will not be mingled with some little
shadow and tears....

LANCÉOR.

What do you mean?... You seem perturbed.... What are you hiding from
me?... How can you believe that Joyzelle would ever be the cause of a
tear or the cause of a shadow?... There is nothing in Joyzelle, not
even the suffering which she might inflict, there is nothing in her
but brings health, happiness and love!... Ah, how well I see that you
know little of the living triumph, the endless dawn contained in her
voice, her eyes, her heart!... One must have held her in his arms to
know what treasures of hope, what torrents of certainty issue from
the least word murmured by her lips, from the slightest smile that
plays upon her face.... But I am too long delaying the impatient
victory. Go, father, go.... I will remain here, I will wait, I will
watch the happy moments pass, until my Joyzelle utters a great cry of
joy which shall tell me that love has determined destiny....

      [_MERLIN embraces LANCÉOR and exit slowly._


SCENE II.--_The same room as in Act IV. The moon lights it with its
blue radiance._

      [_On the right, MERLIN is seated on the great marble
      bed. ARIELLE is kneeling at the head of the bed, on
      the steps of the dais that supports it._

MERLIN.

Arielle, the hour is striking and Joyzelle is approaching.... I have
made the sacrifice of my useless life; and yet I would that my death,
if possible, should not come to sadden the most ardent and innocent
love that the world has known.... But you tremble, you weep, you hide
from me your eyes swollen with tears.... What do you see, my child,
that you contemplate with so great a dread?...

ARIELLE.

Master, I beseech you, abandon this proof: there is yet time!... My
eyes cannot see through the mist that surrounds it.... It may be
mortal, I see it, I feel it; and chance has placed our two lives
in the hand of a blind and infatuated virgin.... I do not want to
die!... There are other outlets.... I have always served you as
your very thought.... But to-day I am afraid, I can follow you no
longer.... You well know that my death is the echo of yours....
Abandon this: we will look elsewhere, in the future; and we can still
escape the danger....

MERLIN.

I cannot abandon the last proof.... It is for you to see that it does
not turn to disaster. It is for you to grasp the as yet uncertain
weapon which Joyzelle is preparing to raise against us....

ARIELLE.

But I do not know that I shall succeed!... Joyzelle's strength is
so swift, so profound, that it escapes my arm, escapes my eyes,
escapes destiny!... I see only the flash of falling steel.... All is
confused in a shadow; and my life and yours depend on a movement of
my unskilful hand....

MERLIN.

She is there, I hear her, she is feeling for the door.... Be obedient
and silent; I am obedient too. Watch and be quick and strong.... I
will close my eyes and await my fate....

ARIELLE.

(_Dismayed and maddened._) Abandon the proof!... I cannot go through
with it!... I refuse!... I want to fly!...

MERLIN.

(_Imperiously._) Silence!...

      [_He stretches himself on the bed, closes his eyes
      and appears to be sleeping soundly. ARIELLE, overcome
      by her sobs, sinks down on the steps of the dais. On
      the left, at the opposite end of the room, a little
      door opens and JOYZELLE enters, wrapped in a long
      cloak and carrying a lamp in her hand. She takes two
      or three steps and stops. ARIELLE rises and stands
      invisible behind the heavy curtains at the foot of
      the bed._

JOYZELLE.

(_Stopping, haggard, hesitating, trembling._) Now and here.... I
have taken the last step.... Until this moment, which time can no
longer keep back and which is about to see a thing that will never
be wiped out; until I came to that little door which has just closed
upon two captive destinies, I knew, I knew all that I had to do....
Ah, I had reflected and I had judged so well!... There was nothing
but that, there was nothing else: it was certain, it was just, it
was inevitable!... But now all changes and I have forgotten all....
There are other powers, there are other voices and I am all alone
against all that speaks in the uncertain night.... Justice, where are
you?... Justice, what must I do?... I shall act because you wished
it.... You convinced me and urged me on.... There, but now, under the
thousands of stars which shone upon the door and which you invoked to
reassure my soul!... There was no doubt, then, and all the certainty
of all that breathes and of all that quivers and of all that loves
and has a right to love illumined my heart!... But, in face of
the deed, you yourself draw back, you deny your laws and abandon
me!... Ah, I feel too much alone, delivered like a blind slave to
the unknown.... I shall walk without looking.... I see nothing and
I shall not raise my mad eyes to the bed until the moment when the
thing.... (_She advances with a mechanical step to the foot of the
bed._) Now, fate itself shall say yes.... (_She lifts the lamp,
looks at the bed, sees MERLIN sleeping and, in her surprise, takes a
step back._) He sleeps!... What is this?... I had not foreseen....
Anything but this.... Must I wait still?... Oh, I should like to
wait!... He is sound asleep.... Then he did not wish.... But, if he
were not asleep, I could not have done it.... He would have disarmed
me, he would have mastered me.... It must be true, it is fate, it
is a good and just fate that delivers him to me thus.... I, who was
looking for a sign!... But there is the sign!... What more do I
want, if I want anything more?... And yet, as he is asleep, I cannot
know.... Perhaps he has pity, perhaps he renounces and would bid
me go!... He was not without soul; and often, at moments, he spoke
like a father.... Ah, if he had risen, if he had been there, with
arms held out to me, in an attitude of.... Then, then I should have
been strong and should have conquered!... But a man asleep.... That
shatters hatred.... And then, one no longer knows.... And to change
this sleep which one word puts to flight into that which no human or
superhuman power can disturb!... Oh, I would at least that one word
of forgiveness.... Ah no, I am too great a coward!... This is terror
seeking an outlet.... I did not come for further meditation.... There
is no doubt, after what he did, after what he said!... I listen only
to my voice, the voice of my destiny, which wills that I should save
us both!... So much the worse if I am wrong!... I am right! I am
right!... Go out, my lamp: I have seen all that I need see.... (_She
puts out the lamp, places it on one of the marble stairs, seizes
the dagger which she held concealed, raises it and looks at it for
a moment._) Now, it is your turn!... Ah, if you could do what my
thought, what my desperate pity would have, and if the death that
gleams at the point of this blade were not real death, irrevocable
death!... But enough.... It is time.... It is said, it is done, I
strike!...

      [_She raises the dagger to strike MERLIN. ARIELLE,
      invisible, seizes her wrist and, without apparent
      effort, paralyzes her gesture. At the same moment,
      MERLIN opens his eyes, smiling, rises and, with a
      movement of delight, takes JOYZELLE tenderly in his
      arms._

MERLIN.

It is well!... Joyzelle is great and Joyzelle triumphs!... She has
conquered fate by listening to love; and it is you, my child, whom
destiny marks out....

JOYZELLE.

(_Still failing to understand, and struggling._) No, no, no!... I
could not.... Ah, though my heart fail me, I have courage yet!... And
I have all my life, if I no longer have my strength, and never, no,
never, so long as I have breath....

MERLIN.

Look at me, Joyzelle.... I am restoring its strength to the arm which
you raised in love's defence.... I leave it its weapon which tried to
strike me and which was striking true.... Until that movement, all
was undecided; now, all is clear, all is radiant and sure.... Look
at me, Joyzelle, and no longer fear my lips.... They seek your brow,
there at last to place the kiss which the father lays on the brow of
his daughter....

JOYZELLE.

What is this and what do you mean that I cannot understand?... Yes, I
see in your eyes that you seem to love me as one loves a child....
So I was mistaken and I was on the point of...?

MERLIN.

No, you were right; you would not have been she whom love demands if
you had not done what you were going to do.

JOYZELLE.

I do not know, I am dreaming.... But since it is not the abominable
thing, I abandon myself to my dream....

MERLIN.

Yes, it is true, my Joyzelle, I am yearning to enjoy your delighted
surprise, to follow your glances which seem to me so beautiful in
their astonished flight, in which confidence dawns and which no
longer know where to rest their wings, like sea-birds that have
lost the shore.... I am taking my share of the happiness which I
bestow.... I shall have no other.... But do not be anxious, we shall
together enter into fate's secrets; and, when Lancéor....

JOYZELLE.

Where is he?

MERLIN.

Ah, that name rouses you; and see, the shore appears to those glances
lost in space!... Listen, I hear him.... Your heart, without our
knowing it, has gone to tell him that you loved him to the point
which love cannot surpass.... He is hastening, he is here!...

      [_The door opens. Enter LANCÉOR, followed by ARIELLE,
      invisible._

LANCÉOR.

Father!... She is mine!...

MERLIN.

My son, she has triumphed; destiny gives her to you....

LANCÉOR.

(_Taking JOYZELLE in his arms and covering her with wild kisses._)
Ah, I knew it and I was sure of it!... Joyzelle, my Joyzelle!... I
do not ask what you can have done to disarm fate.... I know nothing
yet; but we know all beforehand who love each other as you and I
love; and already I hail the new truth that must have been revealed
at the first touch of your heart!... Ah, father, father, I told you,
I told you!... But she does not understand why I am embracing you....
It is true, I go too fast.... Come here, Joyzelle, that I may unite
you both in my arms.... We had with us an enemy who loves us; he was
obliged to make us suffer; and that gentle enemy was my own father,
whom I thought lost, my father here, my father found again, who
awaits but a smile to embrace you too.... Oh, do not turn away, do
not look at me with those eyes already laden with reproaches.... I
have hidden nothing from you.... I knew it to-day, this evening, the
moment you left me; and, so soon as I knew it, I had to fly far from
you, lest I should betray myself, for all our happiness, it appears,
depended on this last secret; and, when a secret is committed to
love, it is as though one hid a lighted lamp in a crystal vase....
You would have learnt all merely by seeing my eyes, my hands, my
very shadow; and I could not show you my happiness.... You were
not to know of it till the great proof.... It was necessary that
you should do an impossible thing.... What thing I do not know;
but, smile as I might, I had to yield; I had to wait and patiently
count the minutes of the hour which thus separated our two impatient
passions.... But now, I hasten, I listen, I want to know.... Speak,
speak, I am listening....

JOYZELLE.

Since you are happy, I am happy, too.... I know nothing more.... I
have scarce awakened from a horrible and incomprehensible dream....

MERLIN.

Yes, my poor Joyzelle, the dream was horrible; but now it is overcome
and the proof is past, establishing a happiness which nothing
threatens now, except the enemy that threatens all men....

LANCÉOR.

But what, when all is told, was that fearful proof?...

MERLIN.

Joyzelle will tell you in the first kisses, free from all anxiety,
which you will exchange after this victory. They will veil better
than my poor words what, in this proof, appears unpardonable.... The
proof was dangerous and almost insurmountable.... Joyzelle could have
chosen a different course.... She might have yielded, sacrificed
herself, sacrificed her love, despaired, I know not what!... She
would not have been the Joyzelle that was expected.... There was but
one path traced by destiny; she entered upon it, followed it to the
end and saved your life in saving her own love....

JOYZELLE.

It is ordained, then, that love strikes and kills all that tries to
bar its way?...

MERLIN.

No, Joyzelle, I do not know.... Let us not make laws with a few
scraps picked up in the darkness that surrounds our thoughts....
But she who was to do what you were willing to do was she whom fate
intended for my son.... It was therefore written, for you and for you
alone and perhaps for those who resemble you a little, that they have
a right to the love which fate points out to them; and that that love
must break down injustice.... I do not judge you: it is fate that
approves you; but I am over-joyed that it has thus chosen you among
all women....

JOYZELLE.

Father!... I tremble still when I see that weapon which, for a
moment.... Forgive me, father, I loved you already....

MERLIN.

It is I who ask you now to offer me a forgiving hand....

JOYZELLE.

No, no, these are not the cold hands of forgiveness!... These are
the hands that caress, worship and give thanks!... I know now why,
despite my hatred, I could not hate!... What you have done was more
difficult than all that I have done, because it was cruel; and, when
I think again on what has happened, it is you, it is you, father, who
have endured the heaviest and the most deserving proof....

MERLIN.

No, the most deserving was not among those which you can discover....
It will remain the secret of this heart which loves you both and
unites you within itself and which, to change this too-deep secret
into happiness, asks my two children for but a moment of their joy
and perhaps for a kiss a little longer than those granted in passing
to old men whose time on earth is short....

LANCÉOR.

(_Throwing himself in MERLIN'S arms._) Father!...

JOYZELLE.

(_Also embracing MERLIN._) My father too!...

ARIELLE.

(_Trying to mingle with the closely entwined group._) No one sees me
and no one thinks of giving me my share of the love snatched by my
invisible hands from the miserly hands of the days and years....

MERLIN.

(_Smiling._) I see you, Arielle: you love all three of us; but a more
ardent kiss ascends towards Joyzelle than those which you give to
us.... There, kiss her; the proof is finished in my old heart too....
Yet a little while and we shall be far from her and far from all
love....

      [_ARIELLE kisses JOYZELLE long and slowly._

JOYZELLE.

What are you saying, father, and to whom are you speaking?... It
seems as though flowers which I cannot gather were lightly touching
my forehead and caressing my lips....

MERLIN.

Do not repel them, they are sad and pure.... It is my poor Arielle
who spreads them over you; it is my invisible daughter, the good
fairy of the island, who discovered and protected you and Lancéor.
She wishes to mingle, for the last time, in your great love and asks
for a share, as discreet as herself, of the happiness which we owe
her....

JOYZELLE.

Where is she?... I see no one near but you and Lancéor....

MERLIN.

And do you think, my child, that we see all that lives deep down
in our lives?... Be kind and gentle to poor Arielle.... She is
now giving you a parting kiss before going far away to disappear
with me in the regions where fate wills that my destiny should be
fulfilled....

LANCÉOR.

To disappear with you?... Father, I do not know....

MERLIN.

Let us not question those who have nothing more to say.... All is now
determined.... Thanks to the unknown gods, I have been able to give
happiness to the two hearts that were dearest to me; but I can do no
more, nor can you do anything, for my own happiness.... I am going
towards my destiny and I go in silence, lest I should sadden this
smiling hour, which is yours alone.... I know what awaits me; and
nevertheless I am going....

JOYZELLE.

No, no, no, no, father, you shall not go!... We are around you,
and if some danger which we cannot see threatens your old age, we
shall try at least to alleviate the dread of it.... When there are
three to undergo a misfortune and those three love one another,
then the misfortune changes to a burden of love, which we bear with
delight....

MERLIN.

Alas, no, my Joyzelle: it would all be useless!... Would to the gods
that men had to pass only through kindly evils, as yours were!... But
all life's secret purposes are not so clear, are not so good.... But
we speak in vain of what is written.... I am still here, in the arms
of those who love me.... The day of my distress is not this day....
Let us enjoy our hour, in the sweet sadness that follows on great
joys, by listening to our minutes of love, passing and fleeting, one
by one, in that frail ray of nocturnal light in which we clasp one
another for our greater happiness.... The rest does not as yet belong
to men....


      CURTAIN.



APPENDIX I


      (ACT III., SCENE II., _p. 75_). _If this
      transfiguration of MERLIN'S cannot be realized in a
      satisfactory manner on the stage, it may be easily
      avoided by cutting, on pp. 77 to 81, all that follows
      on JOYZELLE'S exclamation. The scene will then be as
      follows_:

JOYZELLE.

(_Waking with a start._) Lancéor!... (_Recognizing MERLIN, with a
movement of horror._) You!...

MERLIN.

Yes, it is I: the proof is grave and sad, &c.

      (_The rest as on pp. 81 to 85._)



APPENDIX II


      (ACT V., SCENE II., _pp. 130 to 133_). _Should
      there be a fear of "tedious passages" (as Villiers
      de L'isle-Adam said_, "To be or not to be" _and,
      generally speaking, all Hamlet's speeches would
      be described to-day as "tedious passages"), the_
      dénouement _could be hastened on, beginning with
      ARIELLE'S speech (p. 130), as follows_:

ARIELLE.

(_Who has remained standing at the foot of the bed; in a sad and
solemn voice._) Master!

MERLIN.

I see you, Arielle, and I will obey....

JOYZELLE.

What are you saying, father, and to whom are you speaking?

MERLIN.

To her who opened up to you the road to happiness. She is now giving
you a parting kiss, which I also give you....

JOYZELLE.

A parting kiss?

LANCÉOR.

Father!

JOYZELLE.

What does this mean and what has happened?

MERLIN.

Let us not question those who have nothing more to say. Would to the
gods that, &c.

      (_The rest as in MERLIN'S final speech._)


      Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.
              Edinburgh & London





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