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Love is a slavery

Slavery is there, in some form, everywhere.
Love, too, is a kind of slavery, unable to desist,
Unable to deny, and is tamed in blind pursuit.
A monarch, too, is a slave to his concubine.
05.02.2000, Palakkad

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I Saw It Myself (Short Verse Drama)

Dramatis Personae: Adrian, his wife Ester, his sisters Rebecca and Johanna, his mother Elizabeth, the high priest Chiapas, the disciple Simon Peter, the disciple John, Mary Magdalene, worshipers, priests, two angels and Jesus Christ.

Act I

Scene I.- Adrian’s house in Jerusalem. Adrian has just returned home after a business journey in Galilee, in time to attend the Passover feast. He sits at the table with his wife Ester and his sisters, Rebecca and Johanna. It’s just before sunset on the Friday afternoon.

Adrian. (Somewhat puzzled) Strange things are happening,
some say demons dwell upon the earth,
others angelic beings, miracles take place
and all of this when they had put a man to death,
had crucified a criminal. Everybody knows
the cross is used for degenerates only!

Rebecca. (With a pleasant voice) Such harsh words used,
for a good, a great man brother?
They say that without charge
he healed the sick, brought back sight,
cured leprosy, even made some more food,
from a few fishes and loafs of bread…

Adrian. (Somewhat harsh) They say many things!
That he rode into Jerusalem
to be crowned as the new king,
was a rebel against the state,
even claimed to be
the very Son of God,
now that is blasphemy
if there is no truth to it!

Johanna. I met him once.
He’s not the man
that you make him, brother.
There was a strange tranquilly to Him.
Some would say a divine presence,
while He spoke of love that is selfless,
visited the sick, the poor
and even the destitute, even harlots.

Adrian. (Looks up) There you have it!
Harlots! Tax collecting thieves!
A man is know by his friends,
or so they say and probably
there is some truth to it.

Ester. Husband, do not be so quick to judge.
I have seen Him myself, have seen
Roman soldiers marching Him to the hill
to take His life, with a angry crowd
following and mocking Him.

[Adrian, Rebecca and Johanna is stunned
by her words.

Rebecca. You have seen him crucified?
You haven’t said a thing about this,
but after returning this afternoon
you were strangely pale, somewhat distant.

Johanna. Sister Ester, are you alright?
Your face looks full of pain.
It must have been terrible,
even if he was guilty of what they say.

Adrian. (Stops his sisters) Hush sisters!
Ester, what were you doing there?
I am not angry, am only worried about you.
Tell us what happened. It seems that you
were an eyewitness? There is some truth
to a first hand account, much more than what is told
by the gossip of men, by some scared women.

Ester. I went to pick mushrooms
and some wild spinach up on the hill.
Mary had spotted some
and had picked baskets full.
The flowers are beautiful this time of year
and I picked some and found lilies
right on the edge of the cliff.

The front door opens. Enter Elisabeth.

Elizabeth. My children it’s becoming holy hours
and you are not eating, are not finishing your meals.
From the bottom of the street I have heard you talk,
talk about an unrighteous man who harvested wheat
on the very Sabbath, who claimed to be God,
or His very Son? Who died for his own sins?
It is almost time to light the menorah.

[Adrian rises to his feet and smiles as he speaks.

Adrian. Welcome dear mother. Join us at the table.
The bread is fresh and still hot. Rebecca baked it
this very afternoon. We could not help to talk
about this Jesus, the Nazarene, he was a strange man.

[Adrian hugs Elizabeth and takes his place
at the head of the table

Ester. Dearest mother, what if He was truly the Messiah?
What if He was the very son of God and innocently put to death?

[Elizabeth is perplexed and speechless.

Adrian. Wife do you truly believe this?
That this Jesus, was more than just a mere man?

Rebecca. Some say that he was a prophet,
but nevertheless he had wonderful powers.
I saw him cure a man that was blind from youth,
right there at the magical pool, on the Sabbath.

Elisabeth. Rebecca, on the very Sabbath!
Demons work on the Sabbath, not godly men!
Daughters, what are happening to you?
Ester, you believe he was the very son of God!
This is ridiculous. There would have been signs
and the priests, the Pharisees would have proclaimed it.

Rebecca. Demons do not do selfless good deeds.
He was teaching us about Godly love,
that God is the Lord of the Sabbath,
that the Sabbath should be a joy for mankind.

Adrian. Sister, this is some strange kind of philosophy.
If he is truly God why did he not use his powers,
to stop the crucifixion, to smite those very Romans?

Ester. Husband I am sure
that he is the very Son of God!
He asked His father to forgive them
while they were mocking Him, nailing Him
to a rough cross. His kingdom
is not of this world.

Elizabeth. You have seen him being crucified?
Why do you think that he was the very Son of God?

Ester. Mother, there was only love on His face,
a kind of amazing grace that is hard to explain.
They say that even Pontius Pilate could find no fault in him
and had washed his own hands while the priests
and people, maybe even demons urged for his killing.
His mother and some women followers cried,
while he died and there was such sorrow to it
as He was totally innocent, had the face
of a very good and righteous man.

Adrian. Wife, looks can be deceiving!
Even great and good words
can come from the mouth of a rebel.
There must be more than you are telling,
to make you believe that He is
the very Son of the almighty God?

Ester. Husband, there were people
screaming to the soldiers to kill him,
spitting in his face. Maybe demons,
as I have never seen people acting so crudely,
begging for his blood to flow
and He asked His Father to forgive them.
That is truly love, a selfless act!

Elizabeth. Man is a strange kind of animal.
We play our roles as if we are on a stage
and God and His holy angels are witnesses.
Maybe, it was only a kind of act for sympathy?

Joanna. If he was the Son of God,
then His love would be unconditional.
He would have the power to destroy
and might hold it in check by His very love.

Adrian. Let us eat, the food is almost cold.
It is already becoming Sabbath
and this discussion is about murder,
if he was innocent and mayhem.
Those things are surely not holy,
not fit to be discussed at this time.
A divine being would have preformed a miracle?

[Ester looks seriously at Adrian.

Ester. Husband, your word is law
and as you say it is now a holy time.
You are asking about a miracle,
want signs and wonders, some kind of proof?

[Ester looks around the table, at the other people
with some sincerity.

Ester. Let me tell you just this and then I will be silent.
I believe He is the Messiah.
Think seriously about what I am saying.
When he died in the middle of the afternoon
it turned to night, while a terrible earthquake
rocked the city, with graves opening.
Surely you must have felt it?
Some of the dead had risen, was again living,
gigantic thunderbolts flashed down
from the darkest sky that I have ever seen.
As if the very earth was protesting
at its creator being killed,
even the Roman soldiers who had pinned Him
to that cruel cross, there and then
had forsaken their own gods, called Him the Son of God,
called Him God and everybody knew that there was truth to it. [Exeunt.


Scene II.-The main bedroom in Adrian’s house in Jerusalem.
Ester sits on the bed crying. Enter Adrian worried.

Ester. (whispering while crying) . Mortal men have killed the Son of God today.
I am scared. I am afraid for all of us.
What will become of this world? They killed God today.
You should have seen those men, they were demonic and evil.
No normal man beg for the blood of a really great man
and laughs with that kind of madness and glee when he dies.

[Adrian walks up to Ester. Pulls her up from the bed
into his arms and tries to comfort her.

Adrian. (In a calm pleasant voice) Hush. Hush my darling.
It must have been terrible. To see an innocent man die.
Men do strange things. What is becoming of this world?
They must have been only men. Wicked unruly somewhat
bloodthirsty men?

Ester. (Calm and collected) If you had been there, you would have felt
the presence of great evil. It was simply terrible and horrific,
but the scriptures speak of the Lamb of God
who has to die for the sins of the world.
Even great father Adam had told us of the promise,
of a man coming to smite the snake, the devil,
and that the serpent will strike Him in His heel.

(Ester starts sobbing again.)

Adrian. My poor darling, it is strange things
that you have witnessed. These are strange times.
You are right; no good can come from such a deed.
If men act above the law, against what is right and good,
to set a killer free at the whim of a unruly crowd
and kill a man, who lived selflessly,
what will become of us of this world?

Ester. Perhaps He will set us free from sin,
will keep the Godly promise. There was
a strange kind of kindness, gentleness to him,
while love had radiated from every look,
had mingled with the pain,
but it was not the pain that had killed him.

Adrian. All men die at a time, it is our worldly lot.
We experience joy and happiness, sometimes worries
and eventually old age and pain and are not up
to help ourselves anymore…

Ester. (Shakes her head.) Enoch did not die,
God took him up to Him and the prophet Elijah
was fetched with a flaming cart.

Adrian. (Shakes his head perplexed.) But the very Son of God
dies on a cruel, dirty cross? When he could have called
angelic soldiers for help, when he could have only spoken
and mighty miracles could happen at the sound of His voice?

Ester. The life of Jesus was without sin.
He acted out Gods will, saved wretched lonely people,
cured many of them, it is even said
that he had raised Lazarus from death.
Some priests insulted Him on the cross and said
that He was going to destroy the temple
and build it up in three days, while it took the builders
years to build it, but then shouted at Him to save himself.

Adrian. But he could not save himself,
what kind of God is that? He could only act for other people?
How could he save others, but not save himself?

Ester. One of the robbers insulted Him and shouted
that if He is the Christ, He should save Himself and them.
Then a strange thing happened. The other robber asked
to the sneering one if he does not fear God?
He said that their punishment was according to the law,
was just for their deeds, but that Jesus
had done nothing wrong and then he said to Jesus
to remember him when Jesus comes
into His kingdom. Jesus answered: I say to you today,
that you will be with me in paradise.

Adrian. (Frowning.) He still claimed to be the Son of God
while being crucified?

Ester. The soldiers mocked Him and said
if you are the king of the Jews save yourself.
They even nailed a written sign above His head
that said: “this is the King of the Jews.”

Adrian. But if he was the Messiah, the king
of the Jews he would have smitten his enemies,
he would have smitten the Roman soldiers.
He would not just have died like a normal man?

Ester. Beloved husband, I have told you
that He did not die from pain,
it was not the whip lashes,
not the pain from the nails hanging him
against the sky, not the scorching sun,
not even the blood
that he was loosing that did it.

Adrian. (Looks perplexed.) Maybe it’s just something
that women understand,
I cannot make out head and tail of what you are saying.
What killed him then?
If not that cross on which he hanged?
What killed him if not the nails,
his open wounds and that very pain?
If he was truly God, why did he die then?

Ester. It was the separation from His Father,
His separation from God. He stepped into Adam’s place,
came to die for him, for us and took on our sins upon Himself.
The sins of this world were too much for Him.
The sins killed Him. He called out:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ”
Still the chief priests mocked him
shouting “come down from the cross,
if you are the son of God.”
Some said that He was calling Elijah
and Jesus cried out in a loud voice again and died.

Adrian. Then those strange miracles took place
that you had told us about, about which everybody
are talking?

Ester. Then the darkness came and the earthquake,
and the things that I have told you about,
but I saw your friend Simon Peter near to the cross,
he was a follower of Jesus.

Adrian. (Is astonished.) Brave Simon Peter who pulled a sword
when we were attacked by robbers?
Are you sure that it was him?
I know that he had left everything to follow a holy man,
but could he be a disciple of this Jesus?

Ester. There was awful pain on his face
when they whipped Jesus, when they nailed Him
to the cross. Simon Peter was crying
and they must have been very close friends.
Simon Peter tried to comfort Mary Magdalene
and probably they all are now in severe danger?

Adrian. They may want to persecute
the followers of Jesus, maybe they will even
treat them in the same way. If Simon Peter was at the cross
he will be here, somewhere in Jerusalem.

Ester. We have some sheep, fried mushrooms,
some spinach and bread and its enough food for a feast,
that is already prepared. Why don’t you invite
Simon Peter and some of his friends to join us
tomorrow for lunch? They are probably scared
and hiding behind locked doors, nobody will
search here for them.

[Adrian pulls her in his arms again.

Adrian. Tomorrow very early we will go to the temple
to make our offerings before the thousands
of other people go there for the Passover.
It’s a very holy Sabbath day,
but I will go and see if I can find Peter and his friends,
they will be able to tell us much more
about this Jesus and his teachings. [Exeunt.


Act II

Scene I.- In the temple in Jerusalem, early on the Sabbath (Saturday) morning.
Enter Adrian, Ester, Rebecca, Johanna and Elizabeth.

[Adrian, Ester, Rebecca, Johanna and Elizabeth
puts offering into the temple treasury

Adrian. (Prays.) Oh great God of our fathers,
we are here to ask for forgiveness
for all our iniquities, that we have done
to You, to each other and our neighbours,
for we are but humans and Your laws
are just and You are our only light in this world. Amen.

[Elizabeth draws in her breath sharply,
looks up at the torn temple curtain
and notices the ark of the covenant.

Elizabeth. The curtain is torn right through,
from top to bottom and I can see into the most holy place.
I am looking as a sinful human being
at the very presence of God and I am living,
there is the ark, the ark of the covenant!

Adrian. The curtain has been ripped from top to bottom
and it three times as thick as my hand. How is this possible?
No earthquake could have done this, everything else
are still standing, are still in their places. No man has the power
to do such a thing.

Rebecca. The precious dwelling place of God
is beautiful, so peaceful. Look at the gleaming angels
on top of the ark.

Johanna. We can even walk right through. No person
with any sin can face the presence of God,
even the high priest has bells on his cloak
to tell that he is still alive on the day of atonement.

Adrian. Where are all the priests? The temple looks deserted
and this is the Sabbath day of the feast of Passover.

Elizabeth. Maybe we are too early.

Rebecca. No mother the smoke offering altar is burning,
the candles are burning. This is all very strange.
Smell the sweet odour of it.

Ester. Jesus was the final sacrifice, on the cross.
Only God could have ripped that thick curtain apart,
no man is up to it and all of us can look to where
the presence of God had been. It is clear that God is not here.
No sinful person can stay alive in facing him.
Moses wasn’t able to directly face him
and when he came down from the mountain
his face was gleaming, was shining
from the very presence of God.

Enter Chiapas and two priests.

Chiapas. (Angry.) What kind of blasphemy is this,
in the holy house of God? No man
can take the place of God, not that heretic
that was crucified and now is dead!

Ester. Great high priest, why is the curtain ripped?
We can see into the most holy place,
can look at the very ark of God,
can look at where His presence should be
and we see nothing but the ark?

Elizabeth. (calm and collected) It’s so strange. We are sinful people
and are still living? Where is God?

Chiapas. (Angrier.) Where is God indeed? He is everywhere,
He is omnipresent! Do you not believe that He exists,
are saying this in this very holy temple?

Adrian. Exalted priest, we are simple people. We mean no harm,
but if God is not divinely present in His temple,
like he was on mountain with Moses,
why has He left His temple?

Chiapas. You are spreading blasphemy upon blasphemy.
Surely God has other duties to attend to, but for this Godly house!

Elizabeth. Other duties indeed, but He is omnipresent!
I ask humbly, what has driven Him out of here
on the holy Sabbath, of the very day of Passover?

Chiapas. I am not up to hear some more blasphemy
on a most holy Sabbath day!

[Exit Chiapas and the two priests in a hurry.

Adrian. How strange the things that we said to them,
but stranger still that they did not do us any harm,
for saying these things in this holy place?

Ester. Stranger still that not one word was said,
by the two other priests, that we are living
and God is not here in His divine presence
on this very holy day.

Adrian. (Perplexed.) What if Jesus was the very Son of God
and now is resting in the grave?

[All the women including Ester looks stunned at Adrian.

Elizabeth. Dear son, if there is truth in what you say,
then God the Father might be mourning
the death of His Son. [Exeunt.


Scene II.- In the forecourt of temple in Jerusalem early on the Sabbath morning.
Enter Adrian, Ester, Rebecca, Johanna and Elizabeth, a crowd of worshipers,
Chiapas and a group of priests.

Chiapas. [To a priest secretively whispering
Chiapas. Go and pull the curtain together. Go, hurry
or we are going to have a riot on this very Sabbath.

Priest. (Afraid.) What if I am killed by touching it?

Worshiper. What is he whispering? What is wrong?
Why are we being stopped from entering God’s holy temple?

Adrian. (In a loud voice) The curtain between the holy
and most holy places has been ripped open
from the top to the bottom!

Chiapas. [To the Priest.
Chiapas. Hurry, nothing will happen to you. Anybody can now look
into the most holy place, I suspect even touch the ark.

Ester. My husband speaks the truth, I have witnessed it.

[Chiapas who did not hear the conversations looks up startled

Chiapas. What did you say there?

Rebecca. I have seen the golden arc of the covenant
with the two lovely gleaming angels.

Johanna. We could have entered the most holy place,
we looked straight into it and are still living.

Elizabeth. They have got blood on their hands,
they killed an innocent, good man yesterday!

Ester. They killed the very Son of God
and God is not in the most holy place in the temple.

[The crowd of worshipers gets somewhat unruly.

Another worshiper. Jesus healed my only child.
He was a very good man!

Another worshiper. He caused me to see,
when I was blind from birth,
he was the very Son of God.

Another worshiper. He changed the water into wine
at my wedding when we ran out of wine.

[Adrian to the women of his family.

Adrian. Hasten home, the people are getting angry
with the priests and things are going to become unruly.
I have spotted Simon Peter, there he is slipping away.
I am going to follow him.

[Exit Adrian, Ester, Rebecca, Johanna and Elizabeth

Another worshiper. You have ordered an innocent man killed,
a prophet who did only do good
and his blood is on your hands,
you have brought his blood on everyone’s hands
and now God has left his temple.

[The crowd of worshipers rush forward to
Chiapas and a group of priests.

Another worshiper. He taught us to love
and you have killed him in hatred!

[Chiapas to a priest

Chiapas. Quickly, go and call the soldiers of the Roman legion!

Another worshiper. Is the curtain really torn right through?

[The crowd of worshipers gets silent to hear the reply

Chiapas. What did you say there?

Another worshiper. He asked if the curtain between the holy
and the most holy place has been torn from top to the bottom?

Chiapas. (Looks worried at the crowd) There is some truth to it,
but God is still there, God is omnipresent!

Another worshiper. Can mortal sinful men look
into the most holy place?

[Chiapas turns to the priests secretively whispering

Chiapas. We will have to hurry into the temple
and close the doors for our own safety,
until the soldiers of the Roman legion arrives.

A priest. But this is a most holy Sabbath
and all of these people just want to pray,
want to be in the presence of God
and you are calling upon heathens
to interfere on the Sabbath?

[Chiapas to the priests.

Chiapas. These people are dangerous,
they are holding us responsible
for the death of that heretic Jesus.
Anything can happen. Let us leave right now. [Exeunt.


Scene III.- Adrian’s house in Jerusalem. At midday. Adrian sits at the table with Ester, Rebecca, Johanna, Elizabeth and their guests Simon Peter and Mary Magdalene, where they are eating lunch and are in conversation.

Mary Magdalene. Jesus was such a wise man, so full of love,
so full of live and integrity, a man with real sincerity
and selfless, He changed all of our lives.

Elizabeth. Did you have a relationship with him,
as between a husband and wife?

[Adrian, Ester, Rebecca and Johanna looks shocked at their mother Elizabeth,
Simon Peter looks encouraging at Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene. (Blushes. Calm and collected) I had slept with men,
before I met Him. He was like no other man,
His love was selfless and for any man and woman.
I am astounded by His strange love,
by the way He wrote in the sand,
forcing the men who wanted to kill me to leave
and forgiving my iniquity and said sin no more.

[Adrian, Ester, Rebecca Johanna and Elizabeth
are stunned by Mary’s words.

Simon Peter. He changed all of our lives.
No one could have truly known him
without becoming a better person,
without learning to love selflessly.

Mary Magdalene. To answer you Elizabeth,
at times I wonder where my love
for Him started, if I was made with it.
His eyes did know the dark depths of my heart
and had touched me like no other,
had healed me and make me completely free
from all sin. Even my lovely face,
my body, my pomegranate red lips
and round full breasts
made no impression on Him.
His holiness and unconditional love
touched me so deeply that I washed His feet
with ointment of nard
and in humility used my hair to dry them.

[Ester pours some more wine
while they enjoy the meal.

Rebecca. He sounds like a wonderful man,
but his death is so unexpected,
it is unexpected for a holy man that only did well.

Mary Magdalene. (Cries silently.) With every stroke that the hammer made
against that cross of wood
and every nail that had pierced
right through His body,
I knew pain like I never did before
and in my soul the dark depths died with Him.

[Simon Peter rises from the table to comfort Mary,
drawing her into his arms like a bother.

Simon Peter. Hush dear Mary. It’s painful,
extremely painful for all of us.

Ester. I saw them crucifying him,
and although I knew that he was innocent,
as it was quite obvious,
there was nothing that I could do,
nothing that anyone could do,
without risking his or her own life
and strangely there was only love on His face,
a kind of amazing grace that is hard to explain.

Simon Peter. I was ready to defend Him
with a drawn sword
but wasn’t brave enough
to admit being his disciple.

[Adrian stares at Simon Peter unconvinced of his words

Adrian. I am sure that you did everything
that you could?

Simon Peter. Let me tell you how it was.
It was dark in the garden
when Judas and a crowd of soldiers
and officials with clubs and swords
came to us and I heard Judas saying:
“Greetings Master, ” kissing Him
and the Lord asked:
“Friend, why have you come? ”
But to me it was clear that Judas
was betraying Him
and when Malchus with some soldiers
stepped up to Jesus and seized Him
I draw my sharp sword
and chopped off his ear
trying to drive them back,
trying to defend the Lord.

Adrian. You were always brave,
quick with a sword.

Simon Peter. The Lord Jesus said to me:
“Peter, put away your sword
or you will die by it. Don’t you know
that my Father will send
twelve legions of angels
if I ask Him? And shall I
not do as my Father commands me? ”

Elizabeth. I still cannot understand why
he did not use his power,
why he did not take the Roman legion by force,
why he did not establish his kingdom here?

Simon Peter. (Smiles understanding.) Those things did bother me at a time,
even Judas thought that he was doing a good thing,
when he betrayed the Lord.
He thought that he will force the Lord to act,
to act to establish His kingdom
but the kingdom of God,
of the Lord Jesus is not of this world.

Elizabeth. How can you be so sure,
that this Jesus is the Messiah,
that he truly is the very Son of God,
not just another prophet or holy man?
If he is the Messiah, the Christ then the scriptures
and the priests and Pharisees would have proclaimed it?

Simon Peter. Dear Elizabeth, the scriptures does proclaim him,
does even proclaim his coming,
Isaiah says that He was lead like a lamb to slaughter,
that for our transgressions He was stricken
while he did not open his mouth,
that he was assigned to death with the wicked,
to be with the rich in his death.

[Mary Magdalene suddenly comprehends starts crying.

Mary Magdalene. He was buried in the grave of a rich man,
Joseph form Arimathea.

[Ester comforts Mary Magdalene.

Elizabeth. To me this is still somewhat vague.
Peter, did you say that the scriptures proclaimed
the time of his coming?

Simon Peter. The prophet Daniel talks about
seventy ‘sevens’ (four hundred and ninety years)
to put a end to sin, to atone for wickedness,
to bring everlasting righteousness,
of the Anointed One the ruler
after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

Elizabeth. You are talking here about
four hundred and ninety years,
from the time that Artasasta decree
went out to rebuild Jerusalem,
but there must be more to this Jesus, than just this?

Simon Peter. You must have known Him personally,
must learn his teachings to love your fellow man,
must have know more than his miracles
to understand how he portrayed a God of love.
Let me tell you about my last contact with Him,
about the night in the garden in Gethsemane
and how I failed him.

Elizabeth. Simon Peter, I have know you
from the time that you were small
and you have never failed anybody,
you have always been a pillar of righteousness.

Simon Peter. The Lord took the ear from the ground
attaching it to Malchus’s head and then asked the crowd:
“Am I a rebel leader for you to come to me armed
with clubs and swords? While I taught at the temple
almost every day you didn’t arrest me.”
They bound Him and only John and I
followed Him to the residence of Annas
and John went in since he was know
to the old high priest
and I waited outside that door,
but it was cold and then John brought me in.

Johanna. The past few nights had been rather cold,
but what happened then? They must have seen
that they had arrested an innocent man?

Simon Peter. The girl on duty at the door asked
me if I am not one of the disciples of the criminal
and then I denied it, being afraid
that they would arrest me too.
It was very cold and I shivered
and I stood closer to the fire
with some servants and officials
to warm myself and saw an official
striking Jesus in the face.
At the fire one of the officials asked
if I am not one of the disciples of Jesus
and again I denied it,
as these were very dangerous men.

Adrian. I would have fled,
never mind just denying to knowing him.

Simon Peter. (Crying softly.) But it was terribly wrong of me,
I loved him. If he isn’t God,
then no other is worthy to be God.
A relative of Malchus then challenged me:
“Didn’t I see you in the garden? Aren’t you
a Galilean? ” Again I denied it
and then a cock crowed
while the Lord turned and looked at me
and I remembered Him saying:
“Before the cock crows today
you will renounce me three times, ”
and I saw nothing but love
and understanding in His eyes.
My heart was filled with sudden anguish
and I went outside, into that cold night
wept bitterly, hearing those men
mocking and beating Him. [Exeunt


Act III


Scene I- The garden of Gethsemane. Early on the Sunday morning with Mary Magdalene, Ester, Rebecca, Johanna and Elizabeth near to the tomb of Jesus Christ in conversation.

Johanna. It’s such a lovely sunny day
and we have brought the spices for the anointing.
Why is the earth shaking so violently?
Let us wait a moment. Look how that tree is swaying.
Look! The tomb is open.

Ester. Who has rolled the large stone away
from the entrance of the tomb?

Rebecca: The tomb is empty! It’s strange
the bandages, the clothes are neatly folded.

Mary Magdalene. (Crying.) “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we don’t know where they had put him.”
We have got to go and tell Peter.

[The other women start crying, Exit Mary

Enter John, Simon Peter and Mary Magdalene running

John. Peter, the strips of linen, the burial cloth
are all neatly folded.

Simon Peter. Look, the tomb is empty.
I wonder who has taken His body?
Can it be the Pharisees? Can it be some of the priests?
They dare not touch anything dead,
as they will be unclean.
To where would they have taken Him?

Mary Magdalene. (Crying.) “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we don’t know where they had put him.”
Simon Peter. (Trying to console Mary.) Mary, it’s very strange.
Who could have rolled the rock away?

Mary Magdalene. (Sobbing.) I do not know, just that my Lord is gone.

Simon Peter. There is not much more that we can do here.
Let us go home.

[Exit Simon Peter and John.

Enter two angels appearing like lightning

[In fright the women bow down
with their faces to the ground.

Angels. (To Mary Magdalene.) “Woman, why are you crying?
Who is it you are looking for? ”

Mary Magdalene. (Crying.) “They have taken my Lord away,
and I don’t know where they had put him.”

[Mary turns around see Jesus, but do not realise that it is Him.

Angels. (to the women) “Don’t be alarmed.
You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,
who was crucified?
Why do you look for the living
among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen!
Remember how he told you,
while he was still with you in Galilee:
“The son of man must be delivered
into the hands of sinful men,
be crucified and on the third day
be raised again.” See the place
where they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter.”

[Mary Magdalene walks up to Jesus
thinking that He is the gardener.

Jesus Christ. “Woman, why are you crying?
Who is it you are looking for? ”

Mary Magdalene. “Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus Christ. Mary.

Mary Magdalene. “Rabboni! ” Teacher!

[Overwhelmed, totally astonished Mary Magdalene reaches for Jesus.

Jesus Christ. “Do not hold on to me,
for I have not yet returned to the Father;
go instead to my brothers and tell them:
“I am returning to my Father
and your Father,
to my God and your God.”

Mary Magdalene. My Lord I see love radiating out of your face
I wanted to come to you
with arms wide open,
come to you with my pain and fear,
wanted to wrap my arms adoring around you,
wanted to make you my only my own.
You know how much I love you,
but you are God; the Son of the Father,
your selfless love goes to everyone…

Elizabeth. He truly is the Son of God. He really is God. [Exeunt


** -End-**

[Poet’s note: The bible does not contradict itself. For consistency I have written “Jesus answered I say to you today, that you will be with me in paradise.” Many translations get it wrong stating: ”I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” These words were said on the Friday of the crucifixion. Luke 23: 43. After being risen on the following Sunday Jesus Christ says to Mary Magdalene in John 20: 17 “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.”]

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There Are Some Poems

there are some poems
which commit a murder
of souls
those are extremely tough
to share
but if you practice
they eventually come out
of the darkness

Perhaps to breathe
then sink again

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Sonnet: there are some who…

There are some who can’t afford one square meal;
There are some who run from pillar to post;
There are some who for their fellowmen feel;
There are some who never would like to boast.

There are some who are humble to the core;
There are some who exhibit great kindness;
There are some who are ready to give more;
There are some who die for righteousness.

There are some who always think of others;
There are some who are shelter less all life;
There are some who sacrifice for brothers;
There are some who love God despite all strife.

There are some who earn their Heaven on earth;
There are some who are, God-blest by birth.

7-30-2002

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Sonnet- There Are Some Righteous Ones

There are goodmen who can't be bought with ease;
There are quite some who can't tell lies at all;
There are some souls who want just mental peace;
There are some ones who will not ever fall.

There are some men who labour hard and sweat;
There are some ones who get a paltry sum;
There are some souls who stay always in debt;
There are quite some who take whatev'r may come.

There are some men who trudge all through their life;
There are some ones who sacrifice their lives;
There are some souls who love God more in strife;
There are quite some who resist many wives.

There are some souls who gain heaven on earth;
There are ones who make earth heaven by birth.

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There Are Some Questions

there are some questions
that at first glance
bring you nothing
like an empty basket
with nothing
but wicker spaces
all around it

like: how do you do?
what time is it?

but change these questions
to something
that slaps us
that makes us think about our existence?

like: how do you do with cancer?
what time is it that you will die?

tragic, but the truth runs like nerves
howling for help in your flesh
berserk
but then like anybody moving
it stops to rest
and stares to a world without questions
just plain
stare and acceptances

some manage however to let hope
come inside their mouths
to say:

how do you do mother? what time is it when the next baby comes?
when we will be a family,
a home, when we will face the new born babe
like a fireplace
near the breakfast table
where conversations about baptisms and weddings
flourish like some flowers
starting to bloom
in spring

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That 'Is' Some Form Of Forgiveness

Those who unknowingly,
Rally around the ones who have lied...
And found themselves supporters of a deceit,
Are equally as quilty...
Of destroying others' lives.
With such an ambitious thoroughness.

Inflicting isolation upon others,
Because of what has been heard...
And prefabricated for selfish purposes,
Results in feelings of guilt.
Theirs!

And when the ones who have been victimized...
Have no desire to be around those who have acquired,
A following by deceit that has left them depleted...
Of doing another good deed.
It becomes discovered the extent of the damage done.
And a forgetting with a forgiveness,
Is not part of the mix.
No matter what the wholesome belief,
Of turning the other cheek may be.

'Do what?
Forgive?
After years of them actively participating,
In the ruining of my life?
With statements they've made,
That they have made mistakes?
And we are all human?
What an awakening!
My eyes are beginning to moist.

We must be on camera?
Are we on camera?

I've done something better.
I've removed them completely from memory.
In my mind they do not exist.
I guess that 'is' some form of forgiveness.
Isn't it? '

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Girl And Gun

“All that you need is a girl and a gun
if you making a film, ” said Jean-Luc Godard.
In the dark with a girl you can have as much fun
as a guy who’s been laid in a film that is noir,
but if, when you switch on the light, you discover
the girl isn’t loaded, walk out of the trailer,
and if she complains that you’ve been a bad lover,
take out a revolver with which you can nail her.

Inspired by Manohla Dargis’s review of Gustav Deutsch’s “Film 1st, a Girl & an Gun” in the December 2,2009 NYT (“The Old Clips, A Paradise Found and Lost”) :
To make a film, ” Jean-Luc Godard once memorably said, “all you need is a girl and a gun.” (A little money helps.) In “Film Ist. a Girl & a Gun, ” the Austrian director Gustav Deutsch complicates this witty, deceptively simple formula with a wealth of found footage (material shot by others for other purposes) borrowed from film archives from around the world. As the title suggests, there are girls (voluptuous, ecstatic, threatened) and there are guns (hard, phallic, threatening) along with something of a narrative. If the narrative that Mr. Deutsch has created is rather less thrilling than his mostly silent and often glorious images, this is nonetheless a story well worth considering, and watching. Using material gathered from the likes of the Imperial War Museum (in Britain) and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction (at Indiana University) , he has fashioned something of an origin story about cinema itself. It’s a tale that begins with an unidentified image of a woman in buckskin shooting at some targets and ends with a cowboy bandit pointing his gun at the camera, an image appropriated from Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 short, “The Great Train Robbery, ” one of the most famous in cinema history. Tucked between these loaded images, as it were, is a vision of cinematic paradise, found and lost.
Tumult of a kind pursues the shooting woman (nothing new there) in the form of a mesmerizing, mysterious shot of what looks like an archery target in flames and some text (“at the first Chaos came to be”) from “Theogony, ” an epic Greek poem by Hesiod about the origin of the world. The archery target gives way to fiery orange images of billowing smoke and some electronic thrumming. (The intermittent score tends to underscore the obvious.) The thrumming turns to droning, the smoke turns to lava, followed by more Hesiod (“wide-bosomed earth”) , a woman with bountiful breasts, “Paradeisos” (Greek for paradise) and naked beachfront frolickers…
Women turn out to be the fly in the ointment ina Girl & a Gun.” (“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor” or so it says in Ecclesiastes.) Among the many images that follow, many beautifully and floridly tinted, are sleeping, dreaming and fornicating clothed and unclothed women. In one early section, a woman drowsing in a steam room seems to dream of both an undulating jellyfish and a swimming man. In another section, a woman watches a man spin four strange dials hidden behind a cabinet, as if he were initiating her into a secret world. (On the soundtrack, you hear “she dies.”) A world, a subsequent shot suggests — of a woman reading a newspaper with the headline “Cine Monde” — that has been made from images…With “a Girl & a Gun, ” Mr. Deutsch brings in Eros and Thanatos to a seductive if familiar end.


12/2/09

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Isn't The Change Already Evident?

The more expense of persuasion spent,
And the actual acts of facts put into place...
To chase away doubt and those paying,
With debates displayed and tossed about...
To convince there is some sense being made,
Has been less cost effective to change perspectives...
Of those standards valued and the quality of one's life,
Has slowed that slide downhill at a speed everyone observes...
Is increasing in momentum and not turniing around.
Regardless who has the experience in business.
Or who advises a community a unified effort is better served,
If all participated in change!

Isn't that change already evident everyone is participating in?
And who has not felt the wind while going down on that slide?
Even those still in deep sleep are finding it hard to catch their breath.
And no one expects gold trinkets under their feet,
Everywhere they step.
Not in their best kept delusions.

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The Coolest Pair

verse one
If i could take a ride on rudolph,
We'd trim the treetops knockin' a boot off
I'd get a ride out of rudolph hoofin' it everywhere
Verse two
If i could make a frosty the snowman,
He'd be the jolly get up and go-man
I'd make a 40 below-man we'd be the coolest pair
Chorus
We'd stick together, all kinds of weather
We're sure to have a ball
I can imagine all that can happen if a
Little bit of snow would fall
Verse three
If i could be the man down the chimney,
Bag full of magic i've got it in me
I can get santa to send me, i've got the
Time to spare
(repeat chorus)
Bridge
But the worh is around there's some other
Toen that let christmas go to the grinch
Well maybe in whoville not me and you-ville,
We'd never give 'em an inch
Verse four
If i could make a frosty the snowman
He'd be the jolly still on a roll-man
I'm make a 40-below man, we'd be the coolest pair
Hoofin' it everywhere , hey i've got time to spare

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The Piece Just Under The Top Right Corner

I was 'Shattered' I'm the mirror
There's broken pieces everywhere
I'm just shards now
I hold onto these shards with my hand and grip them tightly
I want to re-make myself But I won't use the ugly shards I'll grip them tighter
Let them sink into my skin
The problem
Is the paradox of me picking up myself while I'm broken
It just doesn't work

But then You came

But then You came and asked me to let go of the pieces
For all to see
The ugliness hidden deep inside of me
I'd never have let go for anyone but You
You'd offered me this chance many times too
But for some reason this time I just let go
Instead of trying to make myself into something I just let go and let You
And now my broken shards we're the pieces just under the top
The top right corner
We're.... I'm whole, and my once-makeshift shard
Has been made by the master
Into a part of the masterpiece that is Your kingdom
I'm just a piece but You saw the whole picture since the beginning
Now I'm proud to be there for all to see
But You aren't done with Your work in me
Or in this world

So now my brokenness is a beautiful mosaic of hope
A beautiful mosaic of love
All the broken pieces
Make a picture of something like a cross
To remind us that sin has no power
The sting of death is gone
So I'm just under the top right corner
But I need to gather some more pieces to make the corner
Not that it is I but You, my Lord
It's time to go out and show the world that brokenness
Brokenness healed through God's power
That's beautiful

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Believing whilst Bleeding,

Thread chords now cling tight to the stems
Of a form from which they used to sway,
Everyday in passing reflections laugh harder
Tearing vibrations through the looking glass,
For everyday that passes I've smoked another field of grass,
It seems I've dreamt away in blue any vision I held true of the past.

Old heads sing slow a song born aloft illumination,
Cloud burst light from emotion graces the day.

Sunken eyes of solace placed perfect in proportion
Demand in domineering servitude complte and utter adoration.
Shrinking skies of bloodshot glazes fade into the void,
As I toy with delusion, fusing confusion.
Skin so pale a whiter shade never have I seen.
Her hair befits an Elven maid but there breathes a Raven Queen,
Beneath her mask lies another, a portrait of true dreaming.

Her chest bears the mark of the moon in descent,
Of the crescent. Emblem of the Empress.
She who lies unimpressed by our explanations,
She who lies unimpressed by our explorations.

Here I am seeking an answer, some form of resolution,
A conclusion with which I can be satisfied,
There you stand denying the questioning of truths true reasoning.

In and out of season you’re wilting,
Outside still the sky is melting
Slow and silent soft felt fabric drips,
Don't slip I heard them say as they dissolved
Their cheeks upon bathroom tiles,
Tripping taking in the cool for a while,
Defending the exchange of foolish ironies
As the water heated skin to a
Solution, all it was they sought was resolution.
As I am seeking now an answer I'm sure will
Leave all I hold as pure weak at the knees in the knowledge
That there is no cure for the sickness I continue to host
Within my shell. An addiction to hell is less than I need,
As upon a hope for happiness I continue to feed.
Believing whilst Bleeding,
That there exists some form of meditation
Beyond the need for masturbation,
It's all I need, an illusion to feed,

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The Dead To The Living

Work while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

IN the childhood of April, while purple woods
With the young year's blood in them smiled,
I passed through the lanes and the wakened fields,
And stood by the grave of the child.
And the pain awoke that is never dead
Though it sometimes sleeps, and again
It set its teeth in this heart of mine,
And fastened its claws in my brain:
For it seemed so hard that the little hands
And the little well-loved head
Should be out of reach of my living lips,
And be side by side with the dead--
Not side by side with us who had loved,
But with these who had never seen
The grace of the smile, the gold of the hair,
And the eyes of my baby-queen.
Yet with trees about where the brown birds build,
And with long green grass above,


She lies in the cold sweet breast of earth
Beyond the reach of our love;
Whatever befalls in the coarse loud world,
We know she will never wake.
When I thought of the sorrow she might have known,
I was almost glad for her sake. . . .
Tears might have tired those kiss-closed eyes,
Grief hardened the mouth I kissed;
I was almost glad that my dear was dead
Because of the pain she had missed.
Oh, if I could but have died a child
With a white child-soul like hers,
As pure as the wind-flowers down in the copse,
Where the soul of the spring's self stirs;
Or if I had only done with it all,
And might lie by her side unmoved!
I envied the very clods of earth
Their place near the child I loved!


And my soul rose up in revolt at life,
As I stood dry-eyed by her grave,
When sudden the grass of the churchyard sod
Rolled back like a green smooth wave;
The brown earth looked like the brown sea rocks,
The tombstones were white like spray,
And white like surf were the curling folds
Of the shrouds where the dead men lay;
For each in his place with his quiet face
I saw the dead lie low,
Who had worked and suffered and found life sad,
So many sad years ago.
Unchanged by time I saw them lie
As when first they were laid to rest,
The tired eyes closed, the sad lips still,
And the work-worn hands on the breast.
There were some who had found the green world so grey,
They had left it before their time,
And some were little ones like my dear,
And some had died in their prime;
And some were old, they had had their fill
Of bitter unfruitful hours,
And knew that none of them, none, had known
A flower of a hope like ours!


Through their shut eyelids the dead looked up,
And without a voice they said:
'We lived without hope, without hope we died,
And hopeless we lie here dead;
And death is better than life that draws
Pain in, as it draws in breath,
If life never dreams of a coming day
When life shall not envy death.
Through the dark of our hours and our times we lived,
Uncheered by a single ray
Of such hope as lightens the lives of you
Who are finding life hard to-day;
With our little lanterns of human love
We lighted our dark warm night--
But you in the chill of the dawn are set
With your face to the eastern light.
Freedom is waiting with hands held out
Till you tear the veil from her face--
And when once men have seen the light of her eyes,
And felt her divine embrace,
The light of the world will be risen indeed,
And will shine in the eyes of men,
And those who come after will find life fair,
And their lives worth living then!
Will you strive to the light in your loud rough world,
That these things may come to pass,
Or lie in the shadow beside the child,
And strive to the sun through the grass?'


'My world while I may,' I cried; 'but you
Whose lives were as dark as your grave?'
'We too are a part of the coming light,'
They called through the smooth green wave.
Their white shrouds gleamed as the flood of green
Rolled over and hid them from me--
Hid all but the little hands and the hair,
And the face that I always see.

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Merlin And Vivien

A storm was coming, but the winds were still,
And in the wild woods of Broceliande,
Before an oak, so hollow, huge and old
It looked a tower of ivied masonwork,
At Merlin's feet the wily Vivien lay.

For he that always bare in bitter grudge
The slights of Arthur and his Table, Mark
The Cornish King, had heard a wandering voice,
A minstrel of Caerlon by strong storm
Blown into shelter at Tintagil, say
That out of naked knightlike purity
Sir Lancelot worshipt no unmarried girl
But the great Queen herself, fought in her name,
Sware by her--vows like theirs, that high in heaven
Love most, but neither marry, nor are given
In marriage, angels of our Lord's report.

He ceased, and then--for Vivien sweetly said
(She sat beside the banquet nearest Mark),
'And is the fair example followed, Sir,
In Arthur's household?'--answered innocently:

'Ay, by some few--ay, truly--youths that hold
It more beseems the perfect virgin knight
To worship woman as true wife beyond
All hopes of gaining, than as maiden girl.
They place their pride in Lancelot and the Queen.
So passionate for an utter purity
Beyond the limit of their bond, are these,
For Arthur bound them not to singleness.
Brave hearts and clean! and yet--God guide them--young.'

Then Mark was half in heart to hurl his cup
Straight at the speaker, but forbore: he rose
To leave the hall, and, Vivien following him,
Turned to her: 'Here are snakes within the grass;
And you methinks, O Vivien, save ye fear
The monkish manhood, and the mask of pure
Worn by this court, can stir them till they sting.'

And Vivien answered, smiling scornfully,
'Why fear? because that fostered at THY court
I savour of thy--virtues? fear them? no.
As Love, if Love is perfect, casts out fear,
So Hate, if Hate is perfect, casts out fear.
My father died in battle against the King,
My mother on his corpse in open field;
She bore me there, for born from death was I
Among the dead and sown upon the wind--
And then on thee! and shown the truth betimes,
That old true filth, and bottom of the well
Where Truth is hidden. Gracious lessons thine
And maxims of the mud! "This Arthur pure!
Great Nature through the flesh herself hath made
Gives him the lie! There is no being pure,
My cherub; saith not Holy Writ the same?"--
If I were Arthur, I would have thy blood.
Thy blessing, stainless King! I bring thee back,
When I have ferreted out their burrowings,
The hearts of all this Order in mine hand--
Ay--so that fate and craft and folly close,
Perchance, one curl of Arthur's golden beard.
To me this narrow grizzled fork of thine
Is cleaner-fashioned--Well, I loved thee first,
That warps the wit.'

Loud laughed the graceless Mark,
But Vivien, into Camelot stealing, lodged
Low in the city, and on a festal day
When Guinevere was crossing the great hall
Cast herself down, knelt to the Queen, and wailed.

'Why kneel ye there? What evil hath ye wrought?
Rise!' and the damsel bidden rise arose
And stood with folded hands and downward eyes
Of glancing corner, and all meekly said,
'None wrought, but suffered much, an orphan maid!
My father died in battle for thy King,
My mother on his corpse--in open field,
The sad sea-sounding wastes of Lyonnesse--
Poor wretch--no friend!--and now by Mark the King
For that small charm of feature mine, pursued--
If any such be mine--I fly to thee.
Save, save me thou--Woman of women--thine
The wreath of beauty, thine the crown of power,
Be thine the balm of pity, O Heaven's own white
Earth-angel, stainless bride of stainless King--
Help, for he follows! take me to thyself!
O yield me shelter for mine innocency
Among thy maidens!

Here her slow sweet eyes
Fear-tremulous, but humbly hopeful, rose
Fixt on her hearer's, while the Queen who stood
All glittering like May sunshine on May leaves
In green and gold, and plumed with green replied,
'Peace, child! of overpraise and overblame
We choose the last. Our noble Arthur, him
Ye scarce can overpraise, will hear and know.
Nay--we believe all evil of thy Mark--
Well, we shall test thee farther; but this hour
We ride a-hawking with Sir Lancelot.
He hath given us a fair falcon which he trained;
We go to prove it. Bide ye here the while.'

She past; and Vivien murmured after 'Go!
I bide the while.' Then through the portal-arch
Peering askance, and muttering broken-wise,
As one that labours with an evil dream,
Beheld the Queen and Lancelot get to horse.

'Is that the Lancelot? goodly--ay, but gaunt:
Courteous--amends for gauntness--takes her hand--
That glance of theirs, but for the street, had been
A clinging kiss--how hand lingers in hand!
Let go at last!--they ride away--to hawk
For waterfowl. Royaller game is mine.
For such a supersensual sensual bond
As that gray cricket chirpt of at our hearth--
Touch flax with flame--a glance will serve--the liars!
Ah little rat that borest in the dyke
Thy hole by night to let the boundless deep
Down upon far-off cities while they dance--
Or dream--of thee they dreamed not--nor of me
These--ay, but each of either: ride, and dream
The mortal dream that never yet was mine--
Ride, ride and dream until ye wake--to me!
Then, narrow court and lubber King, farewell!
For Lancelot will be gracious to the rat,
And our wise Queen, if knowing that I know,
Will hate, loathe, fear--but honour me the more.'

Yet while they rode together down the plain,
Their talk was all of training, terms of art,
Diet and seeling, jesses, leash and lure.
'She is too noble' he said 'to check at pies,
Nor will she rake: there is no baseness in her.'
Here when the Queen demanded as by chance
'Know ye the stranger woman?' 'Let her be,'
Said Lancelot and unhooded casting off
The goodly falcon free; she towered; her bells,
Tone under tone, shrilled; and they lifted up
Their eager faces, wondering at the strength,
Boldness and royal knighthood of the bird
Who pounced her quarry and slew it. Many a time
As once--of old--among the flowers--they rode.

But Vivien half-forgotten of the Queen
Among her damsels broidering sat, heard, watched
And whispered: through the peaceful court she crept
And whispered: then as Arthur in the highest
Leavened the world, so Vivien in the lowest,
Arriving at a time of golden rest,
And sowing one ill hint from ear to ear,
While all the heathen lay at Arthur's feet,
And no quest came, but all was joust and play,
Leavened his hall. They heard and let her be.

Thereafter as an enemy that has left
Death in the living waters, and withdrawn,
The wily Vivien stole from Arthur's court.

She hated all the knights, and heard in thought
Their lavish comment when her name was named.
For once, when Arthur walking all alone,
Vext at a rumour issued from herself
Of some corruption crept among his knights,
Had met her, Vivien, being greeted fair,
Would fain have wrought upon his cloudy mood
With reverent eyes mock-loyal, shaken voice,
And fluttered adoration, and at last
With dark sweet hints of some who prized him more
Than who should prize him most; at which the King
Had gazed upon her blankly and gone by:
But one had watched, and had not held his peace:
It made the laughter of an afternoon
That Vivien should attempt the blameless King.
And after that, she set herself to gain
Him, the most famous man of all those times,
Merlin, who knew the range of all their arts,
Had built the King his havens, ships, and halls,
Was also Bard, and knew the starry heavens;
The people called him Wizard; whom at first
She played about with slight and sprightly talk,
And vivid smiles, and faintly-venomed points
Of slander, glancing here and grazing there;
And yielding to his kindlier moods, the Seer
Would watch her at her petulance, and play,
Even when they seemed unloveable, and laugh
As those that watch a kitten; thus he grew
Tolerant of what he half disdained, and she,
Perceiving that she was but half disdained,
Began to break her sports with graver fits,
Turn red or pale, would often when they met
Sigh fully, or all-silent gaze upon him
With such a fixt devotion, that the old man,
Though doubtful, felt the flattery, and at times
Would flatter his own wish in age for love,
And half believe her true: for thus at times
He wavered; but that other clung to him,
Fixt in her will, and so the seasons went.

Then fell on Merlin a great melancholy;
He walked with dreams and darkness, and he found
A doom that ever poised itself to fall,
An ever-moaning battle in the mist,
World-war of dying flesh against the life,
Death in all life and lying in all love,
The meanest having power upon the highest,
And the high purpose broken by the worm.

So leaving Arthur's court he gained the beach;
There found a little boat, and stept into it;
And Vivien followed, but he marked her not.
She took the helm and he the sail; the boat
Drave with a sudden wind across the deeps,
And touching Breton sands, they disembarked.
And then she followed Merlin all the way,
Even to the wild woods of Broceliande.
For Merlin once had told her of a charm,
The which if any wrought on anyone
With woven paces and with waving arms,
The man so wrought on ever seemed to lie
Closed in the four walls of a hollow tower,
From which was no escape for evermore;
And none could find that man for evermore,
Nor could he see but him who wrought the charm
Coming and going, and he lay as dead
And lost to life and use and name and fame.
And Vivien ever sought to work the charm
Upon the great Enchanter of the Time,
As fancying that her glory would be great
According to his greatness whom she quenched.

There lay she all her length and kissed his feet,
As if in deepest reverence and in love.
A twist of gold was round her hair; a robe
Of samite without price, that more exprest
Than hid her, clung about her lissome limbs,
In colour like the satin-shining palm
On sallows in the windy gleams of March:
And while she kissed them, crying, 'Trample me,
Dear feet, that I have followed through the world,
And I will pay you worship; tread me down
And I will kiss you for it;' he was mute:
So dark a forethought rolled about his brain,
As on a dull day in an Ocean cave
The blind wave feeling round his long sea-hall
In silence: wherefore, when she lifted up
A face of sad appeal, and spake and said,
'O Merlin, do ye love me?' and again,
'O Merlin, do ye love me?' and once more,
'Great Master, do ye love me?' he was mute.
And lissome Vivien, holding by his heel,
Writhed toward him, slided up his knee and sat,
Behind his ankle twined her hollow feet
Together, curved an arm about his neck,
Clung like a snake; and letting her left hand
Droop from his mighty shoulder, as a leaf,
Made with her right a comb of pearl to part
The lists of such a board as youth gone out
Had left in ashes: then he spoke and said,
Not looking at her, 'Who are wise in love
Love most, say least,' and Vivien answered quick,
'I saw the little elf-god eyeless once
In Arthur's arras hall at Camelot:
But neither eyes nor tongue--O stupid child!
Yet you are wise who say it; let me think
Silence is wisdom: I am silent then,
And ask no kiss;' then adding all at once,
'And lo, I clothe myself with wisdom,' drew
The vast and shaggy mantle of his beard
Across her neck and bosom to her knee,
And called herself a gilded summer fly
Caught in a great old tyrant spider's web,
Who meant to eat her up in that wild wood
Without one word. So Vivien called herself,
But rather seemed a lovely baleful star
Veiled in gray vapour; till he sadly smiled:
'To what request for what strange boon,' he said,
'Are these your pretty tricks and fooleries,
O Vivien, the preamble? yet my thanks,
For these have broken up my melancholy.'

And Vivien answered smiling saucily,
'What, O my Master, have ye found your voice?
I bid the stranger welcome. Thanks at last!
But yesterday you never opened lip,
Except indeed to drink: no cup had we:
In mine own lady palms I culled the spring
That gathered trickling dropwise from the cleft,
And made a pretty cup of both my hands
And offered you it kneeling: then you drank
And knew no more, nor gave me one poor word;
O no more thanks than might a goat have given
With no more sign of reverence than a beard.
And when we halted at that other well,
And I was faint to swooning, and you lay
Foot-gilt with all the blossom-dust of those
Deep meadows we had traversed, did you know
That Vivien bathed your feet before her own?
And yet no thanks: and all through this wild wood
And all this morning when I fondled you:
Boon, ay, there was a boon, one not so strange--
How had I wronged you? surely ye are wise,
But such a silence is more wise than kind.'

And Merlin locked his hand in hers and said:
'O did ye never lie upon the shore,
And watch the curled white of the coming wave
Glassed in the slippery sand before it breaks?
Even such a wave, but not so pleasurable,
Dark in the glass of some presageful mood,
Had I for three days seen, ready to fall.
And then I rose and fled from Arthur's court
To break the mood. You followed me unasked;
And when I looked, and saw you following me still,
My mind involved yourself the nearest thing
In that mind-mist: for shall I tell you truth?
You seemed that wave about to break upon me
And sweep me from my hold upon the world,
My use and name and fame. Your pardon, child.
Your pretty sports have brightened all again.
And ask your boon, for boon I owe you thrice,
Once for wrong done you by confusion, next
For thanks it seems till now neglected, last
For these your dainty gambols: wherefore ask;
And take this boon so strange and not so strange.'

And Vivien answered smiling mournfully:
'O not so strange as my long asking it,
Not yet so strange as you yourself are strange,
Nor half so strange as that dark mood of yours.
I ever feared ye were not wholly mine;
And see, yourself have owned ye did me wrong.
The people call you prophet: let it be:
But not of those that can expound themselves.
Take Vivien for expounder; she will call
That three-days-long presageful gloom of yours
No presage, but the same mistrustful mood
That makes you seem less noble than yourself,
Whenever I have asked this very boon,
Now asked again: for see you not, dear love,
That such a mood as that, which lately gloomed
Your fancy when ye saw me following you,
Must make me fear still more you are not mine,
Must make me yearn still more to prove you mine,
And make me wish still more to learn this charm
Of woven paces and of waving hands,
As proof of trust. O Merlin, teach it me.
The charm so taught will charm us both to rest.
For, grant me some slight power upon your fate,
I, feeling that you felt me worthy trust,
Should rest and let you rest, knowing you mine.
And therefore be as great as ye are named,
Not muffled round with selfish reticence.
How hard you look and how denyingly!
O, if you think this wickedness in me,
That I should prove it on you unawares,
That makes me passing wrathful; then our bond
Had best be loosed for ever: but think or not,
By Heaven that hears I tell you the clean truth,
As clean as blood of babes, as white as milk:
O Merlin, may this earth, if ever I,
If these unwitty wandering wits of mine,
Even in the jumbled rubbish of a dream,
Have tript on such conjectural treachery--
May this hard earth cleave to the Nadir hell
Down, down, and close again, and nip me flat,
If I be such a traitress. Yield my boon,
Till which I scarce can yield you all I am;
And grant my re-reiterated wish,
The great proof of your love: because I think,
However wise, ye hardly know me yet.'

And Merlin loosed his hand from hers and said,
'I never was less wise, however wise,
Too curious Vivien, though you talk of trust,
Than when I told you first of such a charm.
Yea, if ye talk of trust I tell you this,
Too much I trusted when I told you that,
And stirred this vice in you which ruined man
Through woman the first hour; for howsoe'er
In children a great curiousness be well,
Who have to learn themselves and all the world,
In you, that are no child, for still I find
Your face is practised when I spell the lines,
I call it,--well, I will not call it vice:
But since you name yourself the summer fly,
I well could wish a cobweb for the gnat,
That settles, beaten back, and beaten back
Settles, till one could yield for weariness:
But since I will not yield to give you power
Upon my life and use and name and fame,
Why will ye never ask some other boon?
Yea, by God's rood, I trusted you too much.'

And Vivien, like the tenderest-hearted maid
That ever bided tryst at village stile,
Made answer, either eyelid wet with tears:
'Nay, Master, be not wrathful with your maid;
Caress her: let her feel herself forgiven
Who feels no heart to ask another boon.
I think ye hardly know the tender rhyme
Of "trust me not at all or all in all."
I heard the great Sir Lancelot sing it once,
And it shall answer for me. Listen to it.

"In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours,
Faith and unfaith can ne'er be equal powers:
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.

"It is the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.

"The little rift within the lover's lute
Or little pitted speck in garnered fruit,
That rotting inward slowly moulders all.

"It is not worth the keeping: let it go:
But shall it? answer, darling, answer, no.
And trust me not at all or all in all."

O Master, do ye love my tender rhyme?'

And Merlin looked and half believed her true,
So tender was her voice, so fair her face,
So sweetly gleamed her eyes behind her tears
Like sunlight on the plain behind a shower:
And yet he answered half indignantly:

'Far other was the song that once I heard
By this huge oak, sung nearly where we sit:
For here we met, some ten or twelve of us,
To chase a creature that was current then
In these wild woods, the hart with golden horns.
It was the time when first the question rose
About the founding of a Table Round,
That was to be, for love of God and men
And noble deeds, the flower of all the world.
And each incited each to noble deeds.
And while we waited, one, the youngest of us,
We could not keep him silent, out he flashed,
And into such a song, such fire for fame,
Such trumpet-glowings in it, coming down
To such a stern and iron-clashing close,
That when he stopt we longed to hurl together,
And should have done it; but the beauteous beast
Scared by the noise upstarted at our feet,
And like a silver shadow slipt away
Through the dim land; and all day long we rode
Through the dim land against a rushing wind,
That glorious roundel echoing in our ears,
And chased the flashes of his golden horns
Till they vanished by the fairy well
That laughs at iron--as our warriors did--
Where children cast their pins and nails, and cry,
"Laugh, little well!" but touch it with a sword,
It buzzes fiercely round the point; and there
We lost him: such a noble song was that.
But, Vivien, when you sang me that sweet rhyme,
I felt as though you knew this cursd charm,
Were proving it on me, and that I lay
And felt them slowly ebbing, name and fame.'

And Vivien answered smiling mournfully:
'O mine have ebbed away for evermore,
And all through following you to this wild wood,
Because I saw you sad, to comfort you.
Lo now, what hearts have men! they never mount
As high as woman in her selfless mood.
And touching fame, howe'er ye scorn my song,
Take one verse more--the lady speaks it--this:

'"My name, once mine, now thine, is closelier mine,
For fame, could fame be mine, that fame were thine,
And shame, could shame be thine, that shame were mine.
So trust me not at all or all in all."

'Says she not well? and there is more--this rhyme
Is like the fair pearl-necklace of the Queen,
That burst in dancing, and the pearls were spilt;
Some lost, some stolen, some as relics kept.
But nevermore the same two sister pearls
Ran down the silken thread to kiss each other
On her white neck--so is it with this rhyme:
It lives dispersedly in many hands,
And every minstrel sings it differently;
Yet is there one true line, the pearl of pearls:
"Man dreams of Fame while woman wakes to love."
Yea! Love, though Love were of the grossest, carves
A portion from the solid present, eats
And uses, careless of the rest; but Fame,
The Fame that follows death is nothing to us;
And what is Fame in life but half-disfame,
And counterchanged with darkness? ye yourself
Know well that Envy calls you Devil's son,
And since ye seem the Master of all Art,
They fain would make you Master of all vice.'

And Merlin locked his hand in hers and said,
'I once was looking for a magic weed,
And found a fair young squire who sat alone,
Had carved himself a knightly shield of wood,
And then was painting on it fancied arms,
Azure, an Eagle rising or, the Sun
In dexter chief; the scroll "I follow fame."
And speaking not, but leaning over him
I took his brush and blotted out the bird,
And made a Gardener putting in a graff,
With this for motto, "Rather use than fame."
You should have seen him blush; but afterwards
He made a stalwart knight. O Vivien,
For you, methinks you think you love me well;
For me, I love you somewhat; rest: and Love
Should have some rest and pleasure in himself,
Not ever be too curious for a boon,
Too prurient for a proof against the grain
Of him ye say ye love: but Fame with men,
Being but ampler means to serve mankind,
Should have small rest or pleasure in herself,
But work as vassal to the larger love,
That dwarfs the petty love of one to one.
Use gave me Fame at first, and Fame again
Increasing gave me use. Lo, there my boon!
What other? for men sought to prove me vile,
Because I fain had given them greater wits:
And then did Envy call me Devil's son:
The sick weak beast seeking to help herself
By striking at her better, missed, and brought
Her own claw back, and wounded her own heart.
Sweet were the days when I was all unknown,
But when my name was lifted up, the storm
Brake on the mountain and I cared not for it.
Right well know I that Fame is half-disfame,
Yet needs must work my work. That other fame,
To one at least, who hath not children, vague,
The cackle of the unborn about the grave,
I cared not for it: a single misty star,
Which is the second in a line of stars
That seem a sword beneath a belt of three,
I never gazed upon it but I dreamt
Of some vast charm concluded in that star
To make fame nothing. Wherefore, if I fear,
Giving you power upon me through this charm,
That you might play me falsely, having power,
However well ye think ye love me now
(As sons of kings loving in pupilage
Have turned to tyrants when they came to power)
I rather dread the loss of use than fame;
If you--and not so much from wickedness,
As some wild turn of anger, or a mood
Of overstrained affection, it may be,
To keep me all to your own self,--or else
A sudden spurt of woman's jealousy,--
Should try this charm on whom ye say ye love.'

And Vivien answered smiling as in wrath:
'Have I not sworn? I am not trusted. Good!
Well, hide it, hide it; I shall find it out;
And being found take heed of Vivien.
A woman and not trusted, doubtless I
Might feel some sudden turn of anger born
Of your misfaith; and your fine epithet
Is accurate too, for this full love of mine
Without the full heart back may merit well
Your term of overstrained. So used as I,
My daily wonder is, I love at all.
And as to woman's jealousy, O why not?
O to what end, except a jealous one,
And one to make me jealous if I love,
Was this fair charm invented by yourself?
I well believe that all about this world
Ye cage a buxom captive here and there,
Closed in the four walls of a hollow tower
From which is no escape for evermore.'

Then the great Master merrily answered her:
'Full many a love in loving youth was mine;
I needed then no charm to keep them mine
But youth and love; and that full heart of yours
Whereof ye prattle, may now assure you mine;
So live uncharmed. For those who wrought it first,
The wrist is parted from the hand that waved,
The feet unmortised from their ankle-bones
Who paced it, ages back: but will ye hear
The legend as in guerdon for your rhyme?

'There lived a king in the most Eastern East,
Less old than I, yet older, for my blood
Hath earnest in it of far springs to be.
A tawny pirate anchored in his port,
Whose bark had plundered twenty nameless isles;
And passing one, at the high peep of dawn,
He saw two cities in a thousand boats
All fighting for a woman on the sea.
And pushing his black craft among them all,
He lightly scattered theirs and brought her off,
With loss of half his people arrow-slain;
A maid so smooth, so white, so wonderful,
They said a light came from her when she moved:
And since the pirate would not yield her up,
The King impaled him for his piracy;
Then made her Queen: but those isle-nurtured eyes
Waged such unwilling though successful war
On all the youth, they sickened; councils thinned,
And armies waned, for magnet-like she drew
The rustiest iron of old fighters' hearts;
And beasts themselves would worship; camels knelt
Unbidden, and the brutes of mountain back
That carry kings in castles, bowed black knees
Of homage, ringing with their serpent hands,
To make her smile, her golden ankle-bells.
What wonder, being jealous, that he sent
His horns of proclamation out through all
The hundred under-kingdoms that he swayed
To find a wizard who might teach the King
Some charm, which being wrought upon the Queen
Might keep her all his own: to such a one
He promised more than ever king has given,
A league of mountain full of golden mines,
A province with a hundred miles of coast,
A palace and a princess, all for him:
But on all those who tried and failed, the King
Pronounced a dismal sentence, meaning by it
To keep the list low and pretenders back,
Or like a king, not to be trifled with--
Their heads should moulder on the city gates.
And many tried and failed, because the charm
Of nature in her overbore their own:
And many a wizard brow bleached on the walls:
And many weeks a troop of carrion crows
Hung like a cloud above the gateway towers.'

And Vivien breaking in upon him, said:
'I sit and gather honey; yet, methinks,
Thy tongue has tript a little: ask thyself.
The lady never made UNWILLING war
With those fine eyes: she had her pleasure in it,
And made her good man jealous with good cause.
And lived there neither dame nor damsel then
Wroth at a lover's loss? were all as tame,
I mean, as noble, as the Queen was fair?
Not one to flirt a venom at her eyes,
Or pinch a murderous dust into her drink,
Or make her paler with a poisoned rose?
Well, those were not our days: but did they find
A wizard? Tell me, was he like to thee?

She ceased, and made her lithe arm round his neck
Tighten, and then drew back, and let her eyes
Speak for her, glowing on him, like a bride's
On her new lord, her own, the first of men.

He answered laughing, 'Nay, not like to me.
At last they found--his foragers for charms--
A little glassy-headed hairless man,
Who lived alone in a great wild on grass;
Read but one book, and ever reading grew
So grated down and filed away with thought,
So lean his eyes were monstrous; while the skin
Clung but to crate and basket, ribs and spine.
And since he kept his mind on one sole aim,
Nor ever touched fierce wine, nor tasted flesh,
Nor owned a sensual wish, to him the wall
That sunders ghosts and shadow-casting men
Became a crystal, and he saw them through it,
And heard their voices talk behind the wall,
And learnt their elemental secrets, powers
And forces; often o'er the sun's bright eye
Drew the vast eyelid of an inky cloud,
And lashed it at the base with slanting storm;
Or in the noon of mist and driving rain,
When the lake whitened and the pinewood roared,
And the cairned mountain was a shadow, sunned
The world to peace again: here was the man.
And so by force they dragged him to the King.
And then he taught the King to charm the Queen
In such-wise, that no man could see her more,
Nor saw she save the King, who wrought the charm,
Coming and going, and she lay as dead,
And lost all use of life: but when the King
Made proffer of the league of golden mines,
The province with a hundred miles of coast,
The palace and the princess, that old man
Went back to his old wild, and lived on grass,
And vanished, and his book came down to me.'

And Vivien answered smiling saucily:
'Ye have the book: the charm is written in it:
Good: take my counsel: let me know it at once:
For keep it like a puzzle chest in chest,
With each chest locked and padlocked thirty-fold,
And whelm all this beneath as vast a mound
As after furious battle turfs the slain
On some wild down above the windy deep,
I yet should strike upon a sudden means
To dig, pick, open, find and read the charm:
Then, if I tried it, who should blame me then?'

And smiling as a master smiles at one
That is not of his school, nor any school
But that where blind and naked Ignorance
Delivers brawling judgments, unashamed,
On all things all day long, he answered her:

'Thou read the book, my pretty Vivien!
O ay, it is but twenty pages long,
But every page having an ample marge,
And every marge enclosing in the midst
A square of text that looks a little blot,
The text no larger than the limbs of fleas;
And every square of text an awful charm,
Writ in a language that has long gone by.
So long, that mountains have arisen since
With cities on their flanks--thou read the book!
And ever margin scribbled, crost, and crammed
With comment, densest condensation, hard
To mind and eye; but the long sleepless nights
Of my long life have made it easy to me.
And none can read the text, not even I;
And none can read the comment but myself;
And in the comment did I find the charm.
O, the results are simple; a mere child
Might use it to the harm of anyone,
And never could undo it: ask no more:
For though you should not prove it upon me,
But keep that oath ye sware, ye might, perchance,
Assay it on some one of the Table Round,
And all because ye dream they babble of you.'

And Vivien, frowning in true anger, said:
'What dare the full-fed liars say of me?
THEY ride abroad redressing human wrongs!
They sit with knife in meat and wine in horn!
THEY bound to holy vows of chastity!
Were I not woman, I could tell a tale.
But you are man, you well can understand
The shame that cannot be explained for shame.
Not one of all the drove should touch me: swine!'

Then answered Merlin careless of her words:
'You breathe but accusation vast and vague,
Spleen-born, I think, and proofless. If ye know,
Set up the charge ye know, to stand or fall!'

And Vivien answered frowning wrathfully:
'O ay, what say ye to Sir Valence, him
Whose kinsman left him watcher o'er his wife
And two fair babes, and went to distant lands;
Was one year gone, and on returning found
Not two but three? there lay the reckling, one
But one hour old! What said the happy sire?'
A seven-months' babe had been a truer gift.
Those twelve sweet moons confused his fatherhood.'

Then answered Merlin, 'Nay, I know the tale.
Sir Valence wedded with an outland dame:
Some cause had kept him sundered from his wife:
One child they had: it lived with her: she died:
His kinsman travelling on his own affair
Was charged by Valence to bring home the child.
He brought, not found it therefore: take the truth.'

'O ay,' said Vivien, 'overtrue a tale.
What say ye then to sweet Sir Sagramore,
That ardent man? "to pluck the flower in season,"
So says the song, "I trow it is no treason."
O Master, shall we call him overquick
To crop his own sweet rose before the hour?'

And Merlin answered, 'Overquick art thou
To catch a loathly plume fallen from the wing
Of that foul bird of rapine whose whole prey
Is man's good name: he never wronged his bride.
I know the tale. An angry gust of wind
Puffed out his torch among the myriad-roomed
And many-corridored complexities
Of Arthur's palace: then he found a door,
And darkling felt the sculptured ornament
That wreathen round it made it seem his own;
And wearied out made for the couch and slept,
A stainless man beside a stainless maid;
And either slept, nor knew of other there;
Till the high dawn piercing the royal rose
In Arthur's casement glimmered chastely down,
Blushing upon them blushing, and at once
He rose without a word and parted from her:
But when the thing was blazed about the court,
The brute world howling forced them into bonds,
And as it chanced they are happy, being pure.'

'O ay,' said Vivien, 'that were likely too.
What say ye then to fair Sir Percivale
And of the horrid foulness that he wrought,
The saintly youth, the spotless lamb of Christ,
Or some black wether of St Satan's fold.
What, in the precincts of the chapel-yard,
Among the knightly brasses of the graves,
And by the cold Hic Jacets of the dead!'

And Merlin answered careless of her charge,
'A sober man is Percivale and pure;
But once in life was flustered with new wine,
Then paced for coolness in the chapel-yard;
Where one of Satan's shepherdesses caught
And meant to stamp him with her master's mark;
And that he sinned is not believable;
For, look upon his face!--but if he sinned,
The sin that practice burns into the blood,
And not the one dark hour which brings remorse,
Will brand us, after, of whose fold we be:
Or else were he, the holy king, whose hymns
Are chanted in the minster, worse than all.
But is your spleen frothed out, or have ye more?'

And Vivien answered frowning yet in wrath:
'O ay; what say ye to Sir Lancelot, friend
Traitor or true? that commerce with the Queen,
I ask you, is it clamoured by the child,
Or whispered in the corner? do ye know it?'

To which he answered sadly, 'Yea, I know it.
Sir Lancelot went ambassador, at first,
To fetch her, and she watched him from her walls.
A rumour runs, she took him for the King,
So fixt her fancy on him: let them be.
But have ye no one word of loyal praise
For Arthur, blameless King and stainless man?'

She answered with a low and chuckling laugh:
'Man! is he man at all, who knows and winks?
Sees what his fair bride is and does, and winks?
By which the good King means to blind himself,
And blinds himself and all the Table Round
To all the foulness that they work. Myself
Could call him (were it not for womanhood)
The pretty, popular cause such manhood earns,
Could call him the main cause of all their crime;
Yea, were he not crowned King, coward, and fool.'

Then Merlin to his own heart, loathing, said:
'O true and tender! O my liege and King!
O selfless man and stainless gentleman,
Who wouldst against thine own eye-witness fain
Have all men true and leal, all women pure;
How, in the mouths of base interpreters,
From over-fineness not intelligible
To things with every sense as false and foul
As the poached filth that floods the middle street,
Is thy white blamelessness accounted blame!'

But Vivien, deeming Merlin overborne
By instance, recommenced, and let her tongue
Rage like a fire among the noblest names,
Polluting, and imputing her whole self,
Defaming and defacing, till she left
Not even Lancelot brave, nor Galahad clean.

Her words had issue other than she willed.
He dragged his eyebrow bushes down, and made
A snowy penthouse for his hollow eyes,
And muttered in himself, 'Tell HER the charm!
So, if she had it, would she rail on me
To snare the next, and if she have it not
So will she rail. What did the wanton say?
"Not mount as high;" we scarce can sink as low:
For men at most differ as Heaven and earth,
But women, worst and best, as Heaven and Hell.
I know the Table Round, my friends of old;
All brave, and many generous, and some chaste.
She cloaks the scar of some repulse with lies;
I well believe she tempted them and failed,
Being so bitter: for fine plots may fail,
Though harlots paint their talk as well as face
With colours of the heart that are not theirs.
I will not let her know: nine tithes of times
Face-flatterer and backbiter are the same.
And they, sweet soul, that most impute a crime
Are pronest to it, and impute themselves,
Wanting the mental range; or low desire
Not to feel lowest makes them level all;
Yea, they would pare the mountain to the plain,
To leave an equal baseness; and in this
Are harlots like the crowd, that if they find
Some stain or blemish in a name of note,
Not grieving that their greatest are so small,
Inflate themselves with some insane delight,
And judge all nature from her feet of clay,
Without the will to lift their eyes, and see
Her godlike head crowned with spiritual fire,
And touching other worlds. I am weary of her.'

He spoke in words part heard, in whispers part,
Half-suffocated in the hoary fell
And many-wintered fleece of throat and chin.
But Vivien, gathering somewhat of his mood,
And hearing 'harlot' muttered twice or thrice,
Leapt from her session on his lap, and stood
Stiff as a viper frozen; loathsome sight,
How from the rosy lips of life and love,
Flashed the bare-grinning skeleton of death!
White was her cheek; sharp breaths of anger puffed
Her fairy nostril out; her hand half-clenched
Went faltering sideways downward to her belt,
And feeling; had she found a dagger there
(For in a wink the false love turns to hate)
She would have stabbed him; but she found it not:
His eye was calm, and suddenly she took
To bitter weeping like a beaten child,
A long, long weeping, not consolable.
Then her false voice made way, broken with sobs:

'O crueller than was ever told in tale,
Or sung in song! O vainly lavished love!
O cruel, there was nothing wild or strange,
Or seeming shameful--for what shame in love,
So love be true, and not as yours is--nothing
Poor Vivien had not done to win his trust
Who called her what he called her--all her crime,
All--all--the wish to prove him wholly hers.'

She mused a little, and then clapt her hands
Together with a wailing shriek, and said:
'Stabbed through the heart's affections to the heart!
Seethed like the kid in its own mother's milk!
Killed with a word worse than a life of blows!
I thought that he was gentle, being great:
O God, that I had loved a smaller man!
I should have found in him a greater heart.
O, I, that flattering my true passion, saw
The knights, the court, the King, dark in your light,
Who loved to make men darker than they are,
Because of that high pleasure which I had
To seat you sole upon my pedestal
Of worship--I am answered, and henceforth
The course of life that seemed so flowery to me
With you for guide and master, only you,
Becomes the sea-cliff pathway broken short,
And ending in a ruin--nothing left,
But into some low cave to crawl, and there,
If the wolf spare me, weep my life away,
Killed with inutterable unkindliness.'

She paused, she turned away, she hung her head,
The snake of gold slid from her hair, the braid
Slipt and uncoiled itself, she wept afresh,
And the dark wood grew darker toward the storm
In silence, while his anger slowly died
Within him, till he let his wisdom go
For ease of heart, and half believed her true:
Called her to shelter in the hollow oak,
'Come from the storm,' and having no reply,
Gazed at the heaving shoulder, and the face
Hand-hidden, as for utmost grief or shame;
Then thrice essayed, by tenderest-touching terms,
To sleek her ruffled peace of mind, in vain.
At last she let herself be conquered by him,
And as the cageling newly flown returns,
The seeming-injured simple-hearted thing
Came to her old perch back, and settled there.
There while she sat, half-falling from his knees,
Half-nestled at his heart, and since he saw
The slow tear creep from her closed eyelid yet,
About her, more in kindness than in love,
The gentle wizard cast a shielding arm.
But she dislinked herself at once and rose,
Her arms upon her breast across, and stood,
A virtuous gentlewoman deeply wronged,
Upright and flushed before him: then she said:

'There must now be no passages of love
Betwixt us twain henceforward evermore;
Since, if I be what I am grossly called,
What should be granted which your own gross heart
Would reckon worth the taking? I will go.
In truth, but one thing now--better have died
Thrice than have asked it once--could make me stay--
That proof of trust--so often asked in vain!
How justly, after that vile term of yours,
I find with grief! I might believe you then,
Who knows? once more. Lo! what was once to me
Mere matter of the fancy, now hath grown
The vast necessity of heart and life.
Farewell; think gently of me, for I fear
My fate or folly, passing gayer youth
For one so old, must be to love thee still.
But ere I leave thee let me swear once more
That if I schemed against thy peace in this,
May yon just heaven, that darkens o'er me, send
One flash, that, missing all things else, may make
My scheming brain a cinder, if I lie.'

Scarce had she ceased, when out of heaven a bolt
(For now the storm was close above them) struck,
Furrowing a giant oak, and javelining
With darted spikes and splinters of the wood
The dark earth round. He raised his eyes and saw
The tree that shone white-listed through the gloom.
But Vivien, fearing heaven had heard her oath,
And dazzled by the livid-flickering fork,
And deafened with the stammering cracks and claps
That followed, flying back and crying out,
'O Merlin, though you do not love me, save,
Yet save me!' clung to him and hugged him close;
And called him dear protector in her fright,
Nor yet forgot her practice in her fright,
But wrought upon his mood and hugged him close.
The pale blood of the wizard at her touch
Took gayer colours, like an opal warmed.
She blamed herself for telling hearsay tales:
She shook from fear, and for her fault she wept
Of petulancy; she called him lord and liege,
Her seer, her bard, her silver star of eve,
Her God, her Merlin, the one passionate love
Of her whole life; and ever overhead
Bellowed the tempest, and the rotten branch
Snapt in the rushing of the river-rain
Above them; and in change of glare and gloom
Her eyes and neck glittering went and came;
Till now the storm, its burst of passion spent,
Moaning and calling out of other lands,
Had left the ravaged woodland yet once more
To peace; and what should not have been had been,
For Merlin, overtalked and overworn,
Had yielded, told her all the charm, and slept.

Then, in one moment, she put forth the charm
Of woven paces and of waving hands,
And in the hollow oak he lay as dead,
And lost to life and use and name and fame.

Then crying 'I have made his glory mine,'
And shrieking out 'O fool!' the harlot leapt
Adown the forest, and the thicket closed
Behind her, and the forest echoed 'fool.'

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A monarch’s supremacy

A monarch is not supreme.
He is dumb to ones he trusts,
A slave to his concubine
And humble to his heir.
19.10.2011

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I got into television because I hated it so. I thought, there's some way of using this fabulous instrument to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen.

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Imaginary is birth and death.

Dust turns into plant,
Plant turns into animal,
And animal, dust.
Thus matter is cyclic,
No end, no beginning.
Where’s death or birth?
15.03.2000, Palakkad

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There are some people, you know, they think the way to be a big man is to shout and stomp and raise hell-and then nothing ever really happens. I'm not like that I never shoot blanks.

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There are some people, you know, they think the way to be a big man is to shout and stomp and raise hell-and then nothing ever really happens. I'm not like that ... I never shoot blanks.

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William Shakespeare

Chief Justice: For what sum?
Mistress Quickly: It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all I have. He hath eaten me out of house and home. He hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his.

lines from the play Henry IV, Act II, Scene 1, script by (1597)Report problemRelated quotes
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