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Thespis: Act I

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

ACT I - Ruined Temple on the Summit of Mount Olympus


[Scene--The ruins of the The Temple of the Gods, on summit of
Mount Olympus. Picturesque shattered columns, overgrown with
ivy, etc. R. and L. with entrances to temple (ruined) R. Fallen
columns on the stage. Three broken pillars 2 R.E. At the back of
stage is the approach from the summit of the mountain. This
should be "practicable" to enable large numbers of people to
ascend and descend. In the distance are the summits of adjacent
mountains. At first all this is concealed by a thick fog, which
clears presently. Enter (through fog) Chorus of Stars coming off
duty as fatigued with their night's work]

CHO. Through the night, the constellations,
Have given light from various stations.
When midnight gloom falls on all nations,
We will resume our occupations.

SOLO. Our light, it's true, is not worth mention;
What can we do to gain attention.
When night and noon with vulgar glaring
A great big moon is always flaring.

[During chorus, enter Diana, an elderly goddess. She is carefully
wrapped up in cloaks, shawls, etc. A hood is over her head, a
respirator in her mouth, and galoshes on her feet. During the
chorus, she takes these things off and discovers herself dressed
in the usual costume of the Lunar Diana, the goddess of the moon.

DIA. [shuddering] Ugh. How cold the nights are. I don't know how
it is, but I seem to feel the night air a good deal more than I
used to. But it is time for the sun to be rising. [Calls] Apollo.

AP. [within] Hollo.

DIA. I've come off duty--it's time for you to be getting up.

[Enter Apollo. He is an elderly "buck" with an air of assumed
juvenility and is dressed in dressing gown and smoking cap.

AP. [yawning] I shan't go out today. I was out yesterday and the
day before and I want a little rest. I don't know how it is,but I
seem to feel my work a great deal more than I used to.

DIA. I am sure these short days can't hurt you. Why you don't
rise til six and you're in bed again by five; you should have a
turn at my work and see how you like that--out all night.

AP. My dear sister, I don't envy you--though I remember when I
did--but that was when I was a younger sun. I don't think I'm
quite well. Perhaps a little change of air will do me good. I've
a mind to show myself in London this winter. They'll be very glad
to see me. No. I shan't go out today. I shall send them this
fine, thick wholesome fog and they won't miss me. It's the best
substitute for a blazing sun--and like most substitutes, nothing
at all like the real thing.

[Fog clears away and discovers the scene described. Hurried
music. Mercury shoots up from behind precipice at the back of
stage. He carries several parcels afterwards described. He sits
down, very much fatigued.]

MER. Home at last. A nice time I've had of it.

DIA. You young scamp you've been out all night again. This is the
third time you've been out this week.

MER. Well you're a nice one to blow me up for that.

DIA. I can't help being out all night.

MER. And I can't help being down all night. The nature of Mercury
requires that he should go down when the sun sets, and rise again
when the sun rises.

DIA. And what have you been doing?

MER. Stealing on commission. There's a set of false teeth and a
box of Life Pills for Jupiter--an invisible peruke and a bottle
of hair dye--that's for Apollo--a respirator and a pair of
galoshes--that's for Cupid--a full bottomed chignon, some
auricomous fluid, a box of pearl-powder, a pot of rouge, and a
hare's foot--that's for Venus.

DIA. Stealing. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

MER. Oh, as the god of thieves I must do something to justify my
position.

DIA.and AP. [contemptuously] Your position.

MER. Oh, I know it's nothing to boast of even on earth. Up here,
it's simply contemptible. Now that you gods are too old for your
work, you've made me the miserable drudge of Olympus--groom,
valet, postman, butler, commissionaire, maid of all work, parish
beadle, and original dustman.

AP. Your Christmas boxes ought to be something considerable.

MER. They ought to be but they're not. I'm treated abominably.
I make everybody and I'm nobody. I go everywhere and I'm
nowhere. I do everything and I'm nothing. I've made thunder for
Jupiter, odes for Apollo, battles for Mars, and love for Venus.
I've married couples for Humen and six weeks afterwards, I've
divorced them for Cupid, and in return I get all the kicks while
they pocket the halfpence. And in compensation for robbing me of
the halfpence in question, what have they done for me.

AP. Why they've--ha.ha.ha. they've made you the god of thieves.

MER. Very self denying of them. There isn't one of them who
hasn't a better claim to the distinction than I have.

Oh, I'm the celestial drudge,
For morning to night I must stop at it.
On errands all day I must trudge,
And stick to my work til I drop at it.
In summer I get up at one.
(As a good-natured donkey I'm ranked for it.)
then I go and I light up the sun.
And Phoebus Apollo gets thanked for it.
Well, well, it's the way of the world.
And will be through all its futurity.
Though noodles are baroned and earled,
There's nothing for clever obscurity.

I'm the slave of the Gods, neck and heels,
And I'm bound to obey, though I rate at 'em.
And I not only order their meals,
But I cook 'em and serve'em and wait at 'em.
Then I make all their nectar, I do.
(What a terrible liquor to rack us is.)
And whenever I mix them a brew,
Why all the thanksgivings are Bacchus's.
Well, well, it's the way of the world, etc.....

The reading and writing I teach.
And spelling-books many I've edited.
And for bringing those arts within reach,
That donkey Minerva gets credited.
Then I scrape at the stars with a knife,
And plate-powder the moon (on the days for it).
And I hear all the world and his wife
Awarding Diana the praise for it.
Well, well, it's the way of the world, etc....

[After song--very loud and majestic music is heard]

DIA and MER [looking off] Why, who's this? Jupiter, by Jove.

[Enter Jupiter, an extremely old man, very decrepit, with very
thin straggling white beard, he wears a long braided dressing
gown, handsomely trimmed, and a silk night-cap on his head.
Mercury falls back respectfully as he enters.]

JUP. Good day, Diana. Ah, Apollo. Well, well, well, what's the
matter? What's the matter?

DIA. Why that young scamp Mercury says that we do nothing, and
leave all the duties of Olympus to him. Will you believe it, he
actually says that our influence on earth is dropping down to
nil.

JUP. Well, well. Don't be hard on the lad. To tell you the
truth, I'm not sure that he's far wrong. Don't let it go any
further, but, between ourselves, the sacrifices and votive
offerings have fallen off terribly of late. Why, I can remember
the time when people offered us human sacrifices, no mistake
about it, human sacrifices. Think of that.

DIA. Ah. Those good old days.

JUP. Then it fell off to oxen, pigs, and sheep.

AP. Well, there are worse things than oxen, pigs and sheep.

JUP. So I've found to my cost. My dear sir, between ourselves,
it's dropped off from one thing to another until it has
positively dwindled down to preserved Australian beef. What do
you think of that?

AP. I don't like it at all.

JUP. You won't mention it. It might go further.

DIA. It couldn't fare worse.

JUP. In short, matters have come to such a crisis that there's no
mistake about it--something must be done to restore our
influence, the only question is, what?

MER. [Coming forward in great alarm. Enter Mars]
Oh incident unprecedented.
I hardly can believe it's true.

MARS. Why, bless the boy, he's quite demented.
Why, what's the matter, sir, with you?

AP. Speak quickly, or you'll get a warming.

MER. Why, mortals up the mount are swarming
Our temple on Olympus storming,
In hundreds--aye in thousands, too.

ALL. Goodness gracious
How audacious
Earth is spacious
Why come here?
Our impeding
Their proceeding
Were good breeding
That is clear.

DIA. Jupiter, hear my plea.
Upon the mount if they light.
There'll be an end of me.
I won't be seen by daylight.

AP. Tartarus is the place
These scoundrels you should send to--
Should they behold my face.
My influence there's an end to.

JUP. [looking over precipice]
What fools to give themselves
so much exertion

DIA. A government survey I'll make assertion.

AP. Perhaps the Alpine clubs their diversion.

MER. They seem to be more like a "Cook's" excursion.

ALL. Goodness gracious, etc.

AP. If, mighty Jove, you value your existence,
Send them a thunderbolt with your regards.

JUP. My thunderbolts, though valid at a distance,
Are not effective at a hundred yards.

MER. Let the moon's rays, Diana, strike 'em flighty,
Make 'em all lunatics in various styles.

DIA. My lunar rays unhappily are mighty
Only at many hundred thousand miles.

ALL. Goodness gracious, etc...

[Exeunt Jupiter, Apollo, Diana, and Mercury into ruined temple]

[Enter Sparkeion and Nicemis climbing mountain at back.]

SPAR. Here we are at last on the very summit, and we've left the
others ever so far behind. Why, what's this?

NICE. A ruined palace. A palace on the top of a mountain. I
wonder who lives here? Some mighty kind, I dare say, with wealth
beyond all counting who came to live up here--

SPAR. To avoid his creditors. It's a lovely situation for a
country house though it's very much out of repair.

NICE. Very inconvenient situation.

SPAR. Inconvenient.

NICE. Yes, how are you to get butter, milk, and eggs up here? No
pigs, no poultry, no postman. Why, I should go mad.

SPAR. What a dear little practical mind it is. What a wife you
will make.

NICE. Don't be too sure--we are only partly married--the marriage
ceremony lasts all day.

SPAR. I have no doubt at all about it. We shall be as happy as a
king and queen, though we are only a strolling actor and actress.

NICE. It's very nice of Thespis to celebrate our marriage day by
giving the company a picnic on this lovely mountain.

SPAR. And still more kind to allow us to get so much ahead of all
the others. Discreet Thespis. [kissing her]

NICE,. There now, get away, do. Remember the marriage ceremony
is not yet completed.

SPAR. But it would be ungrateful to Thespis's discretion not to
take advantage of it by improving the opportunity.

NICE. Certainly not; get away.

SPAR. On second thought the opportunity's so good it don't admit
of improvement. There. [kisses her]

NICE. How dare you kiss me before we are quite married?

SPAR. Attribute it to the intoxicating influence of the mountain
air.

NICE. Then we had better do down again. It is not right to
expose ourselves to influences over which we have no control.

SPAR. Here far away from all the world,
Dissension and derision,
With Nature's wonders all unfurled
To our delighted vision,
With no one here
(At least in sight)
To interfere
With our delight,
And two fond lovers sever,
Oh do not free,
Thine hand from mine,
I swear to thee
My love is ever thine
For ever and for ever.

NICE. On mountain top the air is keen,
And most exhilarating,
And we say things we do not mean
In moments less elating.
So please to wait
For thoughts that crop,
En tete-a-tete,
On mountain top,
May not exactly tally
With those that you
May entertain,
Returning to
The sober plain
Of yon relaxing valley

SPAR. Very well--if you won't have anything to say to me, I know
who will.

NICE. Who will?

SPAR. Daphne will.

NICE. Daphne would flirt with anybody.

SPAR. Anybody would flirt with Daphne. She is quite as pretty as
you and has twice as much back-hair.

NICE. She has twice as much money, which may account for it.

SPAR. At all events, she has appreciation. She likes good looks.

NICE. We all like what we haven;t got.

SPAR. She keeps her eyes open.

NICE. Yes--one of them.

SPAR. Which one.

NICE. The one she doesn't wink with.

SPAR. Well, I was engaged to her for six months and if she still
makes eyes at me, you must attribute it to force of habit.
Besides--remember--we are only half-married at present.

NICE. I suppose you mean that you are going to treat me as
shamefully as you treated her. Very well, break it off if you
like. I shall not offer any objection. Thespis used to be very
attentive to me. I'd just as soon be a manager's wife as a fifth-
rate actor's.

[Chorus heard, at first below, then enter Daphne, Pretteia,
Preposteros, Stupidas, Tipseion, Cymon, and other members of
Thespis's company climbing over rocks at back. All carry small
baskets.]

CHO. [with dance] Climbing over rocky mountain
Skipping rivulet and fountain,
Passing where the willows quiver
By the ever rolling river,
Swollen with the summer rain.
Threading long and leafy mazes,
Dotted with unnumbered daisies,
Scaling rough and rugged passes,
Climb the hearty lads and lasses,
Til the mountain-top they gain.

FIRST VOICE. Fill the cup and tread the measure
Make the most of fleeting leisure.
Hail it as a true ally
Though it perish bye and bye.

SECOND VOICE. Every moment brings a treasure
Of its own especial pleasure,
Though the moments quickly die,
Greet them gaily as they fly.

THIRD VOICE. Far away from grief and care,
High up in the mountain air,
Let us live and reign alone,
In a world that's all our own.

FOURTH VOICE. Here enthroned in the sky,
Far away from mortal eye,
We'll be gods and make decrees,
Those may honor them who please.

CHO. Fill the cup and tread the measure...etc.

[After Chorus and Couples enter, Thespis climbing over rocks]

THES. Bless you, my people, bless you. Let the revels commence.
After all, for thorough, unconstrained unconventional enjoyment
give me a picnic.

PREP. [very gloomily] Give him a picnic, somebody.

THES. Be quiet, Preposteros. Don't interrupt.

PREP. Ha. Ha. Shut up again. But no matter.

[Stupidas endeavors, in pantomime, to reconcile him. Throughout
the scene Prep shows symptoms of breaking out into a furious
passion, and Stupidas does all he can to pacify and restrain
him.]

THES. The best of a picnic is that everybody contributes what he
pleases, and nobody knows what anybody else has brought til the
last moment. Now, unpack everybody and let's see what there is
for everybody.

NICE. I have brought you--a bottle of soda water--for the claret-
cup.

DAPH. I have brought you--lettuce for the lobster salad.

SPAR. A piece of ice--for the claret-cup.

PRETT. A bottle of vinegar--for the lobster salad.

CYMON. A bunch of burrage for the claret-cup.

TIPS. A hard boiled egg--for the lobster salad.

STUP. One lump of sugar for the claret-cup.

PREP. He has brought one lump of sugar for the claret-cup? Ha.
Ha. Ha. [laughing melodramatically]

STUP. Well, Preposteros, what have you brought?

PREP. I have brought two lumps of the very best salt for the
lobster salad.

THES. Oh--is that all?

PREP. All. Ha. Ha. He asks if it is all. {Stup. consoles him]

THES. But, I say--this is capital so far as it goes. Nothing
could be better, but it doesn't go far enough. The claret, for
instance. I don't insist on claret--or a lobster--I don't insist
on lobster, but a lobster salad without a lobster, why it isn't
lobster salad. Here, Tipseion.

TIP. [a very drunken, bloated fellow, dressed, however, with
scrupulous accuracy and wearing a large medal around his neck] My
master. [Falls on his knees to Thes. and kisses his robe.]

THES. Get up--don't be a fool. Where's the claret? We arranged
last week that you were to see to that.

TIPS. True, dear master. But then I was a drunkard.

THES. You were.

TIPS. You engaged me to play convivial parts on the strength of
my personal appearance.

THES. I did.

TIPS. Then you found that my habits interfered with my duties as
low comedian.

THES. True.

TIPS. You said yesterday that unless I took the pledge you would
dismiss me from your company.

THES. Quite so.

TIPS. Good. I have taken it. It is all I have taken since
yesterday. My preserver. [embraces him]

THES. Yes, but where's the wine?

TIPS. I left it behind that I might not be tempted to violate my
pledge.

PREP. Minion. [Attempts to get at him, is restrained by Stupidas]

THES. Now, Preposteros, what is the matter with you?

PREP. It is enough that I am down-trodden in my profession. I
will not submit to imposition out of it. It is enough that as
your heavy villain I get the worst of it every night in a combat
of six. I will not submit to insult in the day time. I have come
out. Ha. Ha. to enjoy myself.

THES. But look here, you know--virtue only triumphs at night from
seven to ten--vice gets the best of it during the other twenty
one hours. Won't that satisfy you? [Stupidas endeavours to
pacify him.]

PREP. [Irritated to Stupidas] Ye are odious to my sight. Get out
of it.

STUP. [In great terror] What have I done?

THES. Now what is it. Preposteros, what is it?

PREP. I a -- hate him and would have his life.

THES. [to Stup.] That's it--he hates you and would have your
life. Now go and be merry.

STUP. Yes, but why does he hate me?

THES. Oh--exactly. [to Prep.] Why do you hate him?

PREP. Because he is a minion.

THES. He hates you because you are a minion. It explains itself.
Now go and enjoy yourselves. Ha. Ha. It is well for those who can
laugh--let them do so--there is no extra charge. The light-
hearted cup and the convivial jest for them--but for me--what is
there for me?

SILLI. There is some claret-cup and lobster salad [handing some]

THES. [taking it] Thank you. [Resuming] What is there for me but
anxiety--ceaseless gnawing anxiety that tears at my very vitals
and rends my peace of mind asunder? There is nothing whatever
for me but anxiety of the nature I have just described. The
charge of these thoughtless revellers is my unhappy lot. It is
not a small charge, and it is rightly termed a lot because there
are many. Oh why did the gods make me a manager?

SILL. [as guessing a riddle] Why did the gods make him a manager?

SPAR. Why did the gods make him a manager.

DAPH. Why did the gods make him a manager?

PRETT. Why did the gods make him a manager?

THES. No--no--what are you talking about? What do you mean?

DAPH. I've got it--no don't tell us.

ALL. No--no--because--because

THES. [annoyed] It isn't a conundrum. It's misanthropical
question.

DAPH. [Who is sitting with Spar. to the annoyance of Nice. who is
crying alone] I'm sure I don't know. We do not want you. Don't
distress yourself on our account--we are getting on very
comfortably--aren't we Sparkeion.

SPAR. We are so happy that we don't miss the lobster or the
claret. What are lobster and claret compared with the society of
those we love? [embracing Daphne.]

DAPH. Why, Nicemis, love, you are eating nothing. Aren't you
happy dear?

NICE. [spitefully] You are quite welcome to my share of
everything. I intend to console myself with the society of my
manager. [takes Thespis' arm affectionately].

THES. Here I say--this won't do, you know--I can't allow it--at
least before my company--besides, you are half-married to
Sparkeion. Sparkeion, here's your half-wife impairing my
influence before my company. Don't you know the story of the
gentleman who undermined his influence by associating with his
inferiors?

ALL. Yes, yes--we know it.

PREP. [formally] I do not know it. It's ever thus. Doomed to
disappointment from my earliest years. [Stup. endeavours to
console him]

THES. There--that's enough. Preposteros--you shall hear it.

I once knew a chap who discharged a function
On the North South East West Diddlesex Junction.
He was conspicuous exceeding,
For his affable ways, and his easy breeding.
Although a chairman of directions,
He was hand in glove with the ticket inspectors.
He tipped the guards with brand new fivers,
And sang little songs to the engine drivers.
'Twas told to me with great compunction,
By one who had discharged with unction
A chairman of directors function
On the North South East West Diddlesex Junction.
Fol diddle, lol diddle, lol lol lay.

Each Christmas day he gave each stoker
A silver shovel and a golden poker.
He'd button holw flowers for the ticket sorters
And rich Bath-buns for the outside porters.
He'd moun the clerks on his first-class hunters,
And he build little villas for the road-side shunters,
And if any were fond of pigeon shooting,
He'd ask them down to his place at Tooting.
Twas told to me....etc.

In course of time there spread a rumour
That he did all this from a sense of humour.
So instead of signalling and stoking,
They gave themselves up to a course of joking.
Whenever they knew that he was riding,
They shunted his train on a lonely siding,
Or stopped all night in the middle of a tunnel,
On the plea that the boiler was a-coming through the funnel.
Twas told to me...etc.

It he wished to go to Perth or Stirling,
His train through several counties whirling,
Would set him down in a fit of larking,
At four a.m. in the wilds of Barking.
This pleased his whim and seemed to strike it,
But the general public did not like it.
The receipts fell, after a few repeatings,
And he got it hot at the annual meetings.
Twas told to me...etc.

He followed out his whim with vigour,
The shares went down to a nominal figure.
These are the sad results proceeding
From his affable ways and his easy breeding.
The line, with its rais and guards and peelers,
Was sold for a song to marine store dealers
The shareholders are all in the work'us,
And he sells pipe-lights in the Regent Circus.
Twas told to me...etc.

It's very hard. As a man I am naturally of an easy disposition.
As a manager, I am compelled to hold myself aloof, that my
influence may not be deteriorated. As a man I am inclined to
fraternize with the pauper--as a manager I am compelled to walk
around like this: Don't know yah. Don't know yah. Don't know yah.

[Strides haughtily about the stage. Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo, in
full Olympian costume appear on the three broken columns.
Thespians scream.]

JUP, MARS, AP. Presumptuous mortal.

THES. Don't know ya. Don't know yah.

JUP, MARS, AP. [seated on broken pillars] Presumptuous mortal.

THES. I do not know you. I do not know you.

JUP, MARS, AP. Presumptuous mortal.

THES. Remove this person.

[Stup and Prep seize Ap and Mars]

JUP. Stop, you evidently don't know me. Allow me to offer you my
card. [Throws flash paper]

THES. Ah yes, it's very pretty, but we don't want any at present.
When we do our Christmas piece, I'll let you know. [Changing his
manner] Look here, you know this is a private party and we
haven't the pleasure of your acquaintance. There are a good many
other mountains about, if you must have a mountain all to
yourself. Don't make me let myself down before my company.
[Resuming] Don't know yah, Don't know yah.

JUP. I am Jupiter, the king of the gods. This is Apollo. This is
Mars. [All kneel to them except Thespis]

THES. Oh. Then as I'm a respectable man, and rather particular
about the company I keep, I think I'll go.

JUP. No--no--stop a bit. We want to consult you on a matter of
great importance. There. Now we are alone. Who are you?

THES. I am Thespis of the Thessalian Theatres.

JUP. The very man we want. Now as a judge of what the public
likes are you impressed with my appearance as father of the gods?

THES. Well to be candid with you, I am not. In fact I'm
disappointed.

JUP. Disappointed?

THES. Yes, you see you're so much out of repair. No, you don't
come up to my idea of the part. Bless you, I've played you often.

JUP. You have.

THES. To be sure I have.

JUP. And how have you dressed the part.

THES. Fine commanding party in the prime of life. Thunderbolt--
full beard--dignified manner--a good eal of this sort of thin
"Don't know ya. Don't know yah. Don't know yah.

JUP. [much affected] I--I'm very much obliged to you. It's very
good of you. I--I--I used to be like that. I can't tell you how
much I feel it. And do you find I'm an impressive character to
play?

THES. Well no, I can't say you are. In fact we don't you you
much out of burlesque.

JUP. Burlesque!

THES. Yes, it's a painful subject, drop it, drop it. The fact
is, you are not the gods you were--you're behind your age.

JUP. Well, but what are we to do? We feel that we ought to do
something, but we don't know what.

THES. Why don't you all go down to earth, incog, mingle with the
world, hear and see what people think of you, and judge for
yourselves as to the best means to take to restore your
influence?

JUP. Ah, but what's to become of Olympus in the meantime?

THES. Lor' bless you, don't distress yourself about that. I've a
very good company, used to take long parts on the shortest
notice. Invest us with your powers and we'll fill your places
till you return.

JUP. [aside] The offer is tempting. But suppose you fail?

THES. Fail. Oh, we never fail in our profession. We've nothing
but great successes.

JUP. Then it's a bargain.

THES. It's a bargain. [they shake hands on it]

JUP. And that you may not be entirely without assistance, we will
leave you Mercury and whenever you find yourself in a difficulty
you can consult him. [enter Mercury]

JUP. So that's arranged--you take my place, my boy,
While we make trial of a new existence.
At length I will be able to enjoy
The pleasures I have envied from a distance.

MER. Compelled upon Olympus here to stop,
While the other gods go down to play the hero.
Don't be surprised if on this mountain top
You find your Mercury is down at zero.

AP. To earth away to join in mortal acts.
And gather fresh materials to write on.
Investigate more closely, several facts,
That I for centuries have thrown some light on.

DIA. I, as the modest moon with crescent bow.
Have always shown a light to nightly scandal,
I must say I'd like to go below,
And find out if the game is worth the candle.

[enter all thespians, summoned by Mercury]

MER. Here come your people.

THES. People better now.

THES. While mighty Jove goes down below
With all the other deities.
I fill his place and wear his "clo,"
The very part for me it is.
To mother earth to make a track,
They are all spurred and booted, too.
And you will fill, till they come back,
The parts you best are suited to.

CHO. Here's a pretty tale for future Iliads and Odysseys
Mortals are about to personate the gods and goddesses.
Now to set the world in order, we will work in unity.
Jupiter's perplexity is Thespis's opportunity.

SPAR. Phoebus am I, with golden ray,
The god of day, the god of day.
When shadowy night has held her sway,
I make the goddesses fly.
Tis mine the task to wake the world,
In slumber curled, in slumber curled.
By me her charms are all unfurled
The god of day am I.

CHO. The god of day, the god of day,
The park shall our Sparkeion play,
Ha Ha, etc.
The rarest fun and rarest fare
That ever fell to mortal share
Ha ha etc.

NICE. I am the moon, the lamp of night.
I show a light -- I show a light.
With radiant sheen I put to flight
The shadows of the sky.
By my fair rays, as you're aware,
Gay lovers swear--gay lovers swear,
While greybeards sleep away their care,
The lamp of night am I.

CHO. The lamp of night-the lamp of night.
Nicemis plays, to her delight.
Ha Ha Ha Ha.
The rarest fun and rarest fare,
That ever fell to mortal share,
Ha Ha Ha Ha

TIM. Mighty old Mars, the god of war,
I'm destined for--I'm destined for.
A terribly famous conqueror,
With sword upon his thigh.
When armies meet with eager shout
And warlike rout, and warlike rout,
You'll find me there without a doubt.
The God of War am I.

CHO. The god of war, the god of war
Great Timidon is destined for.
Ha Ha Ha Ha
The rest fun and rarest fare
That ever fell to mortal share
Ha Ha Ha Ha

DAPH. When, as the fruit of warlike deeds,
The soldier bleed, the soldier bleeds,
Calliope crowns heroic deeds,
With immortality.
From mere oblivion I reclaim
The soldier's name, the soldier's name
And write it on the roll of fame,
The muse of fame am I.

CHO. The muse of fame, the muse of fame.
Callipe is Daphne's name.
Ha Ha Ha Ha
The rarest fun and rarest fare,
That ever fell to mortal share.
Ha Ha Ha Ha.

TUTTI. Here's a pretty tale.

[Enter procession of old Gods, they come down very much
astonished at all they see, then passing by, ascent the platform
that leads to the descent at the back.]

GODS. We will go,
Down below,
Revels rare,
We will share.
Ha Ha Ha
With a gay
Holiday
All unknown,
And alone
Ha Ha Ha.

TUTTI. Here's a pretty tale.

[The gods, including those who have lately entered in procession
group themselves on rising ground at back. The Thespians kneeling
bid them farewell.]

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Thespis: Act II

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

ACT II - The same Scene, with the Ruins Restored


SCENE-the same scene as in Act I with the exception that in place
of the ruins that filled the foreground of the stage, the
interior of a magnificent temple is seen showing the background
of the scene of Act I, through the columns of the portico at the
back. High throne. L.U.E. Low seats below it. All the substitute
gods and goddesses [that is to say, Thespians] are discovered
grouped in picturesque attitudes about the stage, eating and
drinking, and smoking and singing the following verses.

CHO. Of all symposia
The best by half
Upon Olympus, here await us.
We eat ambrosia.
And nectar quaff,
It cheers but don't inebriate us.
We know the fallacies,
Of human food
So please to pass Olympian rosy,
We built up palaces,
Where ruins stood,
And find them much more snug and cosy.

SILL. To work and think, my dear,
Up here would be,
The height of conscientious folly.
So eat and drink, my dear,
I like to see,
Young people gay--young people jolly.
Olympian food my love,
I'll lay long odds,
Will please your lips--those rosy portals,
What is the good, my love
Of being gods,
If we must work like common mortals?

CHO. Of all symposia...etc.

[Exeunt all but Nicemis, who is dressed as Diana and Pretteia,
who is dressed as Venus. They take Sillimon's arm and bring him
down]

SILL. Bless their little hearts, I can refuse them nothing. As
the Olympian stage-manager I ought to be strict with them and
make them do their duty, but i can't. Bless their little hearts,
when I see the pretty little craft come sailing up to me with a
wheedling smile on their pretty little figure-heads, I can't turn
my back on 'em. I'm all bow, though I'm sure I try to be stern.

PRET. You certainly are a dear old thing.

SILL. She says I'm a dear old thing. Deputy Venus says I'm a
dear old thing.

NICE. It's her affectionate habit to describe everybody in those
terms. I am more particular, but still even I am bound to admit
that you are certainly a very dear old thing.

SILL. Deputy Venus says I'm a dear old thing, and Deputy Diana
who is much more particular, endorses it. Who could be severe
with such deputy divinities.

PRET. Do you know, I'm going to ask you a favour.

SILL. Venus is going to ask me a favour.

PRET. You see, I am Venus.

SILL. No one who saw your face would doubt it.

NICE. [aside] No one who knew her character would.

PRET. Well Venus, you know, is married to Mars.

SILL. To Vulcan, my dear, to Vulcan. The exact connubial relation
of the different gods and goddesses is a point on which we must
be extremely particular.

PRET. I beg your pardon--Venus is married to Mars.

NICE. If she isn't married to Mars, she ought to be.

SILL. Then that decides it--call it married to Mars.

PRET. Married to Vulcan or married to Mars, what does it signify?

SILL. My dear, it's a matter on which I have no personal feeling
whatever.

PRET. So that she is married to someone.

SILL. Exactly. So that she is married to someone. Call it married
to Mars.

PRET. Now here's my difficulty. Presumptios takes the place of
Mars, and Presumptios is my father.

SILL. Then why object to Vulcan?

PRET. Because Vulcan is my grandfather.

SILL. But, my dear, what an objection. You are playing a part
till the real gods return. That's all. Whether you are supposed
to be married to your father--or your grandfather, what does it
matter? This passion for realism is the curse of the stage.

PRET. That's all very well, but I can't throw myself into a part
that has already lasted a twelvemonth, when I have to make love
to my father. It interferes with my conception of the
characters. It spoils the part.

SILL. Well, well. I'll see what can be done. [Exit Pretteia,
L.U.E.) That's always the way with beginners, they've no
imaginative power. A true artist ought to be superior to such
considerations. [Nicemis comes down R.] Well, Nicemis, I should
say, Diana, what's wrong with you? Don't you like your part?

NICE. Oh, immensely. It's great fun.

SILL. Don't you find it lonely out by yourself all night?

NICE. Oh, but I'm not alone all night.

SILL. But, I don't want to ask any injudicious questions, but who
accompanies you?

NICE. Who? Why Sparkeion, of course.

SILL. Sparkeion? Well, but Sparkeion is Phoebus Apollo [enter
Sparkeion] He's the sun, you know.

NICE. Of course he is. I should catch my death of cold, in the
night air, if he didn't accompany me.

SPAR. My dear Sillimon, it would never do for a young lady to be
out alone all night. It wouldn't be respectable.

SILL. There's a good deal of truth in that. But still--the sun--
at night--I don't like the idea. The original Diana always went
out alone.

NICE. I hope the original Diana is no rule for me. After all,
what does it matter?

SILL. To be sure--what does it matter?

SPAR. The sun at night, or in the daytime.

SILL. So that he shines. That's all that's necessary. [Exit
Nicemis, R.U.E.] But poor Daphne, what will she say to this.

SPAR. Oh, Daphne can console herself; young ladies soon get over
this sort of thing. Did you never hear of the young lady who was
engaged to Cousin Robin?

SILL. Never.

SPAR. Then I'll sing it to you.

Little maid of Arcadee
Sat on Cousin Robin's knee,
Thought in form and face and limb,
Nobody could rival him.
He was brave and she was fair,
Truth they made a pretty paid.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee.

Moments fled as moments will
Happily enough, until
After, say, a month or two,
Robin did as Robins do.
Weary of his lover's play,
Jilted her and went away,
Wretched little maiden, she--
Wretched maid of Arcadee.

To her little home she crept,
There she sat her down and wept,
Maiden wept as maidens will--
Grew so thin and pale--until
Cousin Richard came to woo.
Then again the roses grew.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee. [Exit Sparkeion]

SILL. Well Mercury, my boy, you've had a year's experience of us
here. How do we do it? I think we're rather an improvement on the
original gods--don't you?

MER. Well, you see, there's a good deal to be said on both sides
of the question; you are certainly younger than the original
gods, and, therefore, more active. On the other hand, they are
certainly older than you, and have, therefore, more experience.
On the whole I prefer you, because your mistakes amuse me.

Olympus is now in a terrible muddle,
The deputy deities all are at fault
They splutter and splash like a pig in a puddle
And dickens a one of 'em's earning his salt.
For Thespis as Jove is a terrible blunder,
Too nervous and timid--too easy and weak--
Whenever he's called on to lighten or thunder,
The thought of it keeps him awake for a week.

Then mighty Mars hasn't the pluck of a parrot.
When left in the dark he will quiver and quail;
And Vulcan has arms that would snap like a carrot,
Before he could drive in a tenpenny nail.
Then Venus's freckles are very repelling,
And Venus should not have a quint in her eyes;
The learned Minerva is weak in her spelling,
And scatters her h's all over the skies.

Then Pluto in kindhearted tenderness erring,
Can't make up his mind to let anyone die--
The Times has a paragraph ever recurring,
"Remarkable incidence of longevity."
On some it has some as a serious onus,
to others it's quite an advantage--in short,
While ev're life office declares a big bonus,
The poor undertakers are all in the court.

Then Cupid, the rascal, forgetting his trade is
To make men and women impartially smart,
Will only shoot at pretty young ladies,
And never takes aim at a bachelor's heart.
The results of this freak--or whatever you term it--
Should cover the wicked young scamp with disgrace,
While ev'ry young man is as shy as a hermit,
Young ladies are popping all over the place.

This wouldn't much matter--for bashful and shymen,
When skillfully handled are certain to fall,
But, alas, that determined young bachelor Hymen
Refuses to wed anybody at all.
He swears that Love's flame is the vilest of arsons,
And looks upon marriage as quite a mistake;
Now what in the world's to become of the parsons,
And what of the artist who sugars the cake?

In short, you will see from the facts that I'm showing,
The state of the case is exceedingly sad;
If Thespis's people go on as they're going,
Olympus will certainly go to the bad.
From Jupiter downward there isn't a dab in it,
All of 'em quibble and shuffle and shirk,
A premier in Downing Street forming a cabinet,
Couldn't find people less fit for their work.

[enter Thespis L.U.E.]

THES. Sillimon, you can retire.

SILL. Sir, I--

THES. Don't pretend you can't when I say you can. I've seen you
do it--go. [exit Sillimon bowing extravagantly. Thespis imitates
him]Well, Mercury, I've been in power one year today.

MER. One year today. How do you like ruling the world?

THES. Like it. Why it's as straightforward as possible. Why
there hasn't been a hitch of any kind since we came up here. Lor'
the airs you gods and goddesses give yourselves are perfectly
sickening. Why it's mere child's play.

MER. Very simple isn't it?

THES. Simple? Why I could do it on my head.

MER. Ah--I darsay you will do it on your head very soon.

THES. What do you mean by that, Mercury?

MER. I mean that when you've turned the world quite topsy-turvy
you won't know whether you're standing on your head or your
heels.

THES. Well, but Mercury, it's all right at present.

MER. Oh yes--as far as we know.

THES. Well, but, you know, we know as much as anybody knows; you
know I believe the world's still going on.

MER. Yes--as far as we can judge--much as usual.

THES. Well, the, give the Father of the Drama his due Mercury.
Don't be envious of the Father of the Drama.

MER. But you see you leave so much to accident.

THES. Well, Mercury, if I do, it's my principle. I am an easy
man, and I like to make things as pleasant as possible. What did
I do the day we took office? Why I called the company together
and I said to them: "Here we are, you know, gods and goddesses,
no mistake about it, the real thing. Well, we have certain duties
to discharge, let's discharge them intelligently. Don't let us be
hampered by routine and red tape and precedent, let's set the
original gods an example, and put a liberal interpretation on our
duties. If it occurs to any one to try an experiment in his own
department, let him try it, if he fails there's no harm done, if
he succeeds it is a distinct gain to society. Don't hurry your
work, do it slowly and well." And here we are after a twelvemonth
and not a single complaint or a single petition has reached me.

MER. No, not yet.

THES. What do you mean by "no,not yet?"

MER. Well, you see, you don't understand things. All the
petitions that are addressed by men to Jupiter pass through my
hands, and its my duty to collect them and present them once a
year.

THES. Oh, only once a year?

MER. Only once a year--

THES. And the year is up?

MER. Today.

THES. Oh, then I suppose there are some complaints?

MER. Yes, there are some.

THES. [Disturbed] Oh, perhaps there are a good many?

MER. There are a good many.

THES. Oh, perhaps there are a thundering lot?

MER. There are a thundering lot.

THES. [very much disturbed] Oh.

MER. You see you've been taking it so very easy--and so have most
of your company.

THES. Oh, who has been taking it easy?

MER. Well, all except those who have been trying experiments.

THES. Well but I suppose the experiment are ingenious?

MER. Yes; they are ingenious, but on the whole ill-judged. But
it's time go and summon your court.

THES. What for.

MER. To hear the complaints. In five minutes they will be here.
[Exit]

THES. [very uneasy] I don't know how it is, but there is
something in that young man's manner that suggests that the
father of the gods has been taking it too easy. Perhaps it would
have been better if I hadn't given my company so much scope. I
wonder what they've been doing. I think I will curtail their
discretion, though none of them appear to have much of the
article. It seems a pity to deprive 'em of what little they
have.

[Enter Daphne, weeping]

THES. Now then, Daphne, what's the matter with you?

DAPH. Well, you know how disgracefully Sparkeion--

THES. [correcting her] Apollo--

DAPH. Apollo, then--has treated me. He promised to marry me years
ago and now he's married to Nicemis.

THES. Now look here. I can't go into that. You're in Olympus now
and must behave accordingly. Drop your Daphne--assume your
Calliope.

DAPH. Quite so. That's it. [mysteriously]

THES. Oh--that is it? [puzzled]

DAPH. That is it. Thespis. I am Calliope, the muse of fame.
Very good. This morning I was in the Olympian library and I took
down the only book there. Here it is.

THES. [taking it] Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. The Olympian
Peerage.

DAPH. Open it at Apollo.

THES. [opens it] It is done.

DAPH. Read.

THES. "Apollo was several times married, among others to Issa,
Bolina, Coronis, Chymene, Cyrene, Chione, Acacallis, and
Calliope."

DAPH. And Calliope.

THES. [musing] Ha. I didn't know he was married to them.

DAPH. [severely] Sir. This is the family edition.

THES. Quite so.

DAPH. You couldn't expect a lady to read any other?

THES. On no consideration. But in the original version--

DAPH. I go by the family edition.

THES. Then by the family edition, Apollo is your husband.

[Enter Nicemis and Sparkeion]

NICE. Apollo your husband? He is my husband.

DAPH. I beg your pardon. He is my husband.

NICE. Apollo is Sparkeion, and he's married to me.

DAPH. Sparkeion is Apollo, and he's married to me.

NICE. He is my husband.

DAPH. He's your brother.

THES. Look here, Apollo, whose husband are you? Don't let's have
any row about it; whose husband are you?

SPAR. Upon my honor I don't know. I'm in a very delicate
position, but I'll fall in with any arrangement Thespis may
propose.

DAPH. I've just found out that he's my husband and yet he goes
out every evening with that "thing."

THES. Perhaps he's trying an experiment.

DAPH. I don't like my husband to make such experiments. The
question is, who are we all and what is our relation to each
other.

SPAR. You're Diana. I'm Apollo
And Calliope is she.

DAPH. He's your brother.

NICE. You're another. He has fairly married me.

DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm his wife and you are not.

SPAR & DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm/she's his wife and you are not.

NICE. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm his wife, and you're a "thing."

DAPH, NICE, SPAR. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm/She's his wife and you're a "thing."

ALL. Please will someone kindly tell us.
Who are our respective kin?
All of us/them are very jealous
Neither of us/them will give in.

NICE. He's my husband, I declare,
I espoused him properlee.

SPAR. That is true, for I was there,
And I saw her marry me.

DAPH. He's your brother--I'm his wife.
If we go by Lempriere.

SPAR. So she is, upon my life.
Really, that seems very fair.

NICE. You're my husband and no other.

SPAR. That is true enough I swear.

DAPH. I'm his wife, and you're his brother.

SPAR. If we go by Lempriere.

NICE. It will surely be unfair,
To decide by Lempriere. [crying]

DAPH. It will surely be quite fair,
To decide by Lempriere.

SPAR & THES How you settle it I don't care,
Leave it all to Lempriere.
[Spoken] The Verdict
As Sparkeion is Apollo,
Up in this Olympian clime,
Why, Nicemis, it will follow,
He's her husband, for the time. [indicating Daphne]

When Sparkeion turns to mortal
Join once more the sons of men.
He may take you to his portal [indicating Nicemis]
He will be your husband then.
That oh that is my decision,
'Cording to my mental vision,
Put an end to all collision,
My decision, my decision.

ALL. That oh that is his decision. etc.

[Exeunt Thes, Nice., Spar and Daphne, Spar. with Daphne, Nicemis
weeping with Thespis. mysterious music. Enter Jupiter, Apollo
and Mars from below, at the back of stage. All wear cloaks, as
disguise and all are masked]

JUP., AP., MARS. Oh rage and fury, Oh shame and sorrow.
We'll be resuming our ranks tomorrow.
Since from Olympus we have departed,
We've been distracted and brokenhearted,
Oh wicked Thespis. Oh villain scurvy.
Through him Olympus is topsy turvy.
Compelled to silence to grin and bear it.
He's caused our sorrow, and he shall share it.
Where is the monster. Avenge his blunders.
He has awakened Olympian thunders.

[Enter Mercury]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

MER. [in great terror] Please sir, what have I done, sir?

JUP. What did we leave you behind for?

MER. Please sir, that's the question I asked for when you went
away.

JUP. Was it not that Thespis might consult you whenever he was in
a difficulty?

MER. Well, here I've been ready to be consulted, chockful of
reliable information--running over with celestial maxims--advice
gratis ten to four--after twelve ring the night bell in cases of
emergency.

JUP. And hasn't he consulted you?

MER. Not he--he disagrees with me about everything.

JUP. He must have misunderstood me. I told him to consult you
whenever he was in a fix.

MER. He must have though you said in-sult. Why whenever I opened
my mouth he jumps down my throat. It isn't pleasant to have a
fellow constantly jumping down your throat--especially when he
always disagrees with you. It's just the sort of thing I can't
digest.

JUP. [in a rage] Send him here. I'll talk to him.

[enter Thespis. He is much terrified]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

[Thespis sings in great terror, which he endeavours to conceal]

JUP. Well sir, the year is up today.

AP. And a nice mess you've made of it.

MARS. You've deranged the whole scheme of society.

THES. [aside] There's going to be a row. [aloud and very
familiarly]My dear boy, I do assure you--

JUP. Be respectful.

AP. Be respectful.

MARS. Be respectful.

THES. I don't know what you allude to. With the exception of
getting our scene painter to "run up" this temple, because we
found the ruins draughty, we haven't touched a thing.

JUP. Oh story teller.

AP. Oh story teller.

MARS. Oh story teller.

[Enter thespians]

THES. My dear fellows, you're distressing yourselves
unnecessarily. The court of Olympus is about to assemble to
listen to the complaints of the year, if any. But there are
none, or next to none. Let the Olympians assemble. [Thespis
takes chair. JUP., AP., and MARS sit below him.

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that it is usual for the gods to
assemble once a year to listen to mortal petitions. It doesn't
seem to me to be a good plan, as work is liable to accumulate;
but as I am particularly anxious not to interfere with Olympian
precedent, but to allow everything to go on as it has always been
accustomed to go--why, we'll say no more about it. [aside] But
how shall I account for your presence?

JUP. Say we are the gentlemen of the press.

THES. That all our proceedings may be perfectly open and above-
board I have communicated with the most influential members of
the Athenian press, and I beg to introduce to your notice three
of its most distinguished members. They bear marks emblematic of
the anonymous character of modern journalism. [Business of
introduction. Thespis is very uneasy] Now then, if you're all
ready we will begin.

MER. [brings tremendous bundle of petitions] Here is the agenda.

THES. What's that? The petitions?

MER. Some of them. [opens one and reads] Ah, I thought there'd be
a row about it.

THES. Why, what's wrong now?

MER. Why, it's been a foggy Friday in November for the last six
months and the Athenians are tired of it.

THES. There's no pleasing some people. This craving for perpetual
change is the curse of the country. Friday's a very nice day.

MER. So it is, but a Friday six months long.--it gets monotonous.

JUP, AP, MARS. [rising] It's perfectly ridiculous.

THES. [calling them] Cymon.

CYM. [as time with the usual attributes] Sir.

THES. [Introducing him to the three gods] Allow me--Father Time--
rather young at present but even time must have a beginning. In
course of time, time will grow older. Now then, Father Time,
what's this about a wet Friday in November for the last six
months.

CYM. Well, the fact is, I've been trying an experiment. Seven
days in the week is an awkward number. It can't be halved. Two;'s
into seven won't go.

THES. [tries it on his fingers] Quite so--quite so.

CYM. So I abolished Saturday.

JUP, AP, MARS. Oh but. [Rising]

THES. Do be quiet. He's a very intelligent young man and knows
what he is about. So you abolished Saturday. And how did you find
it answer?

CYM. Admirably.

THES. You hear? He found it answer admirably.

CYM. Yes, only Sunday refused to take its place.

THES. Sunday refused to take its place?

CYM. Sunday comes after Saturday--Sunday won't go on duty after
Friday. Sunday's principles are very strict. That's where my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why November? Come, why November?

CYM. December can't begin until November has finished. November
can't finish because he's abolished Saturday. There again my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why wet? Come now, why wet?

CYM. Ah, that is your fault. You turned on the rain six months
ago and you forgot to turn it off again.

JUP., AP., MARS. [rising] On this is monstrous.

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Gentlemen, pray be seated. [to the others] The liberty of
the press, one can't help it. [to the three gods] It is easily
settled. Athens has had a wet Friday in November for the last six
months. Let them have a blazing Tuesday in July for the next
twelve.

JUP., AP., MARS. But--

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Now then, the next article.

MER. Here's a petition from the Peace Society. They complain
because there are no more battles.

MARS. [springing up] What.

THES. Quiet there. Good dog--soho; Timidon.

TIM. [as Mars] Here.

THES. What's this about there being no battles?

TIM. I've abolished battles; it's an experiment.

MARS. [spring up] Oh come, I say--

THES. Quiet then. [to Tim] Abolished battles?

TIM. Yes, you told us on taking office to remember two things. To
try experiments and to take it easy. I found I couldn't take it
easy while there are any battles to attend to, so I tried the
experiment and abolished battles. And then I took it easy. The
Peace Society ought to be very much obliged to me.

THES. Obliged to you. Why, confound it. Since battles have been
abolished, war is universal.

TIM. War is universal?

THES. To b sure it is. Now that nations can't fight, no two of
'em are on speaking terms. The dread of fighting was the only
thing that kept them civil to each other. Let battles be
restored and peace reign supreme.

MER. Here's a petition from the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Well, what's wrong with the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Plenty of grapes. More than usual.

THES. [to the gods] You observe, there is no deception. There are
more than usual.

MER. There are plenty of grapes, only they are full of ginger
beer.

THREE GODS. Oh, come I say [rising they are put down by Thespis.]

THES. Eh? what [much alarmed] Bacchus.

TIPS. [as Bacchus] Here.

THES. There seems to be something unusual with the grapes of
Mytilene. They only grow ginger beer.

TIPS. And a very good thing too.

THES. It's very nice in its way but it is not what one looks for
from grapes.

TIPS. Beloved master, a week before we came up here, you insisted
on my taking the pledge. By so doing you rescued me from my
otherwise inevitable misery. I cannot express my thanks. Embrace
me. [attempts to embrace him.]

THES. Get out, don't be a fool. Look here, you know you're the
god of wine.

TIPS. I am.

THES. [very angry] Well, do you consider it consistent with your
duty as the god of wine to make the grapes yield nothing but
ginger beer?

TIPS. Do you consider it consistent with my duty as a total
abstainer to grow anything stronger than ginger beer?

THES. But your duty as the god of wine--

TIPS. In every respect in which my duty as the god of wine can be
discharged consistently with my duty as a total abstainer, I will
discharge it. But when the functions clash, everything must give
way to the pledge. My preserver. [Attempts to embrace him]

THES. Don't be a confounded fool. This can be arranged. We can't
give over the wine this year, but at least we can improve the
ginger beer. Let all the ginger beer be extracted from it
immediately.

THREE GODS. We can't stand this,
We can't stand this.
It's much too strong.
We can't stand this.
It would be wrong.
Extremely wrong.
If we stood this.

If we stand this
If we stand this
We can't stand this.

DAPH, SPAR, NICE. Great Jove, this interference.
Is more than we can stand;
Of them make a clearance,
With your majestic hand.

JOVE. This cool audacity, it beats us hollow.
I'm Jupiter.

MARS. I'm Mars.

AP. I'm Apollo.

[Enter Diana and all the other gods and goddesses.

ALL. [kneeling with their foreheads on the ground]

Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo
Have quitted the dwellings of men;
The other gods quickly will follow.
And what will become of us then.
Oh pardon us, Jove and Apollo,
Pardon us, Jupiter, Mars:
Oh see us in misery wallow.
Cursing our terrible stars.

[enter other gods.]

ALL THESPIANS: Let us remain, we beg of you pleadingly.

THREE GODS: Let them remain, they beg of us pleadingly.

THES. Life on Olympus suits us exceedingly.

GODS. Life on Olympus suits them exceedingly.

THES. Let us remain, we pray in humility.

GODS. Let 'em remain, they pray in humility.

THES. If we have shown some little ability.

GODS. If they have shown some little ability.
Let us remain, etc...

JUP. Enough, your reign is ended.
Upon this sacred hill.
Let him be apprehended
And learn out awful will.
Away to earth, contemptible comedians,
And hear our curse, before we set you free'
You shall be all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever goes to see.

ALL. We go to earth, contemptible tragedians,
We hear his curse, before he sets us free,
We shall all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever, ever goes to see.

SILL, SPAR, THES. Whom no one
Ever goes to see.

[The thespians are driven away by the gods, who group themselves
in attitudes of triumph.]

THES. Now, here you see the arrant folly
Of doing your best to make things jolly.
I've ruled the world like a chap in his senses,
Observe the terrible consequences.
Great Jupiter, whom nothing pleases,
Splutters and swears, and kicks up breezes,
And sends us home in a mood avengin'
In double quick time, like a railroad engine.
And this he does without compunction,
Because I have discharged with unction
A highly complicated function
Complying with his own injunction,
Fol, lol, lay

CHO. All this he does....etc.

[The gods drive the thespians away. The thespians prepare to
descend the mountain as the curtain falls.]

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Pharsalia - Book VI: The Fight Near Dyrhachium. Scaeva's Exploits. The Witch Of Thessalia.

Now that the chiefs with minds intent on fight
Had drawn their armies near upon the hills
And all the gods beheld their chosen pair,
Caesar, the Grecian towns despising, scorned
To reap the glory of successful war
Save at his kinsman's cost. In all his prayers
He seeks that moment, fatal to the world,
When shall be cast the die, to win or lose,
And all his fortune hang upon the throw.
Thrice he drew out his troops, his eagles thrice,
Demanding battle; thus to increase the woe
Of Latium, prompt as ever: but his foes,
Proof against every art, refused to leave
The rampart of their camp. Then marching swift
By hidden path between the wooded fields
He seeks, and hopes to seize, Dyrrhachium's fort;
But Magnus, speeding by the ocean marge,
First camped on Petra's slopes, a rocky hill
Thus by the natives named. From thence he keeps
Watch o'er the fortress of Corinthian birth
Which by its towers alone without a guard
Was safe against a siege. No hand of man
In ancient days built up her lofty wall,
No hammer rang upon her massive stones:
Not all the works of war, nor Time himself
Shall undermine her. Nature's hand has raised
Her adamantine rocks and hedged her in
With bulwarks girded by the foamy main:
And but for one short bridge of narrow earth
Dyrrhachium were an island. Steep and fierce,
Dreaded of sailors, are the cliffs that bear
Her walls; and tempests, howling from the west,
Toss up the raging main upon the roofs;
And homes and temples tremble at the shock.

Thirsting for battle and with hopes inflamed
Here Caesar hastes, with distant rampart lines
Seeking unseen to coop his foe within,
Though spread in spacious camp upon the hills.
With eagle eye he measures out the land
Meet to be compassed, nor content with turf
Fit for a hasty mound, he bids his troops
Tear from the quarries many a giant rock:
And spoils the dwellings of the Greeks, and drags
Their walls asunder for his own. Thus rose
A mighty barrier which no ram could burst
Nor any ponderous machine of war.
Mountains are cleft, and level through the hills
The work of Caesar strides: wide yawns the moat,
Forts show their towers rising on the heights,
And in vast circle forests are enclosed
And groves and spacious lands, and beasts of prey,
As in a line of toils. Pompeius lacked
Nor field nor forage in th' encircled span
Nor room to move his camp; nay, rivers rose
Within, and ran their course and reached the sea;
And Caesar wearied ere he saw the whole,
And daylight failed him. Let the ancient tale
Attribute to the labours of the gods
The walls of Ilium: let the fragile bricks
Which compass in great Babylon, amaze
The fleeting Parthian. Here a larger space
Than those great cities which Orontes swift
And Tigris' stream enclose, or that which boasts
In Eastern climes, the lordly palaces
Fit for Assyria's kings, is closed by walls
Amid the haste and tumult of a war
Forced to completion. Yet this labour huge
Was spent in vain. So many hands had joined
Or Sestos with Abydos, or had tamed
With mighty mole the Hellespontine wave,
Or Corinth from the realm of Pelops' king
Had rent asunder, or had spared each ship
Her voyage round the long Malean cape,
Or had done anything most hard, to change
The world's created surface. Here the war
Was prisoned: blood predestinate to flow
In all the parts of earth; the host foredoomed
To fall in Libya or in Thessaly
Was here: in such small amphitheatre
The tide of civil passion rose and fell.

At first Pompeius knew not: so the hind
Who peaceful tills the mid-Sicilian fields
Hears not Pelorous sounding to the storm;
So billows thunder on Rutupian shores ,
Unheard by distant Caledonia's tribes.
But when he saw the mighty barrier stretch
O'er hill and valley, and enclose the land,
He bade his columns leave their rocky hold
And seize on posts of vantage in the plain;
Thus forcing Caesar to extend his troops
On wider lines; and holding for his own
Such space encompassed as divides from Rome
Aricia, sacred to that goddess chaste
Of old Mycenae; or as Tiber holds
From Rome's high ramparts to the Tuscan sea,
Unless he deviate. No bugle call
Commands an onset, and the darts that fly
Fly though forbidden; but the arm that flings
For proof the lance, at random, here and there
Deals impious slaughter. Weighty care compelled
Each leader to withhold his troops from fight;
For there the weary earth of produce failed
Pressed by Pompeius' steeds, whose horny hoofs
Rang in their gallop on the grassy fields
And killed the succulence. They strengthless lay
Upon the mown expanse, nor pile of straw,
Brought from full barns in place of living grass,
Relieved their craving; shook their panting flanks,
And as they wheeled Death struck his victim down.
Then foul contagion filled the murky air
Whose poisonous weight pressed on them in a cloud
Pestiferous; as in Nesis' isle the breath
Of Styx rolls upwards from the mist-clad rocks;
Or that fell vapour which the caves exhale
From Typhon raging in the depths below.
Then died the soldiers, for the streams they drank
Held yet more poison than the air: the skin
Was dark and rigid, and the fiery plague
Made hard their vitals, and with pitiless tooth
Gnawed at their wasted features, while their eyes
Started from out their sockets, and the head
Drooped for sheer weariness. So the disease
Grew swifter in its strides till scarce was room,
'Twixt life and death, for sickness, and the pest
Slew as it struck its victim, and the dead
Thrust from the tents (such all their burial) lay
Blent with the living. Yet their camp was pitched
Hard by the breezy sea by which might come
All nations' harvests, and the northern wind
Not seldom rolled the murky air away.
Their foe, not vexed with pestilential air
Nor stagnant waters, ample range enjoyed
Upon the spacious uplands: yet as though
In leaguer, famine seized them for its prey.
Scarce were the crops half grown when Caesar saw
How prone they seized upon the food of beasts,
And stripped of leaves the bushes and the groves,
And dragged from roots unknown the doubtful herb.
Thus ate they, starving, all that teeth may bite
Or fire might soften, or might pass their throats
Dry, parched, abraded; food unknown before
Nor placed on tables: while the leaguered foe
Was blessed with plenty.

When Pompeius first
Was pleased to break his bonds and be at large,
No sudden dash he makes on sleeping foe
Unarmed in shade of night; his mighty soul
Scorns such a path to victory. 'Twas his aim,
To lay the turrets low; to mark his track,
By ruin spread afar; and with the sword
To hew a path between his slaughtered foes.
Minucius' turret was the chosen spot
Where groves of trees and thickets gave approach
Safe, unbetrayed by dust.

Up from the fields
Flashed all at once his eagles into sight
And all his trumpets blared. But ere the sword
Could win the battle, on the hostile ranks
Dread panic fell; prone as in death they lay
Where else upright they should withstand the foe;
Nor more availed their valour, and in vain
The cloud of weapons flew, with none to slay.
Then blazing torches rolling pitchy flame
Are hurled, and shaken nod the lofty towers
And threaten ruin, and the bastions groan
Struck by the frequent engine, and the troops
Of Magnus by triumphant eagles led
Stride o'er the rampart, in their front the world.

Yet now that passage which not Caesar's self
Nor thousand valiant squadrons had availed
To rescue from their grasp, one man in arms
Steadfast till death refused them; Scaeva named
This hero soldier: long he served in fight
Waged 'gainst the savage on the banks of Rhone;
And now centurion made, through deeds of blood,
He bore the staff before the marshalled line.
Prone to all wickedness, he little recked
How valourous deeds in civil war may be
Greatest of crimes; and when he saw how turned
His comrades from the war and sought in flight
A refuge, 'Whence,' he cried, 'this impious fear
Unknown to Caesar's armies? Do ye turn
Your backs on death, and are ye not ashamed
Not to be found where slaughtered heroes lie?
Is loyalty too weak? Yet love of fight
Might bid you stand. We are the chosen few
Through whom the foe would break. Unbought by blood
This day shall not be theirs. 'Neath Caesar's eye,
True, death would be more happy; but this boon
Fortune denies: at least my fall shall be
Praised by Pompeius. Break ye with your breasts
Their weapons; blunt the edges of their swords
With throats unyielding. In the distant lines
The dust is seen already, and the sound
Of tumult and of ruin finds the ear
Of Caesar: strike; the victory is ours:
For he shall come who while his soldiers die
Shall make the fortress his.' His voice called forth
The courage that the trumpets failed to rouse
When first they rang: his comrades mustering come
To watch his deeds; and, wondering at the man,
To test if valour thus by foes oppressed,
In narrow space, could hope for aught but death.
But Scaeva standing on the tottering bank
Heaves from the brimming turret on the foe
The corpses of the fallen; the ruined mass
Furnishing weapons to his hands; with beams,
And ponderous stones, nay, with his body threats
His enemies; with poles and stakes he thrusts
The breasts advancing; when they grasp the wall
He lops the arm: rocks crush the foeman's skull
And rive the scalp asunder: fiery bolts
Dashed at another set his hair aflame,
Till rolls the greedy blaze about his eyes
With hideous crackle. As the pile of slain
Rose to the summit of the wall he sprang,
Swift as across the nets a hunted pard,
Above the swords upraised, till in mid throng
Of foes he stood, hemmed in by densest ranks
And ramparted by war; in front and rear,
Where'er he struck, the victor. Now his sword
Blunted with gore congealed no more could wound,
But brake the stricken limb; while every hand
Flung every quivering dart at him alone;
Nor missed their aim, for rang against his shield
Dart after dart unerring, and his helm
In broken fragments pressed upon his brow;
His vital parts were safeguarded by spears
That bristled in his body. Fortune saw
Thus waged a novel combat, for there warred
Against one man an army. Why with darts,
Madmen, assail him and with slender shafts,
'Gainst which his life is proof? Or ponderous stones
This warrior chief shall overwhelm, or bolts
Flung by the twisted thongs of mighty slings.
Let steelshod ram or catapult remove
This champion of the gate. No fragile wall
Stands here for Caesar, blocking with its bulk
Pompeius' way to freedom. Now he trusts
His shield no more, lest his sinister hand,
Idle, give life by shame; and on his breast
Bearing a forest of spears, though spent with toil
And worn with onset, falls upon his foe
And braves alone the wounds of all the war.
Thus may an elephant in Afric wastes,
Oppressed by frequent darts, break those that fall
Rebounding from his horny hide, and shake
Those that find lodgment, while his life within
Lies safe, protected, nor doth spear avail
To reach the fount of blood. Unnumbered wounds
By arrow dealt, or lance, thus fail to slay
This single warrior. But lo! from far
A Cretan archer's shaft, more sure of aim
Than vows could hope for, strikes on Scaeva's brow
To light within his eye: the hero tugs
Intrepid, bursts the nerves, and tears the shaft
Forth with the eyeball, and with dauntless heel
Treads them to dust. Not otherwise a bear
Pannonian, fiercer for the wound received,
Maddened by dart from Libyan thong propelled,
Turns circling on her wound, and still pursues
The weapon fleeing as she whirls around.
Thus, in his rage destroyed, his shapeless face
Stood foul with crimson flow. The victors' shout
Glad to the sky arose; no greater joy
A little blood could give them had they seen
That Caesar's self was wounded. Down he pressed
Deep in his soul the anguish, and, with mien,
No longer bent on fight, submissive cried,
'Spare me, ye citizens; remove the war
Far hence: no weapons now can haste my death;
Draw from my breast the darts, but add no more.
Yet raise me up to place me in the camp
Of Magnus, living: this your gift to him;
No brave man's death my title to renown,
But Caesar's flag deserted.' So he spake.
Unhappy Aulus thought his words were true,
Nor saw within his hand the pointed sword;
And leaping forth in haste to make his own
The prisoner and his arms, in middle throat
Received the lightning blade. By this one death
Rose Scaeva's valour again; and thus he cried,
Such be the punishment of all who thought
Great Scaeva vanquished; if Pompeius seeks
Peace from this reeking sword, low let him lay
At Caesar's feet his standards. Me do ye think
Such as yourselves, and slow to meet the fates?
Your love for Magnus and the Senate's cause
Is less than mine for death.' These were his words;
And dust in columns proved that Caesar came.
Thus was Pompeius' glory spared the stain
Of flight compelled by Scaeva. He, when ceased
The battle, fell, no more by rage of fight,
Or sight of blood out-pouring from his wounds,
Roused to the combat. Fainting there he lay
Upon the shoulders of his comrades borne,
Who him adoring (as though deity
Dwelt in his bosom) for his matchless deeds,
Plucked forth the gory shafts and took his arms
To deck the gods and shield the breast of Mars.
Thrice happy thou with such a name achieved,
Had but the fierce Iberian from thy sword,
Or heavy shielded Teuton, or had fled
The light Cantabrian: with no spoils shalt thou
Adorn the Thunderer's temple, nor upraise
The shout of triumph in the ways of Rome.
For all thy prowess, all thy deeds of pride
Do but prepare her lord.

Nor on this hand
Repulsed, Pompeius idly ceased from war,
Content within his bars; but as the sea
Tireless, which tempests force upon the crag
That breaks it, or which gnaws a mountain side
Some day to fall in ruin on itself;
He sought the turrets nearest to the main,
On double onset bent; nor closely kept
His troops in hand, but on the spacious plain
Spread forth his camp. They joyful leave the tents
And wander at their will. Thus Padus flows
In brimming flood, and foaming at his bounds,
Making whole districts quake; and should the bank
Fail 'neath his swollen waters, all his stream
Breaks forth in swirling eddies over fields
Not his before; some lands are lost, the rest
Gain from his bounty.

Hardly from his tower
Had Caesar seen the fire or known the fight:
And coming found the rampart overthrown,
The dust no longer stirred, the rains cold
As from a battle done. The peace that reigned
There and on Magnus' side, as though men slept,
Their victory won, aroused his angry soul.
Quick he prepares, so that he end their joy
Careless of slaughter or defeat, to rush
With threatening columns on Torquatus' post.
But swift as sailor, by his trembling mast
Warned of Circeian tempest, furls his sails,
So swift Torquatus saw, and prompt to wage
The war more closely, he withdrew his men
Within a narrower wall.

Now past the trench
Were Caesar's companies, when from the hills
Pompeius hurled his host upon their ranks
Shut in, and hampered. Not so much o'erwhelmed
As Caesar's soldiers is the hind who dwells
On Etna's slopes, when blows the southern wind,
And all the mountain pours its cauldrons forth
Upon the vale; and huge Enceladus
Writhing beneath his load spouts o'er the plains
A blazing torrent.

Blinded by the dust,
Encircled, vanquished, ere the fight, they fled
In cloud of terror on their rearward foe,
So rushing on their fates. Thus had the war
Shed its last drop of blood and peace ensued,
But Magnus suffered not, and held his troops.
Back from the battle.

Thou, oh Rome, had'st been
Free, happy, mistress of thy laws and rights
Were Sulla here. Now shalt thou ever grieve
That in his crowning crime, to have met in fight
A pious kinsman, Caesar's vantage lay.
Oh tragic destiny! Nor Munda's fight
Hispania had wept, nor Libya mourned
Encrimsoned Utica, nor Nilus' stream,
With blood unspeakable polluted, borne
A nobler corse than her Egyptian kings:
Nor Juba lain unburied on the sands,
Nor Scipio with his blood outpoured appeased
The ghosts of Carthage; nor the blameless life
Of Cato ended: and Pharsalia's name
Had then been blotted from the book of fate.

But Caesar left the region where his arms
Had found the deities averse, and marched
His shattered columns to Thessalian lands.
Then to Pompeius came (whose mind was bent
To follow Caesar wheresoe'er he fled)
His captains, striving to persuade their chief
To seek Ausonia, his native land,
Now freed from foes. 'Ne'er will I pass,' he said,
'My country's limit, nor revisit Rome
Like Caesar, at the head of banded hosts.
Hesperia when the war began was mine;
Mine, had I chosen in our country's shrines,
In midmost forum of her capital,
To join the battle. So that banished far
Be war from Rome, I'll cross the torrid zone
Or those for ever frozen Scythian shores.
What! shall my victory rob thee of the peace
I gave thee by my flight? Rather than thou
Should'st feel the evils of this impious war,
Let Caesar deem thee his.' Thus said, his course
He turned towards the rising of the sun,
And following devious paths, through forests wide,
Made for Emathia, the land by fate
Foredoomed to see the issue.

Thessalia on that side where Titan first
Raises the wintry day, by Ossa's rocks
Is prisoned in: but in th' advancing year
When higher in the vault his chariot rides
'Tis Pelion that meets the morning rays.
And when beside the Lion's flames he drives
The middle course, Othrys with woody top
Screens his chief ardour. On the hither side
Pindus receives the breezes of the west
And as the evening falls brings darkness in.
There too Olympus, at whose foot who dwells
Nor fears the north nor sees the shining bear.
Between these mountains hemmed, in ancient time
The fields were marsh, for Tempe's pass not yet
Was cleft, to give an exit to the streams
That filled the plain: but when Alcides' hand
Smote Ossa from Olympus at a blow,
And Nereus wondered at the sudden flood
Of waters to the main, then on the shore
(Would it had slept for ever 'neath the deep)
Seaborn Achilles' home Pharsalus rose;
And Phylace whence sailed that ship of old
Whose keel first touched upon the beach of Troy;
And Dorion mournful for the Muses' ire
On Thamyris vanquished: Trachis; Melibe
Strong in the shafts of Hercules, the price
Of that most awful torch; Larissa's hold
Potent of yore; and Argos, famous erst,
O'er which men pass the ploughshare: and the spot
Fabled as Echionian Thebes, where once
Agave bore in exile to the pyre
(Grieving 'twas all she had) the head and neck
Of Pentheus massacred. The lake set free
Flowed forth in many rivers: to the west
Aeas, a gentle stream; nor stronger flows
The sire of Isis ravished from his arms;
And Achelous, rival for the hand
Of Oeneus' daughter, rolls his earthy flood
To silt the shore beside the neighbouring isles.
Evenus purpled by the Centaur's blood
Wanders through Calydon: in the Malian Gulf
Thy rapids fall, Spercheius: pure the wave
With which Amphrysos irrigates the meads
Where once Apollo served: Anaurus flows
Breathing no vapour forth; no humid air
Ripples his face: and whatever stream,
Nameless itself, to Ocean gives its waves
Through thee, Peneus: whirled in eddies foams
Apidanus; Enipeus lingers on
Swift only when fresh streams his volume swell:
And thus Asopus takes his ordered course,
Phoenix and Melas; but Eurotas keeps
His stream aloof from that with which he flows,
Peneus, gliding on his top as though
Upon the channel. Fable says that, sprung
From darkest pools of Styx, with common floods
He scorns to mingle, mindful of his source,
So that the gods above may fear him still.

Soon as were sped the rivers, Boebian ploughs
Dark with its riches broke the virgin soil;
Then came Lelegians to press the share,
And Dolopes and sons of Oeolus
By whom the glebe was furrowed. Steed-renowned
Magnetians dwelt there, and the Minyan race
Who smote the sounding billows with the oar.
There in the cavern from the pregnant cloud
Ixion's sons found birth, the Centaur brood
Half beast, half human: Monychus who broke
The stubborn rocks of Pholoe, Rhoetus fierce
Hurling from Oeta's top gigantic elms
Which northern storms could hardly overturn;
Pholus, Alcides' host: Nessus who bore
The Queen across Evenus' waves, to feel
The deadly arrow for his shameful deed;
And aged Chiron who with wintry star
Against the huger Scorpion draws his bow.
Here sparkled on the land the warrior seed;
Here leaped the charger from Thessalian rocks
Struck by the trident of the Ocean King,
Omen of dreadful war; here first he learned,
Champing the bit and foaming at the curb,
Yet to obey his lord. From yonder shore
The keel of pine first floated, and bore men
To dare the perilous chance of seas unknown:
And here Ionus ruler of the land
First from the furnace molten masses drew
Of iron and brass; here first the hammer fell
To weld them, shapeless; here in glowing stream
Ran silver forth and gold, soon to receive
The minting stamp. 'Twas thus that money came
Whereby men count their riches, cause accursed
Of warfare. Hence came down that Python huge
On Cirrha: hence the laurel wreath which crowns
The Pythian victor: here Aloeus' sons
Gigantic rose against the gods, what time
Pelion had almost touched the stars supreme,
And Ossa's loftier peak amid the sky
Opposing, barred the constellations' way.

When in this fated land the chiefs had placed
Their several camps, foreboding of the end
Now fast approaching, all men's thoughts were turned
Upon the final issue of the war.
And as the hour drew near, the coward minds
Trembling beneath the shadow of the fate
Now hanging o'er them, deemed disaster near:
While some took heart; yet doubted what might fall,
In hope and fear alternate. 'Mid the throng
Sextus, unworthy son of worthy sire
Who soon upon the waves that Scylla guards,
Sicilian pirate, exile from his home,
Stained by his deeds of shame the fights he won,
Could bear delay no more; his feeble soul,
Sick of uncertain fate, by fear compelled,
Forecast the future: yet consulted not
The shrine of Delos nor the Pythian caves;
Nor was he satisfied to learn the sound
Of Jove's brass cauldron, 'mid Dodona's oaks,
By her primaeval fruits the nurse of men:
Nor sought he sages who by flight of birds,
Or watching with Assyrian care the stars
And fires of heaven, or by victims slain,
May know the fates to come; nor any source
Lawful though secret. For to him was known
That which excites the hate of gods above;
Magicians' lore, the savage creed of Dis
And all the shades; and sad with gloomy rites
Mysterious altars. For his frenzied soul
Heaven knew too little. And the spot itself
Kindled his madness, for hard by there dwelt
The brood of Haemon whom no storied witch
Of fiction e'er transcended; all their art
In things most strange and most incredible;
There were Thessalian rocks with deadly herbs
Thick planted, sensible to magic chants,
Funereal, secret: and the land was full
Of violence to the gods: the Queenly guest
From Colchis gathered here the fatal roots
That were not in her store: hence vain to heaven
Rise impious incantations, all unheard;
For deaf the ears divine: save for one voice
Which penetrates the furthest depths of airs
Compelling e'en th' unwilling deities
To hearken to its accents. Not the care
Of the revolving sky or starry pole
Can call them from it ever. Once the sound
Of those dread tones unspeakable has reached
The constellations, then nor Babylon
Nor secret Memphis, though they open wide
The shrines of ancient magic and entreat
The gods, could draw them from the fires that smoke
Upon the altars of far Thessaly.
To hearts of flint those incantations bring
Love, strange, unnatural; the old man's breast
Burns with illicit fire. Nor lies the power
In harmful cup nor in the juicy pledge
Of love maternal from the forehead drawn;
Charmed forth by spells alone the mind decays,
By poisonous drugs unharmed. With woven threads
Crossed in mysterious fashion do they bind
Those whom no passion born of beauteous form
Or loving couch unites. All things on earth
Change at their bidding; night usurps the day;
The heavens disobey their wonted laws;
At that dread hymn the Universe stands still;
And Jove while urging the revolving wheels
Wonders they move not. Torrents are outpoured
Beneath a burning sun; and thunder roars
Uncaused by Jupiter. From their flowing locks
Vapours immense shall issue at their call;
When falls the tempest seas shall rise and foam
Moved by their spell; though powerless the breeze
To raise the billows. Ships against the wind
With bellying sails move onward. From the rock
Hangs motionless the torrent: rivers run
Uphill; the summer heat no longer swells
Nile in his course; Maeander's stream is straight;
Slow Rhone is quickened by the rush of Saone;
Hills dip their heads and topple to the plain;
Olympus sees his clouds drift overhead;
And sunless Scythia's sempiternal snows
Melt in mid-winter; the inflowing tides
Driven onward by the moon, at that dread chant
Ebb from their course; earth's axes, else unmoved,
Have trembled, and the force centripetal
Has tottered, and the earth's compacted frame
Struck by their voice has gaped, till through the void
Men saw the moving sky. All beasts most fierce
And savage fear them, yet with deadly aid
Furnish the witches' arts. Tigers athirst
For blood, and noble lions on them fawn
With bland caresses: serpents at their word
Uncoil their circles, and extended glide
Along the surface of the frosty field;
The viper's severed body joins anew;
And dies the snake by human venom slain.

Whence comes this labour on the gods, compelled
To hearken to the magic chant and spells,
Nor daring to despise them? Doth some bond
Control the deities? Is their pleasure so,
Or must they listen? and have silent threats
Prevailed, or piety unseen received
So great a guerdon? Against all the gods
Is this their influence, or on one alone
Who to his will constrains the universe,
Himself constrained? Stars most in yonder clime
Shoot headlong from the zenith; and the moon
Gliding serene upon her nightly course
Is shorn of lustre by their poisonous chant,
Dimmed by dark earthly fires, as though our orb
Shadowed her brother's radiance and barred
The light bestowed by heaven; nor freshly shines
Until descending nearer to the earth
She sheds her baneful drops upon the mead.

These sinful rites and these her sister's songs
Abhorred Erichtho, fiercest of the race,
Spurned for their piety, and yet viler art
Practised in novel form. To her no home
Beneath a sheltering roof her direful head
Thus to lay down were crime: deserted tombs
Her dwelling-place, from which, darling of hell,
She dragged the dead. Nor life nor gods forbad
But that she knew the secret homes of Styx
And learned to hear the whispered voice of ghosts
At dread mysterious meetings. Never sun
Shed his pure light upon that haggard cheek
Pale with the pallor of the shades, nor looked
Upon those locks unkempt that crowned her brow.
In starless nights of tempest crept the hag
Out from her tomb to seize the levin bolt;
Treading the harvest with accursed foot
She burned the fruitful growth, and with her breath
Poisoned the air else pure. No prayer she breathed
Nor supplication to the gods for help
Nor knew the pulse of entrails as do men
Who worship. Funeral pyres she loves to light
And snatch the incense from the flaming tomb.
The gods at her first utterance grant her prayer
For things unlawful, lest they hear again
Its fearful accents: men whose limbs were quick
With vital power she thrust within the grave
Despite the fates who owed them years to come:
The funeral reversed brought from the tomb
Those who were dead no longer; and the pyre
Yields to her shameless clutch still smoking dust
And bones enkindled, and the torch which held
Some grieving sire but now, with fragments mixed
In sable smoke and ceremental cloths
Singed with the redolent fire that burned the dead.
But those who lie within a stony cell
Untouched by fire, whose dried and mummied frames
No longer know corruption, limb by limb
Venting her rage she tears, the bloodless eyes
Drags from their cavities, and mauls the nail
Upon the withered hand: she gnaws the noose
By which some wretch has died, and from the tree
Drags down a pendent corpse, its members torn
Asunder to the winds: forth from the palms
Wrenches the iron, and from the unbending bond
Hangs by her teeth, and with her hands collects
The slimy gore which drips upon the limbs.

Where lay a corpse upon the naked earth
On ravening birds and beasts of prey the hag
Kept watch, nor marred by knife or hand her spoil,
Till on his victim seized some nightly wolf;
Then dragged the morsel from his thirsty fangs;
Nor fears she murder, if her rites demand
Blood from the living, or some banquet fell
Requires the panting entrail. Pregnant wombs
Yield to her knife the infant to be placed
On flaming altars: and whene'er she needs
Some fierce undaunted ghost, he fails not her
Who has all deaths in use. Her hand has chased
From smiling cheeks the rosy bloom of life;
And with sinister hand from dying youth
Has shorn the fatal lock: and holding oft
In foul embraces some departed friend
Severed the head, and through the ghastly lips,
Held by her own apart, some impious tale
Dark with mysterious horror hath conveyed
Down to the Stygian shades.

When rumour brought
Her name to Sextus, in the depth of night,
While Titan's chariot beneath our earth
Wheeled on his middle course, he took his way
Through fields deserted; while a faithful band,
His wonted ministers in deeds of guilt,
Seeking the hag 'mid broken sepulchres,
Beheld her seated on the crags afar
Where Haemus falls towards Pharsalia's plain.
There was she proving for her gods and priests
Words still unknown, and framing numbered chants
Of dire and novel purpose: for she feared
Lest Mars might stray into another world,
And spare Thessalian soil the blood ere long
To flow in torrents; and she thus forbade
Philippi's field, polluted with her song,
Thick with her poisonous distilments sown,
To let the war pass by. Such deaths, she hopes,
Soon shall be hers! the blood of all the world
Shed for her use! to her it shall be given
To sever from their trunks the heads of kings,
Plunder the ashes of the noble dead,
Italia's bravest, and in triumph add
The mightiest warriors to her host of shades.
And now what spoils from Magnus' tombless corse
Her hand may snatch, on which of Caesar's limbs
She soon may pounce, she makes her foul forecast
And eager gloats.

To whom the coward son
Of Magnus thus: 'Thou greatest ornament
Of Haemon's daughters, in whose power it lies
Or to reveal the fates, or from its course
To turn the future, be it mine to know
By thy sure utterance to what final end
Fortune now guides the issue. Not the least
Of all the Roman host on yonder plain
Am I, but Magnus' most illustrious son,
Lord of the world or heir to death and doom.
The unknown affrights me: I can firmly face
The certain terror. Bid my destiny
Yield to thy power the dark and hidden end,
And let me fall foreknowing. From the gods
Extort the truth, or, if thou spare the gods,
Force it from hell itself. Fling back the gates
That bar th' Elysian fields; let Death confess
Whom from our ranks he seeks. No humble task
I bring, but worthy of Erichtho's skill
Of such a struggle fought for such a prize
To search and tell the issue.'

Then the witch
Pleased that her impious fame was noised abroad
Thus made her answer: 'If some lesser fates
Thy wish had been to change, against their wish
It had been easy to compel the gods
To its accomplishment. My art has power
When of one man the constellations press
The speedy death, to compass a delay;
And mine it is, though every star decrees
A ripe old age, by mystic herbs to shear
The life midway. But should some purpose set
From the beginning of the universe,
And all the labouring fortunes of mankind,
Be brought in question, then Thessalian art
Bows to the power supreme. But if thou be
Content to know the issue pre-ordained,
That shall be swiftly thine; for earth and air
And sea and space and Rhodopaean crags
Shall speak the future. Yet it easiest seems
Where death in these Thessalian fields abounds
To raise a single corpse. From dead men's lips
Scarce cold, in fuller accents falls the voice;
Not from some mummied flame in accents shrill
Uncertain to the ear.'

Thus spake the hag
And through redoubled night, a squalid veil
Swathing her pallid features, stole among
Unburied carcases. Fast fled the wolves,
The carrion birds with maw unsatisfied
Relaxed their talons, as with creeping step
She sought her prophet. Firm must be the flesh
As yet, though cold in death, and firm the lungs
Untouched by wound. Now in the balance hung
The fates of slain unnumbered; had she striven
Armies to raise and order back to life
Whole ranks of warriors, the laws had failed
Of Erebus; and, summoned up from Styx,
Its ghostly tenants had obeyed her call,
And rising fought once more. At length the witch
Picks out her victim with pierced throat agape
Fit for her purpose. Gripped by pitiless hook
O'er rocks she drags him to the mountain cave
Accursed by her fell rites, that shall restore
The dead man's life.

Close to the hidden brink
The land that girds the precipice of hell
Sinks towards the depths: with ever falling leaves
A wood o'ershadows, and a spreading yew
Casts shade impenetrable. Foul decay
Fills all the space, and in the deep recess
Darkness unbroken, save by chanted spells,
Reigns ever. Not where gape the misty jaws
Of caverned Taenarus, the gloomy bound
Of either world, through which the nether kings
Permit the passage of the dead to earth,
So poisonous, mephitic, hangs the air.
Nay, though the witch had power to call the shades
Forth from the depths, 'twas doubtful if the cave
Were not a part of hell. Discordant hues
Flamed on her garb as by a fury worn;
Bare was her visage, and upon her brow
Dread vipers hissed, beneath her streaming locks
In sable coils entwined. But when she saw
The youth's companions trembling, and himself
With eyes cast down, with visage as of death,
Thus spake the witch: 'Forbid your craven souls
These fears to cherish: soon returning life
This frame shall quicken, and in tones which reach
Even the timorous ear shall speak the man.
If I have power the Stygian lakes to show,
The bank that sounds with fire, the fury band,
And giants lettered, and the hound that shakes
Bristling with heads of snakes his triple head,
What fear is this that cringes at the sight
Of timid shivering shades?'

Then to her prayer.
First through his gaping bosom blood she pours
Still fervent, washing from his wounds the gore.
Then copious poisons from the moon distils
Mixed with all monstrous things which Nature's pangs
Bring to untimely birth; the froth from dogs
Stricken with madness, foaming at the stream;
A lynx's entrails: and the knot that grows
Upon the fell hyaena; flesh of stags
Fed upon serpents; and the sucking fish
Which holds the vessel back though eastern winds
Make bend the canvas; dragon's eyes; and stones
That sound beneath the brooding eagle's wings.
Nor Araby's viper, nor the ocean snake
Who in the Red Sea waters guards the shell,
Are wanting; nor the slough on Libyan sands
By horned reptile cast; nor ashes fail
Snatched from an altar where the Phoenix died.
And viler poisons many, which herself
Has made, she adds, whereto no name is given:
Pestiferous leaves pregnant with magic chants
And blades of grass which in their primal growth
Her cursed mouth had slimed. Last came her voice
More potent than all herbs to charm the gods
Who rule in Lethe. Dissonant murmurs first
And sounds discordant from the tongues of men
She utters, scarce articulate: the bay
Of wolves, and barking as of dogs, were mixed
With that fell chant; the screech of nightly owl
Raising her hoarse complaint; the howl of beast
And sibilant hiss of snake -- all these were there;
And more -- the waft of waters on the rock,
The sound of forests and the thunder peal.
Such was her voice; but soon in clearer tones
Reaching to Tartarus, she raised her song:
'Ye awful goddesses, avenging power
Of Hell upon the damned, and Chaos huge
Who striv'st to mix innumerable worlds,
And Pluto, king of earth, whose weary soul
Grieves at his godhead; Styx; and plains of bliss
We may not enter: and thou, Proserpine,
Hating thy mother and the skies above,
My patron goddess, last and lowest form
Of Hecate through whom the shades and I
Hold silent converse; warder of the gate
Who castest human offal to the dog:
Ye sisters who shall spin the threads again;
And thou, O boatman of the burning wave,
Now wearied of the shades from hell to me
Returning, hear me if with voice I cry
Abhorred, polluted; if the flesh of man
Hath ne'er been absent from my proffered song,
Flesh washed with brains still quivering; if the child
Whose severed head I placed upon the dish
But for this hand had lived -- a listening ear
Lend to my supplication! From the caves
Hid in the innermost recess of hell
I claim no soul long banished from the light.
For one but now departed, lingering still
Upon the brink of Orcus, is my prayer.
Grant (for ye may) that listening to the spell
Once more he seek his dust; and let the shade
Of this our soldier perished (if the war
Well at your hands has merited), proclaim
The destiny of Magnus to his son.'

Such prayers she uttered; then, her foaming lips
And head uplifting, present saw the ghost.
Hard by he stood, beside the hated corpse
His ancient prison, and loathed to enter in.
There was the yawning chest where fell the blow
That was his death; and yet the gift supreme
Of death, his right, (Ah, wretch!) was reft away.
Angered at Death the witch, and at the pause
Conceded by the fates, with living snake
Scourges the moveless corse; and on the dead
She barks through fissures gaping to her song,
Breaking the silence of their gloomy home:
'Tisiphone, Megaera, heed ye not?
Flies not this wretched soul before your whips
The void of Erebus? By your very names,
She-dogs of hell, I'll call you to the day,
Not to return; through sepulchres and death
Your gaoler: from funereal urns and tombs
I'll chase you forth. And thou, too, Hecate,
Who to the gods in comely shape and mien,
Not that of Erebus, appearst, henceforth
Wasted and pallid as thou art in hell

At my command shalt come. I'll noise abroad
The banquet that beneath the solid earth
Holds thee, thou maid of Enna; by what bond
Thou lov'st night's King, by what mysterious stain
Infected, so that Ceres fears from hell
To call her daughter. And for thee, base king,
Titan shall pierce thy caverns with his rays
And sudden day shall smite thee. Do ye hear?
Or shall I summon to mine aid that god
At whose dread name earth trembles; who can look
Unflinching on the Gorgon's head, and drive
The Furies with his scourge, who holds the depths
Ye cannot fathom, and above whose haunts
Ye dwell supernal; who by waves of Styx
Forswears himself unpunished?'

Then the blood
Grew warm and liquid, and with softening touch
Cherished the stiffened wounds and filled the veins,
Till throbbed once more the slow returning pulse
And every fibre trembled, as with death
Life was commingled. Then, not limb by limb,
With toil and strain, but rising at a bound
Leaped from the earth erect the living man.
Fierce glared his eyes uncovered, and the life
Was dim, and still upon his face remained
The pallid hues of hardly parted death.
Amazement seized upon him, to the earth
Brought back again: but from his lips tight drawn
No murmur issued; he had power alone
When questioned to reply. 'Speak,' quoth the hag,
'As I shall bid thee; great shall be thy gain
If but thou answerest truly, freed for aye
From all Haemonian art. Such burial place
Shall now be thine, and on thy funeral pyre
Such fatal woods shall burn, such chant shall sound,
That to thy ghost no more or magic song
Or spell shall reach, and thy Lethaean sleep
Shall never more be broken in a death
From me received anew: for such reward
Think not this second life enforced in vain.
Obscure may be the answers of the gods
By priestess spoken at the holy shrine;
But whose braves the oracles of death
In search of truth, should gain a sure response.
Then speak, I pray thee. Let the hidden fates
Tell through thy voice the mysteries to come.'

Thus spake she, and her words by mystic force
Gave him his answer; but with gloomy mien,
And tears swift flowing, thus he made reply:
'Called from the margin of the silent stream
I saw no fateful sisters spin the threads.
Yet know I this, that 'mid the Roman shades
Reigns fiercest discord; and this impious war
Destroys the peace that ruled the fields of death.
Elysian meads and deeps of Tartarus
In paths diverse the Roman chieftains leave
And thus disclose the fates. The blissful ghosts
Bear visages of sorrow. Sire and son
The Decii, who gave themselves to death
In expiation of their country's doom,
And great Camillus, wept; and Sulla's shade
Complained of fortune. Scipio bewailed
The scion of his race about to fall
In sands of Libya: Cato, greatest foe
To Carthage, grieves for that indignant soul
Which shall disdain to serve. Brutus alone
In all the happy ranks I smiling saw,
First consul when the kings were thrust from Rome.
The chains were fallen from boastful Catiline.
Him too I saw rejoicing, and the pair
Of Marii, and Cethegus' naked arm.
The Drusi, heroes of the people, joyed,
In laws immoderate; and the famous pair
Of greatly daring brothers: guilty bands
By bars eternal shut within the doors
That close the prison of hell, applaud the fates,
Claiming the plains Elysian: and the King
Throws wide his pallid halls, makes hard the points
Of craggy rocks, and forges iron chains,
The victor's punishment. But take with thee
This comfort, youth, that there a calm abode,
And peaceful, waits thy father and his house.
Nor let the glory of a little span
Disturb thy boding heart: the hour shall come
When all the chiefs shall meet. Shrink not from death,
But glowing in the greatness of your souls,
E'en from your humble sepulchres descend,
And tread beneath your feet, in pride of place,
The wandering phantoms of the gods of Rome.
Which of the chiefs by Tiber's yellow stream,
And which by Nile shall rest (the leaders' fate)
This fight decides, no more. Nor seek to know
From me thy fortunes: for the fates in time
Shall give thee all thy due; and thy great sire,
A surer prophet, in Sicilian fields
Shall speak thy future -- doubting even he
What regions of the world thou should'st avoid
And what should'st seek. O miserable race!
Europe and Asia and Libya's plains,
Which saw your conquests, now shall hold alike
Your burial-place -- nor has the earth for you
A happier land than this.'

His task performed,
He stands in mournful guise, with silent look
Asking for death again; yet could not die
Till mystic herb and magic chant prevailed.
For nature's law, once used, had power no more
To slay the corpse and set the spirit free.
With plenteous wood she builds the funeral pyre
To which the dead man comes: then as the flames
Seized on his form outstretched, the youth and witch
Together sought the camp; and as the dawn
Now streaked the heavens, by the hag's command
The day was stayed till Sextus reached his tent,
And mist and darkness veiled his safe return.

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Homer

The Iliad: Book 5

Then Pallas Minerva put valour into the heart of Diomed, son of
Tydeus, that he might excel all the other Argives, and cover himself
with glory. She made a stream of fire flare from his shield and helmet
like the star that shines most brilliantly in summer after its bath in
the waters of Oceanus- even such a fire did she kindle upon his head
and shoulders as she bade him speed into the thickest hurly-burly of
the fight.
Now there was a certain rich and honourable man among the Trojans,
priest of Vulcan, and his name was Dares. He had two sons, Phegeus and
Idaeus, both of them skilled in all the arts of war. These two came
forward from the main body of Trojans, and set upon Diomed, he being
on foot, while they fought from their chariot. When they were close up
to one another, Phegeus took aim first, but his spear went over
Diomed's left shoulder without hitting him. Diomed then threw, and his
spear sped not in vain, for it hit Phegeus on the breast near the
nipple, and he fell from his chariot. Idaeus did not dare to
bestride his brother's body, but sprang from the chariot and took to
flight, or he would have shared his brother's fate; whereon Vulcan
saved him by wrapping him in a cloud of darkness, that his old
father might not be utterly overwhelmed with grief; but the son of
Tydeus drove off with the horses, and bade his followers take them
to the ships. The Trojans were scared when they saw the two sons of
Dares, one of them in fright and the other lying dead by his
chariot. Minerva, therefore, took Mars by the hand and said, "Mars,
Mars, bane of men, bloodstained stormer of cities, may we not now
leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight it out, and see to which of
the two Jove will vouchsafe the victory? Let us go away, and thus
avoid his anger."
So saying, she drew Mars out of the battle, and set him down upon
the steep banks of the Scamander. Upon this the Danaans drove the
Trojans back, and each one of their chieftains killed his man. First
King Agamemnon flung mighty Odius, captain of the Halizoni, from his
chariot. The spear of Agamemnon caught him on the broad of his back,
just as he was turning in flight; it struck him between the
shoulders and went right through his chest, and his armour rang
rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.
Then Idomeneus killed Phaesus, son of Borus the Meonian, who had
come from Varne. Mighty Idomeneus speared him on the right shoulder as
he was mounting his chariot, and the darkness of death enshrouded
him as he fell heavily from the car.
The squires of Idomeneus spoiled him of his armour, while
Menelaus, son of Atreus, killed Scamandrius the son of Strophius, a
mighty huntsman and keen lover of the chase. Diana herself had
taught him how to kill every kind of wild creature that is bred in
mountain forests, but neither she nor his famed skill in archery could
now save him, for the spear of Menelaus struck him in the back as he
was flying; it struck him between the shoulders and went right through
his chest, so that he fell headlong and his armour rang rattling round
him.
Meriones then killed Phereclus the son of Tecton, who was the son of
Hermon, a man whose hand was skilled in all manner of cunning
workmanship, for Pallas Minerva had dearly loved him. He it was that
made the ships for Alexandrus, which were the beginning of all
mischief, and brought evil alike both on the Trojans and on Alexandrus
himself; for he heeded not the decrees of heaven. Meriones overtook
him as he was flying, and struck him on the right buttock. The point
of the spear went through the bone into the bladder, and death came
upon him as he cried aloud and fell forward on his knees.
Meges, moreover, slew Pedaeus, son of Antenor, who, though he was
a bastard, had been brought up by Theano as one of her own children,
for the love she bore her husband. The son of Phyleus got close up
to him and drove a spear into the nape of his neck: it went under
his tongue all among his teeth, so he bit the cold bronze, and fell
dead in the dust.
And Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, killed Hypsenor, the son of noble
Dolopion, who had been made priest of the river Scamander, and was
honoured among the people as though he were a god. Eurypylus gave
him chase as he was flying before him, smote him with his sword upon
the arm, and lopped his strong hand from off it. The bloody hand
fell to the ground, and the shades of death, with fate that no man can
withstand, came over his eyes.
Thus furiously did the battle rage between them. As for the son of
Tydeus, you could not say whether he was more among the Achaeans or
the Trojans. He rushed across the plain like a winter torrent that has
burst its barrier in full flood; no dykes, no walls of fruitful
vineyards can embank it when it is swollen with rain from heaven,
but in a moment it comes tearing onward, and lays many a field waste
that many a strong man hand has reclaimed- even so were the dense
phalanxes of the Trojans driven in rout by the son of Tydeus, and many
though they were, they dared not abide his onslaught.
Now when the son of Lycaon saw him scouring the plain and driving
the Trojans pell-mell before him, he aimed an arrow and hit the
front part of his cuirass near the shoulder: the arrow went right
through the metal and pierced the flesh, so that the cuirass was
covered with blood. On this the son of Lycaon shouted in triumph,
"Knights Trojans, come on; the bravest of the Achaeans is wounded, and
he will not hold out much longer if King Apollo was indeed with me
when I sped from Lycia hither."
Thus did he vaunt; but his arrow had not killed Diomed, who withdrew
and made for the chariot and horses of Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus.
"Dear son of Capaneus," said he, "come down from your chariot, and
draw the arrow out of my shoulder."
Sthenelus sprang from his chariot, and drew the arrow from the
wound, whereon the blood came spouting out through the hole that had
been made in his shirt. Then Diomed prayed, saying, "Hear me, daughter
of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, if ever you loved my father well
and stood by him in the thick of a fight, do the like now by me; grant
me to come within a spear's throw of that man and kill him. He has
been too quick for me and has wounded me; and now he is boasting
that I shall not see the light of the sun much longer."
Thus he prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard him; she made his limbs
supple and quickened his hands and his feet. Then she went up close to
him and said, "Fear not, Diomed, to do battle with the Trojans, for
I have set in your heart the spirit of your knightly father Tydeus.
Moreover, I have withdrawn the veil from your eyes, that you know gods
and men apart. If, then, any other god comes here and offers you
battle, do not fight him; but should Jove's daughter Venus come,
strike her with your spear and wound her."
When she had said this Minerva went away, and the son of Tydeus
again took his place among the foremost fighters, three times more
fierce even than he had been before. He was like a lion that some
mountain shepherd has wounded, but not killed, as he is springing over
the wall of a sheep-yard to attack the sheep. The shepherd has
roused the brute to fury but cannot defend his flock, so he takes
shelter under cover of the buildings, while the sheep,
panic-stricken on being deserted, are smothered in heaps one on top of
the other, and the angry lion leaps out over the sheep-yard wall. Even
thus did Diomed go furiously about among the Trojans.
He killed Astynous, and shepherd of his people, the one with a
thrust of his spear, which struck him above the nipple, the other with
a sword- cut on the collar-bone, that severed his shoulder from his
neck and back. He let both of them lie, and went in pursuit of Abas
and Polyidus, sons of the old reader of dreams Eurydamas: they never
came back for him to read them any more dreams, for mighty Diomed made
an end of them. He then gave chase to Xanthus and Thoon, the two
sons of Phaenops, both of them very dear to him, for he was now worn
out with age, and begat no more sons to inherit his possessions. But
Diomed took both their lives and left their father sorrowing bitterly,
for he nevermore saw them come home from battle alive, and his kinsmen
divided his wealth among themselves.
Then he came upon two sons of Priam, Echemmon and Chromius, as
they were both in one chariot. He sprang upon them as a lion fastens
on the neck of some cow or heifer when the herd is feeding in a
coppice. For all their vain struggles he flung them both from their
chariot and stripped the armour from their bodies. Then he gave
their horses to his comrades to take them back to the ships.
When Aeneas saw him thus making havoc among the ranks, he went
through the fight amid the rain of spears to see if he could find
Pandarus. When he had found the brave son of Lycaon he said,
"Pandarus, where is now your bow, your winged arrows, and your
renown as an archer, in respect of which no man here can rival you nor
is there any in Lycia that can beat you? Lift then your hands to
Jove and send an arrow at this fellow who is going so masterfully
about, and has done such deadly work among the Trojans. He has
killed many a brave man- unless indeed he is some god who is angry
with the Trojans about their sacrifices, and and has set his hand
against them in his displeasure."
And the son of Lycaon answered, "Aeneas, I take him for none other
than the son of Tydeus. I know him by his shield, the visor of his
helmet, and by his horses. It is possible that he may be a god, but if
he is the man I say he is, he is not making all this havoc without
heaven's help, but has some god by his side who is shrouded in a cloud
of darkness, and who turned my arrow aside when it had hit him. I have
taken aim at him already and hit him on the right shoulder; my arrow
went through the breastpiece of his cuirass; and I made sure I
should send him hurrying to the world below, but it seems that I
have not killed him. There must be a god who is angry with me.
Moreover I have neither horse nor chariot. In my father's stables
there are eleven excellent chariots, fresh from the builder, quite
new, with cloths spread over them; and by each of them there stand a
pair of horses, champing barley and rye; my old father Lycaon urged me
again and again when I was at home and on the point of starting, to
take chariots and horses with me that I might lead the Trojans in
battle, but I would not listen to him; it would have been much
better if I had done so, but I was thinking about the horses, which
had been used to eat their fill, and I was afraid that in such a great
gathering of men they might be ill-fed, so I left them at home and
came on foot to Ilius armed only with my bow and arrows. These it
seems, are of no use, for I have already hit two chieftains, the
sons of Atreus and of Tydeus, and though I drew blood surely enough, I
have only made them still more furious. I did ill to take my bow
down from its peg on the day I led my band of Trojans to Ilius in
Hector's service, and if ever I get home again to set eyes on my
native place, my wife, and the greatness of my house, may some one cut
my head off then and there if I do not break the bow and set it on a
hot fire- such pranks as it plays me."
Aeneas answered, "Say no more. Things will not mend till we two go
against this man with chariot and horses and bring him to a trial of
arms. Mount my chariot, and note how cleverly the horses of Tros can
speed hither and thither over the plain in pursuit or flight. If
Jove again vouchsafes glory to the son of Tydeus they will carry us
safely back to the city. Take hold, then, of the whip and reins
while I stand upon the car to fight, or else do you wait this man's
onset while I look after the horses."
"Aeneas." replied the son of Lycaon, "take the reins and drive; if
we have to fly before the son of Tydeus the horses will go better
for their own driver. If they miss the sound of your voice when they
expect it they may be frightened, and refuse to take us out of the
fight. The son of Tydeus will then kill both of us and take the
horses. Therefore drive them yourself and I will be ready for him with
my spear."
They then mounted the chariot and drove full-speed towards the son
of Tydeus. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, saw them coming and said to
Diomed, "Diomed, son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, I see two
heroes speeding towards you, both of them men of might the one a
skilful archer, Pandarus son of Lycaon, the other, Aeneas, whose
sire is Anchises, while his mother is Venus. Mount the chariot and let
us retreat. Do not, I pray you, press so furiously forward, or you may
get killed."
Diomed looked angrily at him and answered: "Talk not of flight,
for I shall not listen to you: I am of a race that knows neither
flight nor fear, and my limbs are as yet unwearied. I am in no mind to
mount, but will go against them even as I am; Pallas Minerva bids me
be afraid of no man, and even though one of them escape, their
steeds shall not take both back again. I say further, and lay my
saying to your heart- if Minerva sees fit to vouchsafe me the glory of
killing both, stay your horses here and make the reins fast to the rim
of the chariot; then be sure you spring Aeneas' horses and drive
them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks. They are of the stock
that great Jove gave to Tros in payment for his son Ganymede, and
are the finest that live and move under the sun. King Anchises stole
the blood by putting his mares to them without Laomedon's knowledge,
and they bore him six foals. Four are still in his stables, but he
gave the other two to Aeneas. We shall win great glory if we can
take them."
Thus did they converse, but the other two had now driven close up to
them, and the son of Lycaon spoke first. "Great and mighty son,"
said he, "of noble Tydeus, my arrow failed to lay you low, so I will
now try with my spear."
He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it from him. It struck
the shield of the son of Tydeus; the bronze point pierced it and
passed on till it reached the breastplate. Thereon the son of Lycaon
shouted out and said, "You are hit clean through the belly; you will
not stand out for long, and the glory of the fight is mine."
But Diomed all undismayed made answer, "You have missed, not hit,
and before you two see the end of this matter one or other of you
shall glut tough-shielded Mars with his blood."
With this he hurled his spear, and Minerva guided it on to
Pandarus's nose near the eye. It went crashing in among his white
teeth; the bronze point cut through the root of his to tongue,
coming out under his chin, and his glistening armour rang rattling
round him as he fell heavily to the ground. The horses started aside
for fear, and he was reft of life and strength.
Aeneas sprang from his chariot armed with shield and spear,
fearing lest the Achaeans should carry off the body. He bestrode it as
a lion in the pride of strength, with shield and on spear before him
and a cry of battle on his lips resolute to kill the first that should
dare face him. But the son of Tydeus caught up a mighty stone, so huge
and great that as men now are it would take two to lift it;
nevertheless he bore it aloft with ease unaided, and with this he
struck Aeneas on the groin where the hip turns in the joint that is
called the "cup-bone." The stone crushed this joint, and broke both
the sinews, while its jagged edges tore away all the flesh. The hero
fell on his knees, and propped himself with his hand resting on the
ground till the darkness of night fell upon his eyes. And now
Aeneas, king of men, would have perished then and there, had not his
mother, Jove's daughter Venus, who had conceived him by Anchises
when he was herding cattle, been quick to mark, and thrown her two
white arms about the body of her dear son. She protected him by
covering him with a fold of her own fair garment, lest some Danaan
should drive a spear into his breast and kill him.
Thus, then, did she bear her dear son out of the fight. But the
son of Capaneus was not unmindful of the orders that Diomed had
given him. He made his own horses fast, away from the hurly-burly,
by binding the reins to the rim of the chariot. Then he sprang upon
Aeneas's horses and drove them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks.
When he had so done he gave them over to his chosen comrade
Deipylus, whom he valued above all others as the one who was most
like-minded with himself, to take them on to the ships. He then
remounted his own chariot, seized the reins, and drove with all
speed in search of the son of Tydeus.
Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess, spear
in hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those goddesses
that can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or Enyo the waster
of cities, and when at last after a long chase he caught her up, he
flew at her and thrust his spear into the flesh of her delicate
hand. The point tore through the ambrosial robe which the Graces had
woven for her, and pierced the skin between her wrist and the palm
of her hand, so that the immortal blood, or ichor, that flows in the
veins of the blessed gods, came pouring from the wound; for the gods
do not eat bread nor drink wine, hence they have no blood such as
ours, and are immortal. Venus screamed aloud, and let her son fall,
but Phoebus Apollo caught him in his arms, and hid him in a cloud of
darkness, lest some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and
kill him; and Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove,
leave war and battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling
silly women? If you meddle with fighting you will get what will make
you shudder at the very name of war."
The goddess went dazed and discomfited away, and Iris, fleet as
the wind, drew her from the throng, in pain and with her fair skin all
besmirched. She found fierce Mars waiting on the left of the battle,
with his spear and his two fleet steeds resting on a cloud; whereon
she fell on her knees before her brother and implored him to let her
have his horses. "Dear brother," she cried, "save me, and give me your
horses to take me to Olympus where the gods dwell. I am badly
wounded by a mortal, the son of Tydeus, who would now fight even
with father Jove."
Thus she spoke, and Mars gave her his gold-bedizened steeds. She
mounted the chariot sick and sorry at heart, while Iris sat beside her
and took the reins in her hand. She lashed her horses on and they flew
forward nothing loth, till in a trice they were at high Olympus, where
the gods have their dwelling. There she stayed them, unloosed them
from the chariot, and gave them their ambrosial forage; but Venus
flung herself on to the lap of her mother Dione, who threw her arms
about her and caressed her, saying, "Which of the heavenly beings
has been treating you in this way, as though you had been doing
something wrong in the face of day?"
And laughter-loving Venus answered, "Proud Diomed, the son of
Tydeus, wounded me because I was bearing my dear son Aeneas, whom I
love best of all mankind, out of the fight. The war is no longer one
between Trojans and Achaeans, for the Danaans have now taken to
fighting with the immortals."
"Bear it, my child," replied Dione, "and make the best of it. We
dwellers in Olympus have to put up with much at the hands of men,
and we lay much suffering on one another. Mars had to suffer when Otus
and Ephialtes, children of Aloeus, bound him in cruel bonds, so that
he lay thirteen months imprisoned in a vessel of bronze. Mars would
have then perished had not fair Eeriboea, stepmother to the sons of
Aloeus, told Mercury, who stole him away when he was already well-nigh
worn out by the severity of his bondage. Juno, again, suffered when
the mighty son of Amphitryon wounded her on the right breast with a
three-barbed arrow, and nothing could assuage her pain. So, also,
did huge Hades, when this same man, the son of aegis-bearing Jove, hit
him with an arrow even at the gates of hell, and hurt him badly.
Thereon Hades went to the house of Jove on great Olympus, angry and
full of pain; and the arrow in his brawny shoulder caused him great
anguish till Paeeon healed him by spreading soothing herbs on the
wound, for Hades was not of mortal mould. Daring, head-strong,
evildoer who recked not of his sin in shooting the gods that dwell
in Olympus. And now Minerva has egged this son of Tydeus on against
yourself, fool that he is for not reflecting that no man who fights
with gods will live long or hear his children prattling about his
knees when he returns from battle. Let, then, the son of Tydeus see
that he does not have to fight with one who is stronger than you
are. Then shall his brave wife Aegialeia, daughter of Adrestus,
rouse her whole house from sleep, wailing for the loss of her wedded
lord, Diomed the bravest of the Achaeans."
So saying, she wiped the ichor from the wrist of her daughter with
both hands, whereon the pain left her, and her hand was healed. But
Minerva and Juno, who were looking on, began to taunt Jove with
their mocking talk, and Minerva was first to speak. "Father Jove,"
said she, "do not be angry with me, but I think the Cyprian must
have been persuading some one of the Achaean women to go with the
Trojans of whom she is so very fond, and while caressing one or
other of them she must have torn her delicate hand with the gold pin
of the woman's brooch."
The sire of gods and men smiled, and called golden Venus to his
side. "My child," said he, "it has not been given you to be a warrior.
Attend, henceforth, to your own delightful matrimonial duties, and
leave all this fighting to Mars and to Minerva."
Thus did they converse. But Diomed sprang upon Aeneas, though he
knew him to be in the very arms of Apollo. Not one whit did he fear
the mighty god, so set was he on killing Aeneas and stripping him of
his armour. Thrice did he spring forward with might and main to slay
him, and thrice did Apollo beat back his gleaming shield. When he
was coming on for the fourth time, as though he were a god, Apollo
shouted to him with an awful voice and said, "Take heed, son of
Tydeus, and draw off; think not to match yourself against gods, for
men that walk the earth cannot hold their own with the immortals."
The son of Tydeus then gave way for a little space, to avoid the
anger of the god, while Apollo took Aeneas out of the crowd and set
him in sacred Pergamus, where his temple stood. There, within the
mighty sanctuary, Latona and Diana healed him and made him glorious to
behold, while Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a wraith in the
likeness of Aeneas, and armed as he was. Round this the Trojans and
Achaeans hacked at the bucklers about one another's breasts, hewing
each other's round shields and light hide-covered targets. Then
Phoebus Apollo said to Mars, "Mars, Mars, bane of men, blood-stained
stormer of cities, can you not go to this man, the son of Tydeus,
who would now fight even with father Jove, and draw him out of the
battle? He first went up to the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand
near her wrist, and afterwards sprang upon me too, as though he were a
god."
He then took his seat on the top of Pergamus, while murderous Mars
went about among the ranks of the Trojans, cheering them on, in the
likeness of fleet Acamas chief of the Thracians. "Sons of Priam," said
he, "how long will you let your people be thus slaughtered by the
Achaeans? Would you wait till they are at the walls of Troy? Aeneas
the son of Anchises has fallen, he whom we held in as high honour as
Hector himself. Help me, then, to rescue our brave comrade from the
stress of the fight."
With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Then
Sarpedon rebuked Hector very sternly. "Hector," said he, "where is
your prowess now? You used to say that though you had neither people
nor allies you could hold the town alone with your brothers and
brothers-in-law. I see not one of them here; they cower as hounds
before a lion; it is we, your allies, who bear the brunt of the
battle. I have come from afar, even from Lycia and the banks of the
river Xanthus, where I have left my wife, my infant son, and much
wealth to tempt whoever is needy; nevertheless, I head my Lycian
soldiers and stand my ground against any who would fight me though I
have nothing here for the Achaeans to plunder, while you look on,
without even bidding your men stand firm in defence of their wives.
See that you fall not into the hands of your foes as men caught in the
meshes of a net, and they sack your fair city forthwith. Keep this
before your mind night and day, and beseech the captains of your
allies to hold on without flinching, and thus put away their
reproaches from you."
So spoke Sarpedon, and Hector smarted under his words. He sprang
from his chariot clad in his suit of armour, and went about among
the host brandishing his two spears, exhorting the men to fight and
raising the terrible cry of battle. Then they rallied and again
faced the Achaeans, but the Argives stood compact and firm, and were
not driven back. As the breezes sport with the chaff upon some
goodly threshing-floor, when men are winnowing- while yellow Ceres
blows with the wind to sift the chaff from the grain, and the chaff-
heaps grow whiter and whiter- even so did the Achaeans whiten in the
dust which the horses' hoofs raised to the firmament of heaven, as
their drivers turned them back to battle, and they bore down with
might upon the foe. Fierce Mars, to help the Trojans, covered them
in a veil of darkness, and went about everywhere among them,
inasmuch as Phoebus Apollo had told him that when he saw Pallas,
Minerva leave the fray he was to put courage into the hearts of the
Trojans- for it was she who was helping the Danaans. Then Apollo
sent Aeneas forth from his rich sanctuary, and filled his heart with
valour, whereon he took his place among his comrades, who were
overjoyed at seeing him alive, sound, and of a good courage; but
they could not ask him how it had all happened, for they were too busy
with the turmoil raised by Mars and by Strife, who raged insatiably in
their midst.
The two Ajaxes, Ulysses and Diomed, cheered the Danaans on, fearless
of the fury and onset of the Trojans. They stood as still as clouds
which the son of Saturn has spread upon the mountain tops when there
is no air and fierce Boreas sleeps with the other boisterous winds
whose shrill blasts scatter the clouds in all directions- even so
did the Danaans stand firm and unflinching against the Trojans. The
son of Atreus went about among them and exhorted them. "My friends,"
said he, "quit yourselves like brave men, and shun dishonour in one
another's eyes amid the stress of battle. They that shun dishonour
more often live than get killed, but they that fly save neither life
nor name."
As he spoke he hurled his spear and hit one of those who were in the
front rank, the comrade of Aeneas, Deicoon son of Pergasus, whom the
Trojans held in no less honour than the sons of Priam, for he was ever
quick to place himself among the foremost. The spear of King Agamemnon
struck his shield and went right through it, for the shield stayed
it not. It drove through his belt into the lower part of his belly,
and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the
ground.
Then Aeneas killed two champions of the Danaans, Crethon and
Orsilochus. Their father was a rich man who lived in the strong city
of Phere and was descended from the river Alpheus, whose broad
stream flows through the land of the Pylians. The river begat
Orsilochus, who ruled over much people and was father to Diocles,
who in his turn begat twin sons, Crethon and Orsilochus, well
skilled in all the arts of war. These, when they grew up, went to
Ilius with the Argive fleet in the cause of Menelaus and Agamemnon
sons of Atreus, and there they both of them fell. As two lions whom
their dam has reared in the depths of some mountain forest to
plunder homesteads and carry off sheep and cattle till they get killed
by the hand of man, so were these two vanquished by Aeneas, and fell
like high pine-trees to the ground.
Brave Menelaus pitied them in their fall, and made his way to the
front, clad in gleaming bronze and brandishing his spear, for Mars
egged him on to do so with intent that he should be killed by
Aeneas; but Antilochus the son of Nestor saw him and sprang forward,
fearing that the king might come to harm and thus bring all their
labour to nothing; when, therefore Aeneas and Menelaus were setting
their hands and spears against one another eager to do battle,
Antilochus placed himself by the side of Menelaus. Aeneas, bold though
he was, drew back on seeing the two heroes side by side in front of
him, so they drew the bodies of Crethon and Orsilochus to the ranks of
the Achaeans and committed the two poor fellows into the hands of
their comrades. They then turned back and fought in the front ranks.
They killed Pylaemenes peer of Mars, leader of the Paphlagonian
warriors. Menelaus struck him on the collar-bone as he was standing on
his chariot, while Antilochus hit his charioteer and squire Mydon, the
son of Atymnius, who was turning his horses in flight. He hit him with
a stone upon the elbow, and the reins, enriched with white ivory, fell
from his hands into the dust. Antilochus rushed towards him and struck
him on the temples with his sword, whereon he fell head first from the
chariot to the ground. There he stood for a while with his head and
shoulders buried deep in the dust- for he had fallen on sandy soil
till his horses kicked him and laid him flat on the ground, as
Antilochus lashed them and drove them off to the host of the Achaeans.

But Hector marked them from across the ranks, and with a loud cry
rushed towards them, followed by the strong battalions of the Trojans.
Mars and dread Enyo led them on, she fraught with ruthless turmoil
of battle, while Mars wielded a monstrous spear, and went about, now
in front of Hector and now behind him.
Diomed shook with passion as he saw them. As a man crossing a wide
plain is dismayed to find himself on the brink of some great river
rolling swiftly to the sea- he sees its boiling waters and starts back
in fear- even so did the son of Tydeus give ground. Then he said to
his men, "My friends, how can we wonder that Hector wields the spear
so well? Some god is ever by his side to protect him, and now Mars
is with him in the likeness of mortal man. Keep your faces therefore
towards the Trojans, but give ground backwards, for we dare not
fight with gods."
As he spoke the Trojans drew close up, and Hector killed two men,
both in one chariot, Menesthes and Anchialus, heroes well versed in
war. Ajax son of Telamon pitied them in their fall; he came close up
and hurled his spear, hitting Amphius the son of Selagus, a man of
great wealth who lived in Paesus and owned much corn-growing land, but
his lot had led him to come to the aid of Priam and his sons. Ajax
struck him in the belt; the spear pierced the lower part of his belly,
and he fell heavily to the ground. Then Ajax ran towards him to
strip him of his armour, but the Trojans rained spears upon him,
many of which fell upon his shield. He planted his heel upon the
body and drew out his spear, but the darts pressed so heavily upon him
that he could not strip the goodly armour from his shoulders. The
Trojan chieftains, moreover, many and valiant, came about him with
their spears, so that he dared not stay; great, brave and valiant
though he was, they drove him from them and he was beaten back.
Thus, then, did the battle rage between them. Presently the strong
hand of fate impelled Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules, a man both
brave and of great stature, to fight Sarpedon; so the two, son and
grandson of great Jove, drew near to one another, and Tlepolemus spoke
first. "Sarpedon," said he, "councillor of the Lycians, why should you
come skulking here you who are a man of peace? They lie who call you
son of aegis-bearing Jove, for you are little like those who were of
old his children. Far other was Hercules, my own brave and
lion-hearted father, who came here for the horses of Laomedon, and
though he had six ships only, and few men to follow him, sacked the
city of Ilius and made a wilderness of her highways. You are a coward,
and your people are falling from you. For all your strength, and all
your coming from Lycia, you will be no help to the Trojans but will
pass the gates of Hades vanquished by my hand."
And Sarpedon, captain of the Lycians, answered, "Tlepolemus, your
father overthrew Ilius by reason of Laomedon's folly in refusing
payment to one who had served him well. He would not give your
father the horses which he had come so far to fetch. As for
yourself, you shall meet death by my spear. You shall yield glory to
myself, and your soul to Hades of the noble steeds."
Thus spoke Sarpedon, and Tlepolemus upraised his spear. They threw
at the same moment, and Sarpedon struck his foe in the middle of his
throat; the spear went right through, and the darkness of death fell
upon his eyes. Tlepolemus's spear struck Sarpedon on the left thigh
with such force that it tore through the flesh and grazed the bone,
but his father as yet warded off destruction from him.
His comrades bore Sarpedon out of the fight, in great pain by the
weight of the spear that was dragging from his wound. They were in
such haste and stress as they bore him that no one thought of
drawing the spear from his thigh so as to let him walk uprightly.
Meanwhile the Achaeans carried off the body of Tlepolemus, whereon
Ulysses was moved to pity, and panted for the fray as he beheld
them. He doubted whether to pursue the son of Jove, or to make
slaughter of the Lycian rank and file; it was not decreed, however,
that he should slay the son of Jove; Minerva, therefore, turned him
against the main body of the Lycians. He killed Coeranus, Alastor,
Chromius, Alcandrus, Halius, Noemon, and Prytanis, and would have
slain yet more, had not great Hector marked him, and sped to the front
of the fight clad in his suit of mail, filling the Danaans with
terror. Sarpedon was glad when he saw him coming, and besought him,
saying, "Son of Priam, let me not he here to fall into the hands of
the Danaans. Help me, and since I may not return home to gladden the
hearts of my wife and of my infant son, let me die within the walls of
your city."
Hector made him no answer, but rushed onward to fall at once upon
the Achaeans and. kill many among them. His comrades then bore
Sarpedon away and laid him beneath Jove's spreading oak tree. Pelagon,
his friend and comrade drew the spear out of his thigh, but Sarpedon
fainted and a mist came over his eyes. Presently he came to himself
again, for the breath of the north wind as it played upon him gave him
new life, and brought him out of the deep swoon into which he had
fallen.
Meanwhile the Argives were neither driven towards their ships by
Mars and Hector, nor yet did they attack them; when they knew that
Mars was with the Trojans they retreated, but kept their faces still
turned towards the foe. Who, then, was first and who last to be
slain by Mars and Hector? They were valiant Teuthras, and Orestes
the renowned charioteer, Trechus the Aetolian warrior, Oenomaus,
Helenus the son of Oenops, and Oresbius of the gleaming girdle, who
was possessed of great wealth, and dwelt by the Cephisian lake with
the other Boeotians who lived near him, owners of a fertile country.
Now when the goddess Juno saw the Argives thus falling, she said
to Minerva, "Alas, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, the
promise we made Menelaus that he should not return till he had
sacked the city of Ilius will be of none effect if we let Mars rage
thus furiously. Let us go into the fray at once."
Minerva did not gainsay her. Thereon the august goddess, daughter of
great Saturn, began to harness her gold-bedizened steeds. Hebe with
all speed fitted on the eight-spoked wheels of bronze that were on
either side of the iron axle-tree. The felloes of the wheels were of
gold, imperishable, and over these there was a tire of bronze,
wondrous to behold. The naves of the wheels were silver, turning round
the axle upon either side. The car itself was made with plaited
bands of gold and silver, and it had a double top-rail running all
round it. From the body of the car there went a pole of silver, on
to the end of which she bound the golden yoke, with the bands of
gold that were to go under the necks of the horses Then Juno put her
steeds under the yoke, eager for battle and the war-cry.
Meanwhile Minerva flung her richly embroidered vesture, made with
her own hands, on to her father's threshold, and donned the shirt of
Jove, arming herself for battle. She threw her tasselled aegis
about. her shoulders, wreathed round with Rout as with a fringe, and
on it were Strife, and Strength, and Panic whose blood runs cold;
moreover there was the head of the dread monster Gorgon,, grim and
awful to behold, portent of aegis-bearing Jove. On her head she set
her helmet of gold, with four plumes, and coming to a peak both in
front and behind- decked with the emblems of a hundred cities; then
she stepped into her flaming chariot and grasped the spear, so stout
and sturdy and strong, with which she quells the ranks of heroes who
have displeased her. Juno lashed the horses on, and the gates of
heaven bellowed as they flew open of their own accord -gates over
which the flours preside, in whose hands are Heaven and Olympus,
either to open the dense cloud that hides them, or to close it.
Through these the goddesses drove their obedient steeds, and found the
son of Saturn sitting all alone on the topmost ridges of Olympus.
There Juno stayed her horses, and spoke to Jove the son of Saturn,
lord of all. "Father Jove," said she, "are you not angry with Mars for
these high doings? how great and goodly a host of the Achaeans he
has destroyed to my great grief, and without either right or reason,
while the Cyprian and Apollo are enjoying it all at their ease and
setting this unrighteous madman on to do further mischief. I hope,
Father Jove, that you will not be angry if I hit Mars hard, and
chase him out of the battle."
And Jove answered, "Set Minerva on to him, for she punishes him more
often than any one else does."
Juno did as he had said. She lashed her horses, and they flew
forward nothing loth midway betwixt earth and sky. As far as a man can
see when he looks out upon the sea from some high beacon, so far can
the loud-neighing horses of the gods spring at a single bound. When
they reached Troy and the place where its two flowing streams Simois
and Scamander meet, there Juno stayed them and took them from the
chariot. She hid them in a thick cloud, and Simois made ambrosia
spring up for them to eat; the two goddesses then went on, flying like
turtledoves in their eagerness to help the Argives. When they came
to the part where the bravest and most in number were gathered about
mighty Diomed, fighting like lions or wild boars of great strength and
endurance, there Juno stood still and raised a shout like that of
brazen-voiced Stentor, whose cry was as loud as that of fifty men
together. "Argives," she cried; "shame on cowardly creatures, brave in
semblance only; as long as Achilles was fighting, fi his spear was
so deadly that the Trojans dared not show themselves outside the
Dardanian gates, but now they sally far from the city and fight even
at your ships."
With these words she put heart and soul into them all, while Minerva
sprang to the side of the son of Tydeus, whom she found near his
chariot and horses, cooling the wound that Pandarus had given him. For
the sweat caused by the hand that bore the weight of his shield
irritated the hurt: his arm was weary with pain, and he was lifting up
the strap to wipe away the blood. The goddess laid her hand on the
yoke of his horses and said, "The son of Tydeus is not such another as
his father. Tydeus was a little man, but he could fight, and rushed
madly into the fray even when I told him not to do so. When he went
all unattended as envoy to the city of Thebes among the Cadmeans, I
bade him feast in their houses and be at peace; but with that high
spirit which was ever present with him, he challenged the youth of the
Cadmeans, and at once beat them in all that he attempted, so
mightily did I help him. I stand by you too to protect you, and I
bid you be instant in fighting the Trojans; but either you are tired
out, or you are afraid and out of heart, and in that case I say that
you are no true son of Tydeus the son of Oeneus."
Diomed answered, "I know you, goddess, daughter of aegis-bearing
Jove, and will hide nothing from you. I am not afraid nor out of
heart, nor is there any slackness in me. I am only following your
own instructions; you told me not to fight any of the blessed gods;
but if Jove's daughter Venus came into battle I was to wound her
with my spear. Therefore I am retreating, and bidding the other
Argives gather in this place, for I know that Mars is now lording it
in the field."
"Diomed, son of Tydeus," replied Minerva, "man after my own heart,
fear neither Mars nor any other of the immortals, for I will
befriend you. Nay, drive straight at Mars, and smite him in close
combat; fear not this raging madman, villain incarnate, first on one
side and then on the other. But now he was holding talk with Juno
and myself, saying he would help the Argives and attack the Trojans;
nevertheless he is with the Trojans, and has forgotten the Argives."
With this she caught hold of Sthenelus and lifted him off the
chariot on to the ground. In a second he was on the ground,
whereupon the goddess mounted the car and placed herself by the side
of Diomed. The oaken axle groaned aloud under the burden of the
awful goddess and the hero; Pallas Minerva took the whip and reins,
and drove straight at Mars. He was in the act of stripping huge
Periphas, son of Ochesius and bravest of the Aetolians. Bloody Mars
was stripping him of his armour, and Minerva donned the helmet of
Hades, that he might not see her; when, therefore, he saw Diomed, he
made straight for him and let Periphas lie where he had fallen. As
soon as they were at close quarters he let fly with his bronze spear
over the reins and yoke, thinking to take Diomed's life, but Minerva
caught the spear in her hand and made it fly harmlessly over the
chariot. Diomed then threw, and Pallas Minerva drove the spear into
the pit of Mars's stomach where his under-girdle went round him. There
Diomed wounded him, tearing his fair flesh and then drawing his
spear out again. Mars roared as loudly as nine or ten thousand men
in the thick of a fight, and the Achaeans and Trojans were struck with
panic, so terrible was the cry he raised.
As a dark cloud in the sky when it comes on to blow after heat, even
so did Diomed son of Tydeus see Mars ascend into the broad heavens.
With all speed he reached high Olympus, home of the gods, and in great
pain sat down beside Jove the son of Saturn. He showed Jove the
immortal blood that was flowing from his wound, and spoke piteously,
saying, "Father Jove, are you not angered by such doings? We gods
are continually suffering in the most cruel manner at one another's
hands while helping mortals; and we all owe you a grudge for having
begotten that mad termagant of a daughter, who is always committing
outrage of some kind. We other gods must all do as you bid us, but her
you neither scold nor punish; you encourage her because the
pestilent creature is your daughter. See how she has been inciting
proud Diomed to vent his rage on the immortal gods. First he went up
to the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand near her wrist, and then he
sprang upon me too as though he were a god. Had I not run for it I
must either have lain there for long enough in torments among the
ghastly corpes, or have been eaten alive with spears till I had no
more strength left in me."
Jove looked angrily at him and said, "Do not come whining here,
Sir Facing-bothways. I hate you worst of all the gods in Olympus,
for you are ever fighting and making mischief. You have the
intolerable and stubborn spirit of your mother Juno: it is all I can
do to manage her, and it is her doing that you are now in this plight:
still, I cannot let you remain longer in such great pain; you are my
own off-spring, and it was by me that your mother conceived you; if,
however, you had been the son of any other god, you are so destructive
that by this time you should have been lying lower than the Titans."
He then bade Paeeon heal him, whereon Paeeon spread pain-killing
herbs upon his wound and cured him, for he was not of mortal mould. As
the juice of the fig-tree curdles milk, and thickens it in a moment
though it is liquid, even so instantly did Paeeon cure fierce Mars.
Then Hebe washed him, and clothed him in goodly raiment, and he took
his seat by his father Jove all glorious to behold.
But Juno of Argos and Minerva of Alalcomene, now that they had put a
stop to the murderous doings of Mars, went back again to the house
of Jove.

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Ambrose Bierce

The Mummery

THE TWO CAVEES


DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

FITCH _a Pelter of Railrogues_
PICKERING _his Partner, an Enemy to Sin_
OLD NICK _a General Blackwasher_
DEAD CAT _a Missile_
ANTIQUE EGG _Another_
RAILROGUES, DUMP-CARTERS. NAVVIES and Unassorted SHOVELRY in the Lower Distance

_Scene_-The Brink of a Railway Cut, a Mile Deep.

_Time_-1875.


FITCH:
Gods! what a steep declivity! Below
I see the lazy dump-carts come and go,
Creeping like beetles and about as big.
The delving Paddies-

PICKERING:

Case of _infra dig._

FITCH:

Loring, light-minded and unmeaning quips
Come with but scant propriety from lips
Fringed with the blue-black evidence of age.
'Twere well to cultivate a style more sage,
For men will fancy, hearing how you pun,
Our foulest missiles are but thrown in fun.

(_Enter Dead Cat._)

Here's one that thoughtfully has come to hand;
Slant your fine eye below and see it land.
(_Seizes Dead Cat by the tail and swings it in act to throw._)

DEAD CAT (_singing_):

Merrily, merrily, round I go-
Over and under and at.
Swing wide and free, swing high and low
The anti-monopoly cat!

O, who wouldn't be in the place of me,
The anti-monopoly cat?
Designed to admonish,
Persuade and astonish
The capitalist and-

FITCH _(letting go):_

Scat!
_(Exit Dead Cat.)_


PICKERING:

Huzza! good Deacon, well and truly flung!
Pat Stanford it has grassed, and Mike de Young.
Mike drives a dump-cart for the villains, though
'Twere fitter that he pull it. Well, we owe
The traitor one for leaving us!-some day
We'll get, if not his place, his cart away.
Meantime fling missiles-any kind will do.
_(Enter Antique Egg.)_
Ha! we can give them an _ovation_, too!

ANTIQUE EGG:

In the valley of the Nile,
Where the Holy Crocodile
Of immeasurable smile
Blossoms like the early rose,
And the Sacred Onion grows
When the Pyramids were new
And the Sphinx possessed a nose,
By a storkess I was laid
In the cool papyrus shade,
Where the rushes later grew,
That concealed the little Jew,
Baby Mose.

Straining very hard to hatch,
I disrupted there my yolk;
And I felt my yellow streaming
Through my white;
And the dream that I was dreaming
Of posterity was broke
In a night.
Then from the papyrus-patch
By the rising waters rolled,
Passing many a temple old,
I proceeded to the sea.
Memnon sang, one morn, to me,
And I heard Cambyses sass
The tomb of Ozymandias!

FITCH:

O, venerablest orb of all the earth,
God rest the lady fowl that gave thee birth!
Fit missile for the vilest hand to throw
I freely tender thee mine own. Although
As a bad egg I am myself no slouch,
Thy riper years thy ranker worth avouch.
Now, Pickering, please expose your eye and say
If-whoop!-
_(Exit egg.)_
I've got the range.

PICKERING:
Hooray! hooray!
A grand good shot, and Teddy Colton's down:
It burst in thunderbolts upon his crown!
Larry O'Crocker drops his pick and flies,
And deafening odors scream along the skies!
Pelt 'em some more.

FITCH:

There's nothing left but tar-
wish I were a Yahoo.

PICKERING:

Well, you are.
But keep the tar. How well I recollect,
When Mike was in with us-proud, strong, erect
_Mens conscia recti_-flinging mud, he stood,
Austerely brave, incomparably good,
Ere yet for filthy lucre he began
To drive a cart as Stanford's hired man,
That pitch-pot bearing in his hand, Old Nick
Appeared and tarred us all with the same stick.
_(Enter Old Nick)_.
I hope he won't return and use his arts
To make us part with our immortal parts.

OLD NICK:

Make yourself easy on that score my lamb;
For both your souls I wouldn't give a damn!
I want my tar-pot-hello! where's the stick?

FITCH:

Don't look at _me_ that fashion!-look at Pick.

PICKERING:

Forgive me, father-pity my remorse!
Truth is-Mike took that stick to spank his horse.
It fills my pericardium with grief
That I kept company with such a thief.

(_Endeavoring to get his handkerchief, he opens his coat and
the tar-stick falls out. Nick picks it up, looks at the culprit
reproachfully and withdraws in tears._)

FITCH (_excitedly_):

O Pickering, come hither to the brink-
There's something going on down there, I think!
With many an upward smile and meaning wink
The navvies all are running from the cut
Like lunatics, to right and left-

PICKERING:
Tut, tut-
'Tis only some poor sport or boisterous joke.
Let us sit down and have a quiet smoke.
(_They sit and light cigars._)

FITCH (_singing_):

When first I met Miss Toughie
I smoked a fine cigyar,
An' I was on de dummy
And she was in de cyar.

BOTH (_singing_):

An' I was on de dummy
And she was in de cyar.

FITCH (_singing_):

I couldn't go to her,
An' she wouldn't come to me;
An' I was as oneasy
As a gander on a tree.

BOTH (_singing_):

An' I was as oneasy
As a gander on a tree.

FITCH (_singing_):

But purty soon I weakened
An' lef' de dummy's bench,
An' frew away a ten-cent weed
To win a five-cent wench!

BOTH (_singing_)

An' frew away a ten-cent weed
To win a five-cent wench!

FITCH:

Is there not now a certain substance sold
Under the name of fulminate of gold,
A high explosive, popular for blasting,
Producing an effect immense and lasting?

PICKERING:

Nay, that's mere superstition. Rocks are rent
And excavations made by argument.
Explosives all have had their day and season;
The modern engineer relies on reason.
He'll talk a tunnel through a mountain's flank
And by fair speech cave down the tallest bank.

(_The earth trembles, a deep subterranean explosion is heard and a section of the bank as big as El Capitan starts away and plunges thunderously into the cut. A part of it strikes De Young's dumpcart abaft the axletree and flings him, hurtling, skyward, a thing of legs and arms, to descend on the distant mountains, where it is cold. Fitch and Pickering pull themselves out of the debris and stand ungraveling their eyes and noses._)

FITCH:

Well, since I'm down here I will help to grade,
And do dirt-throwing henceforth with a spade.

PICKERING:

God bless my soul! it gave me quit a start.
Well, fate is fate-I guess I'll drive this cart.

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La Fontaine

The River Scamander

I'M now disposed to give a pretty tale;
Love laughs at what I've sworn and will prevail;
Men, gods, and all, his mighty influence know,
And full obedience to the urchin show.
In future when I celebrate his flame,
Expressions not so warm will be my aim;
I would not willingly abuses plant,
But rather let my writings spirit want.
If in these verses I around should twirl,
Some wily knave and easy simple girl,
'Tis with intention in the breast to place;
On such occasions, dread of dire disgrace;
The mind to open, and the sex to set
Upon their guard 'gainst snares so often met.
Gross ignorance a thousand has misled,
For one that has been hurt by what I've said.

I'VE read that once, an orator renowned
In Greece, where arts superior then were found,
By law's severe decree, compelled to quit
His country, and to banishment submit,
Resolved that he a season would employ,
In visiting the site of ancient Troy.
His comrade, Cymon, with him thither went,
To view those ruins, we so oft lament.
A hamlet had been raised from Ilion's wall,
Ennobled by misfortune and its fall;
Where now mere names are Priam and his court;
Of all devouring Time the prey and sport.

O TROY! for me thy very name has got
Superior charms:--in story fruitful spot;
Thy famed remains I ne'er can hope to view,
That gods by labour raised, and gods o'erthrew;
Those fields where daring acts of valour shone;
So many fights were lost:--so many won.

BUT to resume my thread, and not extend
Too much the subjects which our plan suspend;
This Cymon, who's the hero of our tale,
When walking near the banks that form the dale
Through which Scamander's waters freely flow,
Observed a youthful charmer thither go,
To breathe the cool refreshing breeze around;
That on its verdant borders oft she'd found.
Her veil was floating, and her artless dress,
A shepherdess seemed clearly to express.
Tall, elegantly formed, with beauteous mien,
And ev'ry feature lovely to be seen,
Young Cymon felt emotion and surprise,
And thought 'twas Venus that had caught his eyes,
Who on the river's side her charms displayed,
Those wondrous treasures all perfection made.

A GROT was nigh, to which the simple fair,
Not dreaming ills, was anxious to repair;
The heat, some evil spirit, and the place,
Invited her the moment to embrace,
To bathe within the stream that near her ran;
And instantly her project she began.

THE spark concealed himself; each charm admired;
Now this, now that, now t'other feature fired;
A hundred beauties caught his eager sight;
And while his bosom felt supreme delight,
He turned his thoughts advantages to take,
And of the maiden's error something make;
Assumed the character, and dress; and air;
That should a wat'ry deity declare;
Within the gliding flood his vestments dipt:
A crown of rushes on his head he slipt;
Aquatick herbs and plants around he twined:
Then Mercury intreated to be kind,
And Cupid too, the wily god of hearts;
How could the innocent resist these arts?

AT length a foot so fair the belle exposed,
E'en Galatea never such disclosed;
The stream, that glided by, received the prize;
Her lilies she beheld with downcast eyes,
And, half ashamed, herself surveyed at ease,
While round the zephyrs wantoned in the breeze.

WHEN thus engaged, the lover near her drew;
At whose approach away the damsel flew,
And tried to hide within the rocky cell;
Cried Cymon, I beneath these waters dwell,
And o'er their course a sov'reign right maintain;
Be goddess of the flood, and with me reign;
Few rivers could with you like pow'rs divide;
My crystal's clear: in me you may confide;
My heart is pure; with flow'rs I'll deck the stream,
If worthy of yourself the flood you deem;
Too happy should this honour you bestow,
And with me, 'neath the current, freely go.
Your fair companions, ev'ry one I'll make
A nymph of fountains, hill, or grove, or lake;
My pow'r is great, extending far around
Where'er the eye can reach, 'tis fully found.

THE eloquence he used, her fears and dread;
Lest she might give offence by what she said,
In spite of bashfulness that bliss alloys,
Soon all concluded with celestial joys.
'Tis even said that Cupid lent supplies;
From superstition many things arise.

THE spark withdrew, delighted by success;
Return said he:--we'll mutually caress;
But secret prove: let none our union learn;
Concealment is to me of high concern;
To make it publick would improper be,
Till on Olympus' mount the gods we see,
In council met, to whom I'll state the case;
On this the new-made goddess left the place,
In ev'ry thing contented as a dove,
And fully witnessed by the god of love.
Two months had passed, and not a person knew
Their frequent meetings, pleasure to pursue.
O mortals! is it true, as we are told,
That ev'ry bliss at last is rendered cold?
The sly gallant, though not a word he said,
The grot to visit now was rarely led.

AT length a wedding much attention caught;
The lads and lasses of the hamlet sought,
To see the couple pass: the belle perceived
The very man for whom her bosom heaved,
And loudly cried, behold Scamander's flood!
Which raised surprise; soon numbers round her stood,
Astonishment expressed, but still the fair,
Whate'er was asked, would nothing more declare,
Than, in the spacious, blue, ethereal sky,
Her marriage would be soon, they might rely.
A laugh prevailed; for what was to be done?
The god with hasty steps away had run,
And none with stones pursued his rapid flight:
The deity was quickly ought of sight.

WERE this to happen now, Scamander's stream
Would not so easily preserve esteem;
But crimes like these (whoever was abused),
In former days, were easily excused.
With time our maxims change, and what was then,
Though wrong at present, may prevail agen.
Scamander's spouse some raillery received;
But in the end she fully was relieved:
A lover e'en superior thought her charms,
(His taste was such) and took her to his arms.
The gods can nothing spoil! but should they cause
A belle to lose a portion of applause,
A handsome fortune give, and you'll behold,
That ev'ry thing can be repaired by gold.

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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. Its 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.
Hes 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 havent 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 its 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 its 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 dont 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.
Its 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) Its 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 Gods 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. Its 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. Dont 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 isnt God,
then no other is worthy to be God.
A relative of Malchus then challenged me:
“Didn’t I see you in the garden? Arent 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. Its 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! Its strange
the bandages, the clothes are neatly folded.

Mary Magdalene. (Crying.) “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we dont 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 dont know where they had put him.”
Simon Peter. (Trying to console Mary.) Mary, its 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 dont know where they had put him.”

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

Angels. (to the women) “Dont 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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Transparencies: Lovers Sing To Each, Death The Veil Between Them, After Japanese Noh Theater

.for Father William Rowell


Act 1

Each stanza is a scene or theatrical screen in which the drama is eternally unfolding...


O each eye holds a temple.
Each eye curves away from each.
Each knee contains a hidden country -

paddies are green now and ready for gleaning.


Green now and ready for gleaning,
each breath moves in rhythm.
Other's hands burn the thick rushes-

Go ghostly to ashes.


Go ghostly to ashes;
an obi, a sash opening.
Slash of swords and tongue
now lashes between laps
twain to twain, torches kneel

twining knots each to each.


Twining knots each to each,
reach arms toward dormant summits.
Adore. Summon. Rumor either
to either -

That other snows are melting besides Fuji's.


That other snows are melting besides Fuji's
rush fevers to still lips grown bluer.
Blow warmly then, Awakening Fire.
Blue blushes to purple -

grapes swell in ripening arbors, the quiet pond reflecting.


Ripening arbors the quiet pond reflecting,
a pair of swans leans forward into water
through mirrored peaks rippling there,
stippled plumes chasing after -

a tickle of down pillows breaks lovers to laughter.


A tickle breaks lovers to laughter.
Temple rafters playfully cover joyous
mouths, insistent, surging tongues -

such portals fill gardens green with seethe and seed.


Gardens green with seethe and seed
need now sun and rain,
each for each embroiling-

On monks' sills peaches soften in wooden bowls.


On monks' sills in wooden bowls
there swells grain,
stone, seed drifting now
to fruit and flower,
to sword and power -

Word has come, Master, that the gods have lifted clouds from Fuji.


Act 2

The lovers speak to each other...


That the gods have lifted clouds from Fuji
is no wonder. That you have lifted these
sighs from me here on this pallet is wonder -

enough for me to turn beneath you to earth,
to be dirt that you may sow again,
renew tendrils entwining each spring
that you may lay your leaves upon
fading clover, us the shivering autumn,
ours the promised bestowal -

us to be done over in six moons.


To be done over in six moons
boats gently sift waters
wearing thin transparencies -

suns, moons, stars jeweled facets,
and your face leaning beside the bank
fishing smooth stones to s*ck
for silver. Winter your need in me,
mine to lay crystal against crystal and flesh -

a fine mesh of stars now strains the river.


A fine mesh of stars now strains the river.
What catches in this net, Love, cannot be
spoken or named even when at highest peak
when blood flames and spills all barriers -

renders each soft murmur, Master, to silence and motion.


To silence and motion these veils
lift away. Swift currents flee toward
that reddening Sun-Sea once our divinity

now distant, far, far from this our dripping village of vapors.


From this our dripping village of vapors
hide me, Love, hold me harder. I fear
dawn when the peacocks cry fanning
mist from boiling waters.


Act 3

Green now and ready for gleaning

Go ghostly to ashes

Turning knots each to each

That other snows are melting besides Fuji's


Beside the pond reflecting

A tickle breaks lovers to laughter

Gardens green with seethe and seed

On monk's sills in wooden bowls


That gods have lifted clouds from Fuji

To be done over in six moons

A fine mesh of stars now strains the river


To silence and motion these veils lift away

From this dripping village of vapors

Peacocks cry fanning mist from boiling waters


O each eye holds a temple

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Ambrose Bierce

Slickens

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

HAYSEED _a Granger_
NOZZLE _a Miner_
RINGDIVVY _a Statesman_
FEEGOBBLE _a Lawyer_
JUNKET _a Committee_

_Scene_-Yuba Dam.

_Feegobble, Ringdivvy, Nozzle_.


NOZZLE:

My friends, since '51 I have pursued
The evil tenor of my watery way,
Removing hills as by an act of faith

RINGDIVVY:

Just so; the steadfast faith of those who hold,
In foreign lands beyond the Eastern sea,
The shares in your concern-a simple, blind,
Unreasoning belief in dividends,
Still stimulated by assessments which,
When the skies fall, ensnaring all the larks,
Will bring, no doubt, a very great return.

ALL (_singing_):

O the beautiful assessment,
The exquisite assessment,
The regular assessment,
That makes the water flow.

RINGDIVVY:

The rascally-assessment!

FEEGOBBLE:

The murderous assessment!

NOZZLE:

The glorious assessment
That makes my mare to go!

FEEGOBBLE:

But, Nozzle, you, I think, were on the point
Of making a remark about some rights-
Some certain vested rights you have acquired
By long immunity; for still the law
Holds that if one do evil undisturbed
His right to do so ripens with the years;
And one may be a villain long enough
To make himself an honest gentleman.

ALL (_singing_):

Hail, holy law,
The soul with awe
Bows to thy dispensation.

NOZZLE:

It breaks my jaw!

RINGDIVVY:

It qualms my maw!

FEEGOBBLE:

It feeds my jaw,
It crams my maw,
It is my soul's salvation!

NOZZLE:

Why, yes, I've floated mountains to the sea
For lo! these many years; though some, they say,
Do strand themselves along the bottom lands
And cover up a village here and there,
And here and there a ranch. 'Tis said, indeed,
The granger with his female and his young
Do not infrequently go to the dickens
By premature burial in slickens.

ALL (_singing_):

Could slickens forever
Choke up the river,
And slime's endeavor
Be tried on grain,
How small the measure
Of granger's treasure,
How keen his pain!

RINGDIVVY:

'A consummation devoutly to be wished!'
These rascal grangers would long since have been
Submerged in slimes, to the last man of them,
But for the fact that all their wicked tribes
Affect our legislation with their bribes.

ALL (_singing_):

O bribery's great-
'Tis a pillar of State,
And the people they are free.

FEEGOBBLE:

It smashes my slate!

NOZZLE:

It is thievery straight!

RINGDIVVY:

But it's been the making of me!

NOZZLE:

I judge by certain shrewd sensations here
In these callosities I call my thumbs
thrilling sense as of ten thousand pins,
Red-hot and penetrant, transpiercing all
The cuticle and tickling through the nerves
That some malign and awful thing draws near.

(_Enter Hayseed._)

Good Lord! here are the ghosts and spooks of all
The grangers I have decently interred,
Rolled into one!

FEEGOBBLE:

Plead, phantom.

RINGDIVVY:

You've the floor.

HAYSEED:

From the margin of the river
(Bitter Creek, they sometimes call it)
Where I cherished once the pumpkin,
And the summer squash promoted,
Harvested the sweet potato,
Dallied with the fatal melon
And subdued the fierce cucumber,
I've been driven by the slickens,
Driven by the slimes and tailings!
All my family-my Polly
Ann and all my sons and daughters,
Dog and baby both included
All were swamped in seas of slickens,
Buried fifty fathoms under,
Where they lie, prepared to play their
Gentle prank on geologic
Gents that shall exhume them later,
In the dim and distant future,
Taking them for melancholy
Relics antedating Adam.
I alone got up and dusted.

NOZZLE:

Avaunt! you horrid and infernal cuss!
What dire distress have you prepared for us?

RINGDIVVY:

Were I a buzzard stooping from the sky
My craw with filth to fill,
Into your honorable body I
Would introduce a bill.

FEEGOBBLE:

Defendant, hence, or, by the gods, I'll brain thee!-
Unless you saved some turneps to retain me.

HAYSEED:

As I was saying, I got up and dusted,
My ranch a graveyard and my business busted!
But hearing that a fellow from the City,
Who calls himself a Citizens' Committee,
Was coming up to play the very dickens,
With those who cover up our farms with slickens,
And make himself-unless I am in error
To all such miscreants a holy terror,
I thought if I would join the dialogue
I maybe might get payment for my dog.

ALL (_Singing_):

O the dog is the head of Creation,
Prime work of the Master's hand;
He hasn't a known occupation,
Yet lives on the fat of the land.
Adipose, indolent, sleek and orbicular,
Sun-soaken, door matted, cross and particular,
Men, women, children, all coddle and wait on him,
Then, accidentally shutting the gate on him,
Miss from their calves, ever after, the rifted out
Mouthful of tendons that doggy has lifted out!
(_Enter Junket_.)

JUNKET:

Well met, my hearties! I must trouble you
Jointly and severally to provide
A comfortable carriage, with relays
Of hardy horses. This Committee means
To move in state about the country here.
I shall expect at every place I stop
Good beds, of course, and everything that's nice,
With bountiful repast of meat and wine.
For this Committee comes to sea and mark
And inwardly digest.

HAYSEED:

Digest my dog!

NOZZLE:

First square my claim for damages: the gold
Escaping with the slickens keeps me poor!

RINGDIVVY:

I merely would remark that if you'd grease
My itching palm it would more glibly glide
Into the public pocket.

FEEGOBBLE:

Sir, the wheels
Of justice move but slowly till they're oiled.
I have some certain writs and warrants here,
Prepared against your advent. You recall
The tale of Zaccheus, who did climb a tree,
And Jesus said: 'Come down'?

JUNKET:

Why, bless your souls!
I've got no money; I but came to see
What all this noisy babble is about,
Make a report and file the same away.

NOZZLE, RINGDIVVY, FEEGOBBLE, HAYSEED:

How'll that help _us_? Reports are not our style
Of provender!

JUNKET:

Well, you can gnaw the file.

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William Butler Yeats

Supernatural Songs

I
Ribb at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn
BECAUSE you have found me in the pitch-dark night
With open book you ask me what I do.
Mark and digest my tale, carry it afar
To those that never saw this tonsured head
Nor heard this voice that ninety years have cracked.
Of Baile and Aillinn you need not speak,
All know their tale, all know what leaf and twig,
What juncture of the apple and the yew,
Surmount their bones; but speak what none ha've
heard.
The miracle that gave them such a death
Transfigured to pure substance what had once
Been bone and sinew; when such bodies join
There is no touching here, nor touching there,
Nor straining joy, but whole is joined to whole;
For the intercourse of angels is a light
Where for its moment both seem lost, consumed.
Here in the pitch-dark atmosphere above
The trembling of the apple and the yew,
Here on the anniversary of their death,
The anniversary of their first embrace,
Those lovers, purified by tragedy,
Hurry into each other's arms; these eyes,
By water, herb and solitary prayer
Made aquiline, are open to that light.
Though somewhat broken by the leaves, that light
Lies in a circle on the grass; therein
I turn the pages of my holy book.
II
Ribb denounces Patrick
An abstract Greek absurdity has crazed the man --
Recall that masculine Trinity. Man, woman, child (a
daughter or a son),
That's how all natural or supernatural stories run.
Natural and supernatural with the self-same ring are
wed.
As man, as beast, as an ephemeral fly begets, Godhead
begets Godhead,
For things below are copies, the Great Smaragdine
Tablet said.
Yet all must copy copies, all increase their kind;
When the conflagration of their passion sinks, damped
by the body or the mind,
That juggling nature mounts, her coil in their em-
braces twined.
The mirror-scaled serpent is multiplicity,
But all that run in couples, on earth, in flood or air,
share God that is but three,
And could beget or bear themselves could they but
love as He.
III
Ribb in Ecstasy
What matter that you understood no word!
Doubtless I spoke or sang what I had heard
In broken sentences. My soul had found
All happiness in its own cause or ground.
Godhead on Godhead in sexual spasm begot
Godhead. Some shadow fell. My soul forgot
Those amorous cries that out of quiet come
And must the common round of day resume.
IV
There
There all the barrel-hoops are knit,
There all the serpent-tails are bit,
There all the gyres converge in one,
There all the planets drop in the Sun.
V
Ribb considers Christian Love insufficient
Why should I seek for love or study it?
It is of God and passes human wit.
I study hatred with great diligence,
For that's a passion in my own control,
A sort of besom that can clear the soul
Of everything that is not mind or sense.
Why do I hate man, woman Or event?
That is a light my jealous soul has sent.
From terror and deception freed it can
Discover impurities, can show at last
How soul may walk when all such things are past,
How soul could walk before such things began.
Then my delivered soul herself shall learn
A darker knowledge and in hatred turn
From every thought of God mankind has had.
Thought is a garment and the soul's a bride
That cannot in that trash and tinsel hide:
Hatred of God may bring the soul to God.
At stroke of midnight soul cannot endure
A bodily or mental furniture.
What can she take until her Master give!
Where can she look until He make the show!
What can she know until He bid her know!
How can she live till in her blood He live!
VI
He and She
As the moon sidles up
Must she sidle up,
As trips the scared moon
Away must she trip:
'His light had struck me blind
Dared I stop'.
She sings as the moon sings:
'I am I, am I;
The greater grows my light
The further that I fly'.
All creation shivers
With that sweet cry
VII
What Magic Drum?
He holds him from desire, all but stops his breathing
lest
primordial Motherhood forsake his limbs, the child no
longer rest,
Drinking joy as it were milk upon his breast.
Through light-obliterating garden foliage what magic
drum?
Down limb and breast or down that glimmering belly
move his mouth and sinewy tongue.
What from the forest came? What beast has licked its
young?
VIII
Whence had they come?
Eternity is passion, girl or boy
Cry at the onset of their sexual joy
'For ever and for ever'; then awake
Ignorant what Dramatis personae spake;
A passion-driven exultant man sings out
Sentences that he has never thought;
The Flagellant lashes those submissive loins
Ignorant what that dramatist enjoins,
What master made the lash. Whence had they come,
The hand and lash that beat down frigid Rome?
What sacred drama through her body heaved
When world-transforming Charlemagne was con-
ceived?
IX
The Four Ages of Man
He with body waged a fight,
But body won; it walks upright.
Then he struggled with the heart;
Innocence and peace depart.
Then he struggled with the mind;
His proud heart he left behind.
Now his wars on God begin;
At stroke of midnight God shall win.
X
Conjunctions
If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
What a cop of mummy wheat!
The sword's a cross; thereon He died:
On breast of Mars the goddess sighed.
XI
A Needle's Eye
All the stream that's roaring by
Came out of a needle's eye;
Things unborn, things that are gone,
From needle's eye still goad it on.
XII
Meru
Civilisation is hooped together, brought
Under a mle, under the semblance of peace
By manifold illusion; but man's life is thought,
And he, despite his terror, cannot cease
Ravening through century after century,
Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come
Into the desolation of reality:
Egypt and Greece, good-bye, and good-bye, Rome!
Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,
Caverned in night under the drifted snow,
Or where that snow and winter's dreadful blast
Beat down upon their naked bodies, know
That day brings round the night, that before dawn
His glory and his monuments are gone.

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Ambrose Bierce

Aspirants Three

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

_QUICK_:
DE YOUNG _a Brother to Mushrooms_

_DEAD_:
SWIFT _an Heirloom_
ESTEE _a Relic_

_IMMORTALS_:
THE SPIRIT OF BROKEN HOPES. THE AUTHOR.

_MISCELLANEOUS_:
A TROUPE OF COFFINS. THE MOON. VARIOUS COLORED FIRES.


_Scene_-The Political Graveyard at Bone Mountain.


DE YOUNG:

This is the spot agreed upon. Here rest
The sainted statesman who upon the field
Of honor have at various times laid down
Their own, and ended, ignominious,
Their lives political. About me, lo!
Their silent headstones, gilded by the moon,
Half-full and near her setting-midnight. Hark!
Through the white mists of this portentous night
(Which throng in moving shapes about my way,
As they were ghosts of candidates I've slain,
To fray their murderer) my open ear,
Spacious to maw the noises of the world,
Engulfs a footstep.
(_Enter Estee from his tomb._)
Ah, 'tis he, my foe,
True to appointment; and so here we fight
Though truly 'twas my firm belief that he
Would send regrets, or I had not been here.

ESTEE:

O moon that hast so oft surprised the deeds
Whereby I rose to greatness!-tricksy orb,
The type and symbol of my politics,
Now draw my ebbing fortunes to their flood,
As, by the magic of a poultice, boils
That burn ambitions with defeated fires
Are lifted into eminence.
(_Sees De Young._)
What? you!
Faith, if I had suspected you would come
From the fair world of politics wherein
So lately you were whelped, and which, alas,
I vainly to revisit strive, though still
Rapped on the rotting head and bidden sleep
Till Resurrection's morn,-if I had thought
You would accept the challenge that I flung
I would have seen you damned ere I came forth
In the night air, shroud-clad and shivering,
To fight so mean a thing! But since you're here,
Draw and defend yourself. By gad, we'll _see_
Who'll be Postmaster-General!

DE YOUNG:

We will-
I'll fight (for I am lame) with any blue
And redolent remain that dares aspire
To wreck the Grand Old Grandson's cabinet.
Here's at you, nosegay!

(_They draw tongues and are about to fight, when from an
adjacent whited sepulcher, enter Swift._)

SWIFT:

Hold! put up your tongues!
Within the confines of this sacred spot
Broods such a holy calm as none may break
By clash of weapons, without sacrilege.
(_Beats down their tongues with a bone._)
Madmen! what profits it? For though you fought
With such heroic skill that both survived,
Yet neither should achieve the prize, for I
Would wrest it from him. Let us not contend,
But friendliwise by stipulation fix
A slate for mutual advantage. Why,
Having the pick and choice of seats, should we
Forego them all but one? Nay, we'll take three,
And part them so among us that to each
Shall fall the fittest to his powers. In brief,
Let us establish a Portfolio Trust.

ESTEE:

Agreed.

DE YOUNG:

Aye, truly, 'tis a greed-and one
The offices imperfectly will sate,
But I'll stand in.

SWIFT:

Well, so 'tis understood,
As you're the junior member of the Trust,
Politically younger and undead,
Speak, Michael: what portfolio do you choose?

DE YOUNG:

I've thought the Postal service best would serve
My interest; but since I have my pick,
I'll take the War Department. It is known
Throughout the world, from Market street to Pine,
(For a Chicago journal told the tale)
How in this hand I lately took my life
And marched against great Buckley, thundering
My mandate that he count the ballots fair!
Earth heard and shrank to half her size! Yon moon,
Which rivaled then a liver's whiteness, paused
That night at Butchertown and daubed her face
With sheep's blood! Then my serried rank I drew
Back to my stronghold without loss. To mark
My care in saving human life and limb,
The Peace Society bestowed on me
Its leather medal and the title, too,
Of Colonel. Yes, my genius is for war. Good land!
I naturally dote on a brass band!

(_Sings._)

O, give me a life on the tented field,
Where the cannon roar and ring,
Where the flag floats free and the foemen yield
And bleed as the bullets sing.
But be it not mine to wage the fray
Where matters are ordered the other way,
For that is a different thing.

O, give me a life in the fierce campaign-
Let it be the life of my foe:
I'd rather fall upon him than the plain;
That service I'd fain forego.
O, a warrior's life is fine and free,
But a warrior's death-ah me! ah me!
That's a different thing, you know.

ESTEE:

Some claim I might myself advance to that
Portfolio. When Rebellion raised its head,
And you, my friends, stayed meekly in your shirts,
I marched with banners to the party stump,
Spat on my hands, made faces fierce as death,
Shook my two fists at once and introduced
Brave resolutions terrible to read!
Nay, only recently, as you do know,
I conquered Treason by the word of mouth,
And slew, with Samson's weapon, the whole South!

SWIFT:

You once fought Stanford, too.

ESTEE:

Enough of that-
Give me the Interior and I'll devote
My mind to agriculture and improve
The breed of cabbages, especially
The _Brassica Celeritatis_, named
For _you_ because in days of long ago
You sold it at your market stall,-and, faith,
'Tis said you were an honest huckster then.
I'll be Attorney-General if you
Prefer; for know I am a lawyer too!

SWIFT:

I never have heard that!-did you, De Young?

DE YOUNG:

Never, so help me! And I swear I've heard
A score of Judges say that he is not.

SWIFT (_to Estee_):

You take the Interior. I might aspire
To military station too, for once
I led my party into Pixley's camp,
And he paroled me. I defended, too,
The State of Oregon against the sharp
And bloody tooth of the Australian sheep.
But I've an aptitude exceeding neat
For bloodless battles of diplomacy.
My cobweb treaty of Exclusion once,
Through which a hundred thousand coolies sailed,
Was much admired, but most by Colonel Bee.
Though born a tinker I'm a diplomat
From old Missouri, and I-ha! what's that?

(_Exit Moon. Enter Blue Lights on all the tombs, and a circle of Red Fire on the grass; in the center the Spirit of Broken Hopes, and round about, a Troupe of Coffins, dancing and singing._)

CHORUS OF COFFINS:

Two bodies dead and one alive-
Yo, ho, merrily all!
Now for boodle strain and strive-
Buzzards all a-warble, O!
Prophets three, agape for bread;
Raven with a stone instead-
Providential raven!
Judges two and Colonel one-
Run, run, rustics, run!
But it's O, the pig is shaven,
And oily, oily all!

(_Exeunt Coffins, dancing. The Spirit of Broken Hopes advances, solemnly pointing at each of the Three Worthies in turn._)

SPIRIT OF BROKEN HOPES:

Governor, Governor, editor man,
Rusty, musty, spick-and-span,
Harlequin, harridan, dicky-dout,
Demagogue, charlatan-o, u, t, OUT!
(_De Young falls and sleeps._)

Antimonopoler, diplomat,
Railroad lackey, political rat,
One, two, three-SCAT!
(_Swift falls and sleeps._)

Boycotting chin-worker, working to woo
Fortune, the fickle, to smile upon _you_,
Jo-coated acrobat, shuttle-cock-SHOO!
(_Estee falls and sleeps._)

Now they lie in slumber sweet,
Now the charm is all complete,
Hasten I with flying feet
Where beyond the further sea
A babe upon its mother's knee
Is gazing into skies afar
And crying for a golden star.
I'll drag a cloud across the blue
And break that infant's heart in two!

(_Exeunt the Spirit of Broken Hopes and the Red and Blue Fires. Re-enter Moon._)

ESTEE (_waking_):

Why, this is strange! I dreamed I know not what,
It seemed that certain apparitions were,
Which sang uncanny words, significant
And yet ambiguous-half-understood
Portending evil; and an awful spook,
Even as I stood with my accomplices,
Counted me out, as children do in play.
Is that you, Mike?

DE YOUNG _(waking):_

It was.

SWIFT _(waking):_

Am I all that?
Then I'll reform my ways.
_(Reforms his ways.)_
Ah! had I known
How sweet it is to be an honest man
I never would have stooped to turn my coat
For public favor, as chameleons take
The hue (as near as they can judge) of that
Supporting them. Henceforth I'll buy
With money all the offices I need,
And know the pleasure of an honest life,
Or stay forever in this dismal place.
Now that I'm good, it will no longer do
To make a third with such, a wicked two.
_(Returns to his tomb.)_

DE YOUNG:

Prophetic dream! by some good angel sent
To make me with a quiet life content.
The question shall no more my bosom irk,
To go to Washington or go to work.
From Fame's debasing struggle I'll withdraw,
And taking up the pen lay down the law.
I'll leave this rogue, lest my example make
An honest man of him-his heart would break.
_(Exit De Young.)_

ESTEE:

Out of my company these converts flee,
But that advantage is denied to me:
My curst identity's confining skin
Nor lets me out nor tolerates me in.
Well, since my hopes eternally have fled,
And, dead before, I'm more than ever dead,
To find a grander tomb be now my task,
And pack my pork into a stolen cask.
_(Exit, searching. Loud calls for the Author, who appears, bowing and smiling_.)

AUTHOR _(singing):_

Jack Satan's the greatest of gods,
And Hell is the best of abodes.
'Tis reached, through the Valley of Clods,
By seventy different roads.
Hurrah for the Seventy Roads!
Hurrah for the clods that resound
With a hollow, thundering sound!
Hurrah for the Best of Abodes!

We'll serve him as long as we've breath
Jack Satan the greatest of gods.
To all of his enemies, death!
A home in the Valley of Clods.
Hurrah for the thunder of clods
That smother the soul of his foe!
Hurrah for the spirits that go
To dwell with the Greatest of Gods;

_(Curtain falls to faint odor of mortality. Exit the Gas_.)

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The Sorcerer: Act II

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an Elderly Baronet

Alexis, of the Grenadier Guards--His Son

Dr. Daly, Vicar of Ploverleigh

John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers

Lady Sangazure, a Lady of Ancient Lineage

Aline, Her Daughter--betrothed to Alexis

Mrs. Partlet, a Pew-Opener

Constance, her Daughter

Chorus of Villagers


(Twelve hours are supposed to elapse between Acts I and II)

ACT II-- Grounds of Sir Marmaduke's Mansion, Midnight


Scene--Exterior of Sir Marmaduke's mansion by moonlight. All the
peasantry are discovered asleep on the ground, as at the end
of Act I.

Enter Mr. Wells, on tiptoe, followed by Alexis and Aline. Mr. Wells
carries a dark lantern.

TRIO--ALEXIS, ALINE, and MR. WELLS

'Tis twelve, I think,
And at this mystic hour
The magic drink
Should manifest its power.
Oh, slumbering forms,
How little ye have guessed
That fire that warms
Each apathetic breast!

ALEXIS. But stay, my father is not here!

ALINE. And pray where is my mother dear?

MR. WELLS. I did not think it meet to see
A dame of lengthy pedigree,
A Baronet and K.C.B.
A Doctor of Divinity,
And that respectable Q.C.,
All fast asleep, al-fresco-ly,
And so I had them taken home
And put to bed respectably!
I trust my conduct meets your approbation.

ALEXIS. Sir, you have acted with discrimination,
And shown more delicate appreciation
Than we expect of persons of your station.

MR. WELLS. But stay--they waken one by one --
The spell has worked--the deed is done!
I would suggest that we retire
While Love, the Housemaid, lights her kitchen
fire!

(Exeunt Mr. Wells, Alexis and Aline, on tiptoe, as the villagers
stretch their arms, yawn, rub their eyes, and sit up.)

MEN. Why, where be oi, and what be oi a doin',
A sleepin' out, just when the dews du rise?
GIRLS. Why, that's the very way your health to ruin,
And don't seem quite respectable likewise!
MEN (staring at girls). Eh, that's you!
Only think o' that now!
GIRLS (coyly). What may you be at, now?
Tell me, du!
MEN (admiringly). Eh, what a nose,
And eh, what eyes, miss!
Lips like a rose,
And cheeks likewise, miss!
GIRLS (coyly). Oi tell you true,
Which I've never done, sir,
Oi loike you
As I never loiked none, sir!
ALL. Eh, but oi du loike you!
MEN. If you'll marry me, I'll dig for you and
rake for you!
GIRLS. If you'll marry be, I'll scrub for you
and bake for you!
MEN. If you'll marry me, all others I'll
forsake for you!
ALL. All this will I du, if you marry
me!
GIRLS. If you'll marry me, I'll cook for you
and brew for you!
MEN. If you'll marry me, I've guineas not a
few for you!
GIRLS. If you'll marry me, I'll take you in and
du for you!
ALL. All this will I du, if you'll marry me!
Eh, but I do loike you!

Country Dance

(At end of dance, enter Constance in tears, leading Notary, who
carries an ear-trumpet)

Aria--CONSTANCE

Dear friends, take pity on my lot,
My cup is not of nectar!
I long have loved--as who would not?--
Our kind and reverend rector.
Long years ago my love began
So sweetly--yet so sadly--
But when I saw this plain old man,
Away my old affection ran--
I found I loved him madly.
Oh!

(To Notary) You very, very plain old man,
I love, I love you madly!
CHORUS. You very, very plain old man,
She loves, she loves you madly!
NOTARY. I am a very deaf old man,
And hear you very badly!

CONST. I know not why I love him so;
It is enchantment, surely!
He's dry and snuffy, deaf and slow
Ill-tempered, weak and poorly!
He's ugly, and absurdly dressed,
And sixty-seven nearly,
He's everything that I detest,
But if the truth must be confessed,
I love him very dearly!
Oh!

(To Notary) You're everything that I detest,
But still I love you dearly!

CHORUS. You've everything that girls detest,
But still she loves you dearly!

NOTARY. I caught that line, but for the rest,
I did not hear it clearly!

(During this verse Aline and Alexis have entered at back
unobserved.)

ALINE AND ALEXIS

ALEXIS. Oh joy! oh joy!
The charm works well,
And all are now united.

ALINE. The blind young boy
Obeys the spell,
And troth they all have plighted!

ENSEMBLE

Aline & Alexis Constance Notary

Oh joy! oh joy! Oh, bitter joy! Oh joy! oh joy!
The charm works well, No words can tell No words can tell
And all are now united! How my poor heart My state of mind
The blind young boy is blighted! delighted.
Obeys the spell, They'll soon employ They'll soon employ
A marriage bell, A marriage bell,
Their troth they all To say that we're To say that we're
have plighted. united. united.
True happiness I do confess True happiness
Reigns everywhere, A sorrow rare Reigns everywhere
And dwells with both My humbled spirit And dwells with both
the sexes. vexes. the sexes,
And all will bless And none will bless And all will bless
The thoughtful care Example rare Example rare
Of their beloved Of their beloved Of their beloved
Alexis! Alexis! Alexis!
(All, except Alexis and Aline, exeunt lovingly.)

ALINE. How joyful they all seem in their new-found
happiness! The whole village has paired off in the happiest
manner. And yet not a match has been made that the hollow world
would not consider ill-advised!
ALEXIS. But we are wiser--far wiser--than the world.
Observe the good that will become of these ill-assorted unions.
The miserly wife will check the reckless expenditure of her too
frivolous consort, the wealthy husband will shower innumerable
bonnets on his penniless bride, and the young and lively spouse
will cheer the declining days of her aged partner with comic
songs unceasing!
ALINE. What a delightful prospect for him!
ALEXIS. But one thing remains to be done, that my happiness
may be complete. We must drink the philtre ourselves, that I may
be assured of your love for ever and ever.
ALINE. Oh, Alexis, do you doubt me? Is it necessary that
such love as ours should be secured by artificial means? Oh, no,
no, no!
ALEXIS. My dear Aline, time works terrible changes, and I
want to place our love beyond the chance of change.
ALINE. Alexis, it is already far beyond that chance. Have
faith in me, for my love can never, never change!
ALEXIS. Then you absolutely refuse?
ALINE. I do. If you cannot trust me, you have no right to
love me--no right to be loved by me.
ALEXIS. Enough, Aline, I shall know how to interpret this
refusal.

BALLAD--ALEXIS

Thou hast the power thy vaunted love
To sanctify, all doubt above,
Despite the gathering shade:
To make that love of thine so sure
That, come what may, it must endure
Till time itself shall fade.
They love is but a flower
That fades within the hour!
If such thy love, oh, shame!
Call it by other name--
It is not love!

Thine is the power and thine alone,
To place me on so proud a throne
That kings might envy me!
A priceless throne of love untold,
More rare than orient pearl and gold.
But no! Thou wouldst be free!
Such love is like the ray
That dies within the day:
If such thy love, oh, shame!
Call it by other name--
It is not love!

Enter Dr. Daly.

DR. D. (musing) It is singular--it is very singular. It
has overthrown all my calculations. It is distinctly opposed to
the doctrine of averages. I cannot understand it.
ALINE. Dear Dr. Daly, what has puzzled you?
DR. D. My dear, this village has not hitherto been addicted
to marrying and giving in marriage. Hitherto the youths of this
village have not been enterprising, and the maidens have been
distinctly coy. Judge then of my surprise when I tell you that
the whole village came to me in a body just now, and implored me
to join them in matrimony with as little delay as possible. Even
your excellent father has hinted to me that before very long it
is not unlikely that he may also change his condition.
ALINE. Oh, Alexis--do you hear that? Are you not
delighted?
ALEXIS. Yes, I confess that a union between your mother and
my father would be a happy circumstance indeed. (Crossing to Dr.
Daly) My dear sir--the news that you bring us is very
gratifying.
DR. D. Yes--still, in my eyes, it has its melancholy side.
This universal marrying recalls the happy days--now, alas, gone
forever--when I myself might have--but tush! I am puling. I am
too old to marry--and yet, within the last half-hour, I have
greatly yearned for companionship. I never remarked it before,
but the young maidens of this village are very comely. So
likewise are the middle-aged. Also the elderly. All are
comely--and (with a deep sigh) all are engaged!
ALINE. Here comes your father.

Enter Sir Marmaduke with Mrs. Partlet, arm-in-arm

ALINE and ALEXIS (aside). Mrs. Partlet!
SIR M. Dr. Daly, give me joy. Alexis, my dear boy, you
will, I am sure, be pleased to hear that my declining days are
not unlikely to be solaced by the companionship of this good,
virtuous, and amiable woman.
ALEXIS. (rather taken aback) My dear father, this is not
altogether what I expected. I am certainly taken somewhat by
surprise. Still it can hardly be necessary to assure you that
any wife of yours is a mother of mine. (Aside to Aline.) It is
not quite what I could have wished.
MRS. P. (crossing to Alexis) Oh, sir, I entreat your
forgiveness. I am aware that socially I am not everything that
could be desired, nor am I blessed with an abundance of worldly
goods, but I can at least confer on your estimable father the
great and priceless dowry of a true, tender, and lovin' 'art!
ALEXIS (coldly). I do not question it. After all, a
faithful love is the true source of every earthly joy.
SIR M. I knew that my boy would not blame his poor father
for acting on the impulse of a heart that has never yet misled
him. Zorah is not perhaps what the world calls beautiful--
DR. D. Still she is comely--distinctly comely. (Sighs)
ALINE. Zorah is very good, and very clean, and honest, and
quite, quite sober in her habits: and that is worth far more than
beauty, dear Sir Marmaduke.
DR. D. Yes; beauty will fade and perish, but personal
cleanliness is practically undying, for it can be renewed
whenever it discovers symptoms of decay. My dear Sir Marmaduke,
I heartily congratulate you. (Sighs)

QUINTETTE

ALEXIS, ALINE, SIR MARMADUKE, ZORAH, and DR. DALY

ALEXIS. I rejoice that it's decided,
Happy now will be his life,
For my father is provided
With a true and tender wife.
She will tend him, nurse him, mend him,
Air his linen, dry his tears;
Bless the thoughtful fate that send him
Such a wife to soothe his years!

ALINE. No young giddy thoughtless maiden,
Full of graces, airs, and jeers--
But a sober widow, laden
With the weight of fifty years!

SIR M. No high-born exacting beauty
Blazing like a jewelled sun--
But a wife who'll do her duty,
As that duty should be done!

MRS. P. I'm no saucy minx and giddy--
Hussies such as them abound--
But a clean and tidy widdy
Well be-known for miles around!

DR.D. All the village now have mated,
All are happy as can be--
I to live alone am fated:
No one's left to marry me!

ENSEMBLE. She will tend him etc.

(Exeunt Sir Marmaduke, Mrs. Partlet, and Aline, with Alexis. Dr. Daly
looks after them sentimentally, then exits with a sigh.)

Enter Mr. Wells

RECITATIVE--MR. WELLS

Oh, I have wrought much evil with my spells!
An ill I can't undo!
This is too bad of you, J. W. Wells--
What wrong have they done you?
And see--another love-lorn lady comes--
Alas, poor stricken dame!
A gentle pensiveness her life benumbs--
And mine, alone, the blame!

Lady Sangazure enters. She is very melancholy

LADY S. Alas, ah me! and well-a-day!
I sigh for love, and well I may,
For I am very old and grey.
But stay!

(Sees Mr. Wells, and becomes fascinated by him.)

RECITATIVE

LADY S. What is this fairy form I see before me?
WELLS. Oh horrible!--She's going to adore me!
This last catastrophe is overpowering!
LADY S. Why do you glare at one with visage lowering?
For pity's sake recoil not thus from me!
WELLS. My lady leave me--this may never be!

DUET--LADY SANGAZURE and MR. WELLS

WELLS. Hate me! I drop my H's--have through life!
LADY S. Love me! I'll drop them too!
WELLS. Hate me! I always eat peas with a knife!
LADY S. Love me! I'll eat like you!
WELLS. Hate me! I spend the day at Rosherville!
LADY S. Love me! that joy I'll share!
WELLS. Hate me! I often roll down One Tree Hill!
LADY S. Love me! I'll join you there!

LADY S. Love me! My prejudices I will drop!
WELLS. Hate me! that's not enough!
LADY S. Love me! I'll come and help you in the shop!
WELLS. Hate me! the life is rough!
LADY S. Love me! my grammar I will all forswear!
WELLS. Hate me! abjure my lot!
LADY S. Love me! I'll stick sunflowers in my hair!
WELLS. Hate me! they'll suit you not!

RECITATIVE--MR. WELLS

At what I am going to say be not enraged--
I may not love you--for I am engaged!
LADY S. (horrified). Engaged!
WELLS. Engaged!
To a maiden fair,
With bright brown hair,
And a sweet and simple smile,
Who waits for me
By the sounding sea,
On a South Pacific isle.
WELLS (aside). A lie! No maiden waits me there!
LADY S. (mournfully). She has bright brown hair;
WELLS (aside). A lie! No maiden smiles on me!
LADY S. (mournfully). By the sounding sea!

ENSEMBLE

LADY SANGAZURE WELLS.

Oh agony, rage, despair! Oh, agony, rage, despair!
The maiden has bright brown hair, Oh, where will this end--oh, where?
And mine is as white as snow! I should like very much to know!
False man, it will be your fault, It will certainly be my fault,
If I go to my family vault, If she goes to her family vault,
And bury my life-long woe! To bury her life-long woe!

BOTH. The family vault--the family vault.
It will certainly be (your/my) fault.
If (I go/she goes) to (my/her) family vault,
To bury (my/her) life-long woe!

(Exit Lady Sangazure, in great anguish, accompanied by Mr. Wells.)

Enter Aline, Recitative

Alexis! Doubt me not, my loved one! See,
Thine uttered will is sovereign law to me!
All fear--all thought of ill I cast away!
It is my darling's will, and I obey!
(She drinks the philtre.)

The fearful deed is done,
My love is near!
I go to meet my own
In trembling fear!
If o'er us aught of ill
Should cast a shade,
It was my darling's will,
And I obeyed!

(As Aline is going off, she meets Dr. Daly, entering pensively. He
is playing on a flageolet. Under the influence of the spell
she at once becomes strangely fascinated by him, and
exhibits every symptom of being hopelessly in love with
him.)

SONG--DR. DALY

Oh, my voice is sad and low
And with timid step I go--
For with load of love o'er laden
I enquire of every maiden,
"Will you wed me, little lady?
Will you share my cottage shady?"
Little lady answers "No!
Thank you for your kindly proffer--
Good your heart, and full your coffer;
Yet I must decline your offer--
I'm engaged to So-and-so!"
So-and-so!
So-and-so! (flageolet solo)
She's engaged to So-and-so!
What a rogue young hearts to pillage;
What a worker on Love's tillage!
Every maiden in the village
Is engaged to So-and-so!
So-and-so!
So-and-so! (flageolet solo)
All engaged to So-and-so!

(At the end of the song Dr. Daly sees Aline, and, under the
influence of the potion, falls in love with her.)

ENSEMBLE--ALINE and DR. DALY.

Oh, joyous boon! oh, mad delight;
Oh, sun and moon! oh, day and night!
Rejoice, rejoice with me!
Proclaim our joy, ye birds above--
Yet brooklets, murmur forth our love,
In choral ecstasy:
ALINE. Oh, joyous boon!
DR. D. Oh, mad delight!
ALINE. Oh, sun and moon!
DR. D. Oh, day and night!
BOTH. Ye birds, and brooks, and fruitful trees,
With choral joy, delight the breeze--
Rejoice, rejoice with me!

Enter Alexis

ALEXIS (with rapture). Aline my only love, my happiness!
The philtre--you have tasted it?
ALINE (with confusion). Yes! Yes!
ALEXIS. Oh, joy, mine, mine for ever, and for aye!
(Embraces her.)
ALINE. Alexis, don't do that--you must not!

(Dr. Daly interposes between them)

ALEXIS (amazed). Why?

DUET--ALINE and DR. DALY

ALINE. Alas! that lovers thus should meet:
Oh, pity, pity me!
Oh, charge me not with cold deceit;
Oh, pity, pity me!
You bade me drink--with trembling awe
I drank, and, by the potion's law,
I loved the very first I saw!
Oh, pity, pity, me!

DR. D. My dear young friend, consoled be--
We pity, pity you.
In this I'm not an agent free--
We pity, pity you.
Some most extraordinary spell
O'er us has cast its magic fell--
The consequence I need not tell.
We pity, pity you.

ENSEMBLE

Some most extraordinary spell
O'er (us/them) has cast its magic fell--
The consequence (we/they) need not tell.
(We/They) pity, pity (thee!/me).

ALEXIS (furiously). False one, begone--I spurn thee,
To thy new lover turn thee!
Thy perfidy all men shall know,
ALINE (wildly). I could not help it!
ALEXIS (calling off). Come one, come all!
DR. D. We could not help it!
ALEXIS (calling off). Obey my call!
ALINE (wildly). I could not help it!
ALEXIS (calling off). Come hither, run!
DR. D. We could not help it!
ALEXIS (calling off). Come, every one!

Enter all the characters except Lady Sangazure and Mr. Wells

CHORUS

Oh, what is the matter, and what is the clatter?
He's glowering at her, and threatens a blow!
Oh, why does he batter the girl he did flatter?
And why does the latter recoil from him so?

RECITATIVE--ALEXIS

Prepare for sad surprises--
My love Aline despises!
No thought of sorrow shames her--
Another lover claims her!
Be his, false girl, for better or for worse--
But, ere you leave me, may a lover's curse--

DR. D. (coming forward). Hold! Be just. This poor child
drank the philtre at your instance. She hurried off to meet
you--but, most unhappily, she met me instead. As you had
administered the potion to both of us, the result was inevitable.
But fear nothing from me--I will be no man's rival. I shall quit
the country at once--and bury my sorrow in the congenial gloom of
a Colonial Bishopric.
ALEXIS. My excellent old friend! (Taking his hand--then
turning to Mr. Wells, who has entered with Lady Sangazure.) Oh, Mr.
Wells, what, what is to be done?
WELLS. I do not know--and yet--there is one means by which
this spell may be removed.
ALEXIS. Name it--oh, name it!
WELLS. Or you or I must yield up his life to Ahrimanes. I
would rather it were you. I should have no hesitation in
sacrificing my own life to spare yours, but we take stock next
week, and it would not be fair on the Co.
ALEXIS. True. Well, I am ready!
ALINE. No, no--Alexis--it must not be! Mr. Wells, if he
must die that all may be restored to their old loves, what is to
become of me? I should be left out in the cold, with no love to
be restored to!
WELLS. True--I did not think of that. (To the others) My
friends, I appeal to you, and I will leave the decision in your
hands.

FINALE

WELLS. Or I or he
Must die!
Which shall it be?
Reply!
SIR M. Die thou!
Thou art the cause of all offending!
DR. D. Die thou!
Yield to this decree unbending!
ALL. Die thou!
WELLS. So be it! I submit! My fate is sealed.
To public execration thus I yield!

(Falls on trap)

Be happy all--leave me to my despair--
I go--it matters not with whom--or where!

(Gong)

(All quit their present partners, and rejoin their old lovers.
Sir Marmaduke leaves Mrs. Partlet, and goes to Lady Sangazure.
Aline leaves Dr. Daly, and goes to Alexis. Dr. Daly leaves
Aline, and goes to Constance. Notary leaves Constance, and goes
to Mrs. Partlet. All the Chorus makes a corresponding change.)

ALL

GENTLEMEN. Oh, my adored one!
LADIES. Unmingled joy!
GENTLEMEN. Ecstatic rapture!
LADIES. Beloved boy!

(They embrace)

SIR M. Come to my mansion, all of you! At least
We'll crown our rapture with another feast!

ENSEMBLE

SIR MARMADUKE, LADY SANGAZURE, ALEXIS, and ALINE

Now to the banquet we press--
Now for the eggs and the ham--
Now for the mustard and cress--
Now for the strawberry jam!

CHORUS. Now to the banquet, etc.

DR. DALY, CONSTANCE, NOTARY, and MRS. PARTLET

Now for the tea of our host--
Now for the rollicking bun--
Now for the muffin and toast--
Now for the gay Sally Lunn!

CHORUS. Now for the tea, etc.

(General Dance)

(During the symphony Mr. Wells sinks through the trap, amid red
fire.)

CURTAIN

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The Sorcerer: Act I

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an Elderly Baronet

Alexis, of the Grenadier Guards--His Son

Dr. Daly, Vicar of Ploverleigh

John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers

Lady Sangazure, a Lady of Ancient Lineage

Aline, Her Daughter--betrothed to Alexis

Mrs. Partlet, a Pew-Opener

Constance, her Daughter

Chorus of Villagers


ACT I -- Grounds of Sir Marmaduke's Mansion, Mid-day


SCENE -- Exterior of Sir Marmaduke's Elizabethan Mansion, mid-day.

CHORUS OF VILLAGERS

Ring forth, ye bells,
With clarion sound--
Forget your knells,
For joys abound.
Forget your notes
Of mournful lay,
And from your throats
Pour joy to-day.

For to-day young Alexis--young Alexis Pointdextre
Is betrothed to Aline--to Aline Sangazure,
And that pride of his sex is--of his sex is to be next her
At the feast on the green--on the green, oh, be sure!

Ring forth, ye bells etc.
(Exeunt the men into house.)

(Enter Mrs. Partlet with Constance, her daughter)

RECITATIVE

MRS. P. Constance, my daughter, why this strange depression?
The village rings with seasonable joy,
Because the young and amiable Alexis,
Heir to the great Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre,
Is plighted to Aline, the only daughter
Of Annabella, Lady Sangazure.
You, you alone are sad and out of spirits;
What is the reason? Speak, my daughter, speak!

CONST. Oh, mother, do not ask! If my complexion
From red to white should change in quick succession,
And then from white to red, oh, take no notice!
If my poor limbs should tremble with emotion,
Pay no attention, mother--it is nothing!
If long and deep-drawn sighs I chance to utter,
Oh, heed them not, their cause must ne'er be known!

Mrs. Partlet motions to Chorus to leave her with Constance. Exeunt
ladies of Chorus.

ARIA--CONSTANCE

When he is here,
I sigh with pleasure--
When he is gone,
I sigh with grief.
My hopeless fear
No soul can measure--
His love alone
Can give my aching heart relief!

When he is cold,
I weep for sorrow--
When he is kind,
I weep for joy.
My grief untold
Knows no to-morrow--
My woe can find
No hope, no solace, no alloy!

MRS. P. Come, tell me all about it! Do not fear--
I, too, have loved; but that was long ago!
Who is the object of your young affections?
CONST. Hush, mother! He is here! (Looking off)

Enter Dr. Daly. He is pensive and does not see them

MRS. P. (amazed) Our reverend vicar!
CONST. Oh, pity me, my heart is almost broken!
MRS. P. My child, be comforted. To such an union
I shall not offer any opposition.
Take him--he's yours! May you and he be happy!
CONST. But, mother dear, he is not yours to give!
MRS. P. That's true, indeed!
CONST. He might object!
MRS. P. He might.
But come--take heart--I'll probe him on the subject.
Be comforted--leave this affair to me.
(They withdraw.)

RECITATIVE--DR. DALY

The air is charged with amatory numbers--
Soft madrigals, and dreamy lovers' lays.
Peace, peace, old heart! Why waken from its slumbers
The aching memory of the old, old days?

BALLAD

Time was when Love and I were well acquainted.
Time was when we walked ever hand in hand.
A saintly youth, with worldly thought untainted,
None better-loved than I in all the land!
Time was, when maidens of the noblest station,
Forsaking even military men,
Would gaze upon me, rapt in adoration--
Ah me, I was a fair young curate then!

Had I a headache? sighed the maids assembled;
Had I a cold? welled forth the silent tear;
Did I look pale? then half a parish trembled;
And when I coughed all thought the end was near!
I had no care--no jealous doubts hung o'er me--
For I was loved beyond all other men.
Fled gilded dukes and belted earls before me--
Ah me, I was a pale young curate them!

(At the conclusion of the ballad, Mrs. Partlet comes forward with
Constance.)

MRS. P. Good day, reverend sir.
DR. D. Ah, good Mrs. Partlet, I am glad to see you. And
your little daughter, Constance! Why, she is quite a little
woman, I declare!
CONST. (aside) Oh, mother, I cannot speak to him!
MRS. P. Yes, reverend sir, she is nearly eighteen, and as
good a girl as ever stepped. (Aside to Dr. Daly) Ah, sir, I'm
afraid I shall soon lose her!
DR. D. (aside to Mrs. Partlet) Dear me, you pain me very
much. Is she delicate?
MRS. P. Oh no, sir--I don't mean that--but young girls look
to get married.
DR. D. Oh, I take you. To be sure. But there's plenty of
time for that. Four or five years hence, Mrs. Partlet, four or
five years hence. But when the time does come, I shall have much
pleasure in marrying her myself--
CONST. (aside) Oh, mother!
DR. D. To some strapping young fellow in her own rank of
life.
CONST. (in tears) He does not love me!
MRS. P. I have often wondered, reverend sir (if you'll
excuse the liberty), that you have never married.
DR. D. (aside) Be still, my fluttering heart!
MRS. P. A clergyman's wife does so much good in a village.
Besides that, you are not as young as you were, and before very
long you will want somebody to nurse you, and look after your
little comforts.
DR. D. Mrs. Partlet, there is much truth in what you say.
I am indeed getting on in years, and a helpmate would cheer my
declining days. Time was when it might have been; but I have
left it too long--I am an old fogy, now, am I not, my dear? (to
Constance)--a very old fogy, indeed. Ha! ha! No, Mrs. Partlet,
my mind is quite made up. I shall live and die a solitary old
bachelor.
CONST. Oh, mother, mother! (Sobs on Mrs. Partlet's bosom)
MRS. P. Come, come, dear one, don't fret. At a more
fitting time we will try again--we will try again.
(Exeunt Mrs. Partlet and Constance.)

DR. D. (looking after them) Poor little girl! I'm afraid
she has something on her mind. She is rather comely. Time was
when this old heart would have throbbed in double-time at the
sight of such a fairy form! But tush! I am puling! Here comes
the young Alexis with his proud and happy father. Let me dry
this tell-tale tear!

Enter Sir Marmaduke and Alexis

RECITATIVE

DR. D. Sir Marmaduke--my dear young friend, Alexis--
On this most happy, most auspicious plighting--
Permit me as a true old friend to tender
My best, my very best congratulations!
SIR M. Sir, you are most obleeging!
ALEXIS. Dr. Daly
My dear old tutor, and my valued pastor,
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
(Spoken through music)
DR. D. May fortune bless you! may the middle distance
Of your young life be pleasant as the foreground--
The joyous foreground! and, when you have reached it,
May that which now is the far-off horizon
(But which will then become the middle distance),
In fruitful promise be exceeded only
By that which will have opened, in the meantime,
Into a new and glorious horizon!
SIR M. Dear Sir, that is an excellent example
Of an old school of stately compliment
To which I have, through life, been much addicted.
Will you obleege me with a copy of it,
In clerkly manuscript, that I myself
May use it on appropriate occasions?
DR. D. Sir, you shall have a fairly-written copy
Ere Sol has sunk into his western slumbers!
(Exit Dr. Daly)

SIR M. (to Alexis, who is in a reverie) Come, come, my
son--your fiancee will be here in five minutes. Rouse yourself
to receive her.
ALEXIS. Oh rapture!
SIR M. Yes, you are a fortunate young fellow, and I will
not disguise from you that this union with the House of Sangazure
realizes my fondest wishes. Aline is rich, and she comes of a
sufficiently old family, for she is the seven thousand and
thirty-seventh in direct descent from Helen of Troy. True, there
was a blot on the escutcheon of that lady--that affair with
Paris--but where is the family, other than my own, in which there
is no flaw? You are a lucky fellow, sir--a very lucky fellow!
ALEXIS. Father, I am welling over with limpid joy! No
sicklying taint of sorrow overlies the lucid lake of liquid love,
upon which, hand in hand, Aline and I are to float into eternity!
SIR M. Alexis, I desire that of your love for this young
lady you do not speak so openly. You are always singing ballads
in praise of her beauty, and you expect the very menials who wait
behind your chair to chorus your ecstasies. It is not delicate.
ALEXIS. Father, a man who loves as I love--
SIR M. Pooh pooh, sir! fifty years ago I madly loved your
future mother-in-law, the Lady Sangazure, and I have reason to
believe that she returned my love. But were we guilty of the
indelicacy of publicly rushing into each other's arms,
exclaiming--

"Oh, my adored one!" "Beloved boy!"
"Ecstatic rapture!" "Unmingled joy!"

which seems to be the modern fashion of love-making? No! it was
"Madam, I trust you are in the enjoyment of good health"--"Sir,
you are vastly polite, I protest I am mighty well"--and so forth.
Much more delicate--much more respectful. But see--Aline
approaches--let us retire, that she may compose herself for the
interesting ceremony in which she is to play so important a part.
(Exeunt Sir Marmaduke and Alexis.)

(Enter Aline on terrace, preceded by Chorus of Girls.)

CHORUS OF GIRLS

With heart and with voice
Let us welcome this mating:
To the youth of her choice,
With a heart palpitating,
Comes the lovely Aline!

May their love never cloy!
May their bliss be unbounded!
With a halo of joy
May their lives be surrounded!
Heaven bless our Aline!

RECITATIVE--ALINE.

My kindly friends, I thank you for this greeting
And as you wish me every earthly joy,
I trust your wishes may have quick fulfillment!

ARIA--ALINE.

Oh, happy young heart!
Comes thy young lord a-wooing
With joy in his eyes,
And pride in his breast--
Make much of thy prize,
For he is the best
That ever came a-suing.
Yet--yet we must part,
Young heart!
Yet--yet we must part!

Oh, merry young heart,
Bright are the days of thy wooing!
But happier far
The days untried--
No sorrow can mar,
When love has tied
The knot there's no undoing.
Then, never to part,
Young heart!
Then, never to part!

Enter Lady Sangazure

RECITATIVE--LADY S.

My child, I join in these congratulations:
Heed not the tear that dims this aged eye!
Old memories crowd upon me. Though I sorrow,
'Tis for myself, Aline, and not for thee!

Enter Alexis, preceded by Chorus of Men

CHORUS OF MEN AND WOMEN

With heart and with voice
Let us welcome this mating;
To the maid of his choice,
With a heart palpitating,
Comes Alexis, the brave!.

(Sir Marmaduke enters. Lady Sangazure and he exhibit signs of strong
emotion at the sight of each other which they endeavor to
repress. Alexis and Aline rush into each other's arms.)

RECITATIVE

ALEXIS. Oh, my adored one!

ALINE. Beloved boy!

ALEXIS. Ecstatic rapture!

ALINE. Unmingled joy!
(They retire up.)

DUET--SIR MARMADUKE and LADY SANGAZURE

SIR M. (with stately courtesy)
Welcome joy, adieu to sadness!
As Aurora gilds the day,
So those eyes, twin orbs of gladness,
Chase the clouds of care away.
Irresistible incentive
Bids me humbly kiss your hand;
I'm your servant most attentive--
Most attentive to command!

(Aside with frantic vehemence)
Wild with adoration!
Mad with fascination!
To indulge my lamentation
No occasion do I miss!
Goaded to distraction
By maddening inaction,
I find some satisfaction
In apostophe like this:
"Sangazure immortal,
"Sangazure divine,
"Welcome to my portal,
"Angel, oh be mine!"

(Aloud with much ceremony)
Irresistible incentive
Bids me humbly kiss your hand;
I'm your servant most attentive--
Most attentive to command!

LADY S. Sir, I thank you most politely
For your grateful courtesee;
Compliment more true and knightly
Never yet was paid to me!
Chivalry is an ingredient
Sadly lacking in our land--
Sir, I am your most obedient,
Most obedient to command!

(Aside and with great vehemence)
Wild with adoration!
Mad with fascination!
To indulge my lamentation
No occasion do I miss!
Goaded to distraction
By maddening inaction,
I find some satisfaction
In apostophe like this:
"Marmaduke immortal,
"Marmaduke divine,
"Take me to thy portal,
"Loved one, oh be mine!"

(Aloud with much ceremony)
Chivalry is an ingredient
Sadly lacking in our land;
Sir, I am your most obedient,
Most obedient to command!

(During this the Notary has entered, with marriage contract.)

RECITATIVE--NOTARY

All is prepared for sealing and for signing,
The contract has been drafted as agreed;
Approach the table, oh, ye lovers pining,
With hand and seal come execute the deed!

(Alexis and Aline advance and sign, Alexis supported by Sir Marmaduke,
Aline by her Mother.)

CHORUS

See they sign, without a quiver, it--
Then to seal proceed.
They deliver it--they deliver it
As their Act and Deed!
ALEXIS. I deliver it--I deliver it
As my Act and Deed!.
ALINE. I deliver it--I deliver it.
As my Act and Deed!

CHORUS. With heart and with voice
Let us welcome this mating;
Leave them here to rejoice,
With true love palpitating,
Alexis the brave,
And the lovely Aline!
(Exeunt all but Alexis and Aline.)

ALEXIS. At last we are alone! My darling, you are now
irrevocably betrothed to me. Are you not very, very happy?
ALINE. Oh, Alexis, can you doubt it? Do I not love you
beyond all on earth, and am I not beloved in return? Is not true
love, faithfully given and faithfully returned, the source of
every earthly joy?
ALEXIS. Of that there can be no doubt. Oh, that the world
could be persuaded of the truth of that maxim! Oh, that the
world would break down the artificial barriers of rank, wealth,
education, age, beauty, habits, taste, and temper, and recognize
the glorious principle, that in marriage alone is to be found the
panacea for every ill!
ALINE. Continue to preach that sweet doctrine, and you will
succeed, oh, evangel of true happiness!
ALEXIS. I hope so, but as yet the cause progresses but
slowly. Still I have made some converts to the principle, that
men and women should be coupled in matrimony without distinction
of rank. I have lectured on the subject at Mechanics'
Institutes, and the mechanics were unanimous in favour of my
views. I have preached in workhouses, beershops, and Lunatic
Asylums, and I have been received with enthusiasm. I have
addressed navvies on the advantages that would accrue to them if
they married wealthy ladies of rank, and not a navvy dissented!
ALINE. Noble fellows! And yet there are those who hold
that the uneducated classes are not open to argument! And what
do the countesses say?
ALEXIS. Why, at present, it can't be denied, the
aristocracy hold aloof.
ALINE. Ah, the working man is the true Intelligence after
all!
ALEXIS. He is a noble creature when he is quite sober.
Yes, Aline, true happiness comes of true love, and true love
should be independent of external influences. It should live
upon itself and by itself--in itself love should live for love
alone!

BALLAD--ALEXIS

Love feeds on many kinds of food, I know,
Some love for rank, some for duty:
Some give their hearts away for empty show,
And others for youth and beauty.
To love for money all the world is prone:
Some love themselves, and live all lonely:
Give me the love that loves for love alone--
I love that love--I love it only!

What man for any other joy can thirst,
Whose loving wife adores him duly?
Want, misery, and care may do their worst,
If loving woman loves you truly.
A lover's thoughts are ever with his own--
None truly loved is ever lonely:
Give me the love that loves for love alone--
I love that love--I love it only!

ALINE. Oh, Alexis, those are noble principles!
ALEXIS. Yes, Aline, and I am going to take a desperate step
in support of them. Have you ever heard of the firm of J. W.
Wells & Co., the old-established Family Sorcerers in St. Mary
Axe?
ALINE. I have seen their advertisement.
ALEXIS. They have invented a philtre, which, if report may
be believed, is simply infallible. I intend to distribute it
through the village, and within half-an-hour of my doing so there
will not be an adult in the place who will not have learnt the
secret of pure and lasting happiness. What do you say to that?
ALINE. Well, dear, of course a filter is a very useful
thing in a house; but still I don't quite see that it is the sort
of thing that places its possessor on the very pinnacle of
earthly joy.
ALEXIS. Aline, you misunderstand me. I didn't say a
filter--I said a philtre.
ALINE (alarmed). You don't mean a love-potion?
ALEXIS. On the contrary--I do mean a love potion.
ALINE. Oh, Alexis! I don't think it would be right. I
don't indeed. And then--a real magician! Oh, it would be
downright wicked.
ALEXIS. Aline, is it, or is it not, a laudable object to
steep the whole village up to its lips in love, and to couple
them in matrimony without distinction of age, rank, or fortune?
ALINE. Unquestionably, but--
ALEXIS. Then unpleasant as it must be to have recourse to
supernatural aid, I must nevertheless pocket my aversion, in
deference to the great and good end I have in view. (Calling)
Hercules.

(Enter a Page from tent)

PAGE. Yes, sir.
ALEXIS. Is Mr. Wells there?
PAGE. He's in the tent, sir--refreshing.
ALEXIS. Ask him to be so good as to step this way.
PAGE. Yes, sir. (Exit Page)
ALINE. Oh, but, Alexis! A real Sorcerer! Oh, I shall be
frightened to death!
ALEXIS. I trust my Aline will not yield to fear while the
strong right arm of her Alexis is here to protect her.
ALINE. It's nonsense, dear, to talk of your protecting me
with your strong right arm, in face of the fact that this Family
Sorcerer could change me into a guinea-pig before you could turn
round.
ALEXIS. He could change you into a guinea-pig, no doubt,
but it is most unlikely that he would take such a liberty. It's
a most respectable firm, and I am sure he would never be guilty
of so untradesmanlike an act.

(Enter Mr. Wells from tent)

WELLS. Good day, sir. (Aline much terrified.)
ALEXIS. Good day--I believe you are a Sorcerer.
WELLS. Yes, sir, we practice Necromancy in all its
branches. We've a choice assortment of wishing-caps,
divining-rods, amulets, charms, and counter-charms. We can cast
you a nativity at a low figure, and we have a horoscope at
three-and-six that we can guarantee. Our Abudah chests, each
containing a patent Hag who comes out and prophesies disasters,
with spring complete, are strongly recommended. Our Aladdin
lamps are very chaste, and our Prophetic Tablets, foretelling
everything--from a change of Ministry down to a rise in
Unified--are much enquired for. Our penny Curse--one of the
cheapest things in the trade--is considered infallible. We have
some very superior Blessings, too, but they're very little asked
for. We've only sold one since Christmas--to a gentleman who
bought it to send to his mother-in-law--but it turned out that he
was afflicted in the head, and it's been returned on our hands.
But our sale of penny Curses, especially on Saturday nights, is
tremendous. We can't turn 'em out fast enough.

SONG--MR. WELLS

Oh! my name is John Wellington Wells,
I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
In blessings and curses
And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches, and knells.
If you want a proud foe to "make tracks"--
If you'd melt a rich uncle in wax--
You've but to look in
On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

We've a first-class assortment of magic;
And for raising a posthumous shade
With effects that are comic or tragic,
There's no cheaper house in the trade.
Love-philtre--we've quantities of it;
And for knowledge if any one burns,
We keep an extremely small prophet, a prophet
Who brings us unbounded returns:

For he can prophesy
With a wink of his eye,
Peep with security
Into futurity,
Sum up your history,
Clear up a mystery,
Humour proclivity
For a nativity--for a nativity;
With mirrors so magical,
Tetrapods tragical,
Bogies spectacular,
Answers oracular,
Facts astronomical,
Solemn or comical,
And, if you want it, he
Makes a reduction on taking a quantity!
Oh!

If any one anything lacks,
He'll find it all ready in stacks,
If he'll only look in
On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

He can raise you hosts
Of ghosts,
And that without reflectors;
And creepy things
With wings,
And gaunt and grisly spectres.
He can fill you crowds
Of shrouds,
And horrify you vastly;
He can rack your brains
With chains,
And gibberings grim and ghastly.

And then, if you plan it, he
Changes organity,
With an urbanity,
Full of Satanity,
Vexes humanity
With an inanity
Fatal to vanity--
Driving your foes to the verge of insanity!

Barring tautology,
In demonology,
'Lectro-biology,
Mystic nosology,
Spirit philology,
High-class astrology,
Such is his knowledge, he
Isn't the man to require an apology!

Oh!
My name is John Wellington Wells,
I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
In blessings and curses
And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches, and knells.

If any one anything lacks,
He'll find it all ready in stacks,
If he'll only look in
On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

ALEXIS. I have sent for you to consult you on a very
important matter. I believe you advertise a Patent Oxy-Hydrogen
Love-at-first-sight Philtre?
WELLS. Sir, it is our leading article. (Producing a
phial.)
ALEXIS. Now I want to know if you can confidently guarantee
it as possessing all the qualities you claim for it in your
advertisement?
WELLS. Sir, we are not in the habit of puffing our goods.
Ours is an old-established house with a large family connection,
and every assurance held out in the advertisement is fully
realized. (Hurt)
ALINE. (aside) Oh, Alexis, don't offend him! He'll change
us into something dreadful--I know he will!
ALEXIS. I am anxious from purely philanthropical motives to
distribute this philtre, secretly, among the inhabitants of this
village. I shall of course require a quantity. How do you sell
it?
WELLS. In buying a quantity, sir, we should strongly advise
your taking it in the wood, and drawing it off as you happen to
want it. We have it in four-and-a-half and nine gallon
casks--also in pipes and hogsheads for laying down, and we deduct
10 per cent from prompt cash.
ALEXIS. I should mention that I am a Member of the Army and
Navy Stores.
WELLS. In that case we deduct 25 percent.
ALEXIS. Aline, the villagers will assemble to carouse in a
few minutes. Go and fetch the tea-pot.
ALINE. But, Alexis--
ALEXIS. My dear, you must obey me, if you please. Go and
fetch the teapot.
ALINE (going). I'm sure Dr. Daly would disapprove of it!
(Exit Aline.)
ALEXIS. And how soon does it take effect?
WELLS. In twelve hours. Whoever drinks of it loses
consciousness for that period, and on waking falls in love, as a
matter of course, with the first lady he meets who has also
tasted it, and his affection is at once returned. One trial will
prove the fact.

Enter Aline with large tea-pot

ALEXIS. Good: then, Mr. Wells, I shall feel obliged if you
will at once pour as much philtre into this teapot as will
suffice to affect the whole village.
ALINE. But bless me, Alexis, many of the villagers are
married people!
WELLS. Madam, this philtre is compounded on the strictest
principles. On married people it has no effect whatever. But
are you quite sure that you have nerve enough to carry you
through the fearful ordeal?
ALEXIS. In the good cause I fear nothing.
WELLS. Very good, then, we will proceed at once to the
Incantation.
The stage grows dark.

INCANTATION

WELLS. Sprites of earth and air--
Fiends of flame and fire--
Demon souls,
Come here in shoals,
This dreaded deed inspire!
Appear, appear, appear.

MALE VOICES. Good master, we are here!

WELLS. Noisome hags of night--
Imps of deadly shade--
Pallid ghosts,
Arise in hosts,
And lend me all your aid.
Appear, appear, appear!

FEMALE VOICES. Good master, we are here!

ALEXIS (aside). Hark, they assemble,
These fiends of the night!
ALINE (aside). Oh Alexis, I tremble,
Seek safety in flight!


ARIA - ALINE

Let us fly to a far-off land,
Where peace and plenty dwell--
Where the sigh of the silver strand
Is echoed in every shell
To the joy that land will give,
On the wings of Love we'll fly;
In innocence, there to live--
In innocence there to die!

CHORUS OF SPIRITS.

Too late--too late
It may not be!
That happy fate
Is not for (me/thee)!

ALEXIS, ALINE, and MR. W.

Too late--too late,
That may not be!
That happy fate,
Is not for thee!

MR. WELLS

Now shrivelled hags, with poison bags,
Discharge your loathsome loads!
Spit flame and fire, unholy choir!
Belch forth your venom, toads!
Ye demons fell, with yelp and yell,
Shed curses far afield--
Ye fiends of night, your filthy blight
In noisome plenty yield!

WELLS (pouring phial into tea-pot--flash)
Number One!
CHORUS It is done!
WELLS (same business) Number Two! (flash)
CHORUS One too few!
WELLS Number Three! (flash)
CHORUS Set us free!
Set us free-our work is done
Ha! ha! ha!
Set us free--our course is run!
Ha! ha! ha!

ALINE AND ALEXIS (aside)

Let us fly to a far-off land,
Where peace and plenty dwell--
Where the sigh of the silver strand
Is echoed in every shell.


CHORUS OF FIENDS.

Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

(Stage grows light. Mr. Wells beckons villagers. Enter villagers
and all the dramatis personae, dancing joyously. Mrs.
Partlet and Mr. Wells then distribute tea-cups.)

CHORUS.

Now to the banquet we press;
Now for the eggs, the ham;
Now for the mustard and cress,
Now for the strawberry jam!

Now for the tea of our host,
Now for the rollicking bun,
Now for the muffin and toast,
Now for the gay Sally Lunn!

WOMEN. The eggs and the ham, and the strawberry jam!

MEN. The rollicking bun, and the gay Sally Lunn!
The rollicking, rollicking bun!

RECITATIVE--SIR MARMADUKE

Be happy all--the feast is spread before ye;
Fear nothing, but enjoy yourselves, I pray!
Eat, aye, and drink--be merry, I implore ye,
For once let thoughtless Folly rule the day.

TEA-CUP BRINDISI

Eat, drink, and be gay,
Banish all worry and sorrow,
Laugh gaily to-day,
Weep, if you're sorry, to-morrow!
Come, pass the cup around--
I will go bail for the liquor;
It's strong, I'll be bound,
For it was brewed by the vicar!

CHORUS.

None so knowing as he
At brewing a jorum of tea,
Ha! ha!
A pretty stiff jorum of tea.

TRIO--WELLS, ALINE, and ALEXIS. (aside)

See--see--they drink--
All thoughts unheeding,
The tea-cups clink,
They are exceeding!
Their hearts will melt
In half-an-hour--
Then will be felt
The potions power!

(During this verse Constance has brought a small tea-pot, kettle,
caddy, and cosy to Dr. Daly. He makes tea scientifically.)

BRINDISI, 2nd Verse--DR. DALY (with the tea-pot)

Pain, trouble, and care,
Misery, heart-ache, and worry,
Quick, out of your lair!
Get you gone in a hurry!
Toil, sorrow, and plot,
Fly away quicker and quicker--
Three spoons in the pot--
That is the brew of your vicar!

CHORUS

None so cunning as he
At brewing a jorum of tea,
Ha! ha!
A pretty stiff jorum of tea!

ENSEMBLE--ALEXIS and ALINE (aside)

Oh love, true love--unworldly, abiding!
Source of all pleasure--true fountain of joy,--
Oh love, true love--divinely confiding,
Exquisite treasure that knows no alloy,--
Oh love, true love, rich harvest of gladness,
Peace-bearing tillage--great garner of bliss,--
Oh love, true love, look down on our sadness --
Dwell in this village--oh, hear us in this!

(It becomes evident by the strange conduct of the characters that
the charm is working. All rub their eyes, and stagger about
the stage as if under the influence of a narcotic.)

TUTTI (aside) ALEXIS, MR. WELLS and ALINE

Oh, marvellous illusion! A marvellous illusion!
Oh, terrible surprise! A terrible surprise
What is this strange confusion Excites a strange confusion
That veils my aching eyes? Within their aching eyes--
I must regain my senses, They must regain their senses,
Restoring Reason's law, Restoring Reason's law,
Or fearful inferences Or fearful inferences
Society will draw! Society will draw!

(Those who have partaken of the philtre struggle in vain against
its effects, and, at the end of the chorus, fall insensible
on the stage.)

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The Columbiad: Book VII

The Argument


Coast of France rises in vision. Louis, to humble the British power, forms an alliance with the American states. This brings France, Spain and Holland into the war, and rouses Hyder Ally to attack the English in India. The vision returns to America, where the military operations continue with various success. Battle of Monmouth. Storming of Stonypoint by Wayne. Actions of Lincoln, and surrender of Charleston. Movements of Cornwallis. Actions of Greene, and battle of Eutaw. French army arrives, and joins the American. They march to besiege the English army of Cornwallis in York and Gloster. Naval battle of Degrasse and Graves. Two of their ships grappled and blown up. Progress of the siege. A citadel mined and blown up. Capture of Cornwallis and his army. Their banners furled and muskets piled on the field of battle.


Thus view'd the Pair; when lo, in eastern skies,
From glooms unfolding, Gallia's coasts arise.
Bright o'er the scenes of state a golden throne,
Instarr'd with gems and hung with purple, shone;
Young Bourbon there in royal splendor sat,
And fleets and moving armies round him wait.
For now the contest, with increased alarms,
Fill'd every court and roused the world to arms;
As Hesper's hand, that light from darkness brings,
And good to nations from the scourge of kings,
In this dread hour bade broader beams unfold,
And the new world illuminate the old.

In Europe's realms a school of sages trace
The expanding dawn that waits the Reasoning Race;
On the bright Occident they fix their eyes,
Thro glorious toils where struggling nations rise;
Where each firm deed, each new illustrious name
Calls into light a field of nobler fame:
A field that feeds their hope, confirms the plan
Of well poized freedom and the weal of man.
They scheme, they theorize, expand their scope,
Glance o'er Hesperia to her utmost cope;
Where streams unknown for other oceans stray,
Where suns unseen their waste of beams display,
Where sires of unborn nations claim their birth,
And ask their empires in those wilds of earth.
While round all eastern climes, with painful eye,
In slavery sunk they see the kingdoms lie,
Whole states exhausted to enrich a throne,
Their fruits untasted and their rights unknown;
Thro tears of grief that speak the well taught mind,
They hail the æra that relieves mankind.

Of these the first, the Gallic sages stand,
And urge their king to lift an aiding hand.
The cause of humankind their souls inspired,
Columbia's wrongs their indignation fired;
To share her fateful deeds their counsel moved,
To base in practice what in theme they proved:
That no proud privilege from birth can spring,
No right divine, nor compact form a king;
That in the people dwells the sovereign sway,
Who rule by proxy, by themselves obey;
That virtues, talents are the test of awe,
And Equal Rights the only source of law.
Surrounding heroes wait the monarch's word,
In foreign fields to draw the patriot sword,
Prepared with joy to join those infant powers,
Who build republics on the western shores.

By honest guile the royal ear they bend,
And lure him on, blest Freedom to defend;
That, once recognised, once establisht there,
The world might learn her profer'd boon to share.
But artful arguments their plan disguise,
Garb'd in the gloss that suits a monarch's eyes.
By arms to humble Britain's haughty power,
From her to sever that extended shore,
Contents his utmost wish. For this he lends
His powerful aid, and calls the opprest his friends.
The league proposed, he lifts his arm to save,
And speaks the borrow'd language of the brave:

Ye states of France, and ye of rising name
Who work those distant miracles of fame,
Hear and attend; let heaven the witness bear,
We wed the cause, we join the righteous war.
Let leagues eternal bind each friendly land,
Given by our voice, and stablisht by our hand;
Let that brave people fix their infant sway,
And spread their blessings with the bounds of day.
Yet know, ye nations; hear, ye Powers above,
Our purposed aid no views of conquest move;
In that young world revives no ancient claim
Of regions peopled by the Gallic name;
Our envied bounds, already stretch'd afar,
Nor ask the sword, nor fear encroaching war;
But virtue, coping with the tyrant power
That drenches earth in her best children's gore,
With nature's foes bids former compact cease;
We war reluctant, and our wish is peace;
For man's whole race the sword of France we draw;
Such is our will, and let our will be law.

He spoke; his moving armies veil'd the plain,
His fleets rode bounding on the western main;
O'er lands and seas the loud applauses rung,
And war and union dwelt on every tongue.

The other Bourbon caught the splendid strain,
To Gallia's arms he joins the powers of Spain;
Their sails assemble; Crillon lifts the sword,
Minorca bows and owns her ancient lord.
But while dread Elliott shakes the Midland wave,
They strive in vain the Calpian rock to brave.
Batavia's states with equal speed prepare
Thro western isles to meet the naval war;
For Albion there rakes rude the tortured main,
And foils the force of Holland, France and Spain.

Where old Indostan still perfumes the skies,
To furious strife his ardent myriads rise;
Fierce Hyder there, unconquerably bold,
Bids a new flag its horned moons unfold,
Spreads o'er Carnatic kings his splendid force,
And checks the Britons in their waiting course.

Europe's pacific powers their counsels join,
The laws of trade to settle and define.
The imperial Moscovite around him draws
Each Baltic state to join the righteous cause;
Whose arm'd Neutrality the way prepares
To check the ravages of future wars;
Till by degrees the wasting sword shall cease,
And commerce lead to universal peace.

Thus all the ancient world with anxious eyes
Enjoy the lights that gild Atlantic skies,
Wake to new life, assume a borrow'd flame,
Enlarge the lustre and partake the fame.
So mounts of ice, that polar heavens invade,
Tho piled unseen thro night's long wintry shade.
When morn at last illumes their glaring throne,
Give back the day and imitate the sun.

But still Columbus, on his war-beat shore,
Sees Albion's fleets her new battalions pour;
The states unconquer'd still their terrors wield,
And stain with mingled gore the embattled field.
On Pennsylvania's various plains they move,
And adverse armies equal slaughter prove;
Columbia mourns her Nash in combat slain,
Britons around him press the gory plain;
Skirmish and cannonade and distant fire
Each power diminish and each nation tire.
Till Howe from fruitless toil demands repose,
And leaves despairing in a land of foes
His wearied host; who now, to reach their fleet,
O'er Jersey hills commence their long retreat,
Tread back the steps their chief had led before,
And ask in vain the late abandon'd shore,
Where Hudson meets, the main; for on their rear
Columbia moves; and checks their swift career.

But where green Monmouth lifts his grassy height,
They halt, they face, they dare the coming fight.
Howe's proud successor, Clinton, hosting there,
To tempt once more the desperate chance of war,
Towers at their head, in hopes to work relief,
And mend the errors of his former chief.
Here shines his day; and here with loud acclaim
Begins and ends his little task of fame.
He vaults before them with his balanced blade,
Wheels the bright van, and forms the long parade;
Where Britons, Hessians crowd the glittering field,
And all their powers for ready combat wield.
As the dim sun, beneath the skirts of even,
Crimsons the clouds that sail the western heaven;
So, in red wavy rows, where spread the train
Of men and standards, shone the fateful plain.

They shone, till Washington obscured their light,
And his long ranks roll'd forward to the fight.
He points the charge; the mounted thunders roar,
And rake the champaign to the distant shore.
Above the folds of smoke that veil the war,
His guiding sword illumes the fields of air;
And vollied flames, bright bursting o'er the plain,
Break the brown clouds, discovering far the slain:
Till flight begins; the smoke is roll'd away,
And the red standards open into day.
Britons and Germans hurry from the field,
Now wrapt in dust, and now to sight reveal'd;
Behind, swift Washington his falchion drives,
Thins the pale ranks, but saves submissive lives.
Hosts captive bow and move behind his arm,
And hosts before him wing the sounding storm;
When the glad sea salutes their fainting sight,
And Albion's fleet wide thundering aids their flight;
They steer to sad Newyork their hasty way,
And rue the toils of Monmouth's mournful day.

But Hudson still, with his interior tide,
Laves a rude rock that bears Britannia's pride,
Swells round the headland with indignant roar,
And mocks her thunders from his murmuring shore;
When a firm cohort starts from Peekskill plain,
To crush the invaders and the post regain.
Here, gallant Hull, again thy sword is tried,
Meigs, Fleury, Butler, laboring side by side,
Wayne takes the guidance, culls the vigorous band,
Strikes out the flint, and bids the nervous hand
Trust the mute bayonet and midnight skies,
To stretch o'er craggy walls the dark surprise.
With axes, handspikes on the shoulder hung,
And the sly watchword whisper'd from the tongue,
Thro different paths the silent march they take,
Plunge, climb the ditch, the palisado break,
Secure each sentinel, each picket shun,
Grope the dim postern where the byways run.
Soon the roused garrison perceives its plight;
Small time to rally and no means of flight,
They spring confused to every post they know,
Point their poized cannon where they hear the foe,
Streak the dark welkin with the flames they pour,
And rock the mountain with convulsive roar.

The swift assailants still no fire return,
But, tow'rd the batteries that above them burn,
Climb hard from crag to crag; and scaling higher
They pierce the long dense canopy of fire
That sheeted all the sky; then rush amain,
Storm every outwork, each dread summit gain,
Hew timber'd gates, the sullen drawbridge fall,
File thro and form within the sounding wall.
The Britons strike their flag, the fort forgo,
Descend sad prisoners to the plain below.
A thousand veterans, ere the morning rose,
Received their handcuffs from five hundred foes;
And Stonypoint beheld, with dawning day,
His own starr'd standard on his rampart play.

From sack'd Savanna, whelm'd in hostile fires,
A few raw troops brave Lincoln now retires; 2l
With rapid march to suffering Charleston goes,
To meet the myriads of concentring foes,
Who shade the pointed strand. Each fluvial flood
Their gathering fleets and floating batteries load,
Close their black sails, debark the amphibious host,
And with their moony anchors fang the coast.

The bold beleaguer'd post the hero gains,
And the hard siege with various fate sustains.
Cornwallis, towering at the British van,
In these fierce toils his wild career began;
He mounts the forky streams, and soon bestrides
The narrow neck that parts converging tides,
Sinks the deep trench, erects the mantling tower,
Lines with strong forts the desolated shore,
Hems on all sides the long unsuccour'd place,
With mines and parallels contracts the space;
Then bids the battering floats his labors crown,
And pour their bombard on the shuddering town.

High from the decks the mortar's bursting fires
Sweep the full streets, and splinter down the spires.
Blaze-trailing fuses vault the night's dim round,
And shells and langrage lacerate the ground;
Till all the tented plain, where heroes tread,
Is torn with crags and cover'd with the dead.
Each shower of flames renews the townsmen's woe,
They wail the fight, they dread the cruel foe.
Matrons in crowds, while tears bedew their charms,
Babes at their sides and infants in their arms,
Press round their Lincoln and his hand implore,
To save them trembling from the tyrant's power.
He shares their anguish with a moistening eye,
And bids the balls rain thicker thro the sky;
Tries every aid that art and valor yield,
The sap, the countermine, the battling field,
The bold sortie, by famine urged afar,
That dreadful daughter of earth-wasting War.
But vain the conflict now; on all the shore
The foes in fresh brigades around him pour;
He yields at last the well contested prize,
And freedom's banners quit the southern skies.

The victor Britons soon the champaign tread,
And far anorth their fire and slaughter spread;
Thro fortless realms, where unarm'd peasants fly,
Cornwallis bears his bloody standard high;
O'er Carolina rolls his growing force,
And thousands fall and thousands aid his course;
While in his march athwart the wide domain,
Colonial dastards join his splendid train.
So mountain streams thro slopes of melting snow
Swell their foul waves and flood the world below.

Awhile the Patriarch saw, with heaving sighs,
These crimson flags insult the saddening skies,
Saw desolation whelm his favorite coast,
His children scattered and their vigor lost,
Dekalb in furious combat press the plain,
Morgan and Smallwood every shock sustain,
Gates, now no more triumphant, quit the field,
Indignant Davidson his lifeblood yield,
Blount, Gregory, Williamson, with souls of fire
But slender force, from hill to hill retire;
When Greene in lonely greatness takes the ground,
And bids at last the trump of vengeance sound.

A few firm patriots to the chief repair,
Raise the star standard and demand the war.
But o'er the regions as he turns his eyes,
What foes develop! and what forts arise!
Rawdon with rapid marches leads their course,
From state to state Cornwallis whirls their force,
Impetuous Tarleton like a torrent pours,
And fresh battalions land along the shores;
Where, now resurgent from his captive chain,
Phillips wide storming shakes the field again;
And traitor Arnold, lured by plunder o'er,
Joins the proud powers his valor foil'd before.

Greene views the tempest with collected soul,
Arid fates of empires in his bosom roll;
So small his force, where shall he lift the steel?
(Superior hosts o'er every canton wheel)
Or how behold their wanton carnage spread,
Himself stand idle and his country bleed?
Fixt in a moment's pause the general stood,
And held his warriors from the field of blood;
Then points the British legions where to steer,
Marks to their chief a rapid wild career,
Wide o'er Virginia lets him foeless roam,
To search for pillage and to find his doom,
With short-lived glory feeds his sateless flame,
But leaves the victory to a nobler name,
Gives to great Washington to meet his way,
Nor claims the honors of so bright a day.

Now to the conquer'd south he turns his force,
Renerves the nation by his rapid course;
Forts fall around him, hosts before him fly,
And captive bands his growing train supply;
A hundred leagues of coast, in one campaign,
Return reconquer'd to their lords again.
At last Britannia's vanguard, near the strand,
Veers on her foe to make one vigorous stand.
Her gallant Stuart here amass'd from far
The veteran legions of the Georgian war,
To aid her hard-pusht powers, and quick restore
The British name to that extended shore.
He checks their flight, and chooses well their field,
Flank'd with a marsh, by lofty woods concealed;
Where Eutaw's fountains, tinged of old with gore,
Still murmuring swell'd amid the bones they bore,
Destined again to foul their pebbly stream,
The mournful monuments of human fame;
There Albion's columns, ranged in order bright,
Stand like a fiery wall and wait the shock of fight.

Swift on the neighboring hill as Greene arose,
He view'd, with rapid glance, the glittering foes,
Disposed for combat all his ardent train,
To charge, change front, each echelon sustain;
Roused well their rage, superior force to prove,
Waved his bright blade and bade the onset move.
As hovering clouds, when morning beams arise,
Hang their red curtains round our eastern skies,
Unfold a space to hail the promised sun,
And catch their splendors from his rising throne;
Thus glow'd the opposing fronts, whose steely glare
Glanced o'er the shuddering interval of war.

From Albion's left the cannonade began,
And pour'd thick thunders on Hesperia's van,
Forced in her dexter guards, that skirmisht wide
To prove what powers the forest hills might hide;
They break, fall back, with measured quickstep tread,
Form close, and flank the solid squares they led.
Now roll, with kindling haste, the long stark lines,
From wing to wing the sounding battle joins;
Batteries and field-parks and platoons of fire,
In mingled shocks their roaring blasts exspire.
Each front approaching fast, with equal pace,
Devours undaunted their dividing space;
Till, dark beneath the smoke, the meeting ranks
Slope their strong bayonets, with short firm shanks
Protruded from their tubes; each bristling van,
Steel fronting steel, and man encountering man,
In dreadful silence tread. As, wrapt from sight,
The nightly ambush moves to secret fight;
So rush the raging files, and sightless close
In plunging thrust with fierce conflicting foes.
They reach, they strike, they stagger o'er the slain,
Deal doubtful blows, or closing clench their man,
Intwine their twisting limbs, the gun forgo,
Wrench off the bayonet and dirk the foe;
Then struggling back, reseize the musket bare,
Club the broad breech, and headlong whirl to war
Ranks crush on ranks with equal slaughter gored;
Warm dripping streams from every lifted sword
Stain the thin carnaged corps who still maintain,
With mutual shocks, the vengeance of the plain.
At last where Williams fought and Campbell fell,
Unwonted strokes the British line repel.
The rout begins; the shattered wings afar
Roll back in haste and scatter from the war;
They drop their arms, they scour the marshy field,
Whole squadrons fall and faint battalions yield.

The great Observer, fixt in his midsky,
View'd the whole combat, saw them fall and fly:
He mark'd where Greene with every onset drove,
Saw death and victory with his presence move,
Beneath his arm saw Marion, Sumter, Gaine,
Pickens and Sumner shake the astonish'd plain;
He saw young Washington, the child of fame,
Preserve in fight the honors of his name.
Lee, Jackson, Hampton, Pinckney, matcht in might,
Roll'd on the storm and hurried fast the flight:
While numerous chiefs, that equal trophies raise,
Wrought, not unseen, the deeds of deathless praise.

As Europe now the newborn states beheld
The shock sustain of many a hard-fought field;
Swift o'er the main, with high-spread sails, advance
Our brave auxiliars from the coast of France.
On the tall decks their curious chiefs explore,
With optic tube, our camp-encumber'd shore;
And, as the lessening wave behind them flies,
Wide scenes of conflict open on their eyes.
Rochambeau foremost with his gleamy brand
Points to each field and singles every band,
Sees Washington the power of nations guide,
And longs to toil and conquer by his side.
Two brother chiefs, Viominil the name,
Brothers in birth but twins in generous fame,
Behold with steadfast eye the plains disclose,
Uncase their arms and claim the promised foes.
Biron, beneath his sail, in armor bright,
Frown'd o'er the wave impatient for the fight;
A fiery steed beside the hero stood,
And his blue blade waved forward o'er the crowd.

With eager haste descending on the coast,
Thro the glad states they march their veteran host,
From sea-nursed Newport file o'er western roads,
Pitch many a camp, and bridge a hundred floods,
Pass the full towns, where joyful crowds admire
Their foreign speech, gay mien and gilt attire,
Applaud their generous deeds, the zeal that draws
Their swords untried in freedom's doubtful cause.
Thro Hartford plains, on Litchfield hills they gleam,
Wave their white flags o'er Hudson's loaded stream,
Band after band with Delaware's current pour,
Shade Schuylkill's wave and Elk's indented shore,
Join their new friends, where allied banners lead,
Demand the foe and bid the war proceed.

Again Columbus turn'd his anxious eye
Where Britain's banner waved along the sky;
And, graced with spoils of many fields of blood,
Cornwallis boastful on a bulwark stood.
Where York and Gloster's rocky towers bestride
Their parent stream, Virginia's midmost tide,
He camp'd his hundred nations, to regain
Their force, exhausted in the long campaign;
Paused for a moment on a scene so vast,
To plan the future and review the past.
Thro vanquisht provinces and towns in flame
He mark'd his recent monuments of fame,
His checker'd marches, long and various toils,
And camp well stored with wide collected spoils.

High glittering to the sun his hands unfold
A map new drafted on a sheet of gold;
There in delusive haste his burin graved
A country conquer'd and a race enslaved.
Its middle realm, by fairer figures known
And rich with fruits, lay bounded for his own;
Deep thro the centre spreads a branching bay,
Full sails ascend and golden rivers stray;
Bright palaces arise relieved in gold,
And gates and streets the crossing lines unfold.
James furrows o'er the plate with turgid tide,
Young Richmond roughens on his masted side;
Reviving Norfolk from her ashes springs,
A golden phoenix on refulgent wings;
Potowmak's yellow waves reluctant spread,
And Vernon rears his rich and radiant head,
Tis here the chief his pointed graver stays,
The bank to burnish with a purer blaze,
Gives all his art, on this bright hill to trace
His future seat and glory of his race;
Deems his long line of lords the realm shall own,
The kings predestined to Columbia's throne.

But while his mind thus quafft its airy food,
And gazing thousands round the rampart stood,
Whom future ease and golden dreams employ,
The songs of triumph and the feast of joy;
Sudden great Washington arose in view,
And allied flags his stately steps pursue;
Gaul's veteran host and young Hesperia's pride
Bend the long march concentring at his side,
Stream over Chesapeak, like sheets of flame,
And drive tempestuous to the field of fame.

Far on the wild expanse, where ocean lies,
And scorns all confines but incumbent skies,
Scorns to retain the imprinted paths of men
To guide their wanderings or direct their ken;
Where warring vagrants, raging as they go,
Ask of the stars their way to find the foe,
Columbus saw two hovering fleets advance,
And rival ensigns o'er their pinions dance.
Graves, on the north, with Albion's flag unfurl'd,
Waves proud defiance to the watery world;
Degrasse, from southern isles, conducts his train,
And shades with Gallic sheets the moving main.

Now Morn, unconscious of the coming fray
That soon shall storm the crystal cope of day,
Glows o'er the heavens, and with her orient breeze
Fans her fair face and curls the summer seas.
The swelling sails, as far as eye can sweep,
Look thro the skies and awe the shadowy deep,
Lead their long bending lines; and, ere they close,
To count, recognise, circumvent their foes,
Each hauls his wind, the weathergage to gain
And master all the movements of the plain;
Or bears before the breeze with loftier gait,
And, beam to beam, begins the work of fate.

As when the warring winds, from each far pole,
Their adverse storms across the concave roll,
Thin fleecy vapors thro the expansion run,
Veil the blue vault and tremble o'er the sun,
Till the dark folding wings together drive,
And, ridged with fire and rock'd with thunder, strive;
So, hazing thro the void, at first appear
White clouds of canvass floating on the air,
Then frown the broad black decks, the sails are stay'd,
The gaping portholes cast a frightful shade,
Flames, triple tier'd, and tides of smoke, arise.
And fulminations rock the seas and skies.

From van to rear the roaring deluge runs,
The storm disgorging from a thousand guns,
Each like a vast volcano, spouting wide
His hissing hell-dogs o'er the shuddering tide,
Whirls high his chainshot, cleaves the mast and strews
The shiver'd fragments on the staggering foes;
Whose gunwale sides with iron globes are gored,
And a wild storm of splinters sweeps the board.
Husht are the winds of heaven; no more the gale
Breaks the red rolls of smoke nor flaps the sail;
A dark dead calm continuous cloaks the glare,
And holds the clouds of sulphur on the war,
Convolving o'er the space that yawns and shines,
With frequent flash, between the laboring lines.
Nor sun nor sea nor skyborn lightning gleams,
But flaming Phlegethon's asphaltic steams
Streak the long gaping gulph; where varying glow
Carbonic curls above, blue flakes of fire below.

Hither two hostile ships to contact run,
Both grappling, board to board and gun to gun;
Each thro the adverse ports their contents pour,
Rake the lower decks, the interior timbers bore,
Drive into chinks the illumined wads unseen,
Whose flames approach the unguarded magazine.
Above, with shrouds afoul and gunwales mann'd,
Thick halberds clash; and, closing hand to hand,
The huddling troops, infuriate from despair,
Tug at the toils of death, and perish there;
Grenados, carcasses their fragments spread,
And pikes and pistols strow the decks with dead.
Now on the Gallic board the Britons rush,
The intrepid Gauls the rash adventurers crush;
And now, to vengeance Stung, with frantic air,
Back on the British maindeck roll the war.
There swells the carnage; all the tar-beat floor
Is clogg'd with spatter'd brains and glued with gore;
And down the ship's black waist fresh brooks of blood
Course o'er their clots, and tinge the sable flood.
Till War, impatient of the lingering strife
That tires and slackens with the waste of life,
Opes with engulphing gape the astonish'd wave,
And whelms the combat whole, in one vast grave.
For now the imprison'd powder caught the flames,
And into atoms whirl'd the monstrous frames
Of both the entangled ships; the vortex wide
Roars like an Ætna thro the belching tide,
And blazing into heaven, and bursting high,
Shells, carriages and guns obstruct the sky;
Cords, timbers, trunks of men the welkin sweep,
And fall on distant ships, or shower along the deep.

The matcht armadas still the fight maintain,
But cautious, distant; lest the staggering main
Drive their whole lines afoul, and one dark day
Glut the proud ocean with too rich a prey.
At last, where scattering fires the cloud disclose,
Hulls heave in sight and blood the decks o'erflows;
Here from the field tost navies rise to view,
Drive hack to vengeance and the roar renew,
There shatter'd ships commence their flight afar,
Tow'd thro the smoke, hard struggling from the war;
And some, half seen amid the gaping wave,
Plunge in the whirl they make, and gorge their grave.

Soon the dark smoky volumes roll'd away,
And a long line ascended into day;
The pinions swell'd, Britannia's cross arose
And flew the terrors of triumphing foes;
When to Virginia's bay, new shocks to brave,
The Gallic powers their conquering banners wave.
Glad Chesapeak unfolds his bosom wide,
And leads their prows to York's contracting tide;
Where still dread Washington directs his way,
And seas and continents his voice obey;
While brave Cornwallis, mid the gathering host,
Perceives his glories gone, his promised empire lost.

Columbus here with silent joy beheld
His favorite sons the fates of nations wield.
Here joyous Lincoln rose in arms again,
Nelson and Knox moved ardent o'er the plain;
Scammel alert with force unusual trod,
Prepared to seal their victory with his blood;
Cobb, Dearborn, Laurens, Tilghman, green in years
But ripe in glory, tower'd amid their peers;
Death-daring Hamilton with splendor shone,
And claim'd each post of danger for his own,
Skill'd every arm in war's whole hell to wield,
An Ithacus in camp, an Ajax in the field.

Their Gallic friends an equal ardor fires;
Brisk emulation every troop inspires:
Where Tarleton turns, with hopes of flight elate,
Brave Biron moves and drives him back to fate,
Hems in his host, to wait, on Gloster plains,
Their finish'd labors and their destined chains.

Two British forts the growing siege outflank,
Rake its wide works and awe the tide-beat bank;
Swift from the lines two chosen bands advance,
Our light-arm'd scouts, the grenadiers of France;
These young Viominil conducts to fame,
And those Fayette's unerring guidance claim.
No cramm'd cartouch their belted back attires,
No grains of sleeping thunder wait their fires;
The flint, the ramrod spurn'd, away they cast;
The strong bright bayonet, imbeaded fast,
Stands beaming from the bore; with this they tread,
Nor heed from high-wall'd foes their showers of lead.
Each rival band, tho wide and distant far,
Springs simultaneous to this task of war;
For here a twofold force each hero draws,
His own proud country and the general cause;
And each with twofold energy contends,
His foes to vanquish and outstrip his friends.
They summon all their zeal, and wild and warm
O'er flaming ramparts pour the maddening storm,
The mounted cannons crush, and lead the foe
Two trains of captives to the plain below;
An equal prize each gallant troop ameeds,
Alike their numbers and alike their deeds.

A strong high citadel still thundering stood,
And stream'd her standard o'er the field of blood,
Check'd long the siege with fulminating blare,
Scorn'd all the steel and every globe of war,
Defied fell famine, heapt her growing store,
And housed in bombproof all the host she bore.
No rude assault can stretch the scale so high,
In vain the battering siege-guns round her ply;
Mortars well poized their deafening deluge rain,
Load the red skies and shake the shores in vain;
Her huge rock battlements rebound the blow,
And roll their loose crags on the men below.

But while the fusing fireballs scorch the sky,
Their mining arts the staunch besiegers ply,
Delve from the bank of York, and gallery far,
Deep subterranean, to the mount of war;
Beneath the ditch, thro rocks and fens they go,
Scoop the dark chamber plumb beneath the foe;
There lodge their tons of powder and retire,
Mure the dread passage, wave the fatal fire,
Send a swift messenger to warn the foe
To seek his safety and the post forgo.
A taunting answer comes; he dares defy
To spring the mine and all its Ætnas try;
When a black miner seized the sulphur'd brand,
Shriek'd high for joy, and with untrembling hand
Touch'd quick the insidious train; lest here the chief
Should change his counsel and afford relief:
For hard the general's task, to speak the doom
That sends a thousand heroes to the tomb;
Heroes who know no wrong; who thoughtless speed
Where kings command or where their captains lead,
-Burst with the blast, the reeling mountain roars,
Heaves, labors, boils, and thro the concave pours
His flaming contents high; he chokes the air
With all his warriors and their works of war;
Guns, bastions, magazines confounded fly,
Vault wide their fresh explosions o'er the sky,
Encumber each far camp, and plough profound
With their rude fragments every neighboring ground.

Britain's brave leader, where he sought repose,
And deem'd his hill-fort still repulsed the foes,
Starts at the astounding earthquake, and descries
His chosen veterans whirling down the skies.
Their mangled members round his balcon fall,
Scorch'd in the flames, and dasht on every wall:
Sad field of contemplation! Here, ye great,
Kings, priests of God, and ministers of state,
Review your system here! behold and scan
Your own fair deeds, your benefits to man!
You will not leave him to his natural toil,
To tame these elements and till the soil.
To reap, share, tithe you what his hand has sown,
Enjoy his treasures and increase your own,
Build up his virtues on the base design'd,
The well-toned harmonies of humankind.
You choose to check his toil, and band his eyes
To all that's honest and to all that's wise;
Lure with false fame, false morals and false lore,
To barter fields of corn for fields of gore,
To take by bands what single thieves would spare,
And methodise his murders into war.

Now the prest garrison fresh danger warms;
They rush impetuous to each post of arms,
Man the long trench, each embrasure sustain,
And pour their langrage on the allied train;
Whose swift approaches, crowding on the line,
Each wing envelop and each front confine.
O'er all sage Washington his arm extends,
Points every movement, every work defends,
Bids closer quarters, bloodier strokes proceed,
New batteries blaze and heavier squadrons bleed.
Line within line fresh parallels enclose;
Here runs a zigzag, there a mantlet grows,
Round the pent foe approaching breastworks rise,
And bombs, like meteors, vault the flaming skies.
Night, with her hovering wings, asserts in vain
The shades, the silence of her rightful reign;
High roars her canopy with fiery flakes,
And War stalks wilder thro the glare he makes.

With dire dismay the British chief beheld
The foe advance, his veterans shun the field,
Despair and slaughter where he turns his eye,
No hope in combat and no power to fly;
Degrasse victorious shakes the shadowy tide,
Imbodied nations all the champaign hide,
Fosses and batteries, growing on the sight,
Still pour new thunders and increase the fight;
Shells rain before him, rending every mound,
Crags, gunstones, balls o'erturn the tented ground,
From post to post his driven ranks retire,
The earth in crimson and the skies on fire.

Death wantons proud in this decisive round,
For here his hand its favorite victim found;
Brave Scammel perisht here. Ah! short, my friend,
Thy bright career, but glorious to its end.
Go join thy Warren's ghost, your fates compare,
His that commenced, with thine that closed the war;
Freedom, with laurel'd brow but tearful eyes,
Bewails her first and last, her twinlike sacrifice.

Now grateful truce suspends the burning war,
And groans and shouts promiscuous load the air;
When the tired Britons, where the smokes decay,
Quit their strong station and resign the day.
Slow files along the immeasurable train,
Thousands on thousands redden all the plain,
Furl their torn bandrols, all their plunder yield.
And pile their muskets on the battle field.
Their wide auxiliar nations swell the crowd,
And the coop'd navies, from the neighboring flood,
Repeat surrendering signals, and obey
The landmen's fate on this concluding day.

Cornwallis first, their late all-conquering lord,
Bears to the victor chief his conquer'd sword,
Presents the burnisht hilt, and yields with pain
The gift of kings, here brandisht long in vain.
Then bow their hundred banners, trailing far
Their wearied wings from all the skirts of war.
Battalion'd infantry and squadron'd horse
Dash the silk tassel and the golden torse;
Flags from the forts and ensigns from the fleet
Roll in the dust, and at Columbia's feet
Prostrate the pride of thrones; they firm the base
Of Freedom's temple, while her arms they grace.
Here Albion's crimson Cross the soil o'erspreads,
Her Lion crouches and her Thistle fades;
Indignant Erin rues her trampled Lyre,
Brunswick's pale Steed forgets his foamy fire,
Proud Hessia's Castle lies in dust o'erthrown,
And venal Anspach quits her broken Crown.

Long trains of wheel'd artillery shade the shore,
Quench their blue matches and forget to roar;
Along the encumber'd plain, thick planted rise
High stacks of muskets glittering to the skies,
Numerous and vast. As when the toiling swains
Heap their whole harvest on the stubbly plains,
Gerb after gerb the bearded shock expands,
Shocks, ranged in rows, hill high the burden'd lands;
The joyous master numbers all the piles,
And o'er his well-earn'd crop complacent smiles:
Such growing heaps this iron harvest yield,
So tread the victors this their final field.

Triumphant Washington, with brow serene,
Regards unmoved the exhilarating scene,
Weighs in his balanced thought the silent grief
That sinks the bosom of the fallen chief.
With all the joy that laurel crowns bestow,
A world reconquer'd and a vanquished foe.
Thus thro extremes of life, in every state,
Shines the clear soul, beyond all fortune great;
While smaller minds, the dupes of fickle chance,
Slight woes o'erwhelm and sudden joys entrance.
So the full sun, thro all the changing sky,
Nor blasts nor overpowers the naked eye;
Tho transient splendors, borrowed from his light,
Glance on the mirror and destroy the sight.

He bids brave Lincoln guide with modest air
The last glad triumph of the finish'd war;
Who sees, once more, two armies shade one plain,
The mighty victors and the captive train.

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Without Qualms

He resumed walking with the sun
propelled in river of fire of blunt red
and striking yellow to resonate with the pain of her,
who sleeps on the thighs of a temple tree.

The vibrations still follow the echo of forgiveness,
a shadow of palm rises on white wounds.
The snoring of blood letting winds break the
bones crisply, on the jealous shores.

Where was the need of sharp edges to slice
the heart? The words spilled on the table
like blood curdling bats. The candle light
turns black with a guilt.

Small gods are weeping inside the tear
scorched eyes. Somebody prays for the fallen
monuments of tongues and bullet killed bells
of tributes. Stars started hiding their faces.

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G.K. Chesterton

St. Francis Xavier

He left his dust, by all the myriad tread
Of yon dense millions trampled to the strand,
Or 'neath some cross forgotten lays his head
Where dark seas whiten on a lonely land:
He left his work, what all his life had planned,
A waning flame to flicker and to fall,
Mid the huge myths his toil could scarce withstand,
And the light died in temple and in hall,
And the old twilight sank and settled over all.

He left his name, a murmur in the East,
That dies to silence amid older creeds,
With which he strove in vain: the fiery priest
Of faiths less fitted to their ruder needs:
As some lone pilgrim, with his staff and beads,
Mid forest-brutes whom ignorance makes tame,
He dwelt, and sowed an Eastern Church's seeds
He reigned, a teacher and a priest of fame:
He died and dying left a murmur and a name.

He died: and she, the Church that bade him go,
Yon dim Enchantress with her mystic claim,
Has ringed his forehead with her aureole-glow,
And monkish myths, and all the whispered fame
Of miracle, has clung about his name:
So Rome has said: but we, what answer we
Who in grim Indian gods and rites of shame
O'er all the East the teacher's failure see,
His Eastern Church a dream, his toil a vanity.

This then we say: as Time's dark face at last
Moveth its lips of thunder to decree
The doom that grew through all the murmuring past
To be the canon of the times to be:
No child of truth or priest of progress he,
Yet not the less a hero of his wars
Striving to quench the light he could not see,
And God, who knoweth all that makes and mars,
Judges his soul unseen which throbs among the stars.

God only knows, man failing in his choice,
How far apparent failure may succeed,
God only knows what echo of His voice
Lives in the cant of many a fallen creed,
God only gives the labourer his meed
For all the lingering influence widely spread,
Broad branching into many a word and deed
When dim oblivion veils the fountain-head;
So lives and lingers on the spirit of the dead.

This then we say: let all things further rest
And this brave life, with many thousands more,
Be gathered up in the eternal's breast
In that dim past his Love is bending o'er:
Healing all shattered hopes and failure sore:
Since he had bravely looked on death and pain
For what he chose to worship and adore,
Cast boldly down his life for loss or gain
In the eternal lottery: not to be in vain.

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St, Francis Xavier

The Apostle of the Indies

He left his dust, by all the myriad tread
Of yon dense millions trampled to the strand,
Or 'neath some cross forgotten lays his head
Where dark seas whiten on a lonely land:
He left his work, what all his life had planned,
A waning flame to flicker and to fall,
Mid the huge myths his toil could scarce withstand,
And the light died in temple and in hall,
And the old twilight sank and settled over all.

He left his name, a murmur in the East,
That dies to silence amid older creeds,
With which he strove in vain: the fiery priest
Of faiths less fitted to their ruder needs:
As some lone pilgrim, with his staff and beads,
Mid forest-brutes whom ignorance makes tame,
He dwelt, and sowed an Eastern Church's seeds
He reigned, a teacher and a priest of fame:
He died and dying left a murmur and a name.

He died: and she, the Church that bade him go,
Yon dim Enchantress with her mystic claim,
Has ringed his forehead with her aureole-glow,
And monkish myths, and all the whispered fame
Of miracle, has clung about his name:
So Rome has said: but we, what answer we
Who in grim Indian gods and rites of shame
O'er all the East the teacher's failure see,
His Eastern Church a dream, his toil a vanity.

This then we say: as Time's dark face at last
Moveth its lips of thunder to decree
The doom that grew through all the murmuring past
To be the canon of the times to be:
No child of truth or priest of progress he,
Yet not the less a hero of his wars
Striving to quench the light he could not see,
And God, who knoweth all that makes and mars,
Judges his soul unseen which throbs among the stars.

God only knows, man failing in his choice,
How far apparent failure may succeed,
God only knows what echo of His voice
Lives in the cant of many a fallen creed,
God only gives the labourer his meed
For all the lingering influence widely spread,
Broad branching into many a word and deed
When dim oblivion veils the fountain-head;
So lives and lingers on the spirit of the dead.

This then we say: let all things further rest
And this brave life, with many thousands more,
Be gathered up in the eternal's breast
In that dim past his Love is bending o'er:
Healing all shattered hopes and failure sore:
Since he had bravely looked on death and pain
For what he chose to worship and adore,
Cast boldly down his life for loss or gain
In the eternal lottery: not to be in vain.

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Book Twelfth [Imagination And Taste, How Impaired And Restored ]

LONG time have human ignorance and guilt
Detained us, on what spectacles of woe
Compelled to look, and inwardly oppressed
With sorrow, disappointment, vexing thoughts,
Confusion of the judgment, zeal decayed,
And, lastly, utter loss of hope itself
And things to hope for! Not with these began
Our song, and not with these our song must end.
Ye motions of delight, that haunt the sides
Of the green hills; ye breezes and soft airs,
Whose subtle intercourse with breathing flowers,
Feelingly watched, might teach Man's haughty race
How without Injury to take, to give
Without offence; ye who, as if to show
The wondrous influence of power gently used,
Bend the complying heads of lordly pines,
And, with a touch, shift the stupendous clouds
Through the whole compass of the sky; ye brooks,
Muttering along the stones, a busy noise
By day, a quiet sound in silent night;
Ye waves, that out of the great deep steal forth
In a calm hour to kiss the pebbly shore,
Not mute, and then retire, fearing no storm;
And you, ye groves, whose ministry it is
To interpose the covert of your shades,
Even as a sleep, between the heart of man
And outward troubles, between man himself,
Not seldom, and his own uneasy heart:
Oh! that I had a music and a voice
Harmonious as your own, that I might tell
What ye have done for me. The morning shines,
Nor heedeth Man's perverseness; Spring returns,--
I saw the Spring return, and could rejoice,
In common with the children of her love,
Piping on boughs, or sporting on fresh fields,
Or boldly seeking pleasure nearer heaven
On wings that navigate cerulean skies.
So neither were complacency, nor peace,
Nor tender yearnings, wanting for my good
Through these distracted times; in Nature still
Glorying, I found a counterpoise in her,
Which, when the spirit of evil reached its height,
Maintained for me a secret happiness.

This narrative, my Friend! hath chiefly told
Of intellectual power, fostering love,
Dispensing truth, and, over men and things,
Where reason yet might hesitate, diffusing
Prophetic sympathies of genial faith:
So was I favoured--such my happy lot--
Until that natural graciousness of mind
Gave way to overpressure from the times
And their disastrous issues. What availed,
When spells forbade the voyager to land,
That fragrant notice of a pleasant shore
Wafted, at intervals, from many a bower
Of blissful gratitude and fearless love?
Dare I avow that wish was mine to see,
And hope that future times 'would' surely see,
The man to come, parted, as by a gulph,
From him who had been; that I could no more
Trust the elevation which had made me one
With the great family that still survives
To illuminate the abyss of ages past,
Sage, warrior, patriot, hero; for it seemed
That their best virtues were not free from taint
Of something false and weak, that could not stand
The open eye of Reason. Then I said,
'Go to the Poets, they will speak to thee
More perfectly of purer creatures;--yet
If reason be nobility in man,
Can aught be more ignoble than the man
Whom they delight in, blinded as he is
By prejudice, the miserable slave
Of low ambition or distempered love?'

In such strange passion, if I may once more
Review the past, I warred against myself--
A bigot to a new idolatry--
Like a cowled monk who hath forsworn the world,
Zealously laboured to cut off my heart
From all the sources of her former strength;
And as, by simple waving of a wand,
The wizard instantaneously dissolves
Palace or grove, even so could I unsoul
As readily by syllogistic words
Those mysteries of being which have made,
And shall continue evermore to make,
Of the whole human race one brotherhood.

What wonder, then, if, to a mind so far
Perverted, even the visible Universe
Fell under the dominion of a taste
Less spiritual, with microscopic view
Was scanned, as I had scanned the moral world?

O Soul of Nature! excellent and fair!
That didst rejoice with me, with whom I, too,
Rejoiced through early youth, before the winds
And roaring waters, and in lights and shades
That marched and countermarched about the hills
In glorious apparition, Powers on whom
I daily waited, now all eye and now
All ear; but never long without the heart
Employed, and man's unfolding intellect:
O Soul of Nature! that, by laws divine
Sustained and governed, still dost overflow
With an impassioned life, what feeble ones
Walk on this earth! how feeble have I been
When thou wert in thy strength! Nor this through stroke
Of human suffering, such as justifies
Remissness and inaptitude of mind,
But through presumption; even in pleasure pleased
Unworthily, disliking here, and there
Liking; by rules of mimic art transferred
To things above all art; but more,--for this,
Although a strong infection of the age,
Was never much my habit--giving way
To a comparison of scene with scene,
Bent overmuch on superficial things,
Pampering myself with meagre novelties
Of colour and proportion; to the moods
Of time and season, to the moral power,
The affections and the spirit of the place,
Insensible. Nor only did the love
Of sitting thus in judgment interrupt
My deeper feelings, but another cause,
More subtle and less easily explained,
That almost seems inherent in the creature,
A twofold frame of body and of mind.
I speak in recollection of a time
When the bodily eye, in every stage of life
The most despotic of our senses, gained
Such strength in 'me' as often held my mind
In absolute dominion. Gladly here,
Entering upon abstruser argument,
Could I endeavour to unfold the means
Which Nature studiously employs to thwart
This tyranny, summons all the senses each
To counteract the other, and themselves,
And makes them all, and the objects with which all
Are conversant, subservient in their turn
To the great ends of Liberty and Power.
But leave we this: enough that my delights
(Such as they were) were sought insatiably.
Vivid the transport, vivid though not profound;
I roamed from hill to hill, from rock to rock,
Still craving combinations of new forms,
New pleasure, wider empire for the sight,
Proud of her own endowments, and rejoiced
To lay the inner faculties asleep.
Amid the turns and counterturns, the strife
And various trials of our complex being,
As we grow up, such thraldom of that sense
Seems hard to shun. And yet I knew a maid,
A young enthusiast, who escaped these bonds;
Her eye was not the mistress of her heart;
Far less did rules prescribed by passive taste,
Or barren intermeddling subtleties,
Perplex her mind; but, wise as women are
When genial circumstance hath favoured them,
She welcomed what was given, and craved no more;
Whate'er the scene presented to her view
That was the best, to that she was attuned
By her benign simplicity of life,
And through a perfect happiness of soul,
Whose variegated feelings were in this
Sisters, that they were each some new delight.
Birds in the bower, and lambs in the green field,
Could they have known her, would have loved; methought
Her very presence such a sweetness breathed,
That flowers, and trees, and even the silent hills,
And everything she looked on, should have had
An intimation how she bore herself
Towards them and to all creatures. God delights
In such a being; for, her common thoughts
Are piety, her life is gratitude.

Even like this maid, before I was called forth
From the retirement of my native hills,
I loved whate'er I saw: nor lightly loved,
But most intensely; never dreamt of aught
More grand, more fair, more exquisitely framed
Than those few nooks to which my happy feet
Were limited. I had not at that time
Lived long enough, nor in the least survived
The first diviner influence of this world,
As it appears to unaccustomed eyes.
Worshipping them among the depth of things,
As piety ordained, could I submit
To measured admiration, or to aught
That should preclude humility and love?
I felt, observed, and pondered; did not judge,
Yea, never thought of judging; with the gift
Of all this glory filled and satisfied.
And afterwards, when through the gorgeous Alps
Roaming, I carried with me the same heart:
In truth, the degradation--howsoe'er
Induced, effect, in whatsoe'er degree,
Of custom that prepares a partial scale
In which the little oft outweighs the great;
Or any other cause that hath been named;
Or lastly, aggravated by the times
And their impassioned sounds, which well might make
The milder minstrelsies of rural scenes
Inaudible--was transient; I had known
Too forcibly, too early in my life,
Visitings of imaginative power
For this to last: I shook the habit off
Entirely and for ever, and again
In Nature's presence stood, as now I stand,
A sensitive being, a 'creative' soul.

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence--depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse--our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.
This efficacious spirit chiefly lurks
Among those passages of life that give
Profoundest knowledge to what point, and how,
The mind is lord and master--outward sense
The obedient servant of her will. Such moments
Are scattered everywhere, taking their date
From our first childhood. I remember well,
That once, while yet my inexperienced hand
Could scarcely hold a bridle, with proud hopes
I mounted, and we journeyed towards the hills:
An ancient servant of my father's house
Was with me, my encourager and guide:
We had not travelled long, ere some mischance
Disjoined me from my comrade; and, through fear
Dismounting, down the rough and stony moor
I led my horse, and, stumbling on, at length
Came to a bottom, where in former times
A murderer had been hung in iron chains.
The gibbet-mast had mouldered down, the bones
And iron case were gone; but on the turf,
Hard by, soon after that fell deed was wrought,
Some unknown hand had carved the murderer's name.
The monumental letters were inscribed
In times long past; but still, from year to year
By superstition of the neighbourhood,
The grass is cleared away, and to this hour
The characters are fresh and visible:
A casual glance had shown them, and I fled,
Faltering and faint, and ignorant of the road:
Then, reascending the bare common, saw
A naked pool that lay beneath the hills,
The beacon on the summit, and, more near,
A girl, who bore a pitcher on her head,
And seemed with difficult steps to force her way
Against the blowing wind. It was, in truth,
An ordinary sight; but I should need
Colours and words that are unknown to man,
To paint the visionary dreariness
Which, while I looked all round for my lost guide,
Invested moorland waste and naked pool,
The beacon crowning the lone eminence,
The female and her garments vexed and tossed
By the strong wind. When, in the blessed hours
Of early love, the loved one at my side,
I roamed, in daily presence of this scene,
Upon the naked pool and dreary crags,
And on the melancholy beacon, fell
A spirit of pleasure and youth's golden gleam;
And think ye not with radiance more sublime
For these remembrances, and for the power
They had left behind? So feeling comes in aid
Of feeling, and diversity of strength
Attends us, if but once we have been strong.
Oh! mystery of man, from what a depth
Proceed thy honours. I am lost, but see
In simple childhood something of the base
On which thy greatness stands; but this I feel,
That from thyself it comes, that thou must give,
Else never canst receive. The days gone by
Return upon me almost from the dawn
Of life: the hiding-places of man's power
Open; I would approach them, but they close.
I see by glimpses now; when age comes on,
May scarcely see at all; and I would give,
While yet we may, as far as words can give,
Substance and life to what I feel, enshrining,
Such is my hope, the spirit of the Past
For future restoration.--Yet another
Of these memorials:--
One Christmas-time,
On the glad eve of its dear holidays,
Feverish, and tired, and restless, I went forth
Into the fields, impatient for the sight
Of those led palfreys that should bear us home;
My brothers and myself. There rose a crag,
That, from the meeting-point of two highways
Ascending, overlooked them both, far stretched;
Thither, uncertain on which road to fix
My expectation, thither I repaired,
Scout-like, and gained the summit; 'twas a day
Tempestuous, dark, and wild, and on the grass
I sate half-sheltered by a naked wall;
Upon my right hand couched a single sheep,
Upon my left a blasted hawthorn stood;
With those companions at my side, I watched
Straining my eyes intensely, as the mist
Gave intermitting prospect of the copse
And plain beneath. Ere we to school returned,--
That dreary time,--ere we had been ten days
Sojourners in my father's house, he died;
And I and my three brothers, orphans then,
Followed his body to the grave. The event,
With all the sorrow that it brought, appeared
A chastisement; and when I called to mind
That day so lately past, when from the crag
I looked in such anxiety of hope;
With trite reflections of morality,
Yet in the deepest passion, I bowed low
To God, Who thus corrected my desires;
And, afterwards, the wind and sleety rain,
And all the business of the elements,
The single sheep, and the one blasted tree,
And the bleak music from that old stone wall,
The noise of wood and water, and the mist
That on the line of each of those two roads
Advanced in such indisputable shapes;
All these were kindred spectacles and sounds
To which I oft repaired, and thence would drink,
As at a fountain; and on winter nights,
Down to this very time, when storm and rain
Beat on my roof, or, haply, at noon-day,
While in a grove I walk, whose lofty trees,
Laden with summer's thickest foliage, rock
In a strong wind, some working of the spirit,
Some inward agitations thence are brought,
Whate'er their office, whether to beguile
Thoughts over busy in the course they took,
Or animate an hour of vacant ease.

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Smithereens

UNCERTAIN-AGED Miss Thereabouts,
Tough fossil of her teens,
Has lifted up with saving hand
The ruined Smithereens.
Down the dark steps of debt that hand
Sped like an angel's wing,
Deep—dowered with gold, and for itself
Brought back a golden ring.
Ah lovely Lucy Lovandove,
10 That ring's a snake, and means
Woe without end: therein lies crushed
Thy heart—to smithereens.

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Sarabande On Attaining The Age Of Seventy-Seven

The harbingers are come. See, see their mark;
White is their colour; and behold my head.
-- George Herbert

Long gone the smoke-and-pepper childhood smell
Of the smoldering immolation of the year,
Leaf-strewn in scattered grandeur where it fell,
Golden and poxed with frost, tarnished and sere.

And I myself have whitened in the weathers
Of heaped-up Januaries as they bequeath
The annual rings and wrongs that wring my withers,
Sober my thoughts, and undermine my teeth.

The dramatis personae of our lives
Dwindle and wizen; familiar boyhood shames,
The tribulations one somehow survives,
Rise smokily from propitiatory flames

Of our forgetfulness until we find
It becomes strangely easy to forgive
Even ourselves with this clouding of the mind,
This cinerous blur and smudge in which we live.

A turn, a glide, a quarter turn and bow,
The stately dance advances; these are airs
Bone-deep and numbing as I should know by now,
Diminishing the cast, like musical chairs.

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Only By Grace

The Grace of God we dont deserve, made us alive in Christ to serve,
To serve The Living Eternal God, while upon this fleeting earthly sod,
Lost in sin we were spiritually dead, but, by Grace were alive instead,
Spiritually alive, to serve our Lord; Jesus Christ, who we had ignored.

Because of Mercy, we dont receive, all we deserve, through unbelief,
From our unbelieving life of sin; a Righteous Wrath, rendered by Him,
Gods Wrath incited by Righteousness, against all mans wickedness,
But, through belief, lead by faith, we received Gods awesome Grace.

It is only by Grace, that we are saved; fallen sinners, totally depraved,
Not able to accomplish on our own, what Jesus had finished all alone,
Paying for sinners the required price, becoming for all Gods sacrifice,
As Christ appeased all Gods Wrath; providing for us salvation’s path.

So rich in Mercy, The Lord God is, that sinners once lost, now are His,
Children of God, with Eternal Life, seated in Heaven with Jesus Christ,
We are now Christ’s new creation, disciples proclaiming His Salvation,
Saved by Grace, filled with His Love, pointing to His Kingdom above.

Salvation todays available to all, to redeem sinners from Adam’s fall,
Available to any, who will come, regardless of where they are or from;
Multitudes once lost and deceived, have come to Christ and received,
Salvation from the Fathers Hand; so wont you today in Christ stand?

(Copyright ©07/2009)

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