Plays of Gods and Men(txt+pdf+epub+mobi电子书下载)

作者:Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Baron

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Plays of Gods and Men

Plays of Gods and Men试读:

Act I

Time: About the time of the decadence in Babylon.

Scene: The jungle city of Thek in the reign of King Karnos.

Tharmia:

You know that my lineage is almost divine.

Arolind:

My father's sword was so terrible that he had to hide it with a cloak.

Tharmia:

He probably did that because there were no jewels in the scabbard.

Arolind:

There were emeralds in it that outstared the sea.

* * * * * * * *

Tharmia:

Now I must leave you here and go down among the shops for I have not changed my hair since we came to Thek.

Ichtharion:

Have you not brought that from Barbul-el-Sharnak?

Tharmia:

It was not necessary. The King would not take his court where they could not obtain necessities.

Arolind:

May I go with your Sincerity?

Tharmia:

Indeed, Princely Lady, I shall be glad of your company.

Arolind:

[To Ludibras] I wish to see the other palaces in Thek, [To Tharmia] then we can go on beyond the walls to see what princes live in the neighbourhood.

Tharmia:

It will be delightful.

[Exeunt Tharmia and Arolind]

Ichtharion:

Well, we are here in Thek.

Ludibras:

How lucky we are that the King has come to Thek. I feared he would never come.

Ichtharion:

It is a most fair city.

Ludibras:

When he tarried year after year in monstrous Barbul-el-Sharnak, I feared that I would see the sun rise never more in the windy glorious country. I feared we should live always in Barbul-el-Sharnak and be buried among houses.

Ichtharion:

It is mountainous with houses: there are no flowers there. I wonder how the winds come into it.

Ludibras:

Ah. Do you know that it is I that brought him here at last? I gave him orchids from a far country. At last he noticed them. "Those are good flowers," said he. "They come from Thek," I said. "Thek is purple with them. It seems purple far out on the sand to the camel men." Then…

Ichtharion:

No, it was not you brought him. He saw a butterfly once in Barbul-el-Sharnak. There had not been one there for seven years. It was lucky for us that it lived; I used to send for hundreds, but they all died but that one when they came to Barbul-el-Sharnak. The King saw it.

Ludibras:

It was since then that he noticed my purple orchids.

Ichtharion:

Something changed in his mind when he saw the butterfly. He became quite different. He would not have noticed a flower but for that.

Ludibras:

He came to Thek in order to see the orchids.

Ichtharion:

Come, come. We are here. Nothing else matters.

Ludibras:

Yes, we are here. How beautiful are the orchids.

Ichtharion:

What a beautiful thing the air is in the morning. I stand up very early and breathe it from my casement; not in order to nourish my body, you understand, but because it is the wild, sweet air of Thek.

Ludibras:

Yes, it is wonderful rising up in the morning. It seems all fresh from the fields.

Ichtharion:

It took us two days to ride out of Bar-el-Sharnak. Do you remember how men stared at our camels? No one had gone away from the city for years.

Ludibras:

I think it is not easy to leave a great city. It seems to grow thicker around you, and you forget the fields.

Ichtharion: [looking off]

The jungle is like a sea lying there below us. The orchids that blaze on it are like Tyrian ships, all rich with purple of that wonderful fish; they have even dyed their sails with it.

Ludibras:

They are not like ships because they do not move. They are like… They are like no tangible thing in all the world. They are like faint, beautiful songs of an unseen singer; they are like temptations to some unknown sin. They make me think of the tigers that slip through the gloom below them.

[Enter Harpagas and a Noble of the Court, with spears and leather belts.]

Ichtharion:

Where are you going?

Harpagas:

We are going hunting.

Ichtharion:

Hunting! How beautiful!

Harpagas:

A little street goes down from the palace door; the other end of it touches the very jungle.

Ludibras:

O, heavenly city of Thek.

Ichtharion:

Have you ever before gone hunting?

Harpagas:

No; I have dreamed of it. In Barbul-el-Sharnak I nearly forgot my dream.

Ichtharion:

Man was not made for cities. I did not know this once.

Ludibras:

I will come with you.

Ichtharion:

I will come with you, too. We will go down by the little street, and there will be the jungle. I will fetch a spear as we go.

Ludibras:

What shall we hunt in the jungle?

Harpagas:

They say there are kroot and abbax; and tigers, some say, have been heard of.

Noble:

We must never go back to Barbul-el-Sharnak again.

Ichtharion:

You may rely on us.

Ludibras:

We shall keep the King in Thek.

[Exeunt, leaving two sentries standing beside the throne.]

1st Sentry:

They are all very glad to be in Thek. I, too, am glad.

2nd Sentry:

It is a very little city. Two hundred of these cities would not buildBarbul-el-Sharnak.

1st Sentry:

No. But it is a finer palace, and Barbul-el-Sharnak is the centre of the world; men have drawn together there.

2nd Sentry:

I did not know there was a palace like this outside Barbul-el-Sharnak.

1st Sentry:

It was built in the days of the forefathers. They built palaces in those days.

2nd Sentry:

They must be in the jungle by now. It is quite close. How glad they were to go.

1st Sentry:

Yes, they were glad. Men do not hunt for tigers in Barbul-el-Sharnak.

[Enter Tharmia and Arolind weeping.]

Tharmia:

O it is terrible.

Arolind:

O! O! O!

1st Sentry: [To 2nd Sentry]

Something has happened.

[Enter Carolyx.]

Carolyx:

What is it, princely ladies?

[To Sentries] Go. Go away.

[Exeunt Sentries.]

What has happened?

Tharmia:

O. We went down a little street.

Carolyx:

Yes. Yes.

Arolind:

The main street of the city.

[Both weep quietly.]

Carolyx:

Yes? Yes? Yes?

Tharmia:

It ends in the jungle.

Carolyx:

You went into the jungle! There must be tigers there.

Tharmia:

No.

Arolind:

No.

Carolyx:

What did you do?

Tharmia:

We came back.

Carolyx: [in a voice of anguish]

What did you see in the street?

Tharmia:

Nothing.

Arolind:

Nothing.

Carolyx:

Nothing?

Tharmia:

There are no shops.

Arolind:

We cannot buy new hair.

Tharmia:

We cannot buy [sobs] gold-dust to put upon our hair.

Arolind:

There are no [sobs] neighbouring princes.

[Carolyx bursts bitterly into tears and continues to weep.]

Tharmia:

Barbul-el-Sharnak, Barbul-el-Sharnak. O why did the King leaveBarbul-el-Sharnak?

Arolind:

Barbul-el-Sharnak. Its streets were all of agate.

Tharmia:

And there were shops where one bought beautiful hair.

Carolyx:

The King must go at once.

Tharmia: [calmer now.]

He shall go tomorrow. My husband shall speak to him.

Arolind:

Perhaps my husband might have more influence.

Tharmia and Arolind:

My husband brought him here.

Tharmia:

What!

Arolind:

Nothing. What did you say?

Tharmia:

I said nothing. I thought you spoke.

Carolyx:

It may be better for my husband to persuade him, for he was ever opposed to his coming to Thek.

Tharmia: [To Arolind]

He could have but little influence with His Majesty since the King has come to Thek.

Arolind:

No. It will be better for our husbands to arrange it.

Carolyx:

I myself have some influence with the Queen.

Tharmia:

It is of no use. Her nerves are all a-quiver. She weeps if you speak with her. If you argue a matter with her she cries aloud and maidens must come and fan her and put scent on her hands.

Arolind:

She never leaves her chamber and the King would not listen to her.

Tharmia:

Hark, they are coming back. They are singing a hunting song…. why, they have killed a beast. All four of the men are bringing it on two branches.

Arolind: [bored]

What kind of beast is it?

Tharmia:

I do not know. It seems to have barbed horns.

Carolyx:

We must go and meet them.

[The song is loud and joyous.]

[Exeunt by the way that the Sentries went.]

[Enter Sentries.]

1st Sentry:

Whatever it is has passed away again for they were smiling.

2nd Sentry:

They feared that their husbands were lost and now they return in safety.

1st Sentry:

You do not know, for you do not understand women.

2nd Sentry:

I understand them quite as well as you.

1st Sentry:

That is what I say. You do not understand them. I do not understand them.

2nd Sentry:

……Oh. [A pause.]

1st Sentry:

We shall never leave Thek now.

2nd Sentry:

Why shall we never leave it?

1st Sentry:

Did you not hear how glad they were when they sang the hunting song? They say a wild dog does not turn from the trail, they will go on hunting now.

2nd Sentry:

But will the King stay here?

1st Sentry:

He only does what Ichtharion and Ludibras persuade him. He does not listen to the Queen.

2nd Sentry:

The Queen is mad.

1st Sentry:

She is not mad but she has a curious sickness, she is always frightened though there is nothing to fear.

2nd Sentry:

That would be a dreadful sickness; one would fear that the roof might fall on one from above or the earth break in pieces beneath. I would rather be mad than to fear things like that.

1st Sentry: [looking straight before him]

Hush.

[Enter King and retinue. He sits on the throne. Enter from other side Ichtharion, Ludibras, and Harpagas, each with his wife beside him, hand in hand. Each couple bows before the King, still hand in hand; then they seat themselves. The King nods once to each couple.]

King: [To Tharmia]

Well, your Sincerity, I trust that you are glad to have come to Thek.

Tharmia:

Very glad, your Majesty.

King: [To Arolind]

This is pleasanter, is it not, than Barbul-el-Sharnak?

Arolind:

Far pleasanter, your Majesty.

King:

And you, princely lady Carolyx, find all that you need in Thek?

Carolyx: More than all, your Majesty.

King: [To Harpagas]

Then we can stay here long, can we not?

Harpagas:

There are reasons of State why that were dangerous.

King:

Reasons of State? Why should we not stay here?

Harpagas:

Your Majesty, there is a legend in the World, that he who is greatest in the city of Barbul-el-Sharnak is the greatest in the world.

King:

I had not heard that legend.

Harpagas:

Your Majesty, little legends do not hive in the sacred ears of kings; nevertheless they hum among lesser men from generation to generation.

King:

I will not go for a legend to Barbul-el-Sharnak.

Harpagas:

Your Majesty, it is very dangerous….

King: [To Ladies]

We will discuss things of State which little interest your Sincerities.

Tharmia: [rising]

Your Majesty, we are ignorant of these things.

[Exeunt.]

King: [To Ichtharion and Ludibras]

We will rest from things of State for awhile, shall we not? We will be happy, (shall we not?) in this ancient beautiful palace.

Ludibras:

If your Majesty commands, we must obey.

King:

But is not Thek most beautiful? Are not the jungle orchids a wonder and a glory?

Ludibras:

They have been thought so, your Majesty; they were pretty inBarbul-el-Sharnak where they were rare.

King:

But when the sun comes over them in the morning, when the dew is on them still; are they not glorious then? Indeed, they are very glorious.

Ludibras:

I think they would be glorious if they were blue, and there were fewer of them.

King:

I do not think so. But you, Ichtharion, you think the city beautiful?

Ichtharion:

Yes, your Majesty.

King:

Ah. I am glad you love it. It is to me adorable.

Ichtharion:

I do not love it, your Majesty. I hate it very much. I know it is beautiful because your Majesty has said so.

Ludibras:

This city is dangerously unhealthy, your Majesty.

Harpagas:

It is dangerous to be absent from Barbul-el-Sharnak.

Ichtharion:

We implore your Majesty to return to the centre of the world.

King:

I will not go again to Barbul-el-Sharnak.

    [Exeunt King with attendants. Ichtharion, Ludibras and Harpagas    remain.]

    [Enter Arolind and Carolyx; each goes up to her husband, very    affectionate.]

Arolind:

And you talked to the King?

Ludibras:

Yes.

Arolind:

You told him he must go back to Barbul-el-Sharnak at once?

Ludibras:

Well, I——

Arolind:

When does he start?

Ludibras:

He did not say he will start.

Arolind:

What?

Carolyx:

We are not going?

[Arolind and Carolyx weep and step away from their husbands.]

Ludibras:

But we spoke to the King.

Arolind:

O, we must stay and die here.

Ludibras:

But we did what we could.

Arolind:

O, I shall be buried in Thek.

Ludibras:

I can do no more.

Arolind:

My clothes are torn, my hair is old. I am in rags.

Ludibras:

I am sure you are beautifully dressed.

Arolind: [full height]

Beautifully dressed! Of course I am beautifully dressed! But who is there to see me? I am alone in the jungle, and here I shall be buried.

Ludibras:

But——

Arolind:

Oh, will you not leave me alone? Is nothing sacred to you? Not even my grief?

[Exeunt Arolind and Carolyx.]

Harpagas: [To Ludibras]

What are we to do?

Ludibras:

All women are alike.

Ichtharion:

I do not allow my wife to speak to me like that.

[Exeunt Harpagas and Ludibras.]

I hope Tharmia will not weep; it is very distressing to see a woman in tears.

[Enter Tharmia.]

Do not be unhappy, do not be at all unhappy. But I have been unable to persuade the King to return to Barbul-el-Sharnak. You will be happy here after a little while.

Tharmia: [breaks into loud laughter]

You are the King's adviser. Ha-ha-ha! You are the Grand High Vizier of the Court. Ha-ha-ha. You are the warder of the golden wand. Ha-ha-ha O, go and throw biscuits to the King's dog.

Ichtharion:

What!

Tharmia:

Throw little ginger biscuits to the King's dog. Perhaps he will obey you. Perhaps you will have some influence with the King's dog if you feed him with little biscuits. You——

[Laughs and exits. Ichtharion sits with his miserable head in his hands.]

[Reenter Ludibras and Harpagas.]

Ludibras:

Has her Sincerity, the princely Lady Tharmia, been speaking with you?

Ichtharion:

She spoke a few words.

[Ludibras and Harpagas sigh.]

We must leave Thek. We must depart from Thek.

Ludibras:

What, without the King?

Harpagas:

No.

Ichtharion:

No. They would say in Barbul-el-Sharnak "these were once at Court," and men that we have flogged would spit in our faces.

Ludibras:

Who can command a King?

Harpagas:

Only the gods.

Ludibras:

The gods? There are no gods now. We have been civilised over three thousand years. The gods that nursed our infancy are dead, or gone to nurse younger nations.

Ichtharion:

I refuse the listen to—— O, the sentries are gone. No, the gods are no use to us; they were driven away by the decadence.

Harpagas:

We are not in the decadence here. Barbul-el-Sharnak is in a different age. The city of Thek is scarcely civilised.

Ichtharion:

But everybody lives in Barbul-el-Sharnak.

Harpagas:

The gods——

Ludibras:

The old prophet is coming.

Harpagas:

He believes as much in the gods as you or I do.

Ludibras:

Yes, but we must not speak as though we knew that.

[Voice-of-the-Gods (a prophet) walks across the stage.]

Ichtharion, Ludibras, and Harpagas: [rising]

The gods are good.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

They are benignant. [exit]

Ichtharion:

Listen! Let him prophesy to the King. Let him bid the King go hence lest they smite the city.

Ludibras:

Can we make him do it?

Ichtharion:

I think we can make him do it.

Harpagas:

The King is more highly civilised even than we are. He will not care for the gods.

Ichtharion:

He cannot ignore them; the gods crowned his forefather and if there are no gods who made him King?

Ludibras:

Why, that is true. He must obey a prophecy.

Ichtharion:

If the King disobeys the gods the people will tear him asunder, whether the gods created the people or the people created the gods.

[Harpagas slips out after the Prophet.]

Ludibras:

If the King discovers this we shall be painfully tortured.

Ichtharion:

How can the King discover it?

Ludibras:

He knows that there are no gods.

Ichtharion:

No man knows that of a certainty.

Ludibras:

But if there are——!

    [Enter Prophet with Harpagas. Ichtharion quickly sends Ludibras and    Harpagas away.]

Ichtharion:

There is a delicate matter concerning the King.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

Then I can help you little for I only serve the gods.

Ichtharion:

It also concerns the gods.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

Ah. Then I hearken.

Ichtharion:

This city is for the King, whose body is fragile, a very unhealthy city. Moreover, there is no work here that a King can profitably do. Also it is dangerous for Barbul-el-Sharnak to be long without a King, lest——

Voice-of-the-Gods:

Does this concern the gods?

Ichtharion:

In this respect it does concern the gods—that if the gods knew this they would warn the King by inspiring you to make a prophecy. As they do not know this——

Voice-of-the-Gods:

The gods know all things.

Ichtharion:

The gods do not know things that are not true. This is not strictly true——

Voice-of-the-Gods:

It is written and hath been said that the gods cannot lie.

Ichtharion:

The gods of course cannot lie, but a prophet may sometimes utter a prophecy that is a good prophecy and helpful to men, thereby pleasing the gods, although the prophecy is not a true one.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

The gods speak through my mouth; my breath is my own breath, I am human and mortal, but my voice is from the gods and the gods cannot lie.

Ichtharion:

Is it wise in an age when the gods have lost their power to anger powerful men for the sake of the gods?

Voice-of-the-Gods:

It is wise.

Ichtharion:

We are three men and you are alone with us. Will the gods save you if we want to put you to death and slip away with your body into the jungle?

Voice-of-the-Gods:

If you should do this thing the gods have willed it. If they have not willed it you cannot.

Ichtharion:

We do not wish to do it. Nevertheless you will make this prophecy—you will go before the King and you will say that the gods have spoken and that within three days' time, for the sake of vengeance upon some unknown man who is in this city, they will overthrow all Thek unless every man is departed.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

I will not do it, for the gods cannot lie.

Ichtharion:

Has it not been the custom since unremembered time for a prophet to have two wives?

Voice-of-the-Gods:

Most certainly. It is the law.

[Ichtharion holds up three fingers.]

What!

Ichtharion:

Three.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

Do not betray me. It was long ago.

Ichtharion:

You will be allowed to serve the gods no more if men know this. The gods will not protect you in this matter for you have offended also against the gods.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

It is worse that the gods should lie. Do not betray me.

Ichtharion:

I go to tell the others what I know.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

I will make the false prophecy.

Ichtharion:

Ah. You have chosen wisely.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

When the gods punish me who make them lie, they will know what punishment to give to you.

Ichtharion:

The gods will not punish us. It is long ago that the gods used to punish men.

Voice-of-the-Gods:

The gods will punish us.

Act II

[Same scene.]

[Same day.]

King Karnos: [pointing off L.]

Look at them now, are they not beautiful? They catch the last rays of the lingering sun. Can you say that the orchids are not beautiful now?

Ichtharion:

Your majesty, we were wrong, they are most beautiful. They tower up from the jungle to take the sun. They are like the diadem of some jubilant king.

King Karnos:

Ah. Now you have come to love the beauty of Thek.

Ichtharion:

Yes, yes, your Majesty, I see it now. I would live in this city always.

King Karnos:

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