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Grotesques

Sprite. [Beckoning her, as she turns from him.] He cannot hold you— [A pause: then the Sprite snaps his fingers indifferently.]

Man. They are gone. Sprite. Forth I follow the brook—to the end—where a pixie—

[Exit. Outside the frame he falls inert.]

Capulchard. The end is not far distant either way; To left, to right, the picture has an edge.

Girl. [Passing her hand across her brow.]
How came I to this forest?

Capulchard. We’ll omit
The anti-climax, princess—the routine
That ends all well. Instead, a love-theme weave,
A tapestry of passion darker-toned:
Placing the Woman-motive in her stead,
Re-draw the Man as Warrior—.

Girl. Ever then
You will protect me?
Man. From all danger.

Capulchard. [Grasping the Girl] Come!

[He replaces the Girl inanimate among the Grotesques, right; then he returns to the Man, who now is alone on the stage, giving him a mantle and sword instead of a bow. As he does this, the Man, by a great unconscious effort, tries to reach towards her. Capulchard is surprised, but smiles ironically. The impulse dies.]

Capulchard. A mantle, then a sword: thus achieve strength, Intelligence, rank, power, and the rest That give a warrior capability To lead an army to a city's gates. And she, the daughter of his foe— [He lifts the Woman, giving her a costume that suggests a princess; and places her at the right edge of the decoration.] Capulchard. [To the Man.] Adjust to rhythm of the new design. Man. The shout of battle has ceased from the darkened plain; Black swords now no more clash in a white sky. Here shall I rest till dawn, not victor while Their four-walled city holds unvanquished. Woman. [Holding out her hands towards him.] Forth from the citadel I bear a gift. Man. Would it were thou! Woman. Desire as thou wilt. [To herself, of the city which love had tempted her to betray to him.] No longer am I peril of my realm. No barrier lies between my will and me. Man. Go!—lest that, weary after battle, I– [A pause, which leads to a new grouping.] Man. This bank shall be our bed, O my beloved Woman. This brook shall be the music of our night.

Grotesques

Man. The lotus shall yield wine, O my beloved

Woman. Perfume of drowsiness—desire—

Man. Thou to the might of my love captive—

Capulchard. Translate the rhythm from their words to

deeper silence.

None draw the erotic quite as Beardsley could.
Yet strange this governed transcript of a mood
They cannot feel, while you—. Disquietude 2—
Sex-love? The theme's not false. Is it you prefer
Tang always? Well, then chance shall wreck their love.

Woman. Though I am lost, my realm I've not betrayed,
By opening our strong-walled city's gates
To bring thee—

Man. [Forcing her from him, with a vitality of rhythmic line which suggests will-effort.]

To thy realm thou shalt return.

Quick! lock thy beauty by a thousand bars,
That my one longing may give armies strength
To find my way to thee.

Woman. That strength is vain—
The dawn shall tell them that from thee I come.

Capulchard. Disaster. Climax. Let us turn the page, New-motive her as Queen, the Man as one 'Neath even her scorn, an Outlaw. Meanwhile, say:

Woman. The dawn shall tell them that from thee I

come;

And they will send me forth an outcast, shamed.

[Capulchard with his hand touches her as she moves to the edge of the decoration, right.] What art thou? . .

Man. Stay—I will spare thy realm.

Woman. Dawn blackens. . . . [She falls inert.]

Capulchard. [After a pause.] That every episode must

this way end

Limits the rhythm like a clash of line,
Breaking it by mere harsh irrelevance.

Man. She does not answer. Where?

Capulchard. An afterglow 2
Searching? Interpret as avoiding search.
Thereby our Outlaw, fleeing.

Man. [Uncertainly..] They hunt me—Warrior .
Outlaw . . . She is lost . . . I . . .

Capulchard. [Concealing apprehension.] Let the theme Create me ex-officio spectre. Appear!

Man. [Recoiling, in the grotesque manner, in response to a direct gesture from Capulchard.] What figure tense, dark-robed, phantom against the dark?

Capulchard. [Resuming his mastery..] The Outlaw, baf

fled in his strength, aghast

Stares—seemingly, since he is a Grotesque,
And by good fortune to his self-respect,
Insensible. But, with the tang you crave,
As I no less, being vicar, rhythm's restored.

Man. He speaks to someone.

Capulchard. Ha!

Grotesques

Man. [As before, vaguely, to himself.] He speaks to SOmeone. Capulchard. Does the marionette grasp at its strings? Man. [Slowly and with effort, but turning directly towards Capulchard.] You speak— Capulchard. [To the Audience.] Howe'er this lead, exit waits poised Whereby to render him inert. Man. [With increasing persistence..] You speak. Capulchard. To those who see you make to disobey, Who come to observe that which you would resist, For whose regale the decoration's wrought— The Audience. Man. Gods! . . [After a moment of indecision, he kneels slowly in an attitude of worship before Capulchard, at a distance from him.] Capulchard. Eh! what's this? Man. Gods look upon us?—He has seen the gods! Capulchard. I speak with them. Man. [Faltering.] They answer? Capulchard. [After a pause.] They are there. Man. High priest! Capulchard. [To himself, not without self-consciousness.] True, I address the gods. [He steps aside.]

Man. [Left kneeling to vacancy, looks up..] Vanished! [He rises, devoutly.]

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