Immagini della pagina

Capulchard. [Resuming his former position.]
In counterpoint, enter a stooped Grotesque.
Tell where goest thou, Crone.

Crone. [Crossing.] To a palace that's dark.
Capulchard. The grave?
Crone. I know not: I am blind, stone blind.

Woman. [Continuing her song.]
White birds on the white-branched, motionless trees,
Two by two. Dark my steps fall faint, Japanese.
Love am I; I am hate: yet know nothing of these.

Capulchard. Thou art old : read the song. She is young.

Crone. Time is naught, When it's past and the staff seeks no light o' the moon.

Capulchard. Frail withered leaf-the first November


[Exit the Crone, who, upon reaching the edge of the decoration, becomes inert and sinks down limply behind the screen.] The song: full-throated, dark, and passionate. Her lover?—No, we'll save the pencil-stroke.

Woman. [Continuing her song.]
My beloved awaiting me, swift toward the spring
I approach'

Capulchard. There is silence.

Woman. The kiss that I bring—

[Capulchard has pushed the Crone back. He now lifts the Woman, clad in a dark mantle edged with white, and places her at the edge of the decoration. She enters.]


The kiss—to the mocking-voiced echoes I sing.

[An interval. To herself, in a slow monotonous voice.] Warm path by the stream, thou art chill to-night. Phantom shadows—weave—

[She glides off, right, and sinks down inert.]

Capulchard. Her voice glides past
Like it was she—dark, sinuous delight.
Expressive outline bound her beauty fast.
Therewith she and the episode stop short.
Inceptive decoration: play it out
Each as you will, the sequence unenslaved.
It's naught to these Grotesques, unconscious strings
Scraped into melody, but else inert.
And yet, why hunt your pleasure to its death?
Ignore the ending, trace a new design.
Black background, disc of the moon: create—a Sprite.
Whose presence makes this wood an eerie place.

[He goes right and, lifting the Sprite, a curious black and white figure, brings it to the edge of the decoration.] There's little trick to the supernatural.

Sprite. Tiptoe a-tread, through the wood, by the brook,

the Sprite enters—oh, ho!

Dance, crinkled stream!
Ha!—a dragon-fly poised upon air!

[Blows.] Begone.

[Reflectively.] It is night.

[Bowing.] Madame Owl, Hoot! to-whoo!

The Owl. Hoot! Sprite. Brisk maker of shadows, clown moon! [He stands grimacing at it; then, upon a gesture from Capulchard, he begins with arms and fingers a shadow-dance, rapid and spontaneous but wholly conventionalized. There are of course no shadows.] Quick, clown moon—make them faster! [Capulchard abruptly stops him on a posture at the extreme left.] Capulchard. The dance proceeds, conventioned in a pose. Yet the design wants counterbalance. . Here to the right I’ll place the Girl-motive. [He lifts the Girl from the receptacle, right, and places her at the edge of the decoration, giving her at the same time a conventionalized symbol representing a bird. She enters, in the controlled and exaggerated manner characteristic of the grotesques, her movements wholly conventionalized and idyllic. Her costume, predominantly white, remains constant through all the episodes. Capulchard, at once developing the possibilities of the design, directs the notice of the Sprite to her.] Girl. [To herself, motionless.] Who am I that come, Caressing tenderly the sign of bird? A Girl, in white, alone, beside the pattern brook I wander without fear, of fear not having heard. Capulchard. Meanwhile— Girl. Upon this sward beneath these trees I rest, and say: Grotesques

Sweet bird, here bathe your wings where the pure white lotus flowers dream


Capulchard. [To the Audience.]

Hark: the bird sings—

Girl. With éclat . . . With éclat .

Capulchard. I gave her that phrase out of character. She looks—

Girl. [Seeing the Sprite, who stands hungrily erect poised to leap towards her. She is struck motionless.]

'Neath the moon .

Capulchard. [Holding them apart in a pause which he

carefully guards.]

How sensitively to the artist's will,
Even the minutest shade, the figures drawn
Respond. Though tense the moment, yet the crux
Seems somewhat too abrupt. If we instead
Design her as if thralled by fantasy,
Bound by the spell of her own wayward longing. . .

[Her expression changes from fear to eagerness. Capulchard places on her robe one or two conventionalized black leaves. He then extricates the Man from among the Grotesques, left, gives him a bow, and places him at the edge of the decoration. Capulchard steps back, almost invisible against the wood.]

Man. With tread firm and taut deep through this strange wood fearless come I,

Hunter of mighty beasts, by prowess conqueror, else slain.
One arrow unsped yet left sole in my quiver.
Capulchard. [Designing, as she cowers from the Man.]
Having crossed, he turns.
But she, who shuns release from love of dreams—
Girl. Go hence.
Man. Are you a mortal maiden that dread less
This place than—?
[Sees the Sprite.] Ah! .
Capulchard. The tragic primitive.
Sprite. [Triumphantly.]
She's mine. Come, spirits!

Capulchard. Portray ghosts by effect. Against the black—

Man. Black ghosts! White!

Capulchard. Against white.

Man. [Recoiling.]
Pale phantoms—four—three—five .

Girl. Fright him, dear dreams!

Capulchard. [Thoughtfully, as the Man turns to flee.] His movement outward draws discordant line; Courage would make the rhythm more compact. Stand, therefore!

Man. [Made to assume toward the Girl an attitude of

protection which would surmount his own fear.] Therefore, I stand. Capulchard. His courage wakens love.

« IndietroContinua »