SCENE I.--Distant View of a City of Galatia.
As the curtain rises, Priestesses are heard singing in the Temple. Boy discovered on a pathway among Rocks, picking grapes. A party of Roman Soldiers, guarding a prisoner in chains, come down the pathway and exeunt.
Enter SYNORIX (looking round). Singing ceases.
SYNORIX. Pine, beech and plane, oak, walnut, apricot, Vine, cypress, poplar, myrtle, bowering in The city where she dwells. She past me here Three years ago when I was flying from My Tetrarchy to Rome. I almost touch'd her-- A maiden slowly moving on to music Among her maidens to this Temple--O Gods! She is my fate--else wherefore has my fate Brought me again to her own city?--married Since--married Sinnatus, the Tetrarch here-- But if he be conspirator, Rome will chain, Or slay him. I may trust to gain her then When I shall have my tetrarchy restored By Rome, our mistress, grateful that I show'd her The weakness and the dissonance of our clans, And how to crush them easily. Wretched race! And once I wish'd to scourge them to the bones. But in this narrow breathing-time of life Is vengeance for its own sake worth the while, If once our ends are gain'd? and now this cup-- I never felt such passion for a woman. [Brings out a cup and scroll from under his cloak. What have I written to her?
[Reading the scroll.
'To the admired Gamma, wife of Sinnatus, the Tetrarch, one who years ago, himself an adorer of our great goddess, Artemis, beheld you afar off worshipping in her Temple, and loved you for it, sends you this cup rescued from the burning of one of her shrines in a city thro' which he past with the Roman army: it is the cup we use in our marriages. Receive it from one who cannot at present write himself other than 'A GALATIAN SERVING BY FORCE IN THE ROMAN LEGION.'
[Turns and looks up to Boy.
Boy, dost thou know the house of Sinnatus?
BOY. These grapes are for the house of Sinnatus-- Close to the Temple.
SYNORIX (aside). That I With all my range of women should yet shun To meet her face to face at once! My boy, [Boy comes down rocks to him. Take thou this letter and this cup to Camma, The wife of Sinnatus.
BOY. Going or gone to-day To hunt with Sinnatus.
SYNORIX. That matters not. Take thou this cup and leave it at her doors. [Gives the cup and scroll to the Boy.
BOY. I will, my lord. [Takes his basket of grapes and exit.
ANTONIUS (meeting the Boy as he goes out). Why, whither runs the boy? Is that the cup you rescued from the fire?
SYNORIX. I send it to the wife of Sinnatus, One half besotted in religious rites. You come here with your soldiers to enforce The long-withholden tribute: you suspect This Sinnatus of playing patriotism, Which in your sense is treason. You have yet No proof against him: now this pious cup Is passport to their house, and open arms To him who gave it; and once there I warrant I worm thro' all their windings.
ANTONIUS. If you prosper, Our Senate, wearied of their tetrarchies, Their quarrels with themselves, their spites at Rome, Is like enough to cancel them, and throne One king above them all, who shall be true To the Roman: and from what I heard in Rome, This tributary crown may fall to you.
SYNORIX. The king, the crown! their talk in Rome? is it so? [ANTONIUS nods. Well--I shall serve Galatia taking it, And save her from herself, and be to Rome More faithful than a Roman. [Turns and sees CAMMA coming. Stand aside, Stand aside; here she comes! [Watching CAMMA as she enters with her Maid.
GAMMA (to Maid). Where is he, girl?
MAID. You know the waterfall That in the summer keeps the mountain side, But after rain o'erleaps a jutting rock And shoots three hundred feet.
CAMMA. The stag is there?
MAID. Seen in the thicket at the bottom there But yester-even.
GAMMA. Good then, we will climb The mountain opposite and watch the chase. [They descend the rocks and exeunt.
SYNORIX (watching her). (Aside.) The bust of Juno and the brows and eyes Of Venus; face and form unmatchable!
ANTONIUS. Why do you look at her so lingeringly?
SYNORIX. To see if years have changed her.
ANTONIUS (sarcastically). Love her, do you?
SYNORIX. I envied Sinnatus when he married her.
ANTONIUS. She knows it? Ha!
SYNORIX. She--no, nor ev'n my face.
ANTONIUS. Nor Sinnatus either?
SYNORIX. No, nor Sinnatus.
ANTONIUS. Hot-blooded! I have heard them say in Rome. That your own people cast you from their bounds, For some unprincely violence to a woman, As Rome did Tarquin.
SYNORIX. Well, if this were so, I here return like Tarquin--for a crown.
ANTONIUS. And may be foil'd like Tarquin, if you follow Not the dry light of Rome's straight-going policy, But the fool-fire of love or lust, which well May make you lose yourself, may even drown you In the good regard of Rome.
SYNORIX. Tut--fear me not; I ever had my victories among women. I am most true to Rome.
ANTONIUS (aside). I hate the man! What filthy tools our Senate works with! Still I must obey them. (Aloud.) Fare you well. [Going.
ANTONIUS (stopping). A moment! If you track this Sinnatus In any treason, I give you here an order [Produces a paper. To seize upon him. Let me sign it. (Signs it.) There 'Antonius leader of the Roman Legion.' [Hands the paper to SYNORIX. Goes up pathway and exit.
SYNORIX. Woman again!--but I am wiser now. No rushing on the game--the net,--the net. [Shouts of 'Sinnatus! Sinnatus!' Then horn. Looking off stage.] He comes, a rough, bluff, simple-looking fellow. If we may judge the kernel by the husk, Not one to keep a woman's fealty when Assailed by Craft and Love. I'll join with him: I may reap something from him--come upon her Again, perhaps, to-day--her. Who are with him? I see no face that knows me. Shall I risk it? I am a Roman now, they dare not touch me. I will.
Enter SINNATUS, HUNTSMEN and hounds.
Fair Sir, a happy day to you! You reck but little of the Roman here, While you can take your pastime in the woods.
SlNNATUS. Ay, ay, why not? What would you with me, man?
SYNORIX. I am a life-long lover of the chase, And tho' a stranger fain would be allow'd To join the hunt.
SlNNATUS. Your name?
SYNORIX. Strato, my name.
SlNNATUS. No Roman name?
SYNORIX. A Greek, my lord; you know That we Galatians are both Greek and Gaul. [Shouts and horns in the distance
SINNATUS. Hillo, the stag! (To SYNORIX.) What, you are all unfurnish'd? Give him a bow and arrows--follow--follow. [Exit, followed by Huntsmen.
SYNORIX. Slowly but surely--till I see my way. It is the one step in the dark beyond Our expectation, that amazes us. [Distant shouts and horns. Hillo! Hillo! [Exit SYNORIX. Shouts and horns.
SCENE II.--A Room in the Tetrarch's House.
Frescoed figures on the walls. Evening. Moonlight outside. A couch with cushions on it. A small table with flagon of wine, cups, plate of grapes, etc., also the cup of Scene I. A chair with drapery on it.
CAMMA enters, and opens' curtains of window.
CAMMA. No Sinnatus yet--and there the rising moon. [Takes up a cithern and sits on couch. Plays and sings.
'Moon on the field and the foam, Moon on the waste and the wold, Moon bring him home, bring him home Safe from the dark and the cold, Home, sweet moon, bring him home, Home with the flock to the fold-- Safe from the wolf'----
(Listening.) Is he coming? I thought I heard A footstep. No not yet. They say that Rome Sprang from a wolf. I fear my dear lord mixt With some conspiracy against the wolf. This mountain shepherd never dream'd of Rome. (Sings.) 'Safe from the wolf to the fold'---- And that great break of precipice that runs Thro' all the wood, where twenty years ago Huntsman, and hound, and deer were all neck-broken! Nay, here he comes.
Enter SINNATUS followed by SYNORIX.
SINNATUS (angrily). I tell thee, my good fellow, My arrow struck the stag.
SYNORIX. But was it so? Nay, you were further off: besides the wind Went with my arrow.
SINNATUS. I am sure I struck him.
SYNORIX. And I am just as sure, my lord, I struck him. (Aside.) And I may strike your game when you are gone.
CAMMA. Come, come, we will not quarrel about the stag. I have had a weary day in watching you. Yours must have been a wearier. Sit and eat, And take a hunter's vengeance on the meats.
SINNATUS. No, no--we have eaten--we are heated. Wine!
CAMMA. Who is our guest?
SINNATUS. Strato he calls himself.
[CAMMA offers wine to SYNORIX, while SINNATUS helps himself.
SINNATUS. I pledge you, Strato. [Drinks.
SYNORIX. And I you, my lord. [Drinks.
SINNATUS (seeing the cup sent to CAMMA). What's here?
CAMMA. A strange gift sent to me to-day. A sacred cup saved from a blazing shrine Of our great Goddess, in some city where Antonius past. I had believed that Rome Made war upon the peoples not the Gods.
SYNORIX. Most like the city rose against Antonius, Whereon he fired it, and the sacred shrine By chance was burnt along with it.
SINNATUS. Had you then No message with the cup?
CAMMA. Why, yes, see here. [Gives him the scroll.
SINNATUS (reads). 'To the admired Camma,--beheld you afar off--loved you--sends you this cup--the cup we use in our marriages--cannot at present write himself other than 'A GALATIAN SERVING BY FORCE IN THE ROMAN LEGION.'
Serving by force! Were there no boughs to hang on, Rivers to drown in? Serve by force? No force Could make me serve by force.
SYNORIX. How then, my lord? The Roman is encampt without your city-- The force of Rome a thousand-fold our own. Must all Galatia hang or drown herself? And you a Prince and Tetrarch in this province--
SYNORIX. Well, well, they call it so in Rome.
SINNATUS (angrily). Province!
SYNORIX. A noble anger! but Antonius To-morrow will demand your tribute--you, Can you make war? Have you alliances? Bithynia, Pontus, Paphlagonia? We have had our leagues of old with Eastern kings. There is my hand--if such a league there be. What will you do?
SINNATUS. Not set myself abroach And run my mind out to a random guest Who join'd me in the hunt. You saw my hounds True to the scent; and we have two-legg'd dogs Among us who can smell a true occasion, And when to bark and how.
SYNORIX. My good Lord Sinnatus, I once was at the hunting of a lion. Roused by the clamour of the chase he woke, Came to the front of the wood--his monarch mane Bristled about his quick ears--he stood there Staring upon the hunter. A score of dogs Gnaw'd at his ankles: at the last he felt The trouble of his feet, put forth one paw, Slew four, and knew it not, and so remain'd Staring upon the hunter: and this Rome Will crush you if you wrestle with her; then Save for some slight report in her own Senate Scarce know what she has done. (Aside.) Would I could move him, Provoke him any way! (Aloud.) The Lady Camma, Wise I am sure as she is beautiful, Will close with me that to submit at once Is better than a wholly-hopeless war, Our gallant citizens murder'd all in vain, Son, husband, brother gash'd to death in vain, And the small state more cruelly trampled on Than had she never moved.
CAMMA. Sir, I had once A boy who died a babe; but were he living And grown to man and Sinnatus will'd it, I Would set him in the front rank of the fight With scarce a pang. (Rises.) Sir, if a state submit At once, she may be blotted out at once And swallow'd in the conqueror's chronicle. Whereas in wars of freedom and defence The glory and grief of battle won or lost Solders a race together--yea--tho' they fail, The names of those who fought and fell are like A bank'd-up fire that flashes out again From century to century, and at last May lead them on to victory--I hope so-- Like phantoms of the Gods.
SINNATUS. Well spoken, wife.
SYNORIX (bowing). Madam, so well I yield.
SINNATUS. I should not wonder If Synorix, who has dwelt three years in Rome And wrought his worst against his native land. Returns with this Antonius.
SYNORIX. What is Synorix?
SINNATUS. Galatian, and not know? This Synorix Was Tetrarch here, and tyrant also--did Dishonour to our wives.
SYNORIX. Perhaps you judge him With feeble charity: being as you tell me Tetrarch, there might be willing wives enough To feel dishonour, honour.
CAMMA. Do not say so. I know of no such wives in all Galatia. There may be courtesans for aught I know Whose life is one dishonour.
ATTENDANT (aside). My lord, the men!
SINNATUS (aside). Our anti-Roman faction?
ATTENDANT (aside). Ay, my lord.
SYNORIX (overhearing). (Aside.) I have enough--their anti-Roman faction.
SINNATUS (aloud). Some friends of mine would speak with me without. You, Strato, make good cheer till I return. [Exit.
SYNORIX. I have much to say, no time to say it in. First, lady, know myself am that Galatian Who sent the cup.
CAMMA. I thank you from my heart.
SYNORIX. Then that I serve with Rome to serve Galatia. That is my secret: keep it, or you sell me To torment and to death. [Coming closer. For your ear only-- I love you--for your love to the great Goddess. The Romans sent me here a spy upon you, To draw you and your husband to your doom. I'd sooner die than do it. [Takes out paper given him by Antonius. This paper sign'd Antonius--will you take it, read it? there!
CAMMA. (Reads.) 'You are to seize on Sinnatus,--if----'
SYNORIX. (Snatches paper.) No more. What follows is for no wife's eyes. O Camma, Rome has a glimpse of this conspiracy; Rome never yet hath spar'd conspirator. Horrible! flaying, scourging, crucifying------
CAMMA. I am tender enough. Why do you practise on me?
SYNORIX. Why should I practise on you? How you wrong me! I am sure of being every way malign'd. And if you should betray me to your husband------
CAMMA. Will you betray him by this order?
SYNORIX. See, I tear it all to pieces, never dream'd Of acting on it. [Tears the paper.
CAMMA. I owe you thanks for ever.
SYNORIX. Hath Sinnatus never told you of this plot?
CAMMA. What plot?
SYNORIX. A child's sand-castle on the beach For the next wave--all seen,--all calculated, All known by Rome. No chance for Sinnatus.
CAMMA. Why said you not as much to my brave Sinnatus?
SYNORIX. Brave--ay--too brave, too over-confident, Too like to ruin himself, and you, and me! Who else, with this black thunderbolt of Rome Above him, would have chased the stag to-day In the full face of all the Roman camp? A miracle that they let him home again, Not caught, maim'd, blinded him.
(Aside.) I have made her tremble. (Aloud.) I know they mean to torture him to death. I dare not tell him how I came to know it; I durst not trust him with--my serving Rome To serve Galatia: you heard him on the letter. Not say as much? I all but said as much. I am sure I told him that his plot was folly. I say it to you--you are wiser--Rome knows all, But you know not the savagery of Rome.
CAMMA. O--have you power with Rome? use it for him!
SYNORIX. Alas! I have no such power with Rome. All that Lies with Antonius.
[As if struck by a sudden thought. Comes over to her.
He will pass to-morrow In the gray dawn before the Temple doors. You have beauty,--O great beauty,--and Antonius, So gracious toward women, never yet Flung back a woman's prayer. Plead to him, I am sure you will prevail.
CAMMA. Still--I should tell My husband.
SYNORIX. Will he let you plead for him To a Roman?
CAMMA. I fear not.
SYNORIX. Then do not tell him. Or tell him, if you will, when you return, When you have charm'd our general into mercy, And all is safe again. O dearest lady,
[Murmurs of 'Synorix! Synorix!' heard outside.
CAMMA. I will, I will. And I will not betray you.
SYNORIX (aside). (As SINNATUS enters.) Stand apart.
Enter SINNATUS and ATTENDANT.
SINNATUS. Thou art that Synorix! One whom thou hast wrong'd Without there, knew thee with Antonius. They howl for thee, to rend thee head from limb.
SYNORIX. I am much malign'd. I thought to serve Galatia.
SINNATUS. Serve thyself first, villain! They shall not harm My guest within my house. There! (points to door) there! this door Opens upon the forest! Out, begone! Henceforth I am thy mortal enemy.
SYNORIX. However I thank thee (draws his sword); thou hast saved my life. [Exit.
SINNATUS. (To Attendant.) Return and tell them Synorix is not here. [Exit Attendant. What did that villain Synorix say to you?
GAMMA. Is he--that--Synorix?
SINNATUS. Wherefore should you doubt it? One of the men there knew him.
CAMMA. Only one, And he perhaps mistaken in the face.
SINNATUS. Come, come, could he deny it? What did he say?
CAMMA. What should he say?
SINNATUS. What should he say, my wife! He should say this, that being Tetrarch once His own true people cast him from their doors Like a base coin.
CAMMA. Not kindly to them?
SINNATUS. Kindly? O the most kindly Prince in all the world! Would clap his honest citizens on the back, Bandy their own rude jests with them, be curious About the welfare of their babes, their wives, O ay--their wives--their wives. What should he say? He should say nothing to my wife if I Were by to throttle him! He steep'd himself In all the lust of Rome. How should you guess What manner of beast it is?
CAMMA. Yet he seem'd kindly, And said he loathed the cruelties that Rome Wrought on her vassals.
SINNATUS. Did he, honest man?
CAMMA. And you, that seldom brook the stranger here, Have let him hunt the stag with you to-day.
SINNATUS. I warrant you now, he said he struck the stag.
CAMMA. Why no, he never touch'd upon the stag.
SINNATUS. Why so I said, my arrow. Well, to sleep. [Goes to close door.
CAMMA. Nay, close not yet the door upon a night That looks half day.
SINNATUS. True; and my friends may spy him And slay him as he runs.
CAMMA. He is gone already. Oh look,--yon grove upon the mountain,--white In the sweet moon as with a lovelier snow! But what a blotch of blackness underneath! Sinnatus, you remember--yea, you must, That there three years ago--the vast vine-bowers Ran to the summit of the trees, and dropt Their streamers earthward, which a breeze of May Took ever and anon, and open'd out The purple zone of hill and heaven; there You told your love; and like the swaying vines-- Yea,--with our eyes,--our hearts, our prophet hopes Let in the happy distance, and that all But cloudless heaven which we have found together In our three married years! You kiss'd me there For the first time. Sinnatus, kiss me now.
SINNATUS. First kiss. (Kisses her.) There then. You talk almost as if it Might be the last.
CAMMA. Will you not eat a little?
SINNATUS. No, no, we found a goat-herd's hut and shared His fruits and milk. Liar! You will believe Now that he never struck the stag--a brave one Which you shall see to-morrow.
CAMMA. I rise to-morrow In the gray dawn, and take this holy cup To lodge it in the shrine of Artemis.
CAMMA. If I be not back in half an hour, Come after me.
SINNATUS. What! is there danger?
CAMMA. Nay, None that I know: 'tis but a step from here To the Temple.
SINNATUS. All my brain is full of sleep. Wake me before you go, I'll after you-- After me now! [Closes door and exit.
CAMMA (drawing curtains). Your shadow. Synorix-- His face was not malignant, and he said That men malign'd him. Shall I go? Shall I go? Death, torture-- 'He never yet flung back a woman's prayer'-- I go, but I will have my dagger with me.
SCENE III.--Same as Scene I. Dawn.
Music and Singing in the Temple.
Enter SYNORIX watchfully, after him PUBLIUS and SOLDIERS.
SYNORIX. Do you remember what I told you?
PUBLIUS. When you cry 'Rome, Rome,' to seize On whomsoever may be talking with you, Or man, or woman, as traitors unto Rome.
SYNORIX. Right. Back again. How many of you are there?
PUBLIUS. Some half a score. [Exeunt Soldiers and Publius.
SYNORIX. I have my guard about me. I need not fear the crowd that hunted me Across the woods, last night. I hardly gain'd The camp at midnight. Will she come to me Now that she knows me Synorix? Not if Sinnatus Has told her all the truth about me. Well, I cannot help the mould that I was cast in. I fling all that upon my fate, my star. I know that I am genial, I would be Happy, and make all others happy so They did not thwart me. Nay, she will not come. Yet if she be a true and loving wife She may, perchance, to save this husband. Ay! See, see, my white bird stepping toward the snare. Why now I count it all but miracle, That this brave heart of mine should shake me so, As helplessly as some unbearded boy's When first he meets his maiden in a bower.
Enter CAMMA (with cup).
SYNORIX. The lark first takes the sunlight on his wing, But you, twin sister of the morning star, Forelead the sun.
CAMMA. Where is Antonius?
SYNORIX. Not here as yet. You are too early for him. [She crosses towards Temple.
SYNORIX. Nay, whither go you now?
CAMMA. To lodge this cup Within the holy shrine of Artemis, And so return.
SYNORIX. To find Antonius here.
[She goes into the Temple, he looks after her.
The loveliest life that ever drew the light From heaven to brood upon her, and enrich Earth with her shadow! I trust she will return. These Romans dare not violate the Temple. No, I must lure my game into the camp. A woman I could live and die for. What! Die for a woman, what new faith is this? I am not mad, not sick, not old enough To doat on one alone. Yes, mad for her, Camma the stately, Camma the great-hearted, So mad, I fear some strange and evil chance Coming upon me, for by the Gods I seem Strange to myself.
CAMMA. Where is Antonius?
SYNORIX. Where? As I said before, you are still too early.
CAMMA. Too early to be here alone with thee; For whether men malign thy name, or no, It bears an evil savour among women. Where is Antonius? (Loud.)
SYNORIX. Madam, as you know The camp is half a league without the city; If you will walk with me we needs must meet Antonius coming, or at least shall find him There in the camp.
CAMMA. No, not one step with thee. Where is Antonius? (Louder.)
SYNORIX (advancing towards her). Then for your own sake, Lady, I say it with all gentleness, And for the sake of Sinnatus your husband, I must compel you.
CAMMA (drawing her dagger). Stay!--too near is death.
SYNORIX (disarming her). Is it not easy to disarm a woman?
Enter SINNATUS (seizes him from behind by the throat).
SYNORIX (throttled and scarce audible). Rome! Rome!
SINNATUS. Adulterous dog!
SYNORIX (stabbing him with CAMMA'S dagger). What! will you have it?
[CAMMA utters a cry and runs to SINNATUS.
SINNATUS (falls backward). I have it in my heart--to the Temple--fly-- For my sake--or they seize on thee. Remember! Away--farewell! [Dies.
CAMMA (runs up the steps into the Temple, looking back). Farewell!
SYNORIX (seeing her escape). The women of the Temple drag her in. Publius! Publius! No, Antonius would not suffer me to break Into the sanctuary. She hath escaped. [Looking down at SINNATUS. 'Adulterous dog!' that red-faced rage at me! Then with one quick short stab--eternal peace. So end all passions. Then what use in passions? To warm the cold bounds of our dying life And, lest we freeze in mortal apathy, Employ us, heat us, quicken us, help us, keep us From seeing all too near that urn, those ashes Which all must be. Well used, they serve us well. I heard a saying in Egypt, that ambition Is like the sea wave, which the more you drink, The more you thirst--yea--drink too much, as men Have done on rafts of wreck--it drives you mad. I will be no such wreck, am no such gamester As, having won the stake, would dare the chance Of double, or losing all. The Roman Senate, For I have always play'd into their hands, Means me the crown. And Camma for my bride-- The people love her--if I win her love, They too will cleave to me, as one with her. There then I rest, Rome's tributary king. [Looking down on SINNATUS. Why did I strike him?--having proof enough Against the man, I surely should have left That stroke to Rome. He saved my life too. Did he? It seem'd so. I have play'd the sudden fool. And that sets her against me--for the moment. Camma--well, well, I never found the woman I could not force or wheedle to my will. She will be glad at last to wear my crown. And I will make Galatia prosperous too, And we will chirp among our vines, and smile At bygone things till that (pointing to SINNATUS) eternal peace. Rome! Rome!
Enter PUBLIUS and SOLDIERS.
Twice I cried Rome. Why came ye not before?
PUBLIUS. Why come we now? Whom shall we seize upon?
SYNORIX (pointing to the body of SINNATUS). The body of that dead traitor Sinnatus. Bear him away.
Music and Singing in Temple.