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Pelleas and Melisande by Maurice Maeterlinck

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They have opened all the windows of the castle. It will be unusually
hot this afternoon.... Look, there is mother with Melisande at a
window of the tower....

GOLAUD.

Yes; they have taken refuge on the shady side.--Speaking of Melisande,
I heard what passed and what was said last night. I am quite aware all
that is but child's play; but it need not be repeated. Melisande is
very young and very impressionable; and she must be treated the more
circumspectly that she is perhaps with child at this moment.... She
is very delicate, hardly woman; and the least emotion might bring on
a mishap. It is not the first time I have noticed there might be
something between you.... You are older than she; it will suffice to
have told you.... Avoid her as much as possible; without affectation
moreover; without affectation....--What is it I see yonder on the
highway toward the forest?...

PELLEAS.

Some herds they are leading to the city....

GOLAUD.

They cry like lost children; you would say they smelt the butcher
already.--It will be time for dinner.--What a fine day! What a capital
day for the harvest!...
[_Exeunt._

SCENE V.--_Before the castle._

_Enter_ GOLAUD _and little_ YNIOLD.

GOLAUD.

Come, we are going to sit down here, Yniold; sit on my knee; we shall
see from here what passes in the forest. I do not see you any more
at all now. You abandon me too; you are always at little mother's....
Why, we are sitting just under little mother's windows.--Perhaps she
is saying her evening prayer at this moment.... But tell me, Yniold,
she is often with your uncle Pelleas, isn't she?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; always, little father; when you are not there, little
father....

GOLAUD.

Ah!--look; some one is going by with a lantern in the garden.--But I
have been told they did not like each other.... It seems they often
quarrel;... no? Is it true?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; it is true.

GOLAUD.

Yes?--Ah! ah!--But what do they quarrel about?

YNIOLD.

About the door.

GOLAUD.

What? about the door?--What are you talking about?--No, come, explain
yourself; why do they quarrel about the door?

YNIOLD.

Because it won't stay open.

GOLAUD.

Who wants it to stay open?--Come, why do they quarrel?

YNIOLD.

I don't know, little father; about the light.

GOLAUD.

I am not talking to you about the light; we will talk of that by and
by. I am talking to you about the door. Answer what I ask you; you
must learn to talk; it is time.... Do not put your hand in your mouth
so;... come....

YNIOLD.

Little father! little father!... I won't do it any more.... [_He
cries._]

GOLAUD.

Come; what are you crying for now? What has happened?

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! little father, you hurt me....

GOLAUD.

I hurt you?--Where did I hurt you? I did not mean to....

YNIOLD.

Here, here; on my little arm....

GOLAUD.

I did not mean to; come, don't cry any more, and I will give you
something to-morrow.

YNIOLD.

What, little father?

GOLAUD.

A quiver and some arrows; but tell me what you know about the door.

YNIOLD.

Big arrows?

GOLAUD.

Yes, yes; very big arrows.--But why don't they want the door to be
open?--Come, answer me sometime!--no, no; do not open your mouth to
cry. I am not angry. We are going to have a quiet talk, like Pelleas
and little mother when they are together. What do they talk about when
they are together?

YNIOLD.

Pelleas and little mother?

GOLAUD.

Yes; what do they talk about?

YNIOLD.

About me; always about me.

GOLAUD.

And what do they say about you?

YNIOLD.

They say I am going to be very big.

GOLAUD.

Oh, plague of my life!... I am here like a blind man searching for
his treasure at the bottom of the ocean!... I am here like a new-born
child lost in the forest, and you ... Come, come, Yniold, I was
wandering; we are going to talk seriously. Do Pelleas and little
mother never speak of me when I am not there?...

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, little father; they are always speaking of you.

GOLAUD.

Ah!... And what do they say of me?

YNIOLD.

They say I shall grow as big as you are.

GOLAUD.

You are always by them?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, always, always, little father.

GOLAUD.

They never tell you to go play somewhere else?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they are afraid when I am not there.

GOLAUD.

They are afraid?... What makes you think they are afraid?

YNIOLD.

Little mother always says, "Don't go away; don't go away!"... They are
unhappy, but they laugh....

GOLAUD.

But that does not prove they are afraid.

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, little father; she is afraid....

GOLAUD.

Why do you say she is afraid?

YNIOLD.

They always weep in the dark.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah!...

YNIOLD.

That makes one weep too.

GOLAUD.

Yes, yes!...

YNIOLD.

She is pale, little father.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah!... patience, my God, patience!...

YNIOLD.

What, little father?

GOLAUD.

Nothing, nothing, my child.--I saw a wolf go by in the forest.--Then
they get on well together?--I am glad to learn they are on good
terms.--They kiss each other sometimes--No?...

YNIOLD.

Kiss each other, little father?--No, no,--ah! yes, little father, yes;
yes; once ... once when it rained....

GOLAUD.

They kissed?--But how, how did they kiss?

YNIOLD.

So, little father, so!... [_He gives him a kiss on the mouth,
laughing._] Ah! ah! your beard, little father!... It pricks! it
pricks! it pricks! It is getting all gray, little father, and your
hair, too; all gray, all gray, all gray.... [_The window under which
they are sitting is lighted up at this moment, and the light falls
upon them._] Ah! ah! little mother has lit her lamp. It is light,
little father; it is light....

GOLAUD.

Yes; it is beginning to be light....

YNIOLD.

Let us go there too, little father; let us go there too....

GOLAUD.

Where do you want to go?

YNIOLD.

Where it is light, little father.

GOLAUD.

No, no, my child; let us stay in the dark a little longer.... One
cannot tell, one cannot tell yet.... Do you see those poor people down
there trying to kindle a little fire in the forest?--It has rained.
And over there, do you see the old gardener trying to lift that tree
the wind has blown down across the road?--He cannot; the tree is too
big; the tree is too heavy, and it will lie where it fell. All that
cannot be helped.... I think Pelleas is mad....

YNIOLD.

No, little father, he is not mad; he is very good.

GOLAUD.

Do you want to see little mother?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; I want to see her!

GOLAUD.

Don't make any noise; I am going to hoist you up to the window. It is
too high for me, for all I am so big.... [_He lifts the child._] Do
not make the least noise; little mother would be terribly afraid....
Do you see her?--Is she in the room?

YNIOLD.

Yes.... Oh, how light it is!

GOLAUD.

She is alone?

YNIOLD.

Yes;... no, no; Uncle Pelleas Is there, too.

GOLAUD.

He--...!

YNIOLD.

Ah! ah! little father! you have hurt me!...

GOLAUD.

It is nothing; be still; I will not do it any more; look, look,
Yniold!... I stumbled; speak lower. What are they doing?--

YNIOLD.

They are not doing anything, little father; they are waiting for
something.

GOLAUD.

Are they near each other?

YNIOLD.

No, little father.

GOLAUD.

And ... and the bed? are they near the bed?

YNIOLD.

The bed, little father?--I can't see the bed.

GOLAUD.

Lower, lower; they will hear you. Are they speaking?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not speak.

GOLAUD.

But what are they doing?--They must be doing something....

YNIOLD.

They are looking at the light.

GOLAUD.

Both?

YNIOLD.

Yes, little father.

GOLAUD.

They do not say anything?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not close their eyes.

GOLAUD.

They do not come near each other?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not stir.

GOLAUD.

They are sitting down?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they are standing upright against the wall.

GOLAUD.

They make no gestures?--They do not look at each other?--They make no
signs?...

YNIOLD.

No, little father.--Oh! oh! little father; they never close their
eyes.... I am terribly afraid....

GOLAUD.

Be still. They do not stir yet?

YNIOLD.

No, little father.--I am afraid, little father; let me come down!...

GOLAUD.

Why, what are you afraid of?--Look! look!...

YNIOLD.

I dare not look any more, little father!... Let me come down!...

GOLAUD.

Look! look!...

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! I am going to cry, little father!--Let me come down! let me
come down!,..

GOLAUD.

Come; we will go see what has happened.
[_Exeunt._

ACT FOURTH

SCENE I.--_A corridor in the castle._

_Enter_ PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE, _meeting_.

PELLEAS.

Where goest thou? I must speak to thee to-night. Shall I see thee?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

I have just left my father's room. He is getting better. The physician
has told us he is saved.... And yet this morning I had a presentiment
this day would end ill. I have had a rumor of misfortune in my ears
for some time.... Then, all at once there was a great change; to-day
it is no longer anything but a question of time. All the windows in
his room have been thrown open. He speaks; he seems happy. He does not
speak yet like an ordinary man, but already his ideas no longer all
come from the other world.... He recognized me. He took my hand and
said with that strange air he has had since he fell sick: "Is it thou,
Pelleas? Why, why, I had not noticed it before, but thou hast the
grave and friendly look of those who will not live long.... You must
travel; you must travel...." It is strange; I shall obey him.... My
mother listened to him and wept for joy.--Hast thou not been aware of
it?--The whole house seems already to revive, you hear breathing, you
hear speaking, you hear walking.... Listen; I hear some one speaking
behind that door. Quick, quick! answer quickly! where shall I see
thee?

MELISANDE.

Where wouldst thou?

PELLEAS.

In the park; near "Blind Man's Spring."--Wilt thou?--Wilt thou come?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

It will be the last night;--I am going to travel, as my father said.
Thou wilt not see me more....

MELISANDE.

Do not say that, Pelleas.... I shall see thee always; I shall look
upon thee always....

PELLEAS.

Thou wilt look in vain.... I shall be so far away thou couldst no
longer see me.... I shall try to go very far away.... I am full of
joy, and you would say I had all the weight of heaven and earth on my
body to-day....

MELISANDE.

What has happened, Pelleas?--I no longer understand what you say....

PELLEAS.

Go, go; let us separate. I hear some one speaking behind that door....
It is the strangers who came to the castle this morning.... They are
going out.... Let us go; it is the strangers.... [_Exeunt severally._

SCENE II.--_An apartment in the castle._ ARKEL _and_ MELISANDE
_discovered._

ARKEL.

Now that Pelleas's father is saved, and sickness, the old handmaid of
Death, has left the castle, a little joy and a little sunlight will
at last come into the house again.... It was time!--For, since thy
coming, we have only lived here whispering about a closed room.... And
truly I have pitied thee, Melisande.... Thou camest here all joyous,
like a child seeking a gala-day, and at the moment thou enteredst in
the vestibule I saw thy face change, and probably thy soul, as the
face changes in spite of us when we enter at noon into a grotto too
gloomy and too cold.... And since,--since, on account of all that, I
have often no longer understood thee.... I observed thee, thou went
there, listless perhaps, but with the strange, astray look of one
awaiting ever a great trouble, in the sunlight, in a beautiful
garden.... I cannot explain.... But I was sad to see thee so; for thou
art too young and too beautiful to live already day and night under
the breath of death.... But now all that will change. At my age,--and
there perhaps is the surest fruit of my life,--at my age I have gained
I know not what faith in the fidelity of events, and I have always
seen that every young and beautiful being creates about itself young,
beautiful, and happy events.... And it is thou who wilt now open the
door for the new era I have glimpses of.... Come here; why dost thou
stay there without answering and without lifting thine eyes?--I have
kissed thee but once only hitherto,--the day of thy coming; and yet
old men need sometimes to touch with their lips a woman's forehead or
a child's cheek, to believe still in the freshness of life and avert
awhile the menaces.... Art thou afraid of my old lips? How I have
pitied thee these months!...

MELISANDE.

Grandfather, I have not been unhappy....

ARKEL.

Perhaps you were of those who are unhappy without knowing it,... and
they are the most unhappy.... Let me look at thee, so, quite near, a
moment;... we have such need of beauty beside Death....

_Enter_ GOLAUD.

GOLAUD.

Pelleas leaves to-night.

ARKEL.

Thou hast blood on thy forehead.--What hast thou done?

GOLAUD.

Nothing, nothing.... I have passed through a hedge of thorns.

MELISANDE.

Bend down your head a little, my lord.... I will wipe your
forehead....

GOLAUD (_repulsing her_).

I will not that you touch me, do you understand? Go, go!--I am not
speaking to you.--Where is my sword?--I came to seek my sword....

MELISANDE.

Here; on the praying-stool.

GOLAUD.

Bring it. [_To_ ARKEL.]--They have just found another peasant dead of
hunger, along by the sea. You would say they all meant to die under
our eyes.--[_To_ MELISANDE.] Well, my sword?--Why do you tremble
so?--I am not going to kill you. I would simply examine the blade. I
do not employ the sword for these uses. Why do you examine me like a
beggar?--I do not come to ask alms of you. You hope to see something
in my eyes without my seeing anything in yours?--Do you think I may
know something?--[_To_ ARKEL.]--Do you see those great eyes?--It is as
if they were proud of their richness....

ARKEL.

I see there only a great innocence....

GOLAUD.

A great innocence!... They are greater than innocence!... They are
purer than the eyes of a lamb.... They would give God lessons in
innocence! A great innocence! Listen: I am so near them I feel the
freshness of their lashes when they wink; and yet I am less far away
from the great secrets of the other world than from the smallest
secret of those eyes!... A great innocence!... More than innocence!
You would say the angels of heaven celebrated there an eternal
baptism!... I know those eyes! I have seen them at their work! Close
them! close them! or I shall close them for a long while!...--Do
not put your right hand to your throat so; I am saying a very simple
thing.... I have no under-thought.... If I had an under-thought, why
should I not say it? Ah! ah!--do not attempt to flee!--Here!--Give
me that hand!--Ah! your hands are too hot.... Go away! Your flesh
disgusts me!... Here!--There is no more question of fleeing now!--[_He
seizes her by the hair._]--You shall follow me on your knees!--On your
knees!--On your knees before me!--Ah! ah! your long hair serves
some purpose at last!... Right,... left!--Left,... right!--Absalom!
Absalom.--Forward! back! To the ground! to the ground!... You see, you
see; I laugh already like an old man....

ARKEL (_running up_).

Golaud!...

GOLAUD (_affecting a sudden calm_).

You will do as you may please, look you.--I attach no importance
to that.--I am too old; and, besides, I am not a spy. I shall await
chance; and then ... Oh! then!... simply because it is the custom;
simply because it is the custom.... [_Exit._

ARKEL.

What ails him?--He is drunk?

MELISANDE (_in tears_).

No, no; he does not love me any more.... I am not happy!... I am not
happy!...

ARKEL.

If I were God, I would have pity on men's hearts....

SCENE III.--_A terrace of the castle. Little_ YNIOLD _discovered,
trying to lift a bowlder._

LITTLE YNIOLD.

Oh, this stone is heavy!... It is heavier than I am.... It is
heavier than everybody.... It is heavier than everything that ever
happened.... I can see my golden ball between the rock and this
naughty stone, and I cannot reach it.... My little arm is not long
enough,... and this stone won't be lifted.... I can't lift it,... and
nobody could lift it.... It is heavier than the whole house;... you
would think it had roots in the earth.... [_The Bleatings of a flock
heard far away._]--Oh! oh! I hear the sheep crying.... [_He goes to
look, at the edge of the terrace._] Why! there is no more sun.... They
are coming ... the little sheep ... they are coming.... There is a lot
of them!... There is a lot of them!... They are afraid of the dark....
They crowd together! they crowd together!... They can hardly walk any
more.... They are crying! they are crying! and they go quick!... They
go quick!... They are already at the great crossroads. Ah! ah! They
don't know where they ought to go any more.... They don't cry any
more.... They wait.... Some of them want to go to the right....
They all want to go to the right.... They cannot!... The shepherd is
throwing earth at them.... Ah! ah! They are going to pass by here....
They obey! They obey! They are going to pass under the terrace....
They are going to pass under the rocks.... I am going to see them near
by.... Oh! oh! what a lot of them!... What a lot of them!... The
whole road is full of them.... They all keep still now ... Shepherd!
shepherd! why don't they speak any more?

THE SHEPHERD (_who is out of sight_).

Because it is no longer the road to the stable....

YNIOLD.

Where are they going?--Shepherd! shepherd!--where are they going?--He
doesn't hear me any more. They are too far away already.... They go
quick.... They are not making a noise any more.... It is no longer the
road to the stable.... Where are they going to sleep to-night?--Oh!
oh!--It is too dark.... I am going to tell something to somebody....
[_Exit._

SCENE IV.--_A fountain in the park._

_Enter_ PELLEAS.

PELLEAS.

It is the last evening ... the last evening. It must all end. I have
played like a child about a thing I did not guess.... I have played
a-dream about the snares of fate.... Who has awakened me all at once?
I shall flee, crying out for joy and woe like a blind man fleeing
from his burning house.... I am going to tell her I shall flee....
My father is out of danger; and I have no more reason to lie to
myself.... It is late; she does not come.... I should do better to
go away without seeing her again.... I must look well at her this
time.... There are some things that I no longer recall.... It seems at
times as if I had not seen her for a hundred years.... And I have not
yet looked upon her look.... There remains nought to me if I go away
thus. And all those memories ... it is as if I were to take away a
little water in a muslin bag.... I must see her one last time, to the
bottom of her heart.... I must tell her all that I have never told
her.

_Enter_ MELISANDE.

MELISANDE.

Pelleas!

Melisande!--Is it thou, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

Come hither; do not stay at the edge of the moonlight.--Come hither.
We have so many things to tell each other.... Come hither in the
shadow of the linden.

MELISANDE.

Let me stay in the light....

PELLEAS.

We might be seen from the windows of the tower. Come hither; here, we
have nothing to fear.--Take care; we might be seen....

MELISANDE.

I wish to be seen....

PELLEAS.

Why, what doth ail thee?--Thou wert able to come out without being
seen?

MELISANDE.

Yes; your brother slept....

PELLEAS.

It is late.--In an hour they will close the gates. We must be careful.
Why art thou come so late?

MELISANDE.

Your brother had a bad dream. And then my gown was caught on the nails
of the gate. See, it is torn. I lost all this time, and ran....

PELLEAS.

My poor Melisande!... I should almost be afraid to touch thee.... Thou
art still out of breath, like a hunted bird.... It is for me, for me,
thou doest all that?... I hear thy heart beat as if it were mine....
Come hither ... nearer, nearer me....

MELISANDE.

Why do you laugh?

PELLEAS.

I do not laugh;--or else I laugh for joy, unwittingly.... It were a
weeping matter, rather....

MELISANDE.

We have come here before.... I recollect....

PELLEAS.

Yes ... yes.... Long months ago.--I knew not then.... Knowest thou why
I asked thee to come here to-night?

MELISANDE.

No.

PELLEAS.

It is perhaps the last time I shall see thee.... I must go away
forever....

MELISANDE.

Why sayest thou always thou wilt go away?...

PELLEAS.

I must tell thee what thou knowest already?--Thou knowest not what I
am going to tell thee?

MELISANDE.

Why, no; why, no; I know nothing--...

PELLEAS.

Thou knowest not why I must go afar.... Thou knowest not it is
because ... [_He kisses her abruptly._] I love thee....

MELISANDE (_in a low voice_).

I love thee too....

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! What saidst thou, Melisande?... I hardly heard it!... Thou
sayest that in a voice coming from the end of the world!... I hardly
heard thee.... Thou lovest me?--Thou lovest me too?... Since when
lovest thou me?...

MELISANDE.

Since always.... Since I saw thee....

PELLEAS.

Oh, how thou sayest that!... Thy voice seems to have blown across the
sea in spring!... I have never heard it until now;... one would say
it had rained on my heart!... Thou sayest that so frankly!... Like an
angel questioned!... I cannot believe it, Melisande!... Why shouldst
thou love me?--Nay, why dost thou love me?--Is what thou sayest
true?--Thou dost not mock me?--Thou dost not lie a little, to make me
smile?...

MELISANDE.

No; I never lie; I lie but to thy brother....

PELLEAS.

Oh, how thou sayest that!... Thy voice! thy voice!... It is cooler and
more frank than the water is!... It is like pure water on my lips!...
It is like pure water on my hands.... Give me, give me thy hands!...
Oh, how small thy hands are!... I did not know thou wert so
beautiful!... I have never seen anything so beautiful before thee....
I was fall of unrest; I sought throughout the house.... I sought
throughout the country.... And I found not beauty.... And now I have
found thee!... I have found thee!.,. I do not think there could be on
the earth a fairer woman!... Where art thou?--I no longer hear thee
breathe....

MELISANDE.

Because I look on thee....

PELLEAS.

Why dost thou look so gravely on me?--We are already in the
shadow.--It is too dark under this tree. Come into the light. We
cannot see how happy we are. Come, come; so little time remains to
us....

MELISANDE.

No, no; let us stay here.... I am nearer thee in the dark....

PELLEAS.

Where are thine eyes?--Thou art not going to fly me?--Thou dost not
think of me just now.

MELISANDE.

Oh, yes; oh, yes; I only think of thee....

PELLEAS.

Thou wert looking elsewhere....

MELISANDE.

I saw thee elsewhere....

PELLEAS.

Thy soul is far away.... What ails thee, then?--Meseems thou art not
happy....

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; I am happy, but I am sad....

PELLEAS.

One is sad often when one loves....

MELISANDE.

I weep always when I think of thee....

PELLEAS.

I too.... I too, Melisande.... I am quite near thee; I weep for joy,
and yet ...[_He kisses her again._]--Thou art strange when I kiss thee
so.... Thou art so beautiful that one would think thou wert about to
die....

MELISANDE.

Thou too....

PELLEAS.

There, there.... We do not what we will.... I did not love thee the
first time I saw thee....

MELISANDE.

Nor I ... nor I.... I was afraid....

PELLEAS.

I could not admit thine eyes.... I would have gone away at once ...
and then....

MELISANDE.

And I,--I would not have come.... I do not yet know why,--I was afraid
to come....

PELLEAS.

There are so many things one never knows. We are ever waiting; and
then.... What is that noise?--They are closing the gates!...

MELISANDE.

Yes, they have closed the gates....

PELLEAS.

We cannot go back now?--Hearest thou the bolts?--Listen! listen!...
the great chains!... the great chains!... It is too late; it is too
late!...

MELISANDE.

All the better! all the better! all the better!...

PELLEAS.

Thou--...? Behold, behold!... It is no longer we who will it so!...
All's lost, all's saved! all is saved to-night!--Come, come.... My
heart beats like a madman,--up to my very throat.... [_They embrace._]
Listen! listen! my heart is almost strangling me.... Come! come!...
Ah, how beautiful it is in the shadows!...

MELISANDE.

There is some one behind us!...

PELLEAS.

I see no one....

MELISANDE.

I heard a noise....

PELLEAS.

I hear only thy heart in the dark....

MELISANDE.

I heard the crackling of dead leaves....

PELLEAS.

Because the wind is silent all at once.... It fell as we were
kissing....

MELISANDE.

How long our shadows are to-night!...

PELLEAS.

They embrace to the very end of the garden. Oh, how they kiss far away
from us!... Look! look!...

MELISANDE.(_a stifled voice_).

A-a-h!--He is behind a tree!

PELLEAS.

Who?

MELISANDE.

Golaud!

PELLEAS.

Golaud!--where?--I see nothing....

MELISANDE.

There ... at the end of our shadows.

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; I saw him.... Let us not turn abruptly....

MELISANDE.

He has his sword....

PELLEAS.

I have not mine....

MELISANDE.

He saw us kiss....

PELLEAS.

He does not know we have seen him.... Do not stir; do not turn your
head.... He would rush headlong on us.... He will remain there while
he thinks we do not know. He watches us.... He is still motionless....
Go, go at once this way.... I will wait for him.... I will stop
him....

MELISANDE.

No, no, no!...

PELLEAS.

Go! go! he has seen all!... He will kill us!...

MELISANDE.

All the better! all the better! all the better!...

PELLEAS.

He comes! he comes!... Thy mouth!... Thy mouth!...

MELISANDE.

Yes!... yes! yes!...
[_They kiss desperately._

PELLEAS

Oh! oh! All the stars are falling!...

MELISANDE.

Upon me too! upon me too!...

PELLEAS.

Again! Again!... Give! give!...

MELISANDE.

All! all! all!...

[Golaud rushes upon them, sword in hand, and strikes Pelleas, who
falls at the brink of the fountain. Melisande flees terrified.]

MELISANDE. (_fleeing_).

Oh! oh! I have no courage I ... I have no courage!...

[GOLAUD _pursues her through the wood in silence._

ACT FIFTH.

SCENE I.--_A lower hall in the castle. The women servants discovered,
gathered together, while without children are playing before one of
the ventilators of the hall._

AN OLD SERVANT.

You will see, you will see, my daughters; it will be to-night.--Some
one will come to tell us by and by....

ANOTHER SERVANT.

They will not come to tell us.... They don't know what they are doing
any longer....

THIRD SERVANT.

Let us wait here....

FOURTH SERVANT.

We shall know well enough when we must go up....

FIFTH SERVANT.

When the time is come, we shall go up of ourselves....

SIXTH SERVANT.

There is no longer a sound heard in the house....

SEVENTH SERVANT.

We ought to make the children keep still, who are playing before the
ventilator.

EIGHTH SERVANT.

They will be still of themselves by and by.

NINTH SERVANT.

The time has not yet come....

_Enter an old Servant._

THE OLD SERVANT.

No one can go in the room any longer. I have listened more than
an hour.... You could hear the flies walk on the doors.... I heard
nothing....

FIRST SERVANT.

Has she been left alone in the room?

THE OLD SERVANT.

No, no; I think the room is full of people.

FIRST SERVANT.

They will come, they will come, by and by....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Lord! Lord! It is not happiness that has come into the house.... One
may not speak, but if I could say what I know...

SECOND SERVANT.

It was you who found them before the gate?

THE OLD SERVANT.

Why, yes! why, yes! it was I who found them. The porter says it was
he who saw them first; but it was I who waked them. He was sleeping on
his face and would not get up.--And now he comes saying, "It was I who
saw them first." Is that just?--See, I burned myself lighting a lamp
to go down cellar.--Now what was I going to do down cellar?--I can't
remember any more what I was going to do down cellar.--At any rate I
got up very early; it was not yet very light; I said to myself, I will
go across the courtyard, and then I will open the gate. Good; I
go down the stairs on tiptoe, and I open the gate as if it were an
ordinary gate.... My God! My God! What do I see? Divine a little what
I see!...

FIRST SERVANT.

They were before the gate?

THE OLD SERVANT.

They were both stretched out before the gate!... Exactly like poor
folk that are too hungry.... They were huddled together like little
children who are afraid.... The little princess was nearly dead, and
the great Golaud had still his sword in his side.... There was blood
on the sill....

SECOND SERVANT.

We ought to make the children keep still.... They are screaming with
all their might before the ventilator....

THIRD SERVANT.

You can't hear yourself speak....

FOURTH SERVANT.

There is nothing to be done: I have tried already; they won't keep
still....

FIRST SERVANT.

It seems he is nearly cured?

THE OLD SERVANT.

Who?

FIRST SERVANT.

The great Golaud.

THIRD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; they have taken him to his wife's room. I met them just
now, in the corridor. They were holding him up as if he were drunk. He
cannot yet walk alone.

THE OLD SERVANT.

He could not kill himself; he is too big. But she is hardly wounded,
and it is she who is going to die.... Can you understand that?

FIRST SERVANT.

You have seen the wound?

THE OLD SERVANT.

As I see you, my daughter.--I saw everything, you understand.... I saw
it before all the others.... A tiny little wound under her little left
breast,--a little wound that wouldn't kill a pigeon. Is it natural?

FIRST SERVANT.

Yes, yes; there is something underneath....

SECOND SERVANT.

Yes; but she was delivered of her babe three days ago....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Exactly!... She was delivered on her death-bed; is that a little
sign?--And what a child! Have you seen it?--A wee little girl a beggar
would not bring into the world.... A little wax figure that came much
too soon;... a little wax figure that must live in lambs' wool....
Yes, yes; it is not happiness that has come into the house....

FIRST SERVANT.

Yes, yes; it Is the hand of God that has been stirring....

SECOND SERVANT.

Yes, yes; all that did not happen without reason....

THIRD SERVANT.

It is as good lord Pelleas ... where is he?--No one knows....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; everybody knows.... But nobody dare speak of it.... One does
not speak of this;... one does not speak of that;... one speaks no
more of anything;... one no longer speaks truth.... But _I_ know he
was found at the bottom of Blind Man's Spring;... but no one, no one
could see him.... Well, well, we shall only know all that at the last
day....

FIRST SERVANT.

I dare not sleep here any longer....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; once ill-fortune is in the house, one keeps silence in
vain....

THIRD SERVANT.

Yes; it finds you all the same....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; but we do not go where we would....

FOURTH SERVANT.

Yes, yes; we do not do what we would....

FIRST SERVANT.

They are afraid of us now....

SECOND SERVANT.

They all keep silence....

THIRD SERVANT.

They cast down their eyes in the corridors.

FOURTH SERVANT.

They do not speak any more except in a low voice.

FIFTH SERVANT.

You would think they had all done it together.

SIXTH SERVANT.

One doesn't know what they have done....

SEVENTH SERVANT.

What is to be done when the masters are afraid?... [_A silence_.

FIRST SERVANT.

I no longer hear the children screaming.

SECOND SERVANT.

They are sitting down before the ventilator.

THIRD SERVANT.

They are huddled against each other.

THE OLD SERVANT.

I no longer hear anything in the house....

FIRST SERVANT.

You no longer even hear the children breathe....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Come, come; it is time to go up....
[_Exeunt in silence._

SCENE II.--_An apartment in the castle._

ARKEL, GOLAUD, _and the_ PHYSICIAN _discovered in one corner of the
room._ MELISANDE _is stretched upon her bed._

THE PHYSICIAN.

It cannot be of that little wound she is dying; a bird would not have
died of it.... It is not you, then, who have killed her, good my lord;
do not be so disconsolate.... She could not have lived.... She was
born without reason ... to die; and she dies without reason.... And
then, it is not sure we shall not save her....

ARKEL.

No, no; it seems to me we keep too silent, in spite of ourselves, in
her room.... It is not a good sign.... Look how she sleeps ... slowly,
slowly;... it is as if her soul was cold forever....

GOLAUD.

I have killed her without cause! I have killed her without cause!...
Is it not enough to make the stones weep?... They had kissed like
little children.... They had simply kissed.... They were brother and
sister.... And I, and I at once!... I did it in spite of myself, look
you.... I did it in spite of myself....

THE PHYSICIAN.

Stop; I think she is waking....

MELISANDE.

Open the window;... open the window....

ARKEL

Shall I open this one, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

No, no; the great window ... the great window.... It is to see....

ARKEL.

Is not the sea air too cold to-night? Do it; do it....

MELISANDE.

Thanks.... Is it sunset?

ARKEL.

Yes; it is sunset on the sea; it is late.--How are you, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

Well, well.--Why do you ask that? I have never been better.--And yet
it seems to me I know something....

ARKEL.

What sayest thou?--I do not understand thee....

MELISANDE.

Neither do I understand all I say, you see.... I do not know what I
am saying.... I do not know what I know.... I no longer say what I
would....

ARKEL.

Why, yes! why, yes!... I am quite happy to hear thee speak so; thou
hast raved a little these last days, and one no longer understood
thee.... But now all that is far away....

MELISANDE.

I do not know....--Are you all alone in the room, grandfather?

ARKEL.

No; there is the physician, besides, who cured thee....

MELISANDE.

Ah!...

ARKEL.

And then there is still some one else....

MELISANDE.

Who is it?

ARKEL.

It is ... thou must not be frightened.... He does not wish thee the
least harm, be sure.... If thou'rt afraid, he will go away.... He is
very unhappy....

MELISANDE.

Who is it?

ARKEL.

It is thy ... thy husband.... It is Golaud....

MELISANDE.

Golaud is here? Why does he not come by me?

GOLAUD (_dragging himself toward the bed._)

Melisande ... Melisande....

MELISANDE.

Is it you, Golaud? I should hardly recognize you any more.... It is
the evening sunlight in my eyes.... Why look you on the walls? You
have grown thin and old.... Is it a long while since we saw each
other?

GOLAUD (_to_ ARKEL _and the_ PHYSICIAN).

Will you withdraw a moment, if you please, if you please?... I will
leave the door wide open.... One moment only.... I would say something
to her; else I could not die.... Will you?--Go clear to the end of
the corridor; you can come back at once, at once.... Do not refuse
me this.... I am a wretch.... [_Exit_ ARKEL _and the_
PHYSICIAN.]--Melisande, hast thou pity on me, as I have pity on
thee?... Melisande?... Dost thou forgive me, Melisande?...

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes, I do forgive thee.... What must I forgive?...

GOLAUD.

I have wrought thee so much ill, Melisande.... I cannot tell thee the
ill I have wrought thee.... But I see it, I see it so clearly to-day
... since the first day.... And all I did not know till now leaps in
my eyes to-night.... And it is all my fault, all that has happened,
all that will happen.... If I could tell it, thou wouldst see as I
do!... I see all! I see all!... But I loved thee so!... I loved thee
so!... But now there is some one dying.... It is I who am dying....
And I would know.... I would ask thee.... Thou'lt bear me no
ill-will.... I would.... The truth must be told to a dying man.... He
must know the truth, or else he could not sleep.... Swearest thou to
tell me the truth?

MELISANDE

Yes.

GOLAUD.

Didst thou love Pelleas?

MELISANDE.

Why, yes; I loved him.--Where is he?

GOLAUD.

Thou dost not understand me?--Thou wilt not understand me?--It seems
to me ... it seems to me.... Well, then, here: I ask thee if thou
lovedst him with a forbidden love?... Wert thou ... were you guilty?
Say, say, yes, yes, yes!...

MELISANDE.

No, no; we were not guilty.--Why do you ask that?

GOLAUD.

Melisande!... tell me the truth, for the love of God!

MELISANDE.

Why have I not told the truth?

GOLAUD.

Do not lie so any more, at the moment of death!

MELISANDE.

Who is dying?--Is it I?

GOLAUD.

Thou, thou! and I, I too, after thee!... And we must have the
truth.... We must have the truth at last, dost thou understand?...
Tell me all! Tell me all! I forgive thee all!...

MELISANDE.

Why am I going to die?--I did not know it....

GOLAUD.

Thou knowest it now!... It is time! It is time!... Quick! quick!...
The truth! the truth!...

MELISANDE.

The truth ... the truth....

GOLAUD.

Where art thou?--Melisande!--Where art thou?--It is not natural!
Melisande! Where art thou?--Where goest thou? [_Perceiving_ ARKEL
_and the_ PHYSICIAN _at the door of the room.]--_ Yes, yes; you may
come in.... I know nothing; it is useless.... It is too late; she is
already too far away from us.... I shall never know!... I shall die
here like a blind man!...

ARKEL.

What have you done? You will kill her....

GOLAUD.

I have already killed her....

ARKEL.

Melisande....

MELISANDE.

Is it you, grandfather?

ARKEL.

Yes, my daughter.... What would you have me do?

MELISANDE.

Is it true that the winter is beginning?...

ARKEL.

Why dost thou ask?

MELISANDE.

Because it is cold, and there are no more leaves....

ARKEL.

Thou art cold?--Wilt thou have the windows closed?

MELISANDE.

No, no,... not till the sun be at the bottom of the sea.--It sinks
slowly; then it is the winter beginning?

ARKEL.

Yes.--Thou dost not like the winter?

MELISANDE.

Oh! no. I am afraid of the cold.--I am so afraid of the great cold....

ARKEL.

Dost thou feel better?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; I have no longer all those qualms....

ARKEL.

Wouldst thou see thy child?

MELISANDE.

What child?

ARKEL.

Thy child.--Thou art a mother.... Thou hast brought a little daughter
into the world....

MELISANDE.

Where is she?

ARKEL.

Here....

MELISANDE.

It is strange.... I cannot lift my arms to take her....

ARKEL.

Because you are still very weak.... I will hold her myself; look....

MELISANDE.

She does not laugh.... She is little.... She is going to weep too....
I pity her....

[The room has been invaded, little by little, by the women
servants of the castle, who range themselves in silence along
the walls and wait]

GOLAUD (_rising abruptly_).

What is the matter?--What are all these women coming here for?...

THE PHYSICIAN.

It is the servants....

ARKEL.

Who was it called them?

THE PHYSICIAN.

It was not I....

GOLAUD.

Why do you come here?--No one has asked for you.... What come you here
to do?--But what is it, then?--Answer me!...
[_The servants make no answer._

ARKEL.

Do not speak too loud.... She is going to sleep; she has closed her
eyes....

GOLAUD.

It is not...?

THE PHYSICIAN.

No, no; see, she breathes....

ARKEL.

Her eyes are full of tears.--It is her soul weeping now.... Why does
she stretch her arms out so?--What would she?

THE PHYSICIAN.

It is toward the child, without doubt.... It is the straggle of
motherhood against...

GOLAUD.

At this moment?--At this moment?--You must say. Say! Say!...

THE PHYSICIAN.

Perhaps.

GOLAUD.

At once?... Oh! oh! I must tell her....--Melisande! Melisande!...
Leave me alone! leave me alone with her!...

ARKEL.

No, no; do not come near.... Trouble her not.... Speak no more to
her.... You know not what the soul is....

GOLAUD.

It is not my fault!... It is not my fault!

ARKEL.

Hush!... Hush!... We must speak softly now.--She must not be
disturbed.... The human soul is very silent.... The human soul likes
to depart alone.... It suffers so timorously.... But the sadness,
Golaud ... the sadness of all we see!... Oh! oh! oh!... [_At this
moment, all the servants fall suddenly on their knees at the back of
the chamber._]

ARKEL (_turning_).

What is the matter?

THE PHYSICIAN (_approaching the bed and feeling the body_).

They are right....
[_A long silence._

ARKEL.

I saw nothing.--Are you sure?...

THE PHYSICIAN.

Yes, yes.

ARKEL.

I heard nothing.... So quick, so quick!... All at once!... She goes
without a word....

GOLAUD (_sobbing_).

Oh! oh! oh!

_ARKEL._

Do not stay here, Golaud.... She must have silence now.... Come,
come.... It is terrible, but it is not your fault.... 'T was a little
being, so quiet, so fearful, and so silent.... 'T was a poor little
mysterious being, like everybody.... She lies there as if she were the
big sister of her child.... Come, come.... My God! My God!... I shall
never understand it at all.... Let us not stay here.--Come; the child
most not stay here in this room.... She must live now in her place....
It is the poor little one's turn....
[_They go out in silence._

[CURTAIN.]

Alladine and Palomides.

_To Camille Mauclair_.

Persons.

ABLAMORE.

ASTOLAINE, _daughter of Ablamore_.

ALLADINE.

PALOMIDES.

THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

A PHYSICIAN.

[NOTE: The translation of Ablamore's song is taken from the version of
this play made by the editors of "Poet-lore." R.H.]

Alladine and Palomides.

* * * * *

ACT FIRST.

_A-wild part of the gardens_. ABLAMORE _discovered leaning over_
ALLADINE, _who is asleep_.

ABLAMORE.

Methinks sleep reigns day and night beneath these trees. Each time
she comes here with me toward nightfall, she is hardly seated when she
falls asleep. Alas! I must be glad even of that.... During the day,
whene'er I speak to her and her look happens to encounter mine, it is
hard as a slave's to whom a thing impossible has just been bidden....
Yet that is not her customary look.... I have seen her many times
resting her beautiful eyes on children, on the forest, the sea, or her
surroundings. She smiles at me as one smiles on a foe; and I dare not
bend over her save at times when her eyes can no longer see me.... I
have a few moments every evening; and all the rest of the day I live
beside her with my eyes cast down.... It is sad to love too late....
Maids cannot understand that years do not separate hearts.... They
have called me "The wise King."... I was wise because till now nothing
had happened to me.... There are men who seem to turn events aside.
It was enough that I should be about for nothing to be able to have
birth.... I had suspected it of old.... In the time of my youth, I had
many friends whose presence seemed to attract every adventure; but
the days when I went forth with them, for the encounter of joys or
sorrows, they came back again with empty hands.... I think I palsied
fate; and I long took pride in this gift. One lived under cover in my
reign.... But now I have recognized that misfortune itself is better
worth than sleep, and that there must be a life more active and higher
than waiting.... They shall see that I too have strength to trouble,
when I will, the water that seems dead at the bottom of the great
caldrons of the future.... Alladine, Alladine!... Oh! she is lovely
so, her hair over the flowers and over her pet lamb, her lips apart
and fresher than the morn.... I will kiss her without her knowing,
holding back my poor white beard.... [_He kisses her._]--She
smiled.... Should I pity her? For the few years she gives me, she will
some day be queen; and I shall have done a little good before I go
away.... They will be astonished.... She herself does not know.... Ah!
here she wakes with a start.... Where are you coming from, Alladine?

ALLADINE.

I have had a bad dream....

ABLAMORE.

What is the matter? Why do you look yonder?

ALLADINE.

Some one went by upon the road.

ABLAMORE.

I heard nothing.

ALLADINE.

I tell you some one is coming.... There he is! [_She points out a
young knight coming forward through the trees and holding his horse by
the bridle._] Do not take me by the hand; I am not afraid.... He has
not seen us....

ABLAMORE.

Who dares come here?... If I did not know.... I believe it is
Palomides.... It is Astolaine's betrothed.... He has raised his
head.... Is it you, Palomides?

_Enter_ PALOMIDES.

PALOMIDES.

Yes, my father.... If I am suffered yet to call you by that name.... I
come hither before the day and the hour....

ABLAMORE.

You are a welcome guest, whatever hour it be.... But what has
happened? We did not expect you for two days yet.... Is Astolaine
here, too?...

PALOMIDES.

No; she will come to-morrow. We have journeyed day and night. She was
tired and begged me to come on before.... Are my sisters come?

ABLAMORE.

They have been here three days waiting for your wedding.--You look
very happy, Palomides....

PALOMIDES.

Who would not be happy, to have found what he sought? I was sad of
old. But now the days seem lighter and more sweet than harmless birds
in the hand.... And if old moments come again by chance, I draw near
Astolaine, and you would think I threw a window open on the dawn....
She has a soul that can be seen around her,--that takes you in its
arms like an ailing child and without saying anything to you consoles
you for everything.... I shall never understand it at all.--I do not
know how it can all be; but my knees bend in spite of me when I speak
of it....

ALLADINE.

I want to go in again.

ABLAMORE.

[_Seeing that_ ALLADINE _and_ PALOMIDES _look at each other
stealthily._] This is little Alladine who has come hither from
the heart of Arcady.... Take hands ... Does that astonish you,
Palomides?...

PALOMIDES.

My father....

[PALOMIDES' _horse starts aside, frightening_ ALLADINE'S _lamb._]

ABLAMORE.

Take care.... Your horse has frightened Alladine's lamb.... He will
run away....

ALLADINE.

No; he never runs away.... He has been startled, but he will not
run away.... It is a lamb my godmother gave me.... He is not like
others.... He stays beside me night and day. [_Caressing it._

PALOMIDES (_also caressing it_).

He looks at me with the eyes of a child....

ALLADINE.

He understands everything that happens....

ABLAMORE.

It is time to go find your sisters, Palomides.... They will be
astonished to see you....

ALLADINE.

They have gone every day to the turning of the road.... I have gone
with them; but they did not hope yet....

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