The Purgatory Of St. Patrick - Act I

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EGERIUS, King of Ireland.
POLONIA, Daughter of the King.
LESBIA, her Sister.
PAUL, a Peasant.
LUCY, his Wife.
Two Canons Regular.
Two Peasants.
An Old Countryman.
A Muffled Figure.
Attendants, Friars, and others.

  *  *  *  *  *

The Scene passes in Ireland, in the Court of King Egerius, and other parts.



The King EGERIUS, clad in skins, LEOGAIRE, POLONIA, LESBIA, and a Captain.

KING [furious].  Here let me die.  Away!

LEOGAIRE.  Oh, stop, my lord!

CAPTAIN.  Consider . . .

LESBIA.  Listen . . .

POLONIA.  Stay . . .

KING.  Yes, from this rocky height,
Nigh to the sun, that with one starry light
Its rugged brow doth crown,
Headlong among the salt waves leaping down
Let him descend who so much pain perceives;
There let him raging die who raging lives.

LESBIA.  Why wildly seekest thou the sea?

POLONIA.  Thou wert asleep, my lord; what could it be?

KING.  Every torment that doth dwell
For ever with the thirsty fiends of hell --
Dark brood of that dread mother,
The seven-necked snake, whose poisoned breath doth smother
The fourth celestial sphere;
In fine, its horror and its misery drear
Within me reach so far,
That I myself upon myself make war,
When in the arms of sleep
A living corse am I, for it doth keep
Such mastery o'er my life, that, as I dream,
A pale foreshadowing threat of coming death I seem.

POLONIA.  How could a dream, my lord, provoke you so?

KING.  Alas! my daughters, listen, you shall know.
From out the lips of a most lovely youth
(And though a miserable slave, in sooth
I dare not hurt him, and I speak his praise),
Well, from the mouth of a poor slave, a blaze
Of lambent lustre came,
Which mildly burned in rays of gentlest flame;
Till reaching you,
The living fire at once consumed ye two.
I stood betwixt ye both, and though I sought
To stay its fury, the strange fire would not
Molest or wound me, passing like the wind,
So that despairing, blind,
I woke from out a deep abysm
Of dream, a lethargy, a paroxysm;
But find my pains the same,
For still it seems to me I see that flame,
And flying, at every turn
See you consumed; but now I also burn.

LESBIA.  Light phantoms these,
Chimeras which an entrance find with ease
Into the dreamer's brain.
[A trumpet sounds.
But wherefore sounds this trumpet?

CAPTAIN.  It is plain
Ships are approaching to our port below.

POLONIA.  Grant me thy leave, great lord, since thou dost know
A trumpet in my ear
Sounds like a siren's voice, serene and clear;
Ever to war inclined,
In martial music my chief joy I find;
Its clangour and its din
Lead my rapt senses on: for I may win
Through it my highest fame,
When soaring to the sun on waves of flame,
Or wings as swift, my proud name shall ascend,
There it may be with Pallas to contend.
A stronger motive urges me to go:
If it is Philip's ship I wish to know.

LEOGAIRE.  Descend, my lord, with me
Down where the foam-curled head of the blue sea
Bows at the base of this majestic hill,
Whose sands, like chains of gold, restrain its wilder will.

CAPTAIN.  Let it divert thy care,
This snow-white monster fair,
Whose waves of dazzling hue
Shape silver frames round mirrors sapphire blue.

KING.  Nothing can give relief;
Nothing can now divert me from my grief;
That mystic fire will give my life no rest,--
My heart an Etna seems within my breast.

LESBIA.  Is any sight more fair? can aught surpass
That of a vessel breaking through the glass
Of crystal seas, and seeming there to be,
As with light share it cuts the azure mass,
A fish of the wind, a swift bird of the sea,
And being for two elements designed,
Flies in the wave and swims upon the wind?
But now no witchery
Were it to any eyes that sight to see;
For lo! the roused-up ocean,
Heaving with all its mountain waves in motion,
Wrinkles its haughty brow,
And suddenly awaking,
Neptune, his trident shaking,
Ruffles the beauteous face so sweet and calm but now.
Well may the sailor in his floating home
Expect a storm, for, lo! in heaven's high vault
Rise pyramids of ice, mountains of salt,
Turrets of snow, and palaces of foam.

POLONIA returns.

POLONIA.  O dire misfortune!

KING.  What so suddenly
Has chanced, Polonia?

POLONIA.  This inconstant sea,
This Babel of wild waves that seeks heaven's gate,
So great its fury, and its rage so great,
Driven by a drought accursed,
(Who would have thought that waves themselves could thirst?)
Has swallowed in the depths of its dread womb,
But now, a numerous company, to whom
It consecrates below
Red sepulchres of coral, tombs of snow,
In silver-shining caves;
For from their prison out o'er all the waves
Has Aeolus the winds let loose, and they,
Without a law to guide them on their way,
Fell on that bark from which the trumpet rang,
A swan whose own sad obsequies it sang.
I from that cliff's stupendous height,
Which dares to intercept the great sun's light,
Looked full of hope along that vessel's track,
To see if it was Philip who came back;
Philip whose flag had borne upon the breeze
Thy royal arms triumphant through the seas;
When his sad wreck swept by,
And every sound was buried in a sigh,
His ruin seemed not wrought by seas or skies,
But by my lips and eyes,
Because my cries, the tears that made me blind,
Increased still more the water and the wind.

KING.  How! ye immortal deities,
Would you still try by threatenings such as these
What I can bear?
Is it your wish that I should mount and tear
This azure palace down, as if the shape
Of a new Nimrod I assumed, to show
How on my shoulders might the world escape,
Nor as I gazed below
Feel any fear, though all the abysses under
Were rent with fire and flame, with lightning and with thunder.

  *  *  *  *  *



PATRICK [within].  Ah me!

LEOGAIRE.  Some mournful voice.

KING.  What's this?

CAPTAIN.  The form,
As of a man who has escaped the storm,
Swims yonder to the land.

LESBIA.  And strives to give a life-sustaining hand
Unto another wretch, when he
Appeared about to sink in death's last agony.

POLONIA.  Poor traveller from afar,
Whom evil fate and thy malignant star
On this far shore have cast,
Let my voice guide thee, if amid the blast
My accents thou canst hear; since it is only
To rouse thy courage that I speak to thee.

[Enter PATRICK and LUIS ENIUS, clasping each other.

PATRICK.  Oh, God save me!

LUIS.  Oh, the devil save ME!

LESBIA.  They move my pity, these unhappy two.

KING.  Not mine, for what it is I never knew.

PATRICK.  Oh, sirs, if wretchedness
Can move most hearts to pity man's distress,
I will not think that here
A heart can be so cruel and severe
As to repel a wretch from out the wave.
Pity, for God's sake, at your feet I crave.

LUIS.  I don't, for I disdain it.
From God or man I never hope to gain it.

KING.  Say who you are; we then shall know
What hospitable care your needs we owe.
But first I will inform you of my name,
Lest ignorance of that perchance might claim
Exemption from respect, and words be said
Unworthy of the deference and the dread
That here my subjects show me,
Or wanting the due homage that you owe me.
I am the King Egerius,
The worthy lord of this small realm, for thus
I call it being mine;
Till 'tis the world, my sword shall not resign
Its valorous hope.  The dress,
Not of a king, but of wild savageness
I wear: to testify,
Thus seeming a wild beast, how wild am I.
No god my worship claims;
I do not even know the deities' names:
Here they no service nor respect receive;
To die and to be born is all that we believe.
Now that you know how much you should revere
My royal state, say who you are.

PATRICK.  Then hear:
Patrick is my name, my country
Ireland, and an humble hamlet,
Scarcely known to men, called Empthor,
Is my place of birth:  It standeth
Midway 'twixt the north and west,
On a mountain which is guarded
As a prison by the sea,--
In the island which hereafter
Will be called the Isle of Saints,
To its glory everlasting;
Such a crowd, great lord, therein
Will give up their lives as martyrs
In religious attestation
Of the faith, faith's highest marvel.
Of an Irish cavalier,
And of his chaste spouse and partner,
A French lady, I was born,
Unto whom I owe (oh, happy
That 'twas so!), beyond my birthright
Of nobility, the vantage
Of the Christian faith, the light
Of Christ's true religion granted
In the sacred rite of baptism,
Which a mark indelibly stampeth
On the soul, heaven's gate, as it
Is the sacrament first granted
By the Church.  My pious parents,
Having thus the debt exacted
From all married people paid
By my birth, retired thereafter
To two separate convents, where
In the purity and calmness
Of their chaste abodes they lived,
Till the fatal line of darkness,
Ending life, was reached, and they,
Fortified by every practice
Of the Catholic faith, in peace
Yielded up their souls in gladness,
Unto heaven their spirits giving,
Giving unto earth their ashes.
I, an orphan, then remained
Carefully and kindly guarded
By a very holy matron,
Underneath whose rule I hardly
Had completed one brief lustrum --
Five short years had scarce departed --
Five bright circles of the sun
Wheeling round on golden axles,
Twelve high zodiac signs illuming
And one earthly sphere, when happened
Through me an event that showed
God's omnipotence and marvels;
Since of weakest instruments
God makes use of, to enhance his
Majesty the more, to show
That for what men think the grandest
And most strange effects, to Him
Should alone the praise be granted.--
It so happened, and Heaven knoweth
That it is not pride, but rather
Pure religious zeal, that men
Should know how the Lord hath acted,
Makes me tell it, that one day
To my doors a blind man rambled,
Gormas was his name, who said,
"God who sends me here commands thee
In His name to give me sight;"
I, obedient to the mandate,
Made at once the sign of the cross
On his sightless eyes, that started
Into life and light once more
From their state of utter darkness.
At another time when heaven,
Muffled in the thickest, blackest
Clouds, made war upon the world,
Hurling at it lightning lances
Of white snow, which fell so thickly
On a mountain, that soon after
They being melted by the sun,
So filled up our streets and alleys,
So inundated our houses,
That amid the wild waves stranded
They were ships of bricks and stones,
Barks of cement and of plaster.
Who before saw waves on mountains?
Who 'mid woods saw ships at anchor?
I the sign of the cross then made
On the waters, and in accents,
In a tone of grave emotion,
In God's name the waves commanded
To retire: they turned that moment
And left dry the lands they ravaged.
Oh, great God! who will not praise Thee?
Who will not confess Thee Master?--
Other wonders I could tell you,
But my modesty throws shackles
On my tongue, makes mute my voice,
And my lips seals up and fastens.
I grew up, in fine, inclined
Less to arms than to the marvels
Knowledge can reveal: I gave me
Almost wholly up to master
Sacred Science, to the reading
Of the Lives of Saints, a practice
Which doth teach us faith, hope, zeal,
Charity and Christian manners.
In these studies thus immersed,
I one day approached the margin
Of the sea with some young friends,
Fellow-students and companions,
When a bark drew nigh, from which
Suddenly out-leaping landed
Armed men, fierce pirates they,
Who these seas, these islands, ravaged;
We at once were captives made,
And in order not to hazard
Losing us their prey, they sailed
Out to sea with swelling canvas.
Of this daring pirate boat
Philip de Roqui was the captain,
In whose breast, for his destruction,
Pride, the poisonous weed, was planted.
He the Irish seas and coast
Having thus for some days ravaged,
Taking property and life,
Pillaging our homes and hamlets;
But myself alone reserved
To be offered as a vassal,
As a slave to thee, O king!
In thy presence as he fancied.
Oh! how ignorant is man,
When of God's wise laws regardless,
When, without consulting Him,
He his future projects planneth!
Philip well, at sea might say so;
Since to-day, in sight of land here,
Heaven the while being all serene,
Mild the air, the water tranquil,
In an instant, in a moment,
He beheld his proud hopes blasted.
In the hollow-breasted waves
Roared the wind, the sea grew maddened,
Billows upon billows rolled
Mountain high, and wildly dashed them
Wet against the sun, as if
They its light would quench and darken.
The poop-lantern of our ship
Seemed a comet most erratic --
Seemed a moving exhalation,
Or a star from space outstarted;
At another time it touched
The profoundest deep sea-caverns,
Or the treacherous sands whereon
Ran the stately ship and parted.
Then the fatal waves became
Monuments of alabaster,
Tombs of coral and of pearl.
I (and why this boon was granted
Unto me by Heaven I know not,
Being so useless), with expanded
Arms, struck out, but not alone
My own life to save, nay rather
In the attempt to save this brave
Young man here, that life to barter;
For I know not by what secret
Instinct towards him I'm attracted;
And I think he yet will pay me
Back this debt with interest added.
Finally, through Heaven's great pity
We at length have happily landed,
Where my misery may expect it,
Or my better fate may grant it;
Since we are your slaves and servants,
That being moved by our disasters,
That being softened by our weeping,
Our sore plight may melt your hardness,
Our affliction force your kindness,
And our very pains command you.

KING.  Silence, miserable Christian,
For my very soul seems fastened
On thy words, compelling me,
How I know not, to regard thee
With strange reverence and fear,
Thinking thou must be that vassal --
That poor slave whom in my dream
I beheld outbreathing flashes,
Saw outflashing living fire,
In whose flame, so lithe and lambent,
My Polonia and my Lesbia
Like poor moths were burned to ashes.

PATRICK.  Know, the flame that from my mouth
Issued, is the true Evangel,
Is the doctrine of the Gospel:--
'Tis the word which I'm commanded
Unto thee to preach, O King!
To thy subjects and thy vassals,
To thy daughters, who shall be
Christians through its means.

KING.  Cease, fasten
Thy presumptuous lips, vile Christian,
For thy words insult and stab me.

LESBIA.  Stay!

POLONIA.  And wilt thou in thy pity
Try to save him from his anger?


POLONIA.  Forbear, and let him die.

LESBIA.  Thus to die by a king's hands here
Were unjust.  [Aside.]  (It is my pity
For these Christians prompts my answer.)

POLONIA.  If this second Joseph then,
Like the first one, would unravel,
Would interpret the king's dreams,
Do not dread the result, my father;
For if my being seen to burn
Indicates in any manner
I should ever be a Christian,
As impossible a marvel
Such would be, as if, being dead,
I could rise and live thereafter.
But in order that your mind
May be turned from such just anger,
Let us hear now who this other
Stranger is.

LUIS.  Then be attentive,
Beautiful divinity,
For my history thus commences:--
Great Egerius, King of Ireland,
I by name am Luis Enius,
And a Christian also, this
Being the sole point of resemblance
Betwixt Patrick and myself,
Yet a difference presenting:
For although we two are Christians,
So distinct and so dissevered
Are we, that not good from evil
Is more opposite in its essence.
Yet for all that, in defence
Of the faith I believe and reverence,
I would lose a thousand lives
(Such the esteem for it I cherish).
Yes, by God!  The oath alone
Shows how firmly I confess Him.
I no pious tales or wonders,
Worked in my behalf by Heaven,
Have to speak of: no; dark crimes,
Robberies, murders, sacrileges,
Treasons, treacheries, betrayals,
Must I tell instead, however
Vain it be in me to glory
In my having such effected.
I in one of Ireland's many
Isles was born; the planets seven,
I suspect, in wild abnormal
Interchange of influences,
Must have at my hapless birth-time
All their various gifts presented.
Fickleness the Moon implanted
In my nature; subtle Hermes
With and genius ill-employed;
(Better ne'er to have possessed them);
Wanton Venus gave me passions --
All the flatteries of the senses,
And stern Mars a cruel mind
(Mars and Venus both together
What will they not give?); the Sun
Gave to me an easy temper,
Prone to spend, and when means failed me
Theft and robbery were my helpers;
Jupiter presumptuous pride,
Thoughts fantastic and unfettered,
Gave me; Saturn, rage and anger,
Valour and a will determined
On its ends; and from such causes
Followed the due consequences.
Here from Ireland being banished,
By a cause I do not mention
Through respect to him, my father
Came to Perpignan, and settled
In that Spanish town, when I
Scarce my first ten years had ended,
And when sixteen came, he died.
May God rest his soul in heaven!--
Orphaned, I remained the prey
Of my passions and my pleasures,
O'er whose tempting plain I ran
Without rein or curb to check me.
The two poles of my existence,
On which all the rest depended
For support, were play and women.
What a base on which to rest me!
Here my tongue would not be able
To acquaint you 'in extenso'
With my actions: a brief abstract
May, however, be attempted.
I, to outrage a young maiden,
Stabbed to death a noble elder,
Her own father: for the sake
Of his wife, a most respected
Cavalier I slew, as he
Lay beside her in the helpless
State of sleep, his honour bathing
In his blood, the bed presenting
A sad theatre of crimes,
Murder and adultery blended.
Thus the father and the husband
Life for honour's sake surrendered;
For even honour has its martyrs.
May God rest their souls in heaven!--
Dreading punishment for this,
I fled hastily, and entered
France, where my exploits, methinks,
Time will cease not to remember;
For, assisting in the wars
Which at that time were contended
Bravely betwixt France and England,
I took military service
Under Stephen, the French king,
And a fight which chance presented
Showed my courage to be such,
That the king himself, as guerdon
Of my valour, gave to me
The commission of an ensign.
How that debt I soon repaid,
I prefer not now to tell thee.
Back to Perpignan, thus honoured,
I returned, and having entered
Once a guard-house there to play,
For some trifle I lost temper,
Struck a serjeant, killed a captain,
And maimed others there assembled.
At the cries from every quarter
Speedily the watch collected,
And in flying to a church,
As they hurried to prevent me,
I a catch-pole killed.  ('Twas something
One good work to have effected
'Mid so many that were bad.)
May God rest his soul in heaven!--
Far I fled into the country,
And asylum found and shelter
In a convent of religious,
Which was founded in that desert,
Where I lived retired and hidden,
Well taken care of and attended.
For a lady there, a nun,
Was my cousin, which connection
Gave to her the special burden
Of this care.  My heart already
Being a basilisk which turned
All the honey into venom,
Passing swiftly from mere liking
To desire -- that monster ever
Feeding on the impossible --
Living fire that with intensest
Fury burns when most opposed --
Flame the wind revives and strengthens,
False, deceitful, treacherous foe
Which doth murder its possessor --
In a word, desire in him,
Who nor God nor law respecteth,
Of the horrible, of the shocking,
Thinks but only to attempt it.--
Yes, I dared . . . . But here disturbed,
When, my lord, I this remember,
Mute the voice in horror fails,
Sad the accent faints and trembles,
And as 'mid the night's dark shadows,
The hair stands on end through terror;
Thus confused, so full of doubt,
Sad remembrance so o'erwhelms me,
That the thing I dared to do
I scarce dare in words to tell thee.
For, in fine, my crime is such,
So to be abhorred, detested,
So profane, so sacrilegious
(Strange upon thee so to press it),
That for having such committed
I at times feel some repentance.
Well, in fine, I dared one night,
When deep silence had erected
Sepulchres of fleeting sleep
For men's overwearied senses,
When a dark and cloudy veil
Heaven had o'er its face extended --
Mourning which the wind assumed
For the sun whose life had ended --
In whose obsequies the night-birds
Swan-notes sang instead of verses,
And when back from waves of sapphire,
Where their beauty was reflected,
The clear stars a second time
Trembling lights to heaven presented:--
Well, on such a night, by climbing
O'er the garden wall, I entered
With the assistance of two friends
(For when such things are attempted
An associate never fails),
And in horror and in terror,
Seeking in the dark my death,
Reached at length the cell (I tremble
To remember it) in which
Was my cousin, whom respectful
Silence bids me not to name,
Though all self-respect has left me.
Frightened at such nameless horror,
On the hard floor she fell senseless,
When she passed into my arms,
And ere she regained her senses,
She already was outside
Her asylum, in a desert,
When if heaven possessed the power,
It had not the will to help her.
Women, when they are persuaded
That the wildest of excesses
Are the effects of love, forgive them
Easily; and, therefore, pleasure
Following tears, some consolation
In her miseries was effected;
Though, in fact, they were so great,
That united in one person
She saw violence, violation,
Incest, nay, adultery even,
Against God who was her spouse,
And a sacrilege most dreadful.
Finally we left that place,
Being carried to Valencia
By two steeds that well might claim
From the winds to be descended:
Feigning that she was my wife,
But with little peace we dwelt there;
For I quickly having squandered
Whatsoever little treasure
I brought with me, without friends,

Without any hope of help there,
In my dire distress appealed
To the beauty still so perfect
Of my poor pretended wife:
If for aught I did I ever
Could feel shame, this act alone
Would most surely overwhelm me;
Since it is the lowest baseness
That the vilest breast descends to,
To put up to sale one's honour,
And to trade in love's caresses.
Scarce with shameless front had I
This base plan to her suggested,
When concealing her design
She gave seeming acquiescence;
But I scarce had turned my back,
Hardly had I left her presence,
When she, flying from me, found
Grace a convent's walls to enter.
There, a holy monk advising,
She a saving port and shelter
Found against the world's wild storms,
And there died, her sin, her penance,
Giving all a great example;
May God rest her soul in heaven!--
Seeing that the narrow world
Now took note of my offences,
And that soon the very land
Might reject me, I determined
To re-seek my native country;
For at least I there expected
To be safer from my foes,
In a place so long my centre
And my home.  The way I took
And to Ireland came, which welcomed
Me at first as would a mother,
But a step-mother resembled
Before long, for seeking a passage
Where a harbour lay protected
By a mole, I found that corsairs
Lay concealed within the shelter
Of a little creek which his
Out of view their well-armed vessel.
And of these, their captain, Philip,
Took me prisoner, after efforts
Made in my defence so brave,
That in deference to the mettle
I displayed, my life he spared.
What ensured you know already,
How the wind in sudden anger
Rising into raging tempest,
Now chastised us in its pride,
Now our lives more cruelly threatened,
Making in the seas and mountains
Such wild ruin and resemblance,
That to mock the mountain's pride
Waves still mightier forms presented,
Which with catapults of crystal
Made the cliffs' foundations tremble,
So that neighbouring cities fell,
And the sea, in scornful temper,
Gathering up from its abysses
The munition it collecteth,
Fired upon the land its pearls
In their shells, wherein engendered
By the swift breath of the morning
In its dew, they shine resplendent
Tears of ice and fire; in fine,
Not in pictures so imperfect
All our time to waste, the crew
Went to sup in the infernal
Halls themselves; I, too, a guest
Would have equally attended
With them, if this Patrick, here,
Whom I know not why I reverence,
Looking with respect and fear
On his beauteous countenance ever,
Had not drawn me from the sea,
Where, exhausted, sinking, helpless,
I drank death in every draught,
Agony in each salt wave's venom.
This my history is, and now
I wish neither life nor mercy,
Neither that my pains should move thee,
Nor my asking should compel thee,
Save in this, to give me death,
That thus may the life be ended
Of a man who is so bad,
That he scarcely can be better.

KING.  Luis, though thou art a Christian,
Which by me is most detested,
Yet I so admire thy courage
That I wish, before all present,
Between thee and him to show
How my power can be exerted,
How it punishes as rewards,
How it elevates and depresses.
And so thus my arms I give thee,
That within them thus extended
Thou may'st reach my heart; to thee
Thus beneath my feet to tread thee;
[He throws PATRICK on the ground and places his foot upon him.
The two actions signifying
How the heavier scale descendeth.
And that, Patrick, thou may'st see
How I value or give credit
To thy threats, thy life I spare.
Vomit forth the flame incessant
Of the so-called word of God,
That by this thou may'st be certain
I do not adore his Godship,
Nor his miracles have dread of.
Live then; but in such a state
Of poor, mean, and abject service,
As befits a useless hind
In the fields; and so as shepherd
I would have thee guard my flocks,
Which are in these vales collected.
Let us see, if for the purpose
Of this mystic fire outspreading,
Being my slave, thy God will free thee
From captivity and thy fetters.

LESBIA.  Patrick moves my heart to pity.

POLONIA.  Not so mine, for none I cherish.
Had I any, none would move me
Sooner than this Luis Enius.

  *  *  *  *  *



PATRICK.  Luis, though a low position
Mine is here, and I observe thee
Raised to fortune's highest summit,
Yet I feel more grief than envy
At thy rise.  Thou art a Christian;
Show thyself one now in earnest.

LUIS.  Patrick, let me now enjoy
The first favours fate has sent me
After so much sad misfortune.

PATRICK.  One word, then (if thou wilt let me
So presume), I ask of thee.

LUIS.  What is that?

PATRICK.  Upon this earth here,
Once again, alive or dead,
That we two shall meet together.

LUIS.  Such a word dost ask me?


LUIS.  Then I give it.

PATRICK.  I accept it.

  *  *  *  *  *




LUCY.  Pardon, if I have not known
How to serve you as I ought.

PHILIP.  For much more than you have thought
Must you my forgiveness own.
For when I your kind face view,
Pain and pleasure being at war,
I have much to thank you for,
And have much to pardon too.
Thanks, with which my heart is rife,
Are for life restored and breath;
Pardon, for you give me death,
As before you gave me life.

LUCY.  For such flattering declarations
Rude and ignorant am I,
So my arms will give reply;
Which gets rid of explanations.
Let their silent interfacing
Figure what my words should be.

  *  *  *  *  *



PAUL [aside].  Eh, sirs! what is this I see?
Some one here my wife's embracing.
What's to do?  I burn, I burst.
Kill her?  Yes.  'Twas fortune sent me.
One thing only doth prevent me,
Which is, she might kill me first.

PHILIP.  For your hospitable care,
Beauteous mountaineer, I would
That this ring's bright diamond could
Far outshine a star of air.

LUCY.  Think me not a woman who
Lives intent her gain to make;
But I take it for your sake.

PAUL. [aside'.  What I wonder should I do?
But if I'm her husband, then,
As I saw him give the ring,
Silence is the proper thing.

LUCY.  In these arms I once again
Give to you my soul, for I
Have no other ring or chain.

PHILIP.  Where I ever could remain:--
For such sweet captivity
Lures me from the miseries
Of remembering my sad fate,
Caused, as you have seen, so late,
By these crystalline blue seas.

PAUL [aside[.  What! a new embrace!  Halloo!
Don't you see, sir, Od's my life,
That this woman is my wife?

PHILIP.  Here's your husband full in view;
He has seen us.  I must straight
Leave you and return -- [Aside.}  Ah, me!
Couldst thou this, Polonia, see,
Thou mightst mourn, perhaps, the state
Unto which I see me doomed.
And. O heaven-aspiring sea,
Say in what vast depths can be
All the lives thou hast entombed?

  *  *  *  *  *


PAUL and LUCY; afterwards PHILIP.

PAUL [aside].  As he's gone, I'll louder speak.--
This time, Lucy mine, I've caught you,
So a present I have brought you:
See this window-bar, 'twill wreak
My revenge.

LUCY.  Oh, how malicious!
Bless me, grumbler, what grimaces!

PAUL.  Then to witness two embraces
Does not look at all suspicious?--
Was it malice, then, in me,
Not plain seeing?

LUCY.  Malice merely:
For a husband, how so nearly
He may pry, should never see
More than half his wife doth do.

PAUL.  Well, with that I'm quite content,
To that condition I assent,
And since twice embraced by you
Has that rascal soldier been,
Whom the sea spewed out in spite,
I will juggle with my sight,
And pretend but once to have seen;
And as I for two embraces
Meant to give a hundred blows,
I but fifty now propose
For one half of my disgraces.
I have totted up the score;
You yourself the sentence gave;
Yes, by God I swear, you'll have
Fifty strokes and not one more.

LUCY.  I've admitted far too much.
For a husband it would be
Quite preposterous; he should see
But the quarter.

PAUL.  Even as such
I acknowledge the appeal.
Patience, and your back prepare,
For the now admitted share,
Five-and-twenty blows you'll feel.

LUCY.  No, not so; you're still astray.

PAUL.  Then say what?

LUCY.  Between us two,
You're to trust not what you view,
But what I am pleased to say.

PAUL.  Better far, I think, 'twould be,
Daughter of the devil, that you
Held the stick and used it too,
With it well belabouring me;
Is't agreed what I propose?
Yes; then let us both change places.
Give to him the two embraces,
And to me the hundred blows.

[PHILIP returns.

PHILIP [aside].  Has the peasant gone, I wonder?

PAUL.  At the nick of time you're here,
So, Sir Soldier, lend an ear.
Obligation I am under
For the favours you have meant
To bestow so liberally
On my cot, my wife, and me;
And although I'm well content
With you, yet as you're progressing
Day by day and getting stronger,
It is best you stay no longer.
Take the road, then, with God's blessing,
Leave my house, for it would be
Sad in it to raise my hand,
Leaving you dead flesh on land
Who wert living fish at sea.

PHILIP.  The suspicion that you show
Is quite groundless, do not doubt it.

PAUL.  Zounds! with reason or without it,
Am I married, sir, or no?

  *  *  *  *  *


LEOGAIRE, an Old Peasant, and PATRICK.

LEOGAIRE.  So 'tis ordered, and that he
Serving here from day to day,
In the open field should stay.

OLD MAN.  Yes; I say it so shall be.

LEOGAIRE.  But who's this?  O happiness!
Since 'tis Philip's form I greet.
Mighty lord, I kiss thy feet.

PAUL.  Mighty lord does he call him?

LUCY.  Yes.
Now lay on the blows you owe.
Now, friend Paul, the moment charms.

PHILIP.  Give me, good Leogaire, your arms.

LEOGAIRE.  Honour in them you bestow.
Is it possible, once more
That alive I see thee?

PHILIP.  Here,
Trophy of a fate severe,
The sea flung me on this shore,
Where, their willing aid secured,
I have lived these peasants' guest,
Till I could repair with rest
All the sufferings I endured.
And, besides, I thought with dread
On the angry disposition
Of the king: for his ambition
When has it or bowed the head,
Or with patience heard related
The sad tragedies of fate?
Hopeless and disconsolate
In this solitude I've waited,
Till some happy chance might rise
When no longer I should grieve,
And the king would give me leave
To appear before his eyes.

LEOGAIRE.  That already has been given thee;
For so sad was he, believing
Thou wert dead, so deep his grieving,
All the past will be forgiven thee
Since thou livest.  Come with me,
Fortune will once more embrace thee,--
In his favour to replace thee
Let my happy privilege be.

PAUL.  For that late unseemly brawl
See me humbly bending low;
You, my lord Prince Philip, know
That I am one Juan Paul.
My suspicion and abuse
Pray forgive, your majesty,
Think that what I said to thee
Was but cackled by a goose.
At your service, night and day,
Are whatever goods I've got --
Lucy here, myself and cot;
And God bless us all, I pray.

PHILIP.  For your hospitality
I am grateful, and I trust
To repay it.

PAUL.  If you must,
Let the first instalment be
Just to take my wife away.
Thurs you will reward us two;
She'll be glad to go with you,
I, without her, glad to stay.


LUCY [aside].  Was there ever love so vain
As is mine, a brief caress
Cradled in forgetfulness?

OLD MAN.  Juan Paul, as we remain
Here alone, 'twere well to greet
As a friend this labourer,
Newly sent us.

PATRICK.  Nay, good sir,
I'm a slave, and I entreat
That as such you understand me;
I, the lowest of the low,
Hither come to serve, and so
I implore that you command me
As a slave, since I am one.

OLD MAN.  Oh, what modesty!

PAUL.  What humility!

LUCY.  What good looks, too, and gentility!
I, in truth, can't help being drawn
By his face.

PAUL.  Came ever here
(This is quite between us two)
Any wandering stranger who
Did not draw you so, my dear?
Eh, my Lucy?

LUCY.  Boorish, base,
Is your vile insinuation
'Gains my innocent inclination
For the whole of the human race!

OLD MAN.  To your sharpness and good will,
Paul, I trust a thing that may
Cost my life.

PAUL.  Then don't delay.
Tell it, since you know my skill.

OLD MAN.  This new slave that here you see,
I suspect is not secure,
And I hasten to procure
Means by which he more may be.
For the present I confide him
To your care, by day or night
Let him not escape your sight,
Ever watchful keep beside him.

  *  *  *  *  *



PAUL [aside].  I'm to keep what you discarded!
Good in faith!-- [To PATRICK]  Behold in me
Your strict guard; in you I see
The sole thing I ever guarded
In my life; with such a care
I can neither sleep nor eat.
If you wish to use your feet
You can go, your road lies there.
Nay, in flying quickly hence
You to me a good will do,
Since my care will fly with you.
Go in peace.

PATRICK.  With confidence
You may trust me, for I'm not,
Though a slave, a fugitive.
Lord! how gladly do I live
In this solitary spot,
Where my soul in raptured prayer
May adore Thee, or in trance
See the living countenance
Of Thy prodigies so rare!
Human wisdom, earlthly lore,
Solitude reveals and reaches;
What diviner wisdom teaches
In it, too, I would explore.

PAUL.  Tell me, talking thus apart,
Who it is on whom you call?

PATRICK.  Great primeval cause of all,
Thou, O Lord, in all things art!
These blue heavens, these crystal skies
Formed of dazzling depths of light,
In which sun, moon, stars unite,
Are they not but draperies
Hung before Thy heavenly land?--
The discordant elements,
Water, fire, earth, air immense,
Prove they not Thy master hand?
Or in dark or brightsome hours,
Praise they not Thy power and might?
O'er the earth dost Thou not write
In the characters of flowers
Thy great goodness?  And the air,
In reverberating thunder,
Does it not in fear and wonder
Say, O Lord, that Thou art there?
Are not, too, Thy praises sung
By the fire and water -- each
Dowered for this divinest speech,
With tongue the wave, the flame with tongue?
Here, then, in this lonely place
I, O Lord, may better be,
Since in all things I find Thee.
Thou hast given to me the grace
Of Obedience, Faith, and Fear;
As a slave, then, let me stay,
Or remove me where I may
Serve Thee truly, if not here.

[An Angel descends, holding in one hand a shield in which is a
mirror, and in the other hand a letter.

  *  *  *  *  *


An Angel. -- THE SAME.

ANGEL.  Patrick!

PATRICK.  Ah! who calls me?

PAUL.  Why,
No one calls.  [Aside.]  The man is daft,
Poetry should be his craft.

ANGEL.  Patrick!

PATRICK.  Ah! who calls me?


PAUL [aside].  Who he speaks to, I can't see.
Well, to stop his speech were hard,
I'm not here his mouth to guard.

  *  *  *  *  *


The Angel and PATRICK.

PATRICK.  Ah! it cannot be to me
Comes such glory!  For, behold!
Pearl and rosy dawn in one,
Shines a cloud, from which its sun
Breaks in crimson and in gold!
Living stars its robe adorning,
Rose and jasmine sweetly blended,
Dazzling comes that vision splendid,
Scattering purple pomps of morning.


PATRICK.  Sunlight strikes me blind!
Heavenly Lord, who canst thou be?

ANGEL.  I am Victor, whom to thee
God thy angel-guard assigned:
With this scroll, to give it thee
[Gives him the letter.
I am sent.

PATRICK.  Sweet messenger,
Paranymph of all things fair,
Who amidst the hierarchy
Of the highest hosts of heaven
Singest in melodious tone --
"Glory unto Thee alone,
Holy, Holy Lord, be given!"

ANGEL.  Read the letter.

PATRICK.  With amaze,
I see here "To Patrick" Oh,
Can a slave be honoured so?

ANGEL.  Open it.

PATRICK.  It also says --
"Patrick!  Patrick! hither come,
Free us from our slavery!"--
More it means than I can see,
Since I do not know by whom
I am called.  Oh, faithful guide,
Speedily dispel my error!

ANGEL.  Look into this shining mirror.

PATRICK.  Heavens!

ANGEL.  What seest thou inside?

PATRICK.  Numerous people there seem thronging,
Old men, children, women, who
Seem to call me.

ANGEL.  Nor do you
Stay, but satisfy their longing.
You behold the Irish nation,
Who expect to hear God's truth
From your lips.  Oh, chosen youth,
Leave your slavery.  The vocation
God has given thee is to sow
Faith o'er all the Irish soil.
There as Legate thou shalt toil,
Ireland's great Apostle.  Go
First to France, to German's home,
The good bishop: there thou'lt make
Thy profession: there thou'lt take
The monk's habit, and to Rome
Pass, where letters thou'lt procure
For that mighty work of thine,
In the bulls of Celestine:
Thou wilt visit, then, in Tours
Martin, the great bishop there.
Now upborne upon the wind
Come with me, for thou wilt find
God has given with prescient care
His commands to all, that so
Fitly thy great work be done;
But 'tis time we should be gone:
Let us on our journey go.
[They disappear.

© Denis Florence MacCarthy