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- Aria da Capo - 4/6 -


Of oysters,--first a layer of crumbs, and then An oystery taste, and then a layer of crumbs.

THYRSIS: [Searching.] I find no jewels . . . but I wonder what The root of this black weed would do to a man If he should taste it. ... I have seen a sheep die, With half the stalk still drooling from its mouth. 'Twould be a speedy remedy, I should think, For a festered pride and a feverish ambition. It has a curious root. I think I'll hack it In little pieces. . . . First I'll get me a drink; And then I'll hack that root in little pieces As small as dust, and see what the color is Inside. [Goes to bowl on floor.]

The pool is very clear. I see A shepherd standing on the brink, with a red cloak About him, and a black weed in his hand. . . . 'Tis I. [Kneels and drinks.]

CORYDON: [Coming to wall.] Hello, what are you doing, Thyrsis?

THYRSIS: Digging for gold.

CORYDON: I'll give you all the gold You want, if you'll give me a bowl of water. If you don't want too much, that is to say.

THYRSIS: Ho, so you've changed your mind?--It's different, Isn't it, when you want a drink yourself?

CORYDON: Of course it is.

THYRSIS: Well, let me see ... a bowl Of water,--come back in an hour, Corydon. I'm busy now.

CORYDON: Oh, Thyrsis, give me a bowl Of water!--and I'll fill the bowl with jewels, And bring it back!

THYRSIS: Be off, I'm busy now.

[He catches sight of the weed, picks it up and looks at it, unseen by CORYDON.]

Wait!--Pick me out the finest stones you have . . . I'll bring you a drink of water presently.

CORYDON: [Goes back and sits down, with the jewels before him.] A bowl of jewels is a lot of jewels.

THYRSIS: [Chopping up the weed.] I wonder if it has a bitter taste.

CORYDON: There's sure to be a stone or two among them I have grown fond of, pouring them from one hand Into the other.

THYRSIS: I hope it doesn't taste Too bitter, just at first.

CORYDON: A bowl of jewels Is far too many jewels to give away And not get back again.

THYRSIS: I don't believe He'll notice. He's too thirsty. He'll gulp it down And never notice.

CORYDON: There ought to be some way To get them back again. . . . I could give him a necklace, And snatch it back, after I'd drunk the water, I suppose. . . . Why, as for that, of course a _necklace_. . . .

[He puts two or three of the colored tapes together and tries their strength by pulling them, after which he puts them around his neck and pulls them, gently, nodding to himself. He gets up and goes to the wall, with the colored tapes in his hands.]

[THYRSIS in the meantime has poured the powdered root--black confetti--into the pot which contained the flower and filled it up with wine from the punch-bowl on the floor. He comes to the wall at the same time, holding the bowl of poison.]

THYRSIS: Come, get your bowl of water, Corydon.

CORYDON: Ah, very good!--and for such a gift as that I'll give you more than a bowl of unset stones. I'll give you three long necklaces, my friend. Come closer. Here they are. [Puts the ribbons about THYRSIS' neck.]

THYRSIS: [Putting bowl to CORYDON'S mouth.] I'll hold the bowl Until you've drunk it all.

CORYDON: Then hold it steady. For every drop you spill I'll have a stone back Out of this chain.

THYRSIS: I shall not spill a drop.

[CORYDON drinks, meanwhile beginning to strangle THYRSIS.]

THYRSIS: Don't pull the string so tight.

CORYDON: You're spilling the water.

THYRSIS: You've had enough--you've had enough--stop pulling The string so tight!

CORYDON: Why, that's not tight at all ... How's this?

THYRSIS: [Drops bowl.] You're strangling me! Oh, Corydon! It's only a game!--and you are strangling me!

CORYDON: It's only a game, is it?--Yet I believe You've poisoned me in earnest! [Writhes and pulls the strings tighter, winding them about THYRSIS' neck.]

THYRSIS: Corydon! [Dies.]

CORYDON: You've poisoned me in earnest. . . . I feel so cold. . . . So cold . . . this is a very silly game. . . . Why do we play it?--let's not play this game A minute more . . . let's make a little song About a lamb. . . . I'm coming over the wall, No matter what you say,--I want to be near you. . . .

[Groping his way, with arms wide before him, he strides through the frail papers of the wall without knowing it, and continues seeking for the wall straight across the stage.]

Where is the wall?

[Gropes his way back, and stands very near THYRSIS without seeing him; he speaks slowly.]

There isn't any wall, I think.

[Takes a step forward, his foot touches THYRSIS' body, and he falls down beside him.]

Thyrsis, where is your cloak?--just give me A little bit of your cloak! . . .

[Draws corner of THYRSIS' cloak over his shoulders, falls across THYRSIS' body, and dies.]

[COTHURNUS closes the prompt-book with a bang, arises matter-of-factly, comes down stage, and places the table over the two bodies, drawing down the cover so that they are hidden from any actors on the stage, but visible to the audience, pushing in their feet and hands with his boot. He then turns his back to the audience, and claps his hands twice.]

COTHURNUS: Strike the scene! [Exit COTHURNUS.]

[Enter PIERROT and COLUMBINE.]

PIERROT: Don't puff so, Columbine!

COLUMBINE: Lord, what a mess This set is in! If there's one thing I hate Above everything else,--even more than getting my feet wet-- It's clutter!--He might at least have left the scene The way he found it ... don't you say so, Pierrot?

[She picks up punch bowl. They arrange chairs as before at ends of table.]

PIERROT: Well, I don't know. I think it rather diverting The way it is.

[Yawns, picks up confetti bowl.]

Shall we begin?

COLUMBINE: [Screams.] My God! What's that there under the table?

PIERROT: It is the bodies Of the two shepherds from the other play.

COLUMBINE: [Slowly.] How curious to strangle him like that, With colored paper ribbons.

PIERROT: Yes, and yet I dare say he is just as dead. [Pauses. Calls.] Cothurnus! Come drag these bodies out of here! We can't Sit down and eat with two dead bodies lying Under the table! . . . The audience wouldn't stand for it!

COTHURNUS: (Off stage.) What makes you think so?-- Pull down the tablecloth


Aria da Capo - 4/6

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