Volume VII~Poems & Dramas by Fiona Macleod

THE IMMORTAL HOUR

ACT 1

SCENE II.--The same.

[DALUA stands, waiting the coining of EOCHAIDH the king. The king is clad in a leathern hunting dress, with a cleft helmet surmounted by a dragon in pale findruiney.

 

EOCHAIDH

[Stopping abruptly

Sir, I am glad. I had not thought to see
One here.

DALUA

[Taking off his cap, and sweeping it lo,

The king is welcome here.

EOCHAIDH

The king?

How know you that the king is here? Far off
The war-horns bray about my threatened Dn.
None knows that I am here.

DALUA

And why, O king?

EOCHAIDH

For I am,weary of wars and idle strife,
Who have no joy in all these little things
Men break their lives upon. But in my dreams,
In dreams I have seen that which climbs the stars
And sings upon me through my lonely hours
And will not let me be.

DALUA

What song is that?

EOCHAIDH

The song . . . but who is he who knows the king
Here in this dim, remote, forgotten wood,
Where led by dreams and visions I have come?

DALUA

Those led by dreams shall be misled, O king!

EOCHAIDH

You are no druid: no knight in arms: none
Whom I have seen.

DALUA

I have known camps of men,

The minds and souls of men, and I have heard
Eochaidh the king sighing out his soul in sighs.

EOCHAIDH

Tell me your name.

DALUA

I am called Dalua

EOCHAIDH

[Ponderingly

I have not heard that name, and yet in dreams
I have known one who waved a shadowy plume
And smiling said, " I am Dalua." Speak:
Are you this same Dalua?

DALUA

I have come

To this lone wood and to this lonely mere
To drink from out the Fountain of all dreams,
The Shadowy Fount of Beauty.

EOCHAIDH

[Eagerly

At last!

The Fount of Beauty, Fountain of all dreams!
Now am I come upon my long desire!
The days have trampled me like armed men
Thrusting their spears as ever on they go,
And I am weary of all things save the, stars,
The wind, shadows and moonrise, and strange dreams.
If you can show me this immortal Fount
Whatso you will is yours.

DALUA

[Touching him lightly

You are the king,

And know, now, whence you came, and to what end?

EOCHAIDH

[Confusedly

The king? The king? What king?

DALUA

You are the king?

EOCHAIDH

A king of shadows, I! I am no king.

DALUA

And whither now, and whence?

EOCHAIDH

I am not come

From any place I know of, and I go
Where dreams and visions lead me.

[Suddenly a fountain rises in the mere,
the spray rising high in the moon-shine

DALUA

Look, O king!

EOCHAIDH

[Staring eagerly, with hand above his eyes

I cannot see what you would have me see.

DALUA

[Plucking a branch from a mountain-
ash, and waving it before the king's face

Look!

EOCHAIDH

I see a Fountain and within its shadow
A great fish swims, and on the moveless wave
The scarlet berries float: dim mid the depths
The face of One I see, most calm and great,
August, with mournful eyes.

DALUA

Ask what you will.

EOCHAIDH

The word of wisdom,O thou hidden God:
Show me my star of dreams, show me the way!

A VOICE                  [Solemnly

Return, O Eochaidh Airemh, wandering king!

EOCHAIDH

That shall not be. No backward way is mine.
If I indeed be king, then kingly I
Shall cleave my way through shadows, as through men.

A VOICE

Return!

EOCHAIDH

Nay, by the Sun and Moon, I swear

I will not turn my feet.

A VOICE

Return! Return!

EOCHAIDH

[Hesitating, turns to look at DALUA,who has swiftly and silently with-drawn into the wood

[Silence

There is no backward way for such as I!
Howbeit--for I am shaken with old dreams,
And as an idle wave tossed to and fro
I will go hence: I will go back to where
The quiet moonlight spills from the black brow
Of the great hill that towers above the lands
Wherein men hail me king.

[DALUA'S laughter comes from the wood

DALUA

Follow, O follow, king of dreams and shadows!

EOCHAIDH

I follow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [Exit

The Immortal Hour Act 1, Scene 3

Contents: Dramas