I will provide an asylum for the lady in my own house until the birth of her child; and my reason, if you ask me, is this: Soothsayers have predicted that your first-born will have universal dominion. Now, if the hermit’s daughter bring forth a son with the discus or mark of empire in the lines of his hand, you must admit her immediately into your royal apartments with great rejoicings; if not, then determine to send her back as soon as possible to her father.
KING. I bow to the decision of my spiritual advisor.
Daughter, follow me.
O divine earth, open and receive me into thy bosom!
[Exit [S’]AKOONTALA weeping, with the PRIEST and the HERMITS. The KING remains absorbed in thinking of her, though the curse still clouds his recollection.
A VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.
A miracle! a miracle!
What has happened now?
PRIEST. [Entering with an air of astonishment.
Great Prince, a stupendous prodigy has just occurred.
What is it?
May it please your Majesty, so soon as Kanwa’s pupils had departed, [S’]akoontala, her eyes all bathed in tears, with outstretched arms, bewailed her cruel fate—
Well, well, what happened then?
When suddenly a shining apparition,
In female shape, descended from the skies,
Near the nymph’s pool, and bore her up to heaven.
[All remain motionless with astonishment.
My good priest, from the very first I declined having anything to do with this matter. It is now all over, and we can never, by our conjectures, unravel the mystery; let it rest; go, seek repose.
[Looking at the KING.
Be it so. Victory to the King!
Vetravati, I am tired out; lead the way to the bedchamber.
This way, Sire.
[They move away.
Do what I will, I cannot call to mind
That I did e’er espouse the sage’s daughter;
Therefore I have disowned her; yet ’tis strange
How painfully my agitated heart
Bears witness to the truth of her assertion,
And makes me credit her against my judgment.
* * * * *
PRELUDE TO ACT VI.
Enter the King’s brother-in-law as SUPERINTENDENT of the city police; and with him TWO CONSTABLES, dragging a poor FISHERMAN, who has his hands tied behind his back.