(with a motion of her hand across her neck)
That this my neck, made
short by hangman’s hand,
That this my breast, a shield against thy foe—
But that thou wishest not!
KING. A charming shield!
Now go, and God be with you.—Garceran,
I do not wish that she,
whom I protect
Should be insulted by improper jests,
Or any way disturbed—
RACHEL (with her hand on her brow).
I cannot walk.
KING (as Garceran is about to offer his arm).
And why your arm?
The woman can assist.
And do thou, gaffer, watch thy daughter well,
The world is ill! Do thou protect thy hoard.
[Exeunt RACHEL and her kin, led by GARCERAN.]
KING (watching them).
She totters still in walking. All her soul
A sea of fear in e’er-renewing waves.
(Putting down his foot)
She held my foot so tightly
in her grasp,
It almost pains me. Strange it is, a man
When cowardly, with justice is despised—
A woman shows her strength when she is weak.
Ah, Almirante, what say you to this?
MANRIQUE. I think, the punishment you gave my son,
Is, noble Sire, both subtle and severe.
KING. The punishment? MANRIQUE. To guard this common trash. KING. Methinks the punishment is not so hard.
Myself have never toyed with women much,
(Pointing to his suite.)
But these, perchance, think otherwise than you.
But now, avaunt all pictures so confused!
And dine we, for my body needs new strength,
And with the first glad draught this festal day,
Let each one think—of what he wants to think.
No ceremony! Forward! Hasten! On!
[As the court arranges itself on both sides and the KING goes through the centre, the curtain falls.]
A drop scene showing part of the garden. At the right, a garden-house with a balcony and a door, to which several steps lead up.
GARCERAN enters through the door.
GARCERAN. And so before I’m caught,
I’ll save myself!
The girl is beautiful, and is a fool;
But love is folly; wherefore such a fool
Is more to fear than e’er the slyest was.
Besides, ’tis necessary that I bring,
While still there’s time, my good repute again
To honor,—and my love for Dona Clara,
Most silent she of all that never talk;
The wise man counts escape a victory.
A page of the KING enters.
PAGE. Sir Garceran—
GARCERAN. Ah, Robert, what’s a-foot?