O Shereef, we murmur not against you.
I know thoughts and hear whispers. I need not instruction, Hafiz.
You exalt yourself over us as none did aforetime.
Yes. And I will exalt myself. I have been Shereef hitherto, but now I will be king. Al Shaldomir is less than I desire. I have ruled too long over a little country. I will be the equal of Persia. I will be king; I proclaim it. The pass is mine; the mountains shall be mine also. And he that rules the mountains has mastery over all the plains beyond. If the men of the plains will not own it let them make ready; for my wrath will fall on them in the hour when they think me afar, on a night when they think I dream. I proclaim myself king over . . .
[Hafiz pulls out his flute and plays the weird, strange tune. John looks at him in horrified anger.]
The penalty is death! Death is the punishment for what you do, Hafiz. You have dared while I spoke. Hafiz, your contempt is death. Go to Hussein. I, the king . . . say it.
[Daoud has entered R., bearing two oars. Daoud walks across, not looking at John. Exit by small door in L. near back.
John gives one look at the banqueters, then he follows Daoud. Exit.
All look astonished. Some rise and peer. Hafiz draws his knife.]
Al Shaldomir, Al Shaldomir,
The nightingales that guard thy ways
Cease not to give thee, after God
And after Paradise, all praise,
Kill the unbeliever. Kill the dog. Kill
[Enter the sheik of the Bishareens, followed by all his men.]
We are the Bishareens, master.
[Miralda standing up, right arm akimbo, left arm pointing perfectly straight out towards the small door, hand extended.]
He is there.
[The Bishareens run off through the little door.]
Not to interfere with old ways is wisest.
Indeed, it would have been well for him.
[The Bishareens begin to return looking all about them like disappointed hounds.]
He is not there, master.