Crowd on the brain, and become dream therein;
So the strange outer forces of man’s spirit
Are the appearing world. But all at last,
Subdued, becomes self-knowing ecstasy,
The whole world brightens into Spirit’s desire.
This is for Spirit to be lord of life;
And man, with foolish hope looking for this,
Takes the ravishing drunkenness he hath
From us, for knowledge of the Spirit’s power.
But it will come by love. It will be twain
Who go together to this height of mastery
Over the world, governing it as song
Is govern’d by the heart of him who sings;
But never one by means of one shall reach it:
Not man alone, nor woman alone, but each
Enabling each, together, twain in one.
[The KING’S MESSENGER comes in.
Messenger. I speak to the rebellious woman Vashti. Thou art no more a Queen; thou hast no place In the King’s house, nor in the life of men: Thus art thou judged. Go forth now; let the night Befriend thee, for no other friend thou hast, For the day shall reveal thee to men’s eyes, And they, obedient to the King, will hate thee. Therefore be gone: and as the beasts have homes In the wild ground, have thy home from henceforth.
Vashti. Gives the King reason for this judgment?
Because thou art a danger to all marriage,
Because men are dishonoured in their rule
Of women by thy insult, thou art judged.
2nd Woman. But if the King had heard her crazy words He would have put her where they tame with thongs Maniacs.
When the King hath slept, we will
To-morrow crave his presence, and will stand
In humble troop before him, thanking him
For that his virtue hath this wicked woman
Purged from among us, saved us from infection.
1st Woman. Alas, my Queen! where lies thy journey now?
Ay, where to go? What shelter for me now
Will any of the dwelt earth dare to give?
My beauty as a branding now will mark me;
And shame will run before me, and await
My coming, wheresoever I would lodge.
For out of Shushan to the ends of the earth
Great news runs, with a hidden soundless speed
Through secret channels in the folks’ dim mind,
As water races through smooth sloping gutters.
Swifter than any feet could bear the tale,
Going unheard, already posts abroad
A buried river, and will soon burst up
In towns and markets, far as the width of day,
A bubbling clamour, wonderful wild news:
“Vashti the Queen is judged and forced to go
Roaming the earth, outcast and infamous;
Look out for her! Be ready, if she comes,
With stones and hooting voices!”—Fare you well,
Women whom once I knew. You are quit of me:
Pardon me if I add, And I of you.