Indeed ’tis a sudden coming; but I grieve
To hear you make of love a cruelty.
Sweetheart, it shall be nothing cruel to you!
You shall not fear, in doing what love bids,
Ever to know yourself unmaidenly.
For see! here’s my first kiss; and all my love
Is signed in it; and it is on your hand.—
Is that a thing to fear?—But it were best
I go now. This should be a privacy,
Not even your lover near, this hour of first
Strange knowledge that you have accepted love.
I think you would feel me prying, if I stayed
While your heart falters into full perceiving
That you are plighted now forever mine.
God bless you, Jean, my sweetheart.—Not a word?
But you will thank me soon for leaving you:
’Tis the best courtesy I can do.
Jean. O, and I thought it was my love at last! I thought, from the look he had last night, I’d found That great, brave, irresistible love!—But this! It’s like a man deformed, with half his limbs. Am I never to have the love I dream and need, Pouring over me, into me, winds of fire?
HAMISH comes in.
Hamish. Well? What’s the mood to-night?—The girl’s been crying! This should be something queer.
It’s you are to blame:
You brought him here!
It’s Morris this time, is it?
And what has he done?
He’s insulted me.
And you must never let me see him again.
Hamish. Sure I don’t want him seeing you. But still, If I’m to keep you safe from meeting him—
Jean. To look in his eyes would mortify my heart!
Hamish. Then you’ld do right to pay me.
What you please.
Hamish. A kiss?
Of course; as many as you like—
And of any sort you like.
On the sea-coast. Three young men, SYLVAN, VALENTINE, and FRANCIS.
Valentine. Well, I suppose you’re out of your fear at last, Sylvan. This land’s empty enough; naught here Feminine but the hens, bitches, and cows. Now we are safe!
Horribly safe; for here,
If there are wives at all, they are salted so They have no meaning for the blood, bent things Philosophy allows not to be women.
Valentine. But think of the husbands that must spend their nights Alongside skin like bark. It is the men That have the tragedy in these weather’d lands.
Francis. No thought of that! We are monks now. And, indeed, This is a cloister that a man could like, This blue-aired space of grassy land, that here, Just as it touches the sea’s bitter mood, Is troubled into dunes, as it were thrilled, Like a calm woman trembling against love.