Sylvan. And onward, sprawling and spinning, they are carried Down to a drowning pool.
O Sylvan, drowning?
(Deeper than drowning! Why should it not be Our hearts need wish only what they delight in?)
Sylvan. Well, altogether gript by the being of love. (Yes, now the bargain’s done; and I may wear, Like a cheated savage, scarlet dyes and strings Of beaded glass, all the pleasure of love!)
Katrina. It is a wonderful tyranny, that life Has no choice but to be delighted love! (I know what I must do: I am to abase My heart utterly, and have nothing in me That dare take pleasure beyond serving love. Thus only shall I bear it; and perhaps— Might I even of my abasement make A passion, fearfully enjoying it?)
Sylvan. You are full of thoughts, sweetheart?
And so are you:
A long while since you kist me! (What have I said?
O fool so to remind him! I shall scarce
Help crying out or shuddering this time!—
Ah no; I am again a fool! Not thus
I am to do, but in my heart to break
All the reluctance; it must have on me
No pleasure; else I am endlessly tortured.)
Then I must kiss you, Sylvan!
[She kisses him.
Ah, my darling!
(God! it went through my flesh as thrilling sound
Must shake a fiddle when the strings are snatcht!
Will she make the life in me all a slave
Of my kist body,—a trembling, eager slave?
It ran like a terror to my heart, the sense,
The shivering delight upon my skin,
Of her lips touching me.) My beloved,—
It may be it were wise, that we took care
Our pleasant love come never in the risk
Of being too much known.
O what a risk
To think of here! Love is not common life,
But always fresh and sweet. Can this grow stale?
[She kisses him again.
Sylvan. O never! I meant not so.—Yes, always sweet! (She must not kiss me! Ah, it leaves my heart Aghast, and stopt with pain of the joy of her; And her loved body is like an agony Clinging upon me. O she must not kiss me! I will not be a thing excruciated To please her passion, an anguish of delight!)
VIRGINITY AND PERFECTION
THE BESIEGED CITY OF BETHULIA
JUDITH (at the window of an upper room of her house).