A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS
BENHADAD: King of Damascus.
REZON: High Priest of the House of Rimmon.
SABALLIDIN: A Noble.
IZDUBHAR } Courtiers.
SHUMAKIM: The King’s Fool.
ELISHA: Prophet of Israel.
NAAMAN: Captain of the Armies of Damascus.
RUAHMAH: A Captive Maid of Israel.
TSARPI: Wife to Naaman.
NUBTA } Attendants of Tsarpi.
Soldiers, Servants, Citizens, etc., etc.
SCENE: Damascus and the Mountains of Samaria.
TIME: 850 B. C.
Night, in the garden of NAAMAN at Damascus. At the left the palace, with softly gleaming lights and music coming from the open latticed windows. The garden is full of oleanders, roses, pomegranates, abundance of crimson flowers; the air is heavy with their fragrance: a fountain at the right is plashing gently: behind it is an arbour covered with vines. Near the centre of the garden stands a small, hideous image of the god Rimmon. Beyond the arbour rises the lofty square tower of the House of Rimmon, which casts a shadow from the moon across the garden. The background is a wide, hilly landscape, with the snow-clad summit of Mount Herman in the distance. Enter by the palace door, the lady TSARPI, robed in red and gold, and followed by her maids, KHAMMA and NUBTA. She remains on the terrace: they go down into the garden, looking about, and returning to her.
There’s no one here; the garden is asleep.
The flowers are nodding, all the birds abed,—
Nothing awake except the watchful stars!
The stars are sentinels discreet and mute:
How many things they know and never tell!
Unlike the stars, how many things you tell
And do not know! When comes your master home?
Lady, his armour-bearer brought us word,—
At moonset, not before.
He haunts the camp
And leaves me much alone; yet I can pass
The time of absence not unhappily,
If I but know the time of his return.
An hour of moonlight yet! Khamma, my mirror!
These curls are ill arranged, this veil too low,—
So,—that is better, careless maids! Withdraw,—
But bring me word if Naaman appears!
Mistress, have no concern; for when we hear
The clatter of his horse along the street,
We’ll run this way and lead your dancers down
With song and laughter,—you shall know in time.