RUAHMAH: [Turning aside.]
I am entangled in my speech,—no light,—
How shall I tell him? He will not believe.
O my dear lord, thine enemies are they
Of thine own house. I pray thee to beware,—
Child, thy words are wild:
Thy troubles have bewildered all thy brain.
Go, now, and fret no more; but sleep, and dream
Of Israel! For thou shalt see thy home
Among the hills again.
And may thy slumber be as sweet and deep
As if thou camped at snowy Hermon’s foot,
Amid the music of his waterfalls.
There friendly oak-trees bend their boughs above
The weary head, pillowed on earth’s kind breast,
And unpolluted breezes lightly breathe
A song of sleep among the murmuring leaves.
There the big stars draw nearer, and the sun
Looks forth serene, undimmed by city’s mirk
Or smoke of idol-temples, to behold
The waking wonder of the wide-spread world.
There life renews itself with every morn
In purest joy of living. May the Lord
Deliver thee, dear master, from the nets
Laid for thy feet, and lead thee out along
The open path, beneath the open sky!
[Exit RUAHMAH: NAAMAN stands looking after her.]
TIME: The following morning
The audience-hall in BENHADAD’S palace.
The sides of the hall are lined with lofty columns:
the back opens toward the city, with descending steps:
the House of Rimmon with its high tower is seen in
the background. The throne is at the right in
front: opposite is the royal door of entrance,
guarded by four tall sentinels.
Enter at the rear between the columns, RAKHAZ, SABALLIDIN, HAZAEL,
IZDUBHAR: [An excited old man.]
The city is all in a turmoil. It boils like a pot of lentils.
The people are foaming and bubbling round and round like
beans in the pottage.
HAZAEL: [A lean, crafty man.]
Fear is a hot fire.
RAKHAZ: [A fat, pompous man.]
Well may they fear, for the Assyrians are not three days
distant. They are blazing along like a waterspout to
chop Damascus down like a pitcher of spilt milk.
SABALLIDIN: [Young and frank.]
Cannot Naaman drive them back?
RAKHAZ: [Puffing and blowing.]
Ho! Naaman? Where have you been living? Naaman is a broken
reed whose claws have been cut. Build no hopes on that
foundation, for it will run away and leave you all adrift
in the conflagration.
He clatters like a windmill. What would he say, Hazael?