The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 381 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

        [He drains the cup, and lets it fall.]



TIME:  A week later

The fore-court of the House of Rimmon.  At the back the broad steps and double doors of the shrine; above them the tower of the god, its summit invisible.  Enter various groups of citizens, talking, laughing, shouting:  RAKHAZ, HAZAEL, SHUMAKIM and others.

    Great news, glorious news, the Assyrians are beaten!

    Naaman is returning, crowned with victory.  Glory to our noble

    No, he is killed.  I had it from one of the camp-followers who
      saw him fall at the head of the battle.  They are bringing
      his body to bury it with honour.  O sorrowful victory!

    Peace, my good fellows, you are ignorant, you have not been
      rightly informed, I will misinform you.  The accounts of
      Naaman’s death are overdrawn.  He was killed, but his life
      has been preserved.  One of his wounds was mortal, but the
      other three were curable, and by these the physicians have
      saved him.

SHUMAKIM:  [Balancing himself before RAKHAZ in pretended admiration.]
    O wonderful!  Most admirable logic!  One mortal, and three
      curable, therefore he must recover as it were, by three
      to one.  Rakhaz, do you know that you are a marvelous man?

    Yes, I know it, but I make no boast of my knowledge.

    Too modest, for in knowing this you know more than any other
      in Damascus!

[Enter, from the right, SABALLIDIN in armour:  from
the left, TSARPI with her attendants, among whom

    Here is Saballidin, we’ll question him;
    He was enflamed by Naaman’s wild words,
    And rode with him to battle.  Give us news,
    Of your great captain!  Is he safe and well? 
    When will he come?  Or will he come at all?

[All gather around him listening eagerly.]

    He comes but now, returning from the field
    Where he hath gained a crown of deathless fame! 
    Three times he led the charge; three times he fell
    Wounded, and the Assyrians beat us back. 
    Yet every wound was but a spur to urge
    His valour onward.  In the last attack
    He rode before us as the crested wave
    That leads the flood; and lo, our enemies
    Were broken like a dam of river-reeds. 
    The flying King encircled by his guard
    Was lodged like driftwood on a little hill. 
    Then Naaman, who led our foremost band
    Of whirlwind riders, hammered through the hedge
    Of spearmen, brandishing the golden yoke. 
    “Take back this gift,” he cried; and shattered it

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The Poems of Henry Van Dyke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.