A PLAY IN SEVEN ACTS
BHARATA, nicknamed All-tamer, his son.
MADHAVYA, a clown, his companion.
RAIVATAKA, a door-keeper.
BHADRASENA, a general.
KARABHAKA, a servant.
PARVATAYANA, a chamberlain.
SOMARATA, a chaplain.
SHARADVATA } his pupils.
DURVASAS, an irascible sage.
The chief of police.
SHAKUNTALA, foster-child of Kanva.
} her friends.
KASHYAPA, father of the gods.
ADITI, mother of the gods.
MATALI, charioteer of heaven’s king.
GALAVA, a pupil in heaven.
MISHRAKESHI, a heavenly nymph.
Stage-director and actress (in the prologue), hermits and hermit-women, two court poets, palace attendants, invisible fairies.
The first four acts pass in Kanva’s forest hermitage; acts five and six in the king’s palace; act seven on a heavenly mountain. The time is perhaps seven years.
BENEDICTION UPON THE AUDIENCE
Eight forms has Shiva, lord of all and
And these are water, first created thing;
And fire, which speeds the sacrifice begun;
The priest; and time’s dividers, moon and sun;
The all-embracing ether, path of sound;
The earth, wherein all seeds of life are found;
And air, the breath of life: may he draw near,
Revealed in these, and bless those gathered here.
The stage-director. Enough of this! (Turning toward the dressing-room.) Madam, if you are ready, pray come here. (Enter an actress.)
Actress. Here I am, sir. What am I to do?
Director. Our audience is very discriminating, and we are to offer them a new play, called Shakuntala and the ring of recognition, written by the famous Kalidasa. Every member of the cast must be on his mettle.
Actress. Your arrangements are perfect. Nothing will go wrong.
Director (smiling). To tell the truth, madam,
Until the wise are satisfied,
I cannot feel that skill is shown;
The best-trained mind requires support,
And does not trust itself alone.