Shakuntala. O mother earth, give me a grave! (Exit weeping, with the chaplain, the hermits, and GAUTAMI. The king, his memory clouded by the curse, ponders on SHAKUNTALA.)
Voices behind the scenes. A miracle! A miracle!
King (listening). What does this mean? (Enter the chaplain.)
Chaplain (in amazement). Your Majesty, a wonderful thing has happened.
Chaplain. When Kanva’s pupils had departed,
She tossed her arms, bemoaned her plight,
Accused her crushing fate——
King. What then?
Before our eyes a heavenly light
In woman’s form, but shining bright,
Seized her and vanished straight.
(All betray astonishment.)
King. My teacher, we have already settled the matter. Why speculate in vain? Let us seek repose. Chaplain. Victory to your Majesty.
King. Vetravati, I am bewildered. Conduct me to my apartment.
Portress. Follow me, your Majesty.
King (walks about. To himself).
With a hermit-wife I had no part,
All memories evade me;
And yet my sad and stricken heart
Would more than half persuade me.
SEPARATION FROM SHAKUNTALA
SCENE I.—In the street before the Palace
(Enter the chief of police, two policemen, and a man with his hands bound behind his back.)
The two policemen (striking the man). Now, pickpocket, tell us where you found this ring. It is the king’s ring, with letters engraved on it, and it has a magnificent great gem.
Fisherman (showing fright). Be merciful, kind gentlemen. I am not guilty of such a crime.
First policeman. No, I suppose the king thought you were a pious Brahman, and made you a present of it.
Fisherman. Listen, please. I am a fisherman, and I live on the Ganges, at the spot where Indra came down.
Second policeman. You thief, we didn’t ask for your address or your social position.
Chief. Let him tell a straight story, Suchaka. Don’t interrupt.
The two policemen. Yes, chief. Talk, man, talk.
Fisherman. I support my family with things you catch fish with—nets, you know, and hooks, and things.
Chief (laughing). You have a sweet trade.
Fisherman. Don’t say that, master.
You can’t give up a lowdown trade
That your ancestors began;
A butcher butchers things, and yet
He’s the tenderest-hearted man.
Chief. Go on. Go on.