[Frontispiece: “Behold the sacrifice! Bow down, bow down!”]
Charles Scribner’s Sons
Copyright, 1908, by
Henry Van Dyke
All rights reserved
Published in October
Benhadad: King of Damascus.
Rezon: High Priest of the House of Rimmon.
Saballidin: A Noble of Damascus.
Izdubhar ) Courtiers of Damascus.
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, on a slightly raised terrace, 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. Back of 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 a high road passing over the mountains toward the snow-clad summits of Mount Hermon 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,
And nothing wakes 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
An hour ago, the master will be here
At moonset, not before.