REZON: [Standing beside the altar.]
The pledge, O King, this man must seal his pledge
At Rimmon’s altar. He must take the cup
Of soldier-sacrament, and bind himself
By thrice-performed libation to abide
The fate he has invoked.
And so I will.
[He comes down the steps, toward the altar, where REZON is filling the cup which TSARPI holds. RUAHMAH throws herself before NAAMAN, clasping his knees.]
RUAHMAH: [Passionately and wildly.]
My lord, I do beseech you, stay! There’s death
Within that cup. It is an offering
To devils. See, the wine blazes like fire,
It flows like blood, it is a cursed cup,
Fulfilled of treachery and hate.
Dear master, noble master, touch it not!
Poor maid, thy brain is still distraught. Fear not
But let me go! Here, treat her tenderly!
[Gives her into the hands of SABALLIDIN.]
Can harm befall me from the wife who bears
My name? I take the cup of fate from her.
I greet the unknown powers; [Pours libation.]
I will perform my vow; [Again.]
I will abide my fate; [Again.]
I pledge my life to keep Damascus free.
[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 what is unknown to any other