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Pelleas and Melisande
by Maurice Maeterlinck
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Pelleas and Melisande

ALLADINE AND PALOMIDES

HOME

BY

MAURICE MAETERLINCK

Translated by RICHARD HOVEY



1911



1896, BY

STONE AND KIMBALL



Contents

PREFACE (by Maurice Maeterlinck)

PELLEAS AND MELISANDE

ALLADINE AND PALOMIDES

HOME



Preface.

On m'a demande plus d'une fois si mes drames, de La Princesse Maleine a La Mort de Tintagiles, avaient ete reellement ecrits pour un theatre de marionettes, ainsi que je l'avais affirme dans l'edition originale de cette sauvage petite legende des malheurs de Maleine. En verite, ils ne furent pas ecrits pour des acteurs ordinaires. Il n'y avait la nul desir ironique et pas la moindre humilite non plus. Je croyais sincerement et je crois encore aujourd'hui, que les poemes meurent lorsque des etres vivants s'y introduisent. Un jour, dans un ecrit dont je ne retrouve plus que quelques fragments mutiles, j'ai essaye d'expliquer ces choses qui dorment, sans doute, au fond de notre instinct et qu'il est bien difficile de reveiller completement. J'y constatais d'abord, qu'une inquietude nous attendait a tout spectacle auquel nous assistions et qu'une deception a peu pres ineffable accompagnait toujours la chute du rideau. N'est-il pas evident que le Macbeth ou l'Hamlet que nous voyons sur la scene ne ressemble pas au Macbeth ou a l'Hamlet du livre? Qu'il a visiblement retrograde dans le sublime? Qu'une grande partie des efforts du poete qui voulait creer avant tout une vie superieure, une vie plus proche de notre ame, a ete annulee par une force ennemie qui ne peut se manifester qu'en ramenant cette vie superieure au niveau de la vie ordinaire? Il y a peut-etre, me disais-je, aux sources de ce malaise, un tres ancien malentendu, a la suite duquel le theatre ne fut jamais exactement ce qu'il est dans l'instinct de la foule, a savoir: le temple du Reve. Il faut admettre, ajoutai-je, que le theatre, du moins en ses tendances, est un art. Mais je n'y trouve pas la marque des autres arts. L'art use toujours d'un detour et n'agit pas directement. Il a pour mission supreme la revelation de i'infini et de la grandeur ainsi que la beaute secrete, de l'homme. Mais montrer au doigt a l'enfant qui nous accompagne, les etoiles d'une unit de Juillet, ce n'est pas faire une oeuvre d'art. Il faut que l'art agisse comme les abeilles. Elles n'apportent pas aux larves de la ruche les fleurs des champs qui renferment leur avenir et leur vie. Les larves mourraient sous ces fleurs sans se douter de rien. Il faut que les abeilles nourricieres apportent a ces nymphes aveugles l'ame meme de ces fleurs, et c'est alors seulement qu'elles trouveront sans le savoir en ce miel mysterieux la substance des ailes qui un jour les emporteront a leur tour dans l'espace. Or, le poeme etait une oeuvre d'art et portait ces obliques et admirables marques. Mais la representation vient le contredire. Elle chasse vraiment les cygnes du grand lac, et elle rejette les perles dans l'abime. Elle remet les choses exactement au point ou elles etaient avant la venue du poete. La densite mystique de l'oeuvre d'art a disparue. Elle verse dans la meme erreur que celui qui apres avoir vante a ses auditeurs l'admirable Annonciation de Vinci, par exemple, s'imaginerait qu'il a fait penetrer dans leurs ames la beaute surnaturelle de cette peinture en reproduisant, en un tableau vivant, tous les details du grand chef-d'oeuvre florentin.

Qui sait si ce n'est pas pour ces raisons cachees que l'on est oblige de s'avouer que la plupart des grands poemes de l'humanite ne sont pas sceniques? Lear, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Antoine et Cleopatre, ne peuvent etre representes, et il est dangereux de les voir sur la scene. Quelque chose d'Hamlet est mort pour nous du jour ou nous l'avons vu mourir sous nos yeux. Le spectre d'un acteur l'a detrone, et nous ne pouvons plus ecarter l'usurpateur de nos reves. Ouvrez les portes, ouvrez le livre, le prince anterieur ne revient plus. Il a perdu la faculte de vivre selon la beaute la plus secrete de notre ame. Parfois son ombre passe encore en tremblant sur le seuil, mais desormais il n'ose plus, il ne peut plus entrer; et bien des voix sont mortes qui l'acclamaient en nous.

Je me souviens de cette mort de l'Hamlet de mes reves. Un soir j'ouvris la porte a l'usurpateur du poeme. L'acteur etait illustre. Il entra. Un seul de ses regards me montra qu'il n'etait pas Hamlet. Il ne le fut pas un seul instant pour moi. Je le vis s'agiter durant trois heures dans le mensonge. Je voyais clairement qu'il avait ses propres destinees; et celles qu'il voulait representer m'etaient indiciblement indifferentes a cote des siennes. Je voyais sa sante et ses habitudes, ses passions et ses tristesses, ses pensees et ses oeuvres, et il essayait vainement de m'interesser a une vie qui n'etait pas la sienne et que sa seule presence avait rendue factice. Depuis je le revois lorsque j'ouvre le livre et Elsinore n'est plus le palais d'autrefois....

"La verite," dit quelque part Charles Lamb, "la verite est que les caracteres de Shakespeare sont tellement des objets de meditation plutot que d'interet ou de curiosite relativement a leurs actes, que, tandis que nous lisons l'un de ses grands caracteres criminels,—Macbeth, Richard, Iago meme,—nous ne songeons pas tant aux crimes qu'ils commettent, qu'a l'ambition, a l'esprit d'aspiration, a l'activite intellectuelle qui les poussent a franchir ces barrieres morales. Les actions nous affectent si peu, que, tandis que les impulsions, l'esprit interieur en toute sa perverse grandeur, paraissent seuls reels et appellent seuls l'attention, le crime n'est comparativement rien. Mais lorsque nous voyons representer ces choses, les actes sont comparativement tout, et les mobiles ne sont plus rien. L'emotion sublime ou nous sommes entraines par ces images de nuit et d'horreur qu'exprime Macbeth; ce solennel prelude ou il s'oublie jusqu'a ce que l'horloge sonne l'heure qui doit l'appeler au meurtre de Duncan; lorsque nous ne lisons plus cela dans un livre, lorsque nous avons abandonne ce poste avantageux de l'abstraction d'ou la lecture domine la vision, et lorsque nous voyons sous nos yeux, un homme en sa forme corporelle se preparer actuellement au meurtre; si le jeu de l'acteur est vrai et puissant, la penible anxiete au sujet de l'acte, le naturel desir de le prevenir tout qu'il ne semble pas accompli, la trop puissante apparence de realite, provoquent un malaise et une inquietude qui detruisent totalement le plaisir que les mots apportent dans le livre, ou l'acte ne nous oppresse jamais de la penible sensation de sa presence, et semble plutot appartenir a l'histoire; a quelque chose de passe et d'inevitable."

Charles Lamb a raison, et pour mille raisons bien plus profondes encore que celles qu'il nous donne. Le theatre est le lien ou meurent la plupart des chefs-d'oeuvre, parce que la representation d'un chef-d'oeuvre a l'aide d'elements accidentels et humains est antinomique. Tout chef-d'oeuvre est un symbole, et le symbole ne supporte pas la presence active de l'homme. Il suffit que le coq chante, dit Hamlet, pour que les spectres de la nuit s'evanouissent. Et de meme, le poeme perd sa vie "de la seconde sphere" lorsqu'un etre de la sphere inferieure s'y introduit. L'accident ramene le symbole a l'accident; et le chef-d'oeuvre, en son essence, est mort durant le temps de cette presence et de ses traces.

Les Grecs n'ignorerent pas cette antinomie, et leurs masques que nous ne comprenons plus ne servaient probablement qu'a attenuer la presence de l'homme et a soulager le symbole. Aux epoques ou le theatre eut une vie veritable, il la dut peut-etre uniquement a quelque circonstance ou a quelque artifice qui venait en aide du poeme dans sa lutte contre l'homme. Ainsi, sous Elisabeth, par exemple, la declamation etait une sorte de melopee, le jeu etait conventionnel, et la scene aussi. Il en etait a peu pres de meme sous Louis XIV. Le poeme se retire a mesure que l'homme s'avance. Le poeme veut nous arracher du pouvoir de nos sens et faire predominer le passe et l'avenir; l'homme, au contraire, n'agit que sur nos sens et n'existe que pour autant qu'il puisse effacer cette predomination. S'il entre en scene avec toutes ses puissances, et libre comme s'il entrait dans une foret; si sa voix, ses gestes, et son attitude ne sont pas voilees par un grand nombre de conventions synthetiques; si l'on apercoit un seul instant l'etre vivant qu'il est et l'ame qu'il possede,—il n'y a pas de poeme au monde qui ne recule devant lui. A ce moment precis, le spectacle du poeme s'interrompt et nous assistons a une scene de la vie exterieure, qui, de meme qu'une scene de la rue, de la riviere, ou du champ de bataille, a ses beautes eternelles et secretes, mais qui est neanmoins impuissante a nous arracher du present, parce qu'en cet instant nous n'avons pas la qualite pour apercevoir ces beautes invisibles, qui ne sont que "des fleurs offertes aux vers aveugles."

Et c'est pour ces raisons, et pour d'autres encore qu'on pourrait rechercher dans les memes parages, que j'avais destine mes petits drames a des etres indulgents aux poemes, et que, faute de mieux, j'appelle "Marionettes."

MAURICE MAETERLINCK.



Pelleas and Melisande.

To Octave Mirbeau.

In witness of deep friendship, admiration, and gratitude.

M.M.



PERSONS

ARKEL, King of Allemonde.

GENEVIEVE, mother of Pelleas and Golaud.

PELLEAS,} }grandsons of Arkel. GOLAUD, }

MELISANDE.

LITTLE YNIOLD, son of Golaud (by a former marriage).

A PHYSICIAN.

THE PORTER.

Servants, Beggars, etc.



Pelleas and Melisande.

* * * * *



ACT FIRST.



SCENE I.—The gate of the castle.

MAIDSERVANTS (within).

Open the gate! Open the gate!

PORTER (within).

Who is there? Why do you come and wake me up? Go out by the little gates; there are enough of them!...

A MAIDSERVANT (within).

We have come to wash the threshold, the gate, and the steps; open, then! open!

ANOTHER MAIDSERVANT (within).

There are going to be great happenings!

THIRD MAIDSERVANT (within).

There are going to be great fetes! Open quickly!...

THE MAIDSERVANTS.

Open! open!

PORTER.

Wait! wait! I do not know whether I shall be able to open it;... it is never opened.... Wait till it is light....

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

It is light enough without; I see the sunlight through the chinks....

PORTER.

Here are the great keys.... Oh! oh! how the bolts and the locks grate!... Help me! help me!...

MAIDSERVANTS.

We are pulling; we are pulling....

SECOND MAIDSERVANT.

It will not open....

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

Ah! ah! It is opening! it is opening slowly!

PORTER.

How it shrieks! how it shrieks! it will wake up everybody....

SECOND MAIDSERVANT.

[Appearing on the threshold.] Oh, how light it is already out-of-doors!

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

The sun is rising on the sea!

PORTER.

It is open.... It is wide open!... [All the maidservants appear on the threshold and pass over it.]

FIRST MAIDSERVANT.

I am going to wash the sill first....

SECOND MAIDSERVANT.

We shall never be able to clean all this.

OTHER MAIDSERVANTS.

Fetch the water! fetch the water!

PORTER.

Yes, yes; pour on water; pour on water; pour on all the water of the Flood! You will never come to the end of it....



SCENE II.—A forest. MELISANDE discovered at the brink of a spring.

Enter GOLAUD.

GOLAUD.

I shall never be able to get out of this forest again.—God knows where that beast has led me. And yet I thought I had wounded him to death; and here are traces of blood. But now I have lost sight of him; I believe I am lost myself—my dogs can no longer find me—I shall retrace my steps....—I hear weeping.... Oh! oh! what is there yonder by the water's edge?... A little girl weeping by the water's edge? [He coughs.]—She does not hear me. I cannot see her face. [He approaches and touches MELISANDE on the shoulder.] Why weepest thou? [MELISANDE trembles, starts up, and would flee.]—Do not be afraid. You have nothing to fear. Why are you weeping here all alone?

MELISANDE.

Do not touch me! do not touch me!

GOLAUD.

Do not be afraid.... I will not do you any.... Oh, you are beautiful!

MELISANDE.

Do not touch me! do not touch me! or I throw myself in the water!...

GOLAUD.

I will not touch you.... See, I will stay here, against the tree. Do not be afraid. Has any one hurt you?

MELISANDE

Oh! yes! yes! yes!... [She sobs profoundly.]

GOLAUD.

Who has hurt you?

MELISANDE.

Every one! every one!

GOLAUD. What hurt have they done you?

MELISANDE.

I will not tell! I cannot tell!...

GOLAUD.

Come; do not weep so. Whence come you?

MELISANDE.

I have fled!... fled ... fled....

GOLAUD.

Yes; but whence have you fled?

MELISANDE.

I am lost!... lost!... Oh! oh! lost here.... I am not of this place.... I was not born there....

GOLAUD.

Whence are you? Where were you born?

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! far away from here!... far away ... far away....

GOLAUD.

What is it shining so at the bottom of the water?

MELISANDE.

Where?—Ah! it is the crown he gave me. It fell as I was weeping....

GOLAUD.

A crown?—Who was it gave you a crown?—I will try to get it....

MELISANDE.

No, no; I will have no more of it! I will have no more of it!... I had rather die ... die at once....

GOLAUD.

I could easily pull it out. The water is not very deep.

MELISANDE.

I will have no more of it! If you take it out, I throw myself in its place!...

GOLAUD.

No, no; I will leave it there. It could be reached without difficulty, nevertheless. It seems very beautiful.—Is it long since you fled?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes!... Who are you?

GOLAUD.

I am Prince Golaud,—grandson of Arkel, the old King of Allemonde....

MELISANDE.

Oh, you have gray hairs already....

GOLAUD.

Yes; some, here, by the temples....

MELISANDE

And in your beard, too.... Why do you look at me so?

GOLAUD.

I am looking at your eyes.—Do you never shut your eyes?

MELISANDE.

Oh, yes; I shut them at night....

GOLAUD.

Why do you look so astonished?

MELISANDE.

You are a giant?

GOLAUD.

I am a man like the rest....

MELISANDE.

Why have you come here?

GOLAUD.

I do not know, myself. I was hunting in the forest, I was chasing a wild boar. I mistook the road.—You look very young. How old are you?

MELISANDE.

I am beginning to be cold....

GOLAUD.

Will you come with me!

MELISANDE.

No, no; I will stay here....

GOLAUD.

You cannot stay here all alone. You cannot stay here all night long.... What is your name?

MELISANDE.

Melisande.

GOLAUD.

You cannot stay here, Melisande. Come with me....

MELISANDE.

I will stay here....

GOLAUD.

You will be afraid, all alone. We do not know what there may be here ... all night long ... all alone ... it is impossible. Melisande, come, give me your hand....

MELISANDE.

Oh, do not touch me!...

GOLAUD.

Do not scream.... I will not touch you again. But come with me. The night will be very dark and very cold. Come with me....

MELISANDE.

Where are you going?...

GOLAUD.

I do not know.... I am lost too.... [Exeunt.



SCENE III.—A hall in the castle. ARKEL and GENEVIEVE discovered.

GENEVIEVE.

Here is what he writes to his brother Pelleas: "I found her all in tears one evening, beside a spring in the forest where I had lost myself. I do not know her age, nor who she is, nor whence she comes, and I dare not question her, for she must have had a sore fright; and when you ask her what has happened to her, she falls at once a-weeping like a child, and sobs so heavily you are afraid. Just as I found her by the springs, a crown of gold had slipped from her hair and fallen to the bottom of the water. She was clad, besides, like a princess, though her garments had been torn by the briers. It is now six months since I married her and I know no more about it than on the day of our meeting. Meanwhile, dear Pelleas, thou whom I love more than a brother, although we were not born of the same father; meanwhile make ready for my return.... I know my mother will willingly forgive me. But I am afraid of the King, our venerable grandsire, I am afraid of Arkel, in spite of all his kindness, for I have undone by this strange marriage all his plans of state, and I fear the beauty of Melisande will not excuse my folly to eyes so wise as his. If he consents nevertheless to receive her as he would receive his own daughter, the third night following this letter, light a lamp at the top of the tower that overlooks the sea. I shall perceive it from the bridge of our ship; otherwise I shall go far away again and come back no more...." What say you of it?

ARKEL.

Nothing. He has done what he probably must have done. I am very old, and nevertheless I have not yet seen clearly for one moment into myself; how would you that I judge what others have done? I am not far from the tomb and do not succeed in judging myself.... One always mistakes when one does not close his eyes. That may seem strange to us; but that is all. He is past the age to marry and he weds like a child, a little girl he finds by a spring.... That may seem strange to us, because we never see but the reverse of destinies ... the reverse even of our own.... He has always followed my counsels hitherto; I had thought to make him happy in sending him to ask the hand of Princess Ursula.... He could not remain alone; since the death of his wife he has been sad to be alone; and that marriage would have put an end to long wars and old hatreds.... He would not have it so. Let it be as he would have it; I have never put myself athwart a destiny; and he knows better than I his future. There happen perhaps no useless events....

GENEVIEVE.

He has always been so prudent, so grave and so firm.... If it were Pelleas, I should understand.... But he ... at his age.... Who is it he is going to introduce here?—An unknown found along the roads.... Since his wife's death, he has no longer lived for aught but his son, the little Yniold, and if he were about to marry again, it was because you had wished it.... And now ... a little girl in the forest.... He has forgotten everything....—What shall we do?...

Enter PELLEAS.

ARKEL.

Who is coming in there?

GENEVIEVE.

It is Pelleas. He has been weeping.

ARKEL.

Is it thou, Pelleas?—Come a little nearer, that I may see thee in the light....

PELLEAS.

Grandfather, I received another letter at the same time as my brother's; a letter from my friend Marcellus.... He is about to die and calls for me. He would see me before dying....

ARKEL.

Thou wouldst leave before thy brother's return?—Perhaps thy friend is less ill than he thinks....

PELLEAS

His letter is so sad you can see death between the lines.... He says he knows the very day when death must come.... He tells me I can arrive before it if I will, but that there is no more time to lose. The journey is very long, and if I await Golaud's return, it will be perhaps too late....

ARKEL.

Thou must wait a little while, nevertheless.... We do not know what this return has in store for us. And besides, is not thy father here, above us, more sick perhaps than thy friend.... Couldst thou choose between the father and the friend?... [Exit.

GENEVIEVE.

Have a care to keep the lamp lit from this evening, Pelleas....

[Exeunt severally.



SCENE IV.—Before the castle. Enter GENEVIEVE and MELISANDE.

MELISANDE.

It is gloomy in the gardens. And what forests, what forests all about the palaces!...

GENEVIEVE.

Yes; that astonished me too when I came hither; it astonishes everybody. There are places where you never see the sun. But one gets used to it so quickly.... It is long ago, it is long ago.... It is nearly forty years that I have lived here.... Look toward the other side, you will have the light of the sea....

MELISANDE.

I hear a noise below us....

GENEVIEVE.

Yes; it is some one coming up toward us.... Ah! it is Pelleas.... He seems still tired from having waited so long for you....

MELISANDE.

He has not seen us.

GENEVIEVE.

I think he has seen us but does not know what he should do.... Pelleas, Pelleas, is it thou?...

Enter PELLEAS

PELLEAS.

Yes!... I was coming toward the sea....

GENEVIEVE.

So were we; we were seeking the light. It is a little lighter here than elsewhere; and yet the sea is gloomy.

PELLEAS

We shall have a storm to-night. There has been one every night for some time, and yet it is so calm now.... One might embark unwittingly and come back no more.

MELISANDE.

Something is leaving the port....

PELLEAS.

It must be a big ship.... The lights are very high, we shall see it in a moment, when it enters the band of light....

GENEVIEVE.

I do not know whether we shall be able to see it ... there is still a fog on the sea....

PELLEAS.

The fog seems to be rising slowly....

MELISANDE.

Yes; I see a little light down there, which I had not seen....

PELLEAS.

It is a lighthouse; there are others we cannot see yet.

MELISANDE.

The ship is in the light.... It is already very far away....

PELLEAS.

It is a foreign ship. It looks larger than ours....

MELISANDE.

It is the ship that brought me here!...

PELLEAS.

It flies away under full sail....

MELISANDE.

It is the ship that brought me here. It has great sails.... I recognized it by its sails.

PELLEAS.

There will be a rough sea to-night.

MELISANDE.

Why does it go away to-night?... You can hardly see it any longer.... Perhaps it will be wrecked....

PELLEAS.

The sight falls very quickly.... [A silence.

GENEVIEVE.

No one speaks any more?... You have nothing more to say to each other?... It is time to go in. Pelleas, show Melisande the way. I mast go see little Yniold a moment. [Exit.

PELLEAS.

Nothing can be seen any longer on the sea....

MELISANDE.

I see more lights.

PELLEAS.

It is the other lighthouses.... Do you hear the sea?... It is the wind rising.... Let us go down this way. Will you give me your hand?

MELISANDE.

See, see, my hands are full....

PELLEAS.

I will hold you by the arm, the road is steep and it is very gloomy there.... I am going away perhaps to-morrow....

MELISANDE.

Oh!... why do you go away? [Exeunt.



ACT SECOND.



SCENE I.—_A fountain in the park.

Enter_ PELLEAS _and_ MELISANDE.

PELLEAS.

You do not know where I have brought you?—I often come to sit here, toward noon, when it is too hot in the gardens. It is stifling to-day, even in the shade of the trees.

MELISANDE.

Oh, how clear the water is!...

PELLEAS.

It is as cool as winter. It is an old abandoned spring. It seems to have been a miraculous spring,—it opened the eyes of the blind,—they still call it "Blind Man's Spring."

MELISANDE.

It no longer opens the eyes of the blind?

PELLEAS.

Since the King has been nearly blind himself, no one comes any more....

MELISANDE.

How alone one is here!... There is no sound.

PELLEAS.

There is always a wonderful silence here.... One could hear the water sleep.... Will you sit down on the edge of the marble basin? There is one linden where the sun never comes....

MELISANDE.

I am going to lie down on the marble.—I should like to see the bottom of the water....

PELLEAS.

No one has ever seen it.—It is as deep, perhaps, as the sea.—It is not known whence it comes.—Perhaps it comes from the bottom of the earth....

MELISANDE.

If there were anything shining at the bottom, perhaps one could see it....

PELLEAS.

Do not lean over so....

MELISANDE.

I would like to touch the water....

PELLEAS.

Have a care of slipping.... I will hold your hand....

MELISANDE.

No, no, I would plunge both hands in it.... You would say my hands were sick to-day....

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! take care! take care! Melisande!... Melisande!...—Oh! your hair!...

MELISANDE (starting upright). I cannot,... I cannot reach it....

PELLEAS.

Your hair dipped in the water....

MELISANDE.

Yes, it is longer than my arms.... It is longer than I.... [A silence.

PELLEAS.

It was at the brink of a spring, too, that he found you?

MELISANDE.

Yes....

PELLEAS.

What did he say to you?

MELISANDE.

Nothing;—I no longer remember....

PELLEAS.

Was he quite near you?

MELISANDE.

Yes; he would have kissed me.

PELLEAS.

And you would not?

MELISANDE.

No.

PELLEAS.

Why would you not?

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! I saw something pass at the bottom of the water....

PELLEAS.

Take care! take care!—You will fall! What are you playing with?

MELISANDE.

With the ring he gave me....

PELLEAS.

Take care; you will lose it....

MELISANDE.

No, no; I am sure of my hands....

PELLEAS.

Do not play so, over so deep a water....

MELISANDE.

My hands do not tremble.

PELLEAS.

How it shines in the sunlight I—Do not throw it so high in the air....

MELISANDE.

Oh!...

PELLEAS.

It has fallen?

MELISANDE.

It has fallen into the water!...

PELLEAS.

Where is it? where is it?...

MELISANDE.

I do not see it sink?...

PELLEAS.

I think I see it shine....

MELISANDE.

My ring?

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; down yonder....

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! It is so far away from us!... no, no, that is not it ... that is not it.... It is lost ... lost.... There is nothing any more but a great circle on the water.... What shall we do? What shall we do now?...

PELLEAS.

You need not be so troubled for a ring. It is nothing.... We shall find it again, perhaps. Or else we will find another....

MELISANDE.

No, no; we shall never find it again; we shall never find any others either.... And yet I thought I had it in my hands.... I had already shut my hands, and it is fallen in spite of all.... I threw it too high, toward the sun....

PELLEAS.

Come, come, we will come back another day;... come, it is time. They will come to meet us. It was striking noon at the moment the ring fell.

MELISANDE.

What shall we say to Golaud if he ask where it is?

PELLEAS.

The truth, the truth, the truth.... [Exeunt.



SCENE II.—An apartment in the castle. GOLAUD discovered, stretched upon his bed; MELISANDE, by his bedside.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah! all goes well; it will amount to nothing. But I cannot understand how it came to pass. I was hunting quietly in the forest. All at once my horse ran away, without cause. Did he see anything unusual?... I had just heard the twelve strokes of noon. At the twelfth stroke he suddenly took fright and ran like a blind madman against a tree. I heard no more. I do not yet know what happened. I fell, and he must have fallen on me. I thought I had the whole forest on my breast; I thought my heart was crushed. But my heart is sound. It is nothing, apparently....

MELISANDE.

Would you like a little water?

GOLAUD.

Thanks, thanks; I am not thirsty.

MELISANDE.

Would you like another pillow?... There is a little spot of blood on this.

GOLAUD.

No, no; it is not worth while. I bled at the mouth just now. I shall bleed again perhaps....

MELISANDE.

Are you quite sure?... You are not suffering too much?

GOLAUD.

No, no; I have seen a good many more like this. I was made of iron and blood.... These are not the little bones of a child; do not alarm yourself....

MELISANDE.

Close your eyes and try to sleep. I shall stay here all night....

GOLAUD.

No, no; I do not wish you to tire yourself so. I do not need anything; I shall sleep like a child.... What is the matter, Melisande? Why do you weep all at once?...

MELISANDE (bursting into tears).

I am ... I am ill too....

GOLAUD.

Thou art ill?... What ails thee, then; what ails thee, Melisande?...

MELISANDE.

I do not know.... I am ill here.... I had rather tell you to-day; my lord, my lord, I am not happy here....

GOLAUD.

Why, what has happened, Melisande? What is it?... And I suspecting nothing.... What has happened?... Some one has done thee harm?... Some one has given thee offence?

MELISANDE.

No, no; no one has done me the least harm.... It is not that.... It is not that.... But I can live here no longer. I do not know why.... I would go away, go away!... I shall die if I am left here....

GOLAUD.

But something has happened? You must be hiding something from me?... Tell me the whole truth, Melisande.... Is it the King?... Is it my mother?... Is it Pelleas?...

MELISANDE.

No, no; it is not Pelleas. It is not anybody.... You could not understand me....

GOLAUD.

Why should I not understand?... If you tell me nothing, what will you have me do?... Tell me everything and I shall understand everything.

MELISANDE.

I do not know myself what it is.... I do not know just what it is.... If I could tell you, I would tell you.... It is something stronger than I....

GOLAUD.

Come; be reasonable, Melisande.—What would you have me do?—You are no longer a child.—Is it I whom you would leave?

MELISANDE.

Oh! no, no; it is not that.... I would go away with you.... It is here that I can live no longer.... I feel that I shall not live a long while....

GOLAUD.

But there must be a reason nevertheless. You will be thought mad. It will be thought child's dreams.—Come, is it Pelleas, perhaps?—I think he does not often speak to you.

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; he speaks to me sometimes. I think he does not like me; I have seen it in his eyes.... But he speaks to me when he meets me....

GOLAUD.

You must not take it ill of him. He has always been so. He is a little strange. And just now he is sad; he thinks of his friend Marcellus, who is at the point of death, and whom he cannot go to see.... He will change, he will change, you will see; he is young....

MELISANDE.

But it is not that ... it is not that....

GOLAUD.

What is it, then?—Can you not get used to the life one leads here? Is it too gloomy here?—It is true the castle is very old and very sombre.... It is very cold, and very deep. And all those who dwell in it, are already old. And the country may seem gloomy too, with all its forests, all its old forests without light. But that may all be enlivened if we will. And then, joy, joy, one does not have it every day; we must take things as they come. But tell me something; no matter what; I will do everything you could wish....

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; it is true.... You never see the sky here. I saw it for the first time this morning....

GOLAUD.

It is that, then, that makes you weep, my poor Melisande?—It is only that, then?—You weep, not to see the sky?—Come, come, you are no longer at the age when one may weep for such things.... And then, is not the summer yonder? You will see the sky every day.—And then, next year.... Come, give me your hand; give me both your little hands. [He takes her hands.] Oh! oh! these little hands that I could crush like flowers....—Hold! where is the ring I gave you?

MELISANDE.

The ring?

GOLAUD.

Yes; our wedding-ring, where is it?

MELISANDE.

I think.... I think it has fallen....

GOLAUD.

Fallen?—Where has it fallen?—You have not lost it?

MELISANDE.

No, no; it fell ... it must have fallen.... But I know where it is....

GOLAUD.

Where is it?

MELISANDE.

You know ... you know well ... the grotto by the seashore?...

GOLAUD.

Yes.

MELISANDE.

Well then, it is there.... It must be it is there.... Yes, yes; I remember.... I went there this morning to pick up shells for little Yniold.... There were some very fine ones.... It slipped from my finger ... then the sea came in; and I had to go out before I had found it.

GOLAUD.

Are you sure it is there?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; quite sure.... I felt it slip ... then, all at once, the noise of the waves....

GOLAUD.

You must go look for it at once.

MELISANDE.

I must go look for it at once?

GOLAUD.

Yes.

MELISANDE.

Now?—at once?—in the dark?

GOLAUD.

Now, at once, in the dark. You must go look for it at once. I had rather have lost all I have than have lost that ring. You do not know what it is. You do not know whence it came. The sea will be very high to-night. The sea will come to take it before you.... Make haste. You must go look for it at once....

MELISANDE.

I dare not.... I dare not go alone....

GOLAUD.

Go, go with no matter whom. But you must go at once, do you understand?—Make haste; ask Pelleas to go with you.

MELISANDE.

Pelleas?—With Pelleas?—But Pelleas would not....

GOLAUD.

Pelleas will do all you ask of him. I know Pelleas better than you do. Go, go; hurry! I shall not sleep until I have the ring.

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! I am not happy!... I am not happy!... [Exit, weeping.



SCENE III.—Before a grotto.

Enter PELLEAS and MELISANDE.

[Speaking with great agitation.] Yes; it is here; we are there. It is so dark you cannot tell the entrance of the grotto from the rest of the night.... There are no stars on this side. Let us wait till the moon has torn through that great cloud; it will light up the whole grotto, and then we can enter without danger. There are dangerous places, and the path is very narrow between two lakes whose bottom has not yet been found. I did not think to bring a torch or a lantern, but I think the light of the sky will be enough for us.—You have never gone into this grotto?

MELISANDE.

No....

PELLEAS.

Let us go in; let us go in.... You must be able to describe the place where you lost the ring, if he questions you.... It is very big and very beautiful. There are stalactites that look like plants and men. It is full of blue darks. It has not yet been explored to the end. There are great treasures hidden there, it seems. You will see the remains of ancient shipwrecks there. But you must not go far in it without a guide. There have been some who never have come back. I myself dare not go forward too far. We will stop the moment we no longer see the light of the sea or the sky. When you strike a little light there, you would say the vault was covered with stars like the sky. It is bits of crystal or salt, they say, that shine so in the rock.—Look, look, I think the sky is going to clear.... Give me your hand; do not tremble, do not tremble so. There is no danger; we will stop the moment we no longer see the light of the sea.... Is it the noise of the grotto that frightens you? It is the noise of night or the noise of silence.... Do you hear the sea behind us?—It does not seem happy to-night.... Ah! look, the light!...

[The moon lights up abundantly the entrance and part of the darkness of the grotto; and at a certain depth are seen three old beggars with white hair, seated side by side, leaning upon each other and asleep against a bowlder.]

MELISANDE.

Ah!

PELLEAS.

What is it?

MELISANDE.

There are ... there are.... [She points out the three Beggars.

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; I have seen them too....

MELISANDE.

Let us go!... Let us go!...

PELLEAS.

Yes ... it is three old poor men fallen asleep.... There is a famine in the country.... Why have they come to sleep here....

MELISANDE.

Let us go!... Come, come.... Let us go!...

PELLEAS.

Take care; do not speak so loud.... Let us not wake them.... They are still sleeping heavily.... Come.

MELISANDE.

Leave me, leave me; I prefer to walk alone....

PELLEAS.

We will come back another day.... [Exeunt.



SCENE IV.—An apartment in the castle, ARKEL and PELLEAS discovered.

ARKEL.

You see that everything retains you here just now and forbids you this useless journey. We have concealed your father's condition from you until now; but it is perhaps hopeless; and that alone should suffice to stop you on the threshold. But there are so many other reasons.... And it is not in the day when our enemies awake, and when the people are dying of hunger and murmur about us, that you have the right to desert us. And why this journey? Marcellus is dead; and life has graver duties than the visit to a tomb. You are weary, you say, of your inactive life; but activity and duty are not found on the highways. They must be waited for upon the threshold, and let in as they go by; and they go by every day. You have never seen them? I hardly see them any more myself; but I will teach you to see them, and I will point them out to you the day when you would make them a sign. Nevertheless, listen to me; if you believe it is from the depths of your life this journey is exacted, I do not forbid your undertaking it, for you must know better than I the events you must offer to your being or your fate. I shall ask you only to wait until we know what must take place ere long....

PELLEAS.

How long must I wait?

ARKEL.

A few weeks; perhaps a few days....

PELLEAS.

I will wait....



ACT THIRD



SCENE I.—An apartment in the castle. PELLEAS and MELISANDE discovered, MELISANDE plies her distaff at the back of the room.

PELLEAS.

Yniold does not come back; where has he gone?

MELISANDE

He had heard something in the corridor; he has gone to see what it is.

PELLEAS.

Melisande....

MELISANDE

What is it?

PELLEAS.

... Can you see still to work there?...

MELISANDE

I work as well in the dark....

PELLEAS.

I think everybody is already asleep in the castle. Golaud does not come back from the chase. It is late, nevertheless.... He no longer suffers from his fall?...

MELISANDE.

He said he no longer suffered from it.

PELLEAS.

He must be more prudent; his body is no longer as supple as at twenty years.... I see the stars through the window and the light of the moon on the trees. It is late; he will not come back now. [Knocking at the door.] Who is there?... Come in!...

Little YNIOLD opens the door and enters the room.

It was you knocking so?... That is not the way to knock at doors. It is as if a misfortune had arrived; look, you have frightened little mother.

LITTLE YNIOLD.

I only knocked a tiny little bit.

PELLEAS.

It is late; little father will not come back to-night; it is time for you to go to bed.

LITTLE YNIOLD.

I shall not go to bed before you do.

PELLEAS.

What?... What is that you are saying?

LITTLE YNIOLD.

I say ... not before you ... not before you....

[Bursts into sobs and takes refuge by MELISANDE.]

MELISANDE.

What is it, Yniold?... What is it?... why do you weep all at once?

YNIOLD (sobbing).

Because ... oh! oh! because ...

MELISANDE.

Because what?... Because what?... Tell me ...

YNIOLD.

Little mother ... little mother ... you are going away....

MELISANDE.

But what has taken hold of you, Yniold?... I have never dreamed of going away....

YNIOLD.

Yes, you have; yes, you have; little father has gone away.... Little father does not come back, and you are going to go away too.... I have seen it ... I have seen it....

MELISANDE.

But there has never been any idea of that, Yniold.... Why, what makes you think that I would go away?...

YNIOLD.

I have seen it ... I have seen it.... You have said things to uncle that I could not hear....

PELLEAS.

He is sleepy.... He has been dreaming.... Come here, Yniold; asleep already?... Come and look out at the window; the swans are fighting with the dogs....

YNIOLD (at the window).

Oh! oh! they are chasing the dogs!... They are chasing them!... Oh! oh! the water!... the wings!... the wings!... they are afraid....

PELLEAS. (coming back by MELISANDE).

He is sleepy; he is struggling against sleep; his eyes were closing....

MELISANDE (singing softly as she spins).

Saint Daniel and Saint Michael.... Saint Michael and Saint Raphael....

YNIOLD (at the window).

Oh! oh! little mother!...

MELISANDE (rising abruptly).

What is it, Yniold?... What is it?...

YNIOLD.

I saw something at the window?... [PELLEAS and MELISANDE run to the window.

PELLEAS.

What is there at the window?... What have you seen?...

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! I saw something!...

PELLEAS.

But there is nothing. I see nothing....

MELISANDE.

Nor I....

PELLEAS.

Where did you see something? Which way?...

YNIOLD.

Down there, down there!... It is no longer there....

PELLEAS.

He does not know what he is saying. He must have seen the light of the moon on the forest. There are often strange reflections,... or else something must have passed on the highway ... or in his sleep. For see, see, I believe he is quite asleep....

YNIOLD (at the window).

Little father is there! little father is there!

PELLEAS (going to the window).

He is right; Golaud is coming into the courtyard....

YNIOLD.

Little father!... little father!... I am going to meet him!... [Exit, running,—A silence.

PELLEAS.

They are coming up the stair....

Enter GOLAUD and little YNIOLD with a lamp.

GOLAUD.

You are still waiting in the dark?

YNIOLD.

I have brought a light, little mother, a big light!... [He lifts the lamp and looks at MELISANDE.] You have been weeping, little mother?... You have been, weeping?... [He lifts the lamp toward PELLEAS and looks in turn at him.] You too, you too, you have been weeping?... Little father, look, little father; they have both been weeping....

GOLAUD.

Do not hold the light under their eyes so....



SCENE II.—One of the towers of the castle.—watchman's round passes under a window in the tower.

MELISANDE (at the window, combing her unbound hair).

My long locks fall foaming To the threshold of the tower,— My locks await your coming All along the tower, And all the long, long hour, And all the long, long hour.

Saint Daniel and Saint Michael, Saint Michael and Saint Raphael.

I was born on a Sunday, A Sunday at high noon....

Enter PELLEAS by the watchman's round.

PELLEAS.

Hola! Hola! ho!...

MELISANDE.

Who is there?

PELLEAS.

I, I, and I!... What art thou doing there at the window, singing like a bird that is not native here?

MELISANDE.

I am doing my hair for the night...

PELLEAS.

Is it that I see upon the wall?... I thought you had some light....

MELISANDE.

I have opened the window; it is too hot in the tower.... It is beautiful to-night....

PELLEAS.

There are innumerable stars; I have never seen so many as to-night;... but the moon is still upon the sea.... Do not stay in the shadow, Melisande; lean forward a little till I see your unbound hair....

MELISANDE.

I am frightful so.... [She learn out at the window.

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! Melisande!... oh, thou art beautiful!... thou art beautiful so!... Lean out! lean out!... Let me come nearer thee....

MELISANDE

I cannot come nearer thee.... I am leaning out as far as I can....

PELLEAS.

I cannot come up higher;... give me at least thy hand to-night ... before I go away.... I leave to-morrow....

MELISANDE.

No, no, no!...

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes, yes; I leave, I shall leave to-morrow.... Give me thy hand, thy hand, thy little hand upon my lips....

MELISANDE.

I give thee not my hand if thou wilt leave....

PELLEAS.

Give, give, give!...

MELISANDE.

Thou wilt not leave?...

PELLEAS.

I will wait; I will wait....

MELISANDE.

I see a rose in the shadows....

PELLEAS.

Where?... I see only the boughs of the willow hanging over the wall....

MELISANDE.

Further down, further down, in the garden; further down, in the sombre green....

PELLEAS.

It is not a rose.... I will go see by and by, but give me thy hand first; first thy hand....

MELISANDE.

There, there;... I cannot lean out further....

PELLEAS.

I cannot reach thy hand with my lips....

MELISANDE.

I cannot lean out further.... I am on the point of falling....—Oh! oh! my hair is falling down the tower!...

[Her tresses fall suddenly over her head, as she is leaning out so, and stream over PELLEAS]

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! what is it?... Thy hair, thy hair is falling down to me!... All thy locks, Melisande, all thy locks have fallen down the tower!... I hold them in my hands; I hold them in my mouth.... I hold them in my arms; I put them about my neck.... I will not open my hands again to-night....

MELISANDE.

Let me go! let me go!... Thou wilt make me fall!...

PELLEAS.

No, no, no;... I have never seen such hair as thine, Melisande!... See, see, see; it comes from so high and yet it floods me to the heart!... And yet it floods me to the knees!... And it is sweet, sweet as if it fell from heaven!... I see the sky no longer through thy locks. Thou seest, thou seest?... I can no longer hold them with both hands; there are some on the boughs of the willow.... They are alive like birds in my hands,... and they love me, they love me more than thou!...

MELISANDE.

Let me go; let me go!... Some one might come....

PELLEAS.

No, no, no; I shall not set thee free to-night.... Thou art my prisoner to-night; all night, all night!...

MELISANDE.

Pelleas! Pelleas!...

PELLEAS.

I tie them, I tie them to the willow boughs.... Thou shalt not go away now;... thou shalt not go away now.... Look, look, I am kissing thy hair.... I suffer no more in the midst of thy hair.... Hearest thou my kisses along thy hair?... They mount along thy hair.... Each hair must bring thee some.... Thou seest, thou seest, I can open my hands.... My hands are free, and thou canst not leave me now....

MELISANDE.

Oh! oh! thou hurtest me.... [Doves come out of the tower and fly about them in the night.]—What is that, Pelleas?—What is it flying about me?

PELLEAS.

It is the doves coming oat of the tower.... I have frightened them; they are flying away....

MELISANDE.

It is my doves, Pelleas.—Let us go away, let me go; they will not come back again....

PELLEAS.

Why will they not come back again?

MELISANDE

They will be lost in the dark.... Let me go; let me lift my head.... I hear a noise of footsteps.... Let me go!—It is Golaud!... I believe it is Golaud!... He has heard us....

PELLEAS.

Wait! Wait!... Thy hair is about the boughs.... It is caught there in the darkness.... Wait, wait!... It is dark....

Enter GOLAUD, by the watchman's round.

GOLAUD.

What do you here?

PELLEAS.

What do I here?... I....

GOLAUD.

You are children.... Melisande, do not lean out so at the window; you will fall.... Do you not know it is late?—It is nearly midnight.—Do not play so in the darkness.—You are children.... [Laughing nervously.] What children!... What children!... [Exit, with PELLEAS.



SCENE III.—_The-vaults of the castle.

Enter_ GOLAUD _and_ PELLEAS.

GOLAUD.

Take care; this way, this way.—You have never penetrated into these vaults?

PELLEAS.

Yes; once, of old; but it was long ago....

GOLAUD.

They are prodigious great; it is a succession of enormous crypts that end, God knows where. The whole castle is builded on these crypts. Do you smell the deathly odor that reigns here?—That is what I wished, to show you. In my opinion, it comes from the little underground lake I am going to have you see. Take care; walk before me, in the light of my lantern. I will warn you when we are there, [They continue to walk in silence.] Hey! hey! Pelleas! stop! stop!—[He seizes him by the arm.] For God's sake!... Do you not see?—One step more, and you had been in the gulf!...

PELLEAS

But I did not see it!... The lantern no longer lighted me....

GOLAUD.

I made a misstep.... but if I had not held you by the arm.... Well, this is the stagnant water that I spoke of to you.... Do you perceive the smell of death that rises?—Let us go to the end of this overhanging rock, and do you lean over a little. It will strike you in the face.

PELLEAS.

I smell it already;... you would say a smell of the tomb.

GOLAUD.

Further, further.... It is this that on certain days has poisoned the castle. The King will not believe it comes from here.—The crypt should be walled up in which this standing water is found. It is time, besides, to examine these vaults a little. Have you noticed those lizards on the walls and pillars of the vaults?—There is a labor hidden here you would not suspect; and the whole castle will be swallowed up one of these nights, if it is not looked out for. But what will you have? nobody likes to come down this far.... There are strange lizards in many of the walls.... Oh! here ... do you perceive the smell of death that rises?

PELLEAS.

Yes; there is a smell of death rising about us....

GOLAUD.

Lean over; have no fear.... I will hold you ... give me ... no, no, not your hand ... it might slip ... your arm, your arm!... Do you see the gulf? [Moved.]—Pelleas? Pelleas?...

PELLEAS.

Yes; I think I see the bottom of the gulf.... Is it the light that trembles so?... You ... [He straightens up, turns, and looks at GOLAUD.]

GOLAUD (with a trembling voice).

Yes; it is the lantern.... See, I shook it to lighten the walls....

PELLEAS.

I stifle here;... let us go out....

GOLAUD.

Yes; let us go out.... [Exeunt in silence.



SCENE IV.—A terrace at the exit of the vaults. Enter GOLAUD and PELLEAS.

PELLEAS.

Ah! I breathe at last!... I thought, one moment, I was going to be ill in those enormous crypts; I was on the point of falling.... There is a damp air there, heavy as a leaden dew, and darkness thick as a poisoned paste.... And now, all the air of all the sea!... There is a fresh wind, see; fresh as a leaf that has just opened, over the little green waves.... Hold! the flowers have just been watered at the foot of the terrace, and the smell of the verdure and the wet roses comes up to us.... It must be nearly noon; they are already in the shadow of the tower.... It is noon; I hear the bells ringing, and the children are going down to the beach to bathe.... I did not know that we had stayed so long in the caverns....

GOLAUD.

We went down towards eleven o'clock....

PELLEAS.

Earlier; it must have been earlier; I heard it strike half-past ten.

GOLAUD.

Half-past ten or a quarter to eleven....

PELLEAS.

They have opened all the windows of the castle. It will be unusually hot this afternoon.... Look, there is mother with Melisande at a window of the tower....

GOLAUD.

Yes; they have taken refuge on the shady side.—Speaking of Melisande, I heard what passed and what was said last night. I am quite aware all that is but child's play; but it need not be repeated. Melisande is very young and very impressionable; and she must be treated the more circumspectly that she is perhaps with child at this moment.... She is very delicate, hardly woman; and the least emotion might bring on a mishap. It is not the first time I have noticed there might be something between you.... You are older than she; it will suffice to have told you.... Avoid her as much as possible; without affectation moreover; without affectation....—What is it I see yonder on the highway toward the forest?...

PELLEAS.

Some herds they are leading to the city....

GOLAUD.

They cry like lost children; you would say they smelt the butcher already.—It will be time for dinner.—What a fine day! What a capital day for the harvest!... [Exeunt.



SCENE V.—Before the castle.

Enter GOLAUD and little YNIOLD.

GOLAUD.

Come, we are going to sit down here, Yniold; sit on my knee; we shall see from here what passes in the forest. I do not see you any more at all now. You abandon me too; you are always at little mother's.... Why, we are sitting just under little mother's windows.—Perhaps she is saying her evening prayer at this moment.... But tell me, Yniold, she is often with your uncle Pelleas, isn't she?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; always, little father; when you are not there, little father....

GOLAUD.

Ah!—look; some one is going by with a lantern in the garden.—But I have been told they did not like each other.... It seems they often quarrel;... no? Is it true?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; it is true.

GOLAUD.

Yes?—Ah! ah!—But what do they quarrel about?

YNIOLD.

About the door.

GOLAUD.

What? about the door?—What are you talking about?—No, come, explain yourself; why do they quarrel about the door?

YNIOLD.

Because it won't stay open.

GOLAUD.

Who wants it to stay open?—Come, why do they quarrel?

YNIOLD.

I don't know, little father; about the light.

GOLAUD.

I am not talking to you about the light; we will talk of that by and by. I am talking to you about the door. Answer what I ask you; you must learn to talk; it is time.... Do not put your hand in your mouth so;... come....

YNIOLD.

Little father! little father!... I won't do it any more.... [He cries.]

GOLAUD.

Come; what are you crying for now? What has happened?

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! little father, you hurt me....

GOLAUD.

I hurt you?—Where did I hurt you? I did not mean to....

YNIOLD.

Here, here; on my little arm....

GOLAUD.

I did not mean to; come, don't cry any more, and I will give you something to-morrow.

YNIOLD.

What, little father?

GOLAUD.

A quiver and some arrows; but tell me what you know about the door.

YNIOLD.

Big arrows?

GOLAUD.

Yes, yes; very big arrows.—But why don't they want the door to be open?—Come, answer me sometime!—no, no; do not open your mouth to cry. I am not angry. We are going to have a quiet talk, like Pelleas and little mother when they are together. What do they talk about when they are together?

YNIOLD.

Pelleas and little mother?

GOLAUD.

Yes; what do they talk about?

YNIOLD.

About me; always about me.

GOLAUD.

And what do they say about you?

YNIOLD.

They say I am going to be very big.

GOLAUD.

Oh, plague of my life!... I am here like a blind man searching for his treasure at the bottom of the ocean!... I am here like a new-born child lost in the forest, and you ... Come, come, Yniold, I was wandering; we are going to talk seriously. Do Pelleas and little mother never speak of me when I am not there?...

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, little father; they are always speaking of you.

GOLAUD.

Ah!... And what do they say of me?

YNIOLD.

They say I shall grow as big as you are.

GOLAUD.

You are always by them?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, always, always, little father.

GOLAUD.

They never tell you to go play somewhere else?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they are afraid when I am not there.

GOLAUD.

They are afraid?... What makes you think they are afraid?

YNIOLD.

Little mother always says, "Don't go away; don't go away!"... They are unhappy, but they laugh....

GOLAUD.

But that does not prove they are afraid.

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes, little father; she is afraid....

GOLAUD.

Why do you say she is afraid?

YNIOLD.

They always weep in the dark.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah!...

YNIOLD.

That makes one weep too.

GOLAUD.

Yes, yes!...

YNIOLD.

She is pale, little father.

GOLAUD.

Ah! ah!... patience, my God, patience!...

YNIOLD.

What, little father?

GOLAUD.

Nothing, nothing, my child.—I saw a wolf go by in the forest.—Then they get on well together?—I am glad to learn they are on good terms.—They kiss each other sometimes—No?...

YNIOLD.

Kiss each other, little father?—No, no,—ah! yes, little father, yes; yes; once ... once when it rained....

GOLAUD.

They kissed?—But how, how did they kiss?

YNIOLD.

So, little father, so!... [He gives him a kiss on the mouth, laughing.] Ah! ah! your beard, little father!... It pricks! it pricks! it pricks! It is getting all gray, little father, and your hair, too; all gray, all gray, all gray.... [The window under which they are sitting is lighted up at this moment, and the light falls upon them.] Ah! ah! little mother has lit her lamp. It is light, little father; it is light....

GOLAUD.

Yes; it is beginning to be light....

YNIOLD.

Let us go there too, little father; let us go there too....

GOLAUD.

Where do you want to go?

YNIOLD.

Where it is light, little father.

GOLAUD.

No, no, my child; let us stay in the dark a little longer.... One cannot tell, one cannot tell yet.... Do you see those poor people down there trying to kindle a little fire in the forest?—It has rained. And over there, do you see the old gardener trying to lift that tree the wind has blown down across the road?—He cannot; the tree is too big; the tree is too heavy, and it will lie where it fell. All that cannot be helped.... I think Pelleas is mad....

YNIOLD.

No, little father, he is not mad; he is very good.

GOLAUD.

Do you want to see little mother?

YNIOLD.

Yes, yes; I want to see her!

GOLAUD.

Don't make any noise; I am going to hoist you up to the window. It is too high for me, for all I am so big.... [He lifts the child.] Do not make the least noise; little mother would be terribly afraid.... Do you see her?—Is she in the room?

YNIOLD.

Yes.... Oh, how light it is!

GOLAUD.

She is alone?

YNIOLD.

Yes;... no, no; Uncle Pelleas Is there, too.

GOLAUD.

He—...!

YNIOLD.

Ah! ah! little father! you have hurt me!...

GOLAUD.

It is nothing; be still; I will not do it any more; look, look, Yniold!... I stumbled; speak lower. What are they doing?—

YNIOLD.

They are not doing anything, little father; they are waiting for something.

GOLAUD.

Are they near each other?

YNIOLD.

No, little father.

GOLAUD.

And ... and the bed? are they near the bed?

YNIOLD.

The bed, little father?—I can't see the bed.

GOLAUD.

Lower, lower; they will hear you. Are they speaking?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not speak.

GOLAUD.

But what are they doing?—They must be doing something....

YNIOLD.

They are looking at the light.

GOLAUD.

Both?

YNIOLD.

Yes, little father.

GOLAUD.

They do not say anything?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not close their eyes.

GOLAUD.

They do not come near each other?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they do not stir.

GOLAUD.

They are sitting down?

YNIOLD.

No, little father; they are standing upright against the wall.

GOLAUD.

They make no gestures?—They do not look at each other?—They make no signs?...

YNIOLD.

No, little father.—Oh! oh! little father; they never close their eyes.... I am terribly afraid....

GOLAUD.

Be still. They do not stir yet?

YNIOLD.

No, little father.—I am afraid, little father; let me come down!...

GOLAUD.

Why, what are you afraid of?—Look! look!...

YNIOLD.

I dare not look any more, little father!... Let me come down!...

GOLAUD.

Look! look!...

YNIOLD.

Oh! oh! I am going to cry, little father!—Let me come down! let me come down!,..

GOLAUD.

Come; we will go see what has happened. [Exeunt.



ACT FOURTH



SCENE I.—A corridor in the castle.

Enter PELLEAS and MELISANDE, meeting.

PELLEAS.

Where goest thou? I must speak to thee to-night. Shall I see thee?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

I have just left my father's room. He is getting better. The physician has told us he is saved.... And yet this morning I had a presentiment this day would end ill. I have had a rumor of misfortune in my ears for some time.... Then, all at once there was a great change; to-day it is no longer anything but a question of time. All the windows in his room have been thrown open. He speaks; he seems happy. He does not speak yet like an ordinary man, but already his ideas no longer all come from the other world.... He recognized me. He took my hand and said with that strange air he has had since he fell sick: "Is it thou, Pelleas? Why, why, I had not noticed it before, but thou hast the grave and friendly look of those who will not live long.... You must travel; you must travel...." It is strange; I shall obey him.... My mother listened to him and wept for joy.—Hast thou not been aware of it?—The whole house seems already to revive, you hear breathing, you hear speaking, you hear walking.... Listen; I hear some one speaking behind that door. Quick, quick! answer quickly! where shall I see thee?

MELISANDE.

Where wouldst thou?

PELLEAS.

In the park; near "Blind Man's Spring."—Wilt thou?—Wilt thou come?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

It will be the last night;—I am going to travel, as my father said. Thou wilt not see me more....

MELISANDE.

Do not say that, Pelleas.... I shall see thee always; I shall look upon thee always....

PELLEAS.

Thou wilt look in vain.... I shall be so far away thou couldst no longer see me.... I shall try to go very far away.... I am full of joy, and you would say I had all the weight of heaven and earth on my body to-day....

MELISANDE.

What has happened, Pelleas?—I no longer understand what you say....

PELLEAS.

Go, go; let us separate. I hear some one speaking behind that door.... It is the strangers who came to the castle this morning.... They are going out.... Let us go; it is the strangers.... [Exeunt severally.



SCENE II.—An apartment in the castle. ARKEL and MELISANDE discovered.

ARKEL.

Now that Pelleas's father is saved, and sickness, the old handmaid of Death, has left the castle, a little joy and a little sunlight will at last come into the house again.... It was time!—For, since thy coming, we have only lived here whispering about a closed room.... And truly I have pitied thee, Melisande.... Thou camest here all joyous, like a child seeking a gala-day, and at the moment thou enteredst in the vestibule I saw thy face change, and probably thy soul, as the face changes in spite of us when we enter at noon into a grotto too gloomy and too cold.... And since,—since, on account of all that, I have often no longer understood thee.... I observed thee, thou went there, listless perhaps, but with the strange, astray look of one awaiting ever a great trouble, in the sunlight, in a beautiful garden.... I cannot explain.... But I was sad to see thee so; for thou art too young and too beautiful to live already day and night under the breath of death.... But now all that will change. At my age,—and there perhaps is the surest fruit of my life,—at my age I have gained I know not what faith in the fidelity of events, and I have always seen that every young and beautiful being creates about itself young, beautiful, and happy events.... And it is thou who wilt now open the door for the new era I have glimpses of.... Come here; why dost thou stay there without answering and without lifting thine eyes?—I have kissed thee but once only hitherto,—the day of thy coming; and yet old men need sometimes to touch with their lips a woman's forehead or a child's cheek, to believe still in the freshness of life and avert awhile the menaces.... Art thou afraid of my old lips? How I have pitied thee these months!...

MELISANDE.

Grandfather, I have not been unhappy....

ARKEL.

Perhaps you were of those who are unhappy without knowing it,... and they are the most unhappy.... Let me look at thee, so, quite near, a moment;... we have such need of beauty beside Death....

Enter GOLAUD.

GOLAUD.

Pelleas leaves to-night.

ARKEL.

Thou hast blood on thy forehead.—What hast thou done?

GOLAUD.

Nothing, nothing.... I have passed through a hedge of thorns.

MELISANDE.

Bend down your head a little, my lord.... I will wipe your forehead....

GOLAUD (repulsing her).

I will not that you touch me, do you understand? Go, go!—I am not speaking to you.—Where is my sword?—I came to seek my sword....

MELISANDE.

Here; on the praying-stool.

GOLAUD.

Bring it. [To ARKEL.]—They have just found another peasant dead of hunger, along by the sea. You would say they all meant to die under our eyes.—[To MELISANDE.] Well, my sword?—Why do you tremble so?—I am not going to kill you. I would simply examine the blade. I do not employ the sword for these uses. Why do you examine me like a beggar?—I do not come to ask alms of you. You hope to see something in my eyes without my seeing anything in yours?—Do you think I may know something?—[To ARKEL.]—Do you see those great eyes?—It is as if they were proud of their richness....

ARKEL.

I see there only a great innocence....

GOLAUD.

A great innocence!... They are greater than innocence!... They are purer than the eyes of a lamb.... They would give God lessons in innocence! A great innocence! Listen: I am so near them I feel the freshness of their lashes when they wink; and yet I am less far away from the great secrets of the other world than from the smallest secret of those eyes!... A great innocence!... More than innocence! You would say the angels of heaven celebrated there an eternal baptism!... I know those eyes! I have seen them at their work! Close them! close them! or I shall close them for a long while!...—Do not put your right hand to your throat so; I am saying a very simple thing.... I have no under-thought.... If I had an under-thought, why should I not say it? Ah! ah!—do not attempt to flee!—Here!—Give me that hand!—Ah! your hands are too hot.... Go away! Your flesh disgusts me!... Here!—There is no more question of fleeing now!—[He seizes her by the hair.]—You shall follow me on your knees!—On your knees!—On your knees before me!—Ah! ah! your long hair serves some purpose at last!... Right,... left!—Left,... right!—Absalom! Absalom.—Forward! back! To the ground! to the ground!... You see, you see; I laugh already like an old man....

ARKEL (running up).

Golaud!...

GOLAUD (affecting a sudden calm).

You will do as you may please, look you.—I attach no importance to that.—I am too old; and, besides, I am not a spy. I shall await chance; and then ... Oh! then!... simply because it is the custom; simply because it is the custom.... [Exit.

ARKEL.

What ails him?—He is drunk?

MELISANDE (in tears).

No, no; he does not love me any more.... I am not happy!... I am not happy!...

ARKEL.

If I were God, I would have pity on men's hearts....



SCENE III.—A terrace of the castle. Little YNIOLD discovered, trying to lift a bowlder.

LITTLE YNIOLD.

Oh, this stone is heavy!... It is heavier than I am.... It is heavier than everybody.... It is heavier than everything that ever happened.... I can see my golden ball between the rock and this naughty stone, and I cannot reach it.... My little arm is not long enough,... and this stone won't be lifted.... I can't lift it,... and nobody could lift it.... It is heavier than the whole house;... you would think it had roots in the earth.... [The Bleatings of a flock heard far away.]—Oh! oh! I hear the sheep crying.... [He goes to look, at the edge of the terrace.] Why! there is no more sun.... They are coming ... the little sheep ... they are coming.... There is a lot of them!... There is a lot of them!... They are afraid of the dark.... They crowd together! they crowd together!... They can hardly walk any more.... They are crying! they are crying! and they go quick!... They go quick!... They are already at the great crossroads. Ah! ah! They don't know where they ought to go any more.... They don't cry any more.... They wait.... Some of them want to go to the right.... They all want to go to the right.... They cannot!... The shepherd is throwing earth at them.... Ah! ah! They are going to pass by here.... They obey! They obey! They are going to pass under the terrace.... They are going to pass under the rocks.... I am going to see them near by.... Oh! oh! what a lot of them!... What a lot of them!... The whole road is full of them.... They all keep still now ... Shepherd! shepherd! why don't they speak any more?

THE SHEPHERD (who is out of sight).

Because it is no longer the road to the stable....

YNIOLD.

Where are they going?—Shepherd! shepherd!—where are they going?—He doesn't hear me any more. They are too far away already.... They go quick.... They are not making a noise any more.... It is no longer the road to the stable.... Where are they going to sleep to-night?—Oh! oh!—It is too dark.... I am going to tell something to somebody.... [Exit.



SCENE IV.—A fountain in the park.

Enter PELLEAS.

PELLEAS.

It is the last evening ... the last evening. It must all end. I have played like a child about a thing I did not guess.... I have played a-dream about the snares of fate.... Who has awakened me all at once? I shall flee, crying out for joy and woe like a blind man fleeing from his burning house.... I am going to tell her I shall flee.... My father is out of danger; and I have no more reason to lie to myself.... It is late; she does not come.... I should do better to go away without seeing her again.... I must look well at her this time.... There are some things that I no longer recall.... It seems at times as if I had not seen her for a hundred years.... And I have not yet looked upon her look.... There remains nought to me if I go away thus. And all those memories ... it is as if I were to take away a little water in a muslin bag.... I must see her one last time, to the bottom of her heart.... I must tell her all that I have never told her.

Enter MELISANDE.

MELISANDE.

Pelleas!

Melisande!—Is it thou, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

Yes.

PELLEAS.

Come hither; do not stay at the edge of the moonlight.—Come hither. We have so many things to tell each other.... Come hither in the shadow of the linden.

MELISANDE.

Let me stay in the light....

PELLEAS.

We might be seen from the windows of the tower. Come hither; here, we have nothing to fear.—Take care; we might be seen....

MELISANDE.

I wish to be seen....

PELLEAS.

Why, what doth ail thee?—Thou wert able to come out without being seen?

MELISANDE.

Yes; your brother slept....

PELLEAS.

It is late.—In an hour they will close the gates. We must be careful. Why art thou come so late?

MELISANDE.

Your brother had a bad dream. And then my gown was caught on the nails of the gate. See, it is torn. I lost all this time, and ran....

PELLEAS.

My poor Melisande!... I should almost be afraid to touch thee.... Thou art still out of breath, like a hunted bird.... It is for me, for me, thou doest all that?... I hear thy heart beat as if it were mine.... Come hither ... nearer, nearer me....

MELISANDE.

Why do you laugh?

PELLEAS.

I do not laugh;—or else I laugh for joy, unwittingly.... It were a weeping matter, rather....

MELISANDE.

We have come here before.... I recollect....

PELLEAS.

Yes ... yes.... Long months ago.—I knew not then.... Knowest thou why I asked thee to come here to-night?

MELISANDE.

No.

PELLEAS.

It is perhaps the last time I shall see thee.... I must go away forever....

MELISANDE.

Why sayest thou always thou wilt go away?...

PELLEAS.

I must tell thee what thou knowest already?—Thou knowest not what I am going to tell thee?

MELISANDE.

Why, no; why, no; I know nothing—...

PELLEAS.

Thou knowest not why I must go afar.... Thou knowest not it is because ... [He kisses her abruptly.] I love thee....

MELISANDE (in a low voice).

I love thee too....

PELLEAS.

Oh! oh! What saidst thou, Melisande?... I hardly heard it!... Thou sayest that in a voice coming from the end of the world!... I hardly heard thee.... Thou lovest me?—Thou lovest me too?... Since when lovest thou me?...

MELISANDE.

Since always.... Since I saw thee....

PELLEAS.

Oh, how thou sayest that!... Thy voice seems to have blown across the sea in spring!... I have never heard it until now;... one would say it had rained on my heart!... Thou sayest that so frankly!... Like an angel questioned!... I cannot believe it, Melisande!... Why shouldst thou love me?—Nay, why dost thou love me?—Is what thou sayest true?—Thou dost not mock me?—Thou dost not lie a little, to make me smile?...

MELISANDE.

No; I never lie; I lie but to thy brother....

PELLEAS.

Oh, how thou sayest that!... Thy voice! thy voice!... It is cooler and more frank than the water is!... It is like pure water on my lips!... It is like pure water on my hands.... Give me, give me thy hands!... Oh, how small thy hands are!... I did not know thou wert so beautiful!... I have never seen anything so beautiful before thee.... I was fall of unrest; I sought throughout the house.... I sought throughout the country.... And I found not beauty.... And now I have found thee!... I have found thee!.,. I do not think there could be on the earth a fairer woman!... Where art thou?—I no longer hear thee breathe....

MELISANDE.

Because I look on thee....

PELLEAS.

Why dost thou look so gravely on me?—We are already in the shadow.—It is too dark under this tree. Come into the light. We cannot see how happy we are. Come, come; so little time remains to us....

MELISANDE.

No, no; let us stay here.... I am nearer thee in the dark....

PELLEAS.

Where are thine eyes?—Thou art not going to fly me?—Thou dost not think of me just now.

MELISANDE.

Oh, yes; oh, yes; I only think of thee....

PELLEAS.

Thou wert looking elsewhere....

MELISANDE.

I saw thee elsewhere....

PELLEAS.

Thy soul is far away.... What ails thee, then?—Meseems thou art not happy....

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; I am happy, but I am sad....

PELLEAS.

One is sad often when one loves....

MELISANDE.

I weep always when I think of thee....

PELLEAS.

I too.... I too, Melisande.... I am quite near thee; I weep for joy, and yet ...[He kisses her again.]—Thou art strange when I kiss thee so.... Thou art so beautiful that one would think thou wert about to die....

MELISANDE.

Thou too....

PELLEAS.

There, there.... We do not what we will.... I did not love thee the first time I saw thee....

MELISANDE.

Nor I ... nor I.... I was afraid....

PELLEAS.

I could not admit thine eyes.... I would have gone away at once ... and then....

MELISANDE.

And I,—I would not have come.... I do not yet know why,—I was afraid to come....

PELLEAS.

There are so many things one never knows. We are ever waiting; and then.... What is that noise?—They are closing the gates!...

MELISANDE.

Yes, they have closed the gates....

PELLEAS.

We cannot go back now?—Hearest thou the bolts?—Listen! listen!... the great chains!... the great chains!... It is too late; it is too late!...

MELISANDE.

All the better! all the better! all the better!...

PELLEAS.

Thou—...? Behold, behold!... It is no longer we who will it so!... All's lost, all's saved! all is saved to-night!—Come, come.... My heart beats like a madman,—up to my very throat.... [They embrace.] Listen! listen! my heart is almost strangling me.... Come! come!... Ah, how beautiful it is in the shadows!...

MELISANDE.

There is some one behind us!...

PELLEAS.

I see no one....

MELISANDE.

I heard a noise....

PELLEAS.

I hear only thy heart in the dark....

MELISANDE.

I heard the crackling of dead leaves....

PELLEAS.

Because the wind is silent all at once.... It fell as we were kissing....

MELISANDE.

How long our shadows are to-night!...

PELLEAS.

They embrace to the very end of the garden. Oh, how they kiss far away from us!... Look! look!...

MELISANDE.(a stifled voice).

A-a-h!—He is behind a tree!

PELLEAS.

Who?

MELISANDE.

Golaud!

PELLEAS.

Golaud!—where?—I see nothing....

MELISANDE.

There ... at the end of our shadows.

PELLEAS.

Yes, yes; I saw him.... Let us not turn abruptly....

MELISANDE.

He has his sword....

PELLEAS.

I have not mine....

MELISANDE.

He saw us kiss....

PELLEAS.

He does not know we have seen him.... Do not stir; do not turn your head.... He would rush headlong on us.... He will remain there while he thinks we do not know. He watches us.... He is still motionless.... Go, go at once this way.... I will wait for him.... I will stop him....

MELISANDE.

No, no, no!...

PELLEAS.

Go! go! he has seen all!... He will kill us!...

MELISANDE.

All the better! all the better! all the better!...

PELLEAS.

He comes! he comes!... Thy mouth!... Thy mouth!...

MELISANDE.

Yes!... yes! yes!... [They kiss desperately.

PELLEAS

Oh! oh! All the stars are falling!...

MELISANDE.

Upon me too! upon me too!...

PELLEAS.

Again! Again!... Give! give!...

MELISANDE.

All! all! all!...

[Golaud rushes upon them, sword in hand, and strikes Pelleas, who falls at the brink of the fountain. Melisande flees terrified.]

MELISANDE. (fleeing).

Oh! oh! I have no courage I ... I have no courage!...

[GOLAUD pursues her through the wood in silence.



ACT FIFTH.



SCENE I.—A lower hall in the castle. The women servants discovered, gathered together, while without children are playing before one of the ventilators of the hall.

AN OLD SERVANT.

You will see, you will see, my daughters; it will be to-night.—Some one will come to tell us by and by....

ANOTHER SERVANT.

They will not come to tell us.... They don't know what they are doing any longer....

THIRD SERVANT.

Let us wait here....

FOURTH SERVANT.

We shall know well enough when we must go up....

FIFTH SERVANT.

When the time is come, we shall go up of ourselves....

SIXTH SERVANT.

There is no longer a sound heard in the house....

SEVENTH SERVANT.

We ought to make the children keep still, who are playing before the ventilator.

EIGHTH SERVANT.

They will be still of themselves by and by.

NINTH SERVANT.

The time has not yet come....

Enter an old Servant.

THE OLD SERVANT.

No one can go in the room any longer. I have listened more than an hour.... You could hear the flies walk on the doors.... I heard nothing....

FIRST SERVANT.

Has she been left alone in the room?

THE OLD SERVANT.

No, no; I think the room is full of people.

FIRST SERVANT.

They will come, they will come, by and by....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Lord! Lord! It is not happiness that has come into the house.... One may not speak, but if I could say what I know...

SECOND SERVANT.

It was you who found them before the gate?

THE OLD SERVANT.

Why, yes! why, yes! it was I who found them. The porter says it was he who saw them first; but it was I who waked them. He was sleeping on his face and would not get up.—And now he comes saying, "It was I who saw them first." Is that just?—See, I burned myself lighting a lamp to go down cellar.—Now what was I going to do down cellar?—I can't remember any more what I was going to do down cellar.—At any rate I got up very early; it was not yet very light; I said to myself, I will go across the courtyard, and then I will open the gate. Good; I go down the stairs on tiptoe, and I open the gate as if it were an ordinary gate.... My God! My God! What do I see? Divine a little what I see!...

FIRST SERVANT.

They were before the gate?

THE OLD SERVANT.

They were both stretched out before the gate!... Exactly like poor folk that are too hungry.... They were huddled together like little children who are afraid.... The little princess was nearly dead, and the great Golaud had still his sword in his side.... There was blood on the sill....

SECOND SERVANT.

We ought to make the children keep still.... They are screaming with all their might before the ventilator....

THIRD SERVANT.

You can't hear yourself speak....

FOURTH SERVANT.

There is nothing to be done: I have tried already; they won't keep still....

FIRST SERVANT.

It seems he is nearly cured?

THE OLD SERVANT.

Who?

FIRST SERVANT.

The great Golaud.

THIRD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; they have taken him to his wife's room. I met them just now, in the corridor. They were holding him up as if he were drunk. He cannot yet walk alone.

THE OLD SERVANT.

He could not kill himself; he is too big. But she is hardly wounded, and it is she who is going to die.... Can you understand that?

FIRST SERVANT.

You have seen the wound?

THE OLD SERVANT.

As I see you, my daughter.—I saw everything, you understand.... I saw it before all the others.... A tiny little wound under her little left breast,—a little wound that wouldn't kill a pigeon. Is it natural?

FIRST SERVANT.

Yes, yes; there is something underneath....

SECOND SERVANT.

Yes; but she was delivered of her babe three days ago....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Exactly!... She was delivered on her death-bed; is that a little sign?—And what a child! Have you seen it?—A wee little girl a beggar would not bring into the world.... A little wax figure that came much too soon;... a little wax figure that must live in lambs' wool.... Yes, yes; it is not happiness that has come into the house....

FIRST SERVANT.

Yes, yes; it Is the hand of God that has been stirring....

SECOND SERVANT.

Yes, yes; all that did not happen without reason....

THIRD SERVANT.

It is as good lord Pelleas ... where is he?—No one knows....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; everybody knows.... But nobody dare speak of it.... One does not speak of this;... one does not speak of that;... one speaks no more of anything;... one no longer speaks truth.... But I know he was found at the bottom of Blind Man's Spring;... but no one, no one could see him.... Well, well, we shall only know all that at the last day....

FIRST SERVANT.

I dare not sleep here any longer....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; once ill-fortune is in the house, one keeps silence in vain....

THIRD SERVANT.

Yes; it finds you all the same....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Yes, yes; but we do not go where we would....

FOURTH SERVANT.

Yes, yes; we do not do what we would....

FIRST SERVANT.

They are afraid of us now....

SECOND SERVANT.

They all keep silence....

THIRD SERVANT.

They cast down their eyes in the corridors.

FOURTH SERVANT.

They do not speak any more except in a low voice.

FIFTH SERVANT.

You would think they had all done it together.

SIXTH SERVANT.

One doesn't know what they have done....

SEVENTH SERVANT.

What is to be done when the masters are afraid?... [A silence.

FIRST SERVANT.

I no longer hear the children screaming.

SECOND SERVANT.

They are sitting down before the ventilator.

THIRD SERVANT.

They are huddled against each other.

THE OLD SERVANT.

I no longer hear anything in the house....

FIRST SERVANT.

You no longer even hear the children breathe....

THE OLD SERVANT.

Come, come; it is time to go up.... [Exeunt in silence.



SCENE II.—An apartment in the castle.

ARKEL, GOLAUD, and the PHYSICIAN discovered in one corner of the room. MELISANDE is stretched upon her bed.

THE PHYSICIAN.

It cannot be of that little wound she is dying; a bird would not have died of it.... It is not you, then, who have killed her, good my lord; do not be so disconsolate.... She could not have lived.... She was born without reason ... to die; and she dies without reason.... And then, it is not sure we shall not save her....

ARKEL.

No, no; it seems to me we keep too silent, in spite of ourselves, in her room.... It is not a good sign.... Look how she sleeps ... slowly, slowly;... it is as if her soul was cold forever....

GOLAUD.

I have killed her without cause! I have killed her without cause!... Is it not enough to make the stones weep?... They had kissed like little children.... They had simply kissed.... They were brother and sister.... And I, and I at once!... I did it in spite of myself, look you.... I did it in spite of myself....

THE PHYSICIAN.

Stop; I think she is waking....

MELISANDE.

Open the window;... open the window....

ARKEL

Shall I open this one, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

No, no; the great window ... the great window.... It is to see....

ARKEL.

Is not the sea air too cold to-night? Do it; do it....

MELISANDE.

Thanks.... Is it sunset?

ARKEL.

Yes; it is sunset on the sea; it is late.—How are you, Melisande?

MELISANDE.

Well, well.—Why do you ask that? I have never been better.—And yet it seems to me I know something....

ARKEL.

What sayest thou?—I do not understand thee....

MELISANDE.

Neither do I understand all I say, you see.... I do not know what I am saying.... I do not know what I know.... I no longer say what I would....

ARKEL.

Why, yes! why, yes!... I am quite happy to hear thee speak so; thou hast raved a little these last days, and one no longer understood thee.... But now all that is far away....

MELISANDE.

I do not know....—Are you all alone in the room, grandfather?

ARKEL.

No; there is the physician, besides, who cured thee....

MELISANDE.

Ah!...

ARKEL.

And then there is still some one else....

MELISANDE.

Who is it?

ARKEL.

It is ... thou must not be frightened.... He does not wish thee the least harm, be sure.... If thou'rt afraid, he will go away.... He is very unhappy....

MELISANDE.

Who is it?

ARKEL.

It is thy ... thy husband.... It is Golaud....

MELISANDE.

Golaud is here? Why does he not come by me?

GOLAUD (dragging himself toward the bed.)

Melisande ... Melisande....

MELISANDE.

Is it you, Golaud? I should hardly recognize you any more.... It is the evening sunlight in my eyes.... Why look you on the walls? You have grown thin and old.... Is it a long while since we saw each other?

GOLAUD (to ARKEL and the PHYSICIAN).

Will you withdraw a moment, if you please, if you please?... I will leave the door wide open.... One moment only.... I would say something to her; else I could not die.... Will you?—Go clear to the end of the corridor; you can come back at once, at once.... Do not refuse me this.... I am a wretch.... [Exit ARKEL and the PHYSICIAN.]—Melisande, hast thou pity on me, as I have pity on thee?... Melisande?... Dost thou forgive me, Melisande?...

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes, I do forgive thee.... What must I forgive?...

GOLAUD.

I have wrought thee so much ill, Melisande.... I cannot tell thee the ill I have wrought thee.... But I see it, I see it so clearly to-day ... since the first day.... And all I did not know till now leaps in my eyes to-night.... And it is all my fault, all that has happened, all that will happen.... If I could tell it, thou wouldst see as I do!... I see all! I see all!... But I loved thee so!... I loved thee so!... But now there is some one dying.... It is I who am dying.... And I would know.... I would ask thee.... Thou'lt bear me no ill-will.... I would.... The truth must be told to a dying man.... He must know the truth, or else he could not sleep.... Swearest thou to tell me the truth?

MELISANDE

Yes.

GOLAUD.

Didst thou love Pelleas?

MELISANDE.

Why, yes; I loved him.—Where is he?

GOLAUD.

Thou dost not understand me?—Thou wilt not understand me?—It seems to me ... it seems to me.... Well, then, here: I ask thee if thou lovedst him with a forbidden love?... Wert thou ... were you guilty? Say, say, yes, yes, yes!...

MELISANDE.

No, no; we were not guilty.—Why do you ask that?

GOLAUD.

Melisande!... tell me the truth, for the love of God!

MELISANDE.

Why have I not told the truth?

GOLAUD.

Do not lie so any more, at the moment of death!

MELISANDE.

Who is dying?—Is it I?

GOLAUD.

Thou, thou! and I, I too, after thee!... And we must have the truth.... We must have the truth at last, dost thou understand?... Tell me all! Tell me all! I forgive thee all!...

MELISANDE.

Why am I going to die?—I did not know it....

GOLAUD.

Thou knowest it now!... It is time! It is time!... Quick! quick!... The truth! the truth!...

MELISANDE.

The truth ... the truth....

GOLAUD.

Where art thou?—Melisande!—Where art thou?—It is not natural! Melisande! Where art thou?—Where goest thou? [Perceiving ARKEL and the PHYSICIAN at the door of the room.]— Yes, yes; you may come in.... I know nothing; it is useless.... It is too late; she is already too far away from us.... I shall never know!... I shall die here like a blind man!...

ARKEL.

What have you done? You will kill her....

GOLAUD.

I have already killed her....

ARKEL.

Melisande....

MELISANDE.

Is it you, grandfather?

ARKEL.

Yes, my daughter.... What would you have me do?

MELISANDE.

Is it true that the winter is beginning?...

ARKEL.

Why dost thou ask?

MELISANDE.

Because it is cold, and there are no more leaves....

ARKEL.

Thou art cold?—Wilt thou have the windows closed?

MELISANDE.

No, no,... not till the sun be at the bottom of the sea.—It sinks slowly; then it is the winter beginning?

ARKEL.

Yes.—Thou dost not like the winter?

MELISANDE.

Oh! no. I am afraid of the cold.—I am so afraid of the great cold....

ARKEL.

Dost thou feel better?

MELISANDE.

Yes, yes; I have no longer all those qualms....

ARKEL.

Wouldst thou see thy child?

MELISANDE.

What child?

ARKEL.

Thy child.—Thou art a mother.... Thou hast brought a little daughter into the world....

MELISANDE.

Where is she?

ARKEL.

Here....

MELISANDE.

It is strange.... I cannot lift my arms to take her....

ARKEL.

Because you are still very weak.... I will hold her myself; look....

MELISANDE.

She does not laugh.... She is little.... She is going to weep too.... I pity her....

[The room has been invaded, little by little, by the women servants of the castle, who range themselves in silence along the walls and wait]

GOLAUD (rising abruptly).

What is the matter?—What are all these women coming here for?...

THE PHYSICIAN.

It is the servants....

ARKEL.

Who was it called them?

THE PHYSICIAN.

It was not I....

GOLAUD.

Why do you come here?—No one has asked for you.... What come you here to do?—But what is it, then?—Answer me!... [The servants make no answer.

ARKEL.

Do not speak too loud.... She is going to sleep; she has closed her eyes....

GOLAUD.

It is not...?

THE PHYSICIAN.

No, no; see, she breathes....

ARKEL.

Her eyes are full of tears.—It is her soul weeping now.... Why does she stretch her arms out so?—What would she?

THE PHYSICIAN.

It is toward the child, without doubt.... It is the straggle of motherhood against...

GOLAUD.

At this moment?—At this moment?—You must say. Say! Say!...

THE PHYSICIAN.

Perhaps.

GOLAUD.

At once?... Oh! oh! I must tell her....—Melisande! Melisande!... Leave me alone! leave me alone with her!...

ARKEL.

No, no; do not come near.... Trouble her not.... Speak no more to her.... You know not what the soul is....

GOLAUD.

It is not my fault!... It is not my fault!

ARKEL.

Hush!... Hush!... We must speak softly now.—She must not be disturbed.... The human soul is very silent.... The human soul likes to depart alone.... It suffers so timorously.... But the sadness, Golaud ... the sadness of all we see!... Oh! oh! oh!... [At this moment, all the servants fall suddenly on their knees at the back of the chamber.]

ARKEL (turning).

What is the matter?

THE PHYSICIAN (approaching the bed and feeling the body).

They are right.... [A long silence.

ARKEL.

I saw nothing.—Are you sure?...

THE PHYSICIAN.

Yes, yes.

ARKEL.

I heard nothing.... So quick, so quick!... All at once!... She goes without a word....

GOLAUD (sobbing).

Oh! oh! oh!

ARKEL.

Do not stay here, Golaud.... She must have silence now.... Come, come.... It is terrible, but it is not your fault.... 'T was a little being, so quiet, so fearful, and so silent.... 'T was a poor little mysterious being, like everybody.... She lies there as if she were the big sister of her child.... Come, come.... My God! My God!... I shall never understand it at all.... Let us not stay here.—Come; the child most not stay here in this room.... She must live now in her place.... It is the poor little one's turn.... [They go out in silence.

[CURTAIN.]



Alladine and Palomides.

To Camille Mauclair.



Persons.

ABLAMORE.

ASTOLAINE, daughter of Ablamore.

ALLADINE.

PALOMIDES.

THE SISTERS OF PALOMIDES.

A PHYSICIAN.

[NOTE: The translation of Ablamore's song is taken from the version of this play made by the editors of "Poet-lore." R.H.]



Alladine and Palomides.

* * * * *



ACT FIRST.

A-wild part of the gardens. ABLAMORE discovered leaning over ALLADINE, who is asleep.

ABLAMORE.

Methinks sleep reigns day and night beneath these trees. Each time she comes here with me toward nightfall, she is hardly seated when she falls asleep. Alas! I must be glad even of that.... During the day, whene'er I speak to her and her look happens to encounter mine, it is hard as a slave's to whom a thing impossible has just been bidden.... Yet that is not her customary look.... I have seen her many times resting her beautiful eyes on children, on the forest, the sea, or her surroundings. She smiles at me as one smiles on a foe; and I dare not bend over her save at times when her eyes can no longer see me.... I have a few moments every evening; and all the rest of the day I live beside her with my eyes cast down.... It is sad to love too late.... Maids cannot understand that years do not separate hearts.... They have called me "The wise King."... I was wise because till now nothing had happened to me.... There are men who seem to turn events aside. It was enough that I should be about for nothing to be able to have birth.... I had suspected it of old.... In the time of my youth, I had many friends whose presence seemed to attract every adventure; but the days when I went forth with them, for the encounter of joys or sorrows, they came back again with empty hands.... I think I palsied fate; and I long took pride in this gift. One lived under cover in my reign.... But now I have recognized that misfortune itself is better worth than sleep, and that there must be a life more active and higher than waiting.... They shall see that I too have strength to trouble, when I will, the water that seems dead at the bottom of the great caldrons of the future.... Alladine, Alladine!... Oh! she is lovely so, her hair over the flowers and over her pet lamb, her lips apart and fresher than the morn.... I will kiss her without her knowing, holding back my poor white beard.... [He kisses her.]—She smiled.... Should I pity her? For the few years she gives me, she will some day be queen; and I shall have done a little good before I go away.... They will be astonished.... She herself does not know.... Ah! here she wakes with a start.... Where are you coming from, Alladine?

ALLADINE.

I have had a bad dream....

ABLAMORE.

What is the matter? Why do you look yonder?

ALLADINE.

Some one went by upon the road.

ABLAMORE.

I heard nothing.

ALLADINE.

I tell you some one is coming.... There he is! [She points out a young knight coming forward through the trees and holding his horse by the bridle.] Do not take me by the hand; I am not afraid.... He has not seen us....

ABLAMORE.

Who dares come here?... If I did not know.... I believe it is Palomides.... It is Astolaine's betrothed.... He has raised his head.... Is it you, Palomides?

Enter PALOMIDES.

PALOMIDES.

Yes, my father.... If I am suffered yet to call you by that name.... I come hither before the day and the hour....

ABLAMORE.

You are a welcome guest, whatever hour it be.... But what has happened? We did not expect you for two days yet.... Is Astolaine here, too?...

PALOMIDES.

No; she will come to-morrow. We have journeyed day and night. She was tired and begged me to come on before.... Are my sisters come?

ABLAMORE.

They have been here three days waiting for your wedding.—You look very happy, Palomides....

PALOMIDES.

Who would not be happy, to have found what he sought? I was sad of old. But now the days seem lighter and more sweet than harmless birds in the hand.... And if old moments come again by chance, I draw near Astolaine, and you would think I threw a window open on the dawn.... She has a soul that can be seen around her,—that takes you in its arms like an ailing child and without saying anything to you consoles you for everything.... I shall never understand it at all.—I do not know how it can all be; but my knees bend in spite of me when I speak of it....

ALLADINE.

I want to go in again.

ABLAMORE.

[Seeing that ALLADINE and PALOMIDES look at each other stealthily.] This is little Alladine who has come hither from the heart of Arcady.... Take hands ... Does that astonish you, Palomides?...

PALOMIDES.

My father....

[PALOMIDES' horse starts aside, frightening ALLADINE'S lamb.]

ABLAMORE.

Take care.... Your horse has frightened Alladine's lamb.... He will run away....

ALLADINE.

No; he never runs away.... He has been startled, but he will not run away.... It is a lamb my godmother gave me.... He is not like others.... He stays beside me night and day. [Caressing it.

PALOMIDES (also caressing it).

He looks at me with the eyes of a child....

ALLADINE.

He understands everything that happens....

ABLAMORE.

It is time to go find your sisters, Palomides.... They will be astonished to see you....

ALLADINE.

They have gone every day to the turning of the road.... I have gone with them; but they did not hope yet....

ABLAMORE.

Come; Palomides is covered with dust, and he must be weary.... We have too many things to say to each other to talk here.... We will say them to-morrow.... They claim the morn is wiser than the evening.... I see the palace gates are open and seem to wait for us....

ALLADINE.

I cannot help being uneasy when I go back into the palace.... It is so big, and I am so little, and I get lost there still.... And then all those windows on the sea.... You cannot count them.... And the corridors that turn without reason, and others that never turn, but lose themselves between the walls.... And the halls I dare not go into....

PALOMIDES.

We will go in everywhere....

ALLADINE.

You would think I was not made to dwell there,—that it was not built for me.... Once I lost my way there.... I pushed open thirty doors, before I found the light of day again.... And I could not go out; the last door opened on a pool.... And the vaults that are cold all summer; and the galleries that bend back on themselves endlessly.... There are stairways that lead nowhere and terraces from which nothing can be seen....

ABLAMORE.

You who were not wont to talk, how you talk to-night!... [Exeunt.



ACT SECOND.



SCENE I.—ALLADINE discovered, her forehead against one of the windows that open on the park. Enter ABLAMORE.

ABLAMORE.

Alladine....

ALLADINE (turning abruptly).

What is it?

ABLAMORE.

Oh, how pale you are!... Are you ill?

ALLADINE.

No.

ABLAMORE.

What is it in the park?—Were you looking at the avenue of fountains that unfolds before your windows?—They are wonderful and weariless. They were raised there one by one, at the death of each of my daughters.... At night I hear them singing in the garden.... They bring to mind the lives they represent, and I can tell their voices apart....

ALLADINE.

I know.

ABLAMORE.

You must pardon me; I sometimes repeat the same things and my memory is less trust-worthy.... It is not age; I am not an old man yet, thank God! but kings have a thousand cares. Palomides has been telling me his adventures....

ALLADINE.

Ah!

ABLAMORE.

He has not done what he would; young people have no will any more.—He astonishes me. I had chosen him among a thousand for my daughter. He should have had a soul as deep as hers.—He has done nothing which may not be excusable, but I had hoped more.... What do you say of him?

ALLADINE.

Who?

ABLAMORE.

Palomides?

ALLADINE.

I have only seen him one evening....

ABLAMORE.

He astonishes me.—Everything has succeeded with him till now. He would undertake a thing and accomplish it without a word.—He would get out of danger without an effort, while others could not open a door without finding death behind it.—He was of those whom events seem to await on their knees. But a little while ago something snapped. You would say he has no longer the same star, and every step he takes carries him further from himself.—I don't know what it is.—He does not seem to be at all aware, but others can remark it.... Let us speak of something else: look! the night comes; I see it rise along the walls. Would you like to go together to the wood of Astolat, as we do other evenings?

ALLADINE.

I am not going out to-night.

ABLAMORE.

We will stay here, since you prefer it so. Yet the air is sweet and the evening very fair. [ALLADINE starts without his noticing it.] I have had flowers set along the hedges, and I should like to show them to you....

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