You will remember who you are

John Davidson, Scaramouch in Naxos Scene 3
Ariadne. Here, by this sea, I waked, how long ago!
Here, by this sea, you found me.

Bacchus. Would you be
My bride again?

Ariadne. Each day, each hour
I am your bride; and as the days and years
Gather behind us, every happiness —
And that is every minute of my life —
Doubles the joy of that which went before:
And yet the past is as a galaxy
Wherein no star excels the radiant throng.

Bacchus. Not that fair hour when first you loved me?

Ariadne. No.
I have no memory. I am striving now
To summon up the time when here you came,
And made me an immortal and your bride.
I might as well compel my thoughts to search
For some unnoted dream that I forgot
The moment after I had told you, love,
New wakened from the sleep I dreamed it in.

Bacchus. But memory goes afoot — invalid here:
Love has a high-commanding minister,
Imagination; and it serves alone
Beings who yield their moods and bow their minds
To its obedient masterdom: stout thought,
That trudges, blind and lame, the dusty way,
And memory, that casts its broken net
In Lethe’s waves, keep not among your train —
Fit servants these for mortals.

Ariadne. So I do —
I banish them : but still there clings to me
Something of earth.

Bacchus. I love you best for that.
A goddess born is tame, secure of heaven,
And there is nothing to endow her with;
But you derive divinity from me,
Yet keep the passionate heart that mortals have—

Bacchus. [To Harlequin]. You, with the wooden sword, I know your trade:
You shall do feats with that untempered blade. [To Ariadne.]
Should you not like to see these substitutes?

Ariadne. Rarely.

Bacchus. [To Harlequin.] Strike, knave; and deeper than the roots
Of aged oaks, as deep as is the sea,
Wide as the Ægean, and as Olympus high,
Your striking shall be felt. Come nearer me;
Now strike, until your sword in splinters fly.

[Harlequin strikes the earth with his sword.]


One comment


Comments are closed.