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Hassan : the story of Hassan of Bagdad, and how he came to make the golden journey to Samarkand : a play in five acts   By: (1884-1915)

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HASSAN:

THE STORY OF HASSAN OF BAGDAD

AND HOW HE CAME TO MAKE

THE GOLDEN JOURNEY TO SAMARKAND

A play in five acts

By James Elroy Flecker

CHARACTERS

HASSAN, a Confectioner

The CALIPH HAROUN AR RASCHID

ISHAK, his Minstrel

JAFAR, his Vizier

MASRUR, his Executioner

RAFI, King of the Beggars

SELIM, a friend of Hassan's

THE CAPTAIN OF THE MILITARY

THE CHIEF OF THE POLICE

ALI, ABDU Nondescripts

ALDER WILLOW TAMARISK Slaves

THE PORTER of Yasmin's House

THE CHINESE PHILOSOPHER

A DERVISH

THE FOUNTAIN GHOST

A HERALD

THE PRISON GUARDS

PERVANEH

YASMIN

An AMBASSADOR, a WRESTLER, a CALLIGRAPHIST, a JESTER, GHOSTS, MUTES, DANCING WOMEN, BEGGARS, SOLDIERS, POLICE, ATTENDANTS and CASUAL LOITERERS

THE STORY OF HASSAN OF BAGDAD

ACT I

SCENE I

A room "behind the shop" in Old Bagdad. In the background a large caldron steaming, for the shop is a sweet stuff shop and the sugar is boiling. The room has little furniture beyond the carpet, old but unexpectedly choice, and some Persian hangings (geometrical designs, with crude animals and some verses from the Koran hand printed on linen). A ramshackle wooden partition in one corner shuts off from a living room what appears to be the shop.

Squatting on the carpet facing each other:

HASSAN, the Confectioner, 45, rotund, moustache, turban, greasy grey dress.

SELIM, his friend, young, vulgarly handsome, gaudily clothed.

HASSAN (Rocking on his mat) Eywallah, Eywallah!

SELIM Thirty seven times have you made the same remark, O father of repetition.

HASSAN (More dolefully than ever) Eywallah, Eywallah!

SELIM Have you caught fever? Is your chest narrow, or your belly thunderous?

HASSAN (With a ponderous sigh) Eywallah!

SELIM Is that the merchant of sweetmeats, that sour face? O poisoner of children, surely it would be better to cut the knot of reluctance and uncord the casket of explanation. And the poet Antari has justly remarked:

Divide your sorrow and impart your grief, O fool. That good man comforteth beyond belief, O fool.

HASSAN (Inclining towards the mat) None is good, save God. And Abou Awas has excellently sung:

The importunate Are seldom fortunate.

Nevertheless, know, Selim, that I am in love.

SELIM In love! Then why sit moaning on the mat? Are there not beauties at the barbers, and lights of love at the bazaar?

HASSAN (Angrily) Hold your tongue, Selim, or leave me. I was in earnest when I said I loved, and your coarseness is ill fitting to my mood. And well I know I am Hassan, the Confectioner, yet I can love as sincerely as Mejnun; for assuredly she of whom my heart is bent is not less fair than Leila.

SELIM (Ironically) Alas! I mistook the particular for the general, and did not recognise the purity of your intentions. But I would not mention Mejnun. Mejnun was young, and you are old, and he was a prince, and you are a Confectioner, and he was beautiful, and you are not, and he was very thin because of his sorrow, and you are fatter than those four legged I mention not God curse their herdsmen!

HASSAN And if it be as you say, Selim, if I am indeed a fat, old, ugly tradesman, have I not good reason to be sorry and rock upon my mat, for how shall maintain my heart's desire?

SELIM Listen to me, Hassan, why is it that in this last year you have become different from the Hassan that was Hassan? From time to time you talk strangely in your cups, like a mad poet; and you have bought a lute and a carpet too fine for your house. And now I feel you are losing your senses when I hear this talk of love from one who is past the age of folly.

HASSAN It may be so, young man. Indeed, a think I am a fool... Continue reading book >>




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