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Household Gods   By: (1875-1947)

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A Comedy By Aleister Crowley

[Privately Printed in 1912]





CRASSUS, a barbarian from Britain. ADELA, his wife, a noble Roman lady. ALICIA, a servant in the house. A STATUE OF PAN. A FAUN.


THE SCENE is at the hearth of CRASSUS, where is a little bronze altar dedicated to the Lares and Penates. A pale flame rises from the burning sandal wood, on which CRASSUS throws benzoin and musk. He is standing in deep dejection.

CRASSUS. Smoke without fire! No thrill of tongues licks up The offerings in the cup. Dead falls desire.

Black smoke thou art, O altar flame, that dost dismember, Devour the hearth, to leave no ember To warm this heart.

I see her still Adela dancing here Till dim gods did appear To work our will.

The delicate girl! Diaphanous gossamer Subtly revealing her Brave breast of pearl!

Now she's withdrawn At dusk to the wild woods, Mystic beatitudes That dure till dawn.

Let life exclaim Against these things of spirit, Mankind that disinherit Of love's pure flame! [He bends before the altar and begins to weep.]

Ye household gods! By these male tears I swear That ye shall grant this prayer. All things at odds

Shall be put straight Harmonized, reconciled By some appointed child Of some far Fate! [A curtain has been drawn aside during this invocation, and ALICIA advances. She smiles subtly upon him; and, giving a strange gesture, makes one or two noiseless steps of dancing.]

ALICIA. Master still sad?

CRASSUS. These faint and fearful shores Of time are beaten by the surge of sense, Love worn away by love? to indifference. Who knows what god or demon she adores? Or in what wood she shelters, or what grove Sees her profane our sacrament of love?

ALICIA. I saw her follow The stream in the hollow Where never Apollo Abides. So thick are the trees That never the breeze Stirs them, or sees What satyr inhabits the glen, what nymph in the pools of it hides.

Lighter of foot Than a sylph or a fairy, Sinuous, wary, I passed from the airy Lawns, where the flute Of the winds made tremulous music for man.

I followed the ripple Of the stream; I crept Where the waters wept The floss in the foss Gurgling across The bosses of moss, Like a dryad's nipple In the mouth of Pan!

CRASSUS. O pearl of the house! you came to the end?

ALICIA. The dusk of the slave, the dawn of a friend?

CRASSUS. Freedom is thine for the skill and the will.

ALICIA. The skill is mine but the will lies still, Still as the earth that dare not stir Till the kiss of the sun awaken her!

CRASSUS. Yet at these secrets and riddles? Behold! I can fill thy lap with a harvest of gold.

ALICIA. Yet all the gold you could give to me Would fall at my feet when I rose to be free.

CRASSUS. What will you then?

ALICIA. No gift from men. Of my own free will I give you wit, (O man so sorely in need of it!) And happiness; and the flame that hath dwindled On this dull hearth shall be rekindled. But this you must swear: To will, and to dare, To seek the spirit and slay the sense; And for this hour To give me power To lead you in silent obedience, Though I bade you fall on your sword....

CRASSUS. Enough! I give my life as I gave my love.

ALICIA. O! love you have not understood. You have not guessed its secret food. You have not seen its single eye; But fear and doubt and jealousy Have risen, and now your love is trembling Like a mountebank dissembling When his trick's detected. Come! To find home we must leave home.

CRASSUS. Starless and moonless, hidden in cloud, The night's one flame of pearl.

ALICIA. The bat flaps; the owl hoots aloud.

CRASSUS. Lead on; I trust you, girl.

ALICIA. You are bold to trust me; or, have you divined My secret?

CRASSUS. No; the crystal of your mind Shows only faint disturbing images, Things passing strange, as if enchanted seas Kept their great swell upon it, and strange fish Played in its oily depths... Continue reading book >>

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