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Plays of Gods and Men   By: (1878-1957)

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Title: Plays of Gods and Men

Author: Lord Dunsany

[Note: this edition was prepared from the 1917 Unwin edition. Later US editions had many minor changes and an additional page of dialogue in "The Laughter of the Gods".]

Preface

Lest any idle person might think that I have had time to write plays during the last few years I may mention that the first act of The Tents of the Arabs was written on September 3rd, and the second act on September 8th, 1910.

The first and second acts of The Laughter of the Gods were written on January 29th, and the third act on February 2nd and 3rd, 1911. A Night at an Inn was written on January 17th, 1912, and The Queen's Enemies on April 19, 20, 21, 24, 28, 29, 1913.

Dunsany, Captain Royal Inniskilling Fusileers.

The Laughter of the Gods

A Tragedy in Three Acts

Dramatis Personæ

King Karnos Voice of the Gods (a prophet) Ichtharion Ludibras Harpagas First Sentry Second Sentry One of the Camel Guard An Executioner The Queen Tharmia (wife of Ichtharion) Arolind (wife of Ludibras) Carolyx (wife of Harpagas) Attendants

Act I

Time: About the time of the decadence in Babylon.

Scene: The jungle city of Thek in the reign of King Karnos.

Tharmia:

You know that my lineage is almost divine.

Arolind:

My father's sword was so terrible that he had to hide it with a cloak.

Tharmia:

He probably did that because there were no jewels in the scabbard.

Arolind:

There were emeralds in it that outstared the sea.

Tharmia:

Now I must leave you here and go down among the shops for I have not changed my hair since we came to Thek.

Ichtharion:

Have you not brought that from Barbul el Sharnak?

Tharmia:

It was not necessary. The King would not take his court where they could not obtain necessities.

Arolind:

May I go with your Sincerity?

Tharmia:

Indeed, Princely Lady, I shall be glad of your company.

Arolind:

[To Ludibras] I wish to see the other palaces in Thek, [To Tharmia] then we can go on beyond the walls to see what princes live in the neighbourhood.

Tharmia:

It will be delightful.

[Exeunt Tharmia and Arolind]

Ichtharion:

Well, we are here in Thek.

Ludibras:

How lucky we are that the King has come to Thek. I feared he would never come.

Ichtharion:

It is a most fair city.

Ludibras:

When he tarried year after year in monstrous Barbul el Sharnak, I feared that I would see the sun rise never more in the windy glorious country. I feared we should live always in Barbul el Sharnak and be buried among houses.

Ichtharion:

It is mountainous with houses: there are no flowers there. I wonder how the winds come into it.

Ludibras:

Ah. Do you know that it is I that brought him here at last? I gave him orchids from a far country. At last he noticed them. "Those are good flowers," said he. "They come from Thek," I said. "Thek is purple with them. It seems purple far out on the sand to the camel men." Then...

Ichtharion:

No, it was not you brought him. He saw a butterfly once in Barbul el Sharnak. There had not been one there for seven years. It was lucky for us that it lived; I used to send for hundreds, but they all died but that one when they came to Barbul el Sharnak. The King saw it.

Ludibras:

It was since then that he noticed my purple orchids.

Ichtharion:

Something changed in his mind when he saw the butterfly. He became quite different. He would not have noticed a flower but for that.

Ludibras:

He came to Thek in order to see the orchids.

Ichtharion:

Come, come. We are here. Nothing else matters.

Ludibras:

Yes, we are here. How beautiful are the orchids.

Ichtharion:

What a beautiful thing the air is in the morning. I stand up very early and breathe it from my casement; not in order to nourish my body, you understand, but because it is the wild, sweet air of Thek.

Ludibras:

Yes, it is wonderful rising up in the morning. It seems all fresh from the fields... Continue reading book >>




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