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Two plays for dancers   By: (1865-1939)

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In a note at the end of my last book 'The Wild Swans at Coole' (Cuala Press.) I explained why I preferred this kind of drama, and where I had found my models, and where and how my first play after this kind was performed, and when and how I would have it performed in the future. I can but refer the reader to the note or to the long introduction to 'Certain Noble Plays of Japan' (Cuala Press.)

W. B. Yeats. October 11th. 1918

P. S. That I might write 'The Dreaming of the Bones,' Mr. W. A. Henderson with great kindness wrote out for me all historical allusions to Dervorgilla.


The stage is any bare place in a room close to the wall. A screen with a pattern of mountain and sky can stand against the wall, or a curtain with a like pattern hang upon it, but the pattern must only symbolize or suggest. One musician enters and then two others, the first stands singing while the others take their places. Then all three sit down against the wall by their instruments, which are already there a drum, a zither, and a flute. Or they unfold a cloth as in 'The Hawk's Well,' while the instruments are carried in.


(or all three musicians, singing) Why does my heart beat so? Did not a shadow pass? It passed but a moment ago. Who can have trod in the grass? What rogue is night wandering? Have not old writers said That dizzy dreams can spring From the dry bones of the dead? And many a night it seems That all the valley fills With those fantastic dreams. They overflow the hills, So passionate is a shade, Like wine that fills to the top A grey green cup of jade, Or maybe an agate cup. (speaking) The hour before dawn and the moon covered up. The little village of Abbey is covered up; The little narrow trodden way that runs From the white road to the Abbey of Corcomroe Is covered up; and all about the hills Are like a circle of Agate or of Jade. Somewhere among great rocks on the scarce grass Birds cry, they cry their loneliness. Even the sunlight can be lonely here, Even hot noon is lonely. I hear a footfall A young man with a lantern comes this way. He seems an Aran fisher, for he wears The flannel bawneen and the cow hide shoe. He stumbles wearily, and stumbling prays.

(A young man enters, praying in Irish)

Once more the birds cry in their loneliness, But now they wheel about our heads; and now They have dropped on the grey stone to the north east.

(A man and a girl both in the costume of a past time, come in. They wear heroic masks)


(raising his lantern) Who is there? I cannot see what you are like, Come to the light.


But what have you to fear?


And why have you come creeping through the dark.

(The Girl blows out lantern)

The wind has blown my lantern out. Where are you? I saw a pair of heads against the sky And lost them after, but you are in the right I should not be afraid in County Clare; And should be or should not be have no choice, I have to put myself into your hands, Now that my candle's out.


You have fought in Dublin?


I was in the Post Office, and if taken I shall be put against a wall and shot.


You know some place of refuge, have some plan Or friend who will come to meet you?


I am to lie At daybreak on the mountain and keep watch Until an Aran coracle puts in At Muckanish or at the rocky shore Under Finvarra, but would break my neck If I went stumbling there alone in the dark... Continue reading book >>

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