A Greek Slave
Dialogue Following Song No. 9 Act I
Maia: (Gently and kindly) Have you never thought, great Lady, of loving as you have been loved? Has not in your dreams some indefinable, beautiful being shadowed himself out to take your fancy?
Antonia: In my dreams yes, yes, I think so.
Maia: Then the mystery is solved! You cannot love a mortal, for your husband will have no mortal's rivalry. You are beloved by one of the gods who seeks you for his own. That is your fate.
Antonia: Destined for one of the gods! What happiness! And this explains all. But tell me, Oracle, which of the gods has deigned to love me?
Maia: (To Iris) That's a puzzler. Which shall I say?
Iris: - Tell her Eros the one Archias has just made a statue of.
Maia: (To Antonia) Which but the god of Love himself the great god Eros.
Antonia: The great god Eros! What is he like?
Maia: A fitting mate for the beautiful Lady Antonia behold his statue! (Draws curtains and discloses figure of Eros first in the sculpture gallery, then aside to Iris) She won't get one as good lookig as that, I can tell her!
(The Lady Antonia goes to him, look admiringly and examines the statue)
Iris: (To Maia) But how are you going to get out of this? She will never be satisfied with promises.
Maia: A very old trick of ours. I will pretend to bring the stone to life. Then we'll sell her the statue, and she'll think it is the god.
Iris: Very good. But when she gets it home she'll find out it isn't what she thought him.
Maia: Yes, and that's not unusual.
Maia: Lady Antonia, the gods would now commune with me.
Iris: I'd rather remain. I want him to commune with me. A husband is no good if he is going to spend all his time on a pedestal.
Maia: Leave your future to the Fates. Go now, and return later to claim your bridegroom.
(Antonia kisses her hand to the curtain and she and Iris exit ushered out by Maia and all the slaves)
Iris: A woman who has never been in love will believe any fairy tale.
Archias: How did you manage to get here again to-day Iris,dear?
Iris: Oh, the gods sent me, or the ghosts or the demons, or some of those noghtings that manage a soothsayer's establishment.
Archias: I know all that jargon of this place. But when we are alone let us have the truth. I am tired of deceit.
Iris: (Shrugging shoulders) It can't be helped. If ti were not for deceit, there would be no great men in the world. Except sculptors.
Archias: (Looking lovingly at statue) Yes, marble doesn't lie; except tombstones; one can depent better on cold stone thatn on real living men and women.
Iris: You don't mean me, do you?
Archias: Of rouce not. You are not perfect to my eye as a sculptor, but as a man I think you sweet and true and simple.
Iris: Well, Heliodorus doesn't think me so very simple. I am pretty useful to him.
Archias: More's the pity! But everything is sone for him. Here am I, a Greek, an artist, a lover, working as his slave, while you
Iris: Well, I'm a Greek and a lover, too and a slave too, but I like it. You see, my mistress is very good to her slaves, and I am her favourite of them all!
Archias: I don't see any great advantage in being a favourite slave, I'd rather be less admired and quite free.
Iris: But I don't want my freedom until
Archias: Until when?
Iris: Until you have yours. Now Archias, cheer up! Something may happen very soon to give us both what we want.
Archias: Each other?
Iris: Yes, and then you shall chisel, and carve, and mould, and I'll be your only model!
Archias: How I'm getting on with Eros, god of love.
Iris: Yes. I wish I were God of Love.
Page created 15 November 2001