A Greek Slave
Dialogue Following Song No. 26 Act II
(Enter Heliodorus; sees statue)
Heliodorus: Now who brought that here? The prefect must have seized it at my house after I left. Well, Antonia has nothing to conplain of. She bought the statue and she's got it!
(Enter Manliusfrom villa, followed by Iris)
Manlius: I told her the news, girl, and her heart is broken.
Iris: Well, there's a nice job for you mend it!
Manlius: Too delicate work for a soldier, I'm afraid.
Maia: Does the princess know that Diomed has run away?
Manlius: She knows that she is deserted she beliees that Eros has returned to marble.
Maia: But he might come to earth again. The God of Love is a queer creature and (Significantly) assumes many different forms.
Iris: The Princess liked his last form very much indeed.
Maia: She shall have the spirit of Eros in a new body. Last time he took the state of Diomed the Greek slave next time he shall be what will suit her best, Iris?
Iris: Why, Manlius the Roman soldier, of course!
Manlius: No, I'll not stoop to deceive a woman I love.
Iris: You needn't; she'll deceive herself. But you don't mind stooping to deceive Marcus Pomponius, the Prefect, do you?
Manlius: No, not if I can serve the Princess.
Maia: Then go with Iris.
Iris: Yes, come along. We'll have a marriage yet without the god of love.
(Exit Iris and Manlius into villa)
Maia: (Looking after them) I'm afraid there are a good many marriages nowadays without the god of love. And a good deal of love with the god of marriage.
Maia: Diomed, why have you come back?
Diomed: Because I have done wrong and I'm miserable.
Maia: You'll be more unhappy still if the Prefect gets hold of you.
Diomed: No, he can't make me suffer more than I should far away in exile without you. Maia, I made you a promise you should never have exacted up to now I have kept it.
Maia: Well, keep it a little longer just for my sake. It is not much I ask.
Diomed: You know I would willingly die for you, but
Maia: What's the good of dying for me when I want you to live with me? Be patient, Diomed.
Diomed: And continue to deceive the Princess!
(Antonia appears on the balcony)
Diomed: No, Maia. Your trick the Prefect's trick my trick, if you like may have succeeded, but it's nothing to be proud of; we have stolen the love of a simple young girl, and I'm heartily ashamed of my share in the plot.
Antonia: (Aside) My Eros!
Maia: You've nothing to be ashamed of, Diomed. You make the most sought after woman in Rome madly in love with you.
Diomed: Pooh! It was the god she loved not the man.
Antonia: (Aside, moaning) No, no, the man, not the god!
Diomed: She was flattered because she thought me divine.
Maia: It wasn't that; all women think their lovers divine. Don't worry yourself when she learns that you are only a Greek slave, her love will turn to someone more worthy of her.
Diomed: Then the sooner she learns the truth, the better. Maia, my mind is made up I will tell everything to Antonia.
Maia: And sacrifice me! is that your love?
Diomed: Yes. It is because I love you that I will not betray another woman's love. No, Maia, I will rather give up love for ever than take you away to share my disgrace.
Maia: But, Diomed, what will the Princess say? What will she do to us when she learns how she has been tricked?
Diomed: She must decide.
Antonia: She must! Your crime has been cruel!
Maia: The Lady Antonia!
Antonia: Yes, and I have heard all.
(Maia goes on her knees)
Maia: Ah, beautiful and powerful Princess, will you forgive him?
Antonia: Why should I? You have made me the laughing stock of every fool in Rome!
Maia: Oh, but spare him, Princess, be generous!
Antonia: He didn't spare me. Why should I forgive one who has hurt me so deeply?
Maia: Out of the pity of your good heart.
Antonia: Perhaps my heard is marble now. But come, Eros, or Diomed, have you nothing to say? Nothing to plead for?
Diomed: I say nothing because I am ashamed I plead for nothing because I deserve no mercy at your hands.
Page created 08 December 2001