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Dialogue following No. 12


Enter SELENE from bower.

Fleta. (aside).  
  At last she comes. (To SELENE). We are relieved to find
That after such a lengthy vigil thou
Canst tear thyself away from Ethais!
Selene. Yes, he is sleeping now, but all day long
He tossed and raved in wild delirium,
Shouting for arms, and, as it seemed to me,
Fighting his fight with Phyllon o'er again.
I watched him through the long and troubled hours,
Fanning the fever from his throbbing brow
Till he awoke. At first he gazed on me
In silent wonderment; then, suddenly,
Seizing my hand, he pressed it to his lips
And vowed that I had saved him from the grave!
Mark that — the grave! I — I had saved his life!
He told me that he loved me — loved me well —
That I had holy angel-eyes that rained
A gentle pity on his stubborn heart —
That I was fairer in his worldly eyes
Than all the maids on earth or in the clouds!
Zayda. (spitefully).  
  Could any words more eloquently show
The recklessness of his delirium?
Selene. (surprised).  
  Nay, he was conscious then.  
Fleta. (very sweetly). No doubt he was.
  But, sister, in thy triumph recollect
He scarce had seen us.
Zayda.   Thou hast wisely done
  To keep us out of sight. Cage thou thy bird
Or he may fly to fairer homes than thine!
Selene. (amazed).  
 

What mean you, sisters? Nay, turn not away!
What have I done?

Locrine. (spitefully). Indeed we do not know;
  But, lest we should affect his love for thee,
We will at once withdraw![Exit LOCRINE curtseying ironically.
Leila. (politely). Good night to you! [Exit curtseying.
Neodie. Good night!  
Zayda.   Good night! Remember, cage thy bird! 
  [Exeunt all curtseying.
Selene. How strangely are my sisters changed to me!
Have I done wrong? No, no, I'm sure of that!
The knight was sorely stricken — he had died
But for my willing care! Oh, earthly Love,
Thou mighty monarch, holding in thy grasp
The holiest balm and most enduring woe,
Is it for good or ill that thou art here?

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