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No. 23: Melodrame

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Phyllon. Come, Ethais, Lutin, come, to earth again!

PHYLLON descends with LUTIN. ETHAIS is about to follow them, but is detained by SELENE.

Selene restrains Ethais.
(click to enlarge)
Selene. No, no! Thou shalt not go — thou shalt not go!
My hope — my shattered hope, but still my hope!
My love — my blighted love, but still my love!
My life — my ruined life, but still my life!
I'll work and toil for thee — I'll be thy slave —
Thine humble, silent, and submissive slave!
(furiously.) Nay, but I'll hold thee back! I have the strength
  Of fifty women! See, thou canst not go!
(with passionate triumph.)
  Nay, but I'll wrest thy love away from thee
And fetter it in bondage to my heart!
I will be one with thee; I'll cling to thee
And thou shalt take me to that world of thine!
Ethais. Take thee to earth? I love the world too well
To curse it with another termagant!
We have enough of them. Release me, fool —
Away from me! I go to that good world
Where women are not devils till they die!

Throws off SELENE, who fall senseless. He leaps through the cloud and descends.
As ETHAIS disappears the Fairies who have grouped themselves about the stage in attitudes of despair, appear gradually to wake as from a dream. The moon has disappeared, heavy thunderclouds that have gradually gathered during the preceding scene suddenly disperse, the stage grows light, and the music becomes soft and hymn-like.

Selene. Where am I? Zayda! Neodie! Darine!
Oh, sisters, I am waking from a dream —
A fearful dream — a dream of evil thoughts,
Of ,mortal passion and of mortal hate!
I thought that Ethais and Phyllon too
Had gone to mid-earth —
Zayda.   Nay, it was no dream —
  A sad and sorrowful reality!
Yes, we have suffered much, but, Heaven be praised,
These mortal men have gone to their own earth
And taken with them the bad influence
That spread like an infection through our ranks.
See, we are as we were! (embracing her.)
Selene.     Darine! Darine!
  My well-beloved sister, speak to me!
Darine. (shamefacedly).
  I dare not speak to thee — I have no words —
I am ashamed!
Selene.     Oh, sister, let that shame
  Hang heavily on all, for all have sinned!
Oh, let us lay this lesson to our hearts!
Let us achieve our work with humbled souls,
Free from the folly of self-righteousness.
Behold, is there so wide a gulf between
The humble wretch who, being tempted, falls,
And that good man who rears an honoured head
Because temptation has not come to him?
Shall we, from our enforces security
Deal mercilessly with poor mortal man,
Who struggles, single-handed, to defend
The demon-leagured fortress of his soul?
Shall we not rather, seeing how he fell,
Give double honour to the champion who
Throughout his mortal peril holds his own,
E'en though
His walls be somewhat battered in the fight?
Oh, let us lay this lesson to our hearts!

Enter LUTIN followed by ETHAIS and PHYLLON as Fairies.

Lutin. Your brothers have returned!
Selene.     My Ethais!
Ethais. Selene — sisters all — rejoice with us!
We bear the promise of a priceless gift,
A source of new and endless happiness!
Take every radiant blessing that adorns
Our happy land, and all will pale before
The lustre of this precious privilege.
It is — that we may love as mortals love!
Selene. No, no — not that! No, Ethais, not that!
It is a deadly snare — beware of it!
Such love is for mankind and not for us.
No, Ethais, we will not have this love!

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