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MISOS, disguised as Thelema, ORGE, LYPE, THELEMA, dressed as a pilgrim

MISOS Are your pockets bulging with a profit, Orge? Have you reduced Eros to a Codrus-like poverty of spirit?
ORGE Would you reduce the wealthy to poverty? Eros has never had a rich spirit.
LYPE I don’t know what you mean about Eros being wealthy, unless he has rivers of gold.
MISOS Soon I’ll change them into iron.
ORGE He’ll drink iron, and also fire. Necessity is a harsh weapon, but love a harsher.
MISOS With your permission, Orge, can you accept some criticism with calm ears?
ORGE If it’s fair.
MISOS Your acting like a tortoise, not an eagle, you’re creeping when you should fly. Who has clipped your wings?
ORGE The same man who gelded your sense of shame, chatterbox. One kind of man is the most base, those who are blind as moles to their own habits, but who scrutinize other men’s hearts with lynx-like eyes. Don’t accuse me of sloth, Misos, while moths are chewing at your hair because of your idleness.
LYPE His bile’s a-boil. You’ll soothe his heated emotion by speaking more gently.
ORGE Me a tortoise!
MISOS See the permission you gave me, Orge! I was only playfully testing whether you were master of your sprits. For I am fully aware that you have overleapt all your affairs’ obstacles with stag-like bounds.
ORGE And so you chose to slander me for idleness while your own feet are standing still.
LYPE Why are you feeding me with sorrow, Orge? Your words are such unfair scourges!
ORGE My ears are not slaves as long as my back is free.
MISOS You want to apply the lash to your anger?
ORGE That I might run you over with my wheels.
MISOS I appeal to your good faith, Orge.
LYPE Eros is hoping for this quarrel.
ORGE May the gods damn Eros!
MISOS Oh, well done! The gods will thunder by means of your arm!
ORGE Against Eros’ head.
MISOS And what if he should prevail?
ORGE I’ll go swimming in his spilt blood.
MISOS It behooves us to fill this gap in time with wholehearted speed. And so I adjure you in the name of our freedom and our hatred of Eros —
ORGE— to outrun Eros.
MISOS You divine the very thing.
ORGE I’ll fly from here faster than a Parthian’s arrow. (Exit Orge.)
MISOS Now I’ll issue deeper sighs, groans, and tears. Oh Lype, Lype. a heavy burden weighs upon my heart, that these things are so light for Eros. Long ago he should have been dragging heavy chains. Ah Lype, Lype!
LYPE This pain rends my heart all the keener.
MISOS What? Is our coffer entirely empty of deceit? Ha. ha. They’re running back and forth, I’m calling up the light infantry from the third rank. It’s determined. Lype must stand by Mother. And with your customary artfulness press her with doubtful possibilities as she wavers. Indeed, if you prevail, overwhelm her.
LYPE Meanwhile what will you be contriving?
MISOS I’ll dig a bit to capture Eros alive. Thus may he die a slow death, feeding on grief and quenching his thirst with tears.
LYPE I’ll go on this condition, that if you catch Eros you’ll give him into my wretched custody.
MISOS I will. (Exit Lype.) He kicks against the pricks who does violence to his nature. What is more discordant, more accursed, more hateful than to make yourself agreeable to people you hate? And yet the business requires it. And yet inwardly I look on all of ’em with the same eye. Inwardly Misos is not gently smiling, but frowning and lifting a threatening brow. (Enter Thelema.)
THELEMA I understood that Eros and his companions are coming this way. Now there’s need to stitch together all my wiles, so as to clothe myself in them and — Hey, do I see Misos? What his he pondering so seriously?
MISOS Eros must be butchered while he’s snoring away deep at night. But how? With a dagger.
THELEMA He’s undertaking a difficult task! His tentmate Thrasos sleeps with Eros.
MISOS Let me put the bloody dagger in Thrasos’ hands. That way he’ll be accused of fratricide. This is the only way, let me get started.
MISOS Who’s speaking to me?
THELEMA A partner in your cares and in your scheme.
MISOS Pledge your faith.
THELEMA I’ve pledged it. Don’t you recognize Thelema?
MISOS I don’t know that he’s not a traitor.
THELEMA What’s the reason for your doubt?
MISOS Because when I was waxing hot Thelema was frozen with cold.
THELEMA Nobody calls a river frozen while it’s still flowing. So far Thelema has not come to a halt. He’s tracking Eros.
MISOS Are your snares set carefully?
THELEMA This victory is an offering to Fraud. The omens were favorable, I’ve caught them all. Eros, Phobos, Elpis and Euphrosyne will be put to work turning the millstone.
MISOS I like that. Their daily wage will as follows: extreme shortage of food, words, whippings. They’ll trot around in a circle. And when their hunger is keener, scraps of meat will be affixed to their backs of each in such a way that the man following cannot reach it. Tantalus’ punishment was not dissimilar. How does that please you?
THELEMA Greatly. In the meantime, keep Orge and Lype under your banner. It’s useful to make haste.
MISOS But what tricks are you relying on to set out the bait for your prey?
THELEMA It’ll be more pleasant to recount it to you once it is done. You be careful to hasten to summon Orge and Lype, so they’ll be at hand.
MISOS I don’t know the time and place.
THELEMA At every time, at every place. Get running. (Exit Misos.) A traveler can hope for nothing more than a guide and companion on his way. Hence that shrewd adage, a pleasant comrade on a journey is as good as a coach. A wolf is concealed sheep’s clothing. I’ve studied Eros’ entire route, now my plan is to attach myself to them as a companion in this way: I’ll compose myself in sleep alongside this road. Then to increase Eros’ superstition, here I’ll produce a letter fallen from heaven, in which they might understand, first, that Apollo sends them his greetings, and next that they have been sent to a pilgrim. If they make him a party to their secrets, they may go to Paestum and immediately pluck the rose. (They enter.) They’re coming, now I’ll sleep watchfully. Don’t you do the same, spectators, except with the eyes of a lion.


EROS My fine brothers, there is only this difference between ourselves and the Argonauts, those descendants of the Greek gods, that they mastered the sea by their wooden ship, whereas we, traveling on foot, are subduing these mountains. (Phobos finds the letter on the ground.).
ELPIS Phobos, where did you get the letter you’re studying so earnestly?
PHOBOS It’s Greek, it’s illegible.
THELEMA Break the cord.
EUPHROSYNE I hope it doesn’t hurt anyone.
EROS What’s new, Thrasos?
THELEMA During the siege of Byzantium, a hundred thousand eagles surrounded it with their wings.
EROS That’s thick ignorance, Phobos. He says it’s Greek and that it can’t be read. In this less learned age of the Romans, who has been learned enough to preserve that tradition? {He tries to read the letter.) ) A. D. S. P. D. E. Philtati.
EUPHROSYNE What monstrosity are these breeding? Let us try to interpret it.
ELPIS I recognize these characters. They’re Apollo’s, I’ve often seen him writing while Vergil dictated.
THRASOS You are calling Apollo Vergil’s scribe?
ELPIS And very rightly so. Look at these characters, Euphrosyne, see if you have seen any similar ones.
ELPIS Unschooled Minerva does not embrace cultured Apollo. (Thrasos draws his sword.).
THRASOS The Macedonian overcame Gordian’s insurmountable knot quicker than Oedipus solved the Sphinx’ riddle.
EROS We are not yet pressed by the ultimate necessity. If Elpis is no Oedipus, you may be our Alexander, Thrasos. You’re worthy of that.
ELPIS Prick up your ears, pay attention. A. Apollo. D. Delphicus. S. Salutem. P. Plurimam. D. Dicit. E. Eroti philtati. Apollo of Delphi gives great greetings to his most beloved Eros.
EROS Elpis, you’ve blessed us. I’ll hope for nothing more, not that such sure hope makes me confident.
THRASOS. Break the bond, its a hard thing for your happiness to be tied up so long.
ELPIS The hidden secret is revealed for Elpis. (Eros scans the letter and shudders.)
EUPHROSYNE Why are you shuddering so anxiously
THRASOS Lift up your voice, Eros, and also your spirits.
ERO0 S“Apollo to Eros. Phaethon, that uncontrollable son of Clymene and myself, scorned his advisor and perished. Therefore I wish Eros to be warned. Let him consult the pilgrim. My sleep has overcome him, I am lurking on his lips. Fare well, if you wish.”
THRASOS Bah, “Fare well, if you wish!” You wish this, Eros, don’t you?
EROS Let us continue, under Phoebus’ auspices.
ELPIS Here’s the fellow.
EUPHROSYNE That’s a ram, not a man.
EROS In what costume?
ELPIS In sheep’s clothing.
THRASOS Let’s ask him the way. My good sheep —
THELEMA Fare well, you wish to.
EROS This is Apollo’s prophet. By what art can he be inspired to prophecize?
THELEMA Not by a European one. For this purpose I’ve brought along with me some Indian smoke.
EUPHROSYNE Ugh! You should call it Hellish smoke. For this the vapor which suffocates birds as they fly above the Avernus.
THRASOS Why this fastidiousness, Euphrosyne? Surely you don’t imagine that ivy is any more intimately associated with Bacchus than is tobacco? If considerations of euphony didn’t prevail you could call tobacco Bacchus’ firstborn, Euphrosyne. For ho Iacchos, tou Iacchou. And so, since it tastes better, just as it sounds better, tobacco is the winner.
ELPIS Fire will follow its smoke, if you don’t snuff it out.
EROS Reveal your Phoebus-like illuminations, you light of Phoebus.
THELEMA Is the silent morning star growing weary, and the shame of night causing Aurora’s cheeks to blush?
THRASOS He’s dreaming.
EUPHROSYNE Sleep is the poets’ touchstone.
EROS I’ll test him again. (Prods him.)
THELEMA Who’s so rudely shaking the poppy from off my eyelids?
THRASOS If this sleepyhead would have his breakfast, the barking of his belly should wake him at dawn.
EROS Phoebus wanted this. You’ll pardon Eros, as we pardon you.
THELEMA Who are you, where are you going?
EROS We are princes of this microcosm. We are seeking Paestum and a rose.
THELEMA That’s a Herculean task.
THRASOS Behold Hercules.
THELEMA Surely you aren’t going to bear Atlas’ starry globe?
PHOBOS That job is unkind to the neck.
THRASOS Unkind to Phobos.
EROS Do you recognize the document Phobos is holding?
THRASOS The god of Delphi granted this.
EROS You yourself are a priest of Phoebus, and a heaven-sent companion on our way to Paestum.
THELEMA There enemy legions stand watch forever.
THRASOS Why are you turning back, Phobos?
EUPHROSYNE That Phobos is a ram, he goes back so he can butt with greater force.
EROS Are you expending your strength, Phobos?
THRASOS You should have said “suspending.”
PHOBOS Of Thrasos’ strength.
THELEMA This is the location of Paestum. A valley encircled by rose-gardens blushes red. It is surrounded by steep mountains, dressed with a fleece of dew on their grassy backs. This, touched by the sun, dissolves into flowing drops and feeds the damp meadows with a gentle flow, which the shrubbery drinks. Amidst the briars rises up a rose, fenced about by spiny spears. It is not safe for any man to oppose the threats of such a dense band with the boss of his shield: from the brambles hang shredded spoils of the heroes whom daring virtue, pricking them on to their doom, drove against these pricks. You must try another way, known only to a few. On the cloud-piercing mountaintop there is a citadel, secure because of the nature of the place and its vigilant garrison. There in secret caverns the earth conceals a secret way which leads to the filaments of the rose by an unseen route, where a cave has a small mouth gradually opening to the light of day. Look for no other paths. Those who are inspired by virtue may put their fears behind them, since they have Phoebus and myself as their patrons. You four wait, wakefully keeping night-watch at the base of the mountain. Eros and I will search for an easy route. Be of stout heart, now is the time for the business to be done.
EROS Why are we still standing here?
PHOBOS Please give me a hearing.
THRASOS Lions converse with a rabbit!
ELPIS This way, brothers, this way. Phobos, with me as your guide you’ll lose your fears.
EUPHROSYNE Oh Elpis, Elpis! Phobos is aware that it is a difficult battle for a man to overcome himself.
EROS Apollo the prophet prophesizes that you all will be victors. (Exeunt omnes. Phobos hangs back.)

PHOBOS alone

Nobody’s following. My brothers, I greatly fear for you, and I’m going to make my escape as quickly as possible. I have nothing against Mars, for Mar’s greatest glory is to shun fears. Ha, now I’m catching my breath. When you run out of air your organs’ harmony fails, but when it returns, so do they, and so it is with my courage. Thus, by Hercules, nothing ever stood in my way during a war except for my feet, which are over-obedient to the bugle. For when others sound the retreat they flee, such is their quickness and speed Now, with you looking on, I would prefer to join battle. (Here Phobos draws his sword. But when he hears a commotion he flees without it.).


MISOS Lype has so wormed himself into Psyche’s marrow that if you could see her bones you’d predict that this lamb is going to harm her.
ORGE I think the salamander’s nature is wonderful. They say that it can put out a fire, being incombustible.
LYPE But I think its more wonderful that you’re always afire, yet never get burned up by the brimstone. Iron doesn’t glow as red-hot as you do, Orge, when the Fury is breathing in your ear.
ORGE Whereas you cook men’s bile with your slow melancholy. See how they are hastening to their grave.
MISOS Who gave us this gift, Orge?
ORGE Nemesis, if I’m not mistaken.
LYPE That’s a sad omen. If he were covered with rust, it would be keen and pleasant.
ORGE This […] belongs to Phobos, he got these scars from me.
MISOS He’s still hot from your hand.
ORGE Phobos is not far off, I’ll give chase.
LYPE You’ll do the same thing if you remain here, for Phobos is always afraid of what’s behind him. (Enter Thelema.)
THELEMA How I’ve worn out my feet scurrying hither and thither while you have been in this vicinity! Misos, you could have been dining on Eros, already caught and cooked.
MISOS What’s the situation?
THELEMA Learn it from a few words. The situation is that which you are striving: I have ensnared Eros by my artful wiles. This is the gist of the thing. I’ll tell you the particulars when, as I hope, all your detailed arrangement s are safely completed. I have directed Thrasos and his companions here, we must set an ambush, and be careful lest our quarry escape our hands. Eros has already swallowed my bait well enough and more.
MISOS Now, Orge, we have need of fire, don’t go cold.
ORGE I brought this rope here for the purpose of restraining Phobos, now let Thrasos struggle with it.
LYPE Misos, if you’ll listen to me, since Thrasos is about to arrive, you and I will stretch the rope tight and by taking turns in leaping forward we’ll wrap it around him and his friends. If they struggle, Orge will menace them with his sword.
ORGE That’s my idea.
MISOS Right, keep the snare loose a while, so it won’t be visible.
ORGE Shh, Misos.


THRASOS Elpis, Euphrosyne, this nearby mountain has brought today to an end by obstructing the sun. What do you say?
ELPIS Let’s wait for the pilgrim, here’s the place.
THRASOS Don’t fail us, Euphrosyne.
EUPHROSYNE I’m incapable of feeling future joy, and this is why I’m fainting at the first smell of the rose.
ELPIS If hope weren’t my inseparable companion —
MISOS Pull tighter, Lype.
ORGE Oh Thrasos, Thrasos.
MISOS Bah, Elpis has flown off.
THRASOS Oh you ruler of the world!
ORGE That’s me. Genuflect.
THRASOS Is this how you treat a free man.
MISOS Rather you should say a slave of Misos. You serve as Elpis shield for every manner of wrongdoing.
LYPE Be my guest, Thrasos. I’ll treat you to the gods’ elegant banquets.
MISOS (Producing a garlic.) Let this be your first libation.
MISOS I’ll be the judge, hale these fellows before me.
LYPE They are present.
ORGE Let them lower their servile necks so I can trample ’em.
THRASOS Spew forth the furies of your anger. Now Misos rules.
MISOS. Lype, these men are in your charge. How fitly Thrasos’ neck will groan beneath the yoke! The mill, famine and thirst, let these be your fruits. Make them abound in these, Lype.
LYPE I’ll give it my careful attention.
ORGE Go, you monstrosities of nature.
THELEMA Misos and Orge
MISOS Do you want to have happen to you what Tereus once did to Philomela? Keep quiet. Orge, now let Eros suffer his downfall, let us hasten. Go, you dogs. Let them starve, Lype.
LYPE A never-ending Lent.
EUPHROSYNE Oh, oh. (Exeunt.)


THELMA Walk quietly on tiptoe, Eros. There’s no wind before us or behind us, careful not to make a noise.
EROS How much will nature bear? How this be? For there to be no wind among so many holm-oaks! For don’t rich acorns produce wind?
THELMA Let the acorns go stink. We are near to Paestum, climbing up this easy cliff. Everywhere it’s deep silence. Can’t you feel the aroma and gentle scent of the flowers?
EROS I don’t hear anything at all.
THELMA Up to now, what man has ever smelled with his ears?
EROS As listeners, they’re indeed doing somebody else’s business. Ha, a pleasant scent has traveled through my nasal passages and invaded my inmost brain. Ha, ha.
THELMA Let’s make our entry right now. Now, Eros, it behooves you to cover your head, and put on this white costume. This is a holy place.
EROS What delay is holding back Thrasos and Euphrosyne?
THELMA They’ll be here right away. Meanwhile crawl through these passages on your hands and knees.
EROS Come now, give me a breathing-space.
THELMA Get going.
EROS You’ll follow me, good sir?
THELMA Yes, indeed. (Enter Misos and Orge.)
MISOS May my hatred bless me, we’ll do a fine job of mocking them.
EROS (Seeing Eros on his hands and knees.) I’ll ride horseback, Misos. How suitable is this bemedalled donkey!
EROS Who am I hearing?
THELMA Thrasos and Euphrosyne, who are keeping watch nearby lest somebody block our way. Keep going.
EROS My hands keep getting struck in these tree-roots.
THELMA You’ve prevailed, Eros. You may live. Gradually lift up your hands along the tree-trunk.
EROS My skin is torn, my veins are torn, my blood is flowing freely.
THELMA Your mother will be all the more thankful because while being in her service you’ve been unsparing of your blood. (Exit Thelema.)
MISOS Now at long last, Eros, you may describe your downfall to Mother.
EROS Who are you?
ORGE You’ll soon learn. But you’ll join Themistocles in preferring to forget.
EROS Hey, who in the world is he?
ORGE He’s your Thrasos
EROS Can it be believed that a man can so quickly fall from hope into so many cares? What’s become of that treacherous pilgrim?
MISOS The god of Delphi has foretold your fate, for these are the gardens of Paestum. Isn’t this bright-red rose working on your nostrils?
LYPE Misos, why are you playing and avoiding this very serious matter? Pass sentence on Eros.
MISOS Let his accomplices have a share in his punishment.
LYPE So flay their shoulderblades with an elm-switch.
EROS Misos, you’re nursing the hatred of a stepmother, not a brother.
MISOS Let this jackdaw pay with his back. Away with him.
ORGE Lype, keep in mind that Eros should dine on roses.
LYPE On violets, lilies, roses, brambles, and nettles. (Exit Lype.)
MISOS I owe and promise an everlasting bond and Pytheas-like loyalty to Orge.
ORGE I requite you with the spirit of a Pollux.
MISOS Now it’s time to visit Mother. Nothing dares withstand anger and hatred. But I want Orge to be warned of this one thing. If Elpis reveals this thing, you must take it calmly. Thus I will take Elpis by my wiles.
ORGE I’m coming close to tearing you apart limb from limb, Orge. What happened to that loyalty you just now pledged?
MISOS I rashly blurt out whatever comes into my mouth, pray forgive me.
ORGE In future take care to keep that unruly beast reined. I’m fully afire.
MISOS Haven’t I doused you with water?
ORGE If you ever cast doubt on my loyalty again, I’ll —
MISOS Return to friendship, I beg you.
ORGE There’s no end to suspicion, it’s better to get revenge.
MISOS If Misos has slipped so much, I grovel at your feet. Pour out all your stored-up poison, if you can’t forgive me.
ORGE My brother.
MISOS Call me your slave.
ORGE I admit I was hot, but our affair is still undamaged. Give me your hand.
MISOS I give you rule over my heart.
ORGE We must be quick and either get to Mother before Elpis does, or catch him.
MISOS (Aside.) If I live, I’ll scar Orge so badly that —
ORGE Why are you hanging back?
MISOS I’m flying.


We should mourn for too-trusting Eros, captured by deceit and his enemies’ wiles, and we should weep the same tears for Thrasos and Euphrosyne. They are finally turning a rapid millstone of misery. How uncertain is the outcome of their sufferings, unless Elpis, who escaped the snare, brings them aid. And, by Hercules, we must fear for Elpis, since victory-swollen Misos and Orge are chasing after him with their threats. You already know that Misos is heresy and Orge the people. Have a look at groaning Eros and you’ll see that he’s a Catholic, bound with chains and placed in Lype’s prison. Being well disposed towards Eros, Thrasos and Euphrosyne earned the same punishment when they came to his assistance. Thus it is concerning those in England who are gripped by love of a Catholic: it is a crime to display affection towards the wretch. Thus Orge and Misos rage, yet in the end Elpis will bring these unhappy souls his torch and the light of Faith. Elpis eluded the clutches of bloody Misos, and thus escape heresy those few men who drink the waters of the Guadalquivir, the Tiber, and the Pisuerga. God grant them an easy return to England! Thus may they ease Eros’ weeping and Thrasos tears, tears which the angels gather up. Heaven is looking after him, the Saints write of his divinity.

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