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ACT IV, SCENE 1
Those men whom sweetly-smiling Fortune lifts aloft ought to fear the downward turn of the wheel the goddess turns. She makes the lowest equal to the highest, and then, perhaps, sets the prideful beneath herself. Nor does this crash stop at a single death: she drags down those linked with her, as many as act out this deceptive plot. He who does not climb can safely disdain a descent. Although I am always preaching this, men’s ears, plugged with worldly wax, are always deaf. But nevertheless I shall go and see if God can draw some men to Himself with His friendly eye. Let them win the prize. The game is worth the candle, if a single man grows wise. (Exit.)
ACT IV. SCENE ii
Oh, with what difficulty I struggle along! You’ll pay for this crime, Misos, if Elpis prevails. I have sure proofs, I’m not easily swindled. But how sorry Mother will feel for herself! Her pain torments me, but I hope for the best if Eros has escaped the trap. Now I’m thinking to my self how different I am from that messenger who brought the thirsty old man gold, golden juice. I think his thirst could be quenched quicker than Mother’s tears. But not everything’s gold. I’m bringing you a dinner of lead, Psyche, cook it is best you can.
ACTUS IV, SCENAi ii
MISOS, THELEMA, ORGE
MISOS When you arrived, Thelema, with what expression did Psyche receive you?
THELEMA The same one with which an old man greets an empty wallet. Oh sir, her eyes were lowered, her head was leaning on her left shoulder, she was sighing deeply. “Ah my Eros, Eros, Eros!”
ORGE And you played up to her with tear-filled eyes.
THELEMA My heart was dancing inside, so that this onion could scarcely elicit a single tear.
MISOS What does your headstrong nature suggest now?
ORGE To knock at the house boldly, and if they don’t open up quickly, to grow angry and bawl with a roaring mouth. Then if Mother calls on Eros, to summon all the Furies with a single word. Let’s go.
THELEMA We must take care lest Psyche see us acting like Bacchantes and imagine she’s a Bacchante herself. Old ladies adore wine. And what will you do, Orge, when her wand pokes you in the ear, ha?
ORGE Just as that Scaevola once gave his right hand to the flames, so I’ll offer my head to be caressed by the woman's staff.
MISOS And hasn’t Phobos made any suggestions with that evil conjecturing of his?
THELEMA Good advice, Orge. Do you want Phobos to be your manservant? If you debone him first, I’ll serve him. Oh, of all the most timid trimmers this one-eyed world has ever seen!
ORGE My fists itch for his face.
MISOS Go on with your speech, Thelema.
THELEMA Imagine fearful monsters, Centaurs, serpents, and whatever the poets dreamed up for Hercules to fight, Phobos has drawn them all up in a single battle line so that the vision of such a fight has made Psyche’s face grow as pale as the bards describe bereaved Niobes’ to have been.
ORGE You want me to put it in a word, Misos? I’ll skin Phobos and out of his hide I’ll make shields for the mice to use against the frogs.
MISOS Orge has invented a way by which Phobos can freeze to death. But above all, my opinion is that we must conceal the entire business from Psyche. Let us first speak to her sweetly. If she can’t be swayed, then let Orge raise his voice, quarreling with Psyche and railing against Eros.
THELEMA Misos is a […] professor, learnedly lecturing the ocean.
ORGE Set aside all your bashfulness, Misos, don’t be ashamed to speak.
MISOS Except for what’s secret.
ORGE If somebody dares do anything else, I’ll chisel off his tongue.
ACTUS IV, SCENA iv
PSYCHE, PHOBOS, ELPIS, MISOS, ORGE, THELEMA
PSYCHE Phobos, you’re an eyewitness, and you saw Eros when he cut up seven men with a single sword.
PHOBOS I saw, and I myself played a major role in the fight. But while I stood, menacingly raising my hands like a second Capaneus, Jupiter thundered from his whole citadel, three bolts of lightning shaved my bold shield, while bold Aeolus, huffing great blasts, snatched me away as I was struggling against Boreas, until Boreas was exhausted and abandoned me as I fought, leaving me as a messenger to you.
PSYCHE Was my dear Eros perspiring amidst all that dust?
PHOBOS That’s indeed likely. For Bellona particularly incites high-spirited men.
PSYCHE Can’t you guess the battle’s outcome?
PHOBOS I’m afraid it may have been unfortunate for Eros, for the thought of Psyche was making him over-eager.
PSYCHE You’re killing me, Phobos.
PHOBOS Eros was carrying about a shield with a forest of weapons stuck in it.
PSYCHE Fortune favors extreme daring. (Elpis knocks.). Whatever gods brought you here Elpis, why are you exhausted and panting?
ELPIS Because Eros — (Psyche reels.)
PSYCHE Ah, that’s my usual fainting. Tell your story.
ELPIS Eros has fallen in with his enemies.
PSYCHE Who? Where? When?
ELPIS With his brothers. At night. In a foreign land.
PSYCHE I am an object of hatred to the gods, a target for woes. Why are the products of my womb conspiring against me?
ELPIS Not against each other, I think. Rather, against each other.
PSYCHE If Eros has died I am dead. Who were responsible for this crime?
ELPIS Misos and Orge.
PSYCHE Oh Misos, hateful to your mother! (Misos knocks.) Don’t let anyone in, Elpis.
ELPIS I’ll hide until you desire my presence. Psyche, keep the whole matter confidential.
PHOBOS Rescue me from Orge, mother. (He knocks again.)
PSYCHE You continue knocking? Enter.
MISOS. May Psyche thrive and live the years of a Nestor!
PSYCHE I welcome your arrival. Where are Eros, Thrasos, and the others I sent to Paestum?
ORGE In a pesthouse far from here.
PSYCHE In a pesthouse!
THELEMA He means at Paestum
PSYCHE Do you understand Orge so well?
MISOS Orge stutters when he pronounces names, and he swallows syllables.
ORGE Misos, do you imagine I’m so hungry that I have to swallow syllables? Just tell me that Eros isn’t in a pesthouse, or rather pent up in a mill.
PSYCHE What words do I hear? Pesthouse! Mill!
ORGE Yes, and moreover a millstone.
MISOS Orge is out of control and beyond himself.
THELEMA This is a lunatic delusion.
ORGE You call me a lunatic, Thelema, you professor of all pains and architect of frauds? As if you were a pilgrim when you were pretending to be asleep!
THELEMA Orge should compose his brain. He needs hellebore.
ORGE Limb from limb —
PSYCHE Now I bid you hold your peace. Come here, Misos, tell me how Eros does.
MISOS How could he be doing better. With Thrasos and Euphrosyne — (Psyche knocks, and Elpis comes out.)
PSYCHE Elpis, you’re here opportunely. Have you seen Eros?
ELPIS I saw Thrasos and Euphrosyne caught like deer by Misos’ hunting, but I escaped their snares. Misos regretted this.
PSYCHE Why are you hiding what you know, Misos? A flame reveals itself. Why are you making faces, Thelema.
ORGE It shames me and I regret what I have done when I saw my brothers’ necks under the yoke and didn’t come to their aid.
MISOS I confess that Eros was captures.
THELEMA By my auspices, and it was Orge’s invention.
ORGE You acted and you helped plan it.
PSYCHE Under whose power is he living?
ORGE Rather he’s dying under Lype’s constant scourgings.
PSYCHE Why do my sons think that Eros is dead, but that I am not groaning under these blows, you inhuman people. Elpis, go a-flying to Lype no slower than the wind, and order him to bring his brothers here. This is his mother’s command. Take these keys as tokens. Go, fly.
ELPIS I’m off.
PSYCHE Was it fitting for you brothers to arm your minds in this way?
MISOS This sulphur of Orge’s broke out in the first flames.
ORGE Misos, do you want me to describe you from head to foot?
PSYCHE Let’s go inside, there I’ll listen to your tragedies. Now sorrow chokes my vice. Orge, whom are you stabbing with your sidewise glance?
ORGE The man you forbid me to stab with my sword?
PSYCHE Are quarrels and squabbles still ruling you brothers? Go ahead to my house, Misos, Thelema, and Orge. (Exeunt.)
CHORUS 4 AD ACTUM IV
Elpis came hot-footing it to Psyche, reporting on the brothers’ unworthy quarrels. Psyche grieved when Misos, Orge, and Thelema concealed Eros’ catastrophe with straight faces, until Orge lost control of himself and revealed their plan. Hence our Psyche is thinking of a cure for her sons. Don’t you see a symbol of England in Psyche? Otherwise I have hoped in vain for Elpis’ return, Elpis, who symbolizes England’s exiles, oppressed by heresy’s Peerage and Commons. England could catch her breath if their mutual hatred made them blaze forth against each other’s vices, as it did Psyche’s sons. Then when they have grown ablaze, let them exhibit as much savagery as they want. I praise vice’s savagery, which grinds down its head so that the crown might encircle Virtue’s locks.
Go to Act V