Act II, Scene II

  &nbsp A room in the women’s apartments of the palace.
  &nbsp Andromeda, Diomede, Praxilla.

  &nbsp My brother lives then?

  &nbsp Thanks to Tyre, it seems.

  &nbsp Thanks to the wolf who means to eat him later.

  &nbsp You’ll lose your tongue some morning; rule it girl.

  &nbsp These kings, these politicians, these high masters!
  &nbsp These wise blind men! We slaves have eyes at least
  &nbsp To look beyond transparency.

  &nbsp Because
  &nbsp We stand outside the heated game unmoved
  &nbsp By interests, fears and passions.

  &nbsp He is a wolf, for I have seen him teeth.

  &nbsp Yet must you marry him, my little princess.

What, to be torn in pieces by the teeth.

  &nbsp Yet must you marry him, my little princess.

  &nbsp What, to be torn in pieces by the teeth?

  &nbsp I think the gods will not allow this marriage.

  &nbsp I know not what the gods may do: be sure,
  &nbsp I’ll not allow it.

  &nbsp Fie, Andromeda!
  &nbsp You must obey your parents: ’tis not right,
  &nbsp This wilfulness. Why, you’re a child! You think
  &nbsp You can oppose the will of mighty monarchs?
  &nbsp Be good; obey your father.

  &nbsp Yes, Praxilla?
  &nbsp And if my father bade me take a knife
  &nbsp And cut my face and limbs and stab my eyes,
  &nbsp Must I do that?

  &nbsp Where are you with your wild fancies?
  &nbsp Your father would not bid you do such things.

  &nbsp Because they’d hurt me?

  &nbsp Yes.

  &nbsp It hurts me more
  &nbsp To marry Phineus.
  &nbsp PRAXILLA
  &nbsp O you sly logic-splitter!
  &nbsp You dialectitian, you sunny-curled small sophist
  &nbsp Chop logic with your father. I’m tired of you.

Cepheus enters.

  &nbsp Father, I have been waiting for you.

  &nbsp What! you?
  &nbsp I’ll not believe it. You? (caressing her) My rosy Syrian!
  &nbsp My five-foot lady! My small queen of Tyre!
  &nbsp Yes, you are tired of playing with the ball.
  &nbsp You wait for me!

  &nbsp I was waiting. Here are
  &nbsp Two kisses for you.

  &nbsp Oh, now I understand.
  &nbsp You dancing rogue, you’re not so free with kisses:
  &nbsp I have to pay for them, small cormorant.
  &nbsp What is it now? a talking Tyrian doll?
  &nbsp Or a strong wooden horse with silken wings
  &nbsp To fly up to the gold rims of the moon?

  &nbsp I will not kiss you if you talk like that.
  &nbsp I am a woman now. As if I wanted
  &nbsp Such nonsense, father!

  &nbsp Oh, you’re a woman now?
  &nbsp Then ’tis a robe from Cos, sandals fur-lined
  &nbsp Or belt all silver. Young diplomatist,
  &nbsp I know you. You keep these ripplings showers of gold
  &nbsp Upon your head to buy your wishes with.
  &nbsp Therefore you packed your small red lips with honey.
  &nbsp Well, usurer, what’s the price you want?

  &nbsp I want, –
  &nbsp But, father, will you give me what I want?

  &nbsp I’ld give you the bright sun from heaven for plaything
  &nbsp To make you happy, girl Andromeda.

  &nbsp I want the Babulonians who were wrecked
  &nbsp In the great ship today, to be my slaves,
  &nbsp Father.

  &nbsp Was ever such a perverse witch?
  &nbsp To ask the only thing I cannot give!

  &nbsp Can I not have them, father?

  &nbsp They are Poseidon’s.

  &nbsp Oh then you love Poseidon more than me!
  &nbsp Why should he have them!

  &nbsp Fie, child! The mighty gods
  &nbsp Are masters of the earth and sea and heavens,
  &nbsp And all that is, is theirs. We are their stewards.
  &nbsp But what is once restored into their hands
  &nbsp Is thenceforth holy: he who even gazes
  &nbsp With greedy eye upon divine possessions,
  &nbsp Is guilty in Heaven’s sight and may awake
  &nbsp A dreadful wrath. These men Andromeda
  &nbsp Must bleed upon the altar of the God.
  &nbsp Speak not of them again: they are devoted.

  &nbsp Is he a god who eats the flesh of men?

  &nbsp O hush, blasphemer!
  &nbsp Father, give command,
  &nbsp To have Praxilla here boiled for my breakfast.
  &nbsp I’ll be a goddess too.

  &nbsp Praxilla!

  &nbsp ‘Tis thus
  &nbsp She talks. Oh but it gives me a shivering fever
  &nbsp Somietimes to hear her.

  &nbsp What mean you, dread gods?
  &nbsp Purpose you then the ruin of my house
  &nbsp Preparing in my children the offences
  &nbsp That must excuse your wrath? Andromeda,
  &nbsp My little daughter, speak not like this again
  &nbsp I charge you, no, nor think it. The mighty gods
  &nbsp Dwell far above the laws that govern men
  &nbsp And are not to be mapped by mortal judgements,
  &nbsp It is Poseidon’s will these men should die
  &nbsp Upon his altar. ‘Tis not to be questioned.

  &nbsp It shall be questioned. Let your God go hungry.

  &nbsp I am amazed! Did you not hear me, child?
  &nbsp On the third day from now these men shall die.
  &nbsp The same high evening ties you fast with nuptials
  &nbsp To Phineus, who shall take you home to Tyre.
  &nbsp (aside)
  &nbsp On Tyre let the wrath fall, if it must come.

  &nbsp Father, you’ll understand this once for all, –
  &nbsp I will not let the Babylonians die,
  &nbsp I will not marry Phineus.

  &nbsp Oh, you will not?
  &nbsp Here is a queen, of Tyre and all the world;
  &nbsp How mutinous – majestically this smallness
  &nbsp Divulges her decrees, making the most
  &nbsp Of her five feet of gold and cream and roses!
  &nbsp And why will you not marry Phineus, rebel?

  &nbsp He does not please me.

  &nbsp School your likings, rebel.
  &nbsp It is most needful Syria mate with Tyre.
  &nbsp And you are Syria.

  &nbsp Why, father, if you gave me a toy, you’ld ask
  &nbsp What toy I like! If you gave me a robe
  &nbsp Or vase, you would consult my taste in these!
  &nbsp Must I marry any cold-eyed crafty husband
  &nbsp I do not like?

  &nbsp You do not like! You do not like!
  &nbsp Thou silly child, must the high policy
  &nbsp Of Princes then be governed by thy likings?
  &nbsp ‘Tis policy, ’tis kingly policy
  &nbsp That made this needful marriage, and it shall not
  &nbsp For your spoilt childish likings be unmade.
  &nbsp What, you look sullen? What, you frown, virago?
  &nbsp Look, if you mutiny, I’ll have you whipped.

  &nbsp You would not dare.

  &nbsp Not dare!

  &nbsp Of course you would not.
  &nbsp As if I were afraid of you!

  &nbsp You are spoiled,
  &nbsp You are spoiled! Your mother spoils you, you wilful sunbeam.
  &nbsp Come, you provoking minx, you’ll marry Phineus?

  &nbsp I will not, father. If I must marry, then
  &nbsp I’ll marry my bright sungod! and none else
  &nbsp In the wide world.

  &nbsp Your sungod! Is that all?
  &nbsp Shall I not send an envoy to Olympus
  &nbsp And call the Thunderer here to marry you?
  &nbsp You’re not ambitions?

  &nbsp It is not that she means;
  &nbsp She speaks of the bright youth her brother rescued.
  &nbsp Since she has heard of him, no meaner talk
  &nbsp Is on her lips.

  &nbsp Who is this radiant coxcomb?
  &nbsp Whence did he come to se my Syria in a whirl?
  &nbsp For him my son’s in peril of his life,
  &nbsp For him my daughter will not marry Tyre.
  &nbsp Oh, Polydaon’s right. He must be killed
  &nbsp Before he does more mischief. Andromeda,
  &nbsp On the third day you marry Tyrian Phineus.
  &nbsp He goes out hurriedly.

  &nbsp That was a valiant shot timed to a most diascret-departure.
  &nbsp Parthian tactics are best when we deal with mutinous daughters.

  &nbsp Andromeda, you will obey your father?

  &nbsp You are not in my counsels. You’re too faithful.
  &nbsp Virtuous and wise, and virtuously you would
  &nbsp Betray me. There is a thing full-grown in me
  &nbsp That you shall only know by the result.
  &nbsp Diomede, come; for I need help not counsel.
  &nbsp She goes.

  &nbsp What means she now! Her whims are as endless as the tossing of leaves in a wind. But you will find out and tell me, Diomede.

  &nbsp I will find out certainly, but as to telling, that is as it shall please me-and my little mistress.

  &nbsp You shall be whipped.

  &nbsp Pish!

She runs out.

  &nbsp The child is spoiled herself and she spoils her servants. There is no managing any of them.

She goes out.