A room in Vasavadutta’s apartments.
I govern no longer what I speak and do.
Is this the fire my mother spoke of? Oh,
It is sweet, it is sweet. But I will not be mastered
By any equal creature. Let him serve
Obediently and I will load his lovely head
With costliest favours. He’s my own, my own,
My slave, my toy to play with as I choose,
And shall not dare to play with me. I think he dares;
I do not know, I think he would presume.
He’s gentle, brilliant, bold and beautiful.
I’ll chide him harshly; he must not presume.
O, I have forgotten almost my father’s will,
Yet it was mine. Before I lose it quite,
I will compel a promise from the boy.
Will it be hard when he is all my own?
Umba! Bring Vuthsa to me front his tower.
His music is a voice that cries to me,
His songs are chains he hangs around my heart,
I must Vasavadutta, that he is
My house’s foe, and only Vuthsa feel,
Think Vuthsa only, while my captive heart
Beats in world-Vuthsa and on Vuthsa throbs.
This must not be.
Umba brings in Vuthsa and retires.
Go, Umba. Vuthsa, stand
It is my sovereign’s voice that speaks.
Be silent! Lower thy eyes; they are too bold
To gaze on me, my slave.
Blame not my eyes,
They follow the dumb motion of a heart
Uplifted to adore thee.
VASAVADUTTA with a shaken voice
Dost thou really
Adore me, Vuthsa?
Earth’s one goddess, yes.
But, Vuthsa, men adore with humble eyes
Upon their deity’s feet
Oh, let me so
Adore thee then, thus humble at thy feet,
Their sleeping moonbeams in my eyes, and place
My hands in Paradise beneath these flowers
That bless too oft the chill unheeding earth.
Let this not be forbidden to thy slave.
So let me worship, and the carolling of thy speech
Vuthsa, thou must not presume.
O even then faint thy voice, thy every word
Reaches my soul.
Wilt thou not let me free?
Yes, if thou bid; but do not.
VASAVADUTTA bending down to caress his hair
And as my slave thou adorest, nothing more,
I will not bid.
What more, when this means all.
But if thou serve me, is not all thou hast
Mine, mine? Why dost thou, Vuthsa, keep from me
Take all; claim all.
VASAVADUTTA collecting herself
It shall be thine, a jewel for thy feet.
Thy kingdom, Vuthsa, for my will to rule.
It shall be thine, the garden of thy pomp.
Is it not far? We must go there, my queen,
Thou to receive and I to give.
To be there. But, that none else shall be
Cowsambie’s queen and thou my servant live
Vowed to obedience underneath my throne.
Thou only shalt be over my heart a queen,
Yes, if thou wilt, the despot of my thoughts,
My hopes, my aims, but I will not obey
If thou command disloyalty to thee,
My sweet, sole sovereign.
This reserve I yield.
But Vuthsa, if as subject of my sire,
High Chunda Mahasegn, I bid thee rule?
My queen, it will be void.
Void? And thy vow?
Would it not be disloyalty in me
To serve another sovereign?
VASAVADUTTA vexed, yet pleased
O, thou play’st with me.
No, queen. What’s wholly mine, that wholly take.
But his belongs to many other souls.
Their names are endless. Bharuth first
Who ruled the Aryan earth that bears his name,
And great Dushyanta and Pururavas’
Famed warlike son and all their peerless line,
Urjoona and Parikshit and his sons,
Whom God descended to enthrone, and all
Who shall come after me, and a great nation’s multitudes,
And the Kuru ancestors and long posterity
Who all must give consent.
Thy thoughts are high.
But if thy life must find a prison here?
My father is inflexible and stern.
Dost thou desire this really in thy heart?
Vuthsa diminished, art thou not diminished too?
My rule thou hast vowed?
To obey thee in all things
Throned in Cowsambie, not as here I must,
Thy father’s captive. There I shall be thine.
Leave, Vuthsa, leave. Take him, Umba, from me.
UMBA entering, in Vasavadutta’s ear
Who now is bribed? We are all traitors now.
She goes out with Vuthsa.
O joy, if he and all were only mine.
O greatness to be queen of him and earth.
I grow a rebel to my father’s house.