A room in the royal apartments.
Thou singest well; a cry of Vuthsa’s art
Has stolen into thy song.
She takes Vasavadutta on her lap.
Look up at me,
My daughter, let me gaze into thy eyes
And from their silence learn thy treasured thoughts.
Thou knowest I can read ‘twixt human lids
The secrets of the throbbing heart? I search
In Vasavadutta’s eyes by what strange skill
Vuthsa has crept into my daughter’s voice.
Thou keepst thy lashes lowered? Thou wilt not let me look?
But that too I can read.
O mother, mother mine,
Plague, me not; thou know’st all things; comfort me.
Thou needest comfort?
Yes, against myself
Who trouble my own heart.
Why? though I know.
Thou will not speak? I’ll speak then for thee.
Vasavadutta alarmed puts her hand
Over Ungarica’s mouth.
It is because thou canst no here control
What thy immortal part with rapture wills
And the mortal longingly desires; for yet
Thy proud heart cannot find the way to yield.
If thou knew’st, mother.
No, thou hast the will
But not the art, Love’s learner. O my proud
Sweet ignorance, ’tis he shall find the way
And thou shalt know the joy of being forced
To what thy heart desires. Is it enough?
She hides her face in Ungarica’s bosom.
Thou hast done thy father’s will?
Thy husband shall be vassal to thy sire?
Have I a father or a house? O none,
O none, O none exists but only he.
Let none exist for thee but the dear all thou lov’st.
I charge thee, Vasavadutta, when thou rul’st
In far Cowsambie, let this be thy reign
To heap on him delight and seek his good.
Raise his high fortunes, shelter from grief his heart,
Even with thy own tears buy his joy and peace,
Nor let one clamorous thought of self revolt
Mother, thou canst see my heart;
Is this not there? Can it do otherwise,
Being thus conquered, even if it willed?
Child ’tis my care to give thy heart a voice
And bind it to its nobler loving self.
Let this be now thy pride.
It is, it is.
But, mother, it is very sweet to rule,
And if I rule him for his good, not mine?
Thou canst not be corrected! Queenling, rule.
Go now; thy brother comes.
Vasavadutta escapes towards her own apartments;
Vicurna enters from the outer door.
Why is thy brow
Wherefore was King Vuthsa brought
Into Ujjayinie? Why is captive kept?
Thy father’s will, who knows?
But I would know.
VICURNA taking her face between his hands
I ask thee; thou must answer.
To wed thy sister.
Let him wed and be released.
Our fame is smirched; the city murmurs. War
Threatens from Vuthsa’s nation and our cause
Wedding her he must consent
To be our vassal.
Thus are vassals made?
Thus empires built? This is a shameful thing.
Release him first, then with proud war subdue.
Thou knowest thy father’s stern, unbending will
Whom we must all obey.
Not I, or not
In evil things.
Respect thy father! He
Will not, unsatisfied, release his foe.
Demand not this.
I will release him then.
Him by what right who is thy house’s peril?
He is a hero and he is my friend.
Didst thou not help to bring captive here?
For Vasavadutta. It will bear them both
Out from the city in my chariot far
Into the freedom of the hills. I will hew down
All who oppose me.
Rash and violent boy,
So wilt thou make bad worse. Await the hour
When Vuthsa shall himself demand thy aid.
The hour will come?
He will be free.
Or I myself will act.
He goes out.
This too is well
And most that the proud chivalries of old
Are not yet dead in all men’s hearts. O God
Shiva, thou mak’st me fortunate in my sons.