Scene III

SCENE III

Vasavadutta’s apartment.

Mahasegn, Ungarica, Umba bound, armed women.

MAHASEGN
She is not here. O treachery! If thou
Wert privy to this, thou shalt die impaled
Or cloven in many pieces.

UMBA
I am resigned.

UNGARICA
Thou’lt stain thy soul with a woman’s murder, King?

MAHASEGN
‘Tis truth; she is too slight a thing to crush.
Are not the gardens searched? Who are these slaves
Who dare to loiter? If he’s seized, he dies.

UNGARICA
Wilt thou make ill much worse, – if this be ill?

MAHASEGN
How say’st thou? ‘Tis not ill? My house is shamed,
My pride downtrodden; all the country laughs
Already at the baffled Mahasegn
Whose daughter was plucked out by one frail boy
From midst his golden city and his hosts
Unnumbered. Who shall honour me henceforth?
Who worship? Who obey? Who fear my sword?

UNGARICA
Cowsambie’s king has kept the Aryan law,
Nor is thy daughter shamed at all in this,
But taken with noblest honour.

MAHASEGN
‘Tis a law
I spurn. My will is trodden underfoot,
My pride which to preserve or to avenge
Is the warrior’s righteousness. Udayan dies.
Or if he reach his capital, my hosts
Shall thunder on and blot it into flame,
A pyre for his torn dishonoured
Corpse.

UNGARICA
Hast thou forgotten thy daughter’s heart? Her good,
Her happiness are nothing then to thee?

MAHASEGN
Is she my daughter? She’ll not wish to live
Her sire’s dishonour.

UNGARICA
Thinkest thou he seized her,
Her heart consenting not?

MAHASEGN
If it be so
And she thus rebel to my will and blood,
Let her eyes gaze upon their sensuous cause
Of treason mocked with many marring spears.

UNGARICA
Art thou an Aryan king and threatenest thus?
Thy daughter only for thyself was loved?

MAHASEGN
Silence, my queen! Chafe not the lion wroth.

UNGARICA
The tiger rather, if this mood thou nurse.

A Kiratha woman enters.

MAHASEGN
Thou com’st slow slave!

KIRATHIE
King, all the grounds are searched.
The guards lie gagged below the southern gate;
All’s empty.

MAHASEGN
Where’s Gopalaca? He too
Has leisures!

KIRATHIE
There’s a captain from the walls.

MAHASEGN
Ha! Bring him.

The Kirathie brings in the Avunthian captain.

Well!

CAPTAIN
Vuthsa has broken forth.
The wardens of the gate are maimed or dead;
Triumphant, bearing Vasavadutta, far
Exults his chariot o’er the moonlit plains.

MAHASEGN
O biter messenger! Pursue, pursue!

CAPTAIN
Rebha with his armed men and stern-lipped speed
Is hot behind.

MAHASEGN
Let all my force that keeps
Ujjayinie, be hurled after them, one speed.
Call, call Vicurna; let the boy bring back
First fame of arms to day in Vuthsa slain,
His sister’s ravisher.

CAPTAIN
Let not my words
Offend my king. ‘Twas Prince Vicurna’s car
Bore forth his sister and Vicurna’s self
Rode as her guard.

MAHASEGN after an astonished pause
Do all my house, my blood
Revolt against me?

CAPTAIN
The princess Bundhumathie,
Thy daughter’s serving maiden, at Vuthsa’s side
Controlled his coursers.

MAHASEGN
Her I do not blame,
Yet will most fiercely punish. Captain, go;
Gather my chariots; let them gallop fast
Crushing these fugitives’ new-made tracks.

As the captain departs, Gopalaca enters.

Gopalaca,
Head, son, my armies; bear thy sister back
Before irrevocable shame is done,
Nor with thy father’s greatness unavenged return.

GOPALACA
My father, hear me. though quite contrary
To all our planned design this thing has fallen,
Yet no dishonour tarnishes the deed,
But as a hero with a hero’s child
Has Vuthsa seized the girl. We planned a snare,
He by a noble violence answers us.
We sought to bribe him to a vassal’s state
Dangling the jewel of our house in front;
He keeps his freedom and enjoys the gem.
Then since we chose the throw of dice and lost,
Let us be noble gamblers, like a friend
Receive God’s hostile chance, nor house blind wounded thoughts
As common natures might. Sanction this rapt;
Let there be love ‘twixt Vuthsa’s house and us.

MAHASEGN
I see that in their hearts all have conspired
Against my greatness. Thou art Avunthie’s prince,
My second in my cares. Hear then! If ‘twixt
Ujjayinie and my frontiers they are seized,
My fiercer will shall strike; but if they reach
Free Vindhya, thou thyself shalt make the peace.
Take Vasavadutta’s household and this girl,
Take all her wealth and gauds; lead her thyself
Or follow to Cowsambie, but leave not
Till she is solemnised as Vuthsa’s queen.
Sole let her reign throned by Udayan’s side;
Then only shall peace live betwixt our realms.

GOPALACA
And I will fetch Vicurna back.

MAHASEGN
Son, never.
I exile the rebel to this name and house.
Let him with Vuthsa whom he chooses dwell,
My foeman’s servant.

He goes out, followed by the guards.

Gopalaca unbinds Umba.

UNGARICA
If we give his rage its hour,
‘Twill sink. His pride will call Vicurna back,
If not the father’s heart.

GOPALACA
Haste, gather quickly
Her wealth and household. I would make earliest speed,
Lest Vuthsa by ill hap be seized for ill.

UNGARICA
Fear not, my son. The hosts are not on earth
That shall prevail against these two in arms.