Yseult (Seven O’Clock)

yseult

VOICE 1: Seven o’clock in the evening. The sound of falling dust settles over distant lands. The snows of Damavand. Grey petals unfold bringing rain over our parched corpses. A child digs a hole in the sand wondering… “Who knows? We might even find answers if the right questions were asked…,” but there is no time—no time to wonder…

Attention! Here she comes!
Footman!

FOOTMAN: Blow your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
Bow to Princess Yseult of the Emerald Isle 1

Flourish

PIP: See! Here she comes. Quick! I told you she would be here.

CADDY: Yes! I see her…
Look at her! Shining like the morning star.

PIP: Here she comes wrapped in bespangling beauty
With her hair down
Maesta venit crine soluto 2

CADDY: Hovering over the waters…,
Dazzling radiant Isolde…

PIP: She shines like gold of Araby!
Armed in dazzling beauty

Terrible like an army…

CADDY: “Terrible like an army…”
Where do you get these things from?
Terrible like an army… What kind of praise is that?

PIP: Shush! You philistine woman!
Don’t interrupt me!… I can feel the Muses coming!

CADDY: … All right, then. Go on!

(Pip clears his throat)

PIP: Who can name her?

CADDY: Who can love her?

PIP: Who can resist the lure of her voice,
The sweetness of her smile?
Sweet sorceress…
Her lips.
Her…

CADDY: … Her vacant eyes!

(Pip is silent for a while, hesitating)

CADDY: Come on Mr. Muse!

PIP (resolutely): I will name her!

CADDY: No… You won’t. You don’t dare.

PIP: I bet I do!

CADDY: And I bet you don’t, you big-mouthed braggart.

PIP: You’ll see. I will name her! You stay right here and you’ll see. Just give me a chance, will ya? I’ll get close to her and when she looks at me I will fall on my knees, wrap my arms around her … and then, and then…

Then,
I will give her names only the waves know.
Secret names lying hidden for ages in the lairs of dawn…
Oh yes!
Sleeping names waiting for ages without recall
Awful, awe-full dawnnames.

(whispers) Isolde!

Tell me,
Will you come with me?
With your white skirts flickering on the wind.
Will you come with me then?
When time fades and anguish withers…
Follow me to the land of eternal silence!

There!
I will give you names,
One by one,
Sound by sound…
Infinite names I’ll whisper
Names that even the most distant stars would envy
If they could listen.
But no one will listen!

Yes!… Oh yes!

I will call you mother, heir, and sister
Astral dew
Chimera and desire…
Silver grail,
Rose between waves begotten.
Hidden gem.
Your presence penetrates all,
You, Spirit of the Forest,
You are the queen of every midnight tear,
Of every timid sorrow…
A myriad names I’ll give you…

Mother!

Isolde!

  1. Cfr. John Donne, Holy Sonnet n. 7:
    At the round earth’s imagined corners blow
    Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
    From death, you numberless infinities
    Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go ;
  2. Seneca. Hercules Furens, (202-204):
    Sed maesta venit crine soluto
    Megara parvum comitata gregem,
    tardusque senio graditur Alcidae parens.
    ↩︎

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