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IAN oiEao



CHASE^'AURIATco'

385 Wash'n St. Boston



THE WORKS OF ANATOLE FRANCE
IN AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
EDITED BY THE LATE FREDERIC
CHAPMAN AND BY J. LEWIS MAY

THE BRIDE OF CORINTH
AND OTHER POEMS & PLAYS




THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

AND OTHER POEMS &' PLAYS

BY ANATOLE FRANCE

A TRANSLATION BY
WILFRID JACKSON
& EMILIE JACKSON






LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD
NEW YORK : JOHN LANE COMPANY : MCMXX



THE COMPLETE PRESS WEST NORWOOD LONDON S.E.



CONTENTS



PAGE



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Part I i

Part II 21

Part HI

Note



57
79



VERSES

The Child Soul 89

Light go

The Dance of Death 93



CORRIGENDA

The lines printed on page 98, and wrongly placed in

Contents under " Thy deep profound ot soul," are the

continuation and close of poem entitled "Good-bye,"

and should follow on page 100.



LUMH WHAl MAY 227



THE COMPLETE PRESS WEST NORWOOD LONDON S.E.



CONTENTS



PAGE



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Part I j

Part II 21

Part III

Note



57
79



VERSES

The Child Soul 89

Light 90

The Dance of Death 93

" Thy deep profound of soul " 98

Good-bye 99

CRAINQUEBILLE

Act I 105

Act II 127

Act III 156

THE COMEDY OF A MAN WHO
MARRIED A DUMB WIFE

Act I 175

Act II 194

COME WHAT MAY 227



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH



TO

FREDERIC PLESSIS



d) TVfx^os CO vv^(f>f'iov.

Sophocles, Antigone




PREFACE

N this book I touch on high matters,
and dehcate to handle ; on rehgious
matters. I have dreamed again the
dream of the ages of faith ; I have
illuded myself with lively belief. To
have treated what is pious with im-
piety would have been to lack the sense of harmony.
I bring a sincere respect to bear on matters sacred.
I know that there is no certainty outside science.
But I know also that the worth of scientific truth
lies in the methods of its discovery, and that these
methods are not to be arrived at by the common
run of mankind. It is hardly scientific to hold
that science may one day replace religion. So long
as man sucks milk of woman, so long will he be
consecrated in the temple, and initiated in some
sort in divine mystery. He will dream. And what
matter if the dream be false, so it be beautiful ? Is
it not man's destiny to be steeped in perpetual
illusion ? Indeed, is not such illusion the very
condition of Life ?

A. F.



XI




MAIDEN HELLAS, young, with lyre

in hand,
Innocent child with kissed and hon-
eyed mouth,
Whose smile gave back the greeting
of thy land,
The sparkle of the sea and sky and south,



Thy days and hours sped by on even feet.
And when dark night had silvered all the ways.
Thou, well content, cicalas shrilling sweet,
Wouldst brood upon mankind its works and
days.



Child of the sea, on tawny beaches prone.
Thy breast voluptuous in beauty swelled.
What waves of harmony, of sacred tone,
Filled thee, and through thy song in fountain
welled !



I, child of Latin race, who found thee fair,
And fed mine eyes, to do thy beauty praise
And paint thy goddess shape with faithful care,
Have done what time shall but in part erase.

xiii



Others have hmned thee In thy tranquil morn
When, from the fountain whence thy gods would

start,
Thou earnest, bearing high the earthen urn.
Such peace may find no place in my sad heart.

Thy breast bear these pale violets for the dead.
I paint thee, Hellas, when a jealous god,
Tearing the sacred fillets from thine head.
Thee, in thy broken temple, bruised and trod.

Then the smile faded and the heavens frowned ;
And grace and beauty perished with thy fall ;
None raised thy lyre from off the stony ground,
And earth rolled on its course in gloom and thrall.

O daughter of the Graces, thee I sing !
Loved to the last, and fair all things above,
That they who read my verses' offering,
May hold life dearer and be kind to Love.



XiV



PERSONAGES

A Fisherman.

HiPPIAS.
DAPiiNE.

Kallista.
Phrygia, the slave.
Theognis.
Hermas.

Daphne's Nurse.
A Wise Woman.
Artemis.
Aphrodite.

Chorus of Youths.
Chorus of Vine-dressers.
Chorus of Christians.



XV



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH



PART I.

A road between Corinth and the sea. Looking
eastward and ringed with myrtles., a little temple,
bearing on its entablalure among fair mutilated shape
the monogram of Jesus, rough y cut. A fountain.
Beyond, on the hillside, the coloured wal s cf a house
and an orchard. Vines. The Acropolis of Corinth
show white on the horizon. It is evening : the sun is
low in a quiet sky. Olpis, he old fisherman, sets dozvn
his baskets, and seats himself on a mound.

Scene I.

Fisherman.
ROM town to sea the road is long to
tread,
Fatigue soon met. And bitter is

his bread
Whose want town-hucksters to
their greed subdue.
Fish in these days run smaller and are few.
No more they weight my basket and my net

I B



I



2 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Whence the sea-harvest, now but seldom met,
Poured in my favoured bark abundant spoil.
No more the gods assist a life of toil.
Behold, this very day, is all my catch
To wives of Corinth, and their cooks to match.
For thirteen wretched obols all transferred.
Grasping is woman, yet prodigal of word,
Bad are the times and men ; the gods retrace
Their steps from earth and an unworthy race.



Scene II.

The Fisherman, Hippias.

HiPPiAS (he wears the Thessalian head-dress ;
his grey tunic is girdled round his loins ; his high
sandals are knotted about the ankles with leathern
thongs. He has a white staff in his hand ; and
walks quickly).
Hail, House and Grove, and maid beside the hearth
Spinning, who draw'st for me a sainted breath !
Say, Fisher (for thy baskets show wet sheen
Of sea-spume on their reeds, and sea-weed green)
Sure thou dost know it — this was Hermas' door.
Old Hermas — Say

Fisherman.

He lives, my son, to store
In jars of ancient mould a this-year's wine —



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 3

HiPPIAS.

The gods shed peace upon his fruitful vine !
Hast seen his daughter, Daphne, in her ways ?
Is her Hfe sweet, and do her youthful days
Pass on light wing nor touch her candid brow ?

Fisherman.
The gods, who made her fair, love her, I trow.
She walks with modesty for crown and veil,
And she is happy —

HiPPIAS.

Friend, your news I hail.
Kallista then, to speak of her remains —

Fisherman.
She has stirred gods to wrath and now complains.
Unwise it were for one of lowly sort
To tell the curious news of grave import.
Certain it is, Apollo, as of old.
Against the wicked shoots his darts of gold.

[He departs.

HiPPIAS.

Yes, it is Daphne there, dazzling as snow,
Bending to gather herbs the path below !
Her neck, her bosom, more wonderful to sight
Than their importunate vision in the night.
I see her, long desired, and at her view
Falters my gaze with shock of something new.
The gods, who set her on my path to find,
Have touched her with a charm beyond our kind.



4 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Scene III.

HippiAS and Daphne.

Daphne {before the temple).
I gather dittany, of sovereign power,
And many a soothing herb in stalk and flower.
May I distil for her who gave me breath
A potent draught against the threatened death.
Christ, heavenly bearer of the healing word,
If other gods disperse when thou art heard,
And if Apollo man no longer hears,
Jesus, soft King, whose eyes are filled with tears,
God who hast suffered— surely Thy reign brings
Hope of a God to end our sufferings !

Master, save ! — My mother, too, is thine —
And bring to me the spouse they me assign.

HiPPIAS.

Daphne, dear wonder, all delight that is,
One is now come to fold thy life in his.
The promised spouse by custom of the race —
Behold, arise, and meet his wide embrace !

Daphne.
Yes, it is thou — no wraith that walks by day
To tell loved Hippias is cast away.

1 knew, O wandering keeper of my heart.



I



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 5

The days must end which kept us twain apart.
The hope was constant in my breast, nor fled.
Come, I will lead thee in where, with bowed head,
My mother weaves her wool : there, at her knees,
Recount, dear guest, the perils of the seas.
A sickness bows her, and consumes her veins.

HiPPIAS.

Our days are mixed of pleasures and of pains.

Thy griefs are mine. But spite thy welcome sweet

I may not cross the steps of thy retreat.

See, from my head-gear bound against the wind,

The belt that I about my tunic bind.

The sandals on my feet, my staff in hand,

A man in haste to leave the routes of land.

My ship, and I to do my sire's behest.

Leave port and seek the waters of the West.

Below, even now, she scents the harbour bars,

Her master runs sweet water in his jars.

I came. But I must go : our winged sail

Gains the high seas ere yet the stars prevail.

To Paestum, guided by their heavenly host.

We bear dark wines of Thera from this coast.

Daphne.
Leave me not yet ! So sweet the hour's mood !
Vast is the sea, cruel my solitude.

HiPPIAS.

Hopeful I took this path at evenfall



6 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

To see thy door, thy shadow on the wall.
Ere long, retracing this my prospered road,
Thy father I will seek in thine abode,
To win thee hence, flatter his smihng age,
Drink from his cup, and thus his word engage
To make thee mine, thee, crowned with myrtle, borne
Across the sea where smiles the bridal morn.
O wine, O song, O flowers ! Festal day !
Well do I see that Love will not have nay !
Through thee I know a maiden's hand is strong
To pierce man's heart — nor let it bleed for long.
Love is an ill, they say, but sweet to me
The love I bear, the pains I have of thee.
Woman thou art and bringest pain and weal,
Sweet as the rue, as powerful to heal.
For love is not for ay a troublous thing.
Under one roof our married joy shall bring
Peace and prosperity to the sacred hearth,
Children, and friends, and prudence against dearth.
There will we live like rooted trees and twin,
Kindly to all, and growing more than kin.
But at my father's word I go my ways ;
Honour thy parent and see length of days.
Call upon Hesperus my path to keep —

Daphne.
Jesus I pray, who walked upon the deep.

HiPPIAS.

Daphne, thy words are heedless and to blame,



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 7

Call not on any god of alien name.

That gods are here in field and wood and skies

The breath that stirs them plainly testifies.

The breeze of Heaven breathes their word and sign,

I may not else than serve their ancient line.

Men of old time whose worth was more than ours

Rendered the homage due their jealous powers.

Pious as they from them receive the torch,

And pray, as they, erect within the porch.

Daphne, our gods are kind, and smiling, mate

The blushing maiden with the man elate.

Daphne.
On that dear day my hand in thine was laid
Thy golden ring enslaved a Christian maid.
A priest, who chased the naiads from a spring.
By salt and water gave me christening.
His I became, and His myself I count,
Sister to Him who died upon the mount.

HiPPIAS.

What God may be, a man may not divine.
Let us abstain from slighting any sign.
For gods ambrosial-lipped we yet adore
Who came to us of old from Asian shore.
I, who am neither feather-brain nor clod,
Can well believe your Jesus may be god.
But since he died while yet the shadows kept,
Adonis he, whom Cytherea wept,
And Hermes he, because he showed a way



8 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Out from the fields of Night into the Day,
Love and rejoice, O cherished head and fair !
The anchor strains, the sail lifts to the air.
Let my lips, parting, brush one golden tress —

Daphne.
Another day, the kiss thou wouldst impress —

HiPPIAS.

The blossom offers —

Daphne.

Wait until it ope.

HiPPIAS.

Grant me remembrance.

Daphne.

Sweeter still is hope.

HiPPIAS.

Thine eyes, these myrtles, all, enchain my heart.

Daphne.
Go, fare thee well. Be sure the better part
Is ours.

HiPPIAS.

Alas, O maid ! a livid dread
Upon thy smiHng lips is to be read ;
That pale smile bodes a future unbenign.



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 9

Daphne.

The sea is in my thoughts, thy risk and mine,
The days of absence, the long nights, the dreams —
Thine image drifting, pale, in cold sea-streams.

HiPPIAS.

Thy tears have flowed, my hps have drunk thy tears.
Who fears the gods is freed from other fears.
Watch the four seasons bring their loss and gain,
Crowned with good fortune I will come again.

Daphne.
Friend, I will wait, and watch the changing year
As woman may, in her unchanging sphere.
I vow to thee that Death, and Death alone.
Shall, grudging, take what thou hast made thine
own.

HiPPIAS.

Farewell, O Daphne !

Daphne.

Hippias, part in peace !

\He goes,
Hippias . . . mine eyes are dark, the clouds

increase —
O misery ! O dread, unknown before !



lo THE BRIDE OF CORINTH



Scene IV.

Daphne, Kallista borne on a litter. Her
slave ^ Phrygia, accompanies her.

Kallista.
Phrygia, support me to the temple-door.
I sought thee, child. Oh, surely, God the guide
Who for His purpose biings thee to my side.

Daphne.
I gather herbs that may thy pains abate.

Kallista.
Child, to the heavenly mysteries dedicate,
Let be this vanity of earthly aid.
By other means my sickness must be stayed.
Hear me, my child. Thy mother, thou shouldst

know.
Hath not her hope in this the life below.
Her bosom yearns for joys of Paradise,
And Death would come to her in joyful guise.
Not yet, alas, the hour of her release !
For who should guard the home, when I should cease,
From heathen speech and from the Demon's snare ?
And who should, then, snatch him who is our care,
Thine aged sire, from out the yawning pit
His blindness opens 'neath his erring feet ?



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH ii

Thee, in the hour of thy soul's distress,
Weakened by milk of human tenderness.
What hand should pour thee spiritual mead ?
The many and submissive slaves I lead,
Lord, in Thy paths with sternness, then as now
Their feet must keep the furrow that I plough.
Whose voice, where gods of clay abound, O Lord,
Should keep Thy vineyards, spread Thy holy word ?
Who with just alms further Thy sacred cause
Among the pious poor who keep Thy laws ?
Thy will be done, O God, Thy will, not mine !
But ere Thou tak'st me hence, who am thy sign,
Forget not. Lord, these souls in grievous plight !
I am thy handmaid : grant me until night,
Mysterious Lord, to cultivate Thy vine,
That men may see the signal yield of wine.

Daphne.
Sweet mother, thou shalt live, and thy white hair
See length of days, and days secure from care.

Kallista.
I know thy love, my child ; the tender fear
That dares not hope and yet would keep me here.
God only can retard the hour for me,
Yet for my healing do I look to thee.
To keep me here some while if God consent,
I for His use must keep thee innocent.
Maiden, pure dove, lamb offered up to Heaven,
O chosen fruit, which God to me has given,



12 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Plant which hast sprung beneath a love austere,

Not with the hope to put forth blossom here,

But to diffuse above a scent to please

The virgin God a vestal may appease ;

Thy soul exalted by a boundless hope

No more may stoop within this narrow scope ;

Thy lips now fevered with immortal lust

Thirst for the springs which never run to dust.

Life but a sojourn under veil of night

Thou keepest vigil, with joined hands, till light.

Child, though some earthly longing scarce expressed

At times has stirred the peace of thy young breast,

Thou couldst not sink to make a husband's bliss.

Nor meet the dust and ashes of his kiss.

Thou canst not wish, with pain and troubled

breath,
To swell the harvest of man's sin and death.
Happy the widow, but happier the maid !
Happy is she who waited Him and prayed.
Turned with closed eyes from trust in carnal things.

Daphne.
To me a well-loved spouse my father brings.
Mother thou knowest he is dear to me,
Hippias of Thera, also loved of thee.
Wait a propitious day and better sped.
When thou art whole, to speak of him I wed.

Kallista.
My child, our earthly love is slight, and they



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 13

Who love are coupled but by bonds of clay.

Christ's virgin, in the shadow of His house,

Shall find in ecstasy Immortal Spouse.

She then. His chosen, robed in bridal white,

Her heart transpierced, her forehead clad in hght.

Hears to the harp and to the psaltery

The angels sing her bridal mystery.

Drains at the feast the chalice of God's grace

And, joyful, meets the ineffable embrace

That drowns her gaze, that, shining, waits the bride,

The Spouse whose bleeding Heart now opens wide.

Glory is hers if such a Master sue !

Hear what my soul is resolute to do.

The sacred portal's brazen folds afford

Me entrance ! I address my sovereign Lord !

[Sh^ kneels upon the temple threshold.

Here in Thy presence and Thy sanctuary

The just may seek the true electuary.

Under Thy porch and seven lamps of gold

Here on my knees I pray I may die old.

That I achieve my salutary task

In fast and exile here is all I ask.

Jephtha of old, if Thou didst hear his vow,

Mine Thy dear Son will surely hearken now !

I bring no blood-stained victim as the price.

Receive, O Christ, a heartfelt sacrifice !

I swear upon the word Thy Spirit sent,

I swear upon the fourfold Testament

Signed of the Angel, Eagle, Lion, Bull,

To offer in this bride exchange in full



14 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

For strength restored, health, and accepted vows —
Christ ! I provide a maiden of mine house !
Let me but Hve ! The child which blessed my bed,
Daphne, my daughter, to the altar led
That all may be accomplished as I swear,
Taking Thy ring and cutting her long hair.
Shall give herself to Thee, nor son of Eve
Sing epithalamy, nor she conceive.

Daphne.
Mother !

Kallista.
For she shall go, take Thee to spouse,
With girdle consecrate by jealous vows.

Daphne.

Mother !

Kallista.
And swear with faithful lips austere
No son of Adam ever shall draw near.

Daphne.
O Mother !

Kallista.
Yea, 'tis said, the oath shall stand !
King of the East, seated at God's right hand,
Christ ! Oh, refuse not what I make Thine own !
Place on her stainless brow the veil and crown
That I may leave this world with length of days
Full of good works, my footsteps in Thy ways.



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 15

And see before me in God's sight, His train
Of angels harvesting my golden grain.
Behold her, this mine offering, of my breast !
For Thee I bore her, soon by Thee possessed !
When four-score days are passed and I yet live.
Strong for such service as Thy slaves should give,
It shall be sign, O King, that meet is she,
This maiden suckled in the fear of Thee !
A twelvemonth hence, at harvest-time on earth.
And she shall come to make Thine angels mirth.
Thy promised, pledged with ring of purest gold.
Fair, with veiled brow, to spousal joys untold.

Daphne.
Nay, mother, break this sacrilegious oath !
Release thy child whose tears should make thee loath
To bind her thus for ay, who prays thee now
To loose the toils of this so barren vow.
Oh, quickly, break this vow lest ruin swift
O'ertake us both for this thine impious gift.
Mind thee, oh, mind thee, of our former oath,
My father's word, the man I gave my troth !
My tender life deliver from the wraith
Of dread remorse which waits on broken faith.
Mother, the ring upon my finger set
To man derived from Adam binds me yet
To Hippias I yield my maidenhood.

Kallista.
Man's claim is naught — render all things to God.



1 6 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Daphne.

Thy love —

Kallista.
In God I love thee.

Daphne.

Mother, hear !
Withdraw this network of remorse and fear
That I am taken in. Oh, set me free !
I ask for liberty to breathe, to be !
Listen ! I saw but now my promised love
And promised here, with this blue sky above,
To follow faithful to the bridal room
Or pass with Charon in the bark of doom.
Have pity on me, nor forget the hour
Thy virgin heart first knew love's perfumed flower.

Kallista.
No visions fond my memory enslave.
But Love divine comes like a splendid wave
Wherein the heart in bliss and ravishment
Is rolled for ay in infinite content.
Love's longings burn thee, thee his thongs control ;
Plunge in the flood of love thine ardent soul.
What I have done is done, nor lawfully
May any stand between my Christ and me.

Daphne.
It is accomplished. I am in thy snare.



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 17

Kallista.
Even so. And if an impious daughter dare
To violate the inviolable vow,
The debt I owe to God to disallow,
Spare, O great Judge, her consecrated head.
Visit on me Thy certain vengeance dread !
Unchain on me alone the shadowy fray
Of demons who unsleeping watch their prey.
May I lose grace nor at Thy table blest
Approach with cursed mouth the sacred feast.
An alien to Christian work and deed,
Numbered no more, O Jesus, of Thy creed.
Mine eyelids shall be parched, and black despair
Burn like a flame the lips that know not prayer.
When like a ghost I haunt in my black night
The martyrs' tombs who shudder at my sight.
May the dark Seraphim and the Powers profane
Launch, under shock of broad funereal vane.
The sulphurous imprecation of their breath.
Without the sacred unction be my death.
No cross to kiss, no expiation be.
But Hell to shut for all eternity
Black on me, body and soul, plunged sixty-fold
In burning flame, in pitch and sulphur rolled.
They come ! I see the angels of the abyss !
My sin to thee now meets its Nemesis !
Daughter ! I feel their hairy grasp and stark.
I die — my soul is damned — and all is dark.

[She falls senseless.



1 8 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Phrygia.
She is all cold and still and like the dead.
Wake thee, O mistress ! Women, raise her head !
Her litter bring ! Alas, how pale is she !
This wicked child has killed her, woe is me !

Daphne.
Enough ! Bring ye the ring, the veil, the crown !
O Jesus, jealous prince — take then Thine own !
Mother, have hope, thy life is not yet stilled.
Oh, comfort thee, thy vow shall be fulfilled.

[Female slaves carry Kallist a forth.



Scene V.

Daphne.
Dear Hippias, this vow thy clasp must sever,
Our union imperfect be for ever.
O thrice unfortunate, who found'st me fair,
Return no more, return but to despair.
Light not his way, O stars, to any port !
Breezes who swell his sails in gentle sport,
Night's mystic breath, if in you I may find
A soul and understanding dear and kind,
Visit his sacred bark who comes to claim
Me, who alas ! may no more speak his name.
An^ if he sleep and dream of love and me
Let him not wake to bitter memory,



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 19

But sigh away my image from his eyes.

Let him forget ! One day 'neath sunset skies

Some tranquil hearth may smile when he shall come,

Some maiden he shall find and lead her home.

Happier than I, if holding him less dear,

Ah, that 'twere possible. . . .

A distant chorus of youths, singing a bridal song.
Hymen, Hymen, fair and fleet,

Hesperus is high.
Come, the darkened hours fly,

Haste on shining feet.

Daphne.

. . . but I seem to hear
A choir invisible and far-off cries
Which hail a virgin to new-risen skies.

The chorus draws near.
Come, for night is short withal.

Fit for lovers' vows.
Hasten, bearing on thy brows

Thy green coronal.

Daphne.
With festal flowers, see, their locks are crowned,
For she has promised and is faithful found.

Chorus nearer.
Come, O ruler shod with gold,

Hymenaios hail !
See, the virgin yet is pale

At thy greeting bold.



20 THE BRIDE OF CORINTH

Daphne.
Friends come not near, oh, draw not nigh, dear

friends.
Yet unadorned, though one on me depends,
On my sad brow no sweet amaracus
Entwines its heavy blossoms odorous.

The chorus goes its way , and — more distant . . .
Beauty shines from out her form

Meet for thine intent ;
Hymen, ever draw content
From her bosom warm.

Daphne.

Where fades their song, where leads their festal

rout ?
My lover's friends will never seek me out !
Would I not, I, within the chamber brought,
Have spread a fragrance with ambrosia fraught ?
Thine alien bride, O Hippias, will she prove
Of heart more faithful, better worth thy love ?
O silent night, O lonely hour and cold !
On earth and on mankind I loose my hold.

\^She detaches her gold ring from her finger.
O fountain, where, men say, in days of yore
The nymphs knew depths of love beyond our lore,
O childhood's fount, O dear and sacred spring.
Receive a Christian maid's last offering.
O spring be faithful — in thy bosom cold
Hide for all time my loosened ring of gold.



THE BRIDE OF CORINTH 21

With other hopes did I receive this ring.

[She throws her ring into the fountain.


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