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In the name of time; online

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954-



UC-NRLF




IN THE
NAME OF TIME






ALL THINGS THE LONG AND COUNTLESS LAPSE OF TIME
BRINGS FORTII,DISPLAYS,THEN HIDESONCE MOREINGLOOM,
NOUGHT IS TOO STRANGE TO LOOK FOR ; BUT THE EVENT
MAY MOCK THE STERNEST OATH, THE FIRMEST WILL.



ALVMNVS BOOK FVND




r~



IN THE NAME OF TIME



OTHER WORKS BY MICHAEL
FIELD

CALLIRRHOE 1884

FAIR ROSAMUND 1884 & 1897

THE TRAGIC MARY 1890

UNDERNEATH THE BOUGH 1893

THE WORLD AT AUCTION 1898

THE RACE OF LEAVES 1901

JULIA DOMNA 1903

BORGIA 1905

WILD HONEY 1908

QUEEN MARIAMNE 1908

THE ACCUSER 1911

THE TRAGEDY OF PARDON 1911

POEMS OF ADORATION 1912

MYSTIC TREES 1913

DEDICATED 1914

DEIRDRE 1918






IN THE
NAME OF TIME

A
TRAGEDY



BY

MICHAEL
FIELD



THE POETRY BOOKSHOP

35 DEVONSHIRE ST. THEOBALDS RD.

LONDON W.C.

MCMXIX



N





IN THE NAME OF TIME

A TRAGEDY



" IN THE NAME OF TIME." The Winter's Tale, iv, i,
chorus.

niravtf o pctKpoc K&yapidfMfrof Xpd
<J)uei T'acrjXa KO.I tyavivra K

i/CfV, d\X' aXi



Sophocles Ajax 646.
Quoted from R. C. Trevelyan's Translation on the Cover.



PERSONS

CHILPERIC . . . King of the Franks.

CARLOMAISU . . . (Sons of Charles Martel,

PEPIN j . . . \Consuls and Mayors of the Palace.

MARCOMIR . . . A Prankish Count.

RACHIS . . . King of the Lombards.

ASTOLPH . . . His brother.

ZACHARIAS . . . The Pope.

D AMI AMI . . . An Italian Bishop.

BONIFACE . . . A Missionary Saint.

GENEVIVA . . . Wife to Carloman.

Cardinals, Nobles, Monks, Servants.



IN THE NAME OF TIME

A TRAGEDY

ACT I.

SCENE : Paris . A Hall in the Royal Palace.

CARLOMAN is pacing backward and forward : he pauses by
a crucifix set up at the further end of the hall.

CARLOMAN.

Thou sayest truly that I am a King

He said Who laid His life down on the Cross :

So will I be, a King. I will possess

The great reality. I war and govern,

I can strike hard as Charles the Hammerer ;

Men say I have my father's qualities,

And in the brief months of my sovereignty

The infidel has recognised my blood :

But this is nothing ! Phantom-Emperors

Have made the throne phantasmal. I have felt

In Zacharias, the great Pope, a force

That spreads like spring across the world. No more

Will I be petty marshal to a crew

That hack and murder, while the royal faces

Of wandering martyrs scintillate and thrill.

There is a glorious Betterness at work

Amid the highways and the solitudes ;

I would be with it in obscurity,

No matter ! with the river as it shapes

Its cisterns in the hills or where the wind

First draws its silver volumes to a voice :

Behind, at the beginning, from within :

A cry, a pang what shall respond to it,



y "- % IN THE NAME OF TIME

Who help me ? I have fiery thoughts of God,
I would attempt Him. In the wilderness
Maybe He will unbosom.

\ <
[Enter a SERVANT.]

SERVANT.

The Archbishop
Of Mentz would see you.

CARLOMAN.

Blessed Boniface !
He brings me my enfranchisement.

[As BONIFACE enters the SERVANT withdraws]

Great Angel,

My spirit leaps within me to be born,
Beholding you.

BONIFACE.

My son, the Holy Father
Receives you joyously.

CARLOMAN.

[kissing BONIFACE] To go to God

Living, unscathed, to give Him everything
One has, to pour one's soul into His lap,
To let Him play upon one as the wind,
To feel His alternations . . . !
|

BONIFACE.

Carloman,

Your childlike transport shall be surely blessed
Yet in the convent there are bitter hours
Of exile from God's presence, penances

CARLOMAN.

But will they choke my solitude with prayers ?

BONIFACE.

The holy brethren chant in unison



IN THE NAME OF TIME

For hours within the chapel ; there is buzz
About the cloister like a hive of bees.

CARLOMAN.

There have been hermits ! Might 1 live alone,

I could breathe unrepiningly the while

It pleased God to keep silence. I would tame

Some wistful, kingly beast to roam with me,

And we would wait His pleasure. Boniface,

Oh, tell me of His coming ! It is plain

He has been with you You became His friend ?

BONIFACE.
His servant rather.

CARLOMAN.

That I cannot be ;

I am a Knight free-born ; I come as those
Great nobles of the East, and all my service
Is adoration. You may have some converts,
Brute-tribes, who give allegiance to His name,
As those who do not speak the Emperor's tongue
May rank his subjects. I am not of these.

BONIFACE.

Thou speakest truth, my son ; there are some souls

Loved of the Lord as Paul in Araby

With whom one must not meddle. In good time

You will exalt the Church ; meanwhile your brother

Who has a tighter grip of circumstance

Than you

CARLOMAN.

He is short-sighted, politic,
External in his bent. I lead the charge
In battle, I foresee the combinations
Of foreign forces ; he is good at siege,
And all the hectoring process of delay.
He is not like my father. That great fight
At Tours ! I feel the onslaught in my blood ;
It never can run sluggish.



4 IN THE NAME OF TIME

BONIFACE.

Had you seen

King Chilperic's flower- wreathed waggon in the street !
You should have looked a last time on the world
Ere you renounced it.

CARLOMAN.

Scanned the heir of Clovis
Drawn like a senseless idol in his car !
You judge unworthily. God bade me come
Up higher to Him on a battlefield
Where I was victor. It was in the night
I moved about among my sleeping men,
I heard them shout for triumph in their dreams :
It was enough !

BONIFACE.

Yes, all is vanity ;
The pride of life, its splendour, vanitas !

CARLOMAN.

There is no vanity in life ; life utters

Unsparing truth to us, there is no line

Or record in our body of her printing

That stamps a falsehood. Do not so confound,

Father, life's transience and sincerity.

What makes the show out in the streets so vile

Is that it blazons forth the lie that youth,

Kingship and power are ineffectual.

A show of death where life should radiate

Is vanity. And if I now fling off

The honourable titles of my state,

Consul and Patriarch, it is not because

I have not nobly borne them ; by my sword

The Church has been defended, and the corn

That bows in shocks about your monasteries

Bows down above the battlefields I won.

You misconceive.

BONIFACE.

A sweep of piety
Beyond my censure ! [half -aside} Will he thrive at Rome ?



IN THE NAME OF TIME .

CARLOMAN.

Why should you look so fearful ? 1 have chosen
The path of life, choosing to be a monk,
And I have wisely chosen.

BONIFACE.

Ah, beloved !

CARLOMAN.

Now I must face my brother. Would he come
By chance ! I dare not crave a conference.
. I am arrested at the lips if ever
W T e speak of anything beyond affairs.
He will not understand at least to-day,
When fresh from the procession of that cursed
Do-nothing Chilperic.

BONIFACE.

Set your purpose forth
At once, and let him freely misconceive :
You must not cloud for that.

CARLOMAN.

These mighty thoughts,

Mingled with God, how put them to the shame
Of the world's censure ! What you call my soul
Flees as a shy girl that escapes pursuit.

BONIFACE.

Take your shame meekly. Do not let your eyes
Grow wild and hostile !

[BONIFACE, who has seen PEPIN approaching, withdraws
to the back of the hall, stands before the Crucifix in mute
prayer, and then passes out, looking back at the brothers.
PEPIN is a short, stout man, with florid complexion and
much vehemence of manner. He wipes the perspiration from
his face and addresses CARLOMAN without looking at him}



6 IN THE NAME OF TIME

PEPIN.

Woden, what a sight !
This Chilperic is an idol that the people
No longer worship as his car rolls on.
Contempt, indifference ! A few more months
Will rid us of the calf. We pull together
In right good part, fraternal, taking pride
Each in the other's excellence : ere long
The Pope will pour his oil upon our heads
To nourish our short curls.

CARLOMAN.

He has the power
Of making Kings ?

PEPIN.

Liutbrand the Lombard winced
Before him and resigned the Exarchite :
And he who can impoverish may endow.

CARLOMAN.

[with a sudden movement}

Pepin, we have not looked upon the face

Of Zacharias : I am bound for Rome.

PEPIN.

A pilgrimage ? Stay where you are ! Tut, tut !
Wait till he seek us. Frankland is his hope
Against the Lombard : when he seeks us then
We twain will offer him our dutiful,
Strong swords, and keep St. Peter's realm intact ;
While, in return, that gracious influence,
That something that we lack to give our strength
Supremacy, shall be poured down on us.

CARLOMAN.

Something we lack ! I dream of a possession
Pepin, the world if I became a monk
Would recognise that I lay down my rights,
None wrests them from me.



IN THK NAM I- OF TIM I.

PEP1N.

Are you clean gone mad !
Become a monk, you, Consul, Patriarch !
Our mother had been Christian scarce a year
Before your birth, and haply took the priest
Too much into her privacy. By Thor

CARLOMAN.

[taking him by the throat]

No, but by God Incarnate, you shall swear

You own me son of Christendom's great guard

Ere you again draw unimperilled breath !

I, Carloman, your elder, the first-born

Of Charles Martel, of my own choice renounce

My portion in his honours. Own my birthright !

PEPIN.
Plague take you !

CARLOMAN.

Own it !

PEPIN.

Give a fellow breath,
Don't . . .

You have your father's temper, that's the test !
I loved you as a boy and set my teeth
Against a rare, sweet craziness that takes you
In certain moods you need a keeper then :
You need one now. Hold fast your birthright, man ;
Don't trust me with temptation. Geneviva
Will relish this new folly less than I
Chuck her beneath the chin and threaten her
With your design ! She is too young a widow
For me to govern.

CARLOMAN.

[apart] Deaf down to the soul !






8 IN THE NAME OF TIME

PEPIN.

That flush across your forehead like a scar
At mention of your wife ! Her lovers ! Think
If you withdrew protection . . .

CARLOMAN.

Purity,

In woman the ideal and the dream,
Has its firm seat amid the altitudes
Of manhood's nature There alone are seats
Of holy contemplation, sexless thoughts,
Love that in God finds goal, a loneliness
That truth, not sympathy, can cure. 'Tis vain
The hope that woman, made to minister
To momentary passion, can provide
Solace and inspiration to her mate.
She breeds no hope ; she cannot offer us
A clime for our ideals and our dreams,
Or plant a footstep soft as memory's
Across futurity's unimpressed sands.

PEPIN.

You speak from fact, I own.

But Boniface,
What does he say ?

CARLOMAN.

He aids me.

PEPIN.

[slapping him on the shoulder] Carloman,
'Twould be cold work without you.

CARLOMAN.

But my son

PEPIN.

Nay, nay, no substitute ! You are my brother,
I know the secret how to humour you,
I weave your projects in our policy,



IN THE NAME OF TIME 9

And now and then you marshal us the way
Of an archangel . . . but no substitute !

CARLOMAN.

Yet love him for my sake ; give him free training
In war and letters.

PEPIN.

Fie, fie ! Geneviva

Will put you from this project. In the cloister
What would you see but men who dig and pray ?
No royal pageants.

[KiNG CHILPERIC is borne in a litter with great pomp. His
golden hair sweeps over the sides of the litter ; his face is
nerveless and exhausted]

CARLOMAN.

[with an ironic smile} Such as this. The King !
Tell him I have transferred the Mayoralty
To you, and do not taunt me any more.

PEPIN.

[to CHILPERIC]

Sire, you are weary, yet we crave the grace
Of a brief audience.

CHILPERIC.

Business ! I can brook

No more of these distractions. Your good brother
Relieves me of all business. I can hear
Scarcely the people's clamour when they shout,
And I am shy at facing them. To know
There is a god indifferent to its whims
Gives the world courage of its natural awe ;
So I expose these curls ; that duty done,
Leave me at ease, an idol in his niche.

PEPIN.

But, sire, my brother has persuaded me,



io IN THE NAME OF TIME

If you consent, to take on me his burthens,
His duties and his honours ; being summoned,
He holds, by God to a monastic life.

CHILPERIC.

[with passing animation]
This interests us. After so brief a term
Of dignity ! But I applaud his sense :
The convent is a place for peace of mind ;
One has no interruption, one may watch
The gold-fish in the fountain half a day,
If so one will ; and, though the prayers are long,
One grows accustomed to them as to meals
And looks for their recurrence.
[suspiciously] But, my Consul,

With you it cannot be the luxury
Of doing nothing that attracts. For us
It is the happy and predestined lot ;
But for an untamed youth whose pleasures still
Are running in the current of his blood,
Such choice is of ill-omen.

CARLOMAN.

Courage, sire,

Is constant industry for happiness.
When I become a monk

CHILPERIC.

Nay, no confession,
No putting reasons to your Overlord.
[to his nobles]

You need not shake your spears so stormily,
\Ve leave you a stout leader for your wars,
[to CARLOMAN] And you, your liberty. What use of it
You make is of no moment to the world,
And does not raise my curiosity,
Who for myself have found in meat and drink,
In sleep and long, long abstinence from care
The pleasure proper to me. Pepin, come !

[Exeunt CHILPERIC, PEPIN and the Prankish Nobles.}



IN Till: NAM I- OF TIM I- u

CARLOMAN.

He has no sight of God, is imbecile

And dropping into clay. I should not let

This show dishearten me ; *but I have suffered

A vulgar tongue to tell what from my lips

Alone is truth that as the hidden spring,

Restless at touch of the diviner's rod

Is dragged through to the surface by his spells,

I am discovered and borne upward, made

The answer to some perilous appeal :

And for my folly I must be dismissed

By a mere dotard with a passing sigh

Of envy, who forego the battlefield,

The Council-chamber, the sweet clang of arms

For just a pricking wonder at my heart,

A knowledge I would give to secrecy

Plunging it headlong in the ear of God.

Oh for the cloister ! I will make escape

At once, in silence, without taking leave :

My joy is in the consciousness that Time

Will never draw me back to any wish

To any fondness I am flinging off. . . .

[Enter GENEVIVA.]
My wife !

Is Geneviva come to me ?

GENEVIVA.

Now the dull monk has left you. Rouse your head !

I have been taking thought how best to trim

My beauty for you. Boniface was slow

In giving counsel ; slowly I took up,

Handled and dropt my jewels. Of a sudden,

When Pepin's voice was heard upon the stair,

I laid these blossoms in a ruddy knot

Thus hasty on my bosom. Come to me.

My lord, you owe me many hours of love,

So many hours I have been beautiful

In vain. You do not see me when I sing,

You miss the marks of music in my face,



12 IN THE NAME OF TIME

You do not love the hunt, and you have never
Ridden beside me in the morning light.
You see me but as now when I am vexed
And haughty for caresses.

CARLOMAN.

[after a pause] Geneviva,

You are a Christian ?



As if I were laid sick.



GENEVIVA.

Dear my lord, you speak

CARLOMAN.

You were baptised ?

GENEVIVA.

Assuredly, but the cold font has left
No chill upon my heart. Think not of that,
Think of our marriage-day. You leave me lonely
While Boniface enthralls you.

CARLOMAN.

[with hesitation] Women even

Have put aside their pomps and vanities . . .

GENEVIVA.

Oh, leave me, you are insupportable !
You bring me word of kingdoms and of monks,
And thoughts of things that have not come to pass,
Or should be quite forgotten. We could spend
So sweet a moment now, for you are loved,
My Carloman What need is there of talk
Concerning other matters? loved of me,
Dreamed of when I am dreaming, when I wake
Wept for, sighed after. I have never cared
To listen to the minstrels, for the praise



IN THK NAME OF TIME 13

My beauty covets most is in your eyes.
How wild they look and solemn !

[CARLOMAN folds her in his arms quietly. Then with great
effort bends over her and speaks]

CARLOMAN.

Marcomir

Is restless for a pilgrimage to Rome.
I think we shall be starting presently :
And afterward ... If I am long away . . .

GENEVIVA.

[breaking from him}

Oh, think a little ! Can you leave this hair

So crisp and burnished ? When the sun is bright

Across your shield, it has no livelier flash

Confess, it has not ? But you come to me

Stale, weary from your dreams and abstinence,

And tingle my suspicion.

CARLOMAN.

If these dreams

Were growing all the world to me ! You start,
You turn away, you will not understand.
The fear of hurting you has made me keep
So distant from you lately, and my eyes
You thought were worn with vigil and with books
Have burnt with tears at night for many a month
To think you have not known the tyrant-joy
That moves a soul to change and severance,
Except upon the day when for my sake
You parted from your home : but by the rapture
That made such tumult in the daughter's grief
When she became a bride, your husband now
Implores your comprehension.

All thou hast,

So the Church teaches, family and spouse,
The child thou hast begotten, thine own life
Thou must abhor, if thou would 'st have new days



14 IN THE NAME OF TIME

Of blessing on the Earth. I feel this law
Is written in my very heart of hearts,
There is such haunting freshness deep below
The sorrow of farewell.

GENEVIVA.

[defiantly] My God is Love

The God who made a bower in Paradise,
Who wedded Eve and Adam, who abode
In the sweet incense of His Church to bless
My marriage.

[CARLOMAN stretches out his hand to support her.]

Have no fear that I shall fall,
I cannot swoon while I remember it
How in the songful hush a restless hand
Grew tight about my ringers, and a vow
Thrilled all the girl in me to womanhood,
And stung the future lying at my heart
To joy and frankness. That was years ago . . .

[She breaks into a bitter laugh]
O Carloman, you know not what you do,
You know not what I am, nor what a blank
Of mercy there is in you !

CARLOMAN.

Were I dead,

You would not be so violent : in a trance
Of resignation you would think of me,
With tears, not gasping laughter.

GENEVIVA.

[pacing the room excitedly] Pilgrimage !

Did you say, pilgrimage ? To think of you
Growing each day more cramped about the mouth,
More full of resolution in the eyes.
What shall I do ? Pray for you but the dead,
You have just told me, should be left unmourned,
Forgotten as last summer's autumn-leaves.
[facing him coldly] My lord, I am no reliquary-urn ;
There is no widow in me.



IN THK N. \.MI-: OF TIME 15

[with still greater change of manner] If you leave
Your Kingdom, there are certain tilings to do
Before you start. There is that Gothic King,
The captive Hermann you must break his chains.

CARLOMAN.

Hermann is dead. Count Marcomir reports
Last night he found him lifeless.

GENEVIVA.

[gasping] Late last night ?

Marcomir ! Take your fingers from my sleeve ;
But summon Marcomir, and if again
There is intelligence to break to me
Likely to hurt, give him the charge of it.

CARLOMAN.

No, Geneviva. I have little speech ;

But when the secret crept into my soul

I loved you, it was not to Marcomir

I spoke : and if another secret now

Is breaking through my nature, do not think

That he will be the spokesman.

[noticing her agitation] Hermann died

I think by his own hand ; he courted death.

What can a man prize in captivity ?

[as GENEVIVA grows more agitated]

There ! I will speak no more of him. Your maids

[turning to summon her attendants}.

GENEVIVA.

Weave the great arras. They have no concern
With me, except in silence to array.
You thought I cared to gossip with my maids !
But summon Marcomir.

[She looks after CARLOMAN, who walks out, stroking his
chin] .

To think he dared
To lean above me with those burning eyes



16 IN THE NAME OF TIME

Unconscious what they glassed. I did not learn
From him the magic that was born in me,
I learnt it when great Hermann passed in chains,
And he is dead. I promised I would go
To-day and visit him. How could he die ?

[MARCOMIR enters.]
Why, you are deadly pale !

[She recoils, and says in a faint voice]

It is the hour
Fixed for our visit.

MARCOMIR.

But the man is dead.

GENEVIVA.

What does he look like now ? Is he so changed
I must not see him ?

MARCOMIR.

Death is not a fact

To touch with simile. What looks he like ?
All men in moonlight mind one of the moon,
All dead men look like death.



GENEVIVA.

He lies in chains ?
Are the brows restful ?

MARCOMIR.

Had you been a man

You would have asked me how he came to die,
No more !

GENEVIVA.

I had forgotten . . . then he perished
As Carloman reports ?
[MARCOMIR turns away] You cannot bear
That I should mourn him ?



IN THE NAM I- OF TIME 17

MARCOMIR.

[facing her again] Oh, a lifetime, if

It please you ! I am going to a place
Where love is held of little consequence.

GENEVIVA.

Then you are bound for hell.

MARCOMIR.

[between his teeth] But you are safe !

GENEVIVA.

Keep me recluse from love, as men from war,
You spoil my faculties. Where will you go ?

MARCOMIR.

To any coast you have not trod, wherever

The flowers are different from the flowers you wear,

To some Italian convent. Geneviva,

I am not framed to see you minister

To other men ; but when long years are passed,

It may be in a fresco, I shall find

Some figure of a lady breaking bread

To mendicants, and kneel and pray to her

That she may bless me also : but till then . . .

{covering his eyes]

O God, you shall not tempt me, though I feel

Just how your hair burns in a fiery wreath

Above your brow, and how your eyes are soft

With blue, and deeper blue, as through the hills

The valley stretches azure to the close.

You shall not tempt me, though I almost hear

Your bosom taking record of your breath,

And I could sit and watch that tide of life

Rising and falling through the lovely curves,

Till I was lost in ecstasy.

GENEVIVA.

Oh, hush !
But then you love me. It was in a fit . . . ?



1 8 IN THE NAME OF TIME

MARCOMIR.



Of devilish malice.



You shall remain.



GENEVIVA.

In a jealous fit ?



[She goes up to him : he takes her hands in his, kisses them
coldly, and puts them away.]



His face was drawn.



MARCOMIR.
I did not answer you



GENEVIVA.

And I had given you charge
Of the great restive soldier.

MARCOMIR.

True, I swerved ;

I have confessed my sin, and now must bear
The settling of my spirit on the Cross.

GENEVIVA.

So many favours !

MARCOMIR.

But you kissed his brows
What need was there of that ?

GENEVIVA.

You love me then,

You love me ! Would you murder him again
If I again should touch him with my breath ?

MARCOMIR.

Again, again.

GENEVIVA.

And Carloman complains
I am indifferent to him !



IN THE NAME OF TIME 19

MARCOMIR.

He forgets ;

But, Geneviva, if a thousand years
Broke over me, when Time had cleared his storms
I should look up and know your face by heart.



GENEVIVA.
Then stay, stay, stay with me !

Have you once thought

Through the long years how it will fare with me
Nothing to watch except the sullen waste
Of my own beauty ? Marcomir, I hold
It there be judgment it shall be required
Of women what delight their golden hair
Has yielded have they put its wealth to use,
Or suffered it to lie by unenjoyed ?
I rather would die spendthrift, nothing left
Of my rich heritage, save memory
Of the wild, passing pleasure it* conferred
Than keep it untransmuted. And you choose
To take from me the only eyes that care
To mirror mine ! I have so often thought
That some day I shall drown myself : the water
Reflects me with desire.



MARCOMIR.

[bitterly, as he turns away] A soul so wide

In innocence, so regal, on the day

He wedded, he appointed me your squire !



GENEVIVA.

[following him]

He keeps you with him, you can read his heart,

You know what way he travels, when his soul

Flies homeward. Tell me 'tis the only knowledge

I crave for in the world does Carloman

Still hold me in affection ? I beseech,

Tell me the truth. He loves you



20 IN THE NAME OF TIME

MARCOMIR.

Yes, he loves,

He does not use me for his purposes.
[perceiving PEPIN]

Not Carloman his brother on the stair
Laughs at your light behaviour. So you lose
One last poor opportunity.
[Re-enter PEPIN.]

PEPIN.

Good even.

Well, my fair sister, you have heard the news,
Wept [glancing at MARCOMIR]
and found consolation.

But to think
The son of Charles Martel should be a monk !

GENEVIVA.

A monk ! a pilgrim ?

PEPIN.


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