SCENE 11

London. A marketplace between The Tower and The Thames. The bustle of a noisy and colourful crowd. ADAM, as a man of mature years, stands with LUCIFER on one of the bastions of The Tower. Twilight.

CHOIR
mingling with the noise of the crowd, accompanied by soft music
Life’s an ocean, roaring, tidal,
Every breaker bears a world,
One flung upward, one dragged downward,
Who cares which way they are hurled? -
You fear now for the individual
Engulfed by masses, then you feel
For millions of vanquished subjects
Ground under the tyrant’s heel.
You fear for Poetry the one day,
The state of Science ruins the next,
Lock the waves up in your system,
Rind the breakers in a text.
Struggle as you will, grow weary,
Water’s all you stand to gain,
The roaring splendour of the ocean
Laughs and thunders in disdain.
Let it thunder, life will govern
All the strands of her domain.
Nothing’s lost, however many
Battles she may fight. The years
Pass and leave her ever youthful:
Her siren voice attends your ears.

ADAM
This is the world I always hungered for,
My path lay through a maze until this vision,
But now the way lies clear in front of me,
I hear the cheerful song of competition.

LUCIFER
Like hymns it sounds good from a certain height,
All croaks and sighs and moans are sweetly mingled
And sound delightful once they reach us here. -
God hears it this way too, and that is why
He thinks his world is such a great success.
Down there, however, it sounds rather different,
There you can hear the beating of its heart.

ADAM
You sceptical old mocker, isn’t this
A finer world than those you’ve dragged me through?
The overgrown retaining walls have crumbled,
The terrifying ghosts once showered with honours,
That they might torment the future, have all gone.
Free competition opens up the road,
No pyramids, nor slaves to bear the load.

LUCIFER
From such a height you’d not have heard the sound
Of slaves groaning in Egypt, come to that;
In other ways the work is quite sublime!
From such a height, do not the noble people
Of Athens appear to act most prudently
In sacrificing one great, kindly man
In order to forestall some likely danger;
And do we not, for similar reasons, shun
Effeminate tears and such prevarications?

ADAM
Now that’s enough, you obstinate old sophist!

LUCIFER
Assume you’re right - the groans have died away.
What we have now is a vast level plain. -
What peaks attract us? Or what depths? What fears?
Where is life’s variety and sweetness?
No shining floods, no tussling with the sea -
It’s all mud flats, a colony of toads.

ADAM
We have the common good for compensation.

LUCIFER
Look from this high perch we may pass judgment
On life as it crawls by beneath our feet
Just as the historical writers do.
They hear no groaning or cracked voices. All
They hear is the faint music of the past.

ADAM
I see that even Satan grows romantic
Or else doctrinaire. That’s quite a landmark.

LUCIFER pointing to The Tower
No wonder, since the very spot we stand on
In the modern world is haunted by the past.

ADAM
I’ve no use for this broken down old tower,
I’m happy to descend to the new world,
I do not doubt that I will rediscover
Ideals and poetry within its waves. -
It may well be that they no longer rend
The sky in open and titanic struggle,
But in their modest way they may create
A world that is more human, more attractive.

LUCIFER
It would indeed be pointless to doubt that.
As long as the material world exists
My power to negate its opposite
Remains. While men have hearts and minds that can
Conceive ideas, and while authority
Persists in circumscribing their desires,
Ideas and poetry, in their own way,
Their proper spheres, will go saying No. -
But what shape do you think we ought to take
Before we join that busy crowd below?
The way we’re dressed we cannot leave this mound,
Where images of ancient days swirl round.

ADAM
What shapes you like. Thank heaven, no man stands
Above his fellows now. And so to know
Their hearts let’s mingle with the throng below!
They both descend into The Tower, and emerge below, dressed as labourer: They mingle with the crowd. A PUPPETEER is standing by his booth, on which there squats a little scarlet coated monkey on a chain

PUPPETEER
This way, this way, my fine gentlemen,
The performance will begin in half a minute.
The piece is a delightful comedy
In which you’ll see the Serpent as he tempts
Our mother Eve, whose curiosity
Succeeds in bringing down her husband Adam.
And you will see this agile little monkey
Impersonate man with great dignity;
And after that a bear plays dancing master.
Step this way, my fine gentlemen, this way!
The crowd jostle around his booth

LUCIFER
Hear that, Adam? They’re talking about us.
It must be nice to have been given a part
That even after twice three thousand years
Still has the youngsters rolling in the aisles.

ADAM
A joke in poor taste. Come on, let’s be going.

LUCIFER
Poor taste? Just look how they’re enjoying it,
Those red-cheeked lads who half an hour ago
Were dozing at their desks with dull old Nepos.
And who is to say who’s right? The ones who stride
Through life, conscious of their waking power,
Or those with tired brains who stumble out? -
Do you derive more pleasure from your Shakespeare
Than they do from this monstrous taradiddle?

ADAM
The monstrosity of it is what disturbs me.

LUCIFER
The air of Greece still clings to you. Now listen,
I am the son - or father, if you will,
It makes no difference in the spirit world -
Of a new movement called Romanticism
And I take special joy in monstrous sights.
An apelike grin across the human face;
No purity - a mud pie in its place;
All feelings twisted, hair-shirts for remorse,
And pious hymns out of the mouths of whores;
The flattery of mean things, pettiness;
The burned-out rakehell cursing tenderness -
These help me to forget my lost domain:
I change my shape, and lo! I live again.

PUPPETEER tapping ADAM’s shoulder
How come you’re in the front row of the stalls,
Bird-brain? Only those who are tired of life
And ready to hang themselves, give shows for free.
ADAM and LUCIFER move off, A young FLOWER GIRL appears, selling violets

FLOWER GIRL
Sweet violets, the first blooms of the year,
The messengers of spring. Come buy from me!
This tender flower provides the orphan’s bread
And lends the poor a touch of finery. -

A MOTHER buying some violets
I’ll take a few to deck my poor dead child.

ANOTHER GIRL also buying
They’re sure to look nice with my long dark hair.

FLOWER GIRL
Sweet violets, come gentlemen, come buy!
She moves away

A JEWELLER in his booth
Those weeds are always our competitors
And we can never drive them out of fashion.
A lovely neck should only be adorned
With precious pearls - for after all, that’s why
The diver braves the perils of the deep,
Confronting all those monsters in the ocean.
Two middle-class GIRLS enter

FIRST GIRL
What lovely fabrics! And the jewellery!

SECOND GIRL
Some kind admirer might make us a gift.

FIRST GIRL
If they buy gifts today it’s sure to be
For dubious, disgusting motives. Ugh!

SECOND GIRL
Not even then, my dear. Their taste is poor.
They’re ruined by caviar and the common whore.

FIRST GIRL
That’s why they’re too arrogant to care
For girls like us.

SECOND GIRL
      Or much too shy to dare.
They go. Under the shadow of a tree drinks are being served to rowdy WORKMEN who are sitting round a table. Music and dancing in the background. Soldiers, bourgeois and other miscellaneous people are strolling about, enjoying themselves

INNKEEPER among his customers
Drink up, my lads, don’t mourn for yesterday,
Tomorrow is a shore man never reaches,
The Lord provides for all his little sparrows,
And all is vanity, the good book teaches.

LUCIFER
Now this philosophy appeals to me.
Let’s take a seat on this nice shady bench
And see how cheaply men amuse themselves
With sour wine and a bit of jangling music.

FIRST WORKMAN at the table
I tell you those machines are devil’s work,
They snatch the bread out of our very mouths.

SECOND WORKMAN
As long as there’s enough to drink, forget them.

FIRST WORKMAN
It’s those devils, the rich, who suck our blood.
If a rich man turned up now I’d give him hell.
We should take action, like we did before.

THIRD WORKMAN
What use is that? You’d hang before the day
Was out, and we’d go on the same old way.

SECOND WORKMAN
What idle talk, so let the rich man come -
I wouldn’t fight, I’d sit him down beside me -
We’d soon see who could drink the other under.

INNKEEPER to ADAM
What can I fetch you, sir?

ADAM
      Why, nothing, thank you.

INNKEEPER
Off with you then, you pair of good-for-nothings!
Or do you think I live on stolen earnings,
Or that my wife and kids should go out begging?

ADAM rising
How dare you, sir?

LUCIFER
      Ignore the guttersnipe!

ADAM
Let’s go - why should we waste our time observing
Mankind degenerating into brutes.

LUCIFER
But this is what I’ve looked for all these years,
A place where we could have a splendid time.
The din of merriment, abandoned laughter,
The kindling of the Bacchanalian fire
To bring a rosy glow to every cheek,
And lend a foolish mask to poverty.
Isn’t it splendid?

ADAM
      No, it makes me sick.
In the meantime they have reached a group of dancers. Two BEGGARS approach quarrelling

FIRST BEGGAR
It’s my pitch this, I’ve got a licence for it.

SECOND BEGGAR
Have pity on me or I die. It’s over
A fortnight since I lost my steady job.

FIRST BEGGAR
In that case you can’t be a genuine beggar.
Be off, you bungler, or I call the law.
The SECOND BEGGAR slinks away. The FIRST BEGGAR takes up his position
Alms for Christ’s sake and His sacred wounds,
Give alms, good masters, to the suffering! -
An APPRENTICE is dancing with a GIRL. A nearby SOLDIER pulls her away from him

SOLDIER
Be off, you peasant! Do you fancy yourself
As something special?

APPRENTICE
      You might be right, at that.
You might find out.

SECOND APPRENTICE
      Don’t touch him. Let him be.
He has the lot, the power and the glory.

FIRST APPRENTICE
But why drive home the point with such contempt?
Hasn’t the leech sucked too much blood already?

A WHORE singing
The golden apple had been won
From the dragon long ago,
On trees a thousand apples grow
But where have all the dragons gone?
You’re crazy if you stand and stare
Too scared to grab what’s hanging there.
She rubs herself against a young man

LUCIFER absorbed by the sight of the merriment
You see I like this piece of coquetry.
The rich man should display his store of riches.
A trunk of gold might just as well be sand
If a miser only sits on it all day.
How moving is this puppy’s jealousy!
And how he hangs on the girl’s every glance
He feels the glory of the passing minute,
Although he knows - but oh, why should he care -
That soon she’ll be in someone else’s arms.

ADAM to one of the MUSICIANS
Why do you waste your talent on this rubbish!
Tell me, do you like what you are playing?

MUSICIAN
Like it? Good Heavens, no! It’s endless torture
Grinding out this stuff from day to day,
To see men dance and hear them bawl for more.
This awful racket even haunts my dreams.
But what can I do? How else can I live?

LUCIFER still absorbed by the surrounding activity
Ah, who would have imagined giddy youth
Was capable of such philosophy? -
This girl here knows the present hour of pleasure
Is far from being the last one of her life,
While she embraces one man her eyes seek
Some new adventure - Ah, my precious children;
You’ve no idea how gratifying this is!
That you should labour for me with a smile!
I bless you all with sin and poverty.

SECOND APPRENTICE singing
A worker when his week is done
Will sing and dance both night and mom,
He’ll kiss the girls, go on the booze,
And laugh Old Nick himself to scorn.
We hear the closing bars of a hymn. EVE, a respectable middle-class girl, leaves the church with her MOTHER. She is holding a prayer-book and a bunch of flowers

FIRST SALESMAN
Just take a look at this, my dear young lady!
You won’t find better prices anywhere.

SECOND SALESMAN
Don’t you believe it, he will sell you short,
His goods are second rate. Step this way, lady!

ADAM
Ah Lucifer! Just look, while you insist
On wasting our time in this squalid place
The figure of Salvation passes by!

LUCIFER
It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened. -

ADAM
She has just come from the church, how sweet, how lovely!

LUCIFER
She went there to be seen, perhaps to see.

ADAM
Keep your icy cynical hands off her.
Beatitude still sits upon her lips.

LUCIFER
You’re a convert, I see - a real pietist.

ADAM
You miss the point, my own heart may be cold
But that’s my business: for her sake I would wish
Her maiden heart to overrun with faith,
With sacred verse, the music of the past
And all the immaculate virgin bloom of flowers.

LUCIFER
Which one is she, show me this piece of heaven -
Even the devil cannot be expected
To know your preferences all the time,
Enough that he allows you to possess them.

ADAM
Oh how could it be anyone but her?

LUCIFER
So speaks the woodpecker who finds a worm,
He looks about suspiciously, believing
That he has caught the tastiest of titbits
While all the time the dove looks on disgusted.
So each man finds his own peculiar
Salvation-often on the very spot
His friends played havoc with and left to rot.

ADAM
What dignity, what chastity, what virtue;
I hardly dare address myself to her.

LUCIFER
Come now, you’re no novice with the women,
If we Look carefully we’ll find her price.

ADAM
Be quiet!

LUCIFER
Though she might be too expensive.
A YOUTH shyly approaches EVE and offers her a piece of gingerbread

YOUTH
Young lady, be so kind as to accept
This sweetmeat from my hand: it bears my heart.

EVE
How kind, dear Arthur, to remember me.

MOTHER
How long since we last met; why don’t you visit?
They talk quietly. ADAM watches them excitedly, until the YOUTH leaves

ADAM
Can this mere youth accomplish that which I,
A full grown man, vainly desire to do? -
How intimate they are, and how she smiles -
And waves to him - what suffering, what torture!
I’ve got to speak to her.
He approaches EVE

MOTHER
      Well, Arthur’s parents
Are wealthy enough, it’s true, but I don’t know
How they regard his friendship with you, dear.
Take care not to discourage other suitors -
Like that boy who sent you flowers just this morning.

ADAM
Ladies, do allow me to escort you,
And shield you from the milling of the crowd.

EVE
Impertinence!

MOTHER
      Be off, importunate!
Or do you think my daughter is the sort
That men can proposition in broad daylight?

ADAM
How else to talk to her? I’ve often dreamed
Of this most perfect, loveliest of women.

MOTHER
Your dreams are your affair, dream what you like;
My daughter’s charms are not intended
For ragamuffins such as you, my man. -
ADAM stands confused while a GYPSY WOMAN approaches EVE

GYPSY WOMAN
Ah precious lady, world’s delight,
Show your tiny hand so white.
Your happy fate you may behold,
And gild your life a thousandfold.
Looking at her palms
I see a handsome husband - wealth,
A host of children, and sound health.
They give her money

LUCIFER pointing to ADAM
Cousin, do tell us something of my friend. -

GYPSY WOMAN
I can’t see clearly - hunger or the rope.

ADAM to EVE
I beg you, don’t dismiss me from your presence,
I feel your heart was made to join with mine.

EVE
Mother, you cannot permit this -

MOTHER
      Go away,
Or I’ll call the police.

EVE
      Don’t harm him - perhaps
He’ll come to his senses. He has committed no crime.
They hurry away

ADAM
O poetry, are you to disappear
Completely from this too prosaic world?

LUCIFER
By no means! Why, what is this gingerbread,
This bunch of flowers, this dancing and this garden
But poetry? Be less choosy: you’ll find
Dream-fodder enough to occupy your mind.

ADAM
What use is that when opportunism
And greed lurk in their midst, when selflessness
And nobility are nowhere to be found.

LUCIFER
They still exist at school, in the old classroom,
The life there is not all economy,
Not yet. And look, here come a few such lads.
A few SCHOLARS come strolling by

FIRST SCHOLAR
Cheer up lads, now for some fun.
No more chalk dust, school is done.

SECOND SCHOLAR
But not in town. I do hate all
Its rules and shops and tradesman’s stalls.

THIRD SCHOLAR
Let’s pick a fight with someone then.
It’s more exciting - live like men!

FIRST SCHOLAR
Let’s make off with the soldiers’ whores.
We’ll steal them from their very laps
And straightaway we’ll have a war.
Then cut across the fields. Perhaps
We’ll have enough for drinks and dances,
And for a while we’ll live like princes
Among flushed faces, with the memory
Of our battles and our victory.

FOURTH SCHOLAR
Brilliant, shock the philistines.

FIRST SCHOLAR
Like soldiers we’ll enforce our lines,
It’s right for us to have our fling,
Before, in due time, we take wing -
Our energies then, like as not,
Will turn us into patriots.
They hurry away

ADAM
There’s a fine sight in a world gone flat,
I feel it holds the germ of better times.

LUCIFER
You’ll soon see what becomes of that small germ
Once it has shaken off the classroom dust.
Two industrialists are approaching.
They were much the same as those lads in their youth.
Two INDUSTRIALISTS approach, conversing

FIRST INDUSTRIALIST
It’s quite impossible, I can’t compete,
Since everyone demands the cheapest goods,
I’ll have to drop the quality of my produce.

SECOND INDUSTRIALIST
We’ll have to lower the workers’ rates of pay.

FIRST INDUSTRIALIST
It can’t be done, they’re all still up in arms,
Saying they can’t afford to live, the dogs;
There may well be a spark of truth in that,
But after all, who told them to get married,
Who tells them to get half a dozen children?

SECOND INDUSTRIALIST
Then we must take a firmer grip on them
They should labour in the plant for half the night
And find the other half quite rest enough,
Since dreaming for their kind serves little purpose.
They go

ADAM
Away with them! - Why did you let me see them. -
And tell me where that girl has disappeared to? -
Show your power now, Lucifer, assist me
And make her listen to me.

LUCIFER
      Lucifer’s
Power is not to be wasted on such trifles.

ADAM
A trifle to you but the whole world to me.

LUCIFER
Then so be it, go win her, but control
Your feelings, don’t be afraid of lying, speak
As I prompt you and she’ll soon be in your arms.
Aloud, so that the GYPSY WOMAN listening behind them should hear
And so you see, my lord, how inadvisable
It is to go disguised among the people,
At every turn we meet with some new insult,
If only these men knew four of our ships
Have but today returned from India,
They’d treat you differently.

ADAM
      Yes, I suppose so.

GYPSY WOMAN aside
This nugget should be worth a pretty penny.
to ADAM
A word with you - you came disguised and so
I punished you with forecasts of ill fortune,
Since, as you know, you cannot keep a secret
From one who is an old chum of the devil.

LUCIFER aside
You’re all I need, you ancient harridan!

GYPSY WOMAN
Those ships of yours arrive this very day,
But what is cause for even greater pleasure,
A beautiful girl is pining for your love.

ADAM
And how should I win her?

GYPSY WOMAN
      Why, she’s yours already.

ADAM
She turned me away.

GYPSY WOMAN
      That’s just why she’ll be yours.
You’ll see, she’ll come back in a little while.
Remember then the fortune-teller’s words.
She leaves

ADAM
Lucifer, this old girl will outflank you,

LUCIFER
I’ll not dispute her shining attributes,
For now she can play devil’s substitute. -
A QUACK-DOCTOR arrives on a cart to the sound of a trumpet. He takes his place centre stage, surrounded by the crowds

QUACK-DOCTOR
Get out of my way - I demand respect,
This head of mine has grown grey in pursuit
Of knowledge, in the ceaseless quarrying
Of nature’s hidden secrets.

ADAM
      Who is this
Remarkable popinjay, Lucifer?

LUCIFER
Science, who has turned showman to survive,
The very science you studied in the past,
Now needs to make a rather louder noise.

ADAM
I never went to such extremes as this.
Shame on him!

LUCIFER
      It’s not the fellow’s fault,
He is afraid and would prefer to save
Himself that old inscription on one’s grave:
      Ex gratia speciali
      Mortuus in hospitali.
Since he has sacrificed both day and night
To others, he must have earned some small respite.

QUACK-DOCTOR
Labouring long for the benefit of mankind,
Behold, I bring you the fruits of my physic:
This little phial contains the true elixir
Which restores the youth of the aged and the sick.
The very drug the pharaohs used to swear by,
Tancred’s magic potion, Helen’s balm
That made her beautiful, and Kepler’s secret
Gleaned from the fateful stars and his own palm.

ADAM
Do you hear what he is selling? The light we sought
In years to come he seeks in days gone by.

LUCIFER
The present age never receives due honour:
As in his bedroom no man’s fame bears study,
It’s like the wife we wed ten years ago,
We’ve counted every blemish on her body.

QUACK-DOCTOR
Come buy, whoever buys, you won’t regret it,
If you don’t buy it now you might not get it.

A VOICE IN THE CROWD
Whatever it is, it will do quite nicely. -
What luck. I’ll buy it, even though it’s pricy.

LUCIFER
You see these people - sceptics to a man,
And yet they’ll grab what miracles they can.
EVE returns with her MOTHER, the GYPSY WOMAN follows them whispering

EVE
Your words are useless: we know what you are.

GYPSY WOMAN
So curse me heaven if I tell a lie.
This nobleman is so in love with you
He’d take you for his mistress straightaway.
You’d Live like a princess, with coach and four
To gallop you to dances or a play.

MOTHER
Just think of it, it’s certainly much better
Than mouldering away one’s married life
In some evil smelling, filthy, cobbler’s shop.

GYPSY WOMAN
And there he is - just look, he’s searching for you.

EVE
It’s annoying that he hasn’t noticed me. -
His hands are elegant, his posture noble. -

MOTHER
Even his friend looks quite acceptable,
His nose is hooked, his legs are bandy, true.
But so respectable, a man of mature years. -
I’ll go now, dear. You’ll get on so much better
If I leave you two alone a little while.

GYPSY WOMAN to ADAM
Here is the girl, see how she sighs for you. -

ADAM
I’ll fly to her - what pleasure, oh what pleasure!

GYPSY WOMAN
But sir, you’ll not forget your go-between.

LUCIFER paying her
The money is my friend’s, the handshake mine.

GYPSY WOMAN screaming out
Aah, what a grip you have!
She goes

LUCIFER
      How pleased you’d be
If you were what you claimed, you withered hag!

EVE to ADAM
You could buy me a little present if you liked,
That nice cosmetic lotion offered there. -

ADAM
Your face embodies all a woman’s charms,
And no cosmetic Lotion could match that.
The QUACK-DOCTOR departs as they talk

EVE
Ah, you are generous.

ADAM
      Don’t embarrass me:
I’ll drape your lovely neck with pearls and diamonds,
But not in order to embellish it;
They could not gleam in a more perfect setting. -

EVE
I saw a lot of jewellers down there,
But they are not for poor girls such as I.

ADAM
Well, let us see them.

LUCIFER
      There’s no need for that,
It so happens I have some fine gems with me.
He hands over some jewellery which EVE examines and tries out with great happiness

EVE
How kind, how lovely, my friends will be so jealous.

ADAM pointing to the heart-shaped biscuit given by the youth
But not this heart - let’s see no more of it.

EVE
I’ll throw the thing away if it offends you.
She throws the heart down

LUCIFER
Quite right, I’ll step on it.
He grinds it under heel

EVE
      What’s that:
I heard a scream, or did I fancy it?
As she speaks a condemned man is carried across the stage on a cart, the crowd jostling in its wake

VOICES FROM THE CROWD
Hurry up. - I told you he was windy. -
He’s still struggling. - Get up and follow him!

ADAM
What is all this crush and noise about?

EVE
A hanging. We are lucky to be here.
Let’s follow them, it’s such a thrilling sight,
It’ll give me a chance to show the pearls off too.

ADAM
What has the scoundrel done?

EVE
      I’ve no idea.

LUCIFER
It doesn’t really matter but I’ll tell you:
He worked for years in Lovel’s factory,
But lead is poison and he would inhale it
And while he spent some weeks in hospital,
His pretty little wife fell on hard times,
And Lovel’s son being young and generous,
They found each other and forgot their troubles. -

FIRST WORKMAN
Cheerly old mate! - You’ll die a martyr’s death,
And we will keep your reputation shining.

LUCIFER
The man recovered, couldn’t find his wife,
His post was filled, he couldn’t get another,
He grew hot tempered, dared to utter threats,
Then Lovel’s son slapped him across the face.
The poor wretch seized a knife that lay close by -
And there he goes - old Lovel lost his senses. -
And as he speaks, LOVEL appears, half crazed with grief

LOVEL
You lie, you lie, it’s not I who is mad,
Do I not hear my son’s wounds whispering?
Take it, take all of it, my endless wealth,
I’d rather not hear. I’d sooner lose my reason!

THIRD WORKMAN to the condemned man
Courage, the day of reckoning will come.

FIRST WORKMAN
Go with raised head, they are the guilty ones. -
The condemned man leaves with his retinue

ADAM
The sight freezes my marrow, why does it haunt me?
Who could tell here who is more to blame?
Perhaps the sin lies with society;
Once that begins to rot, vice spreads like fungus.

LOVEL
Society, that’s it! - Take all my money,
As long as I don’t have to hear those wounds. -
He goes

EVE
Come on, come on, or we won’t find a place.

ADAM
I thank my lucky stars that I’m no judge.
It’s easy to write laws in easy chairs -
It’s easy to pass judgment from on high,
But how much harder to explore the heart
Or fairly analyse its dark procedures.

LUCIFER
Such principles would make for endless trials.
No one does wrong simply because it’s wrong,
Even the devil has his alibi,
And each man thinks his own the most important.
A good solicitor can cut the knots
That do-gooders are incapable of slipping.
Meanwhile they have reached The Tower, in a recess of which is the image of a saint

EVE
May we pause here just a little while?
I’d like to place my flowers on this shrine.

LUCIFER in an undertone
Don’t, don’t let her, or we shall be lost.

ADAM
The harmless child - I won’t stand in her way. -

EVE
I used to pray here when I was a child,
Whenever I pass it I remember this
And say a prayer - it is a source of pleasure. -
I’ll only be a moment, and if we hurry
We’ll make up the lost time.
She pins the flowers beside the picture, but they suddenly wither and the jewels on her arm and neck turn to serpents, uncoil and fall to the ground
      My God, what’s this?

LUCIFER
I warned you but you didn’t listen.

EVE
      Help!

ADAM
Calm down, my dear, or everyone will notice -
Your neck will hang with jewels a thousandfold.

EVE
Away from me! O help, have mercy on me!
God help me, I’m an honest girl! That hag
And those two conjurors have brought me to this.
A crowd gathers around them, and the GYPSY WOMAN returns with some policemen

GYPSY WOMAN
They must be here, they paid me in false coin,
It started melting in my hand.

LUCIFER
      Perhaps
The fault lay in your palm, not in the coins. -
Let’s go Adam, it’s no fun being here.
They disappear into The Tower, and while the disturbance grows below they appear once more upon the battlements

ADAM
More disillusion, I thought it was enough
To topple the grim idols of the past
And give our energies a freer rein. -
I threw away the central mechanism
Which held the works together - reverence -
And neglected to replace it with one stronger.
What contest can it be when an armed man
Confronts opponents who are bare and forked?
What independence when a hundred starve
Unless they bear some individual’s yoke?
It’s worse than dogs fighting for a bone.
I’d have a society which protects
Not punishes, exhorts not terrifies,
Which gains its strength from common enterprise,
One conceived by science to please itself,
A system which the intellect has ordered. -
And this will come to be, I feel and know it,
O lead me, Lucifer, lead me to this world. -

LUCIFER
How vain you are. Because your feeble sight
Only allows you glimpses of confusion
You think there is no underlying order,
No system in the engine room of life?
Just look now through the eyes these spirits lend you
And see the work they’re bringing to completion
Not for themselves, poor fellows, but for us.
It grows dark. The whole market seems to form one group, digging a grave in the centre of the stage, dancing round it, and one after another leaping into some silently, others after delivering brief speeches

CHORUS
Dig on, the work must be complete
Before the rising sun,
Although a thousand years may pass
And leave the bulk undone.
The cradle and the grave are one
And end what they begin,
Hungry yet full, they raise today
Those yesterday thrown in!
The angelus rings out
The angelus resounds, pack up,
Go home and go to bed,
Those whom dawn awakes can face
The work that remains ahead

PUPPETEER
My japes are done, I’ve played my part,
Amused the world, left unamused my heart.

INNKEEPER
The ale is drunk and all are tight,
Goodnight, sweet customers, goodnight.

FLOWER GIRL
I’ve sold what violets I have,
But fresh ones blossom on my grave.

GYPSY WOMAN
Men long to see the future clear,
But now they close their eyes in fear.

LOVEL
My wealth brought only misery,
This new tranquility comes free.

WORKMAN
The week is done, it’s Saturday,
My daily pains are soothed away.

SCHOLAR
My dreams were sweet - my waking rough,
I’ll start again where they left off.

SOLDIER
I thought I was the plucky sort,
But this foul ditch has caught me short. -

WHORE
All passion spent, my skin stripped bare
I feel cold: what’s it like down there?

THE CONDEMNED MAN
The chains remain, my clay is poor,
New laws may lie beyond the door.

QUACK-DOCTOR
We each claimed wisdom as our own
But truth astounds all once it’s known.

EVE
Why stand there, pit, gaping at my feet!
O never think your night can frighten me:
My dust flies downward, clay returns to clay,
But I shall pass beyond you gloriously.
The soul of passion, poetry and youth
Shall lead me on to the eternal places;
All earth can know of joy is in my smile,
Whose beam of sunlight rests on chosen faces.
She casts her veil and cloak into the grave and rises transfigured

LUCIFER
You recognize her, Adam?

ADAM
      Eve! It’s Eve!


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