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    Act III

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    Chapter 3
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    ACT III.

    Tent below Emain Macha.

    Tent below Emain, with shabby skins and
    benches. There is an opening at each side and
    at back, the latter closed. Old Woman comes
    in with food and fruits and arranges them on
    table. Conchubor comes in on right.

    CONCHUBOR -- sharply. -- Has no one
    come with news for me?

    OLD WOMAN. I've seen no one at all,

    CONCHUBOR -- watches her working
    for a moment, then makes sure opening at back
    is closed.
    -- Go up then to Emain, you're not wanting here. (A noise heard left.) Who is that?

    OLD WOMAN -- going left. -- It's Lavarcham coming again. She's a great wonder for jogging back and forward through the world,
    and I made certain she'd be off to meet them;
    but she's coming alone, Conchubor, my dear
    child Deirdre isn't with her at all.

    CONCHUBOR. Go up so and leave us.

    OLD WOMAN -- pleadingly. -- I'd be well pleased to set my eyes on Deirdre if she's
    coming this night, as we're told.

    CONCHUBOR -- impatiently. -- It's not
    long till you'll see her. But I've matters with Lavarcham, and let you go now, I'm saying.

    [He shows her out right, as Lavarcham comes in on the left.

    LAVARCHAM -- looking round her with
    -- This is a queer place to find you, and it's a queer place to be lodging Naisi and his brothers, and Deirdre with them, and the lot of us tired out with the long way we have been walking.

    CONCHUBOR. You've come along with them the whole journey?

    LAVARCHAM. I have, then, though
    I've no call now to be wandering that length
    to a wedding or a burial, or the two together.
    (She sits down wearily.) It's a poor thing the way me and you is getting old, Conchubor, and I'm thinking you yourself have no call to be loitering this place getting your death, maybe, in the cold of night.

    CONCHUBOR. I'm waiting only to know
    is Fergus stopped in the north.

    LAVARCHAM -- more sharply. -- He's
    stopped, surely, and that's a trick has me
    thinking you have it in mind to bring trouble
    this night on Emain and Ireland and the big
    world's east beyond them. (She goes to him.) And yet you'd do well to be going to your dun, and not putting shame on her meeting
    the High King, and she seamed and sweaty
    and in great disorder from the dust of many
    roads. (Laughing derisively.) Ah, Conchubor, my lad, beauty goes quickly in the woods, and you'd let a great gasp, I tell you, if you set your eyes this night on Deirdre.

    CONCHUBOR -- fiercely. -- It's little I care if she's white and worn, for it's I did rear her from a child. I should have a good right to meet and see her always.

    LAVARCHAM. A good right is it?
    Haven't the blind a good right to be seeing,
    and the lame to be dancing, and the dummies
    singing tunes? It's that right you have to be
    looking for gaiety on Deirdre's lips. (Coaxingly.) Come on to your dun, I'm saying, and leave her quiet for one night itself.

    CONCHUBOR -- with sudden anger. --
    I'll not go, when it's long enough I am above
    in my dun stretching east and west without a
    comrade, and I more needy, maybe, than the
    thieves of Meath. . . . You think I'm old
    and wise, but I tell you the wise know the old
    must die, and they'll leave no chance for a
    thing slipping from them they've set their
    blood to win.

    LAVARCHAM -- nodding her head. -- If
    you're old and wise, it's I'm the same, Conchu-
    bor, and I'm telling you you'll not have her
    though you're ready to destroy mankind and
    skin the gods to win her. There's things a
    king can't have, Conchubor, and if you go
    rampaging this night you'll be apt to win
    nothing but death for many, and a sloppy
    face of trouble on your own self before the
    day will come.

    CONCHUBOR. It's too much talk you
    have. (Goes right.) Where is Owen? Did you see him no place and you coming the road?

    LAVARCHAM. I seen him surely. He went spying on Naisi, and now the worms is spying on his own inside.

    CONCHUBOR -- exultingly. -- Naisi killed him?

    LAVARCHAM. He did not, then. It
    was Owen destroyed himself running mad be-
    cause of Deirdre. Fools and kings and
    scholars are all one in a story with her like,
    and Owen thought he'd be a great man, being
    the first corpse in the game you'll play this
    night in Emain.

    CONCHUBOR. It's yourself should be
    the first corpse, but my other messengers are
    coming, men from the clans that hated Usna.

    LAVARCHAM -- drawing back hopeless-
    -- Then the gods have pity on us all!

    [Men with weapons come in.

    CONCHUBOR -- to Soldiers. -- Are Ain-
    nle and Ardan separate from Naisi?

    MEN. They are, Conchubor. We've got
    them off, saying they were needed to make
    ready Deirdre's house.

    CONCHUBOR. And Naisi and Deirdre
    are coming?

    SOLDIER. Naisi's coming, surely, and a
    woman with him is putting out the glory of
    the moon is rising and the sun is going down.

    CONCHUBOR -- looking at Lavarcham.
    -- That's your story that she's seamed and

    SOLDIER. I have more news. (Point-
    ing to Lavarcham.
    ) When that woman heard
    you were bringing Naisi this place, she sent
    a horse-boy to call Fergus from the north.

    CONCHUBOR -- to Lavarcham. -- It's for that you've been playing your tricks, but what you've won is a nearer death for Naisi. (To Soldiers.) Go up and call my fighters, and take that woman up to Emain.

    LAVARCHAM. I'd liefer stay this place.
    I've done my best, but if a bad end is coming, surely it would be a good thing maybe I was
    here to tend her.

    CONCHUBOR -- fiercely. -- Take her to
    Emain; it's too many tricks she's tried this day already. (A Soldier goes to her.)

    LAVARCHAM. Don't touch me. (She
    puts her cloak round her and catches Con-
    chubor's arm.
    ) I thought to stay your hand
    with my stories till Fergus would come to be
    beside them, the way I'd save yourself, Con-
    chubor, and Naisi and Emain Macha; but I'll
    walk up now into your halls, and I'll say (with a gesture) it's here nettles will be growing, and beyond thistles and docks. I'll go into your high chambers, where you've been figuring yourself stretching out your neck for the kisses of a queen of women; and I'll say it's here there'll be deer stirring and goats scratching, and sheep waking and coughing when there is a great wind from the north. (Shaking herself loose. Conchubor makes a sign to Soldiers.) I'm going, surely. In a short space I'll be sitting up with many listening to the flames crackling, and the beams breaking, and I looking on the great blaze will be the end of Emain.

    [She goes out.

    CONCHUBOR -- looking out. -- I see two people in the trees; it should be Naisi and Deirdre. (To Soldier.) Let you tell them they'll lodge here tonight.

    [Conchubor goes out right. Naisi and Deirdre come in on left, very weary.

    NAISI -- to Soldiers. -- Is it this place he's made ready for myself and Deirdre?

    SOLDIER. The Red Branch House is
    being aired and swept and you'll be called there when a space is by; till then you'd find
    fruits and drink on this table, and so the gods
    be with you.

    [Goes out right.

    NAISI -- looking round. -- It's a strange place he's put us camping and we come back as his friends.

    DEIRDRE. He's likely making up a wel-
    come for us, having curtains shaken out and
    rich rooms put in order; and it's right he'd
    have great state to meet us, and you his sister's son.

    NAISI -- gloomily. -- It's little we want with state or rich rooms or curtains, when
    we're used to the ferns only and cold streams
    and they making a stir.

    DEIRDRE -- roaming round room. -- We
    want what is our right in Emain (looking at
    ), and though he's riches in store for us it's a shabby, ragged place he's put us waiting, with frayed rugs and skins are eaten by the moths.

    NAISI -- a little impatiently. -- There are few would worry over skins and moths on this first night that we've come back to Emain.

    DEIRDRE -- brightly. -- You should be
    well pleased it's for that I'd worry all times,
    when it's I have kept your tent these seven
    years as tidy as a bee-hive or a linnet's nest.
    If Conchubor'd a queen like me in Emain he'd
    not have stretched these rags to meet us. (She pulls hanging, and it opens.) There's new earth on the ground and a trench dug. . . . It's a grave, Naisi, that is wide and deep.

    NAISI -- goes over and pulls back curtain
    showing grave.
    -- And that'll be our home in Emain. . . . He's dug it wisely at the butt
    of a hill, with fallen trees to hide it. He'll
    want to have us killed and buried before Fergus comes.

    DEIRDRE. Take me away. . . . Take
    me to hide in the rocks, for the night is coming quickly.

    NAISI -- pulling himself together. -- I will not leave my brothers.

    DEIRDRE -- vehemently. -- It's of us two he's jealous. Come away to the places where we're used to have our company. . . . Wouldn't it be a good thing to lie hid in the
    high ferns together? (She pulls him left.) I hear strange words in the trees.

    NAISI. It should be the strange fighters
    of Conchubor. I saw them passing as we

    DEIRDRE -- pulling him towards the
    -- Come to this side. Listen, Naisi!

    NAISI. There are more of them. . . .
    We are shut in, and I have not Ainnle and
    Ardan to stand near me. Isn't it a hard thing
    that we three who have conquered many may
    not die together?

    DEIRDRE -- sinking down. -- And isn't
    it a hard thing that you and I are in this place by our opened grave; though none have lived had happiness like ours those days in Alban that went by so quick.

    NAISI. It's a hard thing, surely, we've
    lost those days for ever; and yet it's a good
    thing, maybe, that all goes quick, for when
    I'm in that grave it's soon a day'll come you'll be too wearied to be crying out, and that day'll bring you ease.

    DEIRDRE. I'll not be here to know if
    that is true.

    NAISI. It's our three selves he'll kill to-
    night, and then in two months or three you'll see him walking down for courtship with

    DEIRDRE. I'll not be here.

    NAISI -- hard. -- You'd best keep him off, maybe, and then, when the time comes, make
    your way to some place west in Donegal, and
    it's there you'll get used to stretching out
    lonesome at the fall of night, and waking lone-
    some for the day.

    DEIRDRE. Let you not be saying things
    are worse than death.

    NAISI -- a little recklessly. -- I've one word left. If a day comes in the west that the larks are cocking their crests on the edge of the clouds, and the cuckoos making a stir, and there's a man you'd fancy, let you not be
    thinking that day I'd be well pleased you'd go
    on keening always.

    DEIRDRE -- turning to look at him. --
    And if it was I that died, Naisi, would you
    take another woman to fill up my place?

    NAISI -- very mournfully. -- It's little I know, saving only that it's a hard and bitter thing leaving the earth, and a worse and
    harder thing leaving yourself alone and deso-
    late to be making lamentation on its face

    DEIRDRE. I'll die when you do, Naisi. I'd not have come here from Alban but I knew I'd be along with you in Emain, and you living or dead. . . . Yet this night it's strange and distant talk you're making only.

    NAISI. There's nothing, surely, the like
    of a new grave of open earth for putting a
    great space between two friends that love.

    DEIRDRE. If there isn't, it's that grave
    when it's closed will make us one for ever, and
    we two lovers have had great space without
    weariness or growing old or any sadness of
    the mind.

    CONCHUBOR -- coming in on right. --
    I'd bid you welcome, Naisi.

    NAISI -- standing up. -- You're welcome, Conchubor. I'm well pleased you've come.

    CONCHUBOR -- blandly. -- Let you not
    think bad of this place where I've put you till
    other rooms are readied.

    NAISI -- breaking out. -- We know the
    room you've readied. We know what stirred
    you to send your seals and Fergus into Alban
    and stop him in the north, (opening curtain
    and pointing to the grave
    ) and dig that grave before us. Now I ask what brought you here?

    CONCHUBOR. I've come to look on

    NAISI. Look on her. You're a knacky fancier, and it's well you chose the one you'd
    lure from Alban. Look on her, I tell you,
    and when you've looked I've got ten fingers
    will squeeze your mottled goose neck, though
    you're king itself.

    DEIRDRE -- coming between them. --
    Hush, Naisi! Maybe Conchubor'll make
    peace. . . . Do not mind him, Conchubor;
    he has cause to rage.

    CONCHUBOR. It's little I heed his rag-
    ing, when a call would bring my fighters from
    the trees. . . . But what do you say, Deirdre?

    DEIRDRE. I'll say so near that grave we
    seem three lonesome people, and by a new
    made grave there's no man will keep brooding
    on a woman's lips, or on the man he hates.
    It's not long till your own grave will be dug
    in Emain, and you'd go down to it more easy
    if you'd let call Ainnle and Ardan, the way
    we'd have a supper all together, and fill that
    grave, and you'll be well pleased from this out, having four new friends the like of us in

    CONCHUBOR -- looking at her for a
    -- That's the first friendly word I've heard you speaking, Deirdre. A game the like of yours should be the proper thing for softening the heart and putting sweetness in the tongue; and yet this night when I hear you
    I've small blame left for Naisi that he stole
    you off from Ulster.

    DEIRDRE -- to Naisi. -- Now, Naisi,
    answer gently, and we'll be friends to-night.

    NAISI -- doggedly. -- I have no call but to be friendly. I'll answer what you will.

    DEIRDRE -- taking Naisi's hand. -- Then you'll call Conchubor your friend and king, the man who reared me up upon Slieve Fuadh.

    [As Conchubor is going to clasp Naisi's hand cries are heard behind.

    CONCHUBOR. What noise is that?

    AINNLE -- behind. -- Naisi. . . . . Naisi. Come to us; we are betrayed and broken.

    NAISI. It's Ainnle crying out in a battle.

    CONCHUBOR. I was near won this
    night, but death's between us now.

    [He goes out.

    DEIRDRE -- clinging to Naisi. -- There is no battle. . . . Do not leave me, Naisi.

    NAISI. I must go to them.

    DEIRDRE -- beseechingly. -- Do not leave me, Naisi. Let us creep up in the darkness behind the grave. If there's a battle, maybe the strange fighters will be destroyed, when Ainnle and Ardan are against them.

    [Cries heard.

    NAISI -- wildly. -- I hear Ardan crying
    out. Do not hold me from my brothers.

    DEIRDRE. Do not leave me, Naisi. Do
    not leave me broken and alone.

    NAISI. I cannot leave my brothers when
    it is I who have defied the king.

    DEIRDRE. I will go with you.

    NAISI. You cannot come. Do not hold
    me from the fight.

    [He throws her aside almost roughly.

    DEIRDRE -- with restraint. -- Go to your brothers. For seven years you have been
    kindly, but the hardness of death has come
    between us.

    NAISI -- looking at her aghast. -- And you'll have me meet death with a hard word
    from your lips in my ear?

    DEIRDRE. We've had a dream, but this
    night has waked us surely. In a little while
    we've lived too long, Naisi, and isn't it a poor thing we should miss the safety of the grave, and we trampling its edge?

    AINNLE -- behind. -- Naisi, Naisi, we are attacked and ruined!

    DEIRDRE. Let you go where they are
    calling. (She looks at him for an instant
    ) Have you no shame loitering and talking, and a cruel death facing Ainnle and
    Ardan in the woods?

    NAISI -- frantic. -- They'll not get a death that's cruel, and they with men alone. It's women that have loved are cruel only; and if I went on living from this day I'd be putting a curse on the lot of them I'd meet walking in the east or west, putting a curse on the sun that gave them beauty, and on the madder and the stone-crop put red upon their cloaks.

    DEIRDRE -- bitterly. -- I'm well pleased there's no one in this place to make a story that Naisi was a laughing-stock the night he died.

    NAISI. There'd not be many'd make a
    story, for that mockery is in your eyes this
    night will spot the face of Emain with a
    plague of pitted graves.

    [He goes out.

    CONCHUBOR -- outside. -- That is Naisi. Strike him! (Tumult. Deirdre crouches down on Naisi's cloak. Conchubor comes in hurriedly.) They've met their death – the three that stole you, Deirdre, and from this out you'll be my queen in Emain.

    [A keen of men's voices is heard behind.

    DEIRDRE -- bewildered and terrified.--It is not I will be a queen.

    CONCHUBOR. Make your lamentation
    a short while if you will, but it isn't long till a day'll come when you begin pitying a man
    is old and desolate, and High King also. . . .
    Let you not fear me, for it's I'm well pleased
    you have a store of pity for the three that were your friends in Alban.

    DEIRDRE. I have pity, surely. . . . It's
    the way pity has me this night, when I think
    of Naisi, that I could set my teeth into the
    heart of a king.

    CONCHUBOR. I know well pity's cruel,
    when it was my pity for my own self destroyed

    DEIRDRE -- more wildly. -- It was my
    words without pity gave Naisi a death will
    have no match until the ends of life and time.
    (Breaking out into a keen.) But who'll pity Deirdre has lost the lips of Naisi from her neck and from her cheek for ever? Who'll
    pity Deirdre has lost the twilight in the woods
    with Naisi, when beech-trees were silver and
    copper, and ash-trees were fine gold?

    CONCHUBOR -- bewildered. -- It's I'll
    know the way to pity and care you, and I with
    a share of troubles has me thinking this night
    it would be a good bargain if it was I was in
    the grave, and Deirdre crying over me, and
    it was Naisi who was old and desolate.

    [Keen heard.

    DEIRDRE -- wild with sorrow. -- It is I
    who am desolate; I, Deirdre, that will not live
    till I am old.

    CONCHUBOR. It's not long you'll be
    desolate, and I seven years saying, "It's a
    bright day for Deirdre in the woods of
    Alban"; or saying again, "What way will
    Deirdre be sleeping this night, and wet leaves
    and branches driving from the north?" Let
    you not break the thing I've set my life on, and you giving yourself up to your sorrow when
    it's joy and sorrow do burn out like straw
    blazing in an east wind.

    DEIRDRE -- turning on him. -- Was it
    that way with your sorrow, when I and Naisi
    went northward from Slieve Fuadh and let
    raise our sails for Alban?

    CONCHUBOR. There's one sorrow has
    no end surely -- that's being old and lone-
    some. (With extraordinary pleading.) But you and I will have a little peace in Emain, with harps playing, and old men telling stories at the fall of night. I've let build rooms for our two selves, Deirdre, with red gold upon the walls and ceilings that are set with bronze. There was never a queen in the east had a house the like of your house, that's waiting for yourself in Emain.

    SOLDIER -- running in. -- Emain is in
    flames. Fergus has come back and is setting
    fire to the world. Come up, Conchubor, or
    your state will be destroyed!

    CONCHUBOR -- angry and regal again.Are the Sons of Usna buried?

    SOLDIER. They are in their grave, but
    no earth is thrown.

    CONCHUBOR. Let me see them. Open
    the tent! (Soldier opens back of tent and
    shows grave.
    ) Where are my fighters?

    SOLDIER. They are gone to Emain.

    CONCHUBOR -- to Deirdre. -- There are
    none to harm you. Stay here until I come

    [Goes out with Soldier. Deirdre looks
    round for a moment, then goes up slow-
    ly and looks into grave. She crouches
    down and begins swaying herself
    backwards and forwards, keening soft-
    ly. At first her words are not heard,
    then they become clear.

    DEIRDRE. It's you three will not see age
    or death coming -- you that were my com-
    pany when the fires on the hill-tops were put
    out and the stars were our friends only. I'll
    turn my thoughts back from this night, that's pitiful for want of pity, to the time it was
    your rods and cloaks made a little tent for me
    where there'd be a birch tree making shelter
    and a dry stone; though from this day my own
    fingers will be making a tent for me, spreading
    out my hairs and they knotted with the rain.

    [Lavarcham and Old Woman come in stealthily on right.

    DEIRDRE -- not seeing them. -- It is I, Deirdre, will be crouching in a dark place; I, Deirdre, that was young with Naisi, and
    brought sorrow to his grave in Emain.

    OLD WOMAN. Is that Deirdre broken
    down that was so light and airy?

    LAVARCHAM. It is, surely, crying out
    over their grave.

    [She goes to Deirdre.

    DEIRDRE. It will be my share from this
    out to be making lamentation on his stone
    always, and I crying for a love will be the like of a star shining on a little harbour by the sea.

    LAVARCHAM -- coming forward. -- Let
    you rise up, Deirdre, and come off while there
    are none to heed us, the way I'll find you
    shelter and some friend to guard you.

    DEIRDRE. To what place would I go
    away from Naisi? What are the woods with-
    out Naisi or the sea shore?

    LAVARCHAM -- very coaxingly. -- If it
    is that way you'd be, come till I find you a
    sunny place where you'll be a great wonder
    they'll call the queen of sorrows; and you'll
    begin taking a pride to be sitting up pausing
    and dreaming when the summer comes.

    DEIRDRE. It was the voice of Naisi that
    was strong in summer -- the voice of Naisi
    that was sweeter than pipes playing, but from
    this day will be dumb always.

    LAVARCHAM -- to Old Woman. -- She
    doesn't heed us at all. We'll be hard set to
    rouse her.

    OLD WOMAN. If we don't the High
    King will rouse her, coming down beside her
    with the rage of battle in his blood, for how
    could Fergus stand against him?

    LAVARCHAM -- touching Deirdre with
    her hand.
    -- There's a score of woman's years in store for you, and you'd best choose will you start living them beside the man you hate, or being your own mistress in the west or

    DEIRDRE. It is not I will go on living
    after Ainnle and after Ardan. After Naisi I
    will not have a lifetime in the world.

    OLD WOMAN -- with excitement. -- Look, Lavarcham! There's a light leaving the Red Branch. Conchubor and his lot will be com-
    ing quickly with a torch of bog-deal for her
    marriage, throwing a light on her three com-

    DEIRDRE -- startled. -- Let us throw down clay on my three comrades. Let us cover up Naisi along with Ainnle and Ardan, they that
    were the pride of Emain. (Throwing in
    ) There is Naisi was the best of three, the choicest of the choice of many. It was a clean death was your share, Naisi; and it is not I will quit your head, when it's many a
    dark night among the snipe and plover that
    you and I were whispering together. It is
    not I will quit your head, Naisi, when it's
    many a night we saw the stars among the clear
    trees of Glen da Ruadh, or the moon pausing
    to rest her on the edges of the hills.

    OLD WOMAN. Conchubor is coming,
    surely. I see the glare of flames throwing a
    light upon his cloak.

    LAVARCHAM -- eagerly. -- Rise up,
    Deirdre, and come to Fergus, or be the High
    King's slave for ever!

    DEIRDRE -- imperiously. -- I will not
    leave Naisi, who has left the whole world
    scorched and desolate. I will not go away
    when there is no light in the heavens, and no flower in the earth under them, but is saying
    to me that it is Naisi who is gone for ever.

    CONCHUBOR -- behind. -- She is here.
    Stay a little back. (Lavarcham and Old
    Woman go into the shadow on left as Con-
    chubor comes in. With excitement, to Deirdre.
    ) Come forward and leave Naisi the
    way I've left charred timber and a smell of
    burning in Emain Macha, and a heap of rub-
    bish in the storehouse of many crowns.

    DEIRDRE -- more awake to what is round
    -- What are crowns and Emain Macha,
    when the head that gave them glory is this
    place, Conchubor, and it stretched upon the
    gravel will be my bed to-night?

    CONCHUBOR. Make an end of talk of
    Naisi, for I've come to bring you to Dundeal-
    gan since Emain is destroyed.

    [Conchubor makes a movement towards her.

    DEIRDRE -- with a tone that stops him. --Draw a little back from Naisi, who is young for ever. Draw a little back from the white bodies I am putting under a mound of clay
    and grasses that are withered -- a mound will
    have a nook for my own self when the end is

    CONCHUBOR -- roughly. -- Let you rise up and come along with me in place of grow-
    ing crazy with your wailings here.

    DEIRDRE. It's yourself has made a crazy
    story, and let you go back to your arms, Con-
    chubor, and to councils where your name is
    great, for in this place you are an old man
    and a fool only.

    CONCHUBOR. If I've folly, I've sense
    left not to lose the thing I've bought with
    sorrow and the deaths of many.

    [He moves towards her.

    DEIRDRE. Do not raise a hand to touch

    CONCHUBOR. There are other hands to
    touch you. My fighters are set round in
    among the trees.

    DEIRDRE. Who'll fight the grave, Con-
    chubor, and it opened on a dark night?

    LAVARCHAM -- eagerly. -- There are
    steps in the wood. I hear the call of Fergus
    and his men.

    CONCHUBOR -- furiously. -- Fergus cannot stop me. I am more powerful than he is,
    though I am defeated and old.

    FERGUS -- comes in to Deirdre; a red
    glow is seen behind the grove.
    -- I have destroyed Emain, and now I'll guard you all times, Deirdre, though it was I, without
    knowledge, brought Naisi to his grave.

    CONCHUBOR. It's not you will guard
    her, for my whole armies are gathering. Rise
    up, Deirdre, for you are mine surely.

    FERGUS -- coming between them. -- I am come between you.

    CONCHUBOR -- wildly. -- When I've
    killed Naisi and his brothers, is there any man
    that I will spare? And is it you will stand
    against me, Fergus, when it's seven years
    you've seen me getting my death with rage
    in Emain?

    FERGUS. It's I, surely, will stand against
    a thief and a traitor.

    DEIRDRE -- stands up and sees the light
    from Emain.
    -- Draw a little back with the
    squabbling of fools when I am broken up
    with misery. (She turns round.) I see the flames of Emain starting upward in the dark
    night; and because of me there will be weasels
    and wild cats crying on a lonely wall where
    there were queens and armies and red gold,
    the way there will be a story told of a ruined
    city and a raving king and a woman will be
    young for ever. (She looks round.) I see the trees naked and bare, and the moon
    shining. Little moon, little moon of Alban, it's lonesome you'll be this night, and to-
    morrow night, and long nights after, and you
    pacing the woods beyond Glen Laoi, looking
    every place for Deirdre and Naisi, the two
    lovers who slept so sweetly with each other.

    FERGUS -- going to Conchubor's right
    and whispering.
    -- Keep back, or you will have the shame of pushing a bolt on a queen who is out of her wits.

    CONCHUBOR. It is I who am out of
    my wits, with Emain in flames, and Deirdre
    raving, and my own heart gone within me.
    DEIRDRE -- in a high and quiet tone. --I have put away sorrow like a shoe that is
    worn out and muddy, for it is I have had a life
    that will be envied by great companies. It
    was not by a low birth I made kings uneasy,
    and they sitting in the halls of Emain. It
    was not a low thing to be chosen by Conchubor,
    who was wise, and Naisi had no match for
    bravery. It is not a small thing to be rid of
    grey hairs, and the loosening of the teeth.
    (With a sort of triumph.) It was the choice of lives we had in the clear woods, and in the grave, we're safe, surely. . . .

    CONCHUBOR. She will do herself harm.

    DEIRDRE -- showing Naisi's knife. -- I have a little key to unlock the prison of Naisi you'd shut upon his youth for ever. Keep
    back, Conchubor; for the High King who is
    your master has put his hands between us.
    (She half turns to the grave.) It was sorrows were foretold, but great joys were my share always; yet it is a cold place I must go to be with you, Naisi; and it's cold your arms will be this night that were warm about my neck
    so often. . . . It's a pitiful thing to be talking out when your ears are shut to me. It's a pitiful thing, Conchubor, you have done this night in Emain; yet a thing will be a joy and triumph to the ends of life and time.

    [She presses knife into her heart and sinks into the grave. Conchubor and Fergus go forward. The red glow fades, leaving stage very dark.

    FERGUS. Four white bodies are laid
    down together; four clear lights are quenched
    in Ireland. (He throws his sword into the
    ) There is my sword that could not
    shield you -- my four friends that were the
    dearest always. The flames of Emain have
    gone out: Deirdre is dead and there is none to
    keen her. That is the fate of Deirdre and
    the children of Usna, and for this night, Con-
    chubor, our war is ended.

    [He goes out.

    LAVARCHAM. I have a little hut where
    you can rest, Conchubor; there is a great dew

    CONCHUBOR -- with the voice of an old
    -- Take me with you. I'm hard set to
    see the way before me.

    OLD WOMAN. This way, Conchubor.

    [They go out.

    LAVARCHAM -- beside the grave. --
    Deirdre is dead, and Naisi is dead; and if the
    oaks and stars could die for sorrow, it's a dark sky and a hard and naked earth we'd have
    this night in Emain.



    DEIRDRE OF THE SORROWS was first pro-
    duced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on
    Thursday, January 13th, 1910, with the fol-
    lowing cast:

    Lavarcham SARA ALLGOOD


    Owen J. A. O'ROURKE



    Deirdre MAIRE O'NEILL


    Ainnle J. M. KERRIGAN


    Two Soldiers {
    Chapter 3
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