Scene IV
 

The scene slowly brightens with the misty flush of dawn. SEELCHEN stands on a green alp, with all around, nothing but blue sky. A slip of a crescent moon is lying on her back. On a low rock sits a brown faced GOATHERD blowing on a pipe, and the four Flower-children are dancing in their shifts of grey white. and blue, rose-pink, and burnt-gold. Their bells are ringing. as they pelt each other with flowers of their own colours; and each in turn, wheeling, flings one flower at SEELCHEN, who puts them to her lips and eyes.

SEELCHEN
The dew! [She moves towards the rock] Goatherd!

But THE FLOWERS encircle him; and when they wheel away he has vanished. She turns to THE FLOWERS, but they too vanish. The veils of mist are rising.

SEELCHEN
Gone! [She rubs her eyes; then turning once more to the rock, sees FELSMAN standing there, with his arms folded] Thou!

FELSMAN
So thou hast come--like a sick heifer to be healed. Was it good in the Town--that kept thee so long?

SEELCHEN
I do not regret.

FELSMAN
Why then return?

SEELCHEN
I was tired.

FELSMAN
Never again shalt thou go from me!

SEELCHEN
[Mocking] With what wilt thou keep me?

FELSMAN
[Grasping her] Thus.

SEELCHEN
I have known Change--I am no timid maid.

FELSMAN
[Moodily] Aye, thou art different. Thine eyes are hollow --thou art white-faced.

SEELCHEN
[Still mocking] Then what hast thou here that shall keep me?

FELSMAN
The sun.

SEELCHEN
To burn me.

FELSMAN
The air.

There is a faint wailing of wind.

SEELCHEN
To freeze me.

FELSMAN
The silence.

The noise of the wind dies away.

SEELCHEN
Yes, it is lonely.

FELSMAN
Wait! And the flowers shall dance to thee.

And to a ringing of their bells. THE FLOWERS come dancing; till, one by one, they cease, and sink down, nodding, falling asleep.

SEELCHEN
See! Even they grow sleepy here!

FELSMAN
I will call the goats to wake them.

THE GOATHERD is seen again sitting upright on his rock and piping. And there come four little brown, wild-eyed, naked Boys, with Goat's legs and feet, who dance gravely in and out of The Sleeping Flowers; and THE FLOWERS wake, spring up, and fly. Till each Goat, catching his flower has vanished, and THE GOATHERD has ceased to pipe, and lies motionless again on his rock.

FELSMAN
Love me!

SEELCHEN
Thou art rude!

FELSMAN
Love me!

SEELCHEN
Thou art grim!

FELSMAN
Aye. I have no silver tongue. Listen! This is my voice. [Sweeping his arm round all the still alp] It is quiet. From dawn to the first star all is fast. [Laying his hand on her heart] And the wings of the birds shall be still.

SEELCHEN
[Touching his eyes] Thine eyes are fierce. In them I see the wild beasts crouching. In them I see the distance. Are they always fierce?

FELSMAN
Never--to look on thee, my flower.

SEELCHEN
[Touching his hands] Thy hands are rough to pluck flowers. [She breaks away from him to the rock where THE GOATHERD is lying] See! Nothing moves! The very day stands still. Boy! [But THE GOATHERD neither stirs nor answers] He is lost in the blue. [Passionately] Boy! He will not answer me. No one will answer me here.

FELSMAN
[With fierce longing] Am I then no one?

SEELCHEN
Thou?

[The scene darkens with evening]

See! Sleep has stolen the day! It is night already.

There come the female shadow forms of SLEEP, in grey cobweb garments, waving their arms drowsily, wheeling round her.

SEELCHEN
Are you Sleep? Dear Sleep!

Smiling, she holds out her arms to FELSMAN. He takes her swaying form. They vanish, encircled by the forms of SLEEP. It is dark, save for the light of the thin horned moon suddenly grown bright. Then on his rock, to a faint gaping THE GOATHERD sings:

"My goat, my little speckled one.
My yellow-eyed, sweet-smelling.
Let moon and wind and golden sun
And stars beyond all telling
Make, every day, a sweeter grass.
And multiply thy leaping!
And may the mountain foxes pass
And never scent thee sleeping!
Oh! Let my pipe be clear and far.
And let me find sweet water!
No hawk nor udder-seeking jar
Come near thee, little daughter!
May fiery rocks defend, at noon,
Thy tender feet from slipping!
Oh! hear my prayer beneath the moon--
Great Master, Goat-God--skipping!"

There passes in the thin moonlight the Goat-Good Pan; and with a long wail of the pipe THE GOATHERD BOY is silent. Then the moon fades, and all is black; till, in the faint grisly light of the false dawn creeping up, SEELCHEN is seen rising from the side of the sleeping FELSMAN. THE GOATHERD BOY has gone; but by the rock stands the Shepherd of THE COW HORN in his dock.

SEELCHEN
Years, years I have slept. My spirit is hungry. [Then as she sees the Shepherd of THE COW HORN standing there] I know thee now--Life of the earth--the smell of thee, the sight of thee, the taste of thee, and all thy music. I have passed thee and gone by. [She moves away]

FELSMAN
[Waking] Where wouldst thou go?

SEELCHEN
To the edge of the world.

FELSMAN
[Rising and trying to stay her] Thou shalt not leave me!

[But against her smiling gesture he struggles as though against solidity]

SEELCHEN
Friend! The time is on me.

FELSMAN
Were my kisses, then, too rude? Was I too dull?

SEELCHEN
I do not regret.

The Youth of THE WINE HORN is seen suddenly standing opposite the motionless Shepherd of THE COW HORN; and his mandolin twangs out.

FELSMAN
The cursed music of the Town! Is it back to him thou wilt go? [Groping for sight of the hated figure] I cannot see.

SEELCHEN
Fear not! I go ever onward.

FELSMAN
Do not leave me to the wind in the rocks! Without thee love is dead, and I must die.

SEELCHEN
Poor heart! I am gone.

FELSMAN
[Crouching against the rock] It is cold.

At the blowing of the Shepherd's pipe, THE COW HORN stretches forth his hand to her. The mandolin twangs out, and THE WINE HORN holds out his hand. She stands unmoving.

SEELCHEN
Companions. I must go. In a moment it will be dawn.

In Silence THE COW HORN and THE WINE HORN, cover their faces. The false dawn dies. It falls quite dark.