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Full text of "Persephone : a play for schools"

A Pl&Y FOR SCHOOLS 





1917 





Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

h 

Mr. Edgar Stone 



PERSEPHONE 




9Or 

I F 



Fr. 



PERSEPHONE 



PERSEPHONE 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 



BY 

KATHERINE MERRYMAN 



LONDON 

GEORGE G. HARRAP 6- COMPANY 

2 & 3 PORTSMOUTH STREET KINGSWAY W.C. 





Printed in Great Britain 
by Turnbull & Shears, Edinburgh 



PREFATORY NOTE 

PERSEPHONE was written for the pupils of the Rams- 
gate County School for Girls and was not intended 
for publication ; but, owing to the success of the 
performance and the many demands for copies, it 
was decided to print it. 

The play gives for the use of schools an easily 
staged representation of one of the most beautiful 
of the mythological stories of ancient Greece, in 
the simplest of poetic language. That version of 
the story has been taken which is best within the 
comprehension of children of school age, and which 
would consequently appeal to them the most. The 
dances introduced afford an opportunity for the 
study of Greek poses as represented on the old 
vases to be found in most museums, and, combined 
with the correct representation, as far as possible, 
of the dresses of the ancient Greeks, it is hoped that 
the play will prove to be of some educational value 
as well as a means of entertainment. 

The rights of acting this play, except in schools 
or at school entertainments, are reserved by the 
author. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

SUGGESTIONS FOR SCENERY AND 

DRESSES 9 

DRAMATIS PERSONvE 14 

SCENE I 15 

SCENE II 21 

SCENE III 29 

SCENE IV 35 

SONGS 

1. SONG OF THE SEA-NYMPHS 42 

2. SONG OF PHCEBUS 45 



SUGGESTIONS FOR SCENERY 
AND DRESSES 

THE play takes one hour to perform, but the time 
may be shortened or lengthened by cutting out or 
adding to the dances. 

SCENERY 

The play is suitable for acting either indoors 
or outdoors, as only quite simple scenery is needed. 
The Vale of Enna can be easily represented out of 
doors, screens covered with green material and 
natural foliage forming the wings and background, 
with the addition, if necessary, of tall palms and 
plants hired from any nurseryman. For the scene 
in Pluto's palace the green coverings can be removed 
bodily, leaving the screens covered with dark paper. 

For performing indoors the screens and plants 
can be used for the wings and a dark green curtain 
for the background. 

If more elaborate scenery is desired and space and 
labour are available, a seascape background greatly 
adds to the general effect. This should be painted 
on canvas or unbleached calico. The canvas can 
be obtained ready for use, but if calico is used it 
must be stretched, not too tightly, on a frame, and 



io PERSEPHONE 

covered with a mixture of whiting and size. When 
the calico is dry outline the scene with charcoal 
and paint in with distemper. If required to roll 
up, any joins in the calico should run from right 
to left. For Scene III a dark curtain can be drawn 
across the scenery. 

The cavern may present a slight difficulty, but 
with a little ingenuity it can be made from two 
screens, or it may be dispensed with altogether, 
Pluto making a sudden entrance from the wings. 
The rocks can be made from cardboard, painted and 
supported at the back. A log is required on the 
right of the stage in Scene I, and a table with silver 
dishes and goblets in Scene III. 

Flash paper for lightning can be bought for six- 
pence a sheet. Thunder is generally made by 
rolling sheet iron on the floor, but this needs con- 
siderable space behind the scenes. With a little 
practice, very effective thunder can be made with 
an old tea-tray and a padded gong-stick. The 
sound of hoofs can be made by cutting in half two 
cocoanuts and beating the half shells on a slab of 
stone or a wooden table. 

In Scene III the light on the stage must be very 
dim ; all head-lights must be turned out, and the 
footlights reduced and covered with red muslin. 

DRESSES 

Wool crepe is the most suitable material, as it 
drapes well and falls in good folds. Butter muslin 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS n 

is cheap and very suitable for dresses for the dancers. 
Dyeing the material entails some labour, but is 
often cheaper and more satisfactory in the end. 
The colours suggested are those used in the original 
performance, and they proved very effective 
against a dark green curtain. 

Demeter. Corn-coloured dress ; blue cloak ; blue 
and red embroideries ; sheaf of corn and poppies. 

Persephone. White dress ; silver embroideries. 

Pluto. Tunic of dark purple ; dark grey or black 
cloak ; heavy black embroideries ; gold circular crown. 

Phoebus. Tunic and stockings of orange ; gold 
cloak ; gold tinsel braid and sequin embroideries ; 
gold sandals ; sun-ray headdress ; lyre. 

Hermes. Short tunic of pale grey ; grey cloak ; 
hat with silver wings ; mauve and silver em- 
broideries ; staff with snakes and silver wings. 

Hecate. Long robe of brown ; dark green cloak ; 
torch and stick. 

Spirit of Spring. White dress. Apple-blossom 
wreath in hair. 

Sea-nymphs. Sea-green, sea-blue, and coral pink. 
Two of these colours may be combined in each 
dress if colours that blend can be obtained. The 
overdress fringed with silver beads. Silver gauze 
scarves may be used for dancing. Hair left flowing. 

Attendant Maidens. White or sweet-pea colours, 
such as pale pink, mauve, and blue. The dresses 
should be short and skimpy and worn with long 
flesh-coloured stockings over dancing-shoes. The 



12 PERSEPHONE 

maidens may carry pipes, cymbals, and baskets of 
rose-leaves which they scatter on the ground. 
Shades. Dark grey draperies. 

MUSIC 

Sea-nymphs' dance: Anitra's Dance (Grieg). 

Dance of Shades : Dance of the Mountain Gnomes 
(Grieg). 

Dance of Spirit of Spring : Spring Song (Mendels- 
sohn). 

Violin parts can be obtained for all of these. 

For the Song of the Sea-nymphs in Scene IV the 
same music is used as in Scene I (see page 42). 

The Song of Phoebus should be sung off and entrance 
made on the last note or immediately afterward. 

DANCES 

The dances must be arranged according to the 
space available and the number of dancers. In the 
dance of the Shades a good effect can be obtained 
by arm movements only, the arms and head being 
covered with grey draperies and the stage kept in 
a dim red light. 

TABLEAU 

To raise the curtain on a tableau of all the per- 
formers after the final dance makes a very effective 
ending. 



PERSEPHONE 



DRAMATIS PERSONS 

DEMETER (Goddess of the Earth) 

PERSEPHONE (her Daughter) 

HECATE 

PLUTO (King of Hades) 

HERMES (Messenger of the Gods) 

PH03BUS (the Sun-god) 

SEA-NYMPHS 

SHADES 

SPIRIT OF SPRING 

ATTENDANT MAIDENS 



SCENE I 
The Vale of Enna. 

Sea-nymphs discovered sitting on the sands and rocks 
stringing shells. They disappear as DEMETER 
and PERSEPHONE enter (left}. 

DEMETER. My crown of poppies, daughter, bring 

to me, 

The time is late and I must haste away 
In chariot winged, o'er fair Elysian fields, 
That bearded wheat may ripen, corn bear fruit 
In full abundance for the needs of man ; 
That every lip may bless Demeter's name ; 
Without whose care the earth would cease to show'r 
Its plenteous gifts with each returning year. 

PERSEPHONE. Here, mother, is thy crown. Fain 

would I ride 

With thee, and touch the heavy heads of corn 
To gild them quickly for the harvesting ; 
But here in Enna's lonely vale I stay, 
To while away the weary waiting days 
With songs of birds and fragrant scent of flowers, 
For friendly nymphs, sporting the livelong day 
Upon this glittering shore, deny their play. 

DEMETER. Fair are the flowers, my child, and 
sweet the air 

15 



16 PERSEPHONE 

Made slumbrous with the fragrance of their breath ; 
But heed ye well, for Eros hides amidst 
Their dewy leaves, seeking with speedy dart 
A heart on which to play his wanton will. 
Yet wander not too far lest harm befall ; 
Keep but within this happy vale of thine, 
And with soft words go woo the gracious nymphs 
From cool retreat, to bear thee company. 
And now I must away ; and may the grace 
Of Zeus protect thee till I come again. 
PERSEPHONE. Farewell, dear Mother Earth. Well 

will I list 

To thy behest and keep within these fields 
Until the time is ripe for thy return. 

[Exit DEMETER (right). PERSEPHONE 

watches her and waves to her while the 

Sea-nymphs sing. 

SONG OF THE SEA-NYMPHS 

Persephone, Persephone, come and dance with 

me, 

O'er the sands and o'er the shingle, by the shining 
sea. 

Time is flying, 
I am sighing, 
Come and dance with me. 

Persephone, Persephone, come and live with me, 
Where the deep blue waters all around us now you 
see. 




DEMETER 



16 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 17 

Time is flying, 

I am sighing, 

Come and live with me. 

Persephone, Persephone, far from you I flee, 
Down into the azure depths of the tossing sea. 

Time is flying, 

I am sighing, 
Farewell, farewell to thee. 

PERSEPHONE. Oh, leave your fretful horses, 

nymphs, and come 

To garner flowers from yonder dewy fields. 
The four-leaved poppy, flaunting in the sun 
Her scarlet robes against the tinted sky, 
The fragrant violet from cool retreat, 
Sweet daisies pied and roses red and white 
We'll seek, a garland fair to weave for thee. 

IST NYMPH. Persephone, we dare not wander far ; 
The sea-breeze is our breath, the waves our life, 
The caverns dark our home, and this denied 
We die, and like the seaweed old and brown 
Should scattered lie upon this strand of foam. 
2ND NYMPH. But come and play with us, dear 

child, and we 

Will show thee all the wonders of the sea ; 
Will make thee chains of pearls, plucked from the 

shells 

That hide within the bosom of the deep. 
3RD NYMPH. Oh, come and dance with us and 

we will show 



18 PERSEPHONE 

Thee how to ride the foamy-crested steeds, 

That leap and toss their hoary manes in glee 

Far, far beyond the margin of the sea. 

Or we will lie upon the yellow sand 

And listen to the song in every shell ; 

Of Father Neptune softly whisper tales, 

And watch him riding in his dolphin car. 

[PERSEPHONE shakes her head ; turns away 
and begins gathering flowers. She goes 
off (right) and Sea-nymphs dance. 

DANCE OF SEA-NYMPHS 

[Exeunt. 

PERSEPHONE returns carrying a bunch of flowers. 

PERSEPHONE. Of all the flowers upon Olympus 

spread 

By mighty Zeus to shed their wondrous gifts 
Around the feet of his immortal gods, 
The rose is best. Her odorous beauty all 
Unkind, to wound the eager lover set 
To cull her pride and take her for his own. 
On stalk erect the prudish pink delights 
To waft her fragrance to the amorous air. 
Iris for pride. Narcissus fair and white, 
As the still pool reflects his mirrored face, 
Shall lend his lustre for my garlanding. 

[Sees a strange flower. Plucks off one flower 

and examines it. 
A strange and wondrous beauty growing here 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 19 

Amid sweet Enna's ever fragrant host ? 
Tis best of all. I'll take it for my own, 
And tended well, long shall it live to bloom 
In beauty rare within my garden dear. 

[She pulls the plant till it comes up by the 
roots. A cavern opens in the earth 
clattering of hoofs and thunder gradually 
getting nearer. Lightning. 

Enter PLUTO (left) through cavern. PERSEPHONE 
frightened runs to other side of stage. 

PLUTO [dazzled by daylight, shields his eyes with 
his hand}. Hide, Phcebus, hide thy light. My 
eyes so long 

To Stygian darkness used, can scarcely bear 
The dazzling brightness of thy wondrous rays. 
The King of Hell. Expelled by Zeus from Heaven, 
Without complaint my kingdom low I took, 
And there have dwelt and ruled my subjects well. 
And now, in just reward for patient rule, 
I come with grace and power, to find a flower 
To share my Land of Shades ; to gild for me 
The hours ; to chase away with song and dance 
And laughter rare the darkness of my heart. 
Be not afraid, my child, no harm shall e'er 
Befall. My sombre garb doth clothe a heart 
That beats with only love and joy in thee, 
And all my thoughts are for thy happiness. 
See there, my golden chariot waits without, 
With horses four all black as Erebus. 



20 PERSEPHONE 

Come ride with me and thou alone shalt see 
My palace all of gold, with crystal lights ; 
My diamond throne. Three-headed Cerberus, 
All dragon-tailed, his mighty voice shall raise 
To welcome thee. 
PERSEPHONE [shaking her head]. My mother bade 

me keep 

Within this flow'ry vale till her return. 
Thy palaces of gold, thy glittering crown 
Delight me not, and that fierce guardian dog 
Fills but my soul with fear. I will not come. 

[Turns away. 

PLUTO. Turn not away, my sweet Persephone, 
But come with me and thou- shalt be my queen, 
The favoured sharer of my royal throne, 
And all thy days shall be as gay and bright 
As diamond stars that light my palaces. 
Oh come, I say. 

[Pause. PERSEPHONE still shakes her head 
and walks away. 

By mighty Zeus thou shalt. 

[Seizes her and drags her away. 
PERSEPHONE. I will not come ! Oh, help me, 

silvery nymphs ! 
Help, Mother Ceres, help, oh, help, I pray ! 

[She is carried of (left). Lightning, thun- 
der, and clattering of hoofs, which gradu- 
ally die away in the distance. 

CURTAIN 



SCENE II 

Vale of Enna, same as Scene I. The same day. 

DEMETER enters hurriedly (right). 

DEMETER. What was that cry amid the noise and 

strife 

Of far resounding Jove, that bade me leave 
The waiting fields ere half my work was done ? 
When first the sound did strike my listening 

ear, 

Methought the brewing storm's refreshing rain 
Would help my work and hasten harvest time. 
But deadly fear did pierce my mother-heart, 
And with all haste I sought my dragon-car ; 
Nor did I rest till it had brought me here. 
Persephone ! Persephone ! Why stays 
My child ? She promised not to leave this vale. 
Rise ! timorous nymphs from out your sea-weed 

bed. 

[Sea-nymphs come from behind rocks. 
Have ye, with voices soft and promise fair 
Woo'd my dear child to leave her fairy flowers, 
And dance with you amongst thy pearly caves ? 
IST NYMPH. Not so, Demeter, Mother dear. She 

would 
Not stay with us, but wandered off alone 

21 



22 PERSEPHONE 

To gather flowers. We sang to her, we danced 
For her, but all in vain, she would not stay. 
2ND NYMPH. Hark ! What is that ? A voice 

of direful woe 

Raised high within dear Enna's peaceful vale. 
What can it be ? But someone comes this way. 
'Tis Hecate ! We'll hide beneath the waves. 

[Sea-nymphs disappear. 

Enter HECATE (left), sighing and moaning. 

HECATE. Deep in my cave where sorrow reigns 

supreme, 

I heard a cry of fear ; and now I seek 
To find, that I my woe may add to pain. 
Arise, oh Grief. Arise, oh direful Grief. 
Let Melancholy spread her mantle grey 
Upon this happy vale and all within. 
DEMETER. Ah, Hecate, thou knowst not sorrow 

full, 

Until bereft of child, and hope is lost. 
My Cora wandered in this lonely vale 
To gather flowers, and now she answers not 
My call. Perchance thou com'st to bring me hope, 
And happy Fate did lead her to your cave ? 

HECATE [sighing frequently]. Ah, no ! Mine eyes 

have seen no child of thine. 
And in my cavern's dark recess I dwell 
Alone with Melancholy by my side. 
But I have come to seek for Grief. My ears, 
Which ever open are to sounds of pain 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 23 

Or grievous woe through all the world, were struck 
By cries for help from maiden lips. Thy child 
By demon foul is spirited away. 
DEMETER [wringing her hands]. Ah, woe is me ! 

I fear I never more 

Shall look upon my daughter's happy face. 
Where was the sound and which way did it go ? 
HECATE. It passed but swiftly, to the East I 

think, 

Mingled with rumbling wheels and thundrous hoofs. 
But come with me, and in my cavern's dark 
Recess we'll mourn thy daughter ever lost. 
DEMETER. Not yet, not yet, dark Hecate. Bring 

now 

Thy torch and give me light that I may search 
In every corner of the hidden world. 
Till that be done, I will not yield myself 
To grief. Stay ! who comes now ? Tis Phoebus 

clad 

In splendour. Surely his far-reaching rays 
Have shed their light upon my wandering child. 

SONG OF PHCEBUS 

PH02BUS [sings]. 

I come ! I come ! to chase away 
The dewy mist from vale and hill, 
To banish night, to welcome day, 
And all the earth with joy doth fill, 
When Phoebus rides. 



24 PERSEPHONE 

Arise ! Arise ! Lift up thine eyes, 
Adown the sky the soft lights fall, 
The fragrant earth asleep still lies, 
To be awakened at my call, 
When Phoebus rides. 

Enter PHCEBUS (left] striking his lyre and singing. 
HECATE crouches on a log (right). 

DEMETER. Hail, Phcebus, son of Zeus. I pray, 

canst tell 

Aught of my child, Persephone ? Lost, lost 
To me these many hours, for I have searched 
In vain. Oh, help me with thine arrows light, 
And drive away this darkness in my heart. 

PHCEBUS [still striking his lyre and singing softly]. 

Persephone, thy child Persephone ? 
Ah, yes ! I do recall her now. A face 
As lovely as the myriad flowers that ope 
Their dewy hearts to my life-giving rays. 
Nay, weep not so. I saw her but awhile 
Ago and she is safe and happy now. 
Come, listen while I sing this song to thee. 

[Strikes his lyre and begins to sing. 
DEMETER [flinging herself at his feet]. Nay, nay, 

bright Phcebus, god of heavenly light. 
Where sawest thou my child ? Where is she 

now ? 

Keep nothing hid, for by great Mother Rhea, 
Who gave my heritage of motherhood, 
I'll never rest until my arms have found her. 




PHOEBUS 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 25 

PHOEBUS. Oh, trouble not, I tell thee she is safe. 
[DEMETER rises from the ground. 
She wandered here gath'ring the flowers that deck 
The way. And now she dwells in palaces, 
A queen, if fancy please, with golden throne 
And diamond crown, while shades upon her will 
Do wait. Away fell Care ! I'll sing to thee. 

DEMETER. A queen ! A diamond crown ! What 
mean'st thou ? Say. 

PHOCEBUS. Why, as she wandered here a chariot 

bright 

I saw with horses four, and kingly Dis 
Did take her with him to become his queen, 
To rule in Hades and to light the World 
Of Shades. 'Tis well. Come listen while I tune 
My lyre, and in sweet sounds her tale I'll tell. 

DEMETER. To rule with Dis in Hades ! Mighty 

Zeus, 

Is this thy meed of punishment for faults 
Deep hidden in the misty veil of time ? 
Haste, Phoebus, haste ! Into the Land of Shades 
Let us away, and with your golden song 
King Pluto we will woo and freedom gain. 

PHCEBUS [shaking his head}. It cannot be, dear 

Mother Earth. Where'er 
I go, my rays out-herald my approach. 
King Pluto favours not my sparkling light, 
And all our godhead would not help us pass 
That guardian dog, thrice watchful of his kingdom. 
Let Hermes to thy aid be summon' d now, 



26 PERSEPHONE 

That he, swift messenger of all the gods, 
On winged feet, may bear thy word to Dis. 
If power there be to set thy daughter free 
'Tis he alone will find it. So, farewell ! 

[Exit PHCEBUS (right). As he goes he 
flourishes his golden mantle at HECATE, 
who hides her head in her cloak. 

Enter HERMES (left). 

HERMES. I come, a willing answer to thy call, 
My swiftness and my craft at thy command. 

DEMETER. Oh, hear me now and by thy silver 

wings 

My message bear to mighty Zeus. That if 
My child be not at once restored to me, 
The earth shall die, the trees withhold their fruit, 
And corn and wheat forget to shed their gold, 
While fragrant flowers so bright shall withered lie ; 
And over all the Earth a curtain dry 
And sear I'll draw and man shall weep, and nought 
For profit rear, until my child return. 

HERMES. Oh, Mother Earth, the mighty Zeus 

deplores 

Thy grief but finds thee honoured that thy child 
Is set upon the throne of Dis. He bids 
Thee therefore stifle thy lament and once 
Again with joy, to grace his heavenly courts. 

DEMETER. For words of peace I thank the mighty 

Zeus. 
What power I have I use and all the Earth 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 27 

Shall die, until I gather my desire. 
HERMES. Thy words are harsh, blest Mother of 

the Seasons, 

But harsher still thy deeds should Zeus compel ; 
And, that the strife of gods prove not the curse 
Of man, I may, by his forgiving grace, 
Enter the Land of Shades, your daughter find, 
And to King Pluto plead for her return. 
Hear this then, Mother Earth. Should aught of 

food 

Have passed her lips since first she entered there, 
There is no power of heavenly gods or man 
To compass her return to earth again. 
DEMETER. Then haste thee swiftly, Hermes, 

haste away 

On wings of light, and may thy silver tongue 
So strike the heart of Dis, that he shall bid 
Thee lead my daughter through the Gates of Hell. 

[Exit HERMES. 

CURTAIN 



SCENE III 

A room in Pluto's palace. 

Enter Shades (right and left], carrying dishes, 
which they place upon the table. 

DANCE OF SHADES 

[Exeunt. 

Enter PLUTO and PERSEPHONE. 

PLUTO. If hate by love could change to love, so 

strong 

My love, that hate of yours were easy loved 
Away. Nay, turn not from me, child. Though 

dark 

My looks and darker still the gloomy depths 
Wherein I dwell, the radiant light of love 
Shall ever grace thy path with joyous rays. 
PERSEPHONE. These spectral shades, vast 

mysteries of shame, 

Fill but my soul with dread, and fain would I 
To azure life return within my vale 
Of flowers. Come, leave these pitchy caves with 

me. 

Together we will live and love. The nymphs 
Shall teach their lore, the birds their songs. Thy 

crown 

29 



30 PERSEPHONE 

Of sparkling gems by perfumed flowers replaced, 
Thy shades would serve thee well ; in heavenly light 
Thy subjects once again rejoice. 

PLUTO. Not so. 

By golden-fingered Phcebus touched, my shades 
Would fade like mist upon the dawning hills. 
A crown of gems my kingly state doth grace 
To better purpose than thy fragrant flowers. 

[Turns to the table. 

These many days have sped since food thy lips 
Hath touched. My shades rare dishes have pre- 
pared. 

Sweetmeats to pass the judgment of a queen. 
Nectar not perfumed deeper than the lips 
Elusive Fancy matches with her own. 
PERSEPHONE. I swear I will not eat. I hate thy 

gems, 

Thy golden words, thy ghostly shades that haunt 
Me night and day. Oh, when shall I behold 
Once more the azure sky, the flowers I love 
So well, the sweet-voiced nymphs, my mother dear ? 
[Flings herself sobbing on the ground. 
PLUTO. Now heavenly Jove send forth thine 

armies full 
To aid my cause. What stony heart can stand 

[Raises PERSEPHONE from the ground. 
Unpierced before the sound of childhood's grief ? 
Come dry thy tears, Demeter's fairest child, 
And brightest hope once more shall chase away 
The gloom of fear. O'er all the world my shades 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 31 

Shall speed, to fold the wings of thy desire. 

PERSEPHONE [still sobbing but glancing furtively 

at the table]. My mother's garden bore abundant 

fruit. 
PLUTO [strikes a gong ; Shades appear (right and 

left)]. Fly, fly on ebon clouds and with all speed 
Bring here earth's choicest gifts, the ripest fruits 
That e'er delight the lips of gods and man. 

[Shades disappear. 

Fruits shalt thou have, Persephone. Such fruits 
Divine ne'er grew within thy flowery vale. 

[Distant thunder. 

The mighty rumbling of my chariot wheels 
Resounds throughout the world and on the deep 
Reverberating storm my spectral shades 
Shall speed, to purpose all my royal will. 
PERSEPHONE. I would thy royal will should 

purpose me 

Beyond these realms of darkness into light. 
Oh, gracious king, what profit thee to keep 
Unwilling captive here, a maiden born 
Within the sound of Neptune's mighty realm, 
While crushed and broken lies before thy feet 
The blossom of her youth ? 

PLUTO. Persephone, 

Within the light of life-creating love, 
The flower of youth e'er lives and flourishes. 
Could you but love but see my servants come 
With luscious fruits at thy command. 

[Shade enters bearing pomegranate on a tray. 



32 PERSEPHONE 

But what 
Is this you bring ? One pomegranate. What 

mean'st ? 
PERSEPHONE [examining fruit and laughing]. Oh, 

luscious fruit, for lips divine create ! 
Thy hoary age most sear, thy case as hard 
As Pluto's heart ! Bear it away, I pray. 

PLUTO [to Shade]. Explain thy cause. Why empty 

dost return ? 
SHADE. Thy pardon I beseech, great King. Not 

mine 

The fault. O'er all the world I swiftly sped 
At thy command, and this my sole reward. 
That bounteous Mother of the Earth, in vain 
Despair, of child bereft, hath spread her curse 
O'er all the land, nor flower to bloom, nor fruit 
To ripen whilst Persephone be held 
A captive. Men do weep and strive anew. 

[After a moment's pause PLUTO dismisses 
Shade with a wave of his hand. The 
Shade places the tray on the table and 
disappears. 

PLUTO. Cursed by Demeter's might ! and men 
do weep ! [Stands a second thinking. 

Some means must I devise to lift this spell. 

[Exit PLUTO (left). 

[PERSEPHONE, left alone, examines the room, 
etc., also the things on the table. Lifts 
a goblet to her lips, but suddenly puts 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 33 

it down, thinking she hears a noise, 
and runs from the table. After a. 
moment she goes back, picks up the 
pomegranate and examines it, finally 
taking one bite. As she does so PLUTO 
enters (left], followed by HERMES, who 
goes straight to PERSEPHONE, takes 
the pomegranate from her hand and 
places it on the table. PLUTO does not 
see. 

HERMES [aside to PERSEPHONE]. What hast thou 

eaten ? 

PERSEPHONE. But a seed or two. 
PLUTO. The heavenly Zeus, by Hermes silver- 
tongued, 

Requests thy freedom, whilst within mine ear 
Doth whisper deep remorse. Thy grievous dole, 
The earth accurst ! For joy of mine too great 
The price. Farewell, Persephone. I set 
Thee free. Let Hermes lead thee forth and 

keep 

Within thy gladsome heart one gentle thought 
For him who reigns, a king without a queen. 
Haste, haste, my child ! Thy mother dear 

awaits. 

PERSEPHONE. Thy gracious words, oh king, do 
fill my soul 

With peace. Again I'll come and bring 

HERMES [aside]. Away! 



34 PERSEPHONE 

Away ! O foolish child, why temptest thou 
This dusky king to change his royal mind ? 

[Exeunt HERMES and PERSEPHONE. PLUTO 
left standing alone. He walks to the 
table and picks up the pomegranate. 



CURTAIN 



SCENE IV 

The Vale of Enna : same as Scene I. 

Nymphs discovered sitting on rocks. Flowers 
scattered on the ground. Sea-nymphs sing. 

SONG OF THE SEA-NYMPHS 

Persephone, Persephone, Hermes bringeth thee, 
From the depths of Pluto's kingdom to the azure 
sea. 

Spring is coming, 
Spring is coming, 
Welcome home to thee. 

Persephone, Persephone, flowers of every hue, 
Bloom again while Earth rejoices, all to welcome 
you. 

Spring is coming, 
Spring is coming, 
Welcome home to thee. 

Enter DEMETER (right] carrying a torch. 
Sea-nymphs disappear. 

DEMETER. What meaneth this ? My magic- 
torch doth veil 
Its flaming light, when I have charged it burn 

35 



36 PERSEPHONE 

Until my search be o'er and I and my 
Dear child should rest again in happiness 
Within this peaceful vale. But flowers arise 
Before my wondering eyes. O'er all the earth 
A verdure spreads, and songs of birds swell forth 
Upon the listening air. The earth hath dared 
To disobey my mighty will and springs 
Again to life and hope. 

Enter HERMES (lejt}. 

Welcome, Hermes. 

If joy come with thee doubly welcome art. 
But if dark sorrow in thy silvery steps 
Doth follow, nought of welcome hast of me. 

HERMES. All hail ! O bounteous Mother of the 

Earth. 

Lift up thine eyes, the portals of thy heart 
Now open wide. See, flowers do spring afresh 
On every side and all the world awakes, 
Rejoices, while great Phoebus sheds his light 
On all. For see, Persephone returns 
And golden Spring comes dancing in her train. 

[PERSEPHONE runs in and flings herself 
into DEMETER'S arms. Exit HERMES. 
Children scatter flowers over the stage. 
They dance and then sit at the back of 
the stage. 
DEMETER. Oh, joyous day ! My heart scarce 

dared to hope 
That I should see my child again, restored 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 37 

Unharmed from that vast land of hidden fear. 
Tell me, dear child, did aught befall thee there ? 
PERSEPHONE. Dear mother, nought to fear. No 

evil thing 

Did cross my path, and silent shades did haste 
To wait upon my every word and thought. 
For playthings had I gems more beautiful 
And rare than any seen upon the earth. 
My seat, a throne of gold ; a sparkling crown 
To place upon my head ; but all of these 
I cast aside and only longed to taste 
The fruit that grows within my garden fair. 
DEMETER. My child ! Persephone ! Hath aught 

of food 

Found place within thy lips since last I left 
Thee here ? 
PERSEPHONE [shaking her head]. King Pluto's 

shades did set for me 

Their choicest gifts. O'er all the world they sped 
For fruits at my desire, and only could 
They wrest from out the Earth one pomegranate. 
DEMETER. And tell me, didst thou eat of it, my 

child ? 

PERSEPHONE. A seed or two ; then Hermes 
stayed my hand. 

[Demeter turns away with a gesture of 
despair. Rumbling thunder, clatter of 
hoofs, etc. Children run from back of 
stage. 



38 PERSEPHONE 

Enter PLUTO (left] carrying pomegranate 
in his hand. 

PLUTO. Thy child is mine, O Mother of the 

Earth, 

For see the fruit of which she did partake 
Within my kingdom of the Nether World. 
Nay, grieve not ; for your child a queen shall be, 
With every wish and every hope fulfilled. 

DEMETER. Grieve not, when I, of child bereft, 

must pass 

The years alone with life and hope and love 
Left dead within this vale ! While she, a child 
Of Earth, beloved of gods, by Phoebus kiss'd, 
In that dark Nether World, the home of souls 
Accurst, must tread the weary darkening hours, 
Ah, woe is me ! 

Enter HERMES. 

PLUTO. The mighty Zeus decrees 

HERMES. Not so, the mighty Zeus decrees it 

not. 

On wings of light from far Olympic Courts 
I come, Demeter, now to bear these words 
Of grace. Raise from the Earth this barren 

curse, 

That gods and man may dwell in happiness. 
For every seed Persephone did eat, 
Shall Pluto take the toll of one fair month. 

[Takes pomegranate from PLUTO. 
Of six small seeds her lips did rob this fruit. 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 39 

Of six long months shall Pluto rob thy heart 

O Mother Earth. All through the changing 

years 

Persephone shall spend on earth with thee 
One half the months. Within the Land of Shades 
Shall reign a queen one half the months. The 

first, 

Demeter, unto you is given. Be you 
Content, and when the time is ripe, I'll come 
Again and lead your daughter by the hand, 
That she may pass in safety through the Gates of 

Hell. 

PLUTO. The gods are just, I am content. Fare- 
well 
Persephone, until thou com'st to me. 

[Exit PLUTO ; hoofs, etc. 
DEMETER. The gods are just and in that same 

fair meed 

Will I my justice give. Oh, messenger 
Of all the gods, right well thy mission thou 
Hast sped ; but once again I charge thee, haste 
To heavenly realms with this my word. For 

those 

Six months Persephone shall dwell with me, 
My curse shall lifted be, and bounteous Earth 
Shall give in full abundance of her store. 
But when Persephone to Hell doth go, 
The Earth shall die and Phoebus hide his light, 
Until she once again returns to earth. 

[HERMES bows and exit. 



40 PERSEPHONE 

For six sweet months we live, Persephone. 
Call forth the Spirit of the Spring. With train 
Of beauteous maidens may she deck the world, 
In loveliness and beauty once again. 

[Exeunt DEMETER and PERSEPHONE. 

Enter Spirit of Spring and Maidens. 
DANCE 

CURTAIN 
TABLEAU 

CURTAIN 



SONGS 




SONG OF THE SEA-NYMPHS 

Moderate. 



>*/Per - 




scph - o - ne, Per - seph - o - ne, . . come and dance with 



a tempo \ 



3?^SE^=E^4 



N 

^'- 



^ 



- 1-J * - 



O'er the sands and o'er the shin - gle 




A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 



43 



by the shin - ing sea. 



Time is fly - ing, 






I am sigh - ing, Come and dance with 







Time is fly - ing, 



p '-- 






-r=x=-\ 



44 



PERSEPHONE 

3rdv. 



1st and 2nd times. 



t~t~ "* * " ' 

I am sigh -ing, come and dance with me. . . . 

3rd -verse. Fare 



_L-4_ ~V~1 ZS1-I 




p- -1 -=-- 



3rd verse. 



well, fare well to thee. 



T _ n 






SONG OF PHCEBUS 



VOICE. 



VIOLIN. 



PIANO. 




%F= 



I come ! I 






fMI^E^E^Ei^^^pl 

i^i^E=g^||;piE=p^j 



* 



come ! . . 



I come . . to chase a - way The 



{K 2 fli ZO.H ^S tf ^ ^] I -1 L^ f ^^^^^^-- 

- 

g g 



\ .. .. .. 

,-T- m-\ ---- T JS -- 1 -- -rp -i 23 



t r . ^ 



~ 



45 



4 6 



PERSEPHONE 



dew - y mist from vale and hill, 



To banish night, to 





!!S3 ^SSS~j i _ I ~ ; '* i 

^=^^^E^E^^=^EE^ 










fcFF^" 
3E?izEi^-: 




wel-come day, . . To ban ish night, to welcome day, . 

-^ 
9 /- 



, , ^^-^ 1 ^ -. 



Mte^^^ 

ii?t-t=S=l= 



- - 



f-' K 1- 

prfcp=^S=|=J 
:2:&: 







r r..r "^ 



A PLAY FOR SCHOOLS 



47 



_^ r h 

. . And all the earth with joy doth fill, ... Wl 

fcp-====q^:f==i^^ppi=J i_i=Siq 

-Irk t*- < ^-f- ^ s i -^^- 1 i * T H fH 

JL.fr _, *-*-J ' f ! S *^HH [- 4 a i-j. 

K_l 1 1 1 ^ *- ^ * 1 * .. J * 




r"! 

1 



Phoe bus rides, . . . 



And all the earth with 






.&r= | - 



_ ^~ri T i 

,.i ~] D ' L3 , 

i- 



4 8 



PERSEPHONE 



1st verse. 



D.C. 



joy doth fill, 






When Phoebus rides 









nd verse, -jrall. 



SE 



When Phoe bus rides. 







J 



/>'/ 





UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



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