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Full text of "Salome : a tragedy in one act"

SALOMti 



SALOME 



A TRAGEDY IN ONE ACT 
TRANSLATED FROM THE 
FRENCH OF OSCAR WILDE 
WITH SIXTEEN DRAWINGS 
BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY 



LONDON JOHN LANE '.. ., 

THE BODLEY HEAD NEW YORK 
-JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMXII 




THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY 

HEROD ANTIPAS, Tetrarch of Juctea 
JOKANAAN, The Prophet 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN, Captain of 
the Guard 

TIGELLINUS, A Young Roman 

A CAPPADOCIAN 

A NUBIAN 

FIRST SOLDIER 

SECOND SOLDIER 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

JEWS, NAZARENES, ETC. 

A SLAVE 

NAAMAN, The Executioner 

HERODIAS, Wife of the Tetrarch 

SALOME, Daughter of Herodias 

THE SLAVES OF SALOME 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

O A LOME has made the author's name a house- 
hold word wherever the English language 
is not spoken. Few plays have such a peculiar 
history. Before tracing briefly the vicissitudes 
of a work that has been more execrated than 
even its author, I venture to repeat the 
corrections which I communicated to the Morn- 
mo Post when the opera of Dr. Strauss was 
produced in a mutilated verson at Co vent Garden 
in December, 1910. That such reiteration is 
necessary is illustrated by the circumstance that 
a musical critic in the Academy of December 1 7th, 
1910, wrote of Wilde's "imaginative verses" 
apropos of Salome a strange comment on the 
honesty of musical criticism. Salome is in prose, 
not in verse. 

Salome was not written for Madame Sarah 
Bernhardt. It was not written with any idea of 
stage representation. Wilde did not write the 



viii A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

play in English, nor afterwards re-write it in 
French, because he "could not get it acted in 
English/' as stated by Mr. G. K. Chesterton on 
the authority, presumably, of Chambers s Encyclo- 
paedia or some other such source of that writer's 
culture. It was not offered to any English 
manager. In no scene of Wilde's play does 
Salome" dance round the head of the Baptist, 
as she is represented in music-hall turns. The 
name "John " does not occur either in the French 
or German text. Critics speak contemptuously 
of " Wilde's libretto adapted for the opera." Ex- 
cept for the performance at Covent Garden 
which was permitted only on conditions of 
mutilation, there has been no adaptation. Certain 
passages were omitted by Dr. Strauss because the 
play (which is in one act) would be too long with- 
out these cuts. Wilde's actual words in Madame 
Hedwig Lachmann's admirable translation are 
sung. The words have not been transfigured into 
ordinary operatic nonsense to suit the score. When 
the opera is given in French, however, the text 
used is not Wilde's French original, but a French 
translation fitted to the score from the German. 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" ix 

Salome was written by Oscar Wilde at Torquay 
in the winter of 1891-2. The initial idea of treat- 
ing the subject came to him some time previously, 
after seeing in Paris a well-known series of Gus- 
tave Moreau's pictures inspired by the same 
theme. A good deal has been made of his debt 
to Flaubert's tale of Herodias. Apart from 
the Hebrew name of "lokanaan" for the Bap- 
tist the debt is slight, when we consider what 
both writers owe to Scripture. On Flaubert's 
Tentation de Saint Antoine Wilde has indeed 
drawn considerably for his Oriental motives ; not 
more, in justice it must be added, than another 
well-known dramatist drew on Plutarch, Ban- 
dello, and other predecessors. The simple syntax 
was, of course, imitated directly from Maeter- 
linck, who has returned the compliment by 
adapting to some extent other features from 
Salome in his recent play Mary Magdalene, a 
point observed by the continental critics. Our 
old friend Ollendorff, too, is irresistibly recalled 
by reading Wilde's French; as he is indeed by 
all of M. Maeterlinck's early plays. A famous 
sentence in one of John Bright's speeches Wilde 



x A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

bodily transferred when he makes lokanaan say, 
" J'entends dans le palais le battement des ailes 
de 1'ange de la mort." Large portions of Holy 
Writ, too, are incorporated. One of the musical 
critics is particularly severe on some of the Bibli- 
cal quotations from Ezekiel (spoken by loka- 
naan). He finds them " typical of Wilde's 
perverted imagination and tedious employment 
of metaphor." To the more scholarly and truffle- 
nosed industry of Mr. C. L. Graves I am indebted 
for the discovery that Wilde probably got the 
idea of Salome's passion for lokanaan from 
Heine's Atta Troll, though it is Herodias, not her 
daughter, who evinces it. Before this discovery 
was announced in the Spectator, that too was 
merely a disgusting invention of Wilde, who is, 
of course, anathema to " the journal of blameless 
antecedents and growing infirmities," as a well- 
known statesman said so wittily. 

So much for the origins or plagiarisms of 
Salome. It is well to remember also the many 
dramas and ballets composed by various French 
writers, including Massenet's well-known opera 
Herodiade, composed in 1881, and performed in 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" xi 

1904 at Covent Garden with the title Salome. 
All of these were taken directly from the story 
told by St. Mark or Flaubert ; nearly all of them 
are now forgotten. Wilde would certainly have 
seen one by Armand Sylvestre. Sudermann's 
Johannes, from which Wilde is also accused of 
lifting, did not appear imtrl 1898, several years 
later. Needless to say, there is no resemblance 
beyond that which must exist between any two 
plays in which John the Baptist and Herod are 
characters. Wilde's confusion of Herod Antipas 
(Matt. xiv. 1) with Herod the Great (Matt. ii. 1) 
and Herod Agrippa the First (Acts xii. 23) is in- 
tentional. He follows a mediaeval convention of 
the mystery plays. There is no attempt at accu- 
rate historical reconstruction. 

Madame Bernhardt, who in 1892 leased the 
Palace Theatre for a not very successful London 
season, had known Wilde from his earliest days. 
She has recorded her first meeting with him at 
Dover. He was constantly at the theatres where 
she was acting in London. She happened one 
day to say that she wished Wilde would write a 
play for her. One of his dramas had already 



xii A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

appeared with success. He replied in jest that he 
had done so. Ignorant, or forgetful, of the Eng- 
lish law prohibiting the introduction of Scrip- 
tural characters on the stage, she insisted on 
seeing the manuscript, decided on immediate 
production, and started rehearsals. On the 
usual application being made to the Censor for 
a licence it was refused. This is the only 
accurate information about the play ever 
vouchsafed in the Press when the subject of the 
opera is under discussion. Wilde immediately 
announced that he would change his nationality 
and become a Frenchman, a threat which in- 
spired Mr. Bernard Partridge with a delightful 
caricature of the author as a conscript in the 
French Army (Punch, July 9th, 1 892). 

The following year, 1893, the text was passed 
for press, the late M. Marcel Schwob told me, by 
himself. He made only two corrections, he in- 
formed me, because he was afraid of spoiling the 
individuality of Wilde's manner and style by 
transmuting them into more academic forms and 
phrases. I have learned since, however, that 
Mr, Stuart Merrill, the well-known French- 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" xiii 

American writer, a great friend of Wilde, 
was also consulted, and that M. Adolph 
Rette and M. Pierre Louys (to whom the 
play is dedicated) claim to have made re- 
visions. But no one who knew Oscar Wilde 
with any degree of intimacy would admit that 
Salome, whatever its faults or merits or de- 
rivations, owed anything considerable to the 
invention or talents of others. Emerson said 
that " no great men are original." However this 
may be, Salome is more characteristic and typical 
of Wilde's imperfect genius, with the possible 
exception of The Importance of Being Earnest, 
than anything else he ever wrote. The sculp- 
tor must get his clay or bronze, his marble and 
his motives from somewhere, just as the painter 
his pigment and models. How much more does 
this apply to the dramatist ? The play was pub- 
lished in French simultaneously by Messrs. Elkin 
Ma thews and John Lane in London and by the 
Librairie de 1'Art Independant in Paris in 1893. 
It was assailed by nearly the whole Press. But there 
was one exception : that of Mr. William Archer 
in Black and White. Now that Salome has become 



xiv A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

part of the European dramatic repertoire, though 
so often consigned to oblivion by two generations 
of dramatic critics and though the fungoid 
musical critics have spawned all over it, Mr. 
Archer's words have a special and peculiar 
interest : 

" There is at least as much musical as pictorial 
quality in Salome. It is by methods borrowed from 
music that Mr. Wilde, without sacrificing its 
suppleness, imparts to his prose the firm tex- 
ture, so to speak, of verse. Borrowed from 
music may I conjecture through the mediation of 
Maeterlinck. . . . There is far more depth and body in 
Mr. Wilde's work than in Maeterlinck's. His characters 
are men and women, not filmy shapes of mist and 
moonshine. His properties are far more various and 
less conventional. His . . . palette is infinitely richer. 
Maeterlinck paints in washes of water-colour. Mr. 
Wilde attains to depth and brilliancy of oils. Salome 
has all the qualities of a great historical picture, 
pedantry and conventionality excepted." Black and 
White, March llth, 1893. 

I do not know that Mr. Archer liked the play 
particularly or that he likes it now, but at all events 
he had the foresight and the knowledge to realise 
that here was no piece of trifling to be dismissed 
with contempt or assailed with obloquy. Mr. 



A NOTE ON "SALOM^" jcv 

Archer has fortunately lived to see a good many 
of his judgments justified, and beyond emphasising 
his interesting anticipation of the eventual place 
Salome was to occupy in musical composition, 
I need pay no further tribute to the brilliant 
perception of an honoured contemporary. The 
Times, while depreciating the drama, gave its 
author credit for a tour de force in being capable 
of writing a French play for Madame Bernhardt, 
and this drew from Wilde the following letter, 
which appeared in the Times on March 2nd, 
1893: 

" SIR, My attention has been drawn to a re- 
view of Salome which was published in your 
columns last week. The opinions of English 
critics on a French work of mine have, of course, 
little, if any, interest for me. I write simply to 
ask you to allow me to correct a misstatement 
that appears in the review in question. 

" The fact that the greatest tragic actress of any 
stage now living saw in my play such beauty that 
she was anxious to produce it, to take herself the 
part of the heroine, to lend to the entire poem 
the glamour of her personality and to my prose 
the music of her flute-like voice this was 



xvi A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

naturally, and always will be, a source of pride 
and pleasure to me, and I look forward with 
delight to seeing Mme. Bernhardt present my 
play in Paris, that vivid centre of art, where 
religious dramas are often performed. But my 
play was in no sense of the words written for 
this great actress. I have never written a play 
for any actor or actress, nor shall I ever do so. 
Such work is for the artisan in literature not for 
the artist. 

" I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, 

" OSCAR WILDE." 

The Censor was commended by all the other 
reviewers and dramatic critics. Never has that 
official been so popular. 

In 1894 Messrs. Mathews and Lane issued an 
English translation of Salome by Lord Alfred 
Douglas. The illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley 
which it contained were received with even 
greater disfavour by reviewers and art critics. 
A few of the latter, the late P. G. Hamerton 
and Mr. Joseph Pennell among others, realised, 
however, that a new artistic personality had 
asserted itself, and that the draughtsman was, if 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" xvii 

anything, hostile to the work he professed to 
embellish. Heir Miergraefe, the German critic, 
has fallen into the error of supposing that 
Beardsley's designs were the typical pictorial 
expression of widespread admiration for Wilde's 
writings. They are, of course, a mordant, though 
decorative, satire on the play. Excellent carica- 
tures of Wilde may be seen in the frontispiece 
entitled "The Woman in the Moon" (Plate 1) 
and in "Enter Herodias" (Plate 9). The colo- 
phon is a real masterpiece and a witty criticism 
of the play as well. The impression the drawings 
have produced, not so much in England but in 
Europe, may be gauged by reference to the 
work of the same German critic, who in his 
universal survey of modern art allows only three 
artists of the English School separate chapters to 
themselves the three being William Morris, 
Whistler, and Beardsley. 

By connoisseurs of Beardsley's work the Salome 
set of drawings is regarded as the highest 
achievement of a peculiar talent. In England, 
from constant reproductions and exhibition, they 
were more familiar to the public than the text 



XV111 



A NOTE ON "SALOME 



of the play, until the revived interest in Wilde's 
writings. 

And here I may warn collectors against the 
numerous forgeries of the originals which are 
continually offered in the English and American 
markets. Of the sixteen drawings fourteen are 
still in the possession of Mr. John Lane. One 
("Toilette," Plate No. 12) is in the possession of 
the present writer, and "Enter Herodias" 
has recently passed from the collection of Mr. 
Herbert Pollit to that of Mr. W. D. Hutchinson. 
There is a coloured design of Salom6, one of 
Beardsley's very few coloured drawings, belong- 
ing to Miss Doulton. This was never intended 
as an illustration for the play in published form, 
but on being shown to Mr. Lane suggested to 
him the idea of commissioning Beardsley to 
illustrate the English version of the play 
(Marillier, "Early Work of Aubrey Beardsley," 
page 23). All others are spurious. 

In 1896, when Wilde was still incarcerated at 
Reading, M. Lugne-Poe, the poet and actor, pro- 
duced Salome at the Theatre de 1'CEuvre in 
Paris. It was coldly received. But the author, 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" xix 

who heard of its production, refers pathetically 
to the incident in one of his letters to me from 
prison : 

" Please say how gratified I am at the perform- 
ance of my play, and have my thanks conveyed 
to Lugne-Poe. It is something that at a time of 
disgrace and shame I should still be regarded as 
an artist. I wish I could feel more pleasure, but I 
seem dead to all emotions except those of anguish 
and despair. However, please let Lugne-Poe 
know that I am sensible of the honour he has done 
me. He is a poet himself. Write to me in answer 
to this, and try and see what Lemattre, Bauer, 
and Sarcey said of Salome" 

Within two years of Wilde's death, Salome was 
first produced in Berlin on November 15th, 1902, 
at the Kleiner Theater, where it played for two- 
hundred nights, an unprecedented run for the 
Prussian capital. From that moment it became 
part of the repertoire of the German stage, and 
draws crowded, enthusiastic houses whenever it 
is revived. At Munich particular attention is 
given to the staging and mise-en-scene. The late 
Professor Furtwangler was said to have person- 
b 



xx A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

allv supervised the " Dance of the Seven Veils," 
which is rendered with scrupulous regard to 
archaic conventions. (In the opera the dance is 
except in the case of Madame Ackt seldom 
more than a commonplace ballet performance, 
and is usually executed by a super.) Techni- 
cally the interlude of the dance interferes with 
the tense dramatic unity of the play (though 
this is less noticeable in the opera), and is one of 
many indications that Salome was not originally 
composed for the stage. 

In May, 1905, the New Stage Club gave two 
private performances (the first in this country) at 
the Bijou Theatre, Archer Street. A new genera- 
tion of dramatic critics was more severe than its 
predecessor, but displayed less acquaintance with 
Scripture ; objection was again raised by one of 
them to certain phraseology, quoted from Holy 
Writ, "as the diseased language of decadence." 
In June, 1906, the Literary Theatre Society gave 
further performances. This last production was 
distinguished by the exquisite mounting and 
dresses of Mr. Charles Ricketts. The role of 
Herod was marvellously rendered by Mr. Robert 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" xxi 

Farquharson ; that of Herodias by Miss Florence 
Farr. The National Sporting Club, Covent Garden, 
was the odd locality chosen for an illicit entertain- 
ment, on which the critics again fell with exacer- 
bated violence. Another and very inadequate 
production occurred at the Court Theatre in 
February, 1911. Such is the remarkable history 
of a drama that shares the distinction or noto- 
riety of Beckford's Vathek, in being one of 
the only two considerable works written 
by an English author in French. Mr. 
Walter Ledger, the bibliographer, records, 
exclusive of the authorised French texts, over 
forty different translations and versions. These 
include German (seven), Czech, Dutch, Greek, 
Italian, Magyar, Polish, Russian, Spanish, 
Catalan, Swedish, and Yiddish translations, 
in all of which languages it is performed. 
The play is often performed at the American 
Yiddish theatres. There is a popular Yiddish 
text sold for fivepence in London, where it is 
whispered that, unknown to the Censor, the play 
can also be seen in the Yiddish tongue. The 
authorised original French text is included in the 
uniform Methuen editions of Wilde's works. 



xxii A NOTE ON "SALOME" 

According to an interview with Dr. Strauss in 
December, 1905, when his opera was first pro- 
duced in Dresden, the composer's attention 
was first drawn to the possibilities of Salome 
by a Viennese who had prepared a libretto 
based on Wilde's work. This seemed to him 
unsatisfactory, and he turned to the original, or 
(to be precise) to Madame Lachmann's German 
translation. 

A young French naval officer, Lieutenant 
Mariotte, a native of Lyons, unaware that a dis- 
tinguished competitor was in the field before 
him, composed an opera round Salome, for 
which he used the original French text. It was 
produced in 1911 in Paris, and ran concurrently 
with the work of Dr. Strauss. Mr. Henry 
Hadley, an American composer, has composed a 
i( symphonic poem " round Wilde's motive. This 
was performed at Queen's Hall in August, 1909- 
The burlesque dances of Miss Maud Allan and 
her rivals are also well known. It is noteworthy 
that the former appeared first at the Palace 
Theatre where, sixteen years earlier, the play 
was prohibited. It would be idle to deny that the 




COVER DESIGN 



A NOTE ON "SALOME" xxiii 

origin of the dance was the extraordinary popu- 
larity of Wilde's play on the Continent a 
popularity that existed at least four years before 
the production of Dr. Strauss' s opera. 

With reference to the charge of plagiarism 
brought against Salome and its author, I venture 
to mention a personal recollection. Wilde com- 
plained to me one day that someone in a well- 
known novel had stolen an idea of his. I 
pleaded in defence of the culprit that Wilde 
himself was a fearless literary thief. " My dear 
Robbie/' he said, with his usual drawling em- 
phasis, " when I see a monstrous tulip with four 
wonderful petals in someone else's garden, I am 
impelled to grow a monstrous tulip with Jive 
wonderful petals, but that is no reason why 
someone should grow a tulip with only three 
petals." That was Oscar Wilde. 

ROBERT Ross. 



LIST OF THE PICTURES 
BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY 



THE MOON 

frotttltpi 

TITLE PAGE .... 

COVER DESIGN 

LIST OF THE PICTURES . 



THK PEACOCK SKIRT 
THE BLACK CAPE. 

A PLATONIC LAMENT . 
JOHN AM) SALOME 
ENTER HEROIHAS . , 
THE EYES OK HEROD . 
THE STOMACH DANCE . 
THE DANCER'S REWARD 

THE TOILETTE 

OK SALOME 
THE CLIMAX 
CUL DE LAMPE 




SALOME 



SCENE 

[A great terrace in the Palace of Herod, set above the 
banqueting -hall Some soldiers are leaning over the 
balcony. To the right there is a gigantic staircase, to 
the left, at the back, an old cistern surrounded by 
a wall of green bronze. Moonlight.} 



THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

How beautiful is the Princess Salome to-night ! 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

Look at the moon ! How strange the moon 
seems ! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. 
She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she 
was looking for dead things. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

She has a strange look. She is like a little 
princess who wears a yellow veil, and whose feet 
are of silver. She is like a princess who has 
little white doves for feet. You would fancy she 
was dancing. 



2 SALOME 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

She is like a woman who is dead. She moves 
very slowly. [Noise in the banqueiing-hall.] 

FIRST SOLDIER 

What an uproar ! Who are those wild beasts 
howling ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

The Jews. They are always like that. They 
are disputing about their religion. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Why do they dispute about their religion ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

I cannot tell. They are always doing it. The 
Pharisees, for instance, say that there are angels, 
and the Sadducees declare that angels do not 
exist. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

I think it is ridiculous to dispute about such 
things. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

How beautiful is the Princess Salome" to-night ! 




THE PEACOCK SKIRT 



SALOME 3 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

You are always looking at her. You look at 
her too much. It is dangerous to look at people 
in such fashion. Something terrible may happen. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

She is very beautiful to-night. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

The Tetrarch has a sombre look. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Yes ; he has a sombre look. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

He is looking at something. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

He is looking at some one. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

At whom is he looking ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

J cannot tell. 



4 SALOME 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

How pale the Princess is ! Never have I seen 
her so pale. She is like the shadow of a white 
rose in a mirror of silver. 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

You must not look at her. You look too much 
at her. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Herodias has filled the cup of the Tetrarch. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

Is that the Queen Herodias, she who wears 
a black mitre sewn with pearls, and whose hair 
is powdered with blue dust ? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Yes ; that is Herodias, the Tetrarch's wife. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

The Tetrarch is very fond of wine. He has 
wine of three sorts. One which is brought from 
the Island of Samothrace, and is purple like the 
cloak of Csesar. 



SALOME 5 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

I have never seen Caesar. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Another that comes from a town called Cyprus, 
and is yellow like gold. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

I love gold. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

And the third is a wine of Sicily. That wine 
is red like blood. 


THE NUBIAN 

The gods of my country are very fond of 
blood. Twice in the year we sacrifice to them 
young men and maidens; fifty young men and 
a hundred maidens. But it seems we never give 
them quite enough, for they are very harsh 
to us. 

THE CAPPADOCI\N 

In my country there are no gods left. The 
Romans have driven them out. There are some 
who say that they have hidden themselves in the 



8 SALOME 

mountains, but I do not believe it. Three nights 
I have been on the mountains seeking them every- 
where. I did not find them. And at last I called 
them by their names, and they did not come. I 
think they are dead. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

The Jews worship a God that you cannot see. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

I cannot understand that. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

In fact, they believe only in things that you 
cannot see. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

That seems to me altogether ridiculous. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

After me shall come another mightier than I. 
I am not worthy so much as to unloose the latchet 
of his shoes. When he cometh, the solitary 
places shall be glad. They shall blossom like 
the lily. The eyes of the blind shall see the day, 



SALOME 7 

and the ears of the deaf shall be opened. The 
new-born child shall put his hand upon the 
dragons' lair and shall lead the lions by their 
manes. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Make him be silent, He is always saying 
ridiculous things. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

No, no. He is a holy man. He is very gentle, 
too. Every day when I give him to eat he 
thanks me. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

Who is he? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

A prophet. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

What is his name ? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Jokanaan. 



8 SALOME 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

Whence comes he ? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

From the desert, where he fed on locusts and 
wild honey. He was clothed in camel's hair, 
and round his loins he had a leathern belt. He 
was very terrible to look upon. A great multi- 
tude used to follow him. He even had disciples. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

What is he talking of? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

We can never tell. Sometimes he says ter- 
rible things, but it is impossible to understand 
what he says. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

May one see him ? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

No. The Tetrarch has forbidden it. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

The Princess has hidden her face behind her 
fan ! Her little white hands are fluttering like 



SALOM^ 9 

doves that fly to their dove-cots. They are like 
white butterflies. They are just like white 
butterflies. 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

What is that to you? Why do you look at 
her ? You must not look at her. . . . Something 
terrible may happen. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN [pointing to the cistern] 
What a strange prison ! 

SECOND SOLDIER 

It is an old cistern. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

An old cistern ! It must be very unhealthy. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Oh no ! For instance, the Tetrarch's brother, 
his elder brother, the first husband of Herodias 
the Queen, was imprisoned there for twelve years. 
It did not kill him. At the end of the twelve 
years he had to be strangled. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

Strangled ? W T ho dared to do that ? 



10 SALOME 

SECOND SOLDIER 

[Pointing to the executioner, a huge negro] 
That man yonder, Naaman, 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

He was not afraid ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Oh no ! The Tetrarch sent him the ring. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

What ring ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

The death-ring. So he was not afraid. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

Yet it is a terrible thing to strangle a king. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Why? Kings have but one neck, like other 
folk. 

THE CAPPADOCIAN 

I think it terrible. 




THE I1LACK CAl'E 



SALOME 11 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

The Princess rises ! She is leaving the table ! 
She looks very troubled. Ah, she is coming this 
way. Yes, she is coming towards us. How pale 
she is ! Never have I seen her so pale. 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

Do not look at her. I pray you not to look 
at her. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

She is like a dove that has strayed. . . . She 
is like a narcissus trembling in the wind. . . . 
She is like a silver flower. 

[Enter Salome.] 

SALOME 

I will not stay. I cannot stay. Why does 
the Tetrarch look at me all the while with his 
mole's eyes under his shaking eyelids ? It is 
strange that the husband of my mother looks at 
me like that. I know not what it means. ... In 
truth, yes I know it. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

You have just left the feast, Princess? 



12 SALOME 

SALOME 

How sweet the air is here! I can breathe 
here ! Within there are Jews from Jerusalem 
who are tearing each other in pieces over their 
foolish ceremonies, and barbarians who drink 
and drink, and spill their wine on the pavement, 
and Greeks from Smyrna with painted eyes and 
painted cheeks, and frizzed hair curled in twisted 
coils, and silent, subtle Egyptians, with long nails 
of jade and russet cloaks, and Romans brutal 
and coarse, with their uncouth jargon. Ah ! 
how I loathe the Romans ! They are rough and 
common, and they give themselves the airs of 
noble lords. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Will you be seated, Princess ? 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

Why do you speak to her ? Why do you look 
at her? Oh ! something terrible will happen. 

SALOME 

How good to see the moon ! She is like a 
little piece of money. You would think she was 



SALOME 13 

a little silver flower. The moon is cold and 
chaste. I am sure she is a virgin, she has a 
virgin's beauty. Yes, she is a virgin. She has 
never defiled herself. She has never abandoned 
herself to men, like the other goddesses. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

The Lord hath come. The Son of Man hath 
come. The centaurs have hidden themselves in 
the rivers, and the sirens have left the rivers, 
and are lying beneath the leaves in the forests. 

SALOME 

Who was that who cried out ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

The prophet, Princess. 

SALOME 

Ah, the prophet ! He of whom the Tetrarch 
is afraid ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

We know nothing of that, Princess. It was 
the prophet Jokanaan who cried out. 



14 SALOME 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Is it your pleasure that I bid them bring your 
litter, Princess ? The night is fair in the garden. 

SALOME 

He says terrible things about my mother, does 
he not? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

We never understand what he says, Princess. 

SALOME 

Yes ; he says terrible things about her. 
[Enter a Slave.] 

THE SLAVE 

Princess, the Tetrarch prays you to return to 
the feast. 

SALOM 

I will not go back. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Pardon me, Princess, but if you do not return 
some misfortune may happen. 

SALOME 

Js he an old man, this prophet ? 



SALOME 15 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Princess, it were better to return. Suffer me 
to lead you in. 

SALOME 

This prophet ... is he an old man ? 

FIRST SOLDIER 

No, Princess, he is quite a young man. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

You cannot be sure. There are those who say 
he is Elias. 

SALOME 

Who is Elias r 

SECOND SOLDIER 

A very ancient prophet of this country, 
Princess. 

THE SLAVE 

What answer may I give the Tetrarch from the 
Princess ? 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

Rejoice not thou, land of Palestine, because 
the rod of him who smote thee is broken. For 



16 SALOM^ 

from the seed of the serpent shall come forth a 
basilisk, and that which is born of it shall devour 
the birds. 

SALOME 

What a strange voice I would speak with 
him. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

I fear it is impossible, Princess. The Tetrarch 
does not wish any one to speak with him. He 
has even forbidden the high priest to speak with 
him. 

SALOME 

I desire to speak with him. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

It is impossible, Princess. 

SALOME 

1 will speak with him. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Would it not be better to return to the ban- 
quet ? 



SALOM^ 17 

SALOME 

Bring forth this prophet. 
[Exit the slave.] 

FIRST SOLDIER 

We dare not, Princess. 

SALOME [approaching the cistern and looking down 
into it] 

How black it is, down there ! It must be 
terrible to be in so black a pit ! It is like a tomb. 
. . . [To the soldiers] Did you not hear me? 
Bring out the prophet. I wish to see him. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

Princess, I beg you do not require this of us. 

SALOME 

You keep me waiting ! 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Princess, our lives belong to you, but we cannot 
do what you have asked of us. And indeed, it is 
not of us that you should ask this thing. 



[looking at the young Syrian] 
Ah! . 



18 SALOME 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

Oh ! what is going to happen ? I am sure 
that some misfortune will happen. 

SALOME [going up to the young Syrian] 

You will do this thing for me, will you not, 
Narraboth? You will do this thing for me. I 
have always been kind to you. You will do it for 
me. I would but look at this strange prophet. 
Men have talked so much of him. Often have 
I heard the Tetrarch talk of him. I think the 
Tetrarch is afraid of him. Are you, even you, 
also afraid of him, Narraboth ? 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

I fear him not, Princess ; there is no man I fear. 
But the Tetrarch has formally forbidden that 
any man should raise the cover of this well. 

SALOME 

You will do this thing for me, Narraboth, and 
to-morrow when I pass in my litter beneath the 
gateway of the idol-sellers 1 will let fall for you a 
little flower, a little green flower. 



SALOME 19 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Princess, I cannot, I cannot. 

SALOME [smiling] 

You will do this thing for me, Narraboth. You 
know that you will do this thing for me. And 
to-morrow when I pass in my litter by the bridge 
of the idol-buyers, I will look at you through the 
muslin veils, I will look at you, Narraboth, it may 
be I will smile at you. Look at me, Narraboth, 
look at me. Ah ! you know that you will do 
what I ask of you. You know it well. ... I 
know that you will do this thing. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN [signing to the third soldier] 

Let the prophet come forth. . . , The Princess 
Salome desires to see him. 

SALOME 
Ah! 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

Oh ! How strange the moon looks. You would 
think it was the hand of a dead woman who is 
seeking to cover herself with a shroud. 



20 SALOM6 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

The moon has a strange look ! She is like a little 
princess, whose eyes are eyes of amber. Through 
the clouds of muslin she is smiling like a little 
princess. 

[The prophet comes out of the cistern. Salome 
looks at him and steps slowly back.] 

JOKANAAN 

Where is he whose cup of abominations is now 
full ? Where is he, who in a robe of silver shall 
one day die in the face of all the people ? Bid 
him come forth, that he may hear the voice of 
him who hath cried in the waste places and in the 
houses of kings. 

SALOME 

Of whom is he speaking ? 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

You can never tell, Princess. 

JOKANAAN 

Where is she who having seen the images of 
men painted on the walls, the images of the 
Chaldeans limned in colours, gave herself up unto 




A PLATONIC LAMENT 



SALOME 21 

the lust of her eyes, and sent ambassadors into 
Chaldea ? 

SALOME 

It is of my mother that he speaks. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Oh no, Princess. 

SALOME 

Yes ; it is of my mother that he speaks. 

JOKANAAN 

Where is she who gave herself unto the Cap- 
tains of Assyria, who have baldricks on their 
loins, and tiaras of divers colours on their heads ? 
Where is she who hath given herself to the 
young men of Egypt, who are clothed in fine 
linen and purple, whose shields are of gold, 
whose helmets are of silver, whose bodies are 
mighty ? Bid her rise up from the bed of her 
abominations, from the bed of her incestuous- 
ness, that she may hear the words of him who 
prepareth the way of the Lord, that she may 
repent her of her iniquities. Though she will never 



22 SALOME 

repent, but will stick fast in her abominations, 
bid her come ; for the fan of the Lord is in His 
hand. 

SALOME 

But he is terrible, he is terrible ! 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Do not stay here, Princess, I beseech you. 

SALOME 

It is his eyes above all that are terrible. They 
are like black holes burned by torches in a Tyrian 
tapestry. They are like black caverns where 
dragons dwell. They are like the black caverns 
of Egypt in which the dragons make their lairs. 
They are like black lakes troubled by fantastic 
moons. . . . Do you think he will speak again ? 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Do not stay here, Princess. I pray you do not 
stay here. 

SALOMK 

How wasted he is ! He is like a thin ivory 
statue. He is like an image of silver. I am sure 



SALOME 23 

he is chaste as the moon is. He is like a moon- 
beam, like a shaft of silver. His flesh must be 
cool like ivory. I would look closer at him. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

No, no, Princess. 

SALOME 

1 must look at him closer. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Princess ! Princess ! 

JOKANAAN 

Who is this woman who is looking at me ? I 
will not have her look at me. Wherefore doth 
she look at me with her golden eyes under her 
gilded eyelids? I know not who she is. I do 
not wish to know who she is. Bid her begone. 
It is not to her that I would speak. 

SALOME 

I am Salome, daughter of Herodias, Princess 
of Judaea. 

JOKANAAN 

Back ! daughter of Babylon ! Come not near 
the chosen of the Lord. Thy mother hath filled 



24 SALOME 

the earth with the wine of her iniquities, and the 
cry of her sins hath come up to the ears of God. 

SALOME 

Speak again, Jokanaan. Thy voice is wine to 
me. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Princess ! Princess ! Princess ! 

SALOME 

Speak again ! Speak again, Jokanaan, and tell 
me what I must do. 

JOKANAAN 

Daughter of Sodom, come not near me ! But 
cover thy face with a veil, and scatter ashes upon 
thine head, and get thee to the desert and seek 
out the Son of Man. 

SALOME 

Who is he, the Son of Man ? Is he as beauti- 
ful as thou art, Jokanaan ? 

JOKANAAN 

Get thee behind me ! I hear in the palace the 
beating of the wings of the angel of death. 




J.OHN AND SALOME 



SALOME 25 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Princess, I beseech thee to go within. 

JOKANAAN 

Angel of the Lord God, what dost thou here 
with thy sword ? Whom seekest thou in this foul 
palace ? The day of him who shall die in a robe 
of silver has not yet come. 

SALOME 
Jokanaan ! 

JOKANAAN 

Who speaketh ? 

SALOME 

Jokanaan, I am amorous of thy body ! Thy 
body is white like the lilies of a field that the 
mower hath never mowed. Thy body is white 
like the snows that lie on the mountains, like the 
snows that lie on the mountains of Judaea, and 
come down into the valleys. The roses in the 
garden of the Queen of Arabia are not so white 
as thy body. Neither the roses in the garden 
of the Queen of Arabia, nor the feet of the 
dawn when they light on the leaves, nor the 



26 SALOME 

breast of the moon when she lies on the breast 
of the sea. . . . There is nothing in the world so 
white as thy body. Let me touch thy body. 

JOKANAAN 

Back ! daughter of Babylon ! By woman came 
evil into the world. Speak not to me. I will not 
listen to thee. I listen but to the voice of the 
Lord God. 

SALOME 

Thy body is hideous. It is like the body of a 
leper. It is like a plastered wall where vipers 
have crawled; like a plastered wall where the 
scorpions have made their nest. It is like a 
whitened sepulchre full of loathsome things. It 
is horrible, thy body is horrible. It is of thy 
hair that I am enamoured, Jokanaan. Thy hair 
is like clusters of grapes, like the clusters of 
black grapes that hang from the vine-trees of 
Edom in the land of the Edomites. Thy hair is 
like the cedars of Lebanon, like the great cedars 
of Lebanon that give their shade to the lions and 
to the robbers who would hide themselves by day. 
The long black nights, the nights when the moon 



SALOME 27 

hides her face, when the stars are afraid, are 
not so black. The silence that dwells in the 
forest is not so black. There is nothing in the 
world so black as thy hair. . . . Let me touch 
thy hair. 

JOKANAAN 

Back, daughter of Sodom ! Touch me not. 
Profane not the temple of the Lord God. 

SALOME 

Thy hair is horrible. It is covered with mire 
and dust. It is like a crown of thorns which they 
have placed on thy forehead. It is like a knot 
of black serpents writhing round thy neck. I 
love not thy hair. ... It is thy mouth that I 
desire, Jokanaan. Thy mouth is like a thread of 
scarlet on a tower of ivory. It is like a pome- 
granate cut with a knife of ivory. The pome- 
granate-flowers that blossom in the gardens of 
Tyre, and are redder than roses, are not so red. 
The red blasts of trumpets that herald the ap- 
proach of kings, and make afraid the enemy, are 
not so red. Thy mouth is redder than the feet 
of those who tread the wine in the wine-press. 



28 SALOME 

Thy mouth is redder than the feet of the doves 
that haunt the temples and are fed by the priests. 
It is redder than the feet of him who cometh 
from a forest where he hath slain a lion and seen 
gilded tigers. Thy mouth is like a branch of 
coral that the fishers have found in the twilight of 
the sea, the coral that they keep for kings ! . . . 
It is like the vermilion that the Moabites find in 
the mines of Moab, the vermilion that the kings 
take from them. It is like the bow of the King 
of the Persians, that is painted with vermilion 
and is tipped with coral. There is nothing in the 
world so red as thy mouth. . . . Let me kiss thy 
mouth. 

JOKANAAN 

Never ! daughter of Babylon ! Daughter of 
Sodom ! Never. 

SALOM 

I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan. I will kiss 
thy mouth. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Princess, Princess, thou who art like a garden 
of myrrh, thou who art the dove of all doves, 



SALOME 29 

look not at this man, look not at him ! Speak 
not such words to him. I cannot suffer them. 
. . . Princess, Princess, speak not these things. 

SALOME 

I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan. 

THE YOUNG SYRIAN 

Ah! 

[He kills himself and falls between Salome and 
Jokanaa?i.] 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

The young Syrian has slain himself! The 
young captain has slain himself! He has slain 
himself who was my friend ! I gave him a little 
box of perfumes and ear-rings wrought in silver, 
and now he has killed himself! Ah, did he not 
foretell that some misfortune would happen ? I, 
too, foretold it, and it has happened. Well I 
knew that the moon was seeking a dead thing 
but I knew not that it was he whom she sought. 
Ah ! why did I not hide him from the moon ? 
If I had hidden him in a cavern she would not 
have seen him. 



30 SALOME 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Princess, the young captain has just killed 
himself. 

SALOME 

Let me kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan. 

JOKANAAN 

Art thou not afraid, daughter of Herodias ? 
Did I not tell thee that I had heard in the palace 
the beating of the wings of the angel of death, 
and hath he not come, the angel of death ? 

SALOME 

Let me kiss thy mouth. 

JOKANAAN 

Daughter of adultery, there is but one who 
can save thee. It is He of whom I spake. Go 
seek Him. He is in a boat on the sea of Galilee, 
and He talketh with His disciples. Kneel down 
on the shore of the sea, and call unto Him by 
His name. When He cometh to thee (and to all 
who call on Him He cometh), bow thyself at His 
feet and ask of Him the remission of thy sins, 




ENTER HEKODIAS 



SALOME 31 

SALOME 

Let me kiss thy mouth. 

JOKANAAN 

Cursed be thou ! daughter of an incestuous 
mother, be thou accursed ! 

SALOME 

I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan. 

JOKANAAN 

I do not wish to look at thee. I will not look 
at thee, thou art accursed, Salome, thou art 
accursed. 

[He goes down into the cistern.] 

SALOME 

I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan ; I will kiss 
thy mouth. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

We must bear away the body to another place. 
The Tetrarch does not care to see dead bodies, 
save the bodies of those whom he himself has 
slain. 



32 SALOME 

THE PAGE OF HERODIAS 

He was my brother, and nearer to me than a 
brother. I gave him a little box full of perfumes, 
and a ring of agate that he wore always on his 
hand. In the evening we used to walk by the 
river, among the almond trees, and he would tell 
me of the things of his country. He spake ever 
very low. The sound of his voice was like the 
sound of the flute of a flute player. Also he 
much loved to gaze at himself in the river. I 
used to reproach him for that. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

You are right ; we must hide the body. The 
Tetrarch must not see it. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

The Tetrarch will not come to this place. He 
never comes on the terrace. He is too much 
afraid of the prophet. 

[Enter Herod, Herodias, and all the Court.] 

HEROD 

Where is Salome? Where is the Princess? 
Why did she not return to the banquet as I 
commanded her ? Ah ! there she is ! 



SALOME 33 

HERODIAS 

You must not look at her ! You are always 
looking at her ! 

HEROD 

The moon has a strange look to-night. Has 
she not a strange look ? She is like a mad woman, 
a mad woman who is seeking everywhere for 
lovers. She is naked too. She is quite naked. 
The clouds are seeking to clothe her nakedness, 
but she will not let them. She reels through the 
clouds like a drunken woman. ... I am sure she 
is looking for lovers. . . . Does she not reel like a 
drunken woman ? She is like a mad woman, is 
she not ? 

HERODIAS 

No. The moon is like the moon, that is all. 
Let us go within. . . . You have nothing to do 
here. 

HEROD 

I will stay here ! Manasseh, lay carpets there. 
Light torches. Bring forth the ivory tables, and 
the tables of jasper. The air here is delicious. I 



34 SALOM& 

will drink more wine with my guests, We must 
show all honours to the ambassadors of Caesar. 

HKRODIAS 

It is not because of them that you remain. 

HEROD 

Yes ; the air is delicious. Come, Herodias, our 
guests await us. Ah ! I have slipped ! I have 
slipped in blood ! It is an ill omen. It is a very 
evil omen. Wherefore is there blood here ? . . . 
And this body, what does this body here ? Think 
you I am like the King of Egypt who gives 
no feast to his guests but that he shows 
them a corpse? Whose is it? I will not look 
on it. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

It is our captain, sire. It is the young Syrian 
whom you made captain only three days ago. 

HEROD 

I gave no order that he should be slain. 

SECOND SOLDIER 

He killed himself, sire. 



SALOME 35 

HEROD 

For what reason ? I had made him captain ! 

SECOND SOLDIER 

We do not know, sire. But he killed himself. 

HEROD 

That seems strange to me. I thought it was 
only the Roman philosophers who killed them- 
selves. Is it not true, Tigellinus, that the philoso- 
phers at Rome kill themselves ? 

TIGELLINUS 

There are some who kill themselves, sire. 
They are the Stoics. The Stoics are coarse 
people. They are ridiculous people. I myself 
regard them as being perfectly ridiculous. 

HEROD 

I also. It is ridiculous to kill oneself. 

TIGELLINUS 

Everybody at Rome laughs at them. The 
Emperor has written a satire against them. It is 
recited everywhere, 



36 SALOM 

HEROD 

Ah ! He has written a satire against them ? 
Caesar is wonderful. He can do everything. . . . 
It is strange that the young Syrian has killed 
himself. I am sorry he has killed himself. I am 
very sorry ; for he was fair to look upon. He 
was even very fair. He had very languorous 
eyes. I remember that I saw that he looked 
languorously at Salome. Truly, I thought he 
looked too much at her. 

HERODIAS 

There are others who look at her too much. 

HEROD 

His father was a king. I drove him from his 
kingdom. And you made a slave of his mother, 
who was a queen, Herodias. So he was here as 
my guest, as it were, and for that reason I made 
him my captain. I am sorry he is dead. Ho ! 
why have you left the body here? Take it away! 
I will not look at it away with it! [They take 
a/ray the bodt/.] It is cold here. There is a wind 
blowing. Is there not a wind blowing ? 



SALOME 37 

HERODIAS 

No ; there is no wind. 

HEROD 

I tell you there is a wind that blows. . . . 
And I hear in the air something that is like the 
beating of wings, like the beating of vast wings. 
Do you not hear it ? 

HERODIAS 

I hear nothing. 

HEROD 

I hear it no longer. But I heard it. It was 
the blowing of the wind, no doubt. It has passed 
away. But no, I hear it again. Do you not hear 
it ? It is just like the beating of wings. 

HERODIAS 

I tell you there is nothing. You are ill. Let 
us go within. 

HEROD 

I am not ill. It is your daughter who is sick. 
She has the mien of a sick person. Never have 
I seen her so pale. 



38 SALOME 

HERODIAS 

I have told you not to look at her. 

HEROD 

Pour me forth wine [wine is brought]. Salome, 
come drink a little wine with me. I have here a 
wine that is exquisite. Caesar himself sent it me, 
Dip into it thy little red lips and then I will 
drain the cup. 

SALOME 

I am not thirsty, Tetrarch, 

HEROD 

You hear how she answers me, this daughter 
of yours ? 

HERODIAS 

She does right. Why are you always gazing 
at her ? 

HEROD 

Bring me ripe fruits [fruits are brought], 
Salome, come and eat fruit with me. I love to 
see in a fruit the mark of thy little teeth. Bite 
but a little of this fruit and then I will eat what 
is left. 




THE EVES OK HEROU 



SALOME 39 

SALOME 

I am not hungry, Tetrarch. 

HEROD [to Herodias] 

You see how you have brought up this daughter 
of yours. 

HERODIAS 

My daughter and I come of a royal race. As 
for you, your father was a camel driver ! He was 
also a robber ! 

HEROD 

Thou liest ! 

HERODIAS 

Thou knowest well that it is true. 

HEROD 

Salome, come and sit next to me. I will give 
thee the throne of thy mother. 

SALOME: 

I am not tired, Tetrarch. 

HERODIAS 

You see what she thinks of you. 



40 SALOME 

HEROD 

Bring me what is it that I desire ? I forget. 
Ah ! ah ! I remember. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

Lo ! the time is come ! That which I foretold 
hath come to pass, saith the Lord God. Lo ! the 
day of which I spake. 

HERODIAS 

Bid him be silent. I will not listen to his 
voice. This man is for ever vomiting insults 
against me. 

HEROD 

He has said nothing against you. Besides, he 
is a very great prophet. 

HERODIAS 

I do not believe in prophets. Can a man tell 
what will come to pass ? No man knows it. More- 
over, he is for ever insulling me. But I think you 
are afraid of him. ... I know well that you are 
afraid of him. 

HEROD 

I am not afraid of him. I am afraid of no man. 



SALOME 41 

HERODIAS 

I tell you, you are afraid of him. If you are 
not afraid of him why do you not deliver him to 
the Jews, who for these six months past have been 
clamouring for him ? 

A JEW 

Truly, my lord, it were better to deliver him 
into our hands. 

HEROD 

Enough on this subject. I have already given 
you my answer. I will not deliver him into your 
hands. He is a man who has seen God. 

A JEW 

That cannot be. There is no man who hath 
seen God since the prophet Elias. He is the last 
man who saw God. In these days God doth not 
show Himself. He hideth Himself. Therefore 
great evils have come upon the land. 

ANOTHER JEW 

Verily, no man knoweth if the prophet Elias 
did indeed see God. Perad venture it was but the 
shadow of God that he saw. 



42 SALOME 

A THIRD JEW. 

God is at no time hidden. He showeth Him- 
self at all times and in everything. God is in 
what is evil even as He is in what is good. 

A FOURTH JEW 

That must not be said. It is a very dangerous 
doctrine. It is a doctrine that cometh from the 
schools at Alexandria where men teach the philo- 
sophy of the Greeks. And the Greeks are Gen- 
tiles : they are not even circumcised. 

A FIFTH JEW 

No one can tell how God worketh. His ways 
are very mysterious. It may be that the things 
which we call evil are good, and that the things 
which we call good are evil. There is no know- 
ledge of anything. We must needs submit to 
everything, for God is very strong. He breaketh 
in pieces the strong together with the weak, for 
He regardeth not any man. 

FIRST JEW 

Thou speakest truly. God is terrible ; He 
breaketh the strong and the weak as a man brays 



SALOME 43 

corn in a mortar. But this man hath never seen 
God. No man hath seen God since the prophet 
Elias. 

HERODIAS 

Make them be silent. They weary me. 

HEROD 

But I have heard it said that Jokanaan himself 
is your prophet Elias. 

THE JEW 

That cannot be. It is more than three hundred 
years since the days of the prophet Elias. 

HEROD 

There are some who say that this man is the 
prophet Elias. 

A NAZARENE 

I am sure that he is the prophet Elias. 

THE JEW 

Nay, but he is not the prophet Elias. 



44 SALOME 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

So the day is come, the day of the Lord, and I 
hear upon the mountains the feet of Him who 
shall be the Saviour of the world. 

HEROD 

What does that mean? The Saviour of the 
world ? 

TIGELLINUS 

It is a title that Caesar takes. 

HEROD 

But Caesar is not coming into Judaea. Only 
yesterday I received letters from Rome. They 
contained nothing concerning this matter. And 
you, Tigellinus, who were at Rome during the 
winter, you heard nothing concerning this matter, 
did you ? 

TIGELLINUS 

Sire, I heard nothing concerning the matter. 
I was explaining the title. It is one of Caesar's 
titles. 



SALOME 45 

HEROD 

But Ctesar cannot come. He is too gouty. 
They say that his feet are like the feet of an 
elephant. Also there are reasons of State. He 
who leaves Rome loses Rome. He will not 
come. Howbeit, Caesar is lord. He will come if 
he wishes. Nevertheless, I do not think he will 
come. 

FIRST NAZARENE 

It was not concerning Caesar that the prophet 
spake, sire. 

HEROD 

Not of Caesar ? 

FIRST NAZARENE 

No, sire. 

HEROD 

Concerning whom, then, did he speak ? 

FIRST NAZARENE 

Concerning Messias who hath come. 

A JEW 

Messias hath not come, 



46 SALOME 

FIRST NAZARENE 

He hath come, and everywhere He worketh 
miracles. 

HERODIAS 

Ho ! ho ! miracles ! I do not believe in 
miracles. I have seen too many. [To ike page] 
My fan ! 

FIRST NAZARENE 

This man worketh true miracles. Thus, at a 
marriage which took place in a little town of 
Galilee, a town of some importance, He changed 
water into wine. Certain persons who were 
present related it to me. Also He healed two 
lepers, that were seated before the Gate of 
Capernaum, simply by touching them. 

SECOND NAZARENE 

Nay, it was two blind men that he healed at 
Capernaum. 

FIRST NAZARENE 

Nay ; they were lepers. But He hath healed 
blind people also, and He was seen on a mountain 
talking with angels. 



SALOME 47 

A SADDUCEE 

Angels do not exist. 

A PHARISEE 

Angels do exist, but I do not believe that this 
Man has talked with them. 

FIRST NAZARENE 

He was seen by a great multitude of people 
talking with angels. 

A SADDUCEE 

Not with angels. 

HERODIAS 

How these men weary me ! They are ridicu- 
lous ! [To the page] Well! my fan! [The 
page gives her the fan.] You have a dreamer's 
look ; you must not dream. It is only sick people 
who dream. [She strikes the page with her fan] 

SECOND NAZARENE 

There is also the miracle of the daughter of 
Jairus. 

FIRST NAZARENE 

Yes ; that is sure. No man can gainsay it. 



48 SALOME 

HERODIAS 

These men are mad. They have looked too 
long on the moon. Command them to be silent. 

HEROD 

What is this miracle of the daughter of Jairus? 

FIRST NAZARENE 

The daughter of Jairus was dead. He raised 
her from the dead. 

HEROD 

He raises the dead ? 

FIRST NAZARENE 

Yea, sire, He raiseth the dead. 

HEROD 

I do not wish Him to do that. I forbid Him 
to do that. I allow no man to raise the dead. 
This Man must be found and told that I forbid 
Him to raise the dead. Where is this Man at 
present ? 

SECOND NAZARENE 

He is in every place, sire, but it is hard to 
find Him, 




THE STOMACH DANCE 



SALOME 49 

FIRST NAZARENE 

It is said that He is now in Samaria. 

A JEW 

It is easy to see that this is not Messias, if He 
is in Samaria. It is not to the Samaritans that 
Messias shall come. The Samaritans are accursed. 
They bring no offerings to the Temple. 

SECOND NAZARENE 

He left Samaria a few days since. I think 
that at the present moment He is in the neigh- 
bourhood of Jerusalem. 

FIRST NAZARENE 

No ; He is not there. I have just come from 
Jerusalem. For two months they have had no 
tidings of Him. 

HEROD 

No matter ! But let them find Him, and tell 
Him from me I will not allow Him to raise the 
dead. To change water into wine, to heal the 
lepers and the blind . . . He may do these things 
if He will. I say nothing against these things. 



60 

In truth, I hold it a good deed to heal a leper. 
But I allow no man to raise the dead. It would 
be terrible if the dead came back. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

Ah! the wanton! the harlot! Ah! the 
daughter of Babylon with her golden eyes and 
her gilded eyelids ! Thus saith the Lord God. 
Let there come up against her a multitude of 
men. Let the people take stones and stone 
her. . . . 

HERODIAS 

Command him to be silent 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

Let the war captains pierce her with their 
swords, let them crush her beneath their shields. 

HERODIAS 

Nay, but it is infamous. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

It is thus that I will wipe out all wickedness 
from the earth, and that all women shall learn 
not to imitate her abominations. 



SALOME 51 

HERODIAS 

You hear what he says against me ? You allow 
him to revile your wife ? 

HEROD 

He did not speak your name. 

HERODIAS 

What does that matter ? You know well that 
it is me he seeks to revile. And I am your 
wife, am I not ? 

HEROD 

Of a truth, dear and noble Herodias, you are 
my wife, and before that you were the wife of my 
brother. 

HERODIAS 

It was you who tore me from his arms. 

HEROD 

Of a truth I was the stronger. . . . But let us 
not talk of that matter. I do not desire to talk 
of it. It is the cause of the terrible words that 
the prophet has spoken. Perad venture on account 
of it a misfortune will come. Let us not speak 



52 SALOM& 

of this matter. Noble Herodias, we are not 
mindful of our guests. Fill thou my cup, my 
well-beloved. Fill with wine the great goblets 
of silver, and the great goblets of glass. I will 
drink to Caesar. There are Romans here. We 
must drink to Caesar. 

ALL 

Caesar ! Caesar ! 

HEROD 

Do you not see how pale your daughter is ? 

HERODIAS 

What is it to you if she be pale or not ? 

HEROD 

Never have I seen her so pale. 

HERODIAS 

You must not look at her. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

In that day the sun shall become black like 
sackcloth of hair, and the moon shall become like 
blood, and the stars of the heaven shall fall 



SALOME 53 

upon the earth like ripe figs that fall from the 
fig-tree, and the kings of the earth shall be 
afraid. 

HERODIAS 

Ah! Ah! I should like to see that day of 
which he speaks, when the moon shall become 
like blood, and when the stars shall fall upon the 
earth like ripe figs. This prophet talks like a 
drunken man . . . But I cannot suffer the sound 
of his voice, I hate his voice. Command him to 
be silent. 

HEROD 

I will not. I cannot understand what it is that 
he saith, but it may be an omen. 

HERODIAS 

I do not believe in omens. He speaks like a 
drunken man. 

HEROD 

It may be he is drunk with the wine of God ! 

HERODIAS 

What wine is that, the wine of God ? From 



54 SALOME 

what vineyards is it gathered ? In what wine- 
press may one find it ? 

HEROD [from this point he looks all the while at 
Salome] 

Tigellinus, when you were at Rome of late, 
did the Emperor speak with you on the subject 
of . . . ? 

TIOELLINUS 

On what subject, sire ? 

HEROD 

On what subject ? Ah ! I asked you a ques- 
tion, did I not ? I have forgotten what I would 
have asked you. 

HERODIAS 

You are looking again at my daughter. You 
must not look at her. I have already said so. 

HEROD 

You say nothing else. 

HERODIAS 

I say it again. 



SALOME 56 

HEROD 

And the restorati6n of the Temple about which 
they have talked so much, will anything be done ? 
They say the veil of the sanctuary has disap- 
peared, do they not? 

HERODIAS 

It was thyself didst steal it. Thou speakest at 
random. I will not stay here. Let us go within. 

HEROD 

Dance for me, Salome. 

HERODIAS 

I will not have her dance. 

SALOME 

I have no desire to dance, Tetrarch. 

HEROD 

Salome, daughter of Herodias, dance for me. 

HERODIAS 

Let her alone. 

HEROD 

I command thee to dance, Salome". 



56 SALOME 

SALOME 

I will not dance, Tetrarch. 

HERODIAS [laughing]. 

You see how she obeys you ! 

HEROD 

What is it to me whether she dance or not? 
It is naught to me. To night I am happy. I 
am exceeding happy, Never have I been so 
happy. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

The Tetrarch has a sombre look. Has he not 
a sombre look ? 

SECOND SOLDIER 

He has a sombre look. 

HEROD 

Wherefore should I not be happy ? Caesar, 
who is lord of the world, who is lord of all things, 
loves me well. He has just sent me most precious 
gifts. Also he has promised me to summon to 
Rome the King of Cappadocia, who is my enemy. 
It may be that at Rome he will crucify him, for 




THE DANCER S REWARI 



SALOME 57 

he is able to do all things that he wishes. Verily, 
Caesar is lord. Thus you see I have a right to be 
happy. There is nothing in the world that can 
mar my happiness. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

He shall be seated on this throne. He shall be 
clothed in purple and scarlet. In his hand he 
shall bear a golden cup full of his blasphemies. 
And the angel of the Lord God shall smite him. 
He shall be eaten of worms. 

HERODIAS 

You hear what he says about you. He says 
that you will be eaten of worms. 

HEROD 

It is not of me that he speaks. He speaks 
never against me. It is of the King of Cappa- 
docia that he speaks,, of the King of Cappadocia 
who is mine enemy. It is he who shall be eaten 
of worms. It is not I. Never has he spoken 
word against me, this prophet, save that I sinned 
in taking to wife the wife of my brother. It may 
be he is right. For, of a truth, you are sterile. 



58 SALOME 

HERODIAS 

I am sterile, I ? You say that, you who are 
ever looking at my daughter, you who would 
have her dance for your pleasure ? It is absurd 
to say that. I have borne a child. You have 
gotten no child, no, not even from one of your 
slaves. It is you who are sterile, not I. 

HEROD 

Peace, woman ! I say that you are sterile. 
You have borne me no child, and the prophet 
says that our marriage is not a true marriage. 
He says that it is an incestuous marriage, a 
marriage that will bring evils. ... I fear he is 
right. I am sure that he is right. But it is not 
the moment to speak of such things. I would be 
happy at this moment. Of a truth, I am happy. 
I am very happy. There is nothing I lack. 

HERODIAS 

I am glad you are of so fair a humour to-night. 
It is not your custom. But it is late. Let us go 
within. Do not forget that we hunt at sunrise. 
All honours must be shown to Cesar's ambassa- 
dors, must they not? 



THE TOILETTK OF SALOME I 



SALOME 59 

SECOND SOLDIER 

What a sombre look the Tetrarch wears. 

FIRST SOLDIER 

Yes, he wears a sombre look. 

HEROD 

Salome, Salome, dance for me. I pray you 
dance for me. I am sad to-night. Yes. I am 
passing sad to-night. When I came hither I 
slipped in blood, which is an evil omen ; and I 
heard, I am sure I heard in the air a beating 
of wings, a beating of giant wings. I cannot 
tell what it means. ... I am sad to-night. 
Therefore dance for me. Dance for me, Salome, 
I beseech you. If you dance for me you may 
ask of me what you will, and I will give it you. 
Yes, dance for me, Salome, and I will give you 
all that you ask of me,, even unto the half of my 
kingdom. 

SALOME [rising] 

Will you indeed give me whatsoever I shall 
ask, Tetrarch ? 



60 SALOME 

HERODIAS 

Do not dance , my daughter. 

HEROD 

Everything, even to the half of my kingdom. 

SALOME 

You swear it, Tetrarch ? 

HEROD 

I swear it, Salome. 

HERODIAS 

Do not dance, my daughter. 

SALOME 

By what will you swear, Tetrarch ? 

HEROD 

By my life, by my crown, by my gods. What- 
soever you desire I will give it you, even to the 
half of my kingdom, if you will but dance for 
me. O Salome, Salome", dance for me ! 

SALOME 

You have sworn, Tetrarch. 




THE TOILETTE OF SALOME I 



SALOME 61 

HEROD 

I have sworn, Salome. 

SALOME 

All that I ask, even to the half of your kingdom ? 

HERODIAS 

My daughter, do not dance. 

HEROD 

Even to the half of my kingdom. Thou wilt 
be passing fair as a queen, Salome, if it please 
thee to ask for the half of my kingdom. Will 
she not be fair as a queen ? Ah ! it is cold here ! 
There is an icy wind, and I hear . . . where- 
fore do I hear in the air this beating of wings ? 
Ah ! one might fancy it was a bird, a huge black 
bird hovering over the terrace. Why can I not see 
it, this bird ? The beating of its wings is terrible. 
The breath of the wind of its wings is terrible. 
It is a chill wind. Nay, but it is not cold, it 
is hot. I am choking. Pour water on my hands. 
Give me snow to eat. Loosen my mantle. 
Quick ! quick ! loosen my mantle. Nay, but leave 
it. It is my garland that hurts me, my garland 



62 SALOME 

of roses. The flowers are like fire. They have 
burned my forehead. [He tears the wreath from 
his head and throws it on the table.] Ah ! I can 
breathe now. How red those petals are ! They 
are like stains of blood on the cloth. That does 
not matter. You must not find symbols in every- 
thing you see. It makes life impossible. It 
were better to say that stains of blood are as 
lovely as rose petals. It were better far to say 
that. . . . But we will not speak of this. Now 
I am happy. I am very happy. Have I not 
the right to be happy ? Your daughter is going 
to dance for me. Will you not dance for me, 
Salom6 ? You have promised to dance for me. 

HERODIAS 

I will not have her dance. 

SALOMK 

I will dance for you, Tetrarch. 

HEROD 

You hear what your daughter says. She is 
going to dance for me. You do well to dance 



SALOME 63 

for me, Salome. And when you have danced for 
me, forget not to ask of me whatsoever you wish. 
Whatsoever you wish I will give it to you, even 
to the half of my kingdom. I have sworn it, 
have I not ? 

SALOME 

You have sworn it, Tetrarch. 

HEROD 

And I have never broken my word. I am not 
of those who break their oaths. I know not how 
to lie. I am the slave of my word, and my word 
is the word of a king. The King of Cappadocia 
always lies, but he is no true king. He is 
a coward. Also he owes me money that he will 
not repay. He has even insulted my ambas- 
sadors. He has spoken words that were wound- 
ing. But Caesar will crucify him when he comes 
to Rome. I am sure that Caesar will crucify him. 
And if not, yet will he die, and be eaten of 
worms. The prophet has prophesied it. Well ! 
wherefore dost thou tarry, Salom6 ? 



64 SALOME 

SALOME 

I am waiting for my slaves to bring me perfumes 
and the seven veils and to take off my sandals. 

[Slaves bring perfumes and the seven veils and take 
off the sandals of Salome.] 

HEROD 

Ah, you are going to dance with naked feet ! 
Tis well! Tis well. Your little feet will be 
like white doves. They will be like little white 
flowers dancing on a tree. . . . No, no, she 
is going to dance on blood ! There is blood 
spilt on the ground. She must not dance on 
blood. It were an evil omen. 

HERODIAS 

What is it to you if she dance on blood ? You 
have waded deep enough therein. . . . 

HEROD 

What is it to me? Ah! look at the moon! 
She has become red. She has become red as 
blood. Ah ! the prophet prophesied truly. He 
prophesied that the moon would become red as 



SALOMri 65 

blood. Did he not prophesy it? All of you 
heard him. And now the moon has become red 
as blood. Do you not see it? 

HERODIAS 

Oh yes, I see it well, and the stars are falling 
like ripe figs, are they not? And the sun is 
becoming black like sackcloth of hair, and the 
kings of the earth are afraid. That at least one 
can see. The prophet, for once in his life, was 
right. The kings of the earth are afraid. . . . 
Let us go within. You are sick. They will say 
at Rome that you are mad. Let us go within, 
I tell you. 

THE VOICE OF JOKANAAN 

Who is this who cometh from Edom, who is 
this who cometh from Bozra, whose raiment is 
dyed with purple, who shineth in the beauty of 
his garments, who walketh mighty in his great- 
ness? Wherefore is thy raiment stained with 
scarlet ? 

HERODIAS 

Let us go within. The voice of that man 
maddens me. I will not have my daughter dance 

F 



66 SALOME 

while he is continually crying out. I will not have 
her dance while you look at her in that fashion. 
In a word, I will not have her dance. 

HEROD 

Do not rise,, my wife, my queen, it will avail 
thee nothing. I will not go within till she hath 
danced. Dance, Salom, dance for me. 

HERODIAS 

Do not dance, my daughter. 

SALOME^ 

I am ready, Tetrarch. 

[Salome dances the dance of the seven veils. ~\ 

HEROD 

Ah ! wonderful ! wonderful ! You see that she 
has danced for me, your daughter. Come near, 
Salome, come near, that I may give thee thy 
reward. Ah ! I pay the dancers well. I will pay 
thee royally. I will give thee whatsoever thy 
soul desireth. What wouldst thou have ? Speak. 

SALOME [kneeling] 

I would that they presently bring me in a silver 
charger . . , 



SALOMfi 67 

HEROD [laughing] 

In a silver charger ? Surely yes, in a silver 
charger. She is charming, is she not ? What is 
it you would have in a silver charger, O sweet 
and fair Salome, you who are fairer than all the 
daughters of Judaea? What would you have 
them bring you in a silver charger ? Tell me. 
Whatsoever it may be, they shall give it you. 
My treasures belong to you. What is it, 
Salome ? 

SALOME [mzwg] 
The head of Jokanaan. 

HERODIAS 

Ah ! that is well said, my daughter. 

HEROD 
No, no ! 

HERODIAS 

That is well said, my daughter. 

HEROD 

No, no, Salome. You do not ask me that. 
Do not listen to your mother's voice. She is ever 
giving you evil counsel. Do not heed her, 



68 SALOMfi 

SALOM 

I do not heed my mother. It is for mine 
own pleasure that I ask the head of Jokanaan 
in a silver charger. You have sworn, Herod. 
Forget not that you have sworn an oath. 

HEROD 

I know it. I have sworn by my gods. I know 
it well. But I pray you, Salome, ask of me 
something else. Ask of me the half of my 
kingdom, and I will give it you. But ask not of 
me what you have asked. 

SALOME 

I ask of you the head of Jokanaan. 

HEROD 

No, no, I do not wish it. 

SALOMK 

You have sworn, Herod. 

HERODIAS 

Yes, you have sworn. Everybody heard you. 
You swore it before everybody. 



SALOME 69 

HEROD 

Be silent ! It is not to you I speak. 

HERODIAS 

My daughter has done well to ask the head of 
Jokanaan. He has covered me with insults. He 
has said monstrous things against me. One can 
see that she loves her mother well. Do not yield, 
my daughter. He has sworn, he has sworn. 

HEROD 

Be silent. Speak not to me ! . . . Come, 
Salome^ be reasonable. You will be reasonable, 
will you not? I have never been hard to 
you. I have ever loved you. ... It may 
be that I have loved you too much. Therefore 
ask not this thing of me. This is a terrible 
thing, an awful thing to ask of me. Surely, I 
think you are jesting. The head of a man that 
is cut from his body is ill to look upon, is it not ? 
It is not meet that the eyes of a virgin should 
look upon such a thing. What pleasure could 
you have in it ? None. No, no, that is not what 
you desire. Hearken to me. I have an emerald, 






70 SALOME 

a great round emerald, which Caesar's minion 
sent me. If you look through this emerald you 
can see things which happen at a great distance. 
Caesar himself carries such an emerald when he 
goes to the circus. But my emerald is larger. 
It is the largest emerald in the whole world. 
You would like that, would you not ? Ask it 
of me and I will give it you. 

SALOME 

I demand the head of Jokanaan. 

HEROD 

You are not listening. You are not listening. 
Suffer me to speak, Salome. 

SALOME 

The head of Jokanaan. 

HEROD 

No, no, you would not have that. You say 
that to trouble me, because I have looked at 
you all this evening. It is true I have looked 
at you all this evening. Your beauty troubled 
me. Your beauty has grievously troubled me, 



SALOME 71 

and I have looked at you too much. But I will 
look at you no more. Neither at things nor at 
people should one look. Only in mirrors should 
one look, for mirrors do but show us masks. Oh ! 
oh ! bring wine ! I thirst. . . . Salome, Salome, 
let us be friends. Come now ! . . . Ah ! what 
would I say ? What was it ? Ah ! I remember ! . . . 
Salome nay, but come nearer to me ; I fear 
you will not hear me Salome, you know my 
white peacocks, my beautiful white peacocks, 
that walk in the garden between the myrtles 
and the tall cypress trees. Their beaks are 
gilded with gold, and the grains that they eat 
are gilded with gold also, and their feet are 
stained with purple. When they cry out the 
rain comes, and the moon shows herself in the 
heavens when they spread their tails. Two by 
two they walk between the cypress trees and the 
black myrtles, and each has a slave to tend it. 
Sometimes they fly across the trees, and anon 
they couch in the grass and round the lake. 
There are not in all the world birds so wonder- 
ful. There is no king in all the world who 
possesses such wonderful birds. I am sure that 



W SALOMI2 

Caesar himself has no birds so fair as my birds. 
I will give you fifty of my peacocks. They will 
follow you whithersoever you go, and in the midst 
of them you will be like the moon in the midst of 
a great white cloud. ... I will give them all 
to you. I have but a hundred, and in the whole 
world there is no king who has peacocks like 
unto my peacocks. But I will give them all to 
you. Only you must loose me from my oath, 
and must not ask of me that which you have 
asked of me. 

[He empties the cup of wine.] 

SALOME \ 

Give me the head of Jokanaan. 

HERODIAS 

Well said, my daughter ! As for you, you are 
ridiculous with your peacocks. 

HEROD 

Be silent! You cry out always; you cry out 
like a beast of prey. You must not. Your voice 
wearies me. Be silent, I say. . . . Salome*, 
think of what you are doing. This man comes 



SALOME 73 

perchance from God. I am sure that he comes 
from God. He is a holy man. The finger of 
God has touched him. God has put into his mouth 
terrible words. In the palace, as in the desert, 
God is always with him. ... At least it is 
possible. One does not know, but it is possible 
that God is for him and with him. Furthermore, 
if he were to die some misfortune might happen 
to me. In any case, he said that the day he dies 
a misfortune will happen to some one. That could 
only be to me. Remember, I slipped in blood 
when I entered. Also I heard a beating of wings 
in the air, a beating of mighty wings. These are 
very evil omens. And there were others. I am 
sure there were others, though I did not see them. 
Well, Salome, you do not wish a misfortune to 
happen to me ? You do not wish that. Listen 
to me, then. 

SALOME 

Give me the head of Jokanaan. 

HEROD 

Ah ! you are not listening to me. Be calm. 
I I am calm. I am quite calm. Listen. I 



74 SALOME 

have jewels hidden in this place jewels that 
your mother even has never seen ; jewels that 
are marvellous. I have a collar of pearls, set 
in four rows. They are like unto moons chained 
with rays of silver. They are like fifty moons 
caught in a golden net. On the ivory of her 
breast a queen has worn it. Thou shalt be as fair 
as a queen when thou wearest it. I have amethysts 
of two kinds : one that is black like wine, and one 
that is red like wine which has been coloured with 
water. I have topazes, yellow as are the eyes of 
tigers, and topazes that are pink as the eyes of a 
wood-pigeon, and green topazes that are as the 
eyes of cats. I have opals that burn always 
with an ice-like flame, opals that make sad 
men's minds, and are fearful of the shadows. I 
have onyxes like the eyeballs of a dead woman. 
I have moonstones that change when the moon 
changes, and are wan when they see the sun. I 
have sapphires as big as eggs, and as blue as blue 
flowers. The sea wanders within them and the 
moon comes never to trouble the blue of their 
waves. I have chrysolites and beryls and chryso- 
prases and rubies. I have sardonyx and hyacinth 



SALOME 75 

stones, and stones of chalcedony, and 1 will give 
them all to thee, all, and other things will I add to 
them. The King of the Indies has but even 
now sent me four fans fashioned from the feathers 
of parrots, and the King of Numidia a garment 
of ostrich feathers. I have a crystal, into which 
it is not lawful for a woman to look, nor may 
young men behold it until they have been beaten 
with rods. In a coffer of nacre I have three 
wondrous turquoises. He who wears them on 
his forehead can imagine things which are not, 
and he who carries them in his hand can make 
women sterile. These are treasures of great 
value. They are treasures without price. But 
this is not all. In an ebony coffer I have 
two cups of amber that are like apples of gold. 
If an enemy pour poison into these cups, they 
become like apples of silver. In a coffer in- 
crusted with amber I have sandals incrusted with 
glass. I have mantles that have been brought 
from the land of the Seres, and bracelets decked 
about with carbuncles and with jade that 
come from the city of Euphrates. . . . What 
desirest thou more than this. Salom ? Tell me 



76 SALOME 

the thing that thou desirest, and I will give it 
thee. All that thou askest I will give thee, save 
one thing. I will give thee all that is mine, save 
one life. I will give thee the mantle of the 
high priest. I will give thee the veil of the 
sanctuary. 

THE JEWS 
Oh ! oh ! 

SALOME 

Give me the head of Jokanaan. 

HEROD [sinking bach in his seat] 

Let her be given what she asks ! Of a truth she 
is her mother's child ! [The firsl soldier approaches. 
Herodias draws from the hand of the Tetrarch the ring 
of death and gives it to the soldier who straightway 
bears it to the Executioner. The Executioner looks 
scared.] Who has taken my ring? There was 
a ring on my right hand. Who has drunk my 
wine ? There was wine in my cup. It was full 
of wine. Someone has drunk it ! Oh ! surely 
some evil will befall some one. [The Executioner 
goes down into the cistern.] Ah ! Wherefore did 



77 

I give my oath ? Kings ought never to pledge 
their word. If they keep it not, it is terrible, 
and if they keep it, it is terrible also. 

HERODIAS 

My daughter has done well. 

HEROD 

I am sure that some misfortune will happen. 

SALOME [she leans over the cistern and listens] 

There is no sound. I hear nothing. Why 
does he not cry out, this man ? Ah ! if any man 
sought to kill me, I would cry out, I would 
struggle, I would not suffer. . . . Strike, strike, 
Naaman, strike, I tell you. . . . No, I hear 
nothing. There is a silence, a terrible silence. 
Ah ! something has fallen upon the ground. I 
heard something fall. It is the sword of the 
headsman. He is afraid, this slave ! He has 
let his sword fall. He dare not kill him. He 
is a coward, this slave ! Let soldiers be sent. 
[She sees the Page of Herodias and addresses him.] 
Come hither ! Thou wert the friend of him who 
is dead, is it not so ? Well, I tell thee, there are 



78 SALOM 

not dead men enough. Go to the soldiers and 
bid them go down and bring me the thing I ask, 
the thing the Tetrarch has promised me, the 
thing that is mine. [The Page recoils. She turns 
to the soldiers.] Hither, ye soldiers. Get ye 
down into the cistern and bring me the head of 
this man. [The soldiers recoil.] Tetrarch, Tetrarch, 
command your soldiers that they bring me the 
head of Jokanaan. 

[A huge black arm, the arm of the Executioner, 
comes forth from the cistern t bearing on a silver 
shield the head of Jokanaan. Salome seizes it. 
Herod hides his face with his cloak. Herodias 
smiles and fans herself. The Nazarenes fall on their 
knees and begin to pray] 

Ah ! thou wouldst not suffer me to kiss thy 
mouth, Jokanaan. Well ! I will kiss it now. I will 
bite it with my teeth as one bites a ripe fruit. 
Yes, I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan. I said it ; 
did I not say it ? I said it. Ah ! I will kiss it 
now. . . . But, wherefore dost thou not look 
at me, Jokanaan ? Thine eyes that were so ter- 
rible, so full of rage and scorn, are shut now. 
Wherefore are they shut ? Open thine eyes ! Lift 



SALOMfc 79 

up thine eyelids, Jokanaan ! Wherefore dost thou 
not look at me ? Art thou afraid of me, Jokanaan, 
that thou wilt not look at me ? , . . And thy 
tongue, that was like a red snake darting poison, 
it moves no more, it says nothing now, Jokanaan, 
that scarlet viper that spat its venom upon me. 
It is strange, is it not ? How is it that the red 
viper stirs no longer ? . . . Thou wouldst have 
none of me, Jokanaan. Thou didst reject me. 
Thou didst speak evil words against me. Thou 
didst treat me as a harlot, as a wanton, me, Salome, 
daughter of Herodias, Princess of Judaea ! Well, 
Jokanaan, I still live, but thou, thou art dead, and 
thy head belongs to me. I can do with it what 
I will. I can throw it to the dogs and to the 
birds of the air. That which the dogs leave, 
the birds of the air shall devour. . . . Ah, 
Jokanaan, Jokanaan, thou wert the only man that 
I have loved. All other men are hateful to me. 
But thou, thou wert beautiful ! Thy body was 
a column of ivory set on a silver socle. It 
was a garden full of doves and of silver lilies. 
It was a tower of silver decked with shields 
of ivory. There was nothing in the world so 



80 SALOME 

white as thy body. There was nothing in the 
world so black as thy hair. In the whole world 
there was nothing so red as thy mouth. Thy 
voice was a censer that scattered strange per- 
fumes, and when I looked on thee I heard a 
strange music. Ah ! wherefore didst thou not 
look at me, Jokanaan ? Behind thine hands and 
thy curses thou didst hide thy face. Thou didst 
put upon thine eyes the covering of him who 
would see his God. Well, thou hast seen thy 
God, Jokanaan, but me, me, thou didst never see. 
If thou hadst seen me thou wouldst have loved 
me. I, I saw thee, Jokanaan, and I loved thee. 
Oh, how I loved thee ! I love thee yet, Jokanaan. 
I love thee only. ... I am athirst for thy 
beauty ; I am hungry for thy body ; and neither 
wine nor fruits can appease my desire. What 
shall I do now, Jokanaan? Neither the floods 
nor the great waters can quench my passion. I 
was a princess, and thou didst scorn me. I was 
a virgin, and thou didst take my virginity from 
me. I was chaste, and thou didst fill my veins 
with fire. . . . Ah ! ah ! wherefore didst thou not 
)ook at me, Jokanaan? If thou hadst looked at 




THE CLIMAX 



SALOME 81 

me thou hadst loved me. Well I know that thou 
wouldst have loved me, and the mystery of love 
is greater than the mystery of death. Love only 
should one consider. 

HEROD 

She is monstrous, your daughter, she is alto- 
gether monstrous. In truth, what she has done 
is a great crime. I am sure that it is a crime 
against an unknown God. 

HERODIAS 

I approve of what my daughter has done. And 
I will stay here now. 

HEROD [rising] 

Ah ! There speaks the incestuous wife ! Come ! 
I will not stay here. Come, I tell you. Surely 
some terrible thing will befall. Manasseh, Issa- 
char, Ozias, put out the torches. I will not look 
at things. I will not suffer things to look at me. 
Put out the torches ! Hide the moon ! Hide 
the stars ! Let us hide ourselves in our palace, 
Herodias. I begin to be afraid. 

[The slaves put out the torches. The stars dm- 
appear. A great black cloud crosses the moon and 



82 SALOME 

conceals it completely. The stage becomes very dark. 
The Tetrarch begins to climb the staircase.] 

THE VOICE OF SALOME 

Ah ! I have kissed thy mouth, Jokanaan, I 
have kissed thy mouth. There was a bitter 
taste on thy lips. Was it the taste of blood ? . . . 
But perchance it is the taste of love. They 
say that love hath a bitter taste. . . . But what 
of that ? what of that ? I have kissed thy mouth, 
Jokanaan, I have kissed thy mouth. 

[A moonbeam falls on Salome, covering her tvith 
light} 

EROD [turning round and seeing Salome] 

Kill that woman ! 

[The soldiers rush forward and crush beneath 
their shields Salome, daughter of Herodias, Princess 
of Judcea.] 

CURTAIN. 




CUI, I)E I.AMTF. 



THE EARLY WORK OF 
AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY H. C. MARILLIER 
Demy 4te. l Us. 6d. net 

HTHIS handsome volume was originally published soon after 
Beardsley's death. It contains most of his work up 
to the time of his ceasing to be associated with the art 
editorship of "The Yellow Book," and includes the remark- 
able designs illustrating " Salome," long since out of print. 
These are considered by the critics as among the best and 
most individual work he did. There are in all upwards of 
1 80 reproductions, in addition to two characteristic photo- 
graphs of Beardsley, taken by Mr. Frederick H. Evans. 

THE LATER WORK OF 
AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

Demy 4to. i Us. 6d. net 



a limited Edition of one hundred and twenty 
copies for England and America^ printed on Japanese 
Vellum, 105s. net (originally published at 84$. et)> 

*~PHIS collection was not published until nearly three years 
after Beardsley's death, and contains most of the designs 
not included in "The Early Work." The two volumes 
thus form an almost complete record of his artistic produc- 
tion. In all there are upwards of 170 reproductions. 

In the Japanese Vellum edition several illustrations are 
reproduced in photogravuie, instead of half-tone as in the 
ordinary edition, whilst the frontispiece is hand-coloured. 



BEN IONSON, HIS VOL- 
PONE : OR THE FOX 

A NEW EDITION, WITH A CRITICAL ESSAY 
ON THE AUTHOR BY VINCENT O'SULLIVAN 

And Illustrations by AUBREY BEARDSLIY 

Demy 410. Price 108. 6d. net 
(Originally published at jt. 6d. net) 

# * # The Ordinary Edition is limited to one thousand copies. 
The Japanese Vellum Edition^ limited to one hundred 
copies, is now out of print, 

VTR. ROBERT ROSS in his eulogy considers 1896 as 
Beardsley's annus mirabilis, and remarks that it would 
be impossible to believe he could have surpassed the work 
of that year but for the illustrations to '* Volpone." They 
characterise in a very marked manner the singular genius, 
both in creative faculty and draughtsmanship, of the artist. 



THE RAPE OF THE LOCK 

BY ALEXANDER POPE 

With Nine Full-page Illustrations by AUBRCY BEARDSLKY 
Demy i6mo. Leather 33. net. Cloth 2s. net 

% The Japanese Vellum Edition and the Original 
Edition are both exhausted. 

TDERHAPS, with the exception of the series of drawings 
* illustrating " Salome^" no designs are more character- 
istic, more strikingly original, than those contained in 
"The Rape of the Lock." 



UNDER THE HILL 

AND OTHER ESSAYS IN PROSE AND 
VERSE INCLUDING TABLE TALK 

BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

With numerous Illustrations by the Author 
Crown 410. Price 75. 6d. net 

# % tAlso an edition printed upon Japanese Vellum, limited 
to fifty copies for England and ^America. Price % Is, net 

r I A HE increasing popularity of Aubrey Beardsley volumes 
of drawings has prompted his publisher to re-issue his 
literary remains, if he may so style them. In this volume 
are gathered together his literary contributions in verse and 
prose to "The Savoy," his Table Talk, and two letters 
written to the Press in reply to criticism, which are 
characteristic of the humorous courtesy with which 
Beardsley received adverse or scornful criticism, contenting 
himself with the weapons of courtesy and humour. There 
are also included in this volume several hitherto unpublished 
designs which are of great interest to all lovers of his work. 



THE YELLOW BOOK 

AN ILLUSTRATED QUARTERLY 

LITERARY EDITOR HENRY HARLAND 
ART EDITOR (Vols. I to IV) AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

Fcap. 4to. Price 6s. net. 13 Volumes 

TT was in his capacity as art-editor of "The Yellow 
Book" that Beardsley made his first claim to public 
notice. The earlier volumes contain twenty designs from 
his pencil, in addition to a number of others from the best- 
known black and white artists of the day. 



A PORTFOLIO OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY'S 
DRAWINGS ILLUSTRATING OSCAR WILDE'S 

SALOME 

Folio. 1 3ix 10^ inches. Price us. 6d. net 

'yHE designs of the late Aubrey Beardsley are here 
reproduced for the first time, the actual size of the 
originals, viz. 9 x 6| inches, and are printed upon Japanese 
vellum. Included among them is a drawing originally done 
as an illustration to "Salome," but not included in the 
volume when published. This masterly series of designs is 
without doubt Beardsley's chef d'oeuvre, and the Care which 
hag been taken in the production ot the blocks makes 
prints equal in effect to the originals themselves. 



SALOME 

A tragedy in one act translated from the French of OSCAR 
WILDE, with an Introduction by ROBERT Ross, with seven- 
teen lull-page Ilh>stratJ'.Mis by AUBREY BEARDSLEY. 

Fcap. 410. 8 x 6 inches. Price IDS. 6d, net 

Also an Unillustrated Edition, with a Cover Design by 
AUBREY BEARDSLEY. 

Royal 1 6 mo. 6J x 5 inches. Price zs. 6d. net 



AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

By ROBERT ROSS 

With 16 full-page Illustrations by AUBREY BEARDSLEY, and 

a revised iconography by AYMER VALLANCE. 

Crown 8vo. 33. 6d. net 



ILLUSTRATED BY VERNON HILL 

THE ARCADIAN CALENDAR 

FOR 1910. A Series of 12 Designs descriptive 

of the Months,together with a Cover and Title-page. 

Folio. 33. 6d. net 

Press Opinions. 

Illustrated London News. "Mr. John Lane may be congratu- 
lated on having discovered another artist of striking originality 
and power. _The Arcadian Calendar bids fair to be the beginning 
of a reputation." 

Graphic. "Quite the most remarkable calendar that has been 
published. Mr. Hill has a most remarkable fancy. . . . This 
clever calendar." 

World. "The drawings are all delightfully decorative, and 
full of promise for the young artist's future." 
Pali Mall Gazette." Mr. Vernon Hill shows imagination." 
Art Journal. " The drawings are clever and show originality." 
Literary World. "A genuine skill of draughtsmanship and 
sense of design mark these drawings. . . . Distinctly clever, and 
should find an appreciative reception." 

New Age. " Mr. Vernon Hill's drawings are of great import- 
ance. They point to a new illustrator of immense promise. His 
work is strong, imaginative, arresting in ideas, full of decided 
power and originality. It is destined to make a stir." 
Sphere. "The drawings are undeniably clever." 
Studio. " We must congratulate Mr. Hill upon the fine quality 
of his black chalk drawing. We shall look forward to seeing more 
work of this clever and original artist." 

Daily Graphic. "A calendar which discloses an unusual 
amount of ingenuity and an imaginativeness of design quite out 
of the common." 

Country Life. " There is real originality in the book." 
Dublin Daily Express. " No more remarkable artistic pro- 
duction has appeared for a considerable time." 



THE NEW INFERNO. BY STEPHEN 

PHILLIPS. An Edition de Luxe printed on hand-made 

paper. With 16 full-page Drawings, End-papers, Title-page, 

and a Cover Design by VERNON HILL. Limited to 320 

copies. 218. net. 



BALLADS WEIRD AND WON- 
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ILLUSTRATED BY AUSTIN O. SPARE 

A BOOK OF SATYRS. THIR- 
TEEN DESIGNS. BY AUSTIN O. SPARE 
LARGE FOLIO. (17 x 13 in.) Price 2i/.net 

IN a previous volume of drawings, Mr. Spare attracted 
attention with one of the most extraordinary series of 
designs since Beardsley a series of elemental riddles that 
the sphinx of his imagination had suggested. Mr. Spare 
had sounded a new note in art. In the present collection 
of Satires, or, as he delights to call them, "Satyrs," he 
shows himself as unflinching a reformer as Swift. He flogs 
the hypocritical vices of his age, and flogs them mercilessly. 
He deals with Quackery, Intemperance, Fashion, Politics, 
the Beauty Doctor, Officialism, etc., etc., and he con- 
tinually achieves the unexpected. Of the present work 
only 300 copies were printed for England and America, 
of which 105 remain unsubscribed for. 

THE STARLIT MIRE: 

EPIGRAMS BY JAMES BERTRAM and 
F. RUSSELL. : : With 10 Drawings by 
AUSTIN O. SPARE. Small 4 to. 7s.6d. net. 

Illustrated by CHARLES DANA GIBSON 

DRAWINGS. Eighty-five Large Cartoons. Oblong folio, aos. 
PICTURES OK PEOPLE. Eighty-five Large Cartoons. Oblong 

folio, aos. 

SKKTCHES AND CARTOONS. Oblong folio, aos. 
THE EDUCATION OF MR. PIPP. Eighty full-page Cartoons. 

Oblong folio, aos. 

AMERICANS. Full-page Cartoons. Oblong folio, aos. 
A WIDOW AND HKR FRIENDS. Large Cartoons. Oblong folio. 

aos. 

THE SOCIAL LADDER. Large Cartoons. Oblong folio, aos. 
THE WEAKER SEX. Large Cartoons. Oblong folio. aos. 
EVERY-DAV PEOPLE. Large Cartoons. Oblong folio, aos. 
OUR NEIGHBOURS. Large Cartoons. Oblong folio, aos. 
OTHER PEOPLE. Large Cartoons. Oblong folio, aos. 

JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD, LONDON, W.