Children of Lucifer
Posted by lahar9jhadav on October 16, 2011
from Children of Lucifer
By Edward Schure
ACT 2 / TABLEAU 1 / SCENE II
THEOKLES, then HERAKLIDOS, who emerges slowly through the bronze door of a building adjoining the gateway on the right. He wears the white robe of a Hierophant, a golden tiara, on his white hair intertwined purple fillets, and carries an ebony sceptre adorned with a golden lion.
HERAKLIDOS. You who have dared to climb the forbidden mountain and to pass the threshold of this Temple with a naked sword in your hand, of what god are you an initiate?
THEOKLES. Of no god.
HERAKLIDOS. You are a king then?
THEOKLES. Not that either.
HERAKLIDOS. By what right, then, being neither priest nor king, do you dare to knock three times on the fateful brass? Know that the call of the shield reverberates through the deeps of Being. No power can recall the sound, wave on its course in the infinite. Its triple signal summons the triple god. If I make him speak for you, he will manifest himself in his awful majesty. How will you a mere mortal, endure his radiance and his voice, you who are neither the king of any nation nor the initiate of any cult?
THEOKLES. It is true that I am no more than a mere mortal. But by the immensity of my desire I feel myself to be a king, and by the terror which my soul has overcome I am an initiate.
HERAKLIDOS. Indeed? I know not which is the greater, your audacity or your arrogance! Are you perhaps some charlatan who believes that by an act of furtive pilfering he can filch the eternal mysteries, or else some sacrilegious reprobate prompted by an impure intent? Approach this chasm. I know some who after a single glance into its depths were seized with giddiness and let themselves fall. Others have been unable ever to forget it and believe that they are falling, falling for ever into a bottomless void. Weigh your strength then and consider. You can still withdraw.
THEOKLES. A man does not withdraw when the desire of a lifetime is staked upon one hour and when he knows that hour to be come. Foolhardy? Maybe, but neither sacrilegious nor a charlatan. I am a man who means to view Heaven and the Abyss before acting and to match the God which he carries within him against the God of the universe. The terrors you speak of do not frighten me. They cannot equal the hell of thoughts which I bear within me without trembling or flinching.
HERAKLIDOS. You speak like a predestined hero. Your name?
THEOKLES. Theokles of Dionysia.
HERAKLIDOS. Who sends you?
HERAKLIDOS. It is well; I was expecting you. Your words suit your deeds as a sword-hilt the blade; that is the mark of the strong. You are a true son of Japhet, one of those who walk under the sign of the sun and whom I, heir of the ancient sages, am bound to defend. Now what do you ask of me?
THEOKLES. To learn my destiny, and to find the path that I seek.
HERAKLIDOS. It is upon you to choose your destiny and to find your path. But I am able to bring forth from the Unfathomable and the Eternal the Powers which have begotten you and the Guardian Angel who rules over your soul.
THEOKLES. Ah! If only you could!
HERAKLIDOS. I will attempt it. Concentrate your soul in the depth of your heart and do not stir from here till I call. (Heraklidos kneels, prostrates himself, then kneels upright. Then he prays as follows, with uplifted arms.) Lord Who hast Thy throne in the Unfathomable, King of Heaven and Earth, Father of Worlds and Souls, Zeus — Adonais, I invoke Thee. Permit that one of Thy Rays be manifested to this fearless one, to this son who ascends to Thee filled with audacity and noble purpose! (A white flash issues from the inaccessible sanctuary. Heraklidos stands up again.) The Unknown God will speak. (He traces a circle in the air.) Step into the circle. (Theokles steps into the middle and stands still. Heraklidos takes incense from the copper bowl near the black sphinx and throws some on the altar fire. A red flame flashes out.) And now in the Name of the Almighty, speak, Powers of Heaven and Earth! I invoke the Guardian Spirit who rules over this man! (He raises his sceptre. Thunder is heard underground. A crimson light comes from the chasm.) The mountain quivers on its base. The columns of the Temple reel. Red flashes proclaim the coming of the Spirit. He is the most powerful of all in the Abyss…. (To Theokles.) Grasp your sword in your hand and behold!
(A beautiful figure slowly rises and appears above the chasm. The Fallen Angel is seated on a planet half riven and seamed with crevasses. One of his hands is chained to the globe by an iron ring riveted to the soil by a thunderbolt. In the other hand he proudly raises a torch in the darkness.)
THEOKLES. Sublime and awful Angel, I tremble and exult at the sight of thee. Every fibre in my body quivers. My Life Force, multiplied a hundredfold, seethes as though it gushed exultantly from the well-springs of Generation and of Eternal Desire. How sad and how splendid thou art, O my Guardian Spirit, my God, my Lucifer!
LUCIFER. Thou hast summoned me; what wouldst thou of me?
THEOKLES. To be like thee.
LUCIFER. Try then.
THEOKLES. How can it be done?
LUCIFER. Believe in thyself and strive with the Eternal with all the force of thy being.
THEOKLES. Wilt thou support me?
LUCIFER. Yes, for as long as thy faith in thyself lasts.
THEOKLES. Since I have seen Thee, I feel it to be invincible. But why, O mighty Angel, is thy immortality shot through with pain and why does the shadow of death darken thy brow?
LUCIFER. When God said: Let there be light! I was born, radiant and proud, of the breath of His mouth. A star gleamed on my forehead. Soaring through space I cried: ‘I am Intelligence and Liberty, I am Light! I will not obey Thee. It is through myself that I mean to be, to know and to conquer.’ — ‘Seek, then, Lucifer, through Pain and through Death!’ said the Eternal. Then I came near to the heart of the Almighty to steal His fire. Stricken by its splendour, I fell, I the Star of the Archangels, dragging down with me a shower of suns and of demons. I fell into the Abyss upon an accursed planet and the Star on my brow has faded. Since that day I have ranged through space with this torch kindled at the tabernacle of the Eternal, and slowly I am recapturing His universe. Wouldst thou rather enjoy without effort the uncreated Light or attain it with me through Pain and Death?
THEOKLES. Rather a hundred thousand deaths and everlasting pain than forego a single fragment of my liberty!
LUCIFER. Art thou as strong as thou believest?
THEOKLES. My whole being aspires towards thee and ascends at sight of thee up to unimagined heights. My heart kindles at thy torch of pride and light.
LUCIFER. It is well. Henceforth thy name shall no longer be Theokles, but Phosphoros. For thou wilt bear my light before men. Go on thy way.
(He sinks into the black chasm amid red flashes and renewed underground thunder.)
PHOSPHOROS. He is plunging again into the gulf…. He disappears! Oh, that moan from the abyss, where millions of damned souls groan and wail without response…. Terror seizes me anew. O Lucifer, my mortal pain is heightened by thy immortal pain! Shall I be able to endure it and to sustain thy torch? I have presumed too far on my strength. I feel myself fainting….
(He reels and backs a few steps.)
HERAKLIDOS. Beware! Do not pass the circle or you risk your life. The abyss is seething and its fumes vomit forth demons. (He stretches out his sceptre over the chasm.) Now hear the other voice!
(He takes more incense from the righthand tripod near the white Sphinx and sprinkles it on the altar. A flame of dazzling whiteness flashes out. At once sweet music is heard from the inaccessible sanctuary.)
PHOSPHOROS. What are those celestial strains, like the harmony of the spheres, or the incense which comes from the heart of the Seraphim? It softens the bowels of the rock; the huge mountain seems etherealized… the columns of the Temple vibrate like lyres… and the innermost soul unfolds its flower.
HERAKLIDOS. It is a voice from above. Look! The music becomes light, and the light is about to speak!
(A Star appears above the chasm; it is a five pointed Star of a vivid whiteness with a golden core. It glitters like a sun; a voice comes out of it.)
THE HEAVENLY VOICE. Phosphoros! Phosphoros! Thou hast the brand that burns and the torch that shines. But to make thee a hero, a spotless soul must believe in thee. One alone is enough. But without it thou wilt be nothing.
PHOSPHOROS. Where dwells such a soul?
THE VOICE. Phosphoros! Phosphoros! To make thee a hero, a virgin must burn for thee with a fearless love and renounce her god to follow thee. A woman with the seven rays of Glory must plunge into her own heart the seven swords of Pain. Feelest thou the strength to awaken such love?
PHOSPHOROS (with a cry of joy). Yes! By all the forces of Desire, by the torch of Lucifer I feel strong enough!
THE VOICE. Fulfil thy destiny! Beware of pride which leads to the Abyss. And follow the Star of Love…. Light is a Voice…. Let its Voice be thy Light! (The Star vanishes.)
HERAKLIDOS. The Abyss has spoken and Heaven, too. The Guardian Spirits have baptized thee with a Divine name. Thou called on them; they have chosen thee; henceforth thou must obey them.
PHOSPHOROS. The Torch! The Star! When shall I see them again?
HERAKLIDOS. Thou wilt see the Torch again in the hour of struggle, but the Star will kindle on thy brow under the breath of a divine woman.
PHOSPHOROS. (Grasps the arm of the Hierophant and cries with passion.) A woman’s breath mighty enough to kindle the Star on the brow of the Warrior? (He lets go Heraklidos’s arm.) This woman, thou makest me dream of her, thou bringest her living before my eyes… with her transparent flesh and the passionate ringlets of her dark hair; her eyes fountains of light, her mouth a flower of tenderness and strength…. (He shakes his head.) But such a woman does not exist! O overbold seer, dangerous prophet, why cast this devouring fire into my heart? Even the hair of the Maenads and the caresses of the Bacchantes cannot kindle such flames of desire!
HERAKLIDOS. It is with that fire that heroes are forged. Thy heart is on the anvil. Let the hammer beat and the sparks fly.
PHOSPHOROS (not listening). The soul who will believe in me… the virgin who will leave her god to follow me… the Titan woman born of the love of the daughters of Eve with the Archangels…. Where could I ever find her?
HERAKLIDOS. Believe in thy Star and thou wilt find her!
PHOSPHOROS. O mysterious sister of my desire, begotten of the blood of my travail and the vapour of my dreams, on what height, in what abyss am I to seek thee? To discover thee I would ransack the world and suffer a thousand deaths. Vast is the universe, but vaster still is my desire! And yet, Heraklidos, I leave thee with regret. These temple columns where the gods have spoken to me, when shall I be able to contemplate them again?
HERAKLIDOS. O Phosphoros! One day thou wilt return here.
PHOSPHOROS. Will it be a day of victory or of defeat?
HERAKLIDOS. God alone knows. But what matter if thou remainest equal to thyself?
PHOSPHOROS. O wondrous Sage, thou who dwellest like a lion in the cave of Truth, thou hast shown me the signs, thou hast made to speak the Guardian Spirits who reign over me. In their presence my own soul has risen like a warrior in arms. By revealing me to myself thou hast set me free for ever. Because of that I call thee my Master and my King. (He kneels before the Sage.)
HERAKLIDOS (putting his hand upon Phosphoros’s head). And I, O Phosphoros, I call thee my son. Be the awakener of souls and the trumpet-blast of the Unknown God in the world of the living. And now to action!
PHOSPHOROS (rising). The Star and the Torch summon me! Farewell!
HERAKLIDOS (stretching out his sceptre). Till we meet again!
complete Children of Lucifer here