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p. 3




EIGHT forms has Shiva, lord of all and king:
And these are water, first created thing;
And fire, which speeds the sacrifice begun;
The priest; and time's dividers, moon and sun;
The all-embracing ether, path of sound;
The earth, wherein all seeds of life are found;
And air, the breath of life: may he draw near,
Revealed in these, and bless those gathered here.

The stage-director. Enough of this! (Turning toward the dressing-room.) Madam, if you are ready, pray come here. (Enter an actress.)

Actress. Here I am, sir. What am I to do?

Director. Our audience is very discriminating, and we are to offer them a new play, called Shakuntala and the ring of recognition, written by the famous Kalidasa. Every member of the cast must be on his mettle.

Actress. Your arrangements are perfect. Nothing will go wrong.

Director (smiling). To tell the truth, madam,

Until the wise are satisfied,
  I cannot feel that skill is shown;
The best-trained mind requires support,
  And does not trust itself alone.

Actress. True. What shall we do first?

Director. First, you must sing something to please the ears of the audience.

Actress. What season of the year shall I sing about?

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Director. Why, sing about the pleasant summer which has just begun. For at this time of year

A mid-day plunge will temper heat;
  The breeze is rich with forest flowers;
To slumber in the shade is sweet;
  And charming are the twilight hours.

Actress (sings).

The siris-blossoms fair,
  With pollen laden,
Are plucked to deck her hair
  By many a maiden,
But gently; flowers like these
  Are kissed by eager bees.

Director. Well done! The whole theatre is captivated by your song, and sits as if painted. What play shall we give them to keep their good-will?

Actress. Why, you just told me we were to give a new play called Shakuntala and the ring.

Director. Thank you for reminding me. For the moment I had quite forgotten.

Your charming song had carried me away
As the deer enticed the hero of our play.

(Exeunt ambo.)

Next: Act I. The Hunt