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Miletus: A Play (excerpt)

[Enter ACACALLIS to the balcony]

ACACALLIS: Long these days of waiting, o you elders,
And weary beyond bearing.

CHORUS: O surely not.
But have patience yet, o our fair daughter.
Your doting father would see you well wed
To some prince of power, some king of pomp.

ACACALLIS: And there’s a thing indeed. Wed? To what end?
Some idle wife, rich alone in name, aye,
A fine thing for a lively maiden heart!

CHORUS: Harsh your words, lovely daughter. Decorum
Becomes youth no less than maturity.

ACACALLIS: Speak not to me of youth, nor decorum,
Nor maturity: these too well I know
Or know not! Your spotted heads revel more,
Riot more, sup more from life’s groaning board,
Than ever dreamed my racing blood. I would
I know not what, beyond that I would! This!
This high room, this wide vista, these priz’d gowns
The compass of my wild debauchery!
From this idleness to yet more groaning,
Lamenting, bearing, wearing idleness,
My active sons, my fretting daughters, these
Unborn, scarce conceiv’d, fated progeny
The only work of long and breathing life?
The only act for a cloistered, mild wife?
No! This I’ll not bear!

CHORUS: Yet bear you must, child.

ACACALLIS: Sooner death to this eager frame!

CHORUS: Hush, hush,
You know not what you say, you are too wild.

ACACALLIS: Nor yet wild enough!

CHORUS: Wait, wait, yet a day.
Here comes your father, wise the king, attend!
More than mortal judgment his to command.

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