Miletus: A Play (excerpt)

[Enter DAEDALUS, in thought]

CHORUS: Sculptor, you, contriver, inventor, what
News bring you of marvels wrought, to distract
A fretting female brain, to lull maiden
Heads? Daedalus? O speak, we pray, o speak.

DAEDALUS: None; I bring no news. I have no marvels.

ACACALLIS: A ‘fretting female brain’? You do me wrong,
You elders. Wise men, know your place!

CHORUS: She fears
Her marriage, fears an uncertain husband,
An unhappy marriage, unfruitful bed.

ACACALLIS: You speak my words and now I know them not.
What wisdom is this? What knowledge prate you?
Hoarded, glean’d, polish’d through long, unbound life?
Speak, I pray you, elders, less, and think more.

DAEDALUS: Exile wears hard on the vivacious heart.
The sun rises on lands one cannot love
While night yet lingers upon homeward hills
The cedar’d peaks, the salt air, fertile fields
All asleep in the distant, endless west.
Endless, too, days among these rocky isles
And empty all art, bloodless and canny,
Clever work for clever hands, royal pomp
But lifeless, artless, all vain devising.
The days pass here unmarked and seasonless
And though neither warmed by dozy summer
Nor by winter frozen, yet one ages,
More year by year, dwindling, alone, unhomed.
And still one dreams of lost home, windswept home
And sunny streets, temples, and citysmell.

ACACALLIS: Speak your own troubles, tinkerer, not mine.

DAEDALUS: There are many kinds of exile, princess.

ACACALLIS: And many, sirrah, of which you know not.