Scene of the Triumph of Maeve -

A WARRIOR

Men say there is a great and evil change
In the High-Queen since Fionavar died.

ANOTHER

Yet she is not old. It is very strange. . . . .

ANOTHER

She stands entranced for hours, vacant-eyed,
Speaking to none. It is as if a spell
Had fallen upon her. She does not hear
The voices of the world: no man can tell
Whither her soul strays. . . . .

DRUIDESS

She mourns perchance
Fionavar or Ailill.

WARRIOR

Nay, men say
This is not sorrow, but a Druid trance
That dulls her sense and wraps her soul away.
For her lips murmur many a strange word
Unknown to dreams, as in the battle-song
A sudden rush of strange desire is heard
That shudders away beyond the straining throng
In a moment. . . . .

DRUIDESS

It is not often in the time
Of their great victory that the stars call
To the souls of men, yet the golden chime
And thunderous procession of the spheres,
In waves of music hiding the wise dead,
Sweeps through her soul and breaks the web of years
That muffles the will, reverberant to the tread
Of dreams. . . . .

WARRIOR

Surely the Queen's heart is dead and cold.
Once she had many lovers: now no man
May please her. Men say she is growing old.

DRUIDESS

She had grown old before the world began.

WARRIOR

Strange such a woman should tire of delight.

ANOTHER

Is it to-day that she divides the spoil?

ATTENDANT

As I looked out across the plain last night,
I saw great carts laden with precious things,
And heavy burdened oxen strain and toil
Along the Eastern road.

ANOTHER ATTENDANT

Doubtless she brings
Great gifts to Connaught.

ALL

Long may the Queen reign!

Far away in the Curlew mountains, the fires of welcome flare,
For word has gone out through the country that Maeve has come home again,
Men tell of her glorious deeds and her victories everywhere,
And all the idle folk in the land are flocking to Rath Cruhane.

Oh, ye warriors weary of battle! here is an end of toil,
For the gray-necked crow has fled away with a flapping of bloodstained wings.
Far from the place of slaughter shall be the dividing of the spoil,
And the bards shall sing of the battles of Maeve in the hall of the Kings.

Now the young tell their dreams to the old and the wise go crowned with flowers;
Weak spirits shall dwell with heroes and be comrades of the brave,
For this is the day of all days in the world, the hour of hours,
The day of the glory of Connaught, the hour of the Triumph of Maeve.

MAEVE

I have given the captains orders to divide
The spoil, each warrior shall have his part,
All shall be done in justice without pride
Or fear of men. . . .

FERGUS

Some folly is in her heart.

MAEVE

All souls shall share alike and be content.

FERGUS

Great gifts befit great names and little men
Are grateful for little.

A WARRIOR

The host will be rent
With the wrath of princes.

MAEVE

What sayest thou then,
Oh Fleeas? Many who served in the ranks
Who were not heroes or kings yet were slain.

FLEEAS

For this justice thou shalt gain little thanks.

CHORUS OF WARRIORS

The Queen is just. . . . . Long may the Queen reign,

MAEVE

Let them reign who may, Fionavar
Is dead.

ATTENDANT

Queen, there is one without,
A poor man, he says he has travelled far
To find thee.

MAEVE

Let him in, without doubt
He brings news.

CONAL

A favour, Queen.

MAEVE

What is thy will?

CONAL

Do justice, Lady, between me and mine,
I am blind Conal of Knock Lane Hill.

MAEVE

Say then, oh Conal, what is this boon of thine?

CONAL

Bid Nera who was my brother, divide
The fields he stole — the beautiful green lands
He wrested from me when our father died.

MAEVE

Couldst thou then hold them with those poor weak hands
Of thine?

CONAL

Yea, Queen, weak hands are strong to grasp
The sword of justice, and my claim is just.

MAEVE

Have then thy justice, go thy ways, and clasp
To thy cold heart this handful of dry dust.
I know thee of old, thy brother who stole
It from thee is a dreamer, he has no need
Of land; he has much treasure in his soul.

CONAL

He is a man of avarice and greed.

MAEVE

Fergus, see thou that Conal have his share
Of the fields, I have other work to-night.

VOICE

Justice, oh Queen! Vengeance on them that dare
Deceive me and defraud me of my right.

MAEVE

What is thy right?

A WARRIOR

The love and happiness
Of the beautiful Edane, she who was my wife.

MAEVE

There is but little right in love, and less
In happiness.

WARRIOR

They have stolen away my life.

MAEVE

There is no right in life.

WARRIOR

There is the law
That gives each man his own.

MAEVE

Love is not thine,
Or joy my gift to give or to withdraw.
No law can help thee to hold fast these things.

WARRIOR

She fled away with Dary from the North.

MAEVE

In vain dost thou hope to clip the swallow's wings.
Let those who dream of summer freely forth
Lest in their bonds they poison the deep wells of Life.

WARRIOR

I would have vengeance for my ancient name,
Disgraced and blackened by this deed that tells
My loss to the world, and mars my fair fame.

MAEVE

She has gone forth to the world; let the world deal
With her. Fear not, sorrow is at her side
And the world's vengeance sharper than the steel
Of thy fierce sword. Thou shalt be satisfied!

VOICES

The Queen is just! Long may the Queen reign.

A VOICE

Justice, oh Queen! and blood for bloodshed.

MAEVE

Which of us all is there who has not slain
Another

OLD MAN

Nay, but my son's blood is red
On the grass: shall not the slayers die?

MAEVE

I have seen pity on a blood-stained field.

OLD MAN

Men say he cried a very bitter cry.
They bore him home to me dead on his shield.

MAEVE

Oh friend! have pity on the holy dead.

OLD MAN

They have no pity, four warriors can boast
They slew my son, in secret was his blood shed —
By treachery.

MAEVE

Trouble not his ghost
With this dark folly of revenge, he knows
It is well to die. He thinks thee but a fool,
Old man, to fill the world with noise and blows
For his sake.

FERGUS

The Queen grows old, she is not fit to rule.

MAEVE

Hush! there is music —
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