fancier, and it's well you chose the one you'd lure from Alban. Look on her, I tell you, and when you've looked I've got ten fingers will squeeze your mottled goose neck, though you're king itself. DEIRDRE -- coming between them. -- Hush, Naisi! Maybe Conchubor'll make peace. . . . Do not mind him, Conchubor; he has cause to rage. CONCHUBOR. It's little I heed his rag- ing, when a call would bring my fighters from the trees. . . . But what do you say, Deirdre? DEIRDRE. I'll say so near that grave we seem three lonesome people, and by a new made grave there's no man will keep brooding on a woman's lips, or on the man he hates. It's not long till your own grave will be dug in Emain, and you'd go down to it more easy if you'd let call Ainnle and Ardan, the way we'd have a supper all together, and fill that grave, and you'll be well pleased from this out, having four new friends the like of us in Emain. CONCHUBOR -- looking at her for a moment. -- That's the first friendly word I've heard you speaking, Deirdre. A game the like of yours should be the proper thing for soften- ing the heart and putting sweetness in the
tongue; and yet this night when I hear you I've small blame left for Naisi that he stole you off from Ulster. DEIRDRE -- to Naisi. -- Now, Naisi, answer gently, and we'll be friends to-night. NAISI -- doggedly. -- I have no call but to be friendly. I'll answer what you will. DEIRDRE -- taking Naisi's hand. -- Then you'll call Conchubor your friend and king, the man who reared me up upon Slieve Fuadh. [As Conchubor is going to clasp Naisi's hand cries are heard behind. CONCHUBOR. What noise is that? AINNLE -- behind. -- Naisi. . . . . Naisi. Come to us; we are betrayed and broken. NAISI. It's Ainnle crying out in a battle. CONCHUBOR. I was near won this night, but death's between us now. [He goes out. DEIRDRE -- clinging to Naisi. -- There is no battle. . . . Do not leave me, Naisi. NAISI. I must go to them. DEIRDRE -- beseechingly. -- Do not leave me, Naisi. Let us creep up in the darkness behind the grave. If there's a battle, maybe the strange fighters will be destroyed, when Ainnle and Ardan are against them. [Cries heard.
NAISI -- wildly. -- I hear Ardan crying out. Do not hold me from my brothers. DEIRDRE. Do not leave me, Naisi. Do not leave me broken and alone. NAISI. I cannot leave my brothers when it is I who have defied the king. DEIRDRE. I will go with you. NAISI. You cannot come. Do not hold me from the fight. [He throws her aside almost roughly. DEIRDRE -- with restraint. -- Go to your brothers. For seven years you have been kindly, but the hardness of death has come between us. NAISI -- looking at her aghast. -- And you'll have me meet death with a hard word from your lips in my ear? DEIRDRE. We've had a dream, but this night has waked us surely. In a little while we've lived too long, Naisi, and isn't it a poor thing we should miss the safety of the grave, and we trampling its edge? AINNLE -- behind. -- Naisi, Naisi, we are attacked and ruined! DEIRDRE. Let you go where they are calling. (She looks at him for an instant coldly.) Have you no shame loitering and
talking, and a cruel death facing Ainnle and Ardan in the woods? NAISI -- frantic. -- They'll not get a death that's cruel, and they with men alone. It's women that have loved are cruel only; and if I went on living from this day I'd be putting a curse on the lot of them I'd meet walking in the east or west, putting a curse on the sun that gave them beauty, and on the madder and the stone-crop put red upon their cloaks. DEIRDRE -- bitterly. -- I'm well pleased there's no one in this place to make a story that Naisi was a laughing-stock the night he died. NAISI. There'd not be many'd make a story, for that mockery is in your eyes this night will spot the face of Emain with a plague of pitted graves. [He goes out. CONCHUBOR -- outside. -- That is Naisi. Strike him! (Tumult. Deirdre crouches down on Naisi's cloak. Conchubor comes in hurriedly.) They've met their death -- the three that stole you, Deirdre, and from this out you'll be my queen in Emain. [A keen of men's voices is heard behind. DEIRDRE -- bewildered and terrified. -- It is not I will be a queen. CONCHUBOR. Make your lamentation a short while if you will, but it isn't long till
a day'll come when you begin pitying a man is old and desolate, and High King also. . . . Let you not fear me, for it's I'm well pleased you have a store of pity for the three that were your friends in Alban. DEIRDRE. I have pity, surely. . . . It's the way pity has me this night, when I think of Naisi, that I could set my teeth into the heart of a king. CONCHUBOR. I know well pity's cruel, when it was my pity for my own self destroyed Naisi. DEIRDRE -- more wildly. -- It was my words without pity gave Naisi a death will have no match until the ends of life and time. (Breaking out into a keen.) But who'll pity Deirdre has lost the lips of Naisi from her neck and from her cheek for ever? Who'll pity Deirdre has lost the twilight in the woods with Naisi, when beech-trees were silver and copper, and ash-trees were fine gold? CONCHUBOR -- bewildered. -- It's I'll know the way to pity and care you, and I with a share of troubles has me thinking this night it would be a good bargain if it was I was in the grave, and Deirdre crying over me, and it was Naisi who was old and desolate. [Keen heard.
DEIRDRE -- wild with sorrow. -- It is I who am desolate; I, Deirdre, that will not live till I am old. CONCHUBOR. It's not long you'll be desolate, and I seven years saying, "It's a bright day for Deirdre in the woods of Alban"; or saying again, "What way will Deirdre be sleeping this night, and wet leaves and branches driving from the north?" Let you not break the thing I've set my life on, and you giving yourself up to your sorrow when it's joy and sorrow do burn out like straw blazing in an east wind. DEIRDRE -- turning on him. -- Was it that way with your sorrow, when I and Naisi went northward from Slieve Fuadh and let raise our sails for Alban? CONCHUBOR. There's one sorrow has no end surely -- that's being old and lone- some. (With extraordinary pleading.) But you and I will have a little peace in Emain, with harps playing, and old men telling stories at the fall of night. I've let build rooms for our two selves, Deirdre, with red gold upon the walls and ceilings that are set with bronze. There was never a queen in the east had a house the like of your house, that's wait- ing for yourself in Emain.
SOLDIER -- running in. -- Emain is in flames. Fergus has come back and is setting fire to the world. Come up, Conchubor, or your state will be destroyed! CONCHUBOR -- angry and regal again. -- Are the Sons of Usna buried? SOLDIER. They are in their grave, but no earth is thrown. CONCHUBOR. Let me see them. Open the tent! (Soldier opens back of tent and shows grave.) Where are my fighters? SOLDIER. They are gone to Emain. CONCHUBOR -- to Deirdre. -- There are none to harm you. Stay here until I come again. [Goes out with Soldier. Deirdre looks round for a moment, then goes up slow- ly and looks into grave. She crouches down and begins swaying herself backwards and forwards, keening soft- ly. At first her words are not heard, then they become clear. DEIRDRE. It's you three will not see age or death coming -- you that were my com- pany when the fires on the hill-tops were put out and the stars were our friends only. I'll turn my thoughts back from this night, that's
pitiful for want of pity, to the time it was your rods and cloaks made a little tent for me where there'd be a birch tree making shelter and a dry stone; though from this day my own fingers will be making a tent for me, spreading out my hairs and they knotted with the rain. [Lavarcham and Old Woman come in stealthily on right. DEIRDRE -- not seeing them. -- It is I, Deirdre, will be crouching in a dark place; I, Deirdre, that was young with Naisi, and brought sorrow to his grave in Emain. OLD WOMAN. Is that Deirdre broken down that was so light and airy? LAVARCHAM. It is, surely, crying out over their grave. [She goes to Deirdre. DEIRDRE. It will be my share from this out to be making lamentation on his stone always, and I crying for a love will be the like of a star shining on a little harbour by the sea. LAVARCHAM -- coming forward. -- Let you rise up, Deirdre, and come off while there are none to heed us, the way I'll find you shelter and some friend to guard you. DEIRDRE. To what place would I go away from Naisi? What are the woods with- out Naisi or the sea shore?