others. -- It is my wish. . . . It may be I will not have Naisi growing an old man in Alban with an old woman at his side, and young girls pointing out and saying, "that is Deirdre and Naisi had great beauty in their youth." It may be we do well putting a sharp end to the day is brave and glorious, as our fathers put a sharp end to the days of the kings of Ire- land; or that I'm wishing to set my foot on Slieve Fuadh, where I was running one time and leaping the streams, (to Lavarcham) and that I'd be well pleased to see our little apple- trees, Lavarcham, behind our cabin on the hill; or that I've learned, Fergus, it's a lonesome thing to be away from Ireland always. AINNLE -- giving in. -- There is no place but will be lonesome to us from this out, and we thinking on our seven years in Alban. DEIRDRE -- to Naisi. -- It's in this place we'd be lonesome in the end. . . . Take down Fergus to the sea. He has been a guest had a hard welcome and he bringing messages of peace. FERGUS. We will make your curagh ready and it fitted for the voyage of a king. [He goes with Naisi. DEIRDRE. Take your spears, Ainnle and Ardan, and go down before me, and take your
horse-boys to be carrying my cloaks are on the threshold. AINNLE -- obeying. -- It's with a poor heart we'll carry your things this day we have carried merrily so often, and we hungry and cold. [They gather up things and go out. DEIRDRE -- to Lavarcham. -- Go you, too, Lavarcham. You are old, and I will follow quickly. LAVARCHAM. I'm old, surely, and the hopes I had my pride in are broken and torn. [She goes out, with a look of awe at Deirdre. DEIRDRE -- clasping her hands. -- Woods of Cuan, woods of Cuan, dear country of the east! It's seven years we've had a life was joy only, and this day we're going west, this day we're facing death, maybe, and death should be a poor, untidy thing, though it's a queen that dies. [She goes out slowly.
Tent below Emain, with shabby skins and benches. There is an opening at each side and at back, the latter closed. Old Woman comes in with food and fruits and arranges them on table. Conchubor comes in on right. CONCHUBOR -- sharply. -- Has no one come with news for me? OLD WOMAN. I've seen no one at all, Conchubor. CONCHUBOR -- watches her working for a moment, then makes sure opening at back is closed. -- Go up then to Emain, you're not wanting here. (A noise heard left.) Who is that? OLD WOMAN -- going left. -- It's Lavar- cham coming again. She's a great wonder for jogging back and forward through the world, and I made certain she'd be off to meet them; but she's coming alone, Conchubor, my dear child Deirdre isn't with her at all. CONCHUBOR. Go up so and leave us. OLD WOMAN -- pleadingly. -- I'd be well pleased to set my eyes on Deirdre if she's coming this night, as we're told.
CONCHUBOR -- impatiently. -- It's not long till you'll see her. But I've matters with Lavarcham, and let you go now, I'm saying. [He shows her out right, as Lavarcham comes in on the left. LAVARCHAM -- looking round her with suspicion. -- This is a queer place to find you, and it's a queer place to be lodging Naisi and his brothers, and Deirdre with them, and the lot of us tired out with the long way we have been walking. CONCHUBOR. You've come along with them the whole journey? LAVARCHAM. I have, then, though I've no call now to be wandering that length to a wedding or a burial, or the two together. (She sits down wearily.) It's a poor thing the way me and you is getting old, Conchubor, and I'm thinking you yourself have no call to be loitering this place getting your death, may- be, in the cold of night. CONCHUBOR. I'm waiting only to know is Fergus stopped in the north. LAVARCHAM -- more sharply. -- He's stopped, surely, and that's a trick has me thinking you have it in mind to bring trouble this night on Emain and Ireland and the big world's east beyond them. (She goes to him.)
And yet you'd do well to be going to your dun, and not putting shame on her meeting the High King, and she seamed and sweaty and in great disorder from the dust of many roads. (Laughing derisively.) Ah, Conchu- bor, my lad, beauty goes quickly in the woods, and you'd let a great gasp, I tell you, if you set your eyes this night on Deirdre. CONCHUBOR -- fiercely. -- It's little I care if she's white and worn, for it's I did rear her from a child. I should have a good right to meet and see her always. LAVARCHAM. A good right is it? Haven't the blind a good right to be seeing, and the lame to be dancing, and the dummies singing tunes? It's that right you have to be looking for gaiety on Deirdre's lips. (Coax- ingly.) Come on to your dun, I'm saying, and leave her quiet for one night itself. CONCHUBOR -- with sudden anger. -- I'll not go, when it's long enough I am above in my dun stretching east and west without a comrade, and I more needy, maybe, than the thieves of Meath. . . . You think I'm old and wise, but I tell you the wise know the old must die, and they'll leave no chance for a thing slipping from them they've set their blood to win.
LAVARCHAM -- nodding her head. -- If you're old and wise, it's I'm the same, Conchu- bor, and I'm telling you you'll not have her though you're ready to destroy mankind and skin the gods to win her. There's things a king can't have, Conchubor, and if you go rampaging this night you'll be apt to win nothing but death for many, and a sloppy face of trouble on your own self before the day will come. CONCHUBOR. It's too much talk you have. (Goes right.) Where is Owen? Did you see him no place and you coming the road? LAVARCHAM. I seen him surely. He went spying on Naisi, and now the worms is spying on his own inside. CONCHUBOR -- exultingly. -- Naisi killed him? LAVARCHAM. He did not, then. It was Owen destroyed himself running mad be- cause of Deirdre. Fools and kings and scholars are all one in a story with her like, and Owen thought he'd be a great man, being the first corpse in the game you'll play this night in Emain. CONCHUBOR. It's yourself should be the first corpse, but my other messengers are coming, men from the clans that hated Usna.
LAVARCHAM -- drawing back hopeless- ly. -- Then the gods have pity on us all! [Men with weapons come in. CONCHUBOR -- to Soldiers. -- Are Ain- nle and Ardan separate from Naisi? MEN. They are, Conchubor. We've got them off, saying they were needed to make ready Deirdre's house. CONCHUBOR. And Naisi and Deirdre are coming? SOLDIER. Naisi's coming, surely, and a woman with him is putting out the glory of the moon is rising and the sun is going down. CONCHUBOR -- looking at Lavarcham. -- That's your story that she's seamed and ugly? SOLDIER. I have more news. (Point- ing to Lavarcham.) When that woman heard you were bringing Naisi this place, she sent a horse-boy to call Fergus from the north. CONCHUBOR -- to Lavarcham. -- It's for that you've been playing your tricks, but what you've won is a nearer death for Naisi. (To Soldiers.) Go up and call my fighters, and take that woman up to Emain. LAVARCHAM. I'd liefer stay this place. I've done my best, but if a bad end is coming,
surely it would be a good thing maybe I was here to tend her. CONCHUBOR -- fiercely. -- Take her to Emain; it's too many tricks she's tried this day already. (A Soldier goes to her.) LAVARCHAM. Don't touch me. (She puts her cloak round her and catches Con- chubor's arm.) I thought to stay your hand with my stories till Fergus would come to be beside them, the way I'd save yourself, Con- chubor, and Naisi and Emain Macha; but I'll walk up now into your halls, and I'll say (with a gesture) it's here nettles will be growing, and beyond thistles and docks. I'll go into your high chambers, where you've been figur- ing yourself stretching out your neck for the kisses of a queen of women; and I'll say it's here there'll be deer stirring and goats scratch- ing, and sheep waking and coughing when there is a great wind from the north. (Shak- ing herself loose. Conchubor makes a sign to Soldiers.) I'm going, surely. In a short space I'll be sitting up with many listening to the flames crackling, and the beams breaking, and I looking on the great blaze will be the end of Emain. [She goes out. CONCHUBOR -- looking out. -- I see two people in the trees; it should be Naisi and