Poetical Tragedies

Mordred: A Tragedy in Five Acts.

by William Wilfred Campbell



SCENE I.—The forest of Bracliande.


     Merlin.     Tarry we here, for I am fain for rest.

[sinks down.


Oh mighty Slumber, sweet Oblivion,
Make this day night and seal my sleep-ward eyes;
And bear me in thy light and feathery bark
For I am over-weary of this world.


     Vivien.     Give me the book of charms wherein is written

The power whereof that I may guard thy rest.
[MERLIN gives her the book.


     Merlin.     Thou hast poor Merlin on the weaker side.

[He sleeps.
[VIVIEN mutters the charm.


     Vivien.     Sleep! Sleep!

[MERLIN tries to awaken.


     Merlin.     Ho! Ho! a mountain lieth on me. Take off this mountain!

Ha! Ha! mine olden power, and thou art gone at last!
[Tries to rise.


     Vivien.     (Mutters charm.) Sleep! Sleep!


     Merlin.     Methought it thundered, and a drop of rain

Fell on my forehead.


     Vivien.     Sleep! Sleep!

Spirit of slumber, rise from thy dark caves!
[The spirit of sleep rises up as a grey mist and looms about.


Wrap him in thy shadowy embrace
And bind him in thy filmy, silken bonds
A thousand ages.


     Merlin.     Oh light, thou goest out!

[Sinks again.


     Vivien.     Come, black Oblivion, from thy shadowy tomb!

[The spirit of oblivion rises as a black smoke.


Shroud him in thy swart and deep embrace
A thousand ages. Bind his sense fast.
Make him all droppings of a foul decay.

[MERLIN moans and sinks in sleep
[VIVIEN weaves paces about him. Spirits rise and wind him in a grey and black smoke.


Sleep like any rock or clod of earth,
Thou coffin that enclosed a human soul.
The blind, dull years take never note of thee,
For thou art part and parcel of the past.
Now Arthur, that thy great right hand is gone,
Vivien the devil backs to Camelot,
Vivien the scorned, the dust betwixt thy feet,
Doth back to Camelot where vengeance waits.
I am resolved to be the villain dire,
And cunning devil of this present play.
Then hence to Camelot to achieve mine end.
I’ll shadow Mordred, work upon his ill,
And mould him creature to my devil’s will.