...and Another Frankenstein





Will Owen






a global English melodrama

Introductory Information

Concept:  "...and Another Frankenstein" is...yes, another!...representing of that great, Romantic era, Gothic melodrama that has held spellbound both playwrights and audiences since its earliest stage version five years after the publication of the novel's first edition.  Indeed, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein may well be the most re-maked of great melodramas, ever "out performing" its two most perenially popular consort-rivals for re-imaginings of one kind or another, Bohéme and The Three Musketeers.  Why?  What is it about this novel's four intertwined -- highly melodramatic -- stories that so popularly and persistently fascinates readers and audiences?  Well, from a theater-maker's point of view...it's the melodrama: of the Demon's desperate desire for love and his/her rage at its denial, of Victor's crippling remorse for having created such a solitarily monstrous creature, of Justine's calvary wrongly convicted of William's murder, and of (the frame story) Walton's ill-fated quest for fame as an explorer.  In this re-enacting, these four plot streams concurrently play out, thanks to the devices of a play-within-the-play and that of making the Demon a scenographic effect and vocal presence rather than a personage enacted onstage the more usual way.  In this play then, there is no pale green, most often male, and often cartoonly hideous, horror genre figure; even so, the character of the Demon -- his/her voice intact and beautiful -- is very present throughout the play, as his/her story is being enacted in the play-within-the-play.  Also, this play represents this globally well-known story in a theatre-poetry made of standard, global English -- to make for compelling, and popular, contemporary theatre accessible to a wide range of today's daily users of today's global language.

Production and Casting Requirements:  Except for the scenographic effects-making and live sound-mixing called for for portraying the Demon, this play's production dramaturgy is that of conventional, period-piece costume drama.  This play was projected for a traveling troupe of only four actors and two actresses; strictures throughout -- that the actress who plays Elizabeth also voices the Demon, that the crew is ever unseen, etc. -- stem from this originating projection.  The Demon is a monstrous, hideous progeny.  Only its voice has escaped deformity.  The Demon appears -- if at all -- only suddenly and briefly, or in scenes pitched in darkness.  It hides, cowled and draped in capes and furs.  The horrifying life-form beneath is (again, if at all) only for brief instants glimpsed by the members of the audience.  The character of the demon however, is hauntingly, resoundingly present throughout the play; this vocal presence can be an opportunity to put to advantageous use many subtle and striking capabilities of live, sound-mixing/signal-processing technology.  The bit part of Waverely can be played by the actor who also plays Victor.

Scene Breakdown:  The action takes place in two contiguous backgrounds: 1) the captain's cabin and deck above it on a sailing ship stranded in an icefield in the Arctic Ocean, and 2) an adjunct area or "dreamspace", variously adapted for representing action contiguous to that on the ship -- in particular the play-within-the-play that the captain and some crew members may have devised and played, or may have only imagined that they played.



THE DEMON    a hideous progeny
WALTON    a captain and explorer
MARGARET    his wife
VICTOR    a scientist
ELIZABETH    his betrothed
WINSLOW    a sailing master
HOPKINS    a young sailor
WAVERLEY    an old sailor



...and Another Frankenstein



Background is captain's cabin -- with quarterdeck above -- and the dreamspace/adjunct area beside.  Margaret (playing from the adjunct area) is at home reading letters from her husband, Walton, an explorer, who is in the captain's cabin of his ship, iced in, in the Arctic ocean.  Waverley, an old sailor, is on watch on the quarterdeck above the cabin.

MARGARET  reading letter in adjunct space as Walton writes and paces in his ship's cabin
"My most extraordinary and loving wife..."
Oh how, from a husband far away, it pleases so
the heart longing to hold him to eye the hand
his hand inked on this page that in its turns
and breaks and plunges so bespeaks the fire,
the drive and fervor of the mind that wrote them --
and the ambition so insistent on the mind it led him
to the most distant bleakest reaches where, if the world
were not a globe those on it might well spill
beyond its end.
"...here all goes as well it might since no disaster
has accompanied the commencement -- nay, the near
accomplishment of my purpose for which
I've sailed so far," he writes...

but am now here becalmed
in gloom so deep were it not suffused with light
of endless day so pale and grey it would be a darkness
where there's no seeing what's land, what's sky
what's frozen sea -- it's all one calm fury
of dense and silent cold. The sooner shackles
of craggy ice that vise against this hull break up
and seethe into the cold and watery sea, the better,
for we break away and again upon my quest set sail.
For come whatever searing danger or
adversity, I'll lead this voyage of
discovery to its successful end,
and return to fame and triumph in the eyes of men.
"Oh my Margaret, sweetest bride and greatest blessing,
if you knew my yearning, for you and all around you.
I see the house graced in its garden,
recall the hearth's bright cheer, and all the warmth
of home, and news of nothing, prattle of aunts
and children, all suffused in loving parents' light --
and how I'd hold you, my face buried in
the perfumes by your neck, standing close and still
beside the dimming glowing in the grate --
then lead you to the stairs and love's dark bower..."
But I am here -- commanding -- this vessel and her crew,
all in the service of the glory and
the honors I will yet make mine!
Mister Winslow! Boy, have Mister Winslow attend to me.

CABIN BOY  heard from off
Sir! Aye aye, sir.

"All goes well" he writes "or as well it might"
beset by storms and stinging accidents
that many a countryman would make
a hoary, harrowing tale, but that mariners
inured to the usury of the angry sea but log,
laconic and dull, credits of leagues against debits of time
in their account books of passage over pathless waves.
And in what logbook of heavy heartedness,
in what ciphers marking ache and longing can
a woman's missing of her stalwart husband
and all the rapture, fire and fervor of
the strength of truest love be counted
'gainst her angry passage through abandoned days?

"My dearest and most beloved wife, since last
I wrote"...and how may this letter come to you from here
where there is and will not be another human creature --
and if this pack ice does not loosen before
this pole tilts from the sun and swirls us all
stranded here to slow and lightless death --
I would not know, but write with all conviction
that what I write will somehow find its way --
"my ship and men have stayed our course right well,
their spirits and our ship still stoutly holding" --
till now, here, beached in this mist of dim
and endless, disorienting light, blank as an empty page.
A strange foreboding fills me here, so still
in this bleak, so windless cold it couldn't cut
the flame off from a candle yet could so quickly
cut the life out of a man. ... Aye!

Winslow comes on after knocking; Margaret goes off from adjunct space.

You asked to see me, Sir?

Indeed I did, Mister Winslow. And I thank you. I would have you

Sir, I am glad you did, for I would speak with you

And I would gladly speak with you, Mister Winslow, but first

Sir, the men

Aye, the men, Mister Winslow --
and I would have you make doubly certain
they hew to each iota of our shipboard practice.
Full complements must stand ev'ry watch
as if underway, and all must stand their turn,
with duties specified -- sectors of horizon set,
repair and revision of all that may be amiss --
for idleness in time like this of withering inaction
will soon sour their spirits and vinegar their courage.

Sir, I know, so I would

You would speak to me and I would gladly speak with you
but first, if you please, I'd have my orders met.

Aye, sir. But, sir

But what? For you would tell me in this icy calm
their minds do turn to nourishing their fears,
and dream of turning back and reaching home,
to be, at last, again, asleep, so warm and soundly safe
abed beside their faithful Janes or slattern jades?
And no! There'll be no thought of that until is ended,
crowned with laural glory what we've begun.

To surely see, again, my children and my wife,
I'd give the failure of this quest. Are you not afraid?

No. Not yet.

And if this ice that prisons us does not melt?

It will. It will. It must. We are at height
of Summer, season here of warmest tides
and of perpetual day. This must be just
an aberrant..aberrant..aberrance...
And it will end and soon we will away,
my purpose stronger than it was before.

When Winters are remembered for their long
and bitter cold, or long recalled as mild,
when Springs bring floods of rain or Summers,
long draughts that wither kine and fields,
none should blame aberrance for Nature's blind,
and killing fury. This ice has been this way for

I know, Mister Winslow, I know. Oh God, I know.
And I am telling you it will change...soon.

No luck was ever changed by saying so.
Sir, I have lived a life at sea, and know
too well the way that courage and resolve
of even strongest hearts are swept away,
made tiny timbers churned in smash of waves --
mere nothings in the face of Nature's rage.

And I would gladly speak of that with you,
to learn, by thinking, on what I may not know.
But first, if you would, I'd have my orders met.
I thank you, Mister Winslow. And for now that will be all.

Aye, aye, Sir.

Winslow goes off; Margaret reappears in adjunct space.

WAVERLEY  on watch on quarterdeck above, overheard by Walton in cabin below
'Tis near eight bells. And all is far from well.
This midnight sky is light as day. This is
not fit for men to live this way. Somehow
We must away -- break our shacklers so at fault!
This light portends dark death to fires of hell.

And I write her all goes well? "My sweetest one,"
should we survive and turn safely home
I would spare you worry, and should we not,
I would you knew of how I did my best
against the ugly end, and early sensed
the cancer, slowly reaching like a dark
and stifling insect infestation -- mutiny! --
so slowly breeding in th'instersticies
of dull inaction and despair, so soon
to spread its thick and wid'ning sway upon
the hearts and minds of what were once good men.
And til my end I did my best to keep
them drawing strong on all that's best in men,
and face our death as best men can.
That I breathe -- as I take it in -- another breath
is certain, but for the next, and next, until which
will be last in a gathering avalanche
of accident and misfortune is the uncertainty
that so fin'lly ends in the certainty of our end?
"My sweetest, dearest, most beloved bride, here all goes well and..."

"All goes well" he writes, but not as well
as were he here safely back home beside me,
in deepest love of fam'ly and relations and
the care and company of his new wife --
and the admiration and renown that men
of daring and ambition seek in others' eyes.
Oh my love, I pray, that yours by shipwreck,
so mine by heartbreak, both our lives won't end.
A loving marriage is a joy forever.
Yet why's it not enough to quell and sate
the lust for glory, too strong and clever
to live in happiness bound to home and mate?
The woods beyond the garden where we walked
are thick with life at cusp of Summer's wane;
the willow by the stream where we so often talked
of love and winning of my heart stands swain --
so emptily bereaved of our long kissings hid
amid its tendril strands, buddingly leaved.
In stirring, laughing Spring there we undid
the locks that lace up hearts and clothes, and weaved
two bodies into one with Nature's racing course.
That willow now it trails its lassid tears
heavy, by a with'ring brook of fading force,
so ominous a portent of cold fears
the news of you will turn from desperate to worse --
and come the Spring I'll walk there so alone
to swell the stream with the torrent of my tears?

Hopkins comes on on quarterdeck above; Margaret disappears from adjunct space; Walton, in cabin below, overhears Hopkins and Waverley on quarterdeck above.

I come relieve you of your watch.

And welcome too, for there need be no watch
where there's but icy waste to see -- and from
a dying ship at that, bestilled and choked with cold.

What? No watch? No, for the lieutenant he clutched my sleeve as we just passed, and fixed me in the eye and said: "watch as intent and lively as if every sail and timber of this ship were groaning free in a stiff'ning wind and ever heavier, heaving swells." And so I will. Give me the glass so I may scan...this strangeness...pressing on us with no weight or sound -- ice field, fog and sky all one, only at instants made out one from the other...and to see what? Here now? But our good captain brave and true he said

Aye, brave, so more fit to die so uselessly with us all.
Watch well your useless watch so we'll not see
under the spell of what your lying captain says
the slow and bitter end that closes fast on us,
led here by that reckless man that well we ought...

Ought what, you say?

Make pay for bringing us to this death this way.
And with the strongest of the crew betake us then,
across the ice with boat and supplies in tow
to reach close open water and make for land --
and save our lives

It would be mad to leave the ship for this -- even if the captain, he would agree to come...

He'd not be joining, nor the lieutenant neither.


Aye. Aye. That.


Why not? If we're to free ourselves. We'll see
what you think and do when others sound you out.
But breath a word of this where it does not
belong, and your sweetladdee neck squeezed shut
'll ne're a pipe one living breath again.

Avast! Belay your hawser hands from me!

For now.

You'd dare to kill them, would you?

With these? Or slipping blade that whetstone sharp
spitting spears the beating heart? How little do you
you know how quick, well killed, a man can die.
Watch lively then your watch. I am off below.

Aye. Aye. It can so quickly come to that.
Fear descends so fast all self-control in men,
hurtling them to set upon someone to blame, and then?
So now to raise you back -- to watch your watch,
high-minded and stout-hearted, playing your part
of loyal sailors, cheerful in devotion --
leaving the somber part of leading lives
to life or death, to me...worn out -- gripped
in fear and loneliness like all who wear
the proud mask of command?

Wait. Wait. I see. I see there...

What? What's there to see in this pale mist?

Oh, God...oh God, protect us. Ohohoh... It cannot be.

You dream. The quarter rations we are fed
have sent your empty stomach to your head.

No! I see... I see it -- scudding dark and swift in the mists and swirl -- up behind the blur of dogs that pull the sled -- it seems to slump and sway, and ohohoh...its legs folded in front shrouded in furs, and arm-limbs long like tentacles grasp the reins, and flies a flag -- no! a mane wild to the wind behind the head... No! the wind has torn the hood... Is it a face?...Ohhh... glistening huge like a mangled creature's, newly born

Give me the glass!

Oh strangest living thing that I have seen...

Where? So I can see. Where you say?

There, abeam. Not far, but for the mists.

There's nothing there!

What? There was. There was. By God, I saw it. I saw. I know I did. Look there. Do you see it?

No. You dream. There's nothing there.

No. No. No. I saw it there.

Enough. I am off below.

Wait. Give me back the glass.

Take it, and look your fill, and in this frozen hell
you and your false sightings be forever damned.

Oh leave me not so frightened here alone.

Oh... If frightened so, how will you join us
in killing them who brought us here to this?


Now that you know -- only if ignorant
could you be trusted not to speak, not so?

Not so. ... 'Tis gone. There's nothing I can see. It must be hidden by the mists. But we must tell the captain of this we've seen.

Belay your sorry tale. Oh, tell him if you will
but ask me not to tell I saw it too.

I'll tell the lieutenant then, but report it, that we must.

Hopkins and Waverley go off above.

There's nothing there. But better they dream?
Have eerie visions thrall their minds, that then,
telling the tale, they'll splice a meaning to,
that sustains their ends -- as malcontent they while
the empty hours to mutinous intent?
They'll talk of this -- and we'll then splice to it
the meaning that makes the best of it --
a harbinger of our success to come!
There was airy nothing there, and yet I'll make
of it a stanchion strong to buttress sagging spirits,
and undermine the foolish desperation
that would kill me, forsake the ship, and trek
afoot across the blinding, shifting ice.
But foolish never held men back from deeds
of evil or disastrous mistake.

HOPKINS  heard from off
Mister Winslow, Sir

WINSLOW  heard from off

HOPKINS  heard from off
Sir, taking the watch, methinks I have a sighting to report.

Margaret reappears in adjunct space.

"My dearest wife," and did you not once say
a deep foreboding, evil, swept you
as on this quest I set on my way
as at that last embrace I turned and left you?
I so remember well that fateful day --
the bunting decks the ship, the expedition
patrons stiffly shifting as I make my way
looking at my crew, lined aboard, above the quay
all their eyes upon me, but yours still seeming to say

MARGARET or WALTON or together
"So go, and act the part of captain if you must play,
but spare pretending you're my love if going away."

Oh my Margaret, if vouchsafed this ambition
and I turn safely home to you one day,
I swear that I'll not risk again perdition
and hazard happiness for glory's sway.
But this one time, I would my vindication
achieve, for all to see as clear as day.

Winslow comes on after knocking; Margaret disappears from adjunct space.

Sir, the watch reports the sighting of a fearful thing.



The watch, Mister Winslow, watches on this deck, just here, above our heads.

Aye Sir.

Who was it says he saw the sled with the maned and glistening-faced, long-limbed creature on it?

Hopkins, Sir.

And who was with him who says he didn't?

Waverely, Sir.

And who is senior need I ask?

The second is an able seaman sir, with many years before the mast.

Aye, so I thought. And I would far trust Hopkins first
for his spirit and his cheer, where Waverely
if not kept battened to the challenge of the sea
in idleness would make the busiest of mutineers
until the busyness of his life was ended dangling from a yard.

Aye, sir; 'tis so. 'Tis so indeed.

They laugh.

It is of that, Sir, I would speak to you.
I fear he has been talking to the men
of deadly, grim designs, promising
that following him, they would wrest free
of bleak, slow death here in this icy calm.

And kill us both to boot to take away its pain --
abludgeoning us to death like sealpups crushed,
killed quick as quick forgotten, and on to kill another --
how long will that assuagement last them then,
until again, anger overtakes them on their trek,
completely lost across this field of ice?

They laugh.

Shall I move to arrest him, Sir, and those who rally to him?

We are unsure who they are. And now,
arrests would make it worse, and further feed
their rant of blaming you and me, for they'd
but find in that more salt to rub
into their wound of circumstances' victim,
that throbs with dim and smoldering
resenting, to kindled burn with braise self-pitying.
And for now we're all under arrest in this...
No... No, for now until I find a way, we'll let it be.
It's the same men, after all, who can be led
to brave heroics or base depravity.

Aye, Sir. But, Sir

But Hopkins and Waverly was it that did --
and didn't -- make this sighting by our beam?
Here the credence to time at sea we'll give.
There could be nothing there to see, it seems to me.
What else, Mister Winslow, would be living here in this

But ourselves, Sir -- and for how long, and how?
Long and slowly from cold starvation
or tonight and quickly from colder steel
bristling in the hands of mutineers?

We will live long enough to see this voyage to its end
and then, and only then, return to see our homes again.

And if your confident courage, Sir
blurs your prudence and your reason?

Others -- you -- pay the price, am I to think?

Sir. And as for this apparition,
if it is strange that we are here then what is strange
that there might not be others also venturing here?

Aye. Aye. But the strange is not the likely, Mister Winslow,
and on what is likely reason must always rule.

Rumbling of breaking ice etc. heard faintly, then louder.

Close your eyes. Close your eyes and breath softly, Mr. Winslow.
And tell me, tell me reason yet rules my senses
and what I hear is what I hear!
Do you hear it, Mister Winslow, do you hear it?

Oh Sir, the cracking of the ice!

Aye, Mister Winslow, aye! And soon this hull
will slip its clutching and sway in sea again --
and I hear the breeze come from the West
stirring our still rigging and aye! On our way again!
Have the men spoken of this apparition?

Oh aye, first Waverely, at the changing of the watch,
to mock young Hopkins, did rant on Hopkin's tale.
Then Hopkins, fiery angry, to eyes that lined the foc'sle,
peering, widening from the hammocks, or glinting,
standing stooped beside the beams, did tell
his tale of a glistening livid face and head, wild-maned,
sledding, dark and slumping, through the mists
not a mile abeam beside us here in this frozen hell.
And all consensed it is an auger of our death.

Auger of our success! Listen to the sea change, real, in our ears, Mister Winslow, not the fears of our mind's creation. Muster the men, for I would speak to them.


Beat the drum to muster, Mister Winslow,
for I would speak to them, and then I'll
have them turn this ship on a course set Northwards
to vouchsafe us our ambition's quest!

Aye, aye, sir! Boy, break out your drum and call the men to muster!

CABIN BOY   heard from off
Sir! Aye aye, sir.

Winslow goes to quarterdeck above, Walton follows, drum beats, and Walton, on the quarterdeck, addresses the -- unseen -- crew on the -- unseen -- main deck behind the cabin.

My hearties, for that you are, and I am proud of you,
how many here are list'ning to the cracking of the ice?

sullen murmur heard from crew

Aey? And I hear the breeze that lifts and soon
will fill our sails to race us Northwards on our quest,
should we seek to keep the promise we have made.
I can hear it better than I can hear you now.

rising murmur heard from crew

Aey? You would not go, but would turn away?

deeper murmur heard from crew

And how many here have heard the tale
of the creature seen this watch that passed beside?
Heard the fright of him who saw it, bent aghast
to ev'ry feature of its hideous shape?
The low dark sled, the panting dogs, the form
slumped in furs behind, the angled limbs,
the tentacle long arms, the mane, wild
to the wind, the face, monstrous full,
and glistening livid as kill newly skinned
in the first bright rays of a hunting day?
And portending..portending..what?
Aey? You have all heard of it by now?

louder murmur heard from crew

And you..and who?.. would say it portends our end?
Do you not hear the rub of loosening ice
against these ribs? And what portended this?
To your minds what has freed us from its clamp?
Do you not feel the deck beneath your feet
swayed to swells that if a ship could sing
the song would stir to joy the noble heart
at shiver and groan of timbers strained twixt
sails and sea, and what heart would not take wing
at the music of this sweet wind's pluck and whistling
in this harp of rigging, ropes and stays?
We can, and soon, be under way, again to dare
discovery where no man yet has been.
Aye, who..who of you?..will dare go on with me?

ragged cheer heard from crew

Aye, how many here would rather safe at home
be sleeping in warm beds by sweet wife or sweeter...? Aey?

tittering heard from crew

And oh how the kissings from womens' lips --
above their chins or below their bellies --
would soothe so sweetly what most ails us all -- Aey?

guffawing heard from crew

And safe at home, how many would tell the tale
to eager neighbors, expectation wide in their eyes,
of how purpose flagged, courage faded,
and you had it not within you to press on,
but ashamed, turned back, afraid, when you
could yet have conquered what you determined on?
Who would come home, coward and loser
forever shunning others' eyes? Yes, who
would walk triumphant, admired in eyes of all?

roar heard from crew

So shall we sail on, high and wide and handsome?
Aye, so we shall press on, and I am proud of you.

cheer heard from crew

A SAILOR  heard from off
Ahoy! Ahoy! A shape! A shape alongside below the bow!

The watch! Something upon us. Some thing is seen!

Send a party to ascertain.

Avast! Muster belayed. Hands to the forequarter. Lively now! This may be

This may be what it will be when we will see it.

A SAILOR  heard from off
A man! A man upon a floe of ice! By devil Davy Jones I swear -- near drowned, his sled it trails into the sea, but the dogs... Ahoy!

VICTOR  heard weakly, as if alongside the ship, and so through following

A SAILOR  heard from -- unseen -- main deck, and so through following
It is a man, Sir, indeed. Alive.


A line to rescue him if he can use it.

Ahoy! Ahoy! Grasp the lifeline; we will take you aboard.

No. No. I would not, cannot, will not, for it still lives. I must kill it and must die. Take my thanks and leave me, leave me on my quest, I beg of you, but I will not die til I have killed it.

He seems too weak, Sir -- and refuses.

See to the rigging of a chair, Mister Winslow.

There is the churning of the breaking ice, Sir.
How could this come so fast upon us?
The salt sea eddying between the floes
would so cold freeze a man before he drowned.

See to the rigging of a chair, Mister Winslow,
Take care to take what risk is prudent,
but take no more than that. For life,
when saved it can be, to reasonable risk,
it must be. Would you Sir, sail happy
on a ship that left the stranded to their death,
refusing any risk to the safety of its own,
before reasonable chance of saving others'?

WINSLOW  going off from quarterdeck above, to -- unseen -- main deck
No, Sir. Aye, aye, Sir. Avast! You and you, break out plank and tackle, and to the gun'l -- follow me.

He flails upon the ice, possessed by fury, raging, but too weak to stand!

WINSLOW  heard from -- unseen --main deck, and so through following
Lively, lively, sure all's ready -- weather eye to where the ice moves! Heave to! Hopkins, man the chair and take care to bring him safe aboard.

HOPKINS  heard from -- unseen --main deck, and so through following
Aye, aye, Sir. Ready, Sir.

Lower, lower, quick and gently. Come along, come along. Weather eye to danger! Belay!

And the dog, Sir?

Leave him, get the man aboard.

He will not come, Sir -- refuses -- and as fevered rails at a demon he must kill.

He must for so our captian orders! Lash him to the plank, and betake you to it too. Now! There is no time -- the ice it breaks away!

Aye Sir, aye Sir -- almost ready, but he struggles

Make him! Strike him if you must! There is no time!

Aye Sir, aye Sir -- ready, now! What of the dog, Sir? He lives too.

Damn the dog! Ready, ready -- heave, heave ho! Ha-ee-aie santyanna! Heave! Steady, steady, and now aboard.

WALTON  to himself
Heave, my hearties heave -- and well done too, for he is safe aboard.

He is aboard, Sir.

Bring him to my cabin. Lively! And then to quarters to set sail!

All hands, all hands to quarters. Now. You heard our captain. Ready to make way as soon we can. Hopkins, take his feet; we'll take him.

Shouts and running of sailors -- Walton leaves the quarterdeck above and descends into cabin below, as Hopkins and Winslow come on to quarterdeck carrying Victor. Following Walton, Winslow descends first into captain's cabin, and as they do so, The Demon appears on the quarterdeck, seen only by Hopkins, who screams with terror, lets go of Victor, and tries to scramble away. The Demon attacks Hopkins, holding him as if to stifle him.

WALTON  as Victor tumbles to the cabin floor with Winslow trying to carry him
What!? With care Mister Winslow!

WINSLOW  shouting up at Hopkins whom he no longer sees
Hopkins! Damn you, Hopkins! What devil has possessed you?

No...No...No...I must go on until my quest is finished. If I can no longer hope to kill it, then I would no longer live. I must undo what I have done.

Calm, calm, calm yourself. You are safe now.

No, no... You must understand, but cannot, cannot.. I have made a monstrous thing, and it still lives! I have so failed, I have so failed, so let me go...

to Victor Please, my friend. You are safe with us now. to Winslow He is delirious, gone. Hold him down, til we can put him in the bunk.

WINSLOW  struggling with Victor in cabin below, as Hopkins struggles with The Demon on quarterdeck above
My God, for one so frail -- help me -- but such strength in throes of fury... Oh!

VICTOR  struggling, then fainting from exhaustion
No, no, I must go, go on, until I've killed the life I made, that killed all living that made life worth to me. No.... It lives and taunts me still! I know it lives! No!

He seems he was once a man of lively mind and learned means, but so wan and broken now -- as cold and hardship beyond endurance, would do to me, or you.

Indeed he does, Mister Winslow -- and indeed it could.

THE DEMON  attacking and holding Hopkins, on quarterdeck above, simultaneously with exchange in cabin below
Silence. Dare to breathe, but dare not speak.
What you see in seeing me, my human one,
you have not seen. You speak of me on this ship,
and quickly, quickly I will find and kill you.
I come not for you. So silence, silence, lest
you lose your life stifling in my grasp.
You struggle? My embrace displeases? What?
My smell? My touch upon your skin? My voice
as I whisper to your mind tweezed there
'tween your unmangled petal-lovely ears?
Within, your self curdles seeing my flesh
glistening like naked pain? You faint with fear?
And if I moved these limbs that hold you
so then your mouth might taste my lips?
Oh if you knew, my human one, the hurt
in me of how you sense so wrongly who
I am. You struggle? Squirming like a mouse
wrapped and dragged up as the hawkwings climb?
Go limp with lethal calm, accept, accept
that these claws now will not let go.
Oh if you knew, my human one, the hatred
in me of how always you and yours deny
your recognizing me for all I am!
To slake that fury I should kill you now.
Yes, oh yes, beg me, beg me pity you
with your lovely, desperate, human eyes.
But I came not for you. Leave me. Leave me, now!
And I will hide me on this ship where none
can ever find me -- and oh if you speak of me,
my little human one, I will, I will
so quickly find and quickly kill you.

The Demon throws Hopkins aside and disappears into hiding.

HOPKINS  in shock, staggering into cabin
Oh, God, oh God, I have been siezed and...by...oh, I... Captain...

Hopkins? You are Hopkins, are you not?

I... Ahahieie..

"Sir," Hopkins. It is the captain you address.

Pull yourself together, man. You just did well, very well indeed, in saving our new guest. And you have reason to be proud of that.

Except for tripping at the hatch! What befell you of a sudden?

Sir..Oh, Sir...

There. You will be right when on deck and back at work again. As will we all. Mister Winslow, as soon the parting of the ice allows, set a course for Northwards. Double watches on the bow, making all deliberate speed that conditions will allow.

WINSLOW  going to quarterdeck above
Aye aye, Sir. At stations, now hear this. Man the halyards, make ready to set sail!

A SAILOR  heard from main deck
Sir, the ice is thickening again, so fast. The wind has fallen.

WINSLOW  on quarterdeck above, heard in cabin below
Damn, damn, damn -- it closes in on us again!

WALTON  to himself
Oh no, be merciful, and not that again...and
distract me from the truth that I may just pretend I can delay I know. Oh...

Sir... Oh, Sir, I am torn with fear.

Fear not -- all ice that freezes hard as stone
at heart is soft as water running free.
Look here, the skins he wears are wet --
now help me -- to the bunk with him -- he is
it seems, but fainted.

Walton and Hopkins carry Victor to bunk.

Take off his furs and sledding boots, and cover him with warming blankets, and fetch a draught from the cook and galley. It will revive him, for he is alive -- as our hopes must also be. Go.

HOPKINS  going off, as Winslow re-enters cabin
Aye, aye, Sir.

Sir, the wind has died. The cold has risen -- and so strangely quick. The ice rushes in around us a clamp of iron. I have never seen such angry changing in conditions -- something vast has gone amiss in Nature here, and I despair.

Aye. Aye, Mister Winslow, I know.

What shall we do, Sir? How will this end?

I know not. Mister Winslow -- nor do you, nor all of us.
I know... I know the taste of these bitter cinders
that blanket up my heart, so dull yet stinging,
in eerie silence once the fire of battle lost is gone.
Then nothing stirs within that might give rise to hope,
and all the valor and the pitch of the attack
is but an empty echo, crushing quiet,
still, as the strewn, limp and crumpled newly slain
are carcass hollows of the life they had.
I feel as if an orchestra surging at full-throated play
was wrenched by violence to discordant stop.

Are you afraid?

I am. And we shall be afraid together.
Now, when so much harder than we ever thought
that it could be, is when men learn to lead.
And of our fear, none on this ship must know.

I understand, and will do my best.

And Winslow, mutiny's contagion will again,
when hopelessness becomes too hard to bear,
cloud their minds with angry desperation --
more likely now, so soon enough they'll come.
So on our guard for that we'll start, and now.
For those who plan for worst events
are likeliest to have the luck to miss them.

Aye, Sir. I await your orders, Sir.

Go to the men, Winslow, stand them down from quarters,
and speak to each of them, of nothing, just
kind words that speak of trust in them.
Order skeleton watches on the deck,
one ration of grog for all, and a double watches' sleep,
before or after duty, for all hands. And by then
this Earth will swing around once more, and bring
the sun from where it skids by the pale horizon here
to the center of the sky, and we will say
it is tomorrow, and we live to fight another day.

WINSLOW  going off, meeting Hopkins who comes on
Aye, aye Sir.

I have the draught, Sir.

Good, Hopkins -- then take it to the captain, will you? Thank you. Thank you, Mister Hopkins.

Sir? Aye aye, Sir.

WALTON  as Hopkins comes into cabin after knocking
Aye. Hopkins, I see you have the draught.

Aye, Sir.

We'll not be needing it. He seems asleep,
if fitfully so, so why wake him now?
Oh, put it there -- in this becalment there's no danger
from any yaw or heeling it might spill.

Aye, aye Sir. ... Sir, is he dead?

No, I think not.

And Sir...Sir, did he speak, Sir?

WALTON   laughing
Of a creature, a demon to be killed? Glistening-faced, wild-maned and monstrous, like the one you too have seen?

Sir...Oh, Sir, I have seen no such thing.

I thought not.

Oh, Sir... Sir... But he? Has he? I fear I heard him say

Fear not, I say. You too would see demons
after the wrack of cold exhaustion he has seen.
Tomorrow when he wakes, let us sustain
the hope that he can tell us of what destiny
did bring him here so strangely to cross paths --
with yours who saved him as his was near its end.

And ours, Sir, is it to end? Here too?

WALTON  laughing
Ours too we will sustain, and take that up
tomorrow, fearing not -- short as your life
may be, it's still the longest thing you'll live.
Batten the ports, Hopkins, for we all need sleep --
if for no better reason, then to spite
this endless day of unendingly bad luck.

Hopkins closes the cabin's portholes; it darkens, as Winslow comes on, after knocking.

Sir, all is secure. As well she can this ship
now sleeps in her cold, hard bed tonight --
though still there is no telling what dread actions

of furious betrayal and violent unrest
might yet pry her from her restoring sleep?

Aye, Sir. That.

Well then? Well done. But if you would stay Winslow
to share my watch over our fevered guest,
then take that chair and take some rest,
in case he wakes, insurgent with such fury that
we must by force, all restrain him for his good?
These pistols -- to while away the time --
need oiling and care, while I, this cutlass can afine --
to while away the time -- and log a few
new lines on this encounter unexpected,
and damned reversal of our hopes.
So luck's most constant in inconstance, so
fast it changes, from bad to good, and back.

I will, here in this chair I'll place beside
the hatch that leads into the cabin --
in case he wakes and raves again and bolts.

Yes. In case he does.

I feel the unfamiliar darkness here
does balm the rasping on my eyes and soul
from insistent day and thrilling expectation
of getting back to action, now so cruelly dashed.

HOPKINS  speaking of Victor, asleep in bunk
If, Sir, I might stay...in case he wakes and speaks...and madly raves, I might help, please Sir...

Hopkins, it seems to me your place

WALTON  laughing
May better be with us and not his mates?
Wrap yourself in our guest's sledding furs
and stretch out to guard beside his bed --
if he should wake and rail, he'll wake you first
stepping on you to stand up.

But Sir, what if... Walton dismisses objection with gesture. Aye, Sir. ... Goodnight, Sir, and may we rest

in peace. Not yet, not yet, I trust.

And oh ... Thank you ... I will from here be first to sieze what may

may wake? And wake us from our sleep? Aye.

Aye. Goodnight. And may nothing wake us from our sleep.

Deep dark in cabin as Victor, Winslow and Hopkins sleep, and Walton writes by candlight, as Margaret reappears in adjunct space.

My dearest, beloved, extraordinary bride,
if dare you think of me as I of you,
a prow to swelling sea surging inside,
it's best words blush at saying what I would do.
My longing fits within me I know not how;
its vastness in this little self that's me --
as closing these my eyes I see you now --
outbounds the mighty reach of sky and sea.
Two lovers twixt to one, specks twixt in an enlace,
so small as hull twixt to sails, twixt stars and ocean's face,
are far out-towered by reach of Nature's place,
as I'd be lost in love in your embrace.
The resounding spell of Nature's majesty
sings of your great and distant love to me.

My dearest husband, oh so far away
care you to think of me as I of you?
Bright sun that lights this side of Earth at day,
why have you left me, spun to face the night's dread hue?
My longing fits within me I know not how;
its vastness in this little self am I --
as closing these my eyes I see you now --
outbounds the mighty dark of starlit sky.
Two lovers twixt to one, specks twixt in an enlace,
so great as sun twixt to Earth, twixt stars and heaven's face,
can as far out-tower the reach of Nature's place,
as we'd be lost in our love's embrace.
The resounding spell of Nature's harmony
sings of our child, you've left to live in me.

Margaret goes off, disappearing from adjunct space as Walton falls asleep over his papers and cutlass as the Demon appears in cabin's darkness barely seen.

Sleep, sleep, sweet sleep -- one more deep innocence
my wretched and inhuman life denied me.
In every instant that I have lived
there's been a restless toss and turn within,
as what I feel I should be, I can't forget I'm not.
Since none let me forget the hideous I seem,
I've learned so well the art of hiding me --
so still, in any nook or shadow I can fit
yet still be there a monstrous secret
like an appearing from so deep in dreams.

to Winslow, Walton and then Hopkins

The blindness of cold fury that I feel
would stifle up your rasping snores so quick
so I could feel you dying, and slake my rage.
Your heave and stink and full-grown forms asleep
are like the hulks of beasts, so far from when,
awake, you stride in life like Gods on earth
acting in your prime so certain of your selves.
How far you are now from what made you that way.
Asleep, do you return to arms where first you slept?
So warm and safely nestling at your mother's breast?
You were so small; you were not born full-grown.
And how she must have loved you, Oh!
Her own! Your tiny limbs so startled at
some sudden sound, and then the music of her voice
so soft and lulling, so sweetly swaying you --
to quick return to deepest sleep away
from rude arousal to the fear and anger of survival.
I, who almost never sleep, and have
at best known only anxious fears
and blinding angers, can only dream
of what the sleep of love must be.
Were any of you human ones disposed
to see past what I seem and feel the pain,
the agony, of me alone teaching myself to make
some sense of your relations and the world,
then even you, my so valiant captain,
would sorely weep sharing in my woe.
I educated me all on my own.
And now that I have done what not a God
could do, then I... Oh, I... I...
would still have once been loved,
and would once love before I die.
And how she must have loved you, Oh! To her
in infancy's brief moment as beautiful
to hold and see, as now in youth's brief instant,
lovely, and I trust silent about me?
And oh you did, breathing the richness of her smells
and suckling at the nipple glistening at her breast,
lull to the wondrous rapture of her songs
that stirred your heart to love, and then she taught
you words, that gave you names for what you felt
and who she was, and who the other was,
and who were you.

to Victor

And I, was left by you to learn alone,
and live, enraged, in a constant storm
of sharp sensation, blurred and mad.
You dreamed of me, and dream you of me now?
Heave with worried restless rest -- you should,
you who made me out of lifeless nothing,
and gave me life, defying laws of prudence,
so overweening, not leaving to God what's God's
nor staying in bounds of what's humankind's...that's yours.
Here is the notebook that you kept when you
were making me, that I have brought for you.
As human ones might keep their family history,
so I have kept and treasured this, have studied it,
to know what memory is mine, but there is none.
Me. Me? And what can I be if there is
no other like me to recognize its own kind?
I brought it here to slip under your pillow on
your life's last night of breast-milk sleep
so it reminds all of your crime in giving life to me.
This book I have carried since I ran away from you --
since you, more truth to tell, abandoned me --
a living, foundling thing, for without any,
not any, any others of its kind.
And since you have refused the solemn vow
you made to me to make another I
might have and hold, I'm here to bring you now
to fateful, most deserved, unhappy end.
What kind of life am I and what's worth life to me
to live so achingly alone, completely free
to kill you all so freely now?
Here is the notebook that you kept when you
were making me, that I have brought for you.
As human ones might keep their fam'ly's hist'ry,
so I have kept and treasured this, have studied it,
regarding it, intent in every way,
as if a prism it might refract some light
deep from the darkness of your mind that is
my only past. The hideous progeny I am, is yours.
And now to darkness both our lives shall pass.

The Demon starts to strangle Victor, but wakes Hopkins as he does so, who screams as Victor struggles with The Demon, which wakes Walton and Winslow, as The Demon hurls Victor out of the bunk and flees, disappearing into the shadows. Walton and Winslow, fearing mutineers behind the cabin door, ignore, at first, Victor and Hopkins.

Are they come?

I know not. The hatch is latched behind?


Then invite them in.

Aye. For these doors would hardly keep your hearties out.

Carefully then -- but better the cutlass sheathed
and by my side, and you stand here to meet them
by the table but with the pistols near at hand.
They may come to speak with us, not to attack.

At this time of daynight without end?

Well we should meet them...in the way they come.

to Victor and Hopkins

Silence! Quit your frightened prattle!
And next you speak when I shall give you leave.

WINSLOW  opening cabin door
No one is there. All is so coldly quiet.
The cabin boy huddles in his sleep.
Shall I call the watch Sir, and ask for a report?

simultaneously with just above


Erhrhfh! It clawed my throat, oh! It lives and here.
Where are you? Where are you that I...

You saw it? You saw it? Oh, what is this thing?

The demon I have made. It is alive
and come for me. God give me all my strength
that I may grapple with it now, and end
with vengeance life that cursed my own.
Help me find now where it hides.

No! I would not know, for I saw no
such thing that wakened me. No, it never did!

Oh, you saw it then, mantled dark, but then beneath

No! No! No!

You did! The living flesh so wretchedly alive
but beneath yet speaking with that voice.
You saw it, you did.

HOPKINS  overcome with fear
No. Ohohohoh....

Here on this ship, at last the time has come.
Wherever you are hid, stay and end this with me now!

WALTON  to Winslow
No. No. They did not come.
And yet our fears made us fear they did.
And was it prudence or runaway imagining
that brought us to our feet, our weapons in our hands?

to Victor and Hopkins

And what are you complaining of?

Did you not see it?

See what? Did someone approach us while we slept?

I saw no one there when they awoke -- so suddenly.
A dream it must have been, of those the young,
as when still children, startle wildly up
from sleep, but soon by loving arms consoled
return untroubled to their rest.
Was it not that that troubled so your sleep?

HOPKINS  overcome with fear
Oh Sir, oh Sir, ohohohoh....

No! Did you not see it?

See what?

The demon -- evil creature I have made
that killed near all who ever loved me,
and now will make your ship a shambles
equal to the horror of its monstrous self.

My friend, I'm glad to see you have regained your strength, if not your senses.

What? You don't believe me? And you? Look at me.
I owe to you and to your crew my life --
worth nothing to me save to bring to death
the demon that at last here with your help
I may bring down, and end my sad travail on earth.

HOPKINS  overcome with fear
Oh Sir, oh Sir, ohohohoh....

There is no demon creature. Not on this ship,
not on this shelf of ice, nor on this world it sits atop.

then to himself, but overheard by Winslow

where clutched, a speck in its expanse
this ship and all us on it may well find
a slow and with'ring starving death
if this ice does not melt and let us go.

What Sir?

What you heard, Mister Winslow, what you heard.

Captain, you must listen to me and understand.
I am a scholar, a man of mind and reason.
You must believe me. Yes, it is strange even to me
that I succeeded, but I did -- and curse
my own ambition now -- in undertaking the creation
of a form of life that was intended human.
And now it is here, hiding, and I beg your help
to find and kill it. You look at me as if I rave.
How think you I came here to cross the path
of your ship lost in this vast desolation where
no one would think another soul might venture
unless a destiny

Aye, a destiny indeed. How you came to cross
our path -- and here -- that must be a tale to tell,
and we would hear it with much curiosity --
and here we may well have the time as we
pass the time waiting to satisfy
that final, rending, curiosity --
but not yet, not now, for I still have a ship to run
and crew to care for in their dangerous despair.



Shake yourself alive, man. This is not like you.

Unbatten all the ports, and let in the light
of this pale endless hell, and we shall call it day --
and fill it full of purpose to its very end.
Mister Winslow, once the men have had their rest

Captain, captain, listen to me. Look at
my body, see the withered battering
it bears that were it not for fury of the will
I'd be a sagging heap of jutting bones
crumpled here in an integument of skin,
and think upon the hardship it endured
to reach this place in chase of it that's here

My friend, we have had the great good fortune
to save you from the ice and sea -- and thanks
to this brave sailor who risked himself for you --
and we will gladly harbor you and have
you share, equally, with all the honor of
a welcome guest whatever trial and darkening end --
or trial and hewed-to-worked-for triumph in the end

interrupts himself

Mister Winslow, once the men have had their rest
divide them into watch parties anew, assign
to each group of them a system of the ship --
the rigging and the sails, the masts and stays,
the decks and boats, hull and holds, and all the rest,
and put them unhurriedly, so joyfully to work,
together, with songs, to bind their hearts in trust

Captain, captain, it is here -- you must listen to me, oh!

Sir, you are our guest and I would honor you,
a stranger strangely here among us, as best
we can, and so would not speak to you as I
a bumbling sailor might caution for his fault.
As I was saying Mister Winslow

Aye Sir.

put them to work with our new purpose now --
outlast bestilled envisement by this monstrous ice --
so we must find for crew and ship a habit that befits...
more that of an encampment than ship at sea...
put them to work through long and measured days,
the deck and fire watches cut to few at night.
Through many days have each group take
as system of the vessel as their own
and every last thread and splinter of her
aye! kissed with loving care -- assayed, repaired
and put to test until this ship achieves
the best perfection that she can.

And as they do can gather everything
that burns and is not needed for the sailing
of this ship to complement our store,
copious still, yet dwindling, of coal
that is all that keeps this cold at bay.

Aye. That too.
Put them to work, unhurriedly, so joyfully
together, singing songs, to bind them into one --
and turns at work that long enough
to concentrate and tire are not yet so long
as to kindle anger and resistance to the task
and so the tasks can seem like play -- and so they are.
And let the watches see each other,
so that the pride men take in any group
that sets them off from others, spurs them on
to vy, in excellence, or just in rivalry.
And the rests from turns at work will be

simultaneously with just above, then interrupting Walton

VICTOR  to Hopkins
You saw it. You did. So you must tell him.
Why will you not speak? It woke you as it held me.

Oh Sir, Ohhh... I must to my duties Sir, and I saw no such thing.

You did! And this now is too grave to lie.
It will stay here, hiding, the more to taunt me,
but together with you, captain and crew,
I can kill it at long last hard though it will be.
So you must tell him so he knows.

No, no... Sir, oh, Sir I saw no such thing.

You lie! And lie to me as you please
but to your captain you cannot, because
to him loyalty's a duty that you owe!

interrupting Walton

Captain, look at me again I beg,
and if the hardship I have borne, clear,
on my face and form you see, then clearly,
imagine, a thousand fold, the suffering within
of one whose truest friend and dearest wife
and all, all he held in dearest love were killed
by a monstrous thing of wild unreason
that he himself to life did bring.
Their pain may make men wildly mad,
but also makes them clear, cold-eyed.
The demon I have made is here, as real
as my hand here by your eyes, as he

indicating Hopkins

who saw it too can tell you -- tell him!

Hopkins remains silent.

What is clear Sir, is you are really mad as a hatter.

No! Ohohoh...

Victor turns away to collect himself to try again; going to the bunk, he finds the notebook.

The rests from turns at work will be -- not short,
but not long either -- and at same time for all
so there is time for fellowship, and ease --
but not so long there's time for lassitude --
so they can drink, and share the draughts of melted ice
that may in time be all that may remain
for us to share. You and I Winslow,
with cook and steward will again assay
our stores of food and supply of coal.
The keys to them will from now on be only ours,
and you and I we shall preside at every day's
withdrawal of what will be apportioned.
Telltale ties will seal the stores at every other time.
Oh! and each work day each group in turn
will go upon the ice, axe holes in it and fish.
We shall make of this adversity
the best we can for all; we shall provide
intelligent purpose with planful command,
til we no longer can or til this ice it melts,
at last setting us free and then...and then, we'll see...

Aye, aye. I can do it, Sir. But day after day til when?
The men are not, not learned nor seized
by high ambition, and so for them day's work
is not its own reward and will not,
in and of itself, suffice forever.
They must have a respite, something near to look to,
a sure reward for their acceptance of
the stretch of working time, that marks its end,
and wins their acceptance to begin again.

I understand, but there are no holidays
from the dire work of survival.

Captain, captain, my heart and hands they tremble
at the holding of this book. If you do not believe me,
then tell me how did this book come here?

Our mad guest again.


I tell you it could not have come except
the Demon brought it! And to taunt me more!
This is the notebook that I kept in Ingolstadt,
a student there when I was young -- yet it was not
so many years ago -- in it I see again
my thirst for hidden lore and pellmell drive
to make anew from nothing what all that live
in this bounteous house of God's creation
do so equally, blessedly share,
and I, oh I for that ambition made
my life a noble house in ruins --
all murd'rous desolation and senseless death.

And so the more to be pitied by us both.
My dear good Sir, look at the ample furs,
and boots and cape you wore when pulled --
by Hopkins here -- from floes of ice readying
to smash and tip you down into the sea --
you do recall your rescue by this man?

VICTOR  to Hopkins
Was it you that did this for me?
I thank you more than words can say.

And in their pockets and their folds is ample room
for instruments and notebooks to navigate and log

That's why it's dry and fresh and newly pressed
as something treasured, lovingly kept,
not something trailed in packs and pockets
worn and wracked by headlong months
of desperate travel across the Earth? No!
And if it was you who rescued me then I
would everything I have, what will be left
of my father's lands, I'll gladly leave to you
for I have no more use for any thing on Earth,
but help me once more I beg of you and speak!
Tell them of what you saw that came to kill
us in our sleep! For we must search this ship,
and kill it! I beg you. I beg you. I beg you.

Hopkins remains silent.

Hopkins, wake the cabin boy and have him rouse the cook and bring us breakfast -- no, let the boy sleep -- you rouse the cook, and have him make a ration of coffee like mine and the lieutenant's for our guest -- and one for you Hopkins -- and have him make it strong and thick however small as our quarter rations will allow.

Hopkins starts to go.

Aye, aye Sir! Thank you Sir!

HOPKINS  goes off
Aye, aye Sir. Thank you Sir.

Why won't he speak? I know he saw it.
I swear I have not seen this book since my
so fateful student days. And you are blind
to how it must have come here and to how
the Demon, here, alive, somewhere beside us
will ruin the happiness of your ship. ... Ohohoh...

WALTON  to Winslow
There is demon on this ship and it is that of mutiny.
And it will ruin, indeed, its happiness,
and all the justice and the order of its society.
And so our plan of giving them a purpose despite
the tenuousness of hope must work, and well!

I understand, but would it not be best
to also give

WALTON  laughing
They can pray, Winslow, pray alone or together --
that too is needed to bear our consciousness.
Or Winslow, break out that guitar you keep,
and we can give them songs and music that,
like plays and poetry, loosely ribbon
ties of trust and common feeling, lovely,
among all them that take part there together --
and bestir the mind to self-command and wisdom,
away from the fear and anger of survival. ... Did you say that to me?

What, Sir? ... You seem perplexed, Sir? ...
Shall I begin to put in place your orders, Sir,
wake the cabin boy and call the men to muster?

No, not yet. Let them sleep, let them sleep their fill,
forget that they are here and dream they are again
at home, in safety and at peace, with loves
they wish they'd known to never leave.
Is it not so also for you Mister Winslow?

Indeed it is, Sir. ... Aye!

Hopkins comes on with coffee after knocking.

Sir, I have

Bring it here so we can drink it.

VICTOR  to Hopkins
You! You must! You know what you have seen!

Sir! Belay your demon tale awhile I beg,
and share with us this cup of dark elixir
that for an instant blots all cares away.

You think some dram from black roasted seeds
can wash away the desert of my cares --
as with a mop you might dry up the sea?
The loss I've known is constant on my mind --
the sky remains, no matter what the weather.
The Demon's death, and also mine is all
can reconcile my life to my life's pain.

It's said the pain of those stark mad who dream
their sorrows, cuts more sharp and deep than that
of ours, the sane, who learn how to forget
the facts of loss that for a time make life
more cruel than our hearts and minds can bear.

And I believe it. Tell us then, as now
we pause our work with this most bittersweet
and aromatic drink, tell us your tale
for we would hear it, for it indeed seems strange.

You will rue your laugh and mocking of my truth.

Sir, I do not believe you, but I do not mock you.
And now I have the leisure, and I would gladly, humbly listen.

Most immediately I come from months,
months of travel beyond endurance in pursuit
of it, so monstrous, that now is on your ship
and you, a fool, will not believe it.

Sir, you insult your host, and were you not mad

and I humbly, truly beg your pardon then.
But I am not mad. And no offense was meant
for truth cannot offend

those who would strip off
the hide of lies men tell themselves to clothe
their mind and senses from the bitter cold
of naked wisdom of our human lot?

Captain, if words were wisdom, ev'ry
speaker would be wise. Here, in our human lot,
no matter what their speaking claims, the last
thing that men want is truth.

WALTON  laughing
So why burden them with it, aey?

And you, a fool, are like them.


WALTON  laughing
And were I not a fool, then I would choose
to be offended by such truths as yours?
And so this demon that you see,
what does it look like, and how did it come to be?

In this notebook that it chills my heart to read
on every page I can relive another step
of the fateful course I took to make it live --
and from nothing but the wastes of charnel houses
and the ruins of whore's wombs -- until I,
from ancient lore and deepest science --
becoming less a man than a haunted beast
possessed by an Olympian fire and driven
like some shrill fury on a pride-gorged quest
did somehow unlock and prompt to action
the chemistry whence stems the spark of life.
And what I made I saw it thrived and grew --
and my heart burned with joy, joy with tears
like flames might shine upon my face,
that I myself had a God become!
Those days I watched my creature grow
oh ever larger, slowly stirring, and those nights
I slept the deepest sleep of high ambition slaked.
Like men who strive to rule, and at last achieve
the highest office, sleep so well on those first nights --
like infants sated after feeding at their mother's breast --
until wakened by the prowl of hungry rivals
who would now take their power in their place.
And yet it grew, and grew -- but not at all
human and like me as I had dreamed --
yet so alive a thing of hideous bones and flesh.
It seemed in days it was full grown and then
began to speak in sweetest, wordless burblings.
And listening, I looked at the cacophony
of glistening organs twisting through its skin,
but thrilled to who it was speaking to me,
and at the horror of the clash that I had made,
I closed my eyes, I turned my face, and ran away.

HOPKINS  to himself
I think I understand, now all too well.
And if I speak of it, what then? I die?

Your story, Sir, draws my breaths shorter
quickens my pulse, and sends a chill of fear
bristling up along my back -- oh, if true,
why I near lost myself and did neigh forget

the fright of slow death in a silent field of ice?

Aye. That too.

So Hopkins, put more coals into the stove.
And where was this sweet-voiced demon by you
brought to such frightening life? And what became of it?

In my student rooms at Ingolstadt --
oh, such an ordinary place for such
a lasting horror -- but so it always is --
like student rooms, run down and cramped, unkept
and furnished with such cheap carelessness,
yet remembered after, though not noticed then,
there where we took first fateful actions on our own
like toddling grown-ups taking first steps
away from home. ... Oh, home... Oh, then my tragedies began.
It killed my brother William, just a boy
happening upon him in a wood, in fury at the sound
of just my fam'ly's name, and taking a locket from
his breast it happened on Justine asleep,
after her search for him, and left the locket in her hand
so all believed that she had killed the boy.
And I kept silent and let the law wrongly take her life.
And then it killed the truest friend that any man
has ever had the luck to have.

I know not how we can console him.
If mad, he dreamt the deaths of those
whose names he speaks with soft regret
and deeper bitterness.

Aye. But did you not say the sorrow of
the mad it pains as much as that of those
said fully in their senses and completely well?
A part of that I understand. I too
have wept, surprised by tears, for friends
and more, closer than brothers, and
so uselessly slain by glory's butcher on
what was til then a nameless, ordinary field,
unsure if we all were wildly mad, or not.

Clerval, who came to help me near the end
when near all, already, in my life was lost --
it wrenched the life from him who most deserved
to keep and live it, to its fullest end.
And then my father, strong and loving, he
who by me stood unto the last, succumbed
to sorrow's cudgel blows from its dread hand.
And last -- and so to last until I end its life with mine --
it killed my dearest, sweet Elizabeth,
who true to my poor mother's dying wish
stayed so devoted to this undeserving man.
At last when on our wedding night, I dared to hope
I might touch happiness again, it came,
and put its hand around her throat and more
than seal the breathing from her breast,
like worst of Winter storms in Spring do break
the twigs where new and tender blossoms bloom,
did crack apart the bones that held her head --
and so I found her on our marriage bed.
And when it shows itself to you, I beg,
you listen not to the sunlight sweetness of its voice,
but drive this steel of death into its darkest heart.

And how shall I know this demon if I see it?

Oh Sir

It's here aboard your ship and you will know.
Do you believe me now?

No. ... Would you that I pretend I did?
So what does it look like so when I see it I
will know to drive this steel of death into its heart?

You dare to laugh?

I was thinking how much younger I was once --
a soldier, eager for campaigns, then...
and with the fleet, in Southern Spain, we called,
and to a bullfight in a sun burnishing
the world so warm, it hurts to think it now.
The women, lace beside their hair, and eyes
above the arcs held trembling in their hands --
and I only of that was more fearful and more eager --
in the arena where the music played as if
the clarions would joyful tryst with death,
and then, a god from yore of pagan times
the horns above the proud-tossed head --
the cavaliers dainty plant their darts,
angry harrying the bull -- the slickwets
of first blood like tearwelts stripe its hide
and yet, its power undimmed, the swells beneath the skin
rippling the gallop hooves into the sand
at that silly jester's scarlet capering
until at last, panting, bowed at bay,
a final lunge at the tormenting one --
and my gasping at how a man, unflinching
sheathed the steel down through its nape
to touch the heart buried beneath and stop
the behemoth dead in its tracks.
Oh aye, what prowess and command that gest,
and yet, what unsung pain I glimpsed
in the misting of its eyes -- all forgotten
at the triumph crying from our throats,
as if some demon had been quelled within
enacting the killing of a noble, living thing.
But I beg your pardon; I forget myself.
Your demon then, what does it look like,
did you say?

It appears, cowled and draped in capes and furs
to hide its glistening self beneath
and, though larger than a man, so cloaked
it folds into the dark to seem not here, but is.

WALTON  to Hopkins
Put on the sledding furs our guest left there.

What Sir?

Put on the sledding furs our guest left there.

Oh no Sir, no; I would not seem the Demon, no, it

WALTON  laughing
Put them on, we'll see if there's a demon in you ... you can play. For I would see this demon ... more than hear of it.

Hopkins puts on Victor's furs.

What's it matter if he looks much like it?
Indeed, when it appears, it cloaks itself like that
to hide the horror that it is beneath.

And when it came here to you in the dark,
where did it stand, what did it do, or say
just now when you say that it awakened,
and tried to kill you, leaving as a present
a notebook from your student days?

It was here I say as I and he are here!
I was asleep and in this bunk like this,
where you and ...


you must have placed me,
and like a figure hanging over me

Hopkins, was that the place it was?

No, here it must have stood, and thus its furs
skirting the floor lapped against your face,
and waked you -- and you saw beneath

Oh, no...

You lie. Why do you lie? You saw it.

Enough! I would you showed me what it did.

and like a shadow hanging over me
it stretched its clawhand and closed my throat.

Like that Hopkins, like that?

No, I would not pretend...

Aye! And those others whom you speak of
you say it killed them too that way?

It did. It did.

A tale of dread and bloodshed, which well could be a play?

What Sir?

Aye, Winslow aye! This is the respite that we seek!
Go to the men and let them know that once
they have oh ev'ry bit of this dear ship
assayed and passed in most caring review
through a score of days or other measure
that you set to let the mind break up
the fleeting constancy of time -- and then
again, and again once more if we're here still --
then days of sport and play-going there'll be --
for when at evening they take their rest
well you and I, our guest, and our good demon here

oh Sir, oh no I cannot -- no, not play

you can. And will. And will do well.
For I and Winslow will your prompters be.
and you, my friend, will tell us all your tale

my story's not for mocking in a play.

Not mocking Sir, oh truly not. And yes,
now here it's I that ask that you believe.
You would that I believed you, and I, I would
that you help us in making for my crew
an evening's presentation, so piteous
and frightening that it makes them all forget
the pity and the fright that Nature holds
for us in this pale, endless cold.
Aye, Winslow, tell them so they talk of it,
with expectation, as at work's end
they take their shiv'ring rest, and we,
as we take ours will in my cabin here
prepare for them a play to hear and to see --
so thus they too will know the story that
you say did bring you here to join our ship and crew --
that, they will surely talk about and want to know.

And will you believe me then?

I believe what I am shown, not merely told.
Go, put in place, in steps, preparing them,
this ship's new cycle of its work and days
to last through this strange, cold becalment
that all must trust will someday end, and I
shall follow, in every instance to support
the work you put in place with them, and well!

Aye aye Sir. I will do my best.

And in our time of leisure with our guest,
we'll put in place the showing of his quest.
And all the sorrow and adventure you have known
we'll make of the tale you tell a play that's shown.

If it would bring you to believe me, well then...

Sir... But, Sir ... Oh, Sir...

All go off.


♦  ♦


Background is same as previous: cabin -- with quarterdeck above -- and adjunct area.  The cabin has been got up to represent Victor's rooms at the university in Ingolstadt where he brings his hideous progeny to life.  The adjunct area represents Victor's home in Geneva, and then a snowy countryside though which the Demon (played by Hopkins) flees, and a shepherds' encampment where it finds refuge.  The Demon plays from the cabin.  Margaret and Elizabeth play from the adjunct area.  Victor, Walton, Winslow and Hopkins play from both the cabin and adjunct area.  The -- unseen -- crew is the audience for the playing of Victor's story.

WALTON  first welcoming the -- unseen -- crewmen as they file in, take their places etc., then as The Prologue
Aye! Aye, my hearties, for that you are --
and welcome too, with all my heart.
There, serry! Serry! Range yourselves
in ranks close ordered before this cabin's stage
for these sea-stained and rough-hewn planks
are now the benches of our theater's pit,
and these low rooftrees now the soaring,
ceiling chandeliered with trembling light --
and oh if only from the galleries and boxes of
these bulkheads and their stanchions glowed
the damasks' red and pilasters also chased in gold,
and from them leaned down for our eyes
the ladies, looking, bending to review
who else is there to share the night's bright play.
Tonight, and here, we'll share the one that's ours --
for I am proud of you -- you have stood firm
(but for how much longer before desperation...)
against the hard adversity that yet
does hold us here, but it will end --
we shall sail free if we hold fast!
For now, our ship is coldly beached stone still
as if a building at the juncture of its streets.
And aye, why not, the threat'ning howl and reach
of our pale field of endless, windswept ice
in an imagination's trice for now we'll make
the fields of Lincoln's Inn where playgoers
ahastening a balmy evening in Spring
between the carriages and crowds
through Bridge Street down to Drury Lane do run
to reach their places by the curtain's rise?
Aye, for I am proud of you -- since in these days
you have assayed, repaired and put to test
oh every last thread and splinter of this ship --
aye! as this sun that never sets' a fire
that casts in our world's cave the blurred
and lying shadow of the ideals of all things
so you have made the shadow of this ship
as sharp and true as human work it can.
And then tomorrow when this respite
and our days of rest they end, we shall begin again!
And now, I am the prologue to this play:
our scene the glorious pinnacles of the Alps,
grand and looming down in deepest green
to lakes of slivered silver with marble towns
strewn like toys of giants on their banks;
and here, in the heaven of his childhood comes
the guest we rescued from the icy sea,
who then from hardship was so wracked and worn,
but now's a handsome student full of youth
here to tell us what he says is his tale's truth.

I am by birth a Genevese, and proud
of that self-governing Republic's way of life.
My father was a man of deeply held ideals.
His was a tried and true devotion to
well-being and just-ruling of the city,
freely and by nature given, not from fear
of shame nor imitation of any said
his masters or his betters. Middle-aged,
he let go his place in public service
to those younger whose ambition he had formed,
and late in life, at last he saw fit to marry.
My mother was the daughter of a merchant,
a man my father held in friendship and regard.
This merchant lost his fortune and in pride
retreated from society, and fell,
thriftless, quickly into poverty.
My father, when he heard of this searched out
the friend he had lost sight of, finding him, too late.
To honor him he wished had asked for help,
he took the sheltering of the daughter on himself.
And from the deathbed where she wept he placed
her with relations in Geneva near his house.
Duty's visits to his ward in time became,
as kindness and courage in her heart won his,
a suitor's wooing of an admired betrothed.
They took to traveling through Italy and then,
between the shadow of Vesuvius and
the sun-struck idyl of the island of Capri,
I spilled from out the tunnel of her womb
to sep'rate life in the tumult of Naples' light.
And thinking back to then I ask again
how such happy childhood did begin
my destiny, to such unhappy end.

In adjunct space are Walton, as Alphonse, Victor's father, and Margaret, as Caroline, Victor's mother, holding a baby.

MARGARET  as Caroline, laughing, playing with the baby
Kookooloo! Kookee kookee kookooloo!
Ohooohooh! Victor!
Kookooloo! Kookee kookee kookooloo!
Ohooohooh! Victor!
It's you! It's you! Victor! Oh Victor, yes it's you!
Oh, my most extraordinary and beloved one!
You! My one and only first-born son!
You, already, as I hold your face to mine,
are a person of ... oh! your power and your beauty...
The resplendent wonder of you in my eyes
and all the world's is greater happiness
than my poor grateful, human soul can stand.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience as Margaret as Caroline keeps playing with baby
And how much greater the despair that weighs
upon a consciousness completely free
of any hope an other gracious being might
deign to hold its face to mine and loom --
oh ev'ry kind word and ev'ry loving look
another soft weft thread in shedspace laced
through taut and twisted warp threads of my self
to weave a body's soul strong supple web?
Oh weariness of solitude, oh bring --
descending through the dark I hold, closed,
behind my eyes -- bring me to death right now.
Oh I have been alone, alone, oh so alone
since my unasked for bitter life began.
Oh would my tears scald me blind
so I'd not see, and know so clear the pain
of how I ache for a love like this, for me.
And seeing this, my maker loved,
with such intensity of tenderness
and caring patience to lead into the world,
the angry envy in me stirs again,
and I am kindled to revenge and kill. returns to hiding

MARGARET  as Caroline, laughing, playing with the baby
Kookooloo! Kookee kookee kookooloo!
Ohooohooh! Victor!
Kookooloo! Kookee kookee kookooloo!
Ohooohooh! Victor!
It's you! It's you! Victor! Oh Victor, yes it's you!
Oh my extraordinary, wonderful, beautiful you!

WALTON  as Alphonse
My love for you in strength and wisdom grows,
as pride brings tears to my eyes as I
do look upon and hold both you and him --
my first-born son, the princely, strong and wise
protector of my fam'ly's name and house.
Oh my Victor, all I have that I can give,
and all that I wish best for you are one.
What you have given in giving me this son
is in the living wonder of him more
than in any expectation ever I imagined.

MARGARET  as Caroline, laughing, playing with the baby
And now you have a rival for my heart.
With your eyes my Victor, tell him. Is it not so?
Yes there's mama, papa, and then there's Victor!
Tell him with our look of eyes to eyes,
locked in a oneness face to face,
that in its way is close as that as when
you in my womb were one with me.
Where would I be had you not taken me
to be your wife? What rude experience
might life have held for me, alone, without
a father's house? And you, my love, my love,
have given me this chance to live and love,
and have this child. My love for you
grows stronger, deeper. I arch beneath
your face to mine, as land in Spring
does open to the warming kiss, the force
that ever high'r through length'ning days does bring
such sweet renew'l to ev'ry living thing.

baby squalls

Oh my Victor, you must be hungry now.

WALTON  as Alphonse
Of brothers and of sisters for him we
should think -- so he will have the company
of family companions better than
those that you and I would make for play.
And we must think of educating them.
That too, I had not thought of until now.
Their education, an inward, mighty balance
it should be, that yet sways gently, tugged
by rich and massy goldenweights,
both slowly built through caring, daily thrift --
one that tends to self-serving individuality
and the other to the service of community,
and neither one ever so far outbalancing
the other that a fillip of sound reason
won't return them to their tipping point.

Winslow, playing guitar, accompanies Margaret as Caroline singing to baby.

MARGARET  as Caroline, singing
Name baby, name, name
what is your name name?
Love baby love love
who is your love love?
Sleep baby sleep sleep
where is your sleep sleep?
You are my love, love
love is our name love.
Sleep in my song, love,
sweet sleep so strong love.
Long as I live love
you'll be my deep love.
Life of my womb, love
now in the world, love.
Long as I live love
when we were one, love
that's how I'll remember
you now and forever.
Sleep baby sleep sleep
in sweet peace so deep.

The Demon, momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience, joins Margaret as Caroline singing.

THE DEMON & MARGARET  as Caroline, singing
Name baby, name, name
what is your name name? / I have no name name.
Love baby love love
who is your love, love? / I know no love, I.
Sleep baby sleep sleep
where is your sleep sleep? / for me there's no sleep, me.
Long as I live love / Long as I live life
when we were one, love / always alone I
that's how I'll remember / oh how I'll remember
you now and forever. / I'm lonely forever.
Sleep baby sleep sleep
in sweet peace so deep. / death your soul will keep.

And thus, the eldest son, I became
the conqueror at the center of their lives,
certain I was destined for great things,
with only which achievements, to experience left
to be discovered. And how I rue
my bent that took me soon to delve as deep
as human knowledge can into the secret springs
of heaven, earth and life itself.
Like my dear friend, Clerval, I wish I'd taken
to poetry and politics, affairs of hearts and minds,
and not the deepest mechanisms
of matter and of nature that underpin it all.
At seventeen, my childhood barely ending
my father he resolved I should become
a student at the university of Ingolstadt
to complete my learning and become acquainted
with the customs of a country other than my own.
The carriage came that fateful morning and
I slumped in it reflecting on my exile
from my happy home and the old familiar faces
of brothers, of my father, of Clerval,
and of my dear, faithful Elizabeth
and of my mother whom I would never see again.
They came to see me off; it was the most
that I could do to keep back tears, seem brave,
and not give in to desperation,
and foreboding at the child dying within.

all in confused unison, with Victor as if in a carriage leaving

WALTON  as Alphonse
Good-bye my son, stay proud and steadfast in
your habits and your purpose and remember
all our faith in you and all our hopes for you.

MARGARET  as Caroline
Oh my dearest Victor, I cannot bear to see you go,
you my first-born, lovely little princely one
that I love so -- and go you must but I ...
my loving heart rebels at my own reason's rule,
crushed within me by the welling of my tears,
and leaving only all my prayers to go with you.

My silence, Victor, speaks my longing --
you will achieve so much I know, and you must go --
but already how I miss your return to me.

HOPKINS  as Clerval
I would still go with you my dear friend,
but you know why I can't but still --
embrace me once again for all our days at play.

WALTON  as Alphonse
My Caroline, it must be so -- hard as it is, I know.

MARGARET  as Caroline
I know, but ask me not to hide my sorrow.

Clerval, Clerval -- your name I'll keep
a touchstone for the light of friendship in
the solitary dark of life.
And Elizabeth, Elizabeth, remember me,
and keep my mother in your care.
Good-bye, Papa; good-bye, Mama.

Oh my Victor, if you knew my love.

And so I left them, in sadness without words.
I hardly spoke, I think, until the spires
of Ingolstadt, and the newness of the challenge
of mast'ring life at university
did coax out some desire for life in me.
Unknown to me I left behind what soon
became a scene of greater desolation --
my mother's death, an omen of my future misery.

MARGARET  as Caroline
Oh water, just a tiny sip, so fresh
from melting snows, that I can hardly swallow
for this all-filling fever swells my throat.

WALTON  as Alphonse
Doctor, what can be done?

WINSLOW  as doctor
I have done what I can. Rest now, rest -- that is all.

WALTON  as Alphonse
No. ... No. I cannot think of life without her.

Here, my beloved lady.

HOPKINS  as Clerval
Elizabeth, I am as stricken here as you.

Clerval, Clerval, help me hold her.

HOPKINS  as Clerval
She is so pale and weak.

MARGARET  as Caroline
How cool it feels, yet how hard it is to drink.
I thank you truly. What news is there of my Victor?
And where are my Ernest and my William?

Ernest and William soon will be back from school.
Justine your most loving servant she will come
with them to see you (as she too, heartbroken,
dares not tell them, but they sense so well something's
so wrong) and they will soon be here to see you.
(Are they coming now?)

HOPKINS  as Clerval
(Yes, I'm sure. I sent Justine -- distraught --
but, stronghearted, all the more clearminded for it.)

Justine has gone for them and they will soon
be here to see you. They are ... oh!
as you so well do know and love them --
just thinking of them is itself a joy.

MARGARET  as Caroline
It is. It is. And I will miss them so.

Oh my sweet lady, do not even say... Oh...
for they will be here any instant now.
Your William is the most life-full, bright-eyed
and dancing cherub of a boy,
as if in armfuls taking in so fiercely
all there is of life and learning -- til bedtime,
and collapsing, from every day's long exhilaration.
And Earnest -- youth just begun and boyhood
not yet ended -- in love with school for all the friends,
but not at all for poring closely over books,
and ever brimming over with insouciant,
intrepid laughter, so all the world laughs with him,
following him on any venture he might lead.

MARGARET  as Caroline
And you my dear Elizabeth, will care
for them I know, and love them as I do.

My lady Caroline -- oh say it is not so...

MARGARET  as Caroline
And of my eldest, Victor -- he here will not

No but he

HOPKINS  as Clerval
has written me, and we have best news of him.

He has?

HOPKINS  as Clerval
Well, yes, yes a bit -- oh yes! Oh, he has --
in letters full of fine-drawn anecdote,
he tells us of his early college days --
the teachers that he met who prompted him
to follow on his bent for physics and
for chemistry, and soon -- I think he wrote --
success, just as expected, many friends,
professors' admiration for his balance,
the justness of his judgment and his reason's calm

(It was its opposite, obsession, as I threw myself
into the ever-faster, deepening vortex of
in-gathering the knowledge-hoard I craved --
needed! -- to overpower the deepest mysteries of life.)

VICTOR & HOPKINS  as Clerval, together
to make you proud of me/him as one who did achieve
great things as you did both expect of me/him.

WALTON  as Alphonse
That there is greatness in my Victor, dear Clerval,
I never doubted -- if only it be as you describe.

MARGARET  as Caroline
It is as he describes, it is, my love.
Do you remember how it was those many years,
but yet it feels...

WINSLOW  as doctor
Lady Caroline, rest if you please for

MARGARET  as Caroline
it will be over so I would remember well
all that in my life was best. You do remember
how we were sure that we could see the great
strong goodness of his genius in his eyes
from the very start when he was born?

WALTON  as Alphonse
I so remember his, and Ernest and WiIliam's
new presence in our lives, and oh my love,
I remember ev'ry kiss and conversation, all
that we have shared, and now, oh now...

MARGARET  as Caroline
Take my hand, so I may take, my love,
the strength of yours with me. You will remain
a loving father to them all, so I
may die at peace, as now it pleases God I must.
Elizabeth, my firmest hopes are placed upon
the prospect of your and Victor's married happiness.

I will be faithful to him to the end,
my lady, oh my lady, and with all my heart
will give him what happiness I can, for you
and for myself.

MARGARET  as Caroline
With that assurance, in all your love, I turn away.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
They die, the humans, bodies extinguished
like those of flies or any other beast;
but by culture, the living, make distinguished,
a spirit from the flesh, in their memory at least.
All other creatures leave their dead, unrecognized
as dead, like leaves to rot upon the ground.
But these would make their dead apotheosized,
by ritual, that on their fears they'd found.
So dead, the living think you live, so long
as you, in the light of their remembrance are kept.
How vain, but enviable, the human life-song,
so brief, but like the lilt of lightning melody that leapt
into the mind for its moment makes forgot
that we who live, to die, were all begot. returns to hiding

And so I learned of it, my mother's death,
and I fell, like the letter from my hand --
the groan that welled from me a strangled breath,
the tears, the rush of a lifetime's worth of love at end.
I struggled to continue, as if nothing new,
denying, that today, like yesterday, seeing her again
was possible in time -- so again, put off anew.
But now, her loving eyes on me, I'll never see again.
But tide of habit, stress of living, ever-warning,
soon lifts us back to action -- against the lethargy
of pain, few can afford much pine and mourning,
for necessity soon impinges with all its dull energy.
We wonder how others live with great loss and pain,
forgetting, that nature cauterizes to keep us sane.
My ceaseless work, with destructive intensity,
ever further, drew me from all else -- and I let it.
I became disquieting to all I frequented --
and they dwindled, including my teachers
as I surpassed them, until I was alone,
alone with what I achieved: my creature.
I lived closeted in my rooms, they were
an unkept charnel house, the shambled
reflection of my ambition's horror
though I saw them as the workshop of my glory.
I left them only to troll the city's world
of sick and dying -- the churning, like goods
through a market, of those at last enticed
beyond the edge of the ballroom floor
by dancing death -- and that I pillaged
for organs, freshly dead, that I might, dissecting,
somehow coax and galvanize, spellcast up,
engend'ring from within the spark of life and growth.
What I achieved was great indeed, and had
not this creation 'scaped from my control
and run amok destroying all there was
of good and sensible in my life,
my fame -- renown! -- would lord over the world,
and I'd not have lived hiding guilty shame
at the hideous progeny I made that was
to be so good, and yet turned out so wrong.
Yes, then, a grim November night of cold
and rain and lightning -- how many hours on end
had I bent to my microscopes and labors --
despairing yet convinced one more, one more, action,
and the tangle of cells and membranes so far
in scale at my instruments' end, so close
at hand before my face, and ever still,
as if I could forever recompile them, bring them close,
but never spark them to self-directed growth,
might, at last, somehow, take up life of their own.
Within I felt my mind careening wildly,
as my body, at the precipice of exhaustion,
teetered at the edge of consciousness;
fainting, slipping from my instruments and table,
I sighed a last breath on my work --
and at that instant as I fell I think
that lightening bolted through the room but I
remember nothing clearly of that now
as I must have lain upon the floor,
I know not how long.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
Better you had spilled it all, the vessel
that nurtured me, as you were falling
and I had not lived, left alone to wrestle
with mere self-survival's bitter calling.
Tell it again, for hearing by your vanity,
your tale of your heroic struggle -- how, possessed,
and so then blameless by insanity,
you dared for glory, so proud to be obsessed.
There is nothing men will not forgive themselves,
no killing, crimes, destruction or unkindness;
for all, they never fail to give themselves
a heroic tale to memorialize the mindless.
When I, as calm as death, shall triumph over you,
there'll be no tale to tell, by me, nor you.
So now, in the brightness of the day,
awake and discover, the fleshy clay
you breathed to life, but soon will give way
from hero's triumph to fool's comic play. returns to hiding

When I awoke the lightening light -- that I
may well have dreamed for all I know -- that from
the storm an arc of sparking sear swept through
this room, a galvanizing hand of God,
had given way to limpid sunlight's resplendent play,
as if blessing all with the brightness of the day.
So sorely from where I'd fallen, I lifted me
up from the ground, and sudden struck by fear
of loss of all my work, of having to begin again,
I reached to check the warming coils I'd placed
around the vessel where I strained to knit
life up again from organs that had been
themselves once parts of living things.
There, as tired I leaned to rearrange
the scatter of my instruments and tools,
there! amid the membrane swaddling in
the basin pool, oh there...there so like
a tiny star of fishpink flesh, and trembling
its limbs at me...alive...alive, and as if gesturing to me.
I had done it. I had. Made life anew.
I breathed, and sighed, and closed my eyes,
and triumph like a killing surged through me.
I saw the world in awe of me through fame!
What no, no man had ever done, I had,
and soon, the world would know of my so great
and good achievement in making human life,
and I'd transcend my mere, small self and bask
in worship of my high and just renown.
And quickly I went back to work and put in place
all needed for my creature's growth and health.
Those days, it grew apace -- and more than that --
and I, I slept the peaceful, happy sleep
of those who have attained a long-sought goal,
and believe that they need quest no more.
Awake, I would admire my work, and say
my name out loud -- my family's name that now
because of me would live for time untold --
then I would sleep again, and wake to dream
my time of fame so soon to come, I thought.
I had the leisure now, for my creation thrived
all on its own, and so I rested -- I could, for it
did need no care it seemed; the nourishment
I left, so like a feral thing, it quickly learned
to feed upon completely on its own.
It grew, and grew, so fast, with no abatement --
life's orderly sorcery gone mad
(how quickly doubts do turn to dread) --
as I in dawning horror looked on the confusion
of what was to be human in its form,

Hopkins, as The Demon, is seen stirring, trying to look like he's growing in Victor's workshop; tittering is heard from -- unseen -- crew as they find their shipmate ludicrous. Walton, with a glare and gesture, tries to silence them. (Walton and Winslow are back on in cabin space, fretting about the -- unseen -- crew's unruly reaction to Hopkins' portrayal of The Demon.)

but was a tangled, moving progeny
of blood-dark, glistening misorder --
as if a baby, but inside out, was living,
and ever stronger, growing ever faster.
The thrilling confidence of my joy
shattered into waves of sickened fear.
I saw that growing, it would soon escape
from my control, and I thought to kill it.
I took a knife and stretched forth my hand
to search out for its throat, and lo!
a voice so sweet did tumble forth from it
and like a burning ecstasy brushed my ears
as its eyes a plea for pity seized on mine --
for it would speak its self to me and

Hopkins, as The Demon, tries burbling sweetly like a baby, and the -- unseen -- crew bursts out in taunts and guffaws at him.

Avast! Avast there with your gawfs and jibes!
Silence! By God, my hearties, do you dare
to laugh at your best shipmate's strive to show
a creature full of agony and life,
that does not know it has no hope?
What you see there's not Hopkins painted, playing,
but a hid'ous progeny 'bout to plunge, headlong,
lost and uncomprehending, into the dark
adventure of unhappy destiny.
And I say you will see it as I do,
and master the mutinous defiance of
your angry, desperate, violent ways.

Aye, or rue not seeing it as the captain says.

Hopkins, as The Demon, again tries burbling sweetly like a baby, as Victor takes up where they left off.

for it would speak its self to me, and I
thrilled to who it was speaking to me,
but at the horror of the clash that I had made,
I closed my eyes, I turned my face, and ran away.

Victor goes off. Hopkins, as The Demon, keeps burbling and flailing, trying to look like the new-born monster, growing recipitously, etc.  The -- unseen -- crew, hooting and whistling, and calling him by name, starts jeering Hopkins.

HOPKINS  to Walton
I can't, Sir. Please Sir, I beg you, no more.

A SAILOR  as -- unseen -- crew explodes in catcalls and roistering
I can't, Sir. Please Sir, I beg you, no more.

Sir, do we belay, call the crew to quarters and

No, we finish what we've begun.
Steady, Hopkins, steady; we will make them see.
And you, look at him. Look at him, I say,
and see him as I ask you to, not as you do.

And look in silence lest the lash
be brought to use upon this ship and it --
and you -- become like all the others,
vessels ruled by fear, manned by fearful men.

Look at him I say, and fear not to see him --
not the shipmate, burning in your gaze,
but the creature, new-born, full-grown
(Hopkins, to it) -- see the way the light
so hurts its eyes and how it writhes as if
within the self was tumbling in an avalanche
of sharp sensations from the panoply
of restless senses so undistinguishable one
from another for it knows no words
to set apart the light from dark, the sound
from silence, warmth from cold and smell from breathe --
it even cannot wish for the cool taste of water
for the pangs of thirst and hunger that it feels
with such awareness, it, so desperate and ignorant,
can only cast about to wildly test
of what the world does offer to the sight
and smell and hearing that might be good
for to slake and satisfy the cries within.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
And I, who had almost forgotten, those first --
like lightning flashes harrowing out
the marrow of a tree and leaving a sundered
scorching bole -- moments of my life,
that did so fiercely take the full-grown oak
of me and burning scission it a crippled stump.

And we, who have had our hearts so hardened,
taught ourselves to turn away to struggle on,
so coldly taking in the sight of shipmates
a sudden from their stations torn by fouling accident
or by towering wave awash swept lost to sea,
oh even we, would we not pity it?
(Good, Hopkins, good. And again, more frantic and insensate.)
Such a base, and rage and whimpering unsightly beast --
yet almost like us in glance and cunning,
in the energy and agile of its haunted search,
so if a shipmate, brought here aboard, by me,
how would...? If staunch and steady, pulling all
its watches and making up the shirkers' share of work
but just in appearance so inhuman, so like that...
What would you take it in as one of you, or us?
It's but the habitual judgment of the mind
that makes us draw the line somewhere, and set
apart the equal creature from the unequal other.
(Aye, Hopkins aye, you have them now.)
See him, raging in the rooms, a god
from nature's bestiary, and now surprised
at the cage he recognizes is enclosing him.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
My pain so great, my fear so acute,
I felt the walls crush in around me and
the sound and fury of my raging brought
a terror face-to-face to me so great
I now still tremble in its recall.

WALTON  as Victor's landlord, carrying stick
Watchman, watchman, succor now, now!
I, the landlord to a student, fear the din --
an assault upon him in his rooms and harm
to him and to my furnishings might come.

WINSLOW  as a night watchman, carrying stick
Is here the room whence come these cries?

WALTON  as Victor's landlord, carrying stick

Crew -- unseen -- roars with laughter as Walton and Winslow, respectively, as Victor's landlord and a night watchman, burst upon Hopkins, as the Demon, who, petrified with fear, is attacked by the two who are equally terrified of the hideous progeny.  Hopkins, as The Demon, is beaten bloody, and the -- unseen -- crew roars with exited approbation until Hopkins, as the Demon, screams and flees, taking the notebook.

WALTON  as Victor's landlord, carrying stick
What has happened to my rooms? Oh, he will pay!

WINSLOW  as a night watchman, carrying stick and catching sight of Hopkins, as the Demon
Oh God, what beast is this that huddles there?

WALTON  as Victor's landlord, carrying stick, also catching sight of Hopkins, as the Demon
A devil, a veritable devil that has killed my tenant.
We must kill it, kill this demon now before it kills again!

They attack Hopkins, as the Demon, who, uncomprehending, finally screams and flees, going off.

WINSLOW  as a night watchman, carrying stick
It has escaped; the evil thing has fled.
Without its body, all will scoff at us,
and none believe what evil we have seen.
What demon was this that bled so like a man?

WALTON  as Victor's landlord, carrying stick
It fled into the night's dark cold.
All holy beings come, come to us now;
protect us from its dark return.
We must make haste to find my tenant.
If he is dead, then who will pay?

Walton and Winslow, respectively, as Victor's landlord and a night watchman, go off, as Hopkins, as the Demon, comes on, collapsing from exhaustion.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
The humans who hit and hit me knew not...
They knew not what? That I feared them
as they feared me? And would they have had
the courage of some kindness then,
then would that have won me to mansuetude?
I ran and ran with all the power of youth
into the strangeness of the night -- my feet,
I felt it was the natural thing to keep
them in the air for on the ground the white
that clung to them and all around laced down
to touch me in the dark, so made them burn
that soon they seared away to madly numbing me.
I was naked in the snow and didn't know it.
My breathing foamed upon my face; I was
unable to go on, yet knew I could not stop.
I sensed what that would be -- and feared -- though I
had no name for it yet, I knew right then
the breath of life I drew within so warm
could end, and I would fall -- and almost did,
a stone cold thing aground to death so numb.
I was now far from what I later learned
was called a town, and entering a wood
to die among the trees huddled from the wind,
I clasped the thing I took and raised my head
to gasp a last cold breath -- and glimpsed a light.
I rose and made my way, lifted beyond my strength
by what I later learned was human hope.
I stumbled heedless, drawn by firelight first,
and then it came, enveloping the world of me
and took me by the ears and turned my face
up to the night where I, I saw her sing
a shining sheen of firelight blessing me.

Walton and Margaret and Winslow (with guitar), as shepherds, sing and dance around a fire by their shelter, as Hopkins, as the Demon, approaches them entranced.

MARGARET   as shepherdess
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.
Three words, and your way with me
you'll have for joying night and day.
Three words though that bewitchingly
must truth that's in your heart display.
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.

WALTON  as shepherd
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.
Three words, and you, my beauty, you
I'll have for joying my life away.
Three words that for long I'll rue
if it's you that with truth do play.
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.

MARGARET  as shepherdess
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.
Three words as true as my love for you
is all that is asked for all I'll give you.
Three words though that must be truly said
or you'll lie alone in your lonely bed.
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.

WALTON   as shepherd
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.
Lying's an art needed to rule;
but also used to make man love's fool --
three words then that in my ken
make women better liars than men.
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.

La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.
It's said God said lying's a sin --
what's all to lose when heaven's to win?
Three words, three words, oh 'deed I do --
so giving my self I say I love you.
La-la-la tra-la-la la-di-da la-di-dai-ra.

Hopkins, as the Demon, comes in on Walton and Margaret and Winslow, as shepherds, who, surprised and terrified, run away.  Hopkins, as the Demon, uncomprehending and exhausted, turns to figuring out -- confusedly, by trail-and-error -- how to get warm by the fire and feed wood to it, dress in the capes and furs left by them, kill and eat a lamb also left by them, and drink the wine they left behind.  As this pantomime continues, Hopkins, as the Demon, clearly revivifying, starts trying to make words.  Warm, fed, rested, and in wonderment, Hopkins, as the Demon, sees the moon, and starts braying tenderly at it.  Hopkins as the Demon, trying to sing and move rhythmically, chants and shuffles shamanistically, circling the fire in a trance.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding from where it has been watching, and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
If I had not been born full grown, I'd not
have learned so much so quickly -- no, oh no;
but I'd have languished in my brute, blind lot
until by trial and stumble I'd have come to know.
Know what? Know ritual -- and what of it?
Just gesture, so hewed to, the more to hide
our own invention of it -- shackled to love it
for how its hum and prayer it helps abide
the constant lightning in the cortexed skull.
Our blessings and our shibboleths they find,
ascending to the welkin's topsyturvy hull,
their answer and their mirror in our mind.
Oh how would I, drawn as a flooding tide,
rise up in prayer to this welling muse inside!
And thus did I begin my education,
all on my own, to progress into future,
so feared, unknown -- as if by imitation
I might possess a power of culture,
and win some peace within to keep at bay
the wilding rage of chaos engorged to kill.
I understood nothing, and every pained assay
at comprehending more took ferocious will.
How anger and frustration do take their toll
and ritual's quiescence does ever insuffice --
so to bleed and kill to again feel whole,
we draw from vengeful violence holy sacrifice.
But if I could turn to other ones of me
or to God -- I'd no longer be, so desperately free.
Hail, celestial radiance nimbed with light
your song is like the fire that warms me now
reverberating through ev'ry nerve with might
of sounds unchained from words yet words enow.
I beg you forge me to your presence mild,
your silv'ry lap of lightness on the world,
resplendent beauty so bespeaking kind
and gentle Nature, that yet feels hurled
unfolding inside time in our weak grasp
and conscious ache to compass you
in wordwhirls of incantatory rasp.
We sway and sing and whining weave our way
through inward caverns echoing with words we pray.


♦  ♦  ♦


Background is same as previous: cabin -- with quarterdeck above -- and adjunct area.  The cabin is as it was when Victor and the Demon came aboard the ship, but includes a representation of a lean-to from which can be observed goings on inside the cottage of De Lacey, Felix and Agatha.  The adjunct area variously represents a trial court, a stony shoreline in Ireland, a wedding chamber overlooking lake Orta, and the living area of the cottage of De Lacey, Felix and Agatha.  The Demon plays from the cabin.  Margaret and Elizabeth play from the adjunct area.  Victor, Walton, Winslow and Hopkins play from both the cabin and adjunct area.  The -- unseen -- crew is the audience for the playing of the continuation of Victor's story.

WALTON,  WINSLOW  &  HOPKINS  drinking and singing with -- unseen -- crew, and in their costumes for playing, respectively, a judge, a prosecuting attorney, and Clerval
I sailed away a sailor boy,
hoh-oh, oh my hearties,
to live my life on the briny sea
where there's no maids or parties.

So back ashore I thought to wed
and won a lass so bonny.
We lived the joy of our sweet bed,
long days and nights so nonny.

Impressed upon a man o' war
my happiness was ended.
To live the life of a jack tar sore
was not what I'd intended.

For years away and fights at sea,
I kept her face before me.
At last for home when mustered free,
I found she had children for me.

"Why did you break your troth with me?"
Said she, "I thought long dead you'd be."
A broken man gone back to sea,
I sailed away again you see.

So there I was a gun deck lad
in broadsides' bloody fury --
a memory to leave all mad
who live to tell the story.

Enthralled by majesty of war,
I'm lost, son of a gun so poor --
my love's now that old filthy whore
that in battle plies her cunt galore.

Take up your cup of burning grog
and drink to me right sadly;
for we'll all live in blasted fog,
til end our lives right madly.

I sailed away a sailor boy,
hoh-oh, oh my hearties,
to live our lives on the briny sea
where there's no maids or parties.

raucous laughter and cheering from -- unseen -- crew as Winslow, as a prosecuting attorney, Victor, as himself as a young man, and Hopkins, as Clerval, moving to adjunct area, ready to continue Victor's story

Avast there then with all this folderol,
and on to play our story...
(as if departing on an interlude,
that like a lifetime quickly arcs from dark
to dark, the scintil of a shooting star,
that for its moment marks the vast of night).
Without, there waits but deathly cold for us;
within, the warmth of our companiony --
aye, my hearties -- its spark will yet keep cold at bay
(that yet will outwait every life that lives).
So we shall live to see ours reach its end!
Aye! This ice will melt and we

angry chorus of refusal from -- unseen -- crew

What, you would not go with me? laughing

roar of refusal from -- unseen -- crew

We shall see about that my hearties, we shall see.
I am yet the captain of this ship, and you
are yet the members of my crew. And I --
when we will treat of this tomorrow -- I will
with all due care and respect listen
to you, and you, with all respect I ask
listen to me. For if, if I can get you to
listen to me, then I, with me, will keep you.

unconvinced murmuring from crew as Walton takes on role of the Prologue

And as we come to this, our respite's end
hark well, my hearties, with all due patience --
your minds at rest to learningly attend
to ends, not means, of this our feeble science
and untutored art. We are, even at our best,
a shadow of our ambition for our selves.
The truth in what we've made, were that confessed,
is but a spark beside a sun that delves
apart the dark with blinding light, and yet,
if in your eyes that spark sparks light
then that becomes the spark of light that set
afire a light of truth of lasting might.
If in the end we are to die, then why
not reckless live to seize and hold a high
ambition -- achieved or not but yet pursued
to ground until for worms we make the food?
Our guest, returned from Ingolstadt, now home --
brought back by news of his young brother's murder --
he knows, knows the truth -- it was, it was
the vengeful progeny he made that in
a frenzy, hearing the boy say the fam'ly's name --
when in its erring in a wood it did
surprise upon him -- killed the child.
And Victor he keeps silent out of shame,
shamelessly not lifting a finger to prevent
the law from condemning an innocent to death.

The -- unseen -- crew settles down to attend to the playing of Victor's story, as Walton dons robes take up his role as a judge in the courtroom represented in the adjunct area, as Hopkins, Winslow and Victor also get ready to step into their roles.

HOPKINS  with Winslow and Victor
No, better you stood here I think,
so once the judge instructs the jury,
you move across to here and turn to him,
yet also thus address the jury and
our hearties there -- while all the while, you oil
and gesture with your panoply of lawyer's wiles
against the pris'ner in the box that's there.

WINSLOW  with Hopkins and Victor
No, for we agreed, all the while we practiced it
that I would first, beginning here address

VICTOR  with Winslow and Hopkins
No, he's right; I think it would be best

HOPKINS  with Winslow and Victor
Aye, do it like I say, you'll see
that it will work much better than before.

WINSLOW  with Hopkins and Victor
Hopkins, you forget you are a seaman
and I the sailing master on this ship?

HOPKINS  with Winslow and Victor
Sir. Aye, aye sir. I did not... I did forget.

VICTOR  to Walton and Hopkins and Winslow
Yes, and do you forget too that I am Victor,
who brought to life the creature that still
you laugh at like such daring fools and now

Oh, no sir. No. I did not... I did forget.

WALTON  laughing
Enough. Now you are Victor, again,
in the glory of your youth, and he
is now your true and dearest friend,
Henry Clerval

VICTOR  interrupting, and to himself
(who with such strong, honest devotion
so often tried to save me with
his loyal, caring friendship -- all to no avail.)

and all these others too who played their part --
as if our life passing before us brought
so vivid back to mind all those who played --
played...played their part in this the story
that you told us brought you here to our ship,
they too we'll put before your eyes -- oh aey!,
my hearties, aey? -- in our imaginings'
bright light.

WINSLOW  laughing, with Hopkins and Victor, and addressing Victor first, then Hopkins
Aye, well I for one, am glad you are
who indeed you are, not so, Sir --
but think on it twice if such a fine thing
it would be if but plumed up in finery
as this at will we could recast the selves
we have all accustomed to and play
a diff'rent part as if it were, so naturally,
our own? Would that not make mees of yous,
and topsyturvy up the world by making those
who rule the ruled?

HOPKINS  laughing, with Winslow and Victor
Aye, for the habits we endoss are all,
all take us for, and changing them we change,
if not ourselves, then the self all take us for

VICTOR  interrupting, and to himself
(that we could have so easily become
had we our lives to live again).

WINSLOW  with Hopkins and Victor
I beg your pardon, Sir. We did not hear you.

VICTOR  with Winslow and Hopkins
Nothing -- we were speaking of our parts.

HOPKINS  laughing, to Winslow
Yes. So we should change, to test if true that in
the raiment of a role and treated so,
we might our fortune and our selves upend.
So you and I, Sir; here, I the prosecutor,
and you his friend, Clerval, could be.

WINSLOW  laughing, with Hopkins and Victor
I, the handsome youth? And you the angry, old,
vindictive scourge intent on making someone
take the blame and hang at any cost?
No. I would, but dare not for I am too old.
For that, no slight of habit nor of finery
will trick the sculpting done by hands of time
and supple us to selves we're not and none
would ever take us for but fools.

VICTOR  laughing, with Winslow and Hopkins
Does not the world take what we show it --
if accustomed to it -- as right and true?
Look how secrets known to selves, kept silently
keep fools so fooled that how it seems is how
to them, kept ignorant, it must then be.
And is that not the rule that keeps us fools
so ruled by lies that silent are kept hid?
It's said there is much truth abroad in this
wide world; is it that learned so well to keep
itself well hid, or we who learned so well
to keep it from ourselves, keeping it unseen?

Belay your jabbering, and stand. In all
the majesty and awe of justice, comes the judge --
as so must you, gentlemen of the jury.

CABIN BOY  heard from off with drum roll
Hear ye, hear ye, this court is now assized,
and called to order by the laws that vest

disorderly muttering from -- unseen -- crew

WALTON  as a judge, and glaring the -- unseen -- crew to silence, and addressing them as a jury
Gentlemen of the jury, this court is now
assized to hear the pleading of the case
that yours is to judge as to
the matter of one fact -- that did, or not
the prisoner commit the crime that here
she stands accused of having done.
Conduct the prisoner to the box
and the witness to her place.

Margaret, as Justine, and Elizabeth come on to adjunct space.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
May it please the court, for herefor we are here

WALTON  as a judge
The wherefores we are here for, Sir, we all
already know. Were a preamble needed
to open these proceedings, then, why, it would
be mine to give, not so?

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Aye, aye, Sir, but may it please your Grace

WALTON  as a judge
Your duty, Sir, is not to ingratiate
yourself to me. Yours is to present the case
that stands against the prisoner, innocent

dismissive murmurings from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

innocent, I say, until you may remove
within the minds of you her peers beyond
all doubt that can be reasonably held
the shield that is fair guiltlessness,
that holds at bay base passion to condemn.
For your part is to show beyond sound doubt,
and yours is to hew to innocence presumed,
and mine to vigil o'er due process under law.
For these, like rudder, hull and sails -- the force
of each agrappling 'gainst the others -- keeps
the worthy ship of lawful rule acoursing true
and safe at sea. Together they prevent
abuse of power by the state. The due,
deliberate proceeding under law,
as unseen lines perspective guide, ensures
the mind's eye in just magnitude relates
the elements of the depiction's panoply,
and draws to limning light for reason's open gaze
what angry passion would in dark enclose.
The case you make in open court, that free
to challenge by all countering truths, it is
the gage that justice rests on what is rightly known.
And innocence' presumption the bulwark is
that like the sound-ribbed hull that holds at bay
injustice' seething ocean, walls away
the surge of rabble's passion to assign
the part of sacrificial victim to
any innocent at hand to expiate
their anger at injustice' seething sway.
So you then in your minds you must so much
more than presume, but take as proved -- absent
clear contrary proof -- her innocence.
For guilt it does not loom behind a screen
of mere formality of innocence,
but is the fact that must beyond all doubt
be held before the forefront of the mind
and kept there squarely til it may be proved
it's not, by evidence and reason free
and fairly brought to light before this bench
where reason rules.

murmurings from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
State your name.

MARGARET  as Justine
Justine Moritz.

WALTON  as a judge
And you were a servant and companion in the household that

MARGARET  as Justine
I was...I am...

WALTON  as a judge
And you understand you are here accused of the murder of the child, William?

MARGARET  as Justine
I understand.

WALTON  as a judge
And how do you plead?

MARGARET  as Justine
I plead...I plead... she faints

uproar from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury, as Elizabeth, Victor and Hopkins, as Clerval, go to help Justine

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Aha! Look ye. By their actions ye shall know them,
and look how does remorse and conscience crush
her now under the guilt of her heinous crime.

(I know that she is innocent. I do.)

(How? Then say so. I too cannot believe she killed him -- why? But...)

VICTOR   to himself
[I cannot, for I would not be believed.
No common sense of evidence could fathom
what I've made and know did this.]

HOPKINS  as Clerval
(We must help her, and us, and cast about
for other, unknown, facts and circumstance
that may, in truth, this tragedy explain.)

(What other? Everything stands against her.
We know, oh God!, the child is dead. Oh!)

MARGARET  as Justine, reviving
(I did not, did not, did not do this thing.)

(Then who? For if not you then...then you, and why?
What do you know, Victor, what do you know?)

HOPKINS  as Clerval
(Oh my poor Victor, your face in pain
bespeaks your horror at your brother's loss.)

(I look at her and feel I know...know...
but all facts coldly deny it...and, Victor...?
The truth I feel is not the truth I know.
Facts rightly known do rightly crush all intuition?)

WALTON  as a judge
Is she able now, to speak and understand?
For she is here to be tried, and if she can,
the duty of this court is to proceed.

MARGARET  as Justine
Leave me; I can stand. Incomprehension is
the weight that crump and huddles me to ground.
How does misfortune come and so quick consume
the richness of our lives to ashes that I
know not, nor do you. But now to me
this accusation, like a fire in the night
did set ablaze the palace of my life --
so filled with trust and happiness and peace,
that humbly yes, outshone all riches --
and now's a ruin stark and empty in dawn's
grey light, of charred remains and buckling stones.
I loved that child as if my own,
and thought by giving him the mastery
of me -- all my tenderness and time --
a constant, so attentive servant to his whims
of mind and change of moods as he ran learning
through the world, he'd always feel
esteemed and fully understood. And thus
I might repay his mother's kindness, who
did take me in to serve her noble house,
and learn -- as I could not dream that I could do --
I, a wretched child of violence insensate
in poverty's rude, brutal truncating of men.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Insensate baseness never does let go!
Can you not see? Her having no child of her own
a sudden, when alone, unseen, with him
did spark in darkness in the wood her hate,
and so in jealousy she killed him quick
to venge herself against the noble master's hand
that fed and sheltered, taught and tamed her,
by strangling him that she loved most.

vindictive howl from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
Silence! What evidence is there for that?

WINSLOW  s a prosecutor
The night the child was killed did she not sleep --
or what? -- for she was elsewhere than at home?
Is that not so? Is that not so I ask?

No..yes..we all went searching for the child,
as did she, at first so eager, but no..she wouldn't...

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Oh, no?
Who does know what darkness reaches deep
and ever lurks asleep in every heart?
She suffered -- violence and humiliation --
and was mastered. She suffered; she has said so,
and vengeance is ever born of suffering.
It waits, nurturing its wound, so patient to
outlash and strike, a roiling emutinery
of raging hate seized upon its victim;
and thus she sudden killed the child, to spite
the noble one who taught her with such kind,
greathearted grace and human sympathy.
And here, now for the loss of him who was
so loved -- the suffering she to us has caused --
now comes her time to die and pay.

approval heard from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
Justice not vengeance is the duty of this court.
The mother she was long dead, not so?
Against the dead what vengeance can be had?

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
In memory the hated dead they so remain
as if alive.

WALTON  as a judge
Yet vengeance visited
upon another in their place touches them not.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
No matter, for we are living and to
our righteous anger someone must respond.

approval heard from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Is it not written, the pain of the penalty
must fit the crime? So blood for blood
must here be paid to expiate
this killing so senseless and so vile
for so the laws of order, man and God require!

HOPKINS  as Clerval
But not by her! Vengeance for what?
For she was never wronged.
The mother loved her so.
That I saw and know is so.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
I object! Who is he to speak without
the leave of due procedure of this court?

WALTON  as a judge
Objection sustained.
Return then to your place and keep your peace.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
May I remind this court and jury that
for murder such as this the law demands
an equal penalty and that is death.

WALTON  as a judge
First the law requires proof for any crime.

WINSLOW  as prosecutor
And proof is what I have. Mark well,
for proof is what I have. Do you, you see
this locket?

MARGARET  as Justine

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
And it was found? This locket, I ask you
whose was it and with whose likeness on it?

It was the child's and ever worn by him,
a token of his mother's memory and love.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
And it was found? Aey?

MARGARET  as Justine
Its strands closed in my hand at break of dawn
the night the child was killed.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Thus she does confess her crime!

roar heard from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

MARGARET  as Justine
No! I know not how it came there.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Oh no, you would not know, lest you recall,
you, so fiercely in the pale light of the moon
so deep in shadow by the rustling trees
alone with him your dearest charge, unseen
by any mastering authority --
and mutinous resentment welling from within,
you clasped your hands around the stemtop of
his neck and eked out from the flower of
his questioning face, the bloom of life in him.

mutterings of "guilty," guilty," "condemn her," etc. from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
Was there a moon that night? Is that a fact?

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
No matter, for she killed him. How else could she
have taken this locket from his neck? -- a token
of her triumph over her that was her master,
the hapless mother pictured here of the child
so innocent, so cruelly killed by this woman there.
My case it rests with your sound judgment
and sense of honest duty, clear as it is.

cries of "guilty," guilty," "she must die," etc. from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
Silence! Who here would speak for the accused?
So you must then speak for yourself, not so?

MARGARET  as Justine
You have decided, and I speak not to change
your minds. From what you know, you know what seems,
and so the reasoning you make it has
the certainty you feel that it is right.
But I know that it is wrong -- but why would you
believe me, now your facts all stand against me?
When one knows what is true, but many no,
only time, with luck, reveals what's truly so.
Misfortune, guised in this lie has come to me.
Yes so it has, and I will bear this fate
open as my arms, unarmed, that never harmed,
and now take up this unjust death as I'd
take up the child I loved as if my own.
By all suspected of this crime what life
is left for me in the society of you
who are my life, should I now go free?
Alone, for sake of truth, I'll say what's true.
The evening Elizabeth, desperate,
returning with his brother saying they
had playing swirled apart by happenstance
until each found he'd lost the other and
now William remained astray, I left the house --
not yet in any agony of fear
for I thought of my joy at finding him,
comforting him and being gazed on thankfully
by all who feared for him. But as the night
wore on and I despaired of finding him,
despite my search, ever more anxious -- so prey,
I too became to worst of fears for him.
Exhausted spent, I stumbled on a stable by
the wood where he was later found, and there
where horses' hay was stored I fell to sleep,
and woke to find the locket he had round his neck
laced about my fingers hanging from my hand.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Whence like a line, fouling, snarling on your wrist
you wrenched it at the instant after death.

MARGARET  as Justine
No, no, and no! No!
I beg you ask yourselves if you are wrong!

murmurings from jury

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
Take care, the lying whore would question what
you know, and take you all for weakling fools.

cries of "guilty," guilty," "she must die," etc. from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
Your rush to judgement does diminish both
yourselves and justice's ideal of rights.
Now, your sentiments you know, but yet
you must deliberate unbiased once you
have heard the pleading the accused does make.
For someone here must speak for her...
(for I cannot. Though calm and beauty such as hers
so still bespeak what floods of speech could not.)
Who here would speak to advocate her cause?

Hopkins, as Clerval, and Elizabeth turn to each other in mutual expectation, and to Victor, who is ever more agitated, twisting and turning, muttering to himself.

MARGARET  as Justine
Are the're none here would stand and speak for me?
You, who have long known me, lived with me,
and made me one in your society,
do you not know what I would do and no,
not ever do?

VICTOR  to himself
(Had I the courage I now should, I'd speak --
I know it was the progeny I've made
did this to me. But bootless it would be
for I'd not be believed and would be shamed
so dire is the horror I have made.)

MARGARET  as Justine
When I awoke and found her likeness here,
shifting in my hand before my waking eyes --
my joy! my joy at how she must have blessed me!
For I thought I must have found him...oh but then
I recalled how I half dreamt the horses, fitful, stirring,
as if a towering malevolence,
muffled, one with the dark, had breathed upon us.

Victor runs off.


HOPKINS  as Clerval
(Oh let him go and understand the why --
he runs away beset by anger and
by sorrow at the murder of his brother.)

(And you are sure there's not something more?)

HOPKINS  as Clerval
(What?) And I will speak for you. I will.
No more, no! For I would take your place
and have them take, aye take, my life for yours.
I know that you are innocent for I
have known you over time and watched you well,
and trust my heart to see the heart within.

uproar from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

HOPKINS  as Clerval
Aye, so it is. If one crime's blood calls for
another, why not visit vengeance' terror
on one who'll choose to kneel inside the noose
of the circling, seething crowd and bare his back
to the rain of stones heaved from their hands?
So you a judge in raiment made to awe
send me beneath the priestly executioner's
high glinting and beheading, sacrificial knife.
Have my blood slake their thirst for solace,
washing away all pain of this child's death.

WALTON  as a judge
No! No! No! The law it cannot separate
the criminal from the crime, the actor from the act.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
So must condemn the one accused
as law requires by light of facts brought here
before this court. And that is that.

uproar from -- unseen -- crew, as a jury

WALTON  as a judge
Silence! You will retire, deliberate,
in calm sequestered, to then return to state
your verdict, considered and well-founded, in this case.

WINSLOW  as a prosecutor
And you the sentence then will state as you,
your duty and the law

WALTON  as a judge
See fit! My duty, Sir, I will do
with no prompting from any, nor from you.

Drum roll from cabin boy from off, as all go off.  Victor comes on.

I ran away. I ran away. I ran away.
And ran, to live forlorn and desperate,
by turns dejected by my cowardice,
or elated by my fury for I knew
that now I lived only to find it,
and bring it to its death with mine.
Returning to my father's house I kept
my secret and my guilt so silent that
in cradling of time they soon became
so like accustomed, crippl'ing disability,
accompanying me, without an instant's respite --
but known only to me. My state of disengagement,
they in their kindness all forebore,
calling it my melancholy at
the loss of my young brother, whom I hardly knew.
Indifferent, I gave in to lure of happiness
and agreed to marriage to Elizabeth
as had been my mother's wish for us.
For most of all I missed my dearest friend,
Clerval, who never lost his faith in me,
and loved me, I know, all along in all
the ardor and the brightness of
our childhood's first and fast best friends.
His studies took him far away, to learned,
professional achievement -- and I was jealous,
and oh I missed him -- but days and nights I spent
afoot and coursing woods and mountains, sure,
so watchful that one day I'd find it --
always taking Clerval's letters with me,
in lonely shepherd's camps and bivouacs,
to read like an unfolding of love's treasures --
but yet, even to him I could not confess
the beast I had created. And then one day,
so empty pensive, standing in a skree
above the treeline by a glacier below,
and taking in vast Nature's craggy glory there,
there in the sun-lit cold I saw
a figure loping dark across the ice,
upright, but so unlike a human one.
With welling tears and clench of triumph then
I knew the moment now had come and I,
careen and scrambling down the slope and stones,
did lunge toward it in abandon now.
And panting, running tangent to its stride
across the roughness of the ice, I crossed
into its path -- it must have known, and sensed
my coming, for it veered to me to lead
me on -- and soon I closed and I threw myself
and was upon it grappling it to ground.

Hopkins, as the Demon, has come on.

HOPKINS  as the Demon
Hah! Hah! And so you would it would be you
who would catch me? You cruel fool, it should
be me to howl and catch and kill you now!

At last I have you!

HOPKINS  as the Demon
At last, well met. At last I can beg you
to make another one like me for me
to love and to love me.

No! Never. My brother whom you killed...oh!

HOPKINS  as the Demon
My rage at your betrayal siezes me
beyond my power to stop and hold it back.

And I for that have vowed to end your life.

HOPKINS  as the Demon
As you began it? Careless and unthinking?
Fixed only on the glory of your genius for creation?
No. No. It is I who should kill you.
But I will spare you. For I beg you, need you --
make another like me for my own,
so I'll not have to live my life alone.

No, you are a misambition that I'll not
repeat again.

HOPKINS  as the Demon
Oh, no? Then it is I who should kill you.
And could so easily if I dispaired
of my last hope -- so I will spare you --
and beg you, beg you, as you hear and see me now,
as if in prayer, make another for to cleave
to me and to depend on me for I
cannot go on so free. Wait. Wait.
Listen to me. And bring your heart
to understand before you bring your mind
to bring your lips to speak. I beg you,
I beg you, I beg you come with me
and make another one of me.

I followed it to its rough lair in
the snow and stones. And heard the story of
its brave travails -- the books it found,
my notebook that it kept, the fearful,
sustained confronting of feral violence,
so fathomless, at every turn when human ones
came close, and of its struggle in
insistent ardor and resolve to teach
itself to speak, to conquer language and
to learn. For its suffering, I pitied it.
Or did its prostrations at my feet, its desperate burblings that it
would always be my faithful, loyal slave,
its looking up to me clutching my knees
as if tearful incense from its eyes might sway
me heed it -- did that not engorge my heart
with pride that I called proudly, pity?
But I agreed to make another like it.
The joy of reaching peace between us,
of reconciliating all my dread
at making another and unleashing it,
with all its desperate desire for
a complementing other, lasted not long.
I, beset by second thoughts, kept putting off
beginning, and its mistrust and anger grew,
until, fearing that in rage and fury it
would kill me to venge my treachery in this,
I ran away, promising I had to find the means
to make the other like itself. It knew
I lied, and let me go for it now fixed
to kill my wife and friend to force through fear
my doing what it would I do that I
now swore ever stronger I would not.
The time went by, I lived accustomed to the threat.
At last, my wedding day, that I could not
in conscience any more delay, did come;
I did my best to feign great happiness,
as bride and relatives expect, but I,
in truth, did fear the worst, and so it was.
The marriage and the feast concluded, and adieus
all said, they set us off upon a boat
to cross the lake to reach the villa that
my father in his generosity and hope
portioned to us in mem'ry of his wife
and what once had been their love and love for me.
The oars like silvery, leaping fishes in
the moonlight dipped and sprang, and trailed
their pearls of rustling droplets that did lull
the bluntness of the oarsmens' levering
the boat aslide the water past the glow
in casement windows from the palaces on shore.
What was I to say to her whose trust and love
for me, I had accepted and was now
in silence leading to disaster and to death?
Hand in hand beside her, her laughter and
her perfume suffocating me, I saw only
the stars so far and free beyond the granite
prison towers of snow-dappled mountain crags.
Prepared for our wedding bed she said to me,

Hopkins, as the Demon, has gone off, and Elizabeth, in adjunct area, has come on.

My love, how long have I longed for this, for I
have always loved you -- it was I who asked
your mother -- bless her memory -- to make
her dying wish that we should thus be one,
and you should take, and make me grave with child.

Yes. Yes. I did not know.

And that is all?...Then say no more, as I
would bring my lips to seal my love with yours.

This is an unfamiliar place and danger
I sense may lie in waiting here. Where are
my pistols and are they primed? The doors
and locks to all this house I'll first acertain
and in a moment to you I'll come back.

What troubles you, my love? Something amiss
for long has always seemed

The window there
must have its shutters battened for

Oh, no. For I
would have the risen moon shed its pale shafts
into the room, and sing to me as if
a light that opens to wide freedom of
a world of happiness for me anew.

Yes, I see. And in a moment will return.

I wait, as long I have, with only thoughts of you.

And pistols at hand I went -- and knew that it
was there in wait, hidden, gathering to strike.
The rounds of all the house I made -- but nothing there.
And then I heard the howling laugh and knew,
and racing up the stairs into the room
I sickened as it loomed over the bed --
too late -- so agile to the window it lept back,
and taunting me beneath its cowl and cape
the shadow of its shape so dark cut out
against the light, it crouched upon
the window ledge, and sprang into the night.
Twice I fired but tears of rage clouded my eyes.
I knelt to weep where it had left her dead.

THE DEMON  momentarily emerging from hiding and seen and heard only by the members of the audience
I killed her, yes, though she was innocent,
for he dishonored me and broke the promise
that he made, and I would bring such terror
to his life that he would keep the vow he made --
so solemn swore he'd keep his faith with me,
and try at least to make another of my kind.
What right have they to peace and love
who know not all the suffering they bring?

returns to hiding

From that time on I coursed the world and thought,
and only thought of finding it and taking my
just revenge. Before I chased full
across the Earth -- unto the bleakness of
the ice fields of the northern pole that brought
me to this ship, it also killed Clerval.
And it waits here hidden and you know it not,
and would waste your time with shows and plays!

murmuring of surprise from -- unseen -- crew

Sir, you forget yourself and what we pacted.

Do you not see? It's here, aboard your ship,
and lies in wait, and must be killed! Believe me, please...

Avast! What siezes you to thus abandon
all we repeated for this telling of your tale
for the refreshment from their weariness
of my proud hearties, members of my crew,
now readying to gird again the will
with sword of action and prepare
assault on new endeavor. Aey?

growling of dissent from -- unseen -- crew

No matter. No matter. It is not yet the time.
(For who would return defeated troops
to battle-ready first of all must learn
the time to give to time. For minist'ring
to healing it begins with sensing where
in wane to perigee that at its moment
turns to climb to fullness there anew
does stand the inconstant arc, re-arc of fortune's wheel
that yet does for all that lives eternally return.)
We shall see, my hearties, we shall see.

murmuring of dissent from -- unseen -- crew

Captain, valiant captain, do you not see?
Excess of courage brings the stubborn brave
to early graves. And now we must throw off
this useless playing of my tale, and search
until we find my hideous progeny on this ship
so I may kill it and then die in peace!

roar of dissatisfaction from -- unseen -- crew

Silence! We will finish what we have begun.

And you shall like, in silence, what you see
or the lashes' knots will drink their weight
at the bleeding on your backs.

Mister Winslow, see to another round of grog for all,
as we put back the playing of our guest's sad tale.
Aye, my hearties, aye, all in its time
to fullness comes to pass -- and at that time,
I'll do my best to enthrall you to my will.


There, on a stony beach on Ireland's shore,
where ceaseless breakers roil and sand
the shifting stones to rounded loaves,
Victor, having heard his demon progeny
that way had passed, with all the strength
of the possessed had rowed across the strait
from England and has just landed his boat.
And following him, sent by Victor's father,
to return the son careening -- prodigal --
across the Earth, so mad in chase of some
demonic vision, comes his friend, Clerval.
Clerval now reached those distant islands west,
just as Victor set off for Ireland's eastern rim,
and without the strength of one possessed --
so stalwart to duty at prudence' expense --
he too set off across the strait to reach his friend.
Spent by struggle 'gainst the unfamiliar sea,
he was too weak to breach the surf and land
his boat that churn and tide they ground and cracked
on reefstones near the beach. Victor, seeing
a person drowning off the shore -- and knowing not
it was his childhood friend, Clerval -- for once,
unthinking, threw himself into the water's cold
to save the person flailing in the curls of spume.
An oh, the strangeness of their joy, united,
when in surprise each recognized the other,
embracing in the violent, surrounding sea.

Oh would I have succumbed with him, and stayed
under the battering of the waves
to drown and not and have lifted him ashore
to see the horror of his death.

His tossing from the boat had hurled him
against it at his back, and dragged ashore
both found the movement in his legs was gone.
Clerval he knew it was his end, so gave out
his message to his friend...Hopkins!

HOPKINS  going to adjunct area to play Clerval speaking to Victor, though Victor, agitated and distraught, remains in cabin refusing to continue playing his story
Aye, aye Sir! ...
Return in peace, my dearest friend,
home to your father's house, and remember ever
my love for you, from now to when we played
as children in the sun, you as Oliver the brave
and faithful friend, and I as Roland at the pass,
my Durandal in song, red-tinted in my right
against the horde until we both did die
the death of soldiers fighting, brave and true.

And Victor turns to run and fetch him help
from fishermen who live along the beach, and then
the demon quick descending from the cliff
in a triceling clambers down and kills the man.
And Victor he returns and finds Clerval
the neck snapped near asunder from the chest.

Oh.....so it was, was...

Come here, to pull him from the sea and play

No! I would not, cannot, will not, no...

Hopkins has gone back to cabin and brings a drink to Victor.

Good Sir, take this and drink -- a wee dram
to lift your spirits from your sorrowing,
return your strength and spur you to take up
again our playing here of your misfortune.

Sweet lad, your kindness so unthinking
gestures deep, should balm my wounded heart --
but no kindness can transfrom the bleak,
cold reach of my world of shameful woe.

When you are ready then, begin here to pull him from the sea

No! I would not, cannot, will not, no...

That is what we agreed to do and you

No! You understand nothing!

Sir, I would have my orders met.

rising murmmer from -- unseen -- crew

No! I cannot bear to play that end again.
For I'll have not yet killed it.

Then what? I'll play your part too? Hopkins!

Ready, Sir.


more remonstration from -- unseen -- crew

Silence. Well then, we will move to play the end.

Why? I tell you, it is here! And you
do dare to taunt it with the mocking of my fate?
For I too well do know the end, and now,
must find and kill it here before it is too late.

Yes then. To it. Now we will play the end --
the end that brought you to this ship.
How, beyond endurance, over all the Earth
you followed it until at last, you say,
in this cold hell of crushing ice it lept
aboard this ship with you? Not so, you say?
And stealthed into this cabin with a notebook
for to leave you in your sleep, not so?

To kill me, and you and all the rest, and you

And how shall I know this demon when I see it?

Oh! I was sleeping here where you carried me.

And I by candlelight here my wife did write,
this cutlass, pistols close at hand
as Winslow, you slept there in that chair
barring the cabin passageway lest angry
mutineers come take my life for leading them
to hopeless, icy, fearful end, no end
of words and playing to their self-regard
can keep from ending in vengeful rage --
and from the cold and dark exhaustion
in deepest sleep upon my hands like you, I fell.

But Sir, what if... Walton dismisses objection with gesture. Aye, Sir. ... Goodnight, Sir, and may we rest

in peace. Not yet, not yet, I trust.

And oh ... Thank you, Sirs ... I will from here be first to sieze what may

may wake? And wake us from our sleep? Aye.

Aye. Goodnight. And may nothing wake us from our sleep.

Deep dark in cabin as Victor, Winslow and Hopkins sleep, and Walton writes by candlight, as Margaret comes on in adjunct space.

My bride -- beloved -- by you so blest,
here all goes well. Until the end I did my best.
And every breath I take until the last
I take, thinking of you, holding me fast.

How long does love keep hope aflame?
Past all reason, that all the same,
knows it so badly ended. And all the best
you were to me I recall and treasure lest
those we love forget. I'll live to very last
witness to your good, in mourning, holding fast.

But Sir, Sir, if I may, why not...
why don't we play the end? What of the part
where the monstrous hideousness I play,
this way, hidden like a freightened animal,
crouching in a lean-to made for beasts
against a house he came upon where lived
a blind old man, De Lacey, his most beloved
daughter, Agatha, and her loving husband,
Felix, and the wild and ignorant progeny --
like this, keeping itself hidden from their sight
for many rich seasons of time did watch them and
did learn -- from music made by the old man's hands,
the poems read to them by the girl, the stories told,
and teaching that they gave and love
of children and of young for old and man and wife
they in their happiness they showed.
We practiced it to play tonight, and so I would --
would play the progeny's learning that way --
for I too would sometime learn like that.

Aye. You would learn like that. I too.
Winslow, break out your guitar,
for Hopkins here would play the end --
and so would I.

Mixed groans of uninterest and calls of approbation from -- unseen -- crew as Winslow, as De Lacey, with guitar, and Walton, as Felix, go to adjunct area; and Hopkins, as the Demon, goes to lean-to; and Victor sleeps in the bunk in cabin.

Silence. Silence. We are not yet beaten
by our exhaustion -- aey, my hearties?
Yes, silence... that so cold buries in inaction --
all, who must in time, forsake the hearth of acting.
We are near done -- but then will begin again!

Mutterings of dissension from -- unseen -- crew as, in adjunct area, Winslow plays guitar, as Walton, as Felix, and Margaret, as Agatha, sing.

WALTON  as Felix & MARGARET  as Agatha   --    singing, joined by the others

The strife of day now done
to rest at last beginning
love's solace newly begun
takes wing in hearts strong willing.

Hearth fires that now ember
sing soft the spent of days
in notes that make remember
the melody of kindly ways.

With sleep travail upend
so come unto me revelling
in old love's trusting wend
that spurs to desire unendling.

The care of love's bright fire
lights the night of death's dark ire.

Ambition outwears the sheath
that keeps its sword unharming
that once bared to action's seethe
brooks no calm's disarming.

Oh weep well for who aroving
in venture's glore of fame
forsakes how a home's awoving
knits up love's lasting flame.

Without the world for vengeance
ever stirs without recede;
within with new resurgence
love's laughter need not cede.

The care of love's small fire
lights the night of death's dark ire.

Margaret goes off, as Walton, Winslow, and Hopkins return to exactly where they were -- pistols and cutlass at hand etc. -- when the Demon first came on.

I feel the unfamiliar darkness here
does balm the rasping on my eyes and soul
from insistent day and thrilling expectation
of getting back to action, now so cruelly dashed.

HOPKINS  speaking of Victor, asleep in bunk
If, Sir, I might stay...in case he wakes and speaks...and madly raves, I might help, please Sir...

Hopkins, it seems to me your place

WALTON  laughing
May better be with us

But Sir, what if... Walton dismisses objection with gesture. Aye, Sir. ... Goodnight, Sir, and may we rest

in peace. Not yet, not yet, I trust.

And oh ... Thank you ... I will from here be first to sieze what may

may wake? And wake us from our sleep? Aye.

Aye. Goodnight. And may nothing wake us from our sleep.

Deep dark in cabin as Victor, Winslow and Hopkins sleep, and Walton writes by candlight and falls asleep. The Demon comes on.

Sleep, sleep, sweet sleep -- one more deep innocence
my wretched and inhuman life denied me.
And I, I was left by you to learn alone.
The hideous progeny I am, is yours.
And now to darkness I will take

In an instant of fierce, confused mayhem in the dark, the Demon strangles Victor waking Hopkins, as Walton and Winslow take up cutlass and pistols to fight the mutineers bursting in through the cabin door, and the Demon turns on Walton, who drives the cutlass into it as it strangles him among the mutineers, as Hopkins tries to help Walton, as Winslow and Hopkins then fight the mutineers and are killed by them.

Oh, Sir!