Scene IV

THAIS. Come, my lovers! Come, all my evil lovers! Hasten, my lovers! Your Thais calls you!

LOVERS. That is the voice of Thais. She calls us. Let us make haste. Let us make haste, for by delay we may offend her.

THAIS. Come, lovers! Run! Hasten! What makes you so slow? Never has Thais been more impatient for your coming. Come nearer. I have something to tell you all.

LOVERS. Oh, Thais, what is the meaning of this pile of faggots? Why are you throwing all those beautiful and precious treasures on the pile?

THAIS. You cannot guess? You do not know why I have built this fire?

LOVERS. We are amazed. We wonder greatly what is the meaning of it and of your strange looks.

THAIS. You would like me to tell you, evil lovers?

LOVERS. We long to hear.

THAIS. Look, then!

LOVERS. Stop, Thais! What are you doing? Are you mad?

THAIS. I am not mad. For the first time I am sane, and I rejoice!

LOVERS. To waste these pounds of gold, and all the other treasure! Oh, Thais, you have lost your senses! These are beautiful things, precious things, and you burn them!

THAIS. All these things I have extorted from you as the price of shameful deeds. I burn them to destroy all hope in you that I shall ever again turn to your love. And now I leave you.

LOVERS. Wait, Thais. Oh wait a little, and tell us what has changed you!

THAIS. I will not stay. I will not tell you anything. To talk with you has become loathsome.

LOVERS. What have we done to deserve this scorn and contempt? Can you accuse us of being unfaithful? What wrong have we done? We have always sought to satisfy your desires. And now you show us this bitter hatred! Unjust woman, what have we done?

THAIS. Leave me, or let me leave you. Do not touch me. You can tear my garments, but you shall not touch me.

LOVERS. Cruel Thais, speak to us! Before you go, speak to us!

THAIS. I have sinned with you. But now is the end of sin, and all our wild pleasures are ended.

LOVERS. Thais, do not leave us! Thais, where are you going?

THAIS. Where none of you will ever see me again!

LOVERS. What monstrous thing is this? Thais, glory of our land, is changed! Thais, our delight, who loved riches and power and luxury—Thais, who gave herself up to pleasure day and night, has destroyed past remedy gold and gems that had no price! What monstrous thing is this? Thais, the very flower of love, insults her lovers and scorns their gifts. Thais, whose boast it was that whoever loved her should enjoy her love! What monstrous thing is this? Thais! Thais! this is a thing not to be believed.


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This work (Paphnutius by Hrotsvitha) is free of known copyright restrictions.