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PART I PROLOGUE IN HELL DEDICATED TO G. F. NICOLAI AUTHOR OF "DIE BIOLOGIE DES KRIEGES" AND TO RUDOLF GOLDSCHEID AUTHOR OF "MENSCHEKOKONOMIB"
"And out of good still to find means of evil."—Milton. Hell: a vague remaining corner of the Primaeval Darkness. Satan alone. His figure becomes gradually visible, outlined against the blank blackness by the dim grey light which emanates from it, or more properly, of which it consists. He is seated at one end of a long Empire sofa, very much in the pose of one of Michelangelo's Medici Dukes, resting one arm on his knee and his chin on his hand, deep in weary and mysterious meditation. A brief silence, during which Satan's figure becomes, while remaining dim and disembodied, a little more visible, showing that he is dressed very much like that Michelangelo statue. Shadowy wings seem folded behind him. Knocking is heard, and a strange bark as of several wolves, three different notes making a kind of chord.
Satan. Another bore! This endless interviewing of silly human Passions is enough to spoil the pleasure of my great coming performance, my Ballet of the Nations. ... I thought I had given instructions to all my personnel, and might enjoy a half hour of solitude and silence, for Satan though lonely, is never let alone. Well! Let Cerberus detain them at my doors. The barking approaches, and with it is at length heard the voice, a fine rolling contralto, of Clio, Muse of History.
The Muse. Down, Cerberus, down—good dog, good little dog. It's only its old friend Clio, who has brought it a nice little sop of honey-lies.
Satan. The Muse of History! I had quite forgotten our appointment. There she is, irreclaimably classic and never forgetting her plastic poses; indiscreet beyond all other Immortals, and of course, an hour before her time! Still, my performance needs her reporting. And although she is a fool of the first water, she has rubbed shoulders in her professional capacity with so many celebrated persons that she may pass muster as intelligent. Since she has cost me my brief moment of privacy, let me amuse myself a little by mystifying her. The barking has ceased. Enter the Muse, with the marble impetuosity of the Victory of Samothrace, and very angry in an operatic way. She does not recognize Satan in the dark.
The Muse. Insolence I call it! I tell you I am invited to attend your Master; and you shall answer to him, whoever you are, for having kept me waiting out there with Cerberus! Hullo, you there in the dark, tell my Lord Satan that Clio waits upon him: Clio, Muse of History, not to be mistaken for that newfangled impostor who makes free with my name to retail vulgar details about laws and institutions and the price of food stuffs; Clio, real Muse of real History, sister of Tragedy and the Impassioned Lyric, and dealing only with deeds heroic, elevating and most often destructive.
Satan. All right, all right, don't be flustered. No one would ever mistake you for anything scientific, my dear Clio.
The Muse (taken aback). The voice of Satan himself! (she curtsies in several directions in the dark) Forgive me, Prince of Darkness. Your kingdom seems even less well-lit than usual, after the garish modern world. I thought I had to