HERODIAS: Do not dance, my daughter.
SALOMÉ: I am ready, Tetrarch. (SALOMÉ dances
the dance of the seven veils.)
HEROD: Ah! Wonderful! Wonderful! You see that she has danced
for me, your daughter. Come near, Salomé, come near, that
I may give you your reward. Ah! I pay the dancers well. I will
pay thee royally. I will give thee whatsoever thy soul desireth.
What wouldst thou have? Speak.
SALOMÉ (kneeling): I would that they presently
bring me in a silver charger ...
HEROD (laughing): In a silver charger? Surely yes,
in a silver charger. She is charming, is she not? What is it
you would have in a silver charger, O sweet and fair Salomé,
you who are fairer than all the daughters of Judæa? What
would you have them bring thee in a silver charger? Tell me.
Whatsoever it may be, they shall give it to you. My treasures
belong to thee. What is it, Salomé?
SALOMÉ (rising): The head of Jokanaan.
HERODIAS: Ah! that is well said, my daughter.
HEROD: No, no!
HERODIAS: That is well said, my daughter.
HEROD: No, no, Salomé. You do not ask me that. Do not
listen to your mother's voice. She is ever giving you evil counsel.
Do not heed her.
SALOMÉ: I do not heed my mother. It is for mine own
pleasure that I ask the head of Jokanaan in a silver charger.
You have sworn, Herod. Forget not that you have sworn an oath.
HEROD: I know it. I have sworn by my gods. I know it well.
But I pray you, Salomé, ask of me something else. Ask
of me the half of my kingdom, and I will give it to you. But
ask not of me what you have asked.
SALOMÉ: I ask of you the head of Jokanaan.
HEROD: No, no, I do not wish it.
SALOMÉ: You have sworn, Herod.
HERODIAS: Yes, you have sworn. Everybody heard you. You swore
it before everybody.
HEROD: Be silent! It is not to you I speak.
HERODIAS: My daughter has done well to ask the head of Jokanaan.
He has covered me with insults. He has said monstrous things
against me. One can see that she loves her mother well. Do not
yield, my daughter. He has sworn, he has sworn.
HEROD: Be silent, speak not to me ...! Come, Salomé,
be reasonable. I have never been hard to you. I have ever loved
you .... It may be that I have loved you too much. Therefore,
ask not this thing of me. This is a terrible thing, an awful
thing to ask of me. Surely, I think you are jesting. The head
of a man that is cut from his body is ill to look upon, is it
not? It is not meet that the eyes of a virgin should look upon
such a thing. What pleasure could you have in it? None. No, no,
it is not what you desire. Hearken to me. I have an emerald,
a great round emerald, which Cæsar's minion sent me. If
you look through this emerald you can see things which happen
at a great distance. Cæsar himself carries such an emerald
when he goes to the circus. But my emerald is larger. I know
well that it is larger. It is the largest emerald in the whole
world. You would like that, would you not? Ask it of me and I
will give it you.
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