Act II Scene ii
Prologue: Now when evil doth its best in making its plots and plans, (Servant 1 & 2 begin changing scenery) hot on the heels of its fury and fire to fuel its pitch and pique. Not e’en the hour hast past as we enjoin our story again.
A chamber in the citadel of Susa, that same day
Enter Haman, Servant 1 and Servant 2
Haman: Boils my blood as under the desert sun ‘gainst that rebel, that slanderer, that indignant Jew! Rue the day that Assyria did not blot those miserable ten tribes from the face of the earth and cast salt ‘pon the ground to poison their foundation!
A plague ‘pon Babylonia who did not scour out that scourge Judah an’ bury them dead and alive, man and woman, child and old into the sands of forgetfulness. Persia shall be the name that did sterilize this land from that unsightly blemish; Persia shall be haile’d as the great arm of might that swept the desert clean for the generations beyond.
The deed is done, I have the ear of the king, I have his favor, what I ask he shall not deny me; what remains is in the choosing of the day. Sirrah!
Servant: My lord?
Haman: Cast the pur and report the moth I shall complete my designs.
Servant 1: Twelve, my lord.
Haman: The twelfth month! The month of Adar. And you, sirrah, cast the pur again to seal the day.
Servant 2: Thirteen, my lord.
Haman: The thirteenth day! A famous day brews ahead like a storm across the sand! The thirteenth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of King Xerxes!
Enter King Xerxes, Memucan, Shether, and Carshena
Xerxes: What’s this? What’s this? Wherefore is our name uttere’d?
Haman: My most noble lord and master!
Xerxes: Rise, Haman, our friend. Chance happened that we thought upon thee and now we find thee in the same breath.
Haman: Chance has no play, my king. The stars circle thy brow to make thy thoughts so! May I always remain foremost in thy mind, my liege!
Xerxes: It would please us, dear Haman, if thou wouldst sup with us this night, our noble Haman.
Haman: I’faith, nothing would please me more, mighty Persia. Thou doth honor me with the grandest of treasures: thy company, great king; but such as needs that I must decline thy generous table.
Xerxes: How’s this? Is’t our crown not to thy liking?
Haman: My noble lord, thy visage is my delight, the pinnacle of my desire; thy happiness is mine. But it is thy happiness which keeps me from thy enoble’d company this eve.
Xerxes: Speak plain! Thou dost talk of “thy visage is my delight” an’ “thy happiness is mine” and we shall have none this eve in thy absence.
Haman: I am humble’d that I may be counted in thy pleasure, thy personal indulgence, but I know my king’s true happiness lies when all is aright within his kingdom, and it is that aim that leads me away past e’en the sun’s retire.
Xerxes: What is this work? Is ‘t not easily passed to some subordinate? Did we not raise thee up so that lesser officials might do that which is unworthy to press upon thy brow? Answer to us! Have I raised thee in vain? Art thou but a scribe amongst th’ kings roles?
Haman: Servant to the highest is nobler than master to the least, O great one. But as thou dost damandest of me, I shall unfold the contents of my vexation. I have here the document, wanting of some detailing. I must then petition it in its order and time for thy majesty’s seal for its issuance.
Xerxes: Deliver it up to us at once.
Haman: Good, my king, I shan’t tarry thee with such trifles, its points and pieces
Xerxes: We shall have it. What is its text?
Haman: I cannot refuse my lord; his royal will is irresistible. My good king, there is a certain people dispersed and scattered among all the provinces of thy kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.
If it pleases the king, let this decree be issue’d to destroy them, and I will put then thousand talents of silver into thy royal treasury for those that execute this directive.
Xerxes: Ten thousand talents! Our good Haman, the annual income of our empire from border to border is but fifteen thousand talents. Where would you raise such sum?
Haman: By right of plunder, my gracious lord. ‘T is nothing more than a routing of an enemy within, rather than a campaign without. It needs nowt of engine nor forced march nor wearisome and costly siege.
Xerxes: We gave thee our ring for the expediency of thy business. Keep for thyself the money thou hast vowed as a reward for thy faithful service to us, and do with the people as thou pleasest. Expedite thy businesss with all speed and join us at our tale this eve. I command it!
Haman: Thy command is my grandest pleasure, noble king.
Exuent King Xerxes, Memucan, Thether and Carshena.
Haman: Now is my wrath complete! That which is sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked – even by the king’s own tongue should he wish. Sirrah!
Servant 1: My lord?
Haman: Dispatch this to the royal secretaries. Have them write out in the script of each province and in the language of each people this decree to the king’s satraps, the governors of all provinces and the nobles of the varie’d peoples.
Servant 1: Very good, my lord
Exit Servant 1
Haman: Attend to me!
Servant 2: Your command, my lord?
Haman: Have dispatches sent by couriers to all the kin’s provinces with this order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, woman and child – on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.
A copy of the edict is to be issue’d as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that day shall be known unto them.
Servant 2: ‘Tis done, my lord.
Exit Servant 2
Haman: When Amelek was proud, we did plunder the trespassing Israelite. Again they trespass, and now they shall know such destruction that none shall be left t’ mourn their passage, save for the wind ‘cross the lone desert.
In consequence, I shall know the power of the king to make or unmake, to bring favor or destruction. No other head doth rise above mine save the crown, and knees shall shake at the call of my honor guard. Make way! Make way for Haman the terrible! Great and mighty is he!
So written is the fate that I have been given, and so shall I bear it out with the grace and bearing forgotten since the great Nebuchanezzar.
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