IDtPS a2 s55-57: Of His Soul Defraud

by Winnie Khaw


          ACCOMPLICE loses his nerve and runs out. CHEN GONG throws a dagger into ACCOMPLICE's back.


          SHIN rushes out, trying to find ISEUL. The palace is silent,
          as ISEUL has allowed all to celebrate the New Year.
          ACCOMPLICE runs into him, crying out that CHEN GONG is
          killing the king. Horrified, SHIN follows the blood trail.

                    My tongue a wounding message brings
                    ... the king ...

                    The shade of death hangs on the
                    eaves, on wings barred yellow and
                    black. At this news I tremble as a
                    rock riven asunder!
          SCENE 57 Of His Soul Defraud

          SHIN comes upon a frightful scene of blood. He and Chen Gong
          fight a terrible battle, worse than any SHIN has ever
          fought. At last, he manages to deal a fatal blow to CHEN
          GONG. SHIN then rushes to ISEUL, who is breathing his last.
          SHIN cries out to the gods to save ISEUL. A Chinese goddess,
          CHUN HUA, responds, warning him to keep an oath to obey her.

                    Never have I been so repulsed and
                    baffled by a foe since the demise
                    of my master! Ah, Yong, the force
                    of your keen reproach I feel for
                    having laid to the wayside
                    admonitions told at the last hour!

          Shin fights with renewed vigor. After several more
          exchanges, Shin at last prevails.

                    Foul the atmosphere with emitted
                    uncouth grunts and groans, if so
                    means hell has come to seize you.
                    Die in the death-throe spasms of
                    savage beasts, and still the
                    glut of vengeance remained
                    unassailed in me!

                    Shin ...

          Iseul feebly stretches his fingers toward Shin, then falls
          still and silent.

                    Surely I would barter this wretched
                    plight for drudgery.
                    Smite flat the thick rotundity of
                    the world, tear the cordage binding
                    me to life's calamitous mooring,
                    but save this innocent youth! I,
                    honor razed low, in vassalage bow
                    to you, pleading for mercy.

          Chun Hua makes an appearance, a slender gold-white crescent
          in the bloodied darkness of the chamber.
                              CHUN HUA
                    To answer this disconsolate call I
                    forsook the skies.
                    Sooner would I have believed the
                    pure lustrations woven into the
                    fabric of the dark sky rent from
                    their tailoring. Thought you, by
                    glorious boasting brandished round,
                    to threaten the omnipotence of
                    heaven, whose mounted brazen dome
                    gilds the earth with distinguished
                    rays? And only through tears of
                    celestial trickle falls the rain!

                    'Twas in mad ambition-driven temper
                    of a man who in forehead resembled
                    a dog, in heart a deer. I admit to
                    this, that I am sore smitten and
                    defeated, raving in no slight
                    disorder of soul.

                              CHUN HUA
                    Then, a life-long humour. Give I as
                    a gold-gushing fount in liberal
                    This to remembrance keep: heed my
                    call that you may avert wasteful
                    woe, lest in fury I impregnate the earth's
                    womb with still-born corpses.

                    I know this: at the moment the
                    goddess Chun Hua crooks a finger,
                    the high heaven trembling the awful
                    signal takes, to the centre shaken
                    with fear.
                    I do swear this tremendous oath, to
                    carry out your bidding, Goddess
                    Chun Hua, whatsoever it may be.
                    Should I balk in disobedient
                    insubordination ...
                    For to expose myself to peril means

                              CHUN HUA
                    Be it so.
          Exit Chun Hua. Iseul makes a movement. Shin clasps him
          close, weeping in relief.

                    I give thanks to the especial
                    interposition of Providence!

          DA JI wakes up and crawls toward SHIN and ISEUL, sobbing qui