A Bráhmen pronounces the benediction.
WATER was the first work of the Creator; and Fire receives the oblations ordained by law; the Sacrifice is performec with solemnity; the Two Lights of heaven distinguish time; the subtil Ether, which is the vehicle of sound, pervades the universe; the Earth is the natural parent of all increase; and by Air all things breathing are animated: may I'SA, the God of Nature, apparent in these eight forms, bless and sustain you!
The Manager enters.
Man. What occasion is there for a long speech? ---[Looking towards the dressing-room]--- When your decorations, Madam, are completed, be pleased to come forward.
An Actress enters.
Actr. I attend, Sir. ---What are your commands?
Man. This, Madam, is the numerous and polite assembly of the famed Hero, our king Vicramáditya, the patron of every delightful art; and before this audience we must do justice to a new production of Cálidás, a dramatick piece, entitled Sacontalá, or, The Fatal Ring: it is requested, therefore, that all will be attentive.
Actr. Who, Sir, could be inattentive to an entertainment so well intended?
Man. [ Smiling ] I will speak, Madam, without reserve. ---As far as an enlightened audience receive pleasure from our theatrical talents, and express it, so far, and no farther, I set a value on them; but my own mind is diffident of its powers, how strongly soever exerted.
Actr. You judge rightly in measuring your own merit by the degree of pleasure which this assembly may receive; but its value, I trust, will presently appear. ---Have you any further commands?
Man. What better can you do, since you are now on the stage, than exhilarate the souls, and gratify the sense, of our auditory with a song?
Actr. Shall I sing the description of a season? and which of the seasons do you chuse to hear described?
Man. No finer season could be selected than the summer, which is actually begun, and abounds with delights. How sweet is the close of a summer day, which invites our youth to bathe in pure streams, and induces gentle slumber under the shades refreshed by sylvan breezes, which have passed over the blooming Pátalis and stolen their fragrance!
Actr. [ Singing. ] " Mark how the soft blossoms of the Nágacésar are lightly kissed by the bees! Mark how the damsels delicately place behind their ears the flowers of SirIIsha! "
Man. A charming strain! the whole company sparkles, as it were, with admiration; and the musical mode to which the words are adapted, has filled their souls with rapture. By what other performance can we ensure a continuance of their favour?
Actr. Oh! by none better than by the Fatal Ring, which you have just announced.
Man. How could I forget it! In that moment I was lulled to distraction by the melody of thy voice, which allured my heart, as the king Dushmanta is now allured by the swift antelope.
[They both go out.]
== ON TO ACT ONE ==
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