[Written 27 March 1970]
[Thunder. Enter Goldilocks]
Gold: Blow winds, blow; hurl thy sulph’rous fires;
Let loose thy cataracts of furious water
Till all the earth is drenched, till Neptune’s realm
Doth overflow the land. With thunderbolt
And lightning strike the palaces of kings,
Tear sun and moon from sky, break mountains down,
Level the earth, till all lies dead and ruined.
What use is there, to rail on the element?
The horrid thunder, nor the roaring wind
The sheets of fire, nor the blasting rain—
The senseless elements will neither hear me
Nor be my ministers. I should do better
To seek some shelter. [thunder] This night’s tyranny
Is more than man can bear. But what rude hut
Doth meet my gaze? Perhaps beneath this roof
Some shelter may I find to put some shield
Between ungentle heavens and myself. [She goes in]
[Enter three bears]
2 Bear: A fierce and horrid night you picked to walk.
1 Bear: How could I well predict the heaven’s fury
The monstrous storm, disorders ’mongst the spheres?
When all the gods to choose to hurl chaos
At we poor mortals, crawling on the earth
Beneath their gaze, should I be called to account?
2 Bear: These late eclipses of the sun and moon
Did presage some great evil.
3 Bear: [aside] Ay, they blame their own defects on the unoffending planets.
1 Bear: Didst thou speak?
3 Bear: I said nothing.
1 Bear: Nothing will come of nothing.
2 Bear: Last night a dream did greatly trouble my soul.
Methought a bolt of lightning struck this house
And toads did croak (their rusty voices seemed
To shake the world); creeping things did crawl,
And bats did fly. But groaning voices spoke
Saying, Beware. And then a head of gold
Arose from ashes—
1 Bear: Woman, be silent. Thy dreams always augur ill.
Let us go in.
3 Bear: Ay, and quickly too. I am soaked and half frozen, and the other half like to be food for crows.
[they go in]
Gold: That meal that I ate did warm my bones,
Yet still within me I feel some unease.
Last night a lioness bore in the streets
A two-headed cub, alive and all the while
Ghosts did shriek and fiery warriors fought
And old graves yawned, and yielded up their dead.
A burning comet hurtled through the air
And fell into a pond outside my house.
Can these disorders mean me any good?
When comets die, there are no dangers feared
The heavens themselves protect the lives of men.
So I shall rest. [She goes within]
[enter 2 Bear]
2 Bear: Help! Thieves! Murder! My porridge stolen,
The chairs thrown and broken, the house disordered
And all as still as death!
[Enter 1 Bear]
1 Bear: Quick, let us seek the malefactor out—we
Have not sought throughout the house.
3 Bear: [within] Help, O help, a fiend!
[Goldilocks in bed discovered]
3 Bear: See, I have discovered the culprit.
1 Bear: O monstrous villain! False woman! Accursed fiend.
Thou art as opposite to every good
As the antipodes are unto us.
Or as the South to the septentrion.
Gold: [aside] I think tis time to leave this woeful stage.
1 Bear: Woman, thou art on thy death bed.
Gold: But not yet to die. [She leaps up]
1 Bear: Stop! Halt!
Gold: I am gone forever! [Exit, pursued by a bear]