SALOMÉ: Give me the head of Jokanaan.
HEROD: Ah! you are not listening to me. Be calm. I--I am calm.
I am quite calm. Listen. I have jewels hidden in this place--jewels
that your mother even has never seen; jewels that are marvelous.
I have a collar of pearls, set in four rows. They are like unto
moons chained with rays of silver. They are like fifty moons
caught in a golden net. On the ivory of her breast a queen has
worn it. Thou shalt be as fair as a queen when thou wearest it.
I have amethysts of two kinds, one that is black like wine, and
one that is red like wine which has been coloured by water. I
have topazes, yellow as are the eyes of tigers, and topazes that
are pink as the eyes of a woodpigeon, and green topazes that
are as the eyes of cats. I have opals that burn always with an
ice-like flame, opals that make sad men's minds, and are fearful
of the shadows. I have onyxes like the eyeballs of a dead woman.
I have moonstones that change when the moon changes, and are
wan when they see the sun. I have sapphires big like eggs, and
as blue as blue flowers. The sea wanders within them and the
moon comes never to trouble the blue of their waves. I have chrysolites
and beryls and chrysoprases and rubies. I have sardonyx and hyacinth
stones, and stones of chalcedony, and I will give them all to
you, all, and other things will I add to them. The King of the
Indies has but even now sent me four fans fashioned from the
feathers of parrots, and the King of Numidia a garment of ostrich
feathers. I have a crystal, into which it is not lawful for a
woman to look, nor may young men behold it until they have been
beaten with rods. In a coffer of nacre I have three wondrous
turquoises. He who wears them on his forehead can imagine things
which are not, and he who carries them in his hand can make women
sterile. These are great treasures above all price. They are
treasures without price. But this is not all. In an ebony coffer
I have two cups of amber, that are like apples of gold. If an
enemy pour poison into these cups, they become like an apple
of silver. In a coffer incrusted with amber I have sandals incrusted
with glass. I have mantles that have been brought from the land
of the Seres, and bracelets decked about with carbuncles and
with jade that come from the city of the Euphrates .... What
desirest thou more than this, Salomé? Tell me the thing
that thou desirest, and I will give it thee. All that thou askest
I will give thee save one thing. I will give thee all that is
mine, save one life. I will give thee the mantle of the hight
priest. I will give thee the veil of the sanctuary.
THE JEWS: Oh! Oh!
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