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Title:      Lazarus Laughed
Author:     Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)
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Language:   English
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Lazarus Laughed
Author:     Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)

A Play for an Imaginative Theatre

Text as published by Boni & Liveright, 1927





MARTHA; MARY, his sisters

MIRIAM, his wife

SEVEN GUESTS, neighbors of Lazarus






CRASSUS, a Roman General






FLAVIUS, a centurion

MARCELLUS, a patrician









SCENE I:  Lazarus' home in Bethany--a short time after the miracle.

SCENE II:  Months later.  Outside the House of Laughter in Bethany.
  Late evening.


SCENE I:  A street in Athens.  A night months later.

SCENE II:  A temple immediately inside the walls of Rome.
  Midnight.  Months later.


SCENE I:  Garden of Tiberius' palace.  A night a few days later.

SCENE II:  Inside the palace.  Immediately after.


SCENE I:  The same.  A while after.

SCENE II:  Interior of a Roman theatre.  Dawn of the same night.




SCENE--Exterior and interior of Lazarus' home at Bethany.  The main
room at the front end of the house is shown--a long, low-ceilinged,
sparely furnished chamber, with white walls gray in the fading
daylight that enters from three small windows at the left.  To the
left of center several long tables placed lengthwise to the width
of the room, around which many chairs for guests have been placed.
In the rear wall, right, a door leading into the rest of the house.
On the left, a doorway opening on a road where a crowd of men has
gathered.  On the right, another doorway leading to the yard where
there is a crowd of women.

Inside the house, on the men's side, seven male Guests are grouped
by the door, watching Lazarus with frightened awe, talking
hesitantly in low whispers.  The Chorus of Old Men, seven in
number, is drawn up in a crescent, in the far corner, right, facing

(All of these people are masked in accordance with the following
scheme:  There are seven periods of life shown:  Boyhood [or
Girlhood], Youth, Young Manhood [or Womanhood], Manhood [or
Womanhood], Middle Age, Maturity and Old Age; and each of these
periods is represented by seven different masks of general types of
character as follows:  The Simple, Ignorant; the Happy, Eager; the
Self-Tortured, Introspective; the Proud, Self-Reliant; the Servile,
Hypocritical; the Revengeful, Cruel; the Sorrowful, Resigned.  Thus
in each crowd [this includes among the men the Seven Guests who are
composed of one male of each period-type as period one--type one,
period two--type two, and so on up to period seven--type seven]
there are forty-nine different combinations of period and type.
Each type has a distinct predominant color for its costumes which
varies in kind according to its period.  The masks of the Chorus of
Old Men are double the size of the others.  They are all seven in
the Sorrowful, Resigned type of Old Age.)

On a raised platform at the middle of the one table placed
lengthwise at center sits Lazarus, his head haloed and his body
illumined by a soft radiance as of tiny phosphorescent flames.

Lazarus, freed now from the fear of death, wears no mask.

In appearance Lazarus is tall and powerful, about fifty years of
age, with a mass of gray-black hair and a heavy beard.  His face
recalls that of a statue of a divinity of Ancient Greece in its
general structure and particularly in its quality of detached
serenity.  It is dark-complected, ruddy and brown, the color of
rich earth upturned by the plow, calm but furrowed deep with the
marks of former suffering endured with a grim fortitude that had
never softened into resignation.  His forehead is broad and noble,
his eyes black and deep-set.  Just now he is staring straight
before him as if his vision were still fixed beyond life.

Kneeling beside him with bowed heads are his wife, Miriam, his
sisters, Martha and Mary, and his Father and Mother.

Miriam is a slender, delicate woman of thirty-five, dressed in deep
black, who holds one of his hands in both of hers, and keeps her
lips pressed to it.  The upper part of her face is covered by a
mask which conceals her forehead, eyes and nose, but leaves her
mouth revealed.  The mask is the pure pallor of marble, the
expression that of a statue of Woman, of her eternal acceptance of
the compulsion of motherhood, the inevitable cycle of love into
pain into joy and new love into separation and pain again and the
loneliness of age.  The eyes of the mask are almost closed.  Their
gaze turns within, oblivious to the life outside, as they dream
down on the child forever in memory at her breast.  The mouth of
Miriam is sensitive and sad, tender with an eager, understanding
smile of self-forgetful love, the lips still fresh and young.  Her
skin, in contrast to the mask, is sunburned and earth-colored like
that of Lazarus.  Martha, Mary and the two parents all wear full
masks which broadly reproduce their own characters.  Martha is a
buxom middle-aged housewife, plain and pleasant.  Mary is young and
pretty, nervous and high-strung.  The Father is a small, thin,
feeble old man of over eighty, meek and pious.  The Mother is tall
and stout, over sixty-five, a gentle, simple woman.

All the masks of these Jews of the first two scenes of the play are
pronouncedly Semitic.

A background of twilight sky.  A dissolving touch of sunset still
lingers on the horizon.

It is some time after the miracle and Jesus has gone away.

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(in a quavering rising and falling chant--their
arms outstretched toward Lazarus)

     Jesus wept!
     Behold how he loved him!
     He that liveth,
     He that believeth,
     Shall never die!

CROWD--(on either side of house, echo the chant)

     He that believeth
     Shall never die!
     Lazarus, come forth!

FIRST GUEST--(a Simple Boy--in a frightened whisper after a pause
of dead silence)  That strange light seems to come from within him!
(with awe)  Think of it!  For four days he lay in the tomb!  (turns
away with a shudder)

SECOND GUEST--(a Happy Youth--with reassuring conviction)  It is a
holy light.  It came from Jesus.

FIFTH GUEST--(an Envious, Middle-Aged Man)  Maybe if the truth were
known, our friend there never really died at all!

FOURTH GUEST--(a Defiant Man, indignantly)  Do you doubt the
miracle?  I tell you I was here in this house when Lazarus died!

SEVENTH GUEST--(an Aged, Sorrowful Man)  And I used to visit him
every day.  He knew himself his hour was near.

FOURTH GUEST--He wished for death!  He said to me one day:  "I have
known my fill of life and the sorrow of living.  Soon I shall know
peace."  And he smiled.  It was the first time I had seen him smile
in years.

THIRD GUEST--(a Self-Tortured Man--gloomily)  Yes, of late years
his life had been one long misfortune.  One after another his
children died--

SIXTH GUEST--(a Mature Man with a cruel face--with a harsh laugh)
They were all girls.  Lazarus had no luck.

SEVENTH GUEST--The last was a boy, the one that died at birth.  You
are forgetting him.

THIRD GUEST--Lazarus could never forget.  Not only did his son die
but Miriam could never bear him more children.

FIFTH GUEST--(practically)  But he could not blame bad luck for
everything.  Take the loss of his father's wealth since he took
over the management.  That was his own doing.  He was a bad farmer,
a poor breeder of sheep, and a bargainer so easy to cheat it hurt
one's conscience to trade with him!

SIXTH GUEST--(with a sneer--maliciously)  You should know best
about that!  (a suppressed laugh from those around him)

FIRST GUEST--(who has been gazing at Lazarus--softly)  Ssssh!  Look
at his face!  (They all stare.  A pause.)

SECOND GUEST--(with wondering awe)  Do you remember him, neighbors,
before he died?  He used to be pale even when he worked in the
fields.  Now he seems as brown as one who has labored in the earth
all day in a vineyard beneath the hot sun!  (a pause)

FOURTH GUEST--The whole look of his face has changed.  He is like a
stranger from a far land.  There is no longer any sorrow in his
eyes.  They must have forgotten sorrow in the grave.

FIFTH GUEST--(grumblingly)  I thought we were invited here to eat--
and all we do is stand and gape at him!

FOURTH GUEST--(sternly)  Be silent!  We are waiting for him to

THIRD GUEST--(impressively)  He did speak once.  And he laughed!

ALL THE GUESTS--(amazed and incredulous)  Laughed?

THIRD GUEST--(importantly)  Laughed!  I heard him!  It was a moment
after the miracle--

MIRIAM--(her voice, rich with sorrow, exultant now)  Jesus cried,
"Lazarus, come forth!"  (She kisses his hand.  He makes a slight
movement, a stirring in his vision.  The Guests stare.  A
frightened pause.)

FIFTH GUEST--(nudging the Second--uneasily)  Go on with your story!

THIRD GUEST--Just as he appeared in the opening of the tomb,
wrapped in his shroud--

SECOND GUEST--(excitedly--interrupting)  My heart stopped!  I fell
on my face!  And all the women screamed!  (sceptically)  You must
have sharp ears to have heard him laugh in that uproar!

THIRD GUEST--I helped to pry away the stone so I was right beside
him.  I found myself kneeling, but between my fingers I watched
Jesus and Lazarus.  Jesus looked into his face for what seemed a
long time and suddenly Lazarus said "Yes" as if he were answering a
question in Jesus' eyes.

ALL THE GUESTS--(mystified)  Yes?  What could he mean by yes?

THIRD GUEST--Then Jesus smiled sadly but with tenderness, as one
who from a distance of years of sorrow remembers happiness.  And
then Lazarus knelt and kissed Jesus' feet and both of them smiled
and Jesus blessed him and called him "My Brother" and went away;
and Lazarus, looking after Him, began to laugh softly like a man in
love with God!  Such a laugh I never heard!  It made my ears drunk!
It was like wine!  And though I was half-dead with fright I found
myself laughing, too!

MIRIAM--(with a beseeching summons)  Lazarus, come forth!

CHORUS--(chanting)  Lazarus!  Come forth!

CROWD--(on either side of the house--echoing the chant)  Come
forth!  Come forth!

LAZARUS--(suddenly in a deep voice--with a wonderful exultant
acceptance in it)  Yes!  (The Guests in the room, the Crowds
outside all cry out in fear and joy and fall on their knees.)

CHORUS--(chanting exultantly)

     The stone is taken away!
     The spirit is loosed!
     The soul let go!

LAZARUS--(rising and looking around him at everyone and everything--
with an all-embracing love--gently)  Yes!  (His family and the
Guests in the room now throng about Lazarus to embrace him.  The
Crowds of men and women on each side push into the room to stare at
him.  He is in the arms of his Mother and Miriam while his Sisters
and Father kiss and press his hands.  The five are half hysterical
with relief and joy, sobbing and laughing.)

FATHER--My son is reborn to me!


ALL--(with a great shout)  Hosannah!

FATHER--Let us rejoice!  Eat and drink!  Draw up your chairs,
friends!  Music!  Bring wine!  (Music begins in the room off right,
rear--a festive dance tune.  The company sit down in their places,
the Father and Mother at Lazarus' right and left, Miriam next to
the Mother, Martha and Mary beside the Father.  But Lazarus remains
standing.  And the Chorus of Old Men remain in their formation at
the rear.  Wine is poured and all raise their goblets toward
Lazarus--then suddenly they stop, the music dies out, and an awed
and frightened stillness prevails, for Lazarus is a strange,
majestic figure whose understanding smile seems terrible and
enigmatic to them.)

FATHER--(pathetically uneasy)  You frighten us, my son.  You are
strange--standing there--(In the midst of a silence more awkward
than before he rises to his feet, goblet in hand--forcing his
voice, falteringly)  A toast, neighbors!

CHORUS--(in a forced echo)  A toast!

ALL--(echoing them)  A toast!

FATHER--To my son, Lazarus, whom a blessed miracle has brought back
from death!

LAZARUS--(suddenly laughing softly out of his vision, as if to
himself, and speaking with a strange unearthly calm in a voice that
is like a loving whisper of hope and confidence)  No!  There is no
death!  (A moment's pause.  The people remain with goblets
uplifted, staring at him.  Then all repeat after him questioningly
and frightenedly)


SIXTH GUEST--(suddenly blurts out the question which is in the
minds of all)  What did you find beyond there, Lazarus?  (a pause
of silence)

LAZARUS--(smiles gently and speaks as if to a group of inquisitive
children)  O Curious Greedy Ones, is not one world in which you
know not how to live enough for you?

SIXTH GUEST--(emboldened)  Why did you say yes, Lazarus?

FOURTH GUEST--Why did you laugh?

ALL THE GUESTS--(with insistent curiosity but in low awed tones)
What is beyond there, Lazarus?

CHORUS--(in a low murmur)  What is beyond there?  What is beyond?

CROWD--(carrying the question falteringly back into silence)  What
is beyond?

LAZARUS--(suddenly again--now in a voice of loving exaltation)
There is only life!  I heard the heart of Jesus laughing in my
heart; "There is Eternal Life in No," it said, "and there is the
same Eternal Life in Yes!  Death is the fear between!"  And my
heart reborn to love of life cried "Yes!" and I laughed in the
laughter of God!  (He begins to laugh, softly at first--a laugh so
full of a complete acceptance of life, a profound assertion of joy
in living, so devoid of all self-consciousness or fear, that it is
like a great bird song triumphant in depths of sky, proud and
powerful, infectious with love, casting on the listener an
enthralling spell.  The Crowd in the room are caught by it.
Glancing sideways at one another, smiling foolishly and self-
consciously, at first they hesitate, plainly holding themselves in
for fear of what the next one will think.)

CHORUS--(in a chanting murmur)

     Lazarus laughs!
     Our hearts grow happy!
     Laughter like music!
     The wind laughs!
     The sea laughs!
     Spring laughs from the earth!
     Summer laughs in the air!
     Lazarus laughs!

LAZARUS--(on a final note of compelling exultation)  Laugh!  Laugh
with me!  Death is dead!  Fear is no more!  There is only life!
There is only laughter!

CHORUS--(chanting exultingly now)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Laugh with Lazarus!
     Fear is no more!
     There is no death!

(They laugh in a rhythmic cadence dominated by the laughter of

CROWD--(who, gradually, joining in by groups or one by one--
including Lazarus' family with the exception of Miriam, who does
not laugh but watches and listens to his laughter with a tender
smile of being happy in his happiness--have now all begun to laugh
in rhythm with the Chorus--in a great, full-throated pan as the
laughter of Lazarus rises higher and higher)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Fear is no more!
     There is no death!


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is only life!
     There is only laughter!
     Fear is no more!
     Death is dead!

CROWD--(in a rhythmic echo)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!
     There is only laughter!

(The room rocks, the air outside throbs with the rhythmic beat of
their liberated laughter--still a bit uncertain of its freedom,
harsh, discordant, frenzied, desperate and drunken, but dominated
and inspired by the high, free, aspiring, exulting laughter of



SCENE--Some months later.  Exterior of Lazarus' home in Bethany,
now known as the House of Laughter.  It is a clear bright night,
the sky sparkling with stars.  At the extreme front is a road.
Between this and the house is a small raised terrace.  The house is
low, of one story only, its walls white.  Four windows are visible
with a closed door in the middle of the wall.  Steps lead up to
this door, and to the left of door a flight of stairs goes up to
the balustraded roof.  The windows shine brilliantly with the
flickering light of many candles which gives them a throbbing star-
like effect.  From within comes the sound of flutes and dance
music.  The dancers can be seen whirling swiftly by the windows.
There is continually an overtone of singing laughter emphasizing
the pulsing rhythm of the dance.

On the road in the foreground, at left and right, two separate
groups of Jews are gathered.  They are not divided according to sex
as in the previous scene.  Each is composed about equally of men
and women, forty-nine in each, masked and costumed as before.  It
is religious belief that now divides them.  The adherents of Jesus,
the Nazarenes, among whom may be noted Martha and Mary, are on the
left; the Orthodox, among whom are Lazarus' Father and Mother and a
Priest, are at right.  Between the two hostile groups is the same
Chorus of Old Men, in a formation like a spearhead, whose point is
placed at the foot of the steps leading to the terrace.  All these
people are staring fascinatedly at the house, listening entranced,
their feet moving, their bodies swaying to the music's beat,
stiffly, constrainedly, compelled against their wills.  Then the
music suddenly stops and the chant of youthful voices is heard:

FOLLOWERS OF LAZARUS--(from within the house)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is only life!
     There is only laughter!

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(as if they were subjects moved by hypnotic
suggestion--miserably and discordantly)

     There is only laughter!

CROWD--(in the same manner)  Ha-ha--

MARY--Ha--(then frantically--half-weeping with indignant rage--to
the Nazarenes)  Stop!  Oh, how can we laugh!  We are betraying
Jesus!  My brother Lazarus has become a devil!

THE ORTHODOX PRIEST--(His mask is that of a religious fanatic.  He
is sixty or so.)  Ha--ha--(tearing his beard and stamping with
rage)  Stop it, you fools!  It is a foul sin in the sight of
Jehovah!  Why do you come here every night to listen and watch
their abominations?  The Lord God will punish you!

MARY--(echoing him--to her people)  Jesus will never forgive you!

THE PRIEST--(angrily)  Jesus?  (He turns to look at the Nazarenes
disdainfully and spits on the ground insultingly.  The members of
the two groups begin to glare at each other.  The Chorus falls
back, three on each side, leaving one neutral figure before the
steps.  The Priest goes on tauntingly.)  Did you hear her, friends?
These renegade Nazarenes will soon deny they are Jews at all!  They
will begin to worship in filthy idolatry the sun and stars and
man's body--as Lazarus in there, (points to the house) the disciple
of their Jesus, has so well set them the example!  (This is
followed by an outburst of insulting shouts of accusation and
denial from both sides.)

A NAZARENE--(the Fourth Guest of Scene One)  You lie!  Lazarus is
no disciple!  He is a traitor to Jesus!  We scorn him!

PRIEST--(sneeringly)  But your pretended Messiah did not scorn him.
According to your stupid lies, he raised him from the dead!  And
answer me, has your Jesus ever denied Lazarus, or denounced his
laughter?  No!  No doubt he is laughing, too, at all you credulous
fools--for if Lazarus is not his disciple, in the matter of the
false miracle he was his accomplice!  (This provokes a furious
protest from the Nazarenes and insulting hoots and jeers from the
Orthodox, penetrated by a piercing scream from Lazarus' Mother,
who, crushed in the crowd, sinks fainting to the ground.  The
Father bends over her.  The group of the Orthodox falls back from
them.  With frightened cries Martha and Mary run from the group of
Nazarenes and kneel beside her.)

FATHER--(pitifully)  Rachel!  Darling!  Speak to me!

MARTHA--(practically)  She has only fainted.

MARY--She is opening her eyes!  Mother, dear!

MOTHER--(weakly)  Did I fall?  (recognizing Martha and Mary)
Martha--and Mary--my dear ones!  (They embrace her, weeping.)  I
have not kissed you since you left home to follow that Jesus--Oh,
if we were only at home again--and if, also, my poor boy, Lazarus--
(She sobs.)

FATHER--(gruffly)  You must not speak of him!

MARTHA--Do not worry your head about Lazarus.  He is not worth it!

MARY--(with surprising vindictiveness)  He is accursed!  He has
betrayed our Lord!

PRIEST--(to those around him--mockingly)  Do you hear?  They
already call the Nazarene "Lord!"  A Lord who is in the common
prison at Jerusalem, I heard today!  A fine Lord whom our High
Priests have had arrested like a thief!

MARY--(with fanatic fervor)  He is a king!  Whenever He chooses He
will gather a great army and He will seize His kingdom and all who
deny Him shall be crucified!

PRIEST--(tauntingly)  Now their jail-bird is a king, no less!  Soon
they will make him a god, as the Romans do their Csars!

MARY--(her eyes flashing)  He is the Messiah!

PRIEST--(furiously)  The Messiah!  May Jehovah smite you in your
lies!  Step back among your kind!  You defile us!  (As she stands
defiantly he appeals to the Father.)  Have you no authority?  She
called him the Messiah--that common beggar, that tramp!  Curse her!

FATHER--(confused, pitifully harried, collecting his forces)  Wait!
Go back, Mary!  You chose to follow that impostor--

MARY--(defiantly)  The Messiah!

MARTHA--(trying to calm her)  Ssssh!  Remember he is our father!

MARY--(fanatically)  I deny him!  I deny all who deny Jesus!

MOTHER--(tearfully)  And me, darling?

MARY--You must come to us, Mother!  You must believe in Jesus and
leave all to follow Him!

FATHER--(enraged)  So!  You want to steal your mother away, to
leave me lonely in my old age!  You are an unnatural daughter!
I disown you!  Go, before I curse--

MOTHER--(beseechingly)  Father!

MARTHA--(pulling Mary away)  Mary!  Jesus teaches to be kind.

MARY--(hysterically)  He teaches to give up all and follow Him!
I want to give Him everything!  I want my father to curse me!

FATHER--(frenziedly)  Then I do curse you!  No--not you--but the
devil in you!  And the devil in Martha!  And the great mocking
devil that dwells in Lazarus and laughs from his mouth!  I curse
these devils and that Prince of Devils, that false prophet, Jesus!
It is he who has brought division to my home and many homes that
were happy before.  I curse him!  I curse the day he called my good
son, Lazarus, from the grave to walk again with a devil inside him!
It was not my son who came back but a devil!  My son is dead!  And
you, my daughters, are dead!  I am the father only of devils!  (His
voice has risen to a wailing lament.)  My children are dead!

LAZARUS--(His voice rings from within the house in exultant
denial.)  Death is dead!  There is only laughter!  (He laughs.)

(The voices of all his Followers echo his laughter.  They pour in a
laughing rout from the doorway onto the terrace.  At the same
moment the Chorus of Followers appears on the roof and forms along
the balustrade, facing front.

(These Followers of Lazarus, forty-nine in number, composed about
equally of both sexes, wear a mask that, while recognizably Jewish,
is a Lazarus mask, resembling him in its expression of fearless
faith in life, the mouth shaped by laughter.  The Chorus of
Followers, seven in number, all men, have identical masks of double
size, as before.  The Period of all these masks is anywhere between
Youth and Manhood [or Womanhood].

(The music continues to come from within.  Laughing, the Followers
dance to it in weaving patterns on the terrace.  They are dressed
in bright-colored diaphanous robes.  Their chorused laughter, now
high and clear, now dying to a humming murmur, stresses the
rhythmic flow of the dance.)


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is no death!
     There is only laughter!


     There is only laughter!
     Death is dead!
     Laugh!  Laugh!

CROWD--(The two groups of Nazarenes and Orthodox, on the appearance
of the Followers, immediately forget their differences and form
into one mob, led by their Chorus of Old Men, whose jeering howls
they echo as one voice.)  Yaah!  Yaah!  Yaah!  (But they cannot
keep it up.  The music and laughter rise above their hooting.  They
fall into silence.  Then they again begin to feel impelled by the
rhythm and laughter, their feet move, their bodies sway.  Their
lips quiver, their mouths open as if to laugh.  Their Chorus of Old
Men are the first to be affected.  It is as if this reaction were
transmitted through the Chorus to the Crowd.)

PRIEST--(his mouth twitching--fighting against the compulsion in
him--stammers)  Brothers--listen--we must unite--in one cause--to--
stamp out--this abomination!  (It is as if he can no longer control
his speech.  He presses his hand over his mouth convulsively.)

AN AGED ORTHODOX JEW--(the Seventh Guest of Scene One--starts to
harangue the crowd.  He fights the spell but cannot control his
jerking body nor his ghastly, spasmodic laughter.)  Neighbors!  Our
young people are corrupted!  They are leaving our farms--to dance
and sing!  To laugh!  Ha--!  Laugh at everything!  Ha-ha--!  (He
struggles desperately to control himself.)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(a barking laugh forced from them)  Ha-ha--!

CROWD--(echoing this)  Ha-ha--!

THE AGED JEW--They have no respect for life!  When I said in
kindness, "You must go back to work," they laughed at me!  Ha--!
"We desire joy.  We go to Lazarus," they said--and left my fields!
I begged them to stay--with tears in my eyes!  I even offered them
more money!  They laughed!  "What is money?  Can the heart eat
gold?"  They laughed at money!  Ha-ha--!  (He chokes with
exasperated rage.)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(echoing him)  Ha-ha--!

CROWD--(echoing the Chorus)  Ha-ha--!

AGED JEW--(shaking his fist at Lazarus' Followers)  That loafer
taught them that!  They come to him and work for nothing!  For
nothing!  And they are glad, these undutiful ones!  While they sow,
they dance!  They sing to the earth when they are plowing!  They
tend his flocks and laugh toward the sun!  Ha-ha-ha--!  (He
struggles again.)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(as before)  Ha-ha-ha--

CROWD--(as before)  Ha-ha-ha--

AGED JEW--How can we compete with labor for laughter!  We will have
no harvest.  There will be no food!  Our children will starve!  Our
race will perish!  And he will laugh!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  (He howls with
furious, uncontained laughter.)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(echoing his tone)  Our children will starve!
Our race will perish!  Lazarus laughs!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!

CROWD--(as before)  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  (Their former
distinctions of Nazarenes and Orthodox are now entirely forgotten.
The members of Lazarus' family are grouped in the center as if
nothing had ever happened to separate them.  The Chorus of Old Men
is again joined in its spearhead formation at the stairs.  Apparent
first in this Chorus, a queer excitement begins to pervade this
mob.  They begin to weave in and out, clasping each other's hands
now and then, moving mechanically in jerky steps to the music in a
grotesque sort of marionettes' country dance.  At first this is
slow but it momentarily becomes more hectic and peculiar.  They
raise clenched fists or hands distended into threatening talons.
Their voices sound thick and harsh and animal-like with anger as
they mutter and growl, each one aloud to himself or herself.)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(threateningly, gradually rising to hatred)

     Hear them laugh!
     See them dance!
     Shameless!  Wanton!
     Dirty!  Evil!
     Infamous!  Bestial!
     Madness!  Blood!
     Adultery!  Murder!
     We burn!
     We kill!
     We crucify!
     Death!  Death!
     Beware, Lazarus!

(this last in a wild frenzy)


     Beware, Lazarus!
     We burn!  We kill!
     We crucify!
     Death!  Death!

(They crowd toward the gateway, their arms stretched out as if
demanding Lazarus for a sacrificial victim.  Meanwhile they never
cease to hop up and down, to mill around, to twist their bodies
toward and away from each other in bestial parody of the dance of
the Followers.

(The tall figure of Lazarus, dressed in a white robe, suddenly
appears on the roof of the house.  He stands at the balustrade in
the middle of the Chorus.  Beside him, a little behind, Miriam
appears dressed in black, her face upturned, her lips praying.  She
appears to have grown older, to be forty now.  Lazarus' body is
softly illumined by its inner light.  The change in him is marked.
He seems ten years younger, at the prime of forty.  His body has
become less angular and stiff.  His movements are graceful and
pliant.  The change is even more noticeable in his face, which has
filled out, become purer in outline, more distinctly Grecian.  His
complexion is the red-brown of rich earth, the gray in his black,
curly beard has almost disappeared.

(He makes a sign and the music ceases.  His Followers remain fixed
in their dancing attitudes like figures in a frieze.  Each member
of the mob remains frozen in a distorted posture.  He stares down
at the mob pityingly, his face calm.)

LAZARUS--(speaks amid a profound silence.  His voice releases his
own dancers and the mob from their fixed attitudes.  The music
begins to play again within the house, very soft and barely
audible, swelling up and down like the sound of an organ from a
distant church.)  You laugh, but your laughter is guilty!  It
laughs a hyena laughter, spotted, howling its hungry fear of life!
That day I returned did I not tell you your fear was no more, that
there is no death?  You believed then--for a moment!  You laughed--
discordantly, hoarsely, but with a groping toward joy.  What!  Have
you so soon forgotten, that now your laughter curses life again as
of old?  (He pauses--then sadly)  That is your tragedy!  You
forget!  You forget the God in you!  You wish to forget!
Remembrance would imply the high duty to live as a son of God--
generously!--with love!--with pride!--with laughter!  This is too
glorious a victory for you, too terrible a loneliness!  Easier to
forget, to become only a man, the son of a woman, to hide from life
against her breast, to whimper your fear to her resigned heart and
be comforted by her resignation!  To live by denying life!  (then
exhortingly)  Why are your eyes always either fixed on the ground
in weariness of thought, or watching one another with suspicion?
Throw your gaze upward!  To Eternal Life!  To the fearless and
deathless!  The everlasting!  To the stars!  (He stretches out his
arms to the sky--then suddenly points.)  See!  A new star has
appeared!  It is the one that shone over Bethlehem!  (His voice
becomes a little bitter and mocking.)  The Master of Peace and Love
has departed this earth.  Let all stars be for you henceforth
symbols of Saviors--Sons of God who appeared on worlds like ours to
tell the saving truth to ears like yours, inexorably deaf!  (then
exaltedly)  But the greatness of Saviors is that they may not save!
The greatness of Man is that no god can save him--until he becomes
a god!  (He stares up at the stars, rapt in contemplation,
oblivious to all around him now.

(Rapidly approaching from the left a man's voice jarring in high-
pitched cruel laughter is heard.  They all listen, huddled together
like sheep.)

MESSENGER--(The Third Guest of Scene One rushes in breathlessly,
shouting)  The Nazarene has been crucified!

PRIEST--(with fierce triumph)  Jehovah is avenged!  Hosannah!

ORTHODOX--Hosannah!  The false prophet is dead!  The pretended
Messiah is dead!  (They jump and dance, embracing one another.  The
Nazarenes stand paralyzed and stunned.  The two groups mechanically
separate to right and left again, the Chorus of Old Men dividing
itself as before.)

MARY--(in a frenzy of grief)  Do not believe him!  Jesus could not
die!  (But at this moment a Nazarene youth, exhausted by grief and
tears, staggers in from the left.)

MESSENGER--(Second Guest of Scene One)  Jesus is dead!  Our Lord is
murdered!  (He sinks on his knees sobbing.  All the Nazarenes do
likewise, wailing, rending their garments, tearing their hair, some
even beating their heads on the ground in the agony of their

MARY--(insane with rage now)  They have murdered Him!  (to her
Followers--savagely)  An eye for an eye!  Avenge the Master!
(Their frenzy of grief turned into rage, the Nazarenes leap to
their feet threateningly.  Concealed swords and knives are brought
out by both sides.)

MIRIAM--(leaning over the balustrade--in a voice of entreaty)
Mary!  Brothers!  (But none heed her or seem to see her.  Lazarus
and his Followers remain oblivious to men, arms up-stretched toward
the stars, their heads thrown back.)

MARY--(wildly)  Vengeance!  Death to His murderers!

PRIEST--(fiercely to his Followers)  Death to the Nazarenes!  (With
cries of rage the two groups rush on one another.  There is a
confused tumult of yells, groans, curses, the shrieks of women, the
sounds of blows as they meet in a pushing, whirling, struggling
mass in which individual figures are indistinguishable.  Knives and
swords flash above the heads of the mass, hands in every tense
attitude of striking, clutching, tearing are seen upraised.  As the
fight is at its height a Roman Centurion and a squad of eight
Soldiers come tramping up at the double-quick.  They all are
masked.  These Roman masks now and henceforth in the play are
carried out according to the same formula of Seven Periods, Seven
Types, as those of the Jews seen previously, except that the basis
of each face is Roman--heavy, domineering, self-complacent, the
face of a confident dominant race.  The Centurion differs from his
soldiers only in being more individualized.  He is middle-aged, his
soldiers belong to the Period of Manhood.  All are of the Simple,
Ignorant Type.)

CENTURION--(shouts commandingly)  Disperse!  (But no one hears him--
with angry disgust to his Soldiers)  Charge!  Cut them down!  (The
Soldiers form a wedge and charge with a shout.  They soon find it
necessary to use their swords, and strike down everyone in their

MIRIAM--Mercy, Romans!  (As they pay no attention to her, in
desperation she embraces Lazarus beseechingly, forcing his
attention back to earth.)  Lazarus!  Mercy!

LAZARUS--(looks down upon the struggling mass and cries in a
ringing voice)  Hold!  (Each person stands transfixed, frozen in
the last movement, even the Roman Soldiers and the Centurion
himself.  Ten dead and mortally wounded lie on the ground, trampled
by the feet of friend and foe alike.  Lazarus looks at the Crowd.
To each he seems to look at him or her alone.  His eyes are
accusing and stern.  As one head, the heads of all are averted.
Even the Centurion stares at the ground humbly, in spite of
himself.  Finally Lazarus speaks in a voice of infinite disdain.)
Sometimes it is hard to laugh--even AT men!  (He turns his eyes
from them, staring straight before him.  This seems to release them
from their fixed positions.  The Nazarenes and the Orthodox
separate and slink guiltily apart.  The Chorus of Old Men forms
again, the apex at the center of the steps as before.  A low wail
of lamentation arises from them.  The two crowds of Nazarenes and
Orthodox echo this.)

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(in a wailing chant)

     Woe unto Israel!
     Woe unto thee, Jerusalem!
     O divided house,
     Thou shalt crumble to dust,
     And swine shall root
     Where thy Temple stood!
     Woe unto us!

CROWD--(in a great echoing cry)  Woe unto us!

CENTURION--(gruffly to hide his embarrassment at being awed by
Lazarus)  Here, you!  Drag your carcasses away!  (From each side
men and women come forward to identify and mourn their dead.  The
wail of lamentation rises and falls.  The Centurion looks up at
Lazarus--harshly)  You, there!  Are you he whom they call the

LAZARUS--(without looking at him--his voice seeming to come from
some dream within him)  I am Lazarus.

CENTURION--Who was brought back from death by enchantment?

LAZARUS--(looking down at him now--with a smile, simply)  No.
There is no death!

CHORUS OF FOLLOWERS--(chanting joyously)  There is no death!

FOLLOWERS--(echoing)  There is no death!

AN ORTHODOX MAN--(bending beside the body of Lazarus' Father)  Here
is your father, Lazarus.  He is dead.

AN ORTHODOX WOMAN--This is your mother, Lazarus.  She is dead.

A NAZARENE--Here is your sister, Martha, Lazarus.  She is dead.

A NAZARENE WOMAN--And this is Mary, Lazarus.  She is dead.

MIRIAM--(suddenly--with deep grief)  And Jesus who was the Son of
Man, who loved you and gave you life again has died, Lazarus--has

LAZARUS--(in a great triumphant voice)  Yes!  Yes!!  Yes!!!  Men
die!  Even a Son of Man must die to show men that Man may live!
But there is no death!

CENTURION--(at first in a tone of great awe--to his Soldiers)  Is
he a god?  (then gruffly, ashamed of his question)  Come down, Jew!
I have orders to bring you to Rome to Csar!

LAZARUS--(as if he were answering not the Centurion but the command
of his fate from the sky)  Yes!  (He walks down the narrow stairs
and, Miriam following him, comes down the path to the road.  He
goes and kneels for a moment each beside the bodies of his Father,
Mother, and Sisters and kisses each in turn on the forehead.  For a
moment the struggle with his grief can be seen in his face.  Then
he looks up to the stars and, as if answering a question, again
says simply and acceptingly)  Yes!  (then exultantly)  Yes!!  (And
begins to laugh from the depths of his exalted spirit.  The
laughter of his Chorus and then of his Followers echoes his.  The
music and dancing begin again.

(The Centurion grins sheepishly.  The Soldiers chuckle.  The
Centurion laughs awkwardly.  The Soldiers laugh.  The music from
the house and the laughter of the Followers grow louder.  The
infection spreads to the Chorus of Old Men whose swaying grief
falls into the rhythm of the laughter and music as does that of the

LAZARUS' FOLLOWERS--(led by their Chorus)  Laugh!  Laugh!

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(torn by the conflict--torturedly)

     Woe to us, woe!

CROWD--(beside the bodies)

     Woe to us, woe!

CENTURION--(laughingly)  You are brave, you Laugher!  Remember
Tiberius never laughs!  And boast not to Csar there is no death,
or he will invent a new one for you!

LAZARUS--(with a smile)  But all death is men's invention!  So
laugh!  (He laughs and the Centurion and Soldiers laugh with him,
half dancing clumsily now to the beat of the music.)


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Fear is no more!
     There is no death!
     There is only life!
     There is only laughter!


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Fear is no more!
     Death is dead!

CHORUS OF OLD MEN--(forgetting their grief--their eyes on Lazarus
now, their arms outstretched to him as are those of the crowd
grouped around the bodies but forgetting them)

     Death is no more!
     Death is dead!


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is no more!

CENTURION--(laughing, to his laughing Soldiers)  Forward!  (They
tramp, dancing, off.  Lazarus and Miriam start to follow.)

MIRIAM--(suddenly pointing to his Followers who are dancing and
laughing obliviously--pityingly)  But your faithful ones who love
you, Lazarus?

LAZARUS--(simply, with a trace of a sad sternness)  This is their
test.  Their love must remember--or it must forget.  Come!  (With a
last gesture back like a blessing on all he is leaving, he goes.
The laughter of the Soldiers recedes.  That of the Chorus of Old
Men and of the Crowd falters and breaks into lamenting grief again,
guilt-stricken because of its laughter.)


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!
     Laugh!--But woe!
     There lie our dead!
     Oh shame and guilt!
     We forget our dead!

CROWD--(with fierce remorseful grief)

     Woe to us, woe!
     There lie our dead!

CHORUS OF LAZARUS' FOLLOWERS--(their voices and the music growing
more and more hesitating and faint)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is only life!
     There is only--

(Their dance is faltering and slow now.)

     Fear is no--
     Death is--

(The music and dancing and voices cease.  The lights in the
windows, which have been growing dim, go out.  There is a second of
complete, death-like silence.  The mourning folk in the foreground
are frozen figures of grief.  Then a sudden swelling chorus of
forlorn bewilderment, a cry of lost children comes from the Chorus
of Followers and the Followers themselves.  They huddle into groups
on the roof and on the terrace.  They stretch their arms out in
every direction supplicatingly.)


     Oh, Lazarus, laugh!
     Do not forsake us!
     We forget!
     Where is thy love fled?
     Give back thy laughter,
     Thy fearless laughter!
     We forget!


     Give back thy laughter!
     We forget!

CHORUS OF FOLLOWERS--(with dull, resigned terror now)

     Death slinks out
     Of his grave in the heart!
     Ghosts of fear
     Creep back in the brain!
     We remember fear!
     We remember death!


     Death in the heart!
     Fear in the brain!
     We remember fear!
     We remember death!

CHORUS OF FOLLOWERS--(wailing hopelessly now)

     Forgotten is laughter!
     We remember
     Only death!
     Fear is God!
     Forgotten is laughter!
     Life is death!


     Forgotten is laughter!
     Life is death!

ALL--(the Chorus of Old Men and the Crowd joining in)

     Life is a fearing,
     A long dying,
     From birth to death!
     God is a slayer!
     Life is death!




SCENE--Some months later.  A square in Athens about ten o'clock at
night.  In the rear, pure and beautiful in the light of a full
moon, is the faade of a temple.  An excited crowd of Greeks of
both sexes is gathered in the square as if for some public
festival.  They are masked according to the scheme of Seven Periods
in Seven Types of Character for each sex.  Here, of course, the
foundation of the mask is the Grecian type of face.

On the left, the Chorus of Greeks is grouped, seven in number,
facing front, in the spearhead formation.  As before the Chorus
wears masks double the life size of the Crowd masks.  They are all
of the Proud Self-Reliant type, in the period of Young Manhood.

These seven are clad in goat skins, their tanned bodies and masks
daubed and stained with wine lees, in imitation of the old
followers of Dionysus.  Rumor has led them to hope and believe that
Lazarus may be the reincarnation of this deity.

The people in the crowd are holding themselves in restraint with
difficulty, they stir and push about restlessly with an eager
curiosity and impatience.  All eyes are fixed off left.

A buzz of voices hums in the air.

Acting as police, a number of Roman legionaries (masked like the
soldiers of Scene Two) armed with staves, keep back the crowd from
the line of the street that runs from left to right, front.  They
resent this duty, which has already kept them there a long time,
and are surly and quick-tempered with the Greeks.

At front, pacing impatiently up and down, is a young Roman noble of
twenty-one, clad richly, wearing beautifully wrought armor and
helmet.  This is Gaius, the heir of Tiberius Csar, nicknamed
Caligula by the soldiers in whose encampments he was born and where
he spent his childhood.  His body is bony and angular, almost
malformed, with wide, powerful shoulders and long arms and hands,
and short, skinny, hairy legs like an ape's.  He wears a half-mask
of crimson, dark with a purplish tinge, that covers the upper part
of his face to below the nose.  This mask accentuates his bulging,
prematurely wrinkled forehead, his hollow temples and his bulbous,
sensual nose.  His large troubled eyes, of a glazed greenish-blue,
glare out with a shifty feverish suspicion at everyone.  Below his
mask his own skin is of an anemic transparent pallor.  Above it,
his hair is the curly blond hair of a child of six or seven.  His
mouth also is childish, the red lips soft and feminine in outline.
Their expression is spoiled, petulant and self-obsessed, weak but
domineering.  In combination with the rest of the face there is an
appalling morbid significance to his mouth.  One feels that its
boyish cruelty, encouraged as a manly attribute in the coarse
brutality of camps, has long ago become navely insensitive to any
human suffering but its own.

Walking with Caligula is Cneius Crassus, a Roman general--a squat,
muscular man of sixty, his mask that of a heavy battered face full
of coarse humor.

CHORUS OF GREEKS--(intoning solemnly)

     Soon the God comes!
     Redeemer and Savior!
     Dionysus, Son of Man and a God!

GREEK CROWD--(echoing)

     Soon the God comes
     Redeemer and Savior!

FIRST GREEK--They say an unearthly flame burns in this Lazarus!

SECOND GREEK--The sacred fire!  He must be the Fire-born, the son
of Zeus!

THIRD GREEK--Many who have seen him swear he is Dionysus, rearisen
from Hades!

FOURTH GREEK--(importantly)  I saw Lazarus at Antioch where the
galley on which they were taking him to Rome had been thrice blown
back by a storm.  Fear of this warning omen is why they now march
with him by land.

FIRST GREEK--Does he truly resemble a god?

FOURTH GREEK--(impressively)  One look in his eyes while his
laughter sings in your ears and you forget sorrow!  You dance!  You
laugh!  It is as if a heavy weight you had been carrying all your
life without knowing it suddenly were lifted.  You are like a
cloud, you can fly, your mind reels with laughter, you are drunk
with joy!  (solemnly)  Take my word for it, he is indeed a god.
Everywhere the people have acclaimed him.  He heals the sick, he
raises the dead, by laughter.

SEVENTH GREEK--But I have heard that when he has gone people cannot
remember his laughter, that the dead are dead again and the sick
die, and the sad grow more sorrowful.

FIFTH GREEK--Well, we shall soon see with our own eyes.  But why
should the God return in the body of a Jew?

SIXTH GREEK--What better disguise if he wishes to remain unknown?
The fools of Romans will never suspect him!

THIRD GREEK--(laughing)  Never!  They are beginning to claim he is
a Roman!

FIFTH GREEK--So much the better!  He will be in their confidence!

FOURTH GREEK--He will lead us against Rome!  He will laugh our
tyrants into the sea!  Ha!  (He turns toward the Romans and laughs
sneeringly.  This is taken up by the Crowd--unpleasant, resentful
laughter.  They push forward aggressively and almost sweep the
Soldiers from their feet.)

CRASSUS--(angrily)  Drive them back!

CALIGULA--(suddenly with a distorted warped smile)  Order them to
use their swords, Cneius.  Let the scum look at their dead and
learn respect for us!

SOLDIERS--(shoving and whacking)  Back!  Step back!  Back there!
(The Crowd push back to their former line.  There are muttered
curses, groans, protests, which subside into the former hum of

CALIGULA--(with the same smile)  The sword, my old hyena!  Corpses
are so educational!

CRASSUS--(surlily)  I would like to, I promise you!  When I see how
they hate us--!

CALIGULA--(carelessly)  Let them hate--so long as they fear us!  We
must keep death dangling (he makes the gesture of doing so) before
their eyes!  (He gives a soft, cruel laugh.)  Will you not
sacrifice in my honor?  What are a few Greeks?  (queerly)  I like
to watch men die.

CRASSUS--I dare not, Caligula.  Csar has forbidden bloodshed.

CALIGULA--Tiberius is a miser.  He wants to hoard all of death for
his own pleasure!  (He laughs again.)

CRASSUS--(with rough familiarity)  I wager no one will make that
complaint against you when you are Csar!  (He chuckles.)

CALIGULA--(with the sudden grandiose posturing of a bad actor
unintentionally burlesquing grandeur)  When I, Gaius Caligula, am
Csar, I--(then superstitiously looking up at the sky with cringing
foreboding)  But it brings bad luck to anticipate fate.  (He takes
off his helmet and spits in it--then with a grim smile)  The heirs
of a Csar take sick so mysteriously!  Even with you who used to
ride me on your knee, I do not eat nor drink until you have tasted

CRASSUS--(nodding approvingly)  You are sensible.  I suppose I,
too, have my price--if they were only clever enough to discover it!
(He laughs hoarsely.)

CALIGULA--(steps back from him with an uneasy shudder)  You are
honest, at least--too honest, Cneius!  (grimly)  If my father
Germanicus had had you for his counselor, he might have escaped
their poison.  (then gloomily)  I must fear everyone.  The world is
my enemy.

CRASSUS--Kill it then!  (He laughs again.)

CHORUS--(stretching out their arms in the direction from which
Lazarus is expected--supplicatingly)

     Son of the Lightning!
     Deadly thy vengeance!
     Swift thy deliverance!
     Beholding thy Mother,
     Greece, our Mother,
     Her beauty in bondage,
     Her pride in chains!
     Hasten, Redeemer!

CROWD--(as before--echoing the chant)

     Hasten, Redeemer!
     Son of the Lightning!
     Deadly thy vengeance!
     Swift thy deliverance!

CALIGULA--(disdainfully)  What clods!  Mob is the same everywhere,
eager to worship any new charlatan!  They have already convinced
themselves this Lazarus is a reincarnation of Dionysus!  A Jew
become a god!  By the breasts of Venus that IS a miracle!  (He

CRASSUS--(seriously)  But he must be expert in magic.  He was
buried four days and came out unharmed.  Maybe he is not a Jew.
Some say his father was really a legionary of our garrison in
Judea.  And he teaches people to laugh at death.  That smacks of
Roman blood!

CALIGULA--(ironically)  Better still!  He tells them there is no
death at all!  Hence the multitude of fools who have acclaimed him
everywhere since he left his own country--and why Tiberius has
begun to fear his influence.

CRASSUS--(sententiously)  Whom Csar fears--disappears!

CALIGULA--Yes, the dupes who follow Lazarus will be killed.  But
Tiberius believes this Lazarus may know a cure for death or for
renewing youth, and the old lecher hopes he can worm the secret out
of him--before he kills him.  (He laughs ironically, then
disgustedly)  That is why I must escort this Jew to Rome--as a
special honor!  (with fierce, haughty resentment)  I, the heir of
Csar!  (savagely)  Oh, if I were Csar--!

CRASSUS--(with a coarse, meaning smirk)  Patience.  Tiberius is

CALIGULA--(suddenly becoming terribly uneasy at some thought)
Cneius!  What if this Lazarus has really discovered a cure for old
age and should reveal it to Tiberius!  (His lips tremble, his eyes
are terrified, he shrinks against Crassus for protection--with
boyish pleading)  Oh, Cneius, what could I do then?

CRASSUS--(matter-of-factly)  Kill him before Csar can talk to him.

CALIGULA--(almost in tears)  But if he knows a charm against death
how could he be slain, old fool?

CRASSUS--(gruffly)  Bah!  (then with grim humor)  Death in bed I
suspect, but when men are killed I know they stay dead!
(disgustedly)  A moment ago you were laughing at him!  (scornfully)
Do you fear him now?

CALIGULA--(rather shamefacedly pulls himself together--then
broodingly)  I fear everyone who lives.  Even you.  As you advised
me.  (He turns away.)

CRASSUS--(contemptuously)  Well, maybe he can teach you to laugh at
fear.  You would welcome him then, eh, cry baby?

CALIGULA--(with sudden passionate intensity but only half aloud as
if to himself)  I would love him, Cneius!  As a father!  As a god!
(He stands staring before him strangely.  There is a new stir from
the Crowd who again push forward.)

CRASSUS--(pointing off right)  Look!  I see a great crowd!  Your
Lazarus must be coming at last!

CHORUS--(chanting in a deep, rhythmic monotone like the rising and
falling cadences of waves on a beach)

     He comes, the Redeemer and Savior!
     Laughing along the mountains!
     To give back our lost laughter
     To raise from the dead our freedom
     To free us from Rome!

CROWD--(echoing this chant)

     Fire-born!  Redeemer!  Savior!
     Raise from the dead our freedom!
     Give back our lost laughter!
     Free us from Rome!

(They have been pushing forward, more and more fiercely and
defiantly.  The Roman Soldiers in spite of their efforts are pushed
backward step by step.)

SOLDIERS--(angrily)  Back!  Back!  (The Soldiers work with a will,
dealing out blows with their staves at everyone in reach.  But now
these blows seem only to infuriate the Crowd which steadily pushes
them back into the street.  At the same time the distant sound of
exultant music, singing and laughter becomes steadily louder.  Both
Soldiers and Crowd are inspired to battle by these strains without
their knowing it.  Caligula is listening spell-bound, his mouth
open, his body swaying and twitching.  Even Crassus stares off at
the oncomers, forgetful of the growing plight of his Soldiers.)

CROWD--(led by their Chorus--angrily)

     Cowards!  Pigs!
     Strike!  Hit!
     Stones!  Knives!
     Stab!  Kill!
     Death to the Romans!

A SOLDIER--(alarmed, calls to Crassus)  General!  Let us use our

SOLDIERS--(enraged--eagerly)  Yes!  Swords!


CRASSUS--(turning--uneasy but afraid to give any drastic order)
Bah!  Staves are enough.  Crack their skulls!

CROWD--(led by the Chorus--defiantly)

     Death to Crassus!
     Drunkard!  Coward!
     Death to him!

(They continue to push forward, hooting and jeering.)

CRASSUS--(exploding for a second)  By the gods--!  (to the
Soldiers)  Draw your swords!  (The troops do so eagerly.  The Crowd
sag back momentarily with exclamations of fear.)

CALIGULA--(listening as in a trance to the music and what is going
on behind him--in a queer whisper)  Kill, Cneius!  Let me dance!
Let me sing!  (The music and crashing of cymbals and the ferment of
passions around him cause him to lose all control over himself.  He
gives a crazy leap in the air and begins to dance grotesquely and
chant in a thick voice.)  He is coming!  Death, the Deliverer!
Kill, soldiers!  I command you!  I, Caligula!  I will be Csar!

CROWD--(led by the Chorus--savage now)

     Beast!  Cur!
     Death to Caligula!

(They crowd forward.)

CALIGULA--(drawing his sword and flourishing it drunkenly--his eyes
glazed)  Death!

CRASSUS--(drawing his own sword in a frenzy)  Strike!  Death!  (His
Soldiers raise their swords.  The Crowd have raised whatever
weapons they have found--knives, clubs, daggers, stones, bare

CHORUS--(chanting fiercely)  Death!

ALL--(Romans and Greeks alike as one great voice)  Death!  (The
chorused word beats down all sound into a stricken silence.  The
wild joyous music ceases.  The Romans and Greeks seem to lean back
from one another and collect strength to leap forward.  At this
moment the voice of Lazarus comes ringing through the air like a
command from the sky.)

LAZARUS--There is no death!  (The Soldiers and Greeks remain frozen
in their attitudes of murderous hate.  Following his words the
laughter of Lazarus is heard, exultant and gaily mocking, filling
them with the sheepish shame of children caught in mischief.  Their
hands hang, their arms sink to their sides.  The music starts once
more with a triumphant dash of cymbals, Lazarus' laughter is echoed
from the throats of the multitude of his Followers who now come
dancing into the square, preceded by a band of masked musicians and
by their Chorus.

(This Chorus wears, in double size, the laughing mask of Lazarus'
Followers in the same Period and Type as in the preceding scene,
except that here the mask of each member of the Chorus has a
different racial basis--Egyptian, Syrian, Cappadocian, Lydian,
Phrygian, Cilician, Parthian.  The Followers are costumed and
masked as in the preceding scene, seven Types in seven Periods,
except that, as in the Chorus, racially there are many nations
represented.  All have wreaths of ivy in their hair and flowers in
their hands which they scatter about.  They whirl in between the
Soldiers and Crowd, forcing them back from each other, teasing
them, sifting into the Crowd, their Chorus in a half circle,
confronting the Chorus of Greeks.)


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is no death!
     There is only life!
     There is only laughter!


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is no death!

(Caligula and Crassus are swept to one side, left.  Then the cries
and laughter of all become mingled into one exclamation.)

ALL--Lazarus!  Lazarus!  (The squad of Roman Soldiers led by the
Centurion, who had taken Lazarus prisoner, march in with dancers'
steps, like a proud guard of honor now, laughing, pulling a chariot
in which Lazarus stands dressed in a tunic of white and gold, his
bronzed face and limbs radiant in the halo of his own glowing

(Lazarus now looks less than thirty-five.  His countenance now
might well be that of the positive masculine Dionysus, closest to
the soil of the Grecian Gods, a Son of Man, born of a mortal.  Not
the coarse, drunken Dionysus, nor the effeminate God, but Dionysus
in his middle period, more comprehensive in his symbolism, the soul
of the recurring seasons, of living and dying as processes in
eternal growth, of the wine of life stirring forever in the sap and
blood and loam of things.  Miriam is beside him, dressed in black,
smiling the same sad tender smile, holding Lazarus' arm as if for
protection and in protection.  She appears older, a woman over

CHORUS OF GREEKS--(rushing to Lazarus' car)

     Hail, Dionysus!

(They surround him, throw over his shoulders and head the finely
dressed hide of a bull with great gilded horns, force into his
right hand the mystic rod of Dionysus with a pine cone on top, then
prostrate themselves.)

     Hail, Savior!
     Conqueror of Death!

ALL--(in a repeated chorus which finally includes even the Roman
Soldiers, raising their arms to him)

     Hail, Lazarus!

(They are silent.  Lazarus looks at them, seeming to see each and
all at the same time, and his laughter, as if in answer to their
greetings, is heard rising from his lips like a song.)

CRASSUS--(awed)  Look!  He is more than man!

CALIGULA--(trembling, in a queer agitation)  I dare not look!

CRASSUS--Do you hear his laughter?

CALIGULA--(chokingly--puts his hands over his ears)  I will not

CRASSUS--But you must welcome him in Csar's name!

CALIGULA--(his teeth chattering)  I must kill him!

LAZARUS--(looking directly at him--gaily mocking)  Death is dead,
Caligula!  (He begins to laugh again softly.)

CALIGULA--(with an hysterical cry of defiant terror)  You lie!
(Sword in hand he whirls to confront Lazarus, but at the first
sight of his face he stops in his tracks, trembling, held
fascinated by Lazarus' eyes, mumbling with a last pitiful remainder
of defiance)  But--you lie--whatever you are!  I say there MUST be
death!  (The sword has fallen to his side.  He stares open-mouthed
at Lazarus.  There is something of a shy, wondering child about his
attitude now.  Lazarus looks at him, laughing with gentle
understanding.  Caligula suddenly drops his sword and covering his
face with his hands weeps like a boy who has been hurt.)  You have
murdered my only friend, Lazarus!  Death would have been my slave
when I am Csar.  He would have been my jester and made me laugh at
fear!  (He weeps bitterly.)

LAZARUS--(gaily)  Be your own jester instead, O Caligula!  Laugh at
yourself, O Csar-to-be!  (He laughs.  The Crowd now all join in
with him.

(Caligula suddenly uncovers his face, grins his warped grin, gives
a harsh cackle which cracks through the other laughter with a
splitting discord, cuts a hopping caper like some grotesque cripple
which takes him to the side of Lazarus' chariot where he squats on
his hams and, stretching out his hand, fingers Lazarus' robe
inquisitively and stares up into his face in the attitude of a
chained monkey.)

CALIGULA--(with a childish, mischievous curiosity)  Then if there
is no death, O Teacher, tell me why I love to kill?

LAZARUS--Because you fear to die!  (then gaily mocking)  But what
do you matter, O Deathly-Important One?  Put yourself that question--
as a jester!  (exultantly)  Are you a speck of dust danced in the
wind?  Then laugh, dancing!  Laugh yes to your insignificance!
Thereby will be born your new greatness!  As Man, Petty Tyrant of
Earth, you are a bubble pricked by death into a void and a mocking
silence!  But as dust, you are eternal change, and everlasting
growth, and a high note of laughter soaring through chaos from the
deep heart of God!  Be proud, O Dust!  Then you may love the stars
as equals!  (then mockingly again)  And then perhaps you may be
brave enough to love even your fellow men without fear of their

CALIGULA--(dully)  I cannot understand.  I hate men.  I am afraid
of their poison and their swords and the cringing envy in their
eyes that only yields to fear!

LAZARUS--(gaily mocking)  Tragic is the plight of the tragedian
whose only audience is himself!  Life is for each man a solitary
cell whose walls are mirrors.  Terrified is Caligula by the faces
he makes!  But I tell you to laugh in the mirror, that seeing your
life gay, you may begin to live as a guest, and not as a condemned
one!  (raising his hands for silence--with a playful smile)
Listen!  In the dark peace of the grave the man called Lazarus
rested.  He was still weak, as one who recovers from a long illness--
for, living, he had believed his life a sad one!  (He laughs
softly, and softly they all echo his laughter.)  He lay dreaming to
the croon of silence, feeling as the flow of blood in his own veins
the past reenter the heart of God to be renewed by faith into the
future.  He thought:  "Men call this death"--for he had been dead
only a little while and he still remembered.  Then, of a sudden, a
strange gay laughter trembled from his heart as though his life, so
long repressed in him by fear, had found at last its voice and a
song for singing.  "Men call this death," it sang.  "Men call life
death and fear it.  They hide from it in horror.  Their lives are
spent in hiding.  Their fear becomes their living.  They worship
life as death!"

CHORUS OF FOLLOWERS--(in a chanting echo)

     Men call life death and fear it.
     They hide from it in horror.
     Their lives are spent in hiding.
     Their fear becomes their living.
     They worship life as death!

LAZARUS--And here the song of Lazarus' life grew pitiful.  "Men
must learn to live," it mourned.  "Before their fear invented death
they knew, but now they have forgotten.  They must be taught to
laugh again!"  And Lazarus answered "Yes!"  (He now addresses the
Crowd--especially Caligula, directly, laughingly.)  Thus sang his
life to Lazarus while he lay dead!  Man must learn to live by
laughter!  (He laughs.)


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is only life!
     There is only laughter!
     Fear is no more!
     Death is dead!


     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Hail, Dionysus!
     Fear is no more!
     Thou hast conquered death!

ALL--(laughing--in a great laughing chorus)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Fear is no more!
     Death is dead!

LAZARUS--(as to a crowd of children--laughingly)  Out with you!
Out into the woods!  Upon the hills!  Cities are prisons wherein
man locks himself from life.  Out with you under the sky!  Are the
stars too pure for your sick passions?  Is the warm earth smelling
of night too desirous of love for your pale introspective lusts?
Out!  Let laughter be your new clean lust and sanity!  So far man
has only learned to snicker meanly at his neighbor!  Let a laughing
away of self be your new right to live forever!  Cry in your pride,
"I am Laughter, which is Life, which is the Child of God!"  (He
laughs and again his voice leads and dominates the rhythmic chorus
of theirs.  The music and dancing begin again.)

THE TWO CHORUSES--(chanting in unison)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is only God!
     We are His Laughter!


     There is only God!
     We are His Laughter!
     Laugh!  Laugh!

(They take hold of his chariot traces, and as he had come, in the
midst of a happy multitude, now augmented by all the Greeks, and
the Roman Soldiers who had awaited him, dancing, playing, singing,
laughing, he is escorted off.  The noise of their passing recedes.
Caligula and Crassus are left in the empty square, the former
squatting on his hams, monkey-wise, and brooding somberly.)

CRASSUS--(is swaying and staggering, like a man in a drunken
stupor, in a bewildered, stubborn struggle to control himself.  He
stammers after the Soldiers)  Ha-ha-ha--Halt!  Halt, I say!  No use--
they are gone--mutiny--Halt!  (He continues to stumble toward
left.)  Ha-ha--Stop it, curse you!  Am I laughing?  Where am I
going?  After Lazarus?  Thirty years of discipline and I--Halt,
traitor!  Remember Csar!  Remember Rome!  Halt, traitor!  (He
faints with the violence of his struggle and falls in a limp heap.)

CALIGULA--(startled by his fall, terrified, hops to his feet and
snatches up his sword defensively, glancing over his shoulder and
whirling around as if he expected someone to stab him in the back.
Then, forcing a twisted grin of self-contempt--harshly)  Coward!
What do I fear--if there is no death?  (As if he had to cut
something, he snatches up a handful of flowers--desperately)  You
must laugh, Caligula!  (He starts to lop off the flowers from their
stems with a savage intentness.)  Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!  (Finally,
impatiently, he cuts off all the remaining with one stroke.)
Laugh!  (He grinds the petals under his feet and breaks out into a
terrible hysterical giggle.)  Ha-ha--



SCENE--A midnight, months later.  Immediately inside the walls of
Rome.  In the foreground is the portico of a temple between whose
massive columns one looks across a street on a lower level to the
high wall of Rome at the extreme rear.  In the center of the wall
is a great metal gate.  The night is thick and oppressive.  In the
sky overhead lightning flashes and thunder rumbles and crashes but
there is no rain.

Within the portico on rows of chairs placed on a series of wide
steps which are on each side, members of the Senate are seated in
their white robes.  High hanging lamps cast a wan light over their
faces.  They are all masked in the Roman mask, refined in them by
nobility of blood but at the same time with strength degenerated,
corrupted by tyranny and debauchery to an exhausted cynicism.  The
three periods of Middle Age, Maturity and Old Age are represented
in the types of the Self-Tortured, Introspective; Proud, Self-
Reliant; the Servile, Hypocritical; the Cruel, Revengeful; and the
Resigned, Sorrowful.  The Senators are divided into two groups on
each side, thirty in each.  Seated in the middle of the lower of
the three high broad stairs that lead to the level from which the
columns rise is the Chorus of Senators, seven in number, facing
front, in double-sized masks of the Servile, Hypocritical type of
Old Age.

Lazarus, in his robe of white and gold, the aura of light
surrounding his body seeming to glow more brightly than ever,
stands in the rear at the edge of the portico, center, gazing
upward into the pall of sky beyond the wall.  His figure appears in
its immobility to be the statue of the god of the temple.  Near
him, but to the rear and to the left of him, facing right, Miriam
is kneeling in her black robes, swaying backward and forward,
praying silently with moving lips like a nun who asks mercy for the
sins of the world.  She has grown much older, her hair is gray, her
shoulders are bowed.

On the other side, placed similarly in relation to Lazarus and
facing Miriam, Caligula is squatting on his hams on a sort of
throne-chair of ivory and gold.  He is dressed with foppish
richness in extreme bright colors, a victory wreath around his
head.  He stares blinkingly and inquisitively at Lazarus, then at
Miriam.  He is half-drunk.  A large figured goblet of gold is in
his hand.  A slave with an amphora of wine crouches on the steps by
his chair.  The slave wears a black negroid mask.

At the opening of the scene there is heard the steady tramp of
departing troops, whose masks, helmets and armored shoulders can be
seen as they pass through the street before Lazarus to the gate
beyond.  Finally with a metallic clash the gate is shut behind them
and there is a heavy and oppressive silence in which only the
murmured prayers of Miriam are heard.

CHORUS OF THE SENATE--(intones wearily, as if under a boring

     The Roman Senate
     Is the Roman Senate
     The Mighty Voice
     Of the Roman People
     As long as Rome is Rome.

CALIGULA--(as if he hadn't heard--sings hoarsely an old camp song
of the Punic Wars, pounding with his goblet)

     A bold legionary am I!
     March, oh march on!
     A Roman eagle was my daddy,
     My mother was a drunken drabby
     Oh, march on to the wars!

     Since lived that lady Leda
     March, oh march on!
     Women have loved high-fliers
     And we are eagles of Rome!
     Oh march on to the wars!

     Comrades, march to the wars!
     There's pretty girls in Carthage
     And wine to swill in Carthage,
     So we must capture Carthage
     And fight for Mother Rome!

(Holds out his goblet to be refilled.  There is silence again.  He
stares at Lazarus with a somber intentness.  He says thickly)  The
legions have gone, Lazarus.  (Lazarus gives no evidence of having
heard him.  Caligula gulps at his wine.  The Senators begin to talk
to each other in low voices.)

FIRST SENATOR--How does that Jew make that light come from him, I
wonder?  It is a well-contrived bit of magic.

SECOND SENATOR--What are we waiting for?  A messenger came to me
with Csar's command that the Senate meet here at midnight.

THIRD SENATOR--(bored)  Some new whim of Tiberius, naturally--(with
a meaning titter)--or rather I should say, unnaturally!

FOURTH SENATOR--Perhaps Csar has decided to abolish our august
body by a massacre in mass!

THIRD SENATOR--(yawning)  There was a feast at Cinna's last night
that lasted until this evening.  I could welcome my own murder as
an excuse for sleeping!

FIFTH SENATOR--(pompously)  Tiberius would not dare harm the
Senate.  He may mistreat individual Senators, but the Roman Senate
is the Roman Senate!

CHORUS OF THE SENATE--(as before--wearily as if under a boring

     While Rome is Rome
     The Senate is the Senate
     The Mighty Voice of the Roman People.

FIRST SENATOR--(with the ghost of a laugh--wearily)  The Senate is
an empty name--a pack of degenerate cowards with no trace of their
ancient nobility or courage remaining--that and no more!

THIRD SENATOR--(flippantly)  You are too severe with yourself,
Lucius!  (a titter of laughter)

FIRST SENATOR--(wearily)  A degenerate coward.  I am, I confess it.
So are you too, Sulpicius--a hundred fold!--whether you admit it or
not.  (Sulpicius laughs weakly without taking offense.)

SIXTH SENATOR--(after a pause--sighing)  In truth, the Senate is
not what it used to be.  I can remember--

FIRST SENATOR--Let us forget, if we can!  (then impatiently)  What
are we doing here?

SECOND SENATOR--I imagine it has something to do with the followers
of this Lazarus encamped outside the wall.  Probably the legions
are to butcher them in their sleep.

SEVENTH SENATOR--And what part do we play--official witnesses?  But
how can we witness at night and through a wall?  (with bored
resignation)  Ah well, the moods of Tiberius are strange, to say
the least.  But Csar is Csar.

CHORUS--(again with bored weariness as before)

     Csar is Csar
     The August One
     Prince of the Senate
     Tribune over Tribunes
     Consul of Consuls
     Supreme Pontiff
     Emperor of Rome
     God among Gods

FIRST SENATOR--(after a pause of silence--dryly)  Csar is a beast--
and a madman!

FIFTH SENATOR--(pompously)  Respect, sir!  More respect for Csar!

THIRD SENATOR--(mockingly)  Or caution, Lucius.  One of us might
repeat your opinion to him.

FIRST SENATOR--You would if it would pay you.  But all my money is
squandered.  My death is worthless to Tiberius.  He would not
reward you.  Moreover, you would not be revenged on me, for I long
for death.

THIRD SENATOR--(dryly)  Your stomach must be out of order.

FIRST SENATOR--The times are out of order.  But let us change the
subject.  Is it true Tiberius has fled to Capri?

FOURTH SENATOR--Yes.  He was terrified by the multitude of laughing
idiots who appeared today with that charlatan.  (He points to

SECOND SENATOR--There are thousands of them outside the wall.
Csar refused to let them enter the city.  The story is, this
Lazarus was dead four days and then restored himself to life by

FIRST SENATOR--I have a mind to question him.  (calls as to a
slave)  You, there!  Jew, turn round!  In the name of the Senate!
(Lazarus seems not to hear him.  Lucius remarks with a weary smile)
So much for our authority!

SIXTH SENATOR--(with injured dignity)  What insolence!  (in a rage)
Ho, barbarian cur, turn round!  The Senate commands you!  (Lazarus
does not seem to hear, but Caligula turns on them fiercely.)

CALIGULA--Silence!  Leave him alone!  (with insulting scorn)  I,
Caligula, command YOU!  (The Senators seem to shrink back from him
in fear, all but Lucius, who answers with a mocking servility.)

FIRST SENATOR--At least, grant us the boon to see this corpse's
face, O Gracious Gaius!

CALIGULA--(fixing his cruel, burning eyes on him--softly)  I heard
you wish for death, Lucius.  When I am Csar you shall scream and
pray for it!

FIRST SENATOR--(dryly and haughtily)  You were bred in camp, Gaius.
You should have learned more courage there along with your
coarseness.  But accept my gratitude for your warning.  I shall
take care to die before you become Csar--and life becomes too

CALIGULA--(his grin becoming ferocious with cruelty)  No.  You are
too weak to kill yourself.  Look at me, Lucius!  I am imagining
what I shall have done to you!  (The Senators are now trembling.
Even Lucius cannot repress a shudder of horror at the face glaring
at him.  Suddenly Caligula throws the cup from him and springs to
his feet.)  What good is wine if it cannot kill thought?  Lazarus!
It is time.  I must give the signal!  The legions are waiting.  It
is Csar's command that they spare none of your followers.  (He has
walked toward Lazarus.)

MIRIAM--(stretches out her hands to Caligula imploringly)  Mercy!
Spare them who are so full of life and joy!

CALIGULA--(harshly)  For their joy I will revenge myself upon them!
Mercy?  If there is no death, then death is a mercy!  Ask that man!
(He points accusingly to Lazarus.)  And why should you plead for
them, Jewess?  There are few Jews among them.  They are mostly
those whom your people call idolaters and would gladly see

MIRIAM--(with deep grief)  I am a mother of dead children.  I plead
for the mothers of those about to die.

CALIGULA--(contemptuously)  Pah!  (He turns from her and puts his
hand on Lazarus' shoulder.)  Lazarus!  Do you hear?  I must signal
to the legions!

LAZARUS--(turns.  He has grown more youthful.  He seems no more
than thirty.  His face is exalted and calm and beautiful.  His eyes
shine with an unearthly glory.  The Senators lean forward in their
seats, fascinated by his face.  A low murmur of admiration comes
from them.  Lazarus speaks commandingly.)  Wait!  I will awaken my
beloved ones that their passing may be a symbol to the world that
there is no death!  (He turns, throwing back his head and
stretching up his arms, and begins to laugh low and tenderly, like
caressing music at first but gradually gaining in volume, becoming
more and more intense and insistent, finally ending up on a
triumphant, blood-stirring call to that ultimate attainment in
which all prepossession with self is lost in an ecstatic
affirmation of Life.  The voices of his Followers from beyond the
wall, at first one by one, then several at a time, then multitudes,
join in his laughter.  Even the Senators are drawn into it.  Now
every one of these is standing up, stretching out his arms toward
Lazarus, laughing harshly and discordantly and awkwardly in his
attempt to laugh.  Terrific flashes of lightning and crashes of
thunder seem a responsive accompaniment from the heavens to this
laughter of thousands which throbs in beating waves of sound in the
air.  Mingled with the laughing from beyond the wall comes the
sound of singing and the music of flutes and cymbals.  Miriam has
crawled on her knees to the edge of the portico where her black
figure of grief is outlined below and to the left of Lazarus, her
arms raised outward like the arms of a cross.)

FOLLOWERS OF LAZARUS--(in a great chanting singing chorus)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     There is only God!
     Life is His Laughter!
     We are His Laughter!
     Fear is no more!
     Death is dead!

CHORUS OF SENATORS--(taking it up in a tone between chanting and
their old solemn intoning)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Fear is no more!
     Death is dead!

ALL--(the multitude beyond the wall, all the Senators, everyone
except the never-laughing Miriam and Caligula and the Men of the

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!

CALIGULA--(in a queer state of mingled exaltation and fear--hopping
restlessly about from foot to foot--shouting)  The signal!  Shall I
give the signal to kill, Lazarus?

MEN OF THE LEGIONS--(following a brazen trumpet call, are suddenly
heard from beyond the wall beginning to laugh their hoarse, bass
laughter, a deeper note than all the others)  Laugh!  Laugh!

CALIGULA--(listening--with dismay)  I hear the legions, Lazarus!
They are laughing with them!  (He cries with a strange pitifulness
and beseeching)  You are playing me false, Lazarus!  You are trying
to evade death!  You are trying to spare your people!  You are
small and weak like other men when the test comes!  You give way to
pity!  Your great laughter becomes pitiful!  (working himself into
a rage)  You are a traitor, Lazarus!  You betray Csar!  Have you
forgotten I will be Csar?  You betray me, Lazarus!  (He rushes to
the edge and, making a megaphone of his hands, bellows)  You on the
wall!  Sentry!  It is I, Caligula!  Kill!  (The brazen trumpets of
the Legions sound from beyond the wall.  He springs near Lazarus
again, in a fiendish ecstasy, dancing a hopping grotesque sword
dance behind him, chanting as he does so)  Kill!  Kill laughter!
Kill those who deny Csar!  I will be Csar!  Kill those who deny
Death!  I will be Death!  My face will be bright with blood!  My
laughing face, Lazarus!  Laughing because men fear me!  My face of
victorious Fear!  Look at me!  I am laughing, Lazarus!  MY
laughter!  Laughter of Gods and Csars!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  (He laughs,
his laughter fanatically cruel and savage, forced from his lips
with a desperate, destroying abandon.  For a moment, above all the
chorus of other sounds, his voice fights to overcome that of
Lazarus, whose laughter seems now to have attained the most
exultant heights of spiritual affirmation.  Then Caligula's breaks
into a cry of fear and a sob, and, casting his sword aside, he
hides his face in his hands and cries beseechingly)  Forgive me!  I
love you, Lazarus!  Forgive me!  (At this second the blaring
trumpets of the Legions are heard approaching and their great bass
chorus of marching tramping laughter.)

MEN OF THE LEGIONS--(chanting)

     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Fear, no more!
     Death, no more!
     Death is dead!

(There is now no sound of the singing or the laughter or music of
Lazarus' Followers.  Miriam rocks to and fro and raises a low wail
of lamentation.  The Senators cheer and shout as at a triumph.)

CHORUS OF SENATORS--(saluting Lazarus)

     Hail, Victor!
     Hail, Divine One!
     Thou hast slain fear!
     Thou hast slain death!
     Hail!  Triumph!


     Hail!  Hail!
     Slayer of Fear!
     Slayer of Death!

(The gate in the wall is clanged open.  The returning Legions burst
through and gather in a dense mob in the street below Lazarus, who
looks down upon them, silent but smiling gently now.  They stare at
him with admiration.  Only a sea of their masks can be seen, their
eyes shining exultantly.  Crassus, their general, ascends the steps
until he stands a little below Lazarus.  Their Chorus of
Legionaries in double-sized masks climb to the step below Crassus,
forming behind him.  They are in the Period of Manhood, of the
Simple, Ignorant Type.  No weapons can be seen--only their masks
and helmets and armor gleaming in the lightning flashes and in the
flickering light of torches.  Their laughter seems to shake the
walls and make the pillars of the temple dance.)


     Fear, no more!
     Death, no more!
     Death is dead!


     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!

CRASSUS--(raising his hand)  Silence!  (They obey.  He turns to
Lazarus and bows his head, falling on one knee, raising his right
arm.)  Hail!

LEGIONARIES--(as one man--raising their arms)  Hail!

CALIGULA--(suddenly pushes forward impudently and strikes a
grandiose attitude)  I am here, my brave ones!  (There is a roar of
mocking laughter from the Legionaries.)

CRASSUS--(not unkindly)  Not you, Little Killer!  We hail the Great

CALIGULA--(harshly)  Have you killed all his followers?

CRASSUS--No.  They died.  They did not wait for our attack.  They
charged upon us, laughing!  They tore our swords away from us,
laughing, and we laughed with them!  They stabbed themselves,
dancing as though it were a festival!  They died, laughing, in one
another's arms!  We laughed, too, with joy because it seemed it was
not they who died but death itself they killed!  (He stops
uncertainly, bowing to Lazarus, awkwardly)  I do not understand
this.  I am a soldier.  But there is a god in it somewhere!  For I
know they were drunk, and so were we, with a happiness no mortal
ever felt on earth before!  And death was dead!  (In a sudden
outburst as if he were drunk with excitement, he takes off his
helmet and waves it.)  Hail, Deliverer!  Death is dead!  We left
our swords with them!  What virtue in killing when there is no
death?  Your foe laughs.  The joke is on you.  What a fool's game,
eh?  One can only laugh!  Now we want peace to laugh in--to laugh
at war!  Let Csars fight--that is all they are good for--and not
much good for that!

CALIGULA--(frenziedly)  Silence, impious traitor!

CRASSUS--(smiling drunkenly)  Shut up, yourself, camp-brat!  Though
you were Csar this minute I would laugh at you!  Your death is
dead!  We will make Lazarus Csar!  What say you?  (He appeals to
the Soldiers.)


CHORUS OF THE LEGIONS--(with laughing intoxication)  Hail, Lazarus
Csar!  Hail!

LEGIONARIES--Lazarus Csar, hail!

CRASSUS--(appealing to Senate)  And you, Senators!

CHORUS OF SENATORS--(with the same joyous intoxication as the
Soldiers)  Hail, Lazarus Csar!  Hail!

SENATORS--Lazarus Csar, hail!

CALIGULA--(piteously)  No, Lazarus!  Say no for my sake!

LAZARUS--(with gay mockery)  What is--Csar?  (He begins to laugh
with mockery.  All except Caligula and Miriam join in this

CRASSUS--Ha-ha!  What is Csar?  You are right!  You deserve better
from us.  A god?  How is that?  We will build you a temple,
Lazarus, and make you a god!

LAZARUS--(laughingly)  When men make gods, there is no God!  (He
laughs.  They all laugh.)

CRASSUS--(with puzzled good-nature)  I do not understand.  But
there is a god in it somewhere--a god of peace--a god of happiness!
Perhaps you are already he, eh?  Are you?  Well, never mind now,
remember our offer.  Give us your answer tomorrow.  Good night to

LAZARUS--(As the Soldiers start to march away behind Crassus, and
the Senators turn to retire, he stops them all for a moment with a
gesture--with a deep earnestness)  Wait!  When you awake tomorrow,
try to remember!  Remember that death is dead!  Remember to laugh!

ALL--(as if taking an oath with one voice)  We will remember,

CRASSUS--(making a sign to the regimental musicians jovially)  And
we will laugh!  Play there!  (The bands crash out.  The Legions
tramp away.)

CHORUS OF THE LEGIONS--(chanting to the music)

     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Csar, no more!
     War, no more!
     Wounds, no more!
     Death is dead!
     Dead!  Dead!  Dead!


     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!
     Dead!  Dead!  Dead!

CHORUS OF SENATORS--(following them)

     Csar, no more!
     Fear, no more!
     Death, no more!
     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!

SENATE--(elated, excited as a crowd of schoolboys going on a
vacation.  Marching after them.)

     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!

(Lazarus, Miriam and Caligula remain.)

LAZARUS--(with a great yearning)  If men would remember!  If they
could!  (He stares after them compassionately.)

CALIGULA--(crouching beside Lazarus.  Plucks at his robe humbly.)
You will not laugh at Csar, Lazarus, will you--when I am Csar?
You will not laugh at gods when they make me a god?  (Lazarus does
not answer.  Caligula forces a cruel vindictive smile.)  I swear
you shall not laugh at death when I am Death!  Ha-ha--(He starts to
laugh harshly--then suddenly, terrified, slinks away and sidles off
at right.)

MIRIAM--(from where she kneels bowed with grief--brokenly)  Those
who have just died were like your children, Lazarus.  They believed
in you and loved you.

LAZARUS--And I loved them!

MIRIAM--Then how could you laugh when they were dying?

LAZARUS--(exultingly)  Did they not laugh?  That was their victory
and glory!  (with more and more of a passionate, proud exultation)
Eye to eye with the Fear of Death, did they not laugh with scorn?
"Death to old Death," they laughed!  "Once as squirming specks we
crept from the tides of the sea.  Now we return to the sea!  Once
as quivering flecks of rhythm we beat down from the sun.  Now we
reenter the sun!  Cast aside is our pitiable pretense, our immortal
egohood, the holy lantern behind which cringed our Fear of the
Dark!  Flung off is that impudent insult to life's nobility which
gibbers:  'I, this Jew, this Roman, this noble or this slave, must
survive in my pettiness forever!'  Away with such cowardice of
spirit!  We will to die!  We will to change!  Laughing we lived
with our gift, now with laughter give we back that gift to become
again the Essence of the Giver!  Dying we laugh with the Infinite.
We are the Giver and the Gift!  Laughing, we will our own
annihilation!  Laughing, we give our lives for Life's sake!"  (He
laughs up to heaven ecstatically.)  This must Man will as his end
and his new beginning!  He must conceive and desire his own passing
as a mood of eternal laughter and cry with pride, "Take back, O
God, and accept in turn a gift from me, my grateful blessing for
Your gift--and see, O God, now I am laughing with You!  I am Your
laughter--and You are mine!"  (He laughs again, his laughter dying
lingeringly and tenderly on his lips like a strain of music
receding into the silence over still waters.)

MIRIAM--(with a sigh--meekly)  I cannot understand, Lazarus.
(sadly)  They were like your children--and they have died.  Must
you not mourn for them?

LAZARUS--(gently)  Mourn?  When they laughed?

MIRIAM--(sadly)  They are gone from us.  And their mothers weep.

LAZARUS--(puts his arm around her and raises her to her feet--
tenderly)  But God, their Father, laughs!  (He kisses her on the




SCENE--Some days later--exterior of Tiberius' villa-palace at
Capri.  It is about two in the morning of a clear black night.  In
the rear, the walls of the villa, which is built entirely of marble
on the brow of a cliff, loom up with a startling clarity against
the sky.  The rear foreground is a marble terrace at the middle of
which is a triumphal arch.  On each side, leading up to it, are
massive marble columns standing like the mummies of legionaries at
attention.  In the exact centre of the arch itself a cross is set
up on which a full grown male lion has been crucified.  A lamp
reflecting downward has been fixed at the top of the cross to light
up an inscription placed over the lion's head.  Below the steps to
the terrace, in a line facing front, on each side of the cross, is
the Chorus of the Guard in their double masks and gorgeous uniforms
and armor.  Their masks are the same as the Legionary Chorus of the
previous scene.

The windows of the palace glow crimson-purple with the reflection
of many shaded lamps.  The sound of music in a strained theme of
that joyless abandon which is vice is heard above a confused
drunken clamor of voices, punctuated by the high, staccato laughter
of women and youths.  A squad of the Guard in the same uniforms as
the Chorus, masked as all the Roman Soldiers previously, enter from
the left, front, climbing up from the beach below.  They are
commanded by a Centurion, Flavius.  His mask is that of a typical
young patrician officer.  They are followed by Lazarus and Miriam.
Caligula walks behind, his drawn sword in his hand.  He is in a
state of queer conflicting emotion, seeming to be filled with a
nervous dread and terror of everything about him, while at the same
time perversely excited and elated by his own morbid tension.
Lazarus, looking no more than twenty-five, haloed in his own mystic
light, walks in a deep, detached serenity.

Miriam, in black, her hair almost white now, her figure bowed and
feeble, seems more than ever a figure of a sad, resigned mother of
the dead.  The Soldiers form in line with the columns.

FLAVIUS--(saluting Caligula--with an awed glance at Lazarus)  I
will announce your coming--(as if in spite of himself he bows
awkwardly to Lazarus)--and that of this man.  Csar was not
expecting you so soon, I think.

CALIGULA--(forcing a light tone)  Lazarus laughed and the galley
slaves forgot their fetters and made their oars fly as if they were
bound for the Blessed Isles of Liberty!  (then with an ironic
smile)  But you need not tell Tiberius that, good Flavius.  Say it
was due to my extreme zeal.

FLAVIUS--(smiles with respectful understanding.  Caligula nods in
dismissal.  Flavius turns to go--apologetically)  You may have to
wait.  I dare not speak before he questions me.  (Flavius salutes
and hastens to the villa, walking under an arm of the cross
unconcernedly without an upward glance.  As they follow him with
their eyes Caligula and Miriam see the lion for the first time.  He
steps back with a startled exclamation.  She gives a cry of horror
and covers her eyes with her hands to shut out the sight.)

LAZARUS--(immediately puts his arms around her protectingly)  What
is it, Beloved?  (She hides her face on his breast, pointing toward
the lion with a trembling hand.)

CALIGULA--(pointing--curiously now, but with entire callousness)
This lion they have crucified.  Are you frightened, Jewess?  (with
a cruel laugh)  My grandfather frequently plants whole orchards of
such trees, but usually they bear human fruit!

MIRIAM--(with a shudder)  Monster!

CALIGULA--(with genuine surprise--turning to her)  Who?  Why?  (He
approaches the cross and stares at it moodily.)  But why did he
have it placed here where he knew you must pass?  Tiberius does not
go to such pains to frighten women.  (His eyes fasten on the
inscription above the lion's head.)  Aha!  I see!  (He reads)
"From the East, land of false gods and superstition, this lion was
brought to Rome to amuse Csar."  (A silence.  Caligula shrugs his
shoulders, turning away--lightly)  A lesson for you, Lazarus.  An
example for other lions--not to roar--or laugh--at Csar!  (He
gives a harsh laugh.)  Tiberius must be terribly afraid of you.
(then somberly)  You should never have come here.  I would have
advised you not to--but what are you to me?  My duty, if I wish to
become Csar, is to Csar.  Besides, you are no fool.  Evidently
you must desire your own death.  Last night YOU might have been
Csar.  The legions were yours.

LAZARUS--(smiling without bitterness--with a sad comprehension)
But this morning the legions had forgotten.  They only remembered--
to go out and pick up their swords!  They also pillaged the bodies
a little, as their right, believing now that they had slain them!
(this last a bit bitterly)

CALIGULA--(tauntingly)  The legions did slay them!  It was only by
some magician's trick you made them think your followers killed

LAZARUS--(not answering him--ironically to himself)  It is too
soon.  Men still need their swords to slash at ghosts in the dark.
Men, those haunted heroes!  (He laughs softly.)

CALIGULA--(irritably)  What are you laughing at?

LAZARUS--At Lazarus when I find him feeling wronged because men are
men!  (He laughs again, softly and musically.)

CALIGULA--(again taunting brutally)  You may be in his place soon!
(He points to the lion.)  Will you laugh then?  (Miriam gives a cry
of terror.)

LAZARUS--(calmly)  Yes.  (then humbly, bowing his head)  I will
laugh with the pride of a beggar set upon the throne of Man!

CALIGULA--(sneeringly)  You boast.  (then as Lazarus does not
answer, touching the lion with intentional provoking brutality)
This one from Africa seems almost gone.  They do not last as long
as men.

LAZARUS--(walks up the steps to the cross and, stretching to his
full height, gently pushes the lion's hair out of its eyes--
tenderly)  Poor brother!  Csar avenges himself on you because of
me.  Forgive me your suffering!

CALIGULA--(with a start backward--with frightened awe)  Gods!  He
licks your hand!  I could swear he smiles--with his last breath!
(then with relief)  Now he is dead!

LAZARUS--(gently)  There is no death.

CALIGULA--(pointing to the lion)  What is that then?

LAZARUS--Your fear of life.

CALIGULA--(impatiently)  Bah!  (then somberly)  A little fear is
useful even for lions--or teachers of laughter if they wish to
laugh long!  (then with a sudden exasperation)  Escape now, you
fool, while there is still time!

LAZARUS--(laughing softly)  Escape--what?

CALIGULA--(in a frenzy)  You know, you ass, you lunatic!  Escape
death!  Death!  Death!  (to Miriam)  You, woman!  Talk to him!  Do
you want him nailed up like that?

MIRIAM--(with a pitiful cry)  Lazarus!  Come!  Caligula will help

CALIGULA--(harshly)  You presume, Jewess!  I have no wish to die!
(then with his wry smile)  But I will turn my back--and shut my
eyes--(He walks away to left.)

MIRIAM--(beseechingly)  Lazarus!  I could not bear that aching
hunger of my empty heart if you should die again!

LAZARUS--(coming to her--tenderly)  I will not leave you!  Believe
in me!  (He kisses her forehead tenderly.)

MIRIAM--(after a pause--slowly and lamentingly)  I wish we were
home, Lazarus.  This Roman world is full of evil.  These skies
threaten.  These hearts are heavy with hatred.  There is a taint of
blood in the air that poisons the breath of the sea.  These columns
and arches and thick walls seem waiting to fall, to crush these
rotten men and then to crumble over the bones that raised them
until both are dust.  It is a world deadly to your joy, Lazarus.
Its pleasure is a gorging of dirt, its fulfilled desire a snoring
in a sty in the mud among swine.  Its will is so sick that it must
kill in order to be aware of life at all.  I wish we were home,
Lazarus.  I begin to feel horror gnawing at my breast.  I begin to
know the torture of the fear of death, Lazarus--not of my death but
of yours--not of the passing of your man's body but of the going
away from me of your laughter which is to me as my son, my little

LAZARUS--(soothing her)  Be comforted, Beloved.  Your fear shall
never be!

MIRIAM--On the hills near Bethany you might pray at noon and laugh
your boy's laughter in the sun and there would be echoing laughter
from the sky and up from the grass and distantly from the shining
sea.  We would adopt children whose parents the Romans had
butchered, and their laughter would be around me in my home where I
cooked and weaved and sang.  And in the dawn at your going out, and
in the evening on your return, I would hear in the hushed air the
bleating of sheep and the tinkling of many little bells and your
voice.  And my heart would know peace.

LAZARUS--(tenderly)  Only a little longer!  There is God's laughter
on the hills of space, and the happiness of children, and the soft
healing of innumerable dawns and evenings, and the blessing of

CALIGULA--(looks around at Lazarus impatiently.  Then he makes a
beckoning gesture to Miriam.)  Ssstt!  (Wonderingly she leaves
Lazarus' side and follows him.  Lazarus remains, his eyes fixed on
the cross, directly in front of it.  Caligula speaks gruffly to
Miriam with a sneer.)  Jewess, your Lazarus is mad, I begin to
think.  (then confusedly but helplessly inquisitive and confiding--
bursting out)  What is it troubles me about him?  What makes me
dream of him?  Why should I--love him, Jewess?  Tell me!  You love
him, too.  I do not understand this.  Why, wherever he goes, is
there joy?  You heard even the galley slaves laugh and clank time
with their chains!  (then with exasperation)  And yet why can I not
laugh, Jewess?

MIRIAM--(in a tone of hushed grief)  I may not laugh either.  My
heart remains a little dead with Lazarus in Bethany.  The miracle
could not revive all his old husband's life in my wife's heart.

CALIGULA--(disgustedly)  What answer is that to me?  (then
brusquely)  But I called you to put you on your guard.  (He
points.)  There is death in there--Tiberius' death, a kind from
which no miracles can recall one!  (He smiles his twisted smile.)
Since Lazarus will not help himself, you must protect him.  I will
not, for once in there I am (mockingly) the heir of Csar, and you
are scum whom I will kill at his order as I would two beetles!  So
keep watch!  Taste first of what he eats--even were I the one to
give it to him!

LAZARUS--(suddenly laughs softly)  Why do you delight in believing
evil of yourself, Caligula?

CALIGULA--(flying into a queer rage)  You lie!  I am what I am!
(with grandiose pride)  What could you know of a Csar?

LAZARUS--(still laughing with an affectionate understanding)  What--
I know!  (As he finishes speaking all the sound of music and
voices from the house ceases abruptly and there is a heavy

MIRIAM--(shaking her head and turning away sadly)  That is too far,
Lazarus.  Let us go home.

CALIGULA--(harshly)  Sst!  Do you hear?  Flavius has told Csar.
(grimly forcing a harsh snicker)  Now we will soon know--(There is
the sudden blaring of a trumpet from within the palace.  A wide
door is flung open and a stream of reddish light comes out against
which the black figures of several men are outlined.  The door is
shut again quickly.  Several slaves bearing lamps on poles escort
the patrician, Marcellus, forward to the arch.  He passes under the
crucified lion without a glance--then stands, cool and disdainful,
to look about him.  He is a man of about thirty-five, wearing the
type mask of a Roman patrician to which are added the dissipated
courtier's characteristics of one who leans to evil more through
weakness than any instinctive urge.  He is dressed richly.  His
smile is hypocritical and his eyes are hard and cold but when they
come to rest on Lazarus he gives a start of genuine astonishment.)

CALIGULA--(who has moved to Lazarus' side defensively--in a quick
whisper)  Beware of this man, Lazarus!  (then advancing--with a
condescending hauteur)  Greeting, Marcellus!

MARCELLUS--(in an ingratiating tone)  Greeting, Gaius.  I have a
message from Csar for the man called Lazarus.

LAZARUS--(calmly)  I am Lazarus.

MARCELLUS--(makes a deep bow--flatteringly)  I had surmised it,
sir.  Although I cannot pretend to virtue in myself at least I may
claim the merit of recognizing it in others.  (He advances toward
Lazarus, smiling, with one hand kept hidden beneath his cloak.)

CALIGULA--(stepping between them--sharply)  What is your message?

MARCELLUS--(surprised--placatingly)  I am sorry, Gaius, but it was
Csar's command I speak to Lazarus alone.

CALIGULA--(fiercely)  And then, Marcellus?  (Marcellus shrugs his
shoulders and smiles deprecatingly.)

LAZARUS--(with a compelling dignity)  Let him speak.  (inclining
his head to Marcellus--strangely)  Over here where it is dark you
will not be seen--nor see yourself.  (He walks to the darkness at

CALIGULA--(turning his back on them, with angry boyish resentfulness
that is close to tears)  Idiot!  Go and die, then!

MIRIAM--(with a terrified cry)  Lazarus!  (She starts to go to

LAZARUS--(motioning her to remain where she is--gently)  Believe,
Beloved!  (He turns his back on them all and stands waiting.)

MARCELLUS--(stares at Lazarus--then over his shoulder at Caligula--
uncertainly)  What does he mean, Gaius?  (Then suddenly putting on
a brave front, he strides up behind Lazarus)  Csar wished me to
bid you welcome, to tell you how much regard he has for you, but he
desired me to ask whether you propose to laugh here--in Csar's
palace?  He has heard that you laugh at death--that you have caused
others to laugh--even his legionaries.  (A pause, Marcellus remains
behind Lazarus' back, the latter standing like a victim.)  Briefly,
Csar requires your pledge that you will not laugh.  Will you give
it?  (He frees his dagger from under his robe.  A pause.
Arrogantly)  I am waiting!  Answer when Csar commands!  (then
angrily, baffled)  I will give you while I count three--or take
your silence as a refusal!  One!  Two!  Three!  (He raises his hand
to stab Lazarus in the back.  Miriam stifles a scream.  At the same
instant, Lazarus begins to laugh, softly and affectionately.
Marcellus stops, frozen in mid-action, the dagger upraised.
Caligula has whirled around and stands staring, a smile gradually
coming to his face.  Lazarus turns, his laughter grown a trifle
louder, and faces Marcellus.  The latter steps back from him,
staring open-mouthed, fascinated.  His arm sinks to his side.  The
dagger falls from his fingers.  He smiles back at Lazarus--the
curious, sheepish, bashful smile of one who has fallen in love and
been discovered.)

LAZARUS--(going to him, puts both hands on his shoulders and looks
in his eyes, laughing affectionately--then quizzically)  Here is
another one who believes in death!  But soon you will laugh with
life!  I see it in your eyes.  Farewell, Marcellus!  (He turns away
from him and walks, laughing, toward the arch in rear.  With bowed
head the black-robed figure of Miriam follows him.  Marcellus hides
his face in his hands, half-sobbing, and half-laughing hysterically.
Lazarus pauses before the cross for a moment--raises his hand as if
blessing the dead lion, then passes below it, moving slowly on
toward the palace in the rear.  His laughter rises with more and
more summoning power.  The files of the Guard, as he passes them,
two by two join in his laughter, saluting him as if in spite of

CALIGULA--(sidling up to Marcellus, cruel and mocking)  Are you
weeping, Marcellus?  Laugh at that blundering fool, yourself!  What
will Csar say?  Will he laugh when he has your body broken one
bone at a time with hammers?  Why did you not kill?  For shame!  A
patrician exposed to laughter by a Jew!  Poor craven!  Why could
you not strike?  There MUST be death!  Coward!  Why did you not
stab?  (then in a queer awed whisper)  I know!  Was it not because
of a sudden you loved him and could not?

MARCELLUS--(suddenly--eagerly)  Yes!  That was it!  I loved him!

CALIGULA--(craftily and cruelly)  You were about to murder him!

MARCELLUS--(tortured with remorse)  No!  No!  How could I?  What
infamy!  (cries tearfully)  Forgive me, Lazarus!

CALIGULA--(with vindictive insistence)  Judge yourself!  (He takes
up the dagger.)  Here is your dagger!  Avenge him on yourself!

MARCELLUS--(trying to laugh)  Ha-ha--Yes!  (He stabs himself and
falls.  Suddenly his laughter is released.)  I laugh!  You are a
fool, Caligula!  There is no death!  (He dies, laughing up at the

CALIGULA--(kicks his body with savage cruelty)  You lie!  (then
suddenly kneels and bends over it imploringly)  Tell me you lie,
Marcellus!  Do me that mercy!--and when I am Csar, I--(He begins
to weep like a frightened boy, his head in his hands.  Meanwhile
Lazarus has arrived with Miriam at the steps before the door of the
palace.  As he starts to ascend these, the crimson-purple lights of
the many windows of the palace go out one by one as if fleeing in
terror from the laughter which now beats at the walls.)


     Fear, no more!
     Death, no more!
     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!

ALL THE GUARDS--(now all in a great chorus, raising their spears
aloft and saluting Lazarus as if they were his own triumphal body

     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!

(Lazarus has ascended the steps.  He walks into the black archway
of the darkened palace, his figure radiant and unearthly in his own
light.  Miriam follows him.  They disappear in the darkness.  There
is a pause of dead silence.)

CALIGULA--(raises his head uneasily, looks back toward the palace,
jumps to his feet in a panic of terror, and runs toward the palace
door, calling)  Lazarus!  Wait!  I will defend you!  There is death
inside there--death!  Beware, Lazarus!

CHORUS OF THE GUARD--(as the laughter of Lazarus is heard again
from the dark palace)

     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!


     Dead!  Dead!  Dead!
     Death is dead!



SCENE--The banquet hall in the palace of Tiberius--an immense high-
ceilinged room.  In the rear, center, is a great arched doorway.
Smaller arches in the middle of the side walls lead into other
rooms.  Long couches are placed along the walls at right and left,
and along the rear wall on either side of the arch.  Before these
couches, a series of narrow tables is set.  In the center of the
room on a high dais is the ivory and gold chair of Csar, a table
in front of it, couches for him to recline on at either side.  On
this table, and on all the tables for his guests, gold lamps with
shades of crimson-purple are placed.

Reclining on the couches on the right are young women and girls, on
the left, youths of an equal number.

(The masks are based on the Roman masks of the periods of Boyhood
[or Girlhood], Youth, and Young Manhood [or Womanhood] and there
are seven individuals of each period and sex in each of the
three types of the Introspective, Self-Tortured; the Servile,
Hypocritical; and the Cruel, Revengeful--a crowd of forty-two in
all.  There is a distinctive character to the masks of each sex,
the stamp of an effeminate corruption on all the male, while the
female have a bold, masculine expression.  The male masks are a
blotched heliotrope in shade.  These youths wear female wigs of
curled wire like frizzed hair of a yellow gold.  They are dressed
in women's robes of pale heliotrope, they wear anklets and
bracelets and necklaces.  The women are dressed as males in crimson
or deep purple.  They also wear wire wigs but of straight hair cut
in short boyish mode, dyed either deep purple or crimson.  Those
with crimson hair are dressed in purple, and vice versa.  The
female voices are harsh, strident, mannish--those of the youths
affected, lisping, effeminate.  The whole effect of these two
groups is of sex corrupted and warped, of invented lusts and
artificial vices.

(The Chorus in this scene and the next is composed of three males
and four females--the males in the period of Youth, one in each of
the types represented, and three of the females in similar type-
period masks.  The fourth female is masked in the period of
Womanhood in the Proud, Self-Reliant type.  They sit, facing front
in their double-sized masks, on the side steps of the dais, four on
right, three on left.)

Pompeia, a Roman noblewoman, the favorite mistress of Csar, sits
at front, right.

She wears a half-mask on the upper part of her face, olive-colored
with the red of blood smoldering through, with great, dark, cruel
eyes--a dissipated mask of intense evil beauty, of lust and
perverted passion.  Beneath the mask, her own complexion is pale,
her gentle, girlish mouth is set in an expression of agonized self-
loathing and weariness of spirit.  Her body is strong and
beautiful.  Her wig and dress are purple.

Tiberius Csar stands on the dais, dressed in deep purple, fringed
and ornamented with crimson and gold.  An old man of seventy-six,
tall, broad and corpulent but of great muscular strength still
despite his age, his shiny white cranium rises like a polished
shell above his half-masked face.  This mask is a pallid purple
blotched with darker color, as if the imperial blood in his veins
had been sickened by age and debauchery.  The eyes are protuberant,
leering, cynical slits, the long nose, once finely modeled, now
gross and thickened, the forehead lowering and grim.  Beneath the
mask, his own mouth looks as incongruous as Caligula's.  The lips
are thin and stern and self-contained--the lips of an able soldier-
statesman of rigid probity.  His chin is forceful and severe.  The
complexion of his own skin is that of a healthy old campaigner.

As the curtain rises, slaves are hurriedly putting out the many
lamps.  From outside, the laughter of Lazarus rises on the deep
ground swell of the Guard's laughter.  The walls and massive
columns seem to reverberate with the sound.  In the banquet room
all are listening fascinatedly.  Every reaction, from the extreme
of panic fear or hypnotized ecstasy to a feigned cynical amusement
or a pretended supercilious indifference, is represented in their
frozen attitudes.  Tiberius stands, shrinking back, staring at the
doorway in the rear with superstitious dread.  A squad of the Guard
surround the dais, commanded by Flavius.

TIBERIUS--(in a strained voice shaken by apprehension and awe)
Marcellus!  Strike him down!  Stab him!

SOLDIERS OF THE GUARD--(from without)

     Laugh!  Laugh!  Laugh!
     Death is dead!

TIBERIUS--(as he suddenly sees the shining figure of Lazarus appear
at the end of the dark hall beyond the archway)  Gods!  Flavius,
look!  (He points with a shaking finger.  Flavius has leaped up to
his side.)

FLAVIUS--(not without dread himself)  That is the man, Csar.

TIBERIUS--Man?  Say a dmon!  (to the slaves who are turning out
the few remaining lamps)  Quick!  Darkness!  (He puts out the lamp
on his table himself.  Then as nothing is seen but the light from
the approaching Lazarus)  Flavius!  Stand here in my place!  It
will think you are Csar!  (He clumps heavily down the steps of the
dais.)  Guards!  Here!  Cover me with your shields!  (He goes to
the extreme right corner, front, and crouches there.  His Guards
follow him.  They hold their shields so that they form a wall
around him and half over him.  Then Caligula's voice is heard
screaming above the chorus of laughter as he enters the hall behind

CALIGULA--Beware of death!  I will defend you, Lazarus!  (He is
seen to rush past Lazarus, flourishing his sword and comes running
into the room, shouting)  Csar!  Dare not to murder Lazarus!  (He
leaps to the dais and up its steps in a frenzy.)  Dare not, I say!
(He stabs Flavius with a savage cry)  Ah!  (Then, as the body of
Flavius falls heavily and rolls down the steps at right, he begins
to laugh, at first a clear laughter of selfless joy, sounding
startlingly incongruous from him.)  I have saved you, Lazarus--at
the risk of my own life--and now, hear me, I can laugh!  (Lazarus
appears in the archway, Miriam behind him.  He stops laughing and
immediately there is silence, except for Caligula.  Lazarus casts a
luminous glow over the whole room in which the masked faces appear
distorted and livid.  Caligula stands with upraised sword by the
chair of Csar.  Suddenly his laughter cracks, changes, becomes
full of his old fear and bloodlust.)

CALIGULA--Ha-ha-ha!  See, Lazarus!  (He points to the body of
Flavius with his sword.)  Welcome in the name of Csar, now Csar
is slain and I am Csar!  (He assumes the absurd grandiose posture
of his imperial posing.  No one looks at him or hears him.  Their
eyes are on Lazarus as he moves directly to where Tiberius crouches
behind the shields of the Guards.  Miriam follows him.  Caligula
turns and stares toward him, and then down at the body of Flavius
and back, in a petrified, bewildered stupor.  Lazarus steps up
beside Tiberius.  The Guards make way for him fearfully.)

TIBERIUS--(feeling his nearness--straightening himself with a
certain dignity)  Strike!  I have been a soldier.  Thou canst not
make me fear death, Dmon!  (He draws his toga over his face.)

LAZARUS--(smiling gently)  Then fear not fear, Tiberius!  (He
reaches out and pulls back the toga from his face.  Tiberius looks
into his eyes, at first shrinkingly, then with growing reassurance,
his own masked face clearly revealed now in the light from

TIBERIUS--(at first falteringly)  So--thou art not evil?  Thou art
not come to contrive my murder?  (As Lazarus smilingly shakes his
head, Tiberius frowns.)  Then why dost thou laugh against Csar?
(then bitterly--with a twisted attempt at a smile)  Yet I like thy
laughter.  It is young.  Once I laughed somewhat like that--so I
pardon thee.  I will even laugh at thee in return.  Ha-ha!  (His
laughter is cold, cruel and merciless as the grin of a skeleton.)

CALIGULA--(who has been staring in a bewildered stupor from
Tiberius, whom he thought he had killed, to the body of Flavius--
quaking with terror now as if this laugh was meant for him, drops
to his knees, his sword clattering down the steps to the floor)
Mercy, Tiberius!  I implore you forgive your Caligula!

TIBERIUS--(not understanding.  Fixing his eyes on Caligula with a
malevolent irony.)  Come down from my throne, Caligula.  (Caligula
slinks down warily.)  You are too impatient.  But I must pardon
you, too--for where could I find another heir so perfect for
serving my spite upon mankind?  (He has walked toward the throne
while he is speaking, Caligula backing away from him.  Lazarus
remains where he is, Miriam beside and to the rear of him.
Tiberius, his eyes fixed on Caligula, stumbles against the body of
Flavius.  He gives a startled gasp and shrinks back, calling)
Lights!  A light here!  (A crowd of masked slaves obey his orders.
One runs to him with a lantern.  He looks down at Flavius' corpse--
half to himself)  I did wisely to stand him in my place.  (to
Caligula--with sinister emphasis)  Too impatient, my loving
grandchild!  Take care lest I become impatient also--with your
impatience!  (Caligula shudders and backs away to the extreme left
corner, front, where he crouches on his haunches as inconspicuously
as possible.  Tiberius suddenly whirls around as if he felt a
dagger at his back.)

TIBERIUS--Where--?  (seeing Lazarus where he had been--with relief--
staring at his face now that the room is flooded with the purplish-
crimson glow from all the lamps)  Ah, you are there.  More lights!
Darkness leads men into error.  My heir mistakes a man for Csar
and Csar, it appears, has mistaken a man for a dmon! (scrutinizing
him--with sinister finality)  I can deal with men.  I know them
well.  Too well!  (He laughs grimly.)  Therefore I hate them.  (He
mounts the steps of the dais and sits on the couch at left of
table--staring at Lazarus, wonderingly)  But you seem--something
other than man!  That light!  (Then he forces a harsh laugh.)  A
trick!  I had forgotten you are a magician. (arrogantly)  Stand
there, Jew.  I would question you about your magic.  (Smilingly
Lazarus ascends to where Tiberius points at the top of the dais.
Miriam remains standing at the foot.  Tiberius stares for a while
with somber intensity at Lazarus.)  They say you died and have
returned from death?

LAZARUS--(smiling--as if he were correcting a child)  There is no
death, Csar.

TIBERIUS--(with a sneer of scepticism but with an underlying
eagerness)  I have heard you teach that folly.  (then threateningly)
You shall be given full opportunity to prove it! (a pause--then in a
low voice, bending down toward Lazarus)  Do you foretell the future?
(trembling but with a pretense of carelessness)  Must I die soon?

LAZARUS--(simply)  Yes, Csar.

TIBERIUS--(jumping up with a shuddering start)  Soon?  Soon?  (then
his fear turning to rage)  What do you say?  Vile Jew, do you dare
threaten me with death!  (Lazarus, looking into his eyes, begins to
laugh softly.  Tiberius sinks back on his couch, fighting to
control himself--confusedly)  Laugh not, I ask you.  I am old.  It
is not seemly.  (Lazarus ceases his low laughter.  A pause.
Tiberius broods--then suddenly)  And you were really dead?  (He
shudders.)  Come nearer.  I need to watch your face.  I have
learned to read the lies in faces.  A Csar gets much practice--
from childhood on--too much!  (with awe)  Your eyes are dark with
death.  While I watch them, answer me, what cured thee of death?

LAZARUS--(gently)  There is only life, Csar.  (then gaily mocking
but compellingly)  And laughter!  Look!  Look well into my eyes,
old Reader of Lies, and see if you can find aught in them that is
not life--and laughter!  (He laughs softly.  A ripple of soft
laughter from the motionless figures about the room echoes his.
Tiberius stares into his eyes.  In the silence that ensues Pompeia
gets up and walks over to the dais.  She stops to stare for a
moment with cruel contempt at Miriam, then stands and looks up at
Lazarus, trying in vain to attract his or Csar's attention.
Failing in this, she passes over and sits beside Caligula, whose
attention is concentrated on Lazarus.)

POMPEIA--I admire your strange magician, Caligula.

CALIGULA--(without looking at her)  He is no magician.  He is
something like a god.

POMPEIA--(longingly)  His laughter is like a god's.  He is strong.
I love him.

CALIGULA--(turning to her--coarsely)  Do not waste your lust.  He
is faithful to his wife, I warn you.

POMPEIA--(She points to Miriam.)  Not that ugly slave?

CALIGULA--Yes.  And yet, on our journey, whole herds of women--and
many as beautiful as you, Pompeia--threw themselves on him and
begged for his love.

POMPEIA--(her voice hardening)  And he?

CALIGULA--He laughed--and passed on.  (She starts.  Caligula goes
on wonderingly.)  But they seemed as happy as if his laughter had
possessed them!  You are a woman.  Tell me, how could that be?

POMPEIA--(her voice cruel)  He shall not laugh at me!

CALIGULA--(tauntingly)  I will bet a string of pearls against your
body for a night that he does.

POMPEIA--(defiantly)  Done!  (Then she laughs--a low, cruel laugh--
staring at Miriam)  So he loves that woman?

CALIGULA--(curiously)  What are you planning?

POMPEIA--I shall offer her the fruit Csar preserves for those he

CALIGULA--(with a careless shrug)  You will not win his love by
killing her.

POMPEIA--I no longer want his love.  I want to see him suffer, to
hear his laughter choke in his throat with pain!  (She speaks with
more and more voluptuous satisfaction.)  Then _I_ shall laugh!
(She laughs softly and steps forward.)

CALIGULA--(concernedly)  Stop.  I am his protector.  (then
suddenly)  But what is the Jewess to me?  (with more and more of a
spirit of perverse cruelty)  Do it, Pompeia!  His laughter is too
cruel to us!  We must save death from him!

POMPEIA--(walks to the dais which she ascends slowly until she
stands by Csar's couch behind him, confronting Lazarus.  But the
two men remain unmindful of her presence.  Tiberius continues to
stare into Lazarus' eyes.  His whole body is now relaxed, at rest,
a dreamy smile softens his thin, compressed mouth.  Pompeia leans
over and takes a peach from the bowl of fruit on Csar's table and,
taking Tiberius' hand in her other, she kisses it and calls
insistently)  Csar.  It is I, Pompeia.  (Lazarus does not look at
her.  She stares at him defiantly.  Tiberius blinks his eyes in a

TIBERIUS--(dreamily)  Yes!  A cloud came from a depth of sky--
around me, softly, warmly, and the cloud dissolved into the sky,
and the sky into peace!  (suddenly springing to his feet and
staring about him in a confused rage--clutching Pompeia by the
shoulder and forcing her to her knees)  What are you doing here?

POMPEIA--Forgive your loving slave!  I grew afraid this magician
had put you under a spell.  (She stares at Lazarus, her words
challenging him.)

TIBERIUS--(confusedly, sinking back on his couch and releasing her)
A spell?  Could it be he laid a dream of death upon me, leading me
to death?  (He trembles timorously--appealing to Lazarus)  Whatever
magic thou didst to me, Dmon, I beseech thee undo it!

LAZARUS--(smiling)  Do you fear peace?

POMPEIA--(harshly and insolently)  Mock not at Csar, dog!
(Lazarus continues to smile.  His eyes remain on Csar.  He seems
absolutely unaware of Pompeia.  This enrages her the more against
him.  She speaks tauntingly to Tiberius.)  Surely, Csar, this
magician must have powerful charms since he dares to mock Tiberius
to his face!

TIBERIUS--(stung)  Be still!  (then in a low tone to her)  Do you
not know this Lazarus died and then by his magic rose from his

POMPEIA--(scornfully)  To believe that, I must have seen it, Csar!

TIBERIUS--(impatiently)  Do you think I would believe without good
evidence?  I have had them take the statements of many witnesses.
The miracle was done in conjunction with another Jew acting as this
man's tool.  This other Jew, the report states, could not possibly
have possessed any magic power Himself, for Pilate crucified Him a
short time after and He died in pain and weakness within a few
hours.  But this Lazarus laughs at death!

LAZARUS--(looks up, smiling with ironical bitterness)  Couldst Thou
but hear, Jesus!  And men shall keep on in panic nailing Man's soul
to the cross of their fear until in the end they do it to avenge
Thee, for Thine Honor and Glory!  (He sighs sadly--then after a
struggle overcoming himself--with exultance)  Yes!  (His eyes fall
again to Tiberius and he smiles.)  Yes!  Yes to the stupid as to
the wise!  To what is understood and to what cannot be understood!
Known and unknown!  Over and over!  Forever and ever!  Yes!  (He
laughs softly to himself.)

TIBERIUS--(with superstitious dread)  What dost thou mean, Dmon?

POMPEIA--(with indignant scorn)  Let him prove there is no death,
Csar!  (She appeals to the company who straighten up on their
couches with interest.)

CHORUS--(chant demandingly)

     Let him prove there is no death!
     We are bored!


     Prove there is no death!
     We are bored, Csar!

TIBERIUS--(waits to see what Lazarus will say--then as he says
nothing, plucking up his courage--his cruelty aroused)  Do you
hear, Lazarus?

POMPEIA--Make him perform his miracle again!

CHORUS--(as before)

     Let him perform a miracle!
     We are bored, Csar!

CROWD--(They now stand up and coming from behind their tables, move
forward toward the dais.)

     A miracle!
     We are bored!

POMPEIA--Let him raise someone from the dead!

CHORUS--(chanting with a pettish insistence)

     Raise the dead!
     We are bored!

CROWD--(echoing--grouping in a big semicircle as of spectators in a
theatre, around and to the sides of the dais, one sex on each side.
Caligula moves in from the left in front of them.  They form in
three ranks, the first squatting on their hams like savages [as
Caligula does], the second rank crouching over them, the third
leaning over the second, all with a hectic, morbid interest.)

     We are bored!
     Raise the dead!

POMPEIA--(with a cruel smile)  I have thought of a special test for
him, Csar.  (She whispers in Csar's ear and points to Miriam and
the fruit in her hand.)  And he must laugh!

TIBERIUS--(with a harsh, cruel chuckle)  Yes, I shall command him
to laugh!  (then disgustedly)  But she is sad and old.  I will be
only doing him a favor.

CALIGULA--(rocking back and forth on his haunches--looking at
Lazarus with taunting cruelty)  No, Csar!  I know he loves her!

LAZARUS--Yes!  (He steps down from the dais to Miriam's side and
taking her head in both his hands, he kisses her on the lips.)

TIBERIUS--(with a malignant grin)  Give her the fruit!

POMPEIA--(advances and offers the peach to Miriam--with a hard,
cruel little laugh)  Csar invites you to eat!

MIRIAM--(to Lazarus--requesting meekly but longingly)  May I
accept, Lazarus?  Is it time at last?  My love has followed you
over long roads among strangers and each league we came from home
my heart has grown older.  Now it is too old for you, a heart too
weary for your loving laughter.  Ever your laughter has grown
younger, Lazarus!  Upward it springs like a lark from a field, and
sings!  Once I knew your laughter was my child, my son of Lazarus;
but then it grew younger and I felt at last it had returned to my
womb--and ever younger and younger--until, tonight, when I spoke to
you of home, I felt new birth-pains as your laughter, grown too
young for me, flew back to the unborn--a birth so like a death!
(She sobs and wipes her eyes with her sleeve--then humbly, reaching
out for the fruit)  May I accept it, Lazarus?  You should have
newborn laughing hearts to love you.  My old one labors with
memories and its blood is sluggish with the past.  Your home on the
hills of space is too far away.  My heart longs for the warmth of
close walls of earth baked in the sun.  Our home in Bethany,
Lazarus, where you and my children lived and died.  Our tomb near
our home, Lazarus, in which you and my children wait for me.  Is it
time at last?

LAZARUS--(deeply moved)  Poor lonely heart!  It has been crueler
for you than I remembered.  Go in peace--to peace!  (His voice
trembles in spite of himself.)  I shall be lonely, dear one.  (with
a note of pleading)  You have never laughed with my laughter.  Will
you call back--Yes!--when you know--to tell me you understand and
laugh with me at last?

MIRIAM--(not answering him, to Pompeia, taking the peach and making
a humble courtesy before her)  I thank you, pretty lady.  (She
raises the peach toward her mouth.  Involuntarily one of Lazarus'
hands half-reaches out as if to stop her.)

POMPEIA--(with savage triumph, pointing)  See!  He would stop her!
He is afraid of death!


     He is afraid of death!



MIRIAM--(bites into the peach and, chewing, begins, as if
immediately affected, to talk like a garrulous old woman, her words
coming quicker and quicker as her voice becomes fainter and
fainter)  Say what you like, it is much better I should go home
first, Lazarus.  We have been away so long, there will be so much
to attend to about the house.  And all the children will be
waiting.  You would be as helpless as a child, Lazarus.  Between
you and the children, things would soon be in a fine state!  (more
and more confused)  No, no!  You cannot help me, dearest one.  You
are only in my way.  No, I will make the fire.  When you laid it
the last time, we all had to run for our lives, choking, the smoke
poured from the windows, the neighbors thought the house was
burning!  (She laughs--a queer, vague little inward laugh.)  You
are so impractical.  The neighbors all get the best of you.  Money
slips through your fingers.  If it was not for me--(She sighs--then
brightly and lovingly)  But, dearest husband, why do you take it so
to heart?  Why do you feel guilty because you are not like other
men?  That is why I love you so much.  Is it a sin to be born a
dreamer?  But God, He must be a dreamer, too, or how would we be on
earth?  Do not keep saying to yourself so bitterly, you are a
failure in life!  Do not sit brooding on the hilltop in the evening
like a black figure of Job against the sky!  (her voice trembling)
Even if God has taken our little ones--yes, in spite of sorrow--
have you not a good home I make for you, and a wife who loves you?
(She forces a chuckle.)  Be grateful, then--for me!  Smile, my sad
one!  Laugh a little once in a while!  Come home, bringing me
laughter of the wind from the hills!  (swaying, looking at the
peach in her hand)  What a mellow, sweet fruit!  Did you bring it
home for me?  (She falls back into his arms.  Gently he lets her
body sink until it rests against the steps of the dais.  Tiberius
rises from his couch to bend over with cruel gloating.  Pompeia
steps nearer to Lazarus, staring at him mockingly.  Caligula hops
to her side, looking from Lazarus to Miriam.  The half-circle of
masked figures moves closer, straining forward and downward as if
to overwhelm the two figures at the foot of the dais with their
concentrated death wish.)

TIBERIUS--(thickly)  She is dead, and I do not hear you laugh!

LAZARUS--(bending down--supplicatingly)  Miriam!  Call back to me!
Laugh!  (He pauses.  A second of dead silence.  Then, with a sound
that is very like a sob, he kisses her on the lips.)  I am lonely!

POMPEIA--(with savage malice--jeeringly)  See!  He weeps, Csar!
(She bursts into strident laughter.)  Ha-ha-ha-ha!

CHORUS--(echoing her laughter)

     There is fear!
     There is death!


     There is death!

CALIGULA--(in a frenzy of despairing rage, hopping up and down)
Liar!  Charlatan!  Weakling!  How you have cheated Caligula!  (He
suddenly slaps Lazarus viciously across the face.)  There is death!
Laugh, if you dare!

TIBERIUS--(standing--in a sinister cold rage, the crueler because
his dream of a cure for death is baffled, yet feeling his power as
Csar triumphant nevertheless)  And I thought you might be a
daemon.  I thought you might have a magic cure--(with revengeful
fury)  But death is, and death is mine!  I shall make you pray for
death!  And I shall make Death laugh at you!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  (in a
frenzy as Lazarus neither makes a sound nor looks up)  Laugh,
Lazarus!  Laugh at yourself!  Laugh with me!  (then to his
Soldiers)  Scourge him!  Make him laugh!

CALIGULA--(running to Soldiers--fiercely)  Give me a scourge!

POMPEIA--(running to the Soldiers--hysterically)  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  Let
me beat him, Csar!  (They group behind him.  The rods and scourges
are uplifted over his back to strike, when in the dead expectant
silence, Miriam's body is seen to rise in a writhing tortured last

MIRIAM--(in a voice of unearthly sweetness)  Yes!  There is only
life!  Lazarus, be not lonely!  (She laughs and sinks back and is

(A shuddering murmur of superstitious fear comes from them as they
shrink back swiftly from Lazarus, remaining huddled one against the
other.  Pompeia runs to the feet of Tiberius and crouches down on
the steps below him, as if for protection, her terrified eyes on
Miriam.  Caligula runs to her and crouches beside and beneath her.)

LAZARUS--(kisses Miriam again and raises his head.  His face is
radiant with new faith and joy.  He smiles with happiness and
speaks to himself with a mocking affection as if to an amusing
child.)  That much remained hidden in me of the sad old Lazarus who
died of self-pity--his loneliness!  Lonely no more!  Man's
loneliness is but his fear of life!  Lonely no more!  Millions of
laughing stars there are around me!  And laughing dust, born once
of woman on this earth, now freed to dance!  New stars are born of
dust eternally!  The old, grown mellow with God, burst into flaming
seed!  The fields of infinite space are sown--and grass for sheep
springs up on the hills of earth!  But there is no death, nor fear,
nor loneliness!  There is only God's Eternal Laughter!  His
Laughter flows into the lonely heart!  (He begins to laugh, his
laughter clear and ringing--the laughter of a conqueror arrogant
with happiness and the pride of a new triumph.  He bends and picks
up the body of Miriam in his arms and, his head thrown back,
laughing, he ascends the dais and places her on the table as on a
bier.  He touches one hand on her breast, as if he were taking an
oath to life on her heart, looks upward and laughs, his voice
ringing more and more with a terrible unbearable power and beauty
that beats those in the room into an abject submissive panic.

(Tiberius grovels half under the table, his hands covering his
ears, his face on the floor; he is laughing with the agony and
terror of death.  Pompeia lies face down on the first step and
beats it with her fists; she is laughing with horror and self-
loathing.  Caligula, his hands clutching his head, pounds it
against the edge of the steps; he is laughing with grief and
remorse.  The rest, soldiers, slaves and the prostitutes of both
sexes, writhe and twist distractedly, seeking to hide their heads
against each other, beating each other and the floor with clenched
hands.  An agonized moan of supplicating laughter comes from them


     Ha-ha-ha-ha!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!
     Let us die, Lazarus!
     Mercy, Laughing One!
     Mercy of death!
     Ha-ha-ha-ha!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!

(But the laughter of Lazarus is as remote now as the laughter of a




SCENE--The same as previous Scene--the same night a short while
later.  All the lamps are out except the one on the table on the
dais which, placed beside the head of Miriam, shines down upon the
white mask of her face.  In the half-darkness, the walls are lost
in shadow, the room seems immense, the dais nearer.

Lazarus sits on the couch at the right on the dais.  His face is
strong and proud although his eyes are fixed down on the face of
Miriam.  He seems more youthful still now, like a young son who
keeps watch by the body of his mother, but at the same time
retaining the aloof serenity of the statue of a god.  His face
expresses sorrow and a happiness that transcends sorrow.

On the other side of the table, at the end of the couch, Tiberius
sits facing front, his elbows on his knees, his large hands with
bloated veins hanging loosely.  He keeps his gaze averted from the
corpse.  He talks to Lazarus half over his shoulder.

On the top step, Pompeia sits, facing right, her hands clasped
about one knee, the other leg stretched down to the lower step.
Her head is thrown back and she is gazing up into Lazarus' face.

On the step below her, Caligula squats on his haunches, his arms on
his knees, his fists pressed to his temples.  He is staring
straight before him.

Only these four people are in the room now.

TIBERIUS--(gloomily)  Was she dead, Dmon, and was it thy power
that recalled life to her body for that moment?  Or was she still
living and her words only the last desire of her love to comfort
you, Lazarus?  (Lazarus does not reply.)  If thou dost not tell me,
I must always doubt thee, Dmon.

POMPEIA--(with a sigh of bewildered happiness, turns to Caligula)
I am glad he laughed, Caligula!  Did I say I loved him before?
Then it was only my body that wanted a slave.  Now it is my heart
that desires a master!  Now I know love for the first time in my

CALIGULA--(bitterly)  Fool!  What does he care for love?
(somberly)  He loves everyone--but no one--not even me!  (He broods

POMPEIA--(following her own thoughts)  And now that hag is dead he
will need a woman, young and beautiful, to protect and comfort him,
to make him a home and bear his children!  (She dreams, her eyes
again fixed on Lazarus--then suddenly turning to Caligula)  I am
glad I lost our bet.  But you must accept some other payment.  Now
I know love, I may not give myself to any man save him!

CALIGULA--I do not want you!  What are you but another animal!
Faugh!  (with a grimace of disgust)  Pleasure is dirty and joyless!
Or we who seek it are, which comes to the same thing.  (then
grimly)  But our bet can rest.  This is not the end.  There may
still be a chance for you to laugh at him!

POMPEIA--No!  Now I could not!  I should weep for his defeat!

TIBERIUS--(gloomily arguing, half to himself)  His laughter
triumphed over me, but he has not brought her back to life.  I
think he knows no cure for another's death, as I had hoped.  And I
must always doubt that it was not some trick--(harshly) until I
have tested him with his own life!  He cannot cheat me then!  (a
pause--arguing to himself)  But he was dead--that much has been
proved--and before he died he was old and sad.  What did he find
beyond there?  (suddenly--turning to Lazarus now)  What did you
find beyond death, Lazarus?

LAZARUS--(exaltedly)  Life!  God's Eternal Laughter!

TIBERIUS--(shaking his head)  I want hope--for me, Tiberius Csar.

LAZARUS--What is--you?  But there is hope for Man!  Love is Man's
hope--love for his life on earth, a noble love above suspicion and
distrust!  Hitherto Man has always suspected his life, and in
revenge and self-torture his love has been faithless!  He has even
betrayed Eternity, his mother, with his slave he calls Immortal
Soul!  (He laughs softly, gaily, mockingly--then to Tiberius
directly)  Hope for you, Tiberius Csar?  Then dare to love
Eternity without your fear desiring to possess her!  Be brave
enough to be possessed!

TIBERIUS--(strangely)  My mother was the wife of Csar.  (then
dully)  I do not understand.

LAZARUS--Men are too cowardly to understand!  And so the worms of
their little fears eat them and grow fat and terrible and become
their jealous gods they must appease with lies!

TIBERIUS--(wearily)  Your words are meaningless, Lazarus.  You are
a fool.  All laughter is malice, all gods are dead, and life is a

LAZARUS--(laughs pityingly)  So say the race of men, whose lives
are long dyings!  They evade their fear of death by becoming so
sick of life that by the time death comes they are too lifeless to
fear it!  Their disease triumphs over death--a noble victory called
resignation!  "We are sick," they say, "therefore there is no God
in us, therefore there is no God!"  Oh, if men would but interpret
that first cry of man fresh from the womb as the laughter of one
who even then says to his heart, "It is my pride as God to become
Man.  Then let it be my pride as Man to recreate the God in me!"
(He laughs softly but with exultant pride.)

POMPEIA--(laughing with him--proudly)  He will create a god in me!
I shall be proud!

CALIGULA--(pounding his temples with his fists--tortured)  I am
Caligula.  I was born in a camp among soldiers.  My father was
Germanicus, a hero, as all men know.  But I do not understand this--
and though I burst with pride, I cannot laugh with joy!

TIBERIUS--(gloomily)  Obscurities!  I have found nothing in life
that merits pride.  I am not proud of being Csar--and what is a
god but a Csar over Csars?  If fools kneel and worship me because
they fear me, should I be proud?  But Csar is a fact, and
Tiberius, a man, is one, and I cling to these certainties--and I do
not wish to die!  If I were sure of eternal sleep beyond there,
deep rest and forgetfulness of all I have ever seen or heard or
hated or loved on earth, I would gladly die!  But surely, Lazarus,
nothing is sure--peace the least sure of all--and I fear there is
no rest beyond there, that one remembers there as here and cannot
sleep, that the mind goes on eternally the same--a long insomnia of
memories and regrets and the ghosts of dreams one has poisoned to
death passing with white bodies spotted by the leprous fingers of
one's lusts.  (bitterly)  I fear the long nights now in which I lie
awake and listen to Death dancing round me in the darkness,
prancing to the drum beat of my heart!  (He shudders.)  And I am
afraid, Lazarus--afraid that there is no sleep beyond there,

LAZARUS--There is peace!  (His words are like a benediction he
pronounces upon them.  Soothed in a mysterious, childlike way, they
repeat the word after him, wonderingly.)



TIBERIUS--Peace?  (For a long moment there is complete silence.
Then Tiberius sighs heavily, shaking his head.)  Peace!  Another
word blurred into a senseless sigh by men's longing!  A bubble of
froth blown from the lips of the dying toward the stars!  No!  (He
grins bitterly--then looks at Lazarus--somberly contemptuous and
threatening)  You are pleased to act the mysterious, Jew, but I
shall solve you!  (then with a lawyer-like incisiveness)  There is
one certainty about you and I must know the cause--for there must
be a cause and a rational explanation!  You were fifty when you

LAZARUS--(smiling mockingly)  Yes.  When I died.

TIBERIUS--(unheeding)  And now your appearance is of one younger by
a score.  Not alone your appearance!  You ARE young.  I see the
fact, the effect.  And I demand an explanation of the cause without
mystic nonsense or evasion.  (threateningly)  And I warn you to
answer directly in plain words--and not to laugh, you understand!--
not to dare!--or I shall lose patience with you and--(with a grim
smile)  I can be terrible!  (Lazarus smiles gently at him.  He
turns away with confused annoyance, then back to Lazarus, resuming
his lawyer-like manner.)  What was it restored your youth?  How did
you contrive that your body reversed the natural process and grows
younger?  Is it a charm by which you invoke a supernatural force?
Or is it a powder you dissolve in wine?  Or a liquid?  Or an
unguent you rub into the skin to revitalize the old bones and
tissues?  Or--what is it, Lazarus?

LAZARUS--(gently)  I know that age and time are but timidities of

TIBERIUS--(broodingly--as if he had not heard--persuasively)
Perhaps you ask yourself, what would Tiberius do with youth?  Then,
because you must have heard rumors of my depravity, you will
conclude the old lecher desires youth for his lusts!  (He laughs
harshly.)  Ha!  Why, do not my faithful subjects draw pictures of
an old buck goat upon the walls and write above them, Csar?  And
they are just.  In self-contempt of Man I have made this man,
myself, the most swinish and contemptible of men!  Yes!  In all
this empire there is no man so base a hog as I!  (He grins bitterly
and ironically.)  My claim to this excellence, at least, is not
contested!  Everyone admits therein Tiberius is by right their
Csar!  (He laughs bitterly.)  Ha!  So who would believe Tiberius
if he said, I want youth again because I loathe lust and long for

LAZARUS--(gently)  I believe you, Csar.

TIBERIUS--(stares at him--deeply moved)  You--believe--?  (then
gruffly)  You lie!  You are not mad--and only a madman would
believe another man!  (then confidingly, leaning over toward
Lazarus)  I know it is folly to speak--but--one gets old, one
becomes talkative, one wishes to confess, to say the thing one has
always kept hidden, to reveal one's unique truth--and there is so
little time left--and one is alone!  Therefore the old--like
children--talk to themselves, for they have reached that hopeless
wisdom of experience which knows that though one were to cry it in
the streets to multitudes, or whisper it in the kiss to one's
beloved, the only ears that can ever hear one's secret are one's
own!  (He laughs bitterly.)  And so I talk aloud, Lazarus!  I talk
to my loneliness!

LAZARUS--(simply)  I hear, Tiberius.

TIBERIUS--(again moved and confused--forcing a mocking smile)
Liar!  Eavesdropper!  You merely--listen!  (Then he turns away.)
My mother, Livia, that strong woman, giving birth to me, desired
not a child, but a Csar--just as, married to Augustus, she loved
him not but loved herself as Csar's wife.  She made me feel, in
the proud questioning of her scornful eyes, that to win her mother
love I must become Csar.  She poisoned Prince Marcellus and young
Gaius and Lucius that the way might be clear for me.  I used to see
their blood dance in red specks before my eyes when I looked at the
sky.  Now--(he brushes his hand before his eyes) it is all a red
blot!  I cannot distinguish.  There have been too many.  My mother--
her blood is in that blot, for I revenged myself on her.  I did
not kill her, it is true, but I deprived her of her power and she
died, as I knew she must, that powerful woman who bore me as a
weapon!  The murder was subtle and cruel--how cruel only that
passionate, deep-breasted woman unslaked by eighty years of
devoured desires could know!  Too cruel!  I did not go to her
funeral.  I was afraid her closed eyes might open and look at me!
(then with almost a cry)  I want youth, Lazarus, that I may play
again about her feet with the love I felt for her before I learned
to read her eyes!  (He half sobs, bowing his head.  A pause.)

CALIGULA--(nudging Pompeia--with a crafty whisper)  Do you hear?
The old lecher talks to himself.  He is becoming senile.  He will
soon die.  And I shall be Csar.  Then I shall laugh!

POMPEIA--(staring up at Lazarus' face, hearing only Caligula's
words without their meaning)  No.  My Lazarus does not laugh now.
See.  His mouth is silent--and a little sad, I think.

LAZARUS--(gently and comfortingly)  I hear, Tiberius.

TIBERIUS--(harshly)  I hated that woman, my mother, and I still
hate her!  Have you ever loved, Lazarus?  (then with a glance at
Miriam's body and a shuddering away from it--vaguely)  I was
forgetting her.  I killed your love, too, did I not?  Well, I must!
I envy those who are loved.  Where I can, I kill love--for
retribution's sake--but much of it escapes me.  (then harshly
again)  I loved Agrippina.  We were married.  A son was born to us.
We were happy.  Then that proud woman, my mother, saw my happiness.
Was she jealous of my love?  Or did she know no happy man would
wish to be Csar?  Well, she condemned my happiness to death.  She
whispered to Augustus and he ordered me to divorce Agrippina.  I
should have opened her veins and mine, and died with her.  But my
mother stayed by me, Agrippina was kept away, my mother spoke to me
and spoke to me and even wept, that tall woman, strong as a great
man, and I consented that my love be murdered.  Then my mother
married me to a whore.  Why?  The whore was Csar's daughter, true--
but I feel that was not all of it, that my mother wished to keep
me tortured that I might love her alone and long to be Csar!  (He
laughs harshly.)  Ha!  In brief, I married the whore, she tortured
me, my mother's scheming prospered--that subtle and crafty woman!--
and many years passed in being here and there, in doing this and
that, in growing full of hate and revengeful ambition to be Csar.
At last, Augustus died.  I was Csar.  Then I killed that whore, my
wife, and I starved my mother's strength to death until she died,
and I began to take pleasure in vengeance upon men, and pleasure in
taking vengeance on myself.  (He grins horribly.)  It is all very
simple, as you see!  (He suddenly starts to his feet--with harsh
arrogance and pride, threateningly)  Enough!  Why do I tell you
these old tales?  Must I explain to you why I want youth?  It is my
whim!  I am Csar!  And now I must lie down and try to sleep!  And
it is my command that you reveal the secret of your youth to me
when I awake, or else--(with malignant cruelty)  I will have to
revenge the death of a hope on you--and a hope at my age demands a
terrible expiation on its slayer!  (He walks down and starts to go
off, right--then turns and addresses Lazarus with grim irony.)
Good night to you, Lazarus.  And remember there shall be death
while I am Csar!  (He turns to go.)

LAZARUS--(smiling affectionately at him, shakes his head)  Csar
must believe in death.  But does the husband of Agrippina?

TIBERIUS--(stops short and stares at Lazarus, confused and
stuttering)  What--what--do you mean, Lazarus?

LAZARUS--I have heard your loneliness.

TIBERIUS--(cruelly and grimly again)  So much the more reason why
my pride should kill you!  Remember that!  (He turns and strides
off into the darkness at right.)

CALIGULA--(peers after him until sure he is gone--then gets up and
begins a grotesque, hopping dance, singing a verse of the
legionary's song)

     A bold legionary am I
     March, oh march on!
     A Roman eagle was my daddy
     My mother was a drunken drabby
     Oh march on to the wars!

(He laughs gratingly, posturing and gesticulating up at Lazarus.)
Ha-ha-ha!  He is gone!  I can breathe!  His breath in the same air
suffocates me!  The gods grant mine do the same for him!  But he is
failing!  He talks to himself like a man in second childhood.  His
words are a thick babble I could not hear.  They well from his lips
like clots of blood from a reopened wound.  I kept listening to the
beating of his heart.  It sounded slow, slower than when I last
heard it.  Did you detect that, Lazarus?  Once or twice I thought
it faltered--(He draws in his breath with an avid gasp--then laughs
gratingly)  Ha-ha-ha--(grandiloquently)  Tiberius, the old buck
goat, will soon be gone, my friends, and in his place you will be
blessed with the beautiful young god, Caligula!  Hail to Caligula!
Hail!  Ha-ha-ha--(His laughter suddenly breaks off into a whimper
and he stands staring around him in a panic of fear that he has
been overheard.  He slinks noiselessly up the steps of the dais and
squats coweringly at Lazarus' feet, blinking up at his face in
monkey-wise, clutching Lazarus' hand in both of his.  His teeth can
be heard chattering together in nervous fear.

(Pompeia, whose gaze has remained fixed on Lazarus' throughout, has
gradually moved closer to him until she, too, is at his feet, half-
kneeling beneath the table on which Miriam lies, side by side with
Caligula but as oblivious of him as he is of her.

(Having grown calmer now, Caligula speaks again--mournful and

CALIGULA--Why should I love you, Lazarus?  Your laughter taunts me!
It insults Csar!  It denies Rome!  But I will warn you again.
Escape!  Tonight Tiberius' mood is to play sentimental, but
tomorrow he will jeer while hyenas gnaw at your skull and lick your
brain.  And then--there is pain, Lazarus!  There is pain!

POMPEIA--(pressing her hand to her own heart--with a shudder)  Yes,
there is pain!

LAZARUS--(smiling down on them--gently)  If you can answer Yes to
pain, there is no pain!

POMPEIA--(passionately)  Yes!  Yes!  I love Lazarus!

CALIGULA--(with a bitter grin)  Do not take pain away from us!  It
is our one truth.  Without pain there is nothing--a nothingness in
which even your laughter, Lazarus, is swallowed at one gulp like a
whining gnat by the cretin's silence of immensity!  Ha-ha!  No, we
must keep pain!  Especially Csar must!  Pain must twinkle with a
mad mirth in a Csar's eyes--men's pain--or they would become
dissatisfied and disrespectful!  Ha-ha!  (He stops his grating
laughter abruptly and continues mournfully)  I am sick, Lazarus,
sick of cruelty and lust and human flesh and all the imbecilities
of pleasure--the unclean antics of half-witted children!  (with a
mounting agony of longing)  I would be clean!  If I could only
laugh your laughter, Lazarus!  That would purify my heart.  For I
could wish to love all men, as you love them--as I love you!  If
only I did not fear them and despise them!  If I could only believe--
believe in them--in life--in myself!--believe that one man or
woman in the world knew and loved the real Caligula--then I might
have faith in Caligula myself--then I might laugh your laughter!

LAZARUS--(suddenly, in a quiet but compelling voice)  I, who know
you, love you, Caligula.  (gently patting his head)  I love

CALIGULA--(staring up at him in pathetic confusion)  You?  You?
You, Lazarus?  (He begins to tremble all over as if in a seizure--
chokingly)  Beware!  It is not good--not just--to make fun of me--
to laugh at my misery--saying you love--(In a frenzy, he jumps to
his feet threatening Lazarus.)  Are you trying to fool me,
hypocrite?  Do you think I have become so abject that you dare--?
Because I love you, do you presume--?  Do you think I am your
slave, dog of a Jew, that you can--insult--to my face--the heir of
Csar--(He stutters and stammers with rage, hopping up and down
grotesquely, shaking his fist at Lazarus, who smiles at him
affectionately as at a child in a tantrum.)

LAZARUS--(catching his eyes and holding them with his glance--
calmly)  Believe, Caligula!

CALIGULA--(again overcome--stuttering with strange terror)
Believe?  But I cannot!  I must not!  You cannot know me, if--You
are a holy man!  You are a god in a mortal body--you can laugh with
joy to be alive--while I--Oh, no, you cannot love me!  There is
nothing in me at bottom but a despising and an evil eye!  You
cannot!  You are only being kind!  (hysterically)  I do not want
your kindness!  I hate your pity!  I am too proud!  I am too
strong!  (He collapses weepingly, kneeling and clutching Lazarus'
hand in both of his.)

LAZARUS--(smiling)  You are so proud of being evil!  What if there
is no evil?  What if there are only health and sickness?  Believe
in the healthy god called Man in you!  Laugh at Caligula, the funny
clown who beats the backside of his shadow with a bladder and
thinks thereby he is Evil, the Enemy of God!  (He suddenly lifts
the face of Caligula and stares into his eyes.)  Believe!  What if
you are a man and men are despicable?  Men are also unimportant!
Men pass!  Like rain into the sea!  The sea remains!  Man remains!
Man slowly arises from the past of the race of men that was his
tomb of death!  For Man death is not!  Man, Son of God's Laughter,
IS!  (He begins to laugh triumphantly, staring deep into Caligula's
eyes.)  IS, Caligula!  Believe in the laughing god within you!

CALIGULA--(bursting suddenly into choking, joyful laughter--like a
visionary)  I believe!  I believe there is love even for Caligula!
I can laugh--now--Lazarus!  Free laughter!  Clean!  No sickness!
No lust for death!  My corpse no longer rots in my heart!  The tomb
is full of sunlight!  I am alive!  I who love Man, I who can love
and laugh!  Listen, Lazarus!  I dream!  When I am Csar, I will
devote my power to your truth.  I will decree that there must be
kindness and love!  I will make the Empire one great Blessed Isle!
Rome shall know happiness, it shall believe in life, it shall learn
to laugh your laughter, Lazarus, or I--(He raises his hand in an
imperial autocratic gesture.)

LAZARUS--(gaily mocking)  Or you will cut off its head?

CALIGULA--(fiercely)  Yes!  I will--!  (Then meeting Lazarus' eyes,
he beats his head with his fists crazily.)  Forgive me!  I forget!
I forget!

LAZARUS--Go out under the sky!  Let your heart climb on laughter to
a star!  Then make it look down at earth, and watch Caligula
commanding Life under pain of death to do his will!  (He laughs.)

CALIGULA--(laughing)  I will!  I do!  I laugh at him!  Caligula is
a trained ape, a humped cripple!  Now I take him out under the sky,
where I can watch his monkey tricks, where there is space for
laughter and where this new joy, your love of me, may dance!
(Laughing clearly and exultantly, he runs out through the arched
doorway at rear.)

LAZARUS--(stops laughing--shaking his head, almost sadly)  They
forget!  It is too soon for laughter!  (then grinning at himself)
What, Lazarus?  Are you, too, thinking in terms of time, old fool
so soon to renter infinity?  (He laughs with joyous self-mockery.)

POMPEIA--(who has crept to his feet, kisses his hand passionately)
I love you, Lazarus!

LAZARUS--(stops laughing, and looks down at her gently)  And I love
you, woman.

POMPEIA--(with a gasp of delight)  You?  (She stares up into his
eyes doubtingly, raising her face toward his.)  Then--put your arms
around me.  (He does so, smiling gently.)  And hold me to you.  (He
presses her closer to him.)  And kiss me.  (He kisses her on the
forehead.)  No, on the lips!  (He kisses her.  She flings her arms
about his neck passionately and kisses him again and again--then
slowly draws away--remains looking into his eyes a long time,
shrinking back from him with bewildered pain which speedily turns
to rage and revengeful hatred.)  No!  No!  It is MY love, not Love!
I want you to know MY love, to give me back love--for me--only for
me--Pompeia--my body, my heart--me, a woman--not Woman, women!  Do
I love Man, men?  I hate men!  I love you, Lazarus--a man--a lover--
a father to children!  I want love--as you loved that woman there
(she points to Miriam) that I poisoned for love of you!  But did
you love her--or just Woman, wife and mother of men?  (She stares--
then as if reading admission in his eyes, she springs to her feet.)
Liar!  Cheat!  Hypocrite!  Thief!  (Half hysterical with rage, pain
and grief, she bends over Miriam and smooths the hair back from her
forehead.)  Poor wife!  Poor woman!  How he must have tortured you!
Now I remember the pity in your eyes when you looked at me!  Oh,
how his soothing gray words must have pecked at the wound in your
heart like doves with bloody beaks!  (then with sudden harshness)
But perhaps you were too dull to understand, too poor and tired and
ugly and old to care, too slavish--!  Pah!  (She turns away with
contempt and faces Lazarus with revengeful hatred.)  Did you think
I would take her place--become your slave, wait upon you, give you
love and passion and beauty in exchange for phrases about man and
gods--you who are neither a man nor a god but a dead thing without
desire!  You dared to hope I would give my body, my love, to you!
(She spits in his face and laughs harshly.)  You insolent fool!  I
shall punish you!  You shall be tortured as you have tortured!
(She laughs wildly--then steps down from the dais and goes off
right, crying distractedly)  Csar!  This man has made you a fool
before all the world!  Torture him, Csar!  Now!  Let the people
witness!  Send heralds to wake them!  Torture him, Csar, the man
who laughs at you!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  (Her laughter is caught up by all
the girls and youths of the palace, who, as she disappears, led by
their Chorus, pour in from each side of the room and dance forward
to group themselves around the dais as in the previous scene,
staring at Lazarus, laughing cruelly, falsely, stridently.)


     Laugh now, Lazarus!
     Let us see you laugh!



LAZARUS--(moves, and immediately there is silence.  He bends down
and kisses Miriam and picks her up in his arms.  Talking down to
her face--with a tender smile)  Farewell!  You are home!  And now I
will take your body home to earth!  Space is too far away, you
said!  Home in the earth!  There will be so much for you to do
there!  Home!  Earth!  (his voice trembling a bit)  Farewell, body
of Miriam.  My grief is a lonely cry wailing in the home in my
heart that you have left forever!  (then exultantly)  But what am
I?  Now your love has become Eternal Love!  Now, since your life
passed, I feel Eternal Life made nobler by your selflessness!  Love
has grown purer!  The laughter of God is more profoundly tender!
(He looks up in an ecstasy and descends the dais, carrying her.)
Yes, that is it!  That is it, my Miriam!  (Laughing softly and
tenderly, he walks around the dais and carries the body out through
the doorway in rear.

(The Chorus and youths and girls make way for him in awed silence--
then scurry around to right and left, forming an aisle through
which he passes--then after he has gone out through the arch, they
close into a semicircular group again, staring after him, and a
whisper of strange, bewildered, tender laughter comes from them.)

CHORUS--(in this whisper)

     That is it!
     Love is pure!
     Laughter is tender!

CROWD--(echoing)  Laugh!  Laugh!



SCENE--The arena of an amphitheatre.  It is just before dawn of the
same night.  Csar's throne is on the left at the extreme front,
facing right, turned a little toward front.  It is lighted by four
immense lamps.  In front of the throne is a marble railing that
tops the wall that encloses the arena.  In the rear the towering
pile of the circular amphitheatre is faintly outlined in deeper
black against the dark sky.

Tiberius sits on the throne, his eyes fixed on the middle of the
arena off right, where, bound to a high stake after he had been
tortured, Lazarus is now being burnt alive over a huge pile of
faggots.  The crackling of the flames is heard.  Their billowing
rise and fall is reflected on the masked faces of the multitude who
sit on the banked tiers of marble behind and to the rear of the
throne, with their Chorus, seven men masked in Middle Age in the
Servile, Hypocritical type, grouped on each side of the throne of
Csar on a lower tier.

Half-kneeling before Tiberius, her chin resting on her hands on top
of the marble rail, Pompeia also stares at Lazarus.

Before the curtain, the crackle of the flames and an uproar of
human voices from the multitude, jeering, hooting, laughing at
Lazarus in cruel mockery of his laughter.  This sound has risen to
its greatest volume as the curtain rises.

CHORUS--(chanting mockingly)

     Burn and laugh!
     Laugh now, Lazarus!

CROWD--(chanting with revengeful mockery)  Ha-ha-ha-ha!

TIBERIUS--Who laughs now, Lazarus--thou or Csar?  Ha-ha--!  (with
awe)  His flesh melts in the fire but his eyes shine with peace!

POMPEIA--How he looks at me!  (averting her eyes with a shudder)
Command them to put out his eyes, Csar!

TIBERIUS--(harshly)  No.  I want to read his eyes when they see
death!  (then averting his face--guiltily)  He is looking at me,
not you.  I should not have listened to your cries for his death.

POMPEIA--(turning to him again with a shudder of agony--
beseechingly)  Have them put out his eyes, Csar!  They call to me!

TIBERIUS--(as if not hearing her--to himself)  Why do I feel
remorse?  His laughter dies and is forgotten, and the hope it
raised dies--(with sudden excitement)  And yet--he must know
something--and if he would--even now he could tell--(Suddenly
rising to his feet he calls imploringly)  Lazarus!

CHORUS--(chanting in a great imploring chorus now)  Lazarus!

CROWD--(echoing)  Lazarus!

SOLDIER'S VOICE--(calling from off beside the stake)  You had us
gag him, Csar, so he might not laugh.  Shall we cut away the gag?

POMPEIA--(in terror)  No, Csar!  He will laugh!  And I will go to
him!  (desperately)  He will laugh at you, Csar--and the mob will
laugh with him!

TIBERIUS--(struggles with himself--then calls)  Lazarus!  If you
hear let your eyes answer, and I will grant the mercy of death to
end your agony!  Is there hope of love somewhere for men on earth?

CHORUS--(intoning as before)

     Is there hope of love
     For us on earth?


     Hope of love
     For us on earth!

SOLDIER'S VOICE--His eyes laugh, Csar!

TIBERIUS--(in a strange frenzy now)  Hear me, thou Dmon of
Laughter!  Hear and answer, I beseech thee, who alone hath known
joy!  (more and more wildly)  How must we live?  Wherein lies

CHORUS--Wherein lies happiness?

CROWD--Wherein, happiness?

TIBERIUS--Why are we born?  To what end must we die?

CHORUS--Why are we born to die?

CROWD--Why are we born?

SOLDIER'S VOICE--His eyes laugh, Csar!  He is dying!  He would

CHORUS AND CROWD--(in one great cry)  Csar!  Let Lazarus speak!

POMPEIA--(terrified)  No, Csar!  He will laugh--and you will die--
and I will go to him!

TIBERIUS--(torn--arguing with his fear)  But--he may know some hope--
(then making his decision, with grim fatalism)  Hope--or nothing!
(calls to the Soldiers)  Let him speak!

CHORUS AND CROWD--(cheering)  Hail, Csar!

LAZARUS--(His voice comes, recognizably the voice of Lazarus, yet
with a strange, fresh, clear quality of boyhood, gaily mocking with
life.)  Hail, Csar!

CROWD--(frantic with hope)  Hail, Lazarus!

TIBERIUS--Pull away the fire from him!  I see death in his eyes!
(The flaming reflections in the banked, masked faces dance madly as
the Soldiers rake back the fire from the stake.  With a forced,
taunting mockery)  What do you say now, Lazarus?  You are dying!

CHORUS AND CROWD--(taking his tone--mockingly)  You are dying,

LAZARUS--(his voice a triumphant assertion of the victory of life
over pain and death)  Yes!

TIBERIUS--(triumphant yet disappointed--with scorn and rage)  Ha!
You admit it, do you, coward!  Craven!  Knave!  Duper of fools!
Clown!  Liar!  Die!  I laugh at you!  Ha-ha-ha-ha--(His voice
breaks chokingly.)

CROWD--(led by their Chorus--in the same frenzy of disappointment,
with all sorts of grotesque and obscene gestures and noises,
thumbing their fingers to their noses, wagging them at their ears,
sticking out their tongues, slapping their behinds, barking,
crowing like roosters, howling, and hooting in every conceivable
manner)  Yah!  Yah!  Yellow Gut!  Bungkisser!  Muckheel!
Scumwiper!  Liar!  Pig!  Jackal!  Die!  We laugh at you!  Ha-ha-ha--
(Their voices, too, break.)

POMPEIA--(rising to her feet like one in a trance, staring toward
Lazarus)  They are tormenting him.  I hear him crying to me!  (She
moves to the top of the steps leading to the arena.)

LAZARUS--(his voice thrilling with exultance)  O men, fear not
life!  You die--but there is no death for Man!  (He begins to
laugh, and at the sound of his laughter, a great spell of silence
settles upon all his hearers--then as his laughter rises, they
begin to laugh with him.)

POMPEIA--(descending the steps like a sleep-walker)  I hear his
laughter calling.  I must go to him.

TIBERIUS--(as if he realized something was happening that was
against his will--trying feebly to be imperial)  I command you not
to laugh!  Csar commands--(calling feebly to the Soldiers)  Put
back--the gag!  Stop his laughter!  (The laughter of Lazarus gaily
and lovingly mocks back at him.)

SOLDIER'S VOICE--(his voice gently remonstrating)  We may not,
Csar.  We love his laughter!  (They laugh with him.)

CHORUS AND CROWD--(in a soft, dreamy murmur)  We love his laughter!
We laugh!

TIBERIUS--(dreamily)  Then--pile the fire back around him.  High
and higher!  Let him blaze to the stars!  I laugh with him!

SOLDIER'S VOICE--(gently and gravely)  That is just, Csar.  We
love men flaming toward the stars!  We laugh with him!

CHORUS AND CROWD--(as the flames, piled back and fed anew by the
Soldiers, flare upward and are reflected on their masks in dancing
waves of light)

     We love men flaming toward the stars!
     We laugh!

POMPEIA--(in the arena)  The fire calls me.  My burning heart calls
for the fire!  (She laughs softly and passes swiftly across the
arena toward Lazarus.)

TIBERIUS--(in a sort of childish complaint)  You must pardon me,
Lazarus.  This is my Csar's duty--to kill you!  You have no right
to laugh--before all these people--at Csar.  It is not kind.  (He
sobs snuffingly--then begins to laugh at himself.

(Suddenly the flames waver, die down, then shoot up again and
Pompeia's laughter is heard for a moment, rising clear and
passionately with that of Lazarus, then dying quickly out.)

SOLDIER'S VOICE--A woman has thrown herself in the flames, Csar!
She laughs with Lazarus!

TIBERIUS--(in a sudden panicky flurry--feverishly)  Quick, Lazarus!
You will soon be silent!  Speak!--in the name of man's solitude--
his agony of farewell--what is beyond there, Lazarus?  (His voice
has risen to a passionate entreaty.)

CHORUS--(in a great pleading echo)  What is beyond there, Lazarus?

CROWD--What is beyond?

LAZARUS--(his voice speaking lovingly, with a surpassing clearness
and exaltation)  Life!  Eternity!  Stars and dust!  God's Eternal
Laughter!  (His laughter bursts forth now in its highest pitch of
ecstatic summons to the feast and sacrifice of Life, the Eternal.

(The Crowds laugh with him in a frenzied rhythmic chorus.  Led by
the Chorus, they pour down from the banked walls of the
amphitheatre and dance in the flaring reflection of the flames
strange wild measures of liberated joy.  Tiberius stands on the
raised dais laughing great shouts of clear, fearless laughter.)

CHORUS--(chanting as they dance)

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     We are stars!
     We are dust!
     We are gods!
     We are laughter!


     We are dust!
     We are gods!
     Laugh!  Laugh!

CALIGULA--(enters from behind Tiberius.  His aspect is wild, his
hair disheveled, his clothes torn, he is panting as if exhausted by
running.  He stares toward the flames stupidly--then screams
despairingly above the chant)  Lazarus!  I come to save you!  Do
you still live, Lazarus?

TIBERIUS--(has been speaking.  His words are now heard as the
tumult momentarily dies down.)  I have lived long enough!  I will
die with Lazarus!  I no longer fear death!  I laugh!  I laugh at
Csar!  I advise you, my brothers, fear not Csars!  Seek Man in
the brotherhood of the dust!  Csar is your fear of Man!  I counsel
you, laugh away your Csars!

CALIGULA--(with resentful jealousy and rage--in a voice rising to a
scream)  What do I hear, Lazarus?  You laugh with your murderer?
You give him your laughter?  You have forgotten me--my love--you
make him love you--you make him laugh at Csars--at me!  (suddenly
springs on Tiberius in a fury and grabbing him by the throat chokes
him, forcing him back on the throne--screaming)  Die, traitor!
Die!  (Tiberius' body relaxes in his hands, dead, and slips from
the chair.  Caligula rushes madly down the stairs into the midst of
the oblivious, laughing, dancing crowd, screaming)  You have
betrayed me, dog of a Jew!  You have betrayed Csar!  (beginning to
be caught by the contagion of the laughter)  Ha-ah--No!  I will not
laugh!  I will kill you!  Give me a spear!  (He snatches a spear
from a soldier and fights his way drunkenly toward the flames, like
a man half overcome by a poisonous gas, shouting, half-laughing in
spite of himself, half-weeping with rage.)  Ha-ha--The gods be with
Csar Caligula!  O Immortal Gods, give thy brother strength!  You
shall die, Lazarus--die--Ha-ah--!  (He disappears toward the
flames, his spear held ready to stab.)

CHORUS AND CROWD--(who have been entirely oblivious of him--

     Laugh!  Laugh!
     We are gods!
     We are dust!

LAZARUS--(At his first word there is a profound silence in which
each dancer remains frozen in the last movement.)  Hail, Caligula
Csar!  Men forget!  (He laughs with gay mockery as at a child.)

CHORUS AND CROWD--(starting to laugh)  Laugh!  Laugh!  (Then there
is a fierce cry of rage from Caligula and Lazarus' laughter ceases,
and with it the laughter of the Crowd turns to a wail of fear and

CALIGULA--(dashes back among them waving his bloody spear and
rushing up to the throne stands on it and strikes a grandiose pose)
I have killed God!  I am Death!  Death is Csar!

CHORUS AND CROWD---(turning and scurrying away--huddled in fleeing
groups, crouching close to the ground like a multitude of terrified
rats, their voices squeaky now with fright)  Hail, Csar!  Hail to
Death!  (They are gone.)

CALIGULA--(keeping his absurd majestic pose, turns and addresses
with rhetorical intoning, and flowing gestures, the body of
Lazarus, high upon its stake, the flames below it now flickering
fitfully)  Hail, Caligula!  Hero of heroes, conqueror of the Dmon,
Lazarus, who taught the treason that fear and death were dead!  But
I am Lord of Fear!  I am Csar of Death!  And you, Lazarus, are
carrion!  (then in a more conversational tone, putting aside his
grandiose airs, confidentially)  I had to kill you, Lazarus!
Surely your good sense tells you--You heard what the old fool,
Tiberius, told the mob.  A moment more and there would have been
a revolution--no more Csars--and my dream--!  (He stops--
bewilderedly)  My dream?  Did I kill laughter?  I had just learned
to laugh--with love!  (more confusedly)  I must be a little mad,
Lazarus.  It was one terror too many, to have been laughing your
laughter in the night, to have been dreaming great yearning dreams
of all the good my love might do for men when I was Csar--and
then, to hear the old howling of mob lust, and to run here--and
there a high white flame amidst the fire--you, Lazarus!--dying!--
laughing with him--Tiberius--betraying me--who loved you, Lazarus!
Yes, I became mad!  I am mad!  And I can laugh my own mad laughter,
Lazarus--my own!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!  (He laughs with a wild triumphant
madness and again rhetorically, with sweeping gestures and
ferocious capers)  And all of men are vile and mad, and I shall be
their madmen's Csar!  (He turns as if addressing an amphitheatre
full of his subjects.)  O my good people, my faithful scum, my
brother swine, Lazarus is dead and we have murdered great laughter,
and it befits our madness to have done so, and it is befitting
above all to have Caligula for Csar!  (then savagely)  Kneel down!
Abase yourselves!  I am your Csar and your God!  Hail!  (He stands
saluting himself with a crazy intensity that is not without
grandeur.  A pause.  Suddenly the silence seems to crush down upon
him; he is aware that he is alone in the vast arena; he whirls
about, looking around him as if he felt an assassin at his back; he
lunges with his spear at imaginary foes, jumping, dodging from side
to side, yelping)  Ho, there!  Help!  Help!  Your Csar calls you!
Help, my people!  To the rescue!  (suddenly throwing his spear away
and sinking on his knees, his face toward Lazarus, supplicatingly)
Lazarus!  Forgive me!  Help me!  Fear kills me!  Save me from
death!  (He is groveling in a paroxysm of terror, grinding his face
in his fists as if to hide it.)

LAZARUS--(His voice is heard in a gentle, expiring sigh of
compassion, followed by a faint dying note of laughter that rises
and is lost in the sky like the flight of his soul back into the
womb of Infinity.)  Fear not, Caligula!  There is no death!

CALIGULA--(lifts his head at the first sound and rises with the
laughter to his feet, until, as it is finally lost, he is on tip-
toes, his arms straining upward to the sky, a tender, childish
laughter of love on his lips)  I laugh, Lazarus!  I laugh with you!
(then grief-stricken)  Lazarus!  (He hides his face in his hands,
weeping.)  No more!  (then beats his head with his fists)  I will
remember!  I will!  (then suddenly, with a return to grotesqueness--
harshly)  All the same, I killed him and I proved there is death!
(immediately overcome by remorse, groveling and beating himself)
Fool!  Madman!  Forgive me, Lazarus!  Men forget!



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