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Title:      Lazarus and his Beloved
Author:     Kahlil Gibran
eBook No.:  0500591.txt
Edition:    1
Language:   English
Character set encoding:     Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit
Date first posted:          June 2005
Date most recently updated: June 2005

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Title:      Lazarus and his Beloved
Author:     Kahlil Gibran



THE CAST

Lazarus
Mary, his sister
Martha, his sister
The mother of Lazarus
Philip, a disciple
A Madman

THE SCENE

The garden outside of the home of Lazarus and his mother and sisters 
in Bethany

Late afternoon of Manday, the day after the resurrection of Jesus of 
Nazareth from the grave.

At curtain rise: Mary is at right gazing up towards the hills. Martha 
is seated at her loom near the house door, left. The Madman is seated 
around the corner of the house, and against its wall, down left.

THE PLAY

Mary: (Turning to Martha) You do not work. You have not worked much 
lately. 

Martha: You are not thinking of my work. My idleness makes you think 
of what our Master said. Oh, beloved Master! 

The Madman: The day shall come when there will be no weaver, and no 
one to wear the cloth.  We shall all stand naked in the sun. 

(There is a long silence. The women do not appear to have heard The 
Madman speaking. They never hear him.)

Mary: It is getting late. 

Martha: Yes, yes, I know. It is getting late. 

(The mother enters, coming out from the house door.) 

Mother: Has he not returned yet? 

Martha: No, mother, he has not returned yet. 

(The three women look towards the hills.) 

The Madman: He himself will never return. All that you may see is a 
breath struggling in a body. 

Mary: It seems to me that he has not yet returned from the other 
world. 

Mother: The death of our Master has afflicted him deeply, and during 
these last days he has hardly eaten a morsel, and I know at night that 
he does not sleep. Surely it must have been the death of our Friend. 

Martha: No, mother. There is something else; something I do not 
understand. 

Mary: Yes, yes. There is something else. I know it, too. I have known 
it all these days, yet I cannot explain it. His eyes are deeper. He 
gazes at me as though he were seeing someone else through me. He is 
tender but his tenderness is for someone not here. And he is silent, 
silent as if the seal of death is yet upon his lips. 

(A silence falls over the three women.) 

The Madman: Everyone looks through everyone else to see someone else. 

Mother: (Breaking the silence) Would that he'd return. Of late he has 
spent too many hours among those hills alone. He should be here with 
us. 

Mary: Mother, he has not been with us for a long time. 

Martha: Why, he has always been with us, only those three days! 

Mary: Three days? Three days! Yes, Martha, you are right. It was only 
three days. 

Mother: I wish my son would return from the hills. 

Martha: He will come soon, mother. You must not worry. 

Mary: (in a strange voice) Sometimes I feel that he will never come 
back from the hills. 

Mother: If he came back from the grave, the surely he will come back 
from the hills. And oh, my daughters, to think that the One who gave 
us back his life was slain but yesterday. 

Mary: Oh the mystery of it, and the pain of it. 

Mother: Oh, to think that they could be so cruel to the One who gave 
my son back to my heart. 

(A silence) 

Martha: But Lazarus should not stay so long among the hills. 

Mary: It is easy for one in a dream to lose his way among the olive 
groves. And I know a place where Lazarus loved to sit and dream and be 
still. Oh, mother, it is beside a little stream. If you do not know 
the place you could not find it. He took me there once, and we sat on 
two stones, like children. It was spring, and little flowers were 
growing beside us. We often spoke of that place during the winter 
season. And each time that he spoke of that place a strange light came 
into his eyes. 

The Madman: Yes, that strange light, that shadow cast by the other 
light. 

Mary: And mother, you know that Lazarus has always been away from us, 
though he was always with us. 

Mother: You say so many things I cannot understand. (Pause) I wish my 
son would come back from the hills. I wish he would come back! (Pause) 
I must go in now. The lentils must not be overcooked. 

(The mother exits through the door) 

Martha: I wish I could understand all that you say, Mary. When you 
speak it is as though someone else is speaking. 

Mary: (Her voice a little strange) I know, my sister, I know. Whenever 
we speak it is someone else who is speaking. 

(There is a prolonged silence. Mary is faraway in her thoughts, and 
Martha watches her half-curiously. Lazarus enters, coming from the 
hills, back left. He throws himself upon the grass under the almond 
trees near the house.) 

Mary: (Running toward him) Oh Lazarus, you are tired and weary. You 
should not have walked so far. 

Lazarus: (Speaking absently) Walking, walking and going nowhere; 
seeking and finding nothing. But it is better to be among the hills. 

The Madman: Well, after all it is a cubit nearer to the other hills. 

Martha: (After brief silence) But you are not well, and you leave us 
all day long, and we are much concerned. What you came back, Lazarus, 
you made us happy. But in leaving us alone here you turn our happiness 
into anxiety. 

Lazarus: (Turning his face toward the hills) Did I leave you long this 
day? Strange that you should call a moment among the hills a 
separation. Did I truly stay more that a moment among the hills? 

Martha: You have been gone all day. 

Lazarus: To think, to think! A whole day among the hills! Who would 
believe it? 

(A silence. The mother enters, coming out from the house door.) 

Mother: Oh, my son, I am glad you have come back. It is late and the 
mist is gathering upon the hills. I feared for you my son. 

The Madman: They are afraid of the mist. And the mist is their 
beginning and the mist is their end. 

Lazarus: Yes, I have come back to you from the hills. The pity of it, 
the pity of it all. 

Mother: What is it Lazarus? What is the pity of it all? 

Lazarus: Nothing, mother. Nothing. 

Mother: You speak strangely. I do not understand you, Lazarus. You 
have said little since your home-coming. But whatever you have said 
has been strange to me. 

Martha: Yes, strange. 

(There is a pause.) 

Mother: And now the mist is gathering here. Let us go into the house. 
Come, my children. 

(The mother, after kissing Lazarus with wistful tenderness, enters the 
house.) 

Martha: Yes, there is a chill in the air. I must take my loom and my 
linen indoors. 

Mary: (sitting down beside Lazarus on the grass under the almond 
trees, and speaking to Martha) It is true the April evenings are not 
good for either your loom or your linen. Would you want me to help you 
take your loom indoors? 

Martha: No, no. I can do it alone. I have always done it alone. 

(Martha carries her loom into the house, then she returns for the 
linen, taking that in also. A wind passes by, shaking the almond tree, 
and a drift of petals falls over Mary and Lazarus.) 

Lazarus: Even spring would comfort us, and even the trees would weep 
for us. All there is on earth, if all there is on earth could know our 
downfall and our grief, would pity us and weep for us. 

Mary: But spring is with us, and though veiled with the veil of 
sorrow, yet it is spring. Let us not speak of pity. Let us rather 
accept both our spring and our sorrow with gratitude. And let us 
wonder in sweet silence at Him who gave you life yet yielded His own 
life. Let us not speak of pity, Lazarus. 

Lazarus: Pity, pity that I should be torn away from a thousand 
thousand years of heart's desire, a thousand thousand years of heart's 
hunger. Pity that after a thousand thousand springs I am turned to 
this winter. 

Mary: What do you mean, my brother? Why do you speak of a thousand 
thousand springs? You were but three days away from us. Three short 
days. But our sorrow was indeed longer than three days. 

Lazarus: Three days? Three centuries, three aeons! All of time! All of 
time with the one my soul loved before time began. 

The Madman: Yes, three days, three centuries, three aeons. Strange 
they would always weigh and measure. It is always a sundial and a pair 
of scales. 

Mary: (In amazement) The one you soul loved before time began? 
Lazarus, why do you say these things? It is but a dream you dreamed in 
another garden. Now we are here in this garden, a stone's throw from 
Jerusalem. We are here. And you know well, my brother, that our Master 
would have you be with us in this awakening to dream of life and love; 
and He would have you an ardent disciple, a living witness of His 
glory. 

Lazarus: There is no dream here and there is no awakening. You and I 
and this garden are but an illusion, a shadow of the real. The 
awakening is there where I was with my beloved and the reality. 

Mary: (Rising) Your beloved? 

Lazarus: (Also rising) My beloved. 

The Madman: Yes, yes. His beloved, the space virgin, the beloved of 
everyman. 

Mary: But where is your beloved? Who is your beloved? 

Lazarus: My twin heart whom I sought here and did not find. Then 
death, the angel with winged feet, came and led my longing to her 
longing, and I lived with her in the very heart of God. And I became 
nearer to her and she to me, and we were one. We were a sphere that 
shines in the sun; and we were a song among the stars. All this, Mary, 
all this and more, till a voice, a voice from the depths, the voice of 
a world called me; and that which was inseparable was torn asunder. 
And the thousand thousand years with my beloved in space could not 
guard me from the power of that voice which called me back. 

Mary: (Looking unto the sky) O blessed angels of our silent hours, 
make me to understand this thing! I would not be an alien in this new 
land discovered by death. Say more, my brother, go on. I believe in my 
heart I can follow you. 

The Madman: Follow him, if you can, little woman. Shall the turtle 
follow the stag? 

Lazarus: I was a stream and I sought the sea where my beloved dwells, 
and when I reached the sea I was brought to the hills to run again 
among the rocks. I was a song imprisoned in silence, longing for the 
heart of my beloved, and when the winds of heaven released me and 
uttered me in that green forest I was recaptured by a voice, and I was 
turned again into silence. I was a root in the dark earth, and I 
became a flower and then a fragrance in space rising to enfold my 
beloved, and I was caught and gathered by hand, and I was made a root 
again, a root in the dark earth. 

The Madman: If you are a root you can always escape the tempests in 
the branches. And it is good to be a running stream even after you 
have reached the sea. Of course it is good for water to run upward. 

Mary: (To herself) Oh strange, passing strange! (To Lazarus) But my 
brother it is good to be a running stream, and it is not good to be a 
song not yet sung, and it is good to be a root in the dark earth. The 
Master knew all this and He called you back to us that we may know 
there is no veil between life and death. Do you not see how one word 
uttered in love may bring together elements scattered by an illusion 
called death? Believe and have faith, for only in faith, which is our 
deeper knowledge, can you find comfort. 

Lazarus: Comfort! Comfort the treacherous, the deadly! Comfort that 
cheats our senses and makes us slaves to the passing hour! I would not 
have comfort. I would have passion! I would burn in the cool space 
with my beloved. I would be in the boundless space with my mate, my 
other self. O Mary, Mary, you were once my sister, and we knew one 
another even when our nearest kin knew us not. Now listen to me, 
listen to me with your heart. 

Mary: I am listening, Lazarus. 

The Madman: Let the whole world listen. The sky will now speak to the 
earth, but the earth is deaf as you and I. 

Lazarus: We were in space, my beloved and I, and we were all space. We 
were in light and we were all light. And we roamed even like the 
ancient spirit that moved upon the face of the waters; and it was 
forever the first day. We were love itself that dwells in the heart of 
the white silence. Then a voice like thunder, a voice like countless 
spears piercing the ether, cried out saying, "Lazarus, come forth!" 
And the voice echoed and re-echoed in space, and I, even as a flood 
tide became an ebbing tide; a house divided, a garment rent, a youth 
unspent, a tower that fell down, and out of its broken stones a 
landmark was made. A voice cried "Lazarus, come forth!" and I 
descended from the mansion of the sky to a tomb within a tomb, this 
body in a sealed cave. 

The Madman: Master of the caravan, where are your camels and where are 
your men? Was it the hungry earth that swallowed them? Was it the 
simoom that shrouded them with sand? No! Jesus of Nazareth raised His 
hand, Jesus of Nazareth uttered a word; and tell me now, where are 
your camels and where are your men, and where are your treasures? In 
the trackless sand, in the trackless sand. But the moon will always 
come again. 

Mary: Oh, it is like a dream dreamt upon a mountaintop. I know, my 
brother, I know the world you have visited, though I have never seen 
it. Yet all that you say is passing strange. It is a tale told by 
someone across a valley, and I can hardly hear it. 

Lazarus: It is all so different across the valley. There is no weight 
there and there is no measure. You are with your beloved. 

(A silence) 

Lazarus: O my beloved! O my beloved fragrance in space! Wings that 
were spread for me! Tell me, tell me in the stillness of my heart, do 
you seek me, and was it pain to you to be separated from me? Was I 
also a fragrance and wings spread in space? And tell me now, my 
beloved, was there a double cruelty, was there a brother of His in 
another world who called you from life to death, and had you a mother 
and sisters and friends who deemed it a miracle? Was there a double 
cruelty performed in blessedness? 

Mary: No, no, my brother. There is only one Jesus of one world. All 
else is but a dream, even as your beloved. 

Lazarus: (With great passion) No, no! If He is not a dream then He is 
nothing. If He had not known what is beyond Jerusalem, then He is 
nothing. If He did not know my beloved in space then He was not the 
Master. O my friend Jesus, you once gave me a cup of wine across the 
table, and you said, "Drink this in remembrance of me." And you dipped 
a morsel of bread in the oil, and you said, "Eat this, it is my share 
of the loaf." O my friend, you have put your arm on my shoulder and 
called me "son." My mother and my sisters have said in their hearts, 
"He loves our Lazarus.' And I loved you. And then you went away to 
build more towers in the sky, and I went to my beloved. Tell me now, 
tell me, why did you bring me back? Did you not know in your knowing 
heart that I was with my beloved? Did you not meet her in you 
wandering above the summits of Lebanon? Surely you saw her image in my 
eyes when I came and stood before you at the door of the tomb. And 
have you not a beloved in the sun? And would you have a greater one 
than yourself separate you from her? And after separation what would 
you say? What shall I say to you now? 

The Madman: He bade me also to come back but I did not obey, and now 
they call me mad. 

Mary: Lazarus, Have I a beloved in the sky? Has my longing created a 
being beyond this world? And must I die to be with him? Oh, my 
brother, tell me, have I a mate also? If this thing be so, how good it 
is to live and die, and live and die again; if a beloved awaits me, to 
fulfil all that I am, and I to fulfil all that he is! 

The Madman: Everywoman has a beloved in the sky. The heart of 
everywoman creates a being in space. 

Mary: (Repeating softly as if to herself) Have I a beloved in the sky? 

Lazarus: I do not know. But if you had a beloved, an other self, 
somewhere, somewhen, and you should meet him, surely there would not 
be one to separate you from him. 

The Madman: He may be here, and He may call her. But like many others 
she may not hear. 

Lazarus: (Coming to the centre of stage) To wait, to wait for each 
season to overcome another season; and then to wait for that season to 
be overcome by another; to watch all things ending before your own end 
comes-your end which is your beginning. To listen to all voices, and 
to know that they melt to silence, all save the voice of your heart 
that would cry even in sleep. 

The Madman: The children of God married the children of men. Then they 
were divorced. Now, the children of men long for the children of God. 
I pity them all, the children of men and the children of God. 

(A silence) 

Martha: (Appearing in the doorway) Why don't you come into the house, 
Lazarus? Our mother has prepared the supper. (With a little 
impatience) Whenever you and Mary are together you talk and talk, and 
no one knows what you say. 

(Martha stands for a sew seconds, then goes into the house.) 

Lazarus: (Speaking to himself, and as though he has not heard Martha) 
Oh, I am spent. I am wasted, I am hungry and I am thirsty. Would that 
you could give me some bread and some wine. 

Mary: (Going to him and putting her arm around him) I will, I will, my 
brother. But some into the house. Our mother has prepared the evening 
meal. 

The Madman: He asks for bread which they cannot bake, and wine for 
which they have no bottles. 

Lazarus: Did I say I was hungry and thirsty? I am not hungry for your 
bread, nor thirsty for your wine. I tell you I shall not enter a house 
until my beloved's hand is upon the latch of the door. I shall not sit 
at the feast till she be at my side. 

(Mother peers from the house door.) 

Mother: Now, Lazarus, why do you stay out in the mist? And you, Mary, 
why do you not come into the house? I have lit the candles and the 
food is upon the board, and yet you will stay out babbling and chewing 
your words in the dark. 

Lazarus: Mine own mother would have me enter a tomb. She would have me 
eat and drink and she would even bid me sit among shrouded faces and 
receive eternity from withered hands and draw life from clay cups. 

The Madman: White bird that flew southward where the sun loves all 
things, what held you in mid-air, and who brought you back? It was 
your friend, Jesus of Nazareth. He brought you back out of pity for 
the wingless who would not be along. Oh, white bird, it is cold here, 
and you shiver and the North wind laughs in your feathers. 

Lazarus: You would be in a house and under a roof. You would be within 
four walls, with a door and a window. You would be here, and you are 
without vision. Your mind is here, and my spirit is there. All of you 
is upon the earth; all of me is in space. You creep into houses, and I 
flew beyond upon the mountaintop. You are all slaves, the one to the 
other, and you worship but yourselves. You sleep and you dream not; 
you wake but you walk not among the hills. And yesterday I was weary 
of you and of lives, and I sought the other world which you call 
death, and if I had died it was out of longing. Now, I stand here at 
this moment, rebelling against that which you call life. 

Martha: (Who has come out of the house while Lazarus was speaking) But 
the Master saw our sorrow and our pain, and He called you back to us, 
and yet you rebel. Oh, what cloth, rebelling against its own weaver! 
What a house rebelling against its own builder! 

Mary: He knew our hearts and He was gracious unto us, and when He met 
our mother and saw in her eyes a dead son, buried, then her sorrow 
held Him, and for a moment He was still, and He was silent. (Pause) 
Then we followed Him to your tomb. 

Lazarus: Yes, it was my mother's sorrow, and your sorrow. It was pity, 
self-pity, that brought me back. How selfish is self-pity, and how 
deep. I say that I rebel. I say that divinity itself should not turn 
spring to winter. I had climbed the hills in longing, and your sorrow 
brought me back to this valley. You wanted a son and a brother to be 
with you through life. Your neighbours wanted a miracle. You and your 
neighbours, like your fathers and your forefathers, would have a 
miracle, that you may believe in the simplest things in life. How 
cruel you are and how hard are your hearts, and how dark is the night 
of your eyes. For that you bring down the prophets from their glory to 
you joys, and then you kill the prophets. 

Martha: (with reproof) You call our sorrow self-pity. What is your 
wailing but self-pity? Be quiet, and accept the life the Master has 
given you. 

Lazarus: He did not give me life, He gave you my life. He took my life 
from my own beloved, and gave it to you, a miracle to open your eyes 
and your ears. He sacrificed me even as He sacrificed Himself. 
(Speaking unto the sky) Father, forgive them. They know not what they 
do. 

Mary: (In awe) It was He who said those very words, hanging upon the 
cross. 

Lazarus: Yes, He said these words for me as for Himself, and for all 
the unknown who understand and are not understood. Did He not say 
these words when your tears begged Him for my life? It was your desire 
and not His will that bade His spirit to stand at the sealed door and 
urge eternity to yield me unto you. It was the ancient longing for a 
son and a brother that brought me back. 

Mother: (Approaches him and puts her arm around his shoulders) 
Lazarus, you were ever an obedient son and a loving son. What has 
happened to you? Be with us, and forget all that troubles you. 

Lazarus: (Raising his hand) My mother and my brothers and my sisters 
are those who hear my words. 

Mary: These are also His words. 

Lazarus: Yes, and He said these words for me as well as for Himself, 
and for all those who have earth for mother, and sky for father, and 
for all those who are born free of a people and a country and a race. 

The Madman: Captain of my ship, the wind filled your sails, and you 
dared the sea; and you sought the blessed isles. What other wind 
changed your course, and why did you return to these shores? It was 
Jesus of Nazareth who commanded the wind with a breath of His own 
breath, and then filled the sail where it was empty, and emptied it 
where it was full. 

Lazarus: (Suddenly he forgets them all, and he raises his head, and 
opens his arms.) O my beloved! There was dawn in your eyes, and in 
that dawn there was the silent mystery of a deep night, and the silent 
promise of a full day, and I was fulfilled, and I was whole. O my 
beloved, this life, this veil, is between us now. Must I live this 
death and die again that I may live again? Must needs linger until all 
these green things turn yellow and then naked again, and yet again? 
(Pause) Oh, I cannot curse Him. But why, of all men, why should I 
return? Why should I of all shepherds be driven back into the desert 
after the green pasture? 

The Madman: If you were one of those who would curse, you would not 
have died so young. 

Lazarus: Jesus of Nazareth, tell me now, why did you do this to me? 
Was it fair that I should be laid down, a humble lowly sorrowful stone 
leading to the height of your glory? Any one of the dead might have 
served to glorify you. Why have you separated this lover from his 
beloved? Why did you call me to a world which you knew in your heart 
you would leave? (Then crying with a great voice) Why-why- why did you 
call me from the living heart of eternity to this living death? O 
Jesus of Nazareth-I cannot curse you! I cannot curse you. I would 
bless you. (Silence. Lazarus becomes as one whose strength has gone 
out in a stream. His head falls forward almost upon his breast. After 
a moment of awful silence, he raises his head again, and with a 
transfigured face he cries in a deep and thrilling voice.) Jesus of 
Narareth! My friend! We have both been crucified. Forgive me! Forgive 
me. I bless you-now, and forevermore. 

(At this moment the disciple appears running from the direction of the 
hills.) 

Mary: Philip! 

Philip: He is risen! The Master is risen from the dead and now He is 
gone to Galilee. 

The Madman: He is risen, but He will be crucified again a thousand 
times. 

Mary: Philip, my friend, what do you say? 

Martha: (Rushes toward the disciple, and grasps him by the arms) How 
glad I am to see you again. But who has risen? Of whom are you 
speaking? 

Mother: (Walking toward him) Come in, my son. You shall have supper 
with us tonight. 

Philip: (Unmoved by any of their words) I say the Master has risen 
from the dead and has gone into Galilee. 

(A deep silence falls.) 

Lazarus: Now you shall all listen to me. If He has risen from the dead 
they will crucify Him again, but they shall not crucify Him alone. Now 
I shall proclaim Him, and they shall crucify me also. 

(He turns in exaltation and walk in the direction of the hills.) 

Lazarus: My mother and my sisters, I shall follow Him who gave me life 
until He gives me death. Yes, I too would be crucified, and that 
crucifixion will end this crucifixion. 

(A silence) 

Lazarus: Now I shall seek His spirit, and I shall be released. And 
though they bind me in iron chains I shall not be bound. And though a 
thousand mothers and a thousand thousand sisters shall hold my 
garments I shall not be held. I shall go with the East wind where the 
East wind goes. And I shall seek my beloved in the sunset where all 
our days find peace. And I shall seek my beloved in the night where 
all the mornings sleep. And I shall be the one man among all men who 
twice suffered life, and twice death, and twice knew eternity. 

(Lazarus looks into the face of his mother, then into the faces of his 
sisters, the at Philip's face; then again at his mother's face. Then 
as if he were a sleepwalker he turns and runs toward the hills. He 
disappears. They are all dazed and shaken.) 

Mother: My son, my son, come back to me! 

Mary: My brother, where are you going? Oh come, my brother, come back 
to us. 

Martha: (As if to herself) It is so dark I know that he will lose his 
way. 

Mother: (Almost screaming) Lazurus, my son! 

(A silence) 

Philip: He has gone where we all shall go. And he shall not return. 

Mother: (Going to the very back of the stage, close to where he has 
disappeared) Lazarus, Lazarus, my son! Come back to me! (She shrieks.) 

(There is a silence. The running steps of Lazarus are lost in the 
distance.) 

The Madman: Now he is gone, and he is beyond your reach. And now your 
sorrow must seek another. (He pauses) Poor, poor Lazarus, the first of 
the martyrs, and the greatest of them all.


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