A beautiful young man and girl came up
    In a white breaking wave; they had the look
    Of those that are alive for ever and ever.
First Sailor. I saw them, too, one night. Forgael was playing,
    And they were listening there beyond the sail.
    He could not see them, but I held out my hands
    To grasp the woman.
Second Sailor.                 You have dared to touch her?
First Sailor. O she was but a shadow, and slipped from me.
Second Sailor. But were you not afraid?
First Sailor.                     Why should I fear?
Second Sailor. ’Twas Aengus and Edain, the wandering lovers,
    To whom all lovers pray.
First Sailor.                     But what of that?
    A shadow does not carry sword or spear.
Second Sailor. My mother told me that there is not one
    Of the Ever-living half so dangerous
    As that wild Aengus. Long before her day
    He carried Edain off from a king’s house,
    And hid her among fruits of jewel-stone
    And in a tower of glass, and from that day
    Has hated every man that’s not in love,
    And has been dangerous to him.
First Sailor.                I have heard
    He does not hate seafarers as he hates
    Peaceable men that shut the wind away,
    And keep to the one weary marriage-bed.
Second Sailor. I think that he has Forgael in his net,
    And drags him through the sea.
First Sailor.                     Well, net or none,
    I’d drown him while we have the chance to do it.
Second Sailor. It’s certain I’d sleep easier o’ nights
    If he were dead; but who will be our captain,
    Judge of the stars, and find a course for us?
First Sailor. I’ve thought of that. We must have Aibric with us,
    For he can judge the stars as well as Forgael.
[Going towards Aibric.]          
    Become our captain, Aibric. I am resolved
    To make an end of Forgael while he sleeps.
    There’s not a man but will be glad of it
    When it is over, nor one to grumble at us.
Aibric. You have taken pay and made your bargain for it.
First Sailor. What good is there in this hard way of living,
    Unless we drain more flagons in a year
    And kiss more lips than lasting peaceable men
    In their long lives? Will you be of our troop
    And take the captain’s share of everything
    And bring us into populous seas again?
Aibric. Be of your troop! Aibric be one of you
    And Forgael in the other scale! kill Forgael,
    And he my master from my childhood up!
    If you will draw that sword out of its scabbard
    I’ll give my answer.
First Sailor.                 You have awakened him.
[To Second Sailor.]          
    We’d better go, for we have lost this chance.
[They go out.]          
Forgael. Have the birds passed us? I could hear your voice,
    But there were others.
Aibric.                     I have seen nothing pass.
Forgael. You’re certain of it? I never wake from sleep
    But that I am afraid they may have passed,
    For they’re my only pilots. If I lost them
    Straying too far into the north or south,
    I’d never come upon the happiness
    That has been promised me. I have not seen them
    These many days; and yet there must be many
    Dying at every moment in the world,
    And flying towards their peace.
Aibric.                     Put by these thoughts,
    And listen to me for a while. The sailors
    Are plotting for your death.
Forgael.                     Have I not given
    More riches than they ever hoped to find?
    And now they will not follow, while I seek
    The only riches that have hit my fancy.
Aibric. What riches can you find in this waste sea
    Where no ship sails, where nothing that’s alive
    Has ever come but those man-headed birds,
    Knowing it for the world’s end?
Forgael.                     Where the world ends
    The mind is made unchanging, for it finds
    Miracle, ecstasy, the impossible hope,
    The flagstone under all, the fire of fires,
    The roots of the world.
Aibric.                     Shadows before now
    Have driven travellers mad for their own sport.
Forgael. Do you, too, doubt me? Have you joined their plot?
Aibric. No, no, do not say that. You know right well
    That I will never lift a hand against you.
Forgael. Why should you be more faithful than the rest,
    Being as doubtful?
Aibric.                     I have called you master
    Too many years to lift a hand against you.
Forgael. Maybe it is but natural to doubt me.
    You’ve never known, I’d lay a wager on it,
    A melancholy that a cup of wine,
    A lucky battle, or a woman’s kiss
    Could not amend.
Aibric.                     I have good spirits enough.
Forgael. If you will give me all your mind awhile—
    All, all, the very bottom of the bowl—
    I’ll show you that I am made differently,
    That nothing can amend it but these waters,
    Where I am rid of life—the events of the world—
    What do you call it?—that old promise-breaker,
    The cozening fortune-teller that comes whispering,
    ‘You will have all you have wished for when you have earned
    Land for your children or money in a pot.’
    And when we have it we are no happier,
    Because of that old draught under the door,
    Or creaky shoes. And at the end of all
    How are we better off than Seaghan the fool,
    That never did a hand’s turn? Aibric! Aibric!
    We have fallen in the dreams the Ever-living
    Breathe on the burnished mirror of the world
    And then smooth out with ivory hands and sigh,
    And find their laughter sweeter to the taste
    For that brief sighing.
Aibric.                     If you had loved some woman—
Forgael. You say that also? You have heard the voices,
    For that is what they say—all, all the shadows—
    Aengus and Edain, those passionate wanderers,
    And all the others; but it must be love
    As they have known it. Now the secret’s out;
    For it is love that I am seeking for,
    But of a beautiful, unheard-of kind
    That is not in the world.
Aibric.                     And yet the world
    Has beautiful women to please every man.
Forgael. But he that gets their love after the fashion
    Loves in

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