An opera in seven scenes, adapted from the poem by William Blake
Tiriel, the aged and blind king of the Western Plains Baritone
Heuxos, son of Tiriel and Myratana Tenor
Ijim, brother of Tiriel, a giant warrior living in the forest Bass
Mnetha, Lady of the Vale of Har Alto
Har, aged but childlike son of Mnetha and the father of humanity Tenor
Heva, aged but childlike daugher of Mnetha Soprano
Har is the father of all humanity. He lives like a child with his mother Mnetha and sister Heva in the idyllic Vale of Har. Among Har’s descendents are the three brothers Tiriel, Ijim, and Zazel. Ijim is a paranoid giant warrior who lives in the forest. Tiriel, King of the Western Plains, enslaved Zazel and Zazel’s sons, leaving Zazel chained to a rock in a cave in the forest, and his sons living like animals. For this, Zazel cursed Tiriel. Later, Tiriel’s sons, led by Heuxos, rose up and deposed and blinded Tiriel. Tiriel cursed his sons, left the palace, and lived for five years with Myratana in a cave in the forest. Now Myratana is dying and she and Tiriel have returned to the palace.
SCENE ONE - BEFORE THE PALACE OF TIRIEL
Tiriel and Myratana stand before the palace gates. Tiriel supports Myratana, who is dying.
Tiriel: Accursed race of Tiriel, behold your father.
Come forth and look on her that bore you;
In my weak arms I have here borne your dying mother.
Come forth, sons of the curse, come forth, see the death of Myratana!
Heuxos and other sons of Tiriel come out of the palace.
Heuxos: Old man, unworthy to be called the father of Tiriel’s race
Why should thy sons care for thy curses
Were we not slaves till we rebelled? Who cares for Tiriel’s curse?
His blessing was a cruel curse; his curse may be a blessing.
What, Myratana? What, my wife? O soul, O spirit, O fire!
What, Myratana, art thou dead? Look here, ye serpents, look!
The serpents sprung from her own bowels have drained her dry as this.
Curse on your ruthless heads, for I will bury her even here.
Tiriel begins to dig a grave with his hands.
Heuxos: Old cruelty, desist, and let us dig a grave for thee.
Thou hast refused our charity
Why dost thou curse? Is not the curse now come upon your head?
Dig a grave and let us bury our mother.
Tiriel: There take the body, cursed sons, and may the heavens rain wrath
As thick as northern fogs around your gates to choke you up,
That you may lie, as now your mother lies, like dogs cast out,
The stink of your dead carcases annoying man and beast,
Till your white bones are bleached with age
And not a bone of all the sons of Tiriel remain.
Bury your mother; but you cannot bury the curse of Tiriel.
SCENE TWO - THE GARDENS OF THE VALE OF HAR
Har and Heva play among the flowers and trees. A tent at back. Enter Tiriel, wandering.
Tiri kiri hire dere-o
Har-a, Heva, file deva Mnetha
Gaia, Oma, dia dei-o
Har and Heva, seeing him, run terrified into Mnetha’s arms.
Tiriel: Peace to these open doors!
Let no one fear, for poor blind Tiriel hurts none but himself.
Tell me, O friends, where am I now, and in what pleasant place?
Mnetha: This is the vale of Har, and this is the tent of Har.
Who art thou, poor blind man, I am Mnetha,
And this is Har and Heva, trembling at my side.
Come, my children, rise.
Har: mother Mnetha, venture not so near him,
He’s the king of rotten wood, and of the bones of death.
He wanders without his eyes, and passes through thick walls and doors.
Thou shalt not smite my mother, O thou eyeless man!
Tiriel: A wanderer, I beg for food. You see I cannot weep.
I cast away my staff, and kneel
that you may see I am a harmless man.
[a bunch more dialog between T, M, and H.]
Mnetha acquiesces, gives him his staff and blesses him. Tiriel leaves. Har and Heva watch him go, burst into tears, and run to Mnetha.
SCENE THREE - IN THE FOREST
Tiriel enters, wandering. Ijim blocks his way.
Ijim: Who art thou, eyeless wretch, that thus obstruct’st the lion’s path?
Ijim shall rend thy feeble joints, thou tempter of dark Ijim.
Thou hast the form of Tiriel, but I know thee well enough.
Stand from my path, foul fiend. Is this the last of thy deceits:
To be a hypocrite, and stand in shape of a blind beggar?
Tiriel kneels before Ijim.
Tiriel: O brother Ijim B if it is thy voice that speaks to me B
Smite not thy brother Tiriel, though weary of his life.
O brother Ijim, thou beholdest wretched Tiriel.
Kiss me, my brother, and then leave me to wander desolate.
Ijim: No, artful fiend; but I will lead thee. Dost thou want to go?
Ay, now thou art discovered I will use thee like a slave.
Tiriel remains silent, but lets Ijim lead him on. Eventually Tiriel grows weary.
Tiriel: O Ijim, I am faint and weary, for my knees forbid
To bear me further. Urge me not, lest I should die with travel.
A little rest I crave, a little water from the brook,
Or I shall soon discover that I am a mortal man,
Alas, how faint I am!
Ijim: Impudent fiend, hold thy glib and eloquent tongue!
Tiriel is a king, and thou the tempter of dark Ijim.
Drink of this running brook, and I will bear thee on my shoulders.
Tiriel drinks. Ijim lifts him and bears him off.
SCENE FOUR - BEFORE THE PALACE OF TIRIEL
Enter Ijim, bearing Tiriel. He puts down Tiriel by him.
Heuxos and other sons of Tiriel come out of the palace. They look on Ijim silently and fearfully.
Heuxos and the others stand dumbfounded.
The sons of Tiriel run around Ijim and try to attack Tiriel with spears, swords, and arrows, but Ijim’s armor, great size, and strength rebuff all attacks.
Ijim throws off the attacking sons of Tiriel and goes off gloomily.
Tiriel: Where does the thunder sleep?
Where doth he hide his terrible head? And his swift and fiery daughters,
Where do they shroud their fiery wings and the terrors of their hair?
Earth, thus I stamp thy bosom. Rouse the earthquake from his den,
To raise his dark and burning visage through the cleaving ground,
To thrust these towers with his shoulders. Let his fiery dogs
Rise from the centre, belching flames and roarings, dark smoke.
Where art thou, pestilence that bath’st in fogs and standing lakes?
Rise up thy sluggish limbs, and let the loathsomest of poisons
Drop from thy garments as thou walkest wrapped in yellow clouds.
Here take thy seat, in this wide court; let it be strewn with dead,
And sit and smile upon these cursed sons of Tiriel.
Thunder and fire and pestilence, hear you not Tiriel’s curse?
Thunder and lightning and earthquake. A poisonous fog rises up and envelops the palace in darkness. People run screaming out of the palace in terror, among them Hela.
[more stuff happens, everyone dies.]