Salomé (1969) - full transcript

The Oscar Wilde play in French with the Dance of the Seven Veils choreographed by Maurice Béjart. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food

Thou hast polluted the land with
thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.

Hide thee in thy shame!

Though thou clothest
thyself with crimson,

though thou deckest thee
with ornaments of gold,

though thou rendest
thy face with painting,

Woe to thee!

May your eyes run down with tears,

for death is entered into our palaces,

You made lives die
who were not supposed to die.

Fear God,

and give glory to him;
for the hour of his judgment is come:

and worship him that made heaven, and earth,
and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

We will see the glory of the Lord.

I will open rivers in high places,

I will make the wilderness a pool of water

and the dry land springs of water.

Woe to thee

that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled;

and dealest treacherously, and
they dealt not treacherously with thee!

And thorns shall come up in her palaces,

nettles and brambles
in the fortresses thereof:

The wild beasts of the desert
shall meet there,

and it shall be an habitation of dragons.

The gods of my country
are very fond of blood.

Twice in the year we sacrifice
to them young men and maidens;

fifty young men and
a hundred maidens.

But it seems we never
give them quite enough,

for they are very harsh to us.

In my country there are no gods left.

The Romans have driven them out.

There are some who say that they have
hidden themselves in the mountains,

but I do not believe it.

Three nights I have been on the
mountains seeking them everywhere.

I did not find them.

And at last I called them by their names,

and they did not come.

How beautiful is the
Princess Salome to-night!

You are always looking at her.

You look at her too much. It is dangerous
to look at people in such fashion.

Something terrible
may happen.

She is very beautiful to-night.

Fill thou my cup, my well-beloved.

Fill with wine the great goblets of
silver, and the great goblets of glass.

I will drink to Caesar.

There are Romans here,

we must drink to Caesar.

Do you not see your
daughter, how pale she is?

What is it to you if she be pale or not?

Never have I seen her so pale.

You must not look at her.

Behold, the day of the Lord cometh,

the sun shall be darkened
in his going forth,

and the moon shall not
cause her light to shine.

And the wild beasts of the islands
shall cry in their desolate houses

Your bodies shall be left together
unto the fowls of the mountains,

and to the beasts of the earth.

For your hands are defiled with blood,
and your fingers with iniquity;


the day of the Lord cometh.

He shall be seated on this throne.

He shall be clothed in scarlet
and purple.

In his hand he shall bear
a golden cup full of his blasphemies.

And the angel of the Lord shall smite him.

He shall be eaten of worms.

You hear what he says about you.

He says that you will be eaten of worms.

It is not of me that he speaks.
He speaks never against me.

It is of the King of Cappadocia
that he speaks, who is mine enemy.

It is he who shall be eaten of worms.

Never has he spoken word
against me, this prophet;

save that I sinned in taking
to wife the wife of my brother.

It may be he is right.

For, of a truth, you are sterile.

I am sterile, I?

You say that,

you that are ever looking
at my daughter,

you that would have her
dance for your pleasure?

It is absurd to say that.

I have borne a child.

You have gotten no child, no,
not even from one of your slaves.

It is you who are sterile, not I.

Peace, woman! I say that you are sterile.
You have borne me no child,

and the prophet says that
our marriage is not a true marriage.

He says that it is
an incestuous marriage,

a marriage that will bring evils....

I will not stay.

I cannot stay.

Why does the Tetrarch look at me
all the while with his mole's eyes

under his shaking eyelids?

It is strange that the husband
of my mother looks at me like that.

How sweet the air is here!

I can breathe here!

Within there are Jews from Jerusalem

who are tearing each other in pieces
over their foolish ceremonies,

and barbarians who drink and drink,
and spill their wine on the pavement,

and Greeks from Smyrna with
painted eyes and painted cheeks,

and frizzed hair curled in twisted coils,

and silent, subtle Egyptians, with
long nails of jade and russett cloaks,

Do not look at her.

You must not look at her.
Something terrible may happen.

How good to see the moon!

She is like a little piece of money,

you would think

she was a little silver flower.

The moon is cold and chaste.

I am sure she is a virgin,
she has a virgin's beauty.

Yes, she is a virgin.

She has never defiled herself.

She has never abandoned herself
to men, like the other goddesses.

The Lord hath come.

The son of man hath come.

The centaurs have hidden
themselves in the rivers,

and the sirens have left the rivers, and
are lying beneath the leaves of the forest.

After me shall come
another mightier than I.

I am not worthy so much as
to unloose the latchet of his shoes.

When he cometh, the
solitary places shall be glad.

The eyes of the blind shall see the day,

and the ears of the deaf shall be opened.

The new-born child shall
put his hand upon the dragon's lair,

he shall lead the lions by their manes.

Who was that who cried out?

- Who was that who cried out?
- The prophet, Princess.

Ah, the prophet!

He of whom the Tetrarch is afraid?

We know nothing of that, Princess.

It was the prophet Jokanaan who cried out.

Is it your pleasure that I
bid them bring your litter, Princess?

He says terrible things
about my mother, does he not?

We never understand
what he says, Princess.

Yes; he says terrible things about her.

Princess, the Tetrarch
prays you to return to the feast.

I will not go back.

Pardon me, Princess,

but if you do not return
some misfortune may happen.

Is he an old man, this prophet?

Princess, it were better to return.

Suffer me to lead you in.

This prophet ... is he an old man?

No, Princess, he is quite a young man.

You cannot be sure.

There are those who say he is Elias.

Who is Elias?

A very ancient prophet
of this country, Princess.

... people will seek death
but will not find it;

they will long to die,
but death will elude them.

Rejoice not thou, land of Palestine,

because the rod of him
who smote thee is broken.

For from the seed of the serpent

shall come forth a basilisk,

and that which is born of it
shall devour the birds.

Ah! Ah! I should like to see
that day of which he speaks,

when the moon shall become like blood,

and when the stars shall fall
upon the earth like ripe figs.

This prophet talks like a drunken man ...

but I cannot suffer
the sound of his voice.

I hate his voice.

Command him to be silent.

I cannot understand what it is
that he saith, but it may be an omen.

I do not believe in omens.

He speaks like a drunken man.

It may be

he is drunk with the wine of God.

What wine is that, the wine of God?

From what vineyards is it gathered?

In what wine-press may one find it?

Ah! the wanton!

The harlot!

Ah! the daughter of Babylon with her
golden eyes and her gilded eyelids!

Thus saith the Lord God,

Let there come up against her
a multitude of men.

Let the people take
stones and stone her....

Command him to be silent.

Let the war captains
pierce her with their swords,

let them crush her beneath their shields.

- It is thus that I will wipe out...
- Nay, but it is infamous.

... all wickedness from the earth,

and that all women shall learn
not to imitate her abominations.

You hear what he says against me?

You allow him to revile your wife?

He did not speak your name.

What does that matter?

You know well that it is
I whom he seeks to revile.

And I am your wife, am I not?

Of a truth, dear and noble Herodias,
you are my wife,

and before that you were
the wife of my brother.

It was you who tore me from his arms.

Of a truth I was stronger....

But let us not talk of that matter.

I do not desire to talk of it.

It is the cause of the terrible
words that the prophet has spoken.

Peradventure on account of it
a misfortune will come.

Let us not speak of this matter.

Where is he whose
cup of abominations is now full?

Where is he, who in a robe of silver shall
one day die in the face of all the people?

Bid him come forth,

that he may hear the voice of him

who hath cried in the waste places
and in the houses of kings.

- Of whom is he speaking?
- You can never tell, Princess.

Where is she who having seen the
images of men painted on the walls,

the images of the
Chaldeans limned in colours,

gave herself up unto the lust of her eyes,

and sent ambassadors into Chaldea?

- It is of my mother that he speaks.
- Oh, no, Princess.

Yes; it is of my mother that he speaks.

Do not stay here, Princess,
I beseech you.

Where is she who gave herself
unto the Captains of Assyria,

who have baldricks on their loins,

and tiaras of divers
colours on their heads?

Where is she who hath given herself
to the young men of Egypt...

It is his eyes above all that are terrible.

They are like black caverns.

They are like the black caverns of Egypt

in which the dragons make their lairs.

Bid her rise up from
the bed of her abominations,

from the bed of her incestuousness,

that she may hear the words of him
who prepareth the way of the Lord,

that she may repent her of her iniquities.

They are like black lakes
troubled by fantastic moons....

Do you think he will speak again?

Do not stay here, Princess.
I pray you do not stay here.

Though she will never repent, but
will stick fast in her abominations;

How wasted he is!

bid her come, for the fan
of the Lord is in His hand.

He is like a thin ivory statue.

He is like an image of silver.

I am sure he is chaste.

He is like a moonbeam,
like a shaft of silver.

His flesh must be cool like ivory.

I would look closer at him.

No, no, Princess.

I must look at him closer.

Princess! Princess!

Who is this woman who is looking at me?

I will not have her look at me.

Wherefore doth she look at me with her
golden eyes, under her gilded eyelids?

I know not who she is.
I do not wish to know who she is.

Bid her begone.
It is not to her that I would speak.

I am Salome,

daughter of Herodias,
Princess of Judaea.

Back! Daughter of Babylon!

Come not near the chosen of the Lord.

Thy mother hath filled the earth
with the wine of her iniquities,

and the cry of her sins
hath come up to the ears of God.

Speak again, Jokanaan.
Thy voice is wine to me.

No, no, princess!

Princess! Princess!

Speak again and tell me what I must do.

Come not near me!
Daughter of Sodom, come not near me!

But cover thy face with a veil,
and scatter ashes upon thine head

and get thee to the desert
and seek out the Son of Man.

Who is he, the Son of Man?
Is he as beautiful as thou art?


Daughter of Sodom,
come not near the chosen of the Lord.



I hear in the palace the beating
of the wings of the angel of death.

Princess, I beseech thee to go within.

Angel of the Lord God,

what dost thou here with thy sword?

Whom seekest thou in this foul palace?

The day of him who shall die in
a robe of silver has not yet come.

An end is come, the end is come:

it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.

the time is come,

the day of trouble is near,

and not the sounding again
of the mountains.


Who speaketh?



Jokanaan, I am amorous of thy body!

Thy body is white

like the snows
that lie on the mountains,

like the snows that lie
on the mountains of Judaea,

and come down into the valleys.

The roses

in the garden of the Queen of Arabia
are not so white as thy body.

Neither the roses in the
garden of the Queen of Arabia

nor the feet of the dawn
when they light on the leaves,

nor the breast of the moon when
she lies on the breast of the sea....

There is nothing, there is nothing
in the world so white as thy body.

Let me touch thy body.

Back! daughter of Babylon!
By woman came evil into the world.

Speak not to me.
I will not listen to thee.

I listen but to the
voice of the Lord God.

Thy body is hideous. Hideous!

It is like the body of a leper.

It is like a plastered wall where
the scorpions have made their nest.

It is like a whitened sepulchre
full of loathsome things.

Thy body is horrible.


It is of thy hair
that I am enamoured, Jokanaan.

It is of thy hair.

Thy hair is black,

like clusters of grapes,

like the clusters of black
grapes that hang from the vine-trees

The cedars of Lebanon

are not so black,

the great cedars of Lebanon that give
their shade to the lions and to the robbers

There is nothing...

There is nothing in the world

so black as thy hair.

Let me touch thy hair.


Daughter of Sodom!

Touch me not.

Profane not the temple of
the Lord God.

Thy hair is horrible.

It is covered with mire and dust.

It is like a crown of thorns
which they have placed on thy forehead.

It is like a knot of black serpents
writhing round thy neck.

I love not thy hair....

It is thy mouth that I desire, Jokanaan.

Thy mouth.

It is like a pomegranate
cut with a knife of ivory.

Thy mouth is redder than the feet of those
who tread the wine in the wine-press.

Thy mouth is like a branch of coral

that fishers have found
in the twilight of the sea,

the coral that they keep for the kings.

There is nothing in the world
so red as thy mouth....

Let me kiss thy mouth.


Daughter of Babylon!

Daughter of Sodom!



Let me kiss thy mouth.

I will kiss thy mouth.



Where is Salome?

Where is the Princess?

Why did she not return to
the banquet as I commanded her?

You must not look at her!
You are always looking at her!

The moon has a strange look to-night.

Has she not a strange look?

She is like a mad woman,

a mad woman who is
seeking everywhere for lovers.

She is naked too.

She is quite naked.

The clouds are seeking to clothe her
nakedness, but she will not let them.

She shows herself naked in the sky.

She reels through the clouds like
a drunken woman....

I am sure she is looking for lovers.

Does she not reel like a drunken woman?

She is like a mad woman, is she not?


The moon is like the moon, that is all.

Let us go within....

You have nothing to do here.

Art thou not afraid,

daughter of Herodias?

Did I not tell thee that
I had heard in the palace

the beatings of the wings
of the angel of death,

and hath he not come,
the angel of death?

Let me kiss thy mouth.

Daughter of adultery,
there is but one who can save thee,

it is He of whom I spake.

Go seek Him.

He is in a boat on the sea of Galilee,

and He talketh with His disciples.

When He cometh to thee

(and to all who call on Him He cometh),

Let me kiss thy mouth.

bow thyself at His feet

and ask of Him the remission of thy sins.

Cursed be thou!

- Daughter of an incestuous mother...
- I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan.

be thou accursed!

I do not wish to look at thee.

I will kiss thy mouth, Jokanaan.

I will not look at thee,

thou art accursed, Salome,

thou art accursed.



The young Syrian has slain himself!

The young captain has slain himself!

He has slain himself who was my friend!

I gave him a little box of perfumes

and ear-rings wrought in silver,
and now he has killed himself! .

Ah, did he not foretell that
some misfortune would happen?

I, too, foretold it, and it has happened.

Well I knew that the moon
was seeking a dead thing,

but I knew not that
it was he whom she sought.

Ah! why did I not hide him from the moon?

If I had hidden him in a cavern
she would not have seen him.

He was my brother,
and nearer to me than a brother.

I gave him a little box full of perfumes,

and a ring of agate
that he wore always on his hand.

In the evening
we used to walk by the river,

among the almond trees, and he would
tell me of the things of his country.

He spake ever very low.

The sound of his voice was like
the sound of the flute, of a flute player.

Also he much loved to
gaze at himself in the river.

I used to reproach him for that.

Light torches,

bring forth the ivory tables,
and the tables of jasper.

The air here is delicious.

I will drink more wine with my guests.

We must show all honours
to the ambassadors of Caesar.

It is not because of them that you remain.

Yes; the air is delicious.

Come, Herodias, our guests await us.

Ah! I have slipped!

I have slipped in blood!

It is an ill omen.

It is a very evil omen.

And this body?

What does this body here? .

Think you I am like the King of Egypt,

who gives no feast to his guests
but that he shows them a corpse?

Whose is it?

I will not look on it.

It is our captain, sire.

He is the young Syrian whom you
made captain only three days ago.

I gave no order that he should be slain.

He killed himself, sire.

For what reason? I had made him captain.

We do not know, sire.
But he killed himself.

That seems strange to me.

I thought it was only the Roman
philosophers who killed themselves.

After all,

they are ridiculous people.

Is it not true, Tigellinus, that the
philosophers at Rome kill themselves?

There are some who kill themselves, sire.

They are the Stoics.
The Stoics are coarse people.

They are ridiculous people.

I myself regard them
as being perfectly ridiculous.

It is strange that the
young Syrian has killed himself.

I am sorry he has killed himself.

I am very sorry; .

for he was fair to look upon.

He was even very fair.

He had very languorous eyes.

I remember that I saw that
he looked languorously at Salome.


I thought he looked too much at

There are others who look at her too much.

His father was a king.
I drove him from his kingdom.

And you made a slave of his mother,
who was a queen, Herodias.

So he was here as my guest, as it were,

and for that reason
I made him my captain.

I am sorry he is dead..

Ho! why have you left the body here?

I will not look at it -- away with it!

It is cold here.

It is cold here.

It is cold here.

Is there not a wind blowing?

No; there is no wind.

I tell you there is a wind that blows....

And I hear in the air

something that is
like the beating of wings,

like the beating of vast wings.
Do you not hear it?

I hear nothing.

I hear it no longer. But I heard it.

It was the blowing of the wind, no doubt.

It has passed away..

But no, I hear it again.

Do you not hear it?
It is just like the beating of wings

I tell you there is nothing.

You are ill.

I am not ill.

It is your daughter who is sick.

She has the mien of a sick person.
Never have I seen her so pale.

Pour me forth wine.


come drink a little wine with me.

I have here a wine that is exquisite.
Caesar himself sent it me.

Dip into it thy little red lips,
that I may drain the cup.

I am not thirsty, Tetrarch.

You hear how she answers me,
this daughter of yours?

She does right.

Why are you always gazing at her?

Bring me ripe fruits.


come and eat fruit with me.

I love to see in a fruit
the mark of thy little teeth.

The mark of thy little teeth.

Bite but a little of this fruit
and then

I will eat what is left.

You see how you have
brought up this daughter of yours.

My daughter and I come of a royal race.

As for thee,

thy father was a camel driver!
He was also a robber!

- Thou liest!
- Thou knowest well that it is true.


come and sit next to me.

I will give thee the throne of thy mother.

I am not tired, Tetrarch.

You see what she thinks of you.

Bring me--

What is it that I desire?
I forget.

Ah! ah! I remember.

Woe to those who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,

Lo! the time is come!

That which I foretold has come to pass,
saith the Lord God.

Lo! the day of which I spoke.

Bid him be silent.

I will not listen to his voice.

This man is for ever
vomiting insults against me.

He has said nothing against you.

Besides, he is a very great prophet.

I do not believe in prophets.

Can a man tell what will come to pass?

No man knows it.

Moreover, he is for ever insulting me.

But I think you are afraid of him....

I know well that you are afraid of him.

I am not afraid of him.

I am afraid of no man.

I tell you,

you are afraid.

You are afraid of him.

If you are not afraid of him

why do you not deliver him to the Jews,

who for these six months past
have been clamouring for him?

Truly, my lord, it were better
to deliver him into our hands..

Enough on this subject.

I have already given you my answer.
I will not deliver him into your hands.

He is a holy man.

He is a man who has seen God.

That cannot be.

There is no man who hath seen God
since the prophet Elias.

He is the last man who saw God.

In these days God doth not show Himself.

He hideth Himself.

Therefore great evils
have come upon the land.

Verily, no man knoweth if
Elias the prophet did indeed see God.

Peradventure it was but the
shadow of God that he saw.

God is at no time hidden.

He showeth Himself
at all times and in everything.

God is in what is evil
even as He is in what is good.

Make them be silent.

They weary me.

But I have heard it said that
Jokanaan himself is your prophet Elias.

That cannot be.

It is more than three hundred years
since the days of the prophet Elias.

There be some who say that
this man is the prophet Elias.

I am sure that he is the prophet Elias.

Nay, but he is not the prophet Elias.

Come, my people,

enter thou into thy chambers,

and shut thy doors about thee:

hide thyself as it were
for a little moment,

until the indignation be overpast.

For, behold,
the Lord cometh out of his place

to punish the inhabitants
of the earth for their iniquity.

So the day is come, the day of the Lord,

and I hear upon the mountains the feet of
Him who shall be the Saviour of the world.

What does that mean?
The Saviour of the world.

The daughter of Jairus was dead.
He raised her from the dead.

These men are mad.

They have looked too long on the moon.

He raises the dead?

Yea, sire, He raiseth the dead.

I do not wish Him to do that.

I forbid Him to do that.

I allow no man to raise the dead.

This Man must be found and told
that I forbid Him to raise the dead.

Where is this Man at present?

He is in every place, my lord,

but it is hard to find Him.

It is said that He is now in Samaria.

It is easy to see that this
is not Messias, if He is in Samaria.

It is not to the Samaritans
that Messias shall come.

The Samaritans are accursed.

They bring no offerings to the Temple.

How these men weary me!

They are ridiculous!

They are simply ridiculous!

You have a dreamer's look;
you must not dream.

It is only sick people who dream.

Let them find Him, and tell Him from me,
I will not allow him to raise the dead.

To change water into wine,
to heal the lepers and the blind....

He may do these things if He will.

I say nothing against these things.

In truth I hold it
a good deed to heal a leper.

But I allow no man to raise the dead.

It would be terrible
if the dead came back.


Salome, dance for me.

I pray thee dance for me.

I am sad to-night.

I have no desire to dance, Tetrarch.

When I came hither I slipped in blood,

which is an evil omen;

and I heard,

I am sure I heard in the air
a beating of wings,

a beating of giant wings.

I cannot tell what they mean ...

I am sad to-night.

Therefore dance for me.

If you dance for me you may ask of me
what you will, and I will give it you,

Dance for me, Salome, I beseech you.

You may ask of me what you will,
and I will give it you,

even unto the half of my kingdom.

Will you indeed give me

whatsoever I shall ask, Tetrarch?

Do not dance, my daughter.

Everything, even the half of my kingdom.

You swear it, Tetrarch?

I swear it, Salome.

By what will you swear, Tetrarch?

Do not dance, my daughter.

By my life,

by my crown, by my gods.

Whatsoever you desire I will give it you,

even to the half of my kingdom,
if you will but dance for me.

Salome, dance for me!

You have sworn, Tetrarch.

I have sworn, Salome.

My daughter, do not dance.

Do not dance, my daughter.

All this I ask,

even the half of your kingdom.

Even to the half of my kingdom.

Thou wilt be passing fair
as a queen, Salome,

if it please thee to ask
for the half of my kingdom.

Will she not be fair as a queen?

Ah! it is cold here!

There is an icy wind,

and I hear ...

wherefore do I hear in the
air this beating of wings?

One might fancy a bird,

a huge black bird that
hovers over the terrace.

Why can I not see it, this bird?

The beat of its wings is terrible.

It is a chill wind.


but it is not cold,

it is hot.

It is hot.

I am choking.

Pour water on my hands.

Give me snow to eat. Quick! quick!

Loosen my mantle.

Loosen my mantle.
Nay, but leave it.

It is my garland that hurts me,

my garland of roses.

The flowers are like fire.

They have burned my forehead.

Ah! I can breathe now.

How red those petals are!

They are like stains
of blood on the cloth.

That does not matter.

You must not find symbols
in everything you see.

It makes life impossible.

It were better to say

that stains of blood
are as lovely as rose petals.

But we will not speak of this.

Now I am happy,

I am passing happy.

Have I not the right to be happy?

Your daughter is going to dance for me.

Will you not dance for me, Salome?

You have promised to dance for me.

My daughter, do not dance.

I will dance for you, Tetrarch.

I know not how to lie.

I am the slave of my word,

and my word is the word of a king.

The King of Cappadocia always lies,

but he is no true king.

He is a coward.

Also he owes me money

that he will not repay.

He has even insulted my ambassadors.

He has spoken words

that were wounding.

But Caesar will crucify him

when he comes to Rome.

I am sure that Caesar will
crucify him.

And if not,

yet will he die, being eaten of worms.

The prophet has prophesied it.

Well! wherefore dost thou tarry, Salome?


you are going to dance with naked feet.

'Tis well!--

'Tis well.

Your little feet will be like white doves.

They will be like little white flowers

that dance upon the trees....

No, no, she is going to dance on blood.

There is blood spilt on the ground.

She must not dance on blood.

It were an evil omen.

What is it to you if she dance on blood?

Thou hast waded deep
enough therein....

What is it to me?

Ah! look at the moon!

She has become red.

She has become red as blood.

Ah! the prophet prophesied truly.

He prophesied that the moon
would become red as blood.

Did he not prophesy it?

All of you heard him.

And now the moon has become red as blood.

Do ye not see it?

Oh, yes, I see it well,

And the stars are falling
like ripe figs, are they not?

And the sun is becoming black
like sackcloth of hair,

and the kings of the earth are afraid.

Let us go within. You are sick.

They will say at Rome that you are mad.

Let us go within, I tell you.

Who is this who cometh from Edom,

who is this who cometh from Bozra,

whose raiment is dyed with purple,

who shineth in the beauty of his garments,

who walketh mighty in his greatness?

Wherefore is thy raiment
stained with scarlet?

Let us go within.

The voice of that man maddens me.

I will not have my daughter dance
while he is continually crying out.

I will not have her dance
while you look at her in this fashion.

In a word, I will not have her dance.

Do not rise, my wife, my queen,

it will avail thee nothing.

I will not go within till she hath danced.

Dance, Salome,

dance for me.

Do not dance, my daughter.

I am ready, Tetrarch.

Ah! wonderful!

Wonderful! She has danced for me.

Come near, Salome,

that I may give you
your reward.

Ah! I pay the dancers well.

I will pay thee royally.

I will give thee
whatsoever thy soul desireth.

What wouldst thou have? Speak.

I would that they presently bring me

in a silver charger....

What is it you would have
in a silver charger,

O sweet and fair Salome, you who are
fairer than all the daughters of Judaea?

What would you have them bring thee
in a silver charger? Tell me.

Whatsoever it may be, they shall
give it you. My treasures belong to thee.

What is it, Salome?

The head of Jokanaan.

Ah! that is well said, my daughter.

That is well said, my daughter.

I ask of you the head of Jokanaan.

I demand the head of Jokanaan.

Come, Salome,

be reasonable.

I have never been hard to you.

I have ever loved you....

It may be that I have loved you too much.

Therefore ask not this thing of me.

This is a terrible thing,
an awful thing to ask of me.


I think thou art jesting.

The head of a man
that is cut from his body

is ill to look upon, is it not?

It is not meet that the eyes of a virgin
should look upon such a thing.

What pleasure could you have in it?

None. No, no, it is not what you desire.

Hearken to me.

I have an emerald,

a great round emerald,
which Caesar's minion sent me.

If you look through this emerald

you can see things
which happen at a great distance.

Caesar himself carries such an
emerald when he goes to the circus.

But my emerald is larger.

It is the largest emerald
in the whole world.

Ask it of me and I will give it you.

You are not listening.

You are not listening.
Suffer me to speak, Salome.

I ask of you the head of Jokanaan.

The head of Jokanaan.

No, no, you would not have that.

You say that to trouble me, because
I have looked at you all this evening.

Your beauty troubled me.

Your beauty has grievously troubled me,

and I have looked at you too much.
But I will look at you no more.

Neither at things,
nor at people should one look.

Only in mirrors should one look,

for mirrors do but show us masks. .

Oh! oh! bring wine! I thirst....

Salome, come now!...

Ah! what would I say?

Ah! I remember!.....


you know my white peacocks,

my beautiful white peacocks,

that walk in the garden between
the myrtles and the tall cypress trees.

Their beaks are gilded with gold.

When they cry out the rain comes,

and the moon shows herself in the
heavens when they spread their tails.

Two by two they walk between the
cypress trees and the black myrtles,

and each has a slave to tend it.

Sometimes they fly across the trees,

and anon they crouch in
the grass, and round the lake.

There are not in all the world
birds so wonderful.

There is no king in all the world who
possesses such wonderful birds.

I will give you fifty of my peacocks.

They will follow you whithersoever you go,

and in the midst of them

you will be like the moon
in the midst of a great white cloud....

I will give them all to you.

I have but a hundred,

and in the whole world there is no king
who has peacocks like unto my peacocks.

But I will give them all to you.

Only you must loose me from my oath,

and must not ask of me that which you
have asked of me.

As for you,

you are ridiculous with your peacocks.

Be silent!

You cry out always;

you cry out like a beast of prey.

You must not. Your voice wearies me.

Be silent, I say.

The head of Jokanaan.

I demand the head of Jokanaan.


think of what you are doing.

This man comes perchance from God.

He is a holy man.

The finger of God has touched him.

God has put into his mouth terrible words.

In the palace

as in the desert

God is always with him....

At least it is possible.

One does not know.
It is possible that God is for him

and with him.

Furthermore, if he died

some misfortune might happen to me.

In any case, he said that the day he dies
a misfortune will happen to some one.

That could only be to me.


I slipped in blood when I entered.

Also, I heard a beating
of wings in the air,

a beating of mighty wings.

These are very evil omens,

and there were others.

I am sure there were others
though I did not see them.

Ah! you are not listening to me.

Be calm.

I--I am calm.

I am quite calm.


I have jewels hidden in this place--jewels
that your mother even has never seen;

jewels that are marvellous.

I have a collar of pearls,
set in four rows.

They are like unto moons
chained with rays of silver.

They are like fifty moons
caught in a golden net.

On the ivory of her breast
a queen has worn it.

Thou shalt be as fair as a queen
when thou wearest it.

What desirest thou
more than this, Salome?

Tell me the thing that thou desirest,

and I will give it thee.

I will give thee all that is mine,

save one life.

I will give thee
the mantle of the high priest.

I will give thee
the veil of the sanctuary.

Give me the head of Jokanaan.

Let her be given what she asks!

Of a truth she is her mother's child!

For instance,

the Tetrarch's brother,
his elder brother,

the first husband of Herodias the Queen,
was imprisoned there for twelve years.

It did not kill him. At the end of the
twelve years he had to be strangled.

Strangled? Who dared to do that?

That man yonder, Naaman.

He was not afraid?

Oh no! The Tetrarch sent him the ring.

- What ring?
- The death-ring.

So he was not afraid.

Who has taken my ring?

There was a ring on my right hand.

Who has drunk my wine?

There was wine in my cup.
It was full of wine.

Someone has drunk it!

Oh! surely some
evil will befall some one.

Ah! Wherefore did I give my oath?

Kings ought never to pledge their word.

If they keep it not, it is terrible,

and if they keep it, it is terrible also.

I am sure that
some misfortune will happen.

Lord, make me to know mine end,

and the measure of my days,

Behold, thou hast made
my days as an handbreadth;

verily every man at his
best state is altogether vanity.

Surely every man walketh in a vain shew:

he heapeth up riches,

and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Oh Lord,

teach me what I don't know.

Go to the soldiers and bid them
go down and bring me the thing I ask,

the thing the Tetrarch has
promised me, the thing that is mine.

Hither, ye soldiers.

Bring me the head of this man.


command your soldiers that
they bring me the head of Jokanaan.

There is no sound.

I hear nothing.

Why does he not cry out, this man?

Ah! if any man sought to kill me,

I would cry out, I would

I would not suffer....

Strike, Naaman,
strike, I tell you....


I hear nothing.


has fallen upon the ground.

It is the sword of the headsman.

He is afraid, this slave.

He has let his sword fall.

He dare not kill him.

He is a coward, this slave!

Art thou afraid of me, Jokanaan?

Thine eyes that were so terrible,

so full of rage and scorn,

are shut now.

Wherefore are they shut?

Open thine eyes!
Lift up thine eyelids, Jokanaan!

Art thou afraid of me, Jokanaan,
that thou wilt not look at me?...

Thou wouldst have none of me.

Thou didst speak evil words against me.

Thou didst treat me as a harlot,

as a wanton,



daughter of Herodias,
Princess of Judaea!


I still live,

but thou, thou art dead,

and thy head belongs to me. I can
do with it what I will.

I can throw it to the dogs
and to the birds of the air.

That which the dogs leave,
the birds of the air shall devour....

Thou wert the only man that I have loved.

All other men are hateful to me.

But thou,

thou wert beautiful!

There was nothing in the world

so white as thy body.

There was nothing in the world

so black as thy hair.

In the whole world

there was nothing so red as thy mouth.

Thy voice...

Thy voice scattered...

scattered ...

strange perfumes,

and when I looked on thee,
when I looked on thee

I heard

a strange music.

Wherefore didst thou not look at me,

wherefore didst thou not look at me?

Behind thine hands and thy curses
thou didst hide thy face.

Thou didst put upon thine eyes
the covering of him who would see his God.

Well, thou hast seen thy God.

Manasseh, Issachar, Ozias,
put out the torches.

I will not look at things,
I will not suffer things to look at me.

Put out the torches!

Hide the moon!
Hide the stars!

Let us hide ourselves
in our palace, Herodias.

I begin to be afraid.



Wherefore didst thou not look at me,

didst thou not look at me?

If thou hadst looked at me

thou hadst loved me.


I, I saw thee,

I loved thee.

Oh, how I loved thee!

I love thee yet,

I love thee yet,

I am athirst for thy beauty;

I am hungry for thy body;

and neither wine nor fruits

can appease my desire.

What shall I do now?

Neither the floods nor the
great waters can quench my passion.

I was a princess, and thou didst scorn me.

I was a virgin,

I was chaste, and thou
didst fill my veins with fire....



wherefore didst thou not
look at me, Jokanaan?

Wherefore didst thou not look at me?

Well I know

Well I know that thou

that thou wouldst have loved me,

that thou wouldst have loved me,

that thou wouldst have loved me,


the mystery of love

is greater

than the mystery

of death.

Love only should one consider.

Kill that woman!

I have kissed thy mouth.

There was a bitter taste on thy lips.

Was it the taste of blood?...

I have kissed thy mouth.


Kill that woman!

English text:
Lord Alfred Douglas / King James Bible