Thy Kingdom Come: A Dream for Easter Even

THE PLACE: The Tomb of the Saviour in a Garden THE TIME: The First Easter Even; the Soldiers’ Vigil


The Three Soldiers who guard the Tomb

The Soldier who plaited the Crown of Thorns

The Soldier who pierced the Side of Jesus

The Soldier who won the Seamless Coat

The Galilean Children

The little Daughter of Jairus

The Boy who was an Epileptic

The Lad who once had five Barley Loaves and two Fishes

A Child whom Jesus blessed


The Angels who roll the Stone away


The Child with the Crown of Thorns

The Child with the Lance

The Child with the Seamless Coat

The Child vyith the Cross

It is chilly dusk, and the soldiers have kindled a fire in a brazier before the tomb and stuck a tall torch upright in the earth between the tomb and a long stone bench. The spring flowers of the garden twinkle and flush within the torchlight’s wavering circle, and a flowering almond tree glows softly above the stone bench.One of the soldiers has stretched himself along the bench beneath the rosy tree, with feet crossed and arms clasped under his head. His helmet is on the ground within reach of his hand. Another soldier crouches beside the brazier, feeding the fire and shivering. The third paces uneasily to and fro before the sepulchre, from the

young cedar at one side of the tomb to the torch at the other, from shadow into light, and back again. The three soldiers wear the Roman insignia. The reclining soldier is the one who pierced the side of Jesus. The chilly soldier is the one who won the Seamless Coat. The restless soldier is the one who plaited the Crown of Thorns.

THE SOLDIER OF THE THORNS (pausing before the tomb and looking up at it darkly).—So here’s the end of Him and his Kingdom?

(He strikes the rock savagely with his bare hand, winces, and sucks the injured hand.)

THE SOLDIER OF THE LANCE (glancing sidewise out of the corner of his eye). — Hurt yourself?

THE THORNS. — A thorn.

THE LANCE. — Funny place to pick up a thorn.

THE THORNS. — I run it in yesterday, when I was playin’ smarty.

THE LANCE (indifferently). — Playin’ smarty?

THE THORNS (sulkily). — Plaitin’ a crown o’ thorns.

THE SOLDIER OF THE SEAMLESS COAT (looking round over his shoulder, but still warming his hands at the fire). — You was that joker, was you?

THE THORNS {ignoring the question and examining his hand by the light of the fire). — If I’d known the things could hurt so much —

(There is a thoughtful silence.)

THE COAT (turning back to the fire). — Better have it looked at. Sometimes them things swell.

THE LANCE (still indifferent). — Maybe He put a curse on your hand. I would.

THE THORNS. — You — yes! — Not Him. — He never cursed a curse all day, from the time we took Him.

THE COAT (staring into the fire and shivering).—Father, forgive them —

THE THORNS (violently).—Aw, shut your face! {He begins to pace up and down again.)

THE LANCE (yawning and stretching on the bench). — Who takes first watch? Don’t everybody speak at once!

THE COAT. — I ’d just as lief. I’m too cold to sleep, and anyway — I’d like to be awake if He — if He should —

(He glances again over his shoulder, fearfully, at the tomb).

THE LANCE (grimly). — Did you ever stick a spear into a dead man?

THE COAT (defiantly). — What’s that got to do with it?

THE LANCE. — You’d know He was dead — that’s all.

THE THORNS {pausing beside the bench). — Let’s have a look at the spear.

THE LANCE. — Left it home.

THE THORNS. — We was told to come armed.

THE LANCE. — Well, what’s a sword ?

(He draws his short sivord half out of its scabbard and thrusts it back again.) I’ve done all I want to with spears — for one while.

THE COAT (speaking hesitantly across the brazier). — You don’t think — even if He was dead — He’d — ?

THE LANCE. — Well, do you?

(There is another silence, doubtful, inconclusive.)

THE THORNS (again resuming his restless march). — That old villain, Caiaphas, ain’t afraid of the dead. Il’s the livin’ he’s out after.

THE COAT. — Them fishermen?

THE LANCE. — The trouble with the High Priest is, he thinks everybody else is as foxy as be is. But I ’m not going to lose my sleep waiting for Simon and the sons of Zebedee to hatch a plot to rob a tomb. I’d develop insomnia permanent, if I did. {He closes his eyes.)

THE THORNS. — There’s Joseph of Arimathea? — Or Nicodemus — what?

THE LANCE (still with his eyes closed). — Too respectable. Besides, they want to be convinced, themselves. And you don’t convince yourself a man’s risen from the dead by swiping his corpse; now, do you?

(He opens his eyes and looks up at the Soldier of the Thorns, who has paused by the bench. They stare at each other silently a moment, and the Soldier of the Thorns takes up his march again.)

THE COAT (shuddering). — I’ll be glad when the night’s safe over.

THE LANCE (indifferently). — Same here. Say, if you’re cold, sittin’ in the fire, what do you think I am, layin out on this frosty bench? Where’s your prophet’s mantle you won so slick yesterday afternoon? If you’re not goin’ to use it, you might tuck it round me and kiss me good-night.

(The Soldier of the Thorns laughs.)

THE COAT. — Our baby was asleep in it when I left home. He’s been sick for two days, and I ain’t had a wink o’ sleep. My wife thinks he — he — knew t he coat. He snuggled right down and dropped off, quiet as you please.

THE THORNS (moodily). — He blessed my kids, too. Great one for kids. He was.

THE LANCE (musing with his eyes shut). — Kids are all right in their place. I ’m as fond of a good kid as anybody. But a whole Kingdom come, of nothin’ but kids —

THE THORNS (with a laugh). — Well, you don’t need to worry. It’s all off.

THE COAT (tentatively). — You think there won’t nothin’ come of it?

THE LANCE(contemptuously). — He’s dead, ain’t he?

THE COAT (hesitating). — But we’re not.

THE LANCE (truculent). — What do you mean? — We’re not?

THE COAT (troubled). — Well, we’re not; are we?

THE LANCE (turning his head sidewise on the bench and regarding the Soldier of the Seamless Coat quizzically). — Feel sorter responsible, now his mantle’s descended on you, do you? (He turns his face once more to the sky and shuts his eyes.) You poor fish!

THE COAT (pondering). — They say He said the Kingdom’s inside of us.

THE THORNS. — Rome, for mine! There’s something you can take hold on.

THE COAT (puzzled). — But He never t alked against Rome.

THE LANCE (intoning, his eyes closed). — No man can serve two masters.

THE COAT (piteously). — But I can’t find no Kingdom inside of me to serve.

THE THORNS (pausing beside the brazier and looking down good-naturedly at his comrade). — Nothin’ but guts, heh? Well, guts ain’t so worse.

THE COAT. — You think He’s not goin’ to rise from the dead?

THE THORNS (noncommittal). — It ain’t mornin’ yet. What do you say, Longinus?

THE LANCE (after a pause, always with eyes shut and face turned up to the sky). — I say — there won’t be any Kingdom come unless He does rise from the dead.

(The Soldier of the Thorns returns to his beat, back and forth before the tomb.)

THE VOICE OF A CHILD (heardfrom a distance). — Not that way! This way!

THE VOICE OF ANOTHER CHILD (also heard from a distance). — Yes, yes! This way! I see a light!

A THIRD CHILD’S VOICE. — Wait for me! Wait for me! Don’t run so fast!

A FOURTH CHILD’S VOICE. — Take my hand! Upsy-daisy! Did you hurt yourself?

THE THIRD CHILD’S VOICE. — Just my toe — stubbed.

THE THORNS (peering through the dusk beyond the cedar tree, and laughing).— Here’s your robber band!

(The Galilean Children come into the firelight from round the cedar tree. They carry palms and spring flowers in their arms. The little Daughter of Jairus and a little Girl ivhom Jesus blessed are hand-in-hand. The four children stand abashed and shy when they see the Soldiers.)

THE LANCE (sitting up on the bench and putting his feet to the ground).— Hullo! Kinder late for little folks, is n’t it;?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES (with dignity). — I’m older than I look.

(The Soldiers laugh goodnaturedly.)

THE BOY WHO WAS EPILEPTIC. - Father said I might. Since the Master cured me, I don’t have to wait for grown people to take me places. Our inn is n’t far.

THE COAT {eagerly). — Cured you, did He? What of?

THE EPILEPTIC BOY (awkwardly). — I used to fall down, just anywhere. Once I fell in the lire; and — and — I was ’most drownded once — and — and — I don’t know —

THE THORNS (nodding sagely to his comrades). — Fits.

(They all nod, and stare stolidly at the hoy.)

THE LANCE (holding out his hand to Jairus’s Daughter). — Como over here and sit by me, Missy, and tell me where you live when you’re at home. You know {solemnly), us soldiers have to guard this tomb, and we can’t let suspicious-looking characters come around.

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER {going over to the bench and laying her hand in the soldier’s). — I ’m not a suspicious-looking character. My father is one of the rulers of the Synagogue in Capernaum.

THE LANCE {holding out his other hand to the little girl who has followed Jairus’s Daughter). — Galileans?

(Jairus’s Daughter sits beside him on the bench. The younger child allows him to lift her on his knee.)

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — We came up for the Passover; my family, and his, and hers, and hers. We ’re staying at the inn. Everybody said this Passover would be different from all the other Passovers. They said the Master would come into his Kingdom.

THE LANCE {quietly, stroking the child’s hair). — And what do they say now?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES (passionately). — I don’t care what t hey say.

(lie goes to the tomb and lays his palm and his flowers before the rock-bound door. Then, standing upright with face uplifted toward the tomb, and arms stretched upward, he says gently), —

Master, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

{He steps back to the fire.)

THE EPILEPTIC BOY {laying his palm, and his flowers before the tomb, and standing with uplifted face and hands). — Master, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

(He moves to one side and stands beside the torch.)

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER {slipping off the bench, crossing to the tomb, laying her palm and her flowers beside the offerings of the other two, and standing with uplifted face and hands). — Master, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

(She returns to the bench.)

THE CHILD {who has been icafching her playfellows, speaking now to the Soldier of the Lance, on whose knee she sits).

— I want to put mine up there, on top. Will you lift me up?

THE LANCE. — Sure I will!

{He carries the child to the tomb, sets her on his shoulder, and stands still while she puts her palm and her flowers on top of the tomb.)

THE CHILD {sitting on the Soldier’s shoulder and. lifting up her face a?ul her hands). — Master, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

{The Soldier of the Lance carries the child back to the bench and sits down, taking her again on his knee.)

THE THORNS {gruffly). — But He’s dead, you know, so how —

THE LANCE (interrupting angrily). — Shut your mouth, you!

THE THORNS (turning sullen). — Shut your mouth yourself! Was n’t it you said He was dead, in the first place?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER {quietly). — The Master raised me from the dead.

{There is a startled silence. The three soldiers stare, speechless, at Jairus’s Daughter. The Soldier of the Lance edges away from her slowly, along the bench. The Soldier of the Seamless Coat, squatting by the brazier, rises to his knees and clasps his hands. The Soldier of the Thorns, standing by the torch, throws out his hands in a gesture of terror, as if to keep her off.)

THE LANCE, — Who told you that, Missy?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — Ho called me.



THE COAT. — Called you?

(He glances fearfidly over his shoulder at the tomb.)

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — He said, ‘Maid, arise.’ And I heard Him, and came back again, and got up off the bed. And He told them to give me something to eat.

THE LANCE (always quietly). — How does it feel to be dead?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (simply). — I don’t know how to tell it. I came back a long way.

THE COAT (on his knees by the brazier, flinging out his hands in a gesture of entreaty, his voice trembling with eagerness). — What do you say to that, Longinus?

THE LANCE (clasping both arms round the child, and speaking moodily). — I say, there came out water and blood from the wound. What else can I say?

TIIE COAT. — The man at Bethany was four days in his grave.

THE THORNS (reluctantly). — And somebody told me there was a widow’s son at Nain —

THE LANCE (brooding, with his arms clasped tight round the child). — He saved others —

THE CHILD (on his knee). — Are you afraid He won’t wake up in time tomorrow morning?

THE LANCE. — Well, you see, ducky, He waked little sister here — maybe —but who’ll wake Him? My voiee don’t carry very far.

THE CHILD. — Oh, He’ll wake Himself. Just as I do when I say, ‘To-morrow morning I’ll wake up at six.’ And then I do wake up at six.

THE COAT. — That’s so!

THE THORNS. — And are you kids going to stay here the rest of the night?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — No; I had to promise we’d come back in half an hour, or they would n’t have let us come.

THE EPILEPTIC BOY. — My father’s discouraged. We’re starting home at dawn.

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — So is my father. He seems to think the Cross was the end of it all, when it’s only the beginning.

THE LANCE. — The beginning of what, Missy?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — Of the Kingdom.

THE THORNS (bitterly).—A fine Kingdom — a dead man on a gibbet.

THE OTHER TWO SOLDIERS (speaking together, hastily). — Sshsh-h,you!

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (tranquilly). — The Master said, only this week, ‘ I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.’ And then He was lifted up on the Cross.

THE LANCE (quizzing her gently). — And now — where’s He going to lift the rest of us up to — more crosses?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (always serene). — But I ’d so much rather be on a cross with the Master than on a throne with Herod.

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — Or on the Judgment Seat with Pilate.

THE EPILEPTIC BOY. — Or in the Holy of Holies with Caiaphas.

THE CHILD (turning on the Soldier’s knee and looking up into his face). — Would n’t you?

THE LANCE (laughing ruefully). — Well, ducky darlin’, if you put it that way — I s’pose I would.

THE THORNS (gazing at his injured hand). — If one little thorn in your hand can hurt so bad, what must it be like — ? — still —

THE COAT (wringing his hands in anguish). — I drove the nails! I drove the nails! Ah, but the Cross would be a soft bed — a soft bed indeed, for me! I’m thinkin’ I’ll never rest quiet till I’m laid on it.

(The children are gazing in round-eyed compassion at the Soldier of the Seamless Coat.)

THE LANCE {to the Soldier of the Seamless Coat, roughly). — Quit your whining, you! Do you want to scare the kids? — {To the Lad of the Loaves). — Tell us about this yere Kingdom of yours, youngster. Nobody over fourteen allowed inside, what? Infants admitted free? — Say, could n’t you squeeze me through the gate if I stooped down and crawled in? {This to the child on his knee.) — Or I could sit in the baby’s go-cart and you could push me.

THE CHILD. — Would n’t that be funny — you in a go-cart! The Master would surely laugh. But He did n’t say you had to be children.

THE LANCE. — Did n’t He, now?

THE CHILD. — No; He said—{she pauses as if recalling something) — He said, ‘Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, ho shall not enter therein.’ He said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God.’ Don’t you see? — as a little child.

THE LANCE. — Just what I said — in a go-cart; and you wheeling me!

THE CHILD (laughing, but doubtful). — But I could n’t wheel you if you were too grown-up.

THE LANCE. — But if I promise not to grow up any more?

THE CHILD (smiling, with her head on one side). — Perhaps —

THE LANCE. — And then, when we got inside — then what?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — Then you’d never be hungry any more. Nobody’s ever hungry.

THE THORNS. — That’s good hearing. How would you manage it?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — The Master would show us how. You ought to have seen Him do it — that day we were outside Bethsaida — such a crowd! My father gave me a basket of barley bread, five loaves, and acoupleof fishes, — little fellows they were. ‘You may be able to sell them,’ my father said. ‘Some of these guys are sure to go off without their lunch.’ And there was n’t anybody had anything to cat there that day — anybody but me; they did n’t know it was going to be an all-day affair, I guess. And the Master looked up to heaven and blessed the bread and the fishes, and divided it up, and everybody had some and ate all they wanted.

THE THORNS. — How many was there?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — Five thousand.

THE COAT {eagerly). — I heard about that!

THE THORNS {to the Lad). — Did you eat some?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — I ate some that was left. There was twelve baskets of broad and fish, scraps, left over.

THE THORNS. — Oh, say, kid, you dreamed it!

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — I was there.

THE COAT. — Yes; I heard about them twelve baskets.

(For a few moments there is silence.)

THE LANCE (rousing from his reverie). — Well, so that’s the first thing: no more hungry folks in your Kingdom, eh?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — In the Master’s Kingdom.

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. - But it takes more than fishes and barley bread to keep you from being hungry. In the Master’s Kingdom we shall have the Bread of God ‘ which cometh down from Heaven and giveth life unto the world.’ THE CHILD (ignoring him). — And so he said, ‘Well, you go to my vineyard, too, and you’ll get what’s right.

THE COAT. — Who said that?


THE COAT. — What is that Bread of God?


THE THORNS. — What does the kid mean, Longinus?

THE LANCE. —Why should I know? Am I a rabbi?

THE CHILD (looking up earnestly, reproachfully, into his face). — Oh, but you do know!

THE LANCE (hissing her).—Kiddie, you’re a mind-reader. (Turning to the Epileptic Boy) Well? Bread enough and to spare — barley bread and Bread of Heaven — and then what?

THE EPILEPTIC BOY. — No sick boys, like I used to he.

THE THORNS. — Not a bad idea, what! Rosy cheeks; no snuffles; everybody in bloomin’ health. Say, you kids have got the notion all right.

THE EPILEPTIC BOY. — Oh, but it’s not our notion, you know. It’s the Master’s.

THE LANCE (glancing at the tomb). — No Kingdom without the Master?

THE EPILEPTIC BOY. — How could there be?

THE THORNS (Jits eyes on the tomb). — But He’s d —

THE LANCE (interrupting hastily).— Nobody hungry; nobody sick. Now, ducky, your turn —

THE CHILD. - I know a story about the Kingdom. Shall I tell it?


THE CHILD. — It’s one of the Master’s stories. I can’t tell it as good as He could.

THE LANCE. — Never mind. We’ll make allowance. Tune up, sweetie.

THE CHILD. — Well — Once upon a time — the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man that got up early one morning and went down town to hire some laborers to work in his vineyard.

THE COAT. — So there’ll be work in the Kingdom?

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES. — Sure! Enough for all. Bread and work.

THE CHILD (shakin g her finger mildly at the lad). — You must n’t interrupt; else may be I’ll forget what came next. And the man said he’d pay them a penny a day. And they said, ‘That suits us, boss.’ And I believe that was about six o’clock in the morning. And about nine o’clock he went out to see if he could n’t get some more help. And there were still lots of men hanging round the market-place —

TIIETHORNS. — Sure! I’veseen ’em.

THE CHILD. — And he hired some more, anti said he’d give them what was right. And they said —

THE THORNS. — ‘We’re with you, boss.’

THE CHILD. — Yes; I guess that’s what they said. Only you must n’t interrupt. And at noon and at three o’clock there was still such a lot of work to be done in the vineyard that he hired some more, and some more.

TIIE THORNS. — In luck, was n’t they?

THE CHILD (sternly).—You must n’t interrupt. And at five o’clock, just an hour before closing time, he said, ‘See here, if I ’m going to finish this job to-day, I’ve got to hustle — ’

(The Soldiers laugh delighted!)

THE CHILD. — And so he went to the market-place one more last time, and he said to the men that were there, ‘What are you fellows loafin’ round here all day for, doin’ nothin?’ And they said, ‘Because we can’t find a job.’

THE THORNS (to the Lance). — Smart kid, what?

THE THORNS. — And they said —

THE CHILD (regarding him with geiitle disapproval). — They did n’t say anything. They just went.

THE THORNS {laughing). — The worldn’ men I know ain’t so trustin’.

THE CHILD. — Oh, but wait till you hear. This is the best part of the story. Because in the evening, the man said to his foreman: ‘Call the men and pay them; and pay the ones that were hired last, first.’ And every man that was hired at five o’clock in the afternoon got a penny. Now, what do you think of that?

THE COAT. — That sure was white of the boss, was n’t it?

THE CHILD. — And then, of course, the ones that had been working since six in the morning thought they were going to get more. But they did n’t. Just the penny they said they’d work for. That’s all they got. And so then they made a fuss and said it was n’t fair, because they had worked all day, and the others only an hour. But the man said — let me see if I can remember the words. — The man — said — ‘Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.’

(There is a pause, during which the three Soldiers glance at each other amusedly, and wink, over the child’s head.)

THE LANCE. — You’re sure you got the last part of the story straight, kiddie?

THE CHILD {astonished). — Yes!

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — Yes; she got it straight.

THE LANCE. - And you t hink it was fair?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. - For everybody to have as much as he needs to live on? Why, yes! Don’t you?

THE LANCE. — Whether they work for it or not?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — Oh, but t hey did work for it, as long as they were given a chance to work. There they stood in the market-place, ready to be hired. Could they help it if nobody hired them till five o’clock?

THE LANCE (smiling). — It’s a new idea in business, that’s all.

THE CHILD. — Why is it new?

THE LANCE. — Say, ducky, ask me another.

THE COAT. — Just the same, it’s a fine story, little darlin’; and you told it fine. If it ain’t true, it ought to be.

THE CHILD. — But it is true — once upon a time, in the Kingdom.

THE LANCE (to ,Jaims’s Daughter). — And now you, little Missy; what else is true in the Kingdom, once upon a time?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (with her tranquil smile). — Everybody’ll be alive, in the Kingdom.

THE THORNS. — Alive!— What ’s the matter with us?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER. — Oh, I don’t mean just breathing and eating and walking and talking. I mean, really alive — like the Master.

THE COAT. — The Master!

' (He turns from the fire, on his knees, and gazes at the tomb with praying hands.)

THE THORNS. — The Master! But He’s —

(He pauses, his eyes fixed on the tomb.)

THE LANCE (gently, looking over his shoulder at the tomb. — And if the Master — is n’t —

(A voice in the distance, calling.)

VOICE. — Children! — Children!

THE CHILD. — Mother’s calling. We must go.

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (to the Soldier of the Lance). — And if the Master isn’t what?

THE LANCE. — Nothing. No matter. — So you don’t think I’m alive, Missy?

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (rising to go, and regarding him thoughtfully). — Coming alive.

VOICE. — Children! — Bedtime!

THE LAD OF TIIE LOAVES. — Coming! — Coming!

TIIE EPILEPTIC BOY (pausing before the door of the tomb). — Thy Kingdom come!

THE LAD OF THE LOAVES (pausing before the door of the tomb). — Thy will he done!

JAIRUS’S DAUGHTER (pausing before the door of the tomb). — On earth as it is in heaven!

(The three move away from the door, looking back lingeringly at the tomb, as they disappear one by one beyond the cedar.)

THE CHILD (slipping off the knee of the Soldier of the Lance, running to the tomb, and laying her cheek against the rocky door). — Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the Kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest!

(She runs out after the others, beyond the cedar.)

VOICE. — Children!

CHILDREN (from a distance). — Coming!

(The Soldier of the Seamless Coat puts more twigs on the fire. The Soldier of the Thorns begins his slow, steady beat, up and down before the tomb. The Soldier of the Lance stretches out once more on the bench. There is a brief silence.)

THE LANCE (looking over his shoulder at the Soldier of the Thorns). — How’s a fellow to get his forty winks, with you clankin’ up an’ down, clankin’ up an’ down — ?

THE THORNS. — Nerves. That’s what’s the matter with you.

(He slumps down with his back against the cedar and his legs sprawled out oil the ground before him.)

TIIE COAT. - I don’t believe the little kid got twisted in her story. I believe He told it that way. It would be like Him.

THE THORNS. — I don’t know what I believe.

(He yawns, and presently his head drops forward on his chestand he sleeps.)

THE COAT (stretching out on the ground by the brazier). — I, if I be lifted up—lifted up. A soft bed — Cross. Never rest quiet — never rest quiet — till I’m laid on it. (He sleeps, murmuring) Never rest quiet — cold. Rest on the Cross. (In his sleep he turns on his back and flings his arms out on the ground in the shape of a cross.) I — if I be lifted up — lifted up—all men unto me.

THE TIIORNS (wincing in his sleep). — If I’d known that one little thorn could — Father, they know not what they do — Father, forgive them.

(There is silence for a brief space.)

TIIE LANCE (lying on the bench with face upturned to the stars and eyes closed). — Coming alive! — Coming! — Coming alive!

Silence. The Soldiers sleep. From behind the flowering almond tree their dreams come drifting in. The Soldiers are dreaming of children.

The Soldier of the Thorns dreams of a child with shadowy hair and clad in a dim, filmy purple gown. She bears a purple cushion in her two hands. There is a crown of thorns on the cushion. Noiselessly the child passes before the Soldier and kneels beside him, her shoulder against his. Their two faces are turned the one way, side by side. His eyes are shut, for he is asleep; but the eyes of his Dream are set wide open, gazing upon the crown of thorns out-held upon the purple cushion.

The Dream of the Soldier of the Lance slips round the almond tree and sits at his head, o?i the bench. She has a tall spear. She is a little pray dream, bid there are silver gleams within her gray veils, and the veil over her hair is bound with a silver circlet. She sits with little gray feet dangling from the bench, steadying herself with clasped hands against the upright spear. Her small face looks straightforward, wide-eyed.

The Soldier of the Seamless Coat dreams of a child with pale, flying hair, and a dim, blue transparent gown. In her right hand she holds three great iron nails. Over her left arm hangs, fold on floating fold, a dim blue cloak. The child kneels above her prostrate Soldier and, holds the three nails over his face. The cloak, thin as a shadow, trails, a dark pool on the ground about her knees. Her eyes are on the three nails.

Yet, another Dream comes presently from behind the almond tree and stands beside the brazier. The three soldiers sigh. The fourth Dream is a russet-brown child, translucent in the firelight. This little Dream carries a cross.

THE THORNS(in the monotone of one who talks in his sleep). — Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the palace and gathered unto him the whole band, and they stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe. And t hey plaited a crown of thorns (the voice falters), a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand, and they kneeled down before him and mocked him saying, Hail, King of the Jews (the voice falters). And they spat upon him and took the reed and smote him on the head.

THE COAT (crying out). — When they had mocked him, they took off from him the robe and put on him his garments and led him away to crucify him. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments among them (the voice falters) casting lots. And they sat and watched him t here.

THE LANCE (in a thoughtful monotone).— Jesus said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

THE THORNS (in his level voice). — The soldiers led him away within the court which is the Prsetorium, and they call together the whole band. And they clothe him in purple, and plaiting a crown of thorns (the voice falters), they put it on him and they began to salute him, Hail King of the Jews. And they smote his head with a reed and did spit upon him and bowing their knees worshiped him.

THE LANCE (in his musing voice). — He said unto him, Verily I say unto thee to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

THE COAT (in a clear, high voice). — When they had mocked him, they took off from him the purple and put on him his garments, And they lead him out to crucify him. And they crucify him (the voice falters), and part his garments among them casting lots upon them (the voice falters), what each should take. And it was the third hour.

THE LANCE(gently). — He saith unto his Mother, Woman behold thy son.

THE COAT (in anguish). — Casting lots upon them!

THE LANCE (gently). — Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mot her.

THE THORNS(steadily).—Herod with his soldiers set him at nought and mocked him, and arraying him in gorgeous apparel, sent him back to Pilate.

THE COAT (crying out restlessly). — Parting his garments, they cast lots, and the people stood by beholding.

THE LANCE (in his inward, brooding voice). — Jesus saith, I thirst,

THE THORNS (in his slow monotone). — The soldiers plaited a crown of thorns (the voice falters) and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple garment (the voice falters). They struck him with their hands.

THE LANCE (softly).—About the nint h hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying (in agony), My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

THE COAT (in the monotone of sleep),

— The soldiers, therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also the coat. Now the coat (the voice falters) was without scam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore one to another, Let us not rend it but cast lots for it whose it shall be (the voice falters). These things therefore the soldiers did.

(The Dream of the Seamless Coat rises to her feet, spreads unde the blue shadowy veil of the dream cloak and lays it over the Soldier, covering him. Then she kneels again.)

THE LANCE (quietly). — When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished.

THE THORNS (absorbed in his dream). — The soldiers plaited a crown of thorns and put it on his head.

THE COAT (absorbed in his dream). — Let us not rend it but cast lots for it whose it shall be.

THE LANCE (absorbed in his dream). — When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit. And having said this, he gave up the ghost.

THE COAT (absorbed in his dream). — Casting lots upon them, what each should take.

THE THORNS (absorbed in his dream). — They plaited a crown of thorns and put it on his head.

THE LANCE (absorbed in his dream). — But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs, howboit one of the soldiers with a spear (the voice falters) pierced his side; and straightway there came out blood and water. And he that hath seen hath borne witness and his witness is true (in terrible anguish). They shall look on him whom they pierced.

(A space of silence. The dreams turn and bless their Soldiers with the sign of the Cross. The Dream with the Cross exalts his Cross slowly.)

THE THORNS (in his dream). — Thy Kingdom come.

THE COAT (in his dream). — Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

THE LANCE (in his dream). — Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest!

(The Dream of the Seamless Coat gathers up the dream coat. The Dream with the Cross exalts the Cross. The four dreams, bearing aloft the symbols of the Passion, go past the tomb in slow procession, with the Cross leading them, and out beyond the almond tree.)

THE LANCE (crying out with a joyful voice in his sleep, as the dreams vanish). — Behold, by the Cross joy hath come to the whole world!

THE THORNS. — By the Cross!

THE COAT. — Joy!

THE LANCE. — Hath come to the whole World!

Silence. The soldiers sleep. The white-robed angels of the Resurrection come from behind the tomb. They scatter the palms and flowers of the Galilean Children in a little pathway before the tomb. They set their winged shoulders to the great stone and roll it slowly, quietly, away from the mouth of the tomb. They stand, one on each side of the open doorway of the tomb, their great wings arched above their bowed heads, their reverent hands folded over their eyes. The Soldiers sleep. Silence. The darkness before dawn.