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The Dramatic Works of G. E. Lessing Part 101

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NATHAN.

Well.

DAJA.

Forgive me, Knight, That I must interrupt you.

NATHAN.

 

What has happened?

DAJA.

The Sultan sends for you--commands you straight To speak with him. Protect us, Heaven! the Sultan!

NATHAN.

The Sultan sends for me! He would inspect The goods--the precious wares that I have brought From Persia. Say there's nothing yet unpacked.

DAJA.

No, no; 'tis not to look at anything; He wants to speak to you in person, Nathan, And orders you to come at once.

NATHAN.

I go.

Daja, return.

DAJA.

Knight, take it not amiss.

We were alarmed for what the Sultan might Require of Nathan.

NATHAN.

That I soon shall know. (_Exit Daja_.)

Scene VII.

Nathan, _the_ Templar.

TEMPLAR.

Are you then not acquainted with him yet?

NATHAN.

Who, Saladin? Not yet. I've neither shunned Nor sought to see him. And the public voice Proclaims his fame so loud, that I could wish Rather to take its language upon trust, Than sift the truth. And yet if it be true That he has spared your life----

TEMPLAR.

Yes, so it is.

The life I live, he gave.

NATHAN.

Then he bestows A double, treble life on me. And thus He flings a bond around me, which secures My duty to his service; and henceforth I burn to know his wishes. Now, for all I am prepared; and further, will confess 'Tis for your sake alone that I am thus.

TEMPLAR.

Often I've sought to meet him, but as yet Have found no means to render him my thanks.

The impress which his mind received of me Was transient, and ere now has disappeared.

Who knows if he may still remember me?

And yet once more at least he must recall Me to his thoughts--to fix my future lot!

'Tis not enough that by his gracious will I still have of life; I've yet to learn According to whose will I have to live.

NATHAN.

Therefore 'twere well I did not tarry now.

Perchance some happy word may give excuse To speak of you. Now, pardon me, farewell!

I must away. When shall we meet again?

TEMPLAR.

Whenever 'tis permitted.

NATHAN.

When you will.

TEMPLAR.

To-day, then.

NATHAN.

And your name?

TEMPLAR.

My name was--is-- Conrad of Stauffen.

NATHAN.

Conrad of Stauffen! Stauffen!

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