4 (men begin to gather)

MEN BEGIN TO gather from all quarters,

from across the, seas, the mountains and pathless wastes,

They come from the valley of the Nile and the banks of the Ganges,

from the snow-sunk uplands of Thibet,

from high-walled cities of glittering towers,

from the dense dark- tangle of savage wilderness.

Some walk, some ride on camels, horses and elephants,

on chariots with banners vieing with the clouds of dawn,

The priests of all creeds burn incense, chanting verses as they go.

The monarchs march at the head of their armies,

lances flashing in the sun and drums beating loud.

Ragged beggars and courtiers pompously decorated,

agile young scholars and teachers burdened with learned age jostle each other in the crowd.

Women come chatting and laughing,

mothers, maidens and brides,

with offerings of flowers and fruit,

sandal paste and scented water.

Mingled with them is the harlot,

shrill of voice and loud in tint and tinsel.

The gossip is there who secretly poisons the well of human sympathy and chuckles.

The maimed and the cripple join the throng with the blind and the sick,

the dissolute, the thief and the man who makes a trade of his God for profit and mimics the saint.

'The fulfilment!'

They dare not talk aloud,

but in their minds they magnify their own greed,

and dream of boundless power,

of unlimited impunity for pilfering and plunder,

and eternity of feast for their unclean gluttonous flesh.