William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act II, Scene iii.

PAUL: The drugs of Dr. Yueh may be quick
As any true apothecary, yet
My hand is quicker and I shall essay
This new and wondrous dwelling to explore
Without the need to trouble sire or dam
And court their certain disapproving frowns.
So herein I will imitate a son
Who disobeys no orders, hearing none.

The headboard of PAUL’s bed folds down.
A hunter-seeker slips from within it.

A hunter-seeker! O, now I am slain!
Why did I cast my shield upon the bed?
But soft: in this dim light, its camera-eye
That guides that needle, sharp as serpent’s tooth
Will be distorted, both within the field
That holds it up, and by this darkened room.
I’ll hold me still as any carven stone
Memorial that ornaments a tomb
And hope to ‘scape such residence, myself
And hope it sees no motion, and no mark.
I must essay to snatch it en passant
And grip as tight as death I hope to cheat.
I dare not cry alarm, lest that dread spike
Repay my rescuer in mortal coin.

Enter the Shadout MAPES.
The hunter-seeker flies at her.
PAUL grabs it, and smashes it against the door.

MAPES: Your father has sent men for you. They bide
Without. I’ve heard of suchlike as you hold.
It would have killed me, lord. Is it not so?

PAUL: I was its target.

MAPES:                                  Yet it struck at me.

PAUL: It would have flown at anything that moved.

MAPES: You saved my life.

PAUL:                                                I saved us both, withal.

MAPES: Yet sacrificing me, you might have fled.

PAUL: Who art thou?

MAPES:                      Shadout Mapes, the housekeeper.

PAUL: Well, then, and how didst thou find me here?

MAPES: Your noble mother. She is in the room
Of weirding, down the hall. Thy father’s men—

PAUL: Go to them. Bid them spread throughout the house
To find the pilot of this deadly dart
That I have caught. Let no man from this house
Or grounds escape. Who piloted this thing
Will be unknown to us. They’ll know their course.

MAPES: Before, young sir, I carry out your will
I must not leave the way between us weighed
With this great water-burden you have placed
Upon me: The Fremen do pay all their debts
The black and white together, and we know
That you’ve a traitor hidden in your midst.
Perhaps this hand did guide that winged knife.


PAUL: O strange new world, that hath such people in’t
And weirder than their rooms is their intent!

Exit PAUL.