William Shakespeare’s Dune Act II, Scene iv.

The Conservatory of Arrakeen.


JES: An airlock in a house? Then what’s the matter
To be so secret kept from we who dwell
Within it? Here are words above the latch:
“O man, a portion of the Lord’s Design
Learn then Thy Friend Supreme’s perfection pure.”
Canopus’ deadly white by filter glass
Is yellowed that it nourish all these plants
And turn a portion of this deadly waste
Into a garden, nurturing t’the soul:
Mimosa, pleniscenta, e’en the rose
Do offer comfort to the hung’ring eye
But at the cost of thirst to those without.
A cruel display of wealth in gentle clothes.
But ho! A message left by one who’s gone:
“To Lady Jessica: Do let this room
Give you the comfort it has given me.
But let it also bring to mind this rede
Our teachers did impress on us. A thing
Too dear and close doth tempt us to indulge.
On that path danger lies. I wish you well.
Margot the Lady Fenring, by my hand.”
“On that path danger lies?” The code our school
Demands a Bene Gesserit shall use
To warn another of a hidden code.
Where hath she left her subtler message then?
This leaf! I feel the ciphers of our youth:
“Thy son and Duke in mortal danger stand.
A room hath been designed to tempt thy son
With death-traps overfilled, perchance that one
May even ‘scape detection by thy men.
I know not what the threat may be save this:
That sleep, restorer of men’s weary souls
May be by this converted into death.
The plot against thy Duke doth hinge upon
Betrayal by an unsuspected hand
That’s close to him: Harkonnen plans to give
Thyself as gift to some base thrall of his.
This room is safe. I beg you will forgive
These darksome hints, but I can tell no more.
Because my spies are few within the ranks
Of foes that to oppose thee. Yours, MF.

Enter PAUL

JES: What is that, son within thy hand that’s white
And trembles even now?

PAUL:                                    A hunter-seeker.
I caught it in my room and shattered it.

JES: Immerse it, and let water drown its spark!

PAUL: Tis dead. But this room’s maze could hide a score
Of threats as likely.

JES:                             I’ve a cause to think
Tis safe.

PAUL:            So Hawat said my room was safe.
His men do search the house for this thing’s guide.
Harkonnen malice. We must kill them all.


GUARD: Young lord, with seeker console we did find
A man sealed up in brick, to take your life.

JES: I would take part in questioning this churl.

GUARD: Apologies, my lady: he is dead.

PAUL: Was he an Arrakeen, or was he not?

GUARD: He hath the native look, and by the brick
That hid him, he was like the anchorite
A month entombed to wait our coming hence.
But yesterday there was no sign of him

PAUL: Send my father word we’ll be delayed.

GUARD: Ay, sir. What of this place? Is it secure?

JES: Both Hawat and myself pronounce it safe.

GUARD: Then here we’ll guard you both until tis safe.


JES: This wing I left, the last to inspect myself

PAUL: Because that Hawat swore that it was safe.

JES: Distrust you him?

PAUL:                                                His age, but not himself.

JES: He hath three lives of the Atreides served
And kept them safe. Much honor he hath earned.
What worries thee? Thou speakest not thy mind.

PAUL: The Shadout Mapes, whose life the seeker sought
In place of mine did pay me back in coin
Intelligent, and said that we’d within
Our service some Harkonnen traitor hid.

JES: And ay this note             thy story doth confirm
From such a source as has no cause to lie.

PAUL: My father must be told. I’ll signal him.

JES: Tell not thy father ‘til you see his face.

PAUL: Shall we withdraw our trust from every man?

JES: Not so: we must consider honest men
Who have no wish to hurt us may themselves
Yet be deceived, and these dark warnings sown
But to engender us to doubt ourselves
And so divide us when we must be whole.
Thy father must be warned of this as well.

PAUL: I doubt not Hawat. What of Yueh, then?

JES: He hateth the Harkonnen more than we.

PAUL: The glaring star they call their sun doth set.
And Lo! A star beneth th’horizon blinks!

JES: A signal in no code that I can read
It is our enemies that thus converse.


GUARD: The way is clear, the Duke awaits his son.