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

Act III, Scene iii.

A rocky desert plain. A stilltent.

Enter PAUL and JESSICA from the tent

PAUL: Now Harkonnen shall Harkonnen slay.

JESS (aside): I dreamed a dream of writing in the sand
The name of my dear Leto, yet the script
Of my first letter faded and was filled
Ere I could write the last, and then it seemed
I heard my mother fading from my sight
When I was yet an infant. Her I knew
Not ever in this waking life, who bore
Me for the Sisters Bene Gesserit.
And now I dream of her, to anchor me
Alone in this sad world of shifting sand.

PAUL: We’ll hit them where they bleed, their vital spice.

JESS: A planet full of spice, how hit you that?

PAUL: The Fremen are the key, or knife, to that.

JESS: No sign of Duncan, on the air no word?

PAUL: No word but this, he hath before he left
Said he could swear to hold this length of time
If he were ta’en by brute Harkonnen force.
I must collapse the tent, and then we fly.

He collapses and packs the tent

JESS: The lasguns of our foe with violet fire
Are all that answers signals of our men
Upon yon ridge, and we can only watch
Their jetflares lift dark wings of desert doom.

PAUL: They stamp them out as t’were a nest of bugs.

JESS: A nest of poor Atreides’ oathsworn men.

PAUL: But soft! An ornithopter’s laden wings.
Convey we us behind this rock and wait.


IDAHO: My Lord, the Fremen have a shelter near.

PAUL: Man, what about the battle on that height?

IDAHO: I have secreted somewhat they may find
Surprising on that promontory peak.

A flash with explosive thunder. IDAHO throws PAUL and JESSICA to cover.

JESS: The family atomics hast thou loosed?

PAUL: A shield, rather hast thou planted there.

IDAHO: Full force and large it was, a lasgun beam
Did touch it and the rest is history.

JESS: With subatomic fusion thus to toy
Is weapon dangerous to any man.

IDAHO: Not weapon, but defense: they’ll not soon dare
To hunt our blood with lasguns yet again.
But such a pyrotechnic show of force
Will draw their eye, and we must get to ground.
Sire, you lack a shield. Wish you mine?

PAUL: Thy right arm is my shield, so keep thou thine.

KYNES: This way, my Lord, and see you do not fall.


JESS: His father’s title now he wears, and lo
Commands his people as the Duke he is
With trust in them I would I had for him.