William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act V, Scene i.

Cave of Birds.
Jessica’s outer quarters.

In the inner quarters, PAUL lies unconscious

Enter CHANI and OTHEYM where JESSICA waits.

OTH: I have brought Chani, Reverend Mother.

He waits without the door.

JESS:                                                                          Aye.
How doth my grandson Leto in the south?

CHA: My mother, he is healthy. I have left
Him with Alia and with Harah, where
I thought I also should remain, because
Muad’Dib would have it so, while he fought on
Is there then news of vic’try in the field?

JESS: Of victory we’ve news. Rabban hath sent
Us emissaries asking after truce,
And we have sent them home without their water.
He thinks to win the villages to him
By lightening their burdens, but they know
He does it out of fear, and could he by
Some miracle turn back our swelling tide
He’d but redouble scourges on their backs,
And that his mercy feigned cloaks naked fear.

CHA: Thus it goeth as Muad’Dib hath said.

JESS: In the south th’oases bloom with life.
Do you not long to see the day when all
The planet flowers, bringing forth its fruit?

CHA: The land is beautiful, but full of grief.

JESS: And grief is oft the price of victory.

CHA: When I was summoned north, some jealousy
Awoke among the women without men.

JESS: I summoned you to come out of the south.

CHA: The message calling me was signed Muad’Dib
And flew upon a ‘thopter’s wings, of which
We have too few to spend on trivial things.

JESS: I signed it thus, and in the presence of
His Fedaykin, who did assent to it
Out of a need that could not be denied.

CHA: Now you may say the thing which must be said.

JESS: I needed you to help revive Usul.

CHA: What is it I may do? Speak not in riddles.

JESS: Harkonnen hath, I think an agent sent
Armed with an unction potent, but of such
Subtility that I cannot discern
Its working, and hath poisoned Paul therewith.

CHA: A poison? Doth he bear much hurt of it?

JESS: He lieth so unconscious that no pulse
Doth show he liveth yet. No warmth, no breath,
But stiff and stark and cold appears like death.
And life appears but to the trained eye.
I shudder but to contemplate who else
Might have discovered him and thought him dead,
And doomed him living to the funeral rites.

CHA: You have not called me for bare courtoisie.
What is it I may do that you could not?

JESS: Though it be hard to fathom, I know not.
All I can do, that have I done, and all
That I can do is done at last in vain
Despite it being more than men can guess,
When some compulsion whispered, as it were
Unto my inmost soul, “Call Chani hence.”
And so you hither came, but I have failed.

CHA: The old lieutenant: could he be the spy?

JESS: Not Gurney.

CHA:                          Take me to my love at once!

JESSICA leads CHANI to the inner chamber.

JESS: He liveth: hold to that, though seeming dead.
The spark of life hath not yet fled, though some
Among the leaders say the mother speaks
And not the Reverend Mother, that I shrink
From giving up his water to the tribe,
And that my son is truly dead indeed.

CHA: How long hath he been so like unto death?

JESS: For three full weeks he hath in coma lain.
I tried by every art I do possess
His body to revivify i’the first.
The Fedaykin obey my orders still
Or I’d have not so long delayed the rites
Would I or no, and even as it is
I must have brought my every art of speech
Diplomacy and argument to bear
To keep him thus, by others undisturbed.

CHA: How can he thus take food and drink to live?

JESS: His flesh demands them not, so like to death
Hath his metabolism now become.

CHA: How many know of what afflicteth him?

JESS: The Fedaykin, some leaders of great trust
Beside of course, the poisoner himself.

CHA: What say the Fedaykin regarding this?

JESS: That Paul lies in a sacred trance, and doth
His holy powers gather for the war
That we may win the final victory.
These thoughts I have encouraged in the men.

CHA: Those born not to the spice, or any thing
Can suffer illness when they eat too much.
Could this be true of Paul?

JESS:                                      No allergy
Within his blood could I at length detect.

CHA: When you within yourself the sacred Water
Change that we may share in oneness, it
Is done by inward consciousness. Have you
His blood so tested?

JESS:                          Normal Fremen blood.

CHA: Have we a maker here?

JESS:                                      Aye, several.
We never are without them: every raid
Requires a blessing, every victory
A celebration. Rite on rite on rite.

CHA: But Paul Muad’Dib doth not endure these rites.

JESS: How do you know of this?

CHA:                                                  These things are said.

JESS: Too much is “said.” Too few control their tongues.

CHA: Provide me raw the Water of the Maker.

JESS: At once.

JESS exits and returns, bearing a vessel of the Water of Life.

CHANI dips her finger in the water and touches PAUL’s nose with it. He inhales and begins to move.

JESS:                          What is this madness, i’God’s name?

CHA: Be still and change this Water, double-quick!

PAUL: There is no need for her to change the Water.

JESS:  You drank the sacred Water!

PAUL:                                                 But one drop.
So small a thing. A single bead of it.

JESS: How could you such a foolish thing attempt?

CHA: He is your son.

PAUL:                         Hear my beloved’s voice.
She knoweth me and thee more than ourselves.

CHA: What others do, that he must do as well.

PAUL: I knew when I had tasted it I could
Do this that thou hast done, and more besides.
The Bene Gesserit within their halls
Speak of the Kwisatz Haderach, but know
No shadow of the things that I have seen
Nor cannot comprehend where I have been
In these few minutes. Chani, art thou here?
How art thou come so soon from southern lands?

JESS: ‘So soon.’ This three-week hast thou lain abed
In coma so alike to death that I
Was forced to argue that thou wast not dead!

PAUL: I drank the Water but a breath ago.

JESS: A breath I held through three long weeks of fear.

PAUL: A single drop, yet I converted it
And changed the Water that no man may drink.

He drinks more of the Water of Life. JESSICA screams.

PAUL: You speak of where you cannot look: the place
No Reverend Mother dares to look. Now turn
And show it me within thine inward eye.

JESS: No! It is terrible!

PAUL:                         Show it to me!

CHA: Reverend Mother, what’s the matter?

JESS:                                                              Help!
O I am spent, my strength is wrung from me.

CHA: Sit here. Hath he in truth the Water seen?

JESS: He hath seen, and I have glimpsed a place
Through him that no remembered spirit kept
Within my mind doth recognize or know.

CHA: What hath ta’en place?

JESS:                                      Demand no more of me.

PAUL: Within us all an ancient force resides
That takes, and yet an ancient force that gives.
A man can face that place within himself
Where dwells the taking force: it is his strength.
But he may not behold the giving force
Without the danger that he might become
What is no man, and trembles at the thought
So violently that he must turn aside
And flee than risk that death of ego-self.
For woman, the two places stand reversed.
Dost understand me, Mother? These dark things
So ancient they reside in every cell
That make our bodies shape our very lives
And cannot with dispassion be beheld.
When thou look’st inwardly upon the force
Of thine own life unshielded and unclothed
The peril roars at thee and threatens then
To quite unwoman thee, and tear thy soul.
The greatest danger to the force that gives
Is that which takes. To the Taker, that which gives.
One may be whelmed by giving as by taking.

JESS: And art thou she who gives, or he who takes?

PAUL: I at the fulcrum stand and cannot give
Unless I take, and neither can I take
Unless I give.

OTHEYM exits in haste.

PAUL: That was Otheym. He was listening.

JESS: And he will spread the tale across the land
Of this that he hath seen, that Muad’Dib
Is not as other men, that he doth look
Into the Water of the Life as though
He were a Reverend Mother, and must then
Be that Lisan al-Gaib, as we have thought.
Paul, thou hast seen the future. Wilt thou speak
Of all that thou hast seen, of what shall come?

PAUL: The future? Nay, but I have seen the Now.
The space above Arrakis teems with ships
The Guild hath lent to bring this world to heel.
The Padishah our Emperor is there,
And hath five legions of the Sardaukar
Commanded to this place, along with her
Who is his Truthsayer to guide his feet.
Harkonnen, too, is there with seven ships
Crammed to the outer hulls with every man
That he could pay or press to serve in arms
With Thufir Hawat sadly serving him.
Yea, ev’ry Great House in th’Imperium
Hath each its ship of raiders hence dispatched,
And like the vultures that they are, they wait?

JESS: What waiteth this armada then upon?

PAUL: The Spacing Guild hat not permitted them
A landing on Arrakis, and will strand
What ship doth dare to land without their leave.

JESS: The Guild doth shelter us from this great force?

PAUL: Protect us? T’was the Guild that brought them here!
The Guild that hath the rumors of our deeds
Unto the skies discrowned so published
And, having like a landlord of the stews
So dropped their passage rates that any House
Despite their poverty may purchase place
For warriors to loot our homeworld’s wealth.
Thou, Mother, must the sacred Water change
That we may use it as a catalyst,
And Chani, thou must send a scouting force
To find a pre-spice mass, that we may set
The changed Water over it. What next
Shall happen you may well imagine.

JESS: Paul!

PAUL:         It shall to Killing Water turn
And spread a chain-reaction through the sands.
And all the little makers, who become
The makers, and produce the spice shall die,
A desert then Arrakis make indeed
Without the spice or maker to be found.
Who can destroy a thing controlleth it,
And we alone can now destroy the spice.

JESS: What holds the Spacing Guild’s dread hand from us,
Full of such deadly weapons poised to strike?

PAUL: They search for me. But think of it: the Guild,
Its finest navigators, who do quest
Ahead through time, to find the folds in space
That bring their fastest ships to port in peace
Across the timelines search for me in vain.
They know I have their secret here and tremble
That I might soon pluck out their very eyes.

CHA: You said you see not future but the now.

PAUL: I see the timelines merging in this place
Because it holds the spice, and spice is light
To them that see the future, and the Guild
Hath not dared here to grasp that source of light
Lest they themselves do alter what they seek
To see most clearly, but most desperate
They are become, now all paths lead to night.

Exeunt omnes.