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To my friend



Thy rays are upon Thy Bright Image, the Ruler of Truth, Who Proceeded from eternity. Thou givest Him Thy duration and Thy years. Thou hearkenest to all that is in His heart, for Thou lovest Him. Thou makest Him like unto the Aton, Him, Thy Child, the King. Thou lookest on Him, for He proceeded from Thee. . . . Thou hast Placed Him beside Thee till the swan turns black and the crow turns white, till the hills move to travel and till water flows-upstream. While Heaven is, He shall be.”

(From an inscription in the tomb of Aahmose, at Tell-el-Amarna.)

Thou art eternal, Nefer-kheperu-ra Ua-en-ra Living and sound art Thou, for He begat Thee.”

(From an inscription in the tomb of Ay, at Tell-el-Amarna.)



ZETUT-NEFERU-ATON, a young woman, follower of King Akhnaton.

HORMOSE, high-priest of Aton.

ABNEBA, a middle-aged woman, follower of King Akhnaton.

SUTA, a young man, follower of King Akhnaton.

APIY, another man, follower of King Akhnaton.

NEFERHETEP, high-priest of Amon.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD (of King Horemheb).

NEKHTAMON, priest of Amon of high rank.

SEBEKHETEP, officer of the Guard (of King Horemheb), friend of the Captain of the Guard.

FOLLOWERS of King Akhnaton’s forbidden creed.



SPIES in the pay of King Horemheb, and of the priests of Amon.

The scene is in the pillared court of the temple of Gem-Atom its Thebes. The Place, already officially desecrated, shelters the gatherings of the last followers of King Akhnaton—worshippers of the “Heat-and-Light-within-the-Sun”—under King Horemheb, deadly enemy of their creed, in the second Part of the fourteenth century before Christ. The action takes place on the day of the Summer solstice, in the third year of Horemheb’s reign. It begins before sunrise and finishes the same day after sunset. The whole play is staged in the same “décor”—the open court mentioned above.





(The scene is dark. The sun has not yet risen. The woman, who has come first to the gathering place, decks the altar in the middle of the court with flowers. Then she goes up to a desecrated statue of King Akhnaton, half hacked to pieces by the enemies of the Religion of the Disk. She addresses it, and embraces it.)


Hail, Everlasting One, Son of the living Sun, like unto Him without ceasing (In a whisper, putting her arms around the statue)—Akhnaton!

My Lover, my Loved One, my King, my God! Glory to Thee in the splendour of the starry night—in the radiance of all the distant suns! Glory to Thee in the coming dawn!

Glory to Thee in the adoring desire which makes me all Thine. Glory to Thee in the mystery of love. I love Thee!

In a few minutes the faithful will gather, and once more this desolate temple will echo with the Thy praise. Once more, as in Thy days of glory, they will proclaim Thee Lord of the World, the last time, perhaps, for


Thy holy places are desecrated, and the world has yielded to Thine enemies.

But I have worshipped Thee as Thou alone knowest, and Thou hast lived in me and made me divine. My love, my God! The law of the land can seek to destroy Thee, the faithful themselves can submit and forget Thee, but I love Thee. I fear not the death of the flesh, nor the loss of all that the beautiful world means to me. For my flesh knows the sacred ecstasy of which no words can tell. The deepest recess of Thy true sanctuary, hidden to men, is full of Thee—full of the rhythmical throb of life eternal. Indeed, Thou art the Sun. Thou fillest me with fire and harmony. The incense of thrice holy pleasure rises through me to Thee, from the bowels of the loving Earth. My Lover, my God! There is no law for me save to worship Thee with all my being!

Alone—I am alone with Thee, feeling Thy love and Thy life in me for a few minutes more. Oh, to be alone with Thee for ever! My Lover, my Loved One!—to feel Thee in me, and never to awake from the ecstasy of oneness! To forget time, distance, all differences . . . to feel nothing, to be nothing but the pulsation of everlasting Life that Thou enjoyest, Thou, my Sun, my Love, my God!

(She slowly slips away from the statue, which she holds embraced as the faithful enter the scene, and joins them)




the Religion of the Disk-about a dozen in all. SPIES.)

The High Priest stands before the altar with his attendants and ZETUT-NEFERU-ATON. The few worshippers are behind them. There are musicians, Playing on stringed instruments and drums, seated on the floor in oriental fashion. First, music alone, soft and subdued. Then the voice of the High Priest, HORMOSE, reciting the actual Hymn to the Sun, Akhnaton’s own composition.


“Thou restest in the Western horizon,
And the world is in darkness like the dead.

The night shines with all its lights,
The world is in silence,
For He Who made all things is in His horizon.”

(These words are recited to the accompaniment of very soft music. Then the Sun rises in glory and floods the scene with light. the faithful extend their hands towards Him and adore Him. The High Priest throws incense upon the altar, and, while triumphant music greets the Sun, he continues the recitation of the hymn)

“Beautiful is Thy dawning in the horizon of heaven,
Living Aton, Lord and Ordainer of Life.
When Thou risest in the East,
Thou fillest every land with Thy beauty,
Thou bindest them by Thy love.
Thou art far off, but thy beams are upon the earth.
Thou art in Thy creatures’ faces, they admire Thy goings.


Bright is-the earth when Thou risest in the horizon
And shinest as Aton by day.
Thou sendest forth Thy rays,
And darkness flees, and the world is in festivity.
O Thou God Who didst build Thyself,
Maker of every land,
Creator of whatsoever there is upon it,
Father-and-Mother of the world,
Thy creatures’ eyes, when Thou risest, turn their gaze upon Thee,
Every heart beateth high at the sight of Thee,
For Thou risest as their Lord.
Thou sendest forth Thy rays, and the world is in festivity.
Men awake and stand upon their feet, for Thou hast raised them,
They bathe and clothe themselves
And lift their hands in adoration of Thy dawning
Every creature that Thou s hast made skippeth towards Thee . . .
Beasts and cattle of all kinds rejoice in their pastures,
Sheep dance upon their feet,
The feathered fowl fly round and round, their wings praising Thy Soul.
Shrubs and vegetables flourish,
Buds burst into flower, and the plants which grow in the waste lands
Send up shoots at Thy rising,
They drink themselves drunk of Thy radiance before Thy face.
The barques sail up-stream and down-stream.
Every highway is open because Thou hast dawned,
The fish in the water leap up before Thee and greet Thee.


Thy rays are in the midst of the great sea.

Creator of seed in man, maker of conception in women,
Thou causest the son to live in the body of his mother,
Thou quietest him, that he mourneth not,
Nursing him, even in the womb,
Giving breath to vivify that which Thou hast made;
When he cometh forth from the womb, on the day of his birth,
Thou openest his mouth to speech,
Thou providest his sustenance . . .
To the young bird, sounding in the shell,
Thou givest breath to preserve him alive;
When Thou hast perfected him, that he may crack the shell,
He cometh forth from the egg,
He walketh about upon his two feet,
He chirpeth with all his might.
How manifold are Thy works,
O sole God, like unto Whom there is-no other!
Thou didst create the earth according to Thy heart,
Thou alone existing: men and women, cattle,
Beasts of every kind and everything that walketh upon the earth,
All creatures that are in the air and fly with wings.

Thou hast created all lands, Syria and Kush, and the land of Egypt.
Thou settest every man in his place,
Thou providest their daily food, Thou framest their lives,
Thou givest every one the portion allotted to him,
And dost compute his length of days.
Their tongues are different in speech,


And likewise their forms and the colour of their skin.
Thou givest distinguishing marks to the dwellers in each land.
Thou hast made the Nile beneath the earth,
Thou bringest it at Thy-desire, to preserve mortals alive,
Inasmuch as Thou hast made them for Thyself,
Thou, Lord of, them all, Who risest for them,
Lord of every distant land, Who settest in their midst,
Thou Disk of the Day, great in majesty.
Thou makest the life of all remote countries,
Thou settest a Nile in heaven which cometh down on them,
Causing floods upon the mountains, like the great sea,
And watering their fields among their cities.
How excellent are Thy designs, O Lord of Eternity.
A Nile in heaven art Thou for the dwellers in the foreign lands,
And for the beasts of the desert that go upon their feet.
But the Nile cometh from underground for the land of Egypt.
Thus Thy rays nourish every garden,
Thou risest, and they live: they germinate for Thee.”

(Here the High Priest stretches out the “kheper” baton over the altar, and consecrates the fruits, cakes, wine, beer, bread, that are upon it.

The recitation of the hymn, to go accompaniment of music, begins again)


“Thy being is one, Thou risest among Thy creatures in Thy form as the living Disk,
Dawning, shining, departing afar off, and returning.
Thou art alone, but there are millions of vitalities in Thee,
Millions of evolutions from Thy One Self ...

“Thou are in my-heart,” (sayeth He, our King)
“There is no other that knoweth Thee
Save Thy Son, Akhnaton,
Nefer-kheperu-Ra, Ua-en-Ra-joy of the Sun,
Beautiful Essence of the Sun, Only One of the Sun
Thou hast made Him wise in Thy designs and in Thy might.
The world is in Thy power, even as Thou hast made it.
Thou risest, and creatures live ; Thou settest, and they die.
As for Thee, Thou art duration of life beyond mere limbs
Life is in Thee ; and breath of life is to see Thy beams.
Every man who standeth on his feet,
Since Thou didst lay the foundation of the earth,
Thou hast raised up for Thy Son, Who came forth from Thy substance,
The King of the South and of the North, Livingin-Truth,
Lord of Crowns, Akhnaton, great in duration of life,
And for the exalted Royal Consort, His beloved,
Great in majesty, Lady of the Two Lands,
Nefertiti, living and young for ever.”

(Then the youth SUTA proceeds to distribute the consecrated food and drink to the faithful)



(The same characters)

HORMOSE (to the faithful)

The fruits of the earth are the life of the Sun, which is also our life. May we eat and drink, and remember the truth, and adore. May we live happy in this beautiful world, enjoying the great pleasures of life with innocence and reverence, remembering that our bodies are instruments of communion with eternal Power and eternal Beauty. May we, even in the midst of persecution, remember Akhnaton, our only King, Who taught us the loveliness and goodness of Life, and may we never forget that there is one thing divine: the Essence of Life, which is the Essence of the Sun, Whom we worship. Take, and taste of the Sun’s gifts.


Shall I not first dance the Triumph of the Sun, which would be fitting on such a festive day as this?


Woman, we have gathered here at the risk of our lives—the pitiable remnants of a once-ruling fold—in this temple, laid waste by our enemies. We have gathered to greet the Earliest Sunrise, according to the command of King Akhnaton, the Only-One of the Sun, living for ever, Who used to say (I remember His voice as though it were but yesterday): “May your great days be neither the festive days of unexisting gods, nor the famous anniversaries of human history—for even the rise and fall of nations means little, and the human


race as a whole is but a living species among many others. May your festive days be those which mark the hallowed positions of the living Disk in heaven, the natural, regular landmarks of Time, which create the rhythm of all life.”

And this Day of the Summer Glory, when the fiery Orb shines over us the longest, is one of the four most sacred Days, to which were attached, in the time we were powerful, the greatest rejoicings and more pomp than ever before.

And it is true that on this day holy men and holy women danced the Triumph of the Sun, before the King and court, assembled in the great House of the Disk, in the City-of-the-Horizon-of-the-Disk, the radiant Seat of Truth. And the eyes of the King, Son of the Sun, Lord of Truth, were upon them; and He took pleasure in the beauty of their bodies and in the perfection of their movements, and in the truth that these revealed. For beauty was to Him the golden Way to knowledge, and the enjoyment of it with all one’s senses and all one’s heart was, to Him, as He often said, the highest form of prayer.

But times have changed. The bulk of the faithful, deserting the pure Teaching of Life, has drifted back to the many man-made gods. The true Solar Religion is but a shadow of itself, and even that shadow is persecuted. Is it time for the great ritual Dance of joy? Even on a day like this, our heads are lowered and our hearts are sad. Each time we assemble to glorify the Sun and to keep the name of our King alive we think: “This is perhaps the last time.” Death is before us. We have no future.



We have eternity. To have been is to be for ever. If death calls us, let us die in beauty, as He did Whom we hail as our Lord. No force on earth or in heaven can ever efface the true story of our lives—or of His—from unrecorded history. As true as the Sun lives, He lives, and we live. And in millions and millions of years to come, it shall still be a fact that He lived and that we lived. On this day of the Earliest Sunrise, I shall dance for the joy of that one certitude—the only one no man nor god can deny.


This, I find, is no matter for rejoicing. In unrecorded history a rascal lives no less than a god-like man. Outside the memory of men there is no immortality worth mentioning. Listen: twenty-five years ago, at this very festival, I danced the triumph of the Sun, before the One-Living-in Truth, the Sun’s beautiful Child. I was the youngest of the sacred women in the House of the Sun, and I was fair to look upon. The King, Son of the Sun, saw by the way I danced, that I had understood the meaning of His Teaching. And He rewarded me with a necklace of gold and costly gems upon the day of distribution of rewards: for He was generous.

Since then, four kings have ruled in turn: Smenkhkara was too weak to hold our enemies back for long; Tutankhamon, that plaything in the merciless hands of the priests of Amon, first persecuted us; and so did, after him, our old acquaintance Ay, the clever, sneaking man, the power-seeker,


the renegade, but . . . none so ruthlessly as, for the last three years, this upstart captain of the hosts, who is wearing now the Double Crown—this shameless Horemheb who already dates his reign from the death of Amenhotep Neb-maat-ra, as though, by doing so, he could destroy the irrevocable and glaring fact that Akhnaton has lived and left a Teaching. For how long can we resist his might, and keep the Teaching alive? We are a handful, and . . .


Speak not . . . speak not . . . I heard a noise behind the broken pillars, and dare not look. What if there were spies hiding here, near-by? I fear there are.

(A SPY creeps silently out of the scone, unnoticed by the faithful)


Most probably there are, indeed. But what of it? Sooner or later, the servants of Amon will discover us anyhow. Should this fear make our hearts stand still? And should the memory of glorious years gone by and the dire knowledge of our following downfall, keep us from celebrating life and strength and summer while we are still alive? I shall dance, as the Sun ascends the sky in glory on the mom of this Day of His longest Presence; I shall dance the triumph of Heat and Light, the everlastingness of Rays, visible and invisible, within fathomless space; the everlastingness of Him, the Sun in flesh and blood, the radiant King, for ever young, Whose hallowed name means Joy—Joy of the Sun!



Thou refusest to see evil. But evil surroundeth us. Thou deniest death. Death is before us.


Thou speakest of King Akhnaton as though He were alive and ruling over us. Alas, thou wast not born when He died an untimely and mysterious death. Thou hast never beheld His City in its splendour.


I saw its ruins . . . scattered over the desert, not by time, but by His enemies. And I wept at the thought of those past glories which I shall never see. But then, I turned my eyes towards the sky. The Sun is no less beautiful over the ruins already half-buried under drifting sands than when He shone in happier days, over the bright new City.

As for Him Whom I love, I sometimes wept also at the thought that I shall never behold His form with mortal-eyes, as thou, and many others have-others, who never loved Him. I wept . . . until I discovered His living presence. For He lives, Abneba; I know it now. And surely thou dost know it too, thou his High Priest at the same time as High Priest of the Sun, and ye all who saw Him in youth, or heard at least your parents discourse of Him with reverence.

He lives for ever in the beauty of the Sun. He lives also within my heart.


He will soon be forgotten, His City and His Teaching too. We are the very last of the few


faithful ones who praise Him still. My sons have given up the faith, and thou hast, up till now, refused the love of all the men whose hearts thy beauty moved.


See—somebody is running towards us. It is Apiy. He is late.


(The same—APIY)


(Running in, out of breath) Someone has betrayed us! Soldiers, headed by the Captain of Pharaoh’s Guard, are coming at once, to seize us all! Let us flee—and live. For this is the new decree of Horemheb: no man or woman following King Akhnaton’s forbidden faith will henceforth be allowed to live within the land of Egypt. Let us flee to a foreign country; let us, at least, run out of Thebes while there is yet time.


I knew this would happen one day. O heavens! But it is not easy to flee. What shall we do?


Who has informed thee of this new decree? And when?



Now, now—just now. A man named Kedet, who is my neighbour, and whose brother holds a high post and lives within the enclosure of the palace. Kedet never suspected me of following the persecuted Teaching. He has therefore spoken the truth. Moreover, I have seen the soldiers, now, myself, with mine own eyes. Some five hundred of them—or more—have marched in battle order past my house. Thebes is full of the noise of chariots and of threats of death.

But pardon me if I ask this: is not Ket, my fair sister, whom I love, in your midst? My eyes seek her in vain. Where is she?


Calm thy spirits, anxious lover. The woman whom thou seekest has gone over to our enemies but yesterday, and therefore is safe and sound. But why dost thou come so late to the Feast of the Earliest Sunrise?


I did not intend to come at all. To be quite frank, I was a little afraid. I dwell at the other end of the town, as ye all know. I could not leave my home so long before the dawn without some of my neighbours finding out and wondering why, and perhaps suspecting me. People whom, on my way, I might have met along the streets, could have taken it into their heads to follow me. One never knows. There are spies everywhere—even at our gatherings, listening to all we say, from hiding-places; even in our homes.


But then, I learnt what was to happen, and that all those assembled here were to be seized. I took courage and ran all the way nearly without stopping. I specially feared that harm of some sort might befall the women. I thought of Ket . . . Pardon me, revered Father, and ye friends . . . I did not know of her desertion. It is a blow to me.


It is not the first instance of a disciple leaving our fold. When, many years ago, King Akhnaton departed from Thebes, over eighty thousand people, both men and women, followed Him to His new City. It is hardly two decades since He is dead. Look at us now—and count us. See how few are left of those who once took pride in calling themselves the followers of Him-Who-lived-in-Truth. We are a mere dozen, including Zetut-Neferu and Suta, who were not born when our King passed away


I know, I know. Nothing convinces people but force. Had our faith been, like that of our enemies, a bloodthirsty one, glorifying conquest, be sure we would have been hundreds of thousands by this time. Had only King Akhnaton not allowed the empire to fall to pieces . . . that alone would have secured Him success in Egypt. We all know that too well. But it is no use weeping ever that harm which cannot be repaired. What are we going to do just now? For time is flying.


What dost thou intend us to do, Apiy?



Why, run for our lives, of course!


Our lives will come to an end anyhow, sooner or later.


The later the better, at least in my opinion. Is not our creed based on the joy of life?—on sunshine and on love, on happiness here and now? Our Master gave us no assurance whatsoever about life after death, whatever He Himself might have thought about it. So why should we indeed prefer to die—even for His sake? We cannot prove the truth of His Teaching by our death,


We can prove our own consistency, at least.


We can remain beautiful till the end—and beautiful for ever, whether men know or not of our lives.


We can be consistent without telling the world, and beautiful without endangering our lives. We can keep the Teaching in our hearts-while, if we disappear, that is undoubtedly the end of it for ever. We are not even sure of being rewarded for our faithfulness in another world, as our superstitious countrymen . . .

(HORMOSE, all this time, seems deeply absorbed in thought. His head is lowered)



I would have thought the pleasure of defying our Master’s enemies, here and now, is, for any of us, a sufficient reward.

But if it be not so; if there are some, to whom the hope of future life is so necessary that without it they lose all manly courage, then why do they not by all means accept the idea of the soul’s survival? Our divine King never forbade that very old belief. On the contrary, He seems Himself to have shared it although, if so, the meaning which He gave it, was surely not that which such men as thee expect.


He never forbade it, indeed. But he never taught it either. And none ever knew exactly what conception He had about the hereafter. The little He said of it is vague.

He therefore would surely not object to my going home and adoring Him in secret rather than waiting here for Horemheb’s soldiers to drag me off. And I am going. Farewell to all of you



(APIY goes out)


Coward and heretic!



(The same characters)


Thou canst be exceedingly harsh in thy speech, Zetut-Neferu-Aton.


Revered one, art thou not thyself indignant at the way this man distorts the holy Teaching? He takes that very quality which exalts our creed above all creeds: its absolute and smiling rationality, and turns it cunningly against our Master as though it were a shortcoming. Ironically, in the tragic hour of decision, he makes it an excuse for running away, and invites us to do the same—as if we were all weaklings like himself, and needed childish fables to sustain us. I do not, at any rate.


Nor do I, perhaps, personally. Yet I cannot deny that most Men do, whether they care to admit it or not. They always have; they probably always will. A teacher has to take that fact into account, if he truly -desires to touch the hearts of men. He also should work wonders, and speak of wonders-show people what they wish to see, and tell them to believe that which they would like to be true. I have thought of this for a long time already. And now, Apiy’s all too sincere remarks have pointed out to me the reason of our failure, clearer than ever before.



And what is the reason, O wise man?


We offer men no answer to the problem of death; no answer to the problem of evil. We give them no hopes, no consolation—as though we took it for a fact that this world is sufficient.


It was for Him. It is for me.


It is for one man in a million.


My father and my mother and brothers all do speak the very same way as thou dost. And that is why, they say, they have never been able to accept the Teaching.


And my sons say the same. They respect our faith, in which I brought them up, as something associated with all the cherished memories of youth. But they went back to the old gods long ago, and not, as many people think, merely for the advantages that they were offered. And they say that without the certitude of everlasting life beyond the dreaded gates of death, this life is not worth living. They say there is no real happiness in this imperfect world; no heaven within time.



Was not His City heaven?


No, it was not, in spite of all its beauty. For truly there was death and sickness behind its sacred walls, as everywhere. There was evil also, for men abode there. Few lived up to the King’s example. The great majority hallowed the Teaching but remained unaware of its spirit; they spoke of truth all the day long, but lived in falsehood.


Why did the King not interfere?


He did, whenever He could; He did, especially whenever He came to know of any act of cruelty to man or beast. But as thou canst imagine, such deeds never took place before His eyes, and half the time they were not reported to Him at all. His trusted officials, so eloquent in expressing their zeal, within His presence, were slack in carrying out their duties, and most of them took bribes. And he could not, Himself, for twenty-four hours a day remain behind each citizen, to watch all that went on.


People at large are weak, foolish and wicked—unhappy too; perhaps all the more wicked that they are, most of them, so utterly unhappy. The King could not improve them by taking away from them all their old hopes and fears and superstitions,


and putting in their place no new hopes, no new fears, no new symbols, nothing but the bare truth. I have never questioned the value of the Teaching for which we are soon to die. I served King Akhnaton with all my heart—and who could have known Him as I did, and not serve Him?—and I remained faithful to Him after His enemies came back to power, so that when Ay, the renegade, usurped the throne, the very few who still clung to the creed of Life appointed me High Priest. But I have become more tolerant towards those of us who, like Apiy, wish to live rather than die without any gain to our cause; even towards those others who have gone back to the superstitions of their fathers. For the problem of evil, and the problem of suffering and that of death, those are the things that interest most men. And if our creed is unable to solve those eternal questions, why should we expect people to prefer it to the religion that has sustained their race for centuries?


Because it is true—and beautiful.


Men at large prefer lies, and less beauty. They want personal gods to appeal to when they are grieved, or sick, or in difficulty. They want such gods who understand their “problems,” and who value infinitely their insignificant individuality—gods who share their emotions. The “Heat-and-Light-within-the-Disk”—our God; Akhnaton’s God-does nothing of the kind. Thus, the many will never love Him.



Even the few themselves only paid a lip-homage to His name so long as Akhnaton lived and ruled. Count us now.


We are a handful, it is true. But not for the reason you think. If the Teaching of Life has failed to remain until now the state religion of Egypt, it is not because it cannot solve the eternal questions of which Hormose spoke. It is because, until the end, the King Who-lived-in-Truth refused to force it upon us by violence; because He allowed the servants of Amon to live and to be free, instead of having them exterminated, or at least imprisoned; because He was content to give the ignorant common folk more food, more leisure and more privacy, in cleaner and healthier dwellings, without His ever asking in return that they should abandon their superstitions; because He refused to keep by force of arms the restless empire conquered by His fathers, and to compel its many varied races all to bow down before the God He loved. Had He done what others kings did and extended the boundaries of Egypt in the name of the One God, we would not be to-day ten or twelve wretched folk, discussing the cause of our failure in awaiting death; we would be twelve hundred thousand, and a ruling power.

The cause of our failure? It lies in our King’s refusal to persecute His enemies, and also, as Apiy said, in His refusal to fight for what our people call. the “rights” of Egypt.



Thou forgettest King Akhnaton was not, just as His fathers, the King of Egypt before all. He was the Teacher of the Truth. And truth cannot be fostered by violence.


O wise man, thou hast said thyself, “Men at large prefer lies to truth.” And a few indeed among the few have loved the Teaching enough to remain faithful to it in times of trial.


Those few are alone to count in the long run.


Not if they are utterly suppressed, as we shall all soon be. It is success that counts, in the long run.


The success of violence is never a lasting one.


I know; nothing is lasting save the harmony, within the apparent chaos of forms, colours and sounds, and that unshakable reality of past fact when considered apart from any memory. Still, in this world of constant change, the one and ultimate success, as lasting as can be, rests upon force and force alone. What has made Amon “a great god”? The victories of his worshippers. What has, in every land, fostered that love and reverence for mere superstitions? Successful preaching, which


means that preaching backed by force at one time or another. And what was done to give over this earth to the false gods, could have been done also to exalt the Teaching of the Master whom we love, from Napata to Carchemish, and further still.


Perhaps. But Aton, the living Sun, is not Amon. And the beautiful Son of Aton could never betray His Father.


Certainly not. But what dost thou mean by this word: betray?


Any success won at the cost of compromise with truth would only have been the sure end of the Teaching of Life. It will remain for ever Akhnaton’s glory to have preferred truth to success.


(after a pause)

His glory in unwritten history, yes; and in my own eyes too—for had He not done so, He would not have remained Himself. And I love Him as He is.

But what the Master was too perfect to undertake, His followers might have done after Him. They might have used force, not in His name, but in their own-yet for His ultimate success, His glory, His rule for ever.



They would have worked against His spirit.


But for the love of Him. They would have taken on themselves, gladly, thy blame of treason, that the whole world might know Him and love Him. And remote generations, judging them according to His spirit and His standards, would have said: “They were rascals, unworthy of Him,” and hated them . . . hated them and adored Him—not realising that, without these “rascals” and their ruthless ways, their fathers would never have heard of Him.

O thou Priest of the fiery Disk, and ye all, men and women, I hear the trampling of soldiers . . . Soon the time will come to die for Him. Gladly I shall do so. But I tell you: If only I had power! If I had the word that compels; the leadership that all men recognise—the word backed by the sword, the leadership that rests upon the mighty sword; the one power that rules the world: the power of the sword! If I had that, now—even now—I would restore the persecuted Teaching ; rebuild the ruined City of Him-Who-lived-in-Truth, with all its palaces and temples and glittering obelisks, and towering Pylons of red granite ; rebuild it all . . . and conquer the whole world for Him; establish His reign for ever . . . even now; Oh, had I but power!

End of Act I.