Wallada (The Play)

by Franc

-Written by Franc Rodríguez.

(Contents)

Dramatis

Personae ix.

ACT I

ACT II

ACT III

ACT IV

ACT V

ACT VI

(Dramatis Personae)

WALLADA-The daughter of the former Caliph Muhammed III.

IBN ZAYDUN-A poet and lover of the Princess Wallada.

IBN HAZM-A poet.

IBN BASSAM-A poet.

IBN ABDUS-A vizir of the Banu Jawahr.

MUHTA BINT AL TAYANI-A pupil.

LINA-A pupil.

JEW-A tax collector.

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD-A mullah.

LAILA-A female slave.

FIRST BERBER GUARD.

SECOND BERBER GUARD.

ABU AL-HAZM JAHWAR IBN JAHWAR-The supreme leader of the

Banu Jahwar.

SALMA-A wealthy heiress.

ZAHID-A member of the court and friend of Ibn Zaydun.

NAUM SAFIYA-A pupil.

Scene in Córdoba, Al Andalus 1031 A.D.

ACT 1.

SCENE I.

At the corner of a cobblestone street in Córdoba.

Ibn Zaydun is joined, by Zahid a nobleman, from the same court of the Banu Jawar.

ZAHID.

We shall be late to the reunion of the court, if we do not hurry!

IBN ZAYDUN.

There is ample time my friend, for us to arrive at the court.

ZAHID.

Thou art the renowned poet, but I am only a nobleman that must adhere to the propriety of my present status.

IBN ZAYDUN.

True, but I too am a nobleman and a statesman.

ZAHID.

Yet, I was not born with thy blest gift and talent for poetry, as thou wert.

IBN ZAYDUN.

This gift and talent that thou alludest to is not greater than the ultimate gift of the mind.

ZAHID.

What dost thou mean by that subtle insinuation?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am merely stating the capacity of the mind to create and achieve fantastic wonders that we as persons are ignorant of their existence.

ZAHID.

Art thou saying that I am too ignorant to realise my potential?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay! Thou hast said it, not I.

ZAHID.

Then, what am I to understand of my life?

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis simple, my dear friend. We are capable of being a statesman, a profitable merchant, or even a great poet, if we use our mind wisely in its application.

ZAHID.

Thou speakest about wisdom and knowledge?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Exactly! Without them, man is reduced to a mere ingrate and slave to his erroneous ways of living.

ZAHID.

I believe I fully understand thy point. However, we are often uncertain of what that signifieth in its nature.

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is where the faculty of reason must prevail, over the consequential effect of our actions.

ZAHID.

Philosophy was never my strongest inclination to obtain wisdom and knowledge, as thou hast successfully achieved that purpose.

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is the specific inducement that thou must begin to explore the admirable qualities thou possesses in earnest.

ZAHID.

My qualities are not as abundant as thine, but God be willing, I shall take thine advice voluntarily and with a profound deliberation.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Good! Know that from every uncertainty, there is a token measure of certainty in the world.

ZAHID.

I shall hope that the certainty thou hast mentioned is more meaningful in substance than in words.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Do not be impatient and spent thy days whining. If so, then thou shalt not be satisfied with anything in thy life.

SCENE II.

At the home of the Umayyad princess, during the evening.

After leaving the court along the way, Ibn Zaydun passes a house, where he hears a woman recite inspiring poetry. The voice of the woman has captured the immediate attention of Ibn Zaydun. Enough that he must investigate the mysterious place and the origin of the mellifluous voice.

Ibn Zaydun alone enters through the spacious gardens and reaches a singular column, where he descries for the first time, the Princess Wallada in the hall gathered, around the finest poets and musicians of Al-Andalus, who are sitting around her on cushions and rugs, improvising ballads and epic sagas to the sound of the lute and zither. He is struck by her blonde, fair-skinned complexion and turquoise eyes that encompass her natural beauty stunningly.

After she finishes reciting her poetry, Ibn Zaydun introduces himself to the princess, as she demonstrates her winsome smile before him. He will be the love of her life, and she the love of his life.

WALLADA.

Ibn Zaydun, I have heard much about thee, the famous poet and vizier. Perhaps, thou hast heard of me, but if not, I am Wallada bint al-Mustakfi.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Indeed! I know of thee. Thou art the illustrious daughter of Muhammad III of Córdoba the previous Umayyad Caliph.

WALLADA.

True, but let not that dissuade thee from addressing me, as merely Wallada, the poetess and not the daughter of the caliph.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I cannot forget so easily that thou art the daughter of a former caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty.

WALLADA.

Doth, that fact bother thee much, as a man of thy position?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Why should it, my fair princess?

WALLADA.

Then, judge me not as the daughter of that caliph thou hast uttered, but as an excellent poetess.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If this is what thou wantest, I shall be more fain to accommodate that sincere request.

WALLAD.

I am certain that thou hast heard uncomplimentary rumours of my persona, throughout the city.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am not inclined to speak ill will about any person, not the least a beautiful woman as thyself.

WALLADA.

If thou wert not a poet and statesman, I would assume that thou wert attempting to delight me, with thy chivalrous flattery.

IBN ZAYDUN.

There is nothing more that would gratify mine eager tongue, then to speak the truth about thy beauty and charm.

WALLADA.

And what doth the great Ibn Zaydun have to say about the words of my poetry? Do I not merit equal praise, for my poetic grandeur, as other exceptional poets of the city of Córdoba?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Certainly, my princess! I would be remiss, if I did not acknowledge that clear veracity.

WALLADA.

Well! Thou hast not answered my question yet.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I believe thou art equal or if not better than them. I have answered thy question plainly, for thy guests to hear me. I heard thee from outside in the street, and thy poetry sounded, like musical notes of an instrument. 'Twas thy poetry that allured me, with that poetical composition of magnificence.

WALLADA.

If thou had not pronounced these words and my studious pupils and guests did not hear and witness this, no one from the noble class of Córdoba would believe such asseveration and adulation coming from the famous Ibn Zaydun himself.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I profess that hitherto, I am a devoted follower of thy poetry!

WALLADA.

And gladly I am honoured for that. However, do not forget that underneath my beauty that thou hast confessed today, there is a woman that is triumphant and uninhibited in character always.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Pardon, but I shall not commit that same mistake twice. And if thou dost not object, I would love to hear from thy crimson lips, more enchanting poetry recited.

WALLADA.

Under one condition, if I may interpose upon thy will so suddenly.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And what is that particular condition.

WALLADA.

'Tis simple! I ask that the next time thou decidest to visit me at mine home that thou recitest to us, some of thy splendid poetry. I am certain that my guests and pupils would be noticeably entertained, by the celebrated Ibn Zaydun.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall most certainly grant ye all, a personal rendition of my latest poetry, as a token gesture of my cordiality.

SCENE III.

At the home of Ibn Zaydun.

Ibn Zaydun has invited Ibn Bassam, a fellow poet of Al Andalus to converse on the topic of Wallada.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am glad that thou hast joined me, for a good conversation. 'Tis not often that I have an august poet of thy stature visit me nowadays.

IBN BASSAM.

And 'tis not often that I receive a stately invitation, such as I have been afforded upon this occasion.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Call it what that preferest, I am honoured to have thee here at mine home.

IBN BASSAM.

Modesty is always a veritable sign of character, for a poet and statesman of thy veritable disposition.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If I had thy foresight and knowledge, I would discover with immediacy, the admission of my foibles committed constantly.

IBN BASSAM.

Perchance! I do not believe that thou hast invited me to thine home merely to praise my poetic grandeur.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou art correct in thine assumption. Thou art acquainted with a certain poetess of Córdoba, by the name of Wallada?

IBN BASSAM.

Art thou referring to the Princess Wallada, the daughter of Muhammad III al-Mustakfí, the Umayyad Caliph?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Indeed I am!

IBN BASSAM.

What in particular dost thou wish to know about the princess, if I may query?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou hast heard and read her distinguishable poetry?

IBN BASSAM.

I have, but since when hast thou become an admirer of her?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Since yesterday, when I heard her recitation, with such a cadence and command of the Arabic language. I must admit that I have seldom witnessed that in a woman before.

IBN BASSAM.

I have heard and read her poetry too. There is much to admire, beyond her evident beauty.

IBN ZAYDUN.

True, but her beauty is difficult to omit for any reasonable man.

IBN BASSAM.

The persuasion of a woman is always an allurement that a man is susceptible to that presiding influence.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have at times arrived at the same conclusion, but never been able to master that compulsive impulse.

IBN BASSAM.

Beware my friend, for 'tis not always an inconsequential matter or circumstance.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I find myself drawn to her and I cannot dismiss this inexplicable attraction.

IBN BASSAM.

That I fully understand, but I hope that this unique attraction doth not make thee falter blindly, to the whims of any woman, including the princess.

IBN ZAYDUN.

She is a natural beauty, and if I do falter, then let it be written that the Great Ibn Zaydun was bewitched, by the enchantments of a seductive princess.

IBN BASSAM.

Thou art aware that she belongeth to the rival Umayyad Court?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Yes! However, I have superb abilities, as a statesman to handle any predicaments that may occur.

SCENE IV.

At the home of Wallada.

Wallada is joined by her devoted pupils that adore her.

MUHTA BINT AL TAYANI.

How I wished I could be, as masterful as thou art princess.

NAUM SAFIYA.

If I had the wit and knowledge, I would be a poetess as well.

LINA.

What a delight 'twould be, if I was gifted, with this same talent.

WALLADA.

I shall teach ye all the fine art of poetry and language that shall give ye the means of knowledge and wisdom. Every woman should possess the ability to exhibit their creative nature in life freely.

MUHTA BIN AL TAYANI.

How can we achieve such proficiency in the arts, if we are nothing more than modest women, from a humble upbringing?

WALLADA.

Knowledge and wisdom do not distinguish from poor or rich or from man or woman.

LINA.

But if a poor woman doth not have the means for a proper education, then how can that woman progress in the field of arts?

WALLADA.

That is the reason ye are here to learn and acquire that necessary education, under my genuine tutelage. All women must have the right afforded to them to learn, and I shall offer my time and knowledge to all of ye wittingly. All that I demand is thy time and effort in return.

LINA.

We are here to learn and serve that cause anxiously.

WALLADA.

Do not fear, what men or society can impose unto us. Instead, live thy lives according, to thy satisfaction and aspirations as women.

NAUM SAFIYA.

If this was possible to achieve for us!

WALLADA.

Wherefore hast thou doubted that possibility?

LINA.

How can we dismiss this reality, when we are women of faith also?

WALLADA.

I too am a woman of faith and follow the teachings of our sacred book, but we can easily be women of faith and women of literature at the same time.

MUHTA BIN AL TAYANI.

But men shall dare to name us immoral and sinners.

WALLADA.

Perhaps! I have been labelled that and worse things, yet it hath not prevented me from living my life, how I please to live it.

NAUM SAFIYA.

How hast thou been able to withstand, such vile accusations against thee?

WALLADA.

The senseless vituperation I have received is mere hypocrisy, from those individuals that are clearly envious of my persona daily.

MUHTA BIN AL TAYANI.

Thou art indeed princess, an admirable woman and teacher to praise remarkably.

WALLADA.

Do not praise me for anything, when I am not divine and infallible.

LAILA.

But thou art blest, with good fortune and wealth.

LINA.

We on the contrary, are not blest, with such royalty and preference.

WALLADA.

The fortune that I have been granted, by inheritance and my noble birth has not given me yet the greatest fortune I have sought that is love.

SCENE V.

At the Roman Walls in the city of Córdoba.

Al Zaydun once more is accompanied by his friend Zahid, when he spots Wallada walking pass him, with her dress embroidered on the hem and with a transparent tunic. As well as her long flowing reddish locks of hair and turquoise eyes that exude her natural beauty.

ZAHID.

I wonder if it shall rain upon this day and we shall reach our destination ultimately.

AL ZAYDUN.

Thou art always worrying about time! What thou must do is to relax and enjoy the exceeding wonders of nature.

ZAHID.

As the wonders of nature that beautiful women possess?

AL ZAYDUN.

Exactly! We should thank God that he hast given us this delightful gift to enjoy tremendously.

ZAHID.

Especially, if it is presented, as a woman with long flowing locks of hair and bluish eyes?

AL ZAYDUN.

What dost thou mean by that?

ZAHID.

I know thee well my friend, and thou art enamoured by this woman. I sense this in thy gaze and interest.

AL ZAYDUN.

Perhaps, but it doth not indicate that I am in love, with this exquisite woman.

ZAHID.

Indeed! However, as men, we are constantly susceptible to the beauty of such enticement. Do not forget that this woman belongeth to the Umayyad Dynasty. Therefore, she is forbidden to thee or any man that wishest to be with her or lie with her.

AL ZAYDUN.

That I have not forgotten, and I have no attention to pursue her in a serious nature. I merely state the obvious, she is a very beautiful and intellectual woman.

ZAHID.

There is no doubt that she is all of that, but there are better women in all of Córdoba that possess twice the qualities and beauty that she beareth openly and are not as vain as she is in person.

AL ZAYDUN.

Yet, there are few that can match her indisputable intellectual prowess.

ZAHID.

That is thine opinion to disclose readily!

AL ZAYDUN.

There is no need to conceal the expression of my words. Whatever thou mayst consider an opinion I consider it the actual truth.

ZAHID.

I forget that I am dealing, with the like of a wise statesman at times.

AL ZAYDUN.

Never forget that, my dear friend!

ZAHID.

I shall not! Should we go now? We should not keep our beloved guests waiting any longer at the court.

AL ZAYDUN.

Again, thou art occupied with the monotonous formalities of the court.

ZAHID.

Those monotonous formalities as thou hast durst to call them have been embedded, in our way of life for several centuries.

AL ZAYDUN.

True, but life is so precious and we must learn to enjoy our leisure time more often.

SCENE VI.

At the home of Wallada.

It is evening, and Ibn Zaydun has revisited the house of the Princess Wallada. This time she is alone, and unaccompanied by her guests, servitude and pupils. She is within her colourful garden, when he approaches her from behind slowly.

IBN ZAYDUN.

A lovely night to see the stars is it not, my princess?

WALLADA.

Ibn Zaydun, I did not hear or see thee coming!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I hope that I did not interrupt thy night at all!

WALLADA.

Was it thine intention to interrupt my night or comment on the heavenly stars above?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay, but I would as lief loved to have seen, those heavenly stars above with thee!

WALLADA.

Am I to assume that thy words are of blandishment and not of senseless reverence?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou mayst call it whatever thou wishest.

WALLADA.

If I told thee that 'twas blandishment, then what would thou sayest to that?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I would say that thou wert correct in thine analysis given!

WALLADA.

Dost thou always win over women, with thy poetical persuasion?

IBN ZAYDUN.

No more than thou dost over men, with thy feminine charm!

WALLADA.

And thou expectest me to be swayed, by the words of a known sycophant?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I did not know that thou wert aware of my memorable reputation as a man. I thought thou had known me only, as a poet princess.

WALLADA.

I know of thy famous reputation established, as a man, a poet and a vizier.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Please do not call me vizier!

WALLADA.

Then please do not call me any more princess!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Agree, but do not deprive me of the sight of thine unmistakable beauty.

WALLADA.

Beauty is ephemeral as the wind and the words that are spoken so eloquently.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If so, then let me stare endlessly at thy penetrating eyes to remind me of that distinctive difference.

WALLADA.

Would thou not preferest to stare at the heavenly stars above, then to stare at mine unmistakable beauty?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay! I would glance a thousand times at the sparkle in thine eyes than the dullness of the stars present.

WALLADA.

Thou had said before that thou wouldst recite thy poetry, upon thy return.

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is absolutely true!

WALLADA.

Then I am waiting for that request to be realised! Shall we head towards the patio to be comfortable?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I would prefer to recite poetry in a place, where I could see the heavenly stars with thee more visibly. Moreover, thou said before thy guests, but we are alone at the moment it would seem.

WALLADA.

Fair! I know of such an existential place, if thou art dauntless enough to join me then.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Whither art we bound to enjoy that heavenly place?

WALLADA.

There at the abandoned ruins of Madinat az-Zahra.

ACT 2.

SCENE I.

At Madinat az-Zahirat.

Wallada takes Ibn Zaydun to the ruins of the former city, where few people dare to venture at night alone.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wherefore hast thou brought me to this place of ruination?

WALLADA.

I grew up in the palace of Roman Munya and knew this city before 'twas destroyed, by the ignorant fervour of heartless people.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis tragic that such a vibrant city was simply destroyed, by the zealous whims of wrath.

WALLADA.

A wrath that only fools could have perpetrated knowingly.

IBN ZAYDUN.

How often have we seen such unnecessary occurrences befall upon our endless civilisations?

WALLADA.

I suppose that history shall be the principal judge of our deliberate actions unmerited.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What are we then to acknowledge of our present or future?

WALLADA.

The truth!

IBN ZAYDUN.

And what is precisely that truth?

WALLADA.

Men are destructive, when in power. I know this from experience. Hast thou forgotten that I am the daughter of a man that was once a mighty caliph?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I wonder what the world would be, if 'twas ruled, by queens and not kings.

WALLADA.

I would imagine that 'twould be more humane in thought than action indeed.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If thou ruled the world, what would become of thy kingdom?

WALLADA.

'Twould be a kingdom eventually, where both men and women were equal in status and rights.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If to see that kingdom it would mean that I would be governed by a queen. Then let it be thee that ruleth over me and mine heart consistently.

WALLADA.

How gullible art thou to offer thee to me so readily.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I only profess the absolute truth.

WALLADA.

And what dost thou wish in return?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Only to be governed by thee and for mine heart to serve thee passionately.

WALLADA.

A woman doth not suffice nowadays with love. What she yearneth is for man to demonstrate his determination.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If thou requirest an act of determination, then being here all alone in the night is that, not an act of determination?

WALLADA.

Enough to be in my presence, amidst the members of thy court?

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis all that thou requestest?

WALLADA.

Is it, not a sufficient request to make?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Perhaps 'tis!

WALLADA.

We both know that whatever occurreth, between us cannot be meaningful in substance.

IBN ZAYDUN

Time shall be the judge of that.

WALLADA.

Hast thou forgotten the stars?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay, I have not!

WALLADA.

Then look up and see them now above us!

SCENE II.

At the home of Wallada.

Wallada is accompanied once more, by her guests, servants and pupils.

LAILA.

I do not mean to be inopportune princess, but I heard a noise last night that awoke me suddenly. Naturally, I had to know, if 'twas an intruder I had heard entering. When I reached the corridor, I saw thee approaching.

WALLADA.

I was not aware that thou had seen me walking. I had simply stepped outside to feel the autumn breeze a bit.

LINA.

Shall we prepare the hall for any guests today?

WALLADA.

Not at the moment I believe!

NAUM SAFIYA

I am extremely eager to hear thee teach us the refinement of the arts.

WALLADA.

Today, we shall spend the day learning the splendid philosophy of the arts.

MUHTA BINT AL TAYANI.

There is so much that we must learn and so little time available.

WALLADA.

Time is sempiternal, as long as we acknowledge its relevance in our lives daily.

LAILA.

But how can we as women accomplish any relevancy in our lives, if we are conditioned to the overbearing laws of men?

WALLADA.

We women are not powerless. Do we not possess the ability to learn?

LAILA.

I believe so!

WALLADA.

We must learn to enable our minds to empower our talents and creativity. Therefore, we shall spend the morning discussing our differences and similitudes. Then, we shall study ancient Greek and Arabic literature to enlighten our minds.

MUHTA BIN AL TAYANI.

There is no better teacher than thee to instruct us.

WALLADA.

'Tis instrumental to obtain the necessary procurement of thine erudition, as women.

NAUM SAFIYA.

But what shall become of us, if we are not empowered, as women in the society that we dwell?

WALLADA.

Ye are my witnesses all, when I declare that we do not need to remain submissive to men. Instead, we must teach men that we women are their concubines, their sisters, their daughters or their equals and not their slaves or harlots.

LINA.

How do we make men understand, when they govern our lives and fail to realise our capacity?

LAILA.

Our faith doth not permit us to be rebels against them!

WALLADA.

There is no reason to be submissive or a rebel. Ye must demonstrate to men that ye are capable a being poetesses, teachers, scribes, stateswomen and still be women of faith.

LAILA.

But how is this possible?

WALLADA.

I shall teach ye all! Let us begin then!

NAUM SAFIYA.

I am thankful for thy generosity expressed towards us!

SCENE III.

At the court of the Banu Jahwar.

Ibn Hazm has been invited at the court, to discuss the politics of Córdoba, amongst other known subjects. Afterwards, he shares a private conversation with Ibn Zaydun, concerning the poetess Wallada.

IBN HAZM

I am surprised to have been invited to the court, with such prominent men, because of mine affinity, with the Umayyads.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I speak for the members of the court that we were honoured, by thy presence, my noble scholar.

IBN HAZM.

I have been inside the court of the Cailphs of Córdoba, Al Mansur, Ibn Abi Aamir and Hisham III., but I never imagined to be invited to the court of the Banu Jahwar. I have been very occupied lately. I was recently in Seville visiting a fellow scholar from the city.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I was able to convince the court, due to my relation that thou art a great scholar of Al Andalus and not a foe. I have not been able to visit Seville, but if God be willing, I shall visit it soon.

IBN HAZM.

'Tis a marvellous city of our beloved Al Andalus.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Hast thou been invited to the court of Al-Mu'tamid?

IBN HAZM.

I have been there on several occasions!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Perhaps, we can visit him one day together.

IBN HAZM.

I shall gladly accept that cordial invitation.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Hast thou written any new poem to recite before the members of the court today?

IBN HAZM.

Perhaps the next time I visit the court, I shall recite new poetry, but I am afraid that I must defer today. I must leave to tend to a personal engagement I have.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Before thou departest the court, I must impose unto thee thy knowledge of a certain poetess that thou art familiar with.

IBN HAZM.

Who art thou alluding to?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wallada, the poetess of Córdoba!

IBN HAZM.

Wallada bint al Mustaki, the daughter of the late caliph of the city?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Precisely!

IBN HAZM.

She is like a loving daughter of mine. I was there for her from her days of childhood to her present adulthood.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What canst thou tell me of her persona?

IBN HAZM.

I am under the general impression that thou art seriously interested in the princess.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I admit that I am fascinated by her beauty and intelligence.

IBN HAZM.

Do not forget that she is a woman loathed and thought immoral by the society of thy court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have not! However, I am like her an independent thinker.

IBN HAZM.

Thou dost not know the strong and fierce woman that she is. She is not for you or any man of Córdoba.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Whatever the people say vile about her, I shall be the judge of that.

SCENE IV.

At the home of Wallada.

Ibn Zaydun has entered the home unannouncedly, as the princess is instructing her pupils in the fine arts. One of the pupils sees him and informs the princess of his presence.

WALLADA.

I was not expecting thy visit so soon.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Pardon me, if I have startled, thee, with mine unexpected or untimely visit.

WALLADA.

I was not startled, but merely surprised to see thee again so soon Ibn Zaydun.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Did I not say that I would entertain thee and thy guests with my sensational poetry?

WALLADA.

Thou did say this ere!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I always fulfill my commitments as a duty imposed upon me.

WALLADA.

Really? I have heard that thou hast fame for breaking commitments.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I would not heed the words of feckless hearsay. I have many enemies that slander my persona daily, as thou knowest. Unfortunately, 'tis a common nuisance that we both share unwillingly.

WALLADA.

True! If there is one thing that I detest passionately, that is the vile slanderers of this city.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Twould appear that we have much in common, beyond our poetic grandeur vizier.

WALLADA.

I would have to agree with that interesting comparison, but I much prefer that we acknowledge our passion for poetry than our private inclinations and affairs.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Shall I proceed with the recital of my poem?

WALLADA.

Indeed! I know that my pupils are anxious to listen to thy brilliance.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Let us commence then!

Ibn Zaydun recites his poetry and afterwards, Wallada resumes the conversation with him.

WALLADA.

I thank thee for entertaining my pupils Ibn Zaydun.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Twas a pleasure to have spent time, with thy wonderful pupils.

WALLADA.

I feel that I am in debt with thee in some manner.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis not mine intention to interpose a debt unto thee.

WALLADA.

Then what do I owe thee?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nothing, except one thing that I request respectfully.

WALLADA.

And what is that request?

IBN ZAYDUN.

That thou joinest me upon this evening, at the ruins of Madinat az Zahirat once more.

WALLADA.

What for?

IBN ZAYDUN

To witness the stars and thy beauty.

WALLADA.

My beauty? I much prefer the stars.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And I thy beauty. Shalt thou join me or dost thou fear being alone with me?

WALLADA.

I fear no man and only God. I shall join you! If it pleaseth thee. Besides, I enjoy seeing the stars from the ruins.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And I thy natural beauty. Until then!

SCENE V.

At the centre of the bustling city.

The following morning Ibn Zaydun is accompanied by Zahid.

ZAHID.

Perhaps 'twas better, if we had come much earlier than now. Behold, the market and the centre are busy and thriving with abundant people!

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis like this every day! However, today it seemeth livelier. I ask, what is the reason for this sudden commotion?

ZAHID.

Let us get closer and investigate the matter!

The commotion was caused, by an altercation between a mullah the Umayyad Princess Wallada.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What hast stirred the interest of the populace?

ZAHID.

'Tis an argument, between the mullah and thy Wallada?

IBN ZAYDUN.

What dost thou mean by those words? She is not mine!

ZAHID.

Whatever thou wishest to call her, she hath brought the ire of the mullah Kamal Abdul Samad.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Let us go and see, what hath occurred afterwards!

ZAHID.

Nay, we should not involve ourselves with personal matters that do not implicate us.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If thou dost not want to accompany me, then I shall go alone.

ZAHID.

Wait, think of the consequences of thine action! Ibn Zaydun approaches the mullah and the princess, as an intermediary.

IBN ZAYDUN.

There is no need to quarrel amongst themselves, in front of the public market.

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

Ibn Zaydun, why dost thou interfere in this private matter?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Because I do not think it appropriate behavior displayed.

WALLADA.

Appropriate behaviour. Since when hast thou been the defender of women? I do not need thy defence!

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

Thou hast seen with thine eyes, she is an unprincipled woman, who doth not respect the explicit authority of man.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Who are thou to condemn her, when the principal authority in this city, belongeth to Abu Al-Hazm Jahwar?

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

Hast thou forgotten that thou art addressing the supreme mullah in the city and his spiritual leader in the court?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay! However, it seemeth that thou hast forgotten that I belong to his court and he is very fond of me. Dost thou dare to debase me in public?

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

Forgive me sidi, but I could stand seeing this woman walking the streets of the city, without proper attire.

WALLADA.

What thou meanest is that I do not wear a hijab or appropriate tunics to please thee! If mine appearance disturbeth thee, then close thine eyes or walk away!

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

This is not correct Ibn Zaydun!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Hast thou forgotten that she is the daughter of the late Caliph Muhammad III of Córdoba?

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

I have not!

At the corner of a street, nearby the house of Wallada.

Ibn Zaydun attempts to speak to Wallada, who is still angry about the incident with the mullah.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wait Wallada! Do not hasten! Let us talk!

Wallada stops for a moment to hear the words of Ibn Zaydun and then she speaks to him.

WALLADA.

What is there to speak, about an incident that I deal with on numerous occasions?

IBN ZAYDUN.

But the mullah had no right to attack thee with such condemnation.

WALLADA.

Hast thou forgotten that I have had to bear things worse than foul words or attacks from a mullah and others, since our dynasty began to decline?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have not, but it doth not justify the action!

WALLADA.

Words, they were nothing more than words Ibn Zaydun.

IBN ZAYDUN.

True! However, thou dost not merit such offences exploited.

WALLADA.

Whatever offence that any man could insult me with, 'tis not injurious enough to be frightful. I have no need for any man to defend mine honour with grandiose chivalry!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Not even me, who dareth to profess that claim?

WALLADA.

I wonder, if I should be appreciative of those words or merely scoff at them, when I have heard those same words spoken innumerable times by cowardly men that lack bravery.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I cannot speak for those men that have uttered these words, but know that I am willing to learn from thee, if thou allowest me voluntarily.

WALLADA.

Learn from me thou sayest?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Yes! I want to learn everything that thou knowest!

WALLADA.

I would not believe that the Great Ibn Zaydun would profess such keen admission.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Art thou afraid of me?

WALLADA.

Nay! Wherefore should I be?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, allow me to learn from thee. Allow me to be at thy side!

WALLADA.

Thou shalt only lose thyself in senseless passion.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Let me attempt to learn from thee!

WALLADA.

I shall not be blamed, for the corruption of thy soul and heart.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Never! I shall blame myself, a million times consciously!

WALLADA.

Then be there at the ruins of Madinat az Zahirat, during the evening.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall be present my princess!

WALLADA.

Do not be late! If thou art late, thou shalt not find me there afterwards. I shall be gone!

ACT 3.

SCENE I.

At the abandoned ruins of Madinat az Zahirat.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou art here! This wouldth mean that I have arrived on time and am not late.

WALLADA.

That wouldth appear to be the case.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Dost thou regret inviting me to this forlorn place, at night?

WALLADA.

Should I regret it now or later?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Do whatever thou pleaseth, but do not doubt my sincerity, as a person.

WALLADA.

What is thy sincerity?

IBN ZAYDUN.

What doth sincerity mean to thee?

WALLADA.

Tonight, I wish only to know thine heart and soul.

IBN ZAYDUN.

How dost thou suggest to know both my soul and heart?

WALLADA.

Come with me, if thou art fearless. Let thine imagination be endless upon this wonderful night. Let this magical place awaken thee, as it hath awakened me always!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Whither shall we go?

WALLADA.

To where the arches, arabesque panel were and where the sun reflecteth, upon the remnants of the marble walls and ceilings of gold, doors of ivory and ebony, amber and pearls and the reception hall that stood before.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then guide me willingly, and I shall follow thee endlessly!

After they walked inside the ruins left of the Moorish city, they embraced and their lips for the first time had touched, for a gentle kiss.

WALLADA.

I have not felt the affection of a man's kiss like this, never before I must confess.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And I of a woman like thee, with such delicacy!

WALLADA.

What dost thou suggest I do next?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Allow me to gain thy trust and thine heart with my volition.

WALLADA.

Can I trust thee in the end?

IBN ZAYDUN.

That shall be for thee to determine.

WALLADA.

Thou must gain my trust, in order to gain control of mine heart.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, I shall make that fervid attempt to earn thy trust and heart.

WALLADA.

I warn thee that do not mistake compassion for love and if thou shalt betray me, I shall become immediately, thine unmerciful foe.

SCENE II.

At the court of the Banu Jahwar.

Ibn Zaydun is summoned in the morning, by the Sheikh to address the issue of the incident, between the mullah and Wallada.

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

Ibn Zaydun. Art thou aware of the reason why I have summoned thee to appear before me in the court?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am not totally prevalent to the reason, but it must be an important issue to discuss with me.

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

Indeed! The matter is of a grave consequence vizier.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If I may query my noble Sheikh, what is that serious matter?

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

I was informed about an incident that occurred, near the market yesterday.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Art thou referring about the incident with mullah Kamal Abdul Samad and the Princess Wallada?

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

Yes!

The mullah enters the court.

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

I am honoured to be before thee, my lord.

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

'Tis a pleasure to have thee join us in the court. Now, if thou canst explain to us what exactly transpired at the market with this woman?

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

Gladly, I shall attempt to explicate. I was at the market, when I had descried the image of this woman inciting the men, with her immoral influence. I was vehemently attacked by this whore. 'Twas then, when Ibn Zaydun interrupted and assumed her position and not mine, who he shouldth have sided with in the beginning.

IBN ZAYDUN.

If I may defend myself before thee, my noble lord. In the first place, I was attempting to pacify the tense situation. Secondly, I am no defender of the Princess Wallada. If mine actions were interpreted, as favourable to her, then I apologise to the mullah.

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

His interposition was unmerited and unjustifiable to say the least.

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

I defer with thee mullah. Ibn Zaydun hath offered his genuine apology, and that is sufficient for me and the court.

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

Although I do not agree, I respect thine authority and decision, my lord. Therefore, I accept this apology of Ibn Zaydun.

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

Excellent! Now that this matter is settled, the court hath other important issues to address forthwith.

KAMAL ABDUL SAMAD.

I hope to visit the court, under a more enjoyable occasion.

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

Thou art excused!

Subsequently, the mullah departs the court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I must exit the court as well. I too have important issues to address at once!

SHEIKH JAHWARID ABU AL HAZM.

Thou art excused. But before thou goest, I warn thee Ibn Zaydun, stay away from the Princess Wallada and do not get involved with scandalous affairs that could tarnish thy reputation and the court.

SCENE III.

At the home of Wallada.

Ibn Zaydun returns to speak to Wallada, about the incident and what occurred at the court with the mullah.

WALLADA.

I was not expecting thee!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I know I should have informed thee of my visit, but I did not have sufficient time available to me.

WALLADA.

Dost thou think that after what occurred at the market, 'tis proper for thee to be seen with me in public?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Perhaps, thou art correct. I was forced to defend thee, before the court and the accusation of the mullah.

WALLADA.

What happened with me and that ignorant fool doth not concern thee.

IBN ZAYDUN.

But it doth, because I am the member of the court.

WALLADA.

Then, do not defend me!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall defend thee, when I can!

WALLADA.

What dost thou want from me?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I want to know thine heart and soul, as thou had requested of me before.

WALLADA.

If thou speakest the truth, then join me at the ruins once more.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall gladly be there, at thy side devotedly.

WALLADA.

Devotion, shall thou love me with devotion?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Yes! Mine heart beats thy name and my mouth uttereth thy name, with constant joy.

WALLADA.

Write me a poem, as a demonstration of thy sentiments expressed towards me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall, but thou must do the same in return.

WALLADA.

I shall!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I must go now. However, I shall be thinking of only thee, until we see each other anon.

WALLADA.

God be willing! I shall be there waiting for thy reappearance.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And I shall rejoice with that beautiful contemplation.

WALLADA.

Go then, for my pupils shall be coming to the house.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall go, but not before a kiss.

They kiss in a passionate embrace of the lips.

WALLADA.

Shall thou be always gentle to me as a man, as thou art as a lover?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Always!

SCENE IV.

At the Reception Hall of the court, Zahid is with Ibn Zaydun, as they converse in privacy, about the incident the day before. Ibn Zaydun has received a poem from Wallada. And the main contents of the poem contain the following verses, "How can I bear this being cut off from thee, alone? Yes, fate did hasten what I had been afraid of! Time passeth, yet I see no end to thy long absence, nor doth patience free me from the bondage of yearning!"

ZAHID.

I cannot believe that thou had durst to defy the mullah in public. Thou art aware that he is truly respected, amongst the members of the court and especially, by the Sheikh.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Twas never mine intention to provoke him.

ZAHID.

But thou did and worse, thou defended a woman that is not only immoral, but of the Umayyad dynasty.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Dost thou, not think that thou art exaggerating a bit?

ZAHID.

How? Please proceed to explain to me!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I did not nothing wrong, but attempt to intermediate, between the mullah and the princess. They were busy in a heated argument and I prevented it, from being an unwanted spectacle. That is all!

ZAHID.

I told thee before that 'twas not prudent to involve thyself, with that scandalous woman.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What I do with her doth, not involve no one, but myself and her. Is that clear, my good friend?

ZAHID.

Yes! However, thou art playing with fire and shall be burnt, if thou dost not stay away from her.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have done nothing wrong in mine opinion I tell thee!

ZAHID.

I know thee well and of all the women of Córdoba thou hast known and met, thou hast preferred her. Wherefore?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Because, she is like a sparkling gem that is too priceless in nature.

ZAHID.

She is not for thee! Do not risk thy status in the court or stir the ire of the Sheikh.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I repeat, I have done nothing grievous to merit such discordance therewith.

ZAHID.

Beware of that woman! She shall bring nothing but ruin unto thee and curse thy name.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And I repeat, I have nothing to be shameful or regretful.

ZAHID.

Then do whatever thou pleasest with thy life, but do not come to me for consolation.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am a grown man and need no comfort, from no one to heal my wounds.

ZAHID.

We are from the same court and let us remain members of that court!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I agree!

SCENE V.

At the corner of the main street, nigh the ancient Roman bridge. Wallada walks defiantly with a gown embroidered, in words that cause another controversial uproar, amongst the onlookers.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wallada, what dost thou seek to do with this provocation?

WALLADA.

For the sake of God! I deserve nothing less than glory. I hold my head high and go my way. I will give my cheek to my lover and my kisses to anyone I choose.

IBN ZAYDUN.

But thou knowest that thou art in peril each and every time thou art defiant in society.

WALLADA.

I know who I am, and I shall not allow anyone to define me or mine interests.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I do not wish to impose upon thee. I cherish thee, as thou art in essence and purity.

WALLADA.

Then, accept mine essence and purity as a whole.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have done this I believe, from the first time that I spoke to thee in earnest.

WALLADA.

I ask thee Ibn Zaydun, shalt thou love me, when thou art shunt by society, as I have been shunt unjustly?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Let my love for thee demonstrate its capacity.

WALLADA.

I shall grant thee mine heart, but thou must continue to earn my trust.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall gradually gain thy favour and devotion.

WALLADA.

I must go now, but tonight thou art invited to join me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Where?

WALLADA.

At the house of my dearest aunt Salma, whose home is by the Guadalquivir River. She is like a mother to me. Shall thou comest? Thou must recitest thy poetry.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall, if it pleaseth thee immensely.

WALLADA.

It shall indeed!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, I shall see thee there!

WALLADA.

Dost thou know how to arrive at her house?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I do! I have heard of her great influence and prestige.

WALLADA.

Until tonight!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Until tonight!

SCENE VI.

At the home of Salma, a noblewoman and fellow member of the crumbling Umayyad Dynasty.

It is evening, and Ibn Zaydun has arrived, at the home of Salma, who greets him, aside the presence of Wallada.

SALMA.

Ibn Zaydun, 'tis a pleasure to have thee at mine home.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis a pleasure for me to be here within thine home and, with thy guests and thy presence.

SALMA.

'Tis not often that I am visited by a known statesman and poet, as thyself.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am honoured to be thy invited guest.

SALMA.

I would hope that our differences of nobility do not inhibit our acquaintanceship much.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I do not see why it would, and moreover tonight I am not a statesman, but a mere poet.

SALMA.

Thou art, not a mere poet. I have heard much about thee from Wallada. She speakest of thee!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I did not know that. However, I hope whatever she hast told thee is nothing disconcerting!

SALMA.

Of course not! She hath spoken well about thee.

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is why I am extremely fond of her simplistic nature.

WALLADA.

Enough of the convivial discourse. Let us join the others in the hall and begin the night's poetic recitals.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Agreed! Shall we proceed ahead?

Ibn Zaydun and Wallada sit abreast each other. They do nothing to conceal their passion and affection, before the literary circle of guests. When the poets begin improvising, as was their custom, they would allude to their relationship quite openly, in their verses of poetry. On this occasion, Wallada utters this impromptu verse, as she gazes upon the countenance of Ibn Zaydun.

WALLADA.

I fear for thee, my beloved so much, that even mine own sight even the ground thou treadest even the hours that pass threaten to snatch thee away from me. Even if I were able to conceal thee within the pupils of mine eyes and hide thee there until the Day of Judgment, my fear would still not be allayed.

And he, returning her glance just as ardently, responded.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thy passion hath made me famous, amongst high and low thy countenance devoureth my feelings and thoughts. When thou art absent, I cannot be consoled, but when thou appearest, all my cares and troubles fly away.

SALMA.

We are blest to have such wonderful poets assembled before us. How touching is the seed of love. I shall pray that God be willing, love bless ye all with good fortune.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Let it be said that love knoweth no boundary that cannot be conquered.

WALLADA.

To conquer love, one must be in love.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Art thou in love Wallada?

WALLADA.

'Tis for thee to determine vizier.

SALMA.

The night hath only commenced my special guests. We have time for more genuine poetry and enlightenment to be shared amongst us.

ACT 4.

SCENE I.

At the home of Ibn Zaydun.

A romantic relationship had grown between Ibn Zaydun and Wallada that is indisputable, but in order to protect themselves from the slandering men of the court, Wallada had requested their relationship to be kept secret, until a new caliph is in place. The poet is in his garden the next morning, when a mysterious letter is delivered by a messenger. It is a letter by Wallada. The contents of the letter are the following:

'Wait to visit me when darkness falleth, since I believe that night keepeth the secret best. What I feel for thee is such that, similarly affected, the moon wouldth not shine, the night not spreadeth, and the stars not travel.

To which Ibn Zaydun had replied: If, after thee, my night groweth long, then how much do I now complain of this night's shortness with thee!

Enters Zahid to warn him of the arrivance of the Court's Guards that are coming to apprehend him forthwith.

ZAHID.

Ibn Zaydun, thou must leave the city at once, the guards of the court are going to arrest thee today.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wherefore must I leave, since I have done nothing wrong or mischievous?

ZAHID.

Because thou hast been charged with threatening to conspire against the court, with the Umayyads.

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is absolutely a false declaration made.

ZAHID.

This time I fear that the accusation against thee is of a very serious and damaging nature.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What are thou referring to that I do not truly comprehend its nature?

ZAHID.

There is no time to specify on the matter!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall not flee like a coward, since I have done nothing unlawful!

ZAHID.

They are here! What shall thou dost next?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall defend myself indeed, amidst this unfounded charge.

ZAHID.

There is turning back now! Thou shalt be found guilty.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Whatever the charge shall be, I am entirely innocent!

The guards of the court arrive to arrest Ibn Zaydun.

FIRST BERBER GUARD.

Vizier, we have come to arrest thee and escort thee to the court immediately!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Under what charge am I being arrested?

SECOND BERBER GUARD.

The charge of conspiracy!

ZAHID.

Who hast made this grave accusation against me?

FIRST BERBER GUARD.

Unfortunately, I do not have the liberty to answer that question vizier. I was only instructed to apprehend thee. Now, shalt thou come voluntarily or by force?

ZAHID.

'Twould be wise to heed the wanted suggestion of the guard.

SECOND BERBER GUARD.

Shall I need to repeat the order once more to thee vizier?

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is not necessary. Let us go then!

ZAHID.

I shall attempt to speak on thy behalf at the court.

SCENE II.

At the court of Abu Al Hazm Jahwar.

Ibn Zaydun has been imprisoned and then brought before the court, where the council of ministers and judiciaries have gathered.

SHEIKH ABU AL-HAZM JAHWAR.

Ibn Zaydun, thou hast been arrested and brought before the court, due to the charge committed. Dost thou knowest the charge against thee?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have been told 'tis conspiracy, but I fail to understand the total nature of the charge and its premise.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWAR.

There are witnesses that have seen thee, in the wanton company of the Princess Wallada.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Who are these witnesses that have durst to accuse me of this baseless claim?

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWAR.

Who they are doth not matter!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Do I not have the right to face mine accusers in person, my lord?

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWAR.

Indeed! But before we proceed to that, I must hear from thee, if this charge is based on hearsay or the truth.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I did not know that being in the accompaniment of the princess was an intolerable crime.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

'Tis, when there is talk of conspiracy against my rule. Thou knowest that my foes are innumerable and would like to see me not only out of power, but dead as well.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am fully aware of that. However, 'tis thou that hast utter that exclamation and not I.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

True! Yet thou answerest in riddle and not in honesty.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Forgive me my lord, if my words uttered were not enunciated clearly.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

Thou knowest that if proven correct, then thou shalt be facing a certain death sentence that I shall be forced to impose instantly?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Yes! I am aware of that feasible consequence.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

Then, thou art prepared to face thy imminent death?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am, but I prefer to live. Do I not have a voice in the matter? Under the laws of the court and our religion, I am entitled to my defence.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

Thou art forsooth!

The witnesses are brought into the court and before the observant sheikh. The first witness is a merchant; the second is the mullah, and the third witness is the slave of the Princess Wallada, Laila. They all confirm the undeniable suspicion, but it is the testimony of the slave girl that is more damaging and credible.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

Thou hast claimed that the noble Ibn Zaydun is in the process of deliberately conspiring, with the Princess Wallada of the Umayyads? Is that true?

LAILA.

I have spoken those words, because they are true, my lord.

IBN ZAYDUN.

She is the slave of the princess. I must ask, what hast caused thee to backstab the woman that gave thee shelter always?

LAILA.

Must I be forced to answer that question?

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

Yes, thou must answer that question with honesty!

LAILA.

The princess and Ibn Zaydun are lovers, and they have been seen in the presence of the enemies of the court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

That doth not make me guilty of any crime or deliberate action taken. I demand as a member of this court that these charges be dismissed, on the grounds that I have not committed any crime of conspiracy proven.

SHEIKH ABU AL HAZM JAHWARID.

I shall dismiss these charges for now, until there is further evidence of your involvement, in this so-called plot against me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I thank thee my noble sheikh. I tell thee that thou needest not to distrust me, when I have served this court obediently.

SCENE III.

At the home of Ibn Zaydun.

He is joined once more, by his faithful friend Zahid.

ZAHID.

I came as soon, as I heard the tidings!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am glad thou art here. I hope this scandalous assertion incriminating me in a supposed conspiracy hath been disproven.

ZAHID.

I fear the worse, if thou continuest thine association, with that controversial woman.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Perhaps thou art correct. But how can I convince mine heart to stray from her? Thou art the only one that I shall make this candid disclosure. I believe I am in love, with the Princess Wallada.

ZAHID.

That is mad! Thou knowest that thy relation cannot be possible, when thou art from the tribe of Makhzum and she is from the Umayyad tribe.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Doth it really matter in the end, if we are beholden to our hearts than our positions?

ZAHID.

Thou speakest in foolish language, when we are people of nobility and duty to our court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

But for how long, must I suffer for love?

ZAHID.

'Tis better to suffer the loss of a woman than the absolute loss of thy status. Thou shalt be ostracised, by all the members of the court and forced to abandon the city afterwards.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Is this the prize I must pay, for loving the Princess Wallada?

ZAHID.

The prize of losing everything thou hast is greater than the loss of a woman.

ZAYDUN.

What shall I do to forget her?

ZAHID.

Simple! Thou must find another woman to make thee forget her instantly.

IBN ZAYDUN.

How can I break her heart and trust in me so callously?

ZAHID.

Thou hast no another option at hand. 'Tis either her or thee!

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Twould be betrayal at its worst form! I would not bear that inconceivable act.

ZAHID.

But it must be done forthwith!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Although I disapprove the argument, thy words have persuaded me in the end to see thy point.

ZAHID.

Good! Then do what must be done, in order to be rid of this unnecessary scandal.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall heed thy counsel, with effectiveness.

SCENE IV.

At the home of Wallada.

Wallada has been visited, by Salma her close relative.

WALLADA.

'Tis good to see thee again, my dearest aunt.

SALMA.

I wish I came here on a convivial visit solely, but the nature of my visit is of a serious tone.

WALLADA.

I descry in thine eyes, the visible look of absolute concern.

SALMA.

There is much talk about thine amorous relationship, with Ibn Zaydun amongst the people.

WALLADA.

I would have preferred that our relationship was kept in privacy, but people spread exaggerating rumours about me daily. It doth not surprise me at all!

SALMA.

But we are speaking about something that exceedeth the mere affection shared, by two prominent persons of Córdoba that cannot be accepted within this city.

WALLADA.

What art thou insinuating?

SALMA.

Ye both have been accused of conspiracy, against the court.

WALLADA.

That is a blatant lie. Indeed, I admit that I bear resentment to the Jahwarid Court, but I do not require Ibn Zaydun to dislike them.

SALMA.

Thou must realise that 'twould be better that thou not been seen with him in public.

WALLADA.

I believe I love him!

SALMA.

Dost thou think that he shall be faithful to thee?

WALLADA.

Wherefore dost thou enquire?

SALMA.

Because I know of his salacious reputation, as a lover.

WALLADA.

Everyone hath a reputation in this city; even I have a salacious reputation. Perchance 'tis worse than Ibn Zaydun.

SALMA.

Do not dismiss so casually the accusations. Stay away from him and do not risk being imprisoned I beg of thee!

WALLADA.

Thou knowest me well. Since when have I been afraid of any threat imposed upon me directly?

SALMA.

This is no idle threat Wallada. Do not play with blazing fire, because thou shalt be burnt by that fire! The Court of the Jahwarid is eagerly looking, for any reason to destroy our noble lineage.

WALLADA.

I am fully aware of that imminent danger, but I cannot live my life, at the expense of my felicity.

SALMA.

Leave him, whilst thou canst and find another lover, before 'tis too late to repent.

WALLADA.

Where could I find a man that would accept me, for who I am than he?

SALMA.

I do not know, but thou must be wary of thine actions, especially when thou art in public openly.

SCENE V.

At the home of Wallada.

Wallada has been informed that her servant Laila has betrayed her to the court, but Laila has left the city of Córdoba fleeing the wrath of the princess. She is now distrustful of all of her pupils.

WALLADA.

How easily 'tis to betray my trust and slander my name unjustly, like a whore!

LINA.

Verily, I can speak for the others that are present, we are not like Laila. How canst thou compare us to her, when her loyalty was never beholden to thee in the first place?

NAUM SAFIYA.

We are forever obedient to thee and would never dare to commit, such an audacious act of treachery.

WALLADA.

Yet, one of ye were daring enough to commit this betrayal seemingly.

MUHTA BINT AL TAYANI.

I would never betray thee princess I swear on our holy book!

WALLADA.

Those are honourable words to utter, but I have heard then before and cannot doubt them so plainly.

LINA.

Then scourge me, if I am guilty of this terrible treason.

WALLADA.

I do not need to scourge thee or anyone of ye, since the guilt alone shall be sufficient to carry that burden ominously.

MUHTA BINT AL TAYANI.

Thou art our devoted teacher and sister.

WALLADA.

And ye are my devoted pupils and sisters as well.

NAUM SAFIYA.

How can we prove ourselves to thee princess? Please tell us how!

WALLADA.

All that I require from thee is thy loyalty to me and nothing more.

LINA.

And thou hast our undeniable loyalty princess.

WALLADA.

For how long I ask?

MUHTA BINT AL TAYANI.

We are here before thee. Is that, not an evident sign of our loyalty towards thee?

NAUM SAFIYA.

I too profess that belief candidly!

WALLADA.

If I am apprised of thy betrayal, then ye shall not dare to return to mine home or address me publicly. Let this be a stern warning, for all of ye to heed from this moment on!

LAILA.

I shall never deceive thee princess. Thou must believe my words of admission.

WALLADA.

I would hope so, for thy sake.

SCENE VI.

At the Court of the Banu Jawahr.

The following day, a new vizier has been appointed to help administer the daily affairs of Córdoba. He is an old friend of Ibn Zaydun. His name is Ibn Abdus.

IBN ABDUS.

Ibn Zaydun, mine old friend! It hath been a while, since we have seen each other. 'Tis good to see thee anon!

IBN ZAYDUN.

And I share the same sentiment expressed!

IBN ABDUS.

Thou hast accomplished much on the behalf of the court. 'Tis a shame that thou hast involved thyself from what I hear, with such scandalous affairs of the heart, if I am to understand the situation completely.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis nothing but senseless hearsay!

IBN ABDUS.

Then, thou art not involved with the Princess Wallada, the daughter of the late Caliph Muhammad III?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I see that the rumours of mine affair with the Princess Wallada hast begun to concern the colloquies of the nobility and lower classes of the city.

IBN ABDUS.

Art thou implying that these rumours as thou callest them are nothing more than unsubstantiated claims made falsely, against thy persona?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Indeed! Whatever I may have with the princess Wallada should not concern the people of this city. Instead, the people should be more worried, about their own affairs and the continuation of the turbulence in Al Andalus that hath caused such division and civil wars, amongst us brethren of the same faith.

IBN ABDUS.

I admire thy dedication Ibn Zaydun, but thou surely art aware of thy position in the court and the state of the affairs of the taifas, since the fall of the Caliphate of the Umayyad.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am most definitely cognisant of that manifestation Ibn Abdus.

IBN ABDUS.

Then, mine old friend let us be attentive, with the dutiful administration of the city first than the company of women.

IBN ZAYDUN.

My loyalty is to the court and to the sheikh also!

IBN ABDUS.

I have spoken to the sheikh and am very confident that our real threat is not the other factions of the kingdom, but the Christian suzerains in the north that are anxious to drive us from our lands.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I agree, but the issue is much more complicated than that I am afraid.

IBN ABDUS.

I would hope that we can agree on many things than disagreeing, on few things my friend.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am willing to work with thee Ibn Abdus, in whatever endeavour necessary to assist in the affairs of the court.

IBN ABDUS.

That is good to hear, considering the times are changing and trust is a thing that more and more people have abandoned for greed it wouldth seem to me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I suppose that there is an amount of greed in all of us, but for the nonce, it hath not served my purpose nor my cause for that matter!

ABU AL-HAZM JAHWAR IBN JAHWAR.

I am glad that both my perceptive advisers and viziers are sharing an amenable conversation, betwixt themselves.

IBN ABUS.

Ibn Zaydun is an old friend of mine. We share a common history, passion for the arts, and for women.

ACT 5.

SCENE I.

At the home of Wallada.

Wallada has invited guests to come over to hear her poetry recital, during the evening. Amongst the guests, there is the new vizier Ibn Abdus, who shall be an important figure in the life of Wallada. He presents himself to the Umayyad princess.

IBN ABDUS.

Allow me to introduce myself princess, I am Ibn Abdus, the new vizier of Córdoba.

WALLADA.

I have heard of thee, but I have not had the pleasure to meet thee in person, until now.

IBN ABDUS.

I too have heard about thee.

WALLADA.

I would hope that what thou hast heard about me is not all terrible and exaggerated.

IBN ABDUS.

'Tis not relevant!

WALLADA.

Thou art not suspicious about me, when controversy followeth, wherever I go.

IBN ABDUS.

No more than any other controversial persona of this city.

WALLADA.

I am curious to know, what hath caused thee to visit mine home.

IBN ABDUS.

If thou did not know, I too, am a lover of the art of poetry.

WALLADA.

Thou art a poet vizier?

IBN ABDUS.

Yes, I am a poet!

WALLADA.

Then, shalt thou join us this evening?

IBN ABDUS.

If thou art inviting me to participate!

WALLADA.

I am! I am certain that my guests would love to be entertained by thee; in particular my pupils, who must grow weary of my poetry.

IBN ABDUS.

'Twould be an immense pleasure, for me princess.

WALLADA.

Then follow me into the hall, where thou mayest be more comfortable.

IBN ABDUS.

I thank thee, for thy cordiality, princess.

WALLADA.

Please refrain from addressing me, as princess. Call me instead, Wallada.

IBN ABDUS.

I shall call thee Wallada, as thou hast preferred.

The vizier leaves the gathering, but not before he excuses himself, before the guests and the princess.

WALLADA.

I am glad that thou came not as a vizier, but as a poet to mine home. At first, I was not certain that thou had come to arrest me or not.

IBN ABDUS.

I came to meet the woman that hath captivated many men, with her natural charm and beauty.

WALLADA.

I hoped that the woman that thou hast met this evening is much to thy satisfaction and not that scandalous woman people associate me with.

IBN ABDUS.

O Indeed! I have met the opposite of that perception.

WALLADA.

Then, may thy time in Córdoba rewardeth thee, with such fantastic wonders and experiences.

IBN ABDUS.

I hope that thou art right, with thy poignant words of sagacity.

SCENE II

At the ruins of Madina Az Zahirat.

Wallada and Ibn Zaydun are present, under the moon of the splendid twilight of the night. 'Tis unfortunately, the last night at the ancient ruins that both would spend together as a couple.

WALLADA.

There is so much hostility within the city against us and unwanted gossip that have caused a sudden stir in the people.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am conscious about the uproar that hath been created, by the intimation of our romantic involvement.

WALLADA.

Truly, I did not wish, for our affair to become a wicked scandal.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Neither did I, and that is the obvious inducement that we must be more cautious in public, with our intimacy expressed.

WALLADA.

I am in full concurrence with that contemplation. However, what dost thou suggest we do next?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I suggest we refrain from seeing each other in public for a short period of time, until the infamous scandal is forgotten.

WALLADA.

The scandal can last for days, weeks, or even years. The people of Córdoba do not forget so easily.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I realise that, but there is no other option available to us, at the moment.

WALLADA.

We can leave the city and go to Seville to live there. We can change our identities and no one shall recognise us!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I cannot afford to leave the city now, and I have a high position in the court. I am a vizier! Besides, if we leave together, we shall be assumed guilty and cowards.

WALLADA.

Thou knowest that my feelings for thee are genuine. I do not give mine heart to any man that I share a great affection for. Is this too much to ask of thee?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay! I tell thee that 'tis only temporary. Be patient, I am confident that we shall overcome this dilemma with success, if we stay.

WALLADA.

I do not know, if I can bear that wait for much time.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What dost thou mean by that?

WALLADA.

What thou demandest of me, I cannot comply, if thou cannot acknowledge my demand.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I would have hope that thou wert more considering, with our ongoing situation.

WALLADA.

I told thee, not to love me. 'Twas better that thou only knew me, as a lover.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I have never loved any woman, as I have loved thee.

WALLADA.

How can I believe that confession of love, if thou art not willing to demonstrate thy loyalty? I told thee before that loyalty was unconditional to me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Between thee and me if thou wishest, there could exist what cannot be lost, a secret undivulged. All that I request is merely time.

SCENE III.

At the court of the Banu Jahwar.

Ibn Zaydun and Zahid are joined in the morning, by the new vizier Ibn Abdus. The discussion soon changes to the Princess Wallada.

IBN ABDUS.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of meeting the enigmatic Princess Wallada.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Where?

IBN ABDUS.

At her home.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I was not aware that thou had visited her. Why, did thou visit her, if I may ask?

IBN ABDUS.

I was curious to know about the Umayyad Princess.

IBN ZAYDUN.

And what was thine opinion, about the princess?

IBN ABDUS.

O, she is indeed, a delight. She is beautiful and intellectual. I have not met a woman that fascinating before. Now, I understand how any man could be enraptured by her attraction, including thyself.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I would hope that thou art prepared to be slandered, by the observant elites of the court, as I have been unjustifiably.

IBN ABDUS.

I do not fear the words of my foes, instead, 'tis them that should definitely fear me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou art not interested in the princess?

IBN ABDUS.

Art thou worried that she shall leave thee?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay! She doth not belong to me!

IBN ABDUS.

Indeed! A woman of her nature is a very independent woman and requireth, a daring man at her side always.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Perchance! However, there is a clear difference, between being daring and foolish.

IBN ABDUS.

What art thou alluding to Ibn Zaydun?

ZAHID.

Gentlemen, there is no need to quarrel, about the Princess Wallada, when we have other pending issues to address at the court.

IBN ABDUS.

Thou art correct! Ibn Zaydun and I are viziers and belong to the same court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I agree completely!

Ibn Abdus excuses himself, and Ibn Zaydun and Zahid stay behind.

ZAHID.

There is no need as the vizier hath pronounced to be suspicious of his interest in the princess. Wherefore shouldth it matter?

IBN ZAYDUN.

It doth matter, because I believe I am in love, with the Princess Wallada.

ZAHID.

I told thee before to forget her. If not, she shall be thy certain downfall!

IBN ZAYDUN.

How can I forget her, when I am bewitched, by her presence and natural beauty constantly?

ZAHID.

Thou must forsake her immediately, before she forsaketh thee afterwards carelessly.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Ultimately, I do not know if I can!

ZAHID.

Let the vizier Ibn Abdus be the one to replace thee in her heart and life!

SCENE IV.

At the home of the vizier Ibn Abdus.

Wallada has been invited by the vizier, for a cordial dinner during the night. She has accepted.

IBN ABDUS.

I am glad that thou hast accepted my kind invitation to join me for dinner.

WALLADA.

I am somewhat suspicious of thine intention.

IBN ABDUS.

Allow me to allay thy preoccupation. I have invited thee here to my lovely home, so that thou could recite poetry to me.

WALLADA.

I was not expecting so soon to be invited to thine home vizier.

IBN ABDUS.

I must confess princess that I took the liberty to invite thee, without much advance notice. Forgive me for mine imprudence, but I was eager to hear thee recite more poetry for me.

WALLADA.

No need to apologise, I understand the gesture, but I wonder are we alone?

IBN ABDUS.

Nay! I have invited several of thy pupils to attend. And they are waiting in the hall, for us to commence the evening.

WALLADA.

I had not been informed by my pupils, about this kind invitation that thou hast granted us the priviledge to be here with thee.

IBN ABDUS.

There is no need for modesty tonight, since we are all followers of thee, including me, who is enamoured, by thy passionate talent.

WALLADA.

Then, I shall be content to share a night of poetry, with thee and mine enlightened pupils.

IBN ABDUS.

Let us proceed to where are guest are gathered.

WALLADA.

Let us proceed indeed!

The vizier and the princess gather with the other guests. They share their time with poetry and the lavishness of the dinner. Afterwards, when the guests have departed, the vizier offers to take the princess home. She is reluctant at first, but she acquiesces. As they are walking amidst the streets, Zahid sees the pair and immediately he shall alert Ibn Zaydun. When they are approaching the home of Wallada, Ibn Zaydun is able to see the couple together. There is instant rage within him, yet he remains silent and does not interrupt the vizier and the princess.

IBN ABDUS.

I hope that thou hast enjoyed the dinner and the night of poetry.

WALLADA.

The dinner was delectable, as the wine and food were. I must thank thee for that!

IBN ABDUS.

There is nothing more delectable to taste than the fine lips of a beautiful woman.

WALLADA.

Art thou flirting with me, or dost thou seek to please me, with thy compliments?

IBN ABDUS.

Thou mayst call my words, whatever thou pleasest!

WALLADA.

I warn thee then, that I do falter so easily to the whims of mere temptation.

IBN ABDUS.

I did not expect for thee to, but if thou allowest me to see thee again. I would be bold to court thee, with my poetic wit and charm.

WALLADA.

I would love to, but it shall have to wait, for another especial occasion.

SCENE V.

Outside at the court of the Banu Jahwar.

The next day, Ibn Zaydun reproaches the vizier, for his courtship of the princess.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I did not know that thine interest in the princess was extended to a dinner engagement.

IBN ABDUS.

I did not know that thou wert informed, about the visit of the princess. I have the impression that thou are extremely jealous.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Jealous? Wherefore should I be?

IBN ABDUS.

If I was to define thy stare indeed, I would acknowledge thy jealousy plainly.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou seemest so confident in that foolish supposition.

IBN ABDUS.

I only judge, what I witness in thine expression.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, 'twould be better, if thou concernest thyself, with retaining thy judgement.

IBN ABDUS.

Fair enough! However, if thou must know, I enjoyed tremendously, my time with the princess. I am certain that thou sharest this same opinion.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Art thou insinuating my taste of women?

IBN ABDUS.

That is for thee Ibn Zaydun to interpret in thy manner.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Let me warn thee my good friend, the princess cannot be courted with mere favours granted.

IBN ABDUS.

Favours? If I decide to court the princess, then let her be the judge of mine actions and not thee. Dost thou fear that she shall choose me over thee?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Fear? Foolishness in thy part to make that absurd assumption!

IBN ABDUS.

Assume whatever thou preferest, I shall leave thee with that thought. I have other important issues to deal with in the meantime.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I too have important issues to address.

IBN ABDUS.

Then, let me not entertain thee any longer. Before I go, I have been invited to join the princess at home this evening for an event.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I was not informed of the event!

IBN ABDUS.

Shalt thou be assisting this particular event?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Unfortunately, I have another engagement with the noble Sheikh.

IBN ABDUS.

Perhaps the next time, old friend!

ACT 6.

SCENE I.

On the street, near the home of Wallada.

Wallada is then approached by Ibn Zaydun, who is enraged with her possible intimate contact, with the vizier Ibn Abdus.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wallada, I did not know that thou wert intimately acquainted, with the vizier Ibn Abdus.

WALLADA.

Art thou jealous of the vizier?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Why should I, if thou art, not my consort?

WALLADA.

Then, wherefore dost thou rebuke me?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Because I know thou lovest me in the end!

WALLADA.

When, I asked thee to leave Córdoba with me, thou chose, thy position in the court than me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I did what any other person in my position would have done! Thou knowest that I was risking everything!

WALLADA.

And I? Do I not risk everything I have here in this city to leave with thee, as thy lover?

IBN ZAYDUN.

As I said ere, all that I wanted was more time. However, it seemeth that thou hast replaced me suddenly, with the vizier, an unprepossessing man for thy taste.

WALLADA.

I do not judge mine attraction to men, on the basis of mere physical endowment!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, 'tis poor taste thou hast in thy selection!

WALLADA.

Thou canst name it, whatever thou desirest, but any selection of mine, is not any concern of thine for that matter!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I thought thou had loved me, with a passionate intensity that no man had ever stirred in thee before!

WALLADA.

True, and I shall not lie about that!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, why dost thou torment me, with this brash impudence on thy part?

WALLADA.

Brash impudence? 'Tis thee, who tormenteth thyself and not I!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou must reject these advances, and his attempts to seduce thee!

WALLADA.

I shall do no such thing, since I have not committed any carnal sin yet!

IBN ZAYDUN.

If that be the case, then thou hast not lain with him?

WALLADA.

If I have lain with him or not, 'tis for me to acknowledge and for thou to discover!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou art implying with those emphatic words that thou hast indeed, lain with the vizier!

WALLADA.

Art thou finished with thine enquiry?

IBN ZAYDUN.

For now!

WALLADA.

Good day then, Ibn Zaydun!

SCENE II.

At the home of Wallada.

Wallada is visited by a Jewish tax collector that has been sent by Ibn Zaydun to impose the collection of money, as an improvised debt. It is interpreted, as an act of revenge by the poet. Wallada is apprised of the intention of the tax collector, but does not know who is behind this audacious act.

WALLADA.

Who art thou and wherefore art thou here?

JEW.

I am a tax collector, and I have been sent here, by the court to collect on taxes that thou hast failed to pay.

The tax collector then hands over a document signed, by the court authorising the action.

WALLADA.

Tax collector? Who sent thee? And I do not owe anything to the court. Is that clear?

JEW.

As I told thee before, I was sent by the court and thou hast been required to pay this taxes that have been imposed on thee.

WALLADA.

Who in particular sent thee to mine home? I have the right afforded to me, as a citizen of Córdoba to know.

JEW.

All that I know is that my task in coming here was to collect money from thee. If thou hast any questions, then 'tis the court that thou must address and not I.

Wallada in defiance tears apart the document and realises then that the document was likely authorised by Ibn Zaydun.

WALLADA.

I shall not! I am an acquaintance of the new vizier Ibn Abdus. I shall go to him and address this issue in person!

JEW.

Thou must understand that I am only doing what was assigned to me to do princess!

WALLADA.

I comprehend that, but this action was unnecessary, since I have no reason to pay taxes that I do not owe in the first place.

JEW.

I shall have to be forced to inform the court that thou had refused to pay these taxes ordered.

WALLADA.

Do what thou must do, and I shall do what I must do!

JEW.

I shall be leaving thine home and do forgive the unannounced visit!

WALLADA.

I would hope that there shall be no need for thee to return!

JEW.

Under the circumstance, I would hope the same thing!

WALLADA.

Before thou departest. There is one thing that thou canst do for me!

JEW.

And what is that thing?

WALLADA.

Tell whomever sent thee on behalf of the court that I shall not be intimidated so easily.

JEW.

I shall tell that person of the court, when I return there!

WALLADA.

Thou mayst leave now, but take these pieces of paper of this document thou hast handed to me, so that this person of the court can know that I am the Princess Wallada.

JEW.

I shall do that my princess!

SCENE III.

At the court of the Banu Jahwar.

Wallada reaches the court and demands to speak to Ibn Zaydun, about the intrusive tax collector that was sent to her home. Ibn Zaydun has been informed of her arrival, at the court and speaks to here at once.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wallada, what art thou doing here at the court?

WALLADA.

I have come to speak to address the disturbing action that thou took to harm me in spite.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What art thou saying? I do not understand! Thou hast confounded me!

WALLADA.

The Jewish tax collector that thou sent to mine house. Art thou going to deny that?

IBN ZAYDUN.

If thou must know the truth, then yes I sent the tax collector, as a sign of my discontent in thee.

WALLADA.

Discontent in me. Wherefore? I have given thee mine heart a thousand times and thou preferred thy position over me. Who deserveth to be discontent thee or me?

IBN ZAYDUN.

Do not make me the villain, when I am not! I only wanted for thee to learn a lesson! Dost thou not see how scorned I am with the rumours of thine involvement with the vizier Ibn Abdus?

WALLADA.

Scorned 'tis I, who have been scorned by thee!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Dost thou not love me then?

WALLADA.

Love was once a beautiful thing that we shared, in the streets of Córdoba, at the market, at the ruins of Madinat az Zahirat and within a lush garden under a canopy of trees of my home, where we first met. Now, it seemeth more and more that 'tis a thing of the past!

They embrace and share a gentle kiss.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I see in thine eyes the fire of passion and the sparkle of love. Thou still lovest me!

WALLADA.

And if this was true, what good is this love, if thou art not willing to demonstrate this love for me, when I need it?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall prove that I love thee immensely!

WALLADA.

Words, words, all thy promises are reduced then, to mere words of promises unbroken.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou shalt not dare to break mine heart, with this withering utterance!

WALLADA.

'Tis thee, who hast caused this rupture. I can no longer trust thee!

IBN ZAYDUN.

I swear by the grace of God that I shall prove my love to thee!

WALLADA.

As I said before, words of broken promises!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Do not abandon thy love for me I beseech thee!

WALLADA.

'Tis I who shall be abandoned by thee afterwards! Thou shalt never chose me over thy position in the court!

SCENE IV.

At the court of the Banu Jahwar.

Ibn Abdus has been told that Ibn Zaydun had attempted to impose taxes on the princess, in order to cause her harm. He reproaches Ibn Zaydun for this cowardice act. The poet is with his friend Zahid and other ministers of the court at the time.

IBN ABDUS.

Ibn Zaydun! I must speak to thee immediately!

IBN ZAYDUN.

About what, if I may ask the vizier?

IBN ABDUS.

'Tis a private matter!

Ibn Zaydun excuses himself, before the others present in the court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

What dost thou wishest to speak to me about Ibn Abdus?

IBN ABDUS.

I know that thou sent a tax collector to impose unwarranted taxes on the Princess Wallada!

IBN ZAYDUN.

True! But 'twas a misunderstanding on my part. That is all!

IBN ABDUS.

A misunderstanding. Then let thine imprisonment be a misunderstanding!

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Tis a threat?

IBN ABDUS.

Interpret it in whatever manner thou wishest to!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Art thou going to arrest me now?

Ibn Zaydun is arrested by the guards of the court surprisingly.

IBN ABDUS.

Take him from the court!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Whither am I going to be taken?

IBN ABDUS.

To the cell of a prison to rot away!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Under what charges hast thou arrested me?

IBN ABDUS.

On the charge of conspiracy against the court!

IBN ZAYDUN.

That is a false accusation on thy part! Thou knowest that thou shalt not be able to imprison me for long!

IBN ABDUS.

This is all thy machination. Thou art jealous of mine affair with the Princess Wallada.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Jealousy! Why shall I be jealous of thee? Thou art half the man that I am! She shall never love thee, as much as she loveth me!

IBN ABDUS.

Thou art a ruin man Ibn Zaydun. And soon the princess shall see thee for whom thou art, an enemy against the court and against her!

SCENE V.

At the home of Wallada.

Ibn Zaydun has been released from his imprisonment and he must speak to the princess urgently. His jealousy has consumed him, to the point that he shall commit the worse act of betrayal. He shall lie with the pupil Muhta Bint Al Mushti. As he is entertained with his sexual companion in a secluded part of the home of the princess, Wallada discovers them in their intimacy. Her immediate reaction is of outrage and disconcertment. Wallada is accompanied by the vizier Ibn Abdus. Ibn Zaydun is once again imprisoned, accused of conspiracy. Before he is taken away, he quarrels with the vizier, remonstrating a bitter vehemence.

IBN ABDUS.

How dare thou shamed thyself and the princess, at her home and with her servant.

IBN ZAYDUN.

'Twas of thy scheming, since the beginning. Admit this coward!

IBN ABDUS.

I shall admit nothing. On the contrary, I blame thee for scheming with the servant woman to slander the reputation of the court.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nonsense!

IBN ABDUS.

Canst thou prove this serious accusation?

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall and when I do, thou shalt pay dearly for this humiliation.

IBN ABDUS.

Save thine idle threat! I do not fear thee! Thy days of favoritism in the court are over Ibn Zaydun. Thou art finished!

IBN ZAYDUN.

We shall see, if that haughty prediction of thine is true!

IBN ABDUS.

O, true it shall result!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Even if it resulteth, thou shalt never be the owner of the heart of the princess. She hath one owner only and that is I Ibn Zaydun.

IBN ABDUS.

That too, I dispute completely! I have replaced thee already!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou canst dispute whatever thou pleasest, but once I speak to her, she shall believe my version and know that thou wert behind this conjured plot to slander me.

IBN ABDUS.

I doubt that, since she doth not want to see thee anew. After all, I do not blame her. 'Twas thou that hath lain with her servant.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou hath this planned perfectly, but thou shalt not get away with this brash impudence.

IBN ABDUS.

Hast thou forgotten that 'twas thee who hath demonstrated brash impudence.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall exact revenge upon thee! I have influential power in the court, amidst the presiding members.

IBN ABDUS.

Unlikely, when thou shalt be expelled from the court and exiled from Córdoba afterwards.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I called thee once a friend, but now thou art a rat of the worse kind of filth.

IBN ABDUS.

And thou art the worse vizier that the court shall register ever in its history.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I warn thee that this shall not end with this conniving episode.

IBN ABDUS.

Thou canst threaten me with thy words, but I only adhere to actions taken.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I shall not forget this provocation of thine displayed deceitfully.

IBN ABDUS.

I repeat, thou art finished Ibn Zaydun.

SCENE VI.

At the cell of a prison.

Through the dark recesses of the corridor, Wallada appears to speak privately one last time to Ibn Zaydun.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Who goeth thither? Come closer!

WALLADA.

'Tis I the Princess Wallada!

IBN ZAYDUN.

Wallada, thou hast come to see me. I knew that thou wouldst come at once!

WALLADA.

How times have changed. I came to speak to thee one last time.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Nay! That cannot be the truth!

WALLADA.

How cheap 'tis to be thy lover and tame thy carnal pleasures also.

IBN ZAYDUN.

I am totally innocent. Dost thou not see that the vizier paid thy servant to seduce me? He is to be blamed for this. Thou must believe me, if thou still lovest me.

WALLADA.

Love? Thou darest to speak about thy love for me. Know that whatever form of affection that I had for thee hath been replaced, with repugnance and pity for thy soul.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou art not serious? Wherefore dost thou not believe me? I can explain!

WALLADA.

Save thy tawdry details. If thou wert just towards the love we shared, thou wouldst not have fallen for the servant and preferred her. Thou left aside a branch laden with beauty, and inclined to the branch which holdeth no fruit. Thou knowest well that I am the full moon of heaven, yet, to my distress, thou hast become smitten with Jupiter, as thy selection. I shall not belong to thine harem. I am an Umayyad princess and not thine harlot.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Thou compelled me to commit the sin which I had committed. Thou art accurate, I succumbed to the temptation, but pardon me, oh sinner I am! I admit this horrible deed!

WALLADA.

Be a man and assume the consequences of thine action!

IBN ZAYDUN.

How cheap thou hast given thyself to another man. Thou dost not love him! Admit it with candour!

WALLADA.

The only admission that I shall make is how erroneous I was to love thee in the first place.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Then, peace be upon thee! The peace of farewell, the farewell of a love that died before its time.

WALLADA.

Peace be upon thee, and thou shalt not seek me again, because thou art dead to me.

IBN ZAYDUN.

Farewell Princess Wallada!

WALLADA.

Farewell, Ibn Zaydun!

IBN ZAYDUN.

What shall become of thee?

WALLADA.

I shall continue to be the Princess Wallada. No man shall ever know the depth and essence of mine heart again.

THE END!

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