Four Mystery Plays
The Guardian of the Threshold (Written 1912)
A round room in the little house in the wood, described in the “Soul's Probation,” as Felix Balde's home. Dame Balde, Felix Balde, Capesius, Strader, are seen seated at a table on the left of the stage. Later appears the Soul of Theodora. The room is the natural colour of the wood and has two pretty arched windows.
We shall not know again her beauteous self
Or feel her radiant nature till we too
reach some day the world to which she hath
So early from our sight been stol'n away.
A few short weeks ago we still could hear
With joy in this our house the graciousness
That streamed so warmly through her every word.
We both, my wife Felicia, and myself,
Loved her indeed from out our inmost soul,
So can we share and understand thy grief.
Dear Theodora, she so often spoke
Throughout the last hours of her life on earth
Of Dame Felicia and of Felix too;
She was so closely intimate with all
That life brought to you here from day to day.
Now must I grope my further path alone.
She was the sum and meaning of my life,
And what she gave, can never die for me. —
And yet — she is not here —
Yet can we still
With thee send out our loving thoughts to her
Into the spirit-worlds, and thus unite
Her soul with ours through all the days to come.
But, I must own, it was a shock to us
When we were told her life on Earth was o'er.
These many years there hath been granted me
A gift of insight which doth often show
In unexpected moments quite unsought
What inward strength doth lie in all men's lives;
In her case hath this gift deceived me sore.
For ne'er indeed could I think otherwise,
Except that Theodora would be spared
To spend on Earth for many years as yet
That love through which she hath in joy and grief
Shown herself helpful to so many men.
'Tis very strange how all hath come to pass;
As long as I have known her, had she lived
Ever the same sound healthy mode of life.
But since the time she first became aware
Of Something strange, unknown, that threatened her
And tried to enter and oppress her mind,
She grew immersed in dark and sullen thought,
And suffering poured itself through all her life.
Her body's powers were sapped, as one could see
By some great struggle in her inmost soul.
She told me — when in my anxiety, —
I plied her oft with many questionings —
She felt herself exposed to fearful thoughts
Which frightened her and worked like fire within.
And what she said besides — 'tis terrible,
For when she rallied all her powers of thought
To find the cause of all this suffering
There always came before her spirit's gaze
Thomasius ... whom we both honoured so,
And yet from this impression aye remained
The strongest feelings which spake clear to her
That she had cause to fear Thomasius.
as in a trance):
According to the strict decree of
Fate Thomasius and Theodora ne'er
Could meet in earthly passion in this life.
'Twould be indeed opposed to cosmic laws
If one desired to make the other feel
Aught that was not on spirit only based.
Within his heart Thomasius doth break
The stern decree of mighty powers of Fate:
That he must never harbour in his soul
Thoughts that might bring to Theodora harm.
For he doth feel what he ought not to feel
And, through his disobedience he doth form
E'en now the powers which can deliver o'er
His future life unto the realms of dark.
When Theodora had been forced to come
To Lucifer, she learnt unconsciously
That through the Light-bearer, Thomasius
Was filled with sensual passion for herself.
Maria, who had been by Fate's decree
Entrusted with Thomasius' spirit-life,
And Theodora, at the same time met
Within that realm which fights against the gods —
Maria from Thomasius had to part,
And he through strength of this false love was forced
To be in bondage unto Lucifer.
What Theodora thus experienced
Became consuming fire within her soul
And working further caused her all this pain.
Oh tell us, Father Felix, what this means.
Capesius speaks in such a manner strange
Of things which are incomprehensible;
And yet they fill my soul with dread and fear.
Capesius, when treading o'er the path,
Which he hath found most needful for his soul
Learns ever more and more to exercise
Those special gifts of spirit which are his;
His spirit lives in touch with higher worlds
And passeth by unnoticed all those things
Through which the senses speak unto the soul.
'Tis but by habit that he doth perform.
All that hath been his custom in this life.
He still is wont to visit his old friends
And likes to while away long hours with them,
And yet whenever he is at their side
His being seems in meditation lost.
But what he sees in spirit aye is true
So far as mine own searching of the soul
Can testify to proving of the truth.
And therefore in this case I do believe
That owing to these spirit-gifts, he could
Perceive within the depths of his own soul
The truth of Theodora's destiny.
It is so strange, he never notices
What those around him may be mentioning;
It seems his soul is from his body loosed
And gazeth only on the spirit-world;
And yet some word will often bring him back
Out of this strange abstraction, and he'll tell
Of things that seem to come from spirit-realms
And somehow be connected with that word.
Apart from that, whatever one may say
Makes no impression on his mind at all.
Ah! if he speaks the truth — how terrible —
(Theodora's Soul appears.)
Capesius hath been allowed to know
Of my existence in the spirit-world:
It is the truth which he makes known to you.
We must not let Thomasius transgress:
Maria hath already set alight
The sacrifice of love in her strong heart;
And Theodora from the spirit-heights
Will send out rays of blessing from Love's power.
Dear Strader, thou must now be calm and still;
She wants to speak to thee; I understand
The signs she gives to us: so now attend.
making a movement with her hand towards Strader):
Thomasius hath powers of seership,
And he will find me in the spirit-realms.
This must not be until he is set free
From earthly passions in his search for me.
In future he will also need thy help,
And that is what I now request of thee.
My Theodora, who dost even now
Turn to me as of old in love, say on
What thou desirest, and it shall be done.
(Theodora makes a sign towards Capesius.)
That shows she cannot now say any more,
But wisheth us to hear Capesius speak.
in a trance):
Thomasius can Theodora see,
If he doth choose to use his spirit-eyes.
Therefore her death will not destroy in him
This passion which is harmful to himself.
Yet will he have to act quite otherwise
Than he would act if Theodora still
Lived in the body on this earth of ours.
He will with passion strive toward the light
Which is revealed to her from spirit-heights
Although she hath no knowledge of the earth.
Thomasius is set to win that light
That through him Lucifer may gain it too.
This light divine would then help Lucifer
To keep for evermore within his realm
The knowledge which Thomasius has won
Through earthly powers so successfully.
For Lucifer, since first the Earth began
Hath ever sought for men who have acquired
Wisdom divine through instincts that were false.
He wills now to unite pure spirit-sight
With human knowledge, which, if treated thus
Would turn to evil, though 'twere good itself.
Thomasius however even now
May be turned back from this his evil way,
If Strader gives himself to certain aims
Which shall in future spiritually guide
All human knowledge, that it may approach
And join itself to knowledge that's divine.
If he would have these aims revealed, he must
As pupil unto Benedictus turn.
O father Felix, give me thine advice.
Hath Theodora really trusted this
Unto Capesius to tell to me?
These last few days I have most earnestly
Held converse often with mine inmost self
To try to clear my thoughts about this man.
Gladly I'll tell thee all I know myself.
Capesius is living in true wise
The life of spirit-pupilship, although
From his behaviour it seems otherwise.
He is already destined by his fate
Much to accomplish in the spirit-life.
And only can fulfil the duties high
To which his soul hath been already called,
If he prepares his spirit for them now.
And yet it lay quite near his nature too,
Instead of seeking light on spirit-paths,
Unto false science to devote himself,
Which can just now make blind so many souls.
The solemn Guardian on the Threshold grim,
Which marks the world of sense from spirit-worlds,
Had duties of a most especial kind
When to the gate Capesius found his way.
To such an earnest seeker must the gate
Needs open, but behind him shut at once.
The means he used in former times to win
Power for himself within the world of sense
Could no more help him in the spirit-realms.
He best prepares himself for service high
Which he one day must render to mankind
When he ignores our presence and our talk.
There is but one thing he still notices.
I mean the stories that I used to tell
So often to him and through which he felt
Refreshed and reawakened to new thought
When his soul seemed bereft of all ideas.
Such stories find their way to spirit-lands
If in the spirit also they are told.
Then, if I can collect myself enough
To speak my stories out within myself
I'll think of thee with love: so that they then
May also in the spirit-land be heard.