NOTE: this chapter, entitled ‘The Seed’ has been replaced by the new draught: ‘A Misbegotten Seed’.


Court Transcript

JACQUES. Most regal Lord, I admit my sin is great. But have mercy: I am a product of pathology. Every evil has its cause, every shape its seed. So I grew from an inner flaw: photophobia.

Like a thwarted plant, I grew in gloom, hating God for my affliction. When others mocked, I hid from dazzling day, and longed for dusk when shadows I would meet. Thus I was drawn, like moth to flame, to my lord and master Lucifer. His infernal truth broke the fetters of my dull existence. Under his wings, my mind took flight and all my pains elapsed. By virtue of His diabolic power, I grew tall and strong; and so my starving spirit was nourished by His fire.

Man’s life is governed by the stars. Sun and moon conspired my fate. Born in totality of eclipse, I was destined to embrace Darkness. But in my lupine odyssey, I saw a brighter orb: lux occulta! The Light of the Living God! The interpenetration of all matter and reality!

I put to you a question: if our fate is written by the stars, is it heresy to change it? I once dreamt that an invisible power forced me to look at the sky where my destiny was writ; and amid the swirling firmament, I saw a bright star and a worm. “A star and a worm”, thought I to myself, “whatever can it mean?” Well the worm was easy to interpret: the worm was I – a lowly base-born churl, chained to the sods. But what of the star? Perhaps it signified a foreign land – for sailors navigate by stars; or perhaps ’twas a secret wish – something too mysterious and inaccessible for a simple worm to understand. Then it struck me. The star was my soul – an eternal inner fire of love and intelligence, pure and indestructible. The meaning of the dream crystallized like a diamond. Why should I, a lowly churl, accept my given lot, if I have the power to change it? ’Twas then I knew: my deformity was not fixed, but reversible.

You think me a fool? Perhaps I was predestined to be mad. There is an old Latin proverb which says: Aut regem aut fatuum nasci oportuit. [A man ought to be born a king or a fool]. For idiots, like kings, are oft’ held in high respect and allowed the utmost license. Many times it suited me to play the fool. If only to dispel the fear I caused in others. After all, ’tis better to be laughed at than treated with contempt. Yet like a fool, I have rushed on my fate in blind haste, even when I sought to fly from it; and in attempting to avoid the smaller fault, I always ran into the greater danger. You would think that after suffering so many evils, I might have grown wise. But I maintain the opposite: I’m as much a fool now as I ever was – nay, a greater fool. The gaoler claims the fates are cruel taskmasters. He speaks the truth. But as Plutarch said, “he who blames the ordinances of the gods is as foolish and ignorant as he who censures them.” Whom shall I blame but myself?

’Tis a great grief to the angels that learned men disseminate falsities and ascribe all things by the limits of their paltry intellects. But are you demon doctors any different? You claim great powers of perception. Yet when you behold my face, you see a devil. How shall I convince you otherwise? Nature made me thus, with heart to feel and mind to reason, but with flesh in the image of a beast. Corrupt of shape, immersed in gross and corporeal form, yet withdrawn from all things pertaining to my proper body, I have lived as exile from my kin. Scorned by day and hunted by night, I stand before you in the garb of heresy. But I wear it with pride. Credo: all heresy is truth and sackcloth is finer than silk.

Noble Lord, I commend myself lovingly to your good justice. Your prudence knows well that all good souls should employ their strength to the service of Satan. But the rack is strong and the flesh is weak. Who can defy the Grand Inquisitor of Heretical Error? A gouging iron extracts a priceless sin… What bloody pearls did I confess? Truly, I have lost count of my nefarious crimes.

’Tis with great trepidation that I choose my first bubble. For in reviewing my formative years, I feign to catch sight of my stains. When I look back on my blighted days, I realise what impelled me: the desire to break free from my repulsive self. Satan showed the way. Even from an early age, I heard the Devil calling… Most sapient Lord Scales, to weigh my soul, first you must know my life. Allow me to present my case…

Copyright © Nicholas Shea 1997