Is this to be read as a parable, this episode from the pages of Byzantine history in the reign of Justinian and Theodora ? One glimpses occasional parallels, as the ""haves"" -- the conservative diehards -- held tightly to the old ways against the growing strength of the have nots, newly coming to feel their strength. Oddly enough -- perhaps deliberately -- Masefield gives one little sense of time or place. Some of the political backbiting might be pre-war England -- or even the United States. It seems to emerge as a rather confused picture of plots and counterplots, of riot and carnage and burning, and at the end, measured judgment and fair decisions, good from evil. Is this intended as a prophetic note to the winners today, that it is possible to be lenient and constructive in dealing with losers ? Frankly, I can't see the market.