Libretto list

Iolanthe Libretto

IOLANTHE

OR

THE PEER AND THE PERI

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

THE LORD CHANCELLOR
EARL OF MOUNTARARAT
EARL TOLLOLLER
PRIVATE WILLIS (of the Grenadier Guards)
STREPHON (an Arcadian Shepherd)
QUEEN OF THE FAIRIES
IOLANTHE (a Fairy, Strephon's Mother)

FAIRIES:

CELIA
LEILA
FLETA

PHYLLIS (an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward of Chancery)

ACT I

An Arcadian Landscape

ACT II

Palace Yard, Westminster



ACT I

SCENE.
—An Arcadian Landscape.
A river runs around the back of the
stage.
A rustic bridge crosses the river.


Enter Fairies, led by Leila, Celia, and Fleta.
They trip around
the stage, singing as they dance.


CHORUS.


Tripping hither, tripping thither,
Nobody knows why or whither;
We must dance and we must sing
Round about our fairy ring!

SOLO—CELIA.


We are dainty little fairies,
Ever singing, ever dancing;
We indulge in our vagaries
In a fashion most entrancing.

If you ask the special function
Of our never-ceasing motion,
We reply, without compunction,
That we haven't any notion!

CHORUS.


No, we haven't any notion!
Tripping hither, etc.


SOLO—LEILA.


If you ask us how we live,
Lovers all essentials give—
We can ride on lovers' sighs,
Warm ourselves in lovers' eyes,
Bathe ourselves in lovers' tears,
Clothe ourselves with lovers' fears,
Arm ourselves with lovers' darts,
Hide ourselves in lovers' hearts.

When you know us, you'll discover
That we almost live on lover!

CHORUS.


Yes, we live on lover!
Tripping hither, etc.

(At the end of Chorus, all sigh wearily)

CELIA.
Ah, it's all very well, but since our Queen banished
Iolanthe, fairy revels have not been what they were!

LEILA.
Iolanthe was the life and soul of Fairyland.
Why, she
wrote all our songs and arranged all our dances!  We sing her songs
and we trip her measures, but we don't enjoy ourselves!
FLETA.
To think that five-and-twenty years have elapsed since
she was banished!  What could she have done to have deserved so
terrible a punishment?
LEILA.
Something awful!  She married a mortal!
FLETA.
Oh!  Is it injudicious to marry a mortal?
LEILA.
Injudicious?  It strikes at the root of the whole
fairy system!  By our laws, the fairy who marries a mortal dies!
CELIA.
But Iolanthe didn't die!

(Enter Fairy Queen)

QUEEN.
No, because your Queen, who loved her with a
surpassing love, commuted her sentence to penal servitude for life,
on condition that she left her husband and never communicated with
him again!
LEILA.
That sentence of penal servitude she is now working
out, on her head, at the bottom of that stream!
QUEEN.
Yes, but when I banished her, I gave her all the
pleasant places of the earth to dwell in.
I'm sure I never
intended that she should go and live at the bottom of a stream!  It
makes me perfectly wretched to think of the discomfort she must
have undergone!
LEILA.
Think of the damp!  And her chest was always delicate.

QUEEN.
And the frogs!  Ugh!  I never shall enjoy any peace of
mind until I know why Iolanthe went to live among the frogs!
FLETA.
Then why not summon her and ask her?
QUEEN.
Why?  Because if I set eyes on her I should forgive
her at once!
CELIA.
Then why not forgive her?  Twenty-five years—it's a
long time!
LEILA.
Think how we loved her!
QUEEN.
Loved her?  What was your love to mine?  Why, she was
invaluable to me!  Who taught me to curl myself inside a buttercup?
Iolanthe!  Who taught me to swing upon a cobweb?  Iolanthe!  Who
taught me to dive into a dewdrop—to nestle in a nutshell—to
gambol upon gossamer?  Iolanthe!
LEILA.
She certainly did surprising things!
FLETA.
Oh, give her back to us, great Queen, for your sake if
not for ours!  (All kneel in supplication)
QUEEN (irresolute).
Oh, I should be strong, but I am weak!
I should be marble, but I am clay!  Her punishment has been heavier
than I intended.
I did not mean that she should live among the
frogs—and—well, well, it shall be as you wish—it shall be as you
wish!

INVOCATION—QUEEN.


Iolanthe!
From thy dark exile thou art summoned!
Come to our call—
Come, come, Iolanthe!

CELIA.
Iolanthe!

LEILA.
Iolanthe!

ALL.
Come to our call, Iolanthe!
Iolanthe, come!

(Iolanthe rises from the water.
She is clad in water-weeds.
She
approaches the Queen with head bent and arms crossed)

IOLANTHE.
With humbled breast
And every hope laid low,
To thy behest,
Offended Queen, I bow!

QUEEN.
For a dark sin against our fairy laws
We sent thee into life-long banishment;
But mercy holds her sway within our hearts—
Rise—thou art pardoned!

IOL.
Pardoned!

ALL.
Pardoned!

(Her weeds fall from her, and she appears clothed as a fairy.
The
Queen places a diamond coronet on her head, and embraces her.
The
others also embrace her)

CHORUS.


Welcome to our hearts again,
Iolanthe! Iolanthe!
We have shared thy bitter pain,
Iolanthe! Iolanthe!

Every heart and every hand
In our loving little band
Welcomes thee to Fairyland,
Iolanthe!

QUEEN.
And now, tell me, with all the world to choose from,
why on earth did you decide to live at the bottom of that stream?
IOL.
To be near my son, Strephon.

QUEEN.
Bless my heart, I didn't know you had a son.

IOL.
He was born soon after I left my husband by your royal
command—but he does not even know of his father's existence.

FLETA.
How old is he?
IOL.
Twenty-four.

LEILA.
Twenty-four!  No one, to look at you, would think you
had a son of twenty-four!  But that's one of the advantages of
being immortal.
We never grow old!  Is he pretty?
IOL.
He's extremely pretty, but he's inclined to be stout.

ALL (disappointed).
Oh!
QUEEN.
I see no objection to stoutness, in moderation.

CELIA.
And what is he?
IOL.
He's an Arcadian shepherd—and he loves Phyllis, a Ward
in Chancery.

CELIA.
A mere shepherd! and he half a fairy!
IOL.
He's a fairy down to the waist—but his legs are mortal.

ALL.
Dear me!
QUEEN.
I have no reason to suppose that I am more curious
than other people, but I confess I should like to see a person who
is a fairy down to the waist, but whose legs are mortal.

IOL.
Nothing easier, for here he comes!

(Enter Strephon, singing and dancing and playing on a flageolet.

He does not see the Fairies, who retire up stage as he enters)

SONG—STREPHON.


Good morrow, good mother!
Good mother, good morrow!
By some means or other,
Pray banish your sorrow!
With joy beyond telling
My bosom is swelling,
So join in a measure
Expressive of pleasure,
For I'm to be married to-day—to-day—
Yes, I'm to be married to-day!

CHORUS (aside).
Yes, he's to be married to-day—to-day—
Yes, he's to be married to-day!

IOL.
Then the Lord Chancellor has at last given his consent
to your marriage with his beautiful ward, Phyllis?
STREPH.
Not he, indeed.
To all my tearful prayers he answers
me, "A shepherd lad is no fit helpmate for a Ward of Chancery.
"  I
stood in court, and there I sang him songs of Arcadee, with
flageolet accompaniment—in vain.
At first he seemed amused, so
did the Bar; but quickly wearying of my song and pipe, bade me get
out.
A servile usher then, in crumpled bands and rusty bombazine,
led me, still singing, into Chancery Lane!  I'll go no more; I'll
marry her to-day, and brave the upshot, be it what it may!  (Sees
Fairies)  But who are these?
IOL.
Oh, Strephon!  rejoice with me, my Queen has pardoned
me!
STREPH.
Pardoned you, mother?  This is good news indeed.

IOL.
And these ladies are my beloved sisters.

STREPH.
Your sisters!  Then they are—my aunts!
QUEEN.
A pleasant piece of news for your bride on her wedding
day!
STREPH.
Hush!  My bride knows nothing of my fairyhood.
I
dare not tell her, lest it frighten her.
She thinks me mortal, and
prefers me so.

LEILA.
Your fairyhood doesn't seem to have done you much
good.

STREPH.
Much good!  My dear aunt! it's the curse of my
existence!  What's the use of being half a fairy?  My body can
creep through a keyhole, but what's the good of that when my legs
are left kicking behind?  I can make myself invisible down to the
waist, but that's of no use when my legs remain exposed to view!
My brain is a fairy brain, but from the waist downwards I'm a
gibbering idiot.
My upper half is immortal, but my lower half
grows older every day, and some day or other must die of old age.

What's to become of my upper half when I've buried my lower half I
really don't know!
FAIRIES.
Poor fellow!
QUEEN.
I see your difficulty, but with a fairy brain you
should seek an intellectual sphere of action.
Let me see.
I've a
borough or two at my disposal.
Would you like to go into
Parliament?
IOL.
A fairy Member!  That would be delightful!
STREPH.
I'm afraid I should do no good there—you see, down
to the waist, I'm a Tory of the most determined description, but my
legs are a couple of confounded Radicals, and, on a division,
they'd be sure to take me into the wrong lobby.
You see, they're
two to one, which is a strong working majority.

QUEEN.
Don't let that distress you; you shall be returned as
a Liberal-Conservative, and your legs shall be our peculiar care.

STREPH.
(bowing).
I see your Majesty does not do things by
halves.

QUEEN.
No, we are fairies down to the feet.


ENSEMBLE.


QUEEN.
Fare thee well, attractive stranger.

FAIRIES.
Fare thee well, attractive stranger.

QUEEN.
Shouldst thou be in doubt or danger,
Peril or perplexitee,
Call us, and we'll come to thee!
FAIRIES.
Aye!  Call us, and we'll come to thee!
Tripping hither, tripping thither,
Nobody knows why or whither;
We must now be taking wing
To another fairy ring!

(Fairies and Queen trip off, Iolanthe, who takes an affectionate
farewell of her son, going off last)

(Enter Phyllis, singing and dancing, and accompanying herself on a
flageolet)

SONG—PHYLLIS.


Good morrow, good lover!
Good lover, good morrow!
I prithee discover,
Steal, purchase, or borrow
Some means of concealing
The care you are feeling,
And join in a measure
Expressive of pleasure,
For we're to be married to-day—to-day!
Yes, we're to be married to-day!

BOTH.
Yes, we're to be married, etc.


STREPH.
(embracing her).
My Phyllis!  And to-day we are to be
made happy for ever.

PHYL.
Well, we're to be married.

STREPH.
It's the same thing.

PHYL.
I suppose it is.
But oh, Strephon, I tremble at the
step I'm taking!  I believe it's penal servitude for life to marry
a Ward of Court without the Lord Chancellor's consent!  I shall be
of age in two years.
Don't you think you could wait two years?
STREPH.
Two years.
Have you ever looked in the glass?
PHYL.
No, never.

STREPH.
Here, look at that (showing her a pocket mirror), and
tell me if you think it rational to expect me to wait two years?
PHYL.
(looking at herself).
No.
You're quite right—it's
asking too much.
One must be reasonable.

STREPH.
Besides, who knows what will happen in two years?
Why, you might fall in love with the Lord Chancellor himself by
that time!
PHYL.
Yes.
He's a clean old gentleman.

STREPH.
As it is, half the House of Lords are sighing at your
feet.

PHYL.
The House of Lords are certainly extremely attentive.

STREPH.
Attentive?  I should think they were!  Why did
five-and-twenty Liberal Peers come down to shoot over your
grass-plot last autumn?  It couldn't have been the sparrows.
Why
did five-and-twenty Conservative Peers come down to fish your pond?
Don't tell me it was the gold-fish!  No, no—delays are dangerous,
and if we are to marry, the sooner the better.


DUET—STREPHON and PHYLLIS.


PHYLLIS.
None shall part us from each other,
One in life and death are we:

All in all to one another—
I to thee and thou to me!

BOTH.
Thou the tree and I the flower—
Thou the idol; I the throng—
Thou the day and I the hour—
Thou the singer; I the song!

STREPH.
All in all since that fond meeting
When, in joy, I woke to find
Mine the heart within thee beating,
Mine the love that heart enshrined!

BOTH.
Thou the stream and I the willow—
Thou the sculptor; I the clay—
Thou the Ocean; I the billow—
Thou the sunrise; I the day!

(Exeunt Strephon and Phyllis
together)

(March.
Enter Procession of Peers)

CHORUS.


Loudly let the trumpet bray!
Tantantara!
Proudly bang the sounding brasses!
Tzing! Boom!
As upon its lordly way
This unique procession passes,
Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes!
Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses!
Blow the trumpets, bang the brasses!
Tantantara!  Tzing!  Boom!
We are peers of highest station,
Paragons of legislation,
Pillars of the British nation!
Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!

(Enter the Lord Chancellor, followed by his train-bearer)

SONG—LORD CHANCELLOR.


The Law is the true embodiment
Of everything that's excellent.

It has no kind of fault or flaw,
And I, my Lords, embody the Law.

The constitutional guardian I
Of pretty young Wards in Chancery,
All very agreeable girls—and none
Are over the age of twenty-one.

A pleasant occupation for
A rather susceptible Chancellor!

ALL.
A pleasant, etc.


But though the compliment implied
Inflates me with legitimate pride,
It nevertheless can't be denied
That it has its inconvenient side.

For I'm not so old, and not so plain,
And I'm quite prepared to marry again,
But there'd be the deuce to pay in the Lords
If I fell in love with one of my Wards!
Which rather tries my temper, for
I'm such a susceptible Chancellor!

ALL.
Which rather, etc.


And every one who'd marry a Ward
Must come to me for my accord,
And in my court I sit all day,
Giving agreeable girls away,
With one for him—and one for he—
And one for you—and one for ye—
And one for thou—and one for thee—
But never, oh, never a one for me!
Which is exasperating for
A highly susceptible Chancellor!

ALL.
Which is, etc.


(Enter Lord Tolloller)

LORD TOLL.
And now, my Lords, to the business of the day.

LORD CH.
By all means.
Phyllis, who is a Ward of Court, has
so powerfully affected your Lordships, that you have appealed to me
in a body to give her to whichever one of you she may think proper
to select, and a noble Lord has just gone to her cottage to request
her immediate attendance.
It would be idle to deny that I, myself,
have the misfortune to be singularly attracted by this young
person.
My regard for her is rapidly undermining my constitution.

Three months ago I was a stout man.
I need say no more.
If I
could reconcile it with my duty, I should unhesitatingly award her
to myself, for I can conscientiously say that I know no man who is
so well fitted to render her exceptionally happy.
(Peers:
Hear,
hear!)  But such an award would be open to misconstruction, and
therefore, at whatever personal inconvenience, I waive my claim.

LORD TOLL.
My Lord, I desire, on the part of this House, to
express its sincere sympathy with your Lordship's most painful
position.

LORD CH.
I thank your Lordships.
The feelings of a Lord
Chancellor who is in love with a Ward of Court are not to be
envied.
What is his position?  Can he give his own consent to his
own marriage with his own Ward?  Can he marry his own Ward without
his own consent?  And if he marries his own Ward without his own
consent, can he commit himself for contempt of his own Court?  And
if he commit himself for contempt of his own Court, can he appear
by counsel before himself, to move for arrest of his own judgement?
Ah, my Lords, it is indeed painful to have to sit upon a woolsack
which is stuffed with such thorns as these!

(Enter Lord Mountararat)

LORD MOUNT.
My Lord, I have much pleasure in announcing that
I have succeeded in inducing the young person to present herself at
the Bar of this House.


(Enter Phyllis)

RECITATIVE—PHYLLIS.


My well-loved Lord and Guardian dear,
You summoned me, and I am here!

CHORUS OF PEERS.


Oh, rapture, how beautiful!
How gentle—how dutiful!

SOLO—LORD TOLLOLLER.


Of all the young ladies I know
This pretty young lady's the fairest;
Her lips have the rosiest show,
Her eyes are the richest and rarest.

Her origin's lowly, it's true,
But of birth and position I've plenty;
I've grammar and spelling for two,
And blood and behaviour for twenty!
Her origin's lowly, it's true,
I've grammar and spelling for two;

CHORUS.
Of birth and position he's plenty,
With blood and behaviour for twenty!

SOLO—LORD MOUNTARARAT.


Though the views of the House have diverged
On every conceivable motion,
All questions of Party are merged
In a frenzy of love and devotion;
If you ask us distinctly to say
What Party we claim to belong to,
We reply, without doubt or delay,
The Party I'm singing this song to!

SOLO—PHYLLIS.


I'm very much pained to refuse,
But I'll stick to my pipes and my tabors;
I can spell all the words that I use,
And my grammar's as good as my neighbours'.

As for birth—I was born like the rest,
My behaviour is rustic but hearty,
And I know where to turn for the best,
When I want a particular Party!

PHYLLIS, LORD TOLL.
, and LORD MOUNT.


Though her station is none of the best,
I suppose she was born like the rest;
And she knows where to look for her hearty,
When she wants a particular Party!

RECITATIVE—PHYLLIS.


Nay, tempt me not.

To rank I'll not be bound;
In lowly cot
Alone is virtue found!

CHORUS.
No, no; indeed high rank will never hurt you,
The Peerage is not destitute of virtue.


BALLAD—LORD TOLLOLLER.


Spurn not the nobly born
With love affected,
Nor treat with virtuous scorn
The well-connected.

High rank involves no shame—
We boast an equal claim
With him of humble name
To be respected!
Blue blood! blue blood!
When virtuous love is sought
Thy power is naught,
Though dating from the Flood,
Blue blood!  Ah, blue blood!

CHORUS.
When virtuous love is sought, etc.


Spare us the bitter pain
Of stern denials,
Nor with low-born disdain
Augment our trials.

Hearts just as pure and fair
May beat in Belgrave Square
As in the lowly air
Of Seven Dials!
Blue blood! blue blood!
Of what avail art thou
To serve us now?
Though dating from the Flood,
Blue blood!  Ah, blue blood!

CHORUS.
Of what avail art thou, etc.


RECITATIVE—PHYLLIS.


My Lords, it may not be.

With grief my heart is riven!
You waste your time on me,
For ah! my heart is given!

ALL.
Given!
PHYL.
Yes, given!
ALL.
Oh, horror!!!

RECITATIVE—LORD CHANCELLOR.


And who has dared to brave our high displeasure,
And thus defy our definite command?

(Enter Strephon)

STREPH.
'Tis I—young Strephon! mine this priceless treasure!
Against the world I claim my darling's hand!

(Phyllis rushes to his arms)

A shepherd I—
ALL.
A shepherd he!
STREPH.
Of Arcady-
ALL.
Of Arcadee!
STREPH.
Betrothed are we!
ALL.
Betrothed are they—
STREPH.
And mean to be-
ALL.
Espoused to-day!

ENSEMBLE.


STREPH.
THE OTHERS.


A shepherd I                            A shepherd he
Of Arcady,                              Of Arcadee,
Betrothed are we,                       Betrothed is he,
And mean to be                          And means to be
Espoused to-day!                        Espoused to-day!

DUET—LORD MOUNTARARAT and LORD TOLLOLLER
(aside to each other).


'Neath this blow,
Worse than stab of dagger—
Though we mo-
Mentarily stagger,
In each heart
Proud are we innately—
Let's depart,
Dignified and stately!

ALL.
Let's depart,
Dignified and stately!

CHORUS OF PEERS.


Though our hearts she's badly bruising,
In another suitor choosing,
Let's pretend it's most amusing.

Ha! ha! ha!  Tan-ta-ra!

(Exeunt all the Peers, marching round stage with much dignity.

Lord Chancellor separates Phyllis from Strephon and orders her off.

She follows Peers.
Manent Lord Chancellor and Strephon)

LORD CH.
Now, sir, what excuse have you to offer for having
disobeyed an order of the Court of Chancery?
STREPH.
My Lord, I know no Courts of Chancery; I go by
Nature's Acts of Parliament.
The bees—the breeze—the seas—the
rooks—the brooks—the gales—the vales—the fountains and the
mountains cry, "You love this maiden—take her, we command you!"
'Tis writ in heaven by the bright barbed dart that leaps forth into
lurid light from each grim thundercloud.
The very rain pours forth
her sad and sodden sympathy!  When chorused Nature bids me take my
love, shall I reply, "Nay, but a certain Chancellor forbids it"?
Sir, you are England's Lord High Chancellor, but are you Chancellor
of birds and trees, King of the winds and Prince of thunderclouds?
LORD CH.
No.
It's a nice point.
I don't know that I ever
met it before.
But my difficulty is that at present there's no
evidence before the Court that chorused Nature has interested
herself in the matter.

STREPH.
No evidence!  You have my word for it.
I tell you
that she bade me take my love.

LORD CH.
Ah! but, my good sir, you mustn't tell us what she
told you—it's not evidence.
Now an affidavit from a thunderstorm,
or a few words on oath from a heavy shower, would meet with all the
attention they deserve.

STREPH.
And have you the heart to apply the prosaic rules of
evidence to a case which bubbles over with poetical emotion?
LORD CH.
Distinctly.
I have always kept my duty strictly
before my eyes, and it is to that fact that I owe my advancement to
my present distinguished position.


SONG—LORD CHANCELLOR.


When I went to the Bar as a very young man,
(Said I to myself—said I),
I'll work on a new and original plan,
(Said I to myself—said I),
I'll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney has sent me a brief,
(Said I to myself—said I!).


Ere I go into court I will read my brief through
(Said I to myself—said I),
And I'll never take work I'm unable to do
(Said I to myself-said I),
My learned profession I'll never disgrace
By taking a fee with a grin on my face,
When I haven't been there to attend to the case
(Said I to myself—said I!).


I'll never throw dust in a juryman's eyes
(Said I to myself—said I),
Or hoodwink a judge who is not over-wise
(Said I to myself—said I),
Or assume that the witnesses summoned in force
In Exchequer, Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, or Divorce,
Have perjured themselves as a matter of course
(Said I to myself—said I!).


In other professions in which men engage
(Said I to myself said I),
The Army, the Navy, the Church, and the Stage
(Said I to myself—said I),
Professional licence, if carried too far,
Your chance of promotion will certainly mar—
And I fancy the rule might apply to the Bar
(Said I to myself—said I!).


(Exit Lord
Chancellor)

(Enter Iolanthe)

STREPH.
Oh, Phyllis, Phyllis!  To be taken from you just as
I was on the point of making you my own!  Oh, it's too much—it's
too much!
IOL.
(to Strephon, who is in tears).
My son in tears—and on
his wedding day!
STREPH.
My wedding day!  Oh, mother, weep with me, for the
Law has interposed between us, and the Lord Chancellor has
separated us for ever!
IOL.
The Lord Chancellor!  (Aside)  Oh, if he did but know!
STREPH.
(overhearing her).
If he did but know what?
IOL.
No matter!  The Lord Chancellor has no power over you.

Remember you are half a fairy.
You can defy him—down to the
waist.

STREPH.
Yes, but from the waist downwards he can commit me to
prison for years!  Of what avail is it that my body is free, if my
legs are working out seven years' penal servitude?
IOL.
True.
But take heart—our Queen has promised you her
special protection.
I'll go to her and lay your peculiar case
before her.

STREPH.
My beloved mother! how can I repay the debt I owe
you?

FINALE—QUARTET.


(As it commences, the Peers appear at the back, advancing unseen
and on tiptoe.
Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller lead Phyllis
between them, who listens in horror to what she hears)

STREPH.
(to Iolanthe).
When darkly looms the day,
And all is dull and grey,
To chase the gloom away,
On thee I'll call!

PHYL.
(speaking aside to Lord Mountararat).
What was that?

LORD MOUNT.
(aside to Phyllis).

I think I heard him say,
That on a rainy day,
To while the time away,
On her he'd call!

CHORUS.
We think we heard him say, etc.


(Phyllis much agitated at her lover's supposed faithlessness)

IOL.
(to Strephon).
When tempests wreck thy bark,
And all is drear and dark,
If thou shouldst need an Ark,
I'll give thee one!

PHYL.
(speaking aside to Lord Tolloller).
What was that?

LORD TOLL.
(aside to Phyllis).

I heard the minx remark,
She'd meet him after dark,
Inside St James's Park,
And give him one!

CHORUS.
We heard the minx remark, etc.


PHYL.
The prospect's very bad.

My heart so sore and sad
Will never more be glad
As summer's sun.


PHYL.
, IOL.
, LORD TOLL.
, STREPH.

The prospect's not so bad,
My/Thy heart so sore and sad
May very soon be glad
As summer's sun;

PHYL.
, IOL.
, LORD TOLL.
, STEPH.
, LORD MOUNT.

For when the sky is dark
And tempests wreck his/thy/my bark,
he should
If thou shouldst need an Ark,
I should
She'll    him
I'll give thee one!
me

PHYL.
(revealing herself).
Ah!

(Iolanthe and Strephon much confused)

PHYL.
Oh, shameless one, tremble!
Nay, do not endeavour
Thy fault to dissemble,
We part—and for ever!
I worshipped him blindly,
He worships another—

STREPH.
Attend to me kindly,
This lady's my mother!

TOLL.
This lady's his what?
STREPH.
This lady's my mother!
TENORS.
This lady's his what?
BASSES.
He says she's his mother!

(They point derisively to Iolanthe, laughing heartily at her.
She
goes for protection to Strephon)

(Enter Lord Chancellor.
Iolanthe veils herself)

LORD CH.
What means this mirth unseemly,
That shakes the listening earth?

LORD TOLL.
The joke is good extremely,
And justifies our mirth.


LORD MOUNT.
This gentleman is seen,
With a maid of seventeen,
A-taking of his dolce far niente;
And wonders he'd achieve,
For he asks us to believe
She's his mother—and he's nearly five-and-twenty!

LORD CH.
(sternly).
Recollect yourself, I pray,
And be careful what you say—
As the ancient Romans said, festina lente.

For I really do not see
How so young a girl could be
The mother of a man of five-and-twenty.


ALL.
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

STREPH.
My Lord, of evidence I have no dearth—
She is—has been—my mother from my birth!

BALLAD.


In babyhood
Upon her lap I lay,
With infant food
She moistened my clay;
Had she withheld
The succour she supplied,
By hunger quelled,
Your Strephon might have died!

LORD CH.
(much moved).

Had that refreshment been denied,
Indeed our Strephon might have died!

ALL (much affected).

Had that refreshment been denied,
Indeed our Strephon might have died!

LORD MOUNT.
But as she's not
His mother, it appears,
Why weep these hot
Unnecessary tears?
And by what laws
Should we so joyously
Rejoice, because
Our Strephon did not die?
Oh rather let us pipe our eye
Because our Strephon did not die!

ALL.
That's very true—let's pipe our eye
Because our Strephon did not die!

(All weep.
Iolanthe, who has succeeded in hiding her face from
Lord Chancellor, escapes unnoticed)

PHYL.
Go, traitorous one—for ever we must part:

To one of you, my Lords, I give my heart!

ALL.
Oh, rapture!

STREPH.
Hear me, Phyllis, ere you leave me.


PHYL.
Not a word—you did deceive me.


ALL.
Not a word—you did deceive her.

(Exit
Strephon)

BALLAD—PHYLLIS.


For riches and rank I do not long—
Their pleasures are false and vain;
I gave up the love of a lordly throng
For the love of a simple swain.

But now that simple swain's untrue,
With sorrowful heart I turn to you—
A heart that's aching,
Quaking, breaking,
As sorrowful hearts are wont to do!

The riches and rank that you befall
Are the only baits you use,
So the richest and rankiest of you all
My sorrowful heart shall choose.

As none are so noble—none so rich
As this couple of lords, I'll find a niche
In my heart that's aching,
Quaking, breaking,
For one of you two-and I don't care which!

ENSEMBLE.


PHYL.
(to Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller).

To you I give my heart so rich!
ALL (puzzled).
To which?
PHYL.
I do not care!
To you I yield—it is my doom!
ALL.
To whom?
PHYL.
I'm not aware!
I'm yours for life if you but choose.

ALL.
She's whose?
PHYL.
That's your affair!
I'll be a countess, shall I not?
ALL.
Of what?
PHYL.
I do not care!
ALL.
Lucky little lady!
Strephon's lot is shady;
Rank, it seems, is vital,
"Countess" is the title,
But of what I'm not aware!

(Enter Strephon)

STREPH.
Can I inactive see my fortune fade?
No, no!

PEERS.
Ho, ho!

STREPH.
Mighty protectress, hasten to my aid!

(Enter Fairies, tripping, headed by Celia, Leila, and Fleta, and
followed by Queen)

CHORUS    Tripping hither, tripping thither.

OF      Nobody knows why or whither;
FAIRIES   Why you want us we don't know,
But you've summoned us, and so
Enter all the little fairies
To their usual tripping measure!
To oblige you all our care is—
Tell us, pray, what is your pleasure!

STREPH.
The lady of my love has caught me talking to another—
PEERS.
Oh, fie! young Strephon is a rogue!
STREPH.
I tell her very plainly that the lady is my mother—
PEERS.
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
STREPH.
She won't believe my statement, and declares we must be
parted,
Because on a career of double-dealing I have started,
Then gives her hand to one of these, and leaves me
broken-hearted—
PEERS.
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
QUEEN.
Ah, cruel ones, to separate two lovers from each other!
FAIRIES.
Oh, fie! our Strephon's not a rogue!
QUEEN.
You've done him an injustice, for the lady is his mother!
FAIRIES.
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
LORD CH.
That fable perhaps may serve his turn as well as any
other.

(Aside)  I didn't see her face, but if they fondled one
another,
And she's but seventeen—I don't believe it was his
mother!
Taradiddle, taradiddle.

ALL.
Tol lol lay!

LORD TOLL.
I have often had a use
For a thorough-bred excuse
Of a sudden (which is English for "repente"),
But of all I ever heard
This is much the most absurd,
For she's seventeen, and he is five-and-twenty!

ALL.
Though she is seventeen, and he is four or
five-and-twenty!
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!

LORD MOUNT.
Now, listen, pray to me,
For this paradox will be
Carried, nobody at all contradicente.

Her age, upon the date
Of his birth, was minus eight,
If she's seventeen, and he is five-and-twenty!

PEERS and FAIRIES.
If she is seventeen, and he is only
five-and-twenty.


ALL.
To say she is his mother is an utter bit of folly!
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!
Perhaps his brain is addled, and it's very melancholy!
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as
injurious,
But to find a mother younger than her son is very
curious,
And that's a kind of mother that is usually spurious.

Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!

LORD CH.
Go away, madam;
I should say, madam,
You display, madam,
Shocking taste.


It is rude, madam,
To intrude, madam,
With your brood, madam,
Brazen-faced!

You come here, madam,
Interfere, madam,
With a peer, madam.

(I am one)

You're aware, madam,
What you dare, madam,
So take care, madam,
And begone!

ENSEMBLE

FAIRIES (to QUEEN).
PEERS
Let us stay, madam;                Go away, madam;
I should say, madam,               I should say, madam,
They display, madam,               You display, madam,
Shocking taste.
Shocking taste.


It is rude, madam,                 It is rude, madam,
To allude, madam,                  To intrude, madam,
To your brood, madam,              With your brood, madam,
Brazen-faced!                      Brazen-faced!

We don't fear, madam,              You come here, madam,
Any peer, madam,                   Interfere, madam,
Though, my dear madam,             With a peer, madam,
This is one.
(I am one)

They will stare, madam,            You're aware, madam,
When aware, madam,                 What you dare, madam,
What they dare, madam—            So take care, madam,
What they've done!                 And begone!

QUEEN.
Bearded by these puny mortals!
(furious).
I will launch from fairy portals
All the most terrific thunders
In my armoury of wonders!

PHYL.
(aside).
Should they launch terrific wonders,
All would then repent their blunders.

Surely these must be immortals.

(Exit
Phyllis)

QUEEN.
Oh! Chancellor unwary
It's highly necessary
Your tongue to teach
Respectful speech—
Your attitude to vary!

Your badinage so airy,
Your manner arbitrary,
Are out of place
When face to face
With an influential Fairy.


ALL THE PEERS       We never knew
(aside).
We were talking to
An influential Fairy!

LORD CH.
A plague on this vagary,
I'm in a nice quandary!
Of hasty tone
With dames unknown
I ought to be more chary;
It seems that she's a fairy
From Andersen's library,
And I took her for
The proprietor
Of a Ladies' Seminary!

PEERS.
We took her for
The proprietor
Of a Ladies' Seminary!

QUEEN.
When next your Houses do assemble,
You may tremble!

CELIA.
Our wrath, when gentlemen offend us,
Is tremendous!

LEILA.
They meet, who underrate our calling,
Doom appalling!

QUEEN.
Take down our sentence as we speak it,
And he shall wreak it!
(Indicating
Strephon)
PEERS.
Oh, spare us!

QUEEN.
Henceforth, Strephon, cast away
Crooks and pipes and ribbons so gay—
Flocks and herds that bleat and low;
Into Parliament you shall go!

ALL.
Into Parliament he shall go!
Backed by our supreme authority,
He'll command a large majority!
Into Parliament he shall go!

QUEEN.
In the Parliamentary hive,
Liberal or Conservative—
Whig or Tory—I don't know—
But into Parliament you shall go!

ALL.
Into Parliament, etc.


QUEEN (speaking through music).


Every bill and every measure
That may gratify his pleasure,
Though your fury it arouses,
Shall be passed by both your Houses!

PEERS.
Oh!
QUEEN.
You shall sit, if he sees reason,
Through the grouse and salmon season;
PEERS.
No!
QUEEN.
He shall end the cherished rights
You enjoy on Friday nights:

PEERS.
No!
QUEEN.
He shall prick that annual blister,
Marriage with deceased wife's sister:

PEERS.
Mercy!
QUEEN.
Titles shall ennoble, then,
All the Common Councilmen:

PEERS.
Spare us!
QUEEN.
Peers shall teem in Christendom,
And a Duke's exalted station
Be attainable by Com-
Petitive Examination!

PEERS.
FAIRIES and PHYLLIS.


Oh, horror!                   Their horror
They can't dissemble
Nor hide the fear that makes them
tremble!

ENSEMBLE.


PEERS                FAIRIES, PHYLLIS, and STREPHON.


Young Strephon is the kind of lout With Strephon for your foe, no
doubt,
We do not care a fig about!        A fearful prospect opens out,
We cannot say                 And who shall say
What evils may                What evils may
Result in consequence.
Result in consequence?

But lordly vengeance will pursue   A hideous vengeance will pursue
All kinds of common people who     All noblemen who venture to
Oppose our views,                  Opppose his views,
Or boldly choose                   Or boldly choose
To offer us offence.
To offer him offence.


He'd better fly at humbler game,   'Twill plunge them into grief
and shame;
Or our forbearance he must claim,  His kind forbearance they must
claim,
If he'd escape                If they'd escape
In any shape                  In any shape
A very painful wrench!             A very painful wrench.


Your powers we dauntlessly pooh-pooh:
Although our threats you
now pooh-pooh,
A dire revenge will fall on you.
A dire revenge will fall on you,
If you besiege                Should he besiege
Our high prestige—           Your high prestige—
(The word "prestige" is French).
The word "prestige" is French).


PEERS.
Our lordly style
You shall not quench
With base canaille!
FAIRIES.
(That word is French)
PEERS.
Distinction ebbs
Before a herd
Of vulgar plebs!
FAIRIES.
(A Latin word)
PEERS.
'Twould fill with joy,
And madness stark
The hoi polloi!

FAIRIES.
(A Greek remark)

PEERS.
One Latin word, one Greek remark,
And one that's French.


FAIRIES.
Your lordly style
We'll quickly quench
With base canaille!
PEERS.
(That word is French)
FAIRIES.
Distinction ebbs
Before a herd
Of vulgar plebs!
PEERS.
(A Latin word)
FAIRIES.
'Twill fill with joy
And madness stark
The hoi polloi!
PEERS.
(A Greek remark)

FAIRIES.
One Latin word, one Greek remark,
And one that's French.


PEERS.
FAIRIES.


You needn't wait:
We will not wait:

Away you fly!                 We go sky-high!
Your threatened hate          Our threatened hate
We won't defy!                You won't defy!

(Fairies threaten Peers with their wands.
Peers kneel as begging
for merry.
Phyllis implores Strephon to relent.
He casts her from
him, and she falls fainting into the arms of Lord Mountararat and
Lord Tolloller)

END OF ACT I





ACT II

Scene.
—Palace Yard, Westminster.
Westminster Hall, L.
Clock
tower up, R.
C.
Private Willis discovered on sentry, R.
Moonlight.


SONG—PRIVATE WILLIS.


When all night long a chap remains
On sentry-go, to chase monotony
He exercises of his brains,
That is, assuming that he's got any.

Though never nurtured in the lap
Of luxury, yet I admonish you,
I am an intellectual chap,
And think of things that would astonish you.

I often think it's comical—Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive—Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal, lal, la!

When in that House M.
P.
's divide,
If they've a brain and cerebellum, too,
They've got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.

But then the prospect of a lot
Of dull M.
P.
's in close proximity,
All thinking for themselves, is what
No man can face with equanimity.

Then let's rejoice with loud Fal la—Fal la la!
That Nature always does contrive—Fal lal la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal lal la!

(Enter Fairies, with Celia, Leila, and Fleta.
They trip round
stage)

CHORUS OF FAIRIES.


Strephon's a Member of Parliament!
Carries every Bill he chooses.

To his measures all assent—
Showing that fairies have their uses.

Whigs and Tories
Dim their glories,
Giving an ear to all his stories—
Lords and Commons are both in the blues!
Strephon makes them shake in their shoes!
Shake in their shoes!
Shake in their shoes!
Strephon makes them shake in their shoes!

(Enter Peers from Westminster Hall)

CHORUS OF PEERS.


Strephon's a Member of Parliament!
Running a-muck of all abuses.

His unqualified assent
Somehow nobody now refuses.

Whigs and Tories
Dim their glories,
Giving an ear to all his stories
Carrying every Bill he may wish:

Here's a pretty kettle of fish!
Kettle of fish!
Kettle of fish!
Here's a pretty kettle of fish!

(Enter Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller from Westminster Hall)

CELIA.
You seem annoyed.

LORD MOUNT.
Annoyed!  I should think so!  Why, this
ridiculous protege of yours is playing the deuce with everything!
To-night is the second reading of his Bill to throw the Peerage
open to Competitive Examination!
LORD TOLL.
And he'll carry it, too!
LORD MOUNT.
Carry it?  Of course he will!  He's a
Parliamentary Pickford—he carries everything!
LEILA.
Yes.
If you please, that's our fault!
LORD MOUNT.
The deuce it is!
CELIA.
Yes; we influence the members, and compel them to vote
just as he wishes them to.

LEILA.
It's our system.
It shortens the debates.

LORD TOLL.
Well, but think what it all means.
I don't so
much mind for myself, but with a House of Peers with no
grandfathers worth mentioning, the country must go to the dogs!
LEILA.
I suppose it must!
LORD MOUNT.
I don't want to say a word against brains—I've
a great respect for brains—I often wish I had some myself—but
with a House of Peers composed exclusively of people of intellect,
what's to become of the House of Commons?
LEILA.
I never thought of that!
LORD MOUNT.
This comes of women interfering in politics.
It
so happens that if there is an institution in Great Britain which
is not susceptible of any improvement at all, it is the House of
Peers!

SONG—LORD MOUNTARARAT.


When Britain really ruled the waves—
(In good Queen Bess's time)
The House of Peers made no pretence
To intellectual eminence,
Or scholarship sublime;
Yet Britain won her proudest bays
In good Queen Bess's glorious days!

CHORUS.
Yes, Britain won, etc.


When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte,
As every child can tell,
The House of Peers, throughout the war,
Did nothing in particular,
And did it very well:

Yet Britain set the world ablaze
In good King George's glorious days!

CHORUS.
Yes, Britain set, etc.


And while the House of Peers withholds
Its legislative hand,
And noble statesmen do not itch
To interfere with matters which
They do not understand,
As bright will shine Great Britain's rays
As in King George's glorious days!

CHORUS.
As bright will shine, etc.


LEILA.
(who has been much attracted by the Peers during this
song).
Charming persons, are they not?
CELIA.
Distinctly.
For self-contained dignity, combined with
airy condescension, give me a British Representative Peer!
LORD TOLL.
Then pray stop this protege of yours before it's
too late.
Think of the mischief you're doing!
LEILA (crying).
But we can't stop him now.
(Aside to Celia)
Aren't they lovely!  (Aloud)  Oh, why did you go and defy us, you
great geese!

DUET—LEILA and CELIA.


LEILA.
In vain to us you plead—
Don't go!
Your prayers we do not heed—
Don't go!
It's true we sigh,
But don't suppose
A tearful eye
Forgiveness shows.

Oh, no!
We're very cross indeed—
Yes, very cross,
Don't go!

FAIRIES.
It's true we sigh, etc.


CELIA.
Your disrespectful sneers—
Don't go!
Call forth indignant tears—
Don't go!
You break our laws—
You are our foe:

We cry because
We hate you so!
You know!
You very wicked Peers!
You wicked Peers!
Don't go!

FAIRIES.
LORDS MOUNT.
and TOLL.


You break our laws—          Our disrespectful sneers,
You are our foe:
Ha, ha!
We cry because                Call forth indignant tears,
We hate you so!                    Ha, ha!
You know!      If that's the case, my dears—
You very wicked Peers!   FAIRIES.
Don't go!
Don't go! PEERS.
We'll go!

(Exeunt Lord Mountararat, Lord Tolloller, and Peers.
Fairies gaze
wistfully after them)

(Enter Fairy Queen)

QUEEN.
Oh, shame—shame upon you!  Is this your fidelity to
the laws you are bound to obey?  Know ye not that it is death to
marry a mortal?
LEILA.
Yes, but it's not death to wish to marry a mortal!
FLETA.
If it were, you'd have to execute us all!
QUEEN.
Oh, this is weakness!  Subdue it!
CELIA.
We know it's weakness, but the weakness is so strong!
LEILA.
We are not all as tough as you are!
QUEEN.
Tough!  Do you suppose that I am insensible to the
effect of manly beauty?  Look at that man!  (Referring to Sentry)
A perfect picture!  (To Sentry)  Who are you, sir?
WILLIS (coming to "attention").
Private Willis, B Company,
1st Grenadier Guards.

QUEEN.
You're a very fine fellow, sir.

WILLIS.
I am generally admired.

QUEEN.
I can quite understand it.
(To Fairies)  Now here is
a man whose physical attributes are simply godlike.
That man has
a most extraordinary effect upon me.
If I yielded to a natural
impulse, I should fall down and worship that man.
But I mortify
this inclination; I wrestle with it, and it lies beneath my feet!
That is how I treat my regard for that man!

SONG—FAIRY QUEEN.


Oh, foolish fay,
Think you, because
His brave array
My bosom thaws,
I'd disobey
Our fairy laws?
Because I fly
In realms above,
In tendency
To fall in love,
Resemble I
The amorous dove?
(Aside)            Oh, amorous dove!
Type of Ovidius Naso!
This heart of mine
Is soft as thine,
Although I dare not say so!

CHORUS.
Oh, amorous dove, etc.


On fire that glows
With heat intense
I turn the hose
Of common sense,
And out it goes
At small expense!
We must maintain
Our fairy law;
That is the main
On which to draw—
In that we gain
A Captain Shaw!
(Aside)                 Oh, Captain Shaw!
Type of true love kept under!
Could thy Brigade
With cold cascade
Quench my great love, I wonder!

CHORUS.
Oh, Captain Shaw! etc.


(Exeunt Fairies and Fairy Queen, sorrowfully)

(Enter Phyllis)

PHYL.
(half crying).
I can't think why I'm not in better
spirits.
I'm engaged to two noblemen at once.
That ought to be
enough to make any girl happy.
But I'm miserable!  Don't suppose
it's because I care for Strephon, for I hate him!  No girl could
care for a man who goes about with a mother considerably younger
than himself!

(Enter Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller)

LORD MOUNT.
Phyllis!  My darling!
LORD TOLL.
Phyllis!  My own!
PHYL.
Don't!  How dare you?  Oh, but perhaps you're the two
noblemen I'm engaged to?
LORD MOUNT.
I am one of them.

LORD TOLL.
I am the other.

PHYL.
Oh, then, my darling!  (to Lord Mountararat).
My own!
(to Lord Tolloller).
Well, have you settled which it's to be?
LORD TOLL.
Not altogether.
It's a difficult position.
It
would be hardly delicate to toss up.
On the whole we would rather
leave it to you.

PHYL.
How can it possibly concern me?  You are both EarIs,
and you are both rich, and you are both plain.

LORD MOUNT.
So we are.
At least I am.

LORD TOLL.
So am I.

LORD MOUNT.
No, no!
LORD TOLL.
I am indeed.
Very plain.

LORD MOUNT.
Well, well—perhaps you are.

PHYL.
There's really nothing to choose between you.
If one
of you would forgo his title, and distribute his estates among his
Irish tenantry, why, then, I should then see a reason for accepting
the other.

LORD MOUNT.
Tolloller, are you prepared to make this
sacrifice?
LORD TOLL.
No!
LORD MOUNT.
Not even to oblige a lady?
LORD TOLL.
No! not even to oblige a lady.

LORD MOUNT.
Then, the only question is, which of us shall
give way to the other?  Perhaps, on the whole, she would be happier
with me.
I don't know.
I may be wrong.

LORD TOLL.
No.
I don't know that you are.
I really believe
she would.
But the awkward part of the thing is that if you rob me
of the girl of my heart, we must fight, and one of us must die.

It's a family tradition that I have sworn to respect.
It's a
painful position, for I have a very strong regard for you, George.

LORD MOUNT.
(much affected).
My dear Thomas!
LORD TOLL.
You are very dear to me, George.
We were boys
together—at least I was.
If I were to survive you, my existence
would be hopelessly embittered.

LORD MOUNT.
Then, my dear Thomas, you must not do it.
I say
it again and again—if it will have this effect upon you, you must
not do it.
No, no.
If one of us is to destroy the other, let it
be me!
LORD TOLL.
No, no!
LORD MOUNT.
Ah, yes!—by our boyish friendship I implore you!
LORD TOLL.
(much moved).
Well, well, be it so.
But,
no—no!—I cannot consent to an act which would crush you with
unavaillng remorse.

LORD MOUNT.
But it would not do so.
I should be very sad at
first—oh, who would not be?—but it would wear off.
I like you
very much—but not, perhaps, as much as you like me.

LORD TOLL.
George, you're a noble fellow, but that tell-tale
tear betrays you.
No, George; you are very fond of me, and I
cannot consent to give you a week's uneasiness on my account.

LORD MOUNT.
But, dear Thomas, it would not last a week!
Remember, you lead the House of Lords!  On your demise I shall take
your place!  Oh, Thomas, it would not last a day!
PHYL.
(coming down).
Now, I do hope you're not going to fight
about me, because it's really not worth while.

LORD TOLL.
(looking at her).
Well, I don't believe it is!
LORD MOUNT.
Nor I.
The sacred ties of Friendship are
paramount.


QUARTET—LORD MOUNTARARAT,
LORD TOLLOLLER, PHYLLIS, and PRIVATE WILLIS.


LORD TOLL.
Though p'r'aps I may incur your blame,
The things are few
I would not do
In Friendship's name!

LORD MOUNT.
And I may say I think the same;
Not even love
Should rank above
True Friendship's name!

PHYL.
Then free me, pray; be mine the blame;
Forget your craze
And go your ways
In Friendship's name!

ALL.
Oh, many a man, in Friendship's name,
Has yielded fortune, rank, and fame!
But no one yet, in the world so wide,
Has yielded up a promised bride!

WILLIS.
Accept, O Friendship, all the same,

ALL.
This sacrifice to thy dear name!

(Exeunt Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller, lovingly, in one
direction, and Phyllis in another.
Exit Sentry)

(Enter Lord Chancellor, very miserable)

RECITATIVE—LORD CHANCELLOR.


Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest:

Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers:

Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on my chest,
And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers!

SONG—LORD CHANCELLOR.


When you're lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is
taboo'd by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in,
without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire—the bedclothes conspire of usual
slumber to plunder you:

First your counterpane goes, and uncovers your toes, and your
sheet slips demurely from under you;
Then the blanketing tickles—you feel like mixed pickles—so
terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you're hot, and you're cross, and you tumble and toss till
there's nothing 'twixt you and the ticking.

Then the bedclothes all creep to the ground in a heap, and you
pick 'em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns and politely declines to remain at its
usual angle!
Well, you get some repose in the form of a doze, with hot
eye-balls and head ever aching.

But your slumbering teems with such horrible dreams that you'd
very much better be waking;
For you dream you are crossing the Channel, and tossing about in
a steamer from Harwich—
Which is something between a large bathing machine and a very
small second-class carriage—
And you're giving a treat (penny ice and cold meat) to a party of
friends and relations—
They're a ravenous horde—and they all came on board at Sloane
Square and South Kensington Stations.

And bound on that journey you find your attorney (who started  that
morning from Devon);
He's a bit undersized, and you don't feel surprised when he tells
you he's only eleven.

Well, you're driving like mad with this singular lad (by the by,
the ship's now a four-wheeler),
And you're playing round games, and he calls you bad names when
you tell him that "ties pay the dealer";
But this you can't stand, so you throw up your hand, and you find
you're as cold as an icicle,
In your shirt and your socks (the black silk with gold clocks),
crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle:

And he and the crew are on bicycles too—which they've somehow   or
other invested in—
And he's telling the tars all the particulars of a company he's
interested in—
It's a scheme of devices, to get at low prices all goods from
cough mixtures to cables
(Which tickled the sailors), by treating retailers as though they
were all vegetables—
You get a good spadesman to plant a small tradesman (first take
off his boots with a boot-tree),
And his legs will take root, and his fingers will shoot, and
they'll blossom and bud like a fruit-tree—
From the greengrocer tree you get grapes and green pea,
cauliflower, pineapple, and cranberries,
While the pastrycook plant cherry brandy will grant, apple puffs,
and three corners, and Banburys—
The shares are a penny, and ever so many are taken by Rothschild
and Baring,
And just as a few are allotted to you, you awake with a shudder
despairing—
You're a regular wreck, with a crick in your neck, and no wonder
you snore, for your head's on the floor, and you've needles and
pins from your soles to your shins, and your flesh is a-creep, for
your left leg's asleep, and you've cramp in your toes, and a fly on
your nose, and some fluff in your lung, and a feverish tongue, and
a thirst that's intense, and a general sense that you haven't been
sleeping in clover;
But the darkness has passed, and it's daylight at last, and the
night has been long—ditto ditto my song—and thank goodness
they're both of them over!

(Lord Chancellor falls exhausted on
a seat)

(Enter Lords Mountararat and Tolloller)

LORD MOUNT.
I am much distressed to see your Lordship in this
condition.

LORD CH.
Ah, my Lords, it is seldom that a Lord Chancellor
has reason to envy the position of another, but I am free to
confess that I would rather be two Earls engaged to Phyllis than
any other half-dozen noblemen upon the face of the globe.

LORD TOLL.
(without enthusiasm).
Yes.
It's an enviable
position when you're the only one.

LORD MOUNT.
Oh yes, no doubt—most enviable.
At the same
time, seeing you thus, we naturally say to ourselves, "This is very
sad.
His Lordship is constitutionally as blithe as a bird—he
trills upon the bench like a thing of song and gladness.
His
series of judgements in F sharp minor, given andante in six-eight
time, are among the most remarkable effects ever produced in a
Court of Chancery.
He is, perhaps, the only living instance of a
judge whose decrees have received the honour of a double encore.

How can we bring ourselves to do that which will deprive the Court
of Chancery of one of its most attractive features?"
LORD CH.
I feel the force of your remarks, but I am here in
two capacities, and they clash, my Lords, they clash!  I deeply
grieve to say that in declining to entertain my last application to
myself, I presumed to address myself in terms which render it
impossible for me ever to apply to myself again.
It was a most
painful scene, my Lords—most painful!
LORD TOLL.
This is what it is to have two capacities!  Let us
be thankful that we are persons of no capacity whatever.

LORD MOUNT.
Come, come.
Remember you are a very just and
kindly old gentleman, and you need have no hesitation in
approaching yourself, so that you do so respectfully and with a
proper show of deference.

LORD CH.
Do you really think so?
LORD MOUNT.
I do.

LORD CH.
Well, I will nerve myself to another effort, and,
if that fails, I resign myself to my fate!

TRIO—LORD CHANCELLOR, LORDS MOUNTARARAT and TOLLOLLER.


LORD MOUNT.
If you go in
You're sure to win—
Yours will be the charming maidie:

Be your law
The ancient saw,
"Faint heart never won fair lady!"

ALL.
Never, never, never,
Faint heart never won fair lady!
Every journey has an end—
When at the worst affairs will mend—
Dark the dawn when day is nigh—
Hustle your horse and don't say die!

LORD TOLL.
He who shies
At such a prize
Is not worth a maravedi,
Be so kind
To bear in mind—
Faint heart never won fair lady!

ALL.
Never, never, never,
Faint heart never won fair lady!
While the sun shines make your hay—
Where a will is, there's a way—
Beard the lion in his lair—
None but the brave deserve the fair!

LORD CH.
I'll take heart
And make a start—
Though I fear the prospect's shady—
Much I'd spend
To gain my end—
Faint heart never won fair lady!

ALL.
Never, never, never,
Faint heart never won fair lady!
Nothing venture, nothing win—
Blood is thick, but water's thin—
In for a penny, in for a pound—
It's Love that makes the world go round!

(Dance, and exeunt arm-in-arm
together)

(Enter Strephon, in very low spirits)

[The following song was deleted from production]

Fold your flapping wings,
Soaring legislature.

Stoop to little things,
Stoop to human nature.

Never need to roam
members patriotic.

Let's begin at home,
Crime is no exotic.

Bitter is your bane
Terrible your trials
Dingy Drury Lane
Soapless Seven Dials.

Take a tipsy lout
Gathered from the gutter,
Hustle him about,
Strap him to a shutter.

What am I but he,
Washed at hours stated.

Fed on filagree,
Clothed and educated
He's a mark of scorn
I might be another
If I had been born
Of a tipsy mother.

Take a wretched thief,
Through the city sneaking.

Pocket handkerchief
Ever, ever seeking.

What is he but I
Robbed of all my chances
Picking pockets by
force of circumstances
I might be as bad,
As unlucky, rather,
If I'd only had,
Fagin for a father.


STREPH.
I suppose one ought to enjoy oneself in Parliament,
when one leads both Parties, as I do!  But I'm miserable, poor,
broken-hearted fool that I am!  Oh Phyllis, Phyllis!—

(Enter Phyllis)
PHYL.
Yes.

STREPH.
(surprised).
Phyllis!  But I suppose I should say "My
Lady.
"  I have not yet been informed which title your ladyship has
pleased to select?
PHYL.
I—I haven't quite decided.
You see, I have no mother
to advise me!
STREPH.
No.
I have.

PHYL.
Yes; a young mother.

STREPH.
Not very—a couple of centuries or so.

PHYL.
Oh!  She wears well.

STREPH.
She does.
She's a fairy.

PHYL.
I beg your pardon—a what?
STREPH.
Oh, I've no longer any reason to conceal the
fact—she's a fairy.

PHYL.
A fairy!  Well, but—that would account for a good many
things!  Then—I suppose you're a fairy?
STREPH.
I'm half a fairy.

PHYL.
Which half?
STREPH.
The upper half—down to the waistcoat.

PHYL.
Dear me!  (Prodding him with her fingers)  There is
nothing to show it!
STREPH.
Don't do that.

PHYL.
But why didn't you tell me this before?
STREPH.
I thought you would take a dislike to me.
But as
it's all off, you may as well know the truth—I'm only half a
mortal!
PHYL.
(crying).
But I'd rather have half a mortal I do love,
than half a dozen I don't!
STREPH.
Oh, I think not—go to your half-dozen.

PHYL.
(crying).
It's only two! and I hate 'em!  Please
forgive me!
STREPH.
I don't think I ought to.
Besides, all sorts of
difficulties will arise.
You know, my grandmother looks quite as
young as my mother.
So do all my aunts.

PHYL.
I quite understand.
Whenever I see you kissing a very
young lady, I shall know it's an elderly relative.

STREPH.
You will?  Then, Phyllis, I think we shall be very
happy!  (Embracing her)
PHYL.
We won't wait long.

STREPH.
No.
We might change our minds.
We'll get married
first.

PHYL.
And change our minds afterwards?
STREPH.
That's the usual course.


DUET—STREPHON and PHYLLIS.


STREPH.
If we're weak enough to tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I,
Of the feeling I inspire
You may tire
By and by.

For peers with flowing coffers
Press their offers—
That is why
I am sure we should not tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I!

PHYL.
If we're weak enough to tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I,
With a more attractive maiden,
Jewel-laden,
You may fly.

If by chance we should be parted,
Broken-hearted
I should die—
So I think we will not tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I.


PHYL.
But does your mother know you're—I mean, is she aware
of our engagement?

(Enter Iolanthe)

IOL.
She is; and thus she welcomes her daughter-in-law!
(Kisses her)
PHYL.
She kisses just like other people!  But the Lord
Chancellor?
STREPH.
I forgot him!  Mother, none can resist your fairy
eloquence; you will go to him and plead for us?
IOL.
(much agitated).
No, no; impossible!
STREPH.
But our happiness—our very lives—depend upon our
obtaining his consent!
PHYL.
Oh, madam, you cannot refuse to do this!
IOL.
You know not what you ask!  The Lord Chancellor is—my
husband!
STREPH.
and PHYL.
Your husband!
IOL.
My husband and your father!  (Addressing Strephon, who
is much moved)
PHYLL.
Then our course is plain; on his learning that
Strephon is his son, all objection to our marriage will be at once
removed!
IOL.
No; he must never know!  He believes me to have died
childless, and, dearly as I love him, I am bound, under penalty of
death, not to undeceive him.
But see—he comes!  Quick—my veil!

(Iolanthe veils herself.
Strephon and Phyllis go off on tiptoe)

(Enter Lord Chancellor)

LORD CH.
Victory!  Victory!  Success has crowned my efforts,
and I may consider myself engaged to Phyllis!  At first I wouldn't
hear of it—it was out of the question.
But I took heart.
I
pointed out to myself that I was no stranger to myself; that, in
point of fact, I had been personally acquainted with myself for
some years.
This had its effect.
I admitted that I had watched my
professional advancement with considerable interest, and I
handsomely added that I yielded to no one in admiration for my
private and professional virtues.
This was a great point gained.

I then endeavoured to work upon my feelings.
Conceive my joy when
I distinctly perceived a tear glistening in my own eye!
Eventually, after a severe struggle with myself, I
reluctantly—most reluctantly—consented.


(Iolanthe comes down
veiled)

RECITATIVE—IOLANTHE (kneeling).


My lord, a suppliant at your feet I kneel,
Oh, listen to a mother's fond appeal!
Hear me to-night!  I come in urgent need—
'Tis for my son, young Strephon, that I plead!

BALLAD—IOLANTHE.


He loves!  If in the bygone years
Thine eyes have ever shed
Tears—bitter, unavailing tears,
For one untimely dead—
If, in the eventide of life,
Sad thoughts of her arise,
Then let the memory of thy wife
Plead for my boy—he dies!

He dies!  If fondly laid aside
In some old cabinet,
Memorials of thy long-dead bride
Lie, dearly treasured yet,
Then let her hallowed bridal dress—
Her little dainty gloves—
Her withered flowers—her faded tress—
Plead for my boy—he loves!

(The Lord Chancellor is moved by this appeal.
After a pause)

LORD CH.
It may not be—for so the fates decide!
Learn thou that Phyllis is my promised bride.

IOL.
(in horror).
Thy bride!  No! no!
LORD CH.
It shall be so!
Those who would separate us woe betide!

IOL.
My doom thy lips have spoken—
I plead in vain!

CHORUS OF FAIRIES (without).
Forbear! forbear!

IOL.
A vow already broken
I break again!

CHORUS OF FAIRIES (without).
Forbear! forbear!

IOL.
For him—for her—for thee
I yield my life.

Behold—it may not be!
I am thy wife.


CHORUS OF FAIRIES (without).
Aiaiah! Aiaiah! Willaloo!

LORD CH.
(recognizing her).
Iolanthe! thou livest?

IOL.
Aye!
I live!  Now let me die!

(Enter Fairy Queen and Fairies.
Iolanthe kneels to her)

QUEEN.
Once again thy vows are broken:

Thou thyself thy doom hast spoken!

CHORUS OF FAIRIES.
Aiaiah! Aiaiah!
Willahalah! Willaloo!
Willahalah! Willaloo!

QUEEN.
Bow thy head to Destiny:

Death thy doom, and thou shalt die!

CHORUS OF FAIRIES.
Aiaiah! Aiaiah! etc.


(Peers and Sentry enter.
The Queen raises her spear)

LEILA.
Hold!  If Iolanthe must die, so must we all; for, as
she has sinned, so have we!
QUEEN.
What?
CELIA.
We are all fairy duchesses, marchionesses, countesses,
viscountesses, and baronesses.

LORD MOUNT.
It's our fault.
They couldn't help themselves.

QUEEN.
It seems they have helped themselves, and pretty
freely, too!  (After a pause)  You have all incurred death; but I
can't slaughter the whole company!  And yet (unfolding a scroll)
the law is clear—every fairy must die who marries a mortal!
LORD CH.
Allow me, as an old Equity draftsman, to make a
suggestion.
The subtleties of the legal mind are equal to the
emergency.
The thing is really quite simple—the insertion of a
single word will do it.
Let it stand that every fairy shall die
who doesn't marry a mortal, and there you are, out of your
difficulty at once!
QUEEN.
We like your humour.
Very well!  (Altering the MS.
in
pencil)  Private Willis!
SENTRY (coming forward).
Ma'am!
QUEEN.
To save my life, it is necessary that I marry at once.

How should you like to be a fairy guardsman?
SENTRY.
Well, ma'am, I don't think much of the British
soldier who wouldn't ill-convenience himself to save a female in
distress.

QUEEN.
You are a brave fellow.
You're a fairy from this
moment.
(Wings spring from Sentry's shoulders)  And you, my
Lords, how say you, will you join our ranks?

(Fairies kneel to Peers and implore them to
do so)

(Phyllis and Strephon enter)

LORD MOUNT.
(to Lord Tolloller).
Well, now that the Peers are
to be recruited entirely from persons of intelligence, I really
don't see what use we are, down here, do you, Tolloller?
LORD TOLL.
None whatever.

QUEEN.
Good!  (Wings spring from shoulders of Peers)  Then
away we go to Fairyland.


FINALE.


PHYL.
Soon as we may,
Off and away!
We'll commence our journey airy—
Happy are we—
As you can see,
Every one is now a fairy!

ALL.
Every, every, every,
Every one is now a fairy!

IOL.
, QUEEN,   Though as a general rule we know
and PHYL.
Two strings go to every bow,
Make up your minds that grief 'twill bring
If you've two beaux to every string.


ALL.
Though as a general rule, etc.


LORDCH.
Up in the sky,
Ever so high,
Pleasures come in endless series;
We will arrange
Happy exchange—
House of Peers for House of Peris!

ALL.
Peris, Peris, Peris,
House of Peers for House of Peris!

LORDS CH.
,          Up in the air, sky-high, sky-high,
MOUNT.
,             Free from Wards in Chancery,
and TOLL.
I/He will be surely happier, for
I'm/He's such a susceptible Chancellor.


ALL.
Up in the air, etc.


CURTAIN