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La Bohème Libretto
English Translation

Bohemian Life



Cast:
MIMI, a seamstress (Soprano)
RODOLFO, a poet (Tenor)
MARCELLO, a painter (Baritone)
COLLINE, a philosopher (Bass)
SCHAUNARD, a musician (Baritone)
BENOIT, a landlord (Bass)
MUSETTA, a grisette (Soprano)
ALCINDORO, a state councellor and follower of Musetta (Bass)
PARPIGNOL, an itinerant toy vendor (Tenor)
CUSTOM-HOUSE SERGEANT (Bass)

CHORUS
Students, Working girls, Bourgeois, Shopkeepers, Street vendors, Soldiers, Waiters, Children, Tavern drinkers, Scavengers, Carters, Milkmaids, Peasant women

ACT ONE (FIRST TABLEAU)

A garret with a large window looking out over the snow-covered roofs of Paris.
It is Christmas Eve.


MARCELLO
who is trying to paint
This Red Sea
freezes me into numbness
as if water were falling on me
drop by drop.
To revenge myself, I'll make Pharaoh drown!
to Rodolfo
What are you doing?

RODOLFO
I'm watching
a thousand Parisian chimneys
smoking in the grey skies,
pointing to the empty stove
and thinking of that
lazy old swindling stove
living in idleness
like a lord!

MARCELLO
He hasn't received his lawful
dues for a long while.

RODOLFO
Those silly forests,
what do they do under the snow?

MARCELLO
Rodolfo, I'll tell you
my profound conviction:
I'm freezing cold.

RODOLFO
And I, Marcel, won't hide the fact from you
that I don't believe
in the sweat of the brow.

MARCELLO
My fingers are
as frozen as if
they had been locked
in that ice?box
which is Musetta's heart.

RODOLFO
Love is a fire
which wastes too much …

MARCELLO
… and too quickly!

RODOLFO
... where Man is a bundle of wood

MARCELLO
... and Woman is the fire?dog

RODOLFO
... one burns in a flash ...

MARCELLO
... and the other looks on.

RODOLFO
But meanwhile we are freezing here …

MARCELLO
... and dying of hunger!

RODOLFO
We must have a fire.

MARCELLO
Wait ... we'll sacrifice the chair!

RODOLFO
stopping him, and seizing a bulky manuscript
Eureka!

MARCELLO
Have you thought of something?

RODOLFO
Yes! A splendid idea.
Let thought burst into flame.

MARCELLO
Shall we burn the Red Sea?

RODOLFO
No, painted canvas stinks.
My drama,
let my burning drama warm us.

MARCELLO
You intend to read it, perhaps? You turn me cold!

RODOLFO
No, the paper will dissolve into ashes,
and the spirit will ascend to the skies.
A great loss menaces posterity …
Rome is in peril!

MARCELLO
You're magnanimous!

RODOLFO
Here's the first act for you.

MARCELLO
Give it here.

RODOLFO
Tear it up.

MARCELLO
Light it.

RODOLFO
having set part of the manuscript alight
What a cheerful spark!

MARCELLO
What a cheerful spark!

COLLINE
entering and throwing a bundle of books on the table
Signs of the Apocalypse
are already appearing.
On Christmas Eve
they won't accept pledges!
catching sight of the fire, amazed
A blaze!

RODOLFO
Quiet, they're giving my play …

COLLINE
…to the fire.
I find it brilliant.

RODOLFO
Lively.

COLLINE
as the fire dies down
But it doesn't last long.

RODOLFO
Brevity is a great virtue.

COLLINE
taking the chair away from Rodolfo
Author, give me the chair.

MARCELLO
These intervals are very tiresome.
Quick.

RODOLFO
throwing more leaves into the stove
Act two.

MARCELLO
Not a whisper.

COLLINE
Profound thought!

MARCELLO
Perfect colour!

RODOLFO
In that languid
blue flickering
an ardent love scene
goes up in smoke!

COLLINE
A page crackles.

MARCELLO
There were kisses there!

RODOLFO
throwing the rest of the manuscript on the fire
Now I want to hear three acts all at once.

COLLINE
Thus the idea of brilliant men is integrated!

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, COLLINE
Beautiful to vanish in a joyous flash.

MARCELLO
Oh Lord! The flame's already dying down.

COLLINE
What a vain, fragile drama!

MARCELLO
It's crinkling, crackling and dying down already!
The fire goes out

MARCELLO, COLLINE
Down with the author!

Two errand boys enter, one carrying food, wine and cigars, the other bundle of wood

RODOLFO
Wood!

MARCELLO
Cigars!

COLLINE
Bordeaux!

RODOLFO
Wood!

MARCELLO
Bordeaux!

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, COLLINE
Fate has destined the wealth
of the fair for us.

SCHAUNARD
entering with an air of triumph and throwing a few coins on the floor
The Bank of France is in the red
on your account.

COLLINE
Pick 'em up! Pick 'em up!

MARCELLO
incredulously
They're pieces of tin!

SCHAUNARD
Are you deaf? Are you bleary?eyed?
showing him one of the coins
Who's this man?

RODOLFO
bowing
Louis?Phillipe!
I bow to my King.

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
laying the coins on the table
Louis?Philippe is at our feet!

SCHAUNARD
Now I'll tell you; there's a fine
story to this gold,
or rather, silver.

MARCELLO
Let's warm up the stove!

COLLINE
It's suffered so much cold!

SCHAUNARD
An Englishman, a gentleman,
Lord, or my Lord whoever it was,
wanted a musician ...

MARCELLO
throwing Colline's bundle of books off the table
Away! . . .
Let's lay the table!

SCHAUNARD
continuing his narrative
… Me, perhaps? I fly …

RODOLFO
Where's the tinder?

COLLINE
There.

MARCELLO
Here.

They make a big blaze in the stove

SCHAUNARD
... and present myself.
He accepts me, I ask him ...

COLLINE
Cold roast!

MARCELLO
Sweet pudding!

SCHAUNARD
… when do we start lessons?
seeing no one is attending
I present myself, he accepts me,
and I ask him: when do we
start lessons? He answers:
imitating the English accent
"Let's start! ... Look! "
And he points to a parrot
on the first floor, then adds:
“You play till that dies!”

RODOLFO
Ablaze ...
... is the room with splendour.

SCHAUNARD
And here's what happened: I played ...
... for three whole days ...

MARCELLO
lighting two candles and setting them on the table
Now the candles!

COLLINE
Sweet pudding!

SCHAUNARD
... Then I exercised my
masculine charm …
... I sweethearted the maid ...

MARCELLO
Do we eat without a table?cloth?

RODOLFO
taking a newspaper from his pocket
An idea!

MARCELLO, COLLINE
The "Constitutional!"

RODOLFO
spreading the paper on the table
An excellent …
… sheet. We eat, and devour …

SCHAUNARD
…I gave him parsley;…

RODOLFO
... the supplement!

SCHAUNARD
… Polly stretched his wings,
Polly opened his beak;
a scrap of parsley,
and like Socrates, he died!

COLLINE
Who?

SCHAUNARD
The Devil take the lot of you!
seeing the others about to start on the food
And now what are you doing?
No! These victuals
are in store
for the dark
days ahead.
putting everything in the cupboard
Dine at home on Christmas Eve
while the streets of the Latin Quarter
are festooned with sausages and tit?bits?
When the smell of fritters
pervades those old streets?
There, young girls are singing happily . . .

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, COLLINE
Christmas Eve!

SCHAUNARD
... and each has a student
for echo!
Let's observe tradition, gentlemen:
we'll drink at home, but let's eat out!

BENOÎT
knocking at the door
May I come in?

MARCELLO
Who's there?

BENOÎT
Benoît.

MARCELLO
The landlord!

SCHAUNARD
Bolt the door.

COLLINE
Nobody's home.

SCHAUNARD
It's locked.

BENOÎT
Just one word.

SCHAUNARD
after consulting the others, opens the door
Just one!

Benoît enters

BENOÎT
showlng a paper
Rent.

MARCELLO
Here! Give him a chair.

RODOLFO
At once.

BENOÎT
Don't bother, I'd like ...

SCHAUNARD
Be seated.

MARCELLO
Something to drink?

BENOÎT
Thank you.

RODOLFO and COLLINE
A toast.

SCHAUNARD
Drink.

Benoît sets down his glass and shows the paper to Marcello.

BENOÎT
This is the bill
for three months' rent ...

MARCELLO
That's fine ...

BENOÎT
Therefore ...

SCHAUNARD
Another drop.

BENOÎT
Thank you

THE FOUR
A toast. To your health!

BENOÎT
to Marcello again
I come to you
because last quarter
you promised me...

MARCELLO
I promised and I'll pay.

He points to the money on the table.

RODOLFO
aside to Marcello
What are you doing?

SCHAUNARD
Are you crazy?

MARCELLO
to Benoît, ignoring the others
You see? Now then
stay with us a moment.
Tell me: how old are you,
dear M. Benoît?

BENOÎT
My age? ... Spare me!

RODOLFO
Our age, more or less, I'd say.

BENOÎT
More, much more.

They refill his glass.

COLLINE
He said more or less.

MARCELLO
The other evening at Mabille
they caught him making love.

BENOÎT
Me?

MARCELLO
They caught him at Mabille the other evening…
Deny it, then.

BENOÎT
An accident.

MARCELLO
A lovely woman!

BENOÎT
half?drunk
Ah! Very!

SCHAUNARD, then RODOLFO
You rascal!

COLLINE
Seducer!
He's an oak, a ball of fire!

RODOLFO
He's a man of taste.

MARCELLO
With that curly, tawny hair.
How he swaggered, proud and happy!

BENOÎT
I'm old but strong.

COLLINE, SCHAUNARD and RODOLFO
How he swaggered, proud and happy!

MARCELLO
Feminine virtue
gave in to him.

BENOÎT
I'm paying myself back now
for my shy youth ...
my pastime, you know,
a lively woman ... a bit ...
well, not a whale exactly
or a relief?map of the world
or a face like a full moon,
but not thin, really thin. No!
Thin women are worrisome
and often ... a nuisance ...
always full of complaints,
for example ? my wife ... !

Marcello rises, feigning moral indignation. The others do the same.

MARCELLO
This man has a wife
and foul desires in his heart!

THE OTHERS
Horrors!

RODOLFO
He corrupts and pollutes
our respectable home.

THE OTHERS
Out with him!

MARCELLO
Burn some incense!

COLLINE
Throw out the scoundrel.

SCHAUNARD
Our offended morality expels you!

BENOÎT
I say ... I…

THE OTHERS
Silence!

BENOÎT
My dear sirs ...

THE OTHERS
Silence ... Out, sir ...
Away with you! And good evening
to your worship! Hal Hal Hal

Benoît is thrown out. Marcello shuts the door.

MARCELLO
I've paid the rent.

SCHAUNARD
In the Latin Quarter Momus awaits us.

MARCELLO
Long life to him who pays!

SCHAUNARD
We'll divide my loot!

THE OTHERS
Let's divide!

They share the coins.

MARCELLO
giving Colline a mirror
Beauties are there, come from above.
Now you're rich, you must look presentable.
You bear! Trim your fur.

COLLINE
I'll make my first acquaintance
of a beard?barber.
Lead me to the absurd,
outrageous razor.

ALL
Let's go.

RODOLFO
I must stay to finish
my article for the paper,
"The Beaver".

MARCELLO
Hurry, then!

RODOLFO
Five minutes. I know my trade.

COLLINE
We'll wait for you downstairs.

MARCELLO
You'll hear us if you dawdle.

RODOLFO
Five minutes.

SCHAUNARD
Cut that Beaver's tail short.

Rodolfo takes a light and opens the door. The others start down the stairs.

MARCELLO
outside
Watch the stairs.
Hold on to the railing.

RODOLFO
raising the light
Careful.

COLLINE
It's pitch dark.

SCHAUNARD
That damn janitor!

COLLINE
Hell!

RODOLFO
Colline, are you killed?

COLLINE
from below
Not yet.

MARCELLO
Come soon.

Rodolfo closes the door, sets his light on the table and tries to write. But he tears up the paper and throws the pen down.

RODOLFO
I'm not in the mood.
There's a timid knock at the door.
Who's there?

MIMÌ
outside
Excuse me.

RODOLFO
A woman!

MIMÌ
I'm sorry ... my light
has gone out.

RODOLFO
opening the door
Here.

MIMÌ
in the doorway, holding a candlestick and a key
Would you…?

RODOLFO
Come in for a moment.

MIMÌ
There's no need.

RODOLFO
Please ... come in.
Mimi enters, and has a fit of coughing.
You're not well?

MIMÌ
No ... it's nothing.

RODOLFO
You're pale!

MIMÌ
I'm out of breath ... the stairs ...

She faints, and Rodolfo is just in time to support her and help her to a chair. The key and the candlestick fall from her hands.

RODOLFO
Now what shall I do?
He gets some water and sprinkles her face.
So.
How ill she looks!
Mimi comes to.
Are you better now?

MIMÌ
Yes.

RODOLIFO
It's so cold here. Come and sit
by the fire.
He helps her to a chair by the stove.
Wait… some wine.

MIMÌ
Thank you.

RODOLFO
Here.

MIMÌ
Just a little.

RODOLFO
There.

MIMÌ
Thank you.

RODOLFO
(What a lovely creature!)

MIMÌ
rising
Now, please,
relight my candle.
I'm better now.

RODOLFO
Such a hurry!

MIMÌ
Yes.
Rodolfo lights her candle for her.
Thank you. Good evening.

RODOLFO
Good evening.

Mimi goes out, then reappears at the door.

MIMÌ
Oh! foolish me!
Where have I left
the key to my room?

RODOLFO
Don't stand in the door:
the wind makes your light flicker.

Her candle goes out.

MIMÌ
Heavens! Will you relight it?

Rodolfo hastens to her with his light, but when he reaches the door, his candle goes out, too. The room is dark.

RODOLFO
There ... Now mine's out, too.

MIMÌ
Ah! And where can my key be?

RODOLFO
Pitch dark!

MIMÌ
Unlucky me!

RODOLFO
Where can it be?

MIMÌ
You've a bothersome neighbour ...

RODOLFO
Not at all.

MIMÌ
You've a bothersome neighbour...

RODOLFO
What do you mean? Not at all!

MIMÌ
Search.

RODOLFO
I'm searching.

They hunt, touching the floor with their hands.

MIMÌ
Where can it be?

RODOLFO
Ah!

He finds the key and pockets it.

MIMÌ
Did you find it?

RODOLFO
No.

MIMÌ
I thought ...

RODOLFO
Truthfully!

MIMÌ
Are you hunting?

RODOLFO
I'm hunting for it.

Guided by her voice, Rodolfo pretends to search as he draws closer to her. Then his hand meets hers, and he holds it.

MIMÌ
surprised
Ah!

They rise. Rodolfo continues to hold Mimi's hand

RODOLFO
How cold your little hand is!
Let me warm it for you.
What's the use of searching?
We'll never find it in the dark.
But luckily
there's a moon,
and she's our neighbour here.
Just wait, my dear young lady,
and meanwhile I'll tell you
in a word
who and what I am.
Shall I?
Mimì is silent
Who am I? I'm a poet.
My business? Writing.
How do I live? I live.
In my happy poverty
I squander like a prince
my poems and songs of love.
In hopes and dreams
and castles?in?air,
I'm a millionaire in spirit.
But sometimes my strong?box
is robbed of all its jewels
by two thieves: a pair of pretty eyes.
They came in now with you
and all my lovely dreams,
my dreams of the past,
were soon stolen away.
But the theft doesn't upset me,
since the empty place was filled
with hope.
Now that you know me,
it's your turn to speak.
Who are you? Will you tell me?

MIMÌ
Yes.
They call me Mimi,
but my real name's Lucia.
My story is brief.
I embroider silk and satin
at home or outside.
I'm tranquil and happy,
and my pastime
is making lilies and roses.
I love all things
that have gentle magic,
that talk of love, of spring,
that talk of dreams and fancies -
the things called poetry ...
Do you understand me?

RODOLFO
Yes.

MIMÌ
They call me Mimi -
I don't know why.
I live all by myself
and I eat all alone.
I don't often go to church,
but I like to pray.
I stay all alone
In my tiny white room,
I look at the roofs and the sky.
But when spring comes
the sun's first rays are mine.
April's first kiss is mine, is mine!
The sun's first rays are mine!
A rose blossoms in my vase,
I breathe its perfume, petal by petal.
So sweet is the flower's perfume.
But the flowers I make, alas,
The flowers I make, alas,
alas, have no scent.
What else can I say?
I'm your neighbour, disturbing you
at this impossible hour.

SCHAUNARD
from below
Hey! Rodolfo!

COLLINE
Rodolfo!

MARCELLO
Hey! Can't you hear?
You slow?coach!

COLLINE
You scribbler!

SCHAUNARD
To hell with that lazy one!

Rodolfo, impatient, goes to the window to answer. When the window is opened, the moonlight comes in, lighting up the room.

RODOLFO
I've a few more words to write.

MIMÌ
Who are they?

RODOLFO
Friends.

SCHAUNARD
You'll hear about this.

MARCELLO
What are you doing there alone?

RODOLFO
I'm not alone. There's two of us.
Got to Momus and get a table.
We'll be there soon.

MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD and COLLINE
Momus, Momus, Momus.
Quietly, discreetly, we're off.
Momus, Momus.
He's found his poem at last.

Turning, Rodolfo sees Mimi wrapped in a halo of moonlight. He comtemplates her, in ecstasy.

RODOLFO
Oh! lovely girl! Oh, sweet face
bathed in the soft moonlight.
I see in you the dream
I'd dream forever!

MIMÌ
(Ah! Love, you rule alone!...)

RODOLFO
Already I taste in spirit
The heights of tenderness!

MIMÌ
(You rule alone, O Love!)

RODOLFO
Already I taste in spirit
the heights of tenderness!
Love trembles in our kiss!

MIMÌ
(How sweet his praises
enter my heart ...
Love, you alone rule!)
Rodolfo kisses her.
No, please!

RODOLFO
You're mine!

MIMÌ
Your friends are waiting.

RODOLFO
You send me away already?

MIMÌ
I daren't say what I'd like ...

RODOLFO
Tell me.

MIMÌ
If I came with you?

RODOLFO
What? Mimi!
It would be so fine to stay here.
Outside it's cold.

MIMÌ
I'd be near you!

RODOLFO
And when we come back?

MIM
Who knows?

RODOLFO
Give me your arm, my dear ...

MIMÌ
Your servant, sir ...

RODOLFO
Tell me you love me!

MIMÌ
I love you.

RODOLFO and MIMÌ
as they go out
Beloved! My love! My love!

ACT TWO (SECOND TABLEAU)

Later the same evening, outside the Café Momus in the Latin Quarter; the café is so crowded that customers have to be accommodated at tables outside. All round them street vendors are shouting their wares.

STREET VENDORS
variously
Oranges, dates! Hot chestnuts!
Trinkets, crosses! Nougat!
Whipped cream!
Fruit pies, ho!
Toffees! Flowers for the pretty girls!
Fruit pies! Whipped cream!
Finches, sparrows! dates!

URCHINS
Oranges, trinkets! Hot chestnuts and toffees! Nougat!
Come on, let's hurry, come on, hurry!

MEN
What crowds! What a din!

WOMEN
Oh, what a lot of people!

STUDENTS
to midinettes
Come on, let's run!
Stick close to me!
What a row! Come on, let's run!

CROWD
Make way! Let's run!

STREET VENDORS, URCHINS
repeating as before
Hot chestnuts! Cream, nougat! etc.
Coconut milk! Fruit pies! Ho! etc., etc.

CROWD
What a crowd! Let's be off!
Oh! … Let us pass!

VARIOUS CUSTOMERS
sitting at tables outside the Café Momus
Quickly here! Waiter! A glass! ...
... Hurry up! Beer! Something to drink!

CITIZENS
Oh, what a crush!

STREET VENDORS
Finches and sparrows! Hot chestnuts!

STUDENTS
to midinettes
Hang on to me, let's run!

A MOTHER
Emma! When I call you …!

A CUSTOMER
A coffee, then?

OTHER CUSTOMERS
Bring something to drink!
Waiter! Hi there!

CHILDREN
joining the hubbub a moment later
I want a spear!

CITIZENS, STUDENTS
What a hullabaloo! Hold on to me tight!

CITIZENS
What a crowd! Let's get out of this!

STREET VENDORS
crying their wares; as before
Oranges, etc., Coats! Carrots! Flowers!
… Coconut milk! Coats! Carrots!

CITIZENS
What a crush! Come on, let's get out!

STREET VENDORS
Dates! Trinkets! Oranges and flowers!

SCHAUNARD
trying a horn he wishes to buy from an old iron merchant
That D's out of tune!
Pipe and horn, how much?

COLLINE
looking over the frockcoat he has just bought secondhand.
It's a little worn ...

RODOLFO
to Mimì
Come.

MIMÌ
Shall we get the bonnet?

COLLINE
… but it's sober looking and cheap.

RODOLFO
Keep tight hold of my arm.

MIMÌ
I'll cling on to you.

MIMÌ, RODOLFO
Let's go!
They go into a milliner's shop.

MARCELLO
I feel like shouting:
which of you pretty ladies
would care for a bit of love!

STREET VENDORS
basses
Dates! Trout!
tenors
Plums from Tours!

MARCELLO
to a girl
Let's strike a bargain together…

STREET VENDORS
tenors
Plums from Tours!

MARCELLO
... I'll give my virgin heart for a sou!

SCHAUNARD
Shoving and bustling the crowd comes …
... running, and delights in sampling
mad unsatisfying pleasures.

STREET VENDORS
as ever: adding their voices to the ensemble a moment later
Trinkets, brooches! Dates and toffees!
Urchins interpolate “Ah!”
Flowers for the pretty girls!

COLLINE
approaching the café waving an old book
A rare copy ? unique even -
the runic grammar!

SCHAUNARD
Fine fellow!

MARCELLO
To supper!

SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Where's Rodolfo?

MARCELLO
He went into a milliner's.

RODOLFO
leaving the milliner's with Mimi.
Come, our friends are waiting.

STREET VENDORS
Whipped cream!

MIMÌ
Does this pink bonnet suit me?

STREET VENDORS
Coconut milk! Ho! Fruit?pies! Whipped cream!

CUSTOMERS
Waiter! …
… A glass!

RODOLFO
You're dark,…
... and that colour becomes you.

CUSTOMERS
Hi, quick! ...
... Ratafia!

MIMÌ
looking in a jeweller's window.
What a lovely ...
… coral necklace!

RODOLFO
I have a rich uncle.
If the good God has any sense,
I'll buy you a much better
necklace than that!

URCHINS, STUDENTS, WORK GIRLS
severally and variously
Ha, ha, ha, etc.

WOMEN
Let's follow the crowd!

STREET VENDORS, URCHINS
clamourously and repetitiously as ever
Fruit pies, ho! etc. Flowers for the pretty ladies!

MEN
Look out, girls!
Let's take the Rue Mazarin!
Look, the ...

WOMEN
What a row! What crowds!
I'm suffocating, let's get out!

MEN
... café is just here!

URCHINS, STREET VENDORS
Trinkets, dates, hot chestnuts!

CROWD
Let's go to Momus's!

STREET VENDORS
Oranges, dates, trinkets, flowers!
Finches, sparrows, cream, nougat!

CROWD
Ah!

RODOLFO
to Mimì, who is looking at a group of students
Who are you looking at?

COLLINE
I hate the common crowd ...
... as much as Horace did.

MIMÌ
to Rodolfo
Are you jealous?

RODOLFO
Suspicion for ever jogs the happy man's elbow.

SCHAUNARD
answering Colline
And when I feed ...
... I like plenty of room.

MIMÌ
to Rodolfo
Are you happy?

MARCELLO
to the waiter
We want a choice supper.

RODOLFO
to Mimì
Oh yes! So happy!

MARCELLO
to the waiter
Be quick!

SCHAUNARD
to the waiter
For a lot of people!

RODOLFO
to Mimì
And you?

MIMÌ
Yes, so very!

STUDENTS
To Momus's!

WORK GIRLS
Let's go, let's go!

MARCELLO, COLLINE, SCHAUNARD
to the waiter
Quick!

PARPIGNOL'S VOICE
Here come Parpignol's toys!

RODOLFO
joining his friends at the café
Two chairs.

COLLINE
At last!

RODOLFO
Here we are.
This is Mimì, merry flower?girl.
Her arrival completes
the fine company,
for I am the poet
and she the poetry.
From my brain burst songs,
from her fingers burst flowers,
from our exultant souls
bursts love!

MARCELLO, COLLINE, SCHAUNARD
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

MARCELLO
Heavens, what rare fancies!

COLLINE
solemnly pointing at Mimì
She is worthy to enter.

SCHAUNARD
Let her come in, if she must.

COLLINE
I can only say: Agreed.
They all sit down at the table.

PARPIGNOL'S VOICE
Here come Parpignol's toys!

COLLINE
shouting at the waiter
Sausage.

Parpignol comes down the street, followed by a crowd of boys and girls.

BOYS, GIRLS
Parpignol! Parpignol! Parpignol! Parpignol!
Here comes Parpignol, Parpignol!
With his decorated cart!
Here's Parpignol! Parpignol! Parpignol!
variously
I want the trumpet, the little horse!
The drum, the tambourine!
I want the gun, I want the whip!
The platoon of soldiers!

SCHAUNARD
to the waiter
Roast venison!

MARCELLO
A turkey!

SCHAUNARD
Rhine wine!

COLLINE
Table wine!

SCHAUNARD
Dressed lobster!

MOTHERS
to children
You pack of ragamuffins,
what are you doing here?
Home to bed with you!
Away with you, you ugly vulgar little creatures!
A good hiding's nothing to you!
Home to bed, you pack of ragamuffins, to bed with you!

A BOY
I want the trumpet and the little horse!

RODOLFO
And what do you want, Mimì?

MIMÌ
Crême?caramel.

SCHAUNARD
to the waiter
And a grand spread. There's a lady with us!

BOYS, GIRLS
following Parpignol's cart as he moves on
Hurrah for Parpignol! Parpignol!
The drum, the tambourine,
the platoon of soldiers!

MARCELLO
Mademoiselle Mimì, what rare present
has your Rodolfo given you?

MIMÌ
A lace bonnet,
all embroidered in pink;
it'll go well with my dark hair.
For ages
I've been wanting a bonnet like this,
and he read
what was hidden in my heart.
Now, he who can see
into a heart
knows the ways of love
and is very clever.

SCHAUNARD
An expert ...

COLLINE
... who already has diplomas
and whose verses
are not early attempts.

SCHAUNARD
So much so that what he says seems true.

MARCELLO
Oh happy age of illusions and Utopias!
One believes and hopes and everything seems lovely.

RODOLFO
The most divine poetry,
my friend, is that
which teaches us to love!

MIMÌ
Love is even sweeter than honey!

MARCELLO
Depending on taste, it's honey or poison!

MIMÌ
Oh dear! I've hurt his feelings!

RODOLFO
He's in mourning, Mimì darling,

SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Let's be merry - a toast!

MARCELLO
to the waiter
Something to drink here!

MIMÌ, RODOLFO, MARCELLO
Away with sad thoughts, up with your glasses!
Let's drink!

ALL
Let's drink!

MARCELLO
Let me drink poison!

Musetta appears, richly dressed and accompanied by a pompous, elderly admirer, Alcindoro de Mitonneaux.

RODOLFO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Oh!

MARCELLO
Her!

RODOLFO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Musetta!

WOMEN, STREET VENDORS
Oh! Her! Yes! Oh! Her!
Musetta!
We're in the money!
What a get?up!

ALCINDORO
Like a porter ...
running here and there …
No! No! I won't put up with it ...

MUSETTA
calling AIcindoro like a dog
Come, Lulu!

ALCINDORO
... I've had enough!

MUSETTA
Come, Lulu!

ALCINDORO
I've ...
…had enough!

SCHAUNARD
That ugly fellow…
… seems to be sweating!

Musetta, having seen the friends sitting outside the café, makes AIcindoro sit down at a vacant table.

ALCINDORO
What! Here outside? Here?

MUSETTA
Sit, Lulu!

ALCINDORO
I beg you to reserve such nicknames
for tête?à?têtes!

MUSETTA
Don't be such a Bluebeard!

COLLINE
examining Musetta's admirer
Here is vice dignified.

MARCELLO
With the chaste Susanna!

MIMÌ
to Rodolfo
She's very well dressed though!

RODOLFO
The angels go naked.

MIMÌ
You know her! Who is she?

MARCELLO
Ask me that.
Her name is Musetta ...

MUSETTA
Marcello has seen me ...

MARCELLO
... surname: Temptation!

MUSETTA
… and won't look at me, the beast!

MARCELLO
Her ...
…vocation...
…is to play the weather?vane, . . .

MUSETTA
That Schaunard's laughing!

MARCELLO
... she turns and turns
and often changes both lovers and love…

MUSETTA
They all annoy me!

MARCELLO
... and like the owl ...

MUSETTA
If I could only hit them!

MARCELLO
… she is a bird…
… of prey.

MUSETTA
If I could scratch them!

MARCELLO
Her daily fare ...

MUSETTA
But I have nothing ...
… to hand ...

MARCELLO
… is a heart!

MUSETTA
... but this tooth?pick!

MARCELLO
She eats hearts!

MUSETTA
Just wait!

MARCELLO
That's why I've none any more!

MUSETTA
Here! Waiter!

MARCELLO
Pass the stew.

MUSETTA
taking a plate and smelling it
Here! Waiter! This plate
stinks of frying!
She throws the plate violently on the ground.

ALCINDORO
No, Musetta … quiet, quiet!

MUSETTA
He's not turning round!

ALCINDORO
Quiet! Quiet! Behave, where are your manners!

MUSETTA
Ah, he's not turning round!

ALCINDORO
To whom are you talking?

COLLINE
This chicken is a dream!

MUSETTA
Now I'll hit him, I'll hit him!

ALCINDORO
With whom are you talking?

MUSETTA
To the waiter! Don't be a nuisance!

SCHAUNARD
The wine is out of this world!

MUSETTA
I want to do as I please.

ALCINDORO
Not so loud!

MUSETTA
I'll do as I like!

ALCINDORO
Speak more softly!

MUSETTA
Don't be a nuisance!

GIRLS
Look, look who's here,
Musetta in person!

STUDENTS
With that stammering old boy!

GIRLS, STUDENTS
She, Musetta, herself!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

MUSETTA
Can he be jealous of this old mummy?

ALCINDORO
Propriety ... my position ... your honour ...

MUSETTA
Let's see if I still have enough power ...
... over him to make him give in!

SCHAUNARD
What a stupendous joke!

MUSETTA
speaking loudly with an eye on Marcello
You don't look at me!

ALCINDORO
thinking Musetta is speaking to him
You can see I'm ordering!

SCHAUNARD
A rip?roaring farce!

COLLINE
Stupendous!

RODOLFO
For your future guidance, bear in mind
I wouldn't be constantly forgiving you.

SCHAUNARD
She speaks to one ...
… that the other may hear.

MIMÌ
I love you so much ...
... and I'm all yours!

COLLINE
And the other....
… unkind in vain, ....

MIMÌ
Wh"y do you talk to me ...
… of forgiveness?

COLLINE
… pretends not to understand, but is in heaven!

MUSETTA
But your heart is hammering!

ALCINDORO
Speak softly!

MUSETTA
Your heart is hammering!

ALCINDORO
Softly! Softly!

MUSETTA
still for Marcello's benefit
When I walk out
alone along the street,
all the people stop and stare,
and seek out all my beauty
from top to toe.

MARCELLO
Tie me to the chair!

ALCINDORO
What will those people say?

MUSETTA
And then I relish the sly desire
which shines from eyes
and can infer hidden beauties
from outward charms.
Thus the breath of desire
whirls around me
and makes me happy!

ALCINDORO
That scurrilous song…
... is making me angry, it enrages me!

MUSETTA
And you who ...
... know, who remember and fret,
do you fly from me like that?
I know full well you'll not tell
Your sufferings....

MIMÌ
her phrases punctuating those of Musetta as accompaniment
I know full well that poor girl
is very much in love,
terribly in love with Marcello,
she's terribly in love!

MUSETTA
… I know, yet you feel ready to die!

Schaunard and Colline leave the table and stand on one side, watching the scene intently. Rodolfo and Mimi remain seated alone, talking. Marcello, ever more agitated, tries to go, but cannot resist Musetta's voice.

ALCINDORO
What will those people say!

RODOLFO
to Mimì
Marcello used to love her.

SCHAUNARD
Ah! Marcello'll give way!

RODOLFO
The coquette left him ...

COLLINE
Who knows what will happen!

RODOLFO
… to enjoy an easier life.

SCHAUNARD
The deception is equally sweet ...

COLLINE
Holy saints, into such?like trouble ...

SCHAUNARD
... to the one who proffers it and the one
who shuts his eyes to it.

COLLINE
... Colline will never fall!

MUSETTA
Ah! Marcello …

ALCINDORO
Talk quietly!

MUSETTA
… is uneasy. Marcello is beaten!

MIMÌ
I feel sorry for her, poor thing!

ALCINDORO
Quiet, quiet!

COLLINE
She's pretty, I'm ...
… not blind, ...

MIMÌ
to Rodolfo
I love you!

SCHAUNARD
That swaggerer ...

RODOLFO
Mimì!

SCHAUNARD
… will give way at any moment now!

MIMÌ
I'm so sorry for that poor girl!

RODOLFO
It's a poor sort of love
that cannot avenge injuries!

SCHAUNARD
The fun's tremendous!

COLLINE
completing his cogitations
… but I much prefer
a Pipe and a Greek text!

MUSETTA
I know full well you won't admit
your sufferings!

ALCINDORO
Behave yourself, can't you?

MIMÌ
A selfish love is a bad love!

RODOLFO
A dead love never revives!

SCHAUNARD
Marcello'll give in!

COLLINE
still harping on the same theme
They please me a great deal more!

MUSETTA
Ah! But you feel like dying!

ALCINDORO
entering the ensemble last of all: in desperation
Be quiet! Be quiet!

MUSETTA
I'm going to do just as I please!
I'll do whatever I like!
Don't be a nuisance! Let me alone! ...

MIMÌ
I'm so sorry for, etc.

RODOLFO
It's a Poor sort of love, etc.

SCHAUNARD
continuing his conversation with Colline
If a pretty girl I ike that
were to engage you tête?à?tête,
You'd consign all your grumbling
maxims to the devil!

COLLINE
She's very pretty I'm not blind,
but I much prefer, etc.

MUSETTA
… Don't interfere!
to herself
Now I must get rid of the old man!
Pretending to have a pain in her foot
Ow!

ALCINDORO
What's wrong?

MUSETTA
What a pain! What agony!

ALCINDORO
Where?

MUSETTA
In my foot!

MARCELLO
My youth, you're not dead,
neither is the memory of you!

MUSETTA
as Alcindoro bends down to loosen her shoe
Undo it! Untie it! tear it, break it!
Please!
There's a cobbler over there,
run, quick! I want
another pair!

ALCINDORO
entering the passage about two thirds through
Be more discreet!

MUSETTA
Ow! What a twinge!…
…Curse that tight shoe!

ALCINDORO
What will those people say?

SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
What a rip?roaring farce!

MARCELLO
If you were to knock on my door,…

MUSETTA
kicking off her shoe
Now I'll take it off!

ALCINDORO
to Musetta
But my position …

MUSETTA
planting her shoe on the table
There it is!

MARCELLO
… my heart would run to open to you!

MIMÌ
I can see full well she's desperately in love with Marcello!

RODOLFO
And I can see full well a stupendous joke!

MUSETTA
Run! Run along! Quickly, go on, go!

ALCINDORO
… do you wish me to compromise it?
seeing Musetta is about to go to Marcello
Wait! Musetta! I'll go!
He hurries off to the cobblers.

SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
What a rip?roaring farce!

MUSETTA
Marcello!

MARCELLO
Siren!
They embrace passionately.

SCHAUNARD
We've reached the final scene!

A waiter brings the bill.

RODOLFO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
The bill?

SCHAUNARD
So soon?

COLLINE
Who asked for it?

SCHAUNARD
to the waiter
Let's see!

Drums and fifes are heard in the distance.

COLLINE, RODOLFO
It's quite enough!

RODOLFO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Out with your money!

SCHAUNARD
Colline, Rodolfo, and you, Marcello?

URCHINS
as drums sound nearer
The Tattoo!

MARCELLO
We're broke!

SCHAUNARD
What?

GIRLS, STUDENTS
The Tattoo!

RODOLFO
Thirty pence is all I've got!

CROWD
The Tattoo!

MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
What! Isn't there any more?

SCHAUNARD
But what's become of my treasure?

URCHINS
Are they coming this way?

MUSETTA
to the waiter
Give me my bill.

GIRLS, STUDENTS
No! That way!

URCHINS
They're coming that way!

GIRLS, STUDENTS
They're coming this way!

URCHINS
No! That way!

MUSETTA
Good.

CROWD
Make way!

CHILDREN
I want to see! I want to hear!

MUSETTA
to the waiter
Quick, add that bill on to mine!

MOTHER
Lisetta, will you keep quiet!

CHILDREN
I want to see, Mummy!

MUSETTA
The gentleman that was here with me will pay!

CHILDREN
I want to hear, daddy!

MOTHER
Tonio, will you stop it!

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
The gentleman will pay!

CHILDREN
I want to see the tattoo!

MOTHER
Will you be quiet, will you stop it!

WOMEN
They're coming this/that way!

ALL
Yes, this way!

URCHINS
When they come …

COLLINE
The gentleman will pay!

URCHINS
... we'll march with them!

SCHAUNARD
The gentleman will pay!

MARCELLO
The gentleman!

MUSETTA
And where he was sitting he'll find a greeting from me!

STREET VENDORS
To hear those drums makes one feel patriotic!

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
And where he was sitting he'll find a greeting from her!

URCHINS, CROWD
Look, Make way, here they come!

MARCELLO
Here comes the Tattoo!

URCHINS, CROWD
All in line!

MARCELLO, COLLINE
Mind the old man doesn't see us ...
…running off with his prey!

RODOLFO
Here comes the Tattoo!

MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
This dense crowd ...
... is a ready hiding?place!

The soldiers enter, preceded by a gigantic drum?major, deftly wielding his mace.

CROWD
Here comes the drum major!
Prouder than a warrior of old!
The drum major! The drum major!

MIMÌ MUSETTA, RODOLFO MARCLELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Quickly, quickly!

CROWD
The Sappers, the Sappers, hooray!
Here comes the drum major!

URCHINS, CROWD
The Tattoo ...

WORK GIRLS
The drum major!

STUDENTS
He's like a general!

URCHINS, CROWD
… is here!

CROWD
Here he is! The handsome drum major!
The golden mace, so splendid!
He looks around, goes by, and disappears!

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, SCHAUNARD, COLLINE
Hurrah for Musetta! Heart full of mischief -
glory and honour, honour and glory
of the Latin Quarter!

CROWD
Such splendour! The handsomest man in France!
The handsome drum major! There he is!
He looks around, goes by, and disappears!

Unable to walk lacking one shoe, Musetta is carri ed in the wake of the departing soldiery by Marcello and Colline. Everyone falls in behind them and marches away. Alcindoro returning is presented by the waiter with the two bills and collapses, stupefied, on to a chair.

ACT THREE (THIRD TABLEAU)

At the Barrière d'Enfer, one of the toll?gates of Paris.
Inside the gate stand the customs house and a tavern, to which Marcello's painting, appropriately modified, serves as sign. It is very early one morning in February. Everything lies deep in snow.


STREET SWEEPERS
outside the gate
Hey, you guards! Open up!
You there! We're the street sweepers from Gentilly.
It's snowing! Hey there!

A Sergeant comes of of the Customs House and orders the gate to be opened.

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL
I'm coming!

VOICES FROM THE TAVERN
He, who in drinking has found
pleasure in his glass, ah!
in the warmth of a kiss
has found love!

MUSETTA'S VOICE
Ah! If in a glass pleasure's to be found,
on young lips there is love!

VOICES FROM THE TAVERN
Tra la tra la ... Eve and Noah!

MILKMAIDS
outside the gate
Hallo there! Hallo!

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL
It's the milkmaids already!

He opens the gate. A string of peasants' carts enters at the same time as the milkmaids.

CARTERS
Hallo there!

MILKMAIDS
Hallo there!
severally
Good morning! Good morning! Good morning!

PEASANT GIRLS
talking among themselves
Butter and cheese! Chickens, eggs!
Which way are you going?
To Saint?Michel!
See you later?
At noon!
At noon!

They move on.

MIMÌ
approaching from the Rue d'Enfer and addressing the Sergeant
Excuse me, can you tell me which is
the inn where a painter is at work?

SERGEANT
pointing to the tavern
Over there.

MIMÌ
Thank you.
to a maid who comes out of the tavern
Would you be kind enough, good woman,
to find the painter Marcello for me?
I have to speak to him. I'm in such a hurry.
Tell him on the quiet that Mimì's waiting for him.

SERGEANT
to a passer?by
Hey, let's see that basket!

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL
examining it
Empty!

SERGEANT
Pass!

MARCELLO
coming out of the tavern
Mimì!

MIMÌ
I was hoping to find you here.

MARCELLO
Yes, we've been here a month
at the innkeeper's expense.
Musetta teaches singing to the patrons,
I am painting those warriors
on the façade.
It's cold. Come inside.

MIMÌ
Is Rodolfo here?

MARCELLO
Yes.

MIMÌ
I can't go in, no, no!

MARCELLO
Why?

MIMÌ
Oh good Marcello, help me! Help me, do!

MARCELLO
What's happened?

MIMÌ
Rodolfo …Rodolfo loves me and avoids me;
my Rodolfo is consumed
with jealousy.
A step, a word,
a necklace, a flower
make him suspicious,
so that he is vexed and angry.
Sometimes at night I pretend to be asleep,
and I can feel him intently spying
on my dreams in my face.
He constantly cries:
you're no good to me;
find yourself another lover,
you're no good to me!
Alas! Alas!
It's the fury talking inside him,
I know, but what can I answer him, Marcello?

MARCELLO
Two people like you
shouldn't live together.

MIMÌ
You I re right; you're right;
we must part.
Help us, oh do help us;
we have tried …
…many times, but in vain.

MARCELLO
I'm easy?going with Musetta, …
... and she with me, because ...
…we love lightheartedly.
Singing and laughter, these are the flowers
of lasting love!

MIMÌ
You're right, you're right, we must leave one another …
…Do what you can for the best.

MARCELLO
Right! I'll wake him now.

MIMÌ
Is he asleep?

MARCELLO
He landed here
an hour before dawn
and fell asleep on a bench.
Look.
as Mimì coughs
What a cough!

MIMÌ
Since yesterday I've been chilled
to the bone. He left me last night,
saying: It's all over.
At daybreak I came out
and made my way in this direction.

MARCELL0
He's waking ... he's getting up ... he's looking for me . . . he's coming ...

MIMÌ
He mustn't see me!

MARCELLO
Go home now, Mimì, for goodness' sake!
Don't make a scene here!

Mimì conceals herself as Marcello goes to meet Rodolfo.

RODOLFO
Marcello. At last!
No one can hear us here.
I want to leave Mimì.

MARCELLO
Are you so fickle?

RODOLFO
Once before I believed my heart
was dead,
but at the splendour
of those blue eyes
it revived.
Now boredom assails it.

MARCELLO
And you want to renew the funeral?

RODOLFO
For ever!

MARCELLO
Change your tune.
It's only the love of fools
that's dismal and distils tears.
If it doesn't laugh and sparkle,
love's feeble and gruff.
You're jealous ...

RODOLFO
A little.

MARCELLO
… touchy, moody, full of
prejudices, tiresome, headstrong!

MIMÌ
to herself
Now he'll make him angry! Poor me!

RODOLFO
Mimì's a coquette
who flirts with everybody.
Some dandy of a viscount
makes eyes at her.
She lifts her skirts and shows her ankle
in a most provocative and encouraging way.

MARCELLO
Must I say it? I don't think you mean all that.

RODOLFO
Very wel I, I don't.
In vain, in vain I hide
my real torment.
I love Mimì more than anything in the world,
I love her, but I'm afraid!
Mimì is so very ill!
Every' day she grows weaker.
The poor little thing is …
… doomed!

MARCELLO
Mimì?

MIMÌ
What does he mean?

RODOLFO
A terrible cough
shakes her weak frame,
her pale cheeks are flushed.

MARCELLO
Poor Mimì.

MIMÌ
Alas, must I die?

RODOLFO
My room is a squalid den…
I've no fire.
The cold north wind comes in
and blows all round.
She sings and smiles,
and remorse assails me.
I am the cause of this fatal malady
that's killing her.

MARCELLO
What's to be done, then?

MIMÌ
Oh my life!

RODOLFO
Mimì ...
… is a hot?house plant.
Poverty has stripped her of her flowers.
To recall her to life
love is not sufficient.

MIMÌ
Alas! Alas! It's all over!
Oh my life is at an end!
Alas, to have to die!

MARCELLO
interjecting at intervals
O how pitiful!
Poor little thing!
Poor Mimì!

RODOLFO
hearing Mimì's sobbing and coughing
What! Mimì! You here?

MARCELLO
She …
… was listening, then!

RODOLFO
Did you hear what I was saying? …
… An easy prey to fear,
I get in a state about nothing!
trying to lead Mimì into the tavern
Come into the warm!

MIMÌ
No, that fug suffocates me!

RODOLFO
Ah, Mimì!

MARCELLO
hearing an impudent laugh from the tavern
That's Musetta laughing.
Who's she laughing with?
running impetuously into the tavern
Ah, you flirt, I'll teach you!

MIMÌ
to Rodolfo
Goodbye.

RODOLFO
What! Are you going?

MIMÌ
Whence happily she came
at your call of love Mimì
will return to her lonely nest;
she'll return once again
to embroidering imitation flowers.
Goodbye; and no hard feelings.
Listen.
Gather up the few things I left about.
Shut in my drawer
is that little gold ring,
and my prayer book.
Bundle everything up in an apron
And I'll send the concierge.
Look, under the pillow
you'll find the pink bonnet.
If you want to, keep it as a souvenir of our love!
Goodbye, goodbye - and no hard feelings!

RODOLFO
So, it's all over!
You're leaving me, my little one,
Farewell, dreams of love!

MIMÌ
Farewell, sweet wakings in the morning!

RODOLFO
Farewell …
…life of dreams!

MIMÌ
Farewell, reprimands and jealousy ...

RODOLFO
... that a smile from you would disperse!

MIMÌ
Farewell, suspicions,...

RODOLFO
… kisses …

MIMÌ
… stinging bitterness …

RODOLFO
…that I, like a true poet,
would rhyme with tenderness!

MIMÌ
To be alone …

MIMÌ, RODOLFO
… in winter is a terrible thing!

MIMÌ
Alone!

MIMÌ, RODOLFO
But in spring there is the sun for companion!

MIMÌ
The sun for companion!

MARCELLO
excitedly to Musetta, as they come out of e tavern
What were you doing, what were you saying …

MUSETTA
What do you mean?

MARCELLO
... by the fire, to that man?

MUSETTA
What do you mean?

MIMÌ
Nobody is alone in April.

MARCELLO
When I came in
you changed colour!

MUSETTA
That gentleman was asking me:
"Do you like dancing, …

RODOLFO
One can talk to the lilies and the roses.

MIMÌ
From the birds' nests comes a pretty chirping.

MUSETTA
... mademoiselle?“

MARCELLO
You vain frivolous flirt!

MUSETTA
Blushing I replied:
„I'd dance from dusk till dawn!“

MARCELLO
Such talk hides dishonest aims!

MUSETTA
I want to be absolutely free!

MARCELLO
I'll give you a good hiding…

RODOLFO, MIMÌ
In the blossoming springtime
we've the sun for companion!

MUSETTA
What are you on about?

MARCELLO
… if I catch you flirting!

MUSETTA
What's that you're shouting?
What are you on about?
We're not married!

MARCELLO
Take care! Under my hat
I don't wear ...
... horns!

MUSETTA
I detest those lovers who go on
like … ha ha! ha! ...
... husbands.

RODOLFO, MIMÌ
The fountains babble,
the evening breeze spreads
balm on human ills.

MARCELLO
I'll not be a laughing?stock
for your enterprising novices.

MUSETTA
I'll make love with whom I please!

MARCELLO
Vain frivolous coquette!

MUSETTA
Don't you like it?
I'm going to make love with whomsoever I please!
Musetta's off, yes, she's off!

MARCELLO
You're off? I'm duly grateful!
I've grown rich now!

MUSETTA, MARCELLO
with irony
Good ... bye!

MIMÌ, RODOLFO
Would you like us to await
the coming of spring once more?

MUSETTA
I bid you goodbye with the greatest of pleasure, sir!

MARCELLO
At your service; I'm off!

MUSETTA
she goes
Housepainter!

MARCELLO
outing after her
Viper!

MUSETTA
Toad!

MARCELLO
going back into the tavern
Witch!

MIMÌ
Always yours, for life.

RODOLFO
We'll part ...

MIMÌ
We'll part when the flowers bloom again.

RODOLFO
... when the flowers bloom again.

MIMÌ
I'd like winter
to last for ever!

MIMÌ, RODOLFO
We'll part, when the flowers bloom again!

ACT FOUR (FOURTH TABLEAU)

The garret as in Act I
Marcello and Rodolfo are pretending to work.


MARCELLO
continuing a conversation
In a brougham?

RODOLFO
With a pair and livery.
She greeted me, laughing. "Well, Musetta!
And how's your heart? " I said.
"It isn't beating, or I don't feel it,
thanks to the velvet that covers it."

MARCELLO
feigning indifference
I'm really glad to hear it!

RODOLFO
to himself
Go on with you, Jesuit!
You grin and bear it!

MARCELLO
Not beating? Good!
I too saw ...

RODOLFO
Musetta?

MARCELLO
Mimì.

RODOLFO
eagerly
You saw her?
catching himself up
Oh fancy that!

MARCELLO
She was in a carriage,
dressed like a queen.

RODOLFO
Hurray! I'm pleased about that.

MARCELLO
to himself
The liar, he's dying of love.

RODOLFO
Let's work.

MARCELLO
Let's work.

RODOLFO
throwing his pen down
Confounded pen!

MARCELLO
throwing his brush down
Confounded brush!
Marcello furtively draws a ribbon from his pocket and kisses it.

RODOLFO
to himself
O Mimi, you will return no more. O happy days,
tiny hands, sweet?scented tresses,

MARCELLO
replacing the ribbon in his pocket, to himself
I don't know how it is my ...
... brush works
and slaps on colours
against my will.

RODOLFO
… snow?white neck!
Oh Mimi, my short?lived youth!

MARCELLO
If I want to paint,
whether it be sky or land
or winter or spring,
it draws for me
two dark eyes
and provocative lips.
And there is Musetta's
face again, . . .

RODOLFO
taking a little bonnet from the table drawer; to himself
And you, dainty bonnet,
which she hid under the pillow when she left,
you know all our happiness.
Come to my heart, to my broken heart,
oh, come to my heart,
for love is dead.

MARCELLO
... and there's Musetta's face
all charms and deceits.
Meanwhile, Musetta's enjoying life
and my craven heart calls her,
ails her and waits, my craven heart!

RODOLFO
What time might it be?

MARCELLO
Yesterday's dinner time.

RODOLFO
And Schaunard isn't back?

Schaunard now enters carrying four loaves; he is followed by Colline carrying a parcel.

SCHAUNARD
Here we are.

RODOLFO
Well?

MARCELLO
Well?
as Schaunard puts the loaves on the table, scornfully
Bread?

COLLINE
opening his parcel and producing a herring
And a dish worthy of Demosthenes:
A herring.

SCHAUNARD
Salted.

COLLINE
Supper is served.

They all sit round the table and pretend to enjoy a sumptuous meal.

MARCELLO
This is a veritable feast
of plenty.

SCHAUNARD
as he puts Colline's hat on the table and stands a bottle of water in it.
Now let's put the champagne
on ice.

RODOLFO
offering the bread to Marcello
Choose, baron,
trout or salmon?

MARCELLO
offering bread to Schaunard
Duke, a parrot's tongue?

SCHAUNARD
Thank you, no, it blows me out.
I'm going to a ball tonight.

RODOLFO
to Colline, who has risen from the table
Finished already?

COLLINE
I'm in a hurry.
The king expects me.

MARCELLO
Is there a plot on?

RODOLFO
Some mystery?

SCHAUNARD
A mystery?

MARCELLO
A mystery?

COLLINE
The king has summoned me to the Ministry.

SCHAUNARD
Wonderful!

MARCELLO
Splendid!

RODOLFO
Marvellous!

COLLINE
However …I shall see …Guizot!
to Marcello
Give me the goblet!

MARCELLO
giving him the one and only tumbler
Yes! drink, I'm gorging myself!

SCHAUNARD
raising the glass
I beg the noble company
to permit me ...

RODOLFO, COLLINE
That'll do!

MARCELLO
It's feeble!

COLLINE
What a concoction!

MARCELLO
Off with you!

COLLINE
taking the glass away from Schaunard
Give me the goblet!

SCHAUNARD
I am irresistibly inspired by the spirit of song!

RODOLFO
No!

MARCELLO
No!

COLLINE
No!

SCHAUNARD
giving up
A choreographic exploit then?

RODOLFO, MARCELLO, COLLINE
Yes! Yes!

SCHAUNARD
A dance with vocal accompaniment!

COLLINE
as they move chairs and table to one side
Clear the room!
Gavotte!

MARCELLO
Minuet!

RODOLFO
Pavane!

SCHAUNARD
Fandango!

COLLINE
I suggest a quadrille.

RODOLFO
Take your partners.

COLLINE
I'll call.

SCHAUNARD
Lallera, lallera, lallera, la!

RODOLFO
bowing low to Marcello
Pretty maiden …

MARCELLO
Respect my modesty,
I beg of you.

Rodolfo and Marcello dance a quadrille, whilst Colline calls the figures.

SCHAUNARD
Lallera, lallera, lallera, . . . là!

COLLINE
Balancez!

MARCELLO
Lallera, ... lallera, lallera, la!

SCHAUNARD
The Rond comes first.

COLLINE
No! Ass!

SCHAUNARD
What disgusting behaviour!

COLLINE
If I'm not mistaken
you're being offensive.
Out with your sword.

Colline runs to the fireplace and seizes the tongs, whilst Schaunard takes the shovel.

SCHAUNARD
Ready. Have a taste of that!
I'm thirsting for your blood.

COLLINE
One of us will be disembowelled!

SCHAUNARD
Prepare a stretcher.

COLLINE
Prepare a cemetery.

Schaunard and Colline fight.

RODOLFO, MARCELLO
While the duel
is raging,
the rigaudon
bounces and turns.

They dance round the duellists, stamping and shouting. Suddenly the door is flung open and Musetta enters, very agitated.

MARCELLO
Musetta!

MUSETTA
It's Mimì … Mimì's following me
and she's not well.

RODOLFO
Where is she?

MUSETTA
She couldn't
manage the stairs.

RODOLFO
rushing to the door
Ah!

SCHAUNARD
to Colline
We'll draw up this old bed.

RODOLFO
helping Mimi towards the bed
There. Get her a drink.

MIMÌ
Rodolfo!

RODOLFO
Hush; rest quietly.

MIMÌ
Oh my Rodolfo! Do you want me here with you?

RODOLFO
My own Mimi! Always! Always!

MUSETTA
I heard it said that Mimi, having left
the viscount, was dying.
Where was she living? I searched
and searched, then I saw her
pass in the street
hardly able to crawl.
She said: I can't go on …
I'm dying! I feel it .
I want to die with him.
Perhaps he's waiting for me …

MARCELLO
Hush!

MIMÌ
I feel much better.

MUSETTA
continuing
... Come with me, Musetta?

MIMÌ
Let me look round.
Oh, how nice it is here!
I feel stronger every moment …
… I feel life again here.

RODOLFO
Dear lips, …

MIMÌ
No,...

MUSETTA
to Marcello
What is there in the house?

MIMÌ
... you will …

RODOLFO
... you speak ...

MARCELLO
to Musetta
Nothing!

MIMÌ
... leave me no more!

RODOLFO
… to me again!

COLLINE
Nothing!

MUSETTA
No coffee? No wine?

MARCELLO
Nothing! Oh, what it is to be poor!

SCHAUNARD
to Colline, sadly
She'll be dead in half?an?hour.

MIMÌ
I'm so cold!
If only I had a muff!
Shall I never be able to
warm these hands of mine?

RODOLFO
taking her hands in his
Here, in mine!
as Mimi coughs
Keep quiet! Talking tires you.

MIMÌ
I've a bit of a cough.
I'm used to that.
Hullo, Marcello, Schaunard,
Colline, hullo.
All of you here, all of you here
smiling at Mimì.

RODOLFO
Don't talk, don't talk.

MIMÌ
I'm talking softly. Don't worry.
to Marcello
Marcello, believe me:
Musetta is so very good.

MARCELLO
I know it, I know it.

MUSETTA
taking off her ear?rings and giving them to Marcello
Take these, sell them and bring a cordial,
call a doctor.

RODOLFO
to Mimi
Rest.

MIMÌ
You won't leave me?

RODOLFO
No, no!

MUSETTA
to Marcello
Listen! This may be the very last time
she'll express a wish,
poor thing!
I'll see to the muff.
I'll come with you.

MARCELLO
You're so good, my Musetta.

They go out hastily.

COLLINE
addressing his overcoat, which he has just taken off
Dear old coat, listen,
I stay here below,
but you must now
ascend the mount of piety!
Receive my thanks.
You never bent your threadbare
back to the rich and powerful.
You have sheltered in your pockets
like peaceful caves,
philosophers and poets.
Now that happy days
have fled, I bid you farewell,
my faithful friend,
farewell, farewell.
He makes a bundle out of the coat and puts it under his arm.
Schaunard, each in his own way
let us put two acts of charity together;
indicating his overcoat
I ... this! And you ...
pointing to Mimì and Rodolfo
… leave them alone there together.

SCHAUNARD
Philosopher, you are right! It is so! I go!

MIMÌ
Have they gone? I pretended to be asleep
because I wanted to be left alone with you.
I've so many things to tell you . . .
or rather only one, but that one huge as the ocean,
as deep and infinite as the sea.
You are my love and my whole life.

RODOLFO
Oh, Mimì, my beautiful Mimì!

MIMÌ
Am I still beautiful?

RODOLFO
Beautiful as the dawn.

MIMÌ
You're mistaken in your comparison.
You meant: beautiful as the sunset.
They call me Mimi ...
why ... I don't know ...

RODOLFO
The swallow's returned to the nest and is chirping.
He shows Mimì the bonnet he has preserved.

MIMÌ
My little bonnet!
Do you remember when I
came here for the first time?

RODOLFO
Do I remember!

MIMÌ
My light had gone out …

RODOLFO
You were so concerned!
Then you lost the key.

MIMÌ
And you began groping about to find it!

RODOLFO
And I searched and searched!

MIMÌ
My handsome young sir,
I can say it now,
you found it quite soon.

RODOLFO
I was helping fate.

MIMÌ
It was dark and you couldn't
see me blushing.
“What a frozen little hand,
let me warm it for you …”
It was dark and you
took my hand ...

RODOLFO
as she falls back racked by convulsive coughing
Oh God! Mimì!

SCHAUNARD
returning
What's happened?

MIMÌ
Nothing. I'm all right.

RODOLFO
Keep quiet, for pity's sake!

MIMÌ
Yes, yes, I'm sorry. I'll be good now.

Musetta and Marcello now return, the one carrying a muff, the other a small bottle.

MUSETTA
Is she asleep?

RODOLFO
She's resting.

MARCELLO
I've seen the doctor.
He's coming; I hurried him up.
Here's the cordial.

MIMÌ
Who's talking?

MUSETTA
Me, Musetta.

MIMÌ
as Musetta hands her the muff
Oh, how lovely
and soft it is! My hands
will no longer be frozen. The warmth
will make them beautiful.
to Rodolfo
Did you give it me?

MUSETTA
quickly
Yes.

MIMÌ
You! How rash! Thank you. But it must have been expensive.
as Rodolfo breaks down
You're crying? I'm all right. Why are you crying like that?
Here, my love ... with you always!
sinking into unconsciousness
My hands in the warm . . . and . . . to sleep ...

RODOLFO
to Marcello
What did the doctor say?

MARCELLO
He's coming.

MUSETTA
murmuring a prayer, as she warms the cordial over a spirit stove
Blessed Virgin,
grant thy grace
to this poor soul
that she may not die ...
interrupting her prayer to sign to Marcello to shield the lamp with a book
We need a guard here,
the flame is flickering.
So ...
resuming her prayer
... and that she may be cured.
Holy Virgin, I am
unworthy of pardon,
but Mimì is an angel from heaven.

RODOLFO
to Musetta
I still hope. Do you think she's in danger?

MUSETTA
I don't think so.

SCHAUNARD
who has been observing Mimì
Marcello, she's dead.

COLLINE
returning and putting some money on the table
Musetta, take this.

Seeing that the sun is shining on Mimì's face, Rodolfo takes Musetta's cloak and tries to hung it over the window.

COLLINE
going to his aid
How is she?

RODOLFO
See! She's quite peaceful.
noticing Marcello and Schaunard's air of constraint
What's the meaning
of all this coming and going?
Why are you looking at me like that?

MARCELLO
going to him
Be brave.

RODOLFO
rushing to the bed
Mimì ... Mimì ...