Libretto list

Yeoman of the Guard Libretto

SCENE:
Tower Green
16th Century




ACT I

[Scene.— Tower Green]

[Phoebe discovered spinning.


No.1.
When maiden loves, she sits and sighs
(INTRODUCTION and SONG)
Phoebe

PHOEBE             
When maiden loves, she sits and sighs,
She wanders to and fro;
Unbidden tear-drops fill her eyes,
And to all questions she replies,
With a sad "Heigh-ho!"

'Tis but a little word—"Heigh-ho!"
So soft, 'tis scarcely heard—"Heigh-ho!"
An idle breath—
Yet life and death
May hang upon a maid's "Heigh-ho!"

When maiden loves, she mopes apart,
As owl mopes on a tree;
Although she keenly feels the smart,
She cannot tell what ails her heart,
With its sad "Ah, me!"

'Tis but a foolish sigh—"Ah, me!"
Born but to droop and die—"Ah, me!"
Yet all the sense
Of eloquence
Lies hidden in a maid's "Ah, me!"

Yet all the sense
Of eloquence
Lies hidden in a maid's "Ah, me!"
"Ah, me!", "Ah, me!"

Yet all the sense
Of eloquence
Lies hidden in a maid's "Ah, me!"

[PHOEBE weeps

[Enter WILFRED

WILFRED   Mistress Meryll!

PHOEBE    [looking up] Eh! Oh! it's you, is it? You may go
away,if you like.
Because I don't want you, you know.


WILFRED   Haven't you anything to say to me?

PHOEBE    Oh yes! Are the birds all caged? The wild beasts all
littered down? All the locks, chains, bolts, and bars
in good order? Is the Little Ease sufficiently
comfortable? The racks, pincers, and thumbscrews all
ready for work? Ugh! you brute!

WILFRED   These allusions to my professional duties are in
doubtful taste.
I didn't become a head-jailer because
I like head-jailing.
I didn't become an assistant-
tormentor because I like assistant-tormenting.
We
can't all be sorcerers, you know.
[PHOEBE is annoyed]
Ah! you brought that upon yourself.


PHOEBE    Colonel Fairfax is not a sorcerer.
He's a man of
science and an alchemist.


WILFRED   Well, whatever he is, he won't be one for long, for
he's to be beheaded to-day for dealings with the
devil.
His master nearly had him last night, when the
fire broke out in the Beauchamp [pronounced Bee'cham]
Tower.


PHOEBE    Oh! how I wish he had escaped in the confusion! But
take care; there's still time for a reply to his
petition for mercy.


WILFRED   Ah! I'm content to chance that.
This evening at half-
past seven— ah! [Gesture of chopping off a head]

PHOEBE    You're a cruel monster to speak so unfeelingly of the
death of a young and handsome soldier.


WILFRED   Young and handsome! How do you know he's young and
handsome?

PHOEBE    Because I've seen him every day for weeks past taking
his exercise on the Beauchamp [pronounced Bee'cham]
Tower.


WILFRED   Curse him!

PHOEBE    There, I believe you're jealous of him, now.
Jealous
of a man I've never spoken to! Jealous of a poor soul
who's to die in an hour!

WILFRED   I am! I'm jealous of everybody and everything.
I'm
jealous of the very words I speak to you— because they
reach your ears— and I mustn't go near 'em!

PHOEBE    How unjust you are! Jealous of the words you speak to
me! Why, you know as well as I do that I don't even
like them.


WILFRED   You used to like 'em.


PHOEBE    I used to pretend I like them.
It was mere politeness
to comparative strangers.


[Exit PHOEBE, with spinning wheel

WILFRED   I don't believe you know what jealousy is! I don't
believe you know how it eats into a man's heart— and
disorders his digestion— and turns his interior into
boiling lead.
Oh, you are a heartless jade to trifle
with the delicate organization of the human interior.


No.
1A.
When jealous torments
(OPTIONAL SONG)
Wilfred

WILFRED        When jealous torments rack my soul,
My agonies I can't control,
Oh, better sit on red hot coal
Than love a heartless jade.


The red hot coal will hurt no doubt,
But red hot coals in time die out,
But jealousy you can not rout,
Its fires will never fade.


It's much less painful on the whole
To go and sit on red hot coal
'Til you're completely flayed,
Or ask a kindly friend to crack
Your wretched bones upon the rack
Than love a heartless jade,
Than love a heartless jade.


The kerchief on your neck of snow
I look on as a deadly foe,
It goeth where I dare not go
And stops there all day long.


The belt that holds you in its grasp
Is to my peace of mind a rasp,
It claspeth what I can not clasp,
Correct me if I'm wrong.


It's much less painful on the whole
To go and sit on red hot coal
'Til you're completely flayed,
Or ask a kindly friend to crack
Your wretched bones upon the rack
Than love a heartless jade,
Than love a heartless jade.


The bird that breakfasts on your lip,
I would I had him in my grip,
He sippeth where I dare not sip,
I can't get over that.


The cat you fondle soft and sly,
He layeth where I dare not lie.

We're not on terms, that cat and I.

I do not like that cat.


It's much less painful on the whole
To go and sit on red hot coal
'Til you're completely flayed,
Or ask a kindly friend to crack
Your wretched bones upon the rack
Than love a heartless jade,
Than love a heartless jade.


Or ask a kindly friend to crack
Your wretched bones upon the rack
Than love a heartless jade.


[Exit WILFRED.
Enter people excitedly, followed by YEOMEN
of the Guard with SERGEANT MERYLL at rear.


No.
2.
Tower warders, Under orders
(Double Chorus)
CROWD and YEOMEN, with Solo 2ND YEOMEN

CROWD               Tower warders,
Under orders,
Gallant pikemen, valiant sworders!
Brave in bearing,
Foemen scaring,
In their bygone days of daring!
Ne'er a stranger
There to danger—
Each was o'er the world a ranger;
To the story
Of our glory
Each a bold, a bold contributory!

YEOMEN              In the autumn of our life,
Here at rest in ample clover,
We rejoice in telling over
Our impetuous May and June.

In the evening of our day,
With the sun of life declining,
We recall without repining
All the heat of bygone noon,
We recall without repining
All the heat,
We recall, recall
All of bygone noon.


2ND YEOMAN          This the autumn of our life,
This the evening of our day;
Weary we of battle strife,
Weary we of mortal fray.

But our year is not so spent,
And our days are not so faded,
But that we with one consent,
Were our loved land invaded,
Still would face a foreign foe,
As in days of long ago,
Still would face a foreign foe,
As in days of long ago,
As in days of long ago,
As in days of long ago.


YEOMEN                        Still would face a foreign foe,
As in days of long ago.


CROWD                    Tower warders,
Under orders,
Gallant pikemen, valiant sworders!
Brave in bearing, Foemen scaring,
In their bygone days of daring!

CROWD                    YEOMEN

Tower warders,           This the autumn of our life
Under orders,
Gallant pikemen,
Valiant sworders
Brave in bearing,        This the evening of our day;
Foemen scaring,
In their bygone days of daring!

Ne'er a stranger         Weary we of battle strife,
There to danger
Each was o'er the world a ranger:


To the story             Weary we of mortal fray.

Of our glory
Each a bold,
A bold contributory.


To the story             This the autumn of our life.

Of our glory
Each a bold contributory!     This the evening of our  day,
Each a bold contributory!     This the evening of our  day.


[Exit CROWD.
Manent YEOMEN.
Enter DAME CARRUTHERS.


DAME      A good day to you!

2ND
YEOMAN  Good day, Dame Carruthers.
Busy to-day?

DAME      Busy, aye! the fire in the Beauchamp [pronounced
Bee'cham] last night has given me work enough.
A dozen
poor prisoners— Richard Colfax, Sir Martin Byfleet,
Colonel Fairfax, Warren the preacher-poet, and half-a-
score others— all packed into one small cell, not six
feet square.
Poor Colonel Fairfax, who's to die to-
day, is to be removed to no.
14 in the Cold Harbour
that he may have his last hour alone with his
confessor; and I've to see to that.


2ND
YEOMAN  Poor gentleman! He'll die bravely.
I fought under him
two years since, and he valued his life as it were a
feather!

PHOEBE    He's the bravest, the handsomest, and the best young
gentleman in England! He twice saved my father's life;
and it's a cruel thing, a wicked thing, and a
barbarous thing that so gallant a hero should lose his
head— for it's the handsomest head in England!

DAME      For dealings with the devil.
Aye! if all were beheaded
who dealt with him, there'd be busy things on Tower
Green.


PHOEBE    You know very well that Colonel Fairfax is a student
of alchemy— nothing more, and nothing less; but this
wicked Tower, like a cruel giant in a fairy-tale, must
be fed with blood, and that blood must be the best and
bravest in England, or it's not good enough for the
old Blunderbore.
Ugh!

DAME      Silence, you silly girl; you know not what you say.
I
was born in the old keep, and I've grown grey in it,
and, please God, I shall die and be buried in it; and
there's not a stone in its walls that is not as dear
tome as my right hand.


No.
3.
When our gallant Norman foes
(SONG WITH CHORUS)
Dame Carruthers and Yeomen

DAME      When our gallant Norman foes
Made our merry land their own,
And the Saxons from the Conqueror were flying,

At his bidding it arose,
In its panoply of stone,
A sentinel unliving and undying.


Insensible, I trow,
As a sentinel should be,
Though a queen to save her head should
come a-suing,
There's a legend on its brow
That is eloquent to me,
And it tells of duty done and duty doing.


The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
And men may bleed and men may burn,
O'er London town and its golden hoard
I keep my silent watch and ward!

CHORUS    The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
O'er London town and all its hoard,
And men may bleed and men may burn,
O'er London town and all its hoard,
O'er London town and its golden hoard
I keep my silent watch and ward!

DAME      Within its wall of rock
The flower of the brave
Have perished with a constancy unshaken.

From the dungeon to the block,
From the scaffold to the grave,
Is a journey many gallant hearts have taken.


And the wicked flames may hiss
Round the heroes who have fought
For conscience and for home in all its beauty,
But the grim old fortalice
Takes little heed of aught
That comes not in the measure of its duty.


The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
And men may bleed and men may burn,
O'er London town and its golden hoard
I keep my silent watch and ward!

CHORUS    The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
O'er London town and all its hoard,
And men may bleed and men may burn,
O'er London town and all its hoard,
O'er London town and its golden hoard
I keep my silent watch and ward!

[Exeunt all but PHOEBE.
Enter SERGEANT MERYLL.


PHOEBE    Father! Has no reprieve arrived for the poor
gentleman?

MERYLL    No, my lass; but there's one hope yet.
Thy brother
Leonard, who, as a reward for his valour in saving his
standard and cutting his way through fifty foes who
would have hanged him, has been appointed a Yeoman of
the Guard, will arrive to-day; and as he comes
straight from Windsor, where the Court is, it may be—
it may be— that he will bring the expected reprieve
with him.


PHOEBE    Oh, that he may!

MERYLL    Amen to that! For the Colonel twice saved my life, and
I'd give the rest of my life to save his! And wilt
thou not be glad to welcome thy brave brother, with
the fame of whose exploits all England is a-ringing?

PHOEBE    Aye, truly, if he brings the reprieve.


MERYLL    And not otherwise?

PHOEBE    Well, he's a brave fellow indeed, and I love brave
men.


MERYLL    All brave men?

PHOEBE    Most of them, I verily believe! But I hope Leonard
will not be too strict with me— they say he is a very
dragon of virtue and circumspection! Now, my dear old
father is kindness itself, and——

MERYLL    And leaves thee pretty well to thine own ways, eh?
Well, I've no fears for thee; thou hast a feather-
brain, but thou'rt a good lass.


PHOEBE    Yes, that's all very well, but if Leonard is going to
tell me that I may not do this and I may not do that,
and I must not talk to this one, or walk with that
one, but go through the world with my lips pursed up
and my eyes cats down, like a poor nun who has
renounced mankind— why, as I have not renounced
mankind, and don't mean to renounce mankind, I won't
have it— there!

MERYLL    Nay, he'll not check thee more than is good for thee,
Phoebe! He's a brave fellow, and bravest among brave
fellows, and yet it seems but yesterday that he robbed
the Lieutenant's orchard.


No.
3A.
A laughing boy
(OPTIONAL SONG)
Sergeant Meryll

MERYLL         A laughing boy but yesterday,
A merry urchin blithe and gay,
Whose joyous shout came ringing out
Unchecked by care or sorrow.


Today a warrior all sunbrown,
When deeds of soldierly renown
Are not the boast of London town,
A veteran tomorrow, today a warrior,
A veteran tomorrow!

When at my Leonard's deeds sublime,
A soldier's pulse beats double time,
And grave hearts thrill as brave hearts will
At tales of martial glory.


I burn with flush of pride and joy,
A pride unbittered by alloy,
To find my boy, my darling boy,
The theme of song and story,
To find my darling boy
The theme of song and story!
To find my boy, my darling boy,
The theme of song and story!

[Enter LEONARD MERYLL

LEONARD   Father!

MERYLL    Leonard! my brave boy! I'm right glad to see thee, and
so is Phoebe!

PHOEBE    Aye— hast thou brought Colonel Fairfax's reprieve?

LEONARD   Nay, I have here a despatch for the Lieutenant, but no
reprieve for the Colonel!

PHOEBE    Poor gentleman! poor gentleman!

LEONARD   Aye, I would I had brought better news.
I'd give my
right hand— nay, my body— my life, to save his!

MERYLL    Dost thou speak in earnest, my lad?

LEONARD   Aye, father— I'm no braggart.
Did he not save thy
life? and am I not his foster-brother?

MERYLL    Then hearken to me.
Thou hast come to join the Yeomen
of the Guard!

LEONARD   Well?

MERYLL    None has seen thee but ourselves?

LEONARD   And a sentry, who took scant notice of me.


MERYLL    Now to prove thy words.
Give me the despatch and get
thee hence at once! Here is money, and I'll send thee
more.
Lie hidden for a space, and let no one know.

I'll convey a suit of Yeoman's uniform to the
Colonel's cell— he shall shave off his beard, so that
none shall know him, and I'll own him as my son, the
brave Leonard Meryll, who saved his flag and cut his
way through fifty foes who thirsted for his life.
He
will be welcomed without question by my brother-
Yeomen, I'll warrant that.
Now, how to get access to
the Colonel's cell? [To PHOEBE] The key is with they
sour-faced admirer, Wilfred Shadbolt.


PHOEBE    [demurely] I think— I say, I think— I can get anything
I want from Wilfred.
I think— mind I say, I think— you
may leave that to me.


MERYLL    Then get thee hence at once, lad— and bless thee for
this sacrifice.


PHOEBE    And take my blessing, too, dear, dear Leonard!

LEONARD   And thine.
eh? Humph! Thy love is newborn; wrap it up
carefully, lest it take cold and die.


No.
4.
Alas! I waver to and fro
(TRIO)
Phoebe, Leonard, and Meryll

PHOEBE              Alas! I waver to and fro!
Dark danger hangs upon the deed!

ALL                 Dark danger hangs upon the deed!

LEONARD             The scheme is rash and well may fail;
But ours are not the hearts that quail,
The hands that shrink, the cheeks that pale
In hours of need!

ALL            No, ours are not the hearts that quail,
The hands that shrink, the cheeks that pale
The hands that shrink, the cheeks that pale
In hours of need!

MERYLL              The air I breathe to him I owe:

My life is his— I count it naught!

PHOEBE
and LEONARD       That life is his— so count it naught!

MERYLL              And shall I reckon risks I run
When services are to be done
To save the life of such an one?
Unworthy thought! Unworthy thought!

PHOEBE
and LEONARD       And shall we reckon risks we run
To save the life of such an one?

ALL                 Unworthy thought! Unworthy thought!
We may succeed— who can foretell?
May heav'n help our hope—
May heav'n help our hope,
farewell!
May heav'n help our hope,
Help our hope,
farewell!

[LEONARD embraces MERYLL and PHOEBE, and then exits.
PHOEBE
weeping.


MERYLL    [goes up to PHOEBE] Nay, lass, be of good cheer, we
may save him yet.


PHOEBE    Oh! see, after— they bring the poor gentleman from the
Beauchamp! [pronounced Bee'cham] Oh, father! his hour
is not yet come?

MERYLL    No, no— they lead him to the Cold Harbour Tower to
await his end in solitude.
But softly— the Lieutenant
approaches! He should not see thee weep.


[Enter FAIRFAX, guarded by YEOMEN.
The LIEUTENANT enters,
meeting him.


LIEUT.
Halt! Colonel Fairfax, my old friend, we meet but
sadly.


FAIRFAX   Sir, I greet you with all good-will; and I thank you
for the zealous acre with which you have guarded me
from the pestilent dangers which threaten  human life
outside.
In this happy little community, Death, when
he comes, doth so in punctual and business-like
fashion; and, like a courtly gentleman, giveth due
notice of his advent, that one may not be taken
unawares.


LIEUT.
Sir, you bear this bravely, as a brave man should.


FAIRFAX   Why, sir, it is no light boon to die swiftly and
surely at a given hour and in a given fashion! Truth
to tell, I would gladly have my life; but if that may
not be, I have the next best thing to it, which is
death.
Believe me, sir, my lot is not so much amiss!

PHOEBE    [aside to MERYLL] Oh, father, father, I cannot bear
it!

MERYLL    My poor lass!

FAIRFAX   Nay, pretty one, why weepest thou? Come, be comforted.

Such a life as mine is not worth weeping for.
[sees
MERYLL] Sergeant Meryll, is it not? [to LIEUTENANT]
May I greet my old friend? [Shakes MERYLL's hand;
MERYLL begins to weep] Why, man, what's all this? Thou
and I have faced the grim old king a dozen times, and
never has his majesty come to me in such goodly
fashion.
Keep a stout heart, good fellow— we are
soldiers, and we know how to die, thou and I.
Take my
word for it, it is easier to die well than to live
well— for, in sooth, I have tried both.


No.
5.
Is life a boon?
(BALLAD)
Fairfax

FAIRFAX             Is life a boon?
If so, it must befall
That Death, whene'er he call,
Must call too soon.

Though fourscore years he give,
Yet one would pray to live
Another moon!
What kind of plaint have I,
Who perish in July,
who perish in July?
I might have had to die,
Perchance, in June!
I might have had to die,
Perchance, in June!

Is life a thorn?
Then count it not a whit!
Nay, count it not a whit!
Man is well done with it;
Soon as he's born
He should all means essay
To put the plague away;
And I, war-worn,
Poor captured fugitive,
My life most gladly give—
I might have had to live,
Another morn!
I might have had to live,
Another morn!

[At the end, PHOEBE is led off, weeping, by MERYLL.


FAIRFAX   And now, Sir Richard, I have a boon to beg.
I am in
this strait for no better reason than because my
kinsman, Sir Clarence Poltwhistle, one of the
Secretaries of State, has charged me with sorcery, in
order that he may succeed in my estate, which devolves
to him provided I die unmarried.


LIEUT.
As thou wilt most surely do.


FAIRFAX   Nay, as I will most surely not do, by your worship's
grace! I have a mind to thwart this good cousin of
mine.


LIEUT.
How?

FAIRFAX   By marrying forthwith, to be sure!

LIEUT.
But heaven ha' mercy, whom wouldst thou marry?

FAIRFAX   Nay, I am indifferent on that score.
Coming Death hath
made of me a true and chivalrous knight, who holds all
womankind in such esteem that the oldest, and the
meanest, and the worst-favoured of them is good enough
for him.
So, my good Lieutenant, if thou wouldst serve
a poor soldier who has but an hour to live, find me
the first that comes— my confessor shall marry us, and
her dower shall be my dishonoured name and a hundred
crowns to boot.
No such poor dower for an hour of
matrimony!

LIEUT.
A strange request.
I doubt that I should be warranted
in granting it.


FAIRFAX   There never was a marriage fraught with so little of
evil to the contracting parties.
In an hour she'll be
a widow, and I— a bachelor again for aught I know!

LIEUT.
Well, I will see what can be done, for I hold thy
kinsman in abhorrence for the scurvy trick he has
played thee.


FAIRFAX   A thousand thanks, good sir; we meet again in this
spot in an hour or so.
I shall be a bridegroom then,
and your worship will wish me joy.
Till then,
farewell.
[To GUARD] I am ready, good fellows.


[Exit with GUARD into Cold Harbour Tower]

LIEUT.
He is a brave fellow, and it is a pity that he should
die.
Now, how to find him a bride at such short
notice? Well, the task should be easy! [Exit]

[Enter JACK POINT and ELSIE MAYNARD, pursued by a CROWD of
men and women.
POINT and ELSIE are much terrified; POINT,
however, assuming an appearance of self-possession.


No.
6.
Here's a man of jollity
(CHORUS)
People, Elsie, and Jack Point

CHORUS              Here's a man of jollity,
Jibe, joke, jollify!
Give us of your quality,
Come, fool, follify!

If you vapour vapidly,
River runneth rapidly,
Into it we fling
Bird who doesn't sing!

Give us an experiment
In the art of merriment;
Into it we throw
Cock who doesn't crow!

Banish your timidity,
And with all rapidity
Give us quip and quiddity—
Willy-nilly, O!

River none can mollify;
Into it we throw
Fool who doesn't follify,
Cock who doesn't crow!

Banish your timidity,
And with all rapidity
Give us quip and quiddity—
Willy-nilly, O!

POINT     [alarmed] My masters, I pray you bear with us, and we
will satisfy you, for we are merry folk who would make
all merry as ourselves.
For, look you, there is humour
in all things, and the truest philosophy is that which
teaches us to find it and to make the most of it.


ELSIE     [struggling with 1ST CITIZEN] Hands off, I say,
unmannerly fellow! [she boxes his ears]

POINT     [to 1ST CITIZEN] Ha! Didst thou hear her say, "Hands
off"?

1ST
CITIZEN  Aye, I heard her say it, and I felt her do it! What
then?

POINT     Thou dost not see the humour of that?

1ST
CITIZEN  Nay, if I do, hang me!

POINT     Thou dost not? Now, observe.
She said, "Hands off!
"Whose hands? Thine.
Off whom? Off her.
Why? Because
she is a woman.
Now, had she not been a woman, thine
hands had not been set upon her at all.
So the reason
for the laying on of hands is the reason for the
taking off of hands, and herein is contradiction
contradicted! It is the very marriage of pro with con;
and no such lopsided union either, as times go, for
pro is not more unlike con than man is unlike woman—
yet men and women marry every day with none to say,
"Oh, the pity of it!" but I and fools like me! Now
wherewithal shall we please you? We can rhyme you
couplet, triolet, quatrain, sonnet,rondolet, ballade,
what you will.
Or we can dance you saraband, gondolet,
carole, pimpernel, or Jumping Joan.


ELSIE     Let us give them the singing farce of the Merryman and
his Maid— therein is song and dance too.


ALL       Aye, the Merryman and his Maid!

No.
7.
I have a song to sing, O!
(DUET)
Elsie and Point

POINT               I have a song to sing, O!

ELSIE               Sing me your song, O!

POINT                    It is sung to the moon
By a love-lorn loon,
Who fled from the mocking throng, O!
It's a song of a merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye.

Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

ELSIE               I have a song to sing, O!

POINT               Sing me your song, O!

ELSIE                    It is sung with the ring
Of the songs maids sing
Who love with a love life-long, O!
It's the song of a merrymaid, peerly proud,
Who loved a lord, and who laughed aloud
At the moan of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!
Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

POINT               I have a song to sing, O!

ELSIE               Sing me your song, O!

POINT                    It is sung to the knell
Of a churchyard bell,
And a doleful dirge, ding dong, O!
It's a song of a popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn
At the humble merrymaid, peerly proud,
Who loved a lord, and who laughed aloud
At the moan of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!
Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

ELSIE               I have a song to sing, O!

POINT               Sing me your song, O!

ELSIE               It is sung with a sigh
And a tear in the eye,
For it tells of a righted wrong, O!
It's a song of the merrymaid, once so gay,
Who turned on her heel and tripped away
From the peacock popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn
At the humble heart that he did not prize:

So she begged on her knees, with downcast eyes,
For the love of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

BOTH           Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
His pains were o'er, and he sighed no more,
For he lived in the love of a ladye!

Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
His pains were o'er, and he sighed no more,
For he lived in the love of a ladye!

1ST
CITIZEN  Well sung and well danced!

2ND
CITIZEN  A kiss for that, pretty maid!

ALL       Aye, a kiss all round.
[CROWD gathers around her]

ELSIE     [drawing dagger] Best beware! I am armed!

POINT     Back, sirs— back! This is going too far.


2ND
CITIZEN  Thou dost not see the humour of it, eh? Yet there is
humour in all things— even in this.
[Trying to kiss
her]

ELSIE     Help! Help!

[Enter LIEUTENANT with GUARD.
CROWD falls back

LIEUT.
What is the pother?

ELSIE     Sir, we sang to these folk, and they would have repaid
us with gross courtesy, but for your honour's coming.


LIEUT.
[to CROWD] Away with ye! Clear the rabble.


[GUARDS push CROWD off, and go off with them]

Now, my girl, who are you, and what do you here?

ELSIE     May it please you, sir, we are two strolling players,
Jack Point and I, Elsie Maynard, at your worship's
service.
We go from fair to fair, singing, and
dancing, and playing brief interludes; and so we make
a poor living.


LIEUT.
You two, eh? Are ye man and wife?

POINT     No, sir; for though I'm a fool, there is a limit to my
folly.
Her mother, old Bridget Maynard, travels with
us (for Elsie is a good girl), but the old woman is a-
bed with fever, and we have come here to pick up some
silver to buy an electuary for her.


LIEUT.
Hark ye, my girl! Your mother is ill?

ELSIE     Sorely ill, sir.


LIEUT.
And needs good food, and many things that thou canst
not buy?

ELSIE     Alas! sir, it is too true.


LIEUT.
Wouldst thou earn an hundred crowns?

ELSIE     An hundred crowns! They might save her life!

LIEUT.
Then listen! A worthy but unhappy gentleman is to be
beheaded in an hour on this very spot.
For sufficient
reasons, he desires to marry before he dies, and he
hath asked me to find him a wife.
Wilt thou be that
wife?

ELSIE     The wife of a man I have never seen!

POINT     Why, sir, look you, I am concerned in this; for though
I am not yet wedded to Elsie Maynard, time works
wonders, and there's no knowing what may be in store
for us.
Have we your worship's word for it that this
gentleman will die to-day?

LIEUT.
Nothing is more certain, I grieve to say.


POINT     And that the maiden will be allowed to depart the very
instant the ceremony is at an end?

LIEUT.
The very instant.
I pledge my honour that it shall be
so.


POINT     An hundred crowns?

LIEUT.
An hundred crowns!

POINT     For my part, I consent.
It is for Elsie to speak.


No.
8.
How say you, maiden, will you wed
(TRIO)
Elsie, Point, and Lieutenant

LIEUT.
How say you, maiden, will you wed
A man about to lose his head?
For half an hour
You'll be his wife,
And then the dower
Is your for life.

A headless bridegroom why refuse?
If truth the poets tell,
Most bridegrooms, 'ere they marry,
Lose both head and heart as well!

ELSIE               A strange proposal you reveal,
It almost makes my senses reel.

Alas! I'm very poor indeed,
And such a sum I sorely need.

My mother, sir, is like to die.

This money life may bring.

Bear this in mind, I pray,
If I consent to do this thing!

POINT               Though as a general rule of life
I don't allow my promised wife,
My lovely bride that is to be,
To marry anyone but me,
Yet if the fee is promptly paid,
And he, in well-earned grave,
Within the hour is duly laid,
Objection I will waive!
Yes, objection I will waive!

ALL            Temptation, oh, temptation,
Were we, I pray, intended
To shun, what e'er our station,
Your fascinations splendid;
Or fall, whene'er we view you,
Head over heels into you?
Head over heels, Head over heels,
Head over heels into you!
Head over heels, Head over heels,
Head over heels, Right into you!
Head over heels, Head over heels, etc.

Temptation, oh, temptation!

[During this, the LIEUTENANT has whispered to WILFRED
(who has entered).
WILFRED binds ELSIE's eyes with a
kerchief, and leads her into the Cold Harbour Tower

LIEUT.
And so, good fellow, you are a jester?

POINT     Aye, sir, and like some of my jests, out of place.


LIEUT.
I have a vacancy for such an one.
Tell me, what are
your qualifications for such a post?

POINT     Marry, sir, I have a pretty wit.
I can rhyme you
extempore; I can convulse you with quip and
conundrum;I have the lighter philosophies at my
tongue's tip; I can be merry, wise, quaint, grim, and
sardonic, one by one, or all at once; I have a pretty
turn for anecdote; I know all the jests— ancient and
modern— past, present, and to come; I can riddle you
from dawn of day to set of sun, and, if that content
you not, well on to midnight and the small hours.
Oh,
sir, a pretty wit, I warrant you— a pretty, pretty
wit!

No.
9.
I've jibe and joke
(SONG)
Point

POINT                    I've jibe and joke
And quip and crank
For lowly folk
And men of rank.

I ply my craft
And know no fear.

But aim my shaft
At prince or peer.

At peer or prince— at prince or peer,
I aim my shaft and know no fear!

I've wisdom from the East and from the West,
That's subject to no academic rule;
You may find it in the jeering of a jest,
Or distil it from the folly of a fool.

I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind;
I can trick you into learning with a laugh;
Oh, winnow all my folly, folly, folly, and
you'll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
Oh, winnow all my folly, folly, folly, and
you'll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff!

I can set a braggart quailing with a quip,
The upstart I can wither with a whim;
He may wear a merry laugh upon his lip,
But his laughter has an echo that is grim.

When they're offered to the world in merry
guise,
Unpleasant truths are swallowed with a will,
For he who'd make his fellow,
fellow, fellow creatures wise
Should always gild the philosophic pill!
For he who'd make his fellow,
fellow, fellow creatures wise
Should always gild the philosophic pill!

LIEUT.
And how came you to leave your last employ?

POINT     Why, sir, it was in this wise.
My Lord was the
Archbishop of Canterbury, and it was considered that
one of my jokes was unsuited to His Grace's family
circle.
In truth, I ventured to ask a poor riddle,
sir— Wherein lay the difference between His Grace and
poor Jack Point? His Grace was pleased to give it up,
sir.
And thereupon I told him that whereas His Grace
was paid 10,000 a year for being good, poor Jack Point
was good— for nothing.
'Twas but a harmless jest, but
it offended His Grace, who whipped me and set me in
the stocks for a scurril rogue, and so we parted.
I
had as lief not take post again with the dignified
clergy.


LIEUT.
But I trust you are very careful not to give offence.

I have daughters.


POINT     Sir, my jests are most carefully selected, and
anything objectionable is expunged.
If your honour
pleases, I will try then first on your honour's
chaplain.


LIEUT.
Can you give me an example? Say that I had sat me down
hurriedly on something sharp?

POINT     Sir, I should say that you had sat down on the spur of
the moment.


LIEUT.
Humph! I don't think much of that.
Is that the best
you can do?

POINT     It has always been much admired, sir, but we will try
again.


LIEUT.
Well, then, I am at dinner, and the joint of meat is
but half cooked.


POINT     Why then, sir, I should say that what is underdone
cannot be helped.


LIEUT.
I see.
I think that manner of thing would be somewhat
irritating.


POINT     At first, sir, perhaps; but use is everything, and you
would come in time to like it.


LIEUT.
We will suppose that I caught you kissing the kitchen
wench under my very nose.


POINT     Under her very nose, good sir— not under yours! That
is where I would kiss her.
Do you take me? Oh, sir, a
pretty wit— a pretty, pretty wit!

LIEUT.
The maiden comes.
Follow me, friend, and we will
discuss this matter at length in my library.


POINT     I am your worship's servant.
That is to say, I trust
I soon shall be.
But, before proceeding to a more
serious topic, can you tell me, sir, why a cook's
brain-pan is like an overwound clock?

LIEUT.
A truce to this fooling— follow me.


POINT     Just my luck; my best conundrum wasted!

[Exeunt LIEUTENANT and POINT.
Enter ELSIE from Tower, led
by WILFRED, who removes the bandage from her eyes, and
exits.


No.
10.
'Tis done! I am a bride!
(RECITATIVE AND SONG)
Elsie

ELSIE          'Tis done! I am a bride! Oh, little ring,
That bearest in thy circlet all the gladness
That lovers hope for, and that poets sing,
What bringest thou to me but gold and sadness?
A bridegroom all unknown, save in this wise,
To-day he dies! To-day, alas, he dies!

Though tear and long-drawn sigh
Ill fit a bride,
No sadder wife than I
The whole world wide!
Ah me! Ah me!
Yet maids there be
Who would consent to lose
The very rose of youth,
The flow'r of life,
To be, in honest truth,
A wedded wife,
No matter whose!
No matter whose!

Ah me! what profit we,
O maids that sigh,
Though gold, though gold should live
If wedded love must die?

Ere half an hour has rung,
A widow I!
Ah, heaven, he is too young,
Too brave to die!
Ah me! Ah me!
Yet wives there be
So weary worn, I trow,
That they would scarce complain,
So that they could
In half an hour attain
To widowhood,
No matter how!
No matter how!

O weary wives
Who widowhood would win,
Rejoice, rejoice, that ye have time
To weary in.


O weary wives
Who widowhood would win,
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
that ye have time
O weary, weary wives, rejoice!

[Exit ELSIE as WILFRED re-enters.


WILFRED   [looking after ELSIE] 'Tis an odd freak for a dying
man and his confessor to be closeted alone with a
strange singing girl.
I would fain have espied them,
but they stopped up the keyhole.
My keyhole!

[Enter PHOEBE with SERGEANT MERYLL.
MERYLL remains in the
background, unobserved by WILFRED.


PHOEBE    [aside] Wilfred— and alone!

WILFRED   Now what could he have wanted with her? That's what
puzzles me!

PHOEBE    [aside] Now to get the keys from him.


[Aloud] Wilfred— has no reprieve arrived?

WILFRED   None.
Thine adored Fairfax is to die.


PHOEBE    Nay, thou knowest that I have naught but pity for the
poor condemned gentleman.


WILFRED   I know that he who is about to die is more to thee
than I, who am alive and well.


PHOEBE    Why, that were out of reason, dear Wilfred.
Do they
not say that a live ass is better than a dead lion?
No, I didn't mean that!

WILFRED   Oh, they say that, do they?

PHOEBE    It's unpardonably rude of them, but I believe they put
it in that way.
Not that it applies to thee, who art
clever beyond all telling!

WILFRED   Oh yes, as an assistant-tormentor.


PHOEBE    Nay, as a wit, as a humorist, as a most philosophic
commentator on the vanity of human resolution.


[PHOEBE slyly takes bunch of keys from WILFRED's waistband
and hands them to MERYLL, who enters the Tower, unnoticed
by WILFRED.


WILFRED   Truly, I have seen great resolution give way under my
persuasive methods [working with a small thumbscrew].

In the nice regulation of a thumbscrew— in the
hundredth part of a single revolution lieth all the
difference between stony reticence and a torrent of
impulsive unbosoming that the pen can scarcely follow.

Ha! ha! I am a mad wag.


PHOEBE    [with a grimace] Thou art a most light-hearted and
delightful companion, Master Wilfred.
Thine anecdotes
of the torture-chamber are the prettiest hearing.


WILFRED   I'm a pleasant fellow an' I choose.
I believe I am the
merriest dog that barks.
Ah, we might be passing happy
together—

PHOEBE    Perhaps.
I do not know.


WILFRED   For thou wouldst make a most tender and loving wife.


PHOEBE    Aye, to one whom I really loved.
For there is a wealth
of love within this little heart— saving up for— I
wonder whom? Now, of all the world of men, I wonder
whom? To think that he whom I am to wed is now alive
and somewhere! Perhaps far away, perhaps close at
hand! And I know him not! It seemeth that I am wasting
time in not knowing him.


WILFRED   Now say that it is I— nay! suppose it for the nonce.

Say that we are wed— suppose it only— say that thou
art my very bride, and I thy cherry, joyous, bright,
frolicsome husband— and that, the day's work being
done, and the prisoners stored away for the night,
thou and I are alone together— with a long, long
evening before us!

PHOEBE    [with a grimace] It is a pretty picture— but I
scarcely know.
It cometh so unexpectedly— and yet—and
yet— were I thy bride—

WILFRED   Aye!— wert thou my bride—?

PHOEBE    Oh, how I would love thee!

No.
11.
Were I thy bride
(SONG)
Phoebe

PHOEBE                   Were I thy bride,
Then all the world beside
Were not too wide
To hold my wealth of love—
Were I thy bride!

Upon thy breast
My loving head would rest,
As on her nest
The tender turtle dove—
Were I thy bride!

This heart of mine
Would be one heart with thine,
And in that shrine
Our happiness would dwell—
Were I thy bride!

And all day long
Our lives should be a song:

No grief, no wrong
Should make my heart rebel—
Were I thy bride!

The silvery flute,
The melancholy lute,
Were night-owl's hoot
To my low-whispered coo—
Were I thy bride!

The skylark's trill
Were but discordance shrill
To the soft thrill
Of wooing as I'd woo—
Were I thy bride!

[MERYLL re-enters; gives keys to PHOEBE, who replaces
them at WILFRED's girdle, unnoticed by him.
Exit
MERYLL.


The rose's sigh
Were as a carrion's cry
To lullaby
Such as I'd sing to thee,
Were I thy bride!

A feather's press
Were leaden heaviness to my caress.

But then, of course, you see,
I'm not thy bride.


[Exit PHOEBE

WILFRED   No, thou'rt not— not yet! But, Lord, how she woo'd; I
should be no mean judge of wooing, seeing that I have
been more hotly woo'd than most men.
I have been woo'd
by maid, widow, and wife.
I have been woo'd boldly,
timidly, tearfully, shyly— by direct assault, by
suggestion, by implication, by inference, and by
innuendo.
But this wooing is not of the common order;
it is the wooing of one who must needs me, if she die
for it!

[Exit WILFRED.
Enter SERGEANT MERRILL, cautiously, from
Tower.


MERYLL    [looking after them] The deed is, so far, safely
accomplished.
The slyboots, how she wheedled him! What
a helpless ninny is a love-sick man! He is but as a
lute in a woman's hands— she plays upon him whatever
tune she will.
But the Colonel comes.
I' faith, he's
just in time, for the Yeomen parade here for his
execution in two minutes!

[Enter FAIRFAX, without beard and moustache, and dressed in
Yeoman's uniform.


FAIRFAX   My good and kind friend, thou runnest a grave risk for
me!

MERYLL    Tut, sir, no risk.
I'll warrant none here will
recognise you.
You make a brave Yeoman, sir! So— this
ruff is too high; so— and the sword should hang thus.

Here is your halbert, sir; carry it thus.
The Yeomen
come.
Now, remember, you are my brave son, Leonard
Meryll.


FAIRFAX   If I may not bear mine own name, there is none other
I would bear so readily.


MERYLL    Now, sir, put a bold face on it, for they come.


No.
12.
Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true
(FINALE OF ACT I)
Ensemble

[Enter YEOMEN of the Guard

YEOMEN         Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true—
The welcome news we read in orders?
Thy son, whose deeds of derring-do
Are echoed all the country through,
Has come to join the Tower Warders?
If so, we come to meet him,
That we may fitly greet him,
And welcome his arrival here
With shout on shout and cheer on cheer,
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

MERYLL         Ye Tower warders, nursed in war's alarms,
Suckled on gunpowder, and weaned on glory,
Behold my son, whose all-subduing arms
Have formed the theme of many a song and story!
Forgive his aged father's pride; nor jeer
His aged father's sympathetic tear!
[Pretending to weep]

YEOMEN                   Leonard Meryll!
Leonard Meryll!
Dauntless he in time of peril!
Man of power,
Knighthood's flower,
Welcome to the grim old Tower,
To the Tower, welcome thou!

FAIRFAX        Forbear, my friends, and spare me this ovation,
I have small claim to such consideration;
The tales that of my prowess are narrated
Have been prodigiously exaggerated,
prodigiously exaggerated!

YEOMEN                   'Tis ever thus!
Wherever valor true is found,
True modesty will there abound.


1ST YEOMAN          Didst thou not, oh, Leonard Meryll!
Standard lost in last campaign,
Rescue it at deadly peril—
Bear it safely back again?

YEOMEN              Leonard Meryll, at his peril,
Bore it safely back again!

2ND YEOMAN          Didst thou not, when prisoner taken,
And debarred from all escape,
Face, with gallant heart unshaken,
Death in most appalling shape?

YEOMEN              Leonard Meryll, faced his peril,
Death in most appalling shape!

FAIRFAX [aside]          Truly I was to be pitied,
Having but an hour to live,
I reluctantly submitted,
I had no alternative!

FAIRFAX [aloud]          Oh! the tales that are narrated
Of my deeds of derring-do
Have been much exaggerated,
Very much exaggerated,
Scarce a word of them is true!
Scarce a word of them is true!

YEOMEN         They are not exaggerated,
Not at all exaggerated,
Could not be exaggerated,
Ev'ry word of them is true!

3RD YEOMAN [optional]    You, when brought to execution,
Like a demigod of yore,
With heroic resolution
Snatched a sword and killed a score.


YEOMEN [optional]        Leonard Meryll, Leonard Meryll
Snatched a sword and killed a score!

4TH YEOMAN [optional]    Then escaping from the foemen,
Boltered with the blood you shed,
You, defiant, fearing no men,
Saved your honour and your head!

YEOMEN [optional]        Leonard Meryll, Leonard Meryll
Saved his honour and his head.


FAIRFAX [optional]       True, my course with judgement
shaping,
Favoured, too, by lucky star,
I succeeded in escaping
Prison-bolt and prison bar!

FAIRFAX [optional]       Oh! the tales that are narrated
Of my deeds of derring-do
Have been much exaggerated,
Very much exaggerated,
Scarce a word of them is true!
Scarce a word of them is true!

YEOMEN [optional]        They are not exaggerated,
Not at all exaggerated,
Could not be exaggerated,
Ev'ry word of them is true!

[Enter PHOEBE.
She rushes to FAIRFAX.
Enter WILFRED.


PHOEBE              Leonard!

FAIRFAX             [puzzled] I beg your pardon?

PHOEBE              Don't you know me? I'm little Phoebe!

FAIRFAX             [still puzzled] Phoebe? Is this Phoebe?
What! little Phoebe?
[aside] Who the deuce may she be?
It can't be Phoebe, surely?

WILFRED             Yes, 'tis Phoebe—
Your sister Phoebe! Your own little sister!

YEOMEN              Aye, he speaks the truth; 'Tis Phoebe!

FAIRFAX             [pretending to recognise her]
Sister Phoebe!

PHOEBE              Oh, my brother!

FAIRFAX             Why, how you've grown!
I did not recognize you!

PHOEBE              So many years! Oh, brother!

FAIRFAX             Oh, my sister!

BOTH                Oh, brother!/Oh, sister!

WILFRED             Aye, hug him, girl!
There are three thou mayst hug—
Thy father and thy brother and— myself!

FAIRFAX             Thyself, forsooth?
And who art thou thyself?

WILFRED             Good sir, we are betrothed.


[FAIRFAX turns inquiringly to PHOEBE

PHOEBE              Or more or less—
But rather less than more!

WILFRED             To thy fond care
I do commend thy sister.

Be to her
An ever-watchful guardian— eagle-eyed!
And when she feels (as sometimes she does feel)
Disposed to indiscriminate caress,
Be thou at hand to take those favours from her!

YEOMEN         Be thou at hand to take those favours from her!

PHOEBE              Yes, yes.

Be thou at hand to take those favours from me!

WILFRED             To thy fraternal care
Thy sister I commend;
From every lurking snare
Thy lovely charge defend;
And to achieve this end,
Oh! grant, I pray, this boon—
Oh! grant this boon
She shall not quit my sight;
From morn to afternoon—
From afternoon to night—
From sev'n o'clock to two—
From two to eventide—
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit my side!

YEOMEN         From morn to afternoon—
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!

PHOEBE              So amiable I've grown,
So innocent as well,
That if I'm left alone
The consequences fell
No mortal can foretell.

So grant, I pray, this boon—
Oh! grant this boon
I shall not quit thy sight:

From morn to afternoon—
From afternoon to night—
From sev'n o'clock to two—
From two to eventide—
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
I shall not quit thy side!

YEOMEN         From morn to afternoon—
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!

FAIRFAX             With brotherly readiness,
For my fair sister's sake,
At once I answer "Yes"—
That task I undertake—
My word I never break.

I freely grant that boon,
And I'll repeat my plight.

From morn to afternoon—            [kiss]
From afternoon to night—      [kiss]
From sev'n o'clock to two—         [kiss]
From two to evening meal—     [kiss]
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
That compact I will seal.
[kiss]

YEOMEN         From morn to afternoon,
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
He freely grants that boon.


[The bell of St.
Peter's begins to toll.
The CROWD enters;
the block is brought on to the stage, and the HEADSMAN
takes his place.
The YEOMEN of the Guard form up.
The
LIEUTENANT enters and takes his place, and tells off
FAIRFAX and two others to bring the prisoner to execution.

WILFRED, FAIRFAX, and TWO YEOMEN exeunt to Tower.


CHORUS              The prisoner comes to meet his doom;
The block, the headsman, and the tomb.

The funeral bell begins to toll;
May Heav'n have mercy on his soul!
May Heav'n have mercy on his soul!

ELSIE               Oh, Mercy, thou whose smile has shone
So many a captive heart upon;
Of all immured within these walls,
To-day the very worthiest falls!

ALL            Oh, Mercy, thou whose smile has shone
So many a captive heart upon;
Of all immured within these walls,
The very worthiest falls.

Oh, Mercy, Oh, Mercy!

[Enter FAIRFAX and TWO YEOMEN from Tower in great
excitement.


FAIRFAX             My lord! I know not how to tell
The news I bear!
I and my comrades sought the pris'ner's cell—
He is not there!

ALL                 He is not there!
They sought the pris'ner's cell—
he is not there!

FAIRFAX AND
TWO YEOMEN        As escort for the prisoner
We sought his cell, in duty bound;
The double gratings open were,
No prisoner at all we found!

We hunted high, we hunted low,
We hunted here, we hunted there—
The man we sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!
The man we sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!

[Exit LIEUTENANT

WOMEN               Now, by my troth, the news is fair,
The man has vanished into air!

ALL            As escort for the prisoner
We/they sought his cell in duty bound;
The double gratings open were,
No prisoner at all we/they found,
We/they hunted high, we/they hunted low,
We/they hunted here, we/they hunted there,
The man we/they sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!
The man we/they sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!

[Enter WILFRED, followed by LIEUTENANT

LIEUT.
Astounding news! The pris'ner fled!
[To WILFRED] Thy life shall forfeit be instead!

[WILFRED is arrested

WILFRED             My lord, I did not set him free,
I hate the man— my rival he!

MERYLL              The pris'ner gone— I'm all agape!

LIEUT.
Thy life shall forfeit be instead!

MERYLL              Who could have helped him to escape?

WILFRED             My lord, I did not set him free!

PHOEBE              Indeed I can't imagine who!
I've no idea at all, have you?

[Enter JACK POINT

DAME           Of his escape no traces lurk,
Enchantment must have been at work!

ELSIE               [aside to POINT]
What have I done? Oh, woe is me!

PHOEBE & DAME       Indeed I can't imagine who!
I've no idea at all, have you?

ELSIE               I am his wife, and he is free!

POINT               Oh, woe is you? Your anguish sink!
Oh, woe is me, I rather think!
Oh, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Whate'er betide
You are his bride,
And I am left
Alone— bereft!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, Yes, woe is me, Yes, woe is me,
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!

ENSEMBLE            All frenzied with despair I/they rave,
The grave is cheated of its due.

Who is, who is the misbegotten knave
Who hath contrived this deed to do?

Let search, let search
Be made throughout the land,
Or his/my vindictive anger dread—
A thousand marks, a thousand marks
he'll/I'll hand
Who brings him here, alive or dead,
Who brings him here, alive or dead!
A thousand marks, a thousand marks,
Alive, alive or dead
Alive, alive or dead
Who brings him here, alive, alive, or dead.


[At the end, ELSIE faints in FAIRFAX's arms; all the YEOMEN
and CROWD rush off the stage in different directions, to
hunt for the fugitive, leaving only the HEADSMAN on the
stage, and ELSIE insensible in FAIRFAX's arms.


END OF ACT I





ACT II

[SCENE.
— The same— Moonlight]

[Two days have elapsed]

[WOMEN and YEOMEN of the Guard discovered.


No.
13.
Night has spread her pall once more
(CHORUS AND SOLO)
People, Yeomen, and Dame Carruthers

CHORUS              Night has spread her pall once more,
And the pris'ner still is free:

Open is his dungeon door,
Useless now his dungeon key.

He has shaken off his yoke—
How, no mortal man can tell!
Shame on loutish jailor-folk—
Shame on sleepy sentinel!

[Enter DAME CARRUTHERS and KATE

DAME           Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?
Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?
Bolt, bar, and key,
Shackle and cord,
Fetter and chain,
Dungeon and stone,
All are in vain—
Prisoner's flown!
Spite of ye all, he is free— he is free!
Whom do ye ward? Pretty warders are ye!

WOMEN               Pretty warders are ye!
Whom do ye ward?
Spite of ye all, he is free— he is free!
Whom do ye ward?
Pretty warders are ye!

MEN            Up and down, and in and out,
Here and there, and round about;
Ev'ry chamber, ev'ry house,
Ev'ry chink that holds a mouse,
Ev'ry crevice in the keep,
Where a beetle black could creep,
Ev'ry outlet, ev'ry drain,
Have we searched, but all in vain, all in vain.


WOMEN               Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?

MEN            Ev'ry house, ev'ry chink, ev'ry drain,

WOMEN               Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?

MEN            Ev'ry chamber, ev'ry outlet,
Have we searched, but all in vain.


WOMEN               Night has spread her pall once more,
And the pris'ner still is free:


MEN            Warders are we? Whom do we ward?
Whom do we ward?
Warders are we? Whom do we ward?
Whom do we ward?

WOMEN               Open is his dungeon door,
Useless his dungeon key!

ALL            Spite of us all, he is free, he is free!

MEN            Pretty warders are we, he is free!
Spite of us all, he is free, he is free!

WOMEN               Open is his dungeon door,

MEN            Spite of us all, he is free, he is free!
Pretty warders are we, he is free! He is free!

WOMEN          He is free! He is free!
Pretty warders are ye,

ALL            He is free! He is free!
Pretty warders are ye/we!

[Exeunt all.


[Enter JACK POINT, in low spirits, reading from a huge
volume

POINT     [reads] "The Merrie Jestes of Hugh Ambrose, No.

7863.
The Poor Wit and the Rich Councillor.
A certayne
poor wit, being an-hungered, did meet a well-fed
councillor.
'Marry, fool,' quothe the councillor,
'whither away?' 'In truth,' said the poor wag, 'in
that I have eaten naught these two dayes, I do wither
away, and that right rapidly!' The Councillor laughed
hugely, and gave him a sausage.
" Humph! the councillor
was easier to please than my new master the
Lieutenant.
I would like to take post under that
councillor.
Ah! 'tis but melancholy mumming when poor
heart-broken, jilted Jack Point must needs turn to
Hugh Ambrose for original light humour!

[Enter WILFRED, also in low spirits.


WILFRED   [sighing] Ah, Master Point!

POINT     [changing his manner] Ha! friend jailer! Jailer that
wast— jailer that never shalt be more! Jailer that
jailed not, or that jailed, if jail he did, so
unjailery that 'twas but jerry-jailing, or jailing in
joke— though no joke to him who, by unjailerlike
jailing, did so jeopardise his jailership.
Come, take
heart, smile, laugh, wink, twinkle, thou tormentor
that tormentest none— thou racker that rackest not—
thou pincher out of place— come, take heart, and be
merry, as I am!— [aside, dolefully]— as I am!

WILFRED   Aye, it's well for thee to laugh.
Thou hast a good
post, and hast cause to be merry.


POINT     [bitterly] Cause? Have we not all cause? Is not the
world a big butt of humour, into which all who will
may drive a gimlet? See, I am a salaried wit; and is
there aught in nature more ridiculous? A poor, dull,
heart-broken man, who must needs be merry, or he will
be whipped; who must rejoice, lest he starve; who must
jest you, jibe you, quip you, crank you, wrack you,
riddle you, from hour to hour, from day to day, from
year to year, lest he dwindle, perish, starve,
pine,and die! Why, when there's naught else to laugh
at, I laugh at myself till I ache for it!

WILFRED   Yet I have often thought that a jester's calling would
suit me to a hair.


POINT     Thee? Would suit thee, thou death's head and cross-
bones?

WILFRED   Aye, I have a pretty wit— a light, airy, joysome wit,
spiced with anecdotes of prison cells and the torture
chamber.
Oh, a very delicate wit! I have tried it on
many a prisoner, and there have been some who smiled.

Now it is not easy to make a prisoner smile.
And it
should not be difficult to be a good jester, seeing
that thou are one.


POINT     Difficult? Nothing easier.
Nothing easier.
Attend, and
I will prove it to thee!

No.
14.
Oh! a private buffoon is a light-hearted loon
(SONG)
Point

POINT          Oh! a private buffoon is a light-hearted loon,
If you listen to popular rumour;
From morning to night he's so joyous and bright,
And he bubbles with wit and good humour!
He's so quaint and so terse,
Both in prose and in verse;
Yet though people forgive his transgression,
There are one or two rules that all family fools
Must observe, if they love their profession.

There are one or two rules,
Half-a-dozen, maybe,
That all family fools,
Of whatever degree,
Must observe if they love their profession.


If you wish to succeed as a jester, you'll need
To consider each person's auricular:

What is all right for B would quite scandalize C
(For C is so very particular);
And D may be dull, and E's very thick skull
Is as empty of brains as a ladle;
While F is F sharp, and will cry with a carp,
That he's known your best joke from his cradle!
When your humour they flout,
You can't let yourself go;
And it does put you out
When a person says, "Oh!
I have known that old joke from my cradle!"

If your master is surly, from getting up early
(And tempers are short in the morning),
An inopportune joke is enough to provoke
Him to give you, at once, a month's warning.

Then if you refrain, he is at you again,
For he likes to get value for money:

He'll ask then and there, with an insolent stare,
"If you know that you're paid to be funny?"
It adds to the tasks
Of a merryman's place,
When your principal asks,
With a scowl on his face,
If you know that you're paid to be funny?

Comes a Bishop, maybe, or a solemn D.
D.

Oh, beware of his anger provoking!
Better not pull his hair—
Don't stick pins in his chair;
He won't understand practical joking.

If the jests that you crack have an orthodox smack,
You may get a bland smile from these sages;
But should it, by chance, be imported from France,
Half-a-crown is stopped out of your wages!
It's a general rule,
Tho' your zeal it may quench,
If the Family Fool
Makes a joke that's too French,
Half-a-crown is stopped out of his wages!

Though your head it may rack with a bilious attack,
And your senses with toothache you're losing,
And you're mopy and flat—
they don't fine you for that
If you're properly quaint and amusing!
Though your wife ran away with a soldier that day,
And took with her your trifle of money;
Bless your heart, they don't mind—
they're exceedingly kind—
They don't blame you—as long as you're funny!
It's a comfort to feel
If your partner should flit,
Though you suffer a deal,
They don't mind it a bit—
They don't blame you—so long as you're funny!

POINT     And so thou wouldst be a jester eh?

WILFRED   Aye!

POINT     Now, listen! My sweetheart, Elsie Maynard, was
secretly wed to this Fairfax half an hour ere he
escaped.


WILFRED   She did well.


POINT     She did nothing of the kind, so hold thy peace and
perpend.
Now, while he liveth she is dead to me and I
to her, and so, my jibes and jokes notwithstanding, I
am the saddest and the sorriest dog in England!

WILFRED   Thou art a very dull dog indeed.


POINT     Now, if thou wilt swear that thou didst shoot this
Fairfax while he was trying to swim across the river—
it needs but the discharge of an arquebus on a dark
night— and that he sank and was seen no more, I'll
make thee the very Archbishop of jesters, and that in
two days'time! Now, what sayest thou?

WILFRED   I am to lie?

POINT     Heartily.
But thy lie must be a lie of circumstance,
which I will support with the testimony of eyes,
ears,and tongue.


WILFRED   And thou wilt qualify me as a jester?

POINT     As a jester among jesters.
I will teach thee all my
original songs, my self-constructed riddles, my own
ingenious paradoxes; nay, more, I will reveal to thee
the source whence I get them.
Now, what sayest thou?

WILFRED   Why, if it be but a lie thou wantest of me, I hold it
cheap enough, and I say yes, it is a bargain!

No.
15.
Hereupon we're both agreed
(DUET)
Point and Wilfred

BOTH           Hereupon we're both agreed,
All that we two
Do agree to
We'll secure by solemn deed,
To prevent all
Error mental.


POINT               You on Elsie are to call
With a story
Grim and gory;

WILFRED             How this Fairfax died, and all
I declare to
You're to swear to.


POINT                    I to swear to!

WILFRED                  I declare to,

POINT                    I to swear to!

WILFRED                  I declare to,

BOTH                I to swear to,/I declare to,
You declare to,/You're to swear to,
I to swear to,/I declare to.


BOTH           Tell a tale of cock and bull,
Of convincing detail full
Tale tremendous,
Heav'n defend us!
What a tale of cock and bull!

In return for your/my own part
You are/I am making, undertaking
To instruct me/you in the art
(Art amazing, wonder raising)

POINT               Of a jester, jesting free.

Proud position—
High ambition!

WILFRED             And a lively one I'll be,
Wag-a-wagging,
Never flagging!

POINT                    Wag-a-wagging,

WILFRED                  Never flagging,

POINT                    Wag-a-wagging,

WILFRED                  Never flagging,

BOTH                Never flagging,/Wag-a-wagging,
Wag-a-wagging,/Never flagging,
Never flagging,/Wag-a-wagging!

BOTH           Tell a tale of cock and bull,
Of convincing detail full
Tale tremendous,
Heav'n defend us!
What a tale of cock and bull!

POINT               What a tale of cock,

WILFRED             What a tale of bull!

POINT               What a tale of cock,

WILFRED             What a tale of bull!

BOTH           What a tale of cock and bull,
Cock and bull, cock and bull,
Heav'n defend us!
What a tale of cock and bull!

[Exeunt together.


[Enter FAIRFAX

FAIRFAX   Two days gone, and no news of poor Fairfax.
The dolts!
They seek him everywhere save within a dozen yards of
his dungeon.
So I am free! Free, but for the cursed
haste with which I hurried headlong into the bonds of
matrimony with— Heaven knows whom! As far as I
remember, she should have been young; but even had not
her face been concealed by her kerchief, I doubt
whether, in my then plight, I should have taken much
note of her.
Free? Bah! The Tower bonds were but a
thread of silk compared with these conjugal fetters
which I, fool that I was, placed upon mine own hands.

From the one I broke readily enough— how to break the
other!

No.
16.
Free from his fetters grim
(BALLAD)
Fairfax

FAIRFAX             Free from his fetters grim—
Free to depart;
Free both in life and limb—
In all but heart!
Bound to an unknown bride
For good and ill;
Ah, is not one so tied
A pris'ner still, a pris'ner still?
Ah, is not one so tied
A pris'ner still?

Free, yet in fetters held
Till his last hour,
Gyves that no smith can weld,
No rust devour!
Although a monarch's hand
Had set him free,
Of all the captive band
The saddest he, the saddest he!
Of all the captive band
The saddest, saddest he!

[Enter SERGEANT MERYLL

FAIRFAX   Well, Sergeant Meryll, and how fares thy pretty
charge,Elsie Maynard?

MERYLL    Well enough, sir.
She is quite strong again, and
leaves us to-night.


FAIRFAX   Thanks to Dame Carruthers' kind nursing, eh?

MERYLL    Aye, deuce take the old witch! Ah, 'twas but a sorry
trick you played me, sir, to bring the fainting girl
to me.
It gave the old lady an excuse for taking up
her quarters in my house, and for the last two years
I've shunned her like the plague.
Another day of it
and she would have married me! [Enter DAME CARRUTHERS
and KATE] Good Lord, here she is again! I'll e'en go.

[Going]

DAME      Nay, Sergeant Meryll, don't go.
I have something of
grave import to say to thee.


MERYLL    [aside] It's coming.


FAIRFAX   [laughing] I'faith, I think I', not wanted here.

[Going]

DAME      Nay, Master Leonard, I've naught to say to thy father
that his son may not hear.


FAIRFAX   [aside] True.
I'm one of the family; I had forgotten!

DAME      'Tis about this Elsie Maynard.
A pretty girl, Master
Leonard.


FAIRFAX   Aye, fair as a peach blossom— what then?

DAME      She hath a liking for thee, or I mistake not.


FAIRFAX   With all my heart.
She's as dainty a little amid as
you'll find in a midsummer day's march.


DAME      Then be warned in time, and give not thy heart to her.

Oh, I know what it is to give my heart to one who will
have none of it!

MERYLL    [aside] Aye, she knows all about that.

[Aloud] And why is my boy to take heed of her? She's
a good girl, Dame Carruthers.


DAME      Good enough, for aught I know.
But she's no girl.

She's a married woman.


MERYLL    A married woman! Tush, old lady— she's promised to
Jack Point, the Lieutenant's new jester.


DAME      Tush in thy teeth, old man! As my niece Kate sat by
her bedside to-day, this Elsie slept, and as she slept
she moaned and groaned, and turned this way and that
way— and, "How shall I marry one I have never seen?"
quoth she— then, "An hundred crowns!" quoth she—
then,"Is it certain he will die in an hour?" quoth
she— then, "I love him not, and yet I am his wife,"
quoth she! Is it not so, Kate?

KATE      Aye, aunt, 'tis even so.


FAIRFAX   Art thou sure of all this?

KATE      Aye, sir, for I wrote it all down on my tablets.


DAME      Now, mark my words:
it was of this Fairfax she spake,
and he is her husband, or I'll swallow my kirtle!

MERYLL    [aside] Is it true, sir?

FAIRFAX   [aside to MERYLL] True? Why, the girl was raving!
[Aloud] Why should she marry a man who had but an hour
to live?

DAME      Marry? There be those who would marry but for a
minute, rather than die old maids.


MERYLL    [aside] Aye, I know one of them!

No.
17.
Strange adventure!
(QUARTET)
Kate, Dame, Carruthers, Fairfax and Sergeant Meryll

ALL            Strange adventure! Maiden wedded
To a groom she's never seen—
Never, never, never seen!
Groom about to be beheaded,
In an hour on Tower Green!
Tower, Tower, Tower Green!
Groom in dreary dungeon lying,
Groom as good as dead, or dying,
For a pretty maiden sighing—
Pretty maid of seventeen!
Seven— seven— seventeen!

Strange adventure that we're trolling:

Modest maid and gallant groom—
Gallant, gallant, gallant groom!—
While the funeral bell is tolling,
Tolling, tolling, Bim-a-boom!
Bim-a, Bim-a, Bim-a-boom!
Modest maiden will not tarry;
Though but sixteen year she carry,
She must marry, she must marry,
Though the altar be a tomb—
Tower— Tower— Tower tomb!
Tower tomb! Tower tomb!
Though the altar be a tomb!
Tower, Tower, Tower tomb!

[Exeunt DAME CARRUTHERS, MERYLL, and KATE.


FAIRFAX   So my mysterious bride is no other than this winsome
Elsie! By my hand, 'tis no such ill plunge in
Fortune's lucky bag! I might have fared worse with my
eyes open! But she comes.
Now to test her principles.

'Tis not every husband who has a chance of wooing his
own wife!

[Enter ELSIE

FAIRFAX   Mistress Elsie!

ELSIE     Master Leonard!

FAIRFAX   So thou leavest us to-night?

ELSIE     Yes.
Master Leonard.
I have been kindly tended, and I
almost fear I am loth to go.


FAIRFAX   And this Fairfax.
Wast thou glad when he escaped?

ELSIE     Why, truly, Master Leonard, it is a sad thing that a
young and gallant gentleman should die in the very
fullness of his life.


FAIRFAX   Then when thou didst faint in my arms, it was for joy
at his safety?

ELSIE     It may be so.
I was highly wrought, Master Leonard,
and I am but a girl, and so, when I an highly wrought,
I faint.


FAIRFAX   Now, dost thou know, I am consumed with a parlous
jealousy?

ELSIE     Thou? And of whom?

FAIRFAX   Why, of this Fairfax, surely!

ELSIE     Of Colonel Fairfax?

FAIRFAX   Aye.
Shall I be frank with thee? Elsie— I love thee,
ardently, passionately! [ELSIE alarmed and surprised]
Elsie, I have loved thee these two days— which is a
long time— and I would fain join my life to thine!

ELSIE     Master Leonard! Thou art jesting!

FAIRFAX   Jesting? May I shrivel into raisins if I jest! I love
thee with a love that is a fever— with a love that is
a frenzy— with a love that eateth up my heart! What
sayest thou? Thou wilt not let my heart be eaten up?

ELSIE     [aside] Oh, mercy! What am I to say?

FAIRFAX   Dost thou love me, or hast thou been insensible these
two days?

ELSIE     I love all brave men.


FAIRFAX   Nay, there is love in excess.
I thank heaven there are
many brave men in England; but if thou lovest them
all, I withdraw my thanks.


ELSIE     I love the bravest best.
But, sir, I may not listen—
I am not free— I— I am a wife!

FAIRFAX   Thou a wife? Whose? His name? His hours are
numbered—nay, his grave is dug and his epitaph set up!
Come, his name?

ELSIE     Oh, sir! keep my secret— it is the only barrier that
Fate could set up between us.
My husband is none other
than Colonel Fairfax!

FAIRFAX   The greatest villain unhung! The most ill-favoured,
ill-mannered, ill-natured, ill-omened, ill-tempered
dog in Christendom!

ELSIE     It is very like.
He is naught to me— for I never saw
him.
I was blindfolded, and he was to have died within
the hour; and he did not die— and I am wedded to him,
and my heart is broken!

FAIRFAX   He was to have died, and he did not die? The
scoundrel! The perjured, traitorous villain! Thou
shouldst have insisted on his dying first, to make
sure.
'Tis the only way with these Fairfaxes.


ELSIE     I now wish I had!

FAIRFAX   [aside] Bloodthirsty little maiden!
[Aloud] A fig for this Fairfax! Be mine— he will never
know— he dares not show himself; and if he dare, what
art thou to him? Fly with me, Elsie— we will be
married tomorrow, and thou shalt be the happiest wife
in England!

ELSIE     Master Leonard! I am amazed! Is it thus that brave
soldiers speak to poor girls? Oh! for shame, for
shame! I am wed— not the less because I love not my
husband.
I am a wife, sir, and I have a duty, and— oh,
sir!— thy words terrify me— they are not honest— they
are wicked words, and unworthy thy great and brave
heart! Oh,shame upon thee! shame upon thee!

FAIRFAX   Nay, Elsie, I did but jest.
I spake but to try thee—

[Shot heard

[Enter SERGEANT MERYLL hastily

No.
18.
Hark! What was that, sir?
(SCENE)
Elsie, Phoebe, Dame Carruthers, Fairfax.
Wilfred, Point,
Lieutenant, Sergeant

MERYLL              Hark! What was that, sir?

FAIRFAX                  Why, an arquebus—
Fired from the wharf, unless I much mistake.


MERYLL         Strange— and at such an hour! What can it mean!

[Enter CHORUS excitedly

CHORUS              Now what can that have been—
A shot so late at night,
Enough to cause a fright!
What can the portent mean?

Are foemen in the land?
Is London to be wrecked?
What are we to expect?
What danger is at hand?
Let us understand
What danger is at hand!

[LIEUTENANT enters, also POINT and WILFRED

LIEUT.
Who fired that shot? At once the truth declare?

WILFRED        My lord, 'twas I— to rashly judge forebear!

POINT          My lord, 'twas he— to rashly judge forebear!

WILFRED             Like a ghost his vigil keeping—

POINT                    Or a spectre all-appalling—

WILFRED             I beheld a figure creeping—

POINT                    I should rather call it crawling—

WILFRED             He was creeping—

POINT                         He was crawling—

WILFRED             He was creeping, creeping—

POINT                         Crawling!

WILFRED             He was creeping—

POINT                         He was crawling—

WILFRED             He was creeping, creeping—

POINT                         Crawling!

WILFRED             Not a moment's hesitation—
I myself upon him flung,
With a hurried exclamation
To his draperies I hung;
Then we closed with one another
In a rough-and-tumble smother;
Col'nel Fairfax and no other
Was the man to whom I clung!

ALL            Col'nel Fairfax and no other,
Was the man to whom he clung!

WILFRED             After mighty tug and tussle—

POINT                    It resembled more a struggle—

WILFRED             He, by dint of stronger muscle—

POINT                    Or by some infernal juggle—

WILFRED             From my clutches quickly sliding—

POINT                    I should rather call it slipping—

WILFRED             With a view, no doubt, of hiding—

POINT                    Or escaping to the shipping—

WILFRED             With a gasp, and with a quiver—

POINT                    I'd describe it as a shiver—

WILFRED             Down he dived into the river,
And, alas, I cannot swim.


ALL            It's enough to make one shiver,
With a gasp, and with a quiver,
Down he dived into the river;
It was very brave of him!

WILFRED             Ingenuity is catching;
With the view my King of pleasing,
Arquebus from sentry snatching—

POINT                    I should rather call it seizing—

WILFRED             With an ounce or two of lead
I dispatched him through the head!

ALL            With an ounce or two of lead
He dispatched him through the head!

WILFRED             I discharged it without winking,
Little time I lost in thinking,
Like a stone I saw him sinking—

POINT                    I should say a lump of lead.


ALL            He discharged it without winking,
Little time he lost in thinking.


WILFRED             Like a stone I saw him sinking—

POINT                    I should say a lump of lead.


WILFRED             Like a stone, my boy, I said—

POINT                    Like a heavy lump of lead.


WILFRED             Like a stone, my boy, I said—

POINT                    Like a heavy lump of lead.


WILFRED             Anyhow, the man is dead,
Whether stone or lump of lead!

ALL            Anyhow, the man is dead,
Whether stone or lump of lead!
Arquebus from sentry seizing,
With the view his King of pleasing,
Arquebus from sentry seizing,
With the view his King of pleasing,
Wilfred shot him through the head,
And he's very, very dead!

And it matters very little
Whether stone or lump of lead,
It is very, very certain that
he's very, very dead!

LIEUT.
The river must be dragged— no time be lost;
The body must be found, at any cost.

To this attend without undue delay;
So set to work with what dispatch ye may!

[Exit LIEUTENANT

ALL            Yes, yes,
We'll set to work with what dispatch we may!

[Men raise WILFRED, and carry him off on their shoulders.


ALL            Hail the valiant fellow who
Did this deed of derring-do!
Honours wait on such an one;
By my head, 'twas bravely done,
'twas bravely done!
Now, by my head, 'twas bravely done!

[Exeunt all but ELSIE, POINT, FAIRFAX, and PHOEBE.


POINT     [to ELSIE, who is weeping] Nay, sweetheart, be
comforted.
This Fairfax was but a pestilent fellow,
and, as he had to die, he might as well die thus as
any other way.
'Twas a good death.


ELSIE     Still, he was my husband, and had he not been, he was
nevertheless a living man, and now he is dead; and so,
by your leave, my tears may flow unchidden, Master
Point.


FAIRFAX   And thou didst see all this?

POINT     Aye, with both eyes at once— this and that.
The
testimony of one eye is naught— he may lie.
But when
it is corroborated by the other, it is good evidence
that none may gainsay.
Here are both present in court,
ready to swear to him!

PHOEBE    But art thou sure it was Colonel Fairfax? Saw you his
face?

POINT     Aye, and a plaguey ill-favoured face too.
A very hang-
dog face— a felon face— a face to fright the headsman
himself, and make him strike awry.
Oh, a plaguey, bad
face, take my word for it.
[PHOEBE and FAIRFAX laugh]
How they laugh! "Tis ever thus with simple folk— an
accepted wit has but to say "Pass the mustard," and
they roar their ribs out!

FAIRFAX   [aside] If ever I come to life again, thou shalt pay
for this, Master Point!

POINT     Now, Elsie, thou art free to choose again, so behold
me:
I am young and well-favoured.
I have a pretty wit.

I can jest you, jibe you, quip you, crank you, wrack
you, riddle you—

FAIRFAX   Tush, man, thou knowest not how to woo.
'Tis not to be
done with time-worn jests and thread-bare sophistries;
with quips, conundrums, rhymes, and paradoxes.
'Tis an
art in itself, and must be studied gravely and
conscientiously.


No.
19.
A man who would woo a fair maid
(TRIO)
Elsie, Phoebe, and Fairfax

FAIRFAX             A man who would woo a fair maid,
Should 'prentice himself to the trade;
And study all day,
In methodical way,
How to flatter, cajole, and persuade.


He should 'prentice himself at fourteen,
And practise from morning to e'en;
And when he's of age,
If he will, I'll engage,
He may capture the heart of a queen,
the heart of a queen!

ALL                 It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will.

But every Jack
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

ELSIE               If he's made the best use of his time,
His twig he'll so carefully lime
That every bird
Will come down at his word,
Whatever its plumage and clime.


He must learn that the thrill of a touch
May mean little, or nothing, or much;
It's an instrument rare,
To be handled with care,
And ought to be treated as such,
Ought to be treated as such.


ALL                 It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:

But every Jack,
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

PHOEBE              Then a glance may be timid or free;
It will vary in mighty degree,
From an impudent stare
To a look of despair
That no maid without pity can see!
And a glance of despair is no guide—
It may have its ridiculous side;
It may draw you a tear
Or a box on the ear;
You can never be sure till you've tried!
Never be sure till you've tried!

ALL            It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:

But every Jack,
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill,
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!
But every Jack,
He must study the knack,
But every Jack,
Must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!
Yes, every Jack,
Must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

FAIRFAX   [aside to POINT] Now, listen to me— 'tis done thus—
[aloud] Mistress Elsie, there is one here who, as thou
knowest, loves thee right well!

POINT     [aside] That he does— right well!

FAIRFAX   He is but a man of poor estate, but he hath a loving,
honest heart.
He will be a true and trusty husband to
thee, and if thou wilt be his wife, thou shalt lie
curled up in his heart, like a little squirrel in its
nest!

POINT     [aside] 'Tis a pretty figure.
A maggot in a nut lies
closer, but a squirrel will do.


FAIRFAX   He knoweth that thou wast a wife— an unloved and
unloving wife, and his poor heart was near to
breaking.
But now that thine unloving husband is dead,
and thou art free, he would fain pray that thou
wouldst hearken unto him, and give him hope that thou
wouldst one day be his!

PHOEBE    [alarmed] He presses her hands— and whispers in her
ear! Ods bodikins, what does it mean?

FAIRFAX   Now, sweetheart, tell me— wilt thou be this poor
goodfellow's wife?

ELSIE     If the good, brave man— is he a brave man?

FAIRFAX   So men say.


POINT     [aside] That's not true, but let it pass.


ELSIE     If the brave man will be content with a poor,
penniless, untaught maid—

POINT     [aside] Widow— but let that pass.


ELSIE     I will be his true and loving wife, and that with my
heart of hearts!

FAIRFAX   My own dear love! [Embracing her]

PHOEBE    [in great agitation] Why, what's all this? Brother—
brother— it is not seemly!

POINT     [also alarmed, aside] Oh, I can't let that pass!
[Aloud] Hold, enough, Master Leonard! An advocate
should have his fee, but methinks thou art over-paying
thyself!

FAIRFAX   Nay, that is for Elsie to say.
I promised thee I would
show thee how to woo, and herein lies the proof of the
virtue of my teaching.
Go thou, and apply it
elsewhere! [PHOEBE bursts into tears]

No.
20.
When a wooer goes a-wooing
(QUARTET)
Elsie, Phoebe, Fairfax, and Point

ELSIE                    When a wooer Goes a-wooing,
Naught is truer Than his joy.


FAIRFAX                  Maiden hushing All his suing—
Boldly blushing, bravely coy!
Bravely coy! Boldly blushing—

ELSIE                    Boldly blushing, bravely coy!

ALL                 Oh, the happy days of doing!
Oh, the sighing and the suing!
When a wooer goes a-wooing,
Oh the sweets that never cloy!

PHOEBE [weeping]              When a brother leaves his sister
For another, sister weeps,
Tears that trickle,
Tears that blister—
'Tis but mickle Sister reaps!

ALL                 Oh, the doing and undoing,
Oh, the sighing and the suing,
When a brother goes a-wooing,
And a sobbing sister weeps!

POINT                    When a jester Is outwitted,
Feelings fester, Heart is lead!
Food for fishes Only fitted,
Jester wishes He was dead!
Food for fishes Only fitted,
Jester wishes He was dead!

ALL                 Oh, the doing and undoing,
Oh, the sighing and the suing,
When a jester goes a-wooing,
And he wishes he was dead!

Oh, the doing and undoing,
Oh, the sighing and the suing,
When a jester goes a-wooing,
And he wishes he was dead,
And he wishes he was dead!

[Exeunt all but PHOEBE, who remains weeping.


PHOEBE    And I helped that man to escape, and I've kept his
secret, and pretended that I was his dearly loving
sister, and done everything I could think of to make
folk believe I was his loving sister, and this is his
gratitude! Before I pretend to be sister to anybody
again, I'll turn nun, and be sister to everybody— one
as much as another!

[Enter WILFRED

WILFRED   In tears, eh? What a plague art thou grizzling for
now?

PHOEBE    Why am I grizzling? Thou hast often wept for jealousy—
well, 'tis for jealousy I weep now.
Aye, yellow,
bilious, jaundiced jealousy.
So make the most of that,
Master Wilfred.


WILFRED   But I have never given thee cause for jealousy.
The
Lieutenant's cook-maid and I are but the merest
gossips!

PHOEBE    Jealous of thee! Bah! I'm jealous of no craven cock-
on-a-hill, who crows about what he'd do an he dared!
I am jealous of another and a better man than thou—
set that down, Master Wilfred.
And he is to marry
Elsie Maynard, the pale little fool— set that down
Master Wilfred— and my heart is wellnigh broken!
There, thou hast it all! Make the most of it!

WILFRED   The man thou lovest is to marry Elsie Maynard? Why,
that is no other than thy brother, Leonard Meryll!

PHOEBE    [aside] Oh, mercy! what have I said?

WILFRED   Why, what matter of brother is this, thou lying little
jade? Speak! Who is this man whom thou hast called
brother, and fondled, and coddled, and kissed!— with
my connivance, too! Oh Lord! with my connivance! Ha!
should it be this Fairfax! [PHOEBE starts] It is! It
is this accursed Fairfax! It's Fairfax! Fairfax, who—

PHOEBE    Whom thou hast just shot through the head, and who
lies at the bottom of the river!

WILFRED   A— I— I may have been mistaken.
We are but fallible
mortals, the best of us.
But I'll make sure— I'll make
sure.
[Going]

PHOEBE    Stay— one word.
I think it cannot be Fairfax— mind, I
say I think— because thou hast just slain Fairfax.
But
whether he be Fairfax or no Fairfax, he is to marry
Elsie— and— and— as thou hast shot him through the
head, and he is dead, be content with that, and I will
be thy wife!

WILFRED   Is that sure?

PHOEBE    Aye, sure enough, for there's no help for it! Thou art
a very brute— but even brutes must marry, I suppose.


WILFRED   My beloved.
[Embraces her]

PHOEBE    [aside] Ugh!

[Enter LEONARD MERYLL, hastily

LEONARD   Phoebe, rejoice, for I bring glad tidings.
Colonel
Fairfax's reprieve was signed two days since, but it
was foully and maliciously kept back by Secretary
Poltwhistle, who designed that it should arrive after
the Colonel's death.
It hath just come to hand, and it
is now in the Lieutenant's possession!

PHOEBE    Then the Colonel is free? Oh, kiss me, kiss me, my
dear! Kiss me, again, and again!

WILFRED   [dancing with fury] Ods bobs, death o' my life! Art
thou mad? Am I mad? Are we all mad?

PHOEBE    Oh, my dear— my dear, I'm well nigh crazed with joy!
[Kissing LEONARD]

WILFRED   Come away from him, thou hussy— thou jade— thou
kissing, clinging cockatrice! And as for thee, sir,
devil take thee, I'll rip thee like a herring for
this! I'll skin thee for it! I'll cleave thee to the
chine! I'll— oh! Phoebe! Phoebe! Who is this man?

PHOEBE    Peace, fool.
He is my brother!

WILFRED   Another brother! Are there any more of them? Produce
them all at once, and let me know the worst!

PHOEBE    This is the real Leonard, dolt; the other was but his
substitute.
The real Leonard, I say— my father's own
son.


WILFRED   How do I know this? Has he "brother" writ large on his
brow? I mistrust thy brothers! Thou art but a false
jade!

[Exit LEONARD.


PHOEBE    Now, Wilfred, be just.
Truly I did deceive thee
before— but it was to save a precious life— and to
save it, not for me, but for another.
They are to be
wed this very day.
Is not this enough for thee? Come—
I am thy Phoebe— thy very own— and we will be wed in
a year— or two— or three, at the most.
Is not that
enough for thee?

[Enter SERGEANT MERYLL, excitedly, followed by DAME
CARRUTHERS, who listens, unobserved.


MERYLL    Phoebe, hast thou heard the brave news?

PHOEBE    [still in WILFRED's arms] Aye, father.


MERYLL    I'm nigh mad with joy! [Seeing WILFRED] Why, what's
all this?

PHOEBE    Oh, father, he discovered our secret thorough my
folly, and the price of his silence is—

WILFRED   Phoebe's heart.


PHOEBE    Oh, dear, no— Phoebe's hand.


WILFRED   It's the same thing!

PHOEBE    Is it?

[Exeunt WILFRED and PHOEBE.


MERYLL    [looking after them] "Tis pity, but the Colonel had to
be saved at any cost, and as thy folly revealed our
secret, thy folly must e'en suffer for it!

[DAME CARRUTHERS comes down] Dame Carruthers!

DAME      So this is a plot to shield this arch-fiend, and I
have detected it.
A word from me, and three heads
besides his would roll from their shoulders!

MERYLL    Nay, Colonel Fairfax is reprieved.

[Aside] Yet, if my complicity in his escape were
known! Plague on the old meddler! There's nothing for
it—
[aloud]— Hush, pretty one! Such bloodthirsty words ill
become those cherry lips!
[Aside] Ugh!

DAME      [bashfully] Sergeant Meryll!

MERYLL    Why, look ye, chuck— for many a month I've— I've
thought to myself— "There's snug love saving up in
that middle-aged bosom for some one, and why not for
thee— that's me— so take heart and tell her— that's
thee— that thou— that's me— lovest her— thee— and—
and— well,I'm a miserable old man, and I've done it—
and that's me!" But not a word about Fairfax! The
price of thy silence is—

DAME      Meryll's heart?

MERYLL    No, Meryll's hand.


DAME      It's the same thing!

MERYLL    Is it?

No.
21.
Rapture, rapture
(DUET)
Dame Carruthers and Sergeant Meryll

DAME           Rapture, rapture
When love's votary,
Flushed with capture,
Seeks the notary,
Joy and jollity
Then is polity;
Reigns frivolity!
Rapture, rapture!
Joy and jollity
Then is polity;
Reigns frivolity!
Rapture, rapture!

MERYLL              Doleful, doleful!
When humanity
With its soul full
Of satanity,
Courting privity,
Down declivity
Seeks captivity!
Doleful, doleful!
Courting privity,
Down declivity
Seeks captivity!
Doleful, doleful!

DAME           Joyful, joyful!
When virginity
Seeks, all coyful,
Man's affinity;
Fate all flowery,
Bright and bowery,
Is her dowery!
Joyful, joyful!
Fate all flowery,
Bright and bowery,
Is her dowery!
Joyful, joyful!

MERYLL              Ghastly, ghastly!
When man, sorrowful,
Firstly, lastly,
Of to-morrow full,
After tarrying,
Yields to harrying—
Goes a-marrying.

Ghastly, ghastly!

DAME           Joyful, joyful!

MERYLL              Ghastly, ghastly!

DAME           Joyful, joyful!

MERYLL              Ghastly, ghastly!

DAME                     MERYLL

Joyful, joyful!               Ghastly, ghastly!
Joyful, joyful, joyful!       Ghastly, ghastly,ghastly!

Rapture, rapture              Doleful, doleful!
When love's votary,           When humanity
Flushed with capture,         With its soul full
Seeks the notary,             Of satanity,
Joy and jollity               Courting privity,
Then is polity;               Down declivity
Reigns frivolity!             Seeks captivity!
Rapture, rapture!             Doleful, doleful!
Joy and jollity               Courting privity,
Then is polity;               Down declivity
Reigns frivolity!             Seeks captivity!
Rapture, rapture!             Doleful, doleful!
Rapture, rapture!             Doleful, doleful!
Rapture, rapture,             Doleful, doleful,
Rapture, rapture!             Doleful, doleful!
Joy and jollity               Courting privity,
Then is polity;               Down declivity
Reigns frivolity!             Seeks captivity!
Rapture, rapture!             Doleful, doleful!

[Exeunt DAME and SERGEANT MERYLL.


No.
22.
Comes the pretty young bride
(FINALE OF ACT II)
Ensemble

[Enter YEOMEN and WOMEN

WOMEN          Comes the pretty young bride,
a-blushing, timidly shrinking—
Set all thy fears aside—
cheerily, pretty young bride!
Brave is the youth to whom thy lot
thou art willingly linking!
Flower of valour he—
loving as loving can be!
Brightly thy summer is shining,
Brightly thy summer is shining,
Fair as the dawn, as the dawn of the day;
Take him, be true to him—
Tender his due to him—
Honour him, honour him, love and obey!

[Enter DAME, PHOEBE, and ELSIE as Bride

PHOEBE, ELSIE
& DAME          'Tis said that joy in full perfection
Comes only once to womankind—
That, other times, on close inspection,
Some lurking bitter we shall find.

If this be so, and men say truly,
My day of joy has broken duly
With happiness my/her soul is cloyed—
With happiness is cloyed—
With happiness my/her soul is cloyed—
This is my/her joy-day
unalloyed, unalloyed,
This is my/her joy-day unalloyed!

ALL            Yes, yes, with happiness her soul is cloyed!
This is her joy-day unalloyed!

[Flourish.
Enter LIEUTENANT

LIEUT.
Hold, pretty one! I bring to thee
News— good or ill, it is for thee to say.

Thy husband lives— and he is free,
And comes to claim his bride this very day!

ELSIE          No! No! recall those words— it cannot be!

[all four blocks below sung at once]

KATE and CHORUS               DAME CARRUTHERS and PHOEBE

Oh, day of terror!            Oh, day of terror!
Oh, day of terror!            Oh, day of terror!
Day of terror!                The man to whom thou art
Day of tears!                      allied
Day of terror!                Appears to claim thee
Day of tears!                      as his bride.


Who is the man who,           The man to whom thou art
In his pride,                      allied
Claims thee as his bride?     And claim me as his bride.

Day of terror!                     Day of terror!
Day of tears!                      Day of tears!

LIEUT.
, MERYLL, and WILFRED                  ELSIE

Come, dry these unbecoming tears,
Most joyful tidings greet
thine ears,
Come, dry these unbecoming tears,       Oh, Leonard,
Most joyful tidings greet                    Oh,Leonard,
thine ears,                   Come thou to my side,

The man to whom thou art allied         And claim me as
Appears to claim thee                   thy loving bride!
as his bride.
Day of terror!
The man to whom thou art allied         Day of tears!
Appears to claim thee
as his bride.


[Flourish.
Enter COLONEL FAIRFAX, handsomely dressed,and
attended by other Gentlemen

FAIRFAX        [sternly] All thought of Leonard
Meryll set aside.

Thou art mine own! I claim thee as my bride.


ALL       Thou art his own!
Alas! he claims thee as his bride.


ELSIE          A suppliant at thy feet I fall;
Thine heart will yield to pity's call!

FAIRFAX        Mine is a heart of massive rock,
Unmoved by sentimental shock!

ALL            Thy husband he!

ELSIE          [aside] Leonard, my loved one— come to me.

They bear me hence away!
But though they take me far from thee,
My heart is thine for aye!

My bruised heart,
My broken heart,
Is thine, my own, for aye!
Is thine, is thine, my own,
Is thine, for aye!

ELSIE          [To FAIRFAX] Sir, I obey!
I am thy bride;
But ere the fatal hour
I said the say
That placed me in thy pow'r
Would I had died!
Sir, I obey!
I am thy bride!

[Looks up and recognizes FAIRFAX

Leonard!

FAIRFAX                  My own!

ELSIE                    Ah! [Embrace]

ELSIE &
FAIRFAX          With happiness my soul is cloyed,
This is our joy-day unalloyed!

ALL                 Yes, yes!
With happiness their souls are cloyed,
This is their joy-day unalloyed!
With happiness their souls are cloyed,
This is their joy-day unalloyed,
Their joy-day unalloyed, unalloyed!

[Enter JACK POINT

POINT               Oh, thoughtless crew!
Ye know not what ye do!
Attend to me, and shed a tear or two—
For I have a song to sing, O!

ALL                 Sing me your song, O!

POINT                    It is sung to the moon
By a love-lorn loon,
Who fled from the mocking throng, O!
It's a song of a merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye.


ALL                 Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

ELSIE                    I have a song to sing, O!

ALL                 What is your song, O!

ELSIE                    It is sung with the ring
Of the songs maids sing
Who love with a love life-long, O!
It's the song of a merrymaid, peerly proud,
[optional— nestling near,]
Who loved her lord, and who laughed aloud
[optional— but dropped a tear]
At the moan of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

ALL                 Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me—lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

Heighdy! heighdy!
Heighdy! heighdy!
Heighdy! heighdy!

[FAIRFAX embraces ELSIE as POINT falls insensible at their
feet.


CURTAIN