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POOH. To ask you what you mean to do we punctually appear. KO. Congratulate me, gentlemen, I’ve found a Volunteer! ALL. The Japanese equivalent for Hear, Hear, Hear! KO. (presenting him). ‘Tis Nanki-Poo!
ALL. Hail, Nanki-Poo!
KO. I think he’ll do?
ALL. Yes, yes, he’ll do!

KO. He yields his life if I’ll Yum-Yum surrender. Now I adore that girl with passion tender, And could not yield her with a ready will, Or her allot,
If I did not
Adore myself with passion tenderer still!

Enter Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo, and Pitti-Sing.

ALL. Ah, yes!
He loves himself with passion tenderer still! KO. (to Nanki-Poo). Take her–she’s yours!
[Exit Ko-Ko


NANKI-POO. The threatened cloud has passed away, YUM-YUM. And brightly shines the dawning day; NANKI-POO. What though the night may come too soon, YUM-YUM. There’s yet a month of afternoon!


Then let the throng
Our joy advance,
With laughing song
And merry dance,

CHORUS. With joyous shout and ringing cheer, Inaugurate our brief career!

PITTI-SING. A day, a week, a month, a year– YUM. Or far or near, or far or near, POOH. Life’s eventime comes much too soon, PITTI-SING. You’ll live at least a honeymoon!

ALL. Then let the throng, etc.

CHORUS. With joyous shout, etc.


As in a month you’ve got to die, If Ko-Ko tells us true,
‘Twere empty compliment to cry “Long life to Nanki-Poo!”
But as one month you have to live As fellow-citizen,
This toast with three times three we’ll give– “Long life to you–till then!”


CHORUS. May all good fortune prosper you, May you have health and riches too, May you succeed in all you do!
Long life to you–till then!


Enter Katisha melodramatically

KAT. Your revels cease! Assist me, all of you! CHORUS. Why, who is this whose evil eyes Rain blight on our festivities?
KAT. I claim my perjured lover, Nanki-Poo! Oh, fool! to shun delights that never cloy! CHORUS. Go, leave thy deadly work undone! KAT. Come back, oh, shallow fool! come back to joy! CHORUS. Away, away! ill-favoured one!

NANK. (aside to Yum-Yum). Ah!
‘Tis Katisha!
The maid of whom I told you. (About to go.)

KAT. (detaining him). No!
You shall not go,
These arms shall thus enfold you!


KAT. (addressing Nanki-Poo).
Oh fool, that fleest
My hallowed joys!
Oh blind, that seest
No equipoise!
Oh rash, that judgest
From half, the whole!
Oh base, that grudgest
Love’s lightest dole!
Thy heart unbind,
Oh fool, oh blind!
Give me my place,
Oh rash, oh base!

CHORUS. If she’s thy bride, restore her place, Oh fool, oh blind, oh rash, oh base!

KAT. (addressing Yum-Yum).
Pink cheek, that rulest
Where wisdom serves!
Bright eye, that foolest
Heroic nerves!
Rose lip, that scornest
Lore-laden years!
Smooth tongue, that warnest Who rightly hears!
Thy doom is nigh.
Pink cheek, bright eye! Thy knell is rung,
Rose lip, smooth tongue!

CHORUS. If true her tale, thy knell is rung, Pink cheek, bright eye, rose lip, smooth tongue!

PITTI-SING. Away, nor prosecute your quest– From our intention, well expressed, You cannot turn us!
The state of your connubial views Towards the person you accuse
Does not concern us!
For he’s going to marry Yum-Yum– ALL. Yum-Yum!
PITTI. Your anger pray bury,
For all will be merry,
I think you had better succumb– ALL. Cumb–cumb!
PITTI. And join our expressions of glee. On this subject I pray you be dumb– ALL. Dumb–dumb.
PITTI. You’ll find there are many Who’ll wed for a penny–
The word for your guidance is “Mum”– ALL. Mum–mum!
PITTI. There’s lots of good fish in the sea!

ALL. On this subject we pray you be dumb, etc.


The hour of gladness
Is dead and gone;
In silent sadness
I live alone!
The hope I cherished
All lifeless lies,
And all has perished
Save love, which never dies! Oh, faithless one, this insult you shall rue! In vain for mercy on your knees you’ll sue. I’ll tear the mask from your disguising!

NANK. (aside). Now comes the blow! KAT. Prepare yourselves for news surprising! NANK. (aside). How foil my foe?
KAT. No minstrel he, despite bravado! YUM. (aside, struck by an idea). Ha! ha! I know! KAT. He is the son of your—-

(Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, and Chorus, interrupting, sing Japanese words, to drown her voice.)

O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!
KAT. In vain you interrupt with this tornado! He is the only son of your—-
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! KAT. I’ll spoil—-
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! KAT. Your gay gambado!
He is the son—-
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! KAT. Of your—-
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! KAT. The son of your—-
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! oya! oya!


Ye torrents roar! We’ll hear no more, Ye tempests howl! Ill-omened owl. Your wrath outpour To joy we soar, With angry growl! Despite your scowl!
Do ye your worst, my vengeance The echoes of our festival call
Shall rise triumphant over all! Shall rise triumphant over all!
Prepare for woe, Away you go, Ye haughty lords, Collect your hordes;
At once I go Proclaim your woe Mikado-wards, In dismal chords
My wrongs with vengeance shall We do not heed their dismal
be crowned! sound
My wrongs with vengeance shall For joy reigns everywhere be crowned! around.

(Katisha rushes furiously up stage, clearing the crowd away right and left, finishing on steps at the back of stage.)



SCENE.–Ko-Ko’s Garden.

Yum-Yum discovered seated at her bridal toilet, surrounded by maidens, who are dressing her hair and painting her face and lips, as she judges of the effect in a mirror.


CHORUS. Braid the raven hair–
Weave the supple tress–
Deck the maiden fair
In her loveliness–
Paint the pretty face–
Dye the coral lip–
Emphasize the grace
Of her ladyship!
Art and nature, thus allied, Go to make a pretty bride.


Sit with downcast eye
Let it brim with dew–
Try if you can cry–
We will do so, too.
When you’re summoned, start Like a frightened roe–
Flutter, little heart,
Colour, come and go!
Modesty at marriage-tide
Well becomes a pretty bride!


Braid the raven hair, etc.

[Exeunt Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo, and Chorus.

YUM. Yes, I am indeed beautiful! Sometimes I sit and wonder, in my artless Japanese way, why it is that I am so much more attractive than anybody else in the whole world. Can this be vanity? No! Nature is lovely and rejoices in her loveliness. I am a child of Nature, and take after my mother.


The sun, whose rays
Are all ablaze
With ever-living glory,
Does not deny
His majesty–
He scorns to tell a story! He don’t exclaim,
“I blush for shame,
So kindly be indulgent.”
But, fierce and bold,
In fiery gold,
He glories effulgent!

I mean to rule the earth,
As he the sky–
We really know our worth, The sun and I!

Observe his flame,
That placid dame,
The moon’s Celestial Highness; There’s not a trace
Upon her face
Of diffidence or shyness: She borrows light
That, through the night,
Mankind may all acclaim her! And, truth to tell,
She lights up well,
So I, for one, don’t blame her!

Ah, pray make no mistake,
We are not shy;
We’re very wide awake,
The moon and I!

Enter Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo.

YUM. Yes, everything seems to smile upon me. I am to be married to-day to the man I love best and I believe I am the very happiest girl in Japan!
PEEP. The happiest girl indeed, for she is indeed to be envied who has attained happiness in all but perfection. YUM. In “all but” perfection?
PEEP. Well, dear, it can’t be denied that the fact that your husband is to be beheaded in a month is, in its way, a drawback. It does seem to take the top off it, you know. PITTI. I don’t know about that. It all depends! PEEP. At all events, he will find it a drawback. PITTI. Not necessarily. Bless you, it all depends! YUM. (in tears). I think it very indelicate of you to refer to such a subject on such a day. If my married happiness is to be–to be–
PEEP. Cut short.
YUM. Well, cut short–in a month, can’t you let me forget it? (Weeping.)

Enter Nanki-Poo, followed by Go-To.

NANK. Yum-Yum in tears–and on her wedding morn! YUM. (sobbing). They’ve been reminding me that in a month you’re to be beheaded! (Bursts into tears.) PITTI. Yes, we’ve been reminding her that you’re to be beheaded. (Bursts into tears.)
PEEP. It’s quite true, you know, you are to be beheaded! (Bursts into tears.)
NANK. (aside). Humph! Now, some bridegrooms would be depressed by this sort of thing! (Aloud.) A month? Well, what’s a month? Bah! These divisions of time are purely arbitrary. Who says twenty-four hours make a day? PITTI. There’s a popular impression to that effect. NANK. Then we’ll efface it. We’ll call each second a minute–each minute an hour–each hour a day–and each day a year. At that rate we’ve about thirty years of married happiness before us!
PEEP. And, at that rate, this interview has already lasted four hours and three-quarters!
[Exit Peep-Bo.
YUM. (still sobbing). Yes. How time flies when one is thoroughly enjoying oneself!
NANK. That’s the way to look at it! Don’t let’s be downhearted! There’s a silver lining to every cloud. YUM. Certainly. Let’s–let’s be perfectly happy! (Almost in tears.)
GO-TO. By all means. Let’s–let’s thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
PITTI. It’s–it’s absurd to cry! (Trying to force a laugh.)
YUM. Quite ridiculous! (Trying to laugh.)

(All break into a forced and melancholy laugh.)



Brightly dawns our wedding day;
Joyous hour, we give thee greeting! Whither, whither art thou fleeting? Fickle moment, prithee stay!
What though mortal joys be hollow? Pleasures come, if sorrows follow: Though the tocsin sound, ere long,
Ding dong! Ding dong!
Yet until the shadows fall
Over one and over all,
Sing a merry madrigal–
A madrigal!

Fal-la–fal-la! etc. (Ending in tears.)

Let us dry the ready tear,
Though the hours are surely creeping Little need for woeful weeping,
Till the sad sundown is near.
All must sip the cup of sorrow– I to-day and thou to-morrow;
This the close of every song– Ding dong! Ding dong!
What, though solemn shadows fall, Sooner, later, over all?
Sing a merry madrigal–
A madrigal!

Fal-la–fal-la! etc. (Ending in tears.)

[Exeunt Pitti-Sing and Pish-Tush.

(Nanki-Poo embraces Yum-Yum. Enter Ko-Ko. Nanki-Poo releases Yum-Yum.)

KO. Go on–don’t mind me.
NANK. I’m afraid we’re distressing you. KO. Never mind, I must get used to it. Only please do it by degrees. Begin by putting your arm round her waist. (Nanki-Poo does so.) There; let me get used to that first. YUM. Oh, wouldn’t you like to retire? It must pain you to see us so affectionate together!
KO. No, I must learn to bear it! Now oblige me by allowing her head to rest on your shoulder.
NANK. Like that? (He does so. Ko-Ko much affected.) KO. I am much obliged to you. Now–kiss her! (He does so. Ko-Ko writhes with anguish.) Thank you–it’s simple torture! YUM. Come, come, bear up. After all, it’s only for a month.
KO. No. It’s no use deluding oneself with false hopes. NANK. and YUM. What do you mean?
KO. (to Yum-Yum). My child–my poor child! (Aside.) How shall I break it to her? (Aloud.) My little bride that was to have been?
YUM. (delighted). Was to have been? KO. Yes, you never can be mine!
NANK. and YUM. (simultaneously, in ecstacy) What!/I’m so glad!
KO. I’ve just ascertained that, by the Mikado’s law, when a married man is beheaded his wife is buried alive. NANK. and YUM. Buried alive!
KO. Buried alive. It’s a most unpleasant death. NANK. But whom did you get that from? KO. Oh, from Pooh-Bah. He’s my Solicitor. YUM. But he may be mistaken!
KO. So I thought; so I consulted the Attorney General, the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the Judge Ordinary, and the Lord Chancellor. They’re all of the same opinion. Never knew such unanimity on a point of law in my life! NANK. But stop a bit! This law has never been put in force.
KO. Not yet. You see, flirting is the only crime punishable with decapitation, and married men never flirt. NANK. Of course, they don’t. I quite forgot that! Well, I suppose I may take it that my dream of happiness is at an end! YUM. Darling–I don’t want to appear selfish, and I love you with all my heart–I don’t suppose I shall ever love anybody else half as much–but when I agreed to marry you–my own–I had no idea–pet–that I should have to be buried alive in a month! NANK. Nor I! It’s the very first I’ve heard of it! YUM. It–it makes a difference, doesn’t it? NANK. It does make a difference, of course. YUM. You see–burial alive–it’s such a stuffy death! NANK. I call it a beast of a death.
YUM. You see my difficulty, don’t you? NANK. Yes, and I see my own. If I insist on your carrying out your promise, I doom you to a hideous death; if I release you, you marry Ko-Ko at once!


YUM. Here’s a how-de-do!
If I marry you,
When your time has come to perish, Then the maiden whom you cherish
Must be slaughtered, too!
Here’s a how-de-do!

NANK. Here’s a pretty mess!
In a month, or less,
I must die without a wedding!
Let the bitter tears I’m shedding Witness my distress,
Here’s a pretty mess!

KO. Here’s a state of things
To her life she clings!
Matrimonial devotion
Doesn’t seem to suit her notion– Burial it brings!
Here’s a state of things!



With a passion that’s intense With a passion that’s intense
I worship and adore, You worship and adore, But the laws of common sense But the laws of common sense
We oughtn’t to ignore. You oughtn’t to ignore.
If what he says is true, If what I say is true, ‘Tis death to marry you! ‘Tis death to marry you!
Here’s a pretty state of things! Here’s a pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do! Here’s a pretty how-de-do!


KO. (going up to Nanki-Poo). My poor boy, I’m really very sorry for you.
NANK. Thanks, old fellow. I’m sure you are. KO. You see I’m quite helpless.
NANK. I quite see that.
KO. I can’t conceive anything more distressing than to have one’s marriage broken off at the last moment. But you shan’t be disappointed of a wedding–you shall come to mine. NANK. It’s awfully kind of you, but that’s impossible. KO. Why so?
NANK. To-day I die.
KO. What do you mean?
NANK. I can’t live without Yum-Yum. This afternoon I perform the Happy Despatch.
KO. No, no–pardon me–I can’t allow that. NANK. Why not?
KO. Why, hang it all, you’re under contract to die by the hand of the Public Executioner in a month’s time! If you kill yourself, what’s to become of me? Why, I shall have to be executed in your place!
NANK. It would certainly seem so!

Enter Pooh-Bah.

KO. Now then, Lord Mayor, what is it? POOH. The Mikado and his suite are approaching the city, and will be here in ten minutes.
KO. The Mikado! He’s coming to see whether his orders have been carried out! (To Nanki-Poo.) Now look here, you know–this is getting serious–a bargain’s a bargain, and you really mustn’t frustrate the ends of justice by committing suicide. As a man of honour and a gentleman, you are bound to die ignominiously by the hands of the Public Executioner.
NANK. Very well, then–behead me. KO. What, now?
NANK. Certainly; at once.
POOH. Chop it off! Chop it off!
KO. My good sir, I don’t go about prepared to execute gentlemen at a moment’s notice. Why, I never even killed a blue-bottle!
POOH. Still, as Lord High Executioner—- KO. My good sir, as Lord High Executioner, I’ve got to behead him in a month. I’m not ready yet. I don’t know how it’s done. I’m going to take lessons. I mean to begin with a guinea pig, and work my way through the animal kingdom till I come to a Second Trombone. Why, you don’t suppose that, as a humane man, I’d have accepted the post of Lord High Executioner if I hadn’t thought the duties were purely nominal? I can’t kill you–I can’t kill anything! I can’t kill anybody! (Weeps.) NANK. Come, my poor fellow, we all have unpleasant duties to discharge at times; after all, what is it? If I don’t mind, why should you? Remember, sooner or later it must be done. KO. (springing up suddenly). Must it? I’m not so sure about that!
NANK. What do you mean?
KO. Why should I kill you when making an affidavit that you’ve been executed will do just as well? Here are plenty of witnesses–the Lord Chief Justice, Lord High Admiral, Commander-in-Chief, Secretary of State for the Home Department, First Lord of the Treasury, and Chief Commissioner of Police. NANK. But where are they?
KO. There they are. They’ll all swear to it–won’t you? (To Pooh-Bah.)
POOH. Am I to understand that all of us high Officers of State are required to perjure ourselves to ensure your safety? KO. Why not! You’ll be grossly insulted, as usual. POOH. Will the insult be cash down, or at a date? KO. It will be a ready-money transaction. POOH. (Aside.) Well, it will be a useful discipline. (Aloud.) Very good. Choose your fiction, and I’ll endorse it! (Aside.) Ha! ha! Family Pride, how do you like that, my buck? NANK. But I tell you that life without Yum-Yum—- KO. Oh, Yum-Yum, Yum-Yum! Bother Yum-Yum! Here, Commissionaire (to Pooh-Bah), go and fetch Yum-Yum. (Exit Pooh-Bah.) Take Yum-Yum and marry Yum-Yum, only go away and never come back again. (Enter Pooh-Bah with Yum-Yum.) Here she is. Yum-Yum, are you particularly busy?
YUM. Not particularly.
KO. You’ve five minutes to spare? YUM. Yes.
KO. Then go along with his Grace the Archbishop of Titipu; he’ll marry you at once.
YUM. But if I’m to be buried alive? KO. Now, don’t ask any questions, but do as I tell you, and Nanki-Poo will explain all.
NANK. But one moment—-
KO. Not for worlds. Here comes the Mikado, no doubt to ascertain whether I’ve obeyed his decree, and if he finds you alive I shall have the greatest difficulty in persuading him that I’ve beheaded you. (Exeunt Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, followed by Pooh-Bah.) Close thing that, for here he comes!
[Exit Ko-Ko.

March.–Enter procession, heralding Mikado, with Katisha.

Entrance of Mikado and Katisha.
(“March of the Mikado’s troops.”)

CHORUS. Miya sama, miya sama,
On n’m-ma no maye ni
Pira-Pira suru no wa
Nan gia na
Toko tonyare tonyare na?


MIK. From every kind of man
Obedience I expect;
I’m the Emperor of Japan–

KAT. And I’m his daughter-in-law elect! He’ll marry his son
(He’s only got one)
To his daughter-in-law elect!

MIK. My morals have been declared Particularly correct;

KAT. But they’re nothing at all, compared With those of his daughter-in-law elect! Bow–Bow–
To his daughter-in-law elect!

ALL. Bow–Bow–
To his daughter-in-law elect.

MIK. In a fatherly kind of way
I govern each tribe and sect, All cheerfully own my sway–

KAT. Except his daughter-in-law elect! As tough as a bone,
With a will of her own, Is his daughter-in-law elect!

MIK. My nature is love and light– My freedom from all defect–

KAT. Is insignificant quite,
Compared with his daughter-in-law elect! Bow–Bow–
To his daughter-in-law elect!

ALL. Bow–Bow–
To his daughter-in-law elect!


A more humane Mikado never
Did in Japan exist,
To nobody second,
I’m certainly reckoned A true philanthropist.
It is my very humane endeavour To make, to some extent,
Each evil liver
A running river
Of harmless merriment.

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time– To let the punishment fit the crime– The punishment fit the crime; And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment! Of innocent merriment!

All prosy dull society sinners, Who chatter and bleat and bore, Are sent to hear sermons
From mystical Germans
Who preach from ten till four. The amateur tenor, whose vocal villainies All desire to shirk,
Shall, during off-hours, Exhibit his powers
To Madame Tussaud’s waxwork.

The lady who dyes a chemical yellow Or stains her grey hair puce,
Or pinches her figure, Is painted with vigour
With permanent walnut juice. The idiot who, in railway carriages, Scribbles on window-panes,
We only suffer
To ride on a buffer
In Parliamentary trains.

My object all sublime, etc.

CHORUS. His object all sublime, etc.

The advertising quack who wearies With tales of countless cures, His teeth, I’ve enacted,
Shall all be extracted By terrified amateurs.
The music-hall singer attends a series Of masses and fugues and “ops” By Bach, interwoven
With Spohr and Beethoven, At classical Monday Pops.

The billiard sharp who any one catches, His doom’s extremely hard–
He’s made to dwell–
In a dungeon cell
On a spot that’s always barred. And there he plays extravagant matches In fitless finger-stalls
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue
And elliptical billiard balls!

My object all sublime, etc.

CHORUS. His object all sublime, etc.

Enter Pooh-Bah, Ko-Ko, and Pitti-Sing. All kneel

(Pooh-Bah hands a paper to Ko-Ko.)

KO. I am honoured in being permitted to welcome your Majesty. I guess the object of your Majesty’s visit–your wishes have been attended to. The execution has taken place. MIK. Oh, you’ve had an execution, have you? KO. Yes. The Coroner has just handed me his certificate. POOH. I am the Coroner. (Ko-Ko hands certificate to Mikado.)
MIK. And this is the certificate of his death. (Reads.) “At Titipu, in the presence of the Lord Chancellor, Lord Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord Mayor, and Groom of the Second Floor Front—-” POOH. They were all present, your Majesty. I counted them myself.
MIK. Very good house. I wish I’d been in time for the performance.
KO. A tough fellow he was, too–a man of gigantic strength. His struggles were terrific. It was a remarkable scene. MIK. Describe it.



KO. The criminal cried, as he dropped him down, In a state of wild alarm–
With a frightful, frantic, fearful frown, I bared my big right arm.
I seized him by his little pig-tail, And on his knees fell he,
As he squirmed and struggled, And gurgled and guggled,
I drew my snickersnee!
Oh, never shall I
Forget the cry,
Or the shriek that shrieked he, As I gnashed my teeth,
When from its sheath
I drew my snickersnee!


We know him well,
He cannot tell
Untrue or groundless tales– He always tries
To utter lies,
And every time he fails.

PITTI. He shivered and shook as he gave the sign For the stroke he didn’t deserve; When all of a sudden his eye met mine, And it seemed to brace his nerve; For he nodded his head and kissed his hand, And he whistled an air, did he,
As the sabre true
Cut cleanly through
His cervical vertebrae!

When a man’s afraid,
A beautiful maid
Is a cheering sight to see;
And it’s oh, I’m glad
That moment sad
Was soothed by sight of me!


Her terrible tale
You can’t assail,
With truth it quite agrees:
Her taste exact
For faultless fact
Amounts to a disease.

POOH. Now though you’d have said that head was dead (For its owner dead was he),
It stood on its neck, with a smile well-bred, And bowed three times to me!
It was none of your impudent off-hand nods, But as humble as could be;
For it clearly knew
The deference due
To a man of pedigree!
And it’s oh, I vow,
This deathly bow
Was a touching sight to see; Though trunkless, yet
It couldn’t forget
The deference due to me!


This haughty youth,
He speaks the truth
Whenever he finds it pays:
And in this case
It all took place
Exactly as he says!
[Exeunt Chorus.

MIK. All this is very interesting, and I should like to have seen it. But we came about a totally different matter. A year ago my son, the heir to the throne of Japan, bolted from our Imperial Court.
KO. Indeed! Had he any reason to be dissatisfied with his position?
KAT. None whatever. On the contrary, I was going to marry him–yet he fled!
POOH. I am surprised that he should have fled from one so lovely!
KAT. That’s not true.
KAT. You hold that I am not beautiful because my face is plain. But you know nothing; you are still unenlightened. Learn, then, that it is not in the face alone that beauty is to be sought. My face is unattractive!
POOH. It is.
KAT. But I have a left shoulder-blade that is a miracle of loveliness. People come miles to see it. My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist.
POOH. Allow me!
KAT. It is on view Tuesdays and Fridays, on presentation of visiting card. As for my circulation, it is the largest in the world.
KO. And yet he fled!
MIK. And is now masquerading in this town, disguised as a Second Trombone.
KO., POOH., and PITTI. A Second Trombone! MIK. Yes; would it be troubling you too much if I asked you to produce him? He goes by the name of—- KAT. Nanki-Poo.
MIK. Nanki-Poo.
KO. It’s quite easy. That is, it’s rather difficult. In point of fact, he’s gone abroad!
MIK. Gone abroad! His address.
KO. Knightsbridge!
KAT. (who is reading certificate of death). Ha! MIK. What’s the matter?
KAT. See here–his name–Nanki-Poo–beheaded this morning. Oh, where shall I find another? Where shall I find another?

[Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, and Pitti-Sing fall on their knees.

MIK. (looking at paper). Dear, dear, dear! this is very tiresome. (To Ko-Ko.) My poor fellow, in your anxiety to carry out my wishes you have beheaded the heir to the throne of Japan! KO. I beg to offer an unqualified apology. POOH. I desire to associate myself with that expression of regret.
PITTI. We really hadn’t the least notion– MIK. Of course you hadn’t. How could you? Come, come, my good fellow, don’t distress yourself–it was no fault of yours. If a man of exalted rank chooses to disguise himself as a Second Trombone, he must take the consequences. It really distresses me to see you take on so. I’ve no doubt he thoroughly deserved all he got. (They rise.)
KO. We are infinitely obliged to your Majesty—- PITTI. Much obliged, your Majesty.
POOH. Very much obliged, your Majesty. MIK. Obliged? not a bit. Don’t mention it. How could you tell?
POOH. No, of course we couldn’t tell who the gentleman really was.
PITTI. It wasn’t written on his forehead, you know. KO. It might have been on his pocket-handkerchief, but Japanese don’t use pocket-handkerchiefs! Ha! ha! ha! MIK. Ha! ha! ha! (To Katisha.) I forget the punishment for compassing the death of the Heir Apparent. KO., POOH, and PITTI. Punishment. (They drop down on their knees again.)
MIK. Yes. Something lingering, with boiling oil in it, I fancy. Something of that sort. I think boiling oil occurs in it, but I’m not sure. I know it’s something humorous, but lingering, with either boiling oil or melted lead. Come, come, don’t fret–I’m not a bit angry.
KO. (in abject terror). If your Majesty will accept our assurance, we had no idea—-
MIK. Of course—-
PITTI. I knew nothing about it.
POOH. I wasn’t there.
MIK. That’s the pathetic part of it. Unfortunately, the fool of an Act says “compassing the death of the Heir Apparent.” There’s not a word about a mistake—-
KO., PITTI., and POOH. No!
MIK. Or not knowing—-
KO. No!
MIK. Or having no notion—-
MIK. Or not being there—-
MIK. There should be, of course— KO., PITTI., and POOH. Yes!
MIK. But there isn’t.
KO., PITTI., and POOH. Oh!
MIK. That’s the slovenly way in which these Acts are always drawn. However, cheer up, it’ll be all right. I’ll have it altered next session. Now, let’s see about your execution–will after luncheon suit you? Can you wait till then? KO., PITTI., and POOH. Oh, yes–we can wait till then! MIK. Then we’ll make it after luncheon. POOH. I don’t want any lunch.
MIK. I’m really very sorry for you all, but it’s an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances.



MIK. See how the Fates their gifts allot, For A is happy–B is not.
Yet B is worthy, I dare say,
Of more prosperity than A!
KO., POOH., and PITTI. Is B more worthy? KAT. I should say
He’s worth a great deal more than A. ENSEMBLE: Yet A is happy!
Oh, so happy!
Laughing, Ha! ha!
Chaffing, Ha! ha!
Nectar quaffing, Ha! ha! ha!
Ever joyous, ever gay,
Happy, undeserving A!
KO., POOH., and PITTI. If I were Fortune–which I’m not– B should enjoy A’s happy lot, And A should die in miserie– That is, assuming I am B.
MIK. and KAT. But should A perish? KO., POOH., and PITTI. That should be (Of course, assuming I am B).
B should be happy!
Oh, so happy!
Laughing, Ha! ha!
Chaffing, Ha! ha!
Nectar quaffing, Ha! ha! ha! But condemned to die is he, Wretched meritorious B!

[Exeunt Mikado and Katisha.

KO. Well, a nice mess you’ve got us into, with your nodding head and the deference due to a man of pedigree! POOH. Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.
PITTI. Corroborative detail indeed! Corroborative fiddlestick!
KO. And you’re just as bad as he is with your cock– and-a-bull stories about catching his eye and his whistling an air. But that’s so like you! You must put in your oar! POOH. But how about your big right arm? PITTI. Yes, and your snickersnee!
KO. Well, well, never mind that now. There’s only one thing to be done. Nanki-Poo hasn’t started yet–he must come to life again at once. (Enter Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum prepared for journey.) Here he comes. Here, Nanki-Poo, I’ve good news for you–you’re reprieved.
NANK. Oh, but it’s too late. I’m a dead man, and I’m off for my honeymoon.
KO. Nonsense! A terrible thing has just happened. It seems you’re the son of the Mikado.
NANK. Yes, but that happened some time ago. KO. Is this a time for airy persiflage? Your father is here, and with Katisha!
NANK. My father! And with Katisha! KO. Yes, he wants you particularly.
POOH. So does she.
YUM. Oh, but he’s married now.
KO. But, bless my heart! what has that to do with it? NANK. Katisha claims me in marriage, but I can’t marry her because I’m married already–consequently she will insist on my execution, and if I’m executed, my wife will have to be buried alive.
YUM. You see our difficulty.
KO. Yes. I don’t know what’s to be done. NANK. There’s one chance for you. If you could persuade Katisha to marry you, she would have no further claim on me, and in that case I could come to life without any fear of being put to death.
KO. I marry Katisha!
YUM. I really think it’s the only course. KO. But, my good girl, have you seen her? She’s something appalling!
PITTI. Ah! that’s only her face. She has a left elbow which people come miles to see!
POOH. I am told that her right heel is much admired by connoisseurs.
KO. My good sir, I decline to pin my heart upon any lady’s right heel.
NANK. It comes to this: While Katisha is single, I prefer to be a disembodied spirit. When Katisha is married, existence will be as welcome as the flowers in spring.



NANK. The flowers that bloom in the spring, Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine– As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring, Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine. And that’s what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.
Tra la la la la la, etc.

ALL. Tra la la la, etc.

KO. The flowers that bloom in the spring, Tra la,
Have nothing to do with the case. I’ve got to take under my wing,
Tra la,
A most unattractive old thing, Tra la,
With a caricature of a face And that’s what I mean when I say, or I sing, “Oh, bother the flowers that bloom in the spring.” Tra la la la la la, etc.

ALL. Tra la la la, Tra la la la, etc.

[Dance and exeunt Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, Pooh-Bah, Pitti-Sing, and Ko-Ko.

Enter Katisha.


Alone, and yet alive! Oh, sepulchre! My soul is still my body’s prisoner!
Remote the peace that Death alone can give– My doom, to wait! my punishment, to live!


Hearts do not break!
They sting and ache
For old love’s sake,
But do not die,
Though with each breath
They long for death
As witnesseth
The living I!
Oh, living I!
Come, tell me why,
When hope is gone,
Dost thou stay on?
Why linger here,
Where all is drear?
Oh, living I!
Come, tell me why,
When hope is gone,
Dost thou stay on?
May not a cheated maiden die?

KO. (entering and approaching her timidly). Katisha! KAT. The miscreant who robbed me of my love! But vengeance pursues–they are heating the cauldron!
KO. Katisha–behold a suppliant at your feet! Katisha–mercy!
KAT. Mercy? Had you mercy on him? See here, you! You have slain my love. He did not love me, but he would have loved me in time. I am an acquired taste–only the educated palate can appreciate me. I was educating his palate when he left me. Well, he is dead, and where shall I find another? It takes years to train a man to love me. Am I to go through the weary round again, and, at the same time, implore mercy for you who robbed me of my prey–I mean my pupil–just as his education was on the point of completion? Oh, where shall I find another? KO. (suddenly, and with great vehemence). Here!–Here! KAT. What!!!
KO. (with intense passion). Katisha, for years I have loved you with a white-hot passion that is slowly but surely consuming my very vitals! Ah, shrink not from me! If there is aught of woman’s mercy in your heart, turn not away from a love-sick suppliant whose every fibre thrills at your tiniest touch! True it is that, under a poor mask of disgust, I have endeavoured to conceal a passion whose inner fires are broiling the soul within me! But the fire will not be smothered–it defies all attempts at extinction, and, breaking forth, all the more eagerly for its long restraint, it declares itself in words that will not be weighed–that cannot be schooled–that should not be too severely criticised. Katisha, I dare not hope for your love–but I will not live without it! Darling! KAT. You, whose hands still reek with the blood of my betrothed, dare to address words of passion to the woman you have so foully wronged!
KO. I do–accept my love, or I perish on the spot! KAT. Go to! Who knows so well as I that no one ever yet died of a broken heart!
KO. You know not what you say. Listen!


On a tree by a river a little tom-tit Sang “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!” And I said to him, “Dicky-bird, why do you sit Singing Willow, titwillow, titwillow’?” “Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?” I cried, “Or a rather tough worm in your little inside?” With a shake of his poor little head, he replied, “Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

He slapped at his chest, as he sat on that bough, Singing “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!” And a cold perspiration bespangled his brow, Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!
He sobbed and he sighed, and a gurgle he gave, Then he plunged himself into the billowy wave, And an echo arose from the suicide’s grave– “Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

Now I feel just as sure as I’m sure that my name Isn’t Willow, titwillow, titwillow, That ’twas blighted affection that made him exclaim “Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!” And if you remain callous and obdurate, I Shall perish as he did, and you will know why, Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die, “Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!”

(During this song Katisha has been greatly affected, and at the end is almost in tears.)

KAT. (whimpering). Did he really die of love? KO. He really did.
KAT. All on account of a cruel little hen? KO. Yes.
KAT. Poor little chap!
KO. It’s an affecting tale, and quite true. I knew the bird intimately.
KAT. Did you? He must have been very fond of her. KO. His devotion was something extraordinary. KAT. (still whimpering). Poor little chap! And–and if I refuse you, will you go and do the same? KO. At once.
KAT. No, no–you mustn’t! Anything but that! (Falls on his breast.) Oh, I’m a silly little goose! KO. (making a wry face). You are!
KAT. And you won’t hate me because I’m just a little teeny weeny wee bit bloodthirsty, will you?
KO. Hate you? Oh, Katisha! is there not beauty even in bloodthirstiness?
KAT. My idea exactly.


KAT. There is beauty in the bellow of the blast, There is grandeur in the growling of the gale, There is eloquent outpouring
When the lion is a-roaring, And the tiger is a-lashing of his tail! KO. Yes, I like to see a tiger
From the Congo or the Niger, And especially when lashing of his tail! KAT. Volcanoes have a splendor that is grim, And earthquakes only terrify the dolts, But to him who’s scientific
There’s nothing that’s terrific In the falling of a flight of thunderbolts! KO. Yes, in spite of all my meekness, If I have a little weakness,
It’s a passion for a flight of thunderbolts!

BOTH. If that is so,
Sing derry down derry!
It’s evident, very,
Our tastes are one.
Away we’ll go,
And merrily marry,
Nor tardily tarry
Till day is done!

KO. There is beauty in extreme old age– Do you fancy you are elderly enough? Information I’m requesting
On a subject interesting: Is a maiden all the better when she’s tough? KAT. Throughout this wide dominion It’s the general opinion
That she’ll last a good deal longer when she’s tough.

KO. Are you old enough to marry, do you think? Won’t you wait till you are eighty in the shade? There’s a fascination frantic
In a ruin that’s romantic;
Do you think you are sufficiently decayed? KAT. To the matter that you mention I have given some attention,
And I think I am sufficiently decayed.

BOTH. If that is so,
Sing derry down derry!
It’s evident, very,
Our tastes are one!
Away we’ll go,
And merrily marry,
Nor tardily tarry
Till day is done!
[Exeunt together.

Flourish. Enter the Mikado, attended by Pish-Tush and Court.

MIK. Now then, we’ve had a capital lunch, and we’re quite ready. Have all the painful preparations been made? PISH. Your Majesty, all is prepared.
MIK. Then produce the unfortunate gentleman and his two well-meaning but misguided accomplices.

Enter Ko-Ko, Katisha, Pooh-Bah, and Pitti-Sing. They throw themselves
at the Mikado’s feet

KAT. Mercy! Mercy for Ko-Ko! Mercy for Pitti-Sing! Mercy even for Pooh-Bah!
MIK. I beg your pardon, I don’t think I quite caught that remark.
POOH. Mercy even for Pooh-Bah.
KAT. Mercy! My husband that was to have been is dead, and I have just married this miserable object. MIK. Oh! You’ve not been long about it! KO. We were married before the Registrar. POOH. I am the Registrar.
MIK. I see. But my difficulty is that, as you have slain the Heir Apparent—-

Enter Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum. They kneel.

NANK. The Heir Apparent is not slain. MIK. Bless my heart, my son!
YUM. And your daughter-in-law elected! KAT. (seizing Ko-Ko). Traitor, you have deceived me! MIK. Yes, you are entitled to a little explanation, but I think he will give it better whole than in pieces. KO. Your Majesty, it’s like this: It is true that I stated that I had killed Nanki-Poo—-
MIK. Yes, with most affecting particulars. POOH. Merely corroborative detail intended to give artistic verisimilitude to a bald and—-
KO. Will you refrain from putting in your oar? (To Mikado.) It’s like this: When your Majesty says, “Let a thing be done,” it’s as good as done–practically, it is done–because your Majesty’s will is law. Your Majesty says, “Kill a gentleman,” and a gentleman is told off to be killed. Consequently, that gentleman is as good as dead–practically, he is dead–and if he is dead, why not say so? MIK. I see. Nothing could possibly be more satisfactory!


PITTI. For he’s gone and married Yum-Yum– ALL. Yum-Yum!
PITTI. Your anger pray bury,
For all will be merry,
I think you had better succumb– ALL. Cumb–cumb.
PITTI. And join our expressions of glee! KO. On this subject I pray you be dumb– ALL. Dumb–dumb!
KO. Your notions, though many, Are not worth a penny,
The word for your guidance is “Mum”– ALL. Mum–Mum!
KO. You’ve a very good bargain in me. ALL. On this subject we pray you be dumb– Dumb–dumb!
We think you had better succumb– Cumb–cumb!
You’ll find there are many
Who’ll wed for a penny,
There are lots of good fish in the sea. YUM. and NANK. The threatened cloud has passed away, And brightly shines the dawning day; What though the night may come too soon, We’ve years and years of afternoon! ALL. Then let the throng
Our joy advance,
With laughing song
And merry dance,
With joyous shout and ringing cheer, Inaugurate our new career!
Then let the throng, etc.








SAMUEL (his Lieutenant)


MABEL, EDITH, KATE, and ISABEL (General Stanley’s Daughters)
RUTH (a Pirate Maid of all Work)

Chorus of Pirates, Police, and General Stanley’s Daughters


A rocky sea-shore on the coast of Cornwall

A ruined chapel by moonlight

First produced at the Op-ra Comique on April 3, 1880


(Scene.-A rocky seashore on the coast of Cornwall. In the distance is a calm sea, on which a schooner is lying at anchor. Rock L. sloping down to L.C. of stage. Under these rocks is a cavern, the entrance to which is seen at first entrance L. A natural arch of rock occupies the R.C. of the stage. As the curtain rises groups of pirates are discovered — some drinking, some playing cards. SAMUEL, the Pirate Lieutenant, is going from one group to another, filling the cups from a flask. FREDERIC is seated in a despondent attitude at the back of the scene. RUTH kneels at his feet.)


ALL: Pour, O pour the pirate sherry; Fill, O fill the pirate glass;
And, to make us more than merry Let the pirate bumper pass.

SAMUEL: For today our pirate ‘prentice Rises from indentures freed;
Strong his arm, and keen his scent is He’s a pirate now indeed!

ALL: Here’s good luck to Fred’ric’s ventures! Fred’ric’s out of his indentures.

SAMUEL: Two and twenty, now he’s rising, And alone he’s fit to fly,
Which we’re bent on signalizing With unusual revelry.

ALL: Here’s good luck to Fred’ric’s ventures! Fred’ric’s out of his indentures. Pour, O pour the pirate sherry;
Fill, O fill the pirate glass; And, to make us more than merry
Let the pirate bumper pass.
(FREDERIC rises and comes forward with PIRATE KING, who enters)
KING: Yes, Frederic, from to-day you rank as a full-blown member of our band.
ALL: Hurrah!
FREDERIC: My friends, I thank you all, from my heart, for your kindly wishes. Would that I could repay them as they deserve!
KING: What do you mean?
FREDERIC: To-day I am out of my indentures, and to-day I leave you for ever.
KING: But this is quite unaccountable; a keener hand at scuttling a Cunarder or cutting out a White Star never shipped a handspike.
FREDERIC: Yes, I have done my best for you. And why? It was my duty under my indentures, and I am the slave of duty. As a child I was regularly apprenticed to your band. It was through an error — no matter, the mistake was ours, not yours, and I was in honour bound by it. SAMUEL: An error? What error? (RUTH rises and comes forward) FREDERIC: I may not tell you; it would reflect upon my well-loved Ruth.
RUTH: Nay, dear master, my mind has long been gnawed by the cankering tooth of mystery. Better have it out at once.


RUTH: When Frederic was a little lad he proved so brave and daring,
His father thought he’d ‘prentice him to some career seafaring.
I was, alas! his nurs’rymaid, and so it fell to my lot To take and bind the promising boy apprentice to a pilot —
A life not bad for a hardy lad, though surely not a high lot,
Though I’m a nurse, you might do worse than make your boy a pilot.
I was a stupid nurs’rymaid, on breakers always steering,
And I did not catch the word aright, through being hard of hearing;
Mistaking my instructions, which within my brain did gyrate,
I took and bound this promising boy apprentice to a pirate.
A sad mistake it was to make and doom him to a vile lot.
I bound him to a pirate — you! — instead of to a pilot.
I soon found out, beyond all doubt, the scope of this disaster,
But I hadn’t the face to return to my place, and break it to my master.
A nurs’rymaid is not afraid of what you people call work,
So I made up my mind to go as a kind of piratical maid- of-all-work.
And that is how you find me now, a member of your shy lot,
Which you wouldn’t have found, had he been bound apprentice to a pilot.
RUTH: Oh, pardon! Frederic, pardon! (Kneels) FREDERIC: Rise, sweet one, I have long pardoned you. (Ruth rises)
RUTH: The two words were so much alike! FREDERIC: They were. They still are, though years have rolled over their heads. But this afternoon my obligation ceases. Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable; but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation. Oh! pity me, my beloved friends, for such is my sense of duty that, once out of my indentures, I shall feel myself bound to devote myself heart and soul to your extermination!
ALL: Poor lad — poor lad! (All weep) KING: Well, Frederic, if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to destroy us, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act in accordance with the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and chance the consequences.
SAMUEL: Besides, we can offer you but little temptation to remain with us. We don’t seem to make piracy pay. I’m sure I don’t know why, but we don’t. FREDERIC: I know why, but, alas! I mustn’t tell you; it wouldn’t be right.
KING: Why not, my boy? It’s only half-past eleven, and you are one of us until the clock strikes twelve. SAMUEL: True, and until then you are bound to protect our interests.
ALL: Hear, hear!
FREDERIC: Well, then, it is my duty, as a pirate, to tell you that you are too tender-hearted. For instance, you make a point of never attacking a weaker party than yourselves, and when you attack a stronger party you invariably get thrashed.
KING: There is some truth in that. FREDERIC: Then, again, you make a point of never molesting an orphan!
SAMUEL: Of course: we are orphans ourselves, and know what it is.
FREDERIC: Yes, but it has got about, and what is the consequence? Every one we capture says he’s an orphan. The last three ships we took proved to be manned entirely by orphans, and so we had to let them go. One would think that Great Britain’s mercantile navy was recruited solely from her orphan asylums — which we know is not the case.
SAMUEL: But, hang it all! you wouldn’t have us absolutely merciless?
FREDERIC: There’s my difficulty; until twelve o’clock I would, after twelve I wouldn’t. Was ever a man placed in so delicate a situation?
RUTH: And Ruth, your own Ruth, whom you love so well, and who has won her middle-aged way into your boyish heart, what is to become of her?
KING: Oh, he will take you with him. FREDERIC: Well, Ruth, I feel some difficulty about you. It is true that I admire you very much, but I have been constantly at sea since I was eight years old, and yours is the only woman’s face I have seen during that time. I think it is a sweet face.
RUTH: It is — oh, it is!
FREDERIC: I say I think it is; that is my impression. But as I have never had an opportunity of comparing you with other women, it is just possible I may be mistaken. KING: True.
FREDERIC: What a terrible thing it would be if I were to marry this innocent person, and then find out that she is, on the whole, plain!
KING: Oh, Ruth is very well, very well indeed. SAMUEL: Yes, there are the remains of a fine woman about Ruth. FREDERIC: Do you really think so?
FREDERIC: Then I will not be so selfish as to take her from you. In justice to her, and in consideration for you, I will leave her behind. (Hands RUTH to KING) KING: No, Frederic, this must not be. We are rough men, who lead a rough life, but we are not so utterly heartless as to deprive thee of thy love. I think I am right in saying that there is not one here who would rob thee of this inestimable treasure for all the world holds dear. ALL: (loudly) Not one!
KING: No, I thought there wasn’t. Keep thy love, Frederic, keep thy love. (Hands her back to FREDERIC) FREDERIC: You’re very good, I’m sure. (Exit RUTH) KING: Well, it’s the top of the tide, and we must be off. Farewell, Frederic. When your process of extermination begins, let our deaths be as swift and painless as you can conveniently make them.
FREDERIC: I will! By the love I have for you, I swear it! Would that you could render this extermination unnecessary by accompanying me back to civilization! KING: No, Frederic, it cannot be. I don’t think much of our profession, but, contrasted with respectability, it is comparatively honest. No, Frederic, I shall live and die a Pirate King.


KING: Oh, better far to live and die Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part With a pirate head and a pirate heart. Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do; But I’ll be true to the song I sing, And live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!
ALL: You are!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
KING: And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King.
ALL: It is!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
KING: When I sally forth to seek my prey I help myself in a royal way.
I sink a few more ships, it’s true, Than a well-bred monarch ought to do; But many a king on a first-class throne, If he wants to call his crown his own, Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty work than e’er I do, For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!
ALL: You are!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
KING: And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King.
ALL: It is!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!

(Exeunt all except FREDERIC. Enter RUTH.)
RUTH: Oh, take me with you! I cannot live if I am left behind.
FREDERIC: Ruth, I will be quite candid with you. You are very dear to me, as you know, but I must be circumspect. You see, you are considerably older than I. A lad of twenty-one usually looks for a wife of seventeen. RUTH: A wife of seventeen! You will find me a wife of a thousand!
FREDERIC: No, but I shall find you a wife of forty-seven, and that is quite enough. Ruth, tell me candidly and without reserve: compared with other women, how are you?
RUTH: I will answer you truthfully, master: I have a slight cold, but otherwise I am quite well. FREDERIC: I am sorry for your cold, but I was referring rather to your personal appearance. Compared with other women, are you beautiful?
RUTH: (bashfully) I have been told so, dear master. FREDERIC: Ah, but lately?
RUTH: Oh, no; years and years ago. FREDERIC: What do you think of yourself? RUTH: It is a delicate question to answer, but I think I am a fine woman.
FREDERIC: That is your candid opinion? RUTH: Yes, I should be deceiving you if I told you otherwise. FREDERIC: Thank you, Ruth. I believe you, for I am sure you would not practice on my inexperience. I wish to do the right thing, and if- I say if- you are really a fine woman, your age shall be no obstacle to our union! (Shakes hands with her. Chorus of girls heard in the distance, “climbing over rocky mountain,” etc.) Hark! Surely I hear voices! Who has ventured to approach our all but inaccessible lair? Can it be Custom House? No, it does not sound like Custom House. RUTH: (aside) Confusion! it is the voices of young girls! If he should see them I am lost.
FREDERIC: (looking off) By all that’s marvellous, a bevy of beautiful maidens!
RUTH: (aside) Lost! lost! lost!
FREDERIC: How lovely, how surpassingly lovely is the plainest of them! What grace- what delicacy- what refinement! And Ruth– Ruth told me she was beautiful!

FREDERIC: Oh, false one, you have deceived me! RUTH: I have deceived you?
FREDERIC: Yes, deceived me!
(Denouncing her.) FREDERIC: You told me you were fair as gold! RUTH: (wildly) And, master, am I not so? FREDERIC: And now I see you’re plain and old. RUTH: I’m sure I’m not a jot so.
FREDERIC: Upon my innocence you play. RUTH: I’m not the one to plot so.
FREDERIC: Your face is lined, your hair is grey. RUTH: It’s gradually got so.
FREDERIC: Faithless woman, to deceive me, I who trusted so!
RUTH: Master, master, do not leave me! Hear me, ere you go!
My love without reflecting, Oh, do not be rejecting!
Take a maiden tender, her affection raw and green, At very highest rating,
Has been accumulating
Summers seventeen, summers seventeen. Don’t, beloved master,
Crush me with disaster.
What is such a dower to the dower I have here? My love unabating
Has been accumulating
Forty-seven year–forty-seven year!


Don’t, beloved master, Yes, your former master Crush me with disaster. Saves you from disaster. What is such a dower to the Your love would be uncomfortably dower I have here fervid, it is clear My love unabating If, as you are stating Has been accumulating It’s been accumulating Forty-seven year, forty-seven Forty-seven year–forty-seven year! year! Faithless woman to deceive me, I who trusted so!
Master, master, do not leave Faithless woman to deceive me, I me, hear me, ere I go! who trusted so!

What shall I do? Before these gentle maidens I dare not show in this alarming costume! No, no, I must remain in close concealment Until I can appear in decent clothing!
(Hides in cave as they enter climbing over the rocks and through arched rock)

GIRLS: Climbing over rocky mountain, Skipping rivulet and fountain,
Passing where the willows quiver, Passing where the willows quiver
By the ever-rolling river,
Swollen with the summer rain, the summer rain Threading long and leafy mazes
Dotted with unnumbered daisies, Dotted, dotted with unnumbered daisies, Scaling rough and rugged passes,
Climb the hardy little lasses, Till the bright sea-shore they gain; Scaling rough and rugged passes,
Climb the hardy little lasses, Till the bright sea-shore they gain!
EDITH: Let us gaily tread the measure, Make the most of fleeting leisure,
Hail it as a true ally,
Though it perish by-and-by.

GIRLS: Hail it as a true ally,
Though it perish by-and-by.
EDITH: Every moment brings a treasure Of its own especial pleasure;
Though the moments quickly die, Greet them gaily as they fly,
Greet them gaily as they fly.

GIRLS: Though the moments quickly die, Greet them gaily as they fly.

KATE: Far away from toil and care, Revelling in fresh sea-air,
Here we live and reign alone
In a world that’s all our own. Here, in this our rocky den,
Far away from mortal men,
We’ll be queens, and make decrees– They may honour them who please.

GIRLS: We’ll be queens, and make decrees– They may honour them who please.
Let us gaily tread the measure, etc.
KATE: What a picturesque spot! I wonder where we are! EDITH: And I wonder where Papa is. We have left him ever so far behind.
ISABEL: Oh, he will be here presently! Remember poor Papa is not as young as we are, and we came over a rather difficult country.
KATE: But how thoroughly delightful it is to be so entirely alone! Why, in all probability we are the first human beings who ever set foot on this enchanting spot. ISABEL: Except the mermaids–it’s the very place for mermaids. KATE: Who are only human beings down to the waist– EDITH: And who can’t be said strictly to set foot anywhere. Tails they may, but feet they cannot. KATE: But what shall we do until Papa and the servants arrive with the luncheon?
EDITH: We are quite alone, and the sea is as smooth as glass. Suppose we take off our shoes and stockings and paddle? ALL: Yes, yes! The very thing! (They prepare to carry, out the suggestion. They have all taken off one shoe, when FREDERIC comes forward from cave.)

FREDERIC: (recitative). Stop, ladies, pray! GIRLS: (Hopping on one foot) A man!
FREDERIC: I had intended
Not to intrude myself upon your notice In this effective but alarming costume; But under these peculiar circumstances, It is my bounden duty to inform you That your proceedings will not be unwitnessed! EDITH: But who are you, sir? Speak! (All hopping) FREDERIC: I am a pirate!
GIRLS: (recoiling, hopping) A pirate! Horror! FREDERIC: Ladies, do not shun me! This evening I renounce my vile profession; And, to that end, O pure and peerless maidens! Oh, blushing buds of ever-blooming beauty! I, sore at heart, implore your kind assistance. EDITH: How pitiful his tale!
KATE: How rare his beauty
GIRLS: How pitiful his tale! How rare his beauty!

Oh, is there not one maiden breast Which does not feel the moral beauty Of making worldly interest
Subordinate to sense of duty?
Who would not give up willingly All matrimonial ambition,
To rescue such a one as I
From his unfortunate position? From his position,
To rescue such an one as I
From his unfortunate position?
GIRLS: Alas! there’s not one maiden breast Which seems to feel the moral beauty Of making worldly interest
Subordinate to sense of duty!
FREDERIC: Oh, is there not one maiden here Whose homely face and bad complexion Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man’s affection? Of such a one, if such there be,
I swear by Heaven’s arch above you, If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be, I’ll love you, However plain you be,
If you will cast your eyes on me, However plain you be I’ll love you, I’ll love you, I’ll love, I’ll love you!
GIRLS: Alas! there’s not one maiden here Whose homely face and bad complexion Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man’s affection!
FREDERIC: (in despair) Not one?
GIRLS: No, no– not one!
FREDERIC: Not one?
GIRLS: No, no!
MABEL: (enters through arch) Yes, one! Yes, one!
GIRLS: ‘Tis Mabel!
MABEL: Yes, ’tis Mabel!


Oh, sisters, deaf to pity’s name, For shame!
It’s true that he has gone astray, But pray
Is that a reason good and true Why you
Should all be deaf to pity’s name?
GIRLS: (aside): The question is, had he not been A thing of beauty,
Would she be swayed by quite as keen A sense of duty?

MABEL: For shame, for shame, for shame!

MABEL: Poor wand’ring one!
Though thou hast surely strayed, Take heart of grace,
Thy steps retrace,
Poor wand’ring one!
Poor wand’ring one!
If such poor love as mine
Can help thee find
True peace of mind-
Why, take it, it is thine!

GIRLS: Take heart, no danger low’rs; Take any heart but ours!

MABEL: Take heart, fair days will shine; Take any heart–take mine!

GIRLS: Take heart; no danger low’rs; Take any heart-but ours!

MABEL: Take heart, fair days will shine; Take any heart–take mine!
Poor wand’ring one!, etc.

(MABEL and FREDERIC go to mouth of cave and converse. EDITH beckons her sisters, who form a semicircle around her.)

What ought we to do,
Gentle sisters, say?
Propriety, we know,
Says we ought to stay;
While sympathy exclaims,
“Free them from your tether– Play at other games–
Leave them here together.”


Her case may, any day,
Be yours, my dear, or mine. Let her make her hay
While the sun doth shine.
Let us compromise
(Our hearts are not of leather): Let us shut our eyes
And talk about the weather.
GIRLS: Yes, yes, let’s talk about the weather.
Chattering chorus

How beautifully blue the sky,
The glass is rising very high, Continue fine I hope it may,
And yet it rained but yesterday. To-morrow it may pour again
(I hear the country wants some rain), Yet people say, I know not why,
That we shall have a warm July. To-morrow it may pour again
(I hear the country wants some rain), Yet people say, I know not why,
That we shall have a warm July.

.During MABEL’s solo the GIRLS continue chatter pianissimo, but listening eagerly all the time.


Did ever maiden wake
From dream of homely duty,
To find her daylight break
With such exceeding beauty? Did ever maiden close
Her eyes on waking sadness, To dream of such exceeding gladness?
FREDERIC: Ah, yes! ah, yes! this is exceeding gladness GIRLS: How beautifully blue the sky, etc.

.During this, GIRLS continue their chatter pianissimo as before, but listening intently all the time.

Did ever pirate roll
His soul in guilty dreaming, And wake to find that soul
With peace and virtue beaming?

Did ever pirate Did ever maiden wake How beautifully blue loathed From dream of homely the sky, etc. Forsake his hideous duty,
mission To find her daylight To find himself break
betrothed With such exceeding To lady of position? beauty?


Stay, we must not lose our senses; Men who stick at no offences
Will anon be here!
Piracy their dreadful trade is; Pray you, get you hence, young ladies, While the coast is clear
(FREDERIC and MABEL retire)
GIRLS: No, we must not lose our senses, If they stick at no offences
We should not be here!
Piracy their dreadful trade is– Nice companions for young ladies!
Let us disap–.

(During this chorus the PIRATES have entered stealthily, and formed in a semicircle behind the GIRLS. As the GIRLS move to go off, each PIRATE seizes a GIRL. KING seizes EDITH and ISABEL, SAMUEL seizes KATE.)

GIRLS: Too late!
PIRATES: Ha, ha!
GIRLS: Too late!
PIRATES: Ho, ho!
Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho, ho!

(Pirates pass in front of (Girls pass in front of Girls.) Pirates.)


Here’s a first-rate opportunity We have missed our opportunity To get married with impunity, Of escaping with impunity; And indulge in the felicity So farewell to the felicity Of unbounded domesticity. Of our maiden domesticity! You shall quickly be We shall quickly be