Iolanthe
Libretto by W. S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Presented by www.StageBeauty.net

Dramatis Personae
IOLANTHEA Fairy
STREPHONA shepherd, son of Iolanthe
LORD CHANCELLORThe Lord Chancellor
PHYLLISA Ward of Chancery, Strephons beloved
QUEENOf the Fairies
CELIA, LEILA, FLETAFairies
LORD MOUNTARARATEarl of Mountararat
LORD TOLLOLLEREarl of Tolloller
PRIVATE WILLISof the Grenadier Guards
Musical Styles
ARIAA melodic solo song of a reflective nature.
BALLADA narrative song of a romantic nature.
BARCAROLLEA lilting song.
ENSEMBLEA song wherein different parts are sung simultaneously by different performers.
MADRIGALA part song for several voices.
RECITATIVESung or melodiously spoken narration with minimal or no musical accompaniment.


ACT I

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


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

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

CELIA
We are dainty little fairies,
  Ever singing, ever dancing;
    We indulge in our vagaries
    In a fashion most entrancing.
If you ask the special function
  Of our never-ceasing motion,
    We reply, without compunction,
    That we haven't any notion!
CHORUS
No, we haven't any notion!
  Tripping hither, etc.
SOLO (LEILA)

LEILA
If you ask us how we live,
  Lovers all essentials give--
We can ride on lovers' sighs,
  Warm ourselves in lovers' eyes,
Bathe ourselves in lovers' tears,
  Clothe ourselves with lovers' fears,
Arm ourselves with lovers' darts,
  Hide ourselves in lovers' hearts.
When you know us, you'll discover
  That we almost live on lover!
CHORUS
Yes, we live on lover!
  Tripping hither, etc.
[At the end of Chorus, all sigh wearily]

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

LEILA Iolanthe was the life and soul of Fairyland. Why, she wrote all our songs and arranged all our dances! We sing her songs and we trip her measures, but we don't enjoy ourselves!

FLETA To think that five-and-twenty years have elapsed since she was banished! What could she have done to have deserved so terrible a punishment?

LEILA Something awful! She married a mortal!

FLETA Oh! Is it injudicious to marry a mortal?

LEILA Injudicious? It strikes at the root of the whole fairy system! By our laws, the fairy who marries a mortal dies!

CELIA But Iolanthe didn't die!

[Enter Fairy Queen]

QUEEN No, because your Queen, who loved her with a surpassing love, commuted her sentence to penal servitude for life, on condition that she left her husband and never communicated with him again!

LEILA That sentence of penal servitude she is now working out, on her head, at the bottom of that stream!

QUEEN Yes, but when I banished her, I gave her all the pleasant places of the earth to dwell in. I'm sure I never intended that she should go and live at the bottom of a stream! It makes me perfectly wretched to think of the discomfort she must have undergone!

LEILA Think of the damp! And her chest was always delicate.

QUEEN And the frogs! Ugh! I never shall enjoy any peace of mind until I know why Iolanthe went to live among the frogs!

FLETA Then why not summon her and ask her?

QUEEN Why? Because if I set eyes on her I should forgive her at once!

CELIA Then why not forgive her? Twenty-five years--it's a long time!

LEILA Think how we loved her!

QUEEN Loved her? What was your love to mine? Why, she was invaluable to me! Who taught me to curl myself inside a buttercup? Iolanthe! Who taught me to swing upon a cobweb? Iolanthe! Who taught me to dive into a dewdrop--to nestle in a nutshell-to gambol upon gossamer? Iolanthe!

LEILA She certainly did surprising things!

FLETA Oh, give her back to us, great Queen, for your sake if not for ours!

[All kneel in supplication]

QUEEN [irresolute] Oh, I should be strong, but I am weak! I should be marble, but I am clay! Her punishment has been heavier than I intended. I did not mean that she should live among the frogs--and--well, well, it shall be as you wish--it shall be as you wish!

INVOCATION (QUEEN)

QUEEN
Iolanthe!
From thy dark exile thou art summoned!
  Come to our call--
    Come, come, Iolanthe!
CELIA
Iolanthe!
LEILA
Iolanthe!
ALL
Come to our call, Iolanthe!
  Iolanthe, come!
[Iolanthe rises from the water. She is clad in water-weeds. She approaches the Queen with head bent and arms crossed]

IOLANTHE
With humbled breast
  And every hope laid low,
    To thy behest,
    Offended Queen, I bow!
QUEEN
For a dark sin against our fairy laws
We sent thee into life-long banishment;
But mercy holds her sway within our hearts--
Rise--thou art pardoned!
IOLANTHE
Pardoned!
ALL
Pardoned!
[Her weeds fall from her, and she appears clothed as a fairy. The Queen places a diamond coronet on her head, and embraces her. The others also embrace her]

CHORUS

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

Every heart and every hand
  In our loving little band
  Welcomes thee to Fairyland,
    Iolanthe!
QUEEN And now, tell me, with all the world to choose from, why on earth did you decide to live at the bottom of that stream?

IOLANTHE To be near my son, STREPHON.

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

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

FLETA How old is he?

IOLANTHE Twenty-four.

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

IOLANTHE He's extremely pretty, but he's inclined to be stout.

ALL [disappointed] Oh!

QUEEN I see no objection to stoutness, in moderation.

CELIA And what is he?

IOLANTHE He's an Arcadian shepherd--and he loves Phyllis, a Ward in Chancery.

CELIA A mere shepherd! and he half a fairy!

IOLANTHE He's a fairy down to the waist--but his legs are mortal.

ALL Dear me!

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

IOLANTHE Nothing easier, for here he comes!

[Enter Strephon, singing and dancing and playing on a flageolet. He does not see the Fairies, who retire up stage as he enters]

SONG (STREPHON)

STREPHON
Good morrow, good mother!
  Good mother, good morrow!
    By some means or other,
    Pray banish your sorrow!
  With joy beyond telling
    My bosom is swelling,
  So join in a measure
    Expressive of pleasure,
  For I'm to be married to-day--to-day--
    Yes, I'm to be married to-day!
CHORUS
[aside] Yes, he's to be married to-day--to-day--
  Yes, he's to be married to-day!
IOLANTHE Then the Lord Chancellor has at last given his consent to your marriage with his beautiful ward, Phyllis?

STREPHON Not he, indeed. To all my tearful prayers he answers me, "A shepherd lad is no fit helpmate for a Ward of Chancery." I stood in court, and there I sang him songs of Arcadee, with flageolet accompaniment--in vain. At first he seemed amused, so did the Bar; but quickly wearying of my song and pipe, bade me get out. A servile usher then, in crumpled bands and rusty bombazine, led me, still singing, into Chancery Lane! I'll go no more; I'll marry her to-day, and brave the upshot, be it what it may!
[Sees Fairies] But who are these?

IOLANTHE Oh, Strephon! rejoice with me, my Queen has pardoned me!

STREPHON Pardoned you, mother? This is good news indeed.

IOLANTHE And these ladies are my beloved sisters.

STREPHON Your sisters! Then they are--my aunts!

QUEEN A pleasant piece of news for your bride on her wedding day!

STREPHON Hush! My bride knows nothing of my fairyhood. I dare not tell her, lest it frighten her. She thinks me mortal, and prefers me so.

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

STREPHON Much good! My dear aunt! it's the curse of my existence! What's the use of being half a fairy? My body can creep through a keyhole, but what's the good of that when my legs are left kicking behind? I can make myself invisible down to the waist, but that's of no use when my legs remain exposed to view! My brain is a fairy brain, but from the waist downwards I'm a gibbering idiot. My upper half is immortal, but my lower half grows older every day, and some day or other must die of old age. What's to become of my upper half when I've buried my lower half I really don't know!

FAIRIES Poor fellow!

QUEEN I see your difficulty, but with a fairy brain you should seek an intellectual sphere of action. Let me see. I've a borough or two at my disposal. Would you like to go into Parliament?

IOLANTHE A fairy Member! That would be delightful!

STREPHON I'm afraid I should do no good there--you see, down to the waist, I'm a Tory of the most determined description, but my legs are a couple of confounded Radicals, and, on a division, they'd be sure to take me into the wrong lobby. You see, they're two to one, which is a strong working majority.

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

STREPHON [bowing] I see your Majesty does not do things by halves.

QUEEN No, we are fairies down to the feet.

ENSEMBLE

QUEEN
Fare thee well, attractive stranger.
FAIRIES
Fare thee well, attractive stranger.
QUEEN
Shouldst thou be in doubt or danger,
  Peril or perplexitee,
    Call us, and we'll come to thee!
FAIRIES
Aye!  Call us, and we'll come to thee!
  Tripping hither, tripping thither,
    Nobody knows why or whither;
  We must now be taking wing
    To another fairy ring!
[Fairies and Queen trip off, Iolanthe, who takes an affectionate farewell of her son, going off last]

[Enter Phyllis, singing and dancing, and accompanying herself on a flageolet]

SONG (PHYLLIS)

PHYLLIS
Good morrow, good lover!
  Good lover, good morrow!
    I prithee discover,
    Steal, purchase, or borrow
  Some means of concealing
    The care you are feeling,
  And join in a measure
    Expressive of pleasure,
  For we're to be married to-day--to-day!
    Yes, we're to be married to-day!
BOTH
Yes, we're to be married, etc.
STREPHON [embracing her] My Phyllis! And to-day we are to be made happy for ever.

PHYLLIS Well, we're to be married.

STREPHON It's the same thing.

PHYLLIS I suppose it is. But oh, Strephon, I tremble at the step I'm taking! I believe it's penal servitude for life to marry a Ward of Court without the Lord Chancellor's consent! I shall be of age in two years. Don't you think you could wait two years?

STREPHON Two years. Have you ever looked in the glass?

PHYLLIS No, never.

STREPHON Here, look at that,
[showing her a pocket mirror]
and tell me if you think it rational to expect me to wait two years?

PHYLLIS [looking at herself] No. You're quite right--it's asking too much. One must be reasonable.

STREPHON Besides, who knows what will happen in two years? Why, you might fall in love with the Lord Chancellor himself by that time!

PHYLLIS Yes. He's a clean old gentleman.

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

PHYLLIS The House of Lords are certainly extremely attentive.

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

DUET (STREPHON and PHYLLIS)

PHYLLIS
None shall part us from each other,
  One in life and death are we:
    All in all to one another--
    I to thee and thou to me!
BOTH
Thou the tree and I the flower--
  Thou the idol; I the throng--
    Thou the day and I the hour--
    Thou the singer; I the song!
STREPHON
All in all since that fond meeting
  When, in joy, I woke to find
    Mine the heart within thee beating,
    Mine the love that heart enshrined!
BOTH
Thou the stream and I the willow--
  Thou the sculptor; I the clay--
    Thou the Ocean; I the billow--
    Thou the sunrise; I the day!
[Exeunt Strephon and Phyllis together]

[March. Enter Procession of Peers]

CHORUS

CHORUS
Loudly let the trumpet bray!
  Tantantara!
Proudly bang the sounding brasses!
  Tzing! Boom!
As upon its lordly way
  This unique procession passes,
    Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
  Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes!
  Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses!
  Blow the trumpets, bang the brasses!
    Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
  We are peers of highest station,
  Paragons of legislation,
  Pillars of the British nation!
    Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
[Enter the Lord Chancellor, followed by his train-bearer]

SONG (LORD CHANCELLOR)

LORD CH.
The Law is the true embodiment
  Of everything that's excellent.
It has no kind of fault or flaw,
  And I, my Lords, embody the Law.
The constitutional guardian I
  Of pretty young Wards in Chancery,
All very agreeable girls--and none
  Are over the age of twenty-one.
A pleasant occupation for
  A rather susceptible Chancellor!
ALL
A pleasant, etc.
LORD CH.
But though the compliment implied
  Inflates me with legitimate pride,
It nevertheless can't be denied
  That it has its inconvenient side.
For I'm not so old, and not so plain,
  And I'm quite prepared to marry again,
But there'd be the deuce to pay in the Lords
  If I fell in love with one of my Wards!
Which rather tries my temper, for
  I'm such a susceptible Chancellor!
ALL
Which rather, etc.
LORD CH.
And every one who'd marry a Ward
  Must come to me for my accord,
And in my court I sit all day,
  Giving agreeable girls away,
With one for him--and one for he--
  And one for you--and one for ye--
And one for thou--and one for thee--
  But never, oh, never a one for me!
Which is exasperating for
  A highly susceptible Chancellor!
ALL
Which is, etc.
[Enter Lord Tolloller]

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

LORD CH. By all means. Phyllis, who is a Ward of Court, has so powerfully affected your Lordships, that you have appealed to me in a body to give her to whichever one of you she may think proper to select, and a noble Lord has just gone to her cottage to request her immediate attendance. It would be idle to deny that I, myself, have the misfortune to be singularly attracted by this young person. My regard for her is rapidly undermining my constitution. Three months ago I was a stout man. I need say no more. If I could reconcile it with my duty, I should unhesitatingly award her to myself, for I can conscientiously say that I know no man who is so well fitted to render her exceptionally happy. (Peers: Hear, hear!) But such an award would be open to misconstruction, and therefore, at whatever personal inconvenience, I waive my claim.

LORD T. My Lord, I desire, on the part of this House, to express its sincere sympathy with your Lordship's most painful position.

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

[Enter Lord Mountararat]

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

[Enter Phyllis]

RECITATIVE

PHYLLIS
My well-loved Lord and Guardian dear,
  You summoned me, and I am here!
CHORUS OF
PEERS
Oh, rapture, how beautiful!
  How gentle--how dutiful!
SOLO (LORD TOLLOLLER)

LORD T.
Of all the young ladies I know
  This pretty young lady's the fairest;
    Her lips have the rosiest show,
    Her eyes are the richest and rarest.
Her origin's lowly, it's true,
  But of birth and position I've plenty;
    I've grammar and spelling for two,
    And blood and behaviour for twenty!
Her origin's lowly, it's true,
  I've grammar and spelling for two;
CHORUS
Of birth and position he's plenty,
  With blood and behaviour for twenty!
SOLO (LORD MOUNTARARAT)

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

PHYLLIS
I'm very much pained to refuse,
  But I'll stick to my pipes and my tabors;
    I can spell all the words that I use,
    And my grammar's as good as my neighbours'.
As for birth--I was born like the rest,
  My behaviour is rustic but hearty,
    And I know where to turn for the best,
    When I want a particular Party!
PHYLLIS,
LORD T. and
LORD M.
Though her station is none of the best,
  I suppose she was born like the rest;
And she knows where to look for her hearty,
  When she wants a particular Party!
RECITATIVE

PHYLLIS
Nay, tempt me not.
  To rank I'll not be bound;
In lowly cot
  Alone is virtue found!
CHORUS
No, no; indeed high rank will never hurt you,
  The Peerage is not destitute of virtue.
BALLAD (LORD TOLLOLLER)

LORD T.
Spurn not the nobly born
  With love affected,
Nor treat with virtuous scorn
  The well-connected.
  High rank involves no shame--
    We boast an equal claim
    With him of humble name
    To be respected!
Blue blood! blue blood!
  When virtuous love is sought
    Thy power is naught,
  Though dating from the Flood,
    Blue blood!  Ah, blue blood!
CHORUS
When virtuous love is sought, etc.
LORD T.
Spare us the bitter pain
  Of stern denials,
Nor with low-born disdain
  Augment our trials.
  Hearts just as pure and fair
    May beat in Belgrave Square
    As in the lowly air
    Of Seven Dials!
Blue blood! blue blood!
  Of what avail art thou
  To serve us now?
  Though dating from the Flood,
    Blue blood!  Ah, blue blood!
CHORUS
Of what avail art thou, etc.
RECITATIVE

PHYLLIS
My Lords, it may not be.
  With grief my heart is riven!
You waste your time on me,
  For ah! my heart is given!
ALL
Given!
PHYLLIS
Yes, given!
ALL
Oh, horror!!!
RECITATIVE

LORD CH.
And who has dared to brave our high displeasure,
  And thus defy our definite command?
[Enter Strephon]

STREPHON
'Tis I--young Strephon! 
  mine this priceless treasure!
Against the world I claim my darling's hand!
[Phyllis rushes to his arms]

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

STREPHON,
THE OTHERS
A shepherd {I/he}
  Of {Arcady/Arcadee},
Betrothed {are we/is he}
  And {mean/means} to beEspoused to-day!
DUET (MOUNTARARAT and TOLLOLLER)

LORD M. and
LORD T.
[aside to each other]
'Neath this blow,
  Worse than stab of dagger--
Though we mo-
  Mentarily stagger,
In each heart
  Proud are we innately--
Let's depart,
  Dignified and stately!
ALL
Let's depart,
  Dignified and stately!
CHORUS OF
PEERS
Though our hearts she's badly bruising,
  In another suitor choosing,
  Let's pretend it's most amusing.
Ha! ha! ha! Tan-ta-ra!
[Exeunt all the Peers, marching round stage with much dignity. Lord Chancellor separates Phyllis from Strephon and orders her off. She follows PEERS. Manent Lord Chancellor and Strephon]

LORD CH. Now, sir, what excuse have you to offer for having disobeyed an order of the Court of Chancery?

STREPHON My Lord, I know no Courts of Chancery; I go by Nature's Acts of Parliament. The bees--the breeze--the seas-the rooks--the brooks--the gales--the vales-the fountains and the mountains cry, "You love this maiden--take her, we command you!" 'Tis writ in heaven by the bright barbed dart that leaps forth into lurid light from each grim thundercloud. The very rain pours forth her sad and sodden sympathy! When chorused Nature bids me take my love, shall I reply, "Nay, but a certain Chancellor forbids it"? Sir, you are England's Lord High Chancellor, but are you Chancellor of birds and trees, King of the winds and Prince of thunderclouds?

LORD CH. No. It's a nice point. I don't know that I ever met it before. But my difficulty is that at present there's no evidence before the Court that chorused Nature has interested herself in the matter.

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

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

STREPHON And have you the heart to apply the prosaic rules of evidence to a case which bubbles over with poetical emotion?

LORD CH. Distinctly. I have always kept my duty strictly before my eyes, and it is to that fact that I owe my advancement to my present distinguished position.

SONG (LORD CHANCELLOR)

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

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

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

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

[Enter Iolanthe]

STREPHON Oh, Phyllis, Phyllis! To be taken from you just as I was on the point of making you my own! Oh, it's too much--it's too much!

IOLANTHE [to Strephon, who is in tears]
My son in tears--and on his wedding day!

STREPHON My wedding day! Oh, mother, weep with me, for the Law has interposed between us, and the Lord Chancellor has separated us for ever!

IOLANTHE The Lord Chancellor!
[aside] Oh, if he did but know!

STREPHON [overhearing her] If he did but know what?

IOLANTHE No matter! The Lord Chancellor has no power over you. Remember you are half a fairy. You can defy him--down to the waist.

STREPHON Yes, but from the waist downwards he can commit me to prison for years! Of what avail is it that my body is free, if my legs are working out seven years' penal servitude?

IOLANTHE True. But take heart--our Queen has promised you her special protection. I'll go to her and lay your peculiar case before her.

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

FINALE (QUARTET)

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

STREPHON
[to Iolanthe]
When darkly looms the day,
  And all is dull and grey,
  To chase the gloom away,
  On thee I'll call!
PHYLLIS
[aside to Lord Mountararat] What was that?
LORD M.
[aside to Phyllis]
I think I heard him say,
  That on a rainy day,
  To while the time away,
    On her he'd call!
CHORUS
We think we heard him say, etc.
[Phyllis much agitated at her lover's supposed faithlessness]

IOLANTHE
[to Strephon]
When tempests wreck thy bark, 
  And all is drear and dark,
  If thou shouldst need an Ark,
    I'll give thee one!
PHYLLIS
[aside to Lord Tolloller]
What was that?
LORD T.
[aside to Phyllis]
I heard the minx remark,
  She'd meet him after dark,
  Inside St James's Park,
    And give him one!
CHORUS
We heard the minx remark, etc.
PHYLLIS
The prospect's very bad.
  My heart so sore and sad
  Will never more be glad
  As summer's sun.
PHYLLIS,
IOLANTHE,
LORD T.,
STREPHON
The prospect's not so bad,
  {My/Thy} heart so sore and sad
  May very soon be glad
    As summer's sun;
PHYLLIS,
IOLANTHE,
LORDS T/M,
STREPHON
For when the sky is dark
  And tempests wreck {his/thy/my} bark
  If {he should/thou shouldst/I should} need an Ark,
  {She'll/I'll} give {him/thee/me} one!
PHYLLIS
[revealing herself] Ah!
[Iolanthe and Strephon much confused]

PHYLLIS
Oh, shameless one, tremble!
  Nay, do not endeavour
Thy fault to dissemble,
  We part--and for ever!
I worshipped him blindly,
  He worships another--
STREPHON
Attend to me kindly,
  This lady's my mother!
LORD T.
This lady's his what?
STREPHON
This lady's my mother!
TENORS
This lady's his what?
BASSES
He says she's his mother!
[They point derisively to Iolanthe, laughing heartily at her. She goes for protection to Strephon]

[Enter LORD CHANCELLOR. Iolanthe veils herself]

LORD CH.

What means this mirth unseemly,
  That shakes the listening earth?
LORD T.
The joke is good extremely,
  And justifies our mirth.
LORD M.
This gentleman is seen,
  With a maid of seventeen,
A-taking of his dolce far niente;
  And wonders he'd achieve,
  For he asks us to believe
  She's his mother--
    and he's nearly five-and-twenty!
LORD CH.
[sternly]
Recollect yourself, I pray,
  And be careful what you say-
  As the ancient Romans said, festina lente.
  For I really do not see
    How so young a girl could be
    The mother of a man of five-and-twenty.
ALL
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
STREPHON
My Lord, of evidence I have no dearth--
  She is--has been--my mother from my birth!
BALLAD

STREPHON
In babyhood
  Upon her lap I lay,
    With infant food
    She moistened my clay;
Had she withheld
  The succour she supplied,
    By hunger quelled,
    Your Strephon might have died!
LORD CH.
[much moved]
Had that refreshment been denied,
  Indeed our Strephon might have died!
ALL
[much affected]
Had that refreshment been denied,
  Indeed our Strephon might have died!
LORD M.
But as she's not
  His mother, it appears,
    Why weep these hot
    Unnecessary tears?
And by what laws
  Should we so joyously
  Rejoice, because
  Our Strephon did not die?
    Oh rather let us pipe our eye
    Because our Strephon did not die!
ALL
That's very true--let's pipe our eye
  Because our Strephon did not die!
[All weep. Iolanthe, who has succeeded in hiding her face from Lord Chancellor, escapes unnoticed]

PHYLLIS
Go, traitorous one--
  for ever we must part:
To one of you, my Lords,
  I give my heart!
ALL
Oh, rapture!
STREPHON
Hear me, Phyllis, ere you leave me.
PHYLLIS
Not a word--you did deceive me.
ALL
Not a word--you did deceive her.
[Exit Strephon]

BALLAD (PHYLLIS)

PHYLLIS
For riches and rank I do not long--
  Their pleasures are false and vain;
I gave up the love of a lordly throng
  For the love of a simple swain.
But now that simple swain's untrue,
  With sorrowful heart I turn to you--
    A heart that's aching,
    Quaking, breaking,
    As sorrowful hearts are wont to do!

The riches and rank that you befall
  Are the only baits you use,
So the richest and rankiest of you all
  My sorrowful heart shall choose.
As none are so noble--none so rich
  As this couple of lords, I'll find a niche
    In my heart that's aching,
    Quaking, breaking,
    For one of you two-and I don't care which!
ENSEMBLE

PHYLLIS
[to Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller]
To you I give my heart so rich!
ALL
[puzzled] To which?
PHYLLIS
I do not care!
  To you I yield--it is my doom!
ALL
To whom?
PHYLLIS
I'm not aware!
  I'm yours for life if you but choose.
ALL
She's whose?
PHYLLIS
That's your affair!
  I'll be a countess, shall I not?
ALL
Of what?
PHYLLIS
I do not care!
ALL
Lucky little lady!
  Strephon's lot is shady;
Rank, it seems, is vital,
  "Countess" is the title,
But of what I'm not aware!
[Enter Strephon]

STREPHON
Can I inactive see my fortune fade?
  No, no!
PEERS
Ho, ho!
STREPHON
Mighty protectress, hasten to my aid!
[Enter Fairies, tripping, headed by Celia, Leila, and Fleta, and followed by Queen]

CHORUS OF FAIRIES
Tripping hither, tripping thither.
  Nobody knows why or whither;
Why you want us we don't know,
  But you've summoned us, and so
Enter all the little fairies
  To their usual tripping measure!
  To oblige you all our care is--
    Tell us, pray, what is your pleasure!
STREPHON
The lady of my love has caught me 
  talking to another--
PEERS
Oh, fie! young Strephon is a rogue!
STREPHON
I tell her very plainly that the
  lady is my mother--
PEERS
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
STREPHON
She won't believe my statement,
  and declares we must be parted,
Because on a career 
  of double-dealing I have started,
Then gives her hand to one of these, 
  and leaves me broken-hearted--
PEERS
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
QUEEN
Ah, cruel ones,
  to separate two lovers from each other!
FAIRIES
Oh, fie! our Strephon's not a rogue!
QUEEN
You've done him an injustice,
  for the lady is his mother!
FAIRIES
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
LORD CH.
That fable perhaps may serve
  his turn as well as any other.
[aside]
I didn't see her face,
  but if they fondled one another,
And she's but seventeen--
  I don't believe it was his mother!
ALL
Taradiddle, taradiddle. Tol lol lay!
LORD T.
I have often had a use
  For a thorough-bred excuse
Of a sudden (which is English for "repente"),
  But of all I ever heard
  This is much the most absurd,
    For she's seventeen, 
      and he is five-and-twenty!
ALL
Though she is seventeen, 
  and he is four or five-and-twenty!
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!
LORD M.
Now, listen, pray to me,
  For this paradox will be
Carried, nobody at all contradicente.
  Her age, upon the date
  Of his birth, was minus eight,
    If she's seventeen, 
      and he is five-and-twenty!
PEERS and
FAIRIES
If she is seventeen, 
  and he is only five-and-twenty.
ALL
To say she is his mother is an utter bit of folly!
  Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!
  Perhaps his brain is addled, and it's very melancholy!
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as injurious,
  But to find a mother younger than her son is very curious,
  And that's a kind of mother that is usually spurious.
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
LORD CH.
Go away, madam;
  I should say, madam,
  You display, madam,
    Shocking taste.

It is rude, madam,
  To intrude, madam,
  With your brood, madam,

    Brazen-faced!

You come here, madam,
  Interfere, madam,
  With a peer, madam.
    (I am one.)

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

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

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

We don't fear, madam,
Any peer, madam,
Though, my dear madam,
  This is one.

They will stare, madam,
When aware, madam,
What they dare, madam-- 
  What they've done!
Go away, madam;
I should say, madam,
You display, madam,
  Shocking taste.

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

You come here, madam,
Interfere, madam,
With a peer, madam,
  (I am one.)

You're aware, madam,
What you dare, madam,
So take care, madam,
  And begone!
QUEEN
[furious]
Bearded by these puny mortals!
  I will launch from fairy portals
All the most terrific thunders
  In my armoury of wonders!
PHYLLIS
[aside]
Should they launch terrific wonders,
  All would then repent their blunders.
Surely these must be immortals.
[Exit Phyllis]

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

Your badinage so airy,
  Your manner arbitrary,
  Are out of place
  When face to face
    With an influential Fairy.
PEERS
[aside]
We never knew
  We were talking to
  An influential Fairy!
LORD CH.
A plague on this vagary,
  I'm in a nice quandary!
  Of hasty tone
  With dames unknown
    I ought to be more chary;
It seems that she's a fairy
  From Andersen's library,
  And I took her for
  The proprietor
    Of a Ladies' Seminary!
PEERS
We took her for
  The proprietor
  Of a Ladies' Seminary!
QUEEN
When next your Houses do assemble,
  You may tremble!
CELIA
Our wrath, when gentlemen offend us,
  Is tremendous!
LEILA
They meet, who underrate our calling,
  Doom appalling!
QUEEN
Take down our sentence as we speak it,
  And he shall wreak it!
[Indicating Strephon]
PEERS
Oh, spare us!
QUEEN
Henceforth, Strephon, cast away
  Crooks and pipes and ribbons so gay--
Flocks and herds that bleat and low;
  Into Parliament you shall go!
ALL
Into Parliament he shall go!
  Backed by our supreme authority,
  He'll command a large majority!
    Into Parliament he shall go!
QUEEN
In the Parliamentary hive,
  Liberal or Conservative--
Whig or Tory--I don't know--
  But into Parliament you shall go!
ALL
Into Parliament, etc.
QUEEN
[speaking through music]
Every bill and every measure
  That may gratify his pleasure,
Though your fury it arouses,
  Shall be passed by both your Houses!
PEERS
Oh!
QUEEN
You shall sit, if he sees reason,
  Through the grouse and salmon season;
PEERS
No!
QUEEN
He shall end the cherished rights
  You enjoy on Friday nights:
PEERS
No!
QUEEN
He shall prick that annual blister,
  Marriage with deceased wife's sister:
PEERS
Mercy!
QUEEN
Titles shall ennoble, then,
  All the Common Councilmen:
PEERS
Spare us!
QUEEN
Peers shall teem in Christendom,
  And a Duke's exalted station
  Be attainable by Com-
    Petitive Examination!
PEERS,
FAIRIES
and
PHYLLIS
Oh, horror!
Their horror
  They can't dissemble
  Nor hide the fear 
    that makes them tremble!
ENSEMBLE

PEERS FAIRIES, PHYLLIS and STREPHON
Young Strephon is 
  the kind of lout
We do not care a fig about!
  We cannot say
  What evils may
  Result in consequence.

But lordly vengeance 
    will pursue
All kinds of common people who
  Oppose our views,
  Or boldly choose
  To offer us offence.

He'd better fly 
    at humbler game,
Or our forbearance 
    he must claim,
  If he'd escape
  In any shape
  A very painful wrench!

Your powers we dauntlessly 
    pooh-pooh:
A dire revenge will fall on you.
  If you besiege
  Our high prestige--
  (The word "prestige" is French).
With Strephon for your foe, 
    no doubt,
A fearful prospect opens out,
  And who shall say
  What evils may
  Result in consequence?

A hideous vengeance 
    will pursue
All noblemen who venture to
  Oppose his views,
  Or boldly choose
  To offer him offence.

'Twill plunge them into grief
    and shame;
His kind forbearance 
    they must claim,
  If they'd escape
  In any shape
  A very painful wrench.

Although our threats you now
    pooh-pooh,
A dire revenge will fall on you,
  Should he besiege
  Your high prestige--
  (The word "prestige" is French).
Our lordly style
  You shall not quench
  With base canaille!
(That word is French.)
Distinction ebbs
  Before a herd
  Of vulgar plebs!
(A Latin word.)
'Twould fill with joy,
   And madness stark
   The hoi polloi!
(A Greek remark.)
One Latin word, one Greek remark,
  And one that's French.
Your lordly style
  We'll quickly quench
  With base canaille!
(That word is French.)
Distinction ebbs
  Before a herd
  Of vulgar plebs!
(A Latin word.)
'Twill fill with joy
  And madness stark
  The hoi polloi!
(A Greek remark.)
One Latin word, one Greek remark,
  And one that's French.
You needn't wait:
  Away you fly!
  Your threatened hate
    We won't defy!
We will not wait:
  We go sky-high!
  Our threatened hate
   You won't defy!
[Fairies threaten Peers with their wands. Peers kneel as begging for mercy. Phyllis implores Strephon to relent. He casts her from him, and she falls fainting into the arms of Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller]

END OF ACT I

Act II,   Play Index