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

ACT II

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


SONG (PRIVATE WILLIS)

WILLIS
When all night long a chap remains
  On sentry-go, to chase monotony
He exercises of his brains,
  That is, assuming that he's got any.
Though never nurtured in the lap
  Of luxury, yet I admonish you,
  I am an intellectual chap,
    And think of things that would astonish you.
I often think it's comical--Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--Fal, lal, la!
  That every boy and every gal
  That's born into the world alive
    Is either a little Liberal
    Or else a little Conservative!
      Fal, lal, la!

When in that House M.P.'s divide,
  If they've a brain and cerebellum, too,
They've got to leave that brain outside,
  And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.
But then the prospect of a lot
  Of dull M. P.'s in close proximity,
  All thinking for themselves, is what
    No man can face with equanimity.
Let's rejoice with loud Fal la--Fal la la!
That Nature always does contrive--Fal lal la!
  That every boy and every gal
  That's born into the world alive
    Is either a little Liberal
    Or else a little Conservative!
      Fal lal la!
[Enter Fairies, with Celia, Leila, and Fleta. They trip round stage]

CHORUS of
FAIRIES
Strephon's a Member of Parliament!
  Carries every Bill he chooses.
  To his measures all assent--
    Showing that fairies have their uses.
Whigs and Tories
  Dim their glories,
  Giving an ear to all his stories--
Lords and Commons are both in the blues!
  Strephon makes them shake in their shoes!
    Shake in their shoes!
    Shake in their shoes!
  Strephon makes them shake in their shoes!
[Enter Peers from Westminster Hall]

CHORUS of
PEERS
Strephon's a Member of Parliament!
  Running a-muck of all abuses.
  His unqualified assent
    Somehow nobody now refuses.
Whigs and Tories
  Dim their glories,
  Giving an ear to all his stories
Carrying every Bill he may wish:
  Here's a pretty kettle of fish!
    Kettle of fish!
    Kettle of fish!
  Here's a pretty kettle of fish!
[Enter Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller from Westminster Hall]

CELIA You seem annoyed.

LORD M. Annoyed! I should think so! Why, this ridiculous protege of yours is playing the deuce with everything! To-night is the second reading of his Bill to throw the Peerage open to Competitive Examination!

LORD T. And he'll carry it, too!

LORD M. Carry it? Of course he will! He's a Parliamentary Pickford--he carries everything!

LEILA Yes. If you please, that's our fault!

LORD M. The deuce it is!

CELIA Yes; we influence the members, and compel them to vote just as he wishes them to.

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

LORD T. Well, but think what it all means. I don't so much mind for myself, but with a House of Peers with no grandfathers worth mentioning, the country must go to the dogs!

LEILA I suppose it must!

LORD M. I don't want to say a word against brains--I've a great respect for brains--I often wish I had some myself--but with a House of Peers composed exclusively of people of intellect, what's to become of the House of Commons?

LEILA I never thought of that!

LORD M. This comes of women interfering in politics. It so happens that if there is an institution in Great Britain which is not susceptible of any improvement at all, it is the House of Peers!

SONG (LORD MOUNTARARAT)

LORD M.
When Britain really ruled the waves--
  (In good Queen Bess's time)
  The House of Peers made no pretence
  To intellectual eminence,
    Or scholarship sublime;
Yet Britain won her proudest bays
  In good Queen Bess's glorious days!
CHORUS
Yes, Britain won, etc.
LORD M.
When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte,
  As every child can tell,
  The House of Peers, throughout the war,
  Did nothing in particular,
    And did it very well:
Yet Britain set the world ablaze
  In good King George's glorious days!
CHORUS
Yes, Britain set, etc.
LORD M.
And while the House of Peers withholds
  Its legislative hand,
  And noble statesmen do not itch
  To interfere with matters which
    They do not understand,
As bright will shine Great Britain's rays
  As in King George's glorious days!
CHORUS
As bright will shine, etc.
LEILA [who has been much attracted by the Peers during this song]
Charming persons, are they not?

CELIA Distinctly. For self-contained dignity, combined with airy condescension, give me a British Representative Peer!

LORD T. Then pray stop this protege of yours before it's too late. Think of the mischief you're doing!

LEILA [crying] But we can't stop him now.
[aside to Celia] Aren't they lovely!
[aloud] Oh, why did you go and defy us, you great geese!

DUET (LEILA and CELIA)

LEILA
In vain to us you plead--
  Don't go!
Your prayers we do not heed--
  Don't go!
It's true we sigh,
  But don't suppose
  A tearful eye
    Forgiveness shows.
      Oh, no!
We're very cross indeed--
  Yes, very cross,
    Don't go!
FAIRIES
It's true we sigh, etc.
CELIA
Your disrespectful sneers--
  Don't go!
Call forth indignant tears--
  Don't go!
You break our laws--
  You are our foe:
  We cry because
    We hate you so!
      You know!
You very wicked Peers!
  You wicked Peers!
    Don't go!
FAIRIESLORDS M. and T.
You break our laws--
  You are our foe:
  We cry because
    We hate you so!
      You know!
You very wicked Peers!
  Don't go!
Our disrespectful sneers,
  Ha, ha!
  Call forth
    indignant tears
      Ha, ha!
If that's the case, my dears--
  We'll go!
[Exeunt Lord Mountararat, Lord Tolloller, and Peers. Fairies gaze wistfully after them]

[Enter Fairy Queen]

QUEEN Oh, shame--shame upon you! Is this your fidelity to the laws you are bound to obey? Know ye not that it is death to marry a mortal?

LEILA Yes, but it's not death to wish to marry a mortal!

FLETA If it were, you'd have to execute us all!

QUEEN Oh, this is weakness! Subdue it!

CELIA We know it's weakness, but the weakness is so strong!

LEILA We are not all as tough as you are!

QUEEN Tough! Do you suppose that I am insensible to the effect of manly beauty? Look at that man!
[Referring to Sentry]
A perfect picture!
[to Sentry] Who are you, sir?

WILLIS [coming to "attention"]
Private Willis, B Company, 1st Grenadier Guards.

QUEEN You're a very fine fellow, sir.

WILLIS I am generally admired.

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

SONG (FAIRY QUEEN)

QUEEN
Oh, foolish fay,
  Think you, because
  His brave array
    My bosom thaws,
    I'd disobey
      Our fairy laws?
Because I fly
  In realms above,
  In tendency
    To fall in love,
    Resemble I
      The amorous dove?
[aside]

Oh, amorous dove! Type of Ovidius Naso! This heart of mine Is soft as thine, Although I dare not say so!
CHORUS
Oh, amorous dove, etc.
QUEEN
On fire that glows
  With heat intense
  I turn the hose
    Of common sense,
    And out it goes
      At small expense!
We must maintain
  Our fairy law;
  That is the main
    On which to draw--
    In that we gain
      A Captain Shaw!
[aside]
Oh, Captain Shaw!
  Type of true love kept under!
  Could thy Brigade
  With cold cascade
    Quench my great love, I wonder!
CHORUS
Oh, Captain Shaw! etc.
[Exeunt Fairies and Fairy Queen, sorrowfully]

[Enter Phyllis]

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

[Enter Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller]

LORD M. Phyllis! My darling!

LORD T. Phyllis! My own!

PHYLLIS Don't! How dare you? Oh, but perhaps you're the two noblemen I'm engaged to?

LORD M. I am one of them.

LORD T. I am the other.

PHYLLIS Oh, then, My darling! [to Lord Mountararat]
My own! [to Lord Tolloller]
Well, have you settled which it's to be?

LORD T. Not altogether. It's a difficult position. It would be hardly delicate to toss up. On the whole we would rather leave it to you.

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

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

LORD T. So am I.

LORD M. No, no!

LORD T. I am indeed. Very plain.

LORD M. Well, well--perhaps you are.

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

LORD M. Tolloller, are you prepared to make this sacrifice?

LORD T. No!

LORD M. Not even to oblige a lady?

LORD T. No! not even to oblige a lady.

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

LORD T. No. I don't know that you are. I really believe she would. But the awkward part of the thing is that if you rob me of the girl of my heart, we must fight, and one of us must die. It's a family tradition that I have sworn to respect. It's a painful position, for I have a very strong regard for you, George.

LORD M. [much affected] My dear Thomas!

LORD T. You are very dear to me, George. We were boys together--at least I was. If I were to survive you, my existence would be hopelessly embittered.

LORD M. Then, my dear Thomas, you must not do it. I say it again and again--if it will have this effect upon you, you must not do it. No, no. If one of us is to destroy the other, let it be me!

LORD T. No, no!

LORD M. Ah, yes!--by our boyish friendship I implore you!

LORD T. [much moved] Well, well, be it so. But, no--no!--I cannot consent to an act which would crush you with unavaillng remorse.

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

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

LORD M. But, dear Thomas, it would not last a week! Remember, you lead the House of Lords! On your demise I shall take your place! Oh, Thomas, it would not last a day!

PHYLLIS [coming down] Now, I do hope you're not going to fight about me, because it's really not worth while.

LORD T. [looking at her]

Well, I don't believe it is!


LORD M. Nor I. The sacred ties of Friendship are paramount.

QUARTET (LORD MOUNTARARAT, LORD TOLLOLLER, PHYLLIS, and PRIVATE WILLIS)

LORD T.
Though p'r'aps I may incur your blame,
  The things are few
  I would not do
    In Friendship's name!
LORD M.
And I may say I think the same;
  Not even love
  Should rank above
    True Friendship's name!
PHYLLIS
Then free me, pray; be mine the blame;
  Forget your craze
  And go your ways
    In Friendship's name!
ALL
Oh, many a man, in Friendship's name,
  Has yielded fortune, rank, and fame!
But no one yet, in the world so wide,
  Has yielded up a promised bride!
WILLIS
Accept, O Friendship, all the same,
ALL
This sacrifice to thy dear name!
[Exeunt Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller, lovingly, in one direction, and Phyllis in another]

[Exit Sentry]

[Enter Lord Chancellor, very miserable]

RECITATIVE (LORD CHANCELLOR)

LORD CH.
Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest:
  Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers:
  Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on my chest,
    And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers!
SONG (LORD CHANCELLOR)

LORD CH.
When you're lying awake
  with a dismal headache,
  and repose is taboo'd by anxiety,
I conceive you may use
  any language you choose
  to indulge in, without impropriety;

For your brain is on fire--
  the bedclothes conspire 
  of usual slumber to plunder you:
First your counterpane goes,
  and uncovers your toes,
  and your sheet slips demurely from under you;

Then the blanketing tickles--
  you feel like mixed pickles--
  so terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you're hot, and you're cross,
  and you tumble and toss till  
  there's nothing 'twixt you and the ticking.

Then the bedclothes all creep
  to the ground in a heap,
  and you pick 'em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns
  and politely declines
  to remain at its usual angle!

Well, you get some repose
  in the form of a doze, with hot  
  eye-balls and head ever aching.
But your slumbering teems
  with such horrible dreams
  that you'd very much better be waking;

For you dream you are crossing
  the Channel, and tossing
  about in a steamer from Harwich--
Which is something between
  a large bathing machine
  and a very small second-class carriage--

And you're giving a treat
  (penny ice and cold meat)
  to a party of friends and relations--
They're a ravenous horde--
  and they all came on board
  at Sloane Square and South Kensington Stations.

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

Well, you're driving like mad
  with this singular lad
  (by the by, the ship's now a four-wheeler),
And you're playing round games,
  and he calls you bad names
  when you tell him that "ties pay the dealer";

But this you can't stand,
  so you throw up your hand,
  and you find you're as cold as an icicle,
In your shirt and your socks
  (the black silk with gold clocks), 
  crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle:

And he and the crew
  are on bicycles too--
  which they've somehow  or other invested in--
And he's telling the tars 
  all the particulars
  of a company he's interested in--

It's a scheme of devices,
  to get at low prices
  all goods from cough mixtures to cables
(Which tickled the sailors),
  by treating retailers as though they 
  were all vegetables--

You get a good spadesman
  to plant a small tradesman
  (first take off his boots with a boot-tree),
And his legs will take root,
  and his fingers will shoot,
  and they'll blossom and bud like a fruit-tree--

From the greengrocer tree
  you get grapes and green pea,  
  cauliflower, pineapple, and cranberries,
While the pastrycook plant
  cherry brandy will grant,
  apple puffs, and three corners, and Banburys--

The shares are a penny,
  and ever so many
  are taken by Rothschild and Baring,
And just as a few are
  allotted to you,
  you awake with a shudder despairing--

You're a regular wreck,
  with a crick in your neck,
  and no wonder you snore,
  for your head's on the floor,
  and you've needles and pins
  from your soles to your shins,
  and your flesh is a-creep,
  for your left leg's asleep,
  and you've cramp in your toes,
  and a fly on your nose,
  and some fluff in your lung,
  and a feverish tongue,
  and a thirst that's intense,
  and a general sense
    that you haven't been sleeping in clover;
But the darkness has passed,
  and it's daylight at last,
  and the night has been long--
  ditto ditto my song--and thank goodness
    they're both of them over!
[Lord Chancellor falls exhausted on a seat]

[Enter Lords Mountararat and Tolloller]

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

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

LORD T. [without enthusiasm] Yes. It's an enviable position when you're the only one.

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

LORD CH. I feel the force of your remarks, but I am here in two capacities, and they clash, my Lords, they clash! I deeply grieve to say that in declining to entertain my last application to myself, I presumed to address myself in terms which render it impossible for me ever to apply to myself again. It was a most painful scene, my Lords--most painful!

LORD T. This is what it is to have two capacities! Let us be thankful that we are persons of no capacity whatever.

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

LORD CH. Do you really think so?

LORD M. I do.

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

TRIO (LORD CHANCELLOR, LORDS MOUNTARARAT and TOLLOLLER)

LORD M.
If you go in
  You're sure to win--
Yours will be the charming maidie:
  Be your law
  The ancient saw,
  "Faint heart never won fair lady!"
ALL
Never, never, never,
  Faint heart never won fair lady!
Every journey has an end--
  When at the worst affairs will mend--
Dark the dawn when day is nigh--
  Hustle your horse and don't say die!
LORD T.
He who shies
  At such a prize
Is not worth a maravedi,
  Be so kind
  To bear in mind--
  Faint heart never won fair lady!
ALL
Never, never, never,
  Faint heart never won fair lady!
While the sun shines make your hay--
  Where a will is, there's a way--
Beard the lion in his lair--
  None but the brave deserve the fair!
LORD CH.
I'll take heart
  And make a start--
Though I fear the prospect's shady--
  Much I'd spend
  To gain my end--
  Faint heart never won fair lady!
ALL
Never, never, never,
  Faint heart never won fair lady!
Nothing venture, nothing win--
  Blood is thick, but water's thin--
In for a penny, in for a pound--
  It's Love that makes the world go round!
[Dance, and exeunt arm-in-arm together]

[Enter Strephon, in very low spirits]

[The following song was deleted from production]

SONG (STREPHON)

STREPHON
Fold your flapping wings,
  Soaring legislature.
  Stoop to little things,
    Stoop to human nature.

Never need to roam
  members patriotic.
  Let's begin at home,
    Crime is no exotic.

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

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

What am I but he,
  Washed at hours stated.
  Fed on filagree,
    Clothed and educated

He's a mark of scorn
  I might be another
  If I had been born
    Of a tipsy mother.

Take a wretched thief,
  Through the city sneaking.
  Pocket handkerchief
    Ever, ever seeking.

What is he but I
  Robbed of all my chances
  Picking pockets by
    force of circumstances

I might be as bad,
  As unlucky, rather,
  If I'd only had,
    Fagin for a father.
STREPHON I suppose one ought to enjoy oneself in Parliament, when one leads both Parties, as I do! But I'm miserable, poor, broken-hearted fool that I am! Oh Phyllis, Phyllis!--

[Enter Phyllis]

PHYLLIS Yes.

STREPHON [surprised] Phyllis! But I suppose I should say "My Lady." I have not yet been informed which title your ladyship has pleased to select?

PHYLLIS I--I haven't quite decided. You see, I have no mother to advise me!

STREPHON No. I have.

PHYLLIS Yes; a young mother.

STREPHON Not very--a couple of centuries or so.

PHYLLIS Oh! She wears well.

STREPHON She does. She's a fairy.

PHYLLIS I beg your pardon--a what?

STREPHON Oh, I've no longer any reason to conceal the fact--she's a fairy.

PHYLLIS A fairy! Well, but--that would account for a good many things! Then--I suppose you're a fairy?

STREPHON I'm half a fairy.

PHYLLIS Which half?

STREPHON The upper half--down to the waistcoat.

PHYLLIS Dear me! [Prodding him with her fingers]
There is nothing to show it!

STREPHON Don't do that.

PHYLLIS But why didn't you tell me this before?

STREPHON I thought you would take a dislike to me. But as it's all off, you may as well know the truth--I'm only half a mortal!

PHYLLIS [crying]
But I'd rather have half a mortal I do love, than half a dozen I don't!

STREPHON Oh, I think not--go to your half-dozen.

PHYLLIS [crying]

It's only two! and I hate 'em! Please forgive me!


STREPHON I don't think I ought to. Besides, all sorts of difficulties will arise. You know, my grandmother looks quite as young as my mother. So do all my aunts.

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

STREPHON You will? Then, Phyllis, I think we shall be very happy!
[Embracing her]

PHYLLIS We won't wait long.

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

PHYLLIS And change our minds afterwards?

STREPHON That's the usual course.

DUET (STREPHON and PHYLLIS)

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

For peers with flowing coffers
  Press their offers--
  That is why
    I am sure we should not tarry
    Ere we marry,
      You and I!
PHYLLIS
If we're weak enough to tarry
  Ere we marry,
  You and I,
    With a more attractive maiden,
    Jewel-laden,
      You may fly.

If by chance we should be parted,
  Broken-hearted
  I should die--
    So I think we will not tarry
    Ere we marry,
      You and I.
PHYLLIS
But does your mother know you're--I mean, is she aware of our engagement?
[Enter Iolanthe]

IOLANTHE She is; and thus she welcomes her daughter-in-law!
[Kisses her]

PHYLLIS She kisses just like other people! But the Lord Chancellor?

STREPHON I forgot him! Mother, none can resist your fairy eloquence; you will go to him and plead for us?

IOLANTHE [much agitated] No, no; impossible!

STREPHON But our happiness--our very lives--depend upon our obtaining his consent!

PHYLLIS Oh, madam, you cannot refuse to do this!

IOLANTHE You know not what you ask! The Lord Chancellor is--my husband!

STREPHON and
PHYLLIS
Your husband!

IOLANTHE My husband and your father!
[addressing Strephon, who is much moved]

PHYLLIS Then our course is plain; on his learning that Strephon is his son, all objection to our marriage will be at once removed!

IOLANTHE No; he must never know! He believes me to have died childless, and, dearly as I love him, I am bound, under penalty of death, not to undeceive him. But see--he comes! Quick--my veil!

[Iolanthe veils herself. Strephon and Phyllis go off on tiptoe]

[Enter Lord Chancellor]

LORD CH. Victory! Victory! Success has crowned my efforts, and I may consider myself engaged to Phyllis! At first I wouldn't hear of it--it was out of the question. But I took heart. I pointed out to myself that I was no stranger to myself; that, in point of fact, I had been personally acquainted with myself for some years. This had its effect. I admitted that I had watched my professional advancement with considerable interest, and I handsomely added that I yielded to no one in admiration for my private and professional virtues. This was a great point gained. I then endeavoured to work upon my feelings. Conceive my joy when I distinctly perceived a tear glistening in my own eye! Eventually, after a severe struggle with myself, I reluctantly--most reluctantly--consented.

[Iolanthe comes down veiled]

RECITATIVE (IOLANTHE kneeling)

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

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

He dies!  If fondly laid aside
  In some old cabinet,
  Memorials of thy long-dead bride
    Lie, dearly treasured yet,
Then let her hallowed bridal dress--
  Her little dainty gloves--
  Her withered flowers--her faded tress--
    Plead for my boy--he loves!
[The Lord Chancellor is moved by this appeal. After a pause]

LORD CH.
It may not be--for so the fates decide!
  Learn thou that Phyllis is my promised bride.
IOLANTHE
[in horror] Thy bride!  No! no!
LORD CH.
It shall be so!
  Those who would separate us woe betide!
IOLANTHE
My doom thy lips have spoken--
  I plead in vain!
CHORUS of
FAIRIES
[without] Forbear! forbear!
IOLANTHE
A vow already broken
  I break again!
CHORUS of
FAIRIES
[without] Forbear! forbear!
IOLANTHE
For him--for her--for thee
  I yield my life.
Behold--it may not be!
  I am thy wife.
CHORUS of
FAIRIES
[without] Aiaiah! Aiaiah! Willaloo!
LORD CH.
[recognizing her]
Iolanthe! thou livest?
IOLANTHE
Aye! I live!
  Now let me die!
[Enter Fairy Queen and Fairies. Iolanthe kneels to her]

QUEEN
Once again thy vows are broken:
  Thou thyself thy doom hast spoken!
CHORUS of
FAIRIES
Aiaiah! Aiaiah!
Willahalah! Willaloo!
Willahalah! Willaloo!
QUEEN
Bow thy head to Destiny:
  Death thy doom, and thou shalt die!
CHORUS of
FAIRIES
Aiaiah! Aiaiah! etc.
[Peers and Sentry enter. The Queen raises her spear]

LEILA Hold! If Iolanthe must die, so must we all; for, as she has sinned, so have we!

QUEEN What?

CELIA We are all fairy duchesses, marchionesses, countesses, viscountesses, and baronesses.

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

QUEEN It seems they have helped themselves, and pretty freely, too!
[after a pause]
You have all incurred death; but I can't slaughter the whole company! And yet
[unfolding a scroll]
the law is clear--every fairy must die who marries a mortal!

LORD CH. Allow me, as an old Equity draftsman, to make a suggestion. The subtleties of the legal mind are equal to the emergency. The thing is really quite simple--the insertion of a single word will do it. Let it stand that every fairy shall die who doesn't marry a mortal, and there you are, out of your difficulty at once!

QUEEN We like your humour. Very well!
[Altering the manuscript in pencil]
Private Willis!

WILLIS [coming forward] Ma'am!

QUEEN To save my life, it is necessary that I marry at once. How should you like to be a fairy guardsman?

WILLIS Well, ma'am, I don't think much of the British soldier who wouldn't ill-convenience himself to save a female in distress.

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

[Fairies kneel to Peers and implore them to do so]

[Phyllis and Strephon enter]

LORD M. [to Lord Tolloller]
Well, now that the Peers are to be recruited entirely from persons of intelligence, I really don't see what use we are, down here, do you, Tolloller?

LORD T. None whatever.

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

FINALE

PHYLLIS
Soon as we may,
  Off and away!
We'll commence our journey airy--
  Happy are we--
  As you can see,
    Every one is now a fairy!
ALL
Every, every, every,
  Every one is now a fairy!
IOLANTHE, QUEEN, and PHYLLIS
Though as a general rule we know
  Two strings go to every bow,
Make up your minds that grief 'twill bring
  If you've two beaux to every string.
ALL
Though as a general rule, etc.
LORD CH.
Up in the sky,
  Ever so high,
Pleasures come in endless series;
  We will arrange
  Happy exchange--
    House of Peers for House of Peris!
ALL
Peris, Peris, Peris,
  House of Peers for House of Peris!
LORDS CH., M. and T.
Up in the air, sky-high, sky-high,
  Free from Wards in Chancery,
  {I/He} will be surely happier, for
    {I'm/He's} such a susceptible Chancellor.
ALL
Up in the air, etc.
CURTAIN

Act II,   Play Index