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Read The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan Part 52

The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan is a web novel produced by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.
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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 j.a.panese 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 j.a.pan!

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!


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Published inThe Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan