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(Enter Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah.)

KO-KO
At last, my bride that is to be!

(About to embrace her)

YUM-YUM
You’re not going to kiss me before all these people?

KO-KO
Well, that was the idea.

YUM-YUM
(aside to Peep-Bo)
It seems odd, doesn’t it?

PEEP-BO
It’s rather peculiar.

PITTI-SING
Oh, I expect it’s all right.
Must have a beginning, you know.

YUM-YUM
Well, of course I know nothing about these things;
but I’ve no objection if it’s usual.

KO-KO
Oh, it’s quite usual, I think.
Eh, Lord Chamberlain?

(Appealing to Pooh-Bah)

POOH-BAH
I have known it done.

(Ko-Ko embraces her)

YUM-YUM
Thank goodness that’s over!

(Sees Nanki-Poo, and rushes to him.)

Why, that’s never you?

(The Three Girls rush to him and shake his hands, all speaking at once.)

YUM-YUM
Oh, I’m so glad! I haven’t seen you for ever so long, and I’m. right at the top of the school, and I’ve got three prizes, and I’ve come home for good, and I’m not going back any more!

PEEP-BO
And have you got an engagement? – Yum-Yum’s got one, but she doesn’t like it, and she’d ever so much rather it was you! I’ve come home for good, and I’m not going back any more!

PITTI-SING
Now tell us all the news, because you go about everywhere, and we’ve been at school, but, thank goodness, that’s all over now, and we’ve come home for good, and we’re not going back any more!

(These three speeches are spoken together in one breath.)

KO-KO
I beg your pardon. Will you present me?

YUM-YUM
Oh, this is the musician who used...

PEEP-BO
Oh, this is the gentleman who used...

PITTI-SING
Oh, it is only Nanki-Poo who used...

KO-KO
One at a time, if you please.

YUM-YUM
Oh, if you please he’s the gentleman who used
to play so beautifully on the... on the...

PITTI-SING
On the Marine Parade.

YUM-YUM
Yes, I think that was the name of the instrument.

NANKI-POO
Sir, I have the misfortune to love your ward,
oh, I know I deserve your anger!

KO-KO
Anger! not a bit, my boy. Why, I love her myself.
Charming little girl, isn’t she? Pretty eyes, nice hair.
Taking little thing, altogether. Very glad to hear my opinion backed by a competent authority. Thank you very much. Good-bye.

(To Pish-Tush)

Take him away.

(Pish-Tush removes him.)

PITTI-SING
(who has been examining Pooh-Bah)
I beg your pardon, but what is this?
Customer come to try on?

KO-KO
That is a Tremendous Swell.

PITTI-SING
Oh, it’s alive.

(She starts back in alarm.)

POOH-BAH
Go away, little girls. Can’t talk to little girls like you.
Go away, there’s dears.

KO-KO
Allow me to present you, Pooh-Bah.
These are my three wards.
The one in the middle is my bride elect.

POOH-BAH
What do you want me to do to them?
Mind, I will not kiss them.

KO-KO
No, no, you shan’t kiss them;
a little bow, a mere nothing,
you needn’t mean it, you know.

POOH-BAH
It goes against the grain.
They are not young ladies, they are young persons.

KO-KO
Come, come, make an effort,
there’s a good nobleman.

POOH-BAH
(aside to Ko-Ko)
Well, I shan’t mean it.

(With a great effort.)

How de do, little girls, how de do?

(Aside.)

Oh, my protoplasmal ancestor!

KO-KO
That’s very good.

(Girls indulge in suppressed laughter.)

POOH-BAH
I see nothing to laugh at. It is very painful to me to have to say ‘How de do, little girls, how de do? ’ to young persons. I’m not in the habit of saying ‘How de do, little girls, how de do?’ to anybody under the rank of a Stockbroker.

KO-KO
(aside to girls)
Don’t laugh at him, he can’t help it
He’s under treatment for it.

(Aside to Pooh-Bah)

Never mind them, they don’t understand
the delicacy of your position.

POOH-BAH
We know how delicate it is, don’t we?

KO-KO
I should think we did! How a nobleman of your importance can do it at all is a thing I never can, never shall understand.

(Ko-Ko-retires up and goes off)

Quartet and Chorus

YUM-YUM, PEEP-BO, PITTI-SING
So please you, sir, we much regret.
If we have failed in etiquette
Towards a man of rank so high
We shall know better by and by.

YUM-YUM
But youth, of course, must have its fling,
So pardon us,
So pardon us,

PITTI-SING
And don’t, in girlhood’s happy spring,
Be hard on us,
Be hard on us,
If we’re inclined to dance and sing..
Tra la la, etc.

(Dancing.)

GIRLS
But youth, of course, etc.

POOH-BAH
I think you ought to recollect
You cannot show too much respect
Towards the highly titled few;
But nobody does, and why should you?
That youth at us should have its fling,
Is hard on us,
Is hard on us;
To our prerogative we cling
So pardon us,
So pardon us,
If we decline to dance and sing.
Tra la la, etc.

(Dancing)

GIRLS
But youth, of course, must have its fling, etc.

(Exeunt all but Yum-Yum.)

(Enter Nanki-Poo)

NANKI-POO
Yum-Yum, at last we are alone! I have sought you night and day for three weeks, in the belief that your guardian was beheaded, and I find that you are about to be married to him this afternoon!

YUM-YUM
Alas, yes!

NANKI-POO
But you do not love him?

YUM-YUM
Alas, no!

NANKI-POO
Modified rapture! But why do you not refuse him?

YUM-YUM
What good would that do? He’s my guardian, and he wouldn’t let me marry you!

NANKI-POO
But I would wait until you were of age!

YUM-YUM
You forget that in Japan girls do not arrive at years of discretion until they are fifty.

NANKI-POO
True; from seventeen to forty-nine are considered years of indiscretion.

YUM-YUM
Besides, a wandering minstrel, who plays a wind instrument outside tea-houses, is hardly a fitting husband for the ward of a Lord High Executioner.

NANKI-POO
But..

(Aside.)

Shall I tell her? Yes! She will not betray me!

(Aloud.)

What if it should prove that, after all, I am no musician?

YUM-YUM
There! I was certain of it, directly I heard you play!

NANKI-POO
What if it should prove that I am no other than the son of his Majesty the Mikado?

YUM-YUM
The son of the Mikado!
But why is your Highness disguised? And what has your Highness done? And will your Highness promise never to do it again?

NANKI-POO
Some years ago I had the misfortune to captivate Katisha, an elderly lady of my father’s Court. She misconstrued my customary affability into expressions of affection, and claimed me in marriage, under my father’s law. My father, the Lucius Junius Brutus of his race, ordered me to marry her within a week, or perish ignominiously on the scaffold. That night I fled his Court, and, assuming the disguise of a Second Trombone, I joined the band in which you found me when I had the happiness of seeing you!

(Approaching her)

YUM-YUM
(retreating)
If you please, I think your Highness had better not come too near. The laws against flirting are excessively severe.

NANKI-POO
But we are quite alone, and nobody can see us.

YUM-YUM
Still, that doesn’t make it right.
To flirt is capital.

NANKI-POO
It is capital!

YUM-YUM
And we must obey the law.

NANKI-POO
Deuce take the law!

YUM-YUM
I wish it would, but it won’t!

NANKI-POO
If it were not for that, how happy we might be!

YUM-YUM
Happy indeed!

NANKI-POO
If it were not for the law, we should now be sitting side by side, like that.

(Sits by her.)

YUM-YUM.
Instead of being obliged to sit half a mile off, like that.

(Crosses and sits at other side of stage.)

NANKI-POO
We should be gazing into each other’s eyes, like that.

(Gazing at her sentimentally.)

YUM-YUM
Breathing sighs of unutterable love, like that.

(Sighing and gazing lovingly at him.)

NANKI-POO
With our arms round each other’s waists, like that.

(Embracing her)

YUM-YUM
Yes, if it wasn’t for the law.

NANKI-POO
If it wasn’t for the law.

YUM-YUM
As it is, of course we couldn’t do anything of the kind.

NANKI-POO
Not for worlds!

YUM-YUM
Being engaged to Ko-Ko, you know!

NANKI-POO
Being engaged to Ko-Ko!

Duet: Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo.

NANKI-POO
Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted,
I would say in tender tone,
‘Loved one, let us be united,
Let us be each other’s own!’
I would merge all rank and station,
Worldly sneers are nought to us,
And, to mark my admiration,
I would kiss you fondly thus.

(Kisses her)

BOTH
I/He would kiss you/me fondly thus.

(Kiss)

YUM-YUM
But as I’m engaged to Ko-Ko,
To embrace you thus, con fuoco,
Would distinctly be no giuoco,
And for yam I should get toko.

BOTH
Toko, toko, toko, toko!

NANKI-POO
So, in spite of all temptation,
Such a theme I’ll not discuss,
And on no consideration
Will I kiss you fondly thus.

(Kissing her.)

Let me make it clear to you,
This is what I’ll never do!
This, oh, this, oh, this, oh, this.

(Kissing her.)

TOGETHER
This, Oh, this, etc.

(Exeunt in opposite directions.)

(Enter Ko-Ko.)

KO-KO
(looking after Yum-Yum)
There she goes! To think how entirely my future happiness is wrapped up in that little parcel! Really, it hardly seems worth while! Oh, matrimony!

(Enter Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush.)

Now then, what is it? Can’t you see I’m soliloquizing?
You have interrupted an apostrophe, sir!

PISH-TUSH
I am the bearer of a letter
from his Majesty the Mikado.

KO-KO
(taking it from him reverentially)
A letter from the Mikado!
What in the world can he have to say to me?

(Reads letter)

Ah, here it is at last! I thought it would come sooner or later! The Mikado is struck by the fact that no executions have taken place in Titipu for a year, and decrees that unless somebody is beheaded within one month the post of Lord High Executioner shall be abolished, and the city reduced to the rank of a village!

PISH-TUSH
But that will involve us all in irretrievable ruin!

KO-KO
Yes. There is no help for it,
I shall have to execute somebody at once.
The only question is, who shall it be?

POOH-BAH
Well, it seems unkind to say so, but as you’re already under sentence of death for flirting, everything seems to point to you.

KO-KO
To me? What are you talking about?
I can’t execute myself.

POOH-BAH
Why not?

KO-KO
Why not? Because, in the first place, self-decapitation is an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous, thing to attempt; and, in the second, it’s suicide, and suicide is a capital offence.

POOH-BAH
That is so, no doubt.

PISH-TUSH
We might reserve that point.

POOH-BAH
True, it could be argued six months hence, before the full Court.

KO-KO
Besides, I don’t see how a man can cut off his own head.

POOH-BAH
A man might try.

PISH-TUSH
Even if you only succeeded in cutting it half off, that would be something.

POOH-BAH
It would be taken as an earnest of your desire to comply with the Imperial will.

KO-KO
No. Pardon me, but there I am adamant.
As official Headsman, my reputation is at stake, and I can’t consent to embark on a professional operation unless I see my way to a successful result.

POOH-BAH
This professional conscientiousness is highly creditable to you, but it places us in a very awkward position.

KO-KO
My good sir, the awkwardness of your position is grace itself compared with that of a man engaged in the act of cutting off his own head.

PISH-TUSH
I am afraid that, unless you can obtain a substitute.

KO-KO
A substitute? Oh, certainly, nothing easier.

(To Pooh-Bah)

Pooh-Bah, I appoint you Lord High Substitute.

POOH-BAH
I should be delighted.
Such an appointment would realize my fondest dreams. But no, at any sacrifice, I must set bounds to my insatiable ambition!

Trio

POOH-BAH
I am so proud,
If I allowed
My family pride
To be my guide,
I’d volunteer
To quit this sphere
Instead of you,
In a minute or two.
But family pride
Must be denied,
And set aside,
And mortified.
And so,
Although
I wish to go,
And greatly pine
To brightly shine,
And take the line
Of a hero fine,
With grief condign
I must decline,
I must decline,
I must decline.

KO-KO
My brain it teems
With endless schemes
Both good and new.
For Titipu;
But if I flit,
The benefit
That I’d diffuse
The town would lose!
Now every man
To aid his clan
Should plot and plan
As best he can,
And so,
Although
I’m ready to go,
Yet recollect
’Twere disrespect
Did I neglect
To thus effect
This aim direct,
So I object,
So I object,
So I object.

PISH-TUSH
I heard one day
A gentleman say
That criminals who
Are cut in two
Can hardly feel
The fatal steel,
And so are slain
Without much pain.
If this is true,
It’s jolly for you;
Your courage screw
To bid us adieu,
And go
And show
Both friend and foe
How much you dare.
I’m quite aware
It’s your affair,
Yet I declare
I’d take your share,
But I don’t much care,
I don’t much care,
I don’t much care.

ALL
To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

(Exeunt Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush)


KO-KO
This is simply appalling!
I, who allowed myself to be respited at the last moment, simply in order to benefit my native town, am now required to die within a month, and that by a man whom I have loaded with honours! Is this public gratitude? Is this

(Enter Nanki-Poo, with a rope in his hands.)

Go away, sir! How dare you?
Am I never to be permitted to soliloquize?

NANKI-POO
Oh, go on, don’t mind me.

KO-KO
What are you going to do with that rope?

NANKI-POO
I am about to terminate an unendurable existence.

KO-KO
Terminate your existence? Oh, nonsense! What for?

NANKI-POO
Because you are going to marry the girl I adore.

KO-KO
Nonsense, sir. I won’t permit it. I am a humane man, and if you attempt anything of the kind I shall order your instant arrest. Come, sir, desist at once, or I summon my guard.

NANKI-POO
That’s absurd. If you attempt to raise an alarm, I instantly perform the Happy Despatch with this dagger.

KO-KO
No, no, don’t do that. This is horrible!

(Suddenly)

Why, you cold-blooded scoundrel, are you aware that, in taking your life, you are committing, a crime which...which... which... is... Oh!

(Struck by an idea)

Substitute!

NANKI-POO
What’s the matter?

KO-KO
Is it absolutely certain that you are resolved to die?

NANKI-POO
Absolutely!

KO-KO
Will nothing shake your resolution?

NANKI-POO
Nothing.

KO-KO
Threats, entreaties, prayers – all useless?

NANKI-POO
All! My mind is made up.

KO-KO
Then, if you really mean what you say, and if you are absolutely resolved to die, and if nothing whatever will shake your determination, don’t spoil yourself by committing suicide, but be beheaded handsomely at the hands of the Public Executioner!

NANKI-POO
I don’t see how that would benefit me.

KO-KO
You don’t? Observe: you’ll have a month to live, and you’ll live like a fighting-cock at my expense. When the day comes there’ll be a grand public ceremonial, you’ll be the central figure, no one will attempt to deprive you of that distinction. There’ll be a procession, bands, dead march, bells tolling, all the girls in tears, Yum-Yum distracted, then, when it’s all over, general rejoicings, and a display of fireworks in the evening. You won’t see them, but they’ll be there all the same.

NANKI-POO
Do you think Yum-Yum would really be distracted at my death?

KO-KO
I am convinced of it. Bless you,
she’s the most tender-hearted little creature alive.

NANKI-POO
I should be sorry to cause her pain. Perhaps, after all, if I were to withdraw from Japan, and travel in Europe for a couple of years, I might contrive to forget her.

KO-KO
Oh, I don’t think you could forget Yum-Yum so easily; and, after all, what is more miserable than a love blighted life?

NANKI-POO
True.

KO-KO
Life without Yum-Yum – why, it seems absurd!

NANKI-POO
And yet there area good many people in the world who have to endure it.

KO-KO
Poor devils, yes!
You are quite right not to be of their number.

NANKI-POO
(suddenly)
I won’t be of their number!

KO-KO
Noble fellow!

NANKI-POO
I’ll tell you how we’ll manage it.
Let me marry Yum-Yum tomorrow,
and in a month you may behead me.

KO-KO
No, no. I draw the line at Yum-Yum.

NANKI-POO
Very good. If you can draw the line so can I.

(Preparing rope)

KO-KO
Stop, stop! Listen one moment. Be reasonable.
How can I consent to your marrying Yum-Yum
if I’m going to marry her myself?

NANKI-POO
My good friend, she’ll be a widow in a month, and you can marry her then.

KO-KO
That’s true, of course. I quite see that. But, dear me! my position during the next month will be most unpleasant, most unpleasant.

NANKI-POO
Not half so unpleasant as my position at the end of it.

KO-KO
But, dear me! Well, I agree, after all, it’s only putting off my wedding for a month. But you won’t prejudice her against me, will you? You see, I’ve educated her to be my wife; she’s been taught to regard me as a wise and good man. Now I shouldnt like her views on that point disturbed.

NANKI-POO
Trust me, she shall never learn the truth from me.

(Enter Chorus, Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush)

CHORUS
With aspect stern
And gloomy stride,
We come to learn
How you decide.
Don’t hesitate
Your choice to name,
A dreadful fate
You’ll suffer all the same.

POOH-BAH
To ask you what you mean to do we punctually appear.

KO-KO
Congratulate me, gentlemen,
I’ve found a Volunteer!

ALL
The Japanese equivalent for Hear, Hear, Hear!

KO-KO
(presenting him)
’Tis Nanki-Poo!

ALL
Hail, Nanki-Poo!

KO-KO
I think he’ll do?

ALL
Yes, yes, he’ll do!

KO-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-KO
(to Nanki-Poo)
Take her. She’s yours!

(Exit Ko-Ko)

Ensemble

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!

NANKI-POO, POOH-BAH, PISH-TUSH
YUM-YUM, PITTI-SING, PEEP-BO
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-YUM
Or far or near, or far or near,

POOH-BAH
Life’s eventime comes much too soon,

PITTI-SING
You’ll five at least a honeymoon!

ALL
Then let the throng, etc.

CHORUS
With joyous shout, etc.

Solo

POOH-BAH
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!

(Exit Pooh-Bah)

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!

(Dance.)

(Enter Katisha melodramatically.)

KATISHA
Your revels cease! Assist me, all of you!

CHORUS
Why, who is this whose evil eyes
Rain blight on our festivities?

KATISHA
I claim my perjured lover, Nanki-Poo!
Oh, fool! to shun delights that never cloy!

CHORUS
Go, leave thy deadly work undone!

KATISHA
Come back, oh, shallow fool! come back to joy!

CHORUS
Away, away! ill-favoured one!

NANKI-POO
(aside to Yum-Yum)
Ah!’Tis Katisha!
The maid of whom I told you.

(About to go.)

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

Song

KATISHA
(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!

KATISHA
(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-SING
Your anger pray bury,
For all will be merry,
I think you had better succumb...

ALL
Cumb, cumb!

PITTI-SING
And join our expressions of glee.
On this subject I pray you be dumb.

ALL
Dumb, dumb.

PITTI-SING
You’ll find there are many
Who’ll wed for a penny.
The word for your guidance is ‘Mum’.

ALL
Mum, mum!

PITTI-SING
There’s lots of good fish in the sea!

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

Solo

KATISHA
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!

NANKI-POO
(aside)
Now comes the blow!

KATISHA
Prepare yourselves for news surprising!

NANKI-POO
(aside)
How foil my foe?

KATISHA
No minstrel he, despite bravado!

YUM-YUM
(aside, struck by an idea)
Ha! ha! I know!

KATISHA
He is the son of your...

NANKI-POO, YUM-YUM, CHORUS,
(interrupting, sing Japanese words, to drown her voice.)
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
In vain you interrupt with this tornado!
He is the only son of your...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
I’ll spoil

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
Your gay gambado!
He is the son...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
Of your...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
The son of your...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! oval oya!

Ensemble

KATISHA
Ye torrents roar!
Ye tempests howl!
Your wrath outpour
With angry growl!
Do ye your worst, my vengeance call
Shall rise triumphant over all!
Prepare for woe,
Ye haughty lords,
At once I go
Mikado-wards,
My wrongs with vengeance shall be
be crowned!
My wrongs with vengeance shall be
be crowned!

THE OTHERS
We’ll hear no more,
Ill-omened owl,
To joy we soar,
Despite your scowl!
The echoes of our festival
Shall rise triumphant over all!
Away you go,
Collect your hordes;
Proclaim your woe
In dismal chords;
We do not heed their dismal sound,
For joy reigns everywhere around.

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

KO-KO
At last, my bride that is to be!

(About to embrace her)

YUM-YUM
You’re not going to kiss me before all these people?

KO-KO
Well, that was the idea.

YUM-YUM
(aside to Peep-Bo)
It seems odd, doesn’t it?

PEEP-BO
It’s rather peculiar.

PITTI-SING
Oh, I expect it’s all right.
Must have a beginning, you know.

YUM-YUM
Well, of course I know nothing about these things;
but I’ve no objection if it’s usual.

KO-KO
Oh, it’s quite usual, I think.
Eh, Lord Chamberlain?

(Appealing to Pooh-Bah)

POOH-BAH
I have known it done.

(Ko-Ko embraces her)

YUM-YUM
Thank goodness that’s over!

(Sees Nanki-Poo, and rushes to him.)

Why, that’s never you?

(The Three Girls rush to him and shake his hands, all speaking at once.)

YUM-YUM
Oh, I’m so glad! I haven’t seen you for ever so long, and I’m. right at the top of the school, and I’ve got three prizes, and I’ve come home for good, and I’m not going back any more!

PEEP-BO
And have you got an engagement? – Yum-Yum’s got one, but she doesn’t like it, and she’d ever so much rather it was you! I’ve come home for good, and I’m not going back any more!

PITTI-SING
Now tell us all the news, because you go about everywhere, and we’ve been at school, but, thank goodness, that’s all over now, and we’ve come home for good, and we’re not going back any more!

(These three speeches are spoken together in one breath.)

KO-KO
I beg your pardon. Will you present me?

YUM-YUM
Oh, this is the musician who used...

PEEP-BO
Oh, this is the gentleman who used...

PITTI-SING
Oh, it is only Nanki-Poo who used...

KO-KO
One at a time, if you please.

YUM-YUM
Oh, if you please he’s the gentleman who used
to play so beautifully on the... on the...

PITTI-SING
On the Marine Parade.

YUM-YUM
Yes, I think that was the name of the instrument.

NANKI-POO
Sir, I have the misfortune to love your ward,
oh, I know I deserve your anger!

KO-KO
Anger! not a bit, my boy. Why, I love her myself.
Charming little girl, isn’t she? Pretty eyes, nice hair.
Taking little thing, altogether. Very glad to hear my opinion backed by a competent authority. Thank you very much. Good-bye.

(To Pish-Tush)

Take him away.

(Pish-Tush removes him.)

PITTI-SING
(who has been examining Pooh-Bah)
I beg your pardon, but what is this?
Customer come to try on?

KO-KO
That is a Tremendous Swell.

PITTI-SING
Oh, it’s alive.

(She starts back in alarm.)

POOH-BAH
Go away, little girls. Can’t talk to little girls like you.
Go away, there’s dears.

KO-KO
Allow me to present you, Pooh-Bah.
These are my three wards.
The one in the middle is my bride elect.

POOH-BAH
What do you want me to do to them?
Mind, I will not kiss them.

KO-KO
No, no, you shan’t kiss them;
a little bow, a mere nothing,
you needn’t mean it, you know.

POOH-BAH
It goes against the grain.
They are not young ladies, they are young persons.

KO-KO
Come, come, make an effort,
there’s a good nobleman.

POOH-BAH
(aside to Ko-Ko)
Well, I shan’t mean it.

(With a great effort.)

How de do, little girls, how de do?

(Aside.)

Oh, my protoplasmal ancestor!

KO-KO
That’s very good.

(Girls indulge in suppressed laughter.)

POOH-BAH
I see nothing to laugh at. It is very painful to me to have to say ‘How de do, little girls, how de do? ’ to young persons. I’m not in the habit of saying ‘How de do, little girls, how de do?’ to anybody under the rank of a Stockbroker.

KO-KO
(aside to girls)
Don’t laugh at him, he can’t help it
He’s under treatment for it.

(Aside to Pooh-Bah)

Never mind them, they don’t understand
the delicacy of your position.

POOH-BAH
We know how delicate it is, don’t we?

KO-KO
I should think we did! How a nobleman of your importance can do it at all is a thing I never can, never shall understand.

(Ko-Ko-retires up and goes off)

Quartet and Chorus

YUM-YUM, PEEP-BO, PITTI-SING
So please you, sir, we much regret.
If we have failed in etiquette
Towards a man of rank so high
We shall know better by and by.

YUM-YUM
But youth, of course, must have its fling,
So pardon us,
So pardon us,

PITTI-SING
And don’t, in girlhood’s happy spring,
Be hard on us,
Be hard on us,
If we’re inclined to dance and sing..
Tra la la, etc.

(Dancing.)

GIRLS
But youth, of course, etc.

POOH-BAH
I think you ought to recollect
You cannot show too much respect
Towards the highly titled few;
But nobody does, and why should you?
That youth at us should have its fling,
Is hard on us,
Is hard on us;
To our prerogative we cling
So pardon us,
So pardon us,
If we decline to dance and sing.
Tra la la, etc.

(Dancing)

GIRLS
But youth, of course, must have its fling, etc.

(Exeunt all but Yum-Yum.)

(Enter Nanki-Poo)

NANKI-POO
Yum-Yum, at last we are alone! I have sought you night and day for three weeks, in the belief that your guardian was beheaded, and I find that you are about to be married to him this afternoon!

YUM-YUM
Alas, yes!

NANKI-POO
But you do not love him?

YUM-YUM
Alas, no!

NANKI-POO
Modified rapture! But why do you not refuse him?

YUM-YUM
What good would that do? He’s my guardian, and he wouldn’t let me marry you!

NANKI-POO
But I would wait until you were of age!

YUM-YUM
You forget that in Japan girls do not arrive at years of discretion until they are fifty.

NANKI-POO
True; from seventeen to forty-nine are considered years of indiscretion.

YUM-YUM
Besides, a wandering minstrel, who plays a wind instrument outside tea-houses, is hardly a fitting husband for the ward of a Lord High Executioner.

NANKI-POO
But..

(Aside.)

Shall I tell her? Yes! She will not betray me!

(Aloud.)

What if it should prove that, after all, I am no musician?

YUM-YUM
There! I was certain of it, directly I heard you play!

NANKI-POO
What if it should prove that I am no other than the son of his Majesty the Mikado?

YUM-YUM
The son of the Mikado!
But why is your Highness disguised? And what has your Highness done? And will your Highness promise never to do it again?

NANKI-POO
Some years ago I had the misfortune to captivate Katisha, an elderly lady of my father’s Court. She misconstrued my customary affability into expressions of affection, and claimed me in marriage, under my father’s law. My father, the Lucius Junius Brutus of his race, ordered me to marry her within a week, or perish ignominiously on the scaffold. That night I fled his Court, and, assuming the disguise of a Second Trombone, I joined the band in which you found me when I had the happiness of seeing you!

(Approaching her)

YUM-YUM
(retreating)
If you please, I think your Highness had better not come too near. The laws against flirting are excessively severe.

NANKI-POO
But we are quite alone, and nobody can see us.

YUM-YUM
Still, that doesn’t make it right.
To flirt is capital.

NANKI-POO
It is capital!

YUM-YUM
And we must obey the law.

NANKI-POO
Deuce take the law!

YUM-YUM
I wish it would, but it won’t!

NANKI-POO
If it were not for that, how happy we might be!

YUM-YUM
Happy indeed!

NANKI-POO
If it were not for the law, we should now be sitting side by side, like that.

(Sits by her.)

YUM-YUM.
Instead of being obliged to sit half a mile off, like that.

(Crosses and sits at other side of stage.)

NANKI-POO
We should be gazing into each other’s eyes, like that.

(Gazing at her sentimentally.)

YUM-YUM
Breathing sighs of unutterable love, like that.

(Sighing and gazing lovingly at him.)

NANKI-POO
With our arms round each other’s waists, like that.

(Embracing her)

YUM-YUM
Yes, if it wasn’t for the law.

NANKI-POO
If it wasn’t for the law.

YUM-YUM
As it is, of course we couldn’t do anything of the kind.

NANKI-POO
Not for worlds!

YUM-YUM
Being engaged to Ko-Ko, you know!

NANKI-POO
Being engaged to Ko-Ko!

Duet: Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo.

NANKI-POO
Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted,
I would say in tender tone,
‘Loved one, let us be united,
Let us be each other’s own!’
I would merge all rank and station,
Worldly sneers are nought to us,
And, to mark my admiration,
I would kiss you fondly thus.

(Kisses her)

BOTH
I/He would kiss you/me fondly thus.

(Kiss)

YUM-YUM
But as I’m engaged to Ko-Ko,
To embrace you thus, con fuoco,
Would distinctly be no giuoco,
And for yam I should get toko.

BOTH
Toko, toko, toko, toko!

NANKI-POO
So, in spite of all temptation,
Such a theme I’ll not discuss,
And on no consideration
Will I kiss you fondly thus.

(Kissing her.)

Let me make it clear to you,
This is what I’ll never do!
This, oh, this, oh, this, oh, this.

(Kissing her.)

TOGETHER
This, Oh, this, etc.

(Exeunt in opposite directions.)

(Enter Ko-Ko.)

KO-KO
(looking after Yum-Yum)
There she goes! To think how entirely my future happiness is wrapped up in that little parcel! Really, it hardly seems worth while! Oh, matrimony!

(Enter Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush.)

Now then, what is it? Can’t you see I’m soliloquizing?
You have interrupted an apostrophe, sir!

PISH-TUSH
I am the bearer of a letter
from his Majesty the Mikado.

KO-KO
(taking it from him reverentially)
A letter from the Mikado!
What in the world can he have to say to me?

(Reads letter)

Ah, here it is at last! I thought it would come sooner or later! The Mikado is struck by the fact that no executions have taken place in Titipu for a year, and decrees that unless somebody is beheaded within one month the post of Lord High Executioner shall be abolished, and the city reduced to the rank of a village!

PISH-TUSH
But that will involve us all in irretrievable ruin!

KO-KO
Yes. There is no help for it,
I shall have to execute somebody at once.
The only question is, who shall it be?

POOH-BAH
Well, it seems unkind to say so, but as you’re already under sentence of death for flirting, everything seems to point to you.

KO-KO
To me? What are you talking about?
I can’t execute myself.

POOH-BAH
Why not?

KO-KO
Why not? Because, in the first place, self-decapitation is an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous, thing to attempt; and, in the second, it’s suicide, and suicide is a capital offence.

POOH-BAH
That is so, no doubt.

PISH-TUSH
We might reserve that point.

POOH-BAH
True, it could be argued six months hence, before the full Court.

KO-KO
Besides, I don’t see how a man can cut off his own head.

POOH-BAH
A man might try.

PISH-TUSH
Even if you only succeeded in cutting it half off, that would be something.

POOH-BAH
It would be taken as an earnest of your desire to comply with the Imperial will.

KO-KO
No. Pardon me, but there I am adamant.
As official Headsman, my reputation is at stake, and I can’t consent to embark on a professional operation unless I see my way to a successful result.

POOH-BAH
This professional conscientiousness is highly creditable to you, but it places us in a very awkward position.

KO-KO
My good sir, the awkwardness of your position is grace itself compared with that of a man engaged in the act of cutting off his own head.

PISH-TUSH
I am afraid that, unless you can obtain a substitute.

KO-KO
A substitute? Oh, certainly, nothing easier.

(To Pooh-Bah)

Pooh-Bah, I appoint you Lord High Substitute.

POOH-BAH
I should be delighted.
Such an appointment would realize my fondest dreams. But no, at any sacrifice, I must set bounds to my insatiable ambition!

Trio

POOH-BAH
I am so proud,
If I allowed
My family pride
To be my guide,
I’d volunteer
To quit this sphere
Instead of you,
In a minute or two.
But family pride
Must be denied,
And set aside,
And mortified.
And so,
Although
I wish to go,
And greatly pine
To brightly shine,
And take the line
Of a hero fine,
With grief condign
I must decline,
I must decline,
I must decline.

KO-KO
My brain it teems
With endless schemes
Both good and new.
For Titipu;
But if I flit,
The benefit
That I’d diffuse
The town would lose!
Now every man
To aid his clan
Should plot and plan
As best he can,
And so,
Although
I’m ready to go,
Yet recollect
’Twere disrespect
Did I neglect
To thus effect
This aim direct,
So I object,
So I object,
So I object.

PISH-TUSH
I heard one day
A gentleman say
That criminals who
Are cut in two
Can hardly feel
The fatal steel,
And so are slain
Without much pain.
If this is true,
It’s jolly for you;
Your courage screw
To bid us adieu,
And go
And show
Both friend and foe
How much you dare.
I’m quite aware
It’s your affair,
Yet I declare
I’d take your share,
But I don’t much care,
I don’t much care,
I don’t much care.

ALL
To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

(Exeunt Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush)


KO-KO
This is simply appalling!
I, who allowed myself to be respited at the last moment, simply in order to benefit my native town, am now required to die within a month, and that by a man whom I have loaded with honours! Is this public gratitude? Is this

(Enter Nanki-Poo, with a rope in his hands.)

Go away, sir! How dare you?
Am I never to be permitted to soliloquize?

NANKI-POO
Oh, go on, don’t mind me.

KO-KO
What are you going to do with that rope?

NANKI-POO
I am about to terminate an unendurable existence.

KO-KO
Terminate your existence? Oh, nonsense! What for?

NANKI-POO
Because you are going to marry the girl I adore.

KO-KO
Nonsense, sir. I won’t permit it. I am a humane man, and if you attempt anything of the kind I shall order your instant arrest. Come, sir, desist at once, or I summon my guard.

NANKI-POO
That’s absurd. If you attempt to raise an alarm, I instantly perform the Happy Despatch with this dagger.

KO-KO
No, no, don’t do that. This is horrible!

(Suddenly)

Why, you cold-blooded scoundrel, are you aware that, in taking your life, you are committing, a crime which...which... which... is... Oh!

(Struck by an idea)

Substitute!

NANKI-POO
What’s the matter?

KO-KO
Is it absolutely certain that you are resolved to die?

NANKI-POO
Absolutely!

KO-KO
Will nothing shake your resolution?

NANKI-POO
Nothing.

KO-KO
Threats, entreaties, prayers – all useless?

NANKI-POO
All! My mind is made up.

KO-KO
Then, if you really mean what you say, and if you are absolutely resolved to die, and if nothing whatever will shake your determination, don’t spoil yourself by committing suicide, but be beheaded handsomely at the hands of the Public Executioner!

NANKI-POO
I don’t see how that would benefit me.

KO-KO
You don’t? Observe: you’ll have a month to live, and you’ll live like a fighting-cock at my expense. When the day comes there’ll be a grand public ceremonial, you’ll be the central figure, no one will attempt to deprive you of that distinction. There’ll be a procession, bands, dead march, bells tolling, all the girls in tears, Yum-Yum distracted, then, when it’s all over, general rejoicings, and a display of fireworks in the evening. You won’t see them, but they’ll be there all the same.

NANKI-POO
Do you think Yum-Yum would really be distracted at my death?

KO-KO
I am convinced of it. Bless you,
she’s the most tender-hearted little creature alive.

NANKI-POO
I should be sorry to cause her pain. Perhaps, after all, if I were to withdraw from Japan, and travel in Europe for a couple of years, I might contrive to forget her.

KO-KO
Oh, I don’t think you could forget Yum-Yum so easily; and, after all, what is more miserable than a love blighted life?

NANKI-POO
True.

KO-KO
Life without Yum-Yum – why, it seems absurd!

NANKI-POO
And yet there area good many people in the world who have to endure it.

KO-KO
Poor devils, yes!
You are quite right not to be of their number.

NANKI-POO
(suddenly)
I won’t be of their number!

KO-KO
Noble fellow!

NANKI-POO
I’ll tell you how we’ll manage it.
Let me marry Yum-Yum tomorrow,
and in a month you may behead me.

KO-KO
No, no. I draw the line at Yum-Yum.

NANKI-POO
Very good. If you can draw the line so can I.

(Preparing rope)

KO-KO
Stop, stop! Listen one moment. Be reasonable.
How can I consent to your marrying Yum-Yum
if I’m going to marry her myself?

NANKI-POO
My good friend, she’ll be a widow in a month, and you can marry her then.

KO-KO
That’s true, of course. I quite see that. But, dear me! my position during the next month will be most unpleasant, most unpleasant.

NANKI-POO
Not half so unpleasant as my position at the end of it.

KO-KO
But, dear me! Well, I agree, after all, it’s only putting off my wedding for a month. But you won’t prejudice her against me, will you? You see, I’ve educated her to be my wife; she’s been taught to regard me as a wise and good man. Now I shouldnt like her views on that point disturbed.

NANKI-POO
Trust me, she shall never learn the truth from me.

(Enter Chorus, Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush)

CHORUS
With aspect stern
And gloomy stride,
We come to learn
How you decide.
Don’t hesitate
Your choice to name,
A dreadful fate
You’ll suffer all the same.

POOH-BAH
To ask you what you mean to do we punctually appear.

KO-KO
Congratulate me, gentlemen,
I’ve found a Volunteer!

ALL
The Japanese equivalent for Hear, Hear, Hear!

KO-KO
(presenting him)
’Tis Nanki-Poo!

ALL
Hail, Nanki-Poo!

KO-KO
I think he’ll do?

ALL
Yes, yes, he’ll do!

KO-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-KO
(to Nanki-Poo)
Take her. She’s yours!

(Exit Ko-Ko)

Ensemble

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!

NANKI-POO, POOH-BAH, PISH-TUSH
YUM-YUM, PITTI-SING, PEEP-BO
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-YUM
Or far or near, or far or near,

POOH-BAH
Life’s eventime comes much too soon,

PITTI-SING
You’ll five at least a honeymoon!

ALL
Then let the throng, etc.

CHORUS
With joyous shout, etc.

Solo

POOH-BAH
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!

(Exit Pooh-Bah)

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!

(Dance.)

(Enter Katisha melodramatically.)

KATISHA
Your revels cease! Assist me, all of you!

CHORUS
Why, who is this whose evil eyes
Rain blight on our festivities?

KATISHA
I claim my perjured lover, Nanki-Poo!
Oh, fool! to shun delights that never cloy!

CHORUS
Go, leave thy deadly work undone!

KATISHA
Come back, oh, shallow fool! come back to joy!

CHORUS
Away, away! ill-favoured one!

NANKI-POO
(aside to Yum-Yum)
Ah!’Tis Katisha!
The maid of whom I told you.

(About to go.)

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

Song

KATISHA
(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!

KATISHA
(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-SING
Your anger pray bury,
For all will be merry,
I think you had better succumb...

ALL
Cumb, cumb!

PITTI-SING
And join our expressions of glee.
On this subject I pray you be dumb.

ALL
Dumb, dumb.

PITTI-SING
You’ll find there are many
Who’ll wed for a penny.
The word for your guidance is ‘Mum’.

ALL
Mum, mum!

PITTI-SING
There’s lots of good fish in the sea!

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

Solo

KATISHA
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!

NANKI-POO
(aside)
Now comes the blow!

KATISHA
Prepare yourselves for news surprising!

NANKI-POO
(aside)
How foil my foe?

KATISHA
No minstrel he, despite bravado!

YUM-YUM
(aside, struck by an idea)
Ha! ha! I know!

KATISHA
He is the son of your...

NANKI-POO, YUM-YUM, CHORUS,
(interrupting, sing Japanese words, to drown her voice.)
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
In vain you interrupt with this tornado!
He is the only son of your...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
I’ll spoil

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
Your gay gambado!
He is the son...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
Of your...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!

KATISHA
The son of your...

ALL
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! oval oya!

Ensemble

KATISHA
Ye torrents roar!
Ye tempests howl!
Your wrath outpour
With angry growl!
Do ye your worst, my vengeance call
Shall rise triumphant over all!
Prepare for woe,
Ye haughty lords,
At once I go
Mikado-wards,
My wrongs with vengeance shall be
be crowned!
My wrongs with vengeance shall be
be crowned!

THE OTHERS
We’ll hear no more,
Ill-omened owl,
To joy we soar,
Despite your scowl!
The echoes of our festival
Shall rise triumphant over all!
Away you go,
Collect your hordes;
Proclaim your woe
In dismal chords;
We do not heed their dismal sound,
For joy reigns everywhere around.

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



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