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No. 13: FINALE ACT I
"When darkly looms the day"

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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. (speaking aside to Lord Mountararat)
What was that?

Lord Mountararat. (aside to Phyllis)
I think I heard him say,
That on a rainy day,
To while the time away,
On her he'd call!

Peers.
We think we heard him say,
That on a rainy day,
To while the time away,
On her he'd call!
Phyllis (Winifred Lawson) overhears Iolanthe (Eileen Davies) and Strephon (Gregory Stroud) 1926
Click on picture to enlarge

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. (speaking aside to Lord Tolloller)
What was that?

Lord Tolloller. (aside to Phyllis)
I heard the minx remark,
She'd meet him after dark,
Inside St. James's Park,
And give him one!

Peers.
We heard the minx remark,
She'd meet him after dark,
Inside St. James's Park,
And give him one!

Phyllis. Iolanthe. Lord Tol. Lord Mount. Strephon.
The prospect's very
bad,
The prospect's not so
bad,
The prospect's not so
bad,
  The prospect's not so
bad,
My heart so sore and sad Thy heart so sore and sad My heart so sore and sad   My heart so sore and sad
Will never more be glad May very soon be glad May very soon be glad   May very soon be glad
As summer's sun. As summer's sun. As summer's sun.   As summer's sun.
For when the sky is dark For when the sky is dark For when the sky is dark   For when the sky is dark
And tempests wreck his bark, And tempests wreck thy bark, And tempests wreck his bark,   And tempests wreck my bark,
If he should need an
Ark,
If thou shouldst need an
Ark,
If he should need an
Ark,
  If I should need an
Ark,
She'll give him one, I'll give thee one, She'll give him one,   She'll give me one,
Give him one, Ah, give thee one, Ah, give him one, Ah, give him one,  
Ah, one! Ah, give thee one! Ah, give him one! Give him one! Ah, 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 Tolloller.
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.

John Reed as The Lord Chancellor
Click on picture to enlarge
Lord Chancellor.
What means this mirth unseemly,
That shakes the listening earth?
Lord Tolloller.
The joke is good extremely,
And justifies our mirth.

Lord Mountararat.
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 Chancellor. (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.

Peers.
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

Strephon.

My Lord, of evidence I have no dearth —
She is — has been — my mother from my birth!

In babyhood
Upon her lap I lay,
With infant food
She moistenèd my clay;
Had she withheld
The succour she supplied,
By hunger quelled,
Your Strephon might have died!

Lord Chancellor. (much moved)
Had that refreshment been denied,
Indeed our Strephon might have died!
Peers. (much affected)
Had that refreshment been denied,
Indeed our Strephon might have died!

Lord Mountararat.
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!
Peers.
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!
Peers.
Oh, rapture!
Strephon.
Hear me, Phyllis, ere you leave me.
Phyllis.
Not a word — you did deceive me.
Peers.
Not a word — you did deceive her.

Exit Strephon.

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!

Phyllis (Viola Wilson) accepts Lord Tolloller (John Dean) or Lord Mountararat (Darrell Fancourt)
Click on picture to enlarge

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

Enter Strephon.

Strephon.
Can I inactive see my fortune fade?
No, no!
Peers.
Ho, ho!
Strephon.
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.

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 Chancellor.
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!
Taradiddle, taradiddle.
Fairies.
Tol lol lay!

Lord Tolloller.
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!

Fairies. Peers.
Though she is seventeen,
and he is four or five-and-twenty!
Oh, fie! our Strephon's not a rogue!
For she is seventeen,
and he is four or five-and-twenty!
Oh, fie! young Strephon is a rogue!

Lord Mountararat.
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!

Fairies & Peers.
If she is seventeen, and he is only five-and-twenty.

Fairies. Peers.
To say she is his mother is an utter bit of folly!
Oh, fie! our Strephon's not 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!
To say she is his mother is an utter bit of folly!
Oh, fie! young 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 Chancellor.
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!

Fairies. (To Queen)
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!

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.

Phyllis. Queen. Fairies. Peers.
Surely Bearded Let us stay, madam; I should Go away, madam; I should
these must by these say, madam, They dis- say, madam, You dis-
be im- puny play, madam, Shocking play, madam, Shocking
mortals! mortals! taste. It is taste. It is
Should they I will rude, madam, To al- rude, madam, To in-
launch from launch from lude, madam, To your trude, madam, With your
fairy fairy brood, madam, Brazen- brood, madam, Brazen-
portals portals faced! We don't faced! You come
All their All the fear, madam, Any here, madam, Inter-
most ter- most ter- peer, madam, Tho' my fere, madam, With a
rific rific dear madam, This is peer, madam. (I am
wonders, thunders, one. They will one.) You're a-
We should In my stare, madam, When a- ware, madam, What you
then repent armoury ware, madam, What they dare, dare, madam, So take care,
    madam, When a- madam, What you
our of ware, madam, What they've dare, madam, And be
blunders! wonders! done! They will stare When aware gone! You're aware, What you dare
    What they dare, So take care,
Should repent,...   What they've done, madam, And begone!...
    They will stare madam, When a-  
  My ware, madam, What they  
re-   dare, madam, What they've  
pent... armoury... done, madam, They will stare You're aware,
    madam, When aware, madam, madam, what you dare, madam,
our blunders! of wonders! What they dare, madam, So take care, madam,
    What they've done!
And be gone!
    They will stare, madam, You're aware, madam,
    When aware, What you dare,
    What they dare, madam, So take care, madam,
    What they've done, madam And be gone, madam,
We should

They will

They will stare, madam, When a- You're aware, madam, What you
then, should soon, will ware, madam, What they dare, madam, So take
then repent! soon repent! dare, madam, What they've done! care, madam, And be gone!

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 Chancellor.
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!

Strephon (Michael Rayner) and the Fairy Queen (Lyndsie Holland) 1974.
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/their supreme authority,
He'll command a large majority!
Into Parliament, into Parliament,
Parliament, Parliament, he shall go!
Into Parliament he shall go!
Into Parliament, into Parliament,
Parliament, Parliament, he shall go!
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 he shall go!
Backed by our/their supreme authority,
He'll command a large majority!
Into Parliament, P A arliament,
P A R Parliament, he shall go!
Into Parliament he shall go!
Into Parliament, into Parliament,
Parliament, Parliament, he shall go!
Into Parliament he shall go!

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.
Oh, horror!
1950s Production

Fairies.
Their horror
They can't dissemble
Nor hide the fear that makes them tremble!

Fairies. Peers.
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.
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.
'Twill plunge them into grief and shame;
His kind forbearance they must claim,
If they'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,
The word "prestige" is French).
 
Although our threats you now pooh-pooh:
A dire revenge will fall on you.
With Strephon for your foe, no doubt,
A fearful prospect opens out,
And who shall say
What evils may
Result in consequence?
Your powers we dauntlessly pooh-pooh:
A dire revenge will fall on you.
Young Strephon is the kind of lout
We do not care a fig about!
We cannot say
What evils may
Result in consequence!
  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 oι πoλλoί!
(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 oι πoλλoί!

 
  (A Greek remark.)
One Latin word, one Greek remark,
And one that's 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.
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.
We will not wait, You needn't wait ,
  Away you fly!
We go sky high! Your threatened hate
  We thus defy!
Our threatened hate You needn't wait
You
won't
defy!
Away you fly!
Your threatened hate
We thus, we thus defy!
We will not wait,
We go sky high!
Our threatened hate
You won't defy!
You needn't wait ,
Away you fly!
Your threatened hate
We thus defy!

Away we go!
We go sky high!
Our threatened hate
You won't defy!
You won't defy!
You won't, you won't defy!
You won't, you won't defy!

Away you go!
You go sky high!
Your threatened hate
We thus defy!
We thus defy!
We thus, we thus defy!
We thus, we thus defy!

Fairies threaten Peers with their wands. Peers kneel as begging for merry. 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


This MIDI song file was originally sequenced by Colin Johnson.

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