The Pirates of Penzance: Wikis

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Drawing of the Act I finale

The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty, is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well-received by both audiences and critics.[1] Its London debut was on 3 April 1880, at the Opera Comique, where it ran for a very successful 363 performances, having already been playing successfully for over three months in New York.

The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tenderhearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on February 29, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His apprenticeship indentures state that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday, and so he must serve for another 63 years. Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.

Pirates was the fifth Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration and introduced the much-parodied Major-General's Song. The opera was performed for a century by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Britain and many other opera companies and repertory companies worldwide.

It has been refreshed with several modernised productions, including Joseph Papp's 1981 production on Broadway, which ran for 787 performances, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, and spawned many imitations. Pirates remains popular today, taking its place along with The Mikado and HMS Pinafore as one of the most frequently played Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Contents

Background

The Pirates of Penzance was the only Gilbert and Sullivan opera to have its official premiere in New York. At the time, American law offered no copyright protection to foreigners. After their previous opera, HMS Pinafore, was a hit in London, over a hundred American companies quickly mounted unauthorized "pirated" productions, often taking considerable liberties with the text and paying no royalties to the creators.[2] By mounting their next opera in New York, Gilbert and Sullivan hoped to forestall further "piracy" by establishing the official production in America before others could copy it.[3] They did succeed, by mounting the first production themselves, as well as operating U.S. touring companies and delaying publication of the score and libretto, in keeping for themselves the direct profits of the venture.[2] However, Gilbert, Sullivan, and their producer, Richard D'Oyly Carte, continued their efforts for many years to control the American performance copyrights over their operas, without success.[4]

After the success of Pinafore, Gilbert was eager to get started on the next opera, and he began working on the libretto in December 1878.[5] The composition of the music for Pirates was unusual, in that Sullivan composed the acts in reverse — intending to bring the completed Act II with him to New York, with Act I existing only in sketches. When he arrived in New York, however, he found that he had left the sketches behind, and he had to reconstruct the first act from memory.[6] Gilbert told a correspondent many years later that Sullivan was unable to recall his setting of the entrance of the women's chorus, so they substituted the chorus "Climbing over rocky mountain" from their earlier opera, Thespis.[7] Sullivan's manuscript for Pirates contains pages removed from a Thespis score, with the vocal parts altered from their original context as a four-part chorus.

Poster for the copyright performance at Paignton

Some scholars (e.g. Tillett and Spencer, 2000) have offered evidence that Gilbert and Sullivan had planned all along to re-use "Climbing over rocky mountain," and perhaps other parts of Thespis, noting that the presence of a Thespis score in New York when there were no plans to revive it might not have been accidental. In any event, "Climbing over rocky mountain," one other song, and a ballet are the only portions of the score of Thespis known to have survived.

On 10 December 1879, Sullivan wrote a letter to his mother about the new opera, upon which he was hard at work in New York. "I think it will be a great success, for it is exquisitely funny, and the music is strikingly tuneful and catching." True enough, The Pirates of Penzance was an immediate hit in New York, and later London, and takes its place today as one of the most popular G&S works.[8] To secure British copyright, there was a perfunctory performance the afternoon before the New York premiere, at the Royal Bijou Theatre Paignton, Devon, organised by Helen Lenoir (who would later marry Richard D'Oyly Carte). The cast, having performed Pinafore the night before, read from scripts carried onto the stage, making do with whatever costumes they had on hand.[9]

The work's title is a multi-layered joke. On the one hand, Penzance was a docile seaside resort at the time, and not the place where one would expect to encounter pirates.[10] On the other hand, the title was also a jab at the theatrical pirates who had staged unlicensed productions of H.M.S. Pinafore in America.

Sullivan's score borrowed from several musical traditions. In the Major-General's Act II song, "Sighing softly to the river", the composer imitates Schubert's partsongs for male voices. Also, the "Come, Friends Who Plough the Sea" section of "With Catlike Tread" resembles the anvil chorus from Il Trovatore. In another scene in Act II, Mabel addresses the police, who chant their response, in an imitation of the form of an Anglican church service's canticle and response. One of the most famous passages from the finale to Act I, referred to as "Hail Poetry", is a five-part musical piece, utilising all of the voices in a chorale style.

The character of Major-General Stanley was also based partly on Field Marshal Garnet Wolsely.[citation needed]

Roles

Catherine Ferguson (Kate), Nellie Briercliffe (Edith), and Ella Milne (Isabel), 1920
  • Chorus of Pirates, Police and General Stanley's Daughters

Synopsis

Act I

On the coast of Cornwall, at the time of Queen Victoria's reign, Frederic, a young man with a strong sense of duty, celebrates, amidst the pirates, the completion of his twenty-first year and the apparent end of his apprenticeship ("Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry"). The pirates' maid of all work, Ruth, appears and reveals that, as Frederic's nursemaid long ago ("When Frederic was a little lad"), she had made a mistake "through being hard of hearing": she had misheard Frederic's father's instructions and apprenticed him to a pirate, instead of to a ship's pilot.

Marion Hood: "Yes, 'tis Mabel!"

Frederic has never seen any woman other than Ruth, and he believes her to be beautiful. The pirates know better and suggest that Frederic take Ruth with him when he returns to civilisation. Frederic announces that, although it pains him to do so, such is his sense of duty that, once free from his apprenticeship, he will be forced to devote himself to their extermination. He points out that they are not very successful pirates, since, being orphans themselves, they allow their prey to go free if they too are orphans. Frederic notes that word of this has got about, so captured ships' companies routinely claim to be orphans. Frederic invites the pirates to give up piracy and go with him, so that he need not destroy them, but the Pirate King notes that, compared with respectability, piracy is comparatively honest ("Oh! better far to live and die"). The pirates depart, leaving Frederic and Ruth. Frederic sees a group of beautiful young girls approaching the pirate lair, and realizes that Ruth lied to him about her appearance ("Oh false one! You have deceived me!"). Sending Ruth away, Frederic hides before the girls arrive.

1880 poster

The girls burst exuberantly upon the secluded spot ("Climbing over rocky mountain"). Frederic reveals himself ("Stop, ladies, pray!") and appeals to them to help him reform ("Oh! is there not one maiden breast?"). One of them, Mabel, responds to his plea, and chides her sisters for their lack of charity ("Oh sisters deaf to pity's name for shame!"). She sings to him ("Poor wand'ring one"), and Frederic and Mabel quickly fall in love. The other girls contemplate whether to eavesdrop or to leave the new couple alone ("What ought we to do?"), and eventually decide to "talk about the weather," although they steal a glance or two at the affectionate couple ("How beautifully blue the sky").

Frederic warns the girls of the pirates nearby ("Stay, we must not lose our senses"), but before they can flee, the pirates arrive and capture all the girls, intending to marry them ("Here's a first rate opportunity"). Mabel warns the pirates that the girls' father is a Major-General ("Hold, monsters!"), who soon arrives and introduces himself ("I am the very model of a modern Major-General"). He appeals to the pirates not to take his daughters, leaving him to face his old age alone. Having heard of the famous Pirates of Penzance, he pleads for their release on the ground that he's an orphan ("Oh, men of dark and dismal fate"). The soft-hearted pirates are sympathetic and release the girls ("Hail, Poetry!"), making Major-General Stanley and his daughters honorary members of their band ("Pray observe the magnanimity").

Act II

The Major-General sits in a ruined chapel on his estate, surrounded by his daughters. His conscience is tortured by the lie that he told the pirates, and the girls attempt to console him ("Oh dry the glist'ning tear"). The Sergeant of Police and his corps arrive to announce their readiness to go forth to arrest the pirates ("When the foeman bares his steel"). The girls loudly express their admiration of the police for facing likely slaughter at the hands of fierce and merciless foes. The police are unnerved by this, and remain around (to the Major-General's frustration) but finally leave.

"Have mercy on us!"

Left alone, Frederic, who is to lead the group, pauses to reflect on his opportunity to atone for a life of piracy ("Now for the pirate's lair"), at which point he encounters Ruth and the Pirate King. It has occurred to them that his apprenticeship was worded so as to bind him to them until his twenty-first birthday – and, because that birthday happens to be on 29 February (in a leap year), it means that technically only five birthdays have passed ("When you had left our pirate fold"), and he will not reach his twenty-first birthday until he is in his eighties. Frederic is convinced by this logic that he must rejoin the pirates, and thus he sees it as his duty to inform the Pirate King of the Major-General's deception. The outraged outlaw declares that their "revenge will be swift and terrible" ("Away, away, my heart's on fire").

Frederic meets Mabel ("All is prepared"), and she pleads with him to stay ("Stay Frederic, stay"), but he explains that he must fulfill his duty to the pirates until his 21st birthday in 1940. He promises to return then and claim her. They agree to be faithful to each other until then, though to Mabel "It seems so long" ("Oh here is love and here is truth"), and Frederic departs. Mabel steels herself ("No, I'll be brave") and tells the police that they must go alone to face the pirates. They muse that an outlaw might be just like any other man, and it is a shame to deprive him of "that liberty which is so dear to all" ("When a felon's not engaged in his employment"). The police hide on hearing the approach of the pirates ("A rollicking band of pirates we"), who have stolen onto the grounds, meaning to avenge themselves for the Major-General's lie ("With cat-like tread").

The police and the pirates prepare for the fight ("Hush, hush! not a word"). Just then, the Major-General appears, sleepless with guilt, and the pirates also hide, while General Stanley listens to the soothing sighing of the breeze ("Sighing softly to the river"). The girls come looking for him ("Now what is this and what is that"). The pirates leap to the attack, and the police rush to the defence; but the police are easily defeated, and the Pirate King urges the captured Major-General to prepare for death. The Sergeant plays his trump card, demanding that the pirates yield "in Queen Victoria's name"; the pirates, overcome with loyalty to their Queen, do so. Ruth appears and reveals that the orphan pirates are in fact "all noblemen who have gone wrong". The Major-General is impressed by this and all is forgiven. Frederic and Mabel are reunited, and the Major-General is happy to marry his daughters to the noble pirates after all.

Musical numbers

  • Overture (includes "With cat-like tread", "Ah, leave me not to pine", "Pray observe the magnanimity", "When you had left our pirate fold", "Climbing over rocky mountain", and "How beautifully blue the sky")

Act I

Drawing of Richard Temple as the Pirate King
  • 1. "Pour, oh pour, the pirate sherry" (Samuel and Chorus of Pirates)
  • 2. "When Fred'ric was a little lad" (Ruth)
  • 3. "Oh, better far to live and die ...I am a pirate king!" (Pirate King and Chorus of Pirates)
  • 4. "Oh! false one, you have deceiv'd me" (Frederic and Ruth)
  • 5. "Climbing over rocky mountain" (Chorus of Girls)
  • 6. "Stop, ladies, pray" (Edith, Kate, Frederic, and Chorus of Girls)
  • 7. "Oh, is there not one maiden breast?" (Frederic and Chorus of Girls)
  • 8. "Poor wand'ring one" (Mabel and Chorus of Girls)
  • 9. "What ought we to do?" (Edith, Kate, and Chorus of Girls)
  • 10. "How beautifully blue the sky" (Mabel, Frederic, and Chorus of Girls)
  • 11. "Stay, we must not lose our senses" ... "Here's a first-rate opportunity to get married with impunity" (Frederic and Chorus of Girls and Pirates)
  • 12. "Hold, monsters" (Mabel, Major-General, Samuel, and Chorus)
  • 13. "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" (Major-General and Chorus)
  • 14. Finale Act I (Mabel, Kate, Edith, Ruth, Frederic, Samuel, King, Major-General, and Chorus)
    • "Oh, men of dark and dismal fate"
    • "I’m telling a terrible story"
    • "Hail, Poetry"
    • "Oh, happy day, with joyous glee"
    • "Pray observe the magnanimity"
Isabel Jay as Mabel
Pirate King Henry Lytton denounces the Major General

Act II

  • 15. "Oh, dry the glist'ning tear" (Mabel and Chorus of Girls)
  • 16. "Then, Frederic, let your escort lion-hearted" (Frederic and Major-General)
  • 17. "When the foeman bares his steel" (Mabel, Edith, Sergeant, and Chorus of Policemen and Girls)
  • 18. "Now for the pirates' lair!" (Frederic, Ruth, and King)
  • 19. "When you had left our pirate fold" ("A paradox") (Ruth, Frederic, and King)
  • 20. "Away, away! My heart's on fire!" (Ruth, Frederic, and King)
  • 21. "All is prepar'd; your gallant crew await you" (Mabel and Frederic)
  • 22. "Stay, Fred'ric, stay" ... "Oh, here is love, and here is truth" (Mabel and Frederic)
  • 23. "No, I'll be brave" ... "Though in body and in mind" (Reprise of "When the foeman bares his steel") (Mabel, Sergeant, and Chorus of Police)
  • 23a. "Sergeant, approach!" (Mabel, Sergeant of Police, and Chorus of Police)
  • 24. "When a felon's not engaged in his employment" (Sergeant and Chorus of Police)
  • 25. "A rollicking band of pirates we" (Sergeant and Chorus of Pirates and Police)
  • 26. "With cat-like tread, upon our prey we steal" (Samuel and Chorus of Pirates and Police)
  • 27. "Hush, hush, not a word!" (Frederic, King, Major-General, and Chorus of Police and Pirates)
  • 28. Finale, Act II (Ensemble)
    • "Sighing softly to the river"
    • "Now what is this, and what is that?"
    • "Frederic here! Oh, joy! Oh, rapture!"
    • "With base deceit you worked upon our feelings!"
    • "You/We triumph now"
    • "Away with them, and place them at the bar!"
    • "Poor wandering ones!"

Versions

In the original New York production, the revelation by Ruth that the pirates are "all noblemen who have gone wrong" prompted the following exchange (recalling a famous passage in H.M.S. Pinafore):

GENERAL,POLICE & GIRLS: What, all noblemen?
KING & PIRATES: Yes, all noblemen!
GENERAL, POLICE & GIRLS: What, all?
KING: Well, nearly all!
ALL: They are nearly all noblemen who have gone wrong.
Then give three cheers, both loud and strong,
For the twenty noblemen who have gone wrong....

In the original London production, this exchange was shortened to:

GIRLS: Oh spare them! They are all noblemen who have gone wrong.
GENERAL: What, all noblemen?
KING: Yes, all noblemen!
GENERAL: What, all?
KING: Well, nearly all!

Gilbert deleted this exchange in the 1900 revival, and the Chappell vocal score was revised accordingly. The revived D'Oyly Carte Opera Company restored the original version in their 1989 production.

Production history

1881 programme cover

From the beginning, The Pirates of Penzance has been one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular comic operas. After its unique "triple opening" in 1879–80, it was revived in London in 1888, in 1900, and for the Savoy repertory season of 1908–09. In the British provinces, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company toured it almost continuously from 1880–1884, and again in 1888. It re-entered the touring repertory in 1893, and was never again absent through to the company's closure in 1982.

In America, after the New York opening on New Year's Eve, 1879, Richard D'Oyly Carte launched four companies that covered the United States on tours that lasted through the following summer. Gilbert and Sullivan themselves trained each of the touring companies through January and early February 1880, and each company's first performance – whether it was in Philadelphia, Newark, or Buffalo – was conducted by the composer. In Australia, its first authorized performance was on 19 March 1881 at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, produced by J. C. Williamson.

There was still no international copyright law, and the first unauthorized New York production was given by the Boston Ideal Opera Company at Booth's Theatre in September 1880. The first non-D'Oyly Carte professional production in a country that had been subject to Gilbert's copyright (other than Williamsons' authorised productions) was in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, in September 1961. In 1979, the Torbay branch of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society presented a centenary tribute to the world premiere performance of Pirates in Paignton, with a production at the Palace Avenue Theatre (situated a few metres from the former Bijou Theatre).

As discussed below, Joseph Papp's 1980–83 Pirates gave a boost to the opera's popularity. Professional and amateur productions of the opera continue with frequency. In 2007, the New York City Opera mounted a new production[11] as did Opera Australia.[12]

The following table shows the history of the D'Oyly Carte productions in Gilbert's lifetime:

Drawing from children's Pirates
Theatre Opening Date Closing Date Perfs. Details
Bijou Theatre, Paignton 30 December 1879 30 December 1879 1 English copyright performance.
Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York 31 December 1879 6 March 1880 100 Original run in New York. The company toured the Eastern seaboard between 8 March and 15 May. Three other touring companies were launched in January and February 1880.
17 May 1880 5 June 1880
Opera Comique 3 April 1880 2 April 1881 363 Original London run.
Savoy Theatre 23 December 1884 14 February 1885 37 Children's Pirates –series of matinées with a juvenile cast.[13]
Savoy Theatre 17 March 1888 6 June 1888 80 First professional revival.
Savoy Theatre 30 June 1900 5 November 1900 127 Second professional revival.
Savoy Theatre 1 December 1908 27 March 1909 43 Second Savoy repertory season; played with five other operas. (Closing date shown is of the entire season.)

Historical casting

The following tables show the casts of the principal original productions and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company touring repertory at various times through to the company's 1982 closure:

Role Paignton
1879[14]
New York
1879[15]
Opera Comique
1880[16]
Savoy Theatre
1888[17]
Savoy Theatre
1900[18]
Major-General Richard Mansfield J. H. Ryley George Grossmith George Grossmith Henry Lytton
Pirate King F. Federici Sgr. Brocolini Richard Temple Richard Temple Jones Hewson
Samuel G. J. Lackner Furneaux Cook George Temple Richard Cummings W. H. Leon
James John Le Hay role eliminated
Frederic Llewellyn Cadwaladr Hugh Talbot George Power J. G. Robertson Robert Evett
Sergeant Fred Billington Fred Clifton Rutland Barrington Rutland Barrington Walter Passmore
Mabel Emilie Petrelli Blanche Roosevelt Marion Hood Geraldine Ulmar Isabel Jay
Edith Marian May Jessie Bond Julia Gwynne Jessie Bond Lulu Evans
Kate Lena Monmouth Rosina Brandram Lilian La Rue Nellie Kavanagh Alice Coleman
Isabel Kate Neville Billie Barlow Neva Bond Nellie Lawrence Agnes Fraser
Ruth Fanny Harrison Alice Barnett Emily Cross Rosina Brandram Rosina Brandram
Role Savoy Theatre
1908[19]
D'Oyly Carte
1915 Tour[20]
D'Oyly Carte
1925 Tour[21]
D'Oyly Carte
1935 Tour[22]
D'Oyly Carte
1945 Tour[23]
Major-General Charles H. Workman Henry Lytton Henry Lytton Martyn Green Grahame Clifford
Pirate King Henry Lytton Leicester Tunks Darrell Fancourt Darrell Fancourt Darrell Fancourt
Samuel Leo Sheffield Frederick Hobbs Joseph Griffin Richard Walker Hilton Layland
Frederic Henry Herbert Dewey Gibson Charles Goulding John Dean John Dean
Sergeant Rutland Barrington Fred Billington Leo Sheffield Sydney Granville Richard Walker
Mabel Dorothy Court Elsie McDermid Elsie Griffin Kathleen Frances Helen Roberts
Edith Jessie Rose Nellie Briercliffe Eileen Sharp Marjorie Eyre Marjorie Eyre
Kate Beatrice Boarer Betty Grylls Aileen Davies Maisie Baxter Ivy Sanders
Isabel Ethel Lewis Kitty Twinn Hilary Davies Elizabeth Nickell-Lean Rosalie Dyer
Ruth Louie René Bertha Lewis Bertha Lewis Dorothy Gill Ella Halman
Role D'Oyly Carte
1950 Tour[24]
D'Oyly Carte
1958 Tour[25]
D'Oyly Carte
1968 Tour[26]
D'Oyly Carte
1975 Tour[27]
D'Oyly Carte
1981 Tour
Major-General Martyn Green Peter Pratt John Reed James Conroy-Ward Alistair Donkin
Pirate King Darrell Fancourt Donald Adams Donald Adams John Ayldon John Ayldon
Samuel Donald Harris George Cook Alan Styler Jon Ellison Michael Buchan
Frederic Leonard Osborn Thomas Round Philip Potter Colin Wright Meston Reid
Sergeant Richard Watson Kenneth Sandford George Cook Michael Rayner Clive Harre
Mabel Muriel Harding Jean Hindmarsh Valerie Masterson Julia Goss Vivian Tierney
Edith Joan Gillingham Joyce Wright Peggy Ann Jones Patricia Leonard Jill Pert
Kate Joyce Wright Marian Martin Pauline Wales Caroline Baker Helene Witcombe
Isabel Enid Walsh Jane Fyffe Susan Maisey Rosalind Griffiths Alexandra Hann
Ruth Ella Halman Ann Drummond-Grant Christene Palmer Lyndsie Holland Patricia Leonard

Joseph Papp's Pirates

In 1980, Joseph Papp and the Public Theater of New York City brought a new production of Pirates, directed by Wilford Leach and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, to the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, one of the series of Shakespeare in the Park summer events. The show played for 10 previews and 35 performances. It then transferred to Broadway, opening on 8 January 1981 for a run of 20 previews and 787 performances at the Uris and Minskoff Theatres. This take on Pirates earned several Tony Awards, including a Tony Award for Best Revival and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical.

Compared to traditional productions of the opera, Papp's Pirates featured a more swashbuckling Pirate King and Frederic, and a broader, more musical comedy style of humour. It also featured an adapted orchestration and a number of key changes. The "Matter Patter" trio from Ruddigore and "Sorry her lot" from H.M.S. Pinafore were interpolated into the show. The production also restored Gilbert and Sullivan's original New York ending, with a reprise of the Major-General's song in the Act II finale.

Linda Ronstadt starred as Mabel, Rex Smith as Frederic, Kevin Kline as the Pirate King, Patricia Routledge as Ruth (replaced by Estelle Parsons for the Broadway transfer), George Rose as the Major-General, and Tony Azito as the Sergeant of Police. Notable replacements during the Broadway run included Pam Dawber, Karla DeVito and Maureen McGovern as Mabel; Robby Benson, Patrick Cassidy and Peter Noone as Frederic; James Belushi, Gary Sandy, Wally Kurth, and Treat Williams as the Pirate King; David Garrison as the Sergeant; George S. Irving as the Major-General; and Kaye Ballard as Ruth. The national tour of the production featured Barry Bostwick as the Pirate King, Jo Anne Worley as Ruth, Clive Revill as the Major-General, Pam Dawber as Mabel, Paxton Whitehead as The Sergeant, and Andy Gibb as Frederic.

The production opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 26 May 1982 to generally warm reviews for a run of 601 performances. Notable among the cast were George Cole and Ronald Fraser as the Major-General; Michael Praed and Peter Noone as Frederic; Tim Curry, Timothy Bentinck, Oliver Tobias and Paul Nicholas as the Pirate King; Chris Langham as the Sergeant of Police; Pamela Stephenson as Mabel; Annie Ross as Ruth; Bonnie Langford as Kate; and Louise Gold as Isabel.

1984 Australian Production

The Australian production opened in Melbourne in January 1984 at the Victorian Arts Centre and was the first work staged in the new performing arts complex. It was directed by John Feraro and starred Jon English as the Pirate King, Simon Gallaher as Frederic,[28] June Bronhill as Ruth, David Atkins as the Sergeant of Police, and Marina Prior as Mabel. The six week limited season was followed by an Australian national tour throughout 1984, 1985, 1986 and also another come-back tour with same cast in the mid 90's.[citation needed] In 1985, Pirates was the first production in the new Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane and set attendance records that were not surpassed until many years later by The Phantom of The Opera.[citation needed]

The Papp production was turned into a film in 1983, with all of the original Broadway cast reprising their roles, except that Angela Lansbury replaced Estelle Parsons as Ruth. The minor roles used British actors miming to their Broadway counterparts. The film was not a success, but, according to the IMDB, this "had nothing to do with the reviews, which were often quite positive. The real problem lay with Universal Pictures' decision to release the film simultaneously to SelecTV (a Los Angeles subscription television service) and to theaters. Theater owners were so angry that they boycotted the film; in the end, only 92 theaters agreed to show it, and it enjoyed a long run at only one of them."[29] The film has been shown occasionally on television. Another film based loosely on the opera, The Pirate Movie, was released during the Broadway run.

Opera Australia's 2007 touring production, with Anthony Warlow as the Pirate King

The Papp production design has been widely imitated in other modern productions of Pirates, even where traditional orchestration and standard score are used. Many modern productions are also influenced by the popular Disney film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean.

Recordings

This opera has been recorded many times. Of the recordings by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, the 1968 recording (with complete dialogue) is regarded as the best: "This recording is one of the best D'Oyly Carte sets of all time, and certainly the best Pirates."[30] The 1957 D'Oyly Carte recording is also well rated. The 1993 Mackerras recording is admired for its musical values, and the 1981 Papp recording is excellent, although it has adapted orchestrations. Of the available commercial videos, the Brent Walker is considered better than the Papp version.[31]

Selected recordings
  • 1929 D'Oyly Carte – Conductor: Malcolm Sargent[32]
  • 1957 D'Oyly Carte – New Symphony Orchestra of London; Conductor: Isidore Godfrey[33]
  • 1961 Sargent/Glyndebourne – Pro Arte Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival Chorus; Conductor: Malcolm Sargent[34]
  • 1968 D'Oyly Carte (with dialogue) – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Conductor: Isidore Godfrey[30]
  • 1981; 1983 Papp's Pirates (with dialogue) – Director: Wilford Leach; Musical Director: William Elliott; Choreographer: Graciela Daniele[35]
  • 1982 Brent Walker Productions (with dialogue) – Ambrosian Opera Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra; Conductor: Alexander Faris; Stage Director: Michael Geliot[36]
  • 1990 New D'Oyly Carte – Conductor: John Pryce-Jones[37]
  • 1993 Mackerras/Telarc – Orchestra and Chorus of the Welsh National Opera; Conductor: Charles Mackerras[38]
  • 1994 Essgee Entertainment (video adaptation) – Director and Choreographer: Craig Schaefer; Orchestrator and Conductor: Kevin Hocking; Additional Lyrics: Melvyn Morrow[39]

Cultural impact

Pirates is one of the most frequently referenced works of Gilbert and Sullivan. The Major-General's Song, in particular, is frequently parodied, pastiched and used in advertising. Its challenging patter has proved interesting to comics, a notable example being Tom Lehrer's song "The Elements", and it is used in film and on television, unchanged in many instances, as a character's audition piece, or seen in a "school play" scene.Examples include:

Other songs from the show that have been used frequently include:

  • The chorus of "With cat-like tread", which begins "Come, friends, who plough the sea," which was used in the popular American song, "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here," popularized by Fred Astaire
  • It is also part of the soundtrack, along with other Gilbert and Sullivan songs, in the 1981 film, Chariots of Fire
  • The song was also pastiched in an episode of Animaniacs in a song about surfing a whale
  • In Family Guy eisode "Peter's Got Woods", Brian Griffin sings "Sighing Softly", with Peter Griffin's assistance
  • In an Assy McGee episode entitled "Pegfinger", Detective Sanchez's wife is a member of a community theater that performs the opera

Other notable instances of references to Pirates include a New York Times article on 29 February 1940, memorializing that Frederic was finally out of his indentures.[48] Six years previously, the arms granted to the municipal borough of Penzance in 1934 contain a pirate dressed in Gilbert's original costuming, and Penzance had a rugby team called the Penzance Pirates, which is now called the Cornish Pirates.

In 1980, Isaac Asimov wrote a short story called "The Year of the Action", concerning whether the action of Pirates took place on 1 March 1873, or 1 March 1877. That is, did Gilbert take into account the fact that 1900 was not a leap year?[49]

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Film

Film references to Pirates include Kate and Leopold, where there are multiple references, including a scene where Leopold sings "I Am The Very Model of A Modern Major General" while accompanying himself on the piano; and in Pretty Woman, Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) covered a social gaffe by prostitute Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), who said that the opera La Traviata was so good that she almost "peed [her] pants" by saying that she had said that she liked it almost as much as "The Pirates of Penzance". In Walt Disney's cartoon Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004), there is a performance of The Pirates of Penzance that becomes the setting for the climactic battle between the Musketeers and Captain Pete. Pirates songs sung in the cartoon are "With cat-like tread", "Poor wand'ring one", "Climbing over rocky mountain" and the Major General's song.

Television

In the TV series The West Wing, Pirates and other Gilbert and Sullivan operas are mentioned, especially by Deputy Communications Director, Sam Seaborn, who was recording secretary of his school's Gilbert and Sullivan society. In Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a poster from Pirates hangs on Matt Albie's office wall. Both TV series were created by Aaron Sorkin. In the pilot episode of the 2008 CBS series, Flashpoint, a police officer and his partner sing the policeman's song.

Games

The show is referred to in video games. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a casino is called "Pirates in Men's Pants", a crude play on "Pirates of Penzance".

Adaptations

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Helga Perry (27 November 2000). "Information from the Savoyoperas.org website". Savoy Operas. http://www.savoyoperas.org.uk/pirates/pp2.html. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Prestige, Colin. "D'Oyly Carte and the Pirates", a paper presented at the International Conference of G&S held at the University of Kansas, May 1970
  3. ^ "Article about international copyright pirating, focusing on Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte's efforts". Edward Samuels. http://www.edwardsamuels.com/illustratedstory/isc10.htm. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "The Twilight of the Opera Pirates: A Prehistory of the Right of Public Performance for Musical Compositions". SSRN - Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=963540. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Ainger, p. 166
  6. ^ Ainger, p. 177
  7. ^ Ainger, p. 179
  8. ^ Smith, Tim. "A consistent Pirates of Penzance", The Baltimore Sun, July 16, 2009
  9. ^ Ainger, pp. 180–81
  10. ^ In medieval times and later, however, Penzance was subject to frequent raiding by Turkish pirates, according to Canon Diggens Archive 1910.
  11. ^ Information from NY City Opera website
  12. ^ Posted by Michael (28 June 2007). "Review of Opera Australia production". On Stage (and Walls) Melbourne. http://onstagemelbourne.blogspot.com/2007/06/papp-smeared.html. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  13. ^ The first performance was by invitation only. The official opening was on 26 December 1884. The Times announcement, 20 December 1884, p. 8
  14. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 30
  15. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 32
  16. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 7
  17. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 11
  18. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 18
  19. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 22
  20. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 132
  21. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 148
  22. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 160
  23. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 170
  24. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 175
  25. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 183
  26. ^ Rollins and Witts, 2nd Supplement, p. 15
  27. ^ Rollins and Witts, 3rd Supplement, p. 28
  28. ^ "Information about Simon Gallaher". Essgee.com. http://essgee.com/html/Simon/Simon%20intro.html. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  29. ^ Information from the IMDB database
  30. ^ a b Shepherd, Marc. "The 1968 D'Oyly Carte Pirates", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 7 September 2008, accessed 20 August 2009
  31. ^ Shepherd, Marc. List and assessments of recordings of the opera, A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 9 July 2009, accessed 20 August 2009
  32. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The 1929 D'Oyly Carte Pirates", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 29 March 2009, accessed 20 August 2009
  33. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The 1957 D'Oyly Carte Pirates", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 23 December 2003, accessed 20 August 2009
  34. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The Sargent/EMI Pirates (1961)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 12 July 2009, accessed 20 August 2009
  35. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "Papp's Pirates (1980)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 7 September 2008, accessed 20 August 2009
  36. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The Brent Walker Pirates (1982)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 13 April 2009, accessed 20 August 2009
  37. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The New D'Oyly Carte Pirates (1990)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 2 December 2001, accessed 20 August 2009
  38. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The Mackerras/Telarc Pirates (1993)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 7 September 2008, accessed 20 August 2009
  39. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The Essgee Pirates (1994)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 9 July 2009, accessed 20 August 2009
  40. ^ "Animaniacs - Cartoon Individual", YouTube video, accessed 15 February 2010
  41. ^ "Doctor Who Gallifreyan Buccaneer", YouTube video of Dr. Who clips shown over the song, accessed 15 February 2010
  42. ^ "link" Information on Muppet Show from". TV.com. http://www.tv.com/the-muppet-show/gilda-radner/episode/176733/summary.html?tag=ep_list;ep_title;12. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  43. ^ "David Hyde Pierce's Monologue", SNL Transcripts, accessed 15 February 2010
  44. ^ "The Cold Open" at hulu.com, song starts at 40:00; Accessed 15 February 2010
  45. ^ a b Schillinger, Liesl: "Dress British, Sing Yiddish" The New York Times, 22 October 2006
  46. ^ "Scrubs: My Musical: Dr. Cox Rant Song", YouTube, song starts at 0:40; Accessed 15 February 2010
  47. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Mordin Singing". YouTube. 23 January 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-HgVM6JSIY. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  48. ^ "Frederic Goes Free", The New York Times, 29 February 1940, p. 18
  49. ^ Description of the story, which appears in Banquets of the Black Widowers (1984)
  50. ^ "The Pirates of Penzance... in Yiddish?", Montreal Express, 25 May 2009
  51. ^ Saltzman, Simon: CurtainUp New Jersey Review 2007 CurtainUp, Retrieved 13 June 2009
  52. ^ Nesti, Robert: "Pirates! (Or, Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder’d)" EDGE, 8 June 2009
  53. ^ "Information about Essgee Entertainment's ''Pirates''". Simon Gallaher. http://essgee.com/html/PirateOLDHome.html. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  54. ^ List of television and film adaptations

References

  • Ainger, Michael (2002). Gilbert and Sullivan – A Dual Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195147693. 
  • Allen, Reginald (1979). Gilbert and Sullivan in America, The Story of the First D'Oyly Carte Opera Company American Tour. New York: The Pierpont Morgan Library. 
  • Bond, Jessie (1930). The Life and Reminiscences of Jessie Bond, the Old Savoyard (as told to Ethel MacGeorge). London: John Lane, The Bodley Head. 
  • Bordman, Gerald: American Operetta: From H. M. S. Pinafore to Sweeney Todd Oxford University Press, 1981.
  • Bradley, Ian (1996). The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 019816503X. 
  • Bradley, Ian (2005). Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!: The Enduring Phenomenon of Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195167007. 
  • Gänzl, Kurt (1986). The British Musical Theatre—Volume I, 1865–1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Lamb, Andrew: "From Pinafore to Porter: United States-United Kingdom Interactions in Musical Theater, 1879-1929" in American Music, Vol. 4, No. 1, British-American Musical Interactions (Spring, 1986), pp. 34-49 University of Illinois Press
  • Rollins, Cyril; R. John Witts (1962). The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas: A Record of Productions, 1875–1961. London: Michael Joseph.  Also, five supplements, privately printed
  • Tillett, Selwyn & Roderick Spencer (2002). Forty Years of Thespis Scholarship. http://www.chimesmusicaltheatre.co.uk/Thespis.pdf. Retrieved 25 May 2006. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Pirates of Penzance - or, The Slave of Duty

by Gilbert and Sullivan

First produced at the Opéra Comique on April 3, 1880


Act I

  • FREDERIC: Yes, I have done my best for you. And why? It was my duty under my indentures, and I am the slave of duty.
  • KING: Well, Frederic, if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to destroy us, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act in accordance with the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and chance the consequences.
  • SAMUEL: But, hang it all! you wouldn't have us absolutely merciless?
FREDERIC: There's my difficulty; until twelve o'clock I would, after twelve I wouldn't. Was ever a man placed in so delicate a situation?
  • SONG - PIRATE KING: Oh better far to live and die
Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I'll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!
  • KING: There are the remains of a good woman about Ruth.
  • FREDERIC: Ruth, tell me candidly and without reserve: compared with other women, how are you?
RUTH: I will answer you truthfully, master: I have a slight cold, but otherwise I am quite well.
  • FREDERIC: Oh, false one, you have deceived me!
RUTH: I have deceived you?
FREDERIC: Yes, deceived me!
FREDERIC: You told me you were fair as gold!
RUTH: (wildly) And, master, am I not so?
FREDERIC: And now I see you're plain and old.
RUTH: I'm sure I'm not a jot so.
FREDERIC: Upon my innocence you play.
RUTH: I'm not the one to plot so.
FREDERIC: Your face is lined, your hair is grey.
RUTH: It's gradually got so.
  • SONG — FREDERIC: Oh, is there not one maiden breast
Oh, is there not one maiden here
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man's affection?
Of such a one, if such there be,
I swear by Heaven's arch above you,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be, I'll love you,
However plain you be,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be I'll love you,
I'll love you, I'll love, I'll love you!
  • SONG- MABEL:
Hold, monsters!
Ere your pirate caravanseri proceed against our will
To wed us all...
Just bear in mind that we are wards in Chancery-
And Father is a Major-General!

SAMUEL:

We'd better pause, or danger may befall-
Their father is a Major-General!

DAUGHTERS:

Yes, yes, he is a Major-General!

(The Major-General appears)

MAJOR-GENERAL:

Yes, yes, I am the Major-General!
  • SONG — MAJOR-GENERAL: I am the very model of a modern Major-General
I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's;
I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox,
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous;
--
I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes!
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore,
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.
...
For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.
  • GENERAL: And now that I've introduced myself, I should like to have some idea of what's going on.
KATE: Oh, Papa-- we---
SAMUEL: Permit me, I'll explain in two words: we propose to marry your daughters.
  • GENERAL: But wait a bit. I object to pirates as sons-in-law.
KING: We object to major-generals as fathers-in-law. But we waive that point. We do not press it. We look over it.
  • HYMN — KING & CHORUS
KING: Although our dark career
Sometimes involves the crime of stealing,
We rather think that we're
Not altogether void of feeling.
Although we live by strife,
We're always sorry to begin it,
For what, we ask, is life
Without a touch of Poetry in it?
(all kneel)
ALL: Hail, Poetry, thou heav'n-born maid!
Thou gildest e'en the pirate's trade.
Hail, flowing fount of sentiment!
All hail, all hail, divine emollient!

Act II

  • GENERAL: Why do I sit here? To escape from the pirates' clutches, I described myself as an orphan; and, heaven help me, I am no orphan! I come here to humble myself before the tombs of my ancestors, and to implore their pardon for having brought dishonour on the family escutcheon.
FREDERIC: But you forget, sir, you only bought the property a year ago, and the stucco on your baronial castle is scarcely dry.
GENERAL: Frederic, in this chapel are ancestors: you cannot deny that. With the estate, I bought the chapel and its contents. I don't know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are, and I shudder to think that their descendant by purchase (if I may so describe myself) should have brought disgrace upon what, I have no doubt, was an unstained escutcheon.
  • SONG: Go, ye heroes, go to glory
MABEL: Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!
Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water.
Go, ye heroes, go and die!
  • FREDERIC: You don't mean to say you are going to hold me to that?
KING: No, we merely remind you of the fact, and leave the rest to your sense of duty.
RUTH: Your sense of duty!
FREDERIC: (wildly) Don't put it on that footing! As I was merciful to you just now, be merciful to me! I implore you not to insist on the letter of your bond just as the cup of happiness is at my lips!
RUTH: We insist on nothing; we content ourselves with pointing out to you your duty.
KING: Your duty!
FREDERIC: (after a pause) Well, you have appealed to my sense of duty, and my duty is only too clear. I abhor your infamous calling; I shudder at the thought that I have ever been mixed up with it; but duty is before all -- at any price I will do my duty.
  • FREDERIC: Ought I to tell you? No, no, I cannot do it; and yet, as one of your band--
KING: Speak out, I charge you by that sense of conscientiousness to which we have never yet appealed in vain.
  • DUET - MABEL and FREDERIC: Stay, Fred'ric, stay!
MABEL: Stay, Fred'ric, stay!
They have no legal claim,
No shadow of a shame
Will fall upon thy name.
Stay, Frederic, stay!
FREDERIC: Nay, Mabel, nay!
To-night I quit these walls,
The thought my soul appalls,
But when stern Duty calls,
I must obey.
MABEL: Stay, Fred'ric, stay!
FREDERIC: Nay, Mabel, nay!
MABEL: They have no claim--
FREDERIC: But Duty's name.
The thought my soul appalls,
But when stern Duty calls,
MABEL: Stay, Fred'ric, stay!
FREDERIC: I must obey.
  • MABEL: Sergeant, approach! Young Frederic was to have led you to death and glory.
POLICE: That is not a pleasant way of putting it.
MABEL: No matter; he will not so lead you, for he has allied himself once more with his old associates.
POLICE: He has acted shamefully!
MABEL: You speak falsely. You know nothing about it. He has acted nobly.
POLICE: He has acted nobly!
MABEL: Dearly as I loved him before, his heroic sacrifice to his sense of duty has endeared him to me tenfold; but if it was his duty to constitute himself my foe, it is likewise my duty to regard him in that light. He has done his duty. I will do mine. Go ye and do yours.
(Exit MABEL)
POLICE: Right oh!
SERGEANT: This is perplexing.
POLICE: We cannot understand it at all.
SERGEANT: Still, as he is actuated by a sense of duty--
POLICE: That makes a difference, of course. At the same time, we repeat, we cannot understand it at all.
SERGEANT: No matter. Our course is clear: we must do our best to capture these pirates alone. It is most distressing to us to be the agents whereby our erring fellow-creatures are deprived of that liberty which is so dear to us all-- but we should have thought of that before we joined the force.
POLICE: We should!
SERGEANT: It is too late now!
  • KING: With base deceit
You worked upon our feelings!
Revenge is sweet,
And flavours all our dealings!
With courage rare
And resolution manly,
For death prepare,
Unhappy Gen'ral Stanley.
  • SERGEANT: To gain a brief advantage you've contrived,
But your proud triumph will not be long-lived
KING: Don't say you are orphans, for we know that game.
SERGEANT: On your allegiance we've a stronger claim.
We charge you yield, we charge you yield,
In Queen Victoria's name!
KING: (baffled) You do?
POLICE: We do!
We charge you yield,
In Queen Victoria's name!
(PIRATES kneel, POLICE stand over them triumphantly.)
KING: We yield at once, with humbled mien,
Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen.
  • MABEL: Poor wandering ones!
Though ye have surely strayed,
Take heart of grace,
Your steps retrace,
Poor wandering ones!
Poor wandering ones!
If such poor love as ours
Can help you find
True peace of mind,
Why, take it, it is yours!

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty
W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
It is believed that the relevance and scope of this work could be greatly improved if a user took the time to wikify it using wiki codes and adding links to relevant Wikipedia or Wiktionary articles

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

OR

THE SLAVE OF DUTY


Written by

W. S. Gilbert

Composed by

Arthur Sullivan


First produced at:

The Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, Devon, 30 December 1879

Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, 31 December 1879 Op�ra Comique, London, 3 April 1880

DRAMATIS PERSON�

MAJOR-GENERAL STANLEY THE PIRATE KING SAMUEL (his Lieutenant) FREDERIC (the Pirate Apprentice) SERGEANT OF POLICE MABEL EDITH (General Stanley's Daughters) KATE ISABEL RUTH (a Pirate Maid of all Work)

Chorus of Pirates, Police, and General Stanley's Daughters.


ACT I

A rocky sea-shore on the coast of Cornwall

ACT II

A ruined chapel by moonlight


ACT I

SCENE. � A rocky seashore on the coast of Cornwall. In the distance is a calm sea, on which a schooner is lying at anchor. As the curtain rises groups of pirates are discovered � some drinking, some playing cards. SAMUEL, the Pirate Lieutenant, is going from one group to another, filling the cups from a flask. FREDERIC is seated in a despondent attitude at the back of the scene.

OPENING CHORUS.

ALL. Pour, oh, pour the pirate sherry; Fill, O fill the pirate glass; And, to make us more than merry, Let the pirate bumper pass.

SAM. For today our pirate 'prentice Rises from indenture freed; Strong his arm, and keen his scent is He's a pirate now indeed!

ALL. Here's good luck to Frederic's ventures! Frederic's out of his indentures.

SAM. Two and twenty, now he's rising, And alone he's fit to fly, Which we're bent on signalizing With unusual revelry.

ALL. Here's good luck to Frederic's ventures! Frederic's out of his indentures. Pour, O pour the pirate sherry, etc.

FREDERIC rises and comes forward with PIRATE KING, who enters.

KING. Yes, Frederic, from to-day you rank as a full-blown member of our band. ALL. Hurrah! FRED. My friends, I thank you all, from my heart, for your kindly wishes. Would that I could repay them as they deserve! KING. What do you mean? FRED. To-day I am out of my indentures, and to-day I leave you for ever. KING. But this is quite unaccountable; a keener hand at scuttling a Cunarder or cutting out a P. & O. never shipped a handspike. FRED. Yes, I have done my best for you. And why? It was my duty under my indentures, and I am the slave of duty. As a child I was regularly apprenticed to your band. It was through an error -- no matter, the mistake was ours, not yours, and I was in honour bound by it. SAM. An error? What error? FRED. I may not tell you; it would reflect upon my well-loved Ruth.

RUTH rises and comes forward.

RUTH. Nay, dear master, my mind has long been gnawed by the cankering tooth of mystery. Better have it out at once.

SONG � RUTH.

RUTH. When Frederic was a little lad he proved so brave and daring, His father thought he'd 'prentice him to some career seafaring. I was, alas! his nurserymaid, and so it fell to my lot To take and bind the promising boy apprentice to a pilot � A life not bad for a hardy lad, though surely not a high lot, Though I'm a nurse, you might do worse than make your boy a pilot.

I was a stupid nurserymaid, on breakers always steering, And I did not catch the word aright, through being hard of hearing; Mistaking my instructions, which within my brain did gyrate, I took and bound this promising boy apprentice to a pirate. A sad mistake it was to make and doom him to a vile lot. I bound him to a pirate � you � instead of to a pilot.

I soon found out, beyond all doubt, the scope of this disaster, But I hadn't the face to return to my place, and break it to my master. A nurserymaid is not afraid of what you people call work, So I made up my mind to go as a kind of piratical maid-of-all-work. And that is how you find me now, a member of your shy lot, Which you wouldn't have found, had he been bound apprentice to a pilot.

RUTH. Oh, pardon! Frederic, pardon! (kneels) FRED. Rise, sweet one, I have long pardoned you. RUTH. (rises) The two words were so much alike! FRED. They were. They still are, though years have rolled over their heads. But this afternoon my obligation ceases. Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable; but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation. Oh! pity me, my beloved friends, for such is my sense of duty that, once out of my indentures, I shall feel myself bound to devote myself heart and soul to your extermination! ALL. Poor lad � poor lad! (All weep.) KING. Well, Frederic, if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to destroy us, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act in accordance with the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and chance the consequences. SAM. Besides, we can offer you but little temptation to remain with us. We don't seem to make piracy pay. I'm sure I don't know why, but we don't. FRED. I know why, but, alas! I mustn't tell you; it wouldn't be right. KING. Why not, my boy? It's only half-past eleven, and you are one of us until the clock strikes twelve. SAM. True, and until then you are bound to protect our interests. ALL. Hear, hear! FRED. Well, then, it is my duty, as a pirate, to tell you that you are too tender- hearted. For instance, you make a point of never attacking a weaker party than yourselves, and when you attack a stronger party you invariably get thrashed. KING. There is some truth in that. FRED. Then, again, you make a point of never molesting an orphan! SAM. Of course: we are orphans ourselves, and know what it is. FRED. Yes, but it has got about, and what is the consequence? Every one we capture says he's an orphan. The last three ships we took proved to be manned entirely by orphans, and so we had to let them go. One would think that Great Britain's mercantile navy was recruited solely from her orphan asylums � which we know is not the case. SAM. But, hang it all! you wouldn't have us absolutely merciless? FRED. There's my difficulty; until twelve o'clock I would, after twelve I wouldn't. Was ever a man placed in so delicate a situation? RUTH. And Ruth, your own Ruth, whom you love so well, and who has won her middle-aged way into your boyish heart, what is to become of her? KING. Oh, he will take you with him. (Hands RUTH to FREDERIC.) FRED. Well, Ruth, I feel some difficulty about you. It is true that I admire you very much, but I have been constantly at sea since I was eight years old, and yours is the only woman's face I have seen during that time. I think it is a sweet face. RUTH. It is � oh, it is! FRED. I say I think it is; that is my impression. But as I have never had an opportunity of comparing you with other women, it is just possible I may be mistaken. KING. True. FRED. What a terrible thing it would be if I were to marry this innocent person, and then find out that she is, on the whole, plain! KING. Oh, Ruth is very well, very well indeed. SAM. Yes, there are the remains of a fine woman about Ruth. FRED. Do you really think so? SAM. I do. FRED. Then I will not be so selfish as to take her from you. In justice to her, and in consideration for you, I will leave her behind. (Hands RUTH to KING.) KING. No, Frederic, this must not be. We are rough men, who lead a rough life, but we are not so utterly heartless as to deprive thee of thy love. I think I am right in saying that there is not one here who would rob thee of this inestimable treasure for all the world holds dear. ALL. (loudly) Not one! KING. No, I thought there wasn't. Keep thy love, Frederic, keep thy love. (Hands her back to FREDERIC.) FRED. You're very good, I'm sure. (Exit RUTH.) KING. Well, it's the top of the tide, and we must be off. Farewell, Frederic. When your process of extermination begins, let our deaths be as swift and painless as you can conveniently make them. FRED. I will! By the love I have for you, I swear it! Would that you could render this extermination unnecessary by accompanying me back to civilization! KING. No, Frederic, it cannot be. I don't think much of our profession, but, contrasted with respectability, it is comparatively honest. No, Frederic, I shall live and die a Pirate King.

SONG � PIRATE KING.

KING. Oh, better far to live and die Under the brave black flag I fly, Than play a sanctimonious part, With a pirate head and a pirate heart. Away to the cheating world go you, Where pirates all are well-to-do; But I'll be true to the song I sing, And live and die a Pirate King. For I am a Pirate King! And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King! For I am a Pirate King! ALL. You are! Hurrah for the Pirate King! KING. And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King. ALL. It is! Hurrah for the Pirate King!

KING. When I sally forth to seek my prey I help myself in a royal way. I sink a few more ships, it's true, Than a well-bred monarch ought to do; But many a king on a first-class throne, If he wants to call his crown his own, Must manage somehow to get through More dirty work than ever I do, For I am a Pirate King! And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King! For I am a Pirate King! ALL. You are! Hurrah for the Pirate King! KING. And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Pirate King. ALL. It is! Hurrah for the Pirate King!

Exeunt all except FREDERIC. Enter RUTH.

RUTH. Oh, take me with you! I cannot live if I am left behind. FRED. Ruth, I will be quite candid with you. You are very dear to me, as you know, but I must be circumspect. You see, you are considerably older than I. A lad of twenty-one usually looks for a wife of seventeen. RUTH. A wife of seventeen! You will find me a wife of a thousand! FRED. No, but I shall find you a wife of forty-seven, and that is quite enough. Ruth, tell me candidly and without reserve: compared with other women � how are you? RUTH. I will answer you truthfully, master � I have a slight cold, but otherwise I am quite well. FRED. I am sorry for your cold, but I was referring rather to your personal appearance. Compared with other women, are you beautiful? RUTH. (bashfully) I have been told so, dear master. FRED. Ah, but lately? RUTH. Oh, no; years and years ago. FRED. What do you think of yourself? RUTH. It is a delicate question to answer, but I think I am a fine woman. FRED. That is your candid opinion? RUTH. Yes, I should be deceiving you if I told you otherwise. FRED. Thank you, Ruth. I believe you, for I am sure you would not practice on my inexperience. I wish to do the right thing, and if � I say if � you are really a fine woman, your age shall be no obstacle to our union! (Chorus of Girls heard in the distance.) Hark! Surely I hear voices! Who has ventured to approach our all but inaccessible lair? Can it be Custom House? No, it does not sound like Custom House. RUTH. (aside) Confusion! it is the voices of young girls! If he should see them I am lost. FRED. (looking off) By all that's marvellous, a bevy of beautiful maidens! RUTH. (aside) Lost! lost! lost! FRED. How lovely, how surpassingly lovely is the plainest of them! What grace � what delicacy � what refinement! And Ruth � Ruth told me she was beautiful!

RECITATIVE.

FRED. Oh, false one, you have deceived me! RUTH. I have deceived you? FRED. Yes, deceived me! (Denouncing her.)

DUET � FREDERIC and RUTH.

FRED. You told me you were fair as gold! RUTH. (wildly) And, master, am I not so? FRED. And now I see you're plain and old. RUTH. I'm sure I'm not a jot so. FRED. Upon my innocence you play. RUTH. I'm not the one to plot so. FRED. Your face is lined, your hair is grey. RUTH. It's gradually got so. FRED. Faithless woman, to deceive me, I who trusted so! RUTH. Master, master, do not leave me! Hear me, ere you go! My love without reflecting, Oh, do not be rejecting! Take a maiden tender � her affection raw and green, At very highest rating, Has been accumulating Summers seventeen � summers seventeen.

ENSEMBLE.


RUTH. FRED. Don't, beloved master, Yes, your former master Crush me with disaster. Saves you from disaster. What is such a dower to the Your love would be uncomfortably dower I have here? fervid, it is clear My love unabating If, as you are stating Has been accumulating It's been accumulating Forty-seven year � forty-seven year! Forty-seven year � forty-seven year!

At the end he renounces her, and she goes off in despair.

RECIT. � FREDERIC.

What shall I do? Before these gentle maidens I dare not show in this alarming costume! No, no, I must remain in close concealment Until I can appear in decent clothing!

Hides in cave as they enter climbing over the rocks.

GIRLS. Climbing over rocky mountain, Skipping rivulet and fountain, Passing where the willows quiver By the ever-rolling river, Swollen with the summer rain; Threading long and leafy mazes Dotted with unnumbered daisies, Scaling rough and rugged passes, Climb the hardy little lasses, Till the bright sea-shore they gain!

EDITH. Let us gaily tread the measure, Make the most of fleeting leisure, Hail it as a true ally, Though it perish by-and-by.

GIRLS. Hail it as a true ally, Though it perish by-and-by.

EDITH. Every moment brings a treasure Of its own especial pleasure; Though the moments quickly die, Greet them gaily as they fly.

KATE. Far away from toil and care, Revelling in fresh sea-air, Here we live and reign alone In a world that's all our own. Here, in this our rocky den, Far away from mortal men, We'll be queens, and make decrees � They may honour them who please.

ALL. Let us gaily tread the measure, etc.

KATE. What a picturesque spot! I wonder where we are! EDITH. And I wonder where Papa is. We have left him ever so far behind. ISABEL. Oh, he will be here presently! Remember poor Papa is not as young as we are, and we came over a rather difficult country. KATE. But how thoroughly delightful it is to be so entirely alone! Why, in all probability we are the first human beings who ever set foot on this enchanting spot. ISABEL. Except the mermaids � it's the very place for mermaids. KATE. Who are only human beings down to the waist! EDITH. And who can't be said strictly to set foot anywhere. Tails they may, but feet they cannot. KATE. But what shall we do until Papa and the servants arrive with the luncheon? EDITH. We are quite alone, and the sea is as smooth as glass. Suppose we take off our shoes and stockings and paddle? ALL. Yes, yes! The very thing!

They prepare to carry, out the suggestion. They have all taken off one shoe, when FREDERIC comes forward from cave.

FRED. (recitative) Stop, ladies, pray! GIRLS. (Hopping on one foot.) A man! FRED. I had intended Not to intrude myself upon your notice In this effective but alarming costume; But under these peculiar circumstances, It is my bounden duty to inform you That your proceedings will not be unwitnessed! EDITH. But who are you, sir? Speak! (All hopping.) FRED. I am a pirate! GIRLS. (recoiling, hopping) A pirate! Horror! FRED. Ladies, do not shun me! This evening I renounce my vile profession; And, to that end, O pure and peerless maidens! Oh, blushing buds of ever-blooming beauty! I, sore at heart, implore your kind assistance. EDITH. How pitiful his tale! KATE. How rare his beauty! GIRLS. How pitiful his tale! How rare his beauty!

SONG � FREDERIC.

FRED. Oh, is there not one maiden breast Which does not feel the moral beauty Of making worldly interest Subordinate to sense of duty? Who would not give up willingly All matrimonial ambition, To rescue such a one as I From his unfortunate position?

GIRLS. Alas! there's not one maiden breast Which seems to feel the moral beauty Of making worldly interest Subordinate to sense of duty!

FRED. Oh, is there not one maiden here Whose homely face and bad complexion Have caused all hope to disappear Of ever winning man's affection? To such an one, if such there be, I swear by Heaven's arch above you, If you will cast your eyes on me, However plain you be � I'll love you!

GIRLS. Alas! there's not one maiden here Whose homely face and bad complexion Have caused all hope to disappear Of ever winning man's affection!

FRED. (in despair) Not one? GIRLS. No, no � not one! FRED. Not one? GIRLS. No, no!

MABEL enters.

MABEL. Yes, one! GIRLS. 'Tis Mabel! MABEL. Yes, 'tis Mabel!

RECITATIVE � MABEL.

Oh, sisters, deaf to pity's name, For shame! It's true that he has gone astray, But pray Is that a reason good and true Why you Should all be deaf to pity's name?

GIRLS. (aside) The question is, had he not been A thing of beauty, Would she be swayed by quite as keen A sense of duty?

MABEL. For shame, for shame, for shame!

SONG � MABEL.

MABEL. Poor wandering one! Though thou hast surely strayed, Take heart of grace, Thy steps retrace, Poor wandering one! Poor wandering one! If such poor love as mine Can help thee find True peace of mind � Why, take it, it is thine! Take heart, fair days will shine; Take any heart � take mine!

GIRLS. Take heart; no danger lowers; Take any heart-but ours!

Exeunt MABEL and FREDERIC. EDITH beckons her sisters, who form a semicircle around her.

EDITH. What ought we to do, Gentle sisters, say? Propriety, we know, Says we ought to stay; While sympathy exclaims, "Free them from your tether � Play at other games � Leave them here together."

KATE. Her case may, any day, Be yours, my dear, or mine. Let her make her hay While the sun doth shine. Let us compromise (Our hearts are not of leather): Let us shut our eyes, And talk about the weather.

GIRLS. Yes, yes, let's talk about the weather.

CHATTERING CHORUS.

How beautifully blue the sky, The glass is rising very high, Continue fine I hope it may, And yet it rained but yesterday. Tomorrow it may pour again (I hear the country wants some rain), Yet people say, I know not why, That we shall have a warm July.

Enter MABEL and FREDERIC.

During MABEL's solo the Girls continue chatter pianissimo, but listening eagerly all the time.

SOLO � MABEL.

Did ever maiden wake From dream of homely duty, To find her daylight break With such exceeding beauty? Did ever maiden close Her eyes on waking sadness, To dream of such exceeding gladness?

FRED. Ah, yes! ah, yes! this is exceeding gladness! GIRLS. How beautifully blue the sky, etc.

SOLO � FREDERIC.

During this, Girls continue their chatter pianissimo as before, but listening intently all the time.

Did ever pirate roll His soul in guilty dreaming, And wake to find that soul With peace and virtue beaming?

ENSEMBLE.

MABEL. FREDERIC. GIRLS. Did ever maiden wake, Did ever pirate loathed, How beautifully blue the sky, etc. From dream of homely duty Forsake his hideous mission To find her daylight break To find himself betrothed With such exceeding beauty! To lady of position!

RECITATIVE � FREDERIC.

Stay, we must not lose our senses; Men who stick at no offences Will anon be here! Piracy their dreadful trade is; Pray you, get you hence, young ladies, While the coast is clear!

FREDERIC and MABEL retire.

GIRLS. No, we must not lose our senses, If they stick at no offences We should not be here! Piracy their dreadful trade is � Nice companions for young ladies! Let us disappear.

During this chorus the Pirates have entered stealthily, and formed in a semicircle behind the Girls. As the Girls move to go off, each Pirate seizes a Girl. KING seizes EDITH and ISABEL, SAMUEL seizes KATE.

GIRLS. Too late! PIRATES. Ha, ha! GIRLS. Too late! PIRATES. Ho, ho! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho, ho!

ENSEMBLE.

(Pirates pass in front of Girls.) (Girls pass in front of Pirates.) PIRATES. GIRLS.

Here's a first-rate opportunity We have missed our opportunity To get married with impunity, Of escaping with impunity; And indulge in the felicity So farewell to the felicity Of unbounded domesticity. Of our maiden domesticity! You shall quickly be parsonified, We shall quickly be parsonified, Conjugally matrimonified, Conjugally matrimonified, By a doctor of divinity, By a doctor of divinity, Who resides in this vicinity. Who resides in this vicinity.

ALL. By a doctor of divinity Who resides in this vicinity, By a doctor, a doctor, a doctor, Of divinity, of divinity.

RECITATIVE � MABEL (coming forward)

Hold, monsters! Ere your pirate caravanserai Proceed, against our will, to wed us all, Just bear in mind that we are Wards in Chancery, And father is a Major-General!

SAM. (cowed) We'd better pause, or danger may befall, Their father is a Major-General.

GIRLS. Yes, yes; he is a Major-General!

The MAJOR-GENERAL has entered unnoticed, on rock.

GEN. Yes, yes, I am a Major-General! SAM. For he is a Major-General! ALL. He is! Hurrah for the Major-General! GEN. And it is, it is a glorious thing To be a Major-General! ALL. It is! Hurrah for the Major-General!

SONG � MAJOR-GENERAL

GEN. I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral, I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical; I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical, About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news � With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

ALL. With many cheerful facts, etc.

GEN. I'm very good at integral and differential calculus; I know the scientific names of beings animalculous: In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

ALL. In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, He is the very model of a modern Major-General.

GEN. I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's; I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox, I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus, In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous; I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies, I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes! Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore, And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

ALL. And whistle all the airs, etc.

GEN. Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform, And tell you every detail of Caractacus's uniform: In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

ALL. In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, He is the very model of a modern Major-General.

GEN. In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin", When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin, When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at, And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat", When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery, When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery; In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy, You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

ALL. You'll say a better Major-General, etc.

GEN. For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury, Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century; But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

ALL. But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, He is the very model of a modern Major-General.

GEN. And now that I've introduced myself, I should like to have some idea of what's going on. KATE. Oh, Papa � we � SAM. Permit me, I'll explain in two words: we propose to marry your daughters. GEN. Dear me! GIRLS. Against our wills, Papa � against our wills! GEN. Oh, but you mustn't do that! May I ask � this is a picturesque uniform, but I'm not familiar with it. What are you? KING. We are all single gentlemen. GEN. Yes, I gathered that � Anything else? KING. No, nothing else. EDITH. Papa, don't believe them; they are pirates � the famous Pirates of Penzance! GEN. The Pirates of Penzance! I have often heard of them. MABEL. All except this gentleman � (indicating FREDERIC) � who was a pirate once, but who is out of his indentures to day, and who means to lead a blameless life evermore. GEN. But wait a bit. I object to pirates as sons-in-law. KING. We object to Major-Generals as fathers-in-law. But we waive that point. We do not press it. We look over it. GEN. (aside) Hah! an idea! (aloud) And do you mean to say that you would deliberately rob me of these, the sole remaining props of my old age, and leave me to go through the remainder of my life unfriended, unprotected, and alone? KING. Well, yes, that's the idea. GEN. Tell me, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan? PIRATES. (disgusted) Oh, dash it all! KING. Here we are again! GEN. I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan? KING. Often! GEN. Yes, orphan. Have you ever known what it is to be one? KING. I say, often. ALL. (disgusted) Often, often, often. (Turning away) GEN. I don't think we quite understand one another. I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan, and you say "orphan". As I understand you, you are merely repeating the word "orphan" to show that you understand me. KING. I didn't repeat the word often. GEN. Pardon me, you did indeed. KING. I only repeated it once. GEN. True, but you repeated it. KING. But not often. GEN. Stop! I think I see where we are getting confused. When you said "orphan", did you mean "orphan" � a person who has lost his parents, or "often", frequently? KING. Ah! I beg pardon � I see what you mean � frequently. GEN. Ah! you said "often", frequently. KING. No, only once. GEN. (irritated) Exactly � you said "often", frequently, only once.

FINALE � ACT I

GEN. Oh, men of dark and dismal fate, Forgo your cruel employ, Have pity on my lonely state, I am an orphan boy! KING and SAM. An orphan boy? GEN. An orphan boy! PIRATES. How sad, an orphan boy.

GEN. These children whom you see Are all that I can call my own! PIRATES. Poor fellow! GEN. Take them away from me, And I shall be indeed alone. PIRATES. Poor fellow! GEN. If pity you can feel, Leave me my sole remaining joy � See, at your feet they kneel; Your hearts you cannot steel Against the sad, sad tale of the lonely orphan boy! PIRATES. (sobbing) Poor fellow! See at our feet they kneel; Our hearts we cannot steel Against the sad, sad tale of the lonely orphan boy! KING and SAM. The orphan boy! See at our feet they kneel, etc.

ENSEMBLE.

GENERAL. (aside) GIRLS. (aside) PIRATES. (aside) I'm telling a terrible story He is telling a terrible story If he's telling a story But it doesn't diminish Which will tend to diminish He shall die by a death that my glory; his glory; is gory, For they would have taken my Though they would have taken his One of the cruellest daughters daughters slaughters Over the billowy waters, Over the billowy waters, That ever were known in these waters; If I hadn't, in elegant diction, It is easy, in elegant diction, It is easy, in elegant diction, Indulged in an innocent fiction; To call it an innocent fiction; To call it an innocent fiction; Which is not in the same But it comes in the same But it comes in the same category category category As telling a regular terrible As telling a regular terrible As telling a regular terrible story. story. story.

KING. Although our dark career Sometimes involves the crime of stealing, We rather think that we're Not altogether void of feeling. Although we live by strife, We're always sorry to begin it, For what, we ask, is life Without a touch of Poetry in it?

ALL. (kneeling) Hail, Poetry, thou heav'n-born maid! Thou gildest e'en the pirate's trade. Hail, flowing fount of sentiment! All hail, divine emollient! (All rise.)

KING. You may go, for you're at liberty, our pirate rules protect you, And honorary members of our band we do elect you!

SAM. For he is an orphan boy! CHORUS. He is! Hurrah for the orphan boy! GEN. And it sometimes is a useful thing To be an orphan boy. CHORUS. It is! Hurrah for the orphan boy!

ENSEMBLE. Oh, happy day, with joyous glee We/They will away and married be! Should it befall auspiciously, Her/Our sisters all will bridesmaids be!

RUTH enters and comes down to FREDERIC.

RUTH. Oh, master, hear one word, I do implore you! Remember Ruth, your Ruth, who kneels before you! PIRATES. Yes, yes, remember Ruth, who kneels before you! FRED. Away, you did deceive me! PIRATES. (Threatening RUTH.) Away, you did deceive him! RUTH. Oh, do not leave me! PIRATES. Oh, do not leave her! FRED. Away, you grieve me! PIRATES. Away, you grieve him! FRED. I wish you'd leave me! (FREDERIC casts RUTH from him.) PIRATES. We wish you'd leave him!

ENSEMBLE.

Pray observe the magnanimity They/We display to lace and dimity! Never was such opportunity To get married with impunity, But they/we give up the felicity Of unbounded domesticity, Though a doctor of divinity Resides in this vicinity

Girls and MAJOR-GENERAL go up rocks, while PIRATES indulge in a wild dance of delight on stage. The MAJOR-GENERAL produces a British flag, and the PIRATE KING, produces a black flag with skull and crossbones. Enter RUTH, who makes a final appeal to FREDERIC, who casts her from him.

END OF ACT I


ACT II

SCENE.�A ruined chapel by moonlight. Ruined Gothic windows at back. MAJOR- GENERAL STANLEY discovered seated pensively, surrounded by his daughters.


CHORUS.

Oh, dry the glistening tear That dews that martial cheek; Thy loving children hear, In them thy comfort seek. With sympathetic care Their arms around thee creep, For oh, they cannot bear To see their father weep!

Enter MABEL.

SOLO � MABEL.

Dear father, why leave your bed At this untimely hour, When happy daylight is dead, And darksome dangers lower? See, heaven has lit her lamp, The twilight hour is past, And the chilly night air is damp, And the dews are falling fast! Dear father, why leave your bed When happy daylight is dead?

CHORUS. Oh, dry the glistening tear, etc.

FREDERIC enters.

MABEL. Oh, Frederic, cannot you, in the calm excellence of your wisdom, reconcile it with your conscience to say something that will relieve my father's sorrow? FRED. I will try, dear Mabel. But why does he sit, night after night, in this draughty old ruin? GEN. Why do I sit here? To escape from the pirates' clutches, I described myself as an orphan; and, heaven help me, I am no orphan! I come here to humble myself before the tombs of my ancestors, and to implore their pardon for having brought dishonour on the family escutcheon. FRED. But you forget, sir, you only bought the property a year ago, and the stucco on your baronial castle is scarcely dry. GEN. Frederic, in this chapel are ancestors: you cannot deny that. With the estate, I bought the chapel and its contents. I don't know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are, and I shudder to think that their descendant by purchase (if I may so describe myself) should have brought disgrace upon what, I have no doubt, was an unstained escutcheon. FRED. Be comforted. Had you not acted as you did, these reckless men would assuredly have called in the nearest clergyman, and have married your large family on the spot. GEN. I thank you for your proffered solace, but it is unavailing. I assure you, Frederic, that such is the anguish and remorse I feel at the abominable falsehood by which I escaped these easily deluded pirates, that I would go to their simple-minded chief this very night and confess all, did I not fear that the consequences would be most disastrous to myself. At what time does your expedition march against these scoundrels? FRED. At eleven, and before midnight I hope to have atoned for my involuntary association with the pestilent scourges by sweeping them from the face of the earth � and then, dear Mabel, you will be mine! GEN. Are your devoted followers at hand? FRED. They are, they only wait my orders.

RECIT � GENERAL.

Then, Frederic, let your escort lion-hearted Be summoned to receive a General's blessing, Ere they depart upon their dread adventure.

FRED. Dear, sir, they come.

Enter Police, marching in single file. They form in line, facing audience.

SONG � SERGEANT, with POLICE.

When the foeman bares his steel, Tarantara! tarantara! We uncomfortable feel, Tarantara! And we find the wisest thing, Tarantara! tarantara! Is to slap our chests and sing, Tarantara! For when threatened with emeutes, Tarantara! tarantara! And your heart is in your boots, Tarantara! There is nothing brings it round Like the trumpet's martial sound, Like the trumpet's martial sound ALL. Tarantara! tarantara!, etc.

MABEL. Go, ye heroes, go to glory, Though you die in combat gory, Ye shall live in song and story. Go to immortality! Go to death, and go to slaughter; Die, and every Cornish daughter With her tears your grave shall water. Go, ye heroes, go and die!

GIRLS. Go, ye heroes, go and die!

SERGEANT, with POLICE.

Though to us it's evident, Tarantara! tarantara! These attentions are well meant, Tarantara! Such expressions don't appear, Tarantara! tarantara! Calculated men to cheer, Tarantara! Who are going to meet their fate In a highly nervous state. Tarantara! tarantara! tarantara! Still to us it's evident These attentions are well meant. Tarantara! tarantara! tarantara!

EDITH. Go and do your best endeavour, And before all links we sever, We will say farewell for ever. Go to glory and the grave!

GIRLS. Go to glory and the grave! For your foes are fierce and ruthless, False, unmerciful, and truthless; Young and tender, old and toothless, All in vain their mercy crave.

SERG. We observe too great a stress, On the risks that on us press, And of reference a lack To our chance of coming back. Still, perhaps it would be wise Not to carp or criticise, For it's very evident These attentions are well meant.

POLICE. Yes, it's very evident These attentions are well meant, etc.

ENSEMBLE.

CHORUS OF ALL BUT POLICE. CHORUS OF POLICE. Go ye heroes, go to glory, etc When the foeman bears his steel, etc.

GEN. Away, away! POLICE. (without moving) Yes, yes, we go. GEN. These pirates slay. POLICE. Tarantara! GEN. Then do not stay. POLICE. Tarantara! GEN. Then why this delay? POLICE. All right, we go. Yes, forward on the foe! GEN. Yes, but you don't go! POLICE. We go, we go Yes, forward on the foe! GEN. Yes, but you don't go! ALL. At last they really go!

Exeunt Police. MABEL tears herself from FREDERIC and exit, followed by her sisters, consoling her. The MAJOR-GENERAL and others follow. FREDERIC remains alone.

RECITATIVE � FREDERIC.

Now for the pirates' lair! Oh, joy unbounded! Oh, sweet relief! Oh, rapture unexampled! At last I may atone, in some slight measure, For the repeated acts of theft and pillage Which, at a sense of duty's stern dictation, I, circumstance's victim, have been guilty!

PIRATE KING and RUTH appear, armed.

KING. Young Frederic! (Covering him with pistol.) FRED. Who calls? KING. Your late commander! RUTH. And I, your little Ruth! (Covering him with pistol.) FRED. Oh, mad intruders, How dare ye face me? Know ye not, oh rash ones, That I have doomed you to extermination?

KING and RUTH hold a pistol to each ear.

KING. Have mercy on us! hear us, ere you slaughter! FRED. I do not think I ought to listen to you. Yet, mercy should alloy our stern resentment, And so I will be merciful � say on!

TRIO � RUTH, KING, and FREDERIC.

RUTH. When you had left our pirate fold, We tried to raise our spirits faint, According to our custom old, With quip and quibble quaint. But all in vain the quips we heard, We lay and sobbed upon the rocks, Until to somebody occurred A startling paradox. FRED. A paradox? RUTH. (laughing) A paradox! A most ingenious paradox! We've quips and quibbles heard in flocks, But none to beat this paradox! ALL. A paradox, a paradox, etc.

KING. We knew your taste for curious quips, For cranks and contradictions queer; And with the laughter on our lips, We wished you there to hear. We said, "If we could tell it him, How Frederic would the joke enjoy!" And so we've risked both life and limb To tell it to our boy. FRED. (interested) That paradox? KING. (laughing) That most ingenious paradox! We've quips and quibbles heard in flocks, But none to beat that paradox! ALL. A paradox, a paradox, etc.

CHANT � KING.

For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I've no desire to be disloyal, Some person in authority, I don't know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal, Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty, One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty. Through some singular coincidence � I shouldn't be surprised if it were owing to the agency of an ill-natured fairy � You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year, on the twenty-ninth of February; And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you'll easily discover, That though you've lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays, you're only five and a little bit over! RUTH. and KING. Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ho! ho! ho! ho! FRED. Dear me! Let's see! (counting on fingers) Yes, yes; with yours my figures do agree! ALL. Ha! ha! ha! ho! ho! ho! ho! FRED. (more amused than any) How quaint the ways of Paradox! At common sense she gaily mocks! Though counting in the usual way, Years twenty-one I've been alive, Yet, reckoning by my natal day, I am a little boy of five! RUTH and KING. He is a little boy of five! Ha! ha! ha! ALL. A paradox, a paradox, A most ingenious paradox! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!, etc.

RUTH and KING throw themselves back on seats, exhausted with laughter.

FRED. Upon my word, this is most curious � most absurdly whimsical. Five-and- a-quarter! No one would think it to look at me! RUTH. You are glad now, I'll be bound, that you spared us. You would never have forgiven yourself when you discovered that you had killed two of your comrades. FRED. My comrades? KING. (rises) I'm afraid you don't appreciate the delicacy of your position: You were apprenticed to us � FRED. Until I reached my twenty-first year. KING. No, until you reached your twenty-first birthday (producing document), and, going by birthdays, you are as yet only five-and-a-quarter. FRED. You don't mean to say you are going to hold me to that? KING. No, we merely remind you of the fact, and leave the rest to your sense of duty. RUTH. Your sense of duty! FRED. (wildly) Don't put it on that footing! As I was merciful to you just now, be merciful to me! I implore you not to insist on the letter of your bond just as the cup of happiness is at my lips! RUTH. We insist on nothing; we content ourselves with pointing out to you your duty. KING. Your duty! FRED. (after a pause) Well, you have appealed to my sense of duty, and my duty is only too clear. I abhor your infamous calling; I shudder at the thought that I have ever been mixed up with it; but duty is before all � at any price I will do my duty. KING. Bravely spoken! Come, you are one of us once more. FRED. Lead on, I follow. (suddenly) Oh, horror! RUTH and KING. What is the matter? FRED. Ought I to tell you? No, no, I cannot do it; and yet, as one of your band � KING. Speak out, I charge you by that sense of conscientiousness to which we have never yet appealed in vain. FRED. General Stanley, the father of my Mabel � RUTH and KING. Yes, yes! FRED. He escaped from you on the plea that he was an orphan? KING. He did. FRED. It breaks my heart to betray the honoured father of the girl I adore, but as your apprentice I have no alternative. It is my duty to tell you that General Stanley is no orphan! RUTH and KING. What! FRED. More than that, he never was one! KING. Am I to understand that, to save his contemptible life, he dared to practise on our credulous simplicity? (FREDERIC nods as he weeps.) Our revenge shall be swift and terrible. We will go and collect our band and attack Tremorden Castle this very night. FRED. But stay � KING. Not a word! He is doomed!

TRIO.

KING and RUTH. FREDERIC. Away, away! my heart's on fire; Away, away! ere I expire � I burn, this base deception to repay. I find my duty hard to do today! This very night my vengeance dire My heart is filled with anguish dire, Shall glut itself in gore. Away, away! It strikes me to the core. Away, away!

KING. With falsehood foul He tricked us of our brides. Let vengeance howl; The Pirate so decides. Our nature stern He softened with his lies, And, in return, Tonight the traitor dies.

ALL. Yes, yes! tonight the traitor dies!

RUTH. Tonight he dies! KING. Yes, or early tomorrow. FRED. His girls likewise? RUTH. They will welter in sorrow. KING. The one soft spot � RUTH. In their natures they cherish � FRED. And all who plot � KING. To abuse it shall perish! ALL. Tonight he dies, etc.

Exeunt KING and RUTH. Enter MABEL.

RECITATIVE. � MABEL.

All is prepared, your gallant crew await you. My Frederic in tears? It cannot be That lion-heart quails at the coming conflict? FRED. No, Mabel, no. A terrible disclosure Has just been made. Mabel, my dearly-loved one, I bound myself to serve the pirate captain Until I reached my one-and-twentieth birthday � MABEL. But you are twenty-one? FRED. I've just discovered That I was born in leap-year, and that birthday Will not be reached by me till nineteen forty! MABEL. Oh, horrible! catastrophe appalling! FRED. And so, farewell! MABEL. No, no! Ah, Frederic, hear me.

DUET. � MABEL and FREDERIC.

MABEL. Stay, Frederic, stay! They have no legal claim, No shadow of a shame Will fall upon thy name. Stay, Frederic, stay!

FRED. Nay, Mabel, nay! Tonight I quit these walls, The thought my soul appalls, But when stern Duty calls, I must obey.

DUET. � MABEL and FREDERIC.

Ah, leave me not to pine Alone and desolate; No fate seemed fair as mine, No happiness so great! And Nature, day by day, Has sung in accents clear This joyous roundelay, "He loves thee � he is here. Fa-la, la-la, Fa-la, la-la".

FRED. Ah, must I leave thee here In endless night to dream, Where joy is dark and drear, And sorrow all supreme � Where nature, day by day, Will sing, in altered tone, This weary roundelay, "He loves thee � he is gone. Fa-la, la-la, Fa-la, la-la."

FRED. In 1940 I of age shall be, I'll then return, and claim you � I declare it! MABEL. It seems so long! FRED. Swear that, till then, you will be true to me. MABEL. Yes, I'll be strong! By all the Stanleys dead and gone, I swear it!

ENSEMBLE.

Oh, here is love, and here is truth, And here is food for joyous laughter: He/She will be faithful to his/her sooth Till we are wed, and even after.

FREDERIC rushes to window and leaps out.

MABEL. (almost fainting) No, I'll be brave! Oh, family descent, How great thy charm, thy sway how excellent! Come one and all, undaunted men in blue, A crisis, now, affairs are coming to!

Enter Police, marching in single file.

SERG. Though in body and in mind, POLICE. Tarantara! tarantara! SERG. We are timidly inclined, POLICE Tarantara! SERG. And anything but blind � POLICE. Tarantara! tarantara! SERG. To the danger that's behind. POLICE. Tarantara! SERG. Yet, when the danger's near, POLICE. Tarantara! tarantara! SERG. We manage to appear � POLICE. Tarantara! SERG. As insensible to fear As anybody here. POLICE. Tarantara! tarantara!, etc.

MABEL. Sergeant, approach! Young Frederic was to have led you to death and glory. POLICE. That is not a pleasant way of putting it. MABEL. No matter; he will not so lead you, for he has allied himself once more with his old associates. POLICE. He has acted shamefully! MABEL. You speak falsely. You know nothing about it. He has acted nobly. POLICE. He has acted nobly! MABEL. Dearly as I loved him before, his heroic sacrifice to his sense of duty has endeared him to me tenfold. He has done his duty. I will do mine. Go ye and do yours.

Exit MABEL. POLICE. Right oh! SERG. This is perplexing. POLICE. We cannot understand it at all. SERG. Still, as he is actuated by a sense of duty � POLICE. That makes a difference, of course. At the same time, we repeat, we cannot understand it at all. SERG. No matter. Our course is clear: we must do our best to capture these pirates alone. It is most distressing to us to be the agents whereby our erring fellow- creatures are deprived of that liberty which is so dear to us all � but we should have thought of that before we joined the force. POLICE. We should! SERG. It is too late now! POLICE. It is!

SONG � SERGEANT.

SERG. When a felon's not engaged in his employment � POLICE. His employment, SERG. Or maturing his felonious little plans � POLICE. Little plans, SERG. His capacity for innocent enjoyment � POLICE. 'Cent enjoyment SERG. Is just as great as any honest man's � POLICE. Honest man's. SERG. Our feelings we with difficulty smother � POLICE. 'Culty smother SERG. When constabulary duty's to be done � POLICE. To be done. SERG. Ah, take one consideration with another � POLICE. With another, SERG. A policeman's lot is not a happy one. POLICE. Ah, when constabulary duty's to be done, to be done, A policeman's lot is not a happy one, happy one.

SERG. When the enterprising burglar's not a-burgling � POLICE. Not a-burgling. SERG. When the cut-throat isn't occupied in crime � POLICE. 'Pied in crime, SERG. He loves to hear the little brook a-gurgling � POLICE. Brook a-gurgling, SERG. And listen to the merry village chime � POLICE. Village chime. SERG. When the coster's finished jumping on his mother � POLICE. On his mother, SERG. He loves to lie a-basking in the sun � POLICE. In the sun. SERG. Ah, take one consideration with another � POLICE. With another, SERG. A policeman's lot is not a happy one. POLICE. Ah, when constabulary duty's to be done, to be done, A policeman's lot is not a happy one, happy one.

Chorus of Pirates without, in the distance.

A rollicking band of pirates we, Who, tired of tossing on the sea, Are trying their hand at a burglaree, With weapons grim and gory.

SERG. Hush, hush! I hear them on the manor poaching, With stealthy step the pirates are approaching.

Chorus of Pirates, resumed nearer.

We are not coming for plate or gold � A story General Stanley's told � We seek a penalty fifty-fold, For General Stanley's story.

POLICE. They seek a penalty PIRATES. Fifty-fold! We seek a penalty POLICE. Fifty-fold! ALL. They/We seek a penalty fifty-fold, For General Stanley's story. SERG. They come in force, with stealthy stride, Our obvious course is now � to hide.

Police conceal themselves. As they do so, the Pirates are seen appearing at ruined windows. They enter cautiously, and come down stage. SAMUEL is laden with burglarious tools and pistols, etc.

CHORUS � PIRATES (very loud)

With cat-like tread, Upon our prey we steal; In silence dread, Our cautious way we feel. No sound at all, We never speak a word, A fly's foot-fall Would be distinctly heard � POLICE. (pianissimo) Tarantara, tarantara! PIRATES. So stealthily the pirate creeps, While all the household soundly sleeps. Come, friends, who plough the sea, Truce to navigation; Take another station; Let's vary piracee With a little burglaree! POLICE. (pianissimo) Tarantara, tarantara! SAM. (distributing implements to various members of the gang) Here's your crowbar and your centrebit, Your life-preserver � you may want to hit! Your silent matches, your dark lantern seize, Take your file and your skeletonic keys.

Enter KING, FREDERIC and RUTH.

PIRATES. (fortissimo) With cat-like tread, etc. POLICE. (pianissimo) Tarantara! tarantara!

RECITATIVE.

FRED. Hush, hush! not a word; I see a light inside! The Major-General comes, so quickly hide! PIRATES. Yes, yes, the Major-General comes!

Pirates conceal themselves. Exeunt KING, FREDERIC, SAMUEL, and RUTH.

POLICE. Yes, yes, the Major-General comes! GEN. (entering in dressing-gown, carrying a light) Yes, yes, the Major-General comes!

SOLO � GENERAL.

Tormented with the anguish dread Of falsehood unatoned, I lay upon my sleepless bed, And tossed and turned and groaned. The man who finds his conscience ache No peace at all enjoys; And as I lay in bed awake, I thought I heard a noise. MEN. He thought he heard a noise � ha! ha! GEN. No, all is still In dale, on hill; My mind is set at ease � So still the scene, It must have been The sighing of the breeze.

BALLAD � GENERAL.

Sighing softly to the river Comes the loving breeze, Setting nature all a-quiver, Rustling through the trees. MEN. Through the trees. GEN. And the brook, in rippling measure, Laughs for very love, While the poplars, in their pleasure, Wave their arms above.

MEN. Yes, the trees, for very love, Wave their leafy arms above. River, river, little river, May thy loving prosper ever! Heaven speed thee, poplar tree, May thy wooing happy be.

GEN. Yet, the breeze is but a rover, When he wings away, Brook and poplar mourn a lover Sighing, "Well-a-day!" MEN. Well-a-day! GEN. Ah! the doing and undoing, That the rogue could tell! When the breeze is out a-wooing, Who can woo so well?

MEN. Shocking tales the rogue could tell, Nobody can woo so well. Pretty brook, thy dream is over, For thy love is but a rover; Sad the lot of poplar trees, Courted by a fickle breeze!

Enter the GENERAL's daughters, led by MABEL, all in white peignoirs and night-caps, and carrying lighted candles.

GIRLS. Now what is this, and what is that, and why does father leave his rest At such a time of night as this, so very incompletely dressed? Dear father is, and always was, the most methodical of men! It's his invariable rule to go to bed at half-past ten. What strange occurrence can it be that calls dear father from his rest At such a time of night as this, so very incompletely dressed?

Enter KING, SAMUEL, and FREDERIC.

KING. Forward, my men, and seize that General there!

They seize the GENERAL.

GIRLS. The pirates! the pirates! Oh, despair! PIRATES. (springing up) Yes, we're the pirates, so despair! GEN. Frederic here! Oh, joy! Oh. rapture! Summon your men and effect their capture! MABEL. Frederic, save us! FRED. Beautiful Mabel, I would if I could, but I am not able. PIRATES. He's telling the truth, he is not able. KING. With base deceit You worked upon our feelings! Revenge is sweet, And flavours all our dealings! With courage rare And resolution manly, For death prepare, Unhappy General Stanley.

MABEL. (wildly) Is he to die, unshriven � unannealed? GIRLS. Oh, spare him! MABEL. Will no one in his cause a weapon wield? GIRLS. Oh, spare him! POLICE. (springing up) Yes, we are here, though hitherto concealed! GIRLS. Oh, rapture! POLICE. So to Constabulary, pirates yield! GIRLS. Oh, rapture!

A struggle ensues between Pirates and Police, Eventually the Police are overcome and fall prostrate, the Pirates standing over them with drawn swords.

CHORUS OF PIRATES AND POLICE

We/You triumph now, for well we trow Your/Our mortal career's cut short; No pirate band will take its stand At the Central Criminal Court.

SERG. To gain a brief advantage you've contrived, But your proud triumph will not be long-lived. KING. Don't say you are orphans, for we know that game. SERG. On your allegiance we've a stronger claim � We charge you yield, we charge you yield, In Queen Victoria's name! KING. (baffled) You do? POLICE. We do! We charge you yield, In Queen Victoria's name!

Pirates kneel, Police stand over them triumphantly.

KING. We yield at once, with humbled mien, Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen. POLICE. Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen. ALL. Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen.

Police, holding Pirates by the collar, take out handkerchiefs and weep.

GEN. Away with them, and place them at the bar!

Enter RUTH.

RUTH. One moment! let me tell you who they are. They are no members of the common throng; They are all noblemen who have gone wrong. ALL. They are all noblemen who have gone wrong. GEN. No Englishman unmoved that statement hears, Because, with all our faults, we love our House of Peers. I pray you, pardon me, ex-Pirate King! Peers will be peers, and youth will have its fling. Resume your ranks and legislative duties, And take my daughters, all of whom are beauties.

FINALE.

Poor wandering ones! Though ye have surely strayed, Take heart of grace, Your steps retrace, Poor wandering ones! Poor wandering ones! If such poor love as ours Can help you find True peace of mind, Why, take it, it is yours!

ALL. Poor wandering ones! etc.

END OF OPERA.

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1911, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


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