King Arthur: Days and Knights of the Round Table

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King Arthur: Days and Knights of the Round Table


KING ARTHUR;
DAYS AND KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE.
SCENE FIRST.—Stonehenge; sunrise. Immense blocks of stone fill the stage; in one stone, C., is a sword stuck fast.
 
              MERLIN discovered with large book and wand.
 
MERLIN. The spell's complete—and spelling done they say,
       Good boys should put their spelling books away;
       So there!—(closes book) What! sunrise! Why, it's broad daylight,
       Then I've been conjuring the livelong night.
       Magic is hard work now. The time was once
       When conjuring was done by any dunce.
       With a few card-tricks, or with fingers nimble
       Working the cups and balls, or pea and thimble.
       Wizards must now be up in all the sciences,
       Have chemical, electrical, appliances.
       Ghosts are no longer raised by incantation,
       But by lime-lights, and mirrors' combination;
       While for the dread in raising ghosts once latent,
       All we fear now's infringing Pepper's patent.
       But hold! what's this? the pricking of my thumbs
       Informs me something human this way comes.
       Some mortal eye is watching me I find;
       That mortal I advise his eye to mind.
       If more to lie in wait for me he dare—
       I say no more till I find out—(calling) Who's there?
 
              VIVIEN appears from behind one of the stones, R. C.
VIVIEN. Forgive me, Merlin!
MERLIN. So, 'tis you again;
       Why are you always watching me? Explain.
VIVIEN. Merlin, I love you—
MERLIN. Is the girl demented?
       Remember leap-year's not yet been invented.
VIVIEN. I love you, Merlin, for the wondrous lore,
       Which gives you sway earth, air, and ocean o'er.
       I'd learn your spells—oh, do not say me nay,
       But let me take a spelling lesson pray.
       Look on me as your pupil—do now, try
       To think you have a pupil in your eye.
MERLIN. So young a pupil had my eye there been in it,
       My eye would surely have had something green in it.
VIVIEN. Teach me your art. In magic I'd excel;
       In studies deep I'd plunge, a diving belle.
       I've watched you, dodged you, on you played the spy—
       Have made myself a feminine Paul Pry
       To learn your art.
MERLIN. (offering his hand) 'Tis vain! as friends let's part.
VIVIEN. You offer but your hand, I ask your art.
       Do tell me, Merlin, what is't here you're doing?
       What charms concocting, what enchantments brewing?
MERLIN. Know then this isle of Britain is at present
       Without a king—a state by no means pleasant.
       One must be found.
VIVIEN. Why don't you find one?
MERLIN. Peace!
       'Twas no small task to find a king for Greece.
VIVIEN. That's but one case—
MERLIN. Then, Mexico, you silly 'un,
       Makes two.
VIVIEN. Makes two! Pray why not Max-i-millian?
       Sure by your art you know who------
MERLIN. I know all.
       I see him here, in Zadkiel's crystal ball. (producing it)
VIVIEN. Do let me look. (looking in crystal) Nothing can I perceive in it.
MERLIN. Yet authors, countesses, and lords believe in it.
       But read that legend.
               (pointing to stone with sword in it)
VIVIEN. Eh? (reading) “Who from this stone
       Pulls out the sword is heir to England's throne."
       But tell me------
MERLIN. Peace, see where to try this spell come
       Our princes, earls, dukes, knights------
 
MusicEnter LEODEGRANCE, SIR LAUNCELOT, SIR TRISTRAM, SIR LIONEL, and other KNIGHTS attended by ESQUIRES, &c.
 
       Sirs, you are welcome.
LEODEG. Come, let's to work.
MERLIN. Your name, Sir Knight, I'll trouble you?
LEODEG. Leodegrance of Camelgard, S.W.
MERLIN. Your name and residence, sir, I confess
       Bespeak a Knight of very good address.
       The next?
TRIST. Sir Tristram of the desert sandy.
MERLIN. Any relation, pray, to Tristram Shandy?
LAUNCE. I am Sir Launcelot of the Lake.
MERLIN. Indeed!
'Tis Launcelot of the pool—not lake we need.
 
               (indicating action of pulling sword out)
 
       So pool away. Yet stay—who is this other?
LION. I'm called Sir Lionel—
LAUNCE. My little brother.
LEODEG. Come, Merlin; we've attended at your summons.
MERLIN. Right! there's the sword! now pull away like rum un's.
 
              Concerted Music.Air, Pull away, Cheerily."
 
MERLIN. Pull away cheerily, though arms ache wearily;
       'Tis a rich prize that you try for, you know.
VIVIEN. Don't care hurt hand about; trifles don't stand about;
       Something though tells me you'll find it no go.
LEODEG. Come let me tug it—right out I will lug it;
       Courage! I've got it! oh, no, I am sold.
TRIST. What can he be about? I'll the job see about;
       Out of the way! let me only get hold.
LAUNCE. Vainly you try at it—I'll have a shy at it—
       Fast as a rock—this a swindle I call!
LION. I'll try my might at it!
MERLIN. Just so, go right at it;
       Lug at it—tug at it, knights, one and all.
VIVIEN. To me quite plain it is, labour in vain it is;
MERLIN. Girl, you are right, it their power will defy.
       You, knight, and you, knight, each worthy and true knight;
       Come, if you can't do it, at least you can try.
 
CHORDS. Oh, pull away cheerily, ha, ha, ha, ha,
       Pull away cherrily—don't be done so.
       Don't care hurt hand about, ha, ha, ha, &c,
       Pull, pull, sir knights, but you'll find it no go.
 
               (during the foregoing the different KNIGHTS have pulled at the sword in vain)
 
TRIST. 'Tis firm as bricks and mortar—vain's our trying;
       To bricks like us it's really mortar-fying.
MERLIN. 'Tis held by virtue of a spell precise,
LAUNCE. By virtue! Nay, it seems held by a vice.
LEODEG. I tried my hardest—strained each sinew to it!
VIVIEN. Of course you did; and we've each seen you do it.
       But, see more comers—yonder flag unfurled.
 
              Enter TURQUINE, L. H.
 
MERLIN. Who comes?
TURQ. The strongest man in all the world,
       My name's Turquine.
MERLIN. Your strength's then no strange puzzle, man.
       We're used to find in each Turk e'en a muscle man.
TURQ. To move this sword a task seems me beneath,
       I who can lift a bullock with my teeth.
       Twist kitchen pokers round my finger.
MERLIN. Go it!
TURQ. Look out! (pulling) How's this? Oh, hang it! dash it! blow it!
MERLIN. I thought as much.
VIVIEN. More banners coming, see!
MERLIN. (looking off) Sir Ectar, and his braggart son, Sir Key.
 
       Enter SIR ECTAR and SIR KEY attended, R. H., the latter wears an empty scabbard.
 
KEY. Well, here we are. How's this? why don't you cheer?
       Must I repeat my motto, “I am here!"
       Am here! here!
ECTAR. shouting) Hear! hear!
KEY. (C.) That's the sort of thing.
       Why don't you all salute your future king? (all laugh at him)
MERLIN. (L. C.) The sword fast locked in yonder stone you see.
KEY. I'll soon unlock it. Am I not a Key?
       The great Sir Key of England!
MERLIN. (aside) Braggart vain!
       More fit to be the great Don Key of Spain!
VIVIEN. Why have you come without your own sword please?
KEY. I don't want two. I'm not a Japanese.
VIVIEN. He leaves his sword behind him—poor selfdeceiver!
 
(all laugh at KEY)
 
KEY. Sure you don't doubt the power of the leaver!
       Here goes (pulls at sword) Halloa!
VIVIEN. Twixt you, me, and the post,
       Your empty scabbard seems an empty boast
KEY. (pulling) Lend a hand, gov'nor!
ECTAR. (pulling with him) It's no go—we're done.
MERLIN. Why not let Arthur try, your younger son?
ECTAR. He! a mere boy?
LAUNCE. Enough of this!
TRIST. You're right!
       Leave the old wizard— for the crown let's fight
       Like lions—aye, and unicorns.
KEY. My plan for it,
       Is toss—two out of three, or go odd man for it.
MERLIN. Peace, fools! attend to me—or by my art,
       Dull as you are, I'll quickly make you smart.
Have patience—wait! you'll see what you shall see,
       So follow my advice, and follow me.
 
Concerted Music—Air—”The Kermesse," (Faust) Su, da bere, &c."
 
KNIGHTS. 'Tis a swindle, 'tis a sell.
       Who'll be king none can tell.
       'Stead of settling our affair,
       All's as we was, and as we were,
TURQ. (solo) My strength slighted! all is wrong,
       None have claims half so strong.
       You've all failed, but soon, don't fear,
       Our true king will appear.
KNIGHTS. We ourselves for this may thank,
       Trusting this old mountebank.
       Our words pledged though, we submit,
       There's no help for it.
 
(Old Men's Chorus.)
 
       Shall we stand it? No, I thank ye.
       Merlin's a muff—that's plain enough.
       Shall we heed his hanky panky?
       All his conjuring's mere stuff.
       He would decide, who's to preside,
       O'er England's destinies! and settle who's to rule us.
       Shall we suffer this old duffer,
       Thus in our choice to school us.
KNIGHTS. 'Tis a swindle—'tis a sell,
       Who'll be king none can tell.
       'Stead of settling our affair,
       All's as we was and as we were.
VIVIEN and MERLIN. Cease this din, sirs—soon you'll learn,
       Who as king, up will turn.
SAGRA. Whoe'er turns up, sure will be,
       Quite inferior to me.
KNIGHTS. We ourselves for this may thank, &c.
 
Exeunt, L. U. E.
Enter ARTHUR, L 1 E.
 
ARTHUR. Heigho! yet shall I, wasting in despair,
       Die 'cause a woman, Guinevere is fair?
       Leodegrance, her father, scorns my suit;
       Leodegrance, her father, is a brute.
       Must she then from my love be caged and barred up,
       Simply because her doting lover's hard up?
MERLIN.
VIVIEN.
ECTAR. LEODEG.
TURQ. and KEY.
       What's wealth, and all the sordid hopes we get with it?
       What's gold? Can't say, I'm sure—I never met with it.
       A poor knight's son, I'm given the cold shoulder,
       A younger son—forbidden to be 'old 'er.
       A rising son I'd be—but through their scorning,
       The son of a poor knight makes wretched mourning.
 
Scena.Recitative, All is lost," Sonnambula.
       All is U P.
       Oh, for me, love's goose is cooked for ever,
       There's no chance—none whatsoever;
       No sell more complete could be.
 
Air, "Polly Perkins, of Paddington Green.
 
       But a broken-hearted milksop in grief I'll not pine,
       But try 'mongst England's chivalry, if I can't cut a shine,
       When a name I've got, and a claim I've got, 'twill all be serene;
       To refuse me her fam'ly then won't be so green.
        (spoken) Oh, she is as—
       Beautiful as a butterfly—ne'er her like would be seen,
       If you searched from Stonehenge here to Paddington-green.
 
Air, The Music Man," (Howard Paul's Entertainment.)
 
       When first my vows I uttered,
       Crimson my fair one blushed:
       I spoke with accents hushed,
       “Is my hope crowned or crushed?
       Will you be mine?" I stuttered.
       She answered but "oh la,!"
       Then when I pressed her, muttered
       No word but “hum!" and “ah!
       Ah! ah! ah! ah!
       Please go ask papa!
       Quick as you can, quick as you can,"
       Such were the words she muttered;
       “Quick as you can, quick as you can,
       Go ask papa's, your plan."
 
Air, Son Vergin Vezzosa." (I Puritani)
 
       Though her pa' said no, sirs,
       I'll not cry a go, sirs;
       I mean yet to show, sirs,
       How maids you may win!
       No cash I have got, sirs,
       But I'll tell you what, sirs,
       Of pluck, I've a lot, sirs,
       That's better than tin!
       Who comes? My brother Key, I do believe!
              Enter KEY, very gloomy, L. U. E.
       Why, Key, what's up? In other words Key vive.
KEY. What's up! I have been laughed at, jeered at, chaffed at.
ARTHUR. You're joking.
KEY. No, my jokes are never laughed at.
       The fact is, from my side, my sword they miss.
ARTHUR. Your sword! I'll fetch it. (going, he sees sword sticking in stone) Eh! here's one! Take this.
KEY. None of your chaff; they've giv'n me measure full of it.
ARTHUR. Why not take this?
KEY. 'Cause I don't see the pull of it.
ARTHUR You don't? Here! (pulls sword out and gives it to KEY)
KEY. (astonished) What! he's been and gone and done it.
        (calling) Ho! Merlin! Knights! bring out the crown,
       I've won it!
              Enter MERLIN and KNIGHTS, L. U. E.
MERLIN. (R. C.) Who pulled that sword out?
KEY. (C.) I did!
ARTHUR, (L. C.) You?
KEY. (aside to him) Be quiet!
        (aloud) I did! (to ARTHUR) I'll punch your head if you deny it!
MERLIN. Try it again then------
KEY. No, I scorn the act,
       As grocers say, one trial proves the fact.
MERLIN. (snatches it from him gives it to ARTHUR) Replace it, Arthur!
(ARTHUR does so) Now who likes may try.
TRIST. (trying) I can't for one!
LAUNCE. (trying) Nor I!
TRIST. (trying) Nor I!
LION. (trying) Nor I!
KEY I could but won't, my claim brooks no denial;
       You have no right to move for a new trial.
ARTHUR. Nay! try it, brother; it's the simplest thing—
       See! (pulls it out)
MERLIN. (R. C.) Fate has spoken, Arthur is our king! (shout)
ARTHUR. (C.) King! What burning hopes you in me kindle!
VIVIEN. (R. C.) He, king! so young too!
KEY. (L. C.) It's a downright swindle!
ECTAR. (R.) We lack an heir apparent to the throne,
       While he has ne'er a parent of his own.
       I've brought him up, he's not my son though.
MERLIN. Stay!
       You've brought him up, don't put him down I pray.
       Arthur, know all, is great Pendragon's heir;
       An infant left by me in Ectar's care.
ECTAR. And a nice sum he's cost me.
ARTHUR. Good sir, hold;
       All you have spent I'll pay a thousand fold.
       My schooling must have cost you hundreds odd—
       That schoolmaster would never spare the rod.
       The cost in canes no Cocker could inform us,
       Brimstone and treacle must have been enormous.
TURQ. Shall we have school-boys over us to rule?
LAUNCE. Yes; your hot words will never beat his cool.
       We pledged our knightly words him king to own,
       Who should that sword draw out from yonder stone.
ARTHUR. And as a king I speak. Let all unite—
       Not 'mongst ourselves—but with th' invaders fight.
       And as in this great lottery I'm the winner,
        (And nought in England's done without a dinner),
       I bid you all to my Round Table, whence
       A new chivalric order shall commence,
       Which shall make England's flag, where'er unfurled,
       The type of chivalry throughout the world.
 
Song.— ARTHUR and Chorus.Air, “The Flag that Braved a Thousand Years."Nelson.
              The honoured flag of liberty,
              The banner of the brave,
              The champion of the right shall be,
              Where'er its folds shall wave.
              In every age, in every clime,
              Proud mistress of the seas,
              That flag shall brave throughout all time
              The battle and the breeze.
Chorus. In every age, &c. (all go up as scene closes)
SCENE SECOND.—Borders of the Enchanted Forest.
Enter MORGAN LE FAY, R.
MORGAN. Oh fury! rage! oh, every exclamation
       Expressing the extreme of indignation!
       Arthur's made king. Long hid by Merlin's care
       From me, the boy's half sister, none knew where.
       He has escaped me! Vainly I've been toiling,
       In vain I've kept my magic pot a boiling—
       Have worked enchantments—charmed rhymes have sung
       Till muttered spells became my mutter-tongue.
       This boy upon the throne, me now supplanting,
       Bids me my charms stop singing, and end-chanting
       But this is a digression. So, once more,
       Oh fury! rage! as I observed before.
 
Enter CHELDRIC angrily, L.
 
CHELDRIC. Oh rage! Oh fury!
MORGAN. Sir, I quite agree with you.
CHELDRIC. Who are you? And what might the matter be with you?
MORGAN. Your hand—each other's projects we can farther.
       You hate Sir Arthur?
CHELDRIC. I should think so, rather.
       While they'd no king I scorned these British caitiffs,
       'Twas light work then astonishing the natives.
       Now 'neath his sway combined-------
MORGAN. Don't talk in this way.
       We'll have our own way, don't let's talk of his (s)way.
       Me, his half sister Morgan, they despise
       But we'll another system organize.
       I'll aid you.
CHELDRIC. How?
MORGAN. To drag th' usurper down.
CHELDRIC. And for your aid you ask-------
MORGAN. To share the crown.
CHELDRIC. Nay, Morgan, though your charms I'd not disparage,
       I must decline the morgan-atic marriage.
MORGAN. Who dream't of marrying?
CHELDRIC. Then may I claim
       To know the nature of your little game?
MORGAN. Divide the kingdom.
CHELDRIC. Nay, this folly cease!
       That would but give us half a crown a piece.
MORGAN. Better have half than none, they say.
CHELDRIC. Just so.
MORGAN. (aside) That won't apply when it's half-brothers.
CHELDRIC. How can you aid me? [though.
MORGAN. I'll your schemes advance
       By witchcraft—magic— (VIVIEN peeps in, R.)
VIVIEN. (aside) Here's a glorious chance
       To get a lesson. (retires)
MORGAN. Arthur, I'll assail
       With horrors, which might make the boldest fail.
       Shocks worse than tenant feels on quarter day,
       Or landlord when the tenant's cut away;
       Worse terrors than suburban dwellers get in,
       When the garotting season's fairly set in.
CHELDRIC. Should he resist all fears-------
MORGAN. Perchance, he may;
       With blandishments, I'll then his path waylay.
       Sweet as the legacy all unsuspected,
       Or railway dividend still less expected.
VIVIEN. This will I Merlin tell.
MORGAN. Well, how d'ye like it? Exit, R.
CHELDRIC. The bargain's struck me, in return, I strike it.
(gives his hand)
Song, MORGAN—Air, "Married on Wednesdee."
       So we're agreed, my task I'll get about it;
       Never fret about it—straight I'll set about it;
       Out no hint I beg you'll let about it,
       Till him bagged we see.
       He may strive, he may wriggle to escape; but, pshaw!
       Once netted he'll find in our act no flaw;
       He'll be bottled up quite, all right and tight,
       And be settled decisively.
       Down on his luck will he be struck;
       My joy's the fulness known as “chuck;"
       Oh, goodness gracious me—
       It looks jolly decidedly.
Exeunt, R.
Enter ARTHUR and GUINEVERE, L.
ARTHUR. Sweetest, your father has at length relented,
       And now I'm king, has to our love consented.
       When poor, he called me spoony; but the old one
       Don't scorn the spoon now it turns out a gold one.
GUINEV. Nay, don't say that.
ARTHUR. Why? fortune us has made alike;
       I've acted like a spoon—while you act ladle-like!
GUINEV. I have no dowry!
ARTHUR. Do you need one? no;
       While you're so true, why care for your trousseau?
GUINEV. But do you love me?
ARTHUR. Do I love you? Ask
       The flies that swarm round grocers' sugar cask
       If they love sugar. Ask the fish who rise
       At angler's bait, if they in turn like flies.
       Then ask the epicure, while on his dish
       The white bait lies, if he in turn loves fish.
       Ask whom you please of what they hold most dear:
       But do not ask if I love Guinevere.
       But where's Sir Key, my seneschal though?
Enter KEY, L.
KEY. Here.
ARTHUR. (R.) Keep up with us.
KEY. I'll keep in sight, don't fear.
       I wouldn't spoil a tetê-a-tetê, that's all—
       Seeing a petticoat. I'm seen-a-shawl.
GUINEV. (C.) Right! 'tis on lover's sighs the worst of stoppers;
       They must drop heaving them before heaves droppers.
KEY. A love scene should no witness have, you'll grant;
       I'm seneschal, but that's a scene as shan't!
(MORGAN LE FAY cries outside, R.)
       Help! Help! A felon knight would slay my lord!
ARTHUR. That cry! come forth, Excalibur, my sword!
GUINEV. Where would you go—don't leave me.
ARTHUR. Nay, my beauty,
       Policeman-like, I go on knightly duty.
       Sir Key will stay with you—your guardian be.
Exit, R.
GUINEV. Must I be made a ward then of a key?
KEY. Don't be alarmed—no knight could well do less
       Than fly to aid a female in distress!
       Your safety is my care.
Enter CHELDRIC, R.
CHELDRIC. That form! 'tis she.
       Yield, caitiff!
KEY. (falling on his knees) Don't, sir—please, sir, 'twasn't me.
CHELDRIC. (R.) I claim this maid, or dare you to the strife.
KEY. (L.) Take her— take all I have; but spare my life!
GUINEV. (C.) Coward! Help, help! (struggling)
CHELDRIC. To force you me compel.
       And thus the conqueror bears away the belle.
Carries her off, R.
KEY. He's gone! why did I spare him? Robber! knave!
(looking off) He's out of hearing. (loudly) Villain, coward, slave!
Enter LAUNCELOT, L.
       Oh, Guinevere!
LAUNCE. What?
KEY. There'll be, I'm afraid
A fuss straight made about that first rate maid.
LAUNCE. How so?
KEY. (R.) The Saxon Cheldric's stole her.
LAUNCE. (L.) Coward!
You live to say so.
KEY. I was overpowered.
LAUNCE. Who cares for numbers?
KEY. Who indeed? not I!
LAUNCE. You fought, then?
KEY. Yes, (aside) I fought uncommon shy.
LAUNCE. Enough; I'll save this maid.
KEY. You'll save her—good;
       'Twould savour much of kindness if you would.
LAUNCE. Too much so, p'raps; to slander 'twould give handles,
       The world would in the dark bring up it's (s)candles.
       Lend me your armour, Key.
KEY. What for?
LAUNCE. This maid.
       I'd serve disguised—in fact would mask-her-aid;
       Myself, her champion, I dare not proclaim,
       Slander, already, links with mine her name,
       So, in your armour, I for her will fight.
KEY. That folks may think I rescued her. All right.
(they change shields, helmets, &c.)
       Win me all fame you can, while on your journey—
       Fight in the lists—you've power of a tourney.
LAUNCE. Mind, none must know 'tis I this maid who free.
KEY. All right. If your successful say it's me.
LAUNCE. A thousand thanks! wait here till I comeback.
Exit, R.
KEY. Passing for him, I'm safe from all attack;
              His shield and arms me from all harms will shield.
I feel quite bounceable.
Enter TURQUINE, L.
TURQ. What ho! there! yield!
KEY. Sir, you're mistaken.
TURQ. Nothing of the sort.
       I'm the sworn foe to all of Arthur's court.
KEY. (aside) Here goes to bounce. (aloud) Be careful how you wake
       The mighty wrath of Launcelot of the Lake.
TURQ. The very knight I seek.
KEY. (aside) What? I begin
       To feel myself an ass in lion's skin.
TURQ. Launcelot my brother slew, for which, I swear it,
       I'll cut up the Round Table till I square it
       So come. (attacks him)
KEY. Help! murder! (running round the stage pursued by TURQUINE)
LAUNCE. (entering, R.) Hold!
KEY. I'm saved! You spurned
       All the Round Table—now the table's turned.
(LAUNCELOT fights TURQUINE, who falls)
LAUNCE. (C.) Yield!
TURQ. (R.) And to whom?
LAUNCE. Sir Key!
TURQ. Ere thus disgraced
       I'd rather die!
KEY. (L., aside) There's no account for taste.
LAUNCE. (showing shield) See his device, a crowing chanticleer.
His motto, "Cock a doodle do! I'm here!"
TURQ. Enough! I yield.
LAUNCE. Swear then, whenever you
Behold this shield—you'll suit and service do
As called upon.
TURQ. When thus the fates forsake one-------
LAUNCE. You swear!
TURQ. Swear! yes, it's quite enough to make one.
LAUNCE. So you may go.
KEY. You've got off cheap—get out!
Exit TURQUINE, R., KEY follows him to wing, threatening, TURQUINE turns round and sees him,
KEY slinks back.
We've settled him. Now what this maid about?
LAUNCE. (L.) Held by enchantment, she's past human power
While Morgan's magic flag waves o'er her tower.
How thence remove that flag?
KEY. (R.) You will, I feel,
The tow'r unflag by your unflagging zeal.
LAUNCE. Go Arthur seek.
KEY. He's of the land to be king,
While looking for him I am but a see-king.
LAUNCE. I'll keep watch here. Take these; and mind in nought
You shame a 'scutcheon 'neath which I have fought.
They resume each his own armourExeunt
LAUNCELOT, R., and KEY, L.
SCENE THIRD.—The Enchanted Forest.
Enter MORGAN-LE- FAY, R.
MORGAN. Help! help!
ARTHUR. (calling without) Where are you?
MORGAN. Here! Help, fire, murder! Exit, L.
Enter ARTHUR, R.
ARTHUR. Where would you lead me? Speak! I'll go no furder.
All day that cry I've followed. As I strayed,
Phantoms of all kinds have my path waylaid,
Monsters antique, and monsters pyrotechnic,
From Polyphemus to the Polytechnic.
Ghosts registered by theatre directors,
While taverns, like police, have their inn-spectres.
Terrible placards on dead walls, where posters
We used to see, are one and all now ghosters!
Even the play bills for gay Christmas time
Smack more of phantom than of pantomime.
Ghosts haunt my steps, but I with voice undaunted,
Bid them avaunt, as soon as they have haunted.
And just to shew how much for ghosts I care,
Challenged each ghost I met with “Who ghost there?"
Song.—ARTHUR.—Air, Oh, Mr. Coon, you've come too soon."*
'Twas a very shocking sight,
They came dressed in sheets all white,
And their heads were scooped-out turnips,
Within which there burned a light;
And one he cried out, "Bo!"
And another cried out, "Boo!"
And some there came without a head,
And others came with two.
I but ask 'em, “Where he comes from?
Who does he belong to?
Wonder who invented him?"
Faddly-um-di-dey!
Oh, Mr. Ghost, my path you've crossed,
But I'm by no means frightened;
So your labour you have lost.
I ask him, “Where he comes from?
Who does he belong to?
Wonder who's his patentee?"
Faddly-um-di-dey!
The Ghost of Hamlet's father,
And the Cook-lane Ghost were there,
And Banquo's Ghost, who of the meeting
Claimed to take the chair.
Then the spectres out of Manfred,
And the Haunted Man appear,
And other ghosts, of whom I have not
The ghost of an idea.
So I ask 'em, “Where he comes from, &c.
ARTHUR. Where have I wandered to? No matter, I'll
Upon this bank sit down and rest awhile. (sits on bank, L.)
Enter MORGAN LE FAY unperceived, L.
MORGAN. Good! now my spells him deep in slumbers wrapping. (waves wand over him, he sleeps)
What ho! my sprites. Come, and catch Arthur napping. (FAIRIES appear around him)
To fairy bow'rs transport him with your arms;
When there, you will transport him with your charms.
Exitthe bank glides off with FAIRIES grouped round it.
TABLEAU.—Arthur borne to the Realms of Enchantment.
Enter MERLIN and VIVIEN, R.
VIVIEN. He's in their pow'r--------
MERLIN. Not so; he's safe while sleep
Shall from his eyes their soft enchantments keep.
She knows no spell to shut folks up in trees——-
Or rocks! as I do.
VIVIEN. Do you? teach me, please.
Do, like a dear old conjuror!
MERLIN. Fate forbid!
Folks would deem me no conjuror if I did.
VIVIEN. Teach me that one spell, and I'll ask no more.
MERLIN. Don't tease!
VIVIEN. (coaxing) Do, please!
MERLIN. Dont bother!
VIVIEN. Do!
MERLIN. Don't bore!
I'm harrassed—vexed.
VIVIEN. (coaxingly) No wonder! Poor old chap!
MERLIN. Weary! done up!
VIVIEN. Of course. (points to hollow tree) Here, take a nap.
MERLIN. (lying down) I feel at odds with Fortune.
VIVIEN. 'Tis, methinks,
Best when at fortun' odds take forty winks.
Sleep! give me those. (takes book and wand) I'll watch.
MERLIN. (drowsily) You're very kind.
VIVIEN. (turning over leaves) At what page did you say that spell I'd find?
MERLIN. (drowsily) Bother! page fifty! Let me sleep!
VIVIEN. At last (he sleeps)
This secret I can learn—he's sleeping fast, (reading)
Now for my lesson. It's a curious thing,
But knowledge is increased by lessoning.
I've learned it! Now, on whom to try the spell
There's no one by, so I can no one sell.
Try it I must on some one! Eh! suppose
Merlin himself. It can't be helped—here goes.
(looking in book) “With waving hands and woven paces------ "
MERLIN. (in his sleep) Hold!
VIVIEN. (waving her arms over him) “Abracadabra!
Hocus! pocus!"
MERLIN. Sold!
 (thundergongcrashthe tree encloses him)
VIVIEN. (startled) What's that? With my first spell
myself I'm frightening!
My fears that thunder was by no means light'ning!
I've done the deed, and such a deed no doubt
We must expect there'd be a noise about.
Merlin, in wisdom long you've me surpassed—
You talked me down—I've shut you up at last.
Song—VIVIEN—Air, Of fairy wand had I the pow'r." (Maritana)
Methinks none other e'er has done
Such wild fantastic deed, tis plain
The Wizard's caged. While I for one
Can't tell how him to free again.
Of fairy pow'r were I possessed
As I shall be, I hope, some day.
What joy would dwell within my breast!
What spells I'd work! What pranks I'd play!
KEY. (outside) What, ho!
VIVIEN. (answering) What, ho!
KEY. (entering, L.) What place is this I've got to?
A landscape?
VIVIEN. By your shouting, after Watteau.
KEY. Hast seen King Arthur?
VIVIEN. Yes; but how to free
Merlin, whom I've shut up in yonder tree?
KEY. What for?
VIVIEN. Mere wantonness.
KEY. So for a lark
You give the wizard this strong dose of bark.
VIVIEN. His book I'll search, how to save him thus spellbound.
(tries to open bookshe cannot)
Closed!
KEY. So the master like the book seems well bound?
VIVIEN. Oh, for some spell to bid yon tree befriend us.
KEY. Our broken state calls for a spell, tree mend us.
Let's seek the king.
VIVIEN. Merlin, my friend so trusty,
Leave in the wood? alas! he's old and crusty.
Should they cut down the tree?
KEY. Leave him alone!
No one will cut his stick—he can't his own.
VIVIEN. True. Thus to leave you, Merlin, I regret;
KEY. And so do I, let's do it in duet.
Duet—Air, Hop light, Loo."
VIVIEN. Now, through all this magic forest, to seek Arthur, let's prepare.
KEY. The place is full of quagmires and of pitfalls you're aware,
Of magic man-traps and spring-guns—I scarce know what to do.
VIVIEN. We'll the magic traps hop over, and the magic bogs hop through.
BOTH. We'll hop right through each marshy bog we meet,
In duty's path when walking, who would fear to wet one's feet?
We'll hop right through the briers as best we can,
Thus boldly coming to the scratch is the wisest plan.
KEY. Oh! I little thought at starting of what perils I'd to brave.
VIVIEN. The king is in worse peril, still him I'll contrive to save,
I'll spy, and pry, and listen, till I find out what to do.
KEY. He'll I hope stand something handsome after all that
I've gone through.
BOTH. Then hop right through, &c. Exeunt, L.
 
SCENE FOURTH.—The Realms of Faery Pleasaunce. Ballet—ARTHUR tried by blandishments—FAIRY FORMS approach ARTHUR—he is about to yield to their fascinations, but appears to be restrained by the memory of GUINEVERE. They tempt him with wine, dice, gold, &c. —he resists all.
ARTHUR. Ladies, I to your beauty yield all homage—
'Tis perfect; as the French say, quite the fromage;*
But 'tis in vain, I love but Guinevere.
* Pronounce so as to rhyme with “homage."
C
MORGAN LE FAY enters unobserved behind.
MORGAN. (calling off) Quick! let the likeness of his love
appear. Exit, L.
(the phantom, GUINEVERE, rises in a fairy car from the lake, she executes a Pas de Fascination
ARTHUR follows her about in rapture)
ARTHUR. 'Tis she! my own—come to my arms!
(about to embrace her)
VIVIEN and KEY run in, L.
VIVIEN. (L. C.) Forbear!
'Tis but a phantom stands before you there,
Strike her with this. (offering wand)
ARTHUR. (C.) Strike her!
KEY. (L.) Don't be afraid,
One needn't be particular to a shade.
VIVIEN. Behold a demon false! (strikes the PHANTOM
GUINEVERE with wandshe disappears through trap, R.—FAIRIES vanish.)
ARTHUR. What is't you do?
A demon false! your words I deem untrue.
My own dear Guinevere's------
VIVIEN. A captive!
ARTHUR. (seizing KEY) Slave!
Into your charge that precious trust I gave;
If you have lost her-----
KEY. (kneeling) Since truth must be told,
I was bowled over—I'm not over bold—
Cheldric stole her!
ARTHUR. Oh, dog!
KEY. Forgive me, sir.
It shan't occur again.
ARTHUR. Again, oh, cur!
Out of my sight—go.
KEY. (rising) Well, since you're so kind------
Exit, L.
ARTHUR. (L.) Out of my sight, I'm half out of my mind.
Where's Merlin?
VIVIEN. (R.) Sir, I grieve to say that he
By my enchantment's shut up in a tree,
Which soon closed round him.
ARTHUR. Tell me this you durst?
The tree soon closed! Tree soon has done its worst!
My Guinevere made prisoner, Merlin too!
Both I've to rue, if 'tis indeed ter-rue.
To cope with all these horrors can I hope?
What evil stars affect my horrors-cope?
No one can I, the slightest aid to lend, see;
I'm in a frenzy since I can no friend see.
My wits unstrung, hang loose my head inside,
What should be Christmas feels like wits-untied.
I'm getting worse. In search of her I'll run.
I cannot reason—I can only pun. Exit, L.
VIVIEN. I'm getting on in magic—truth to tell,
In Merlin's case, I've p'raps got on too well.
I'll find out how to save him yet; small doubt,—
This is the place their secrets to fish out.
Song.—VIVIEN.—Air, Comin' through the Rye."
If a body catch a body coming here to pry,
How that other body'd catch it! I must mind my eye!
But in pursuit of magic knowledge, danger I defy;
To find out how what's wrong to right, I'm coming here to pry.
The Paris Congress can't be held to set all Europe straight;
There's Schleswig-Holstein in a fog, which seems its normal state;
There's Cobden's squabble with the Times—the abuse gets loud and high;
I'll settle all, if I learn how, through coming here to pry.
All hidden mysteries I'll find out, through coming here to pry;
When Thames embankments will be finished, this find out will I;
How much of London will be left by railways, by-and-bye,
Find out what cabmen deem a mile, through comin,' here to pry. Exit, L. H.
Enter MORGAN LE FAY and FAIRIES.
MORGAN. Arthur's escaped! We'll for that not be cut up,
Since our worst foe, the wizard Merlin,'s shut up.
No more grave business need your steps employ,
You may hop, skip for pleasure, jump for joy.
(Dance of FAIRIES—scene closes)
SCENE FIFTH.—Interior of Cheldric's Castle.
Enter GUINEVERE, L.
GUINEV. Unhappy Guinevere! oh, cruel fate!
That's made me captive to the man I hate.
Shall I endure this state of things unjust?
I, Arthur's destined spouse!—I spouse I must.
How sad a loss is mine—regrets are idle!
A saddle 'oss, including reign and bridal.
My star uprising side by side with his'n,
No more uprising now, my fate's a-prison.
This roomy kingdom, mine in expectation.
Now I have nought but my own room-i-nation.
Kept by the Saxon in this den of his;
I'm numbed with cold, no doubt the room-it-is.
Enter CHELDRIC, L.
CHELDRIC. So then you do not like my room I see.
GUINEV. I like it better than your company.
CHELDRIC. Nay, spurn me not—with love for you I burn.
You've turned my brain.
GUINEV. 'Tis false—you'd none to turn.
To Arthur's future bride your suit thus pleading,
I deem a most un-Arthur-ised proceeding.
CHELDRIC. All thoughts of Arthur from your mind dismiss;
To magic arts he's yielded long ere this.
GUINEV. You'd take to magic courses, then------
CHELDRIC. My forces
Comprise both magic (c)arts and magic (c) 'orses.
Morgan le Fay's my partner in the game.
GUINEV. Morgan! the witch!
CHELDRIC. Yes! witch it is the same.
Her power protects me, so you'll own at length
We're too strong for you.
Enter TURQUINE, L.
TURQ. Eh! who talks of strength?
For that's my province—I for brains don't care;
But if you talk of muscle, I'm all there!
CHELDRIC. (C.) What sport to-day?
TURQ. Nothing of which to brag —
Some few Round-table Knights I've in my bag.
GUINEV. (R., aside) Should Arthur have been bagged among this chance lot;
Or my old friend and playfellow, Sir Launcelot!
TURQ. (calling off) Pris'ners advance! quick! or I'll crack each crown;
If no advance be made, I'll the lot knock down.
Enter SIR TRISTRAM, SIR LIONEL, SIR ECTAR, and four other KNIGHTS, L.
Concerted Music.—"The old Wood Pile." (Buckley's Serenaders.)
TRIST. Oh, hapless day—oh, hapless knight!
(in unison, miserably) Oh, oh, oh, oh!
(mocking) Ho, ho, ho, ho!
TRIST. Defeated, sold, and done up quite!
CHORUS. (as before) Oh, oh, oh, oh!
LION. He's floored us all, this monster vile;
We fought our best in good old style;
In the old sensation broad-sword style—
That old good style!
Ensemble.
Oh, that old good style! (three times)
At which folks now but smile.
New ways to fight,
Now banish quite,
That old good style
Oh, that old good style! (three times)
At such we only smile!
We win the fight with magic might
In our own good style.
KNIGHTS
GUINEV.
TURQ.
CHELDRIC.
KNIGHTS.
GUINEV.
TURQ.
CHELDRIC.
CHELDRIC. (R. C.) After your toil 'tis fit some rest you seek,
Those seven knights must surely make one weak.
TURQ. (C.) I would the number had been twice as great.
Their seven cannot satisfy my hate.
TRIST. (L. C.) Traitor! though for a while you triumph still,
Arthur will save us yet.
GUINEV. (R.) Aye! that he will.
TURQ. Could you not save yourselves—armed cap-a-pie
In iron?
TRIST. Nay, spare us your irony.
Release us!
TURQ. By strict law our course we shape,
When we allow no iron-clad to escape;
'Gainst those the Mersey's neutral stream's detained,
"The quality of Mersey is not strained."
ECTAR. (L.) You'll pay for this. Of Arthur's court we are;
Of his Round Table, his Court Circular.
LION. The whole Round Table will be moved.
TURQ. No doubt.
But table-moving now none care about.
CIIELDRIC. Enough! we hold them pris'ners.
TRIST. Pray who's we?
CHELDRIC. Morgan le Fay, Sir Turquine here, and me—
A joint-stock company—combined each force
Of wit—of wisdom-----
TRIST. Limited, of course.
GUINEV. Alas! Sir Knights, while o'er these tow'rs shall wave
Morgan's enchanted flag, nought us can save.
TURQ. And when I add that flag is taken care of
By me, whose strength you're doubtless all aware of,
I think you'll own of your look-out the hue
Is darkly, deeply, beautifully blue.
TRIST. Blue! that tint never pleased me yet, nor shall it,
It doesn't suit my taste nor suit my palette.
Couleur de rose shall indigo supplant?
At such a thought I feel indigo-nant.
I may be green, I've been done brown 'tis said,
I'm not an author, so I can't be read;
But for a blue look out—no; any fellow
Like me'd yell out against it—I'm a yeller.
ECTAR. Talk not of tints or dyes. Never say die.
TURQ. 'Bout different hues don't make a hue and cry.
Our blackest dungeon waits you.
TRIST. Cruel spite!
We must go in the black at your in-white.
Exeunt TURQUINE and the CAPTIVE KNIGHTS,R.,
CHELDRIC and GUINEVERE, following.
SCENE SIXTH.—Exterior of Cheldric's Castle. A flag flying on the tower.
Enter ARTHUR, LEODEGRANCE, LAUNCELOT, SAGRAMORE, and other KNIGHTS, L.
ARTHUR. (C.) This is the robbers' crib, then?
LAUNC. (R.) 'Tis, alack,
A crib you'll find uncommon hard to crack.
ARTHUR. Within those walls my love lies captive now!
LEODEG. (L.) My daughter! oh, my daughter! (crying)
ARTHUR. Hold your row
LEODEG. Her wretched father!
ARTHUR. Silence! I desire;
You are a father—pray don't be a sigher.
Now for these Saxons—vile outlandish crew!
Quick sound a parley to the parley-vous!
We'll have him out, whether he like or lump it;
Our adversary plays the knave—we trump it!
(Trumpet sounds a parley—CHELDRIC appears on the walls)
CHELDRIC. Desist! move on! this din I cannot stand!
ARTHUR. What you! the leader of a German band?
Think what we suffer then when 'neath our windies,
Your countrymen kick up their fearful shindies.
CHELDRIC. What seek you here?
ARTHUR. Immediate surrender
Of a young woman of the female gender,
By you held pris'ner.
CHELDRIC. Would you like it better
To take her now, or wait until you get her?
ARTHUR. Villain! release her if you prize your health—
She's mine!
CHELDRIC. Of course she is a mint of wealth.
ARTHUR. Wealth! name her ransom, it shall be paid down.
CHELDRIC. Well then, suppose we say the British crown?
ARTHUR. What!
CHELDRIC. That's my price.
ARTHUR. Nay, for her liberation
I'd you, sir, pay, but can't stand u-sur-pa-tion.
(throws down glove) There lies my gage. I'll fight you for her, come.
CHELDRIC. A precious green gage. True, she's worth a plum.
Why should I fight you?
LAUNCE. (throwing down glove) P'raps 'gainst me you'll draw?
CHELDRIC. Not I; possession's nine points of the law.
LEODEG. See me, her father, weeping on his knees.
ARTHUR. Some one shut up that moist old party, please.
My army soon yon traitor's stronghold breaching,
We'll find besieging better than beseeching.
His walls destroyed—he'll be, you may depend,
Hauled o'er the coals—aye o'er his own wall's-end.
CHELDRIC. While this flag guards us, vainly will you strive.
ARTHUR. Who guards the flag?
TURQ. (appearing on tower) The strongest man alive!
Who with one blow a sheep in half can cut;
Can butt an ox with his own ox-i-butt;
Can hurl a dray horse o'er the tallest tree;
Or throw a railway into Chancery.
ARTHUR. You then I'll fight—I for your strength don't care;
In operatic style, come if you dare!
Concerted Music—“Come if you dare." Purcell's "Arthur."
Come if you dare, on level ground;
Come if you dare, one single round—
Then come, oh come, oh come!
You we'll double, double, double up, sirs,
I swear by gum.
(LAUNCELOT and KNIGHTS repeat with ARTHUR in chorus)
Come! I declare, I'd bet a pound,
Some of you there would kiss the ground.
TURQ. and
CHELDRIC.
You'd come, you'd come, you'd come,
Soon to trouble, trouble, trouble, all, sirs;
I swear by gum.
ARTHUR. All your bounce is in vain,
You I challenge again;
I fear not your strength—though I'm little I'm bold.
My belle you ask toll for—
That belle shan't be tolled.
(KNIGHTS repeat in chorus)
CHELDRIC. Your threats we laugh at, by yon flag protected.
Enter SIR KEY and VIVIEN, R.
VIVIEN. (R. C.) See, see! Turquine on guard as I suspected.
ARTHUR. (to CHELDRIC and TURQUINE, angrily) Slaves! cowards!
KEY. (to ARTHUR) Nay, your majesty, be cool.
I'm here.
ARTHUR. Peace! 'tis no time to play the fool.
KEY. That's rude; but never mind, I'll save you.
ARTHUR. (astonished) You?
VIVIEN. 'Tis the right man in the right place, sire.
LAUNCE. (L.) True.
Go on, Sir Key.
TURK. (aside) Sir Key!
KEY. I'm no ways loth.
(calling) Turquine,I charge you by your knightly oath,
Now, you behold this crowing chanticleer.
This motto, “Cock-a-doodle-do, I'm here.''
You suit, and service do.
ARTHUR. To you! absurd!
KEY. You'll see. (to TURQUINE) Take down that flag!
TURQ. I've pledged my word.
So (pulling down flag)
CHELDRIC. Hold! (trying to hinder him) This comes of having guards so strong,
He's rent my flag and done me flag-rent wrong.
KEY. (conceitedly) I've done it, sire.
VIVIEN. Their spell's to us knocked under;
And so, locks, bolts and bars, all fly asunder.
Knocks with MERLIN'S wand at door of castle. It opens, GUINEVERE, SIR TRISTRAM, SIR LIONEL, SIR ECTAR, and other PRISONERS come out. VIVIEN goes into castle.
ARTHUR (embracing GUINEVERE, C.) My love!
GUINEV. My lord!
LEODEG. (L. C.) With joy, my brain grows dizzy.
Come to your father's arms.
ARTHUR. She can't, she's busy.
KEY. (R. C.) All I've to say's, huzzah!
TRIST. So say we too.
(they shake hands with KEY) Huzzah!
ECTAR. Huzzah! (shaking hands with KEY)
KEY. Well, sir, hoo's a' wi you?
ARTHUR. How shall I thank you, friend?
KEY. Sire, thanks don't mention;
I seek no thanks. (aside) I'd much prefer a pension.
VIVIEN runs in with the magic horn, from Castle, C.
VIVIEN. Huzzah!
ARTHUR. (L. C.) Again! what means that joyous sound?
VIVIEN. Huzzah! at length the magic horn I've found.
ARTHUR. Huzzah, for that old cornet! Bless my stars—
VIVIEN. It is, indeed, a cornet of Huzzars.
This horn, though ugly, battered, bruised, and bent all,
You'll find of use.
KEY. Well, 'tisn't horn-amental.
VIVIEN. So melting are the strains its notes evolve,
That all enchantments they at once dissolve.
One blast sets Merlin free, while every foe,
You may defeat, sire, with one single blow.
ARTHUR. Say you so—thus its echoes then I wake,
And safe with one tune all our four-tunes make.
(he blows the horn)
MORGAN LE FAY rushes in, L., holding her ears.
MORGAN. Horror! that sound! Hold! hold! my course is ended;
My spells are broken and they can't be mended.
Oh! to my rage no words can give expression.
(crosses to R.)
Enter CHELDRIC and TURQUINE, from castle, C.
CHELDRIC. Here we surrender, sire, at indiscretion.
ARTHUR. Vile Saxon, quit this realm—get out!
KEY. Precisely.
I ne'er saw Saxon get the sack so nicely.
MORGAN. (angrily to TURQUINE) You kept your plighted word to him! Oh, sneak!
TURQ. (R.) For one so strong as I, I own 'twas weak.
ARTHUR. Peace! Merlin comes; how spruce he looks!
Enter MERLIN, jauntily, L.
MERLIN. Good, sir,
I've been clothed in a new suit of spruce fir.
The tree's trunk doubled round me. Thus, its close
Provided me with double-it and trunk hose.
VIVIEN. (kneeling) Forgive me, Merlin, for what has occurred;
I didn't go to do it, 'pon my word.
MERLIN. (C.) Girl, say no more. And as I look about me,
It seems you've got on pretty well without me.
Virtue triumphant—eh?
ARTHUR. (L. C.) As ever could be.
MERLIN. Vice vice versa?
ARTHUR. Quite.
MERLIN. All's then as should be.
Your hands. Old chap, your blessing. (to LEODEGRANCE who joins hands of ARTHUR and GUINEVERE) That's all right.
So now we are all happy.
ARTHUR. Happy! quite.
That is, if you, kind friends------- (to audience)
MERLIN. (stopping him) Here, what d'ye mean.
None of that please. Just wait for the last scene.
They'll want a final tableau.
ARTHUR. Say you so!
Come then, let's shew them our Round Table-oh!
Spread for our Christmas banquet. While all here
Will join, let's hope, in the good Christmas cheer.
 
 
* This Melody is also published under the title of of "Robson's Invasion Song"
 
 
Thomas Scott, Printer, Warwick Court, Holborn.