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THE
MIKADO



W.S.GILBERT




THE MIKADO



Uniform edition. With Special Decorated Cover,
and % full-page Colour-Plates by W. RUSSELL
FLINT. Price 3^. 6d. net each.

IOLANTHE

THE MIKADO

PATIENCE

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

OTHERS TO FOLLOW



OPENING SCENE OF ACT II
(p. 27)



THE GEORGE E. LASK COLLECTION



THE MIKADO

OR

THE TOWN OF TITIPU

BY

W. S. GILBERT

WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS BY

W. RUSSELL FLINT




LONDON

G. BELL AND SONS, LTD,

191 1



CHISWJCK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



LIST OF COLOUR PLATES

TO FACE
PAGE

OPENING SCENE OF ACT II (P. 27) Frontispiece
"THREE LITTLE MAIDS FROM SCHOOL! " . .12
" TO FLIRT IS ILLEGAL, AND WE

MUST OBEY THE LAW " l6

" THERE 's LOTS OF GOOD FISH IN THE SEA! " .26

" FROM EVERY KIND OF MAN

OBEDIENCE I EXPECT" 36

" WHEN A MAN 's AFRAID,
A BEAUTIFUL MAID
IS A CHEERING SIGHT TO SEE " . . . .40

" SOMETHING LINGERING, WITH BOILING OIL IN IT,

I FANCY" 42

" HERE, NANKI-POO, I'VE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU" 44



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THE MIKADO

OR

THE TOWN OF TITIPU
ACT I

SCENE. Court-yard of Ko-Ko's Palace in Titipu. Japanese nobles
discovered standing and sitting in attitudes suggested by native
drawings.

CHORUS

If you want to know who we are,
We are gentlemen of Japan :
On many a vase and jar

On many a screen and fan,
We figure in lively paint:
Our attitude's queer and quaint
You're wrong if you think it ain't.

If you think we are worked by strings

Like a Japanese marionette,

You don't understand these things:

It is simply Court etiquette.

Perhaps you suppose this throng
Can't keep it up all day long?
If that 's your idea, you're wrong.

Enter NANKi-Poo in great excitement. He carries a native
guitar on his back, and a bundle of ballads in his hand



2 THE MIKADO

RECIT.

Nank. Gentlemen, I pray you tell me,

Where a lovely maiden dwelleth,
Named Yum-Yum, the ward of Ko-Ko:
In pity speak oh speak, I pray you!

A Noble. Why, who are you who ask this question?

Nank. Come gather round me, and I'll tell you.

SONG
Nank. A wandering minstrel I

A thing of shreds and patches,
Of ballads, songs and snatches,
And dreamy lullaby!

My catalogue is long,

Through every passion ranging,
And to your humours changing

I tune my supple song!

Are you in sentimental mood?
I'll sigh with you,

Oh, willow, willow!
On maiden's coldness do you brood?
I'll do so, too

Oh, willow, willow!
I'll charm your willing ears
With songs of lovers' fears,
While sympathetic tears
My cheeks bedew

Oh, willow, willow!

But if patriotic sentiment is wanted,

I've patriotic ballads cut and dried;
For where'er our country's banner may be planted,

All other local banners are defied!
Our warriors, in serried ranks assembled,

Never quail or they conceal it if they do
And I shouldn't be surprised if nations trembled

Before the mighty troops of Titipu!



THE MIKADO 3

And if you call for a song of the sea,

We'll heave the capstan round,
With a yeo heave-ho, for the wind is free,
Her anchor 's a-trip and her helm 's a-lee,

Hurrah for the homeward bound !
Yeo-ho heave-ho

Hurrah for the homeward bound !

To lay aloft in a howling breeze

May tickle a landsman's taste,
But the happiest hours a sailor sees
Is when he 's down
At an inland town,

With his Nancy on his knees, yeo-hol
And his arm around her waist!

Then man the capstan off we go,

As the fiddler swings us round,
With a yeo heave-ho,
And a rumbelow,

Hurrah for the homeward bound!

A wandering minstrel I, etc.

Enter Pisn-TusH

Pish. And what may be your business with Yum-Yum?

Nank. I'll tell you. A year ago I was a member of the Titipu
town band. It was my duty to take the cap round for contribu-
tions. While discharging this delicate office, I saw Yum-Yum.
We loved each other at once, but she was betrothed to her
guardian Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, and I saw that my suit was
hopeless. Overwhelmed with despair, I quitted the town.
Judge of my delight when I heard, a month ago, that Ko-Ko
had been condemned to death for flirting! I hurried back at
once, in the hope of finding Yum-Yum at liberty to listen to
my protestations.

Pish. It is true that Ko-Ko was condemned to death for flirting,
but he was reprieved at the last moment, and raised to the
exalted rank of Lord High Executioner under the following
remarkable circumstances:



THE MIKADO

SONG

Pish. Our great Mikado, virtuous man,

When he to rule our land began,
Resolved to try
A plan whereby

Young men might best be steadied.
So he decreed, in words succinct,
That all who flirted, leered, or winked
(Unless connubially linked),

Should forthwith be beheaded.

And I expect you'll all agree
That he was right to so decree.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right as right can be !

CHORUS
And I expect, etc.

Pish. This stern decree, you'll understand,

Caused great dismay throughout the land:
For young and old
And shy and bold
Were equally affected.
The youth who winked a roving eye,
Or breathed a non-connubial sigh,
Was thereupon condemned to die
He usually objected.

And you'll allow, as I expect,
That he was right to so object.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And everything is quite correct!

CHORUS
And you'll allow, as I expect, etc.



THE MIKADO 5

Pish. And so we straight let out on bail

A convict from the county jail,
Whose head was next
On some pretext
Condemned to be mown off,
And made him Headsman, for we said
" Who 's next to be decapited
Cannot cut off another's head
Until he 's cut his own off."

And we are right, I think you'll say,
To argue in this kind of way.

And I am right,

And you are right,
And all is right too-looral-lay !

CHORUS
And they were right, etc.

[Exeunt Chorus.

Enter POOH-BAH

Nank. Ko-Ko, the cheap tailor, Lord High Executioner of Titipu !
Why, that 's the highest rank a citizen can attain !

Pooh. It is. Our logical Mikado, seeing no moral difference
between the dignified judge who condemns a criminal to die,
and the industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence,
has rolled the two offices into one, and every judge is now his
own executioner.

Nank. But how good of you (for I see that you are a nobleman of
the highest rank) to condescend to tell all this to me, a mere
strolling minstrel!

Pooh. Don't mention it. I am, in point of fact, a particularly
haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral de-
scent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can
trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic
globule. Consequently, my family pride is something incon-
ceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering. But I struggle
hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride continually.
When all the great Officers of State resigned in a body, because



6 THE MIKADO

they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not
unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once?

Pish. And the salaries attached to them? You did.

Pooh. It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart
as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-
in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds,
Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord
Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a
salary! A Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion !
But I do it! It revolts me, but I do it.

Nank. And it does you credit.

Pooh. But I don't stop at that. I go and dine with middle-class
people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap suburban parties
for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however
lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low figure. For
instance, any further information about Yum-Yum would
come under the head of a State secret. [NANKi-Poo takes the
hint, and gives him money.] [Aside.] Another insult, and I
think a light one!

SONG

Pooh. Young man, despair,

Likewise go to,
Yum-Yum the fair

You must not woo.
It will not do :
I'm sorry for you,
You very imperfect ablutioner!
This very day

From school Yum-Yum
Will wend her way,

And homeward come
With beat of drum,
And a rum-tum-tum,
To wed the Lord High Executioner I

And the brass will crash,

And the trumpets bray,
And they'll cut a dash

On their wedding day.



THE MIKADO

From what I say, you may infer
It 's as good as a play for him and her,
She'll toddle away, as all aver,
With the Lord High Executioner!

It 's a hopeless case,

As you may see,
And in your place

Away I'd flee;

But don't blame me

I'm sorry to be

Of your pleasure a diminutioner.
They'll vow their pact

Extremely soon,
In point of fact

This afternoon

Her honeymoon

With that buffoon
At seven, commences, so you shun her!

All. The brass will crash, etc.

RECIT.

Nank. And have I journeyed for a month, or nearly,

To learn that Yum-Yum, whom I love so dearly,
This day to Ko-Ko is to be united !

Pooh. The fact appears to be as you've recited :

But here he comes, equipped as suits his station ;
He'll give you any further information.

Enter Ko-Ko, attended

CHORUS

Behold the Lord High Executioner!

A personage of noble rank and title
A dignified and potent officer,

Whose functions are particularly vital.
Defer, defer,

To the noble Lord High Executioner!



SOLO

Ko. Taken from the county jail

By a set of curious chances;
Liberated then on bail,

On my own recognizances;
Wafted by a favouring gale,

As one sometimes is in trances,
To a height that few can scale,

Save by long and weary dances;
Surely, never had a male

Under such like circumstances
So adventurous a tale,

Which may rank with most romances.

CHORUS
Behold the Lord High Executioner, etc.

Ko. Gentlemen, I'm much touched by this reception. I can only
trust that by strict attention to duty I shall ensure a continu-
ance of those favours which it will ever be my study to deserve.
If I should ever be called upon to act professionally, I am
happy to think that there will be no difficulty in finding plenty
of people whose deaths will be a distinct gain to society at
large.

Enter POOH-BAH

SOXG Ko-Ko

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,

I've got a little list I've got a little list
Of social offenders who might well be underground,

And who never would be missed who never would be missed!
There 's the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs
All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs
All children who are up in dates, and floor you with 'em flat
All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like that
And all third persons who on spoiling tete-a-tetes insist

They'd none of 'em be missed they'd none of 'em be missed!



THE MIKADO 9

CHORUS

He 's got 'em on the list he 's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed they'll none of 'em be missed !

There 's the nigger serenader, and the others of his race,
And the piano-organist I've got him on the list! {

And the people who eat peppermint and puff it in your face,
They never would be missed they never would be missed!

Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,

All centuries but this, and every country but his own;

And the lady from the provinces, who dresses like a guy,

And " who doesn't think she waltzes, but would rather like to try "!

And that singular anomaly, the lady novelist

I don't think she'd be missed I'm sure she'd not be missed!

CHORUS

He 's got her on the list he 's got her on the list;
And I don't think she'll be missed I'm sure she'll not be missed!

And that Nisi Prius nuisance, who just now is rather rife,

The Judicial humorist I've got him on the list!
All funny fellows, comic men, and clowns of private life

They'd none of 'em be missed they'd none of 'em be missed!
And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
Such as What d'ye call him Thing'em bob, and likewise Never

Mind,

And 'St 'st 'st and What 's-his-name, and also You-know-who
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,

For they'd none of 'em be missed they'd none of 'em be missed!

CHORUS

You may put 'em on the list you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed they'll none of 'em be missed!

Ko. Pooh-Bah, it seems that the festivities in connection with my
approaching marriage must last a week. I should like to do it
handsomely, and I want to consult you as to the amount I
ought to spend upon them.

Pooh. Certainly. In which of my capacities? As First Lord of the
Treasury, Lord Chamberlain, Attorney-General, Chancellor of
the Exchequer, Privy Purse, or Private Secretary?



io THE MIKADO

Ko. Suppose we say as Private Secretary.

Pooh. Speaking as your Private Secretary, I should say that as the
city will have to pay for it, don't stint yourself, do it well.

Ko. Exactly as the city will have to pay for it. That is your
advice.

Pooh. As Private Secretary. Of course you will understand that,
as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am bound to see that due
economy is observed.

Ko. Oh. But you said just now " don't stint yourself, do it well."

Pooh. As Private Secretary.

Ko. And now you say that due economy must be observed.

Pooh. As Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Ko. I see. Come over here, where the Chancellor can't hear us.
[They cross stage.] Now, as my Solicitor, how do you advise me
to deal with this difficulty?

Pooh. Oh, as your Solicitor, I should have no hesitation in saying
"chance it "

Ko. Thank you. [Shaking his hand.] I will.

Pooh. If it were not that, as Lord Chief Justice, I am botrad to see
that the law isn't violated.

Ko. I see. Come over here where the Chief Justice can't hear us!
[They cross the stage.] Now, then, as First Lord of the Treasury?

Pooh. Of course, as First Lord of the Treasury, I could propose a
special vote that would cover all expenses, if it were not that,
as Leader of the Opposition, it would be my duty to resist it,
tooth and nail. Or, as Paymaster-General, I could so cook
the accounts, that as Lord High Auditor I should never dis-
cover the fraud. But then, as Archbishop of Titipu, it would
be my duty to denounce my dishonesty and give myself into
my own custody as First Commissioner of Police.

Ko. That 's extremely awkward.

Pooh. I don't say that all these people couldn't be squared; but it
is right to tell you that I shouldn't be sufficiently degraded in
my own estimation unless I was insulted with a very consider-
able bribe.

Ko. The matter shall have my careful consideration. But my
bride and her sisters approach, and any little compliment on
your part, such as an abject grovel in a characteristic Japanese
attitude, would be esteemed a favour.



THE MIKADO n



Enter procession of YUM-YUM'S schoolfellows, heralding YuM-YuM,
PEEP-BO, and PITTI SING.

CHORUS

Comes a train of little ladies

From scholastic trammels free,

Each a little bit afraid is,

Wondering what the world can be!

Is it but a world of trouble

Sadness set to song?
Is its beauty but a bubble

Bound to break ere long?

Are its palaces and pleasures

Fantasies that fade?
And the glory of its treasures

Shadow of a shade?

Schoolgirls we, eighteen and under,
From scholastic trammels free,

And we wonder how we wonder!
What on earth the world can be !

TRIO YuM-YuM, PEEP-BO, and Prm-SiNG

The Three. Three little maids from school are we,
Pert as a school girl well can be, %
Filled to the brim with girlish glee,

Three little maids from school!

Yum-Yum. Everything is a source of fun. [Chuckle.}
Peep-Bo. Nobody 's safe, for we care for none! [Chuckle.]
Pitti-Sing. Life is a joke that's just begun! [Chuckle.}
The Three. Three little maids from school!

All. [Dancing.} Three little maids who, all unwary,
Come from a ladies' seminary,
Freed from its genius tutelary
The Three. [Suddenly demure.} Three little maids from school!



12 THE MIKADO

Yum-Yum. One little maid is a bride, Yum-Yum
Peep-Bo. Two little maids in attendance come
Pitti-Sing. Three little maids is the total sum.
The Three. Three little maids from school!

Yum-Yum. From three little maids take one away
Peep-Bo. Two little maids remain, and they
Pitti-Sing. Won't have to wait very long, they say
The Three. Three little maids from school!

All. [Dancing.] Three little maids who, all unwary,

Come from a ladies' seminary,

Freed from its genius tutelary
The Three. [Suddenly demure.] Three little maids from school!

Ko. At last, my bride that is to be! [About to embrace her.

Yum. You're not going to kiss me before all these people?

Ko. Well, that was the idea.

Yum. [Aside to PEEP-BO.] It seems odd, don't it?

Peep. It 's rather peculiar.

Pitti. Oh, I expect it 's all right. Must have a beginning, you know.

Yum. Well, of course I know nothing about these things ; but I've

no objection if it 's usual.
Ko. Oh, it's quite usual, I think. Eh, Lord Chamberlain?

{Appealing to PooH-BAH.

Pooh. I have known it done. [Ko-Ko embraces her.

Yum. That's over! [Sees NANKi-Poo, and rushes to him.] Why,

that's never you? [The Three Girls rush to him and shake his

hands ) all speaking at once.]
Yum. Oh, I'm so glad! I haven't seen you for ever so long, and

I'm right at the top of the school, and I've got three prizes,

and I've come home for good, and I'm not going back any more!
Peep. And have you got an engagement? Yum-Yum 's got one,

but she don't like it, and she'd ever so much rather it was you.

I've come home for good, and I'm not going back any more!
Pitti. Now tell us all the news, because you go about everywhere,

and we've been at school, but thank goodness that 's all over

now, and we've come home for good, and we're not going back

any more !

[These three speeches are spoken together in one breath.
Ko. I beg your pardon. Will you present me?



"THREE LITTLE MAIDS FROM SCHOOL!

(p. n)



THE MIKADO 13

Yum.\ Oh, this is the musician who used

Peep. Y Oh, this is the gentleman who used

Pitti. } Oh, it is only Nanki-Poo who used

Ko. One at a time, if you please.

Yum. He 's the gentleman who use to play so beautifully on the

on the

Pitti. On the Marine Parade.

Yum. Yes, I think that was the name of the instrument.
Nank. Sir, I have the misfortune to love your ward, Yum-Yum

oh, I know I deserve your anger!
Ko. Anger! not a bit, my boy. Why, I love her myself. Charming

little girl, isn't she? Pretty eyes, nice hair. Taking little thing,

altogether. Very glad to hear my opinion backed by a competent

authority. Thank you very much. Good-bye. [TbPiSH-Tusn.]

Take him away. [PiSH-TusH removes him.

Pitti [who has been examining POOH-BAH]. I beg your pardon, but

what is this? Customer come to try on?

Ko. That is a Tremendous Swell. [She starts back in alarm.

Pooh. Go away, little girls. Can't talk to little girls like you. Go

away, there 's dears.
Ko. Allow me to present you, Pooh-Bah. These are my three

wards. The one in the middle is my bride elect.
Pooh. What do you want me to do to them? Mind, I will not

kiss them.
Ko. No, no, you sha'n't kiss them : a little bow a mere nothing

you needn't mean it, you know.
Pooh. It goes against the grain. They are not young ladies, they

are young persons.

Ko. Come, come, make an effort, there 's a good nobleman.
Pooh. [Aside to Ko-Ko.] Well, I sha'n't mean it. [With a great

effort.} How de do, how de do, little girls? [Aside.] Oh my

protoplasmal ancestor!

Ko. That 's very good. [Girls indulge in suppressed laughter.

Pooh. I see nothing to laugh at. It is very painful to me to have

to say " How de do, how de do, little girls," to young persons.

I'm not in the habit of saying " How de do, how de do, little

girls" to anybody under the rank of a Stockbroker.
Ko. [Aside to girls.] Don't laugh at him he's under treatment



I 4 THE MIKADO

for it. [Aside to POOH-BAH.] Never mind them, they don't

understand the delicacy of your position.
Pooh. We know how delicate it is, don't we?
Ko. I should think we did ! How a nobleman of your importance

can do it at all is a thing I never can, never shall understand.

[Ko-Ko retires up and goes off.

QUARTETTE AND CHORUS YUM-YUM, PEEP-BO, and Pim-SiNG

So please you, sir, we much regret
If we have failed in etiquette
Towards a man of rank so high
We shall know better by and bye.

But youth, of course, must have its fling,

So pardon us,

So pardon us,
And don't, in girlhood's happy spring,

Be hard on us,

Be hard on us,
If we're disposed to dance and sing,

Tra la la, etc. [Dancing.

Chorus of Girls. But youth, of course, etc.

Pooh. I think you ought to recollect

You cannot show too much respect

Towards the highly titled few;

But nobody does, and why should you?

That youth at us should its fling,

Is hard on us,

Is hard on us;
To our prerogative we cling

So pardon us,

So pardon us,
If we decline to dance and sing

Tra la la, etc. [Dancing.

Chorus of Girls. But youth, of course, must have its fling, etc.

[Exeunt all but YUM-YUM.



THE MIKADO I5

Enter NANKi-Poo

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

Yum. Alas, yes!

Nank. But you do not love him ?

Yum. Alas, noi

Nank. Modified rapture! But why do you not refuse him?

Yum. What good would that do? He 's my guardian, and he wouldn't
let me marry you !

Nank. But I would wait until you were of age !

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

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

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

Nank. But [Aside.] Shall I tell her? Yes! She will not betray

me! [Aloud.] What if it should prove that, after all, I am no
musician !

Yum. There ! I was certain of it, directly I heard you play !

Nank. What if it should prove that I am no other than the son of
His Majesty the Mikado?

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

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

Yum. [Retreating.] If youplease, IthinkyourHighnesshadbetternot
come too near. The laws against flirting are excessively severe.



16 THE MIKADO

Nank. But we are quite alone, and nobody can see us.

Yum. Still that don't make it right. To flirt is illegal, and we

must obey the law.
Nank. Deuce take the law !
Yum. I wish it would, but it won't!
Nank. If it were not for that, how happy we might be:
Yum. Happy indeed!
Nank. If it were not for the law, we should now be sitting side by

side, like that. \Sits by her.

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

[Crosses and sits at other side of stage.
Nank. We should be gazing into each other's eyes, like that.

[Approaching and gazing at her sentimentally.
Yum. Breathing vows of unutterable love like that.

[Sighing and gazing lovingly at him.
Nank. With our arms round each other's waists, like that.

[Embracing her.

Yum. Yes, if it wasn't for the law.
Nank. If it wasn't for the law.

Yum. As it is, of course, we couldn't do anything of the kind.
Nank. Not for worlds !
Yum. Being engaged to Ko-ko, you know!


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Online LibraryArthur SullivanThe Mikado; or, The town of Titipu → online text (page 1 of 4)