W. S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert.

Ruddigore : or, The witch's curse online

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When the nuptial knot is tied

Rob. {Interrupting angrily. ,] Hold your tongues, will you ! Now
then, what does this mean?

Rich. My poor lad, my heart grieves for thee, but it's like this:
the moment I see her, and just as I was a-goin' to mention your
name, my heart it up and it says, says it ' ' Dick, you've fell
in love with her yourself," it says. " Be honest and sailor-like
don't skulk under false colours speak up, " it says. ' ' Take her,
you dog, and with her my blessin'! "

Bridesmaids. " Hail the Bridegroom hail the Bride! "

Rob. Will you be quiet! Go away! [Chorus make faces at him and
exeunt.] Vulgar girls!

Rich. What could I do? I'm bound to obey my heart's dictates.

Rob. Of course no doubt. It's quite right I don't mind that
is, not particularly only it's it is disappointing, you

Rose [To ROBIN.] Oh, but, sir, I knew not that thou didst seek me
in wedlock, or in very truth I should not have hearkened unto
this man, for behold, he is but a lowly mariner, and very poor


withal, whereas thou art a tiller of the land, and thou hast fat
oxen, and many sheep and swine, a considerable dairy farm and
much corn and oil !

Rich. That 's true, my lass, but it 's done now, ain't it, Rob?

Rose. Still it may be that I should not be happy in thy love. I am
passing young and little able to judge. Moreover, as to thy
character I know naught !

Rob. Nay, Rose, I'll answer for that. Dick has won thy love fairly.
Broken-hearted as I am, I'll stand up for Dick through thick
and thin!

Dick. {With emotion.} Thankye, messmate! that's well said. That's
spoken honest. Thankye, Rob! [Grasps his hand.

Rose. Yetmethinks I have heard that sailors are but worldly men,
and little prone to lead serious and thoughtful lives!

Rob. And what then? Admit that Dick is not a steady character,
and that when he 's excited he uses language that would make
your hair curl. Grant that he does. It's the truth, and I'm
not going to deny it. But look at his good qualities. He 's as
nimble as a pony, and his hornpipe is the talk of the fleet!

Rich. Thankye, Rob! That 's well spoken. Thankye, Rob!

Rose. But it may be that he drinketh strong waters which do bemuse
a man, and make him even as the wild beasts of the desert!

Rob. Well, suppose he does, and I don't say he don't, for rum 's his
bane, and ever has been. He does drink I won't deny it. But
what of that? Look at his arms tattoed to the shoulder! [Dick
rolls up his sleeves.} No, no I won't hear a word against

Rose. But they say that mariners are but rarely true to those whom
they profess to love !

Rob. Granted granted and I don't say that Dick isn't as bad as
any of 'em. [Dick chuckles.} You are, you know you are, you
dog ! a devil of a fellow a regular out-and-out Lothario ! But
what then? You can't have everything, and a better hand at
turning-in a dead-eye don't walk a deck! And what an accom-
plishment that is in a family man ! No, no not a word against
Dick. I'll stick up for him through thick and thin !
Rich. Thankye, Rob, thankye. You're a true friend. I've acted
accordin' to my heart's dictates, and such orders as them no
man should disobey.


In sailing o'er life's ocean wide
Your heart should be your only guide;
With summer sea and favouring wind
Yourself in port you'll surely find.

Rich. My heart says, " To this maiden strike

She 's captured you.
She 's just the sort of girl you like

You know you do.
If other man her heart should gain,

I shall resign."
That 's what it says to me quite plain,

This heart of mine.

Rob. My heart says, ' ' You've a prosperous lot,

With acres wide;
You mean to settle all you've got

Upon your bride."
It don't pretend to shape my acts

By word or sign ;
It merely states these simple facts,

This heart of mine !

Rose. Ten minutes since my heart said "white"

It now says " black."
It then said "left" it now says "right"

Hearts often tack.
I must obey its latest strain

You tell me so. [To RICHARD.

But should it change its mind again,

I'll let you know.
\Turningfrom RICHARD to ROBIN, -who embraces her.


In sailing o'er life's ocean wide
No doubt the heart should be your guide,
But it is awkward when you find
A heart that does not know its mind !
[Exeunt ROBIN with ROSE L. and RICHARD, weeping R.


Enter MAD MARGARET. She is mildly dressed in picturesque tatters,
and is an obvious caricature of theatrical madness.

Mar. Cheerily carols the lark

Over the cot.
Merrily whistles the clerk
Scratching a blot.
But the lark
And the clerk,
I remark,
Comfort me not !

Over the ripening peach

Buzzes the bee.
Splash on the billowy beach
Tumbles the sea.
But the peach
And the beach
They are each
Nothing to me!

And why?

Who am I?

Daft Madge! Crazy Meg!
Mad Margaret! Poor Peg!
He! he! he! he! he! \Chuckling~

Mad, I?

Yes, very!
But why?
Mystery !
Don't call !
Whisht! whisht!

No crime
'Tis only
That I'm
Love lonely !
That 'sail!
Whisht! whisht!



Mar. To a garden full of posies

Cometh one to gather flowers,
And he wanders through its bowers

Toying with the wanton roses,
Who, uprising from their beds,
Hold on high their shameless heads

With their pretty lips a-pouting,

Never doubting never doubting
That for Cytherean posies
He would gather aught but roses!

In a nest of weeds and nettles,

Lay a violet, half-hidden,

Hoping that his glance unbidden
Yet might fall upon her petals.

Though she lived alone, apart,

Hope lay nestling at her heart,
But, alas, the cruel awaking
Set her little heart a-breaking,

For he gathered for his posies

Only roses only roses! [Bursts into tears.

Enter ROSE

Rose. A maiden, and in tears? Can I do aught to soften thy sor-
row? This apple [Offering apple.}

Mar. [Examines it and rejects it.} No! [Mysteriously.} Tell me,
are you mad?

Rose. I? No! That is, I think not.

Mar. That's well! Then you don't love Sir Despard Murgatroyd?
All mad girls love him. / love him. I'm poor Mad Margaret
Crazy Meg Poor Peg! He! he! he! he! [Chuckling.

Rose. Thou lovest the bad Baronet of Ruddigore? Oh, horrible
too horrible !

Mar. You pity me? Then be my mother! The squirrel had a


mother, but she drank and the squirrel fled! Hush! They sing-
a brave song in our parts it runs somewhat thus: [Stngs.]

"The cat and the dog and the little puppee
Sat down in a down in a in a "

I forget what they sat down in, but so the song goes! Listen
I've come to pinch her!

Rose. Mercy, whom?

Mar. You mean "who."

Rose. Nay! it is the accusative after the verb.

Mar. True. [Whispers melodramatically.'] I have come to pinch
Rose Maybud!

Rose. [Aside, alarmed.} Rose Maybud!

Mar. Aye! I love him he loved me once. But that's all gone,
Fisht! He gave me an Italian glance thus [business] and
made me his. He will give her an Italian glance, and make
her his. But it shall not be, for I'll stamp on her stamp on
her stamp on her! Did you ever kill anybody? No? Why
not? Listen I killed a fly this morning! It buzzed, and I
wouldn't have it. So it died pop! So shall she!

Rose. But behold, 7 am Rose Maybud, and I would fain not die

Mar. You are Rose Maybud!

Rose. Yes, sweet Rose Maybud!

Mar. Strange! They told me she was beautiful! And he loves
you\ No, no! If I thought that, I would treat you as the
auctioneer and land-agent treated the lady-bird I would rend
you asunder!

Rose. Nay, be pacified, for behold I am pledged to another, and
lo, we are to be wedded this very day!

Mar. Swear me that! Come to a Commissioner and let me have it
on affidavit! /once made an affidavit but it died it died it
died! But see, they come Sir Despard and his evil crew!
Hide, hide they are all mad quite mad!

Rose. What makes you think that?

Mar. Hush! they sing choruses in public. That's mad enough,
I think! Go hide away, or they will seize you. Hush! Quite
softly quite, quite softly! [Exeunt together, on tiptoe.


Enter Chorus of Bucks and Blades ; heralded by
Chorus of Bridesmaids


Welcome, gentry,

For your entry
Sets our tender hearts a-beating.

Men of station,

Prompts this unaffected greeting.

Hearty greeting offer we!

Your exceeding

Easy breeding
Just the thing our hearts to pillage

Cheers us, charms us,

Quite disarms us,
Welcome, welcome, to our village ;

To our village welcome be!


When thoroughly tired

Of being admired
By ladies of gentle degree degree,

With flattery sated,

High-flown and inflated,
Away from the city we flee we flee!

From charms intramural
To prettiness rural
The sudden transition
Is simply Elysian,
So come, Amaryllis,
Come, Chloe and Phyllis,
Your slaves, for the moment, are we!

All. From charms intramural, etc.



The sons of the tillage

Who dwell in this village
Are people of lowly degree degree.

Though honest and active

They're most unattractive
And awkward as awkward can be can be>

They're clumsy clodhoppers
With axes and choppers,
And shepherds and ploughmen
And drovers and cowmen
And hedgers and reapers
And carters and keepers,
But never a lover for me!

All. They're clumsy clodhoppers, etc.

All. So welcome, gentry,

For entry

I our

Sets \ \ r \ tender hearts a-beating, etc.



Sir D. Oh why am I moody and sad?
Ch. Can't guess!

Sir D. And why am I guiltily mad?
Ch. Confess!

Sir D. Because I am thoroughly bad !
Ch. Oh yes

Sir D. You'll see it at once in my face.

Oh why am I husky and hoarse?
Ch. Ah, why?

Sir D. It 's the workings of conscience, of course.
Ch. Fie, fie!

Sir D. And huskiness stands for remorse,
Ch. Oh my!

Sir D. At least it does so in my case!


Sir D. When in crime one is fully employed

Ch. Like you

Sir D. Your expression gets warped and destroyed :

Ch. It do.

Sir D. It 's a penalty none can avoid ;

Ch. How true!

Sir D. I once was a nice-looking youth ;

But like stone from a strong catapult
Ch. [Explaining to each other. ] A trice
Sir D. I rushed at my terrible cult

Ch. [Explaining to each other.} That's vice
Sir D. Observe the unpleasant result!

Ch. Not nice.

Sir D. Indeed I am telling the truth !

Sir D. O innocent, happy though poor!

Ch. That 's we

Sir D. If I had been virtuous, I'm sure

Ch. Like me

Sir D. I should be as nice-looking as you're!

Ch. May be.

Sir D. You are very nice-looking indeed!

O innocents, listen in time
Ch. We doe,

Sir D. Avoid an existence of crime
Ch. Just so

Sir D. Or you'll be as ugly as I'm
Ch. [Loudly.] No! no!

Sir D. And now, if you please, we'll proceed.

[All the girls express their horror of SIR DESPARD. As he
approaches them they fly from him, terror-stricken,
leaving him alone on the stage.

Sir D. Poor children, how they loathe me me whose hands are
certainly steeped in infamy, but whose heart is as the heart of
a little child! But what is a poor baronet to do, when a whole
picture-gallery of ancestors step down from their frames and


(P- 134)


threaten him with an excruciating death, if he hesitate to
commit his daily crime? But ha! ha! I am even with them!
[Mysteriously. ] I get my crime over the first thing in the
morning and then, ha! ha! for the rest of the day I do good
I do good I do good! [Melodramatically.} Two days since, I
stole a child and built an orphan asylum. Yesterday I robbed
a bank and endowed a bishopric. To-day I carry off Rose
Maybud, and atone with a cathedral! This is what it is to be
the sport and toy of a Picture Gallery! But I will be bitterly
revenged upon them! I will give them all to the Nation, and
nobody shall ever look upon their faces again !


Rich. Ax your honour's pardon, but

Sir D. Ha! observed! And by a mariner! What would you with

me, fellow?
Rich. Your honour, I'm a poor man-o'-war's man, becalmed in

the doldrums
Sir D. I don't know them.
Rich. And I make bold to ax your honour's advice. Does your

honour know what it is to have a heart?
Sir D. My honour knows what it is to have a complete apparatus

for conducting the circulation of the blood through the veins

and arteries of the human body.
Rich. Aye, but has your honour a heart that ups and looks you in

the face, and gives you quarter-deck orders that it 's life and

death to disobey?
Sir D. I have not a heart of that description, but I have a Picture

Gallery that presumes to take that liberty.
Rich. Well, your honour, it 's like this Your honour had an elder

Sir D. It had.
Rich. Who should have inherited your title and with it, its


Sir D. Aye, but he died. Oh, Ruthven !
Rich. He didn't.
Sir D. He did not?


Rich. He didn't. On the contrary, he lives in this here very village,
under the name of Robin Oakapple, and he 's a-going to marry
Rose Maybud this very day.

Sir D. Ruthven alive, and going to marry Rose Maybud! Can
this be possible?

Rich. Now the question I was going to ask your honour is ought
I to tell your honour this?

Sir D. I don't know. It's a delicate point. I think you ought.
Mind, I'm not sure, but I think so.

Rich. That's what my heart says. It says, "Dick," it says (it
calls me Dick acos it's entitled to take that liberty), "That
there young gal would recoil from him if she knowed what he
really were. Ought you to stand off and on, and let this young
gal take this false step and never fire a shot across her bows to
bring her to? No," it says, "you did not ought." And I won't
ought, accordin'.

Sir D. Then you really feel yourself at liberty to tell me that my
elder brother lives that I may charge him with his cruel deceit,
and transfer to his shoulders the hideous thraldom under which
I have laboured for so many years! Free free at last! Free to
live a blameless life, and to die beloved and regretted by all
who knew me!


Rich. You understand?

Sir Des. I think I do,

With vigour unshaken
This step shall be taken.
It's neatly planned.

Rich. I think so too;

I'll readily bet it
You'll never regret it!

Both. For duty, duty must be done ;

The rule applies to every one,
And painful though that duty be,
To shirk the task were fiddle-de-dee!


Sir Des. The bridegroom comes

Rich. Likewise the bride

The maidens are very

Elated and merry;
They are her chums.
Sir Des. To lash their pride

Were almost a pity,

The pretty committee!

Both. But duty, duty must be done;

The rule applies to every one,
And painful though that duty be,
To shirk the task were fiddle-de-dee!


Enter Chorus of Bridesmaids and Bucks


Hail the bride of seventeen summers:
In fair phrases
Hymn her praises;

Lift your song on high, all comers,
She rejoices
In your voices.

Smiling summer beams upon her,

Shedding every blessing on her:
Maidens, greet her
Kindly treat her

You may all be brides some day!


Hail the bridegroom who advances,


Yet elated.
He 's in easy circumstances,

Young and lusty,

True and trusty:


Happiness untold awaits them
When the parson consecrates them ;

People near them,

Loudly cheer them
You'll be bridegrooms some fine day!

Enter ROBIN, attended by RICHARD and OLD ADAM, meeting ROSE,
attended by ZORAH and DAME HANNAH. ROSE and ROBIN


Rose. Where the buds are blossoming,

Smiling welcome to the spring,
Lovers choose a wedding day
Life is love in merry May!

Girls. Spring is green Fal lal la!

Summer's rose Fal lal la!
All. It is sad when summer goes,

Fal la!
Men. Autumn 's gold Fal lal la!

Winter 's gray Fal lal la !
All. Winter still is far away

Fal la!

Leaves in autumn fade and fall
Winter is the end of all.
Spring and summer teem with glee:
Spring and summer, then, for me!
Fal la!

Han. In the spring-time seed is sown :

In the summer grass is mown:
In the autumn you may reap:
Winter is the time for sleep.

Girls. Spring is hope Fal lal la!

Summer's joy Fal lal la!

AIL Spring and summer never cloy,

Fal la!


Men. Autumn, toil Fal lal la!

Winter, rest Fal lal la!

All. Winter, after all, is best

Fal la!

Spring and summer pleasure you,
Autumn, aye, and winter too
Every season has its cheer
Life is lovely all the year!
Fal la!

After Gavotte, enter SIR DESPARD

Sir D. Hold, bride and bridegroom, ere you wed each other,

I claim your Robin as my elder brother!
Rob. [Aside.] Ah, lost one!

Sir D. His rightful title I have long enjoyed:

I claim him as Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd!
Rose. [Wildly.] Deny the falsehood, Robin, as you should!

It is a plot!
Rob. I would, if conscientiously I could,

But I cannot!
All. Ah, base one!


Rob. As pure and blameless peasant,

I cannot, I regret,
Deny a truth unpleasant,
I am that Baronet!

All. He is that Baronet!

Rob. But when completely rated

Bad baronet am I,
That I am what he 's stated
I'll recklessly deny!

All. He'll recklessly deny!


Rob. When I'm a bad Bart. I will tell taradiddles!

All. He'll tell taradiddles when he's a bad Bart.

Rob. I'll play a bad part on the falsest of fiddles.

All. On very false fiddles he'll play a bad part!

Rob. But until that takes place I must be conscientious

All. He'll be conscientious until that takes place.

Rob. Then adieu with good grace to my morals sententious !

All. To morals sententious adieu with good grace !

Zor. Who is the wretch who hath betrayed thee?

Let him stand forth !
Rich. [Coming forward.] 'Twas I !
All. Die, traitor!

Rich. Hold, my conscience made me !

Withhold your wrath !

Rich. Within this breast there beats a heart

Whose voice can't be gainsaid.
It bade me thy true rank impart,

And I at once obeyed.
I knew 'twould blight thy budding fate
I knew 'twould cause thee anguish great
But did I therefore hesitate?
No! I at once obeyed!

All. Acclaim him who, when his true heart

Bade him young Robin's rank impart,
Immediately obeyed!

Rose. [Addressing ROBIN.] Farewell!

Thou hadst my heart

'Twas quickly won !
But now we part
Thy face I shun !
Farewell !


(P- 139)


Go bend the knee

At Vice's shrine,
Of life with me

All hope resign.
Farewell !

Sir Despard. Take me I am thy bride!

All. Hurrah!


Hail the Bridegroom hail the Bride!
When the nuptial knot is tied ;
Every day will bring some joy
That can never, never cloy !

Enter MARGARET, who listens

Sir D. Excuse me, I'm a virtuous person now
Rose. That 's why I wed you !

Sir D. And I to Margaret must keep my vow!
Mar. Have I misread you?

Oh joy! with newly kindled rapture warmed,

I kneel before you! [Kneels.

Sir D. I once disliked you; now that I've reformed,

How I adore you ! [They embrace.


Hail the Bridegroom hail the Bride!
When the nuptial knot is tied ;
Every day will bring some joy
That can never, never cloy!

Rose. Richard, of him I love bereft,

Through thy design,
Thou art the only one that 's left,

So I am thine! [They embrace.



Hail the Bridegroom hail the Bride !
Let the nuptial knot be tied!

Oh, happy the lily

When kissed by the bee ;
And, sipping tranquilly,

Quite happy is he ;
And happy the filly

That neighs in her pride;
But happier than any,
A pound to a penny,
A lover is, when he

Embraces his bride!


Oh, happy the flowers

That blossom in June,
And happy the bowers

That gain by the boon,
But happier by hours

The man of descent,
Who, folly regretting,
Is bent on forgetting
His bad baronetting,

And means to repent!


Oh, happy the blossom

That blooms on the lea,
Likewise the opossom

That sits on a tree,
But when you come across 'em,

They cannot compare,
With those who are treading
The dance at a wedding,
While people are spreading

The best of good fare!


Oh, wretched the debtor

Who 's signing a deed!
And wretched the letter

That no one can read !
But very much better

Their lot it must be
Than that of the person
I'm making this verse on,
Whose head there 's a curse on
Alluding to me!

[Repeat ensemble with chorus.


At the end of the dance ROBIN falls senseless on the stage. Picture.




SCENE Picture Gallery in Ruddigore Castle. The -walls are covered
with full-length portraits of the Baronets of Ruddigore from the
time of JAMES I the first being that of SIR RUPERT, alluded
to in the legend; the last, that of the last deceased Baronet,

Enter ROBIN and ADAM melodramatically. They are greatly altered
in appearance, ROBIN wearing the haggard aspect of a guilty
roue; ADAM, that of the wicked steward to such a man.


Rob. I once was as meek as a new-born lamb,

I'm now Sir Murgatroyd ha! ha!
With greater precision,
(Without the elision)
Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd ha! ha!

Adam. And I, who was once his valley-de-sham,

As steward I'm now employed ha! ha!
The dickens may take him
I'll never forsake him!
As steward I'm now employed ha! ha!

Both. How dreadful when an innocent heart

Becomes, perforce, a bad young Bart.,
And still more hard on old Adam
His former faithful valley-de-sham\

Rob. This is a painful state of things, Old Adam !

Adam. Painful, indeed! Ah, my poor master, when I swore that
come what would, I would serve you in all things for ever, I
little thought to what a pass it would bring me! The con-
fidential adviser to the greatest villain unhung! Now, Sir, to
business. What crime do you propose to commit to-day?


(p. 144)


Rob. How should I know? As my confidential adviser, it 's your
duty to suggest something.

Adam. Sir, I loathe the life you are leading, but a good old man's
oath is paramount, and I obey. Richard Dauntless is here
with pretty Rose Maybud, to ask your consent to their
marriage. Poison their beer.

Rob. No not that I know I'm a bad Bart, but I'm not as bad a
Bart as all that.

Adam. Well, there you are, you see! It's no use my making
suggestions if you don't adopt them.

Rob. [Melodramatically.'] How would it be, do you think, were I
to lure him here with cunning wile bind him with good stout
rope to yonder post and then, by making hideous faces at
him, curdle the heart-blood in his arteries, and freeze the very
marrow in his bones? How say you, Adam, is not the scheme
well planned?

Adam. It would be simply rude nothing more. But soft they

ADAM and ROBIN retire up as RICHARD and ROSE enter, preceded
by Chorus of Bridesmaids

Rich. Happily coupled are we,

You see

I am a jolly Jack Tar,
My star,

And you are the fairest,
The richest and rarest
Of innocent lasses you are,

By far
Of innocent lasses you are!

Fanned by a favouring gale,

You'll sail
Over life's treacherous sea

With me,



And as for bad weather
We'll brave it together,

And you shall creep under my lee,
My wee!

And you shall creep under my lee!

For you are such a smart little craft
Such a neat little, sweet little craft,
Such a bright little, tight little,
Slight little, light little,
Trim little, prim little craft!

For she is such, etc.

Rose. My hopes will be blighted I fear,

My dear;
In a month you'll be going to sea,

Quite free,

And all of my wishes
You'll throw to the fishes
As though they were never to be ;

Poor me!
As though they were never to be.

And I shall be left all alone

To moan,
And weep at your cruel deceit,

Complete ;

While you'll be asserting

Your freedom by flirting

With every woman you meet,

You cheat
With every woman you meet!

Though I am such a smart little craft-
Such a neat little, sweet little craft,
Such a bright little, tight little,
Slight little, light little,
Trim little, prim little craft!

Though she is such, etc.



Rob. Soho! pretty one in my power at last, eh? Know ye not
that I have those within my call who, at my lightest bidding,
would immure ye in an uncomfortable dungeon? [Calling.']
What ho! within there!

Rich. Hold we are prepared for this. [Producing a Union Jack.}

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