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The Ape-Man: his Kith and Kin
A collection of texts which prepared the advent of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Selected 19thCentury Simian Fiction (1830-1914)
1. Henry Sutherland Edwards: Noureddin and the Fair Persian
|Haroun Al Raschid||Mr. C. Fisher|
|Scheik Ibrahim||Mr. Oxberry|
|Mohammed Zinebi||Mr. Honey|
|Khacan||Mr. H. Horncastle|
|Noureddin||Miss Emma Stanley|
|Hagi Hassan||Mr. Wynn|
|Slave of all work||Mr. Stacy|
|Butcher to the King||Mr. Arthur|
|Officer||Mr. T. Hill|
Nobles, Slaves, Guards, Attendants, &c.
|Rosana||Mdlle. Therese Cush|
|Nemorella||Madame Le Clerq|
|Arborella||Mdlle. Le Clerq|
Circassians, Bayaderes, Greek, Italian, and Spanish Slaves.
|Nem.||You know that, at this season of the year,
It is our custom to assemble here,
To talk of what is passing on the earth:
You know that Persian girl, who, since her birth,
Has been my protegée?
|Arb.||Oh -- what's her name|
|D'ye mean the young Nekayah?|
|Nem.||Yes; the same.|
|Well, she was nourish'd once in Fortune's lap,
But now has slipp'd from it, by some mishap.
Fortune on earth is so extremely fickle,
That now the girl is in a thorough pickle;
But, as I've made a vow that I would serve her,
I'll get her from the pickle, and preserve her.
|Arb.||If by the slightest evil she's attack'd,
I for her benefit will gladly act.
|Nem.||Well, it appears the young Nekayah's blest
With an old guardian, who's a perfect pest;
And who desires, to prove his great affection,
To take her thoroughly 'neath his protection.
He made her presents; but was such a bore,
She said at once she liked his absence more.
With billets-doux he constantly beset her;
So that he kept it up, e'en to the letter.
His love was not return'd -- his letters were;
In fact, the man was driven to despair.
|Arb.||And serve him right!|
|Nem.||I quite agree with you;|
|But hear what the great monster means to do:
He swears, if not remov'd by a fix'd day,
He'll have her sold, in order to defray
The expenses of her board and education.
|Nem.||She look'd out for a rich relation;|
|But then, in railways there was quite a crisis,
And no one could sell out at such low prices,
While those who'd wish'd some favor they could show her
Now, by some odd chance, didn't even know her!
What I propose to do for her escape,
Is to send Ringtailino as an ape --
Here, Ringtailino! --
|Knowing well your worth,|
|We have resolved to send you to the earth.
An ape in form resembling to a jot,
Assume a tail, though now you have it not.
But you can tell him, love, now I've begun --
In these days all by deputy is done.
|Arb||To the slave-market in Balsora go,
And there, at once, a Persian girl you'll know
By her great beauty. What you've then to do
Is just to keep her always in your view;
Whate'er her fate, be with her, and protect her --
Be bought and sold, just like a free elector
An ape, who's going to see the world, like you,
Will know the rest, now that he has the cue.
AIR -- From "Macbeth"
| My pretty little fairy monkey, away,
With the fair Persian to stay!
[Dance of Fairies. Monkey sinks through a vampire trap.
|Tell us master --tell us, pray,
Which of us is to be sold;
If 'tis I, you'll get, at least,
Twenty thousand bits of gold.
|Hagi.||Every one of you I'll sell --
Such a lot were never seen;
Cease this noise -- this horrid din!
Know you what these scourges mean?
|Cho.||Tell us master, &c.|
|Hagi.||For slaves, this conduct is extremely free;
You seem to like it, but it likes not me: --
So leave off dancing, those who have a mind
Not to take steps of quite a different kind.
|[Producing a whip.|
|Those may continue who've no mind at all;
Their dance will end in a tremendous bawl.
But here's the Vizier -- he's a man with cash
Ladies, look pleasant, or -- you see the lash.
Enter Vizier Khacan.
|Good morning, sir! the market's pretty well;
What are you here for? Do you buy, or sell?
|Kha.||Why really, at the moment, I can't say;
I haven't seen how prices are to-day.
|Hagi.||Oh, I can tell you: -- Native girls were done
For ninety-two -- cash payments, ninety-one.
Circassians, quite the cream, went off the best;
Carrots and squints are not in much request.
Six well-proportioned tall girls moved off quickly;
For lame ones the demand was rather sickly.
The highest price that's known within the week,
Was paid for a young girl who could not speak.
|Kha.||But that's not strange, for it must be confessed,
Dumb belles are always safe to ope the chest.
|Hagi.||Such specimens are rare; -- auburns, 'tis said,
Went off at just a shade above the red.
|Kha.||For third-rate sorts I do not care a particle;
I want to buy a really first-rate article.
AIR -- "Oh, I should like to marry!"
|Oh, I should like to purchase
Some very pretty girl,
With lips of rosy sweetness,
And teeth of whitest pearl:
With voice like Giulia Grisi's,
Her form must be perfection;
|Bagi.||I won't be hard on you, but I must say,
For girls like that a precious deal you'll pay.
|Kha.||I tell you then, at once, she's for the King: --
You know, he always will have quite the thing.
|Hagi.||Well, we must try. (To an Attendant.) Here! lead out young Al Blasez.|
|[The Attendant leads her out like a horse.|
|Look how she holds her head! observe her paces!
Give her a polka, boy (dance). There's a glissade!
Now, just a dozen yards of galopade (dance).
Ah, there's a movement! Well, now I'll make bold
To say, she's worth two thousand bits of gold.
Haydées accomplishments are just as various: --
I'll show her to you in a short Cellarius (dance).
There's grace and firmness for you, joined together!
That girl, too, is as tight as any feather.
|[The Ape, who has been following the Slaves about, here attracts Khacan's attention.|
|Kha.||Hallo! a monkey! What is this I see --
Strange that among these girls an ape should be.
|Hagi.||Women are often followed by young monkies;
They're not much harm, and do instead of flunkies.
|Kha.||I'll buy your ape, he'll do to take about:
He's quite as funny as a diner-out.
|[Takes possession of the Ape.|
|Hagi.||He came among us but the other day,
But how, or whence, or wherefore, none can say.
|[The Ape scratches Khacan.|
|Leave him alone, sir; he's uncommon plucky;
I think to have him near one's rather lucky;
For though affairs may sometimes not look bright,
As long as we've an ape here (a Napier), all is right.
|Kha.||Well, well; I'll buy your ape, whate'er the charge.|
|Hagi.||(aside) I think he'll find the price is rather large.
And now, my noble Vizier, perhaps you'll say
Which of these charming slaves has gained the day.
AIR -- "Buy a broom."
|I've fair ones from England,
And dark ones from France;
I've slaves that can sing,
And I've slaves that can dance;
I've slaves that are short,
And I've slaves that are tall --
But there's one, the fair Persian,
Surpasses them all.
|Chorus.||There's one, the fair Persian,
Surpasses them all.
|Hagi.||Buy a slave, &c.|
|I've Yelva from Russia,
And Inez from Spain;
I've lots that are pretty --
Which must be quite plain. [Pointing to them.
From every nation
I've chosen the best --
But there's one, the fair Persian,
That beats all the rest.
|Chorus.||But there's one, the fair Persian,
That beats all the rest.
|Hagi.||Buy a slave, &c.|
|Enter Slaves bearing the Fair Persian in a covered palaquin. They place it on the centre of the stage, and Nekayah, the Fair Persian, is assisted out of it.|
|Kha.||Magnificent, by Allah! Say the price; --
I'll purchase the Fair Persian in a trice.
What's the least sum for which she can be sold?
|Hagi.||To you, sir, but twelve thousand bits of gold.
I'm not a man who cares a fig for pelf,
But then her foot is worth it by itself.
I hope that you'll observe her various charms,
Those legs have sent a dozen kings to arms.
Look at her eyes -- why they, with nothing more,
Would pay the cost of half an Indian war.
Her arms embrace too everything that's fair.
Look at that ear, and then look at that hair.
And then, those pearly teeth of hers --
|Don't flatter so!|
|Hagi.||Come here, (catching hold of the Persian's mouth,) and hold your jaw.|
|and hold your jaw.|
|Really, the price to any other one --|
|Kha.||Oh never mind; we'll say the bargain's done.
If that's the lowest figure after all,
For figures such as that it perhaps is small.
Lady, you have the honor now to be
The Monarch of Balsora's property.
|Nek.||Unhappy me! but though my fate is sad,
My sovereign is not really quite so bad
As some kings, who the purchase-money save.
And still treat every subject as a slave.
|Kha.||None of those speeches! Mind, that over here
The laws, if possible, are more severe
Than those of a Republic; but I see
The market's over, so you'd better come with me.
[Nekayah re-enters the palanquin, and exit, supported by the Slaves, and accompanied by Khacan and the Ape. -- March as before. Scene closes in.
|Nou.||My cross old guardian really has good taste.
I feel that I with love already waste
For that young slave! I've watch'd her many a day,
Wishing that for her freedom I could pay.
Now that she's sold my grief will perhaps be healed;
At all events, my love shall be revealed;
I will not die of grief while still there's hope
That I may tempt Nekayah to elope.
And as she'll soon be here some rest to take,
I'll give myself a hiding for her sake.
But stop. -- Where can I go? In such a case
There really ought to be a proper place.
No drama is complete without a closet,
In which the luckless lover to deposit.
I'll try the bath, although perhaps I shall rue it --
For surely I must put my foot into it.
AIR -- "Les yeux bleux"
|Nekayah, for you,
What strange things I do!
If you only knew
How I shall be crammed,
You could not be pleased
To know that I'm squeezed,
And into a jelly am jammed!
But I don't care, since 'tis for thee,
Cramped and confined though I may be.
What if I'm packed closer than hay?
Soon for all this you will repay.
But still if you knew
What strange things I do;
And dearest for you,
How I shall be crammed,
You could not be pleased
To know that I'm squeezed,
And into a jelly am jammed!
|[He enters the bath.|
[March. -- Enter the procession of Slaves, with the palanquin, and accompanied by the Ape. Nekayah descends from the palanquin.
|Att.||Lady, we have received our Lord's command,
To execute whatever you demand.
|Nek.||Oh, don't annoy me; execute each other;
I cannot put up with the slightest bother.
|Att.||(aside) She thinks she's not as much a slave as you
I dare say she's allowed her tea and sugar.
(aloud)Perhaps you would like to bathe.
|Nek.||I think I will:|
|So go away at once the bath to fill.|
|Att.||Hot, madam, cold, or only temperate?|
|Nek.||Oh, tell me when it's about ninety-eight.
[During the above the Monkey has disappeared into bath.
But where's my monkey? If that ape is gone,
Alas, in this wide world I'm left alone.
To call the world so wide, though, perhaps is wrong,
It's "only just as broad as it is long."
|Att.||(who had been looking for the Monkey)
Oh, Madam! pray, in mercy spare your wrath!
Methinks I saw two monkies in the bath.
[Noureddin jumps out. In doing so, upsets two or three Slaves.
|A Slave.||My master! (rubbing his shoulder) Oh, I never did
Why then did you come out so very strong?
|Nek.||Come hear, young sir, your welcome shall be hearty:
You seem a nice man for so small a party.
Good sir, we're not such precious fools
As to let you stop here against the rules.
|Nou.||If you dare raise your hand, conceited fop,
I'll cut it off, and then it's sure to drop.
Of knockin' Noureddin what would be the end?
|Slave||To knockin' our 'ead off, it perchance would tend.|
|Nou.||You're right, old slave! and now then leave the room,
Or else prepare at once to meet your doom.
AIR -- From "Nemorella"
|Quit my presence, vulgar rascal! Come, this moment
leave the room:
If you dare to disobey me.
Then at once you meet your doom.
|Att.||You know you're not our master,
We don't care what you may say.
Larks in ladies' dressing-chambers
Are n't the kind of things to pay.
|Nou.||Quit my presence, &c.|
|[General confusion. Slaves turned out by Noureddin and the Ape.|
|Nou.||Dear lady, even now that they are gone,
And that we happily are left alone --
|Nek.||Come, if you're going to make a declaration,
Pray let me have it without preparation.
|Nou||Learn then, my fair Nekayah, that an arrow
By Cupid aimed has filled me with a paro-
xysm of love. Such passion do I feel,
"That I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."
I'm filled with darts enough to make one quiver --
I wonder that my heart to bits don't shiver.
|Nek.||Come, sink the shaft! you love me, I love you;
So on that subject let's have no to do.
But still I feel most curious to hear
How, when, and wherefore you came into here.
|Nou.||Well then, I went to Bath upon the spec.
Fearing to get my head shaved -- off my neck,
If I spoke openly. I sought your hand,
Your heart, your soul --
|Nek.||A very cool demand!|
|My heart you've stolen, -- but I know not whether
You've any right to steal me altogether.
|Nou.||For tardy measures I've a thorough loathing,
With me 'tis neck -- that is Nekayah -- or nothing.
Oh! fly to some far country, fly with me!
Thy royal owner will be rude to thee.
And oh! the choice, what heart can ever doubt,
Of liberty with love, or slavery without.
|Nek.||Alas! I cannot hope for such a thing --|
|[The March as before is heard.|
|E'en now they come to bear me to the king.|
|Nou.||Haste in this room; by Allah, I will dare,
Instead of you, to place the ape in there.
|[Takes hold of the ape.|
|Here, get in, Chimpanzee; I'll bet a cup,
This ape will put the royal monkey up.
Quick, dearest, enter! I shall have to do
My best to treat the ape as if 'twere you.
|[Nekayah enters the door at the back.|
|Enter Slaves to march as before, with an Officer, while Noureddin is addressing the Ape as if it were the Fair Persian.|
|Adieu, my love! then, if we thus must part,
Thy image rests engraved upon my heart.
|Off.||(with pencil and paper in his hand).No noise, young
man -- now, not another word
I take down every single thing that's heard.
It's open and advised, and so you see,
The punishment no trivial one will be.
|Off.|| Forgive me, but if much is
I really cannot answer for your head.
|[Exeunt Attendants, with palanquins.|
|Nou.||(calling Nekayah from the room where she was concealed).|
AIR -- "Eclipse Polka"
|Oh! come at once my dear!
Or else I really fear
The ruffians will our project see,
And execute both you and me.
So come, at once, I pray,
For really if you stay,
They'll spoil our pleasant trip, I know,
And after all 'twill be "no go."
|Sing the praises of our King!
Father to the sun,
Uncle to the moon and stars;
Greater than every one.
|King.||Whene'er I make appointments with a girl,
I find, I always have my thumbs to twirl
For near an hour. How long am I to wait!
I cannot sit for ever, thus, in state.
A nice state I should be in before long.
Here, slaves be still, I'm going -- to sing a song.
AIR -- "Molly Bawn"
| Nekayah love, why leave me pining?
All lonely waiting here for you?
I really cannot keep from whining,
Because there's nothing else to do.
And when you come, I'll have no snarling,
You're bound to love and honour me;
And if you don't, my little darling,
At once beheaded you shall be!
|There, premier! (to Khacan) that was sung for the
Like you, my minister, I think it's prime.
See of Nekayah if there's any tiding,
If not, for fun, I'll give these slaves a hiding.
|A Slave||Please sire, I hear them.|
|King.||Oh, I know your game,|
|But never mind, I'll thrash you all the same.
Vizier, your ears are long; d'ye hear them come?
|Kha.||(listening) Yes, sire; their trumpet sounds upon my drum.|
|[The March is again heard.|
|King.||Well, then, I'll mount my throne, and all prepare,
To pay due homage to my Persian Fair.
Enter Slaves with palanquin
|A Slave.||Sire, the Fair Persian's waiting your behest.|
|King.||Hand out the Lady whom the King loves best.|
|[The palanquin is opened, and the Ape jumps out.|
|Oh, horror! rage! despair! what meets my view?
An Ape! by Allah, this will never do.
Seize that old fool, (pointing to<.i> Khacan) and cut off his thick head!
Ditto the others, till they all are dead!
Tell me what company insures your life --
Here, Butcher, come, and sharpen well your knife.
|Court But.||(with knife in hand)Coming, your majesty.|
|Kha.||Please, 'twasn't me.|
|'Twas young Noureddin.|
|King.||Who the, deuce is he?|
|Kha.||A vile young scamp, my liege.|
|King.||Then have him caught.|
|And better manners he shall soon be taught.
How did he do it? -- Oh, but do not wait;
We'll kill him first, and then investigate.
Come on, my boys! and see who'll kill this muff,
"And damn'd be he, who first cries hold! enough."
|[Exeunt to a hurry.|
|Nou.||I fear, my love, we have no time to lose;
Forget your crinoline; your dancing shoes
Are not required; your jupon de flanelle,
In Bagdad you can purchase just as well.
If we are caught, -- to think of it don't fail! --
You'll have no head, on which to place that veil.
|Nek.||I'm ready, love -- good heavens! here's the ape;|
|They come, alas! how shall we e'er escape!|
|Nou.||My locomotive's waiting just outside --
|Enter Stoker, with locomotive, on which they mount|
|Quick! the steam can be applied. [Exeunt.|
|The King, Khacan, and his party enter. [Still to hurry.|
|All the Attendants.||'Is 'ouse is 'ere!|
|King.||Well, then, break down the door --|
|Besiege the parlors -- storm the second floor.
And if you catch him, throw him down to me:
His state will be a pleasant sight to see.
Yes, pitch him out, for those below don't fear;
I'll have a little mangling done down here.
|Kha.||I think his state of suffering would be higher,
If we contrived to set the place on fire.
|King.||This ready wit your sovereign quite amazes;
I think we'll send the wretch at once to blazes.*
Destroy it somehow -- never mind the plan --
I mean to "bring the house down," if I can.
Go to the palace -- get the electric light;
Be off you villains -- run with all your might!
|Kha.||(aside.) If that's the light, he'll have to go without;
The electric light cannot be carried out.
|King.||Come, come, light up! now that I have my turn,
In earnest for Nekayah, he shall burn.
|[Torches are brought in, and the house is set on fire.|
|But stop! I hear the noise of horses' feet;|
|Kha.||The engines, sire, are tearing up the street.|
|King.||An engine! well, then, go and tell the driver,
That if he comes, he will not have a stiver;
And when the drivers know they'll have no money,
If still they come, it will be really funny.
Ha! how it shakes -- the roof begin to quiver;
In naval language, don't its timbers shiver!
|[The house falls in, and Nourredin and Nekayah are seen in the background in a boat. King faints in the arms of his Attendants.|
* LINES FOR A TIMID AUDIENCE
Sit still -- there's no occasion for dismay,
|Nem.||I'm glad to find that every care you take;
Although she sleeps, I find you're wide awake.
|Arb.||What do they want us for, now that we're here?|
|Nem.||They won't want much till they awake, my dear.|
|Arb.||I think unhappily we chose the sign,
And wish to tell you of a thought of mine: --
Of course a fairy does what she agrees --
But still she's not a thing at which to sneeze.
|Nem.||I think that you had better wait near here,
For that they'll want assistance, much I fear.
|Arb.||But what a stew they'll be in without cash --
In fact, of everything they'll make a hash.
|Nem.||Old Shakspere's plan's the very best I know --
"Put money in thy purse." -- (She places some gold in
Noureddin's carpet-bag.) -- Well, now I'll go.
|[ExeuntNemorella and Attendants, and subsequently Arborella.|
[Noureddin and Nekayah awake. --Noureddin rises from the bank, and sings
AIR -- "Oh I how the night is fair." -- ("Haydée.")
|What sounds are those I hear?
It seems extremely queer!
What was that fairy music?,br> Fairies must be near here.
Those sounds came from no mortals;
That music was divine.
I'd drink to all the fairies,
But, ah! I have no wine.
|Nek.||"The way was long, the wind was (precious) cold,"
And, though I'm neither quite "infirm " nor "old,"
I "longed to be at rest." Some people say,
Where there's a will there always is a way;
Yet we've lost ours, against our will entirely.
|Nou.||Oh, yes! the proverb's falseness tells most direly.
These things in me an appetite produce,
For which the owner has no further use.
If chops for twelve would come now at my call,
My awful twist has stomach for them all.
I fear the Ape of no avail will be,
|[The Ape is seen up a cocoa-nut tree.|
|I see the unhappy fellow's "up the tree."|
|Nek.||This fate will break my heart.|
|Nou.||I fear, instead,|
|That you or I will get a broken head.|
|[The Monkey throws nuts from the tree.|
|It seems a most unnatural design --
To crack his nut he also would crack mine.
|[Noureddin takes up a cocoa-nut, breaks it, and is about to present it to Nekayah.|
|I'll let you have first drink, in half-a-minute,
If you'll "account for all the milk within it."
|Nek.||(taking the nut.) The fruit of his exertion's really fine.|
|[Here the Ape sneezes, and Arborella suddenly appears.|
|Arb.||Perhaps with your nut you'd like a glass of wine?|
|Nou.||Indeed we should; we also wish to eat,
And with our wine should like a little meat.
I saw this fairy in my sleep, 'twould seem; --
It was a vision, then, and not a dream.
We do not wish at all to put you out,
|[Showing the shell of the cocoa-nut.|
|But 'tis a dreadful bore, this "shelling-out."|
|Arb.||I think your wishes are already guessed --
I'll take you to a banquet ready dressed.
|Nek.||How kind of that young lady with the wings,
To bring us all these very pleasant things!
|Nou.||But where's the wine? I much should like a flask --
Oh, here's the butler, coming up to ask.
[Enter Scheik Ibrahim.
|Sch.||What are you doing? -- this is no hotel.|
|Nou.||Oh, never mind, it answers just as well.|
|Sch.||Oh, heavens! to sit down there how have you dared?
That banquet for the Caliph was prepared!
I am his servant, as I'll let you know,
If from this place you don't directly go.
(aside.) But perhaps they'd pay me. As they seem in need,
The hungry shall be fed -- if I am fee'd.
|Nek.||But when does he return?|
|Sch.||Perchance not yet; --|
|But what of that, if I can nothing get?
Cash, rhino, blunt, or tin -- it's all the same --
Money is just as sweet by any name.
But if there's none at all, I'll thrash that chap,
So that he shan't be long without a rap.
|Nou.||Come, no impertinenceóno stupid brag; --
I've nothing but what's in that carpet-bag.
AIR -- "Loves, me, loves me not."
|Sch.|| Pays me, pays me not;
Pays me, pays me not;
'Tis the carpet-bag that tells
Gentlemen from dressed-up swells.
Pays me, pays me not;
Pays me, pays me not;
I shall search, and make no bones,
For, I think, it's full of stones.
|[While singing the above, he inspects the
contents of the carpet-bag,
and ultimately finds the gold that had been left there by the Fairy.
|Hallo! that's good -- I heard a pleasant chink;
You're, after all, a gentleman -- I think.
(aside) I wonder, now, if all of this is priggings,
Or if the "gent" has just come from the diggings.
(aloud) But if you'd once got there, you would have stayed,
For there men find their fortunes ready-made.
|Nek.||But welfare ready-made is no great treasure; --
True happiness is always made to measure:
The fit is better, the material stronger,
So that it always wears a great deal longer.
|Sch.||Well, though I'm hasty, I'm of the right sort,
After my storm, I think you'd like my Port.
I've Hock from Metternich; and there's as well,
A splendid bin of capital Moselle;Of that, if any colonel had his whack,
He wouldn't mind the bottle being black.
I was about to bleed you from the nose, [doubling his fist.
But now, if I draw Claret, I suppose
You'll be content. I've some Madeira too,
That cannot be made cheaper e'en to you.
|Nou.||Oh, very well; I feel just in the mood,
So give me any wine that's very good.
|Sch.||Well, you'll excuse me, sir -- but, as to prices?|
|Nou.||Oh, I'll pay anything in such a crisis.
I never stick at shillings, pence, or groats; --
Men don't split farthings now -- they split bank-notes.
|Sch.||Oh, never mind; I'll bring you in a minute,
The best thing that my cellar has within it.
|Nou.||Well, then, I'll sing; so pray do not be long.|
|Sch.||I see -- I'm going merely for a song.|
AIR -- from the Supper Scene in "Le Domino Noir."
|O! for a chop or a steak,
Now I'm quite awake;
What to eat or to drink,
I can scarcely think;
And I should like to be told,
Whence 1 got that gold.
I can't tell whence it came --
'Twill do all the same.
No matter whence it came;
|How like you that, my love? you saw the allusion?|
|Nek.||I admired its finish -- that is, its conclusion.|
|[Scheik brings in the wine.|
|Well, now to supper; take what course you please:
The one before me I shall forthwith seize.
The second course I'll think of when I've done,
But now, I only think of number one.
|[Ape scratches Ibrahim's face, &c.|
|Sch.||I wish the monkey would remove his paws;
Pray do not in my bill insert your claws.
|Nou.||Sit down, old man, and have a little drink.|
|Sch.||Oh I no; of such a thing I could not think.
The pledge I've taken, and I much should fear,
To drink e'en brandy with my ginger-beer.
|Nek.||If that is all, you can drink if you choose;
To pledge my health in this you can't refuse.
|[Here she offers him a goblet.|
|Sch.||No, really --|
|Sch.||Well, since thus you press,|
|I'll take a goblet-- for I can't do less.
I'll take it -- but remember, first of all,
That if I have a drop, it's sure to fall.
|Enter a fisherman with fish, being the Caliph disguised.|
|Cal.||Pardon me, sir, but in the neighbouring brook,
I caught this lot of fishes -- (aside) -- with a hook.
I've carp at which none can carp, with tench and dace;
I trust, too, that I'm not quite out of plaice.
|Nou.||Well, sit down here; we all are friends together;
Let's have some conversation on the weather --
On universal peace -- or Mr. Bright --
On California -- or the electric light.
|Cal.||(aside) They make themselves at home; let's see
How far they'll go with their effrontery.
(aloud) You seem quite jolly here.
|Sch.||I think the same.|
|Cal.||(touching Scheik on the shoulder) You seem a nice man -- may I ask your name?|
|Sch.||(inebriated) Don't touch me on the shoulder, like
I -- am -- Ha-roun -- Al-Rasch-id -- the -- Great -- Caliph!
|[Imitation of the scene in "Don Caesar de Bazan."|
|And who are you?|
|[Here the Ape pulls off the Caliph's disguise.|
|Cal.||If you're the caliph, knave|
|I'll say that I'm Scheik Ibrahim, his slave.|
|Sch.||Mercy upon us! pardon me these airs;
You really took me quite by unawares.
|Cal.||I'll pardon you this only time; but hark,
I do it, as I did this, for a lark. [Points to his cast-off clothes.
But who are this most interesting pair?
Came you to Bagdad just to take the air?
|Nek.||Alas! misfortune is the only thing;
We fly from dread of fierce Balsora's king.
|Cal.||What is the crime?|
|Nou.||Because, with ardour filled,|
|I stole his slave, he thinks I should be killed|
|Cal.||Oh, that's a trifle. Take your Persian fair,
And I'll arrange, for you, the whole affair.
But on this one condition only, mind, --
This ape, who pleases me, you leave behind.
|Nek.||What leave my monkey, my beloved ape?|
|Cal.||That is the only chance for your escape.
You come here; eat my supper, drink my wine:
You're not invited; you're no friend of mine.
And then, indeed, you, the unbidden guest.
Refuse to grant me e'en this small request!
|Nek.||Then take him, sire, and may you happy be;
May he ne'er leave you, as he now leaves me.
|[Handing the Ape as a father gives away his daughter in comedies, &c. Ape scratches the Caliph.|
|Cal.||I fear for me he'll prove far more than match --
He comes up very quickly to the scratch.
Well now, this king, who in Bahora reigns,
From me, the Caliph, all his power gains.
So take this pardon, ready signed and sealed;
|[Displays a pardon with a seal hanging from it.|
|For since you have the whole affair revealed,
I'm rather pleased; and freely make confession,
I'd have you leave me (pointing to seal) with a good impression.
|[Here the Ape tears off the seal from the pardon.|
|But perhaps you'll stop a moment, ere you go,
And see what entertainment I can show.
|[Rings a bell, and enter Attendant.|
|I want to see a ballet, though it perhaps is properer,
As it consists of hops, to call it (h) opera.
Enter Slaves and Dancing Girls. Divertissement. At the end of the divertissement, Nekayah and Noureddin advance to join the Caliph.
|Cal.||If, to return, you are in any haste
At your command a vessel shall be placed.
|Nek.||Pray send him home, I wish to act correctly,
And mean to have the banns put up directly.
|Cal.||The notion's very good, indeed, my dear;
And Ibrahim shall take you to the pier.
AIR -- From "La Sirène.""
|Adieu, the boat is waiting,
From Bagdad now we sail;
Now Neptune's raised the wind,
We'll profit by the gale.
|King.||Well, what's the news, my vizier?|
|Of me the news you scarcely need inquire.
What think you of the New Reform?
|Is good -- I mean to stop your pay next year.|
|King.||How do the railway lines proceed?|
|Kha.||The engines go at just their usual speed.
The shares are rather fallen, but I'm told,
Those of the railway monarch all are sold
At a large premium; yet 'tis scarcely fair,
To let a fox obtain the lion's share.
|Enter Messenger, in haste.|
|King.||But oh! what's this?|
|Mes.||(out of breath) Your majesty, I hear Noureddin's caught.|
|Mes.||But then I fear,|
|He bears a pardon from the Caliph.|
|I think he'll find that coming here's no go,
If he depends on that. Perhaps, when he's dead --
But not till then -- the pardon will be read.
Besides, -- some person, learned in the law,
Shall be commanded to find out a flaw;
And if it turn out that there are none in it,
He'll make a glorious one in half-a-minute.
Ah! that old chair -- it makes me quite unmanned --
That seat suggests far more than I can stand.
AIR -- "In that old chair."
|In this old chair I think I sat,
When by Noureddin sold;
When to insult his worthy king
The miscreant made bold.
But though he stole my Persian slave,
I now will make him pay;
She took his heart some time ago, --
I'll take his head to-day.
|Look! here they are! Since they've contrived to catch him,
I must devise how best we can despatch him.
Enter Noureddin and Nekayah, guarded.
|Give me my property! (seizing Nekavah) it isn't his'n,
And, as he prigged it, he shall go to pris'n
|Nou.||Excuse me, sir, but leave that girl alone.|
|King.||Ha! ha! the joke is very good, I own.
I see you want to pass off as insane;
But that's a dodge you'll try with me in vain: --
For without brains your head's not worth a pin,
And so to cut it off would be no sin.
|Nou.||Behold this pardon!|
|[The King takes the pardon from his hands, looks at it, and hands it to the Vizier.|
|Kha.||(Sarcastically.) Hem! but where's the seal?|
|Nou.||Has any person dared that sign to steal?|
|Kha.||The union between them is repealed;
The signet's absent here, but your fate's sealed.
The paper altogether's worth the same
As that which Shakspere called "a deed without a name."
|Nou.||Why this unfairness?|
|King.||Why! -- You stole my slave,|
|And nothing now on earth your life shall save.
You won't be tried, so pray don't be offended, --
The Habeas Corpus Act has been suspended, --
And if found innocent, 'twould be in vain,
I'd make the judges try the cause again.
I'd kill you now, but that I've too much nous
To have an execution in my house.
All hope for you, young rascal! now is past, --
The knave is beaten by the king at last.
|Throw water on that girl, and keep her quiet;
Call in the Jailer -- I'll not have this riot.
|King.||I want a room of your's for my young friend,
So to my wishes your attention lend.
The room need not be airy, nor replete
With comfort, -- and it needn't be too neat. The prospect's not a thing we are about;ó At present he's a very bad look-out.
He'll shortly undergo an operation --
A dangerous one -- it is decapitation: --
And then, by way of some remuneration,
Of his remains I'll make you a donation.
|Jai.||How shall I feed him --prison diet merely?
Oh, no, -- I want to punish him severely.
The prison fare for him's a deal too good, --
Just keep the miscreant on workhouse food!
This is the man of convicts to take care,
The very gas would not escape if he were there.
|[Noureddin is seized by the Jailer.|
|Don't be annoyed -- it's quite a trifling thing;
You're only going to perish for your king.
And men like you, whose courage is so great,
Can ne'er object to such a glorious fate.
[Noureddin is led off, in spite of his endeavors to reach Nekayah, the attendants singing the following
|You're required to come with us;
So do not make a fuss.
Don't let the headsman wait,
But at once come to your fate.
For your country you're to die,
And it cannot cause a sigh;
'Tis an honour the most high,
For your country thus to die. [Exeunt.
|Jai.||Well, now you're safe, young villain 1 for the present,
You're to be quartered here -- it isn't pleasant;
But before long, unless the king is baffled,
He'll have you neatly quartered on the scaffold.
|Nou.||Is it for this I took the pardon? -- well,
This really is a most disgusting cell!
|Jai.||I'll leave you: the king's resolution's steady,
And so for death at once you'd best make ready.
|Nou.||O ! that these too, too solid walls would burst,
And free me from this tyranny accurst;
Or that, to make my stay within them shorter,
I had a cannon set against this mortar.
But as to break them down I am not able,
'Tis weary, flat, and most unprofitable!
Man dies but once -- I know not if I ought,
But as my life is sad, I'll cut it short.
|[Takes out a dagger.|
|The prison wall opens, and enter Arborella.|
|Arb.||Ah! that's a dagger that I see before me!
I thought that there was some occasion for me.
Come, now, "shut up" -- there, put it in the sheath --
Life is too short to play like this with death.
Man's many years to choose from while he lives,
While, for his death, but one chance Nature gives.
|Nou.||O, beauteous lady! come you here to save
A wretched youth from a too early grave?
|Arb.||Alas! in that I cannot interfere;
But, at the time, remember I am near.
The monarch's government now soon must end,
No longer to him will bis subjects bend.
Yet at such tyranny we should not carp,
He grinds men down until they get quite sharp:
But now the iron kings have had their day.
Though you're in danger, right shall have its sway.
|Nou.||The speeches of that fairy are quite easing;
I must say her appearance is most pleasing.
|[Music -- Enter Jailers, Guards, &c. who lead Noureddin off to execution.|
|King.||Bring forth the wretch!|
|Enter Noureddin, with Guards.|
|Off.||The miscreant is brought.|
|King.||In truth I'm glad at last the wretch is caught.
Come, cut his head off, for I cannot stay.
|Exe.||How would you like him carved?|
|King.||Oh, any way.|
|Nou.||Remember, sire, the pardon you received.|
|King.||(winking.) Yes, but you know the seal was not perceived.|
|[Ape enters, jumps at the Executioner,
knocks down his axe, and then springs before the King,
holding the seal which he had torn off from the pardon.
|Hallo! what's this? why 'tis the caliph's seal!
Dear me! oh, how extremely ill I feel!
Noureddin, come, with nothing now I tax you;
Pray come at once, and don't wait till they axe you.
(to the Executioner.) I like not falsehood, but you'll surely catch it,
If on one side you do not "throw the hatchet."
Oh, here's the Caliph! (Trumpet sounds) Come to me, my son!
You know that all this stuff was done in fun.
For some time past I much have wished to speak
To you about that Persian girl you seek.
|King.||Yes; to meet you she is dying:|
|Just now, at the mere notion she was crying.
Conduct, at once, the fair Nekayah here.
|[Nekayah is led in.|
|Nou.||Oh, my love!|
|[They rush into each other's arms.|
|Kha.||(aside)This change, by Allah! is extremely funny;
(aloud)You're getting quite agreeable now, my honey!
|Enter Caliph,with Attendants|
|Cal.||What is the meaning of this preparation?|
|King.||In honour of your advent. 'Tis a demonstration.|
|Cal.||Then, why have here that sanguinary axe?|
|King.||'Twas to be ready in case base attacks
Might have been made against you, sire.
|I understand it not; fair girl, do you?|
|Nek.||'Twas to decapitate Noureddin, sire.|
|Cal.||Prepare, then, scoundrel! for my dreaded ire.|
|Arb.||Pause, generous monarch for a single minute;
I know a punishment that's something in it.
|King.||(suddenly)Considering my unpleasant situation
Like other kings, I'll make my abdication.
|Arb.||Well, now to celebrate your marriage rites.
We'll pay a visit to my fairy sprites.
|[Scene changes to a Grand Fairy Tableau.|
|Nou.||But, stay, a most important duty calls.
-- I see some ladies putting on their shawls;
Pray stop a moment; don't be in a hurry.
You really put me in a perfect flurry. Suppose your husbands do wait up for you,
That's quite their fault -- they should have come here too.
Of course you'll have to tell them where you've been,
So please speak kindly of our fairy scene.
|Neh.||I was a slave, when first you came to-night,
Now I am "free," but shan't be easy quite,
Until I know this union pleases all:
If so, of course, you'll make a marriage call.
|King.||I think you've heard how I have been abused.
Because to let him have her, I refused;
But if I've actedbadly, I protest,
That still I've always tried to do my best.
|Kha.||They say, I've "played a horrid part:" if so,
That is the author's fault, as all must know.
To let them hate me, I can well afford.
I don't care that (snapping his finger) for 'em, if you applaud.
|Nou.||You've seen it all, so now, in language plain,
You'll have to "cut;" but, perhaps you'll &come again."
|[Fall of Curtain|