Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx

Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx, by Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx Author: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller Translator: Sabilla Novello Release Date: September 7, 2008 [EBook #26553] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK TURANDOT: THE CHINESE SPHINX *** Produced by Chuck Greif TURANDOT: T H E C H I N E S E S P H I N X . A DRAMATIC ODDITY FREELY TRANSLATED FROM SCHILLER, AND CORDIALLY INSCRIBED TO LADY PERCY FLORENCE SHELLEY BY SABILLA NOVELLO. LONDON: S. FRENCH, 89, STRAND. 1872. Price One Shilling. ACT I. ACT II. ACT III. ACT IV. Personages. ALTOUM, Khan of the Celestial Empire. PANTALOON, his Prime Minister. TARTAGLIA, Lord Chancellor. TRUFFALDIN, Keeper of the Hareem. BRIGHELLA, Captain of the Imperial Black Guards. KALAF, Prince of Tartary. BARAK, his former Tutor. ISHMAEL. DOCTORS of THE DIVAN. Courtiers, Guards, Priests, Slaves of the Hareem. TURANDOT, Heiress to the Celestial throne: generally known as "The Chinese Sphinx." SKIRINA, her attendant, wife to Barak. ADELMA, Princess of Keicobad, slave to Turandot. Female slaves of the Hareem. SCENE.—Peking and its environs.

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The Project Gutenberg EBo k of Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx, by
Johan
Christoph Friedrich von Schil er
This eBo k is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.
You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBo k or online at w w.gutenberg.org
Title: Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx
Author: Johan
Christoph Friedrich von Schil er
Translator: Sabil a Novel o
Release Date: September 7, 20 8 [EBo k #265 3]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8 59-1
* * START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBO K TURANDOT: THE CHINESE SPHINX * *
Produced by Chuck Greif
TURANDOT:
T
H
E
C
H
I
N
E
S
E
S
P
H
I
N
X
.
A D R A M A T I C O D
I T Y
FRE
LY TRANSLATED FRO M SCH IL
ER,
AND CORDIAL Y INSCRIBED TO
LADY PERCY FLO RENCE SH EL
EY
BY
SABILLANOVELLO.
LONDON: S. FRENCH, 89, STRAND.
1872.
Price One Shil ing.
ACT I. ACT I .
ACT I
. ACT
IV.
P erso n a g es.
ALTOUM, Khan of the Celestial Empire.
PANTALO
N, his Prime Minister.
TARTAGLIA, Lord Chancel or.
TRUF ALDIN, Ke per of the Hare m.
BRIGHEL A, Captain of the Imperial Black Guards.
KALAF, Prince of Tartary.
BARAK, his former Tutor.
ISHMAEL.
DOCTORS of THE DIVAN.
Courtiers, Guards, Priests, Slaves of the Hare m.
TURANDOT, Heires
to the Celestial throne: general y known as "The
Chinese Sphinx."
SKIRINA, her at endant, wife to Barak.
ADELMA, Princes of Keicobad, slave to Turandot.
Female slaves of the Hare m.
SCENE.—
Peking and its environs.
T U R A N D O T : T H E C H IN E S E S P H IN X .
A C T I.
SCENE.—Outskirts of Peking. L. View of town gate, above which are
reared
long
poles,
bearing
turbaned
and
shorn
heads,
sym
etrical y
disposed so as to form a kind of architectural ornament. R. Smal suburban
dwel ings,
from
one
of
which
is ues PRINCE KALAF, dres ed in a
fantastic Tartar war ior's costume.
KALAF.
The Gods be thanked, at last by patient se king,
I've found a lodging in this crowded Peking.
(Enter
BARAK,
in
Persian
costume;
se s
KALAF
and
starts,
surprised.)
BARAK.
Prince Kalaf? 'tis not pos ible. He's dead!
Yet, sure 'tis he—his eyes—his legs—his head,—
My Lord!
KALAF.
What—Barak! here—alive?
BARAK.
And kicking.
But how escaped you from that fatal icking
The Bey of Tef lis gave us al in bat le?
Your father's tro ps were slaughtered of like cat le,
And you, my Prince, we thought, were slain or taken;
So
f I fled to save, at least,
my
bacon.
I found a refuge in this que r old city;
A widow mar ied me for love—or pity.
We live like hap y doves in yonder cot,—
My only grief,—the thought of your sad lot.
KALAF.
We never thought o me t again, dear Tutor,—
In China to !
BARAK.
For years I've taken ro t here.
But, dearest Prince, how was it, tel me, pray,
You 'scaped the perils of that dreadful day?
KALAF.
Breathe not my name! A price is on my head;
I've roamed from land to land; have toiled for bread.
As lave I served the Shah of Keicobad;
This King a fair and gracious daughter had,
Who gues ed my birth, and of ered me her heart.
Her haughty father bade me quick depart;
With
orse and arms he furnished me. I'm here
T' enlist myself as Chinese volunte r;
I hope to serve the Son of Mo n and Stars
In some crack regiment of Light Hus ars.
But what's the meaning of the crowds that flo d
Each caravanserah? Refused I sto d
By al , til in yon house I found, at least
Ac om
odation for myself and beast.
BARAK.
In that rim cot age lives my wife. 'Tis lucky
She proved herself in house-let ing so plucky.
KALAF.
I give you joy, old friend; you're mar ied snugly,
Your wife (for a Chinese) is not so ugly,
And kind as kind can be, though somewhat drol ,
Adieu,—I'l through the city take a strol .
And then proce d to visit he great Khan,
And beg him to engage me as his man.
BARAK.
Stay, Prince, how rash!—you do not know your danger:
'Tis evident o Peking you're a stranger.
To-day a hor id
e d wil be
nacted,—
A cruel death, by Turandot exacted.
Have you not heard that Turandot he fair
Has fil ed this land with blo dshed and
espair?
KALAF.
'Tis true I heard, in distant Keicobad,
Ac ounts of Turandot, so strange, so sad,
That I believed them false,—exag erated.
'Twas aid the Prince of Keicobad, il -fated,
Had met his death by Turandot's com
and;
His father, in revenge, as ailed this land,
But lost his life; my patrones , his daughter,
By chance
scaped unhurt he gen'ral slaughter,
And slave was made to haughty Turandot:
Al this I heard, but credited it not.
BARAK.
To
true is al you've heard through com
on rumour,
The Princes Turandot's ferocious humour
Has many princes caused to lose their life
In se king to
btain her as a wife.
Her beauty is o wonderful, that al
As wil ing victims to her mandate fal ;
In vain do various painters daily vie
To limn her osy che k, her flashing eye,
Her perfect form, and noble, easy grace,
Her flowing ebon locks and radiant face.
Her charms defy al portraiture: no hand
Can reproduce her air of swe t com
and.
Yet e'en such counterfeits, from foreign parts
At ract fresh suitors,—win al hearts.
But she, whose outward semblance thus ap ears
To be Love's temple, such fierce hatred bears
To al marital sway, or mar iage tie,
That rather than submit o man, she'd
ie.
Great kings and princes, al have sued in vain,
One glance of love or pity to
btain.
KALAF.
In Keicobad I heard this oft-told tale,
But hought it paradoxical—and stale.
BARAK.
'Tis true. Her po r old father's in despair,
For China's throne is now without an heir;
He longs for her to wed some prince or other,
And not perplex him with continual bother.
He's of an age to live in peace and quiet,
And not be plagued with wars and civil riot;
He's tried al means his daughter's mind to soften,
Has often sternly threatened—coaxed as often;
Used prayers for such a monarch
infra dig
But al in vain; she's headstrong as a pig.
At length she said she'd make a compromise,
The Khan consented—(he's not over-wise!)
His artful daughter whe dled him to swear,
By great Fo-hi, that she should never wear
The hateful Hymeneal yoke, unles
Some suitor for her hand should rightly gues
Thre
dif icult conundrums by herself composed:
But if the man who for her hand proposed
Should fail to solve her problems—then his pate
Should be struck of , and grace the city-gate.
KALAF.
Why, what a tigres must his Princes be!
I never heard such cruelty—Bles me!
BARAK.
Already kings and princes by the dozen
She's managed by her subtlety to cozen;
For she's o clever that she always did les
The ke nest wits by her confounding rid les.
KALAF.
As wife, decidedly I should
ecline her,
She's made of dragon-pat ern stony China.
What fo ls her suitors are, their hearts to fix on
So termagant and blo dthirsty a vixen!
BARAK.
So fascinating is he, none withstand her,
Al men for her do nothing but philander.
Behold on yonder gate the ghastly row
Of livid heads et up in dismal show.
Al these belonged to men who dared to hope
With Turandot in subtlety to cope.
To-day a prince is led to execution,
Who failed to give her id les due solution.
That is the reason of the noise you hear,
Pray go not o the town.
KALAF.
What should I fear?
BARAK.
The blo dy spectacle your nerves might shake;
The severed head is fastened to a stake.
(
Gong sounds within the city wat s.
)
But hark! yon tantan's loud infernal din ing,
Tel s that he tragedy is now begin ing.
KALAF.
A monster like this princes should be strangled,
Her body by wild horses torn and mangled.
BARAK.
To al she is not cruel y inclined,
'Tis Man she hates; to women she's most kind.
Within her oyal hare m serves my wife,
And with
er mistres leads a hap y life.
The only fault of Turandot is pride,—
Her many virtues can ot be denied.
KALAF.
Who comes this way?
BARAK.
'Tis Ishmael, the friend
Of him who just has met his tragic end.
Enter
ISHMAEL,
we ping
.
ISH.
His life is o'er! Ah, would the cruel knife
Had struck my worthles self, and spared his life.
BARAK.
Bear up, go d friend, I pity
ou sincerely,
Your master for his love has paid to
dearly.
Why did you not dis uade him from the trial—
ISH.
My prayers he met with kind, but firm denial.
His dying words til echo in mine
ar—
"Go d friend," he said, "to die I do not fear;
My life's a blank if without
her
I live.
Spe d to my father,—beg him to forgive
His haples son, who staked his life on one
Whose face is fair, whose heart is cold as tone.
Shew him this portrait: (
takes a miniature from his
breast
) when its charms he views,
My frenzied love, my rashnes he'l excuse."
This aid, he clasped the portrait o his breast,
Fond kis es on its icy beauty pres ed;
Then bent his head, and closed his eyes,
The death blow fel , and sent him to the skies.
(
Dashes the portrait o the ground.
)
Away, thou false deceit! thou cause of woe,
Th' original I'd trample
ven so.
To dust I'd grind her tiger heart;—her soul,
I'd send to Eblis' region dark and foul! (
Exit
.)
BARAK.
Are you convinced?
KALAF.
I'm perfectly amazed.
How can a painted semblance thus have crazed
So sensible a prince? (
Sto ps to pick it up.
)
BARAK.
For heaven's ake,
Avoid that picture as you would a snake.
KALAF (
smiling
).
No harm wil hap en, dear old tutor, sure
From picking up a picture from the flo r.
No woman yet has caused my heart o throb,—
Shal painted lines my soul of re dom rob?
(
Barak endeavours to prevent Kalaf rom beholding
the miniature; Kalaf puts him aside, and gazes
on it for some time in silence.
)
Ye gods! an angel's face. Oh ecstacy!
BARAK.
Now, there; he's caught. I knew how it would be!
KALAF.
Beneath this beaming smile, these lustrous eyes,
There can ot lurk a cruel heart of ice.
BARAK.
I tel you she's the wickedest of creatures;
Oh, gaze not on the Syren's fatal features,
More baneful than the Gorgon head, Medusa.
KALAF.
Hush, hush, I wil not hear you thus abuse her,
I never saw a face and form diviner;
Her's is not mortal clay, but porcelain China,
Some magic power, some demon, I know not,
Enchains my soul to beauteous Turandot.
(
Gazes enraptured on the miniature.
)
These
yes to me t, these rosy lips to kis ,
Who would not hazard al to win such blis ?
My senses re l, my veins are al afire!
Go d Barak, help me to my heart's desire.
Her stern ordeal I'l undergo—to solve
Her problems or to die, is my resolve.
BARAK.
Desist from your intention, I conjure you,
Let my remonstrance of this madnes cure you.
KALAF.
You speak in vain. My fortune now or never,
Shal be
nsured for aye, or lost for ever.
One stroke wil end my life, or I shal gain
The fairest woman e'er beheld, and reign
An Emperor of Chang's celestial state.
O smile upon my hopes, benignant Fate!
(
During this pe ch, a Chinese
xecutioner has
ap eared on the city gate, bearing a pole upon
which is fixed a turbaned head: he places it in
the row, and
isap ears.
)
But el me, Barak, shal I in divan
Behold the lovely daughter of the Khan?
BARAK.
A spectacle more thril ing now behold,
That head just smit en of . My blo d runs cold,
To think that yours may be thus closely shaven.
KALAF.
Nay, fear is not for princes—I'm no craven.
(
Contemplates the head with compas ion.
)
Po r youth, deserving of a bet er fate.
BARAK.
Swe t prince, renounce th' at empt.
KALAF.
To
late, to
late!
BARAK.
I fear you'l fail to gues the Sphinx's rid les.
KALAF.
I'l cut he Gordian knots right down their mid les!
I'm not so stupid as ome folks up ose;
'Twil not be
asy my quick wit o pose.
I fancy I shal come of with
éclat
;
But if I fail, it does not mat er, pshaw!
If in this enterprise I lose my life,
Present my compliments to your go d wife;
My horse be hers, in payment of her trouble.
Heigho! this world's a dream, and life's a bub le!
(
Going. Enter
SKIRINA
from the cot age.
)
Reveal my name to none. Nay, do not cry,
You've wept me once before as dead. Go dbye.
SKIR.
Why, what's the mat er? You are melancholy.
BARAK.
Oh, help me, wife, restrain this youth's mad fol y;
He's of to Peking—means to dare the Sphinx!
SKIR.
He's ure to die—my heart within me sinks!
What put such sil y nonsense in your head?
You've got brain fever; bles you, go to bed.
KALAF.
Pray save your breath. My fever ne ds no nurse
But Turandot's fair hand. Here, take my purse,
I have no farther ne d of money; for
I either die, or shal become an Emperor.
(
Exit hastily into the city gate.
)
BARAK (
fol owing him
).
Dear master, hear me; stay; al , al in vain;
I ne'er shal se
his bles èd face again!
SKIR.
You know my stranger-guest? how very fun y,
Let's try to catch
im, and return his money.
BARAK.
Wife, be not curious; no questions ask,
He's gifted with such mental powers, the task
Of coping with the Sphinx he may achieve—
His do m unto the gods we now must leave.
SKIR.
We'l sacrifice a pig to great Fo-hi,
He'l perhaps contrive your handsome friend shan't die.
(
Exeunt into the cot age.
)
END OF ACT I.
A C T I .
SCENE.—
Grand salo n of the Divan.
L.
Do rs leading to the Emperor's
apartment.
R.
Do rs leading to
TURANDOT'
S
Hare m
.
Black slaves
discovered,
engaged
in
set ing
the
salo n
in
order;
TRUF ALDIN
majestical y directing them
.
TRUF.
Come, lo k alive! His Majesty's Divan
Wil so n as emble. Now, lo k sharp, my man!
A carpet for this throne; here sits her Highnes ;
Bring bro ms, and swe p up al this hor id
ry mes .
(
Enter
BRIGHEL A,
lo king around wonderingly
.)
BRIG.
I say, Truf aldin, what's this grand ar ay?
The high Divan again—twice in one day?
TRUF. (
without minding him
).
Eight seats here for the doctors!
They're al muf s,
But lo k imposing in their brocade stuf s.
BRIG.
Truf aldin, do you hear? What is the mat er?
TRUF.
How dare you make such a confounded clat er?
You stupid, don't you know the whole Divan
Are cal ed to me t as quickly as they can?
Another suitor for my mistres ' heart
Is anxious from his il y head to part.
BRIG.
For shame! Thre
hours ago
ne victim fel .
TRUF.
This new pretender se ms a precious wel .
His curly pol wil grace the hangman's pole,
A charming barber's block, upon my soul!
'Twil cut a figure in our "
Rot en Row
;"
I think that jest is wit y—Ho, ho, ho!
BRIG.
Your soul in blacknes with your visage vies—
You grin whene'er a fel ow-creature dies.
TRUF.
You jackanapes! None of your paltry spite;
My heart's not black,—your liver 'tis that's white;
So hold your jaw. Why should I grieve to se
That men for love such ar ant fo ls can be?
The more the mer ier; for on each day,
Our Princes 'scapes a husband's dreaded sway;
She gives us al a go d jol ification,
Besides munificent gratification.
BRIG.
How barbarous.
TRUF.
Now, don't you be so sil y.
Her suitors are not drag ed here wil y-nil y;
They know the journey here their heads may cost 'em,
But 'tis no los ; for they've already lost 'em.
Perhaps that's why the rid les they can't gues ,
And always fal into a hideous mes .
I'm sure my charming mistres is most lenient
To have devised a method so convenient
To rid herself, and China, of such ge se;
Much
arder tasks,—to fetch the golden fle ce—
Or singing water—or the talking bird—
Were formerly exacted, as I've heard.
My lovely Highnes is not so inhuman,
She only tests her swe thearts' fine acumen;
And if she must submit o husband's rule,
At least she'l not be governed by a fo l.
(
March music is heard.
)
BRIG.
The royal trumpets ound. Hark, don't you hear 'em.
TRUF.
I'l run t'escort my Princes from her hare m.
Be of ! and guard the palace portals,
Let none pas thro' but Mandarin-born mortals.
(
Exeunt several y.
)
(
dres ed;
throne
,
al
prostrate
themselves,
their
foreheads
to
the
ground,
and
remain
thus
until
he
is
seated.
e
march
ceases
.)
ALT.
Go d folk, behold your monarch much perplexed,
I must confes I'm seriously vexed.
My daughter's obstinacy quite un erves me,
Such unforese n and jadish tricks he serves me.
One charming prince was kil ed this morn, at six;
Another's just ar ived,—I'm in a fix,
And wor it ed to death by constant butch'ry,
Of lovers caught by my fair daughter's witch'ry;
But yet I can ot break my oath. Fo-hi
Has heard my vow; his wrath I dar'n't defy.
Prime Minister, can't you some project form
And be your monarch's rud er thro' this torm?
PANT.
Celestial Majesty—
ALT.
What do you say?
PANT. (
aside
.)
The loudest bawling's al time thrown away!
He's deaf as any post—a perfect dum
y—
It's no use preaching wisdom to a mum
y.
I wish I were in Venice back again!
I had to fly her hap y shores, on pain
Of being hanged, or losing liberty,
Because the bigwigs thought my tongue to
fre .
I hoped, as minister, I was ecure
To fat en in an easy sinecure;
Instead of which, I've not one moment's leisure;
No carnival, nor any Christian pleasure.
But constant squab les, tears, and imprecations,
Divans, beheadings, sphinxes,—I've lost patience!
I'l quit his land of pigtails, gongs, and teas;
Return to Italy, and live at ease.
ALT.
I
se
you're talking; speak a lit le louder.
PANT. (
aside
.)
He wouldn't hear the bursting of gunpowder.
ALT.
Tartaglia, have you se n this po r young fel ow?
TART.
bel o
.
ALT.
What do you say?
TART.
S-so p-p-please y-your M-majesty,
(
aside
)
Non pos o più! che sordo! sapresty!
ALT.
Then bring this uitor to divan at once. (
Exit guards.
)
We'l urge him the hard trial to renounce.
PANT.
I'l try my best;
ALT.
What do you say?
PANT. (
aside
.)
But fear
He'l be as deaf as you, and wil not hear.
(
Enter
KALAF,
with
guards
.
his
hands
to
his
forehead.
ALTOUM
ALT.
Arise, rash man.
(
Aside
.) Ah, what a gal ant youth,
Behead him? 'Twould be quite a shame, in so th.
(
aloud
) Say, who art hou? From what far distant land
Dost come to se k in mar iage that fair hand
Which only royal blo d may justly claim?
KAL.
Great Khan, permit me to conceal my name;
My lineage justifies my bold
esire.
PANT.
I'm sure he's nobly born and nurtured, sire.
ALT.
What do you say?
PANT. (
despairingly
.)
It doesn't signify.
ALT.
'Twould break my aged heart o se
the
die.
I'd save thy life if pos ible. Oh, quit
The sharp encounter with my child's ke n wit.
My heart and eyes are sickened by the blo d
That's daily shed.
KAL.
Your Majesty's to
go d.
ALT.
I'm captivated by thy noble air;
With the
my royal throne I'l gladly share.
So thou but force me not o take thy life;
Avoid the fatal Sphinx—give up the strife.
KAL.
My thanks are al I have, and these I give;
But without Turandot I wil not live.
My mot o is, "Or death, or Turandot."
PANT. (
aside
.)
He real y is a most pig-headed sot!
(
aloud
) Young man, you can ot know the risk you run.
Th' alternative's in earnest—not in fun.
Dame Turandot wil spin you a tough rid le,
That's not o be "got hro' like any fid le."
Not such as this, which any child might gues —
(Though the Emperor could not, I must confes ;)
"
What
gives
a
cold,
cures
a
cold,
and
pays
the
doctor's
bil ?
"
Not short enigmas lightly disentangled;
Hard nuts you'l have to crack, fresh made, new-fangled;
And if you can ot gues them al
instanter
,
Your head wil be struck of —I do not banter.
You'l have to answer ightly in a twink;
Your head once of , you'l have no time to think.
KAL.
Your warning's vain: "Or death or Turandot."
PANT. (
aside
.)
For al my sermon he don't care one jot.
TART.
D-d-dear s-sir, l-let m-me p-persuade you.
Lasci stare
Th-this d-dr-dread-f-ful st-str-strife,
brut is imo af are
.
KAL.
Again I say, "Or death, or Turandot."
TART.
cot.
ALT.
As no persuasion moves this headstrong man,
Go, sum
on Turandot o this divan.
(
Exit guards.
)
(KALAF
KAL.
She comes—her beauty wil enchant my sight,
Ye Gods, inspire my mind with sapient might!
(
March
heard.
Enter
TRUF ALDIN,
shoulder
.
cymbals.
ADELMA,
SKIRINA,
both
veiled
.
ADELMA
car ies
a
salver
upon
which
are
sealed
papers
.
TRUF ALDIN
and
male
slaves
prostrate
themselves
as
they
pas
ALTOUM'S
throne;
Then
ap ears
TURANDOT,
and
octors prostrate themselves before her.
forehead,
then
ascends
the
throne,
and
seats
herself
;
ADELMA
and
SKIRINA
on
either
side,
the
former
nearest
the
audience
.
TRUF ALDIN
takes the salver from
March ceases.
)
TUR. (
haughtily
.)
Once more a vain aspirant for my hand,
Compels me here before you al to stand.
This rash intruder, who thus fondly thinks
To
vercome in wit he Chinese Sphinx,
Must lit le prize his life. His downfal 's ore.
ALT.
There stands the man. Now don't be so demure.
He's young and handsome, do have some compas ion,
Don't doubly kil him, in your usual fashion.
Ac ept him as your husband, my swe t daughter,
Don't ke p us any longer in hot water.
TUR.
at
KALAF,
aside
to
SKIRINA)—
Skirina, what can ail me? Heigho! surely
This can't be love—I fe l so faint—quite po rly.
No man has ever touched my heart—but now
For this we t youth I fe l—I don't know how.
In al my life I never felt so que r.
SKIR.
At last you've fal 'n in love; that's very clear.
So much the bet er! make your id les plain.
And then he ne dn't puz le his po r brain.
TUR.
Nay, peace, Skirina, recol ect my glory.
(ADELMA
has observed
KALAF
with emotion
.)
ADELMA.
'Tis he! my former slave. I gues ed his tory.
My heart was right, he's one of noble birth.
TUR.
Young prince, I clearly recognise your worth.
Be wise in time. Relinquish your at empt.
To
arduous is the trial. Do not empt
The Fates. I am not cruel, as they say,
But shun the yoke of Man's despotic sway.
In virgin fre dom would I live and
ie;
The meanest hind may claim this bo n,—shal I,
The daughter of an emperor, not have
That birthright which belongs to al ? Be slave
To brutish force, that makes your sex our lord?
Why does my hand such tempting bait af ord?
The gods have made me beauteous, rich, and wise,
Presumptuous man considers me his prize.
If nature dowered me with bounteous treasure
You tyrants think 'twas al to serve your pleasure.
Why should my person, throne, and wealth be bo ty
To
ne harsh, jealous master? No, al beauty
Is heaven's gift, and like the sun, should shine
To glad earth's children, and their souls refine.
I hate proud man, and like to make him fe l
He may not crush fre
woman 'neath
is he l.
KAL.
Such
igh-souled sentiments, so fine a mind,
Transcendent grace and beauty, al combin'd
Must justify my love and se ming boldnes .
I ne'er ac used you of disdain or coldnes .
I duly honour maidenly reserve.—
Your favour I pretend not o deserve;
But who would not risk al , with blindfold eyes,—
To win a heaven on earth,—a Paradise?
Each day do we not se , for smal er gain,
Great captains brave the dangers of the main?
For glory's empty bub le thousands perish,
Above al treasures your fair hand I cherish;
Your heart and not your throne, is my desire;
Condemn me not if madly I aspire.
SKIR. (
aside to
Turandot.)
For Fo-hi's ake! thre
easy rid les give,
Don't let him die, but as your husband live.
ADELMA.
How noble are his words! Ah, had my sire
But known he was a prince. My heart's desire
I'l yet obtain; I'l save him by some plot,
He ne'er shal wed the hateful Turandot.
(
to
Turandot.) Princes , you're agitated; calm your nerves,
And treat him with contempt as he deserves.
TUR.
You're right, Adelma; thanks for your kind zeal;
He's woman's foe; no pity must I fe l.
(
to
Kalaf.) Prepare then, ar ogant young man.—
ALT.
Dear prince,
May not our Royal words your ear convince?
KAL.
I stil repeat: "Or death or Turandot!"
PANT. (
aside
.)
My po r young man, you'l surely go to pot!
ALT.
Then read the awful mandate.
SKIR.
How I tremble.
ADELMA.
My jealousy I scarcely can dis emble.
(PANTALO
N
and near elative to the firmament in general,—oyes! oyes!
oyes!"
(
)
(
Aside
.)
If
I
said
what
I
liked,
I
should
say, oh no! oh no! oh no! (
Aloud
.) "Any person of royal
descent may sue for the hand of our daughter, Empres
propound
thre
rid les
to
any
suitor
proposing
himself
as
her
be
struck
of
with
an
axe,
and
exposed
on
the
city-gate
of
Peking;
should he unravel them, the Empres Turandot shal become
ALT. (
This law, tho' it cause tears and blo d to flow,
I've sworn to ke p, alas! it must be so.
TUR. (
rises and
eclaims
)—
A tre
on which men grow and fade;
Old as the world, yet ever new;
Its leaves, on one side, live in shade,
On th' other bears the sun's bright show.
Each time it blo ms a ring it wears,
It el s the age of each event.
Upon its bark men's names it bears,
Forgot en e'er its life be spent.
What is this tre , so young, so
ld,
So sun y warm, so icy cold?
KALAF.
To
hap y is your slave, divine Princes ,
If nothing harder he may have to gues ;
This ancient re
which ever buds anew,
Which sun and shade, man's age and
e ds doth shew,
It is "a year," revolving day and night.
PANT. (
joyful y
.)
Shake hands, Tartaglia, I'm quite sure he's right!
TART.
A-a-as-as -tounding!
Sono contentis imo!
DOCTORS (
having
opened
the
papers
).
Eureka! Optime! Optis imo!
(
Flourish of gongs and cymbals
.)
ALT. (
graciously
.)
Fo-hi protects the , son; He'l save thy life.
ADELMA (
aside
.)
Ye gods, let not my rival be his wife,
Though I rejoice her vanity is vext.
SKIR.
I hope he'l be as clever at he next!
TUR.
Shal he outwit me? No, by sun and mo n;
(
to
(
Rises and
eclaims
)—
Canst hou the fragile mir or name,
Reflecting al creation on its limpid face;
'Tis closed within a nar ow frame,
Yet compas es high
eav'n's blue vault of endles space.
This crystal is of priceles worth,
But yet he po r pos es it, nor pos es ion pay;
It is the brightest gem on earth,
It gives and yet receives its heaven-born bril iant ray.
What is this mir or bright and clear,
Fre
given to al , to al so dear?
KALAF (
Your mystery's not hard to penetrate;
The mir or you describe so smal , so great,
So priceles , so benign, "the
ye" must be,
A heaven 'twil show if thine speak love to me.
PANT. (
embraces
TART.)
He's hot he bul 's-eye through the very mid le.
SKIR.
I never knew his equal at a rid le.
DOCTORS (
having
opened
the
papers
).
Eureka! Optime! Optis imo!
(
Flourish of gongs and cymbals.
)
TART.
Bravo-o-o! Bravis imo! Benis imo!
ALT.
I give you joy; you
are
a clever fel ow!
PANT.
Our Chinese Sphinx with rage is turning yel ow.
ADELMA.
In vain the Fates themselves would se k to foil me;
My rival shal not of my love despoil me.
SKIR.
I wish to Fo-hi al was fairly over!
ADEL. (
to
Turandot.)
If you be mocked by this conceited lover,
Your former victories wil naught avail;
Your honour's lost if this pert fop
revail.
TUR.
The world shal perish first! Exultant fo l!
My hate increases with thy hope to rule.
Escape my wrath whilst yet hy life is fre ,
My vengeance dread, and from the contest fle .
KAL.
Your hate alone, adored Princes , can move
My soul. If vainly I implore your love,
Then let me die; my life I do not prize
If loathsome I ap ear in your swe t eyes.
ALT.
Hear eason, Prince, nor longer tempt he gods.
Throw up the game,—to
fearful are the od s.
With
onour canst hou quit his high divan,
For thou'st done more than any other man.
Yet wo suc es es erve not, though they're glorious,
Unles for the third time thou be victorious.
And thou, my domine ring, wilful child,
Wilt not relent owards this youth? Be mild,
And graciously ac ept his uit.
TUR.
Relent!
I scorn his love,—his pity I resent.
The law prescribes thre
trials. Let's proce d,
And try if in the third he may suc e d.
KAL.
The gods decide! "Or death or Turandot!"
TUR. (
angrily
.)
Death—death wil be your wel -deserved lot.
PANT.
Ke p silence in the court! Ahem! ahem!
(
aside
) Now for some crackjaw, mystic apophthegm.
TUR. (
rises and
eclaims
)—
What is that hing, held cheap as dust,
Yet honor'd by the Emperor's hand?
'Tis made to pierce, with sword's ke n thrust,
But sheds no blo d, tho' wounds like sand,
In
umber de p inflicts; robs none;
Enriches thousands; rules the
arth;
Makes life with ease and smo thnes run;
Has founded kingdoms; ended
earth;
Most ancient cities it has built,
But ne'er caused war, nor war's ad guilt.
Answer my question (
unveils
). Lo k me in the face,
Avow you're vanquished and
eserve disgrace.
KAL. (
gazes on her with rapture.
)
Refulgent lovelines ! Ecstatic blis !
PANT. (
shaking him.
)
Col ect your senses! Don't ake on like this!
ALT.
Alas, I fear his intel ect is puz led;
PANT.
Were't not for dignity, into the kitchen,
I'd rush a glas of something short o fetch 'un.
TUR. (
Unhap y wretch! thou'rt silent; thou must die.
KAL.
(
TURANDOT
)—
'Twas but your beauty dazed my wondering eye.
My mind can grasp the meaning of the Sphinx,
Tho' it's as puz ling as the "Babe of Ginx."
The iron thing which wounds yet sheds no blo d;
That rules the
arth, and gives man wealth and fo d;
On which each year the Khan doth place his hand,
To typify his reign o'er China's land;
In short, the instrument your id le mentions
Is one of mankind's earliest inventions.
If I mistake not, Hm—ha—Let me se !
"
The plough
" is meant by Rid le Number thre .
DOCTORS (
having
opened
the
papers
).
Eureka! Optime! Optis imo!
(
Flourish of gongs and cymbals.
)
PANT.
I kis our future Emperor's great oe!
TART.
Th-the S-sp-sphinx is v-van-qui-quished—
matrimonio!
(TURANDOT
leaning
on
PANT.
and
TART.
KALAF.
ALT.
Swe t prince, our son-in-law thou'lt be to-mor ow,
A joyful climax to
ur oyal sor ow.
TUR.
(
ALTOUM
and
KALAF)—
Oh, make me not his lave! 'Twil drive me mad,
My mind no time for due reflection had.
To
easily his triumph was obtained.
ALT.
The hard-won victory he fairly gained.
With gratitude become this go d youth's wife,
Obey the law, and end this weary strife.
TUR.
Once more cal the divan—renew the contest,
If I have time for thought, I'm sure of conquest.
PANT.
Fair Princes Tigerheart, that's
rather
co l;
Don't make his Majesty act like a fo l.
D'you think the royal head of your kind Dad y
Is lined with lead, like a Japan tea-cad y;
What say
ou, col eague; and ye Doctors wise?
(
Doctors join hands in a circle, nod ing their chins.
)
DOCTORS.
Let blo dshed cease. The chop ed-of heads uf ice.
ALT.
To great Fo-hi's pagoda we'l repair
And finish of this hymeneal af air.
TUR.
Have mercy—
ALT.
Mercy hast hou shewn to none,
I've kept my oath; do thou as I have done.
Fulfil Fo-hi's decre .
TUR.
Oh, spare me, Sire,
Or at your fe t behold your child expire.
(
Throws herself at his fe t.
)
ALT.
Thy mar iage is ordained. Proud girl, obey,
To
long I've bowed to thy capricious way.
Entreat no more. I swear by Fo-hi's word.
TUR.
Hold, father, do not speak the sacred word.
This overbearing tyrant I'l not wed;
I'd rather make the sul en grave my bed.
KAL. (
to
TURANDOT.)
Abate your ter or; nor so madly grieve;
I'l intercede myself or your eprieve.
Fair cruel one, who may
our tears withstand?
(
to
By love's we t power; not by enforced consent.
(
to
TURANDOT.) I se
thou crav'st my head—then be content.
I love the
so intensely, that my life
Is worthles if I may not cal the
wife.
Again a solemn test I'l undergo.
ALT.
She's yours by right of law. Fate wil ed it so.
TUR.
You shal not drag me to the bridal altar;
This
hand
shal
slay
me
first
(
)
It
wil
not
falter.
KAL.
Stay, hold your hand, and calm your poignant sor ow;
We'l me t again in high divan. To-mor ow
The Chinese Sphinx this problem shal unravel:
"Who is that Prince who, after weary travel
Escaped from slavedom's thral , and reached the goal
And blis ful sum
it of his longing soul;
Yet at fulfilment of his heart's desire
Was plunged yet de per into tortures dire?"
Relentles beauty, if you name aright
The name and lineage of this luckles wight
Then shal you gratify
our hate, and take
My life. But if you fail, then shal you make
Me bles ed, by giving me your hand. Decide.
TUR.
By this new compact I consent o abide.
ALT.
Imprudent youth, to
generously kind,
Thou know'st not her al -penetrating mind.
But, should she conquer the
by female wile,
Thou shalt not fal a victim to her guile.
To-mor ow's high divan shal seal her fate;
Her wit may fre
her; or she'l be thy mate.
Enough of blo d's be n shed.
TUR. (
aside
.)
My subtle art
Shal crush
is pride. Be firm, fond, wav'ring heart.
(
fol owed by
PANT.,TART.,DOCTORS,
and Courtiers, exeunt
L.
TURANDOT,
END OF ACT I .
A C T I
.
SCENE.—
Stre t in Peking.
(
Enter
KALAF
and
BARAK.)
KALAF.
None know my name in Peking's busy town,
Your trusty tongue's as ecret as my own;
E'en to your wife I hope you've not revealed—
BARAK.
From her especial y the truth's concealed.
KALAF.
For many
ears, as dead I've be n, given o'er.
No mortal here has e n my face before.
Fear not.
BARAK.
Dear Prince, forgive me if I blame you,
I can't help dreading lest he Sphinx may name you.
You were not wise to give her this last chance;
She's o astute! She'l
ead you a fine dance.
You had pos es ion—nine points of the law,
Why should you for her meagrims care one straw?
KALAF.
Oh, had you se n her grief.
BARAK.
I ne ds must smile
To think the tears of this ly crocodile
Should take you in!
KAL.
Perhaps my tender love
Her heart o mutual tendernes may move.
BAR.
No gratitude you'l get from that proud snake.
KAL.
Revile her not!
BAR.
I for your safety quake.
She's quite as cun ing as he's fierce.
Her eyes can even through a mil stone pierce.
KAL.
Nay, hope the best. My lucky stars preside,
They'l crown me victor of my lovely bride.
BAR.
You're just he same dear, sanguine, thoughtles boy
As ever. I can't bear to spoil your joy.
(
Enter
Chinese guards
; PANT.
and
TART.)
BRIG.
Halt! Pigtails, right! At ention! Royal Black Guards!
(
aside
.) How I do hate this dangerous marching backwards!
PANT.
Oh, here he is! At last we've caught our bird.
Prince, how d'ye do! Al ow me just one word.
But who's this man? (
points to
BARAK.)
Of what has he be n talking?
BAR. (
aside
.)
I hope they don't suspect—(
aloud
.) As I was walking,
This man ac osted me (I do not know him),
He asked if I his way would kindly show him.
PANT.
Great Prince, you're compas ed round about with traps.
If we don't ke p you in our eye—perhaps
The Sphinx may have you murdered. To prevent
Unpleasant lit le ac idents we're sent
By his celestial Majesty, to take you
In our safe custody. We'l not forsake you.
(
to
BARAK.) And you're her spy, I do believe; get out!
And mind your own af airs, Sir Pry-about.
(
to
KALAF.) As Minister, I hope I may make bold
To say "Swe t Prince, take care you are not sold."
Pray whisper not your name to any one
Except o me, your friend. I'l blab to none.
On my discretion you may safe repose,
Confide in me; your name I'l not disclose.
No more than I would jump right o'er the mo n.
KAL.
No doubt; but yet my name, go d
Pantalo n
,
Like yours, must be quite "inexpres ible."
PANT.
My wish to please is ir epres ible.
Com
and me, pray. Henceforth I wil be dumb.
The watchword is,—I understand you,—"Mum!"
TART.
H-he's n-nothing b-but a g-go-gos ip ing B-buf -f o n.
I-in f-f-fact I c-ca-
can't
,
'c-ca-cause
of
my
d-de-deuced
s-st-stut er.
PANT.
Your Highnes ! to the palace, if you please.
(
Signs to
BRIGHEL A.)
BRIG.
Recover, Pigtails! Black Guards, stand at ease!
(
Exeunt
BARAK,
(
).
Ye Tartar deities, watch o'er his life!
Go d gracious, what can hither bring my wife?
(
Enter
SKIRINA.)
Where art hou going, wife, in such a hur y?
SKIR.
Oh, dearest husband, I'm al in a flur y.
Our handsome guest wil be Chang's future
Who'd have believed such an astounding thing?
The Princes Turandot is in despair;
She we ps, she wrings her hands, she tears her hair.
She'l kil herself if she can't el to-mor ow
The name of your young friend. To calm her sor ow,
I bade her not orment herself, for you
Knew al about him, and his father to .
BAR.
Unhap y woman, thou hast ruined us!
SKIR.
Why, what harm's done? Why make you such a fus ?
BAR.
My head wil have to answer for thy tongue.
SKIR.
Oh, nonsense, dear; I'm sure I've done no wrong.
(
Enter
TRUF ALDIN
and slaves
.)
BAR.
Behold what hou hast done, thou Chat erbox.
(TRUF ALDIN,
TRUF.
Make no resistance! Yield the , sly old fox!
SKIR.
Have mercy, Truf aldin,—my husband spare!
TRUF.
Of his bald head I'l not disturb one hair.
Go d female, you're of the fem'nine gender,
And therefore towards your weaknes my heart's tender.
Your husband shal not come to any harm,
So pray don't ne dles ly
ourself alarm.
The highest honour is in store for him,
Fre
entrance's of ered to
ur Hare m.
BAR.
The gilded trap of the fair Serpent-Sphinx.
She's found me out; she's eyes like any lynx.
There's no escape.
TRUF. (
flourishing his abre
).
Lead on, my fre -born slaves,
To where the flag of slavedom fre ly waves.
(
Exeunt
BARAK, TRUF.
menacing him, and slaves
.)
SKIR.
Forgive me, husband
ear. Adieu, adieu!
Oh dear, oh dear, what ever shal I do?
Adelma urged me to my boastful prating—
She always is o very ag ravating;
I'd like to drop a lump of deadly
pison
In her next cup of "best strong-flavoured Hyson."
I do declare my brain's al in a fud le—
Fo-hi, do help me out of this ad mud le!
I'l sacrifice another guinea-pig,
For mortals, then, I ne dn't care one fig. (
Exit
.)
SCENE I .—
A vestibule in
TURANDOT'
S
Hare m
. BARAK
is fastened to
one of its pil ars, black mutes, with drawn dag ers, stand on each side of
him
.
A large porcelain dish, fit ed with golden coins is on a table near him.
TURANDOT
stands before him in a threatening at itude
. (ADELMA
beside
her
.)
TUR.
Yet hast hou time. Obey my royal pleasure,
And thine shal be this pile of golden treasure.
If not, my slaves hal pierce thy heart. His name
Reveal at once; his parentage proclaim.
BAR.
Your threats are vain; your treasures I despise.
Repent your obstinate resolve. Be wise
And learn, a woman's highest hap ines
Is, by her love a worthy man to bles .
TUR.
To preach to me befits the
not. Desist.
My potent wil in vain thou wouldst resist.
Seize on him, slaves, and
o your work. Forbear
Awhile. Reflect, and save thy life. I swear
By Fo-hi's face, no harm shaft ouch thy friend
Nor the , if thou consent o serve my end.
BAR.
Your path's deceitful. Swear by Fo-hi's might
My friend shal cal you his e'er mor ow's night.
You hesitate—you dare not swear a lie
Before the sacred face of great Fo-hi.
ADELMA.
Presumptuous wretch, dar'st hou our que n defy?
Princes , demur no longer; let him die.
(SKIRINA
rushes in.
)
SKIR.
Hold, Princes ; hold; your father is at hand!
(
aside
.) My kne s are knocking; I can hardly stand.
ADELMA.
Unlucky chance! To prison with this fel ow!
SKIR.
Adelma, hush; you ne dn't bawl and bel ow.
TUR.
In de pest dungeon let him be confin'd.
BAR.
My body
ou may shackle; not my mind.
SKIR. (
aside to
BARAK.)
Take courage, husband; do not fear their spite;
The pig wil save us yet; I tel you it's al right.
(
Mutes hastily conduct
BARAK
through
a
secret
do r;
others
remove the dish of gold
.)
TUR.
Adelma, thou'rt my only friend. Advise
My mind
istraught 'twixt love and hate. Despise
Me not, but pity me. Some counsel end.
ADEL.
As force has failed, by craft we'l gain our end.
I have a plan,—I'm sure of its uc es ,
If to the stranger's cel we gain ac es .
TUR.
Take gold—suborn his guards—the highest me d
I hold as nought if thy new scheme suc e d.
ADEL.
Skirina's help I ne d to work my plot.
SKIR.
I'd let myself be skin ed for Turandot.
I wish my service could my husband save.
TUR.
His life be thy reward, thou faithful slave.
(SKIRINA
kis es
T
URANDOT
'
S
hand
.)
ADEL.
Your oyal father comes. In me confide.
(
aside
.) As ist me, love, to quel her haughty pride.
(
Exeunt
ADELMA
and
SKIRINA.)
TUR.
What wil Adelma's fertile brain devise?
(
after
a
pause
.)
In
vain
the
truth
I'd
hide
from
mine
own
eyes;
My heart is his—ir evocably his.
To be his wife—oh rapture, heavenly blis !
Yet I must spurn his love. I wil not bear
Al China's cold contempt; man's cof ing sne r.
What glory would be mine could I but ame
This brag ing conqueror. Pronounce his name
In high divan, and chase him from our city,
Abashed and in despair. But yet, with pity
My heart would surely break. Come, virgin pride
And woman's art my shame and grief to hide.
To-day, proud man has made me bear disgrace;
To-mor ow I must riumph o'er his race.
But yet—he did not boastful y rejoice—
Rebuke I welcomed from his gentle voice.
How humble was his uit—how mild and go d,
How unresentful towards my scornful mo d.
Avaunt, ye tender phantasies, avaunt!
I dread the world's disdain—its cof ing taunt.
My people shal not se
Turandot fal ,
The slave of one means abject slave to al .
(
Enter
ALTOUM,
perusing
a
scrol
;
PANT,
and
TART,
some distance
.)
ALT. (
to himself
.)
The Bey of Tef lis dead? So ends this tyrant!
PANT. (
aside to
TART.)
What makes his Majesty indulge in high rant?
ALT. (
as above
.)
Prince Kalaf, heir to Tartary's high throne,
Is cal ed to fil the Bey's, besides his own.
This crol informs me Kalaf is the stranger
Who
verthrew the Sphinx and 'scaped her danger.
I'm glad to find the Prince is no bad catch,—
My daughter's wil be quite a splendid match.
PANT. (
to
TART.)
What is he mut ering al to himself,
Just like a miser counting o'er his pelf?
I do believe he's talking in blank verse,
Or easoning in rhyme, which would be worse.
He's deaf; if he were blind, 't would suit us bet er,
For then he couldn't read his private let er.
TART. (
to
PANT.)
A s-sp-special Es-taf-fet e!
Ci cova gat o!
S-such m-my-mystery!
Capisco niente af at o.
(ALT.
TART.
to withdraw, which they do with reluctance
.)
ALT.
My child, the night is far advanced; yet stil
Thy restles steps pace through thy hare m chil .
Quite hopeles is thy task; not al the Col ege
Of Doctors could impart he wished-for knowledge.
Thou canst not gues thy 'p onent's name, tho' we
Have ful y learned his family history.
He's worthy of thy hand; my wish obey,
Avoid to-mor ow's public
exposée
.
Thou'rt sure to fail. For my sake save thy fame,
My soul recoils from witnes ing thy shame.
TUR.
I shal not put my father to the blush;
My adversary's ar ogance I'l crush.
ALT.
Ah, flat er not hyself. Let one defeat
Suf ice; do not he painful scene repeat.
TUR.
The high divan shal judge. Firm as a rock
Is my strong wil . His easy task I mock.
ALT.
Has thy ke n wit discovered—tel me truth—
The secret of this overtrusting youth?
If so, be gen'rous; let him go in peace;
From further strife and public strug le cease.
Deal gently with this boy of noble race,
Nor wantonly expose him to disgrace.
Thus halt hou earn al Chang's high admiration.
Thy harsh decre
has much estranged the nation.
They tel strange tales about he Chinese Sphinx,
Men's kul s he gnaws—hot human blo d she drinks.
Oh, show thyself as modest, tender, duteous,—
More homage this com
ands than being beauteous.
TUR.
Your mercy, Sire, bese ms your hoary age;
Your words might wel convert a Grecian sage,
But can ot change my purpose. I'l not bow
My neck to any man: so runs my vow.
In public this pert boy my power defeated,—
In public shal my vengeance be completed.
ALT.
Dear child, paternal ove shal condescend
To humbly beg obedience. Do but bend
To my desire, and thou shalt from me learn
The whole of what his tranger may concern.
In public thou shalt riumph—name aloud
Thy foe, in face of an ap lauding crowd.
But swear, if thus I'm traitor for thy sake
Thou wilt his uitor for thy husband take.
Thy de d wil bles thine aged father's days—
Reward a loving heart—win al men's praise.
TUR. (
His words are torture to my wav'ring pride,
How shal I act? How may I best decide?
Adelma shal I trust? Her plot may fail;
Without disgrace a father may prevail.
Down, stub orn soul (
advances towards
ALT.,
then
hesitates
), and yet, beneath Man's yoke
To crouch? No, no, my vow I'l not revoke.
ALT.
Thou'rt ouched. Swe t daughter, grant my fond
esire.
TUR.
He fears I may suc e d and thwart him. Sire,
I'l me t in high divan. My wil is teady.
ALT.
Then, if thou fail, the altar shal be ready;
The rite shal be performed with solemn fitnes ,
While vulgar crowds hal thy confusion witnes .
Their scof ing je rs hal be thy wed ing hymn;
Thy father sto ped in vain; now sto p to him. (
Exit
.)
TUR.
Oh, murder not your child! Adelma, friend,—
Forsake me not. My grief some comfort send;
My only hope's in the . If great Fo-hi
With old suc es , to-mor ow se s me die. (
Exit
.)
END OF ACT I .
A C T IV .
SCENE.—A magnificent apartment, with divers outlets; in the background
an oriental couch. The scene is dark. KALAF discovered pacing up and
down, BRIGHEL A holding a torch, observing him, and shaking his head.
BRIG.
Just hre
o'clock! by Kong's pagoda-chimes.
You've paced this flo r just wice thre
hundred times.
Your Highnes had much bet er go to sle p.
You'l have to rise with dawn's first rud y pe p.
I can't watch any more; my eyelids close.
KALAF.
Thou'rt right, Brighel a; go to thy repose.
(BRIG. going, returns cautiously.)
BRIG.
One word, your Highnes ,—when I've left my post,
Don't be astonished if you se
a ghost.
You
nderstand? You ne dn't be afraid;
I daren't say more; my silence is prepaid.
Forewarned, forearmed, you know. To a blind horse
A nod's as go d as twenty winks, of course.
KALAF. (
lo king about, uneasily.
)
What spectres hal I se ? what dreary sprite?
BRIG.
Oh, nothing, (
yawns
.) I'm
so
sle py, Prince, go d night.
(
Going, returns.
)
I hope you are not angry with Brighel a—
I'm but a po r, il -paid, hardworking fel ah—
The Emperor has ordered that no fly
Shal enter this apartment—you know why;
But ho' he's king, his daughter eal y rules.
It's hard to ke p one's balance 'twixt wo sto ls!
And what a woman wil s, for go d or evil.
That must be done, or she wil play the devil.
(
Going, returns.
)
Mind,
I
know nothing. Keyholes may suf ice;
If any noise you hear, it's only mice!
(
Exit, winking significantly.
)
KAL.
Go d night, and thanks; your hint I comprehend.
Wil treachery be used my life to end?
Nay, Turandot's to
noble—I'l not fear.
The fateful hour ap roaches (
opens a casement
.)
Dawn is near,
I'l se k to drown my care in dreamy rest.
(
As
he
sinks
on
the
couch,
a
secret
do r
opens,
admit ing
SKIRINA
dres ed in male at ire, a false beard on
.)
SKIR.
My lord.
KALAF. (
starting up
.)
What man is this? Some sil y jest.
SKIR.
What, don't you know Skirina? (
takes of the beard
.)
I'm so frightened!
Disguised I've pas ed your guards, in these clothes tightened.
I've got so much to tel . Your po r old tutor
Is put in chains! Yes, nothing les would suit her.
He's anxious for your life—he begs you'l sign
Your name to show you're safe; just write one line
To pacify him; or he'l al declare;
The Princes Turandot's in such a flare.
I tremble for my husband,—he's demented,
Until you've kindly to his wish consented.
I've brought a tablet—just your name indite
To ease his mind.
KAL. (
takes the tablet
.)
To please him, I wil write.
(
Skirina, would'st hou traitres turn? Thy guest I've be n.
SKIR. (
aside
.)
I promised I would
o my best.
But such reproaches down I can ot gulp,
Not if my mistres beat me to a pulp.
So Mis Adelma may play of her tricks
Herself, (
(
whimpering
.) I should have thought some slight consideration
You would have felt for my sad situation.
If you suspect me.
KAL.
Nay, I'm sure you acted
Al out of kindnes .
SKIR. (
aside
.)
I shal go distracted.
(
to
(
aside
.) Adelma's harp; but he's as wide awake. (
Exit
.)
KAL.
Brighel a warned me wel .
(
Enter
TRUF ALDIN,
covered by a long black mantle
.)
Another visit!
Nocturnal ghosts abound. Wel , friend, what is it?
TRUF.
Your Excel ency, news excel ent I bring—
You'l hear a wonderful y wondrous thing.
KAL.
Speak on, go d vision; I am al at ention.
TRUF.
T'explain in plainest words is my intention.
The ke per of the Hare m stands before you!
But hat's not here nor there; so I'l not bore you
With al my titles. The Princes Turandot
Right hro' the heart by Cupid's dart is hot!
I would not flat 'ringly
our Highnes flat er
With mincing terms, nor wil I mince the mat er.
My mistres is distracted to—distraction
By
our at ractive personal—at raction.
If truth I speak not, may the high Fo-hi
Grind al my bones to make his next meat-pie!
KAL.
So far, so go d; what hast hou more to say?
TRUF.
Be not impatient, Royal Highnes , pray.
My mistres is a tiger-cat—(permit
The term; tho' coarse, 'tis graphical y fit.)
She gnashes her white te th with frantic ire,
And raves against you, "Rob ers, murder, fire!"
If truth I speak not, may the high Fo-hi
Make mince-meat of me for his acred pie.
KAL.
No ne d of oaths. But hast hou not, go d ke per,
Some bet er news to tel a waken'd sle per?
Truf.
Of course I have. Without circumlocution
I now proce d to instant elocution:
My charming mistres sent me here to beg
You'l trust her with your secret. Her last leg
She's tanding on; and in she r desperation
She'l mar y
ou; but must before the nation
Ap ear to vanquish you—in mere ap earance.
Be quick, and of your secret make a clearance.
Clear up the mat er, and I'l then clear out;
My time is precious. Finish of this bout.
KAL.
One thing thou hast forgot en.
TRUF.
What have I?
KAL.
To imprecate thy bones to Fo-bi's pie.
Return to Turandot. Tel her from me
She'l glorious hine in high divan, if she
Benignant prove herself; more true distinction
She'l gain by this, than by my hope's extinction.
(
Signs to
TRUF.
to withdraw.
)
TRUF. (
aside
.)
I've only got my trouble for my pain;
I'l never do a kindly act again. (
Exit
.)
KAL.
Come, gentle sle p. Refresh me, balm divine!
Take courage, weary soul, suc es may
et be mine.
(
Retires
to
the
couch,
and
sinks;
into
slumber.
Enter
ADELMA,
veiled, bearing a lighted taper
.)
ADEL.
I shal not fail. In vain was their endeavour,
But I wil venture al , the knot o sever.
I may not learn his name,—but I'l implore
His flight from Peking. Then my love, once more
May hope to win his heart.
(
Unveils, and gazes upon him.
)
He gently slumbers:
Reluctantly I rouse him, but ime numbers
The hours yet left for action. Prince, arise!
KAL.
Who cal s? Another spirit! Do my eyes
Deceive me? Can it be? Adelma here?
Thy royal person in a slave's mean gear!
Such lowly garb is urely some disguise.
ADEL.
No, Prince; Adelma now in slav'ry sighs.
Beneath the gal ing yoke of her who martyred
My wretched brother, and my father slaughtered.
Not you alone must suf er from the curse
Of Turandot's fel ire; my fate's far worse.
KAL.
Princes , believe me; more your lot I mourn
Than e'en my own. So fair, so nobly born,
So gracious to th' unhap y;—I can
e'er
Forget your kindnes to myself. If e'er
In
e d of aithful service you may stand,
Which I may render in return, com
and
Me as your slave. My gratitude's eternal.
ADEL.
From Turandot I'd save you. Her infernal
Devices throw a glamour o'er your senses:
But did you know her shal ow, false pretences,
Of her great excel ence you'd scorn the notion,
Nor waste on her your noble heart's devotion.
For al she sets up as a learned Sphinx,
She's nothing but a sly, conceited minx.
KAL.
Nay, blame not her, but adverse destiny,
Your brother wil ed his death; the choice was fre .
Your father fel in bat le—'twas il -fate
Awarded
eath, not she. Oh, do not hate
Your mistres ; surely she your worth este ms
And treats you as your gentle birth bese ms.
To-mor ow, if I'm victor as before
I'l fre dom give you, and your throne restore.
ADEL.
Can
othing your credulity convince?
Oh, fly this wicked woman, dearest Prince.
Escape with me! Come haste! Our time is hort;
I've bribed your guards. We'l sail from the next port
To Keicobad—there al wil hail me Que n.
KAL.
Farewel , Princes ; magnanimous you've be n.
Escape alone. To die I am content,
You can ot urn me from my firm intent.
ADEL.
Ungrateful man! Then learn the hor id truth.
The heart of Turandot can fe l no ruth.
You've foiled her cun ing. Fear her tiger-spring.
To-mor ow as you pas to join the King
In high divan,—her slaves, with stealthy blow,
Wil pierce your heart;—your life wil be laid low.
KAL.
Oh, haples Kalaf! must hy life thus end?
In exile perish—far from ev'ry friend!
O Timur, dearest father, couldst hou se
Thine only son in such de p misery,
Al Tartary thou'dst gladly give to save
Its royal heir from such untimely grave.
(
Covers his face in despair.
)
ADEL. (
aside
)
Kalaf, future Khan of Tartarland!
(Most luckily the last-told lie I plan ed.)
He's in my power. If he
scape one net,
He'l fal into another, closer yet.
KAL. (
to himself
.)
I've said "Or death or Turandot." Her wil
Decre s my death—from her 'tis, welcome stil .
Adieu, fond hopes. Delusive joys, farewel !
ADEL.
Once more let me implore you. Do not sel
Your life thus cheap. We stil have time for flight.
KAL.
My honour bids me stay and brave the fight.
ADEL.