PRINCESS MIGNON


BY

SOPHIA ALMON HENSLEY


[1900]





Princess Mignon:
A Musical Play in Three Acts, Founded on one of
Andrew Lang’s Fairy Tales

 




Characters

King Souci
, the young and inexperienced King of Flowerland.
Ditto, King Souci’s Prime Minister, who always agrees with everybody.
Basil, First Member of Ditto’s Council.
Second Member of Council.
Third Member of Council
.
First Courtier
.
Second Courtier
.
Third Courtier
.
Prince Flouet, Protégé of Fairy Grimace.
Lord Chamberlain, of Princess Mignon’s Household.
Princess Mignon, of the Land of the Snow-Flake.
Fairy Aveline, Mignon’s Fairy Guardian.
Fairy Girouette, King Souci’s Fairy Guardian.
Fairy Grimace, Prince Flouet’s Fairy Guardian.
Goose Girls, Servants, Courtiers, Ladies in Waiting, Members of Council, &c.

 

ACT I.

Scene
I.—Curtain goes up showing a ballroom in the palace of
    King Souci; Courtiers and ladies of court sing the festival of
    the young king.


Chorus.

  Oh the stars are bright
  On this happy night
  And our songs are glad and gay;
  Let us dance and sing
  Till the old halls ring
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  On our young king’s natal day.

  Over hill and lea
  We have wandered free
  And gathered the buds of May;
  We have plucked the flowers
10
  Through the sunny hours
  For our young king’s natal day.

  Where the brown hares hide
  And the streamlets glide
  We have frolicked the hours away;
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  And the birds have sung
  And the bells have rung
  For our dear king’s natal day.

(They move about in gay dance, throwing flowers .)

First Courtier.—I hear steps approaching; what may it mean?

Second Courtier. —It is the Members of the Council; they seem

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troubled. The Prime Minister is, doubtless, with them.

First Courtier. —Let the dance cease; we will hear what ails them.

Chorus. —Yes, yes, let us hear.

(Retire to back of stage. Enter members of Council.)

First Member of Council. —This is no time for merry-making; let

25
these depart.

First Courtier. —Nay; we would hear what troubles you.

First Member of Council. —Listen, then, and I will tell you.

(They draw around him and listen attentively.)

(Sings.)

  Within these palace halls,
  Upon a summer morn,
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  Some eighteen happy years ago
  A little prince was born.
Chorus of Courtiers.
  Oh joy! oh joy! it was a happy morn,
  We bless the day our fair young king was born.
First Member of Council.
  Upon his christening day
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  His friends and subjects met,
  And chief among the courtiers came
  The fairy Girouette.
Chorus of Courtiers.
  We know her well; on her our hopes were set,
  The fay of fays, the fairy Girouette.
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First Member of Council.
  She dowered him with joy,
  Of wealth a generous share,
  And promised for his tender youth
  Freedom from every care.
Chorus of Courtiers.
  We know her well; on her our hopes were set,
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  The fay of fays, the fairy Girouette.
First Member of Council.
  Death took our gracious King,
  The good Queen Mother, too;
  Then leaned the prince on Girouette,
  Who showed him what to do.
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Chorus of Courtiers.
  We know her well; on her our hopes were set,
  The fay of fays, the fairy Girouette.
First Member of Council.
  But now, alack the day!
  The fairy is forsworn;
  For she has left the king she loved
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  And blessed when he was born.
Chorus of Courtiers.
  Oh, wretched fay, to leave our King forlorn,
  Alack the day! the fairy is forsworn.

(First Member of Council sits down, and covers his face with hands.)

Second Courtier.
  Our fair young King is good
  And wise beyond his years;
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  But what knows he of kingly craft,
  A nation’s hopes and fears?
Second Member of Council.
  This Council fain would aid,
  But none of us are wise;
  As for our good Prime Minister
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  He carries off the prize.
Chorus of Courtiers.
  Good Ditto’s mild assent we all do know,
  A great Prime Minister; he, he! ho, ho!
Second Member of Council.
  Ne’er known to disagree,
  He echoes every whim;
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  And good and bad and wise and mad
  Are all the same to him.
Chorus of Courtiers.
  Good Ditto’s mild assent we all do know,
  A great Prime Minister; he, he! ho, ho!
First Courtier. —Hush, here he comes; we must cease our

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  laughing.

( Enter Ditto, a bland smile on his face.)

Ditto.
  It’s Minister of State for War I am,
  I am Minister of State for Peace;
  If my judgment ruled the matter,
  Both the former and the latter,
  Should nevermore begin or cease.
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  When I’m called upon a matter to adjudicate
  I never know just what to say;
  So I do my level best
  To set the thing at rest
  By giving each his own sweet way.
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Chorus.
  Just so, just so,
  Quite right I know,
  I certainly with you must quite agree.
  It causes me much wonder
  That you never, never blunder,
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  You are simply just as right as right can be.
Ditto.
   It’s Minister-in-Chief to the King, I am,
   I’m ruler over all this land.
   It scatters consternation
   All up and down creation,
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   If I simply elevate my hand.
   But it doesn’t do for me to be too stern,
   I’ve found a more effective way.
   I’ve managed all my life
   To put an end to strife
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   By giving each his own sweet way.
Chorus.
   Just so, just so,
   Quite right, I know,
   I certainly with you must quite agree.
   It causes me much wonder
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   That you never, never blunder,
   You are simply just as right as right can be.
Ditto.
   Now here’s a secret that I will impart to you,
   And see you bear it well in mind;
   If you wish to have your way, you must never, never say
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   A single thing but what sounds kind.
   When clouds begin to gather, as at times they will,
   Remember clearly what I say:
   Be guided by your reason, and speak the word in season;
   That will give to each his own sweet way.
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Chorus.
   Just so, just so,
   Quite right, I know,
   I certainly with you must quite agree.
   It causes me much wonder
   That you never, never blunder,
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   You are simply just as right as right can be.

First Member of Council. —Oh, good Prime Minister, what are we to do? The whole country is in a state of discontent. The people say that the kingdom has been mismanaged since the fairy Girouette no longer takes an interest in it. Shall we give them

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money?

Ditto. —Yes, give them money; then all will be well.

Second Member of Council. —But there is no money in the treasury.

Ditto. —Then we cannot give them money; so that saves us

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expense.

Third Member of Council. —But something must be done. Shall we have the ring-leaders hanged?

Ditto. —Yes, let them be hanged; then there will be no more trouble.

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First Member of Council. —But if we did that, the people would rise in insurrection and destroy the palace.

Ditto. —Then it need not be done, and we shall save the expense of a hangman.

Second Member of Council. —They say that they are hungry;
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that the taxes on their land are so heavy that they have no bread for their children.

Ditto. —Then they should eat cake.

First Member of Council —They have no cake.

Ditto. —What, no cake?

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Chorus of Courtiers.
   What, what is this? Surely, some sad mistake,
   It cannot be the people have no cake.
Council in Chorus.
   It is too true, this plea the people make;
   They have but little bread, they have no cake.

Ditto. —Members of the Council, what do you advise?

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All. —We do not know.

Ditto ( looking around helplessly .) —Can anyone suggest anything?

First Member of Council. —Let the young King marry; then he will grow wise.

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Ditto
( relieved .) —An excellent idea.

( Sounds of angry voices and loud noises outside .)

First Courtier ( frightened .) —They are storming the palace; there is a stone!

Third Courtier. —They will burn down the palace and we shall all be killed.
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Ditto.
—Where are the feather beds? Let us retire to the cupboards.

First Courtier.
—Oh, see, the young King approaches!

Chorus.
—The King, the King!

Chorus of Courtiers and Council.
—Oh, the stars are bright,
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etc.

(Enter King.)

King. —What is all this? What means this tumult?

Ditto.
—It is the populace; they are angry and we fear that they will fire the palace, or do some deed of violence.

(Cries outside of “The King, the King.”)

Ditto. —Conceal yourself, my Liege; they may do you a hurt.

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First Member of Council.
—Yes, let the King withdraw, least a stone be flung through the window and harm him.

King (looking about him proudly). —Are kings afraid? I trow not. (Goes to the casement, and throws open the window.) Well, what do you want? I am the King.
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(The populace gradually ceases its clamor; then a voice is heard saying, “God save the King.”)

Chorus of Courtiers and Council.
   Oh, the stars are bright,
   On this happy night, etc.

(The King gradually turns away from window, and listens gravely to the song; the Courtiers dance to the music; curtain.)

 



Scene II.— King Souci’s Palace. Ditto and Members of Council.

 

Ditto. —We must consider the question of the young King’s marriage.

First Member.
—What did Girouette wish concerning this?

Second Member.
—Girouette favored the Princess Diaphane.

Ditto.
—Let it then be the Princess Diaphane; so the difficulty be over.

5

Second Member.
—They say that the Princess Diaphane would prove an unsatisfactory bride; she is so light that a puff of wind would blow her away.

Ditto.
—Should she prove troublesome that might be an advantage.
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First Member.
—But if she should be blown away how would the young King learn wisdom? We should have to search for another bride.

Ditto.
—True; you speak wisely.

First Member.
—What says the Council? There are strong winds
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in the Autumn.

Ditto.
—You are right; there are.

Third Member.
—And Girouette is not here to stop the winds from blowing.

All Together.
—Alas, no; Girouette is gone.
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Chorus.

   Oh, wretched fay, to leave our King forlorn,
   Alack the day, the fairy is forsworn.

First Member. —It is a sad affair. Could we, perhaps, fasten the Princess to her lord in some way?

Ditto.
—An excellent plan.

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(Enter King suddenly.)

King. —You may save yourselves the trouble of arranging things; no one shall choose my bride for me. To-morrow I shall leave the Court, taking with me but one squire, to search for her who shall be my bride.

Ditto.
—My liege—

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Members of Council.
—Nay, your Majesty; do not so.

First Member. —My liege, your life is too precious to be entrusted to a single equerry.

Second Member. —Nay, your Majesty; go not forth.

King. —Have done. Enough! I have spoken. Now, Ditto, and

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Members of my Council, leave me. ( They go out sorrowfully .) Nay, Basil, stay; I would speak with thee.

Basil.
—What does my lord wish?

King.
—Basil, there is something I would tell thee. Yet is it naught. I have had a dream.
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Basil.
—A dream, my lord?

King.
—Yes, Basil. ( Puts arm about Basil’s shoulders .)
As I walked to-day in the palace garden, in the warm sunshine, I threw myself upon the green sward and fell asleep.

Basil.
—My Lord was not unattended?
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King
( impatiently ).—Nay, there was a courtier who followed me not too closely. But I slept, and in my dream I held a white lily in my hand. I smelled the fragrance, and it was very sweet. As I held it a voice said, “Knowest thou Love?” And I said sorrow- fully, “What is Love?” And no one answered.
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Basil.
—And this is why my lord goes forth alone?

(The King nods, looks up presently, and sings.)

   A breath from an unknown sea,
   A whisper of words untold,
   In a moment free from life’s mystery,
   To open the gates of gold.

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   A flutter of silver wings,
   A straining of anxious eyes,
   And one hears the song that the sweet bird sings,
   Yet misses its melodies.

   And where is the perfume rare
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   That wanders and ne’er returns,
   The fancies the lips did never dare
   To utter, that manhood learns.

   Oh! is there a waiting hour
   That will tender the brimming cup,
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   That will read the perfume of the sweet-breathed flower,
   And render its secret up?

But these are dreams, good Basil; think no more of them. Farewell!

(Exit King.)

Basil. —God bless our young King! I trust that no evil may befall
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him on this quest. Why, who comes here? Surely it is a fay.

(Enter Fairy Aveline.)

(Sings.)

   I am the fairy Aveline,
   Gladdening the earth as the rainbow queen,
   Dear little drops
   When the storm stops,
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   All will be joyous and fair, I ween.

   I am the fairy Aveline,
   Always knowing what mortals mean;
   Over the grass,
   Where moonbeams pass,
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   Getting in mischief sometimes, I ween.

   I am the fairy Aveline,
   Always seeing, but seldom seen.
   Sunshine and song,
   Tripping along,
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   Welcome wherever she goes, I ween.

Come hither, good Basil, I will tell thee a secret—a delicious secret (laughs), but it must be told to no one.

Basil. —I will not tell, good fay.

Aveline. —Listen then. I have in my care a lovely maiden, a

90
princess, by name Mignon. I have planned to wed her with thy young King, Souci. But he is ignorant and useless, as yet, and my Mignon is as exacting as she is lovely. She swears she will marry no one who has not proved himself a true man, good to others, brave and noble. And her people, of the land of the Snowflake,
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are anxious for her to wed, because under the terms of the will of her late father she may not govern her kingdom until she is married. So I have a mind to try your young King.

Basil. —How mean you, try him?

Aveline.
—I will tell you. You know that he goes forth upon his
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travels to-morrow. I will see that he loses his squire in the wood; he will fall asleep and I will take from him his sword and his kingly garb; and leave him, when he wakes, to prove what there is in him. To please my Mignon he must be man as well as king.

Basil. —Thou wilt not harm him, good fay?
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Aveline.
—No, no; and he will show himself a man, I know; else would I not bother with him.

Basil.
—And will my Lord find happiness?

Aveline.
—He shall have what we both wish for him.

Duet.
Basil and Aveline.

      Ah, sweet are the days of our dreaming,
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   With sunshine, and playtime and flowers;
   But sweeter than all the mere seeming
   Is life with its proof of our powers.

   The pleasure of idleness wearies,
   We long for the stir and the strife;
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   And manhood, with wonder and queries,
   Looks forth to the greatness of life.

   No soul that has ever known beauty,
   But learned it in struggle and pain;
   And rough is the highroad of duty
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   That leads to the peace-loving plain.

   Ah, sweet are the days of our dreaming,
   With sunshine, and playtime and flowers;
   But sweeter than all the mere seeming
   Is life with its proof of our powers.
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(Exit Basil and Aveline. Enter First Courtier, followed by Courtiers and Council.)

First Courtier. —The King is resolved.

Second Courtier.
—Alas, he is! When the King is determined we have to submit.

Third Courtier.
—Cannot the Prime Minister use his influence?

First Courtier.
—What, Ditto? He has no influence.

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Second Courtier.
—Hush, here comes His Majesty. Let us again entreat him. (Enter King.) My liege, your subjects entreat of you go not forth.

First Courtier.
—Let us search the world over for your Majesty.

King.
—My people you do not understand.

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(Sings.)

   There are no joys for him who trial flees,
   No spoils of war for him who stays at ease;
   All that man knows of beauty or of good,
   Was won from labor and through hardihood.

   There are no chimes for him whose ears are closed,

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   To dazzled eyes, no beauty is disclosed;
   Earth’s plains are seen but from the mountain peak,
   And truth is found by him who dares to seek.

Chorus.

   No dream of bliss uplifts the doubting soul,
   The race is run by him who sees the goal.
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   To him who looks is shown the guiding light,
   And bays will crown the victor in the fight.

   To those who dig the mines give forth their gold,
   The prize is gained by those whose hearts are bold.
   Patience and strength will win the fiercest fight,
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   Morning will surely end the darkest night.


(CURTAIN.)

 


 

ACT II.

 

Scene I. Wood Scene. Enter King .

 

King. —Where are we now, I wonder? When shall we come to the end of this wood, think you, good Eugene? Why, the man is not with me! He has doubtless fallen a little behind. I will lie upon this bank of moss till he comes up with me.

(Lies down and falls asleep. Enter Aveline, who leans over him and sings softly.)

   Sleep, sleep,
5
   Long and deep,
   Trials will come with your waking;
   Rest, rest,
   In slumber blest,
   Leave of your kingship you’re taking.
10

   Gaudy clothes
   Are but shows,
   What is the man beneath them?
   Hearts of gold
   Are not bought and sold,
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   Only the great can bequeath them.

   Glittering swords
   Are as empty words,
   What of the arms that wield them?
   Swift and sure,
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   Patient, pure,
   Strength both to conquer and yield them.

   Sleep, sleep,
   Long and deep,
   Trials will come with your waking;
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   Rest, rest,
   In slumber blest,
   Leave of your kingship you’re taking.

(Aveline takes off sword, draws off his beautiful cloak and substitutes an old ragged coat; then withdraws, still singing softly.)

(King slowly awakes, sets up, bewildered.)

King.—I have slept ( rubs eyes ). Hither, Squire! What! I am alone! And ( looking at clothes ) what are these? Where is my
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sword? it is gone! What means all this? ( Stands up and looks about him .) My equerry is lost, my sword is gone, I am dressed in beggar garb; who has done this? He shall be punished. ( Stamps foot .) I will have him beheaded; am not I the King? ( Reflects .) But what am I to do now? To stay here and wait would be foolish.
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Let me push through the wood and see if I can find my way out.  

(Exit. Enter fairy Aveline disguised as an old woman, hobbles along, muttering to herself. Reenter King.)

King. —It is a deep wood; I seem to be going about in a circle. Ah! here is an old dame; perhaps she can give me directions. (To Aveline) Good dame, can you tell me—

Aveline. —Good dame, indeed, fair words do not much work. A

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strapping young fellow like you would do better to carry my bundle.

King (good humoredly).—Give me the bundle then, good mother. (Takes it and walks beside her.)

Aveline. —Know you whither you are going?

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King
( sadly ).—Indeed, no. I thought you might perhaps tell me how to get out of this wood.

Aveline.
—Who are you?

King.
—I am the King of Flowerland. My equerry is lost, my sword is gone.

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Aveline.
—Ha! ha! A King indeed. A King of shreds and patches! Ha! ha! A likely story.

King.
—Ah, you do not believe me.

Aveline.
—If you are a King, tell me what good deeds you have done; do you make your people happy?

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King.
—Alas! No.

Aveline.
—Do you care for the poor and the oppressed as a good King should?

King.
—I have not known how.

Aveline.
—Then are you no true King.

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King.
—I fear that you are right.


(Enter Princess Mignon, disguised as a peasant maid.)


Mignon.
—Ah, there is the good mother whom I met before in the wood. (To Aveline) May I help you to carry your bundle?

Aveline.
—Many thanks, pretty maid; but this lad has my bundle.


(Mignon and Souci look at each other, then look away.)


Mignon
(aside).—The youth is sad; yet he has a noble air. I

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wonder what has made him unhappy?

King. —What a beautiful maiden. She makes me think of the tall white lilies in the palace garden, so pure and so perfect.

Aveline
(to Mignon).—Hast found thy mate, dear heart. (Mignon starts.) Ah, I am an old witch my dear, and know that thou art

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waiting for thy prince. Thou hast many lovers, does none please thee?

Mignon. —If thou wouldst know, listen and I will tell thee of my difficulty. The youth may listen also:

   I am Princess Mignon,

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   In this strange disguise;
   Wandering through my kingdom,
   I would grow more wise.
   I have friends in plenty,
   But I pain would know,
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   Of the pain and strength of life,
   Where its virtues grow.

   I am Princess Mignon,
   Happy as the day;
   Suitors come to woo me,
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   But I say them nay.
   I will have for sweetheart,
   Him whose soul is strong,
   Who is brave and tender, too,
   Knowing pain and wrong.
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   I am Princess Mignon;
   I shall stand some day,
   Where the roses blossom,
   Where the sunbeams play;
   There my prince shall find me,
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   He shall take my hand,
   And in love and wisdom, too,
   We shall rule our land.

Aveline. —Where goest thou now, my Princess?

Mignon.
—To the palace. Come, and they will give thee food and

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lodging. And will you come, good youth?


Aveline.
—They will find work for you in the palace, no doubt.

King.
—Work? For me? Nay, I will not. And yet I would fain follow the Princess.

Aveline.
—Come, then.

Princess.
—Yes, come. (Beckons.)

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(He follows, and all exeunt.)

(Enter Courtiers, Council and Ditto.)

First Courtier. —Alas! Alas! Where is our King? We have searched for him night and day since the moment the equerry returned alone.

First Member of Council.
—How dared he lose sight of our King; he is now safe in a dungeon, and will not be released until

110
we find the King. (To Ditto.) My lord, do you think the wolves can have devoured our King? Ditto (sadly).—Yes, you are right; the wolves have devoured him.

Second Courtier.
—But we have heard and seen no traces of wild animals in the forest.
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Ditto.
—Then they cannot have eaten him.

Third Courtier. —An enemy, perhaps, has taken him captive.

Ditto.
—Undoubtedly such is the case.

Second Member of Council.
—But we are at peace with all the world; our kingdom has no foes.

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Ditto.
—You are quite right; it cannot be the work of an enemy, for we have none.

First Courtier. —Let us search further; the King is too precious to us for us to stand idly here. Let us go on.

Chorus.
   On, on, let us go,
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   Through the fading day,
   With our footsteps slow,
   O’er the winding way.
   Was that his voice through the waving trees,
   Or the wailing blast of the evening breeze?
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   On, on, let us go,
   Through the forest’s shade,
   With our voices low,
   And our hearts afraid.
   Was that his step through the summer grass,
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   Or the flight of birds as they homeward pass?

   On, on, let us go,
   Over plain and hill,
   Where the waters flow,
   And the world is still.
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   Maybe in the morn, ere the skylarks soar,
   We shall hear and see him, our King, once more.

 

(CURTAIN.)

 


 

Scene II.— Servants’ hall in Mignon’s Palace in the Land of the
     Snowflake; Cooks, Chambermaids
, Bootblacks, Scullery
     Maids, etc.

 

Chambermaids.
   When rosy dawn comes o’er the hills
   In her automobile of fire,
   And birds awake in mead and brake,
   And larks to the sun aspire,
   We are up and away, nor waste the time in play,
5
   For each must fill his niche in;
   Each knows his little place, and proceeds with cheerful face;
   To the fields, or the halls, or the kitchen.
Chorus of Servants.
   We sweep and we scrub,
   And we scour and we rub,
10
   And we don’t find work appalling;
   We brush and we dust,
   And we polish off the rust,
   And rejoice in our honorable calling.
Cooks and Scullery Maids.
   Oh, where are pans so clean as ours,
15
   And show me a brighter kettle?
   Whose saucepans shine so bright as mine,
   Or anything else of metal?
   There never was a floor so clean before,
   Nor stoves with a finer lustre;
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   Were there ever such shoes? and to each his dues,
   We can say the same of the duster.
Chorus of Serants.
   We sweep and we scrub,
   We scour and we rub,
   And we don’t find work appalling;
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   We brush and we dust,
   And we polish off the rust,
   And rejoice in our honorable calling.

Chief Cook. —Where is Souci, the new boot-black? Why is he not cleaning the shoes? Here, Souci, you idle fellow, do your

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work.

King (pointing to row of shoes). —I have done my work.

Cook.
—It is badly enough done; now go and wash the dishes.

King.
—Dishes are not my work, I think.

Cook.
—Not your work, you idle boy? Take this for your impert-inence. (Hits him with spoon.)

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Chambermaid.
—Here, Souci, is your Kingship well this morning?

Chorus.
—How is your Majesty this morning?

(All laugh.)

Souci. —Quite well, thank you. Have you finished teasing me? If so, as my work is done, I will go elsewhere.

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Chambermaid.
—Oh, our society is not good enough for your Majesty. ( All laugh .)

(Enter Aveline.)

Aveline. —Enough of this; you know who I am.

Chief Cook.
—A fairy disguised. Be not angry with us, good fay.

Aveline.
—Do what I say, or I will straightway turn you into cats to

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go howling all the night through.

Chorus. —Oh, spare us, good fay; we will obey.

Chambermaid.
—And, indeed, it is a shame to tease so fine a fellow.

Aveline.
—Go to your kitchens; stay, Souci.

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(Exeunt all but the king.)

King. —Are you indeed a fay? Then tell me what I may do to win the lovely Mignon.

Aveline.
—You love the Princess?

King.
—Yes, indeed. But though I fancy she has looked upon me kindly, she thinks that I am a beggar’s son. If you are truly a fay,

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you know that I am a king.

Aveline. —Yes, I know, but Mignon cares not for kings or princes.

King
(eagerly). —Then she does not love the Prince Flouet, who is always with her?


Aveline.
—No, she cares not for him.

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King.
—What must I do to win her?

Aveline.
—Prove yourself great and good.

King.
—I will. I will go out into the world and work to prove myself worthy of her.

(Sings.)

   Is there no work that the great world needs?
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   Something to do for my lady?
   Far or near, one of life’s great deeds,
   Done for the love of my lady?


(Exit; Aveline shakes head slowly, reflects several moments, during which music plays softly; then exit.)


(Enter Fairy Grimace and Flouet.)


Grimace.
—Do not be down-hearted; the Princess Mignon may yet listen to you.

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Flouet.
—I fear me not.

Grimace.
(stamping her foot). —She must; I say it. Am not I a fay? You are my child, and shall marry the Princess if you wish.

(Enter Mignon.)

Mignon. —What say you, Grimace?

Grimace.
—I say that you shall marry my Prince here.

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Mignon
(laughs). —What, marry Flouet? Indeed I will not. Why, he is weak and womanish. When I marry I will marry some one who is brave and strong.

Grimace
(very angry). —You will not marry Flouet? Then the fairy’s wrath will come upon you.

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Mignon.
—I do not fear you.

Grimace.
—Take your prince and leave the castle.


(Exit Flouet and Grimace, the latter shaking fist and
threatening
.)

(Mignon claps hands and Aveline appears.)


Mignon.
—Aveline, I would ask thee something. Who is the young man with the knightly airs whom I have seen working in the kitchen, the one whom we met in the wood. Is he a shepherd’s

85
son?

Aveline. —I will tell you truly. Young Souci is no common man. He is a king.

Mignon. —A king? Then how comes he here?

Aveline. —He was lost in the forest; his sword and kingly garb

90
were taken from him; then he met us.

Mignon. —But why did he follow us to the palace and submit to such treatment at he has received? And why has he stayed here day after day?

Aveline.
—It was for love of you, child.

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Mignon.
—For love of me? Like a true knight! Do you know Aveline, I have thought of this youth since the first day we met.

(Sings.)

   In my quiet garden,
   Where the wild bees hum,
   I have often wondered
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   How my love would come.
   With a blaze of sunlight
   On his shining hair,
   King with crown and sceptre,
   Peasant free from care.
105

   Nodding little daisies
   Never made reply,
   So I put the question
   To a butterfly,
   But he would not answer,
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   Folded up his wings,
   Shut himself inside a flower,
   And thought of other things.

   Dainty, darting swallow,
   Will you tell to me
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   Is my own true lover
   Sailing home from sea?
   But the saucy swallow,
   Flitting through the dell,
   Said he knew a host of things,
120
   But didn’t care to tell.

   Tell me, heart of Mignon,
   Is my lover near?
   Though no sceptered monarch,
   Though his coat be bare?
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   If his acts be knightly,
   If his heart be true,
   Surely now has come the king,
   Waiting here for you.

(Speaks.)
Send for the young man. I would fain speak with him.

130


Aveline.
—Alas, my dear, he is gone!

Mignon.
—Gone? Where?

Aveline.
—I know not. He went to seek some deed of knighthood to prove his love. Nay, look not sad, my dear; he will return.


Mignon.
—Thinkest thou he will return?

135


Aveline.
—Aye, surely. Cheer yourself now, my Princess. Let the household servants sing you a song; so will you forget your trouble.

Mignon
(sadly) .—Let them come, then.

(Enter Chorus of Servants.)

(Sing as at beginning of scene.)
  When rosy dawn, etc.

 

(CURTAIN.)

 



 

 

ACT III.

 

Scene I.— A wood; late in the afternoon; members of Mignon’s suite.

 

First Lady-in-Waiting.
(Sings.)
   The daisies have finished their play,
   For the dusk-folk crowd and creep;
   And the green boughs sway in a drowsy way,
   For the flowers are going to sleep.
Chorus.
   High—low, soft and slow,

5
   Hush, hush, hush.
   The robin’s sweet carol is still,
   Soft nestled their watch they keep;
   And the murmuring rill creeps adown the hill,
   For the birdies are going to sleep.
10
Chorus.
   High—low, soft and slow,
   Hush, hush, hush.
   The sounds of the day are gone,
   For the shadows are long and deep;
   And the play was done with the setting sun,
15

   For the babies are going to sleep.
Chorus.
   High—low, soft and slow,
   Hush, hush, hush.

(Enter Mignon.)

First Lady-in-Waiting. —Your Highness, it grows dark; where shall we pass the night?

20


Mignon.
—There is, they tell me, a village at the other end of the wood; we will, doubtless, find shelter there. Do you know, my friends and attendants why we have so suddenly left the court and have gone on this journey?

Attendants.
—No, your Highness.

25

Mignon.
—I will tell you. You know that when my father, the King of the Land of the Snowflake, died, he ordered that I should not become queen of my Kingdom until after my marriage; that until that time the country must be governed by the fairy Aveline. My people have urged me to marry; and many suitors have asked for
30
my hand.

First Lady-in-Waiting.
—Your Highness, some have thought that your Higness favored Prince Flouet.

Mignon (frowning). —It is not so. Listen, my people. You remember Souci?

35

Lord Chamberlain.
—What, the young man who worked in the kitchen?
Mignon. —Yes, it is of him I speak. Know then that he is the King of Flowerland and followed me into the palace and became my servant for love of me.
40

Attendant.
—Souci a king?

First Lady-in-Waiting. —We thought he had the bearing of a prince.

Second Lady-in-Waiting. —Under all his patience there was a smile as though he knew it was but for a time.
45

Mignon.
—He was brave and kind, and kingly in spite of his rags; is it not so?

Attendants. —Yes, yes, your Highness.

Mignon. —He left the palace in search of some great deed to prove his love still further. He needs not to do this. So I have
50
come, attended by you all, in search of him. It is not well that he should run great risks for me who am already won. What say you?

Lord Chamberlain.
—We will find your King, my Princess; at daybreak we will set out again.

Chorus.

   On, on, let us go, etc.
(As in Act II. Scene I.)
55

(A peal of thunder, darkness, screams and scurrying feet; when light returns Mignon is alone; looks about, fearfully.)


Mignon.
—My Lord Chamberlain, Pierrot, Cosette, where are you?


(Enter Grimace, a malevolent grin on her face.)

Mignon.
—So this is your work, wicked one?

Grimace.
—Did I not tell you, my lady, that you would rue the day in which you flouted me and my Prince. Promise to marry Flouet
60
and you will be set at liberty; refuse, and you shall be my servant.

Mignon.
—My people will return. I will call upon Aveline.

Grimace.
—Aveline is far away, over the settle in your palace. Choose. Will you marry Flouet, or be a servant, a drudge, a goose-girl?

65

Mignon.
—What am I to do? Was ever maiden in such a plight?
(Sings entreatingly.)
   Oh, pity, fairy, pity,
   A poor forsaken girl,
   Whose heart is torn with doubting,
   Whose brain is in a whirl.
70
   No deed of mine has harmed thee,
   No thought of mine is ill;
   Why shouldst thou force a frightened girl
   To wed against her will?
   I cannot take this prince of thine
75
   To be my wedded lord;
   I do not love; how could I then
   Give him my plighted word?
   A princess I, I cannot live
   A wretched slave to thee,
80
   Oh, let me go, I ask, I beg,
   I pray thee, set me free.
   See, see, here at your feet,
   Proud Princess Mignon kneel;
   Witness now her defeat,
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   Some sweet pity feel.

Grimace.
—Choose, girl, choose!

Mignon
(aside). —If my lord became a servant for love of me, can I do less for him? I will not hesitate. (Aloud) I will not marry Flouet.
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Grimace
 (calls). —Aha! Aha! Then come, my goose- girls and take your companion.

(Enter Goose-girls, who dance about Mignon, pull off her dress, put on tattered things, singing.)

   Come, come, come,
   Come through the grass,
   Feeding the geese,
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   Like a good lass;
   Black bread and water,
   Fit food for thee;
   Be our companion,
   Goose-girls we.
100

   Come, come, come,
   Down by the brook,
   In the deep water,
   Taking a look;
   Though we be ragged,
105
   Fit mates for thee;
   Be our companion,
   Goose-girls we.

 

(CURTAIN.)



 

Scene II.— Meadow near Grimace’s hut. Mignon, in Goose-girl’s
      dress, sits on log.

 

Mignon. —How wretched I am. This wicked fairy still keeps me a prisoner. I have no companions but the rough goose-girls, no food but the coarsest, and little enough of that. I am kept at work all day, tending the geese. Glad, indeed, am I that I am able to breathe the fresh air, and bathe in the soft grass. And sometimes

5
I see the water-lilies in the pond, turning their beautiful faces up to the sky.

( Sings .)
   Deep in the heart of the world’s desire,
   Far from the warmth and the sunlight’s power;
   Learning its lesson of mud and mire,
10
   Stretches the root of the lotus flower.

   Up through the water of finer sense,
   See the green stem on its heavenward way;
   Striving unseen with a hope intense,
   Through great endeavor to find the day.
15
   Up where the sun-god his radiance pours,
   See the white crown of the lotus gleam;
   Gazing where distant the sky-lark soars,
   Earth sights and shadows have grown a dream.

(Enter Grimace.)

How, now, idle one; get thee to thy companions and mind the
20
geese.

Mignon. —Oh, Grimace, hast thou not punished me enough? Let me go, I entreat thee.

Grimace.
—If thou wilt promise to marry Floret I will set thee free this moment.

25
Mignon (shaking head sadly). —It is too dear a price to pay for my freedom. (Gets up languidly and starts to go; picks a tall white flower as she passes, and smells it; sees a note inside and takes it out eagerly.)

Mignon
(aside.) —What is this? a note (opens it) a message
from Souci, carried by the birds, maybe; (reads) “I am near, fear not.”
30

Grimace. —What hast thou there?
(Mignon is silent.)

Grimace.
—Give it to me.

Mignon
(holding it tight.) —No, I will not give it to thee.

Grimace.
—Thou wilt not, hussy? I will make thee.

(Lifts stick to beat Mignon; enter Souci suddenly, and holds her arm.)
 

King.
—Stop, wicked woman, an end to thy evil deeds.
35

Grimace
(chuckling.) —Ah, ha! you think to rescue the Princess, but that is folly; I have servants, hobgoblins and sprites who will tear her from you in an instant if I but stamp my foot.

King.
—Thou wilt not let her go then?

Grimace.
—No.
40

King.
—Then listen. Where is thy Prince Flouet?

Grimace.
—He is still in the palace.

King.
—He is not in the palace. He is in the hands of the fairy, Girouette, who has returned to my court. Angered at your treatment of the Princess, whom I love, she has stolen Prince
45
Flouet and unless the Princess is forthwith released, Flouet will be killed by order of the fay.

Grimace.
—Alack, alack, I am outwitted! Take the Princess and be gone.

(Exit.)

(Enter Goose-girls, dance about the two.)

Chorus of Goose-girls.
   Bright sunshine
50
   Comes after rain,
   Day after dark,
   Peace after pain.
   Black bread and water,
   No food for thee;
55
   Not our companion,
   Goose-girls we.
   Good by then,
   Go with thy lord;
   Gay are his robes,
60
   Bright is his sword.
   Though we be ragged,
   Happy are we,
   Roaming the meadows,
   Goose-girls we.
65

 

CURTAIN.



 

Scene III.— King Souci’s Palace; wedding festivities. Souci, Mignon,
      Aveline, Courtiers, and some of Mignon’s Suite.

 

Chorus of Courtiers.
   Now the night is over,
   All our woes are past,
   For our gracious sovereign
   Finds his Queen at last.
   So we dance and carol,

5

   Happy as the day;
   Though the road was rugged,
   Love has found the way.

King.
—Here we are at last, my Queen, home in my palace, and among my subjects. Your people were not over willing to spare

10
you, even for a short time. Think you we shall be able wisely to govern two kingdoms?

Mignon.
—Yes, my King. We can spend half of our time in one kingdom, half in the other.

King.
—And during the time that we are absent from our
15
respective kingdoms?

Mignon.
—The fairy Aveline will take charge of the land of the Snowflake in my absence. What say you, Aveline?

Aveline:
(Sings.)
   I will be
   Warder free
20

   For my lady dear,
   She may roam
   Far from home
   I am always near.

Mignon. —But who will take care of Flowerland in your absence?
25

King.
—I had hoped much from the return of the fairy Girouette; but after coming to my aid and capturing Prince Flouet she seems to have again disappeared.

Chorus.

   We know her well, on her our hopes are set,
   The fay of fays, the fairy Girouette.
30

(Enter Girouette.)

   Here once more,
   As before,
   All together met.
   I am here,
   Children dear,
35
   Fairy Girouette.
Chorus.
   We know her well, on her our hopes are set,
   The fay of fays, the fairy Girouette.
   Listen well,
   I will tell
40
   I will tell
   Why I left the King.
   ’Twas no whim,
   Love for him
   Sent me wandering.
45
Chorus.
   It was alone her love for her dear king
   Her love alone that sent her wandering.
Girouette.
   Well I knew
   Were I true
   He would never rule,
50
   So I left
   Him bereft
   To Dame Trouble’s school.
Chorus.
   We know her well, on her our hopes are set,
   The fay of fays, the fairy Girouette.
55

Girouette
(to King and Mignon.) —So now, my children, all is well. You have found each other and you will be happy. And while Souci is with his bride in the land of the Snowflake I will rule over Flower- land. But only while you are away, my Souci; for now you are wiser and can rule your kingdom without me. Why here
60
comes Grimace, and with her Prince Flouet.

King.
—And she seems pleased.

(Enter Grimace and Flouet.)

Chorus.
   What, Grimace here, the cruel, cruel fay,
   We hope the King will punish her to-day;
King. —Well, Grimace, are you not afraid to show your face here

65
after your treatment of Mignon?

Grimace.
—Ah, my King, I know that you and your Queen will not harm a poor fay during your wedding. festivities. After all, it was partly through me that you won the princess.

King
(laughs).—Well. What about Flouet?
70

Grimace.
—I shall marry him to the Princess Diaphane.

King.
—But are you not afraid that you may lose Diaphane if a good wind springs up some day?

Grimace
(triumphantly). —I have arranged for that. I shall have weights fastened to the feet of the Princess!

75

Mignon.
—How very uncomfortable!

(Grimace and Flouet retire to back of stage; sounds of bands of music, enter Ditto and Council.)


Ditto

(Sings).
   Now this happy state of things as you all know well,
   Is due to nothing more or less
   Than the happy culmination of my skillful machination,
   Which I mentioned in my first address.
80
   All people who had axes for to grind, you see,
   Have made them nice and sharp, they say;
   And as for all the rest, well I’ve done my very best
   To let them have their own sweet way.
Chorus.
   Just so, just so,
85
   Quite right, I know,
   I certainly with you must quite agree;
   It causes me much wonder
   That you never, never blunder,
   You are simply just as right as right can be.
90

King.
—Bravo, Ditto. Well, my Queen, the clouds are past, and the skies are clear. Nothing remains for us but to live happy ever after.

Mignon.
—We will, my King; together we will find out and settle the troubles of your people, and they all shall be happy with us.
95

King
(Sings).
   There are no joys for him who trial flees,
   No spoils of war for him who stays at ease;
   All that man knows of beauty or of good,
   Is won from labor and through hardihood.
Chorus of Courtiers, etc.
   There are no chimes for him whose ears are closed, etc.
100

(As in Act I. Scene II.)

 

(CURTAIN.)