You are here: Archive Home > Gilbert > Short Stories > Ruy Blas
The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive   Ruy Blas


Queen Maria's Boudoir in the Palace. Queen discovered lying down, surrounded by her Ladies. The Queen rises as the scene opens.

Queen. Unhappy Queen — unhappy maiden, I!
In vain to get a wink of sleep I try;
But wander, dressing-gowny and night-cappy.
I seldom get a nap — I'm so un-nappy!
Oh gentle sleep — apostrophized as sich
By some late monarch — I forget by which —
Oh, how I nightly long for that blest time
When bathed in sleep, I need not talk in rhyme,
Or be prepared to sing about my cares
In parodies on all the well-known airs!


AIR"A Hunting we will go."

The king announces every morn,
  In summer or in snow,
To me, his faithful wife forlorn,
  That a hunting lie will go!
What kind of pleasure can he find
  In tearing through his parks,
In search of game of various kind,
  Confining his remarks
    To "Hey! ho! Chevy!
Hark forward! hark forward! Tantivy !" &c.
If this goes on much longer, why
I'm sure that I shall die!

If he'd confine his hunting to
  The usual time of year,
I'd not complain — but all in vain,
  The season's ever here.
How can he care to spend the day
  With. huntsmen and with hounds,
Expressing all he wants to say,
  In such unmeaning sounds
    As "Hey! ho! Chevy!
Hark forward! hark forward! Tantivy!" &c.
If this goes on much longer, why
I'm sure that I shall die.

Casilda. Oh, don't go on in that dejected way!
You'll live to rule us yet for many a day.

Queen. What is a reine with only half a bridal?
To sue is idle when one's suicidal.

Casilda. How shall we keep Your Majesty before us?
(Struck by bright idea.) Let's sing "God save the Queen!"

All. Yes, with a chorus!

Queen. Your Poet-Laureate anthem's out of date —
An'them's the sort of poet lore I hate!
[Taking up a bouquet.
I seek to cheer my solitary hours
With the companionship of lovely flowers;
My dreary loneliness they seem to cheer.

Casilda. Where did you get those lovely flowers, dear?

Queen. (hesitating) I gathered them this morning, all alone
I always pick them. When you cull your own
The odour seems much sweeter to the nose.

Casilda. Odour cull own you'd call it, I suppose?

Queen. (aside to Casilda).
Casilda, keep a secret if you can.
The flowers were placed them by a fine     young man,
Who, surely as nocturnal shadows fall —
Braving the broken bottles on the wall,
And all the obstacles that intervene —
Places a bouquet ready for his Queen;
And in the flowers on which he knows I dote,
This morning he concealed this tender note!
[Taking note out of the bouquet, and kissing it rapturously.
Illustration by Gilbert

Casilda. You saw him?

Queen.                           Yes.

Casilda.                                  His face?

Queen.                                                     Alas ! he fled
Ere I could make remarks upon that head
But as I scanned his footsteps in the mould
With eager curiosity, behold!
I found this blood-stained piece upon the sod!
[Producing a piece of red plush.

Casilda. He must have had a most unpleasant prod.

Queen. The stuff's completely saturated!

Casilda.                                                        Tush!
It's crimson velvet, dear, or else (examining, it more closely) red plush!
Some footman, pr'aps, who hopes, my dear relation,
By a grand junction to improve his station.
To spot the man's identity were aisy!

Queen. Ah! well-a-day!

Casilda. (pointing, to bouquet) Or, rather, lackey-daisy!


AIR"The Warbling Waggoner."

When first I went a-governing,
  A-governing did go,
I thought to have my own way —
  That none, should say me "No!" —
But ere I had been at it long,
  I found it wasn't so-o-o.
I had to come and go,
  Receive with pomp and show
From nations, deputations,
  Which confusticate one so!
Chorus. She had to come and go,
    Receive with pomp and show
  From nations, deputations,
    Which confusticate her so!

This weary life distresses me,
  Away, I want to go;
On Margate's graceful jetty,
  I long to have a blow.
I only wish that I had here
  That gentlemanly beau-o-o
Whom yesterday, I know,
  Was on the wall below
A-sticking in the broken glass
  And swearing at it so!
Chorus. (slyly to each other)
  Whom yesterday, we know, &c.

Enter a Page.

Queen. What want you?

Page. Please your Majesty, I bring
A letter from my sovereign Lord, the King!
[Hands note to the Queen.

Queen. At last he writes — perhaps to name the day.
Six weary, weary months have passed away
Since last he wrote to me, his queen dejected!

Casilda. (aside). Considerably less that I expected!

Queen. I'll read it out — it may, perhaps, amuse you all.
(Reads.) "I've killed six foxes — and it rains, as usual!"
(In a rage.) This note which tells of his success, I'm certain
Is but a blind!

Casilda.   It's certainly a curt'un!

Queen. It's not his handwriting! (To Page.) Who penned this note?

Page. The king was mounted, and a noble wrote
As he dictated, madam.

Queen. (aside)         Can it be
That this handwriting's not unknown to me?
Pothooks and hangers such as these, appear
In that of my mysterious cavalier.
Stranger coincidence, we seldom see!
King Charles does, sometimes, correspond with me,
But stranger still, by hap or by design,
King Charles's letter "corresponds" with mine!
[Placing the two notes together, and comparing them.
They're just alike in every respect,
E'en to an insignificant defect
In the orthography — Oh, lucky star!
In each I'm Queen M. A. R. I. E. R!
And this conclusion from that fact I frame —
This noble and my lover are the same!
On him, Casilda, from this hour I dote!
A noble, dear!

Casilda.   No doubt, a man of note!

Queen. (to Page) His name? Who wrote the letter? — answer, man!

Page. Your Majesty, Don Cæsar de Bazan!

Queen. Oh, joy will surely turn my queenly brain!
The most accomplished nobleman in Spain.
Who, throwing all his rivals in the shade,
Rose rapidly through each inferior grade;
And now he fills a Spanish Premier's station,
All by competitive examination!


AIR — "Fly not yet."

Queen. The rank of him who sought my bower,
To doubt is quite beyond my power;
My lover dearly proves to be
That flower of nobility —
Don Cæsar de Bazan.
Casilda. Don't be too sure of what you say,
For errors happen every day.
The proof which drowns your common sense,
Is circumstantial evidence!
Queen.       Oh, no! oh, no!
Casilda. Tho' circumstances, dear, it's true,
    May, perhaps, corroborate your view;
      The plush remains, my dear!

Next Scene

Page modified 22 August, 2011