The Mikado

   

You are here: Archive Home > The Mikado > Web Opera > Act I

Dialogue following No. 3


Enter Pooh-Bah.

Nanki-Poo. Ko-Ko, the cheap tailor, Lord High Executioner of Titipu! Why, that's the highest rank a citizen can attain!

Pooh-Bah. It is. Our logical Mikado, seeing no moral difference between the dignified judge who condemns a criminal to die, and the industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence, has rolled the two offices into one, and every judge is now his own executioner.

Nanki-Poo. But how good of you (for I see that you are a nobleman of the highest rank) to condescend to tell all this to me, a mere strolling minstrel!

Pooh-Bah. Don't mention it. I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering. But I struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride continually. When all the great officers of State resigned in a body because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once?

Nanki-Poo (Philip Potter) & Pooh-Bah
(Kenneth Sandford) 1966
Click on picture to enlarge

Pish-Tush. And the salaries attached to them? You did.

Pooh-Bah. It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a salary! A Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I do it! It revolts me, but I do it!

Nanki-Poo. And it does you credit.

Pooh-Bah. But I don't stop at that. I go and dine with middle-class people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap suburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low figure. For instance, any further information about Yum-Yum would come under the head of a State secret. (Nanki-Poo takes his hint, and gives him money.) (aside) Another insult and, I think, a light one!

Next Page Next Song Top of Page Opera Home Page Previous Song Previous Page

Archive Home  | The Mikado

Page Created 21 June, 2006