Princess Ida


   

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Dialogue following No. 18



Princess. You say you know the court of Hildebrand?
There is a Prince there – I forget his name –
Hilarion. Hilarion?    
Princess.   Exactly – is he well?
Hilarion. If it be well to droop and pine and mope,
To sigh 'Oh, Ida! Ida!' all day long,
'Ida! my love! my life! Oh, come to me!'
If it be well, I say, to do all this,
Then Prince Hilarion is very well.
Princess. He breathes our name? Well, it's a common one!
And is the booby comely?
Hilarion.       Pretty well.
  I've heard it said that if I dressed myself
In Prince Hilarion's clothes (supposing this
Consisted with my maiden modesty),
I might be taken for Hilarion's self.
But what is this to you or me, who think
Of all mankind with undisguised contempt?
Princess. Contempt? Why, damsel, when I think of man,
Contempt is not the word.
Cyril. (getting tipsy)   I'm sure of that,
  Or if it is, it surely should not be!
Hilarion. (aside to Cyril ) Be quiet, idiot, or they'll find us out.
Cyril. The Prince Hilarion's a goodly lad!
Princess. You know him then?
Cyril. (tipsily)   I rather think I do!
  We are inseparables!
Princess.     Why, what's this?
  You love him then?  
Cyril.     We do indeed – all three!
Hilarion. Madam, she jests! (aside to Cyril ) Remember where you are!
Cyril. Jests? Not at all! Why, bless my heart alive,
You and Hilarion, when at the Court,
Rode the same horse!
Princess. (horrified) Astride?
Cyril.         Of course! Why not?
  Wore the same clothes – and once or twice, I think,
Got tipsy in the same good company!
Princess. Well, these are nice young ladies, on my word!
Cyril. (tipsy) Don't you remember that old kissing-song
He'd sing to blushing Mistress Lalage,
The hostess of the Pigeons? Thus it ran:

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