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No. 19: CHORUS OF ANCESTORS
No. 20: SONG (Sir Roderic)

"Painted emblems of a race...
When the night wind howls"

Midi Symbol MIDI File [48KB, 5' 55"]

The stage darkens for a moment. It becomes light again, and the Pictures are seen to have become animated.

Ghosts.
Painted emblems of a race,
All accurst in days of yore,
Each from his accustomed place
Steps into the world once more.

The Pictures step from their frames and march round the stage.

Ghosts.
Baronet of Ruddigore,
Last of our accursed line,
Down upon the oaken floor –
Down upon those knees of thine.

Coward, poltroon, shaker, squeamer,
Blockhead, sluggard, dullard, dreamer,
Shirker, shuffler, crawler, creeper,
Sniffler, snuffler, wailer, weeper,
Earthworm, maggot, tadpole, weevil!
Set upon thy course of evil,
Lest the King of Spectre-land
Set on thee his grisly hand!

The Spectre of Sir Roderic descends from his frame.

Sir Roderic.
Sir Roderic (Donald Adams) steps from his frame. (1961-2)
Click on picture to enlarge
Beware! beware! beware!
Robin.
Gaunt vision, who art thou
That thus, with icy glare
And stern relentless brow,
Appearest, who knows how?
Sir Roderic.
I am the spectre of the late
Sir Roderic Murgatroyd,
Who comes to warn thee that thy fate
Thou canst not now avoid.
Robin.
Alas, poor ghost!
Sir Roderic.
The pity you Express for nothing goes:
We spectres are a jollier crew
Than you, perhaps, suppose!
Ghosts.
We spectres are a jollier crew
Than you, perhaps, suppose!

Darrell Fancourt as Sir Roderic (1926)
Click on picture to enlarge
Sir Roderic.
When the night wind howls in the chimney cowls, and the bat in the moonlight flies,
And inky clouds, like funeral shrouds, sail over the midnight skies –
When the footpads quail at the night-bird's wail, and black dogs bay at the moon,
Then is the spectres' holiday – then is the ghosts' high-noon!
Ghosts.
Ha! ha!
Sir Roderic.
For then is the ghosts' high-noon!
Ghosts.
Ha! ha!
Sir Roderic & Ghosts.
High noon,
then is the ghosts' high noon!

Sir Roderic.
As the sob of the breeze sweeps over the trees, and the mists lie low on the fen,
From grey tomb-stones are gathered the bones that once were women and men,
And away they go, with a mop and a mow, to the revel that ends too soon,
For cockcrow limits our holiday – the dead of the night's high-noon!
Ghosts.
Ha! ha!
Sir Roderic.
The dead of the night's high-noon!
Ghosts.
Ha! ha!
Sir Roderic & Ghosts.
High noon, the dead of the night's high-noon!

Sir Roderic.
John Ayldon as Sir Roderic (1970s)
Click on picture to enlarge
And then each ghost with his ladye-toast to their churchyard beds takes flight,
With a kiss, perhaps, on her lantern chaps, and a grisly grim "good-night";
Till the welcome knell of the midnight bell rings forth its jolliest tune,
And ushers in our next high holiday – the dead of the night's high-noon!
Ghosts.
Ha! ha!
Sir Roderic.
The dead of the night's high-noon!
Ghosts.
Ha! ha!
Sir Roderic.
High noon,
the dead of the night's high-noon! Ha! ha! ha! ha!

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