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MIDI Symbol

The Market-place of Mirlemont. On the left stands the town-hall approached by a flight of steps; and on the other side of the market-place, facing the town-hall, there is an inn, bearing the sign of the "Golden Head." From above the town-hall there runs a broad street; and on the right, in the distance, is the mouth of a narrow alley. There are other outlets from the market-place upon either side. The sun shines brilliantly.

Many of the townsfolk — men, women, and children — are already assembled; others join them, appearing from different directions; greetings are exchanged; the people gather in knots to discuss the merits of the candidates for the prize of beauty. A few soldiers mix with the crowd, flirting with the young women; the inn drives a good trade; there is continual movement and bustle. A body of pikemen are lounging about the steps of the town-hall, and in the doorway stand certain of the aldermen and office-holders of the town.

MAIDENS. The bells are ringing o'er Mirlemont town,
    Lord Philip rides forth on his way!
ALL. The bells are ringing o'er Mirlemont town,
    Lord Philip rides forth on his way!
  From his saddle-bow hangs a rosebud crown,
And a silver cord that shall girdle the gown
    Of her who is fairest to-day.
Of her who is fairest to-day.
  From his saddle-bow hangs a rosebud crown,
And a silver cord that shall girdle the gown
    Of her who is fairest to-day, to-day,
Is fairest, fairest to-day.
MAIDENS. Then tell us, ye burghers of Mirlemont town,
    Who is it that rules ye to-day?
MEN. Lord Philip, he rules o'er burgher and clown;
From his castle gate he comes riding down
    With his gallants in proud array.
MAIDENS.   Sir Burghers, we tell ye nay,
'Tis not to a gallant ye pray;
  Who rules ye now was never a lord,
She needs no spear and she bears no sword
    Who wins with a smile or a frown,
  With soft eyes hazel or gray,
    With tresses golden or brown —
  'Tis Beauty that rules ye to-day,
    Ye Burghers of Mirlemont town!
ALL. With soft eyes hazel or gray,
    With tresses golden or brown —
  'Tis Beauty that rules ye to-day,
    Ye Burghers of Mirlemont town!

The Competitor crowned with lilies enters, with her supporters. They make for the inn, singing as they go.

COMPETITOR'S FRIENDS.* [8 sopranos]
  Maidens and men of Mirlemont town,
    Hither we come at your call!
  Ye have bidden the fairest, then needs must ye own
    We bring ye the fairest of all!
  White lilies she wears for her crown,
    For her cheek as a lily is white,
  And straight as a lily she grows,
    Straight and slender and tall;
  Yet day shall not draw to its close
Ere the lily be changed to the rose,
    For shall ye not crown her to-night
      The fairest of all?
    For shall ye not crown her to-night
      The fairest of all?
       
MEN. If this indeed be Beauty's Queen —
MAIDENS.     We say not so!
We say not so!
MEN. Then every maiden lank and lean,
With waxen cheek and eyes of green,
    May win that wreath of budding rose.
MAIDENS. In sooth 'tis not of her we speak —
MEN.     Then bid her go!
Then bid her go!
MAIDENS. Yet look again; for though her cheek
Be all too white, that blush ye seek
    Hath fled, hath fled,
Hath fled to warm her ruddy nose!
ALL.     Ha! ha! ha! ha!

Amidst jeers and laughter the Competitor and her friends go into the inn.

COMPETITOR'S FRIENDS CHORUS
Maidens and men of Mirlemont town, Welcome strangers to Mirlemont town,
Hither we come at you call! Hither ye come at our call!
Ye have bidden the fairest, We have bidden the fairest,
yet needs must ye own yet needs must we own
We bring you the fairest of all, Ye bring not the fairest of all,
then needs must ye own then needs must we own
We bring you the fairest, Ye bring you the fairest,
fairest, bring not the fairest
bring you the fairest of all! Ye bring not the fairest of all
We bring you the fairest, the fairest of all
We bring you the fairest, Ye bring not the fairest,
the fairest of all! the fairest of all!

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