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SCENE II

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Before the house of Ursula. Villagers have gathered after labour. Evening.

Ursula
 

Slowly, slowly up the wall,
Steals the sunshine, steals the shade,
Evening damps begin to fall,
Evening shadows are displayed.
Shafts of sunshine from the west
Paint the dusky windows red,
Paint the dusky windows red.
Underneath and overhead,
Darker shadows, deeper rest,
Deeper rest.

Evening Hymn

Chorus
 

O gladsome Light
Of the Father immortal,
And of the celestial
Sacred and blessed
Jesus our Saviour!

O gladsome Light
Of the Father immortal,
And of the celestial
Sacred and blessed
Jesus our Saviour!

Now to the sunset
Again hast Thou brought us,
And, seeing the evening
Twilight, we bless Thee,
Praise Thee, praise Thee,
Adore Thee, praise Thee,
Adore Thee, we bless Thee,
Praise Thee, we bless Thee,
Adore Thee.
Father Omnipotent!
Son, the life-giver!
Spirit, the Comforter!
Worthy at all times
Of worship and wonder!

Now to the sunset
Again hast Thou brought us,
Again hast Thou brought us,
And, seeing the evening
Twilight, we bless Thee,
Bless Thee, adore Thee.

During the last bars of the Evening Hymn, Prince Henry, at the door, sings "Amen".

Ursula
  Who was it said, "Amen"?
Elsie
  It was the Prince.
He is gone again.
Would I could do something for his sake;
Something to cure his sorrow and pain.
Ursula
  That no one can, neither thou nor I,
Nor anyone else.
Elsie
  And must he die?
Ursula
  Unless some maiden of her own accord
Offers her life for that of her lord.
Elsie
 

I will.

Ursula
  Foolish child, be still.
Elsie
  I mean it truly; for his sake
I will myself the offering make,
And give my life to purchase his.
Ursula
  My child, my child, thou must not die!
Elsie
  Why should I live? do I not know
The life of woman is full of woe?
Toiling on and on,
With breaking heart and tearful eyes,
And silent lips, and in the soul
The secret longings that arise,
Which this world never satisfies!
Ursula
  Ah, woe is me! ah, woe is me!
Alas that I should live to see
Thy death, beloved, and to stand
Above thy grave.
Ah, woe the day, ah woe the day,
Ah, woe the day!
Elsie
  Thou wilt not see it. I shall lie
Beneath the flow'rs of another land,
For at Salerno, far away,
Over the mountains, over the sea,
Far away, far away,
It is appointed me to die.
Ursula
  In God's own time, my heart's delight,
When He shall call thee; not before.
Elsie
  I heard him call. When Christ ascended
Triumphantly from star to star,
He left the gates of Heaven ajar.
I had a vision in the night
And saw him standing at the door
Of His Father's mansion, vast and splendid,
And beckoning to me, from afar.
Ursula (entering the house)
  What if this were of God! Ah! then
Gainsay dare I not. Amen.

Elsie (left alone) Elsie prays
  My Redeemer and my Lord,
I beseech Thee, I entreat Thee,
Guide me in each act and word,
That hereafter I may meet Thee,
Watching, waiting, hoping, yearning,
With my lamp well trimmed and burning.
If my feeble prayer can reach Thee,
O my Saviour, I beseech Thee,
Let me follow where thou leadest,
Let me, bleeding as Thou bleedest,
Die, if dying I may give
Life to one who asks to live;
And more nearly
Dying thus, resemble Thee,
O, my Saviour,
Let me die, if dying I may give
Life to one who asks to live,
And dying thus, dying thus,
More nearly resemble Thee,
O my Saviour,
My Redeemer and my Lord.

Prince Henry enters.

  My life is little —
Only a cup of water
But pure and limpid;
Take it, O my Prince!
Let it refresh you,
Let it restore you,
May God bless the gift.
Chorus of Angels
  Amen.
Prince Henry
  And the giver!
Chorus of Angels
  Amen.

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Date modified 5 January, 2010 Copyright © 2010 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved