|You are here: > The Rose of Persia > > Act II
Rose: Heart's Desire, I have been summoned to the ceremony of my divorce and disgrace! How am I looking?
Desire. Are you ready for your wedding with my Story-Teller?
Rose. Cannot you do anything to save me?
Desire: I wish I could. I tried to tell the Sultan that it was only myself impersonating you at Hassan's house, but he wouldn't listen.
Rose: He might later on if we could only put it off.
Enter Scent-of-Lilies, then Honey-of-Life.
Blush: Oh, which one of you is the Sultana?
Rose: I am for a minute or two longer.
Blush: Well, Dancing Sunbeam says you left off being Sultana half an hour ago, when she came. And she wants to know if it is true that a message has just been sent to the Sultana, and, if so, why it was not brought to her!
Honey: The Sultan did say she was to be treated as Sultana.
Scent: Do you thing we could manage?
Desire: Yes. Yussuf said he wouldn't mind if she were middle- aged and plain, and I'm bound to believe him; and it would comfort me.
Scent: Here she comes! (Drums.)
Honey: And here's the Executioner!
Desire (to Rose). Run back to the eastern door. She shall take your place.
Exit Rose-in-Bloom. Enter Dancing Sunbeam.
Sunbeam: Are you not aware that I am Sultana and that it was I who should have been summoned to this ceremony, whatever it is?
Blush: They understand now. They made a mistake.
Scent, Honey, and Desire: We apologize.
Sunbeam: Well, well, you can enlighten me on a small point of etiquette that, curiously enough, I am ignorant of. Should I be veiled, or not, for this ceremony?
Scent: Of course.
Desire: It is most important!
Honey: There will be men present horrid men! Don't you know that the Queen's face must never be seen by any man but the Sultan? (They begin arranging the veil.)
Sunbeam: Men are absurdly jealous!
Blush: But what is the ceremony?
Sunbeam: I have an idea that I am to be publicly acknowledged Queen. In a few minutes you will see me attain the summit of even my Ararat of ambition!
She is veiled the Girls twist her round, humming:
Girls: Giddy girl this way, giddy girl that,
Exeunt Honey-of-Life and Heart's Desire. Enter Executioner
Exec. Is the Sultana here?
Sunbeam: I am she.
Scent (going to him). Yes, that is she!
Exec. When I have pronounced the decree your veil will be removed, that all and sundry, high and low, may gaze upon your beauty.
Sunbeam: A very good idea.
Scent (to Executioner). You have never seen the Sultana's face, have you?
Exec. No man has, except the Sultan. You ought to know that.
Scent: The reason I mention it is, if you had, you will find her greatly changed. The anxiety she has gone through during the last half-hour has added at least twenty-five years to her appearance; even her voice has turned into a contralto. (Exit.)
Exec. Bring in the Story-Teller. (Enter Yussuf.) I am going to pronounce the decree.
Sunbeam: Don't waste any more time. (The Executioner unfolds a scroll.)
Exec. By the decree of the Sultan, I pronounce you divorced eternally disgraced and married to this vagabond. Remove your veil take twopence from the poor-box go in peace I have spoken.
The veil is removed Picture.
Exec. The thing's quite plain.
Yussuf: It is. And middle-aged. This is what Heart's Desire meant.
Exec. You're married. It's all over. Now it's over, I don't mind acknowledging I'm sorry for both of you. I've never felt any qualms at executing anybody; but marrying 'em is different. I'm not a marrying man. Scent-of-Lilies says I am but I'm not. It upsets me. (Exit.)
Page modified 5 July, 2008 Copyright © 2008 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved