The Yeomen of the Guard


   

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No. 12: FINALE - ACT I

"Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true"
Midi Symbol MIDI File [120KB, 15' 24 "]


Enter Yeomen of the Guard

Yeomen.
Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true —
The welcome news we read in orders?
Thy son, whose deeds of derring-do
Are echoed all the country through,
Has come to join the Tower Warders?
If so, we come to meet him,
That we may fitly greet him,
And welcome his arrival here
With shout on shout and cheer on cheer,
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

1980 Production
Click on picture to enlarge
Meryll.
Ye Tower Warders, nursed in war's alarms,
Suckled on gunpowder, and weaned on glory,
Behold my son, whose all-subduing arms
Have formed the theme of many a song and story!
Forgive his aged father's pride; nor jeer
His aged father's sympathetic tear!
(Pretending to weep.)

Yeomen.
Leonard Meryll!
Leonard Meryll!
Dauntless he in time of peril!
Man of power,
Knighthood's flower,
Welcome to the grim old Tower,
To the Tower, welcome thou!

Fairfax.
Forbear, my friends, and spare me this ovation,
I have small claim to such consideration;
The tales that of my prowess are narrated
Have been prodigiously exaggerated,
Prodigiously exaggerated!

Yeomen.
'Tis ever thus!
Wherever valour true is found,
True modesty will there abound.
John Dean as Fairfax, 1939
Click on picture to enlarge

1st Yeoman.
Didst thou not, oh, Leonard Meryll!
Standard lost in last campaign,
Rescue it at deadly peril —
Bear it safely back again?

Yeomen.
Leonard Meryll, at his peril,
Bore it safely back again!

2nd Yeoman.
Didst thou not, when prisoner taken,
And debarred from all escape,
Face, with gallant heart unshaken,
Death in most appalling shape?

Yeomen.
Leonard Meryll, faced his peril,
Death in most appalling shape!

Fairfax. (aside)
Truly I was to be pitied,
Having but an hour to live,
I reluctantly submitted,
I had no alternative!
  (aloud)
Oh! the tales that are narrated
Of my deeds of derring-do
Have been much exaggerated,
Very much exaggerated,
Scarce a word of them is true!
Scarce a word of them is true!

Yeomen.
They are not exaggerated,
Not at all exaggerated,
Could not be exaggerated,
Ev'ry word of them is true!

Enter Phœbe. She rushes to Fairfax. Enter Wilfred.

Phœbe.
Leonard!
Fairfax. (puzzled)
I beg your pardon?
Phœbe.
Don't you know me? I'm little Phœbe!
Fairfax. (still puzzled)
Phœbe? Is this Phœbe?
What! little Phœbe?
(aside) Who the deuce may she be?
It can't be Phœbe, surely?
Wilfred.
Yes, 'tis Phœbe —
Your sister Phœbe!
Your own little sister!
Yeomen.
Aye, he speaks the truth; 'Tis Phœbe!
Phoebe

Fairfax. (pretending to recognise her)
Sister Phœbe!
Phœbe.
Oh, my brother!
Fairfax.
Why, how you've grown!
I did not recognize you!
Phœbe.
So many years!
Oh, my brother!
Fairfax.
Oh, my sister!

Phœbe. Fairfax.
Oh, brother!
Oh, brother!
Oh, sister!
Oh, sister!

Wilfred.
Aye, hug him, girl!
There are three thou mayst hug —
Thy father and thy brother and — myself!

Fairfax.
Thyself, forsooth?
And who art thou thyself?

Wilfred.
Good sir, we are betrothed.

Fairfax turns inquiringly to Phœbe.

Phœbe.
Or more or less —
But rather less than more!

Fisher Morgan as Wilfred, c. 1950
Click on picture to enlarge
Wilfred.
To thy fond care
I do commend thy sister.
Be to her
An ever-watchful guardian — eagle-eyed!
And when she feels (as sometimes she does feel) Disposed to indiscriminate caress,
Be thou at hand to take those favours from her!

Yeomen.
Be thou at hand to take those favours from her!

Phœbe.
Yes, yes.
Be thou at hand to take those favours from me!

Wilfred.
To thy fraternal care
Thy sister I commend;
From every lurking snare
Thy lovely charge defend;
And to achieve this end,
Oh! grant, I pray, this boon —
Oh! grant this boon
She shall not quit thy sight;
From morn to afternoon —
From afternoon to night —
From seven o'clock to two —
From two to eventide —
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!

Yeomen.

From morn to afternoon —
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!


Phœbe.
So amiable I've grown,
So innocent as well,
That if I'm left alone
The consequences fell
No mortal can foretell.
So grant, I pray, this boon —
Oh! grant this boon
I shall not quit thy sight:
From morn to afternoon —
From afternoon to night —
From sev'n o'clock to two —
From two to eventide —
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
I shall not quit thy side!

Yeomen.
From morn to afternoon —
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!

Fairfax.
With brotherly readiness,
For my fair sister's sake,
At once I answer — Yes —
That task I undertake —
My word I never break.
I freely grant that boon,
And I'll repeat my plight.
From morn to afternoon — (kiss)
From afternoon to night — (kiss)
From sev'n o'clock to two — (kiss)
From two to evening meal — (kiss)
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
That compact I will seal. (kiss)

Yeomen.
From morn to afternoon,
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
He freely grants that boon.

The bell of St. Peter's begins to toll. The Crowd enters; the block is brought on to the stage, and the Headsman takes his place. The Yeomen of the Guard form up. The Lieutenant enters and takes his place, and tells off Fairfax and two others to bring the prisoner to execution. Wilfred, Fairfax, and Two Yeomen exeunt to Tower.

Chorus.
The pris'ner comes to meet his doom;
The block, the headsman, and the tomb.
The funeral bell begins to toll;
May Heav'n have mercy on his soul!
May Heav'n have mercy on his soul!

Elsie.
Oh, Mercy, thou whose smile has shone
So many a captive heart upon;
Of all immured within these walls,
To-day the very worthiest falls!

All.
Oh, Mercy, thou whose smile has shone
So many a captive heart upon;
Of all immured within these walls,
To-day the very worthiest falls!
1980 Production
Click on picture to enlarge

Elsie. Chorus.
Of all immured Of all im-
within these walls, mured with-
The wor- in these walls, The very
thiest, worthiest falls! worthiest falls!
Oh, Mercy,
Oh, Mercy! Oh, Mercy!

Enter Fairfax and Two Yeomen from Tower in great excitement.

Fairfax.
My lord! my lord!
I know not how to tell
The news I bear!
I and my comrades sought the pris'ner's cell —
He is not there!

All.
He is not there!
They sought the pris'ner's cell —
He is not there!

Fairfax & two Yeomen.
As escort for the prisoner
We sought his cell in duty bound;
The double gratings open were,
No prisoner at all we found!

Fairfax & 1st Yeoman. 2nd Yeoman.
We hunted high  
  We hunted low,
We hunted here,  
  We hunted there —

Fairfax & two Yeomen.
The man we sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!
The man we sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!

Exit Lieutenant.

Women.
Now, by my troth, the news is fair,
The man has vanished into air!

Fairfax & 1st Yeoman. 2nd Yeoman. Women. Men.
As escort for the prisoner As escort for the prisoner As escort for the prisoner As escort for the prisoner
We sought his cell in duty bound; We sought his cell in duty bound; They sought his cell in duty bound; They sought his cell in duty bound;
The double gratings open were, The double gratings open were, The double gratings open were, The double gratings open were,
No prisoner at all we found, No prisoner at all we found, No prisoner at all they found, No prisoner at all they found,
We hunted high, They hunted high,
We hunted low, They hunted low,
We hunted here, They hunted here,
We hunted there, They hunted there,

Fairfax & two Yeomen. Chorus.  
The man we sought we anxious care The man they sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air! Had vanished into empty air!
The man we sought we anxious care The man they sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air! Had vanished into empty air!

Enter Wilfred, followed by Lieutenant.

Wilfred (Sydney Granville) & the Lieutenant (Leslie Rands), 1939
Click on picture to enlarge
Lieutenant.
Astounding news! The pris'ner fled!
(To Wilfred) Thy life shall forfeit be instead!

Wilfred.
My lord, I did not set him free,
I hate the man — my rival he!

Meryll.
The pris'ner gone — I'm all agape!

Wilfred is arrested.

Lieutenant. (to Wilfred)
Thy life shall forfeit be instead!

Meryll.
Who could have helped him to escape?

Wilfred.
My lord, I did not set him free!

Wilfred is taken away.

Phœbe.
Indeed I can't imagine who!
I've no idea at all, have you?

Enter Jack Point.

Dame Carruthers.
Of his escape no traces lurk,
Enchantment must have been at work!

Elsie. (aside to Point) Phœbe& Dame Carruthers.
What have I done?
Oh, woe is me!
 
I am his wife, Indeed I can't imagine who!
and he is free! I've no ideal at all, have you?

Point.
Oh, woe is you? Your anguish sink!
Oh, woe is me, I rather think!
Oh, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Whate'er betide
You are his bride,
And I am left
Alone — bereft!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, Yes, woe is me, Yes, woe is me,
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
James Conroy-Ward as Point, 1980
Click on picture to enlarge
All.
All frenzied, frenzied with despair I/they rave,
The grave is cheated of its due.
Who is, who is the misbegotten knave
Who hath contrived this deed to do?
Let search, let search
Be made throughout the land,
Or his/my vindictive anger dread —
A thousand marks, a thousand marks
he'll/I'll hand
Who brings him here, alive or dead,
Who brings him here, alive or dead!

Women Men
A thou- A thousand, thou-
sand marks, a thou-
sand marks, sand marks,
Alive, alive or dead
Alive, alive or dead
Who brings him here, alive, alive, or dead!
Alive, alive or dead
Alive, alive or dead
Who brings him here, alive, alive, or dead!

At the end, Elsie faints in Fairfax's arms; all the Yeomen and Crowd rush off the stage in different directions, to hunt for the fugitive, leaving only the Headsman on the stage, and Elsie insensible in Fairfax's arms.

Elsie Maynard (Helen Gilliland) faints into the arms of Colonel Fairfax
(Derek Oldham)
Click on picture to enlarge

END OF ACT I

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