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Turandot, Princess of China - A Chinoiserie in Three Acts
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PLAYS OF TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW

TURANDOT PRINCESS OF CHINA

A CHINOISERIE IN THREE ACTS

BY

KARL VOLLMOELLER

AUTHORIZED ENGLISH VERSION,

BY

JETHRO BITHELL

LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN

ADELPHI TERRACE

First Edition, January, 1913

(All rights reserved.)

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

TURANDOT—Princess of China

ALTOUM—Emperor of China, her father

ADELMA—Princess of Tartary, favourite slave of Turandot

ZELIMA—Another slave of Turandot

SKIRINA—Zelima's mother

BARAK—(Under the name of Hassan), Skirina's husband; formerly Major-domo of

CALAF—Prince of Astrakhan

ISHMAEL—Major-domo of the beheaded Prince of Samarkand

PANTALONE—Prime Minister of the Emperor Altoum

TARTAGLIA—Lord High Chancellor of China

BRIGELLA Captain of the Imperial pages

TRUFFALDINO Chief Eunuch of Turandot's harem

PRINCE OF SAMARKAND... (Silent)

Eight Doctors. Female Slaves and Eunuchs of the harem. A Headsman. Soldiers of the Palace Guard.

SCENE: Pekin.—All the acting characters wear Chinese costume, except Adelma and Calaf, who are in Tartar dress.

Cast of the play as produced at the St. James's Theatre, London, on January 18, 1913, under the management of Sir George Alexander.

Turandot—EVELYN D'Alroy

Altoum—J. H. BARNES

Adelma—HILDA MOORE

Zelima—MAIRE O'NEILL

Skirina—MARGARET YARDE

Barak—ALFRED HARRIS

Calaf—GODFREY TEARLE

Ishmael JAMES BERRY

Pantalone—EDWARD SASS

Tartaglia—E. VIVIAN REYNOLDS

Brigella—FRED LEWIS

Truffadino—NORMAN FORBES

Prince of Samarkand—AUSTIN FEHRMAN

The action takes place outside the gates of Pekin, and inside the Emperor's Palace.

TO

MY FRIEND THAT GREAT ARTIST

FERRUCCIO BUSONI



NOTE

The very affecting history of the cruel Princess Turandot and the handsome Prince Calaf may be read in those Persian tales which are known by the name of The Thousand and One Nights.

Twice already has the story gone over the boards: in 1762 in Venice as "Turandotte," one of the fiabe of Count Carlo Gozzi; in 1804 in Weimar, as Friedrich Schiller's "Turandot." Both versions lived their passing hour, and died to the stage.

The present dramatisation of the ancient fable—a modest attempt to cast good metal anew—closely follows the Italian of the sardonic nobleman whose bones have been mouldering by the blue lagoons for over a hundred years.

KARL VOLLMOELLER.



THE FIRST ACT



SCENE I

One of the city gates of Pekin. Over the gate, planted on iron poles, a row of severed heads with shaven crowns and Turkish tufts.

TIME: Shortly after sunrise. When the curtain rises the gate is closed. From within the roll of drums and military commands.

BRIGELLA.

(Behind the scenes.) Halt! Present arms!

TRUFFALDINO.

(Behind the scenes.) Halt! Slope swords!

Open the gate! At ease! Quick march!

(The gate is thrown open. TRUFFALDINO, leading the eunuchs; then, between PANTALONE and TARTAGLIA, the PRINCE OF SAMARKAND; behind them, at the head of his pages, BRIGELLA. The whole procession halts in front of the gate, they all draw up in one line, and gaze upwards at the bloody heads.)

PANTALONE.

(Stepping in front of the footlights.)

My name is Pantalone, and I am a native of Venice. At the moment I am the Prime Minister of the Chinese Empire. Eh, what d'ye say? What I'm doing here in Pekin? H'm. (Puts his hand in front of his mouth.) Venice got too hot for me. An ind-indelicate affair. My wife of course, you guess my meaning. (To the PRINCE.) This, your Royal Highness, is the place you have heard so much of. Have a good look at it, please. Make yourself quite at home. Yes, quite right, up there, please! (To TARTAGLIA.)

I say, my dear Lord Chancellor. Be so good as to show his Royal Highness the elevated position he will occupy in the near future. You have the information, I presume.

(TARTAGLIA turns towards the PRINCE, PANTALONE pulls his sleeve.)

Don't forget, my dear Lord Chancellor.

TARTAGLIA.

(Stepping in front of the footlights.) My name is Tat-Tra-Tartaglia (stammers). From Naples. My mother always maintained that she was the daughter of a Spanish grandee, but I fear she was a fisherman's daughter from Po-Po-Pozzuoli. My father, on the other hand (stops short and looks round)——

(PANTALONE makes signs to him.)

PANTALONE.

Better not.

TARTAGLIA.

Better not! That old scarecrow there makes out that nobody ever knew who my father was. He is a... li-li-liar. Excuse me, one moment, ladies and gentlemen. (To the PRINCE.) That head up there on the right, which I beg your Royal Highness graciously to observe, is the head of the valiant Prince of Hyrcania. A valiant prince, a sweet prince. But silly, silly. There's quite a nice open space next to him for you, a fine, sunny situation with a pleasant prospect. How would that do, eh? Company to your liking? All of 'em in the Almanach de Gotha.

PANTALONE.

(To BRIGELLA.) Send the executioner up with the pole. We'll let this charming young Prince select his own point of vantage.

BRIGELLA.

(To the headsman.) What are you hanging about here for, you hangman, you? Up on the wall with you, by Hikey Mo! Up on the wall or I'll wallop you.

PANTALONE.

Halt! 'Sh! Don't forget!

BRIGELLA.

(Stepping in front of the footlights.) I'm Brigella, begging your pardon. One of the old honest family of the Brigellas. As you can hear by the way I talk, I was born in Ferrara. There are lying rogues, drat 'em, as say as how you can tell any one that comes from Ferrara by his knavish face. Concerning my own person, though I says it as shouldn't, I've a heart of gold. Not half. Talking about gold now, you'll be wondering, sure enough, what brought me from Ferrara to Pekin. Well, now, it was a purse of gold, God bless ye! It was a little matter of two hundred florins that belonged to my employer, the celebrated Dr. Gratiano...

PANTALONE.

(Pulls his sleeve.) Better not!

BRIGELLA.

And now with this heart of gold of mine blest if I ain't got to conduct this broth of a boy, bless his honest face! to the block, by command of my mistress, the high and mighty Turandot ...the cru'l Turandot. (Sobs.)

TRUFFALDINO

(Pushing BRIGELLA aside.) That's enough. Get out of that. A regular rogue. Standing there and talking about florins.... H'm! Regular rogue.

(PANTALONE pulls his sleeve.)

Ah! quite so. I am Truffaldino, by your leave. Truffaldino from the Giudeccao Quite so. (Turning towards BRIGELLA.) Regular rogue. It is monstrous that the dirtiest rascals should always get on best. I have not myself always had the best of luck in these parts... Would you believe it, my voice used to be a very fine, deep baritone. But now... (Sings falsetto):

I am not young; I am not old; I live, yet have no life! Ask him who hath suffered woes untold From some volcanic strife Of passionate years, if he remember, Tombed in the grave of life's December, Its vanished golden June.

What do you say about my voice? Lady-like? Well, yes, you see I've spent so much of my time in the society of ladies that I'm afraid my voice has assimilated the quality of theirs. (Sighs deeply.) Oh, yes. Not that there is any lack of good nourishment. Oh, no. Nor of liquid refreshment. Oh, no. Nor of refined and entertaining company. Oh, no. Nor could any one suggest that I am not in high favour. Oh, no. I have been appointed Chief... Inspector... Oh, no, no, Chief... Manager... Oh, no, no, no... Chief Administrator... Quite so! Chief Administrator of the Harem of her Imperial Highness the Princess Turandot. A position of distinction, a—

(PANTALONE pulls his sleeve, and drags him away.)

PANTALONE.

Confound you, sir!... (To the hangman, who has appeared on the wall.) Another inch or so to the right. Halt! a fine place that.

TARTAGLIA.

Too far to the right, my dear colleague. Much too far to the right. There's a fine place quite near there between the young Maharajah of Timbuctoo and the Crown Prince of Beluchistan. (To the headsman.) Just a shade farther—to the left, that's it, you've got it—straight up, straight up. Halt!

PANTALONE.

That will never do, my dear Lord Chancellor. That will never do. Really, we can't have three moustaches together. Back to the right—to the right. The Prince of Hyrcania is clean-shaven. His Royal Highness, the dear fellow, will have quite a martial appearance next to him. That's it, right in the middle. A little bit more to the front. Right you are. Halt! (To the Prince.) I do hope your Royal Highness is delighted with the situation we have been at such pains to select for you. Commanding position, don't you think? Eh? Very well, then, that's all right. Drive it in fast. Down with you. Quick—march! And now, your Royal Highness, my dear old fellow, may we request the honour of your company back to town? We shall proceed, according to instructions, past the harem of our illustrious Princess to the place of execution. But you won't need to make-a, long stay there, you'll be back here again very shortly. Let me take this opportunity of introducing to you one of our most capable, one of our busiest officials, with whom you will soon come into closer contact. A very charming man—(whispers to him). You'll find him sharp though, he has a cutting manner. ...But don't look so cut up, your Royal Highness; keep your pecker up. Come now, love hasn't treated you so badly after all; it brings most men to the altar and then to the halter— you'll keep your head out of that noose anyhow. And your flame, your idolized, lovely Turandot, will perhaps do you the honour of appearing on the grated balcony. I tell you this in case you should by any chance desire to cast her one of your languishing glances, your Royal Highness, my dear old chappie. You silly fool you... Forward, march!... Forward, I tell you, march, and be damned to you! Right about turn, forward march!

(Music. Exeunt all, in the same order as they came, towards the interior of the city. Enter CALAF, from the left, on a pony. He dismounts, and looks round about him in a dazed and dreamy manner.)



SCENE II

CALAF.

(Stepping in front of the footlights.) I am Prince Calaf, 'sh! Nobody must know my name. Calaf—I don't mind telling you. My father is Timur, once the mighty King of Astrakhan—the cruel Sultan of Taschkent drove us out of our own country. O miserable fate! O heavenly gods! I wandered for months and months with my parents in the desert. Our foe, the Sultan, sent riders after us. At the Court of Kaikobad, King of the Carcasenes, I served as a gardener. His daughter, the Princess Adelma, fell in love with me. I had to flee again, and came to Berlas. There I kept my poor parents by carrying burdens, and by begging. Then a happy chance gave me these fine clothes, a horse, and this purse of gold. I set out in quest of adventure. And here I am now in Pekin.

(Noise behind the scenes. Enter BARAK from the city.)



SCENE III

CALAF, then BARAK.

BARAK.

Whence come you, stranger?

CALAF.

Who asks?

BARAK.

Dare I believe, my eyes?

CALAF.

Do I see right?

BARAK.

It is he!

CALAF.

None else!

BARAK.

My Prince!

CALAF.

My tutor, friend!

BARAK.

Prince Calaf!

CALAF.

Barak!

BARAK.

Yet alive!

CALAF.

You here?

BARAK.

And you, Prince?

CALAF.

Quiet. Betray me not. But whisper low, How comes it that in Pekin you are found?

BARAK.

When your ill-fated army fought and lost Before the gates of Astrakhan, and fled Close followed by the Sultan of Taschkent, Who, barbarous, o'er the battlefield careered, I in my helpless rage and wounded sore Sought refuge in the city. There I heard Timur, your noble father, like yourself, Had fallen in the battle. Weeping then, I hastened to the Palace, with intent To save Elmase, your mother, from the foe. I could not find her. And already raged The Sultan o'er the unresisting town. I turned my back on hope, and fled away. And after months of wandering I came hither, And took a false name, calling myself Hassan The Persian, and as such I came to know A widow in distress. By virtue of My few remaining jewels which I sold For her, and by the good advice I gave, I rescued her from utter penury. She was not thankless, I disliked her not, And in the end I married her. And she Even to this very day thinks that I am A Persian, and she calls me Hassan, not Barak. And so I live with her, and I Am poor indeed after my former state, But richer than a prince now that I find You who are dearer to me than a son, Now that I find my Prince Calaf alive.

(Kneels.)

CALAF.

'Sh! Speak no name! On that disastrous day I hied me with my father to the Palace. We snatched what precious things we could, and fled, We and my mother, out of Astrakhan, All three in beggars' garb.

BARAK (weeps).

Prince, say no more! My heart is breaking. Timur, my noble King, The Queen herself in such sad lowliness. But are they yet alive?

CALAF.

They are alive, Barak. They both are living. And after that, Wandering still farther, in the end we came Unto the city of the Carcasenes.

BARAK (rises).

O say no more! I have heard enough of grief... And yet I see you as a knight attired. Tell me how fortune favoured you at last.

CALAF.

Tell you how fortune—favoured me? You jest! But I will tell you how I fared. The Khan Of Berlas hath a favourite sparrow-hawk, That with his jesses to the forest flew. By some good chance I caught this hawk, and brought him Home to the Khan, who questioned of my name. I hid my birth, and painted myself poor, A porter of burdens, and my parents ill. Straightway he sends them to the hospital... (Weeps.) Barak, thy King, thy Queen, in a hospital!

BARAK.

Merciful God!

CALAF.

To me he gives this purse here; A horse he gives me, too, and this attire. I throw myself into my parents' arms, And weeping say: "I will no longer bear To see you so. Now I will fare in quest Of the jade Fortune, and either I will lose My life, or you shall hear from me anon." They clung around my, neck, would come with me. (God grant they have not followed at my heels In their blind love!) Now to Pekin I come Where in the Emperor's army I will 'list; And if I rise!—The day of vengeance dawns!— Why is the city full to overflowing? Stay! I will seek thee out again, Barak; But now I burn to see what festival Swells such a crowd.

BARAK.

O go not, my dear Prince. And spare your eyes the pitiable sight Of most ignoble butchery.

CALAF.

Butchery?

BARAK.

It cannot be but you have heard the fame Of Turandot, the Emperor's only daughter, Who, beautiful as she is cruel, fills Pekin with death and mourning without end?

CALAF.

Something I heard of this kind at the Court Of Kaikobad. Indeed, they told me there That Kaikobad's own son mysteriously In Pekin found his death. And this was why King Kaikobad waged war against Altoum. But these are tales told for an idle hour. Well, what comes next?

BARAK.

What next? Why, Turandot, The mighty Emperor's daughter, unexcelled In the mind's keenness, and of beauty such That never master's pencil limned her (spite Of the innumerable pictures of her Which travel round the world), is so conceited, And hates all men with such a ruthless hate, The greatest princes woo her hand in vain.

CALAF.

That ancient fable. And what follows next?

BARAK.

This fable is a fable that is true. Her father often sought to have her wed— For she is sole heir to his mighty throne— But she said "no" to every prince that came, And his soft heart would not constrain her "yea." Not seldom her refusal led to war, And, though his arms were yet victorious, He felt the approach of age, and so one day He spake to her, deliberately resolved: "Make up thy mind to take a husband now, Or else show me a means to spare my land The throes of war. Age bows my shoulders down, And I have made too many kings my foes By breaking faith with them for love of thee. So once again I charge thee, promptly wed, Or show the means I seek, then live and die Even as it pleases thee." The proud maid then Used every artifice to thwart his will, Was sick with fury, yea, was nigh to death! And when the Emperor would not bate a jot, Hark what this wild she-devil then devised....

CALAF.

I know the tale! She craves an edict: this— That any prince be free to sue for her. With this condition: She will set the suitor Three riddles, and before the whole Divan. If he can solve them, he shall be her consort, And heir of China. If he cannot solve them, Altoum by most solemn oath is bound To rid the reckless suitor of the head Which could not solve the riddles of his daughter. Goes not the fable so? Well, you go on with it; It bores me.

BARAK.

Fable! Would to Heaven it were! The Emperor would not hear of it at first; But she with threats and feints and flattering Forces the old man's gentle heart to yield, Convincing him by saying: "No one ever Will risk his head on it; and if he should, In any case the Emperor would be blameless, Since it were question of an edict sworn, And noised abroad." And what she willed was done. A fable, is it? Is it a fable, all That this inhuman law has brought to pass?

CALAF.

Well, if you say it is so, I will credit The edict. But I never will believe That any fool has known, and risked his head.

BARAK.

You won't believe it? Pray you, look up here!

(Points to the heads on the wall.)

All those are heads of hopeful princes, who Have tried their luck and could not solve the riddles, And hence... are where they are.

CALAF (horror-struck).

Most horrible! But, tell me, who could ever be so mad, So crazy, as to risk his head to win A monster of a maiden such as this?

BARAK.

Prince, he who sees her picture is so lost, That to possess the living picture he Would blindly walk into the arms of death.

CALAF.

A fool might.

BARAK.

Yes, and a wise man, too. Hark to the people pouring out to see The wise and handsome Prince of Samarkand Beheaded now. The Emperor himself weeps, But the she-devil puffs herself with pride.

(In the distance a beating of muffled drums.)

This muffled rolling is the headsman's sign. It was to see it not I left the town.

CALAF.

These are strange things you tell me, Barak How Could Nature ever fashion such a thing, And call it woman, as this Turandot, So harnessed against love, so pitiless?

BARAK.

My own wife's daughter serves her in the harem, And tells such things about her—things, my Prince!— Worse than a tigress is this Turandot; And worst of all her vices is her pride.

CALAF.

To Hell with such a monster! If I were Her father,, I would burn her at the stake....

BARAK (looking towards the city gate.)

See, there comes Ishmael, the friend and guide Of the young Prince they slaughtered even now. My poor friend!



SCENE IV

ISHMAEL. The foregoing.

ISHMAEL (Enters weeping from the city).

Oh, my friend! Now he is dead. My Prince is dead! Accursed headsman's axe, Why hast thou severed not this neck of mine?

(Breaks out into despairing weeping.)

BARAK.

But why didst thou not hinder him in time, My friend?

ISHMAEL.

Dost thou on all my misery Heap reprimands, Hassan! I have done my duty To the uttermost. I might, indeed, have summoned His father hither, if there had been time; But there was not.

BARAK.

Be calm, my friend, be calm.

ISHMAEL.

Calm? I be calm? Like arrows stinging sharp The last words that he spoke stick in my breast:

"Weep not," he said, "for I am glad to die, Since I may not possess her. Bear my greeting Unto my father. May he pardon me That when I fared I took no leave of him. Tell him it was for fear lest his denial Should force my disobedience. And show him This picture.

(Draws a picture from the folds of his robe.)

When he sees such loveliness, He will forgive, and weep my fate with thee." Thus speaking, my dear Prince a hundred times Kissed the accursed picture, and then bowed His neck to the stroke. Blood spurts on high. The trunk Quivers, and falls. High in the headsman's hands The head I love. Blind, dazed with pain I flee....

(Hurls the picture to the ground and tramples on it.)

Thou devilish, accursed witchery! I tread thee in the dust, thou spawn of Hell! And O that I could trample with these feet The witch herself! Haha! I was to take thee Unto his father, unto Samarkand? I fancy That Samarkand will never see me more.

(Exit in desperation.)



SCENE V

BARAK, CALAF.

BARAK.

Well? Did you hear?

CALAF.

You see me all amazed. One thing I understand not: how such power Should issue from a picture.

(Bends down to lift up the picture.)

BARAK (screams).

Prince, bethink you I What are you doing?

CALAF.

I will lift it up, To gaze upon this perilous loveliness....

(Makes a dash for the picture. BARAK holds him back with force.)

BARAK.

You might as well look on the Gorgon's head! I will not let you.

CALAF.

Have you lost your wits? Let go of me! If you are weak, I am not!

(Pushes him aside, and lifts the picture up.)

I tell you: woman's loveliness hath never Fettered even for a second's space my eyes, Much less my heart: I mean the loveliness Of living women. And now a daub or so, Cast on a canvas by some colour-grinder, Will stagger me, you think! Am I a child?

(Sighs.)

Mine is no case of love...

(Is about to look at the picture, when BARAK quickly lays his hand upon it and prevents him.)

BARAK.

Prince, close your eyes, For Heaven's sake!

CALAF.

Offend me not. Let go!

(Looks at the picture, makes a gesture of surprise, and is seen to be in a state of ecstasy that grows with gazing.)

BARAK (in anguish).

Disaster, take thy course!

CALAF.

O Barak, what Do I behold? How can it be that this Sweet face, these gentle eyes, this soft, white breast, Should harbour such a heart as thou hast said, A heart cold as the snows of yesteryear?

BARAK.

Unhappy man!

CALAF.

O worshipped rosy cheeks! O magic-breathing lips! O angel eyes!...

BARAK.

Unhappy man!

CALAF.

What son of earth shall be So brimmed with bliss, so blessed of the gods, That he shall hold thee, breathing, animate Perfection, in the hollow of his arms?

BARAK.

Unhappy man!

CALAF (looks up for a moment, resolved).

This is the turn of fate! The loveliest lady of the whole round earth, Yea, and the richest empire time hath known, I by a game of riddles now shall win— Or else, thou turbid life of mine, farewell!

BARAK.

Unhappy man!

CALAF (gazing at the picture again).

Thou sweetest promise! Thou Pledge of my hope! Lo! a new sacrifice Is coming to thy riddles and to thee. Vouchsafe one smile, sweet lady, lady mine!— O Barak, tell me, tell me, shall I once, Before they murder me, behold her face?

(A new roll of drums from the centre of the city, sounding nearer than the first. CALAF hearkens, though his eyes are still riveted on the picture. The executioner appears on the city wall, a fearful sight, his bare arms bespattered with blood. He plants the head of the PRINCE Of SAMARKAND on the vacant pole and then disappears.)

BARAK.

Stop looking on her face and look on that! That head up yonder, smoking yet with blood, Is the last lunatic's. And the same headsman Who set it there to-morrow will be yours.

(Bursts into tears.)

CALAF (turning towards the Prince's head).

Unhappy man! What unknown power decrees That I must be thy mate? Up, Barak, up! Thou hast already once mourned me for dead, And why not once again? I will venture it. Tell no one who I am. Perchance the heavens Are tired of heaping troubles on my back. If fortune crown me in this game of riddles, Barak, I shall be grateful! Now, farewell!

BARAK.

O Heaven! My son.... My child....

(Notices his wife coming out of her house.)

Come hither, quick!

Skirina, help thou also! See, this youth, Whom I love well, is running from me now To woo the Princess and her riddles....



SCENE VI

SKIRINA. The foregoing.

SKIRINA.

Hold!

What drives thee on, fair youth, to meet thy death?

CALAF.

My fate, good woman, and this loveliness....

(Shows the picture.)

SKIRINA.

Who gave him the she-devil's image? (Weeps.)

BARAK (weeps likewise).

Chance.

CALAF (frees himself).

Hassan, farewell! Farewell, thou worthy dame I My charger and this purse I give to you.

(Draws his purse and hands it to SKIRINA.)

My poverty has nothing else to show Its gratitude. I pray you, if you will, Give something of it to the Heavenly Powers That they protect me. And something to the poor, That they may pray for me. And so farewell!

(Exit in the direction of the city.)

BARAK.

Prince, do not go! My son.... My dear, dear son....

SKIRINA.

Confucius be merciful to us!



SCENE VII

The great hall of the imperial Divan: two high doors on each side, on the right to TURANDOT'S harem, on the left to the EMPEROR'S chambers.

TRUFFALDINO, EUNUCHS.

TRUFFALDINO.

Halt! First scrubbing company, at ease, march. Stack muskets. Attention! Present besoms. Sweep. Sweep like the devil. Roll up, spread, smooth.

(Eunuchs roll up the carpets.)

There's nothing I like better than watching other people work. Quite so. This here is the Great Throne. His Majesty the Emperor of China sits on that.

(Two eunuchs carry the throne past.)

We call it the Great Throne because it's a big 'un. And this is the Little Throne. Quite so, the Little Throne.

(Two eunuchs carry TURANDOT 's throne to its place.)

The Princess's, don't you know. We call this the Little Throne because it's a small 'un. Quite so. And these are the eight cushions of the learned doctors.

(Eight slaves carry cushions past.)

The sublime Divan will assemble immediately, and then they'll all sit on 'em—the Emperor on the Great Throne, the Princess on the Little Throne, and the Doctors on the eight cushions.

(BRIGELLA enters from the right.)

BRIGELLA.

I've always got the blues in Pekin. Not half! Here's the Emperor just gone and issued a fresh Court ceremonial again, and I can't get it into my noddle. I keep on practising. I can't do anything without practising. Oh, all right, you're a laughing at me. What are you laughing about?

TRUFFALDINO.

Business is good, that's what I'm laughing for. My business and my adored Princess's. Trade's flourishing, praised be the Lord! Huge turnover, commissions promptly executed. Greatest stock of sheep's heads in the world. The Divan will assemble immediately. There's another prince arrived, with his head itching.... Ut veniant omnes—let them all come.

BRIGELLA.

No, it's getting a bit too hot, all our young sparks going off like match-heads. Strike me dead, a man can talk without his head—he can talk with his belly if he's a ventriloquist—but he can't keep his mouth shut when he's lost his head. What are you a-laughin' at? It's no joke, not half! It's not three hours since the last was polished off, and you can find it in your heart to laugh!

TRUFFALDINO.

I have good reason to laugh. Every time my sweet adored Princess has netted one of these sheepish little princes with her riddles she's in such an excellent temper she's sure to present me with a charming token of her Imperial favour. But you have no taste for such charms.

BRIGELLA.

I've more than you, anyhow! I can't come out with such high-flying language about your Princess. The hysterical water-wagtail. What right has she to turn her nose up at marriage? Considering she knows nothing about it. Perhaps she might like it. You never can tell.

TRUFFALDINO.

Marriage! Oh, fie!

BRIGELLA.

Look here, I can't stand hearing a carved turkey like you cackling rot about marriage. Think of your own mamma. If she hadn't got married, where would you be?

TRUFFALDINO.

That's a lie. My mamma never got married at all, and I'm here just the same. You see me, don't you?

BRIGELLA.

True; I ought to have seen at the first glance that you were a bastard.

TRUFFALDINO.

I am not a bastard. I am a child of love. All geniuses are children of love.

BRIGELLA.

But all children of love are not geniuses. You, for instance.

TRUFFALDINO.

I? I have risen in the world. I am Chief— Chief—Chief—Administrator of the Harem. You understand. (Music is heard.) Anyhow, you go to the devil now and pay your customary assiduous attention to your pages. His Sublime Majesty the Emperor approaches....



SCENE VIII

(To the strains of music enter from the left the Imperial Guards, thereupon the eight doctors, behind them PANTALONE, TARTAGLIA, finally ALTOUM, at whose entrance all prostrate themselves, touching the floor with their brows. ALTOUM seats himself on his throne. PANTALONE and TARTAGLIA stand near him. The doctors sink on to their cushions. The music ceases.)

ALTOUM.

How long, ye faithful, shall this torture last? Scarcely have we with seeming reverence Mourned the poor Prince of Samarkand, mine eyes Have scarcely dried their tears, but a new victim, New sorrow comes. O cruel daughter, born To be a curse to me! But what avails To curse the day when by the highest God I swore that edict! For I cannot break My oath; I cannot touch my daughter's heart; I cannot frighten those who come to woo. Which man of you can tell me what to do?

PANTALONE.

My dearest Majesty, some other Counsellor must advise you in this case. In my home in Venice, Heaven knows, I never heard of such laws. In my home there are never any edicts of that sort. In my home princes don't fall in love with a medallion, and then, out of sheer love for the original, go hawking their heads about. In my home in Venice there never was a girl who refused a man when he offered, like this Princess Turandot here. Heaven knows, in my home such things don't happen even in dreams! Before I had the ill-luck to have to run away from Venice, and before I had the unmerited good fortune to be appointed your Majesty's Prime Minister, I had never heard anything about China, except that you had to be careful not to smash it; and Heaven knows it kind of knocks me on the head that in this part of the world there should be such obsolete customs and such obsolete oaths and such obsolete males and females as there are here in your country, Heaven knows. And if I were to tell the story in my home in Venice, they would say: "Shut up, you bounder! Tell that to the marines!" They'd laugh in my face, I tell you, Heaven knows!

(Goes to his place.)

ALTOUM.

(To TARTAGLIA.) Have you already seen the new arrival?

TARTAGLIA.

I have, your Majesty. We have given him the suite reserved for foreign princes. He has a remarkably good presence, a nice face, charming manners, and a good accent. I never saw a nicer prince in all my life. I am positively in love with him, and my heart goes pit-a-pat when I think that he is at this moment on his way to have his head chopped off, just like a silly sheep; such a handsome prince, such a charming prince, such a boy of a prince....

ALTOUM.

O sorrow!

(To PANTALONE.) Are the sacrifices made By which we send up prayers to Providence To teach this most unhappy man to solve Our cruel daughter's riddles? Though I scarce Can hope....

PANTALONE.

As far as the sacrifices are concerned, Heaven knows, your Majesty may be quite easy on that point. There has been no economy with regard to the sacrifices, your Majesty. I have ordered sacrifices to be made to High Heaven of one hundred dogs, sacrifice of one hundred horses to the Sun, and of one hundred cats to the Moon. (Aside.) I, for my own part, Heaven knows, expect nothing from this Imperial butchery except sausages and meat-pies.

TARTAGLIA.

(Aside.) It would have been far better to slaughter that cat of a Princess. Then everything would be in order. That would be the best way to end all this spitting and scratching.

ALTOUM.

Let the new-comer be conducted hither!

(Exit one of the DOCTORS.)

I will endeavour to dissuade him. You, My reverend doctors, help in this, and you, My faithful ministers and counsellors, If, haply, grief should paralyse my tongue.

PANTALONE.

We've done our best in that direction often enough already, your Majesty, and we're getting about sick of it, Heaven knows. We shall talk at him till our throats are sore, and then he'll go and get his windpipe cut like a turkey.

TARTAGLIA.

Listen here, Pantalone. If my observations can be relied on, this young Prince has gifts of the very highest order, and a degree of ingenuity which is positively penetrating. I do not quite give up all hope.

PANTALONE.

Rot, my dear fellow, rot! You think he's going, to guess that snake's riddles. Rot! Stuff and nonsense! Humbug! Get out! He's done for.



SCENE IX

CALAF. The foregoing.

(Enter CALAF, escorted by the DOCTOR. He kneels, and rests his hand on his forehead.)

ALTOUM.

Arise, thou young and madly daring man!

(CALAF rises, makes an obeisance, and stands with noble bearing between the two thrones, facing the spectators. ALTOUM scans him carefully. Aside.)

How handsome the youth is! Compassion moves My breast.

(Aloud.) Unhappy man, what is thy name? What King calls himself father unto thee?

CALAF (at first somewhat confused, then with a noble bow).

Sire, let me beg a boon: that for the nonce My name be covered up with dark.

ALTOUM.

How now!

You woo the Emperor's daughter, and withhold Your name?

CALAF (with pride).

I am of royal blood. If Heaven Decree my death, there will be time left then To make my name and country known to you.

(With another bow.)

Vouchsafe me silence for the present, Sire.

ALTOUM (aside).

What noble speech and port! (Aloud.) But if perchance You solve the riddles, and then prove to be Of mean extraction, how shall the edict...

CALAF (interrupting him quickly).

Sire, The edict serves not save for sons of Kings. If I by help of Heaven should solve the riddles, And then were found to be of base extraction, Let my head pay for it. My body give To dogs and carrion crows upon the fields. There is one man in Pekin knows my name, And he will bear me witness.

(With an obeisance to the EMPEROR.)

Therefore I Entreat you in your mercy once again, Still let my name be covered up with dark.

ALTOUM.

So be it then! It is your pleasing speech And noble bearing make me grant the boon. Oh that you now would grant the Emperor The boon he begs for from his very throne, Beseeching you: Go back, my son, go back! Desist from this adventure, and go back!

PANTALONE.

We can't get him any farther, your Majesty.

ALTOUM.

The nations are already nursing wrath Against me for the reckless oath I swore. Do not thou also force me to shed tears Over thy corpse. Oh, force me not to hate This daughter of my loins more than I do Already; force me not to hate myself Who brought her into the world, more than I do. Proud, vain, and pitiless, and cruel, source Is she of torment to me till I die.

CALAF.

Sire, but I cannot think that you have cause To fill your heart with torment and unrest. If in your daughter there is cruelty, It is not from her father that it came. If guilt you have, it can be only this: That you have given the world such peerless beauty As draws all men to her. I thank you, Sire, For your great goodness! I have but one thought, To win your Turandot or live no more. All that I ask is death or Turandot.

PANTALONE.

H'm, my dearest Royal Highness, I presume you vouchsafed to behold the severed heads on the city wall. Eh? Heaven knows what pleasure there can be in having oneself stuck like a pig, so that afterwards the whole town is full of tears and blowing of noses, Heaven knows. I can tell you beforehand, the Princess will nail you three riddles together that it would take Old Moore himself seven years to take to pieces, Heaven knows. We two sit here, year in, year out, and the learned doctors, too, sit here in judgment, judging who guesses well and who guesses ill, and we've had a bit of practice and we can "read print, Heaven knows—and yet we can't make head or tail of our most wise Princess's riddles. These are not riddles like those in Saturday's Daily Telegraph, such as:

"Puts his head between his feet, And rolls him in a ball complete,"

or:

"Four already, I'll be bound, This is one when it is found."

No, these are confounded new-fangled puzzles with man-traps in 'em and patent springs. And if she didn't write the solutions beforehand on slips of paper and pop 'em into sealed envelopes and hand 'em in to the doctors, why even they wouldn't know whether they were standing on their head or their feet, Heaven knows. You go back home, my dearest Royal Highness. It really would be a pity, such a fine young fellow as you are. Do as I advise you, Heaven knows. If you don't I wouldn't give as much for your head as I would for a turnip radish. No use, no use.

(PANTALONE to his place.)

CALAF.

You talk and lose your breath, old gentleman, What I demand is death or Turandot.

TARTAGLIA.

Turandot.... Turandot.... What a damned stupid ass the dear fellow is! You just listen to me, my dear boy! This is not a question of drawing lots with blades of straw for a cup of coffee or an iced chocolate. Get that into your head; do be quick and get that into your head, please. It is a question here of keeping or losing your head. That is the only argument I will bring forward to reduce you to reason. This one argument should suffice. Your head is in danger, do you understand? Your head. His beloved Majesty in his own most gracious person begs and implores you not, to lose your head. His Imperial Majesty has in his own most gracious person sacrificed one hundred horses to the Sun, one hundred dogs to High Heaven, and one hundred cats to the Moon, to induce them to restore your lost wits—and you, you sweet little sugar-plum you, you actually refuse. Why, even if there were no other fish in the sea except Princess Turandot, your intentions would still amount to capital folly. You must give me credit, my dearest Prince, for talking so frankly, because I wish you well. Have you, may I ask, at any time carefully considered what it means to be shortened by a head? I can hardly believe you have.

CALAF.

You talk too much and lose your breath, dear sir. Death is what I demand or Turandot.

ALTOUM.

Death have then, and with death my own despair.

(To the DOCTORS.)

Go, one of you, and bid the Princess come. And tell her a fresh sacrifice awaits.

(Exit DOCTOR behind EMPEROR, front of stage.)

CALAF (aside).

Ye heavenly powers, help me, and lend me strength And self-possession, lest the sight of her Confuse me: for my mind already sways, My heart pants, and my lips are quivering.

(To the assembly.)

Illustrious Divan, most reverend Doctors, My answers' judges, judges soon to me Over my life and death, oh, pardon now My rash adventure, be not pitiless To one disquieted and blind with love, Who, heedless of the place and of the hour, Forces the closed arms of his sullen fate.



SCENE X

(From the right the sounds of a march with kettledrums and tambourines. First appears TRUFFALDINO, shouldering his broadsword, at the head of his eunuchs. After them a troop of female slaves beating tambourines. Then, thickly veiled, the two favourite slaves of the PRINCESS—the one, ADELMA, in rich Tartar costume; the other, ZELIMA, in more simple Chinese dress. The latter carries a little dish, which contains sealed leaves with the solutions of the riddles. TRUFFALDINO and the eunuchs march past the EMPEROR'S throne, cast themselves face downwards on the earth, and rise again. The female slaves kneel, and lift their hands to their foreheads. Last appears TURANDOT in gorgeous Chinese costume, veiled, and with a haughty attitude of challenge. The eight doctors and the two ministers cast themselves down before her, touching the floor with their brows. ALTOUM rises. TURANDOT raises her hand to her forehead and greets her father with a solemn bow, then ascends her throne and sits down. ZELIMA stands at her right, ADELMA at her left. CALAF, who had bowed when the PRINCESS entered, now stands erect, sunk in admiration of her beauty. TRUFFALDINO, after performing various ceremonies in his comic way, takes the dish with the sealed leaves out of ZELIMA'S hand; he distributes these among the doctors, and then, with various ceremonies and obeisances, withdraws to his place. Music plays until TRUFFALDINO leaves the Divan. Then deep silence ensues.)



SCENE XI

ALTOUM, TURANDOT, CALAF, ZELIMA, ADELMA, PANTALONE, TARTAGLIA, DOCTORS, GUARDS.

TURANDOT (haughtily).

What man is this again, who fondly hopes To penetrate the darkness of my riddles In spite of warnings manifold and grim? What man comes speeding after dead men's heels, And asks to lose his head?

ALTOUM.

Here stands the man.

(Points to CALAF.)

Look at him well. Does he, at last, not seem Worthy to make you end this cursed game? Take him for consort, and so give me peace!

TURANDOT (after scanning CALAF for a moment, whispers to ZELIMA).

Pity I never felt! I pity him!

ZELIMA (whispers).

Then, quick, three easy riddles. Bid pride go!

TURANDOT (flaring up, whispers).

What sayest thou, rash girl?

ADELMA (aside).

God! dare I trust My eyes? It is the very, man—the same Who served my sire as gardener. Then he is A prince—a prince, indeed. My heart guessed true.

TURANDOT.

Thou errant Prince, desist from this adventure. See, I am nowise cruel, as men say. It is but my deep loathing for all males That forces me to stand as now at guard To keep from me a sex that I abhor. Why should I not be free to fight my foe? What brings you here to harden me again? If prayers can move you, I myself will beg: Desist! Put not my sharp mind to the test. It is my only pride, the only weapon Heaven gave me. And I know that I should die If any man were victor of my mind. Claim not my riddles then. There still is time. Else naught awaits you save a shameful death.

CALAF.

Voice of a goddess, body of an angel, Rare mind, unparalleled intelligence, Are gathered in one woman's being here. Who calls the man a fool that risks his life For treasures such as these? Princess, your own High understanding cannot fail but see That as your gifts in greater glory shine, As your refusal is more violent, So many more the hearts you set on fire. Had I a thousand lives, I would with joy, For your sake, Princess, die a thousand deaths.

ZELIMA.

Be kind! Three easy riddles. He deserves them.

ADELMA (aside).

Would he were mine! He is a prince. That I Had known it then, ere I became a slave! Now I do love him with a threefold strength. Oh, why is love for ever weak in courage?

(Aside to TURANDOT.)

Princess, take care! Your honour is at stake!

TURANDOT (aside).

So it was fated one should come at last And teach me pity! Heart, be firm and cold!

(To CALAF, vehemently.)

Up, thou rash champion, gird thee for the fight!

ALTOUM (to CALAF).

Are you still obstinate!

CALAF.

I said just now, Death give me, or else give me Turandot.

ALTOUM.

Proceed, then, with the public recitation Of that bad edict. Hark, and tremble, you!

(Music, ceremony. PANTALONE takes the Book of the Law from the folds of his raiment, kisses it, holds it first to his breast and then to his forehead, and hands it to TARTAGLIA, who has just cast himself on the floor, whereupon TARTAGLIA recites with a loud voice.)

TARTAGLIA.

There is no prince of royal lineage But shall be free to woo. But first to him Three riddles of the Princess shall be set Before eight doctors in the full Divan. Let him solve these, and TURANDOT is his; But if he solve them not, he shall straightway Be yielded up into the headsman's hands, Who promptly shall, by severing his head, Do him to death. Immediate execution Of this our solemn edict we affirm And swear by oath, by great Confucius, We, Khan Altoum, Emperor of China.

(The recital ended, TARTAGLIA kisses the Book of the Law, holds it to his breast, then to his forehead, and hands it to PANTALONE, who has cast himself down with his face to the earth, and so receives it. He rises, and extends the book to ALTOUM, who lays one hand upon it to swear the oath.)

ALTOUM (sighing).

Oh, bloody edict! To observe thee now I do affirm, and by Confucius swear.

(PANTALONE replaces the book in the folds of his garment. The whole Divan waits in profound silence. TURANDOT rises.)

TURANDOT (in a didactic tone).

Come, stranger, name that tender pair of doves, As white as innocence, as frail as roses, Hiding from all men's eyes save his who loves To see how by the other each reposes, Even as a sister by her sister's aide. But he that loves and finds them where they hide Roams restless till he holds them to his breast. They bring him from the Islands of the Blest Heroic fire to make him do and dare, And tidings from the Land of Heart's Desire. Name, cunning stranger, name this tender pair.

(Sits down again.)

CALAF.

(Gazes upwards for a moment in meditation, then makes a bow to TURANDOT and lifts his hand to his brow.)

Two doves, thou sayest, doves so tender-hearted That they are always paired and never parted; Scarce grown enough to bear their weight aloft, And yet already plump, and firm, and soft; Two smooth, white doves to which my yearning wings, To which by night my secret dreaming sings. These two white doves which hold me free from scaith, These doves my fortune—they are: HOPE and FAITH.

PANTALONE.

He's hit the mark, my dear Lord Chancellor!

TARTAGLIA.

Hit the bull's-eye.

THE EIGHT DOCTORS.

(Open the first of the sealed papers. All together.)

Optime. Hope and Faith! Hope and Faith! Hope and Faith!

ALTOUM (joyfully).

Heaven help thee farther, my beloved son!

ZELIMA (aside).

Ye gods, protect him!

ADELMA (aside).

Blind him, O ye gods! O give him not to her, or I shall die!

TURANDOT (aside, indignantly).

Can it be possible that he should win?

(To CALAF, aloud.)

Listen, poor fool! And solve this riddle now:

(She stands up, and continues in her didactic tone.)

Come, stranger, name those slender pillars twain Which bear a bristling fortress on their summit, A fort which still is in my sire's domain, Although thy heart burns high to overcome it; Pillars in strength and beauty smooth and rounded, On which thy Hope and Faith are firmly founded: These pillars holding Heaven upon their height— Tell me the names, now, of these pillars white.

CALAF.

(After some meditation, and with the same bow as before.)

These two white pillars soaring to the skies, That bear a kingdom and all Paradise; That bear the magic land my dreams divine, Which are as slender as a forest pine; Of every prince the very noblest aim; Thine empire's fairest ornament and fame, To which my hope clings like a climbing flower— I call these pillars twain: KNOWLEDGE and POWER.

PANTALONE.

(Joyfully.) Hits the bull right in the eye, my dear Lord Chancellor!

TARTAGLIA.

Centre. Centre.

THE EIGHT DOCTORS.

(In chorus, after unsealing the second leaf.)

Optime. Knowledge and Power! Knowledge and Power! Knowledge and Power!

ALTOUM (excitedly).

O joy! O joy!—Gods, help him to the end!

ZELIMA (aside).

Would this had been the last!

ADELMA (excitedly, aside).

Alas! I lose him!

(Aside to TURANDOT.)

This moment turns your fair renown to shame: He is your better.

TURANDOT (in a low voice).

Silence! Ere he win Let the world go to pieces.

(Aloud to CALAF.)

Rash fool! know My hatred step by step grows with thy hope Of victory. Leave the Divan! Go! Flee From my last riddle, and so save thy head!

CALAF.

Your hate weighs heavy, my adored Princess. So much the lighter weighs this head of mine, Since before you it finds so little grace.

ALTOUM.

Desist, my son. And thou, my child, desist From further riddles. Reach thy hand to him, For he deserves to be thy husband.

TURANDOT (fiercely).

He! My husband! Of my free will? Never!

Never! Let the law have its course.

CALAF (to ALTOUM).

Free be her will. Naught I demand but death, or Turandot.

TURANDOT.

So be it, then; take death. Hold still and mark!

(Rises.)

Now tell me: knowest thou the magic flower By whose bright rays the soul's dark deeps are lit; Which, hiding in its quiet, sacred bower, Waits for the Fairy Prince to gather it; But which, if he find not its shy recess, Withers and dies in forlorn loneliness? Within the bosom of its petals furled Lies with Life's sense the Riddle of the World; And he that first its chalice openeth Glows with the wine of Life, the scorn of Death.

(She unveils herself.)

Now look me in the face, now hold thy ground, Die like a dog, or name the flower I mean.

CALAF (in ecstasy).

O beauty bright!

ALTOUM (excitedly).

Alas! he is wandering! Compose thyself, my son. Keep clear! Keep clear!

ZELIMA (aside).

I am dizzy with excitement.

ADELMA (aside).

He is mine!

PANTALONE.

(Beside himself.) Cheer up, sonny! cheer up! Wish I could give him a dig in the ribs, Heaven knows! My shanks are quivering with fear he shouldn't be able to get his wits together again. Oh for a cooling draught of old Three Star!

TARTAGLIA.

If it weren't contrary to etiquette, I'd like to run into the kitchen and fetch the vinegar bottle.

TURANDOT.

Death thou didst ask for, death thou hast received.

CALAF.

For one poor moment I was dazzled by Your beauty—but I was not overcome.

(To the public.)

This magic flower by which the soul is lit, Which makes the heart tremble with dreaming it; This magic rose of all men's fiery dreams, Which under soft moss hides its gentle beams; Which is with beauty sweet and goodness shy, And bears the hope that holds the heavens on high; This magic flower of purest ray divine, This flower is: LOVE—dearest, your love and mine.

PANTALONE.

Praised be the Lord! Praised be the Lord! Here! I can't stand this any longer....

(Runs up to CALAF and embraces him.)

TARTAGLIA.

Victory, your Majesty! Hail! Victory!

THE EIGHT DOCTORS.

(Open the third leaf.) Love! Love! Love!

(Vociferous hurrahs of the crowd outside and noisy music. TURANDOT falls all of a heap on her throne, ZELIMA and ADELMA busy themselves with her. ALTOUM lifts the PRINCE off his feet and kisses him, PANTALONE and TARTAGLIA helping. The doctors retire in a row to the background.)

ALTOUM.

And now enough of tyranny and whims— Do you hear me, Turandot! And you, dear son, Come to my heart.

(He embraces CALAF.)

TURANDOT.

(Has recovered herself, and rushes in a rage at the embracing pair.)

Stay! Do not let this man Believe he is my husband. I demand Another meeting and three riddles more. The time I was allowed was far too short. Stay!——

ALTOUM (interrupting her).

False and cruel child! The game is played. Thou shalt not so begin a second time. The edict has run out, and is surrendered Into the keeping of my ministers.

PANTALONE.

I beg a thousand pardons. But we can't do with any more of these riddles, Heaven knows! We can't do with any more head-chopping, Heaven knows, as if they were nothing but lettuces. The young man there has guessed right. The edict must be executed in its entirety. The bridecake has got to go into the oven. (To TARTAGLIA.) What do you say, my Lord Chancellor?

TARTAGLIA.

Must be executed—in its entirety. There is no call for any further explanations, interpretations, dissertations, appeals, and commentaries. What do our learned doctors say?

THE EIGHT DOCTORS.

(All together.) Must be executed! Must be executed—in its entirety. Decision final—irrevocable!

ALTOUM.

Straight to the altar, then. This stranger prince Will now reveal his birth and name, the priests——

TURANDOT (in despair).

Grant me a respite, father!

ALTOUM.

Not one minute.

TURANDOT.

(Casting herself on her knees before him.)

If you would have me living, father, father! Grant me another day, another contest. I cannot bear the shame of it. I will rather Die than be subject to that coxcomb there, Die rather than be wife to that proud boy. The very word "wife," the mere thought of it, Of being his possession, strikes me dead.

ALTOUM (descending from his throne).

Savage and obstinate and ruthless child! Not one word more. Come, gentlemen, let us go!

CALAF (to TURANDOT).

Arise, fair, cruel mistress of my heart!

(To ALTOUM.)

I beg you, sire, grant her the respite! How Could I be happy if she hated me? And what avails my love, breeding but hate? If I have not the power to touch her heart, Let her be free. I do not claim my right.

(To TURANDOT.)

If you could see into my heart that bleeds, Torn as it is, you would be merciful. You are determined I shall die. So be it.

(To ALTOUM.)

Grant her another match. My life is cheap.

ALTOUM.

No more of that! On to the Temple, on I The games are over now.... Imprudent youth!

TURANDOT (determinedly).

So be it, to the Temple, I say, too! But on the altar steps your daughter dies.

CALAF.

Dies? Lord and master, and my Princess you... I pray you both to grant me one desire: I will myself set my unbending Queen One riddle now. And this is my riddle: Who Is that King's son and of what stock is he, Who was a beggar, porter, menial, Yet in good fortune more unfortunate? Woman without a heart, guess here to-morrow In the Divan his and his father's name. If you can not, take pity on my pain, Appease your heart, refuse your hand no more! But if your cunning tell those two names true, Your pride may drink its fill out of my blood.

TURANDOT.

Stranger, I take the bargain. It shall hold.

ZELIMA (aside).

Alas, new fears!

ADELMA (aside).

New hope is beckoning!

ALTOUM.

I do not take the bargain. The law alone Holds good, and shall be carried out.

CALAF (kneels before him).

Sublime Ruler of nations, star of all the world, Let your great heart be softened, and vouchsafe To grant what here your daughter begs with me. Deny her not the satisfaction I Do not withhold. Let her bestir her brains; And if her brains can serve her, let her give The answer to my riddle here to-morrow.

TURANDOT (aside).

Rage stifles me, and he is mocking still.

ALTOUM.

Blind fool, you know not what you ask. But have Your wish! Another contest there shall be! If she can name the names, we will not force Marriage on her; but you—for I forbid New carnage—free and scatheless go your way!

(In a low voice to CALAF.)

Now follow me! Blind fool, what have you done?

(Music strikes up with a march. ALTOUM turns, followed by the guards, the doctors, PANTALONE, and TARTAGLIA, to left exit. Exeunt TURANDOT, ZELIMA, TRUFFALDINO, the eunuchs, and female slaves, with their tambourines, through the door to the right.)

END OF THE FIRST ACT.



THE SECOND ACT



SCENE I

Chamber in the harem.

TURANDOT, ZELIMA. Afterwards ADELMA.

TURANDOT.

I cannot bear to think of it, Zelima; I cannot bear the thought of my disgrace.

ZELIMA.

I cannot think you mean it, mistress mine. A young prince, noble, handsome, so enamoured, And you so full of hatred and disgust?

TURANDOT.

Torture me not. That is the very reason... I am ashamed to say that it is so.... But there are other feelings strange to me.... I seem to shiver both with heat and frost.... No, no, I hate him, I am sure, Zelima— Hate him for making me a laughing-stock Before the whole Divan—nay, the whole world! How they will laugh at me! Help me, Zelima! Come to my help! How did his riddle run: "Who is that Prince and of what stock is he, Who was a beggar, porter, menial, Yet in good fortune more unfortunate?" So much is clear that he himself is meant. But how in all the world am I to guess His and his father's names? Here no one knows him. The Emperor himself has granted him For the time being still to be unknown. Only to save time did I take the odds. What shall I do now? I am helpless, helpless!

ZELIMA.

How would it do to ask a fortune-teller?

TURANDOT.

A fortune-teller?

ZELIMA.

No, that would not do. But think, how genuine his pain, his sighs! And how he cast himself at your father's feet To plead for you!

TURANDOT.

Enough of this—enough! I said, indeed... my heart... believe it not. It is not true. I hate him. For I know They all are treacherous: pretending love Until they have the maiden in their toils; But when they have their will, they laugh at us, Dallying with now this woman and now that; Nor is there any slave too base for them, Nor any harlot at too low a price. Zelima, speak no more of him. If he To-morrow is victorious again, Oh, I shall hate him worse than death.

ZELIMA.

Dear mistress, So long as you are young and beautiful, Rebellion beseems you. But when age Comes creeping on, and wooers stay away, What will be yours beside too late regret?... What would you lose now save a little pride, The phantom of your fame?...

ADELMA.

(Has slowly come nearer, and now interrupts her.)

They that are base In birth may, it is true, so basely think As thou, Zelima. How couldst thou conceive The feelings of our noble mistress, when After so many years with triumph crowned, A stranger roving here from who knows where Puts her to shame in public? How shouldst thou Know anything of pride and pain and shame? Thou didst not see the looks of mockery, The slanted smile round every mouth. I saw it, Saw it and shook with rage and shame for her. I love her. And shall I stand and see her now, Against the promptings of her heart and will, Delivered up into a stranger's hands?

TURANDOT (vehemently).

Stop! Do not make me mad beyond control!

ZELIMA.

Delivered up? Is it so bad as that?

ADELMA.

Be silent, thou! Thou pretty little slave, Thou hast no need to understand these things. What matters it to thee if, heedlessly, She pledged her word? And what shall come to pass In the Divan to-morrow if in shame She hold her tongue? I can already see The mockery scarcely hid, the open scorn, And the base wit, such wit as is the meed Of a poor actress.

TURANDOT (beside herself).

Hold your tongue, Adelma! Unless I know the names before to-morrow, I shall have nothing save this dagger....

ADELMA.

Do not despair, Princess. By taking thought— Or, if it must be so, by trickery— We yet will find the names.

ZELIMA.

Oh, find the names, Dear, wise Adelma....

TURANDOT.

I must know the names, Adelma. His name, and his father's name. How shall I find them out? Adelma, help me!

ADELMA.

One thing I know: to-day in the Divan Himself betrayed it: in this city lives One man who knows his name and origin. Now what behoves us is to ferret through The town, and if we make no stint of gold Haply we may discover what we seek.

TURANDOT.

Take anything—gold, gems—do what you will.

ZELIMA.

What can she do with gold or precious stones? Whom shall she give them to, to purchase help? And if the plan succeed, what will you do If some one find your mesh of trickery?

ADELMA.

Who would betray the trick—if not Zelima?

ZELIMA (flaring up).

Shame on your venomous tongue! Princess, hear me: Cast not your gold away. I had indeed Hoped to appease, convince you in the end, Hoped you would give the Prince your hand—the Prince Who loves you, and well is worthy of your love. Now I will be obedient. My old mother, Skirina, came to visit me just now. Rejoicing at the fortune of the Prince, And knowing nothing of the imminent Encounter which to-morrow shall decide, She told me she had spoken to the stranger The night before, and said that my step-father, Old Hassan, knows him. There and then I asked What might his name be, but she did not know, Or swore she did not. Hassan, so she said, Would not betray his name for any price. This notwithstanding, she has promised me To do her best to worm the secret out. Now, Princess, doubt my zeal, if still you can.

(Exit in excitement.)

TURANDOT.

Come, to my arms! Why does she run away?

ADELMA.

Let the fool go. Now we have got the scent, And let us with swift cunning track the game. But come with me straightway and let me tell you The plan I have. Put all your trust in me.

TURANDOT.

Adelma, I put all my trust in you. But save me from this stranger whom I loathe.

(Exeunt both.)



SCENE II

Before the Palace.

CALAF, BARAK.

CALAF.

But seeing that in all Pekin no man Knows me, save you, and since my country lies A hundred days of journeying from here, And when you think we have been wanderers O'er the earth's face eight years as unknown men, And when you think we are reported dead: I say, Barak, the wretched have no name.

BARAK.

And yet my mind misgives me: Here you win At one throw of the dice the loveliest Of maidens and a mighty empire too: You stake your head to win, and, having won, You throw the prize away.

CALAF.

You must not measure My actions by the ell: I am in love.... But you have been discreet, Barak, I know? Even to your wife?

BARAK.

Even to my wife, be sure. And yet my heart forebodes much evil hap.



SCENE III

PANTALONE, TARTAGLIA, BRIGELLA, SOLDIERS. The foregoing.

PANTALONE.

Here he is, by the Lord Harry, here he is!

TARTAGLIA.

Who is this man, your Royal Highness?

PANTALONE.

Where the dickens have you been to, my dearest Prince? What sort of people are you honouring with your intercourse, my dearest Prince?

BARAK (aside).

Great heavens, what threatens now?

CALAF.

This is some stranger, Whom here I met and questioned of the way.

TARTAGLIA.

By your leave, my dearest Royal Highness, I had not previously noticed that there was any screw loose under your turban. Your conduct so far had led me, I trust not misled me, to believe that your head was screwed on quite safe. But what the deuce are you up to now, if you will allow me to say so?

PANTALONE.

'Sh! 'Sh! It's no use crying over spilt milk. Heaven knows, my dear Prince, you little suspect what hot water you've got into, and if we hadn't kept a sharp eye on you, you'd be in a fine pickle at this moment. (To BARAK.) Your presence here, Mr. Nanny-goat, is no longer desired! As for you, my dearest Royal Highness, will you have the goodness to withdraw to your private apartments? Brigella, you will forthwith call two thousand men of the guards to arms, and with your corps of pages sentinel the entrance to his suite, taking care that no one gains admission. Our most Sublime Majesty, the Emperor, is so much in love with the Prince that he is all the time in a perfect state lest anything should happen to him. If he is not his son-in-law by to-morrow morning, Heaven knows the old gentleman will succumb to this violent passion. (To CALAF.) And let me tell you, you've been making a fool of yourself. (Whispering to him.) For Heaven's sake, don't let your name get between your teeth! But if by any chance you would care to whisper it to a venerable, discreet old man, I can assure you it would be in good keeping. What do you say?

CALAF.

You serve your Emperor ill, old gentleman!

PANTALONE.

Oh, bravo! Oh, bravo! Now then, Mr. Brigella, off you go!

BRIGELLA.

You stop your parleying first. I'll see to my duty in due course.

TARTAGLIA.

I should advise you to. Off you go, or off goes your head.

BRIGELLA.

My head's hard enough to stand your pecking, old cock.

TARTAGLIA.

(Whispering to CALAF.) I'm simply bursting with curiosity to know your dear, delightful name. If you would only have the kindness to confide it to me!

CALAF.

Enough! Enough! To-morrow you shall hear it.

TARTAGLIA.

Excellent. By George!

PANTALONE.

Your Royal Highness, I take my leave! (To BARAK.) And you, my worthy Mr. Nanny-goat, you will do well to depart this place and smoke your pipe on the market square instead of standing about here. I urgently recommend you to mind your own business. I believe that would do you a lot more good.

(Exit.)

TARTAGLIA.

(To BARAK.) A lot more good, believe me! You have, if I may say so, a rascal's face; and I can tell you I don't like it.

(Exit.)

BRIGELLA.

Permit me, your Royal Highness, to execute my commission. Have the goodness to follow me to your apartments!

CALAF.

I am coming.

(To BARAK.)

Friend, until we meet again, Some better time, farewell.

BARAK.

Your humble servant.

BRIGELLA.

Come along! Come along! No more fooling.

(Exit at the head of his guards, who march in two lines, with CALAF between them.)



SCENE IV

BARAK, then SKIRINA.

BARAK.

(Sees SKIRINA coming from the Palace.)

Who's there? Skirina? What! And in such haste? Whence come you? Whither are you going?

SKIRINA.

Why, For sheer delight because the unknown Prince Had won the game; a little, too, because I itched to hear how the proud tigress took it, I ran to see Zelima in the harem.

BARAK.

Incautious woman! What is this you say? I see. I hear you boasting: "Yes, just fancy, The strange Prince spoke to us; my husband knows him...." Is it not as I say?

SKIRINA.

Well, if it is, What harm is there?

BARAK.

Confess it! You have told!

SKIRINA.

Well, yes! She asked me straightway for his name, And, to be frank, I promised her...

BARAK (angrily).

Damnation! The cat's out of the bag. Insensate woman! Come hence! Away out of the town!

(TRUFFALDINO appears with his eunuchs in the background.)

Too late! There come the eunuchs.

(To SKIRINA.)

Fool of a woman, go! Go home and hide thy folly!

(To the eunuchs.)

Here I am!



SCENE V

TRUFFALDINO, EUNUCHS. The foregoing.

TRUFFALDINO.

(Aside.) You ass! (Aloud.) Stop bleating and shaking your tags, you old ram you! (In a kindly tone.) You're going to have a fine time of it to-day, old boy.

BARAK.

I'm wanted in the harem. Good! let us go.

TRUFFALDINO.

Ass! you're going to have a fine time of it, you old baa-baa. And I'll help you. Against all the rules of etiquette and good breeding, I condescend to introduce you alive into the harem. Can you appreciate the height of your good fortune? H'm! A vigorous old chap like you! Inside the most holy seraglio? Baa! Baa! All those pretty ladies? Baa! Baa! Eh! is that nothing to you? Baa! Baa! (More to the public.) As a rule, we are very particular on this point—absolutely rigorous. As a rule, not even a flea is admitted into the harem before it has been carefully examined to see whether it's a male or a female. We tickle it, and if it laughs it's a she. Females have a silk thread tied round their left leg. Males are immediately executed. Baa! Baa! And now you have this good fortune thrust upon you.

BARAK.

I know the Princess sends you after me. What of the woman there? I know her not.

TRUFFALDINO.

Thou knowest her not! Baa! Baa! Thou art a liar, old chap. Thou liest in thy throat, thou silvery ram. Thou knowest her not! Thou paralytic pack of prevarication! This buxom smiling lady, with her attractive, plump figure, thou knowest her not? Thou thrice-bleached hypocrite! And all the time you share all she has, year in, year out, as far as you are able to. Baa! Baa! I'll help you. Baa! Baa! I'll teach you to tell me lies! Baa! Baa! Me, the Grand Eunuch of China! (Beckons to the eunuchs to bring SKIRINA closer to BARAK.) Well, do you know her now? This lady? Your wife, you wretch, you wretch! Baa! Baa!

SKIRINA.

I can't make head or tail of it.

BARAK.

Remember What I have said. And hold your tongue. Poor fool, You have now what you wanted.

SKIRINA.

Heaven help us!

TRUFFALDINO.

(To the eunuchs.) Up! Take the pair of 'em between you. Slope swords! Halt! Attention! Eyes front! Quick march!



SCENE VI.

In the harem. Anteroom with columns. In the middle a table, on which stands a large basin filled with gold coins. It is night.

(TRUFFALDINO and his eunuchs surround BARAK, who is fettered to a pillar. To the right stand SKIRINA and ZELIMA, weeping; to the left, in an imperious attitude, TURANDOT.)

TURANDOT.

There still is time. I offer you again This dish of gold, if you will speak the names. If you refuse, I'll have you whipped to death. Come hither, slaves!

(The eunuchs make her a deep bow and grip their sticks.)

BARAK (to SKIRINA).

Now see what you have done!

(To TURANDOT.)

Princess, feed on your prey. Strike on, ye slaves! I know the son's name and I know the sire's. But direst torture shall not make me speak; No, nor the pains of death. Your dish of gold Is so much dirt to me.

SKIRINA and ZELIMA.

(Cast themselves down before TURANDOT.)

Princess, have mercy....

TURANDOT.

I am sick of this obstinacy. Slaves, hither! Give this old man a whipping!

ZELIMA.

Frightful! Stay!

SKIRINA.

My husband! My poor husband!

ADELMA (enters from behind the scenes).

Take heed, Princess! Hasten away! The Emperor hither comes!

(Pointing to BARAK and SKIRINA.)

Conceal this pair here in the deepest dungeon. Give me this dish of gold, and let Zelima Come with me. I have bribed the sentinels That stand at guard before the stranger's room. Zelima, if you love your mother, do What now I bid.

TURANDOT.

In you I put my trust, Adelma. Help me! Do what you think fit!

(At a sign from ADELMA, TRUFFALDINO leads BARAK and SKIRINA out to the right.)

ADELMA.

Zelima, come. (To the eunuchs.) One of you bring this basin.

(Exit ADELMA, followed by ZELIMA and one of the eunuchs, carrying the basin.)



SCENE VII

TURANDOT.

TURANDOT.

What will Adelma do? If I should win, Who would be greater then than Turandot? Who then would dare to challenge her again? Ah! what a joy, to cast the names to-morrow Into his face, and drive him from my presence, Shamed, disappointed! Not pure joy, perhaps.... I see him weeping, sad, depressed.... I feel Something like pity at the thought of it.... Stay, Turandot, thou little soul, what thought Is this thou harbourest now! Did he show pity, When he in the Divan had solved the riddles? Did he not make thee red with rage and shame? Heaven, help Adelma now, and help me, Heaven, To annihilate him utterly! Help me now To guard my virgin freedom, succour me Against the coarse and domineering sex!

SCENE VIII

ALTOUM, PANTALONE, TARTAGLIA, GUARDS, TURANDOT.

ALTOUM (meditatively, aside, reading letter).

So Fate at last has stricken that bloody robber, The Sultan of Tashkent. And the same fate Brings, by strange dispensation, Timur's son, Calaf, to us, and to a great good-fortune. Who dares to penetrate Thy mysteries, Just Heaven?

PANTALONE (whispering to TARTAGLIA).

What the devil is the old gentleman always drivelling about now?

TARTAGLIA (whispering).

A secret messenger has arrived. Hell's loose somewhere.

ALTOUM (stepping up to TURANDOT).

Child, the night is almost gone, And, sleepless yet, you wander to and fro, Seeking to know-something you cannot know. I, who have nowise sought, have found it out: You seek, and know it not.

(Shows her the letter.)

Both names are writ Upon this sheet. From countries far away A secret rider bore it even now, With other tidings, grave and full of joy. The messenger I hold in custody Until to-morrow night. Your unknown suitor Is of a truth a prince, and a King's son. You will not, cannot guess the names. My child, It is a father's pity brings me here: Why will you once again, this day that dawns, Have yourself put to shame before a crowd, Suffering the cruel malice of their hate?

(Makes signs to PANTALONE and TARTAGLIA to leave him alone. Exeunt both with the GUARDS.)

Leave us alone! I hold it in my hand To spare you all.

TURANDOT (wavering).

To spare me what? I thank you, Father. I have no need of any help. In my own wits I have my best defence.

ALTOUM.

You are now at your wits' end; you know it, too. A desperate confusion fills your eyes. We are alone with one another now. Come, tell your father! Do you know the names?

TURANDOT.

You will know that in the Divan to-morrow.

ALTOUM.

Listen, my child. You do not know these names. But if you do, trust in my love and say. Then I will let the poor man know, and see That he shall quit my lands without delay, And we will have it noised abroad that you Have conquered him, and spared him public shame. Thus you escape the hatred of the crowd. Will you deny your father this light boon?

TURANDOT.

I know the names.... I do not know the names.... Did he show any pity when he won? Now let him bear what I myself have borne. If I do know the names, I shall announce them To-morrow to the crowd in the Divan.

ALTOUM (makes first a gesture of impatience and then forces himself to be calm.)

All that he did was done in love, my daughter, And in a game played for his head. Now bid Ambition leave your heart, and anger too, And let me show you how a father loves. I pledge my head you do not know the names. I have them here—and I will tell you them. To-morrow then you may in the Divan Put him to shame and contumely, and see His anguish and his torture call for death, Because with you he loses all he loved. And only one thing do I crave: when you Have fed your vengeance on him to the full, Reach him your hand and be his willing wife. Swear it; we are alone. Then have the names. And all shall be a secret, mine and yours.

TURANDOT (uncertain and excited, aside).

What shall I do? Depend upon Adelma? Or shall I let my father tell the names, And bow my head to the yoke?... Less is the shame, Beyond all doubt, to yield to one's own father. But what if wise Adelma had succeeded Already, and my oath had been too soon?

ALTOUM.

Why will you rack your brains when all is clear? Let not irresolution harry you! Would you still have me think you know the names? Child, be persuaded!

TURANDOT (aside).

No, I will wait for Adelma. My father urges me. This is a sign The mystery is not impenetrable. He is in league with that strange man, and seeks To talk me over.

ALTOUM.

Hesitate no longer! Make up your mind! Rein in your rearing pride! Torture yourself no more.

TURANDOT.

I am resolved. Call the Divan together in good time. I have no more to say.

ALTOUM.

You are resolved Rather to yield to force than to your father!

TURANDOT.

I am resolved to fight.

ALTOUM (in a rage).

Fool without heart! I will indeed call the Divan together To be your temple and your altar too. And I will summon priests, to celebrate Your marriage while a crowd looks on and mocks. Yea, have your will, you stupid fool! Good night.

(Exit.)



SCENE IX

Scene shifted. A magnificent apartment with several doors. In the middle of the room an Oriental divan, which serves CALAF as a bed. Deep night.

BRIGELLA, CALAF.

BRIGELLA.

(With a candlestick in his hand.) Three hundred and seventy-seven, three hundred and seventy-eight, three hundred and seventy-nine. It's already three o'clock in the morning, your Royal Highness, and you've walked now exactly three hundred and eighty times from one corner of the room to the other. To be quite frank, I'm done up, and if you would lie down a little, it would do us both good. You're in safety here.

CALAF.

Yes, you are right. But my excited mind Gives me no peace. Forgive me! Leave me! Go!

BRIGELLA.

I should like to give you a piece of advice, my dearest Royal Highness: if a ghost pays you a visit, be prudent, be prudent; try to be prudent.

CALAF.

Ghosts, do you say? What ghosts? Is the place haunted?

BRIGELLA.

Well.... H'm.... We have the most stringent orders to admit nobody, under penalty of death. H'm.... Poor servants we are, poor servants! The Emperor is the Emperor, you understand, but the Princess, she is the Empress, so to speak. Poor servants... it's hard to have to pick your way between two puddles. Not half! If you only knew it, we've always got our heads between the hammer and the anvil. We don't want to get into anybody's bad graces. I'm sure you understand me. And a man wants to put something aside for his old days. And so you see we poor devils are in the hell of a hole. Not half!

CALAF.

What are you driving at? Is my life in danger?

BRIGELLA.

I won't say that; but you are aware of the blessed interest people about here take in your name. By way of example it might possibly happen that a hobgoblin or a fairy steps in through the keyhole and leads you into temptation. Keep a tight rein on your five senses, that's all. You see what I mean, don't you? Poor servants we people! Poor devils! Not half!

CALAF.

Go. Have no fear. I stand upon my guard.

BRIGELLA.

(Slapping him on the back.) That's right, your Highness, that's right. I commend myself to your most gracious protection. (Aside.) I have heard that some people can find it in their hearts to refuse a purse of florins. I have done my very best, but I can't find it in my heart. So help me, God! A man can only do what he can do. I can't do it; no, I can't do it.

(Exit.)



SCENE X

CALAF.

CALAF.

What is this fellow warning me against? Who is to visit me? Well, I can fight, Yea, fight the very devil, if he come. My thoughts are all for her. Short time remains Of fearing and of torment: Dawn is nigh! And can it be her heart is still so hard And pitiless? Well, let us try to sleep.



SCENE XI

ZELIMA, CALAF.

Enter ZELIMA.

ZELIMA.

My Prince, I am a slave of Turandot, And hither come by ways which even to her Are closed. Good news I bring you.

CALAF.

Slave, you lie. The heart of Turandot is pitiless.

ZELIMA.

You speak the truth. And yet: you are the first That ever touched it. You believe me not, And yet it is quite true. She says she hates you, And she already loves you. May the earth Swallow me if it is not true she loves you.

CALAF.

The news is good. I will believe. What next?

ZELIMA.

She bids me tell you, only her ambition Drives her to desperation. Now she sees That what she undertook she cannot do, But thinking of to-morrow and its shame She is consumed.... May the earth swallow me, If here I lie!

CALAF.

Enough, my pretty slave. I will believe. Go! Tell her: it is easy To give the contest up. And she would win Fairer renown by softening her heart, And giving of her own free will the hand He longs for to the man who loves her true. Is this the message, haply, that you bring?

ZELIMA.

No, Prince. My message runs not so. We ask Consideration for our weaknesses. The Princess begs you for a favour. Spare Her vanity. Help her to say those names In the Divan to-morrow. Then she herself Will from her throne descend, and reach to you Her right hand. You it costs so little. Say The names, and in this manner win her heart.

CALAF (with a smile).

H'm! Pretty slave, where is the speech's end?

ZELIMA.

What speech's end, your Highness?

CALAF.

"Let the earth Swallow me if I lie in this."

ZELIMA.

You doubt it?

CALAF.

I do a little doubt it—just so much That I refuse to do what you desire. Go, tell your mistress, if I hide the names It is because a lover must be cautious— I do not hide them with intent to pain her.

ZELIMA (violently).

Fool, fool! you little know what this will cost you!

CALAF.

And if it cost my life!

ZELIMA.

You soon will see. Good-night.

(Aside.)

The fool! He has made a fool of me.

(Exit in a rage.)

CALAF.

Be steadfast, heart! Only a few hours more The skies will clear, and fear will have an end. That I could sleep.... My tortured spirit yearns For rest. Sink down upon me, gentle sleep!

(Goes to sleep.)



SCENE XII

CALAF, TRUFFALDINO.

TRUFFALDINO.

(Comes creeping in cautiously from right, creeps under the divan.)

Well, thank God! he's gone to sleep at last. 'Sh! 'Sh! (In the front of the stage before the footlights.) As my poor old mother used to say, "A good name is worth a fortune." What a good name this idiot of a Prince must have, considering how my gracious Princess is throwing all her money away on him! Skirina's got some, Zelima's got some, Brigella's got some. I've got some, and I'm going to get two purses extra if I get this young hopeful's name. And I shall get it! You watch me. I'm going to! (With much ceremony he pulls a big turnip, wrapped in a strip of paper, out of his dress.) Here I have the famous magic root mandragora. The Universal Doctor and Great Herbalist Pimpernel, Market Square, second door to the right, let me have it for a tanner. Warranted, of course. Warranted to go two years. Printed instructions for use attached. (Unwraps the turnip, reads:) "The root mandragora opens all doors, bursts all locks, raises hidden treasure, confers riches and wisdom...." (Looks up.) Aha! just what I want. (Reads on:) "It has influence over the constellations and the planets, makes the blind to see and the deaf to hear, is a protection against the evil eye, heals all maladies of the mind, depression in men and melancholy in women...." (Looks up.) Aha! Depression, quite so. Melancholy, quite so. (Reads on:) "It confers the gift of second sight, reveals hidden secrets...." (Looks up.) Ah! now we have it. Hidden secrets.... "Let it be placed under the pillow of the person, whether male or female, whose secret it is desired to know, when the said person is asleep. Then the person aforesaid..." Hurrah! (jumps for joy) "will, by dreaming aloud, communicate what it is desired to know." Did you hear that? Isn't that the very thing? (Creeps up to CALAF'S bed, and, with excessive caution, places the turnip under his pillow.) 'Sh! 'Sh!

(Draws back a little, and waits, in the greatest excitement, for what is going to happen. CALAF does not utter a sound. With a disappointed face TRUFFALDINO creeps nearer the bed again. CALAF remains dumb.)

Do say something, my dear boy! Do say something, please! (Waits a little.) Out with the name, my sweet little lambkin.

(With transfigured face CALAF whispers terms of endearment.)

What's he saying now? Tu... Tu... Turandot. Oh, bother! I know that name already, the name of my adored Princess. It's your name I want to know, my darling boy.

(CALAF goes on whispering excitedly. He smiles in his happy dream, and raises himself on his elbow during the following without opening his eyes.)

Tu... nothing but Turandot! Well, then, here I am, duckie. Here I am, lovey, here I am—my own very self, your own little lovey duckie Turandot. (Purses up his lips. CALAF smiles as though in rapture.) What wouldst thou have of me, my sweetest heart? Eh? Well, what? Something like this? (Smacks his lips.) Well, then, you shall have it, and more besides. But first of all, darling, you must tell me your name, your own delightful, sweet little name, my honey!...

(CALAF sinks back and lies dumb again, sulkily.)

Oh, you won't, won't you? You really won't? How nasty of you, my love! Just look at me. See how pretty I am! (Trips coquettishly up and down in front of the bed.) Look at my lovely white arms and my lovely plump legs, and my glorious hair hanging all down my back! ...Just look at it, my sweet little chick!

(CALAF begins to whisper excitedly, raising himself the while.)

That's right, that's right, quite so: talk, talk, my bonny babe! (Bends down again, till his mouth almost touches the sleeper's.) Once again, my sweet one! Say it once again, my little white lambkin! It shall have its kiss, it shall, right away.

(CALAF turns suddenly and violently round on the other side, and deals him a ringing box on the ear. (Squeaking noisily, TRUFFALDINO runs away. CALAF sits up for a moment in astonishment, opens his eyes, shuts them again immediately, and sinks back on his couch.)



SCENE XIII

ADELMA, veiled, with a lantern in her hand.

CALAF sleeping.

ADELMA (aside).

O moment I have sighed for long! O love, That lendest cunning courage unto me! And Fortune, thou that through all obstacles Hast led me hither: help a lovesick maid! Oh, bring me to the goal of my desires! Silence this yearning, love! And, Fortune, break These galling fetters....

(She lets the light of her lantern rest on CALAF, and gazes at him.)

My beloved sleeps. Oh, burst not, heart! Dear eyes, how loth I am To trespass on the rest possessing you! And yet I must. At once. The short night flees.

(She puts her lantern down.)

Stranger, awake!

CALAF (starts up in a fright).

Whose voice awakens me? What seekest thou again, thou creeping ghost? Why are my eyes denied their sleep?

ADELMA.

Be calm! Only a wretched woman stands before you. And she does not come, as the other did, To lure the names from you by trickery.

CALAF.

Let be! You cannot cheat me.

ADELMA.

I cheat you? Has not a slave been here with such intent?

(Puts her lantern down.)

CALAF.

Yes, and she went as wise, as when she came, And you will go as wise as when you came.

ADELMA.

You know me ill to be so rude. Sit up And listen.

(Sits down on the divan.)

CALAF.

Well, then, what is your desire?

ADELMA.

First look at me, and then.... Prince, tell me now, Who do you think I am?

CALAF.

In shape and bearing Noble you seem, but by your dress a slave. And as a slave I saw you yesterday In the Divan.

ADELMA.

Five years since I saw you, And then you were a slave.

(Raises her veil.)

Look at this face! Do you not know it?

CALAF.

Adelma! How! Adelma, Whom I thought dead!

ADELMA.

She is a serving-maid, Who was the daughter of King Kaikobad.

CALAF.

Adelma! A slave!

ADELMA.

A slave! I'll tell you why. I had a brother, blind with love, as you are, For Turandot. In the Divan he met her.

(Weeps.)

You saw his head above the city gate With all the others.

CALAF.

It is true, then, true.

ADELMA.

My father Kaikobad, in fury bold, Led his array against Altoum. Fortune, The fickle jade, lured him to his defeat And death. Altoum's general devised At one fell stroke to extirpate our race. My brothers he assassinated. Me, Together with my mother and three sisters, He cast into the river, then in spate. The gentle Emperor, coming on the scene, Ordered his guards to fish us out again. I was the only one brought to the shore, And I was led in the triumphal train, And given as a slave to Turandot, To wait on the hard-hearted woman who Was cause of all my griefs. Now, Calaf, speak, Am I not worth compassion?

(Weeps.)

CALAF (moved).

Indeed you are, Adelma, Princess of the Carcasenes! But what can so unfortunate a man As I am do for you? If fortune smile On me to-morrow, I will promise help For you, and freedom. And your grieving now Can only heap the measure of my own.

ADELMA.

You know me now, my destiny, my race. May you the better credit a King's daughter, What pity—I will not say love—constrains her Now to confide to you. False Turandot, Malicious, cunning, cruel Turandot, Soon as the morning dawns, will have you murdered. All orders are already given. So much From her, who is the mistress of your dreams.

CALAF (starts up savagely).

She will have me murdered, do you say?

ADELMA.

(Rises likewise, with the most solemn emphasis.)

Yes, murdered: While you are on your way to the Divan. A score of swords await your setting out.

CALAF (beside himself).

I will call the guards.

(Makes for the door.)

ADELMA (holds him back).

Bethink yourself, rash man! The guards? They have been bought by Turandot!

CALAF (in blind despair).

Timur, my wretched father, thus it stands. With Calaf, thy proud son; he that set out To seek good fortune for himself and thee!

(Covers his face with his hands.)

ADELMA (aside).

Haha! Timur... Calaf.... Be thrice blest, lie That lured this forth. Doubly I hold him now.

CALAF.

Can it be possible that Turandot... How can it be that such an angel's face Should hide such devilry?...

(Contemptuously.)

No. You deceive me, Adelma. Go!

ADELMA.

I will forgive your doubt. An angel's face? Oh, would that you had seen her As I have! In the harem rages she, And like a snapping bitch runs to and fro, Green in the face, and with her bloodshot eyes Shining with hate under distorted brows. Doubt if you will. That you should doubt my words Is not such pain as your approaching death.

(Weeps.)

CALAF.

What treachery! By the very guards betrayed Appointed to protect me! He spake right, That rascal of a captain: Gold kills duty. Life, fare thee well!

ADELMA.

And yet you may escape Your evil star. Up, I will show the way. By saving you from death, I save myself From slavery. With my jewels I have bought Two of the guards, an escort I have hired, And horses are in readiness. The Khan Of Berlas is my kinsman. Leagued with him Let us invade and seize my kingdom—yours, If so you will. And this my hand be yours, If you will have it. But if you will not, The Tartar Kings are not unblest with daughters, Fair maidens full of love and fit for you. Be you the King, and I will be your subject. Only flee, death. Only deliver me. And I will conquer even my love, which now, Crimson with shame, I have confessed..... Day dawns! Day dawns! My head swims.... Stranger, flee with me!

CALAF.

In vain. I have resolved to stay and die.

ADELMA.

Then I will, too, stay for a little while In slavery yet. And soon it will be seen Which of us two is readier to die.

(Aside.)

Often persistent love attains at last! Calaf, Timur's son?

(Aloud.)

Stranger Prince, good-night!

(Exit.)

CALAF.

Oh, will this night of horrors never end? And this fight of the soul that is consumed In burning love? By Fortune cast away— Cast into perils, by her hate pursued, I tarry for the dawn and traitorous knives.

(The scene grows light.)

See, the sun rises. Now the hour is come For her to feed her pleasure on my blood, The hour has come that sees my torment end!



SCENE XIV

BRIGELLA, GUARDS, CALAF.

BRIGELLA.

Time's up, your Highness. Fun begins in a minute.

CALAF.

Oh, is it you? Well, carry out your orders! Be quick! It doesn't matter. Get it over.

BRIGELLA (astonished).

What orders? Eh? I haven't got any orders. The only order I've got is to escort you to the Divan. Double quick! The Emperor has already combed his beard and may appear in the Divan any minute.

CALAF (in a tragedy tone).

Up, then, to the Divan! What though I do not Reach it alive? What matters it? See here, Am I the man to be afraid of death?

(Casts his sword away.)

I need no weapon. Let the Princess know That I have offered of my own free will To her assassins my defenceless breast

(Exit.)

BRIGELLA.

What the devil is the fellow raving about? Women, those damned women! They've been at him the whole night, not half, and his brain's collapsed! Hello, you! Present arms! Dress your ranks! March!

(Exeunt. Music of drums and other instruments of war.)

END OF THE SECOND ACT.



THE THIRD ACT



SCENE I

The great hall of the imperial Divan. In the "background, covered by a curtain, an altar with a Chinese idol; two priests standing beside it. ALTOUM on his throne, the doctors on their cushions, PANTALONE and TARTAGLIA on each side of the EMPEROR. ALTOUM, PANTALONE, TARTAGLIA, the DOCTORS, the GUARDS. Later CALAF. (Enter CALAF excitedly from right. He looks round uneasily and suspiciously. When he arrives at the middle of the room he bows to ALTOUM.)

CALAF (aside).

How's this? No trace of ambushed murderers? Did the slave lie? Can Turandot have found The names out, and rescinded her commands? Then I lose all. Death had been better far.

ALTOUM.

My son, you seem excited and in fear, And I were fain had you a merry face. Now all is well. Your sorrows are at end. Glad tidings that concern you I will save A little while. As for my daughter, she Is yours. She sent to me thrice in the night Petitioning release from this encounter. Therefore I charge you, son, be of good cheer!

PANTALONE.

Heaven knows, my dearest Royal Highness, I myself had to trot off in the night to pay a call on her Royal Highness in the Seraglio and receive her most illustrious commands. I didn't even have the time to tumble into my slippers and get dressed properly. And it was so cold, Heaven knows (coughs), I'm shivering yet. Never mind! Never mind!

TARTAGLIA.

They fetched me out of bed at 5 a.m. It was just beginning to get light a bit. She made me stand in front of her half an hour while she went on whining something or other. For sheer cold and vexation I talked the most clotted nonsense to her. (Aside.) It would have suited my humour better if I could have given her a downright good spanking.

ALTOUM.

You see yourself: she is so slow in coming. I have already sent explicit orders In case of need to bring her here by force. Here she shall stand and learn to blush, a pain She would not let me spare her. Therefore, son, Take good heart at the prospect of near joy.

CALAF.

I crave your pardon, sire, and give you thanks! I am tormented by most fearful doubts, And by the thought that for my sake she now Is suffering shame and force. Much rather... No Not that. If I do lose her, what remains To me of life? With time and tenderness I will compel her to forget this rage. My will shall be her wish, my heart her heart. For her sake I will grant what either asks, And my love's banner be: Fidelity!

ALTOUM.

Let there be no more dallying! This Divan Be changed into a temple, so that she, Soon as she enters here, may recognize That I too have a will. Prepare the marriage. Unveil the altar.

(The curtain in the background opens, and the altar with the priests is seen.)

PANTALONE.

She's coming, my dear Lord Chancellor, she's coming. I believe I can already hear her whining.

TARTAGLIA.

The accompaniment does at all events sound decidedly dismal. That's what I call a genuine wedding march, just the same as for a funeral.



SCENE II

TURANDOT, ADELMA, ZELIMA, TRUFFALDINO, EUNUCHS, SLAVES. The foregoing. (To the strains of a gloomy march TURANDOT appears. Before her proceed eunuchs. Her whole escort wear signs of mourning. With the same ceremonial as in First Act, TURANDOT ascends the throne, and at sight of the altar and the priests starts with surprise. The position of the actors is exactly the same as in the First Act. CALAF stands erect in the centre.)

TURANDOT.

This mourning of my escort, Prince unknown, These gloomy faces and these necks bowed down, Are (well I know it) sweet to your hard heart; And, mourning, I behold the altar ready. For all my efforts to avenge the shame Put on me yesterday, I still am helpless. I have fought my fight. I bow my neck to fate.

CALAF.

Would you could read the heart you say is hard, Princess, to see what wormwood your hate blends With all its rapture. Let not your heart rue Crowning the man with happiness who loves you And worships you, and if it is a crime To worship you, I beg you here: forgive!

ALTOUM.

Enough. She is not worth such humble words. Now teach her to be humble! Music, ho! Up! To the altar! Let the priests begin!

TURANDOT.

One moment more! What vengeance is so sweet As this: to cradle in security And restfulness an unsuspecting heart, And then from the pinnacle of happiness To dash it down into the blackest hell Of torment?

(She rises.)

Hear me, all of you: Depart From this Divan, Calaf, son of Timur! There is the riddle solved you set me. Wretch, Go! seek another wife, and shake with fear Of Turandot, whom none can overcome.

CALAF (confounded and stricken).

Great Heaven! Lost! Lost!

ALTOUM (taken aback).

What do I hear? Great Heaven!

PANTALONE.

Holy Madonna, she's gone and done it in his beard, my dear Lord Chancellor, Heaven knows.

TARTAGLIA.

(Mopping his face.) Holy Gorgonzola! this gets over me and no mistake.

CALAF.

Lost! No one helps me. Who could help me now? I have-been my own assassin, and in the end I lose by too much loving love itself. Why did I solve the riddles yesterday? If I had failed to solve them, I were now Cold, dumb, and free from torture worse than death. Great-hearted Emperor, why do you not Let that grim law hold good another time? Now she has found the names, give your cold daughter, To be her crowning triumph, this last head.

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