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Title: A Thousand Years Ago - A Romance of the Orient
Author: MacKaye, Percy
Language: English
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                   _The Drama League Series of Plays_

                              _VOLUME II_



                          A THOUSAND YEARS AGO
                        A ROMANCE OF THE ORIENT


                                   BY
                             PERCY MACKAYE


                        WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
                            CLAYTON HAMILTON

[Illustration]

        “_Here in China the world lies a-dream, like a thousand
        Years ago, and the place of our dreams is eternal_”


                  GARDEN CITY      1914       NEW YORK
                       DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY



                         _Copyright, 1914, by_
                             PERCY MACKAYE
           ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY THE SHUBERT THEATRICAL CO.


    +--------------------------------------------------------------+
    | In its present form this play is dedicated to the reading    |
    | public only, and no performances of it may be given. Any     |
    | piracy or infringement will be prosecuted in accordance      |
    | with the penalties provided by the United States Statutes:—  |
    |                                                              |
    | SEC. 4966.—Any person publicly performing or        |
    | representing any dramatic or musical composition, for which  |
    | copyright has been obtained, without the consent of the      |
    | proprietor of the said dramatic or musical composition,      |
    | or his heirs or assigns, shall be liable for damages         |
    | therefor, such damages in all cases to be assessed at such   |
    | sum, not less than one hundred dollars for the first and     |
    | fifty dollars for every subsequent performance, as to the    |
    | Court shall appear to be just. If the unlawful performance   |
    | and representation be wilful and for profit, such person     |
    | or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon        |
    | conviction be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one      |
    | year.—U. S. Revised Statutes, Title 60, Chap. 3.             |
    +--------------------------------------------------------------+


                         TO
                   HERMANN HAGEDORN

                   Singer of flashing swords
                     Lover of olden songs
         “Miming Romance, seductive Adventure
         Amorous Magic, improvised Comedy
         And all the love-charming, blood-thirsty Enchantments
         Our prosy old workaday world has lost wind of”



                               THE AUTHOR


Percy MacKaye, the author of this play, was born in New York City, March
16, 1875—a son of Steele MacKaye. He graduated from Harvard with the
class of 1897 and shortly afterward spent two years in Italy and at the
University of Leipzig. In 1904 he joined the Cornish (New Hampshire)
Colony and has since devoted himself to literary and dramatic work. He
is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Following is a list of his published works:

 THE CANTERBURY PILGRIMS: A Comedy.
 THE CANTERBURY TALES OF CHAUCER.
 FENRIS, THE WOLF: A Tragedy.
 JEANNE D’ARC: A Tragedy.
 SAPPHO AND PHAON: A Tragedy.
 THE SCARECROW: A Tragedy of the Ludicrous.
 LINCOLN CENTENARY ODE.
 MATER: An American Study in Comedy.
 THE PLAYHOUSE AND THE PLAY. Essays.
 A GARLAND TO SYLVIA: A Comedy.
 ANTI-MATRIMONY: A Satirical Comedy.
 YANKEE FANTASIES. Five One-Act Plays.
 TO-MORROW. A Play in Three Acts.
 POEMS.
 URIEL, AND OTHER POEMS.
 THE CIVIC THEATRE.
 SANCTUARY: A Bird Masque.
 A THOUSAND YEARS AGO.



 _Original Cast of the Play as first produced in Boston, at the Shubert
                       Theatre, December 1, 1913_


                        WILLIAM A. BRADY (LTD.)
                                PRESENTS
                          A THOUSAND YEARS AGO
                       _A Romance of the Orient_

                                   BY
                             PERCY MACKAYE

        “_Here in China, the world lies a-dream, like a thousand
        Years ago, and the place of our dreams is eternal._”

(The play is an original comedy, suggested by the Persian romance in
“The Thousand and One Tales,” wherein is recited the adventures of
Calaf, Prince of Astrakhan, and the beautiful Princess of China.)


                           CAST OF CHARACTERS

                                ASIATIC

     TURANDOT, Princess of Pekin                       Rita Jolivet
     ALTOUM, her father, Emperor                    Frederick Warde
     ZELIMA, her slave                               Fania Marinoff
     CALAF, Prince of Astrakhan                      Jerome Patrick
     BARAK, his servitor                            Frank McCormack
     CHANG, Eunuch                                      Edmund Roth

                                EUROPEAN

     SCARAMOUCHE }                               { Sheldon Lewis
     PUNCHINELLO }  Vagabond Players from Italy  { Bennett Kilpack
     PANTALOON   }                               { Allen Thomas
     HARLEQUIN   }                               { Joseph Smith
     CAPOCOMICO, their leader                      H. Cooper Cliffe


                        LORDS OF THE ROYAL DIVAN

      Hugh Nixon, John P. Savage, Anthony Romack, Reginald Simpson


                                BEGGARS

                 William H. Dupont and W. Bradley Ward


                            SOLDIERS OF PEKIN

 David Earle, Charles Muche, Thomas Edwards, Joseph Reed, Howard Jackson,
              Carl Textoris, Joseph Weston, James Bannister


                               TEA BEARERS

                    Franklin Montgomery and John Leons


                             COURT ATTENDANTS

                    Philip Sheridan and Robert W. Gest


                            FEMALE ATTENDANTS

 Marie Benton, Daisy Miller, Ruth Pierson, Constance Howard, Elsie Oates
                            and Sybil Maitland


                                  SCENES

                                ACT I
                            City Gate at Pekin

                                ACT II
                  Scene 1: Room in the Imperial Harem
                  Scene 2: Great Hall of the Emperor

                                ACT III
                  Scene 1: Turandot’s Dream
                            (1) The Mountains
                            (2) A Street
                  Scene 2: Anteroom of the Harem
                  Scene 3: Calaf’s Bedchamber

                                ACT IV
        Great Hall of the Emperor. (The same as Act II, Scene 2)


         Play produced under the direction of Mr. J. C. Huffman

             Interpretative music composed by William Furst


                            EXECUTIVE STAFF

                Tarkington Baker                Manager
                Frederick Schader      Business Manager
                Frank McCormack          Stage Director
                William W. Brown }       Stage Managers
                W. Bradley Ward  }
                William Furst          Musical Director



                                PREFACE


The present play is an original comedy, of which certain elements in the
plot have been suggested by the old Persian tale which is the theme of
the eighteenth century Italian comedy “Turandotte,” by Carlo Gozzi,
translated into German by Friedrich Schiller.

It is not a revision or rewriting of that work.

It is an entirely new play.

Since, however, some modern productions have recently been made in
Germany, England and America, under the title of “Turandot,” it is
fitting to make clear the relation which my play bears to those and to
the older productions of Gozzi and Schiller.

In January, 1762, “Turandotte” by Carlo Gozzi was first acted by the
Sacchi company of players at Venice. It was one of a number of
“improvised comedies”—or _Commedie dell’ Arte Improvisata_—composed by
Gozzi in his single-handed artistic war against the more naturalistic
works of Goldoni, his contemporary.

The plots of these comedies, or _Fiabe_, were derived from nursery or
folk-tales. They were acted by masked, or semi-masked players. Their
technique was based on the old Italian form of _scenari_. This form is
described by John Addington Symonds, in the Preface to his “Memories of
Count Carlo Gozzi,” as follows:

“Comparative study of these _scenari_ shows that the whole comedy was
planned out, divided into acts and scenes, the parts of the several
personages described in prose, their entrances and exits indicated, and
what they had to do laid down in detail. The execution was left to the
actors; and it is difficult to form a correct conception of the acted
play from the dry bones of its _ossatura_. ‘Only one thing afflicts me,’
said our Marston in the Preface to his _Malcontent_: ‘to think that
scenes invented merely to be spoken, should be inforcively published to
be read.’ And again in his Preface to the _Fawne_: ‘Comedies are writ to
be spoken, not read; remember the life of these things consists in
action.’ If that was true of pieces composed in dialogue by an English
playwright of the Elizabethan age, how far more true is it of the
skeletons of comedies, which avowedly owed their force and spirit to
extemporaneous talent! Reading them, we feel that we are viewing the
machine of stakes and irons which a sculptor sets up before he begins to
mould the figure of an athlete or a goddess in plastic clay.

“The _scenario_, like the _plat_ described for us by Malone and Collier,
was hung up behind the stage. Every actor referred to it while the play
went forward, refreshing his memory with what he had to represent, and
attending to his entrances.”

Written as _scenari_ Gozzi’s acted _Fiabe_ were eminently successful in
their day, and established his works as models of a dramatic taste
which, toward the last of the eighteenth century, it became the desire
of cultivated Germans to introduce into their own country.

With this object in view, Goethe and Schiller selected “Turandotte” as a
foreign comedy worthy to be translated and adapted for production at the
Weimar Theatre. Accordingly Schiller recast in poetic form a German
version of Gozzi’s play, made by Werthes, and produced it at Weimar, in
honor of the birthday of the Grand Duchess, wife of Karl August, on
January 30, 1804. In details of this recasting he was assisted by
Goethe.

The attempt, however, thus to “elevate the taste of the German public”
was not successful.

More than one hundred years later, Dr. Max Reinhardt produced in Berlin
a play based on Schiller’s “Turandot” made by Karl Voellmueller. In 1912
an English translation of this version by Jethro Bithell was produced in
America by the Shubert Theatrical Company, and after a brief run on the
road was withdrawn from the stage. In January, 1913, it was also
produced for a short run in London by Sir George Alexander.

Considering the version as it stood to be in need of changes for their
purposes, the owners of the American rights requested me to suggest and
make the changes. To this I replied that to make alterations or
adaptations of the version did not appeal to me, but if the owners would
like to give me entire freedom to write a new and original play on the
theme of the Persian folk-tale used by Gozzi suitable to the scenic
settings of Reinhardt’s production, I should be glad to do so. This
freedom was courteously given, and the present play was written in the
late spring and early summer of this year, and placed in rehearsal in
October.

In writing my play, then, I have used for my own purposes the folk-tale
material treated differently by Gozzi, and in so doing I have entirely
reconceived the story and its situations, omitting many characters of
the old tale, introducing and creating several new ones, and
characterizing all from a fresh standpoint.[1]

The chief male character of my play, for instance, Capocomico, is wholly
new. The name is that which was given to the director or choregus of the
old Italian troupes of the _Commedia dell’ Arte_, concerning which
Symonds writes in his Preface before referred to:

“The Choregus was usually the Capo Comico, or the first actor and
manager of the company. He impressed his comrades with a certain unity
of tone, brought out the talents of promising comedians, enlarged one
part, curtailed another, and squared the piece to be performed with the
capacities he could control. ‘When a new play has to be given,’ says
another writer on this subject, ‘the first actor calls the troupe
together in the morning. He reads them out the plot, and explains every
detail of the intrigue. In short, he acts the whole piece before them,
points out to each player what his special business requires, indicates
the customary sallies of wit and traits of humor, and shows how the
several parts and talents of the actors can be best combined into a
striking work of scenic art.’”

The four “Maskers” of my play, followers of Capocomico, are, of course,
my own renderings of the types familiar to the old Italian comedies.

For their dialogue in the introductory scene of this modern comedy in
English, I have invented for them (or rather made use of, for the first
time, for modern actors) a form of spoken verse suggestive perhaps of
the voluble, capricious, unnaturalistic spirit of fantasy common to
them: embodied especially in their leader and spokesman, Capocomico.

Needless to say, “A Thousand Years Ago” historically speaking, there
were no disciples of the school of _la Commedia dell’ Arte_ to invade
old China, but fantasy and comedy are older (and younger) than the
schools. As Capocomico himself remarks to Punchinello:

         “Here is China the world lies a-dream, like a thousand
         Years ago, and the place of our dreams is eternal.”

To the stage production of the play Mr. J. C. Huffman has brought the
admirable powers of his vital directorship.

The theatrical rights are owned and reserved by the Shubert Theatrical
Company, of New York.

                                                          PERCY MACKAYE.

 CORNISH, NEW HAMPSHIRE, November, 1913.



                           INTRODUCTORY NOTE


The author, in his preface, has explained the pedigree of “_A Thousand
Years Ago_.” It is the chief advantage of long pedigrees that they
allure us from the contemplation of the present to the investigation of
the past; and, for students of dramatic literature, perhaps the most
important feature of this present play is that the tracing of its
ancestry leads us back to one of the most interesting periods in the
history of the theatre.

In his quotations from John Addington Symonds, the great English
authority on the Renaissance in Italy, Mr. MacKaye has already set
before us the main features of the _Commedia dell’ Arte Improvisata_,
which flourished in Italy for several centuries; but a few additional
notes may be appended for the benefit of those who wish to extend their
study of this type of drama. Two books upon the subject are readily
accessible and may be strongly recommended. One of these is the
“_Histoire du Théatre Italien_” by Louis Riccoboni, and the other is a
volume entitled “_Masques et Bouffons_” by Maurice Sand, the son of
Georges Sand, the famous novelist. Both of these books contain
interesting illustrations of the stock characters in Italian comedy; and
the pictures in “_Masques el Bouffons_” are reproduced in colors.

The _Commedia dell’ Arte_ attained its climax about the year 1600, but
its career was extended well along into the eighteenth century by the
interested activity of the very fertile and very popular playwright,
Carlo Gozzi. The essential feature of this type of drama was that the
lines were improvised by the actors as they worked their way through the
scenes of an intrigue which had been carefully plotted in advance.
Throughout the seventeenth century in Italy, the general public showed
little patience with the _Commedia Erudita_ (the phrase may be
translated into contemporary slang as “High-brow drama”), in which the
lines were written out by a man of letters and repeated by the actors
parrotwise. Such plays, though they might have been composed by poets as
eminent as Torquato Tasso, were condemned by the populace because they
lacked what seemed the essential element of spontaneity. It will not be
difficult for us to understand the attitude of the Italian public toward
this distinction, if we apply a similar test to our own contemporary art
of after-dinner speaking. We demand of our after-dinner speakers that
they shall cull their phrases as they go along, and we respond with
dulness to a speech that has been evidently written out and learned by
rote. The president of one of our great American universities has been
quoted as saying that any professor who writes and learns a lecture is
merely insulting the printing-press; there can be no advantage in
speaking on a subject unless the speaking be spontaneous: and this was
the attitude of the old Italian public toward the actors that addressed
it from the stage.

A single set sufficed for most of the improvised Italian comedies. This
set represented a public square in an Italian town, a meeting-point of
several streets; and the houses of the leading characters were solidly
built with doors and windows fronting on the square. With the action set
in such a public place, the playwright could experience no embarrassment
in motivating his entrances and exits; any characters could meet at any
time in the neutral ground of the stage; and the practicable doors and
windows of the surrounding houses could be employed by acrobatic actors
in the exhibition of exciting scenes of elopement or of robbery.

One of the most definitive features of the _Commedia dell’ Arte_ was the
fact that, though the plays presented differed greatly from each other
in subject-matter and in plot, they invariably employed the same set of
characters. The individual actor appeared in many different plays,
wearing always the same costume and the same mask. Harlequin made love
to Columbine in play after play; the Doctor, from Bologna University,
repeated the same sort of pedantries in plot after plot; and the Captain
Spavento (a lineal descendant of the _Miles Gloriosus_ of Plautus)
swaggered through story after story. Individual actors became so
completely identified with the stock characters they assumed upon the
stage that they bore in private life the conventional names of their
impersonations. A letter is extant which was sent by Henry Fourth of
France (the gallant Henri Quatre of Navarre) to a famous actor of Italy
inviting him to bring his company to Paris; and this letter is simply
addressed to Harlequin, since the royal patron had no knowledge of the
actor’s actual name. Similarly, the famous Scarramuccia from whom the
immortal Molière learned the rudiments of his craft as a comedian—an
actor described in a rhymed chronicle of the time as “_le roi des
comédiens et le comédien de rois_”—has come down to us in history under
the title of Scaramouche, with no recollection of his parental name.

The modern stage exhibits many analogies to this identification of an
actor with a single _rôle_. For instance, in the old days of the
association of Weber and Fields, these comedians always appeared in
precisely the same parts, regardless of any difference of subject-matter
in the comic scenes that they presented. Mr. Weber invariably depicted a
fat little man who was easily gullible; and the leaner and more
strenuous Mr. Fields was forever getting the better of him and using him
as a butt for ridiculous persecution. At the present time, Mr. William
Collier approaches very nearly the method of the old Italian actors.
Regardless of the particular points of any play in which he chooses to
appear, he always represents precisely the same character—a perennial
dramatization of his individual traits as a comedian; and he also
habitually exercises the Italian actor’s license of improvisation in the
presence of an assembled audience.

Five of these standard acting types of the _Commedia dell’ Arte_ are
revivified by Mr. MacKaye in his new play on Gozzi’s old theme. The most
interesting figure is the Capocomico—the leader of the _troupe_, who
devises the _scenari_ of the plays which they present and rehearses the
other actors in the business of their respective parts. This creation of
the author’s is an evocation of a famous figure from a nigh-forgotten
page of the storied past of the theatre, and may serve easily as a
starting point for a series of very interesting researches undertaken by
individual students of the history of the drama.

Though Mr. MacKaye’s play has been written appropriately in English
verse, aptly varied in its forms to be spoken by the modern actor, the
reader should remember that this drama is designed to appeal more
emphatically to the eye than to the ear. It should be regarded as a
modification of that type of Decorative Drama which was exhibited by
Professor Reinhardt in his masterly production of the pantomime of
“_Sumurûn_.” For his background, Mr. MacKaye has chosen an old tale of
the Arabian Nights which is hung before the eye as a fantastic bit of
oriental tapestry; and in the foreground he has exhibited in
_silhouette_ the sharper colors of the prancing figures of his group of
Italian comedians.

More subtly, this play may be conceived as a parabolic comment on a
problem of the theatre at the present time. The histrionic disciples of
Carlo Gozzi, the eighteenth century champion of traditional romance, are
depicted as having lost their fight in Venice against the dramatist
Goldoni, who, as a follower of Molière, was regarded at that time as the
leader of the realistic movement; and, despairing of being accepted any
longer in the country of their birth, these romantic outcasts have
sought refuge in the distant orient, an orient to be considered in no
sense as historic or realistic, but as purely fantastic. At the present
time, our theatre has been conquered (for the moment) by sedulous
recorders of the deeds of here and now; we find the drama in the throes
of a new realism, more potent in its actuality than the tentative and
groping realism of Goldoni; and our romantic playwrights, like these old
adventurous and tattered histrions of Carlo Gozzi, have recently sought
refuge in the fabulous and eye-enchanting orient. Hence the success, in
recent seasons, of such romantic compositions as “_Kismet_” and
“_Sumurûn_” and “_The Yellow Jacket_.” To escape from the obsession of
Broadway and the Strand we now turn eagerly to the gorgeous east, just
as these discarded comedians of Gozzi’s sought a new success within the
enchanting and alluring gates of the city of Pekin.

Furthermore, by restoring to our stage the old European tradition of
masks in his group of “Maskers,” Mr. MacKaye flings a prophetic shaft in
the age-long tourney between symbolism and naturalism in the arts of the
theatre.

                                                       CLAYTON HAMILTON.



                                CONTENTS

                           THE AUTHOR
                           PREFACE
                           INTRODUCTORY NOTE
                           CHARACTERS
                           SCENES
                           ACT FIRST
                           ACT SECOND
                           ACT THIRD
                           ACT FOURTH
                           APPENDIX



                          A Thousand Years Ago



                               CHARACTERS


                               _Asiatic_

              TURANDOT        │Princess of Pekin
              ALTOUM          │Her father, Emperor
              ZELIMA          │Her slave
              CALAF           │Prince of Astrakhan
              BARAK           │His servitor
              CHANG           │Eunuch


                               _European_
              ────────────────┬───────────────────────────
              SCARAMOUCHE     │Vagabond Players from Italy
              PUNCHINELLO     │             〃
              PANTALOON       │             〃
              HARLEQUIN [Mute]│             〃
              ────────────────┼───────────────────────────
              CAPOCOMICO      │Their leader



                                 SCENES


                                    ACT I.

                              City Gate at Pekin.

                                    ACT II.

                Scene 1: Room in the Imperial Harem.
                Scene 2: Great Hall of the Emperor.

                                    ACT III.

                Scene 1: Anteroom of Harem.
                Scene 2: Calaf’s Bedchamber.

                                    ACT IV.

                            Great Hall of the Emperor.
                         [The same as Act II, Scene 2.]



                               ACT FIRST


_Outside a city gate, at Pekin._

_Above the gate, in a row, severed heads of young men are impaled on
stakes. On the wall, at one side, more heads of older men, with grizzled
locks, stare down: among them, conspicuous, one with a white beard._

_It is early morning; the sun just rising._

_The gate is closed._

_From behind is heard barbaric martial music._

_Outside, from the right, drums roll, and Chinese soldiers enter,
accompanied by a few beggars and peasants._

_Pausing before the gate, they sound a trumpet._

_The gate is opened and they pass within, followed by all, except two
beggars, a young man and a middle aged._

_The gate remains open._

_The middle-aged beggar points upward at the head with the white beard._

_The younger starts, and prostrates himself beneath it with a deep cry._

_Outside, on the left, a twanging of stringed instruments sounds faint
but merry. It draws nearer, and quickly the players come running on—five
tattered, motley vagabonds in masks: Scaramouche, Harlequin,
Punchinello, Pantaloon and Capocomico._

_The last, leading them with his baton, stops in the gateway, before
which Harlequin executes a ballet-step dance, while Scaramouche,
Pantaloon, and Punchinello play accompaniment on guitar, mandolin and
zither._

_Breaking off, Punchinello begins to improvise an imitation of
Harlequin’s dance, but being beaten over his hump with a thwacking stick
by Harlequin, retreats with grotesque pantomime._

_At their merriment, the younger beggar, rising, draws away with the
elder, making a tragic gesture toward the white-bearded head on the
wall._

_Perceiving them, Capocomico silences the musicians and approaches the
younger beggar curiously._

_Stepping between them, the older beggar salaams and asks alms._

_Laughing, Capocomico turns his empty pouch wrong-side-out and bows
obsequiously, extending his own palm._

_The other Maskers do likewise, sticking out their tongues._

_Shrinking from them, the younger beggar draws the older away with him,
and goes off, left._

                               CAPOCOMICO

                  [_Waving them adieu_]

 Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha, befriend you!—

                  [_Turning to his troupe_]

 Behold, my cronies, beggars—beggars
 Bow down to us! Lo, they take us for lordlings!
 Ha, what did I tell you? Our tables are turning:
 In China henceforward we shall be emperors.

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 By the carcase of Charlemagne, I’m dog-aweary
 Of twanging these gutstrings for breakfast.

                               PANTALOON

                                             And us, too,
 Of dancing from Venice to Pekin, for sixpence.—
 My slippers need soling.

                              PUNCHINELLO

                          My poor hump is hollow!

                                 CAPO.

 Our journey is ended! Nimble Sir Harlequin,

                  [_Bowing to each_]

 My lord Pantaloon, signore Punchinello,
 Magnificent Scaramouche—enter your Kingdom!

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 Enter it!—Now, by the eye-balls of Argus
 Where is this same kingdom, Signore Capocomico?
 My kingdom is Breakfast: Show me the gateway!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Pointing_]

 Behold it before you! Within there, the table
 Of Fortune is spread for us, served by her handmaids—
 Miming Romance, seductive Adventure,
 Amorous Magic—improvised Comedy,
 And all the love-charming, blood-thirsting Enchantments
 Our prosy old workaday world has lost wind of.

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 Ha, beard of Balshazzar! that warms me a bellyful!
 ’Twas all for the likes of such merry contraptions
 We were kicked out of Europe.

                                 CAPO.

                               Precisely, my bully-boy!
 What would you?—At home, half the world is dyspeptic
 With pills of reformers and critics and realists.
 Fun for its own sake?—Pho, it’s old-fashioned!
 Art with a mask on?—Unnaturalistic,
 They warn you, and scowl, and wag their sad periwigs.—
 So _we_—the unmatched, immortal, Olympian
 Maskers of Antic,—we, troop of the tragical,
 Symbolical, comical, melodramatical
 _Commedia dell’ Arte_—we, once who by thousands
 Enchanted to laughter the children of Europe—
 Behold us now, packed out of town by the critics
 To wander the world, hobble-heel, tatter-elbowed,
 Abegging our way—four vagabond-players,
 And one master director—me, Capocomico!

                              PUNCHINELLO

 But why did you fetch us to China?

                                 CAPO.

                                    Because, my
 Punchinello, in China there are no technicians
 To measure our noses and label them false ones,
 Or question our subplots and call them fictitious.
 Here in China the world lies a-dream, like a Thousand
 Years Ago, and the place of our dreams is eternal.
 Here in China Romance still goes masquing serenely
 With dragons, magicians, clowns, villains and heroes,
 So that five motley fellows like us may resume our
 Old tradetricks, and follow our noses to fortune!—
 For a taste point your own, Punch, up there at the gate-stone!

                              PUNCHINELLO

                  [_Staring up at the heads_]

 What pretty young princes!—But where are the rest of them?

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 By Saladin! They’ve plenty of room for their breakfast!

                               PANTALOON

 It makes me light-headed to look at them.

                                 CAPO.

                                           Comrades,
 Consider, I ask you, where else but in China
 May an audience view so romantic a prologue?
 These gentlemen open the comedy: Yonder
 Behold, in the sunrise, they flaunt their grim Secret
 For us to unravel:—Who are they? What means it
 That here, on a gateway of Pekin, these gory
 Oracular heads stare downward in silence?
 And yonder—those others? Who’s he in the white beard?—
 Love, jealousy, murder—what is their mystery?
 By the ghost of old Gozzi, now what are we good for
 Unless we untangle their shadowy intrigues!—
 Follow _me_, then, my playboys! Before the next sunrise
 Your pouches shall burst with the gold of their Secret.—
 Follow me!—Yonder heads are our mascots to fortune!

                  [_Striking their instruments and running through the
                    gate, they all disappear within. As their tinklings
                    die away, the two beggars reënter, from the left_]

                           THE YOUNGER BEGGAR

                  [_Prostrating himself again before the white bearded
                    head, rises with up-lifted arms_]

 Father!—O slaughtered King of Astrakhan,
 Timur, my father!—

                            THE OLDER BEGGAR

                  [_Furtively_]

                     Calaf! Have more care;
 There may be ears to listen.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Distractedly_]

                              Let them hear!—
 Oh, he has held me, Barak, on his knee,
 And as a little boy I clutched that beard
 With playful fingers: golden brown it was
 In those days, and the first bright silver hair
 When I had found and plucked it out—, his eyes—
 Oh, those poor staring eyes!—they laughed with light,
 And with those mummied lips,—red, then, as wine—
 He kissed my cheek, and his warm, happy tears
 Wet my own face, childish with wonder.—Ah,
 My father!

                                 BARAK

            Hush! The soldiers of Altoum
 Surround us here.

                                 CALAF

                   Altoum! damned emperor
 Of China—I will be avenged on him
 Who killed my father, and destroyed our kingdom!

                                 BARAK

 And what are you to be avenged on him?—
 A beggar.

                                 CALAF

           I am prince of Astrakhan!

                                 BARAK

 No longer; he is dead. Remember, prince,
 How you were drowned a year ago. That night
 Altoum destroyed your capitol in war,
 You leaped in flight into the river Yen
 And perished there.—Do not forget.

                                 CALAF

                                     Forget?
 Forget that night? That night I died indeed,
 And rose from out the river’s chilly death
 Into strange paradise: A garden, walled
 With roses round: A moon, that zoned with pearl
 A spirit there: a lady, garbed in gold
 And her more golden smile! Wrapt in disguise—
 A beggar’s cloak, which you had hid me in,
 The river’s ooze still staining me with slime—
 On me—_me_, outcast and destroyed, she smiled,
 And tossed for alms the white rose from her hair!—

                  [_Taking from his bosom a withered rose, he looks on
                    it rapturously_]

 My deathless rose!

                                 BARAK

                    The rose of Turandot
 Is dangerous as her smile.

                                 CALAF

                            Ah, were it not
 That Turandot is daughter of Altoum,
 I would have been avenged before to-day.—
 But he who killed my father—is her father,
 And she is more than life or death, and mightier
 Even than a father dead and unavenged:
 She is love.

                                 BARAK

              Ah, desperate boy, you nurse this love
 On worse than poison. Calaf, hark to me.
 Have I not served you and your royal father
 Faithfully?

                                 CALAF

             More than faithfully: lovingly.

                                 BARAK

 Then by my love of you, I beg you, boy,
 Crush your mad love for Turandot, which must
 Lead only to your death, and hasten with me
 Far from your enemy’s city.

                                 CALAF

                             My enemy’s?

                                 BARAK

 Altoum, if he should find you living, would
 Spike your head—yonder. Ah, be wise, my prince!
 Root out this rashness. Throw that rose away.
 See, it is withered—dead. So let your love be!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Smiling_]

 Only a lover rightly loves the rose!
 Withered, you tell me?—dead? How dull is the sense
 Which does not feel the soul! For me, Barak,
 This flower still blooms, and round it all the air
 Is sweet with spirit-perfume, even to swooning.

                                 BARAK

                  [_Rising_]

 Then it is vain.—My middle age has lost
 Its smell for magic. Well, then, I must be
 Content to play the beggar with my prince.

                                 CALAF

 Yes, it is vain. For, still I’ll wear her rose,
 And, in this beggar’s cloak she smiled upon,
 Still haunt her perilous city.—I have heard
 This morning she shall pass this eastern gate
 Coming from the palace.—So, my old dear friend,
 Wait with me here, for I can only live
 By feeding on the glimpses of her face.

                                 BARAK

 Come, then, this way and beg, for folk are coming.

                  [_They draw toward the gate. Barak, starting
                    fearfully, drags Calaf away left_]

 Great heaven—the emperor!

                                 CALAF

                            The emperor!
 Wait, Barak. Stop!—No further.

                  [_On the edge of the scene, they crouch by the wall,
                    like beggars. Through the gate enter Altoum amid
                    Chinese courtiers, accompanied by Capocomico and
                    followed by the other Maskers_]

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_To Capocomico_]

                                 An instant is enough
 For inspiration, and you have inspired
 Fresh hopes in me.

                                 CAPO.

                    That is my specialty,
 Your majesty.

                                 ALTOUM

               Yet it is strangely sudden:—
 You and your motley troop spring in my path
 Like gorgeous mushrooms from exotic soils,
 And tempt me by your brilliance and surprise
 To taste your newness.—Well, I am desperate:
 Old remedies have lost their tonic; home
 Physicians have proved quacks. I know them all
 You—I know not. Therefore I will accept
 Your services.

                                 CAPO.

                We are practitioners
 In every specialty, my liege. If we
 Fail to perform our utmost promise—well,

                  [_Pointing to the gate_]

 Our heads are decorative; they will adorn
 Your majesty’s collection.

                                 ALTOUM

                            Nay, not mine.
 Those grizzled heads of warriors on the wall
 Are mine: the trophies of my victories.
 But those above the gate—those youthful brows
 Of tragic lovers, hapless in their love—
 Those are my daughter’s.

                                 BARAK

                  [_To Calaf_]

                          Do you hear, my prince?
 His daughter’s! Oh, take heed!

                                 CAPO.

                                Your majesty
 Allures me. Is your daughter—

                                 ALTOUM

                                Hush! Come closer.

                  [_He leads Capocomico away from the curtain, right.
                    Calaf follows furtively, heedless of Barak’s
                    gestures_]

 My daughter is my cause of desperation.
 In all but her I have been fortunate:
 In peace, most prosperous; in war, my worst
 Of rivals, Timur, king of Astrakhan—

                  [_Pointing at the wall_]

 Yonder you see his head! None of his house
 Survives to avenge him, for his only son
 Perished by drowning.

                                 CALAF

                  [_To Barak, who implores him to draw back_]

                       God! if I remain,
 I’ll kill him.

                                 BARAK

                  [_Drawing him away_]

                Come!

                  [_They go within the gate_]

                                 CAPO.

                      Was this long since, my liege?

                                 ALTOUM

 This day one year ago.—Some months I kept
 Old Timur caged before I bleached him there.—
 And strangely it was on that very night
 I conquered Astrakhan the change began.

                                 CAPO.

 The change—my liege!—what change?

                                 ALTOUM

                                     In Turandot,
 My daughter. Always till that time her mind
 Was tender-mannered as her face is fair.
 Till then, there was no creature living whom
 She would have harmed, even with a thought of pain—
 Least of all those who loved her. But that night,
 Groping by moonlight from her rose garden
 Into my war tent, half distractedly
 She forced from me a promise—

                                 CAPO.

                                What to do?

                                 ALTOUM

 To make this edict: For a year and a day,
 All royal suitors of her hand in marriage
 Must answer first three riddles put by her:
 To him who answers right she shall be wed;
 But all who answer wrong shall straightway die
 And their dissevered heads be spiked in scorn
 High on the city’s gate.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Looking at the gate_]

                          So those are they
 Who answered wrong!

                                 ALTOUM

                     None yet has answered right.

                                 CAPO.

 But why, my liege—

                                 ALTOUM

                     Why did I give consent
 To publish the mad edict? This is why:
 I worship Turandot. There is no whim
 Of hers I would not grant to make her happy,—
 But ah!—how can I make her so?

                                 CAPO.

                                 Is she
 Unhappy, then, in her success?

                                 ALTOUM

                                At times
 She weeps to hear the headsman’s gong, but when
 Her lovers cry to her for pity, straight
 Her eyes grow cold with sudden cruelty
 And give the sign for death.

                                 CAPO.

                              Have you no clue
 For this?

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Distractedly_]

           No clue? Gods of my ancestors,
 Have I not sought a thousand counsels, all
 In vain!—A gentle girl, a dove of maidens,
 Sudden transformed to be a thing of talons—
 A harpy-tigress! Clue? What clue have I
 For murder in the bosom of a dove?—

                                 CAPO.

 Softly, my liege. That is my specialty.

                                 ALTOUM

 So I have heard from specialists before;
 Yet now I feel new hope. If you shall find
 This clue—whether it be some hidden, strange
 Indisposition, or some secret reason
 Concealed by her—and _if you find the cure_,—
 To you, and to these motley friends of yours,
 I will bequeath power and provinces
 And wealth unbounded. But—pay heed, Sir Capo!
 If you shall _fail_ to find this cause and cure,
 By holy Confucius, I will _doom_ you all
 To tortures and slow death. So to perform
 Your task, I grant one day—until the hour
 Of noon to-morrow. Are you satisfied
 To undertake the task? If not, begone!

                                 CAPO.

 Your majesty, I am most itching pleased
 To undertake it—on conditions.

                                 ALTOUM

                                 What?

                                 CAPO.

 For this one day _I_ must be emperor,
 In place of you, and these my motley friends—
 Prime-ministers.

                                 ALTOUM

                  My star!—What then, Sir?

                                 CAPO.

                                            Then,
 My liege, I most devoutly stake my head
 And theirs, with these our masks thereto pertaining,
 Not merely to ascertain the cause and cure
 Of your fair daughter’s malady, but also—
 For this, my liege, is my _true_ specialty!—
 I undertake to see her happily
 Plight in a perfect marriage of romance.

                                 ALTOUM

 Great Buddha! Now, this quickens my stale blood—
 To meet one man of live audacity!
 Ha! bid me abdicate—usurp my throne—
 A one day’s emperor!—Good; be it so.
 Agreed:—But on your head the consequences!

                                 CAPO.

 May the consequences let my head be on!—
 Where shall I find your daughter?

                  [_A deep bell sounds within the walls. Calaf reënters
                    with Barak_]

                                 ALTOUM

                                   Hark! the gong!

                                 CAPO.

 What gong?

                                 ALTOUM

            The gong of death: the execution.
 Another hapless lover has guessed wrong
 The fateful riddles. Now the headsman holds
 His head, and Turandot is coming here
 In state, to impale the gory token—yonder.

                                 BARAK

                  [_To Calaf_]

 You hear!—You hear?

                                 CALAF

                      O happy lover, whom
 The dearest of women honors so in death!

                                 BARAK

 Madness!

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_To Capocomico_]

          By heaven, I am impatient of
 Such slaughter. See you stop it.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Nodding loftily_]

                                  We shall bear
 In mind your supplication, Sir.—Meanwhile
 My crown!

                  [_He extends his hand for Altoum’s crown. Altoum,
                    startled, smiles, takes it off and hands it to him_]

                                 ALTOUM

           Gods of my ancestors!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Putting on the crown_]

                                 And now
 Present to us our court!

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Bows, laughing_]

                          Well said, my liege!

                  [_Turning to the Chinese courtiers, he beckons them_]

 Doctors and ministers of the royal Divan!
 Witness our will:—Until to-morrow noon
 We abdicate our throne, and in our place
 Appoint, with all our high prerogatives,
 Our friend and servant—Capocomico.
 Salute your emperor!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Nodding affably_]

                      Emperor, _pro tem_!

                         THE CHINESE COURTIERS

                  [_With murmurs of astonishment, prostrate themselves
                    before Capocomico_]

 Salaam!

                                 CAPO.

         Not at all. Delighted! We will now
 Present our friend and servant—Scaramouche,
 Prime-Minister!

                  [_The courtiers salaam before Scaramouche, who puts
                    his hand on his heart and blows them a kiss from his
                    drawn sword-point_]

                 And next, Sir Harlequin,
 Prime-Minister!

                  [_The courtiers repeat. Harlequin replies with a
                    ballet-curtsy_]

                 His lordship, Pantaloon,
 Prime-Minister!

                  [_The courtiers repeat. Pantaloon shuffles nervously_]

                 And Signore Punchinello,
 Prime-Minister!

                  [_The courtiers repeat. Punchinello, tapping his nose,
                    bows sagely. The four Maskers assume toploftical
                    airs and gather about Capocomico_]

 And now, Prime-Minister, are your four heads
 All dumb? Your emperor awaits advice.

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 By the belly of Baal, your majesty, I move
 We all adjourn to breakfast.

                               PANTALOON

[_Quickly_]

                              Second the motion!

                              PUNCHINELLO

 Hear! hear! Applause!

                  [_Harlequin dances to the gate_]

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Correctively_]

                       No applause in court! The motion
 Rests on the table—

                  [_To Scaramouche_]

                      with your breakfast.—Now
 More pressing matters urge: Our imperial
 Daughter—Princess of Pekin—comes.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Gasping_]

                                     Your daughter!

                                 CAPO.

 Daughter, _pro tem_!—

                  [_To all_]

                        The princess Turandot:
 Salute her!

                  [_To the intermittent toll of the deep gong, soldiers
                    enter with procession to slow, martial music.
                    Amongst them, with regalia, a Headsman bears on a
                    pike the head of a young man, which he places beside
                    the others over the gate._

                  _Finally, accompanied by female slaves, comes
                    Turandot, dressed like her followers in garb of
                    gloomy splendor._

                  _In the crowd Calaf gazes at her passionately. With
                    him is Barak._

                  _The Chinese courtiers prostrate themselves._

                  _The Maskers bow in European fashion_]

                    THE CHINESE COURTIERS AND CROWD

             Turandot! Salaam!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Speaks familiarly to the emperor_]

                               Altoum,
 Present to us our newly adopted daughter!

                                 ALTOUM

 Turandot, heaven to-day has interposed
 To grant your prayers. Listen!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Looking with wonder at Capocomico and the Maskers_]

                                I am listening, Sire.

                                 ALTOUM

 ’Tis your strange prayer never to marry. Well,
 Henceforth I vow no more to oppose your whim.
 One year has passed and one day yet remains
 Of my rash law that dooms your lovers to death.

                  [_He points to the new head upon the wall_]

 For that one day, to celebrate my vow
 And do you pleasure, I have appointed these
 Princes of Faraway, to usher in
 Our new régime. Sir Capocomico
 Is now your emperor; these are your court
 To make a festa of the law’s last day.—
 After to-morrow you are free forever.

                                TURANDOT

 Sire, are you jesting?

                                 CAPO.

                        Signorina, all
 We dream or do is jesting, and ourselves
 The butts of the jester. We are antics all.
 To advertise it is my specialty.
 Therefore, if we be kings or deuces hangs
 On how the clever jester cuts his pack.
 This cut I’m king, and

                  [_Pointing to the Maskers_]

                        red is trumps, not black.
 So doff your mourning, daughter.

                                TURANDOT

                                  If I am dreaming,
 Or you are jesting, this is the pleasantest jest
 My heart has dreamed in all one doleful year.
 Princes of Faraway, I welcome you.
 This bloody sport of spikèd lovers’ heads—
 I’m tired of playing it. Those heartless fools
 That sought to wed a princess ’gainst her will—
 Look how they read my riddle on the air!
 Love is a slippery necklace.—Bring me laughter,
 My one day’s Sire, and I will bow me low
 And kiss your garment.

                                 CAPO.

                        Go and change your own, then,
 To match our motley.

                                TURANDOT

                      I will go—and laugh
 In going.

                  [_To her slaves_]

           Come!

                  [_Turandot starts to return within the gate. Pushing
                    through the crowd, Calaf prostrates himself before
                    her, with a passionate cry_]

                                 CALAF

                 Alms!—alms for hearts
 That beg!

                  [_Reaching toward her, Calaf holds up the withered
                    rose._

                  _Gazing, Turandot pauses an instant, moves past, but,
                    looking back, staggers, trembling_]

                                TURANDOT

           Ah me!

                  [_Swaying, she swoons in the arms of her slave,
                    Zelima_]

                                 ZELIMA

                  My lady!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Rushing toward her, with Altoum_]

                           Quick! She’s falling!

                                 ALTOUM

 Turandot!—Kill the beggar.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Faintly, recovering_]

                             No, ’tis nothing.

                  [_To Capocomico_]

 Here, give him this.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Taking it, astounded_]

                      Your ring?

                                TURANDOT

                                 A token, Sire.—
 A token of our new régime: to all
 My people—blessing, and to beggars—love.

                  [_She goes out_]

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Going with her_]

 Attend her well, Zelima.

                  [_All follow after, and at a gesture from Capocomico,
                    pass out. Near the gate the Maskers pause and wait
                    for Capocomico, who returns to Calaf_]

                                 CAPO.

                          Fellow, rise!

                  [_Calaf staggers to his feet_]

 Your most high princess graciously bestows
 This alms—a ring, in token of her love
 To all the world.

                  [_Taking it, Calaf falls again to the ground. Barak
                    comes to him._

                  _Capocomico watches, and beckons, twinkling, to the
                    Maskers_]

                   Now heaven witness this:—
 He also swoons. My playboys, catch your cue.
 Who said Romance is buried? Here is China
 Where princesses and beggars swoon to meet!—

                  [_Surreptitiously, he takes from Calaf’s side a
                    wallet. Then beckons the Maskers._]

 Prime-Minister, follow your emperor!

                  [_He departs with the Maskers_]

                                 BARAK

                  [_With solicitude_]

 Calaf—my prince!

                  [_He raises him to a sitting posture_]

                                 CALAF

                  [_Dazedly_]

                   Her ring!

                                 BARAK

                             We must be gone gone—
 Danger surrounds us here.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Rising_]

                           _Her_ ring for token!
 But ah!—he said “to all the world.”

                                 BARAK

                                      Be quick!

                                 CALAF

                  [_With suddenness_]

 I will. This instant I will follow her.

                                 BARAK

 Follow her!—what, to death?

                                 CALAF

                              Death or delight,
 Either or both, for death itself were joy
 For her sake.

                                 BARAK

               Do you wear that ring in hope?
 A beggar?

                                 CALAF

           No, she gave it as an alms,
 “To all the world.” The princess of the world
 Would never stoop in love to wed with less
 Than royal blood.—There is no hope for me,
 A beggar.

                                 BARAK

           How, then—?

                                 CALAF

                        I will go as prince—
 As Calaf, prince of Astrakhan, I’ll go
 To guess her riddles—like those others.

                                 BARAK

                                          No!
 That would be doubly death. Your head is forfeit
 If you are even found.

                                 CALAF

                        Few know me here, or none,
 In Pekin; yet though every dog should know me
 I’ll do it.—Here, keep safe this beggar’s cloak:
 I love it for her sake. This ring and rose
 Guard as your life. Come now; help me remove
 This stain and straggled beard. Then wait for me,
 Till I have won my love—or perish there!

                  [_Pointing to the heads on the gate, he rushes into
                    the city._]

                                 BARAK

                  [_Following him_]

 Lord of mad lovers, save him!


                               _Curtain._



                               ACT SECOND


                     SCENE I: _A Room in the Harem_

_On a low bench Zelima is sealed, sewing a gorgeously embroidered
garment. About her are other female slaves._

_At the back stands Chang, the chief Eunuch._

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Stops sewing and listens_]

 There! Hark! I hear it again.

                                 CHANG

                               I can hear nothing.

                                 ZELIMA

 You’re growing deaf, Chang. Some one is knocking—softly.

                                 CHANG

                  [_Opening the door, left_]

 No one is here.

                                 ZELIMA

                 Below—at the outer door.
 See who it is.

                                 CHANG

                I will see.

                  [_He goes out, closing the door. Zelima sews for a
                    moment; then rises, puts away her needle and spreads
                    out the garment, surveying it._

                  _From the right Turandot enters, splendidly arrayed._

                  _She runs impetuously to Zelima and embraces her_]

                                TURANDOT

                         Zelima! Zelima!
 Little Zelima!

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Affectionately_]

                My lady!

                                TURANDOT

                         Dance with me!—Dance!

                                 ZELIMA

 I heard a knocking, my lady.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Pressing her left side_]

                              You heard it—here.
 My lover is knocking, and I have let him in.

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Frightened_]

 You’ve let him in, my lady?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Laughing_]

                             Into my heart!
 He came a-begging. Oh, does he love me, Zelima?

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Concernedly_]

 He kept your rose.

                                TURANDOT

                    The rose I tossed from my garden
 In Astrakhan, one year ago to-night—
 Isn’t he handsome, Zelima?

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_With conscientious pause_]

                            Handsome, my lady?

                                TURANDOT

 Splendid and fair like a prince!

                                 ZELIMA

                                  He is a beggar.

                                TURANDOT

 I spoke of his soul—his eyes. His eyes are sapphires;
 All other men’s are clay.

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Dubiously_]

                           His face was dirty.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Slapping Zelima’s arm_]

 Stop it, you dunce! His face was nobly tanned
 By sun and rugged wind.

                                 ZELIMA

                         I thought his beard—

                                TURANDOT

 His beard—God did his best: I want no better.

                                 ZELIMA

 _You_—want a beard, my lady?

                                TURANDOT

                               Stupid Zelima!
 Where’s my new robe? I’ll wear it to-day—for him.

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Helping her on with the embroidered garment_]

 You like it?

                                TURANDOT

              Are not gold and gorgeousness
 For joy? To-morrow ends my year and a day.
 Then no more suitors—no more severed heads!
 I shall be free then—free to search for him
 Through all the city.

                                 ZELIMA

                       Search for a beggar! Why,
 My lady?

                                TURANDOT

          Must I scratch your silly eyes out
 To make them see?—Of all men that love women,
 I will have none for husband—if he’ll have me—
 But _him_, the man to whom I gave my ring.

                                 ZELIMA

 Holy Confucius save you, lady! You,
 Princess of Pekin, wed a beggar!

                                TURANDOT

                                  Hush!
 Unless I dream so and rejoice to-day
 Then I must wake and tear my flesh for grief
 That I was born Princess of Pekin. Oh,
 Little Zelima, let me dream I am
 A beggar-maid, or he, my beggar—a prince!

                                 ZELIMA

 I hope your royal father hears no word
 Of this, my lady. He would kill your lover
 Sooner than you should wed him.

                                TURANDOT

                                 I know it well.
 So I have kept my secret this long year,
 And let full many a brave prince lose his head
 To hide my true love. Do not make me weep
 Again for pity and despair. For now
 Fresh hope has come. This Capocomico
 Has changed my father’s heart to set me free
 To-morrow. Only one more day is left;
 You only know my secret; none can guess it;
 And for this final day there is no suitor
 To claim my hand.

                  [_Chang enters, left, in perturbation. Turandot looks
                    up inquiringly_]

                   Well—well?

                                 CHANG

                               Another suitor
 Has come, my lady.

                                TURANDOT

                    Nay, alas!

                                 ZELIMA

                               What,—here?
 Is he at the door?

                                 CHANG

                    Not him,—the emperor
 Is at the door. He comes to tell you, lady,
 And asks admittance.

                                TURANDOT

                      What, my father!

                                 CHANG

                  [_Fidgetting_]

                                       Not
 Your royal father: The new emperor
 Is here.

                                TURANDOT

          Sir Capo here!

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Appalled_]

                         Here, in the harem!

                                 CHANG

 What should I do, your highness?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Staring_]

                                  What can it mean?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Entering, left_]

 The new régime, fair ladies!

                  [_To Zelima, who runs with the other slave girls
                    toward the door, right_]

                              I beseech you,
 Do not be timid: All true love romances
 Are hatched in harems. ’Tis my specialty.

                  [_Dressed in robes of royal splendor, Capocomico
                    stands smiling at them_]

                                TURANDOT

 Sir, this intrusion breaks our ancient law.

                                 CAPO.

 To-day—O lovely daughter!—_I_ am the law
 And legalize intrusion.

                  [_To Chang_]

                         You may go.

                  [_Chang pauses, dubious, but at a gesture from Capo,
                    departs hastily. Zelima goes timorously to Turandot,
                    whose eyes flash_]

                                TURANDOT

 Will you make entrance here against our wills,
 Or why, then, have you come?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Smiling_]

                              For a beggar’s sake.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_With sudden start_]

 A beggar’s?

                                 CAPO.

             What I bring will fill four ears—
 No more.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Faintly_]

          Zelima, wait within—close by.

                  [_Zelima goes out, right with the slave girls_]

 Well, Sire, what do you bring me?

                                 CAPO.

                                   Riches, child,
 In a ragged wallet.

                  [_He takes out Calafs wallet, and holds it toward
                    her._]

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Starting_]

                     This! Why bring me this?

                                 CAPO.

 Hold it, and feel how heavy.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Slowly takes it, peering in_]

                              Why, ’tis empty.

                                 CAPO.

 What is so heavy as an empty heart
 Hollow with yearning! This has yearned for love
 Until it cracked. Look there—those sorry gashes

                                TURANDOT

 What should I do with it?

                                 CAPO.

                           Heal its wounds, and fill it
 With royal favor.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Reticent_]

                   Sire, you talk in riddles.

                                 CAPO.

 Daughter, you kill in riddles.—Will you kill,
 Or heal, this beggar’s heart I bring?

                                TURANDOT

                                       Ah me!

                  [_No longer suppressing her feelings, she kisses the
                    wallet passionately._]

 How have you guessed my soul? How have you guessed?

                                 CAPO.

 The souls of lovers are my specialty.—
 When princesses grow pale, and beggars swoon,
 Then I bring forth my wallet—and prescribe.

                                TURANDOT

 Alas—he swooned? Where is he? Is he ill?

                                 CAPO.

 Unnecessary questions, child: Of course
 He swooned. Where is he? He’s in love,
 Of course, and so of course is deathly ill.

                                TURANDOT

 Oh, by the simple truth you’ve torn from me,
 Do not, I beg, speak sideling, but straight out:
 That beggar whom I love—how fares he now?
 Where have you left him?

                                 CAPO.

                          By the city gate.
 There, when he saw your ring, he fell in swoon;
 And so I left him.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Passionately_]

                    Find him! Find him for me,
 And I will give you kingdoms!

                                 CAPO.

                               Kingdoms, child,
 Are shaky things. Give me your confidence:
 Then I will find him for you.

                                TURANDOT

                               All my faith,
 My gratitude and wonder—they are yours!—
 When will you fetch him?

                                 CAPO.

                          Soft! To achieve for you
 Joy in a perfect marriage of romance—
 That is _my_ vow. ’Tis yours, for a single day,
 To swear me loyalty.

                                TURANDOT

                      I swear it.—Ah,
 But do not tell my father. He would kill
 My hopes.

                                 CAPO.

          Your father—I will educate;
 And for your low-born lover, I’ll despatch
 The eight proud legs of my prime-minister
 To stalk the city till they stumble on him.
 By nightfall, I will give you news what luck
 They meet. Meantime, you must prepare once more
 Your riddles for your final suitor.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Appalled_]

                                     What!

                                 CAPO.

 Keedur, the young khan of Beloochistan,
 Waits in the hall below, to try his fate
 To-day.

                                TURANDOT

         Keedur? Another! Must another
 Still die on this last day? Oh, misery!
 And I to run the awful risk once more!—
 When must this be?

                                 CAPO.

                    This hour, in the great hall
 Of the imperial Divan. Rest you merry,
 My child, and whet your riddles sharp.—Good-bye!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Detaining him by a swift gesture_]

 Not yet! Stay yet a little: Help me!

                                 CAPO.

                                      How?

                                TURANDOT

 To shape my riddles so no man that lives
 Can answer them.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Bows, smiling_]

                 Why, that’s my specialty.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Slowly, with desperation._]

 Capo, those riddles hold his life or mine:
 If Keedur guesses them—I’ll kill myself.


                               _Curtain_


             SCENE II: _Great Hall of the Emperor’s Divan._

_On either side is a high tower, with entrance._

_Down scene on the left stands the Emperor’s throne, opposite the throne
of Turandot._

_As the curtain rises, Scaramouche, Punchinello, Pantaloon, and
Harlequin enter, dragging in Barak by four purple ropes attached to his
neck._

_Barak carries a ragged bundle._

_At the centre he falls, prostrating himself before them._

_The four Maskers are dressed sumptuously in Chinese garments, worn over
their own tattered garbs of motley, which—at times, when they
gesticulate or move abruptly,—are fantastically visible._

                                 BARAK

 Mercy and clemency, your highnesses!

                              PUNCHINELLO

 Your _highness_, slave! Address thy vermin speech
 To the Prime-Minister.

                                 BARAK

                        To which, O Lord?

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 By the eye of Og and head of Hamongog,
 To _us_, thou quaking mongrel! Howl thy prayers
 Quadrately to thy quadrigeminal master!

                                 BARAK

                  [_Revolving himself fearfully_]

 Mercy, O Master!

                               PANTALOON

                  First confess thyself!
 Where is he?

                              PUNCHINELLO

              Where’s thy fellow beggar? Speak!

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 Tooth of the Turk!—Disgorge him!

                  [_Harlequin thwacks Barak on the head with his
                    flat-stick_]

                                 BARAK

                                   Lord, I know not.
 I am an old poor man. I have no fellow
 To beg with me.

                               PANTALOON

                 Thou lousy bag of lies!
 He swooned beside thee at the city gate.

                              PUNCHINELLO

 He took the Princess’ ring for alms. Where is he?

                              SCARAMOUCHE

                  [_Tightening his rope_]

 By Sardanapalus! Squeeze off his neck
 And pick the secret from his gullet.

                                 BARAK

                  [_As Harlequin bangs him again_]

                                      Spare me!

                  [_Enter, left, Capocomico_]

                                 CAPO.

 Hah! here’s our beggar’s crony.—Where’s thy mate,
 Old gaffer?

                                 BARAK

             Spare me, lord! I have no mate—
 I beg alone.

                                 CAPO.

              Where was he found—this fellow?

                              SCARAMOUCHE

 Godbodikins! We caught him gutter-skulking
 Behind the palace.

                                 CAPO.

                    What’s here in this pack?

                                 BARAK

                  [_Fearfully clutching his bundle_]

 Old rags, your mightiness: poor worthless pickings.

                                 CAPO.

 Conduct him to my quarters. Search him there
 And look what this contains.

                  [_The four begin to drag him out with the ropes_]

                                 BARAK

                              A—yi! Alas!

                              PUNCHINELLO

                  [_Mocking him_]

 A—yi, old pickings!

                              SCARAMOUCHE

                  [_Pulling_]

                      Sacrasacristan!
 Heave-ho, my hearts!

                                 CAPO.

                      Hold him in custody
 Till I can question further.

                                 BARAK

                  [_Crying aloud_]

                              Calaf, save me!

                               PANTALOON

 We’ll save ’ee in salt, old calf!

                              SCARAMOUCHE

                                   Yank-ho, there!

                  [_They drag him out, left_]

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Stands meditating_]

                                                   Calaf!

                  [_Hardly have they disappeared, when Calaf enters
                    hastily, looking about him with a startled
                    expression. He is dressed in princely regalia, and
                    his face is shaved. Seeing Capo., he pauses
                    abruptly, and makes obeisance_]

                                 CAPO.

 Greetings, Sir Keedur!—You are _searching_ here?

                                 CALAF

                  [_Embarrassed_]

 Nothing, your majesty. It seemed I heard
 A voice here cry in terror.

                                 CAPO.

                             Cry—on _whom_?

                                 CALAF

 Nay, Sire, I do not know.

                                 CAPO.

                           ’Twas just a beggar
 That cried at being expelled.

                                 CALAF

                               Expelled?—Where to?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_With a flitting smile_]

 You—care to know?

                                 CALAF

                    Nay, Sire, why should I care?

                                 CAPO.

 Nay, why indeed? You caught me querying.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Turning to leave_]

 Forgive that I disturbed your thoughts.

                                 CAPO.

                                         My thoughts
 Were trying to construe the beggar’s cry.
 “Calaf, save me!” he called.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Pausing, with a faint start_]

                               Ah—Calaf? So!

                                 CAPO.

 An odd coincidence, for ’tis one year
 To-night since Calaf, prince of Astrakhan,
 Perished by drowning in the river Yen.—

                  [_With slow emphasis_]

 He was the Emperor’s arch-enemy.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Calmly_]

 An odd coincidence!

                                 CAPO.

                     And still more odd
 It might be—might it not?—if Keedur, Khan
 Of far Beloochistan, had chanced to know
 Or meet this Calaf.

                                 CALAF

                     Still more odd.

                                 CAPO.

                                     Perchance
 He never did!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Fidgetting slightly_]

               I never met him, Sire.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_With a quick glance_]

 That being so, we must no more delay
 Your audience with the princess. My ear itches.
 Methinks by that your suit will prosper; let me
 Conduct you to your place of waiting. Come,
 And by the way, I will confide to you—
 I have a specialty.

                                 CALAF

                     In what, Sire?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Smiling, as they go out_]

                                    Riddles.

                  [_Enter Altoum and Chang. They look after Capo as he
                    departs_]

                                 ALTOUM

 In the harem, with my daughter—?

                                 CHANG

                  [_Obsequiously_]

                                   Even so,
 O Majesty.

                                 ALTOUM

            And closeted, you say,
 An hour with her!

                                 CHANG

                   An hour, O Majesty.

                                 ALTOUM

 But you kept watch: The Princess, she was not
 Alarmed?

                                 CHANG

          Her royal highness seemed
 Moved in her spirit, O Majesty.

                                 ALTOUM

                                 Moved? So!
 Well, Chang, inform me further what you note.
 To-day this stranger reigns as Emperor.
 Obey him.

                  [_Capo reënters, right_]

                                 CHANG

                  [_Salaaming to a gesture of dismissal from Altoum_]

           As your Majesty decrees.

                  [_Exit_]

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Greets Capo cordially_]

 Hail, friend! You wear my Empire as you’d worn it
 Life long.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Laughing_]

            I’ll wear it longer if you like.

                                 ALTOUM

 Perchance I’ll let you. As for me, I feel
 Lighthearted as a schoolboy playing truant.
 This abdicating gives me appetite
 For holidays.—And what success so far?

                                 CAPO.

 So far—perfection.

                                 ALTOUM

                     Have you, then, discovered
 My daughter’s malady?

                                 CAPO.

                       I’ve diagnosed
 Already, and prescribed.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Eagerly_]

                          What is the ailment?

                                 CAPO.

 Ah! question the doctor when he makes the cure.—
 Another twenty hours!

                                 ALTOUM

                       To rule is sweet,
 I see. Good luck attend your reign! If so,
 I have four kingdoms waiting for your fellows,
 And for yourself a petty empire—_but_,
 Forget not—Sire! For failure I’ve prepared
 Five torture chambers and a sharpened axe.

                                 CAPO.

 To-morrow, then, four kingdoms shall have kings!
 As for the petty empire, I’ll return it
 With compliments, and count myself well quit
 To have served your Majesty and true Romance.

                  [_Kettledrums are sounded within_]

 Now, then, to pass the first ordeal.—Pray follow!

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Attending him, left_]

 This suitor Keedur—I like well his looks
 And bearing. What if he should guess the riddles?

                                 CAPO.

 That lies now with the Fates—and they obey me.

                  [_They go out._

                  _To the sound of kettledrums, tambourines and music
                    outside, the scene is now for a moment empty. Then
                    from both entrances two processions enter
                    simultaneously._

                  _From the right enter Eunuchs and female slaves of the
                    harem; from the left Chinese soldiers and courtiers
                    of the Emperor’s suite._

                  _With ceremonial, salaaming and flare of music, the
                    persons in the processions group themselves on
                    either side about the thrones._

                  _Entering last in their separate processions come
                    Turandot and Capocomico—the latter accompanied by
                    Altoum, as a subordinate._

                  _On the right throne Turandot sits, on the
                    left—Capocomico._

                  _All the others prostrate themselves, except Altoum,
                    who stands beside a lesser seat, at the right of
                    Capo’s throne._

                  _Having taken their positions, at a signal from Capo,
                    all are served with tea in little cups, which they
                    sip simultaneously thrice, then resume their former
                    obeisances._

                  _To this gathering now enter three of the
                    Maskers—Scaramouche, Punchinello and
                    Pantaloon—bearing severally three golden platters,
                    on which stand little jeweled boxes, closed._

                  _Behind them follows Harlequin, who bears a great
                    parchment roll, which—with bows and
                    ballet-dancings—he lays before the throne of Capo;
                    then takes his stand at Capo’s left._

                  _Lastly Calaf enters, alone._

                  _Bowing to the throne, he remains in the centre, where
                    he gazes rapt at Turandot._

                  _Capo now rises, and Altoum seats himself_]

                                 CAPO.

 Powers of our royal Divan and our Harem,
 Once more, in token of our sovereign will,
 We are assembled. Let the law be read!

                  [_He sits. Harlequin, stepping forward with a
                    flourish, presents the roll of parchment to
                    Punchinello, who, exchanging with him his platter
                    for the script, reads in a shrill voice_]

                              PUNCHINELLO

 To high Confucius and our ancestors—
 Worship and awe! The edict of Altoum
 _In re_ the royal princess Turandot
 Perpends: To suitors of her august hand
 Who guess her riddles—marriage, riches, joy!
 To all who fail—shame, execution, death!
 None save of royal blood shall qualify.

                  [_Harlequin receives back the roll from Punchinello,
                    and resumes his place_]

                                 CAPO.

 Who seeks the august hand of Turandot?

                                 CALAF

                  [_Standing forward_]

 I, Keedur, Khan of great Beloochistan.

                                 CAPO.

 Keedur, full many noble youths before you
 Have made this trial; all have failed—and died.
 Have you considered well their doom, O Khan?

                                 CALAF

 There is no doom for me but loss of her;
 If then I fail, death can but ease my doom.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_In a low voice_]

 His eyes, Zelima! Oh, I would he’d look
 Another way.

                                 ZELIMA

              It is a lovely youth.

                                 CAPO.

 Think well, you are young. You may even still withdraw
 And live these many years.

                                 CALAF

                  [_His eyes meeting Turandot’s, who looks at him
                    anxiously_]

                            If I must die,
 I shall have lived forever in this instant.

                                 CAPO.

 Then let the trial proceed.

                                TURANDOT

                             Fair stranger, first
 Hear me, and so relent.

                                 CALAF

                         My spirit, lady,
 Stands tiptoe to your words.

                                TURANDOT

                              You have not well
 Considered what you seek; but I, who know,
 Can better advise you. Turandot you seek,
 But I, who know this Turandot, can tell you
 She is a lady of too little worth
 To cause the noble lineage in your blood
 To die. She neither wants you, nor your death.
 Now leave her, Sir, and give her leave to wish you
 Joy of your twice escape.

                                 CALAF

                           I hear you, yet
 I hear like one who dies out on the desert
 And dreams he hears sweet water tinkling.—Lady,
 I parch and drink dream-water. Would you dash
 That boon from my soul’s lips?

                                TURANDOT

                                Nay, then, no more!
 Hear now my riddles.—But, I pray you, look not
 This way, but elsewhere.

                                 CALAF

                          I will close my eyes
 And look upon you, listening.—I am ready.

                  [_Closing his eyes, he waits with a faint smile_]

                                TURANDOT

 Tell me, O friend: What is that flower
       Which, dying, steals its lover’s breath,
       And being dead, still blooms in death,
 Living beyond its little hour
 To grow more sweet in fragrance as it grows
 In memory?

                  [_Turandot gazes pityingly. Calaf speaks with closed
                    eyes_]

                                 CALAF

            A withered rose.

                  [_Turandot starts suddenly from her throne and sinks
                    back, whispering to Zelima. Capo despatches
                    Harlequin to Turandot, who gives him tremblingly a
                    key, which he carries to Scaramouche_]

                                 CAPO.

 Unlock the secret box.

                              SCARAMOUCHE

                  [_As Harlequin unlocks the little box on his platter
                    and presents to him a strip of parchment from within
                    it, reads aloud_]

                        A withered rose.

                  [_A murmur runs through the assembly_]

                                 ALTOUM

 Now by my star, well guessed!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_With a gesture for silence_]

                               The second riddle!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_With emotion_]

 Stranger, you are the first of all my suitors
 That ever reached the second.—I have spoken
 To you in pity, but my pity now
 Is for myself, lest you should guess too well.
 Cease, then, I beg you. Rest content with passing
 Your rivals. Go! And I will give you triumph
 In your departure.

                                 ALTOUM

                    Shame! Fair play, my daughter!

                                 CAPO.

 Silence, my lord Altoum!—What says the Khan?

                                 CALAF

 I answer here by law, risking my death.
 Therefore, O lady, since my love of you
 Surpasses life, I claim my right of law.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Her eyes flashing_]

 By heaven, cold prince, I see I wasted pity
 Upon a heart of ice. Meet, then, your fate!
 I will not weep to watch the headsman’s axe.

                                 CALAF

 I trust you will not, princess.—I am ready.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_To Zelima_]

 O fiend! My fingers itch to scratch him.

                  [_To Calaf_]

                                          Hear, then:
 Reveal, O youth: What is that fetter
       Which, chaining, sets its captive free,
       But broken, makes of liberty
 A weary bondage, little better
 Than death, to one whose spirits mount and sing
 In manacles?

                  [_Calaf remains silent, pressing his closed eyes in
                    thought. Altoum leans forward. The people mutter
                    low. Turandot gazes disdainfully. Soon, letting his
                    raised hands fall, Calaf speaks with tense
                    calmness._]

                                 CALAF

              A lover’s ring.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Cries out_]

 What’s that?

                  [_Clutching Zelima’s arm_]

              My God! here is some treachery.

                                 CAPO.

 Open the second lock!

                  [_Harlequin unlocks the little box held by
                    Punchinello, who reads aloud_]

                              PUNCHINELLO

                       A lover’s ring.

                  [_A great murmur goes up from the assembly_]

                                 ALTOUM

 Wondrous! The fates are with him.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Rising, fiercely_]

                                   Not the fates fates—
 The fiends are with him. I cry out upon
 This answer. Some perfidious hand
 Has tampered with those locks.

                                 CAPO.

                                Respect this hall
 And presence, Princess: _We_ shall judge alone.

                                TURANDOT

 False friend, is this your pay for all my trust,
 And this the perfect joy you bid me hope for?

                  [_To Altoum_]

 Father, I cry on you to right this wrong!

                                 ALTOUM

 The wrong is yours to flout your own decree.
 But right or wrong, my power is hushed: Not here
 But yonder sits the Emperor of China.

                                TURANDOT

 Why, this is monstrous. I am sold a slave
 By an abdicated father and a motley
 Who apes the emperor in a player’s mask!—
 I’ll put no further riddle.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Smiling_]

                             As you like,
 Princess, but let us keep our humors. If
 There be no final riddle, Keedur wins:
 The priests are ready to perform your wedding.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Trembling with rage_]

 My wedding!—Ah, then, I am duped indeed,
 And must submit to treachery. But you—
 O subtle Khan, dream not to shame me so,
 And win. I will not _live_ to be your wife.—
 Do you still claim your riddle?

                                 CALAF

                  [_Who has stood in utter calmness_]

                                 I am ready.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_In fury_]

 Then may your answer spike your head in death!

                  [_Clutching her throne, she speaks with voice
                    quivering_]

 Reply, O Prince: What may that be
       Which, light of heart, causes despite,
       But heavy-laden, renders light

 Its bearer, making care so free
 That kings might give their crowns to call it
 Their treasure house?

                  [_A deep hush falls on the assembly. Calaf stands,
                    silent, swaying._

                  _Slowly he totters and falls on the steps of Capo’s
                    Throne._

                  _There, as Harlequin raises him, Capo whispers swiftly
                    at his ear. Suddenly then, fixing his eyes on
                    Turandot, who stands pale and rigid, Calaf speaks
                    thrillingly._]

                                 CALAF

                       A beggar’s wallet.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_With a low cry, holding her side_]

 Ah!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_To Harlequin_]

 Quickly!—The third key!

                  [_Swiftly Harlequin unlocks the box held by Pantaloon,
                    who reads aloud_]

                          A beggar’s wallet.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Turning, desperately_]

 Zelima!

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Screaming_]

         Lady!

                  [_Snatching from Zelima a little dagger, she lifts it
                    and strikes at her own breast. Leaping to the
                    throne, Calaf intercepts her and turns the dagger
                    against himself_]

                                 CALAF

              Not you, my love!

                                 CAPO.

                                Disarm them!

                                 ALTOUM

 Turandot!

                  [_Amid uproar, the four Maskers rush upon Calaf and
                    wrest from him the dagger_]

                                TURANDOT

                  [_With fierce disdain_]

           Coward hearts!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Uplifting his hands to Capo_]

                          Sire, hear my plea!

                                 CAPO.

 Order and silence!—Speak, Sir Keedur.

                                 CALAF

                                        Sire,
 If I have won this ordeal by the law—
 Declare it.

                                 CAPO.

             You have won.

                                 CALAF

                           Then I renounce
 All I have won, and place before this court
 A counter plea. Shall it be granted?

                                 CAPO.

                                      What
 Do you petition?

                                 CALAF

                  Sire, since it would shame me
 And her, to take this noble princess’ hand
 Without her heart, I quit my claim, but ask
 In substitute, a boon:—I, whom you call
 Sir Keedur, Khan, am royal and a prince,
 But I am not Khan of Beloochistan.
 Keedur is not my name.

                                TURANDOT

                        So, treachery
 Once more!

                                 ALTOUM

            Peace, daughter!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_To Calaf_]

                             Speak. What is your plea?

                                 CALAF

 This, Sire: Since I have answered now three riddles
 Of Turandot, that she—to make fair play—
 Shall answer one of mine. If she shall guess it,
 I then depart, but if she fail, I stay—
 And wed her.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Scornfully to Capo_]

              Ha! This jesting, Sire, fits well
 Your new régime.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_To Calaf_]

                  What is your riddle?

                                 CALAF

                                       This:
 Reveal, O Lady: What is he,
       His true-born name,
       His father’s fame,
 Who, desperate for love of thee,
 Assumed from far Beloochistan
 The false name—Keedur, Khan?

                                TURANDOT

 Nay sir, I’d scorn to answer. What you are,
 Or who, or whence—to me henceforth ’tis nothing.

                                 CAPO.

 Softly, quick tongue! To us the game seems fair.
 Sir nameless lover, you shall have your plea.
 ’Tis granted.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Trembling with rage_]

               What!—O miracle of shame!
 Perfidious Masker!

                                 CAPO.

                    This your riddle shall
 Be answered here to-morrow by this lady,
 Or else you shall be wedded to her here
 Before high noon.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Descending swiftly from the throne_]

                   Fools! I defy you—both!

                  [_Flinging her sceptre at Capo’s feet, she rushes
                    out_]

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Rising_]

 Follow her!

                  [_At his gesture, the four Maskers follow after. Amid
                    loud murmur and commotion Calaf stands staring at
                    the empty throne_]


                               _Curtain_



                               ACT THIRD


             [2]SCENE I: _An anteroom in the harem. Night._

_In the centre of the columned room is a table, on which—softly
illumined—stands a large crystal bowl, filled with swimming gold
fishes._

_Nearby, Turandot sits weeping, Zelima beside her. Outside, the shrill
voice of Punchinello is heard singing to the twang of stringed
instruments:_

             _O Lady, Lady, let fall your tears
             No more, no more, for foolish fears,
               But let in your true playfellow;
             For Sorrow’s a thief
             Brings Love to grief,
               But a merry heart makes him mellow,
             And a merry heart, O, a merry heart
             Never yet kept fond lovers apart,
               Nor pinched the shoe of their Punchinello._

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Savagely_]

 Drive them away, Zelima! Drive them away!

                PUNCHINELLO, SCARAMOUCHE, AND PANTALOON

                  [_Singing together outside_]

 And a merry heart, O, a merry heart
 Never yet kept fond lovers apart!

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Going to the door, puts her head out_]

 Begone!

                  [_She returns to Turandot. The twanging outside
                    decreases, but still continues_]

         Take courage, Lady.

                                TURANDOT

                             Oh, I have lost
 Courage and faith and kindness. All is dark—
 Dark and disgrace.

                                 ZELIMA

                    ’Tis no disgrace to win
 A husband.

                                TURANDOT

            _Win_ him!—To be tricked and sold
 In slavery to one I love not—lose
 The one I love, and truckle to the word
 Of an upstart—a false, masquing popinjay
 Of an emperor!—Yet, no disgrace! Ah me,
 Why did your little dagger fail me? Now
 I have no pluck of soul to try once more.

                                 ZELIMA

 The gods forbid! ’Twere very wicked, Lady:
 And him, that saved you, and gave back your freedom
 So gentlemanly!

                                TURANDOT

                 Ha! and caught me again
 With his own riddle! Heaven, I hate him. Yet—
 Zelima, did you see his eyes?

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Nodding_]

                               Most strangelike
 They were.

                                TURANDOT

            I must not think upon his eyes,
 Or I might hate him less. No, only one
 Of all men wears the gazes which I love,
 And he is lost to me.

                                 ZELIMA

                       Why lost, my Lady?
 The emperor promised you to search the city
 And find your beggar.

                                TURANDOT

                       Capo’s promises
 Are like himself—all lies. Nay, I must answer
 This false Khan’s riddle, or be doomed to-morrow.
 But how?—“His true-born name, his father’s fame—”
 Where shall I find the clue? Ah, heartless fate
 And stony hearted men!

                        THE VOICE OF PUNCHINELLO

                  [_Sings outside to the instruments_]

 O Lady, Lady, lift up your moan
 No more, no more ’gainst hearts of stone,
   But let in your blithe playfellow!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Wildly_]

                                     Go! Stop them!

                        THE VOICE OF PUNCHINELLO

 For a stubborn will
 Makes Love to be ill,
   But a merry heart makes him well, O!
 And a merry heart—

                                 ZELIMA

                  [_Opening the door_]

                           Stop
 Your noises!

                              PUNCHINELLO

                  [_Outside_]

       —O, a merry heart
 Never yet kept fond lovers apart,
   Nor tweaked the nose of their Punchinello.

                                 ZELIMA

                                              Cease! Her royal highness
                                                 orders—

                 PUNCHINELLO, SCARAMOUCHE AND PANTALOON

                  [_Pushing past Zelima, enter the room bearing bright
                    Chinese lanterns, and singing in chorus_]

 A merry heart, O, a merry heart
 Never yet kept fond lovers apart!

                  [_Joined by Harlequin, they pause together before
                    Turandot and, pointing simultaneously their left
                    toes, strike sharply their instruments with a
                    sweeping bow_]

                                TURANDOT

 What fresh presumption of your brazen lord
 Is this?

                              PUNCHINELLO

          This is our homage, Lady, Lady!

 [_Thrumming their instruments again,
 they accompany a dance of Harlequin,
 who by his pantomime indicates
 to Turandot the bowl of gold fishes,
 while Punchinello lilts shrilly_:]

 And thus our Harlequin: He’s showing
 How all our hearts be overflowing
 With little, lovely, golden wishes
 For your delight—as fine as fishes!

                                TURANDOT

 Go—go!

                  [_Harlequin draws back_]

         Why have you come?

                              PUNCHINELLO

                            To celebrate
 Our lord Sir Capo’s great discovery.

                               PANTALOON

                  [_Mysteriously_]

 He’s found.

                                TURANDOT

            Who’s found?

                              SCARAMOUCHE

                  [_Darkly_]

                          By the yawn of Jonah’s whale,
 We have disbellied him from Pekin’s maw
 And blackest hollowness.

                              PUNCHINELLO

                          He’s trapped, my Lady!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Chafing_]

 Will you tell _who_?

                              PUNCHINELLO

                  [_In a loud whisper_]

                      The beggar.

                       SCARAMOUCHE AND PANTALOON

                  [_Sepulchrally_]

                                  Hush!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Faintly_]

                                        A beggar!

                              SCARAMOUCHE

                  [_Speaks at her ear_]

 The louse-gray mongrel with the chalkish beard—
 We’ve got him kennelled, ha!

                                TURANDOT

                              An _old_ man?

                               PANTALOON

                  [_Nodding_]

                                            Pickled!

                                TURANDOT

 Alas! What are these tidings? Have you searched
 Only to find an old poor man?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Who has entered behind them_]

                               They found
 Your beggar’s gaffer, Lady.—Barak he
 Is called, and lies imprisoned now below,
 Where I will learn from him about your lover.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Bitterly_]

 So _you_ come too. Have you, then, come to break
 Once more the vow you made?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Quietly_]

                             A single day,
 Lady, you swore me faith and loyalty;
 Yet in one little hour you cast away
 Your faith, to call me traitor.

                                TURANDOT

                                 Had I cause,
 Or no?

                                 CAPO.

        Is there good cause to break an oath?

                                TURANDOT

 You broke your own. You vowed to achieve for me
 Joy—joy, and perfect marriage with my love.—
 Am I, then, joyful? Am I with my love?

                                 CAPO.

 A single day; a single day, I said!

                                TURANDOT

 So by to-morrow I must wed this Khan,
 This nameless prince—unless I guess his name.

                                 CAPO.

 Why not, then, guess it?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Glancing quickly_]

                          How?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Indulgently_]

                               Will you renew
 Your broken allegiance?

                                TURANDOT

                         I am desperate.
 I will do anything to free myself.—
 What shall I do?

                                 CAPO.

                  First swear me faith again.

                                TURANDOT

 I swear it. Now tell!

                                 CAPO.

                       How easily ladies swear
 When they are in love!—Prime-Minister, retire!

                  [_The four Maskers, bowing, withdraw to the
                    background, where they are entertained by Zelima,
                    whom they instruct to play upon their instruments
                    with a low strumming_]

 In the general practice of my specialties,
 Lady, I often recommend for love
 A sleeping-charm—like this.

                  [_Capo takes from his sleeve a small vial and hands it
                    to Turandot_]

                                TURANDOT

                              What should I do
 With this?

                                 CAPO.

            This, if ’tis poured upon the sleeping lips
 Of man by a maid, or maiden by a man,
 Will make the sleeper murmur in his dream
 Whatever secret thing his soul conceals
 When it is asked of him.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_After a pause, gives a sudden cry of joy_]

                          Ah, now I see!—
 But how can I find access to this Khan
 When he is sleeping?

                                 CAPO.

                      I am emperor,
 And by my new régime, at midnight, all
 The guards retire, and in the men’s hall, men
 May pass unnoticed by the others.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Searchingly_]

                                   Men?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Calls, beckoning_]

 Here, Harlequin!—I pray you, princess, stand
 Back to back with this boy.

                  [_Turandot looks puzzled, and then turns and stands
                    back to back with Harlequin. Capo measures their
                    heights with his flattened hand. They separate and
                    Capo indicates Harlequin_]

                             A hair’s breadth higher.

                  [_With a questioning glance at Turandot_]

 A hair’s breadth! Will you risk it—by a hair?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Growing suddenly radiant_]

 O wonderful!—At midnight, did you say?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Smiling_]

 _Now_ are we friends—and may I kiss your hand?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Ardently_]

 No, I will kiss yours!

                  [_She seizes Capo’s hand and kisses it. He laughs
                    softly_]


                               _Curtain_


  SCENE II: _A bedchamber, mysteriously lighted. The room is vast and
 magnificent. In the centre, by a divan couch, Calaf is seated in deep
                               brooding._

                                 CALAF

 If she should guess!—If she should fail to guess!
 If she should fail to guess!—If she should guess!
 O endless, awful night, you are like thought—
 Hollow, unanswering and full of echoes!
 And like my heart you, too, are sleepless, yearning
 With dim and palpitating mystery.
 If she should guess?—Then would I doubly lose
 My love—my life. If she should fail to guess?
 Then how might I dare hold her to my bond
 And wed against her will?—If she should guess—
 If she should fail—Ah, God! The night gives back
 Only my emptiness, and moment builds
 On moment mountains of hell, and here I sit
 Alone.

                  [_Rising, he reaches his arms with a low cry_]

        Alone!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Entering in the dimness_]

               There is no loneliness
 Where thoughts are merry.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Staring at him for a moment_]

                           Merry!—Sire, I have
 Forgot the meaning of that word.

                                 CAPO.

                                  Recall it,
 Then, quickly, for I bring you pleasant news.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Eagerly_]

 From her? from _her_, O Sire?

                                 CAPO.

                               From Turandot.
 The lady loves you.

                                 CALAF

                     Loves me! You are mad,
 Or jesting.

                                 CAPO.

             To the sober-serious
 Jesting’s a sort of madness.—But no matter.
 The lady loves you none the less.

                                 CALAF

                                   How is it
 Possible?

                                 CAPO.

           You’ve forgot my specialty
 So soon?—or am I skilled in guessing riddles?

                                 CALAF

 I should have failed without you.

                                 CAPO.

                                   Will you try me
 Again?

                                 CALAF

        But how—

                                 CAPO.

                  Come hither in more light.

                  [_Calaf moves out of the deeper shadow. Capo tips
                    Calaf’s face upwards, examining it_]

 What color are your eyes?

                                 CALAF

                           I do not know.

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Nods approvingly_]

 Sapphire.—That might describe them, with some license
 Of love and rhetoric.

                                 CALAF

                       What have my eyes
 To do with guessing riddles?

                                 CAPO.

                              Much to do!
 They have to close and go to sleep, before
 The guessing. Softly now: lie down and close them
 Until to-morrow.

                                 CALAF

                 Would I might!

                                 CAPO.

                                Then do so!
 For on to-morrow morn, I promise you
 Delight—and perfect marriage with your love.

                                 CALAF

 O friend, I am too weary to refuse.
 I will lie down and dream it is to-morrow.

                  [_He lies on the couch. A far chiming is heard_]

 What bell is sounding?

                                 CAPO.

                        Midnight.—Merry dreams!

                  [_Capo steals out. Calaf closes his eyes and is still.
                    The room is silent and dim. After a few moments, out
                    of the darkness there emerges, scarlet and pied, the
                    Figure of Harlequin, who tiptoes toward the couch.
                    At a sigh from Calaf, the Figure starts back,
                    returning more reticently. Again Calaf murmurs in
                    his sleep_:]

                                 CALAF

 Turandot! Lady beloved!

                  [_Standing in a shaft of vague light, the Figure of
                    Harlequin lifts cautiously a vial and, unstopping
                    it, dances softly three times around the divan; then
                    pauses close to Calaf, who murmurs once more_]

                         Princess! Love.

                        THE FIGURE OF HARLEQUIN

                  [_Chants in a low voice_]

 Reveal, O dreamer: What is he,
       His true-born name,
       His father’s fame,
 Who, desperate for love of me,
 Assumed from far Beloochistan
 The false name—Keedur, Khan!

                  [_Bending above the dreaming form of Calaf, the Figure
                    sprinkles from the vial upon his lips; then draws
                    back and listens_]

                                 CALAF

                  [_Murmurs louder in his sleep_]

 Be gracious unto me: Calaf, the son
 Of Timur, King of Astrakhan!

                        THE FIGURE OF HARLEQUIN

                  [_Laughing silverly_]

                              Aha!
 Calaf! Calaf, the son of Timur, King
 Of Astrakhan!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Starting up on the divan_]

               Who calls me?

                               THE FIGURE

                  [_Lifting a mandolin strung from the shoulder, strikes
                    a swift chord and bounds away toward the door_]

                             Ahaha!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Leaping to the floor, and following_]

 What are you? Stop!

                  [_The Figure pauses_]

                     Come from your shadow!

                  [_The Figure takes a timid step forward, and stops_]

                                            You!
 You, the dumb player, servant of our lord
 The emperor! What brings you here?

                               THE FIGURE

                                    Aha!
       Reveal, O Lady: What is he
           His true-born name,
           His father’s fame—

                                 CALAF

 How’s that? Can the dumb speak?

                               THE FIGURE

                                 Calaf, the son
 Of Timur—hail!

                                 CALAF

                 By heaven, a spy!

                  [_He springs toward the door. The Figure tries to pass
                    him but, thwarted, leaps back_]

                                   Not yet!
 You shall not go till I have plucked the face
 Out of that mask.

                  [_At the door he turns the key and takes it_]

                   The door is locked. Reveal
 Yourself!

                  [_The Figure draws away. He strides toward it. It
                    escapes_]

           Light footed imp! Now by my soul,
 You shall not live to blab beyond these walls
 The secret you have stolen from my sleep.

                  [_He starts again toward the Figure. It dances away
                    from him, striking the strings of its mandolin.
                    Round the great couch and about the shadowy room he
                    pursues it, ever eluding him. Suddenly he pauses,
                    and stares_]

 Stay! Am I, then, asleep? Are you indeed
 Some imp of dreamland, sent to plague my soul
 With fever shuttle-dances, a pied phantom
 Painting the dark, and tinkling with your timbrel
 These rafters of my riddle-tortured brain?—
 If she should guess—If she should fail to guess!—
 O Night, it is your Echo, mocking me:
 ’Tis but a Question, and beneath that mask
 There are no lips to answer!

                  [_Desperately, he throws himself down by the couch,
                    burying his face against it. After a moment, the
                    Figure approaches, cautious, surveys his prone form
                    closely, bends as if to snatch at his robe, but
                    draws back and stands hesitant; then with a gesture
                    half frightened removes its mask, and speaks low_]

                               THE FIGURE

                              Calaf, son
 Of Timur—grace! Give me the key!

                  [_Turning, Calaf slowly staggers to his feet, gazing
                    with awe on the face of Turandot_]

                                 CALAF

                                   O Dream!
 Dream of my love transmuted to a boy—
 O little dream in motley, speak once more!

                                TURANDOT

 The key! Unlock the door, and let me forth.

                                 CALAF

 My lady—and her voice! Yet, shining boy,
 Before my soul loses belief in you,
 Still let me wonder, looking on your image,
 And worship at your shrine—Saint Harlequin!

                  [_He kneels before her_]

                                TURANDOT

 I do not ask for worship—but a key.

                                 CALAF

 The key you ask for locks the gate of heaven
 And we are shut within. Love builds him bars
 To stablish heaven where lovers are locked in.

                                TURANDOT

 Lovers? You dare much.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Rising_]

                        He dared more, to say
 You love me, and I dared believe.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Amazed_]

                                   Who dared
 To say it?

                                 CALAF

            He who shuttles through our lives,
 Unriddling and riddling, like a restless loom—
 The motley emperor.

                                TURANDOT

                     Capocomico!
 He is a jester, Sir.

                                 CALAF

                      Did he, then, jest
 To furnish you that vial in your hand
 And charm the fateful secret from my lips
 Into your power? Ah, if you do not love me,
 Why have you stolen here now to drag my name
 From dreams—Calaf, your father’s enemy,
 Doomed unto death?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Struggling with herself_]

                    Nay, ask not.

                                 CALAF

                                  Turandot,
 Princess of Pekin, stoops not to betray
 Her enemy, nor steal a riddle’s answer
 Thiefwise by night, to slay her enemy.
 The thought is slander. No!—Therefore you love me:
 So you have robbed—to save me.

                                TURANDOT

                                 Turn your eyes
 Away!

                                 CALAF

       Is it not so, Lady beloved?

                                TURANDOT

 Oh, ask not with your eyes!—Nor with your thoughts
 Ask not why this bold Harlequin is here
 Thiefwise by night, to steal your secret name;
 But let me go!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Holding out the key, gazes at her_]

                Will you, then, go?

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Reaches for it, but pauses and turns back her hand,
                    screening her face_]

                                    Your eyes!
 They blind the space between. I cannot grope
 The key I reach for.

                                 CALAF

                      Will you go?

                                TURANDOT

                                   The air
 Is dim, but bright with pathways to your face,
 And where they lead I falter, like a moth
 To where the lamp shines.

                                 CALAF

                  [_In hushed triumph_]

                           You will stay!

                                TURANDOT

                                          O dark!
 What light and darkness and the murmur of waters
 Lure me toward you?

                                 CALAF

                     Night and yearning stars
 And rush of winds blend us, beloved. Listen!
 Look in my eyes, O love!—Lean to my lips!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Closing her eyes_]

 I lean: Let me not fall!

                                 CALAF

                         Thus will I save you!

                  [_Reaching his arms passionately, he kisses her_]

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Starting back, with a cry_]

 Ah me! I am betrayed.

                                 CALAF

                       By Buddha, I swear—

                                TURANDOT

 Destroyed. O shame of all my vows forsworn,
 Where have I fallen?

                                 CALAF

                      On your lover’s heart.
 Look, it is I.

                                TURANDOT

                Who’s there?

                                 CALAF

                             Calaf, your prince.

                                TURANDOT

 Calaf!—Now shame put acid on my lips
 And sere them of your kiss! A prince hath touched me!
 O you poor bloody heads on Pekin’s wall,
 Have you, then, died for this?—and Turandot
 Shamed by a prince at last!

                                 CALAF

                             Lady, I beg—

                                TURANDOT

 Not that!—Ah, do not stab me with that word,
 And make me bleed for one who _begs_.—The key,
 Give me the key!

                                 CALAF

                  Mistress, your words go by me
 Like leaves blown wildly. I cannot gather them.

                                TURANDOT

 Sir prince, I blow them wildly, and I care not
 Whither they whirl.

                                 CALAF

                     Love changes blood to wine.
 The kiss of our communion hath turned wine
 To madden you.

                                TURANDOT

                The key!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Giving her the key_]

                         Take it, my lady,
 So you may know your freedom and my love,
 And me your lover, Calaf.

                                TURANDOT

                           Calaf, not
 My lover.—Calaf, or Keedur, Khan, you are
 Mine enemy in my power.—Until to-morrow,
 Good-night!

                  [_She hastens toward the door. Grasping her arm, his
                    eyes glow passionately_]

                                 CALAF

             You came here to betray me?—Speak!

                                TURANDOT

 I came to win your secret, and to shame you
 To-morrow at the trial. Let me pass.

                                 CALAF

 No! We are in each other’s power. Let doom
 Strike on us both together.

                  [_Inexorably he compels her. She sinks on the couch_]

                                TURANDOT

                             In your power!
 What, I? You would not dare—

                                 CALAF

                               Who would not dare?
 Infinite ages climbed to this little moment;
 Infinite ages shall sink after it.
 I stand here on its peak to make it mine.—
 Open the door!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Trembling_]

                _Open_ it?—What will you do?

                                 CALAF

 Now shall the rafters of your palace ring
 With “Turandot, the Harlequin, Calaf’s lover
 Stolen to his arms beside his midnight couch!”

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Shrinking from his gesture_]

 Touch me not!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Seizing her_]

               Wine! Your kiss turns in my blood
 To wine of fire poured foaming, and the flames
 Burn outward toward your lips.

                                TURANDOT

                                Kiss not again!
 Be merciful, and hear me!

                                 CALAF

                           Mercy cries
 To God, not to our enemy.—Your lips!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_With fearful appeal_]

 My lover, then!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Drawing back amazed_]

                 Your lover!

                                TURANDOT

                             Yea—my love!
 Your eyes—_another_ blazes in your eyes.

                                 CALAF

 Another! Who?

                                TURANDOT

               The noblest in this world:
 I love him. I have sworn it. Yet—O Yet—
 My flesh cries out to yours, my soul to yours,
 My lips, my lips to yours.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Clasping her_]

                            Ha, mine at last!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Repulsing him_]

 Clasp me not, lest I cling to you.—No more!
 I _will_ not. I am his. No kiss of yours
 Can quench his burning image. Let me go!
 But ah, the spell and rapture of your arms—
 Reach them where yearning lovers starve in hell,
 And bless them.—Stop! My body and soul are _his_.
 I hate you—I hate you—hate you!

                  [_She rushes into the dark. Calaf reaches—groping—with
                    a wild cry._]


                               _Curtain_



                               ACT FOURTH


_The scene is the same as the second act, scene second, except that the
back of the great hall of the emperor’s Divan is now hidden by a
decorated curtain. The assembly is gathered as before: Capocomico,
Turandot and Altoum seated on their larger and lesser thrones._

_Before them, Harlequin, Scaramouche, Punchinello and Pantaloon are
performing a dance._

_At its conclusion Capocomico rises, and addresses the Maskers._

                               CAPOCOMICO

 Enough! Go, bring the nameless prince before us.

                  [_Dismissing them with a gesture, he turns toward
                    Altoum_]

 Altoum,—our greater emperor, the Sun,
 Sits higher even than our august selves,
 And soon shall set his throne at highest noon.
 Then must I abdicate my one day’s reign,
 First having sealed your daughter’s perfect marriage,
 Ending in joy her doleful year and a day.
 Therefore, in those brief minutes which are left me
 To consummate these little things, I pray you
 Deign of your courtesy to take my seat
 And let me do the honors.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Rising from his lesser place_]

                           As you will!
 Till noon, my thanks for hospitality.

                                 CAPO.

 Oh, not at all!

                  [_Pointing to his seat_]

                 Pray, make yourself at home.

                  [_As they pass each other to change places, Altoum
                    speaks to Capo in lower voice_]

 Have you performed your task, and saved your head?

                                 CAPO.

 My head was never more attached to me.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Bending from her throne_]

 A word, my liege?

                                 CAPO.

                   Nay, but a hundred, lady!

                  [_He goes to her side. She speaks to him low_]

                                TURANDOT

 Have you kept faith with me? Ah—is he found—
 My heart’s desire?

                                 CAPO.

                   Your heart’s desire is found,
 And waits for you.

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Excitedly_]

                    Where is he?

                                 CAPO.

                                 Lo, he comes!

                  [_Pointing toward the entrance, he goes to the lesser
                    throne. With music of their stringed instruments,
                    the four Maskers usher in Calaf, haggard and
                    dishevelled. Turandot starts, with a cry and look of
                    bewilderment at Capo. Capo addresses Altoum and the
                    Divan_]

 Your Majesty and lords, the nameless prince
 Awaits to learn his name from Turandot.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Stepping forward fiercely_]

 He waits not, for his name has been betrayed
 To her—and you, false jester, have betrayed it.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Amid commotion_]

 What’s that?

                                 CALAF

              My liege, why should I play the fool
 In a Masker’s comedy? Death holds less scorn
 Than being duped to dance in a puppet-show
 To tinkling mandolins.

                                 ALTOUM

                        Speak out your grievance!

                                 CALAF

 I stand here in your power, and his.—At midnight,
 By secret sprinkling of a sleeping-charm,
 This masker sent to rob my dreaming lips
 Of the answer to my riddle—

                                 ALTOUM

                              Gods! to rob?
 Your proofs of this!

                                 CALAF

                      The proofs stand up in me.
 I who did deem it heaven to love your daughter
 Have proved it hell. Your daughter knows my secret,
 And all the ravage hidden in my name,
 Yet am I nothing, my damnation—nothing
 To her, who loves another.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Startled_]

                            What—other? Who?

                                 CALAF

 “The noblest in the world.”—O noble world,
 There aspiration earns its crown of scorn,
 And baseness wins nobility! In such,
 I’d liever be a beggar. But enough!
 My fate indeed is nothing, and my name—
 My name is—

                                TURANDOT

              Stop! your riddle goes unanswered.
 Go you in peace—and friendship. You, Sir Capo,
 Who keep your faith so strangely, set before me
 The heart of my desire.

                                 CAPO.

                         He stands before you.

                                TURANDOT

 Trick me not also. Keep your promise still.
 This man is Calaf, Son of Timur, not
 My heart’s desire.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Rising, wrathful_]

                    How! Calaf, Son of Timur!

                                 CALAF

 Not drowned my liege, in water—but in grief.

                                 ALTOUM

 My darkest enemy.—So, Capo, this
 Is he whom you would wed within my house
 To my own daughter—Prince of Astrakhan!
 Now by my star, the doom upon his head
 Shall fall on yours—and doubly. I, it seems,
 I, too, am duped!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Brokenly_]

                   He has betrayed us all.

                                 CAPO.

 A single day is short to make all snug.
 The Lord took six.

                                 ALTOUM

                    A single day is all
 My word allowed. I see! You bungled, fool,
 Striving to save your neck, but now your time
 Hangs at the stroke, and you have failed me. Doom
 Falls on you and your fellows!

                              THE MASKERS

                  [_Trying unsuccessfully to salaam_]

                                Mercy, Sire!

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Behind his hand chiding them_]

 Where are your manners, my Prime-minister?
 Venetian bows are still the mode in court,
 Whilst we are emperor.

                  [_Giving a sign to Harlequin, who runs out, he turns
                    to Altoum_]

                        O Sire—elect!
 Before the ominous gong sounds in mine ears
 That ushers me unto oblivious rags
 To stroll the world again, let me rejoice
 That you have turned your wrath from this brave youth
 Upon _my_ humble head.—Congratulations!
 And with exchange of courtesies, I pray you
 Felicitate me and these fellow-players
 On the happy curtain of our comedy.

                  [_At his gesture, Punchinello and Pantaloon run to the
                    curtain at back_]

                                 ALTOUM

 Say rather—tragedy.

                                 CAPO.

                      We stand corrected:
 Or say—romance, where true love laughs through tears:
 Name it Romance, and grant us your applause.

                  [_Punchinello and Pantaloon draw the curtain,
                    revealing an oriental altar, with idol, beside which
                    stand two priests_]

                                 ALTOUM

 What’s there?

                                 CAPO.

               The altar for our ceremony:
 The Wedding of the Princess and the Beggar.

                  [_Reënter Harlequin, bringing in Barak, who rushes to
                    Calaf and embraces him_]

                                 BARAK

 My prince!

                                 CALAF

                  [_Overwhelmed_]

            Barak—old friend!

                                TURANDOT

                  [_To Zelima_]

                               Look, look, ’tis he!
 My beggar’s gaffer.

                                 ALTOUM

                  [_Before whom Harlequin presents three tokens_]

                     What are these?

                                 CAPO.

                                     Our trophies:
 The secret of your daughter’s malady—

                  [_Leading Calaf bewildered before Turandot_]

 Lady, receive them with your heart’s desire:
 A ring, a rose, a beggar’s wallet.

                                TURANDOT

                                    You—
 Are _you_ my beggar?

                                 CALAF

                  [_Taking from Barak his old cloak_]

                      I am he who won
 In Astrakhan—this rose, at Pekin gate—
 This ring, and in this ragged beggar’s cloak
 You once did smile upon, I now depart.

                                TURANDOT

 Stay, love—_You_ are my noblest in the world!

                  [_Calaf turns in wonder and kneels to her. She bends
                    and embraces him. A great gong resounds_]

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Presenting his crown to Altoum_]

 My liege, I abdicate. And you applaud?

                                 ALTOUM

 Yea, marvel, Capo. Kingdoms will I give
 To these your fellows.

                              THE MASKERS

                  [_Bowing Venetian_]

                        Hail!

                                 ALTOUM

                              And to yourself yourself—
 Whate’er you ask for.

                                 CAPO.

                       Then, my liege and lady,
 I beg—this withered rose.

                                 CALAF

                  [_Giving it to him_]

                            Only a flower?

                                 CAPO.

 Lovers, that lives beyond its little hour
 In memory.—Adieu!—My players, rule
 Your kingdoms still in masks.—Now for the world!

                  [_Tossing his gorgeous emperor’s cloak to Harlequin,
                    he springs away in his tattered motley_]

                                TURANDOT

                  [_Calls after him_]

 What seek you there?

                                 CAPO.

                  [_Kissing to her and Calaf the withered rose_]

                      _More_ roses and romance!


                               _Curtain_

                              END OF PLAY



                                APPENDIX

                            TURANDOT’S DREAM


In the acted performance of this play, the third act commences with a
scene which sets forth, wholly in pantomime, a dream of Turandot,
representing—by suggestions of mystic light and sound—the state of her
distracted mind, trying to solve the riddle of Keedur Khan.

The pantomime takes place in two imaginative settings—a mountain top and
an oriental street—blending the one into the other.

Out of darkness first appears the outline of the dark summit, against a
blue-gray radiance of sky. Etched upon this Zelima enters, like a
shadow-phantom, beckoning. Following her to strange music Turandot
appears, unsubstantial as shadow, painted opaque on the glowing
background, like some silhouetted, featureless figure on an ancient
vase, imbued as by magic with motion and antique gesture.

Bowing in awe above the brink of darkness, the figure of Turandot is led
downward (and forward) into obscuring mists, tinged with green lights
and gules. Out of the mist, voices—shrill, bizarre, bell-toned,
menacing, mysterious—echo the words: “Khan, Keedur Khan, Khan, Khan!”

While the female forms grope below, the figure of Capocomico now appears
on the summit, beckoning to his four maskers, whose shadow-forms
gesticulate weirdly toward Turandot.

                      “Reveal, O Lady: What is he—
                        His true-born name,
                        His father’s fame—?”

Through the interpretive music, the teasing words of the riddle are
chanted by the varied voices, amid strange hiatuses filled with mocking
laughter.

Lastly, alone, appears the shadow form of Calaf, who follows the Maskers
downward into the mist, searching with arms outgroped toward Turandot.

There, as the unreal forms pass and disappear, the silhouette of
Capocomico stands fluting on the mountain top, while below echoes the
basso and falsetto laughter of the Maskers, and the low taunting cry:
“Keedur Khan!”

As this tableau shuts in darkness, there comes vaguely to light in the
foreground a street scene. Here, at a gateway, beggars with yokes are
huddled; before the gate, a moving frieze of dream figures, noiseless,
pass fantastically: Chinese soldiers, high stepping; Turandot again,
downcast, gliding like a captive with Zelima; Calaf, swift searching in
pursuit; the Maskers, lithe, grotesque, pointing after him; rearguarded
by Capocomico—blithely dominant in gesture, triumphant with fantasy.

Last of the dream images he also fades in darkness, out of which rise
the merry strains of a chorus:

                 “O Lady, Lady, let fall your tears
                 No more, no more for foolish fears,
                   But let in your blithe playfellow——”

and Turandot, sobbing beside Zelima on her bench in the harem, awakes
from her haunting dream of Keedur Khan.

Zelima bends over her.

“Alas, my lady, what ails you? You cried in your swoon!”

The merry voices of the Maskers outside sing louder.

“Oh, I have dreamed, Zelima! Drive them away!”

Thus follows the first spoken scene of Act Third, as here printed.

As acted, the stage management and lighting of this pantomime have been
movingly devised by Mr. J. C. Huffman.

Here in description its visionary quality can only be suggested.

-----

Footnote 1:

  Since the date of the commission for my play, the translation of
  “Turandot” by Jethro Bithell has been published in America by Duffield
  & Company, New York, so that the Gossi-Schiller-Voellmueller dramatic
  version of the folk-tale is thus made available for English readers.

Footnote 2:

  See Appendix.


[Illustration]

                         THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS
                           GARDEN CITY, N.Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Table of Contents added by transcriber.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 3. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
      printed.
 4. Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together
      at the end of the last chapter.
 5. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





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