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Original Plays The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury

Original Plays
The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury
Title: Original Plays The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury
Release Date: 2019-03-14
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Original Plays, by W. S. (William Schwenck)Gilbert

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Title: Original Plays

The Wicked World; Pygmalion and Galatea; Charity; The Princess; The Palace of Truth; Trial by Jury

Author: W. S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert

Release Date: March 14, 2019 [eBook #59057]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



E-text prepared by Emmanuel Ackerman
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New York:

Stereotyped and printed by
Rand, Avery, and Company,
117 Franklin Street,


The Story upon which ‘The Palace of Truth’ isfounded is probably as old as the ‘Arabian Nights.’‘The Princess’ is a respectful parody of Mr. Tennyson’sexquisite poem. It has been generally held, I believe, thatif a dramatist uses the mere outline of an existing storyfor dramatic purposes, he is at liberty to describe his playas “original.”


London, Nov. 18, 1875.


The Wicked World9
Pygmalion and Galatea73
The Princess211
The Palace of Truth265
Trial by Jury341
Transcriber’s Note

[Pg 9]


An Original Fairy Comedy,


[Pg 10]


EthaisMr. Kendal.
PhyllonMr. Arnott.
Lutin (a Serving Fairy)Mr. Buckstone.
Selene (a Fairy Queen)Miss Madge Robertson.
DarineMiss Amy Roselle.
ZaydaMiss M. Litton.
LeilaMiss Harrison.
NeodieMiss Henri.
LocrineMiss Francis.
Sir EthaisMr. Kendal.
Sir PhyllonMr. Arnott.
Lutin (Sir Ethais’s Henchman)Mr. Buckstone.


The action is comprised within the space oftwenty-four hours.

[Pg 11]


Spoken by Mr. Buckstone.

The Author begs you’ll kind attention pay
While I explain the object of his play.
You have been taught, no doubt, by those professing
To understand the thing, that Love’s a blessing:
Well, he intends to teach you the reverse—
That Love is not a blessing, but a curse!
But pray do not suppose it’s his intent
To do without this vital element—
His drama would be in a pretty mess!
With quite as fair a prospect of success,
Might a dispensing chemist in his den
Endeavor to dispense with oxygen.
Too powerful an agent to pooh-pooh,
There will be Love enough I warrant you:
But as the aim of every play’s to show
That Love’s essential to all men below,
He uses it to prove, to all who doubt it,
How well all men—but he—can do without it.
To prove his case (a poor one, I admit),
He begs that with him you will kindly flit
To a pure fairy-land that’s all his own,
Where mortal love is utterly unknown.
[Pg 12]
Whose beings, spotless as new-fallen snow,
Know nothing of the Wicked World below.
These gentle sons and daughters of the air,
Safe, in their eyrie, from temptation’s snare,
Have yet one little fault I must confess—
An overweening sense of righteousness.
As perfect silence, undisturbed for years,
Will breed at length a humming in the ears,
So from their very purity within
Arise the promptings of their only sin.
Forgive them! No? Perhaps you will relent
When you appreciate their punishment!
But prithee be not led too far away,
By the hack author of a mere stage-play:
It’s easy to affect this cynic tone,
But, let me ask you, had the world ne’er known
Such Love as you, and I, and he, must mean—
Pray where would you, or I, or he, have been?

[Pg 13]



Scene—Fairy Land. A beautiful, but fancifullandscape, which is supposed to lie on the upperside of a cloud. The cloud is suspended overthe earth, a portion of which (representing “abird’s-eye view” of a mediæval city), is seen,far below, through a rent or gap in the cloud.

As the curtain rises Zayda is discovered standingin a thoughtful attitude, contemplating theworld at her feet. To her enters Darine.

Dar. My sister, Zayda, thou art deep in thought,
What quaint conjecture fills thy busy brain?
Zay. Oh! sister, it’s my old and favorite theme—
That wonderful and very wicked world
That rolls in silent cycles at our feet!
Dar. In truth a fruitful source of wonderment!
Zay. Fruitful indeed—a harvest without end!
The world—the wicked world! the wondrous world!
[Pg 14]
I love to sit alone and gaze on it,
And let my fancy wander through its towns,
Float on its seas and rivers—interchange
Communion with its strange inhabitants:
People its cities with fantastic shapes,
Fierce, wild, barbaric forms—all head and tail,
With monstrous horns, and blear and bloodshot eyes,
As all should have who deal in wickedness!

Enter Phyllon.

Oh, Phyllon! picture to thyself a town
Peopled with men and women! At each turn,
Men—wicked men—then, farther on, more men,
Then women—then again more men—more men—
Men, women, everywhere—all ripe for crime,
All ghastly in the lurid light of sin!

Enter Selene.

Phyl. In truth, dear sister, if man’s face and form
Were a true index to his character,
He were a hideous thing to look upon;
But man, alas! is formed as we are formed.
False from the first, he comes into the world
Bearing a smiling lie upon his face,
That he may cheat ere he can use his tongue.
Zay. Oh! I have heard these things, but heed them not.
I like to picture him as he should be,
Unsightly and unclean. I like to pair
[Pg 15]
Misshapen bodies with misshapen minds.
Sel. Dost thou not know that every soul on earth
Hath in our ranks his outward counterpart?
Dar. His outward counterpart!
Sel.Tis even so;
Yes, on that world—that very wicked world—
Thou—I—and all who dwell in fairy land,
May find a parallel identity:
A perfect counterpart in outward form;
So perfect that, if it were possible
To place us by these earthly counterparts,
No man on earth, no fairy in the clouds,
Could tell which was the fairy—which the man!
Zay. Is there no shade of difference?
Phyl.Yes, one;
For we are absolutely free from sin,
While all our representatives on earth
Are stained with every kind of infamy.
Dar. Are all our counterparts so steeped in sin?
Phyl. All, in a greater or a less degree.
Zay. What, even mine?
Zay.Oh, no—not mine!
Phyl. All men and women sin.
Dar.I wonder what
My counterpart is doing now?
Sel.Don’t ask.
No doubt, some fearful sin!
Dar.And what are sins?
Sel. Evils of which we hardly know the names.
[Pg 16]
There’s vanity—a quaint, fantastic vice,
Whereby a mortal takes much credit for
The beauty of his face and form, and claims
As much applause for loveliness as though
He had designed himself! Then jealousy—
A universal passion—one that claims
An absolute monopoly of love,
Based on the reasonable principle
That no one merits other people’s love
So much as—every soul on earth by turns!
Envy—that grieves at other men’s success,
As though success, however placed, were not
A contribution to one common fund!
Ambition, too, the vice of clever men
Who seek to rise at others’ cost; nor heed
Whose wings they cripple, so that they may soar.
Malice—the helpless vice of helpless fools,
Who, as they can not rise, hold others down,
That they, by contrast, may appear to soar.
Hatred and avarice, untruthfulness,
Murder and rapine, theft, profanity—
Sins so incredible, so mean, so vast,
Our nature stands appalled when it attempts
To grasp their terrible significance.
Such are the vices of that wicked world!

Enter Ethais, Locrine, Neodie, Leila, and other Fairies.

Eth. My brothers, sisters, Lutin has returned,
After a long delay, from yonder earth:
[Pg 17]
The first of all our race who has set foot
Upon that wicked world. See! he is here!

Enter Lutin.

Sel. Good welcome, Lutin, back to fairy land!
So thou hast been to earth?
Lut.I have indeed!
Sel. What hast thou seen there?
Lut. Better not inquire.
It is a very, very wicked world!
I went, obedient to our King’s command,
To meet him in mid-earth. He bade me go
And send both Ethais and Phyllon there.
Eth. Down to mid-earth?
Lut.Down to mid-earth at once.
He hath some gift, some priceless privilege
With which he would endow our fairy world;
And he hath chosen Phyllon and thyself
To bear his bounty to this home of ours.
Zay. Another boon? Why, brother Ethais,
What can our monarch give that we have not?
Eth. In truth, I can not say—’twould seem that we
Had reached the sum of fairy happiness!
Sel. But then we thought the same, before our King
Endowed us with the gift of melody;
And now, how tame our fairy life would seem
Were melody to perish from our land!
Phyl. Well said, Selene. Come, then, let’s away, (going)
[Pg 18]
And on our journey through the outer world
We will take note of its inhabitants,
And bring you fair account of all we see.
Farewell, dear sisters!
[Exeunt Phyllon and Ethais.
Sel.Brothers, fare-you-well.
(To Lutin.)And thou hast really met a living man?
Lut. I have indeed—and living women too!
Zay. And thou hast heard them speak, and seen their ways,
And didst thou understand them when they spake?
Lut. I understand that what I understood
No fairy being ought to understand.
I see that almost every thing I saw
Is utterly improper to be seen.
Don’t ask for details—I’ve returned to you
With outraged senses and with shattered nerves,
I burn with blushes of indignant shame.
Read my experiences in my face,
My tongue shall wither ere it tell the tale.
It is a very, very wicked world!
Dar. But surely man can summon death at will;
Why should he live when he at will can die?
Lut. Why, that’s the most inexplicable thing.
I’ve seen upon that inconsistent globe—
With swords and daggers hanging at their sides,
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