William Schwenck Gilbert

Here you will find the Long Poem The Sorcerer: Act I of poet William Schwenck Gilbert

The Sorcerer: Act I


Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an Elderly Baronet

Alexis, of the Grenadier Guards--His Son

Dr. Daly, Vicar of Ploverleigh

John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers

Lady Sangazure, a Lady of Ancient Lineage

Aline, Her Daughter--betrothed to Alexis

Mrs. Partlet, a Pew-Opener

Constance, her Daughter

Chorus of Villagers

 ACT I -- Grounds of Sir Marmaduke's Mansion, Mid-day

SCENE -- Exterior of Sir Marmaduke's Elizabethan Mansion, mid-day.


 Ring forth, ye bells,
 With clarion sound--
 Forget your knells,
 For joys abound.
 Forget your notes
 Of mournful lay,
 And from your throats
 Pour joy to-day.

 For to-day young Alexis--young Alexis Pointdextre
 Is betrothed to Aline--to Aline Sangazure,
 And that pride of his sex is--of his sex is to be next her
 At the feast on the green--on the green, oh, be sure!

 Ring forth, ye bells etc.
 (Exeunt the men into house.)

(Enter Mrs. Partlet with Constance, her daughter)


MRS. P. Constance, my daughter, why this strange depression?
 The village rings with seasonable joy,
 Because the young and amiable Alexis,
 Heir to the great Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre,
 Is plighted to Aline, the only daughter
 Of Annabella, Lady Sangazure.
 You, you alone are sad and out of spirits;
 What is the reason? Speak, my daughter, speak!

CONST. Oh, mother, do not ask! If my complexion
 From red to white should change in quick succession,
 And then from white to red, oh, take no notice!
 If my poor limbs should tremble with emotion,
 Pay no attention, mother--it is nothing!
 If long and deep-drawn sighs I chance to utter,
 Oh, heed them not, their cause must ne'er be known!

Mrs. Partlet motions to Chorus to leave her with Constance. Exeunt
 ladies of Chorus.


 When he is here,
 I sigh with pleasure--
 When he is gone,
 I sigh with grief.
 My hopeless fear
 No soul can measure--
 His love alone
 Can give my aching heart relief!

 When he is cold,
 I weep for sorrow--
 When he is kind,
 I weep for joy.
 My grief untold
 Knows no to-morrow--
 My woe can find
 No hope, no solace, no alloy!

MRS. P. Come, tell me all about it! Do not fear--
 I, too, have loved; but that was long ago!
 Who is the object of your young affections?
CONST. Hush, mother! He is here! (Looking off)

 Enter Dr. Daly. He is pensive and does not see them

MRS. P. (amazed) Our reverend vicar!
CONST. Oh, pity me, my heart is almost broken!
MRS. P. My child, be comforted. To such an union
 I shall not offer any opposition.
 Take him--he's yours! May you and he be happy!
CONST. But, mother dear, he is not yours to give!
MRS. P. That's true, indeed!
CONST. He might object!
MRS. P. He might.
 But come--take heart--I'll probe him on the subject.
 Be comforted--leave this affair to me.
 (They withdraw.)


 The air is charged with amatory numbers--
 Soft madrigals, and dreamy lovers' lays.
 Peace, peace, old heart! Why waken from its slumbers
 The aching memory of the old, old days?


 Time was when Love and I were well acquainted.
 Time was when we walked ever hand in hand.
 A saintly youth, with worldly thought untainted,
 None better-loved than I in all the land!
 Time was, when maidens of the noblest station,
 Forsaking even military men,
 Would gaze upon me, rapt in adoration--
 Ah me, I was a fair young curate then!

 Had I a headache? sighed the maids assembled;
 Had I a cold? welled forth the silent tear;
 Did I look pale? then half a parish trembled;
 And when I coughed all thought the end was near!
 I had no care--no jealous doubts hung o'er me--
 For I was loved beyond all other men.
 Fled gilded dukes and belted earls before me--
 Ah me, I was a pale young curate them!

(At the conclusion of the ballad, Mrs. Partlet comes forward with

 MRS. P. Good day, reverend sir.
 DR. D. Ah, good Mrs. Partlet, I am glad to see you. And
your little daughter, Constance! Why, she is quite a little
woman, I declare!
 CONST. (aside) Oh, mother, I cannot speak to him!
 MRS. P. Yes, reverend sir, she is nearly eighteen, and as
good a girl as ever stepped. (Aside to Dr. Daly) Ah, sir, I'm
afraid I shall soon lose her!
 DR. D. (aside to Mrs. Partlet) Dear me, you pain me very
much. Is she delicate?
 MRS. P. Oh no, sir--I don't mean that--but young girls look
to get married.
 DR. D. Oh, I take you. To be sure. But there's plenty of 
time for that. Four or five years hence, Mrs. Partlet, four or
five years hence. But when the time does come, I shall have