Page:Iolanthe lib.djvu/4

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If you ask us how we live,
Lovers all essentials give—
We can ride on lovers' sighs,
Warm ourselves in lovers' eyes,
Bathe ourselves in lovers' tears,
Clothe ourselves in lovers' fears,
Arm ourselves with lovers' darts,
Hide ourselves in lovers' hearts.
When you know us, you'll discover
That we almost live on lover!

Tripping hither, &c.

(At the end of chorus, all sigh wearily.)

Celia. Ah, it's all very well, but since our Queen banished Iolanthe, fairy revels have not been what they were!
Leila. Iolanthe was the life and soul of fairy land. Why, she wrote all our songs and arranged all our dances! We sing her songs and we trip her measures, but we don't enjoy ourselves!
Fleta. To think that five and twenty years have elapsed since she was banished! What could she have done to have deserved so terrible a punishment?
Leila. Something awful! She married a mortal!
Fleta. Oh! Is it injudicious to marry a mortal?
Leila. Injudicious? It strikes at the root of the whole fairy system! By our laws, the fairy who marries a mortal, dies!
Ceila But Iolanthe didn't die!

Enter Fairy Queen.

Queen. No, because your Queen, who loved her with a surpassing love, commuted her sentence to penal servitude for life, on condition that she left her husband and never communicated with him again!
Leila (aside to Celia.) That sentence of penal servitude she is now working out, on her head, at the bottom of that stream!
Queen. Yes, but when I banished her, I gave her all the pleasant places of the earth to dwell in. I'm sure I never intended that she should go and live at the bottom of a stream! It makes me perfectly wretch to think of the discomfort she must have undergone!
Leila. Think of the damp! And her chest was always delicate.
Queen. And the frogs! Ugh! I never shall enjoy any peace mind until I know why Iolanthe went to live among the frogs!
Fleta. Then why not summon her and ask her?
Queen. Why? Because if I set eyes on her I should forgive her at once!
Celia. Then why not forgive her? Twenty-five years—it's a long time!
Leila. Think how we loved her!