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Turandot: The Chinese Sphinx   By: (1759-1805)

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First Page:

TURANDOT:

THE CHINESE SPHINX.

A DRAMATIC ODDITY

FREELY TRANSLATED FROM SCHILLER,

AND CORDIALLY INSCRIBED TO

LADY PERCY FLORENCE SHELLEY

BY

SABILLA NOVELLO.

LONDON: S. FRENCH, 89, STRAND.

1872.

Price One Shilling.

Personages.

ALTOUM, Khan of the Celestial Empire.

PANTALOON, his Prime Minister.

TARTAGLIA, Lord Chancellor.

TRUFFALDIN, Keeper of the Hareem.

BRIGHELLA, Captain of the Imperial Black Guards.

KALAF, Prince of Tartary.

BARAK, his former Tutor.

ISHMAEL.

DOCTORS of THE DIVAN.

Courtiers, Guards, Priests, Slaves of the Hareem.

TURANDOT, Heiress to the Celestial throne: generally known as "The Chinese Sphinx."

SKIRINA, her attendant, wife to Barak.

ADELMA, Princess of Keicobad, slave to Turandot.

Female slaves of the Hareem.

SCENE. Peking and its environs.

TURANDOT: THE CHINESE SPHINX.

ACT I.

SCENE. Outskirts of Peking. L. View of town gate, above which are reared long poles, bearing turbaned and shorn heads, symmetrically disposed so as to form a kind of architectural ornament. R. Small suburban dwellings, from one of which issues PRINCE KALAF, dressed in a fantastic Tartar warrior's costume.

KALAF.

The Gods be thanked, at last by patient seeking, I've found a lodging in this crowded Peking.

(Enter BARAK, in Persian costume; sees KALAF and starts, surprised.)

BARAK.

Prince Kalaf? 'tis not possible. He's dead! Yet, sure 'tis he his eyes his legs his head, My Lord!

KALAF.

What Barak! here alive?

BARAK.

And kicking. But how escaped you from that fatal licking The Bey of Tefflis gave us all in battle? Your father's troops were slaughtered off like cattle, And you, my Prince, we thought, were slain or taken; So off I fled to save, at least, my bacon. I found a refuge in this queer old city; A widow married me for love or pity. We live like happy doves in yonder cot, My only grief, the thought of your sad lot.

KALAF.

We never thought to meet again, dear Tutor, In China too!

BARAK.

For years I've taken root here. But, dearest Prince, how was it, tell me, pray, You 'scaped the perils of that dreadful day?

KALAF.

Breathe not my name! A price is on my head; I've roamed from land to land; have toiled for bread. As slave I served the Shah of Keicobad; This King a fair and gracious daughter had, Who guessed my birth, and offered me her heart. Her haughty father bade me quick depart; With horse and arms he furnished me. I'm here T' enlist myself as Chinese volunteer; I hope to serve the Son of Moon and Stars In some crack regiment of Light Hussars. But what's the meaning of the crowds that flood Each caravanserah? Refused I stood By all, till in yon house I found, at least Accommodation for myself and beast.

BARAK.

In that trim cottage lives my wife. 'Tis lucky She proved herself in house letting so plucky.

KALAF.

I give you joy, old friend; you're married snugly, Your wife (for a Chinese) is not so ugly, And kind as kind can be, though somewhat droll, Adieu, I'll through the city take a stroll. And then proceed to visit the great Khan, And beg him to engage me as his man.

BARAK.

Stay, Prince, how rash! you do not know your danger: 'Tis evident to Peking you're a stranger. To day a horrid deed will be enacted, A cruel death, by Turandot exacted. Have you not heard that Turandot the fair Has filled this land with bloodshed and despair?

KALAF.

'Tis true I heard, in distant Keicobad, Accounts of Turandot, so strange, so sad, That I believed them false, exaggerated. 'Twas said the Prince of Keicobad, ill fated, Had met his death by Turandot's command; His father, in revenge, assailed this land, But lost his life; my patroness, his daughter, By chance escaped unhurt the gen'ral slaughter, And slave was made to haughty Turandot: All this I heard, but credited it not.

BARAK... Continue reading book >>




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