KOANGA
Opera by Frederick Delius
Libretto by Charles F. Keary (1897)
as revised by Sir Thomas Beecham
and Edward Agate (1935)
Published by Boosey and Hawkes

PROLOGUE.
The verandah of a Southern plantation-house, orange trees on the left ; huts in the background. It is evening. Dancing is going on in the house.

(FOUR GIRLS enter laughing.)

CHORUS.
Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.

Ha, ha, ha.

RENÉE.
HÉLÈNE
Stop! Stop! I am weary of play, and dancing
from the early morn.

AURORE.
Stop ! Stop !

OLIVE.
Stop ! Stop ! For I'll not join again in their neverending roundelay.

RENÉE.
Look, here is Uncle Joe to greet us all! What a store of tales that he can tell !
(RENÉE goes to meet UNCLE JOE..)

AURORE.
Then join us here, Paulette, Marie, before the day is fully gone !

(JEANNE, MARIE, HORTENSE and PAULETTE now enter and join the others.)

ALL THE
GIRLS
"Look, how the shadows of night are falling, falling;
And from the hill the whip-poor-will is calling,
calling.
Soon, soon the yellow moon will be shining, shining,
And the mocking bird for his truant mate will be
pining.

HÉLÈNE
MARIE
Then let us in a ring now rest awhile.

ALL.
Sit close and hear!

RENÉE
JEANNE
And you, good Uncle Joe, recount a story old of
lover's grief and pain!

ALL.
And pain! Oh no! Oh no!

UNCLE JOE.
Nay! I have nothing fresh that I can tell. You will not care to hear again a tale so many times retold!

RENÉE
JEANNE
HÉLÈNE
MARIE
Oh, yes, begin

ALL.
At once, at once, begin

UNCLE JOE.
The story of Koanga and Palmyra.

ALL.
Begin, at once, we long to hear

UNCLE JOE.
Koanga and Palmyra.

ALL.
We wait, to hear!

(Clouds descend and cover the scene.)

(The clouds clear away gradually and disclose the garden of the plantation with slave-huts to the right.)

ACT I.

Fields of sugar cane are seen in the distance, and behind them a stretch of the forest. It is quite dark though the full moon watches over the waving cane. PALMYRA sings:

PALMYRA.
Ah! grief is mine! How sad and lonely all around!
My country lost! My native land a stranger grown! For evermore!
How far remote my spirit seems from tyrant's hand or humble slave,
And yet no other life I know!
Up, up, for all too soon the sun again will shine.

(Cowhorn heard from the distance.)

That note resounding wakes the workers to their toil, (Somewhat nearer.)
Commands they shall no longer sleep, however grateful their repose ! (Again nearer.)

SIMON PEREZ.
Now then, 'tis time, quickly arise! (Cowhorn now quite near.) The dawn begins to gild the East;

PALMYRA.
Each cabin door opens to greet the strident call.

SIMON P.
Get up, 'tis time ! The dawn begins to gild the East.

PALMYRA.
The world resumes again its old unchanging round,

SIMON P.
Another day has now begun.

PALMYRA.
And yet no hope shall dawn for me, nothing to ease my aching spirit !

SIMON P.
Ho, there, get up! get up! Each to his task, and mind you hurry, you lazy, indolent pack of slaves.

(NEGRO MEN and WOMEN appear at the hut doors; they rub their eyes, yawn and gaze stupidly around.)

NEGRO WOMEN.
'Tis dawn, 'tis dawn!

SIMON P.
Up, now up! 'Tis dawn, come get to work!

NEGRO MEN.
'Tis dawn, 'tis dawn!

SIMON P.
Each to his task, the sickle now to test

NEGRO MEN.
Each to his task, the sickle now to test
Not until the sun is high may we pause for rest

ALL THE WOMEN.
Get up Pete, get tip Pete, will you never waken
And Sal, ne'er so trim or neat,
Since Sambo left you forsaken !

SIMON P.
Now then, get up! Time to be working!
The dawn begins to flush the skies,

ALL THE MEN.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Now haste, you girls, in toil to share,

(SIMON PEREZ disappears into the slave quarters.)
The indigo fields are awaiting your care;
So the sickle truly test ere you pause for rest!

WOMEN.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Why, here's Ned, one shoe off, one shoe on,
They've roused him with the whip,
He sleeps by far too long!

MEN AND WOMEN.
Come out, brothers, come out to cut the waving
cane ;
The moonlight shadows are faded and the day is
back again.
The humming bird is waking, good brothers don't
complain;
So come once more and hasten to the fields of
sugar cane
To work!

(They go to their work it is now full daylight.)
(Enter SIMON PEREZ.)

SIMON P.
Soft! 'Tis Palmyra.

PALMYRA (notices SIMON PEREZ). So my trials begin with day!
Once again this hateful wooing!

SIMON P.
O lovely Palmyra, wherefore turn aside ?

PALMYRA.
Shall I never escape him ?

SIMON P.
You are fair as the dawn.
And as the sun in splendour gleams, so my
heart bums for you.
You are like the tender lily growing, by dark
gleaming lake,
Like the lonely clouds a'sailing through the
radiant vault of heaven.
Pale as moonlight, your brow.

(The NEGROES are heard from the fields.)

NEGROES (all).
Come out, brothers, come out to cut the waving cane;
The moonlight shadows are faded and the day is back again.
The humming bird is waking, no brother dares complain,
When once they please to call us to the fields of sugar-cane !

SIMON P. (He approaches nearer to PALMYRA.)
Dark as night your hair, My soul is all on fire, I shall claim you for my bride, Oh lovely Palmyra!
(He tries to embrace her. PALMYRA frees herself.)

PALMYRA.
Nay, that shall never be. Leave me! The love you offer, I can never share.

SIMON P.
That, time alone will prove I Foolish girl, must I remind you, you are a slave, I am free!

PALMYRA.
Though you call me slave, a secret still I prize: Am I not from Jaloff race descended !

SIMON P.
Oh silly child, to seek your hand is no small honour I pay you! Why try to rule and govern us, and think we all must yield to a wilful slip of a maid, instead of our mistress, Lady Clotilda ? Remember, here you play with men, and not with children ?

PALMYRA.
I hate you, but I am not afraid ; my mistress is stronger than you !

SIMON P.
And if I did hate my pretty one, you'd find it far more bitter than my love! But here comes our master!

(Enter DON JOSÉ MARTINEZ; PALMYRA is about to go.)

NEGROES in the fields.
Work, brothers, work, with sickle in hand,
We live by our labour and worship the land
For many a bundle of cane must be bound,
In the meadows a-waving ere master comes
round ;
For many a bundle of cane must be bound,
Ere the sun sinks low in the forest,
Low in the forest, low in the forest

DON JOSÉ MARTINEZ.
Stay, Palmyra! (After " Stay, Palmyra! " PALMYRA says: " Andmy lady " ?) Stay here! And another time ask me first if I wish you to go. (To SIMON PEREZ.) Well, what's the
news to-day ?

SIMON P.
The men are down in the canes.

MARTINEZ.
That scoundrel Pete is hardly awake, give him six lashes of the best! And the women ?

SIMON P.
They are all in the indigo fields. But the profit will be less than we made last year.

MARTINEZ.
'Tis true, Diego's load of slaves has lately been of poor account, hardly worth the honest whip:

SIMON P.
And yet to-day he sends a rare and splendid prize, a noble warrior who comes of ancient race, a Prince of his realm.

MARTINEZ.
We must find a way to render him of service.

SIMON P.
My orders are to bring him here. See where he comes !

NEGROES in the fields.
Work, brothers, work, with sickle in hand,
We live by our labour and worship the land
For many a bundle of cane must be bound,
In the meadows a-waving ere master comes
round ;
For many a bundle of cane must be bound,
Ere the sun sinks low in the forest,
Low in the forest, low in the forest !

(KOANGA is brought in, chained, guarded by two Negroes. He looks neither to the left nor to the right, and advances to the front of the stage.)

KOANGA.
O Voodoo Manian, my fathers from your graves revenge me, revenge me on the vile Myangwa. Ye hosts arise again and let the traitors' blood in the rivers flow!

(PALMYRA suddenly rouses herself and gazes on KOANGA.)

KOANGA.
Let them be nailed unto a thousand piles! Nay more! A heavier curse, -Send them beyond the sea for white men's slaves !

PALMYRA.
The signs only too well I know, a Jaloff Prince, a Voodoo Priest, who scarce will deign to glance on those around.

KOANGA.
But I shall never, never see again the slow Inlanga, river, nor the wide and shady forest, where the serpent crawls at ease, and great beasts roam in search of prey ; nor the azure heights that harbour gods of air, and the woodland glade where the deer would drink at eve. Nor shall I hear again that ever grateful sound of arrow speeding home. For by a traitor's hand I now am captive, yet never tho' my flesh be torn away with whips will I be slave to those that bought me. Voodoo, Koanga vows it, hear his oath!

MARTINEZ.
Thy words are bold enough for princes, but one thing must thou learn, the slaves I buy from overseas repay me by their toil. Come, Simon Perez, speak your mind, what is the task he shall perform ?

SIMON P.
Alas! my master, none such as he can be made to yield. He'll not obey, I know his kind too well.

MARTINEZ.
Then we must use the lash, and in a little while restore both peace and happiness.

SIMON P.
And even that would be but waste of time. He never would complain, never would murmur, sigh or groan, but laugh even at death! The common Congo slave may be cowed by the whip, not such as he! Over a wild and savage clan, once he was Prince, and Priest. His tribe were evermore ashamed did he but bend the knee, and ancient vows would still arise to grant his soul no hope of heav'n.

MARTINEZ.
'Tis idle talk, Perez ! There's a way, surely, to tame him, this Prince and Priest, who's but a common slave, like all the rest. Make him worth the money I have paid, or else the sun shall bleach his bones!

PALMYRA.
Ah !

MARTINEZ.
Who cried so loud ? Is it Palmyra ? I had forgotten you were near us. My child, now see if woman's wiles can conquer him !

PALMYRA.
Oh hapless fate, to me decreed !

MARTINEZ.
A maiden's words may still prevail, where strength of man is idly spent, so speak to him, Palmyra; and if 'tis useless try a soft caress !

PALMYRA.
Am I so weak, or is my heart aflame? Am I not stirred with that same pride which renders him a god? Don José, spare me this, I am afraid.

MARTINEZ.
Afraid, and why ?

PALMYRA.
Alas, how can I tell ? Myself, I hardly know I Some magic in him dwells!

MARTINEZ.
I think the magic lies the other way. Yours is the power to make him know it. Come, show how my servants work!

PALMYRA.
The work of slaves ! He and I in bondage together, and will not Voodoo arm his Priest with pow'r ?

(She turns to KOANGA.)

If thou wilt only bow the head, Koanga, thy chosen fate may not prove too hard to bear. In fancy, picture here Inlanga's water flowing, for thou must learn to wield the sickle as the sword. It is little they shall ask of thee, Koanga, Jaloff Prince, Voodoo Priest, in part a god ! Thou has heard the sound of weeping in thy country. Learn how merry here the life that mortals lead ! What charm enfolds my mind, what spell of madness ? It wakes those dim-remembered things, strains half forgotten, once I knew in early childhood's days, like shadows beyond the grave. Is it the past that binds me still in chains, or presage of sorrow still to come ? Yet, if thou wilt only bow the head, Koanga, thy chosen fate I will gladly share.

KOANGA.
What voice is this now strikes thine ear, Koanga ? Soft as the sound of silver torrent playing on the rocks in summer's mid-day langour? See, I repent me of my hasty word. Pale grows the vision of the wide Inlanga. Against my ancient foes let others draw the sword; so soon the words of wrath by love are chasten'd ! I could work with your bondsmen in the fields! For her sake I will toil, and gladly bear my lot. Give me the maid! I will renounce my people, my ancient home forget I Bind, if you will my hands and take my freedom, I shall not care! She is a slave, let us be slaves together! Be she a slave, we will be slaves together, and you our master own.

SIMON P.
It works too well! And he is all on fire. Well, said, Palmyra! Yes, if thou wilt only bow the head, Koanga, thy chosen fate may not prove too hard to bear. Inlanga's banks too far away thy call to answer! We are the masters, thou no longer hast a sword. Drink then ! And forget the wide Inlanga, and learn, merry is the life that niggers lead ! Yes, if thou wilt only bow the head, Koanga, thy chosen fate may not prove too hard to bear.

MARTINEZ.
The magic works! She holds him fast! Yes, if thou wilt only bow the head, Koanga, thy chosen fate may not prove too hard to bear. Inlanga's banks too far away thy call to answer ! Masters are we, thou no longer hast a sword. Drink then! And forget the wide Inlanga, and learn, merry is the life that niggers lead ! Yes, yes, if thou wilt only bow the head, Koanga, thy chosen fate may not prove too hard to bear.

CHORUS in the fields:
WOMEN.
We are pulling, pulling, pulling
Downy seeds as white as snow,
We are culling, culling, culling
Dainty heads of indigo.
But soon we shall put scythe and sickle away,
For the dinner bell will be tolling,
Oh, Oh, Oh!

MEN.
Ply the sickle, whet the scythe,
While the day is young and blythe,
Sheaf on sheaf and row on row
Mount before us as we go.
Each one as he passes by,
Will hum a Negro melody.
We are singing, singing, singing,
Through the cane-brake, hid from sight,
Listen how the scythe is ringing,
Bare your arm, nor cease to smite
But soon we shall put scythe and sickle away,
For the Dinner bell will be tolling,
Oh, Oh, Oh !

MARTINEZ.
Agreed then, 'tis a bargain! The girl belongs to him.

SIMON P. (aside).
My plans have come to nothing, if I must lose Palmyra! (To MARTINEZ) My master, you cannot give the Lady Clotilda's maid away!

MARTINEZ.
I cannot ? And who will counter my desire ? I like his honest ways and will make of him what I choose.

(Enter CLOTILDA, SIMON PEREZ whispers to her.)

MARTINEZ.
Come Clotilda, for you shall take a part and bring the girl to reason.

CLOTILDA.
This thing shall never be, my husband. Well
you know, my father placed in my care Palmyra when still a child.

(MARTINEZ turns to NEGROES, who strike off KOANGA's chains.)

(KOANGA approaches PALMYRA, who stands spellbound.)

MARTINEZ.
Be silent wife, and see how the charm begins to work?

SIMON P.
Our good confessor would refuse to sanction such an evil deed.

MARTINEZ.
My sanction is enough. I'll hear no more! Our good confessor shall be paid.

PALMYRA (turns to CLOTILDA).
My fate approaching leads me to my doom. No longer now I need my lady's help. I am captive in the toils, yet my pride of race still burns in my heart, in my brain. I hear my mother's cry, her last wail of bitter grief as in death she sank to sleep.

KOANGA.
Can I hope to win the lovely maid's affection ? Oh were she mine! God of my fathers, ancient pow'rs, heed not the vow I made ; she bides near, ye are far. Voodoo, temper the force of my oath ! Jealous god, be thou not aveng'd on me, for thou art far, while she bides near.

PALMYRA.
Oh gentle mistress, how gladly I served you! Kind and so tender, never cruel to the child who though of alien line, her mother lost, to your care was giv'n. Like a net around me thrown, that in vain I strive to rend, pow'rs unseen now hold me fast. Is it love, is it pain ? And soon, gentle mistress mine, they will bear me from your side, I am captive in the toils. Yet my pride of race still burns in my heart, still burns in my brain, though never, never more can joy to me return !

CLOTILDA.
How my father could I tell what to Palmyra falls ? She to my loving care was giv'n, for a reason that I know all too well ! My own father's child is she ; her unwilling hand bestow'd on a heathen unbeliever, on a wild and pagan Prince ! Shall I give a Christian maid, to a heathen for his bride ? Her unwilling hand bestowed, who to me was freely giv'n ! Palmyra, my father's child, on a cruel pagan Prince ! No, I swear it shall never be; I will guard, and will save her from harm!

SIMON P.
Never, never had I dreamt of this-that she could now escape me! I thought my victory won, with my mistress well disposed. Curses on this princeling's head! My schemes have come to nought. And curses on the whims of Don José! But the closest bonds e'er tied, may by cunning be unbound.

KOANGA.
My bride thou soon shalt be, ere clouds conceal the moon. And yet my spirit fails ! Thy magic holds me fast, as in a spell; I tremble, I falter before a maid ! I who ne'er did flinch in war, must in love fainthearted prove ! Oh ye ancient powers, forgive me the vow I made! She bides near and ye are far. Once, only once we live. My fathers, oh hear my call! Jealous god, jealous god, be not aveng'd! Thou art near, she is far !

MARTINEZ.
Yes, before the moon is full shall our pact be duly seal'd. My own birthday I will fete with him; and my slaves shall feast in idleness ; yea, before the moon is full ! So heed my word ; for, by Heav'n, my command shall be obeyed ! Cease then, Clotilda, cease to mourn ; let all remember I am firm ! Don José is not to be denied, however strict his manner of control! And in truth she's mated well, wedded to a noble warrior Prince. For the brave deserve the fair !

(A bell rings).

NEGRO CHORUS in the fields:
WOMEN.
We are pulling, we are pulling
Downy seeds as soft as snow;
We are culling, we are culling,
Dainty heads of indigo.
Each one, as he passes by,
Will hum a tune or heave a sigh.
But now we may put scythe and sickle away,
For the dinner bell is a-ringing.

MEN.
We are singing, we are singing,
Through the cane-brake hid from sight,
Listen how the scythe is ringing,
Bare your arm, nor cease to smite!
But now we may put scythe and sickle away,
For the dinner bell is a-ringing.
(Curtain.)

ACT II.

(Songs are heard behind the curtain.)

CHORUS.
Now once in a way,
Be it but for a day,
We may lay down our shovels and our hoes;
The cane may wave tall,
The sheaves need not fall,
No girls tread the long cotton rows
Oh ! Oh ! Come out, come out!
Oh ! Oh ! Come girls, come out!
Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha
(Curtain.)
A view of the terrace before the main entrance to DON JOSÉ'S house. On one side are seen the pillars and steps of the verandah ; on the other side, behind orange trees, is an awning, under which NEGROES are celebrating their master's birthday and the wedding day of KOANGA and PALMYRA.

NEGROES (all).
He will meet her when the sun goes down,
When the whip-poor-will sings to the moon;
When, from magnolia trees, the heavy scent is blown,
And strange lights wander o'er the dark lagoon.

(Enter CLOTILDA from the house.)
(SIMON PEREZ enters from the plantation ; CLOTILDA does not see him.)

CLOTILDA.
Alas! what can I contrive ? This marriage must never come to pass !

SIMON P.
If my master, Don José, is bent upon it, no words of mine can overrule his will.

CLOTILDA.
'Tis you, yourself, far more than my husband, would seek to force the Prince upon her.

SIMON P.
Nay ! She is all too ready, and longs to greet the fatal day!

CLOTILDA.
Oh! had it been some other suitor, to save her from this act of madness !

SIMON P.
Who can turn the stubborn mind of woman, tho'
may bring disaster ?

CLOTILDA.
My husband will not help me, I know not where to turn! Must I confess the secret? Palmyra is my own father's child.

SIMON P.
By Heav'n, is it so ? A double danger! Then all the surer, never can she marry the slave ! But if you, alone, are helpless, and I by chance persuade the couple to break the bond that binds them, is it agreed that I myself wed the maiden ?

CLOTILDA.
Yourself, wed her ? But my husband . . .

SIMON P.
May I not prove as welcome as Koanga ? Your promise give, and I will help you in your trouble.

CLOTILDA.
I see her coming, so hear my word: Strive but this marriage to prevent; and if you free Palmyra, gladly I'll give the maid to you.

PALMYRA (singing behind the scenes).
How time flows on! Whether 'tis dawn of day or evening, scarce I know! Some secret pow'rs within me lie, and urge me on, in spite of fear. My life was all so dull and vain, while things to come no brighter promise give. All the past was like a faded leaf ;

(Enter PALMYRA, splendidly attired in bright silks, a silk scarf wound round her head.)

and what the future holds is but a doubtful Spring. In some waking dream I live, recalling to mem'ry half forgotten scenes, and melodies I used to hear, yet ne'er were sung beyond my home!

SIMON P.
Come, rouse yourself, Palmyra and listen.

PALMYRA.
'Tis you ? Then I have dreamt the old familiar dream again, and in my restless, troubled sleep, I heard your oft repeated vows, that still offend my ears.

CLOTILDA.
Oh, child, what fancies fill your brain! And why so headstrong and proud ? One gift to you Koanga brings-the gift of shame!

PALMYRA (proudly, almost fiercely).
A Jaloff Prince, a Voodoo Priest! Oh, could you fathom, oh, could you feel the bond of blood, the ties of race, that work to make us one!

CLOTILDA.
Madness, and frenzy of folly! Would you renounce your faith and creed ?

PALMYRA.
Naught to me, faith or creed!

SIMON P.
NO, lady, no ; to try her I've a better way; leave me with her a while! When you return, judge if my words are true !

CHORUS. Be it but for a day,
Ned, the fiddler may play,
And we'll dance while the sky is aglow ;
But when night shadows fall,
We will drink in the hall.
And relate all the tales brothers know!
He will meet her where the moon is high,
Where the ancient oak stands alone;
There,, where the screech owls hoot and cry,
While the poplar trees wail and moan !

(CLOTILDA goes out.)

SIMON P.
Listen, Palmyra! Know you the secret of your birth ? You are the sister of Clotilda.

PALMYRA.
Our mistress ?

SIMON P.
Now, you will surely see, you must forget Koanga.

PALMYRA.
Forget him, so near to my heart!

SIMON P.
A Negro slave, and you a planter's daughter!
Mine you shall be! I love you, and I will promise to make you happy, Palmyra!

PALMYRA.
What was I told of faith and creed ?

SIMON P.
Deny them and you will! But do not reject my love!

PALMYRA.
Koanga waits for me!

SIMON P.
Palmyra, I know you hate me now, yet there is a time, a time for all!

PALMYRA.
The hour I shall not fear!

(Enter CLOTILDA.)

(The NEGROES accompany themselves with a rhythmical clapping of hands.)

(NEGRO CHORUS behind the scenes)
WOMEN.
Come, leave the work, if it's only for a minute;
When there's frolic about, a brother will be in it!
Dansons la Calinda, Ohe’, la Calinda, Ohe’, Ohe’,
la Calinda! Ohe’, la Calinda!
La, La, La, La, La.

MEN.
La, La, La, La La, La, La.

CLOTILDA.
Well, have you persuaded her ?

SIMON P.
No. and never shall. We must use force, if we would win.

(CLOTILDA and SIMON PEREZ go out.)

PALMYRA.
The hour has come, when I to him my soul
surrender.
Koanga, beloved, is it a dream ?
Kindly warmth of sunlight pouring,
Thy grateful gift I still recall from days gone by
Africa, land of my fathers!
Glowing in splendour, in radiance gleaming,
Rapture-filled I think of thee.
Koanga, beloved, in cruel captive chains,
From distant country hither brought, a common
slave !
And yet, a Prince Palmyra doth worship;
Yea, to serve him with undying faith shall be
her vow !
Dark and brave one, in joy or sorrow, whate'er
befall us,
Oh hear me promise, I am thine!

CHORUS.
La, La, La, La, La, La, La.

MARTINEZ.
Here comes the honest bridegroom,
Dress'd as a bridegroom should be;
Koanga greet, Palmyra too;
Such is the will of Don José!

(KOANGA enters, dressed in bright African robes.)

CHORUS.
Koanga, hail!

(KOANGA gazes around him. He advances slowly and with great dignity towards PALMYRA, and lays his right hand upon her head.)

KOANGA.
Far, far away, Palmyra, my people mourn for
me,
The streams more gently flow bewailing my fate.
The mountains call me, yet I may never listen;
No charms my land could offer, deprived of thy
love.
Here will I toil for thee, a patient, humble slave,
And in thy service find the labour sweet!
Far, far away my foes enjoy their triumph,
The false Myangwa jeer and mock at me,
And round their fires at night will run the story,
How in the West, Koanga is a slave!
But vengeance were a poor reward, Palmyra,
If I may linger by thy side, toiling for thee,
And find labour sweet!

NEGRO CHORUS.
How firm the ties of homeland and country;
How fast still they bind!
But for him, love is stronger,
And faith more dear than palace of kings.
Ah, Koanga, learn the lesson of strangers,
For we are also vowed to bondage,
And yet may dance and sing beneath the shady
trees !

CLOTILDA.
Not yet, Koanga, nay, not yet!
First a cup of wine,
And then the priest shall hither come!

(Wine is served. The white folks gather round the table. PALMYRA hands a cup to KOANGA and kneels before him.)

SIMON P.
A cup of wine to pledge our noble guest,
Our chieftain of to-morrow !

PALMYRA.
Hail to thee mighty Prince!
At thy feet I gladly fall to bless our bond, and
grace our love !
Now, behold, for thee alone I'll dance;
Unloose my girdle, my hair untwine, to please
my chosen lord.

CHORUS:
Dansons la Calinda! Ah!
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
Dansons la Calinda! Ah!
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
La., la, la, la, la.
Koanga, we drink the health of our chieftain
that shall be !
For the bride, the lasting wish: may she never
live to mourn!
And is there one among us to be found that will
not hail the toast ?

PALMYRA.
Come, take the drink I offer, greet thy bride,
Pledge her in crimson wine!
Drink! Drink, for ere the dawn of day,
Koanga and Palmyra shall be one!

PALMYRA and CHORUS.
Dansons la Calinda! Ah!
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

(Ballet of Creole dancers.)

(During the ballet, PALMYRA finds herself swept to the back of the stage.)

CHORUS:
He will win her when the sun goes down,
And the whip-poor-will sings to the moon!
When from magnolia trees, the heavy scent is
blown,
And dragon flies disturb the dark lagoon.
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

(SIMON PEREZ and a few servants, seize PALMYRA and drag her away by force. KOANGA, astonished, does not understand at first.)

(KOANGA approaches DON JOSÉ' MARTINEZ and strikes the table violently with his hand.)

KOANGA.
Where is my bride ?
Who dares to steal Koanga's only joy ?

MARTINEZ.
Who dares in turn to question Don José ?

KOANGA.
Quick, bring her back, before my curses light on
ye!

(KOANGA holds his hands to Heaven.)

MARTINEZ.
African slave, my whip shall make you tremble!

(THEY fight. MARTINEZ falls.)
(Thunder and darkness. KOANGA alone on the stage advances, and falls on his knees, with arms outstretched.)

KOANGA.
Hear me, god Voodoo;
I have betrayed my trust,
I have forsworn my faith,
False to my fathers, now on thee do I call.
I know thy secret pow'r,
Reject me not, and grant the gift I crave!
Let all my white companions learn what magic
may perform,
That on their heads descend the worst of mortal
woes,
The triple curse on land, on air, and flood:
From water ling'ring death, starvation on the
earth, and tainted fevers to corrupt the air!
Now with this threefold evil visit them, and let
thy thunder wake applause !

(KOANGA is seen, by occasional flashes of lightning making his way through the dense forest.)

KOANGA (in the distance.)
Voodoo Manian, Voodoo Manian,
Thy hand hath set me free!
Atoua, the silent one, protect me from harm!

(Curtain.)


ACT III.

A glade in the dense forest, at night-fall. Will-o'-the-wisps shine over the marshes. On the right, the ground rises towards the hills.

VOICES (heard from afar).
Ah ! Ah ! Ah ! Ah (Curtain rises.) Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

NEGRO CHORUS.
Segami! Segami! Segami!
Inmoua, Segami!
Itu, the Bull ? Approach!
Oh, have no fear, oh, have no fear!
Approach, Inmoua, Segami!

(NEGROES gather on the stage.)

RANGWAN.
The chief, the chief, Koanga, comes.
I hear his heavy tread throughout the glade.
No beast nor bird may safely sleep,
While phantom lights before him wane.

NEGROES.
The chief, the chief, Koanga, comes.

(Enter KOANGA, accompanied by NEGROES with torches.)
All hail, Koanga, save us now, And lead us to our promised home! Under thee, free shall we live, Mighty is thy rule.

KOANGA.
Is Rangwan here, the holy priest ?
Ye know the spell that shall be cast to-night.

RANGWAN.
We know it all, the magic spell that shall be
cast to-night.

KOANGA.
Hast thou the nameless thing for sacrifice?

RANGWAN.
The blood is all we need to work the charm.

KOANGA.
To-night the moon is full, another phase begins,
Atoua's prophetic night!
Our day of golden freedom soon shall dawn.
Voodoo, now grant thine aid!
Rangwan, the holy priest, prepares the ancient
sacrifice we offer.
Gods of the upper air, and the realm of shades,
your secret will proclaim!

NEGROES:
Koanga is our hero Prince;
No foe we fear when he is nigh.
Now blood shall flow from wounded arms,
And eager fires consume the horrid meal!

(KOANGA and RANGWAN gash their arms with knives. The priest pours blood from a gourd on the fire.)

Look, he performs the ancient rite!
Fear now is fled, Koanga is with us,
And Rangwan of the silver hair repeats the words of sacrifice.

RANGWAN.
Voodoo behold! The fire receives the blood

KOANGA.
Voodoo hear! For thee I maim my arms!

NEGROES.
Voodoo guard us, now as ever, safety lies in thee
alone.

RANGWAN.
Atoua, listen, and assemble thy host!

NEGROES.
Great Atoua, we call on thee,
Thy thrice ten thousand gifts to prove!

KOANGA.
Mayami, hear! thou the last of the holy three!

(KOANGA ascends the hill.)

NEGROES.
Voodoo guard us, now as ever,
May this blood redeem our shame !
Oh lend thine ear, thou midnight goddess,
Great Atoua, hear the call!

(THE NEGROES gash themselves with knives and commence a wild dance.)
(The fire dies down, a mist covers the scene. Voices are faintly heard through the darkness.)

NEGROES.
See, he prays! Voodoo must hear him! Can he reject a son? Long was our woe! Yet we did bear it! Now is the torment past! Rangwan waits. The fire is dying. Dark is the night. Far over the marsh the voices call. The distant voices call. What bird in dim shadows flew by on troubled wing ? Dark is the night. The distant voices call.

(A vision of DON JOSÉ' MARTINEZ'S plantation. NEGROES are lying on the ground, in the last extremity of distress. KOANGA is seen on the hill.)

NEGROES.
Pale and wan, the sunlight sinks on the lone and marshy bed ; yea, and we are weary too, and would gladly greet the end. Naught can save us now, then why so long delay ? Mist enfolds the realm of night, not a star looks down. No deliv'rance, no relief! Hope is fled; and life is vain; death alone can save!

PALMYRA (plaintively)
Ah! Ah!

KOANGA.
I hear a far off cry, a woman's wail of grief, wafted on the cooling midnight air. Once to me that voice was life itself, and I must follow where it called! Close my ears, 0 god, let me not listen, or else my newborn kingdom falls to ruin ! Naught upon this earth I hold so dear, as my lost country's cause and fame.

PALMYRA.
Ah woe is me! Ah woe is me! My only love is far away!

KOANGA.
Again the cry, and there is none to answer! She must perish before I reach her side ! Let my kingdom sink, and fall to ashes ! Wait, I come to thee !

(The vision fades, and the morning star appears.)

KOANGA.
Kindly morning star, oh light me on my way!

(The vision fades, and the scene changes to DON JOSÉ'S plantation.)

NEGROES.
Woe! Woe!

(Early morning, a lurid light shines through the mist; on the left are seen some cabins with NEGROES lying at the doors, or on the grass. On the right, a country chapel with a shrine outside ; houses of the white folk behind. NEGROES are praying before the shrine; SIMON PEREZ is among them.)

NEGROES.
Once again, the weary sun ascends from pallid ocean bed. Now another day begins in this land of living death. In the grave, only, is release!

(Enter DON JOSÉ MARTINEZ.)

MARTINEZ.
Fools ye are to weep and wail.
Christians, Negroes, all are one,
Short of courage and of heart!
Will lamenting change your fate ?
Join your fellows before the shrine
It may be relief is gained in prayer;
Sinners surely have found it so !

(Pointing to a house.)

Who lies in there ?

NEGRO 1.
Palmyra, master.

MARTINEZ.
Palmyra, whom once I gave in marriage to a precious foreign Prince? The slave who fled ; his name I have forgot.

NEGRO 2.
Forgot so soon ? But if his anger has brought this curse upon us ?

MARTINEZ.
Fool! Can you believe the tale ?

NEGRO 2.
We all believe it.

NEGROES:
We all believe it.
Naught can escape the curse of a Voodoo.
Yes, we are dying through Koanga's curse.
Forget him, master!
Let him not return, but rejoice in his freedom lest a worse fate befall us,
Even than we know!

MARTINEZ.
Christians, this is naught save heathen chatter, and yet a bargain I will make with you; if I this slave should ever capture, he shall know the ills, he shall suffer pains, that ye yourselves have borne ! That is a promise I will keep.

NEGROES.
No, master, no, it is Koanga's curse, make peace with him, let him never return again or else a dreader fate may fall, than even the one we know

MARTINEZ.
Enough! Silence! (to SIMON PEREZ) Simon, I would warn you, a troop of horsemen hither ride. They must be entertained with ease and comfort, for in the forest they will hunt all day.

(HE goes out.)

NEGROES.
Alas, our only hope of joy is fled, our days are nearly done.

(PALMYRA steps out of a house; she is weak and leans against the door. Tim, NEGROES disappear slowly.)

PALMYRA.
Ah, tell me where Koanga bides! Will he return again ? For ever lost ? For ever gone ? So feeble and worn am I now, there's none to care for me!

SIMON P.
There's one who cares, Palmyra sweet! It is foolish thus to grieve; let's be merry while we may!

(SIMON PEREZ tries to embrace PALMYRA.)
You were born for me, and I was meant for you!

PALMYRA.
No, never! Let me go! Come, Koanga, and help me! Koanga!

SIMON P.
In vain to call Koanga ; he is a thousand miles away.

PALMYRA.
Nay, it is false; a shameful lie!

SIMON P.
And yet, I will not leave your side! 'Tis foolish thus to moan and grieve ! Let us be merry, while we may!
You and I, Palmyra sweet!

PALMYRA.
Oh coward! To face him you would never dare!

SIMON P.
What! Is it still of him you think? All in vain, for Koanga never will return.

PALMYRA.
Ah !

(SIMON PEREZ takes her in his arms.)

SIMON P.
And I shall gain your love ! Great God in Heav'n! What sight is this ? He comes!

(Enter KOANGA.)

KOANGA.
Now, by the seven times seven plagues, in Atoua's deepest realm; it was time Koanga came!
(HE approaches PEREZ.)

SIMON P.
Touch me not, spare me! She is free, if I go unharmed.

PALMYRA.
Slay him, O great Koanga, slay him! Kill him like a dog, O grant me that !

KOANGA.
It shall be granted ! One, one at least, my weapon strikes !

(SIMON PEREZ flees, KOANGA follows and kills SIMON PEREZ with his spear.)

PALMYRA.
Alas, he too is lost! Yes, they are upon him! Away, away, and leave the coward where he lies! The horsemen are nearing; quick, Koanga, fly! (Horsemen behind the scenes.) They overtake him! Ah! too late!

(A wild shout.)

PALMYRA.
How can I bear the sight ! Would he were killed at once! But they are not so kind ! They scourge him to death with their whips! O spare him, God!

(KOANGA A is brought in on a litter and set down beside PALMYRA. She falls on her knees.)

KOANGA (faintly).
My spear, where is my spear ? Palmyra, is it thou ? Oh Voodoo, I have forsaken thee, but now I do repent, and wait thy sentence, god! Defend my people, upon the wide Inlanga, under the oak tree stem that proudly stands, those budding leaves that bless our father's graves ! Where every moon my clan would gather round; (half raising himself) I see them all, the priesthood, singers too, they dance, they dance; Oh Voodoo, they call on thee, arm them with secret pow'r, their ways prepare! The day shall come, oh sunlight send it soon, when on my white companions Koanga's vengeance falls! And then, then all is over! (He dies.)

PALMYRA.
Alas, Koanga, dead! Dead, my hero consort, Prince and Prophet! The hour of reck'ning shall it be delayed too long ? He has passed beyond your anger, white companions, tribe accurst ! Double tyrants, hatred fill'd, for ever false ! He has passed beyond your anger! Mighty Prince of Jaloff's house; brave in war, in love supreme! Thou and I one kindred shared ; to thy estate Palmyra rose, Prince of Jaloff race! And therefore I belong to thee. Christian faith, a phantom wild ! Receive the blood of both, Voodoo ; and remember thou the day ! (She stabs herself.)

(Clouds cover the scene.)

EPILOGUE.

(The verandah steps of the plantation house (as in the Prologue)
the GIRLS are grouped on the steps listening intently to UNCLE JOE.)

JEANNE.
Alas, alas, Uncle Joe, we all must weep;
Mournful is the ancient story.

RENÉE
Alas, alas, I'll never lay me down,
But I shall hear Palmyra's dying wail!

JEANNE
HÉLÈNE
AURORE
OLIVE
PAULETTE
Alas, alas!

RENÉE.
Let us wait and watch the coming dawn of day;
For the weary stars begin to pale.
No fear, no troubled thought shall grieve our
mind ;
When once again, the grateful sunlight streaming
falls !

(Day breaks.)

RENÉE
JEANNE
HÉLÈNE
AURORE
OLIVE
PAULETTE
Once more the fields are all aglow,
The warmth of Springtime greeting;
May God to parted lovers pity show,
And bless their meeting!

(Sunlight floods the scene.)

THE END.