Madam Butterfly

Act I.

A Japanese house, terrace and garden.
Below, in the background, the bay, the harbour and the town of Nagasaki.

The curtain rises.
[From the room at the back of the little house, Goro, with much bowing and scraping, leads in Pinkerton, and with much ostentation but still obsequiously, draws his attention to the details of the structure. Goro makes a partition slide out at the back, and explains its use to Pinkerton]
[They come forward a little on the terrace]

Pinkerton [surprised at all he has seen, says to Goro:]
And the walls – and the ceiling...

Goro [enjoying Pinkerton's surprise]
They will come and will go,
just as it may suit your fancy
to exchange and to vary
new and old in the same surroundings.

Pinkerton [looking around]
The marriage chamber,
where is it?

Goro [pointing in two directions]
Here, or there!... according...

A wonderful contrivance!
The hall?

Goro [showing the terrace]

Pinkerton [amazed]
In the open?...

Goro [makes the partition slide out towards the terrace]
A wall slides outward...

Pinkerton [whilst Goro is making the partitions slide out]
I see now!... I see it!... Another...

Runs along!

And so the fairy dwelling...

Goro [protesting]
Springs like a tow'r from nowhere,
complete from base to attic.
[invites Pinkerton to go down into the garden]

Comes and goes as by magic!

[Goro claps his hands loudly three times]
[enter two men and a woman who humbly and slowly go down on their knees before Pinkerton]

Goro [in rather nasal tones, pointing to them]
This is the trusty handmaid,
who waits upon your wife,
[fulsomely] faithful and devoted.
The cook... And this the servant. They're embarrass'd
at such great honour.

Pinkerton [impatiently]
Their names?

Goro [pointing to Suzuki]
Miss Gentle Breeze-of Morning.
[pointing to one servant] Ray-of-the-golden Sunbeam.
[pointing to the other servant] Sweet-scented Pinetree.

Foolishly chosen nicknames!
I will call them scarecrows!
[pointing to them one by one]
scarecrow first, scarecrow second, and scarecrow third!

Suzuki [still on her knees, but grown bolder, raises her head]
Your Honour deigns to smile?
Your smile is fair as flow'rs.
Thus spake the wise Ocunama:
A smile conquers all, and defies
ev'ry trouble. Pearls may be won by smiling;
Smiles can ope the portals
of Paradise.
The perfume of the Gods,
the fountain of Life,
Thus spake the wise Ocunama:
A smile conquers all,
defies ev'ry trouble.
[Pinkerton is bored, and his attention wanders]

Goro [perceiving that Pinkerton begins to be bored at Suzuki's loquacity, claps his hands thrice]
[The three rise and quickly disappear into the house]

When they begin to talk,
alike I find all women.
[to Goro who has gone to the back to look out]
Why look you?

Watching for the bride's arrival.

All is ready?

Ev'ry detail.
[thanks with a deep bow]

You shining light of brokers!

There will come: the official registrar,
the relations, your country's Consul,
your future wife. Here you'll sign the contract
and solemnize the marriage.

Are there many relations?

Her mother, grandam, and the Bonze, her uncle,
(who'll hardly honour us with his appearance)
and her cousins, male and female,
Of ancestors I reckon... and other blood relations,
Around two dozen.
As to the descendants...
that may be left I reckon,
[with obsequious presumption]
to your Honour and lovely Butterfly.

O shining light of brokers!
[Goro thanks him with a deep bow]

Sharpless [from within, rather far off]
A plague on this steep ascent!
Stumbling! and spluttering!

Goro [who has run to the background, announces:]
Here comes the Consul.
[bows low before the Consul]

Sharpless [enters, quite out of breath]
Ah! the scramble up
has left me breathless!

Pinkerton [goes to meet the Consul: they shake hands]
Good-day, friend, welcome.

Goro [to the Consul]
Good-day, sir, welcome.


Quickly, Goro,
fetch some refreshment.
[Goro hurries into the house]

Sharpless [panting and looking around]

Pinkerton [Pointing to the view]
But lovely!

Sharpless [looking at the sea and the town below]
Nagasaki, the ocean,
the harbour...

Pinkerton [pointing to the house]
This is a dwelling
which is managed by magic.
[Goro comes bustling out of the house, followed by the two servants. They bring glasses, bottles and two wicker lounges: they place the glasses and bottles on a small table, and return to the house]


I bought this house
for nine hundred and ninety nine years,
but with the option, at ev'ry month,
to cancel the contract!
I must say, in this country,
the houses and the contracts are elastic!

The man of bus'ness profits by it.

[invites Sharpless to be seated]

Pinkerton [frankly]
The whole world over,
on business and pleasure,
the Yankee travels all danger scorning.
His anchor boldly he casts at random...
[breaking off to offer Sharpless a drink]
Milk-Punch, or Whisky?
His anchor boldly he casts at random,
until a sudden squall
upsets his ship, then up go sails and rigging.
And life is not worth living
if he can't win the best
and fairest of each country,...

That's an easy-going gospel...

Pinkerton [continuing]
and the heart of each maid.

A very easy gospel
which makes life very pleasant,
but is fatal in the end.

Fate cannot crush him, he tries again undaunted.
No one and nothing
breaks his plucky spirit.
And so I'm marrying in Japanese fashion,
tied for nine hundred
and ninety nine years!
Free, though, to annul the marriage monthly!

An easy going gospel.

``America for ever!''

``America for ever!''

Is the bride very pretty?

[Goro, who has overheard, approaches the terrace eagerly and officiously]

Fair as a garland
of fragrant flowers. Brighter
than a star in the heavens.
And for nothing: one hundred
[to the Consul] If your Augustness will entrust me,
I have a fine selection...

[The Consul laughingly declines]

Pinkerton [very impatiently]
Go and fetch her, Goro.
[Goro runs to the back and disappears down the hill]

What folly has seized you!
D'you think you are

May be! Perhaps! Depends
[rises impatiently, Sharpless rises also]
what you call intoxication!
Is't love or fancy,
I cannot tell you. All that I know is,
she, with her innocent charm has entranc'd me.
Almost transparently fragile and slender,
Dainty in stature, quaint little figure,
Seems to have stepped down
straight from a screen.
But from her background of varnish and lacquer,
Suddenly light as a feather she flutters,
And like a butterfly, hovers and settles,
With so much charm, such seductive graces,
That to rush after her a wild wish seized me
Tho' in the quest her frail wings should be broken.

Sharpless [seriously and kindly]
The other day, she came up
to call at the Consulate!
I did not see her, but I heard her speak.
And the mystery of her voice
touched my very soul.
Surely, love that is pure and true, speaks like that.
It were indeed sad pity
to tear those dainty wings,
and perchance to torment a trusting heart.

Dearly beloved Consul,
allay your fears! We know
It were indeed sad pity...
men of your age look on life with mournful eyes.
/ No harm I reckon these wings to raise
| and guide them to the tender flights of love!
| Sharpless
| No cry of anguish should e'er be utter'd
\ by that gentle and trusting little voice.

Pinkerton [offers him more to drink]

Yes, mix me another.
[Pinkerton mixes Sharpless some whisky, and also fills up his own glass]

Sharpless [raises his glass]
Here's to your friends and relations at home.

Pinkerton [also raises his glass]
And to the day on which I'll wed
in real marriage a real wife a wife from America.

/ Goro [reappears, running breathlessly up the hill]
| See them! they've mounted the summit of the hill!
| [pointing toward the path]
| A crowd of women hustling,
| Like the wind in branches rustling,
| Here they come bustling!
| Butterfly's Girl Friends (SA) [Behind the scenes, far off]
\ Ah! ah! ah!

[Pinkerton and Sharpless retire to the back of the garden, and look out at the path on the hillside]

Girl Friends (SA)
Ah! ah! ah! ah!
ah! what a sky! and what a sea!
[still within] What a sky! and what a sea!
Butterfly [within]
There is one step more to climb.
Girl Friends (SA)
How long you tarry,
One moment.
Girl Friends (SA)
at last the summit.
Look, oh look, the mass of flow'rs!
Butterfly [serenely]
Across the earth and o'er the ocean,
Girl Friends (SA)
what a sky! and what a sea!
/ Butterfly
| Balmy breeze and scent of spring are blowing
| Sharpless
\ Oh happy prattle, careless days of youth!
/ Butterfly
| I am the happiest maiden,
| the happiest in Japan,
| in all the world!
| Friends, I have obey'd
| the summons, the sweet summons of love,
| upon the threshold standing,
| Girl Friends (SA)
| Oh, what flow'rs what a sea!
| What a sea! how many flow'rs!
| Best of luck, good luck attend you,
\ gentle maiden,
/ Butterfly
| Ah, here the glory
| that life or death can offer doth now await me.
| Girl Friends (S)
| but 'ere you
| go beyond the threshold which invites you,
| turn and admire,
| Girl Friends (AA)
| Turn and admire
\ all the things your heart holds so dear;
Girl Friends (SAA)
admire the lovely sky, the lovely flowers and the sea!
/ Butterfly
| Dear maidens, I hastened here
| at the call of my heart,
| at the call of my beating heart!
\ I have come hither at the call of my heart!
/ Girl Friends (S)
| Best of fortune attend on you
| gentle maiden, but 'ere
| you cross o'er the threshold
| pause and look behind
| you, and admire the things you hold the dearest!
| Girl Friends (AA)
| Best of fortune attend on you
| gentle maiden, but 'ere
| you cross o'er the threshold
\ pause and look behind you, and admire and wonder!
[Butterfly and her girl friends appear on the stage. They all carry large bright-coloured sunshades open.]

Butterfly [to her friends]
We're there now.
[sees the three men standing together and recognizes Pinkerton. She quickly closes her sunshade and at once introduces him to her friends.]
B. F. Pinkerton. Down. [goes down on her knees.]

Girl Friends (SA) [close their sunshades and go down on their knees.]

[They all rise and ceremoniously approach Pinkerton]

Augustly welcome.

Girl Friends (S) [curtseying]
Hail! most Mighty.

Pinkerton [smiling]
The ascent is
rather trying?

Butterfly [measuredly]
Not so trying
to a bride
as are the weary hours
of waiting...

Pinkerton [rather sarcastically, but not unkindly]
What a pretty

Butterfly [ingenuously]
I know better ones
than that...

Gems, I doubt not!

Butterfly [anxious to show off her stock of compliments]
If you care for some
at present...

Thank you... no.

Sharpless [after scanning the group of maidens with curiosity, approaches Butterfly, who listens to him attentively]
Miss ``Butterfly'' How pretty, your name.
was well chosen Are you from Nagasaki?

Sir, I am. My people
were formerly wealthy.
[to her friends] Say so?

Girl Friends (S) [assenting with alacrity]
It is so!

Butterfly [quite simply]
There's no one likes to own that he was born in poverty;
Is not ev'ry vagrant, when you listen to his tale,
of ancient lineage? But yet indeed
I have known riches. But the strongest oak
must fall, when the storm wind wrecks the forest...
and we had to go as geishas to earn our living.
[to her friends] Truly!

Girl Friends (S) [corroborating her]

I frankly own it,
and don't blush for it.
[noticing that Sharpless smiles]
You're laughing? And why?... That's how the world runs.

Pinkerton [has listened with interest and turns to Sharpless]
(With her innocent baby-face she sets my heart throbbing...)

Sharpless [he also is interested in Butterfly's prattle, and continues to question her]
And have you no sisters?

None, Augustness. I have my mother.

Goro [importantly]
A most notable lady.

But thro' no fault whatever,
dreadfully poor is she.

And where is your father?

Butterfly [stops short in surprise, then answers very shortly]

[The friends hang their heads. Goro is embarassed. They all fan themselves nervously.]

Butterfly [to break the painful silence, Butterfly turns to Pinkerton]
But I have other relations:
there is the Bonze, my uncle.

Pinkerton [with exaggerated surprise]

Girl Friends (S)
A miracle of wisdom!

Of eloquence a fountain!

Thank you, thank you, kind fate!

And yet another uncle!
But that one...

Girl Friends (S)
Good for-nothing!

Butterfly [Kind-heartedly trying to hush them up]
Is just a little wanting.

Girl Friends (S)
An everlasting tippler.

One thinker, and one drinker!
They make a pretty couple.

Butterfly [mortified]
You are not angry?

Not I!
I do not care a jot!

[while Pinkerton is speaking with Butterfly, Goro leads Sharpless up to the friends and ceremoniously introduces some of them to the Consul.]

Sharpless [returning to Butterfly]
What might your age be?

Butterfly [with almost childish coquetry]
Now try to guess it!

Ten years.

Guess higher.


Guess lower.
Fifteen, exactly, fifteen!
I am old, am I not?

Fifteen years old!

Fifteen years old!

The age
of playthings,

And of sweetmeats!

Pinkerton [To Goro, who claps his hands, summoning the three servants, who come running out from the house.]
Call my scarecrows, to hand round
Candied flies and spiders,
[Goro gives them the orders which he in his turn takes from Pinkerton]
Preserves and pastry, and all
sorts of curious liquors,
And most peculiar delicacies
that they fancy in Japan.
[Goro signs to the servants to hurry into the house and to bring out everything]

[Having received fresh orders from Pinkerton, Goro is just going into the house himself, when he perceives some more people climbing the hill; he goes to look, then runs to announce the new arrivals to Pinkerton and Sharpless]

Goro [announces importantly]
The august High Commissioner;
The official Registrar; the relations.

Come now, hurry.
[Goro runs into the house]

[From the path in the background Butterfly's relations are seen climbing the hill and passing along: Butterfly and her friends go to meet them: deep bows and kowtowing: the relations stare curiously at the two Americans. Pinkerton has taken Sharpless by the arm, and leading him to one side, laughingly makes him look at the quaint group of relations.]
[The Imperial Commissioner and the official Registrar remain in the background.]

What a farce is this procession
Of my worthy new relations,
Held on terms of monthly contract!

Relations and friends (4 only) (S) [to Butterfly]
Where is he?
Relations and friends (4 only) (TT) [to Butterfly]
Where is he?

Butterfly, Relations and friends (4 others) (AA) [pointing to Pinkerton]
That is he there!

/ A Cousin
| Handsome he's not.
| Relations and friends (4 only) (TT)
| Handsome he's not.
| No, in good truth,
| handsome he's not!
| Pinkerton
| I feel sure that there behind the
| mighty fan of peacock's feathers,
| my moth'rin law is hiding.
| Butterfly [offended]
| Handsomer man you never saw,
| not in your dreams.
| Relations and friends (4 only) (SS)
| I think him fine!
| (2 only)
| He's worth a lot!
| Relations and friends (4 others) (AA)
| He's worth a lot!
| (2 others)
| I think him fine!
| The Mother [with deep admiration]
\ I think him fine!

/ Cousin [to Butterfly]
| Why, Goro offer'd
| him to me.
| Butterfly [contemptuously, to her Cousin]
| To you, my dear!
| Pinkerton [pointing to Yakuside]
\ And that shabby looking ninny
Is the mad and boozy uncle.

Relations and friends (3 only & 3 only) (ST) [to the Cousin]
Because on her
his choice did fall,
She would look down
/ upon us all!
| Relations and friends (3 others) (AT)
| I think her beauty's
| on the wane.
| Relations and friends (3 others) (T) [pitying Butterfly]
| I think her beauty's
\ on the wane.
Relations and friends (3 only & 3 only) (ST)
He'll never stay.
Cousin, Relations and friends (3 others) (A)
I hope he won't.
Relations and friends (3 only & 3 others) (T)
I hope he won't.
Relations and friends (3 only & 3 others) (SA)
I think her beauty
on the wane.

Goro [annoyed at the idle chatter, goes from one to another, entreating them to lower their voices]
For goodness' sake
be silent all.

Uncle Yakusidé [staring at the servants who are bringing wines and liquors]
Is there no wine?

The Mother [leering, trying to keep out of sight], The Aunt
Let's look around.

/ Relations and friends (4 special ones) (S) [with satisfaction, to Yakusidé]
| I've just seen some,
| the hue of tea,
| the hue of tea,
| and crimson too!
| Relations and friends (4 others) (AA) [looking pityingly at Butterfly]
| I think her beauty
| on the wane,
| 'tis on the wane.
\ He'll never stay.
The Mother, The Aunt, Relations and friends (tutti) (SSA) [falsetto]
Ah! hu!
Relations and friends (T) [in a nasal tone]
Ah! hu!
The Mother, The Aunt, Relations and friends (SA)
ah! hu!
/ The Mother
| I think him fine!
| To tell the truth, a finer man
| you never saw, not in your dreams.
| I think him fine!
| A finer man you never saw,
| not in your dreams, not in your dreams.
| I think him fine! He's worth a lot.
| I think he is fine!
| Cousin [to Butterfly]
| Goro had offer'd him to me, but I said no!
| Handsome he's not, to tell the truth!
| Why, Goro offer'd him to me, but I said no.
| To tell the truth, I think him plain, to tell the truth.
| He'll never stay, I hope he won't. I hope he won't!
| Relations and friends (S)
| Handsome he's not, to tell the truth, handsome he's not!
| Handsome he's not, to tell the truth!
| Why, Goro offer'd him to me, but I said no.
| To tell the truth, I think him plain, to tell the truth.
| He'll never stay, I hope he won't, I hope he won't!
| Relations and friends (A)
| Handsomer man you never saw, not in your dreams!
| I think him fine! He's worth a lot.
| To tell the truth he is so fine, I think him grand,
| To tell the truth, I think him fine, to tell the truth.
| He'll never stay, I hope he won't, I hope he won't!
| Uncle Yakusidé
| Is there no wine? Let's look around, let's look around.
| I've just seen some the hue of tea, and crimson too, and crimson too.
| Is there no wine? Let's look around!
| Relations and friends (T)
| Handsome he's not, to tell the truth, handsome he's not!
| Why, Goro offer'd him to you,
| but you said no! but you said no!
| I think her beauty on the wane, yes, on the wane.
| He'll never stay, I hope he won't, I hope he won't!
| The Aunt
| He's worth a lot!
| To tell the truth, a finer man
| you never saw, not in your dreams.
| I think him fine!
| A finer man you never saw,
| not in your dreams, not in your dreams.
| I think him fine! He's worth a lot.
| I think he is fine!
| Butterfly [to the cousin]
\ A likely tale!

Goro [tries again to stop their chatter, then he signs them to be silent]
For pity's sake
be silent now!
Sh! sh! sh!

Sharpless [to Pinkerton, aside]
Indeed, my friend, you're lucky!

[at signs from Goro the relations and guests crowd together in a bunch, but still chattering excitedly.]

/ Relations and friends and the Cousin (S)
| Goro offer'd him to me!
| Relations and friends and the Mother (A)
| He is grand, I think him fine!
| Pinkerton
| Ah she's a gem, a flower.
| Sharpless
\ Ah trebly lucky Pinkerton,
[meanwhile Goro has made the servants bring out some small tables on which are placed various cakes, sweetmeats, wines, liquors, and tea-sets.]
/ Relations and friends and the Cousin (S)
| Goro offer'd him to me!
| Relations and friends and the Mother (A)
| He is grand, I think him fine!
| Pinkerton
| Her fascinating presence
| Sharpless
\ Since fate has let you gather
/ Relations and friends and the Cousin (S)
| But my answer it was no!
| Relations and friends and the Mother (A)
| I would not have answered no!
| Pinkerton
| Fans the flame of my passion.
| Sharpless
\ A flower hardly open'd
[They then place on one side some cushions and a table, with writing materials,]
/ Relations and friends and the Cousin (S)
| But I answer'd no!
| Relations and friends and the Mother (A)
\ I would not say no!
I have never seen fairer,
/ nor sweeter maiden than
| this little Butterfly.
| Do not look on this contract
| And on her faith as folly
| Relations and Friends (S)
| I should not have far to seek,
| Better men than him to find
| and I would answer no,
| and I would answer no, no, no!
| Relations and Friends (A)
| No, my dear, that is not so,
| Truly a great lord is he,
| I'd never answer no,
| I'd never answer no, no, no!
| Butterfly [to her people]
| Attention, if you please.
| Pinkerton
| Ah she's a gem, a flower
| Which in good faith I have gather'd!
| Relations and Friends (TT)
\ She will be divorced, she will be divorced, she'll be divorced!

I warn you!
For she trusts you.
[points to Butterfly]

Mother, come here,
[to the others] listen to me:
all of you look,
[spoken, in childish tones]
one, two, three,
all of you down!
[at a sign from Butterfly they all kowtow to Pinkerton and Sharpless]

[Butterfly introduces her relations to Pinkerton, whilst the others note with marked satisfaction the liquors and sweetmeats which have been spread]

My mother.

Most charm'd to meet you.

The Mother
Your Augustness dazzles me with fairness.

My cousin and her son.

Pinkerton [giving the child a playful smack; the latter draws back timidly]
He bids fair to grow sturdy!

The Cousin [bowing]
Your Augustness.

My uncle Yakusidé.

Is that he? [laughing loudly] Ha! Ha!

Relations and Friends (SAT) [pushing Yakusidé forward]
[laughing] Ha! Ha!

Yakusidé [laughing]
Eh! eh! eh! eh!
[obsequiously to Pinkerton]
Your antecedents shall live forever!

Relations and Friends (one half) (ST) [to Pinkerton]
May the Heavens smile upon thee.

Relations and Friends (the other half) (ST)
May your path be strewn with roses.

Your antecedents shall live forever.

Pinkerton [thanks them all, and to get rid of them shows them the delicacies spread out, then he turns to Sharpless again]
Lord, what foolish people!

[Goro accompanies the Consul, the Commissioner and the Registrar to the table with writing materials. The Consul examines the papers and gets the bond ready.]
[Pinkerton approaches Butterfly.]

Pinkerton [gently, offering Butterfly some sweetmeats, whilst the Mother and the Cousin rise and join the rest of the relatives.]
Here's to our love!
[seeing that Butterfly appears embarrassed]
What, don't you like the sweetmeats?

Mister B. F. Pinkerton,
[shows him her hands and arms which are encumbered by stuffed-out sleeves]
forgive me...
I should like to... a young girl's few possessions.

But where are they?

Butterfly [pointing to her sleeves]
They are here... are you angry?

Pinkerton [rather astonished, smiles, then quickly and gallantly reassures her]
Nay, angry,
why dear little Butterfly?

Butterfly [empties her sleeves, placing their contents one by one on a stool]
Silken kerchiefs... For smoking... A coloured ribbon.
A little silver buckle...
And a mirror... And a fan...

Pinkerton [sees a jar]
What is that you have?

A little jar of carmine.

Oh fie!

You mind it?
[throws away the pot of paint]
[draws forth a long narrow sheath]

And that thing?

Butterfly [very gravely]
That I hold most sacred.

Pinkerton [curiously]
And am I not to see it?

Not here in public.
[beseeching and grave, lays down the sheath very reverently]
Pray excuse me.

Goro [who has approached, whispers to Pinkerton]
It was sent
by the Mikado to her father, with a message...
[imitating the action of suicide]

Pinkerton [softly to Goro]
And her father?

Was obedient.
[withdraws, mingling with the guests]

Butterfly [takes some images from her sleeves and shows them to Pinkerton]
The Ottokè.

Pinkerton [takes one and examines it with curiosity]
These small figures? Can you mean it?

The souls of my forefathers.
[puts down the images, then rises]

Ah! I bow before them.

Butterfly [leads Pinkerton to one side and says to him in respectfully confidential tones:]
Hear what I would tell you:
Yesterday I crept softly to the Mission.
Ent'ring on my new life,
I wish to adopt another religion.
No one knows what I've done,
neither friends nor relations. My fate I have to follow,
And full of humble faith,
I bow before the God of my dear master.
The Fates have willed it.
For me you spent a hundred yen,
But I shall take care to be most frugal.
And to give you more pleasure,
I can almost forget my race and kindred!
[goes to take up the images]
Away they go!
[cutting short the note, and appearing alarmed lest her relatives should have overheard her]
[Butterfly throws down the Ottoké]

Goro [Meanwhile Goro has approached the Consul, and having received his orders, thunders forth in stentorian tones:]
Silence, silence!

[The chattering ceases: they all leave off eating and drinking and come forward in a circle, listening with much interest. Pinkerton and Butterfly stand in the centre.]

The Commissioner [reads out]
Leave is given to the under sign'd,
Mister B. F. Pinkerton,
Lieutenant serving on the gunboat
Abra'm Lincoln, of the United States Navy
of North America:
And to the spinster, known as Butterfly,
Inhabitant of Omara Nagasaki,
To join in bonds of wedlock. To wit
the former, of his free accord and will.
The latter with consent of her relations,
[hands the bond for signature]
Witnesses of the contract.

Goro [with much unction]
The bridegroom.
[Pinkerton signs]
Now the bride.
[Butterfly signs]
And all is settled.
[The relatives hasten to sign]

[The friends approach Butterfly full of congratulations and deep bows]

Girl Friends (S)
Dear Madam Butterfly.

Butterfly [corrects them, with finger raised].
Nay, Madam B. F. Pinkerton.

[The friends cluster round Butterfly and congratulate her: meanwhile the Registrar removes the bond and the other papers, then informs the Commissioner that the ceremony is over.]

The Commissioner [congratulating Pinkerton]
The best of wishes.

I thank you most sincerely.
[bowing to him]

The Commissioner [approaches the Consul]
May I ask, are you going?

I'll go with you.
[nodding to Pinkerton]
We shall meet tomorrow?
[shaking hands with Pinkerton]

Tomorrow, surely.

The Registrar [Taking leave of Pinkerton]
The best of luck.

I'm much obliged.

[The Consul, the Commissioner and the Registrar depart, to go down to the town]

Sharpless [Comes back again and says to Pinkerton in significant tones]
Be careful!

[Pinkerton reassures him with a gesture and gives him a friendly wave of the hand]
[Sharpless goes down by the path. Pinkerton who has gone towards the background, waves his hand to him again.]

Pinkerton [Returns to the front, and says to himself, rubbing his hands:]
(Now quickly to get rid
of this little family party! How shall I do it?)
[gaily to Yakusidé]
This way, good uncle.
[mixing him some whisky]
Here, the stirrup cup for you I'm mixing.

Yes rather! lets have twenty!

Pinkerton [giving him the bottle]
And here's the whisky bottle.

Friends (some) (T) [making fun of Yakusidé]
Oh, the drunkard!
Friends (others) (T)
Oh, the drunkard!
Relations and Friends (some) (S) [making fun of Yakusidé]
Oh! the drunkard!
Relations and Friends (others) (A)
Oh! the drunkard!
Relations and Friends (some) (T) [laughing]
Ha ha ha!
Relations and Friends (S) [laughing]
Ha ha ha!
Relations and Friends (others) (T)
Ha ha ha!
Relations and Friends (A) [laughing]
Ha ha ha!

Yakusidé [pompously, without heeding the mockers]
Drink up your Saki and kneel to the Almighty.

Relations and Friends (S) [mocking him]
Drink up your Saki, drink up your Saki and to your Gods incline your knee.

Relations and Friends (T)
Drink up your Saki,
drink up your Saki and to your Gods incline your knee.

Pinkerton [is about to mix some drink for Butterfly's mother.]
Here's some for you...

Butterfly [stops him pouring out]
No, thank you.

Pinkerton [turning from one to another and offering]
and the friends and relations...
Take some cakes and a glass
of sherry.

Yakusidé [coming forward eagerly]
Thanks, with pleasure

Relations and Friends (half) (S) [drive Yakusidé away]
Oh, the drunkard!
Relations and Friends (the other half) (A)
Oh, the drunkard!

Goro [to Pinkerton, so that he may not encourage the drunkard too much]
Gently, sir, gently, gently, sir, gently!
Give him a chance and he'd drink up the ocean!
Relations and Friends (STT)
Gently, sir, gently, gently, sir, gently!
Give him a chance and he'd drink up the ocean!

Pinkerton [to the child, giving him a lot of sweets]
Your turn, young rascal;
spread out your hands and stuff up your sleeves
With cakes and sweetmeats and lots of pastry:
[takes a glass and raises it]
Hip! Hip!

Chorus (S) [toasting]
O Kami! o Kami!
Let's drink to the newly married couple,
Yakusidé, Chorus (T)
O Kami! o Kami!
Let's drink to the newly married couple.
Cousin, The Mother
Let's drink to the couple!
A Cousin, The Mother, Chorus (SA)
O Kami! o Kami!
Let's drink to the newly married couple.
[the toasts are interrupted by strange cries coming from the path on the hill]

Her uncle, the Bonze [from the distance]
[at this shout all the relations and friends are thunderstruck, and huddle together in terror: Butterfly remains alone in a corner]

Butterfly [amazed]
/ 'Tis my uncle! | Chorus (ST) [amazed]
\ 'Tis her uncle!

/ Goro [annoyed at the Bonze's arrival]
| A plague on this intruder!
| What on earth brought him hither
| of all troublesome people?...
| The Bonze [approaching]
\ Cho-cho-san! Cho-cho-san!
Goro [signs to the servants to take away the tables, stools and cushions; and then prudently retires, grumbling furiously]

The Bonze [coming nearer]
[In the background appears the odd figure of the Bonze, who comes forward in a rage]

The Bonze [at the sight of Butterfly, who stands isolated from the rest, the Bonze stretches out his hands threateningly towards her]
What were
you doing at the Mission?

Chorus and the Cousin (ST)
Give answer, Cho-cho-san!

Pinkerton [angry at the scene made by the Bonze]
What's that lunatic shrieking?

The Bonze
Give answer, what were you doing?

Friends and relations (ST) [anxiously, turning to Butterfly]
Give answer, Cho-cho-san!

The Bonze
How then, don't you even falter?
Are these the fruits of evil?
She has renounced us all!

Chorus (SATT) [scandalized, shouting long and loud]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

The Bonze
She's renounced, let me tell you,
her true religion

Chorus (ST) [shouting]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

The Bonze [hurls imprecations at Butterfly, who hides her face in her hands: her mother comes forward to protect her, but the Bonze pushes her away roughly, and approaches Butterfly in a fury, shouting in her face:]
Kami sarundasico!

Chorus (ST)
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

The Bonze
In everlasting torment
may your wicked soul perish!

Pinkerton [has lost patience, and intervenes between the Bonze and Butterfly]
Be silent now, d'you hear me!

The Bonze [at the sound of Pinkerton's voice the Bonze stops short in amazement, then with a sudden resolve he invites relations and friends to come away]
Come with me all we'll leave her!
[to Butterfly]
You have renounced us all

[all retire hastily to the back and stretch their arms towards Butterfly]

Yakusidé and The Bonze, Chorus and Cousin (ST)
And we renounce you!

Pinkerton [authoritatively ordering all to depart]
Leave the place on the instant. Here I am master.
I'll have no turmoil and no disturbance here.

Chorus (ST) [shout]

[at Pinkerton's words, they all rush hastily towards the path which leads down to the town: Butterfly's mother again tries to approach her, but is dragged away by the others]

Chorus (ST) [as they go out]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!
[rather far off]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

[By degrees the voices grow faint in the distance. Butterfly remains motionless and silent, her face buried in her hands, whilst Pinkerton has gone to the top of the path, to make sure that all these troublesome guests have really gone]

The Bonze, Yakusidé, Chorus (T)
Kami sarundasico!

Chorus (S)
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

The Bonze, Yakusidé, Chorus (T)
We all renounce you!

Chorus (S) [emphatically]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

The Bonze, Yakusidé, Chorus (ST) [emphatically]
We all renounce you!

Chorus (ST)
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

[evening begins to close in]

Chorus (S) [very far off]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

[Butterfly burst into childish tears. Pinkerton hears her and anxiously hastens to her side, supporting her in her fainting condition and tenderly taking her hands from her tearful face]

Dearest, my dearest, weep no more.
Let the frogs croak their loudest.

Chorus (S) [very far away]
Hou! Cho-cho-san!

Butterfly [holding her ears, so as not to hear the shouts]
Hark how they yell!

Pinkerton [cheering her]
All your respected tribe
and all the Bonzes in Japan
are not worth a tear
from those dear little almond eyes of yours.

Butterfly [smiling with childlike pleasure]
[evening begins to fall]
I'll weep no more.
And now I'm scarcely grieved at their desertion.
So sweet are your words of comfort,
Which fall like gentle balm on my heart.
[stoops to kiss Pinkerton's hand]

Pinkerton [gently stopping her]
What's this? my hand?

They tell me
that abroad, where the people are more cultured,
this is a token of the highest honour.

Suzuki [within] [murmuring]
And Izaghi and Izanami
sarundasico, and Kami
and Izaghi and Izanami
sarundasico, and Kami.

Pinkerton [wondering at the subdued murmurs]
Who's murmuring in there?

'Tis Suzuki who offers up
her evening pray'r.

[Evening draws in more and more and Pinkerton leads Butterfly towards the house]

Evening is falling

With shadows and quiet.

You're here alone.

Alone and renouncèd!
They've renounc'd me, and yet I'm happy!

Pinkerton [Pinkerton claps his hands thrice: the servants and Suzuki hasten in and Pinkerton orders:]
Come hither, the shosi.

[the servants silently slide along several partitions]

Butterfly [with deep feeling to Pinkerton]
Yes, we are all alone
The world is yonder.

Pinkerton [laughing]
And your uncle breathing thunder!
[sits down and takes a cigarette]

Butterfly [to Suzuki, who has come in with the servants is awaiting orders]
Suzuki, bring my garments.

[Suzuki rummages in a trunk and gives Butterfly her night attire and a small box with toilet-requirements.]

Suzuki [bowing low to Pinkerton]
Goodnight, Sir.

[Pinkerton claps his hands, the servants run away].

[retires to a corner at the back, and assisted by Suzuki, carefully performs her toilet for the night, exchanging her wedding-garment for one of pure white; then she sits down on a cushion and looking in a small hand-mirror arranges her hair. Suzuki goes out]
I long to be rid
of this ponderous obi,...
/ A bride must be robed
| in a garment of white.
| He's peeping and smiling,
| conceal'd by the lattice,
| Oh, could I but vanish,
| my blushes to hide!
| Pinkerton [lounging on the wicker chair, watches Butterfly]
| Just like a little squirrel
| are all her pretty movements!
| To think that pretty plaything
| is my wife! My wife!
| [smiling] But her charm
\ is so alluring,
/ My heart
| is beating madly
| with passionate longing!
| [rising, gradually draws closer to Butterfly]
| Butterfly
| I hear his angry voice
\ still shouting curses...
Butterfly they've renounced her,
They've renounced her, still she's happy.

Pinkerton [raises Butterfly gently, and goes out with her on the terrace]
Child, from whose eyes the witchery is shining,
now you are all my own.
You're clad all in lily white raiment.
How sweet are your tresses of brown
in your snowy garment.

Butterfly [goes down from the terrace, Pinkerton follows her]
I am like
the Moon's little Goddess,
the little Moon-Goddess who comes down by night
From her bridge in the star-lighted sky.

Bewitching all mortals...

Then she takes them,
And she wraps them in mantle of white
And away she bears them, To realms high above.

But dear one, as yet you have not told me,
Have not told me yet that you love me
D'you think that my Goddess
knows the sweet words I am yearning to hear?

She knows, but perhaps will not say them,
For fear she may die of her love,
for fear she may die of her love!

Fear not, my dearest, for love does not mean dying,
rather living, And it
radiates happiness celestial.
[drawing close to Butterfly and taking her face in his hands]
I see it shine, as in your eyes, dearest, I'm gazing.
[Butterfly, with a sudden movement, withdraws herself from Pinkerton's ardent embrace]

Butterfly [reticently]
I used to think: if any one should want me...
[stops short]

Why do you falter?

Butterfly [resuming, simply]
I used to think: if any one should want me
Then perhaps for a time I might have married
'Twas then that the Nakodo
Came to me with your marriage offer
But, the truth I must confess:
At the beginning, all he said was useless.
A stranger from America!
a foreigner! a barbarian!
Forgive me, I did not know...

Pinkerton [encouraging her to go on]
My gentle darling! and then?

But now, belovèd
You are the world, more than the world to me.
Indeed I liked you the very first moment
That I saw you.

[Butterfly has a sudden panic and puts her hands to her ears, as though she still heard her relatives shouting; then she rallies and once more turns confidingly to Pinkerton.]

You're so strong,
so handsome! Your laugh
is so open and so hearty!
The things you say are so fascinating.
Now I am happy.
Yes, I am happy.

[Night has closed in completely; the sky is unclouded and closely strewn with stars]

Butterfly [slowly drawing nearer to Pinkerton] [tenderly, almost beseechingly]
Ah, love me a little,
oh, just a very little,
As you would love a baby
'Tis all that I ask for.
Ah, love me a little
I come of a people
accustomed to little;
Grateful for love that's silent;
Light as a blossom
And yet everlasting
As the sky, as the fathomless ocean.

Give me your darling hands that I may kiss them
[bursts out very tenderly]
My Butterfly! aptly your name was chosen,
Gossamer creation...
[at these words Butterfly's face clouds over and she withdraws her hands]

They say that in your country
If a butterfly
[with an expression of fear]
is caught by man,
He'll pierce its heart with a needle,
[with anguish] And then leave it to perish!

Pinkerton [taking her hands again gently, and smiling]
Some truth there is in that,
And can you tell me why?
That you may not escape.
[with ardour and embracing her affectionately]
See, I have caught you...
I hold you as you flutter.
Be mine.

Butterfly [throwing herself into his arms]
Yes, yours forever.

Come, then, come then...
[Butterfly draws back, as though ashamed of having been too bold]
Love, what fear holds you trembling.
Have done with all misgivings.
[points to the starlit sky]
The night doth enfold us!
See the world lies sleeping!

Butterfly [looking at the sky, enraptured]
Ah! Night of rapture!

Come then, come then.

Stars unending!
/ Never have I seen such glory!
| Pinkerton
\ The night doth enfold us!
Ah! hasten, hasten!
The night enfolds us!..
See the world lies sleeping!

Night of rapture! Stars unending!
Hasten, hasten!
Never have I seen such glory!
Hasten, hasten!
Throbbing, sparkling, each star in heaven,
Come, my dearest!
like a fiery eye is flashing. Oh!
/ Oh! how kindly are the heavens,
| Ev'ry star that shines afar!
| Is gazing on us, lighting our future for us...
| Pinkerton [with amorous desire]
| Cast all fear from out your heart!
| Close to my heart I hold you.
| You're mine now,
| ah! come, come you are mine now
| Ah! come then, see the
\ whole world lies a-sleeping!..
Close to my heart I hold you,

Oh how kindly are the heavens
on us shining!
See the world lies a-sleeping.
/ Ah! come! ah, come then, dearest!
| Ah! come, come then, be mine
| ah come!
| Butterfly
| see the stars!
| Ah, lovely night!
| Thy perfect calm is breathing love
\ near and far!

[They go up from the garden into the house].

The curtain falls.

End of Act I.

Main pages: [ Libretto | Opera | Composer | OperaGlass]

2 Apr 2009