Madam Butterfly

Act II.

Second Part.

Sailors (T1) [From the bay, far away in the distance]
Oh eh! oh eh!
Sailors (T2)
Oh eh!
Sailors (T1)
oh eh! oh eh!
Sailors (T2)
oh eh!

Sailors (T1)
oh eh! oh eh!
Sailors (T2)
oh eh!

Sailors (T1)
Oh eh! oh eh!
Sailors (T2)
oh eh!
Sailors (T1)
oh eh! oh eh!
Sailors (T2)
oh eh!
[Clanging of chains, anchors, and other sounds from the harbour]

[The curtain rises]
[Butterfly, still motionless, is gazing out into the distance; the child is asleep on a cushion; and Suzuki, kneeling bent over the child, has also fallen asleep]
[The first streaks of dawn appear in the sky]
[The rosy dawn spreads]
[The day breaks].
[The sunshine streams in from outside]
[Butterfly at length rouses herself, and touches Suzuki on the shoulder; the latter wakes with a start and rises, whilst Butterfly turns toward the baby, and takes him up with tender care]

Suzuki [awaking with a start]
'Tis daylight!...
[goes towards Butterfly and touches her on the shoulder]

Butterfly [starts and says confidently]
He'll come, he'll come... I know, he'll come.

[Butterfly sees the child has fallen asleep and takes him in her arms, turning to go up to the next storey]

I pray you, go and rest, for you are weary,
And I will call you when he arrives.

Butterfly [going up the staircase]
Sweet, thou art sleeping,
Cradled on my heart;
Safe in God's keeping,
While I must weep apart.
Around thy head the moonbeams dart:
Sleep, my beloved!

Suzuki [sadly, shaking her head]
Poor Madam Butterfly!

Butterfly [enters the room above] [voice a little farther off]
Sweet, thou art sleeping,
Cradled on my heart;
[voice farther off]
Safe in God's keeping,
While I must weep apart.
[dying away in the distance]

Suzuki [kneels before the image of Buddha]
Poor Madam Butterfly!
[rises and goes to open the shosi]
[Light knocking at the door is heard]
Who is it?...
[louder knocking heard]
[goes to open]
[cries out in great surprise]

Sharpless [on the threshold, signs to Suzuki to be quiet]

Pinkerton [motions Suzuki to be silent]


Hush! Hush!

[Pinkerton and Sharpless enter cautiously on tip-toe]

Pinkerton [anxiously to Suzuki]
Disturb her not!

She was so very weary!
She stood awaiting you all
through the night with the baby.

How did she know?

No ship has cross'd the harbour these three years
Whose flags and colours Butterfly has not
eagerly seen and examin'd.

Sharpless [to Pinkerton]
Did I not tell you?...

Suzuki [going]
I'll call her...

Pinkerton [stopping Suzuki]
No, no, not yet.

Suzuki [Pointing to the masses of flowers all about the room]
Look around you,
Last night she would have the room
decorated with flowers.

Sharpless [touched]
Did I not tell you?...

Pinkerton [troubled]
Oh, torment!

Suzuki [hears a noise in the garden, goes to look outside the shosi and exclaims in surprise]
Who's that outside there
in the garden?
A lady!!..

Pinkerton [goes to Suzuki and leads her down the stage again, urging her to speak in a whisper]

Suzuki [excitedly]
Who's that? who's that?

Sharpless [to Pinkerton]
Better tell her all.

Suzuki [in consternation]
who's that? who's that?

Pinkerton [embarrassed]
She came with me.

who's that? who's that?

Sharpless [with restraint but deliberately]
She's his wife!

Suzuki [stupefied, raises her arms to heaven, then falls on her knees with her face to the ground]
Hallowèd souls of our fathers!
Ah, the world is plung'd in gloom
is plung'd in gloom!

Sharpless [soothes Suzuki and raises her from the ground]
We came here so early in the morning
To find you all alone here, Suzuki, that you might give us
your help and your guidance in this our plight.

Suzuki [in despair]
How can I? How can I?

Sharpless [takes Suzuki aside and tries to persuade her into consenting, whilst Pinkerton getting more and more agitated, wanders about the room, noticing all details]
I know that for such a trouble
There is no consolation!
But the future of the baby
Must be our first and special thought.
/ Pinkerton
| Oh! the bitter fragrance
| of these flow'rs,
| It is poison to my heart!
| Sharpless
| This gentle lady,
| Who dare not enter,
\ Will give the child
/ a mother's care!
| Suzuki
| Woe is me!
| Do you ask me
| to go and tell a mother...
| Pinkerton
| Unchang'd is the chamber
\ Where once we lov'd...
Delay not, call her, delay not,
[Pinkerton goes towards the image of Buddha]
/ Call in that gentle lady,
| And conduct her here... If even
| Butterfly should see her, no matter.
| Then with her own eyes she will learn
| The cruel truth we dare not tell her.
| Go then, speak with that gentle lady,
| Go quickly and bring her here,
| and bring her here.
| Pinkerton
| But a deathly chill haunts the air.
| [sees his own likeness]
| And here my portrait...
| Three years have pass'd away,
| Three years have pass'd away,
| Three years have pass'd away
| and ev'ry day, ev'ry hour she counted,
| alas, she counted!
| Suzuki
| Can you ask me
| to go and tell a mother...
| Woe is me!
| Hear my sorrow!
| Hallowèd souls of my fathers!...
| Now all the world is plung'd in gloom!
| Hear my sorrow!
| Hallowèd souls of my fathers!...
\ Ah! all the world is plung'd in gloom!
[Sharpless pushes her into the garden to join Mrs. Pinkerton]
Go, Suzuki, go!
Pinkerton [overcome by emotion and unable to restrain his tears, approaches Sharpless and says to him resolutely]
I cannot remain,
Suzuki [going away]
Hear my sorrow!
Sharpless, I'll wait you

Is it not as I told you?

Pinkerton [giving Sharpless some money]
Give her this money, just to support her...
Remorse and anguish choke me,
Remorse and anguish choke me.

I warned you, you remember?
When in your hand she laid hers:
``Be careful! For she believes you''
Alas! how true I spoke!
Deaf to all entreaties,
deaf to doubting, humiliation,
Blindly trusting to your promise,
Her heart will break...

Yes, in one sudden moment,
I see my heartless action
And feel that I shall never, ah never
Free myself from remorse,
no never more! no!

Now go: the cruel truth
she best should hear alone.

Pinkerton [softly lamenting]
Farewell, o happy home,
Farewell, home of love...
Haunted forever I shall be
by her reproachful eyes...

But now this faithful heart
has already divined...
Farewell, home where she waited and loved.
I warned you, alas, you see
how true I prophesied!
I cannot bear to stay,
ah! I cannot bear to stay!
Like a coward, ah! let me fly!
Farewell, I cannot, I cannot stay,
/ Sharpless
| Yes go, and let her learn
| the cruel truth.
| Pinkerton
\ ah! I cannot! Farewell.
[wrings the Consul's hand, and goes out quickly by the door on the right: Sharpless bows his head sadly]

[Kate and Suzuki come from the garden]

Kate [gently to Suzuki]
Then you will tell her.

I promise.

And will you advise her
to trust me?...

I promise.

Like a son will I tend him.

I trust you. But I must be quite alone beside her...
In this cruel hour... alone! She will weep so sadly!
she'll weep so sadly!

Butterfly [voice from afar, calling from the room above]
[nearer] Suzuki! Where are you?
[appears at the head of the staircase]

I'm here... I was praying, and going back to watch...
[Butterfly begins to come down stairs]
[rushes toward the staircase to prevent Butterfly from coming down]
no... no... no... Do not come down...
[Butterfly comes down quickly, freeing herself from Suzuki who tries in vain to hold her back]
[crying out] no... no... no...

Butterfly [pacing the room in great, but joyful excitement]
He's here... he's here... where is he hidden?
He's here... he's here...
[catching sight of Sharpless]
Here's the Consul...
[In alarm, looking for Pinkerton]
and... where is?... where is?...
[Butterfly, after having searched in every corner, in the little recess and behind the screen, looks around in anguish]
Not here!..
[sees Kate and looks at her fixedly]
[to Kate] Who are you?
Why have you come here? No one answers!... Why are you weeping?
[is afraid of understanding and shrinks together like a frightened child]
No, no, tell me nothing... nothing... Lest I fall dead
at your feet at the words I hear...
[with affectionate and childlike kindness to Suzuki]
You, Suzuki,
are always so faithful, don't weep, I pray!
Since you love me so dearly, say ``yes,'' or ``no,'' quite softly...
He lives?


Butterfly [transfixed; as though she had received a mortal blow]
But he'll come
no more, They have told you!...
[Suzuki is silent]
[angered at Suzuki's silence]
Reptile! I want you to reply!

No more.

Butterfly [coldly]
He reached here yesterday?


[Butterfly, who has understood, looks at Kate as though fascinated]

Who is this lady
that terrifies me? terrifies me?

Kate [simply]
Through no fault of my own,
I am the cause of your trouble. Ah, forgive me pray.
[about to approach Butterfly who motions her to keep away]

No, do not touch me.
[in a calm voice]
And how
long ago is it he married you?

A year.
[shyly] And will you let me do nothing for the child?
[Butterfly is silent]
I will tend him with most loving care.
[Butterfly does not reply]
[impressed by Butterfly's silence, and deeply moved, persists]
'Tis hard for you, very hard,
But take the step for his welfare.

Butterfly [remains motionless]
Who knows!
All is over now!

Kate [coaxingly]
Ah, can you not forgive me, Butterfly?

Butterfly [solemnly]
'Neath the blue vault of the sky
There is no happier lady than you are.
May you remain so,
nor e'er be sadden'd through me.
Yet it would please me much
That you should tell him
that peace will come to me.

Kate [holding out her hand]
Your hand, your hand, may I not take it?

Butterfly [decidedly but kindly]
I pray you, no, not that...
Now go and leave me.

Kate [going towards Sharpless]
Poor little lady!

Sharpless [deeply moved]
Oh the pity of it all!

And can he have his son?

Butterfly [who has heard, says solemnly]
His son I will give him
if he will come to fetch him.
[with marked meaning, but quite simply]
Climb this hill in half an hour from now.

[Suzuki escorts Kate and Sharpless who go out by the door on the right]
[Butterfly is on the point of collapsing. Suzuki hastens to support her and leads her to the middle of the stage]

Suzuki [placing her hand on Butterfly's heart]
Like to a poor imprison'd bird
Beats this little fluttering heart!

[Butterfly gradually recovers; seeing that it is broad daylight she disengages herself from Suzuki and says to her]
Too much light shines outside
And too much laughing spring.
[pointing to the windows]
Close them.

[Suzuki goes to shut the doors and curtains, so that the room is almost in total darkness]

[Suzuki returns towards Butterfly]

Where is the child?

Playing... Shall I call him?

Leave him at his play, Leave him at his play...
Go and play with him.
[Suzuki refuses to go away and throws herself weeping at Butterfly's feet]

I'll not leave you alone.
No! no! no! no!

How runs the ditty?
``Through closèd gates he enter'd
Life and Love enter'd with him;
Then he went and nought was left to us
Nothing, nothing, nothing but death.''

Suzuki [weeping]
With you I'll stay.

Butterfly [with decision clapping her hands loudly]
Go, Go, obey my order.
[Makes Suzuki, who is weeping bitterly, rise, and pushes her outside the exit on the left]

[Suzuki's sobs are heard]
[Butterfly lights the lamp in front of Buddha]
[she bows down]

Butterfly remains motionless, lost in sorrowful thought. Suzuki's sobs are still heard, they die away by degrees.
Butterfly has a convulsive movement.
Butterfly goes towards the shrine and lifts the white veil from it; throws this across the screen; then takes the dagger, which, enclosed in a waxen case, is leaning against the wall near the image of Buddha.
Butterfly piously kisses the blade, holding it by the point and the handle with both hands.

Butterfly [softly reading the words inscribed on it]
Death with honour is
better than life with dishonour.
[points the knife sideways at her throat]

[The door on the left opens, showing Suzuki's arm pushing in the child towards his mother: he runs in with outstretched hands. Butterfly lets the dagger fall, darts toward the baby, and hugs and kisses him almost to suffocation]

You? you? you? you? you? you? you?
Belovèd Idol!
Ador'd, adorèd being,
Fairest flower of beauty.
[taking the child's head in her hands, she draws it to her]
Though you ne'er must know it
`Tis for you, my love, for you I'm dying,
Poor Butterfly
That you may go away
Beyond the ocean,
Never to feel the torment when you are older,
That your mother forsook you!
My son, sent to me from Heaven,
Straight from the throne of glory,
Take one last and careful look
At your poor mother's face!
That it's memory may linger,
One last look!
Farewell, beloved! Farewell, my dearest heart!
Go, play, play.

Butterfly takes the child, seats him on a stool with his face turned to the left, gives him the American flag and a doll and urges him to play with them, while she gently bandages his eyes. Then she seizes the dagger, and with her eyes still fixed on the child, goes behind the screen.

The knife is heard falling to the ground, and the large white veil disappears behind the screen.
Butterfly is seen emerging from behind the screen; tottering, she gropes her way towards the child. The large white veil is round her neck; smiling feebly, she greets the child with her hand and drags herself up to him. She has just enough strength left to embrace him, then falls to the ground beside him.

Pinkerton [within] [calling]
Butterfly! Butterfly! Butterfly!

The door on the right opens violently – Pinkerton and Sharpless rush into the room and up to Butterfly, who with a feeble gesture points to the child and dies. Pinkerton falls on his knees, whilst Sharpless takes the child and kisses him, sobbing.

Curtain descends swiftly

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31 Mar 2009