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Original Poster

The Yeomen of the Guard


The Merryman and His Maid

Music by Arthur Sullivan; Lyrics & libretto by W.S. Gilbert

Savoy Theatre, London - 3 October, 1888
Casino Theatre, New York - 17 October, 1888

The Story:

Tower Green: 16th Century

Colonel Fairfax is awaiting execution at the Tower of London for sorcery. When his hoped-for reprieve fails to arrive, Sergeant Meryll and his daughter Phoebe, who is secretly fond of the Colonel, plot his escape. They plan to disguise him as Leonard Meryll who is shortly to join the Yeomen but whom no-one has yet seen. Unaware of their plan, Fairfax's last request is to die a married man, for, without a wife, his estate will fall into the hands of the kinsman who brought the charge of sorcery against him.

A willing candidate is found in Elsie Maynard. Although her companion, Jack Point is initially worried at the proposal his doubts are soon dispelled by the promise of 100 crowns and the assurance that Elsie will be a widow within the hour. They are therefore horrified when they hear that Fairfax has escaped. Jack and Wilfred subsequently conspire to pretend that Wilfred has shot Fairfax and seen him drown thereby releasing Elsie from the marriage contract. Fairfax, meanwhile, had discovered that Elsie is his wife (neither knew of the other's identity at the marriage ceremony) and is about to reveal this to her when the shot is heard and Jack and Wilfred spin their tale.

Elsie is distraught at the news of her husband's apparent death but is comforted by "Leonard", alias Fairfax, who subsequently proposes to her. This enrages Phoebe who, is a jealous temper, confesses her feelings for "Leonard" to Wilfred realising, too late, that she is thereby claiming to be in love with her brother! Wilfred quickly deduces the true identity of "Leonard" and, in order to silence him, Phoebe consents to marriage. When her real brother brings news of Fairfax's reprieve, Elsie is initially distressed at the thought of leaving "Leonard" but overjoyed at the revelation that "Leonard" and Fairfax are one and the same.

In vain, Jack appeals to Elsie to consider his feelings for her before he falls broken-hearted at her feet.


  • SIR RICHARD CHOLMONDELEY (Lieutenant of the Tower)
  • COLONEL FAIRFAX (under sentence of death)
  • SERGEANT MERYLL (of the Yeomen of the Guard )
  • LEONARD MERYLL (his Son)
  • JACK POINT (a Strolling Jester)
  • WILFRED SHADBOLT (Head Jailor and Assistant Tormentor)
  • ELSIE MAYNARD (a Strolling Singer)
  • PHOEBE MERYLL (Sergeant Meryll's Daughter)
  • DAME CARRUTHERS (Housekeeper to the Tower)
  • KATE (her Niece)

Chorus of Yeomen of the Guard, Gentlemen, Citizens, &c.

Musical Numbers:


  1. INTRODUCTION AND SONG (Phoebe) - " When maiden loves she sits and sighs "
  2. DOUBLE CHORUS (People and Yeomen, with Solo Baritone) - " Tower warders under orders "
  3. SONG with CHORUS (Dame Carruthers and Yeomen) - " When our gallant Norman foes "
  4. TRIO (Phoebe, Leonard, and Meryll) - " Alas ! I waver to and fro "
  5. BALLAD (Fairfax) " Is life a boon? "
  6. CHORUS (Entrance of Crowd, Elsie, and Point) - " Here's a man of jollity "
  7. DUET (Elsie and Point) - " I have a song to sing, O "
  8. TRIO (Elsie, Point, and Lieutenant) - " How say you, maiden, will you wed "
  9. RECIT. & SONG (Point) - " I've jibe and joke and quip and crank "
  10. RECIT. & SONG (Elsie) - " 'Tis done ! I am a bride "
  11. SONG (Phoebe) - " Were I thy bride "
  12. FINALE ACT I- " Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true— "
  13. CHORUS - " Night has spread her pall once more "
    13 a: SOLO (Dame Carruthers) - " Warders are ye? "
  14. SONG (Point) - " Oh! a private buffoon is a light-hearted loon "
  15. DUET (Point and Wilfred) - Hereupon we're both agreed "
  16. BALLAD (Fairfax) - " Free from his fetters grim "
  17. QUARTET (Kate, Dame Carruthers, Fairfax, and Sergeant Meryll) - " Strange adventure! "
  18. SCENE (Elsie, Phoebe, Dame Carruthers, Fairfax, Wilfred, Point, Lieutenant, Sergeant Meryll, and Chorus) - " Hark! What was that, sir? "
  19. TRIO (Elsie, Phoebe, and Fairfax) - " A man who would woo a fair maid "
  20. QUARTET (Elsie, Phoebe, Fairfax, and Point) - When a wooer goes a-wooing "
  21. DUET (Dame Carruthers and Sergeant Meryll) - " Rapture! Rapture! "
  22. FINALE ACT II - " (Comes the pretty young bride "

Scenes and Settings

SCENE - Tower Green.

Date.-16th Century.


(Total number of books = 21

3 Violins I
3 Violins II
2 Violas
2 Cellos
1 Double Bass
1 Flute

1 Oboe
1 Clarinet
1 Horn
1 Trumpet
1 Trombone
1 Timps

1 Percussion
1 Piano (optional - annotated vocal score)
1 Full Score