Pas de Trois
Carman, William Bliss (Canadian playwright, 1861-1929),
and Mary King Perry (aka Mrs. Mary Perry King Kennerly, Canadian playwright, 1865-____),
“Pas de Trois,” a __-minute rhythmic masque in English, a street scene at the edge of the Common, Paris, France, spring, circa 1741,
© 1914 by William Bliss Carman and Mary King Kennerley;
• in William Bliss Carman and Mary King Kennerley’s Earth Deities and Other Rhythmic Masques (New York City: Mitchell Kennerly, 1914), LCCN 14-20800;
• also, in Bliss Carman and Mary Perry King’s Earth Deities and Other Rhythmic Masques [electronic text] (Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.: University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative, 1997), http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/b/bib/bibperm?q1=BAE7428.0001.001;
• script/rights available through archives in University of New Brunswick Libraries.
• Cited in The Brock Bibliography of Published Canadian Plays in English 1766-1978, edited by Anton Wagner (anthologist, editor, educator, theatre scholar, 1949-____) (Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Playwrights Press, 1980). ISBN 0-88754-157-7, ISBN 0-88754-155-0.
Personae Pierrot (m), a lover; An Organ-Grinder (m), Chorus; Pierrette (f), Pierrot’s first sweetheart; Columbine (f), Pierrot’s second sweetheart.
“It is spring, the time of love, and the organ-grinder watches as Pierrot’s two sweethearts each pull him in a different way. They perform a lovers’ dance, then all three go their separate ways.”—Brock, 86.
Music continues throughout the dance. • Research could include archives in University of New Brunswick Libraries. • Also, research could include H.D.C. Lee’s Bliss Carman: A Study in Canadian Poetry (1912). • Also, research could include Odell Shepard’s Bliss Carman (1923). • Also, research could include James Cappon’s Bliss Carman and the Literary Currents and Influences of His Time (1930). • Also, research could include Malcolm Ross’ "A Symbolic Approach to Carman," Canadian Bookman, 14 (Dec 1932). • Also, research could include Muriel Miller’s Bliss Carman: A Portrait (1935); Desmond Pacey’s "Bliss Carman," Ten Canadian Poets (1958). • Also, research could include Donald Stephens’ Bliss Carman (1966); John Robert Sorfleet’s "Transcendentalist, Mystic, Evolutionary Idealist: Bliss Carman 1886-1894," in Colony and Confederation, edited by George Woodcock (1974). • Also, research could include Malcolm Ross’ “A Strange Aesthetic Ferment,” Canadian Literature, pp. 68-69 (Spring-Summer 1976). • Also, research could include Robert Gibbs’ “Voice and Persona in Carman and Roberts,” in Atlantic Provinces Literature Colloquium Papers, edited by Kenneth MacKinnon] (1977). • Also, research could include D.M.R. Bentley’s "Pan and the Confederation Poets," Canadian Literature, 81 (Summer 1979). • Also, research could include Terry Whalen’s Canadian Writers and Their Work: Poetry Series: Volume Two, edited by Robert Lecker, Ellen Quigley, and Jack David (1983).
competition, courtship, dance, organ-grinding, Pierrot (circa 1741, a stock comic character of French pantomime, often in white face and loose white garment), separation, spring, stock character.
A street scene in spring. An Organ-grinder stands playing in the shade of a tree at the edge of the Common. His music continues throughout the dance, while he himself takes the part of a Chorus.
Now Spring is laughing down the street,
With music for her dancing feet,
Who ever heard, since time began
Of Spring without the organ-man?
And here's that vagabond Pierrot,
A-mumming in a suit of woe,
Whatever can have come his way
To put him out of love to-day?
Ah, love alone,
I ask no morel
Though love be mad,
I would adore.
A thousand years
Were not enough
If only I
May live in love!
But if this life
No love can give
A moment were
Too long to live.
Ah, there is none
To love me now,
And say, "Pierrot,
Why grievest thou?"
White as the moon's
Burned long ago
My soul's desire.
But now all life
Is changed and cold.
There is no joy
As once of old.
There is no hope,
Nor prayer nor vow,
Can save the soul
Of Pierrot now.
Life still is life,
And hearts are brave,
And I may sing
A moonlit stave!
And if my heart
Can mended be,
I'll sing no more
If love be not
Perhaps the last
Is best of all.
Ah, well! ah, well! ah, well!
Ah, well! ah, well! ah, well!
Ah, well, Pierrot!
O sad is love, and glad is love,
And everlasting mad is love,
But you must follow, if you can,
The wisdom of the organ-man.
There's nothing like the jolly town
In Spring to turn you upside down,
And make you want to join the clan
That dances for the organ-man.
Here comes a saucy little pet,
The glowing gadabout, Pierrette,
As fresh as tulips in the pan.
O pity the poor old organ-man!
The shops are full of gossamers,
The hats are full of flowers,
The clouds that look quite innocent
Are capable of showers.
I feel that I should like to drift
On some adventure new,
In the green world of fairy-land,
Or Cupid's garden blue!
O listen to the music play,
For that can take you far away!
You do not need a moving van,
You only need the organ-man.
For he will play, and you shall be
Transported to Spring mystery.
It is the universal plan
For moving, says the organ-man.
I dance the children.up the street,
I dance the watchman on his beat,
I dance the traveller into town,
I dance away the angry frown,
I even dance the sun to shine,
When April comes— and Columbine!
That blush of roses on her tan
Betrays her to the organ-man.
The world is full of lilac now,
A smile is in the sky,
And in my heart a little bird
Is singing B-o-y!
What is there is in the silly song
To set my cheek aglow?
Can it be love that's ailing me?
Pray, master, do you know?
It can be nothing else, my dear,
When Spring is in the atmosphere,
You know it only needs the Spring
To make us all to love and sing.
Perhaps you never heard of Pan?
He was a kind of organ-man,
And many a lady in the Spring
Encountered his philandering.
There was no nymph about the place,
But he could pipe to his embrace.
I often wish that I were Pan,
Instead of just an organ-man.
(Re-enter PIERROT, PIERRETTE, and COLUMBINE from different directions, for their trio dance.)
Now here comes trouble down the street!
Two sweethearts and one lover meet.
That never was the heavenly plan
Of peace, opines the organ-man..
First he approaches—Pierrette.
But she is not an angel yet.
She will not speak to Columbine,
In whose bright eyes the tear-drops shine.
Tel-oodle, oo, tel-oodle-oo,
Hoity-toity, what a scene!
Enter the Monster with Eyes of Green!
Did ever sage or harlequin
Know how to choose or how to win!
Alas, that ever loves should be
In such confused proximity!
"O, be as wary as you can!
One at a time!" says the organ-man.
One pulls him this way, one pulls him that,
While his poor heart beats rat-ta-ta-tat.
Either or neither, when both are so fair,
Is enough to send any man into the air.
(They all go out in different directions, leaving the ORGAN-GRINDER alone.)
O, love is a dance to a roundelay!
It may last an hour or last alway.
But how it will end, or how it began,
You never can tell, says the organ-man.
(The music is broken off abruptly as the Organ-Grinder moves on.)
—American Verse Project, http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=amverse;idno=BAE7428.0001.001;rgn=div1;view=text;cc=amverse;node=BAE7428.0001.001%3A8, accessed September 10, 2006.