MIMI. (rising to her feet, surprised) Ah!
RUD. (holding Mimi’s hand, with emotion)
Your tiny hand is frozen,
Let me warm it into life;
Our search is useless,
In darkness all is hidden,
’Ere long the light of the moon shall aid us,
Yes, in the moonlight our search let us resume.
One moment, pretty maiden,
While I tell you in a trice,
Who I am, what I do,
And how I live. Shall I?
(Mimi is silent.)
I am, I am a poet!
What’s my employment? Writing.
Is that a living? Hardly.
I’ve wit though wealth be wanting,
Ladies of rank and fashion
All inspire me with passion;
In dreams and fond illusions,
Or castles in the air,
Richer is none on earth than I.
Bright eyes as yours, believe me,
Steal my priceless jewels,
In fancy’s store-house cherished,
Your roguish eyes have robbed me,
Of all my dreams bereft me,
Dreams that are fair, yet fleeting.
Fled are my truant fancies,
Regrets I do not cherish,
For now life’s rosy morn is breaking,
Now golden love is waking.
Now that I’ve told my story,
Pray tell me yours, too;
Tell me frankly, who are you?
Say, will you tell?
MIMI. (after some hesitation)
They call me Mimi
But my name is Lucia;
My story is a short one—
Fine satin stuffs or silk
I deftly embroider;
I am content and happy;
The rose and lily I make for pastime.
These flowers give me pleasure
As in magical accents
They speak to me of love,
Of beauteous springtime.
Of fancies and of visions bright they tell me,
Such as poets, and only poets, know.
Do you hear me?
MIMI. They call me Mimi,
But I know not why;
All by myself I take my frugal supper,
To Mass not oft repairing,
Yet oft I pray to God.
In my room live I lonely,
Up at the top there, in my little chamber
Above the house tops so lofty.
Yet the glad sun first greets me;
After the frost is over
Spring’s first, sweet, fragrant kiss is mine,
Her first bright sunbeam is mine,
A rose as her petals are opening
Do I tenderly cherish. Ah! what a charm
Lies for me in her fragrance!
Alas! those flowers I make,
The flowers I fashion, alas! they have no perfume!
More than just this I cannot find to tell you,
I’m a tiresome neighbor that at an awkward moment
intrudes upon you.
SCH. (from below) Eh! Rudolph!
MAR. Hallo! you hear not?
(At the shouts of his friends RUDOLPH is annoyed.)
COL. Poetaster, come!
SCH. What has happened, idler?
(Getting more annoyed RUDOLPH opens the window to answer his friends; the moonlight enters, brightening the room.)
RUD. I have still three lines to finish.