Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Evelyn Sharp

Letter No.: 
[August 1927]

13 Cheyne Walk

Dear Miss Sharp

I return Act II
I think all is right now except (1) p. 15.  I want 4 lines here for Amaryllus - or rather an alteration of your 4 thus
‘Twas here it bade me follow
‘That strange mysterious voice
υ – υ – υ – υ –  (or υ – υ – υ – – –)
υ – υ – υ –  (rhyme with voice)

and p. 16.  I have put back your original idea & made it fit my music somehow thus -

Enter Angelica (she does not see Am: or Hobs throughout this scene) (all their remarks are aside)

Amar  Ha! Who goes there?  Am I too late?
  What fortune keeps me from my fate?
Hob  O drat that fire I clean forgot
Lob  She must not come & spoil our plot,
Angelica (gradually coming downstairs)
  At last I’m free my duty’s done
  It’s time for us to have some fun
Am.  Angelica! What does she here?
  Is there some rival lurking near?
Angelica. But first to summon him who waits
  Below within the garden gates.
Gob  Our magic art we must employ
  This foolish baggage to decoy
Am.  Whom seeks this maid with eager gaze
  My jealous heart is all ablaze (draws his sword)
Angelica (calling)
  Come: all is safe, so softly tread
  My lady has retired to bed
Hob |
Gob |  Gallanthus! He’s the very fool
Lob  |  To be our all-unconscious tool
Angelica (calling)
  Hullo! Hullo!
Gallanthus (voice off stage)
  Hullo! Hullo!
Anglica Gallanthus’ voice - he waits below
Am.  Gallanthus’ voice! My fears are vain
  Back to your scabbard, sword, again
Gallanthus (voice off stage)
Angelica (calling)
  We’ll sup together you and I
  *There’s sausages and beefsteak pie1
  So get you to the basement floor
  I come to open quick the door
(exit Angelica - the Hobs lock the door)

Hob  |
Gob  |  Now quickly, quickly while we can
Lob  |  and carry out our Master’s plan

Am:  Go to your lover’s arms, for me
  The night and solitude and thee

Hob |
Gob |  Now Prince, go seek your lady’s room
Lob |  The poison kiss shall be your doom

*Note  I want to leave out Gallanthus’ ‘O Rapture’ here - because it’s always dangerous to have any one off stage ‘fitting in’ like this (he has an “ad lib” bar at the other two places)

I shall see Waddington tomorrow & am going to ask him if he cd play it through to us on Saturday morning - wd that be possible for you?
Yrs very sincerely

R Vaughan Williams

1.  These two lines not used in final text. ‘So’ at the beginning of the following line is replaced by ‘Oh’.
2. S.P. Waddington, teacher at the Royal College of Music who had conducted the first informal performances of Hugh the Drover in 1924.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 161, ff.72-76
General notes: 

Date estiated from other correspondence with Sharp; see VWL795, VWL621, etc.

Original database number: