- RABBIT, Archbishop of Canterbury
- PIGLET, Bishop of Ely
- TIGGER, Pistol
- POOH, Ensign
- CHORUS, Narrator
Vouchsafe to those that have not read the story
That I may prompt them; and of such as have,
I humbly pray them to admit th’excuse of things
Which cannot in their huge and proper life
Be here presented. Now we bear Rabbit,
Piglet, and Pooh toward Rabbit’s porch.
There is the playhouse now, there you must sit,
And thence to the forest shall we convey you safe.
[Enter RABBIT, PIGLET, and POOH]
I’ll tell you, that self Lord Tigger is urged
That yesterday was like to have bounced against us
By zany hazard and unnatural humours
Which him constrain to bouncing acts,
Scambling, and unquiet time.
But my lord, how shall we resist him now?
It must be thought on. If he bounce against us
We’re like to lose the better half of our possession:
For all the temporal lands and carrot gardens
Which by testament are given to us,
He would rend the harvest thereof in a twinkling
A ruin and unprofit.
This would drink deep.
’Twould drink the cup and all.
But what prevention?
The courses of his youth promise no change.
Never came desolation in a flood
With such heady currents scouring all good,
Nor never features of landscape so soon lose their seat
As in the case of Sir Tigger.
- He ne’er did harm that I heard of;
O pardon, since that a crooked figure may
In little place attest a million
Or, so says good Christopher Robin.1
- Hearest thou not these weighty things
That task our thoughts concerning Tigger?2
- The air, a chartered libertine, is still
And the mute silence lurketh in mine ears
For bunch of fusty fluff hath therein lodged
Some whiles since.
- It must be so, for miracles are ceased,
And therefore we must needs admit the means
How Tigger shall be perfected.
Doth he incline to it or no?
- He seems indifferent,
Or rather swaying the more upon our part;
For I will make an offer to him
As touching the Hundred Acre Wood
To hike and march a greater distance
Than ever did his predecessors depart withal
At the end of which, by my design
His bones, a woe, a sore complaint
He’ll drop his heart into the sink of fear!
Now we go, to bring our embassy
To this Tigger same.
- We’ll wait upon you.
- Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmer and the poring fog
Fills the wide vessel of the Hundred-Acre-Wood.
The hum of frog and cricket stilly sounds
O now, who will look and behold
The pair of travelers in their pacing sad:
Pooh and Piglet at th’appointed time
Present themselve by the gazing trees.
The confident and over-lusty Rabbit
Does the low-rated Tigger play at dice
Proud of his planning and secure in soul,
Hastens impatiently, and poorly ruminates
The evening’s danger.
- Cry bother, and chide this cripple, tardy-gaited mist
Who like a foul and ugly hag
Doth limp so tediously away:
A pity this, an approved waste
For honey bees cease their work in damp,
Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom:
The civil citizens kneading up honey
Lay down their burdens, whilst sad-eyed drones
Stand close together with surly hum.
- Rabbit may show what outward courage he will, but I believe, as cold a day as ‘tis, he could wish himself afore of a stoken hearth, and so I would he were and I by him at all adventures, so we were quit here.
- Now sits the fog fair, and we will away!
(Hushed) Here comes Lord Tigger; good friends, offer nothing here.
- Ah, an outing shall we have, and present leave!3
Holdfast is the only dog, my ducks,
The word is ‘pitch and play,’ yoke-fellows in arms
Let us to the Forest, like Tartar-squirrels, my boys!
- Prithee Tigger, stay; the damp is too cold, and for mine own part I have not a case of lives. The humour of it is too cold, that is the very plain-song of it.
- Let floods o’erswell and fiends for food howl on!4
- Come, Piglet, imitate the action of the Tigger!
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood
Disguise small nature with hard favour’d rage;
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. The game’s afoot.
Follow your spirit, and upon this, Charge!
- On, on, on, on to the breach!
[Exit TIGGER - bounds off stage; RABBIT, POOH, PIGLET hide behind some object; TIGGER bounds back in search of them, but, seeking, finds them not]
- The plain-song is most just, for humours do abound.
- My lords, Sir Tigger, jealous of our absence
Seeks through the camp to find us.
- TIGGER (After waiting, listening, etc.)
- Doth Fortune play the huswife with me now?
Note have I within my bearing bones
That here my rendezvous is quite cut off.5
Well, home I’ll turn, this hunt resign
To suck, to suck, the very Extract of Malt to suck!
- RABBIT (Looking after TIGGER)
- I give you leave to depart, and if a merry meeting
May be wished, God prohibit it!
[Turning again to friends]
The game’s afoot! To the forest, and hearthside then,
Where ne’er from Borealis’ frosty soup arrive’d more happy men.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood
And teach them how to march, for we’ll flee this dewy flood.
Hence! I am qualmish at the smell of leek.
[All exit stage right, reappear sometime later as though lost]
- As manhood shall compound, these phantom paths
Have got the voice in heaven for twistiness;
Fair and fortunate are we
That these our native pastures be
Else, being lost, naught but these boding trunks
Could we ever hope to see…
[Aside] They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But bearlike I must fight the course.6
[All exit stage right and appear again in the same manner]
- Though patience be a tired mare, yet she will plod;
But here is that selfsame sand-pit again.
- Though ‘tis no wisdom to confess so much,
My directional sense is much enfeebled.
- By our travels, late and circuitous, I this infer
That many paths having full reference
To one arrival may work contrariously
Without defeat; therefore, good Rabbit
Let us conversely search for this sand-pit
And thus come home in safe array,
Where before we sought the home and found th’other.7
If we with such just logic prepended
Cannot gain again guide our footsteps thither
Let us be worried, and our titles lose
All name of hardiness and policy.
- You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things. Prithee, peace!
I dare do all that may become a rabbit.
Who dares do more is none.
- Defend your glove, my liege: therfore
Divide we our happy company into two,
Whereof take you twenty-pace from this spot
And thence, sand-pit seeking, return again.
- What beast was’t then
That made you break this enterprise to me?
Come, I shall about it.
[Exit Rabbit. Long pause whiles they wait for him.]
- By the white hand of a lady, let us be going,
That we find ourselves safe once more,
Secure at home and in good compass.
- Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath,
For you must needs be out of all compass
In more acceptations of th’phrase than one.
Know you the predestinate path, of which Rabbit despaired?
- Despair thy charm
That palterest us in a double sense:
But scaly vessels of stored-up honey
Hath rung the night’s yawning peal;
My gaping maw doth taste the sound of it
Tht once was drown’d by Rabbit’s voice.
All his senses have but human conditions.
- Yeah, such an antic does not amount to a man,
And the gaffer says true “The empty vessel
Makes the greatest sound.”
- It is now eleven o’clock. Let me see, by twelve,
We shall have us each three honeypots.
Come, shall we about it?
- RABBIT (cold, spooked)
- Is this a sand-pit which I see before me?
I’ve passed thee thrice, yet I see thee still!
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight, or art thou but
A picture of the mind, a false creation?
Thou marshals’t me the way that I am going.
It is this circular business which informs thus
To my mind. Now o’er the one-half world
Nature seems dead, and wicked sights abuse.
O Lord, think not upon the fault
I made in design against Sir Tigger,
For I have issued more contrite tears
Than his bouncing crimes would tally,
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all
Imploring pardon. Hark!
‘Twas the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman
Which givest the sternest good-night.
[Enter TIGGER, bounces RABBIT by jostling him in a stagey sort of way]
- Permafoy! I have and do hold the only Rabbit,
As truly, but not as duly - as bird doth sing on bow;
Woulds’t thou have me fold up Parca’s fatal web?
- Never did faithful pilgrim more rejoice
At the discovery of most dangerous distress
Than I do at this hour rejoice myself,
Prevented from an endless enterprise.
- Pauca verba, there’s enough8. Go to,
A dinner shall we have, and present pay,
And friendship shall combine and brotherhood.
I shall live by Rabbit, and Rabbit shall live by me.
Is not this just? Give me thy hand.
- Thus far, with rough and all unable pen
Our bending author hath persued the story
In little room confining as little men
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most strangely lived
Though the world’s best garden he’d achieve
By unbouncing Tigger, Rabbit did not succeed,
But learned a lesson, though his soil fill with weeds,
Which here our stage hath shown; and for their sake
In your fair minds, let this acceptance take.
The original, literal meaning is that “a nought or zero (a curved figure) is able to signify a million (i.e., by converting 100,000 to 1,000,000).” —Craik. I use it in the sense that Rabbit may be misjudging Tigger’s character. Pooh must attribute this logic to C. Robin to be consistent with his own lack of arithmetical ability. ↩
Piglet is incredulous at Pooh’s claim that Tigger is harmless, since a vague but impressive recital of his offenses has just been given by Rabbit. Pooh, of course, has not heard this list because of the piece of fluff in his ear. ↩
I am loosly matching Tigger with Henry V’s Pistol. His lines loose some sensicality in the conversion, but even the originals are obscure to any modern audience. If spoken in the proper mood, the desired effect and meaning will be made somewhat clear. ↩
I.e., ‘We are going, come what may!’ ↩
Tigger may suspect treachery, but this should not be emphasized. He is here, as in the book, carefree and too shallow for much thoughts of conspiracy, not inclined to hold grudges. ↩
By this aside to the audience, Rabbit means us to believe that none of this is his fault. ↩
Here, as in the original, Pooh suggests that if, when searching for home, they keep finding the sand-pit, they should search for the sand-pit and thus they might find home. ↩
Latin, “few words,” part of the proverbial “few words are best.” Used elliptically by Pistol in Henry V, 2.1.80. ↩