I. The Old Woman (A Morality Play)
The Old Woman (A Morality Play)
Characters: The Woman The House The Doctor The Deacon The Landlady
Doctor: There is an old woman Who ought to die—
Deacon: And nobody knows But what she's dead—
Doctor: The air will be cleaner When she's gone—
Deacon: But we dare not bury her Till she's dead—
Landlady: Come, young doctor From the first floor front, Come, dusty deacon, From the fourth floor back, You take her heels And I'll take her head—
Doctor and Deacon: We'll carry her And bury her If she's dead!
House: They roll her up In her old, red quilt, They carry her down At a horizontal tilt, She doesn't say "Yes" And she doesn't say "No," She doesn't say, "Gentlemen, Where do we go?"
Doctor: Out in the lot Where ash-cans die, There, old woman, There shall you lie!
Deacon: Let's hurry away And never look behind To see if her eyes Are dead and blind, To see if the quilt Lies over her face— Perhaps she'll groan Or move in her place!
House: The room is empty Where the old woman lay, And I no longer Smell like a tomb—
Landlady: Doctor, deacon, Can you say Who'll pay rent For the old woman's room?
* * * * * * *
House: The room is empty Down the hall, There are mice in the closet, Ghosts in the wall— A pretty little lady Comes to see—
Woman: Oh, what a dark room, Not for me!
Landlady: The room is large And the rent is low, There's a deacon above And a doctor below—
Deacon: When the little mice squeak I shall pray—
Doctor: I'll psycho-analyse The ghosts away—
Landlady: The bed is large And the mattress deep, Wrapped in a feather-bed You shall sleep—
Woman: But here's the door Without a key! An unlocked room Won't do for me!
Doctor: Here's a bolt—
Deacon: And here's a bar—
Landlady: You'll sleep soundly Where you are!
Woman: Good night, gentlemen, It's growing late, Good night, landlady, Pray don't wait! I'm going to bed, I'll bolt the door And sleep more soundly Than ever before!
Deacon: Good night, madam, I'll steal away—
Doctor: Glad a pretty lady Has come to stay!
House: She lights a candle— What do I see! That cloak looks like A quilt to me! She climbs into bed Where long she's lain, She's come back home, She won't leave again. She's found once more Her rightful place, Same old lady With a pretty new face. Let the deacon pray And the doctor talk, The mice will squeak And the ghosts will walk. There's a crafty smile On the landlady's face, The old woman's gone, But she's filled her place...!