New Thought Editorials > The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring


Spring 2015

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring

One of the most popular of the Victorian series of Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas is The Mikado. It is a spoof—as they all are—on the foibles of British Victorian life, this time purportedly set in the mythical Japanese town of Titipu. The convoluted plot involves—as they all do—a complicated series of events caused by people’s scrupulous observance of ridiculously impractical laws imposed by the state or by themselves. The hero, Nanki-Poo, the son of the ruling Mikado, is in disguise and on the run from Katisha, a termagant who is engaged to marry him. But he has fallen in love with the charming Yum-Yum, one of the three little maids from school. She is engaged to Ko-Ko, whose ward she is; and Nanki-Poo is suicidal at the prospect of life with Katisha and without Yum-Yum. Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko then agree to have Nanki-Poo marry Yum-Yum because he is to be executed in a month, and Ko-Ko can then have her for himself. Unfortunately, the law decrees that as his wife, she must be executed, too. To resolve all this, it is decided that Ko-Ko must first persuade Katisha to marry him, and then Nanki-Poo can reveal that he is still alive and married to Yum-Yum. Nanki-Poo comments, "When Katisha is married, existence will be as welcome as the flowers in spring", then sings the first verse of a duet on the subject with Ko-Ko. Ko-Ko’s response:

The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la/Having nothing to do with the case.

I’ve got to take under my wing, tra la/A most unattractive old thing, tra la,

With a caricature of a face,

And that’s what I mean when I say or I sing "Oh, bother the flowers that bloom in the spring."

Tra la la la la, etc.

Earlier, the Mikado has acidly commented, "I’m really very sorry for you all, but it’s an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances". However, this is a theatrical performance and does have a very satisfactory ending.

The moral of this story, if moral there can be said to be, is that one needs to work and pray for the best despite hopeless appearances. This is good New Thought teaching, even though W. S. Gilbert had never heard of New Thought. But to understand why the ending is satisfactory, you have to attend a performance of The Mikado, should you be fortunate enough to have one in your neighborhood; or borrow a libretto from your local library, or buy the DVD (Amazon has it) with all the rollicking, delightful music in addition to the visuals. This will give you an understanding of the background of the various characters. For example, Ko-Ko, "taken from the county jail", has already had the benefit of great good luck when as "a cheap tailor" who has been condemned to death for flirting, he is made the Lord High Executioner, the highest civilian office in the land: "Who’s next to be decapited/ Cannot cut off another’s head/ Until he’s cut his own off". People’s thinking can and does change, and if thoughts are indeed things, we should change our own thinking before our thoughts—or anyone else’s—congeal into things that we don’t care for. In that case, we can be forgiven for transient truculence concerning the flowers that bloom in the spring, which they will probably be doing by the time you read this.