THE VAGABOND KING
Book and Lyrics by W.H. Post and Brian Hooker from Justin Huntly McCarthy's romance If I Were King.
Music by Rudolf Friml
Cut-throat and drunkard, pickpocket and braggart - François Villon is all of these. But he is also a poet and a Romantic, and he is adored by the rabble of Louis XI's Paris, which is ringed by the armies of the rebellious Burgundians. Katherine de Vaucelles has received romantic poems from Villon, not knowing his identity. She has rejected the advances of Louis, and has gone to an inn to discover, if she can, more about her unknown admirer. Villon boasts what he would do if he were king, not knowing that Louis is also there spying on Katherine. To revenge himself on Katherine the King brings Villon to Court and offers him twenty-four hours in which to prove himself. By the following dawn he must have won the hand of Katherine, or the hangman's noose will be round his neck. Huguette, a harlot who habitually dresses as a man, and Guy Taberie, a fat fool, are among those who join in Villon's subsequent adventures. Both are to offer their lives in his place, and one of them is to die before Burgundy is routed, and Villon reprieved on the very steps of the gallows.