*Hagoromo  (The Feather Mantle)

Persons in order of appearance

    Hakuryo, a fisherman                                                                                            waki
    One or two Companions                                                                                        wakisure
    An Angel (Zo-onna mask and an elaborate headdress with a white bird in it)        shite

Remarks:  A third-category play (kazura-mono) current in all five schools of noh. The several performance variants (kogaki) of this play adopt different dances and may also require cuts in the texts. In one (Kanze school), no pine is placed on the stage; instead, the mantle is hung on the first pine, along the bridgeway.

            *            *            *

Stage assistant places a small pine tree near the front of the stage. A robe (the angel's mantle) hangs in its branches.
To  issei music, enter Hakuryo and Companions, each carrying a fishing pole over his right shoulder. They face each other along the front of the stage.
Swift winds blow
at Mio down the curving shore
small craft row,
and fisherfolk
call over the sea-lanes!                                                                          Face audience.
HAKURYO  You have before you a fisherman named Hakuryo, from the pine woods of the coast, at Mio.


Above endless leagues of lovely hills,
suddenly, clouds rise;
a bright moon over the pavilion
proclaims the clearing of the rain.
Yes, this is a time of peace and calm.
Spring has touched the pine woods,
wave on wave washes the shore
as mists rise, and the moon
loiters in the plains of Heaven:
even for such as we,
beauty to transport the heart with keen delight!
beauty to transport the heart with keen delight!
How could I forget?
By mountain trails we came to Kiyomigata
and spied afar the pine woods of Mio:
now, my friends, let us journey there
now, my friends, let us journey there.
Wind billowed,
clouds drift aloft:
do you see the waves
clouds drift aloft: do you see the waves,
men - why, no fishing done,
will you hurry home?
Stay, for spring is here: the morning breeze
surely will be kind, singing with gentle voice                                               Mimes walking.
through pines ever green, while in the calm of dawn,
fishermen crowd forth in teeming craft
fishermen crowd forth in teeming craft.
During the passage above, Hakuryo puts down his fishing pole at the stage assistant position while Companions go and sit in witness square. Hakuryo now stands in base square.

HAKURYO  Just as I reach the pine woods of Mio and stand gazing out over the shore, blossoms fall from the sky, music resounds, and a wondrous fragrance pervades all the air. This is nothing ordinary. And, in fact, I see an exquisite mantle hanging on this pine. Yes indeed, it is astonishing in both color and scent. Surely this is no common mantle. [Takes it and moves towards witness position.] I will take it home with me, show it to the elders, and make it an heirloom in my house.

Angel calls through curtain, then comes down bridgeway.

ANGEL  Forgive me, but that mantle belongs to me. Why have you taken it?

HAKURYO  It was hanging there and I found it. I am taking it home with me.

ANGEL  But this is an angel's feather mantle. It is not something lightly given to a human. Please put it back where it was.

HAKURYO  If I understand you correctly, this mantle belongs to an angel. Why, in that case, I must secure it as a wonder in this latter age and make it a treasure of the realm. No, I certainly cannot return it.

ANGEL  Oh no! Without my feather mantle, the pathways of flight are closed to me. Never again will I return to Heaven! Please, please, give it back!

HAKURYO  Rather than heed her desperate plea,

Hakuryo waxes stubborn.
When was I ever kind, I, a fisherman?
he cries, and hides the feather mantle.
No indeed, he says, and turns to go.
ANGEL  In her desperate plight, the angel now,
like a wingless bird,
moving to rise, still lacks the mantle,
HAKURYO  yet the earth to her is the nether world.

ANGEL  What then shall I do? in distress she cries,

HAKURYO  and when Hakuryo still withholds the mantle,

ANGEL  helpless,

HAKURYO  hopeless,

CHORUS  the dewdrop tears fall;

her jewelled crown, the flowers in her hair,
wilt and droop;
the five signs of an angel's decline
are plain to see, heart-breaking!
ANGEL  Oh celestial plains:
as I gaze aloft,
mists rise before my eyes,
the cloudways blur,
the path is lost!
CHORUS  My dear home, the sky: when shall I go
there, the clouds roam free
while I look on in envy and sorrow.
The kalavinka's voice I loved to hear
the kalavinka's voice I loved to hear
dies away; and the fading cries
of wild geese on the wing,
down the skyways homeward bound,
recall to me all I have lost!
Seagulls, plovers, speed across the waves,
diving and soaring in the winds of spring
that blow so free -
they too quicken my yearning!
HAKURYO  Please excuse me, but I can easily see how you are suffering. I cannot bear it. I will give you your mantle back.

ANGEL  Oh, how happy you have made me! Then please bring it to me.

HAKURYO  A moment, though. I will return it if you will dance for me, here and now, the angel dance that people tell of.

ANGEL  How glad I am! The I shall  be able to go home to Heaven! And in thanks I will gladly dance, for those who inhabit this sad, lower world, a dance to commemorate my visit among them: the one we do around the Palace of the Moon. But I cannot dance without my mantle. You must give it to me first.

HAKURYO  Oh no! If I give you your mantle back,

you will not dance at all.
Away you will soar, straight up to Heaven.
ANGEL  No, no, suspicion is only for humans.
In Heaven, falsehood is quite unknown.
HAKURYO  I am ashamed.
Very well, says he,
returning the feather mantle.                                                                           Does so.

Angel retires to stage assistant position, where stage assistant dresses her in the robe.

ANGEL  Clothes in her mantle, the maiden dances

'Rainbow Skirts and Feather Cloak.'
HAKURYO  Her own celestial mantle moves with the wind,

ANGEL  moist with rain, the blossom sleeves

HAKURYO  sway and flutter

ANGEL  as she dances on!

CHORUS  The Suruga Dance from the East Country Songs

the Suruga Dance from the East Country Songs:
this, surely, is how it began!
Why are the heavens called boundless, everlasting?
When the Divine Pair, long, long ago,
laid out the world in its ten directions,
they found the sky went on without end
and so named it boundless, everlasting.
ANGEL  How does it look, the Palace of the Moon?
Hewn with glittering axe it stands, for all eternity,
CHORUS  while angel maidens robed in white or black,
twin bands, each of fifteen,
night by night all month long,
faithfully serve out their role.
ANGEL  Of these I am one,
a celestial maiden of the moon-laurel tree,
now divided in two,
and present here briefly: for so the world learned
the East Country's Suruga Dance!
Angel dance through the passage below.
Mists of spring
veil all the hills:
in the everlasting
moon the laurel tree
surely is in full bloom.
This crown of blossoms, so gay in hue,
declares spring has come. Ah, beautiful!
Although not Heaven, the earth is lovely too.
O sky-coursing breezes, close with your breath
the passageways through the clouds!
Let the angel maiden linger a while
here by the pine wood, to show us spring
touching Mio Cape, the moon is so clear
over Kiyomigata, the snows of Fugi -
peerless, all, like this spring dawn:
the waves, wind in the pines, the tranquil shore!
Heaven and earth, why, are they not one?
Simple spirit-fences part Inner from Outer
Shrine, whose Gods' offspring still rule
our moon-illumined land, source of the sun!
ANGEL  In our Sovereign's reign,
the celestial feather mantle
rarely descends
CHORUS  to brush the rocks below:
unworn, they endure,
O happy news!
Songs of the East swell from countless throats
as drone-pipes, flutes, harps, and zitherns
resound through the heavens
from the Cloud of Welcome
as the sun sinks, the red of Mount Sumeru;
blue the waves towards Ukishima Moor,
swept by storm winds that scatter blossoms,
like swirling snow, the dancing sleeves
whirl, like clouds, so white, so pure.
Angel goes down on one knee in the base square, with palms pressed together.

ANGEL  Hail to the refuge, almighty Seishi, source of the Lord of the Moon!

CHORUS  A dance, then, from the East Country Songs.

(DANCE: jo-no-mai)

Angel dances a  jo-no-mai and continues dancing as text resumes.

ANGEL  Now you see the blue mantle of the loft heavens,

CHORUS  now the mantling mists that rise in spring:

ANGEL  a wonder in scent and hue, the maiden's train

CHORUS  sweeps and sways, rustling,

flowers in her hair nod while feather sleeves
billow, coil and turn, the dancing sleeves!
(DANCE: ha-no-mai)

Angel dances a  ha-no-mai and continues dancing as text resumes.

The East Country Songs play on and on
the East Country Songs play on and on
as she whose loveliness is the moon's own,
this fifteenth night, aloft in the heavens
shines again, the face of accomplished truth,
showering riches - all prayers fulfilled,
the realm repleat, and the seven treasures -
on our land below.
As time goes by, the celestial feather mantle,
wind-borne, floats down the shore,
above the pine woods of Mio,
the moors of Ukishima,
Mount Ashitaka, Fuji's soaring peak,
and, mingling with the mists,
fades into the heavens,
lost forever to view.
Angel stamps a final beat.

*From: Japanese No Dramas. Edited and translated by Ryall Tyler; Penguin Books; 1992.

The following expert is from Hagoromo on Japanese Noh Music. Performed by The Kyoto Nohgahu Kai; Lyrichord Discs Inc.:

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