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Libretto

 

OVERTURE

ACT ONE Scene One The Palace

(Enter Dido, Belinda and train.)

BELINDA
Shake the cloud from off your brow,
Fate your wishes does allow
Empire growing, Pleasures flowing,
Fortune smiles and so should you.

CHORUS
Banish sorrow, banish care,
Grief should ne'er approach the fair.

DIDO
Ah! Belinda, I am prest
With torment not to be confest,
Peace and I are strangers grown.
I languish till my grief is known,
yet would not have it guess'd.

BELINDA
Grief increases by concealing

DIDO
Mine admits of no revealing.

BELINDA
Then let me speak; the Trojan guest
into your tender thoughts has pressed;
the greatest blessing Fate can give,
Our Carthage to secure and Troy revive.

CHORUS
When monarchs unite, how happy their state,
They triumph at once, o'er their foes and their fate.

DIDO
Whence could so much virtue spring?
What storms, what battles did he sing?
Anchises' valour mixt with Venus' charms,
how soft in peace, and yet how fierce in arms!

BELINDA
A tale so strong and full of woe
Might melt the rocks as well as you.
What stubborn heart unmov'd could see
such distress, such piety?

DIDO
Mine with storms of care opprest
is taught to pity the distrest.
Mean wretches' grief can touch,
so soft, so sensible my breast;
But ah! I fear, I pity his too much.

BELINDA and SECOND WOMAN (repeated by CHORUS)
Fear no danger to ensue,
The Hero loves as well as you,
Ever gentle, ever smiling,
And the cares of life beguiling,
Cupid strew your path with flowers,
Gather'd from Elysian bowers.

[The Baske]

(Enter Aeneas and train.)

BELINDA
See, your Royal guest appears;
How Godlike is the form he bears!

AENEAS
When, Royal Fair, shall I be blest,
with cares of love and state distrest?

DIDO
Fate forbids what you pursue.

AENEAS
Aeneas has no fate but you!
Let Dido smile and I'll defy
the feeble stroke of destiny.

CHORUS
Cupid only throws the dart
That's dreadful to a warrior's heart,
and she that wounds can only cure the smart.

AENEAS
If not for mine, for Empire's sake
some pity on your lover take.
Ah! Make not, in a hopeless fire,
A hero fall, and Troy once more expire.

BELINDA
Pursue thy conquest, love;
her eyes confess the flame her tongue denies.

[A Dance Gittars Chacony]

CHORUS
To the hills and the vales,
to the rocks and the mountains,
to the musical groves and the cool shady fountains.
Let the triumphs of love and beauty be shown.
Go revel, ye Cupids, the day is your own.

THE TRIUMPHING DANCE (Orchestra)

Scene Two The Cave

(Enter Sorceress.)

SORCERESS
Wayward sisters, you that fright
the lonely traveller by night,
Who, like dismal ravens crying,
beat the windows of the dying.
Appear! Appear at my call, and share in the fame.
Of a mischief shall make all Carthage flame.
Appear!

(Enter Witches.)

FIRST WITCH
Say, Bedlam, say what's thy will.

CHORUS
Harm's our delight and mischief all our skill.

SORCERESS
The Queen of Carthage, whom we hate,
as we do all in prosp'rous state,
Ere sunset, shall most wretched prove,
Depriv'd of fame, of life and love!

CHORUS
He he ... ha ha ... ho ho!

TWO WITCHES
Ruin'd ere the set of sun?
Tell us, how shall this be done?

SORCERESS
The Trojan Prince, you know, is bound
by fate to seek Italian ground;
The Queen and he are now in chase.

FIRST WITCH
Hark! The cry comes on apace.

SORCERESS
But, when they're done, my trusty Elf
In form of Mercury himself
As sent from Jove, shall chide his stay,
and charge him sail tonight with all his fleet away.

CHORUS
Ha ha ... ha ha ... ho ho!

(Enter drunken sailors, a dance.)

TWO WITCHES
But, ere we this perform,
well conjure for a storm
To mar their hunting sport,
And drive 'em back to Court.

CHORUS and ECHO
In our deep vaulted cell the charm well prepare,
too dreadful a practice for this open air.

ECHO DANCE OF FURIES (Orchestra)

[Horrid Music]

ACT TWO The Grove

(Enter Aeneas, Dido, Belinda and train)

RITORNELLE (Orchestra)

BELINDA (repeated by CHORUS)
Thanks to these lonesome vales,
these desert hills and dales,
So fair the game, so rich the sport,
Diana's self might to these woods resort.

[Gitter Ground a Dance]

SECOND WOMAN
Oft she visits this lov'd mountain,
oft she bathes her in this fountain;
Here Actaeon met his fate,
Pursued by his own hounds, and after mortal wounds
Discover'd too late.

AENEAS
Behold, upon my bending spear
A monster's head stands bleeding,
with tushes far exceeding
those did Venus' huntsman tear.

DIDO
The skies are clouded hark!
How thunder rends the mountain oaks asunder.

BELINDA (repeated by CHORUS)
Haste, haste to town, this open field
no shelter from the storm can yield.

(Exeunt Dido and Belinda and train.)

(The Spirit of the Sorceress descends to Aeneas in the likeness of Mercury.)

SPIRIT
Stay, Prince! And hear great Jove's command;
He summons thee, this night, away

AENEAS
Tonight?

SPIRIT
Tonight thou must forsake this land,
The angry God will brook no longer stay.
Jove commands thee, waste no more
In Love's delights, those precious hours,
Allow'd by th'Almighty Pow'rs,
To gain th'Hesperian shore and ruined Troy restore.

AENEAS
Jove's commands shall be obey'd,
Tonight our anchors shall be weigh'd
But ah! What language can I try
my injur'd Queen to pacify:
No sooner she resigns her heart,
But from her arms I'm forc'd to part.
How can so hard a fate be took?
One night enjoy'd, the next forsook.
Yours be the blame, ye gods! For I
Obey your will, but with more ease could die.

[Chorus, Then since our Charmes have sped. The Groves Dance]

ACT THREE The Ships

(Enter sailors.)

FIRST SAILOR (repeated by CHORUS)
Come away, fellow sailors, your anchors be weighing,
Time and tide will admit no delaying
Take a bouzy short leave of your nymphs
on the shore,
And silence their mourning with vows of returning,
but never intending to visit them more,
no never intending to visit them more.

SAILORS' DANCE (Orchestra)

(Enter Sorceress and Witches.)

SORCERESS
See the flags and streamers curling,
Anchors weighing, sails unfurling.

FIRST WITCH
Phoebus' pale deluding beams
Gliding o'er deceitful streams.

SECOND WITCH
Our plot has took, the Queen's forsook.

TWO WITCHES
Elissa's ruin'd, ho, ho!
Our plot has took, the Queen's forsook, ho, ho!

SORCERESS
Our next motion must be to storm her lover on the ocean!
From the ruins of others our pleasures we borrow:
Elissa bleeds tonight, and Carthage flames tomorrow.

CHORUS
Destruction's our delight, delight our greatest sorrow!
Elissa bleeds tonight, and Carthage flames tomorrow. Ho ho!

WITCHES' DANCE (Orchestra)

(Enter Dido, Belinda and train.)

 DIDO
Your counsel all is urg'd in vain;
To earth and heav'n I will complain!
To earth and heav'n why do I call?
Earth and heav'n conspire my fall:
To Fate I sue, of other means bereft,
the only refuge for the wretched left.

BELINDA
See, madam, see where the Prince appears;
Such sorrow in his looks he bears,
As would convince you still he's true.

(Enter Aeneas.)

AENEAS
What shall lost Aeneas do?
How, Royal Fair, shall I impart
The God's decree, and tell you we must part?

DIDO
Thus, on the fatal banks of Nile,
Weeps the deceitful crocodile;
Thus hypocrites, that murder act,
Make Heav'n and Gods the authors of the fact.

AENEAS
By all that's good -

DIDO
By all that's good, no more!
All that's good you here forswore
to your promis'd empire fly, and let forsaken Dido die.

AENEAS
In spite of Jove's command, I'll stay.
Offend the Gods and Love obey.

DIDO
No, faithless man, thy course pursue;
I'm now resolv'd as well as you.
No repentance shall reclaim
The injur'd Dido's slighted flame,
For 'tis enough, whate'er you now decree,
that you had once a thought of leaving me.

AENEAS
Let Jove say what he please, I'll stay!

DIDO
Away, away! No, no, away!

AENEAS
No, no, I'll stay, and Love obey!

DIDO
To Death I'll fly, if longer you delay;
Away, away!…
(Exit Aeneas.)
But Death, alas! I cannot shun;
Death must come when he is gone.

CHORUS
Great minds against themselves conspire,
and shun the cure they most desire.  

DIDO
Thy hand, Belinda; darkness shades me:
On thy bosom let me rest:
More I would, but Death invades me:
Death is now a welcome guest.

When I am laid in earth,
May my wrongs create no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me! but ah! forget my fate.

CHORUS
With drooping wings ye cupids come,
and scatter roses on her tomb,
soft and gentle as her heart;
Keep here your watch, and never part

[Cupids Dance]


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Copyright © 2004 Tore Frantzvåg Steenslid
Last updated:
29.04.2005