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Saturday, April 2, 2016

DIDONE ABBANDONATA D'ENEA

Speranza

Dido and Aeneas

Music composed by Henry Purcell. Libretto by Nahum Tate

Date of composition: 1689

DIDO AND AENEAS

An opera perform'd at Mr. Josias Priest's Boarding School at Chelsey by Young Gentlewomen. The words made by Mr. NAT. TATE. The music composed by Mr. HENRY PURCELL
     Dramatis Personae

     DIDO
     BELINDA
     TWO WOMEN
     AENEAS
     SORCERESS
     ENCHANTRESSES
     SPIRIT of the Sorceress (Mercury)
     
     Dido's train, Aeneas' train, Fairies, Sailors


     OVERTURE
          
ACT THE FIRST 
     
     Scene: 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 guest.
     
     BELINDA
     Grief increases by concealing,
     
     DIDO
     Mine admits of no revealing.
     
     BELINDA
     Then let me speak; the Trojan guest
     Into your tender thoughts has prest;
     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.
     
     DANCE THIS CHORUS
     
     THE BASKE
     [Aeneas enters with his 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 of beauty be shown,
     Go revel, ye Cupids, the day is your own.
     
     THE TRIUMPHING DANCE
     
     
ACT THE SECOND
     
     Scene [I]: The Cave
     [enter Sorceress]
     
     [PRELUDE FOR THE WITCHES]
     
     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 Enchantresses]
     
     FIRST WITCH
     Say, Beldam, 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
     Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
     
     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! Hark! the cry comes on apace.
     
     SORCERESS
     But, when they've 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
     Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
     [Enter a Drunken Sailor; a dance]
     
     TWO WITCHES
     But ere we this perform,
     We'll conjure for a storm
     To mar their hunting sport
     And drive 'em back to court.
     
     CHORUS [in the manner of an echo.]
     In our deep vaulted cell the charm we'll prepare, 
     Too dreadful a practice for this open air.
     
     ECHO DANCE [Enchantresses and Fairies]
     
     Scene [II]: The Grove
     [enter Aeneas, Dido, Belinda, and their train]
     
     RITORNELLE [Orchestra]
     
     BELINDA [Repeated by Chorus]
     Thanks to these lovesome 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, discover'd too late.
     [A Dance to entertain Aeneas by Dido's women]
     
     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 a sunder.
     
     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 Powers 
     To gain th' Hesperian shore 
     And ruined Troy restore.
     
     AENEAS
     Jove's commands shall be obey'd,
     Tonight our anchors shall be weighed.
     [Exit Spirit.]
     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.
     
     THE SORCERESS AND HER ENCHANTRESSES (CHORUS)
     Then since our Charmes have sped, 
     A Merry Dance be led 
     By the Nymphs of Carthage to please us. 
     They shall all Dance to ease us,
     A Dance that shall make the Spheres to wonder,
     Rending those fair Groves asunder.
     
     THE GROVES DANCE
     
     
ACT THE THIRD
     
     Scene: The Ships
     [enter the Sailors, the Sorceress, and her Enchantresses]
     
     PRELUDE
     
     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.
     
     THE SAILORS' DANCE
     
     SORCERESS
     See the flags and streamers curling
     Anchors weighing, sails unfurling.
     
     FIRST WITCH
     Phoebe's pale deluding beams
     Guilding more 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 storme her Lover on the Ocean!
     From the ruin of others our pleasures we borrow,
     Elissa bleeds tonight, and Carthage flames tomorrow.
     
     CHORUS
     Destruction's our delight
     Delight our greatest sorrow!
     Elissa dies tonight and Carthage flames tomorrow.
     [Jack of the the Lanthorn leads the Spaniards out of 
     their way among the Enchantresses.] 
     
     A DANCE
     
     [Enter Dido, Belinda and train]
     
     DIDO
     Your counsel all is urged 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 Heaven 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 have 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 will: 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
     [Cupids appear in the clouds o're her tomb]
     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 you Cupids come,
     To scatter roses on her tomb.
     Soft and Gentle as her Heart
     Keep here your watch, and never part.
     
     CUPIDS DANCE
     
     FINIS

Endnote:


The text of the Prologue is here omitted, as music has not survived for it. Music is missing also for some of the parts of the opera proper, but some attempts have been made to reconstruct them in some productions. The text here does not guarantee faithfulness to any given spelling convention or any particular version of the text, except perhaps the original 1689 print.

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