Didone abbandonata d'Eena
Music composed by Henry Purcell. Libretto by Nahum Tate
Date of composition: 1689
DIDONE ABBANDONATA D'ENEA: a melodramma performed at Josias Priest's at Chelsey.
The libretto made by Mr. NAT. TATE, drawn from Virgil.
The music composed by Mr. HENRY PURCELL.
SPIRIT of the Sorceress (Mercurio)
Didone's train, Enea's train, Fairies, Sailors
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.
DIDONE: 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.
Grief increases by concealing,
Mine admits of no revealing.
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.
When monarchs unite, how happy their state,
They triumph at once o'er their foes and their fate.
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!
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?
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
[Aeneas enters with his train]
See, your Royal Guest appears,
How Godlike is the form he bears!
When, Royal Fair, shall I be blest
With cares of love and state distrest?
Fate forbids what you pursue.
Aeneas has no fate but you!
Let Dido smile and I'll defy
The feeble stroke of Destiny.
Cupid only throws the dart
That's dreadful to a warrior's heart,
And she that wounds can only cure the smart.
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.
Pursue thy conquest, Love; her eyes
Confess the flame her tongue denies.
A DANCE. GITTARS CHACONY.
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
[PRELUDE FOR THE WITCHES]
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.
Say, Beldam, say what's thy will.
Harm's our delight and mischief all our skill.
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!
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
Ruin'd ere the set of sun?
Tell us, how shall this be done?
The Trojan Prince, you know, is bound
By Fate to seek Italian ground;
The Queen and he are now in chase.
Hark! Hark! the cry comes on apace.
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.
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
[Enter a Drunken Sailor; a dance]
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]
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
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]
Behold, upon my bending spear
A monster's head stands bleeding,
With tushes far exceeding
Those did Venus' huntsman tear.
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]
Stay, Prince and hear great Jove's command;
He summons thee this Night away.
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.
Jove's commands shall be obey'd,
Tonight our anchors shall be weighed.
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]
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
See the flags and streamers curling
Anchors weighing, sails unfurling.
Phoebe's pale deluding beams
Guilding more deceitful streams.
Our plot has took,
The Queen's forsook.
Elissa's ruin'd, ho, ho!
Our plot has took,
The Queen's forsook, ho, ho!
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.
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.]
[Enter Dido, Belinda and train]
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.
See, Madam, see where the Prince appears;
Such Sorrow in his looks he bears
As would convince you still he's true.
What shall lost Aeneas do?
How, Royal Fair, shall I impart
The God's decree, and tell you we must part?
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.
By all that's good ...
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.
In spite of Jove's command, I'll stay.
Offend the Gods, and Love obey.
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.
Let Jove say what he will: I'll stay!
Away, away! No, no, away!
No, no, I'll stay, and Love obey!
To Death I'll fly
If longer you delay;
But Death, alas! I cannot shun;
Death must come when he is gone.
Great minds against themselves conspire
And shun the cure they most desire.
[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.
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.
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.