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Massenet
Manon
English
Synopsis
Introduction
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
French
Introduction
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Annexe A
Other
Introduction
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Annexe A
Original Language with
English Translation
(in PDF format)
Introduction
ACT1
ACT2
ACT3
ACT4
ACT5

ACT I

(A Courtyard of an Inn at Amiens. POUSETTE, JAVOTTE OSETTE, GUILLOT and DE BRÉTIGNY enter.)

GUILLOT (calling host). Hallo, there, Mr. Host. How many times must I shout to obtain an answer?
DE BRÉTIGNY. We wish to drink!
GUILLOT. We want to eat. Hallo, there!
DE BRÉTIGNY. We have come to a fine place!
GUILLOT and DE BRÉTIGNY. Is any one coming?
GUILLOT. By my faith this will not do. Such in attention to people of quality.
DE BRÉTIGNY (in a rage). They are all dead for certain!
GUILLOT. At least the Host is.

(The Host appears at the door.)

DE BRÉTIGNY (with a cry of joy). Ah! here is the rascal!
GUILLOT (with pretended anger). Come hither caitiff!                                     INNKEEPER. I neglect you? No! I will say not a word but will shortly serve the dinner.
(At this moment various servants enter with the dishes brought from the Inn with choice wines and cross to parlor on opposite side.)

INNKEEPER (bowing and presenting the Menu). Hors d'oeuvres to select from.
POUSSETTE. Well!
INNKEEPER. Also Ragout.
POUSSETTE and OTHERS. Good !
JAVOTTE. And Salmon

GUILLOT. And Ragout.
DE BRÉTIGNY. And Bisque.
POUSSETTE. Ah, great heavens.
JAVOTTE and OTHERS. Let us have patience to get
served.
INNKEEPER. A good Paté -with Clamfish.
POUSSETTE. Heavens what Clamfish.
INNKEEPER. And to digest the breakfast. See - what excellent wine.
GUILLOT (to the cellar man). Be careful not to shake it.
INNKEEPER. And to crown my grand effect a superb Paté de Foix gars.
Pousstte. A Paté !
INNKEEPER (proudly). Yes, sir, and you will find it excellent.
GUILLOT Indeed !
DE BRÉTIGNY. Glorious !
POUSSETTE. 0 great providence !
JAVOTTE AND OTHERS. With patience, we shall get served, indeed, I am starving and long to be at table; as all is served let us sit down at once.
INNKEEPER. I have received your lordship's instructions. The dinner is served.

(Leads them into the Inn.)
(The bell of the Inn rings. Townsfolk assemble.)
TOWNSFOLK. Hark ! Hark ! The hour is sounding,
See the coach the corner rounding !
We must see all.
At some to laugh,
To smile on beauty,
Is what we call
Our solemn duty.
(Lescaut enters, followed by two Guardsmen.)
LESCAUT (to his companions). This is the place, or
i'm mistaken, where the coach from Arms stops to bait man and beast.
GUARDSMEN. This is the place. LESCAUT (dismissing them.) Good-day! GUARDSMEN. Ah, surely thou art joking, Lescaut,
Thou wilt not leave us thus?
LESCAUT (good-humouredly). Not I!
A wine-shop there is close at hand,
Where they sell only liquor that's strong.
Here awaiting my cousin I stand,
But you. I'll rejoin before long. GUARDSMEN. Well; don't forget.
LESCAUT (appearing hurt.) What do you mean?
You go too far!
GURDSMTEN (entreatingly.) Lescaut!
LESCAUT. Ah well!
I perhaps, shall lose my memory
When next you want a drink of me.
Be off to the wine-shop at hand,
And there let the liquor flow free.
Here awaiting my cousin I stand,
You can drink while you're waiting for me.

(Guardsmen exeunt.)
(Intending passengers appear in the street, with porters
carrying their luggage.)
TOWNSFOLK (joyfully.) Here they come! ! Here they come! (The coach is seen at back ; passengers descend from it.)
An OLD LADY (adjusting her head-dress.) Oh! this is shameful ! My pretty bonnet!
TOWNSFOLK (laughing.) Now do just look at that old woman!
A PASSENGER. Hi! porter, here !
FORTES (in bad temper.) All right! All right!
TOWNSFOLK (laughing.) Ah, how our sides will ache with laughter!
SECOND PASSENGER. Tell me, sir, I pray, where's my birdcage?
FIRST PASSENGER. Hi! here I say.
THIRD PASSENGER. Answer me!
FOURTH PASSENGER. Here, now guard!
FIFTH PASSENGER. My turn first!
SIXTH PASSENGER. My boxes!
SEVENTH PASSENGER. Where's my trunk?
ALL PASSENGERS Answer me!
POSTILLIONS AND PORTERS. All right! All right I

Just wait a bit.

PASSENGERS (loudly). Why don't you give us each

his luggage?

POSTILLIONS AND PORTERS. Not so much bluster.

Make less noise, we beg.

PASSENGERS. Heav'ns, that 'this Worry there should be

For harmless travelers each as we!
Sure ev'ry man his will should make
Before he dare a journey take.
POSTILLIONS, PORTERS, AND TOWNSFOLK.
Heav'ns, what a life the poor men lead !
Who would endure it but for need?
See, up and down {we go in vain,
{ they }
For when down up {we }

{ they } go again.

 

PASSENGERS (following the Postillions. Look here, I'm the first.

 

POSTILLIONS (brusquely). You're the last!

PASSENGERS. I¡¦m the first.
POSTILLIONS. No!

TOWNSFOLK (laughingly imitating). You're the last. No !

(Manon, who has Come out of the crowd, regards the scene with astonishment.

WOMEN (looking at Manon). Oh, look! Look at that young woman!

LESCAUT (observing her in turn). I'm almost sure that you fresh and pretty girl is Manon, my fair relation. (To Manon. ) I am Lescaut !

MANON (with some surprise). You ! Is that true? (simply and without reserve.) Come, kiss me then!
LESCAUT. Certainly, my dear. 'Who would not? (aside) My word! She is a pretty maiden, and quite a credit to our family.

MANON (embarrassed). Ah, cousin mine! Excuse me, pray.
LESCAUT (aside). What a charming girl! MANON (with expression).
A simple maid, fresh from lov'd home,
To me it is so strange to roam.
Dear cousin mine, excuse me, pray,
For awkwardness on such a day.
(With vivacity) Oh! pardon me for prattling so,
Since this is my first trip, you know.
I scarce had started on my way,

Than with delight I wond'ring gazed

On meadows, woods, and mansions fair; What marvel then that I was dazed !
My heart was light as trees flew past,

Their branches waving in. the wind,

And I forgot, so glad I felt,
That I must leave these joys behind.
Launched on the world thus beautiful
(Nay, mock me not, 'tis truth I say),
It seemed that I had sudden flown
To Paradise that happy day.
Then came a moment of distress;
I wept aloud, I know not why.
An instant after, how I laughed !

(With a burst of laughter.)

To find a reason do not try.

Ah ! cousin mine, etc,
(Passengers and Attendants fill the Inn-yard. The departure bell rings. )
(The crowd slowly disperse, leaving Lescaut and Manon together. )
LESCAUT (to Manon). Wait a moment. Be prudent; I am going to find your luggage.
(Exit Lescaut. )
THE TOWNSFOLK (dispersing). We have discharged our solemn duty.
(Manon remains clone. )
GUILLOT ( appearing on the balcony of the pavilion). Miserable landlord ! are we never to have any wine? (He observes Manon). Heavens! What do I see? Young lady! hem ! hem ! Young lady! (Aside. ) Really, my head is turning round!
MANON (aside and laughing). What a funny man ! GUILLOT. Young lady, I am Guillot de Morfontaine. I am rich and would give a good deal to a word of love from you. Now, what do you say to that?
MANON. That I should be angry, if I were not more disposed to laugh.

(Manon laughs, and her laughter is echoed by De Bré tigny, Gtavotte, Pousette, and Rosette, who have just appeared on the balcony. )

DE BRÉTIGNY. Now then, Guillot, what's your game? We are waiting for you.
GUILLOT. Oh! Go to the devil.
POUSETTE (to Guillot). Are you not ashamed? At your age!
DE BRÉTIGNY. This time I swear the dog has by chance found a price. Never did sweeter look light up a woman's face!
JAVOTTE, POUSETTE, and ROSETTE (laughingly to Guillot. )
Oh! come back, Guillot. Oh! come back !
Where a false step leads who can tell?
Be advised, Guillot, tempt not Fate.
Have a care: back while all is well.
DE BRÉTIGNY. Now then, Guillot, let the girl alone and come in. We are calling you.
GUILLOT. Ay, ay, in a moment. (to Manon). My little one, give me a word.
DE BRÉTIGNY. Guillot, let the girl alone. GUILLOT (in a low voice to Manon. ) A postillion is coming for me directly; when you see him, understand that a carriage is at your service. Take it, and afterwards you shall know more.
LESCAUT (who has just entered). What do you say?
GUILLOT (confused). Oh, sir!
LESCAUT ( boisterously ) Oh, Sir ! Did you say;                                                     GUILLOT ( returning unwillingly to the pavilion. )
Nothing, sir, I said.
JAVOTTE, POUSETTE, ROSETTE. Oh! come back
Guillot; oh, come back, etc).
( Laughing, they re-enter the pavilion. ) LESCAUT (seriously, to Manon. ) He spoke to you, Manon
MANON (lightly ). Well, can you say it was my fault?
LESCAUT. That's true; and in my eyes you are so good that I won't trouble myself.
( The two Guardsmen enter. )
FIRST GUARDSMAN (to Lescaut ). How now ! thou comest not !
SECOND GUARDSMAN. Both cards and (lice are waiting your pleasure below.
LESCAUT. I come; but first to this young lady, with your leave, good Sirs, I must speak some words of counsel full of wisdom.
GUARdSMEN (resignedly). To his wisdom we'll listen.
LESCAUT (to Manon). Give good heed to what I say; Duty calls now) away,

To consult these comrades here

On a point that's not quite clear.

Wait just a moment for me, Manon, no more.

Make no mistake, but prudent be,

And one thing always bear in mind,

That safe within my hands you'll find

The honor of our family.

And if, forsooth, some silly man

Should whisper folly in your ear,

Behave as though you did not hear,

For safety's sake adopt that plan.

( To the Guardsmen, with a sign of departure. )

Now let us go and see on which of us the goddess of the game will look with loving eyes. (As he goes he turns to Manon. ) Make no mistake, but prudent be. (Exaunt Lescaut and Guardsmen. )

 

MANON (with simplicity. ) Yes, I will do as I am told not a word, not a thought. Far away I will banish those wild dreams that with glittering splendors hold me in thrall. I'll dream no more. ( She appears deep in thought. Suddenly she looks towards the pavilion in which are Pousette, Javotte and Rosette. ) What happy lives those ladies lead! Round the throat of one is a necklace of gold. ( Rising. ) Ah! beautiful dresses and gems in radiant splendor Bashing ! How delightful you are to me! (Sadly and resignedly.)

Alas! Manon, again thour't dreaming.

Vainly with thy fate;

All these glories arc but seeming.

Leave them at the convent gate.

Manon, dream thou no more. Ah ! 't is easy said, but my eyes with their splendor are dazzled till I ace aught else. How happy must the women be who spend their lives in search of pleasure! ( She sees Des Grieux approaching. ) Who is that? Quick, to my place.

{Des Griex comes forward 'without noticing Manon. ) DES GREUX. The hour is fixed when I depart,

yet I pause, not knowing why. ( Resolutely. ) To-morrow, whatever betide, I shall embrace my father. He will meet me gladly, and my heart goes forth to him. Oh, my father, soon I shall grasp thy hand! (Involuntarily he turns towards Manon.) Great Heaven! Am I dreaming? Yes, it is a vision! Whence comes this rapturous longing? Now I feel that my life but begins or is ending! A hand of iron draws me, though resisting, from the way I ought to go. Spite of myself I now would kneel before her. (Slowly he approaches Manon.) Young lady!

 

MANON. Sir!

DES GREUX. Pardon me I do not know I obey

I am no longer master of myself. I see you assuredly for the first time, yet my heart recognizes you. If I knew but your name!

MANON (with simplicity). I am called Manon.

DES GRIEUX (with emotion). Manon !

MANON (aside). How tender his looks! To my soul how delightful his voice!

DES GREUX. All my fond, foolish words, I pray you forgive.

MANON (with simplicity). How condemn your words when they charm my heart! In my cars they are music. Would to heaven such language were mine, to make you fit answer.

DES GRIEUX ( in transport). Lovely enchantress!
All-conquering beauty! Manon, from hence-
forth thou art mistress of my heart! MANON. Oh, what joy! Henceforth the mistress
of his heart!

DES GREUX. Speak to me.

MANON. I am only a simple maiden. (Smiling. )
Believe me, I am not wicked, but I often am. told
by those at home that I love pleasure too well.
(Sadly.) I am now on my way to a convent.
That, sir, is the story of Manon Lescaut.

DES GRIEUX (with ardor). No; I will not believe that Fate can be so hard that one so young and fair can be destined to dwell in a living tomb.

MANON. But 'tis, alas! The sovereign will of Heaven, to whose service I'm devoted. No one from this fate can deliver me.

DES GRIEUX (firmly). No, no! Not from you, Manon, shall hope and joy be torn

MANON (joyfully). Oh, Heaven!

DES GEIEUX. For on my will and my power you can safely depend.

MANON (with energy). Ah! To you I owe far more than life.

DES GRIEUX. Manon, you shall not leave me now; since I would gladly roam through all the world, seeking for you, love, an unknown retreat, and carry you there in my arms.

MANON. To you, my life and my soul. To you I give my life for evermore.

DES GEIEUX. Light of my soul! Manon ! The mistress of my heart for evermore.

(A Postillion, who has been warned by Guillot to take the orders of Manon, appears at back. Manon looks at him, reflects, and smiles. )

MANON (to Des Grieux ). Oh, what a chance is thrown now in your way! There is a carriage here awaiting its owner. He has dared to make love to Manon. Be revenged!
DES GEIEUX. But how?
MANON. Let us take it both of us.

DES GRIEUX. Good! Away! (Exit Postillion. )

MANON (troubled'. But, sir we go together?

DES GEIEUX. Yes, Manon; are not our hearts united?
MANON And DES GRIEUX. We to Paris will go,
Heart to heart!
And, though Fortune may frown,
Never part!
Evermore bliss is ours, love's sweetest flowers
Will we crown the bright hours.
DES GRIEUX (tenderly). Soon my name will become your own. ( With emotion.) Ah, excuse!
MANON. All unworthy is Manon, and she desires no sacrifice; yet otherwise 'tis wrong,
DES GRIEUX AND MANON. We to Paris will go, etc. (Peals qf i laughter in the pavilion are heard. )
MANON. There they are!

DES GRIEUX. What troubles you?
MANON. The beautiful ladies.

POUSSETTE. JAVOTTE, AND ROSETTE (in the pavilion. )

Oh, come back, Guillot, etc.

LESCAUT without, and speaking as though intoxicated. ) This evening I shall expect you both at the wine-shop.

MANON (alarmed.) 'This my cousin's voice, I fear.

DES GRIEUX. Come away !

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, AND ROSETTE (in the pavilion).

Oh, come back, Guillot, etc. ( Peals of laughter. ) MANON (excitedly). Ah, delightful it surely must be

Pleasure to seek and all sorrow to flee.

(Exeunt Manon and Des Grieux.)

 

 

 

 


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