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Monteverdi
Orfeo
English
Synopsis
Title Page
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Italian
Title Page
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5

Act V
 
Orpheus
These are the fields of Thrace and this the place
where pierced my heart
that grief at the bitter news.
Since I have no further hope
to have back again, through pleading,
weeping and sighing,
my lost love,
what more can I do than turn to you
sweet woods, at one time
comfort to my suffering, while it pleased heaven
to make you languish in pity with me,
at my languishing?
 
You grieved, O mountains, and you cried,
you rocks, at the leaving of our sun,
and I will always cry with you
and always yield myself, ah, to grief, ah, my weeping!
 
Echo
...ay weeping!
 
Orpheus
Kind, loving Echo,
you who are disconsolate
and would console me in my grief,
although these my eyes through tears
become two fountains,
in so heavy and cruel a misery
I have not tears enough.
 
Echo
...enough!
 
Orpheus
If I had the eyes of Argus,
and all poured out a sea of weeping.
 their grief would not match such woe.
 
Echo
...oh!
 
Orpheus
If you have pity for my misfortune, I thank you
for your kindness.
But while I lament,
ah, why do you answer me
only with my last words?
Give me back all my laments entire.
But you, my soul, if ever there should return
your cold shade to this friendly hill,
take from me these last praises,
since now my lyre and song is sacred to you,
as on the altar of my heart
I offered you in sacrifice my ardent spirit.
You were beautiful and wise, and in you
kind heaven rested all its graces,
while sparing of its gifts to every other woman.
In every tongue every praise is due to you,
for in your fair body you sheltered a fairer soul,
lesser in pride, then worthy the more of honour.
Now other women are proud and false,
pitiless and changeable to those that adore them,
without judgement and every noble thought,
whence rightly their behaviour is not praised.
Therefore may it never be that for a worthless woman
Love with his golden shaft pierce my heart.
 
(The following text, up to the entrance of Apollo, is found only in the libretto of 1607)
 
Moresca
 
Orpheus
But lo the hostile band
of women friendly to the drunken god,
I will withdraw at the hateful sight,
 for the eyes shun what the soul hates.
 
Chorus of Bacchantes
Evoe!  Father Lyæus,
Bassareus,
we call on you with clear voices,
Evoe! Happy and laughing
we praise you, father Lenæus
now that we have our hearts filled
with your divine fury.
 
Bacchante
He has escaped from this avenging hand,
our wicked adversary, Thracian Orpheus,
despiser of our high value.
 
Another Bacchante
He will not escape, for the heavier
does it fall the later it comes,
heavenly anger upon his guilty head.
 
 
Two Bacchantes
Let us sing, the while, of Bacchus, and in various ways
bless and praise his godhead.
 
Chorus of Bacchantes
Evoe! Father Lyæus,
Bassareus,
we call on you with clear voices,
Evoe! Happy and laughing
we praise you, father Lenæus,
now that we have our hearts filled
with your divine fury.
 
Bacchante
You first found the happy plant
whence comes the liquor
that washes away every sorrow,
and to ailing mortals
is father of sleep and sweet oblivion of ills.
 
Chorus of Bacchantes
Evoe! Father Lyæus,
Bassareus,
we call on you with clear voices,
Evoe! Happy and laughing
we praise you, father Lenæus,
now that we have our hearts filled
with your divine fury.
 
Bacchante
You, tamer of the shining East,
appeared proudly decked out in spoils,
on your golden chariot, bringer of day.
 
Bacchante
You like a powerful lion
with your strong right hand and unconquered heart
scattered and defeated
the regiments of the giants, and to the fury
of their arms put a halt,
 when Earth waged impious war with
her great sons against Heaven.
 
Chorus of Bacchantes
Evoe! Father Lyæus,
Bassareus,
we call on you with clear voices,
Evoe! Happy and laughing
we praise you, father Lenæus,
now that we have our hearts filled
with your divine fury.
 
Bacchante
Without you the kind goddess that Cyprus honours
would be cold and weak,
the great addition to every human pleasure
and to every afflicted heart sweet content.
 
Chorus of Bacchantes
Evoe! Father Lyæus,
Bassareus,
we call on you with clear voices,
Evoe! Happy and laughing
we praise you, father Lenæus,
now that we have our hearts filled
with your divine fury.
 
(The following text is found exclusively in the scores of 1609 and 1615)
 
Sinfonia
 
Apollo (descending on a cloud, singing)
Why to anger and grief in prey
do you so give yourself, O son?
It is not, it is not the counsel
of a generous heart
to serve its own feelings.
Since with reproach and danger
already I see you overcome,
I come from heaven to give you aid.
Now listen to me and you shall have praise and life.
 
Orpheus
Kind father, you come when I am in greatest need,
when to a desperate end
with extreme grief
anger and love has already brought me.
Here I am then, attending to your reasons,
heavenly father, now command me as you want.
 
Apollo
Too much, too much did you rejoice
in your happy fortune,
now too much you weep
at your bitter, hard lot.
Still do you not know
how nothing that delights down here will last?
Then if you want to enjoy immortal life,
come with me to heaven, which calls you.
 
Orpheus
Shall I never again see
the sweet eyes of my beloved Eurydice?
 
 
 
Apollo
In the sun and in the stars
you will gaze at her fair semblance.
 
Orpheus
Of such a father I should not be a worthy son,
if I did not follow your faithful advice.
 
Apollo and Orpheus
(ascending to heaven, singing)
Let us rise, singing, to heaven,
where true virtue
has due reward, delight and peace.
 
Ritornello
 
Chorus
Go, Orpheus, fully happy,
to enjoy celestial honour
where good never lessens,
where there is never grief,
while altars, incense and prayers
we offer to you, happy and devoted.
 
So goes one who does not draw
back at the call of the eternal spirit,
so he obtains grace in heaven
who down below made proof of Hades
and he who sows in sorrow
reaps the fruit of every grace.
 
Moresca
 
 

 


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