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Opera Libretti

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Title Page
Title Page
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3

Act II
Scene 1
Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso
Envy! Eldest-born of Hell!
Cease in human Breasts to dwell.
Ever at all Good repining,
Still the Happy undermining!
God and Man by thee infested,
Thou by God and Man detested!
Most thyself thou dost torment,
At once the Crime and Punishment.
Hide thee in the blackest Night:
Virtue sickens at thy sight!
Hence, eldest born of Hell!
Cease in human Breasts to dwell.
Scene 2
Jonathan and David
Ah, dearest Friend, undone by too much Virtue!
Think you, an Evil Spirit was the Cause
Of all my Father’s Rage? It was, indeed,
A Spirit of Envy, and of mortal Hate.
He has resolv’d your Death; And sternly charg’d
His whole Retinue, me especially,
To execute his Vengeance:
But sooner Jordan’s Stream, I swear,
back to his Spring shall swiftly roll,
than I consent to hurt a hair of thee,
thou Darling of my Soul.
O strange Vicissitude! But Yesterday
He thought me worthy of his Daughter’s Love;
To Day he seeks my Life.
My Sister Merab, by his own Gift thy Right,
He has bestow’d on Adriel.
O, my Prince, would that were all!
It would not grieve me much:
The scornful Maid (didst thou observe?)
With such disdainful Pride receiv’d
The King’s Command! But lovely Michal,
As mild as she is fair, out-strips all Praise.
Such haughty Beauties rather move
Aversion, than engage our Love.
They only can our Cares beguile,
Who gently speak, and sweetly smile.
If Virtue in that Dress appear,
Who, that sees, can Love forbear?
Such haughty Beauties …
My Father comes, retire, my friend, while I
With peaceful Accents try to calm his Rage.
(Exit David.)
Scene 3
Saul and Jonathan
Hast thou obey’d my Orders, and destroy’d
my mortal Enemy, the Son of Jesse?
Alas, my Father! He your Enemy?
Say rather, he has done important Service
to you, and to the Nation; hazarded
His Life for both, and slain our Giant Foe,
Whose Presence made the boldest of us tremble.
Sin not, O King, against the Youth,
Who ne’er offended you:
Think, to his Loyalty and Truth,
What great rewards are due!
Think with what joy this God-like man
You saw, that glorious day!
Think, and with ruin, if you can,
Such Services repay.
As Great Jehovah lives, I swear,
The Youth shall not be slain:
Bid him return, and void of Fear
Adorn our Court again.
From Cities storm’d, and Battles won,
What Glory can accrue?
By this the Hero best is known;
He can himself subdue.
Wisest and greatest of his Kind,
Who can in Reason’s Fetters bind
The Madness of his angry Mind!
Scene 4
Jonathan, Saul and David
Appear, my Friend.
(Enter David)
No more imagine Danger:
Be First in our Esteem; with wonted Valour
Repel the Insults of the Philistines:
And as a Proof of my Sincerity,
(O Hardness to dissemble!)
Instantly espouse my Daughter Michal!
Your words, O King, my Loyal Heart
With double Ardour fire:
If God His usual Aid impart,
Your Foes shall feel what you inspire.
In all the Dangers of the Field,
The Great Jehovah is my Shield.
(Exeunt David and Jonathan)
Yes, he shall wed my Daughter! But how long
Shall he enjoy her? – He shall lead my Armies!
But have the Philistines no Darts – no Swords,
To pierce the Heart of David? – Yes, this once
To them I leave him; They shall do me Right!
(Exit Saul)
Scene 5
David, Michal and Chorus
A Father’s Will has authoriz’d my Love:
No longer, Michal, then attempt to hide
the Secret of thy Soul. I love thee, David,
And long have lov’d. Thy Virtue was the Cause;
and that be my Defence.
O Fairest of ten thousand fair,
Yet for thy Virtue more admir’d!
Thy Words and Actions all declare
The Wisdom by thy God inspir’d.
O lovely Maid! Thy Form beheld,
Above all Beauty charms our Eyes:
Yet still within that Form conceal’d,
Thy Mind, a greater Beauty, lies.
Michal and David
How well in Thee does Heav’n at last
compensate all my Sorrows past.
Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso
Is there a Man, who all his Ways
Directs, his God alone to please?
In vain his Foes against him move:
Superior Pow’r their Hate disarms;
He makes them yield to Virtue’s Charms,
And melts their Fury down to Love.
Scene 6
David and Michal
Thy Father is as cruel, and as false,
As thou art kind and true.
When I approach’d him,
New from the Slaughter of his Enemies,
His Eyes with Fury flam’d; his Arm he rais’d,
With Rage grown stronger; by my guiltless Head
The Javelin whizzing flew, and in the Wall
Mock’d once again his Impotence of Malice.
At Persecution I can laugh;
No Fear my Soul can move,
In God’s Protection safe,
And blest in Michal’s Love.
Ah! dearest Youth! for thee I fear!
Fly! – be gone! –for Death is near!
Fear not, lovely Fair, for me:
Death, where thou art, cannot be.
Smile, and Danger is no more.
Fly - for Death is at the Door!
Ah! Dearest Youth!
For thee I fear for thee!
Fear not, lovely Fair, for me:
Death, where thou art, cannot be.
See, the murd’rous Band comes on!
Stay no longer! Fly - be gone! Fly! Fly!
Scene 7
Michal and Doeg
Whom dost thou seek?
And who has sent thee hither?
I seek for David; and am sent by Saul.
Thy errand?
’Tis a Summons to the Court.
Say, he is sick.
In Sickness or in Health,
Alive or dead, he must be brought to Saul.
Show me his Chamber.
(David’s Bed discover’d with an Image in it)
Do you mock the King?
This Disappointment will enrage him more:
Then tremble for th’Event.
(Exit Doeg)
No, no. let the Guilty tremble
At ev’ry thought of Danger near,
Though Numbers, arm’d with Death, assemble,
My Innicence disdains to fear.
Tho’ great their Power as their Spite,
Undaunted still, my Soul, remain:
For greater is Jehovah’s Might,
And will their lawless Force restrain.
Scene 8
Mean as he was, he is my Brother now,
My Sister’s Husband; and, to speak the Truth,
Has Qualities which Justice bids me love,
And pity his Distress. My Father’s Cruelty
Strikes me with Horror! At th’approaching Feast
I fear some dire Event, unless my Brother,
His Friend, the faithfull Jonathan. Avert
Th’impending Ruin. I know, he’ll do his best.
Author of  Peace, who canst controll
Ev’ry Passion of the Soul;
To whose good Spirit alone we owe
Words that sweet as Honey flow:
With thy dear Influence his Tongue be fill’d,
And cruel Wrath to soft Persuasion yield.
Scene 9
Saul at the Feast of the New Moon
The Time at length is come, when I shall take
My full Revenge on Jesse’s Son.
No longer shall the Stripling make
His Sov’reign totter at the Throne.
He dies – the Blaster of my Fame,
Bane of my Peace, and Author of my Shame.
Scene 10
Saul and Jonathan
Where is the Son of Jesse?
Comes he not to grace our Feast?
He earnestly asked Leave
to go to Bethlem, where his Father’s House,
a solemn Rites of annual Sacrifice,
requir’d his Presence.
O Perverse! Rebellious!
Thinkst thou, I do not know, that thou hast chose
The Son of Jesse to thy own Confusion?
The World will say, thou art no Son of mine,
Who thus canst love the Man I hate; the Man,
Who, if he lives, will rob thee of thy Crown.
Send, fetch him hither; for the Wretch must die.
What has he done? And wherefore must he die?
Dar’st thou oppose my Will? Die then thyself!
(He throws his javelin.
Exit Jonathan, then Saul.)
Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso
O fatal Consequence
Of Rage, by Reason uncontroll’d!
With ev’ry Law he can dispense;
No Ties the furious Monster hold:
From Crime to Crime he blindly goes,
Nor End, but with his own Destruction, knows.


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