Hall in Sigifredo’s palace as in Act I. Elena, prostrate before a painting of her mother.
Mother, who is now in Heaven
and have trusted yourself to Him
whom us lowly mortals cannot grasp,
Ah, you teach me that this is not yet
the end of my days but prolonged death.
The trial is too hard, and hard for me to stand
weak and alone...
Someone comes... I see him!...
You here, while they are awaiting you
for your wedding
in the nearby chapel?
Yes, but before I will tie
the fatal knot that will drive me
to the tomb, I gave in to the strong desire
to speak to you.
All seems to point
to your betrayal... yet, in my heart
lingers a voice that
says you are not guilty.
I know that there,
in Boemondo’s presence, your lips
did utter horrible words! But did they come
from your soul? Or from some horrible betrayal....
Did fear of the tyrant
force them from your lips?
(How he touches
my wounded heart with his words!...)
We are alone here, and you can reveal
to me the truth. Speak,
but remember that you are deciding
my destiny as well as yours!
(I feel myself freezing!... )
Remember that you will open heaven or hell to me!
The sacred torches are already lit...
The chapel is filled with flowers...
Only I am absent...
Quiet... ah! quiet...
(I am overcome by jealousy!...)
If you love me no longer,
driven only by hatred
I will go to tie the knot
of a hated marriage...
And will leave you to your remorse,
will abandon you to your shame.
(I must drink of my cup
of grief, drop by painful drop.)
But; if you can still tell me
that you love me and are faithful:
I will kneel here at your feet...
As if I were before God.
(Help me, mother, or you will see me
defeated at last by all this anguish...)
Reveal yourself, be mine again...
And we will live blessed in this world,
one in the other forever entwined...
In an ecstasy of love!
(God, you see him... No human heart
can resist such enchantment!)
Speak... ah speak and I
will lead you to the altar as my own.
(He triumphs! ... ) Know, Guido,
that I never...
(The bell of the chapel sounds the last hour of the day: Elena is close to convulsions. )
Elena (with the sound of desperation)
That I never loved you,
that my soul belongs to Ubaldo,
that between us an eternal barrier
must be raised. ..
Eternal? So be it.
I will go to the chapel and then
I will make new vows...
This hand by you rejected
I will offer to another and then die!
Ah! You have betrayed
The most fervid and most sacred love...
You have torn a heart
that only lived for you...
Ah! My rage is frenzied and horrible
so that I can hardly think...
And the misery that you have cast on me
will surely be rewarded by Heaven.
Go to the altar and let your vows
be blessed by a God of love...
May my enemy have
your hand and your heart...
But let me have just
one drop of your tears...
Let it drop on the cold stone
beneath which I will soon sleep.
(Guido leaves in desperation, Elena retires.)
A room in Ubaldo’s dwelling as in Act I.
Oh unbelievable perfidy!.. Oh bloody,
I had descended to the dungeon,
in which Sigifredo was imprisoned,
in order to speed the moment
when his chains were to be broken...
Ah! But what horrible sight met my eyes!
Beneath the light of the torches,
I saw a scaffold bathed with blood!...
And at the feet of the hangman,
I saw his head shorn from his body!
I can still see that awful scene
and will remember it forever!...
A chill is going through my veins!
My hair is standing on end from this horror!
(Throws himself on a seat. A moment of silence.)
When she learns of this horrible deceit,
the daughter will be shocked with grief!
Alas! Her father’s life
was the price of her hand!
Then I must lose her!... I have, in vain,
stained my heart with a grave sin!.. .
What is left now – What? Revenge.
(The followers of Ubaldo enter.)
My comrades, arm yourselves...
The Guelf valour that flows through your veins,
must rise to avenge many insults...
I desire to see Elena again...
But if she should reject me...
Oh Boemondo, for your abominable crime,
you will have to atone with your blood.
Our suppressed ardor, our repressed hatred
will be awakened by one word from you.
If I should lose her whom I love.
Life will become a burden for me;
as for the reprobate, as for the damned
who has lost the hope of Heaven...
But tremble, villain, I have a heart and a sword...
And will make blood flow in rivers!...
I swear to commit outrages
that will make yours seem pale.
The moment of our vengeance draws near!...
And will be witnessed by Heaven and earth.
Elena’s room: two lateral doors; in the rear a large veranda from which one can see the dome of the cathedral; it is night. A candle is burning on a table. Elena, pale as death, is lying on a couch. Gualtiero is standing sadly nearby.
Elena (rises agitated, her legs trembling, her voice on fire)
Ubaldo should be bringing my father
here to my arms, having freed him...
The hour he was due has already passed,
and yet... his delay
makes me freeze!
I too tremble!
Go to my father’s dungeon, and ask to
learn the reason for the delay.
Oh Heaven... how can I, how can I leave thee
in the cruel state in which I find thee?...
Whether it be my prayer or my command,
go, do not delay... if you stay the uncertainty
will kill me.
(Gualtiero leaves: slowly an unexpected light fills the room. )
My heart is jumping!
(runs to the balcony)
Oh, what do I see!...
The wedding procession!
It is Guido... ah! Guido,
Beside his wife!... I will not,
I cannot bear it. Alas... They have reached the chapel!
They are opening the gates!... No... cruel ones! stop...
Let me die now... at least respect
these last moments
of an unhappy woman... Ah! death where are you?
Why are you so slow in coming?
(The bells are heard in a festive sound, then the following)
Oh You who made and rules
worlds without numbers,
You who gave to mankind
the holy laws of love,
turn to our altars
with a look of favour,
And unite in a holy bond
making two hearts into one.
The bells are silent!... The devout
songs have ceased!...
Sad, fatal silence!...
He... is now... making his vows!...
The terrible “yes” has been uttered,
it has been uttered, the heart has heard it!
(She falls on her knees and raised her eyes, bathed in tears, towards Heaven.)
By this horrible anguish
that will bring me to death...
Make his fate, oh Lord,
a better one!...
Guido is not guilty...
He was betrayed by a villain!
Ulbaldo... Oh deadly fear!...
(Ubaldo enters with his followers)
Where is my father?... Answer...
You will hear... But what a pallor?...
What horrible anguish in your eyes!...
Woman! You are failing! Oh God!
No... move away...
My father... my father?
If you delay...you will find
Your daughter dead...
Oh poor woman!
You have a father no more...
Know that by this wicked man...
(gives her the bloody scarf of Sigifredo)
He was beheaded.
The... hatchet... and... I!
Elena!... (she brings the scarf to her lips; but falls to the ground)
Gualtiero and Chorus
She has died!...
(Desperately thrusting his hands in his hair. Gualtiero, helped by Ubaldo’s men, raises Elena and lays her down on a seat. – A brief silence, – Elena reopens her eyes, which remain fixed on the sky, like a person having a celestial vision)
No, my father is not dead;
he waits for me on high...
He is giving me his hand...
I run... I fly to you...
In the blissful rapture
of your fatherly embrace
Heaven, heaven itself...
will be... more beautiful... to me!
Ubaldo (on his knees next to the deceased)
All my life... in tears...
I will live... on your ashes...
Gualtiero and Chorus
An angel was missing from
Heaven. God called her back to Him!
Translation Tom Kaufman