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Opera Libretti

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Part the First
Part the Second
Part the Third
Part the First
Part the Second
Part the Third

Part the Second


No. 24 Overture



(Twelve Grand Concertos:
Concerto grosso in E minor,
Op. 6, No. 3, HWV 321)


No. 25 Accompagnato
Il Penseroso (soprano)


Hence, vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly without father bred!
How little you bestead,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your Toys!
O let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions hold
Th'immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook.


No. 26 Air (soprano)


Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptred pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,
Or what, though rare, of later age
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.


No. 27 Air (soprano)


But oh, sad Virgin, that thy pow'r
Might raise Musaeus from his bow'r!
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what Love did seek.


No. 28 Recitative (soprano)


Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till unwelcome Morn appear.


No. 29 Bass solo & Chorus
L'Allegro (bass)


Populous cities please me then,
and the busy hum of men.
Populous cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold;
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.


No. 30 Air (soprano)


There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And Pomp, and Feast, and Revelry,
With Masque, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.


No. 31 Accompagnato
Il Penseroso (soprano)


Me, when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown that Sylvan loves;
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look.


No. 32 Air (soprano)


Hide me from Day's garish eye,
While the bee with honied thigh,
Which at her flow'ry work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd Sleep;
And let some strange mysterious Dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture display'd,
Softly on my eyelids laid.
Then, as I wake, sweet Musick breathe,
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some Spirit to mortals good,
Or th'unseen Genius of the wood.


No. 33 Air
L'Allegro (tenor)


I'll to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on:
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.


No. 34 Air (soprano)


And ever against eating cares
Lap me in soft Lydian airs;
Soothe me with immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony.


No. 35 Air (soprano)


Orpheus self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice.


No. 36 Air (tenor) & Chorus


These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee we mean to live.


No. 37 Recitative
Il Penseroso (soprano)


But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloisters pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antic pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.


No. 38 Chorus & Air (soprano)



There let the pealing organ blow
To the full-voic'd quire below,
In service high and anthems clear,
And let their sweetness, thro' mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes.


No. 39 Air (soprano)


May at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of ev'ry Star that Heav'n doth shew,
And ev'ry herb that sips the dew;
Till old Experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.


No. 40 Chorus


These pleasures, Melancholy, give
And we with thee will choose to live.

End of Part the Second


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