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Opera Libretti

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Title Page
Title Page
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3

Act 3
Scene 1
disguis’d at Endor
Wretch that I am! Of my own Ruin Author!
Where are my old Supports? The valiant Youth,
Whose very Name was Terror to my Foes,
My Rage has drove away. Of God forsaken,
In vain I ask his Counsel! He vouchsafes
No Answer to the Sons of Disobedience!
Ev’n my own Courage fails me! – Can it be? –
Is Saul become a Coward? – I’ll not believe it!
If Heav’n denies thee Aid, seek it from Hell!
Recitative and Accompagnato
’Tis said, here lives a Woman, close Familiar
With th’Enemy of Mankind: Her I’ll consult,
And know the Worst. Her Art is Death by Law;
And while I minded Law, sure Death attended
such horrid Practices: Yet, O hard Fate!
Myself am now reduc’d to ask the Counsel
Of those I once abhorred!
Scene 2
Saul and the Witch of Endor
Witch (Woman of Endor)
With me what would’st thou?
I wou’d, that by thy Art thou bring me up
the Man whom I shall name.
Witch (Woman of Endor)
Alas! thou know’st how
Saul has cut off those who use this Art.
Would’st thou insnare me?
As Jehova lives,
On this Account no Mischief shall befall thee.
Witch (Woman of Endor)
Whom shall I bring up to thee?
Bring up Samuel.
Witch (Woman of Endor)
Infernal Spirits, by whose Pow’r
departed Ghosts in living Form appear,
add Horror to the Midnight Hour,
and chill the boldest Hearts with Fear:
To this Stranger’s wond’ring Eyes
let the Prophet Samuel rise!
Scene 3
Apparition of Samuel and Saul
Why hast thou force’d me from the Realms of Peace
Back to this World of Woe?
O holy Prophet, holy Prophet!
Refuse me not thy Aid in this Distress.
The num’rous Foe stands ready for the Battle:
God has forsaken me:
No more He answers
By Prophets or by Dreams:
No Hope remains, unless I learn from you
What course to take.
Hath God forsaken thee?
And dost thou ask my Counsel?
Did I not foretel thy Fate,
when, madly disobedient, thou didst spare
the curst Amalekite, and on the Spoil
Didst fly rapacious?
Therefore God this Day hath verify,d my Words
In thy destruction,
Hath rent the Kingdom from thee and bestow’d it
On David, whom thou hatest for his Virtue.
Thou and thy sons shall be with me to-morrow,
And Israel by Philistine Arms shall fall.
The Lord hath said it: He will make it good.
Scene 4
David and an Amalekite
Whence com’st thou?
Out of the Camp of Israel
Thou canst inform me then:
How went the Battle?
The People, put to flight, in Numbers fell,
And Saul and Jonathan his Son, are dead.
Alas! my Brother! – But how know’st thou
That they are dead?
Upon Mount Gilboa
I met with Saul, just fallen upon his Spear;
Swiftly the Foe pursu’d. He cry’d to me,
Begg’d me to finish his imperfect Work,
And end a Life of Pain and Ignominy.
I knew he could not live, therefore slew him;
Took from his Head the Crown, and from his Arms
The Bracelets, and have brought them to my Lord.
Whence art thou?
I am an Amalekite.
Impious Wretch, of Race accurst!
And of all that Race the worst!
How hast thou dar’d to lift thy Sword
Against th’Anointed of the Lord?
(To one of his Attendants, who kills the Amalekite)
Fall on him – smite him – let him die!
On thy own Head thy Blood will lie;
Since thy own Mouth has testify’d,
By Thee the Lord’s Anointed died.
Scene 5
Elegy on Death of Saul and Jonathan
Mourn, Israel, mourn thy Beauty lost,
Thy choicest Youth on Gilboa slain.
How have thy fairest Hopes been cross’d!
What Heaps of mighty Warriors strew the Plain!
High Priest
O let it not in Gath be heard,
The News in Askelon let none proclaim;
Lest we, whom once so much they fear’d,
Be by their Women now despis’d,
And lest the Daughters of th’ Uncircumcis’d
Rejoice and triumph in our Shame.
From this unhappy Day
No more, ye Gilboan Hills, on you
Descend refreshing Rain or kindly dew
Which erst your Heads with Plenty crown’d;
Since there the Shield of Saul, in Arms renown’d,
Was vilely cast away.
Brave Jonathan his Bow ne’er drew,
But wing’d with Death his Arrow flew;
And drank the Blood of slaughter’d Foes:
Nor drew Great Saul his Sword in vain;
It reek’d, where’ er he dealt his Blows,
With Entrails of the mighty Slain.
Eagles were not so swift as they,
Nor Lions with so strong a Grasp
Held fast and tore the Prey.
In sweetest Harmony they liv’d,
Nor Death their Union cou’d divide:
The pious Son ne’er left the Father’s side,
But him defending bravely dy’d:
A Loss too great to be surviv’d!
For Saul, ye Maids of Israel, moan,
To whose indulgent Care
You owe the Scarlet and the Gold you wear,
And all the Pomp in which your Beauty long has shone.
Solo and Chorus
David and Chorus
O fatal Day! How low the Mighty lie!
O Jonathan! How nobly didst thou die,
for thy King and People slain!
David and Chorus
O Jonathan! How nobly didst thou die,
for thy King and People slain!
For thee, my Brother Jonathan,
how great is my Distress!
What Language can my Grief express?
Great was the Pleasure I enjoy’d in thee!
and more than women’s love
thy wondrous Love to me!
David and Chorus
O fatal Day! How low the Mighty lie!
Where, Israel, is thy Glory fled?
Spoil’d of thy Arms, and sunk in Infamy,
how canst thou raise again thy drooping Head!
High Priest
Ye men of Judah, weep no more;
Let Gladness reign in all our Host;
for pious David will restore
what Saul by Disobedience lost.
The Lord of Hosts is David’s Friend,
and Conquest will his Arms attend.
Gird on thy Sword, thou Man of Might,
pursue thy wonted Fame:
Go on, be prosperous in Fight,
retrieve the Hebrew Name!
Thy strong Right-Hand, with Terror arm’d,
shall thy obdurate Foes dismay;
while others, by thy Virtue charm’d,
shall crowd to own thy Righteous Sway.
The End of the Oratorio


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