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Opera Libretti

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Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Annexe A
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 4
Act 5
Annexe A
Original Language with
English Translation
(in PDF format)


SCENE 1 A Fashionable Gambling Room in Paris. A CROUPIER. Gentlemen, make your game. LESCAUT. Four hundred louis! A thousand! Hurrah! They are mine !
A PLAYER (following Lescaut.) I swear the money belongs to me.
LESCAUT. From the moment one says it with so much confidence

PLAYER. I had the ace and king!
LESCAUT. Let us begin again. It's all the same to me. (Sharpers come forward cautiously. )
SEARPERS. Fools, when they do gamble,
Throw their gold to chance?
But wise men such as we are,
Look at luck askance.
We are clever fellows,
Know what steps to take,
When, as sometimes happens,
Fortune makes mistake. LESCAUT ( pocketing money.) )
Because I play so honestly,
The money always falls to me.
POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE (promenading and watching the scene.)
To this charming place of pleasure,
Come all the world with cash to spend;
Find delights that know no measure, )
Unlucky days the nights shall mend.

Beauty never should be poor,
And we are they who win for sure.

(Lescaut appears triumphant. He is surrounded by Poussette, Javotte and Rosette. )

LESCAUT ( with vigor. )
It is here that my lady serene
Her deigned a lodging to take,
And some day for good company's sake,
You shall hear what verses I make,
In honor of her my queen.

( Chink of gold is heard. )

And hark, the sound divine,
That suits this muse of mine !
She whom I love it is meet
That a lover be very discreet;
And yet I will tell you her name


LESCAUT. Pallastis, the queen of the game ;
So ends my song to her fame.

( Chink of gold is heard. )

ALL. And hark the Sound divine, That suits this muse of { mine.

( Guillot enters, then Manon and Des Grieux, whose appearance causes general movement. )

GUILLOT. Who has come to cause all this stir?

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE. 'Tis the charming Manon with her dear Chevalier.

DES GREUX (looking around with a somber expression. ) So I am here; but I should have refused. Why had I not courage !


GUILLOT (annoyed.) The Chevalier !

LESCAUT (to Guillot.) How strange you look. Has anything vexed you ?

GUILLOT. I have good cause, for I adored Manon,

and I find it hard to see another in my place.

(Lescaut draws Guillot away. )

CROUPIERS. Make your game, gentlemen.


(All recommence play. Manon, left alone with Des Grieux, observes his sadness.

MANON. Tell me now, Des Grieux, dost thy heart own me sovereign?

DES GRIEUX ( with intense passion. ) Manon, sphinx as thou art, siren lure to destruction, woman more than thy sex, I love thee; and hate thee. Pleasure and gold thy gods forever must re main; yet, foolish thou art, oh! How I love thee.

MANON. And I ;Oh, how I could love thee if but thou wouldn¡¦t

DES GRIEUX. If but I would?

MANON. Our winged wealth has flown away, ) Chevalier, there's nothing left.
In this place of coin bereft, the purse is filed by dashing play.

DES GRIEUX (troubled. ) What dost thou say, Manon? LESCAUT (approaching. ) She is quite right.

Some minutes at the faro board

A. fortune's yours to spend or hoard.

DES GRIEUX. 'Who? I¡¦m gambler? No, no, no!

LESCAUT. Ah! There you're wrong. Manon does not love an empty purse.

MANON. Chevalier, if thou loved me dearly, con sent, and after, thou will see, we shall be rich.

LESCAUT. Oh, most likely. Lady Fortune darts her angriest glances on him 'who has dared her, and challenges her worst on full many a field. All her wealth-bestowing favors for beginners are kept.

MANON (to Des Grieux.) Thou wilt yield, wilt thou not?

DES GRIEUX. Oh, infernal madness!

MANON ( pressingly. ) Come on!

DES GRIEUX. To thee I all shall give.

LESCAUT. You're sure to win.

DES GEIEUX. What shall I then receive?

MANON. All that I am and have- --myself buy more than love. Oh, rest thee well on my affection, and never doubt a loving heart. Thus will come our happiness. To thee my love! To thee all my being!

DES GREUX. Oh, Manon, sphinx as thou art ! etc. LESCAUT. Your luck is assured; play like a man and conquer fate. Come on.

GUILLOT (to Des Grieux. ) A word if you please, Chevalier. Say, are you willing to play with me ? We shall then see if fickle Fortune stands your constant friend.

POUSSETTE (gaily. ) Bravo, Guillot ! I'll back you for the winner.

JAVOTTE. And I will stake my money on the Chevalier.

GUILLOT (to Des Grieux.) Are you agreed?

DEs GRIEUX. Agreed.

GUILLOT. Let us begin.

POUSSETTE (to her companion. ) Suppose we make a bet?

JAVOTTE, ROSETTE. A bet, of course.

GUILLOT. A thousand crowns!

DES GRIEUX. Sir, with you. A thousand crowns.

LESCAUT. A thousand crowns! (He seats himself at another table.) 0 Pallas, lend thine aid!

MANON. All these senseless follies are life to me, or, at least, the life that I desire.

CROUPIERS. Make your game, gentlemen.

MANON. Music of gold, of laughter, and clash of joyous sounds.


Come, love me and crown me with flowers,

Gaily singing pass we the hours;

Who knows if the morrow will come?

Youth is for a day,

Beauty fades away.

Then let all our care

Be for pleasure rare,

Life's sweet honey sip

Warm on every lip.

To Manon give gold



GUILLOT (to Des Grieux). I would not have any

chance just now, sir. Say another thousand crowns.

DES GREUX (feverishly). Sir, I¡¦m content. Just as you please.

GUILLOT. I have lost !

MANON (to Des Grieux). Well, art thou winning?

DES GREUX (showing her gold and notes). Look here!

MANON. Is that ours?

DES GRIEUX. It is ours.

MANON. How I love thee!

GUILLOT (to Des Grieux). We'll double, if you please.


GUILLOT. I have lost again!

MANON (to Des Grieux). Now did I not well say that thou were sure to win?

DES GREUX. Manon, I love thee! I love thee!

GUILLOT (leaving the' table). I vow I'll play no more

DES GRIEUX (rising also). That is as you will.

GUILLOT (significantly). I should indeed he foolish go on thus.

DES RIEUX. What's that?

GUILLOT. Never mind. Well I know you are indeed a clever man.

DES GEIEUX (angrily). What do you say?

GUILLOT. Restrain your anger. Are you of those who beat the men they have contrived to rob?

DES GREUX (throwing himself upon Guillot). You vile and wretched cur, 'tis a lie. (All cornet round. )

THE CROWD. Come, come, good sirs, respect yourselves, for in society a man should be decent.

GUILLOT (much. agitated). To witness I take you, sirs, and these young ladies. ( To Des Grieux and Manon. ) As for you, you very soon shall hear some news of me. (Exit. )

THE CROWD. Was ever such a thing known here? Certainly not. One never cheats in such a way.

SHARPERS. A bungler he to be found out.

LESCAUT ( interposing). How now, my friends, pray be calm. Gentlemen, pray be calm.

CROUPIERS. Make your game, gentlemen. THE CROWD (pointing to Des Grieux) There stands the thief, that's he.
MANON. (to Des Grieux). Away, I do implore thee! Haste away!

DES GREUX (firmly). No, on my life! For, if I go, I shall myself confess that with this crime I here am justly charged. (Loud knocking at the door is heard.)
POUSETTE, JAVOTTE, GAMELERS. How now! Who knocks so loudly here ? ( The knocking is repeated. )
GAMBLERS. Quickly cover the gold!
MANON (aside). Who knocks thus at the door? I tremble, though I know not why.
A VOICE (without). Open, in the King's name! LESCAUT. The Police! Quick, to the roof ! (He escapes. )
( The door is opened. Officers of police enter with Guillot. )

GUILLOT (indicating Des Grieux). This is your prisoner, and yonder (indicating Manon) stands his accomplice. ( To Manon) Extremely sorry, but the play was too good. I told you I would have my revenge. ( To Des Grieux) I have trumped your card, my master, console yourself as best you can.

DES GREUX (fiercely). Well, I will try and begin on the spot by throwing you from yonder window.
GUILLOT (with contempt). From yonder window? COUNT (who has entered unperceived). And I? Shall I be served the same?
DES GREUX. Father! You here! You! MANON. His father!
COUNT. Yes, I am here from shame to save thee, From shame so deep, and foul disgrace, In repentant tears now lave thee, Clear from stain an ancient race.
DES GREUX (with great feeling).
Ah ! some pity now show, I implore thee,
See what terror oppresses my heart !
Like a wave doth keen anguish flow o'er me,
Father, shield me from dishonor's dart.

MANON. All the future lies dark now before me,
And terror oppresses my heart.
Like a wave doth keen anguish flow o'er me, Forever our lives now must part.
THE CROWD. Pity show to her tears! Think of her tender years, cannot such beauty rare, Move your hearts her shame to spare.
GUILLOT (aside). Now at last I'm revenged, for my honor and pride were at stake.
COUNT (to the officers, indicating Des Grieux and Manon). Take them prisoners. ( To Des Grieux.) But soon shall liberty be yours.
DES GREUX (indicating Manon). And she?

GUILLOT (interposing). This lady has to go where many of her sorts have gone.
DES GRIEUX (with spirit). Ah! touch her not! (throwing himself before Manon) with my life I'll defend her.
MANON (fainting ) Help ! I am lost! I die! Mercy!
DES GREUX (despairingly). Ah! some pity now show; I implore.
THE CROWD. Show mercy!
COUNT and GUILLOT. Implore none.

End of Act Four.


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