Evenings of Great Songs & the Stories Behind Them

Dido & Aeneas

Libretto

Act I

Belinda: Shake the cloud from off your brow. Fate your wishes does allow. Empire growing, treasures flowing, fortune smiles and so should you. Courtier Chorus: Banish sorrow, banish care. Grief should ne'er approach the fair. Dido: Ah, Belinda, I am pressed with torment not to be confessed. Peace and I are strangers grown. I languish till my grief is known. Yet would not have it guessed. Belinda: Grief increases by concealing. Dido: Mine admits to no revealing. Belinda: Then let me speak: the Trojan guest into your tender thoughts has pressed. The greatest blessing Fate can give, our Carthage to secure and Troy revive. Chorus: When monarchs unite, how happy their state. They triumph at once o'er their foes and their fate. Dido: Whence could so much virture spring? What storms, what battles did he sing? Anchises' valor mixed with Venus charms. How soft in peace, and yet how fierce in arms! Belinda: A tale so strong and full of woe might melt the rocks as well as you. Wat stubborn heart unmoved could see such distress, such piety? Dido: Mine with storms of care oppressed is taught to pity the distressed. Mean wretches' grief can tough so soft, so sensible my breast, but Ah, I fear I pity his too much. Belinda, Second Woman, and Chorus: Fear no danger to ensue. The hero loves as well as you. Ever gentle, ever smiling, and the cares of life beguiling. Cupids strew your path with flowers gathered from Elysian bowers. Belinda: See, your royal guest appears; how godlike is the form he bears! Aeneas: When, royal fair, shall I be blessed with cares of love and state distressed? Dido: Fate forbids what you pursue. Aeneas: Aeneas has no fate but you. Let Dido smile, and I'll defy the feeble stroke of destiny. Chorus: Cupid only throws the dart that's dreadful to a warrior's heart, and she that wounds can only cure the smart. Aeneas: If not for mine, for empire's sake, some pity on your lover take. Ah, make not in a hopeless fire a hero fall and Troy once more expire! Belinda: Pursue the conquest, Love. Her eyes confess the flame her tongue denies. Chorus: To the hills and the vales, to the rocks and the mountains, to the musical groves, and the cool shady fountains, let the triumphs of love and of beauty be shown. Go revel, ye Cupids, the day is your own. Sorceress: Wayward sisters, you that fright the lonely traveler by night, who like dismal ravens crying beat the windows of the dying, appear! Appear at my call, and share in the fame of a mischief shall make all Carthage flame. First witch: Say, beldam, say, what's thy will? Witch Chorus: Harm's our delight and mischief all our skill. Sorceress: The Queen of Carthage, whom we hate, as we do all in prosperous state, ere sunset shall most wretched prove, deprived of fame, of life, and love. Chorus: Ha ha ha! First and second witches: Ruined ere the set of sun? Tell us, how shall this be done? Sorceress: The Trojan Prince, you know is bound by fate to seek Italian ground. The Queen and he are now in chase. First witch: Hark! The cry comes on apace. Sorceress: But when they've done, my trusty elf, in from o f Mercury himself, as sent from Jove shall chide his stay, and charge him sail tonight with all his fleet away. First and second witches: But ere we this perform, we'll conjure for a storm to mar their hunting sport and drive 'em back to court.

Chorus: In our dep vaulted cell the charm we'll prepare, too dreadful a practice for this open air.

Act II

Belinda: Thanks to these lonesom vales, these desert hills and dales. So fair the game, so rich the sport, Diana's self might to these woods resort.

Second Woman: Oft she visits this lone mountain, oft she bathes her in this fountain. Here Actaeon met his fate, pursued by his own hounds, and after mortal wounds, discovered too late. Aeneas: Behold, upon my bending spear a monster's head stands bleeding, with tushed far exceeding those did Venus' huntsman tear. Dido: The skies are clouded! Hark! How thunder rends the mountain oaks asunder! Belinda and chorus: Haste, haste to town. This open field no shelter from the storm can yield. Spirit: Stay, Prince, and hear great Jove's command. He summons thee this night away. Tonight thou must forsake this land. The angry god will brook no longer stay. Jove commands thee waste no more in love's delights those precous hours allowed by the almight power to gain the Hesperian shore and ruined Troy restore. Aeneas: Jove's command shall be obeyed. Tonight our anchors shall be weighed. But ah! What language can I try, my injured Queen to pacify? No sooner she resigns her heart but from her arms I'm forced to part. How can so hard a fate be took? One night enjoyed, the next forsook! Yours be the blame, ye gods, for I obey your will, but with more ease could die.

Act III

Sailors: Come away, fellow sailors, come away, your anchors be weighing. Time and tide will admit mo delaying. Take a bozzy short leave of your nymphs on the shore, and silence their mourning with vows of returning, but never intending to visit them more.

Sorceress: See the flags and streamers curling, anchors weighing, sails unfurling! First and second witches: Phoebe's pale deluding beams Gilding o'er deceitful streams. Our plot has took, the Queen's forsook! Elissa's ruined! Ho ho ho! Sorceress: Our next motion must be to storm her lover on the ocean. From the ruin of others our pleasures we borrow; Elissa Bleeds tonight and Carthage flames tomorrow! Witch Chorus: Destruction's our delight, delight our greatest sorrow, Elissa dies tonight, and Carthage flames tomorrow. Ha ha ha! Dido: Your counsel all is urged in vain; to earth and heaven I will complain, to earth and heaven why do I call? Earth and heaven conspire my fall. To Fate I sue, of other means bereft, the only refuge for the wretched left. Belinda: See Madam, where the Prince appears. Such sorrow in his looks he bears, as would convince you still he's true. Aeneas: What shall lost Aeneas do? How, royal fair, shall I impart the god's decree, and tell you we must part? Dido: Thus on the fatal banks of NIle weeps the deceitful crocodile. Thus hypocrites that murder act make heaven and gods the authors of the fact. Aeneas: By all that's good-- Dido: By all that's good no more! All that's good you have foreswore. To your promised empire fly, and let forsaken Dido die. Aeneas: In spite of Jove's commands I'll stay, offend the gods and Love obey. Dido: No, faithless man, thy course pursue. I'm now resolved as well as you. No repentance shall reclaim the injured Dido's slighted flame. For tis enough, whate're you now decree, that you had once a thought of leaving me. Aeneas: Let Jove say what he will, I'll stay and love obey. Dido: Away, away! To death I'll fly if longer you delay. But death, alas, I cannot shun. Death must come when he is gone. Courtier Chorus: Great minds against themselves conspire, and shun the cure they most desire. Dido: Thy hand, Belinda: Darkness shades me. On thy bosom let me rest. More I would, but death invades me. Death is now a welcome guest. When I am laid in earth, may my wrongs create no trouble inthey breast. Remember me, but ah! For- get my fate!

Chorus: With drooping wings ye Cupids come to scatter roses on her tomb. Soft and gentle as her heart, keep here your watch, and neverpart.

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