Dido and Aeneas

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Dido and Aeneas  (1689) 
by Nahum Tate
Music composed by Henry Purcell
Date of composition: 1689

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DIDO AND AENEAS

An opera perform'd at Mr. Josias Priest's Boarding School at Chelsey by Young Gentlewomen.

The words made by Mr. NAT. TATE

The music composed by Mr. HENRY PURCELL


Dramatis Personae

DIDO

BELINDA

TWO WOMEN

AENEAS

SORCERESS

ENCHANTRESSES

SPIRIT of the Sorceress (Mercury)

Dido's train, Aeneas' train, Fairies, Sailors


OVERTURE


ACT THE FIRST[edit]

    Scene: The Palace
    [enter Dido, Belinda and train]
    
    BELINDA
    Shake the cloud from off your brow,
    Fate your wishes does allow;
       Empire growing,
       Pleasures flowing,
    Fortune smiles and so should you.
    
    CHORUS
    Banish sorrow, banish care,
    Grief should ne'er approach the fair.
    
    DIDO
    Ah! Belinda, I am prest
    With torment not to be Confest,
    Peace and I are strangers grown.
    I languish till my grief is known,
    Yet would not have it guest.
    
    BELINDA
    Grief increases by concealing,
    
    DIDO
    Mine admits of no revealing.
    
    BELINDA
    Then let me speak; the Trojan guest
    Into your tender thoughts has prest;
    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 virtue spring?
    What storms, what battles did he sing?
    Anchises' valour mixt 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.
    What stubborn heart unmov'd could see
    Such distress, such piety?
    
    DIDO
    Mine with storms of care opprest
    Is taught to pity the distrest.
    Mean wretches' grief can touch,
    So soft, so sensible my breast,
    But ah! I fear, I pity his too much.
    
    BELINDA AND SECOND WOMAN
    [Repeated by Chorus]
    Fear no danger to ensue,
    The Hero Loves as well as you,
    Ever gentle, ever smiling,
    And the cares of life beguiling,
    Cupid strew your path with flowers
    Gather'd from Elysian bowers.
    
    DANCE THIS CHORUS
    
    THE BASKE
    [Aeneas enters with his train]
    
    BELINDA
    See, your Royal Guest appears,
    How Godlike is the form he bears!
    
    AENEAS
    When, Royal Fair, shall I be blest
    With cares of love and state distrest?
    
    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 thy conquest, Love; her eyes
    Confess the flame her tongue denies.
    
    A DANCE. GITTARS CHACONY.
    
    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.
    
    THE TRIUMPHING DANCE
    
    

ACT THE SECOND[edit]

    Scene [I]: The Cave
    [enter Sorceress]
    
    [PRELUDE FOR THE WITCHES]
    
    SORCERESS
    Wayward sisters, you that fright
    The lonely traveller 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.
    Appear!
    [enter Enchantresses]
    
    FIRST WITCH
    Say, Beldam, say what's thy will.
    
    CHORUS
    Harm's our delight and mischief all our skill.
    
    SORCERESS
    The Queen of Carthage, whom we hate,
    As we do all in prosp'rous state,
    Ere sunset, shall most wretched prove,
    Depriv'd of fame, of life and love!
    
    CHORUS
    Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
    
    TWO WITCHES
    Ruin'd 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! Hark! the cry comes on apace.
    
    SORCERESS
    But, when they've done, my trusty Elf
    In form of Mercury himself
    As sent from Jove shall chide his stay,
    And charge him sail tonight with all his fleet away.
    
    CHORUS
    Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
    [Enter a Drunken Sailor; a dance]
    
    TWO 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 the manner of an echo.]
    In our deep vaulted cell the charm we'll prepare, 
    Too dreadful a practice for this open air.
    
    ECHO DANCE [Enchantresses and Fairies]
    
    Scene [II]: The Grove
    [enter Aeneas, Dido, Belinda, and their train]
    
    RITORNELLE [Orchestra]
    
    BELINDA [Repeated by Chorus]
    Thanks to these lovesome vales,
    These desert hills and dales, 
    So fair the game, so rich the sport, 
    Diana's self might to these woods resort.
    
    GITTER GROUND A DANCE
    
    SECOND WOMAN
    Oft she visits this lov'd mountain,
    Oft she bathes her in this fountain; 
       Here Actaeon met his fate, 
    Pursued by his own hounds, 
    And after mortal wounds 
       Discover'd, discover'd too late.
    [A Dance to entertain Aeneas by Dido's women]
    
    AENEAS
    Behold, upon my bending spear
    A monster's head stands bleeding, 
    With tushes far exceeding 
    Those did Venus' huntsman tear.
    
    DIDO
    The skies are clouded, hark! how thunder
    Rends the mountain oaks a sunder.
    
    BELINDA [Repeated by Chorus]
    Haste, haste to town, this open field 
    No shelter from the storm can yield.
    [exeunt Dido and Belinda and train]
    
    [The Spirit of the Sorceress descends to Aeneas in the 
    likeness of Mercury] 
    
    SPIRIT
    Stay, Prince and hear great Jove's command; 
    He summons thee this Night away.
    
    AENEAS
    Tonight?
    
    SPIRIT
    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 precious hours, 
    Allow'd by th'Almighty Powers 
    To gain th' Hesperian shore 
    And ruined Troy restore.
    
    AENEAS
    Jove's commands shall be obey'd,
    Tonight our anchors shall be weighed.
    [Exit Spirit.]
    But ah! what language can I try 
    My injur'd Queen to Pacify: 
    No sooner she resigns her heart,
    But from her arms I'm forc'd to part. 
    How can so hard a fate be took?
    One night enjoy'd, the next forsook. 
    Yours be the blame, ye gods! For I 
    Obey your will, but with more ease could die.
    
    THE SORCERESS AND HER ENCHANTRESSES (CHORUS)
    Then since our Charmes have sped, 
    A Merry Dance be led 
    By the Nymphs of Carthage to please us. 
    They shall all Dance to ease us,
    A Dance that shall make the Spheres to wonder,
    Rending those fair Groves asunder.
    
    THE GROVES DANCE
    
    

ACT THE THIRD[edit]

    Scene: The Ships
    [enter the Sailors, the Sorceress, and her Enchantresses]
    
    PRELUDE
    
    FIRST SAILOR [Repeated by Chorus]
    Come away, fellow sailors, your anchors be weighing.
    Time and tide will admit no delaying.
    Take a bouzy short leave of your nymphs on the shore,
    And silence their mourning
    With vows of returning
    But never intending to visit them more.
    
    THE SAILORS' DANCE
    
    SORCERESS
    See the flags and streamers curling
    Anchors weighing, sails unfurling.
    
    FIRST WITCH
    Phoebe's pale deluding beams
    Guilding more deceitful streams.
    
    SECOND WITCH
    Our plot has took,
    The Queen's forsook.
    
    TWO WITCHES
    Elissa's ruin'd, ho, ho!
    Our plot has took,
    The Queen's forsook, ho, ho!
    
    SORCERESS
    Our next Motion
    Must be to storme her Lover on the Ocean!
    From the ruin of others our pleasures we borrow,
    Elissa bleeds tonight, and Carthage flames tomorrow.
    
    CHORUS
    Destruction's our delight
    Delight our greatest sorrow!
    Elissa dies tonight and Carthage flames tomorrow.
    [Jack of the the Lanthorn leads the Spaniards out of 
    their way among the Enchantresses.] 
    
    A DANCE
    
    [Enter Dido, Belinda and train]
    
    DIDO
    Your counsel all is urged in vain
    To Earth and Heav'n I will complain!
    To Earth and Heav'n why do I call?
    Earth and Heav'n conspire my fall.
    To Fate I sue, of other means bereft
    The only refuge for the wretched left.
    
    BELINDA
    See, Madam, see where the Prince appears;
    Such Sorrow in his looks he bears
    As would convince you still he's true.
    [enter Aeneas]
    
    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 forswore.
    To your promis'd empire fly
    And let forsaken Dido die.
    
    AENEAS
    In spite of Jove's command, I'll stay.
    Offend the Gods, and Love obey.
    
    DIDO
    No, faithless man, thy course pursue;
    I'm now resolv'd as well as you.
    No repentance shall reclaim
    The injur'd Dido's slighted flame.
    For 'tis enough, whate'er you now decree,
    That you had once a thought of leaving me.
    
    AENEAS
    Let Jove say what he will: I'll stay!
    
    DIDO
    Away, away! No, no, away!
    
    AENEAS
    No, no, I'll stay, and Love obey!
    
    DIDO
    To Death I'll fly
    If longer you delay;
    Away, away!.....
    [Exit Aeneas]
    But Death, alas! I cannot shun;
    Death must come when he is gone.
    
    CHORUS
    Great minds against themselves conspire
    And shun the cure they most desire.
    
    DIDO
    [Cupids appear in the clouds o're her tomb]
    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 in thy breast;
                Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
    
    CHORUS
    With drooping wings you Cupids come,
    To scatter roses on her tomb.
    Soft and Gentle as her Heart
    Keep here your watch, and never part.
    
    CUPIDS DANCE
    
    FINIS
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.