Dido and Aeneas

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Musical settings

General information

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

The words made by Mr. NATHUM TATE

The music composed by Mr. HENRY PURCELL

Dramatis Personae

  • DIDO
  • BELINDA
  • TWO WOMEN
  • AENEAS
  • SORCERESS
  • ENCHANTRESSES
  • SPIRIT of the Sorceress (Mercury)
  • PHOEBUS
  • NEREIDS
  • VENUS
  • SHEPHERD
  • SHEPHERDESS
  • SPRING

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

Text and translations

English.png English text

Overture

1 - OVERTURE

Prologue

2 - PROLOGUE (MUSIC LOST)

PHOEB.

From Aurora's Spicy Bed,
Phoebus rears his Sacred Head.
His Coursers Advancing,
Curvetting and Prancing.

1st NEREID.

Phoebus strives in vain to Tame'em,
With Ambrosia Fed too high.

2d NER.

Phoebus ought not now to blame'em,
Wild and eager to Survey
The fairest Pageant of the Sea.

PHOEB.

Tritons and Nereids come pay your Devotion
CHO.

To the New rising Star of the Ocean.
Venus Descends in her Chariot,
The Tritons out of the Sea.

The Tritons Dance

NEREID

Look down ye Orbs and See
A New Divinity.

PHOEB.

Whose Lustre does Out-Shine
Your fainter Beams, and half Eclipses mine,
Give Phoebus leave to Prophecy.
Phoebus all Events can see.
Ten Thousand Thousand Harmes.
From such prevailing Charmes,
To Gods and Men must instantly Ensue.

CHO.

And if the Deity's above,
Are Victims of the powers of Love,
What must wretched Mortals do.

VENUS

Fear not Phoebus, fear not me,
A harmless Deity.
These are all my Guards ye View,
What can these blind Archers do.

PHOEB.

Blind they are, but strike the Heart,

VENUS

What Phoebus say's is alwayes true.
They Wound indeed, but 'tis a pleasing smart.

PHOEB.

Earth and Skies address their Duty,
To the Sovereign Queen of Beauty.
All Resigning,
None Repining.
At her undisputed Sway.

CHO.

To Phoebus and Venus our Homage wee'l pay,
Her Charmes blest the Night, as his Beams blest the day.

[The Nereids Dance.]

Exit.

The Spring Enters with her Nymphs.
SCENE I
The Grove.

VENUS

See the Spring in all her Glory,

CHO.

Welcomes Venus to the Shore.

VENUS

Smiling Hours are now before you,
Hours that may return no more.

[Exit, Soft Musick.]

SPRING

Our Youth and Form declare,
For what we were designed.
'Twas Nature made us Fair,
And you must make us kind.
He that fails of Addressing,
'Tis but Just he shou'd fail of Possessing.

[The Spring and Nymphs Dance.]

SHEPH'S

Jolly Shepherds come away,
To Celebrate this Genial Day,
And take the Friendly Hours you vow to pay.
Now make Trial,
And take no Denial.
Now carry your Game, or for ever give o're.

[The Shepherds and Shepherdesses Dance.]

CHO.

Let us Love and happy Live,
Possess those smiling Hours,
The more auspicious Powers,
And gentle Planets give.
Prepare those soft returns to Meet,
That makes Loves Torments Sweet.

[The Nymphs Dance.]

[Enter the Country Shepherds and Shepherdesses.]

HE

Tell, Tell me, prithee Dolly,
And leave thy Melancholy.
Why on the Plaines,
the Nymphs and Swaines,
This Morning are so Jolly.

SHE

By Zephires gentle Blowing.
And Venus Graces Flowing.
The Sun has bin
to Court our Queen,
And Tired the Spring with wooing.

HE

The Sun does guild our Bowers,

SHE

The Spring does yield us Flowers.
She sends the Vine,

HE

He makes the Wine,
To Charm our happy Hours.

SHE

She gives our Flocks their Feeding,

HE

He makes'em fit for Breeding.

SHE

She decks the Plain,

HE

He fills the Grain,
And makes it worth the Weeding.

CHO.

But the Jolly Nymph Thitis that long his Love sought,
Has Flustred him now with a large Mornings draught,
Let's go and divert him, whilst he is Mellow,
You know in his Cups he's a Hot-Headed Fellow.

[The Countreys Maids Dance.]

Act the First
 Scene: The Palace
 [enter Dido, Belinda and train]

2 - 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.

3 - 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,

4 - 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.

5 - CHORUS
 When monarchs unite, how happy their state,
 They triumph at once o'er their foes and their fate.

6 - 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.

7 - 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]

8 - 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.

9 - CHORUS
 Cupid only throws the dart
 That's dreadful to a warrior's heart,
 And she that wounds can only cure the smart.

10- 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.

11- BELINDA
 Pursue thy conquest, Love; her eyes
 Confess the flame her tongue denies.

 A DANCE. GITTARS CHACONY. (missing from score)

12- 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.

13- THE TRIUMPHING DANCE

Act the Second
 Scene [I]: The Cave
 [enter Sorceress]

14- 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.

15- CHORUS
 Harm's our delight and mischief all our skill.

16- 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!

17- CHORUS
 Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]

18- 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.

19- CHORUS
 Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! [etc.]
 [Enter a Drunken Sailor; a dance]

20- TWO WITCHES
 But ere we this perform,
 We'll conjure for a storm
 To mar their hunting sport
 And drive 'em back to court.

21- 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.

22- ECHO DANCE [Enchantresses and Fairies]

 Scene [II]: The Grove
 [enter Aeneas, Dido, Belinda, and their train]

23- RITORNELLE [Orchestra]

24- 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 (missing from score)

25- 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]

26- 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.

27- 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]

28- 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
 Scene: The Ships
 [enter the Sailors, the Sorceress, and her Enchantresses]

29- 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.

30- THE SAILORS' DANCE

31- 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!

32- 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.

33- 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.]

34- The Witches' Dance

 [Enter Dido, Belinda and train]

35- 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.

36- CHORUS
 Great minds against themselves conspire
 And shun the cure they most desire.

37- 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.

38- When I am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
 No trouble in thy breast;
 Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

39- 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.

40- CUPIDS DANCE - Grove Scene (missing from score)