Manon Lescaut

                              ACT IV

                           -- -- -- --


A vast plain on the borders of the territory of New Orleans.

The country is bare and undulating, the horizon is far distant, the
  sky is overcast. Night falls.

Manon and Des Grieux  advance  slowly  from  the  back;  they  are
  poorly clad; they seem worn out with fatigue; Manon is very pale
  and exhausted,  she leans on  Des Grieux,  who supports her with

                      Des Grieux (advancing)
                Lean all your weight on me, love,
                O sweetheart sad and weary.
                How tired you must be, love!
                The road so long and dreary
                We soon will leave behind us.

                       (with stifled voice)
                Let's onward, still onward, love,
                The air around us now grows darker,
                Over the plain the wandering breeze is flying.
                And daylight is dying!--
                Let's onward, still onward-- [completely overcome.
                                        No!--     [falls suddenly.

                            Des Grieux
                     (with a cry of anguish)

                    (her voice grows fainter)
                I cannot!  Oh! forgive me!
                I am only a woman...
                But you, you are strong-- I faint!

                      Des Grieux (anxiously)
                You suffer?

                          Manon  (hastily)
                                Most cruel torture!
 [Des Grieux, distressed at her sufferings, is deeply moved. Manon
    with an effort exclaims
                No! what said I?-- It is false,
                I was jesting, believe me--
                O love, take comfort!
                I need rest for a moment--
                Only a moment--
                My heart's own treasure
                Come close, come near me-- ah! come!      [swoons.

                            Des Grieux
                      (with intense emotion)
                Manon-- hear me, beloved--
                You do not answer, my darling!
                Look, dear, 'tis I am weeping--
                Look, dear, 'tis I implore you,
                My vigil here I'm keeping
                Ah! love, I who adore you!--
            [as he speaks his emotion becomes still more powerful.
                Nay, answer me!-- Look up, dear!--        [pauses.
                Silent!? Accurséd fate!--   [touches her forehead.
                Her frame is racked with fever--

   (rising suddenly, gazes at Des Grieux as if she did not recog-
     nize him: Des Grieux stoops and raises her from the ground.
                'Tis you, then, that are weeping?
                And you that so implore me?
                My heart your sigh is reaping!
                Your tears fall softly o'er me!
                Love, with your love, restore me!
                A cruel thirst consumes me.
                Oh! help me, dearest, help me.

                            Des Grieux
                Oh! love, a thousand deaths
                I would die to save you.

        [runs up stage and scans the distant horizon, then returns

                There's nothing!-- nothing!
                All arid waste land-- not a drop of water
                O heartless heaven! O God,
                To whom I ever as a child
                Would raise my prayer,
                Now protect her-- and defend her!

                Yes-- help me, help me--
                For you can save me!
                Listen, I here will rest,
                While you scan from afar the dim horizon,
                And seek for shelter or a woodland hut,
                Go swiftly onward, and then, with joyful accents,
                All your glad tidings to me you'll convey.

[while Manon is speaking Des Grieux looks at her with the greatest
   anxiety,  he hesitates  to leave her;  he finds a resting place
   for her and remains awhile undecided;  finally he walks slowly,
   and on reaching the background again,  stops to gaze at  Manon,
   then with sudden resolve runs off.

      (the sky darkens,  Manon is well nigh distraught with terror
  and fatigue)

        Lonely-- forsaken-- and abandoned--
        All my hope then is over.
        And in the heart of this desert
        I'm dying. O wretched helpless woman!
        I sought this region as a peaceful haven.
        Ah! through my fatal beauty
        Torments afresh surround me--
        They would have severed me from him;
        How all my past does haunt me
        With fearful pains of anguish,
        And rises straight before my eyes to rend me.
        New dangers come to threaten--
        Only the tomb can release me from my burden.
        No!-- let me not die-- dearest-- help me!

       [Des Grieux enters hurriedly, Manon falls into his arms.

                        Manon (recovering)
                Enfold me in your arms, love,
                For the last time!
                      [with an effort, smiles and looks hopeful.
                                Do you bring back
                Good tidings?

                            Des Grieux
                     (with the deepest grief)
                Alas! I found nothing--
                The horizon revealed me nothing--
                In vain I peered into the distance--

                I die!  Dark shadows fall around.
                Night's gloom on me is falling.

                            Des Grieux
                Oh! what terrible frenzy
                Overcomes and distracts you--
                Rest, dear love, on my beating heart
                'Till you revive once more.

                    (with infinite tenderness)
                See, how my breath grows fainter--
                I scarce can speak--
                But, I would tell you how fondly I love you!
                My dearest, my only treasure!

[sinks slowly to the ground, while Des Grieux endeavors to support

                            Des Grieux
     (touches her cheek, and in the greatest alarm exclaims)
                The chill of death is on her!
                God, my last hope is shattered!

                My sweetest love, you're weeping!
                For tears 'tis not the hour;
                Let lips fond troth be keeping
                With kiss that love shall-- dower!

                            Des Grieux
         And I still live! (vehemently) Oh, horror!

         Ah! rife be this moment,
                With divinest caresses;
                Amid passion and fervour
                Let death o'ertake me--

                            Des Grieux
           Supreme treasure and delight--
                Thou flame of love eternal--

                                The flame is dying--
        Speak, then, to me, love-- Alas! no more I hear you--
        Draw near-- enfold me close-- let your lips cling, love--
        Ah! thus-- Ah! thus-- you kiss me-- your touch thrills me!--

                            Des Grieux
        I cannot live-- without you--
        I too shall die--

     (with a supreme effort, and in a solemn tone of command)
                                         You shall not!
        Farewell love! The night grows darker. I shudder--
        So truly loving was your Manon!-- Remember!--
        Tell me-- the radiant happy dreams of childhood--
	To see the sunlight nevermore!

                            Des Grieux
                                               Oh! Heaven!

        Time will obliterate my faults--
        But my love-- will never die.                       [dies.

 Des Grieux, frantic with grief, bursts into convulsive sobs, and
    falls senseless upon Manon's body.

                        END OF THE OPERA.

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27 Nov 2005