English translation


                        AM OPERA IN FOUR ACTS
                            THE WORDS BY
                         ANTONIO GHISLANZONI
                             THE MUSIC BY
                            GIUSEPPE VERDI


King of Egypt .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Bass

Amneris, Daughter of the King of Egypt   .  .  .  .  Mezzo-sopr.

Aida, an Ethiopian Slave  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Soprano

Radames, Captain of the Egyptian Guards  .  .  .  .  Tenor

Ramphis, High Priest of Isis .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Bass

Amonasro, King of Ethiopia (Aida's Father)  .  .  .  Baritone

A Messenger   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Tenor

   Priests, Priestesses, Ministers, Captains, Soldiers, 
   Functionaries, Slaves, Ethiopian Prisoners, Egyptian
   People, etc. etc.

The action takes place at Memphis and at Thebes during the reign of the

                                ACT I

                               SCENE I

              Hall in the palace of the King at Memphis.

   To the right and left  a Colonnade  with statues and flowering
   shrubs. — At the back a grand gate, from which may be seen the
   temples and  palaces of Memphis, and the Pyramids.

                          Radames — Ramphis.

RAM.    Yes, it is rumored that the Ethiop dares once
        Again our power in the valley of Nilus,
        Threaten as well as Thebes. The truth from
        Messengers I soon shall know.

RAD.                                Hast thou consulted
        The will of Isis?

RAM.                      She has declared
        Who of Egypt's renowned
        Armies shall be leader.

RAD.                           Oh happy mortal!

RAM. [looking significantly at Radames]
        Young in years is he and dauntless.
        The dread commandment I to the King shall take.    [Exit]

RAD.                                 What if 'tis I am chosen?
        Ah my dream be now accomplished!
        Of a glorious army
        I the chosen leader — mine glorious victory —
        By Memphis received in triumph!
        To thee returned, Aida, my brow entwined with laurel —
        Tell thee, for thee I battled, for thee I conquered!
        Heav'nly Aida, beauty resplendent,
        Radiant flower blooming and bright;
        Queenly thou reignest o'er me transcendent,
        Bathing my spirit in beauty's light.
        Would that thy bright skies once more beholding,
        Breathing the soft airs of thy native land;
        Round thy fair brow a diadem folding,
        Thine were a throne next the sun to stand. 

                        Amneris and the same.

AMN.    In thy visage I trace a joy unwonted!
        What martial ardour
        Is beaming in thy noble glances!
        Ah me! how worthy were of all envy
        The woman whose dearly wish'd for presence
        Could have power to kindle in thee such rapture!

RAD.    A dream of proud ambition
        In my heart I was nursing — Isis this day
        Has declared my name the warrior chief appointed
        To lead to battle Egypt's hosts, — ah, for this honour
        Say what if I were chosen!

AMN.    Has not another vision,
        One more sweet, more enchanting,
        Found favour in your heart? Is there in Memphis
        No attraction more charming?

RAD.                              I? — (fatal question!)
        (Has she the secret yearning
        Divined within me burning!
        Have then these eyes betrayed me
        And told Aida's name!)

AMN.    (Ah woe, my love if spurning
        His heart to another were turning,
        Woe if hope should false have played me,
        And bootless prove my flame!)  

                          Aida and the same.

RAD. [seeing Aida]            Aida!

AMN.       (He is troubled — ne'er lover
           Gazed with more raptured eyes!
           Aida! should I discover
           One who with me now vies)?
                            [after a short pause turning to Aida]
           Come hither, thou I dearly prize —
           Slave art thou none, nor menial,
           Here have I made by fondest ties
           Sister, a name more genial.
           Weep'st thou? the secret let me know
           Wherefore thy tears now flow!

AIDA       Alas! the cry of war I hear
           Vast hosts I see assemble,
           Therefore the country's fate I fear,
           For me, for all I tremble.

AMN.       And art thou sure no deeper woe
           Now bids thy tears to flow?
                       [Aida casts down her eyes and hides
                               her emotion]
AMN. [regarding Aida]
           (Tremble, O thou base vassal!
           Lest thy secret stain is detected!
           All in vain thou wouldst dissemble,
           By tear and blush betrayed!)

AIDA       (No! fate o'er Egypt looming
           Weighs down on my heart dejected,
           I wept that love thus was dooming
           To woe a hapless maid.)

RAD. [regarding Amneris]
           (Her glance with anger flashing
           Proclaims our love suspected,
           Woe if my hopes all dashing,
           She mar the plans I've laid.)

   The King enters preceded by his Guards and followed by Ramphis,
       his Ministers, Priests, Captains, etc. etc. — An Officer of
       the Palace, and afterwards a Messenger.

KING    Mighty the cause that summons
        Round the king the faithful sons of Egypt.
        From the Ethiop's land a messenger
        This moment has reached us, news of grave import
        Brings he — be pleased to hear him!
                       [to an Officer]
                                    Bring the news-bearer forward.

MESS.   The sacred regions of Egyptian soil
        Is by Ethiops invaded, our fertile fields
        Lie all devastated, destroyed our harvest!
        Emboldened by so easy a victory the plundering hordes
        To the capital are marching.

ALL                                Presumptuous daring!

MESS.   They are led by a warrior as fierce
        As he is dauntless — Amonasro.

ALL                                   The king!

AIDA                                        (My father!)

MESS.   All Thebes has risen, and from her hundred portals
        Has poured on the invader a torrent fierce
        Fraught with relentless carnage.

KING    Yes, death and battle be our rallying cry!

ALL     Battle! battle!

KING                    And carnage, war unrelenting!
                [addressing Radamès]
        Isis, revered goddess,
        Already has appointed the warrior chief,
        With power supreme invested —

ALL              Radames!

RAD.                      Ye Gods, I thank you!
        My dearest wish is crowned!

AMN.                               (Our leader!)       

AIDA                                           (I tremble.)

KING    Now unto Vulcan's temple,
        Warrior brave, there to gird thee to victory,
        Donning sacred armour.

        Up! of Nilus' sacred river
        Guard the shores Egyptians brave
        Unto death the foe deliver,
        Egypt they never shall enslave.

        Glory render, glory abiding,
        To our gods all mortals guiding;
        Peace or war alone deciding,
        Their protection let us crave.

        Up! of Nilus' sacred river
        Guard the shores, Egyptians brave
        Unto death the foe deliver:
        Egypt they never shall enslave.

RAD.    Glory's sacred thirst now claims me,
        Only war alone inflames me,
        On to vic'try, naught we stay for!
        Death and battle we'll wreak on the foe!

AMN. [presenting a standard to Radames]
        From my hand, thou warrior glorious,
        Take thy standard aye victorious,
        Let it ever lead the way
        For thy opponent's overthrow.

AIDA    (Whom to weep for? whom to pray for?
        Ah! what power to him now binds me!
        Doom'd to love him though all reminds
        That I love my country's foe.)

ALL     Battle, battle, we'll hunt the invader down!
        On! Radames, thy brow may laurels crown!
                           [exeunt all but Aido]

AIDA    Thy brow may laurels crown! what! can my lips
        Pronounce language so impious! wish him
        Victor o'er my father! o'er him who wages war
        But that I may be restored to my country,
        To my kingdom, to the high station
        I now perforce dissemble! wish him conqueror
        O'er my brothers! e'en now I see him stained
        With their blood so cherished, 'mid the clamorous
        Triumph of Egyptian battalions! Behind his chariot
        A king, my father comes, his fettered captive!

        Ye gods watching o'er me,
        Those words deem unspoken!
        A father restore me,
        His daughter heart-broken;
        Oh, scatter their armies,
        Forever crush our foe!

        What wild words do I utter? of my affection
        Have I no recollection?
        That sweet love that consoled me, a captive pining,
        Like some bright sunny ray on my sad lot shining!
        Shall I invoke destruction on the man
        For whom with love I languish?
        Ah! ne'er yet on this earth lived one
        Whose heart was crushed beneath such anguish!

        The names so holy of father, of lover,
        No more dare I utter or e'en recall, 
        Abashed and trembling, to Heaven would hover 
        My prayer for both, for both my tears would fall.
        Ah, woe! transformed seemed my prayers to blaspheming,
        To suffer is a crime, dark sin to weep,
        My senses lost, wrapt in deep night are dreaming,
        To my grave would in sorrow I might creep!

        Merciful Gods, look from on high!
        Pity these tears hopelessly shed, 
        Love! mystic power, mystic and dread,
        Break, break my weak heart, let me now die!        [exit]    

                              SCENE II

            Interior of the Temple of Vulcan at Memphis

  A mysterious light from above. — A long row of columns, one behind
  the other, vanishing in the distance. — Statues of various Deities.
  — In the middle of the stage, above a platform covered with carpet,
  rises the altar, surmounted with sacred emblems. —  Golden tripods
  emitting the fumes of incense.

    Priests and PriestessesRamphis at the foot of the altar —
    Afterwards RadamesThe singing of the Priestesses is heard
    from within, with harp accompaniment.

                Hail mighty Phthà, that wakest
                In all things breathing life,
                Lo! we invoke thee!
                Hail mighty Phthà, that makest
                All fruitful things grow rife,
                Lo! we invoke thee!
                Flame uncreated, eternal,
                Fount of all light above,
                Lo! we invoke thee!
PRIESTS         Hail, thou who madest all things created,
                Earth, water, heaven,
                Lo! we invoke thee!
                Thou, who of thine own nature
                Art son as well as sire,
                Lo! we invoke thee!
                Life-giver universal,
                Great gift of boundless love,
                Lo! we invoke thee!

   [Radames enters unarmed. — While he is proceeding to the altar
       the Priestesses perform a sacred dance. — A silver veil is
       placed on the head of Radames.]

RAM.    To thee, god-favoured mortal, is now confided
        All the welfare of Egypt. The weapon tempered
        By hand immortal, in thy grasp is destined
        To deal on thy foes ruin and carnage.
                                             [turning to the God]
        Hear us, oh guardian deity,
        Our sacred land protecting,
        Thy mighty hand extending,
        Danger, danger, to Egypt ward!

RAD.    Lord o'er each mortal destiny,
        War's dreadful course directing,
        Aid unto Egypt sending,
        Keep o'er her children guard!

        [During the investiture of Radames with his sacred arms,
        the Priests and Priestesses reassume the religious hymn
        and the mystic dance.]

                           ACT II

                           SCENE I

               A Hall in the Apartments of Amneris.

  Amneris surrounded by female Slaves,  who attire her for
  the triumphal feast. — From the tripods perfumed vapours
  arise. — Moorish slave boys dance and wave feather fans.

SLAVES  Our songs his glory praising
        Heavenward waft a name
        Whose deeds the sun outblazing
        Eclipse his dazzling flame.
        Come bind thy flowing tresses round
        With laurel and with flowers,
        While loud our songs of praise resound
        To celebrate Love's powers.

AMN.    (Come, love, with rapture fill me,
        To joy my heart restore!)

SLAVES  Ah! where are now the foes who dared
        Egypt's brave sons attack?
        As doves are by the eagle scared,
        Our warriors drove them back.
        Now wreath of triumph glorious
        The victor's brow shall crown,
        And love o'er him victorious
        Shall smooth his warlike frown.

AMN.    (Come, love, let thy voice thrill me
        With accents dear once more.)

        Ah, cease now, 'tis Aida who this way advances,
        Child of the conquered, to me her grief is sacred.
                       [at a sign from Amneris the Slaves retire]
        Once more to see her
        My soul again with doubt is tortured —
        Thy dread secret at last shall be surrendered!

                           Amneris — Aida.

AMN. [to Aida with counterfeited affection]
        'Neath the chances of battle succumb thy people,
        O hapless Aida; the sorrows that afflict thee
        Be sure I feel as keenly;
        My heart toward thee yearns fondly:
        Ask what thou wilt of me, thy days shall be happy.

AIDA    Ah, how can I be happy
        Far from my native country, where I can never
        Know what fate has befallen father and brothers?

AMN.    Deeply you move me, yet no human sorrow
        Is lasting here below. Time will bring comfort —
        And heal your present anguish —
        Greater than time the healing power of love is.

AIDA [much moved]
        (Oh, love, sweet power! oh, joy tormenting!
        Rapturous madness, bliss fraught with woes,
        Thy pangs most cruel, a life contenting,
        Thy smiles enchanting bright heaven disclose!)

AMN. [looking fixedly towards Aida]
        (Yon deadly pallor, her bosom panting,
        Tell of love's passion, tell of love's woes:
        Her heart to question, courage is wanting,
        My bosom feels of her torture the throes.)
                                             [eyeing her fixedly]
        Nay, tell me, then, what new fledged love
        Assails my gentle Aida?
        Unbosom all thy secret thoughts,
        Come, trust securely in my affection;
        Amongst the warriors who fought
        Fatally against thy country
        It may be that one has wakened
        In thee gentle thoughts of love.

AIDA    What meanest thou?

AMN.                     The cruel fate of war
        Not all alike embraces,
        And then the dauntless warrior
        Who leads the host may perish!

AIDA    What dost thou tell me?

AMN.    Yes, Radames by thine
        Is slaughtered — And canst thou mourn him?

AIDA    For ever my tears shall flow!

AMN.    The Gods have wrought thee vengeance.

AIDA                                        Celestial favour
        To me was ne'er extended.

AMN. [breaking out with violence]
                                Tremble! thou art discovered!
        Thou lovest him, ne'er deny it.

AIDA                               I love!

AMN.                                      Nay, to confound thee
        I need but one word;
        Gaze on my visage —
        I told thee falsely — Radames liveth!

AIDA [kneeling with rapture]                 He liveth!
        Gods, I thank ye!

AMN.                     Dost hope still now deceive me?
        Yes, thou lovest him; so e'en do I  [with her utmost fury]
        Dost hear my words? behold thy rival here
        In a Pharaoh's daughter.

AIDA [drawing herself up with pride]
                                Thou my rival!
        What though it were so?
        I too —                                [checking herself]
               Ah, heed not my words, but spare and pardon!

        Ah! on all my anguish sweet pity take,
        'Tis true that all else for his love I'd forsake,
        While thou art mighty — all joy's thy dower,
        Naught save my love have I left in life!

AMN.    Tremble, slave, would thy heart I saw breaking
        On thy mad passion life thou art staking.
        Do I not hold thee fast in my power,
        While in my breast hate and envy are rife.
                        [sounds heard within]
        In the pageant now preparing
        Shall a part by thee be taken,
        Thou the dust, slave abject, biting,
        On the throne while I find room!
        Come, this strife with me inviting,
        Thou ere long shalt learn thy doom.

AIDA    Pray thee spare a heart despairing,
        Life's to me a void forsaken;
        Live and reign, thy anger blighting
        O'er my head no more shall loom;
        Soon this love thy hate inviting
        Shall be buried in the tomb.

                             SCENE II

                 Entrance gate to the city of Thebes.

  In front a clump of palms. R.H. a temple dedicated to Ammon —
  L.H. a throne with a purple canopy; at back a triumphal arch. —
  The stage is crowded with people.

    Enter the King, followed by State Officers, Priests, Captains,
     Fanbearers, Standard-bearers. &mdash Afterwards Amneris, with Aida
     and Slaves — The King takes his seat on the throne.Amneris
     places herself at his left hand.

PEOPLE      Glory to Isis and the land
            By her firm arm protected!
            To Egypt's King elected,
            Raise we our festive songs!
            Hither advance, oh glorious band, 
            Mingle your joy with ours,
            Green bays and fragrant flowers
            Scatter their path along.

WOMEN       The laurel with the lotus bound
            The victors' brows enwreathing,
            Let flowers, sweet perfume breathing,
            Veil their grim arms from sight.
            Dance, sons of Egypt, circling round,
            And sing your mystic praises,
            As round the sun in mazes
            Dance the bright stars of night.

PRIESTS     Unto the powers war's issue dread
            Deciding, our glances raise we
            Thank we our gods, and praise we
            On this triumphant day.

   [The Egyptian troops, preceded by trumpets, defile before the
    King — Other troops enter, following war chariots, banners,
    sacred vessels, and images of the Gods. — A group of Dancing
    Girls appears bringing the spoils of the conquered  —  Enter
    Radames under a canopy carried by twelve officers].

KING [descends from the throne to embrace Radames]
        Saviour brave of thy country, Egypt salutes thee!
        Hither now advance, and on thy head my daughter
        Will place the crown of triumph.
   [Radames bows before Amneris, who hands him the crown]

KING [to Radames]                     What thou askest
        Freely I'll grant it; naught can be denied thee
        On such a day: I swear it
        By the crown I am wearing, by Heaven above us.

RAD.    First deign to order that the captives
        Be before you brought.

               [enter Ethiopian Prisoners, surrounded by Guards.
                 Amonasro last, in the dress of an officer]

AIDA                          What see I? He here? My father?

ALL     Her father!

AMN.               And in our power!

AIDA [embracing her father]
        Thou captive made!

AMON. [whispering to Aida]  Tell not my rank.

KING [to Amonasro]                       Come forward!
        So then thou art —

AMON.                     Her father! I joined the war
        Fought, and was conquered. Death I vainly sought.
                          [pointing to the uniform he is wearing]
        This my habit has told you already.
        I my king, I my country defended.
        Adverse fortune against us ran steady,
        Vainly sought we the fates to defy.
        At my feet in the dust lay extended
        Our King — countless wounds had transpierced him;
        If to fight for the country that nursed him
        Make one guilty, we are ready to die.
                             [turning to the King supplicatingly]
        But, O King, in thy power transcendent,
        Spare the lives on thy mercy dependent,
        By the fates though to-day overtaken,
        Say, who can to-morrow's event descry.

        We on whom Heaven's anger is falling,
        Thee implore, on thy clemency calling,
        May ye ne'er be by fortune forsaken,
        Nor like us in captivity lie!

        Death, O King, be their just destination,
        Close thy heart to all vain supplication,
        By the Heavens they doomed are to perish,
        We the Heavens are bound to obey.

PEOPLE  Holy priests, calm your anger exceeding,
        Lend an ear to the conquered foe pleading;
        Mighty King, thou whose power we cherish,
        In thy bosom let mercy have sway.

RAD. [regarding Aida]
        (See her cheek wan with weeping and sorrow,
        From affliction new charm seems to borrow,
        In my bosom love's flame seems new lighted
        By each tear-drop that flows from her eyes.)

AMN.    (With what glances on her he is gazing,
        Glowing passion within them is blazing;
        She is loved and my passion is slighted,
        Stern revenge in my breast loudly cries.)

KING    High in triumph since our banners now are soaring,
        Let us spare those our mercy imploring,
        By the gods mercy aye is requited,
        And gives strength to princely sway.

RAD. [to King]  O King, by Heaven above us,
        And by the crown upon thy brow, thou sworest
        Whate'er I asked thee thou wouldst grant it.

KING                                               Say on!

RAD.    Vouchsafe thee, I pray, freedom and life
        To freely grant unto these Ethiop captives here.

AMN.                                             (Free all, then!)

PRIESTS Death be the doom of Egypt's enemies.

PEOPLE                                        Compassion
        To the wretched.

RAM.                      Hear me, O King:           [to Radames]
                                          And thou too,
        Dauntless young hero, list to the voice of prudence:

        They are foes to battle hardened,
        In them vengeance ne'er will die,
        Growing bolder if now pardoned
        They to arms once more will fly.

RAD.    With Amonasro, their warrior king,
        All hopes of revenge have perished.

RAM.                                       At least
        As earnest of safety and of peace
        Keep we back fair Aida's father;
        Set the others free.

KING                         I yield me to thy counsel,
        Of safety now and peace a bond more certain
        Will I give you. Radames, to thee our debt
        Is unbounded. Amneris my daughter shall be
        Thy guerdon. Thou shalt hereafter o'er Egypt
        With her hold conquering sway.

AMN.                                (Now let yon bondmaid
        Rob me of my love — she dares not!)

KING    Glory to Egypt, sacred land,
        Isis hath aye protected;
        With laurel and with lotus
        Bind round the victor's head.

PRIESTS Praise be to Isis, Goddess bland,
        Who hath our land protected,
        And pray the favours granted us
        Ever be o'er us shed.

AIDA    (Alas! to me what hope is left?
        He wed, a throne ascending,
        I left to measure all my loss
        Like some poor widowed dove.)

PRIS.   Glory to Egypt's gracious land
        Who hath revenge rejected,
        And liberty hath granted us
        Once more our soil to tread.

RAD.    (Now Heaven's bolt the clouds hath cleft
        Upon my head descending.
        Ah no! all Egypt's treasure
        Outweighs not Aida's love).

AMN.    (Almost of ev'ry sense bereft
        By joy my hopes transcending,
        Scarce I the triumph now can measure
        Crowning all my love.)

AMON. [to Aida]
        Take heart, there yet some hope is left,
        Thy country's fate amending,
        Thou'lt soon behold with pleasure
        Vengeance light from above.

PEOPLE  Glory to Egypt's Goddess bland
        Who hath our land protected,
        With laurel and with lotus
        Bind round the victor's head.

                               ACT III

                        Shores of the Nile.

    Granite rocks overgrown with palm trees. —  On the summit of
       the rocks  a temple  dedicated  to Isis,  half hidden  in
       foliage.  — Starry night, moon shining brightly.

CHORUS          O thou who to Osiris art      [within the temple]
                Mother and consort immortal,         
                Goddess that mad'st the human heart
                Flutter as does the dove,
                Aid us who seek thy portal,
                Parent of deathless love.

        [From a boat which approaches the shore  descend Amneris
        and Ramphis, followed by women closely veiled and Guards]

RAM.    Come to the fane of Isis the eve                [to Amn.]
        Before the day of thy bridal, pray that
        The Goddess grant thee her favour.  To Isis
        Are the hearts of mortals open. All that is hidden
        In the heart of man she knoweth.

AMN.    Yes, and I will pray that Radames may give me
        Truly his heart, truly as mine to him
        Has ever been sacred.

RAM.                          Thou shalt pray
        Till the daylight. I shall be near thee.

       [All enter the temple, the Chorus repeats the sacred hymn]

AIDA [veiled, enters cautiously]
        He will ere long be here! What would he tell me?
        I tremble! Ah, if thou comest
        To bid me, harsh man, farewell for ever,
        Then, Nilus, thy dark and rushing stream
        Hides me forever; peace shall I find there and oblivion!
        O skies cerulean, breezes soft blowing,
        Where brightly calmness saw life's blithe morn unfold,
        Sweet sloping verdure by streams so softly flowing,
        Thee my native land ne'er more shall I behold!
        O blessed vales, wherein all cares were banish'd,
        That once did promise love, I bid adieu,
        Ah me! of love the sweetest dream has vanish'd,
        O native land, ne'er more shall I see you!

                          Amonasro — Aida.

AIDA    Heaven! my father!

AMON.                     To thee, Aida, I come
        For gravest reasons. Naught escapes my attention;
        For Radames thour't dying of love.
        He loves thee, thou awaitest him.
        A daughter of the Pharaohs is thy rival —
        Race accursed, detested, to us aye fatal!

AIDA    And I am in her grasp, I, Amonasro's

AMON.           In her power thou? No!! If thou wishest,
        Thy all-powerful rival thou shalt vanquish;
        Thy country, thy sceptre, thy love — all shall be thine.

        Once again shalt thou on our balmy forests,
        Our verdant valleys, our golden temples gaze! 

AIDA    Once again shall I on our balmy forests,
        Our verdant valleys, our golden temples gaze. 

AMON.   The happy bride of thy heart's dearest treasure,
        Delight unbounded there shalt thou enjoy. 

AIDA    Ah, but one day of such enchanting pleasure,
        Nay, but an hour of bliss so sweet, then let me die!

AMON.   Yet recall how Egyptian hordes descended
        On our homes; our temples, our altars dared profane!
        Cast in bonds sisters, daughters undefended, 
        Mothers, children, helpless old men slain!

AIDA    Too well remembered are those days of mourning,
        All the keen anguish my poor heart that pierced;
        Gods! grant in mercy peace once more returning,
        Once more the dawn soon of glad days may burst.

AMON.   Lose not a moment! our people armed
        Are panting for the signal; now to strike the blow, 
        Success is sure: naught but one thing is wanting —
        That we know by what path will march the foe.

AIDA    Who that path will discover? Canst tell?

AMON.                                       Thyself will!

AIDA    Myself! 

AMON.          Radames, whom thou expects, will tell thee;
        He commands the Egyptians, and loves thee.

AIDA                                           Thought hateful!
        What promptst thou me to do? No! ask it not!

AMON. [with savage impetus]
                Then, Egypt's fierce nation,
                Our cities devoting
                To flames, and denoting
                What ruins your path!
                Spread wide devastation,
                Your fury unbridle,
                Resistance is idle,
                Give loose to your wrath!

AIDA        Ah, father!

AMON. [repulsing her]  Call'st thyself
            My daughter!

AIDA [frightened and supplicating]   Nay hold! have mercy!

AMON.       Torrents of blood shall crimson flow,
            Grimly the foe stands gloating, 
            Seest thou from Death's dark gulf below
            Shades of the dead upfloating, 
            Crying as thee in scorn they show
            Thou hast thy country slain!

AIDA        Have mercy, pray!

AMON.                      One among those phantoms dark
            E'en now it stands before thee.
            Tremble! now stretching o'er thee
            Its withered hand thy head doth mark!
            Thy mother's hands see there again,
            Stretched out to curse thee! 

AIDA [with the utmost terror]        Ah no!
            My father!

AMON. [repelling her]  Thou'rt not my daughter!
        No! of the Pharaohs thou art a bondmaid.

AIDA    Father, no, their slave am I no longer. 
        Ah, with thy curse do not appal me,
        Still thine own daughter thou mayst call me, 
        Ne'er shall my country her child disdain.

AMON.   Think that thy race downtrampled by the conqueror,
        Through thee alone can their freedom gain. 

AIDA    Oh then, my country than love has proved the stronger.

AMON.   Have courage! he comes! there I'll remain.
                               [conceals himself among the palms]

                           Radames — Aida.

RAD.    I see thee again, my sweet Aida!

AIDA    Advance not! Hence! What hopes are thine?

RAD.    Love led me hither in hope to meet thee.

AIDA    Thou to another thy hand must resign.
        The Princess weds thee!

RAD.                          What say'st thou?
        Thee only, Aida, e'er can I love.
        Be witness, Heaven, thou art not forsaken!

AIDA    Invoke not falsely the Gods above;
        Brave thou wert loved, let not untruth degrade thee.

RAD.    Can I not of my love then persuade thee?

AIDA                                          And how then
        Hop'st thou to baffle the love of thy Princess?
        The King's high demand, the desire of thy people,
        The certain wrath of the priesthood?

RAD.                                     Hear me, sweet Aida.
        Once more of deadly strife with hope unfading
        The Ethiopians have lighted the brand;
        Already they our borders have invaded.
        While Egypt's armies I shall command,
        When shouts of triumph greet me victorious,
        To our kind monarch my love disclosing,
        Thee will I claim, thee my guerdon glorious.
        With thee live ever in peace reposing.

AIDA    Nay, but dost thou not fear then
        Of Amneris the rage? Her dreadful vengeance
        Like the lightning of heaven on me will fall —
        Fall on my father, my nation.

RAD.    I will defend thee.

AIDA                   In vain wouldst thou attempt it.
        Yet, if thou lovest me, then still offers
        A means for our safety.

RAD.                          Name it!

AIDA                                  To fly!

RAD.                                        Together!

AIDA [with the liveliest effusion]
            Ah, fly from where these burning skies,
            Are all beneath them blighting;
            Towards regions new we'll turn our eyes,
            Our faithful love inviting.
            There where the virgin forests rise,
            'Mid fragrance softly stealing,
            Our loving bliss concealing,
            The world we'll quite forget, 'mid loving bliss.

RAD.        To distant countries ranging
            With thee thou bidst me fly,
            For other lands exchanging
            All 'neath my native sky.
            The land these arms have guarded,
            That first fame's crown awarded,
            When I first thee regarded
            How can I e'er forget?

AIDA        Beneath our skies more freely
            To our hearts will love be yielded,
            The gods thy youth that shielded
            Will not our love forget.

RAD. [hesitating]                   Aida!

AIDA    Me thou lov'st not! Go!

RAD.                           Not love thee?
        Ne'er in mortal bosom
        Burnt yet love's flame with ardour more devouring.

AIDA    Go, thy Ameris
        'Waits thee!

RAD.               All in vain!

AIDA                          In vain, thou say'st?
        Then fall the axe upon me
        And on my wretched father!

RAD.                             Ah no! we'll fly then!
                                     [with passionate resolution]
            Yes, we'll fly these walls now hated,
            In the desert hide our treasure.
            Here the land to woe seems fated,
            There all seems to smile with love.
            Boundless deserts naught can measure
            Where our bridal couch soon spreading,
            Starry skies shall lustre shedding
            Be our canopy above.

AIDA        In my native land where lavish
            Fortune smiles, a heaven awaits thee,
            Balmy airs the sense that ravish
            Stray through verdant mead and grove.
            'Mid the valleys where nature greets thee
            We our bridal couch soon spreading,
            There the stars shall lustre shedding
            Be our canopy above.

AIDA-RAD.   Come, from hence together flying
            Where all woe seems to abide,
            Thou art lov'd with love undying,
            Come, and love our steps shall guide!
                                        [they are hastening away]

AIDA [suddenly pausing]
        But tell me by what path
        Shall we avoid alighting
        On the soldiers?

RAD.                   By the path that we have chosen
        To fall on the Ethiops, 'twill be vacant
        Until to-morrow.

AIDA                   Say, which is that?

RAD.                                     The gorges
        Of Napata!

                     Amonasro — Aida — Radames.

AMON.              Of Napata! 'tis well then.
        There will I post my troops.

RAD.                               Who has overheard us?

AMON.   I, Aida's father, Ethiopia's King.

RAD. [overcome with surprise]
        Thou! Amonasro! thou the King? Heaven! what say'st thou?
        No! it is false! surely this can be but dreaming.

AIDA    Ah no! be calm and list to me,
        Trust love, thy footsteps guiding.

AMON.   In Aida's love confiding,
        A throne thy prize shall be.

RAD.    For thee I've played the traitor.
        My name forever branded!

AMON.   No, guilt can never fall on thee,
        It was by fate commanded.
        Come where beyond the Nile arrayed
        Warriors brave are waiting;
        There love thy fond wish sating
        Thou shalt be happy made.

     Enter Amneris from the temple, then Ramphis, Priests,
                       Guards and the above.

AMN.    Traitor vile!

AIDA                The Princess here!

AMON. [advancing with a dagger towards Amneris]
        Comest thou here to mar my projects?
        Die then!

RAD. [rushing between them] Nay, strike not, thou madman!

AMON.                                          Oh fury!

RAM.    Guards there, advance!

RAD. [to Aida and Amonasro]
                             Fly! quick! Delay not!

AMON. [dragging Aida]
        Come then, my daughter!

RAM. [to the Guards]         Guards! quick, follow!

RAD. [to Ramphis]  Holy Priest, to thee I yield.

                              ACT IV

                              SCENE I

                   A Hall in the King's Palace.

  On the left a large portal leading to the subterranean hall
   of justice. — A passage on the right leading to the prison
   of Radames.

Amneris [mournful crouched before the portal].

        She, my rival detested, has escaped me!
        And from the Priesthood Radames is 'waiting
        The sentence of a traitor. Yet a traitor
        He is not. Though he disclosed the weighty
        Secrets of warfare — flight was his true intention,
        And flight with her too. They are traitors all then!
        And justly should perish. What am I saying? I love him!
        Still I love him. Yes, insane and desperate
        Is the love my wretched life destroying.
        Ah! could he only love me!
        Fain would I save him.  Yet can I?
        One effort! Soldiers: Radames bring hither.

            Radames [led in by Guards]Amneris.

AMN.            Now to the hall the priests proceed
                Where judgment thou art waiting,
                Yet is there hope from this foul deed
                Thyself of disculpating.
                Once clear to gain thy pardon,
                I at the throne's foot kneeling
                For mercy dear appealing,
                Life will I bring to thee.

RAD.            From me my judges ne'er will hear
                One word of exculpation;
                In sight of heaven I am clear,
                Nor fear its reprobation.
                My lips I keep no guard on,
                The secret I imparted;
                But guiltless and pure-hearted;
                From stain my honour's free!

AMN.            Then save thy life and clear thyself.

RAD.            No!

AMN.                Wouldst thou die?

RAD.                                Detested
                Life is; of all pleasure
                From henceforward divested.
                Without hope's priceless treasure
                'Tis better far to die!

AMN.            Wouldst die then? ah me! consent to live.
                Live, of all my love assured;
                The keenest pangs that death can give
                For thee have I endured.
                By love condemned to languish,
                Long vigils I have spent in anguish,
                My country, power, existence
                All I'd surrender for thee!

RAD.            Have I not staked upon her
                All that in life was dearest!

AMN.            No more of her!   

RAD.                           Dishonour
                Awaits me, my death thou fearest?
                Wretched thou mad'st life ever
                From Aida mine to sever;
                Haply thou hast slain her
                Yet offerest life to me?

AMN.            I on her life lay guilty hands!
                No! Aida lives yet!

RAD.                              Living!

AMN.            When routed, fled the savage bands,
                To fate war's chances giving,
                Perished her father!

RAD.                                And she then!

AMN.            Vanished, nor ought heard we then

RAD.                    The gods her path guide then,
                Safe to her home returning,
                Guard her too e'er from learning
                That for her sake I die.

AMN.            But if I save thee wilt thou swear
                Her sight e'er to resign?

RAD.            I cannot!

AMN.                     Swear to renounce
                Her for ever, life shall be thine.

RAD.            I cannot!

AMN.                     Once more thy answer,
                Wilt thou renounce her?

RAD.                                  No! Never!

AMN.            Life's thread wouldst thou then sever?

RAD.            Ready for death am I.

AMN.          From the fate now hanging o'er thee
              Who will save thee, wretched being?
              She whose heart could once adore thee
              Thou hast made thy mortal foe.
              Heaven all my anguish seeing,
              Will avenge this cruel blow!

RAD.          Void of terrors death appeareth
              Since I die for her I cherish;
              In the hour when I perish
              With delight my heart will glow;
              Wrath no more this bosom feareth,
              Scorn for thee alone I know!
                           [Radames goes out attended by Guards]

AMN. [falling on a chair, overcome]
        Ah me! death's hand approaches! who now will save him?
        He is now in their power,
        His sentence I have sealed — Oh how I curse thee,
        Jealousy, vile monster, thou who has doomed him
        To death, and me to everlasting sorrow!
                [turns and sees the Priests, who cross the stage
                   and enter the subterranean hall]
        What see I? Behold of death
        The ministers fatal, his merciless judges.
        Ah let me not behold those white robed phantoms!
                                 [covers her face with her hands]

PRIESTS [within the subterranean hall]
        Heavenly spirit, in our hearts descending,
        Kindle of justice the flame eternal,
        Unto our sentence truth and righteousness lending.

AMN.    Pity, O Heaven, this heart so sorely wounded,
        His heart is guiltless, save him, powers supernal,
        For my sorrow is despairing, deep unbounded.
        [Radames crosses with Guard, and enters the subterranean
          hall — Amneris, seeing Radames, utters a cry]

RAM. [in the crypt]
        Radames, Radames: thou hast betrayed
        Of thy country the secrets to aid the foeman.

PRIESTS Defend thyself!

RAM.                  He is silent.

ALL                               Traitor vile!

RAM.    Radames, Radames: and thou wast absent
        From the camp the very day before the combat!

PRIESTS Defend thyself!

RAM.                  He is silent.

ALL                               Traitor vile!

RAM.    Radames, Radames: and thou hast played
        The part of a traitor to King, and to honour!

PRIESTS Defend thyself!

RAM.                  He is silent.

ALL                               Traitor vile!
        Radames, we thy fate have decided,
        Of all traitors the fate shall be thine —
        'Neath the altar whose God thou'st derided
        Thou a sepulcher living shalt find.

AMN.    Find a sepulcher living! hated wretches!
        Ever vengeful, bloodthirsty and blind.
        Yet who serve of kind Heaven the shrine.
              [assailing the Priests who re-enter from the Crypt]
        Priests of Heaven, a crime you have enacted,
        Tigers ever in bloodshed exulting,
        Earthly justice and Heaven's you are insulting,
        On the guiltless your sentence will fall.

PRIESTS None can his doom recall!

AMN. [to Ramphis]
        Priest of Heaven: thou death hast inflicted
        On whom well ye know once I treasured;
        May a broken heart's curses unmeasured
        With his blood on thy guilty head fall!

PRIESTS None can his doom recall!              [departing slowly]

AMN.    Impious priesthood, curses light on ye all!
        On your heads Heaven's vengeance will fall! [exit wildly]

                               SCENE II

                 The scene is divided into two floors.

  The upper floor represents the interior of the temple of Vulcan,
  resplendent with gold and glittering light; the lower floor is a
  Crypt. — Long Arcades vanishing in the gloom. — Colossal Statues
  of Osiris with crossed hands support the pillars of the vault.

      Radames is discovered in the Crypt, on the steps of the
      staircase leading into the vault. — Above, two  Priests
      in the act of letting down the stone which closes the

RAD.    The fatal stone upon me now is closing,
        Now has the tomb engulfed me. I never more
        The light shall behold. Ne'er more see gentle Aida.
        Dear Aida, where now art thou? whate'er befalls me
        May'st thou be happy. Ne'er may my frightful doom
        Reach thy gentle ear. What groan was that? Tis a phantom!
        Some vision dread. No! sure that form is human!
        Heaven! 'tis Aida.

AIDA                     Yes! Aida!

RAD.                              Thou, with me here buried!

AIDA    My heart forboded this thy dreadful sentence,
        And to this tomb that shuts on thee its portal
        I crept unseen by mortal.
        Here from all where none can behold us,
        Clasped in thy arms I resolved to perish.

RAD.    To perish! so pure and lovely!
        To die, thine own self dooming,
        In all thy beauty blooming,
        Fade thus forever!
        Thou whom the heav'n only for love created
        But to destroy thee was my love then fated!
        Ah no! those eyes
        So dear I prize
        For death are too lovely!

AIDA [transported]  See'st thou where death in angel guise
        With heavenly radiance beaming,
        Would waft us to eternal joys
        On golden wings above!
        See heaven's gates are open wide
        Where tears are never streaming,
        Where only bliss and joy reside
        And never fading love!

   Singing and dancing of the Priestesses in the Temple.

AIDA    That sad chanting!

RAD.                     'Tis the sacred dance
        Of the Priesthood!

AIDA                     It is our death chant resounding!

RAD. [trying to displace the stone closing the vault]
        Cannot my lusty sinews
        Move from its place this fatal stone?

AIDA    'Tis vain! all is over
        Hope on earth have we none!

RAD. [with sad resignation]
       I fear it! I fear it!
                               [approaches Aida and supports her]

AIDA – RAD.  Farewell, O earth! farewell thou vale of sorrow!
        Brief dream of joy condemned to end in woe!
        See, brightly opens the sky, an endless morrow
        There all unshadowed eternal shall glow!

                              [Aida drops in the arms of Radames]

AMN. [appears, habited in mourning, in the temple, and throws
                         herself on the stone closing the vault]
        Peace everlasting, lov'd one, mayst thou know
        Isis, relenting, greet thee on high!

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21 Dec 2009