Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT FIRST. - Don Carlos: Opera in Four Acts
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ACT FIRST. - Giuseppe Verdi, Don Carlos: Opera in Four Acts 
Don Carlos: Opera in Four Acts (New York: Fred Rullman, 1920). Metropolitan Opera House, Grand Opera, Libretto.
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(The forest of Fontainebleau in winter. At the right a mass of rock forming a sort of shelter. In the distant background the royal palace.)
(A few woodcutters engaged in cutting wood, their wives standing near a large bonfire.Elizabeth of Valoisenters the scene from the left, mounted on a steed led by her pageTheobald.A party of hunters serve as her escort.)
Chorus of Hunters (at right).
Hasten hunters, hasten or the prey will escape us.
Band of Hunters (at left).
But we will overtake them before night envelops the forest.
(Elizabethto the fanfare of trumpets crosses the scene, throwing money to the woodcutters as she passes.—Don Carlosappears at the left, half concealing himself among the trees. The woodcutters and their wives after respectfully saluting the princess take their axes and baskets and disappear through the woodland paths.)
Don Carlos (alone).
Fontainebleau, immense and solitary forest,
Whose gardens, those rose scented bowers, that Eden of splendor
Are less prized by Don Carlos than this rude forest,
Where his Elizabeth has smilingly appeared!
I have left the Iberian soil, have left my court,
Defying the tremendous fury of Philip,
That mingling unknown in the train of the royal ambassador,
I may behold her, my beautiful betrothed—
She who when first seen took her throne in my heart,
She who will ever reign over this doting heart.
I saw her and at her smile
The very ground seemed to shine unto light
As a soul in Paradise
She opened to me a dream of hope.
So much joy destined to me,
Overwhelmed my soul with ecstasy.
Heaven smile upon our affection,
Bless this chaste and holy love—
(Starts to followElizabeth,but checks himself and listens attentively. The sound of a horn is heard in the distance and silence ensues.)
The sound of the horn is silent through the forest,
No longer is heard the clamor of the hunters.
The day is dying. All is silent, and the evening star
Glances in the far-off azure space,
How shall I retrace my steps to the royal palace,
And find my way through this dark wood?
Theobald (from within).
What ho there! body guard. Ho! pages of the King.
What voice resounds in the dark forest?
Ho! woodmen come hither.
Carlos (retiring a little).
Oh! what vision of beauty approaches.
Theobald (in terror).
I cannot find the path. Lady take my arm.
I will support you. The night is dark and gloomy
And you tremble with cold.
Let us go further on.
Ah! fatigue overpowers me.
(Carlosappears and bows toElizabeth.)
(Terrified, toDon Carlos)
Heavens! who art thou?
I am a stranger—a Spaniard
Art thou one of the train of Count Lerma, the Spanish ambassador?
Yes, noble lady. And I will be your protector.
(At the back of the scene).
Oh! What joy! I see
The lights of Fontainebleau
I will hasten to lead you to the royal palace.
Go, and be not anxious for my safety.
I am the betrothed of Don Carlos. I have faith
In Spanish honor. Hasten, page, to the castle!
He (pointing toCarlos) knows how to protect the daughter of thy King.
(Carloswith his hand on his sword takes his position by the side ofElizabeth. Theobaldbows and departs.)
Elizabeth and Carlos.
(Elizabethsits on a rock, and looks atDon Carloswho is standing before her.Don Carlosbreaks a few small branches scattered on the ground and revives the fire).
At my feet! And wherefore?
(Looking at the Queen, kneels).
When in war,
With only the heavens for a covering,
We were wont to feed the cheerful flame.
See! Already the genial fire expands and lightens!
In the field when it burned and crackled thus
We called it the precursor of victory... or of love
So, thou hast left Madrid?
And tonight the treaty of peace will be signed?
And first, will be arranged the details of the marriage of Don Carlos, the son of my King.
Ah! Let us talk of him.
A dark terror invades my heart.
A lonely exile I will be. France I must leave.
Yet would I had his love
Thou shalt see Don Carlos at thy feet
Burning with love. I have faith in his fidelity.
I shall leave France, also my father.
God wills it, I shall leave, I shall have another country.
I shall go contented, and with my heart full of hope.
And Carlo, still loving you, he shall live.
I swear he will love you.
Why does my heart beat with joy?
But what is this?
Carlos (handing her a casket).
As the messenger of the Prince,
I present to you this gift.
A gift from him!
He sends you his faithful picture.
Oh happiness! I shall see him! I hesitate to open it,
And yet I fain would gaze upon his features.
(Opening the portrait and recognizingCarlos.)
Carlos (falling at her feet).
I am Carlos—and I love thee!
With what ardor—with what love
This heart is overflowing!
To his destiny a divine will
Has now bound mine.
A gloomy terror I had in my heart
And till this hour I felt its shadow.
But now that I am beloved, a joy supreme
Possesses my happy soul.
Yes I love thee, I love thee, thee alone I desire—
For thee I will live—for thee I will die.
Love guided me to thee, and brought thee to my side,
And love decrees we both shall be happy.
(The distant booming of a cannon is heard.)
What noise is that?
The cannon sounds.
Auspicious day! ’Tis the signal for the festival.
Don Carlos and Elizabeth.
Yes! thanks to Heaven! The treaty of peace is signed!
(The windows of the palace of Fontainebleau in the distance are suddenly illuminated.)
What splendor! How brilliantly shine the lights of yon palace!
(ClaspingElizabethin his arms).
The horror and gloom of the forest disappears!
All is joy and brightness! All is delight and love!
Elizabeth and Don Carlos.
Heaven at last will see us united heart to heart
In Hymen’s bonds. May Heaven hasten the happy day.
Ah do not fear! Renew thy courage
My own betrothed one!
Angel of love, turn on me
Thy beloved eyes.
If I tremble yet ’tis not from terror,
Already I feel my strength renewed!
To rapture—strange indeed to me
I abandon my joyous heart!
We will renew in loving ecstasy
The oath which binds us;
Our lips have said it—Heaven has heard it
Our hearts confirm the sacred vow—
(Theobaldenters with pages bearing torches. The pages remain in the background.Theobaldalone approachesElizabeth.)
(kneeling and kissing the dress ofElizabeth).
Grant, oh lady, to the faithful messenger
Who now bears thee happy tidings,
One favor—to remain in thy service
And never to leave thee more.
(Directing him by a sign to rise).
It is granted.
I salute your Majesty, as Queen, and Spouse of Philip II.
No, no, I am engaged to the Infante by my father’s will.
To the Spanish Monarch. Henry has destined you.
You are Queen.
Don Carlos (aside).
A chill runs through my heart.
The abyss is opening before me
And you permit it, oh, Heaven!
(Heard first in the distance and gradually approaching).
With festal songs and joyful strains
Salute this happy day!
Peace beams above us, happy days are ours
While Heaven unites two loving hearts
Glory and honor to the beauteous lady!
To her who on the morrow mounts the throne,
And gives her hand, a gentle loving spouse,
To Philip, King of Spain.
All is darkness.
To misery I am condemned.
The golden dream is vanished;
Vanished forever from my broken heart!
Ah! from my heart it has vanished.
Chorus (entering on the scene)...
With festal songs and joyful strains,
Salute this happy day...
Peace beams above us, happy days are ours;
While Heaven unites two loving hearts!
The fatal hour has come.
Against the merciless fate
Easier shall be the battle
Oh! Poor me, poor me.
Our souls are condemned,
Never again shall we find
So much love, so much love.
The fatal hour has come;
My life was a happy one—
Hard and sad it now seems.
All is ended, all is ended!
To bitter sorrow
Our souls are condemned.
So much love, now ended.
Count of Lerma.
The glorious King of France, the Great Henry
To the Monarch of Spain and India
Desires to give the hand of Elizabeth, his daughter.
This union shall be a tie of friendship.
But Philip wants to leave you full liberty;
Would you accept the hand of my King, who is hoping?
Chorus of Women.
Accept, Elizabeth, the hand that the King offers you,
Pity, pity, at last we shall have peace, pity for us!
Count of Lerma.
What do you answer?
Elizabeth (with dying voice).
It is the supreme agony, I feel as if I were dying.
God in Heaven shall bless you.
Shall your friendly fate be faithful.
Don Carlos (aside).
I feel as if I were dying,
It is the supreme agony.
Festal hymns gladly resound,
And greet the glad day.
Peace brings happy moments.
Two loving hearts, Heaven has united.
To such cruel sorrow this soul is condemned.
What sorrow! What pain!
We shall never, never again find such love.
Glory, Honor. Glory, Queen!
(Elizabethis being conducted by the count to the litter. The procession starts.Don Carlosremains alone and sad.)
Poor me, poor me!
Chorus (in the distance).
Carlos (with despair).
The fatal hour has come!
And life to me but now so blessed,
Gloomy and dark appears.
The golden dream so beautiful, is fled!
Oh! Destiny! Cruel, cruel destiny!
end of act i.