Front Page Titles (by Subject) FOURTH ACT. - Don Carlos: Opera in Four Acts
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FOURTH ACT. - 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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(TheKing’slibrary in Madrid. TheKingis absorbed in deep thought, and is leaning on a table full of papers, with two torches burning low. Dawn creeps through the window panes.)
Philip (as if dreaming).
She never loved me!
No, that heart so close to mine,
It has no love for me!
I can see her yet
Sadly looking down upon my snow white hair
The day she came here from France.
No, she has no love for me!
Where am I? Those torches are burning low!
The dawn is brightening my veranda . . .
It is daybreak.
Slowly my days are passing by!
Oh God! my languished eyes crave for sleep.
I shall sleep only in my royal mantle,
When my doom day has come,
I shall sleep under a black vault,
There in the graves of Escurial.
If the royal sceptre could give me
The power to read each heart,
As God alone can only see!
If the Prince sleeps, watchful is the traitor;
The King loses his sceptre, the consort, the honor!
(Goes back to deep thought.)
Philip and the Grand Inquisitor.
The Grand Inquisitor!
(TheGrand Inquisitor,blind and ninety years of age; he is supported by two Dominican friars.)
Am I in the presence of the King?
Thou art. I’ve summoned thee, father;
In grievous doubt am I.
Carlo a source of bitter sorrow is to me!
Rebellious is he ’gainst my wills, nay, e’en hath he
Taken arms against me!
What mode of punishment select ye?
An extreme one.
Deign but to name it.
Flight, or the headsman’s axe.
If I my son to death condemn,
Wilt thou absolution give me?
The empire’s peace of far more moment is
Than a base rebel’s life.
Can I as Christian sacrifice my son for the world?
To win back the love of God . . . he sacrificed his.
Dost thou give power to such a severe law?
Wherever it shall have power, it had it on the Calvary.
Nature, love, how can I conceal them?
All will be concealed, to exalt faith
Hath the King naught else to say to me?
’Tis I, then, sire, who in my turn will speak to thee;
Throughout the Spanish land ne’er hath heresy ruled;
But there exists a man who fain would sap
The very foundations of the sacred edifice!
The King’s familiar friend and faithful comrade is it,
Who, like a demon, now doth urge him to his ruin;
The treason of young Carlos, which hath so incensed thee,
Compared to this man’s, is but a childish jest;
And I, the grand inquisitor, who so oft have raised
My powerful hand against ignoble offenders,
Must I, I say, for the world’s great ones,
Forget the duties of mine office?
Should I o’erlook
This arch traitor and—the King?
To aid me in the troublous times wherein we live,
Throughout my court, a friend, a loyal heart,
I long but vainly sought—at length, I found one.
And wherefore need’st thou one?
Why art thou honor’d with the name of King,
If thou dost own an equal?
Priest, no more!
The innovating spirit has taken root in thee;
With thy weak hand thou think’st to rend
The holy bonds, acknowledged
Where’er the empire of the Holy Roman Church extends.
Return unto thy duty, the Church is e’er prepared,
Unto a penitent sinner pardon to extend;
I now demand that thou shalt yield unto me
This Signor di Posa.
O King, were I not here with thee this day,
’Neath thine own royal roof,
Before high heaven I swear, that ere another sun should set,
I would arraign thee before the tribunal
Of the Holy inquisition!
Priest, beware! too long have I endured
This haughty speech of thine.
Then why invoke the shade of Samuel?
Two Kings have I already given to this powerful empire,
Would’st thou, insensate, the labor of my life destroy?
Why am I here? What would the King of me?
(He is about to withdraw.)
My father, let peace once more exist between us.
Peace, say’st thou?
Forget, then, what hath passed, I do conjure thee.
(At the door on going out).
Must then the throne, for aye, before the altar bow?
Elizabeth, Eboli, RodrigoandPhilip.
(Entering, and throwing herself at theKing’sfeet).
Justice, sire, I implore,
I’ve faith in the King’s loyalty.
Unworthily am I treated in this thy court,
Outraged am I by unknown, worthless enemies!
The casket wherein my precious jewels I kept,
With other matters, e’en yet dearer to me,
Hath been most shamefully taken from me.
Justice do I claim from thy dread sovereign power!
(The King slowly rises, approaches the table, takes from it a casket, and presents it to the Queen.)
Methinks the object of thy search is here!
Wilt please to open it?
(Elizabethby a gesture refuses.)
Be it so; I then myself will open it!
(Breaking open the casket).
With fear I die!
The portrait of Don Carlos!
Why art thou speechless?
Among thy jewels?
What? Thou darest confess all to me?
Yes I dare! yes!
As thou well knowest, once I have been
To your son betrothed!
And now I humbly belong to God,
I am as immaculate as a lily!
And now the honor of Elizabeth is doubted!
They doubt me. . . and he who insults me is the King!
Thou speakest too boldly!
Thou thinkest me weak, and seem to mistrust me;
The weakness in me can change to violence.
Thou wilt tremble then, for me!
What is my error?
Perjury! since thou hast disgraced me,
Thou hast betrayed me,
I swear it, I swear it, before God!
I will shed blood!
I pity thee!. . .
Ah! the pity of an adulterous consort!
(Throwing open the doors at back).
Attend to the Queen!
(Terrified on beholding the fainting Queen).
Oh, heaven! what is’t I see!
(The King, after a moment’s hesitation, withdraws.Rodrigofollows him with a resolute gesture.Eboliremains with the Queen.)
(Throwing herself atElizabeth’sfeet).
Pardon! in mercy pardon a repentant sinner!
Thou, at my feet! what hast thou done?
Ah! my remorse is killing me!
My tortured heart with grief is wrung!
Angel from heaven, thou good and pious Queen,
Learn thou to know the fiend
Thou’st nurtured in thy bosom!
’Twas I who robbed thee of thy casket.
Yes, I! ’Twas I who did accuse thee!
Love to fury wrought,
The hate I learned to feel for thee,
The cruel jealousy that racked my heart,
All, all combined to make me hate thee!
I loved Don Carlos, who my love did spurn!
You have loved him!. . . Rise!
No, no, have pity! another fault!
Restore to me the cross!
I entreat thee to leave Court tomorrow!
Thou canst either choose death, or exile!
Eboli (with despair).
Ah! I shall never see. . .
Ah! I shall never see again the Queen!
Oh beauty! thou fatal gift,
By fortune, in vindictive mood, conceded me.
Oh beauty! thou who mak’st our sex so haughty and so vain—
Beauty, I curse thee!
Ye bitter tears flow on apace!
No hope is left, all joy hath flown!
My crime’s so base, so horrible!
Naught can e’er my sin atone!
Oh, Queen beloved, I sacrificed thee
To the revolt of this wild heart,
In a lone cloister from earth secluded,
I may hide my sorrow apart!
Oh, heaven! and Carlos! tomorrow he’ll be dragged to execution!
One day alone is left me. Ah, what bright thought flashes o’er me!
Thanks be to heaven! I yet may save him!
(The prison ofDon Carlos.An obscure dungeon, in which a few articles of court furniture have been hastily introduced. At back an iron grating, which separates the prison from a court-yard that overlooks it. A stone staircase leads into the court-yard from the upper stories of the edifice.Carlosis seated, his head resting on his hand, buried in thought.Rodrigoenters and speaks aside to some of the officials, who immediately withdraw. He mournfully contemplatesCarlos.At a movement on the part ofRodrigo, Carloslooks up.)
’Tis I, my Carlos!
(Extending his hand).
Oh Rodrigo, grateful am I
That thou dost seek thy Carlos,
E’en in this dungeon!
Thou said’st aright! my very strength forsakes me.
My love for Elizabeth tortures, aye, destroys me!
For the living naught can I do more! But thou,
Thou yet may’st save the oppressed, and end their woes!
Ah, ’tis meet thou learn the love I bear thee!
Leave thou at once this hideous tomb!
Happy am I that I once more embrace thee!
Carlos, I’ve saved thee!
What say’st thou?
Rodrigo (with emotion).
And now, we must for ever part!
(Don Carlosremains motionless, and contemplatesRodrigoin silent stupefaction).
For me life’s bright days are ended,
We must part to meet no more,
’Till rejoined in heaven again,
Where the faithful peacê obtain.
From thine eyes the tears are starting,
Why, ah! why dost thou sadly weep for me,
Cheer thy heart, cheer thy heart, the breath departing,
The breath departing yields him joy,
Ah, yields him joy who dies for thee.
Don Carlos (trembling).
Why talk’st thou of dying?
List! for time grows short indeed;
The avenging thunder on myself I’ve turned,
No longer art thou the dread monarch’s rival.
’Tis I, who am deemed, of Flemish discord, the promoter.
Thou! but who will e’er believe—
The proofs are incontestible!
Thy secret papers, found in my possession,
Of the rebellion are undoubted evidence.
On this head a price is already set!
(Two men are now seen descending the prison staircase: one of them is dressed in the garb of the Holy Office, the other is armed with an arquebuse. They stop for a moment and point out to one anotherDon CarlosandRodrigo,by whom they are unseen).
I’ll to the King thy stratagem reveal!
Ah, no! live thou for Flanders’ sake,
Reserve thyself for the great work, which thou, I feel,
Art destined to accomplish.
The golden age will, ’neath thy rule, return,
Destined art thou to reign!
Fated am I to die for thee!
(The bearer of the arquebuse now takes aim atRodrigoand fires.)
Don Carlos (stupefied).
Heavens! he’s done to death! but by whose hand?
Rodrigo (mortally wounded).
The vengeance of a King is seldom long delayed!
(Falls into the arms ofDon Carlos).
Oh Carlos, list!—thy mother at St. Just,
To-morrow will expect thee—she knows all;
Ah! the earth doth totter ’neath my feet—
Thy hand, Oh Carlos!
Joyous I die, for unto Spain I have secured
A saviour. Ah! forget not—thy—dear friend!
Ah! do not forget me!
Thou shouldst have ruled, and I should have died for thee.
Ah! I feel faint. . .give me thine hand. . .
Ah! save Flanders...Carlos, farewell, Ah! ah!
(Rodrigodies.Don Carlosfalls, in despair, on the body ofRodrigo).
(The Cloisters of the Convent of St. Just, as in Act II.—Night—Moonlight—Elizabethenters slowly, absorbed in thought; she approaches the tomb of Charles V., and kneels down before it.)
Thou who didst know the vanities of the world
Will enjoy repose in the tomb,
If heaven still weeps,
Weep for my sorrow,
And carry me weeping to the throne of God.
Carlos will come hither! Yes! May he never forget . . .
That I have vowed to watch o’er his days.
Whatever destiny may follow him, glory will await him.
As for me, my happy days are over!
Farewell, farewell, ye golden dreams, lost hopes!
The bond is broken, and light has turned to darkness!
Farewell, farewell, still youthful years!
Full of sorrows and pains.
The desire of my heart, is the peace of the tomb!
Ye who have known the vanities of the world
Will enjoy the repose in the tomb,
If heaven still weeps, weep for my sorrow,
And carry my tears to the throne of God!
Don Carlos, Elizabeth
One word—one word alone!
To Heaven I recommend the exiled wanderer.
Of thee, naught ask I save that thou
The sad past forget!
Aye! stout of heart I’ll be,
But hapless love the living sufferer kills,
E’en before death o’ertakes him!
Nay! think thou of Rodrigo!
How nobler far the end for which his life
May his soul be raised to a sublime and lofty elevation,
There never was a King so good, and noble as he,
On this earth!
The flowers of immortality will gladden his soul.
A beauteous dream was mine, but soon it vanished;
Now, in my woe, a funeral pile I see,
The flames of which do tower unto heaven;
The rivers run with blood, the fields are desolate.
The wretched people their hands extend
Tow’rds me, as to their saviour in their day of trouble.
To him I shall go happily, as a failure, or as conqueror,
Applause, or tears, I will have from thy good heart!
Elizabeth! thy heart doth beat ’gainst mine!
But virtue, honor, give me hero’s strength.
And now that all is o’er, and I mine hand
From thine withdraw—thou weep’st!
I weep, but do admire thee.
The soul’s bright tears are these—
The tears that women shed for heroes!
Elizabeth and Don Carlos.
But in heaven we shall see each other in a better world,
The hour of our future Eternity is ringing;
And up there so close to God we shall find . . .
The desired happiness, long sought on earth!
Farewell for ever! Farewell!
(Seizing the Queen by the arm).
Yes! for aye farewell! a double sacrifice is needed!
I, too, a duty must perform!
The Principal Inquisitor.
The Holy Office
Will do its duty likewise!
The Principal Inquisitor.
(To the Familiars of the Holy Prayer, pointing toDon Carlos).
Guards! . . .
God will avenge me!
His hand will surely o’erthrow
This tribunal of blood!
(AsDon Carlosretreats, defending himself, he approaches the tomb of Charles V. The doors open. AFriarappears, takesDon Carlosto his bosom and wraps him in his cloak.)
The sorrows of earth
Follow us in the cloister;
Heaven only can calm
The storms of the heart.
It is Carlo’s voice! . . .
Four Familiars of the Holy Prayer.
It is Carlo V.!
(Carlo V. drags into the cloisterDon Carloswho has lost his way.)
end of the opera.