Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT II. - Rigoletto: An Opera in Four Acts
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ACT II. - Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto: An Opera in Four Acts 
Rigoletto: An Opera in Four Acts, words by Victor Hugo (New York: Fred Rullman, n.d.). Metropolitan Opera House, Grand Opera, Libretto.
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The end of a Street. House and Garden ofRigoletto,with flight of stairs. EnterRigolettoenveloped in his cloak, and followed bySparafucile,carrying a long sword.
(That man has cursed me.)
Go: I need you not.
I have not spoken! Only I showed myself
There with my dagger, ready to your orders.
You are a thief.
That for a trifle will free you from rivals,
And you have one.
Who is he?
Is not your mistress here?
(What do I hear?) How much have I to pay
To rid me from a man?
A little more.
And when must you be paid?
One half before the deed, The other after.
(O wretch!) And how can you Be sure of the success?
I kill them in the street,
Or e’en in my own house.
I await my man at night;
A single blow—he dies.
But how in your own house?
Nothing can be more easy,
My sister helps me.
She dances in the streets—she is handsome;
And she attracts the man I want—I then—
Without the slightest noise,
This is my trusty weapon!
[Shows his sword.
Can I serve you?
The worse for you.
Perhaps another day.
Sparafucile I am called.
[In the act of going away
But where could I meet you?
At this spot, always at night.
My weapon is my tongue—and his the dagger;
I make the people laugh, he makes them mourn!
We are alike!—That man has cursed me!
Ye men and nature.
’Tis you that made me wicked;
O rage! to be deformed—and a buffoon!
To be condemned to laugh against my will:
To ask in vain the common gift—of tears!
Alas! my master, young,
And full of mirth,
At every moment says,
Now make me laugh, buffoon.
I must do it. Oh! rage.
I hate you all, vile courtiers!
On you, therefore, my tongue delights to dwell;
For you I am depraved—
But here I am not the same;
That man has cursed me! But why this thought
Thus haunts my mind?
What can I have to fear? No, No, ’tis madness.
[He opens and enters.
EnterGildafrom house and throws herself in his arms.
Near to thee alone,
This poor dejected heart returns to joy.
My father dear!
Thou art my only hope;
What else have I on earth except my Gilda?
You sigh! What is the cause o your affliction?
Tell it to your poor daughter
Intrust to me your secrets,
And let me know my family
Ah! thou hast none!
What matters it to thee?
If you object to speak
Of our relations—
Dost thou ever leave this house?
I only go to church.
That’s right, my child.
If you will not reveal your name or rank,
Ah, let me know, at least, who is my mother.
Ah, do not awake, I pray,
A memory so sad;
Of my dejected state
She alone compassion had.
Despised, deformed, and poor,
Through pity, me she loved.
She died—ah, may the earth
Lay lightly on her head—
Thou art my only treasure—
O God! be thou her aid?
Alas, what grief! ah, never
Saw I such bitter tears!
Ah, father, be more calm,
Or you will break my heart.
To me reveal your name;
To me your grief impart.
Why this?—I am thy father,
This is enough for thee.
I might perhaps be hated,
Or be by others feared.
Alas! I have been cursed!
No country, no relations,
No friends, you then possess?
What dost thou say, my love?
Thou art my god, my country,
Thou art the world to me!
If I could see you glad,
I happy, too, would be.
It is three months now, since we here arrived,
And nothing I have seen yet of the city.
I wish to see it now, if you will grant it.
Hast thou ne’er left this house?
(What do I say?)
Nor must thou ever leave it.
(She might be followed, she might be stolen,
And they would laugh at the dishonor
Of a buffoon. O shame!) Ho! there!
[Towards the house.
EnterGiovannafrom the house.
Has no one seen me whilst coming here?
Mind, speak the truth.
That’s well! The door that leads upon the
Ramparts, is it always closed?
Yes, it has always been so, and always shall.
Oh, woman, watch o’er this flower,
Which I trust unto thy care;
Be thou mindful, it may never
Fall the victim of dark snare.
O, save thou this fragile stem
From the hail and from rain:
As it was to thee confided,
May I receive it back again.
O, be cheerful, my dear father;
Chase your starting tears away;
There, in heaven, is an angel
Who protects us night and day.
There the prayers of my mother
From all danger keeps us free;
Never, never, from your side,
Never distant will I be.
The Duke in disguise arrives in the street.
Some one outside—
[Rigoletto opens the street gate, and whilst he goes out, the Duke slides in, hiding himself behind a tree, and throwing a purse to Giovanna.
He is always suspicious
(to Gilda, returning.)
Has any one ever followed you to church!
If any one here knocks
You must not open.
Not even to the Duke?
Still less to him than others—Child, adieu.
Adieu, my father.
[They embrace; and Rigoletto going out shuts the door after him.
Gilda, Giovanna,theDukein the court yard; afterwardsCepranoandBorsain the street.
Giovanna, I feel remorse.
And for what reason?
I told him not who follows me to church.
And why would you tell this?
Do you dislike that man?
No, no, he is too handsome.
And has the appearance of a rich signor.
’Tis not the riches nor rank I wish;
To me if poor, he’d better prove.
I think of him by day and night;
For him my heart o’erflows with love—
(throwing himself suddenly at the feet of Gilda.)
With love, with love, oh, let me hear it;
Oh, let my soul be rapt in joy.
Giovanna! alas! Is no one here?
[Gio. goes out at a sign from the Duke.
No one defends me? Oh, heavens! no one.
’Tis I, thy lover, that speaks to thee.
I will protect thee ’gainst all worlds.
Oh heaven! what fate has brought you here?
That fate which rules a loving heart.
Thou art my love.
The same affection our souls inflames,
No power our love on earth can sever.
By fate united, by mutual sympathy,
Our bonds of love will last for ever.
My proudest conquest will be thy faith—
My golden throne thy heart so pure;
All else on earth is vain and frail,
True love alone is real and sure.
Love gives to men celestial bliss.
May nothing then our flame abate,
And all will envy my happy fate.
Ah! these indeed are like the words
Which in my dreams I said and heard.
O, let me hear again, I love thee.
You have heard it.
Tell me your name,
Or may I know it not?
This is the place.
[To Bor. from the street.
Is Walter Maldè.
I am a poor student—poor—
A noise of steps outside.
Perhaps my father.
Ah, could I seize the traitor
Who dares disturb my joy
Of being with thee.
And lead him on the ramparts.
Dost thou love me?
For ever, yes, and then—
No more, no more, depart.
Farewell, my hope forever,
My blessing thou shalt be.
Farewell, farewell. Ah! never
I’ll change my love for thee.
[The Duke exit, escorted by Giovanna, and Gilda follows him with her eyes.
Walter Maldè. Sweet name,
Thou art already engraven on my heart.
Dear name! thou first hast fallen
So sweet upon my ear,
Thou shalt for ever be
To me welcome and dear.
My thoughts, all my desires,
Will ever to thee turn,
Yes, even when my ashes
Shall rest within the urn.
[Gilda ascends the terrace with a lantern in her hand.
Marullo, Ceprano, Borsa,Courtiers in masks, and armed, in the street;Gildaon the terrace, entering the house.
She is there.
How beautiful she is!
She is an angel!
Is that the lover
EnterRigoletto,absorbed in thought.
(alone.) Do I return? why?
Hush, to the work. Pay attention all to me.
That man, alas! has cursed me!
It was so dark I could not see.
Who is there?
Hush, Rigoletto is here.
A double chance, we can now kill this man.
No, no, to-morrow we shall have more laughter.
Ah! let me do—
Who is there?
Betray us not, I am—
We just came here to have some fun—
We are going to steal away Ceprano’s wife
(Alas! I wreathe again.) But where to enter?
(to Cep.) Where is the key?
(to Rig.) Be not afraid,
We cannot fail.
Here are the keys.
[Gives him the keys received from Cep.
This is his crest.
[Feeling the key.
(I feared in vain.)
[Breathing more freely
The house is there! (I come with you.)
We are disguised.
I must then do the same;
Give me a mask!
Yes, here is one.
You will keep fast the ladder.
[Futs a mask to his face, and after having bound it with a handkerchief, leads him to keep firm a ladder, which they have placed to the terrace.
Never was it so dark.
The handkerchief has made him blind and deaf.
[To his companions.
Hush, hush, let’s take revenge,
When least he thinks of it.
The man that sneers at us,
To-morrow will be our spor
Let’s take his love away,
And we shall laugh at court.
[Some of them go up the terrace, break the window of the first floor, then descend and open the street door to others, who enter and drag away Gilda, who has her mouth tied with a handkerchief. In crossing the scene she loses a scarf.
My father! help!
They have not finished yet. What joke is this?
[Touches his eyes.
A band upon my eyes!
[He snatches off the band and the mask, and by the light of the lantern perceives the scarf, sees the door open, enters and drags out Gio., frightened; he stares at her, and after many efforts to speak, exclaims—
end of the second act.