Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT IV. - Rigoletto: An Opera in Four Acts
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ACT IV. - 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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A desert spot on the banks of the river Mincio.GildaandRigolettoin the road.Sparafucilein the Inn, cleaning his leather belt.
And dost thou love him still?
Yet thou hast had
Sufficient time to overcome this passion.
Weak is woman’s heart;
But I will have revenge.
Oh, mercy, father!
Couldst thou not then forget him?
I cannot say. He loves me
Thou must then see.
[He leads her to the door, and tells her to look through a crevice.
A man is there.
But wait awhile.
The Duke, dressed as a private officer, enters the inn.
Ah! my father!
Two things I want, and then—
A room and wine.
This is the life he leads.
(A handsome youth, indeed!)
[Spa. goes out.
The women are unsettled
As feathers in the wind,
Each moment change their mind.
In tears, or even smiles,
Yes, woman’s lovely face,
For ever us beguiles!
The man that is so mad
To trust a woman’s heart
For ever must be sad.
But still there is no bliss,
Upon this earth compared
To that of a sweet kiss!
[Spa. enters with a bottle and two glasses, which he places on the table. He then beats the ceiling twice with the hilt of his sword. At this signal a pretty young girl, dressed as a gypsy, descends the stairs. The Duke rushes to embrace her, but she avoids him. Meanwhile Spa having gone out upon the road, says aside to Rig.:—
Your man is there. Must he now live or die?
Wait awhile, and you shall know my will
[Spa. goes slowly away.
GildaandRigolettoon the road.Magdalenand the Duke in the Inn.
If I remember well, my pretty girl,
I have seen your face before.
I tried to find your house,
At length I see you here.
Believe that from that time
I loved you to despair.
And others, score by score,
Do you forget them now?
To tell the truth, good sir,
You are a gay deceiver.
Yes, yes, just so.
Leave me, rude man.
Eh! eh! what noise!
And you be kind,
And do not scream so loud,
For wisdom ever lies
In pleasure and in love.
What pretty hands! how white!
[He takes her by the hand
You like to laugh at me.
I know I am not pretty.
Sir, you are drunk—
Yes, drunk of love for you.
And can you be so unkind,
As thus to laugh at me.
I do not joke—I wish to marry you.
If so, give me your word of honor.
You are a charming girl!
Well then, is this not yet enough?
The cruel traitor!
Lovely woman, of your charms
At your feet the victim see,
But one word, and changed to joy
All my sorrows soon will be.
Yes, be assured, my lady sweet,
This fond heart for you doth beat.
Do you take me for a fool,
To think your words are true;
Full well I know what they mean,
I give them their right value,
Jokes like these I often hear,
But I laugh at them, dear sir.
Thus my heart he did deceive,
Thus the traitor spoke to me.
All my joys, my hopes are gone,
Now my wretched doom I see.
O heavens! what a cruel fate!
I love the man I ought to hate.
Hush! thy sorrows are all vain,
That he deceived thou art now sure—
Hush! it now belongs to me
Dreadful vengeance to procure.
Your death only can assuage.
Hear me, at once go home, and take what gold
Thou want. Then dress thyself in male attire.
All is prepared. Mount on the swiftest horse
And hasten to Verona.
To-morrow I shall join thee.
I cannot now.
[Gilda goes out.
Sparafucile, Rigoletto, DukeandMagdalen.
You said twenty crowns. Here are now ten.
After the deed I shall give you the rest.
Is he still here?
I shall return
At midnight hour.
Your aid I don’t require;
I can alone throw him into the river.
No, no, I wish to throw him in myself.
Be it so. What is his name?
His name is Crime, and Punishment is mine.
[Exit Rig. It becomes dark, and thunders.
The storm approaches. Good.
The night will be darker.
[Trying to take hold of her.
Wait! my brother
Well! what’s this?
(Entering.) And we shall have some rain.
So much the better.
I shall stop here; you can sleep the stable
Below, or where you like.
Ah, no, depart!
How! in such weather!
Twenty crowns of gold! (To Mag.) I shall be happy
[To the Duke.
To offer you my room; and if you like,
I will show it to you.
[He takes a light, and goes toward the staircase.
With pleasure; yes, let’s go.
[Whispers a word to Mag., and follows Spa.
Unfortunate young man; so good, so kind!
Oh, Heaven! what a night!
(Having gone up stairs, and seeing the window without shutters.)
Here one must sleep quite in the open air.
Well, well; good night!
May God protect you, sir.
I feel that I shall sleep; I am so tired.
[He puts down his hat and his sword, and throws himself on the bed, and soon falls asleep. Mag. down stairs stands sentry near the table, and Spa. finishes the bottle left by the Duke. They both remain some time in silence, and apparently in deep thought.
He is, indeed, an amiable young man.
Oh, yes, I gain twenty crowns.
Twenty crowns! ’Tis little; he is worth much more.
Go up—and if he sleeps, bring down his sword.
(Goes up, and admiring him, exclaims.)
It is a pity—he is so handsome!
EnterGildafrom the road, disguised as a man, and slowly advancing toward the Inn, whilstSparafuciledrinks. It lightens and thunders.
Alas! I lose my reason.
Love overcomes me. Father, pardon.
What a dreadful night! What will become of me?
[Mag. having come down, has placed the Duke’s sword on the table.
Who has spoken?
[Looking through the crevices of the door.
Away, disturb me not.
[Searching in a cupboard.
That youth is as handsome as Apollo; I love him,
And he loves me. Ah! kill him not!
(Listening.) O heavens!
Mend soon that sack.
The handsome youth, Apollo, when killed by me,
I must throw in the river.
O heavens! what house is this?
You still may earn your money,
And spare his life.
That is not easy.
Listen, a plan I will disclose to you.
From the buffoon you have received ten crowns;
He will return here soon with the remainder;
Kill him, and you will take the other ten,
Then you will get the price you would have earned.
Kill the buffoon! What nonsense have you said?
Am I a thief? Have I ever lost my honor?
Is there a client that I have betrayed?
I must not break my faith. This man has paid.
What do I hear? My father!
I pray for him.
He must die.
No; I shall tell him to fly.
Now, let me, do.
We must save him.
Should any one come here before midnight,
I shall kill him instead.
The night is dark, the thunder roars,
No one will pass this way.
Oh, what temptation, to die for this cruel man.
To die, O father! Heavens! have pity on me!
[It strikes half-past eleven.
Still half an hour.
Await, my brother.
That woman weeps, and shall I not help him?
Ah! it he no more feels love for me,
I’ll give my life to save his own.
[Knocking at the door.
It is the wind.
One knocks, I say.
It is strange!
Who is there?
Have pity upon a stranger
Grant him asylum for the night
This night will be long!
[Spa. searches at the sideboard.
So near to death, and yet so young!
O heaven! pardon these impious men,
And thou, my father, excuse thy child,
May happy live the man I save.
Now hasten, quick, perform the deed,
To save one life I take another.
Well, I am ready. Now open the door,
To save the crowns is all my care.
[Spa. hides himself behind the door with a dagger. Mag. opens the door, then runs to shut the arch in front, and whilst Gilda enters, Spa. shuts the door behind her, and everything remains buried in silence and darkness.
Rigolettoadvances from the road enveloped in his cloak. The violence of the storm is diminished, only now and then the lightning is to be seen and the thunder heard.
At last the time of my revenge approaches.
For thirty days I waited this fatal hour
In tears most bitter,
Under the mask of a buffoon. That door
[Examining the house.
Is shut—’Tis not the hour yet.
What a dreadful night is this!
In heaven a storm,
On earth a homicide—
I feel myself yet great.
It is midnight.
[It strikes twelve.
Who is there?
[On the point of entering.
[Re-enters, and comes out again, dragging a sack.
Your man is here, quite dead.
Oh, joy! a light!
Rigoletto,and afterward theDuke.
He is here—he is dead. Oh yes! I would see him!
But why? ’Tis he. Here are his spurs. The crowd
Can now look well at me.
I am the Jester, and he is the Duke
Lying now at my feet.
I am at last revenged!
The wave shall be his grave,
A sack his shroud.
[He tries to drag the sack towards the shore when he hears the distant voice of the Duke, who crosses the scene.
What voice? Am I deceived?
No, no!—’tis he—’tis he!
Ho, there! Thou demon!
[Towards the house
But who can be in this sack instead of him?
[He cuts the sack
A human body! I tremble.
My daughter! Heaven my Gilda!
[He falls despairingly at the side at his daughter.]