Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT IV - Aida by Antonio Ghislanzoni, music by Giuseppe Verdi
ACT IV - Giuseppe Verdi, Aida by Antonio Ghislanzoni, music by Giuseppe Verdi 
Aida by Antonio Ghislanzoni, music by Giuseppe Verdi, edited with an introduction by W.J. Henderson (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1911).
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A hall in the King’s palace.—On the left, a great gate leading to a subterranean hall of justice.—A passage on the right leading to Rhadames’ prison.—Amneris, crouching sorrowfully before the great gate.
My hated rival has escaped me, and from the priests Rhadames is awaiting a traitor’s doom. Yet traitor he is none. Though he disclosed a weighty secret of war—he meant to fly—to fly with her. Traitors are they all! To death! To death! Oh, what have I said? I love him, I love him still. Yes, desperate, mad is this love that is eating out my heart. Oh, if he could only love me! Fain would I save him! But how? I’ll try it! Guards, Rhadames bring hither.
(Led in by guards.)
- Already do the priests assemble,
- Upon their sentence only hangs thy fate.
- Though for the dreadful charge I tremble,
- Thou can’st, perhaps, that charge abate.
- Once I am free, to gain thy pardon
- At my father’s feet I’ll humbly kneel,
- To his mercy sure appeal,
- And life I’ll gain for thee.
- Ne’er shall a syllable be spoken
- By my lips my name to clear,
- Yet Heaven’s law I have not broken,
- Nor its judgment do I fear.
- The fatal secret I imparted,
- All heedlessly, but ever pure
- Have been my thoughts; I could endure
- No stain upon my soul to be.
- Then save thy life, thy honour free.
- Life I abhor; the spring of all its joy is dry,
- All hope is dead. ’Twere better far to die.
- To die! Ah, me! consent to live.
- Yes, of all my love assured;
- The keenest anguish death can give
- For thee I have endured.
- I love thee, and for thee I’m dying,
- All the night in torture lying,
- My country, throne, and life itself,
- I’d give them all for thee.
For her, I have staked my country and my honour!
No more of her!
- Awaits me, and yet thou bidst me live?
- Wretched hast thou made life ever,
- From Aïda tried to sever,
- It may be thou hast slain her—and in fee—
- Thou offerest life to me?
I, the cause of her death! No, Aïda lives.
They were beaten and fled in wild confusion. Her father perished.
- Has disappeared, nor do we
- Aught further know.
- Oh, may the gods protect her
- And guide her safe returning,
- Shield her heart from ever learning,
- For her my life I spurn!
- But, if I save thee, wilt thou swear
- Her image to resign?
- Renounce her forever—
- And life shall be thine!
- But one word more;
- Wilt thou renounce her?
Life’s thread thou wouldst sever?
Ready for death am I.
- Who will save thee, wretched being,
- From thy overmastering fate?
- Now from all compunction freeing,
- Thou hast changed my love to hate.
- May Heaven all my anguish seeing,
- This cruel blow abate!
- A good supreme it is to perish,
- Since my life for her is given.
- When the bands of life are riven,
- With delight my heart will glow.
- Human wrath no more I cherish,
- Only pity do I know.
- [Rhadames is led out surrounded by the guards.]
(Falling disconsolate upon a seat.)
Ah, me! I feel death approaching. Oh, who will save him? Now he is in their power and I have sealed his fate! Oh, how I curse thee, outrageous jealousy, that hast doomed him to death and me to endless sorrow!
[She turns and sees the priests, who cross the stage to enter the subterranean chamber.]
What do I see? There come the fatal, inexorable ministers of death—let me not look upon those white-robed spectres!
[She covers her face with her hands.]
- (From the lower hall.)
- Heavenly spirit upon us descending,
- Kindle the ray everlasting of light;
- To our decision thy righteousness lending.
- Gods, show me pity, my bosom relieving—
- He is all innocent, save him, ye gods!
- Now is my heart overwhelmed with its grieving!
- [Rhadames is led by the guards across the stage and descends to the chamber below.—Amneris, on seeing him descend, utters a cry.]
Rhadames, Rhadames: thou hast betrayed the secrets of thy country to the enemy.
He is silent.
Rhadames, Rhadames: thou wast absent from the camp the day before the battle!
He is silent.
Rhadames, Rhadames: thou hast been false to country, king and honour.
He is silent.
- Rhadames, thus have thy judges decided,
- Thou the cursed death of the traitor must die,
- ’Neath the high altar whose god thou’st derided,
- Thou in thy sepulchre, living, must lie.
- A sepulchre, living! O wretches accursèd!
- Naught of compassion or pity you know!
- Yet on the mercy of Heaven you’re nursèd!
- [Assailing the priests who reenter from the chamber of justice.]
- Priests, of a hideous crime you are guilty,
- Tigers accursèd, in bloodshed exulting,
- You are the earth and the Heavens insulting,
- For on the guiltless your judgment will fall.
He is a traitor. Let him die!
- (To Ramphis.)
- Priest, on this man whom thou hast found guilty,
- Poured I my love—to thee I had spoken—
- Take thou the curse of a heart that is broken,
- On thine own head may the penalty fall.
He is a traitor. Let him die!
- [They depart slowly.]
- Impious priesthood, cursed are you all!
- May the justice of Heaven hasten your fall!
- [Exit wildly.]
The stage is divided into two floors.—The upper floor represents the temple of Vulcan resplendent with gold and light; the lower floor is a vault.—Long arcades vanishing in the gloom.—Colossal statues of Osiris, with crossed hands, support the pillars of the vault.
Rhadames is discovered at the foot of the steps by which he has descended into the vault.—Above two priests are letting down the stone that closes it.
- The fatal stone has now descended
- Upon my tomb. No more the light
- Shall I behold—no more behold Aïda—
- Aïda, where art thou? Mayest thou ever
- Happily live, my wretched fate never
- Hearing! Ah, what groan was that? A phantom!
- A vision! No, the form is human—
- Heavens! Aïda!
Thou—in this tomb!
- My heart presaged thy condemnation.
- And to thy tomb’s dread portal,
- I crept, unseen by mortal.
- And here, afar from every human eye,
- In thy dear arms, I’ll die.
- To die! So pure and lovely!
- And through the yearning of thy heart
- In the flower of youth to part
- With life full-sated.
- Thou whom for love the Heavens created,
- And to destroy thee I was fated!
- No, thou shalt not die.
- Thou treasure, too high!
- Thou art too lovely!
- (In ecstasy.)
- Seest thou where Death’s bright angel
- With heavenly radiance shining,
- Would bring us to eternal joys,
- On golden wings, above
- Now heaven’s gates are opening wide,
- There we’ll cease from all repining,
- There only joy and peace abide,
- And an immortal love.
- [Singing and dancing of the priestesses in the temple above.]
That sad chanting!
’Tis the sacred dance of the priesthood.
And our death chant sounding!
- (Trying to push back the stone over the vault.)
- Ah, could my utmost pains
- Remove this fatal stone!
- In vain, for all is over,
- No hope on earth remains.
- (With sad resignation.)
- Ah, truly, truly!
- (Approaches Aïda and supports her.)
AÏDA AND RHADAMES
- O earth, farewell, farewell, thou vale of sorrow!
- Dream of delight that vanisheth in woe,
- Opens the sky on a glorious to-morrow
- That in its brightness eternal shall glow.
- [Aïda falls gently from Rhadames’ arms.—Amneris appears dressed in mourning in the temple, and throws herself on the stone that closes the vault.]
- In peace may’st thou rest, my adored one, my love,
- And Isis relenting, await thee above!
end of the opera