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Giuseppe Verdi, Aida by Antonio Ghislanzoni, music by Giuseppe Verdi [1871]

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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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About this Title:

A side-by-side Italian and English edition of the libretto. Famously first performed in Egypt in 1871, Aida, an Ethiopian princess, has been enslaved in Egypt. Her father has invaded Egypt in order to free her but he is defeated. A love triangle develops between Aida, a young warrior Rhadames, and Amneris, the Egyptian king’s daughter. Aida and the persecuted Rhadames choose death together rather than be separated.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [[ii]]
Edition: current; Page: [[iii]]
edited and with an introduction by W. J. HENDERSON
Edition: current; Page: [[iv]]

Copyright, 1911, By


Published, November, 1911

Edition: current; Page: [[v]]


VERDI’S “Aïda” has come to be the most popular of his operas in this country and one of the most loved of all Italian lyric dramas. The gorgeousness of the coloring in its oriental pictures, the kaleidoscopic succession of brilliant scenes, the ballets, processions, the glitter of court life and “the pomp, the pride, the circumstance of war” unite with its music to make it an opera for the people as well as for the more conservative connoisseur. The fluent melody of its score appeals to popular taste, while the technical skill shown in the arrangement of its general plan and the harmonious disposition of all its details arouse the admiration of the most critical observer.

This story is well suited to operatic treatment Edition: current; Page: [[vi]] and the history of the conception and development of the work is interesting. The action of the opera takes place in Memphis and Thebes, Egypt, in the days of the Pharaohs. The drama begins in the palace at Memphis. Ramphis, the high priest, informs Rhadames that the Ethiopians have arisen against Egypt and that Isis has selected the commander of the defending force. When the Priest has finished, Rhadames declares that he would gladly go forth to conquer, could he but return to Aïda, the slave of the King’s daughter, Amneris. Aïda and Amneris come upon the scene, and we learn that the princess suspects the existence of the passion between the other two and is jealous. She determines to have revenge if she finds that she is right in her surmise. The court assembles and the King receives a messenger, who announces that Amonasro is leading the Ethiopians. The King announces Rhadames as his General and Amneris gives him a banner. Only Aïda knows that Amonasro is her father, and when all the others have gone, she remains to pray to her gods for pity.

The next scene shows us Rhadames in the temple Edition: current; Page: [[vii]] receiving his consecrated sword from the hands of Ramphis, the Priest, while the ceremonials of adoration proceed. With the beginning of the second act the incidents are transferred to Thebes. The war is over and the army is about to return. Amneris reclines in her apartment and grieves over the absence of Rhadames. When Aïda enters, Amneris, seeking to probe her heart, tells her that Rhadames is dead. Aida reveals her love and Amneris breathes vengeance.

The second scene takes place in the great square. Rhadames returns triumphant, bringing several Ethiopian prisoners. One is Amonasro, but the conquerors do not know that he is the King. When Rhadames learns that Amonasro is Aida’s father, he joins others in begging for his life. The King, after listening to the advice of the Priest, releases all save Amonasro, who is condemned to remain in slavery with his daughter. The King then precipitates the tragedy of the opera by giving the hand of Amneris to Rhadames in recognition of his great national services.

The third act is in one scene and takes place on Edition: current; Page: [[viii]] the banks of the Nile. Amneris enters the temple of Isis to pray on the eve of her marriage. Aïda comes to keep an appointment with Rhadames and bewails her expatriation. Amonasro enters and commands her to use her power over Rhadames to make him disclose the Egyptian plans. She refuses, but in a stormy duet her father overpowers her reluctance. He retires and Rhadames enters. Aïda wooes him to flight and consenting he reveals the Egyptian plans. Amonasro now comes forward, and, saying that he has heard the secret, informs Rhadames that he is the King. Amneris comes from the temple just in time to overhear some of this. Amonasro attempts to stab her, but is prevented by Rhadames, who sends Aïda and her father away, while he remains to surrender himself to the Priest.

The fourth act has two scenes. The first takes place in a room adjoining that in which Rhadames is to be tried. When he is brought on at the request of Amneris, she begs him to give up Aïda so that she herself may save him. He refuses. She says that Amonasro has been slain and that Aïda Edition: current; Page: [[ix]] has fled, but he repulses her. She now falls into despair over the outcome of her own actions. Rhadames is tried by the Priests and condemned to be buried alive. As the Priests pass out with their prisoner Amneris curses them.

The second scene shows us the vault under the temple and also the temple above it. Rhadames, shut in the vault, prays for Aida, but she has succeeded in gaining admittance to the tomb in order that she may share his fate. They sing out their lives in the suffocating place, while above them the priestesses of the temple chant and Amneris kneels in grief on the stone which seals the tomb.

This admirable operatic story was utilized by the composer in a work which astounded the entire world by its revelation of unexpected qualities of his genius and which revolutionized modern Italian opera. Giuseppe Verdi was born at the village of Roncole, near Busseto, Italy, on Oct. 9, 1813. It was the year in which Wagner was born, and these two men were destined to reform the whole method of operatic composition in the later years of the nineteenth century. Verdi received some Edition: current; Page: [[x]] instruction from local musicians and finally in 1831 applied for admission to the conservatory at Milan, but the director rejected him on the ground that he had no talent for music. So he studied privately in the Lombardy metropolis and later went back to Busseto as organist and conductor of the local musical society.

In 1838, with a wife and two children, he went to Milan with an opera, and Merelli, director of La Scala, produced it. Then he commissioned Verdi to write more operas. The first, a comic opera, had to be finished just when the composer had lost his wife and children. Small wonder that it was a failure. Verdi wished to abandon composition, but Merelli persuaded him to go on, and he wrote his “Nabucco,” which was applauded at La Scala on March 9, 1842. Other compositions followed, but Verdi’s first general success was “Ernani,” brought out in 1844 and performed in 15 places within nine months.

Several operas of no striking force, and now forgotten, except for occasional revivals in Italy, were now written by Verdi, and then he suddenly Edition: current; Page: [[xi]] seemed to find himself, for in 1851 he wrote “Rigoletto” in 40 days, and this popular work was followed by “Il Trovatore,” first sung in Rome, Jan. 19, 1853, and “La Traviata,” produced in Venice, March 6, of the same year. These operas raised Verdi at once to the position of the foremost living composer of Italian opera, and if he had never produced anything else, they would have ensured for him a place beside such masters as Donizetti and Bellini and perhaps even Rossini.

These works are classed by commentators as belonging to the second period of Verdi’s artistic development, which is characterized by tremendous vigor and a remarkable melodic fecundity, together with certain rather indefinite powers of characterization. But the Verdi of clear-cut characterization and keen psychological insight was not disclosed till later.

For eighteen years he continued from time to time to put forth new works, but none of them made any lasting impression. “Un Ballo in Maschera” (Rome, Feb. 17, 1859) is sometimes given outside of Italy, but its silly libretto is inimical to Edition: current; Page: [[xii]] its wide acceptance. “La Forza del Destino” (St. Petersburg, Nov. 10, 1862) is mentioned with bated breath by some opera-goers of the older generation, but it has been permitted to repose in silence in this country since its revival by Mapleson at the Academy of Music many years ago.

In this last opera, however, the student can discern the beginnings of a transition. Verdi’s instrumentation had been cheap, and for the most part vulgar and noisy. It was generally no more than a dynamic development of the “big guitar,” into which Donizetti had made the orchestra. Those who listened attentively to the instrumental portions of “Il Trovatore” and “Rigoletto” will readily understand what is meant by this. But in “La Forza del Destino” one finds sudden displays of real skill in the use of orchestral color for the purposes of dramatic delineation. The infrequent hints at progress toward finesse in the handling of instruments here became almost promises, and yet no one was prepared for the striking advance revealed in the score of “Aida” in 1871.

This opera marked the entrance of Verdi upon Edition: current; Page: [[xiii]] a new phase of his artistic career. It instantly set him apart from all other Italian composers. It made him the father of the contemporaneous school of “young Italians” from Mascagni to Puccini. None of them have added anything to the materials or methods applied to the constitution of Italian opera by Verdi in his “Aida.”

This opera was followed by the famous Manzoni Requiem, produced in 1874. In 1887 at Milan on Feb. 5 was given for the first time his next opera, “Otello” and again connoisseurs all over the world learned that this wonderful old man was making progress in his art. But he was to amaze the world yet once more, for in 1893, at the age of 80, he produced his comic opera “Falstaff,” which has been awarded a place beside Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger.” This stupendous tour de force was his last, for thereafter he wrote only some religious music (very noble music, too), but turned his face away from the glitter of the theatre. He lived in the seclusion of his Villa St. Agata at Busseto and there he passed away on Jan. 27, 1901.

Edition: current; Page: [[xiv]]

Let us now bestow a little more particular attention on the circumstances in which “Aïda” was created, first performed and accepted by the world as a masterpiece. Ismail Pacha, khedive of Egypt, a man of picturesque personality and brilliant ambition, ardently desired to be known as a leader in the polite world of European aristocracy. Among other enterprises looking to the accomplishment of his aim, he undertook the building of the opera house at Cairo. It was opened with much ceremony in 1869. But Ismail Pacha was not satisfied. What his opera house needed to make it celebrated throughout the world was a new opera on an Egyptian subject, expressly composed for this theatre by the most celebrated living master. An emissary was despatched to Verdi, who did not regard the proposition with favor. Not wishing to affront a potentate by a direct refusal, he named a price of such size that he was certain the Khedive would be frightened off, but Ismail accepted the terms without hesitation. Then Verdi began to contemplate his task, and as the possibilities of splendid musical color offered by an Egyptian subject opened Edition: current; Page: [[xv]] before his mind, he became enamored of the idea and entered into the project with enthusiasm.

Mariette Bey, a distinguished Egyptologist, was requested by the Khedive to find a suitable story. He did find an incident in the ancient history of the country and from it he planned the groundwork of the libretto of the opera. Camille du Locle, a Parisian, wrote out the lyrics and the dialogue in French prose. He worked at Busseto by the side of Verdi, who was thus enabled to bring to the new work his long experience in the construction of operas. The arrangement of the last scene with the double stage showing the temple and the vault under it was entirely the design of the composer. Signor A. Ghislanzoni translated the prose of du Locle into Italian and at the same time turned it into verse, suitable for musical setting. This Italian verse was afterward retranslated into French verse for Parisian performances.

Verdi began his labors with vigor and his opera was completed within the allotted time. The Khedive had offered him $20,000 for the work, and $10,000 more if he would go to Egypt to conduct Edition: current; Page: [[xvi]] the first performance. Verdi intended to do so, but when the time arrived he refused. The great master had a mortal fear of seasickness. The opera was to have been produced in 1870, but the scenery had been painted in Paris, and when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, it could not be taken out of the city. Verdi occupied himself with alterations and improvements in his opera. For one thing he eliminated a chorus in the style of his famous predecessor Palestrina, for whom all his life he had a profound admiration and of whose music he was a continual student. But he felt that the Italian ecclesiastic style was not quite suitable to the priesthood of Isis.

It was on Dec. 24, 1871, that this beautiful work was first heard. The celebrated double bass player, Bottesini, was the conductor and the cast was this: Aïda, Signora Pozzoni; Amneris, Signora Grossi; Rhadames, Signor Mongini; Amonasro, Signor Steller; Ramphis, Signor Medini; the King, Signor Costa; a Messenger, Signor Bottardi. The first performance in New York took place on Nov. 26, 1873, at the Academy of Music. The cast was as Edition: current; Page: [[xvii]] follows: Aïda, Ottavia Torriani; Amneris, Annie Louise Cary; Rhadames, Italo Campanini; Amonasro, Victor Maurel; Ramphis, Nannetti, and King, Scolara. Previous to this the opera had been produced in Milan, Paris and London. It went through the musical world with great rapidity and it has preserved its early vitality in a marked degree.

Verdi was charged with submitting himself in this opera to the influence of Wagner, but the work is built on purely Italian lines. The composer did not adopt Wagner’s system of representative themes, his continuous melody, nor his type of harmony. The score of “Aïda” consists of a series of complete musical numbers, just as “Il Trovatore” or “La Traviata” does, but these numbers are artistically joined in such a way that each act produces an effect of perfect continuity. There are arias preceded by recitatives, just as there were in the days of Handel, and some of these arias have the “da capo,” or return to the first part, which was inseparable from the vocal numbers of the eighteenth century. But Verdi’s recitative is so varied, so little Edition: current; Page: [[xviii]] touched by the old styles, and so closely allied to the melodic character of the airs, that it must be classed with that fluent and declamatory recitation which constitutes the major part of a Wagner drama. Verdi’s recitative, however, is just as characteristically Italian as Wagner’s is German.

Without question it was in this triumphant demonstration of the splendid dramatic possibilities of the old Italian forms in opera that Verdi showed himself to be the leader of lyric art in his country and a teacher for all the rest of the world. The ready manner in which Leoncavallo and Mascagni adopted the entire apparatus of Verdi, contributing to opera only the novelty of condensation into one act, shows what a powerful influence he had on his compatriots. Puccini in most of his operas has faithfully followed the methods of Verdi, while in certain others, “Tosca” and “The Girl of the Golden West,” he has endeavored to combine with the Verdian apparatus the representative themes of Wagner.

In composing “Aïda” Verdi threw overboard the worn-out materials of his earlier style. One Edition: current; Page: [[xix]] hears no more the simple elementary dance rhythms upon which so many of his former airs rested. Compare the style of “Ah, fors e lui,” with “O patria mia,” or that of “Il Balen” with the appeal of Amonasro in the third act. In abandoning these old dance rhythms the master also discontinued the employment of the primitive scheme of harmony so familiar in the older Italian operas. He sought to impart to his music a great depth of expression by the use of the rich variety of chord successions which had come into modern music.

It was in this department of his art that Verdi made one of his greatest strides and by it excited astonishment not only in Italy, but throughout the artistic world. Those who had never before regarded him as anything better than an unusually clever Italian opera writer now began to suspect that they were confronted by a profound master of music. Opera-goers who are well acquainted with the older works of Verdi must have noted the splendor of the harmonies in “Aïda” as compared with those of its predecessors. Doubtless many hearers attribute this harmonic richness to the opulence Edition: current; Page: [[xx]] of the orchestration, but musicians will readily understand that the latter owes more to the former than vice versa.

The instrumentation of “Aïda” is indeed an immense advance over that of the same composer’s previous creations. The employment of delineative devices is liberal and the introduction of what are known as color effects is frequent. Naturally Verdi endeavored to create something which would strike his hearers as an imitation of Egyptian color and this had to be done in two or three ways. First and foremost it was open to the composer to sprinkle his score with ancient themes. But he preferred to make his own and to give them the necessary character.

This he could do by imitating oriental melodic sequences, and rhythms. As for the eastern rhythms we may dismiss these as of little importance in an operatic score such as that under consideration. The melodic sequences, however, are worthy of a passing note because Verdi has utilized them and with excellent effect. Not all of them are strictly Egyptian, but they are of kinds not found in western European Edition: current; Page: [[xxi]] music. Such, for example, are the song of the hidden priestesses in the temple scene, the melody of the ceremonial dance, the prefatory instrumental passage before “O patria mia” and others of similar character. These are mentioned because they are perhaps the most easily identified by the hearer. The principal numbers of the first scene of this admirable opera are the tenor air, “Celeste Aïda,” sung soon after the rising of the curtain, the stirring ensemble following the delivery of the message concerning the war, and Aïda’s beautiful air, “Ritorno vincitor.” In the second scene the chorus and dance of priestesses and the ensuing prayer, concluding with the clarion call “Immenso Phtha,” are the chief features.

The dance of the slaves in the first scene of the second act is usually enjoyed, while the duet between Aïda and Amneris is a strong example of the new dramatic style of writing introduced by Verdi in this work and imitated by many of the younger Italians. The broad mass effects of the finale of the second act are always the cause of much enthusiasm among opera-goers, but perhaps the skill Edition: current; Page: [[xxii]] of the musical development escapes many of them. The trumpets used by the marchers on the stage are not reproductions of the ancient Egyptian instruments, for these were much shorter and could probably emit only three tones of the common chord. But Verdi’s are not of the familiar kind and they serve to create an illusion.

The third act which takes place by the banks of the Nile is musically very rich. The solo of Aïda sometimes called “O cieli azzuri” and sometimes “O patria mia” is one of the most beautiful specimens of the true Italian aria to be found in all modern opera. The duet between Aïda and Amonasro is the next of the string of pearls in this scene, and this is followed by a still more captivating duet for Aïda and Rhadames. Then comes a vigorous trio, after which the act is brought to its end with the declamatory phrase with which Rhadames surrenders his sword to the Priest.

The last act has a good duet for Rhadames and Amneris and a characteristic solo for Amneris, while she listens to the trial going on in the subterranean chamber. The last important number is the duet, Edition: current; Page: [[xxiii]] “O terra addio,” for Aïda and Rhadames. This is one of the most effective parts of the opera and its style is just close enough to that of Verdi’s earlier works to enable us to discern wherein the novelty of “Aïda” consists.

No description of such a masterpiece, however, can give the music lover any conception of its real greatness. The hearer who listens to it for the first time will not fail to perceive the tremendous vigor of its musical basis, nor the splendor of the spectacular qualities of its graphic and intensely theatric style. But only repeated hearings will open up to the opera-goer the unerring skill with which the master disposed his lights and shades, the dramatic instinct with which he developed his musical inventions, the psychologic insight shown in the character of the melodies themselves and the craftsmanship revealed in the arrangement of their relations to one another.

From the first dialogue between Rhadames and the Priest to the last sigh of “O terra addio” there is no moment when the music fails to embody the emotions of the drama, nor is there any when it Edition: current; Page: [[xxiv]] does not succeed in enchaining the attention by its own intrinsic beauty. A true Italian, Verdi always allots the leading thoughts to the voices and his writing for the singers is entirely favorable to the display of their best powers. But he welds the voice parts and the orchestral portion into one consistent whole, which is without doubt one of the most symmetrical art works in the wide field of the lyric drama.

W. J. Henderson.
Edition: current; Page: [[1]]



Aida, an Ethiopian Slave.

Amneris, Daughter of the King of Egypt.

Rhadames, Captain of the Egyptian Guards.

Amonasro, King of Ethiopia (Aïda’s Father).

Ramphis, High Priest of Isis.

King of Egypt.

A Messenger.

Priests, Priestesses, Ministers, Captains, Soldiers, Functionaries, Slaves, and Ethiopian Prisoners, Egyptian People, &c., &c.

The action takes place at Memphis and at Thebes during the reign of the Pharaohs.

Edition: current; Page: [[2]]


Scena I

Sala nel palazzo del Re a Menfi.—A destra e a sinistra una colonnata con statue e arbusti in fiori.—Grande porta nel fondo, da cui appariscono i tempii, i palazzi di Menfi e le Piramidi.

Radamès e Ramfis

  • Sì, corre voce che l’Etìope ardisca
  • Sfidarci ancora, e del Nilo la valle
  • E Tebe minacciar—Fra breve un messo
  • Recherà il ver.
  • La sacra
  • Iside consultasti?
Edition: current; Page: [[4]]
  • Ella ha nomato
  • Delle egizie falangi
  • Il condottier supremo.
  • Oh lui felice!
  • (Con intenzione, fissando Radamès.)
  • Giovine e prode è desso—Ora, del Nume
  • Reco i decreti al Re. (Esce.)
  • Se quel guerriero
  • Io fossi! se il mio sogno
  • Si avverasse! Un esercito di prodi
  • Da me guidato—e la vittoria—e il plauso
  • Di Menfi tutta!—E a te, mia dolce Aïda,
  • Tornar di lauri cinto—
  • Dirti: per te ho pugnato e per te ho vinto!
  • Celeste Aïda, forma divina,
  • Mistico serto di luce e fior;
  • Edition: current; Page: [[6]]
  • Del mio pensiero tu sei regina,
  • Tu di mia vita sei lo splendor.
  • Il tuo bel cielo vorrei ridarti,
  • Le dolci brezze del patrio suol;
  • Un regal serto sul crin posarti,
  • Ergerti un trono vicino al sol.

Scena II: Amneris e detto

  • Quale insolita gioia nel tuo sguardo!
  • Di quale nobil fierezza ti balena il volto!
  • Degna d’invidia oh! quanto saria la donna il cui bramato aspetto
  • Tanta luce di gaudio in te destasse!
  • D’un sogno avventuroso
  • Si beava il mio cuore—Oggi, la diva
  • Profferse il nome del guerrier che al campo
  • Le schiere egizie condurrà—S’io fossi
  • A tale onor prescelto!
Edition: current; Page: [[8]]
  • Nè un altro sogno mai
  • Piû gentil—piû soave—
  • Al cuore ti parlò? Non hai tu in Menfi
  • Desiderii—speranze?
  • (Io! quale inchiesta!
  • Forse—l’arcano amore
  • Scoprì che m’arde in core—
  • Della sua schiava il nome
  • Mi lesse nel pensier!)
  • (Oh! guai se un altro amore
  • Ardesse a lui nel core!
  • Guai se il mio sguardo pènetra
  • Questo fatal mister!)
Edition: current; Page: [[10]]

Scena III: Aïda e detti


(Vedendo Aida.)

  • Dessa!
  • (Ei si turba—e quale
  • Sguardo rivolse a lei!
  • Aida! a me rivale—
  • Forse saria costei?)
  • (Dopo breve silenzio volgendosi ad Aida.)
  • Vieni, diletta, appressati—
  • Schiava non sei, nè ancella
  • Quì dove in dolce fascino
  • Io ti chiamai sorella—
  • Piangi? delle tue lagrime
  • Svela il segreto.
  • Ohimè! di guerra fremere
  • L’atroce grido io sento,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[12]]
  • Per l’infelice patria,
  • Per me—per voi pavento.
  • Favelli il ver? nè s’agita
  • Piû grave cura in te?
  • [Aida abbassa gli occhi e cerca di dissimulare il suo turbamento.—Guardando Aida.]
  • (Trema, o rea schiava, ah! trema
  • Ch’io nel tuo cor discenda!
  • Trema che il ver mi apprenda
  • Quel pianto e quel rossor!)
  • (No, sull’afflitta patria
  • Non geme il cor soltanto;
  • Quello ch’io verso è pianto
  • Di sventurato amor.)
  • (Guardando Amneris.)
  • (Nel volto a lei balena
  • Edition: current; Page: [[14]]
  • Lo sdegno ed il sospetto—
  • Guai se l’arcano affetto
  • A noi leggesse in cor!)

Scena IV

Il Re, preceduto dalle sue guardie e seguito da Ramfis, da Ministri, Sacerdoti, Capitani, ecc., ecc.—Un Ufficiale di Palazzo, indi un Messaggiero.

il re
  • Alta cagion vi aduna,
  • O fidi Egizii, al vostro Re d’intorno.
  • Dal confin d’Etiòpia un messaggiero
  • Dianzi giungea—gravi novelle ei reca.
  • Vi piaccia udirlo.
  • (Ad un Ufficiale.)
  • Il messaggier si avanzi!
  • Il sacro suolo dell’Egitto è invaso
  • Dai barbari Etiòpi—i nostri campi
  • Edition: current; Page: [[16]]
  • Fur devastati—arse le messe e baldi
  • Della facil vittoria, i predatori
  • Già marciano su Tebe.
  • Ed osan tanto!
  • Un guerriero indomabile, feroce,
  • Li conduce—Amonasro.
  • Il Re!
  • (Mio padre!)
  • Già Tebe è in armi e dalle cento porte
  • Sul barbaro invasore
  • Proromperà, guerra recando e morte.
il re
  • Sì! guerra e morte il nostro grido sia.
  • Guerra! guerra!
Edition: current; Page: [[18]]
il re
  • Tremenda, inesorata!
  • (Accostandosi a Radamès.)
  • Iside venerata
  • Di nostre schiere invitte
  • Gia designava il condottier supremo.
  • Radamès.
  • Radamès!
  • Sien grazie ai Numi!
  • I miei voti fur paghi.
  • (Ei duce!)
  • (Io tremo!)
il re
  • Or di Vulcano al tempio
  • Muovi, o guerrier—Le sacre
  • Armi ti cingi e alla vittoria vola.
  • Edition: current; Page: [[20]]
  • Sù! del Nilo al sacro lido
  • Accorrete, egizii eroi;
  • Da ogni cor prorompa il grido:
  • Guerra e morte allo stranier!


  • Gloria ai Numi! Ognun rammenti
  • Ch’essi reggono gli eventi—
  • Che in poter dei Numi solo
  • Stan le sorti del guerrier.
  • Sù! del Nilo al sacro lido
  • Sien barriera i nostri petti;
  • Non echeggi che un sol grido:
  • Guerra, e morte allo stranier!
  • Sacro fremito di gloria
  • Tutta l’anima mi investe—
  • Sù, corriamo alla vittoria!
  • Guerra e morte allo stranier!
Edition: current; Page: [[22]]
  • (Recando una bandiera e consegnandola a Radamès.)
  • Di mia man ricevi, o duce,
  • Il vessillo glorioso;
  • Ti sia guida, ti sia luce
  • Della gloria sul sentier.
  • (Per chi piango? per chi prego?
  • Qual poter m’avvince a lui!
  • Deggio amarlo, ed è costui
  • Un nemico—uno stranier!)
  • Guerra! guerra! sterminio all’invasor!
  • Va, Radamès, ritorna vincitor!
  • [Escono tutti, meno Aïda.]
  • Ritorna vincitor! E dal mio labbro
  • Uscì l’empia parola!—Vincitore
  • Del padre mio—di lui che impugna l’armi
  • Edition: current; Page: [[24]]
  • Per me—per ridonarmi
  • Una patria, una reggia! e il nome illustre
  • Che quì celar mi è forza—Vincitore
  • De’ miei fratelli—ond’io lo vegga, tinto
  • Del sangue amato, trionfar nel plauso
  • Dell’egizie coorti! E dietro il carro,
  • Un re—mio padre—di catene avvinto!
  • L’insana parola,
  • O Numi sperdete!
  • Al seno d’un padre
  • La figlia rendete;
  • Struggete le squadre
  • Dei nostri oppressor!
  • Sventurata! che dissi? e l’amor mio?
  • Dunque scordar poss’io
  • Questo fervido amor che oppressa e schiava
  • Come raggio di sol quì mi beava?
  • Imprecherô la morte—
  • A Radamès—a lui che amo pur tanto!
  • Ah! non fu in terra mai
  • Da più crudeli angoscie un core affranto.
  • I sacri nomi di padre—di amante,
  • Nè profferir poss’io, nè ricordar—
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  • Per l’un—per l’altro—confusa—tremante—
  • Io piangere vorrei—vorrei pregar.
  • Ma la mia prece in bestemmia si muta—
  • Delitto è il pianto a me—colpa il sospir—
  • In notte cupa la mente è perduta—
  • E nell’ansia crudel vorrei morir.
  • Numi, pietà—del mio soffrir!
  • Speme non v’ha pel mio dolor,
  • Amor fatal, tremendo amor.
  • Spezzami il cor—fammi morir!

Scena V

Interno del tempio di Vulcano a Menfi.—Una luce misteriosa scende dall’alto.—Una lunga fila di colonne, l’una all’altra addossate, si perde fra le tenebre.—Statue di varie divinità.—Nel mezzo della scena, sovra un palco coperto da tappeti sorge l’altare sormontato da emblemi sacri.—Dai tripodi d’oro si innalza il fumo degli incensi.

Sacerdoti e Sacerdotesse.—Ramfis ai piedi dell’altare.—A suo tempo, Radamès.—Si sente dall’interno il canto delle Sacerdotesse accompagnato dalle arpe.

Edition: current; Page: [[28]]
  • (Nell’interno.)
  • Possente, possente Fthà! del mondo,
  • Spirito animator, ah!
  • Noi ti invochiamo!
  • Immenso Fthà, del mondo
  • Spirito fecondator,
  • Noi ti invochiamo!
  • Fuoco increato, eterno,
  • Onde ebbe luce il sol,
  • Noi ti invochiamo!
  • Tu che dal nulla hai tratto
  • L’onde, la terra e il ciel,
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  • Noi ti invochiamo!
  • Nume che del tuo spirito
  • Sei figlio e genitor,
  • Noi ti invochiamo!
  • Vita dell’universo,
  • Mito di eterno amor,
  • Noi ti invochiamo!
  • [Radamès viene introdotto senz’armi.—Mentre va all’altare, le Sacerdotesse (ballerine) eseguiscono la danza sacra.—Sul capo di Radamès vien steso un velo d’argento.]
  • Mortal, diletto ai Numi—a te fidate
  • Son d’Egitto le sorti—Il sacro brando
  • Dal Dio temprato, per tua man diventi
  • Ai nemici terror, folgore, morte.
  • (Volgendosi al Nume.)
  • Nume, custode e vindice
  • Di questa sacra terra,
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  • La mano tua distendi
  • Sovra l’egizio suol.
  • Nume, che duce ed arbitro
  • Sei d’ogni umana guerra,
  • Proteggi tu, difendi
  • D’Egitto il sacro suol!
  • [Mentre Radamès viene rivestito delle armi sacre, le Sacerdotesse ed i Sacerdoti riprendono l’inno religioso e la mistica danza.]
fine dell’ atto primo
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Scena I

Una sala nell’appartamento di Amneris.

Amneris circondata dalle schiave che l’abbigliano per la festa trionfale.—Dai tripodi si eleva il profumo degli aromi.—Giovani schiavi mori danzando agitano i ventagli di piume.

  • Chi mai fra gli inni e i plausi
  • Erge alla gloria il vol,
  • Al par di un Dio terribile
  • Fulgente al par del sol.
  • Vieni! sul crin ti piovano
  • Contesti ai lauri i fiori,
  • Suonin di gloria i cantici
  • Coi cantici d’amor.
  • (Vieni, amor mio, mi inebria—
  • Fammi beato il cor!)
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  • Or, dove son le barbare
  • Orde dello stranier?
  • Siccome nebbia sparvero
  • Al soffio del guerrier.
  • Vieni: di gloria il premio
  • Raccogli, o vincitor:
  • T’arrise la vittoria,
  • T’arriderà l’amor.
  • (Vieni, amor mio, ravvivami
  • D’un caro accento ancor!)
  • Silenzio! Aïda verso noi si avanza—
  • Figlia dei vinti, il suo dolor mi è sacro.
  • [Ad un cenno di Amneris tutti si allontanano.]
  • Nel rivederla, il dubbio
  • Atroce in me si desta—
  • Il mistero fatal si squarci alfine!
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Scena II: Amneris e Aïda

  • (Ad Aïda con simulata amorevolezza.)
  • Fu la sorte dell’armi a’ tuoi funesta,
  • Povera Aïda!—Il lutto
  • Che ti pesa sul cor teco divido.
  • Io son l’amica tua—
  • Tutto da me tu avrai—vivrai felice!
  • Felice esser poss’io
  • Lungi dal suol natio—quì dove ignota
  • M’è la sorte del padre e dei fratelli?
  • Ben ti compiango; pure hanno un confine
  • I mali di quaggiù—Sanerà il tempo
  • Le angosce del tuo core—
  • E più che il tempo, un Dio possente—Amore.
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  • (Vivamente commossa.)
  • (Amore! Amore!—gaudio—tormento
  • Soave ebbrezza—ansia crudel—
  • Nei tuoi dolori—la vita io sento—
  • Un tuo sorriso—mi schiude il ciel!)
  • (Guardando Aïda fissamente.)
  • (Ah! quel pallore—quel turbamento
  • Svelan l’arcana—febbre d’amor—
  • D’interrogarla—quasi ho sgomento—
  • Divido l’ansie—del suo terror.)
  • (Ad Aïda fissandola attentamente.)
  • Ebben: qual nuovo fremito
  • Ti assal, gentil Aïda?
  • I tuoi segreti svelami,
  • All’amor mio ti affida—
  • Tra i forti che pugnarono
  • Della tua patria a danno—
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  • Qualcuno—un dolce affanno—
  • Forse—a te in cor destò?
  • Che parli?
  • A tuti barbara
  • Non si mostrò la sorte—
  • Se in campo il duce impavido
  • Cadde trafitto a morte—
  • Che mai dicesti! ahi misera!
  • Si—Radamès da’ tuoi
  • Fu spento—E pianger puoi?
  • Per sempre io piangerò!
  • Gli dei t’han vendicata.
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  • Avversi sempre
  • Mi furo i Numi—
  • (Prorompendo con ira.)
  • Ah! trema! in cor ti lessi—
  • Tu l’ami—
  • Io!
  • Non mentire!
  • Un detto ancora e il vero
  • Saprò—Fissami in volto—
  • Io t’ingannai—Radamès vive.
  • (Con esaltazione, inginocchiandosi.)
  • Ei vive!
  • Sien grazie ai Numi!
  • E mentir speri ancora?
  • Sì—tu l’ami—ma l’amo
  • Edition: current; Page: [[46]]
  • (Nel massimo furore.)
  • Anch’io—comprendi tu?—son tua rivale,
  • Figlia dei Faraoni.
  • (Con orgoglio, alzandosi.)
  • Mia rivale!
  • Ebben sia pure—Anch’io—
  • Son tal—
  • (Reprimendosi.)
  • Che dissi mai? pietà! perdono!
  • Ah! pietà ti prenda del mio dolor—
  • E vero—io l’amo d’immenso amor—
  • Tu sei felice—tu sei possente—
  • Io vivo solo per questo amor!
  • Trema vil schiava! spezzare il tuo core,
  • Segnar tua morte può quest’amore.
  • Del tuo destino arbitra sono,
  • D’odio e vendetta le furie ho in cor.
  • [Suoni interni.]
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  • Alla pompa che si appresta,
  • Meco, o schiava, assisterai;
  • Tu prostrata nella polve
  • Io sul trono, accanto al Re.
  • Vien—mi segui—e apprenderai
  • Se lottar tu puoi con me.
  • Ah! pietà!—che più mi restami?
  • Un deserto è la mia vita:
  • Vivi e regna, il tuo furore
  • Io fra breve placherò.
  • Questo amore che ti irrita
  • Nella tomba spegnerò.

Scena III

Uno degli ingressi della città di Tebe.—Sul davanti un gruppo di palme.—A destra il tempio di Ammone; a sinistra un trono sormontato da un baldacchino di porpora; nel fondo una porta trionfale.—La scena è ingombra di popolo.

Entra il Re seguito dai Ministri, Sacerdoti, Capitani, Flabelliferi, Porta-insegne, ecc., ecc. Quindi, Amneris con Aïda e Schiave.—Il Re va a sedere sul trono.—Amneris prende posto alla sinistra del Re.

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  • Gloria all’Egitto, ad Iside
  • Che il sacro suol protegge!
  • Al Re che il Delta regge,
  • Inni festosi alziam!
  • Vieni, o guerriero vindice,
  • Vieni a gioir con noi;
  • Sul passo degli eroi
  • I lauri e i fior versiam!
  • S’intrecci il loto al lauro
  • Sul crin dei vincitori;
  • Nembo gentil di fiori
  • Stenda sull’armi un vel.
  • Danziam, fanciulle egizie,
  • Le mistiche carole.
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  • Come d’intorno al sole
  • Danzano gli astri in ciel!
  • Della vittoria agli arbitri
  • Supremi il guardo ergete,
  • Grazie agli Dei rendete
  • Nel fortunato dì.
  • Così per noi di gloria
  • Sia l’avvenir segnato.
  • Nè mai ci colga il fato
  • Che i barbari colpì.
  • [Le truppe Egizie precedute dalle fanfare sfilano dinanzi al Re.—Seguono i carri di guerra, le insegne, i vasi sacri, le statue degli Dei.—Un drappello di danzatrici che recano i tesori dei vinti.—Da ultimo, Radamès, sotto un baldacchino portato da dodici ufficiali.]
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il re
  • (Scende dal trono per abbracciare Radamès.)
  • Salvator della patria, io ti saluto,
  • Vieni, e mia figlia di sua man ti porga
  • Il serto trionfale.
  • [Radamès si inchina davanti a Amneris che gli porge la corona.] . . .
il re
  • (A Radamès.)
  • Ora, a me chiedi
  • Quanto più brami. Nulla a te negato
  • Sarà in tal dì—lo giuro
  • Per la corona mia, pei sacri Numi.
  • Concedi in pria che innanzi a te sian tratti
  • I prigionier.
  • [Entrano fra le guardie i prigionieri Etiopi, ultimo Amonasro vestito da semplice ufficiale.]
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  • Che veggo! Egli? mio padre!
  • Suo padre!
  • In poter nostro!
  • (Abbracciando il padre.)
  • Tu! Prigionier!
  • (Piano ad Aida.)
  • Non mi tradir!
il re
  • (Ad Amonasro.)
  • Ti appressa—
  • Dunque—tu sei?
  • Suo padre—Anch’io pugnai—
  • Vinti noi fummo e morte invan cercai,
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  • (Accennando alla divisa che lo veste.)
  • Questa assisa ch’io vesto vi dica
  • Che il mio Re, la mia patria ho difeso:
  • Fu la sorte a nostr’armi nemica—
  • Tornò vano dei forti l’ardir.
  • Al mio piè nella polve disteso
  • Giacque il Re da più colpi trafitto;
  • Se l’amor della patria è delitto,
  • Siam rei tutti, siam pronti a morir!
  • (Volgendosi al Re con accento supplichevole.)
  • Ma tu, o Re, tu signore possente,
  • A costoro ti volgi clemente—
  • Oggi noi siam percossi dal fato,
  • Doman voi potria il fato colpir.

Aïda, Prigionieri e Schiave

  • Sì: dai Numi percossi noi siamo;
  • Tua pietà, tua clemenza imploriamo;
  • Ah! giammai di soffrir vi sia dato
  • Ciò che in oggi n’è dato soffrir!
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  • Struggi, o Re, queste ciurme feroci.
  • Chiudi il core alle perfide voci,
  • Fur dai Numi votati alla morte,
  • Si compisca dei Numi il voler!
  • Sacerdoti, gli sdegni placate,
  • L’umil prece dei vinti ascoltate;
  • E tu, o re, tu, possente, tu forte
  • A clemenza dischiudi il pensier.
  • (Fissando Aïda.)
  • (Il dolor che in quel volto favella
  • Al mio sguardo la rende più bella;
  • Ogni stilla del pianto adorato
  • Nel mio petto ravviva l’amor.)
  • (Quali sguardi sovr’essa ha rivolti!
  • Di qual fiamma balenano i volti!
  • E a tal sorte serbata son io?
  • La vendetta mi rugge nel cor.)
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il re
  • Or che fausti ne arridon gli eventi
  • A costoro mostriamci clementi:
  • La pietà sale ai Numi gradita
  • E rafferma dei Prenci il poter.
  • (Al Re.)
  • O Re: pei sacri Numi,
  • Per lo splendore della tua corona,
  • Compier giurasti il voto mio.
il re
  • Giurai.
  • Ebbene: a te pei prigionieri Etiopi
  • Vita domando e libertà.
  • (Per tutti!)
  • Morte ai nemici della patria!
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  • Grazia per gli infelici!
  • Ascolta, o Re—
  • (A Radamès.)
  • Tu pure,
  • Giovine eroe, saggio consiglio ascolta:
  • Son nemici e prodi sono—
  • La vendetta hanno nel cor,
  • Fatti audaci dal perdono
  • Correranno all’armi ancor!
  • Spento Amonasro il re guerrier, non resta
  • Speranza ai vinti.
  • Almeno,
  • Arra di pace e securtà, fra noi
  • Resti col padre Aïda—
  • Gli altri sien sciolti.
il re
  • Al tuo consiglio io cedo.
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  • Di securtà, di pace un miglior pegno
  • Or io vuo’ darvi—Radamès, la patria
  • Tutto a te deve—D’Amneris la mano
  • Premio ti sia. Sovra l’Egitto un giorno
  • Con essa regnerai.
  • (Venga or la schiava,
  • Venga a rapirmi l’amor mio, se l’osa!)
il re
  • Gloria all’Egitto e ad Iside
  • Che il sacro suol difende,
  • S’intrecci il loto al lauro
  • Sul crin del vincitor!
  • Inni leviamo ad Iside
  • Che il sacro suol difende;
  • Preghiam che i fati arridano
  • Fausti alla patria ognor.
  • (Qual speme omai più restami?
  • A lui la gloria e il trono—
  • Edition: current; Page: [[68]]
  • A me l’oblio—le lacrime,
  • Di disperato amor.)
  • Gloria al clemente Egizio
  • Che i nostri ceppi ha sciolto,
  • Che ci ridona ai liberi
  • Solchi del patrio suol.
  • (D’avverso Nume il folgore
  • Sul capo mio discende—
  • Ah no! d’Egitto il soglio
  • Non val d’Aïda il cor.)
  • (Dall’inatteso giubilo
  • Inebriata io sono;
  • Tutti in un dì si compiono
  • I sogni del mio cor.)
  • (Ad Aïda.)
  • Fa cor: della tua patria
  • I lieti eventi aspetta:
  • Edition: current; Page: [[70]]
  • Per noi della vendetta
  • Già prossimo è l’albòr.
  • Gloria all’Egitto e ad Iside
  • Che il sacro suol difende!
  • S’intrecci il loto al lauro
  • Sul crin del vincitor!
fine dell’atto secondo
Edition: current; Page: [[72]]


Scena I

Le rive del Nilo.—Roccie di granito fra cui crescono dei palmizii.—Sul vertice delle roccie il tempio d’Iside per metà nascosto tra le fronde.—E notte stellata.—Splendore di luna.

  • (Nel tempio.)
  • O tu, che sei d’Osiride
  • Madre immortale e sposa,
  • Diva che i casti palpiti
  • Desti agli umani in cor;
  • Soccorri a noi pietosa,
  • Madre d’eterno amor.
  • [Da una barca che approda alla riva, discendono Amneris e Radamès, alcune donne coperte da fitto velo e guardie.]
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  • (Ad Amneris.)
  • Vieni d’Iside al tempio—alla vigilia
  • Delle tue nozze, implora
  • Della Diva il favore—Iside legge
  • Dei mortali nel cuore—ogni mistero
  • Degli umani è a lei noto.
  • Sì! pregherò che Radamès mi doni
  • Tutto il suo cor, come il mio core a lui
  • Sacro è per sempre.
  • Pregherai fino all’alba—io sarô teco.
  • [Tutti entrano nel tempio.—Il coro ripete il canto sacro.]
  • (Entra cautamente coperta da un velo.)
  • Quì Radamès verrà—Che vorrà dirmi?
  • Io tremo—Ah, se tu vieni
  • A recarmi, o crudel, l’ultimo addio,
  • Del Nilo i cupi vortici
  • Mi daran tomba—e pace forse—e oblio.
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  • O cieli azzurri, o dolci aure native
  • Dove sereno il mio mattin brillò—
  • O verdi colli—o profumate rive—
  • O patria mia, mai più ti rivedrò!

Scena II: Amonasro e Aïda

  • Cielo! mio padre!
  • A te grave cagione
  • Mi adduce, Aïda. Nulla sfugge al mio
  • Sguardo—L’amor ti struggi
  • Per Radamès—ei t’ama—e quì lo attendi.
  • Dei Faraon la figlia è tua rivale—
  • Razza infame, aborrita e a noi fatale!
  • E in suo potere io sto!—Io d’Amonasro
  • Figlia!
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  • In poter di lei! No!—se lo brami
  • La possente rival tu vincerai,
  • E patria, e trono, e amor, tutto tu avrai.
  • Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate,
  • Le fresche valli, i nostri templi d’or!
  • Rivedrò le foreste imbalsamate,
  • Le fresche valli, i nostri templi d’or!
  • Sposa felice a lui che amasti tanto,
  • Tripudii immensi ivi potrai gioir.
  • Un giorno solo di sì dolce incanto—
  • Un’ora di tal gaudio—e poi morir!
  • Pur rammenti che a noi l’Egizio immite,
  • Le case, i tempii e l’are profanò—
  • Trasse in ceppi le vergini rapite—
  • Madri—vecchi e fanciulli ei trucidò.
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  • Ah! ben rammento quegli infausti giorni!
  • Rammento i lutti che il mio cor soffrì—
  • Deh! fate, o Numi, che per noi ritorni
  • L’alba invocata dei sereni dì.
  • Non fia che tardi—In armi ora si desta
  • Il popol nostro—tutto pronto è già—
  • Vittoria avrem—Solo a saper mi resta
  • Qual sentiero il nemico seguirà.
  • Chi scoprirlo potria? chi mai?
  • Tu stessa!
  • Io!
  • Radamès so che quì attendi—Ei t’ama—
  • Ei conduce gli Egizii—Intendi?
  • Orrore!
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  • Che mi consigli tu? No! no! giammai!
  • (Con impeto selvaggio.)
  • Su, dunque, sorgete
  • Egizie coorti!
  • Col fuoco struggete
  • Le nostre città—
  • Spargete il terrore,
  • Le stragi, le morti—
  • Al vostro furore
  • Piû freno non v’ha.
  • Ah padre!
  • (Respingendola.)
  • Mia figlia ti chiami!
  • (Atterrita e supplichevole.)
  • Pietà!
  • Flutti di sangue scorrono
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  • Sulle città dei vinti—
  • Vedí? dai negri vortici
  • Si levano gli estinti—
  • Ti additan essi e gridano,
  • Per te la patria muor!
  • Pietà
  • Una larva orribile
  • Fra l’ombre a noi s’affaccia—
  • Trema! Le scarne braccia
  • Sul capo tuo levò—
  • Tua madre ell’è—ravvisala—
  • Ti maledice.
  • (Nel massimo terrore.)
  • Ah no!—padre!—
  • (Respingendola.)
  • Va, indegna, non sei mia prole,
  • Dei Faraoni tu sei la schiava.
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  • Padre, a costoro schiava io non sono—
  • Non maledirmi—non imprecarmi—
  • Tua figlia ancora potria chiamarmi—
  • Della mia patria degna sarò.
  • Pensa che un popolo, vinto, straziato,
  • Per te soltanto risorger può.
  • O patria, o patria!—quanto mi costi!
  • Coraggio! ei giunge—là tutto udrò.
  • [Si nasconde fra i palmizii.]

Scena III: Radamès ed Aïda

  • Pur ti riveggo, mia dolce Aïda.
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  • Ti arresta, vanne—che speri ancor?
  • A te dappresso l’amor mi guida.
  • Te i riti attendono d’un altro amor.
  • D’Amneris sposo.
  • Che parli mai?
  • Te sola, Aïda, te deggio amar.
  • Gli Dei mi ascoltano—tu mia sarai.
  • D’uno spergiuro non ti macchiar!
  • Prode t’amai, non t’amerei spergiuro.
  • Dell’amor mio dubiti, Aïda?
  • E come
  • Speri sottrarti d’Amneris ai vezzi,
  • Del Re al voler, del tuo popolo ai voti,
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  • Dei sacerdoti all’ira?
  • Odimi, Aïda.
  • Nel fiero anelito di nuova guerra
  • Il suolo Etiope si ridestò—
  • I tuoi già invadono la nostra terra,
  • Io degli Egizii duce sarò.
  • Fra il suon, fra i plausi della vittoria,
  • Al Re mi prostro, gli svelo il cor—
  • Sarai tu il serto della mia gloria,
  • Vivrem beati d’eterno amor.
  • Nè d’Amneris paventi
  • Il vindice furor? La sua vendetta,
  • Come folgore tremenda
  • Cadrà su me, sul padre mio, su tutti.
  • Io vi difendo.
  • Invan, tu nol potresti—
  • Edition: current; Page: [[92]]
  • Pur—se tu m’ami—ancor s’apre una via
  • Di scampo a noi.
  • Quale?
  • Fuggir.
  • Fuggire!
  • Fuggiam gli ardori inospiti
  • Di queste lande ignude;
  • Una novella patria
  • Al nostro amor si schiude.
  • Là! tra foreste vergini,
  • Di fiori profumate.
  • In estasi beate
  • La terra scorderem.
  • Sovra una terra estrania
  • Teco fuggir dovrei!
  • Abbandonar la patria,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[94]]
  • L’are de’ nostri Dei!
  • Il suol dov’io raccolsi
  • Di gloria i primi allori,
  • Il ciel dei nostri amori
  • Come scordar potrem?
  • Sotto il mio ciel più libero
  • L’amor ne fia concesso;
  • Ivi nel tempio istesso
  • Gli stessi Numi avrem.
  • (Esitante.)
  • Aïda!
  • Tu non m’ami—Va!
  • Non t’amo!
  • Mortal giammai, nè Dio
  • Arse d’amore al par del mio possente.
  • Va—va—ti attende all’ara Amneris.
Edition: current; Page: [[96]]
  • No! giammai!
  • Giammai, dicesti?
  • Allor piombi la scure
  • Su me, sul padre mio.
  • Ah no! fuggiamo!
  • (Con appassionata risoluzione.)
  • Sì: fuggiam da queste mura,
  • Al deserto insiem fuggiamo:
  • Quì sol regna la sventura,
  • Là si schiude un ciel d’amor.
  • I deserti interminati
  • A noi talamo saranno,
  • Su noi gli astri brilleranno,
  • Di più limpido fulgor.
  • Nella terra avventurata
  • De’ miei padri il ciel ne attende;
  • Ivi l’aura è imbalsamata,
  • Ivi il suolo è aromi e fior.
  • Edition: current; Page: [[98]]
  • Fresche valli e verdi prati
  • A noi talamo saranno,
  • Su noi gli astri brilleranno
  • Di più limpido fulgor.

Aïda e Radamès

  • Vieni meco—insiem fuggiamo
  • Questa terra di dolor—
  • Vieni meco—io t’amo, io t’amo!
  • A noi duce fia l’amor.
  • [Si allontanano rapidamente.]
  • (Arrestandosi all’improvviso.)
  • Ma, dimmi: per qual via
  • Eviterem le schiere
  • Degli armati?
  • Il sentier scelto dai nostri
  • A piombar sul nemico fia deserto
  • Fino a domani.
  • E quel sentier?
  • Le gole di Napata.
Edition: current; Page: [[100]]

Scena IV: Amonasro, Aïda e Radamès

  • (Comparendo.)
  • Di Napata le gole!
  • Ivi saranno i miei.
  • Oh! chi ci ascolta?
  • D’Aïda il padre e degli Etiopi il Re.
  • (Agitatissimo.)
  • Tu! Amonasro—tu il Re? Numi! che dissi?
  • No! non è ver! sogno—delirio è questo.
  • Ah no! ti calma—ascoltami,
  • All’amor mio ti affida.
  • A te l’amor d’Aïda
  • Edition: current; Page: [[102]]
  • Un soglio innalzerà.
  • Per te tradii la patria!
  • Io son disonorato.
  • No! tu non sei colpevole.—
  • Era voler del fato—
  • Vieni, oltre il Nil ne attendon
  • I prodi a noi devoti,
  • Là del tuo core i voti
  • Coronerà l’amor.

Scena V

(Amneris dal tempio, indi Ramfis, Sacerdoti, Guardie e detti.)

  • Traditor!
  • La mia rivale!
  • (Avventandosi su Amneris con un pugnale.)
  • Vieni a strugger l’opra mia Muori!—
Edition: current; Page: [[104]]
  • (Frapponendosi.) . . .
  • Arresta, insano!
  • Oh rabbia!
  • Guardie, olà!
  • (Ad Aïda e Amonasro.)
  • Presto! fuggite!
  • (Trascinando Aïda.)
  • Vieni, o figlia!
  • (Alle guardie.)
  • Li inseguite!
  • (A Ramfis.)
  • Sacerdote, io resto a te.
fine dell’ atto terzo
Edition: current; Page: [[106]]


Scena I

Sala nel palazzo del Re.—Alla sinistra, una gran porta che mette alla sala sotterranea delle sentenze.—Andito a destra che conduce alla prigione di Radamès.—Amneris mestamente atteggiata davanti la porta del sotterraneo.

  • L’aborrita rivale a me sfuggia—
  • Dai sacerdoti Radamès attende
  • Dei traditor la pena.—Traditore
  • Egli non è. Pur rivelò di guerra
  • L’alto segreto—egli fuggir volea—
  • Con lei fuggire. Traditori tutti!
  • A morte! A morte! O! che mai parlo? io l’amo,
  • Io l’amo sempre. Disperato, insano
  • E questo amore che la mia vita strugge.
  • Oh, s’ei potesse amarmi!
  • Vorrei salvarlo! E come?
  • Si tenti! Guardie: Radamès quì venga.
Edition: current; Page: [[108]]

Scena II


(Condotto dalle guardie.)

  • Già i sacerdoti adunansi
  • Arbitri del tuo fato!
  • Pur dell’accusa orribile
  • Scolparti ancor ti è dato;
  • Ti scolpa, e la tua grazia
  • Io pregherò dal trono,
  • E nunzia di perdono,
  • Di vita, a te sarò.
  • Di mie discolpe i giudici
  • Mai non udran l’accento;
  • Dinanzi ai Numi e agli uomini
  • Nè vil, nè reo mi sento.
  • Profferse il labbro incauto
  • Fatal segreto, è vero,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[110]]
  • Ma puro il mio pensiero
  • E l’onor mio restò.
  • Salvati dunque e scolpati.
  • No!
  • Tu morrai!
  • La vita
  • Abborro; d’ogni gaudio
  • La fonte inaridita,
  • Svanita ogni speranza,
  • Sol bramo di morir.
  • Morire! ah! tu dei vivere!
  • Sì, all’ amor mio vivrai;
  • Per te le angoscie orribili
  • Di morte io già provai;
  • T’amai—soffersi tanto—
  • Vegliai le notti in pianto—
  • Edition: current; Page: [[112]]
  • E patria, e trono, e vita
  • Tutto darei per te.
  • Per essa anch’io la patria
  • E l’onor mio tradiva.
  • Di lei non più!
  • L’infamia
  • Mi attende e vuoi che io viva?
  • Misero appien mi festi,
  • Aïda a me togliesti,
  • Spenta l’hai forse—e in dono
  • Offri la vita a me?
  • Io—di sua morte origine!
  • No! vive Aïda.
  • Vive!
  • Nei disperati aneliti
  • Dell’orde fuggitive
  • Sol cadde il padre.
Edition: current; Page: [[114]]
  • Ed ella?
  • Sparve, nè più novella
  • S’ebbe.
  • Gli Dei l’adducano
  • Salva alle patrie mura
  • E ignori la sventura
  • Di chi per lei morrà!
  • Or, s’io ti salvo, giurami
  • Che più non la vedrai.
  • Nol posso!
  • A lei rinunzia
  • Per sempre—e tuo vivrai!
  • Nol posso!
Edition: current; Page: [[116]]
  • Anco una volta:
  • A lei rinunzia.
  • E vano!
  • Morir vuoi dunque, insano?
  • Pronto a morir son già.
  • Chi ti salva, o sciagurato,
  • Dalla sorte che ti aspetta?
  • In furore hai tu cangiato
  • Un amor che ugual non ha.
  • De’ miei pianti la vendetta
  • Ora il cielo compirà.
  • E la morte un ben supremo
  • Se per lei morir m’è dato;
  • Nel subir l’estremo fato
  • Gaudii immensi il core avrà;
  • Edition: current; Page: [[118]]
  • L’ira umana io più non temo,
  • Temo sol la tua pietà.
  • [Radamès parte circondato dalle guardie.]
  • (Cade desolata sopra un sedile.)
  • Ohimè! morir mi sento. Oh! chi lo salva?
  • E in poter di costoro
  • Io stessa lo gettai! Ora, a te impreco
  • Atroce gelosia, che la sua morte
  • E il lutto eterno del mio cor segnasti!
  • [Si volge e vede i Sacerdoti che attra versano la scena per entrare nel sotterraneo.]
  • Che veggo! Ecco i fatali,
  • Gli inesorati ministri di morte—
  • Oh! ch’io non vegga quelle bianche larve!
  • [Si copre il volto con le mani.]
  • (Nel sotterraneo.)
  • Spirto del Nume sovra noi discendi!
  • Edition: current; Page: [[120]]
  • Ne avviva al raggio dell’eterna luce;
  • Pel labbro nostro tua giustizia apprendi.
  • Numi, pietà del mio straziato core—
  • Egli è innocente, lo salvate, o Numi!
  • Disperato, tremendo è il mio dolore!
  • [Radamès fra le guardie attraversa la scena e scende nel sotterraneo.—Amneris, a vederlo, emette un grido.]
  • (Nel sotterraneo.)
  • Radamès—Radamès: tu rivelasti
  • Della patria i segreti allo straniero.
  • Discòlpati!
  • Egli tace—
  • Traditor!
Edition: current; Page: [[122]]
  • Radamès, Radamès: tu disertasti,
  • Dal campo it dì che precedea la pugna.
  • Discòlpati!
  • Egli tace.
  • Traditor!
  • Radamès, Radamès: tu fè violasti,
  • Alla patria spergiuro, al Re, all’onor!
  • Discòlpati!
  • Egli tace.
  • Traditor!
  • Radamès, è deciso il tuo fato:
  • Degli infami la morte tu avrai;
  • Edition: current; Page: [[124]]
  • Sotto l’ara del Nume sdegnato
  • A te vivo fia schiuso l’avel.
  • A lui vivo—la tomba—Oh! gli infami!
  • Nè di sangue son paghi giammai—
  • E si chiaman ministri del ciel!
  • [Investendo i Sacerdoti che escono dal sotterraneo.]
  • Sacerdoti: compiste un delitto—
  • Tigri infami di sangue assetate—
  • Voi la terra ed i Numi oltraggiate—
  • Voi punite chi colpa non ha.
  • E traditor! morrà.
  • (A Ramfis.)
  • Sacerdote: quest’uomo che uccidi,
  • Tu lo sai—da me un giorno fu amato.
  • L’anatèma d’un core straziato
  • Col suo sangue su te ricadrà.
Edition: current; Page: [[126]]
  • E traditor! morrà.
  • [Si allontanano lentamente.]
  • Empia razza! anatèma! su voi
  • La vendetta del ciel scenderà.
  • [Esce disperata.]

Scena III

La scena è divisa in due piani.—Il piano superiore rappresenta l’interno del tempio di Vulcano splendente di oro e di luce; il piano inferiore un sotterraneo.—Lunghe file d’arcate si perdono nell’oscurità.—Statue colossali d’Osiride colle mani incrociate sostengono i pilastri della volta.

Radamès è nel sotterraneo sui gradini della scala per cui è disceso.—Al di sopra, due Sacerdoti intenti a chiudere la pietra del sotterraneo.

  • La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse—
  • Edition: current; Page: [[128]]
  • Ecco la tomba mia. Del dì la luce
  • Più non vedrò—Non rivedrò più Aïda—
  • Aïda, ove sei tu? Possa tu almeno
  • Viver felice e la mia sorte orrenda
  • Sempre ignorar! Qual gemito!—Una larva!
  • Una vision— No! forma umana è questa—
  • Cielo!— Aïda!
  • Son io—
  • Tu—in questa tomba!
  • Presagò il core della tua condanna,
  • In questa tomba che per te si apriva
  • Io penetrai furtiva—
  • E quì lontano da ogni umano sguardo
  • Nelle tue braccia desiai morire.
  • Morir! sì pura e bella!
  • Morir per me d’amore—
  • Edition: current; Page: [[130]]
  • Degli anni tuoi nel fiore,
  • Fuggir la vita!
  • T’avea il cielo per l’amor creata,
  • Ed io t’uccido per averti amata!
  • No, non morrai!
  • Troppo t’amai!
  • Troppo sei bella!
  • (Vaneggiando.)
  • Vedi? di morte l’angelo
  • Radiante a noi si appressa—
  • Ne adduce eterni gaudii
  • Sovra i suoi vanni d’or.
  • Su noi già il ciel dischiudesi—
  • Ivi ogni affanno cessa—
  • Ivi comincia l’estasi
  • D’un immortal amor.
  • [Canti e danze delle sacerdotesse nel tempio.]
  • Triste canto!
Edition: current; Page: [[132]]
  • Il tripudio
  • Dei Sacerdoti.
  • Il nostro inno di morte.
  • (Cercando di smuovere la pietra del sotterraneo.)
  • Nè le mie forti braccia
  • Smuovere ti potranno, o fatal pietra!
  • Invan! tutto è finito
  • Sulla terra per noi.
  • (Con desolata rassegnazione.)
  • E vero! è vero!
  • (Si avvicina ad Aïda e la sorregge.)


  • O terra, addio; addio, valle di pianti—
  • Sogno di gaudio che in dolor svanì
  • A noi si schiude il cielo e l’alme erranti
  • Edition: current; Page: [[134]]
  • Volano al raggio dell’eterno di.
  • [Aïda cade dolcemente fra le braccia di Radamès.—Amneris in abito di lutto apparisce nel tempio e va a prostrarsi sulla pietra che chiude il sotterraneo.]
  • Pace t’imploro—salma adorata—
  • Isi placata—ti schiuda il ciel!
fine dell’opera
Edition: current; Page: [[3]]


Scene I

A hall in the King’s palace at Memphis. To the right and left a colonnade with statues and flowers in blossom.—At the back a high gateway through which may be seen the temples and palaces of Memphis and the Pyramids.

Rhadames and Ramphis


Yes, the story goes that the Ethiopian once more ventures to threaten our power in the valley of the Nile as well as at Thebes. I shall soon learn the truth from a messenger.


Hast thou consulted the mysteries of Isis?

Edition: current; Page: [[5]]

She has declared who shall be commander of all the Egyptian hosts.


Oh, happy man!


(With a meaning look at Radames.)

Young is he in years, and fearless. I go to bear the goddess’ bidding to the King.



What if I am chosen! Be now my dream accomplished! I, the chosen leader of a mighty army! Mine, the victory! Mine the acclaim of all Memphis! To thee, returning, my sweet Aïda, crowned with laurel! To tell thee, that for thee I fought, for thee I conquered!

  • Radiant Aïda, beauty all glorious,
  • Mystical garland of brightness and bloom,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[7]]
  • Queen o’er my bosom reigning victorious,
  • All of my soul with thy light to illume!
  • Would that the skies of thy country now blessed thee,
  • That thou could’st breathe its soft fragrance divine.
  • Would that its diadem royal caressed thee,
  • And that a throne next the sun could be thine!

Scene II: Amneris and the Same


In thy face I see a joy unwonted! What noble fury glistens in thine eye! Ah me! How worthy of envy would be the woman whose loved presence could awaken such a glow of rapture in thy soul!


A dream of wild ambition in my heart’s heart I cherished. To-day has the goddess told his name who shall lead the Egyptian host to battle,—what if I were chosen for this distinguished honour!

Edition: current; Page: [[9]]

Has not another dream, and one more gentle, more alluring, spoken to thy heart? Hast thou not in Memphis something more earnestly desired and hoped for?

  • (Aside.)
  • I? fatal inquisition!
  • Has she the hidden yearning
  • Divined, within me burning,
  • And learned that toward her slave-girl
  • My every thought is turned?
  • (Aside.)
  • If toward another yearning
  • His heart for her is burning
  • Through my unguarded glances
  • The fatal truth he’s learned.
Edition: current; Page: [[11]]

Scene III: Aïda and the same


(Catching sight of Aida.)


  • (Aside.)
  • He is troubled—ne’er a lover
  • His devotion showed so clear!
  • Aida! should I discover
  • To my heart a rival here?
  • (After a short pause turning to Aida.)
  • Come, my darling, now draw nearer.
  • Nor slave nor menial be thy name
  • Who deserv’st a fashion dearer.
  • I in thee a sister claim.
  • Thou weepest? Of thy sorrow’s flow
  • Let me the secret know.
  • Alas! a war is raging,
  • The dreadful cry—I hear it
  • Edition: current; Page: [[13]]
  • For this unhappy country,
  • For me—for all I fear it.
  • Thou speak’st the truth? Nor art aware
  • Thy bosom feels a deeper care?
  • [Aida casts down her eyes and tries to hide her confusion.]
  • (Aside, looking steadily at Aïda.)
  • Tremble, O thou slave, yes, tremble
  • Lest thy secret be detected,
  • For the truth I have suspected,
  • How she wept and how she blushed!
  • (Aside.)
  • No! This sore-afflicted country
  • Not alone my heart is wringing;
  • Hopeless love the tear is bringing,
  • That upon destruction rushed!
  • (Aside, looking at Amneris.)
  • Now her face is full of anger
  • Edition: current; Page: [[15]]
  • And with scorn her glances lower,
  • What if she exert her power,
  • And my heart’s desire be crushed!

Scene IV

The King enters, preceded by his Guards and followed by Ramphis, Ministers of State, Priests, Captains, etc., etc.—An officer of the Palace, and later, a Messenger.

the king

Mighty the cause that summons you, O faithful sons of Egypt, round your King. From the land of Ethiopia a messenger has this moment reached us, bringing news of gravest import. Be pleased to hear him.

  • (To an officer.)
  • Let the messenger come forward!

The sacred soil of Egypt is invaded by the barbarous Ethiop. Our fields are ravaged and the Edition: current; Page: [[17]] crops are burned. Emboldened by this easy victory, the plunderers are e’en now marching upon Thebes.


Outrageous insult!


A warrior indomitable, fierce, conducts them—Amonasro.


The King!



My father!


All Thebes is up in arms and, from her hundred gates, will pour on the invader her answer of war and carnage.

the king

Yes, war and carnage be our cry henceforward.


War! War!

Edition: current; Page: [[19]]
the king

Terrible, unrelenting!

(Addressing Rhadames.)

Isis, most holy, has already appointed the supreme leader of all our dauntless hosts—Rhadames.




I thank you, O ye Gods! My dearest wish is won.



The leader!



I tremble!

the king

Now to Vulcan’s temple let us go, O warrior, there to gird thee with thy sacred armour and then to victory speed.

Edition: current; Page: [[21]]
  • Rise! the invading host defy,
  • Guard your sacred Nile, Egyptians;
  • Burst from each heart the battle cry,
  • Death and destruction to the stranger!
ramphis and the priests
  • Praise to the Gods, not one forgetting,
  • All of life they give its setting,
  • From their hands all changes letting;
  • Save us from this mortal danger.
  • Rise and on your strength rely,
  • Guard your sacred Nile, Egyptians,
  • And shout this one stern battle cry—
  • Death and destruction to the stranger!
  • Glory’s sacred ravings claim me,
  • Thoughts of war alone inflame me;
  • Ne’er disaster come to shame me—
  • Death and destruction to the stranger!
Edition: current; Page: [[23]]
  • (Presenting a banner to Rhadames.)
  • From my hand, O leader brave,
  • Take this banner ever glorious,
  • May it still for victory wave,
  • Be thy foeman’s source of danger!
  • (Aside.)
  • For whom weeping? For whom praying?
  • In my love for him delaying,
  • Though my country I’m betraying
  • For an enemy—a stranger.
  • War! War! and root the invaders out,
  • For Rhadames, returned victorious, shout!
  • [Exeunt, except Aïda.]

Returned victorious! Can my lips pronounce the impious word! Victorious o’er my father, o’er him who leads an army for me—that I may be restored to a country, a kingdom, and an illustrious name Edition: current; Page: [[25]] that now I’m forced to hide! Victorious o’er my brothers! E’en now I see him stained with their dear blood, amid the roaring triumph of the Egyptian host! And behind his chariot a King—my father—bound with chains!

  • That word, soul-destroying,
  • O deem it unspoken;
  • Ye Gods, and my father,
  • His daughter heart-broken,
  • Restore, with a crushing
  • Defeat for our foemen!
  • O madness! What say I? And to my heart’s yearning,
  • Is there no turning?
  • What of the love that consoled me, oppressed,
  • Like a ray of the sun that has cheered me and blessed?
  • Shall I implore destruction
  • On Rhadames, for whose love I languish?
  • Ah! Never heart upon this earth
  • Was crushed by so great anguish.
  • The sacred names of father and of lover
  • Edition: current; Page: [[27]]
  • I dare not utter, dare not e’en recall,
  • Confused and trembling for the one, the other
  • My prayers shall rise and still my tears shall fall,
  • Alas my prayer in doubt and sin seems shrouded.
  • To suffer is a wrong for me, a sin to cry.
  • In gloomy shadows wrapt, my mind is clouded,
  • And of this two-fold anguish I must die.
  • Take pity on me, O ye Gods most high!
  • No shelter have I for my sorrow here—
  • O fatal love, yet love I hold so dear,
  • Break, break, my trembling heart and let me die!

Scene V

Interior of the temple of Vulcan at Memphis. A mysterious light shining from above. A long row of columns, one behind the other, vanishing in the distance.—Statues of various Divinities. In the middle of the stage, above a platform Edition: current; Page: [[29]] carpeted with rich stuffs, rises the altar surmounted by the sacred emblems.—Golden tripods on which incense is burning.

Priests and Priestesses.—Ramphis at the foot of the altar.—Later Rhadames.—From within is heard the singing of the Priestesses accompanied by a harp.

  • (Within.)
  • Omnipotent Phtha! of creation,
  • Spirit life-giving, pure!
  • Thee, in our prayer, we invoke!
  • Phtha, who pervadest the whole of creation,
  • Spirit of fruitfulness,
  • Thee, in our prayer, we invoke!
  • Flame uncreated, eternal,
  • Sovereign dispenser of light,
  • Thee, in our prayer, we invoke!
  • Thou, who all things hast created,
  • The water, the earth, and the sky,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[31]]
  • Thee, in our prayer, we invoke!
  • Thou, who of thine own nature,
  • Art son as well as father,
  • Thee, in our prayer, we invoke!
  • Life of all things created,
  • Giver of love everlasting,
  • Thee, in our prayer, we invoke!
  • [Rhadames enters without his armor.—As he advances to the altar the priestesses (corps de ballet) perform their sacred dance.—There is placed on Rhadames’ head a silver veil.]

Mortal, beloved of the gods, to thee is confided the destiny of Egypt. The sacred sword, divinely tempered, is placed in thy hands, to bring upon the enemy terror and ruin and death.

  • (Turning to the god.)
  • O God, protector, avenger
  • Of all we hold most dear,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[33]]
  • Thy mighty hand extending,
  • Save the Egyptian soil.
  • O God, thou judge of battles,
  • The path of war make clear,
  • Protecting and defending,
  • Egypt’s most sacred soil!
  • [During the investiture of Rhadames with the sacred armor, the Priests and Priestesses resume the devotional hymn and the mystic dance.]
end of the first act
Edition: current; Page: [[35]]


Scene I

A hall in the apartments of Amneris.—Amneris surrounded by slave-girls, who are adorning her for the triumphal feast.—From the tripods perfumed incense is rising.—Moorish slave-boys dance and wave feather-fans.

  • Ever his name and his praises
  • We’ll raise to the glory on high,
  • That like a divinity blazes,
  • Outshining the sun in the sky,
  • Come, bind in thy glorious tresses,
  • The laurels of victory sweet,
  • Whom triumph and power caresses,
  • And Love lays his song at thy feet.
  • (Aside.)
  • (Come, my love, my one desire,
  • Fill my heart with rapture sweet.)
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  • Oh! the stranger’s host is shattered,
  • That had ventured Egypt’s might,
  • As doves are by the eagle scattered,
  • Were they driven in the fight.
  • Now, a crown of triumph presses
  • On his brow—for that is meet—
  • Him whom victory caresses
  • Shall caress devotion sweet.


  • (Come, my loved one, and revive me
  • With thy accents dear once more!)

Silence! Aïda is coming toward me—a daughter of the conquered race, to me her grief is sacred.

[At a sign from Amneris all the slaves retire.]

Seeing her again, the dreadful doubt awakens in my heart! At last I’ll wrest her fatal secret from her!

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Scene II: Amneris and Aïda


(To Aïda, with pretended affection.)

The chances of battle have proved disastrous to thee, my poor Aïda! Be sure that I divide with thee the sorrow that weighs down thy heart. I am thy friend—ask what thou wilt of me, I would make thee happy!


How can I be happy, far from my native land and ignorant of the fate of my father and brothers!


I feel with thee deeply; and yet there is a limit to all sorrow here below. Time will cure the anguish of thy heart. And there is a powerful God, greater than time—Love.

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  • (Aside, deeply moved.)
  • O Love! Love! a joy tormenting,
  • Exquisite madness, cruel delight,
  • By thy affliction, a life-time contenting,
  • And in thy smile a radiance bright.
  • (Aside, looking intently at Aïda.)
  • Ah! She is troubled, her countenance paling,
  • This is the secret, the fever of love.
  • How shall I question—my courage is failing—
  • Still has her anguish the power to move.
  • (Gazing at her more intently.)
  • Nay, but tell me, do not tremble,
  • What my sweet Aïda fears.
  • Nor thy secret thoughts dissemble,
  • Confidence a friend endears;
  • Of the many warriors bold
  • ’Gainst thy country’s peace enrolled,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[43]]
  • One perhaps his love has told,
  • Nor received an answer cold?

What meanest thou?

  • The cruel fate of war
  • Not all alike embraces,
  • Sometimes the dauntless warrior,
  • The leader, it effaces.

Wretch, to say so!


Yes, Rhadames by thy tribe is slaughtered—And thou mourn’st him?


Forever I shall mourn!


The gods have avenged thee.

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Forever hostile to me have been the gods—


(Bursting forth with rage.)

Ah! Tremble! In thy heart of hearts thou lovest him—




Away with seeming! A little word and I shall know the truth. Look on my face—I told thee falsely—Rhadames lives.


(Kneeling in ecstasy.)

He lives! The gods be praised!


Dost thou hope still to deceive me! Yes, thou lovest him—but I love him (with the utmost Edition: current; Page: [[47]] fury)—even I—dost thou hear me? Thy rival is a daughter of the Pharaohs!


(Drawing herself up with pride.)

My rival! If ’twere true—even I—

(Checking herself and falling at Amneris’ feet.)

  • What have I said? O pity me and pardon!
  • O pity for my sore distresses give,
  • ’Tis true! For this o’ermastering love I live,
  • But thou art happy—thou all things possesest.
  • And only in this love of mine I live.
  • Tremble, vile slave! For thy heart thou’rt betraying,
  • With thine own life for thy love thou art paying,
  • On my sole power thy fate is dependent.
  • Reins to my envious rage thou dost give.
  • [Sounds heard within.]
  • Edition: current; Page: [[49]]
  • In the pageant they prepare,
  • Thou, O slave, shalt have thy share,
  • Prostrate in the dust thou’lt lie,
  • See me, with the King on high.
  • Come—behind me—thou did’st dare
  • Overmuch my power to try.
  • Ah, thy pity! Full of care,
  • Life to me is but a snare.
  • Live and reign, thy furious rage
  • Death will presently assuage,
  • And my love the grave shall bear,
  • That war with thee did’st wage.

Scene III

Entrance gate to the city of Thebes.—In front a cluster of palms.—To the right a temple of Ammon; to the left a throne with a purple canopy above; at the back a triumphal arch.—The stage is crowded with people.

Enter the King, followed by Ministers, Priests, Captains, Fan-bearers, Standard-bearers, etc., etc.—After them, Amneris with Aida and Slaves.—The King takes his seat upon the throne.—Amneris places herself on the King’s left.

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  • Glory to Egypt and to Isis,
  • Who our sacred land enfoldeth!
  • And to him the throne who holdeth
  • Now our festive song we sing!
  • Hither come, O warriors glorious,
  • Mingle, now, your joy with ours,
  • Wreaths of laurel and of flowers
  • For their royal progress bring!
  • Laurel leaves with lotus woven
  • Shall the conquering brows entwine,
  • While a cloud of flowers combine
  • Warlike arms to hide from sight;
  • Circle round, Egyptian dancers,
  • And your mystic carol sing,
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  • As the stars, a heavenly ring,
  • Circle round their sovereign bright.
  • Now we lift our humble glances
  • To the gods above, most glorious,
  • Who have made our arms victorious,
  • Sing their praise this festive day.
  • For through them our foes were scattered,
  • And our honor cleared from blame.
  • Never let us feel the shame
  • Of the hated stranger’s sway!
  • [The Egyptian troops announced by the blaring of trumpets, march before the King. They are followed by war-chariots, banners, the sacred vessels and statues of the gods. A band of dancing girls bearing the captured spoils. At the end, Rhadames enters under a canopy borne by twelve officers.]
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(Descends from the throne to embrace Rhadames.)

Saviour of thy country, I salute thee. Come, and my daughter, with her own hand, shall give thee the crown of triumph.

[Rhadames bows before Amneris, who gives him the crown.]


(To Rhadames.)

Ask what thou wilt and freely will I grant it. Naught shall be denied thee on such a day as this. I swear it by my crown and by the holy gods.


First deign to order that the captives be brought before thee.

[Enter the Ethiopian captives surrounded by a guard. Amonasro last, in the dress of simple officer.]

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Whom see I! Is he here? My father?


Her father!


And in our power!


(Embracing her father.)

Thou! A prisoner!


(Aside to Aïda.)

Betray me not!


(To Amonasro.)

Approach thou—so then—thou art—?

  • Her father—in my country’s cause, I fought.
  • Nor, conquered, could I find the death I sought.
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  • (Pointing to his uniform.)
  • This you have learned from the dress I am wearing,
  • I have my King and my country defended.
  • Vain, ’gainst our fate were all courage and daring,
  • We were unable its might to defy.
  • Then I perceived ’mid the carnage extended,
  • The form of the King—it was covered with gore.
  • Now if to fight for the land we adore,
  • Be worthy of death, we are ready to die!
  • (Turning to the King, as a suppliant.)
  • But thou, O King, in thy power transcendent,
  • Spare thou the lives on thy mercy dependent,
  • We, by the fates are to-day overtaken,
  • What in the fates of to-morrow may lie?


  • Yes, though the anger of Heaven seems chiding,
  • Show us thy pity, thy mercy abiding,
  • Ah! May ye never, by fortune forsaken,
  • In the despair of captivity sigh!
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  • Death is, O King, their just destination,
  • Close, then, thy heart to all vain supplication.
  • Since they are doomed by high Heaven to perish,
  • Heaven’s decree we ought not to delay.
  • Calm, holy priests, your anger exceeding,
  • Graciously list to the desolate, pleading,
  • And thou, O King, whose dominion we cherish,
  • The mandates of mercy haste to obey.
  • (Aside, looking at Aïda.)
  • Wan is her cheek with weeping and sorrow,
  • Yet from affliction beauty doth borrow.
  • Now in my bosom love’s flame is new lighted,
  • By every drop that flows from her eyes.
  • (Aside.)
  • Ah! With the passionate zeal of a lover,
  • Round her his glances linger and hover,
  • She hath been chosen: in my bosom slighted,
  • Furious promptings of envy arise.
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  • Now since our banners in triumph are waving,
  • Mercy to show, the unfortunate saving,
  • This to the Heavens above us is pleasant,
  • Adding new strength to a powerful sway.

(To the King.)

O King, by the holy gods and by the splendor of thy crown, thou didst swear to give me whatever I might ask.


I swore it.


Even so: I pray that thou grant life and liberty to these Ethiopian captives.



All of them!


Death to Egypt’s enemies!

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Mercy for the wretched!


Hear me, O King;

(To Rhadames.)

And thou, too, youthful hero, the voice of prudence hear:

  • Thy foes to battle hardened,
  • Are yet thy foes at heart,
  • Will bolder grow, if pardoned,
  • And soon from peace depart.

With Amonasro, their warrior king slain, all hope of vengeance is lost.


At least, we should detain Aïda’s father, as a hostage to peace and safety. Set all the others free.


I yield to thy advice. Yet now a surer bond of peace and safety will I give you. Rhadames, thy Edition: current; Page: [[67]] country owes thee all. The hand of Amneris, my daughter, shall be thy reward. Sovereign of Egypt shalt thou reign with her hereafter.



Now, now, let the slave-girl rob me of my love—she dare not!

  • Egypt praise, and Isis fair,
  • Our sacred land is in her care;
  • Laurel now with lotus twine
  • For the mighty victor’s brow.
  • Raise your hymns to Isis fair,
  • Our sacred land is in her care.
  • May she, with her favor blest,
  • Our country still endow.
  • (Aside.)
  • Alas! to me what hope remains?
  • He glory and a throne attains,
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  • But only loneliness and tears
  • Shall be my portion now.
  • Praise to Egypt’s gracious land,
  • Who pity on a captive band
  • Hath ta’en, and granted liberty
  • Once more our soil to tread.
  • (Aside.)
  • Now Heaven’s bolt upon my head
  • Hath fallen! All my hopes are dead.
  • Nought to me were Egypt’s treasure
  • Could I Aïda’s love avow.
  • (Aside.)
  • Almost bereft of every sense
  • By joy unspeakable, immense,
  • ’Tis triumph’s wondrous recompense!
  • Now my love I can avow.
  • (To Aïda.)
  • Take heart: we may amend the fate
  • Edition: current; Page: [[71]]
  • Of our country desolate.
  • Presently this haughty state
  • Shall before our vengeance bow.
  • Egypt praise, and Isis fair,
  • Our sacred land is in her care.
  • Laurel now with lotus twine
  • For the mighty victor’s brow!
end of second act
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Scene I

The banks of the Nile—Granite hills covered with palm trees.—On the summit a temple of Isis, half hidden by the foliage.—Night full of stars and the splendor of the moon.

  • (Within the temple.)
  • O thou, who art of Osiris
  • Mother immortal and wife,
  • Goddess, who all chaste desires
  • Hath placed in the heart by thy might,
  • Bend o’er us in pity exceeding,
  • Mother of love and of light.
  • [From a boat which approaches the bank, descend Amneris and Ramphis, followed by women closely veiled, and guards.]
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(To Amneris.)

Come to the temple of Isis, on the eve before thy marriage, and pray for the goddess’s favor. To Isis are all hearts open. To her thy inmost thoughts are known.


Yes, and I will pray that Rhadames may give me all his heart, as my heart to him has e’er been wholly given.


Pray thou until dawn. I shall be near thee.

[All enter the temple.—The chorus repeat their hymn.]

  • (Enters cautiously, with her head veiled.)
  • Rhadames will come—what will he tell me?
  • My heart is troubled! If thou com’st to me,
  • O cruel one, a last farewell to speak,
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  • The rushing waters of the Nile shall hide me;
  • Oblivion there—and dreamless peace—I’ll seek.
  • O pleasant skies, O breezes softly blowing,
  • Where the calm morning of life seemed so bright,
  • O grassy hills, O sweet rivers flowing,
  • Blest native country, lost is thy light!

Scene II: Amonasro and Aïda


Heavens! My father!


The weightiest reasons have brought me to thy side, Aïda. Naught escapes my eye. For love of Rhadames thou art dying. He loves thee, thou awaitest him. A daughter of the Pharaohs is thy rival.


O race accursed, abhorred and fatal to us! And I am in her power! I, Amonasro’s daughter!

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In her power! No! If thou wishest, thou shalt conquer thy powerful rival; and country and throne and love, all shall be thine. Thou shalt see again our balmy forests, our verdant vales, our temples built of gold!


I shall see again our balmy forests, our verdant vales, our temples built of gold!

  • The happy bride of him for whom thou’rt panting,
  • Exultant joy, thou’lt feel, with rapture sigh.
  • A single day of sweetness so enchanting,
  • An hour of such delight—then let me die!
  • Ah, but recall how Egypt’s host descended,
  • Daring our homes, our altars to profane,
  • Loading with chains the maidens undefended,
  • Leaving the aged and the helpless slain.
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  • Yes, I remember that heart-crushing sorrow,
  • Remember the strife in my bosom it woke.
  • Ah! That they grant us a brighter to-morrow,
  • All of the gods, in their mercy, invoke!
  • Lose not a moment! Our people, undaunted,
  • Ready in arms are preparing the blow.
  • Vict’ry is sure, and but one thing is wanted,
  • What is the path they have chosen—the foe?
  • Who will discover that path? Dost thou know?
  • Thou wilt.
  • I!
  • Rhadames, whom thou await’st, will tell thee.
  • He leads the Egyptian forces—and he loves thee!
  • Horror!
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  • Thou promptest me to this? No! No! I cannot!
  • (With savage violence.)
  • Up, then, and plunder,
  • Egypt’s band!
  • Rending asunder
  • Our native land.
  • Scatter wild terror,
  • Confusion and error,
  • Give reins to your fury,
  • Let nothing stand!
  • O Father!
  • (Repulsing her.)
  • Thou call’st thyself my daughter!
  • (Terrified and supplicating.)
  • Have mercy!
  • Torrents of blood shall crimson flow
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  • O’er the city of the vanquished,
  • Seest thou? From death’s dark gulf below,
  • They raise their bosoms anguished,
  • And with accusing finger show
  • Thee as their cause of woe!
  • Have mercy!
  • A phantom terrible
  • From that gulf dread,
  • Withered hands stretched
  • Over thy head.
  • Thy mother’s hands—O see!
  • She curses thee.
  • (With the utmost terror.)
  • Ah, no!—father!

(Repulsing her.)

Go, misbegotten, thou art not my daughter. Thou art the Pharaohs’ slave.

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  • Father, no more I’ll be their slave,
  • Ah, thy curses dread appal me!
  • Still thy daughter thou may’st call me,
  • For I will my country save.
  • Think of thy race, conquered, effaced,
  • Restored by thy grace, to freedom and place.
  • O my country, my country, at how great cost!
  • Courage! He comes! I’ll hide me here.
  • [Conceals himself among the palms.]

Scene III: Rhadames and Aïda

  • Once more, my sweet Aïda, I behold thee.
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  • Arrest thee! Hence! What hope is thine?
  • That thou wert here, love told me.
  • I to another must thy hand resign,
  • Betrothed of Amneris.
  • What hast thou said?
  • Thee only, sweet Aïda, can I love,
  • Be Heaven my witness, for thee I shall wed.
  • Invoke not falsely, the great gods above.
  • The brave, not the forsworn I love.
  • Thou doubt’st my love, Aïda?
  • But how
  • Thinkest thou to efface
  • The love of thy Princess, the will of the King,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[91]]
  • The wrath of the priests and the hopes of thy race?
  • Hear me, Aïda,
  • Again, the torch of war, with zeal untiring,
  • To a new blaze the Ethiop has fanned,
  • Our country to invade once more aspiring,
  • And all of Egypt’s armies I command.
  • When me their shouts and songs proclaim victorious,
  • The grateful King a new reward will give
  • And thou shalt be my crown of triumph glorious,
  • With thee in endless peace and love to live.
  • Nay, but Amneris you should fear,
  • Her rage, her envious fury
  • Like Heaven’s thunder-bolt would fall
  • On me, my father, on us all.
  • I will defend thee.
  • In vain thou would’st attempt it.
  • Edition: current; Page: [[93]]
  • Yet—if thou lov’st me—there is still a way,
  • To safety for us.
  • What way?
  • To fly.
  • Together!
  • Ah, fly these treacherous heats that burn,
  • The land beneath them blighting,
  • To a new country let us turn,
  • Our faithful love inviting.
  • There where virgin forests rise,
  • And amid sweet-scented flowers,
  • In this ecstasy of ours,
  • The earth we’ll ne’er regret.
  • To another land, a stranger,
  • With thee thou bid’st me fly,
  • My country leave in danger,
  • Edition: current; Page: [[95]]
  • Its sacred claims deny?
  • Land these arms have ever shielded,
  • Land whose conquering sword I’ve wielded,
  • Land, the sight of thee that yielded,
  • All this can I forget?
  • In my pleasant land abiding,
  • There our hearts to love confiding.
  • Never will thy gods be chiding,
  • For them we’ll honor yet.
  • (Hesitating.)
  • Aïda!
  • Thou lov’st me not! Go!

Not love thee! Ne’er god nor mortal burned with such devouring passion.

  • Go, go, thy Amneris awaits thee at the altar.
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  • No! In vain!

In vain, thou sayest? Then fall the axe on me and on my father!

  • Ah, no! Let us fly!
  • (With passionate resolution.)
  • Yes, we’ll fly these walls now hated,
  • In the desert hide our treasure:
  • Here the land to woe seems fated,
  • There the skies are bright with love,
  • Boundless deserts naught can measure,
  • Soon our bridal couch shall spread,
  • And the stars their radiance shed,
  • Our canopy above.
  • In that land all grief allaying,
  • There shall balmy skies await thee,
  • And the gentle breezes straying,
  • Flowers to shed their fragrance move.
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  • Verdant vales and pleasant meadows,
  • There our bridal couch we’ll spread,
  • And the stars their radiance shed,
  • Our canopy above.


  • Come with me, and together let us flee,
  • From the land where spectres rove,
  • Come with me—I love thee, love thee,
  • And our guide shall be but love.
  • [They are hastening away when suddenly Aïda stops.]

Nay, tell me by what path we may avoid their rising army?


By the path that we have chosen to fall upon the Ethiopians. It will be deserted until morning.


And what path is that?


The passes of Napata!

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Scene IV: Amonasro, Aïda and Rhadames


(Springs forward.)

The passes of Napata! There I’ll post my troops.


Oh! Who has overheard us?


Aïda’s father, Ethiopia’s King.


(In great surprise.)

Thou! Amonasro! Thou, the King! Heavens! What sayest thou? No! ’Tis false! I dream, I rave in madness!

  • Ah, no! Be calm and hear me,
  • True love thy steps are guiding.
  • In Aïda’s love confiding,
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  • A throne thy prize shall be.

For thee I have betrayed my country, lost my honor!

  • No! Of guilt thou’rt wholly blameless,
  • For it was the will of Heaven.
  • Come, beyond the Nile await thee
  • Loyal troops thy name to cherish,
  • Joys that tarnish not, nor perish,
  • Crowning thee with love.

Scene V

(Enter Amneris from the temple, then Ramphis, priests, guards, as above.)




My rival!


(Rushing toward Amneris with a dagger.)

Thou comest to mar my plans! Die, then!

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Nay, strike not, madman!


O fury!


Guards, advance there!


(To Aïda and Amonasro.)

This instant! Fly!


(Dragging Aida away.)

Come thou, my daughter!


(To the guards.)

Quickly! Follow them!


(To Ramphis.)

Holy priest, to thee I yield.

end of the third act
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Scene I

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.

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Scene II


(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
  • Edition: current; Page: [[111]]
  • Have been my thoughts; I could endure
  • No stain upon my soul to be.
  • Then save thy life, thy honour free.
  • No!
  • Thou would’st die?
  • 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,
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  • 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!

  • Dishonour
  • 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.


She lives!


They were beaten and fled in wild confusion. Her father perished.

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And she?

  • 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?

I cannot!

  • Renounce her forever—
  • And life shall be thine!

I cannot.

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  • 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.
  • Edition: current; Page: [[119]]
  • 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,
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  • 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.]

(From below.)

Rhadames, Rhadames: thou hast betrayed the secrets of thy country to the enemy.


Defend thyself!


He is silent.



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Rhadames, Rhadames: thou wast absent from the camp the day before the battle!


Defend thyself!


He is silent.




Rhadames, Rhadames: thou hast been false to country, king and honour.


Defend thyself!


He is silent.

  • Traitor!
  • Rhadames, thus have thy judges decided,
  • Thou the cursed death of the traitor must die,
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  • ’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.
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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.]

Scene III

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
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  • 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!

Yes, I—


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
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  • 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!

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’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.)


  • O earth, farewell, farewell, thou vale of sorrow!
  • Dream of delight that vanisheth in woe,
  • Opens the sky on a glorious to-morrow
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  • 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