The oratorio Solomon by G. F. Handel
(1) Overture in three parts: Maestoso, Allegro moderato, & Giocoso?.
Act I - Ascension to the throne
(2) Chorus of Priests: "Your harps and cymbals sound to great Jehovah's praise! Your willing voices raise unto the Lord of Hosts!"
(3) Levite: (aria) "Praise ye the Lord for all his mercies past, whose truth, whose justice will forever last."
(4) Chorus: "With pious heart, and holy tongue, resound your Maker's name, till distant nations catch the song and glow with holy flame"
(5) Solomon: (aria) "Almighty pow'r! Who rul'st the earth and skies and bade gay order from confusion rise; whose gracious hand reliev'd thy slave distress'd, with splendour cloath'd me, and with knowledge bless'd; thy finis'd Temple with thy presence grace, and shed Thy heav'nly glories o'er the place."
(6 & 7) Zadok: (recitative) "Imperial Solomon, thy pray'rs are heard. See from the op'ning skies descending flames involve the sacrifice; and lo! within the sacred dome that gleamy light, profusely bright, declares the Lord of Hosts is come." (aria) "Sacred raptures cheer my breast, rushing tides of hallow'd zeal, joys too fierce to be express'd, in this swelling heart I feel. Warm enthusiastic fires in my panting bosom roll, hope of bliss, that ne'er expires, dawns upon my ravish'd soul."
(8) Chorus: "Throughout the land Jehovah's praise record, for full of pow'r and mercy is the Lord."
(9 & 10) Solomon: (recitative) "Bless'd be the Lord, who look'd with gracious eyes upon his vassal's humble sacrifice, and has with an approving smile my work o'erpaid, and grac'd the pile." (aria) "What though I trace each herb and flow'r, that drink the morning dew, did I not own Jehovah's pow'r, how vain were all I knew! Say what's the rest but empty boast the pedant's idle claim, who having all the substance lost attempts to grasp a name."
(11 & 12) Solomon: (recitative) "And see my queen, my wedded love, you soon my tenderness shall prove; a palace shall erect its head, of cedar built, with gold bespread; methinks the work is now begun, the ax resounds on Lebanon, and see, bedeck'd with canvas wings, the dancing vessel lightly springs, while Ophir's mines, well-pleas'd, disclose the wealth that in their entrails glows." Egyptian queen: (aria) "Bless'd the day when first my eyes saw the wisest of the wise! Bless'd the day when I was led to ascend the nuptial bed! How completely bless'd the day, on my bosom as he lay, when we call'd my charms divine, vowing to be only mine."
(13 & 14) Solomon: (recitative) "Thou fair inhabitant of Nile, rejoice thy lover with a smile! Oh monarch! with each virtue bless'd the brightest star that gilds the east; no joy I know beneath the sun, but what's compriz'd in Solomon. With thee, how quickly fled the winter's night, and short is summer's length of light." Egyptian queen: (aria) "Welcome as the dawn of day to the pilgrim on his way, whom the darkness caus'd to stray, is my lovely king to me." Solomon: (duet) "Mrytle grove, or rosy shade, breathing odors throught the glade to refresh the village maid, yields in sweets, my queen, to thee." (they continue in near stretto)
(15 & 16) Zadok: (recitative) "Vain are the transient beauties of thy face, where virtue fails to animate each grace: bright and more bright her radiant form appears, nor dreads the canker'd tooth of rolling years: o'er such a partner comfort spreads her wing, and all our life is one perpetual spring." (aria) "Indulge thy faith and wedded truth with the fair partner of thy youth; she's ever constant, ever kind, like the young roe, or loving hind."
(17 & 18) Solomon: (recitative) "My blooming fair, come, come away, my love admits of no delay." (aria) "Haste, haste to the cedar grove, where fragrant spices bloom, and am'rous turtles love, beneath the pleasing gloom; while tinkling down the hill avoiding hateful day, the little murm'ring rill in whispers glides away."
(19 & 20) Egyptian queen: (recitative) "When thou art absent from my sight, the court I shun, and loath the light." (aria) "With thee th'unshelter'd moor I tread, nor once of fate complain, the burning suns flash'd round my head, and cleav'd the barren plain. Thy lovely form alone I prize, tis thou that canst impart continual pleasure to my eyes, and gladness to my heart."
(21 & 22) Zadok: (recitative) "Search round the world, there never yet was seen so wise a monarch, or so chaste a queen." (chorus) "May no rash intruder disturb their soft hours; to form fragrant pillows, arise, oh ye flow'rs! ye zephirs, soft breathing, their slumbers prolong, while nightingales lull them to sleep with their song."
Act II - The Judgement
(23) Chorus: "From the censer curling rise grateful incense to the skies; Heaven blesses David's throne; happy, happy, happy Solomon. Live, live forever, pious David's son."
(24 & 25) Solomon: (recitative) "Prais'd be the Lord, from him my wisdom springs; I bow inraptur'd to the King of Kings. He led me, abject, to imperial state, when weak, and trembling for my future fate; strengthen'd by him, each for with horror fled, then impious Joab at the altar bled; the death he oft deserv'd stern Shemei found, and Adonijah sunk beneath the wound: forc'd by his crimes, I spoke a brother's doom, ah, may his vices perish in his tomb!" (aria) "When the sun o'er yonder hills pow's in tides the golden day, or, when quiv'ring o'er the rills, in the west he dies away, he shall always hear me sing praises to th'eternal King." (rendered in strict modern rhythms)
(26 & 27) Levite: (Bass) "Great prince, thy resolution's just; he never fails, in Heav'n who puts his trust, true worth consists not in the pride of state, 'tis virtue only makes a monarch great." (aria) "Thrice bless'd that wise discerning king, who can each passion tame, and mount on virtue's eagle wing to everlasting fame. Such shall as mighty patterns stand to princes yet unborn, in honour prompt each distant land and future times adorn."
(28 & 29) Attendant, Solomon and two women): (recitative), (atd) "My sovreign liege, two women stand, and both beseech the king's command to enter here. Dissolv'd in tears, the one a new-born infant bears; the other, fierce, and threat'ning loud, declares her story to the crowd; and thus she clamours to the throng, 'Seek we the king, he shall redress our wrong.' (Sol) "Admit them straight: for when we mount the throne, our hours are all the people's, not our own" (W1) "Thou son of David, hear a mother's grief; and let the voice of justice bring relief: This little babe my womb conceiv'd. That woman also bore a son, whose vital thread was quickly spun; one house we both together kept; but once, unhappy, as I slept, she stole at midnight where I lay, bore my soft darling from my arms away, and left her child behind, a lump of lifeless clay; and now, so impious! dares to claim my right alone, a mother's name." (aria) "Words are weak to paint my fears; heart-felt anguish, starting tears, best shall plead a mother's cause. To thy throne, oh king, I bend; my cause is just, be thou my friend!" (W2) "False is all her melting tale." ( Sol) " Justice holds the lifted scale." (W2) " then be just and fear the laws" (W1) "my cause is just, be thou my friend! to thy throne, oh king, I bend." (W2) "false is all her melting tale" (trio continues repeating the three texts)
(30 & 31) Solomon and second woman): (Sol) "What says the other to th'imputed charge? Speak in thy turn and tell thy wrongs at large" (W2) "I can not varnish o'er my tongue, and colour fair the face of wrong: this babe is mine, the womb of earth intomb'd conceals her little birth. Give my my child, my smiling boy, to cheer my breast with newborn joy." (Sol) "Hear me, ye women, and the king regard, who from his throne thus reads the just award: Each claims alike, let both their portions share: divide the babe, thus each her part shall bear. Quick, bring the faulchion! and the infant smite, nor furthur clamour for disputed right." (aria),(W2) "Thy sentence, great king, is prudent and wise, and my hopes on the wing quick bound for the prize. Contented I hear, and approve the decree, for at least I shall tear the lov'd infant from thee!"
(32 & 33) First woman): (Recitative) "Withhold the executing hand! reverse, oh king, thy stern command!" (Aria) "Can I see my infant gor'd? with the fierce relentless sword? can I see him yield his breath, smiling at the hand of death? and behold the purple tides gushing down his tender sides? Can I see? Rather be my hopes beguil'd? Take him all, take him all...but spare my child!"
(34 & 35) Solomon and first woman): (Sol) "Israel, attend to what your king shall say: think not I meant the innocent to slay. The stern decision was to trace with art the secret dictates of the human heart. She who could bear the fierce decree to hear, nor send one sigh, nor shed one pious tear, must be a stranger to a mother's name. Hence from my sight, nor urge a further claim! But you, whose fears a parent's love attest, receive, and bind him to your beating breast: to you, in justice, I the babe restore, and may you lose him from your arms no more." (aria), (W1) "Thrice bless'd be the king, for he's good and he's wise." (Sol) "The Lord all these virtues has giv'n." (W1) "My gratitude calls streaming tears from my eyes." (Sol) "Thy thanks be return'd all to Heav'n. 'Tis God that rewards, and will lift from the dust whom to crush proud opressors endeavour, for his mercy endureth forever." (W1) "How happy are those who in God put their trust!"
(36) Chorus: "From the east unto the west, who so wise as Solomon? Who like Isarael's king is bless'd? who so worthy of a throne?"
(37 & 38) Zadok: (recitative) "From morn to eve I could enraptur'd sing the various virtues of our happy king; in whom with wonder, we behold combin'd the grace of feature with the worth of mind" (air) "See the tall Palm that lifts the head on Jordan's sedgy side. His tow'ring branches curling spread, and bloom in graceful pride. Each meaner tree regardless springs, nor claims our scornful eyes; thus thou art first of mortal kings, and wisest of the wise." "See the tall Palm..."
(39, 40 & 41) First woman: (Recitative) "No more shall armed bands our hopes destroy, peace waves her wing, and pours forth ev'ry joy. (air) "Beneath the vine, or figtree's shade, ev'ry shepherd sings the maid, who his simple heart betray'd in a rustic measure. While of torments he complains, all around the village swains catch the song, and feel his pains, mingling sighs with pleasure." Chorus: "Swell the full chorus to Solomon's praise, record him, ye bards, as the pride of our days. Flow sweetly the numbers that dwell on his name, and rouse the whole nation in songs to his name. Swell! Swell!..."
Act III - Solomon's Kingdom
(42) Sinfonia: "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"
(43 & 44) Queen of Sheba greets Solomon: (QS) "From Arabia's spicy shores, bounded by the hoary main, Sheba's queen these seats explores, to be taught thy heav'nly strain." (Sol) "Thrice welcome queen! with open arms our court receives thee, and thy charms; the temple of the Lord first meets your eyes, rich with the well accepted sacrifice. Here all our treasures free behold, where cedars lie, o'erwrought with gold; next, view a mansion fit for kings to own, the forest call'd of tow'ring Lebanon, where act her utmost skill displays, and ev'ry object claims your praise." (QS) "Ev'ry sight these eyes behold, does a diff'rent charm unfold; flashing gems, and sculptur'd gold, still attract my ravish'd sight. But to hear fair truth distiling, in expressions choice and thrilling, from that tongue, so soft and killing, that my soul does most delight."
(45 & 46) Solomon & Chorus: (Sol): "Sweep, sweep the string, to sooth the royal fair, and rouse each passion with th'alternate air.", (Chorus): "Music, spread thy voice around, sweetly flow. Sweetly flow the lulling sound."
(47) Solomon & Chorus: "Now, a diff'rent measure try. Shake the dome, and pierce the sky. Rouse us next to martial deeds; clanking arms and neighing steeds, seem in fury to oppose. Now the hard fought battle glows."
(48 & 49) Solomon & Chorus: "Then at once from rage remove. Draw the tear from hopeless love. Lengthen out the solemn air, full of death and wild despair."
(50 & 51) Solomon & Chorus: "Now the tortur'd soul release, and the mind restore to peace.", "Thus rolling surges rise, and plough the troubled main; but soon the tempest dies, and all is calm again."
(52 & 53) Queen of Sheba, Levite: (QS) "Thy Harmony's divine, great king, all obeys the artist's string. And now, illustrious prince, receive such tribute as my realm can give. Here, purest gold, from earth's dark entrails torn; and gems resplendant, that outshine the morn: thee balsam breathes a grateful smell, with thee the fragrant strangers wish to dwell. Yet, ev'ry object I behold amid the glare of gems and gold, the Temple most attracts my eye, where with unwearied zeal, you serve the Lord on high.", (Lev): "Pious king, and virtuous queen, may your name resound in story. In times latest annals seen, crown'd with honour, crown'd with glory"
(54 & 55) Zadok: "Thrice happy king, to have achiev'd, what scarce will henceforth be believ'd, when seven times around the sphere the sun had led the newborn year, the temple rose, to mark the days with endless themes for future praise. Our pious David wish'd, in vain, by this great act to bless his reign; but Heav'n the monarch's hopes withstood, for ah! his hands were stain'd with blood.", "Golden columns, fair and bright, catch the mortal's ravish'd sight; round their sides ambitious twine tendrils of the clasping vine; Cherubims stand there display'd, o'er the ark their wings are laid: ev'ry object swells with state, all is pious, all is great."
(56) Chorus: "Praise the Lord with heart and voice, praise the Lord with harp and tongue, praise him all ye old and young. He's in mercy ever strong. Praise him early, praise him late. God alone is good and great. Let the loud Hosanna's rise, widely spreading through the skies. God alone is just and wise."
(57 & 58) Solomon: "Gold now is common on our happy shore, and cedars frequent are as sycamore. All conspires to bless my days; fair plenty does her treasures raise, and o'er the fruitful plains her countless gifts displays.", "How green our fertile pastures look! how fair our olive groves! how limpid is thy gliding brook, that through the meadows roves! As hundred diff'rent balmy flow'rs salute the passing gale, when ev'ning breezes fan the bow'rs, and sweep th'enamel'd vale"
(59 & 60) Queen of Sheba: "May peace in Salem ever dwell! Illustrious Solomon, farewell. Thy wise instructions by my future care, soft as the show'rs that cheer the verbal air, whose warmth bids ev'ry plant her sweets disclose; the lilly wakes, and paints the op'ning rose.", "Will the sun forget to streak eastern skies with amber ray, when the dusky shades to break he unbars the gates of day? then demand if Sheba's queen e'er can banish from her thought all the splendor she has seen, all the knowledge thou hast taught."
(61 & 62) Solomon & Queen of Sheba: (Sol.): "Adieu, fair queen, and in thy breast may peace and virtue ever rest!" (QS)"Ev'ry joy that wisdom knows, may'st thou, pious monarch, share ev'ry joy that wisdom knows" (Sol): "Ev'ry blessing Heav'n bestows, be thy portion, virtuous fair!" (QS): "Gently flow thy rolling days." (Sol): "Sorrow be a stranger here." (Both): "May thy people sound thy praise, praise unbought be price or fear."
(63) Chorus: "The name of the wicked shall quickly be past, but the fame of the just shall eternally last."
Cast of players
Character Abbreviated by Voice part played by General MIDI patch #