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ACT TWO


Scene 1

(Solomon, Levite, Israelites)

22.- Chorus

CHORUS
From the censer curling rise
grateful incense to the skies;
heaven blesses David’s throne,
happy, happy Solomon!

Live, live for ever, pious David’s son;
live, live for ever, mighty Solomon

23.- Recitative

SOLOMON
Prais’d be the Lord, form Him my wisdom springs;
I bow in-raptur’d to the King of Kings.
He led me, abject, to th’imperial state,
when weak, and trembling for my future fate;
strengthen’d by Him, each foe with horror fled,
then impious Joab at the altar bled;
the death he oft deserv’d stern Schimei 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!

24.-Air

When the sun o’er yonder hills
pours in tides the golden day,
or, when quiv’ring o’er the rills,
in the west he dies away;
he shall ever hear me sing
praises to th’eternal King.

25.- Recitative

LEVITE
Great prince, thy resolution’ just;
he never fails, in Heav’n who puts his trust;
true worth consists not in the pride of state,
‘this virtue only makes a monarch great.

26.- Air

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,
to honour prompt each distant land,
and future time adorn.

Scene 2

(The previous and an attendant)

27.- Recitative

ATTENDANT
My sovereign 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,
"see we the King, he shall redress our wrong"

SOLOMON
Admit them straight; for when we mount the throne,
our hours are all the people’s, not our own.

Scene 3

(The previous and two harlots)

FIRST HARLOT
Thou Son of David, hear a mother’s grief;
and let the voice of justice bring relief.
This little babe my womb conceiv’d,
the smiling infant I with joy receiv’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 – oh impious!- dares to claim
my right alone, a mother’s name.

28.- Trio

FIRST HARLOT
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.

SECOND HARLOT
False is all her melting tale.

SOLOMON
Justice holds the lifted scale.

SECOND HARLOT
Then be just, and fear the laws.

FIRST HARLOT
Words are weak to paint my fears, etc.

29.- Recitative

SOLOMON
What says the other to th’imputed charge?
Speak in thy turn, and tell thy wrongs at large.

SECOND HARLOT
I cannot varnish o’er my tongue,
and colour fair the face of wrong.
This babe in mine, the womb of earth
intomb’d, conceals her little birth.
Give me my child, my smiling boy,
to cheer my breast with new-born joy.

SOLOMON
Hear me, ye women, and the king regard,
who form his throne thus reads the just award:
each claim alike, let both their portions share;
divide the babe, thus each her part shall bear.
Quick, bring the faulchion, and the infant smite,
nor further clamour for disputed right.

30.- Air

SECOND HARLOT
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)

31.- Recitative

FIRST HARLOT
Withhold, withhold the executing hand!
Reverse, oh king, thy stern command.

32.- Air

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?
Rather be my hopes beguil’d,
take him all – but spare my child.

33.- Accompagnato

SOLOMON
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 form your arms no more.

34.- Duet

FIRST HARLOT
Thrice bless’d be the king,
for he’s good and he’s wise.

SOLOMON
The Lord all these virtues has giv’n...

FIRST HARLOT
My gratitude calls streaming tears from my eyes.

SOLOMON
Thy thanks be return’d all to Heav’n.
‘Tis God that rewards, and will lift from the dust
whom to crush proud oppressors endeavour.

FIRST HARLOT
How happy are those who in God put their trust!

SOLOMON
For His mercy endureth for ever.

35.- Chorus

CHORUS OF ISRAELITES
From the east unto the west,
who so wise as Solomon?
Who like Israel’s king is bless’d,
who so worthy of a throne.

36. Recitative

ZADOK
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.

37. 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...

38.- Recitative

FIRST HARLOT
No more shall armed bands our hopes destroy,
peace waves her wing, and pours forth ev’ry joy.

39.- Air

Beneath the vine, or fig-tree’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.

40.- Chorus

CHORUS OF PRIESTS
Swell, 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 fame.
ACT TWO


Scene 1

(Solomon, Levite, Israelites)

22.- Chorus

CHORUS
From the censer curling rise
grateful incense to the skies;
heaven blesses David’s throne,
happy, happy Solomon!

Live, live for ever, pious David’s son;
live, live for ever, mighty Solomon

23.- Recitative

SOLOMON
Prais’d be the Lord, form Him my wisdom springs;
I bow in-raptur’d to the King of Kings.
He led me, abject, to th’imperial state,
when weak, and trembling for my future fate;
strengthen’d by Him, each foe with horror fled,
then impious Joab at the altar bled;
the death he oft deserv’d stern Schimei 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!

24.-Air

When the sun o’er yonder hills
pours in tides the golden day,
or, when quiv’ring o’er the rills,
in the west he dies away;
he shall ever hear me sing
praises to th’eternal King.

25.- Recitative

LEVITE
Great prince, thy resolution’ just;
he never fails, in Heav’n who puts his trust;
true worth consists not in the pride of state,
‘this virtue only makes a monarch great.

26.- Air

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,
to honour prompt each distant land,
and future time adorn.

Scene 2

(The previous and an attendant)

27.- Recitative

ATTENDANT
My sovereign 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,
"see we the King, he shall redress our wrong"

SOLOMON
Admit them straight; for when we mount the throne,
our hours are all the people’s, not our own.

Scene 3

(The previous and two harlots)

FIRST HARLOT
Thou Son of David, hear a mother’s grief;
and let the voice of justice bring relief.
This little babe my womb conceiv’d,
the smiling infant I with joy receiv’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 – oh impious!- dares to claim
my right alone, a mother’s name.

28.- Trio

FIRST HARLOT
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.

SECOND HARLOT
False is all her melting tale.

SOLOMON
Justice holds the lifted scale.

SECOND HARLOT
Then be just, and fear the laws.

FIRST HARLOT
Words are weak to paint my fears, etc.

29.- Recitative

SOLOMON
What says the other to th’imputed charge?
Speak in thy turn, and tell thy wrongs at large.

SECOND HARLOT
I cannot varnish o’er my tongue,
and colour fair the face of wrong.
This babe in mine, the womb of earth
intomb’d, conceals her little birth.
Give me my child, my smiling boy,
to cheer my breast with new-born joy.

SOLOMON
Hear me, ye women, and the king regard,
who form his throne thus reads the just award:
each claim alike, let both their portions share;
divide the babe, thus each her part shall bear.
Quick, bring the faulchion, and the infant smite,
nor further clamour for disputed right.

30.- Air

SECOND HARLOT
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)

31.- Recitative

FIRST HARLOT
Withhold, withhold the executing hand!
Reverse, oh king, thy stern command.

32.- Air

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?
Rather be my hopes beguil’d,
take him all – but spare my child.

33.- Accompagnato

SOLOMON
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 form your arms no more.

34.- Duet

FIRST HARLOT
Thrice bless’d be the king,
for he’s good and he’s wise.

SOLOMON
The Lord all these virtues has giv’n...

FIRST HARLOT
My gratitude calls streaming tears from my eyes.

SOLOMON
Thy thanks be return’d all to Heav’n.
‘Tis God that rewards, and will lift from the dust
whom to crush proud oppressors endeavour.

FIRST HARLOT
How happy are those who in God put their trust!

SOLOMON
For His mercy endureth for ever.

35.- Chorus

CHORUS OF ISRAELITES
From the east unto the west,
who so wise as Solomon?
Who like Israel’s king is bless’d,
who so worthy of a throne.

36. Recitative

ZADOK
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.

37. 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...

38.- Recitative

FIRST HARLOT
No more shall armed bands our hopes destroy,
peace waves her wing, and pours forth ev’ry joy.

39.- Air

Beneath the vine, or fig-tree’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.

40.- Chorus

CHORUS OF PRIESTS
Swell, 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 fame.



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