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ACT ONE


1. Overture

Scene 1

(An Epinicion or Song of Triumph, for the victory over Goliath and the Philistines)

2a. ISRAELITES
How excellent Thy name, O Lord,
In all the world is known!
Above all Heav'ns, O King ador'd,
How hast Thou set Thy glorious throne!

3. Air

SOPRANO
An infant rais'd by Thy command,
To quell Thy rebel foes,
Could fierce Goliath's dreadful hand
Superior in the fight oppose.

4. Trio
Along the monster atheist strode,
With more than human pride,
And armies of the living God
Exulting in his strength defied.

5. ISRAELITES
The youth inspir'd by Thee, O Lord,
With ease the boaster slew:
Our fainting courage soon restor'd,
And headlong drove that impious crew.

2b. ISRAELITES
How excellent Thy name, O Lord,
In all the world is known!
Above all Heavn's, O King ador'd,
How hast thou set Thy glorious throne!
Hallelujah!

Scene 2

(Saul, Jonathan, Merab, Michal and Abner,
introducing David and the High Priest)

6. Recitative

MICHAL
He comes, he comes!

7. Air

MICHAL
O godlike youth, by all confess'd
Of human race the pride!
O virgin among women blest,
Whom Heav'n ordains thy bride!
But ah, how strong a bar I see
Betwixt my happiness and me!
O godlike youth... (da capo)

8. Recitative

ABNER
Behold, O king, the brave, victorious youth,
And in his hand the haughty giant's head.

SAUL
Young man, whose son art thou?

DAVID
The son of Jesse,
Thy faithful servant, and a Bethlemite.

SAUL
Return no more to Jesse; stay with me;
And as an earnest of my future favour,
Thou shalt espouse my daughter: small reward
Of such desert, since to thy arm alone
We owe our safety, peace and liberty.

9. Air

DAVID
O king, your favours with delight
I take, but must refuse your praise:
For every pious Israelite
To God that tribute pays.
Through Him we put to flight our foes,
And in His name,
We trod them under that against us rose.
O king... ( da capo)

10. Recitative

JONATHAN
Oh, early piety! Oh, modest merit!
In this embrace my heart bestows itself;
Henceforth, thou noble youth,
accept my friendship,
And Jonathan and David are but one.

11. Air

MERAB
(aside)
What abject thoughts a prince can have!
In rank a prince,
in mind a slave.

12. Recitative

MERAB
(aside, to Jonathan)
Yet think on whom this honour you bestow;
How poor in fortune, and in birth how low!

13. Air

JONATHAN
Birth and fortune I despise!
From virtue let my friendship rise.

(To David)

No titles proud thy stem adorn,
Yet born of God is nobly born,
And of His gifts so rich thy store,
That Ophir to thy wealth is poor.
Birth and fortune... (da capo)

14. Recitative

HIGH PRIEST
Go on, illustrious pair!
Your great example Shall teach your youth
to scorn the sordid world and set
their hearts on things of real worth.

15. Air

HIGH PRIEST
While yet thy tide of blood runs high,
To God thy future life devote;
Thy early vigour all apply,
His glorious service to promote.
So shall thy great Creator bless,
And bid thy days serenely flow:
So shall thy youthful happiness
In age no diminution know.
With sweet reflections thou shalt taste,
Declining gently to thy tomb,
The pleasure of good actions past,
And hope with rapture joys to come.

16. Recitative

SAUL
Thou, Merab, first in birth,
be first in honour:
Thine be the valiant youth, whose arm has sav'd
Thy country from her foes.

MERAB
(aside)
Oh, mean alliance!

17. Air

MERAB
My soul rejects the thought with scorn,
That such a boy, till now unknown,
Of poor plebeian parents born,
Should mix with royal blood his own!
Though Saul's command I can't decline,
I must prevent his low design,
And save the honour of his line.

18. Air

MICHAL
(aside)
See, with what a scornful air
She the precious gift receives!
Though e'er so noble, or so fair,
She cannot merit what he gives.

19. Air

MICHAL
Ah, lovely youth, wast thou design'd
With that proud beauty to be joined?

20. Symphony

21. Recitative

MICHAL
Already see the daughters of the land,
In joyful dance, with instruments of music,
Come to congratulate your victory.

Scene 3

(Saul, Michal, Chorus)

22. ISRAELITES
Welcome, welcome, mighty king!
Welcome all who conquest bring!
Welcome David, warlike boy,
Author of our present joy!
Saul, who hast thy thousands slain,
Welcome to thy friends again!
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

23. Accompagnato

SAUL
What do I hear?
Am I then sunk so low,
To have this upstart boy preferr'd before me?

24. ISRAELITES
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

25. Accompagnato

SAUL
To him ten thousands, and to me but thousands!
What can they give him more,
except the kingdom?

26. Air

SAUL
With rage I shall burst his praises to hear!
Oh, how I both hate the stripling, and fear!
What mortal a rival
in glory can bear?

(Exit)

Scene 4

27. Recitative

JONATHAN
Imprudent women!
Your ill-timed comparisons,
I fear, have injured him you meant to honour.
Saul's furious look, as he departed hence,
Too plainly shew'd the tempest
of his soul.

MICHAL
(to David)
'Tis but his old disease,
which thou canst cure:
Oh, take thy harp, and as thou oft hast done,
From the king's breast expel the raging fiend,
And sooth his tortur'd soul with sounds divine.

28. Air

MICHAL
Fell rage and black despair possess'd
With horrid sway the monarch's breast;
When David with celestial fire
Struck the sweet persuasive lyre:
Soft gliding down his ravish'd ears,
The healing sounds dispel his cares;
Despair and rage
at once are gone,
And peace and hope resume the throne.

29. Recitative

HIGH PRIEST
This but the smallest part of harmony,
Great attribute of attributes divine,
And centre of the rest, where all agree:
Whose wondrous force
what great effects proclaim!

30. Accompagnato

HIGH PRIEST
By Thee this universal frame
From its Almighty Maker's han
In primitive perfection came,
By Thee produc'd, in thee contain'd:
No sooner did th'eternal word dispense
Thy vast mysterious influence,
Than chaos his old discord ceas'd.
Nature began, of labour eas'd,
Her latent beauties to disclose,
A fair harmonious world arose;
And though, by diabolic guile,
Disorder lord it for a while,
The time will come,
When nature shall her pristine form regain,
And harmony for ever reign.

Scene 5

(Saul, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Abner, High Priest)

31. Recitative

ABNER
Racked with infernal pains, ev'n now the king
Comes forth, and mutters horrid words,
which hell,
No human tongue, has taught him.

32. Air

DAVID
O Lord, whose mercies numberless
O'er all thy works prevail:
Though daily man Thy law transgress,
Thy patience cannot fail.
If yet his sin be not too great,
The busy fiend control;
Yet longer for repentance wait,
And heal his wounded soul.

33. Symphony

34. Recitative

JONATHAN
'Tis all in vain; his fury still continues:
With wild distraction on my friend he stares,
Stamps on the ground,
and seems intent on mischief.

35. Air

SAUL
A serpent, in my bosom warm'd,
Would sting me to the heart:
But of his venom soon disarm'd,
Himself shall feel the smart.
Ambitious boy! Now learn what danger
It is to rouse a monarch's anger!

(He throws his javelin. Exit David. )

36. Recitative

SAUL
Has he escap'd my rage?
I charge thee, Jonathan, upon thy duty,
And all, on your allegiance, to destroy
This bold, aspiring youth; for while he lives,
I am not safe.
Reply not, but obey.

37. Air

MERAB
Capricious man, in humour lost,
By ev'ry wind of passion toss'd!
Now sets his vassal on the throne,
Then low as earth he casts him down!
His temper knows no middle state,
Extreme alike in love or hate.

Scene 6

38. Accompagnato

JONATHAN
O filial piety! O sacred friendship!
How shall I reconcile you? Cruel father!
Your just commands I always have obeyed:
But to destroy my friend, the brave, the virtuous,
The godlike David, Israel's defender,
And terror of her foes! To disobey you -
What shall I call it? 'Tis an act of duty
To God, to David - nay, indeed, to you.

39. Air

JONATHAN
No, cruel father, no!
Your hard commands I can't obey.
Shall I with sacrilegious blow
Take pious David's life away?
No, cruel father, no!
No, with my life I must defend
Against the world my best, my dearest friend.

40. Air

HIGH PRIEST
O Lord, whose providence
Ever wakes for their defence
Who the ways of virtue choose:
Let not thy faithful servant fall
A victim to the rage of Saul
Who hates without a cause,
And, in defiance of thy laws,
His precious life pursues.

41. CHORUS
Preserve him for the glory of Thy name,
Thy people's safety,
and the heathen's shame.
ACT ONE


1. Overture

Scene 1

(An Epinicion or Song of Triumph, for the victory over Goliath and the Philistines)

2a. ISRAELITES
How excellent Thy name, O Lord,
In all the world is known!
Above all Heav'ns, O King ador'd,
How hast Thou set Thy glorious throne!

3. Air

SOPRANO
An infant rais'd by Thy command,
To quell Thy rebel foes,
Could fierce Goliath's dreadful hand
Superior in the fight oppose.

4. Trio
Along the monster atheist strode,
With more than human pride,
And armies of the living God
Exulting in his strength defied.

5. ISRAELITES
The youth inspir'd by Thee, O Lord,
With ease the boaster slew:
Our fainting courage soon restor'd,
And headlong drove that impious crew.

2b. ISRAELITES
How excellent Thy name, O Lord,
In all the world is known!
Above all Heavn's, O King ador'd,
How hast thou set Thy glorious throne!
Hallelujah!

Scene 2

(Saul, Jonathan, Merab, Michal and Abner,
introducing David and the High Priest)

6. Recitative

MICHAL
He comes, he comes!

7. Air

MICHAL
O godlike youth, by all confess'd
Of human race the pride!
O virgin among women blest,
Whom Heav'n ordains thy bride!
But ah, how strong a bar I see
Betwixt my happiness and me!
O godlike youth... (da capo)

8. Recitative

ABNER
Behold, O king, the brave, victorious youth,
And in his hand the haughty giant's head.

SAUL
Young man, whose son art thou?

DAVID
The son of Jesse,
Thy faithful servant, and a Bethlemite.

SAUL
Return no more to Jesse; stay with me;
And as an earnest of my future favour,
Thou shalt espouse my daughter: small reward
Of such desert, since to thy arm alone
We owe our safety, peace and liberty.

9. Air

DAVID
O king, your favours with delight
I take, but must refuse your praise:
For every pious Israelite
To God that tribute pays.
Through Him we put to flight our foes,
And in His name,
We trod them under that against us rose.
O king... ( da capo)

10. Recitative

JONATHAN
Oh, early piety! Oh, modest merit!
In this embrace my heart bestows itself;
Henceforth, thou noble youth,
accept my friendship,
And Jonathan and David are but one.

11. Air

MERAB
(aside)
What abject thoughts a prince can have!
In rank a prince,
in mind a slave.

12. Recitative

MERAB
(aside, to Jonathan)
Yet think on whom this honour you bestow;
How poor in fortune, and in birth how low!

13. Air

JONATHAN
Birth and fortune I despise!
From virtue let my friendship rise.

(To David)

No titles proud thy stem adorn,
Yet born of God is nobly born,
And of His gifts so rich thy store,
That Ophir to thy wealth is poor.
Birth and fortune... (da capo)

14. Recitative

HIGH PRIEST
Go on, illustrious pair!
Your great example Shall teach your youth
to scorn the sordid world and set
their hearts on things of real worth.

15. Air

HIGH PRIEST
While yet thy tide of blood runs high,
To God thy future life devote;
Thy early vigour all apply,
His glorious service to promote.
So shall thy great Creator bless,
And bid thy days serenely flow:
So shall thy youthful happiness
In age no diminution know.
With sweet reflections thou shalt taste,
Declining gently to thy tomb,
The pleasure of good actions past,
And hope with rapture joys to come.

16. Recitative

SAUL
Thou, Merab, first in birth,
be first in honour:
Thine be the valiant youth, whose arm has sav'd
Thy country from her foes.

MERAB
(aside)
Oh, mean alliance!

17. Air

MERAB
My soul rejects the thought with scorn,
That such a boy, till now unknown,
Of poor plebeian parents born,
Should mix with royal blood his own!
Though Saul's command I can't decline,
I must prevent his low design,
And save the honour of his line.

18. Air

MICHAL
(aside)
See, with what a scornful air
She the precious gift receives!
Though e'er so noble, or so fair,
She cannot merit what he gives.

19. Air

MICHAL
Ah, lovely youth, wast thou design'd
With that proud beauty to be joined?

20. Symphony

21. Recitative

MICHAL
Already see the daughters of the land,
In joyful dance, with instruments of music,
Come to congratulate your victory.

Scene 3

(Saul, Michal, Chorus)

22. ISRAELITES
Welcome, welcome, mighty king!
Welcome all who conquest bring!
Welcome David, warlike boy,
Author of our present joy!
Saul, who hast thy thousands slain,
Welcome to thy friends again!
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

23. Accompagnato

SAUL
What do I hear?
Am I then sunk so low,
To have this upstart boy preferr'd before me?

24. ISRAELITES
David his ten thousands slew,
Ten thousand praises are his due!

25. Accompagnato

SAUL
To him ten thousands, and to me but thousands!
What can they give him more,
except the kingdom?

26. Air

SAUL
With rage I shall burst his praises to hear!
Oh, how I both hate the stripling, and fear!
What mortal a rival
in glory can bear?

(Exit)

Scene 4

27. Recitative

JONATHAN
Imprudent women!
Your ill-timed comparisons,
I fear, have injured him you meant to honour.
Saul's furious look, as he departed hence,
Too plainly shew'd the tempest
of his soul.

MICHAL
(to David)
'Tis but his old disease,
which thou canst cure:
Oh, take thy harp, and as thou oft hast done,
From the king's breast expel the raging fiend,
And sooth his tortur'd soul with sounds divine.

28. Air

MICHAL
Fell rage and black despair possess'd
With horrid sway the monarch's breast;
When David with celestial fire
Struck the sweet persuasive lyre:
Soft gliding down his ravish'd ears,
The healing sounds dispel his cares;
Despair and rage
at once are gone,
And peace and hope resume the throne.

29. Recitative

HIGH PRIEST
This but the smallest part of harmony,
Great attribute of attributes divine,
And centre of the rest, where all agree:
Whose wondrous force
what great effects proclaim!

30. Accompagnato

HIGH PRIEST
By Thee this universal frame
From its Almighty Maker's han
In primitive perfection came,
By Thee produc'd, in thee contain'd:
No sooner did th'eternal word dispense
Thy vast mysterious influence,
Than chaos his old discord ceas'd.
Nature began, of labour eas'd,
Her latent beauties to disclose,
A fair harmonious world arose;
And though, by diabolic guile,
Disorder lord it for a while,
The time will come,
When nature shall her pristine form regain,
And harmony for ever reign.

Scene 5

(Saul, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Abner, High Priest)

31. Recitative

ABNER
Racked with infernal pains, ev'n now the king
Comes forth, and mutters horrid words,
which hell,
No human tongue, has taught him.

32. Air

DAVID
O Lord, whose mercies numberless
O'er all thy works prevail:
Though daily man Thy law transgress,
Thy patience cannot fail.
If yet his sin be not too great,
The busy fiend control;
Yet longer for repentance wait,
And heal his wounded soul.

33. Symphony

34. Recitative

JONATHAN
'Tis all in vain; his fury still continues:
With wild distraction on my friend he stares,
Stamps on the ground,
and seems intent on mischief.

35. Air

SAUL
A serpent, in my bosom warm'd,
Would sting me to the heart:
But of his venom soon disarm'd,
Himself shall feel the smart.
Ambitious boy! Now learn what danger
It is to rouse a monarch's anger!

(He throws his javelin. Exit David. )

36. Recitative

SAUL
Has he escap'd my rage?
I charge thee, Jonathan, upon thy duty,
And all, on your allegiance, to destroy
This bold, aspiring youth; for while he lives,
I am not safe.
Reply not, but obey.

37. Air

MERAB
Capricious man, in humour lost,
By ev'ry wind of passion toss'd!
Now sets his vassal on the throne,
Then low as earth he casts him down!
His temper knows no middle state,
Extreme alike in love or hate.

Scene 6

38. Accompagnato

JONATHAN
O filial piety! O sacred friendship!
How shall I reconcile you? Cruel father!
Your just commands I always have obeyed:
But to destroy my friend, the brave, the virtuous,
The godlike David, Israel's defender,
And terror of her foes! To disobey you -
What shall I call it? 'Tis an act of duty
To God, to David - nay, indeed, to you.

39. Air

JONATHAN
No, cruel father, no!
Your hard commands I can't obey.
Shall I with sacrilegious blow
Take pious David's life away?
No, cruel father, no!
No, with my life I must defend
Against the world my best, my dearest friend.

40. Air

HIGH PRIEST
O Lord, whose providence
Ever wakes for their defence
Who the ways of virtue choose:
Let not thy faithful servant fall
A victim to the rage of Saul
Who hates without a cause,
And, in defiance of thy laws,
His precious life pursues.

41. CHORUS
Preserve him for the glory of Thy name,
Thy people's safety,
and the heathen's shame.



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