Woe if our secret love she should read in our hearts! Ah, tremble lest I learn the truth from that weeping and blushing! The King appears, preceded by his guard and followed by Ramfis, ministers, priests, captains and others. From the Ethiopian borders a messenger has just arrived.
He brings grave news. Be pleased to hear him Let the messenger stand forth! Our fields have been laid waste AIDA My father! KING Ay!
Aida, Act II: Ballabile
Let war and death be our cry! Terrible, unrelenting! My prayers are answered! AIDA I tremble! Your sacred arms gird on and speed to victory. Haste to the sacred banks of the Nile, Egyptian heroes: from every heart let the cry burst forth: war and death, death to the foreigner! Let everyone remember it is they who decide the course of events; in the hands of the gods alone rest the warrior's fortunes. Let everyone remember that in the hands of the gods alone rest the warrior's fortunes! To the sacred banks of the Nile let a barrier be formed by our breasts; let there resound but a single cry: war, war and death to the foreigner!
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KING Arise! Speed to the sacred banks of the Nile.
Egyptian heroes; From each heart let the cry resound: war and death to the foreigner! For whom shall I pray? What power binds me to him! I must love him, and he is an enemy, a foreigner! Let us speed to victory! War and death to the foreigner! Haste to the sacred banks of the Nile, Egyptian heroes, etc. Let everyone remember, etc. To the sacred banks of the Nile let a barrier be formed by our breasts; etc.
Verdi: Ballet Music
Let us speed… arise! Exterminate them! ALL Return a conqueror! All leave except Aida.
AIDA Return a conqueror! Conqueror of my father… of him who takes up arms for me… to give me back a country, a kingdom, and the illustrious name which here I am forced to hide. Conqueror of my brothers… whence I might see him, stained with cherished blood, triumph in the acclamation of the Egyptian cohorts!
And behind his chariot, a king… my father… bound in chains! Oh gods, wipe out the insane word! To a father's breast restore his daughter; destroy the squadrons of our oppressor! What did I say… And my love? Can I then forget this ardent love which, like a shaft of sunlight, made my lot here happy although I am captive and a slave? The sacred names of father, of lover, I cannot utter, nor yet recall. For the one… for the other But my prayer changes to a curse For me tears are a crime, sighs a fault… In dark night my soul is lost, and in this cruel anguish I would die.
Oh gods, have pity on my suffering! There is no hope for my sorrow. Fatal love, terrible love, break my heart, make me die! A mysterious light from above illuminates the scene. There is a long row of columns, which disappears in the distance. Statues of various divinities. At mid? The smoke of incense rises from censers supported by golden tripods. Priests and priestesses, Ramfis at the foot of the altar. As he approaches the altar, the Priestesses perform the sacred dance. Let the sacred sword, in heaven tempered, in your hand become for the enemy terror, lightning and death.
Parts, Versions, Transpositions
RAMFIS … lightning and death, addressing the god O god, guardian and avenger of this sacred land, spread out thy hand over the soil of Egypt. O mighty Phtha, life? RAMFIS O mighty Phtha, spirit of fertility, thou who from nothing didst fashion the world, thou who from nothing didst fashion the earth, the sea and the sky, we invoke thee, we invoke thee, O mighty Phtha! Come: let flowers intertwined with laurel shower upon your brow; let hymns of glory sound forth with songs of love.
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Like a mist they vanished at the warrior's breath. Come, oh conqueror, receive the reward for glory; victory has already smiled on you, love will smile upon you now. Aida comes toward us… daughter of the vanquished; I respect her sorrow. She motions the slaves to leave. Aida enters carrying Amneris's crown. Seeing her again, hideous doubt awakes in me Let the fatal secret be revealed at last.
The grief that weighs down your heart I share with you. I am your friend… You shall have everything of me… You shall live happily!
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Yet earthly ills have a limit… Time will heal your heart's deep grief, and, more than time, a mighty god… love. AIDA Love, love! In thy pangs I find life; a smile from thee opens heaven to me! I almost fear to question her. I share her pangs of terror. Reveal your secrets to me, trust in my affection. Among the warriors who fought for the downfall of your country, one, perhaps has aroused sweet anguish in your heart? AIDA What are you saying? AIDA I shall weep forever! AIDA The gods were always against me. I have read it in your heart AIDA I! One more word and I shall know the truth.
Ah, thanks be to you, oh gods!