Georg Friedrich Händel
Words attributed to Newburgh Hamilton
Solomons's Queen (soprano)
Nicaule, Queen of Sheba (soprano)
First Harlot (soprano)
Second Harlot (mezzo-soprano)
Zadok, the High Priest (tenor)
A Levite (bass)
Chorus of Priests
Chorus of Israelites
Scene 1Solomon, Zadok, Priests and Chorus.
2. Chorus of PriestsYour harps and cymbals sound
To great Jehovah's
Unto the Lord of hosts
Your willing voices raise.
Praise ye the Lord for all his mercies
Whose truth, whose justice will for ever last.
4. Chorus of PriestsWith pious heart, and holy tongue,
Till distant nations catch the song,
And glow with holy
Almighty pow'r, who rul'st the earth
And bade gay order from confusion rise;
Whose gracious hand
reliev'd Thy slave distress'd,
With splendour cloath'd me, and with knowledge
Thy finish'd temple with Thy presence grace,
And shed Thy
heav'nly glories o'er the place.
Imperial Solomon, thy pray'rs are
See, from the op'ning skies
Descending flames involve the
And lo! within the sacred dome
That gleamy light,
Declares the Lord of hosts is come.
Sacred raptures cheer my breast,
of hallow'd zeal,
Joys too fierce to be express'd,
In this swelling heart
Warm enthusiastic fires
In my panting bosom roll,
bliss, that ne'er expires,
Dawns upon my ravish'd soul.
Sacred raptures. .
. da capo
8. Chorus of IsraelitesThroughout the land Jehovah's praise
For full of pow'r and mercy is the Lord.
Bless'd be the Lord, who look'd with
Upon His vassals' humble sacrifice,
And has with an
My work o'erpaid, and grac'd the pile.
What though I trace each herb and
That drink the morning dew,
Did I not own Jehovah's pow'r,
vain were all I knew.
Say what's the rest but empty boast,
Who having all the substance lost
Attempts to grasp a
What though. . . da capo
Scene 2To them the Queen.
And see my queen, my wedded
You soon my tenderness shall prove;
A palace shall erect its
Of cedar built, with gold bespread;
Methinks the work is now
The axe resounds on Lebanon,
And see, bedeck'd with canvas
The dancing vessel lightly springs,
While Ophir's mines, well
The wealth that in their entrails glows.
Bless'd the day when first my eyes
wisest of the wise!
Bless'd the day when I was led
To ascend the nuptial
But completely bless'd the day,
On my bosom as he lay,
call'd my charms divine,
Vowing to be only mine.
Bless'd the day. . .
Thou fair inhabitant of
Rejoice thy lover with a smile!
O monarch, with each virtue bless'd,
The brightest star
that gilds the east:
No joy I know beneath the sun,
But what's compris'd
With thee, how quickly fled the winter's night,
And short is
summer's length of light.
Welcome as the dawn of day
To the pilgrim on
Whom the darkness caus'd to stray,
Is my lovely king to me.
Myrtle grove, or rosy shade,
Breathing odours through
To refresh the village maid,
Yields in sweets, my queen, to
Vain are the transient beauties of the
Where virtue fails to animate each grace;
Bright and more bright her
radiant face appears,
Nor dreads the canker'd tooth of rolling years:
such a partner comfort spreads her wing,
And all our life is one perpetual
Indulge thy faith and wedded truth
fair partner of thy youth;
She's ever constant, ever kind,
Like the young
roe, or loving hind.
My blooming fair, come, come
My love admits of no delay.
Haste, haste to the cedar grove,
fragrant spices bloom,
And am'rous turtles love,
Beneath the pleasing
While thinking down the hill,
Avoiding hateful day,
In whispers glides away.
Haste, haste. . . da capo
When thou art absent from my
The court I shun, and loathe the light.
With thee th'unshelter'd moor I'd tread,
once of fate complain,
Though burning suns flash'd round my head,
cleav'd the barren plain.
Thy lovely form alone I prize,
'Tis thou that
Continual pleasure to my eyes,
And gladness to my heart.
21. ChorusMay no rash intruder disturb their soft hours;
fragrant pillows, arise, oh ye flow'rs!
Ye zephirs, soft-breathing, their
While nightingales lull them to sleep with their song.
Scene 1Solomon, Zadok, Levite, Chorus of Priests and Israelites.
22. Chorus of IsraelitesFrom the censer curling rise
incense to the skies;
Heaven blesses David's throne,
Live, live for ever, pious David's son;
Live, live for ever,
Prais'd be the Lord, from Him my wisdom
I bow in-raptur'd to the King of kings.
He led me, abject, to
When weak, and trembling for my future
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,
Adonijah sunk beneath the wound;
Forc'd by his crimes, I spoke a brother's
Ah, may his vices perish in his tomb!
When the sun o'er yonder hills
tides the golden day,
Or, when quiv'ring o'er the rills,
In the west he
He shall ever hear me sing
Praises to th'eternal King.
Great prince, thy resolution's
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.
Thrice bless'd that wise discerning
Who can each passion tame,
And mount on virtue's eagle wing
Such shall as mighty patterns stand
To princes yet
To honour prompt each distant land,
And future times
Thrice bless'd. . . da dapo
Scene 2To them an Attendant.
My sovereign liege, two women
And both beseech the king's command
To enter here. Dissolv'd in
The one a new-born infant bears;
The other, fierce, and threat'ning
Declares her story to the crowd;
And thus she clamours to the
"Seek we the king, he shall redress our wrong."
Admit them straight; for when we mount the throne,
hours are all the people's, not our own.
Scene 3To them the two harlots.
Thou son of David, hear a mother's grief;
the voice of justice bring relief.
This little babe my womb conceiv'd,
smiling infant I with joy receiv'd.
That woman also bore a son,
vital thread was quickly spun:
One house we together kept;
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
And now — oh impious! — dares to claim
My right alone, a mother's
28. TrioFirst Harlot
Words are weak to paint my
Heart-felt anguish, starting tears,
Best shall plead a mother's
To thy throne, O king, I bend,
My cause is just, be thou my friend.
False is all her melting tale.
Justice holds the lifted scale.
Then be just, and fear the laws.
What says the other to th'imputed
Speak in thy turn, and tell thy wrongs at large.
I cannot varnish o'er my tongue.
And colour fair
the face of wrong.
This babe is mine, the womb of earth
her little birth.
Give me my child, my smiling boy,
To cheer my breast
with new-born joy.
Hear me, women, and the king regard,
Who from his throne
thus reads the just award:
Each claims alike, let both their portions
Divide the babe, thus each her part shall bear.
Quick, bring the
faulchion, and the infant smite,
Nor further clamour for disputed right.
30. AirSecond Harlot
Thy sentence, great king,
And my hopes on the wing
Quick bound for the prize.
And approve the decree;
For at least I shall tear
infant from thee.
31. RecitativeFirst Harlot
Withhold, withhold the executing
Reverse, O king, thy stern command.
32. AirFirst Harlot
Can I see my infant gor'd
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
Rather be my hopes beguil'd,
Take him all, but spare my child.
Israel, attend to what your king
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
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
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.
34. DuetFirst Harlot
Thrice bless'd the king, for he's good
and he's wise.
My gratitude calls streaming tears from my eyes.
The Lord all these virtues has giv'n,
Thy thanks be
return'd all to Heav'n.
'Tis God that rewards, and will lift from the
Whom to crush proud oppressors endeavour...
How happy are those who in God put their trust!
For His mercy endureth for ever.
35. Chorus of IsraelitesFrom the east unto the west,
Who so wise as
Who like Israel's king is bless'd,
Who so worthy of a throne.
From morn to eve I could enraptur'd
The various virtues of our happy king;
In whom, with wonder, we
The grace of feature with the worth of mind.
See the tall palm that lifts the head
Jordan's sedgy side,
His tow'ring branches curling spread,
And bloom in
Each meaner tree regardless springs,
Nor claims our
Thus thou art first of mortal kings,
And wisest of the
See the tall palm. . . da capo
38. RecitativeFirst Harlot
No more shall armed bands our
Peace waves her wing, and pours forth ev'ry joy.
39. AirFirst Harlot
Beneath the vine, or fig-tree's
Ev'ry shepherd sings the maid
Who his simple heart betray'd,
a rustic measure.
While of torments he complains,
All around the village
Catch the song, and feel his pains,
Mingling sighs with
Beneath the vine. . . da capo
40. Chorus of PriestsSwell, swell the full chorus to Solomon's
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
Swell, swell. . . da capo
41. Symphony: arrival of Queen of ShebaSolomon, Queen of Sheba,
Zadok, and Chorus of Israelites.
42. RecitativeQueen of Sheba
From Arabia's spicy
Bounded by the boary main,
Sheba's queen these seats
To be taught thy heav'nly strain.
Thrice welcome queen, with open arms
Our court receives
thee, and thy charms.
The temple of the Lord first meets your eyes,
with the well-accepted sacrifice.
Here all our treasures free
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 art her
utmost skill displays,
And ev'ry object claims your praise.
43. AirQueen of Sheba
Ev'ry sight these eyes behold
different charm unfold;
Flashing gems and sculptur'd gold,
my ravish'd sight.
But to hear fair truth distilling,
choice and thrilling,
From that tongue so soft and killing,
That my soul
does most delight.
Sweep, sweep the string, to soothe the
And rouse each passion with th'alternate air.
45. Solo and ChorusSolomon & Israelites
Music, spread thy
Sweetly flow the lulling sound.
46. Solo and ChorusSolomon & Israelites
Now a diff'rent
Shake the dome, and pierce the sky.
Rouse us next to martial
Clanking arms, and neighing steeds,
Seem in fury to oppose —
the hard-fought battle glows.
Then at once from rage remove;
the tear from hopeless love;
Lengthen out the solemn air,
Full of death
and wild despair.
48. Chorus of IsraelitesDraw the tear from hopeless love,
out the solemn air,
Full of death and wild despair.
Next the tortur'd soul release,
the mind restore to peace.
50. Solo and ChorusSolomon & Israelites
And plough the troubled main;
But soon the tempest
And all is calm again.
51. RecitativeQueen of Sheba
Thy harmony's divine, great
All, all obey the artist's string.
And now, illustrious prince,
Such tribute as my realm can give.
Here, purest gold, from earth's
dark entrails torn;
And gems resplendent, that outshine the morn;
balsam breathes a grateful smell,
With thee the fragrant strangers wish to
Yet of ev'ry object I behold,
Amid the glare of gems and
The temple most attracts my eye,
Where, with unwearied zeal, you
serve the Lord on high.
Pious king, and virtuous queen,
name resound in story;
In time's latest annals seen,
Crown'd with honour,
crown'd with glory.
Thrice happy king, to have
What scarce will henceforth be believ'd;
When seven times around
The sun had led the new-born year,
The temple rose, to mark thy
With endless themes for future praise.
Our pious David wish'd in
By this great act to bless his reign;
But Heav'n the monarch's hopes
For ah! his hands were stain'd with blood.
Golden columns, fair and bright,
mortals' ravish'd sight;
Round their sides ambitious twine
Tendrils of the
Cherubims stand there display'd,
O'er the ark their wings
Ev'ry object swells with state,
All is pious, all is great.
55. Double ChorusChorus 1
Praise the Lord with harp and
Praise Him all ye old and young,
He's in mercy ever strong.
Praise the Lord through ev'ry state,
Praise Him early,
praise Him late,
God alone is good and great.
Let the loud Hosannahs rise,
through the skies,
God alone is just and wise.
Gold now is common on our happy
And cedars frequent are as sycamore.
All, all conspires to bless my
Fair plenty does her treasures raise,
And o'er the fruitful plains
her countless gifts displays.
How green our fertile pastures look!
fair our olive groves!
How limpid is the gliding brook,
That through the
A hundred diff'rent balmy flow'rs
Salute the passing
When ev'ning breezes fan the bow'rs,
And sweep th'enamell'd vale.
58. RecitativeQueen of Sheba
May peace in Salem ever
Illustrious Solomon, farewell!
Thy wise instructions be my future
Soft as the show'rs that cheer the vernal air,
Whose warmth bids
ev'ry plant her sweets disclose;
The lily wakes, and paints the op'ning rose.
59. AirQueen of Sheba
Will the sun forget to
Eastern skies with amber ray,
When the dusky shades to break
unbars the gates of day?
Then demand if Sheba's queen
E'er can banish from
All the splendour she has seen,
All the knowledge thou hast
Adieu, fair queen, and in thy
May peace and virtue ever rest!
61. DuetQueen of Sheba
Ev'ry joy that wisdom knows,
thou, pious monarch, share!
Ev'ry blessing Heav'n bestows,
Be thy portion, virtuous
Queen of Sheba
Gently flow thy rolling days.
Sorrow be a stranger here.
May thy people sound thy praise,
Praise unbought by price
62. Chorus of IsraelitesThe name of the wicked shall quickly be
But the fame of the just shall eternally last.