Vivaldi, “Juditha Triumphans”

 

 

Vivaldi, “Juditha Triumphans”

 

 

This is the only one of four oratorios known to have been composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) that has survived.

 

 

Pars prima
Arma, cædes, vindictæ, furores
Latin text

CHORUS (militum pugnantium in acie cum timpano bellico)
Arma, cædes, vindictæ, furores,
angustiæ, timores
precedite nos.
Rotate,
pugnate
O bellicæ sortes,
mille plagas,
mille mortes
adducite vos.
English translation
CHOIR (of soldiers fighting on the battlefield, with battle drums)
Weapons, carnage, vengeance, fury,
famine and fear:
precede us!
Encircle,
give battle,
oh fates of War:
a thousand wounds,
a thousand deaths,
inflict.

Felix en fausta dies

HOLOFERNES
Felix et fausta dies
o magnanimi eroes et fortunati:
prospera vobis sors, sydera, cælum:
et post sæcula tandem
venit optata lux, lux suspirata,
qua magni in vestro Duce,
qua Dux Magnus in vobis:
cunctis æqua
erit tandem Victoria,
et vestro invicto Regi
honor, et gloria.
Nil arma, nil bella,
nil fiamma furoris
si cor bellatoris
est cadens in se.
Si pugnat sperando,
iam virtus pugnando
vigescit in spe.

VAGAUS
Mi Dux, Domine mi…

HOLOFERNES
Et quid ne petis?

VAGAUS
Felicitatis tuæ Nuncius accedo.

HOLOFERNES
Quidne fausti tu refers?

VAGAUS
Nil nisi Gloriæ tuæ grande incrementum,
et vere oculis tuis dulce portentum.

HOLOFERNES
Dic.

HOLOFERNES
[It is a] splendid and joyous day,
you noble and fortunate heroes!
The fate, the stars, the heaven are on your side:
After so many centuries
has the long-awaited light come, which was long-desired,
by which you will be great through your leader
and your leader great through you.
Equally yet today
shall you share the victory
and with your undefeated king,
honour and glory
Nothing are the weapons, the battles,
nothing the flame of raging war
if the warrior’s heart
has sunk.
He who fights with hope
shall find in hope
yet the strength to fight.

VAGAUS
My commander, my Lord…

HOLOFERNES
What do you want?

VAGAUS
I come as the bearer of your good fortune.

HOLOFERNES
What good news do you bring?

VAGAUS
Nothing but a great addition to your glory,
and, truly, a sweet portent to your eyes.

HOLOFERNES
Speak.
Matrona inimica/Huc accedat Matrona

VAGAUS
Matrona inimica
te quærit ad arma
dux magne Holofernes.
Et cito deh, credas,
tibi erit amica
si lumina cernes.

HOLOFERNES
Huc accedat Matrona,
et sit armorum Marti ebrea Bellona.
In Bethulia vilescunt
hostes miseri geni: undique luctus
sævus undique clamor.
Hic anhelat,
hic gemit, ille plorat,
dolent omnes;
nil nisi timor, nil nisi mærentium
ignavia, desperatio, afflictio, inopia,
et lacrimarum copia.

VAGAUS
A noble lady of the enemy
is asking of you to the guards,
mighty lord Holofernes.
And soon, believe me,
she will be yours
if you just set your gaze upon her.

HOLOFERNES
Let the noble lady through,
and may she be the Hebrew Bellona to the armies of Mars.
In Bethulia have become weak
the armies of th[is] miserable people; everywhere is mourning
and everywhere wild raging.
There one gasps for breath,
there another groans, another weeps,
all suffer.
Nothing but fear, nothing but sorrow,
despondency, despair, pain, poverty,
and many tears are shed.
Veni fœmina illustris

VAGAUS
Veni fœmina illustris,
pulchra bellatrix huc,
lumine, et pede
videntes feri,
et generosa accede.

JUDITHA
Quocum patriæ me ducit amore
libertatis dulcissima spes,
summo ductus a cæli fulgore
tuto pergat per classica pes.

ABRA
Ne timeas non, lætare
casta Vidua dilecta
certa virtutis tuæ munera expecta.

Vultus tui vago splendori
cedit ira ridet amor.
Ac tui numinis honori
lætus plaudit omnium clamor;
vide, humilis prostrata
in vultus tui nitore,
quam estatica sit gens tanta armata.

JUDITHA
Nil moræ. Ad Holofernem
me ducite benigni
duces bellici honoris,
pacis en nuntia venio, et non furoris.

VAGAUS
Come, illustrious lady,
beautiful warrior, come near;
with your eyes and bearing
you bring close to you all who observe,
approach, noble one.

JUDITH
Wherever the love of my fatherland
and sweetest hope of freedom lead me,
as I’m guided by the highest rays of heaven,
may I walk safely among these throngs

MAID
Do not fear, be glad,
virtuous and esteemed widow,
be certain that you shall receive
[rewards worthy of your virtue.
Through the dazzling countenance of your face
anger fades away, and smiles love.
And in honour of your spirit
all cry with shouts of joy.
Hark, humbly prostrated
before the glory of your face
lie these well-armed people.

JUDITH
No more! To Holofernes,
please, guide me now,
valiant leaders of battles.
I come as a harbinger of peace, not of the rage of war.
O quam vaga, venusta, o quam decora

VAGAUS et CHORUS
O quam vaga, venusta, o quam decora,
ospes nostræ victoriæ unica, et vera.

Tentoria vultu tuo ducis honora
et cuncta ab Holoferne attende, et spera.

VAGAUS and CHOIR
How lovely, fair, how pretty you are,
our only and true hope of victory!

Honour the tent of the leader with your gaze,
and place your hope in Holofernes.
Quem vides prope

VAGAUS
Quem vides prope, aspectu
terribili, et suavi,
quem quæris, ipse hic est: amore, et fide,
in ipso pulchra Sion spera, et confide.

Quamvis ferro, et ense gravis
dulcis tamen et suavis
pro te Dux erit, o bella.

Tibi tua tu sors et fatum,
nec per te fremit iratum,
tua pupilla fit tua stella.

HOLOFERNES
Quid cerno! Oculi mei
stupidi quid videtis!
solis, an cæli splendor!
ah summæ prolis
vincunt lumina sua lumina solis.

Sistite, viatrici!
preparate trophea, spargite flores,
et obvient Divæ suæ teneri Amores.

VAGAUS
He whom you see close-by, whose countenance
is terrifying yet charming,
is the one whom you seek; with love and faith,
in him, fair Zion, place your trust, and have confidence.

Though is sword is made of heavy iron,
a sweet and gentle
leader he shall be for you, comely one.

Yours are your fate and destiny,
and he shan’t tremble with rage fore you;
may your eye be your guiding star.

HOLOFERNES
What do I see? My baffled eyes,
what did you see?
The sun, the splendor of heaven!
Ah, best of beings,
your eyes shame the sun’s light!

Stay put, merchant-ladies!
Prepare tributes, spread flowers
and may tender cupids come meet their goddess.
Summe Rex, strenue miles

JUDITHA
Summe Rex, strenue miles,
nabuc Regis cor, cuius in manu
stat suprema potestas, nutui cuius
fortuna, et sors obedit,
et cuncta iura sua gloria concedit.

HOLOFERNES
O quam pulchrior in pulchro
virtus est ore sonans! Quidnam petis,
suavissima supplex?

JUDITH
Greatest king, valiant soldier,
heart of king Nebuch, in whose hands
rests supreme power, whose will fate
and fortune obey
and whose glory ensures all justice.

HOLOFERNES
Oh, how much prietter sounds virtue
when spoken by a pretty mouth! What do you seek,
most charming of supplicants?
Non mihi, patriæ meæ

JUDITHA
Non mihi, patriæ meæ
spem salutis exoro,
et sic Bethuliæ a te pacem imploro.
Quanto magis generosa,
plus victori gloriosa
venia victo magis cara.
O quam pulchra tua potentia
illustrata tua clementia!
parce Dux, ac tolle amara.

JUDITH
Not for me, [but] for my homeland
I beg for the hope of salvation,
and thus I implore you to give peace to Bethulia.
How much more magnanimous,
how much more glorious to the conquerer
how much dearer [is] mercy to the conquered.
How greater [would] your power be
[if] shown by your mercy!
Spare [us], Lord, and ease our bitter condition.
Magna, o fœmina petis

HOLOFERNES
Magna, o fœmina petis,
quæ maxima, si dentur!
majora sed a me tibi debentur.
O timpana silete,
recedite o Phalanges,
cedite amori meo, cedite invictæ
faces, tela, sagittæ,
et vos bellica in campo impia tormenta
estote in gaudio meo nova contenta.
Hic sede amica mea.

JUDITHA
Non tantus honor
tuæ famulæ donetur.

HOLOFERNES
Tu me honoras.

JUDITHA
Te colo.

HOLOFERNES
Sedeas hic.

JUDITHA
Non debeo, non.

HOLOFERNES
You ask great things, woman,
yet even bigger you’d be given, if you asked them!
But I owe you even more.
Be silent, drums,
move back, phalanxes,
yield to my love, yield to the undefeated
countenance, spears, arrows,
and you, wicked engines of war on the battlefield,
find new fulfillment in my joy.
Sit here, my love.

JUDITH
Such great honour
shouldn’t be given to your servant.

HOLOFERNES
You bring me honour.

JUDITH
I am your servant .

HOLOFERNES
Be seated here.

JUDITH
I shouldn’t, no.
Sede, o cara

HOLOFERNES
Sic jubeo, et volo.

Sede, o cara,
dilecta speciosa
mea vivida rosa,
mea fulgida fax.
Tu Marti triumphanti,
tu bellico amanti
pulcherrima Pax.

JUDITHA
Tu Judex es, tu Dominus, tu potens
in exercitu tanto, et tuæ dextræ victrici
semper aspectu sint astra felici.

HOLOFERNES
Felix per te,
magisque felix ero,
si dum sepulta manet
lux Apollinis unda,
me te dignum
in convivio tu reddas,
ut melius pacis nostræ amatæ, et caræ,
solemnia tecum possim celebrare.

JUDITHA
Inter convivia, et dapes
torpescent labia mea
in jeiunio assueta:
tristis, nec unquam læta
in eduliis astricta
nescia est delitiæ tantæ anima afflicta.

HOLOFERNES
That’s what I command, and wish.

Sit, my dear,
my beloved beautiful
lively rose,
my shimmering flame.
To Mars in his triumph,
to the warring lover
most beautiful peace.

JUDITH
You are judge, commander, and powerful
of such a mighty army, and your victorious right arm
always bless the stars.

HOLOFERNES
I am happy because of you,
and shall be even happier,
if, while buried under the sea
remains Apollo’s light,
you shall do me the honour
of joining me for supper,
so that better our loved and cherished peace
may I solemnly with you celebrate.

JUDITH
During feasts and banquets
my lips become numb
as I am used to fasting:
saddened, never pleased
by food,
my afflicted sould knows not such pleasures.
Agitata infido flatu

JUDITHA
Agitata infido flatu
diu volatu
vagabundo
mæsta hirundo
it plorando
boni ignara.

Sed impulsu auræ serenæ
tantæ cito oblita pœnæ
in dilecta
dulcia tecta
gaudii ridet haud avara.

JUDITH
Tossed around by the treacherous wind
in its long flight,
the wandering
sad swallow
goes weeping,
remembering no good.

But propelled by the force of a fair breeze,
suddenly forgetting such sorrow,
in its delightfully
tender nest
it laughs joyfully, desiring no more.
In tentorio supernæ

HOLOFERNES
In tentorio supernæ
sint in ordine cœnæ.
Quid, quid natat in Ponto,
quid, quid in cælo,
et terra nutrit
ne sit legere grave.
Hinc nostræ Reginæ,
cui Vagæ, tu deservies,
sit cretensis Lyei donum suave.

HOLOFERNES
In my tent let it be
served a superb supper.
Whatever flies in the Pontus,
whatever [is] in the sky,
and [whatever] earth nourishes
shall not be hard to obtain.
Here, to our queen,
whom you, Vagaus, will serve,
be given the sweet gift of the Cretan Lyaeus (Dionysius).
O servi volate

VAGAUS
O servi volate,
et Domino meo
vos mensas parate
si proxima nox.
Invicto Holoferni
cantemus alterni,
honoris, amoris
sit consona nox.

CHORUS
Honoris, amoris,
sit consona vox.

VAGAUS
Tu quoque hebraica ancilla
in nostro gaudio tanto
eris in corde tuo læta, et tranquilla.

ABRA
Quam audacter discurrit
non minus servus suo Domino nequam.
Properemus Juditha: ubique semper
tecum sperans in cælis
ero Dominæ meæ socia fidelis.

VAGAUS
Servants, fly
and for my Lord
prepare supper,
as night fast approaches.
To the undefeated Holofernes
let us sing in alternate verses;
to honours and love-making
may the night be propitious.

CHORUS
To honours and love-making
may our voices be propitious.

VAGAUS
And you as well, Hebrew handmaid,
shall find, amidst our great joy,
gladness of heart, and peace.

MAID
With what audacity speaks
the servant, never to be outdone by his Lord.
Let’s hurry, Judith: everywhere and always,
as you, confident in the heavens
shall I be, a faithful companion to my mistress.
Veni/Venio

JUDITHA
Veni, veni, me sequere fida
Abra amata,
sponso orbata.
Turtur gemo ac spiro in te.
Diræ sortis tu socia confida
debellata
sorte ingrata,
sociam lætæ habebis me.

ABRA
Venio Juditha, venio: animo fave,
amori crede tuo nil erit grave.

Fulgeat sol frontis decoræ,
et afflictæ abeat Auroræ
rosa vaga tua pupilla.
Ama, langue, finge ardere
nostræ sorti si favore
potest una tua favilla.
In Urbe interim pia
incertas audi voces, aura levis
fert murmur voti
et gloriæ, credo, tuæ.
Gemunt et orant una
virgines Juda, incertæ sortis suæ.

JUDITH
Come, come, follow me, my faithful
beloved maid,
deprived of your husband.
Like a turtle-dove I hoot and sigh with you.
In this dire fate you are my trusted companion,
and when we’ll have fulfilled
our ungrateful destiny,
you shall have me also as a joyful companion.

MAID
I come, Judith, I come: have courage,
there shall be no ill consequence to your love.

May the sun shine to deck your face,
and may the sad dew of dawn
disappear from your beautiful eyes.
Love, languish, feign to be burning for him,
if our destiny can be favoured
by a single spark from you.
Meanwhile in our holy city
I hear confused voices, a light breeze
brings murmurs of your vow
and, I believe, of your glory.
As one cry and pray
the maidens of Judah, uncertain of their destiny.
Mundi Rector de cælo micanti

CHORUS (virginum psalentium in Bethulia)
Mundi Rector de cælo micanti
audi preces, et suscipe vota
quæ de corde pro te dimicanti
sunt pietatis in sinu devota.
In Juditha tuæ legi dicata
flammas dulcis tui amoris accende
feritatis sic hostis domata
in Bethuliæ spem pacis intende.
Redi, redi iam Victrix pugnando
in cilicio in prece revive
de Holoferne sic hodie triumphando
pia Juditha per sæcula vive.

CHORUS (of maidens singing psalms in Bethulia)
Ruler of the world and of the sparkling heaven,
hear the prayers and accept the offerings
that to you are offered with devotion
by faithful hearts devoted to you.
In Judith, who is consacrated to your law,
light the fire of your sweet love,
so that, once the savage enemy is tamed,
the hope of peace return to Bethulia.
May she return victorious from battle,
find strength in penitence and prayer
and, defeating Holofernes in triumph today,
may devout Judith forever live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts a websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin.
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