Manon Libretto
English Translation

Cast:
MANON LESCAUT (soprano)
LE CHEVALIER DES GRIEUX (tenor)
LESCAUT (baritone)
LE COMTE DES GRIEUX (bass)
GUILLOT DE MORFONTAINE (tenor)
DE BRÉTIGNY (baritone)
POUSSETTE (soprano)
JAVOTTE (soprano)
ROSETTE (mezzo-soprano)
INNKEEPER (bass)
TWO GUARDS (tenor)

CHORUS
elegant society, citizens of Amiens and Paris, travellers, porters, postilions, merchants, churchgoers, gamblers, cardsharpers, croupiers


Prelude

ACT ONE
The inn in Amiens

The courtyard of an inn in Amiens.
Poussette, Javotte, Rosette, Guillot and Brétigny enter.


GUILLOT
Where are you, innkeeper?
How long must we shout
before you deign to listen?

BRÉTIGNY
We're thirsty!

GUILLOT
We're famished! Are you there?

BRÉTIGNY
You think it's a joke to keep us waiting?

GUILLOT, BRÉTIGNY
Confound it! Will you never come?

GUILLOT
On the word of Guillot Morfontaine,
this is fine treatment
for men of our social position!

BRÉTIGNY
He certainly must be dead.

GUILLOT, then BRÉTIGNY
He's dead! He's dead!

POUSSETTE
Come gentlemen, don't get worked up!

GUILLOT, then BRÉTIGNY
What must we do? What must we do?

GUILLOT
He doesn't hear!

POUSSETTE, then JAVOTTE, then ROSETTE
together
We'll call him again!
We'll pester him!
We'll call him again!

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE, GUILLOT and BRÉTIGNY
Come now, innkeeper!
Show your hospitality! etc.

POUSSETTE
followed by the others
Save us from dying of hunger! etc.

JAVOTTE
Have pity on us.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE and ROSETTE
Save us from dying of hunger!
Come now, Monsieur...

BRÉTIGNY
If you don't we'll kill you!
Monsieur...

GUILLOT
So hospitable!
Come now, Monsieur...

ALL FIVE TOGETHER
Innkeeper!

BRÉTIGNY
Well then, what now? No answer?

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE, then GUILLOT
No answer?

BRÉTIGNY
He's deaf to our scolding!

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE and ROSETTE
Let's start all over again!
GUILLOT
Don't make too much noise,
that makes me twice as hungry.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE and BRÉTIGNY
Come now, innkeeper!

ALL FIVE
Show your hospitality!

GUILLOT
Ah! There's the guilty fellow!

BRÉTIGNY
Answer, you scoundrel!

INNKEEPER
Me! ever fail you?
I'll say only one word:
dinner is served!
At this moment waiters carrying plates come out of the inn.
Choice hors-d'œuvre!

THE OTHERS
Good!

INNKEEPER
And various spices!
Fish! Chicken!

THE OTHERS
Perfect!
JAVOTTE
Fish!

GUILLOT
Chicken!

BRÉTIGNY
Perfect!

POUSSETTE
Good Heavens!

THE OTHERS
There they come, all in step,
to wait on us.

BRÉTIGNY
A platter of crayfish!

THE OTHERS, without BRÉTIGNY
Crayfish!

INNKEEPER
And to wash down the meal
some mellow wines...

GUILLOT
to the waiters
Don't shame them up!

INNKEEPER
And to complete the courses:
a duck pâté!

ALL FIVE
A pâté!

INNKEEPER
Not that, gentlemen,
a work of art!

GUILLOT
Truly!

BRÉTIGNY
Perfect!

POUSSETTE
Good Heavens!

THE OTHER FOUR
There they come all in step...

INNKEEPER
Look! To wait on you!

ALL FIVE
To wait on us!
Oh, what good fortune
when one is hungry,
finally to sit down to a meal!
They're coming to wait on us!
Let us sit down to eat! etc.

Poussette and the others go into the summer-house, closing the door behind them.
The innkeeper is alone on stage.


INNKEEPER
Eating is fine, but one also has to settle the
accounts, later! And I'm going to... But I was
about to forget the Chevalier Des Grieux?
It's getting late. And I promised to reserve
him a seat in the first coach.
He turns to leave and sees the townspeople beginning to assemble in the courtyard of the inn.
But there they are already, this fine lot of
townspeople. They are coming to see if there
is a pretty girl to ogle, or if they can make fun
of a passenger.
I've noticed that man is an inquisitive animal!

The inn-clock strikes and the innkeeper goes back into his office.

TOWNSPEOPLE
gradually coming into the inn
Do you hear the bell ringing?
It's time for the coach to arrive.
We have to see everything, everything.
The men and women passengers,
we've got to watch everything!
For us that is a duty!

LESCAUT
who enters, followed by two Guardsmen
Is this the inn,
where the Arras coach
will be stopping soon?

GUARDSMEN
This is the place!

LESCAUT
dismissing them
Good night!

GUARDSMEN
You must be joking,
Lescaut, about leaving us!

LESCAUT
Never! Never! Never!
Go to the tavern nearby,
where they sell a fine light wine.
I am going to wait for my cousin,
and I'll join you again later.

GUARDSMEN
Don't you forget!

LESCAUT
You insult me, that's very unwise!

GUARDSMEN
Lescaut!

LESCAUT
That's enough!
You think I might forget
when it's my turn to pay for the drinks!
Go on! At the tavern nearby,
they sell a fine light wine.
I'm going to wait for my cousin!
Go clink your glasses
while you wait for me!

The bell sounds as the two guardsmen leave. The bell sounds again.

TOWNSPEOPLE
Here they come!

The street fills up with postilions and porters carrying all sorts of baggage while passengers mill about, looking for their luggage. The coach arrives and the passengers get out.

AN OLD WOMAN
My hair is in a mess!
My clothes are in a fine state!

TOWNSPEOPLE
Just look at that coquette!

ANOTHER PASSENGER
Here, I need a porter!

PORTER
Just a moment!

TOWNSPEOPLE
What a strange-looking character!

A WOMAN PASSENGER
Where are my birds and my cage?

A MAN PASSENGER
Hey there, postilion!

A WOMAN PASSENGER
Postilion!

ANOTHER MAN
Hey there, postilion!

ANOTHER WOMAN
Postilion!

ANOTHER MAN
My trunk!

ANOTHER MAN
My basket!

THE PASSENGERS TOGETHER
Postilion! Postilion! Postilion!
Give us our baggage!
Come on now! Come on now!
One ought to make out one's will before
doing anything else!

POSTILIONS and PORTERS
Let's have less racket!
No, no, no, no, no!

THE PASSENGERS TOGETHER
Ye Gods! What a mess and what agony it is
when one has to board a coach.
Ah! I swear,
one would do well to make a will beforehand! etc.

POSTILIONS and PORTERS
That's really putting yourself through the tortures of hell!
Each one of them groans and complains
just from getting into a coach.
And it all begins all over again,
all over again, when they get out. etc.
That's really putting yourself through the tortures of hell!
Everybody groans!
Keep your mouth shut! Keep your mouth shut! etc.

TOWNSPEOPLE
That's really to torture yourself,
everybody groaning!
Just by getting into a coach or out of one.
Goodness, what agony!
What a mess and what agony.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! etc.

THE WOMEN PASSENGERS
running after the postilions and porters
I'm the first in line!

THE MEN PASSENGERS
also running after them
I'm first!

POSTILIONS and PORTERS
The last one! No!

TOWNSPEOPLE
imitating them and laughing
The last one. No!
Manon comes out of the crowd and surveys the scene with astonishment.
Look at that young girl!

LESCAUT
seeing Manon
I think that this pretty child
is Manon!... my cousin!
I am Lescaut.

MANON
You, my cousin?
Give me a kiss!

LESCAUT
Very gladly, on my word!
Indeed! She's a lovely girl
who does credit to our family!

MANON
Oh, cousin, please excuse me!

LESCAUT
aside
She's charming!

MANON
I'm still completely dizzy,
I feel numb all over!
Cousin, forgive me!
Excuse an emotional moment!
I'm still totally dizzy!
Please forgive my chattering,
this is the first trip I've ever taken!
The coach had scarcely started to move
when I opened my eyes wide watching
the little villages, the forest, the plain,
the passengers, both young and old.
Cousin, forgive me,
it's the first time I've travelled!
Attentively I saw the trees rush by,
trembling in the wind.
And overwhelmed with delight
I was forgetting that I was leaving for the convent!
Faced with so many new things,
don't laugh when I tell you
that I thought I had wings
and was flying to paradise!
Yes, cousin!
Then, I felt a moment of sadness,
I cried, I don't know what about.
Then the very next minute, I confess
I was laughing, ha, ha, ha, etc.
I was laughing, but without knowing why!
Cousin, excuse me,
cousin, forgive me!
I'm still completely dizzy, etc.

With much bustle the passengers, preceded by the postilions, come back into the courtyard of the inn as the bell sounds.

POSTILIONS
to the passengers
You're to leave! The bell is ringing!

PASSENGERS
What? Leaving already?

POSTILIONS
Come on now! Be off!
The other coach is here!

PASSENGERS
Leaving? How is that possible?
What a wretched experience!
Much jostling and shouting.

VARIOUS PASSENGERS
My box! My birds! No!
My package! My basket! No!
My hat! etc.

POSTILIONS
Be off! Come on! The bell is ringing! Be off!

PASSENGERS
They're robbing us!
Look here! Come on now! Come on now!
Lord, what a mess and what agony,
when one has to board a coach!
Ah!, I swear,
one would do well to make one's will ahead of time!
Ah, one should, before anything else, make out one's will.
What a mess! What agony! etc.

POSTILIONS
The other coach is here.
The bell is ringing! Go on and go!
That really is to force suffering on yourself!
Each of them groans and mumbles!
They get into a coach,
and it starts all over again when they get out of it!
That's really putting yourself through the tortures of hell!
Each of them groans!
Be quiet! What agony! etc.

TOWNSPEOPLE
Ha! ha! ha! etc.
This is like putting yourself through hell!
Everyone is groaning,
just over getting into or out of a coach!
Lord, what agony!
What a mess and what agony!
Ha! ha! ha! etc.

The crowd goes off, leaving Lescaut and Manon together.

LESCAUT
speaking to Manon before going off to fetch her baggage
Wait for me, be very careful, I'm going to look
for your things!

TOWNSPEOPLE
gradually moving out of the inn courtyard
We have to watch everything!
It's like a duty for us!

The last of the townspeople disappear, and Manon is alone. Guillot comes out on the balcony.

GUILLOT
Unlucky innkeeper! It's understood then that
we'll never have any wine.
catching sight of Manon
Good Heavens! What did I see?
Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle!
aside
What's going on in my head
I've never felt before!

MANON
aside
This man is very funny, I must say!

GUILLOT
Mademoiselle, listen to me! I'm called
Guillot, Guillot de Morfontaine, and my
cashbox is stuffed with gold louis, and I'd
give away a great number of them to win just
one word of love form you. I'm through now,
what do you have to say about it?

MANON
speaking
That I'd be very much offended if I didn't
prefer to laugh.

Manon breaks out in laughter, and her laughter is repeated by Brétigny, Javotte, Poussette, and Rosette, who have just come out on the balcony.

BRÉTIGNY
Well then, Guillot, what are you doing? We
are waiting for you.

GUILLOT
To the devil with you fools!

POUSSETTE
Aren't you ashamed? At your age!

JAVOTTE
At your age!!

ROSETTE
At your age!!

BRÉTIGNY
This time, by pure chance, that rascal has
discovered a treasure. Never did a sweeter
expression grace a prettier face.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE and ROSETTE
Come back, Guillot, come back!
God only knows where a misstep will lead you.
Dear friend Guillot, don't do it!
Come back! You'll fail miserably!
So come back, Guillot!
Ha, ha, ha, etc.

BRÉTIGNY
Come on, Guillot, leave Mademoiselle alone,
and come back here, they're calling you.

GUILLOT
Yes, I'll come back in a moment. But, my
dear, one word with you!

BRÉTIGNY
Guillot, leave the girl alone!

GUILLOT
in a low voice to Manon
In a little while a postilion will come on my
behalf. When you see him, that will mean
that a coach is waiting: that you can take it,
and that afterwards... you should
understand...

At this moment Lescaut comes back.

LESCAUT
I beg your pardon, Monsieur?

GUILLOT
Monsieur?

LESCAUT
Well then! You were saying?

GUILLOT
I was not saying anything!
Guillot goes off to the summer-house.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE and BRÉTIGNY
Come back, Guillot, come back!
God knows where a misstep might lead you!
Dear friend Guillot, don't do it.
Come back!
You've been a miserable failure!

They go back inside, laughing.

LESCAUT
Was he speaking to you, Manon?

MANON
It wasn't my fault.

LESCAUT
Of course! And I have too high an opinion of you to get angry.

A GUARDSMAN
Well then, aren't you coming?

ANOTHER GUARDSMEN
Cards and dice are waiting for us over there!

LESCAUT
I'm coming; but allow me first
to address some very wise advice
to this young person!

TWO GUARDSMEN
Let's listen to his wisdom!

LESCAUT
to Manon
look me straight in the eyes!
I am going to the barracks close by,
to argue with these gentlemen,
about a certain point that concerns them.
Wait for me then... a very short time...
a single moment...
Don't' budge, be nice,
and don't forget, dear heart,
that I am the guardian
of the family honour, the family honour!
If by any chance, some rash person
should make a frivolous proposal to you,
for fear of a mishap,
don't utter a word.
Ask that person to wait a moment,
a very brief moment!...
Don't budge, be nice, etc.
Lescaut turns to the guardsmen, giving them a sign to leave.
And now, let us see which one of us
the goddess of gambling will chose to flirt with!
to Manon
Don't budge, be nice!

Lescaut goes off, leaving Manon alone.

MANON
I'll stay right here, since I must!
Let me wait... without a thought!
I must avoid these distractions.
Those schemes which so upset my thinking.
I'll daydream no more!
Long silence during which Manon seems lost in reflection. From the look on her face, it is obvious that some inner conflict is taking place. Suddenly, in a simple manner, she turns her eyes towards the summer-house,
where Poussette, Javotte and Rosette are still eating.

How very pretty those ladies are!
The youngest one was wearing a necklace of gold beads!
Ah! how those elegant dresses
and those enticing jewels
made them even prettier yet!
Come now, Manon, do not indulge your mind!
No more wild fancies...
Give up these passing desires
at the door of your convent!
Come now, Manon! Come now!
No more longings, no more wild fancies!
And yet!...
When I let myself be carried away with feelings of delight,
everything in those ladies seems attractive!
Ah! How very marvellous it must be
to enjoy oneself for a whole lifetime!
Come now, Manon,no more wild fancies, etc.
She sees Des Grieux.
Someone's here! Quick, back to my stone bench!

She goes back to the spot where Lescaut had left her.

DES GRIEUX
without seeing Manon
I noted the time of departure,
I was hesitating... what a strange thing!
After all, tomorrow evening at the latest
I'll embrace my father!
My father!
Yes, I see him smiling,
and my heart is not playing me false!
I see him, he calls to me and I hold out my arms to him!
Unknowingly, Des Grieux has turned towards Manon. He stares at her astonished and, then, as though seeing a vision, in ecstacy.
Good Heavens! Is this a dream?
Is this madness?
Where does this feeling come from?
One might say that my life is ending... or just beginning!
It seems as if an iron hand
were leading me onto anther path,
and it spite of myself it draws me straight to her!
Involuntarily, Des Grieux has approached Manon, step by step.
Mademoiselle!

MANON
Yes, what?

DES GRIEUX
Forgive me! I do not know... I am obeying, I'm
no longer my own master. I am seeing you,
surely, for the very first time, yet my heart
feels as if you were a long-lost acquaintance!
And I know your name...

MANON
My name is Manon.

DES GRIEUX
Manon!

MANON
aside
How gentle his expression is!
And what a delight it is to listen to him!

DES GRIEUX
These words of a madman, please excuse them!

MANON
Why condemn them?
They enchant my heart and delight my ears!
I should like to know
similar words so as to repeat them to you!

DES GRIEUX
Enchantress!
With an overpowering spell!
Manon!
You are the mistress of my heart!

MANON
Charming words!

DES GRIEUX
Oh Manon!

MANON
The intoxicating fever,
the intoxicating fever of happiness!

DES GRIEUX
You are mistress,
you are mistress of my heart!

DES GRIEUX
after a long silence
Ah, speak to me!

MANON
I am only a poor girl.
I am not bad,
but often my family accuses me
of liking pleasure too much.
Now I'm being put into a convent.
And there you have the story of Manon Lescaut!

DES GRIEUX
No, I will not believe in this cruelty!
That so many ravishing charms
should be vowed forever to a living tomb.

MANON
But that, alas, is the will of heaven,
and I am its servant!
For so great an unhappiness cannot be avoided.

DES GRIEUX
No! No!
Your freedom shall not be taken from you!

MANON
But how?

DES GRIEUX
You can put your trust in the
Chevalier Des Grieux!

MANON
I will owe you more than life itself!

DES GRIEUX
Ah, Manon, you shall not leave,
even should I have to go to the ends of the earth
seeking an unknown, dark sanctuary,
to which I would carry you in my arms.

MANON
My life and soul belong to you!
To you, my life is yours forever!

DES GRIEUX
Enchantress!
Manon!
You are the mistress of my heart!

At this moment the postilion, told earlier by Guillot to await Manon's orders, appears in the background.

MANON
Just by chance, perhaps we have a better way:
a coach,
a nobleman's post-chaise...
He was flirting with Manon...
Take revenge!

DES GRIEUX
But how?

MANON
The two of us, let's take it!

DES GRIEUX
to the postilion, who goes off
Fine, let's be off!

MANON
troubled
You mean, leave together?

DES GRIEUX
Yes, Manon!
Heaven is joining us together!
We shall live together in Paris!
And our loving hearts,
chained to each other,
joined forever,
will live only blessed days!

MANON
Both of us! In Paris! In Paris.
We'll have only blessed days.

MANON, DES GRIEUX
In Paris! In Paris, both of us!
We'll live in Paris! Together!

DES GRIEUX
And my name will become yours!
Ah, forgive me!

MANON
In my eyes... you should see very well
that I am not angry with you.
But yet, it's wrong!

DES GRIEUX
Come! We shall live in Paris!

MANON
The two of us together!

DES GRIEUX
Both of us, together!
And our loving hearts...

MANON
In Paris!

DES GRIEUX
... chained to each other!

MANON
In Paris!

DES GRIEUX
Joined forever!

MANON, DES GRIEUX
We'll have only blessed days!
In Paris! In Paris, both of us!
We shall live in Paris! Together!

They hear laughter coming from the summerhouse.

MANON
speaking
It's the ladies.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE
Come back, Guillot, come back!

DES GRIEUX
What's wrong?

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE and ROSETTE
You're going to fail miserably!
Come back then, Guillot, ha! ha! etc.

MANON
dreaming
Nothing! Such beautiful ladies!

LESCAUT
offstage, drunk
Tonight, you'll give me back everything at the
tavern close by!

DES GRIEUX
What's that?

MANON
It's my cousin's voice!

DES GRIEUX
Come! Let's leave!

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE and ROSETTE
from the summer-house
Come back, Guillot. Come back! Come back!

MANON
aside
How delightful it must be to enjoy oneself forever!

MANON
Ah! Let us go!

DES GRIEUX
Come now! Let us go!

They go off hurriedly.

LESCAUT
appearing, very drunk
Not a penny left! The trick is very funny!
Hey! Manon!
He looks for her.
What? Disappeared?
Where are you? Where are you?

GUILLOT
coming slowly down the stairs
I want to find her again...

LESCAUT
Ah, it's you! The fat man!

GUILLOT
What?

LESCAUT
You, you took Manon. Give her back!

GUILLOT
Be quiet!

LESCAUT
Give her back to me! etc.
The innkeeper and the townspeople meanwhile come in from all sides, slowly, and are laughing at the two men.
to Guillot

Come on! Give her back to me!

GUILLOT
Look how you're drawing a crowd!

LESCAUT
Bah, that's all the same to me!
to the townspeople
He took away our honour!
to Guillot
It's too pretty a treat for your vile old snout!

GUILLOT
What an adventure!

LESCAUT
He has taken away our honour!

INNKEEPER and TOWNSPEOPLE
Come now, explain yourselves!

GUILLOT
All right! But quietly and without doing anyone any harm.

LESCAUT
Answer categorically! I want Manon!

INNKEEPER
What? That girl?...
She has left, with a young man!
The coach can be heard in the distance.
Listen!

GUILLOT
Oh heavens!

TOWNSPEOPLE
She has left.

LESCAUT
But it's a matter of family honour!

INNKEEPER
pointing to Guillot
In Monsieur's coach.

TOWNSPEOPLE
In Monsieur's coach!

GUILLOT
as Lescaut rushes towards him
No! Stop!

LESCAUT
trying to seize Guillot
You wretch!

GUILLOT
Let go! Let go!

LESCAUT
struggling against the innkeeper
No! I must punish him!

INNKEEPER and TOWNSPEOPLE
Did anyone ever see such a disaster as this?

BRÉTIGNY
coming outside with the three ladies
What then! Poor Guillot! Your pretty girl has departed!

INNKEEPER and TOWNSPEOPLE
What a calamity
for such a great seducer!

GUILLOT
Be quiet, all of you!
I want to be avenged,
against this faithless girl and this madman!

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE, BRÉTIGNY and TOWNSPEOPLE
Ha, ha, ha, ha! What a ridiculous expression!
And you, little man, you will pay for this!



Prelude

ACT TWO
The apartment in the Rue Vivienne

The apartment of Des Grieux and Manon on the rue Vivienne in Paris.
Des Grieux is seated at a writing table. Manon comes up quietly from behind and tries to read what he is writing.


DES GRIEUX
Manon!

MANON
Are you afraid that my face might touch yours?

DES GRIEUX
Inquisitive Manon!

MANON
Yes, I was reading over your shoulder,
and I smiled, seeing my name!

DES GRIEUX
I am writing to my father; and I shudder at the thought
that this letter, into which I have put all my heart
may make him angry.

MANON
You are afraid?

DES GRIEUX
Yes, Manon, very afraid!

MANON
Well then! We must re-read it together...

DES GRIEUX
Yes, let's do that, together!

MANON
reading the letter
Her name is Manon, she was just sixteen years old yesterday;
everything about her seduces one, her beauty, her youth, her grace;
no voice has a sweeter sound,
no glance has more charm with more tenderness!

DES GRIEUX
No glance has more charm with more tenderness.

MANON
Is it really true?
I don't know a thing about it...
but I do know that you do love me very much!

DES GRIEUX
Love you very much?... Love you very much?...
Manon!... I adore you!

MANON
Come, Monsieur! Let's read some more!

DES GRIEUX
Like the bird that follows the springtime everywhere
all of her young spirit is constantly responsive to life;
her blossoming lips smile and speak
to the sweet-scented wind that caresses her as it passes!

MANON
To the sweet-scented wind that caresses her as it passes!

DES GRIEUX
To the wind that caresses her as it passes.

MANON
Isn't it enough for you that we love one another?

DES GRIEUX
enthusiastically
No, I want you to be my wife!

MANON
You want that?

DES GRIEUX
I want it, and with all my soul!

MANON
Kiss me then, Chevalier!... And go and deliver
your letter!

DES GRIEUX
Yes, I'll go to deliver it!
As he goes towards the door, he stops suddenly to consider some flowers on the chimney-piece.
Those flowers I see are quite pretty; where
did you get this bouquet, Manon?

MANON
I don't know...

DES GRIEUX
Why don't you know?

MANON
This is a fine thing to quarrel about!
Someone threw it up from the street, through the window...
Because it was pretty, I kept it...
You're not jealous, are you?

DES GRIEUX
No, I can swear that I'm not at all suspicious
about your heart...

MANON
And you are right! My heart belongs entirely
to you!

From outside they hear the sound of loud voices.

DES GRIEUX
Who on earth could be making such a racket?

THE SERVANT
who enters, frightened
Two guardsmen are there, storming up and
down, one of them says he's one of
Madame's relatives!

MANON
Lescaut!... It's Lescaut!...

THE SERVANT
in a low voice to Manon
The other one, it's... let's not talk too loudly...
The other one is someone who loves you...
That rich tax collector who lives near here.

MANON
softly
Monsieur de Brétigny?

THE SERVANT
softly
Yes, Monsieur de Brétigny.

DES GRIEUX
This is getting to be too much, and I'm going
to see for myself...

As he rushes forward, the door opens, and Brétigny, dressed as a guardsmen, and Lescaut enter.

LESCAUT
At long last, the lovers.
I've got you in my clutches, both of you!

BRÉTIGNY
Be lenient with them Lescaut,
remember how young they are!

LESCAUT
You went off very impolitely the other day,
you scoundrel!

DES GRIEUX
Come now, speak more politely!

LESCAUT
More politely!

DES GRIEUX
Yes, more politely!

LESCAUT
Now that's a surprise for you!
I come to get revenge for the ruined reputation of our family,
to right wrongs, to punish,
and someone says to me that I should
speak politely!

BRÉTIGNY
Control yourself!

LESCAUT
You scoundrel!

BRÉTIGNY
Restrain yourself!

DES GRIEUX
All right, I'm going to give you a good thrashing!

LESCAUT
to Brétigny
Huh?... What's he saying?...

BRÉTIGNY
That he's going to give you a good thrashing.

LESCAUT
Has anyone ever seen such insolence?
Is he threatening me?

BRÉTIGNY
It looks as though he is...

LESCAUT
Good Heavens!

BRÉTIGNY
holding him back
Lescaut!...

LESCAUT
Holy hell!

MANON
Ah, Chevalier, I'm frightened to death!
I know very well I'm guilty!
Protect me, Chevalier!
I'm frightened to death. Protect me!
Ah, it's all done now!
His angry expression overwhelms me!
I'm frightened to death!

DES GRIEUX
Manon, don't be afraid!
Count on me!
Of the two of us I alone am guilty!
Count on me! Dearly beloved!
Do not tremble. Count on me!
He'll soon be more manageable!
Manon, count on me! Count on me!

LESCAUT
to Des Grieux
You rascal!
to Brétigny
Hold me back! Hold me back!
Scoundrel. Hold me back,
I know what I'm capable of doing!
When a guilty person must be punished.
Hold me back! Hold me back!
Scoundrel! Rascal!
Hold me back! Hold me back!
Rascal! I want to punish!
Hold me back! Hold me back!

BRÉTIGNY
Control yourself, Lescaut!
Come on now, control yourself, Lescaut!
Remorse overwhelms them! Look!
Both of them are guilty.
Remorse overwhelms them.
Come now! Be indulgent!
Control yourself, Lescaut!
Lescaut, control, restrain yourself!
Lescaut! You're much too overzealous!
Explain yourself more calmly!

LESCAUT
All right, I shall.
to Des Grieux
Mademoiselle is my cousin and I came very politely...

DES GRIEUX
Very politely?

LESCAUT
Very politely; yes, I came very politely
to say: "Monsieur, without trying to pick a quarrel with you.
Answer: yes, answer: no,
do you want to marry Manon?"

LESCAUT, BRÉTIGNY
It's very clear,
among gay dogs.

LESCAUT
And good fellows.

BRÉTIGNY
This is the way we handle an affair!

LESCAUT
This is the way we handle an affair!

BRÉTIGNY
Among gay dogs and good fellows!

LESCAUT, BRÉTIGNY
It's very clear, among gay dogs.

LESCAUT
And good fellows.

BRÉTIGNY
Yes, it's like this!

LESCAUT, BRÉTIGNY
That's how it is!

BRÉTIGNY
to Des Grieux
All right, are you satisfied?

DES GRIEUX
laughing
On my word, I'm no longer angry,
and I like your frankness.

BRÉTIGNY, LESCAUT
laughing
This is the way we handle an affair!
Among gay dogs and good fellows!
The things is clear, etc.

DES GRIEUX
On my word, I'm no longer angry.

LESCAUT
That's the whole affair!

DES GRIEUX
I had just been writing to my father...
Before the letter is sealed,
I hope you'll read this.

LESCAUT
taking the letter
Very willingly!
But it's getting dark!
Lescaut watches Manon and Brétigny and intentionally guides Des Grieux away from them.
Let's both of us,
in order to see it better,
go over near the window,
and read your letter there.

Brétigny remains near Manon.

MANON
You come here in disguise?

BRÉTIGNY
Are you angry with me?

MANON
I most certainly am!
You know that he's the one I love!

BRÉTIGNY
I wanted to warn you myself that tonight,
from your own house, they are planning to abduct him.

MANON
Tonight?

BRÉTIGNY
On orders from his father.

MANON
On orders from his father?

BRÉTIGNY
Yes, tonight, right here,
they're coming to take him away.

MANON
taking a step
But I'll be able to prevent it!

BRÉTIGNY
If you warn him, it's misery for him, for you...
If you don't warn him...
And great wealth, instead,
awaits you.

MANON
Speak more softly!

LESCAUT
reading the letter
"Her name is Manon...

BRÉTIGNY
Don't warn him!

LESCAUT
... she was sixteen yesterday...

MANON
to Brétigny
Never!

BRÉTIGNY
Change your mind!

LESCAUT
... everything about her seduces..."

MANON
Speak more softly!

LESCAUT
How touching these words are!

BRÉTIGNY
It's great wealth for you!

MANON
Never!

DES GRIEUX
Ah! Lescaut, how I adore her!
Let me tell you so again!

LESCAUT
How touching these words are!

BRÉTIGNY
Manon, Manon!

MANON
Speak more softly!

BRÉTIGNY
The time is near
for you to be free!

DES GRIEUX
How I adore her!

MANON
What strange doubt and torment!

LESCAUT
You are going to marry her?

BRÉTIGNY
Manon! Manon!

LESCAUT
"Like the bird that follows the springtime...

BRÉTIGNY
Soon you will be a queen.

MANON
What delirium in my heart!

LESCAUT
correcting himself
... everywhere the springtime..."

DES GRIEUX
How I adore her!

BRÉTIGNY
... queen by your beauty!

MANON
What strange doubt and torment!

BRÉTIGNY
Manon, you will be a queen by your beauty!

DES GRIEUX
Lescaut, let me tell you about it again!

LESCAUT
Poetry! Love!

MANON
What torture for my troubled heart, what torture!

LESCAUT
"... all of her spirit of life..."

MANON
What torture for my heart!

BRÉTIGNY
You will be queen!

DES GRIEUX
How I adore her!

LESCAUT
Poetry!
"... is constantly open..."

MANON
Leave now!

BRÉTIGNY
Listen to me!

MANON
What torture for my troubled heart!

DES GRIEUX
How! I adore her!

BRÉTIGNY
You will be queen by your beauty!
Listen to me!

MANON
Leave, oh leave!

LESCAUT
Perfect!
One can say it no better,
and I compliment you for it!
to Manon
Cousin,
to Des Grieux
and you cousin,
I esteem you both!
Take my hand, for it would be a crime,
not to relent with you;
children, I bless you both.
Tears... bliss!
to Brétigny
Shall we leave?

BRÉTIGNY
After you!

LESCAUT, BRÉTIGNY
It's very clear,
among gay dogs...

LESCAUT
... and good fellows...

BRÉTIGNY
... that this is the way we handle an affair!

LESCAUT, BRÉTIGNY
It's this way that we handle an affair!
They go off; their last lines are heard from offstage.
Among gay dogs... That's how it is!

MANON
to herself, pensively
In my heart... what torture!

DES GRIEUX
to himself, happily
May tomorrow look favourably upon
the happiness I long for!
The servant enters.
What does someone want now?

SERVANT
It's time for supper, Monsieur.

DES GRIEUX
That's right, isn't it. And I still haven't
delivered my letter.

MANON
Well then, go take it.

DES GRIEUX
Manon...

MANON
What now?

DES GRIEUX
I love you! I adore you!
And you, tell me, do you love me?

MANON
Yes, my dear Chevalier, I love you!

DES GRIEUX
Because of that you should promise me...

MANON
What?

DES GRIEUX
Nothing at all, I'll deliver my letter.
He goes out, leaving Manon alone.

MANON
Come now, I must do it, for his sake...
My poor Chevalier!
Yes, he's the one I love!
And yet today I'm still hesitating.
No, no!... I'm no longer worthy of him!
I keep hearing this voice that
attracts me against my will:
Manon, Manon, you will be queen...
A queen... by your beauty!
I am nothing but weakness and frailty...
Ah! in spite of myself I feel my tears flowing.
After these dreams have been erased,
will the future have the charms
of these beautiful days that have already passed?
Manon approaches the table, laid for supper.
Farewell, our little table,
which brought us together so often!
Farewell, farewell, our little table,
which for just us two seemed so large!
It's unbelievable, but we take up so little space...
especially when we're embracing.
Farewell, our little table!
We used the same glass,
the two of us, and when each of us drank,
we tried to find the other's lips.
My poor friend, how he loved me!
Farewell, our little table, farewell!
She hears Des Grieux returning.
It's he!
My paleness mustn't betray me!

DES GRIEUX
Finally Manon, we're alone together!
What is wrong? Tears?...

MANON
No!

DES GRIEUX
Oh yes, your hand is trembling...

MANON
Our supper is waiting.

DES GRIEUX
That's right... I don't have full control of myself...
But happiness is a fleeting thing,
and heaven has made it so delicate
that one fears it is likely to fly away!
Let's sit down!

MANON
Yes, let's sit down!

DES GRIEUX
This enchanting moment, when fear is dispelled,
and we two are alone together!
Listen, Manon, while I was walking
I was day-dreaming.

MANON
aside
Alas, who doesn't day-dream?

DES GRIEUX
When I close my eyes I see far away a modest retreat,
a little cottage lost in the middle of the woods!
Under the quiet shade,
the clear and joyous streams,
in which the leaves are reflected,
sing with the birds!
It's Paradise!
Oh no, everything there is sad and melancholy,
because one thing is missing:
Manon ought to be present!

MANON
That's only a dream, a folly!

DES GRIEUX
No, our life will be there,
if you want it, oh Manon!

A gentle knocking is heard at the door.

MANON
aside
Oh heavens! Already!

DES GRIEUX
Is someone there?
We can do without company to interrupt us...
He rises.
I'll send the intruder away...
and come right back...

MANON
Farewell!

DES GRIEUX
What did you say?

MANON
No!... I don't want it to happen...

DES GRIEUX
What and why?

MANON
No! Do not open that door...
I want to stay in your arms!

DES GRIEUX
Child... Let me go!...

MANON
No!...

DES GRIEUX
What difference does it make to you?...

MANON
No!...

DES GRIEUX
Come now!...

MANON
I don't want to!

DES GRIEUX
Some stranger...
This is very odd...
I'll send him off politely;
and come right back...
We'll both laugh at your foolishness!

The sounds of a struggle are heard. Manon gets up and rushes to the window. She hears a carriage going off.

MANON
My poor Chevalier!



Entr'acte

ACT THREE

SCENE ONE
The Cours-la-Reine

The promenade of the Cours-la-Reine in Paris, the day of a fête.
Between tall trees th stall of vendors of all kinds: milliners, toy-sellers,
open-air kitchens, mountebanks, balladmongers, etc.
General movement as the vendors approach the passers-by(noblemen and townspeople), offering them various objects. At the back of the stage a public dance hall sign.
In the background, the banks of the Seine and the dome of Les Invalides can be seen.


VENDORS
See my slippers with flowerlets!
Rouge, beauty spots, and ruffles!
Kerchiefs and hoods!
Buy my songs!
Tickets for the lottery!
Powder, tobacco graters!
Ribbons, canes, and hats!
An elixir for the stomach!
It's time to give yourself a treat!
Caps, hoop petticoats, collars!
Plumes and slender egrets!
Gauze, lawn cloth, and muffs!
Candy and pastries!
Toys, balls, and whipping tops!
my cooking is unexcelled! etc.

VENDORS and TOWNSPEOPLE
It's a holiday at the Cours-la-Reine!
We laugh, we drink to the health of the King!
We laugh, we drink,
for a whole week.
We laugh, we drink to the health of the King!
It's a holiday at the Cours-la-Reine!
We drink to the health of the King.

Dance music is heard in the distance. Poussette and Javotte come out of the dance hall. Two young clerks, who seem to be looking for someone in the crowd, see the girls, and on a sign from them, run to meet them.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE
What a charming promenade!
How pleasant this place is! How good it is!
How good to have an escapade,
far from the eyes of a jealous suitor.

POUSSETTE
I agree!

JAVOTTE
Behave yourself!

ROSETTE
One word could compromise us!

POUSSETTE
Of course!

JAVOTTE
My heart wants very much to promise you everything!

POUSSETTE
Everything!

ROSETTE
But Guillot must know nothing about it.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE
But Guillot must know nothing about it.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE and ROSETTE
Nothing.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE
What a charming promenade!
How pleasant this place is! How good it is!
How good to have an escapade,
far from the eyes of a jealous suitor!

POUSSETTE
How good it is!

JAVOTTE
What a charming promenade!
How good it is!

POUSSETTE
What a charming promenade!

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE
Far form the eyes of a jealous suitor.
How good it is!
They go off.

VENDORS
See my slippers with flowerlets! etc.

VENDORS and TOWNSPEOPLE
It's a holiday at the Cours-la-Reine.
We laugh, we drink to the health of the King.

VENDORS
Here's something for you, Monsieur!
Take this, Monsieur!
Choose! Take! Choose!

LESCAUT
Choose! And why?
Give me this, and that and still more!
Tonight I'll buy you out!
For the beauty I adore,
I'll depend on your taste!

VENDORS
Here's something for you, Monsieur! Here, take it!

LESCAUT
What good is it being economical
when you have three dice in your hand,
and you know the path
to the hotel Transylvania!
What good is it being economical!

VENDORS
Here's something for you, Monsieur! Here,
take it! Take it!

LESCAUT
That's enough, enough!
Oh Rosalinde,
I would have to scale the Pindus mountains,
to be able to sing to you as you deserve.
What are the sultanas of India,
and the Armidas and Clorindas,
compared with you, what are they?
Nothing, nothing at all, nothing at all.
Oh my Rosalinde, etc.
Choose something! No, on my word.
What good is it being economical, etc.
Come closer, lovely ladies, come closer!
I offer a jewel for two kisses.

Lescaut goes off while the crowd mills about. Poussette, Javotte and Rosette come out of the dance hall with three young men.
Dance music is heard in the distance.


GUILLOT
seeing them
Good day, Poussette!

POUSSETTE
Oh! Heavens!

GUILLOT
Good day, Javotte!

JAVOTTE
Oh my God!
Poussette and Javotte run off.

GUILLOT
Good day, Rosette!

ROSETTE
as she runs away
Ah!

GUILLOT
Upon my soul, they just dump me right there!
Hussy! Silly wench! And I had taken three of
them... Yet it seemed to me I could count on
at least another one who'd be faithful if one
of them deceived me! Woman is, I admit, a
wicked creature.

BRÉTIGNY
entering
Not bad, Guillot, that observation isn't bad at
all. But it's not original with you! My
goodness, what a gloomy face! Dame
Javotte, I bet, must have been unfaithful to
you!.

GUILLOT
It's all over with Javotte.

BRÉTIGNY
And Poussette?

GUILLOT
With Poussette too!

BRÉTIGNY
Then you're free again? Guillot, I beg you.
Don't go and take Manon away from me!

GUILLOT
Take her away from you?

BRÉTIGNY
Swear to me that you won't!

GUILLOT
Let's stop this joking. But tell me, my dear
friend, people have told me, with respect to
Manon, that she wanted you to have the
Opera come to perform at her house but in
spite of that lovely girl's tears, you have said:
"No".

BRÉTIGNY
That's very true; the story is correct.

GUILLOT
That's enough for now; let me leave you
for a brief momen... but I'll be back soon.
rubbing his hands together as he leaves
Dig a dig a dong!
Someone will take your Manon away from you! etc.

The strollers and vendors return. In their midst are several fashionable ladies with their escorts.

STROLLERS and VENDORS
Here come the fashionable ladies!
The beautiful, idle ladies!
Mistresses of so many hearts
with their conquering glances! etc.

Manon appears, accompanied by Brétigny and several young noblemen. He helps Manon down from her carriage.

STROLLERS
Who is that princess?

VENDORS
She's at least a duchess!
to the strollers
What? Don't you know her name?
That is Manon!
This is the beautiful Manon!

STROLLERS and VENDORS
Here come the fashionable ladies!
The beautiful, idle ladies!
Mistress of so many hearts,
with their conquering glances! etc.

BRÉTIGNY
The ravishing Manon!

YOUNG NOBLEMEN
The ravishing Manon!

MANON
Am I pretty like this?

BRÉTIGNY and YOUNG NOBLEMEN
Adorable! You're heavenly!

MANON
Is that true? That you very much!
I'll consent, seeing that I'm so good,
to let you gaze upon my charming person!
I go everywhere,
the equal of any sovereign;
people bow, they kiss my hand,
because I am a queen by my lovely looks!
I am queen!
My horses race me about;
seeing the boldness of my life,
highly placed people come forward with their hats off;
I am beautiful, I am happy!
All around me everything should flower!
I go to everything that attracts me!
And if ever Manon should die,
she would die my friends, in a burst of laughter.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

BRÉTIGNY, YOUNG NOBLEMEN
Bravo! Bravo! Manon! Bravo!

MANON
Obey when their voices are calling,
beckoning us to tender loves,
always, always, always;
as long as you are beautiful,
use up your days without counting them, all of your days!
Let's take advantage of youth,
days that spring provides;
let's love, laugh, and sing without stopping,
while we're still only twenty!

BRÉTIGNY and YOUNG NOBLEMEN
Let's take full advantage of our youth!

MANON
Let's take full advantage of our youth,
let's love, laugh, and sing without stopping
while we're still only twenty! Ha! Ha!

YOUNG MEN
Let's take full advantage of our youth!
Let's laugh! Ha! Ha!

MANON
Even the most faithful heart, alas,
forgets love in a day, love,
and youth, spreading its wings to fly away,
disappears, never to return, never to return.
Let's take full advantage of our youth,
the springtime season, alas, is very short!
Let's love, sing, and laugh without stopping,
we won't be twenty forever!

YOUNG MEN
Let's take full advantage of our youth!

MANON
Let's take full advantage of our youth!
Let's love, sing, and laugh without stopping.
Let's take advantage of being twenty! Ha! Ha!

YOUNG MEN
Let's take full advantage of our youth!
Let's laugh! Ha! Ha!

MANON (to Brétigny)
And now, stay here by yourself for a moment;
I want to make a purchase.

BRÉTIGNY
When you go away all the brilliance of the fête vanishes!
Ravishing Manon!
When you go away all the brilliance of the fête vanishes!

MANON
A platitude!
The very last word in courtly speech!
No great lord
is without a bit of poet in him!

Manon goes off towards some of the vendors' stalls, accompanied by onlookers, who then gradually move offstage.

STROLLERS and VENDORS
Here come the fashionable ladies! etc.
The beautiful, idle ladies! etc.
Mistresses of so many hearts!,
with their conquering glances! etc.
The fashionable ladies! etc.

VENDOR
in the distance
Powder, tobacco graters!

Gradually the strollers and vendors go off.

BRÉTIGNY
If I'm not mistaken, you're the Count Des Grieux.

COUNT
Monsieur de Brétigny?

BRÉTIGNY
I am I can hardly believe my eyes!
You in Paris?

THE COUNT
It's my son who brings me here.

BRÉTIGNY
The Chevalier?

THE COUNT
He's no longer the "Chevalier",
now one must call him the "Abbé".

MANON
who has come closer, pretending to talk to a vendor
Des Grieux!

BRÉTIGNY
An abbé? How did that happen?

COUNT
He feels a holy calling! He wants to enter a
monastery. He is now at St Sulpice and
tonight he is to speak at the Sorbonne...

Manon moves away after hearing these last words.

BRÉTIGNY
smiling
An abbé? That surprises me, such a change...

COUNT
also smiling
You're the one responsible for it, when you
took it upon yourself to cut the love that
attached him to a certain person.

BRÉTIGNY
pointing to Manon in the distance
Speak more softly!

COUNT
Is that she?

BRÉTIGNY
Yes, that's Manon!

COUNT
I can easily guess then why you supported
so wholeheartedly the best interests of my
son... But excuse me, she wants to speak
with you. She's really beautiful.

MANON
to Brétigny; the Count now is standing aside at some distance
My friend, I should like to have a bracelet
similar to this one... I cannot find it.

BRÉTIGNY
Fine, I myself, will go to look.
He bows to the Count and goes off.

COUNT
aside
She's charming, and I understand now why
she is loved.

MANON
to the Count
Forgive me, but I was standing here
just two steps from you...
In spite of myself I could hear...
I'm very inquisitive...

COUNT
That's a very minor fault in this world!
wishing to withdraw
Madame!

MANON
coming closer
You were talking about someone who'd been
in love, weren't you?

COUNT
Yes, we were!

MANON
I think...
I beg you to forgive me,
but I think that this Abbé Des Grieux long ago...
was in love with...

COUNT
In love with whom?

MANON
She was a friend of mine...

COUNT
Ah! Very good!

MANON
He loved her...
And would like to know
if this reason triumphed
over his feelings,
and if he was able to expel from his heart
the bitter memory of the forgetful girl?

COUNT
Must you know so many things?
Such as what becomes of our fairest days,
where our first loves go?
Where the perfume of roses escapes to?

MANON
aside
My God! Give me the courage
to dare ask him everything! etc.

COUNT
Is it not wiser not to know,
why linger over the past?

MANON
One more word!...
Has he suffered because of her absence?
Does he sometimes mention her name?

COUNT
He shed his tears in silence.

MANON
When he wept, did he curse her?

COUNT
No!

MANON
Does he tell you that the girl who betrayed
him had loved him?

COUNT
Once his heart had recovered from its wounds,
it sealed itself up!

MANON
But then?

COUNT
He behaved as your friend,
and as all of here on earth should behave
if one is wise, isn't it true?
He forgot!

MANON
He forgot!
The Count bows respectfully and goes off. To herself
He forgot!
The crowd of noblemen, fashionable ladies, strollers, and vendors returns. Brétigny, Guillot, and then Lescaut enter, accompanied by several friends.

BRÉTIGNY
Answer me, Guillot!

GUILLOT
Never! He laughs best who laughs last!

BRÉTIGNY
Monsieur de Morfontaine, you must tell me
everything!

GUILLOT
To you, my friend, nothing at all!
turning to Manon
But to you, my Queen, everything!

BRÉTIGNY
I beg your pardon?

GUILLOT
All right then, yes. The Opéra performance
that you refused her... they'll be here very shortly.

BRÉTIGNY
I'm forced to admit defeat!
to Manon
You're sad!

MANON
Oh! no!

BRÉTIGNY
One might even say that tears...

MANON
Absurd!

GUILLOT
Come now, Manon,
come closer, if you please,
we're going to dance our latest ballet.
to Lescaut
Lescaut, come here!

LESCAUT
I'm here to do anything to please you.

GUILLOT
All of this is at my own expense.
You be in charge of the drinks
I'm offering to all of these people!
How much will you want to take?

LESCAUT
We'll settle accounts afterwards!
He takes the purse and goes off.

NOBLEMEN, STROLLERS, VENDORS and BRÉTIGNY
The Opéra is here! The Opéra is here! The Opéra!


Prologue: The Presentation

BRÉTIGNY, NOBLEMEN and THE CROWD
The Opéra is here! The Opéra is here! etc.
Everyone in Paris... everyone in Paris... etc.
will be talking about it, talking about it! etc.
It's the Opéra ballet!
This is pleasure... this is pleasure... etc.
worthy of a sovereign! etc.
And his rival will be furious! etc.
Friend Guillot will go bankrupt! etc.
for having brought the Opéra here!

GUILLOT
aside
This is a pleasure worthy of a sovereign,
to have brought the Opéra
and its ballet to the Cours-la-Reine!
My rival will be furious!
He imitates the dancers.

BRÉTIGNY, NOBLEMEN and THE CROWD
To have brought the Opéra here.
Everyone in Paris will be talking about it!
The Opéra ballet is here!


b>Ballet

First Entrance
Second Entrance
Third Entrance
Fourth Entrance


MANON
to herself
No, his life is linked to mine forever.
He can't have forgotten me...
She sees Lescaut nearby.
My sedan chair, cousin...

LESCAUT
Where do you wish to be carried, cousin?

MANON
To St Sulpice!...

LESCAUT
What is this odd caprice?
Excuse me if I repeat: to St Sulpice?

MANON
To St Sulpice.

GUILLOT
Well then, mistress of my life, what do you
say about the ballet?

MANON
I didn't see a thing!

GUILLOT
Nothing? So that's the reward for my gallant
gesture! Is that what I rightly deserved?

CROWD
It's a holiday at the Cours-la-Reine!
We dance, we drink to the health of the King. etc.


SCENE TWO
The reception room of the seminary of St Sulpice

Pious ladies of rank and townswomen are coming out of the seminar chapel.

CHORUS OF WOMEN
praising Des Grieux
What eloquence!
What a marvellous orator! etc.
What great fluency! etc.
What a great preacher, etc.
What eloquence!
And in his voice what sweetness!
What sweetness and what fire!
When we listen to him,
fervour gently penetrates
to the depths of our souls...
Ah! What an orator, what an admirable orator!
What a great preacher!
With what divine art, etc.
Did he paint in his thesis, etc.
Saint Augustine, etc.
and Saint Theresa, etc.
He himself is a saint, etc.
That's a certain fact, a saint!
Don't you think so, my dear?
He is a saint, etc.
That is certain, etc.
He is a saint, a saint.
Des Grieux appears.
There he is. It's the Abbé Des Grieux!
Look at the way he lowers his eyes!

The women go out one by one after curtseying reverently to Des Grieux.

COUNT
Bravo, my boy, a complete success!
Our family should be proud to have in its midst
a new Bossuet!

DES GRIEUX
Please, father, spare me your praises!

COUNT
And you're really serious, Chevalier, about
your intention of binding yourself to heaven forever?

DES GRIEUX
Yes! In life I have found only bitterness and disgust.

COUNT
Those are big words you're using!
What path have you followed,
and what do you know about this life,
to think that it stops there?
Marry some fine girl,
worthy of us and of you,
and become the father of family,
neither worse nor better than I have been.
Heaven wants no more of you,
that's one's duty, do you understand?
That's one's duty!
Virtue that makes a lot of nose
is no longer virtue!
Marry some fine girl, etc.

DES GRIEUX
Nothing can keep me from taking my vows!

COUNT
You have had your say, then?

DES GRIEUX
I wish it this way!

COUNT
Let it be! I'll then go out this grilled door by
myself and announce to them on the outside
that they have a saint in the family. I know a
lot of people who won't believe me!

DES GRIEUX
Don't make fun of me, Monsieur, please!

COUNT
One word more! As it isn't sure that you will
be given anytime soon a benefice or an
abbey, tonight I'll send you thirty thousand
livres...

DES GRIEUX
Father...

COUNT
It belongs to you, it's your share of what you
inherit from your mother.
And now... farewell, my son.

DES GRIEUX
Farewell, my father!

COUNT
Farewell... stay here and pray!
He goes out.

DES GRIEUX
alone
I am alone! At last alone!
It is the supreme moment!
There is nothing more that I want
except the sacred calm that my faith brings me.
Yes, I have sought to place God himself
between the world and me.
Ah! Vanish sweet memory too dear to my heart;
respect a calm won through much suffering,
and remember that if I have tasted of a bitter cup,
my heart could fill it full with the blood it has shed!
Ah! Vanish, vanish, go far from me!
Life itself and sham glory mean nothing to me.
I want only to expel from the depths of my memory...
A cursed name!... this name... which obsesses me, and why?

PORTER OF THE SEMINARY
The service is beginning.

DES GRIEUX
I'm on my way... Heavenly Father!
With Your fire
purify my soul!
and by its light dispel
the shadow that still lurks in the depths of my heart!
Ah! Vanish, sweet memory, too dear to my heart.
Vanish, vanish, go far away from me! etc.
exit

PORTER OF THE SEMINARY
He is young... and his faith appears sincere...
He created a great stir among the most
beautiful ladies among our faithful!

Manon enters.

MANON
Monsieur... I want to speak...
to the Abbé... Des Grieux.

PORTER
Very well!

MANON
giving him money
Here you are!
The porter bows and goes out.
These silent walls... this cold air that I
breathe... I hope only that all of this has not
modified his feelings... and left him without
pity for a foolish mistake, I hope that this
heart has not learned to curse me!

VOICES IN THE CHAPEL
in the distance
My soul doth magnify the Lord, etc.
and my sprit hath rejoiced, etc.

MANON
speaking
They are praying there... Ah! I should like to pray!
Forgive me, all-powerful Father!
For I dare beg you,
imploring your mercy,
and if my voice from so far below can rise up to Heaven, ah!
It's to ask you for Des Grieux's heart!
Forgive me, My Lord!

VOICES IN THE CHAPEL
In God my Saviour, etc.

Des Grieux enters.

MANON
There he is!
Manon turns away as Des Grieux comes forward.

DES GRIEUX
You here! You!

MANON
Yes, it is I!

DES GRIEUX
What are you doing here?
Go away! Go away! Go away!

MANON
Yes, I was cruel and to blame!
But remember the intensity of our love!
In this glance that shatters me now,
will I see some day that I am forgiven?

DES GRIEUX
Go away!

MANON
Yes, I was cruel and to blame!
Ah! Remember the intensity of our love!
Remember the intensity of our love!

DES GRIEUX
No! I wrote on sand
this wild dream of love
that Heaven sustained
for only an instant, for a day!

MANON
Yes, I was cruel!

DES GRIEUX
I wrote on sand...

MANON
Yes! I was cruel!

DES GRIEUX
It was a dream
that Heaven sustained
for only an instant, for a day!
Ah! Faithless Manon!

MANON
If I repented...

DES GRIEUX
Ah! Faithless! Faithless!

MANON
... would you not feel some pity?

DES GRIEUX
I do not want to trust you.
No, you've finally been expelled form my memory
as well as from my heart!

MANON
Alas! Alas! The bird that escapes
what it thinks is servitude,
very often comes back in the night
in a desperate flight, to beat against the glass!
Forgive me!

DES GRIEUX
No!

MANON
I am dying at your feet.
Give me back your love if you want me to live!

DES GRIEUX
No, my love for you is dead!

MANON
Is it so dead that nothing can bring it back to life?
Listen to me! Remember!
Is this no longer my hand pressing yours?
Is this no longer my voice?
Is it no more for you like a caress,
just as it used to be?
And my eyes, at one time full of charm for you,
are they no longer sparkling through my tears?
Am I no longer myself?
Have I no longer my name?
Ah! Look at me, look at me!
Is this no longer my hand pressing yours,
just as it used to do? etc.

DES GRIEUX
Oh Lord! Protect me in this supreme moment!

MANON
I love you!

DES GRIEUX
Ah, don't speak!
Don't' talk about love in this place,
it's blasphemy!

MANON
I love you!

DES GRIEUX
Ah! Don't speak!
Don't talk about love!

MANON
I love you!

DES GRIEUX
it is the hour of prayer...

MANON
No! I will not leave you!

DES GRIEUX
They're calling me down there...

MANON
No! I will not leave you!
Come!
Is this no longer my hand pressing yours,
just as it used to do?

DES GRIEUX
Just as it used to do!

MANON
And my eyes, at one time so full of charm for you,
is this no longer Manon?

DES GRIEUX
Just as it used to be!

MANON
Look at me!
Am I any different?
Is this no longer Manon?

DES GRIEUX
Ah! Manon! I cannot struggle against myself
any longer.

MANON
At last!

DES GRIEUX
And even should I cause the Heaven
to come crashing down on my head,
my life is in your heart, my life is in your eyes.
Ah! Come Manon! I love you!

MANON
I love you!

DES GRIEUX
I love you!

 

ACT IV

SCENE 1 A Fashionable Gambling Room in Paris.

A CROUPIER.
Gentlemen, make your game.

LESCAUT.
Four hundred louis! A thousand! Hurrah! They are mine !

A PLAYER
(following Lescaut.)
I swear the money belongs to me.

LESCAUT.
From the moment one says it with so much confidence

PLAYER.
I had the ace and king!

LESCAUT.
Let us begin again. It's all the same to me. (Sharpers come forward cautiously. )

SEARPERS.
Fools, when they do gamble,
Throw their gold to chance?
But wise men such as we are,
Look at luck askance.
We are clever fellows,
Know what steps to take,
When, as sometimes happens,
Fortune makes mistake. LESCAUT ( pocketing money.) )
Because I play so honestly,
The money always falls to me.

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE
(promenading and watching the scene.)
To this charming place of pleasure,
Come all the world with cash to spend;
Find delights that know no measure, )
Unlucky days the nights shall mend.

Beauty never should be poor,
And we are they who win for sure.

(Lescaut appears triumphant. He is surrounded by Poussette, Javotte and Rosette. )

LESCAUT
( with vigor. )
It is here that my lady serene
Her deigned a lodging to take,
And some day for good company's sake,
You shall hear what verses I make,
In honor of her my queen.
( Chink of gold is heard. )
And hark, the sound divine,
That suits this muse of mine !
She whom I love it is meet
That a lover be very discreet;
And yet I will tell you her name

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE.
Well, her name?

LESCAUT.
Pallastis, the queen of the game ;
So ends my song to her fame.
( Chink of gold is heard. )

ALL.
And hark the Sound divine, That suits this muse of { mine.

( Guillot enters, then Manon and Des Grieux, whose appearance causes general movement. )
GUILLOT.
Who has come to cause all this stir?

POUSSETTE, JAVOTTE, ROSETTE.
'Tis the charming Manon with her dear Chevalier.

DES GRIEUX
(looking around with a somber expression. )
So I am here; but I should have refused. Why had I not courage !
 
GUILLOT
(annoyed.)
The Chevalier !

LESCAUT
(to Guillot.)
How strange you look. Has anything vexed you ?

GUILLOT.
I have good cause, for I adored Manon,
and I find it hard to see another in my place.
(Lescaut draws Guillot away. )

CROUPIERS.
Make your game, gentlemen.
 
(All recommence play. Manon, left alone with Des Grieux, observes his sadness.
MANON.
Tell me now, Des Grieux, dost thy heart own me sovereign?

DES GRIEUX
( with intense passion. ) Manon, sphinx as thou art, siren lure to destruction, woman more than thy sex, I love thee; and hate thee. Pleasure and gold thy gods forever must re main; yet, foolish thou art, oh! How I love thee.

MANON.
And I ;Oh, how I could love thee if but thou wouldn¡¦t

DES GRIEUX.
If but I would?

MANON.
Our winged wealth has flown away, ) Chevalier, there's nothing left.
In this place of coin bereft, the purse is filed by dashing play.

DES GRIEUX
(troubled. )
What dost thou say, Manon? LESCAUT (approaching. ) She is quite right.
Some minutes at the faro board
A. fortune's yours to spend or hoard.

DES GRIEUX.
'Who? I¡¦m gambler? No, no, no!

LESCAUT.
Ah! There you're wrong. Manon does not love an empty purse.

MANON.
Chevalier, if thou loved me dearly, con sent, and after, thou will see, we shall be rich.

LESCAUT.
Oh, most likely. Lady Fortune darts her angriest glances on him 'who has dared her, and challenges her worst on full many a field. All her wealth-bestowing favors for beginners are kept.

MANON
(to Des Grieux.) Thou wilt yield, wilt thou not?

DES GRIEUX.
Oh, infernal madness!

MANON
( pressingly. ) Come on!

DES GRIEUX.
To thee I all shall give.

LESCAUT.
You're sure to win.

DES GRIEUX.
What shall I then receive?

MANON.
All that I am and have- --myself buy more than love. Oh, rest thee well on my affection, and never doubt a loving heart. Thus will come our happiness. To thee my love! To thee all my being!

DES GRIEUX.
Oh, Manon, sphinx as thou art ! etc. LESCAUT. Your luck is assured; play like a man and conquer fate. Come on.

GUILLOT
(to Des Grieux. ) A word if you please, Chevalier. Say, are you willing to play with me ? We shall then see if fickle Fortune stands your constant friend.

POUSSETTE
(gaily. ) Bravo, Guillot ! I'll back you for the winner.

JAVOTTE.
And I will stake my money on the Chevalier.

GUILLOT
(to Des Grieux.) Are you agreed?

DEs GRIEUX.
Agreed.

GUILLOT.
Let us begin.

POUSSETTE
(to her companion. ) Suppose we make a bet?

JAVOTTE, ROSETTE.
A bet, of course.

GUILLOT.
A thousand crowns!

DES GRIEUX.
Sir, with you. A thousand crowns.

LESCAUT.
A thousand crowns! (He seats himself at another table.) 0 Pallas, lend thine aid!

MANON.
All these senseless follies are life to me, or, at least, the life that I desire.

CROUPIERS.
Make your game, gentlemen.

MANON.
Music of gold, of laughter, and clash of joyous sounds.
Come, love me and crown me with flowers,
Gaily singing pass we the hours;
Who knows if the morrow will come?
Youth is for a day,
Beauty fades away.
Then let all our care
Be for pleasure rare,
Life's sweet honey sip
Warm on every lip.
To Manon give gold
Untold.
 
GUILLOT
(to Des Grieux).
I would not have any
chance just now, sir. Say another thousand crowns.

DES GRIEUX
(feverishly).
Sir, I¡¦m content. Just as you please.

GUILLOT.
I have lost !

MANON
(to Des Grieux).
Well, art thou winning?

DES GRIEUX
(showing her gold and notes). Look here!

MANON.
Is that ours?

DES GRIEUX.
It is ours.

MANON.
How I love thee!

GUILLOT
(to Des Grieux).
We'll double, if you please.

DES GRIEUX.
Agreed.

GUILLOT.
I have lost again!

MANON
(to Des Grieux).
Now did I not well say that thou were sure to win?

DES GRIEUX.
Manon, I love thee! I love thee!

GUILLOT
(leaving the' table).
I vow I'll play no more

DES GRIEUX
(rising also).
That is as you will.

GUILLOT
(significantly).
I should indeed he foolish go on thus.

DES GRIEUX.
What's that?

GUILLOT.
Never mind. Well I know you are indeed a clever man.

DES GRIEUX
(angrily).
What do you say?

GUILLOT.
Restrain your anger. Are you of those who beat the men they have contrived to rob?

DES GRIEUX
(throwing himself upon Guillot).
You vile and wretched cur, 'tis a lie.
(All cornet round. )

THE CROWD.
Come, come, good sirs, respect yourselves, for in society a man should be decent.

GUILLOT
(much. agitated).
To witness I take you, sirs, and these young ladies.
( To Des Grieux and Manon. )
As for you, you very soon shall hear some news of me.
(Exit. )

THE CROWD.
Was ever such a thing known here? Certainly not. One never cheats in such a way.

SHARPERS.
A bungler he to be found out.

LESCAUT
( interposing).
How now, my friends, pray be calm. Gentlemen, pray be calm.

CROUPIERS.
Make your game, gentlemen.

THE CROWD
(pointing to Des Grieux)
There stands the thief, that's he.

MANON.
(to Des Grieux).
Away, I do implore thee! Haste away!

DES GRIEUX
(firmly).
No, on my life! For, if I go, I shall myself confess that with this crime I here am justly charged.
(Loud knocking at the door is heard.)

POUSETTE, JAVOTTE, GAMELERS.
How now! Who knocks so loudly here ?
( The knocking is repeated. )

GAMBLERS.
Quickly cover the gold!

MANON
(aside).
Who knocks thus at the door? I tremble, though I know not why.

A VOICE
(without).
Open, in the King's name!

LESCAUT.
The Police! Quick, to the roof !
(He escapes. )
( The door is opened. Officers of police enter with Guillot. )


GUILLOT
(indicating Des Grieux).
This is your prisoner, and yonder (indicating Manon) stands his accomplice. ( To Manon) Extremely sorry, but the play was too good. I told you I would have my revenge. ( To Des Grieux) I have trumped your card, my master, console yourself as best you can.

DES GRIEUX
(fiercely).
Well, I will try and begin on the spot by throwing you from yonder window.

GUILLOT
(with contempt).
From yonder window?

COUNT
(who has entered unperceived).
And I? Shall I be served the same?

DES GRIEUX.
Father! You here! You!

MANON.
His father!

COUNT.
Yes, I am here from shame to save thee,
From shame so deep, and foul disgrace,
In repentant tears now lave thee,
Clear from stain an ancient race.

DES GRIEUX
(with great feeling).
Ah ! some pity now show, I implore thee,
See what terror oppresses my heart !
Like a wave doth keen anguish flow o'er me,
Father, shield me from dishonor's dart.

MANON.
All the future lies dark now before me,
And terror oppresses my heart.
Like a wave doth keen anguish flow o'er me,
Forever our lives now must part.

THE CROWD.
Pity show to her tears!
Think of her tender years,
cannot such beauty rare,
Move your hearts her shame to spare.

GUILLOT
(aside).
Now at last I'm revenged, for my honor and pride were at stake.

COUNT
(to the officers, indicating Des Grieux and Manon).
Take them prisoners.
( To Des Grieux.)
But soon shall liberty be yours.

DES GRIEUX
(indicating Manon).
And she?

GUILLOT
(interposing).
This lady has to go where many of her sorts have gone.

DES GRIEUX
(with spirit).
Ah! touch her not! (throwing himself before Manon) with my life I'll defend her.

MANON
(fainting )
Help ! I am lost! I die! Mercy!

DES GRIEUX
(despairingly).
Ah! some pity now show; I implore.

THE CROWD.
Show mercy!

COUNT and GUILLOT.
Implore none.
 
ACT V
SCENE 1. A solitary spot on the road to Harve.

DES GRIEUX discovered seated by the wayside.

DES GRIEUX.
Manon, dearest Manon ! do I see thee herded with these wretched beings and have no power to aid ! 0 Heaven! merciless Heaven ! must I then despair ! (He sees Lescaut approaching. ) No, he comes! (Advancing impetuously to meet Lescaut.) Thy fellows now make ready; see, the soldiers are yonder; they will soon reach this place. Thy men are fully armed. They will rescue my Manon and give her back to me! (Lescaut keeps silence. ) What! Can it not be done? Are all my fond hopes vain! Oh! Why dost thou keep silence ?

LESCAUT
( With effort). Sir, I have done my best

DES GRIEUX
(anxiously).
Go on!

LESCAUT.
And grieve to say that all is lost.

DES GRIEUX
(piteously).
Lost!

LESCAUT.
Scarce had the sun shone on the arms of the soldiers ere all our men fled.

DES GRIEUX.
(distracted).
'Tis false! 'Tis false! Great Heaven hath taken pity on my suffering, and at last comes the hour expected! In a moment my Manon shall be free.

LESCAUT
(sadly).
Since I have told the truth.

DES GRIEUX
(lifting his hand to strike),
Away!

LESCAUT.
Strike, strike, if you will 'Tis soldier's fare. He's by the King ill-paid ; and then, whatever his worth, the good folks shake their heads and call him "wretched fellow."

DES GRIEUX
(violently).
Away !

( Voices of Soldiers are heard in the distance. d Des and Lescaut listen).

SOLDIERS.
Captain, riding by,
Dost thou pitying sigh,
As we march left, right?
No, no!
'Tis not so.
For a gallant bay
Carries thee all day,
And thy heart is light.

DES GRIEUX.
Who is that?

LESCAUT
(going along the road).
Down the road the are coming, and almost close at hand.

DES GRIEUX
(trying to rush forward).
Manon, Manon !
(Lescaut stops him).
I have only my sword, but let us both boldly attack them.

LESCAUT.
Oh, what madness is this !

DES GRIEUX.
Come on.

LESCAUT.
All will be lost. Take advice. It is better to use other means.

DES GRIEUX.
How then?

LESCAUT.
For Manon's sake let us go.

DES GRIEUX
( resisting).
No, no!

LESCAUT.
Manon, you'll see. I promise this.

DES GRIEUX.
What, go when her poor weary heart cries "Come to me? " Oh, no!

LESCAUT.
Sir, if you love her, Come.

DES GRIEUX.
If I love her? Would I not lose my all ? Would I not gladly die that she might live?

LESCAUT.
Pray, come.

DES GRIEUX.
When shall I see her?

LESCAUT.
This very instant.
( The Soldiers have come nearer. Lescaut draws Des Grieux behind some bushes. )

SOLDIERS.
Captain riding by, etc.
( The Soldiers appear. )

DES GRIEUX
(behind the bushes).
O Heaven !

LESCAUT
(holding him).
Silence ! Let me act.
( To the Sergeant).
Hi, comrade !

DES GRIEUX
( To Lescaut passionately).
Am I to see her ?

LESCAUT.
And soon I hope to carry her off.

DES GRIEUX
(pointing to the Sentry).
That Soldier !

LESCAUT.
I will attend to him. I know better than to give away all the money.
(He goes off with the sergeant. Soldiers exeunt. Dragging with them the Women. )

(Manon appears. She comes down the path as though exhausted by fatigue. )

MANON
(with a joyful cry).
Ah, Des Grieux !

DES GRIEUX
(with delirious gladness).
Oh, Manon, Manon, Manon!
(Checking himself).
Thou weepest!

MANON.
Yes ; with shame for myself, but with sorrow for thee.

DES GRIEUX
(tenderly).
Manon, be of good heart, dear love. Think of the happy hours that remain for us both.

MANON
(bitterly).
Ah! ! sweet deceiving vision.

DES GRIEUX.
No ; those far-away countries, where they would drag thee now, thou shalt never see. Both together we'll fly to a place of sweet rest, where trouble may not come.
(Ma— non remains silent).
Manon, wilt thou not speak?

MANON
(with infinite tenderness).
Oh my heart's only love ; only now do I feel all thy goodness of soul, and, though fallen so low, Manon craves pity and pardon for all her sins.
(Des Grieux tries to interrupt her. )
No, no; I must speak. Ah! Careless was I and light-hearted ; even in loving thee beyond compare, most ungrateful.

DES GRIEUX.
Love, cease these reproaches.

MANON.
Vainly I bid my wicked heart say why by what excess of madness I have given thee pain on one day of my wasted life.

DES GRIEUX.
Enough!

MANON
(weeping).
With remorse and contempt I am filled when I think of our love, by my own act destroyed. Ah! ! would that I could now atone with all my blood for but one of the griefs thou hast endured through me ! Pardon Manon ! Oh, pardon Manon !

DES GRIEUX
(passionately moved).
What! speakest thou of pardon when thy heart to my heart is given back again ?

MANON
(with a cry of ecstasy).
Ah!
Now in me a pure flame burnt, Love that's free from all alloy.
I see a future full of joy !

DES GRIEUX.
From its path true love near turned truth,
Yet, this day of delight
Shall our hearts re-unite.

MANON.
Happiness once more is mine.
(Pro- foundly moved and almost inaudible. )
Let us talk of past days of the inn, the coach and the tree- shaded route; of the letter thou didst write ; of our little table and thy black robe at St. Sul pice.
(With a sad smile.) Ah! how well I remember.

DES GRIEUX.
'Tis a dream of delight.
(Joyfully.)
Come. Manon. come: liberty is ours.