Web Opera

A Greek Slave
Opening Chorus

Song No. 1

On The Dial

Play MIDI File MIDI File 40K, 4 min. 53 seconds. MIDI Karaoke Version


SCENE. — The Palace of Heliodorus' on the heights of Rome. Interior of the Reception Hall of the Necromancer. A sculpture gallery R. or L.C. with curtains hanging over it. General appearance of wealth and magnificence, with a certain oriental character to scene and accessories. An alter in good view. Also pedestals and vases and other things with mystical symbols.

Slaves of any nationality but Roman discovered resting.


(Resting Plaintive)

Female Slaves:

On the dial
Shadow's finger
Marks the hour of noon!
Toil and trial,
Though they linger,
Come to claim us soon.
Though delaying
From our labour,
We must soon awake,
Touching, playing,
Pipe and tabor,
For our master's sake.
(Livlier - getting up)
For in lovely youth,
We're a weary chorus,
Slaves who serve the soothsayer,
But till he is come,
We can dream we're lying
In Elysium,
Heroines undying!

Or, if that's to far
Down in happy Hades,
We'll pretend we are
Noble Roman ladies,
Each with maidens fair
Round her toilet tripping;
If they pull a hair,
Won't they get a whipping!
(Imitating manner of noble ladies)
"What a pretty stoia, dear!
Is it not too warm?"
"I suppose you've come to hear
All these slaves perform?"
We are not as rude as they,
So we will be mute—
Hither come the girls who play
On the dainty lute.

(Enter the LUTE PLAYERS in dancing movement)

Lute Players:

Touch the string, step and sing,
All in dancing measure—
Life is hard, sings the bard
Vain is worldly pleasure!

Human circumstances,
Are the sport of chances.
Never mind, fate is kind,
Leaves us songs and dances.

Lute Players Chorus
Ah!...... Never mind, fate is kind,
Leaves us songs and dances.

Jarring gods work at odds,
Fix the why and wherefore,
Give us toys, griefs or joys,
What is that to care for?

Laugh and dance the faster,
Never fear disaster,.
Fortune saves lowly slaves,
Strikes the lordly master!

Lute Players Chorus
Ah!...... Fortune saves lowly slaves,
Strikes the lordly master!

(MALE SLAVES run in, carrying vases, articles of furniture, arranging them)

Male Slaves:

Come, bustle up, won't you? We know if you don't you will all be hung up by your thumbs,
If things are not ready, the master has said he will give it you hot when he comes!
And Jupiter save us! He'll pilory Davus, and Syrus will sit in the stocks,
Or, I shouldn't wonder, he'll strike us with thunder he keeps in the Oracle Box!

Male and Female Slaves:

Oh buisily bustle, with masculine muscle and feminine quickness and taste;
It won't be a matter for frivolous chatter, there isn't a moment to waste!
For torments await us if each apparatus is not where it ought to belong,
Unfortunate for us if Heliodorus should find there is anything wrong!

For he is a terrible man—
A horror abroad and at home—
And nobody can escape from the ban
Of the wickedest wizard in Rome!

He rules with his maji-cal dome
The earth, and the air, and the foam—
The rich and the great come here for their fate
To the mightiest wizard in Rome!

To the mightiest wiz-ard
in Rome!

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Page updated 6 October 2001