Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito
   

THE CLEMENCY OF TITUS
Opera seria in two acts, K. 621

Libretto
Caterino Tommaso Mazzolà
(after Pietro Metastasio)

Premiere
6 September 1791, Prague (Gräflich Nostitzches Nationaltheater)

Cast
TITO VESPASIANO, Roman emperor (Tenor)
VITELLIA, daughter of the emperor Vitellius (Soprano)
SERVILIA, sister of Sextus, Annius's sweetheart (Soprano)
SESTO, friend of Titus, Vitellia's lover (Soprano or Mezzosoprano)
ANNIO, friend of Sextus, Servilia's lover (Soprano or Mezzosoprano)
PUBLIO, commander of the Praetorian guards (Bass)

CHORUS
Roman people, guards

Place
Rome

Time
in the year 79


FIRST ACT
Vitellia's apartments

Overture

FIRST SCENE
Vitellia, Sextus

Recitative

VITELLIA
What then, will you forever come
to tell me the same thing, Sextus? I know
that you have won over Lentulus, that his followers
are ready, that setting the Capitol on fire
will create a tumult. All this
I have already heard a thousand times;
but I never see my revenge. Are we perhaps waiting
for Titus, mad with love, before my very eyes
to offer Berenice my throne
that he has usurped, and his hand in marriage?
Speak then, what are we waiting for?

SEXTUS
O heavens!

VITELLIA
You sigh?

SEXTUS
Think further on it, my dear;
reflect on it. Ah, let us not in Titus
take from the world its delight, from Rome its father,
from us a friend.

VITELLIA
Have you then come to praise
my enemy to my face? And do you not remember
that this merciful hero usurps a throne
snatched by his father from mine?
That he deceived me and (this is his greatest sin)
tempted me almost into loving him?
And then he faithlessly recalls Berenice
once more to the Tiber!
He could at least have chosen a rival
worthy of me from among the beauties of Rome.
But to prefer a barbarian, an exile,
Sextus, to me, a queen!

SEXTUS
Ah, princess,
you are jealous.

VITELLIA
I!

SEXTUS
Yes.

VITELLIA
Am I jealous
if I do not suffer disdain?

SEXTUS
And yet …

VITELLIA
And yet you have not the spirit to win me.

SEXTUS
I am ...

VITELLIA
You are released from all your promises. I can find
someone more worthy to carry out my hatred.

SEXTUS
Hear me!

VITELLIA
I have heard enough.

SEXTUS
Wait!

VITELLIA
Farewell.

SEXTUS
Ah, Vitellia, my goddess,
do not leave me! Where are you going?
Forgive me; I believe you; I was wrong.

No. 1 - Duet

SEXTUS
Command me as you will;
order my every move.
You are my destiny;
I will do anything for you.

VITELLIA
Before the sun sets
I want the wretch dead.
You know he usurps a kingdom
that heaven allotted to me.

SEXTUS
Your fury already sets me aflame.

VITELLIA
Well, what more are you waiting for?

SEXTUS
Let one sweet look at least
be the reward for my devotion!

VITELLIA and SEXTUS
A thousand emotions wage
pitiless war together within me.
There is no soul
more tormented than mine.


SECOND SCENE
Annius and the same

Recitative

ANNIUS
Come quickly, friend;
Caesar summons you to him.

VITELLIA
Ah, do not waste
these brief moments that Titus
has stolen from Berenice.

ANNIUS
You insult our hero unjustly,
Vitellia. Titus is master
of the world and of himself. At his command
Berenice has already gone.

SEXTUS
What?

VITELLIA
What are you saying?

ANNIUS
You are right to be surprised. Rome weeps at it
in astonishment and pleasure. I myself
can hardly believe it; and I
was present, Vitellia, at their solemn parting.

VITELLIA
(My hopes revive!)
Sextus, defer
carrying out my orders: the time
is not yet ripe for the blow.

SEXTUS
And you do not want me to see ...
or to complain, cruel one!

VITELLIA
Now what did you see?
Of what can you complain?

SEXTUS
Nothing. (O heaven!
Who ever suffered torments like mine!)

No. 2 - Aria

VITELLIA
Ah, if you wish to please me,
cast aside your suspicions;
do not weary me
with these irksome doubts.

He who blindly believes
obliges one to keep faith;
he who always expects
to be betrayed invites betrayal.

Exit


THIRD SCENE
Annius, Sextus

Recitative

ANNIUS
My friend, this is the moment
to make me happy. You promised me
Servilia's hand. Nothing is wanting
but the Emperor's consent.
Now you can ask it of him.

SEXTUS
Your every wish,
Annius, is law to me. I too, Annius,
impatiently desire this new bond.

No. 3 - Duettino

ANNIUS and SEXTUS
Ah, let me embrace you dearly,
my faithful friend,
and may heaven ever keep
your friendship constant for me.

Exeunt.


FOURTH SCENE
Chorus, Publius, Annius, Titus, Sextus

Part of the Roman Forum, splendidly adorned with arches, obelisks and trophies: in the foreground the exterior of the Capitol and a magnificent street leading up to it.

Publius, Roman senators and envoys from the subject Provinces, present to pay the Senate their annual tribute. Titus, preceded by lictors, followed by the Praetorian Guard and surrounded by a large crowd, comes down from the Capitol.

No. 4 - March

No. 5 - Chorus

CHORUS
O gods who guard
the fate of Rome,
preserve in Titus the just, the strong,
the glory of our age.

At the end of the chorus Annius and Sextus enter from opposite sides.

Recitative

PUBLIUS
to Titus
Today the Senate hails you
as father of our country; and never were
its decrees more just, O invincible Emperor.

ANNIUS
The Senate has decreed a lofty temple to you,
and there it is desired
that Rome shall also, among the divine honours,
worship Titus as a god.

PUBLIUS
We devote to this task the annual tributes
of the subject provinces. Do not, Titus, disdain
these public tokens of our love.

TITUS
Romans,
hear me: Vesuvius has spewed forth
from its throat, more violently than ever,
rivers of fire;
it has shaken the rocks
and filled the fields around
and the neighbouring cities with ruins.
The wretched people
are fleeing:
but poverty oppresses
those spared by the fire. Let that gold serve
to repair the havoc of all those victims.
This, O Romans, is to build me a temple.

ANNIUS
O true hero!

PUBLIUS
How inadequate for you
are all rewards and all praises!

TITUS
Enough, enough, my loyal subjects.
Let Sextus approach; Annius, do not go.
All others may withdraw.

All leave the atrium: there remain only Titus, Sextus and Annius.

(No. 4 - March)

(No. 5 - Chorus)

O gods who guard, etc.

Recitative

ANNIUS
(Now, Sextus,
speak for me.)

SEXTUS
How, my lord, could you send
your fair queen away?

TITUS
Ah, Sextus, my friend,
how terrible a moment! I did not think …
Enough: I conquered; she is gone. Let Rome now
free itself from all suspicions
of seeing her my wife. It wishes
to see one of its own daughters on my throne,
and I must satisfy it. Since love
vainly chose my bonds, I wish at least
for friendship to forge them.
Let the Imperial blood be united to yours, Sextus.
Your sister shall be my bride this day.

SEXTUS
Servilia!

TITUS
Exactly.

ANNIUS
(O woe is me!)

SEXTUS
(O heavens,
Annius is lost.)

TITUS
Did you hear?
What do you say? Have you no answer?

SEXTUS
Titus ...

ANNIUS
Caesar, I know
Sextus's heart.
But you should not heed his counsel.
How could you select
a bride more worthy
of the empire and of you? Virtue, beauty –
Servilia has them all. I could see in her face
that she was born to rule.
This is fulfilment of my presentiments.

SEXTUS
(Annius saying this? Am I dreaming or awake?)

TITUS
Then, Annius, you bear her the tidings.
And you, dear Sextus, follow me
and put aside your doubts.
You shall have such a share
in the throne, and I will so elevate you
that very little will remain
of that vast gap
which the gods set between Sextus and Titus.

SEXTUS
This is too much, my lord. At least,
Caesar, if you do not wish us
to be ungrateful, limit your generosity.

TITUS
How then? (If you deny me
my generosity, what do you leave me?)

No. 6 - Aria

TITUS
This is the sole fruit
of the most splendid of thrones:
all the rest is torment,
all else is servitude.

What should I have, were I also
to lose the only happy hours I have
in helping those in distress,
in raising up my friends,
in awarding riches
to merit and to valour?

This is the sole fruit, etc.

Exit with Sextus


FIFTH SCENE
Annius, Servilia

Recitative

ANNIUS
I must not regret it. This was the duty
of a generous lover. My heart, put aside
your former tenderness: she who was your idol
is your sovereign. Love must change to respect.
Here she is. O heaven!
She has never seemed so lovely to my eyes.

SERVILIA
My dearest ...

ANNIUS
Hush, Servilia. Now it is forbidden
to call me so.

SERVILIA
Why?

ANNIUS
Caesar has chosen you
(what martyrdom!) to be his bride.
He enjoined me (I feel close to death!)
to bring you the tidings (O agony!), and I ...
I was ... (I cannot speak). My Empress, farewell!

SERVILIA
What! Wait! I Caesar's bride?
But why?

ANNIUS
Because he could not find
beauty and virtue
more worthy of an Empire ... O heavens!
What shall I say? Permit me, my Empress,
to take my leave.

SERVILIA
Will you leave me in such confusion?
Explain: tell me,
how did it happen? In what way?

ANNIUS
I am lost unless I go, beloved.

No. 7- Duet

ANNIUS
Ah, forgive, my former love,
that thoughtless word;
it was the fault of lips
accustomed always to call you so.

SERVILIA
Ah, you were the first person
whom I ever truly loved;
and you will be the last
to be sheltered in my heart.

ANNIUS
Dear words of my beloved!

SERVILIA
O my sweet, dear hope!

SERVILIA and ANNIUS
The more I hear your words,
the greater grows my passion.
When one soul unites with another,
what joy a heart feels!
Ah, eliminate from life
all that is not love!

Exeunt


SIXTH SCENE
A pleasant apartment in the imperial palace on the Palatine
Titus, Servilia

Recitative

TITUS
Servilia! My Empress!

SERVILIA
Ah, my lord, do not yet
confer on me so great a title. Hear me first.
I must reveal a secret to you.

TITUS
Speak ...

SERVILIA
My heart,
my lord, is no longer mine.
Annius stole it from me long ago. I have not
sufficient courage to forget him.
Even were I Empress, despite myself,
my thoughts would follow the same path.
I know that to oppose an Emperor's will
is a crime; but at least let all
be made known to my sovereign;
then, if he wants me for his bride, here is my hand.

TITUS
I thank you, O gods in heaven, that one has been found
who will dare to speak an unwelcome truth.
For your greatness Annius sets aside
his own peace! You refuse a throne
to be faithful to him! And I was to upset
such tender love! Ah, Titus's heart
cannot harbour wicked sentiments.
Cast aside all fears. I will
tie so noble a knot. If only our state
had more citizens like you!

No. 8 - Aria

TITUS
Ah, if about a throne
every heart were so sincere,
a vast empire would be
not a torment but bliss.

Rulers should not have
to suffer such deep anxiety
to distinguish hidden truth
from deception.

Ah, if about a throne, etc.

Exit


SEVENTH SCENE
Servilia, then Vitellia

Recitative

SERVILIA
How happy I am!

VITELLIA
May I offer my sovereign
the first tokens of my respect?
May I adore that face for which
Titus's heart, wounded by love,
has lost its rest?

SERVILIA
Do not be angry with me;
perhaps the imperial hand is destined for you.

Exit


EIGHTH SCENE
Vitellia, then Sextus

Recitative

VITELLIA
Does she still mock me?
Must I still suffer
shameful scorn? Ah, how ostentatiously
she leaves me here. Cruel Titus,
was it not enough to choose Berenice before me? I am
then the last of the living. Ah, ingrate, tremble,
tremble at having offended me! Today your blood ...

SEXTUS
Beloved …

VITELLIA
Well, what news do you bring?
Is the Capitol on fire? Is it in ashes?
Where is Lentulus? Is Titus punished?

SEXTUS
Nothing has yet been undertaken.

VITELLIA
Nothing! And you return so coolly before me?

SEXTUS
It was your command
to defer the blow.

VITELLIA
And did you not hear
the new affronts to me?
Do you need further spurs?
Know then that I loved Titus,
that he prevents you
from winning my heart; that if he remains alive
I may relent; that I could perhaps love him again
(I do not trust myself).
Now go: if you are unmoved
by desire for glory, ambition, love,
if you can tolerate a rival
who stole my affections, now opposes them
and could steal them from you,
I will say you are the most despicable of men.

SEXTUS
You assail me from every side!
Enough, enough, no more: your fury,
Vitellia, has already inspired me.
You soon shall see the Capitol aflame
and this dagger in Titus's breast ...

VITELLIA
And what are you thinking now?
Then hurry: what are you doing? Why do you not go?

No. 9 - Aria

SEXTUS
I go, but, my dearest,
make peace again with me.
I will be what you would most
have me be, do whatever you wish.

Look at me, and I will forget all
and fly to avenge you;
I will think only
of that glance at me.
Ah, ye gods, what power
you have given beauty!

Exit


NINTH SCENE
Vitellia, then Publius and Annius

Recitative

VITELLIA
You will see, Titus, that this face
is not so unworthy after all. At least it suffices
to seduce your friends from you,
even if it fails to attract you. You will be sorry …

PUBLIUS
You here, Vitellia? Ah hurry,
Titus is on his way to your apartments.

ANNIUS
Vitellia, do not delay:
the Emperor is looking for you.

VITELLIA
The Emperor!

PUBLIUS
Do you not yet know?
He has chosen you as his consort.

ANNIUS
You are our Empress; and we are the first
to pay you homage.

PUBLIUS
Come, princess: the Emperor is waiting.

No. 10 - Trio

VITELLIA
I am coming ... Wait ... Sextus! ...
Alas! ... Sextus! ... Has he left? …
O my fatal indignation!
O my insane fury!
What anguish, what torment!
Oh god, I freeze with horror!

PUBLIUS and ANNIUS
O how great happiness
can confuse a heart!

Exeunt


TENTH SCENE
Sextus alone, then Annius, Servilia, Publius, Vitellia

The Capitol, as above

No. 11 - Accompanied Recitative

SEXTUS
O heavens, what frenzy this is,
what a torment within my heart! I quake, freeze,
set out, draw back; every breath, every shadow
alarms me. I never thought it
so hard to undertake villainy.
But I must fulfil my task. At least let me go
to my death with courage. Courage? And how
can a traitor show that? Unhappy Sextus!
You a traitor! How shameful a name! And yet
you hasten to earn it. And whom are you betraying?
The greatest, the most just, the most merciful
prince of earth, to whom you owe
everything you possess, everything you are. Handsome
reward you make him, in truth. He raised you up to
make you his killer. Let the ground swallow me up
before I become such. Ah, Vitellia, I have no heart
to further your wrath.
I would die before striking him this blow.

A fire breaks out in the Capitol, gradually increasing.

It must be stopped …  but how?
The Capitol is already ablaze.
I hear a great din
of arms and soldiers: alas, repentance is too late.

No. 12 - Quintet with Chorus

SEXTUS
O ye gods, preserve
the glory of Rome,
or at least also
cut short my days with his.

ANNIUS
Friend, where are you going?

SEXTUS
I am going ... O heavens,
you will know by my shame.

He hurriedly enters the Capitol.


ELEVENTH SCENE

ANNIUS
I do not understand Sextus ...
But here comes Servilia.

SERVILIA
Ah, what a dreadful uproar!

ANNIUS
Fly from here, my dearest.

SERVILIA
It is feared that the fire
may not have started by accident,
but was purposely raised
with evil intent.

CHORUS
in the distance
Ah!

PUBLIUS
There is a conspiracy in Rome;
alas, I fear for Titus;
who could be the author
of this treachery?

CHORUS
Ah!

SERVILIA, ANNIUS, PUBLIUS
The cries I hear, alas ...

CHORUS
Ah!

SERVILIA, ANNIUS, PUBLIUS
... make me freeze with horror.

Enter Vitellia

CHORUS
Ah!


TWELFTH SCENE

VITELLIA
O heaven! For pity's sake,
who can tell me where Sextus is?
(I hate myself, and am
in terror of myself.)

SERVILIA, ANNIUS, PUBLIUS
Who could be the author
of this treachery?

CHORUS
Ah! Ah!

VITELLIA, SERVILIA, ANNIUS, PUBLIUS
The cries I hear, alas,
make me freeze with horror.

CORO
Ah! Ah!

Sextus comes from the Capitol


THIRTEENTH SCENE

SEXTUS
(Ah, where can I hide?
Earth, open up and swallow me,
and enclose a traitor
in your deep bosom.)

VITELLlA
Sextus!

SEXTUS
What do you want of me?

VITELLIA
Why do you look around so wildly?

SEXTUS
The daylight terrifies me.

VITELLIA
Titus?

SEXTUS
His pierced breast yielded up
his noble soul.

SERVILIA, ANNIUS, PUBLIUS
What wicked hand could
have stained itself with such a crime?

SEXTUS
It was the most villainous of men,
the horror of nature;
it was ...

VITELLIA
Be silent, madman;
do not give yourself away.

VITELLIA, SERVILIA, SEXTUS, ANNIUS, PUBLIUS
Ah, then extinguished is the star,
the bearer of peace.

TUTTI, CHORUS
O black betrayal!
O day of sorrow!


SECOND ACT

FIRST SCENE
Annius, Sextus

A pleasant apartment in the imperial palace on the Palatine

Recitative

ANNIUS
Sextus, the Emperor did not perish,
as you thought. Calm your sorrow;
at this moment he is returning,
unharmed, from the turmoil.

SEXTUS
O merciful gods!
O dear prince! O sweet friend! Ah, let me clasp you …
But you are not deceiving me?

ANNIUS
Do I deserve so little faith?
Then you yourself hasten to him,
and you will see him.

SEXTUS
I present myself to Titus
after having betrayed him?

ANNIUS
You betrayed him?

SEXTUS
I was the instigator
of the tumult.

ANNIUS
Sextus disloyal!

SEXTUS
My friend,
a moment undid me. Farewell! I fly
my country for ever.
Remember me. Defend Titus
from new plots. I will wander the woods
in sorrow, to lament my crime.

ANNIUS
Stay! O heavens! Let us think ...
Many blame accident for this fire;
so far conspiracy is not certain ...

SEXTUS
Well, what would you?

ANNIUS
Do not go yet.

No. 13 - Aria

ANNIUS
Return to Titus's side;
return, and make amends
for past error
with repeated proofs of loyalty.

Your bitter grief
is an obvious sign
that the image of virtue
remains in your heart.

Return to Titus's side, etc.

Exit


SECOND SCENE
Sextus, then Vitellia

Recitative

SEXTUS
Should I go or stay? I am in no state
to take a decision.

VITELLIA
Sextus, fly:
save your life and my honour. You are lost
if anyone finds you, and if you are found
my secret will become public.

SEXTUS
It will remain buried
in my heart. No one knew it.
I shall die concealing it.


THIRD SCENE
Publius with guards, and the same

Recitative

PUBLIUS
Sextus!

SEXTUS
What do you want?

PUBLIUS
Your sword.

SEXTUS
And why?

PUBLIUS
The one who, clad in regal attire,
fell wounded to the ground before your eyes,
and whom, misled by his appearance,
you took for Titus,
was Lentulus; the blow
did not deprive him of life. The rest you know.
Come.

VITELLIA
(O fatal blow!)

SEXTUS
surrendering his sword
So at last, tyrant …

PUBLIUS
Sextus, we must go. The Senate
is already assembled to hear you,
and I cannot delay conducting you there.

SEXTUS
Farewell, ungrateful woman


FOURTH SCENE

No. 14 - Trio

SEXTUS
If ever you feel a light breeze
playing on your face,
that breath will be
my dying sighs.

VITELLIA
(Through me he is being taken to his death;
ah, wherever can I hide?‑
Very soon my crime
will be known to the world.)

PUBLIUS
Come ...

SEXTUS
to Publius
I follow you ...
to Vitellia
Farewell.

VITELLIA
to Sextus
Listen ... I am lost ... O god!
to Publius
How cruel!

SEXTUS
to Vitellia, as he is going
Remember the one who loves you still,
even in this plight.
Let your pity at least
be solace for my pain.

VITELLIA
Remorse, horror and fear
rend my heart!
What I feel in my soul
will make me die of grief.)

PUBLIUS
(The stinging, bitter tears
that pour from her eyes
move my soul,
but pity is useless!)

Exeunt Publius and Sextus with the guards; exit Vitellia on the opposite side.


FIFTH SCENE
A great hall designed for public hearings. A throne, chair and small table

Titus, Publius, patricians, Praetorian Guard and populace

No. 15 - Chorus

CHORUS
Ah, let us render thanks
to the supreme Creator
who in Titus preserved
the glory of the throne.

TITUS
Ah no, I am not
so unfortunate
if my lot finds
sympathy in Rome,
if prayers are still
offered up for Titus.

CHORUS
Ali, let us render thanks, etc.

Recitative

PUBLIUS
The people
are all assembled there
at the festive arena,
and nothing is lacking
but your presence.

TITUS
We will go soon, Publius.
I could not rest
if I did not first know Sextus's fate.
The Senate will now
have heard his defence; it will have found,
you will see, that he is innocent;
and the verdict should not be long delayed.
Go, ask
What is happening, what they are waiting for.
I wish to know all before leaving.

PUBLIUS
I go, but fear
I shall not return the bearer of happy tidings.

TITUS
Can you believe Sextus disloyal?
I measure his feelings by my own;
and it seems an impossibility to me
that he could have betrayed me.

PUBLIUS
But my lard, not all have hearts like Titus.

No. 16 - Aria

PUBLIUS
He is late
to notice betrayal
who has never known
what it is to be disloyal.

It is no wonder
if a true heart,
full of honour,
believes all other
hearts incapable
of disloyalty.

He is late, etc.

Exit


SIXTH SCENE
Titus, then Annius

Recitative

TITUS
No, I do not believe
my Sextus so wicked.
A heart could not change
so greatly. Annius, what do you bring?
Sextus 's innocence?
Reassure me.

ANNIUS
My lord, I come
to beg mercy for him.


SEVENTH SCENE
The same, Publius carrying a piece of paper

Recitative

PUBLIUS
Caesar, did I not say so? Sextus was the author
of the cruel plot.

TITUS
And is this true, Publius?

PUBLIUS
Only too true: he admitted everything
with his own lips. The Senate has condemned him,
with his accomplices, to be thrown to the wild beasts.
Here is the terrible, but just, decree;
giving the paper to Titus
only the Emperor's name, my lord, is lacking.

TITUS
throwing himself into a chair
Almighty gods!

PUBLIUS
kneeling
Ah, merciful sovereign …

TITUS
Annius, for the moment
leave me in peace.

PUBLIUS
You know that the people
are now assembled for the great show…

TITUS
I know. Leave me!

ANNIUS
Oh, forgive me if I speak
on behalf of a madman.
He is the brother of my dear bride.

No. 17- Aria

ANNIUS
You were betrayed:
he deserves to die,
but yet Titus's heart
allows room for hope.

Ah, take counsel,
my lord, of your heart:
deign to look
upon our grief.

Exeunt Publius and Annius.


EIGHTH SCENE
Titus alone, seated

Accompanied Recitative

TITUS
O horror! What treachery!
What black disloyalty! To pretend friendship
and be always at my side; at every moment
exacting from me
some token of love, and meanwhile
plotting my death! And I still delay
the punishment and do not sign
the sentence?

He takes the pen to sign, then pauses.

Ah yes, let the miscreant die!
He shall die … but am I sending Sextus to his death
without hearing him? Yes; the Senate
has already heard enough. Yet suppose he had
some secret to reveal to me?
Ho there!
He puts down his pen; a guard enters
(Let him be heard, and then
he can go to execution.) Bring Sextus to me.

Exit guard

How unhappy is the fate
of those who reign! To us is denied
what is given to the lowliest. That needy peasant
in the depths of the woods, whose rough sides
are clad in coarse wool, whose shapeless hovel
is an unreliable shelter from the inclement elements,
sleeps peacefully,
passes his days in tranquillity. He asks little:
he knows who hates him, who loves him:
in company or alone
he goes safely to the forest and to the mountain,
and sees everyone's hearts mirrored in their faces.


NINTH SCENE
Titus, Publius, Sextus and guards

Sextus has barely entered when he halts.

No. 18 - Trio

SEXTUS
(Is that the face of Titus?
Ah, ye stars, where has
his usual mildness gone?
Now he makes me tremble!)

TITUS
(Eternal gods! Are these then
the features of Sextus?
O how a crime
can transform a face!)

PUBLIUS
(A thousand conflicting emotions
are at war within Titus.
If he feels such torment,
he still loves him.)

TITUS
Draw near!

SEXTUS
(O voice
that weighs so heavy on my heart!)

TITUS
Do you not hear?

SEXTUS
(O heaven, I feel
myself bathed in sweat!
O god! A dying man
could not suffer more.)

TITUS and PUBLIUS
(The traitor trembles
and dares not raise his eyes.)

Exeunt Publius and the guards

Recitative

TITUS
Hear me, Sextus; we are alone;
your sovereign is not present.
Open your heart to Titus;
confide in your friend.
I ask this at least
in return for friendship,

SEXTUS
(Here is a new kind of torment!
Either displease Titus
or accuse Vitellia.)

TITUS
beginning to grow uneasy
Do you still doubt?

SEXTUS
My lord ...
know then ...

TITUS
Speak,then:
what did you wish to tell me?

SEXTUS
That I am the object
of the gods' wrath; that I no longer
have the strength to face my fate;
that I confess myself a traitor, call myself a villain;
that I deserve death and desire it.

TITUS
Ungrateful wretch! And you shall have it!
to the guards, who have entered
Guards, take the culprit
out of my sight!

SEXTUS
One last kiss
on that invincible hand.

TITUS
without looking at him
Go; it is too late;
now I am your judge.

SEXTUS
Ah my lord, let this be your last favour.

No. 19 - Rondo

SEXTUS
Ah, for this single moment
remember our former love,
for your anger, your severity,
make me die of grief.

Unworthy of pity, it is true,
I ought only to inspire horror.
Yet you would be less harsh
if you could read my heart.

In despair I go to death,
but dying does not affright me.
The thought that I was
a traitor to you tortures me!

(A heart can suffer such anguish
and yet not die of sorrow!)

Exit 


TENTH SCENE
Titus alone

Recitative

TITUS
Where was more insolent disloyalty ever heard?
I must avenge his disregard
and scorn for my clemency.
Avenge! ... Can the heart of Titus
nurture such feelings? ... Well, let him live ...
Then do the laws mean nothing?
He sits down
Sextus is guilty: Sextus shall die.
He signs
But then I do
violence to my feelings. Shall I at least be sure
that others will approve? Ah, let me not forsake
my usual path ...
tearing up the sheet
Let my friend live, though he is faithless.
And if the world wants to accuse me
of some failing,
let it accuse me of mercy,
throwing away the torn sheet
not of harshness.


ELEVENTH SCENE
Titus, Publius

Recitative

TITUS
Publius!

PUBLIUS
My Emperor?

TITUS
Let us go
to the people, who are waiting.

PUBLIUS
And Sextus?

TITUS
And let Sextus,
too, come to the arena.

PUBLIUS
Then his fate ...?

TITUS
Yes, Publius, it is already decided.

PUBLIUS
(O wretched man!)

No. 20 - Aria

TITUS
If a hard heart is necessary to a ruler,
ye benevolent gods,
either take the empire from me
or give me another heart.

If I cannot assure the loyalty
of my realms by love,
I care not for a loyalty
that is born of fear.

If a hard heart is necessary, etc.

Exit, followed by Publius


TWELFTH SCENE
Vitellia, and then Servilia and Annius from opposite sides

Recitative

SERVILIA
Ah, Vitellia!

ANNIUS
Ah, princess!

SERVILIA
My poor brother ...

ANNIUS
My dear friend ...

SERVILIA
... is being taken to his death.

VITELLIA
But what can I do for him?

SERVILIA
Everything: at your pleas
Titus will pardon him.

ANNIUS
He cannot refuse it
to his new Empress.

VITELLIA
Annius, I am not
the Empress yet.

ANNIUS
Before the sun sets,
Titus will be your husband. just now, in my presence,
he gave orders for the festivities.

VITELLIA
(Then Sextus kept silent! What love! What faith!)
Annius, Servilia, let us go. (But where can I go
like this without thought?) leave me, friends,
I will come.

No. 21 - Aria

SERVILIA
If you do nothing for him
but shed tears,
all your weeping
will be of no avail.

Oh, how like
to cruelty
is this useless
pity that you feel.

If you do nothing for him, etc.

Exit


THIRTEENTH SCENE
Vitellia alone

No. 22 - Accompanied Recitative

VITELLIA
Now is the moment, O Vitellia,
to test your firmess: will you have
sufficient courage to look upon
your faithful Sextus lifeless? Sextus, who loves you
more than his own life, who for your sake
committed a crime, who obeyed you, cruel one,
and adored you, unjust as you are;
who in the face of death remains so true to you,
while you, aware of this, calmly go
to Caesar's bridal bed? Ah, I should always see
Sextus near me and fear the breezes and the stones
might speak
and betray me to Titus.
Let me go and confess all at his feet.
Let Sextus's crime,
If it cannot be forgiven, be lessened through my guilt.
Ah farewell, hopes of dominion and marriage!

No. 23 - Rondo

VITELLIA
No more
shall Hymen descend
to weave
fair garlands of flowers.

Bound in harsh,
cruel chains,
I see death
advance towards me.

O wretched me! How horrible!
Ah, what will be said of me?
Yet he who could see my distress
would have pity on me.

Exit


FOURTEENTH SCENE
A splendid scene showing a vast amphitheatre. Already in the arena can be seen the accomplices in the plot, who have been condemned to be thrown to the wild beasts.

During the following chorus Titus enters, preceded by lictors, surrounded by the Praetorian Guard. After him, Annius and Servilia.

No. 24 - Chorus

CHORUS
That you are the care, the darling
of heaven and of the gods,
great hero, has been shown
in the brief course of this day.

But there is no cause for wonder,
fortunate Augustus,
that the gods thus watch over
one so like them.


FIFTEENTH SCENE
Titus, Publius and Sextus between lictors, Annius and Servilia, and then Vitellia

Recitative

TITUS
Sextus,
you know the range of your crimes
and what punishment is due to you. Rome in turmoil,
majesty offended, laws affronted,
friendship betrayed ‑ the world and heaven
call for your death. Yet you know that
I am the sole object of your treachery: now listen.

VITELLIA
entering hastily
Here, mighty Emperor,
kneeling
here at your feet is the most troubled …

TITUS
Ah, rise!
What are you doing? What do you desire?

VITELLIA
I bring before you
the author of the wicked plot.

TITUS
Where is he? Who ever planned
such threats to my life?

VITELLIA
You will not believe it.

TITUS
Why not?

VITELLIA
Because it is I.

TITUS
You too?

SEXTUS and SERVILIA
Ye stars!

ANNIUS and PUBLIUS
Ye gods!

TITUS
And how many are there,
however many to betray me?

VITELLIA
I am the most guilty of all!
I conceived the plot.
I seduced from you your most
faithful friend: I took advantage
of his blind love for me.

TITUS
But what was the cause
of your anger?

VITELLIA
Your goodness. I thought that
this was love. I hoped for your hand and the throne
as a gift from you, and then
I was repeatedly passed over, and sought revenge.

No. 25 - Accompanied Recitative

TITUS
But what a day this is! At the very moment
that I absolve one wrongdoer, I discover another?
When, just gods, shall I find
a loyal soul? I believe the stars conspire
to oblige me, despite myself,
to turn cruel. No: they shall not have
this satisfaction. My strength is already pledged
to continue the contest.
Let us see whether others' perfidy
or my clemency will be the more enduring.
Ho there! Release Sextus: Lentulus and his followers
shall again enjoy life and liberty.
Be it known in Rome
that I am the same, that I know all,
forgive everyone and forget it all.

No. 26 - Sextet with Chorus

SEXTUS
You forgive me, Caesar, it is true;
but my heart, that will lament
its error as long as memory lasts,
does not forgive me.

TITUS
The true repentance
of which you are capable
is worth more than a truly
constant fidelity.

VITELLIA, SERVILIA, ANNIUS
O generous and noble soul!
Who ever attained such heights?
His supreme goodness
draws tears from my eyes.

TUTTI and CHORUS (except TITUS)
Eternal gods, watch
over his sacred days:
preserve in him
Rome's happiness.

TITUS
Cut short, eternal gods,
cut short my days
on that day when the good of Rome
ceases to be my care.