The Beatitudes (César Franck)

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  • (Posted 2015-08-10)  CPDL #36447:  Network.png
Contributor: Paolo Pandolfo (submitted 2015-08-10).  Score information: A4, 236 pages, 12.79 MB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Scanned score.

General Information

Title: The Beatitudes
Composer: César Franck

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredOratorio

Language: English
Instruments: Unknown

First published:

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Tenor solo:
Dark brooded fear o'er the land,
Oppression's pitiless hand
Crushed and degraded the weak;
Full of horror and woe, the old world was expiring,
Justice and mercy desiring;
Hope had fled from the meek:
When, far above the cries of hate and desperation,
Rose a voice full of power, strong, clear and silver-sweet;
And there the Saviour stands, 'mid the earth's desolation,
His words draw all men to his feet.
Hovering around the Master,
In heaven's blue vault are soaring
The angels, chanting loud and clear
Their sweet song:
Tenor solo and chorus
"O blessed be He, who now is pouring
Sweet hope into hearts dark with fear!"

Chorus and baritone solo
All the wealth of the earth
Is our desire!
We worship pleasure, of joy and mirth
We never tire;
For us no dark tomorrow
Shall arise;
Withdraw all pain and sorrow
From our eyes
And from our gladness
Away with sadness!
All tears and sighs!

When our hearts are oppressed
in the midst of our pleasure,
And despair without measure
Has filled us with dread,
Say, where has gladness fled?

The Voice of Christ
Blessed he, who, from Earth's dreams awaking,
Turns his heart from worldly pride,
Who, ev'ry other joy forsaking,
Of wealth the golden fetters breaking,
Treasures of heaven spreads around on ev'ry side.
Then, when the awful trumpet soundeth,
Let him rejoice!
Blessed is he, in whom God's grace aboundeth,
Angels for him heaven's gates fling open wide.

Celestial Chorus
Blessed is he, in whom God's grace and love aboundeth,
Angels for him heav'n's gates fling open wide.

Terrestrial chorus
The earth is dark, heaven's light has faded,
Shedding no bright ray;
Every hope with sorrow is shaded,
And passeth away.
Swift by life's tempest we're driven,
Trembling our hearts shrink with fear;
Storm-tossed vessels far from haven,
Wayside dust whirled far and near.
Against its ills
The soul indignant
Vainly seeks a shield;
Cruel fate, with glance malignant,
Sternly bids it yield.

Celestial Chorus
Poor human souls, thus striving
For the fitful joys of earth;
Whom deadly sin is driving!
Give holy Meekness birth.
Her sacred lamp burns ever brightly,
She, only, can allay your care,
She, only, maketh hang more lightly
Those chains, which goad you to despair.

The Voice of Christ.
0! blessed are the meek !
For them earth's treasures all are gathered.

Terrestrial chorus
Grief o'er all creatures
Reigns supreme,
Her terrible features
Haunt every dream;
Our sad cries unavailing,
Each she claims as her slave;
Each with rigor unfailing
Drives to the grave.
A mother
Death, cruel tyrant! Thou hast bereft me!
Hear me now! since ali joy hath left me,
Only let me weep, and die!
An Orphan
Father and mother now bewailing,
With fear and dread my spirit quailing,
Ah! for me ev'ry breath's a sigh!
The wife and the husband
Loved companion of the happy morning,
O thou whom I adore,
Before tomorrow's light is dawning
Thou'lt have fled for evermore!
The mother
Sweet child, whom I adore,
Farewell for evermore!
An orphan
Thou whom I adore,
Farewell for evermore!
Terrestrial chorus
Grief o'er all creatures
Reigns supreme,
Her terrible features
Haunt every dream.
Sore oppressed, for mercy praying,
None to heed the slave's appeal!
To souls all dark with doubts dismaying
O blessed Truth, thy light reveal;
O blessed Truth!
The gods, our off'rings spurning,
Scorn each bitter cry.
For home and country yearning,
How we vainly weep and sigh!
The voice of Christ
Blessed are the mourners,
For they shall be consoled!
Celestial Chorus
O blessed for ever, they who suffer pain!
Heaven to the exile gives again
The dear home he cherished;
The orphan sees once more
The mother who perished!
Clear and bright, in Heaven's endless day,
Truth shines out with glittering ray,
Of earth's dark woes and fair hopes blighted
God shall make for those he loves
Crowns of gold with glory lighted.
There the poor slave in freedom roves.
O blessed for ever, they who suffer pain!

Where'er we stray, stern
Fate enthrals us,
And Evil reigns;
Darkly brooding,
Destiny appals us,
Mocking our pains.
Each imprisoned soul, its wings unfolding,
Would soar on high;
Heavy chains of sin its flight withholding,
We sink and die.
Yet, since a chaste desire,
a sacred frame still burning,
Illumines our night,
Cheering the soul to wisdom returning,
Shedding its light:
Purity! Holiness! and Justice!
Unveil thy face!
Hear us, we pray!
Vice for its service
Demands our race.
Ah, come!
Truth, to our pleading now hearken!
Hide not thy ray!
With thy light dispel the clouds
which darken True Wisdom's day !
The voice of Christ
O happy he, athirst for God's salvation!
In heaven pure streams of living waters flow;
And happy he, whose life is one oblation:
He shall in heav'n receive ail which he gave below.

Tenor solo
Like beaten corn-sheaves lying
Upon the threshing-floor,
The weak, ail crushed and dying,
Helpless their ills deplore.
No strong arm their cause defending,
Galled by the oppressor's chain,
They mourn with grief unending,
Of vengeance dream in vain.
Their souls with hatred burning,
They groan and sigh,
And for pity are turning
To the Master on high.
Terrestrial chorus
King all-glorious!
Rise victorious!
Smite the oppressor and transgressor!
We shrink and die 'neath their blows,
Mighty God! avenge our woes!
Tyrants vaunt their power unrelenting,
Scorning ail our bitter lamenting;
Shield us, Lord, in our distress!
Strike, till our foes thy might confess!
But if our tears are unavailing,
If God be deaf to ail our cries,
Then, armed by need with strength unfailing,
Fearless one and all arise!
Tremble, then! oppressors, tremble!
Vengeance points the sword!
Ye tyrants and foes, in wrath we assemble,
In deadly accord;
We, who were slaves, now commanding,
Dire retribution demanding,
Crushed lies the foe at our feet;
Vengeance we take for each scornful reviling, .
Tears of the past, insults defiling,
All have made our revenge more sweet!
The voice of Christ
"Vengeance belongeth to me alone!"
'Tis God speaks the word;
For all his sins the wicked shall atone;
Wait ye on the Lord!
Cease, sons of men, from your angry pursuing,
With impious hatred your ills but renewing;
For verily I say to you, that blessed are they
Who in mercy fear to slay!
Celestial Chorus
Ever blessed are they
Who in mercy fear to slay!
'Tis God who calls to man from heav'n,
Forgive, that ye may be forgiven.
The Angel of Forgiveness
Holy love, sweet pardon
And mercy show;
Bear your brother's burden
Here on earth below
And when, with dreadful majesty,
God in wrath appeareth,
Each soul in terror his judgment feareth,
Save ye, who humbly cry:
"Our guilty souls preserve!
No pardon we deserve!
Bow thine ear from heav'n;
Mercy we have shown,
When the rude oppressor,
Trembling, stood alone,
We've spared the vile transgressor;
Forgive, dear Lord. as we've forgiven!"

Heathen women
The gods, from us their faces turning,
Heed nor tear nor sigh;
Our gifts and sacrifices spurning,
Leave us now to die.
0 absent gods, hear us imploring!
And as of yore
See us kneeling, trembling, adoring;
Bow down once more!
Jewish women
Thou, who once to our sires appeared,
Show now Thy face!
Thou, Lord, who from Horeb judgment declared,
Save Israel's race!
God of mercy, hear us imploring,
And as of yore,
Now we are trembling and adoring,
Bow down once more!
The Pharisees
Lord God! praise and thanks I'm bringing;
Firmly thy sacred laws I've kept
With fast and vigil prayed
While all the wicked slept.
With righteous anger
From my path now I'm flinging
All the weak, erring souls who from wisdom have turned.
By my justice and righteous dealing
- O God! a murd'rous thought or feeling
Ne'er my heart defiles! -
I've freed my soul from Satan's wiles.
Great God! from early youth
With all thy laws complying,
I await, on thy faith relying,
Eternal joys, pleasures divine;
With all the just united,
I trust in Heav'n to shine.
The Angel of Death
I gather in each soul immortal,
Death's dark angel I;
Widely opens Heav'n's flaming portal,
See the Throne on high!
And which of you, frail sons terrestrial,
Can view undismayed
God enthroned in light celestial,
All his might displayed?
Celestial Chorus
Earthly knowledge, wisdom and merit,
Ne'er make the gates of heav'n unroll;
Only the meek and childlike soul,
Pure in heart and humble in spirit,
May enter this bright, holy place.
The voice of Christ
O blest are the pure;
They shall see God's face.
Celestial chorus
Then purge from your hearts sins degrading,
Purify by prayer each crimson stain,
That the Lord may hearken again
And, when earthly desires are fading,
Enter ye into this holy place.
Pardoned and cleansed by Christ's endeavor,
Come, dear brethren, join us on high;
Soaring ever, upward we fly,
Heav'nly portals open for ever,
Enter ye this holy place.
Come hither, and with the saintly commingle, ·
With seraphs and angels your songs intermingle.
0 enter ye this holy place !
Blessed are the pure,
They shall see God!

'Tis I whose baneful spell
Spreads strife and bitter hatred!
To all ye slaves of Hell
My evil laws are sacred;
Now gather, ye murderous throng!
To my kingdom belong!
Ye, whom evil passions guiding,
Paths of guilt and darkness tread;
Ye, who stern justice deriding,
By hatred and wrath are led:
Hearts all stained by sins corroding,
Souls aghast with dark foreboding,
All ye enemies of peace,
I am your king!
Behold my banner unrolled!
Chorus of tyrants
Implacable foes, how deadly our power!
Now low at our feet lie the shuddering crowd.
Pagan priests
On altars of blood we serve every hour
False gods, who for victims and gifts cry aloud!
The multitude
Now perish all laws and delusion,
On earth shall reign confusion!
A day of wrath and judgment dire,
Our day, at length appeareth!
Rising in a dawn of fire,
Our power the mighty feareth !
Satan and the multitude
Now with fury and rage,
Vowing slaughter and death,
Hate burns in every breath,
Sparing neither youth nor age.
Let our fierce shouts of hate
Drown the cries of the slain ;
Tyrants are taught, too late,
All we've borne of grief and pain !
With scorn stifle Virtue's teaching;
Strength alone can win the fight!
The voice of Christ
Blessed are they who, with voice beseeching,
Turn aside wrath and vengeance ;
they shall win eternal light.
Ah! that voice! striking terror into my heart!
Causing darkness and error
To depart.
How all my splendor vanished
When that voice gave decree,
I from God's courts was banished,
Forced in terror to flee.
The peacemakers
Evil cannot stay,
naught but good remaineth,
Be faithful and pure;
In vain Satan strives to conquer,
he gaineth
Naught that shall endure.
Seed that's sown in faith,
on God's grace relying,
Nursed with tears and prayer,
Springs forth into flower;
Blossoms never dying
Shed a perfume rare.
With steadfast hearts and Christian graces,
Strong in faith we work,
Struggling ever, where in Earth's dark places
Satan's myriads lurk.
Peace sheds her light,Earth's face renewing;
Gentle showers of love,
Every blighted heart bedewing,
Fall from heaven above.
Satan rageth, battle wageth
'Gainst the bonds of love divine;
Dawn is breaking, hope is waking,
Sweet charity benign.
The light of true wisdom we follow,
With eager hands the tomb we hollow;
Of want and poverty accursed
See all clouds and darkness dispersed!

Not yet defeated,
Still my godlike power survives!
For salvation completed
See how God with Satan strives!
Christ, behold! how thro' countless ages
Foul injustice and carnage reign;
How in warfare mankind engages
Bloodshed, destruction and disdain.
See how pale virtue doth languish,
Man's guilt deploring in anguish;
See how crime triumphant swells!
See in fear the righteous bending!
Yea, I conquer heaven,
sending Man where grief for ever dwells.
Chorus of the Just
Hear us, Justice eternal!
Drive all tyranny hence!
Against this power infernal
Be our shield and defence!
But if thy mighty sword is sheathed,
If we suffer death for thee,
When martyr-crown our brow hath wreathed
May our memory blessed be!
Insensates! this wild delusion
Provokes my scorn!
'Wait ye then a happy morn?
Vain illusion!
Well I know how martyr-pride
In torments dire can be broken;
King am I, your doom I've spoken!
My wrath ye cannot turn aside!
Slaves accursed, bow before me!
Triumphant, I force ye to adore me,
Dare not my fury defy!
My pow'r in vain denying,
Are ye on aid relying
From on high?
Mater Dolorosa
Stricken with sorrow, sad watch I'm keeping,
With sevenfold grief my heart is torn;
Bruised and bleeding, in the tomb is sleeping
The son whom my arms have borne.
To Calvary by soldiers driven,
In vain seeking pity to find,
For men his blood was freely given,
He bore the sins of all mankind.
What tears, what grief, what anguish
Overwhelmed me in that dread hour,
To see his gentle spirit languish
When God in wrath withheld his pow'r.
How that cry of desolation
Rent my mother-heart in twain!
Fair Pascal Lamb! Earth's consolation!
Satan crushed! ne'er to rise again!
Mine the doom she hath spoken!
'Twas decreed!
Eve my power now hath broken
Through her seed!
Earth through her sphere is shaking,
And Christ, triumphant waking,
Arising from the dead,
With that heel torn and bruised,
By sinful man abused,
Hath crushed the serpent's head!
The voice of Christ
O ye righteous, whom my Father sent
Wisdom to declare!
'Mid injustice be ye content
Every suff'ring to bear;
For blessed are ye, when men revile ye
For righteousness' sake;
Let not Satan's power e'er beguile ye
Justice to forsake.
Exceeding shall be your guerdon,
Ever steadfast and valiant be;
Your God will lighten every burden
Borne in faith for me.
O Christ! I own thy power and might!
For me, endless night!
The voice of Christ
O come, ye of my Father beloved!
O come to me!
Earthly woes ye have proved,
Grief and sorrow now shall flee.
In heaven joyous anthems are ringing,
My cross and passion to extol,
While through the golden gates are winging
The angels, each bearing a soul!.
Celestial chorus
Hosanna! Peace from God the Father,
The blessings of fraternity,
Shall gather for eternity!
With Christ o'er Death victorious,
Now enter the kingdom glorious,
Blessed for ever! Hosanna