The Creation Libretto

The libretto to be performed by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in their April 27, 2016 performance of Haydn’s Creation. Raphael is sung by baritone Alexander Hajek. Uriel is sung by tenor Zach Finkelstein. Gabriel is sung by soprano Leslie Ann Bradley.

The Creation: An oratorio by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Part 1

The Representation of Chaos

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth; and the earth was without form, and void;
and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said: Let there be light. And there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good;
and God divided the light from the darkness.

Now vanish before the holy beams,
the gloomy dismal shades dark;
the first of days appears.
Disorder yields to order fair the place.
Affrighted fled hell’s spirits black in throngs;
down they sink in the deep of abyss to endless night.

Despairing, cursing rage attends their rapid fall.
A new created world springs up at God’s command.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters, which were under the firmament from the waters,
which were above the firmament. And it was so.

Outrageous storms now dreadful arose;
as chaff by the winds are impelled the clouds.
By heaven’s fire the sky is enflamed,
and awful rolled the thunders on high.
Now from the floods in steam ascend
reviving showers of rain, the dreary, wasteful hail,
the light and flaky snow.

The marvelous work beholds amazed the glorious hierarchy of heaven;
and to the ethereal vaults resound the praise of God,
and of the second day.

And to the ethereal vaults resound the praise of God, and of the second day.

And God said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear. And it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good.

Rolling in foaming billows uplifted roars the boisterous sea. Mountains and rocks now emerge; their tops into the clouds ascend. Through the open plains outstretching wide in serpent error rivers flow.
Softly purling, glides on through silent vales the limpid brook.

And God said: Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.
And it was so.

With verdure clad the fields appear delightful to the ravished sense; by flowers sweet and gay enhanced is the charming sight.
Here vent their fumes the fragrant herbs; here shoots the healing plant.
With copious fruit the expanded boughs are hung;
in leafy arches twine the shady groves;
o’er lofty hills majestic forests wave.

And the heavenly host proclaimed the third day,
praising God, and saying:

Awake the harp, the lyre awake. In shout and joy your voices raise. In triumph sing the mighty Lord. For He
the heavens and earth has clothed in stately dress.

And God said: Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night, and to give
light upon the earth; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years. He made the
stars also.

In splendour bright is rising now the sun, and darts his rays; a joyful, happy spouse, a giant proud and glad to run his measured course. With softer beams and milder light steps on the silver moon through silent night. The space immense of the azure sky innumerous host of radiant orbs adorns, and the sons of God announced the fourth day in song divine, proclaiming thus His power:

Chorus, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael
The heavens are telling the glory of God.
The wonder of His works displays the firmament.

Today that is coming speaks it the day;
the night that is gone, to following night.

In all the lands resounds the word, never unperceived, ever understood.


Part 2

And God said: Let the waters bring forth abundantly
the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may
fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

On mighty pens uplifted soars the eagle aloft, and cleaves the sky in swiftest flight to the blazing sun.
His welcome bids to morn the merry lark, and cooing calls the tender dove his mate.
From every bush and grove resound the nightingale’s delightful notes. No grief affected yet her breast, nor to
a mournful tale were tuned her soft enchanting lays.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, and God blessed them, saying: Be fruitful all, and multiply, ye winged tribes, be multiplied, and sing on every tree. Multiply, ye finny tribes, and fill each watery deep. Be fruitful, grow, and multiply! And in your God and Lord rejoice!

And the angels struck their immortal harps, and the wonders of the fifth day sung.

Most beautiful appear, with verdure young adorned the gently sloping hills. Their narrow sinuous veins distil in crystal drops, the fountain fresh and bright.

In lofty circles plays, and hovers through the sky, the cheerful host of birds. And in the flying whirl, their glittering plumes are dyed, as rainbows by the sun.

See flashing through the wet in thronged swarms the fry on thousand ways around. Upheaved from the deep, the immense Leviathan sports on the foaming wave.

Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael
How many are Thy works, O God!
Who may their numbers tell?

The Lord is great, and great His might.
His glory lasts for ever and for evermore.


And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing,
and beast of the earth, after his kind.

Straight opening her fertile womb, the earth obeyed
the word, and teem’d creatures numberless, in perfect forms, and fully grown.

Cheerful, roaring, stands the tawny lion.
With sudden leaps the flexible tiger appears.
The nimble stag bears up his branching head. With flying mane, and fiery look, impatient neighs the noble steed.

The cattle, in herds, already seek their food on fields
and meadows green.
And o’er the ground, as plants, are spread the fleecy,
meek, and bleating flocks.

Unnumbered as the sands, in whirls arose the host
of insects.
In long dimension creeps, with sinuous trace,
the worm.

Now heaven in fullest glory shone; earth smiled in
all her rich attire. The room of air with fowl is filled,
the water swelled by shoals of fish; by heavy beasts
the ground is trod.

But all the work was not complete.
There wanted yet that wondrous being,
that grateful should God’s power admire,
with heart and voice His goodness praise.

And God created Man in His own image;
in the image of God created He him.
Male and female created He them.
He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and Man became a living soul.

In native worth and honour clad, with beauty, courage, strength adorned, to heaven erect and tall, he stands a man, the Lord and King of nature all.

His large and arched front sublime of wisdom deep declares the seat, and in his eyes with brightness shines the soul, the breath and image of his God.

With fondness leans upon his breast the partner for
him formed, a woman, fair and graceful spouse.
Her softly smiling virgin looks, of flowery spring the mirror, bespeak him love, and joy, and bliss.

And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the heavenly choir, in song divine, thus closed the sixth day.

Achieved is the glorious work;
the Lord beholds it, and is pleased.
In lofty strains let us rejoice.
Our song let be the praise of God.

Gabriel, Uriel
On thee each living soul awaits; from thee each joy and blessing flows. Thou openest Thy hand, and all are filled with good.

But when Thy face, O Lord, is hid, with sudden terror they are struck, Thou takest their breath away; they vanish into dust.

Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael
Thou sendest forth Thy breath again, and life with vigour fresh returns. Revived earth unfolds new force and new delights.

Achieved is the glorious work. Our song let be the
praise of God. Glory to His name for ever.
He sole on high exalted reigns. Alleluia!

Part 3

In rosy mantle appears, by sweetest sounds awaked,
the morning, young and fair.
From heaven’s angelic choirs pure harmony descends
on ravished earth.
Behold the blissful pair, where hand in hand they go.
Their looks of joy express the thanks that
swell each grateful heart.
A louder praise of God their lips shall utter soon.
Then let our voices ring, united with their song!

Adam and Eve
By thee with bliss, O bounteous Lord,
the heaven and earth are stored.
This world, so great, so wonderful,
thy mighty hand has framed.

For ever blessed be His power,
His name be ever magnified.

Of stars the fairest, pledge the day,
that crown’st the smiling morn.
How brighten’st thou, O sun, the day,
Thou eye and soul of all.

Proclaim in your extended course,
the glorious power and might of God.

And thou that rul’st the silent night,
and all ye starry hosts,
spread wide and everywhere, spread wide
His praise in choral songs about.

Ye strong and cumbrous elements,
who ceaseless changes make;
Ye dusky mists, and dewy steams,
that rise and fall through the air.

Adam, Eve, Chorus
Resound the praise of God our Lord.
Great His name, and great His might.

Ye purling fountains tune His praise,
and wave your tops, ye pines.
Ye plants exhale, ye flowers breathe
to Him your balmy scent.

Ye, that on mountains stately tread,
and ye that lowly creep,
ye birds that sing at heaven’s gate,
and ye that swim the stream.

Adam, Eve, Chorus
Ye living souls extol the Lord!
Him celebrate. Him magnify.

Adam and Eve
Ye valleys, hills and shady woods,
our raptur’d notes ye heard;
from morn till eve you shall repeat
our grateful hymns of praise.

Hail bounteous Lord! Almighty, hail!
Thy word called forth this wondrous frame.
Thy power adore the heaven and earth;
we praise Thee now and evermore.

O happy pair, and always happy yet,
if not misled by false conceit,
ye strive at more than granted is,
and more to know, than know ye should.


Sing the Lord, ye voices all.
Utter thanks all ye His works.
Celebrate His power and glory.
Let his name resound on high.

The Lord is great.
His praise shall last for aye. Amen.