Zeloù. Ye heavenly powers, I thank you! Now at last
My thousand years of punishment are past.
The immortal Sages of the Sacred Hill,
For that I once rebelled against their will,
Decreed that I should wear this loathsome shape,
From which their sentence grants me no escape
Until amongst the race of human kind
One faithful pair of lovers I could find,
Whose constant ardour and devoted faith
Would stand unshaken in the face of death.
And I have found them: Dardanè the fair
Princess of Georgia and the Prince Taer.
Oh cruel fate! Before I can obtain
My long awaited liberty again,
I am compelled to make them undergo
Trials undreamt of, suffering, grief and woe.
I fain would help them, but my lips are sealed;
What lies before them may not be revealed.
They travel to the Court of far Cathay,
And through this forest they must take their way.
Their servants ride ahead, the news to bring
To Taer's father, China's aged king;
But this I must prevent, and they shall seem
To have forgot, as if it were a dream,
Who were their masters, whence it was they came,
Who they themselves were, or what was their name.
(He fetches a bottle and a glass)
Once let them drink of this enchanted brew,
They shall forget all that they ever knew.
(He puts the bottle and glass on the ground and retires into the cave)