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86. Air

Israelite Woman

Let the bright seraphim in burning Row,
Their loud, uplifted angel trumpets blow.
Let the cherubic host, in tuneful choirs,
Touch their immortal harps with golden wires.

Samson, An Oratorio, The Words taken from Milton Set to Musick by Mr. Handel.

London, J. Walsh, 1743

* f M2000.H13s

Handel based much of the text on John Milton's Samson Agonistes, of which the Clark Library possesses a copy of the first edition of the his collected works that can be seen here. The famous aria, "Let the bright Seraphim in burning Row" to be sung by a Israelite woman, is an invention by the composer. After completing the manuscript. he inserted the aria before the conclusion of the work. Rather than a dark conclusion upon Samson's death, Handel believed the audience should be in a better frame of mind at the close of the oratorio.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang "Let the bright Seraphims in burning Row" at the 1981 marriage ceremony of Prince Charles and Diana in St. Paul's Cathedral, and the performance was broadcast throughout the world.

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