The Narrator’s Scene 3 Aria

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“It has been five years from that day, and a real grief has come upon the land. The emperor lay ill. So ill, in fact, that he was not expected to live. Already a new emperor had been chosen and the people who waited in the street asked the Chancellor how the old emperor was; but he only shook his head. Cold and pale lay the emperor in his royal bed; he could scarcely breathe for a strange weight sat upon his chest. He opened his eyes, and there saw Death. The ghastly figure had put on the emperor’s golden crown, and held in one hand his sword of state, and in his other hand he grasped the imperial banner. Peeping through the long velvet curtains, were a number of strange and ghostly heads. These were the emperor’s past deeds, both good and bad. They stared him in the face as Death creeps closer.”