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"Javert's Suicide" is the second and last chief song performed solely by Javert. It is preceded by a repeat of the beginning of "The Confrontation" theme, in which Valjean asks Javert for one hour to bring Marius to a hospital, a request to which Javert, this time, agrees. After Valjean leaves, Javert contemplates the paradox of hunting the man who has spared him his life; he proceeds to jump to his death in the river Seine.
The song is instrumentally an exact reprise of "Valjean's Soliloquy," though sung by Javert with changed lyrics.
The lyrics were written by Herbert Kretzmer.
[Javert walks the deserted streets till he comes to a bridge over the river Seine.]
Who is this man?
What sort of devil is he
To have me caught in a trap
And choose to let me go free?
It was his hour at last
To put a seal on my fate
Wipe out the past
And wash me clean off the slate!
All it would take
Was a flick of his knife.
Vengeance was his and he gave me back my life!
Damned if I'll live in the debt of a thief
Damned if I'll yield at the end of the chase
I am the Law and the Law is not mocked
I'll spit his pity right back in his face
There is nothing on earth that we share
It is either Valjean or Javert!
How can I now allow this man
To hold dominion over me.
This desperate man whom I have hunted
He gave me my life. He gave me freedom.
I should have perished by his hand
It was his right
It was my right to die as well.
Instead, I live... but live in hell.
And my thoughts fly apart
Can this man be believed?
Shall his sins be forgiven?
Shall his crimes be reprieved?
And must I now begin to doubt,
Who never doubted all these years?
My heart is stone and still it trembles
The world I have known is lost in shadow.
Is he from heaven or from hell?
And does he know
That, granting me my life today
This man has killed me even so?
I am reaching but I fall
And the stars are black and cold
As I stare into the void
Of a world that cannot hold.
I'll escape now from that world
From the world of Jean Valjean.
There is nowhere I can turn
There is no way to go on....
[He throws himself into the swollen river.]
- In the 2012 version, the verse:
How can I now allow this man To hold dominion over me. This desperate man whom I have hunted He gave me my life. He gave me freedom.
I should have perished by his hand It was his right It was my right to die as well. Instead, I live... but live in hell.