Texts and Translations

Madrigale a 5 voci

Francesco Petrarca, sonetto n. 246

Original Italian English Translation
L’aura che’l verde laura et l’aureo crine

soavemente sospirando move

fa con sue viste leggiadrette et nove

l’anime da’lor corpi pellegrine.

Candida rosa nata in dure spine,

quando fia chi sua pari al mondo trove?

Gloria di nostra etate! O vivo Giove,

manda, prego, il mio in prima che’l suo fine!

Si ch’io non veggia il gran pubblico danno

e’l mondo remaner senza’l suo sole

né li occhi miei, che luce altra non ànno;

né l’alma, che pensar d’altro non vole,

né l’orecchie, ch’udir altro non sanno,

senza l’oneste sue dolci parole.

The breeze that softly sighing moves the

green laurel and her golden hair, with sights

new and charming makes souls

wander from their bodies.

White rose born among hard thorns,

when will anyone find her like on earth?

Glory of our age! O living Jove,

send, I pray, my end before hers!

So that I may not see that great public loss,

and the world left without its sun,

nor my own eyes, which have no other light;

nor my soul, which does not wish to think of

anything else, nor my ears, which cannot hear

anything else, left without her chaste sweet words.

Madrigale per 5 tenori

Dante Alighieri, from Chapter XI of La Vita Nova

Original Italian English Translation
Dico che quando ella apparia da parte alcuna,

nella speranza de la mirabile salute nullo

nemico mi rimanea, anzi mi giugnea una

fiamma di caritade, la quale mi facea

perdonare a chiunque m’avesse offeso; e chi

allora m’avesse domandato di cosa alcuna, la

mia risponsione sarebbe stata solamente

‘Amore’, con viso vestito d’umilitade.

Whenever and wherever she appeared, in the

hope of receiving her miraculous salutation I

felt I had not an enemy in the world. Indeed,

I glowed with a flame of charity which moved

me to forgive all who had ever injured me; and

if at that moment someone had asked me a

question, about anything, my only reply would have been:

‘Love’, with a countenance clothed in humility.

Madrigale a 3 voci

Francesco Petrarca, sonetto n. 216

Original Italian English Translation
Tutto ‘l di piango; e poi la notte, quando

prendon riposo i miseri mortali,

trovomi in pianto e raddopiarsi i mali;

così spendo ‘l mio tempo lagrimando.

In tristo umor vo li occhi consumando

e ‘l cor in doglia; et son fra li animali

l’ultimo, sì che li amorosi strali

mi tengon ad ogni or di pace in bando.

Lasso, che pur da l’un a l’altro sole

et da l’una ombra a l’altra ò già ‘l più corso

di questa morte che si chiama vita!

Più l’altrui fallo che ‘l mi’ mal mi dole,

ché pietà viva e ‘l mio fido soccorso

vedem’ arder nel foco et non m’aita.

All day I weep; and then at night, when

miserable mortals take rest, I find that I am

in tears and that my pains are doubled;

thus I spend my time weeping.

With sad moisture I am consuming my eyes

and with sorrow my heart; and I am the most

wretched of animals, so that the arrows of

Love keep me ever banished from peace.

Alas! For from one sun to the next, and from

one night to the next, I have already run most

of this death which is called life!

I grieve more for the fault of another than for my ills;

for living pity and the help I have relied on

see me burn in the fire and do not aid me.

Madrigale per 3 contratenori

Francesco Petrarca, sonetto n. 225

Original Italian English Translation
Dodici donne onestamente lasse,

Anzi dodici stelle, e ‘n mezo un sole

vidi in una barchetta allegre et sole

qual non so s’altra mai onde solcasse;

simil non credo che Jasòn portasse

al vello onde oggi ogni uom vestir si vole,

né ‘l pastor di ch’ancor Troia si dole,

de’ qua’ duo tal romor al mondo fasse.

Poi le vidi in un carro triunfale,

Laurea mia con suoi santi atti schifi

Sedersi in parte et cantar dolcemente;

non cose umane o vision mortale.

Felice Automedòn, felice Tifi

Che conduceste sì leggiadra gente!

Twelve ladies virtuously languid –

rather twelve stars – and in the midst a sun I

saw, gray and alone in a little bark such that I

know not if its like ever plowed the waves;

I do not believe its like carried Jason to the fleece

with which everyone wishes to be dressed today,

nor the shepherd on whose account Troy still grieves,

of which two so much noise is made in the world.

Then I saw them in a triumphal chariot,

and my Laurel with her holy, retiring manner

sitting to the side and sweetly singing:

not human things or a mortal vision.

Happy Automedon, happy Tiphys,

who steered such charming folk!

Madrigale per 3 voci femminili

Francesco Petrarca, poem n. 105 from the Canzoniere

Original Italian English Translation
Mai non vo’ più cantar com’io soleva,

ch’altri no m’intendeva, ond’ ebbi scorno,

et puossi in bel soggiorno esser molesto,

Il sempre sospirar nulla releva.

Già su per l’api neva d’ogn’intorno,

et è già presso al giorno, ond’io son desto.

Un atto dolce onesto è gentil cosa;

et in donna amorosa ancor m’aggrada

che ‘n vista vada altera et disdegnosa,

non superba et ritrosa.

Amor regge suo imperio senza spada.

Chi smarrita à la strada, torni indietro’

chi non à albergo, posisi in sul verde;

spegna la sete sua con un bel vetro.

I never wish to sing again as I used to, for

I was not understood, wherefore I was scorned

and one can be miserable in a happy place.

Always to be sighing helps nothing. Up in

the mountains it is already snowing all around;

dawn is already close, so I am awake.

A virtuous sweet action is a noble thing,

and it pleases me that a lady worthy of love

seem high and disdainful,

but not proud and stubborn.

Love governs his empire without a sword.

He who has lost his way, let him turn back.

He who has no dwelling, let him sleep on the

let him quench his thirst from a glass.

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