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The indifferent

Language: English

I can love both fair and brown,
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays,
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays,
Her whom the country formed, and whom the town,
Her who believes, and her who tries,
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries;
I can love her, and her, and you, and you,
I can love any, so she be not true.

Will no other vice content you?
Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers?
Or have you old vices spent, and now would find out others?
Or doth a fear, that men are true, torment you?
Oh we are not, be not you so;
Let me, and do you, twenty know.
Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
Grow your fixed subject, because you are true?

Venus heard me sigh this song,
And by Love's sweetest part, Variety, she swore
She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
She went, examined, and returned ere long,
And said, "Alas, some two or three
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to 'stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them, Since you will be true,
You shall be true to them who're false to you."

Translation(s): ITA

List of language codes

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , title 1: "L'indifferente", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:26
Line count: 27
Word count: 233

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Language: Italian (Italiano) after the English

La donna bionda o la bruna posso egualmente amare, 
Quella per abbondanza tenera, e quella dal bisogno tradita,
quella che ama mascherate e commedie, e la solitaria
la cittadina e quella dalla campagna arrivata,
la fiduciosa e quella che vuole provare ogni cosa
quella che, con occhi di spugna, in pianto si scioglie,
e quella che, secca come sughero, non è mai lamentosa.
Io posso amare questa, e quella, e te oppure te 
Io posso amare ognuna, ma solo se fedele non è.
Quale altro vizio vi potrebbe meglio appagare?
Non vi sarà utile come le vostre madri fare?
Avete speso tutti i vecchi vizi e altri ne vorreste trovare?
O di un uomo fedele vi tormenta il timore?
Oh, non lo siamo, e pure voi infedeli siate;
lasciate che ne conosca una ventina e voi altrettanto fate.
Derubatemi pure, ma senza incatenarmi, e lasciatemi andare.
Debbo io forse, per mezzo vostro venuto a navigare,
divenir meta fissa, perché fedeli siete?
Venere mi udì sospirare questo canto,
e per la Varietà, dolce essenza d'Amore, fece giuramento
di non averlo udito mai; e che mai più si sarebbe udito.
Andò, indagò, e ritornò poco dopo, dicendo;
 "Due o tre poveri eretici hanno, 
ahimè,  stabilito di pretendere, 
in Amore, la Costanza dannosa.
Ma io dissi loro: se volete esser fedeli, lo sarete,
ma solo a chi vi è infedele fedeltà porterete".

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  • Translation from English to Italian (Italiano) copyright © 2008 by Ferdinando Albeggiani, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
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Based on
  • a text in English by John Donne (1572 - 1631)
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Samuel Hans Adler. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2008-08-16.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:51
Line count: 27
Word count: 229