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by Francesco Petrarca (1304 - 1374)
Translation © by A. S. Kline

Che debb'io far? che mi consigli, Amore?
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Che debb'io far? che mi consigli, Amore?
Tempo è ben di morire,
et ò tardato più ch'i' non vorrei.
Madonna è morta, et à seco il mio core;
et volendol seguire,
interromper conven quest'anni rei,
perché mai veder lei
di qua non spero, et l'aspettar m'è noia.
Poscia ch'ogni mia gioia
per lo suo dipartire in pianto è volta,
ogni dolcezza de mia vita è tolta.

2. Amor, tu 'l senti, ond'io teco mi doglio,
quant'è il damno aspro et grave;
e so che del mio mal ti pesa et dole,
anzi del nostro, perch'ad uno scoglio
avem rotto la nave,
et in un punto n'è scurato il sole.
Qual ingegno a parole
poria aguagliare il mio doglioso stato?
Ahi orbo mondo, ingrato,
gran cagion ài di dever pianger meco,
ché quel bel ch'era in te, perduto ài seco.

3. Caduta è la tua gloria, et tu nol vedi,
né degno eri, mentr'ella
visse qua giú, d'aver sua conoscenza,
né d'esser tocco da' suoi sancti piedi,
perché cosa sí bella
devea 'l ciel adornar di sua presenza.
Ma io, lasso, che senza
lei né vita mortal né me stesso amo,
piangendo la richiamo:
questo m'avanza di cotanta spene,
et questo solo anchor qui mi mantene.

4. Oïmè, terra è fatto il suo bel viso,
che solea far del cielo
et del ben di lassú fede fra noi;
l'invisibil sua forma è in paradiso,
disciolta di quel velo
che qui fece ombra al fior degli anni suoi,
per rivestirsen poi
un'altra volta, et mai più non spogliarsi,
quando alma et bella farsi
tanto più la vedrem, quanto più vale
sempiterna bellezza che mortale.

5. Più che mai bella et più leggiadra donna
tornami inanzi, come
là dove più gradir sua vista sente.
Questa è del viver mio l'una colomna,
l'altra è 'l suo chiaro nome,
che sona nel mio cor sí dolcemente.
Ma tornandomi a mente
che pur morta è la mia speranza, viva
allor ch'ella fioriva,
sa ben Amor qual io divento, et (spero)
vedel colei ch'è or sí presso al vero.

6. Donne, voi che miraste sua beltate
et l'angelica vita
con quel celeste portamento in terra,
di me vi doglia, et vincavi pietate,
non di lei ch'è salita
a tanta pace, et m'à lassato in guerra:
tal che s'altri mi serra
lungo tempo il camin da seguitarla,
quel ch'Amor meco parla,
sol mi ritien ch'io non recida il nodo.
Ma e' ragiona dentro in cotal modo:

7. - Pon' freno al gran dolor che ti trasporta,
ché per soverchie voglie
si perde 'l cielo, ove 'l tuo core aspira,
dove è viva colei ch'altrui par morta,
et di sue belle spoglie
seco sorride, et sol di te sospira;
et sua fama, che spira
in molte parti anchor per la tua lingua,
prega che non extingua,
anzi la voce al suo nome rischiari,
se gli occhi suoi ti fur dolci né cari. -

8. Fuggi 'l sereno e 'l verde,
non t'appressare ove sia riso o canto,
canzon mia no, ma pianto:
non fa per te di star fra gente allegra,
vedova, sconsolata, in vesta negra.

P. de Servi sets stanzas 1-2
B. Pisano sets stanzas 1, 8
T. Cimello sets stanza 8

About the headline (FAQ)

The anonymous text Che debbo far shares a similar first line.

Authorship:

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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (A. S. Kline) , no title, copyright © 2002, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2007-11-23
Line count: 82
Word count: 517

What must I do? What do you counsel,...
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
What must I do? What do you counsel, Love?
The time has truly come to die,
and I have lingered longer than I wish.
My lady is dead, and my heart with her:
and if I wish to follow,
I must interrupt this cruel life,
since I have no more hope
of seeing her here, and waiting galls me.
Now all my joy
has turned to weeping at her going,
all sweetness has been taken from my life.

Love, you feel how deep and bitter
is this loss, where I grieve with you:
and know the weight and pain of my ill,
or rather ours, because a reef
has shattered the vessel,
and in a moment our sun is darkened.
What ingenuity with words
could express my grievous state?
Ah, blind, thankless world,
you’ve good reason to weep with me,
since what was beautiful in you is lost with her.

Fallen is your glory, and you do not see it,
nor were you worthy, while she
lived here, to have known her,
nor even to have been touched by her sacred feet,
because so lovely a thing
had to adorn heaven with her presence.
But I, alas, who without her
cannot love mortal life or myself,
weep cruelly for her:
this is all I have of all my hopes,
and this alone is what still keeps me here.

Ah me, that lovely face is turned to dust,
that used to be the pledge to us,
down here, of heaven and its good:
her form, invisible in paradise,
freed from that veil,
that shadowed the flower of her years,
later to be worn once more,
and never more relinquished.
when we shall see her again
dear and lovely, more, by as much
as eternal beauty exceeds mortal.

She returns, more lovely and more graceful
a lady, within me, where
she feels the sight of herself is more exalted.
This is one pillar of my life,
the other her bright name
that sounds so sweetly in my heart.
But recalling in my mind
that my hope is truly dead, living
while she flowered,
Love knows what I become, and she (I hope)
can see it now who is so near to Truth.

Ladies, you who have seen her beauty
and the angelic life
that heavenly one lived on earth,
show me your grief, and be overcome
by pity, not for here who leapt
into such peace, but for me left in this war:
so that if the way
to follow her is barred to me for long
only Love, speaking with me,
stops me from severing the knot.
For he reasons like this inside me:

‘Rein in the great grief that transports you,
lest your over-riding desire
loses you heaven, to which your heart aspires,
where she lives who seems dead to others,
and smiles to herself at her
own lovely leavings, and only sighs for you:
and prays that her fame, that breathes
still in many places, through your words,
is not extinguished,
rather that, if her eyes were ever dear
and sweet to you, your voice illuminate her name.’

Flee the fresh and blithe,
don’t go near laughter or song,
my song, but weep:
don’t take your place among happy people,
widow, disconsolate, in your black dress.

About the headline (FAQ)

Authorship:

  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2002 by A. S. Kline, (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.
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Based on:

 

This text was added to the website: 2015-03-10
Line count: 82
Word count: 547