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

Questo nostro caduco e fragil bene
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Questo nostro caduco e fragil bene,
ch'è vento et ombra, et ha nome beltate,
non fu già mai se non in questa etate
tutto in un corpo, e ciò fu per mie pene:

Ché Natura non vòl, né si convene,
per far ricco un, por li altri in povertate:
or versò in una ogni sua largitate;
(perdonimi qual è bella, o si tène).

Non fu simil bellezza antica o nova,
né sarà, credo; ma fu sí coverta,
ch'a pena se n'accorse il mondo errante.

Tosto disparve; onde 'l cangiar mi giova
la poca vista a me dal ciel offerta
sol per piacer a le sue luci sante.

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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: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2009-08-26
Line count: 14
Word count: 107

This fragile and fallen good of ours
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
This fragile and fallen good of ours,
this wind and shadow, Beauty by name,
was never, at least not in our age, complete
except in one body, and that was to my pain:

since Nature does not wish, nor is it fitting,
to make one rich, by impoverishing others:
yet all its wealth was everywhere in her
(pardon me you who are lovely, or think so).

There was never such beauty, ancient or modern,
nor will be, I believe: but so concealed
the world in error hardly noticed it.

She left us soon: and I am glad to lose
that little glimpse of her that heaven gave me,
only to take more pleasure in her sacred light.

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  • 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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This text was added to the website: 2015-03-11
Line count: 14
Word count: 117