by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 - 1564)
Translation © by Carl Johengen

A che più debb'io mai l'intensa voglia
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE SPA
A che più debb'io mai l'intensa voglia
Sfogar con pianti o con parole meste,
Se di tal sorte 'l ciel, che l'alma veste,
Tard' o per tempo, alcun mai non ne spoglia?
A che 'l cor lass' a più [morir]1 m'invoglia,
S'altri pur dee morir? Dunque per queste
Luci l'ore del fin fian men moleste;
Ch'ogn' altro ben val men ch'ogni mia doglia.
Però se 'l colpo, ch'io ne rub' e 'nvolo,
Schifar non poss'; almen, s'è destinato,
Ch entrerà 'nfra la dolcezza e 'l duolo?
Se vint' e pres' i' debb'esser beato,
Maraviglia non è se nud' e solo,
Resto prigion d'un Cavalier armato.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 K. Sorabji: "languir"


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 (Carl Johengen) , "Sonnet XXXI", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (John Addington Symonds) , "To Tommaso de' Cavalieri: Love's lordship", from The Sonnets of Michael Angelo Buonarroti and Tommaso Campanella now for the first time translated into rhymed English, first published 1878
  • ENG English (Charles Hopkins) , "What point is there in still giving vent to my intense longing", written 2002, copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Sonnet XXXI", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Juan Henríquez Concepción) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 105

Sonnet XXXI
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
 To what purpose do I express my intense desire
 with tears and sorrowful words
 when heaven, which clothes my soul,
 neither sooner or later relieves me of it?
 To what purpose does my weary heart long to die,
 when all must die? So to these
 eyes my last hour will be less painful,
 all my joy being less than all my pains.
 If I cannot avoid the blow,
 even seek them; since it is destined,
 who will stand between sweetness and sorrow?
 If I must be conquered in order to be happy,
 no wonder then that I, unarmed and alone,
 remain the prisoner of an armed Cavalier?


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © by Carl Johengen, (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.

Based on


This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 108