by Giuseppe Petrosellini (1727 - 1799)
Translation © by Andrew Schneider

La calunnia, mio signore
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
La calunnia, mio signore,    
non sapete che cos'è?
Sol con questa a tutte l'ore
si può far gran cose, affé.
Questa qui, radendo il suolo,
incomincia piano piano;
e del volgo il vasto stuolo
la raccoglie, e rinforzando
passa poi di bocca in bocca,
ed il diavolo all'orecchie
ve la porta, e così è.
La calunnia intanto cresce,
s'alza, fischia, gonfia a vista:
vola in aria, e turbigliona,
lampeggiando stride e, tuona;
e diviene poi crescendo
un tumulto universale,
come un coro generale,
e rimedio più non v'è


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 (Andrew Schneider) , "Calumny, good sir", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2018-06-03
Line count: 19
Word count: 88

Calumny, good sir
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
Calumny, good sir,
you don't know what it is?
It sufficeth, on its own,
to accomplish at all times many things.
Here, see! It glances the dust, and 
beginning very softly,
and from the hoi polloi's sweating masses
its strands all congregate and consolidate,
and strengthened, it alights from mouth to mouth,
and the devil sees in every ear
a doorway to every head.
The slander grows, meanwhile (see it?),
it arises, whistles, swells up,
flies about, becomes a whirlpool,
flashing, shrieks and thunders,
and becomes (it's still growing, by the way)
a deluge to rival the Great Flood,
as if everyone were now singing the refrain.
From this there is no comeback.


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2019 by Andrew Schneider, (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: 2019-10-06
Line count: 19
Word count: 113