by Arrigo Enrico Boito (1842 - 1918)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Qui chiamata m' avete?
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
entra in ricca veste da ballo, con perle e gemme ad Alvise
 Qui chiamata m' avete?

con affettata cortesia
 Pur che vi piaccia ... 

 Mio signor ...

 Siedono ai due lati di un ampio tavolo.
 Bella così, madonna, – io non v' ho mai veduta;
 Pur il sorriso è languido; – perchè ristarvi muta?
 Dite: un gentil mistero – v' è grave a me svelar,
 O un qualche velo nero – dovrò da me strappar?

 Dal vostro accento insolito – cruda ironia traspira,
 Il labro a grazia atteggiasi – e fuor ne scoppia l'ira ...
 Mio nobile consorte, – non vi comprendo ancora!

 Pur d' abbassar la maschera – madonna, è giunta l'ora.
 Alzandosi con violenza
 Giunta è l' ora! – ad altr' uomo rivolto,
 Donna impura, è il tuo primo sospir ...

 Ad altr' uomo? Che dite? Che ascolto!
 Fra sè
 (Cielo! orrendo m' imponi martir.)

 Ieri quasi t' ho côlta in peccato,
 Pur potesti salvarti e fuggir ...
 Col mio guanto t' ho oggi afferrato,
 Più non fuggi, – ti è d' uopo morir!

 La atterra violentemente. Laura getta un grido.

a' piedi di Alvise
 Morir! è troppo orribile!
 Aver davanti il ciel ...
 E scender nelle tenebre
 D'un desolato avel!
 Senti! di sangue tiepido
 In sen mi scorre un rivo ...
 Perchè, se piango e vivo,
 Dirmi: tu dêi morir?
 La morte è pena infame
 Anche a più gran fallir!

 Invan tu piangi – invan tu speri,
 Dio non ti può esaudir!
 In lui raccogli – i tuoi pensieri;
 Preparati a morir!
 Un confessore ivi t'attende!

Notes (provided by Laura Prichard): "avel" is a shortened form of “avello” (tomb) ; and "sen" is a shortened form of “seno” (breast, heart, womb, bosom).


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 (Laura Prichard) , "You called me?", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2020-01-01 00:00:00
Last modified: 2020-01-01 23:08:26
Line count: 53
Word count: 271

You called me?
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 

 You called me?


 If it pleases you...

 My lord…

 Sit down!

 This beautiful, my lady, – I've never seen you.
 Although your smile is languid; – why so silent?
 Tell me: is it a lovely mystery – something earnest to reveal,
 Or a black mask – one I must tear away?

 From your uncharacteristic tone – blunt irony seeps out,
 Your lips affect grace – but from them bursts anger …
 My noble husband, I don't understand you!


 Take off the mask, my lady – the time has come.

 The time has come! – To another man you have addressed,
 Impure woman, your first sigh...

 Another man? What are you saying? What am I hearing?

 (Ghastly heaven calls me to be a martyr.)

 Yesterday I almost caught you sinning.
 But you saved yourself and fled…
 With my own glove, I caught you today,
 You can’t flee - you must die!


 To die! It's too horrible!
 To have Heaven before me…
 And to descend into the darkness
 Of a desolate tomb!
 Feel this! A stream of warm blood
 Flows through my breast …
 Why, if I were to weep and live,
 Tell me: would it kill you?
 Death is an infamous punishment
 Even for the greatest deceit!

 In vain you cry – in vain you hope.
 God cannot answer you!
 For Him collect your thoughts;
 Prepare to die!
 A confessor awaits you there!

Translator's note: "O un qualche velo nero" - "velo" can refer to a mask that obscures the face or a long, heavy veil or caul, such as that worn by a nun.


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2020 by Laura Prichard, (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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Text added to the website: 2020-01-01 00:00:00
Last modified: 2020-01-01 23:07:31
Line count: 45
Word count: 242