by Pietro Antonio Domenico Bonaventura Trapassi (1698 - 1782), as Pietro Metastasio
Translation © by Mick Swithinbank

Quando miro quel bel ciglio nero
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Quando miro quel bel ciglio nero
   Pien di dolce ardor,
E che scorgo sul vermiglio labbro
   Un riso incantator -
Sento allor nel sen rapito
   Un incendio di desir.
Idol mio, son ferito
   Deh! ristora il mio martir.
Non temer che questo fuoco spiri
   Colla verde età ;
Ogni tempo ed ogni loco,
   Fido a te mi troverà.
Il rigor d'avversa sorte
   Non potrà cangiar mia fè,
Nè spaventarmi la morte,
   Se a soffrirla avrò per te.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in English, a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist FRE ; composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Mick Swithinbank) , "When I behold those lovely dark eyes", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Quand je regarde ce beau cil noir", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Harry Joelson

This text was added to the website: 2008-05-21
Line count: 16
Word count: 77

When I behold those lovely dark eyes
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
When I behold those lovely dark eyes,
full of sweet passion,
and see on your red lips
an enchanting smile,
I feel within my ravished breast
a burning desire.
You whom I worship, I am wounded:
alas, remedy my pain!

Have no fear that this desire may die
when green youth passes;
at every time in every place
you will find me faithful to you.
The harshness of adverse fate
will not be able to alter my faithfulness,
nor can death affright me
if only I have to suffer it for you.


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2008 by Mick Swithinbank, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Mick Swithinbank.  Contact: m_p_swithinbank (AT) hotmail (DOT) com

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2008-07-16
Line count: 16
Word count: 92