by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Translation © by Ferdinando Albeggiani

If the dull substance of my flesh were...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): ITA
If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought,
From limits far remote where thou dost stay.
No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that so much of earth and water wrought
I must attend time's leisure with my moan,
  Receiving nought by elements so slow
  But heavy tears, badges of either's woe.

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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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , title 1: "Se l'ottusa sostanza della mia carne fosse intelletto", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo) , no title, from Sonnets de Shakespeare, no. 44, published 1857

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-07-25
Line count: 14
Word count: 117

Se l'ottusa sostanza della mia carne fosse intelletto
Language: Italian (Italiano)  after the English 
Se l'ottusa sostanza della mia carne fosse intelletto
La distanza crudele non mi fermerebbe ora,
perché mi ritroverei, dello spazio a dispetto,
dai più remoti confini, là dove tu hai dimora.
Che importerebbe, allora, che calcasse il mio piede 
La terra che, da te, resti la più remota;
ché l'agile pensiero su terra e mare incede
nell'attimo in cui immagina la sua lontana meta.
Ah! Il pensiero di non esser pensiero, m'uccide tosto,
pensiero che lunghe miglia varchi quando sei assente,
ma purtroppo, poiché di acqua e di terra sono composto,
devo aspettare i comodi del tempo, tutto gemente.
   Da così lenti elementi, senza altro frutto
   Che lacrime pesanti, segno del loro lutto. 


  • Translation from English to Italian (Italiano) copyright © 2008 by Ferdinando Albeggiani, (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: 2008-08-09
Line count: 14
Word count: 113