Translation © by Garrett Medlock

La perla
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Sono del mare bianca la figlia,
son di conchiglia
pegno d'amor.
Nella nativa carcere oscura
vivo sicura
senza dolor.

Madre amorosa mi chiude in seno,
fronte sì piena
di voluttà.
Aura non beo, luce non veggo,
eppur non chieggo
più libertà.

Ahi! se per forza dal fondo mio
tolta son io,
tratta [lassù]1,
a lume giungo, l'aer respiro,
ma già sospiro
per schiavitù!

In vil mercato passo venduta
e rivenduta
col nuovo sol,
chi non si cura di mia bellezza,
chi l'accarezza,
chi sua la vuol.

Finché per ultimo forse in un serto
di spin conserta
io brillerò,
e come lagrima pendula al ciglio,
il duol d'esiglio

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Liszt : "la sù" (two scores checked)


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:

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

  • ENG English (Garrett Medlock) , "The pearl", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La perle", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2011-05-01
Line count: 30
Word count: 108

The pearl
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
I am the white daughter of the sea,
I am the shell’s
token of love.
In [my] dark native prison
I live safely
without pain.

[A] loving mother encloses me in her breast,
[Her] face so full
of delight.
I do not [feel the] breeze, I do not see [the] light,
but still I do not ask for
more freedom.

Ah! if by force from my sea-bottom
I am taken,
brought [up above]1,
I receive the light, I breathe the air,
but still I sigh
for [captivity]!

In a base market I pass, sold
and resold
with the new [day],
[someone] who does not care for my beauty,
[another] who caresses it,
[another] who wants it [for their own].

[Until] at last, perhaps, in a halo
[woven] of thorns,
I will shine,
and like a tear hanging from the eye,
the pain of exile
I will [take upon myself].

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Liszt: "there above"


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2019 by Garrett Medlock, (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: 2019-05-08
Line count: 30
Word count: 149