by Ada Negri (1870 - 1945)
Translation © by Mario Giuseppe Genesi

Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Ella amava le gotiche navate
Dei templi solitari;
I ceri agonizzanti sugli altari,
Il biascicar dei mistici Rosari.

Ella pregava sempre, pei dolori
Che ancor non conoscea:
Come un giglio era bella e nol sapea ;
Non di carne, ma d'etere parea.

Una sera, nell'ombra d'un ' arcata,
Uno sguardo l'avvolse.
Ella chinò la testa e non si volse,
Ma nelle fibre un tremito la colse.

Un' altra sera ancor, nel tempio vuoto,
Ella incontrò quel viso.
Prometteva l'inferno e il paradiso...
Il cor le battè rapido, conquiso.

Ed una voce su la bocca: Io t'amo,
Le disse, ed ella pianse...
Un angelo dallìalto la compianse;
Sull'altare una lampada s'infranse.


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):

  • ENG English (Mario Giuseppe Genesi) , title 1: "Mystic", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Mario Giuseppe Genesi

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:43
Line count: 20
Word count: 110

Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
She used to be in love with Gothic naves
of secluded temples;
of the agonizing church-candles on the altars,
of the mumbling of the mystical daily rosary.

She used to pray unceasingly for the griefs
She hadn't yet experienced:
her beauty was like a lily and she didn't know it.
Her body seemed to be ethereal and not made of flesh.

One evening, through a shadowy arcade,
a glance struck her. 
She bent her head, and didn't turn round...
But she felt a shiver go through her...

Another evening, again, in that empty church,
she met that glance ...
that promised to her both hell and paradise...
Her heart was pounding.

And from her mouth a voice whispered: "I love you". 
She cried out... 
And an Angel from above took pity on her;
On one of the altars, a lamp smashed.


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2011 by Mario Giuseppe Genesi, (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


Text added to the website: 2011-10-14 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:39
Line count: 20
Word count: 141