by Francesco Petrarca (1304 - 1374)
Translation © by David Wyatt

Vergine bella, che di sol vestita
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Vergine bella, che di sol vestita,
coronata di stelle, al sommo sole
piacesti sí, che 'n te Sua luce ascose,
amor mi spinge a dir di te parole;
ma non so 'ncominciar senza tu' aita,
e di Colui ch'amando in te si pose:
Invoco lei che ben sempre rispose,
chi la chiamò con fede.
Vergine, s'a mercede
miseria estrema de l'umane cose
già mai ti volse, al mio prego t'inchina;
soccorri a la mia guerra,
ben ch'i' sia terra, [tu]1 del ciel regina.

Vergine saggia, e del bel numero una
de le beate vergini prudenti,
anzi la prima, e con più chiara lampa;
o saldo scudo de l'afflitte genti
contr'a' colpi di Morte e di Fortuna,
sotto 'l qual si trïunfa, non pur scampa;
o refrigerio al cieco ardor ch'avampa,
qui fra i mortali sciocchi;
Vergine, que' belli occhi,
che vider tristi la spietata stampa
ne' dolci membri del tuo caro figlio,
volgi al mio dubio stato,
che sconsigliato a te vèn per consiglio.

Vergine pura, d'ogni parte intera,
del tuo parto gentil figliuola e madre,
ch'allumi questa vita, e l'altra adorni,
per te il tuo Figlio, e quel del sommo Padre,
o fenestra del ciel lucente, altèra,
venne a salvarne in su li estremi giorni
e fra tutt'i terreni altri soggiorni
sola tu fosti eletta,
Vergine benedetta,
che 'l pianto d'Eva in allegrezza torni.
Fammi, ché puoi, de la sua grazia degno,
senza fine o beata,
già coronata nel superno regno.

Vergine santa, d'ogni grazia piena,
che per vera et altissima umiltate
salisti al ciel, onde miei prieghi ascolti,
tu partoristi il fonte di pietate,
e di giustizia il sol, che rasserena
il secol, pien d'errori, oscuri e folti:
tre dolci e cari nomi hai in te raccolti,
madre, figliuola, e sposa;
Vergine gloriosa,
donna del re che nostri lacci a sciolti,
e fatto 'l mondo libero e felice,
ne le cui sante piaghe,
prego ch'appaghe il cor, vera beatrice.

Vergine sola al mondo, senza essempio,
che 'l ciel di tue bellezze innamorasti,
cui né prima fu simil, né seconda,
santi penseri, atti pietosi e casti
al vero Dio sacrato e vivo tempio
fecero in tua verginità feconda.
Per te pò la mia vita esser ioconda, 
s'a' tuoi preghi, o Maria,
Vergine dolce e pia,
ove 'l fallo abondò la grazia abonda.
Con le ginocchia de la mente inchine,
prego che sia mia scorta,
e la mia tòrta via drizzi a buon fine.

Vergine chiara e stabile in eterno,
di questo tempestoso mare stella,
d'ogni fedel nocchier fidata guida,
pon mente in che terribile procella
i' mi ritrovo sol, senza governo,
et ho già da vicin l'ultime strida.
Ma pur in te l'anima mia si fida,
peccatrice, i' no 'l nego,
Vergine; ma ti prego
che 'l tuo nemico del mio mal non rida:
ricorditi, che fece il peccar nostro,
prender Dio per scamparne,
umana carne, al tuo virginal chiostro.

Vergine, quante lagrime ho già sparte,
quante lusinghe, e quanti preghi indarno,
pur per mia pena, e per mio grave danno!
Da poi ch'i' nacqui in su la riva d'Arno,
cercando or questa et or quel altra parte,
non è stata mia vita altro ch'affanno.
Mortal bellezza, atti, e parole m'hanno
tutta ingombrata l'alma.
Vergine sacra et alma,
non tardar, ch'i' son forse a l'ultimo anno.
I dí miei più correnti che saetta,
fra miserie e peccati,
sonsen andati, e sol Morte n'aspetta.

Vergine, tale è terra e posto ha in doglia
lo mio cor, che vivendo in pianto il tenne;
e de mille miei mali un non sapea;
e per saperlo, pur quel che n'avenne
fôra avenuto; ch'ogni altra sua voglia
era a me morte, et a lei fama rea.
Or tu donna del ciel, tu nostra dea,
se dir lice, e convensi,
Vergine d'alti sensi,
tu vedi il tutto; e quel che non potea
far altri, è nulla a la tua gran vertute,
por fine al mio dolore;
ch'a te onore, et a me fia salute.

Vergine, in cui ho tutta mia speranza,
che possi e vogli al gran bisogno aitarme,
non mi lasciare in su l'estremo passo;
non guardar me, ma chi degnò crear me;
no 'l mio valor, ma l'alta sua sembianza,
ch'è in me, ti mova a curar d'uom sí basso.
Medusa, e l'error mio m'han fatto un sasso
d'umor vano stillante:
Vergine, tu di sante
lagrime, e pie, adempi 'l meo cor lasso;
ch'almen l'ultimo pianto sia devoto,
senza terrestro limo,
come fu 'l primo non d'insania vòto.

Vergine umana, e nemica d'orgoglio,
del comune principio amor t'induca;
miserere d'un cor contrito, umìle:
che se poca mortal terra caduca
amar con sí mirabil fede soglio,
che devrò far di te cosa gentile?
Se dal mio stato assai misero e vile
per le tue man resurgo,
Vergine, i' sacro e purgo
al tuo nome e penseri e 'ngegno e stile,
la lingua e 'l cor, le lagrime e i sospiri.
Scorgimi al miglior guado,
e prendi in grado i cangiati desiri.

Il dí s'appressa, e non pòte esser lunge,
sí corre il tempo e vola,
Vergine unica e sola,
e 'l cor or conscienzia or morte punge.
Raccomandami al tuo figliol, verace
omo e verace Dio,
ch'accolga 'l mio spirto ultimo in pace.

G. Dufay sets stanza 1
G. Palestrina sets stanza 1

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Palestrina: "et tu"

Authorship

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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Francisque Reynard) , title 1: "Canzone CCCLXVI Vergine bella, che di sol vestita"
  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , title 1: "Lovely virgin, clothed with the sun", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 137
Word count: 869

Lovely virgin, clothed with the sun
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
Lovely virgin, clothed with the sun,
Crowned with stars, you so pleased
The high sun that in you he hid his own light,
Love urges me to speak a word to you;
But I cannot begin without your help,
And the help of Him who placed himself lovingly in you:
I call on her who always responds positively 
To those who call on her with faith.
Virgin, if to take away
Extreme misery from the human condition 
You are always willing, then incline yourself to my prayer;
Help in this my war
Though I am on earth and you are queen of heaven.

Wise virgin, one of that fine number
Of the blessed wise virgins,
Or rather the first among them, with the clearest lamp;
O solid shield of afflicted peoples
Against the blows of Death and Fate
Beneath which we triumph, not just escape;
O cooler of blind heat which flares up,
Which crackles among mortals;
Virgin, those beautiful eyes
Which saw sadly the spiteful wounds
On the sweet limbs of your dear son,
Turn them on my uncertain state, 
Mine who comes to you, unadvised, for advice.

Pure virgin, spotless in every way,
Noble daughter and mother too of your son,
You who light up this life and adorn the other
Through you -- o window of that higher, shining heaven - 
Your Son, son too of the highest Father,
Came down to save us in these last days
And from all earthly wombs
Only you were chosen, 
blessed Virgin
That the weeping of Eve should turn to happiness.
Make me, as you can, worthy of his grace,
O blessed without end,
Already crowned in the kingdom above.

Holy virgin, full of every grace,
Who through true and deepest humility
Leapt up to heaven, from where you hear my prayers,
You gave birth to the fount of piety,
The sun of justice, who brings peace
To this age full of obscure and close-crowding errors:
Three sweet and dear names you have collected in yourself,
Mother, daughter and wife;
Glorious virgin,
Queen of the king who loosed us from our bonds
And made the world free and happy:
By his holy wounds
I pray you to satisfy my heart, truly blessed one.

Only true virgin on earth, without a peer,
You who enamoured heaven of your beauty,
Whom none could equal or even come in second place,
Holy thoughts and pious and chaste acts
Made you holy to the true God and a living temple
Fruitful in your virginity.
Through you can my life be joyful
As in your prayers, o Mary
Sweet and pious virgin,
Where sin abounds grace abounds too.
With the knees of my mind I bow down
I pray that you will be my escort
And direct my twisted path to a good end.

Virgin clear and rock-steady for ever,
Star of this stormy sea,
Trusted guide of every faithful helmsman,
Turn your thoughts to that terrible storm
In which I find myself alone without a rudder,
And already close to the final shout.
But my sinful soul trusts in you alone,
I don't deny it,
Virgin; but I pray to you
That your enemy should not laugh at my ills:
Remember that our sin made 
God -- to save us -- take
Human flesh, in your virginal cloister.

Virgin, how many tears I have already shed,
How many pleas and prayers in vain,
Simply through my own sin and heavy condemnation!
From when I was born by the river Arno,
Searching in this or that other place,
My life has been nothing but trouble.
Mortal beauty, acts and words have all
Encumbered my soul.
Holy and kind virgin
Do not delay as I am perhaps in my last year.
My days are flowing swifter than an arrow
In misery and sin
They have gone, and only Death is waiting.

Virgin, she is just so much earth now, 
but she has placed my heart in sadness, 
which living she kept in weeping;
She never knew a single one of my thousand ills
And to know them, what happened should simply not have happened: 
all other wishes would have been death to me, and to her bad reputation.
Now you queen of heaven, you our goddess 
If I may say that and it befits you,
Virgin of noble feelings
You see it all; and what others cannot do
Is nothing to your great power
To make an end of my sorrow
Which would be honour to you and salvation to me.

Virgin in whom I have all my hope
Who is able and willing to help me in my great need,
Do not abandon me in this last pass;
None guards me but he who deigned to create me;
Not my own courage but his noble semblance
Which is in me moves you to take care of a man so low.
Medusa and my error have made me stone
Dripping with vain tears;
Virgin, you with holy
And pious tears fulfil my weary heart
So at least the last tear may be devout
Free of earthly slime
As the first was not marked by madness.

Humane virgin, enemy of pride
May love of our common beginning lead you
To pity a contrite and humble heart.
Since I used to love a little bit of fallen mortal dust
With so wonderful a faith,
What must I do with respect to you who are so noble?
I from my state so wretched and vile
I rise again by your hand,
Virgin, I will consecrate and cleanse
In your name my thoughts and talents and style,
My tongue and heart, my tears and sighs.
Push me towards a better passage
And willingly accept my changed desires.

Day hurries on, and cannot be long,
So fast the time runs and flies.
Virgin unique and lone
Both conscience and death stab my heart.
Commend me to your dear son, truly 
man and truly God,
That he would receive my last breath in peace.

Authorship

  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2012 by David Wyatt, (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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This text was added to the website: 2012-05-22
Line count: 137
Word count: 999