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Texts and Translations

Zigeunerlieder / Gypsy Songs

Poetry by Hugo Conrat

Music → Johannes Brahms (1887 – 1891)

 

1. He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein!

Spiel das Lied vom ungetreuen Mägdelein!

Laß die Saiten weinen, klagen, traurig bange,

Bis die heiße Träne netzet diese Wange!

 

1. Hey Gypsy, play the strings!

Play the song about the unfaithful girl!

Let the strings weep, lament, sadly anxious,

Until the hot tear wets this cheek!

 

 

2. Hochgetürmte Rimaflut,Wie bist du so trüb;

An dem Ufer klag ich Laut nach dir, mein Lieb!

 

Wellen fliehen, Wellen strömen, 

Rauschen an dem Strand heran zu mir.

An dem Rimaufer laß mich 

Ewig weinen nach ihr!

 

2. High towered Rima river you so turbid

on the bank I lament loudly after you, my love!

 

Waves flow, waves stream,

They roar at the shore here to me.

By the bank let me

eternally weep for her!

 

 

3. Wißt ihr, wann mein Kindchen am allerschönsten ist?

Wenn ihr süßes Mündchen scherzt und lacht und küßt. 

Mägdelein, du bist mein, inniglich küß ich dich,

Dich erschuf der liebe Himmel einzig nur für mich!

 

Wißt ihr, wann mein Liebster am besten mir gefällt?

Wenn in seinen Armen er mich umschlungen hält.

Schätzelein, du bist mein, inniglich küß ich dich,

Dich erschuf der liebe Himmel einzig nur für mich!

 

3. Do you know when my little child is the loveliest?

When her sweet little mouth jokes and laughs and kisses.

Lovely girl, you are mine. Tenderly I kiss you.

The dear heavens created you just for me!

 

Do you know when my love pleases me most?

When in his arms, he holds me close.

Dear one, you are mine. Tenderly I kiss you.

The dear heavens created you just for me!

 

4. Lieber Gott, du weißt, wie oft bereut ich hab,

Daß ich meinem Liebsten einst ein Küßchen gab.

Herz gebot, daß ich ihn küssen muß,

Denk, solang ich leb, an diesen ersten Kuß.

 

Lieber Gott, du weißt, wie oft in stiller Nacht

Ich in Lust und Leid an meinen Schatz gedacht.

Lieb ist süß, wenn bitter auch die Reu,

Armes Herze bleibt ihm ewig, ewig treu.

 

4. Dear God, you know how often I have regretted 

that I to my love, once gave a little kiss.

My heart ordered – that I must kiss him!

I think as long as I live – on that first kiss.

 

Dear God, you know how often in silent night

I in pleasure and pain of my love I have thought.

Love is sweet – if bitter even is the regret

My poor heart reminas – eternally true to him.

 

 

5. Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze

Sein blauäugig schönes Kind;

Schlägt die Sporen keck zusammen,

Csardasmelodie beginnt.

 

Küßt und herzt sein süßes Täubchen,

Dreht sie, führt sie, jauchzt und springt;

Wirft drei blanke Silbergulden

Auf das Zimbal, daß es klingt.

 

5. The young dark lad leads to the dance

His blue-eyed beautiful child.

Strikes the spurs boldly together

The Czardas melody begins!

 

He kisses and hugs his sweet little dove

Turns her, leads her, shouts for joy and leaps

He tosses three shiny silver coins 

onto the cymbal so it rings!

 

 

6. Röslein dreie in der Reihe blühn so rot,

Daß der Bursch zum Mädel gehe, ist kein Verbot!

Lieber Gott, wenn das verboten wär,

Ständ die schöne weite Welt schon längst nicht mehr;

Ledig bleiben Sünde wär!

 

Schönstes Städtchen in Alföld ist Ketschkemet,

Dort gibt es gar viele Mädchen schmuck und nett!

Freunde, sucht euch dort ein Bräutchen aus,

Freit um ihre Hand und gründet euer Haus,

Freudenbecher leeret aus.

 

6. Three little roses in a row bloom so red,

that the lad to the girl goes, it is not forbidden

Dear God, if that were forbidden,

then the beautiful wide world would not exist!

Being single would be a sin!

 

The most beautiful little town in Alfeld is Ketschemete.

There live many girls – pretty and nice.

Friends, seek out a little bride there,

Woo her hand and establish your house

Then empty out cups of joy!

 

 

7. Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn, mein süßes Lieb,

Was du einst mit heil'gem Eide mir gelobt?

Täusch mich nicht, verlaß mich nicht,

Du weißt nicht, wie lieb ich dich hab,

Lieb du mich, wie ich dich,

Dann strömt Gottes Huld auf dich herab!

 

7. Does it come sometimes to your mind, my sweet love,

what you once with holy oath to me vowed?

Deceive me not, abandon me not, 

You know not how much love I have for you,

Love me as I love you

Then God’s favor will stream down upon you!

 

 

8. Rote Abendwolken ziehn am Firmament,

Sehnsuchtsvoll nach dir,

Mein Lieb, das Herze brennt,

Himmel strahlt in glühnder Pracht,

Und ich träum bei Tag und Nacht

Nur allein von dem süßen Liebchen mein.

 

8. Red evening clouds pull on the heavens,

full of longing for you

My love, my heart burns,

Heaven streams with scorching splendor

and I dream by day and night

only of you, sweet love of mine.

 

Les Cinq Poèmes de Charles Baudelaire

Five Poems by Charles Baudelaire

Music → Claude Debussy (1887-89)

 

 

  1. Le Balcon

 

Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses,

Ô toi, tous mes plaisirs! ô toi, tous mes devoirs!

Tu te rappelleras la beauté des caresses,

La douceur du foyer et le charme des soirs,

Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses.

 

Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon,

Et les soirs au balcon, voilés de vapeur rose.

Que ton sein m'était doux! que ton cœur m'était bon!

Nous avons dit souvent d'impérissables choses

Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon.

 

Que les soleils sont beaux par les chaudes soirées!

Que l'espace est profond! que le cœur est puissant!

En me penchant vers toi, reine des adorées,

Je croyais respirer le parfum de ton sang.

Que les soleils sont beaux par les chaudes soirées!

 

La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison,

Et mes yeux dans le noir devinaient tes prunelles,

Et je buvais ton souffle. Ô douceur! ô poison!

Et tes pieds s'endormaient dans mes mains fraternelles,

La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison.

 

Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses,

Et revis mon passé blotti dans tes genoux.

Car à quoi bon chercher tes beautés langoureuses

Ailleurs qu'en ton cher corps et qu'en ton cœur si doux?

Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses!

 

Ces serments, ces parfums, ces baisers infinis,

Renaîtront-ils d'un gouffre interdit à nos sondes

Comme montent au ciel les soleils rajeunis

Après s'être lavés au fond des mers profondes

- O serments! ô parfums! ô baisers infinis!

 

1. The balcony

 

Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses,

O you, all my pleasures, O you, all my duties!

You will recall the beauty of caresses,

The hearth's sweetness and the evenings' charm,

Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!

 

Evenings lit with the glow of coals,

And evenings on the balcony, veiled in pink vapours.

How soft your breast was, how warm your heart!

We have often said imperishable things,

On evenings lit with the glow of coals.

 

How beautiful the suns on warm evenings!

How space is deep, how strong the heart!

Leaning toward you, queen of my loves,

I seemed to breath the scent of your blood.

How beautiful the suns on warm evenings!

 

Night thickened like a wall,

And my eyes in the dark divined your own,

And I drank in your breath, O sweetness, O poison!

And your feet were cradled in my fraternal hands.

Night thickened like a wall.

 

I am skilled in the art of recalling rapture,

And relive my past, my head in your lap.

For where else should I seek your languid beauty

But in your dear body and most loving heart?

I am skilled in the art of recalling rapture!

 

These vows, these scents, these infinite kisses,

Will they rise from a pit we are forbidden to fathom,

As the reborn suns ascend the sky,

Having washed themselves in the depths of the sea? 

- O vows! O scents! O infinite kisses

 

  1. Harmonie du soir

 

Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige

Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir ;

Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir ;

Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige !

 

Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir ;

Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu’on afflige ;

Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige !

Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.

 

Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu’on afflige

Un cœur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir !

Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir ;

Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige.

 

Un cœur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir,

Du passé lumineux recueille tout vestige !

Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige ...

Ton souvenir en moi luit comme un ostensoir!

 

2. Evening harmony

 

Now comes the time when, quivering on its stem,

Each flower sheds perfume like a censer;

Sounds and scents turn in the evening air;

Melancholy waltz and reeling languor!

 

Each flower sheds perfume like a censer;

The violin throbs like a wounded heart,

Melancholy waltz and reeling languor!

The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar.

 

The violin throbs like a wounded heart,

A fond heart that loathes the vast black void!

The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar.

The sun has drowned in its congealing blood.

 

A fond heart that loathes the vast black void

And garners in all the luminous past!

The sun has drowned in its congealing blood...

Your memory within me shines like a monstrance

 

  1. Le jet d'eau

 

 

Tes beaux yeux sont las, pauvre amante !

Reste longtemps, sans les rouvrir,

Dans cette pose nonchalante

Où t’a surprise le plaisir.

Dans la cour le jet d’eau qui jase

Et ne se tait ni nuit ni jour,

Entretient doucement l’extase

Où ce soir m’a plongé l’amour.

 

La gerbe d’eau qui berce

Ses mille fleurs,

Que la lune traverse

De ses pâleurs,

Tombe comme une averse

De larges pleurs.

 

Ainsi ton âme qu’incendie

L’éclair brûlant des voluptés

S’élance, rapide et hardie,

Vers les vastes cieux enchantés.

Puis, elle s’épanche, mourante,

En un flot de triste langueur,

Qui par une invisible pente

Descend jusqu’au fond de mon cœur.

 

La gerbe d’eau qui berce ...

 

O toi, que la nuit rend si belle,

Qu’il m’est doux, penché vers tes seins,

D’écouter la plainte éternelle

Qui sanglote dans les bassins !

Lune, eau sonore, nuit bénie,

Arbres qui frissonnez autour,—

Votre pure mélancolie

Est le miroir de mon amour.

 

La gerbe d’eau qui berce…

 

3. The fountain

 

Your beautiful eyes are fatigued, poor lover!

Rest awhile, without opening them anew,

In this careless pose,

Where pleasure surprised you.

The babbling fountain in the courtyard,

Never silent night or day,

Sweetly prolongs the ecstasy

Where love this evening plunged me.

 

The sheaf of water

Swaying its thousand flowers,

Through which the moon gleams

With its pallid light,

Falls like a shower

Of great tears.

 

And so your soul, lit

By the searing flash of ecstasy,

Leaps swift and bold

To vast enchanted skies.

And then, dying, spills over

In a wave of sad listlessness,

Down some invisible incline

Into the depths of my heart.

 

The sheaf of water ...

 

O you, whom night renders so beautiful,

How sweet, as I lean toward your breasts,

To listen to the eternal lament

Sobbing in the fountain’s basin!

O moon, lapping water, blessed night,

Trees that quiver all around,

Your sheer melancholy

Is the mirror of my love.

 

The sheaf of water..

 

  1. Recueillement

 

 

Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille;

Tu réclamais le Soir: il descend; le voici :

Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,

Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci.

 

Pendant que des mortels la multitude vile,

Sous le fouet du Plaisir, ce bourreau sans merci,

Va cueillir des remords dans la fête servile,

Ma Douleur, donne-moi la main ; viens par ici,

 

Loin d’eux. Vois se pencher les défuntes Années,

Sur les balcons du ciel, en robes surannées;

Surgir du fonds des eaux le Regret souriant;

 

Le Soleil moribond s’endormir sous une arche,

Et, comme un long linceul traînant à l’Orient,

Entends, ma chère, entends la douce Nuit qui marche.

 

4. Meditation

 

Be good, O my Sorrow, and keep more calm.

You longed for Evening; it is falling; now:

A dusky atmosphere enfolds the town,

Bringing peace to some, to others care.

 

While the vile multitude of mortals,

Lashed by Pleasure, that pitiless tormentor,

Goes gathering remorse in abject revels,

Give me your hand, my Sorrow; come this way,

 

Far from them. See the departed Years leaning,

In outmoded dress, from the heavens’ balustrades;

See smiling Regret well up from the waters’ depths;

 

The dying Sun fall asleep beneath an arch,

And like a long shroud trailing in the East,

Listen, my love, listen to the tread of gentle Ni

 

  1. La mort des amants

 

 

Nous aurons des lits pleins d'odeurs légères,

Des divans profonds comme des tombeaux,

Et d'étranges fleurs sur des étagères,

Écloses pour nous sous des cieux plus beaux.

 

Usant à l'envi leurs chaleurs dernières,

Nos deux coeurs seront deux vastes flambeaux,

Qui réfléchiront leurs doubles lumières

Dans nos deux esprits, ces miroirs jumeaux.

 

Un soir fait de rose et de bleu mystique,

Nous échangerons un éclair unique,

Comme un long sanglot tout chargé d'adieux ;

 

Et plus tard un Ange, entr'ouvrant les portes,

Viendra ranimer, fidèle et joyeux,

Les miroirs ternis et les flammes mortes.

 

5. The death of lovers

 

We shall have beds drenched in light scents,

Divans as deep as tombs,

And displays of exotic flowers

That bloomed for us beneath fairer skies.

 

Outdoing even their most recent passions

Our two hearts will be two mighty torches,

Reflecting their twin lights

In our two twin-mirrored souls.

 

On an evening of pink and mystic blue,

We shall exchange a single radiant glance,

Like a long sob laden with farewells;

 

And later an Angel, pushing the portals ajar,

Will come, faithful and joyous, to revive

The tarnished mirrors and lifeless flames.

 

Hôtel / Hotel 

Poem by Guillaume Apollinaire

Music  → Francis Poulenc (1940)

 

Ma chambre a la forme d'une cage,

Le soleil passe son bras par la fenêtre.

Mais moi qui veux fumer pour faire des mirages

J'allume au feu du jour ma cigarette.

Je ne veux pas travailler - je veux fumer.

 

My room has the form of a cage.

The sun reaches its arm in through the window.

But I want to smoke and make shapes in the air,

and so I light my cigarette on the sun's fire.

I don't want to work, I want to smoke.

 

 

2 Songs, Op.100

Music → Amy Beach (1924)

 

A mirage

Text by by Bertha Ochsner

 

Now the mountaintop all purple

Rises thro' a mist of silver,

While the moon, a disc of cobwebs,

Shining in the pallid heavens,

Ghostlike thro' the evening shadows.

 

Now the lofty eucalyptus

Stretches forth its chalky branches

Toward the lovely, lustred heavens,

While the drowsy westwind sighing

Sings the theme of lamentation.

 

Stella Viatoris

Text by Jesse Hague Nettleton

 

Dun grows the sky;

The cloudrack dark

In the west hangs low.

 

The wind moans by;

The bare trees ply their futile weaving

Sad and slow;

But o'er the east

The grim clouds part

A fleece of white,

A space of blue

Aloft, afar,

There's a single star,

Like the kindness of God

Shining thro'.

 

Songs of Travel 

Poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson

Music → Ralph Vaughan Williams (1901-1904)

 

1. The Vagabond 

 

Give to me the life I love,

Let the lave go by me,

Give the jolly heaven above

And the byway nigh me.

Bed in the bush with stars to see,

Bread I dip in the river -

There's the life for a man like me,

There's the life forever.

 

Let the blow fall soon or late,

Let what will be o'er me;

Give the face of earth around

And the road before me.

Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,

Nor a friend to know me;

All I seek, the heaven above

And the road below me.

 

Or let autumn fall on me

Where afield I linger,

Silencing the bird on tree,

Biting the blue finger.

White as meal the frosty field -

Warm the fireside haven -

Not to autumn will I yield,

Not to winter even!

 

Let the blow fall soon or late,

Let what will be o'er me;

Give the face of earth around,

And the road before me.

Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,

Nor a friend to know me;

All I ask, the heaven above

And the road below me.

 

2. Let Beauty Awake

 

Let Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful dreams,

Beauty awake from rest!

Let Beauty awake

For Beauty's sake

In the hour when the birds awake in the brake

And the stars are bright in the west!

 

Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber of day,

Awake in the crimson eve!

In the day's dusk end

When the shades ascend,

Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend,

To render again and receive!

 

3. The Roadside Fire

 

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight

Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night,

I will make a palace fit for you and me

Of green days in forests, and blue days at sea.

 

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,

Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom;

And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white

In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

 

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,

The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!

That only I remember, that only you admire,

Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.

 

4. Youth and Love

 

To the heart of youth the world is a highwayside.

Passing for ever, he fares; and on either hand,

Deep in the gardens golden pavilions hide,

Nestle in orchard bloom, and far on the level land

Call him with lighted lamp in the eventide.

 

Thick as stars at night when the moon is down,

Pleasures assail him. He to his nobler fate

Fares; and but waves a hand as he passes on,

Cries but a wayside word to her at the garden gate,

Sings but a boyish stave and his face is gone.

 

5. In Dreams

 

In dreams unhappy, I behold you stand

As heretofore:

The unremember'd tokens in your hand

Avail no more.

 

No more the morning glow, no more the grace,

Enshrines, endears.

Cold beats the light of time upon your face

And shows your tears.

 

He came and went. Perchance you wept awhile

And then forgot.

Ah me! but he that left you with a smile

Forgets you not.

 

6. The Infinite Shining Heavens

 

The infinite shining heavens

Rose, and I saw in the night

Uncountable angel stars

Showering sorrow and light.

 

I saw them distant as heaven,

Dumb and shining and dead,

And the idle stars of the night

Were dearer to me than bread.

 

Night after night in my sorrow

The stars looked over the sea,

Till lo! I looked in the dusk

And a star had come down to me.

 

7. Wither Must I Wander?

 

Home no more home to me, whither must I wander?

Hunger my driver, I go where I must.

Cold blows the winter wind over hill and heather:

Thick drives the rain and my roof is in the dust.

Loved of wise men was the shade of my roof-tree,

The true word of welcome was spoken in the door -

Dear days of old with the faces in the firelight,

Kind folks of old, you come again no more.

 

Home was home then, my dear, full of kindly faces,

Home was home then, my dear, happy for the child.

Fire and the windows bright glittered on the moorland;

Song, tuneful song, built a palace in the wild.

Now when day dawns on the brow of the moorland,

Lone stands the house, and the chimney-stone is cold.

Lone let it stand, now the friends are all departed,

The kind hearts, the true hearts, that loved the place of old.

 

Spring shall come, come again, calling up the moorfowl,

Spring shall bring the sun and rain, bring the bees and flowers;

Red shall the heather bloom over hill and valley,

Soft flow the stream through the even-flowing hours.

Fair the day shine as it shone on my childhood -

Fair shine the day on the house with open door;

Birds come and cry there and twitter in the chimney -

But I go for ever and come again no more.

 

8. Bright is the Ring of Words

 

Bright is the ring of words

When the right man rings them,

Fair the fall of songs

When the singer sings them,

Still they are carolled and said -

On wings they are carried -

After the singer is dead

And the maker buried.

 

Low as the singer lies

In the field of heather,

Songs of his fashion bring

The swains together.

And when the west is red 

With the sunset embers,

The lover lingers and sings

And the maid remembers.

 

9. I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope

 

I have trod the upward and the downward slope;

I have endured and done in days before;

I have longed for all, and bid farewell to hope;

And I have lived and loved, and closed the door.

 

The Seal Man 

Poem by John Masefield

Music → Rebecca Clarke (1921-22)

 

And he came by her cabin to the west of the road, calling.

There was a strong love came up in her at that,

and she put down her sewing on the table, and "Mother," she says,

"There's no lock, and no key, and no bolt, and no door.

There's no iron, nor no stone, nor anything at all

will keep me this night from the man I love."

And she went out into the moonlight to him,

there by the bush where the flow'rs is pretty, beyond the river.

And he says to her: "You are all of the beauty of the world,

will you come where I go, over the waves of the sea?"

And she says to him: "My treasure and my strength," she says,

"I would follow you on the frozen hills, my feet bleeding."

Then they went down into the sea together,

and the moon made a track on the sea, and they walked down it;

it was like a flame before them. There was no fear at all on her;

only a great love like the love of the Old Ones,

that was stronger than the touch of the fool.

She had a little white throat, and little cheeks like flowers,

and she went down into the sea with her man,

who wasn't a man at all.

She was drowned, of course.

It's like he never thought that she wouldn't bear the sea like himself.

She was drowned, drowned.

 

 

 

Ideale

Poem by Carmelo Errico

Music→ Francesco Paolo Tosti (1882)

 

Io ti seguii come iride di pace

Lungo le vie del cielo:

Io ti seguii come un'amica face

De la notte nel velo.

 

E ti sentii ne la luce, ne l'aria,

Nel profumo dei fiori;

E fu piena la stanza solitaria

Di te, dei tuoi splendori.

 

In te rapito, al suon de la tua voce,

Lungamente sognai;

E de la terra ogni affanno, ogni croce,

In quel giorno scordai.

 

Torna, caro ideal, torna un istante

A sorridermi ancora,

E a me risplenderà, nel tuo sembiante,

Una novella aurora.

 

 

I followed you like a rainbow of peace

A long way across the sky;

I followed you like a friendly face

Of the night under a veil.

 

And you feel it in the light, in the air,

In the scent of the flowers;

And the solitary room was full of you,

Of your splendors.

 

Captivated by you,

By the sound of your voice

A long time I dreamed,

And all the worry of the earth, every cross

In that day is forgotten.

 

Return, beloved ideal, return for an instant.

Give me a smile again,

And to me the sparkle of your countenance

Will be a new dawn.

 

Notte Bianca 

Poem by Gabriele D’Annuzio

Music → Francesco Paolo Tosti (1883)

 

Notte Bianca

La mia lunga romanza in mi minore

va per la calma de la notte bianca:

io son già fioco, la chitarra è stanca;

ma voi non ascoltate, e il canto muore.

 

Vi traggono, Madonna, i sogni a 'l fiume

che rispecchia ne l'acque alti i roseti,

ove dileguan sotto il mite lume

le coppie de le amanti e de i poeti?

 

"O voi su'l letto morbido supina

mentre sorgono i fiori a pispigliar

su da li antichi vasi de la China,

voi sommerge la fresca onda lunar?"

 

La mia lunga romanza in mi minore

va per la calma de la notte bianca:

io son già fioco, la chitarra è stanca;

ma voi non ascoltate, e il canto muore.

 

O Madonna, la luna impallidisce

ne 'l ciel come una lampa d'alabastro;

e s'accendono già le prime strisce

di arancio e d'oro sovra il ciel verdastro.

 

E voi non vi destate? O su da 'l letto

a l'ultimo incantesimo lunar,

sorgete alfine ignuda a mezzo il petto

candida e palpitante, ad ascoltar?

 

Aprite, aprite; de le chiome l'onda

porgetemi: d'amor li incanti io so;

lieve per la vivente scala bionda

a 'l ciel de' vostri baci, io salirò.

 

White Night

My long romance in E minor

Goes towards the calm of the white night:

I'm already weak, the guitar is tired;

but you don't listen, and the song dies.

 

Dreams take you to the river, Madonna

which reflects the rose bushes in the high waters,

and they disappear under the mild light

Couples made up of of lovers and poets?

 

"O you on the soft bed, supine,

while the flowers rise to whisper

up from their ancient Chinese vases,

Are you submerged under the moon’s cold wave?"

 

My long romance in E minor

goes towards the calm of the white night:

I'm already weak, the guitar is tired;

but you don't listen, and the song dies.

 

O Madonna, the moon is turning pale

in the sky like an alabaster lamp;

and the first stripes are already lit

in orange and gold above the greenish sky.

 

And you don't wake up? Or get out of bed

At the moon’s final incantation,

Rising at last, your chest half-naked,

white and throbbing, to listen?

 

Open, open; the foliage above my head

Bestows upon me: I know the charms of love;

They are mild as I mount the light-colored ladder

to the heaven of your kisses, I will ascend.

 

 

 

Inverno triste! 

Poem by Francesco Cimmino

Music → Francesco Paolo Tosti (1902)

 

Inverno triste!

Ho veduto languir nel lungo oblio

Il nido che per noi l'amor compose;

Come i sogni del povero amor mio,

Ho veduto morir l'ultime rose.

 

Il core mi diceva: È forse eterno

Il sorriso del sol sui campi in fiore?

Ed or che viene sovra i campi il verno,

Io più triste lo sento entro il mio core!

 

In un novo desio tu dunque assorto

Non pensi ai dì trascorsi, un sol momento?

Simile al freddo oblio che cinge un morto

È quel che copre l'amor tuo già spento!

 

E un'altra or ode le parole istesse

Con cui tu mi giuravi amore eterno;

Ma, s'ella ha fede ne le tue promesse,

Dopo l'aprile anch'ella avrà l'inverno!

 

Sad Winter

I have seen languishing in long oblivion

The nest that love composed for us;

Like the dreams of my poor love,

I saw the last roses die.

 

My heart told me: perhaps it is eternal,

The smile of the sun on the flowering fields?

And now that winter comes over the fields,

I feel even sadder within my heart!

 

You are absorbed in your new desire

Don't you think about the days gone by, just for a moment?

Like the cold oblivion that surrounds a dead man,

It's what covers your already extinguished love!

 

And hour after hour, I hear the same words

By which you swore eternal love to me;

But, if she believes in your promises

After April she too will have winter!

 

 

L’alba sepàra dalla luce l’ombra

Poem by Gabriele D’Annuzio

Music→ Francesco Paolo Tosti (1907)

 

L'alba sepàra dalla luce l'ombra,

E la mia voluttà dal mio desire.

O dolce stelle, è l'ora di morire.

Un più divino amor dal ciel vi sgombra.

 

Pupille ardenti, O voi senza ritorno

Stelle tristi, spegnetevi incorrotte!

Morir debbo. Veder non voglio il giorno,

Per amor del mio sogno e della notte.

 

Chiudimi, O Notte, nel tuo sen materno,

Mentre la terra pallida s'irrora.

Ma che dal sangue mio nasca l'aurora

E dal sogno mio breve il sole eterno!

E dal sogno mio breve il sole eterno!

 

The dawn divides the darkness from light,

And my sensual pleasure from my desire,

O sweet stars, it is the hour of death.

A love more holy clears you from the skies.

 

Gleaming eyes, O you who'll ne'er return,

Sad stars, snuff out your uncorrupted light!

I must die, I do not want to see the day,

For love of my own dream and of the night.

Envelop me, O Night, in your maternal breast,

While the pale earth bathes itself in dew;

But let the dawn rise from my blood

And from my brief dream the eternal sun

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