Tempro la cetra (Claudio Monteverdi)

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  • (Posted 2014-06-15)  CPDL #32265:       
Instrumental parts:   Score information: A4, 10 pages, 136 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Editor: Peter Rottländer (submitted 2014-06-15).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 131 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2009-03-14)  CPDL #19046:    (MIDI)  
Editor: Björn Sothmann (submitted 2009-03-14).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 502 kB   Copyright: CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2004-03-26)  CPDL #06855:      (Sibelius 2)
Editor: Steven Langley Guy (submitted 2004-03-26).   Score information: A4, 15 pages, 160 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Tempro la cetra
Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
Lyricist: Giambattista Marino

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Tenor solo
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: strings, basso continuo

First published: 1619 in Concerto: settimo libro de madrigali (Claudio Monteverdi), no. 1

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Tempro la cetra, e per cantar gli onori
di Marte alzo talor lo stil e i carmi.
Ma invan la tento e impossibil parmi
ch'ella già mai risoni altro ch'amore.

Così pur tra l'arene e pur tra' fiori
note amorose Amor torna a dettarmi,
né vuol ch'io prend' ancora a cantar d'armi,
se non di quelle, ond'egli impiaga i cori.

Or umil plettro a i rozzi accenti indegni,
musa, qual dianzi, accorda, in fin ch'al canto
de la tromba sublime il Ciel ti degni.

Riedi a i teneri scherzi, e dolce intanto
lo Dio guerrier, temprando i feri sdegni,
in grembo a Citerea dorma al tuo canto.

English.png English translation

I tune my lyre, and to sing the praises
of Mars, elevate the tone of my style and songs;
but I strum her in vain, and cannot conceive
that she will ever quiver for ought but love.

Hence in the arena or in the bower,
nought but amorous airs does Love dictate,
nor does she wish that I should sing of weapons
save those that wound the heart.

The lowly plectrum and the coarse undignified inflections,
oh Muse, tune them, as erstwhile you did, that by the song
of the sublime Lyre, Heaven deems you worthy at last.

Return to tender trifles: that, meanwhile,
the warrior god, tempering his fierce wrath,
may sleep in Venus’ lap, lulled by your song