Ben mi credea (Orlando di Lasso)

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  • (Posted 2014-06-29)  CPDL #32357: 
Original key (high chiavette):        
Transposed down a minor third:      
Transposed down a fourth:       - Alto in transposed violin clef.
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2014-06-29).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 92 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Original note-values.

General Information

Title: Ben mi credea
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Francesco Petrarca

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1555 in Primo libro di madrigali a 5 voci, no. 18

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Ben mi credea passar mio tempo omai
come passato avea quest'anni a dietro,
senz'altro studio et senza novi ingegni:
or poi che da madonna i' non impetro
l'usata aita, a che condutto m'ài,
tu 'l vedi, Amor, che tal arte m'insegni.
Non so s'i' me ne sdegni,
che 'n questa età mi fai divenir ladro
del bel lume leggiadro,
senza 'l qual non vivrei in tanti affanni.
Cosí avess'io i primi anni
preso lo stil ch'or prender mi bisogna,
ché 'n giovenil fallir è men vergogna.

Canzoniere 207 (part)
English.png English translation

I truly thought I would always spend my time
as all the years before now have been spent,
with no other studies, no new thoughts:
but now that my lady does not grant me
her former help, as she once did,
you see, Love, with what arts you honour me.
I don’t know what there is for me
but disdain, if I make myself a thief at my age
of that lovely graceful light
without which I’d not live in such pain.
I wish I’d acted in my youth
in the way I have to do now,
since youthful error is less shameful.

Translation by Anthony S. Kline ©