Se la mia vita (Luca Marenzio)

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  • (Posted 2023-02-04)  CPDL #72516:        (LilyPond)
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2023-02-04).   Score information: Letter, 5 pages, 100 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Se la mia vita
Composer: Luca Marenzio
Lyricist: Francesco Petrarca
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1588 in Il primo libro de madrigali a quattro, cinque et sei voci, no. 2-3

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Se la mia vita da l'aspro tormento,
si può tanto schernire, e dagli affanni,
ch'i' veggia per virtù degli ultimi anni,
donna, de' bei vostri occhi il lume spento,
e i capei d'oro fin farsi d'argento,
e lassar le ghirlande e i verdi panni,
e il viso scolorir che ne miei danni,
a lamentar mi fa pauroso e lento.

Pur mi darà tanta baldanza Amore,
ch'i' vi discovrirò de' mei martiri,
quai son stati gli anni, e i giorni e l'ore;
E se'l tempo è contrario ai bei desiri,
non fia ch'almen non giunga al mio dolore
alcun soccorso di tardi sospiri.

English.png English translation

If my life of bitter torment and of tears
could be derided more, and made more troubled,
that I might see, by virtue of your later years,
lady, the light quenched of your beautiful eyes,
and the golden hair spun fine as silver,
and the garland laid aside and the green clothes,
and the delicate face fade, that makes me
fearful and slow to go weeping.

Then Love might grant me such confidence
that I'd reveal to you my sufferings
the years lived through, and the days and hours,
and if time is opposed to true desire,
it does not mean no food would nourish my grief:
I might draw some from slow sighs.

Translation by Anthony S. Kline ©