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Passan vostri triomphi e vostre pompe,
Passan le signorie, passano i regni;
Ogni cosa mortal temp’interrompe;
E ritolta a men buon, non da à piu degni:
E non pur quel di fuor il tempo solve,
Ma le vostr’eloquentie e i vostri ingegni.
Cosi fuggend’, il mondo seco volve;
Ne mai si posa ne s’arest’ o torna,
Fin che v’ha ricondotti in poca polve.
Your triumphs and your pomp transpire,
The nobility passes and kingdoms crumble,
Time brings low all mortal things;
And what he reaps from those less good, he does not pass to those more worthy:
And not only the superficial things are laid waste by time,
But also your eloquence and works of genius.
Thus sped along, the world moves with him;
He takes no time to rest; neither does he stop nor turn from his appointed course,
Until in the end he has transformed you back to your essence: a bit of dust.
–Francesco Petrarca, Trionfo del Tempo (The Triumph of Time), v. 112-120 (S.H. transl.) (ca. 1352)
Listen to Orlando di Lasso’s setting of Petrarcha’s Passan vostri triomphi e vostre pompe (Your triumphs and pomp transpire) from Trionfo del Tempo (vv. 112-120) as a madrigal for 11 voices, a masterpiece of the late polyphonic tradition, here in a purely instrumental performance.
And listen here for a vocal performance by the Orlando di Lasso Ensemble.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”