No Comment, Quotation — February 22, 2009, 8:06 am

From Petrarcha’s Trionfo del Tempo

il-trionfo-della-morte-brussels-tapestry-ca-1510-after-the-work-of-francesco-petrarcha

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.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Neoliberal Arts

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Gangs of Karachi

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Neoliberal Arts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
Artwork by Julie Cockburn

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today