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Voglio di vita uscir, voglio che cadano
Quest’ossa in polve e queste membra in cenere,
E che i singulti miei tra l’ombre vadano.
Già che quel piè ch’ingemma l’herbe tenere
Sempre fugge da me, ne lo tratengono
I laci, hoimè, del bel fanciul di Venere.
Vo che gl’abissi il mio cordoglio vedano,
E l’aspro mio martir le furie piangano,
E che i dannati al mio tormento cedano.
A Dio crudel, gl’orgogli tuoi rimangono
A incrudelir con gl’altri. A te rinunzio,
Ne vo più che mie speme in te si frangono.
S’apre la tomba, il mio morir t’annuntio.
Una lacrima spargi, et alfin donami
Di tua tarda pietade un solo nuntio,
E s’amando t’offesi, homai perdonami.
I wish to leave this life, I wish that
My bones would turn to powder and my limbs to ashes,
So that my cries would be lost among the shadows.
Since those feet which trod the fresh grass
Flee always from me; nor are they constrained,
Alas, by the chains of the son of Venus.
I want the depths to see my pain,
The Furies to cry for my hard suffering,
And the damned to know of my torment.
Farewell, cruel love, let your pride remain
To torment others; I renounce you,
No more will you confound my hopes.
The tomb opens up: my death draws near.
Let fall a single tear and at long last give me
A solitary sign of your belated pity,
And if my love gave you offense, forgive me!
–Anonymous 16th cen. Italian Madrigal (S.H. transl.)
The text of this madrigal was historically attributed to Claudio Monteverdi himself, but that is doubtful, and the lines clearly are a blank-verse adaptation from a famous passage in Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso.
Listen to the setting by Claudio Monteverdi taken from Il Lamento d’Olimpia in two performances, first a modern one sung by Emma Kirkby and second a more traditional Baroque countertenor version sung by Marco Longhini.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“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.”