SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”