Oimè il bel viso (Luca Marenzio)

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  • (Posted 2015-01-30)   CPDL #34439:        (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2015-01-30).   Score information: Letter, 9 pages, 612 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transposed down one tone from C. MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

Lyrics are from the Original and not modernised Italian.

General Information

Title: Oimè il bel viso
Composer: Luca Marenzio
Lyricist: Francesco Petrarca

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SSATB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1582 in Il terzo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, no. 4


External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Oimè il bel viso, oimè il soave sguardo,
 oimè il leggiadro portamento altero;
 oimè il parlar ch'ogni aspro ingegno et fero
 facevi humile, ed ogni huom vil gagliardo!

et oimè il dolce riso, onde uscío 'l dardo
 di che morte, altro bene omai non spero:
 alma real, dignissima d'impero,
 se non fossi fra noi scesa sí tardo!

Per voi conven ch'io arda, e 'n voi respire,
 ch'i' pur fui vostro; et se di voi son privo,
 via men d'ogni sventura altra mi dole.

Di speranza m'empieste et di desire,
 quand'io partí' dal sommo piacer vivo;
 ma 'l vento ne portava le parole

Canzoniere 267

English.png English translation

Ah me, the beautiful face, ah me, the gentle look,
ah me, the graceful noble manner of her:
ah me, the speech that made every harsh
and bitter mind humble, and every coward brave!

And, ah me, the sweet smile, from which the arrow
of death, the only good I hope for now, issued:
regal soul, worthiest to reign,
if only you had not descended so late among us!

It is fitting that I burn for you, and breathe for you,
since I am yours: and if I am parted from you,
I suffer less from all my other grief.

You filled me with hope and with desire,
when I departed, living, from the highest delight:
but the wind did not carry my words to you.

Translation by Anthony S. Kline ©