E questo il legno (Luca Marenzio)

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  • (Posted 2013-04-18)  CPDL #28801:     
Editor: John Hetland (submitted 2013-04-18).   Score information: Letter, 10 pages, 805 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Notation is a whole tone lower than the original. Translation and musica ficta by John Hetland and the Renaissance Street Singers.

General Information

Title: E questo il legno
Composer: Luca Marenzio
Lyricist: Jacopo Sannazaro

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1584 in Libro primo de madrigali spirituali (Luca Marenzio), no. 9
Description: On a poem by Iacobo Sannazaro.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

E questo il legno che del sacro sangue
Resperso fù nel benedetto giorno
Che fuggì vinto con paura e scorno
Quel falso antico alpestro e rigido angue?
Qui'l mio signor lasciò la spoglia e sangue,
Tornando al suo celeste alto soggiorno,
E scolorossi il santo viso adorno
Come purpureo fior ch'inciso langue.

O pietà somma, o rara e nuova legge,
Per noi offrirsi a morte acerba e dura
Ch'il ciel, l'aer, la terra e'l mar corregge,
Lassa mente infelice, ogni altra cura.
Vedi il pastor che va per le sue gregge
Come agnel mansueto a la tonsura.

English.png English translation

Is this the wood that with sacred blood
Was sprinkled on the blessed day
When fled, conquered, with fear
That false ancient wild and cruel serpent?
Here my Lord left his mortal body and blood,
Returning to his celestial high abode,
And the adorned holy face lost its color,
Like a purple flower which, cut, languishes.

O highest mercy, o rare and new law,
For us, to offer himself to a death bitter and hard
Which corrects heaven, air, earth and sea,
The weary unhappy mind, and every other care.
Behold the shepherd who goes for his flock
Like a gentle lamb to the shearing.