Avorio e gemma ed ogni pietra dura (Giaches de Wert)

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  • (Posted 2015-01-11)  CPDL #34255:       
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2015-01-11).   Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 102 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes: Parts and source available at IMSLP.

General Information

Title: Avorio e gemma ed ogni pietra dura
Composer: Giaches de Wert
'Lyricist: Ludovico Ariosto Orlando furioso, canto XLIV ottava 66

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

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1571 in Il quinto libro de madrigali, 5-7vv, no. 1

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Avorio e gemma et ogni pietra dura
che meglio da l’intaglio si difende,
romper si può; ma non ch’altra figura
prenda, che quella ch’una volta prende.
Non è il mio cor diverso alla natura
del marmo o d’altro ch’al ferro contende.
Prima esser può che tutto Amor lo spezze,
che lo possa sculpir d’altre bellezze.

English.png English translation

Ivory, gem, and every hard-grained stone
That best resists the griding tool, may break:
But, save the form it once hath taken, none
Will ever from the graver's iron take.
My heart like marble is, or thing least prone
Beneath the chisel's trenchant edge to flake:
Love this may wholly splinter, ere he may
Another's beauty in its core enlay.

Translation by William Stewart Rose