Che fai? che pensi? che pur dietro guardi (Orlando di Lasso)

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  • (Posted 2021-11-08)  CPDL #66599:      (LilyPond)
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2021-11-08).   Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 103 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2018-09-06)  CPDL #51207:       
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2018-09-06).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 444 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Che fai? che pensi? che pur dietro guardi
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Francesco Petrarca

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

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1567 in Libro quarto de madrigali a 5 voci, no. 6
    2nd published: 1597 in Cinquante pseaumes de David (ed. Simon Goulart) – psalm contrafact, part one only, no. 3

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Che fai? Che pensi? che pur dietro guardi
nel tempo che tornar non puote homai?
Anima sconsolata, che pur vai
giugnendo legne al foco ove tu ardi?

Le soavi parole e i dolci sguardi
ch'ad un' ad un descritti e depinti hai,
son levati de terra; et è ben sai,
qui ricercar gli intempestivo e tardi.

Deh non rinovellar quel che n'ancide
non seguir piu pensier vago fallace,
ma saldo e certo, ch'a buon fin ne guide.

Cerchiamo 'l ciel, se qui nulla ne piace:
che mal per noi quella beltà si vide,
se viva e morta ne dovea tor pace.
 Petrarca,Canzoniere 273

English.png English translation

Disconsolate spirit what can you think or do?
Why do you look behind at those times
that cannot come again? Why do you go
adding wood to the fire where you burn?

The gentle words and the sweet glances
that you described and painted one by one,
have gone from earth: and you know
it’s too late, untimely, to search for them.

Ah do not renew what only kills, don’t follow
longing thoughts in error, but those sure
and solid ones that lead to a good end.

Look to the heavens, since nothing here pleases:
that beauty that we saw was fatal for us,
if living or dead it did not bring us peace.
 Translation A.S.Kline