Volan quasi farfalle (Carlo Gesualdo)

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  • (Posted 2018-09-05)  CPDL #51199:        
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2018-09-05).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 103 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #5601, with corrections to underlay.
  • (Posted 2003-10-04)  CPDL #05601:  Network.png
Editor: Vincent Carpentier (submitted 2003-10-04).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 668 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: revised May 28, 2004.
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. See the discussion page for full description.

General Information

Title: Volan quasi farfalle
Composer: Carlo Gesualdo

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

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1611 in Madrigali a 5 voci, libro sesto, no. 18

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Volan quasi farfalle a i vostri almi splendori,
o bella donna, i pargoletti Amori;
indi scherzando intorno al chiaro lume,
—chiaro sì ma cocente,—
provan l'altra virtù, quella ch'è ardente,
ne le tenere piume, e intorno a voi
cadendo a mille a mille tranno da le faville
di lor penne riarse il foco, e poi
fanno l'incendio onde avvampate voi.

English.png English translation

Flutter like moths to your resplendent flames,
oh fair lady, little Cupids;
there playing around the clear light,
—clear, yes, but scorching,—
feel the other power, which burns,
upon their delicate plumes, and falling
around you by the thousands, they draw fire
from the sparks on their burnt feathers and then
start the blaze which sets you alight.

Translation by Campelli