La bella Donna (Philippe de Monte)

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  • (Posted 2023-11-11)  CPDL #77213: 
Original key (high chiavette):        
Transposed down a fourth:      
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2023-11-11).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 101 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from 1589 print. Original note values.

General Information

Title: La bella Donna
Composer: Philippe de Monte
Lyricist: Vittoria Colonna
Number of voices: 6vv   Voicing: SSAATB
Genre: SacredMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1589 Il secondo libro de madrigali spirituali a sei, & sette voci, no. 9

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

La bella donna, a cui dolente preme
Quel gran desio che sgombra ogni paura
Di notte sola inerme humile e pura
Armata sol di viv’ardente speme

Entra dentr’il sepolcro e piange e geme
Gl’angioli lascia e più di sé non cura
Ma a piè del suo Signor cade sicura
Che’l cor ch’arde d’amor di nulla teme.

Et a gl’huomini eletti à grazie tante
Forti insieme rinchiusi il lume vero
Per timor parve nudo spirto et ombra

Onde se’l ver dal falso non s’adombra
Convien dar alle donn’il pregio intiero
d’haver il cor più acceso e più constante.

English.png English translation

The beautiful woman, sorely pressed
by that great desire that clears away all fear,
alone at night, weak, humble, and pure,
armed only with living ardent hope

enters the tomb and weeps and groans.
She leaves the angels and cares no more for herself –
but at her Lord's feet she falls safely,
because the heart that burns with love fears nothing.

And to the men, elected to so much grace,
strong and shut in together, the true light seemed
but a naked spirit and shadow through their fear.

Thus if truth be not overshadowed by falsehood,
it is fair to give the women the entire merit
of having their hearts more enkindled and more constant.