Orlando di Lassus: Lagrime di San Pietro (Herreweghe)

Sir Anthony van Dyke, Penitent Apostle Peter, State Hermitage Museum, 
St. Petersburg, 1617-18

Orlando di Lassus: Lagrime di San Pietro

Performance by the Ensemble Vocal  Europeen, Philippe Herreweghe conducting.

To follow the text while listening to the entire work with visible, moving score, right-click here, then left-click on "Open in New Window," then arrange windows.

For individual movements, right-click on [YouTube], and left-click on "Open in New Window," then arrange window.

1. Il magnanimo Pietro, che giurato [YouTube]
Havéa tra mille lance, e mille spalde
Al suo caro signór morír a lato,
Poi che s’accorse vinto da viltade
Nel grand bisogno havér di fé mancato,
Il dolór, la vergogna e la pietade
Del proprio fallo, e de l’altrui martiro
Di mille punte il petto gli feriro.

The high-minded Peter, having sworn,
Even in the midst of a thousand lances and a thousand
To die by the side of his beloved Lord,
Then realized that, overcome by cowardice,
In great distress he had lacked faith,
And pain, shame and pity
For his own failing and for the torment of the other
With a thousand darts pierced his breast.

2. Ma gli archi, che nel petto gli aventaro [YouTube]
Le saette più acute e più mortali,
Fur gli occhi del signór quando il miraro;
Gli occhi fur gli archi, e i sguardi fur gli strali
Che del cor non contenti sen passaro
Fin dentro a l’alma, e vi fer piaghe tali,
Che bisognò mentre che visse poi
ùngerle col licor de gli occhi suoi.

But no bow discharged in his breast
Sharper and more deadly arrows
Than the eyes of the Lord when they looked upon him;
His eyes were the bows, and His looks the darts
That from his afflicted heart passed
Into his soul, where they caused such wounds
That he needed for the rest of his life
To anoint them with the liquor of his eyes.

3. Tre volte haveva a l’importuna, e audace [YouTube]
Ancella, al servo e a la turba rea
Detto e giurato che giamai seguace
Non fù del suo signór né’l conoscea;
Il gallo publicátol contumace
Il dì chiamato in testimón v’havea.
Quando del suo gran fallo a pena avvisto
S’incontrár gli occhi suoi con quei di Christo.

Thrice he had said to the importunate and audacious
Maid, to the servant, and to the wicked multitude,
Had said and sworn never to have been a disciple
Of his Lord, nor to have known Him;
The cock, proclaiming his perjury,
Called upon the day as witness.
When of his great fault but barely aware,
His eyes encountered those of Christ.

4. Qual a l’incontro di quegli occhi santi [YouTube]
Il già caduto Pietro rimanesse,
Non sia chi di narrárlo hoggi si vanti,
Ché lingua non saría, ch’al cer giungesse.
Paréa ché’l bon signór cinto di tanti
Nemici, e de’ suoi privo dir volesse :
Ecco, ché quel, ch’io dissi, egli è pur vero
Amico, dislëal, discé pol fiero.

What, upon the encounter with those holy eyes,
The already downcast Peter must have felt,
No one today would venture to relate,
For there could be no tongue that could attain to the truth.
It seemed that the good Lord, surrounded by so many
Enemies, and deserted by his own, wished to say:
Lo, behold that which I said was the pure truth,
Disloyal friend, cruel disciple.

5. Giovane donna, il suo bel volto in specchio [YouTube]
Non vide mai di lucido cristallo
Come in quel punto il misérabil vecchio
Ne gli occhi del signór vide il suo fallo;
Né tante cose udír cúpid’ orecchio
Potría se stesse ben senza intervallo
Intento a l’altrui dir cento anni, e cento.
Quant’ ei n’udío col guardo in quel momento.

A young woman gazing at her fair face in a mirror
Never saw it with such crystal clarity
Than at that moment the wretched old man
In the eyes of the Lord saw his fault;
Nor could an avid ear, though
It were to listen without interruption
For a hundred, hundred years to the words of another,
Learn as many things as in that look at that moment.

6. Così talhor (benché profane cose [YouTube]
Siano a le sacre d’agguagliársi indegne)
Scoprir mirando altrui le voglie ascose
Suól amator, senza ch’a dir le vegne.
Chi dunque esperto sia ne l’ingegnose
Scole d’amór, a chi no’l prova insegne.
Come senza aprir bocca o scriver note
Con gli occhi ancora favellár si puote.

Thus sometimes (though profane matters
Are not worthy of being likened to the sacred)
The lover reveals to another his secret desires
Without having to utter a word.
Who then could be an expert in the ingenious
Schools of love, when he cannot be taught
How, without opening his mouth, or writing a word,
He can still speak with his eyes?

7. Ogni occhio del signór lingua veloce [YouTube]
Paréa che fusse, et ogni occhio dé suoi
Orrecchia intenta ad ascoltár sua voce.
Più fieri, paréa dir, son gli occhi tui
De l’empie man, che mi porranno in croce ;
Né sento colpo alcún, che si m’annoi
Di tanti ché’l reo stuól in me ne scocca
Quant’il colpo ch’uscio, della tua bocca.

Each of the Lord`s eyes a swift language
Seemed to be, and every eye of His people
An ear intent on listening to His voice.
Even crueller, He seemed to say, are your eyes
Than the pitiless hands that will place me on the cross;
Nor shall I feel any blow among the many
That the wicked multitude will deal me
Wound me as much as that which issued from your mouth.

8. Nessún fedél trovai, nessún cortese [YouTube]
Di tanti ch’ò degnato d’esser miei;
Ma tu, dove il mio amór via più s’accese
Perfido, e ingrato sovra ogni altro sei ;
Ciascún di lor sol col fuggir m’offese ;
Tu mi negasti, et hor con gli altri rei
Ti stai a páscer del mio danno gli occhi,
Perché la parte del piacér ti tocchi.

I found no one faithful, no one kind
Among all those whom I deemed worthy to be mine;
But you, for whom my love was most enkindled,
Are perfidious and ungrateful above all the others;
Each of them offended me only by fleeing;
You denied me, and now together with the other evil-doers,
You wait to sate your eyes upon my doom,
For a share of the pleasure is yours.

9. Chi ad una una raccontár potesse [YouTube]
Le parole di sdegno, e d’amór piene,
Che parve a Pietro di vedér impresse
Nel sacro giro de le sue serene
Luci, scoppiár faria chi l’intendesse :
Ma se d’occhio mortal sovente viene
Virtù, che possa in noi, ch’il prova pensi,
Che puóte occhio divin ne gli human sensi.

He who, one by one, could recount
The words filled with wrath and with love
That Peter believed he saw imprinted
In the sacred turning of His serene
Eyes, would shatter whoever heard him:
But if from a mortal eye virtue often comes,
That can exert power upon our thoughts,
Then what can the divine eye do to the human senses?

10. Come falda di neve, che agghiacciata [YouTube]
Il verno in chiusa valle ascosa giacque,
A primavera poi dal sol scaldata
Tutta si sface, e si discioglie in acque ;
Così la tema, ch’ entro al cor gelata
Era di Pietro allór, che’l vero tacque,
Quando Christo ver lui gli occhi rivolse
Tutta si sfece, e in pianto si risolse.

As a snowflake that lies frozen
In winter in a narrow hidden valley,
In spring, after being warmed by the sun,
Melts away and dissolves into water,
So fear, that lay frozen in the heart
Of Peter when the truth struck him,
When Christ turned his eyes upon him,
Melted away and transformed itself into tears.

11. È non fu il pianto suo rivo, o torrente, [YouTube]
Che per calda stagión giamai seccasse ;
Ché, benché il re del cielo immantinente
A la perduta gratia il ritornasse
De la sua vita tutto il rimanente
Non fu mai notte, ch’ei non si destasse,
Udendo il gallo a dir quanto fu iniquo
Dando lagrime nove al fallo antiquo.

And his tears were neither brook nor torrent
That a hot season could dry up,
For, although the King of Heaven forthwith
Restored the fallen one to grace,
For the remainder of his life
There was never a night that he did not awaken,
Hearing the cock proclaim how great had been his sin,
And shedding new tears at his bygone fault.

12. Quel volto ch’era poco inanzi stato [YouTube]
Asperso tutto di colór di morte,
Per lo sangue, che al cor se n’era andato,
Lasciando fredde l’altre parti, e smorte
Dal raggio de’ santi occhi riscaldato
Divenne fiamma, e per l’istesse porte,
Ch’era intrato il timór, fuggendo sparve ;
E nel suo loco la vergogna apparve.

That face which but a few instants before
Was all covered with the colour of death,
Because the blood did not flow back from the heart,
Leaving the other parts cold and wan,
Reheated by the beams of the holy eyes,
Became inflamed and by the very same door
That it had entered fear fled away;
And in its place shame appeared.

13. Veduto il míser quanto differente [YouTube]
Dal primo stato suo si ritrovava,
Non bastándogli il cor di star presente
A l’offeso signór, che si l’amava
Senza aspettar se fiera o se clemente
Sententia duro tribunál lidava
Da l’odïoso albergo ove era allora
Piangendo amaramente usci di fuora.

The unhappy wretch, seeing how different
From its former state his life would be,
Did not have the heart to tarry in the presence
Of the offended Lord who had so greatly loved him,
And without waiting to know whether harsh or merciful
Would be the sentence the implacable tribunal passed
on him,
From the loathsome inn where he was
He went outside, weeping bitterly.

14. E vago d’incontrár chi giusta pena [YouTube]
Desse al suo grave errór, poi che paura
Di maggiór mal l’ardita man raffrena,
Per l’ombre errando de la notte oscura
Ne va gridando, ove il dolór il mena
E la vita, che inanzi hebbe sì a cura
Hor più ch’altro odia, e sol di lei si duole
E perché lo fé errar, più non la vuole.

And longing to meet one who would inflict
The just penalty for his grave error, for dread
Of a greater evil restrained his hand,
Roaming through the shades of the dark night
He went crying aloud wherever his grief led him,
And life, for which he had once been so concerned,
He now loathed more than any other thing, and was only
grieved by it;
And since it caused him to err, he wanted no more of it.

15. Váttene, vita va, dicéa piangendo, [YouTube]
Dove non sia chi t’odi, o chi ti sdegni;
Lásciami ; so che non è ben, che essendo
Compagnia così rea, meco ne vegni;
Váttene vita va, ch’io non intendo,
Che una altra volta ad ésser vil m’insegni ;
Né vò per prolungár tue frali tempre,
Uccider l’alma nata a viver sempre.

Go life, get you gone, he said weeping,
In which there is no one who does not loathe me, or
despise me;
Leave me; I know that it is not good to go with me,
Since I am such evil company;
Go life, get you gone, for I do not intend
You to teach me to be cowardly again;
Nor, in order to prolong your feeble whims,
To kill the soul born to live for ever.

16. O vita troppo rea, troppo fallace, [YouTube]
Che per fuggir qua giù si breve guerra,
Pérder m’hai fatto in cielo eterna pace ;
Chi più desia godérti in su la terra,
Più tosto senza te schernito giace ;
E chi vorria lasciárti, e gir sotterra,
Non vuoi mal grado suo, giamai lasciarlo
Vaga di sempre a novo duól serbarlo.

O life, too cruel, too deceitful,
Who, in order to avoid a brief conflict in this world,
Has made me lose eternal peace in heaven;
Who most desires to delight in you on this earth,
The soonest will lie, scorned and deprived of you;
And him who would want to leave you and rest below
the ground
You will never quit, despite his wish
Desiring to subject him to new afflictions.

17. A quanti già felici in giovanezza [YouTube]
Recò l’indugio tuo lunghi tormenti,
Che se inanzi al venir de la vecchiezza
Sciolti fússer dal mondo, più contenti
Morti sarián, poi che non ha fermezza
Stato alcún, che si temi, o si paventi ;
Onde io vita a ragión di te mi doglio
Che stessi meco, e stai più che non voglio.

To how many, happy in their youth,
Has your procrastination brought lingering torments,
And who, before reaching old age,
Had they but been delivered from the world, more happily
Would have died, for firm constancy there is none
In any condition, whether one fears or whether one dreads;
Whence, life, I have reason to deplore
That you should be beside me and stay longer than I wish.

18. Non trovava mia fé si duro intoppo [YouTube]
Se tu non stavi si gran tempo meco ;
Se non havésser gli anni, e il viver troppo
Portato il senno, e la memoria seco,
Pensár dovéa, ch’io vidi dar al zoppo
I piè, la lingua al muto e gli occhi al cieco
E quel che più maravigliár fe’ l’ombre,
Rénder l’anime ai corpi onde éran sgombre.

My faith would not have encountered so arduous an
If you had not spent so much time with me;
If the years and too long a life
Had not borne away with them perception and memory,
I should have remembered that I saw the lame made
To walk, the dumb given his tongue, the blind his eyes,
And that which most astounded the shades,
Souls restored to bodies from which they had fled.

19. Queste opre e più, che’l mondo, et io sapea [YouTube]
Ramentár mi dovéan, che il loro fattore
Fontana di salute ésser dovea,
E sgombrár dal mio petto ogni timore ;
Ma come quel, che per l’etá ch’avea,
Era di senno, e di me stesso fuore.
Nel gran periglio ricercando aita
Per tema di morir, negai la vita.

These deeds and more, which the world and I both knew
Should have reminded me that their author
Was the fountain of salvation,
And delivered my breast from all fear;
But like him, whom age has deprived
Of his senses, so I found myself.         
In great peril, seeking help,
For fear of dying I renounced life.

20. Negando il mio signór, negai quel ch’era [YouTube]
La vita, ond’ogni vita si deriva;
Vita tranquilla, che non teme, o spera
Né puóte il corso suo giúnger a riva ;
Poi che dunque negai la vita vera
Non è, non è ragión che unqua più viva ;
Vátten, vita fallace, e tosto sgombra ;
Se la vera negai, non chiedo l’ombra.

In denying my Lord I denied that which
Is the life from which all life springs,
The peaceful life that neither fears not hopes,
And in its course cannot reach the shore;
Since, therefore, I have disavowed the true life,
There is no reason that I should continue living;
Go then, deceitful life, get you gone without delay;
If I have denied the true life, I do not want its shadow.

21. Vide homo, quæ pro te patior; [YouTube]
Ad te clamo, qui pro te morior ;
Vide poenas, quibus afficior ;
Vide clavos, quibus confodior ;
Non est dolor, sicut quo crucior.
Et cum sit tantus dolor exterior,
Intus tamen dolor est gravior,
Tam ingratum cum te experior.

Behold, man, what I suffer for you;
I cry unto you, you for whom I die;
Behold the agonies that I endure;
Behold the nails that transpierce me;
There is no pain like that of the cross,
And great as this outward pain might be,
The inner pain is even worse,
To have experienced such ingratitude from you.