Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, volume 9 (2003) no. 1
ISSN: 1089-747X

Mauro Calcagno
Monteverdi’s parole sceniche

Text 1
Alessandro Striggio, Prologue to L’Orfeo, 1607



Dal mio Permesso amato a voi ne vegno,
Incliti eroi, sangue gentil di Regi,
Di cui narra la Fama eccelsi pregi,
Né giugne al ver, perch’è tropp’alto il segno.

Io la Musica son, ch’ai dolci accenti
So far tranquillo ogni turbato core,
Et hor di nobil ira, et hor d’amore
Posso infiammar le più gelate menti.

Io su cetera d’or cantando soglio
Mortal orecchia lusingar talhora,
E in guisa tal de l’armonia sonora
de le rote del Ciel più l’alme invoglio.

Quinci a dirvi d’ORFEO desio mi sprona
D’ORFEO che trasse al suo cantar le fere,
E servo fè l’Inferno a sue preghiere
Gloria immortal di Pindo e d’Elicona.

Hor mentre i canti alterno hor lieti, hor mesti
Non si mova augellin fra queste piante,
Né s’oda in queste rive onda sonante,
Et ogni Auretta in suo camin s’arresti.


From my beloved Permessus I come to you,
illustrious heroes, noble scions of kings,
whose glorious deeds Fame relates,
though falling short of the truth, since the target is too high.

I am Music, who in sweet accents
can calm each troubled heart,
and now with noble anger, now with love,
can kindle the most frigid minds.

I, with my lyre of gold and with my singing, am used
to sometimes charming my mortal ears,
and in this way inspire souls with a longing
for the sonorous harmony of heaven’s lyre.

From here desire spurs me to tell you of Orpheus,
Orpheus who drew wild beasts to him by his songs
and who subjugated Hades by his entreaties,
the immortal glory of Pindus and Helicon.

Now while I alternate my songs, now happy, now sad,
let no small bird stir among these trees,
no noisy wave be heard on these river-banks,
and let each little breeze halt in its course.

Return to: Paragraph 3.1.