Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Dear is the rose

Dear is the rose and graceful,
but when it’s planted in a garden alone,
its beauty is not enough for our eyes,
yet when combined
with a pure white lily, O how beautiful!
O, how desire flies
into them and enjoys amorous auras
and is sated, gazing on the lilies and roses.

So also the vivid rose
blushing in the whiteness of a beautiful cheek
arouses yearning in the heart,
but when the good purple blood
is restrained, then how the soul languishes.
Ah, may love always find
in graceful whiteness that soft vermilion
and be sated, gazing on the lily and the rose.

English translation by Paul Archer of the text of Cara è la rosa by Andrea Falconieri (1585-1656). See the copyright notice below.

Cara è la rosa

Cara è la rosa e vaga
Pur se in giardin, dov’ella è posta, è sola:
Con la bellezza sua l’occhio men paga.
Ma se misto è con quella
Il candidetto giglio, ò come è bella!
Oh, come il disir vola
Dentro a quel misto e gode aure amorose
Restando pago in mirar gigli e rose.

Così la viva rosa
Che nel candor di bella guanci splende
Con la vaghezza sua l’anima accende.
Ma se manca il bel sangue
Del porporato fi ore ò come langue.
Deh sempre il candor vago
Discopra Amor nel suo gentil vermiglio
Restando pago in mirar rosa e giglio.

Recording. A sublime performance of 'Cara è la rosa' by the English soprano Fiona Stuart-Wilson accompanied by the Italian lutenist Stefano Rocco, recorded at a concert in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Copyright notice. The translation is provided as an aid to musicians and audiences. Publication of the translation in print or digital formats is expressly forbidden unless permission from the author has been first obtained and acknowledgement of authorship is duly made. Permission will usually be granted so please contact Paul Archer with details of how you wish to make use of the translation.

For more translations into English of early music texts, go to:
Translations of early music texts.

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