O foible esprit (Orlando di Lasso)

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  • CPDL #32982:        (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2014-09-19).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 170 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: O foible esprit
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Joachim du Bellay

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

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1571 in Livre de chansons nouvelles avec 2 dialogues, no. 7


External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

O foible esprit, chargé de tant de peines,
Que ne veux tu soubz la terre descendre?
O coeur ardent, que n'es tu mis en cendres?
O tristes yeux, que n'estes vous fonteines?
O bien douteux, ô peines trop certaines!
O doux sçavoir, trop amer à comprendre!
O Dieu qui fays que tant j'ose entreprendre,
Pourquoy rends tu mes entreprises vaines?

O jeune archer qui n'as point d'ieux,
Pourquoy si droit astu pris ta visée?
O vif flambeau qui embrases les dieux,
Pourquoy astu ma froideur attisée?
O face d'ange, O coeur de pierre dure!
Regarde au moins le tourment que j'endure.

English.png English translation

Oh poor weak mind, weighed down by cares,
what though you were buried in the earth?
Oh heart in flames – why not reduced to ash?
Oh sad eyes – why not watery springs?
Oh doubtful blessings, cares all too certain!
Oh sweet knowledge, too bitter for me to grasp!
Oh God, you give me the courage to do so much:
Why do you make my undertakings vain?
Oh young blind archer1,
Why did you aim so straight?
Oh lighted torch, setting the gods aflame,
Why have you ignited my cold heart?
Oh angel face, oh heart of stone!
Behold at least the torment I endure.

Translation by Mick Swithinbank