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Sonetto XVI (1942) Op. 22 no.1


Part of a series or song cycle:

Seven Sonnets of Michaelangelo (Op. 22)


Sonetto XVI

Sì come nella penna e nell’inchiostro
È l’alto e ’l basso e ’l mediocre stile,
E ne’ marmi l’immagin ricca e vile,
Secondo che ’l sa trar l’ingegno nostro;
Così, signor mie car, nel petto vostro,
Quante l’orgoglio, è forse ogni atto umile:
Ma io sol quel c’a me proprio è e simile
Ne traggo, come fuor nel viso mostro.
Chi semina sospir, lacrime e doglie,
(L’umor dal ciel terreste, schietto e solo,
A vari semi vario si converte),
Però pianto e dolor ne miete e coglie;
Chi mira alta beltà con sì gran duolo,
Dubbie speranze, e pene acerbe e certe.

Sonnet XVI

Just as there is a high, a low, and a middle style in pen and ink, and as within the marble are images rich and poor, according as our fancy knows how to draw them forth:
so within your heart, dear love, there are perhaps, as well as pride, some humble feelings: but I draw thence only what is my desert and like to what I show outside on my face.
Whoever sows sighs, tears and lamentations (Heaven’s moisture on earth, simple and pure, adapts itself differently to different seeds) reaps and gathers grief and sadness:
whoever looks on high beauty with so great a grief reaps doubtful hopes and sure and bitter pain.

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Composer

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

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Poet

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, better known simply as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet.


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