Skip to main content


Oxford Lieder Live Online


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.

If you would like to use our texts and translations, please click here for more information.


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).

Information from Wikipedia. Click here for more information.

See Full Entry


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

See Full Entry

Sorry, no further description available.

Previously performed at:

(As part of a song cycle/series:)

Mailing List