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Sonetto XXXI (1942) Op. 22 no.2

Part of a series or song cycle:

Seven Sonnets of Michaelangelo (Op. 22)

Sonetto XXXI

A che più debb’io mai l’intensa voglia
Sfogar con pianti o con parole meste,
Se di tal sorte ’l ciel, che l’alma veste,
Tard’ o per tempo, alcun mai non ne spoglia?
A che ’l cor lass’ a più morir m’invoglia,
S’altri pur dee morir? Dunque per queste
Luci l’ore del fin fian men moleste;
Ch’ogn’ altro ben val men ch’ogni mia doglia.
Però se ’l colpo, ch’io ne rub’ e ’nvolo,
Schifar non poss’; almen, s’è destinato,
Ch entrerà ’nfra la dolcezza e ’l duolo?
Se vint’ e pres’ i’ debb’esser beato,
Maraviglia non è se nud’ e solo,
Resto prigion d’un Cavalier armato.

Sonnet XXXI

Why must I go on venting my ardent desire in tears and melancholy words, if Heaven that dresses the soul in grief, never, soon or late, allows relief?
Why should my weary heart long for death since all must die? So to these eyes my last hours will be less painful, all my grief being greater than any joy.
If, therefore, I cannot avoid these blows, nay, even seek them, since it is my fate, who is the one that stands always between joy and grief?
If to be happy I must be conquered and held captive, no wonder then that I, unarmed and alone, remain the prisoner of a Cavalier in arms.

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

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