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Sonetto XXXVIII (1942) Op. 22 no.5

Part of a series or song cycle:

Seven Sonnets of Michaelangelo (Op. 22)


Rendete agli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume,
L’onde della non vostra e salda vena.
Che più v’innalza, e cresce, e con più lena
Che non è ’l vostro natural costume.
E tu, folt’air, che ’l celeste lume
Tempri a’ tristi occhi, de’ sospir miei piena,
Rendigli al cor mio lasso e rasserena
Tua scura faccia al mio visivo acume.
Renda la terra i passi alle mie piante,
Ch’ancor l’erba germogli che gli è tolta;
E ’l suono Ecco, già sorda a’ miei lamenti;
Gli sguardi agli occhi mie, tue luci sante,
Ch’io possa altra bellezza un’altra volta
Amar, po’ che di me non ti contenti.


Give back to my eyes, you fountains and rivers, the waves of those strong currents that are not yours, which make you swell and grow with greater power than is your natural way.
And thou, heavy air, that dims the heavenly light to my sad eyes, so full of my sighs art thou, give them back to my weary heart and lighten thy dark face to my eye’s keen sight.
Earth, give me back my footsteps that the grass may sprout again where it was trod; and Echo, yet deaf to my laments, give back thy sound; and you blest pupils give back to my eyes their glances;
that I another time may love another beauty, since with me you are not satisfied.

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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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