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L'Eté Romance


Part of a series or song cycle:

Les Consolations des misères de ma vie


L'Eté Romance

Or che niega i doni suoi,
La stagion de’ fiori amica,
Cinta il crin di bionda spica;
Volge a noi
L’estate il piè.
E già sotto al raggio ardente,
Così bollono l’arene,
Che alla Barbara cirene,
Piü cocente
Il sol non è.
Più non hanno i primi albori
Le lor gelide rugiade;
Più dal ciel pioggia non cade
Che ristori
E l’ erba, e ‘l fior.
Alimento il fonte, il rio,
Al terren più non comparte,
Che si fende in ogni parte
Per desio
Di nuovo umor.
Polveroso al sole in faccia
Si scolora il verde faggio,
Che di frondi al nuovo maggio
Le sue braccia
Rivestì;
Ed ingrato al suol natio
Fuor del tronco ombra non stende,
Nè dal sol l’acque difende
Di quel rio
Che lo nutrì.

Summer Romance

Now that the season that is a friend to flowers
Denies her gifts,
Her head encircled with blond corn,
Summer turns her feet
Towards us.
And already under the blazing sun,
The sands burn so much
That to the barbarous Cyrenian woman
The suns itself
Is no more scorching.
The first light of dawn no longer has
Its frosty dew;
No longer does rain fall from the sky
To restore
The grass and flowers.
The source of the fountain, the stream,
No longer divides the earth,
Which is covered in cracks
Out of desire
For fresh moisture.
Facing the sun the green beech tree
Turns white with dust
The tree whose arms May
Dressed once again
With leafy branches
And ungrateful to its native soil
No shade extends from the trunk,
Nor protects from the sun the water
Of that stream
That nourished it.

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Poet

Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym of Pietro Metastasio, was an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.

Metastasio was born in Rome, where his father, Felice Trapassi, a native of Assisi, had taken service in the Corsican regiment of the papal forces. Felice married a Bolognese woman, Francesca Galasti, and became a grocer in the Via dei Cappellari. The couple had two sons and two daughters; Pietro was the younger son.

Pietro, while still a child, is said to have attracted crowds by reciting impromptu verses on a given subject. On one such occasion in 1709, two men of distinction stopped to listen: Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, famous for legal and literary erudition as well as his directorship of the Arcadian Academy, and Lorenzini, a critic of some note. Gravina was attracted by the boy's poetic talent and personal charm, and made Pietro his protégé; in the course of a few weeks he adopted him. Felice Trapassi was glad to give his son the chance of a good education and introduction into society.

Gravina hellenized the boy's name Trapassi into Metastasio, and intended his adopted son to be a jurist like himself. He therefore made the boy learn Latin and law. At the same time he cultivated his literary gifts, and displayed the youthful prodigy both at his own house and in the Roman coteries. Metastasio soon found himself competing with the most celebrated improvvisatori of his time in Italy. However, his days full of study and evenings devoted to improvising poetry took a toll on Pietro's health.

Gravina, making a business trip to Calabria, exhibited Metastasio in the literary circles of Naples, then placed him in the care of his kinsman Gregorio Caroprese at Scaléa. In country air and the quiet of the southern seashore Metastasio's health revived. Gravina decided that he should never improvise again, but should be reserved for nobler efforts, when, having completed his education, he might enter into competition with the greatest poets.

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