Un uomo onesto, un uomo probo,
d'una che non lo amava niente.
Gli disse portami domani,
gli disse portami domani
il cuore di tua madre per i miei cani.
Lui dalla madre andò e l'uccise,
dal petto il cuore le strappò
e dal suo amore ritornò.
Non era il cuore, non era il cuore,
non le bastava quell'orrore,
voleva un'altra prova del suo cieco amore.
Gli disse amor se mi vuoi bene,
gli disse amor se mi vuoi bene,
tagliati dei polsi le quattro vene.
Le vene ai polsi lui si tagliò,
e come il sangue ne sgorgò,
correndo come un pazzo da lei tornò.
Gli disse lei ridendo forte,
gli disse lei ridendo forte,
l'ultima tua prova sarà la morte.
E mentre il sangue lento usciva,
e ormai cambiava il suo colore,
la vanità fredda gioiva,
un uomo s'era ucciso per il suo amore.
Fuori soffiava dolce il vento,
ma lei fu presa da sgomento,
quando lo vide morir contento.
Morir contento e innamorato,
quando a lei niente era restato,
non il suo amore, non il suo bene,
ma solo il sangue secco delle sue vene.
La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità) © 1966 Fabrizio De André
"La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità)" was the B-side of the next to last 45 released on the Karim label. The first three verses of this song are taken from a French poem "La Chanson de Marie-des-Anges" by Jean Richepin. De André's father had studied French literature at university, and in the years following World War II De André grew up surrounded with books and music. One of his attractions was to the dark sensibilities of Baudelaire. The macabre lyrics of this song coupled with the lively music (Dixieland interludes!) show the influence also of George Brassens. And that "tralallaleru" refrain is no doubt related to Trallalero, a group harmony singing tradition from the Ligurian region that was taken up by Genoese dockworkers and became hugely popular in the first three decades of the 1900s.
An example of Trallalero:
An honest man, a man of probity
fell deeply in love
with a woman who loved him not at all.
She told him bring me, tomorrow
She told him bring me tomorrow
the heart of your mother for my dogs.
He went to his mother’s house and killed her
from her chest he tore out her heart
and to his love he did return.
It wasn’t the heart, it wasn’t the heart
It wasn’t enough for her, that horror,
she wanted another proof of his blind love.
She said darling, if you love me
She said darling, if you love me
cut the four veins of your wrist.
He cut the veins in his wrist
and as blood gushed out,
running like a madman he returned to her.
She said to him, laughing hard
She said to him, laughing loud
your final test will be death.
And while his blood slowly drained out
and then his color was changing,
the cold vanity rejoiced,
a man had been killed for his love.
Outside, the wind blew gently
but she fell into a state of consternation
when she saw him dying, contented.
Dying content and in love,
when for her nothing remained,
not his love, nor his well-being,
just the dried blood of his veins.
English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser
Tutto Fabrizio De André was released in 1966 and is a compilation of singles released between 1961 and 1966.
Fabrizio De André, the revered Italian singer/songwriter, created a deep and enduring body of work over the course of his career from the 1960s through the 1990s. With these translations I have tried to render his words into an English that reads naturally without straying too far from the Italian. The translations decipher De André's lyrics without trying to preserve rhyme schemes or to make the resulting English lyric work with the melody of the song.