Monday, December 2, 2013

Volume I:
   La morte - Death

La morte verrà all'improvviso
avrà le tue labbra i tuoi occhi
ti coprirà d'un velo bianco
addormentandosi al tuo fianco

Nell'ozio nel sonno in battaglia
verrà senza darti avvisaglia
la morte va a colpo sicuro
non suona il corno né il tamburo

Madonna che in limpida fonte
ristori le membra stupende
la morte non ti vedrà in faccia
avrà il tuo seno e le tue braccia

Prelati notabili e conti
sull'uscio piangeste ben forte
chi bene condusse sua vita
male sopporterà sua morte

Straccioni che senza vergogna
portaste il cilicio o la gogna
partirvene non fu fatica
perché la morte vi fu amica

Guerriero che in punta di lancia
dal suolo d'Oriente alla Francia
di stragi menasti in gran vanto
e fra i nemici il lutto e il pianto

Di fronte all'estrema nemica
non vale coraggio o fatica
non serve colpirla nel cuore
perché la morte mai non muore
non serve colpirla nel cuore
perché la morte mai non muore

Text of La morte © 1967 Fabrizio De André
Music © 1960 Georges Brassens

"La morte" uses the music of “Le verger du roi Louis,” released in 1960 by the French singer/songwriter Georges Brassens, setting to music a 19th century poem by Théodore de Banville. The poem alludes to the "gardens of King Louis" - the parts of his forest that were reserved for those who were hanged, in "clusters never visited." De André feared death, something he spoke about on several occasions, and death is a presence in many of his songs. The opening lines of De André's lyric are quite similar to the first lines of Cesare Pavesi's 1950 poem "Death Will Come and Have Your Eyes."

Death will come suddenly,
it will have your lips and your eyes.
It will cover you in a white veil,
sleeping on your side.

In idleness, in sleep, in battle
it will come, giving you no warning.
Death goes without fail,
sounding neither horn nor drum.

Fine lady who in clear springs
refreshes her marvelous limbs,
Death will not see you face-to-face,
it will have your breast and your arms.

Prelates, notables and counts,
you cried at the door right hard.
Whoever conducted his life well
will bear poorly his death.

Tramps who without shame
wore the hair shirt or mounted the pillory -
departing was not a struggle
because Death was for you a friend.

Warrior who with the point of a lance,
from the soil of the Orient to France,
you boasted grandly of massacres,
and among the enemies, bereavement and weeping.

In front of the ultimate enemy,
neither courage nor struggle is worthwhile.
It’s no use to strike it in the heart
because Death never dies.
It’s no use to strike it in the heart
because Death never dies.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser

Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.

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