Give eare to the clocke: Text and Translations

O temps divers

Orlando di Lasso (c. 1532–1594)

O temps divers qui me défend de voir
celle ou ma foi prend sa ferme défense,
je meurs par toi car malgré mon vouloir
il n’est ennui que d’amoureuse absence.

O time, that prevents me from seeing the one where
My faith takes its firm defense,
I die through you, for despite my will,
There is no more torment than one’s lover’s absence.

translation Claire Rottembourg

Cantate Domino

Hans Leo Hassler (1564–1612)

Cantate Domino canticum novum,
Cantate Domino omnis terra.
Cantate Domino, et benedicite nomini ejus;
annuntiate de die in diem salutare ejus.
Annuntiate inter gentes gloriam ejus;
in omnibus populis mirabilia ejus.

O sing unto the Lord a new song,
Sing unto the Lord, all the whole earth.
Sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name;
Be telling of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his honour unto the heathen;
and his wonders unto all people.

Es taget vor dem Walde/Fortuna desperata

Luwig Senfl (c. 1486–1543)

Es taget vor dem Walde, stand auf, Kätterlein!
Die hasen laufen balde,
Stand auf, Kätterlein, holder Buhl!
Heiaho, du bist mein, so bin ich dein, Stand auf, Kätterlein!

Daybreak in the woods, wake up, Kathleen!
Soon the hares will run.
Wake up, Kathleen, sweet love!
Hy-a-ho, you are mine, thus I am thine, Wake up, Kathleen!

translation ©, 1999

Fortuna desperata, iniqua e maledecta, maledecta
Che de tal dona electa la fama hai denigrata.

Desperate fate, iniquitous and maledicted
who blackened the good name of a woman beyond compare.

Mille volte il dí moro

Carlo Gesualdo (1556–1613)

Mille volte il dì, mòro e voi, empi sospiri,
non fate, ohimè, che, in sospirando, io spiri!
E tu, alma crudele, se il mio duolo t’affligge sì,
ché non te n’ fuggi a volo?
Ahi, che sol Morte a mio duòl aspro e rio
divien pietosa e ancide il viver mio!
Così dunque i sospiri e l’alma mia
sono vèr me spietati, e Morte pia.

A thousand times a day I die and you, wicked sighs,
you do not let me, alas, from sighing die!
And you, cruel soul, if my pain afflicts you so,
why don’t you fly away?
Ah! would only Death grow merciful
of my bitter and cruel pain, and kill me!
Such it is, thus, that my sighs and soul
are pitiless towards me, whilst Death is merciful.

translation Campelli (

Bonjour mon coeur

Orlando di Lasso

Bonjour mon coeur, bonjour ma douce vie
Bonjour mon oeil, bonjour ma chère amie!
Hé! Bonjour ma toute belle,
Ma mignardise, bonjour
Mes délices, mon amour,
Mon doux printemps, ma douce fleur nouvelle,
Mon doux plaisir, ma douce colombelle,
Mon passereau, ma gente tourterelle!
Bonjour ma douce rebelle.

Good day, dear heart! Good day, my charming maiden!
Good day, my own! Good day, my flower, love laden!
Ah, good day, my gentle sweetheart,
My nymph enchanting, good day,
Mine eyes’ delight, my dear love.
My tender bud, my fresh and gentle spring flower,
My singing bird, my turtle dove in rose bower,
My winsome maid, my heart’s delight and longing.
Good day, my sweet, my tyrant love.

The Sweet Nightingale

Cornish Folk Song

My sweetheart, come along!
Don’t you hear the fond song,
The sweet notes of the nightingale flow?
Don’t you hear the fond tale of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in those valleys below?
So be not afraid to walk in the shade,
Nor yet in those valleys below,
Nor yet in those valleys below.
Fond youth is a bubble
Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585)
Fond youth is a bubble blown up with breath
whose wit is weakness, whose wage is death,
whose way is wilderness, whose inn penance;
and stoop gallant age, the host of grievance.

His golden locks time hath to silver turn’d

John Dowland (c. 1563–1626)

His golden locks Time hath to silver turned.
O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing:
His youth ‘gainst Time and Age hath ever spurned,
But spurned in vain; youth waneth by increasing.
Beauty, strength, youth are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love are roots, and ever green.
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees,
And lovers’ sonnets turn to holy psalms.
A man at arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers which are Age’s alms.
But though from Court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.
And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He’ll teach his swains this carol for a song:
Blest be the hearts that wish my Sov’reign well.
Curst be the soul that think him any wrong.
Ye gods, allow this aged man his right
To be your beadsman now, that was your knight.

Incenerite spoglie, arva tomba

Claudio Monteverdi (c. 1567–1643)

Incenerite spoglie, avara tomba
Fatta del mio bel Sol, terreno Cielo,
ahi lasso! I’ vegno ad inchinarvi in terra.
Con voi chius’è ‘l mio cor a marmi in seno,
e notte e giorno vive in foco, in pianto,
in duolo, in ira, il tormentato Glauco.

Remains turned to ashes, at the miserly tomb
made earthly paradise by my fair sun,
alas and alack, I come to lay you in earth.
With you is my heart buried deep in a marble vault,
and night and day the tormented Glaucus
lives in flames, in sorrow and in anger.

Ditelo, o fiumi e voi ch’udiste

Claudio Monteverdi

Ditelo, O fiumi, e voi ch’udiste Glauco
L’aria ferir dì grida in su la tomba,
Erme campagne – e’l san le Ninfe e ‘l Cielo:
A me fu cibo il duol, bevanda il pianto,
– Letto, O sasso felice, il tuo bel seno –
Poi ch’il mio ben coprì gelida terra.

Say it, o rivers, and you, lonely fields
who hear Glaucus rend the air with cries over
her tomb, that the Nymphs and heaven may know:
grief has become my food, tears my drink,
your fair breast, o happy rock, my bed,
since my beloved was laid in frozen earth.

Gute nach, O Wesen

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

Gute Nacht, o Wesen, das die Welt erlesen,
Mir gefällst du nicht.
Gute Nacht, ihr Sünden, bleibet weit dahinten,
Kommt nicht mehr ans Licht!
Gute Nacht, du Stolz und Pracht!
Dir sei ganz, du Lasterleben, Gute Nacht gegeben.

Now good night, O creature which the world doth favor,
Thou dost please me not.
Now good night, corruption, get thee far behind me,
Come no more to light!
Now good night, thou pomp and pride!
Once for all, thou wicked life here, now, Good night, I bid thee.

O tempo, o ciel volubil

Orlando di Lasso

O tempo, o ciel volubil, che fuggendo
Inganni i ciechi e miseri mortali,
O dí veloci piu che vento e strali,
Hora ab esperto vostre frodi intendo:
Ma scuso voi, e me stesso riprendo,
Che Natura a volar v’aperse l’ali,
A me diede occhi et io pur ne’ miei mali
Li tenni, onde vergogna e dolor prendo.
E sarebbe hora, et è passata homai,
Di rivoltarli, in piú secura parte,
E poner fine a gl’infiniti guai;
Né dal tuo giogo, Amor, l’alma si parte,
Ma dal suo mal; con che studio tu’l sai;
Non a caso è virtute, anzi è bell’arte.

O time, O fickle sky, that flickers by,
deceiving blind and miserable mortals,
O days swifter than arrows or the wind,
now from experience I know your guile:
but I excuse you, and blame myself,
since Nature unfurled your wings for flight,
gave eyes to me, and I held them fixed
on my ills, from which came grief and shame.
And I know the hour: it’s already past,
for turning towards a more secure place,
and putting an end to infinite pain:
the soul does not leave your yoke, Love,
but its own ills: with what labour you know:
virtue comes not by chance, but by true art.

Unless otherwise specified, translations are from Choral Public Domain Library (

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