E Lucevan le Stelle from Tosca
The upper parts of the Castel Sant’Angelo, early morning, 18 June 1800, Rome.
A shepherd boy sings “Io de’ sospiri” (“I give you sighs”) as church bells
sound for matins. Cavaradossi is led in by guards and informed that he has
one hour to live. He refuses to see a priest, but asks permission to write
a letter to Tosca. He begins to write, but is soon overwhelmed by memories:
“E lucevan le stelle” (“And the stars shone”).
Original Italian Lyrics
E lucevan le stelle …
ed olezzava la terra
stridea l’uscio dell’orto …
e un passo sfiorava la rena …
Entrava ella fragrante,
mi cadea fra le braccia.
O! dolci baci, o languide carezze,
mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!
Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore.
L’ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!
E muoio disperato!
E non ho amato mai tanto la vita,
tanto la vita!
Singable English Translation
When the stars were brightly shining …
And faint perfumes the air pervaded,
Creaked the gate of the garden …
And footstep its precincts invaded …
‘Twas hers, the fragant creature.
In her soft arms she clasped me..
With sweetest kisses, tenderest caresses,
A thing of beauty, of matchless symmetry in form and feature!
My dream of love is now dispelled forever.
I lived uncaring and now I die despairing!
Alas I die despairing!
And never was life so dear to me, no never,
So dear, no never!