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Amorosa fenice

Source:  Veggio, 1575 ; modern edition, Tasso/Basile, 1994

Amorosa fenice,
nel sol ch’io solo adoro
ardendo vivo e moro.
E morendo, rinasco
e volo e canto,
fatto cigno canoro
il suo bel nome santo.
Amor, s’in altro lume
arder non son le piume,
perchè de la mia Donna augel mi fai,
e non m’annidi in quel bel seno mai?
Amorous phoenix,
in the sun that alone I love,
burning I live and die.
And dying, I am reborn,
and I take wing and sing,
made into a singing swan,
her beautiful sainted name.
Love, if I don’t know how to burn
my feathers in another flame,
why do you make me into my Lady’s bird,
and yet never allow me to nest in that beautiful breast?

This text, also attributed to Girolamo Casone, first appears in print in Giovanni Agostino Veggio's Primo libro de madrigali a quattro voci, published in 1575.  The book was dedicated to Hercole Varano, a nobleman who frequented both the Farnese and d'Este courts - Veggio claimed that he had been encouraged by Ottavio Sanvitale to present the book to Varano.  At the time of the book's publication, Varano was providing hospitality for Giulio Thiene, Conte di Scandiano, during the period of negotations that led to his marriage to Leonora Sanvitale.  The reference to 'her beautiful sainted name' could apply to Leonora's family name.  The text is also set by Alessandro Milleville in Biblioteca Estense, Modena, Ms. Mus. F1358, a collection which contains several veiled references to Leonora and her stepmother, Barbara Sanseverina.


Written by Laurie Stras.

Last updated 04 October, 2002.

The views expressed on this page are those of the author and not of the University of Southampton.