Barbara Strozzi

✤  View another piece from this Opus / Collection →

Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè

Originally for Soprano and basso continuo.
Original Language: Italian

Luci belle, deh, ditemi perché
Sempre altere e dispietate
Vi mostrate,
Non curando amor e fè.

Formò Fallari tiranno
Contro i rei fiero istromento,
Pur alfin nell'empio inganno
Breve morte era il tormento.
Io solo, ahi lasso, per più cruda sorte,
Con perpetuo penar provo la morte.
Hor voi arbitre siate al mio dolore,
Se nel regno d'amore
Più infelice amator vi sia di me.

Luci belle...

Là nel regno de' tormenti,
Dolce suon d'Ismaria cetra
Sin da Cerberi frementi
Pure alfin pietade impetra.
Io, fatto esempio a' sfortunati amanti,
Spargo invano sospir, accenti e pianti.
Hor dunque al mio pregar sorde e rubelle,
Ho da dir, crude stelle,
Che nel ciel di beltà pietà non v'è.

Luci belle...

Sig. Brunacci

Beautiful eyes

Beautiful eyes, oh, tell my why
you always seem
contemptuous and merciless,
unmindful of love and devotion.

Phalaris* the tyrant invented
a fierce instrument for culprits,
but in merciless deceit
the torment ended in swift death.
I alone, alas, by a more cruel fate
die in perpetual pain.
Judge my suffering:
in the kingdom of love is there
a more unhappy lover?

Beautiful eyes...

There in the kingdom of torments
the sweet sound of Orpheus' lyre
silences the howling of Cerberus**
until at last compassion reigns.
I, made an example for ill-starred lovers,
scatter sighs, plaints, and tears in vain.
Since you remain deaf and resistant to my pleading,
I must say, cruel eyes, that in the
heavenly realm of beauty there is no compassion.

Beautiful eyes...

Translated by:

Richard Kolb

*Phalaris of Acragas (570-554 b.c.) was a Sicilian tyrant, believed to have killed his victims by roasting them alive inside a bronze bull. Mentioned by Aristotle as the prototype of an evil dictator.

**Ismaria = Thrace, birthplace of Orpheus. Cerberus: three-headed dog/monster in Greek mythology.

Find the score...

Cover of Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè?

Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè?

Published by Cor Donato Editions in historically correct modern transcription, including critical introductory notes on the work, editorial procedures, original texts with new English translations, and other contextual information about the piece.

Now available at!

Purchase score →

Find recordings...

  • Arie e Cantate, Opera Ottava

    La Risonanza, Fabio Bonizzoni, Emanuela Galli, soprano

    Glossa (2001) [Audio CD, Digital / MP3]

    • Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè, Op 8 (S, vc, chitarrone, hps) [10:18]
  • Baroque Pearls

    Parels Ensemble

    Amadeus Arte (2020) [Audio CD, Digital / MP3]

    • Track #19 - Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè, (elab. Leonardo Schiavo) Op 8 (arranged for saxophones, harp, double bass, accordion, percussion, and voices) [7:52]
    Purchase →
  • Cantatas

    Judith Nelson

    Harmonia Mundi (2004) [Audio CD]

    • Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè, Op 8 (S, bc, hpsc, harp) [5:38]
    Purchase →
  • Courtesan and Nun (Currently Out of Print)

    Kurtisane und Nonne

    Rosina Sonnenschmidt, soprano, Sephira Ensemble Stuttgart

    Bayer (1995) [Audio CD]

    • Luci belle, deh, ditemi perchè, Op 8 (S, hpsc, vlg) [5:52]