Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Voi Che Sapete - The Lyrics


This song is more commonly known by the English translation of its title--namely, "Tell Me What Love Is"--but it makes us sound so much more learned to write it in Italian.  Though, of course, we do risk invoking the annoyance of Harriet Smith.  "I hate Italian singing.  There is no understanding a word of it," says she.

Never fear, Harriet, for Lizzy does not sing in Italian in that famous scene at Pemberley.  Instead, she sings the English lyrics to Mozart's famous tune.  (The song comes from the opera The Marriage of Figaro, by the by.)

You who have tasted love's mystic spell 
What is this sorrow naught can dispel? 
What is this sorrow naught can dispel?

Fair dame or maiden, none else may know 
My heart o'erladen, why is this so? 
What is this yearning, these trembling fears 
Rapturous burning, melting in tears? 

While thus I languish, wild beats my heart, 
Yet from my anguish I would not part, 
I seek a treasure Fate still denies, 
Naught else will pleasure, 
Naught else I prize...

I'm ever sighing, I know not why, 
Near unto dying, when none are by, 
My heart is riven night, morn and eve, 
But ah 'tis heaven, thus, thus to grieve! 

You who have tasted love's mystic spell 
What is this sorrow naught can dispel?
What is this sorrow naught can dispel? 

6 comments:

Katrina @ Edelweiss Patterns said...

Thank you for sharing the lyrics here! I think I may have to track down the sheet music for this, in order to play and sing this piece while I'm in England this September. I'm afraid I play just like Lizzy ("a little and very ill"), but if I started now I could definitely pull it off by the time the Jane Austen Festival rolls around...

Anonymous said...

Interesting to speculate if a longer version ever existed on some editing room floor.

The lyrics actually sung in this scene are:

Say ye who borrow Love's fleeting spell,
What is this sorrow naught can dispel?
What is this sorrow naught can dispel?
What is this sorrow naught can dispel?

Sophia Rose said...

These aren't the exact lyrics Elizabeth sings. Because there is something line that goes... "seizing my brain."

Ella said...

Nobody says "seizing my brain." The lyrics Lizzie sings are exactly as Anonymous reproduces them above ("Say ye who borrow love's fleeting spell/What is this sorrow naught can dispel? [x 3]").

Ildi said...

Is it really Jennifer Ehle who sings at Pemberly?

Marguchi said...

Thanks Anonymous! I have been trying to understand the first line of the Tunes for weeks.