Love, I depart, and I feel while I part,
while I suffer and while I die,
that I part from her who is my life,
although she rejoices
when my heart languishes.
O incredible, endless harshness
of the soul: her heart
can die without feeling pain!
Love pierces well
my bitter pain and my sharp grief,
but even more painful is the grief that she does not feel.
(Anonymous text, translated by Flavio Ferri Benedetti.)
“Possente Spirto,” from L’Orfeo (Monteverdi, 1607).
Before he began writing operas, Monteverdi was well-known for his madrigals, many of which set texts by the great poets and dramatists of his day, including Torquato Tasso.