Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vide Cor Meum (English Lyrics)

ok, found the original... and some background

The words to Vide Cor Meum were taken from Dante's La Vita Nuova (The New Life) where Dante describes his first forays into poetry. Vide Cor Meum is concerned with the first sonnet where Dante describes a vision he had and asks for help in interpreting it. As Dante tells it, when he was 9, he became quite smitten with a little girl he called Beatrice. He only saw her in passing but was soon obsessed with her. Nine years later, he sees her again. This time she says hello and Love overwhelms poor Dante. He goes back to his room and "thinking of her, sweet sleep overcame" him. Then he sees the vision of Love holding a woman (Beatrice) who is wrapped in a veil. Love says, "I am your master." In one of Love's hands there is a heart on fire and he says to Dante, "Vide cor tuum: See your heart". Then Love wakes Beatrice and feeds Dante's burning heart to her which she reluctantly eats. Love, then, becomes very sad and takes Beatrice with him up toward heaven.

Dante never tells us what it means. In fact, the sonnet asks for possible interpretations. One such interpretation was recorded by Dante's good friend Cavalcanti who suggested that falling in love was, on the lady's part, a sad event and perhaps a prelude to her death.

Both Dante and Beatrice married other people and Beatrice died at the age of 24. Dante wrote La Vita Nuova about 2 years later. It was right about at that time when Dante was becoming interested in philosophy and politics. One theory suggests that Beatrice might have been a symbol of some secret Florentine political society but I don't know enough about that to make any sense of it. What makes the most sense to me now is that Beatrice was Dante's muse.