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Medieval Music Database

PerchT virt· fa l'uom costant'e forte

ballata by Francesco Landini with text by Franco Sacchetti


Florence: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana XC 37, fol. 129 (text); Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Ashburnham 574, fol. 30v (text); Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Palatino 204, fol. 177v (text); Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Panciatichiano 26, fol. 42v-43 (2/1);
Rome: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Chigiano L.VIII.300, p. . 95 (text); Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Chigiano M.VII.142, fol. 148v (text); Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, latino 3213, fol. 347v (text).


Il codice musicale Panciatichi 26 della Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze, facsimile edition by F. Alberto Gallo, Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1981, no. 81 (FP).


1. LI GOTTI, Ettore and Nino PIRROTTA. Il Sacchetti e la tecnica musicale del Trecento italiano, Florence: Sansoni, 1935.
2. The Works of Francesco Landini, edited by Leonard Ellinwood, Cambridge/Massachusetts: The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1939, p. 137.
3. The Works of Francesco Landini, edited by Leo Schrade, Monaco: Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, 1958. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century IV, p. 42.

Text Editions

Sacchetti, Franco. Il libro delle rime, edited by A. Chiari, Bari: Laterza, 1936.


1. GALLO F. Alberto. 'Lorenzo Masini e Francesco degli Organi in S. Lorenzo', Studi Musicali, IV (1975), p. 62.
2. GALLO, F. Alberto. 'The musical and literary tradition of 14th century poetry set to music', Musik und Text in der Mehrstimmigkeit des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts, edited by U. Günther and L. Finscher, Kassel: Bärenreiter: 1984, pp. 55-76.


PerchT virt· fa l'uom costante e forte.
a virt· corra chi vuol fuggir morte.

Che val fuggir quel che sempre s'appressa
e che ci guid'ognor a mortal fine?
Corre la nostra vita e mai non cessa
in fin che giugne a l'ultimo confine;
chi pi· combatte contro a tai ruine
pi· tost'F vinto e pi· s'appressa a morte.

Che val terra cercare od aer sano
e 'n quello viver con l'alma corrotta?
O pensier cieco, ignorante e vano.
tant'F tua mente da' vizi condotta
che l'alma immortal conquidi ogn'otta.
e 'l mortal corpo vuo' campar da morte.

Che val pi· tardi che pi· tosto andare.
dove infinito F il tempo e loco?
Quanti son folli, che pur credon stare.
e trovansi ingannati da tal gioco
usando assai del male e del ben poco
tanto che vien la non saputa morte!

Che val, mia canzonetta, che tu canti
di quel che ciaschedun pianger dovria?
Vattene pur, e dillo a tutti quanti
ch'alcun non fu gia mai nT F nT fia.
che passar non convegna quella via
che ciascun fugge e che ci guida a morte.


Since virtue does make humans steady and strong.
run towards virtue, if you want to escape death.

Why flee from what is all the time approaching.
leading us hour by hour to a mortal end?
Our life is like a never ceasing race
until it gets to its last boundary line.
The more one fights against such devastation
the sooner one is vanquished, and near death.

Why seek a healthy country with pure air
and live therein with a corrupted soul?
You wish to save from death your mortal body
because your mind is led astray by vice.
and your immortal soul is overcome
always by blind, ignorant and vain thoughts.

What is the point of going later or sooner
when time and space are infinite?
How many fools there are, who think they are staying
and find they have been deluded by that game.
doing much evil and very little good
until upon them comes unforeseen Death.

Why should you sing, o little song of mine.
of what each one of us should cry about?
You may now go and tell everyone
that no one ever was, is, or shall be
who does not have to travel on that road
which we all shun, and which leads us to death.

Text revision and translation © Giovanni Carsaniga

Content Approved by: MMDB Director
Last updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2003

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