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Medieval Music Database

Lena virt· e speranza ogni cor duro

ballata by Paolo da Firenze


Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds italien 568, fol. 74v-75 (3/2).


1. Italian Secular Music: Bartolino da Padova, Egidius de Francia, Giulielmus de Francia, Don Paolo da Firenze, edited by W. Thomas Marrocco, Monaco: Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, 1975. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century IX, p. 138.
2. The Music of Fourteenth-Century Italy, edited by Nino Pirrotta and Ursula Günther, Rome: American Institute of Musicology. Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 8/VI. [forthcoming]

Text Editions

CORSI, Giuseppe. Poesie musicali del Trecento, Bologna: Commissione per i testi di lingua, 1970, p. 278.


1. PIRROTTA, Nino. 'Paolo da Firenze in un nuovo frammento dell' Ars nova', Musica Disciplina, X (1956), p. 64.
2. NEWES, Virginia E. 'The relationship of text to imitative technique in 14th century polyphony', Musik und Text in der Mehrstimmigkeit des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts, edited by U. Günther and L. Finscher, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1984, pp. 121-154.


Febus Avant!, Huelgas Ensemble, directed by Paul van Nevel (1991): Sony Classical SK 48 195.


Lena virt· e speranza ogni cor duro.
Vince per cert' Amore.
che segue te come gentil signore.

Per lunga prova cos8 crudelta
dall'animo si toglie
e fa spesso mutar costume e stile.
Pietosa lena adorn= gran bilta
cambiando altere voglie.
s8 che 'l pensier crudel divent= umile.
Len'amorosa donna fa gentile
e mostra quel valore
che tiene in sT l'innamorato core.


Virtue and hope soothe every hardened heart.
Whoever follos you, Love, as his noble Lord
will certainly prevail.

Thus cruelty, through a long trial.
is removed from the soul.
and often changes habits and style.
The spirit of mercy adorned a great beauty
changing her haughty desires.
so that her cruel thought became humble.
The power of love makes a woman gentle
and shows what worth
a loving heart holds in itself.

Text revision and translation © Giovanni Carsaniga

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

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