IV. MOTHER

Prudenzia Montone untimely died in childbirth when Artemisia was 12 years old, leaving Orazio alone with seven children. Artemisia was the only girl.

 

 

Tarquinio MERULA (1594 – 1665)
Hor ch’è tempo di dormire (Canzonetta spirituale sopra la Nanna) (Curtio precipitato et altri capricii, Venezia, Bartolomeo Magni, 1638)

 

Now that it is time to sleep,
Sleep, child, and don’t cry;
For the time will come soon enough
When crying is needed.
O my dearest, my heart:
Lullaby and sleep now.
Close those divine eyes
As other babies do;
For soon a dark veil will deprived the sky of light
O my dearest, my heart:
Lullaby and sleep now.
Or take this milk
From my immaculate breasts;
For a cruel magistrate
Is preparing vinegar and gall for you.
O my dearest, my heart:
Lullaby and sleep now.
My love, let this breast
Be now a soft bed for you,
Before with a loud voice,
You give your soul to the Father on the cross.
O my dearest, my heart:
Lullaby and sleep now.
Rest now you beautiful small limbs,
So charming and delicate;
For later irons and chains will cause them bitter pains.
O my dearest, my heart:
Lullaby and sleep now.
These hands and feet,
Which now you behold with zest and joy –
Alas, in how many ways will sharp nails pierce them!
This graceful face,
Ruddier than a rose –
Spitting and slaps will defile it
With torture and great suffering.
Ah, with how much pain for you,
O only hope of my heart,
This head and this brow
Will pierced by sharp thorns.
For in this divine breast
O my sweet and delightful love,
An impious traitorous spear
Will make a mortal wound.
Sleep, therefore, my child,
Sleep then my Saviour;
For later with joyful faces
We’ll see each other in Paradise.
Now that you are sleeping O my life, O complete joy of my heart,
Let all be quiet with pure zeal,
Even the earth and the heavens.
Meanwhile, what shall I do?
I will watch my dear, not letting my head bow
As long as my baby sleeps.

 

 

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