The Closed Valley (La Vaucluse in Provence)

Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) (1304-74)

Translated by Timothy Adès

Vallis Clausa: X. Solitudini (1351)

To Philippe de Cabassoles, Bishop of Cavaillon

Valle locus Clausa toto mihi nullus in orbe
    gratior aut studiis aptior ora meis.
Valle puer Clausa fueram, iuvenemque reversum
    fovit in aprico vallis amena sinu.
Valle vir in Clausa meliores dulciter annos
    exegi et vitae candida fila meae.
Valle senex Clausa supremum ducere tempus
    et Clausa cupio, te duce, Valle mori.

No place in all the world is dearer to me or worthier of my affection than the Closed Valley.
As a boy I had been in the Closed Valley, and when I returned as a youth, the lovely valley nurtured me in its ripe bosom.
As a man I eked out my better years and the white threads of my life, with sweetness, in the Closed Valley.
As an old man I desire to pass my last days in the Closed Valley; and in the Closed Valley, in your service, to die.

Set to music by Niccolò Castiglioni. Sung by Mary Wiegold, Cheltenham 1996, and Mimi Doulton, Milton Court (London EC}, 2017, conducted by Thomas Adès.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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