STORY TIME: THE WILLOW SONG 🎶💔

Desdemona sings a song of female pain, foreshadowing her own death, in Verdi's Otello (from the Shakespeare!). A haunting piece of music. What's also cool is the Willow song has been around since before Shakespeare wrote Othello; he integrated it into his own story. My rough translation under the Italian ✍🏻
  1. Mia madre aveva una povera ancella,
    My mother once had a poor handmaiden,
  2. innamorata e bella;
    in love and beautiful;
  3. era il suo nome Barbara;
    her name was Barbary;
  4. amava un uom che poi l'abbandonò,
    she loved a man who then abandoned her,
  5. cantava una canzone, la canzon del salice.
    she sang a song, the song of the willow.
  6. Io questa sera ho la memoria piena di quella cantilena...
    This evening I am haunted by the memory of that lullaby.
  7. "Piangea cantando nell'erma landa, piangea la mesta, 'O Salce! Salce! Salce!'
    "She wept, singing on the lonely heath, the miserable girl wept, 'O Willow! Willow! Willow!'
  8. Sedea chinando sul sen la testa - 'Salce! Salce! Salce!'
    She sat with her head bent upon her breast - 'Willow! Willow! Willow!'
  9. Cantiamo! Cantiamo! Il salce funebre sarà la mia ghirlanda.
    Let us sing! Let us sing! The Willow will be my funeral garland.
  10. Scorreano i rivi fra le zolle in fior, gemea quel core affranto,
    The streams ran between the flowery banks, her broken heart moaned,
  11. e dalle ciglia le sgorgava il cor l'amara onda del pianto.
    and bitter waves of torment poured from her eyelashes and heart.
  12. Salce! Salce! Salce! Cantiamo, cantiamo - il salce funebre sarà la mia ghirlanda.
    Willow! Willow! Willow! Let us sing, let us sing - the Willow shall be my funeral garland.
  13. Scendean l'aucelli a vol dai rami cupi verso quel dolce canto,
    Birds flew down from dark branches towards that sweet singing,
  14. e gli occhi suoi piangean tanto, tanto, da impietosir le rupi."
    and her eyes wept so very much that even stones were moved to pity."
  15. Povera Barbara! Solea la storia con questo semplice suono finir:
    Poor Barbary! The story used to end with this simple tune:
  16. "Egli era nato per la sua gloria, io per amar... Io per amarlo e per morir.
    "He was born for his own glory, I to love... I to love him and to die.
  17. Cantiamo! Cantiamo! Salce! Salce! Salce!"
    Let us sing! Let us sing! Willow! Willow! Willow!"