A Nativity Canzone by Veronica Gambara as revised by Pietro Bembo. Canzone per la nascita del Bambino Gesų dicon fatta da Veronica Gambara e riveduta dal Bembo
Shepherds, shepherdesses, everywhere
angels invite us to celebrate --
through joyous festivals,
reverberating songs,
in merry dances;
the wonder of infinite joy:
Mary feeding her baby;
a sacred birth.
Joseph looking down lovingly,
holds Him tight, embraces Him,
serves, caresses, humbly kisses his boy.
Two pack-horses helped keep a God warm.
A rare miracle.

Yet more rare, this accompanying music.
The birds singing so sweetly:
green and lovely meadows,
fragrant odors displacing the sour,
cedar-trees ooze with honey,
beech-woods with oil.
Sadness is spent,
All tears gone:
The ordeals of existing end:
Now is our time to sing:
Hell is smashed, shattered, its doors
forever closed, death defeated.

Come, shepherds and shepherdesses,
dance the offer of your hearts.
give gifts to the new baby,
who looks up at you so happily,
with a holy light in His eyes,
grace is there, inspiration.
Pray Mary's child turns His face to her
with mirth, and while he is near to her heart
they become one with that mildness of shared
apprehension which gives sustaining calm
quiet, contentment, joy --

oh sing:
darling child, sweet baby,
you carry in your face a promise
of fate's kindness,
somewhere a lovely Paradise.
Humbly let us pray to You,
God humanized,
let us be happy together,
in this blest moment of your reign.

A canti sonori,
A feste giulive,
A suoni canori,
A danze festive
Correte pastori,
Che l'angel v'invita;
Vedrete stupori
Con gioia infinita.
Vedrete Maria
Che allatta un Bambino;
Saprete ch'Ei sia
Un Parto divino.
Giuseppe il vagheggia,
Lo stringe, lo abbraccia,
Il serve, Il carezza;
Humile lo baccia.
Due vili giumenti
Riscaldano un Dio.
Oh rari portenti!
Chi mai pių l'udio?
Si sente cantare
Angelico core
Con note pių rare,
Con plettro sonoro.
Gorgheggian gli augelli,
Verdeggian i prati;
I prati pių belli
Olleggiano odori.
Depongono il fiele
I brutti selvaggi
E stillan di miele
I cedri e i faggi.
Son spenti i sospiri,
Son tolti li pianti;
Cessati i martiri
Subentrano i canti.
Č rotto l'inferno,
Č morta la morte;
Del Cielo in eterno
Son schiuse le porte,
Su dunque, pastori,
Correte, adorate!
Offritegli i cuori
E doni portate
Al nato Bambino
Che lieto vi mira
Con ciglio divino,
E grazie v'inspira.
Pregata Maria,
Signora del mondo,
Che il Bimbo vi dia
Con viso giocondo;
E mentre nel petto
Ristretto l'avrete
Con dolce diletto
Cantando direte:
Oh dolce Bambino
Tu porti nel viso
Per fausto destino
Un bel Paradiso.
Umil ti preghiamo,
Oh Dio umanato!
Che teco godiamo
Nel Regno Beato. Amen.


Leonetti, F. Inventari dei manoscritti delle biblioteche d'Italia, pp. 103-4 as reprinted in Bullock, "Per Una Critica Edizione della Rime di Veronica Gambara", pp. 120-122. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts.


Bullock argues the attribution of this nativity poem to Gambara is highly uncertain and does not include the poem in his 1995 Rime. I include it because I find it lovely and it could be by her. The manuscript header is firm even if near it is a handwritten note to the effect that more solid evidence suggests it was written by a friend of Colonna and Gambara: Costanza Faloppia Poetessa. The assertion of the triple friendship makes me sceptical. This is the freest translation on my site; I omitted some details and rearranged others.
Secrete Selve Reverende, Secret Sacred Woods
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Page Last Updated: 23 February 2004