Io v'amo sol perche
Torquato Tasso (1544-1595)

I love you simply because you are fair,
and my stars desire it
not that I hope for anything from you,
my sweet life, except misery.

And if you decide to show pity
sometimes for my eyes,
I do not hope for anything but
weeping for so much sadness.

Nor, because you hear my burning sighs,
that for you I allow the winds to hear,
does this heart of mine hope for
anything from you but sorrow.

Let me still love you and look on you
and sigh for you, since
sadness, weeping and sorrow are
the only rewards I have for my love.


At the age of twenty-one Tasso entered the service of the Este family of Ferrara, but his association with the house of Este was to be a tragic one. In 1575, after having completed his major works, he suffered the first of a series of nervous breakdowns that very rapidly took the form of furious insanity and required first isolation in the Este palace and a monastery, and later confinement in the asylum of Sant'Anna, where on occasion he had to be kept in chains. Tasso remained at Sant'Anna seven years. Released in 1586, but not fully cured, he spent the rest of his life wandering from city to city, never at peace with himself. He died in Rome, in the monastery of Saint Onofrio.

As you can tell from this poem, it was probably some girl's fault.


Mike Towler, April 1998