Torquato Tasso

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All time is truly lost and gone
Which is not spent in serving love.

Torquato Tasso (March 11 1544April 25 1595) was an Italian epic poet and dramatist, best known for his Rinaldo (1562), Aminta (1573) and Gerusalemme Liberata (1580).

Quotes[edit]

You, Honor, first you hid
The fount of love's delight,
Denying drafts to slake the lover's thirst.
He full of bashfulness and truth,
Loved much, hoped little, and desired nought.
  • Forse, se tu gustassi anco una volta
    La millesima parte de la gioie
    Che gusta un cor amato riamando,
    Diresti, ripentita, sospirando:
    Perduto è tutto il tempo
    Che in amar non si spende.
    • Perhaps if only once you did enjoy
      The thousandth part of all the happiness
      A heart beloved enjoys, returning love,
      Repentant, you would surely sighing say,
      "All time is truly lost and gone
      Which is not spent in serving love."
    • Aminta Act I, sc. i, lines 30-31 (1573)
    • Translation by Charles Jernigan and Irene Marchegiani Jones, Aminta (2000) p. 13
  • S'ei piace, ei lice.
    • If it pleases, it is permitted.
    • Aminta, Act I, Coro.
    • Variant translations:
      • What delights, is lawful.
      • That which pleases is permitted.
  • Tu prima, Onor, velasti
    La fonte dei diletti,
    Negando l'onde a l'amorosa sete.
    • You, Honor, first you hid
      The fount of love's delight,
      Denying drafts to slake the lover's thirst.
    • Aminta, Act I, sc. ii, line 358
    • Translation: Jernigan and Jones p. 55.
  • Brama assai, poco spera, e nulla chiede.
    • He full of bashfulness and truth,
      Loved much, hoped little, and desired nought.
    • Gerusalemme Liberata Bk. II, stanza 16 (1580)
    • Translation by Edward Fairfax, Godfrey of Bulloigne; or, The Recovery of Jerusalem (1844) vol. 1, p. 100. Translation first published 1600.
  • Difesa miglior, ch'usbergo e scudo,
    È la santa innocenza al petto ignudo.
    • Better defence than shield or breastplate, is holy innocence to the naked breast!
    • Gerusalemme Liberata (1581), Book VIII, stanza 41


Misattributed[edit]

  • Fortune rarely accompanies anyone to the door.
  • It is the fortunate who should extol fortune.
    • Though attributed to Tasso this is in fact from Goethe's Torquato Tasso, Act II, sc. iii, line 115. In the original German: Das Glück erhebe billig der Beglückte!.
  • The day of fortune is like a harvest day,
    We must be busy when the corn is ripe
    • Actually from Goethe's Torquato Tasso, Act IV, sc. iv, line 63. In the original German:
      Ein Tag der Gunst ist wie ein Tag der Ernte:
      Man muss geschäftig sein, sobald sie reift.

External links[edit]

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