Madamina, il catalogo è questo
Delle belle che amò il padron mio;
un catalogo egli è che ho fatt’io;
Osservate, leggete con me.
In Italia seicento e quaranta;
In Almagna duecento e trentuna;
Cento in Francia, in Turchia novantuna;
Ma in Ispagna son già mille e tre.
V’han fra queste contadine,
Cameriere, cittadine,
V’han contesse, baronesse,
Marchesine, principesse.
E v’han donne d’ogni grado,
D’ogni forma, d’ogni età.
Nella bionda egli ha l’usanza
Di lodar la gentilezza,
Nella bruna la costanza,
Nella bianca la dolcezza.
Vuol d’inverno la grassotta,
Vuol d’estate la magrotta;
È la grande maestosa,
La piccina è ognor vezzosa.
Delle vecchie fa conquista
Pel piacer di porle in lista;
Sua passion predominante
È la giovin principiante.
Non si picca – se sia ricca,
Se sia brutta, se sia bella;
Purché porti la gonnella,
Voi sapete quel che fa.

Little lady, in my hand is the listing
Of my master’s successes with beauties;
To compile it was one of my duties,
Just observe it and read it with me.
In old Italy six hundred forty,
And in Germany two hundred thirty;
France a hundred, then ninety in Turkey.
But in Spain, now, a thousand and three.
There are city girls and peasant
Girls, and maids are just as pleasant,
Countesses and baronesses,
And marquises and princesses,
Womenfolk of ev’ry rank and
Ev’ry shape and ev’ry age.
With a blonde one he’s always ready
To praise her gentle condition,
With a dark one, that she’s steady,
If she’s white, her sweet disposition.
Winter’s when he likes her brawny,
Summer’s when he likes her scrawny;
If she’s tall, she’s grand, disarming;
If she’s little, she’s always charming.
With the old ones he’ll keep insisting
Just to add them to his listing.
But he most delights in winning
Maidens who are just beginning.
He gives no hoot if she’s got loot or
If she’s pretty or she’s ugly;
As long as her skirt fits snugly,
You know quite well what he’ll do.

Translation © 2007 by Jacob Lubliner

Return to Song Translations index

Return to Personal Writings index

Return to Home Page

E-mail Coby Lubliner