Va, pensiero

Va', pensiero is a chorus from the third act of Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi, with words by Temistocle Solera, inspired by Psalm 137. Known as Verdi's "Jewish" work of art, it recollects the story of Jewish exiles from Babylon after the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The song made Verdi famous. It later became an anthem for Italian patriots, who were seeking to unify their country and free it from foreign control. Thus, the song's theme of exiles singing about their homeland, and its lines like "O mia patria, si bella e perduta" (O my country, so lovely and so lost) resonated with many Italians.. On various occasions, it has been suggested that Va' pensiero replace the Inno di Mameli as the Italian National Anthem, and more recently has been appropriated by the Italian Northern Separatist movement, the Lega Nord, as the National Anthem of the imaginary Padania.

Nana Mouskouri made a version in the 1980's.


Translation in English

Va', pensiero, sull'ali dorate;
va', ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!
Del Giordano le rive saluta,
di Sionne le torri atterrate...
Oh mia patria sì bella e perduta!
Oh membranza sì cara e fatal!
Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati,
perché muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie nel petto raccendi,
ci favella del tempo che fu!
O simile di Sòlima ai fati
traggi un suono di crudo lamento,
o t'ispiri il Signore un concento
che ne infonda al patire virtù.

Fly, thought, on wings of gold;
go settle upon the slopes and the hills,
where, soft and mild, the sweet airs
of our native land smell fragrant!
Greet the banks of the Jordan
and Zion's toppled towers...
Oh, my country so lovely and lost!
Oh, remembrance so dear and so fraught with despair!
Golden harp of the prophetic seers,
why dost thou hang mute upon the willow?
Rekindle our bosom's memories,
and speak of times gone by!
Mindful of the fate of Jerusalem,
either give forth an air of sad lamentation,
or else let the Lord imbue us
with fortitude to bear our sufferings!


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