enrico caruso sings massenet’s “élégie” (1913)

Enrico Caruso sings “Elegie” composed by Jules Massenet.
Mischa Elman, violin
Percy B. Kahn, piano
20.III.1913

Ô doux printemps d’autrefois, vertes saisons,
vous avez fui pour toujours!
Je ne vois plus le ciel bleu;
je n’entends plus les chants joyeux des oiseaux!
En emportant mon bonheur,
ô bien-aimé tu t’en es allé!
Et c’est en vain que revient le printemps!
Oui, sans retour.
Avec toi le gai soleil,
les jours riants sont partis!
Comme en mon coeur tout est sombre et glacé!
Tout est flétri!
Pour toujours!

samuel taylor coleridge on what elegy is (1835)

“Elegy is a form of poetry natural to the reflective mind. It may treat of any subject, but it must treat of no subject for itself; but always and exclusively with reference to the poet. As he will feel regret for the past or desire for the future, so sorrow and love became the principal themes of the elegy. Elegy presents every thing as lost and gone or absent and future.”

– S. T. Coleridge, Specimens of the Table Talk of the late Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1835), vol 2, p. 268

tichborne’s elegie (1586)

Tychbornes Elegie, written with his owne hand in the Tower before his execution*

hollaendischer-druck_gunpowder-plot_1605_blogMy prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of paine,
My Crop of corne is but a field of tares,
And al my good is but vaine hope of gaine.
The day is past, and yet I saw no sunne,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard, and yet it was not told,
My fruite is falne, & yet my leaves are greene:
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old,
I saw the world, and yet I was not seene.
My thred is cut, and yet it is not spunne,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death, and found it in my wombe,
I lookt for life, and saw it was a shade:
I trod the earth, and knew it was my Tombe,
And now I die, and now I was but made.
My glasse is full, and now my glasse is runne,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

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*Chidiock Tichborne was one of fourteen convicted in 1586 in the plot to kill Queen Elizabeth 1 of England.