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neapolitans

Massimo Troisi

(19 feb 1953 -
04 jun 1994)

An Italian actor,
film director
and screenwriter.

The Neapolitan
instruments

The trickeballacke

The Italian songs of Neapolitan authors

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ITA
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E.A. Mario

La leggenda del Piave
(The legend of the Piave River)


Music: E.A. Mario (Giovanni Ermete Gaeta),

Lyrics: E.A. Mario (Giovanni Ermete Gaeta).

Year: 1918

Instrumental version (anthem)

The song tells about the battle of the Italian Army against the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the Piave River during World War I.

In the text are referred:
- the 24 May, 1915 when the Italian Army began the fighting against the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
- Caporetto (or Kobarid) is a town (now in Slovenia) near which the Italian Army was defeated.
- Trieste and Trento are the cities in northeastern Italy.
- Guglielmo Oberdan, Nazario Sauro and Cesare Battisti were Italian patriots and irredentists, executed during the war.

From 1943 till 1946 this song was used as the national anthem of Italy.

Il Piave mormorava
Calmo e placido al passaggio
Dei primi fanti il ventiquattro maggio:
L'esercito marciava
Per raggiunger la frontiera,
Per far contro il nemico una barriera…
Muti passaron quella notte i fanti:
Tacere bisognava, e andare avanti…
S'udiva, intanto,
Dalle amate sponde
Sommesso e lieve il tripudiar dell'onde.
Era un presagio dolce e lusinghiero…
Il Piave mormorò:
"Non passa lo straniero!"

Ma in una notte trista
Si parlò di tradimento
E il Piave udiva l'ira e lo sgomento.
Ahi, quanta gente ha visto
Venir giù, lasciare il tetto,
Per l'onta consumata a Caporetto…
Profughi ovunque dai lontani monti
Venivano a gremir tutti i suoi ponti…
S'udiva, allor, dalle violate sponde
Sommesso e triste il mormorio dell'onde,
Come un singhiozzo, in quell'autunno nero.
Il Piave mormorò:
"Ritorna lo straniero!"

E ritornò il nemico
Per l'orgoglio e per la fame,
Volea sfogare tutte le sue brame…
Vedeva il piano aprico,
Di lassù, voleva ancora
Sfamarsi e tripudiare come allora…
"No!" – disse il Piave –
"No!" – dissero i fanti –
"Mai più il nemico faccia un passo avanti!"
Si vide il Piave rigonfiar le sponde,
E come i fanti combattevan le onde…
Rosso del sangue del nemico altero,
Il Piave comandò:
"Indietro, va', straniero!"

Indietreggiò il nemico
Fino a Trieste, fino a Trento
E la Vittoria sciolse le ali al vento!
Fu sacro il patto antico;
Tra le schiere furon visti
Risorgere Oberdan, Sauro e Battisti…
Infranse, alfin, l'italico valore
Le forche e l'armi dell'impiccatore.
Sicure l'Alpi… Libere le sponde…
E tacque il Piave, si placaron le onde,
Sul patrio suolo,
Vinti i torvi Imperi.
La Pace non trovò
Né oppressi, né stranieri.

The Piave was murmuring
Calm and quiet during the crossing
Of first infantrymen on the twenty-four of May:
The army was marching
To reach the frontier,
To form a barrier against the enemy…
That night the infantrymen passed in silence:
They had to keep silent and move forward…
They heard, in the meantime,
From the beloved banks
The subdued and faint exultation of the waves.
It was a sweet and good omen…
The Piave murmured:
"The foreigner shall not pass!"

But on a sad night
They talked about a treason
And the Piave heard the anger and dismay.
Alas, it saw so many people going down,
Leaving their houses,
Because of the disgraceful defeat at Caporetto…
Refugees from everywhere, from distant hills,
Came to the river, filling all of its bridges.
They heard, then, from the defiled banks
The subdued and sad sound of the waves,
Like a sob, that black autumn.
The Piave murmured:
"The foreigner returns!"

And the enemy returned
For the pride and for the hunger,
Longing for the victory and plunder…
He saw the sunny plain there,
He wanted again
To be sated and exult like the last time…
"No!" – the Piave said –
"No!" – the infantrymen said –
"The enemy will make no move forward!"
They saw how the Piave rose up
And its waves were fighting like the infantrymen…
Red with the blood of the haughty enemy,
The Piave commanded:
"Move backward, foreigner!"

The enemy retreated
To Trieste, to Trento
And the Victory spread its wings in the wind!
The old pact was sacred;
Among the ranks there were
Resurrected Oberdan, Sauro and Battisti…
The Italian valor neutralized, at last,
The gallows and weapons of the hangman.
The confident Alps… The free banks…
And the Piave became silent, the waters calmed,
In homeland
The formidable empires were defeated.
The peace came and there were
Neither oppressed nor foreigners.

translated by Natalia Chernega