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International Music & Culture
Tu scendi dalle stelle
(Italian Christmas Carol)

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Here's a beloved Italian Christmas Carol that has touched many people around the world...

Tu scendi dalle stelle
You Come Down from the Stars
Christmas Carol
(Italian)
Christmas Carol
(English)

Tu scendi dalle stelle - Italian Children's Songs - Italy - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Intro Image


Tu scendi dalle stelle
O Re del Cielo
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo.

O Bambino mio Divino
Io ti vedo qui a tremar,
O Dio Beato!
Ah, quanto ti costò
L'avermi amato.
Ah, quanto ti costò
L'avermi amato.

A te che sei del mondo,
Il creatore,
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.

Caro eletto pargoletto,
Quanto questa povertà
Più mi innamora,
Giacchè ti fece amor
Povero ancora.
Giacchè ti fece amor
Povero ancora.

You come down from the stars
Oh, King of Heavens,
And You come in a cave
in the cold, in the frost,
And You come in a cave
in the cold, in the frost.

Oh, my Divine Baby
I see you trembling here,
Oh, Blessed God
Ah, how much it costs You,
Your loving me.
Ah, how much it costs You,
Your loving me.

For You, who are for all the world
The creator,
No clothes and fire,
Oh, my Lord,
No clothes and fire,
Oh, my Lord.

Dear chosen one, little infant,
This dire poverty,
Makes me love You more,
Since Love made You
poor now,
Since Love made You
poor now.
 
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Notes

Tu scendi dalle stelle was composed by Saint Alfonso Maria de' Liguori, a Neapolitan bishop, in 1754. The lyrics to this carol were originally in the Neapolitan dialect. The carol was first called Quanno nascette Ninno. The song was later re-written in Italian by Pope Pius IX and became a carol famous all over the world.

*****
Gian Carlo wrote about Tu scendi dalla stelle:

...perhaps the oldest Christmas Song in Italy, ascribed to Sant'Alfonso Maria de' Liguori (1696-1787), a catholic bishop, that wrote this song in 1755 in Nola (Naples)... the song is longer than the lyrics above. This is the complete song:

Tu scendi dalle stelle, o Re del cielo,
e vieni in una grotta al freddo e al gelo,
e vieni in una grotta al freddo e al gelo.
O Bambino mio divino,
io Ti vedo qui a tremar;
o Dio beato!
Ah, quanto Ti costò l'avermi amato!
Ah, quanto Ti costò l'avermi amato!

A Te, che sei del mondo il Creatore,
mancano panni e fuoco, o mio Signore,
mancano panni e fuoco, o mio Signore.
Caro eletto pargoletto,
quanto questa povertà
più m'innamora,
giacché Ti fece amor povero ancora,
giacché Ti fece amor povero ancora.

Tu lasci il bel gioir del divin seno,
per giunger a penar su poco fieno,
per giunger a penar su poco fieno.
Dolce amore del mio core,
dove amore Ti trasportò?
O Gesù mio,
perché tanto patir? Per amor mio!
Perché tanto patir? Per amor mio!

Ma se fu Tuo volere il Tuo patire,
perché vuoi pianger poi, perché vagire?
Perché vuoi pianger poi, perché vagire?
Mio Gesù, T'intendo sì!
Ah, mio Signore!
Tu piangi non per duol, ma per amore.
Tu piangi non per duol, ma per amore.

Tu piangi per vederti da me ingrato
dove sì grande amor, sì poco amato!
O diletto del mio petto,
Se già un tempo fu così,
or Te sol bramo.
Caro non pianger più, ch'io T'amo e T'amo,
caro non pianger più, ch'io T'amo e T'amo.

Tu dormi, Ninno mio, ma intanto il core
non dorme, no, ma veglia a tutte l'ore.
Deh, mio bello e puro Agnello
a che pensi? Dimmi tu.
O amore immenso!
"Un dì morir per Te", rispondi, "io penso".
"Un dì morir per Te", rispondi, "io penso".

Dunque a morire per me, Tu pensi, o Dio:
e chi altro, fuor di Te, amar poss'io?
O Maria, speranza mia,
se poc'amo il Tuo Gesù,
non Ti sdegnare.
Amalo tu per me, s'io nol so amare!
Amalo tu per me, s'io nol so amare!

English Translation

You come down from the stars
Oh, King of Heaven,
And You come to a cave in the cold and frost.
And You come to a cave in the cold and frost.
Oh, my Divine Child
I see You trembling here,
Oh, Blessed God
Ah, how much it cost You loving me.
Ah, how much it cost You loving me.

For You, who is the creator of the world,
No clothes and fire, oh my Lord,
No clothes and fire, oh my Lord.
Dear Chosen little baby,
So much deprivation,
Makes me love You more,
Since Love made You more poor,
Since Love made You more poor.

You leave the beautiful glory of the divine bosom,
To come suffer on a little hay,
To come suffer on a little hay.
Sweet love of my heart,
Where did love carry You?
O my Jesus.
Why do You suffer so much? Because You love me.
Why do You suffer so much? Because You love me.

But if your suffering was Your will,
Why, afterwards, do You wish to weep? Why are You crying?
My Jesus, I understand you, yes!
Ah, my Lord!
You are weeping not because of pain, but because of love,
You are weeping not because of pain, but because of love.

You are crying because You see me ungrateful,
Whence such great love, so little beloved!
Oh, beloved of my breast,
If previously it was this way,
Now I love only You.
Dear, don't cry anymore, since I love You, and I love You.
Dear, don't cry anymore, since I love You, and I love You.

You sleep, my child, but meanwhile the heart
Is not sleeping, but is always awake.
Ah, my beautiful and pure lamb,
What are You thinking of? Tell me.
Oh, immense love!
"I think one day I'll die for you," You reply.
"I think one day I'll die for you," You reply.

So You are thinking of dying for me, my God:
Who else, besides you, can I love?
Oh Mary, my hope,
If I love your Jesus so little,
Don't be outraged.
Love him for me, if I am not able to love Him!
Love him for me, if I am not able to love Him!

Comments

Come Check Out Mama Lisa's World Blog Post: Tu scendi dalle stelle (You Come Down from the Stars): A Favorite Italian Christmas Carol with 2 YouTube Videos.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

English Translations: Gian Carlo Macchi, Monique Palomares and Lisa Yannucci.
Midi Music: Monique.

Many thanks also to Gian Carlo Macchi for contributing the complete song.

Image: The Nativity, Gerard David, Flemish, 1495.

Thanks to Monique Palomares for singing this for us!

Grazie mille!

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