Via della croce (English translation)

  • Artist: Fabrizio De André
  • Song: Via della croce 5 translations
  • Translations: English, French, German, Polish, Portuguese

Way of the Cross

«If only we could dismember you with our teeth and hands,
if only we knew your eyes would be drunk by dogs…
for your dying on the cross, you should be grateful
to a good man by the name of Pilate.»2
Much more than death which wants you today,
what kills you is the poison of these words,
the voices of the fathers of those newborn babies
slaughtered by Herod because of you.3
In the lugubrious scorn of your new clothes,
they measure in drops the pain you’re feeling:4
they’ve been waiting for thirty years - harbouring resentment -
for the death rattle of a charlatan.5
The widows - bent forward - are moving in the lead,
it’s not an afternoon of celebration for them,
they tighten their dresses over their eyes and heart,
though the pain seeps through the veils.
The believers - humiliated by an inhumane creed
that held them as slaves, even before Abraham -
now - out of gratitude - are suffering the pain
of him who forgave the Magdalene,
of him who - with a gesture, just a brotherly gesture -
taught a new indulgence to God Almighty;
and they look up, watching
the agony of a saviour, pierced by the sunlight.6
Blending in the crowd, they are following you in silence,
frightened at the thought that you might greet them;
‟To redeem the world” they need to think
‟your blood can certainly be enough”.
They will spread your good news
on the sea and on the land, in woods and cities,
but this will be tomorrow, with a better faith;
tonight, terror is stronger.
None of them shouts a farewell to you,
for [the fear of] being discovered as a cousin of God:
the apostles closed their throats to their voices,
you brother who are bleeding on the cross.
Their faces are relaxed, they are already willing to forgive,
now that they’ve seen your man’s blood
emblazon your limbs with purple rivulets,
[now that you’re] unable to do any more harm.
Power, dressed in human appearance,
deems you dead enough by now,
and is already turning its gaze to spy on the intentions
of humble people, of beggars;
but the poor people’s eyes are crying elsewhere,
they have not come to show a grief
that prohibited the entrance
to the way of the cross
to those who love you as themselves.7
Their visage is pale, their chest is sunken,
their face is not that of a person who is pleased
by the gestures that pain is proposing to you now,
yet they have a place of honor.
They don’t have sparkles of pity in their eyes,
they’re not surprised in seeing your back
bent by the piece of wood you’re struggling to drag along,
yet they keep close to you.
Forgive them if they don’t leave you by yourself,
if they are able to die on the cross too:
they have nobody but their mothers crying for them down there;
after all, they are just two thieves.
  • 1. Via Crucis {the way of the Cross; the stations of the Cross} is the walk Jesus had to take to carry his own cross to the place of his crucifixion.
    In this song, we follow Jesus along his walk, looking at all the different people there.
    There are angry people who had their babies killed because of him, and they are now happy to get some revenge; there are women who grieve him because it looked like he could free them from the chauvinism of religion; there are his followers who are frightened at the thought of ending up like him; there are powerful people who are looking for those followers; and finally there are the two thieves who share the same faith as Jesus on the cross.
  • 2. Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect of Judaea. He had to judge the guilt of Jesus, and since the situation was thorny, he asked the people to judge in his stead; they decided to free a killer named Barabbas and kill Jesus. However, Pilate prevented the crowd from stoning Jesus, and had him crucified.
  • 3. Herod the Great was the king of Judaea when Jesus was born. When he got the news that a ‟King of the Jews” (Jesus) was born, he took it literally and feared he would lose his position, so he ordered that all male boys under two years old in the city were to be killed (the event is known as The massacre of innocents).
  • 4. Among the various mockery Jesus had to suffer on his way to Calvary, he was dressed in new, white clothes, which would be stained by his blood.
  • 5. Literally ‟they’ve been waiting for thirty years - with their liver in their hand -”.
    rodersi/mangiarsi il fegato {gnaw/eat one’s own liver} = to be consumed with rage or resentment (since anger can cause liver/digestive problems).
    Jesus died at 33, so those fathers have been waiting for more than 30 years, full of resentment.
  • 6. The procession going to the crucifixion place is lead by grieving women.
    The Italian lines clearly use feminine forms, referring only to female believers.
    Judaism was a really male-centric religion which saw women as a male’s property. Jesus changed that view, ‟freeing” women who had been slaves of this religion since its beginnings.
    Also, the god of the Old Testament is violent and raging, while Jesus preached love.
    Abraham was the first patriarch of the Jews.
    Mary Magdalene was a sinner (possibly a prostitute) who, although being despised even by Jesus’ disciples, was forgiven by Jesus himself.
  • 7. They cannot be there because it’s too dangerous for them. Their very love for Jesus is what prevents them from assisting.
You can use my translations however you like.
“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Submitted by Stefano8Stefano8 on Wed, 13/04/2016 - 20:03

Via della croce

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