Vide Cor Meum, “See My Heart” in Latin, is the title of this beautiful aria written by Irish composer Patrick Cassidy. It is fashioned after an early sonnet of Dante’s from his La Vita Nuova (“The New Life” in Italian). The poem recounts a dream of Beatrice, his first love.
Dante but crossed paths with a nine year old Beatrice and was so smitten that he wrote: “Behold a god more powerful than I… from then on love governed my soul”. Nine years later to the day he came across her again and she addressed him “virtuously”. Then, “I left the crowd as if intoxicated and returned to the solitude of my own room”.
There he fell asleep and had the dream. Love embodied held a burning heart in his hand and said to Dante “Vide Cor Tuum” (“see your heart”), woke the sleeping Beatrice, and fed it to her. She died and they rose toward heaven. In life they married others and she did die young – at 24. Dante must have believed that Beatrice so felt the great power of his love that unable to requite, perished.
Guess my roommate is lucky to have me. Anyway, what is truly incredible about this ethereal piece of music is that it was composed specifically for the film Hannibal and is an essential part of it. How could the character of a sophisticated cannibal be better shaped than with prosimetrum from Dante employing the metaphorical eating of a heart? “Then he (love) woke her and that burning heart he fed to her reverently.” Dante! OMG
The scene around its performance underscores Dr. Lecter’s erudition and sheds light upon his feelings for Clarice. He has loved her from the first moment of their first meeting, cherishes every encounter, but knows that it can never be consummated and that he must take great care toward her protection.
In the bit below we see such depth of feeling that one unfamiliar with the story line would find the Giancarlo Giannini character caddish and Lecter movingly urbane. Indeed, Inspector Pazzi’s wife Allegra seems quite taken with Dr. Lecter when from memory he gives the sonnet from La Vita Nuova. The short shrift given by Giannini’s Pazzi seals his fate as much as anything else. Ironically, in Lecter’s company bad taste can be fatal.
Vide Cor Meum (Translation from the Italian/Latin)Chorus: And thinking of her Sweet sleep came over me I am your master See your heart See your heart And of this burning heart Your heart Chorus: She trembling Obediently eats. Weeping, I saw him then depart from me. You is converted To bitterest tears Joy is converted To bitterest tears I am in peace My heart I am in peace
See my heart