Vide Cor Meum

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


31 Responses to “Vide Cor Meum”

  1. Hotel w Krakowie Says:

    I have to say, I dont know if its the clashing colours or the bad grammar, but this blog is hideous! I imply, I dont wish to sound like a know-it-all or something, however could you’ve gotten possibly put slightly bit more effort into this subject. Its actually attention-grabbing, but you dont characterize it effectively at all, man. Anyway, in my language, there are usually not a lot good source like this.

    • bgierke Says:

      Sorry you don’t like it, man.

    • Dark Rage Says:

      Hotel, wtf. There’s always gotta be some idiot pulling grammar correction out there. I quite enjoyed reading this blog and the authors grammar was not nearly as poor as your reply. If you’re going to criticize a person’s grammar, you had better have perfect grmar yourself or you look like you do right now… a complete idiot.

      Anyways, I did enjoy this blog. Thank you.

      • bgierke Says:

        Thanks for your comment and I’m really glad you enjoyed this post. Coincidentaly, I’m watching Vide Cor Meum on the tube as I type. Beautiful and an incredible intervieving on many levels. I’m still amazed

  2. k4riah Says:

    I actually enjoyed reading about my beloved aria! I fell in love with the music so much after hearing it on Hannibal (Mr Hopkins also being a favourite actor) that I even had it played at my wedding! I find it so haunting…..

    • bgierke Says:

      I’m very glad you liked it and greatly appreciate your comment! I obviously think that it was an incredibly perfect fit for the film and an important detail that most don’t get. I have tried to get the video unblocked, but am too small a potato for NBC to worry about.

      Hope and trust that you’re doing better than did Beatrice!

    • Corey Says:

      My wife walked down the isle to this… great memory. Not a dry eye in the house.

  3. Doctor Hannibal Lector, Esq. Says:

    To Hotel w Krakowie,

    I don’t like rude people.

    Ta Ta,


  4. Alexander Doepel Says:

    Wonderful explanation for the choice Ridley Scott and/or Patrick Cassidy have made when selecting these specific lines from Dante. I did enjoy reading your blog entry.

  5. Peter Says:

    Hi there great blog,music is just Devine having it played at my funerial.

  6. JamieG83 Says:

    Hi, I really liked your interpretation, I think you pretty much nailed it.

    • bgierke Says:

      Thanks very much for reading it and taking the time to comment. Most appreciated. I wish I could get the powers that be to allow me to show the clip. I’ve tried and I guess must be too small a potato.

  7. Anna Says:

    Lovely – thank you for that succinct interpretation and explanation. Have loved this music since first hearing it on Hannibal but had no idea it was written especially for it! I’m stunned! This was also in the film “The Kingdom of Heaven” where it was also incredibly haunting. I’m glad someone has written that it was played at their wedding, because I would also like this (if I ever am fortunate enough to get married and my spouse agreed) even though some might say it’s a little inappropriate because it’s about death. I say NO – it’s about all-consuming LOVE. But then, hey, maybe it will be played at my funeral instead of my wedding at this rate LOL. Anyway. thank you!

    • bgierke Says:

      Anna – Thanks so much for your kind words. It is an amazing piece and the role it plays in the film is really incredible. What a combination of efforts by multiple geniuses. And unknown to most. I’m glad you appreciate the benefit of my curiosity. I hope that Vide Cor Meum plays soon for you and some lucky dude.

  8. Nick Says:

    I stumbled on your blog searching for information on Vide Cor Meum after I heard it at the end of Savoureux (the season finale of the Hannibal TV series). I felt it was a great way to tie the movies in with the TV show.

  9. john cosgrove Says:

    Don’t worry what anyone else says about you, your blog, or whatever else jumps into their head when they sit in front of a keyboard. This is an absolutely captivating and enchanting piece of music, which not only touched my heart, but in its perfection, enriched my mind, and has left an indelible print on my soul.

    • bgierke Says:

      Thanks for reading. I quite agree and marvel at what this particular collaboration – writer, director, composer, actor, singers, musicians – has produced.

    • Wolfie Says:

      You wrote what I also feel about this music, but I don’t seem to have the ability to portray it as eloquently as you. Thank you.

      • bgierke Says:

        Thanks so very much for your kind words. I’m a struggling writer and comments such as yours make the struggle worth while.

  10. Kimberly Kay Prieto Says:

    Like most of us who grew up singing Come on Eileen I Was Amazed At The Emotions this peice invoked in me long before I knew what the words meant, I have actually used this peice of music to describe how I feel It’s the highest high and the lowest low I have ever felt and I will always be grateful to the primal love and despair I feel when I hear this amazing peice of art..Ta-Ta Kimberly Prieto..

  11. Lisa Says:

    This is probably the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard. I first heard it while watching the movie, Hannibal. It has cast some sort of spell on me. I would like to hear it on my deathbed and played at my funeral. It brings me to tears of joy and sadness at the same time. Praise God for such talent!

    • bgierke Says:

      It is indeed wonderful and has cast a spell on many. An unbelievable convergence of forces in the film

      Thanks for reading and offering your thoughts

  12. Home_grown_Texan Says:

    Is there an actual opera that this comes from? btw, thank you for the information that was give in the blog.

    • bgierke Says:

      No, the piece was written for the film. Amazing combination of effort, confluence of talent, and juxtaposition of the sacred and profane, no?

  13. janet Says:

    This song is about death. To love completely you have to die to yourself.

  14. Wolfie Says:

    Thank you for giving me insight on what’s behind this beautiful piece of music. It brings me to tears every time I listen to it.

    • bgierke Says:

      It is amazing. And I’m very pleased to be able to say that the composer also responded positively to my little treatise.

    • Melanie Schwartz Says:

      I have played this song over & over for years enter YouTube. I actually have the CD! Then I find This piece was seriously written for the film? I have listened to it for years… Honestly, this piece was the first operatic song that stirred such gutural emotion. Bravo! I Honestly want to go to an opera, not in English, just to feel this emotion.

      • bgierke Says:

        Glad you like it! It seems the video somehow disappeared. I’ll have to fix that. It is a great piece of music and an incredible part of the movie.

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