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Desvelo (De flor en flor)

Sleeplessness (Flower to Flower)
lyrics by Enrique Cadícamo [1]
music by Eduardo Bonessi

Though you may tell yourself
that I’m taking a different path than you;
though you may abandon me,
I will always have to love you;
though my jealousy
fills my life with sleeplessness
as I reflect that very soon
you’ll go far away from me,
still…still I adore you,
I weep for you, I implore you
with mad desire.
In the boundless sadness
of my isolation,
the demons of my ills
are gnawing on my heart.

While your capriciousness hounds me
and pierces my flesh
like a dagger,
in the sad hours of my insomnia
I can’t close
my poor eyes.
In the murky mirrors
of my melancholy,
all our love
returns from those days…
An image of you orbits around my room,
and then you hover near me, laughing,
to kiss me with your lying mouth,
your mysterious mouth,
your crimson kiss.
Until the sunrise takes me by surprise at last,
mad from fatigue and lack of sleep.

(And then, crestfallen—
poor butterfly!—
you hope that your wound
can be closed by my kiss…)
[2]

Alone…alone and so sad
because I know you don’t exist…
the night stretches out
and I am always thinking of you.
And because I pine for you so
weeping assaults me without warning;
silent weeping
that flows without end…
weeping that leaves my eyes
sleepless and red
unable to withstand anymore.
And into this tragedy of mine
I dive, godlessly.
Stop, my darling,
don’t plague my loneliness any more.

Orquesta Aníbal Troilo, singer Floreal Ruiz (1948)

Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese, singer Alberto Morán (1953) 


Alfredo Belusi

[1] As related by José María Otero on his wonderful Spanish-language blog “Tangos al bardo,” this tango has two completely different sets of lyrics. I’ve summarized the story, as recounted by Otero, below.
Musician Eduardo Bonessi composed the music to a tango called “De flor en flor,”[“Flower to Flower”] for Carlos Gardel in the early 1920s, and the Uruguayan journalist Domingo Gallicchio wrote the lyrics. Gardel recorded the tango twice, in 1923 and 1930.
In 1938, Bonessi asked Enrique Cadícamo to write new lyrics for the song to be used in the film Una prueba de cariño.
After a long legal dispute which lasted until 1959, it was determined that the names of all three men (Bonessi, Gallicchio, and Cadícamo) were to appear on all future editions of the sheet music, along with both titles and both sets of lyrics, with royalties divided evenly in threes.
The original lyrics refer to the common tango trope of a woman called a mariposa [lit., “butterfly”], flitting from lover to lover, as a butterfly flits from flower to flower—hence the original title.
The two great dance orchestras of Pugliese and Troilo recorded the tango using the later set of lyrics by Cadícamo (omitting, per usual, the second verse as italicized here), with some minor variations. For example, where Alberto Morán sings, “The demons of my ills/are gnawing [mordiendo] on my heart,” Floreal Ruiz sings “The demons of my ills/are splitting [abriendo] my heart,” and in the next verse they switch the words “lying” [mentirosa] and “mysterious” [misteriosa].
The earlier lyrics to “De flor en flor,” with a version by Gardel, will be published in a forthcoming post.
[2] As reader Mike Shanahan pointed out to me in the comments below, the Morán version actually includes this verse from Gallicchio’s original lyric.

(Spanish original after the jump)

Desvelo (De flor en flor) (1938)

Aunque vos pretendas
que me aparte de tu senda;
aunque me dejes solo,
yo siempre te he de amar;
aunque por mis celos
viva lleno de desvelos
pensando que muy pronto
de mí te alejarás,
igual… igual te adoro,
te lloro y te imploro
con loco afán.
En la tristeza inmensa
de mi desolación,
los duendes de mi mal
me van mordiendo (abriendo) el corazón.

Mientras tu inconstancia me acorrala
y en mí se clava
como un puñal,
en las horas tristes de mi insomnio
mis pobres ojos
no puedo cerrar.
De los espejos turbios
de mi melancolía,
todos nuestros amores
surgen de aquellos días…
Ronda flotando por el cuarto tu figura,
y luego, riendo, te detienes junto a mí
para besarme con tu boca misteriosa,
tu boca mentirosa,
tu beso de carmín.
Hasta que me sorprende al fin la madrugada
loco de cansancio y sin dormir.

(Y entonces abatida—
oh pobre mariposa
pretendes que la herida
la cierre con mi boca…)

Solo… solo y triste
porque sé que tú no existes…
La noche se hace larga
pensando siempre en ti.
Y de ansiarte tanto
sin querer, me asalta el llanto;
un llanto silencioso
que brota sin cesar…
Un llanto que mis ojos,
sin sueño y rojos,
no aguantan más.
Y en este drama mío
yo me hundo sin piedad.
Párate, corazón,
no abrumes más mi soledad.

About Derrick Del Pilar

Born and raised in Chicago, I came to the tango while studying at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires in 2006. In 2008 I earned my B.A. with majors in Creative Writing and Spanish & Portuguese from the University of Arizona, and in 2009 I earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. My specialty is the history & literature of early 20th century Argentina.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Desvelo (De flor en flor)

  1. Hola aqui te dejo escrita bien la letra de este tango

    Aunque vos pretendas
    que me aparte de tu senda;
    aunque me dejes solo,
    yo siempre te he de amar;
    aunque por mis celos
    viva lleno de desvelos
    pensando que muy pronto
    de mí te alejarás,
    igual… igual te adoro,
    te lloro y te imploro
    con loco afán.
    En la tristeza inmensa
    de mi desolación,
    los duendes de mi mal
    me van mordiendo el corazón.

    Mientras tu inconstancia me acorrala
    y en mí se clava
    como un puñal,
    en las horas tristes de mi insomnio
    mis pobres ojos
    no puedo cerrar.
    De los espejos turbios
    de mi melancolía,
    todos nuestros amores
    surgen de aquellos días…
    Ronda flotando por el cuarto tu figura,
    y luego, riendo, te detienes junto a mí
    para besarme con tu boca misteriosa,
    tu boca deliciosa,
    tu beso de carmín.
    Hasta que me sorprende al fin la madrugada
    loco de cansancio y sin dormir.

    Solo… solo y triste
    porque sé que tú no existes…
    La noche se hace larga
    pensando siempre en ti.
    Y de ansiarte tanto
    sin querer, me asalta el llanto;
    un llanto silencioso
    que brota sin cesar…
    Un llanto que mis ojos,
    sin sueño y rojos,
    no aguantan más.
    Y en este drama mío
    yo me hundo sin piedad.
    Párate, corazón,
    no abrumes más mi soledad.

    Música: Eduardo Bonessi
    Letra : Enrique Cadícamo.

    Posted by Inés Alicia Wibratt Androsi | 04.16.2016, 6:54 PM
    • Gracias otra vez Inés! No sé si lográs verla, pero siempre pongo el original en castellano tal como vos también me lo dejás. Un abrazo!

      Posted by Derrick Del Pilar | 04.18.2016, 8:07 AM
  2. Hi Derrick,
    It looks like the Moran version cites the original lyrics at the end, si?

    Posted by Mike Shanahan | 04.17.2016, 10:45 PM

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The sound files on this site are included for illustrative purposes only. Those wishing to obtain high quality versions for their personal collections should purchase commercially available copies. If you can't get to a record store in Buenos Aires, a great many tangos are available, song by song, from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on iTunes (transfer quality varies widely). Many CDs are available through online retailers such as Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/.

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