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The Life and Death of Pierina

A young woman born in France in the Village of Laue’
That gave her word to two lovers: Bastianino and Costantino


Listen all of you
to the great story of Pierina,
a beautiful young woman
of wealth in great quantity.
She, being rich and beautiful,
by the suitors was adored,
and by all was esteemed
the most beautiful of the city.

Her father and mother were dead,
and she didn't have any siblings ...
How this beautiful little face
caused everyone to be enchanted.
Her sweet and beautiful smile
produced many affections.
Almost all of the young men
wanted to marry her.

Finally Pierina
was betrothed with Bastiano,
a young man handsome and healthy,
and sincere in love.
This good and nice clerk
was however very unfortunate.
He selected to be a soldier
and to serve the emperor.

And Pierina weeping,
she took him by the hand
and said to him:  My Bastiano,
pay attention not to betray me.
Always stay faithful to me
as I am faithful to you.
From my heart I make this pledge,
and with you I want to die.

Then the good soldier
Departed to the regiment.
But Pierina in a moment
she changed her mind.
She fixed on another lover
whose name is Costantino.
And the young Bastianino
she left and abandoned.

Now when the military
had experienced much success,
it gave him a well earned permission
to go home to visit.
And as soon as he arrived at home
he goes to visit Pierina,
then invites her to go for a walk
and to eat a fine dinner.

He said to her:  My Pierina,
sweet, dear well beloved,
my heart is in love.
Without you I don’t know how to live.
I came home deliberately
because I want to please you.
I have decided to marry you
and with you I will die.

Pierina began to say:
Go to your destiny!
I am engaged to Costantino,
and I want us to leave it be.
Costantin is my beloved,
Costantin is my love,
Costantin will be my spouse,
Costantin I want to love.

Bastianin, hearing this,
didn’t say another word to her;
and with a shot from a pistol
dead on the ground he left her.
And scarcely had he killed her,
completely burning with venom,
he disemboweled her, tore out her heart,
and carried it away.

He having wrapped it in a rag,
walking to a butcher.
Two fine hearts of veal
he came quickly to buy.
Then he went to an inn,
he asked the innkeeper for a little room.
He got a frying pan
that could accommodate them.

Then leaving the inn
walking for a short time,
he found Costantino.
He begins to greet him.
and he said to him:  My dear friend,
come with me to the inn.
We will eat in cheerfulness
a tasty dinner.

Bastianin, being at the table,
did something really beautiful.
He took a heart of veal,

he places it on his plate.
And afterwards Bastianino
took in his hand the little fork.
He takes the heart of Pierina
and gives it to Costantin.

While Costantino eats,
he says in a loud voice:
This heart is exceptionally good.
It is not possible to praise it more.
And Bastiano then said:
Eat, eat, beautiful soul!
Eat the heart of a calf ¼
Oh! Continue to eat!

Then when the two fond friends
have finished their excellent luncheon,
Costantin with great pleasure
he begins to reason.
If you would like to come to lunch
I will be making a wedding with Pierina,
for tomorrow morning
I hope to marry her.

Bastianin in that instant
spoke to him without fear,
and said to him:  Really
Pierina will be mine.
If you don’t believe this is true,
this that I tell you aloud,
come to the field of the walnut,
and you will see the truth.

Costantin completely enraged,
quickly, quickly he sets forth.
He goes to the field of Pierina
so he can reason with her.
Reaching there, he saw his dearest
beautiful and dead on the earth.
From the pain he fainted,
he was not able to breath.

And then the soldier
was very distressed.
He wrote a certificate
that he was the killer.
Then, looking still at Costante,
he said to him:  Come here,
look here our lover
that in the body it has no heart.

You take this little letter,
by all means publish it.
You the heart of Pierina
you ate it for dinner.
And since this heart
did not want to remain with me,
to me came the intense venom
of bringing it to stay with you.

I loved her dearly.
She came to me to betray.
If I killed her cruelly,
then I must die.
And if I have done evil,
it is true justice
that I pay as well the penalty
of the wicked act.

He pulled out a pistol
and shot himself.
On top of the body of Pierina
Bastianin himself expired.
Then the young Costante
himself departed from there
and advises the authorities,
of the horrific cruelty.

A large crowd of people
ran there in great astonishment,
frightened appropriately
by the enormity of the error committed.
Costantin in intense agony
lived for three more days.
From the great passion of the heart
even he himself died.

Here I finish this story
and I can not say more.
It will serve a great memory
to our youths.
I advise you, young men
when you make your love,
from anger and venom
do not be carried away.

That love is a passion
that oneself lets be dominated by.
It drives us on occasion
even to dreadful action.
And you, daughters, all of you,
I come to you to warn,
your promise to your dear lover,
you must never betray.

Translated by: Steve Cereghino - a descendant of Stefano Cereghino, one of the Cereghino ballad singers.