Cesses Mortels (Pierre Guedron)

Cesses Mortels (Pierre Guedron)
From the Ursuline Manuscript
New Orleans, 1736

Cease mortals to sigh,
This beauty is not mortal;
It is permissible to love her,
But you cannot be in love with her.
Only the gods
Can love so exaltedly.

Who is the one that cannot see
That earth is beautiful because of her,
That flowers bloom under her steps,
That the day is shinier just for her,
And that the the gods only
Are worthy to love so exaltedly?

In fact the divine qualities
With which heaven adorned her birth,
Forbid even to the gods,
Not to love her, but to have hope
To obtain through loving her
Anything but a glorious torment.


After the French founded New Orleans in 1718, it was not long before the Lower Mississippi Valley was populated with French people and French culture. And since the 17th century up river in Montreal and Québec, Parisian music publishers provided that part of New France with music of all types from “back home.”

The Seattle-based early music ensemble BAROQUE NORTHWEST presents a concert of vocal and instrumental music from New Orleans’s Ursuline Manuscript of 1736, Michel Pignolet de Monteclair’s cantata Ariane et Bachus, plus music by Michel Blavet, Pierre Guedron, Jean-Baptiste Barrière, and others from the reign of Louis XIV.Kim Pineda, Baroque flute; Elinor Frey, Baroque cello; Hideki Yamaya, Baroque guitar and Mandora; August Denhard, Theorbo and Baroque guitar and special guest Janene Nelson, mezzo-soprano.