#MusicaMondays brings you the Neapolitan classic “Pigliate ‘na Pastiglia”

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On #MusicaMondays, the NIAF team brings you the original Neapolitan lyrics to some of the most popular canzoni Napoletane.  And, to make a full connection with our Italian American community, we provide the English language translations side by side, so that those of us who are not yet fluent in Italian (or Neapolitan for that matter) can finally understand the beautiful meanings behind those songs that have made up the soundtrack of generations of Italian American life!

This week’s #MusicaMondays, constitutes a song that is a bit more modern, but no less loved contribution to the Neapolitan songbook… Pigliate ‘na Pastiglia (Take a Pill) a 1957 classic by the songwriting duo of Nicola Salerno (known as Nisa) and the incomparable Renato Carosone.  Together these two icons created innumerable hits throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, and we at NIAF are pleased to share this brilliant work with you today.  Keep in mind, these translations are meant to express the truest meaning of the lyrics… so if you are looking for a perfect translation, you might not find it here, but, we are confident you will all appreciate the true meaning of this wonderful song!

Pigliate ‘na Pastiglia (Take a Pill)

Io cammino ogni note,

I walk every night,

io cammino sbarianno,

I walk deliriously,

io nun tengo mai suonno,

I am never sleepy,

non chiudo mai ll’uocchie e non bevo cafe’!

I never close my eyes and I don’t drink coffee!

 

Coro: Va’ te cócca, siente a me!…

Chorus: Go to bed, listen to me!…
Va’ te cócca, siente a me!…

Go to bed, listen to me!…

 

‘Na perziana ca sbatte,

A shutter slams,

‘nu lampione ca luce,

A lamp switches on,

e ‘nu ‘mbriaco che dice, bussanno a ‘na porta

A drunken man says, banging on the door

“M’arape Cunce’?”

Open the door for me Cunce?”

‘A tre mise nun dormo cchiu’,

Three months and I haven’t slept,

‘na vucchella vurria scurda’

I want to forget to take a mouthful

Gente diciteme comme ‘aggia fa?

Folks, tell me what I can do?

 

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia

Take a pill

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, listen to me!

 

Pe me fa addurmi’,

For me, it makes me sleep,

pe me fa scurda’

For me, it makes me forget

il mio dolce amor

My sweet love

 

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia,

Take a pill,

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, listen to me!

 

Pe me fa senti’

For me, it makes me feel

come un gran pascia’

like a big pasha

e mi inebria il cuor!

and it intoxicates my heart!

 

Dint’ ‘e vetrine ‘e tutte ‘e farmaciste

In all of the shop windows of all of the pharmacies

la vecchia camomilla ha dato il posto…

The traditional chamomile has given way…

Alle palline e glicerofosfato

To balls of glycerolphosphate

Bromotelevisionato: grammi zero zero tre…

Bromotelevisionato* 0.03 grams…

Ah!

Ah!

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, Take a pill, listen to me!

 

‘Into ‘o scuro ‘na gatta

In the darkness is a cat

mastecanno ‘na sarda

chewing a sardine

doce doce me guarda

sweetly sweetly it looks at me

me guarda se struscia miagola e fa:

It looks at me, rubs itself, meows and says:

Siente a mme, va te a cucca’

Listen to me, go to bed

Siente a mme, va te a cucca’

Listen to me, go to sleep

So’ ‘nu ciuccio ‘e carretta

I am like a donkey pulled/carted along

Carrecato d’ammore

Pulled by love

ca se tira stu core

pulling this heart

stu core che cerca la felicita’!

this heart that is looking for happiness!

‘A tre mise nun dormo cchiu’,

For three months and I haven’t slept,

‘na vucchella vurria scurda’

I want to forget to eat

Gente diciteme comme ‘aggia fa?

People tell me what to do?

 

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia,

Take a pill,

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, listen to me!

Pe me fa addurmi’

For me, it makes me sleep

pe me fa scurda’

For me, it makes me forget

il mio dolce amor

my sweet love

 

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia

Take a pill

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, listen to me!

 

Pe me fa addurmi’,

For me, it makes me sleep,

pe me fa scurda’

For me, it makes me forget

il mio dolce amor

My sweet love

 

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia,

Take a pill,

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, listen to me!

 

Pe me fa senti’

For me, it makes me feel

come un gran pascia’

like a big pasha

e mi inebria il cuor!

and it intoxicates my heart!

 

Dint’ ‘e vetrine ‘e tutte ‘e farmaciste

In all of the shop windows of all of the pharmacies

la vecchia camomilla ha dato il posto…

the traditional chamomile has given way…

Alle palline e glicerofosfato

To balls of glycerolphosphate

Bromotelevisionato: grammi zero zero tre…

Bromotelevisionato* 0.03 grams…

Ah!

Ah!

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, Take a pill, listen to me!

 

Dint’ ‘e vetrine ‘e tutte ‘e farmaciste

In all of the shop windows of all of the pharmacies

la vecchia camomilla ha dato il posto…

the traditional chamomile has given way…

Alle palline e glicerofosfato,

To balls of glycerolphosphate,

bromotelevisionato dittiti’, bicarbonate

bromotelevisionato, bicarbonate

borotalco e seme ‘e lino, cataplasma e semolina

talcum powder and linseed, poultice** and semolina

‘na custata ‘a fiorentina, mortadella, dduie panine

A florentine steak, mortadella, two sandwiches

cu’ ‘nu miezo litro ‘e vino nu, caffe’ con caffeine

with half a  litre of wine, a coffee with caffeine

grammi zero zero tre…

  1. 03 grams…

Ah!

Ah!

 

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia

Take a pill

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia

Take a pill

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia

Take a pill

Pigliate ‘na pastiglia, siente a mme!

Take a pill, listen to me!

 

*The term bromotelevisionato cannot truly be translated.

** a soft,  handful of plant material or flour, applied to the body to relieve soreness and inflammation and kept in place with a cloth.

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