"Credo in un Dio crudel" Lyrics and Text Translation

Iago's Aria from Verdi's Opera, Otello

Giuseppi Verdi
Giuseppi Verdi. Giuseppi Verdi

Sung in the beginning of Act II of Verdi's opera, Otello, (see more Verdi operas) Iago starts crafting his plan by advising Cassio to get back in Otello's good graces. (Cassio was recently demoted by Otello.) He tells Cassio to speak with Otello's wife, Desdemona. If all goes according to play, Desdemona will help change the mind of her husband by speaking on behalf of Cassio. Finally, when Cassio leaves and Iago is alone, Iago reveals his true nature in this frightening aria which translates to, "I believe in a cruel God." Listen to this aria on YouTube.

Italian Lyrics

Credo in un Dio crudel
che m'ha creato simile a sè
e che nell'ira io nomo.
Dalla viltà d'un germe
o d'un atomo vile son nato.
Son scellerato perchè son uomo;
e sento il fango originario in me.
Sì! Questa è la mia fè!
Credo con fermo cuor,
siccome crede la vedovella al tempio,
che il mal ch'io penso
e che da me procede,
per il mio destino adempio.
Credo che il guisto
è un istrion beffardo,
e nel viso e nel cuor,
che tutto è in lui bugiardo:
lagrima, bacio, sguardo,
sacrificio ed onor.
E credo l'uom gioco
d'iniqua sorte
dal germe della culla
al verme dell'avel.
Vien dopo tanta irrision la Morte.
E poi? E poi?
La Morte è il Nulla.
È vecchia fola il Ciel!

Looking for more baritone arias? See my top 10 list of famous baritone arias.

English Lyrics

I believe in a cruel God
who created me like himself
in anger of whom that I name.
From the cowardice of a seed
or of a vile atom I was born.
I am a son evil because I am a man;
and I feel the primitive mud in me.


Yes! This is my faith!
I believe with a firm heart,
so does the widow in the temple,
the evil I think
and proceeds from me,
fulfills my destiny.
I think the honest man
is a mockery,
in face and heart,
that everything is in him is a lie:
tears, kisses, looks,
sacrifices and honor.
And I think the man plays a game
of unjust fate
the seed of the cradle
the worm of the grave.


After all this foolishness comes death.
And then what? And then?
Death is Nothingness.
Heaven is an old wives' tale!

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