Lyrics to “Insensatez” (“Foolishness” or “Folly”), 1961

Music by Tom Jobim, Lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes

Ah, foolishness

What have you done

Such a reckless heart

You made cry from pain

Your love

Such a delicate love

Ah, why were you

So weak that way

In such a soulless way

Ah, my heart

That never loved

Doesn’t deserve to be loved

Go on, my heart

Listen to reason

Use only sincerity

He who sows wind

So says reason

Always reaps storms

Go on, my heart

Plead forgiveness

Forgiveness, in love

Go on

Because he who doesn’t plead forgiveness

Is never forgiven

— Interpretation —

This bossa nova classic already has an English version – “How Insensitive,” with lyrics by Norman Gimbel– but the lyrics are very different from the original Portuguese.  Tom’s music recalls Chopin’s Prelude in E minor (op. 28, no. 4), which he recognized as an inspiration.

Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes met in 1956, when they worked together for the first time on the soundtrack for Vinicius’s play “Orfeu da Conceição.”  The pair went on to compose nearly 50 songs together, including some of the most iconic bossa nova songs like “Garota de Ipanema” (1962), “Se todas fossem iguais a você” (1956, for Orfeu da Conceição), and “Eu sei que vou te amar.”

João Gilberto recorded “Insensatez” in 1961.

Post by Victoria Broadus

2 thoughts on “Insensatez”

  1. Thank you for doing this, Victoria! Every time I sing Manha de Carnaval, I let the audience in on a little secret: “A Day in the Life of a Fool” is about a jilted lover in English, it’s much broader than in portuguese, and I tell them why. (Then I say, BTW, does anybody here speak Portuguese? and if nobody does, I say OK, the next song will be in portugese. Only once did I have to make a last minute linguistic announcement!) I look forward to seeing your other translations.
    By the way, do you have a relative named Margaret Broadus? I went to school with her a long time ago. Thought it worth asking, at least!

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