I wrote this song in 1999 in Vignale, Italy, with Elizabeth Emge. Elizabeth was an au pair at the bed and breakfast where my wife, Peggy, and her mother were staying.
Peggy, her mom, Lisel, and I had taken an overnight trip to Venice. We got ourselves lost in the back passageways, away from the tourists, and found ourselves in a piazza full of Venetians enjoying lunch with their families. As I walked through these hidden streets, I imagined what it must have felt like if I were a young man in the 1500s, in love with a woman above my station, and knowing that the only way I could win her hand was to go to sea and bring back riches far across uncharted, dangerous waters. Yes, it was quite strange to have the idea for this song hit me like there were ghosts in the passageways, whispering their stories to me. I performed the song for a small audience of Italians before we left. If you listen to the lyric, the young sailor tells his lover, “Two years is what I ask of you. My lady, wait for me.” The Italians had an argument about whether any red-blooded Italian would wait two years for anyone. My apologies to lingua purists. I think I’ve butchered some Italian here.
Espetta Per Me
Lisak and Emge
I will not ask you to marry me,
And risk a widow’s fate.
Just pray someday I will return,
And meet you at your garden gate.
If I don’t come back, ask God to save
a sailor lost at sea.
Two years is what I ask of you.
My lady, wait for me.
Espetta per me.
Tornero per te.
Espetta, Espetta per me.
I sail the ocean far and wide,
at the king’s command. For the gold and silver it will bring
to put a ring upon your hand.
Storms will wash over me, and lightning fill the night
But I’ll hold our love in my heart.
It will be my burning light.
I’ll wait for you, if you’ll wait for me.
My love is waiting, my lady.