What are the lyrics to ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ - and do they make any sense?

3 November 2020, 12:51

Sure, it sounds lovely when Bocelli sings it with oodles of Italian authenticity - but how does the song translate when it’s performed in English?

‘Time to Say Goodbye’ was originally released as a single for Andrea Bocelli in 1995, under the title ‘Con te partirò’ (literally ‘I’ll leave with you’).

A year later, soprano Sarah Brightman was added to the mix for a performance marking boxer Henry Maske’s final match. The duet version was recorded with an English title – and sure enough, it was a commercial success.

The slight catch is that when you translate the phrase ‘Con te partirò’ as ‘Time to Say Goodbye’, the song sort of stops making any sense.

Read more: What are the lyrics to ‘Ave Maria’, and who wrote it? >

Here’s the chorus in English...

Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman duet together

Time to say goodbye
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you
Now, yes, I shall see them
I’ll go with you
Go on ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, don’t exist anymore
It’s time to say goodbye.

In summary: they’re saying goodbye to countries they never saw or shared with each other, but now they are in fact going to go to those countries… except they’re travelling there on ships which don’t exist anymore... so it’s time to say goodbye again.

Hmm. Maybe the lyrics are better appreciated in Italian. Here's the beginning of the song:

Quando sono solo
Sogno all'orizzonte
E mancan le parole
Sì lo so che non c'è luce
In una stanza quando manca il sole
Se non ci sei tu con me, con me
Su le finestre
Mostra a tutti il mio cuore
Che hai acceso
Chiudi dentro me
La luce che
Hai incontrato per strada

Time to say goodbye
Paesi che non ho mai
Veduto e vissuto con te
Adesso si li vivrò
Con te partirò
Su navi per mari
Che, io lo so
No, no, non esistono più
It's time to say goodbye

And here's the same section in English:

When I am alone I sit and dream
And when I dream the words are missing
Yes I know that in a room so full of light
That all the light is missing
But I don't see you with me, with me
Close up the windows, bring the sun to my room
Through the door you've opened
Close inside of me the light you see
That you met in the darkness
Time to say goodbye
Horizons are never far
Would I have to find them alone
Without true light of my own with you
I will go on ships over seas
That I now know
No, they don't exist anymore
It's time to say goodbye