I grandi poeti dell'antica Italia

"Al cor gentil"

("In the gentle heart")
Guido Guinizelli
(fl. second half of thirteenth century)
Language: Italian, Dialect: Bolognese

 

1.
Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore
come l'ausello in selva a la verdura;
n fe' amore anti che gentil core,
n gentil core anti ch'amor, natura:
ch'adesso con' fu 'l sole,
s tosto lo splendore fu lucente,
n fu davanti 'l sole;
e prende amore in gentilezza loco
cos propamente
come calore in clarit di foco.

Translation:

Love returns always to a noble heart,
Like a bird to the green in the forest.
Nature did not make love before the noble heart,
Nor the noble heart before love.
As soon as the sun appeared,          5
Brightness shone forth,
But it did not exist before the sun.
And love takes its place in true nobility
As rightly
As heat in the brightness of fire.              10


2.
Foco d'amore in gentil cor s'aprende
come vertute in petra prezosa:
che de la stella valor no i discende
anti che 'l sol la faccia gentil cosa;
poi che n'ha tratto fre
per sua forza lo sol ci che li vile,
stella li d valore:
cos lo cor, ch' fatto da natura
asletto, pur, gentile
donna, a guisa di stella, lo 'nnamora.



Love's fire catches in the noble heart,
Like the power of a precious stone
Whose potency does not descend from the star
Until the sun makes it a noble object:
After the sun has drawn out                15
Everything base with its own force,
The star confers power on it.
In such a way, lady,
Like the star, transforms the heart
Chosen by Nature and made pure and noble.         20


3.
Amor per tal ragion sta 'n cor gentile
per qual lo foco in cima del doplero:
splendeli al su' diletto, clar, sottile;
non li stari' altra guisa, tant' fero.
Cos prava natura
recontra amor como fa l'aigua il foco
caldo, per la freddura.
Amore in gentil cor prende rivera
per suo consimel loco,
com' adams del ferro in la minera.



Love remains in the noble heart for the same reason
That fire shines on the tip of a candle
Clear and refined in its own delight.
Nor could it be any other wayit is proud.
Thus a baser nature                           25
Opposes love, just as water quenches
Burning fire with its coldness.
Love takes its place in the noble heart
As its rightful dwelling
Like the diamond in a vein of ore.             30


4.
Fere lo sol lo fango tutto 'l giorno:
vile reman, n 'l sol perde calore;
dis' omo alter, "Gentil per sclatta torno";
lui semblo al fango, al sol gentil valore:
ch non d dare om fede
che gentilezza sia fr di coraggio
in dignit di rede,
sed a vertute non ha gentil core,
com' aigua porta raggio
e 'l ciel riten le stelle e lo splendore.



Sun strikes the mud all day long:
It remains base, nor does the sun lose heat.
A proud man says, "I am made noble by birth."
I liken him to the mud and noble worth to the sun.
No man should believe                     35
That nobility exists outside the heart,
By right of lineage,
Unless he has a noble heart disposed to virtue,
Just as water carries the sunray
And the sky holds the stars and their brightness.  40


5.
Splende 'n la 'ntelligenza del cielo
Deo Crator pi che 'n nostr' occhi 'l sole;
ella intende suo fattor oltra 'l cielo,
e 'l ciel volgiando, a Lui obedir tole;
e con' segue, al primero,
del giusto Deo beato compimento,
cos dar dovria, al vero,
la bella donna, poi che 'n gli occhi splende
del suo gentil, talento,
chi mai di lei obedir non si disprende.



God the Creator shines in the Intelligence
Of the heavens, more than even the sun in our eyes.
It understands its maker beyond the sky
And, turning the sky, prepares to obey Him;
And much as the blessed realization         45
Of the just God follows instantly,
So truly should the beautiful lady,
When she shines in the eyes of her noble lover,
Inspire a wish that he will never
Cease in his obedience to her.               50


6.
Donna, Deo mi dir, "Che presomisti?,"
sando l'alma mia a Lui davanti,
"Lo ciel passasti e 'nfin a Me venisti,
e desti in vano amor Me per semblanti:
ch'a Me conven le laude
e a la reina del regname degno
per cui cessa onne fraude."
Dir Li por, "Tenne d'angel sembianza
che fosse del Tuo regno;
non me fu fallo, s'in lei posi amanza."



Lady, God will say to me when my soul
Stands before Him, "How could you presume?
You went past heaven, coming finally to me,
And tried to compare Me to a vain love.
All praises are due to me alone                55
And to the Queen of this noble realm
Through whom all evil ends."
But I shall say to Him: "She had the likeness
Of an angel from your kingdom.
It's not my fault if I fell in love with her."      60

Edited and translated by Robert R. Edwards

 

"Veggio negli occhi"

("In the eyes I see")
Guido Cavalcanti
(c. 1259-1300)
Language: Italian, Dialect: Tuscan

 

Text:
1.
Veggio negli occhi de la donna mia
un lume pien di spirit d'amore
che porta uno piacer novo nel core,
s che vi desta d'allegrezza vita.

Translation:

In the eyes of my lady I see
a light full of spirits of love,
which bears to the heart a sweetness never known,
so that a joyous life awakens there.


2.
Cosa m'aven quand'i' le son presente,
ch'i' no la posso a lo 'ntelletto dire:
veder mi par de la sua labbia uscire
una s bella donna, che la mente
comprender no la pu, ch 'nmantenente
ne nasce un'altra di bellezza nove,
de la qual par ch'una stella si mova
e dica: la salute tua apparita.



Something happens to me when I am in her presence,     5
I cannot describe it to the intellect:
it seems to me that from her lips there issues forth
a lady so beautiful, the memory
cannot hold her, because at once
another is born of her, of unknown beauty,             10
from whom it seems a star arises
and says: "Your salvation is come forth."


3.
L dove questa bella donna appare,
s'ode una voce che le vn davanti;
e par che d'umilt il su' nome canti
s dolcemente, che s'i' 'l vo' contare,
sento che 'l su' valor mi fa tremare;
e movonsi nell'anima sospiri
che dicon: "Guarda, su tu costei miri,
vedra' l sua vert nel ciel salita."



There where this beautiful lady comes forth,
a voice is heard preceding her;
and it seems, moved by her humility it sings her name     15
so sweetly, that if I try to describe it,
I feel how her worth makes me tremble;
and in my soul sighs bestir themselves
which say: "Behold, if you gaze upon this one,
you will see her virtue ascended into heaven."            20


Edited and translated by Frederick Goldin


"Amore e 'l cor gentil"

("Love and the gentle heart")
Dante Alighieri
(1265-1321)
Language: Italian, Dialect: Tuscan

 

Text:
Amore e 'l cor gentil sono una cosa,
s come il saggio in suo dittare pone,
e cos esser l'un sanza l'altro osa
com'alma razional sanza ragione.
Translation:
Love and the gentle heart are one thing,
as the wise one sets forth in his poem,
and one can be without the other only
as much as the rational soul without reason.

Falli natura quand' amorosa,
Amor per sire e 'l cor per sua magione,
dentro la qual dormendo si riposa
tal volta poca e tal lunga stagione.


Nature creates them both when it is turned toward love,     5
love as the lord, the heart as his mansion
wherein he abides and sleeps
sometimes a short while, sometimes long.


Bieltate appare in saggia donna pui,
che piace a li occhi s, che dentro al core
nasce un disio de la cosa piacente;


Then beauty comes forth in a lady who is wise,
so pleasing to the eyes that in the heart                  10
a desire in born for that beautiful thing;


e tanto dura talora in costui,
che fa svegliar lo spirito d'Amore.
E simil face in donna omo valente.


and lasts so long, sometimes, in the heart,
it makes the spirit of Love awaken.
In woman's heart a man of worth brings forth the same awakening.


Edited and translated by Frederick Goldin

"Chi non avesse"

("A man who has never seen")
Giacomo da Lentino
(fl. early thirteenth century)
Language: Italian, Dialect: Sicilian

 

Text:
Chi non avesse mai veduto foco,
no crederia che cocere potesse,
anti li sembraria sollazzo e gioco
lo so isprendore, quando lo vedesse.

Translation:
A man who has never seen fire before
would never think that it could burn;
rather, its splendor would strike him,
when he first saw it, as a delight, great fun.


Ma, s'ello lo toccasse in alcun loco,
ben li sembrara che forte cocesse:
quello d'amore m' toccato un poco:
molto me coce. Deo, che s'apprendesse!


But if he ever touched it anywhere,       5
then it would seem to him it burned, and bad.
The one that belongs to Love has touched me a little:
it burns me a lot. God, if it only took hold!


Che s'apprendesse in voi madonna mia,
che mi mostrate dar sollazzo amando,
e voi mi date pur pen' e tormento:


If it only took hold in you, my lady,      10
who make me think you mean to comfort me by loving me
and give me only torments and distress.


certo l'Amore fa gran villania,
che no distringe te, che vai gabbando;
a me, che servo, non d isbaldimento.


Certainly Love acts ignobly,
for he does not tie you down who come forth only with words;
I serve. Yet he gives me no happiness.


Edited and translated by Frederick Goldin

 

"Dolcezza alcuna"

("No sweetness")
Guittone d'Arezzo
(c.1235-1294)
Language: Italian, Dialect: Tuscan

 

Text:

Dolcezza alcuna o di voce o di sono
lo meo core allegrar non pu gia mai,
pensando che diviso e lontan sono
da quella ch'amo, ameraggio ed amai.

Translation:

No sweetness in voice or melody
can ever rejoice my heart again:
I remember I am severed and am far
from the one I love, will love, have loved.


N per dolzone in cantando risono;
ma pur di doglia canteraggio omai:
come l'augel dolci canti consono,
ch' preso in gabbia e sosten molti guai.


Nor for the sweetness in singing shall I ever raise my voice,  5
I shall sing henceforth only from pain:
I shall sound sweet songs like a once free bird
that is trapped in a cage and suffers much regret.


Tante gravose doglie e pene porto
e'n viso ed in diviso com me pare,
se di presso vi sono o di lontano.


I bear many heavy pains and sorrows
on my face and in my mind,                           10
sorrows that come from near and far.


Sempre mi trovo in tempestoso porto,
e lo dolor per mezzo il volto appare:
credendomi appressare, io m'allomano.


Always I find myself in a stormy port,
and grief shows its face by my face:
Believing I come closer, I drift further away.

 
Edited and Translated by Frederick Goldin

 
 

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