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tempered with pity and some concern. I have watched him sally Iforth on an arduous errand, his soul aflame with the spark of a very legitimate egoism, and, when asked to justify his existence, I have heard him reply : “ I would beautify and enrich my homeland with the golden fruits of pilgrimage !” So far, so good! But then I have seen him reaping the reward of his labours, and alas, more often than not, it has been a harvest of contumely, increased and multiplied if he has dared so greatly as to forsake the highway of prose for the perilously alluring paths of poesy! And probably he has deserved all the trouble for which it will be averred he went asking ! Be that as it may, I was persuaded that in this regard total abstention was the only sagacious course. Then happy circumstances led me to the study of Italian, and suddenly I found myself wandering in a garden of perennial spring. After a while, for most of us are children at heart, I longed to run home with some, at any rate, of the blossoms I had gathered : how irresistible was my impulse this volume serves to show. It is, I believe, the first attempt to render into English verse representative gems of Italian lyrical poetry through the vicissitudes of six centuries. Every version is the fruit of labour wedded to love, and I can but trust that the harmony of these twain may commend me to the indulgence of the reader.
I will not dwell on the almost insuperable technical difficulties that beset me in the accomplishment of my task, for these are sufficiently evident. In addition I was menaced by what I will call a “ spiritual ” dilemma. One of the leading characteristics of Italian lyrical poetry is its individualism : every poet has a well-defined personality which, as a rule, finds very adequate expression in his writings. Thus, in the course of my work, I was obliged, in so far as I was able, to invest myself with a bewildering diversity of moods, a feat calling for considerable virtuosity, as I think the reader will agree and, I hope, take into account !
In the few cases where I have given fresh versions of poems already translated, and exquisitely well, I have done so with trepidation, and solely because the poems in question were such as could not in conscience be omitted from any representative anthology.
Since my desire is to lead all readers to the fountain-head, the original text will be found side by side with its English version, although, owing to consequent exigency of space, the number both of authors and of poems has had to be considerably reduced.
My warm thanks are due to the firm of Zanichelli, of Bologna, for allowing me to translate and reproduce selections from the poems of Carducci.
In conclusion I claim the proud and happy privilege of dedicating my work to two all-glorious mothers—England who bore me, and Italy who took me to her heart.
LORNA DE' LUCCHI Padua, 1921
SAN FRANCESCO D'ASSISI Laudes Creaturarum
CIACCO DELL’ANGUILLAIA O gemma leziosa . .
IACOPONE DA TODI Laude La Crocefissione
GUIDO CAVALCANTI Canzone Fresca rosa novella
Ballata In un boschetto trovai.
Sonetto Avete 'n vo' li fiori
DANTE ALIGHIERI Canzone Donne, ch'avete intelletto
Li occhi dolenti (Vita Nuova)
CINO DA PISTOIA Canzone La dolce vista .
FRANCESCO PETRARCA Canzone Chiare, fresche e dolci acque. 70
Di pensier in pensier
Quel vago impallidir
(Decameron) 90 Sonetto Intorn' ad una fonte . . FRANCO SACCHETTI Ballata O vaghe montanine pasturelle
Caccia Passando con pensier . .
Già vidi uscir di l'unde. LORENZO DE' MEDICI
Vidi madonna sopra un fresco
rio . . . . . 100 Quanto sia vana ogni speranza 100 Lascia l'isola tua
102 Trionfo Quant' è bella giovinezza
Canzone a ballo Chi non è innamorato. . 106 ANGELO POLIZIANO Ballata l' mi trovai, fanciulle. 108
I' mi trovai un di tutto soletto 110 IACOPO SANNAZARO
Lamento di Androgéo (Arcadia) 112 NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI Capitolo Ľ' Occasione . . . 116 PIETRO BEMBO Sonetto Adunque m'hai tu pure . 118 LODOVICO ARIOSTO Madrigale Occhi, non vi accorgete. La bella donna mia
120 Per gran vento che spire . 120 Sonetto Perchè, Fortuna . .
122 Avventuroso carcere soave 122 Mal si compensa.
La rete fu di queste fila. LODOVICO ARIOSTO Sonetto Lassi, piangiamo
. 126 MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI
Sonetto Non ha l' ottimo artista. . 126
Sonetto Non è sempre di colpa .
Forse perchè d'altrui . . 128
.: . 130 Madrigale Beati voi che su nel cie
La Notte (written on a statue)
Io pur, la Dio mercè .
Cancheri e beccafichi . GIOVANNI GUIDICCIONI
Degna nutrice . BENEDETTO CARITEO
Voi, donna, ed io . GIOVANNI DELLA CASA
O sonno, o della quieta LUIGI TANSILLO
Amor m'impenna l'ale. . 140
Poi che spiegat' ho l' ale GASPARA STAMPA
Chi vuol conoscer .
Mesta e pentita . TORQUATO TASSO Madrigale Mentre in grembo
· 144 Non è questo un morire
• 144 »
Qual rugiada : · · 146
Scipio, o pietade è morta . 150 GABRIELLO CHIABRERA
Quando a' suoi gioghi .
• 152 Madrigale Dico alle Muse .
• 152 Ode
Apertamente dice la gente 152 ALESSANDRO TASSONI Sonetto Parenti miei GIOVAMBATTISTA MARINO , Apre l'uomo infelice .
Altri canti di Marte , CLAUDIO ACHILLINI
Là nel mezzo del tempio
. 158 FULVIO TESTI
Non aura popolar. .
Ronchi, tu forse al piè . . 162 FRANCESCO REDI Ditirambo Bacco in Toscana
• . 164 TOMMASO STIGLIANI Sonetto Quel musico augellin . . . 170 VINCENZO DA FILICAIA , Italia, Italia, o tu cui . • 170 CARLO INNOCENZO FRUGONI
Canzone Nascondetevi, o vezzose · 172 PIETRO METASTASIO Sonetto Che speri, instabil Dea . . 176
Sogni e favole io fingo . . 176