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HAVE always cherished for the translator a feeling of esteem tempered with pity and some concern. I have watched him sally forth 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 bas 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
INDEX OF AUTHORS
Canzone Poi ch'a voi piace, amore IO
A la stagion che il mondo 20
Quando Dio messer Messerino
Ballata In un boschetto trovai
Sonetto Avete 'n vo' li fiori
S'i' fosse foco
(Vita Nuova) 42
Li occhi dolenti (Vita Nuova) 52
Di donne io vidi (Rime) 58
(Vita Nuova) 58
FRANCESCO PETRARCA Canzone Chiare, fresche e dolci acque. 70 Di pensier in pensier
74 Sonetto Quanto più m' avvicino
80 Quel vago impallidir
80 Pace non trovo
82 In qual parte del cielo
88 GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO Ballata Io mi son giovinetta
(Decameron) 90 Sonetto Intorn' ad una fonte
92 FRANCO SACCHETTI Ballata O vaghe montanine pasturelle 92 Caccia Passando con pensier
94 MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO
Sonetto Il canto de li augéi
Già vidi uscir di l'unde.
Vidi madonna sopra un fresco
100 Quanto sia vana ogni speranza 100 Lascia l'isola tua
102 Trionfo Quant' è bella giovinezza • 102
Canzone a ballo Chi non è innamorato . 106 ANGELO POLIZIANO Ballata I'mi trovai, fanciulle . 108
I' mi trovai un dì tutto soletto IIO IACOPO SANNAZARO
Lamento di Androgéo (Arcadia) 112 NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI Capitolo L' Occasione
116 PIETRO BEMBO Sonetto Adunque m' hai tu pure LODOVICO ARIOSTO Madrigale Occhi, non vi accorgete. 118 La bella donna mia
120 Per gran vento che spire 120 Sonetto Perchè, Fortuna
122 Avventuroso carcere soave 122 Mal si compensa .
124 La rete fu di queste fila. 124 LODOVICO ARIOSTO Sonetto Lassi, piangiamo
126 MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI Sonetto Non ha l' ottimo artista.
Sonetto Non è sempre di colpa . 128
Forse perchè d' altrui • 128
130 Quanto dirne
· 130 Madrigale Beati voi che su nel ciel
132 La Notte (written on a statue) 132 VITTORIA COLONNA Sonetto Mentre l'aura
132 LUIGI ALAMANNI
Io pur, la Dio mercè
· 134 FRANCESCO BERNI
Cancheri e beccafichi
· 136 GIOVANNI GUIDICCIONI
Degna nutrice BENEDETTO CARITEO
Voi, donna, ed io .
· 138 GIOVANNI DELLA CASA
O sonno, o della quieta
142 Mesta e pentita
142 TORQUATO TASSO Madrigale Mentre in grembo
144 Non è questo un morire 144 Qual rugiada
146 Sonetto Vecchio ed alato dio
146 Tu parti, o rondinella
148 Amore alma è del mondo Negli anni acerbi .
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
· 154 GIOVAMBATTISTA MARINO Apre l'uomo infelice
· 156 Altri canti di Marte
• 158 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