And still, amid the praise she hears secure, She walks with humbleness for her array; Seeming a creature sent from Heaven to stay On earth, and show a miracle made sure. This is one reason that may be brought: but more narrowly considering, and according to the infallible truth, this number was her own self: that is to say, by similitude. As thus. The number three is the root of the number nine; seeing that without the interposition of any other number, being multiplied merely by itself, it produceth nine, as we manifestly perceive that three times three are nine.
Thus, three being of itself the efficient of nine, and the Great Efficient of Miracles being of Himself Three Persons to wit: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit , which, being Three, are also One:—this lady was accompanied by the number nine to the end that men might clearly perceive her to be a nine, that is, a miracle, whose only root is the Holy Trinity. It may be that a more subtile person would find for this thing a reason of greater subtilty: but such is the reason that I find, and that liketh me best.
All the Stars and Boulevards
Welcome back. He seem'd like one who is full of joy, and had My heart within his hand, and on his arm My lady, with a mantle round her, slept ; Whom having waken'd her anon he made To eat that heart ; she ate, as fearing harm. Then he went out ; and as he went, he wept This sonnet is divided into two parts. In the first part 1 give greeting, and ask an answer ; in the second, I signify what thing has to be answered to. The second part commences here, " Of those long hours.
Lo verace giudicio del detto sogno non fu veduto allora per alcuno, ma ora h manifesto alii piu semplici. I Da questa visione innanzi cominci6 il mio spirito naturale ad essere impedito nella sua operazione, per6 che r anima era tutta data nel pensare di questa gentilissima ; ond' io divenni in picciolo tempo poi di si frale e debole condizione, che a molti amici pesava della mia vista : e molti pieni d' invidia si pro- cacciavano di sapere di me quello ch' io voleva del tutto celare ad altrui. But the true meaning of that vision was not then perceived by any one, though it be now evident to the least skilful.
From that night forth, the natural functions of my body began to be vexed and impeded, for I was given up wholly to thinking of this most gracious creature : whereby in short space I became so weak and so reduced that it was irksome to many of my friends to look upon me ; while others, being moved by spite, went about to discover what it was my wish should be concealed. E quando mi do- mandavano : " Per cui t' ha cosi distrutto questo Amore? Un giorno avvenne, che questa gentilissima sedea in parte, ove s' udiano parole della Regina della gloria, ed io era in luogo, dal quale vedea la mia beatitudine ; e nel mezzo di lei e di me, per la retta linea, sedea una gentile- donna di molto piacevole aspetto, la quale mi mirava spesse volte, maravigliandosi del mio sguardare, che parea che sopra lei terminasse ; onde molti s' accorsero del suo mirare.
Ed in tanto vi fu posto mente, che, partendomi da questo luogo, mi sentii dire appresso : " Vedi come cotale donna distrugge la persona di costui. Allora mi confortai molto, assicurandomi che il mio segreto non era comuni- cato, Io giorno, altrui per mia vista : ed immantinente i6 dealt with me : and I said so, because the thing was so plainly to be discerned in my countenance that there was no longer any means of concealing it.
But when they went on to ask, "And by whose help hath Love done this? And many perceived that she thus looked : so that departing thence, I heard it whispered after me, " Look you to what a pass such a lady hath brought him ; " and in saying this they named her who had been midway between the most gentle Beatrice, and mine eyes. Therefore I was reassured, and knew that for that day my secret had not become manifest. Then immediately it X 17 pensai di fare di questa gentile donna schermo della veri- tade ; e tanto ne mostrai in poco di tempo, che il mio segreto fu creduto sapere dalle piu persone che di me ragionavano.
Con questa donna mi celai alquanti mesi ed anni ; e per piii fare credente altrui, feci per lei certe cosette per rima, le quali non h mio intendimento di scrivere qui, se non in quanto facesse a trattare di quella gentilissima Beatrice ; e per6 le lascer6 tutte, salvo che alcuna cosa ne scriver6, che pare che sia loda di lei.
Dico che in questo tempo, che questa donna era schermo di tanto amore, quanto dalla mia parte, mi venne una volonti di voler ricordare il nome di quella gentilissima, ed accompagnarlo di molti nomi di donne, e specialmente del nome di questa gentil- donna ; e presi i nomi di sessanta le piii belle della cittade, ove la mia donna fu posta dalP altissimo Sire, e composi una epistola sotto forma di serventese, la quale io non scriver6 : e non n' avrei fatto menzione came into my mind that I might make use of this lady as a screen to the truth : and so well did I play my part that the most of those who had hitherto watched and wondered at me, now imagined they had found me out.
By her means I kept my secret concealed till some years were gone over ; and for my better security, I even made divers rhymes in her honour ; whereof I shall here write only as much as concerneth the most gentle Beatrice, which is but a very little.
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Moreover, about the same time while this lady was a screen for so much love on my part, I took the resolution to set down the name of this most gracious creature accompanied with many other women's names, and especially with hers whom I spake of And to this end I put together the names of sixty the most beautiful ladies in that city where God had placed mine own lady ; and these names I introduced in an epistle in the form of a sirvent, which it is not my intention to transcribe here. I La donna, con la quale io avea tanto tempo celata la mia volontd, convenne che si partisse della sopra- detta cittade, e andasse in paese lontano : per che io, quasi sbigottito della bella difesa che mi era venuta meno, assai me ne disconfortai piu che io medesimo non avrei creduto dinanzi.
E pensando che, se della sua partita io non parlassi alquanto dolorosamente, le persone sarebbero accorte piu tosto del mio nascondere, proposi di fame alcuna lamentanza in un sonetto, il quale io scrivero ; perci6 che la mia donna fu imme- diata cagione di certe parole, che nel sonetto sono, siccome appare a chi Io intende : e allora dissi questo sonetto : O voi, che per la via d' Amor passate, Attendete, e guardate S' egli h dolore alcun, quanto il mio, grave : 20 did I not wish to take note of a certain strange thing, to wit : that having written the list, I found my lady's name would not stand otherwise tharr TiTnth.
Now it so chanced with her by whose means I had thus long time concealed my desire, that it behoved her to leave the city I speak of, and to journey afar : wherefore I, being sorely perplexed at the loss of so excellent a defence, had more trouble than even I could before have supposed.
And think- ing that if I spoke not somewhat mournfully of her departure, my former counterfeiting would be the more quickly perceived, I determined that I would make a grievous sonnet thereof; the which I will write here, because it hath certain words in it whereof my lady was the immediate cause, as will be plain to him that understands.
Si che, volendo far come coloro, Che per vergogna celan lor mancanza, Di fuor mostro allegranza, E dentro dallo cor mi struggo e ploro. Love never, certes, for my worthless part, But of his own great heart, Vouchsafed to me a life so calm and sweet That oft I heard folk question as I went What such great gladness meant : — They spoke of it behind me in the street. But now that fearless bearing is all gone Which with Love's hoarded wealth was given me ; Till I am grown to be So poor that I have dread to think thereon.
And thus it is that I, being like as one Who is ashamed and hides his poverty, Without seem full of glee. And let my heart within travail and moan. In the second, I tell where Love had placed me, with a meaning other than that H r estreme parti del sonetto non mostrano : e dico do che to ho perduto. Allora, ricordandomi che gia r avea veduta fare compagnia a quella gentilissima, non potei sostenere alquante lagrime ; anzi piangehdo mi pro- posi di dire alquante parole della sua morte in guiderdone di ci6, che alcuna fiata V avea veduta con la mia donna.
E di ci6 toccai alcuna cosa nell' ultima parte delle parole che ione dissi, siccomeappare manifestamente a chi le in- tende : e dissi allora questi due sonetti,dei quali comincia il primo " Piangete amanti ;" il secondo " Morte villana. Whereupon, re- membering that I had seen her in the company of excellent Beatrice, I could not hinder myself from a few tears ; and weeping, I conceived to say somewhat of her death, in guerdon of having seen her some- while with my lady ; which thing I spake of in the latter end of the verses that I writ in this matter, as he will discern who understands.
Udite quant' Amor le fece orranza ; Ch' io '1 vidi lamentare in forma vera Sovra la morta immagine avvenente ; E riguardava inver lo ciel sovente, Ove r alma gentil gia locata era, Che donna fu di si gaia sembianza. Questo primo sonetto si divide in tre parti. Now hearken how much Love did honour her. I myself saw him in his proper form Bending above the motionless sweet dead, And often gazing into Heaven ; for there The soul now sits which when her life was warm Dwelt with the joyful beauty that is fled.
This first sonnet is divided into three parts. In the first, I call and beseech the Faithful of Love to weep ; and I say that their Lord weeps , and that they, hearing the reason why he weeps, shall be more minded to listen to me. In the second, 1 relate this reason.
In the third, I speak of honour done by Love to this Lady. The second part begins here, " When now so many dames ; " the third here, " Now hearken. Pity's foe in chief, Mother who brought forth grief, Merciless judgement and without appeal! Piu non vo' discovrir qual donna sia, Che per le propriety sue conosciute ; Chi non merta salute, Non speri mai d' aver sua compagnia. Out of this world thou hast driven courtesy, And virtue, dearly prized in womanhood ; And out of youth's gay mood The lovely lightness is quite gone through thee.
Whom now I mourn, no man shall learn from me Save by the measure of these praises given. Whoso deserves not Heaven May never hope to have her company. This poem is divided into four parts. In the first I address Death by certain proper names of hers. In the second, speaking to her, I tell the reason why I am moved to denounce her.
In the third, I rail against her. In the fourth, I turn to speak to a person undefined, although defined in my ozvn conception. E tutto che io fossi alia compagnia di molti, quanto alia vista, 1' andare mi dispiacea si, che quasi li sospiri non poteano disfogare V angoscia, che il cuore sentia, per6 ch' io mi dilungava dalla mia beatitudine. E per6 lo dolcissimo signore, il quale mi signoreggiava per virtu della gentilissima donna, nella mia immaginazione apparve come pere- grino leggermente vestito, e di vili drappi.
A me parve che Amore mi chiamasse, e dicessemi queste parole : " Io vengo da quella donna, la quale h stata lunga tua difesa, e so che il suo rivenire non saril ; e per6 quel cuore ch' io ti facea avere da lei, io 1' ho meco, e portolo a donna, la quale sar4 tua difensione come questa era ; " e nomollami si ch' io la conobbi bene.
And notwithstanding that I was visibly in the company of many, the journey was so irksome that I had scarcely sighing enough to ease my heart's heaviness ; seeing that as I went, I left my beatitude behind me. Wherefore it came to pass that he who ruled me by virtue of my most gentle lady was made visible to my mind, in the light habit of a traveller, coarsely fashioned. He appeared to me troubled, and looked always on the ground ; saving only that sometimes his eyes were turned towards a river which was clear and rapid, and which flowed along the path I was taking. And then I thought that Love called me and said to me these words : " I come from that lady who was so long thy surety ; for the matter of whose return, I know that it may not be.
Wherefore I have taken that heart which I made thee leave with her, and do bear it unto another lady, who, as she was, shall be thy surety ; " and when he named her, I knew her well. Nella sembianza mi parea meschino ' Come avesse perduto signoria ; E sospirando pensoso venia, Per non veder la gente, a capo chino. And the day being over, I wrote this sonnet : A day agone, as I rode sullenly Upon a certain path that liked me not, I met Love midway while the air was hot.
Clothed lightly as a wayfarer might be. And for the cheer he show'd, he seem'd to me As one who hath lost lordship he had got ; Advancing tow'rds me full of sorrowful thought, Bowing his forehead so that none should see. Then as I went, he call'd me by my name, Saying : " I journey since the morn was dim Thence where I made thy heart to be : which now I needs must bear unto another dame.
This sonnet has three parts. In the first part, I tell hotv I met Love and of his aspect. La seconda comincia quivi : " Quando mi vide ; " la terza quivi : " Jllora presi. Ed accio che il mio parlare sia piu breve, dico che in poco tempo la feci mia difesa tanto, che troppa gente ne ragionava oltra li termini della cortesia ; onde molte fiate mi pesava duramente.
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Ed uscendo alquanto del proposito presente, voglio dare ad in- tendere quello che il suo salutare in me virtuosamente opera va. In the third, I say how he disappeared. And because I would be brief, I will now narrate that in a short while I made her my surety, in such sort that the matter was spoken of by many in terms scarcely courteous ; through the which I had oftenwhiles many troublesome hours. And by this it happened to wit : by this false and evil rumour which seemed to misfame me of vice , that she who was the destroyer of all evil and the queen of all good, coming where I was, denied me her most sweet salutation, in the which alone was my blessedness.
And here it is fitting for me to depart a little from this present matter, that it may be rightly understood of what surpassing virtue her salutation was to me. E quando ella fosse al- quanto propinqua al salutare, uno spirito d' Amore, distruggendo tutti gli altri spiriti sensitivi, pingea fuori i deboletti spiriti del viso, e dicea loro : " Andate ad onorare la donna vostra ; " ed egli si rimanea nel loco loro.
E chi avesse volute conoscere Amore, far lo potea mirando lo tremore degli occhi miei. E quando questa gentilissima donna salutava, non che Amore fosse tal mezzo, che potesse obumbrare a me la intollerabile beatitu- dine, ma egli quasi per soperchio di dolcezza divenia tale, che lo mio corpo, lo quale era tutto sotto il suo reggimento, molte volte si movea come cosa grave inanimata.
I To the which end I say that when she appeared in any place, it seemed to me, by the hope of her excellent salutation, that there was no man mine enemy any longer ; and such warmth of charity came upon me that most certainly in that moment I would have pardoned whosoever had done me an injury ; and if one should then have questioned me concerning any matter, I could only have said unto him " Love," with a countenance clothed in humble- ness. And what time she made ready to salute me, the spirit of Love, destroying all other perceptions, thrust forth the feeble spirits of mine eyes, saying, " Do homage unto your mistress," and putting itself in their place to obey : so that he who would, might then have beheld Love, beholding the lids of mine eyes shake.
And when this most gentle lady gave her salutation. Love, so far from being a medium beclouding mine intolerable beatitude, then bred in me such an overpowering sweetness that my body, being all subjected thereto, remained many times helpless and passive. Whereby it is made manifest that in her salutation alone was there any beatitude for me, which then very often went beyond my endurance.
E quivi chiamando misericordia alia donna della cortesia, e dicendo : " Amore, aiuta il tuo fedele " m' addor- mentai come un pargoletto battuto lagrimando. Av- venne quasi nel mezzo del mio dormire, che mi parea vedere nella mia camera lungo me sedere un giovane vestito di bianchissime vestimenta, e pensando molto, quanto alia vista sua, mi riguardava la ov' io giacea ; e quando m' avea guardato alquanto, pareami che sospirando mi chiamasse, e dicessemi queste parole : " Fili mij tempus est ut pratermtttantur simulata nostraP Allora mi parea ch' io '1 conoscessi, per6 che mi chiamava cosi, come assai fiate nelli miei sonni m' avea gii chiamato.
And there, having prayed to the Lady of all Mercies, and having said also, "O Love, aid thou thy servant," I went suddenly asleep like a beaten sobbing child. And in my sleep, towards the middle of it, I seemed to see in the room, seated at my side, a youth in very white raiment, who kept his eyes fixed on me in deep thought.
Then looking at him, I perceived that he was weeping piteously, and that he seemed to be waiting for me to speak. Wherefore, taking heart, I began thus : " Why weepest thou. Master of all honour? E per6 questa gentilissima, la quale h. E di ci6 chiama testimonio colui che '1 sa ; e come tu preghi lui che gliele dica : ed io, che sono quello, volentieri le ne ragioner6 ; e per questo sentird 40 relation ; but with thee it is not thus. Master, that thou hast spoken thus darkly? For the which reason albeit, in very sooth, thy secret must needs have become known to her by familiar observation it is my will that thou compose certain things in rhyme, in the which thou shalt set forth how strong a mastership I have obtained over thee, through her ; and how thou wast hers even from thy child- hood.
Also do thou call upon him that knoweth these things to bear witness to them, bidding him to speak with her thereof; the which I, who am he, will do willingly. E non le mandare in parte alcuna senza me, ove potessero essere intese da lei, ma falle adornare di soave armonia, nella quale io sar6 tutte le volte che fara mestieri.
Si che la scusa mia, la qual tu canti, Ragioni poi con lei lo mio signore. And so write these things, that they shall seem rather to be spoken by a third person ; and not directly by thee to her, which is scarce fitting. After the which, send them, not without me, where she may have a chance to hear them ; but have them fitted with a pleasant music, into the which I will pass whensoever it needeth.
Whereupon, remembering me, I knew that I had beheld this vision during the ninth hour of the day ; and I resolved that I would make a ditty, before I left my chamber, according to the words my master had spoken. And this is the ditty that I made : Song, 'tis my will that thou do seek out Love, And go with him where my dear lady is ; That so my cause, the which thy harmonies Do plead, his better speech may clearly prove. Thou goest, my Song, in such a courteous kind, That even companionless Thou may'st rely on thyself anywhere.
And yet, an thou wouldst get thee a safe mind.
You know me. La mia nuova vita
Con dolce suono, quando se' con lui, Comincia este parole Appresso ch' averai chiesta pietate : " Madonna, quegli, che mi manda a vui, Quando vi piaccia, vuole, Sed egli ha scusa, che la m' intendiate. Ed alia fine falle umil preghiero, Lo perdonare se le fosse a noia,. And that if Love do not companion thee, Thou'lt have perchance small cheer to tell me of. With a sweet accent, when thou com'st to her Begin thou in these words, First having craved a gracious audience : " He who hath sent me as his messenger, Lady, thus much records.
An thou but suffer him, in his defence. Love, who comes with me, by thine influence Can make this man do as it liketh him : Wherefore, if this fault is or doth but seem Do thou conceive : for his heart cannot move. Bid her ask Love, who knows if these things be.. Fa' che gli annunzi in bel sembiante pace. La seconda parte comincia quivi : " Con dolce suono ; " la terza quivi : " Gentil ballata.
Before thou leave her there. That he befriend my cause and plead it well. Let her look on him and give peace to him. Do this : so worship shall be thine and love. This ditty is divided into three parts. In the first, L tell it whither to go, and I encourage it, that it may go the more confidently, and I tell it whose company to Join if it would go with confidence and without any danger. In the second, I say that which it behoves the ditty to set forth. In the third, I give it leave to start when it pleases, recommending its course to the arms of Fortune.
And therefore I say that this 47 dubbio to lo intendo solvere e dichiarare in questo libello ancora in parte piu dubbiosa : ed allora intenda chi qui dubbia, o chi qui volesse opporre, in quello modo. L' uno dei quali era questo : " Buona h la signoria d' Amore, per6 che. The first was this : " Certainly the lordship of Love is good ; seeing that it diverts the mind from all mean things. Ed in questo stato dimorando, mi giunse volonti di scriverne parole rimate ; e dissine allora questo sonetto : Tutti li miei pensier parlan d' amore, Ed hanno in lor si gran varletate, ' Ch' altro mi fa voler sua potestate, Altro folle ragiona il suo valore.
Altro sperando m' apporta dolzore ; Altro pianger mi fa spesse flate ; E sol s' accordano in chieder pietate, Tremando di paura ch' h nel core. SO ladies, whose hearts are easily moved. And if I bethought myself to seek out some point at the which all these paths might be found to meet, I discerned but one way, and that irked me ; to wit, to call upon Pity, and to commend myself unto her. And it was then that, feeling a desire to write somewhat thereof in rhyme, I wrote this sonnet : All my thoughts always speak to me of Love, Yet have between themselves such diiference That while one bids me bow with mind and sense, A second saith, " Go to : look thou above ; " The third one, hoping, yields me joy enough ; And with the last come tears, I scarce know whence : All of them craving pity in sore suspense.
Trembling with fears that the heart knoweth of. And thus, being all unsure which path to take. My lady Pity, for the help she brings. Ond' io, quasi non sapendo a che fossi menato, e fidandomi nella persona, la quale un suo amico all' estremiti della vita con- dotto avea, dissi : " Perche semo noi venuti a queste donne?
In the fir sty 1 say and propound that all my thoughts are concerning Love. In the third y I say wherein they all seem to agree. In the fourthy I say that, wishing to speak of Love, I know not from which of these thoughts to take my argument ; and that if I would take it from ally I shall have to call upon mine enemy, my lady Pity.
Then I, hardly knowing where- unto he conducted me, but trusting in him who yet was leading his friend to the last verge of life , made question ; "To what end are we come among these ladies? SI che io, credendomi far il piacere di questo amico, proposi di stare al servizio delle donne nella sua compagnia. E nel fine del mio proponimento mi parve sentire un mirabile tremore incomlnciare nel mio petto dalla sinistra parte, e distendersi di subito per tutte le parti del mio corpo.
Allora dico che poggiai la mia persona simulatamente ad una pintura, la quale circondava questa magione ; e temendo non altri si fosse accorto del mio tremare, levai gli occhi, e mirando le donne, vidi tra loro la gentilissima Beatrice. Allora furono si distrutti li miei spiriti per la forza che Amore prese veggendosi in tanta propinquitade alia gentilissima donna, che non mi rimase in vita piu che gli spiriti del viso ; ed ancor questi rimasero fuori de' loro strumenti, per6 che Amore volea stare nel loro nobilissimo luogo per vedere la mirabile donna.
E awegna ch' io fossi altro che prima, molto mi dolea di questi spiritelli, che si lamentavano forte, e diceano : " Se questi non ci 54 may be worthily served. But as soon as I had thus resolved, I began to feel a faintness and a throbbing at my left side, which soon took possession of my whole body. Whereupon I remember that I covertly leaned my back unto a painting that ran round the walls of that house ; and being fearful lest my trembling should be discerned of them, I lifted mine eyes to look on those ladies, and then first perceived among them the excellent Beatrice.
And when I perceived her, all my senses were over- powered by the great lordship that Love obtained, finding himself so near unto that most gracious being, until nothing but the spirits of sight remained to me ; and even these remained driven out of their own instruments because Love entered into that honoured place of theirs, that so he might the better behold her. And although I was other than at first, I grieved for the spirits so expelled which kept up a sore lament, saying : " If he had not in this wise 55 sfolgorasse cosl fuori del nostro luogo, noi potremmo stare a vedere la meraviglia di questa donna, cosl come stanno gli altri nostri pari.
Allora riposato alquanto, e risurti li morti spiriti miei, e li discacciati rivenuti alle loro possessioni, dissi a questo mio amico queste parole : " lo ho tenuti i piedi in quella parte della vita, di 14 dalla quale non si pu6 ire piii per intendi- mento di ritornare. Whereupon my friend, who knew not what to conceive, took me by the hands, and drawing me forth from among them, required to know what ailed me. And then, because I hoped that peradventure it might come into her hearing, I wrote this sonnet : 57 ColP altre donne mia vista gabbate, E non pensate, donna, onde si mova, Ch' io vi rassembri si iigura nova, Quando riguardo la vostra beltate.
Love, when thou art present, sits at ease. And bears his mastership so mightily, That all my troubled senses he thrusts out, Sorely tormenting some, and slaying some. Till none but he is left and has free range To gaze on thee. This makes my face to change Into another's ; while I stand all dumb. And hear my senses clamour in their rout. This sonnet I divide not into parts, because a division is only made to open the meaning of the thing divided : and this, as it is sufficiently manifest through the reasons given, has no need of division.
True it is that, amid the words whereby is shown the occasion of this sonnet, dubious words are to be found ; namely, when I say that Love kills all my spirits, but that the visual remain in life, only outside of their own instruments. And this difficulty it is impossible for any to solve who is not in equal guise liege unto Love ; and, to those who are so, that is manifest which would clear 59 le dubitose parole : e pero non h bene a me dichiarare cotale dubitazione, accib che lo mio parlare sarebbe indamOy ovvero di soperchio. Ecco che se tu fossi domandato da lei, che avresti tu da rispondere?
And therefore it were not well for me to expound this difficultly inasmuch as my speaking would be either fruitless or else superfluous. And it was this : " Seeing that thou comest into such scorn by the companionship of this lady, wherefore seekest thou to behold her? If she should ask thee this thing, what answer couldst thou make unto her? Whereupon 1 wrote this sonnet : The thoughts are broken in my memory, Thou lovely Joy, whene'er I see thy face ; When thou art near me.
Love fills up the space.
Often repeating, " If death irk thee, fly. Which, fainting, seeks for any leaning-place Till, in the drunken terror of disgrace. The very stones seem to be shrieking, " Die! This sonnet is divided into two parts. In the firsts I tell the cause why I abstain not from coming to this lady.
La prima delle quali si h, che molte volte io mi dolea, quando la mia memoria movesse la fantasia ad imma- ginare quale Amor mi facea ; la seconda si h. In the second, 1 set forth the state of my heart by the example of the face. In the third, I say how all ground of trust fails me. In the fourth, 1 say that he sins who shows not pity of me, which would give me some comfort. In the last, I say why people should take pity ; namely, for the piteous look which comes into mine eyes ; which piteous look is destroyed, that is, ap- peareth not unto others, through the jeering of this lady, who draws to the like action those who per adventure would see this piteousness.
And I said these four things in a sonnet, which is this : At whiles yea oftentimes I muse over The quality of anguish that is mine Through Love : then pity makes my voice to pine Saying, " Is any else thus, anywhere? And then if I, whom other aid forsook. Would aid myself, and innocent of art Would fain have sight of thee as a last hope, No sooner do I lift mine eyes to look Than the blood seems as shaken from my heart. And all my pulses beat at once and stop.
Poi che io dissi questi tre sonetti, ne' quali parlai a questa donna, per6 che furo narrator! Awegna che sempre poi tacessi di dire a lei, a me convenne ripigliare materia nova e piu nobile che la passata. E pero che la cagione della nova materia h. Where- fore I say that the second part begins, " Love smiteth me ; " the third, " And then if I ; " the fourth, " iVo sooner do I lift" After I had written these last three sonnets, wherein I spake unto my lady, telling her almost the whole of my condition, it seemed to me that I should be silent, having said enough concerning myself.
But albeit I spake not to her again, yet it behoved me afterward to write of another matter, more noble than the foregoing. And for that the occasion ot what I then wrote may be found pleasant in the hearing, I will relate it as briefly as I may. Through the sore change in mine aspect, the secret of my heart was now understood of many. Ed io passando presso di loro, si come dalla fortuna menato, fui chlamato da una di queste gentili donne ; e quella, che m' avea chiamato, era donna di molto leggiadro parlare.
Si che quando io fui giunto dinanzi da loro, e vidi bene che la mia gentilissima donna non era tra esse, rassicurandomi le salutai, e domandai che piacesse loro. Le donne erano molte, tra le quali n 'avea certe che si rideano tra loro. Altre v' erano, che guardavanmi aspettando che io dovessi dire. Altre v' erano che parlavano tra loro, delle quali una volgendo gli occhi verso me, e chiaman- domi per nome, disse queste parole: "A che fine ami tu questa tua donna, poi che tu non puoi la sua presenza sostenere?
Allora dissi loro queste parole : " Madonne, lo fine del mio amore fu gia il saluto di questa donna, di cui voi forse intendete; ed in quello dimorava la beatitudine, ch'i '1 fine di tutti i miei desiderii. Ma poi 70 to whom it was well known they having been with me at divers times in my trouble were met together for the pleasure of gentle company.
And as I was going that way by chance, but I think rather by the will of fortune, I heard one of them call unto me, and she that called was a lady of very sweet speech. And when I had come close up with them, and perceived that they had not among them mine excellent lady, I was reassured ; and saluted them, asking of their pleasure.
The ladies were many ; divers of whom were laughing one to another, while divers gazed at me as though I should speak anont. But when I still spake not, one of them, who before had been talking with another, addressed me by my name, saying, " To what end lovest thou this lady, s eeing that thou canst not support her preseifceT'Nbw" tell us this thing, that we may know it : for certainly the end of such a love must be worthy of know- ledge.
Whereupon, I said thus unto them : " Ladies, the end and aim of my love was but the salutation of that lady of whom I conceive that ye are speaking ; wherein alone I found that beatitude which is the goal of desire. And now che le piacque di negarlo a me, lo mio signore Amore, la sua mercede, ha posta tutta la mia beatitudine in quelle, che non mi puote venir meno.
E poi che alquanto ebbero parlato tra loro, mi disse anche questa donna, che prima m' avea parlato, queste parole : " Noi ti preghiamo, che tu ne dica ove sta questa tua beatitudine. But after a little, that lady who had been the first to address me, addressed me again in these words : " We pray thee that thou wilt tell us wherein abideth this thy beatitude. But when I had thought exceedingly, it seemed to me that I had taken to myself a theme which was much too lofty, so that I dared not begin ; and I remained during several 73 di con desiderio di dire e con paura di comln- clare.
La canzone comincia cosl : 74 days in the desire ot speaking, and the fear of beginning. I After which it happened, as I passed one day along a path which lay beside a stream of very clear water, that there came upon me a great desire to say somewhat in rhyme ; but when I began thinking how I should say it, methought that to speak of her were unseemly, unless I spoke to other ladies in the second person ; which is to say, not to any other ladies, but only to such as are so called because they are gentle, let alone for mere womanhood.
Whereupon I declare that my tongue spake as though by its own impulse, and said, "Ladies that have intelligence in love. Wherefore, having returned to the city I spake of, and con- sidered thereof during certain days, I began a poem with this beginning, constructed in the mode which will be seen below in its division.
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The poem begins here : 75 Donne, ch' avete intelletto d' amore, lo vo' con voi della mia donna dire ; Non perch' io creda sue laude finire, Ma ragionar per isfogar la mente. Io dico che, pensando il suo valore. Amor si dolce mi si fa sentire, Che, s' io allora non perdessi ardire, Farei, parlando, innamorar la gente. Ed io non vo' parlar si altamente, Che divenissi per temenza vile ; Ma tratter6 del suo stato gentile A rispetto di lei leggeramente, Donne e donzelle amorose, con vui, Ch6 non e cosa da parlarne altrui.
Lo cielo, che non have altro difetto Che d' aver lei, al suo Signor la chiede, E ciascun santo ne grida mercede. Of mine own ladylwould speak with you ; Not that I hope to count her praises through, But telling what I may, to ease my mind. And I declare that when I speak thereof Love sheds such perfect sweetness over me That if my courage fail'd not, certainly To him my listeners must be all resign'd. Wherefore I will not speak in such large kind That mineown speech shouldfoil me,which were base j But only will discourse of her high grace In these poor words, the best that I can find, With you alone, dear dames and damozels : 'Twere ill to speak thereof with any else.
A miracle in action is display'd By reason of a soul whose splendors fare Even hither : and since Heaven requireth Nought saving her, for her it prayeth Thee, Thy Saints crying aloud continually. Ancor le ha Dio per maggior grazia da to, Che non pu6 mal finir chi le ha parlato. Dice di lei Amor : " Cosa mortale Come esser pu6 si adorna e si pura? When 'one deserving to be raised so high Is found, 'tis then her power attains its proof, Making his heart strong for his soul's behoof With the full strength of meek humility. Also this virtue owns she, by God's will : Who speaks with her can never come to ill.
Love saith concerning her : " How chanceth it That flesh, which is of dust, should be thus pure? Degli occhi suoi, come ch' ella gli muova, Escono spirti d' amore infiammati, Che fieron gli occhi a qual, che allor gli guati, E passan si che '1 cor ciascun ritrova.
Voi le vedete Amor pinto nel riso, Ove non puote alcun mirarla fiso. Whatever her sweet eyes are turn'd upon, Spirits of love do issue thence in flame, Which through their eyes who then may look on them Pierce to the heart's deep chamber every one. And in her smile Love's image you may see ; Whence none can gaze upon her steadfastly. Dear Song, I know thou wilt hold gentle speech With many ladies, when I send thee forth : Wherefore, being mindful that thou hadst thy birth From Love, and art a modest, simple child, Whomso thou meetest, say thou this to each : " Give me good speed!
To her I wend along In whose much strength my weakness is made strong. La prima parte e proemio delle seguenti parole; la seconda k lo intento trattato ; la terza h quasi una servigiale delle precedent! Nella prima dico, che di lei si comprende in cielo ; nella seconda dico, che di lei si comprende in terra, 82 So to the road thou shalt be reconciled, And find the lady, and with the lady, Love. Commend thou me to each, as doth behove. This poem, that it may be better understood, I will divide more subtly than the others preceding; and there- fore I zvill make three parts of it.
The first part is a proem to the words following. The second is the matter treated of. The third is, as it were, a handmaid to the preceding words. The second begins here, " An angel ; " the third here, " Dear Song, I know. In the first, 1 say to whom I mean to speak of my lady, and wherefore 1 will so speak. In the second, I say what she appears to myself to be when I reflect upon her excellence, and what I would utter ij I lost not courage.
In the third, I say what it is I purpose to speak, so as not to be impeded by faint- heartedness. In the fourth, repeating to whom I purpose speaking, I tell the reason why I speak to them. The second begins here, " And I declare ; " the third here, " Wherefore I will not speak ; " the fourth here, " With you alone? In the first, I tell what is understood of her in heaven.
In the second, I tell what is understood of her on earth : 83 guivi : " Madonna i desiataP Questa seconda parte si divide in due ; chi nella prima dico di lei quanta dalla parte delta nobilta delta sua anima, narrando alquante delte sue virtudiy ctie dalla sua anima procedono : nella seconda dico di lei quanta dalla parte della nobilta del suo corpo, narrando alquante delle sue bellezxe, quivi : " Dice di lei Amor.
Poscia quando dico : " Canzone, io so" aggiungp una stanza quasi come ancella delle cltre, nella quale dico quello, che da questa mia canzone desidero. E perh che quesf ultima parte e lieve ad intendere, non mi travaglio di piu divisioni. And, that every vicious thought may be discarded herefrom, let the reader remember that it is above written that the greeting of this lady, which was an act of her mouth, was the goal of my desires, while I could receive it.
Then, when I say, " Dear Song, I know," I add a stanza as it were handmaid to the others, wherein I say what I desire from this my poem. And because this last part is easy to understand, I trouble not myself with more divi- sions. I say, indeed, that the further to open the meaning of this poem, more minute divisions ought to be used ; but nevertheless he who is not of wit enough to understand it by these which have been already made is welcome to leave it 8S stare : cU certo to temo P avere a troppi comuntcato il suo intendimento, pur per queste divtsioni che fatte sono, j' egli avvenhse che molti la potessero udire.
Appresso che questa canzone fu alquanto divol- gata fra le genti, conciofossecosa che alcuno amico 1' udisse, volonta lo mosse a pregarmi ch' io gli dovessi dire che h Amore, avendo forse, per le udite parole, speranza di me oltre che degna. Si com' il saggio in suo dittato pone ; E cosi esser 1' un senza 1' altro osa, Com' alma razional senza ragione. Fagli natura, quando h. Amor per sire, e '1 cor per sua magione, Dentro alio qual dormendo si riposa 86 alone ; for certes I fear I have communicated its sense to too many by these present divisions, if it so happened thai many should hear it.
I When this song was a little gone abroad, a certain one of my friends, hearing the same, was pleased to question me, that I should tell him what thing love is ; it may be, conceiving from the words thus heard a hope of me beyond my desert. Wherefore I, thinking that after such discourse it were well to say somewhat of the nature of Love, and also in accord- ance with my friend's desire, proposed to myself to write certain words in the which I should treat of this argument. And the sonnet that I then made is this : Love and the gentle heart are one same thing, Even as the wise man in his ditty saith.
Each, of itself, would be such life in death As rational soul bereft of reasoning. Questo sonetto si divide in due parti. Nelia prima dico di lui in quanta i in potenza ; nelia seconda dico di lui in quanta di potenza si riduce in atto. Then beauty seen in virtuous womankind Will make the eyes desire, and through the heart Send the desiring of the eyes again ; Where often it abides so long enshrined That Love at length out of his sleep will start. And women feel the same for worthy men. In the first, I speak of him according to his power. In the second, 1 speak of him according as his power translates itself into act.
The second part begins here, " Then beauty seen. In the first, I say in what subject this power exists. In the second, I say how this subject and this power are produced together, and how the one regards the other, as form does matter.
Si che, bassando il viso, tutto smuore, E d' ogni suo difetto allor sospira : Fuggon dinanzi a lei superbia ed ira : Aiutatemi, donne, a farle onore. Quel ch' ella p ar quand' un po co sorride, Non si pu6 dicer, ne tener a mente, Si h nuovo miracolo gentile. Questo sonetto ha tre parti. Nella prima dico si come questa donna riduce in atto questa potenza, secondo la nobilis- sima parte degli occhi suoi ; e nella terza dico questo medesimo secondo la nobilissima parte della sua bocca.
E intra queste 90 I to me that I should also say something in praise of my lady, wherein it might be set forth how love manifested itself when produced by her ; and how not only she could awaken it where it slept, but where it was not she could marvellously create it. To the which end I wrote another sonnet ; and it is this : My lady carries love within her eyes ; All that she looks on is made pleasanter ; Upon her path men turn to gaze at her ; He whom she greeteth feels his heart to rise, And droops his troubled visage, full of sighs.
And of his evil heart is then aware : Hate loves, and pride becomes a worshipper. O women, help to praise her in somewise. Humbleness, and the hope that hopeth well, By speech of hers into the mind are brought. And who beholds is blessed oftenwhiles. The look she hath when she a little smiles Cannot be said, nor holden in the thought ; 'Tis such a new and gracious miracle. This sonnet has three sections.
In the second, I say how she brings Love, in act, into the hearts of all those whom she sees. In the third, I tell what she afterwards, with virtue, operates upon their hearts. The second begins, " Upon her path ; " the third, " He whom she greetethP Then, when I say, " O women, help," I in- timate to whom it is my intention to speak, calling on women to help me to honour her.
Then, when I say, " Humble- ness," I say that same which is said in the first part, regarding two acts of her mouth, one whereof is her most sweet speech, and the other her marvellous smile. Only, I say not of this last how it operates upon the hearts of others, because memory cannot retain this smile, nor its operation.
Not many days after this, it being the will of the most High God, who also from Himself put not away death, the father of wonderful Beatrice, going 93 si vedeva ch' era quella nobilissima Beatrice, di questa vita uscendo se ne gio alia gloria eternale veracemente. E conciossiacosa che, secondo 1' usanza della sopradetta cittade, donne con donne, e uomini con uomini si adunino a cotale tristizia, molte donne s' adunaro coU, ove questa Beatrice piangea pietosamente : ond' io veggendo ritornare alquante donne da lei, udii lor dire parole di questa gentilissima com' ella si lamentava.
Tra le quali parole udii come dicevano : " Certo ella piange si che qual la mirasse dovrebbe morire di pietade. E se non fosse ch' io attendea anche udire di lei pero che io era in luogo onde ne giano la maggior parte delle donne che da lei si partiano , io men sarei nascoso incontanente che le lagrime m' aveano assalito. Thereby it happened, as of very sooth it might not be other- wise, that this lady was made full of the bitterness of grief: seeing that such a parting is very grievous unto those friends who are left, and that no other friendship is like to that between a good parent and a good child ; and furthermore considering that this lady was good in the supreme degree, and her father as by many it hath been truly averred of exceeding goodness.
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And because it is the usage of that city that men meet with men in such a grief, and women with women, certain ladies of her companionship gathered themselves unto Beatrice, where she kept alone in her weeping : and as they passed in and out, I could hear them speak concerning her, how she wept. At length two of them went by me, who said : " Certainly she grieveth in such sort that one might die for pity, beholding her. Ond' io poi pensando, proposi di dire parole, acci6 che degnamente avea cagione di dire, nelle quali io con- chiudessi tutto ci6 che udito avea da queste donne.
E per6 che volentieri le avrei domandate, se non mi fosse stata riprensione, presi materia di dire, come se io le avessi domandate, ed elle m' avessero risposto. E feci due sonetti ; che nel primo domando in quel modo che voglia mi giunse di domandare ; nell' altro dico la loro risposta, pigliando ci6 ch' io udii da loro, si come Io m' avessero detto rispondendo. Wherefore afterwards, having considered and perceiving that there was herein matter for poesy, I resolved that I would write certain rhymes in the which should be contained all that those ladies had said.
And because I would willingly have spoken to them if it had not been for discreetness, I made in my rhymes as though I had spoken and they had answered me.
And therefore I wrote two sonnets ; in the first of which I addressed them as I would fain have done ; and in the second related their answer, using the speech that I had heard from them, as though it had been spoken unto myself. And the sonnets are these : You that thus wear a modest countenance With lids weigh'd down by the heart's heaviness, Whence come you, that among you every face 7 97 Par divenuto di pietd simile?
Vedeste voi nostra donna gentile Bagnata il viso di pianto d' amore? E se venite da tanta pietate, Piacciavi di restar qui meco alquanto, E che che sia di lei, nol mi celate : Ch' io veggio gli bcchi vostri c' hanno pianto, E veggiovi venir si sfigurate, Che '1 cor mi trema di vedeme tanto. Have you beheld my lady's face, perchance, Bow'd with the grief that Love makes full of grace? Say now, " This thing is thus ; " as my heart says, Marking your grave and sorrowful advance. And if indeed you come from where she sighs And mourns, may it please you for his heart's relief To tell how it fares with her unto him Who knows that you have wept, seeing your eyes, And is so grieved with looking on your grief That his heart trembles and his sight grows dim.
In the first, I call and ask these ladies whether they come from her, telling them that I think they do, because they return the nobler. For though thy voice confirms that it is thus, Thy visage might another witness bring. And wherefore is thy grief so sore a thing That grieving thou mak'st others dolorous? Hast thou too seen her weep, that thou from us Canst not conceal thine inward sorrowing?
Ella ha nel viso la pieta si scorta, Che qual V avesse voluta mirare, Saria dinanzi a lei caduta morta. Questo sonetto ha quattro parti, secondo che quattro modi di parlare ebbero in loro le donne per cut rispondo. E perb che di sopra sono assai manifesti, non mi trametto di narrare la sentenzia delle parti, e perb le distinguo sola- mente. Io dico che nel nono giorno sentendomi dolore intollerabile, giunsemi un pensiero,il quale era della mia donna. This sonnet has four parts, as the ladies in whose person I reply had four forms of answer.
And, because these are sufficiently shown above, I stay not to explain the purport of the parts, and therefore I only discriminate them. And I remember that on the ninth d ay, being over- come with intolerable pain, a thought came into my mind concerning my lady : but when it had a little lOI pensato alquanto di lei, io ritornai pensando alia mia debilitata vita, e veggendo come leggero era Io suo durare, ancora che sana fosse, cominciai a piangere fra me stesso di tanta miseria.
Onde sospirando forte, fra me medesimo dicea : " Di necessity conviene, che la gentilissima Beatrice alcuna volta si muoia. E maravigliandomi in cotale fantasia, e paventando assai, imaginai I nourished this thought, my mind returned to its brooding over mine enfeebled body. And then perceiving how frail a thing life is, even though health keep with it, the matter seemed to me so pitiful that I could not choose but weep ; and weep- ing I said within myself : " Certainly it must some time come to pass that the very gentle Beatrice will die.
And at the first, it seemed to me that I saw certain faces of women with their hair loosened, which called out to me, "Thou shalt surely die;" after the which, other terrible and unknown appear- ances said unto me, "Thou art dead. Then the sun went out, so that the stars showed themselves, and they were of such a colour that I knew they must be weeping : and it seemed to me that the birds fell dead out of the sky, and that there were great earth- quakes.
With that, while I wondered in my trance, and was filled with a grievous fear, I conceived that alcuno amico, che mi venisse a dire: "Or non sai? E fu si forte la errante fantasia, che mi mostr6 questa donna morta : e pareami che donne le coprissero la testa con un bianco velo : e pareami che la sua faccia avesse tanto aspetto d' umiltade, che parea che dicesse : " lo sono a vedere lo prin- cipio della pace.
And I seemed to look towards Heaven, and to behold a multitude of angels who were returning upwards, having before them an exceedingly white cloud : and these angels were singing together gloriously, and the words of their song were these : " Hosanna in the highest : " and there was no more that I heard. Then my heart that was so full of love said unto me : "It is true that our lady lieth dead :" and it seemed to me that I went to look upon the body wherein that blessed and most noble spirit had had its abiding - place.
And so strong was this idle imagining, that it made me to behold my lady in death ; whose head certain ladies seemed to be covering with a white veil ; and who was so humble of her aspect that it was as though she had said, " I have attained to look on the beginning of peace. Wherefore come now unto me who do greatly desire thee : seest thou not that I wear thy colour already?
And so strong was my phantasy, that 1 wept again in very truth, and said with my true voice : " O excellent soul!
Where- by other ladies, who were about the room, becoming aware of my discomfort by reason of the moan that she made, who indeed was of my very near kindred, led her away from where I was, and then set them- selves to awaken me, thinking that I dreamed, and saying : " Sleep no longer, and be not disquieted. Ed avvegna che io mi vergognassi molto, tuttavia per alcuno ammonimento d' amore mi rivolsi loro. E quando mi videro, cominciaro a dire : " Questi par morto " ; e a dir fra loro : " Procuriam di confortarlo.
Veggendo gli occhi mei pien di pietate, aroused, I opened mine eyes, and knew that it had been a deception. But albeit I had indeed uttered her name, yet my voice was so broken with sobs, that it was not understood by these ladies ; so that in spite of the sore shame that I felt, I turned towards them by Love's counselling.
And when they beheld me, they began to say, " He seemeth as one dead," and to whisper among themselves, " Let us strive if we may not comfort him. Then I, being somewhat reassured, and having perceived that it was a mere phantasy, said unto them, " This thing it was that made me afeard ; " and told them of all that I had seen, from the beginning even unto the end, but without once speaking the name of my lady. Also, after I had recovered from my sickness, I bethought me to write these things in rhyme ; deeming it a lovely thing to be known.
Whereof I wrote this poem : A very pitiful lady, very young, Exceeding rich in human sympathies. Stood by, what time I clamour'd upon Death ; And at the wild words wandering on my tongue Ed ascoltando le parole vane, Si mosse con paura a pianger forte ; Ed altre donne, che si furo accorte Di me per quella che meco piangia, Fecer lei partir via, Ed appressarsi per farmi sentire.
Era la voce mia si dolorosa, E rotta si dalP angoscia e dal pianto, Ch' io solo intesi il nome nel mio core ; E con tutta la vista vergognosa, Ch' era nel viso mio giunta cotanto, Mi fece verso lor volgere Amore. Egli era tale a veder mio colore, Che facea ragionar di morte altrui : " Deh confortiam costui," Pregava P una P altra umilemente ; E dicevan sovente : " Che vedestu, che tu non hai valore? And at the piteous look within mine eyes She was affrighted, that sobs choked her breath. So by her weeping where I lay beneath, Some other gentle ladies came to know My state, and made her go : Afterward, bending themselves over me, One said, " Awaken thee!