Wilkins discusses various ways by which Petrarch's Italian lyrics circulated, and includes a category of poems which Petrarch sent out on his own initiative or to satisfy 39 requests. Once a work left an author's hands the recipient might choose to continue the work's circulation, in exactly the same way as a patron or dedicatee might.
There is plenty of evidence that works were passed between friends. For example, in Boccaccio's epistle to Zanobi da Strada VI he refers to a manuscript belonging to Zanobi from which he has made a copy. The influence which a friend or acquaintance might exert over the presentation of a work is probably significantly less than that exerted by a patron. Attention paid to the presentation is more likely to be representative of the type of reader embodied by the recipient in mind, rather than aimed specifically at one reader who required a particularly expensive and ornate presentation.
Thus it is less dangerous to generalize from this type of manuscript about the type of intended reader. Profilo hiogrqrji'co, rev. For further discussion of the dedication to Andrea Acciauioli see section 1.
- Jimpy Pees from the planet Cheez.
- The Ingathering of Israel.
- Piccoli omicidi silenziosi (Racconti con il morto Vol. 7) (Italian Edition)?
- For Better, For Worse.
- Ça sest passé an Anatolie (ESSAI ET DOC) (French Edition).
- Seventeenth Century Secular Music. i. One Voice With(Out) Bc.
- Victim Number Thirteen!
Pastore Stocchi also refers to this danger in relation to the autograph of the Decameron p. In this case the author's exemplar may be seen by a very restricted number of people, perhaps only one, before additional copies are made. Although not as many readers could have immediate access to a newly published text at any one time as with a modem print run of thousands of books, scribal publication has the advantage that as long as there is interest in a work it can be 'republished' by copying it again.
Copying could be done by the reader, but also by the author, who might contribute to the circulation process at a later stage by making additional copies of a manuscript, probably on demand once word about the work spread. As a reader, Boccaccio made copies of manuscripts of Petrarch's works while he was staying with him. These works were likely to have been published already, but Boccaccio had not been able to obtain 40 copies.
Therefore, it must be remembered that even with scribal publication the modem scholar cannot expect always to deal with one exemplar prepared by the author. This must have implications for the text and for the physical presentation of a manuscript. If an author makes more than one copy of an individual work, especially if the copies are made over a relatively large space of time, there is the possibility that either successive manuscripts will differ from the first through factors unconsciously affecting the author, such as natural scribal error resulting from lack of concentration, or there will be the temptation consciously to alter passages in the text, or the presentation of the text.
With reference to the Teseida Giuseppe Vandelli comments:  probabile che il Boccaccio stesso, date le sue abitudini di calligrafo, eseguiss e divulgasse altri esemplari dell'opera di suo pugno, il che non esclude che ne pennettesse od ordinasse trascrizioni anche per mano altrui; e poterono, essere del solo testo, quale si ha in pia codici, o anche via via del testo accompagnato da note che a lui paresse utile trarre dall'autografo e far 41 conoscere.
Consciously altering the text, perhaps years after it had been first published, was a temptation which was actively encouraged by the scribal medium. Love writes: Freed from the print-publishing author's obligation to produce a finalized text suitable for large-scale replication, the scribal author-publisher is able both to polish texts indefinitely and to personalize them to suit the tastes of particular recipients.
This practice denies the sharp distinctions which can be drawn for print-published texts between drafts, the 'authorized' first-edition text, and revisions which are fully reflected on and well spaced in time. It also militates against our identifying any particular text ' See Ep. In other words, the work may not have been published as a whole, but issued in instalments. Dante published the Commedia in 43 small groups of canti over several years, and there is also evidence which suggests that individual stories from the Decameron circulated before its publication as a whole.
On the one hand, if the work is issued in small sections readers might be more disposed towards making their own copies of the work, which will then go into circulation faster. According to Padoan, Dante chose to publish the first seven canti of the Commedia quickly in the hope that the announcement of a new work would revoke his 45 sentence of exile On the. The author might not be able to revise the work in its entirety, and in Dante's case would not even live to see the work fidly 46 published. Readers might not want or be able to obtain copies of each instalment, leaving an incomplete work.
From the perspective of the historian, this method of publishing cannot fail to have implications, for it might mean that there is no single archetype from which the manuscript tradition has grown. For those who wished to own a copy of one of Boccaccio's works once it had been published, there were several methods available.
Many readers chose to copy their own texts because it was cheaper and more convenient to do so, and in these instances 42 Branca, Topisti per passione', pp On Boccaccio's tendency to continuously rewrite his texts see also Pier Giorgio Ricci, Te fasi redazionali del De mulierihus claris', in Ricci, Studi sulla vita e le opere del Boccaccio Milan: Ricciardi, , pp p. Those that could afford to, however, could take advantage of the services offered by professional scribes.
The wealthy book-buyer could either directly employ a copyist, who was typically trained as a notary or private tutor, or might be a member of the religious or a humanist in the fifteenth century, or liaise with a cartolaio. Many also took commissions from purchasers for new manuscripts. The stationer might provide the exemplar and the materials, and then delegate the work to scribes, rubricators, and illuminators, who probably worked from home. Eventually, the 51 manuscript would be bound by the shop. In this bespoke business, the purchaser had control over every aspect of the manuscript's presentation, from the size of the leaves to the number of ornamental initials used, and the book reflects an individual owner's culture and economic status, as well as the value that was placed upon the text.
Some cartolai also sold second-hand and ready-made books. Manuscripts that were already made up tended to be those that were greatly in demand and were sure to sell, since a book represented a considerable investment. In the s, the books stocked by the Florentine cartolaio Giovanni di Michele Baldini included school books, texts used by notaries, and some liturgical and devotional books, as well as the Teseida and Filostrato among a small selection of vernacular fiction. Rhodes Florence: Olschki, , pp p.
Printers and publishers sometimes sold books directly from their shops and houses, or distributed them to booksellers. The cartolai who had organized manuscript production also sold new and second-hand printed books. In addition, itinerant sellers peddled short works 54 alongside other goods and large fairs traded in books. The relationship between the producer and purchaser of printed books is therefore significantly different from the bespoke service usually offered to the purchasers of manuscripts, and there is less opportunity for the reader to influence directly the presentation of the text-object.
Even in cases where a publisher was also the reader of the text, the demands of the wider reading public had to be considered, since printing was driven by financial concerns. Despite the high cost of individual manuscripts in relation to single copies of printed editions, financing an edition was a significant investment and publishers were compelled to market and sell their books as efficiently and speedily as 55 possible.
For these reasons, readers exercised a fundamental influence over the printed text-object, although the target audience was multiplied in size in comparison with the manuscript public, and was therefore less clearly defined.
Printed books were also distributed all over Italy and beyond, and therefore the characteristics of the target market were further diffused. However, like the ready-made manuscripts bought from the cartolalo, printed books were generally sold unbound, and in the initial period at least, only with rubrication and blank spaces for initials, or entirely undecorated. Individual taste is therefore reflected in the binding and hand-finishing even of printed books. Commenting on editions printed by Peter Sch6ffer, Lotte Hellinga writes that: 'organizing the flourishing and painting by hand would produce an additional advantage in giving much scope for flexibility and variation of price levels'.
Naturally, there are other factors which affect the relationship between these elements in the reception process, some of which can also be "'Richardson, Printing, Writing andreaders, pp On the relative costs of manuscripts and printed books, see ibid. Rhodes Verona: Edizioni Valdonega, , pp p.
The availability of materials and restrictions placed on them can give misleading information in a study on reception. A temporary shortage of parchment might leave a scribe no option but to use paper, which came in a series of predetermined sheet sizes, or a printer might only own one set of type founts.
These factors must therefore always be borne in mind during the following discussion. Despite this lengthy consideration of the reciprocal relationship between the author, text-object, and reader, the second part of the thesis should not be considered more important than the first. The differing methodologies selected for Parts I and II have been chosen carefully for the complementary and potentially contrasting evidence for reception which each is in a position to uncover. Critical responses are particularly valuable because they can provide evidence of explicit judgements passed on Boccaccio, and although they often representhe views of the cultural dlite, this means that they can offer significant insights into dominant cultural trends in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Evidence from material and paratextual responses is less easy to interpret because of its implicit nature, but it has the potential to reveal how many different sections of the reading public approached Boccaccio. Considered in tandem, the conclusions from both the first and second part of the thesis offer a more comprehensive survey of Boccaccio'sfortuna than has been achieved previously. In the twentieth century, these have included Ciro Trabalza's chapter on Varte del Decameron secondo la critica' in his Studi sul Boccaccio CittA di Castello: Lapi, , followed by Vittore Branca's monograph Linee di una storia della critica al 'Decameron'in , and Alberto Chiari's study on Ta fortuna del Boccaccio' ten years later, which despite the title concerns only the Decameron.
In order to contextualize previous research and offer new evidence for the 'minor' works, this chapter considers the presentation of Boccaccio as an author as a whole, unlimited by constraints relating to the style or language of his texts. A wide range of critical responses found in a variety of sources, such as prose, poetry, commentaries, letters, and sermons are evaluated here.
Although paratexts relating specifically to the Teseida, Decameron, and De mulieribus are discussed in detail in Chapters ,1 have given some consideration to paratextual responses found in other works by Boccaccio in Chapter 3. These written references to Boccaccio or his works are distinguished from indicators of reception such as statistics, which relate to the number of texts produced and to their geographical and social distribution. Similarly, imitations or translations of Boccaccio's works are not considered on their own merits, but only where they contribute to a wider discussion of the critical responses.
Chiari's study is found in Questioni e correnti di storia letteraria, ed. However, since Tartaro's study extends to the twentieth century, the evidence presented for Boccaccio's Renaissance reception is necessarily limited. Much of Tartaro's information is derived from biographies of Boccaccio, but he fails to define clearly the nature of the source or take into consideration the wide range of other responses available. Chapter 2 considers how Boccaccio's acquaintances responded to the authorial persona presented in the full range of Boccaccio's texts and also to their own experience of the man himself, while Chapter 3 charts responses made by those who had no contact with Boccaccio while he was alive, or who wrote after his death.
Rather than impose an artificial order based on a predefined geographical or cultural structure, each chapter is ftu-ther divided using themes suggested by the responses themselves. This means that, although I have continued to draw connections and parallels, responses in Chapters I and 2 tend to be focused around individuals, while groups of individual responses are considered in Chapter 3. The chronological order which governs each chapter is also disrupted on occasion in order to present thematically coherent responses.
This will enable the reader to see how responses guided by different criteria developed at the same time. The discussion in these chapters is concluded at the end of Chapter 3, in order to highlight general trends in the critical reception before proceeding to an analysis of material and paratextual responses in the second part of the thesis. The documents which witness how Boccaccio desired others to receive his character and literary compositions, and how he viewed himself and his works, consist not only of isolated letters, such as his frequently cited comment on the Decameron written to Mainardo Cavalcanti, but also of the literary texts themselves.
Considering both literary works and the full range of extant letters written by Boccaccio illustrates how the author chose to present himself in both a fictional and non-fictional context. My analysis of the Teseida, Decameron, and De mulieribus is restricted to the passages in which Boccaccio speaks explicitly about his literary aims and objectives through an authorial persona. In the Teselda these occur in the dedication, the invocation to the Muses, the gods, and his lover at the beginning of Book 1, the Author's address to his book at the end of Book XII, and his address to the Muses and their reply in the final sonnets.
The Decameron contains a proem, an extended 'intervention' by the Author at the beginning of Day IV, and a conclusion, while De mulieribus opens with a dedication and proem, and ends with a conclusion by the Author. The way in which Boccaccio presents himself in a fictional context is closely related to the genre of the text, and his literary persona alters over time as he matured as an author and came under different influences.
The Teseida, Decameron, and De mulieribus are barometers of these changes, as each represents a different period in Boccaccio's life, in the j ourney from the youthfid writer of romance to the serious scholar of the classical world. The combination of various literary styles and themes evident in this work reflects an important stage in Boccaccio's poetic development as he moved from one cultural centre to another. Petrarch was already an 'Alberto Limentani dates the work ' T in the introduction to his edition of the Teseida, p.
For the subject matter of the Teseida, however, Boccaccio was inspired by Dante and Statius, although neither is mentioned explicitly. Although it has been demonstrated that much of the material is derived from Statius's Thebaid, Boccaccio refers only to 'una antichissima, istoria' p. Since it was uncommon for females to be able to read Latin, Boccaccio explains that he has adapted an ancient story for Fiammetta. The term 'latino volgare' is deliberately employed, recalling Dante's use of the word 'latium' in his defence of the 'vulgare illustre', in order to make the vital distinction between the Teseida and other vernacular ' See Martin L.
The worthiness of the characters adopted from the ancient text is demonstrated by their nobility: 'nobili giovani furono e di real sangue discesi', and the subject matter is deemed appropriate because it speaks of love: 'bella s! In the courtly love tradition nobility was an important theme, and a female audiencejudged appropriate. However, Boccaccio is careful to distinguish Fiammetta 'per intelletto' from the majority of female readers, whom he describes as 'poco intelligenti'.
For this reason he has not 'cessata nd storia nd favola nd chiuso parlare in altra, guisa' p. The dedication and Author's addresses in the Teseida allow Boccaccio to situate and authorize his text within the framework of the dolce stil novo tradition. As the vulnerable lover, dependent on a woman described as 'piii tosto celestiale che umana', Boccaccio writes himself into the courtly love tradition, undoubtedly following the example of Dante and Beatrice. The opening line of the dedication in the Teseida immediately signals the influence of both courtly love and Dante.
The implicit reference to Francesca da Rimini's lament in Inferno V warns readers against the sin of lust, for which Paolo and Francesca were confined to the second circle of Hell, and at the same time provides an example of chivalrous love, in the guise of Lancelot and Guinevere, whose story Paolo and Francesca were reading. The classical epic tradition upon which Boccaccio was drawing is also highlighted in Francesca's reference to Dante's 'dottore', Virgil. As a courtly lover, Boccaccio must strive to earn recognition from his lady, which he does by writing the Teselda.
When he has finished writing, Boccaccio instructs the Muses to deliver the book to Fiammetta. Moved by the amorous subject matter, she sighs 'ahi, quante d'amor forze in costor foro! Casting himself in the role of courtly lover, Boccaccio pre-empts the experience of the hero-lovers in the Teseida. Indeed, the Author explicitly identifies himself with 'Boccaccio glosses 'e 66 sa 'I tuo dottore' Inf. Inferno, ed.
Presenting the ensuing narrative as a reflection of Personal experience makes the Teseida appear more accessible and perhaps more appealing to readers. The Teseida was a romance designed to be enjoyed, as well as a serious piece of literature aimed at educated readers. This work is unique in Boccaccio's oeuvre by virtue of the commentary which the author himself wrote and appended to it, illustrating that he was clearly conscious of his literary responsibility as the first author of arms in the vernacular, and anxious to gain authorization.
The commentary is also an admission that in reality not all readers would have been as familiar with 'chiuso parlare' as Boccaccio might have liked DECAAMRON The Decameron was composed approximately a decade after the Teseida, but the comments made by the author-narrator share some of the characteristics presented in the earlier work. Although the Decameron is not formally dedicated to an individual woman, Boccaccio claims in the proem that it is written for amorous women who are unable to find respite from their love in the outdoor pursuits enjoyed by men, and the novelle that Boccaccio recounts to distract them concern 'piacevoli e aspri casi d'amore e altri fortunati avvenimenti' p.
Instead, Boccaccio introduces himself as a more mature character. He is strongly marked by the experience of an 'altissimo e nobile amore' p. Boccaccio is not concerned with using his fictional audience to defend the Decameron in the same manner as the Teseida. The idle ladies are precisely those 'The significance of the commentary is considered in greater detail in section 5. On the meeting between Boccaccio and Petrarch, see Branca, Profilo biografico, pp " According to Victoria Kirkham, the topos of 'idle women' can be traced back to Ovid's Heroides.
On account of these readers, whom he describes as 'semplici giovinette', Boccaccio comments in the conclusion that 'sciocchezza sarebbe stata Pandar cercando e faticandosi in trovar cose molte esquisite, e gran cura porre di molto misuratamente parlare' p. Not having been 'nd a Atene nd a Bologna oa Parigi [ Thus, Boccaccio explains that he has chosen to write 'novellette [ ] in istilo Without any other measure against which to evaluate these apparently modest comments, the intended audience for the Decameron and how Boccaccio himself viewed the work remain ambiguous.
The situation is complicated because a large proportion of the narrator's comments in the Decameron is taken up with defending the work against criticisms that have already been made introduction to Day IV and against criticisms that might be made conclusion. In defending himself from these Boccaccio does little to clarify his moral position; there is certainly no recantation, often found in courtly love poetry and particularly characteristic of Petrarch. Neither is it clear whether this is evidence that the initial diffusion of individual novelle attracted critics, or whether the introduction and defence against criticism was simply a rhetorical device.
At best, Boccaccio's defensive stance serves only to acknowledge the potentially controversial nature of the subject matter and the language of the Decameron, despite Boccaccio's statement in the proem that he wished to provide 'utile consiglio' as well as 'diletto' p. In keeping with the fiction of an unlettered audience Boccaccio presents direct experience as his main source and inspiration. In the introduction to Day I Boccaccio presents himself as an observer of the Black Death, which he says he would not believe 'se dagli occhi di molti " Padoan interprets the criticisms Boccaccio recounts at the beginning of Day IV as evidence for the independent circulation of novelle belonging to Days in 'Sulla genesi', p.
The issue of Boccaccio's morality continues to concern modem critics. See, for example, R. Hastings, 'To Teach or Not to Teach: The Moral Dimension of the Decameron Reconsidered', Italian Studies, 44 , , which contains a summary of critical perspectives in the twentieth century pp. He began work on it in in a period in which he had dedicated himself to writing mainly scholarly encyclopedic and biographical works in Latin under the influence of Petrarch's humanistic ideals.
Boccaccio had also accommodated Leonzio in his own home and received private lessons, attaining a greater proficiency in the language than Petrarch. Likewise, he removed his name from the vernacular translations he had made of Livy and Valerius Maximus in line with Petrarch's belief that the classics should only be read in the original. Love is no longer the main theme, but the desire to honour the glory of famous pagan women of Greco-Roman antiquity preface, p. It is therefore entirely appropriate that Boccaccio names Petrarch and ancient compilers of the lives of famous men as his inspiration preface, p.
Rather than presenting himself as a lover drawing on his own experience of love, Boccaccio explicitly describes himself as a scholar 'hom[o] scolastic[us]', p. However, Boccaccio was generally disdainfill of patronage. He refused a papal secretaryship and insisted that the Genealogia was dedicated to King Hugo because the King was interested in his work and desired it, not because he expected any financial reward.
The impetus for the dedication to Andrea clearly came from Boccaccio, however, since he describes how he considered who would be best for the work. Pier Giorgio Ricci suggests that Boccaccio added the dedication to facilitate the request for financial support he was planning to make to Andrea's brother, Niccol6. He asks Andrea to publish the work, which would then be 'ab insultibus malignantium tutus' [safe from malicious criticism] pp. An appropriate dedicatee, because women are the subject of the book, Andrea is presented with afait accompli, which Boccaccio advises her to 22 read.
Unlike the lovestruck Author of the Teseida, or even the Author of the Decameron accused of being overly preoccupied with ladies, the Author of De mulieribus assumes an authoritative and strictly non-amorous role in relation to Andrea. However, there are some similarities between the works. As in the Decameron, the Author advises that the work offers both pleasure and moral guidance: 'aliquando legas suadeo; suis quippe suffragiis tuis blandietur ociis, dum feminea virtute et historiarum. Nec incassum, arbitror, agitabitur lectio si, facinorurn preteritarurn mulierum.
Acciaiuoli subsequently entered the service of King RobeM and ever desirous of returning to Naples, Boccaccio hoped that Acciaiuoli's influence would secure him a position at the court Branca, Profilo biografico, pp. Nor will the perusal have been in vain, I believe, if it spurs your noble spirit to emulation of the deeds of women in the past] pp. Possible criticisms about the virtue of the subject matter and the manner in which Boccaccio has dealt with it are also raised in the proem and conclusion.
However, the tone does not carry the playfulness so evident in the Decameron and there is little ambiguity surrounding Boccaccio's exhortations to virtue. The conclusion offers an apology as much as a defence of his decisions, illustrating the confidence Boccaccio had placed in his work, to the extent that readers are enjoined to censor or adapt the offending passages themselves: 'minus debite scripta augentes minuentesque corrigant et emendent, ut potius alicuius in bonum vigeat opus' [let them correct and emend the inappropriate passages by addition or deletion] pp.
This suggests that Boccaccio placed his readers on the same footing as himself and had faith in their judgement. As educated readers, they would have been well versed in the practice of annotating and glossing texts.
11. Occhi sereni, angeliche parole
On the surface, Boccaccio proposes that De mulieribus will appeal to both women and men: 'existimans harurn facinora non minus mulieribus quam viris etiam placitura' [it is my belief that the accomplishments of these ladies will please women no less than men] pp , although there are few other suggestions that Boccaccio had women in mind. As I have already mentioned, Boccaccio exhorts Andrea to read his book and, as in the Decameron, uses the lack of education in his female readership 'ut [ ] hystoriarurn ignare However, like Fiammetta, Boccaccio distinguishes Andrea from most women, considering her name to reflect the very male qualities which she exhibits in such quantity dedication, p.
This reflects the practical observation that only a small minority of women, and probably only those of noble birth, would have received an education comparable with men, which would have enabled them to read a text in Latin. Female readers do not appear to have been Boccaccio's first concern, for he opens the dedication claiming that he initially wrote more for his ftiends' pleasure than for the benefit of the broader public, which implies a literary circle composed of men, since to my knowledge there is no extant evidence that Boccaccio circulated his works to women apart from Andrea.
In the dedication to women in love in the Decameron Boccaccio frequently plays down his ability, referring to it as 'quel poco' and 'non molto' p. Boccaccio's friend and correspondent, Francesco Nelli, gave Boccaccio the nickname 'di vetro', suggesting that he was known for his sensitivity towards criticism, but it is less easy in the context of his private correspondence to evaluate how much modesty was feigned, and how much it is a true reflection of his self-image.
In a letter written to lacopo Pizzinga only four years before his death, Boccaccio presents himself as an author that has failed to find fame: Non absque erubescentia mentis frontisque in id veniam, ut tibi aperiam paucis ignaviarn meam. Ingenti, fateor, animo in stratum iarn iter intravi, trahente me perpetuandi nominis desiderio et fiducia ducis incliti preceptoris mei [ Sane, dum hinc inde me nunc domesticis nunc publicis occupari permicto curis et elevatos inspicio vertices celum fere superantes, cepi tepescere et sensim cecidere animi atque defecere vires, et spe posita contingendi, vilis factus atque desperans, et abeuntibus quos itineris sumpseram ostensores, iam canus substiti, et quod michi plorabile malum est, nee retro gradurn flectere audeo nee ad superiora conscendere queo: et sic, ni nova desuper infundatur gratia, inglorius nomen una cum cadavere commendabo sepulcro.
XIX, pp [Not without blushing of the mind and of the face will I come, to disclose to you my worthlessness with a few words. I confess that I entered with great spirit onto the road that was already paved, with the desire of perpetuating my name and with trust in my distinguished teacher as guide drawing me on [ ].
Tibellus' is also a commonplace in classical writers. See for example, Ovid, Amores, I, preface; Michi pauper vivo, dives autem et splendidus aliis viverem; et plus cum aliquibus meis libellis parvulis voluptatis sentio quam cum magno diademate sentiant reges tui. IX, p. I live unto myself a poor man, but would I were living unto others as a rich and distinguished person; and I derive more pleasure in the company of some of my little books than would your kings derive with their great crowns].
Although Boccaccio uses the diminuitive 'libellus' to describe his works, there is no accompanying sense of bitterness. The letter to Iacopo Pizzinga, also reveals that one of Boccaccio's principal motivators was his teacher. Petrarch is probably the teacher Boccaccio had in mind, since he frequently refers to Petrarch in letters to other correspondents as 'inclitus preceptor meus' [my illustrious teacher] Ep.
XVIII, p. XIX, pp. XKIII, p. XXIV, p. Groups of intellectuals, including Boccaccio, saw themselves as disciples of Petrarch, and Petrarch's work must have been a constant measure for Boccaccio. The fame that Petrarch achieved within his own lifetime may well have contributed to the disaffection Boccaccio felt for his ownfortuna. When addressing Petrarch in person Boccaccio is explicitly subordinate; in Boccaccio wrote that his name would only be known to future generations because of his correspondence with Petrarch, although people would be astonished that a man of Petrarch's status had written to a man so 'inerti ignavoque' [unskilful and worthless] Ep.
XV, p. Boccaccio compares his reputation unfavourably to that of Petrarch again in a letter to Pietro da Monteforte in 'multa mea vitia occultat et contegit fame mee tenuitas, ubi etiain nevum minimum illius [Petrarcae] splendida gloria accusaret' Ep. XX, p.
Boccaccio then goes on to defend Petrarch's. Boccaccio writes to Pietro: 'queso non adeo severe dictum putes: in me dictum est, non in alios' [I do not want you to judge the remark too severely: it was said against me and not against others] p. Since Boccaccio did not actually bum his early poems, the claim illustrates that, in some instances at least, Boccaccio preferred to cultivate the image of a devoted disciple rather than promote his own authorial status.
The disparaging comments Boccaccio makes about the Genealogia in the same letter to Pietro da Monteforte seem to be born of affected modesty rather than real sentiment or a desire to present himself as inferior to Petrarch. Boccaccio describes how Pietro has dedicated himself to raising Boccaccio's profile, and in particular praising the Genealogia, bringing them both to the attention of distinguished and erudite men 'insignes eruditosque viros' p. Pietro was a cultured man and professor of law in the Neapolitan Studio and evidently wanted to encourage other scholars to read the Genealogia, viewing it as a work which necessitated careful reading and study, because he took the time to make corrections in his copy.
He even suggested that the work was deposited in the library of San Domenico Maggiore, the most important theological school in Naples p. Boccaccio feels obliged to counteract what might be seen as self promotion by commenting that of course the Genealogia will seem ridiculous to Pietro ['ridiculus'] p. He also makes the improbable statement that he would not have been able to compose the work if he had not had Pietro's assistance and praise. Pietro was only able to make a copy of the Genealogia because Ugo da Sanseverino, another wealthy and powerful man, 26 was so keen to read it that he could not wait for it to be circulated officially.
Clearly Boccaccio's Latin works were greatly in demand, since it is unlikely that someone would be so keen to read a work if they had no previous experience of the author's talent. In order for the manuscript to reach Pietro, Ugo must have passed on his copy, which he is only likely to have done if he judged it worthy to be read by others, or if he had been requested to do so, indicating that demand for the Genealogia was widespread.
The amount of effort Boccaccio says he exerted in the composition of the Genealogia and his defence of its apparently un- Christian content also reveal the importance the work holds for the author. In a letter to Niccolb Orsini, written in , Boccaccio again presents himself in a negative fashion as old, penniless, and destined to be forgotten: 'sane, dum me ' The letter in question is Sen. Petrarch's comments will be discussed in greater detail in section Boccaccio, Epistole, p. It is tempting to interpret this comment as evidence that Boccaccio regretted writing works as a younger man which attracted derision and mockery.
There has been much controversy over whether Boccaccio rejected the Decameron as frivolous entertainmentowards the end of his life on the basis of one of the few, and certainly the most famous, pieces of explicit evidence that exists for Boccaccio's attitude towards his own work. In a letter to Mainardo Cavalcanti in , Boccaccio responds to Mainardo's admission that he has not read the Decameron: 'te libellos meos non legisse, quod quasi magnum fateris crimen, cum rideam, non miror; non enim tanti sunt ut, aliis pretermissis, magna cum solertia legi debeant' [I am not surprised, though I am amused, that you have not read my little books, something which you confess as if it were a great crime; for they are not of such importance that, neglecting other things, they should be read with great care] p.
Taken literally these comments indicate that Boccaccio did not assign great importance to the Decameron as a work of scholarly erudition. Branca comments 'it Decameron appare in queste righe non come un testo di letteratura, ma come un libro di divertimento'. Boccaccio says he is happy for Mainardo to read the Decameron when he has the time, but it is a different matter where women are concerned: 'sane, quod inclitas mulieres tuas domesticas nugas meas legere permiseris non laudo, quin imo, queso per fidern tuam ne feceris' [certainly, I do not praise that you allow the illustrious women of your house to read my trifles, in fact, on the contrary, I beg you not to do this on your honour] p.
He then goes on to detail the bad things contained within the "Branca, Tradizione, 11, The preservation of an autograph of the Decameron, copied by Boccaccio in the s, counterbalances the view that Boccaccio did not wish to concern himself with this work in his old age. The elegance of the autograph's presentation also implies that Boccaccio did not deem it a mere 'libellus', and only a year before his death Boccaccio was keen to obtain a copy of the letter in which Petrarch had commented on the Decameron and provided a translation for the final novella.
For example, Tartaro comments: 'la vivace palinodia del Decameron che leggiamo nella tarda lettera a Mainardo Cavalcanti sembra essere pri uno scherzo che una convinta, sconfessione del capolavoro'. There are also other suggestions that Boccaccio was popular enough among his contemporaries for them to offer patronage. In the letter to Niccolb Orsini cited above, Boccaccio reveals that he was offered accommodation from Niccol6 himself, Ugo da Sanseverino, and the King of Majorca in his old age, although he turned down all three.
Orsini was a powerful military man and politician, but also an orator and cultivator of Cicero. He patronized poets, and may have been a poet himself. Inherent in Boccaccio's warning against the dangers of women reading the Decameron is the suggestion that there was great enthusiasm for the text among female sections of the reading public at least, which led to Branca to comment: V6 in queste righe chiaro il segno della popolarita ormai enorme del testo'.
Towards the end of his life Boccaccio wrote a letter to Fra Martino da Signa explaining at great " For a description of the manuscript and further discussion concerning its presentation see Chapter 5. See Ep. Branca, Tradizione, 11, The first two eclogues were composed in the early s and were Boccaccio's first attempt at writing poetry in Latin.
He writes to Fra Martino: 'de primis duabus eglogis seu earurn titulis vel collocutoribus nolo cures: nullius; enim momenti sunt, et fere iuveniles lascivias meas in cortice pandunt' [I do not wish you to attend to the first two eclogues, or rather to their titles or to those speaking, for they are of no importance, and entirely disclose my youthful licentiousness in their exterior] p. However, because of the great lengths to which he goes to clarify the meaning of the text, it is clear that Boccaccio was not ashamed of the whole work.
The letter does not contain any references to Fra Martino's thoughts on Boccaccio or his works, but he had presumably requested the explanation, and Ginetta Auzzas suggests that he intended to write a commentary on the 34 eclogues. The friar was certainly familiar with Boccaccio's other Latin works at least after , because he was heir to Boccaccio's library after his death Ep. The vernacular works do not seem to have been included in the library housed at Santo Spirito pp.
This chapter shall consider how various acquaintances of Boccaccio perceived his authorial status and responded to his literary achievements. Petrarch was also a great friend and, after Francesco Nelli's death in , Boccaccio became Petrarch's most frequent correspondent. Thirty-two extant letters written in Latin prose and one Latin epistold metrica are addressed to Boccaccio, although Pctrarch makes relatively few comments about his friend's abilities and works in them.
The letter concerning Petrarch's comments on the Decameron, which Boccaccio was keen to obtain from Francesco da Brossano, contains the only specific reference to an individual original composition by Boccaccio and is famous for its offhand attitude and apparent rudeness, rather than for its admiration and respect Sen. XVIL 3,. Petrarch is unable to remember how or where the Decameron came to him, implying that he did not deliberately seek it out. He admits to not having read it fully, and in excusing himself implies that it is a work of inferior literary quality, 'ad vulgus et 2 soluta scriptus' [written for the common herd and in prose].
When he does read it, it is not with the care and concentration that Pietro da Monteforte accorded the Genealogia, rather he enjoys leafing through it. Boccaccio's age is used as an excuse for the passages Petrarch deems too obscene, but he is impressed by Boccaccio's ability to defend himself. Petrarch also notes that there are serious parts, but the implied approval ' Ernest H.
Bernardo, Saul Levin, and Reta A. Although he only read the beginning and the end with care, he compliments Boccaccio for these parts, and after the wealth of criticism, praises the final story about Griselda with some enthusiasm: 'ita mihi placuit meque detinuit, ut inter tot curas que pene mei ipsius immemorern me fecere, illam memorie mandare voluerim' fol.
Even this recognition is meted out on Petrarch's own terms. He translates the novella into Latin, once again undermining Boccaccio's status as the author of the Decameron. Glending Olson has attempted to rectify the view long held among critics that Petrarch had simply failed to understand the nature of the Decameron. Olson argues that Petrarch followed cues left by Boccaccio in the text and judged the Decameron as entertaining and non-didactic within the appropriate framework for this type of literature.
Exactly how Boccaccio reacted to the letter must have been related to his own feelings for the work in the s, which, as we have already seen, are difficult to interpret. However, any comments, either negative or positive, from his trusted mentor must have made a significant impression. The letter in which Pctrarch discusses the alleged buming of Boccaccio's poetry, and the nature of his relationship, in literary terms, with Boccaccio is also ambiguously complimentary Sen. Petrarch is not concerned with judging the poems himself, perhaps because he had never seen or heard them, but with debating whether Boccaccio was moved by humility or pride.
He claims that out of love for his friend Boccaccio should have taken delight in seeing Petrarch take first place: 'solent enim veri amantes sponte sua sibi preferre quos diligunt, et vinci optare, et ex hoc eximiam voluptatem percipere si vincantur' fol.
Perhaps for this reason Boccaccio did not deny that he wished to be judged inferior in his letter to Pietro da Monteforte. The conclusion at which Petrarch arrives is one which accords Boccaccio a certain status as an author. He judges that Boccaccio elected to bum his beautiful inventions ['pulchras inventiones'] rather than subject them to the judgement of a worthless and arrogant age ' Glending Olson, Tetrarch's View of the Decameron', Modern Language Notes, 91 ,. However, Petrarch also succeeds in deflecting attention away from Boccaccio towards the theme of the ignorance of critics, and ultimately towards himself, admitting that he too was inspired to compose vernacular works that were misunderstood.
He then undermines the sense of shared misfortune, referring to his conversion from these works he describes as brief and youthful ['brevibus'; 'iuvenilibus'] to serious, Latin literature: 'substiti mittamque consilium. Although Boccaccio was also writing major works in Latin in this period, Petrarch does not see fit to mention this fact.
Boccaccio"s lack of faith in his career choice seems to have been genuine enough when he learned that a certain Pietro da Siena had had a vision of Christ in which he was commanded, among other things, to forbid Boccaccio to cultivate poetry. Petrarch wrote to Boccaccio, apparently with the intention of persuading him to continue writing, but his encouragement is far from overwhelming Sen.
He hypothesizes how many great works would have been lost if a number of auctores such as Lactantius or Augustine had stopped writing. However, rather than explicitly encouraging Boccaccio to continue with his studies the discussion moves to a general defence of poetry, in which Petrarch lists classical authors who studied well into their dotage with great effect.
Petrarch appears to name these poets because they constitute the most powerful counter-argument to Pietro da Siena's prophecy, rather than because he thought to compare them with Boccaccio. At the conclusion of the defence of the value of poetry Petrarch returns to Boccaccio's case, but rather than adding a final note of dissuasion, he seems overcome by the allure of the offer of Boccaccio's books, which he will not need if he rejects his studies.
There are other occasions, however, where Petrarch. In Petrarch wrote to thank Boccaccio for transcribing a manuscript containing Varro and Cicero Fam. His pleasure at Boccaccio's scribal endeavours moves him to compare Boccaccio with the Latin authors: 'accessit ad libri gratiam quod manu tua scriptus erat, que res sub oculis meis inter illos duos tantos heroas lingue latine te medium fecit' [the book's charm was enhanced by being in your hand, and this in my opinion made you. He then goes on to reassure Boccaccio about his abilities as an author, whilst at the same time suggesting that critics had been unkind: Gnec te peniteat calamo trivisse labellum', ut ait ille.
Etsi enim tu alios mireris, quos studiorum mater omnium tulit antiquitas, idque iure tuo facias, cuius sit proprium et mirari que vulgus despicit et despicere que miratur, venient tamen qui te forsitan mirentur, nempe quem iam hinc mirad incipit invida et claris semper ingeniis ingrata presentia.
For while you may admire those whom antiquity, mother of all culture, produced, and rightfully so since you properly admire what the multitude despises and despise what it admires, there are yet to come those who will perhaps admire you. The present age has already begun to do so, though ever envious of and unfriendly to outstanding talents. But if no laurel tree existed in the world, would all the Muses be silent, would one not be allowed to weave a sublime song in the shade of a pine or of a beech?
In he was appointed notary in Florence, and a year later was elected chancellor of the city, a position which he held until his death in Salutati composed many literary works in Latin, and a great quantity of Latin epistles addressed to his friends and acquaintances, including both Petrarch and Boccaccio. Under the influence of Petrarch 5 4 Francesco Petrarca, Lefamiliari, ed. Novati, 4 vols Rome: ForzanL. He contributed to the search for manuscripts containing new classical works or texts of a higher quality than those in current use, and arranged for Manuel Chrysoloras to teach Greek in Florence.
For example, in , Salutati writes: 'facundissimo viro domino Iohanni Boccaccii de CerLaldo egregio cultori Pyeriduin sibique karissimo amico et optimo' [to the very eloquent master Giovanni Boccaccio, distinguished cultivator of the Muses and his very dear and excellent friend] Ep.
Occhi sereni, angeliche parole. (Downloadable musical score, ) [jyhoxafi.cf]
It is clear that Salutati sets great store by this correspondence. He describes his excitement at receiving an unexpected letter from Boccaccio Ep. XII, 1, The two authors are able to indulge their mutual interests through the exchange of classical manuscripts, but no specific mention is made of Boccaccio's works, even when Salutati forwards a copy of the first eclogue of his own Bucolicum carmen and asks Boccaccio to pass judgement upon it Ep.
VIIII, 1, No mention is made of Boccaccio's works or his status as an author in Salutati's correspondence to others during Boccaccio's lifetime. However, on two occasions he refers to his friendship for the author. Writing to Petrarch in Salutati comments that he has cherished Boccaccio devotedly and loved him deeply Ep.
In a letter to Benvenuto da Imola composed in March Salutati is concemed with what will happen to Petrarch's works in the wake of his death Ep. XVIII, 1. Boccaccio is mentioned for the part he will play in rescuing the Africa from potential flames, and is referred to simply as 'Boccaccium. This seems to be the only named reference to Boccaccio in Petrarch's letters to 10 other correspondents.
Three days after Boccaccio's death on 21 December , Salutati wrote a letter to Petrarch's son-in-law, Francesco da Brossano, announcing the news Ep. XXV, i. Here Salutati is far more explicit about Boccaccio's merits as an author than he had 6 See Berthold L. Benvenuto da Imola was also acquainted with Boccaccio; see below 2. Tradition requires that exaggerated language be used to describe the dead, although the eulogy also contains a genuirte sense of personal loss: 'hei michil iocundissime mi Boccaci, qui solus colendus, amandus et admirandus michi remanseras, consilium in dubiis et solatium in adversis, leticia prosperitatis et socius in humanis, quo me vertam, tue mortis dolore turbatus?
In commending Boccaccio for the eloquence with which he spokeof Petrarch, Salutati manages to insert praise for Petrarch into Boccaccio's eulogy. Towards the end of the letter the sentiments become stronger, and the cffects of Boccaccio's death more wide- ranging, as Salutati claims that not only he, but the whole of Florence will be devastated by the loss: heu michi, lohannes mi dulcissime, -quo abiit divinum illud ingenium et celestis omnino facundia, quibus patria tua velut inexhausto iubare resplendebat?
My sweet Giovanni, where has that divine genius and quite heavenly. Woe is me! What sort of conditionof life is there going to be for us and others who cultivated you avidly, after you have been so unluckily taken away? Famous Florence, who, as rival of the heavens was recently afire with two lights of a kind with which antiquity cannot reproach modems; You, engulfed in profound darkness and bereft of such sons, will mourn, now that an eclipse without end has extinguished that glory!
Virgin O son, Thy soul is flown, a frenzied woman's own, Hers who is lost and lone, son of a heart distressed! Che morto ha figlio e mate, de dura morte afferrate ; trovarse abbraccecate mate e figlio a un cruciato. Verde rivera a lei rassembro e 1' a' re, tutti colori e fior, giallo e vermiglio, oro e argento e ricche gio' preclare ; medesmo Amor per lei raffina miglio. O son so fair and white, whose face was once so bright, Why did the whole world's spite so sorely Thee molest? O sweet and kind Thou art, son of this sorry heart, O with what cruel art, son, hast Thou been oppressed! Mother and son even so one cruel death do know, One cross hath laid them low, in one embrace they rest.
Guido Guinizelli, IN verity I'd sing my lady's praise, With rose and lily-flower her face compare : Like to the morning star her beauty's rays, Like to a saint in heaven, ah, wond'rous fair! Green shades are like her and the breeze as well, All hues, all blossoms, flushed and pale, beside Silver and gold and rare stones' lustrous spell ; Even Love himself in her is glorified. She goes her way so gentle and so sweet, Pride falls in whomsoever she doth meet, Worthless the heart which scorneth such delight!
Ungentle folk may not endure her sight, And a still greater virtue I aver : No man thinks ill hath he but looked on her. Fere lo sole il fango tutto '1 giorno, vile riman, ne '1 sol perde calore : dice om altier : " Gentil per schiatta torno " ; 30 Within the gentle heart abideth Love, As doth a bird within green forest glade. Neither before the gentle heart was Love, Nor Love ere gentle heart by Nature made.
Created was the sun, And lo, his radiance everywhere held sway, Nor was before the sun ; Love doth unto all gentleness aspire, And in the self-same way Doth clarity unto clear flame of fire. Love's fire is kindled in the gentle heart, As virtue is within the precious stone ; From out the star no glory doth depart Until made gentle by the sun alone. When the sun hath drawn forth By his own strength all that which is not meet, The star doth prove its worth. Thus to the heart, by Nature fashioned so Gentle and pure and sweet, The love of woman like a star doth go.
The reason Love in gentle heart doth stay Is why the fire unto the torch-head flies, Burning as he doth fancy, bright and gay, And were too proud to do so otherwise. But Nature's cruel scheme Contrasteth Love as water, flame ; as heat, Quelled by the cooling stream. In gentle heart doth Love his bower divine, Since like with like must meet, Thus diamonds in the iron of the mine. Upon the mire the sun sheds his bright rays, That is still vile, nor doth the sun turn cold : " Gentle am I by birth," the proud man says.
Let no man think that he May be possessed of gentleness, although He boast a king's degree, Unless a gentle heart be found in him : The water is aglow With stars, and yet the heavens have not grown dim. God the Creator in heaven's mind of grace Shines brighter than before our eyes the sun ; There it is given to see Him face to face, Whence in their beauty the skies, serving one Just God, to Him do turn And the blest end of primal love fulfil.
Thus the truth which doth burn In my sweet Lady's eyes she should make clear, Of her own gentle will. To him who in her service tarries near. My Lady, God will say : " Didst thou not fear," When my soul standeth yonder in His sight : " To pass the heavens and seek Me even here, Vain love pursuing with My image dight?
E cantine li augelli, ciascuno in suo latino, da sera e da matino su li verdi arbuscielli. Angelica sembianza in voi, Donna, riposa. Dio, quanto aventurosa rue la mia disianza! Fra lor, le donne, dea vi chiaman, come siete ; tanto adorna parete eh' eo non saccio contare ; e chi poria pensare — oltr 5 a natura? Oltr' a natura umana vostra fina piagenza fece Dio, per essenza che voi foste sovrana.
An angel's face indeed, Madonna, thine ; O God, good-chance did speed Desire of mine! Queen among women, thou Art honoured so, Such is thy beauty, how Should my heart know To frame thy praise and taste thy godly — pleasure? Not earthly grace can be Thine own, I ween, God truly fashioned thee For sovereign queen : O let sweet providence To me be kind, Nor take thy image hence.
Out of my mind. Cavelli avea biondetti e ricciutelli e li occhi pien d' amor, cera rosata : con sua verghetta pasturav' agnelli, e, scalza, di rugiada era bagnata ; cantava come fosse 'nnamorata ; er' adornata— di tutto piacere. Per man mi prese d' amorosa voglia e disse che donato m' avea '1 core. I found a shepherdess in forest glade Lovelier, methought, than any star to see ; Her rippled tresses wore a golden hue, Her eyes were bright with love, her cheeks flushed deep As roses are ; the while she tended sheep, Her feet were bare and sprinkled o'er with dew ; She sang as maids in love are wont to do, Adorned with every grace she seemed to be.
I greeted her forthwith in Love's own name And asked her if she chanced in company ; She answered gently that alone she came Awandering through the wood, and thus spake she : " Know thou that when the birds sing merrily Tis then this heart of mine doth crave a lover! She took me by the hand in tender way And said that she had given her heart to me ; She led me underneath a verdant spray, Where flowers of every colour I could see ; So fond, so blithe was everything anigh 1 thought the god of love himself stood by. Cecco Angiolieri. S' i' fosse morte, andarei da mio padre ; s' i' fosse vita, fugirei da lui ; similmente farla di mi' madre.
S' i' fosse Cecco com' i' sono e fui, torei le donne giovani e legiadre, e vecchie e laide lasserei altrui. There is no being upon earth below So rich as thou in loveliness and grace : Who feareth love, from fear doth straightly go When he hath been consoled by thy sweet face. The maids who tarry in thy company For thy dear sake are pleasing in my sight, And I would beg them of their courtesy To honour thee each one with all her might And 'neath thy sway contentedly to fall, Because thou art the mistress of them all.
All heads chopped off, and so an end to bother! I would go seek my father were I death ; But were I life from him I'd flee away ; And I'd behave the same towards my mother ; If Cecco, as I am and draw my breath, I'd choose such ladies as are young and gay, Leaving the old and ugly to another. S' i' fossi sufficiente di raccontar sua maraviglia nova, diria come natura 1' ha adornata ; ma io non son possente di saper allegar verace prova : dillo tu, Amor, che sera me' laudata.
Ben dico una fiata levando gli occhi per mirarla fiso, presemi '1 dolce riso e li occhi suoi lucenti come stella. Allor bassai li mei per lo tuo raggio che mi giunse al core entro in quel punto eh' io la riguardai. Tu dicesti: "Costei mi piace signoreggi '1 tuo valore, e servo alla tua vita le sarai. Ballata giovincella, dirai a quella eh' ha bionda la trezza, eh' Amor, per la sua altezza, m' ha comandato i' sia servente d' ella.
Whose merry-hearted youth is framed to please, O Love, with ease Proveth how from her virtue sweetness flows. Had I but power To laud her virgin wonder, I would show How Nature decked her in all wond'rous ways ; But I've no dower Of wisdom whence truth may be proven, so Speak thou, O Love, and worthier her praise. But how to gaze On her I once did turn my eyes, the grace Of her sweet face And starry eyes beholding, I will tell. Then I lowered mine, Because this heart was pierced with radiancy In the same moment I beheld her face. Go, little song, And unto her of the gold curls draw nigh, Saying almighty Love hath willed that I To her belong.
Sorbi e pruni acerbi siano lie, nespole crude e cornie savorose ; le rughe sian fangose e strette vie, le genti ve sien nere gavinose, e faccianvesi tante villanie che a Dio et al mondo siano nogliose. Dante Alighieri, Donne, eh' avete intelletto d'amore, i' vo' con voi de la mia donna dire ; non perch' io creda sua laude finire, ma ragionar per isfogar la mente. With unripe medlars and sour cherries too ; Each narrow pathway mud-bespattered wends, With swollen throats and grimy faces go The uncouth country-folk and wreak on you Such villainy as God and man offends.
Dante Alighieri, O ladies who are learned in Love's lore, I fain would tell you of Madonna ; nay, I think not to complete her praise to-day, But reason so my mind unburdened be. Know this, whene'er I count her virtues o'er, Love makes his presence felt in tenderest way. If only more of valour in me lay I would speak out and no heart go hence free ; But such proud words shall not go forth from me Lest my speech fall a prey to coward-fear.
I will but speak of her sweet nature here, Regarding her in all humility. With you, dear Dames and Damozels, because 'Tis matter for none other ears save yours. Color di perle ha quasi in forma, quale convene a donna aver, non for misura : 44 An angel calleth on the Eternal Mind, Saying : " Upon the earth, O Lord, behold A living wonder doth itself unfold Within a soul whose radiance reacheth here.
Then God is heard, Who knows my Lady : " Dear Of Mine, go hence and suffer patiently ; Let hope endure so long as pleaseth Me Where one abideth who her loss must fear And who will cry in Hell : ' O sore-distressed, I have beheld the glory of the blessed! When she hath found one worthy to withstay Her sight, she unto him her virtue gives, Thus working his salvation, whence he lives In humbleness and pardoneth alway : This blessing lastly God accordeth still, Who hath conversed with her need fear no ill. Qual dicea : " Non dormire " ; 46 As it befitteth Lady sweet to wear ; She is the loveliest thing nature can do ; Beauty is proved by her example true.
And from her eyes whenever they do move Flame-kindled spirits issue forth of love Who smite the eyes of those beholding through Unto their hearts. O Song, when I release thee, well I know With many ladies will thy converse be : I do exhort, since I created thee, For Love's own tender daughter, simply sweet, To say beseechingly where thou dost go : " Show me the way, for I am sent to be Her own whose praises have apparelled me.
Thou wilt find Love with her : commend thou me Unto his favour as befitteth thee. Then, casting from me my strange revery, I called upon my Lady piteously. Alas, my voice so dolorously was bound, So broken with my grief's tempestuousness, None heard save I within my heart her name ; Whereon Love bade me turn myself around Towards those standing by me, none the less Though in my face was manifest my shame. So direful was my pallor, in the same Moment they all began to speak of death Under their breath, Saying among themselves : "Ah, comfort we!
Poi mi parve vedere a poco a poco turbar lo sole ed apparir la stella, e pianger elli ed ella ; cader gli augelli volando per V are, e la terra tremare ; ed omo apparve scolorito e fioco, dicendomi : — Che fai? Vieni, che '1 cor te chiede. Even as I looked the sun concealed his face, A star up into the high Heavens leapt, And they both wept ; Then the earth trembled, and the birds, skybound, Dropped to the ground ; And one appeared to me in grievous case : " What dost thou here?
Hast thou not heard? Then I, beholding her so meekly dressed, Grew meek as she, and in my sorrowing Said : " Death, now I account thee passing sweet ; Since thou wast folded to my Lady's breast Henceforth thou needs must be a gentle thing, And in thee pity and not scorn have seat ; Ah, look and see how eagerly I greet Thee, Death, thy sign is written in my face, I plead thy grace! Ora, s' i' voglio sfogar lo dolore, che a poco a poco a la morte mi mena, convenemi parlar traendo guai. Pith none save you! I will tell, weeping for rue, low she departed heavenwards suddenly ind left sad Love discomforted with me.
Poscia piangendo, sol nel mio lamento chiamo Beatrice, e dico : " Or se' tu morta? My mournful soul is shaken with long sighs Whene'er it happeneth that my thoughts incline Towards the Lady who hath broken my heart ; And many and many a time in me arise Such passionate longings that this blood of mine Is changed in my face.
If thought depart Not suddenly from me, in every part Sorely am I afflicted with distress, And in my anguish do cry out aloud And am so bowed, For very shame I covet loneliness. Then, tearfully divided from the crowd, I call on Beatrice, saying : " Liest low in death? And even as I call, she comforteth. Through mournful sighing and despairful tears My lonely heart doth sicken unto death Till those who hear me wax compassionate ; And what hath been the story of my years, Since my sweet Lady in new life drew breath, No mortal tongue could fittingly relate.
Ma qual eh' io sia, la mia donna il si vede, ed io ne spero ancor da lei merzede. Pietosa mia canzone, or va piangendo ; e ritruova le donne e le donzelle, a cui le tue sorelle erano usate di portar letizia ; e tu, che se' figliuola di trestizia, vatten disconsolata a star con elle.
Iwish, friend Guido, that I might with thee And Lapo by a miracle alight Upon a vessel sailing out at sea Obedient to our will, the winds despite ; Then neither storm nor destiny unkind Would lead us on our journeying astray, Nay, rather would we crave, being of one mind, For ever in such company to stay. I wish the good magician would consent To bring us monna Lagia there, no less Than monna Vanna and her who did win The thirtieth place ; our leisure would be spent Talking of love ; they would rejoice therein And we, I doubt not, share their happiness.
A chi era degno poi dava salute con gli occhi suoi quella benigna e piana, empiendo il core a ciascun di vertute. Allegro mi sembrava Amor tenendo meo core in mano, e ne le braccia avea madonna involta in un drappo dormendo ; poi la svegliava, e d' esto core ardendo lei paventosa umilmente pascea : appresso gir lo ne vedea piangendo. Forth from her eyes there issued such bright fire As seemed to me a spirit wrapped in flame : Seeking her face, emboldened by desire, I knew an angel's features were the same. And she, with kindness and calm courtesy, Saluted them whom fortune did so bless, Thus moving every heart to tenderness.
I trow that up in heaven a star was born And came to comfort us on earth forlorn ; Who tarrieth near to her, thrice happy he! To passionate soul and gentle heart I bring A greeting fair in Love, the master's name, That peradventure happening on this thing Each may discover meaning in the same. It was in course of time the hour of three, When every star in heaven doth shine most bright, That Love appeared before me suddenly ; Even now remembering it I quake with fright. Gleeful Love seemed, within his hand was laid My heart, within his arms my Lady, she Was folded in a mantle and was sleeping ; He wakened her and fed her sore afraid Upon my burning heart most tenderly, And then I saw him turn and go hence weeping.
Cavalcando 1' altr' ier per un cammino, pensoso de 1' andar che mi sgradia, trovai Amore in mezzo de la via in abito leggier di peregrino. Ne la sembianza mi parea meschino, come avesse perduto segnoria ; e sospirando pensoso venia, per non veder la gente, a capo chino. O hear how Love hath honoured her, mine eyes Beheld his very self lamenting sore Over the lovely face of her who died ; Often he cast his glances to the skies, Wherein the gentle spirit evermore Of her who looked so gaily doth abide.
As sullenly I rode the other day, Because the journey did not like me best, I found Love in the middle of the way, And he was lightly as a pilgrim dressed. In beggar-wise methought he seemed to go, As if despoiled of his high majesty ; All comers he avoided, head bent low, And ever and anon sighed pensively.
Beholding me, he called upon my name, Saying : " Lo, I am come out of the dim Distance where bode thy heart through my decree Which now I bear to serve another dame. E simil face in donna omo valente. Aiutatemi, donne, farle onore. Even as the Sage expounded in his lay, And this cannot without that other stay, As reasonable heart from reason cannot part.
Nature made both out of her tenderness, Love for the master and the heart his nest Where he may, sweetly slumbering, take his rest Sometimes for a long while, sometimes for less. Then beauty in pure woman's form doth move, So pleasing to the sight that in the heart Springeth a yearning after all delight That lingereth there, the spirit which is Love Awaking out of sleep ; with equal art In lady fashioneth a worthy knight.
Within my Lady's eyes abideth Love, Hence where she looks all things must needs grow kind, And when she passeth all men glance behind, And those she greeteth such fond raptures prove That from each downcast face the colour fades And every fault repentance doth inspire : Before her flee presumptuousness and ire ; Help me to do her honour, gentle maids! The heart which heareth her when she doth speak Becometh, through her virtue, pure and meek, Hence praise to who beholds her first is due ; The vision of her softly smiling face In neither speech nor memory hath place, It is a miracle so sweet and new.
She passeth, hearing how she is admired, I Benignly, all regardless of her worth ; It is as if she were a thing inspired, A miracle by heaven shown on earth. She is so beautiful to see that by , A glance the heart is soothed in such sweet way i As only he who knows can truly say : And from her lips a spirit seems to move, A spirit filled with tenderness and love, For ever saying to the soul, " Ah, sigh!
And a new wisdom learns from Love in tears, By which he may attain unto the skies. When he hath reached the bourn of his desire Of lady throned in glory he hath sight. To whom his pilgrim spirit doth aspire, She shineth with so wonderful a light ; On seeing her thus and telling it to me, His accents are too subtle to bear sense Unto the sorrowful heart that yearns to hear ; Yet often of my gentle one doth he Hold converse, often naming Beatrice, whence I understand full well, O ladies dear!
Cino da Pistoia, The loveliness, the glances soft and clear Of sweetest eyes that e'er unveiled their glow, Lost unto me, make this my life appear So grievous that in heaviness I go ; Instead of the gay thoughts I used to know, Because of love for her, Now at my heart's core stir Thoughts that of Death are born By reason of this parting whence I mourn. In the beginning, Love, alas, alas, Why didst not wound me so that I might die?
Why didst not part from me, O Love, alas, The tortured spirit whereon I rely? O dolenti occhi miei, non morite di doglia? Love, I have seen thee in those tender eyes, Thinking on which to-day I am as slain : Such mighty hosts of sorrow do arise In memory that my soul cries out for pain, Because, alas, Death doth not part us twain, Even as I find me here Parted both from that dear Face and from all delight, Because of the great strife 'twixt black and white.
When haply I would greet with courtesy Some gentle lady, lifting up my eyes, , I feel that all my valiancy doth flee ' And cannot stem the tears that in them rise,! Calling to mind that now Madonna lies i Far distantly from me ; O mournful eyes, will ye Not die for very rue? Of your free will, if Love agree thereto. O Love, too cruel is my destiny, These eyes are saddened by what they behold, l Close them, O Love, with thy hand piteously Since they no more their vision fair enfold.
When life by way of death is given to hold, ; Death is a happy goal. Thou knowest where my soul Hereafter needs must go, Thou knowest, too, what pity it will know. O Love, my torments do beseech of thee Mercy in deadly wise. As far as in me lies, Let me death's gladness learn And to Pistoia let my soul return. Would that so my lot were cast, And thereunto the Heavens agree, For Love to close my eyes at last, And this my worthless body be Endowed with some kind grace of yours 3 What time my soul in nakedness Must pass beyond its earthly doors.
Death will be without distress If such hopes with me remain When I cross the shadowy sea ; In a quiet port again Will my weary spirit be, Cast this tortured flesh aside And in tranquil grave abide. Gratefully I mind me how On her bosom showered down Petals from a flowering bough ; Some were folded in her gown, Some fell on those tresses pale, Like to pearls and burnished gold ; Some upon the stream did sail ; Some were gathered in earth's hold ; Some the breezes bore around : " Love reigns here," they seemed to say, Whilst she, whom Love's halo crowned, I beheld upon that day In all meekness seated there, Of her glory unaware.
With a sudden terror cowed, Often to myself I said : " She is unto Heaven vowed! Da indi in qua mi piace quest' erba si, eh' altrove non ho pace. Se tu avessi ornamenti quant' hai voglia, porresti arditamente uscir del bosco, e gir infra la gente. Di pensier in pensier, di monte in monte mi guida Amor ; eh' ogni segnato calle provo contrario a la tranquilla vita.
A ciascun passo nasce un penser novo de la mia donna, che sovente in gioco gira '1 tormento eh' io porto per lei ; et a pena vorrei cangiar questo mio viver dolce amaro, eh' i' dico : " Forse anco ti serva Amore ad un tempo migliore ; 74 In these green meadows I remain Since then, it pleaseth me so best, For here alone my heart hath rest.
If thou, O Song, were richly pearled As matcheth thy desire, From thy retreat unto the world Boldly thou could'st aspire! From thought to thought, from hill to hill, Love for ever is my guide ; The trodden pathway leadeth still From haunts of quietude aside ; On solitary shore and by A fountain or a running stream, In valleys where the hill-shades lie, My sorely troubled soul may dream, As Love dictates, may laugh or weep, May fear or count itself secure, Compose the face for strife or sleep And never in one mood endure ; Till he would say, who knows such state : " He loves, uncertain of his fate.
At every step a whim is born That doth regard my Lady fair. Full often I in jest have worn The torments which for her I bear ; And yet I would not change my ways That are so bitter and so sweet, " Since Love may cherish happier days For thy delight," I oft repeat, 75 forse, a te stesso vile, altrui se' caro " ; et in questa trapasso sospirando : " Or potrebbe esser vero? I tarry where I shelter find Of mountain-top or tall pine-tree, And paint her image with my mind On the first pebble that I see ; Then, when my straying wits come back, I beat my tear-drenched breast and say : " Unhappy heart, what dost thou lack, And whither would'st thou wend thy way?
My Lady's features I have seen, So let him credence give who may, In waters clear and meadows green No less than in a beechen spray, Within a cloud so snowy white, Beside her Leda's child would seem A star that paleth in the light, The sun hath kindled with his beam. Where desolate my dwelling-place, Upon a bleak, forsaken coast, There doth my spirit sweetly trace Her beauty and exalt it most ; Then, numb with grief, when fancy flies Away before the face of truth, 77 me freddo, pietra morta in pietra viva, in guisa d' uom che pensi e pianga e scriva.
Poscia fra me pian piano : " Che fai tu lasso? To heights whereon no shadows fall, To mighty and enduring chains, My passionate desire doth call, And I begin to count my pains : My tears the doleful mists dispel From my full heart, and musingly I mark the place where she doth dwell Who is so near though far from me. Song of mine, beyond the hill, Where the skies are soft and blue, Resting by a flowering rill, Thou shalt look on me anew ; Where fresh laurels scent the air, With the heart she stole from me, Tarrieth my Lady fair ; 'Tis my spirit dwells in thee. Then to myself I say : "A little space And we will sing no more at Love's behest, Like snow these earthly chains will melt apace And we be gathered peacefully to rest.
Since Love must pass away, even so must all The dreams for which we bartered heaven and earth, Our fears, our sorrows, and our boist'rous mirth ; Then we shall know how oft it doth befall That men strive after things of trivial worth, And sigh for that which matters not at all. Then was revealed to me that we would bid Each other welcome thus in Paradise ; Her gracious thought was fashioned to be hid From others, though apparent to my eyes. All heavenly favours, every modest grace E'er mirrored in beloved lady's face, Were nought compared with this of which I tell ; Downwards in silence her sweet glances fell, And yet in them a meaning seemed to be : " Why doth my faithful friend go forth from me?
Veggio senz' occhi, e non ho lingua e grido ; e bramo di perir e cheggio aita ; ed ho in odio me stesso ed amo altrui ; pascomi di dolor ; piangendo rido ; egualmente mi spiace morte e vita ; in questo stato son, Donna, per vui. Non sa come Amor sana e come ancide chi non sa come dolce ella sospira, e come dolce parla e dolce ride. IN what celestial sphere, by whom inspired, Did Nature find the cast from which she drew This lovely face wherein she hath aspired To manifest below what Heaven can do? Upon the breeze these tresses of pure gold What goddess of the woods, what water-fay Hath lavished thus?
What other heart could hold These virtues which have made my life their prey? Of godly beauty he is unaware Who hath not gazed into my Lady's eyes, Nor gathered her sweet glances here on earth ; He knoweth not Love's Hell nor Paradise Who never heard her sighs as light as air, The gende music of her speech and mirth. In you no single pebble now remains That is not kindled with my passionate pains. Now silence reigneth over earth and sky, The wind is still and bird and beast do sleep, Night in her starry chariot whirleth by, The slumb'rous sea is laid in cradle deep ; I think, I see, love, weep ; my grief who willed Is ever with me to my tender pain ; I am at strife, with spite and anguish filled.
My thoughts in her alone find peace again. From one sole clear and living fountain flows The sweet and bitter draughts that nourish me ; No hand save hers to heal and hurt me knows ; My ship of passion tarrieth out at sea ; A thousand times a day I live and die, So far away doth my salvation lie! Morte biasmate ; anzi laudate Lui che lega e scioglie, e 'n un punto apre e serra, e dopo '1 pianto sa far lieto altrui. Why thus torment me?
Through no fault of mine She hath passed out of hearing and of sight And doth no longer dwell upon the earth ; Blame death alone and worship God divine, Who binds and frees, in darkness kindleth light And giveth after sorrowing His mirth. O valley, filled with my despairful words, O river that my tears have richly fed, O creatures of the forest, happy birds, O fishes that green banks have prisoned ; Breath of desire, serene and passionate.
O pleasant path grown wearisome, O hill That once I counted dear but now do hate, Where, as of old, Love doth entice me still ; You are not changed whom I remember well, But I am otherwise, O misery, Who from delight to bitterest sorrow fell! Here where I loved I do return and see Madonna's spirit wafted to the skies, Whilst upon earth her lovely body lies. Per man mi prese e disse : " In questa spera sarai ancor meco, se '1 desir non erra : i' so' colei che ti die' tanta guerra, e compie' mia giornata innanzi sera.
A quel poco di viver che m' avanza ed al morir degni esser tua man presta : tu sai ben che 'n altrui non ho speranza. She clasped my hand and said : " Within this sphere Thou too shalt be, so my desire speak well ; Lo, I am she who wrought thee torment here And died before the shades of evening fell. My bliss no mortal mind can understand. My spirit waits on thee, to dust is given The lovely veil once precious in thy eyes. So chastely and so mercifully shriven, I did believe I was in Paradise. I DO repent me of departed days In which I laid up treasure on the earth, And did not use my wings unto Thy praise, Though haply they were given to prove my worth.
My sins are manifest before Thy face, O Lord of Heaven, invisible, divine, Grant to my frail and erring spirit grace, My weakness lift with potency of Thine : Thus, though I lived in tempest and at strife, Yet I may die in tranquil port at last, Though vain the pilgrimage, its end be well! O grant me so to live the rest of life That I may die in Thee on Whom are cast My hopes that in no other temple dwell. I wander through green meadows dight With blossoms gold and red and white ; Rose by the thorn and lily fair, Both one and all I do compare With him who, worshipping my charms, For aye would fold me in his arms As one unto his service sworn.
Then, when I find a flower that seems Like to the object of my dreams, I gather it and kiss it there, I flatter it in accents fair, My heart outpour, my soul stoop down, Then weave it in a fragrant crown Among my flaxen locks to wear. The rapture nature's floweret gay Awakes in me doth last alway. As if I tarried face to face With him whose true love is my grace ; Thoughts which its fragrancy inspires I cannot frame to my desires, My sighs their pilgrimage do trace.
My sighs are neither harsh nor sad As other women's are, but glad And tender ; in so fond a wise They seek my love that he replies By coming hither, and so gives Delight to her who in him lives Yet almost wept : " Come, for hope dies. E dopo alquanto 1' una alle due disse, com' io udi' : " De', se per avventura di ciascuna 1' amante qui venisse, fuggiremo noi quinci per paura? Creature d' amor vo' mi parete, tanto la vostra vista adorna luce! Mid golden locks, o'ershadowing each sweet face, For coolness was entwined a leaf-green spray, And all the while a gentle zephyr played Through green and golden in a tender way, Weaving a web of sunshine and of shade.
After a while, unto the other two One spoke, and I could hear her words : " Think you That if our lovers were to happen by We would all run away for very fright? Say, whither lies the land where you were born, Where sweeter fruits than any do betide? With radiant smiles your faces you adorn, Yet neither gold nor silver is your pride, I trow Love fashioned you with him to bide, Angels you seem yet tattered raiment wear!
Poor lassies, had you not far happier been Out of these woods in more refined air? Once, deep in thought, I, passing 'neath some trees, Beheld a troop of maidens gathering flowers ; One cried : "Ah look " ; another : " Nay, see these," " What hast thou there? Al suo dolce guardare, al dolce riso, T erba vien verde e colorito il fiore, e il mare se acqueta e il ciel se rasserena. E vidi una liggiadra donna e bella su P erba coglier rose al primo sole, e vincer queste cose di beltate.
Wherever foot doth tread and eye doth rove A passionate spirit kindleth, fraught with love, Which giveth warmth before the summer days ; At his caressing smile and soft, sweet gaze The flowers don brilliant hues, the grass grows green, The waves are quieted, the skies serene. One morning I beheld the sun arise Out of the waves in shining gold attire, Flushed was his face, and in so deep a wise That the whole seashore seemed to be on fire ; And I beheld the dew of early morn Awake the rose to such a vivid hue That distant vision would indeed have sworn A flame was kindled on the green stalk too.
And I beheld how for young April there The tender buds, as is their wont, did blow Sweetly, O sweetly in their early pride ; And I beheld a lady, kind and fair, Rose-gathering on the lawn at morning-glow, She was far lovelier than all else beside. Quanto sia vana ogni speranza nostra, quanto fallace ciaschedun disegno, quanto sia il mondo d' ignoranza pregno la maestra del tutto, morte, il mostra.
Altri si vive in canti e 'n balli e 'n giostra ; altri a cosa gentil muove lo ingegno ; altri il mondo ha e le sue cose a sdegno ; altri quel che dentro ha, fuor non dimostra. With laughing maidens, where green branches twined ; O never since that primal, passionate look Have I beheld her face so soft and kind. Hence for a space my yearning was content And my sad soul some consolation knew ; Alas, my heart remained although I went, And constantly my pain and sorrow grew.
Early the sun sank down in western skies And left the earth to woeful hours obscure, Afar my sun hath also veiled her ray ; Upon the mind first bliss most heavily lies, How short a while all mortal joys endure. But not so soon doth memory pass away. How every hope of ours is raised in vain, How spoiled the plans we laid so fair and well, How ignorance throughout the earth doth reign, Death, who is mistress of us all, can tell. In song and dance and jest some pass their days, Some vow their talents unto gentle arts, Some hold the world in scorn and all its ways, Some hide the impulses that move their hearts.
Vain thoughts and wishes, cares of every kind Greatly upon this erring earth prevail In various presence after nature's lore ; Fortune doth fashion with inconstant mind, All things are transient here below and frail, Death only standeth fast for evermore. Ciprigna defy -e vien sopra il ruscello che bagna la minuta e verde erbetta. E se tu vien tra queste chiare linfe, sia teco il tuo amato e caro figlio ; che qui non si conosce il suo valore. Questi lieti satiretti delle ninfe innamorati, per caverne e per boschetti han lor posto cento aguati : O leave, Cithera, thy beloved isle, O leave thy gentle kingdom, come away And rest, O goddess, by this rill awhile That sprinkleth every tender green grass spray.
Come to this shady place, to this soft breeze Awaking murmurous music in each tree. To songs of mating birds, sweet-tuned to please, O let this country thine elected be! And, if thou seek these limpid streams one day, O bring thy darling son along with thee, Because as yet this earth ignores his fame ; Steal from Diana her chaste nymphs away, Who go untrammelled now and danger-free. Scorning the puissant virtue of Love's name.
Youth is sweet and well But doth speed away! Let who will be gay. To-morrow, none can tell. Bacchus and his Fair, Contented with their fate, Chase both time and care, Loving soon and late ; High and low estate With the nymphs at play ; Let who will be gay, To-morrow, none can tell. Ciascun apra ben gli orecchi, di doman nessun si paschi ; oggi siam, giovani e vecchi, lieti ognun, femmine e maschi ; ogni tristo pensier caschi ; facciam festa tuttavia : Glad with wine, in pairs They dance the hours away : Let who will be gay, To-morrow, none can tell.
Not unwillingly Were these nymphs deceived : From Love do but flee Graceless hearts aggrieved : Deceivers and deceived Together wend their way. Let who will be gay, To-morrow, none can tell. Fat Silenus nears On an ass astride : Full of wine and years, Come and see him ride : He lolls from side to side But gleefully al way : Let who will be gay, To-morrow, none can tell.
Find a copy online
Midas following, Turneth all to gold : What can treasure bring To a heart that's cold? And what joy unfold For who thirsteth, pray? Ears be very bold. Donne e giovanetti amanti, viva Bacco e viva Amore! E se alcuno ha sospetto o gelosia, non faccia qui soggiorno ; se non, farebbe storno. Ognun ci s' innamori, o esca fuor del loco tanto ornato. Se alcuna per vergogna si ritiene di non s' innamorare, vergognerassi, s' ella pensa bene Let who will be gay, To-morrow, none can tell. Lads and lassies all, Love and Bacchus hail! Dance and song befall! Pain and sadness fail!
Tender hearts prevail, Happen then what may! Youth is sweet and well But doth speed away. Let him who is no lover Go hence and seek another Floor on which to dance, He merits not good chance! Be there one who knows not Love, Let him hasten from this place. For that heart is poor in grace Which fond ardours doth not prove. Be there one whose fires burn low. Let him breathe on them, and so They blaze again, he need not go! Love presideth o'er this feast, Those who serve him gather round. Be there one by envy bound, Take he leave, for thus at least He will go and not be chased!
Only those whom Love hath graced In so sweet a bower are placed. Angelo Poliziano, I' Mi trovai, fanciulle, un bel mattino di mezzo maggio in un verde giardino. F mi trovai, fanciulle. Be there one perchance so vile As to flee away for fright, Let her understand aright, No such coward fancies wile In gentle hearts! Nature doth bring Us beauty ; foolish 'twere to fling Away the roses of the spring! Angelo Poliziano, Maidens, I found myself one morn serene Of middle May within a garden green.
Violets bloomed round about and lilies too In verdant grass and buds of every hue, Azure and gold and purest white and red, Whereat to gather them my fingers sped, That I might deck therewith my flaxen hair And weave a garland for my forehead fair. Maidens, I found myself. But when I'd well-nigh culled a lapful, lo, I saw the roses multi-coloured, so I ran to fill my skirts with them and they Breathed such rare fragrancy that straight away I felt awaken in this heart of mine Tender desire and happiness divine.
Ma quand' i' fu' nel verde un pezzo entrato, mi ritrovai fra mille vaghi fiori bianchi e vermigli e di mille colori, fra' quai senti' cantare un augelletto. F m' accostai pian pian per veder quello ; vidi che '1 capo e V ale d' oro avea ; ogni altra penna di rubin parea, ma '1 becco di cristallo e '1 collo e '1 petto. When the rose every petal doth unfold, When she is tenderest, fairest to behold, Before her loveliness hath passed its prime, To set her in a garland it is time.
So, maidens, let us go and pull the rose When she most sweetly in the garden blows. There's not a meadow in the world I ween Where herbs and grasses have so sweet a smell ; I wandered for awhile down pathways green Till myriad blossoms cast their lovely spell About me — white, red, every hue pell-mell, And then I heard a bird uplift his lay.
I found myself alone Instead of snares and prison-bars I'll woo, So far as I am able , with my voice. That this sweet bird may have what he enjoys Is the whole reason why I sing this lay. I found myself alone. Now other hills and plains, And other streams and groves, And fresher flowers thou seest in the sky ; Down peaceful summer lanes Moved by more passionate loves.
By other Fauns pursued the Nymphs flit by ; Where shadows sofdy lie And fragrance is distilled, Daphne and Meliboeus nigh, Androgeus sings, the sky Burdening with tender sweets, while stirred and stilled H temprando gli elementi col suon di novi inusitati accenti. As unto elm the vine, As bull unto the herd, As to the happy fields the waving corn, Even so art thou the wine And fame our hearts preferred ; Who may escape from thee, O Death forlorn, If hills thy fire hath shorn?
O who can hope to see So gay a shepherd again, Singing so sweet a strain, Stripping the woods as he, And scattering everywhere Shade on the waters with green branches fair? The Goddesses divine Thy passing did deplore, The streams, the caves, the beeches mourned thy plight, The wan, frail grass did pine, Bewailed the verdant shore, Full many a day the sun concealed his light ; Wild beasts lurked out of sight Nor to the fields did go, Nor flocks o'er hillsides pass To drink and crop the grass ; Untoward fate had aimed so dire a blow That in or sun or shade " Androgeus, Androgeus " thrilled the glade.
Se spirto algun d' amor vive fra voi, quercie frondose et folte, fate ombra alle quiete ossa sepolte. Gli sparsi miei capei dinanzi io tengo ; con essi mi ricopro il petto e '1 volto, perch' un non mi conosca quando io vengo. Nor shalt live only in my accents tame. Shepherds in myriad ways Shall wreathe their rhymes and pipe unto thy praise. If in your midst there dwell a soul of Love, leafy oaks, give shade To the quiet bones here laid.
Mortal woman were less sweet ; W The Heavens have richly decked and dowered thee! Why So restless? Whence these wings upon thy feet? The reason that I never can be still Is because on a wheel my foot doth lie ; Unto my course no flight but matcheth ill, Nathless, so all be dazzled as I run. Wings on my feet I have maintained ; I spill My tresses forwards that they flow as spun Veil covering over face and bosom, so In passing I be recognized by none ; Behind my head no single hair doth grow, Wherefore he gazeth vainly when maybe 1 hasten by or look back as I go. And thou who chattering wastest time so rare, Immersed in matters vain and manifold, Alas, hast thou not seen, art not aware That I meanwhile have slipped out of thy hold!
Gran giustizia era, e mio summo desire, da me la strale avesse incominciato, e come al venir qui son primo stato, ancora stato fossi al dipartire.
Che non arei veduto il mio gran danno, di me stesso sparir la miglior parte, e sarei teco fuor di questo affanno! Or eh' io non ho potuto innanzi andarte, piaccia al Signor, a cui non piace inganno, eh' io possa in breve e scarco seguitarte. Escon sempre da loro or fuoco or strali ; fuggite tanti mali ; se non, vi veggio alfin venir niente, e me cieco restarne eternamente.
Then I would not have known such deep despair, Nor seen myself 's best portion borne away, Nor been subjected to such misery ; But now, since I before thee might not fare, God grant, Who loveth equity, I may Be liberated soon and follow thee Lodovico Ariosto, Eyes, are you not aware, When eager to admire Her face so soft and fair, You are as wax in fire, As snow in sun?
Unless you have a care Certes you'll melt away, Yearning towards her lovely, haughty brow ; Her shining eyes, each like the sun's own ray, Do move you so, I vow They'll make of you a water-spring one day ; From out of them or flames or arrows stray ; O flee from such dismay, Or else no vestige of you shall I find, And must perforce for evermore be blind.
D' umile e bassa sorte, Madonna, il vostro si potria ben dire, se le minacce 1' han fatto fuggire. The passionate flame we see Over her fair cheeks run, As with soft laughters she Of her fond charms enamours everyone, Is like the crimson rose Opening the promised land Of her sweet petals when the sun-god throws The east behind him and soars day in hand. Her candour doth appear Even as the moon in tranquil skies and bright Upon still waters clear Casting her tremulous rays of silver light. Love, thou hast granted to my lady here Beauty so wondrous rare The world hath nought that can with it compare.
When a fierce wind goes raging by, A great fire grows, it doth not die ; When a light zephyr floats about It blows a litde burning out! Where bitterest is the battle strife In every place, by every coast. Within the heart great love hath life And of the doughtiest deeds doth boast.
Madonna, poor thy love and slight If by a breath 'tis put to flight! Ma benigne accoglienze, ma complessi licenziosi, ma parole sciolte da ogni fren, ma risi, vezzi, e giochi : ma dolci baci, dolcemente impressi ben mille e mille e mille e mille volte : e se potran contarsi, anco fien pochi! Through thee it is I tread a distant floor, Poor I must die nor benefit by these ; Less guarded is upon the Moorish shore The golden fruit of the Hesperides. One only stood that bounteous treasure by, There are a thousand guardians of this gold Which Love once deemed me worthy of ; I cry Blame on the giver!
What authority Hath such a one if powerless to hold In his own kingdom what he gave to me? Ocell of sweet adventure, where my dear And lovely enemy doth me constrain. And this for love and pity it is clear, And neither for hard anger nor disdain! All other captives are immersed in gloom When turned the key in lock, but I am glad, Joy not despair for me, life not the tomb, Not awful judgement given, not verdict sad ; But kindly, welcoming, ardent embrace, Delightful jests and laughter and gay rhymes, And speech set free from a cold custom's thrall ; But kisses softly falling on my face A thousand, and a thousand thousand times, Who counteth them hath made his sum too small!
Io son ferito, io son prigion per loro, la piaga in mezzo al cor aspra e mortale, la prigion forte ; e pur in tanto male e chi ferimmi e chi mi prese adoro. So it betides Love's arrows are unfair, Unfair the ardours which he doth inspire, Thy mantle whole, my heart transfixed with care, Unscathed thy body, mine consumed with fire. I must remember how Love had in mind To spread a net for prisoning me and thee, I am held fast, the while thou goest free ; His sight was too uncertain on that day, In thee he would have had the richer prey ; O Love, thou art indeed a child, and blind!
The net that laid thought's roving pinions low Was fashioned of these very threads of gold ; This glance the arrow and this brow the bow ; These lovely eyes the foemen who do hold Me fast in prison ; sick to death I lie, With cruel, fatal hurts my heart is sore, Heavy my chains, yet in such travail I Who wounded and imprisoned me adore. Because of the sweet reason of my pain Or of my death, so be it grief may kill, My wounds I cherish and am fain to die.
May she, unwitting of this happy pain And of this happier death, afford me still A little love and one compassionate sigh! The laws of Heaven are pitiless indeed To blight such tender verdure in the spring, To rob the hours of such abundant seed, Brief, restless hours, for ever on the wing! Now that the soul of our departed friend Resteth in God, his body in the earth, O Death, thou hast no sting! My life was worth The living in his presence only ; how Thy terrors used to grip me, Death, but now He is thy prey I do not dread the end.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, The master-craftsman hath no thought in mind That one sole marble block may not contain Within itself, but this we only find When the hand serves the impulse of the brain ; The good I seek, the harm from which I fly, Lady, divinely proud and fair, even so Are hid in thee, and therefore I must die Because my art is impotent to show My heart's desire ; hence love I cannot blame, Nor beauty in thee, nor thy scorn, nor ill Fortune, nor good for this my pain, since life Within thy heart thou bearest at the same Moment as death, and yet my little skill Revealeth death alone for all its strife.
O carne, o sangue, o legno, o doglia strema, giusto per vo' si facci mio peccato, di eh' i' pur nacqui, e tal fu '1 padre mio. Love wakeneth, thrilleth, lendeth us his wing For lofty flight, so tempering our vain fires That they are likened to that primal ring Whence the sad soul unto his God aspires. The love of which I speak doth seek the sky, Surpassing woman's love ; the wise, strong heart Is with no other flame save this aglow. One love draws to the earth and one on high ; One in the soul, one in the sense hath part ; This last doth aim at what is base and low.
Maybe my soul fell from its high estate, Alone, without or counsellor or guide, To make me pitiful toward the fate Of others and not scornful in my pride. Beneath what banner may I strive aright And triumph save 'neath Thine which hath my love? I fear to perish in the clam'rous fight, Do Thou from me Thy saving strength remove. O may Thy body, blood and cross, Thy last End and its bitterness bear sin away In which I and my fathers first drew breath!
Upon Thy mercy all my hopes are cast, Forgive my sorry trespasses, I pray, Who am so far from God, so near to death. Di Dante dico, che mal conosciute fur T opre sue da quel popolo ingrato, che solo a' iusti manca di salute. Fuss' io pur lui! And truth divine vouchsafe to us below. O wondrous star, who by his radiancy Made light within the nest which gave me birth ; O Thou alone, Who fashionedst him, canst be His recompense, not this so guilty earth! Dante's great works and his surpassing love Were hidden from a thankless people's face, Whose favours shower on all save those of worth ; Yet gladly I his destiny would prove, And for cruel exile with his virtue's grace Renounce the greatest happiness on earth.
No tongue can fittingly extol his fame. His splendour is too dazzling for men's eyes ; Easier it were his enemies to blame Than to lift our poor homage to his skies. Descended into the abodes of sin For our instruction, he arose again ; The doors of Heaven flew wide to let him in, Though on the doors of home he knocked in vain. Ungrateful country, when you wrought him ill You wronged yourself, and now is it made clear That to the perfect happeneth deepest dole!
Among a thousand truths this triumphs still : No exile was less merited, and here On earth ne'er tarried a sublimer soul. Vittoria Colonna, Mentre 1' aura amorosa e '1 mio bel lume fean vago il giorno e 1' aer chiaro e puro, con largo volo, per cammin securo cercai d' alzarmi anch' io con queste piume. If friend of lovers Heaven appears To whom this graceless world deals scorn, What is in store for me, love-lorn?
Long life? Nay, direful thought, few years Are many to who serve in tears! Slumber is sweet, but it were sweeter still To turn to stone while shame and sorrow last, Nor see, nor hear, and so be freed from ill ; Ah, wake me not! Whisper as you go past! Vittoria Colonna, Owhen the tender breeze and my sweet light Made beautiful the day and pure and clear The air, by paths secure in daring flight I sought to raise myself on wings from here. Lost is the vigour that my wings did raise, And the desire, that hope despiseth, grown Helpless, in vain, in vain doth lift its gaze ; I tarry here below for, mortal pain Defeating, I still live but loveless, lone, The while thought soareth where my Sun doth reign.
Luigi Alamanni, 6 Therefore, proud Italy, I, by God's grace, After six years come back to gaze on thee, This only, for barbarians fill the place Where I once lay upon thy breast, ah me! With tearful eyes and drooping head I greet The country of my birth, to her I yearn With pain and fear and anger, stripped of sweet Delight and every hope. Then I return Again beyond the Alps, all wreathed with snow, To honest Gallic earth, a better friend To strangers than thou art unto thine own!
There, in a sheltered haven till the end I will abide, mid those cool valleys lone, Since Heaven agrees and thou hast willed it so. Che fu a vederti in tanti onor superbi, seder reina, e 'ncoronate d' oro le gloriose e venerabil chiome? Giovanni Guidiccioni, 1 OTHOU most worthy mother of the great Who in more fortunate days possessed the earth, Alas, how tearful now, how desolate, Who wast before the Gods' fond haven of mirth!
How can I bear to hear the piteous sound Of thy complaints, to see the mighty sway Of thy vast empire humbled to the ground. Thy pomp and virtues marred, without dismay? But, though enslaved, such majesty dost wear, And in my heart so sweetly rings thy name, Adoringly to thy poor spoils I bow ; What then of him who saw thee in thy fame, Proud, honoured queen, with golden crown set fair Upon thy ancient and all-glorious brow?
E, se dal vostro sol non son diviso, non potran darmi pena i spirti rei ; chi mi vuol tormentar mi chiuda il viso. O piume d' asprezze colme! But when my eyes assail you without tire, You will be more aggrieved, I well content, No glory save your presence I desire. Thus one glad heart where myriads lament! If you be visible unto my eyes In mid inferno, lo, a paradise Will open, dear as Heaven to my sight ; And if I be not parted from thy light No guilty spirits will disturb my mind ; Who would torment me need but make me blind! Giovanni della Casa, i O sleep, of the quiet night of dusk and dew The placid son, O thou who dost relieve Man's bitter load of suffering and endue With merciful oblivion those who grieve, Rescue this heart that faints yet cannot rest, Uplift these frail, out-wearied limbs!
O Sleep, Spread wide thy sombre pinions o'er this breast, And for a little while thy vigil keep! Where is the silence that puts day to flight? Where the soft dreams that used to follow thee With faltering footsteps? O unhappy plight! In vain, in vain I call, in vain to me Would lure these dim and gelid shades ; O bed Of misery, O cruel nights and dread! La voce del mio cor per P aria sento : " Ove mi porti, temerario? When I look down afraid through boundless space, He speaketh, proudly promising so be I fall and perish in such noble race.
Death's leap will be my immortality. Whence, as of one who ardently desired, And, dying, gave the sea his lasting name Where the sun melted his brave wings apart, The world might say of me : "He too aspired Unto the stars, and if he fell the blame Is life's, this failed, but not his daring heart!
Proudly I cleave the air and raise me higher, And scorn the earth and yearn towards the sky. Nor am I daunted by the cruel death Of young Icarus, nay, I do but dare The more, and though down-hurled, bereft of breath, What life could with this death of mine compare? I hear how on the breeze my heart doth call : " Whither away, O reckless one? Descend, Oft too great daring hath a bitter end! Go, rend the clouds, then die contentedly If with such glorious death Heaven favour thee! Tu volesti per noi, Signor, morire, tu ricomprasti tutto il seme umano ; dolce Signor, non mi lasciar perire.
Who'd know myself, picture a woman wrought In passion and in presence after pain's And death's own bitter images, a port Of safety where untroubled rest remains ; One who with neither tears, nor sighs, nor zest Wakes pity in her cruel lover's breast. Deeply repentant of my sinful ways And of my trivial, manifold desires, Of squandering, alas, these few brief days Of fugitive life in tending love's vain fires, To Thee, Lord, Who dost move hard hearts again, And render warmth unto the frozen snow, And lighten every bitter load of pain For those who with Thy sacred ardours glow.
To Thee I turn, O stretch forth Thy right hand And from this whirlpool rescue me, for I Without Thine aid could never reach the land ; O willingly for us didst suffer loss, And to redeem mankind hung on the Cross, O gentle Saviour, leave me not to die. Di noi pensosa e pia, di te lieta e sicura, t' accomiati del mondo, anima pura. But thou thyself art happy and secure.
From the pale, star-strewn sky, What tears in my sight, What dews gather nigh? White moon, why dost sow Crystal stars in a ring? Where the green grasses grow, Why dolefully sing Wandering breezes alway From the dusk to the day? Is it presage of death, O breath of my breath?