The move- ments of the hammer's blows striking downward and the soul's inspiration soaring upward work in perfect harmony, as God's divine rays of beauty descend into man's soul to cause it to rise to God. The poet realizes in the conduding tercet that the supreme artist and guide must be God, for the mortai guide, once he has died, can no longer inspire. The cumbersome syntactical structures of the sonnet as well as the preponderance of harsh sounds are in accordance with the artistic image adopted in the poem. Michelangelo thus fuses his practical training in the figurative arts with his understand- ing of Neoplatonic philosophy.
The tension between upward and downward movements was indeed resolved in the preceding sonnet in favour of a movement towards God; however, the poet did allow himself to fall into a demonic world to satisfy his physical desires. The descent into the demonic world incorporates two themes: the loss of identity and the motif of alienation. Michelangelo 's poems, addressed to the unknown "donna bella e crudele," are a bitter testimony to the lover's experience of self-denial.
The conflict of love derives in part from the poet's inability to deal with the nature of deceit which pervades this woman. As Frye has noted, this is a centrai image of descent. E par ch'esempro pigli ognor da me, ch'i' penso di far lei. Ben la pietra potrei, per l'aspra suo durezza, in ch'io l'esempro, dir e' a lei s'assembra; del resto non saprei, mentre mi strugge e sprezza, altro sculpir che le mie afflitte membra.
The third and fourth verses quickly dispel any notion, how- cver, that this madrigal is to be a homage to spiritual love. The artist does not carve the image of his beloved in his soul, the "dura pietra," but rather depicts what he sees of himself in her. He has reached the stage of self-abnegation, "son fatto da costei" 1.
Her essence fuels his life, yet she dispassionately reflects a squalid and pale image onto the stone. The poet is colourless and lifeless like the "dura pietra" on which he carves. The theme of unreciprocated love returns in lines flve and six. He compares her bitter and heartless nature to the "dura pietra," his sculpting block.
The terminology he adopts to portray his character is rather a depiction of her mercilessness: "mentre mi strugge e sprezza, I Ano sculpir che le mie afflitte membra. These harsh terms expose the beloved as a conceited being who disdains her lover and dares him to extract the beauty which they both know lies within her.
The beloved proudly presents herself as an obstacle to his sculpting and to his love. The lover-sculptor, how- ever, appeals to the one weakness of his beloved. He gently reminds her that he has the power, through the artistic medium, to eternalize her beauty. He proposes to execute this pian on the condition that she reciprocate his love.
The artist thus expresses an important theo- retical point that works of art can overcome nature and time. The second major themc in the demonio world is the force of alicnation: This lowcr world is a world of increasing alienation and loneliness: the hero is not only separated from the heroine or his friends, but is often further isolated by being falsely accused of major crimes. Sicur non tale stampa in ogni loco vo, come quel e 'ha incanti o arme seco, e 'ogni periglio gli fan venir meno. He compares this personal feeling to the objective world of art.
He states that a block of marble, a sheet of paper and a canvas increase in value once a sculpture, a poem or a painting emerges. Once again, he reverts to and objectifies himself as a target whose quality enhances as he is struck with Cupid's arrow. In keeping with the Neoplatonic tradi- tion, the poet only refers to Cavalieri 's eyes. The reflection from these through the poet's eyes arouse feelings of love in his heart. He is not ashamed of these sentiments and treats them as would a knight-errant his magical accoutrement or his arms.
His love for Cavalieri serves as a vanguard to ali those who accuse. The poem whirls into a frenzy at the end as the poet assigns parareligious miraculous healing powers to this love. He becomes unsure of himself as he loses control of his imagination which no longer follows his naturai instinct. The poet places the onus on the artist and the lover to extract respectively the perfect form which pre-exists in the ink and in the block of marble, and the positive qualities from the soul of the beloved. The lover, however, is unable to fulfill this duty. The conflict arises since in Neoplatonic love, the lover depends totally upon his beloved fot bis existence.
At this point, the lover feels imprisoned within himself. Instead of drawing out any positive image from Cavalieri 's soul, his imagination is restricted to portraying his own morose semblance. While the first quatrain is devoted to the role of the imagination in the plastic arts, and the second quatrain relates specifically the poet's use of his intellect, in a Neoplatonic sense, to create art, the remaining two tercets present general reflections on the use of the imagination. In brief, "Chi semina sospir, lacrime e doglie, [. The pure rain falls on the planted seeds like God's grace enters the souls of men.
If, however, the rain waters bad seeds, which bave been planted not by the rain but by the farmer, good crops should not be expected to grow. Similarly, God's grace and beauty are diffused by rays of love into man's soul, and love, in Neoplatonic terms, is the desire and enjoyment of beauty. It is the lover's responsibility, therefore, to acknowledge these gifts from God in the loved one's soul and should he refuse, his love will remain unreciprocated. The last two verses, albeit addressed to an indefinite third person, summarize the conflict which resides in the poet's soul.
A deep sense of anguish overwhelms his imagination, and so, his attempts to draw forth from his beloved any sentiment other than bitter pain, are futile. This tension is a direct result of the poet's awareness of having lost control of his imagination to achieve his desired effects. This signals a further loss of identity and the poet continues his journey of descent. Once the poet reaches his private hell, he must choose between passively remaining in this closed world or actively escaping to a higher and nobler world.
He decides to pursue the latter course and, as such, he must follow two patterns of ascent: the first, leaving this 44 CARTE ITALIANE hell to reach the ordinary level of experience, and the second, depart- ing this world of experience to attain a paradisal level. The first four verses of the poem present a clear statement of Michel- angelo 's theory of art. This verb, when applied to the artistic theory of drawing forth a living form from within a block of marble, acquires a figurative meaning parallel to the action of giving birth.
The elimination of the superfluous to reveal the living substance is comparable to the cycle of death and rebirth. This birth of the sculpture signifies liberation. The motif of escape is essential for the ascent from the lower world to succeed. Through the artist's creative act, this sculpture, stripped of its superfluous matter, has also regained its own identity. The poet then proceeds to discuss himself in terms of his maieutic theory of art. The poet, through his art, is experiencing a rebirth. He feels like a prisoner in his body.
Just as tbe block of marble is "dura," so too is be enveloped in a "dura scorza. He is aware tbat bis liberation will take place tbrougb ber teacbings of God's love, beauty and grace. Tbe reappearance of tbe verb "levarne" connects tbe artist's ability, tbrougb bis creative act, to liberate tbe sculpture witbin tbe block of marble; and tbe ability of tbe lady, tbrougb love, to restore tbe identity of tbe pure soul witbin tbe unrefined and barsb exterior of tbe poet.
Tbe expression of letbargy in the concluding verse is excus- able, for tbe poet bas just reacbed tbe stage of conscious detacbment. His appeal for belp indicates a willingness to escape bis present condition and to ascend to a new life. Wbile tbe movement of descent from tbe world of experience to tbe lower world entails a loss of identity and a sense of alienation, tbe movement of ascent from tbe world of experience to tbe Eartbly Paradise restores tbe broken current of memory and establisbes a sense of belonging.
Tbe reconstruction of tbe poet's identity will be acbieved simultaneously tbrougb the artist's imagination and his lady's love which will guide bis soul to God. Tbe Neoplatonic and artistic images are fused in Michelangelo 's love poetry in this journey of ascent as they were in the movement to tbe lower world. Questo sol l'occhio porta a quella altezza e' a pingere e scolpir qui m'apparecchio. The opening image refers both to the birth of the poct and to his maieutic theory of art.
In this originai state of innocence he was given the Idea of beauty as a spiritual mentor to tcach him to love God and to serve his imagination. The passive voice, ''mi fu data" 1. This guide of beauty is described as a light and as a mirror. The light implies the grace of God which is instilled in man by the rays of the sun. The mirror in this sense loses its demonic attributes and refers instead to the mirror of God's beauty which is reflected from God into man's soul.
The functions of the light and of the mirror, how- ever, are subject to man's visual sense. It is only through the eye that man can receive the rays of God's grace and beauty before they cnter the soul. Once the rays bave penetrated the eyes, his imagina- tion will literally bave been brought to great heights.
The poet, in exteriorizing his thoughts into concrete works of art, will be mani- festing on earth God's Idea of beauty. The poet is utterly convinced of this Neoplatonic interpretation and, as such, has regained his own sense of identity and developed an understanding between his self and the Idea of the beauty of God.
His strength of character lies in the ability to recognize and argue against this human weakness by which he was once enslaved. Through the mortai eyes the beauty of God moves ' 'muove' ' and brings "porta' ' every healthy and honest "sano" mind back to God. These verbs of action and the adjective "sano" are in direct opposition to the static verb "fermi," and to the adjective "infermi," which characterizes those who worship physical beauty.
As "sano" in a figurative sense denotes honesty, by analogy "infermi" suggests something immorali those who refuse to acknowledge the light of God will be perma- nently fixed in a closed circle of Hell. Michelangelo has reconciled his past with his present in his ascent from a lower world to his world of experience, and he now concentrates on bringing some part of his present into the future. He hopes to achieve this through pursuing God's Idea of beauty both in his art work and in his soul.
It would not be correct to assume, however, that Michelangelo adhered, till his death, to this philosophy. After , the doctrines of the Counter-Reformation were more stringently enforced and Michelangelo 's group of moderates was compelled to disband. The symbiotic relationship that had developed between his Neoplatonic interpretation of love and his theory of art was ruptured. D'una so '1 certo, e l'altra mi minaccia. The first quatrain applies the familiar nautical imagery to represent the poet's journey toward God.
In bis account to God in this poem, he is first of ali asbamed of bis artistic creations which caused bim to be worshipped as a pagan idol and an earthly king. He then chastizes bimself for the wasted time and energy spent on thoughts of love. The principal cause fot consternation is the uncertainty of the fate of bis soul. While be has reconciled bis love of physical beauty with that of the spiritual beauty of God, he is unable to find any sense of spiritual comfort in bis art work. The movement of ascent, established at the end of the poem, reveals the poet's desire to be enveloped in Christ's arms.
During these remaining years of the artist's life, bis poems express the bope for salvation achieved tbrougb spiritual love. It is a great tragedy that bis art could not bave formed a positive part of bis thoughts on salvation, for bis intellect bad persistently enjoyed such a prominent role in fusing bis theories on art with bis Neoplatonic beliefs. Camerini Milano: Edoardo Sonzogno, , pp.
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The structures of apocalyptic and demonic imagery and their respective terminologies have been adopted from the definitions ascribed to them by N. Michelangelo Buonarroti, "Dimmi di grazia, Amor, se gli occhi mei," in Rime, 2nd ed. BarelH ; rpt. MUano: Rizzoli, , p. Ali subse- quent poems are from this edition. Ficino, p. Paul O. Kristeller discusses Ficino's Pomponazzi's and Pico's theories of man's place in the universe.
Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia, ed. Grandgent and Charles S. Singleton Cambridge, Mass. II, Ficino, pp. Cambridge, Mass. According to Frye, this is a typical female role or attitude in literature: The imagination, as it reflects on this world, sees it as a world of violence and cunning, 'forza' and 'froda. Thus the 'forza-froda' cycle is also that of Ares and Eros, both of which, for human beings, end in Thanatos or death.
Ares and Eros are functionaries of Venus, whose alternative form is Diana of the triple will, the white goddess who always kills, and whose rcbirth is only for herself. Frye ascribes cv'A and mystcrious powers to the mirror image, be it a mirror, a reflecting pool, a picture, tapestry or statue. He states that "[. Frye, The Secular Scripture, pp. Frye, The Secular Scripture, p. In another oration p. Clements, pp. Alma B. Alma Altizer proposes the following explanation for the attribute "trema" referring to his "alma": Fear, throughout Michelangelo's poetry, is associated with beauty whether it be the beauty of art or that of the beloved and desire, which for Michelangelo is ultimately a desire for infinite beauty.
And the desire for infinite beauty is inextricably connected to a yearning for self-liberation — hberation of the soul from the body, and of the spirit from matter. Michelangelo's love poetry, when assembled and read in a loose biographical order, follows to a degree the structural patterns of a romance novel. Through rcgained self-confidence he makes a rcappearance and ascends to his ordinary world of expcrience and beyond, to the extent that his exhaustive concern for the salvation of his soul becomes mystical in nature.
The love poems of Michelangelo, composed up till the latter part of his iife, are the true embodi- ment of the vitality of this extraordinary man who lived each moment of his Iife to its fullest, whether it cast him down into a demonic world or raised him to the heights of heavcn. Bibliography Alighieri, Dante. La Divina Commedia. Grandgent and C. Altizer, Alma B. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, Berni, Francesco. Opere di Francesco Bemi.
Eugenio Camerini. Milano: Edoardo Sonzogno, Blunt, Sir Anthony. Artistic Theory in Italy Oxford: Clarendon Press, Buonarroti, Michelangelo. Giovanni Testori. Ettore Barelli. Milano: Biblioteca Universale Rizzoh, Clements, Robert J. The Poetry of Michelangelo. Ficino, Marsilio. Frye, Northrop. The Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, The Educated Imagination.
The Massey Lectures, 2nd ser. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Hayes Hallock, Ann. Pacific Grovc, Calif. Robb, Nesca Adeline. Neoplatonism of the Italian Renaissance. Si ripensi, ad esempio, alla Natura del Dialogo che presenta alcune analogie con la tradizionale raffigurazione della Sfinge: o piuttosto V Operetta contiene alcuni elementi caratterizzanti il mito della Sfinge ma non nei luoghi loro destinati, quasi si trattasse di una ridistribuzione dei medesimi tratti in un diverso quadro.
L'appari- zione della Natura in un luogo deserto e appoggiata ad una rupe ricorda quella della Sfinge sul monte Ficio, alle porte di Tebe. La qual cosa va pure accadendo a me che la stimava impossibilissima Recanati, 18 Giugno Quale sotterraneo legame induce Leopardi a questa inattesa identi- ficazione? Da un punto di vista filosofico le analogie sono labili ma non meramente fortuite. Sullo sfondo ANCORA SU LEOPARDI 55 dell'idea leopardiana di un universo inteso come "perpetuo circuito di produzione e distruzione, collegate ambedue tra se in maniera, che ciascheduna serve continuamente all'altra, ed alla conservazione del mondo, il qual sempre che cessasse l'una o l'altra di loro, verrebbe parimenti in dissoluzione.
Si ripensi all'esposizione di tale dottrina in Diogene Laerzio: [. L'incontro sembra avvenire piuttosto per vie indirette e tortuose. Nel Saggio sopra gli Errori popolari degli Antichi sono riportate le opinioni del filosofo riguardo al sole. Nello Zibaldone, inoltre, compare una citazione un cui si trovano opposti proprio i due filosofi richiamati nella lettera a Pietro Gior- dani: Valde Heraclitus oscurus; minime Democritus.
In ben due Dialoghi di Seneca ritorna l'opposizione Eraclito-Democrito come esempio di atteggiamenti diversi, pur derivati da un analogo convincimento, di fronte agli uomini, alle cose e a se stessi: In hoc itaque flectendi sumus, ut omnia vulgi vitia non invisa nobis, sed ridicula videantur, et Democritum potius imitemur quam Mera- clitum. Hic enim, quotiens in publicum processerat flebat, ille ride- bat; huic omnia quae agimus miseriae, iUi ineptiae videbantur.
Ele- vanda ergo omnia et facili animo ferenda: humanius est deridere vitam quam deplorare. Ubi istic irae locus est? Venezia Note 1. De Sanctis, Giacomo Leopardi, ed. Binni, Bari , p. Cesare Galimberti che segnala accuratamente gli echi della tradizione classica e cristiana ricorrenti nel Dialogo, nelle note dell'edizione a sua cura di G.
Leopardi, Operette morali, Napoli , pp. Leopardi, Tutte le opere, Firenze , voli. A questa edizione ci si attiene per le citazioni e i riferimenti alle opere di Leopardi presenti in questa nota. Per puntuali riscontri cfr. Galimberti, cit. Ancora C. Seneca, Phoeniss. Praz, La carne la morte e il diavolo nella letteratura romantica, Firenza , p. Per l'analogia fra le "donne fatali" que delineate e la Natura del dialogo leopardiano, si veda G. Getto, Saggi leopardiani, Firenze , p. Sulla formazione erudita di Leopardi e le fonti di essa si vedano gli studi di S. A questa edizione di Diogene Laerzio rinviano anche le note leopardiane alle Operette morali.
Diano e G. Serra, Milano , p. Mazzantini, Eraclito, Torino , p. Inoltre, puntuali rinvii alle voci della Suda sono presenti proprio nelle note dell'Autore alle Operette morali. Lonardi, Classicismo e utopia nella lirica leopardiana, Firenze , pp. Serra, cit. Per il richiamo leopardiano si veda la Palinodia a Gino Capponi, w.
In Lonardi, cit. Leopardi, cit. A conferma della relazione tra questo passo e le dottrine eraclitee si veda C. Dialogo della Natura e di un Islandese, in G. Leopardi , cit. Per la traduzione seguita si veda: Diogene Laerzio, Vite dei filosofi, trad. Gigante, Bari , voi. II, p. Il fuoco vive la morte della terra, l'acqua vive la morte dell'aria, l'aria vive la morte dell'acqua. Tu vedi la successione della vita e la mutazione dei corpi e la continua rinnovazione del mondo. Dialogo della Natura e di un Islandese, cit. I, pp. Lettera a Pietro Giordani, Recanati 18 giugno Traduzione di U.
Curi, in I presocratici, testimonianze e frammenti, Padova , p. De tranquillitate animae, XV, 2. Sottolineatura mia. De Ira, II, 10,5. He is part of the group of "ermetici fiorentini" that includes Mario Luzi. Bigongiari has described his poetry as a "romanzo poetico," a biography that is not only "auto," but encompasses an existential totality that aids in its writing. The following translations of poems taken from Col dito in terra, which appeared in Piero Bigongiari: Poesie, ed.
Silvio Ramar, Milano: Monda- dori, ; see pp. But what do you ask for, host at the aitar ready to melt, flesh into flesh, tongue that multiplies in unpronounced words, you the most brilliant pedal-star multiply among the others leaning where the wind has ceased, luminous, among rays at the end of via del Vento, against a wall: the wind, or which event, which other breath that sharpens the weather-vanes, but now presses the sun down bere into the snail tracks.
I write you from an impossible and real event, impossible because real. Which road more than this governs with its sense among the dead if the smile — ours or which?
Carlo Emilio Gadda - II
Maybe a trace has remained of that God who wrote on the ground before the adulteress to remain unstoned, maybe the stone that was untouched carrics that writing no-one has read, but no-one picked up that stone either, threw it. Which writing to be set beside that writing, which tiredness do the wrists feel pulsing like energy? Oh my dear, the ground you tread upon is indelible, but why does no-one move to read upon the stone of silence untouchable if not with a kiss stili prolonging that silence that weighs no more, the tears I took from you, from the hollow of your eyes, are transparent stones — or maybe words unspoken — to help that God who wrote and re-wrote, toward his last non -sense.
As a trans- lator, he has rendered into Italian the works of Proust, Frenaud, Char, Apoilinaire, and others. He has receivcd many important iiterary prizes, among which are: Premio Viareggio and ; Premio Feltrinelli for Poetry, given by the Accademia dei Lincei, in Por Caproni's complete works, see Tutte le poesie Milano: Garzanti, Such elements clearly work together toward a poetics of silence. Words emerge from the silent whiteness of the page to create a feeling of breaking open, of escape, of questioning even their sparse presence.
The space around the words represents an invading nothingness — a desolate landscape in which the words themseives stand as sign-post warnings to ali travellers. The water-strider As for US, witnesses to the world, ali our testimonies will be lost. The true with the false. Reality with art. We will take the apparent world, and the historical, with us, down into shining and unknown waters whose black veil no water-strider will skate upon no dragonfly fly over in the desert, wholly.
Le vere come le false. And I saw the blank and lost stare and the ragged coat, and his foot his foot tapping on the ice — his hand held out at the end of the stair not as a goodbye, but maybe times were hard to beg. Dopo l'esperienza del Don Quixote nella triplice versione teatrale-televisiva-cinematograflca, l'anonimo testo cinquecentesco rappresenta la prima opera tutta italiana presen- tata da Scaparro e, inoltre, la sua seconda proposta negli Stati Uniti. Gray, lo ha invitato ad assumere la direzione del Institute for Advanced Research in Theatre. E nel corso di questo convegno che abbiamo incontrato il regista italiano.
Ecco la nostra conversazione. Gli direi adesso, col senno di poi: "De Feo, quella era la mia prima regia. Ora ho cercato di farlo. Mi affascinava quella secchezza di scrittura che lo rende modernissimo. They represent an extraordinary variety of voices seeking to be heard about the status of women in Renaissance Italy, ranging from the most conservative to the truly radical.
They provide vital perspectives on constructions of women in the Renaissance. A number of these texts also represent a crucial moment in the development of intellectual strategies to challenge the dominant gender ideologies of Renaissance and early modern Europe. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of Renaissance history and culture, Italian studies, neo-Latin studies, and gender studies.
If you have personal access to this content, log in with your username and password here:. In the fourth, I turn to speak to a person undefined, although defined in my own conception. Some days after the death of this lady, I had occasion to leave the city I speak of, and to go thitherwards where she abode who had formerly been my protection; albeit the end of my journey reached not altogether so far.
And notwithstanding that I was visibly in the company of many, the journey was so irksome that I had scarcely sighing enough to ease my heart's heaviness; seeing that as I went, I left my beatitude behind me. Wherefore it came to pass that he who ruled me by virtue of my most gentle lady was made visible to my mind, in the page: This sonnet has three parts. In the first part, I tell how I met Love, and of his aspect.
In the second, I tell what he said to me, although not in full, through the fear I had of discovering my secret. In the third, I say how he dis- appeared. On my return, I set myself to seek out that lady whom my master had named to me while I journeyed sighing. And because I would be brief, I will now narrate that in a short while I made her my surety, in such sort that the matter was spoken of by many in terms scarcely courteous; through the which I had oftenwhiles many troublesome hours.
And by this it happened to wit: by this false and evil rumour which seemed to mis- fame me of vice that she who was the destroyer of all evil and the queen of all good, coming where I was, denied me her most sweet salutation, in the which alone was my blessedness. And here it is fitting for me to depart a little from this present matter, that it may be rightly understood of what surpassing virtue her salutation was to me. To the which end I say that when she appeared in any place, it seemed to me, by the hope of her excellent salutation, that there was no man mine enemy any longer; and such page: And now, resuming my discourse, I will go on to relate that when, for the first time, this beatitude was denied me, I became possessed with such grief that, parting myself from others, I went into a lonely place to bathe the ground with most bitter tears: and when, by this heat of weeping, I was somewhat relieved, I betook myself to my chamber, where I could lament unheard.
And in my sleep, towards the middle of it, I seemed to see in the room, seated at my side, a youth in very white rai- page: Whereupon, remembering me, I knew that I had beheld this vision during the ninth hour of the day; and I resolved that I would make a ditty, before I left my page: Note: The indentation of line 31 is a typographical error carried over from the edition.
In the other stanzas the seventh line is always aligned with the sixth, and in this line conforms to that same pattern. This ditty is divided into three parts. In the first, I tell it whither to go, and I encourage it, that it may go the more confidently, and I tell it whose company to join if it would go with confidence and without any danger.
In the second, I say that which it behoves the ditty to set forth. In the third, I give it leave to start when it pleases, recommending its course to the arms of Fortune. After this vision I have recorded, and having written those words which Love had dictated to me, I began to be harassed with many and divers thoughts, by each of which I was sorely tempted; and in especial, there were four among them that left me no rest.
And by each one of these thoughts I was so sorely assailed that I was like unto him who doubteth which path to take, and wishing to go, goeth not. This sonnet may be divided into four parts. In the first, I say and propound that all my thoughts are concern- ing Love. In the second, I say that they are diverse, and I relate their diversity. In the third, I say wherein they all seem to agree. In the fourth, I say that, wishing to speak of Love, I know not from which of these thoughts to take my argument; and that if I would take it from all, I shall have to call upon mine enemy, my Lady Pity.
The second begins page: After this battling with many thoughts, it chanced on a day that my most gracious lady was with a gathering of ladies in a certain place; to the which I was conducted by a friend of mine; he thinking to do me a great pleasure by showing me the beauty of so many women. Therefore I, as was my friend's pleasure, resolved to stay with him and do honour to those ladies. But as soon as I had thus resolved, I began to feel a faintness and a throbbing at my left side, which soon took possession of my whole body.
Whereupon I remember that I covertly leaned my back unto a painting that ran round the walls of that house; and being fearful lest my trembling should be discerned of them, I lifted mine eyes to look on those ladies, and then first perceived among them the excellent Beatrice. And when I perceived her, all my senses were overpowered by the great lordship that Love obtained, finding himself so near unto that most gracious being, until nothing but the spirits of sight remained to me; and even these remained driven out of page: This sonnet I divide not into parts, because a division is only made to open the meaning of the thing divided: and this, as it is sufficiently manifest through the reasons given, has no need of division.
True it is that, amid the words whereby is shown the occasion of this sonnet, dubious words are to be found; namely, when I say that Love kills all my spirits, but that the visual remain in life, only outside of their own instruments. And this difficulty it is impossible for any to solve who is not in equal guise liege unto Love; page: A while after this strange disfigurement, I became possessed with a strong conception which left me but very seldom, and then to return quickly.
If she should ask thee this thing, what answer couldst thou make unto her? Whereupon I wrote this sonnet:—. In the first, I tell the cause why I abstain not from coming to this lady. For, in the first, I say what Love, counselled by Reason, tells me when I am near the lady. In the second, I set forth the state of my heart by the example of the face. In the third, I say how all ground of trust fails me. In the fourth, I say that he sins who shows not pity of me, which would give me some comfort. In the last, I say why people should take pity; namely, for the piteous look which comes into mine eyes; which piteous look is destroyed, that is, appeareth not unto others, through the jeering of this lady, who draws to the like action those who perad- venture would see this piteousness.
Thereafter, this sonnet bred in me desire to write down in verse four other things touching my condition, the which things it seemed to me that I had not yet made manifest. The first among these was the grief that possessed me very often, remembering the strange- ness which Love wrought in me; the second was, how Love many times assailed me so suddenly and with such strength that I had no other life remaining except a thought which spake of my lady: the third was, how, when Love did battle with me in this wise, I would rise up all colourless, if so I might see my lady, conceiving that the sight of her would defend me against the assault of Love, and altogether forgetting that which her pre- sence brought unto me; and the fourth was, how, when I saw her, the sight not only defended me not, but took away the little life that remained to me.
And I said these four things in a sonnet, which is this:—. This sonnet is divided into four parts, four things being therein narrated; and as these are set forth above, I only proceed to distinguish the parts by their beginnings. After I had written these three last sonnets, wherein I spake unto my lady, telling her almost the whole of my condition, it seemed to me that I should be silent, having said enough concerning myself.
But albeit I spake not to her again, yet it behoved me afterward to write of another matter, more noble than the foregoing. And for that the occasion of what I then wrote may be found pleasant in the hearing, I will relate it as briefly as I may. Through the sore change in mine aspect, the secret of my heart was now understood of many. Which thing being thus, there came a day when certain ladies to whom it was well known they having been with me at divers times in my trouble were met together for the pleasure of gentle company. And as I was going that way by chance, but I think rather by the will of fortune, I heard one of them call unto me, and she that called was a lady of very sweet speech.
And when I had come close up with them, and perceived that they had not among them mine excellent lady, I was reassured; and saluted them, asking of their pleasure. The ladies page: Then I, being almost put to shame because of her answer, went out from among them; and as I walked, page: Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin including all of page 58 and continuing to the end of the poem on page This poem, that it may be better understood, I will divide more subtly than the others preceding; and therefore I will make three parts of it.
The first part is a proem to the words following. The second is the matter treated of. The third is, as it were, a handmaid to the preceding words. In the first, I say to whom I mean to speak of my lady, and wherefore I will so speak. In the second, I say what she appears to myself to be when I reflect upon her excellence, and what I would utter if I lost not courage. In the third, I say what it is I purpose to speak, so as not to be impeded by faintheartedness.
In the fourth, repeating to whom I purpose speaking, I tell the reason why I speak to them. Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin of this page. When this song was a little gone abroad, a certain one of my friends, hearing the same, was pleased to question me, that I should tell him what thing love is; it may be, conceiving from the words thus heard a hope of me beyond my desert. Wherefore I, thinking that after such discourse it were well to say somewhat of the nature of Love, and also in accordance with my friend's desire, proposed to myself to write certain words in the which I should treat of this argument.
And the sonnet that I then made is this:—. In the first, I speak of him according to his power. Having treated of love in the foregoing, it appeared to me that I should also say something in praise of my lady, wherein it might be set forth how love manifested itself when produced by her; and how not only she could awaken it where it slept, but where it was not she could marvellously create it.
To the which end I wrote another sonnet; and it is this:—. This sonnet has three sections. In the first, I say how this lady brings this power into action by those most noble features, her eyes; and, in the third, I say this same as to that most noble feature, her mouth. In the second, I say how she brings Love, in act, into the hearts of all those whom she sees.
In the third, I tell what she afterwards, with virtue, operates upon their hearts. Only, I say not of this last how it operates upon the hearts of others, because memory cannot retain this smile, nor its operation. Not many days after this, it being the will of the most High God, who also from Himself put not away death , page: Wherefore afterwards, having considered and per- ceiving that there was herein matter for poesy, I resolved that I would write certain rhymes in the which should be contained all that those ladies had said.
And because I would willingly have spoken to them if it had not been for discreetness, I made in my rhymes as though I had spoken and they had answered me. And thereof I wrote two sonnets; in the first of which I addressed them as I would fain have done; and in the second related their answer, using the speech that I had heard from them, as though it had been spoken unto myself.
And the sonnets are these:—. In the first, I call and ask these ladies whether they come from her, telling them that I think they do, because they return the nobler. This sonnet has four parts, as the ladies in whose person I reply had four forms of answer. And, because these are sufficiently shown above, I stay not to explain the purport of the parts, and therefore I only discriminate them.
A few days after this, my body became afflicted with a painful infirmity, whereby I suffered bitter anguish for many days, which at last brought me unto such weakness that I could no longer move. And I remember that on the ninth day, being overcome with intolerable pain, a thought came into my mind concerning my lady: but when it had a little nourished this thought, my mind returned to its brooding over mine enfeebled body.
Then the sun went out, so that the stars showed themselves, and they were of such a colour that I knew they must be weeping: and it seemed to me that the birds fell dead out of the sky, and that there were great earthquakes. With that, while I wondered in my trance, and was filled with a grievous fear, I conceived that a certain friend page: And as I said these words, with a painful anguish of sobbing and another prayer unto Death, a young and gentle lady, who had been standing beside me where I lay, conceiving that I wept and cried out because of the pain of mine infirmity, was taken with trembling and began to shed tears.
But albeit I had indeed uttered her name, yet my voice was so broken with sobs, that it was not understood by these ladies; so that in spite of the sore shame that I felt, I turned towards them by Love's counselling. Then I, being somewhat reassured, and having perceived that it was a mere phantasy, said page: Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin next to the last stanza. Note: The indentation of line 77 is a typographical error. In the other stanzas the seventh line is aligned with the sixth, and in this line conforms to that same pattern.
This poem has two parts. In the first, speaking to a person undefined, I tell how I was aroused from a vain phantasy by certain ladies, and how I promised them to tell what it was. In the second, I say how I told them. In the first, I tell that which certain ladies, and which one singly, did and said because of my phantasy, before I had returned into my right senses.
In the first, I tell, in order, this imagination. After this empty imagining, it happened on a day, as I sat thoughtful, that I was taken with such a strong trembling at the heart, that it could not have been other- wise in the presence of my lady. Whereupon I per- ceived that there was an appearance of Love beside me, page: Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin from this page through the paragraph ending at the top of page A short while after these words which my heart spoke to me with the tongue of Love, I saw coming towards me a certain lady who was very famous for her beauty, and of whom that friend whom I have already called the first among my friends had long been enamoured.
This lady's right name was Joan; but because of her comeli- ness or at least it was so imagined she was called of many Primavera Spring , and went by that name among them. Then looking again, I perceived that the most noble Beatrice followed after her. And I wrote this sonnet:—. Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin next to this entire poem. This sonnet has many parts: whereof the first tells how I felt awakened within my heart the accustomed tremor, and how it seemed that Love appeared to me joyful from afar.
The second says how it appeared to me that Love spake within my heart, and what was his aspect. The third tells how, after he had in such wise been with me a space, I saw and heard certain things. In the first, I say what I saw. Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin from here to the end of page It might be here objected unto me, and even by one worthy of controversy, that I have spoken of Love as though it were a thing outward and visible: not only a spiritual essence, but as a bodily substance also.
The which thing, in absolute truth, is a fallacy; Love not being of itself a substance, but an accident of substance. Yet that I speak of Love as though it were a thing tangible and even human, appears by three things which I say thereof. And firstly, I say that I perceived Love coming towards me; whereby, seeing that to come be- speaks locomotion, and seeing also how philosophy teacheth us that none but a corporeal substance hath locomotion, it seemeth that I speak of Love as of a cor- poreal substance.
And secondly, I say that Love smiled; and thirdly, that Love spake; faculties and especially page: Manuscript Addition:! Editorial Description: A penciled exclamation mark appears in the margin next to the first three lines of the page. Note: The footnote receives particular emphasis with a penciled vertical line.
With Lucan, the animate thing speaketh to the in- animate; as thus: Multum, Roma, tamen debes civilibus armis. In Horace man is made to speak to his own in- telligence as unto another person; and not only hath Horace done this but herein he followeth the excellent Homer, as thus in his Poetics: Dic mihi, Musa, virum, etc.
Through Ovid, Love speaketh as a human creature, in the beginning of his discourse De Remediis Amoris: as thus: Bella mihi video, bella parantur, ait. By which en- samples this thing shall be made manifest unto such as may be offended at any part of this my book. And lest some of the common sort should be moved to jeering hereat, I will here add, that neither did these ancient poets speak thus without consideration, nor should they who are makers of rhyme in our day write after the same fashion, having no reason in what they write; for it were a shameful thing if one should rhyme under the semblance of metaphor or rhetorical similitude, and afterwards, being questioned thereof, should be unable to rid his words of such semblance, unto their right understanding.
Of whom, to wit, of such as rhyme page: But returning to the matter of my discourse. This excellent lady, of whom I spake in what hath gone before, came at last into such favour with all men, that when she passed anywhere folk ran to behold her; which thing was a deep joy to me: and when she drew near unto any, so much truth and simpleness entered into his heart, that he dared neither to lift his eyes nor to return her salutation: and unto this, many who have felt it can bear witness. These things, and things yet more wonderful, were brought to pass through her miraculous virtue.
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Wherefore I, considering thereof and wishing to resume the endless tale of her praises, resolved to write somewhat wherein I might dwell on her sur- passing influence; to the end that not only they who had beheld her, but others also, might know as much con- cerning her as words could give to the understanding. And it was then that I wrote this sonnet:—.
Note: A vertical line has been penciled in next to this entire poem. Lines receive particular emphasis. This sonnet is so easy to understand, from what is afore narrated, that it needs no division; and therefore, leaving it, I say also that this excellent lady came into such favour with all men, that not only she herself was honoured and commended; but through her companion- ship, honour and commendation came unto others.
Wherefore I, perceiving this and wishing that it should also be made manifest to those that beheld it not, wrote the sonnet here following; wherein is signified the power which her virtue had upon other ladies:—. In the first, I say in what company this lady appeared most wondrous. In the second, I say how gracious was her society. In the third, I tell of the things which she, with power, worked upon others. In the first, I tell what she operated upon women, that is, by their own faculties.
In the second, I tell what she operated in them through others. In the third, I say how she not only operated in women, but in all people; and not only while herself present, but, by memory of her, operated won- drously. Thereafter on a day, I began to consider that which I had said of my lady: to wit, in these two sonnets afore- gone: and becoming aware that I had not spoken of her immediate effect on me at that especial time, it seemed to me that I had spoken defectively. Whereupon I resolved to write somewhat of the manner wherein I was page: And the reasons are three.
The first is, that such matter belongeth not of right to the present argument, if one consider the opening of this little book. The second is, that even though the present argument required it, my pen doth not suffice to write in a fit manner of this thing. And the third is, that were it both possible and of absolute necessity, it would still be unseemly for me to speak thereof, seeing that thereby it must behove me to speak also mine own praises: a thing that in whosoever doeth it is worthy of blame.
For the which reasons, I will leave this matter to be treated of by some other than myself. Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin next to the following two paragraphs. Nevertheless, as the number nine, which number hath often had mention in what hath gone before, and not, as it might appear, without reason , seems also to have borne a part in the manner of her death: it is therefore right that I should say somewhat thereof. And for this cause, having first said what was the part it bore herein, I will afterwards point out a reason which made that this number was so closely allied unto my lady.
I say, then, that according to the division of time in Italy, her most noble spirit departed from among us in the first hour of the ninth day of the month; and according to the division of time in Syria, in the ninth month of page: Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin next to the footnote. Manuscript Addition: X. And touching the reason why this number was so closely allied unto her, it may peradventure be this.
According to Ptolemy, and also to the Christian verity, the revolving heavens are nine; and according to the common opinion among astrologers, these nine heavens together have influence over the earth. Wherefore it would appear that this number was thus allied unto her for the purpose of signifying that, at her birth, all these nine heavens were at perfect unity with each other as to their influence. This is one reason that may be brought: but more narrowly considering, and according to the infallible truth, this number was her own self: that is to say by similitude.
As thus. The number three is the root of the number nine; seeing that without the inter- position of any other number, being multiplied merely by itself, it produceth nine, as we manifestly perceive that three times three are nine. After this most gracious creature had gone out from among us, the whole city came to be as it were widowed and despoiled of all dignity. Then I, left mourning in this desolate city, wrote unto the principal persons thereof, in an epistle, concerning its condition; taking for my commencement those words of Jeremias: Quo- modo sedet sola civitas!
And I make mention of this, that none may marvel wherefore I set down these words before, in beginning to treat of her death. Also if any should blame me, in that I do not transcribe that epistle whereof I have spoken, I will make it mine excuse that I began this little book with the intent that it should be written altogether in the vulgar tongue; wherefore, seeing that the epistle I speak of is in Latin, it belongeth not to mine undertaking: more especially as I know that my chief friend, for whom I write this book, wished also that the whole of it should be in the vulgar tongue.
Note: A vertical line has been penciled in from here to the end of the page. When mine eyes had wept for some while, until they were so weary with weeping that I could no longer through them give ease to my sorrow, I bethought me that a few mournful words might stand me instead of page: That this poem may seem to remain the more widowed at its close, I will divide it before writing it; and this method I will observe henceforward.
I say that this poor little poem has three parts. The first is a prelude. In the second, I speak of her. In the third, I speak pitifully to the poem. In the first, I say what moves me to speak. In the second, I say to whom I mean to speak. In the third, I say of whom I mean to speak. In the first, I say who it is that weeps her not. In the second, I say who it is that doth weep her. In the third, I speak of my condition. Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin next to the entire poem.
The last half of stanza 2 receives particular emphasis. After I had written this poem, I received the visit of a friend whom I counted as second unto me in the degrees of friendship, and who, moreover, had been united by the nearest kindred to that most gracious creature.
And when we had a little spoken together, he began to solicit me that I would write somewhat in memory of a lady who had died; and he disguised his speech, so as to seem to be speaking of another who was but lately dead: wherefore I, perceiving that his speech was of none other than that blessed one herself, told him that it should be done as he required.
Then page: This sonnet has two parts. In the first, I call the Faithful of Love to hear me. In the second, I relate my miserable condition. But when I had written this sonnet, bethinking me who he was to whom I was to give it, that it might appear to be his speech, it seemed to me that this was but a poor and barren gift for one of her so near kindred. Wherefore, before giving him this sonnet, I wrote two page: In the first, that is, in the first stanza, this my dear friend, her kinsman, laments. On that day which fulfilled the year since my lady had been made of the citizens of eternal life, remem- bering me of her as I sat alone, I betook myself to draw the resemblance of an angel upon certain tablets.
And while I did thus, chancing to turn my head, I perceived that some were standing beside me to whom I should have given courteous welcome, and that they were observing what I did: also I learned afterwards that they had been there a while before I perceived them. I say that, according to the first, this sonnet has three parts. In the first, I say that this lady was then in my memory. In the second, I tell what Love therefore did with me. In the third, I speak of the effects of Love. In the one, I say that all my sighs issued speaking. In the other, I say how some spoke certain words different from the others.
Then, having sat for some space sorely in thought because of the time that was now past, I was so filled with dolorous imaginings that it became outwardly mani- fest in mine altered countenance. Whereupon, feeling this and being in dread lest any should have seen me, I lifted mine eyes to look; and then perceived a young and very beautiful lady, who was gazing upon me from a window with a gaze full of pity, so that the very sum of pity appeared gathered together in her. And seeing that unhappy persons, when they beget compassion in others, are then most moved unto weeping, as though they also felt pity for themselves, it came to pass that mine eyes began to be inclined unto tears.
Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin to note the last half of this paragraph. It happened after this, that whensoever I was seen of this lady, she became pale and of a piteous countenance, as though it had been with love; whereby she remem- bered me many times of my own most noble lady, who was wont to be of a like paleness. And I know that often, when I could not weep nor in any way give ease unto mine anguish, I went to look upon this lady, who seemed to bring the tears into my eyes by the mere sight of her.
Note: A vertical line has been penciled in the margin from this paragraph to the bottom of the page. And will ye now forget this thing because a lady looketh upon you? But whatso ye can, that do ye, accursed eyes! And page: The sonnet has two parts. In the first, I speak to my eyes, as my heart spoke within myself.
In this sonnet I make myself into two, according as my thoughts were divided one from the other. Transcribed Footnote page : ation of this passage in Dante's later work, the Convito would of course imply an admission of what I believe to lie at the heart of all true Dantesque commentary; that is, the existence always of the actual events even where the allegorical superstructure has been raised by Dante himself. But against this adversary of reason, there rose up in me on a certain day, about the ninth hour, a strong visible phantasy, wherein I seemed to behold the most gracious Beatrice, habited in that crimson raiment which she had worn when I had first beheld her; also she appeared to me of the same tender age as then.
Where- upon I fell into a deep thought of her: and my memory ran back, according to the order of time, unto all those matters in the which she had borne a part; and my heart began painfully to repent of the desire by which it had so basely let itself be possessed during so many days, contrary to the constancy of reason.
And then, this evil desire being quite gone from me, all my thoughts turned again unto their excellent Beatrice. And I say most truly that from that hour I thought con- stantly of her with the whole humbled and ashamed heart; the which became often manifest in sighs, that had among them the name of that most gracious creature, and how she departed from us. Also it would come to pass very often, through the bitter anguish of some one thought, that I forgot both it, and myself, and where I was.
By this increase of sighs, my weeping, which before page: This sonnet I do not divide, since its purport is manifest enough.
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And certain among these pilgrims, who seemed very thoughtful, passed by a path which is well-nigh in the midst of the city where my most gracious lady was born, and abode, and at last died. Their thoughts are not of her, but of other things; it may be, of their friends who are far distant, and whom we, in our turn, know not. And when the last of them had gone by me, I be- thought me to write a sonnet, showing forth mine inward speech; and that it might seem the more pitiful, I made as though I had spoken it indeed unto them.
General, so far as any man may be called a pilgrim who leaveth the place of his birth; whereas, more narrowly speaking, he only is a pilgrim who goeth towards or frowards the House of St. For there are three separate denominations proper unto those who undertake journeys to the glory of God. They are called Palmers who go beyond the seas eastward, whence often they bring palm-branches. And Pilgrims, as I have said, are they who journey unto the holy House of Gallicia; seeing that no other apostle was buried so far from his birth-place as was the blessed Saint James.
And there is a third sort who are called Romers; in that they go whither these whom I have called pilgrims went: which is to say, unto Rome. This sonnet is not divided, because its own words suffi- ciently declare it. A while after these things, two gentle ladies sent unto me, praying that I would bestow upon them certain of these my rhymes.
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And I taking into account their worthiness and consideration, resolved that I would write also a new thing, and send it them together with those others, to the end that their wishes might be more honourably fulfilled. This sonnet comprises five parts. In the first, I tell whither my thought goeth, naming the place by the name of one of its effects. In the second, I say wherefore it goeth up, and who makes it go thus. In the third, I tell what it saw, namely, a lady honoured. In the fourth, I say how the spirit sees her such that is, in such quality that I cannot page: And to this end I labour all I can; as she well knoweth.
Wherefore if it be His pleasure through whom is the life of all things, that my life continue with me a few years, it is my hope that I shall yet write concerning her what hath not before been written of any woman. Note: The inital letter of each poem throughout the remainder of the book is set as a dropped capital. Sent with the Vita Nuova.