Poems of Correspondence

A Lippo (Pasci Dei Bardi?)
 
Se Lippo amico se’ tu che mi leggi,
davanti che proveggi
a le parole che dir ti prometto,
da parte di colui che mi t’ha scritto
in tua balia mi metto                                 5
e recoti salute quali eleggi.
 
Per tuo onor audir prego mi deggi
e con l’udir richeggi
ad ascoltar la mente e lo ‘ntelletto:
io che m’appello umile sonetto,                 10
davanti al tuo cospetto
vegno, perché al non caler [non] feggi.
 
Lo qual ti guido esta pulcella nuda,
che ven di dietro a me sì vergognosa,
ch’a torno gir non osa,                              15
perch’ella non ha vesta in che si chiuda;
 
e priego il gentil cor che ‘n te risposa
che la rivesta e tegnala per druda,
sì che sia sconosciuda
e possa andar là ‘vunque è disïosa.           20
 
To Lippo (Pasci De’ Bardi?)
 
Lippo, if you, who read me, are my friend,
before you lend your ear
to all the things I’m eager now to say,
I, in the name of him, who bids me write,
your servant wish to be,                                   5
and send you greetings that you well expect
 
For your own sake then, listen to my plea
and in my favor turn
at once all of your mind and intellect:
a humble sonnet I am called, and come           10
before you to declare
never could I your disapproval bear.
 
This naked maiden I have brought to you:
she is behind me –look!—so bashful that
she dreads to go around                                 15
and craves a dress her nakedness to hide.
 
I beg the gentle heart that in you dwells
to clothe her and keep her as your own,
so that she may be known
and henceforth move where she desires to go.   20

Notes:

Lippo, if you, who read me are my friend / (Se Lippo amico se’ tu che mi leggi)

This double-sonnet was sent to accompany the poem “lo meo servente core.” Lippo Pasci de’ Bardi was a Florentine poet, perhaps a friend of Dante, who set to music the verse describing the “naked maiden.” Contini prefers this interpretation to others.


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