- Dante a Messer Betto Brunelleschi
- Messer Brunetto, questa pulzelletta
con esso voi si ven la pasqua a fare:
non intendete pasqua di mangiare,
ch’ella non mangia, anzi vuol esser letta.
- La sua sentenzia non richiede fretta,
né luogo di romor né da giullare;
anzi si vuol più volte lusingare
prima che ‘n intelletto altrui si metta.
- Se voi non la intendete in questa guisa,
in vostra gente ha molti frati Alberti
da intender ciò ch’è posto loro in mano.
- Con lor vi restringete sanza risa;
e se li altri de’ dubbi non son certi,
ricorrete a la fine a messer Giano.
- Dante to Messer Betto Brunelleschi
- Messer Brunetto, this young lady’s
to come and spend the Easter there with you—
oh, not an Easter at your table set,
for one eats not, who cares but to be read.
- Her sentences are easy on your
and shun the place of noisy troubadours;
in fact, herself she flatters more than not
before someone’s opinion she endures.
- If you refuse to take her as she is,
many a Brother Albert in your
will understand what’s placed now in his hand.
- Stay without laughing with such
if they themselves have doubts about all this,
to Messer Giano’s home go in the end.
Messer Brunetto, this young lady’s
glad / (Messer Brunetto, questa pulzelletta)
The historical identity of this
Betto Brunelleschi is hard to establish. Contini opts for one Brunetto
Brunelleschi who slew one Pazzino de’ Pazzi as mentioned in Dino Compagni’s Cronica
(II,xxvi), a violent man of the Black faction.
2-3. “Easter,” meant a religious
feast in general. “Pasqua di mangiare,” here translated as “Easter at your
table set,” meant Easter of Resurrection. Dante is poking irony at Betto and
his companions as bon vivants and lacking in intelligence.
“A Brother Albert,” means a
good interpreter, derived from Albert the Great who was an excellent
interpreter of Scriptures and Aristotle.“Messer Giano” probably alludes to
Vieri di Torrigiano de’ Cerchi, but some held that this was Jean de Meung, the
author of the second part of the Roman de la Rose. Both names, frate
Alberto and messer Giano, are used ironically as if to say: if you do not
understand, go ask these masters.