Later Poems

Parole mie che per lo mondo siete
 
Parole mie che per lo mondo siete,
voi che nasceste poi ch’io cominciai
a dir per quella donna in cui errai:
“Voi che ‘ntendendo il terzo ciel movete”,
 
andatevene a lei, che la sapete,                      5
chiamando sì ch’ell’oda i vostri guai;
ditele: “Noi siam vostre, ed unquemai
più che noi siamo non ci vederete”.
 
Con lei non state, ché non v’è Amore;
ma gite a torno in abito dolente                     10
a guisa de le vostre antiche sore.
 
Quando trovate donna di valore,
gittatelevi a’ piedi umilemente,
dicendo: “A voi dovem noi fare onore”.
 
 
O dolci rime che parlando andate
 
O dolci rime che parlando andate
de la donna gentil che l’altre onora,
a voi verrà, se non è giunto ancora,
un che direte: “Questi è nostro frate”.
 
Io vi scongiuro che non l’ascoltiate,                 5
per quel signor che le donne innamora
ché ne la sua sentenzia non dimora
cosa che amica sia di veritate.
 
E se voi foste per le sue parole
mosse a venire inver la donna vostra,              10
non v’arrestate, ma venite a lei.
 
Dite: “Madonna, la venuta nostra
è per raccomandarvi un che si dole,
dicendo: ‘Ov’è ‘l disio de li occhi miei?”’
 
Due donne in cima de la mente mia
 
Due donne in cima de la mente mia
venute son a ragionar d’amore:
l’una ha in sé cortesia e valore,
prudenza e onestà in compagnia;
 
l’altra ha bellezza e vaga leggiadria,                 5
adorna gentilezza le fa onore:
e io, merzé del dolce mio signore,
mi sto a piè de la lor signoria.
 
Parlan Bellezza e Virtù a l’intelletto,
e fan quistion come un cor puote stare          10
infra due donne con amor pefetto.
 
Risponde il fonte del gentil parlare
ch’amar si può bellezza per diletto,
e puossi amar virtù per operare.
 
O Words of Mine, Now Going Through the World
 
O words of mine, now going through the world,
you who were born the day when I began
to say of her who caused my every sin,
“O Intelligences moving the third heaven,”
 
go to her, all of you, who know her well,                 5
and call out loud to make your troubles heard. 
Say, “We belong to you, and nevermore
are you to see us closer than we are.”
 
Do not remain with her, for Love’s not there,
but wander elsewhere in your mourning dress,      10
as your own older sisters did before.
 
And, if a worthy woman comes in view,
throw yourselves humbly at her feet, and say,
“Here we have come, only to honor you.”
 
 
O Soothing Rhymes that Praise Along Your Way
 
O soothing rhymes that praise along your way
the gentle one who endears the female throng,
approaching you, you’ll see one before long,
who will, “This is our brother,” make you say.
 
Oh, do not heed him, I most humbly pray,              5
as the great lord who enamours ladies so,
for in his utterings not one thing dwells
that you may ever call a friend of truth.
 
But should you ever by his phrases be
moved to approach your lady once again,             10
then do not stop but quickly come to her.
 
and say to her, “We have come here, o Lady
to recommend to you one who grieves most,
saying, ‘Oh where is she my eyes desire?’”
 
Two Women at the Summit of My Mind
 
Two women at the summit of my mind
have come here to converse of love with me:
the first of them is virtuous and kind,
and has for friends prudence and honesty;
 
the other is adorned with every kind                       5
of charm and beauty and humility:
and, thanks to my sweet Lord, I humbly bind
all that I am to all their sovereignty.
 
Virtue and beauty charge my intellect,
debating how a human heart may be                    10
between two women with a perfect love.
 
That fountain of sweet words replies, and says
that beauty can be loved as sheer delight
while virtue can be loved to live and act.

Notes:

O Words Of Mine, Now Going Through The World / (Parole mie, che per lo mondo siete)
 
This elegiac sonnet is “sister” to those dolorous rhymes mentioned in the note [previous poem] to the sonnet O dolci rime che parlando andate (O soothing rhymes that praise along your way) should precede chronologically the poem O dolci rime che parlando andate. It alludes to the rhymes written for “the gentle lady” (Convivio), the philosophical and allegorical verses which began with the canzone Voi che ‘ntendendo il terzo ciel movete (O Intelligences moving the Third Heaven). Dante remarks that he no longer intends to write in that allegorical vein. It might be, then, the end of that cycle.
 
O Soothing Rhymes That Praise Along Your Way / (O dolci rime che parlando andate)
 
This sonnet supposedly accompanies another, (Parole mie che per lo mondo siete, Barbi’s 84). It is kindred to the other dolorous rhymes for Beatrice, such as the one in Vita Nuova, 13-16, and the ones titled Lo doloroso amor (Barbi 68), Ne le man vostre (Barbi 66), here entitled: The painful love that leads me unto death, and My gentle lady, into those your hands. The poet here bids the sonnet to visit the gentle woman and recommend the distressed lover to her.
 
Two Women at The Summit of My Mind / (Due donne in cima de la mente mia)
 
This poem has a disputation, a conflict between Beauty and Virtue, anticipating, partially, the theme of the canzone Tre donne intorno al cor. The conclusion represents the ideal unity of contemplative and active life, of aesthetic pleasure and virtuous comportment. “That fountain of sweet words,” means Love.

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