Love Poems

Di donne io vidi una gentile schiera
 
Di donne vidi io vidi una gentile schiera
questo Ognissanti prossimo passato,
e una ne venia quasi imprimiera,
veggendosi l’Amor dal destro lato.
 
De gli occhi suoi gittava una lumera,               5
la qual parea un spirito infiammato;
e i’ ebbi tanto ardir, ch’in la sua cera
guarda’, [e vidi] un angiol figurato.
 
A chi era degno donava salute
co gli atti suoi quella benigna e piana,           10
e ‘mpiva ‘l core a ciascun di vertute.
 
Credo che de lo ciel fosse soprana,
e venne in terra per nostra salute:
l ‘nd’ beata chi l’ prossimana.

 

Onde venite voi cos pensose?
 
Onde venite voi cos pensose?
Ditemel, s’a voi place, in cortesia,
ch’i’ ho dottanza che la donna mia
non vi faccia tornar cos dogliose.
 
Deh, gentil donne, non siate sdegnose,          5
n di ristare alquanto in questa via
e dire al doloroso che disia
udir de la sua donna alquante cose,
 
avvegna che gravoso m’ l’udire:
s m’ha in tutto Amor da s scacciato,          10
ch’ogni suo atto mi trae a ferire.
 
Guardate bene s’i’ son consumato,
ch’ogni mio spirto comincia a fuggire,
se da voi, donne, non son confortato.
 
A Gentle Throng of Women Did I See
 
A gentle throng of women did I see
on this All Saint’s Day, not too long ago;
and one of them almost in front I saw,
with Love that seemed at her right side to be.
 
Such a true light did from her glances flee,                5
it seemed a spirit flaming and aglow;
I grew so bold that in her face I saw
the image of an angel verily.
 
By her sweet gestures, so benign and plain,
was every worthy soul most fortified,                       10
and every heart replete with sudden mirth.
 
Surely my lady was in heaven queen,
and came for our salvation on this earth:
oh, blessed she, now walking by her side!

 

Where Are You Coming From, Looking so Pensive
 
Where are you coming from, looking so pensive?
Oh, tell me, in the name of courtesy.
‘Tis from my lady (oh, the fear in me!)
that you are coming back, so apprehensive.
 
O gentle ladies, please, do not refuse                       5
to pause a fleeting moment in this street,
and speak to one who grieves, and only waits
to hear about his lady any news—
 
however painful it may prove to me!
Love has so fully chased me from his sight              10
that everything he does, now wounds me more.
 
That I am all consumed, well you can see:
my every spirit will depart, therefore,
if you, sweet ladies, do not comfort me.

Notes:

A Gentle Throng Of Women Did I See / (Di donne io vidi una gentile schiera)

This sonnet contains all the themes of the sweet new style; the woman’s virtue, the salutiferous greeting, her descent from heaven viewed as miracle, her comparison to an angel. Unlike Vita Nuova, 14, this gathering takes place on All Saints Day (November 1) a Christian feast in which popular traditions had adopted the festivity for the beginning of winter as in the Celtic calendar and tradition.

Where Are You Coming From, Looking So Pensive / (Onde venite voi cos pensose)

Sonnet composed on the same occasion as the one titled “Voi che portate la sembianza umile” (O you who wear such countenance of love), recording the death of Beatrice’s father. This poem, however, is stylistically inferior: it stresses the poet’s own pain and his desire of consolation, having been so undone and consumed. Dante the poet, in his workshop, excluded it from the Vita Nuova.


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