Love Poems

Voi, donne, che pietoso atto mostrate
 
Voi, donne, che pietoso atto mostrate,
chi esta donna che giace si venta?
sarebbe quella ch’ nel mio cor penta?
Deh, s’ella dessa, pi non mel celate.
 
Ben ha le sue sembianze s cambiate,            5
e la figura sua mi par s spenta,
ch’al mio parere ella non rappresenta
quella che fa parer l’altre beate.
 
“Se nostra donna conoscer non pi,
ch’ s conquisa, non mi par gran fatto,         10
per che quel medesmo avvenne a noi.
 
Ma se tu mirerai il gentil atto
de li occhi suoi, conosceraila poi:
non pianger pi, tu se’ gi tutto sfatto”.
 
 
Un d si venne a me Malinconia
 
Un d si venne a me Malinconia
e disse: “Io voglio un poco stare teco”;
e parve a me ch’ella menasse seco
Dolore e lra per sua compagnia.
 
E io le dissi: “Partiti, va’ via”;                         5
ed ella mi rispose come un greco:
e ragionando a grande agio meco,
guardai e vidi Amore, che venia
 
vestito di novo d’un drappo nero,
e nel suo capo portava un cappello;              10
e certo lacrimava pur di vero.
 
Ed eo li dissi: “Che hai, cattivello?”
Ed el rispose: “Eo ho guai e pensero,
ch nostra donna mor, dolce fratello”.
 
Women, Who Now to Me Such Kindness Show
 
“Women, who now to me such kindness show,
who is this lady that so vanquished lies?
Is she the one who’s painted in my heart?
Oh, if she is, conceal it not from me.
 
Surely, I see her features altered so,                        5
and her whole figure seems to be so spent,
that, oh, no longer does she represent
the one who makes all others blissful glow.”
 
“No wonder you have failed to recognize
our lady, who appears so much distressed:             10
this very thing has happened to us all.
 
But if you bring to mind the gentleness
of her sweet eyes, you’ll know her at her best:
then cry no more in all your wretchedness.”
 
 
Once Melancholy Came and Said to Me
 
Once Melancholy came and said to me,
“I want to stay a little while with you.”
It seemed to me that she had brought along
Sorrow and Anger for her company.
 
I said to her, “Away! Away from me,”                        5
but she replied to me just like a Greek;
she with great ease continued then to speak,
and, as I looked, I saw Love coming near,
 
dressed in a mantle that was new and black,
and with a cap that covered all his hair:                  10
it also looked that he was truly crying.“
 
What is it, naughty imp?” I said to him.
And answered he, “I’m sad and in despair,
because our lady, brother dear, is dying.”

Notes:

Women, Who Now To Me Such Kindness Show / (Voi, donne, che pietoso atto mostrate)
 
Undoubtedly this sonnet is linked to the preceding one and to Vita Nuova, 22 (“O you who wear such countenance of love”). The quatrains contain the question as to the identity of the woman; noteworthy is the Sicilian image of the painting. The positive answer is furnished in the two tercets and confirmed by her virtue “the gentleness of her sweet eyes.”

Once Melancholy Came and Said to Me / (Un d si venne a me Malinconia)

The sonnet foretells the imminent death of the gentle lady, as in Vita Nuova, 22 (Donna pietosa e di novella etade). Melancholy is the black bile, traditionally a stronger humor than it is considered today. She is, allegorically, accompanied by Sorrow and Anger, distinctly connected with Melancholy as humors. The word “greco” meant “proud, haughty” as the Greeks were held to be.

The notion of mourning is expressed in lines 9-10. To dress anew in black meant to dress in mourning.


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