Love Poems

Per una ghirlandetta
 
Per una ghirlandetta
ch’io vidi, mi farà
sospirare ogni fiore.
 
l’ vidi a voi, donna, portare
ghirlandetta di fior gentile,                        5
e sovr’a lei vidi volare
un angiolel d’amore umile;
e ‘n suo cantar sottile dicea:
“Chi mi vedrà
lauderà ‘l mio signore”.                           10
 
Se io sarò là dove sia
Fioretta mia bella a sentire,
allor dirò la donna mia
che port’in testa i miei sospire.
Ma per crescer disire                              15
mia donna verrà
coronata da Amore.
 
Le parolette mie novelle,
che di fiori fatto han ballata,
per leggiadria ci hanno tolt’elle                20
una vesta ch’altrui fu data:
però siate pregate,
qual uom la canterà,
che li facciate onore.
 
For a Small Wreath I Saw
 
For a small wreath I saw
I from now on
for every bud shall sigh.
 
Lady, I saw some bright
fresh flowers brought to you,                                 5
and, ‘round them in his flight,
a loving angel I could view,
who, in his music new,
sang, “Everyone who sees
my beauty, will his Maker praise.”                        10
 
Oh, if I’m ever there,
where this Fioretta is,
I’ll be conversant with my lady fair,
who carries round her head my every sigh.
But, oh, to make me yearn for more that this,        15
my lady’ll come to me,
wearing the crown of Love.
 
These youthful words of mine,
that of such blossoms weave a ballad fair,
most gracefully have ta’en                                   20
a dress that others wear;
therefore, I beg of you,
on every man who sings it
bestow the praises due.

Notes:

For A Small Wreath I Saw / (Per una ghirlandetta)
 
This is considered the first of Dante’s ballads, written under the influence of Cavalcanti. Fioretta may be a senhal or a real person, (Contini considers her the first screen-lady). The whole ballad, however, is built around her name. On “May-day” it was customary to wear garlands of flowers and it was on this day in 1274 that Dante first met Beatrice.

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