Love Poems

Sonar bracchetti, e cacciatori aizzare
 
Sonar bracchetti, e cacciatori aizzare,
lepri levare, ed isgridar le genti,
e di guinzagli uscir veltri correnti,
per belle piagge volgere e imboccare,
 
assai credo che deggia dilettare                 5
libero core e van d’intendimenti!
Ed io, fra li amorosi pensamenti,
d’uno sono schernito in tale affare,
 
e dicemi esto motto per usanza:
“Or ecco leggiadria di gentil core,             10
per una sì selvaggia dilettanza
 
lasciar le donne e lor gaia sembianza!”
Allor, temendo non che senta Amore,
prendo vergogna, onde mi ven pesanza.

 

Risposta di Dante a ignoto rimatore
 
Com più vi fere Amor co’ suoi vincastri,
più li vi fate in ubidirlo presto,
ch’altro consiglio, ben lo vi protesto,
non vi si può gli dar: chi vuol, l’incastri.
 
Poi, quando fie stagion, coi dolci impiastri   5
farà stornarvi ogni tormento agresto,
ché ‘l mal d’Amor non è pesante il sesto
ver ch’è dolce lo ben. Dunque, ormai lastri
 
vostro cor lo cammin per seguitare
lo suo sommo poder, se v’ha sì punto       10
come dimostra ‘l vostro buon trovare;
 
e non vi disviate da lui punto,
ch’elli sol può tutt’allegrezza dare
e’ suoi servente meritare a punto.
 
Yelping of Dogs, and Hunters’ Rousing Shout
 
Yelping of dogs, and hunters’ rousing shout,
starting of hares, and yelling men around,
dashing of many a hound from leash unbound,
running on lovely meadows in and out—
 
immensely all these things delight, no doubt,             5
a heart that free of somber cares is found.
In all my thoughts of love enmeshed and bound,
from one of them I hear this taunting flout.
 
It tells me, as it told me once before:
“How charming—look!—a gentle heart can be:          10
in such barbaric bliss it can ignore
 
all women and their faces’ gaiety!”
In terror, then, that Love may overhear,
I feel a weight of shame fall over me.

 

Dante’s Reply to an Unknown Versifier
 
The more Love wounds you with his withy tether,
the fuller your submission and the faster.
No other words of counsel can I muster:
let those who need advice, put things together.
 
But when the time comes, with his soothing plaster    5
he’ll take away what’s now so sore and bitter,
for Love’s ultimate good is six times lighter
than all his ills. So bid your heart be master
 
along the road it has to pave, pursuing
Love’s sovereign might, if you have so been wounded 10
as these new clever rhymes seem to be proving.
 
Be not one moment from his power stranded,
because all bliss from him alone is flowing,
who makes his servants finally contented.

Notes:

Yelping of Dogs, and Hunter’s Rousing Shout / (Sonar bracchetti e cacciatori aizzare)

The beginning of this sonnet reflects the so-called “realistic-comical” poetic tendency of poets such as Folgore da San Gimignano (c. 1275-1316). The presence of Cavalcanti is heavily felt at the beginning, as well as at the end with the Provençal pesanza ("a weight of shame fall over me.")

The More Love Wounds You With His Withy Tether / (Com più vi fere Amor co’ suoi vincastri)

The theme is in the words: “for Love’s ultimate good is six times lighter/ than all his ills.” The sonnet seems to be one of correspondence, as indicated by line eleven, with an unknown poet. It shows the influence of Arnaut Daniel’s sestina, and it is Dante’s first effort, as a young poet, to employ harsh and difficult rhymes. In these he will excel later, with the “rime pietrose”. Foster-Boyde believes that it was written before “the new style,” while Contini places it after it. Its robustness and metaphors may support the latter’s contention.


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