To Every Loving Gentle-Hearted Friend (A ciascunalma presa e gentil core) From Chapter III
This is the first sonnet of the Vita Nuova (1283-1291) which Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) sent to many who were famous troubadours of his days, hoping to obtain a written reply in poetic form. Cavalcanti (1250-1300) replied with the sonnet Vedeste, al mio parere, onne valore.
1. Gentle-hearted friend: gentil corePoetic term of the Dolce Stil Nuovo (The Sweet New Style, cfr. Purgatorio 24:57), the nobility of the heart is an integral part of every soul in love. See also Guido Guinizelli (d. in c.1276) and his poem Al cor gentil.
4. Greetings in Loves name (salute in lor Signor): the word salute(i) assumes the function of a salutatio in epistolary correspondence (ars dictandi) and it also embodies the notion of spiritual health (salus), when conveyed by the loved one.
5. The third hourThe third part of the twelve nocturnal hours, which is the first of the last 9 hours. Dante insists on the numerical symbolism of Beatrice as a nine, multiple of three, therefore a Trinitarian number (see Vita Nuova, II,1, III,1 and XXIX).
7. Dreadful sothe remembrance of Love and its nature gives rise to fear. This is a recurrent theme in medieval love poetry especially when the lover eats of the Lovers heart, foreshadowing the theme of the Ladys death. At first Love appears happy, but when at his behest the Lady partakes of the lovers heart, the poet sees him leave in tears. It is an allegorical exposition of the Ladys death. The partaking of the lovers heart, found already in the Italo-Provençal poet Sordello (The Planh for Blancaz) and in the vida of the troubadour Guillaume de Cabessanh which is the subject of Boccaccios tale in the Decameron (IV,9), has a well established tradition as far back as the Tristan of Thomas and it may have come from the Orient.