Poems from the Vita Nuova

Cavalcando l’altr’ier per un cammino

Cavalcando l’altr’ier per un cammino,
Pensoso de l’andar che mi sgradia,
Trovai Amore in mezzo de la via
In abito leggier di peregrino.
 
Ne la sembianza mi parea meschino,           5
Come avesse perduta segnoria;
E sospirando pensoso venia,
Per non veder la gente, a capo chino.
 
Quando mi vide, mi chiamò per nome,
E disse: “Io vegno di lontana parte,               10
Ov’era lo tuo cor per mio volere;
 
E recolo a servir novo piacere”.
Allora presi di lui sì gran parte
Ch’elli disparve, e non m’accorsi come.
The Other Day, Horse-Riding on a Road
 
The other day, horse-riding on a road
that made my going hateful most to me,
Love in the midst of it I chanced to see,
wearing a pilgrim’s garment, light and odd.
 
I looked at him, who seemed most poorly clad        5
and as bereft of all his sovereignty;
sighing, he walked along, and pensively,
is forehead bent as if to shun the crowd.
 
Just as he saw me, called me he by name,
saying, “I have arrived from far away,                      10
where once your spirit dwelt, as I had willed,
 
and now I want it with new pleasure filled.”
‘Twas then I had on him so strong a claim,
he disappeared, and how, I cannot say.

Notes:

The Other Day, Horse-Riding On A Road — (Cavalcando l’altr’ier per un cammino) — (IX)

The journey toward the place where the “screen woman” resides. Some critics maintain that Dante was part of a military expedition in assistance to the Senese. Love bears the appearance of a servant, not a lord. The hold of Love on the lover is stronger as he vanishes in this mysterious yet typical medieval fashion.


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