Poems from the Vita Nuova

Con l’altre donne mia vista gabbate
Con l’altre donne mia vista gabbate,
E non pensate, donna, onde si mova
Ch’io vi rassembri sì figura nova
Quando riguardo la vostra beltate.
Se lo saveste, non porìa Pietate                    5
Tener più contra me l’usata prova;
Chè Amor, quando sì presso a voi mi trova,
Prende baldanza e tanta securtate,
Che fere tra’ miei spiriti paurosi,
E quale ancide, e qual pinge di fore,              10
Sì che solo remane a veder vui:
Ond’io mi cangio in figura d’altrui,
Ma non sì ch’io non senta bene allore
Li guai de li scacciati tormentosi.
Like Others, You So Baffle and Amaze
Like others, you so baffle and amaze,
lady, my glance, I know not where to view
a beauty so delightful and so new
that may compare with what enchants my gaze.
Pity, if this you knew, would have no ways             5
to treat me still as she is wont to do,
for, finding me so closely bound to you,
Love grows so stubborn, and so bold and brazen,
he pierces through my frightened spirits well,
some of them slaying, forcing some elsewhere,     10
till he alone can most endure your eyes:
therefore, I take on other men’s disguise,
but not so thoroughly as not to share
the grief of those who’re tortured down in hell.


Like Others, You So Baffle and Amaze — (Con l’altre donne mia vista gabbate) — (XIV)

The motif of the “gabbo” (to make fun of someone) is Provençal. The narrative part recounts how the young lover, having gone with a friend to a gathering of young people to celebrate a wedding, began to feel a transformation, unaware that Beatrice was there. Upon seeing this, the women were making fun of him with the “gentilissima” Beatrice. His grief is compared to that of the “tortured down in hell.”

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