Guido Cavalcanti. “Ballata. In Exile at Sarzana.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?
Rhyme: two piedi ABAB with sirima Bccddx
Meter: iambic trimeter and pentameter
Genre: ballata


“Introduction to Part II” (in The Early Italian Poets), 193-206

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 541

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 169-171

Scholarly Commentary


As DGR's subtitle indicates, this is a political poem that uses the convention of the love ballad to speak of his love for Florence. Cavalcanti wrote his famous ballad as he was dying in exile at Sarzana in 1300. DGR's translation is excellent, no least when he departs slightly from the original in line 4 in order to emphasize how effectively Cavalcanti fuses the poem's love-courtesy conventions with his patriotic subject.

DGR adheres exactly to the rhyme scheme of the original poem. The source text in Cicciaporci (Ballata XI, pages 26-27) is largely reliable.

Textual History: Composition

Probably an early translation, late 1840s.

Printing History

The translation was first published in 1861 in The Early Italian Poets; it was reprinted in 1874 in Dante and his Circle.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 109d-1861.raw.xml