Guido Cavalcanti. “Ballata. Of a continual Death in Love.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?
Rhyme: two piedi ABCd and sirima EffgG
Meter: iambic trimeter and pentameter
Genre: ballata


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

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 507

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 91-92

Scholarly Commentary


DGR's source text, Cicciaporci (Ballata III, page 18), is badly corrupt at line 5 and leads to an attempt to translate a bad model that makes the poem as a whole clumsy and not especially lucid. The closing sirima is excellently translated, on the other hand.

A more accurate translation of the second stanza would be: “and whoever feels as I do, believes what I'm saying. But who can see—surely nobody—that Love in me dies of its own intense realization”.

Though classed as a ballad by Cicciaporci and DGR, it is actually a single canzone stanza of two piedi plus a sirima. DGR does not follow the original rhyme scheme at all closely, though as his note to the last line indicates, he does try to give a close English equivalent of the metre.

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: 110d-1861.raw.xml