Guido Cavalcanti. “Canzone. A Song of Fortune.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?
Rhyme: stanza, abbcaddcceeff; congedo,abbaaccdd
Meter: iambic trimeter and pentameter
Genre: canzone

Scholarly Commentary


As DGR's note to the poem indicates, he chooses to translate this canzone and three others that follow it in his 1861 volume despite his awareness of their likely inauthenticity. Indeed, none of the four is by Cavalcanti. This first canzone, like the others, is a trecento work, and in some manuscripts is attributed to one Galgano from Colle di Valdelsa. It has also been attributed to Menghino Mezzano of Ravenna. DGR's rhyme scheme departs only slightly from his source text in Cicciaporci (Rime Inedite, Canzone X, pages 65-68), which is reasonably clean. Cicciaporci's source was a manuscript in the Biblioteca Municipale di Siena (1.ix.18), which was in fact the source of two other of these inauthentic canzoni.

The translation is, like the original, workmanlike with some nice moments. The poem takes a conservative line toward issues that involve moral commonplaces of the period.

Textual History: Composition

This is 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: 114d-1861.raw.xml