Guido Cavalcanti. “Sonnet. Of his Pain from a new Love.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?; 1861
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


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

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 505

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 85-87

Scholarly Commentary


Though the translation is quite free in the second quatrain, the passage captures pretty well the sense of Cavalcanti's original. It is difficult not to believe the sonnet did not influence, perhaps even inspire, the famous opening sonnet of Dante's Vita Nuova.

DGR's note to the final line is important and interesting, calling attention as it does to a regular and effective ambiguity available in Italian when it is needed or might be useful— as in this case.

The rhyme scheme of the sestet departs from DGR's source text, Cicciaporci (Sonnet VIII, page 5).

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: 120d-1861.raw.xml