Guido Cavalcanti. “Sonnet (to Dante Alighieri). He reports, in a feigned Vision, the successful Issue of Lapo Gianni's Love.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


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

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 547

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 189-190

Scholarly Commentary


The sonnet inevitably recalls the opening sonnet in Dante's Vita Nuova. DGR's subtitle, however, which refers to “a feigned vision”, amounts to an important interpretive gloss on Cavalcanti's text, turning it into a kind of skeptical critique of Lapo Gianni's love relations with Lady Lagia. Cavalcanti's famous response to Dante's famous sonnet shows that he recognizes a true vision of love as well as a verse that itself keeps true to such a vision. It's clear that DGR is asking us to read this sonnet in an ironical way. The fact is underscored by the next sonnet in DGR's collection, which directly criticizes the character of Lapo's love.

The rhyme scheme in the translation departs slightly from the source text, which was Cicciaporci (Sonnet XXIX, page 15).

Textual History: Composition

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: 129d-1861.raw.xml