Guido Cavalcanti. “Sonnet. To his Lady Joan, of Florence.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


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

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 493

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 50-52

Scholarly Commentary


The sonnet is a paradigm of the “praise of my lady” so characteristic of the dolce stil novo as elaborated from the work of Guinizzelli. DGR's text at line 8 is not accepted by Italian scholars (the received text is “vostro bel vis'a tanto 'n sè volere”). The translation is fairly free in the last tercet but the rhyme scheme of the original poem is preserved.

DGR's source text is Cicciaporci (Sonnet XIV, page 8).

Textual History: Composition

Probably an early translation, late 1840s. This is one of the few poems from DGR's volume of translations for which a manuscript survives: the printer's copy, in the Library of Congress, with a correction to the title. As the note on the verso of this manuscript indicates, it was a gift made in 1879 from Charles Howell to his friend George Barnett Smith. Except for the correction in the title and an ampersand in the text, the text is identical to the 1861 text.

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: 132d-1861.raw.xml