Dino Frescobaldi. “Sonnet. Of the star of his 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) 219

◦ Marti, Poeti del dolce stil nuovo 373-374

Scholarly Commentary


DGR's translation of the second quatrain executes a striking decision about the meaning of the original sonnet. The text of line 5 in Frescobaldi reads “che in questa man siede”, thus leaving ambiguous the reference of “questa”, which might refer either to the lady. the poet, or Love. The easiest reading (so to speak) would reference either the lady or Love, who is the ultimate master of the arrows of love. DGR's translation arrests one's attention exactly because it chooses the difficilior lectio and places the arrow in the poet's hands. He was probably led to this reading by the Italian text's reference to the “nuova dardo” (line 5), as if love's arrow, having struck the poet, were now being imagined in another action. However that may be, the effect in the English poem is to suggest that the poem itself is the “new arrow of strength”—an idea very much in keeping with the programmatic stance of these early Italian poets, but even more so with DGR's belated recovery of their arguments.

DGR's source was either Poeti del Primo Secolo (II. 523) or Raccolta di Rime Antiche Toscane (III. 374).

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: 147d-1861.raw.xml