Guido Guinicelli. “Sonnet. Of Moderation and Tolerance.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


Scholarly Commentary


DGR makes one of his common variations (abba for abab) in the octave, but follows the original rhyme scheme in the sestet.

DGR's source is the text in Poeti del primo secolo (I. 112). The source indicates that the sonnet was addressed to Bonaggiunta Urbiciani, an important feature of the original; but DGR does not make a similar indication in his translation. It is important because the person referenced in “He that has grown to wisdom” in Guinizelli's sonnet is clearly understood to be “the poet”. The original sonnet's subject is poetry and poets. DGR seems not to have understood this, as we may also judge from line two, which is a very free translation. DGR's “Reason” seems a poor choice for rendering Guinizelli's original line, where orderliness is explicitly associated with verse.

Textual History: Composition

As with most of DGR's translations, this one cannot be exactly fixed. It is probably a fairly early work, however—done in the 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: 158d-1861.raw.xml