All ye pass along Love's trodden way.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?;1861
Rhyme: AaBCcB AaBCcB DeeD DeeD
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: double sonnet


“Introduction to Part II” (in Early Italian Poets) 189-193

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.12-17 (II. 22-31) .

◦ De Robertis, ed., Vita Nuova, 51-54 .

Scholarly Commentary


A most interesting feature of this translation is DGR's management of the Italian rhymes. Dante's octaves rhyme aabaab. DGR introduces a third rhyming element into his octaves but in each case it comes as a variational off-rhyme. The move brings a special delicacy to the translation, which mirrors Dante's form by its self-conscious failure to match the form.

The translation exhibits a number of those typical interpretive freedoms that so grace DGR's poems. Thus, although “trodden” has no equivalent in Dante, it provides an excellent figure for the intertextual depth of the original (Dante's text is explicitly alluding to Lamentations I. 12). Similarly, while line 6 brings an extremely free translation to Dante's “tormento ostello e chiave”, the point of the move is to invent an equivalent image for Dante's complex figure of the house of torment and its key. DGR's English result is unmistakably brilliant, as will be shown if one works out a prose interpretation of Dante's involuted and allusive phrase. DGR's “marvel and. . .sign” bear a structural relation to each other that is closely akin to the relation of Dante's house and key.

DGR's source text was “0 voi che per la via d'Amor passate” in the third volume of Fraticelli's edition of Dante's Opere Minori di Dante Alighieri.

Textual History: Composition

This is an early translation, in the 1840s, perhaps as early as 1846.

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: 15d-1861.raw.xml