Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Huntington MS Text.
This fascinating text is constructed out of three separate parts
of Cino da Pistoia's canzone to Dante, translated by DGR as
“Albeit my prayers
have not so long delay'd”. DGR has thus put together an
irregular sonnet in Italian from the canzone's lines 6-14, 28, 58-63. The
text represents another example of DGR's
work in pastiche poetry so characteristic of his writings in the late
1840s and early 1850s. It has much in common with
“Madonna”, the song DGR
eventually incorporated into
“A Last Confession”.
DGR has written his
free (verse) translation of part of lines 2-3 at the top of the
page of the only manuscript text that we have. He later brought these lines into the translation of
the full canzone he published in in The Early Italian Poets.
Wrenching the separate passages from the original text has made
the already difficult Italian even more problematic. We get a glimpse of his reconstructuve act in a surviving
transcription of several passages from this canzone: see the verso of DGR's manuscript copy of
“Nel tempo santo non viddio mai petra”.
A conscious (even magical) act of archaizing
generates this kind of poem. It
is born out of an historicist's imaginative reaction
against the apparent fate
of history, which appears to create an unbridgeable gulf
between disparate cultural scenes
like thirteenth-century Italy and nineteenth-century
England. This is a work that
argues the need (and the possibility) of bridging that gulf. It
is significant that
on the verso of the single surviving manuscript of this
work DGR has a series of notes
including a reference to
Abbate Luigi Rigoli's
Saggio di rime di
diversi buoni autori. . .dal
14. fino al 18 secolo (Firenze,
which DGR would have used as a tool for constructing this pastiche work.
The only extant manuscript is the copy preserved in a book of early DGR manuscripts in the Huntington Library.
Besides the canzone by Cino from which it is constructed,
two texts stand directly behind this work: the
ch'avete intelletto d'amore”
and especially “Li occhi
dolenti per pietà del
core”, both from the Vita Nuova.
Each is a central text in the “poetry of praise” that
Dante pursued in relation to Beatrice. The latter is the canzone he
wrote shortly after the death of Beatrice in 1290, the former is the
opening canzone of the Vita Nuova.
Because DGR picks up the text in (as it were) mid-sentence of
Cino's canzone, his translation of the latter—which is in any case fairly
free—does not correspond to this reconstruction (see Cino's original and the commentary on it,
”Avvenga m' abbia piu volte per tempo”). My translation
below does not follow DGR's translation of the canzone
exactly but seeks a more literal rendering. The text is quite difficult.