Guido Orlandi. “Madrigal (to Guido Cavalcanti). In answer to the foregoing Sonnet [Sonnet. Of a consecrated Image resembling his Lady]”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?; 1861
Rhyme: aabaababaabccddcddccd
Meter: iambic trimeter and pentameter
Genre: sonnet


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

◦ Contini II. 558-565

◦ Casatta 215-226

Scholarly Commentary


DGR heads this poem “Madrigal” but it is in fact a sonnet form, irregular by English standards but not so in Italian. As with his usual practise, DGR renders the Italian septenarii and hexameters as trimeters and pentameters; his rhymes are quite different from Orlandi's.

Once again the decision to translate is important and underscores DGR's essential purposes: first, to highlight the secular, even blasphemous, wit of the initial Calvalcanti poem that inspired Orlandi; and second, to give another example of the convention of the tenzone, a mode so characteristic of Dante and his circle.

The sonnet is part of the six sonnet tenzone engaged by Guido Orlandi and Guido Cavalcanti (see commentary for “Guido, an image of my lady dwells”). DGR's source text was the text in the notes to Cicciaporci's Rime di Guido Cavalcanti (pages 144-145).

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: 175d-1861.raw.xml