Cino da Pistoia. “Canzone (to Dante Alighieri). On the Death of Beatrice Portinari.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1849?; 1861
Rhyme: a5b5c5a5b5 c5c5d5d3e5e3c5f5f5
Meter: iambic
Genre: canzone


“Introduction to Part II” (in The Early Italian Poets) 206-211

◦ Marti, ed., Poeti del dolce stil nuovo 720-725

Scholarly Commentary


The canzone offers a general reading of the Vita Nuova, but with a focus on the later sonnets where Dante laments the death of Beatrice. The consolation works through a series of pointed allusions to Dante's autobiography and particularly to the celebratory moments in Dante's poetry of praise (see especially “Ladies that have intelligence in love” and “A very pitiful lady, very young”). The latter's metrical scheme in the original Italian corresponds exactly to the metrical scheme of this canzone's Italian original. All these allusions argue, implicitly, that Dante's own poetry sustains Beatrice as a living presence. This argument is all but explicit in the fifth stanza and the sirima.

DGR's source was the somewhat corrupt text in Trucchi's Poesie Italiana inedite (I. 290-293). He also used Trucchi's text to fashion his odd and remarkable construction “Piangendo star con l'anima smarrita”, using several different passages from the canzone. For a more reliable text of the original poem see Marti's Poeti del dolce stil nuovo (pages 720-725).

See also the commentary for the source text.

Textual History: Composition

An early work, probably late 1840s. A manuscript scrap showing a late revision to the translation is preserved in the Duke University Library.

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: 184d-1861.raw.xml