Cino da Pistoia. “Sonnet (to Dante Alighieri). He answers Dante, confessing his unsteadfast Heart.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1849?; 1861
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


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

◦ Marti ed., Poeti del dolce stil nuovo, 744-745

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.204-205 (II. 328-330) .

Scholarly Commentary


Cino's sonnet is a response to Dante's in which “He rebukes Cino for Fickleness”. DGR's translation is somewhat free, particularly at the (important) conclusion to the octave. But it replicates the essential argument, which touches the important theme of the comprehensive authority of an ideal love commitment. Such a commitment, according to the argument, not only permits a variety of attachments, it positively encourages them. Cino's sonnet and DGR's translation explicitly connect this theme to the theme of the spiritual pilgrimage, and DGR will himself replicate the entire argument in his own “House of Life” sequence.

See also the commentary for the source text, which was Sebastiano Ciampi's edition of the Vita e Poesie di Messer Cino da Pistoia (page 97).

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: 191d-1861.raw.xml