The thoughts are broken in my memory

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1861
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


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

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.50-51 (II. 81-83) .

◦ De Robertis, ed., Vita Nuova, 98-101 .

Scholarly Commentary


The sonnet follows closely upon the previous sonnet in the Vita Nuova sequence, “Even as the others mock, thou mockest me”. Dante's poem rings various changes on the key word “morte”, a crucial stylistic feature not lost on DGR, whose fairly literal approach in his translation registers his poetic acuity. That verbal theme, along with the mystical redemption through “death” that it alludes to, defines this poem's more explicit presentation of Love's secret ministry. The clear allusion to Luke 19:40 in line 8, the pivot moment in the sonnet, further foregrounds this important theme in the poem.

DGR's source text was “Ciò che m'incontra nella mente more” in the third volume of Fraticelli'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: 38d-1861.raw.xml