Dante Alighieri. “Sonnet (to Guido Cavalcanti). He imagines a pleasant Voyage for Guido, Lapo Gianni, and himself, with their three Ladies.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


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

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.30-31 (II. 255-257) .


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the The Early Italian Poets.

Scholarly Commentary


Dante's sonnet conjures a scene of timeless love. It is imagined as a magical voyage where he, Cavalcanti, and Lapo Gianni, along with their ideal lovers, will discourse continually of love. DGR's source text departs from the currently authoritative version in one particularly crucial respect: in line 9 Beatrice is cited in DGR's source where the received version has Lagia, Lapo's mistress. (One consequence of this difference appears in DGR's note to line 10, which glosses “the thirtieth on my roll” as Lagia, otherwise unnamed in the text; modern scholars gloss it as a reference to one of the screen ladies in Dante's Vita Nuova. The roll is of course Dante's list, given in that work, of the sixty most beautiful women in Florence.

DGR's archaic style works well in this sonnet, which departs slightly in its form from the source text's rhyme scheme: see Fraticelli, Opere Minori di Dante Alighieri (vol. I pages 145-146).

This sonnet comprises a double work with DGR's drawing The Boat of Love.

The sonnet is not accepted as genuine by all Dante scholars. DGR's source text was Fraticelli (I. 145).

Textual History: Composition

This is 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