This song was written in Italian in 1849, when DGR gave it the title “Madonna
DGR did not make his English
translation until October 1869, after he had recovered
the poem from his wife's
coffin. Both versions were embedded in the text of his
dramatic monologue, A Last
Both Italian and English versions of this work recall DGR's translation project that
eventuated in the publication of The Early Italian Poets in 1861. The song is not at all
written as a pastiche of a thirteenth- or fourteenth-century work. Its style is much more
“modern”. Nonetheless, the reader is clearly meant to see the song as a
work whose historical descent traces itself back to the early Italian poets DGR translated in
his famous collection of 1861.
From a manuscript list DGR drew up in mid-1869, we know that the poem originally existed as a separate work, and that DGR thought to publish it as such in his 1870 volume.
First published (both the Italian and the translation) in DGR's 1870 volume as part of A Last
Confession, and collected thereafter.