Cecco d'Angiolieri, da Siena. “Prolonged Sonnet. When his Clothes were gone.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1870
Rhyme: abbaaccadedeffggg
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: prolonged sonnet


“Introduction to Part II” (in Early Italian Poets) 212-217

◦ Allacci, ed., Poeti Antichi, 220 .

◦ Massera, ed., Sonetti Burleschi e Realistici, II. 30 (and see 107-108nn.) .

Scholarly Commentary


DGR attributes this excellent poem to Cecco Angiolieri but the work was written by Cecco Nuccoli, who flourished a generation or so later. The translation may well owe something to Swinburne, who had a great interest in this kind of writing and who wrote some spectacular translations of Villon's poetry along these lines.

DGR's source could not have been the 1661 Poeti Antichi, edited by Leone Allacci, the likely source and where the authorship is correctly attributed. The manuscipt copy of the poem that DGR made correctly identifies the author. Why and how DGR came to attribute the poem to Cecco Angiolieri is not clear. On 23 February 1870 he told Swinburne that while “I found the original somewhere as by ‘Cecco Nuccoli da Perugia’ & therefore omitted it from my book [i.e., The Early Italian Poets volume of 1861]”, he had “strong suspicions of its being by Angiolieri about which I think now there cannot be a doubt. Nuccoli is either a mistake of an alias, & if the latter opens amusing conjectures” (see Fredeman, Correspondence,70. 32 ).

Textual History: Composition

This is a late translation—made on 20 February 1870 and sent in a letter to Swinburne the next day. The manuscript is in the British Library. But it is clear that DGR knew of the existence of the Italian sonnet much earlier: his transcription, which dates from 1860, is extant in the library of the South African National Gallery.

Printing History

The translation was first published in 1874 in Dante and his Circle.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 55d-1861.raw.xml