Cecco d'Angiolieri, da Siena. “Sonnet. Of Love, in honour of his Mistress Becchina.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1860
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


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

◦ Lanza, ed., Rime. Cecco Angiolieri, 52-53

◦ Massera, ed., Sonetti Burleschi e Realistici, I. 84

Scholarly Commentary


DGR's translation is rather more a kind of interpretation of Cecco's sonnet than a translation, as is shown in the free way he renders Cecco's closing line (“E di' lor, che Bichina ti fa fare”), which means literally: “And tell them that Bichina gave you [the sonnet] birth”. The effect—it plays through a great many of DGR's translations, especially those in the Vita Nuova—is to make the final first person pronoun carry an additional, and rather uncanny, reference to DGR: as if to say that the making of this English poem were done “for the sake of” Cecco and his anima, Becchina.

DGR's source text was Raccolta di Rime Antiche Toscane (II. 161). For further general information about Cecco and his work see the commentary for “Dante Alighieri, Cecco, your good friend”).

Textual History: Composition

The translation seems to be a late one, made in 1860. This judgment is based on the surviving holograph copy of DGR's source text, which is made on paper watermarked 1860.

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: 68d-1861.raw.xml