Cecco d'Angiolieri, da Siena. “Sonnet. Of why he would be a Scullion.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


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

◦ Lanza, ed., Rime. Cecco Angiolieri, 131-132

◦ Massera, ed., Sonetti Burleschi e Realistici, I. 103

Scholarly Commentary


The translation is fairly free, in particular in the final lines. The sonnet relates to many that Cecco wrote about the difficulty of his quotidian circumstances. In this respect the sonnet is a useful exposition of the discourse of courtly and ideal love, which in a worldly perspective must be seen as a discourse of displacement. For all his own idealized commitments, DGR was well aware of the complex dialectical relation of mundane and spiritual values. Indeed, there is an important sense in which his work has no more central subject.

DGR's source text was Trucchi (I. 272). For further general information about Cecco and his work see the commentary for “Dante Alighieri, Cecco, your good friend”).

Textual History: Composition

Probably 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
Source File: 72d-1861.raw.xml