Cecco d'Angiolieri, da Siena. “Sonnet. On the Death of his Father.”

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 Rime. Cecco Angiolieri, 165-166

◦ Massera, ed., Sonetti Burleschi e Realistici, I. 117 (II. 130)


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

Scholarly Commentary


This and the sonnet that follows it in DGR's edition are regularly placed beside each other in editions of Cecco's sonnets, and together they comprise a most remarkable pair of poems. They represent the peak of the venomous poetry Cecco directed at his father. DGR's translations of both are excellent, fully worthy of the original sonnets. A nice index of his success comes in line 3, which introduces a free translation that violates the literal sense in order to secure a far more important (and purely poetic) result that is at the same time completely true to the tone and colloquial spirit of the original. (A literal translation of line 3 would be something like “and that's Cecco, the one so called”. DGR's “poor devil”is beyond praise.)

DGR's interpretation of the obscure sestet (see his note to line 11) does not accord with contemporary scholarship, which in fact has readings very different from those DGR found in his source text. That DGR's version of the poem's topical meanings should (or might) be wrong hs no effect on the poetic result. For a discussion of the literal sense of the sestet see the commentary for Cecco's Italian sonnet.

DGR's source text was Trucchi (I. 275). For further general information about Cecco and his work see the commentary for “Dante Alighieri, Cecco, your good friend”).

Textual History: Composition

DGR's fair copy of his Italian source text survives in the Huntington Library.

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: 73d-1861.raw.xml