Cecco d'Angiolieri, da Siena. “Sonnet. To Becchina's rich Husband.”

Alternately titled: Sonnet. To a newly enriched Man; reminding him of the Wants of the Poor

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


“Introduction to Part II” (in Early Italian Poets) 193-206

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 554

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 204-205

Scholarly Commentary


Although later scholars have elucidated various aspects of Cavalcanti's sonnet, it remains quite as “obscure” as DGR's 1861 note to the text says. It is for example quite interesting to compare the punctuation of DGR's translation with that of the standard editions of Cavalcanti, particularly at the crucial moments that separate (or join) the four metrical units of the work. Most telling, for example, is DGR's decision to enforce a close syntactic relation of the final tercet with the one before it, and to make a clear separation of octave and sestet. Modern editors of Cavalcanti represent the relation of the parts of the poem very differently.

DGR follows Cavalcanti's rhyme scheme exactly. His source text in Cicciaporci (Sonnet XXXII, page 17) is variously corrupt, most notably in lines 3 and 7.

DGR attributed the poem (correctly) to Cavalcanti in The Early Italian Poets, but when he came to reprint it in Dante and his Circle he changed his mind and attributed it to Cecco d'Angiolieri (see his note to the poem in that edition).

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: 74d-1861.raw.xml