DGR's source text,
(I. 13-16), wrongly attributes this canzone to Dante. Its author is in fact the late 13th-century
Florentine notary Jacopo Cecchi, who wrote the poem as a conscious imitation of Dante. The
attribution to Dante was not questioned until DGR's period,
in fact, and DGR removed it from his 1874 republication because of the new scholarship. He replaced
the canzone with another, the canzone “A Complaint
of his Lady's scorn”—which, however, is not by Dante either.
In DGR's hands the canzone acquires the kind of second-order meaning that pervades all
the texts of the Vita
Nuova—a form of significance only heightened by the fact that the canzone
is by Cecchi and not Dante. Death and the Lady, in this horizon, symbolize
(respectively) the historical circumstances that threaten to erase the efficacy of Dante's
poetry—ultimately, of art and poetry in general.
Probably an early translation, late 1840s.
The translation was first published in 1861 in
Early Italian Poets; it was not reprinted in 1874.