Giovanni Boccaccio. “Sonnet. To one who had censured his public Exposition of Dante.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1855-1860?
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Villarosa, ed., Raccolta IV. 12

◦ Ricci, ed., Ricci 15

Scholarly Commentary


This is the first of three sonnets by or attributed to Boccaccio that DGR translated because of what DGR called “the enthusiastic reverence” that Boccaccio had for Dante and his work. (The other two are “Inscription for a Portrait of Dante” and “To Dante in Paradise, after Fiammetta's death”. These three translations underscore DGR's effort to place his own work firmly under the sign of a follower of Dante. He also translated three other Boccaccian sonnets from="449"b“for their beauty alone”: these are “Of Fiammetta singing”, “Of his last sight of Fiametta”, and “Of three Girls and of their Talk”.

All of this work is part of DGR's recapitulation of the theme, as it were, of Fiammetta, which he takes up in both his writing and his painting. At the center of it stands the double work on Fiammetta (sonnet and painting of 1878-1879), but it comprises as well the picture of 1866, Fiammetta. The theme centers in the Beatricean vision as it is subsequently received, and received in a context where the conflicting claims of sacred and profane love—the two Venuses— are registered in an acute form.

DGR's source text for this translation is the sonnet numbered VIII in the Boccaccio section of the collection Raccolta di Rime Antiche Toscane (IV. 12).

Textual History: Composition

As with most of DGR's translations of the early Italian poets, the date of this one cannot be determined with certainty. It is probably one of the later translations.

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: 98d-1861.raw.xml