Bernardo da Bologna. “Sonnet (to Guido Cavalcanti). He writes to Guido, telling him of the Love which a certain Pinella showed on seeing him.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1861
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdcd
Meter: iambic
Genre: sonnet


“Table of Poets” (in Early Italian Poets) 217

◦ Cassata, Guido Cavalcanti. Rime, 200-203

◦ Contini, Poeti de Duecento, II. 552-553


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 sonnet addressed to Guido Cavalcanti appears in many early manuscripts. It is the only known work of Bernardo, who flourished in the late thirteenth-century. He is mentioned in the correspondence of Cino da Pistoia. The sonnet's chief importance lies in its connection to the excellent response sonnet it drew from Cavalcanti.

But Bernardo's sonnet is in fact much better than DGR's translation indicates. The problem comes because DGR mistakes the syntax of the original poem (the text he worked from is ambiguous and corrupt at a crucial mid-point, line 6). Consequently, DGR's translation goes completely awry at that point: Bernardo's sonnet assigns lines 6-11 to Pinela and lines 12-14 to Bernardo's response to her comments.

The sonnet implicitly celebrates Cavalcanti's verse and love rhetoric, which has so smitten the lady named in the sonnet. (As Cavalcanti's response sonnet shows, she is in fact from Lizzano, near Belvedere in the Bolognese Appennines). But Bernardo means to flaunt his own skill in making this report to Cavalcanti.

DGR's rhyme scheme follows the source text, which is the Cicciaporci text (page 120).

Textual History: Composition

Probably late 1840s or early 1850s.

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: 99d-1861.raw.xml