• Original Translation

Dante's Canzone On Grace and Virtue "Poschia ch’amor del tutto m’ha lasciato"


Since everything has already been taken,

And delight forsaken,

When I had never known such joy before,

Since Love could stand no more

To hear my weeping heart,

He’s therefore taken mercy on my soul.

And thus I’ll sing, now that love has fled again,

Against the sinful pain,

Which through the times so many mortals bore,

And which I must deplore

As they falsely impart

The name of virtuousness found in her with Grace,

Who does happily embrace

The heaven’s deep light as her very own,

As she has shown

Where all those who long for salvation must run.

Thus I am sure if I defend her well,

If through my speech her defense is rightly done,

Love will surely once again my woes dispel.

There are those who will throw all away

Hoping to see the day

When they will go and join the spirits blessed,

Who have died and left

This world to unite

With those who dwell in the eternal intellect,

But such success cannot be feigned.

For in order to have truly gained

Knowledge, they would have known and confessed,

And avoided the errors impressed

Upon themselves and the slighted,

Who’ve found themselves awry within their intellect.

Thus who would not detect

The fallacy of those with lustful appetites?

And those who ornament themselves

As if they were on sale to hopeless fools?

For no sage judges by one’s garments

Or by the luster of ornaments and jewels,

He judges by their wisdom and courageous merits.

And there are others still, who to be funny,

By modern tendency

Will hope to be with thriftless praises fed,

By those who are mislead

And who can only laugh

At that which their blind intellects can’t see;

They speak with glistening accents flawlessly,

And yet sadly,

They walk content as long as they are said

To be charming and graceful;

But they are not in love,

Their every word is uttered jokingly;

While they can’t walk so graciously,

Or in their movements give an air of grace,

Yet like the treasures thieves chase,

They in their fashion rob true joy of Goodness;

Nor is woman in such a fashion fair

With charms adorned,

But in her ways she bears a beastly stare.

Although the heavens are in contention,

With Grace in suspension,

And much further displaced than I can say,

I must none the less allay

My mind and speak of the one

Whose grace throughout her every action shines.

Undeterred, I’ll speak of her divination,

Lest an abomination

Be committed and her enemies win the day.

Therefore, from now on I’ll say

And shine like the sun

With rhymes whose music will reveal what’s true -

This I swear by him

Whose name is Love; whose path is salvation,

And who without, no jubilation

Could ever be attained by a follower.

Therefore, if these offerings are of any worth ,

As many proffer,

It will be virtue or from virtue take its birth.

What strays from off its course has no virtuosity

And so is rightly

Blamed for wanting virtue when it’s in most need,

That is in those of honest creed

And spiritual life,

Or those who walk in the light of science.

If it is lauded in the knight’s bravery,

It shall blend respectively

Some several different things; since it is a breed

Of things decreed

Both good and bad,

While virtue fares most well in any place.

Thus dear serenity

Lies but with Love and the most perfect work,

And from this third

Is found true grace and its enduring charms.

Just as the sun draws all its heat and light,

So with opened arms

The world receives its rays which make all things bright.

It’s similar to the great sun shining,

Which as it’s rising,

Until it once again leaves and hides away,

With its beautiful ray,

It instills life and virtue below

Into all matter as it was ordained:

And this, as many persons disdaining,

Who however resembling

Any man, none of their fruits can display,

So far from each frond they stray

Through all the harm they sew;

Now take a gentle heart who has obtained

Grace, with a soul unstained,

And spreads such loveliness with each new act

Wherever she might go,

Serving as an example to others.

Oh false knights! So wicked and vile,

Enemies of that grace,

Which mirrors the prince of every shining star.

He gives and he receives, the man who her does choose,

And faith he can never lose

Just as the sun who shares his light with stars,

Draws from those celestial cars,

That very light to his own aide;

Thus from each other sharing their pure delight.

He’s never induced to rage by ruse

Of words, for he will choose

Only those who are good and whose accounts

Are drawn from Beauty’s many founts.

For this reason he’s payed

Many respects by the sage of mind,

While savages and those of wild kind

Cannot attract him, neither by blame or praise;

No matter the lauding ways

Naught moves him and his ego, but when he’s met,

Where his sincerity can most be seen,

He graciously accepts their praise -

While those who live do but the opposite.

Translation © David B. Gosselin

Original

Poscia ch’Amor del tutto m’ha lasciato, non per mio grato, ché stato non avea tanto gioioso, ma però che pietoso Fu tanto del meo core, che non sofferse d’ascoltar suo pianto; i’ canterò così disamorato contra ’l peccato, ch’è nato in noi, di chiamare a ritroso Al ch’è vile e noioso con nome di valore, cioè di leggiadria, ch’è bella tanto che fa degno di manto imperial colui dov’ella regna: Ell’è verace insegna la qual dimostra u’ la vertù dimora; per ch’io son certo, se ben la difendo nel dir com’io la ’ntendo, ch’Amor di sé mi farà grazia ancora. Sono che per gittar via loro avere credon potere capere là dove li boni stanno che dopo morte fanno riparo ne le mente A quei contanti c’hanno canoscenza. Ma lor messione a’ bon non pò piacere, perché tenere savere fora, e fuggiriano il danno, che si aggiugne a lo ’nganno Di loro e de la gente c’hanno falso iudicio in lor sentenza. Qual non dirà fallenza divorar cibo ed a lussuria intendere? ornarsi, come vendere Si dovesse al mercato di non saggi? ché ’l saggio non pregia om per vestimenta, ch’altrui sono ornamenta, ma pregia il senno e li genti coraggi. E altri son che, per esser ridenti, D’intendimenti correnti voglion esser iudicati da quei che so’ ingannati veggendo rider cosa che lo ’ntelletto cieco non la vede. E’ parlan con vocaboli eccellenti; vanno spiacenti, contenti che da lunga sian mirati; non sono innamorati mai di donna amorosa; Ne’ parlamenti lor tengono scede; non moveriano il piede per donneare a guisa di leggiadro, ma come al furto il ladro, così vanno a pigliar villan diletto; E non però che ’n donne è sì dispento leggiadro portamento, che paiono animai sanza intelletto. Ancor che ciel con cielo in punto sia, che leggiadria Disvia cotanto, e più che quant’io conto, io, che le sono conto merzé d’una gentile che la mostrava in tutti gli atti sui, non tacerò di lei, ché villania Far mi parria sì ria, ch’a’ suoi nemici sarei giunto: per che da questo punto con rima più sottile tratterò il ver di lei, ma non so cui. Eo giuro per colui ch’Amor si chiama ed è pien di salute, che sanza ovrar vertute nessun pote acquistar verace loda: dunque se questa mia matera è bona, Come ciascun ragiona, sarà vertù o con vertù s’annoda. Non è pura vertù la disviata, poi ch’è blasmata, negata là ’v’è più vertù richesta, Cioè in gente onesta di vita spiritale o in abito che di scienza tiene. Dunque, s’ell’è in cavalier lodata, sarà mischiata, Causata di più cose; perché questa conven che di sé vesta l’un bene e l’altro male, ma vertù pura in ciascuna sta bene. Sollazzo è che convene Con esso Amore e l’opera perfetta: da questo terzo retta è vera leggiadria e in esser dura, sì come il sole al cui esser s’adduce lo calore e la luce Con la perfetta sua bella figura. Al gran pianeto è tutta simigliante che, dal levante avante infino a tanto che s’asconde, co li bei raggi infonde vita e vertù qua giuso ne la matera sì com’è disposta: e questa, disdegnosa di cotante persone, quante sembiante portan d’omo, e non responde 105il lor frutto a le fronde per lo mal c’hanno in uso, simili beni al cor gentile accosta; ché ’n donar vita è tosta co’ bei sembianti e co’ begli atti novi 110ch’ognora par che trovi, e vertù per essemplo a chi lei piglia. Oh falsi cavalier, malvagi e rei, nemici di costei, ch’al prenze de le stelle s’assimiglia!

Dona e riceve l’om cui questa vole, mai non sen dole; né ’l sole per donar luce a le stelle, né per prender da elle nel suo effetto aiuto; Ma l’uno e l’altro in ciò diletto tragge. Già non s’induce a ira per parole, ma quelle sole ricole che son bone, e sue novelle sono leggiadre e belle; Per sé caro è tenuto e disiato da persone sagge, ché de l’altre selvagge cotanto laude quanto biasmo prezza; per nessuna grandezza Monta in orgoglio, ma quando gl’incontra che sua franchezza li conven mostrare, quivi si fa laudare. Color che vivon fanno tutti contra.

*See here for notes on the poem and to compare with other translations.

#Dante #Translations #Italian