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Beautiful New Rose by Guido Cavalcanti

October 22, 2018

 

Beautiful new rose,

Precious renewer,

By field and river

I’ll happily sing

Your every blessing - to the blooming verdure.

 

Your sacred blessings

Are rejoiced in both

Age and in youth

Upon all crossings.

And each bird sings

From its green dwelling,

Morning to evening,

To the trees and springs.

Upon that time and place

All the world sings,

And gives offerings

In honor of your grace,

To that angelic face – to that heavenly creature.

 

An angel’s graces,

Lady, in you are seated;

Oh Lord, how daring

Are my heart’s wishes!

Your resplendent gait

Goes beyond

Nature and custom,

A miracle of fate.

Among the ladies

They recognize you,

A source of virtue,

Past all compare,

For who would dare - fathom such nature.

 

For you were conceived

Beyond worldly nature

By the creator

To be immortally wreathed:

With your ardent gaze

So close to me

Providence no longer seems to be

Of such cruel ways.

And if gazing lovingly

Should seem an offence,

I offer repentance –

Know Love forces me

For whom there is no mercy – and no measure.

 

Translations © David B. Gosselin

 

Notes

 

Guido Cavalcanti was a founding member of the Dolce Stil Novo (the Sweet New Style) Italian school, which Dante Alighieri and other leading Italian poets identified themselves with. Cavalcanti was Dante's best friend and a poetic mentor.

 

Original

 

Fresca rosa novella,
piacente primavera,
per prata e per rivera
gaiamente cantando,
5vostro fin presio mando – a la verdura.

     Lo vostro presio fino
in gio’ si rinovelli
da grandi e da zitelli
per ciascuno camino;
     10e cantin[n]e gli auselli
ciascuno in suo latino
da sera e da matino
su li verdi arbuscelli.
     Tutto lo mondo canti,
po’ che lo tempo vène,
sì come si convene,
vostr’altezza presiata:
ché siete angelicata – crïatura.

     Angelica sembranza
in voi, donna, riposa:
Dio, quanto aventurosa
fue la mia disïanza!
     Vostra cera gioiosa,
poi che passa e avanza
natura e costumanza,
ben è mirabil cosa.
     Fra lor le donne dea
vi chiaman, come sète;
tanto adorna parete,
30ch’eo non saccio contare;
e chi poria pensare – oltra natura?

     Oltra natura umana
vostra fina piasenza
fece Dio, per essenza
35che voi foste sovrana:
     per che vostra parvenza
ver’ me non sia luntana;
or non mi sia villana
la dolce provedenza!
     E se vi pare oltraggio
ch’ ad amarvi sia dato,
non sia da voi blasmato:
ché solo Amor mi sforza,
contra cui non val forza – né misura.

 

Guido Cavalcanti (1250 and 1259 – August 1300 )

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