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LEOPARDI, Giacomo



L’infinito

Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle,

E questa siepe, che da tanta parte

Dell'ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.

Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati

Spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani

Silenzi, e profondissima quiete

Io nel pensier mi fingo; ove per poco

Il cor non si spaura. E come il vento

Odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello

Infinito silenzio a questa voce

Vo comparando: e mi sovvien l'eterno,

E le morte stagioni, e la presente

E viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa

Immensità s'annega il pensier mio:

E il naufragar m'è dolce in questo mare.


Infinity

Dear to me ever was this lonely hill,

And this low hedge, whose potent littleness

Forbids the vast horizon to the eye ;

For, as I sit and muse, my fancy frames

Interminable space beyond its bound,

And silence more than human, and secure

Unutterable and unending rest,

Where even the heart has peace. And as I hear

The faint wind's breath among the trees, my mind

Compares these lispings with the infinite hush

Of that invisible distance, and the dead

And unborn hours of dim Eternity

With this hour, and its voices. Thus my thought

Gulphing Infinity doth swallow up,

And sweet to me is shipwreck in this sea.

Translation: R. Garnett.


Het oneindige

Voor immer werd mij deze heuvel lief

en deze hoge heg, die overal

de verre einder aan mijn blik ontzegt.

Doch goed is dromen hier, dan gaat verbeelding

die grens voorbij naar ruimten mateloos,

naar stilten, die de mens niet kent, en rust

oneindig-groot; en vrij blijft daar het hart

van elke vrees. En als ik dan de wind

zo dicht nabij hoor ruisen in het loof,

verbind ik gindse grondeloze stilte

met dit geluid, en denk aan de eeuwigheid

en aan de dode tijden en het uur

van ’t levend heden met zijn vlucht’ge stem.

Zoo zinkt mijn mijm’ring weg in de diepe wat’ren.

En zoet is mij de schipbreuk in die zee.

Vertaling : H.W.J.M. Keuls





Il passero solitario

D’in su la vetta della torre antica,

passero solitario, alla campagna

cantando vai finché non more il giorno;

ed erra l’armonia per questa valle.

Primavera d’intorno

brilla nell’aria, e per li campi esulta,

sí ch’a mirarla intenerisce il core.

Odi greggi belar, muggire armenti;

gli altri augelli contenti, a gara insieme

per lo libero ciel fan mille giri,

pur festeggiando il lor tempo migliore:

tu pensoso in disparte il tutto miri;

non compagni, non voli,

non ti cal d’allegria, schivi gli spassi;

canti, e cosí trapassi

dell’anno e di tua vita il piú bel fiore.

Oimè, quanto somiglia

al tuo costume il mio! Sollazzo e riso,

della novella etá dolce famiglia,

e te, german di giovinezza, amore,

sospiro acerbo de’ provetti giorni,

non curo, io non so come; anzi da loro

quasi fuggo lontano;

quasi romito, e strano

al mio loco natio,

passo del viver mio la primavera.

Questo giorno, ch’omai cede alla sera,

festeggiar si costuma al nostro borgo.

Odi per lo sereno un suon di squilla,

odi spesso un tonar di ferree canne,

che rimbomba lontan di villa in villa.

Tutta vestita a festa

la gioventú del loco

lascia le case, e per le vie si spande;

mira ed è mirata, e in cor s’allegra.

Io, solitario in questa

rimota parte alla campagna uscendo,

ogni diletto e gioco

indugio in altro tempo; e intanto il guardo

steso nell’aria aprica

mi fère il sol, che tra lontani monti,

dopo il giorno sereno,

cadendo si dilegua, e par che dica

che la beata gioventú vien meno.

Tu, solingo augellin, venuto a sera

del viver che daranno a te le stelle,

certo del tuo costume

non ti dorrai; ché di natura è frutto

ogni vostra vaghezza.

A me, se di vecchiezza

la detestata soglia

evitar non impetro,

quando muti questi occhi all’altrui core,

e lor fia vòto il mondo, e il dí futuro

del dí presente piú noioso e tetro,

che parrá di tal voglia?

che di quest’anni miei? che di me stesso?

Ahi! pentirommi, e spesso,

ma sconsolato, volgerommi indietro.


The solitary bird

Solitary bird, you sing

from the crest of the ancient tower

to the landscape, while day dies:

while music wanders the valley.

Spring brightens

the air around, exults in the fields,

so the heart is moved to see it.

Flocks are bleating, herds are lowing:

more birds happily make a thousand

circles in the clear sky, all around,

celebrating these happy times:

you gaze pensively, apart, at it all:

no companions, and no flight,

no pleasures call you, no play:

you sing, and so see out

the year, the sweet flowering of your life.

Ah, how like

your ways to mine! Pleasure and Joy

youth’s sweet companions,

and, Love, its dear friend,

sighing, bitter at passing days,

I no longer care for them, I don’t know why:

indeed I seem to fly far from them:

seem to wander, a stranger

in my native place,

in the springtime of my life.

This day, yielding to evening now,

is a holiday in our town.

You can hear a bell ring in the clear sky,

you can hear the cannon’s iron thunder,

echoing away, from farm to farm.

Dressed for the festival

young people here

leave the houses, fill the streets,

to see and be seen, with happy hearts.

I go out, alone,

into the distant country,

postpone all delight and joy

to some other day: and meanwhile

my gaze takes in the clear air,

brings me the sun that sinks and vanishes

among the distant mountains,

after the cloudless day, and seems to say,

that the beauty of youth diminishes.


You, lonely bird, reaching the evening

of this life the stars grant you,

truly, cannot regret

your existence: since your every

action is born of nature.

But I, if I can’t

evade through prayer,

the detested threshold of old age,

when these eyes will be dumb to others,

and the world empty, and the future

darker and more irksome than the present,

what will I think of such desires?

Of these years of mine? Of what happened?

Ah I’ll repent, and often,

un-consoled, I’ll gaze behind me.

Translation: A.S KLINE





La Genistra
.....
Qui su l'arida schiena

Del formidabil monte

Sterminator Vesevo,

La qual null'altro allegra arbor nè fiore,

Tuoi cespi solitari intorno spargi,

Odorata ginestra,

Contenta dei deserti. Anco ti vidi

De' tuoi steli abbellir l'erme contrade

Che cingon la cittade

La qual fu donna de' mortali un tempo,

E del perduto impero

Par che col grave e taciturno aspetto

Faccian fede e ricordo al passeggero.

Or ti riveggo in questo suol, di tristi

Lochi e dal mondo abbandonati amante,

E d'afflitte fortune ognor compagna.

Questi campi cosparsi

Di ceneri infeconde, e ricoperti

Dell'impietrata lava,

Che sotto i passi al peregrin risona;

Dove s'annida e si contorce al sole

La serpe, e dove al noto

Cavernoso covil torna il coniglio;

Fur liete ville e colti,

E biondeggiàr di spiche, e risonaro

Di muggito d'armenti;

Fur giardini e palagi,

Agli ozi de' potenti

Gradito ospizio; e fur città famose

Che coi torrenti suoi l'altero monte

Dall'ignea bocca fulminando oppresse

Con gli abitanti insieme. Or tutto intorno

Una ruina involve,

Dove tu siedi, o fior gentile, e quasi

I danni altrui commiserando, al cielo Di dolcissimo odor mandi un profumo,

Che il deserto consola. A queste piagge

Venga colui che d'esaltar con lode

Il nostro stato ha in uso, e vegga quanto

E' il gener nostro in cura

All'amante natura. E la possanza

Qui con giusta misura

Anco estimar potrà dell'uman seme,

Cui la dura nutrice, ov'ei men teme,

Con lieve moto in un momento annulla

In parte, e può con moti

Poco men lievi ancor subitamente

Annichilare in tutto.

Dipinte in queste rive

Son dell'umana gente

Le magnifiche sorti e progressive.

Qui mira e qui ti specchia,

Secol superbo e sciocco,

Che il calle insino allora

Dal risorto pensier segnato innanti

Abbandonasti, e volti addietro i passi,

Del ritornar ti vanti,

E proceder il chiami.

Al tuo pargoleggiar gl'ingegni tutti,

Di cui lor sorte rea padre ti fece,

Vanno adulando, ancora

Ch'a ludibrio talora

T'abbian fra se. Non io

Con tal vergogna scenderò sotterra;

Ma il disprezzo piuttosto che si serra

Di te nel petto mio,

Mostrato avrò quanto si possa aperto:

Ben ch'io sappia che obblio

Preme chi troppo all'età propria increbbe.

Di questo mal, che teco

Mi fia comune, assai finor mi rido.

Libertà vai sognando, e servo a un tempo

Vuoi di novo il pensiero,

Sol per cui risorgemmo

Della barbarie in parte, e per cui solo

Si cresce in civiltà, che sola in meglio

Guida i pubblici fati.

Così ti spiacque il vero

Dell'aspra sorte e del depresso loco

Che natura ci diè. Per questo il tergo

Vigliaccamente rivolgesti al lume

Che il fe palese: e, fuggitivo, appelli

Vil chi lui segue, e solo

Magnanimo colui

Che se schernendo o gli altri, astuto o folle,

Fin sopra gli astri il mortal grado estolle.
.....


The Broom
.....
Fragrant broom,

content with deserts:

here on the arid slope of Vesuvius,

that formidable mountain, the destroyer,

that no other tree or flower adorns,

you scatter your lonely

bushes all around. I’ve seen before

how you beautify empty places

with your stems, circling the City

once the mistress of the world,

and it seems that with their grave,

silent, aspect they bear witness,

reminding the passer-by

of that lost empire.

Now I see you again on this soil,

a lover of sad places abandoned by the world,

a faithful friend of hostile fortune.

These fields scattered

with barren ash, covered

with solid lava,

that resounds under the traveller’s feet:

where snakes twist, and couple

in the sun, and the rabbits return

to their familiar cavernous burrows:

were once happy, prosperous farms.

They were golden with corn, echoed

to lowing cattle:

there were gardens and palaces,

the welcome leisure retreats

for powerful, famous cities,

which the proud mountain crushed

with all their people, beneath the torrents

from its fiery mouth. Now all around

is one ruin,

where you root, gentle flower, and as though

commiserating with others’ loss, send

a perfume of sweetest fragrance to heaven,

that consoles the desert. Let those

who praise our existence visit

these slopes, to see how carefully

our race is nurtured

by loving Nature. And here

they can justly estimate

and measure the power of humankind,

that the harsh nurse, can with a slight movement,

obliterate one part of, in a moment, when we

least fear it, and with a little less gentle

a motion, suddenly,

annihilate altogether.

The ‘magnificent and progressive fate’

of the human race

is depicted in this place.

Proud, foolish century, look,

and see yourself reflected,

you who’ve abandoned

the path, marked by advancing thought

till now, and reversed your steps,

boasting of this regression

you call progress.

All the intellectuals, whose evil fate

gave them you for a father,

praise your babbling, though

they often make a mockery

of you, among themselves. But I’ll

not vanish into the grave in shame:

As far as I can, I’ll demonstrate,

the scorn for you, openly,

that’s in my heart,

though I know oblivion crushes

those hated by their own time.

I’ve already mocked enough

at that fate I’ll share with you.

You pursue Freedom, yet want thought

to be slave of a single age again:

by thought we’ve risen a little higher

than barbarism, by thought alone civilisation

grows, only thought guides public affairs

towards the good.

The truth of your harsh fate

and the lowly place Nature gave you

displease you so. Because of it

you turn your backs on the light

that illuminated you: and in flight,

you call him who pursues it vile,

and only him great of heart

who foolishly or cunningly mocks himself

or others, praising our human state above the stars.
.....




Calm after storm

The storm hath passed;

I hear the birds rejoice; the hen,

Returned into the road again,

Her cheerful notes repeats. The sky serene

Is, in the west, upon the mountain seen:

The country smiles; bright runs the silver stream.

Each heart is cheered; on every side revive

The sounds, the labors of the busy hive.

The workman gazes at the watery sky,

As standing at the door he sings,

His work in hand; the little wife goes forth,

And in her pail the gathered rain-drops brings;

The vendor of his wares, from lane to lane,

Begins his daily cry again.

The sun returns, and with his smile illumes

The villas on the neighboring hills;

Through open terraces and balconies,

The genial light pervades the cheerful rooms;

And, on the highway, from afar are heard

The tinkling of the bells, the creaking wheels

Of waggoner, his journey who resumes.


Cheered is each heart.

Whene'er, as now, doth life appear

A thing so pleasant and so dear?

When, with such love,

Does man unto his books or work return?

Or on himself new tasks impose?

When is he less regardful of his woes?

O pleasure, born of pain!

O idle joy, and vain,

Fruit of the fear just passed, which shook

The wretch who life abhorred, yet dreaded death!

With which each neighbor held his breath,

Silent, and cold, and wan,

Affrighted sore to see

The lightnings, clouds, and winds arrayed,

To do us injury!


O Nature courteous!

These are thy boons to us,

These the delights to mortals given!

Escape from pain, best gift of heaven!

Thou scatterest sorrows with a bounteous hand;

Grief springs spontaneous;

If, by some monstrous growth, miraculous,

Pleasure at times is born of pain,

It is a precious gain!

O human race, unto the gods so dear!

Too happy, in a respite brief

From any grief!

Then only blessed,

When Death releases thee unto thy rest!