Canti: Poems / A Bilingual Edition

Canti: Poems / A Bilingual Edition

by Giacomo Leopardi, Jonathan Galassi

NOOK BookBilingual edition (eBook - Bilingual edition)

$12.99

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

Giacomo Leopardi is Italy's greatest modern poet, the first European writer to portray and examine the self in a way that feels familiar to us today. A great classical scholar and patriot, he explored metaphysical loneliness in entirely original ways. Though he died young, his influence was enormous, and it is no exaggeration to say that all modern poetry, not only in Italian, derives in some way from his work.

Leopardi's poetry is notoriously difficult to translate, and he has been less well known to English-language readers than his central significance for his own culture might suggest. Now Jonathan Galassi, whose translations of Eugenio Montale have been widely acclaimed, has produced a strong, fresh, direct version of this great poet that offers English-language readers a new approach to Leopardi. Galassi has contributed an informative introduction and notes that provide a sense of Leopardi's sources and ideas. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the roots of modern lyric poetry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466867291
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 528
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Count Giacomo Leopardi was born in Recanati, a small town in the Italian Marches, in 1798. Renowned in his youth as a classical scholar, he suffered from poor health all his life and never experienced happiness in love. He visited Rome, Bologna, and Florence, but never fully broke away from his family, until in his last years he finally moved with a friend to Naples, where he died in 1837. The poems collected in Canti are Leopardi's best-known and best-loved work, and in the eyes of many make him the greatest Italian poet after Dante. He also published the Operette morali, a collection of philosophical dialogues and essays that is considered one of the fundamental books in Italian literature, as well as numerous translations, critical editions, and other texts. His prodigious, immense Zibaldone, or notebook of literary and philosophical speculations, remained unpublished until the beginning of the twentieth century. (A complete translation is forthcoming from FSG.)

Jonathan Galassi has also translated the poetry and prose of Eugenio Montale and is the author of two volumes of poems, Morning Run and North Street.


Giacomo Leopardi was born in Recanati, a small town in the Italian Marches, in 1798. Renowned in his youth as a classical scholar, he suffered from poor health all his life and never experienced happiness in love. He visited Rome, Bologna, and Florence, but never fully broke away from his family, until in his last years he finally moved with a friend to Naples, where he died in 1837. He is the author of Zibaldone.

Read an Excerpt

Canti


By Giacomo Leopardi, Jonathan Galassi

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2010 Jonathan Galassi
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-6729-1



CHAPTER 1

    ALL' ITALIA


    O patria mia, vedo le mura e gli archi
    E le colonne e i simulacri e l'erme
    Torri degli avi nostri,
    Ma la gloria non vedo,
    Non vedo il lauro e il ferro ond'eran carchi
    I nostri padri antichi. Or fatta inerme,
    Nuda la fronte e nudo il petto mostri.
    Oimè quante ferite,
    Che lividor, che sangue! oh qual ti veggio,
    Formosissima donna! Io chiedo al cielo
    E al mondo: dite dite;
    Chi la ridusse a tale? E questo è peggio,
    Che di catene ha carche ambe le braccia;
    Sì che sparte le chiome e senza velo
    Siede in terra negletta e sconsolata,
    Nascondendo la faccia
    Tra le ginocchia, e piange.
    Piangi, che ben hai donde, Italia mia,
    Le genti a vincer nata
    E nella fausta sorte e nella ria.

    Se fosser gli occhi tuoi due fonti vive,
    Mai non potrebbe il pianto
    Adeguarsi al tuo danno ed allo scorno;
    Che fosti donna, or sei povera ancella.
    Chi di te parla o scrive,
    Che, rimembrando il tuo passato vanto,
    Non dica: già fu grande, or non è quella?
    Perchè, perchè? dov'è la forza antica,
    Dove l'armi e il valore e la constanza?
    Chi ti discinse il brando?
    Chi ti tradì? qual arte o qual fatica
    O qual tanta possanza
    Valse a spogliarti il manto e l'auree bende?
    Come cadesti o quando
    Da tanta altezza in così basso loco?
    Nessun pugna per te? non ti difende
    Nessun de' tuoi? L'armi, qua l'armi: io solo
    Combatterò, procomberò sol io.
    Dammi, o ciel, che sia foco
    Agl'italici petti il sangue mio.

    Dove sono i tuoi figli? Odo suon d'armi
    E di carri e di voci e di timballi:
    In estranie contrade
    Pugnano i tuoi figliuoli.
    Attendi, Italia, attendi. Io veggio, o parmi,
    Un fluttuar di fanti e di cavalli,
    E fumo e polve, e luccicar di spade
    Come tra nebbia lampi.
    Nè ti conforti? e i tremebondi lumi
    Piegar non soffri al dubitoso evento?
    A che pugna in quei campi
    L'itala gioventude? O numi, o numi:
    Pugnan per altra terra itali acciari.
    Oh misero colui che in guerra è spento,
    Non per li patrii lidi e per la pia
    Consorte e i figli cari,
    Ma da nemici altrui
    Per altra gente, e non può dir morendo:
    Alma terra natia,
    La vita che mi desti ecco ti rendo.

    Oh venturose e care e benedette
    L'antiche età, che a morte
    Per la patria correan le genti a squadre;
    E voi sempre onorate e gloriose,
    O tessaliche strette,
    Dove la Persia e il fato assai men forte
    Fu di poch'alme franche e generose!
    Io credo che le piante e i sassi e l'onda
    E le montagne vostre al passeggere
    Con indistinta voce
    Narrin siccome tutta quella sponda
    Coprìr le invitte schiere
    De' corpi ch'alla Grecia eran devoti.
    Allor, vile e feroce,
    Serse per l'Ellesponto si fuggia,
    Fatto ludibrio agli ultimi nepoti;
    E sul colle d'Antela, ove morendo
    Si sottrasse da morte il santo stuolo,
    Simonide salia,
    Guardando l'etra e la marina e il suolo.

    E di lacrime sparso ambe le guance,
    E il petto ansante, e vacillante il piede,
    Toglieasi in man la lira:
    Beatissimi voi,
    Ch'offriste il petto alle nemiche lance
    Per amor di costei ch'al Sol vi diede;
    Voi che la Grecia cole, e il mondo ammira.
    Nell'armi e ne' perigli
    Qual tanto amor le giovanette menti,
    Qual nell'acerbo fato amor vi trasse?
    Come sì lieta, o figli,
    L'ora estrema vi parve, onde ridenti
    Correste al passo lacrimoso e duro?
    Parea ch'a danza e non a morte andasse
    Ciascun de' vostri, o a splendido convito:
    Ma v'attendea lo scuro
    Tartaro, e l'onda morta;
    Nè le spose vi foro o i figli accanto
    Quando su l'aspro lito
    Senza baci moriste e senza pianto.

    Ma non senza de' Persi orrida pena
    Ed immortale angoscia.
    Come lion di tori entro una mandra
    Or salta a quello in tergo e sì gli scava
    Con le zanne la schiena,
    Or questo fianco addenta or quella coscia;
    Tal fra le Perse torme infuriava
    L'ira de' greci petti e la virtute.
    Ve' cavalli supini e cavalieri;
    Vedi intralciare ai vinti
    La fuga i carri e le tende cadute,
    E correr fra' primieri
    Pallido e scapigliato esso tiranno;
    Ve' come infusi e tinti
    Del barbarico sangue i greci eroi,
    Cagione ai Persi d'infinito affanno,
    A poco a poco vinti dalle piaghe,
    L'un sopra l'altro cade. Oh viva, oh viva:
    Beatissimi voi
    Mentre nel mondo si favelli o scriva.

    Prima divelte, in mar precipitando,
    Spente nell'imo strideran le stelle,
    Che la memoria e il vostro
    Amor trascorra o scemi.
    La vostra tomba è un'ara; e qua mostrando
    Verran le madri ai parvoli le belle
    Orme del vostro sangue. Ecco io mi prostro,
    O benedetti, al suolo,
    E bacio questi sassi e queste zolle,
    Che fien lodate e chiare eternamente
    Dall'uno all'altro polo.
    Deh foss'io pur con voi qui sotto, e molle
    Fosse del sangue mio quest'alma terra.
    Che se il fato è diverso, e non consente
    Ch'io per la Grecia i moribondi lumi
    Chiuda prostrato in guerra,
    Così la vereconda
    Fama del vostro vate appo i futuri
    Possa, volendo i numi,
    Tanto durar quanto la vostra duri.


    TO ITALY

    O my country, I can see the walls
    and arches and the columns and the statues
    and lonely towers of our ancestors,
    but I don't see the glory;
    I don't see the laurel and the sword
    our ancient fathers wore.
    Your forehead and your breast are naked,
    undefended. Ah, so many wounds,
    contusions, blood: beautiful lady,
    this is how you look! I ask heaven and earth
    to tell me, Who did this to her?
    And, worse, her arms
    are bound with chains;
    hair undone, without her veil,
    she sits alone and hopeless on the ground,
    her face between her knees,
    and weeps.
    Weep; for you have reason to, my Italy,
    born to outdo others
    in both happiness and misery.

    Even if your eyes were fountains,
    your tears could never equal
    your suffering and humiliation;
    you were a lady, and now you are a slave.
    Whoever speaks or writes about you,
    who, remembering you in your pride,
    wouldn't say: She was great once; but no longer?
    Why? What happened to our ancient strength,
    the arms, the courage, the resolve?
    Who stripped you of your sword?
    Who betrayed you?
    What treachery, what sabotage, what power
    could take away your cloak and golden crown?
    When did you fall, and how,
    so low from such great heights?
    No one fights for you? None of your own defend you?
    To arms! Bring me my sword:
    I'll fight alone, I'll fall alone.
    Let my blood, O heaven,
    be inspiring to Italian hearts.

    Where are your sons? I hear the sound
    of arms and chariots, voices, drums:
    Your sons are making war
    in foreign lands.
    Hear me, Italy. I see
    a wave of infantry and cavalry,
    smoke and dust, and flashing swords
    like lightning in the fog.
    Does it comfort you? Or don't you dare
    to witness the uncertain outcome?
    Why are young Italians
    fighting in those fields? Gods, O gods:
    Italian steel fights for another land.
    Oh miserable is he who dies in battle,
    not for his country's soil, his faithful
    wife and precious children,
    but who dies serving someone else,
    dies at the hands of that man's enemies,
    and can't say at the end: Beloved native land,
    the life you gave me I give back to you.

    Oh happy and beloved and blessed
    were those ancient days, when whole battalions
    raced to die for their country;
    and you were ever honored and renowned,
    Thessalian passes,
    where Persia and destiny were far less strong
    than a few bold and noble souls!
    It seems to me your trees and rocks,
    your sea and mountains
    murmur to the passing traveler
    how the undefeated ranks
    covered the entire shore
    with undefeated bodies sworn to Greece.
    Then cowardly and vicious
    Xerxes fled by Hellespont, and became
    a figure of contempt to his descendants.
    And climbing the Antela hill, where
    the sacred band who died became immortal,
    Simonides surveyed
    the sky and shore and land.
    And, cheeks wet with tears,
    out of breath, unsteady,
    he lifted up his lyre:
    Most blessed, you
    whose chests took the foe's spears
    for love of her who gave you to the Sun;
    you whom Greece adores and the world admires.
    What love was strong enough to send the young
    into the peril of battle,
    what kind of love sent you to bitter death?
    How happy, sons of ours,
    the last hour seemed,
    when you ran smiling toward the tearful end?
    It appeared that each of you was going
    to a dance or splendid banquet, not to death:
    yet dark Tartarus was waiting,
    and the somber river;
    nor were your wives or children with you
    when you died on that wild shore
    not kissed goodbye, unmourned.

    But not before inflicting horrible
    suffering and destruction on the Persians.
    The way a lion in a field of bulls
    pounces now on that one's back
    and tears into him with his teeth,
    and now shreds this one's flank and that one's thigh;
    so the anger and the valor of Greek hearts
    tore the Persian hordes apart.
    Look! horses and their riders on the ground;
    Look! chariots and fallen tents
    blocking the defeated from escaping,
    and the coward tyrant,
    pale and disheveled, with the first to flee.
    See how, drenched
    in barbarian blood, the hero Greeks,
    cause of endless torment to the Persians,
    one by one, defeated by their wounds,
    fall on one another.
    Oh live, oh live, forever. You are blessed
    as long as men will live to tell your story.

    The stars will fall from the sky and into the sea
    and scream as they're put out
    before we forget you
    and our love for you will die.
    Your tomb is an altar
    where mothers will bring their children
    to see your glorious bloodstains.
    I'll lie down, blessed ones,
    and kiss these stones, this earth,
    which shall be praised and glorious forever
    from pole to pole.
    If only I were down below with you,
    and this sweet earth were wet with my blood, too.
    But if my fate is unlike yours,
    and will not let me shut my eyes
    dying fallen on the field for Greece,
    still may the modest glory of your bard,
    if the gods allow it,
    endure as long as yours
    in times to come.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Canti by Giacomo Leopardi, Jonathan Galassi. Copyright © 2010 Jonathan Galassi. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

TITLE PAGE,
COPYRIGHT NOTICE,
DEDICATION,
INTRODUCTION: POET OF PROBLEMS,
Canti,
I. All'Italia / To Italy,
II. Sopra il monumento di Dante che si preparava in Firenze / On the Monument to Dante Being Erected in Florence,
III. Ad Angelo Mai / To Angelo Mai,
IV. Nelle nozze della sorella Paolina / On the Marriage of His Sister Paolina,
V. A un vincitore nel pallone / To a Champion at Pallone,
VI. Bruto minore / Brutus,
VII. Alla primavera / To Spring,
VIII. Inno ai patriarchi / Hymn to the Patriarchs,
IX. Ultimo canto di Saffo / Sappho's Last Song,
X. Il primo amore / First Love,
XI. Il passero solitario / The Solitary Thrush,
XII. L'infinito / Infinity,
XIII. La sera del dì di festa / The Evening of the Holiday,
XIV. Alla luna / To the Moon,
XV. Il sogno / The Dream,
XVI. La vita solitaria / The Solitary Life,
XVII. Consalvo / Consalvo,
XVIII. Alla sua donna / To His Lady,
XIX. Al Conte Carlo Pepoli / To Count Carlo Pepoli,
XX. Il risorgimento / The Reawakening,
XXI. A Silvia / To Silvia,
XXII. Le ricordanze / The Recollections,
XXIII. Canto notturno di un pastore errante dell'Asia / Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd in Asia,
XXIV. La quiete dopo la tempesta / The Calm After the Storm,
XXV. Il sabato del villaggio / Saturday in the Village,
XXVI. Il pensiero dominante / The Dominant Idea,
XXVII. Amore e Morte / Love and Death,
XXVIII. A se stesso / To Himself,
XXIX. Aspasia / Aspasia,
XXX. Sopra un basso rilievo antico sepolcrale / On an Ancient Funeral Relief,
XXXI. Sopra il ritratto di una bella donna / On the Portrait of a Beautiful Woman,
XXXII. Palinodia al Marchese Gino Capponi / Recantation for Marchese Gino Capponi,
XXXIII. Il tramonto della luna / The Setting of the Moon,
XXXIV. La ginestra / Broom,
XXXV. Imitazione / Imitation,
XXXVI. Scherzo / Scherzo,
FRAMMENTI,
[FRAGMENTS],
XXXVII. "Odi, Melisso ..." / "Listen, Melisso ...",
XXXVIII. "Io qui vagando al limitare intorno," / "Lurking here around the threshold, I",
XXXIX. "Spento il diurno raggio in occidente," / "The light of day had died out in the west,",
XL. Dal greco di Simonide / From the Greek of Simonides,
XLI. Dello stesso / By the Same Author,
Other Texts,
Le rimembranze / Memories,
Il canto della fanciulla / The Girl's Song,
Coro di morti nello studio di Federico Ruysch / Chorus of the Dead in the Study of Frederick Ruysch,
Ad Arimane / To Ahriman,
CHRONOLOGY,
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CANTI,
NOTES,
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY,
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS,
INDEX OF TITLES AND FIRST LINES,
ACCLAIM FOR CANTI,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR / TRANSLATOR,
COPYRIGHT,

Customer Reviews