Saturday, September 15, 2012



Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907), Virgil, tr. Frank Sewall:
As when above the heated fields the moon
  Hovers to spread its veil of summer frost,
  The brook between its narrow banks half lost
Glitters in pale light, murmuring its low tune;

The nightingale pours forth her secret boon,
  Whose strains the lonely traveller accost;
  He sees his dear one's golden tresses tossed,
And time forgets in love's entrancing swoon;

And the orphaned mother who has grieved in vain
Upon the tomb looks to the silent skies
And feels their white light on her sorrow shine;

Meanwhile the mountains laugh, and the far-off main,
And through the lofty trees a fresh wind sighs:
Such is thy verse to me, Poet divine!
The same, tr. G.L. Bickersteth:
As when the gracious moon climbs up the sky,
Drenching parched fields with dew on summer eves,
The murmuring brook, 'twixt low banks rippling by,
Of her white beams a silvery network weaves;

The secret nightingale among the leaves
Fills the vast calm with throbbing melody,
So sweet th' entranced wayfarer half believes
Time is not, and his fair-haired love seems nigh;

And the bereaved mother who wept in vain
Beside a grave is soothed and comforted,
When the grey dawn doth over heaven shine:

Mountains and distant sea smile out again,
A fresh breeze stirs the branches overhead:
Such is thy verse to me, O poet divine.
The Italian:
Come, quando su' campi arsi la pia
  Luna imminente il gelo estivo infonde,
Mormora al bianco lume il rio tra via
  Riscintillando tra le brevi sponde;

E il secreto usignuolo entro le fronde
  Empie il vasto seren di melodia,
Ascolta il viatore ed a le bionde
  Chiome che amò ripensa, e il tempo oblia;

Ed orba madre, che doleasi in vano,
  Da un avel gli occhi al ciel lucente gira
E in quel diffuso albor l'animo queta;

Ridono in tanto i monti e il mar lontano,
  Tra i grandi arbor la fresca aura sospira:
Tale il tuo verso a me, divin poeta.

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