Tuesday, August 20, 2013


What a Marvelous Time It Was

Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), Zibaldone, tr. Kathleen Baldwin (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), p. 77:
What a marvelous time it was when everything was alive, according to human imagination, and humanly alive, in other words inhabited or formed by beings like ourselves; when it was taken as certain that in the deserted woods lived the beautiful Hamadryads and fauns and woodland deities and Pan, etc., and, on entering and seeing everything as solitude, you still believed that everything was inhabited and that Naiads lived in the springs, etc., and embracing a tree you felt it almost palpitating between your hands and believed it was a man or a woman like Cyparissus, etc., and the same with flowers, etc., just as children do.

Che bel tempo era quello nel quale ogni cosa era viva secondo l’immaginazione umana e viva umanamente, cioè abitata o formata di esseri uguali a noi! quando nei boschi desertissimi si giudicava per certo che abitassero le belle Amadriadi e i fauni e i silvani e Pane ec., ed entrandoci e vedendoci tutto solitudine pur credevi tutto abitato! e cosí de' fonti abitati dalle Naiadi ec. E stringendoti un albero al seno te lo sentivi quasi palpitare fra le mani, credendolo un uomo o donna, come Ciparisso ecc.! E cosí de' fiori ec., come appunto i fanciulli.
Hat tip: Stephen Pentz.

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