Tuesday, October 25, 2016



Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), "To Count Carlo Pepoli," lines 78-88 (tr. Jonathan Galassi):
Another, as if determined to escape
unhappy human fate by spending his days
in other lands and climates, wandering the seas and hills,        80
travels the whole globe, and, as he journeys, comes
to every end of the earth that nature opened to man
in the boundless spaces of the universe.
Alas, black care sits on his ship's high prow,        85
and in every climate, under every sky,
where we seek hopelessly for happiness,
sadness lives and reigns.

Altri, quasi a fuggir volto la trista
Umana sorte, in cangiar terre e climi
L'età spendendo, e mari e poggi errando,        80
Tutto l'orbe trascorre, ogni confine
Degli spazi che all'uom negl'infiniti
Campi del tutto la natura aperse,
Peregrinando aggiunge. Ahi ahi, s'asside
Su l'alte prue la negra cura, e sotto        85
Ogni clima, ogni ciel, si chiama indarno
Felicità, vive tristezza e regna.
Lines 84-85 (Ahi ahi, s'asside / Su l'alte prue la negra cura) recall Horace, Odes 3.1.37-40 (tr. Niall Rudd):
But Fear and Foreboding climb as high as the owner; black Anxiety does not quit the bronze-beaked galley, and sits behind the horseman.

sed Timor et Minae
scandunt eodem quo dominus, neque
decedit aerata triremi et
post equitem sedet atra Cura.
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