Petrarch: The Canzoniere, or Rerum vulgarium fragmenta

Petrarch: The Canzoniere, or Rerum vulgarium fragmenta

by Mark Musa
     
 

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"Mark Musa, in editing and translating Petrarch’s Canzoniere, has performed a wonderful service to the English-speaking reader. Here, in one volume, are included the poet’s own selection of the best lyric verse he wrote throughout his life, accompanied by brief but useful notes... " —Chronicles

"As well as skillful and fluent verse

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"Mark Musa, in editing and translating Petrarch’s Canzoniere, has performed a wonderful service to the English-speaking reader. Here, in one volume, are included the poet’s own selection of the best lyric verse he wrote throughout his life, accompanied by brief but useful notes... " —Chronicles

"As well as skillful and fluent verse renderings of the 366 lyrics that make up this milestone in the development of Western poetic tradition, Musa offers copious and up-to-date annotation to each poem... along with a substantial, sensitive, and intelligent introduction that is genuinely helpful for the first-time reader and thought provoking for Petrarch scholars and other medievalists." —Choice

The 366 poems of Petrarch’s Canzoniere represent one of the most influential works in Western literature. Varied in form, style, and subject matter, these "scattered rhymes" contains metaphors and conceits that have been absorbed into the literature and language of love. In this bilingual edition, Mark Musa provides verse translations, annotations, and an introduction co-authored with Barbara Manfredi.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253011954
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
05/22/1999
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
800
File size:
1 MB

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Petrarch

The Canzoníere or Rerum Bulgaríum Fragmenta


By Mark Musa

Indiana University Press

Copyright © 1996 Mark Musa
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01195-4



CHAPTER 1

THE Canzoníere


    1

    Voi ch' ascoltate in rime sparse il suono
    di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core
    in sul mio primo giovenile errore,
    quand' era in parte altr' uom da quel ch' i' sono,

    del vario stile in ch' io piango et ragiono
    fra le vane speranze e 'l van dolore,
    ove sia chi per prova intenda amore,
    spero trovar pietà, non che perdono.

    Ma ben veggio or sì come al popol tutto
    favola fui gran tempo, onde sovente
    di me medesmo meco mi vergogno;

    et del mio vaneggiar vergogna è 'l frutto,
    e 'l pentersi, e 'l conoscer chiaramente
    che quanto piace al mondo è breve sogno.


    2

    Per fare una leggiadra sua vendetta
    et punire in un di ben mille offese,
    celatamente Amor l'arco riprese,
    come uom ch' a nocer luogo e tempo aspetta.

    Era la mia virtute al cor ristretta
    per far ivi et negli occhi sue difese
    quando 'l colpo mortal là giù discese
    ove solea spuntarsi ogni saetta;

    però, turbata nel primiero assalto
    non ebbe tanto né vigor né spazio
    che potesse al bisogno prender l'arme,

    o vero al poggio faticoso et alto
    ritrarmi accortamente da lo strazio
    del quale oggi vorrebbe, et non po, aitarme.


    3

    Era il giorno ch' al sol si scoloraro
    per la pietà del suo fattore i rai
    quando i' fui preso, et non me ne guardai,
    ché i be' vostr' occhi, Donna, mi legaro.

    Tempo non mi parea da far riparo
    contr' a' colpi d'Amor; però m'andai
    secur, senza sospetto, onde i miei guai
    nel commune dolor s'incominciaro.

    Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato,
    et aperta la via per gli occhi al core
    che di lagrime son fatti uscio et varco.

    Però al mio parer non li fu onore
    ferir me de saetta in quello stato,
    a voi armata non mostrar pur l'arco.


    4

    Que' ch' infinita providenzia et arte
    mostrò nel suo mirabil magistero,
    che criò questo et quell'altro emispero,
    et mansueto più Giove che Marte,

    vegnendo in terra a 'Iluminar le carte
    ch' avean molt'anni già celato il vero,
    tolse Giovanni da la rete et Piero
    et nel regno del ciel fece lor parte;

    di sé nascendo a Roma non fe' grazia,
    a Giudea sì, tanto sovr' ogni stato
    umiltate esaltar sempre gli piacque.

    Ed or di picciol borgo un sol n'à dato,
    tal che natura o 'l luogo si ringrazia
    onde sì bella donna al mondo nacque.


    5

    Quando io movo i sospiri a chiamar voi
    e 'l nome che nel cor mi scrisse Amore,
    LAU-dando s'incomincia udir di fore
    il suon de' primi dolci accenti suoi;

    vostro stato RE-al che 'ncontro poi
    raddoppia a l'alta impresa il mio valore;
    ma "TA-ci," grida il fin, "ché farle onore
    è d'altri omeri soma che da' tuoi."

    Cosi LAU-dare et RE-verire insegna
    la voce stessa, pur ch' altri vi chiami,
    o d'ogni reverenza et d'onor degna;

    se non che forse Apollo si disdegna
    ch'a parlar de' suoi sempre verdi rami
    lingua mor-TA-l presuntuosa vegna.


    6

    Si traviato è 'l folle mi' desio
    a seguitar costei che 'n fuga è volta
    et de' lacci d'Amor leggiera et sciolta
    vola dinanzi al lento correr mio,

    che quanto richiamando più l'envio
    per la secura strada men m'ascolta,
    né mi vale spronarlo o dargli volta
    ch' Amor per sua natura il fa restio;

    et poi che 'l fren per forza a sé raccoglie,
    i' mi rimango in signoria di lui,
    che mal mio grado a morte mi trasporta;

    sol per venir al lauro onde si coglie
    acerbo frutto, che le piaghe altrui
    gustando affligge più che non conforta.


    7

    La gola e 'l sonno et l'oziose piume
    ànno del mondo ogni vertù sbandita,
    ond' è dal corso suo quasi smarrita
    nostra natura vinta dal costume;

    et è sì spento ogni benigno lume
    del ciel per cui s'informa umana vita,
    che per cosa mirabile s'addita
    chi vol far d'Elicona nascer flume.

    Qual vaghezza di lauro, qual di mirto?
    "Povera et nuda vai, Filosofia,"
    dice la turba al vil guadagno intesa.

    Pochi compagni avrai per l'altra via:
    tanto ti prego più, gentile spirto,
    non lassar la magnanima tua impresa.


    8

    A pie' de' colli ove la bella vesta
    prese de le terrene membra pria
    la donna che colui ch' a te ne 'nvia
    spesso dal sonno lagrimando desta,

    libere in pace passavam per questa
    vita mortal, ch' ogni animal desia,
    senza sospetto di trovar fra via
    cosa ch' al nostro andar fosse molesta.

    Ma del misero stato ove noi semo
    condotte da la vita altra serena
    un sol conforto, et de la morte, avemo:

    che vendetta è di lui ch' a ciò ne mena,
    lo qual in forza altrui presso a l'estremo
    riman legato con maggior catena.


    1

    O you who hear within these scattered verses
    the sound of sighs with which I fed my heart
    in my first errant youthful days when I
    in part was not the man I am today;

    for all the ways in which I weep and speak
    between vain hopes, between vain suffering,
    in anyone who knows love through its trials,
    in them, may I find pity and forgiveness.

    But now I see how I've become the talk
    so long a time of people all around
    (it often makes me feel so full of shame),

    and from my vanities there comes shame's fruit,
    and my repentance, and the clear awareness
    that worldly joy is just a fleeting dream.


    2

    Determined to take up graceful revenge     and punish in one day a thousand wrongs,
    secretly
Love took up his bow again
    and chose the proper time and place to strike.

    My strength was concentrated in my heart,
    and there and in my eyes raised its defense
    when down upon it struck the mortal blow
    where every other arrow had been blunted;

    and so, bewildered by this first assault,
    it did not have the vigor or the chance
    to take up arms when it was time to fight,

    or even to lead me cleverly back up
    the high, hard mountain saving me from slaughter,
    from which he'd like to now, but cannot help.


    3

    It was the day the sun's ray had turned pale

    with pity for the suffering of his Maker
    when I was caught (and I put up no fight),
    my lady, for your lovely eyes had bound me.

    It seemed no time
to be on guard against
    Love's blows; therefore, I went my way
    secure and fearless—so, all my misfortunes
    began in midst of universal woe.

    Love found me all disarmed and saw the way
    was clear to reach my heart down through the eyes,
    which have become the halls and doors of tears.

    It seems to me it did him little honor
    to wound me with his arrow in my state
    and to you, armed,
not show his bow at all.


    4

    That one
who showed His endless providence
    and art by means of marvelous workmanship,
    who made this and that other hemisphere
    and who created Jove more mild than Mars,

    who coming
down to earth illuminating
    those pages that had hid the truth so long,
    took Peter from the nets and John as well,
    making of them a part of Heaven's realm,

    who with His birth did not choose Rome to grace,
    but chose Judea, for above all else
    it pleased Him to exalt humility.

    And now from a small town He's given us
    a sun such that we thank Nature and place
    that brought into the world this lovely lady.


    5

    When I summon my sighs to call for you,
    with that name Love inscribed upon my heart,
    in LAUdable the sound at the beginning
    of the sweet accents of that word comes forth.

    Your REgal state which I encounter next
    doubles my strength for the high enterprise,
    but "TAcitly" the end cries
, "for her honor
    needs better shoulders for support than yours."

    And so, to LAUd and to REvere the word
    itself instructs whenever someone calls you,
    O lady worthy of all praise and honor,

    unless, perhaps, Apollo be offended
    that morTAl tongue be so presumptuous
    to speak of his eternally green boughs.


    6

    So far astray is my insane desire
    to chase this lady who has turned in flight,
    and light and liberated of Love's snares,
    flies off ahead of my slow run for her,

    that when, calling him back, the more I send him
    by the safe path the less he pays me heed;
    nor does it help to spur him or to turn him,
    for Love by its own nature makes him restive;

    and when by force he takes the reins himself,
    I am left there in harness of his lordship
    as he against my will rides me to death,

    only to reach the laurel where is gathered
    the bitter fruit, once tasted, that afflicts
    rather than comforts someone else's wounds.


    7

    Gluttony, sleep, pillows of idleness,

    have banished every virtue from the world
    whereby our nature conquered by its habits
    has almost lost its way along the road;

    so spent is every good light from the heavens
    which should inform our human life that he
    is pointed out as some remarkable thing
    who would make water flow from Helicon.

    Who wishes for the laurel, or for myrtle!
    "In poverty and naked goes Philosphy,"
    the masses bent on making money say.

    You will have few companions on that road,
    so all the more I beg you, noble spirit,
    do not abandon your magnanimous task.


    8

    Beneath those hills
(where she had first adorned
    those worldly parts of hers in lovely clothes,
    that lady, she who often wakens weeping
    the one who now is sending us to you)

    we used to make our way through mortal life
    in peace and freedom all creatures desire,
    without the fear of finding on our course
    something that might be harmful to our going.

    But for the wretched state to which we've been
    brought from the other life that was serene,
    and for our death, we have one consolation:

    revenge is taken on the one who caught us,
    for he is caught by power of another
    and, near his end, is bound by greater chains.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Petrarch by Mark Musa. Copyright © 1996 Mark Musa. Excerpted by permission of Indiana University Press.
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.

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