Monday, March 24, 2014

Dante Alighieri

Vede perfettamente ogne salute
chi la mia donna tra le donne vede;
quelle che vanno con lei son tenute
di bella grazia a Dio render merzede.
E sua bieltate è di tanta vertute,
che nulla invidia a l'altre ne procede,
anzi le face andar seco vestute
di gentilezza d'amore e di fede.
La vista sua fa ogne cosa umile;
e non fa sola sé parer piacente,
ma ciascuna per lei riceve onore.
Ed è ne li atti suoi tanto gentile,
che nessun la si può recare a mente,
che non sospiri in dolcezza d'amore.

Note: I am trying to memorize some sonnets by Dante, first in Rossetti's English translation, then in Italian. There are some marvellous poems in La Vita Nuova, and I may have a go at translating them myself!

Here is Rossetti's translation, a bit "free":

For certain he hath seen all perfectness
Who among other ladies hath seen mine:
They that go with her humbly should combine
To thank their God for such peculiar grace.

So perfect is the beauty of her face
That it begets in no wise any sign
Of envy, but draws round her a clear line
Of love, and blessed faith, and gentleness. 

Merely the sight of her makes all things bow:
Not she herself alone is holier
Than all; but hers, through her, are raised above. 

From all her acts such lovely graces flow
That truly one may never think of her
Without a passion of exceeding love

Saturday, November 23, 2013


What are we men, whose mind to life brings
Unpatterned gauges,
Whom suns may stir to imaginings,
Who hold a mere chance
Of significance,
And call the scratch on the surface of things
Wisdom of ages?

What are we men who find in a face
A secret glamour,
Who see in friendship some unknown grace,
But a millpond wave,
Or a stream in a cave
That falls through the dark of a silent place,
In self-made clamour.

~ W. H. Auden, 1924 (age seventeen)

from a poem called "After the Burial"

Friday, November 22, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Pontifical Clerihew

Papa Francesco, Pape François,
Thou art highly esteemed by moi!
Let the whole world, from beach-house to barrio,
Sing praise to the former Jorge Mario.


Alternate version:

Papa Francesco, Pape François,
Thou art highly esteemed by moi!
Has there ever been a better Pope?
I'm tempted to say "Nope."