Giacomo Leopardi A Silvia LInfinito Giacomo Leopardi Giacomo

					                    Giacomo Leopardi
        _________________________________________________________________



                                    A Silvia
                                   L’Infinito




Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
            With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
                            Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi, one of the greatest Italian poets of all times, was born in
Recanati, a town in the Marches not far from the Adriatic coast. At the age of
twelve Giacomo was so erudite that his private ecclesiastical tutor had to
admit that his own scholarship was inferior to his pupil's and that
consequently there was nothing more he could teach him. Devoured by an
insatiable craving for learning, Giacomo then resolved to continue his studies
alone, and for the next seven years, completely unsupervised, spent most of
the day and part of the night poring over the books of the family palace's
twelve-thousand volume library. He mastered Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and
modern languages; completed numerous translations from the classics; wrote
several philological works, a history of astronomy, and a hymn to Neptune in
Greek which he pretended to have discovered in an ancient manuscript.By
the time he was nineteen years old he had amassed an amazing store of
knowledge, but he had also compromised his health: he began suffering from
nervous disorders, his eyesight weakened, he became a hunchback. Sadly
he realized that he had allowed his youth to pass, that henceforth his life
could be only unhappy, and that above all, being so frail and unattractive, he
would probably never be loved by a woman. He felt it would require great
courage "to love a virteous man whose only beauty is his soul". These
pessimistic thoughts and premonitions pervade all of Leopardi's major
works.In much of his poetry, Leopardi almost cruelly stresses his belief that
joy is nothing but the momentary subsidence of pain and that only in death
can man find lasting happiness. However from time to time, there appear
balancing statements such as the wonderful last line of "L'infinito" -"E il
naufragar m'e dolce in questo mare" (And to shipwreck is sweet for me in this
sea) - that uncover a completely different aspect of Leopardi: not the optimist,
to be sure, but the enraptured admirer of nature's beauty, and the believer in
the power of imagination.




   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
               The Infinite
Always dear to me was this lonely hill,
  And this hedge, which from me so
               great a part                               L’Infinito
 Of the farthest horizon excludes the     Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle
                  gaze.                     E questa siepe che da tanta parte
 But as I sit and watch, I invent in my       Dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo
                  mind                                     esclude.
     Endless spaces beyond, and            Ma sedendo e mirando interminati
              superhuman
                                            Spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
   Silences, and profoundest quiet;
                                           Silenzi, e profondissima quiete
          Wherefore my heart
                                         Io nel pensier mi fingo; over per poco
 Almost loses itself in fear. And as I
              hear the wind               Il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
    Rustle through these plants, I           Odo stormir tra queste piante, io
                compare                                     quello
  That infinite silence to this voice:        Infinito silenzio a questa voce
     And I recall to mind eternity,     Vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
 And the dead seasons, and the one           E le morte stagioni e la presente
                 present                E viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
 And alive, and the sound of it. So in     Immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
                   this                     E il naufragar m’è dolce in questo
   Immensity my thinking drowns:                            mare.
 And to shipwreck is sweet for me in
                this sea.



L'infinito" represents one of the summits not only of Leopardi's poetry but of
all poetry. Rarely has a poet been able to compress within one hundred
words such depth of meaning with such simplicity of language and harmony
of sounds. Leopardi called "L'infinito" an "idyll", a definition that perfectly fits
the charm and suggestive power of this superb poem, which, to quote Renato
Poggioli, "makes familiar and almost dear to the heart of man the alien
metaphysical vision of a universe ruled by laws other than those of life and
death."




   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
Leopardi wrote his canto A Silvia in 1828, moved by the untimely death of the
family coachman's daughter. This is my attempt at rendering it in English
(1996).

                A Silvia                                     To Silvia

       Silvia, rimembri ancora                        Silvia, do you recall
  quel tempo della tua vita mortale,               those days of mortal life,
       quando beltà splendea                       when beauty sparkled in
  negli occhi tuoi ridenti e fuggitivi,         your quick and gleaming eyes,
   e tu, lieta e pensosa, il limitare            when, glad and pensive, the
           di gioventù salivi?                              threshold
                                                  of youth you were to rise?
           Sonavan le quiete
       stanze, e le vie dintorno,                 The quiet halls resounded,
         al tuo perpetuo canto,                   and so the streets around,
  allor che all’opre femminili intenta             to your perpetual chime,
         sedevi, assai contenta               while at your female chores intent
          di quel vago avvenir                          you sat, content
          che in mente avevi.                         of vague tomorrows
  Era il maggio odoroso: e tu solevi                      in your mind.
         così menare il giorno.               It was the odorous May, and that
                                                 was how you spent the day.
          Io gli studi leggiadri
             talor lasciando                     Discarding sometimes
            e le sudate carte,                    my beloved studies,
        ove il tempo mio primo               the toilsome papers where
 e di me si spendea la miglior parte,     my prime was being consumed,
  d’in su i veroni del paterno ostello               the best of me,
           porgea gli orecchi           up on the terrace of the family house
        al suon della tua voce,                       I’d set my ear
           ed alla man veloce                to the sound of your voice,
    che percorrea la faticosa tela.              and to the hasty hand
          Mirava il ciel sereno,                that ran the tiring loom.
         le vie dorate e gli orti,            I’d view the peaceful sky,
  e quinci il mar da lungi, e quindi il   the golden streets, the gardens,
                  monte.                down here the distant sea, up there
        Lingua mortal non dice                          the mount.
      quel ch’io sentiva in seno.             No mortal tongue can say
                                                what in my breast I felt.
          Che pensieri soavi,
 che speranze, che cori, o Silvia mia!         What sweet reflections,
         Quale allor ci apparia           what hopes, what choruses, oh
        la vita umana e il fato!                           Silvia!
          Quando sovviemmi                  How human life and destiny
           di cotanta speme,                     appeared to us to be!
   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
        un affetto mi preme                               When I recall
       acerbo e sconsolato,                                 that hope,
 e tornami a doler di mia sventura.                 affections clutch me so
         O natura, o natura,                       acute and inconsolable
        perché non rendi poi                        that still my grief I cry.
      quel che prometti allor?                      Oh nature, nature, why
           perché di tanto                           do you withhold what
         inganni i figli tuoi?                         first you promise?
                                                         Why do you so
Tu pria che l’erbe inaridisse il verno,          deceive these sons of yours?
               da chiuso morbo
             combattuta e vinta,            ’Fore winter’s cold had dried the
    perivi, o tenerella. E non vedevi                       grass,
            il fior degli anni tuoi;            attacked and conquered
           non ti molceva il core               by some closed disease
 la dolce lode or delle negre chiome, you died, oh tender one. You did not
 or degli sguardi innamorati e schivi;                       see
   né teco le compagne ai dì festivi           the flowering of your days;
           ragionavan d’amore.                your heart was not caressed
           Anche peria fra poco           by words of praise for your dark hair,
la speranza mia dolce: agli anni miei your loving and reserved looks;
             anche negâro i fati             and neither did you talk of love
         la giovinezza. Ahi come,             with friends on days of feast.
              come passata sei,            Soon were to die my hopes alike:
  cara compagna dell’età mia nova,                    to my years too
           mia lacrimata speme!                   did fate deny a youth.
     Questo è quel mondo? questi                Alas, how you swept by,
    i diletti, l’amor, l’opre, gli eventi  companion dear of my fresh age,
 onde cotanto ragionammo insieme?                   my wept-for hope!
   questa la sorte dell’umane genti?          This is that world? These the
             All’apparir del vero                         delights,
  tu, misera, cadesti: e con la mano         the love, the works, the events
                la fredda morte            we so long reasoned of together?
           ed una tomba ignuda                This is the lot of human folk?
            mostravi di lontano.                  When truth appeared,
                                                    you fell, poor one,
                                                   and with your hand,
                                                       a frigid death,
                                                       a naked tomb
                                               you showed me from afar.




   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
                       Giuseppe Ungaretti
           _________________________________________________________________



                                        Veglia




Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
            With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
                           Giuseppe Ungaretti
Italian poet, critic, and translator, born in Alexandria, Egypt. Ungaretti spent
his youth in North Africa, where he was greatly influenced by nomadic culture.
In Paris, where he studied, he formed friendships with members of the literary
and artistic avant-garde. His service in the Italian infantry during World War I
provided the background for his first mature poems, written in the trenches,
which deal with love and the precariousness of life. Ungaretti's style had
already achieved a remarkable purity by condensing his poetic expression to
its essentials. Working in the tradition of the French symbolists, he stressed
the musical properties of the individual word and the illuminating power of a
single striking image. Ungaretti's poetry was spare and intense; he employed
unconventional syntax and eschewed the elaborate rhetorical structures.
Because of the allusive yet self-contained quality of his verse, the movement
that he inaugurated in poetry was named Hermeticism. The poems in
Sentimento del tempo (1933) and Il dolore (1947) mark a return to the
traditional meters of Italian poetry. Ungaretti also wrote essays and translated
the works of Shakespeare, Racine, and others. He taught at the Univ. of São
Paolo in Brazil before accepting a chair at the Univ. of Rome (1942). His
works are collected in 12 volumes under the title Vita d'un uomo (tr. Life of a
Man, 1969 and 1974).

                  Vigil                                           Veglia
 A whole night long crouched close                  Un’intera nottata buttato vicino
         to one of our men                                   a un compagno
               butchered                                       massacrato
            with his mouth                                  con la sua bocca
               clenched                                         digrignata
     grinning at the full moon                              volta al plenilunio
        with the congestion                                con la congestione
             of his hands                                    delle sue mani
              thrust right                                      penetrata
           into my silence                                   nel mio silenzio
              I've written                                      ho scritto
       letters filled with love                   lettere piene d’amore Non sono mai
         I have never been                                         stato
                   So                                              Così
            coupled to life                                 attaccato alla vita

   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
The poem was written at the front on the day before Christmas Eve 1915.
It consists of 2 strophes different in lenght. The first one of 13 verses insists
on the harshness of the situation: the closeness to the disfigured dead body
of one of his friends. Free from rethoric and any form of heroism, war is
reduced to this macabre confrontation which shows all the horror of its
cruelty.
The obsessing thematic is stressed by the use of past participles- crouched,
butchered, clenched.
But the protest against war leads to the unexpected reversal of the final
verses: the rediscovery of love, of an attachment to life which generate from
the horror and grief and from death. In an epigraphic form there is the
reaffirmation of the natural instinct, the regaining of the values of human
solidariety.




   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
                   Salvatore Quasimodo
           _________________________________________________________________



                                Ed è subito sera
                           Uomo del mio tempo




Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
            With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
                        Salvatore Quasimodo


Salvatore Quasimodo, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959, was born in
Modica, Sicily Italy. He was educated at the Polytechnical Institute. He later
was appointed to a position in the government Civil Engineering Department.
During the 1930's Quasimodo was a leader of the "Hermetic" school of
poetry; however, with the appearance of his translations Lirici Greci (Greek
Lyrics) , 1940, it was obvious that his direction was no longer entirely along
the lines of that group. In Nuove Poesie (New Poems), 1942, Quasimodo
reveals both the influence of classical stylistics and a greater in
general.rstanding of life in general.
During World War II he was briefly imprisoned because of his association
with an anti-Fascist group and he experienced the need of the poet to feel
one with the people and to declare himself as such in his poems.To him the
role of the poet in society is a neccessarily active one; he should commit
himself and his talents to contemporary struggles.Such views were first
expressed in Giorno dopogiorno (Day after Day), 1946, and La vita non è
sogno (Life Is Not a Dream), 1949.
Quasimodo's later works show this change from individualism toward
sociality , and moreover affirm the positive characteristics of life even in a
world where death is an omnipresent fear. Quasimodo died in Naples on
June I4, 1968.


    And suddenly it is evening                              Ed è subito sera
Everyone stands alone at the heart of             Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
             the world                               trafitto da un raggio di sole:
    pierced by a ray of sunlight,                           ed è subito sera.
    and suddenly it is evening.


In its essential brevity, this poem by Quasimodo, well exemplifies the
intentions and the results of the hermetic research: the extreme conciseness

   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
of the expression, the deep meaning of the word which in its rarified
concentration enters into relations of an intense analogic cooperation, the
inner existential problems.The first verse expresses the solitude of man who
yet is “at the heart of the world” and therefore at the centre of things (besides
the term means “the throbbing of life” from which feelings, emotions, love
originate. These elements give rise to a contradiction which affects the word
“pierced” whose meaning implies a deep ambivalence: a ray of sunlight which
hits man is the symbol of light and heat therefore of life itself but “pierced”
means “wounded”, thus transforming the ray in a sort of dart, death bearer.
And this is the prevailing impression after reading the last verse which
records the sudden arriving of the evening, that is of the “end”.
Many themes in a very few lines of a desolate solitude, of the precariousness
of life and of the whitering of illusions, of the infinite and of death as a sign of
the secret of the existence, of the unfathomable relationship between man
and things.


            Man of my time                               Uomo del mio tempo
 You are still the one with the stone            Sei ancora quello della pietra e della
              and the sling,                                       fionda,
  Man of my time. You were in the                     uomo del mio tempo. Eri nella
                  cockpit,                                       carlinga,
    With the malevolent wings, the                 con le ali maligne, le meridiane di
          meridians of death,                                      morte,
 -I have seen you - in the chariot of            - t' ho visto - dentro il carro di fuoco,
          fire, at the gallows,                                 alle forche,
At the wheels of torture. I have seen            alle ruote di tortura. T'ho visto: eri tu,
             you: it was you,                     con la scienza esatta persuasa allo
    With your exact science set on                               sterminio,
              extermination,                        senza amore, senza Cristo. Hai
Without love, without Christ. You have                        ucciso ancora,
               killed again,                     come sempre, come uccisero i padri,
  As always, as your fathers killed,            come uccisero gli animali che ti videro
as the animals killed that saw you for                      per la prima volta.
              the first time.                      E questo sangue odora come nel
 And this blood smells as on the day                               giorno
   When one brother told the other              quando il fratello disse all'altro fratello:
                  brother:                          "Andiamo ai campi". E quell'eco
 "Let us go into the fields." And that                        fredda, tenace,
   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union
       echo, chill, tenacious,           è giunta fino a te, dentro la tua
Has reached down to you, within your                  giornata.
                 day.                    Dimenticate, o figli, le nuvole di
 Forgot, O sons, the clouds of blood                   sangue
  Risen from the earth, forget your   salite dalla terra, dimenticate i padri:
               fathers:              Le loro tombe affondano nella cenere,
  Their tombs sink down in ashes,      e gli uccelli neri, il vento, coprono il
  Black birds, the wind, cover their                 loro cuore.
                heart.


Quasimodo was in Milan in August 1943 when the city suffered four aerial
bombardments by hundreds of planes. It's certainly not a coincidence that
one of the first images of the poem portrays man as an aviator sitting in the
cockpit of a combat plane. 'Uomo del mio tempo' is permeated with an
atmosphere of horror, death and cruelty. The poet exhorts the younger
generation to forget their fathers - that is, to repudiate their forebears and
start a new era in which war can be forgotten.




   Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Secondaria Superiore Mauro del Giudice,Rodi Garganico, Italy
               With the support of the Comenius programme of the European Union

				
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