La Poesia – Poetry Posted by Bridgette on Oct 16, 2020 in Culture, Italian Language
Oggi, leggiamo un po’ di poesia italiana.
Ugo Foscolo was a famous poet, revolutionary, and writer from the 18th century. He is especially remembered for his 1807 poem called Dei Sepolcri, Of the Sepulchres, which you can read fully here. It is a 295 hendecasyllabic (line of 11 syllables) verse poem, so make sure you give yourself ample time to read it. Essentially it is a poem of protest of Napoleon Bonaparte’s decree that all burials must take place outside the city walls, that they all must be of the same size; and that their inscriptions would be controlled by a special commission. It allowed Foscolo to reflect upon the nature of death and the desire for those who are dead to be remembered and to inspire those who are still alive.
A shorter yet still iconic poem from Ugo Foscolo is Alla Sera, To Evening, written in 1803. I think it’s a very beautiful ode to evening and the images he evokes in the poem are strong yet soft and whimsical.
It reminds me of the painting by Claude Monet called San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, which was painted of the San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice in 1908:
You’ll be able to read the Italian and then the English translation right below it, as well as watch a YouTube video and listen to the poem being read out loud. Let me know how you feel after reading the poem in the comments below! For me, mi sento sognante, I feel dreamy…
Alla Sera – Ugo Foscolo
Forse perché della fatal quiete
tu sei l’immago, a me si cara vieni,
o Sera! E quando ti corteggian liete
le nubi estive e i zeffiri sereni,
Perhaps because you are the image of that fatal quiet
so dear to me, you have come,
O Evening! And when happy summer clouds
and the gentle west wind are your escort,
e quando dal nevoso aere inquiete
tenebre e lunghe all’universo meni,
sempre scendi invocata, e le secrete
vie del mio cor soavemente tieni.
and when from snowy restless heights
you send shadows and darkness into the world,
you descend summoned always, and gently hold
the secret ways of my heart.
Vagar mi fai co’ miei pensier su l’orme
che vanno al nulla eterno; e intanto fugge
questo reo tempo, e van con lui le torme
You make my thoughts wander forms
that vanish into eternal nothing; meanwhile
this cursed time flees, and with it, the throng
delle cure onde meco egli si strugge;
e mentre guardo la tua pace, dorme
quello spirto guerrier ch’entro mi rugge.
of cares with which it me destroys;
and while I gaze on your peace, that warlike spirit
sleeps, that yet within me roars.
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