all pale beside my lady whose lovely
cio passa la beltate e la valenza
and gentle heart show the
de la mia donna e 'l su' gentil coraggio,
of him who catches a glimpse of her
s" che rasembra vile a chi cio guarda;
for she is an earthly vessel of heaven's
e tanto piu d'ogn' altr' ha canoscenza,
before whose greatness we are so much
quanto lo ciel de la terra e maggio.
beyond any redemption or even
A simil di natura ben non tarda.
The fact that Cavalcanti's friend, Dante Alighieri, was a
supremely fine poet ought not blind us to Cavalcanti's own, rather
different excellence. His love poetry has more of the tang of
real-world experience and is as appealing as Dante's, although in a
more modern and recognizable way. The two poets both suffer, but
Cavalcanti is not so sure that his torments are likely to improve his
spirit. He is, therefore, more torn and under greater pressure to find
some meaning in his struggles, and, as translator David R. Slavitt
declares, "more fun."
David R. Slavitt is a widely known poet,
novelist, critic, and translator who prepared these English versions of
the poems because he loved them. And, in the end, what other reason for
poetry is there?
David R. Slavitt is a widely known poet, novelist, critic, and translator who prepared these English versions of the poems because he loved them. And, in the end, what other reason for poetry is there?