Alla luna

Giacomo Leopardi was born three years after Keats in 1798, and died in the same year as Pushkin, in 1837. The feeling of his time made him a thoroughgoing Romantic, but he had a Classicist’s attention to the ancient past. The moon contained for him therefore manifold and venerable associations lurking in shadows; so landscapes flooded by moonlight feature in many of his poems. None does so however so simply and touchingly as in the following lyric ‘Alla Luna’. This seems to have begun life as a sonnet, but on reflection the last two lines were added. I couldn’t find a translation, quite, that I liked; I wanted to keep the last two lines intact. So I attempted one of my own, which appears below.

Alla luna

O graziosa luna, io mi rammento
Che, or volge l’anno, sovra questo colle
Io venia pien d’angoscia a rimirarti:
E tu pendevi allor su quella selva
Siccome or fai, che tutta la rischiari.
Ma nebuloso e tremulo dal pianto
Che mi sorgea sul ciglio, alle mie luci
Il tuo volto apparia, che travagliosa
Era mia vita: ed è, né cangia stile,
0 mia diletta luna. E pur mi giova
La ricordanza, e il noverar l’etate
Del mio dolore. Oh come grato occorre
Nel tempo giovanil, quando ancor lungo
La speme e breve ha la memoria il corso,
Il rimembrar delle passate cose,
Ancor che triste, e che l’affanno duri!

To the Moon

O moon of grace, I remember how,
One year gone, climbing this hilltop
I came to gaze on you in anguish:
And you hung silent over that wood,
Just as now, filling all with light.
But trembling and clouded by tears
That burst out from my eyelashes
Your face appeared, so troubled was my
Life; and still, so little changes,
O my sweet moon. And yet I’m ravished
By recollection, and reckoning up
The ages of my pain. How sweet to think
Of when we were young, when long on hope
And short on memory, time waited –
The remembrance of things past –
Though things were sad, and troubles last.

~ by thebicyclops on February 20, 2012.

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