From An Anthology of Italian Poems 13th-19th Century selected and translated by Lorna de’ Lucchi, Alfred A. Knopf, New York; 1922; pp. 98-99, 351.
[For purists, the Italian text of the poems follows the English translation.]
MATTEO MARIA BOIARDO, Count of Scandiano; born near Reggio, in Emilia; a favourite at the Court of Ferrara during the reigns of Borso d’Este and Ercole I.; Governor of Reggio, Modena, and again of Reggio. His poetical fame rests chiefly on the Orlando Innamorato, the story of which Ariosto continued in his Orlando Furioso. Other works are: Amorum liber, Capitoli sopra el timore, Eclogues; Timone, a comedy; translations from Herodotus and Xenophon; also some Latin poems. His lyrics, though imitated from Petrarch, are robust and sincere: they deal mainly with his unhappy attachment to Antonia Caprara of Reggio (1469-1471).
THE song of little birds from spray to spray,
The fragrant breeze that wafts among the flowers,
The lights that in transparent liquors play,
Awaking laughter in these eyes of ours,
Are here since nature and the heavens agree
With him who willeth that the whole world fall
Under love’s spell; hence sweetest melody
And fragrance thrill earth, wind, and waters all.
Wherever foot doth tread and eye doth rove
A passionate spirit kindleth, fraught with love,
Which giveth warmth before the summer days;
At his caressing smile and soft, sweet gaze
The flowers don brilliant hues, the grass grows green,
The waves are quieted, the skies serene.
ONE morning I beheld the sun arise
Out of the waves in shining gold attire,
Flushed was his face, and in so deep a wise
That the whole seashore seemed to be on fire;
And I beheld the dew of early morn
Awake the rose to such a vivid hue
That distant vision would indeed have sworn
A flame was kindled on the green stalk too.
And I beheld how for young April there
The tender buds, as is their wont, did blow
Sweetly, O sweetly in their early pride;
And I beheld a lady, kind and fair,
Rose-gathering on the lawn at morning-glow.
She was far lovelier than all else beside.