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From An Anthology of Italian Poems 13th-19th Century selected and translated by Lorna de’ Lucchi, Alfred A. Knopf, New York; 1922; pp. 134-135, 353.

[For purists, the Italian text of the poems follows the English translation.]


Notes and translation by Lorna de’ Lucchi


Biographical Note

LUIGI ALAMANNI, born in Florence; conspired against Giulio de’ Medici, afterwards Pope Clement VII., and fled to France, where he enjoyed the favour of Francis I. and later of Henry II. He spent most of his life in France, and died at Amboise. He wrote La Coltivazione dei Campi, Girone il Cortese, L Avarchide, and shorter verse. His lyrical poems are refined and dignified.





THEREFORE, proud Italy, I, by God’s grace,
After six years come back to gaze on thee,
This only, for barbarians fill the place
Where I once lay upon they breast, ah me!
With tearful eyes and drooping head I greet
The country of my birth, to her I yearn
With pain and fear and anger, stripped of sweet
Delight and every hope. Then I return
   Again beyond the Alps, all wreathed with snow,
To honest Gallic earth, a better friend
To strangers than thou art unto thine own!
There, in a sheltered haven till the end
I will abide, mid those cool valleys lone,
Since Heaven agrees and thou hast willed it so.



IO pur, la Dio mercè rivolgo il passo
dopo il sest’ anno a rivederti almeno,
superba Italia; poi che starti in seno
dal barbarico stuol m’ è tolto, ahi lasso!
e con gli occhi dolenti e ’l viso basso
sospiro, e ’nchino il mio natìo terreno,
di dolor, di timor, di rabbia pieno,
di speranza e di gioia ignudo e casso.
   Poi ritorno a calcar l’ Alpi nevose,
e ’l buon gallo sentier, ch’ io trovo amico
più de’ figli d’ altrui, che tu de’ tuoi.
Ivi al soggiorno solitario aprico
mi starò sempre in quelle valli ombrose,
poi che ’l ciel lo consente, e tu lo vuoi.


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