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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. 40-41, 348.

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

LAPO GIANNI, Late XIIIth Century

Notes and translation by Lorna de’ Lucchi


Biographical Note

LAPO GIANNI (Ser Lapo di Gianni Ricevuti), a Florentine lawyer and a friend of Dante and Cavalcanti; he belonged to the group of poets of “dolce stil nuovo.”



LAPO GIANNI, Late XIIIth Century


THIS tender rose,
Whose merry-hearted youth is framed to please,
O Love, with ease
Proveth how from her virtue sweetness flows.
     Had I but power
To laud her virgin wonder, I would show
How Nature decked her in all wond’rous ways;
But I’ve no dower
Of wisdom whence truth may be proven, so
Speak thou, O Love, and worthier her praise.
But how to gaze
On her I once did turn my eyes, the grace
Of her sweet face
And starry eyes beholding, I will tell.
     Then I lowered mine,
Because this heart was pierced with radiancy
In the same moment I beheld her face.
“O’er will of thine,”
Didst say, “this Lady shall have seignory
And thou shalt be her slave a whole life’s space.”
Thanks for this grace,
To thee, omnipotent, sweet lord, I give
And gaily live,
Thinking of her my soul doth serve so well.
     Go, little song,
And unto her of the gold curls draw nigh,
Saying almighty Love hath willed that I
To her belong.


LAPO GIANNI, Secolo XIII, seconda metà


QUESTA rosa novella
che fa piacer sua gaia giovanezza,
mostra che gentilezza,
amor, sia nata per virtù di quella.
     S’ i’ fossi sufficiente
di raccontar sua maraviglia nova,
diria come natura l’ ha adornata;
ma io non son possente
di saper allegar verace prova:
dillo tu, Amor, che serà me’ laudata.
Ben dico una fïata
levando gli occhi per mirarla fiso.
presemi ’l dolce riso
e li occhi suoi lucenti come stella.
     Allor bassai li mei
per lo tuo raggio che mi giunse al core
entro in quel punto ch’ io la riguardai.
Tu dicesti: “Costei
mi piace signoreggi ’l tuo valore,
e servo alla tua vita le sarai.”
Ond’ io ringrazio assai,
dolce signor, la tua somma grandezza,
ch’ i’ vivo in allegrezza,
pensando a cui mia alma hai fatt’ ancella.
     Ballata giovincella,
dirai a quella ch’ ha bionda la trezza,
ch’ Amor, per la sua altezza,
m’ ha comandato i’ sia servente d’ ella.


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