L’USIGNOLO FERITO: In Memoria di Christina Rossetti

Wounded Nightingale: In Memoriam Christina Rossetti

Tradotto in Italiano da GIAN FRANCO SPOTTI 


Un usignolo ferito è questa poetessa.
La canzone che canta è sempre la stessa:
Per questa effimera valle di lacrime un lamentio
La sua sola canzone, un’elegia.
Un ricordo è l’amor nella frondosa foresta
Per ciò che è andato e perso un’insana bramosia resta
Paradiso di gioventù. La gioia di cui fu privata
Non le sarà mai più ridata.

Voglia di paradiso, di sonno eterno
Sul petto dell’Amato,
Tutto ciò che avrà cantato.
I suoi giorni un eterno pianto,
Una trenodia per Adamo, Eva, l’Autunno è quanto.
Giorno dopo giorno, il sogno di vita innaturale
E’ per lei un lungo e silente urlare

7 thoughts to “L’USIGNOLO FERITO: In Memoria di Christina Rossetti”

  1. Florence Nightingale was better know by the media as, ” The Lady with the Lamp.” She was one of the most famous women in British history Nightingale was put in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War. Her parents named her after the famous Italian city of Florence.

  2. Oh dear, this beautifully translated poem has nothing to do with Florence Nightingale! 🙂

  3. @ Gian Franco

    Gian, thank you for this superb translation! I commend you for you trying not only to translate the meaning of the poem as accurately as possible but for your spirited attempt to capture the mood music and musicality of LD’s original sonnet by the use of rhyme. Accuracy is almost always lost when rhyme is used, but rhyme and meter are essential for the musicality that comes from beautiful sound effects. Poetry without music is magic lost. It’s like champagne without its fizz or like beer gone flat.

    I think musical sound effects are vey important to LD and she has studied this subject at great length. You can see this by reading her article: “Magical Sound Effects in Poetry.”


  4. Dear Gian,

    My Italian is not very good but I think you have made one small translation error here. I suspect you have misunderstood the meaning of the word “Fall”. The word “Fall” does not mean what you think it means. Not in this context anyway. You see, there’s a big difference between the meaning of “the fall” (with a small ‘f’) and “the Fall” (with a big ‘F’).

    This is the defective line, I think, in your translation:

    Una trenodia per Adamo, Eva, l’Autunno è quanto.
    A threnody for Adam, Eve, the Fall.

    I won’t point out your mistake but I think this line needs revision. Because it makes no sense in Italian. It makes sense in English, but not in Italian. I refer to the phrase “l’Autunno è quanto.”

    All the best, Gian! A brilliant translation, except for that one line! 🙂

    I’ll explain more later . . .

    1. Hi Saki,
      thanks for your comments and opinions they are always welcome and useful.
      I used the big “F” for Fall because it was like that in the poem. I thought that “Fall” was referring to the season of the year (Fall or Autumn). Honestly I could not find any other translation or solution.
      I also “extended” a little bit my translation to allow rhymes to appear.
      Gian Franco

      1. @ Gian Franco

        Your poem is beautifully translated. Nothing wrong with the “extended” bits which allow for rhymes. If it had been a small-letter “f”, it would have referred to the Autumn. As in “the yellow leaves of fall tossed in the wind and gathered on the ground.” I don’t think “autumn” s being referred to here, Gian. Not when it has a capital “F”. This is referring to the Fall of Man. I don’t know what this is in Italian … maybe “La caduta dell’uomo.” (???)

        The word FALL has three different meanings in English:

        (1) Falling, dropping, or collapsing on the ground, e.g., “She had a big FALL on the slippery ice and broke a bone in her back.” (This is not the meaning here).

        (2) The autumn season (in American and Canadian English only). Not the meaning here.

        3) The word “Fall” with a capital ‘F’ refers to the FALL OF MAN in the Garden of Eden (Paradise). Anyway, Gian, this is the definition of “the Fall” in my English dictionary:

        FALL: (always preceded by “the”, as in “The Fall.” = Adam’s sin of disobedience and the state of innate sinfulness resulting from this for himself and all mankind. See also original sin (peccatum originale).

        I hope this explanation is of some use to you. But I don’t suggest you changing your translation because that would spoil your rhyme: “l’Autunno è quanto”. It’s up to you. If you wish to make a quick change, that’s OK. But if you prefer to leave it as it is, I’m sure no one here will mind! 🙂

        “A threnody for Adam, Eve, the Fall.”

        Just trying to be helpful, Gian, so that you may know that “the Fall” has nothing to do with the autumn season! — and everything to do with the Fall of Man in paradise, caused by Adam and Eve eating the Forbidden Fruit and committing the First Sin (“peccatum originale”).

  5. A beautiful translation, I agree. I don’t think the mistranslation spoils it. Well, not all that much! Though I agree the Italian makes no sense, while the English certainly does.

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