Poesia del Rinascimento

Литература и культура эпохи Возрождения

Veronica Gambara. English translations



[Richard Poss has translated 15 of Gambara’s poems for this anthology: 12 sonnets, 2 madrigals, and 1 ballad. Poss’ introduction analyzes several poems in detail:]

Women writers of the Renaissance and Reformation / edited by Katharina M. Wilson. Athens: University of Georgia Press, c1987. (xl, 638 p.)
LC#: PN6069.W65 W63 1987;   ISBN: 082030865X, 0820308668
Includes bibliographies and index

[Irma B. Jaffe’s collection of biographies includes one on Gambara, which gives both the Italian and translations by Jaffe and Gernando Colombardo of 11 poems, including all of the 27-stanza «Quando miro la terra ornata e bella.» With the book is a CD that includes readings in Italian of four of Gambara’s poems. (See the book’s table of contents online.):]

Jaffe, Irma B. Shining eyes, cruel fortune: the lives and loves of Italian Renaissance women poets / Irma B. Jaffe with Gernando Colombardo. New York: Fordham University Press, 2002. (xxx, 429 p., 8 p. of plates: ill. (some col.), maps; 26 cm. + 1 CD (4 3/4 in.)
LC#: PQ4063 .J34 2002;   ISBN: 0823221806, 0823221814
Accompanying CD contains poems in Italian. Includes bibliographical references (p. [411]-415) and indexes

[This anthology includes 9 poems by Gambara, translated by Laura Anne Stortoni and Mary Prentice Lillie, with the Italian original on the facing page: 7 sonnets (3 are also in Poss); 1 madrigal (also in Poss); & 1 stanza in ottava rima. The introduction by Stortoni speaks as if one of Gambara’s letters were included, but it is not. (See the book’s table of contents online.):]

Women Poets of the Italian Renaissance: Courtly Ladies & Courtesans / Edited by Laura Anna Stortoni. Translated by Laura Anna Stortoni & Mary Prentice Lillie. NY:Italica Press, 1997.
LC#: PQ4225 .E8 S838 1997;  ISBN: 0934977437

«…sweet effects—bitter and wild—»

[First, a frequently anthologized madrigal, «Occhi lucenti e belli,» a love poem probably addressed to Gambara’s husband. (Click on the highlighted Italian of the opening line to see the original online.):]

Brilliant and lovely eyes
How can it be that in one single instant
You give birth to so many varied moods?

Happy and sad, exalted, humble, proud—
You shine forth in a flash, in which, with hope
And fear you fill me full,
And many other sweet effects—bitter and wild—
All come together in a heart on fire
With you, when you desire.

Now that you are both life and death to me,
O joyful eyes, O blessed eyes and dear,
Be evermore serene, happy and clear.        [Stortoni & Lillie, p.33]

«…where stand in battle formation the thoughts and the desires.»

[«Ne la secreta e più profounda parte,» perhaps a later poem, on the conflict between reason and desire:]

In the heart’s secret and most profound place
where stand in battle formation the thoughts
and the desires, where war is waged so fiercely
that reason swiftly takes her leave,

The interior man reasons, and uses every art
to bring her back, and make her know the damage,
but out in the exterior go the senses;
without spirit they take part unaware.

I am made of flesh, am therefore weak and infirm.
They cannot grasp the beautiful high concepts
which spirit sends to those in whom the spirit lives.

Therefore guide, O Lord, my affections,
which without your help are evil, to the sacred shores,
before my soul grows further into error.        [Poss, pp.62-63]

«…united so much anxious discord in so much peace.»

[«Quella felice stella e in ciel fatale,» comparing Charles V to the first Roman emperor. In 1525, he had defeated Francis I; Here Gambara praises his easy peace terms (which, nevertheless, Francis violated almost immediately):]

That happy star is in the fateful heaven
which was companion to the high birth
of great Augustus Caesar, who held the empire
of the world, and was noble, and immortal.

That, but more benign, to the wonderful birth
of the great Charles was guide, so that I hope more
to see him, to say better the truth:
A god is made among us from mortal man.

So that, if in conquering the Indians, the Medes, the Scythians,
the Cantabrians, the Britons, and the ferocious Gauls,
the first one merited having such high honors,

Then this one who has already conquered two worlds
and united so much anxious discord in so much peace
now merits even more praise and greater honor.         [Poss, p.60]

«Liberate me; make yourselves free and peaceful.»

[«La bella flora, che da voi sol spera»; Gambara speaks in the voice of the city of Florence, besieged by the army of Pope Clement VIII in 1529-30:]

Beautiful Flora, who has put her trust
In you, brave heroes, for her peace and freedom,
Is now undone between her hopes and fears,
And often speaks to you, mildly or fiercely:
«O first and wisest of my throng of children,
Why will you never follow in the footsteps
Of those who with audacious hand and steel
Have made an open roadway to my aid?
Why are you slow in coming to my aid?
I did not bear you to be free and happy
For you to leave me as a grieving slave.
Now show me how much valor you can muster,
And with your wisdom and your powerful hands
Liberate me; make yourselves free and peaceful.»       [Stortoni & Lillie, p.31]

«See how she wanders from this side to that….»

[«Mira, Signor, la stanca navicella,» written in 1534, as the Catholic Church waited for the election of a new (and hopefully more peaceful) pope:]

Look, Lord, upon this weary little bark
Of Peter which goes wandering on the sea,
Driven by violent winds; she seems to mourn
Because of this tempestuous, evil storm!

See how she wanders from this side to that,
Bewildered, and with pitiful laments
She begs for succor. And will you allow
This evil star forever to pursue her?

A ship without a pilot, with no guide,
A flock without a shepherd, cannot last,
One is pursued by waves, the other, wolves.

O Lord, provide for her, send down Your favor
On him who knows, against the worst ill fortune,
To lead this bark into a happy harbor.        [Stortoni & Lillie, p.39]

«…now that both kings have turned all their regard and zeal to you.»

[«Tu che di Pietro il glorioso manto,» addressed in later 1534 to the newly elected Pope Paul III, who was trying to effect a peace between Francis and Charles. The «savage wolf» and «enemies of Christ» were the Turks; Vienna had withstood a 1529 Turkish siege, but no one knew if that would end the Turkish incursions:]

O happy wearer of the glorious mantle
Of holy Peter, you who hold the keys
To heaven’s kingdom, with great worthiness,
Servant of God, wise and most holy pastor:

Look on the flock under your care, see how
The savage wolf preys on it; and make sure
That by your sacred aid one side is heartened,
While pain and just lament fall on the other.

Drive with decisive force from this rich nest
The enemies of Christ, now that both kings
Have turned all their regard and zeal to you.

If you do this, the cry will ring out clear
Of your most gracious works and noble deeds,
Worthy of him whose great name you have taken.        [Stortoni & Lillie, p.31]

«Be stronger in piety than in hatred, O royal pair.»

[«Vinca gli sdegni e l’odio vostro antico,» addressed in 1538 to Charles V and Francis I. Pope Paul III was still trying to get them to a permanent peace; Gambara once again recommends warring against the Turks instead of each other:]

Conquer your wrath and your ancient hatred,
Charles and Francis, in the holy and blessed name
of Christ, and in His faith, who more than any other
has been your friend: Be at peace.

Let your weapons be ready to tame
His irreverent enemy, not just for Italy
but for all of Europe, and for all lands washed by the sea,
where the sun touches upon hills and valleys.

The great Shepherd to whom the keys of Heaven
were given, turns to you and prays that you
be taken with pity for his flock.

Be stronger in piety than in hatred, O royal pair,
and let a single desire ignite you both:
to vanquish those who hate Christ, and deny Him.        [Poss, pp.59-60]

«How many… have lost their names together with their lives!

[In 1532-33, Gambara had addressed her longest poem, «Quando miro la terra ornata e bella,» to the 13-year-old Cosimo de’ Medici of Florence. After describing the dangers of the world and the golden age of the past, Gambara tells the descendant of «the noble Laurel» (Lorenzo de’ Medici) that only virtue could give him the praise of writers and with it earthly immortality:]

How many beloved and revered Princes
have lost their names together with their lives!
How many, born poor, live on, gloriously shining
because for their noble and precious gifts
they are happily crowned with the sacred laurel,
and now, like bright stars, blessed, they sparkle above us,
while here in the world they will be forever honored.

I could go on giving examples
of the endless pages that heaven has inspired
throughout history, generously crowning
now this, now that one;
but how many of them have been forgotten
and how many now are neglected?
I speak of one who shines among other lights
as the sun shines among other brilliant stars.

I speak of you, favored branch of that stately tree,
the noble Laurel,
in which one sees at a glance
the virtue that spreads its luster from sea to sea;
and under its glorious and sacred shadow
one learns to love not gems or gold
but greatness crowned with virtue,
which leaves the whole world speechless.         [Jaffe & Columbardo, pp. 21-22]



      A l’ardente desio, ch’ognor m’accende
Di seguir nel cammin, ch’al ciel conduce,
Sol voi mancava, o mia ferena luce,
Per discacciar la nebbia, che m’offende.

      Or poi che ‘l vostro raggio in me risplende;
Per quella strada, ch’a ben far n’induce,
Vengo dietro di voi fidato duce:
Che ‘l mio voler più oltra non si stende.

      Bassi pensieri in me non han più loco:
Ogni vil voglia è spenta, e sol d’onore,
E di rara virtù l’alma si pasce,

      Dolce mio caro ed onorato foco:
Poscia che dal gentil vostro calore
Eterna fama e vera gloria nasce.


Secret Sacred Woods


Under the Sign of Dido

Before Her Marriage

Piщ volte il miser cor avea assaltato
Essendo l’ora del partir mio gionta
Quando sarа ch’io mora
Poichи fortuna volse farmi priva
Non bastava ad amor empio e fallace
Libra non son, ne mai libra esser spero
Quando Amor mi condusse al duro gioco
Or passata и la speranza
Amor, quanto i mei giorni aspri sien stati
Cosм estrema и la doglia
Mentre l’alte promesse a mille a mille
Tosto che ‘l sol si scopre in orпente
Straziami a possa tua crudel fortuna
Da indi in qua ch’agl’occhi miei si tolse
Amor poi ch’io son priva

Bethrothal and Marriage

Ride la terra, e d’ogni parte rend
Quando fia mai quel di felice tanto
Se piщ stanno a parir quei duo bei lumi
«Occhi,» dico talhor, «orsщ godete
Dal veder voi, occhi sereni, e chiari
Occhi lucenti e belli
Se quando per Adone o ver per Marte
Vero albergo d’Amor, occhi lucenti

After Her Husband’s Death

Quel nodo, in cui la mia beata sorte
Di quel fido pensier, che mi conduce
Vaghi pensier, che all’affanato core

To Alfonso D’Avalos, Marquis del Vasto

Lа dove or d’erbe adorna ambe le sponde
Se lunge da gli amati e cari lumi

Celebrating a Wedding

Scogli le trecce d’oro, e d’ogn’intorno

Later Poetry About Love

Poscia che ‘l mio destin fermo e fatale
Da chi debb’io sperar mai triegua o pace
Nasce il desir da gran pena d’amore
Ne la secreta e piщ profounda parte

Previously attributed to Gambara,
probably by Veronica Franco:

Ite, pensier fallaci e vana spene

Maud F. Jerrold. Vittoria Colonna, With Some Account of Her Friends and Her Times. 1906. Chapter 6


Oggi per mezzo tuo, Vergine pura,
Si mostra in terra si mirabil cosa,
Che piena di stupor resta pensosa,
Mirando l’ opra, e cede la natura.

Fatto uomo e Dio, e sotto urnana cura,
Vestito di mortal carnc noiosa,
Resto qual era, e la divina ascosa
Sua cssenzia tenne in pueril figura.

Misto non fu, ne fu diviso mai ;
Ma sempre Dio e sempre uomo verace,
Quanto possente in ciel, tanto nel mondo.

Volgi dunque ver me, Vergine, i rai
De la tua grazia, e ‘l senso mio capace
Fa’ di questo misterio alto e profondo.

Virgin most pure, to-day by means of thee
On earth is shown so wonderful a thing
That nature fails, and gazes wondering
Upon the work, and all amazed is she.

God is made man, ‘neath human tendance, He
With weary mortal flesh is clothed upon,
Remaining what He was, He putteth on
An infant form, veiling divinity.
Confused He was not, nor divided e’er,
But very God and very man alway,
As powerful on earth as even in heaven.
Turn then thy rays of grace, O Virgin fair,
On me, that so the comprehension may
Of this deep mystery to me be given.»


Р. 148.


Or passata e la speranza,
Che mi tenne un tempo ardendo ;
Men mi duol, poich io comprendo
Nulla cosa aver costanza.
Or passata e la speranza.
Questa falsa un tempo in foco
M’ ha tenuta pur sperando ;
Or prendendo il mal mio a gioco
M’ ha lassata lagrimando,
Ed amando e desiando
Mi conduce ogn’ ora a morte

Con passion tenace e forte
E con pid perseveranza.
Or passata la speranza.
lo sperai, e quel sperare
Mi nutriva in dolce liamnia ;
N pill or spero, e lagrimare
Sol quest’ alma desia e brama,
E la morte ognora chiama
Per soccorso al suo dolore,
Poich senza speme e ‘l core
Che gia fu sua dolce stanza.
Or passata e la speranza.
Mentre ch’ ebbi lui per scorta,
Ogni mal mi parea leve ;
Senza lui smarrita e morta,
Ogni poco mi par greve ;
Lungo affanno e piacer breve
Da indi ‘n qua sempre ho sentito
Per aver con s servito ;
Questo premio sol m’ avanza.
Or passata e la speranza.
Mia soave e dolce speme,
Da me dunque ahim ! e fuggita ;
E al partir ne porto insieme
L’ arso cor, mia stanca vita ;
Tal ch’ essendo sbigottita,
E di speme al tutto priva,
Non vivendo, resto viva
Senz’ alfin nulla speranza.
Or passata la speranza.


Now has hope passed away
That kept me once aglow ;
Less mourn I since I know
That nothing here can stay.
Now has hope passed away.
This false one formerly
My heart on fire did keep ;
Mocking my misery,
She leaves me now to weep
O’er love and longings deep.
Ever she leads to death
Whom passion governeth
With strong persistent sway.
Now has hope passed away.
I hoped and hope made burn
In me a gracious fire ;
I hope no more but mourn

That longing sweet desire.
I call in sorrow dire
On death to soothe my smart,
For hopeless is the heart
Where hope made once sweet stay.
Now has hope passed away.
While I had her to lead,
All ills seemed light to me ;
Without her, lost and dead,
Least things most grievous be.
Brief joy, long agony,
The sole reward I have
Since I became her slave :
This feel I since that day.
Now has hope passed away.
My gentle hope and fair,
Alas ! from me has fled ;
Why took she not with her
Tired life and heart nigh dead ?
Me such dark fears dismay
As of all hope deprive,
Not living, yet alive
Without hope’s faintest ray.
Now has hope passed away.


Libra non son, ne mai libra esser spero
Dal crudel laccio, ove gia fui legata,
Perche troppo mortal la piaga e stata,
Che gia feri mio cor puro e sincere.
Ne libra mai sard da un sol pensero,
Nel qua! di e notte isto sempre occupata,
Che la mia liberta, qual t’ ho donata,
Non sprezzi ohime, tuo cor superbo e fiero.
N libra da timor, ne libra ancora
Mai saro da martir, de acerbe pene
Che me affligon per te, crudele, ogn’ ora.
Alfin ne libra mai da tue catene
Staro, cresciendo in me pill d’ ora in ora
Varie passion per te suave e amene.»

Free am I not, nor ever hope to be,
From that hard bond with which I erst was bound,
Because the wound was all too mortal found
Which pierced the pure and truthful heart of me.

Nor from one single thought shall I be free
Which day and night my mind doth occupy
The fear lest my surrendered liberty,

Proud heart and ruthless, be despised by thee ;
Nor free from fear, nor free for evermore
From torment, cruel one, from bitter pains,

Which constantly through thee must work me woe.
In fine, I shall not ever from thy chains
Be free, since divers passions hour by hour,
Pleasant and sweet through thee, within me grow



Cosi estrema e la doglia,
Ch’ a cosi estremo mal mal non arriva ;
E a questo modo i’ me ne resto viva.
Sarei ben morta homai,
Ma il duol che ho in cuor si grave e forte
Non da luoco a la morte,
N accrescer pud, n sminuir mei guai.
Ahi dispietat’ ofFesa !
Come faro diffesa
Che m’ hai si pien d’ angoscia ‘l alma e ‘l petto
Che fuor non pud spirar l’ anima accesa,
E vivo al mio dispetto ?
Ma fra tutti i martir quest’ e ‘l maggiore
Non puotermi doler de ‘l mio dolore.»

The grief is so extreme,
It well-nigh matches so extreme a pain,
And in this fashion I alive remain.
I had been dead ere this,
But that the grief, so heavy on my heart,
With death can have no part ;
My woes can neither grow nor yet decrease.
Ah, cruel injury !
And what defence have I,

Whose burdened heart is in such woful plight
That the enkindled soul can nowise die,
And lives in my despite ?
But of all pangs this is the crown and chief
Not to be able to bewail my grief.»


Occhi lucenti e belli,

Lovely and shining eyes,
How can it be that there are born in you
At one same time so many forms and new ?
You are both glad and sad in the same breath,

Humble and haughty ; hence it doth befall
That fear and hope fulfil
This heart that burns for you and harboureth
Fierce feelings, bitter, sweet, continual,
Which crowd here at your will.
Now since you are my very life and death,
Oh happy eyes, eyes beautiful and dear,
Be ever joyful, ever bright and clear.»


P. 160

Mentre da vaghi e giovenil pensieri
Fui nodrita, or temendo, ora sperando,
Piangendo or trista, ed or lieta cantando,
Da desir combattuta or falsi, or veri,
Con accent! sfogai pietosi e feri
I concetti del cor, che spesso amando
II suo male assai piti che ‘1 ben cercando,
Consumava dogliosa i giorni interi.
Or che d’ altri pensieri e d’ altre voglie
Pasco la mente, a le gia care rime
Ho posto ed a lo stil silenzio eterno.
E, se allor, vaneggiando, a quelle prime
Sciocchezze intesi, ora il pentirmi toglie,
Palesando la colpa, il duolo interno

What time on youthful wayward thoughts I fed,
Now fearing and now hoping, sorrowing
With bitter tears, and now with heart to sing,
By longings false or true still harassed,
I told in accents pitiful and dread
The fancies of my heart, which rather would
Seek its own hurt, than follow after good ;
And all my days thus sorrowfully sped.
On other thoughts and wishes now I feed
My mind, and hence the once dear rhymes and style
In everlasting silence have I sealed.

If in my fantasy I leant awhile
To those first follies, penitence indeed
Removes the grief, leaving the fault revealed


P. 161

O de la nostra etade unica gloria,
Donna saggia, leggiadra, anzi divina,
A la qual riverente oggi s’ inchina
Chiunque e degno di famosa istoria,

Ben fia eterna di voi qua gift memoria,
N potra ‘1 tempo con la sua ruina
Far del bel nome vostro empia rapina,

Ma di lui porterete ampia vittoria.
II sesso nostro un sacro e nobil tenipio
Dovria, come gia a Palla e a Febo, alzarvi

Di ricchi marmi e di finissim’ oro.
E, poich di virtii siete 1* esempio,

Vorrei, Donna, poter tanto lodarvi,
Quanto io vi riverisco, amo ed adoro.»

O thou sole glory of our century,
Lady most admirable, wise, divine,
To whom to-day do reverently incline
All who deserve a place in history.
Immortal here shall be your memory ;
Time, that dooms all to ruinous decay,
Shall make of your fair name no impious prey,
But unto you shall be the victory.
To Pallas and to Phoebus shrines of old
Were reared, and such to you our sex should raise
Of richest marble and of finest gold.
And, since in you is found all excellence,
In equal measure I would give you praise,
Lady, with worship, love, and reverence.»


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