Vita Nuova

Dante Alighieri - Vita Nuova

Dante Alighieri was born in Florencia in 1265. He was a poet that today's is known as Il Sommo Poeta (the supreme poet). He had an active participation in the political struggles of his age and was exiled for it. He participated in diplomatic affairs of his country but he was condemned to exile as a result of a bad negotiation in Rome. He died in Ravenna in 1321 and buried in the church of San Pier Maggiore (named San Francisco de Asis after).

Vita Nuova of Dante Alighieri is many things. It is a story of desire: a passionate account (perhaps true, perhaps invented) of Dante’s love of Beatriz. It is an anthology of lyric poetry: a collection of Dante’s earliest verse assembled and annotated to chart his own growth as a writer. It is a treatise on literary criticism: a compendium of medieval theories of form and allegory, readership and authorship, pressed into the service of a new, vernacular self-consciousness, but, most compellingly, Vita Nuova is the announcement of the literary career of Dante Alighieri.

Poems in Italian

A Ciascun’Alma Presa e Gentil Core
A ciascun’alma presa e gentil core
Nel cui cospetto ven lo dir presente,
In ciò che mi rescrivan suo parvente,
Salute in lor segnor, cioè Amore.

Già eran quasi che atterzate l’ore
Del tempo che onne stella n’è lucente,
Quando m’apparve Amor subitamente,
Cui essenza membrar mi dà orrore.

Allegro mi sembrava Amor tenendo
Meo core in mano, e ne le braccia avea
Madonna involta in un drappo dormendo.

Poi la svegliava, e d’esto core ardendo
Lei paventosa umilmente pascea
Appresso gir lo ne vedea piangendo.
Dante Alighieri

To Every Loving, Gentle-Hearted Friend
To every loving, gentle-hearted friend,
to whom the present rhyme is soon to go
so that I may their written answer know,
greetings in Love’s own name, their lord, I send.

The third hour of the time was near at end
when every star in heaven is aglow
‘twas then Love came before me, dreadful so
that my remembrance is with horror rent.

Joyous appeared he in his hand to keep
my very heart, and, lying on his breast,
my lady, veil-enwrapped and full asleep.

But he awakened her, and of my heart,
aflame, he humbly made her, fearful, taste
I saw him, finally, in tears depart.

Dante Alighieri