O SONNO SLEEP
Giovanni Della Casa trans. Peter Dean
O sonno, o della queta humida ombrosa
notte, placido figlio; o de' mortali
egri conforto, oblio dolce de' mali
sė gravi ond'è la vita aspra e noiosa:

soccorri al cor homai che langu'e posa
non have, e queste membra stanch' e frali
soleva. A me t'envola, o sonno, e l'ali
tue brune sovra me distendi e posa.

Ov'è'l silentio che'l dė fugge e'l lume,
ei lievi sogni che con non sicure
vestigia di seguirti han per costume?

Lasso ch'in van ti chiamo e queste oscur'e
gelide ombre in van lusingo: O più me
d'asprezza colme, o notti acerb'e dure.
O sleep, the placid child of quiet night
And its damp shadows, comforter alone
For suffering humanity, sweet oblivion
Against harsh ills, life tedious, spent in fright,

Give succour to a heart that knows no rest, whose plight
Is dire, and raise these limbs whose strength is gone
Up high. O sleep, I beg, let me be one
You enfold and let your dark spread wings on me alight.

Where is the silence day and light both flee,
And pleasant dreams leaving behind no trace
That follow after you at most times usually?

Alas! In vain do I appeal to you and chase
These dark and freezing shadows with my plea:
O pinions without pity! O nights of cruel pace!

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. copyright © Peter Dean 2004


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