BILTA DI DONNA ... A QUICK PERCEPTIVENESS ...
Guido Cavalcanti tr. Leonard Cottrell
Biltà di donna, e di saccente core,
e cavalieri armati che sien genti,
cantar d’augelli e ragionar d'amore,
adorni legni ’n mar forte correnti,
aria serena quand’ appar l’albore,
e bianca neve scender senza venti,
rivera d’acqua e prato d’ogni fiore,
oro e argento, azzurro ’n ornamenti,
ciò passa la beltate e la valenza
de la mia donna e’l su’ gentil coraggio,
si che rassembra vile a chi cio guarda.
E tant’ a più d’ogn’altra canoscenza,
quanto lo cielo de la terra è maggio:
A simil di natura ben non tarda.
A quick perceptiveness, a woman’s charm,
a windless city white with falling snow,
the gallant courtesy of men-at-arms,
the blue of lazuli, the warmth of gold,
the song of birds, the reasonings of lovers,
a breeze at daybreak when the dawn is pale,
a flowered meadow full of all the colors,
galleons running under press of sail:
all these are second to my lady’s worth.
No one seeing her would wish to trade
her presence for the wonders on that list.
Aptness for joy is in the way she’s made -
her heart has knowledge which excels the rest
as heaven’s sphere is greater than the earth.

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For more of this translator's work see: http://planck.com/rhymedtranslations/versetrans.htm

Trans. Copyright © Leonard Cottrell 1999

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