ROSA FRESCA AULENTISSIMA ... DIALOGUE. LOVER AND LADY.
Ciullo d'Alcamo tr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti



"Rosa fresca aulentissima ch' apari inver' la state
le donne ti disiano pulzell' e maritate:
tràgemi d'este focora, se t'este a bolontate;
per te non ajo abento notte e dia,
penzando pur di voi, madonna mia."




"Se di meve trabàgliti follia lo ti fa fare.
Lo mar potresti arompere, a venti asemenare
l'abére d'esto secolo tutto quanto asembrare:
avere me non pòteri a esto monno;
avanti li cavelli m'aritonno."




"Se li cavelli artonniti, avanti foss'io morto,
ca'n issi sė mi pèrdera lo solaccio e 'l diporto.
Quando ci passo e véjoti, rosa fresca de l'orto,
bono conforto donimi tuttore:
poniamo che s'ajunga il nostro amore."




"Ke 'l nostro amore ajùngasi, non boglio m'atalenti:
se ci ti trova pàremo cogli altri miei parenti.
guarda non t'arigolgano questi forti correnti.
Como ti seppe bona la venuta,
consiglio che ti guardi a la partuta."




"Se i tuoi parenti tròvanmi, e che mi pozzon fare?
Una difensa mèttoci di dumili' agostari,
non mi toccara pàdreto per quanto avere ha 'n Bari.
Viva lo 'mperadore, grazi' a Deo!
Intendi, bella, quel che ti dico eo?"





"Tu me no lasci vivere né sera né maitino.
Donna mi so' di pèrperi, d'auro massamotino.
Se tanto aver donàssemi quanto ha lo Saladino
e per ajunta quant'ha lo soldano
toccare me non pòteri a la mano."




"Molte sono le femine c'hanno dura la testa,
e l'omo con parabole l'adėmina e amonesta:
tanto intorno procàzzala fin che l'ha in sua podesta.
Femina d'omo non si può tenere:
guàrdati, bella, pur de ripentere."




"K'eo ne pur ripentésseme? davanti foss'io aucisa
ca nulla bona femina per me fosse ripresa!
Aersera passàstici, correnno a la distesa.
Aquėstati riposa, canzoneri:
le tue parole a me non piaccion gueri."




"Quante sono le schiantora che m'ha' mise a lo core,
e solo purpenzànnome la dia quanno vo fore!
Femina d'esto secolo tanto non amai ancore
quant'amo teve, rosa invidïata:
ben credo che mi fosti distinata."




"Se distinata fòsseti, caderia de l'altezze
ché male messe fòrano in teve mie bellezze.
Se tutto adivenėssemi, tagliàrami le trezze
e consore m'arenno a una magione
avanti che m'artocchi 'n la persone."




"Se tu consore arènneti, donna col viso cleri
a lo mostero vènoci e rènnomi confleri:
per tanta prova vencerti fàralo volonteri.
Conteco stao la sera e lo maitino:
besogn'è ch'io ti tenga al meo dimino."




"Boimè tapina misera, com'ao reo distinato!
Geso Cristo l'altissimo del tutto m'è airato:
concepėstimi a abàttare in omo blestiemato.
Cerca la terra ch'este granne assai,
chiù bella donna di me troverai."





"Cercat'ajo Calabria, Toscana e Lombardia,
Puglia, Costantinopoli, Genoa, Pisa e Soria,
Lamagna e Babilonia e tutta Barberia:
donna non ci trovai tanto cortese,
per che sovrana di meve te prese."




"Poi tanto trabagliàstiti, faccioti meo pregheri
che tu vadi adomànnimi a mia mare e a mon peri.
Se dare mi ti degnano menami a lo mosteri
e sposami davanti da la jente;
e poi farò le tuo comannamente."




"Di ciò che dici, vėtama, niente non ti bale,
ca de lo tuo parabole fatto n'ho ponti e scale.
Penne penzasti mettere, sonti cadute l'ale;
e dato t'ajo la bolta sottana.
Dunque, se poti, tèniti villana."




"En paura non mettermi di nullo manganiello:
istòmi 'n esta grorïa d'este forte castiello;
prezzo le tuo parabole meno che d'un zitello.
Se tu no levi e va'tine di quaci,
se tu ci fosse morto, ben mi chiaci."




"Dunque vorresti vėtama, ca per te fosse strutto?
Se morto essere débboci od intagliato tutto,
di quaci non mi mòssera se non aj' de lo frutto
lo quale stäo ne lo tuo jardino:
disïolo la sera e lo maitino."




"Di quel frutto non àbbero conti né cabalieri;
molto lo disïarono marchesi e justizieri,
avere no'nde pòttero: gėro 'nde molto feri.
Intendi bene ciò che bolio dire?
Men'este di mill'onze lo tuo abere."




"Molti so' li garofani, ma non che salma 'nd'ài:
bella, non dispregiàremi s'avanti non m'assai.
Se vento è in proda e gėrasi e giungeti a le prai,
arimembrare t'ao este parole,
ca dentr'a 'sta animella assai me dole."




"Macara se dolésseti che cadesse angosciato:
la gente ci corressoro da traverso e da lato;
tutt'a meve dicessono: 'Acorri esto malnato!'
Non ti degnara porgere la mano
Per quanto avere ha 'l papa e lo soldano."




"Deo lo volesse, vėtama, te fosse morto in casa!
L'arma n'anderia cònsola, ca dė e notte pantasa.
La jente ti chiamàrano: 'Oi perjura malvasa,
c'ha ' morto l'omo in càsata, traėta!'
Sanz'onni colpo lèvimi la vita."




"Se tu no levi e va'tine co la maladizione,
li frati miei ti trovano dentro chissa magione.
[...] be lo mi soffero pèrdici la persone.
Ca meve se' venuto a sormontare;
parente néd amico non t'ha aitare."




"A meve non aėtano amici né parenti:
istrani mi so', càrama, enfra esta bona jente.
Or fa un anno, vėtama, che 'ntrara mi se' 'n mente.
Di canno ti vististi lo maiuto,
bella, da quello jorno so' feruto."




"Di tanno 'namoràstiti, tu Iuda lo traėto,
come se fosse porpore, iscarlato o sciamito?
S'a le Vangele jùrimi che mi si' a marito,
avere me non pòter'a esto monno:
avanti in mare jėttomi al perfonno."




"Se tu nel mare gėttiti, donna cortese e fina,
dereto mi ti mėsera per tutta la marina,
e da poi c'anegàsseti, trobàrati a la rena
solo per questa cosa adimpretare:
conteco m'ajo aggiungere a peccare."




"Segnomi in Patre e 'n Filio ed in santo Matteo:
so ca non se' tu retico o figlio di giudeo,
e cotale parabole non udi' dire anch'eo.
Morta si è la femina a lo 'ntutto,
pèrdeci lo saboro e lo disdotto."




"Bene lo saccio, càrama: altro non pozzo fare.
Se quisso non arcòmplimi, làssone cantare.
Fallo, mia donna, plàzzati, ché bene lo puoi fare.
Ancora tu no m'ami, ma molto t'amo,
sė m'hai preso come lo pesce a l'amo."




"Sazzo che m'ami, e àmoti di core paladino.
Lèvati suso e vatene, tornaci a lo matino.
Se ciò che dico fàcemi, di bon cor t'amo e fino.
Quisso t'adimprometto sanza faglia:
te' la mia fede che m'hai in tua baglia."




"Per zo che dici, càrama, neiente non mi movo.
Innanti prenni e scannami: tolli esto cortel novo.
Esto fatto fa pòtesi inanti scalfi un uovo.
Arcompli mi' talento, amica bella,
ché l'arma co lo core mi si 'nfella."




"Ben sazzo, l'arma dòleti, com'omo ch'ave arsura.
Esto fatto non pòtesi per null'altra misura:
se non ha' le Vangelïe che mo ti dico 'Jura',
avere me non puoi in tua podesta;
inanti prenni e tagliami la testa."




"Le Vangelïe, càrama? Ch'io le porto in seno:
a lo mostero présile ( non ci era lo patrino).
Sovr'esto libro jùroti mai non ti vegno meno.
Arcompli mi' talento in caritate,
ché l'arma me ne sta in suttilitate."




"Meo sire, poi juràstimi, eo tutta quanta incenno.
Sono alla tua presenzïa, da voi non mi difenno.
S'eo minespreso àjoti, merzé, a voi m'arenno.
A lo letto me gimo e la bon'ora,
ché chissa cosa n'è data in ventura."




He
Thou sweetly-smelling fresh red rose
That near thy summer art,
Of whom each damsel and each dame
Would fain be counterpart;
Oh! from this fire to draw me forth
Be it in thy good heart:
For night or day there is no rest with me,
Thinking of none, my lady, but of thee.
She
If thou hast set thy thoughts on me,
Thou hast done a foolish thing.
Yea, all the pine-wood of this world
Together might'st thou bring,
And make thee ships, and plough the sea
Therewith for corn-sowing,
Ere any way to win me could be found:
For I am going to shear my locks all round.
He
Lady, before thou shear thy locks
I hope I may be dead:
For I should lose such joy thereby
And gain such grief instead.
Merely to pass and look at thee,
Rose of the garden-bed,
Has comforted me much, once and again.
Oh! if thou wouldst but love, what were it then!
She
Nay, though my heart were prone to love,
I would not grant it leave.
Hark! should my father or his kin
But find thee here this eve,
Thy loving body and lost breath
Our moat may well receive.
Whatever path to come here thou dost know,
By the same path I counsel thee to go.
He
And if thy kinsfolk find me here,
Shall I be drown'd then? Marry,
I'll set, for price against my head,
Two thousand agostari.
I think thy father would not do't
For all his lands in Bari.
Long life to the Emperor! Be God's the praise!
40Thou hear'st, my beauty, what thy servant says.
She
And am I then to have no peace
Morning or evening?
I have strong coffers of my own
And much good gold therein;
So that if thou couldst offer me
The wealth of Saladin,
And add to that the Soldan's money-hoard,
Thy suit would not be anything toward.
He
I have known many women, love,
Whose thoughts were high and proud,
And yet have been made gentle by
Man's speech not over loud.
If we but press ye long enough,
At length ye will be bow'd;
For still a woman's weaker than a man.
When the end comes, recall how this began.
She
God grant that I may die before
Any such end do come, -
Before the sight of a chaste maid
Seem to be troublesome!
I mark'd thee here all yestereve
Lurking about my home,
And now I say, Leave climbing, lest thou fall,
For these thy words delight me not at all.
He
How many are the cunning chains
Thou hast wound round my heart!
Only to think upon thy voice
Sometimes I groan apart.
For I did never love a maid
Of this world, as thou art,
So much as I love thee, thou crimson rose.
Thou wilt be mine at last: this my soul knows.
She
If I could think it would be so,
Small pride it were of mine
That all my beauty should be meant
But to make thee to shine.
Sooner than stoop to that I'd shear
These golden tresses fine,
And make one of some holy sisterhood;
Escaping so thy love, which is not good.
He
If thou unto the cloister fly,
Thou cruel lady and cold,
Unto the cloister I will come
And by the cloister hold;
For such a conquest liketh me
Much better than much gold;
At matins and at vespers I shall be
Still where thou art. Have I not conquer'd thee?
She
Out and alack! wherefore am I
Tormented in suchwise?
Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour,
In whom my best hope lies,
O give me strength that I may hush
This vain man's blasphemies!
Let him seek through the earth; 'tis long and broad:
He will find fairer damsels, O my God!
He
I have sought through Calabria,
Lombardy, and Tuscany,
Rome, Pisa, Lucca, Genoa,
All between sea and sea:
Yea, even to Babylon I went
And distant Barbary:
But not a woman found I anywhere
Equal to thee, who art indeed most fair.
She
If thou have all this love for me,
Thou canst no better do
Than ask me of my father dear
And my dear mother too:
They willing, to the abbey-church
We will together go,
And, before Advent, thou and I will wed;
After the which, I'll do as thou hast said.
He
These thy conditions, lady mine,
Are altogether nought;
Despite of them, I'll make a net
Wherein thou shalt be caught.
What, wilt thou put on wings to fly?
Of wax I think they're wrought, -
They'll let thee fall to earth, not rise with thee:
So, if thou canst, then keep thyself from me.
She
Think not to fright me with thy nets
And suchlike childish gear;
I am safe pent within the walls
Of this strong castle here;
A boy before he is a man
Could give me as much fear.
If suddenly thou get not hence again,
It is my prayer thou may'st be found and slain.
He
Wouldst thou in very truth that I
Were slain, and for thy sake?
Then let them hew me to such mince
As a man's limbs may make!
But meanwhile I shall not stir hence
Till of that fruit I take
Which thou hast in thy garden, ripe enough:
All day and night I thirst to think thereof.
She
None have partaken of that fruit,
Not Counts nor Cavaliers:
Though many have reach'd up for it,
Barons and great Seigneurs,
They all went hence in wrath because
They could not make it theirs.
Then how canst thou think to succeed alone
Who hast not a thousand ounces of thine own?
He
How many nosegays I have sent
Unto thy house, sweet soul!
At least till I am put to proof,
This scorn of thine control.
For if the wind, so fair for thee,
Turn ever and wax foul,
Be sure that thou shalt say when all is done,
"Now is my heart heavy for him that's gone."
She
If by my grief thou couldst be grieved,
God send me a grief soon!
I tell thee that though all my friends
Pray'd me as for a boon,
Saying, "Even for the love of us,
Love thou this worthless loon," -
Thou shouldst not have the thing that thou dost hope.
No, verily; not for the realm o' the Pope.
He
Now could I wish that I in truth
Were dead here in thy house:
My soul would get its vengeance then;
Once known, the thing would rouse
A rabble, and they'd point and say, -
"Lo! She that breaks her vows,
And, in her dainty chamber, stabs!" Love, see:
One strikes just thus: it is soon done, pardie!
She
If now thou do not hasten hence,
(My curse companioning,)
That my stout friends will find thee here
Is a most certain thing:
After the which, my gallant sir,
Thy points of reasoning
May chance, I think, to stand thee in small stead.
Thou hast no friend, sweet friend, to bring thee aid.
He
Thou sayest truly, saying that
I have not any friend:
A landless stranger, lady mine,
None but his sword defend.
One year ago, my love began,
And now, is this the end?
Oh! the rich dress thou worest on that day
Since when thou art walking at my side alway!
She
So 'twas my dress enamour'd thee!
What marvel? I did wear
A cloth of samite silver-flower'd,
And gems within my hair.
But one more word; if on Christ's Book
To wed me thou didst swear,
There's nothing now could win me to be thine:
I had rather make my bed in the sea-brine.
He
And if thou make thy bed therein,
Most courteous lady and bland,
I'll follow all among the waves,
Paddling with foot and hand;
Then, when the sea hath done with thee,
I'll seek thee on the sand.
For I will not be conquer'd in this strife:
I'll wait, but win; or losing, lose my life.
She
For Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Three times I cross myself.
Thou art no godless heretic,
Nor Jew, whose God's his pelf:
Even as I know it then, meseems,
Thou needs must know thyself
That woman, when the breath in her doth cease,
Loseth all savour and all loveliness.
He
Woe's me! Perforce it must be said
No craft could then avail:
So that if thou be thus resolved,
I know my suit must fail.
Then have some pity, of thy grace!
Thou may'st, love, very well;
For though thou love not me, my love is such
That 'tis enough for both - yea overmuch.
She
Is it even so? Learn then that I
Do love thee from my heart.
To-morrow, early in the day,
Come here, but now depart.
By thine obedience in this thing
I shall know what thou art,
And if thy love be real or nothing worth;
Do but go now, and I am thine henceforth.
He
Nay, for such promise, my own life,
I will not stir a foot.
I've said, if thou wouldst tear away
My love even from its root,
I have a dagger at my side
Which thou may'st take to do't:
But as for going hence, it will not be.
O hate me not! my heart is burning me.
She
Think'st thou I know not that thy heart
Is hot and burns to death?
Of all that thou or I can say,
But one word succoureth.
Till thou upon the Holy Book
Give me thy bounden faith,
God is my witness that I will not yield:
For with thy sword 'twere better to be kill'd.
He
Then on Christ's Book, borne with me still
To read from and to pray,
(I took it, fairest, in a church,
The priest being gone away,)
I swear that my whole self shall be
Thine always from this day.
And now at once give joy for all my grief,
Lest my soul fly, that's thinner than a leaf.
She
Now that this oath is sworn, sweet lord,
There is no need to speak:
My heart, that was so strong before,
Now feels itself grow weak.
If any of my words were harsh,
Thy pardon: I am meek
Now, and will give thee entrance presently.
It is best so, sith so it was to be.

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