DUE DONNE IN CIMA ... OF BEAUTY AND DUTY
Dante Alighieri tr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Due donne in cima de la mente mia
venute sono a ragionar d'amore:
l'una ha in sé cortesia e valore,
prudenza e onestà in compagnia;

l'altra ha bellezza e vaga leggiadria,
adorna gentilezza le fa onore:
e io, merzé del dolce mio signore,
mi sto a piè de la lor signoria.

Parlan Bellezza e Virtù a l'intelletto,
e fan quistion come un cor puote stare
intra due donne con amor perfetto.

Risponde il fonte del gentil parlare
ch'amar si può bellezza per diletto,
e puossi amar virtù per operare.
Two ladies to the summit of my mind
Have clomb, to hold an argument of love.
The one has wisdom with her from above,
For every noblest virtue well designed:

The other, beauty's tempting power refined
And the high charm of perfect grace approve:
And I, as my sweet Master's will doth move,
At feet of both their favors am reclined.

Beauty and Duty in my soul keep strife,
At question if the heart such course can take
And 'twixt the two ladies hold its love complete.

The fount of gentle speech yields answer meet,
That Beauty may be loved for gladness sake,
And Duty in the lofty ends of life.


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