Guido Guinicelli. “Canzone. Of the gentle Heart.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1846?; 1861
Meter: iambic pentameter and trimeter
Genre: canzone


“Table of Poets” in Early Italian Poets vol. 1, xxv-xxvi.

◦ Valeriani and Lampredi Poeti del primo secolo vol. 1, 91-93.

◦ Contini Poeti de Duecento vol. 2, 460-464, 893-898.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Early Italian Poets.

Scholarly Commentary


The translation is an altogether brilliant performance exactly because of its fastidious pursuit of the technical features of Guinizelli's canzone. DGR's rhyme scheme adheres to the coblas capfinidas of the famous original. Equally impressive is the prosodic equivalent that DGR creates for the hendecasyllables and setenarii: the stress of DGR's iambs (pentameter and trimeter) is markedly reduced by his resort to a simple lexicon, with many rhythmic units comprised of or dominated by a series of one syllable words. Finally, the conscious deployment, here and throughout DGR's translations, of a slightly antique lexicon controls the poem's moments of semantic freedom. They come to seem DGR's deliberate effort to recreate for himself, in a very different set of social circumstances, a poetic equivalent for a difficult and disappeared artistic sensibility.

Textual History: Composition

As with nearly all of these translations, we don't know precisely when DGR made this one. Because it is such a famous and important poem in the tradition that DGR's translations are exposing, it was certainly translated very early, perhaps as early as 1846.

Printing History

The translation was first published in 1861 in The Early Italian Poets; it was reprinted unaltered in 1874 in Dante and his Circle.


DGR based his translation on the original printed in Urbano Lapredi's Poeti del Primo Secolo (I. 91-93).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 153d-1861.raw.xml