Saladino da Pavia. “Dialogue. Lover and Lady.”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848?; 1861
Rhyme: abababaccd
Meter: iambic trimeter and pentameter
Genre: dialogue
The rhyme scheme given here reflects the normative stanza unit, which is ten lines, although the first stanza (in DGR's translation and in the original) has fourteen lines—the first four being, it seems clear, an alternate text of the poem's opening. Also, the final three lines in each stanza rhyme differently in each case.

Scholarly Commentary


Although not one of DGR's most striking poetical works, the translation is interesting, for two reasons. First is the choice of the poem's metrical form, which departs from the original in ways that are unusual for DGR. In addition, DGR's metrical contract is in itself unusual, as is perhaps most apparent in the two final sections of the dialogue. These odd rhyme schemes reflect the text of the original DGR was working from. Finally, certain moments of free translation— see for example line 40 and compare it with the original text—point toward peculiarly Rossettian stylistic preferences that ought to be studied closely.

DGR's source text is Poeti del Primo Secolo (I. 435-436). This text seems clearly to have two alternate beginnings, which DGR treats as separate, and hence translates independently. His decision turns the first stanza of the dialogue into an irregular unit with four extra lines.

Textual History: Composition

Probably an early translation—late 1840s.

Printing History

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

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 182d-1861.raw.xml