Even as the others mock, thou mockest me

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1861
Rhyme: abbaabbacdeedc
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


“Introduction to Part II” (in Early Italian Poets) 189-193

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.48-49 (II. 79-81) .

◦ De Robertis, ed., Vita Nuova, 94-96 .

Scholarly Commentary


This is another fairly free translation by DGR, as line 2 emphasizes, though it is exact in its imitation of the rhyme scheme and—with the exception of line 14—it follows the sense of the original closely. DGR's source text in line 14 reads “de' discacciati” where the received reading is “de li scacciati”. The variance leads DGR away from Dante's striking final figura—although it must be said that DGR's poem's faithfulness to its source produces its own special excellence.

The central action of the poem, which comes in the sestet, carries an indirect allusion to “A day agone, as I rode sullenly”, where Love disappears into some secret place within Dante himself. The “rout” of Dante's senses here thus leaves behind a remarkably ambiguous apparition of the poet—the “figura nova” (“strange semblances”) of line 3 and again line 12. Dante's face is disfigured by his sorrow but this “disfigurement” itself conceals the secret presence of the god of Love in Dante.

The repetition of the word “face” in lines 4 and 12 is clearly deliberate. In both cases the translation deviates from the original text and the deviance signals DGR's effort to make his poem explicate an important but inexplicit subject in Dante's sonnet: that Dante's facial “disfigurement” nonetheless, and paradoxically, mirrors the (Love) splendour reflected in Beatrice's “fair” face.

DGR's source text was “Con l'altre donne mia vista gabbate” in the third volume of Fraticelli's Opere Minori di Dante Alighiri .

Textual History: Composition

This is an early translation, in the 1840s, perhaps as early as 1846.

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: 23d-1861.raw.xml