Weep, Lovers, sith Love's very self doth weep

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


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

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.22-23 (II. 42-45) .

◦ De Robertis, ed., Vita Nuova, 56-58 .

Scholarly Commentary


This sonnet forms a pair with the one immediately following it in the Vita Nuova, DGR's “Death, alway cruel, Pity's foe in chief”. DGR's note to the latter references an important and long-standing line of commentary (see e.g. Fraticelli, Vol. III. 277-279) that sees an allusion to Beatrice in Love's “proper form” (line 10). Most critics adopt DGR's view, that the sonnets carry a running double allusion to both Love and to Beatrice, who is Love's mortal incarnation. As so often in DGR's work, this kind of complexity in the original generates an equivalent brilliance in the translation. Moreover—and once again this is a regular effect in DGR's translations—the English text seems to pick up from the original a new and entirely independent poetical quality and meaning. DGR's sonnets carry an unmistakable third referential equivalence: to the Love/Beatrice parallel DGR adds a third inspiring form, Dante's poetry. The dramatic scene evoked in Dante's sonnets turns in DGR's to a contemporary allegory about the redemption of poetry (and art in general).

DGR's text introduces a slight variation in the rhyme scheme of Dante's sestet. His source text was “Piangete amanti, poichè piange Amore” in the third volume of Fraticelli's Opere Minori di Dante Alighieri.

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: 49d-1861.raw.xml