Il fanciullino

(Excerpt)

Di Giovanni Pascoli

È dentro noi un fanciullino che non solo ha brividi, come credeva Cebes Tebano che primo in sé lo scoperse, ma lagrime ancora e tripudi suoi. Quando la nostra età è tuttavia tenera, egli confonde la sua voce con la nostra, e dei due fanciulli che ruzzano e contendono tra loro, e, insieme sempre, temono sperano godono piangono, si sente un palpito solo, uno strillare e un guaire solo. Ma quindi noi cresciamo, ed egli resta piccolo; noi accendiamo negli occhi un nuovo desiderare, ed egli vi tiene fissa la sua antica serena maraviglia; noi ingrossiamo e arrugginiamo la voce, ed egli fa sentire tuttavia e sempre il suo tinnulo squillo come di campanello. Il quale tintinnio segreto noi non udiamo distinto nell’età giovanile forse così come nella più matura, perché in quella occupati a litigare e perorare la causa della nostra vita, meno badiamo a quell’angolo d’anima d’onde esso risuona…

The little child

(Excerpt)

By Giovanni Pascoli

There is within us a little child who not only has chills, as Cebes of Thebes – the first to discover his presence – thought, but tears and his own moments of joy.

When we are still young, he confuses his voice with ours, and of the two children who run and, in fun, wrestle and, together always, feel fear and hope, who exult and weep, one heartbeat alone can be heard, one cry, one whimper. But we grow older, and he remains young;  new desires awaken in our eyes, and he holds on to his serene ancient wonder;  our voices deepen and harden and yet he continues to ring out like a chime. A secret chime that we do not hear, perhaps, as distinctly in our youth as we do in our later years, because then we are so busy fighting and making a case for ourselves that we have little time to mind the corner of our soul from which it rings….

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912) was possibly the greatest Italian poet writing at the beginning of the twentieth century. In his famous essay “Il fanciullino”, written in 1897, he explains his theory of poetry. A true poet, says Pascoli, listens to the child within him, to what the child sees and perceives.

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