LA PENITENZA DELL’ACQUA

Di Leonardo da Vinci

Trovandosi l’acqua nel superbo mare, suo elemento, le venne voglia di montare sopra l’aria, e confortata dal foco elemento, elevatosi in sottile vapore, quasi parea della sittiglieza dell’aria, e, montato in alto, giunse infra l’aria più sottile e fredda, dove fu abbandonata dal foco.

E piccoli granicoli, sendo restretti, già s’uniscano e fannosi pesanti, ove cadendo la superbia si converte in fuga, e cade del cielo; onde poi fu beuta dalla secca terra, dove, lungo tempo incarcerata, fè penitenzia del suo peccato.

CONCEIT AND ATONEMENT

By Leonardo da Vinci

Finding himself in the superb sea, his element, water was overcome by the desire to soar higher than air. Comforted by the element fire, he was converted into fine vapour, almost as light as the air itself, and, rising to the sky, he reached what was thinner, frostier air. There, fire abandoned him.

But small icy grains, being solid, are compressed and heavy, and so conceit, dwindling, is converted into retreat and falls from the sky. It is soaked up by the arid land and kept prisoner for years and years in atonement for its sin.

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Everyone knows the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, but few know of his aversion for conceit. Of his fables, many touch on the subject. In “Conceit and atonement”, water, and therefore conceit, is punished; in “The humble snow”, modesty is praised and rewarded. As in all good fables, there is always a lesson to be learned.
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