Il merlo e il ligustro

Di Leonardo da Vinci

I’ rovistrice, sendo stimolato nelli sua sottili rami, ripieni di novelli frutti, dai pungenti artigli e becco delle importune merle, si doleva con pietoso rammarichio inverso essa merla, pregando quella che poi che lei li toglieva e sua diletti frutti, il meno nolle privassi de le foglie, le quali lo difendevano dai cocenti razzi del sole, e che coll’acute unghie non iscorticasse [e] desvestissi della sua tenera pella.

A la quale la merla con villane rampogne rispose: ”O taci, salvatico sterpo. Non sai che la natura t’ha fatti produrre questi frutti per mio notrimento? Non vedi che se’ al mondo di tale cibo? Non sai, villano, che tu sarai innella prossima invernata notrimento e cibo del foco?” Le quali parole ascoltate dall’albero pazientemente non sanza lacrime, infra poco tempo il merlo preso dalla ragna e colti de’ rami per fare gabbia per incarcerare esso merlo, toccò, infra l’altri rami, al sottile rovistrico a fare le vimini della gabbia, le quali vedendo esser causa della persa libertà del merlo, rallegratosi, mosse tale parole: ”O merlo, i’ son qui non ancora consumata, come dicevi, dal foco; prima vederò te prigione, che tu me brusiata.

The blackbird and the privet

By Leonardo da Vinci

A privet felt her thin branches, heavy with fresh berries, being shaken by the heavy claws and beaks of some cheeky blackbirds; unlike the blackbirds, she was greatly troubled, and begged the one eating her fruit to stop, at least, depriving her of the leaves that would defend her from the sun’s strong rays, and also to be gentle because his sharp claws were scraping and stripping away her tender skin.

The black bird whistled back arrogantly: “Shut up, wild scrub. Don’t you know that nature made you so you could feed me with your fruit? Don’t you see that you exist solely to provide food? Don’t you know, you impertinent thing, that you will be nothing but food for the fire next winter?” Teary eyed, the bush listened patiently. After a while the blackbird found himself caught in a spider web. Branches were picked to hold him. The bush had to give up other fine branches to produce a wicker cage, which would later be used to imprison the bird, depriving him of his freedom.  Now, knowing she would be the one to deprive the blackbird of his freedom, and pleased by this, she said: “Oh, black bird, I have not yet been consumed, as you anticipated, by the fire; and I will have the pleasure of seeing you imprisoned long before you see me burnt.”

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Leonardo’s work can be found here: http://www.liberliber.it/libri/l/leonardo/index.php

The “Drawing of plants” is, obvioulsy, the work of Leonardo.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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