Giacomo Leopardi


Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle,

e questa siepe, che da tanta parte

dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.

Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati

spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani

silenzi, e profondissima quïete

io nel pensier mi fingo, ove per poco

il cor non si spaura. E come il vento

odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello

infinito silenzio a questa voce

vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,

e le morte stagioni, e la presente

e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa

immensità s’annega il pensier mio:

e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.



Giacomo Leopardi


Always dear to me was this solitary hill

and this brush, which many sides

of the distant horizon hides from view.

But sitting and marvelling, interminable

space there beyond, and superhuman

silence, and piercing stillness

do my mind envisage, until my heart

can endure no more. And as the wind

I hear rustling through the foliage, the

infinite silence to that voice

do I compare: I remember eternity,

and the seasons gone, and the one present

and alive, and its sound. And in that

immensity do my thoughts plunge:

and drowning is to me sweet in that sea.



Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

This is one of the most renowned Italian poems: children study it; adults remember it, forever. Translating it means touching heartstrings, ‘urtare le sensibilità’ perhaps. But as Manara Valgimigli rightly stated: “we translate, even without realizing it, every time we read; and not just when reading foreign poets and authors, both modern and ancient, but also those who write in our own tongue: we translate when we read Dante, and Leopardi, and Carducci. Reading is always translation; it is always transferring and transporting, and therefore interpreting and enacting.”

I have put my interpretation of the poem into English, not because it is the only possible interpretation, but because it is mine. M.C.

A previous, famous translation of the poem can be found here:


Leopardi explains the infinite in great detail in his work Zibaldone on pages 61 -67, which can be found in the original at: http://www.liberliber.it/mediateca/libri/l/leopardi/pensieri_di_varia_filosofia_etc/pdf/pensie_p.pdf

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12 thoughts on “L’infinito/The infinite by Giacomo Leopardi

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