A se stesso


Giacomo Leopardi


Or poserai per sempre,

stanco mio cor. Perì l’inganno estremo,

ch’eterno mi credei. Perì. Ben sento,

in noi di cari inganni,

non che la speme, il desiderio è spento.

Posa per sempre. Assai

palpitasti. Non val cosa nessuna

i moto tuoi, né di sospiri è degna

la terra. Amaro e noia

la vita, altro mai nulla; e fango è il mondo.

T’acqueta omai. Dispera

l’ultima volta. Al gener nostro il fato

non donò che il morire. Omai disprezza

te, la natura, il brutto

poter che, ascoso, a comun danno impera,

e l’infinita vanità del tutto.

To oneself


Giacomo Leopardi


You may rest forever now,

weary heart of mine. Gone is that last illusion,

I thought eternal. Gone. I sense,

not only our dear illusions,

but hope too, and desire is spent.

Rest forever. Strongly

you pulsed. Of no worth

are your spasms, nor is the world

worthy of your sighs. Bitter and tedious

is life, nothing more; and dirt is the earth.

Rest now. Despair

one last time. Destiny for our kind

is but the gift of death. Scorn now

yourself, nature, that vile

force which, covertly, inflicts sorrow,

and the infinite vanity of it all.



Translation ©Matilda Colarossi


Written in Florence between 1833 and 1835, the poem, A se stesso, is from Leopardi’s collection, Canti. It is part of group of five poems, the Ciclo di Aspasia, inspired by the poet’s unreciprocated love for Fanny Targioni Tozzetti (Aspasia). Thus Leopardi’s relationship with the world and his poetry changed. No longer is there space for the poetry of memories, but only the courage to look at the true condition of man. There is a sort of heroic resistance expressed by the broken rhythm of his verses, interrupted with continuous pauses,  and a studied lack of musicality. This poem is the summary of the last phase of Leopardi’s poetry.
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