The Smile


by William Blake

 There is a Smile of Love

And there is a Smile of Deceit

And there is a Smile of Smiles

In which these two Smiles meet


And there is a Frown of Hate

And there is a Frown of Disdain

And there is a Frown of Frowns

Which you strive to forget in vain


For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core

And it sticks in the deep Back bone

And no Smile that ever was smild

But only one Smile alone


That betwixt the Cradle & Grave

It only once Smild can be

But when it once is Smild

Theres an end to all Misery


(from the Pickering Manuscript, circa 1803)

Il sorriso


di William Blake

C’è un  Sorriso d’Amore

E c’è un Sorriso d’ Apparenza

E c’è un Sorriso dei Sorrisi

Nei quali fanno conoscenza


E c’è uno Sguardo d’Odio

E c’è uno Sguardo di Sdegno

E c’è uno Sguardo degli Sguardi

Che dimenticar io sogno


Perchè si fissa dentr’il Cuore

E si fissa nel più Profondo

E nessun Sorriso mai sorriso

Ma un Sorriso soltanto


Che tra la Culla e la Tomba

Sol’una volta avviene

E quand’è stato Sorriso

È la fine di tutte le Pene


(dal Manoscritto Pickering, 1803)

Traduzione @1G Liceo Capponi*

A simple poem, seemingly simple, but that is exactly what makes it so difficult to translate. However, my first year high-school students (2016-2017) took pen and paper, put their heads together, and did exactly this. I would like to thank them for their enthusiasm, vitality, courage and trust (in me, in poetry, in Blake). They are (in order of appearance in my attendance register): Elettra, Sara, Elena A., Marisol, Floriana, Alice, Elena C., Simona, Arianna, Gea, Sveva, Margherita, Margherita F., Luisa, Ghila, Arianna, Anna, Sophia, Emma, Elena R., Agata, Angela, Giulia, Gaia, Sara T., Emma V.. A special thank you to my colleague, Silvia Lucci. M.C.

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