Quindi prosegua per cammini ombrosi,
Poichè talor non piango io il mio pianto,
Tempo fu che le mie forze più buone
Io piangevo così note d’amore,
e non s’avvede che nessun l’ascolta.
And thus it advances along shadowy roads,
For tears I do not weep, now and again,
‘Twas a time when my forces were spent
And thus I wept long notes of devotion,
and cannot see no one is listening.
Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2018
The problems I faced translating this poem were not limited to the poetic devices that are almost impossible to render; they also regard the use of certain words, simple words that may seem to pose no problem whatsoever: pianto and canto, for example.
The Poet uses the words pianto noun, piango verb, piangevo verb three times, as well as in the title; it rhymes with canto, which she uses four times in different forms: canto, canti, canta, and finally canzone. As well as rhyming, canto and pianto are interchangeable throughout the text because the poet does not cry, piangere, her pain in tears, pianto, but she does so in song, verse, canto.
I could find no way to say pianto in English and link it to the verb: I don’t weep my weeping? I don’t cry my crying? I chose, for tears I do not weep, and there, immediately, I lost so much.
So pianto in my translation is weep, tears, wept. Canto is refrain (for the rhyme with again, broken), chant (for the rhyme with spent, burnt), and sings at the very end (for the consonance).
I have lost so much in the translation, but I have gained so much in translating the poem.
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