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dante's divine comedy first canto translation

Mario DE PAZ Avatar Mario DE PAZ - LIFETIME Premium Member Mario DE PAZ - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled dante's divine comedy first canto translation which was written by poet Mario DE PAZ. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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dante's divine comedy first canto translation

Premise
The great poem by the italian poet Dante is the DIVINA COMMEDIA
I have tried to translate in english a few verses of the first canto of INFERNO (HELL).
It was a very difficult task. 
The result below was obtained with hard work and 
probably is far away from the original spirit of our greatest poet.
The italian rhymes are of 11 syllables as requested by italian terza rima. In english language several verses sound well with 10 syllables, few with 9 or 11. I assume that in english there is no fixed rule for syllables in terza rima and I simply try to obtain a good sound of verses resembling the original italian poem.
I continue to translate and to add new verses until the characters reach the limit.
I submit to soupers expecting their sincere comments and criticism

CANTO  I Inferno                                                           Original italian       
When half the journey of my life was crossed   Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
I found myself within a forest dark                    Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
Because the correct way was harshly lost.            Ché la diritta via era smarrita

Oh, it's so hard to say and to remark              Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
How strong and savage was the forest core    Esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
That now again I am of fear stark!                   Che nel pensier rinova la paura!

So amara it is that death is lightly more;          Tant'è amara che poco è più morte;
But to describe the sake that there I found     Ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, 
I shall relate what I saw before.                      Dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
  
How there I went surely I confound                 Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai,
Since of slumber I was full so much                  Tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto
That I abandoned any pattern sound.              Che la verace via abbandonai.
 
But with a hill foot when I got in touch,            Ma poi ch'i' fui al piè d'un colle giunto,
There where the valley was close to end         Là dove terminava quella valle
Which to my heart gave a fear clutch,              Che m'avea di paura il cor compunto,

I looked up and saw its abrupt trend               Guardai in alto e vidi le sue spalle
Already dressed by the planet rays                  Vestite già de' raggi del pianeta
Which the path to everybody always fend.      Che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle.

So my fears were calmed in some ways,          Allor fu la paura un poco queta,
Which in the lake of my heart had lasted         Che nel lago del cor m'era durata
During the night I spent in so much haze.        La notte ch'i' passai con tanta pieta.

And similar to one with lena labored,                E come quei che con lena affannata,
Got out of open sea reaching the shore,          Uscito fuor del pelago a la riva,
Looks the perilous water behind his head,       Si volge a l'acqua perigliosa e guata,

Just so my soul, which was fleeing more,          Così l'animo mio, ch'ancor fuggiva,
Looked behind to behold the pass                    Si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo
Which no living person ever left before.            Che non lasciò già mai persona viva.

After a while to rest the body harass,       Poi ch'èi posato un poco il corpo lasso,
The way resumed along the desert slope     Ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,
So that was always lower my foot fast.    Sì che 'l piè fermo sempre era 'l più basso. 

Here, when I started with the rise to cope,   Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l'erta,
Sudden a very rapid panther light,                Una lonza leggera e presta molto,
Coated with spotted fur and little hope;       Che di pel macolato era coverta;

Which didn’t leave apart from my front sight,  E non mi si partia dinanzi al volto,
Or better so forbidding my path line,               Anzi 'mpediva tanto il mio cammino,
That more than once I gave up to go right.     Ch'i' fui per ritornar più volte vòlto.
 
It was the time for morning starting shine,      Temp'era dal principio del mattino,  
And sun was rising moving with those stars    E 'l sol montava 'n sù con quelle stelle
Which joined it when the love divine                Ch'eran con lui quando l'amor divino

Moved for the first those full of  beauty  jars;    Mosse di prima quelle cose belle;                               
So that I had more reasons to hope the best    Sì ch'a bene sperar m'era cagione
About that beast whose pelt had many scars    di quella fiera a la gaetta pelle 

The hour of time and the season blessed;        L'ora del tempo e la dolce stagione;
But not enough to forbid the fright                    Ma non sì che paura non mi desse
After my eyes a fierce lion guessed.                   La vista che m'apparve d'un leone.

This looked like against me pounced right     Questi parea che contra  me venisse  
With ravenous hunger and head up high,     Con la test'alta e con rabbiosa fame,
So that surrounding air looked to excite.       Sì che parea che l'aere ne tremesse.

And a lupa, which greedy coming by               Ed una lupa, che di tutte brame    
Burdened looked as only skin and bones,       Sembiava carca ne la sua magrezza,
And many people already made to sigh,         E molte genti fé già viver grame,

This put on me indeed so heavy stones             Questa mi porse tanto di gravezza  
With the scare created by the appearance,       Con la paura ch'uscia di sua vista,
That I lost the hope to reach the upper zones.  Ch'io perdei la speranza de l'altezza.

And such as guy acquiring with decision,
And comes the time which brings him then to lose,
So that his thoughts with sorrow find collision;

Similar the peaceless beast with strong abuse
Coming against me direct bit by bit
Constrained me with shadow to confuse.

(No enough space left. 
Continues in the next part. 
The last rows of original italian will be repeated there)

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  1. Date: 11/24/2013 11:42:00 AM
    Mario, ... CONGRATULATIONS:) on having your poem featured on the soups HOME PAGE. Enjoy the new coming week, and Thanksgiving Holiday.. Always a poet friend <3 =LINDA

  1. Date: 11/22/2013 11:40:00 AM
    Mario,, Congratulations on having your poem Featured this week. Loving ~SKAT~

  1. Date: 11/17/2013 9:27:00 PM
    The message was received and it was beautiful. A labor of love to be sure. So happy to see this featured.

    DE PAZ Avatar Mario DE PAZ
    Date: 11/19/2013 11:54:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    I have seen your featured poem and I appreciated it much. Thanks for commenting
  1. Date: 11/9/2013 6:24:00 AM
    Ah divine comedy! Well u reproduced it in an excellent rhyme scheme indeed. I cant do dat! Must b industrious skill. So i congratulate u sir poet!

    DE PAZ Avatar Mario DE PAZ
    Date: 11/9/2013 9:26:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you for the positive comment. I have only tried to reproduce in english language the original spirit of the greatest italian poet who,as a matter of fact, fouded the italian language after latin, defined as "volgare" which means "popular"
  1. Date: 10/27/2013 2:46:00 PM
    love this I like the symetry of your poem

    DE PAZ Avatar Mario DE PAZ
    Date: 11/19/2013 11:53:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    I like the symmetry of verses too. The italian verses are splendid. My english translation much less, but I am hardly trying to improve my performance to become a good translator.
  1. Date: 10/26/2013 11:36:00 AM
    - Mario, truly a magnificent poem. - This is one of the best I've read in a long time! - Proficient work!! - Have a beautiful weekend. - oxox // Anne-Lise :)

    DE PAZ Avatar Mario DE PAZ
    Date: 11/18/2013 5:16:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Thank you for commenting. Father Dante cannot be imitated. I only try to express at best what he has written 700 years ago!