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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. )

Copyright © | Year Posted 2013




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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
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Date: 11/22/2013 11:40:00 AM
Mario,, Congratulations on having your poem Featured this week. Loving ~SKAT~
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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.
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Mario DE PAZ
Date: 11/19/2013 11:54:00 AM
I have seen your featured poem and I appreciated it much. Thanks for commenting
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!
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Mario DE PAZ
Date: 11/9/2013 9:26:00 AM
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"
Date: 10/27/2013 2:46:00 PM
love this I like the symetry of your poem
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Mario DE PAZ
Date: 11/19/2013 11:53:00 AM
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.
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 :)
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Mario DE PAZ
Date: 11/18/2013 5:16:00 AM
Thank you for commenting. Father Dante cannot be imitated. I only try to express at best what he has written 700 years ago!