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Avean gli atti leggiadri e ’l vago aspetto

Source:  Eterei, 1567; modern edition, Tasso/Vendittis, 1965

Avean gli atti leggiadri e ’l vago aspetto
già rotto il gelo, ond’ armò sdegno il core,
e le vestigia de l’antico ardore
conoscea già dentro al cangiato petto;
e nutrir il mio mal prendea diletto
con l’esca dolce d’un soave errore
sí mi sforzava il lusinghiero Amore
che s’avea ne’ begli occhi albergo eletto:
quand’ecco novo canto il core percosse,
e spirò nel suo foco; e ’n lui più ardenti
rendé le fiamme da’ bei lumi accese.
Né crescer sí, né sfavillar commosse
vidi mai faci, a lo spirar de’ venti,
come il mio incendio allor forza riprese.

The graceful actions and the beautiful vision
already melted the ice, with which disdain had armed the heart,
and the remains of the old fire
I already recognized before the altered breast;
and I took delight in nourishing my malady
with the sweet bait of delightful folly,
thus the flatterer Love was forcing me
who had chosen his dwelling in those beautiful eyes:
when, lo, a new song struck my heart,
which breathed in its fire; and in whom more ardent
were rendered the flames which were lit by those beautiful eyes.
Nor did I ever see torches grow thus, nor throw sparks,
moved by the blowing of the winds,
like my fire regained strength at that time.

This is one of Tasso's earliest texts for Lucrezia Bendidio, published in the collection Le Rime de gli Academici Eterei in 1567, six years after he first met her.


Written by Laurie Stras.

Last updated 04 October, 2002.

The views expressed on this page are those of the author and not of the University of Southampton.