Count Giacomo Leopardi

(29 June 1798 – 14 June 1837 / Rencanati)

The Lonely Life - Poem by Count Giacomo Leopardi

The morning rain, when, from her coop released,
The hen, exulting, flaps her wings, when from
The balcony the husbandman looks forth,
And when the rising sun his trembling rays
Darts through the falling drops, against my roof
And windows gently beating, wakens me.
I rise, and grateful, bless the flying clouds,
The cheerful twitter of the early birds,
The smiling fields, and the refreshing air.
For I of you, unhappy city walls,
Enough have seen and known; where hatred still
Companion is to grief; and grieving still
I live, and so shall die, and that, how soon!
But here some pity Nature shows, though small,
Once in this spot to me so courteous!
Thou, too, O Nature, turn'st away thy gaze
From misery; thou, too, thy sympathy
Withholding from the suffering and the sad,
Dost homage pay to royal happiness.
No friend in heaven, on earth, the wretched hath,
No refuge, save his trusty dagger's edge.
Sometimes I sit in perfect solitude,
Upon a hill, that overlooks a lake,
That is encircled quite with silent trees.
There, when the sun his mid-day course hath reached,
His tranquil face he in a mirror sees:
Nor grass nor leaf is shaken by the wind;
There is no ripple on the wave, no chirp
Of cricket, rustling wing of bird in bush,
Nor hum of butterfly; no motion, voice,
Or far or near, is either seen or heard.
Its shores are locked in quiet most profound;
So that myself, the world I quite forget,
As motionless I sit; my limbs appear
To lie dissolved, of breath and sense deprived;
As if, in immemorial rest, they seemed
Confounded with the silent scene around.

O love, O love, long since, thou from this breast
Hast flown, that was so warm, so ardent, once.
Misfortune in her cold and cruel grasp
Has held it fast, and it to ice has turned,
E'en in the flower of my youth. The time
I well recall, when thou this heart didst fill;
That sweet, irrevocable time it was,
When this unhappy scene of life unto
The ardent gaze of youth reveals itself,
Expands, and wears the smile of Paradise.
How throbs the heart within the boyish breast,
By virgin hope and fond desire impelled!
The wretched dupe for life's hard work prepares,
As if it were a dance, or merry game.
But when _I_ first, O love, thy presence felt,
Misfortune had already crushed my life,
And these poor eyes with constant tears were filled.
Yet if, at times, upon the sun-lit slopes,
At silent dawn, or when, in broad noonday,
The roofs and hills and fields are shining bright,
I of some lonely maiden meet the gaze;
Or when, in silence of the summer night,
My wandering steps arresting, I before
The houses of the village pause, to gaze
Upon the lonely scene, and hear the voice,
So clear and cheerful, of the maiden, who,
Her ditty chanting, in her quiet room,
Her daily task protracts into the night,
Ah, then this stony heart will throb once more;
But soon, alas, its lethargy returns,
For all things sweet are strangers to this breast!

Belovèd moon, beneath whose tranquil rays
The hares dance in the groves, and at the dawn
The huntsman, vexed at heart, beholds the tracks
Confused and intricate, that from their forms
His steps mislead; hail, thou benignant Queen
Of Night! How unpropitious fall thy rays,
Among the cliffs and thickets, or within
Deserted buildings, on the gleaming steel
Of robber pale, who with attentive ear
Unto the distant noise of horses and
Of wheels, is listening, or the tramp of feet
Upon the silent road; then, suddenly,
With sound of arms, and hoarse, harsh voice, and look
Of death, the traveller's heart doth chill,
Whom he half-dead, and naked, shortly leaves
Among the rocks. How unpropitious, too,
Is thy bright light along the city streets,
Unto the worthless paramour, who picks
His way, close to the walls, in anxious search
Of friendly shade, and halts, and dreads the sight
Of blazing lamps, and open balconies.
To evil spirits unpropitious still,
To _me_ thy face will ever seem benign,
Along these heights, where nought save smiling hills,
And spacious fields, thou offer'st to my view.
And yet it was my wayward custom once,
Though I was innocent, thy gracious ray
To chide, amid the haunts of men, whene'er
It would my face to them betray, and when
It would their faces unto me reveal.
Now will I, grateful, sing its constant praise,
When I behold thee, sailing through the clouds,
Or when, mild sovereign of the realms of air,
Thou lookest down on this, our vale of tears.
Me wilt thou oft behold, mute wanderer
Among the groves, along the verdant banks,
Or seated on the grass, content enough,
If heart and breath are left me, for a sigh!


Comments about The Lonely Life by Count Giacomo Leopardi

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/13/2015 12:39:00 PM)

    Leopardi liked his solitary life in the countryside and preferred 'to share' the solitude of a lake than suffering from the pain and sadness that came to him from living in a city. The poet is immersed in the silence of nature & of the quiet rural life. The poem gives a positive image of nature = the moon in contraposition with the earth inhabited by people full of sorrow... (Report) Reply

    7 person liked.
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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/13/2015 12:31:00 PM)

    ITALIAN TEXT:

    ''La vita solitaria''

    La mattutina pioggia, allor che l'ale
    Battendo esulta nella chiusa stanza
    La gallinella, ed al balcon s'affaccia
    L'abitator de' campi, e il Sol che nasce
    I suoi tremuli rai fra le cadenti
    Stille saetta, alla capanna mia
    Dolcemente picchiando, mi risveglia;
    E sorgo, e i lievi nugoletti, e il primo
    Degli augelli susurro, e l'aura fresca.
    E le ridenti piagge benedico:
    Poichè voi, cittadine infauste mura,
    Vidi e conobbi assai, là dove segue
    Odio al dolor compagno; e doloroso
    Io vivo, e tal morrò, deh tosto! Alcuna
    Benchè scarsa pietà pur mi dimostra
    Natura in questi lochi, un giorno oh quanto
    Verso me più cortese! E tu pur volgi
    Dai miseri lo sguardo; e tu, sdegnando
    Le sciagure e gli affanni, alla reina
    Felicità servi, o natura. In cielo,
    In terra amico agl'infelici alcuno
    E rifugio non resta altro che il ferro.
    Talor m'assido in solitaria parte,
    Sovra un rialto, al margine d'un lago
    Di taciturne piante incoronato.
    Ivi, quando il meriggio in ciel si volve,
    La sua tranquilla imago il Sol dipinge,
    Ed erba o foglia non si crolla al vento,
    E non onda incresparsi, e non cicala
    Strider, nè batter penna augello in ramo,
    Nè farfalla ronzar, nè voce o moto
    Da presso nè da lunge odi nè vedi.
    Tien quelle rive altissima quiete;
    Ond'io quasi me stesso e il mondo obblio
    Sedendo immoto; e già mi par che sciolte
    Giaccian le membra mie, nè spirto o senso
    Più le commova, e lor quiete antica
    Co' silenzi del loco si confonda.
    Amore, amore, assai lungi volasti
    Dal petto mio, che fu sì caldo un giorno,
    Anzi rovente. Con sua fredda mano
    Lo strinse la sciaura, e in ghiaccio è volto
    Nel fior degli anni. Mi sovvien del tempo
    Che mi scendesti in seno. Era quel dolce
    E irrevocabil tempo, allor che s'apre
    Al guardo giovanil questa infelice
    Scena del mondo, e gli sorride in vista
    Di paradiso. Al garzoncello il core
    Di vergine speranza e di desio
    Balza nel petto; e già s'accinge all'opra
    Di questa vita come a danza o gioco
    Il misero mortal. Ma non sì tosto,
    Amor, di te m'accorsi, e il viver mio
    Fortuna avea già rotto, ed a questi occhi
    Non altro convenia che il pianger sempre.
    Pur se talvolta per le piagge apriche,
    Su la tacita aurora o quando al sole
    Brillano i tetti e i poggi e le campagne,
    Scontro di vaga donzelletta il viso;
    O qualor nella placida quiete
    D'estiva notte, il vagabondo passo
    Di rincontro alle ville soffermando,
    L'erma terra contemplo, e di fanciulla
    Che all'opre di sua man la notte aggiunge
    Odo sonar nelle romite stanze
    L'arguto canto; a palpitar si move
    Questo mio cor di sasso: ahi, ma ritorna
    Tosto al ferreo sopor; ch'è fatto estrano
    Ogni moto soave al petto mio.
    O cara luna, al cui tranquillo raggio
    Danzan le lepri nelle selve; e duolsi
    Alla mattina il cacciator, che trova
    L'orme intricate e false, e dai covili
    Error vario lo svia; salve, o benigna
    Delle notti reina. Infesto scende
    Il raggio tuo fra macchie e balze o dentro
    A deserti edifici, in su l'acciaro
    Del pallido ladron ch'a teso orecchio
    Il fragor delle rote e de' cavalli
    Da lungi osserva o il calpestio de' piedi
    Su la tacita via; poscia improvviso
    Col suon dell'armi e con la rauca voce
    E col funereo ceffo il core agghiaccia
    Al passegger, cui semivivo e nudo
    Lascia in breve tra' sassi. Infesto occorre
    Per le contrade cittadine il bianco
    Tuo lume al drudo vil, che degli alberghi
    Va radendo le mura e la secreta
    Ombra seguendo, e resta, e si spaura
    Delle ardenti lucerne e degli aperti
    Balconi. Infesto alle malvage menti,
    A me sempre benigno il tuo cospetto
    Sarà per queste piagge, ove non altro
    Che lieti colli e spaziosi campi
    M'apri alla vista. Ed ancor io soleva,
    Bench'innocente io fossi, il tuo vezzoso
    Raggio accusar negli abitati lochi,
    Quand'ei m'offriva al guardo umano, e quando
    Scopriva umani aspetti al guardo mio.
    Or sempre loderollo, o ch'io ti miri
    Veleggiar tra le nubi, o che serena
    Dominatrice dell'etereo campo,
    Questa flebil riguardi umana sede.
    Me spesso rivedrai solingo e muto
    Errar pe' boschi e per le verdi rive,
    O seder sovra l'erbe, assai contento
    Se core e lena a sospirar m'avanza. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010



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