“So gentle and so virtuous she appears” Dante Alighieri

“Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare”

Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare
La donna mia quand’ella altrui saluta
Ch’ogne lingua deven tremando muta,
E li occhi no l’ardiscon di guardare.
Ella si va, sentendosi laudare,
Benignamente d’umiltà vestuta;
E par che sia una cosa venuta
Da cielo in terra a miracol mostrare.

Mostrasi sì piacente a chi la mira,
Che dà per li occhi una dolcezza al core,
Che ’ntender no la può chi no la prova:
E par che de la sua labbia si mova
Un spirito soave pien d’amore,
Che va dicendo a l’anima: “Sospira.”

 

“So gentle and so virtuous she appears”
Trans. Luciano Rebay

So gentle and so virtuous she appears,
My lady, when greeting other people
That every tongue tremblingly grows silent,
And eyes do not dare gaze upon her,
She passes by, hearing herself praised,
Graciously clothed with humility,
And she appears to be a creature who has come
From heaven to earth to show forth a miracle.

She shows herself so pleasing to her beholders,
That she gives through the eyes a sweetness to the heart,
Which no one can understand who does not feel it;
And it appears that from her lip moves
A tender spirit full of love,
Which says again and again to the soul: “Sigh.”

Source: Alighieri, Dante. “So gentle and so virtuous she appears.” Trans. Luciano RebayItalian Poetry: A Selection from St.Francis of Assisi to Salvatore Quasimodo. New York: Dover, 1969. 28-29. Print.

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