Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
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Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
 
To Guido Cavalcanti
By Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)
 
Translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley

GUIDO, 1 I would that Lapo, thou, and I,
  Led by some strong enchantment, might ascend
  A magic ship, whose charmèd sails should fly
  With winds at will, where’er our thoughts might wend;
And that no change, nor any evil chance,        5
  Should mar our joyous voyage, but it might be
  That even satiety should still enhance
  Between our hearts their strict community;
And that the bounteous wizard then would place
  Vanna and Bice and my gentle love,        10
  Companions of our wandering, and would grace
With passionate talk, wherever we might rove,
  Our time, and each were as content and free
  As I believe that thou and I should be.
 
Note 1.
  “Vanna and Bice and my gentle love.”
Respecting this line Mr. W. M. Rossetti writes—“Shelley has fallen into a singular misapprehension here. Bice is simply Beatrice, and is herself, of course, Dante’s ‘gentle love.’ The literal translation of the Italian runs—‘And then Lady Vanna and Lady Bice, with her who is on number thirty.’ The latter enigmatic-sounding phrase (not enigmatic to a Dantesque reader) indicates the inamorata of Lapo Gianni. If we were to read, ‘and his gentle love,’ the sense would be correct; and possibly my is, after all, only a misprint.”
  This sonnet has also been translated by Hayley, and by D. G. Rossetti. [back]
 
 
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