Monday, 4 July 2011

Mmm... Monday: Giacomo Leopardi, Part the First

The narrator in Eight White Nights by André Aciman referred to this poem, To Himself by Giacomo Leopardi, which I’d never heard of and obviously had to look up. There are, as always with these things, countless translations, but I chose this one, as I found it to be the most appealing (and because a quick “research” of translations of Leopardi revealed that J G Nichols supposedly is accurate – I’ll look into it deeper when I decide to buy a copy of Leopardi’s work).


Now you must rest for ever,
My weary heart. The last deceit has died,
I had thought everlasting. Died. I feel
Not hope alone, desire
For dear deceits in us has come to fail.
Now rest for ever. You
Have throbbed sufficiently. Nothing is worth
One beat of yours; nor is it worthy sighs,
This earth. Bitterness, boredom
Are all life is; and all the world is mud.
Lie quietly. Despair
This final time. Fate granted to our kind
Nothing but dying. Now despise yourself,
Nature (the brutal force
That furtively ordains the general harm),
And this infinity of nothingness.


It’s very depressing, this poem, but I am violently in love with it. Especially this: “Nothing is worth/One beat of yours; nor is it worthy sighs”.

Swoon.

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