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Count Giacomo Leopardi

Imitation

Wandering from the parent bough,
Little, trembling leaf,
Whither goest thou?
'From the beech, where I was born,
By the north wind was I torn.
Him I follow in his flight,
Over mountain, over vale,
From the forest to the plain,
Up the hill, and down again.
With him ever on the way:
More than that, I cannot say.
Where I go, must all things go,
Gentle, simple, high and low:
Leaves of laurel, leaves of rose;
Whither, heaven only knows!'

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To Himself

Nor wilt thou rest forever, weary heart.
The last illusion is destroyed,
That I eternal thought. Destroyed!
I feel all hope and all desire depart,
For life and its deceitful joys.
Forever rest! Enough! Thy throbbings cease!
Naught can requite thy miseries;
Nor is earth worthy of thy sighs.
Life is a bitter, weary load,
The world a slough. And now, repose!
Despair no more, but find in Death
The only boon Fate on our race bestows!
Still, Nature, art thou doomed to fall,
The victim scorned of that blind, brutal power
That rules and ruins all.

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L'infinito

Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle
E questa siepe che da tanta parte
De'l ultimo orrizonte il guarde esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando interminati
Spazi di la da quella, e sovrumani
Silenzi, e profondissima quiete,
Io nel pensier mi fingo, ove per poco
Il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
Odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
Infinito silenzio a questa voce
Vo comparando; e mi sovvien l'eterno,
E le morte stagioni, e la presente
E viva, e'l suon di lei. Cosi tra questa
Immensita s'annega il pensier mio:
E'l naufragar m'e dolce in questo mare.

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Scherzo

When, as a boy, I went
To study in the Muses' school,
One of them came to me, and took
Me by the hand, and all that day,
She through the work-shop led me graciously,
The mysteries of the craft to see.
She guided me
Through every part,
And showed me all
The instruments of art,
And did their uses all rehearse,
In works alike of prose and verse.
I looked, and paused awhile,
Then asked: 'O Muse, where is the file?'
'The file is out of order, friend, and we
Now do without it,' answered she.
'But, to repair it, then, have you no care?'
'We _should_, indeed, but have no time to spare.'

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Fragment I

I round the threshold wandering here,
Vainly the tempest and the rain invoke,
That they may keep my lady prisoner.

And yet the wind was howling in the woods,
The roving thunder bellowing in the clouds,
Before the dawn had risen in the sky.

O ye dear clouds! O heaven! O earth! O trees!
My lady goes! Have mercy, if on earth
Unhappy lovers ever mercy find!

Awake, ye whirlwinds! storm-charged clouds, awake,
O'erwhelm me with your floods, until the sun
To other lands brings back the light of day!

Heaven opens; the wind falls; the grass, the leaves
Are motionless, around; the dazzling sun
In my tear-laden eyes remorseless shines.

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To The Moon

O lovely moon, how well do I recall
The time,--'tis just a year--when up this hill
I came, in my distress, to gaze at thee:
And thou suspended wast o'er yonder grove,
As now thou art, which thou with light dost fill.
But stained with mist, and tremulous, appeared
Thy countenance to me, because my eyes
Were filled with tears, that could not be suppressed;
For, oh, my life was wretched, wearisome,
And _is_ so still, unchanged, belov├Ęd moon!
And yet this recollection pleases me,
This computation of my sorrow's age.
How pleasant is it, in the days of youth,
When hope a long career before it hath,
And memories are few, upon the past
To dwell, though sad, and though the sadness last!

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Chorus of the Dead

And all returns to Thee, alone eternal,
And all Thee returning.
Oh Death, in Thy vast shadow,
Simple and bare we languish,
Not happy, but from the anguish
Of life at last set free. The night profoundly
Falls on the shaken spirit,
And dark in dark confuses;
The withered soul sourage and hope refuses;
Spent and uncaring,
Free now from sorrow and from fear for ever,
We lie here undespairing
Through void eternity.
We lived... And as a phantom from a dream of terror
Wanders into the day,
And draws across the speechless souls of children
A memory and a fear,
We, as we linger here,
Are haunted still by life: but fears of children
Haunt us not now. What were we?

[...] Read more

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The Infinite

This solitary hill has always been dear to me
And this hedge, which prevents me from seeing most of
The endless horizon.
But when I sit and gaze, I imagine, in my thoughts
Endless spaces beyond the hedge,
An all encompassing silence and a deeply profound quiet,
To the point that my heart is almost overwhelmed.
And when I hear the wind rustling through the trees
I compare its voice to the infinite silence.
And eternity occurs to me, and all the ages past,
And the present time, and its sound.
Amidst this immensity my thought drowns:
And to founder in this sea is sweet to me.

L'infinito

Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle
E questa siepe che da tanta parte
De'l ultimo orrizonte il guarde esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando interminati

[...] Read more

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The Village Saturday Night

The damsel from the field returns,
The sun is sinking in the west;
Her bundle on her head she sets,
And in her hand she bears
A bunch of roses and of violets.
To-morrow is a holiday,
And she, as usual, must them wear
Upon her bodice, in her hair.
The old crone sits among her mates,
Upon the stairs, and spins;
And, looking at the fading light,
Of good old-fashioned times she prates,
When she, too, dressed for holidays,
And with light heart, and limb as light,
Would dance at night
With the companions of her merry days.
The twilight shades around us close,
The sky to deepest blue is turned;
From hills and roofs the shadows fall,
And the new moon her face of silver shows.

[...] Read more

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Calm After Storm

The storm hath passed;
I hear the birds rejoice; the hen,
Returned into the road again,
Her cheerful notes repeats. The sky serene
Is, in the west, upon the mountain seen:
The country smiles; bright runs the silver stream.
Each heart is cheered; on every side revive
The sounds, the labors of the busy hive.
The workman gazes at the watery sky,
As standing at the door he sings,
His work in hand; the little wife goes forth,
And in her pail the gathered rain-drops brings;
The vendor of his wares, from lane to lane,
Begins his daily cry again.
The sun returns, and with his smile illumes
The villas on the neighboring hills;
Through open terraces and balconies,
The genial light pervades the cheerful rooms;
And, on the highway, from afar are heard
The tinkling of the bells, the creaking wheels

[...] Read more

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