Hope and fear consumes beautiful Florence La bella Flora, che da voi sol spera
Hope and fear consumes beautiful Florence
who hoped her famous heroes would provide
liberty and peace, and she calls out repeatedly,
at times gently, and then again wildly:

"O my wise and noble sons, why do you not
follow of those who with iron and boldness
opened for you a real roadway to peace?
You know you admired them so much.

Why are you so late coming to my aid?
I didn't bear you freely and gladly
so you'd desert me, a grief-striken slave

With what strength you can get together,
with wise counsel and powerful hands,
liberate me, save yourselves and your peace."

La bella Flora, che da voi sol spera,
famosi eroi, e libertate e pace,
fra speranza e timor si strugge e sface,
e spesso dice, or mansueta or fera:

"O de' miei figli saggia e nobil schiera!
Perché di non seguir l'orme vi piace
di chi col ferro e con la mano audace
vi fè al mio scampo aperta strada e vera?

Perché sì tardi al mio soccoso andate?
Già non produssi voi liberi e lieti
perché lassaste me serva e dolente

quanta sia 'n virtù dunque mostrate,
e col consiglio e con la man possente
fate libera me, voi salvi e queti."


Ruscelli-VG, 3:2; Rizzardi 3:3; Chiapetti 3:5; 1995 Bullock 49:112-113. Translation: Stortoni & Lille 30-31. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


Rizzardi dates this October 1529 (emperor's army besieges city on behalf of Clement VIII) and beginning August 1530 (city capitulated); this narrative is the one Courten choses too (pp. 125-26). However, Bullock and Chiapetti disagree and date it 1536 when Cardinal Ridolfi, Salviati, and Gatti after the violent death of Alexander de Medici invaded Florence with a promise that they were restoring liberty. Bullock and Chiapetti say the date must be 1536 not only because of their reading of the text, but because Gambara's son, Ippolito, was in the beseiging army, and Chiapetti and Bullock both think that in that case Gambara would not have written a poem urging resistance to this enemy army. Gambara's letters around the time of the murder of Medici seem to support Bullock and Chiapetti. Her famous Stanze to Cosimo would seem to support the latter date. Chimenti seems to think that perhaps the poem is a sudden fervent fantasy of an artist, finding relief. From guilt? At any rate, all agree Gambara speaks the words of the spirit of Florence in the person of Flora. For variants, commentary, and paraphrase see 1995 Bullock 113n.
Secret Sacred Woods
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: 13 July 2003