So intense is this grief Così estrema è la doglia
So intense is this grief,
nothing I have ever felt before comes near it.
Yet by its means I stay alive.

I would be dead by now --
but for this heavy strong pain lying on my heart:
it won't give way to death,
I can't increase nor diminish these wounds.

Pitiless hurt.
Can I defend a heart and soul
so full of anguish?
My heart, my burning soul cannot breathe
outside this fire.
I live on despite myself

And what is my crown of thorns?
I am not able to grieve over my real grief.

Così estrema è la doglia
Ch'a così estremo mal mal non arriva;
E a questo modo me ne resto viva.

Sarei en morta, omai,
Ma 'l dolor ch'ho nel cuor, sì grave e forte
Non da loco a la morte
Né accrescer può né sminuir miei guai.

Ahi dispietat' offesa!
Come farò diffesa
Se m'hai sì pien d'angoscia l'alma, e 'l petto
Che fuor non può spirar l'anima accessa
E vivo al mio dispetto?

Ma fra tutti i martir quest'è 'l maggiore
Non potermi doler de 'l mio dolore.


Costa 6:26-27; 1995 Bullock 8:63-64. Costa reprinted this from another manuscript (Marciano It. Cl. IX, then in the library of Venice). it appears elsewhere (anthologies, manuscripts: in 1879 it was reprinted by Bartolomeo Campana in 1879 as a previously unprinted poem by Gambara depicting her grief over her husband's death. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


Costa and Bullock agree this is a poem written before Gambara's marriage. Previous translation: Jerrold 151-52. 1995 Bullock, pp. 64-65n. for variants, notes and paraphrase.
Secret Sacred Woods
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: 6 September 2003