To see you, to gaze into your serene Dal veder voi, occhi sereni, e chiari
To see you, to gaze into your serene
and clear eyes gives my soul such deep gladness,
that every anxiety, all the pain
of life, seems as nothing, vanishes.

A soft rare light, necessary to me.
Not to see you foretells death, is a blank.
A felt grief cuts through me like a knife, and
the day without you is poisonous.

I live only to gaze into your eyes
which reflect a mild limpid starlight,
all else in life makes me afraid and sad.

So if I thirst and hunger to see you,
do not be so surprized. Who does not flee
annihilation. You are my shelter.

Dal veder voi, occhi lucenti e chiari,
nasce un piacer ne l'alma, un gaudio tale
ch'ogni sdegno, ogni affanno, ogni gran male
soavi tengo, e chiamo dolci e cari.

Dal non vedervi, poi, lucenti e rari,
lumi del viver mio segno fatale,
un sì fiero dolor quest'alma assale
chi i giorni miei fa più che assenzio amari.

Quanto contemplo voi sol vivo tanto,
limpide stelle mie soavi e liete;
il resto de mia vita è doglia e pianto;

però se di vedervi ho sì gran sete
maraviglia non è, ch'uom fugge quanto
che può il morire, onde voi schemo sete.


Ruscelli-VG 6:4; Rizzardi 15:15; Chiapetti 14:17; 1995 Bullock 20:77-78. Previous translations: Poss 61. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


This is assumed to be a poem by Gambara on her love for her husband, and, following Bullock, I place it just before "Occhi lucenti et belli" ("Beautiful shining eyes"); see 1995 Bullock pp. 78-79n. Its rhyme scheme is that of her earlier "Più volte il miser cor avea assaltato" ("Love had assaulted my heart many times"). Mario Marcazzan comments on this one interestingly in "Veronica Gambara et i sonetti degli 'occhi luccenti,'" Romanticismo Critico e Coscienza Storica (Firenze: Casa Editrice Marzocco, 1948), pp. 115-16. He says the poem has two antithetical movements: one which takes off from "Dal veder voi, occhi sereni e chiari," and the other, by contrast, "Dal non vedervi poi . . . " The verses move slowly in a kind of distended or flowing and staid and sober movement; towards the end the contrast between bliss and terror breaks through the surface of the poem into abruptness to signal the violence of Gambara's feelings.
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