Where green plants float and flower by the shore Là dove or d'erbe adorna ambe le sponde
Where green plants float and flower by the shore
of Sebeto, gentle Amaryllis,
who worships you, murmurs softly, her heart
echoing the rhythms of the river's waves:

"Oh, why, from my eyes is that arrogant
glance hidden? the one the world so respects?
Why does the fierce desire which enthralls me,
grow with these flowers and your new brows?

My D'Avalos, ever intent on arms
seeking to render all enemy acts
futile, shows no interest, no care for me."

Replete with love and apprehension,
the lovely lady obsoletely longs
to remain yours while kept distant from you.

Là dove or d'erbe adorna ambe le sponde
il bel Sebeto, e le campagne infiora,
Amarilli gentil, che v'ama e adora,
tal spesso dice, al mormorar de l'onde:

"Deh! perché, lassa! agli occhi miei s'asconde
l'altero sguardo ch'oggi 'l mondo onora?
E perché 'l fier desio, che m'innamora,
cresce coi fiori e con le nove fronte?

E 'l mio Davalo, forse intento sempre
con l'armi e con l'ingegno a render vano
il nemico furor, di me non cura?"

Così, piena d'amor e di paura,
la bella donna in disusate tempre
si strugge del star vostro a lei lontano.


Rizzardi 11:11; Chiapetti 11:13; 1995 Bullock 32:91-92. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


The two poems by Gambara to Alfonso d'Avalos, Marquis del Vasto are in reality something of a puzzle. Gambara's early 20th century biographer, Clementina Courten is revealingly embarrassed by them. They are excessive. Like Bullock, Courten connects the poems to the one letter from Gambara to Del Vasto (dated 31 October 1540). The letter is written in Gambara's usual ambiguous style; but it seems that Gambara sent it and (perhaps) the above poem as part of a move to help her son, Ippolito's career. However, according to Riccardo Finzi, Del Vasto visited Correggio: he came with a Spanish army and stayed from June 29 to November 25, 1531 (p. 24); studies of Vittoria Colonna's correspondence suggest that D'Avalos may have come to Correggio a second time (April 1532?).

D'Avalos wrote a poem in reply to Gambara, and the consensus of opinion seems to be that D'Avalos poem (see Chiapetti 69; Rizzardi 67; Guerrini 370-71, and translated before) is a response to Gambara's second poem (Se lunge da gli amata e cari lumi"). It is more probable, though, that D'Avalos's poem is a response to the above poem, and Gambara's second which echoes the one below a response to his:

Lunge da quegli amati e cari lumi
De la bella Amarilli in doglia e in pianto
Mi vivo sempre; et poi ch'ella altrettanto
Sente dolor, più verso amari fiumi;

E più m'escon dal petto oscuri fumi
Di cocenti sospiri; et dico: ahi, quanto
Preme il dolor quel cor pudico e santo,

Nè sol m'affligge questa doglia eterna;
Anzi d'ogni altro ben m'è il cielo avaro
Stando io lontan dal mio vero diletto.

Ma voi, mercè di vostra virtù interna,
Col leggiadro sitl vostro in tanto amaro
Confortate il mio cor di dolce affetto

Far from the cherished loving light and eyes/of beautiful Amaryllis I live forever/ in pain and grief, and the thought that she too/misses me, indeed, makes me more bitter,/ and brings forth from my tense heart aching dark and tormented sighs, and I answer you:/ just as and since grief preys on and hallows for me the chaste heart./ Nor is this the only endless sorrow/afflicting me: God stints me of every/ other happiness too and keeps me far/ from my true pleasure./ But you, since you have an inner strength and/goodness, with your lovely poetry can/ comfort my heart with your sweet tenderness" (Italian text from Rizzardi 67; see also Chiapetti 69; Guerrini 370-71; my translation)

For annotations, some commentary, variants, and a paraphrase see 1995 Bullock p. 91-2n. The consensus of published opinion is that Gambara is throughout not speaking of herself, but as if she were D'Avalo's wife, Maria D'Aragona. Evidence from letters by other family members and friends about the real relationship between Alfonso D'Avalos and his wife, Maria D'Aragona, suggests it was not a love match; see Gambara's poem to Maria D'Aragona (Donna gentil, che cosi largamente ("Gentle lady, to whom Heaven has been so/generous"). Interestingly, Finzi in a note at the back of his book says that "according to some writers, there is evidence to suggest that Amaryllis is not the wife of Del Vasto, although she was beloved." He comments: "The fact is believable, given the mores of the period, but there is nothing which authorizes us sufficiently to say these assertions are historically so. Here is the Italian: "Secondo alcuin scrittori, 'Amarilli' non era la moglie Del Marchese, bensì l'amante. Il fatto è credibile, data i tempi; ma nulla ci autorizza a concludere storicamente in tal senso." I suggest there is something unaccounted for going on here. With the evidence of Gambara's other love poems before and after her marriage, I suggest Gambara may have been writing for and of herself. There is a real argument for reading Gambara's poems two poems to Del Vasto as love poetry to which he responded in (enigmatic) kind. There is, however, also some enigmatic evidence in the Colonna correspondence from the late 1520s into very early 1503s, that Del Vasto was involved with other women, and at one point, Vittoria Colonna brings Maria d'Aragona to him in an effort to impregnate her; this evidence suggests the woman referred to as Amaryllis was not respectable and not an aristocrat.

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