It's not to tell how much I admire you Non t'ammirar, s'a te non visto mai
It's not to tell you how much I admire you,
you whom I have never seen, nor seen me,
that I long to send you these, my papers:
since evidence of your genius is everywhere,
I'm doing what was never done before.

I know you will not blame my ardor
if you study my poems attentively --
part by part. They've compelled admiration
from every man who's seen them --
but you've excused me enough already.

These things drive me to make evident how
I feel: that my sprits are illumined and
and strengthened while I am writing to you.

The evident humanity that dwells in you
has increased my ardor -- boldness -- to do
what I'd been putting off -- now at long last.

Non t'ammirar, s'a te, non visto mai
Ardisco di mandar queste mie carte,
Ché tue virtù per tutto 'l mondo sparte
Mi fan far quel ch'ancor non feci mai.

E so che tal ardir non biasmerai
Se quelle ben misuri a parte a parte:
Lor fan ch'a forza è ognun constretto amarte,
Però, signor tu m'excusata arrai.

Quelle m'han spinta a far ch'io a ti palesi
Quant'io t'amo ed onoro, e quanto ancora
Miei spirti sian già di scriverti accesi:

E l' alta humanità, che 'n te dimora,
Mi porse ardire assai più che non cresi
A far quel, che tardat'ho infin ad ora.


Rampini V; Costa 10-11 (in a note at the bottom of the page); 1995 Bullock 15:71-72. For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


As Costa says, this is clearly the first poem Gambara wrote to Bembo. Here is Bembo's verse reply:
Certo ben mi poss'io dir pago omai
d'ogni tuo oltraggio, Amor, e s'a colparte
distretto 'l verso o le prose consparte
ho pur talora, or me ne pento assai.

Ché le note, onde tu ricco mi fai,
di quella, che dal vulgo mi diparte,
ancor mai non veduta, e scorge in parte
over tu scorto pochi o nessun hai,

son tali, che quetar ben mille offesi
possono e di mille alme scacciar fora
desir vili e 'ngombrar d'alti e cortesi.

Pensar quinci si può, qual fia quell'ora,
ch'i vedrò gli occhi, ch'or me son contesi,
e la voce udirò, che Brescia onora.

The above text is taken from Prose e Rime di Pietro Bembo, ed. Carlo Dionisotti (Unione Tipografico-Editrice-Tornese, 1966), No. LXIII, pp. 560-61. I supply a paraphrase in English: "Now it is sure, now I can say I am content, rewarded, Love, for your outrages, I who have sometimes severely blamed myself for scattering my prose and verse; now I have repented enough --/and why, because of the rich music you have made, you say, from my Italian poetry -- even when we've not yet met -- is perceived in those parts of your poem where you have little or no teacher,/there are those who to obtain tranquillity, to answer the thousand hurts of life, repel countless souls and humble longings; and in so doing, they hurt the noble and courteous;/but I now can dream of that time, whenever it may come, when I will see the eyes I now cannot see and hear the voice that honors Brescia." Dionisotti suggests that Bembo may have written 4 poems to Gambara: the above; No. CXXIII, pp. 607-8 ( Quel dolce suon, per cui chiaro s'intende"); LX, p. 558 ("Rime leggiadre, che novellamente"), LXI, p. 559 ("Colei, che guerra a' miei pensieri indice"; this is disputed by Giorgio Dilemmi in "Ne Videatur Strepere Anser Iner Olores", Veronica Gambara e la Poesia del Suo Tempo, p. 26).

1995 Bullock 15:71-72, includes a long note with much information. This exchange of poems probably occurred in 1504; Bembo's letter is dated 11 September 1504. See further Jerrold 141-43; Courten 12; Bembo's letters reprinted 1552/54, Vol III, pp. 24-25.

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