When he was young Alexander conquered In giovenile etate il mondo vinse
When he was young, Alexander conquered
the world, his honored tresses were circled
forever. You are worthy of his name --
since similar desires moved you

to rejoice Christ's bride, his church, his people
by taming the enemy. You've acted
like someone who upon glimpsing a grave
calamity in the making promptly

extinguishes the fire. In the prime
of life, your wisdom and courage show us
a second Alexander equals the first.

Writers will exhaust, weary pens and ink,
before they can express what you are;
even so they will make you immortal.

In giovenil etate il mondo vinse
quello di cui il glorïoso nome
degno tenete, e l'onorate chiome
d'eterna gloria alteramente cinse;

simil desio per far lieta vi spinse
la gran Sposa di Cristo, avendo dome
le genti a lei nemiche e fatto come
fece già mai chi grave incendio estinse.

Così, nel più bel fior degli anni vostri
col senno e col valor mostrato avete
che 'l secondo Alessandro al primo è uguale.

Stanche dunque saran penne ed inchiostri
anzi che passan dir quel che voi sete;
pur vi faranno eterno ed immortale.


Rizzardi 26:27; Chiapetti 23:29; 1995 Bullock 60:160-61. Translation: McAuliffe 199 (as if by Colonna, from 1550 Arrivabene miscellany; this is another poem which has moved back and forth between Gambara and Colonna's columns). For Key see A Note on the Italian texts


For variants, commentary, and paraphrase see 1995 Bullock pp. 161n. It is not certain to whom this poem is addressed. Rizzardi argued that the poem is to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and referred to in a letter from Bembo to Gambara; Chiapetti repeated Rizzardi's argument in her biography of Gambara, Chimenti takes the poem as to Alessandro Farnese, the cardinal, and part of a series of poems and letters intended to ingratiate Gambara with the Farnese; she offers some persuastive details about the Cardinal which might suggest why Gambara would write such a poem to him. It should also not be forgotten that her brother married in, and it was in the interests of Gambara's sons to solidify all alliances, pp. 65-66 and n. But Bullock disagrees and suggests the poem is addressed to Alessandro Vitelli, a captain who fought the army of Paul III against the Turkish army in 1542. Bullock thinks the sonnet mentioned by Bembo has now disappeared. It seems rather strong to equate a captain with Alexander the Great even if effective fighting captains were central instruments of power in the era.
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