Love is a desire… (translated)

A sonnet by Giacomo da Lentini 

translation  © Luigi Pagano 2021

Giacomo da LentiniLove is a desire that comes from the heart

Love is a desire that comes from the heart

which stems from a yen for enjoyment.

Firstly the eyes act as Cupid’s dart

then the heart gives ardour nourishment.


Sometimes the object of love is unseen

but what is obvious and makes sense
is that once the beloved is seen
it will render the passion more intense.


The heart will be informed by the eyes

of what they see, whether good or bad,

of the natural make-up of each one.


From all this the heart can surmise

that love is king, and it is glad

that it is within the reach of everyone.


Giacomo da Lentini – Amor è un desìo che ven da’ core

Amore è uno desio che ven da’ core
per abondanza di gran piacimento;
e li occhi in prima generan l’amore
e lo core li dà nutricamento.


Ben è alcuna fiata om amatore
senza vedere so ’namoramento,
ma quell’amor che stringe con furore
da la vista de li occhi ha nascimento:


ché li occhi rapresentan a lo core
d’onni cosa che veden bono e rio
com’è formata naturalemente;


e lo cor, che di zo è concepitore,
imagina, e li piace quel desio:
e questo amore regna fra la gente.


© ionicus 2023
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Bravo! Love is everywhere and the greatest blessing. It can lift us up from the depths of despair and it does make the world go round.

Italian is a language made for love. It is so expressive. My mother learnt to speak a bit but I am not able haha.
Alison x


I’m with Alison on Italian as the language of love; I would think simply ordering a coffee would (to our ears) sound romantic! One question Luigi; your ‘translation’ is very lyrical, and has a definite rhythm in English – it does rhyme in places; the overall effect is most pleasing. But would a literal word for word translation be the same? Or do you adapt it into an English form to convey the lyrical quality, while yet retaining the meaning? Excuse me if this reads a bit confusing – its just something that I would like to learn about.



Thanks Luigi; and of course it rhymes in all the right places – and ‘in the right order’; my ignorance has the advantage that it can only be improved.


Yes, just read it; fabulisomo!! ( I learnt Italian from Lucia and Georgie!). and glad you smoked the Mr Preview reference.


Luigi, everyone has beaten me to it. All I can add is my personal appreciation of your poetic (and translation) skills. On the subject matter: Isn’t love fascinating? A universal magnet that not only attracts lovers, but I would say is the cohesive energy of the Universe.
Regards, Allen



Love indeed is king, and available to all, if only they opened themselves to it. Oh could but the world take heed. Your skills to the fore again in this translation.


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