You, whose eyes search my heart (translated)

A sonnet by Guido Cavalcanti

Translation © Luigi Pagano 2021
Guido Cavalcanti – You, whose eyes search my heart
You, whose eyes search my heart
and thus awake my dormant mind,
observe my anguish and you’ll find
that, sighing, my Love falls apart.
It is being struck with such a blow
that my feeble spirit starts to wane;
only an empty shell will remain
and enough voice to express woe.
This ardent passion to which I’m prey
began with a glance from your eyes:
I was hit sideways by Cupid’s dart.
As the shot hit the target right away,
the shaky soul was taken by surprise
seeing, on the left side, the dying heart.

Guido Cavalcanti – Voi che per li occhi mi passaste ‘l core

Voi che per li occhi mi passaste ’l core
e destaste la mente che dormia,
guardate a l’angosciosa vita mia,
che sospirando la distrugge Amore.

E’ vèn tagliando di sì gran valore,
che’ deboletti spiriti van via:
riman figura sol en segnoria
e voce alquanta, che parla dolore.

Questa vertù d’amor che m’ha disfatto
da’ vostr’ occhi gentil’ presta si mosse:
un dardo mi gittò dentro dal fianco.

Si giunse ritto ‘l colpo al primo tratto
che l’anima tremando si riscosse
veggendo morto ‘l cor nel lato manco.


© ionicus 2023
Views: 507
critique and comments welcome.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Yes Luigi, I don’t know how I missed this one; you have a genius for translating – well more than that – recasting in a fresh mould? The final stanza was sublime.



Well, lets settle on ‘a rare talent’? I also feel we underestimate the role of the translator, non more so with poetry. In my limited understanding it seems a kind of interpretation – making the second language respond to the beauty and meaning of the original, and in so doing creating an original work; I’m thinking of Arthur Waley here, as such a rare talent. Anyway – nuf said; I’m just looking forward to more like this.


Flag Content