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Friday, February 14, 2014

Leopardian Interlude (2)

[Giacomo Leopardi's Dialogue between Torquato Tasso and His Home Genius, 1824]


GENIUS   Torquato! How are you?

TASSO  You know, as fine as one can feel in prison(*) and deep in trouble.

GENIUS   C'mon, after-supper time it's not the time to complain. Take heart, let's laugh of this!

TASSO   I don't feel much like doing so. But your coming and your words comfort me as usual. Sit down, please.

GENIUS   Sitting? That's not very easy for a spirit. But, alright, imagine I am sitting.

TASSO   Oh, if only I could see my Eleanor!(**) Each time she comes to my mind, a thrill of joy rises in me, that from the top of my head extends up to the tips of my feet, and no nerve or vein is left unshaking. Sometimes, while thinking of her, in my soul certain images, certain feelings are so enlivened that, as long as that brief moment lasts, it seems to me that I am, once again, the Torquato I was before experiencing misfortunes and humankind; the Torquato I so often mourn as dead. Yes, I say, experiencing the world and undergoing sufferings can sink and dull, inside each of us, that man he used to be -- who still awakens from time to time, just for a short time, and more and more seldom as time goes by. Then, he more and more often withdraws into his inner depth, falling into a heavier sleep than before, until, while life still goes on, he already dies. After all, I am amazed that the memory of a woman may be so strong to renew my soul, as it were, and make me forget so many calamities. And, if I had any hope of seeing her again, I would say I still haven't completely lost the capability of being happy.

. . .  to be continued . . .

(*) The St. Anne Asylum in Ferrara.
(**) Eleanor of Este, but it is not historically true, especially because Tasso was -- mainly -- homosexual. But to hell with this, today is Valentine's Day, after all ^__^