Giacomo Leopardi: 14 June 1837



One hundred and eighty years ago, on 14 June 1837 the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, (1798 –1837) died . He was a famous romantic author,  philosopher, essayist and philologist.
In 1819 he wrote “L’Infinito”, a poem which deals with the beauty of the concept of negative capability, and contains philosophical meditations on limitations, mortality and infinity.

Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle,
e questa siepe, che da tanta parte
dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati
spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
silenzi, e profondissima quiete
io nel pensier mi fingo; ove per poco
il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
infinito silenzio a questa voce
vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
e le morte stagioni, e la presente
e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.

English Translation:

The Infinite
This lonely hill has always been dear to me,
and this hedge, which screens off much
of the view of the far horizon
But as I sit and gaze here, I can see
in my mind’s eye, endless space
and utter silence, and deepest quiet
in which my heart feels a sudden chill. And as I hear
the wind rustling through these trees,
I compare that infinite silence, to this voice
and I am reminded of eternity,
and the dead seasons, and the one
now alive and the sound of it. So my thoughts
sink in this immensity and to be shipwrecked
in this sea is so sweet to me.


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