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Sunday, April 2, 2017

"The Hour of Barga; L'ora di Barga," by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "L'ora di Barga," from the collection "Canti di Castelvecchio" (1903)

View of Barga, north of the provincial capital, Lucca, Italy.

The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli, Translated in English, next to their Original Italian Text. Giovanni Pascoli (b. at San Mauro Romagna, December 31, 1855, d. at Barga April 6, 1912) was a classical scholar and one of the greatest European poets of his times. The work of Giovanni Pascoli is considered the beginning of modern Italian poetry. Amidst the thick fog, in the rough seas and the rugged shores of a country divided by historic, cultural, and linguistic barriers, Pascoli become the lighthouse to point to, in order to find a common language and a way to unity. In appearance, he often simply spoke of “little things:” bucolic scenes, small images of nature, peasants and their everyday chores; even animals, birds, plants, and flowers with mystical names found their cozy spot under the beaming sun of Pascoli’s marvelous pen.

The following translation of "The Hour of Barga; L'ora di Barga," by Giovanni Pascoli, is from the book "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," published by LiteraryJoint Press (2017). Also available as Amazon ebook (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

The Hour of Barga

In my little nook, where I hear nothing
but the murmur of the wheat's stems,
the sound of the hours comes with the wind
from the unseen hamlet in the mountains:
a sound that equally and lightly falls,
like a persuading voice.

You say, It's time, you say, It's late,
a mild voice that from the sky descends.
Yet, let me look a bit more at
the tree, the spider, the bee, the stem,
things that are many centuries, or a year,
or an hour old, and at those clouds that disappear.

Let me remain here still
amongst much movements of wings and branches;
and listen to the rooster that from a farm calls,
and to another one, that from another answers,
and, when elsewhere settled is the soul,
to the shrieks of a chickadee that brawls.

And then again the hour chimes, and sends me
first one of its cry of tinkling
wonder, then the same mild
voice of before is advising,
and deep, deep, deep, encourages me:
it tells me, It's late; it tells me, It's time.

Then you want me to think about the comeback,
voice that falls lightly from the sky!
Yet, how pretty is this little of day that is left
and shines as if through a voile!
I know it's time, I know it's late;
let me look on a bit longer, still.

Let me look within my soul,
let that in my past I live;
if only on the dry twig my flower lived on,
if only I found a kiss that I did not give!
In my little nook of shadowy exile
let me lament upon my own life!

And then again the hour chimes, and shrills
two times a cry of anguish, seemingly,
and then, back again mild and tranquil,
in my nook it persuades me:
it's late! it's time. Yes, let's go back where
those who love and whom I love dwell.

L'Ora di Barga

Al mio cantuccio, donde non sento
se non le reste brusir del grano,
il suon dell’ore viene col vento
dal non veduto borgo montano:
suono che uguale, che blando cade,
come una voce che persuade.

Tu dici, È l’ora, tu dici, È tardi,
voce che cadi blanda dal cielo.
Ma un poco ancora lascia che guardi
l’albero, il ragno, l’ape, lo stelo,
cose ch’han molti secoli o un anno
o un’ora, e quelle nubi che vanno.

Lasciami immoto qui rimanere
fra tanto moto d’ale e di fronde;
e udire il gallo che da un podere
chiama, e da un altro l’altro risponde,
e, quando altrove l’anima è fissa,
gli strilli d’una cincia che rissa.

E suona ancora l’ora, e mi manda
prima un suo grido di meraviglia
tinnulo, e quindi con la sua blanda
voce di prima parla e consiglia,
e grave grave grave m’incuora:
mi dice, È tardi; mi dice, È l’ora.

Tu vuoi che pensi dunque al ritorno,
voce che cadi blanda dal cielo!
Ma bello è questo poco di giorno
che mi traluce come da un velo!
Lo so ch’è l’ora, lo so ch’è tardi;
ma un poco ancora lascia che guardi.

Lascia che guardi dentro il mio cuore,
lascia ch’io viva del mio passato;
se c’è sul bronco sempre quel fiore,
s’io trovi un bacio che non ho dato!
Nel mio cantuccio d’ombra romita
lascia ch’io pianga su la mia vita!

E suona ancora l’ora, e mi squilla
due volte un grido quasi di cruccio,
e poi, tornata blanda e tranquilla,
mi persuade nel mio cantuccio:
è tardi! è l’ora! Sì, ritorniamo
dove son quelli ch’amano ed amo.

From the collection “Canti di Castelvecchio(1903)” 

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