Franz Kafka

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Gabriele D’Annunzio: The Collection of Poems in English

The most comprehensive English translation of the poetry of Gabriele D'Annunzio.

Gabriele D'Annunzio, Prince of Montenevoso, Duke of Gallese (12 March 1863 – 1 March 1938), was an Italian poet, journalist, playwright and soldier during World War I. He occupied a prominent place in Italian literature from 1889 to 1910 and later political life from 1914 to 1924. He was often referred to under the epithets Il Vate ("the Poet") or Il Profeta ("the Prophet").
 Available as eBook on Amazon Kindle and Kobo, and as printed edition on Amazon and Lulu. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

"I Pastori" (The Shepherds), by Gabriele D'Annunzio (1903). English translation. "Settembre, andiamo, è tempo di migrar..."

Gabriele D'Annunzio, 12th of September 1919, in Fiume, commemoration of the "Impresa di Fiume" a self-proclaimed state in the city of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia) led by Gabriele d'Annunzio between 1919 and 1920. It is also known by its lyrical name in Italian: Endeavor of Fiume.

The Shepherds 


September, let's go. It is time to migrate.

Now in the land of Abruzzi my shepherds

leave the pens and take it to the sea:

they descend to the wild Adriatic

that is green like the pastures of the mountains.

They drank deeply at the alpine

springs, so that the flavor of native water

may dwell in their exiled hearts as a comfort,

and deceive at length their thirst on the way.

They renewed their crook of avellana. (*)


And so they walk the ancient path to the plain,

almost as through a silent river of grass,

following the vestiges of the forefathers.

Oh, voice of whom for the first time

knows the shimmering of the sea!

By the coastline presently walks

the flock. Motionless is the air.

The sun lights up the blonde living wool

that almost does not differ from the sand.

Splashing, stamping, sweet sounds.

Alas, why am I not with my shepherds?

(*) Corylus avellana, the Common Hazel

Original Italian version:

I pastori

Settembre, andiamo. È tempo di migrare.

Ora in terra d'Abruzzi i miei pastori

lascian gli stazzi e vanno verso il mare:

scendono all'Adriatico selvaggio

che verde è come i pascoli dei monti.

Han bevuto profondamente ai fonti

alpestri, che sapor d'acqua natia

rimanga né cuori esuli a conforto,

che lungo illuda la lor sete in via.

Rinnovato hanno verga d'avellano.

E vanno pel tratturo antico al piano,

quasi per un erbal fiume silente,

su le vestigia degli antichi padri.

O voce di colui che primamente

conosce il tremolar della marina!

Ora lungh'esso il litoral cammina

La greggia. Senza mutamento è l'aria.

Il sole imbionda sì la viva lana

che quasi dalla sabbia non divaria.

Isciacquio, calpestio, dolci romori.

Ah perché non son io cò miei pastori?
(from Alcyone, Sogni di Terre Lontane, 1903) 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

"First Love" from "First Love and Other Stories" by Ivan Turgenev, (1860) Первая любовь


The guests had long since departed. The clock struck half-past twelve.
There remained in the room only the host, Sergyéi Nikoláevitch, and
Vladímir Petróvitch.

The host rang and ordered the remains of the supper to be removed.--“So
then, the matter is settled,”--he said, ensconcing himself more deeply
in his arm-chair, and lighting a cigar:--“each of us is to narrate the
history of his first love. ’Tis your turn, Sergyéi Nikoláevitch.”

Sergyéi Nikoláevitch, a rather corpulent man, with a plump, fair-skinned
face, first looked at the host, then raised his eyes to the ceiling.--“I
had no first love,”--he began at last:--“I began straight off with the

“How was that?”

“Very simply. I was eighteen years of age when, for the first time, I
dangled after a very charming young lady; but I courted her as though it
were no new thing to me: exactly as I courted others afterward. To tell
the truth, I fell in love, for the first and last time, at the age of
six, with my nurse;--but that is a very long time ago. The details of
our relations have been erased from my memory; but even if I remembered
them, who would be interested in them?”

“Then what are we to do?”--began the host.--“There was nothing very
startling about my first love either; I never fell in love with any one
before Anna Ivánovna, now my wife; and everything ran as though on oil
with us; our fathers made up the match, we very promptly fell in love
with each other, and entered the bonds of matrimony without delay. My
story can be told in two words. I must confess, gentlemen, that in
raising the question of first love, I set my hopes on you, I will not
say old, but yet no longer young bachelors. Will not you divert us with
something, Vladímir Petróvitch?”

“My first love belongs, as a matter of fact, not altogether to the
ordinary category,”--replied, with a slight hesitation, Vladímir
Petróvitch, a man of forty, whose black hair was sprinkled with grey.

“Ah!”--said the host and Sergyéi Nikoláevitch in one breath.--“So much
the better.... Tell us.”

“As you like ... or no: I will not narrate; I am no great hand at
telling a story; it turns out dry and short, or long-drawn-out and
artificial. But if you will permit me, I will write down all that I
remember in a note-book, and will read it aloud to you.”

At first the friends would not consent, but Vladímir Petróvitch
insisted on having his own way. A fortnight later they came together
again, and Vladímir Sergyéitch kept his promise.

This is what his note-book contained.


I was sixteen years old at the time. The affair took place in the summer
of 1833.

I was living in Moscow, in my parents’ house. They had hired a villa
near the Kalúga barrier, opposite the Neskútchny Park.[2]--I was
preparing for the university, but was working very little and was not in
a hurry.

No one restricted my freedom. I had done whatever I pleased ever since I
had parted with my last French governor, who was utterly unable to
reconcile himself to the thought that he had fallen “like a bomb”
(_comme une bombe_) into Russia, and with a stubborn expression on his
face, wallowed in bed for whole days at a time. My father treated me in
an indifferently-affectionate way; my mother paid hardly any attention
to me, although she had no children except me: other cares engrossed
her. My father, still a young man and very handsome, had married her
from calculation; she was ten years older than he. My mother led a
melancholy life: she was incessantly in a state of agitation, jealousy,
and wrath--but not in the presence of my father; she was very much
afraid of him, and he maintained a stern, cold, and distant manner.... I
have never seen a man more exquisitely calm, self-confident, and

I shall never forget the first weeks I spent at the villa. The weather
was magnificent; we had left town the ninth of May, on St. Nicholas’s
day. I rambled,--sometimes in the garden of our villa, sometimes in
Neskútchny Park, sometimes beyond the city barriers; I took with me some
book or other,--a course of Kaidánoff,--but rarely opened it, and
chiefly recited aloud poems, of which I knew a great many by heart. The
blood was fermenting in me, and my heart was aching--so sweetly and
absurdly; I was always waiting for something, shrinking at something,
and wondering at everything, and was all ready for anything at a
moment’s notice. My fancy was beginning to play, and hovered swiftly
ever around the selfsame image, as martins hover round a belfry at
sunset. But even athwart my tears and athwart the melancholy, inspired
now by a melodious verse, now by the beauty of the evening, there peered
forth, like grass in springtime, the joyous sensation of young, bubbling

I had a saddle-horse; I was in the habit of saddling it myself, and
when I rode off alone as far as possible, in some direction, launching
out at a gallop and fancying myself a knight at a tourney--how blithely
the wind whistled in my ears!--Or, turning my face skyward, I welcomed
its beaming light and azure into my open soul.

I remember, at that time, the image of woman, the phantom of woman’s
love, almost never entered my mind in clearly-defined outlines; but in
everything I thought, in everything I felt, there lay hidden the
half-conscious, shamefaced presentiment of something new, inexpressibly
sweet, feminine....

This presentiment, this expectation permeated my whole being; I breathed
it, it coursed through my veins in every drop of blood ... it was fated
to be speedily realised.

Our villa consisted of a wooden manor-house with columns, and two tiny
outlying wings; in the wing to the left a tiny factory of cheap
wall-papers was installed.... More than once I went thither to watch how
half a score of gaunt, dishevelled young fellows in dirty smocks and
with tipsy faces were incessantly galloping about at the wooden levers
which jammed down the square blocks of the press, and in that manner, by
the weight of their puny bodies, printed the motley-hued patterns of the
wall-papers. The wing on the right stood empty and was for rent. One
day--three weeks after the ninth of May--the shutters on the windows of
this wing were opened, and women’s faces made their appearance in them;
some family or other had moved into it. I remember how, that same day at
dinner, my mother inquired of the butler who our new neighbours were,
and on hearing the name of Princess Zasyékin, said at first, not without
some respect:--“Ah! a Princess” ... and then she added:--“She must be
some poor person!”

“They came in three hired carriages, ma’am,”--remarked the butler, as he
respectfully presented a dish. “They have no carriage of their own,
ma’am, and their furniture is of the very plainest sort.”

“Yes,”--returned my mother,--“and nevertheless, it is better so.”

My father shot a cold glance at her; she subsided into silence.

As a matter of fact, Princess Zasyékin could not be a wealthy woman: the
wing she had hired was so old and tiny and low-roofed that people in the
least well-to-do would not have been willing to inhabit it.--However, I
let this go in at one ear and out at the other. The princely title had
little effect on me: I had recently been reading Schiller’s “The


I had a habit of prowling about our garden every evening, gun in hand,
and standing guard against the crows.--I had long cherished a hatred for
those wary, rapacious and crafty birds. On the day of which I have been
speaking, I went into the garden as usual, and, after having fruitlessly
made the round of all the alleys (the crows recognised me from afar, and
merely cawed spasmodically at a distance), I accidentally approached the
low fence which separated _our_ territory from the narrow strip of
garden extending behind the right-hand wing and appertaining to it. I
was walking along with drooping head. Suddenly I heard voices: I glanced
over the fence--and was petrified.... A strange spectacle presented
itself to me.

A few paces distant from me, on a grass-plot between green
raspberry-bushes, stood a tall, graceful young girl, in a striped, pink
frock and with a white kerchief on her head; around her pressed four
young men, and she was tapping them in turn on the brow with those small
grey flowers, the name of which I do not know, but which are familiar to
children; these little flowers form tiny sacs, and burst with a pop when
they are struck against anything hard. The young men offered their
foreheads to her so willingly, and in the girl’s movements (I saw her
form in profile) there was something so bewitching, caressing, mocking,
and charming, that I almost cried aloud in wonder and pleasure; and I
believe I would have given everything in the world if those lovely
little fingers had only consented to tap me on the brow. My gun slid
down on the grass, I forgot everything, I devoured with my eyes that
slender waist, and the neck and the beautiful arms, and the slightly
ruffled fair hair, the intelligent eyes and those lashes, and the
delicate cheek beneath them....

“Young man, hey there, young man!”--suddenly spoke up a voice near
me:--“Is it permissible to stare like that at strange young ladies?”

I trembled all over, I was stupefied.... Beside me, on the other side of
the fence, stood a man with closely-clipped black hair, gazing
ironically at me. At that same moment, the young girl turned toward
me.... I beheld huge grey eyes in a mobile, animated face--and this
whole face suddenly began to quiver, and to laugh, and the white teeth
gleamed from it, the brows elevated themselves in an amusing way.... I
flushed, picked up my gun from the ground, and, pursued by ringing but
not malicious laughter, I ran to my own room, flung myself on the bed,
and covered my face with my hands. My heart was fairly leaping within
me; I felt very much ashamed and very merry: I experienced an
unprecedented emotion.