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‘Leopardi and the inscription of the first line of ‘L’infinito on monte Tabor, Recanati, Italy: ‘Sempre caro mi fu quest’ ermo colle’

Having read a number of translations of Leopardi’s most famous poem and found them to fall short of the evocative power of the original, I decided to set myself the task of improving those translations with my own version. Whether I have succeeded or not to render the evocative images of the original I shall leave up to the reader to decide.

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View from Leopardi’s Monte Tabor, Recanati, Italy

 

The Infinite

Always dear to me was this hermit’s hill,

And this hedge, which from a large part

Of the horizon’s end excludes the sight.

Yet sitting and gazing at, boundless

Spaces beyond it, and superhuman

Silences, and profoundest stillness

In thought I do pretend; to be close to where

The heart almost becomes scared. And like the wind

That I hear rustling through these plants, that

Infinte silence I go comparing

To this voice: and the infinite comes to me,

And the dead seasons, and the present

And living, the sound of her. Like so amid this

Immensity my thought drowns:

And to shipwreck in this sea is sweet to me.

 

Translated by Robin Monotti Graziadei

Read more Leopardi: Canti (Penguin Classics)

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