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.
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)