Sonnet 41 (or LXXII) of Dante, first in the Foster and Boyde Oxford edition of Dante’s Lyric Poetry
One day Melancholy came to me and said: ‘I want to
stay with you awhile’; and it seemed to me she brought
Sorrow and Wrath with her as companions. And I said:
‘Be off! Away with you!’ But she answered like a Greek:
and while she continued speaking with me, perfectly at her
ease, I looked and saw Love drawing near, dressed in
a new black cloak, with a hat on his head, and weeping
real tears. And I said to him: ‘What’s the matter, poor
fellow?’ And he replied: ‘I’m troubled and sad, for our
lady is dying, dear brother.’
And Richard Lansing in the more recent University of Toronto Dante’s Lyric Poetry:
Once Melancholy came to me and said
“I plan to stay with you a little while”;
and it appeared to me she’d brought along
both Sorrow and Distress for company.
I said to her, “Away with you, be gone!”
But like a Greek she answered haughtily
and while she spoke to me with perfect ease,
I looked and saw the Love was drawing near,
attired in brand-new clothing that was black,
and wearing on his head a hat as well,
and he was truly weeping real tears.
I said to him: “What troubles you, poor man?”
And he replied: “I mourn and feel deep pain
because our lady, brother, lies near death.”
And now the Italian – the Societa Dantesca Italiana text:
Un dì si venne a me Malinconia
e disse: “Io voglio un poco stare teco”;
e parve a me ch’ella menasse seco
Dolore e Ira per sua compagnia.
E io le dissi: “Partiti, va via”;
ed ella mi rispose come un greco:
e ragionando a grande agio meco,
guardai e vidi Amore, che venia
vestito di novo d’un drappo nero,
e nel suo capo portava un cappello;
e certo lacrimava pur di vero.
Ed eo li dissi: “Che hai, cattivello?”.
Ed el rispose: “Eo ho guai e pensero,
ché nostra donna mor, dolce fratello”.