Rome – poem by Giosuè Carducci

Giosuè Carducci (1835 – 1907), the main figure of the Italian Neo-Classical movement, remains arguably  the most recognized modern poet in Italy. In 1906 he became the first Italian author to receive the Nobel Prize in literature. Carducci’s poem “Rome,” part of  his Levia Gravia cycle,  is given here in Italian followed by G. A. Greene’s poetic translation.


Date al vento le chiome, isfavillanti
Gli occhi glauchi, del sen nuda il candore,
Salti su ’l cocchio; e l’impeto e il terrore
Van con fremito anelo a te d’avanti.

L’ombra del tuo cimier l’aure tremanti,
Come di ferrugigno astro il bagliore,
Trasvola; e de le tue ruote al fragore
Segue la polve de gl’imperi infranti.

Tale, Roma, vedean le genti dome
La imagin tua ne’ lor terrori antichi:
Oggi una mitra a le regali chiome,

Oggi un rosario che la man t’implichi
Darti vorrien per sempre. Oh ancor del nome
Spauri il mondo e i secoli affatichi!


Once with thy locks upon the wind outspread,
Breast bare, and sea-blue eyes afire for war,
Thou didst the chariot urge; – before thee far
Panic and fear with panting breath had fled:

The shadows of the helm upon thine head,
Like the fierce dazzle of an iron star,
Outran the winds; behind thy swift-wheeled car
Hovered the dust of trampled empires dead.

Great Rome! the nations vanquished by thy fame
Saw thus thine image in their ancient fears:
To-day thy regal locks a mitre’s shame

Dishonours; in thy hand bedewed with tears
The beads of prayer !—O once more with thy name
Affright the world and free the wearied years!

(Levia Gravia, ii. 28.)


See also:
What to do at the Trevi fountain. Simple rules for visitors.

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