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Selina Pascale

Selina Pascale


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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!

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Giacomo Leopardi - A Silvia

Giacomo Leopardi - A Silvia

A Silvia (To Silvia) is perhaps one of Giacomo Leopardi’s most famous poems. The poem, written in 1828, refers to a young girl named Sylvia who many deems to be the daughter of a servant who worked in Leopardi’s household. Throughout the poem, Sylvia incarnates all the hopes, dreams, desires, and illusions that get torn apart in the dark reality of life, in the same way in which Sylvia’s life was taken from her by tuberculosis – which Leopardi refers to as the ‘chiuso morbo’. The poem expresses the tragic love of life and all its adornments as the poet accuses Nature of being to blame for beautiful dreams of the youth and subsequent pain caused once the apparent truth, ‘l’apparir del vero’ destroys them.


A Silvia


Silvia, rimembri ancora

Quel tempo della tua vita mortale,

Quando beltà splendea

Negli occhi tuoi ridenti e fuggitivi,

E tu, lieta e pensosa, il limitare

Di gioventù salivi?

Sonavan le quiete

Stanze, e le vie dintorno,

Al tuo perpetuo canto,

Allor che all'opre femminili intenta

Sedevi, assai contenta

Di quel vago avvenir che in mente avevi.

Era il maggio odoroso: e tu solevi

Così menare il giorno.

Io gli studi leggiadri

Talor lasciando e le sudate carte,

Ove il tempo mio primo

E di me si spendea la miglior parte,

D'in su i veroni del paterno ostello

Porgea gli orecchi al suon della tua voce,

Ed alla man veloce

Che percorrea la faticosa tela.

Mirava il ciel sereno,

Le vie dorate e gli orti,

E quinci il mar da lungi, e quindi il monte.

Lingua mortal non dice

Quel ch'io sentiva in seno.

Che pensieri soavi,

Che speranze, che cori, o Silvia mia!

Quale allor ci apparia

La vita umana e il fato!

Quando sovviemmi di cotanta speme,

Un affetto mi preme

Acerbo e sconsolato,

E tornami a doler di mia sventura.

O natura, o natura,

Perchè non rendi poi

Quel che prometti allor? perchè di tanto

Inganni i figli tuoi?

Tu pria che l'erbe inaridisse il verno,

Da chiuso morbo combattuta e vinta,

Perivi, o tenerella. E non vedevi

Il fior degli anni tuoi;

Non ti molceva il core

La dolce lode or delle negre chiome,

Or degli sguardi innamorati e schivi;

Nè teco le compagne ai dì festivi

Ragionavan d'amore.

Anche peria fra poco

La speranza mia dolce: agli anni miei

Anche negaro i fati

La giovanezza. Ahi come,

Come passata sei,

Cara compagna dell'età mia nova,

Mia lacrimata speme!

Questo è quel mondo? questi

I diletti, l'amor, l'opre, gli eventi

Onde cotanto ragionammo insieme?

Questa la sorte dell'umane genti?

All'apparir del vero

Tu, misera, cadesti: e con la mano

La fredda morte ed una tomba ignuda

Mostravi di lontano.

Translation by Antonio Marinelli


To Silvia

Silvia, do you recall

those days of mortal life,

when beauty sparkled in

your quick and gleaming eyes,

when, glad and pensive, the threshold

of youth you were to rise?


The quiet halls resounded,

and so the streets around,

to your perpetual chime,

while at your female chores intent

you sat, content

of vague tomorrows

in your mind.

It was the odorous May, and that

was how you spent the day.


Discarding sometimes

my beloved studies,

the toilsome papers where

my prime was being consumed,

the best of me,

up on the terrace of the family house

I’d set my ear

to the sound of your voice,

and to the hasty hand

that ran the tiring loom.

I’d view the peaceful sky,

the golden streets, the gardens,

down here the distant sea, up there the mount.

No mortal tongue can say

what in my breast I felt.


What sweet reflections,

what hopes, what choruses, oh Silvia!

How human life and destiny

appeared to us to be!

When I recall

that hope,

affections clutch me so

acute and inconsolable

that still my grief I cry.

Oh nature, nature, why

do you withhold what

first you promise?

Why do you so

deceive these sons of yours?


’Fore winter’s cold had dried the grass,

attacked and conquered

by some closed disease

you died, oh tender one. You did not see

the flowering of your days;

your heart was not caressed

by words of praise for your dark hair,

your loving and reserved looks;

and neither did you talk of love

with friends on days of feast.

Soon were to die my hopes alike:

to my years too

did fate deny a youth.

Alas, how you swept by,

companion dear of my fresh age,

my wept-for hope!

This is that world? These the delights,

the love, the works, the events

we so long reasoned of together?

This is the lot of human folk?

When truth appeared,

you fell, poor one,

and with your hand,

a frigid death,

a naked tomb

you showed me from afar.


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