The "COR GENTIL" - Dante

Here is my translation of an early poem by Dante. It is written in the style of the "dolce stil novo" - The New Sweet Style, which started from a poem “Al cor gentil rempaira sempre amore,” by Guido Guinizelli  (d. c.1276) who is the sage mentioned below in Dante's poem. In this new form of the "sweet style" women represent angels to men (and presumably vice versa, but there are no extant poems by women). This style brings romantic and spiritual love into an equivalence. The beauty of the woman arouses the love in the sensitive heart of the man, a love that is as much spiritual as worldly.

Amor e ‘i cor gentil sono una cosa
Love and the sensitive heart are a single thing,

si come il saggio in suo dittare pone
as the sage put in his song

e così esser l’un sanza l’altro osa
and so to be going forth, the one without the other (would be to be)

com’alma razional senza ragione.
as a reasonable soul without reason.

Falli natura quand’ è amorosa
When in love, nature makes

Amor per sire e’l cor per sua magione
Love as king and the heart as his mansion

dentro la qual dormendo si reposa
wherein he lies sleeping

tal volte poca e tal lunga stagione
sometimes briefly and sometimes longer.

Bieltate appare in saggia donna pui,
Then appears, in a knowing woman, beauty

che piace a li occhi sì, che entro al core
that so pleases the eyes that it enters the heart;

nasce un disio de la cosa piacente;
a desire is born for the pleasing thing

e tanto dura talora in costui
and sufficiently long does it endure there

che fa svegliar lo spirito d’Amore
that it makes the spirit of Love awaken;

E simil face in donna omo valente
and likewise it is for a woman with a valiant man.

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