Sonetto 18 – William Shakespeare

Dovrei paragonarti a una giornata estiva?

Tu sei più piacevole e più temperata:

Venti agitati scuotono gli adorabili boccioli di maggio,

E la durata dell’estate è troppo breve.

A volte l’occhio del cielo splende troppo forte,

E spesso il suo colore dorato è fioco,

E ogni bellezza a un certo punto declina,

Rovinata dal caso o dal corso cangiante della natura:

Ma la tua estate eterna non svanirà,

Né perderai quella bellezza che possiedi,

Né la morte si vanterà di farti vagare nella sua ombra,

Poiché tu cresci nel tempo in versi eterni;

Finché gli uomini riescono a respirare, o gli occhi a vedere,

Finché questa poesia vivrà, ti darà la vita.

The Knight – Geoffrey Chaucer

C’era un cavaliere, un uomo molto distinto

Il quale dal giorno in cui iniziò per la prima volta

A cavalcare in terre straniere si attenne ai valori della cavalleria,

Verità, onore, generosità e cortesia,

Si era comportato nobilmente nella guerra del suo sovrano

E cavalcato in battaglia, nessuno più di lui,

Sia in terre pagane che cristiane

E alquanto onorato per le sue nobili grazie.

Quando abbiamo conquistato Alessandria, lui era lì.

Lui spesso sedeva al tavolo sulla sedia

D’onore, al di sopra di tutte le nazioni, quando era in Prussia.

Aveva cavalcato in Lituania e in Russia,

Più di qualsiasi cristiano del suo rango.

Quando a Granada Algericas cadde

Sotto assalto, lui era stato lì, e in

Nord Africa, attaccando Benamarin,

Era stato anche in Anatolia

E combattuto quando Ayas e Antalya erano cadute

Per tutta la costa mediterranea

Si era imbarcato con molti, un ospite nobile.

Aveva partecipato a 15 battaglie mortali

E gareggiato per la nostra fede a Tramissene

Per tre volte e aveva sempre ucciso il suo avversario.

Questo stesso nobile cavaliere aveva guidato l’avanguardia

Una volta con il Bey di Balat, lavorando

Per lui contro un altro turco pagano;

Aveva un valore eccelso agli occhi di tutti.

E sebbene fosse così illustre, era saggio

E nel suo comportamento modesto come una ragazza.

Non aveva mai detto nulla di rozzo

A nessuno durante la sua vita, qualunque cosa accadesse;

Era un vero e perfetto cavaliere nobile.

Parlando della sua attrezzatura, egli possedeva

Dei cavalli pregiati, ma lui non era vestito sfarzosamente.

Indossava una tunica di fustagno scolorita e scura

Con delle macchie dove la sua armatura aveva lasciato il segno;

Appena arrivato a casa dal servizio, si era unito alle nostre fila

Per fare il suo pellegrinaggio e rendere grazie.

The Tyger – William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Prioress – Geoffrey Chaucer

Ther was also a nonne, a prioresse,
That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
And she was cleped Madame Eglentyne.
Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
Entuned in hir nose ful semely,
And frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.
At mete wel ytaught was she with alle:
She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;
Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe
That no drope ne fille upon hire brest.
In curteisie was set ful muchel hir lest.
Hir over-lippe wyped she so clene
That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.
And sikerly she was of greet desport,
And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,
And peyned hire to countrefete cheere
Of court, and to been estatlich of manere,
And to ben holden digne of reverence.
But, for to speken of hire conscience,
She was so charitable and so pitous
She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous
Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte;
And al was conscience and tendre herte.
Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was,
Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,
Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed;
But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe;
For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war.
Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,

And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
On which ther was first write a crowned A,
And after Amor Vincit Omnia.

Another nonne with hire hadde she,
That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.

A monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
An outridere, that lovede venerie,
A manly man, to been an abbot able.
Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle.
Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle,
The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit,
By cause that it was old and somdel streit
This ilke monk leet olde thynges pace,
And heeld after the newe world the space.
He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,
Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees, —
This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.
But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
And I seyde his opinion was good.
What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,
Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,
As Austyn bit? how shal the world be served?
Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!

Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight;
Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
And, for to festne his hood under his chyn,
He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;
A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt.
He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.


The General Prologue – Geoffrey Chaucer

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour

Of which vertu engendred is the flour,

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,

And smale foweles maken melodye,

That slepen al the nyght with open ye

(so priketh hem Nature in hir corages),

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,

To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;

And specially from every shires ende

Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,

The hooly blisful martir for to seke,

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.


Bifil that in that seson on a day,

In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay

Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage

To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,

At nyght was come into that hostelrye

Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye,

Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle

In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,

That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.

The chambres and the stables weren wyde,

And wel we weren esed atte beste.

And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,

So hadde I spoken with hem everichon

That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,

And made forward erly for to ryse,

To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.


But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,

Er that I ferther in this tale pace,

Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun

To telle yow al the condicioun

Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,

And whiche they weren, and of what degree,

And eek in what array that they were inne;

And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.


A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,

That fro the tyme that he first bigan

To riden out, he loved chivalrie,

Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.

Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,

And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,

As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,

And evere honoured for his worthynesse.

At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.

Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne

Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;

In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,

No cristen man so ofte of his degree.

In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be

Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.

At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,

Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete See

At many a noble armee hadde he be.

At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,

And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene

In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.

This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also

Somtyme with the lord of Palatye

Agayn another hethen in Turkye.

And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys;

And though that he were worthy, he was wys,

And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.

He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde

In al his lyf unto no maner wight.

He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.

But, for to tellen yow of his array,

His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.

Of fustian he wered a gypon

Al bismotered with his habergeon,

For he was late ycome from his viage,

And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.


With hym ther was his sone, a yong squier,

A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,

With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse.

Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.

Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,

And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.

And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie

In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie,

And born hym weel, as of so litel space,

In hope to stonden in his lady grace.

Embrouded was he, as it were a meede

Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.

Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day;

He was as fressh as is the month of May.

Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.

Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.

He koude songes make and wel endite,

Juste and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.

So hoote he lovede that by nyghtertale.

He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.

Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,

And carf biforn his fader at the table.


A yeman hadde he and servantz namo

At that tyme, for hym liste ride so,

And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.

A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene,

Under his belt he bar ful thriftily,

(wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly:

His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe)

And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.

A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage.

Of wodecraft wel koude he al the usage.

Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer,

And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,

And on that oother syde a gay daggere

Harneised wel and sharp as point of spere;

A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.

An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene;

A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.


Les enfants qui s’aiment – Jacques Prévert

I ragazzi che si amano si baciano in piedi

contro le porte della notte

e i passanti che passano li indicano con il dito

Ma i ragazzi che si amano

non ci sono per nessuno

ed è soltanto la loro ombra

che trema nella notte

suscitando la rabbia dei passanti

la loro rabbia il loro disprezzo le risa la loro invidia

I ragazzi che si amano non ci sono per nessuno

essi sono altrove molto più lontano della notte

molto più in alto del giorno

nell’abbagliante splendore del loro primo amore


Le jardin – Jacques Prévert

Migliaia e migliaia di anni

non sarebbero sufficienti

per dire

il piccolo secondo di eternità

in cui tu mi hai abbracciato

nel quale io ti ho abbracciata

un mattino nella luce d’inverno

nel parco Montsouris a Parigi

a Parigi

sulla terra

la terra che è un astro

Im Lager – Gertrud Kolmar

Coloro che girovagano qui, sono solo corpi

E non hanno più un’anima,

Sono nomi solo nel libro dello scrittore,

Prigionieri: uomini. Ragazzi. Donne.

E i loro occhi guardano vuoti.

Bring Us In Good Ale

Portaci della buona birra, e portaci della buona birra!

Per la Nostra Signora Benedetta, portaci della buona birra!


Non portarci del pane marrone, perché è fatto di crusca.

Non portarci nemmeno pane bianco, perché in ciò non c’è piacere,

Ma portaci della buona birra!


Non portarci della carne di manzo, perché ci sono troppe ossa,

Ma portaci della buona birra, perché va giù in una volta,

E portaci della buona birra!


Non portarci del bacon, perché è molto grasso,

Ma portaci della buona birra, e portacene abbastanza,

E portaci una buona birra!


Non portarci della carne di montone, perché essa è spesso magra,

Non portarci nemmeno della trippa, perché raramente è pulita,

Ma portaci della buona birra!


Non portarci delle uova perché ci sono molti gusci,

Ma portaci della buona birra e non darci nient’altro

E portaci della buona birra!


Non portarci del burro, perché dentro ci sono troppi capelli,

Non portarci nemmeno la carne di maiale, perché ci renderà cinghiali,

Ma portarci della buona birra!


Non portarci della carne di cappone, perché essa è spesso cara,

Non portarci nemmeno della carne di anatra, perché loro si muovono nel lago,

Ma portaci della buona birra!

When the Turf is Thy Tower

Quando la zolla è la tua torre,

E la tomba è la tua camera da letto,

La tua pelle e la tua gola bianca

saranno buone per i vermi.

A cosa ti serve allora

Tutta la gioia del mondo?