Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Marino Translation

Rachael S.
(New Haven, CT)

Music and Poetry are two sisters--
Together, restorers of the afflicted,
For the turbid storms of wicked thoughts
By happy rhymes' power become serene.
The world has not seen arts more beautiful
Nor more healing for the unsound mind...

Giambattista Marino wrote these verses in the 17th century, but Rachael S. translated them into English a few years ago.  The poem, L’Adone, has some sympathies with the Songs About Books project – it proclaims the sisterhood of music and poetry.  And it resonates with the way Carolina leans into her other senses as she loses her sight in The Blind Contessa’s New Machine: the poem asks the reader to value hearing more than sight, despite the fact that the world usually thinks sight is more important than sound.  Rachael traded the original Italian version of the poem, her own translation, and her introduction to it, for her copy of Songs About Books.

Marvelous art in each of her beautiful works
(This one cannot deny) Nature shows;
But like a painter, who by ingenuity and study
Discovers more in little figures than in large,
In things very small she applies
Greatest diligence and greatest care.
Yet such artistry surpasses her way
With all other miracles she performs.

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