Giacomo Leopardi: The Infinite (From Italian)

The Infinite
By Giacomo Leopardi
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Italian

I always had a love for this lone hill,
and this hedge, too, which blocks so large a part
of the utmost horizon from my view.
But as I sit and ponder, limitless
spaces there are beyond it and unearthly
silences more than man's and deepest stillness

Which I shape in my thought, until the heart
is all but daunted. And, as I hear wind

rustling amid this foliage, I set that
infinite silence up against this voice
comparing them; and I recall the Eternal,
and the dead seasons and this season here

alive, the sound of it. And so my thought
Drowns in the midst of this immensity:
And sweet it is to shipwreck on this sea.

The Original:


Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle,
e questa siepe, che da tanta parte
dell'ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati
spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
silenzi, e profondissima quïete
io nel pensier mi fingo, ove per poco
il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
infinito silenzio a questa voce
vo comparando: e mi sovvien l'eterno,
e le morte stagioni, e la presente
e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
immensità s'annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m'è dolce in questo mare.


  1. CharlottevanderlindenJanuary 10, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    @ Renzo what do you find so similar about it?
    I think you should try it again. But keep in mind who Leopardi was. You can not just translate the poem to your own liking and the feeling it gives you. Try and do Leopardi justice for it's not your poem. He was a very thoughful man. Every word, ending of a frase etc. has a deeper meaning and a perpose to establish something within the reader of the poem.

    @ Foreman.. nice!
    Greetings Charlotte, Student Italian language and culture in Utrecht

  2. @ Foreman

    I am Italian and as far as I can see your translation is really good and does justice to this incredible poem. I just regret you had to expunge the conjunction "E" from line 8 due to metric constraint, thus altering the natural flow of Leopardi's versification. I dare suggest to rephrase the passage as follows: "is all but AWED. AND as I hear the wind", etc. (I don't know if this makes sense in English…)


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