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Giacomo Leopardi | Calm after the storm / The la quiete dopo la tempesta, 1829



The storm hath passed;
I hear the birds rejoice; the hen,
Returned into the road again,
Her cheerful notes repeats. The sky serene
Is, in the west, upon the mountain seen:
The country smiles; bright runs the silver stream.

Giovanni Segantini | Dopo il temporale / After the thunderstorm

Each heart is cheered; on every side revive
The sounds, the labors of the busy hive.
The workman gazes at the watery sky,
As standing at the door he sings,
His work in hand; the little wife goes forth,
And in her pail the gathered rain-drops brings;
The vendor of his wares, from lane to lane,
Begins his daily cry again.

Count Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi (1798-1837) - Italian philosopher, poet, essayist, and philologist. He is considered the greatest Italian poet of the nineteenth century and one of the most important figures in the literature of the world, as well as one of the principals of literary romanticism; his constant reflection on existence and on the human condition - of sensuous and materialist inspiration - has also earned him a reputation as a deep philosopher. He is widely seen as one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of the 19th century but routinely compared by Italian critics to his older contemporary Alessandro Manzoni despite expressing "diametrically opposite positions". Although he lived in a secluded town in the conservative Papal States, he came into contact with the main ideas of the Enlightenment, and, through his own literary evolution, created a remarkable and renowned poetic work, related to the Romantic era. The strongly lyrical quality of his poetry made him a central figure on the European and international literary and cultural landscape.

The sun returns, and with his smile illumes
The villas on the neighboring hills;
Through open terraces and balconies,
The genial light pervades the cheerful rooms;
And, on the highway, from afar are heard
The tinkling of the bells, the creaking wheels
Of waggoner, his journey who resumes.

Cheered is each heart.
Whene'er, as now, doth life appear
A thing so pleasant and so dear?
When, with such love,
Does man unto his books or work return?
Or on himself new tasks impose?
When is he less regardful of his woes?
O pleasure, born of pain!

O idle joy, and vain,
Fruit of the fear just passed, which shook
The wretch who life abhorred, yet dreaded death!

With which each neighbor held his breath,
Silent, and cold, and wan,
Affrighted sore to see
The lightnings, clouds, and winds arrayed,
To do us injury!

O Nature courteous!
These are thy boons to us,
These the delights to mortals given!
Escape from pain, best gift of heaven!

Thou scatterest sorrows with a bounteous hand;
Grief springs spontaneous;
If, by some monstrous growth, miraculous,
Pleasure at times is born of pain,
It is a precious gain!
O human race, unto the gods so dear!
Too happy, in a respite brief
From any grief!

Then only blessed,
When Death releases thee unto thy rest!

Giovanni Segantini | Pomeriggio sulle alpi, 1892


Passata è la tempesta:
Odo augelli far festa, e la gallina,
Tornata in su la via,
Che ripete il suo verso. Ecco il sereno
Rompe là da ponente, alla montagna;

Sgombrasi la campagna,
E chiaro nella valle il fiume appare.
Ogni cor si rallegra, in ogni lato
Risorge il romorio
Torna il lavoro usato.

L'artigiano a mirar l'umido cielo,
Con l'opra in man, cantando,
Fassi in su l'uscio; a prova
Vien fuor la femminetta a còr dell'acqua
Della novella piova;
E l'erbaiuol rinnova
Di sentiero in sentiero
Il grido giornaliero.

Ecco il Sol che ritorna, ecco sorride
Per li poggi e le ville. Apre i balconi,
Apre terrazzi e logge la famiglia:
E, dalla via corrente, odi lontano
Tintinnio di sonagli; il carro stride
Del passeggier che il suo cammin ripiglia.
Si rallegra ogni core.

Giovanni Segantini | Costume grigionese (ritratto di Barbara Huffer), 1887 | St. Moritz, Museo Segantini

Sì dolce, sì gradita
Quand'è, com'or, la vita?
Quando con tanto amore
L'uomo à suoi studi intende?
O torna all'opre? O cosa nova imprende?
Quando dè mali suoi men si ricorda?
Piacer figlio d'affanno;
Gioia vana, ch'è frutto
Del passato timore, onde si scosse
E paventò la morte
Chi la vita abborria;
Onde in lungo tormento,
Fredde, tacite, smorte,
Sudàr le genti e palpitàr, vedendo
Mossi alle nostre offese
Folgori, nembi e vento.

O natura cortese,
Son questi i doni tuoi,
Questi i diletti sono
Che tu porgi ai mortali. Uscir di pena
È diletto fra noi.

Pene tu spargi a larga mano; il duolo
Spontaneo sorge e di piacer, quel tanto
Che per mostro e miracolo talvolta
Nasce d'affanno, è gran guadagno. Umana
Prole cara agli eterni! Assai felice
Se respirar ti lice
D'alcun dolor: beata
Se te d'ogni dolor morte risana.

Giovanni Segantini