Bickersteth’s “L’infinito”

The Infinite by Geoffrey L. Bickersteth, 1923

Always dear to me was this lonely hill,

Ay, and this hedge that from so broad a sweep

Of the ultimate horizon screens the view.

But, as I sit and gaze, my fancy feigns

Space beyond space upon the further side,

And silence within silence past all thought,

Immeasurable calm; whereat well nigh

Groweth the heart afraid.  And as I hear

The wind sough thro’ these thickets, then between

That everlasting silence and this voice

I make comparison; and call to mind

The Eternal, and the ages dead, and this

The living present, and its clamour.  So

In this immensity my thought is drowned:

And sweet to me is shipwreck in this sea.


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«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»

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Hot(ish) off the Press: Galassi covers Leopardi

Jonathan Galassi, Poet, Publisher and President of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in New York City, published Giacomo Leopardi’s CANTI this past autumn, 2010. This edition of Leopardi’s first collection of published poetry, his being in 1821, is comparable in strength to the work of Geoffrey L. Bickersteth in 1927, a British poet and scholar on Leopardi.

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