O.Wilde, Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. (...)
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. (...)

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. (...)
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself...

O. Wilde (1854-1900),
Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ugo Foscolo, Alla Sera, Nightfall

Ugo Foscolo                                                    
(born Niccolò Foscolo)

(1778 – 1827)

Italian writer, revolutionary and poet
(Neoclassicism, Pre-Romanticism literary movements)

                        Alla Sera

Forse perché della fatal quïete
Tu sei l'imago a me sì cara vieni
O sera! E quando ti corteggian liete
Le nubi estive e i zeffiri sereni,

E quando dal nevoso aere inquïete
Tenebre e lunghe all'universo meni
Sempre scendi invocata, e le secrete
Vie del mio cor soavemente tieni.

Vagar mi fai co' miei pensier su l'orme
che vanno al nulla eterno; e intanto fugge
questo reo tempo, e van con lui le torme

Delle cure onde meco egli si strugge;
e mentre io guardo la tua pace, dorme
Quello spirto guerrier ch'entro mi rugge.

Perhaps because you are the image
of the silence of the grave, I cherish when you come to me
o evening! Whether summer clouds
and warm winds hold you in soft embrace,

or you send restless and long shadows
from frost-filled air to the universe,
you always fall, desired by me, and the secret
pathways of my heart you gently hold.

You make me wander with my thoughts on paths
that lead to the eternal void, and all the while,
this evil time fleets by, and with it masses

of care depart, and it dissipates along with me
and while I contemplate your peace,
the warrior spirit that roars within me sleeps.

Alla sera is one of the 12 sonnets of the definitive edition of Foscolo's 'Poems'.
The sonnet conveys the strong feeling concerning the difficult human and political moment that the author was going through.


Perhaps because you are the image of death, I am thankful when you come to me; when serene winds accompany you, or when you bring long and stormy nights upon the earth, and enter the secret pathways of my soul, quieting it softly, you push me to think of the eternal void, and meanwhile this guilty age passes away, and my worries pass away, and I dissipate also, and the warrior spirit which roars within me sleeps.

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