Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nell'arzanà de' Viniziani

Plaque quoting Dante's Inferno about the Venetian Arsenal, on the wall of the Arsenal, Venice
Plaque quoting Dante's Inferno about the Venetian Arsenal
Placed on its wall, on the right of the Porta Magna
Venice, September 2012

Quale nell'arzanà de' Viniziani
bolle l'inverno la tenace pece
a rimpalmare i legni lor non sani,
ché navicar non ponno - in quella vece
chi fa suo legno nuovo e chi ristoppa
le coste a quel che più vïaggi fece;
chi ribatte da proda e chi da poppa;
altri fa remi e altri volge sarte;
chi terzeruolo e artimon rintoppa -;
tal, non per foco ma per divin' arte,
bollia là giuso una pegola spessa,
che 'nviscava la ripa d'ogne parte.


Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia,
Inferno, XXI, vv. 7-18
(As in the Arsenal of the Venetians
Boils in the winter the tenacious pitch
To smear their unsound vessels o'er again,
For sail they cannot; and instead thereof
One makes his vessel new, and one recaulks
The ribs of that which many a voyage has made;
One hammers at the prow, one at the stern,
This one makes oars, and that one cordage twists,
Another mends the mainsail and the mizzen;
Thus, not by fire, but by the art divine,
Was boiling down below there a dense pitch
Which upon every side the bank belimed.
)


Translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1 comment:

cieldequimper said...

I have to re-read Dante.

Celeb' translator!