Count Giacomo Leopardi

(29 June 1798 – 14 June 1837 / Rencanati)

The Lonely Sparrow - Poem by Count Giacomo Leopardi

Thou from the top of yonder antique tower,
O lonely sparrow, wandering, hast gone,
Thy song repeating till the day is done,
And through this valley strays the harmony.
How Spring rejoices in the fields around,
And fills the air with light,
So that the heart is melted at the sight!
Hark to the bleating flocks, the lowing herds!
In sweet content, the other birds
Through the free sky in emulous circles wheel,
In pure enjoyment of their happy time:
Thou, pensive, gazest on the scene apart,
Nor wilt thou join them in the merry round;
Shy playmate, thou for mirth hast little heart;
And with thy plaintive music, dost consume
Both of the year, and of thy life, the bloom.

Alas, how much my ways
Resemble thine! The laughter and the sport,
That fill with glee our youthful days,
And thee, O love, who art youth's brother still,
Too oft the bitter sigh of later years,
I care not for; I know not why,
But from them ever distant fly:
Here in my native place,
As if of alien race,
My spring of life I like a hermit pass.
This day, that to the evening now gives way,
Is in our town an ancient holiday.
Hark, through the air, that voice of festal bell,
While rustic guns in frequent thunders sound,
Reverberated from the hills around.
In festal robes arrayed,
The neighboring youth,
Their houses leaving, o'er the roads are spread;
They pleasant looks exchange, and in their hearts
Rejoice. I, lonely, in this distant spot,
Along the country wandering,
Postpone all pleasure and delight
To some more genial time: meanwhile,
As through the sunny air around I gaze,
My brow is smitten by his rays,
As after such a day serene,
Dropping behind yon distant hills,
He vanishes, and seems to say,
That thus all happy youth must pass away.

Thou, lonely little bird, when thou
Hast reached the evening of the days
Thy stars assign to thee,
Wilt surely not regret thy ways;
For all thy wishes are
Obedient to Nature's law. But ah!
If I, in spite of all my prayers,
Am doomed the hateful threshold of old age
To cross, when these dull eyes will give
No response to another's heart,
The world to them a void will be,
Each day become more full of misery,
How then, will this, my wish appear
In those dark hours, that dungeon drear?
My blighted youth, my sore distress,
Alas, will _then_ seem happiness!


Comments about The Lonely Sparrow by Count Giacomo Leopardi

  • Fabrizio Frosini (12/4/2016 7:29:00 AM)

    ITALIAN original text:
    Il Passero Solitario

    D'in su la vetta della torre antica,
    Passero solitario, alla campagna
    Cantando vai finchè non more il giorno;
    Ed erra l'armonia per questa valle.
    Primavera dintorno
    Brilla nell'aria, e per li campi esulta,
    Sì ch'a mirarla intenerisce il core.
    Odi greggi belar, muggire armenti;
    Gli altri augelli contenti, a gara insieme
    Per lo libero ciel fan mille giri,
    Pur festeggiando il lor tempo migliore:
    Tu pensoso in disparte il tutto miri;
    Non compagni, non voli,
    Non ti cal d'allegria, schivi gli spassi;
    Canti, e così trapassi
    Dell'anno e di tua vita il più bel fiore.

    Oimè, quanto somiglia
    Al tuo costume il mio! Sollazzo e riso,
    Della novella età dolce famiglia,
    E te german di giovinezza, amore,
    Sospiro acerbo de' provetti giorni,
    Non curo, io non so come; anzi da loro
    Quasi fuggo lontano;
    Quasi romito, e strano
    Al mio loco natio,
    Passo del viver mio la primavera.
    Questo giorno ch'omai cede la sera,
    Festeggiar si costuma al nostro borgo.
    Odi per lo sereno un suon di squilla,
    Odi spesso un tonar di ferree canne,
    Che rimbomba lontan di villa in villa.
    Tutta vestita a festa
    La gioventù del loco
    Lascia le case, e per le vie si spande;
    E mira ed è mirata, e in cor s'allegra
    . Io solitario in questa
    Rimota parte alla campagna uscendo,
    Ogni diletto e gioco
    Indugio in altro tempo: e intanto il guardo
    Steso nell'aria aprica
    Mi fere il Sol che tra lontani monti,
    Dopo il giorno sereno,
    Cadendo si dilegua, e par che dica
    Che la beata gioventù vien meno.

    Tu solingo augellin, venuto a sera
    Del viver che daranno a te le stelle,
    Certo del tuo costume
    Non ti dorrai; che di natura è frutto
    Ogni nostra vaghezza
    A me, se di vecchiezza
    La detestata soglia
    Evitar non impetro,
    Quando muti questi occhi all'altrui core,
    E lor fia voto il mondo, e il dì futuro
    Del dì presente più noioso e tetro,
    Che parrà di tal voglia?
    Che di quest'anni miei? Che di me stesso?
    Ahi pentiromi, e spesso,
    Ma sconsolato, volgerommi indietro.
    (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini (12/4/2016 7:24:00 AM)

    Leopardi and the sparrow..
    Leopardi turns to the small bird with a kind of nostalgic envy: the sparrow, from Leopardi's view, although bearing an innate suffering, does not perceive it, and thus it remains in a sort of illusory state of happiness.. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010



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