Count Giacomo Leopardi

(29 June 1798 – 14 June 1837 / Rencanati)

The Village Saturday Night - Poem by Count Giacomo Leopardi

The damsel from the field returns,
The sun is sinking in the west;
Her bundle on her head she sets,
And in her hand she bears
A bunch of roses and of violets.
To-morrow is a holiday,
And she, as usual, must them wear
Upon her bodice, in her hair.
The old crone sits among her mates,
Upon the stairs, and spins;
And, looking at the fading light,
Of good old-fashioned times she prates,
When she, too, dressed for holidays,
And with light heart, and limb as light,
Would dance at night
With the companions of her merry days.
The twilight shades around us close,
The sky to deepest blue is turned;
From hills and roofs the shadows fall,
And the new moon her face of silver shows.
And now the cheerful bell
Proclaims the coming festival.
By its familiar voice
How every heart is cheered!
The children all in troops,
Around the little square
Go, leaping here and there,
And make a joyful sound.
Meanwhile the ploughman, whistling, returns
Unto his humble nest,
And thinks with pleasure of his day of rest.

Then, when all other lights are out,
And all is silent round,
The hammer's stroke we hear,
We hear the saw of carpenter,
Who with closed doors his vigil keeps,
Toils o'er his lamp and strives so hard,
His work to finish ere the dawn appear.

The dearest day of all the week
Is this, of hope and joy so full;
To-morrow, sad and dull,
The hours will bring, for each must in his thought
His customary task-work seek.

Thou little, sportive boy,
This blooming age of thine
Is like to-day, so full of joy;
And is the day, indeed,
That must the sabbath of thy life precede.

Enjoy, it, then, my darling child,
Nor speed the flying hours!
I say to thee no more:
Alas, in this sad world of ours,
How far exceeds the holiday,
The day that goes before!

Comments about The Village Saturday Night by Count Giacomo Leopardi

  • Fabrizio Frosini (6/15/2015 1:00:00 PM)

    Italian text


    La donzelletta vien dalla campagna,
    In sul calar del sole,
    Col suo fascio dell'erba; e reca in mano
    Un mazzolin di rose e di viole,
    Onde, siccome suole,
    Ornare ella si appresta
    Dimani, al dì di festa, il petto e il crine.
    Siede con le vicine
    Su la scala a filar la vecchierella,
    Incontro là dove si perde il giorno;
    E novellando vien del suo buon tempo,
    Quando ai dì della festa ella si ornava,
    Ed ancor sana e snella
    Solea danzar la sera intra di quei
    Ch'ebbe compagni dell'età più bella.
    Già tutta l'aria imbruna,
    Torna azzurro il sereno, e tornan l'ombre
    Giù da' colli e da' tetti,
    Al biancheggiar della recente luna.
    Or la squilla dà segno
    Della festa che viene;
    Ed a quel suon diresti
    Che il cor si riconforta.
    I fanciulli gridando
    Su la piazzuola in frotta,
    E qua e là saltando,
    Fanno un lieto romore:
    E intanto riede alla sua parca mensa,
    Fischiando, il zappatore,
    E seco pensa al dì del suo riposo.

    Poi quando intorno è spenta ogni altra face,
    E tutto l'altro tace,
    Odi il martel picchiare, odi la sega
    Del legnaiuol, che veglia
    Nella chiusa bottega alla lucerna,
    E s'affretta, e s'adopra
    Di fornir l'opra anzi il chiarir dell'alba.

    Questo di sette è il più gradito giorno,
    Pien di speme e di gioia:
    Diman tristezza e noia
    Recheran l'ore, ed al travaglio usato
    Ciascuno in suo pensier farà ritorno.

    Garzoncello scherzoso,
    Cotesta età fiorita
    E' come un giorno d'allegrezza pieno,
    Giorno chiaro, sereno,
    Che precorre alla festa di tua vita.
    Godi, fanciullo mio; stato soave,
    Stagion lieta è cotesta.
    Altro dirti non vo'; ma la tua festa
    Ch'anco tardi a venir non ti sia grave.
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (6/15/2015 12:59:00 PM)

    another translation:

    '' The Village Saturday Night ''

    The girl comes from the fields,

    at sunset,

    carrying her sheaf of grass: in her fingers

    a bunch of violets and roses:

    she’s ready, as before,

    to wreathe her hair and bodice,

    for tomorrow’s holiday.

    The old woman sits spinning,

    facing the dying sunlight,

    on the stairway, with her neighbours,

    telling the tale of her own young days,

    when she dressed for the festival,

    and still slim and lovely,

    danced all evening, with those young

    boys, companions of her fairer season.

    Already the whole sky darkens,

    the air turns deep blue: already

    shadows of hills and roofs return,

    on the young moon’s pale rising.

    Now the bells are witness

    to the coming holiday:

    you would say the heart

    might take comfort from the sound.

    A gang of little boys

    shout in the tiny square,

    leaping here and there,

    making a happy din:

    and the farmhand, whistling,

    returns for his simple meal,

    dreams of his day of rest.

    When the other lights are quenched, all round,

    and everything else is silent,

    I hear the hammer ringing, I hear

    the carpenter sawing: he’s still awake

    in the lamplight, in his shut workshop,

    hurrying and straining,

    to finish his task before dawn.

    This is the best of the seven days,

    full of hope and joy:

    tomorrow the hours will bring

    anxiety and sadness, and make each

    turn, in thought, to their accustomed toil.

    Lively boy,

    your life’s sweet flowering

    is like this day of gladness,

    a clear day, unclouded,

    that heralds life’s festival.

    Enjoy the sweet hour, my child,

    this pleasant, delightful season.

    I’ll say nothing, more: let it not grieve you

    if your holiday, like mine, is slow to arrive.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010

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