LogoLogo

Alla sera - a sonnet by Ugo Foscolo

Alla sera

"Alla Sera" is widely considered the most beautiful of the 4 major (on a total of 12 sonnets) sonnets by Ugo Foscolo. The silence of the evening, when all life is asleep, suggests to the poet the image of death to which he longs, as if this only could bring him to peace.

Death is no longer seen as a challenge to fate, as in Foscolo's novel "Le ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis", where the protagonist commits suicide; in this sonnet death is, after a hard, painful day, like going to sleep, softly, and dissolving into the universe itself, transcending all grief and finding peace.
Follow ItalyHeritage on Facebook:

 
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,
Maybe because of the final rest
you are an image, to me so dear you come
O Evening! Both when you are courted joyously
by summer clouds and calm Zephyr winds
 
E quando dal nevoso aere inquïete
Tenebre e lunghe all'universo meni
Sempre scendi invocata, e le secrete
Vie del mio cor soavemente tieni.
and when from the snowy air worrisome
and long darkness to the universe you bring
You always descend, wished for, and the secret
paths of my heart you gently keep.
 
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
You make me wander with my thoughts on the footsteps
leading to eternal nothingness; and meanwhile flees
this cruel time and with it go the armies
 
Delle cure onde meco egli si strugge;
e mentre io guardo la tua pace, dorme
Quello spirto guerrier ch'entro mi rugge.
of worries amid which it is with me consumed.
And as I look at your peace, sleeps
that warrior's spirit that inside me roars.