Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Divina Commedia: First Sonnet - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow wrote a short series of sonnets "On Translating the Divina Commedia", but they seem to have more to do with entering, observing, and worshiping in a beautiful cathedral than they do with Dante, though there are some Dante references.  They are really cool, so I'm going to share all of them over the course of the next few weeks, starting with this one!

Divina Commedia: First Sonnet

Oft have I seen at some cathedral door
A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat,
Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet
Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor
Kneel to repeat his paternoster o'er:
Far off the noises of the world retreat;
The loud vociferations of the street
Become an undistinguishable roar.
So, as I enter here from day to day,
And leave my burden at this minster-gate,
Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
The tumult of the time disconsolate
To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
While the eternal ages watch and wait.

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