Renaissance and Baroque Lyrics: An Anthology of Translations from the Italian, French, and Spanish

Renaissance and Baroque Lyrics: An Anthology of Translations from the Italian, French, and Spanish

Renaissance and Baroque Lyrics: An Anthology of Translations from the Italian, French, and Spanish

Renaissance and Baroque Lyrics: An Anthology of Translations from the Italian, French, and Spanish

Excerpt

And have I not Saint Praxed's ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscipts,
And mistress with great smooth marbly limbs?

ROBERT BROWNING

It is significant that Petrarch's volume of lyrics was called simply Rime, and so were the collections of many another poet after him; or perhaps the title given was Chansons or Amours or Sonnets or a similar unpretentious caption. To several generations there appeared no need to flash across the page such a fanciful title as A Paradise of Dainty Devices. Poetry needed no justification, no salesmanship. The writing of poetry was to the Renaissance an important feature of civilized living, almost like food and wine, music and love. Certainly it was not regarded as an activity reserved for the professional. And as there was much writing of verse, so there was much reading of it. According to Castiglione's model of the versatile Renaissance gentleman, the cultivation of letters was a point of exceptional import.

[To] returne againe unto our Courtier, whom in letters I will have to be more than indifferently well seene, at the least in those studies, which they call Humanitie. . . .

Let him much exercise himself in Poets, and no lesse in Oratours and Historiographers, and also in writing both rime and prose,and especially in this our vulgar tongue. For beside the contentation [contentment] that hee shall receive thereby him selfe, hee shall by this meanes never want pleasant intertainements with women which ordinarily love such matters. . . .

For at the least wise hee shall receive so much profit, that by that exercise hee shall be able to give his judgement upon other mens doings. For it happeneth very seldome, that a man not exercised in . . .

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