Friday, May 7, 2010

Il maggio odoroso

The weather has been splendid in Boston for several days, and the mild air- neither too cold nor too hot, unusual for us- has been filled with the smells of flowers and other plants. This brought to mind the phrase maggio odoroso, fragrant May, that I knew to be Leopardi, one of the greatest Italian poets. But I had forgotten which poem it was from.

Internet to the rescue. In a matter of seconds I traced it to the renowned poem A Silvia. If T.S. Eliot thought April was the cruellest month, Leopardi (whom Eliot probably had read) thought it was May. In fact the theme of the work is the unfulfilled hopes of youth, the springtime of life, and the disappointments of maturity.

Read the original here, and a translation, here.