Giovanni Pascoli: Translated by Gregory Dowling

pascoli3Giovanni Pascoli was an Italian poet and classical scholar, arguably the greatest Italian poet of the 20th century.

Gregory Dowling photoBIO

Gregory Dowling is Associate Professor of American Literature at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. His academic publications include a study of American narrative poetry, a guide to Byron’s Venice and a co-edited anthology of American poetry about Venice. His most recent book is a study of the poetry of David Mason (Story Line Press, 2013). His non-academic publications include four thrillers, set in England and Italy, the sightseeing sections of the Time Out Guide to Venice and numerous translations from Italian into English. He is a member of the committee for the new Lord Byron Museum to be opened in Palazzo Guiccioli, Ravenna, in 2016.


NOTE:  All poems translated from the original Italian into English by Gregory Dowling.



by Giovanni Pascoli

Cantava al buio d’aia in aia il gallo.


E gracidò nel bosco la cornacchia:

il sole si mostrava a finestrelle.

Il sol dorò la nebbia della macchia,

poi si nascose; e piovve a catinelle.

Poi fra il cantare delle raganelle

guizzò sui campi un raggio lungo e giallo.


Stuipìano i rondinotti dell’estate

di quel sottile scendere di spille:

era un brusìo con languide sorsate

e chiazze larghe e picchi a mille a mille;

poi singhiozzi, e gocciar rado di stille:

di stille d’oro in coppe di cristallo.




In still dark farms cocks crowed in sallies.

And rooks creaked out their cackling caw:

The sun through clouds peeped now and then

And gilt the mist that swathed the moor,

Then hid, washed out by drenching rain.

And as the tree-frogs croaked again

A shaft of light shone down the valleys.


The summer swallows sliced the air,

Thrilled by the fine, pin-bright cascade:

The hubbub, drumming everywhere

On sodden fields, began to fade

To pattering, till the tune was played

By pearls pick-pocking a crystal chalice.



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