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The Italian Poems of Immanuel ben Solomon (also known as Immanuel Romano, Manoello Giudeo).

Source: Mario Marti (ed.). Poeti giocosi del tempo di Dante, pp. 313-321. Rizzoli, Milano, 1956.


The following are four Italian-language sonnets by Immanuello Romano. One of them, on the death of Dante, is answered in a poem from his correspondent, Bosone da Gubbio.


The sonnets are interesting as statements against sectarian positions, whether of religion or of politics.


They are taken from the Internet. I have not checked them for textual accuracy. Below I provide a rough and uncompleted translation




Sonnet no. 1 (MS Casanat. 433)


Amor non lesse mai l' avemaria;
Amor non tenne mai legge né fede;
Amor è un cor, che non ode né vede
e non sa mai che misura si sia.


Amor è una pura signoria,
che sol si ferma in voler ciò che chiede;
Amor fa com' pianeto, che provvede,
e sempre retra sé per ogni via.


Amor non lassò mai, per paternostri
né per incanti, suo gentil orgoglio;
né per téma digiunt' è, per ch' i' giostri.


Amor fa quello, di che più mi doglio:
ché non s'attène a cosa ch' io li mostri,
ma sempre mi sa dir: – Pur così voglio. –




Love never read the Ave Maria;

Love nnever adhered to a religion or religious dogma;

Love is a heart, which neither hears nor sees

And never knows what measure it is.


Love is a pure lordship

Which only stops in wanting that which it asks for;

Love acts like a planet, which oversees the world*

And always withdraws itself through every way.


Love never relaxed, either for pater-nosters

Or for incantations, its gentle pride;

Nor has it […]


Love does that which grieves me most:

That it does not attain those things which I may show it,

But is always able to say to me: "That's how I want it too."



Sonnet no. 2 (MS Barb. Lat. 3953)


In steso non mi conosco, ogn'om oda,
che l'esser proprio si è ghibellino:
in Roma so' Colonnes' ed Ursino,
e piacemi se l'uno e l'altro ha loda.


Ed in Toscana parte guelfa goda;
in Romagna so' ciò ch' è Zappetino;
mal giudeo sono io, non saracino:
ver' li cristiani non drizzo la proda.


Ma d'ogni legge so' ben desiroso
alcuna parte voler osservare:
de' cristiani lo bever e 'l mangiare,


e del bon Moisès poco digiunare,
e la lussuria di Macón prezioso,
che non ten fé de la cintura in gioso.




In myself…

that the very being is Ghibelline:

In Rome I am a Colonnese and Ursino,

And I am happy whichever one receives praises.


And in Tuscany let the Guelph party enjoy favour;

In Romagna I know what is a Zappetino;

I am a bad Jew, not a Saracen:

I do not raise my tail against Christians.


But of every religion I am desirous

Of wishing to see some part:

Of the Christians the eating and drinking,


And a little fasting of the good Moses,

And the licentiousness of precious Macon,

Which has no religion below the belt.



Sonnet no. 3 (MS Barb. Lat. 3953)


Se san Piero e san Paul da l'una parte,
Moisès ed Aaròn da l'altra stesse,
Macón e Trivican, ciascun volesse
ch' io mi rendesse a volontà né a parte;


ciascun di lor me ne pregasse en sparte:
duro mi pare ch' io gli ne credesse,
se non da dir a chi me' mi piacesse:
– Viva chi vince, ch' io so' di sua parte! –


Guelfo né ghibellin, nero né bianco;
a chi piace il color, quel se nel porte:
che ferirò da coda e starò franco.


E mio compar tradimento stia forte:
ch' i' di voltar mai non mi trovo manco
e aitar ciascun che vince, infin a morte.




If St Peter and St Paul on the one side,

And Moses and Aaron on the other were standing,

Macon and Trivican, if each wished

That I should render myself […]


If each of them took me aside and beseeched me:

It seems to me hard that I would believe in him,

Except to say to him who most pleased me:

"Long live the person who wins, for I am on his side!"


Neither Guelph nor Ghibbeline, black nor white;

Let he who likes a particular colour take it away with him:

I shall strike […] and shall remain free.


And let my peer* betrayal stand strong:

For I find myself not lacking in turncoat behaviour

And I cheer each person who is a victor, unto death.


Sonnet no. 4 (MS Casanat. 433)

A messer Bosone da Gubbio


Io, che trassi le lagrime del fondo
de l'abisso del cor che 'n su le 'nvea,
piango: ché 'l foco del dolor m'ardea,
se non fosser le lagrime in che abbondo.


Ché la lor piova ammorta lo profondo
ardor, che del mio mal fuor ml traea;
per non morir, per tener altra vea,
al percoter sto forte e non affondo.


E ben può pianger cristiano e giudeo,
e ciaschedun sedere 'n tristo scanno:
pianto perpetüal m' è fatto reo.


Per ch' io m'accorgo che quel fu il mal'anno;
sconfortomi ben, ch' i' veggio che Deo
per invidia del ben fece quel danno.




I, who drew the tears from the bottom

Of the abyss of the heart which was sending them up,

weep: and the fire of grief would have burned me

If it were not for the tears in which I abound.


Inasmuch as their downpouring deadens the deep

Burning, which was drawing me out of my deep ills;

In order not to die, to have another way,

I stand strong against their striking and do not drown.


And both Christian and Jew may well weep,

And each of them sit in sad mourning:

Perpetual weeping has made me a prisoner.


Because I have realised that that was the bad year;

I am much discomfited, because I see that God

Did that harm from enviousness of the good.


[See alternative translation below]


Messer Bosone a Manoello Giudeo, essendo morto Dante

(MS Casanat. 433)


Duo lumi son di novo spenti al mondo
in cui virtù e bellezza si vedea;
piange la mente mia, che già ridea,
di quel che di saper toccava il fondo.


Pianga la tua del bel viso giocondo,
di cui tua lingua tanto ben dicea;
omè dolente, che pianger devea
ogni omo che sta dentro a questo tondo.


E pianga dunque Manoel Giudeo:
e prima pianga il suo proprïo danno,
poi pianga 'l mal di questo mondo reo;


ché sotto 'l sol non fu mai peggior anno.
Ma mi conforta ch' i' credo che Deo
Dante abbia posto 'n glorïoso scanno.




Messer Bosone to Manuello Giudeo, Dante having died.


Two lights are once again extinguished to the world,

In which virtue and beauty were seen;

My mind weeps, which formerly laughed,

For the man who knew how to touch deep things.


Let yours also weep for the fine cheerful face

Of which your tongue said such good;

Oh woe for my grief which should weep

For every man who stands within this round.


And so let Manuello Giudeo weep:

And first let him weep for his own loss,

And then let him weep for the ills of this wicked world;


Because there never was a worse year under the sun.

But I am comforted by the belief that God

Has placed Dante in a glorious position.*


[See alternative translation below]







Mr. Bosone to Ha-Romi upon the Death of Dante


Two lamps of life have waxed dim and died,

Two souls for virtue loved and blessed grace;

Thou, friend may’st smile no more with happy face

But weep for him, sweet song’s and learning’s pride.

And weep for her, thy spouse, torn from thy side

In all her charm of native loveliness,

Whom thou hast sung so oft ere thy distress,

That is mine, too, and with me doth abide.


Not I alone bewail thy hapless lot,

But others, too: do thou bewail thine own,

And then the grief that all of us have got,

In this the direst year we’re have known;

Yet Dante’s soul, that erst to us was given,

Now ta’en from the earth, dost glisten bright in Heaven.





To Mr. Bosone of Gubbio


The floods of tears well from my deepest heart;

can they e’er quench my grief’s eternal flame:

I weep no more, my woe is still the same;

I hope instead that death may soothe the smart.

Then Jew and Gentile weep, and sit with me

On morning-stool: for sin hath followed woe;

I prayed to God to spare this misery,

And now no more my trust in Him I show.