Giacomo Leopardi


The calm after the Storm

(canto XXIV)




In 1829, Giacomo Leopardi wrote La quiete dopo la tempesta (“The Calm After the Storm“), in which the light and reassuring verses at the beginning evolve into the dark desperation of the concluding strophe, where pleasure and joy are conceived of as only momentary cessations of suffering and the highest pleasure is provided only by death. It also delegates with his dignities onto the crowd nor grieving himself on the sorrows he obsessed and afterwards, his prowess dominates. (Wikipedia)




The calm after the Storm



The storm hath passed;

I hear the birds rejoice; the hen,

Returned into the road again,

Her cheerful notes repeats. The sky serene

Is, in the west, upon the mountain seen:

The country smiles; bright runs the silver stream.



Each heart is cheered; on every side revive

The sounds, the labors of the busy hive.

The workman gazes at the watery sky,

As standing at the door he sings,

His work in hand; the little wife goes forth,

And in her pail the gathered rain-drops brings;

The vendor of his wares, from lane to lane,

Begins his daily cry again.



The sun returns, and with his smile illumes

The villas on the neighboring hills;

Through open terraces and balconies,

The genial light pervades the cheerful rooms;

And, on the highway, from afar are heard

The tinkling of the bells, the creaking wheels

Of waggoner, his journey who resumes.


Cheered is each heart.

Whene’er, as now, doth life appear

A thing so pleasant and so dear?

When, with such love,

Does man unto his books or work return?

Or on himself new tasks impose?

When is he less regardful of his woes?

O pleasure, born of pain!

O idle joy, and vain,

Fruit of the fear just passed, which shook

The wretch who life abhorred, yet dreaded death!

With which each neighbor held his breath,


Silent, and cold, and wan,

Affrighted sore to see

The lightnings, clouds, and winds arrayed,

To do us injury!



O Nature courteous!

These are thy boons to us,

These the delights to mortals given!

Escape from pain,

best gift of heaven!

Thou scatterest sorrows with a bounteous hand;

Grief springs spontaneous;

If, by some monstrous growth, miraculous,

Pleasure at times is born of pain,

It is a precious gain!

O human race, unto the gods so dear!

Too happy, in a respite brief

From any grief!

Then only blessed,

When Death releases thee unto thy rest!



Giacomo Leopardi – The calm after the storm




Giacomo Leopardi


Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi (Italian: 29 June 1798 – 14 June 1837) was an Italian philosopher, poet, essayist, and philologist. He is widely seen as one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of the 19th century.
Although he lived in a secluded town in the conservative Papal States, he came in touch with the main ideas of the Enlightenment,  and through his own literary evolution, created a remarkable and renowned poetic work, related to the Romantic era.
The strongly lyrical quality of his poetry made him a central figure on the European and international literary and cultural landscape. (from: Wikipedia)




Selected english translations



Leopardi, Giacomo (1923). The Poems of Leopardi. Text, translation and commentary by G.L. Bickersteth. New York: New American Library.

Leopardi, Giacomo (1966). Giacomo Leopardi – Selected Prose and Poetry. Edited, translated and introduced by Iris Origo and John Heath-Stubbs. New York: New American Library.

Leopardi, Giacomo (1982). Operette Morali – Essays and Dialogues. Translated by Giovanni Cecchetti. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Leopardi, Giacomo (1997). Leopardi – Selected Poems. Translated by Eamon Grennan. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Leopardi, Giacomo (1998). The Canti, with a selection of his prose. Translated by J.G. Nichols. Manchester: Carcanet Press.

Leopardi, Giacomo (1998). The Letters of Giacomo Leopardi, 1817–1837. Edited and translated by Prue Shaw. Leeds: Northern Universities Press.

Leopardi, Giacomo (2002). Thoughts. Translated by J.G. Nichols. London: Hesperus Classics.

Leopardi, Giacomo (2010). Canti. Translated by Jonathan Galassi. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Leopardi, Giacomo (2013). Zibaldone: The Notebooks of Leopardi. Edited by Michael Caesar and Franco D’Intino; translated by Kathleen Baldwin et al. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Leopardi, Giacomo (2014). Passions. Translated by Tim Parks. New Haven: Yale University Press.

(from: Wikipedia)




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