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L’Infinito (da I Canti di Giacomo Leopardi)

Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle
E questa siepe che da tanta parte
Dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando interminati
Spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
Silenzi, e profondissima quiete
Io nel pensier mi fingo; over per poco
Il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
Odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
Infinito silenzio a questa voce
Vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
E le morte stagioni e la presente
E viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
Immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
E il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.

(The Infinite
Always dear to me was this lonely hill,
And this hedge, which from me so great a part
Of the farthest horizon excludes the gaze.
But as I sit and watch, I invent in my mind
Endless spaces beyond, and superhuman
Silences, and profoundest quiet;
Wherefore my heart
Almost loses itself in fear. And as I hear the wind
Rustle through these plants, I compare
That infinite silence to this voice:
And I recall to mind eternity,
And the dead seasons, and the one present
And alive, and the sound of it. So in this
Immensity my thinking drowns:
And to shipwreck is sweet for me in this sea)

"L'infinito" represents one of the summits not only of Leopardi's poetry but of all poetry.
Rarely has a poet been able to compress within one hundred words such depth of meaning with such simplicity of language and harmony of sounds. Leopardi called "L'infinito" an "idyll", a definition that perfectly fits the charm and suggestive power of this superb poem, which, to quote Renato Poggioli, "makes familiar and dear to the heart of man the alien metaphysical vision of a universe ruled by laws other than those of life and death."