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A Satana

To Satan (English Translation)


A te, de lessere Principio immenso, Materia e spirito, Ragione e senso; Mentre ne calici Il vin scintilla Sicome lanima Ne la pupilla Mentre sorridono La terra e il sole E si ricambiano Damor parole E corre un fremito Dimene arcano Da monti e palpita Fecondo il piano; A te disfrenasi Il verso ardito, Te invoco, o Satana Re del convito Via laspersorio, Prete, e il tuo metro! No, prete, Satana Non toma in dietro! Vedi: la ruginne Rode e Michele Il brando mistico Ed il fedele Spennato arcangelo Cade nel vano. Ghiacciato e fulmine A Geova in mano Meteore pallide,

To you, creations mighty principle, matter and spirit reason and sense Whilst the wine sparkles in cups like the soul in the eye Whilst earth and sun exchange their smiles and words of love And shudders from their secret embrace run down from the mountains, and the plain throbs with new life To you my daring verses are unleashed, you I invoke, O Satan monarch of the feast. Put aside your sprinkler, priest, and your litanies! No, priest, Satan does not retreat! Behold! Rust erodes the mystic sword of Michael and the faithful Archangel, deplumed, drops into the void. The thunderbolt lies frozen in Joves hand Like pale meteors,

A toast! The poem was originally written as a dinner-party toast. It is easy to visualize the poet with glass raised as he recites the poem.

Against Satan, priests have no power.

Even the Archangel Michael, who led the army of faithful angels against Lucifers rebels, is deplumed and left with a rusted sword. Even Jehovah himself is powerless.

The rebel angels descent

Pianeti spenti, Piovono gli angeli Da I firmamenti Ne la materia Che mai non dorme, Re de I fenomeni Re de le forme Sol vive Satana. E tien impero Nel lampo temulo Dun occhio nero, O ver che languido Sfugga e resista, Od acre ed umido Provochi, insista. Brilla de grappoli Nel lieto sangue, Per cui la rapida Gioia non langue, Che la fuggevole Vita ristora, Che il dolor proroga, Che amor ne incora Tu spiri, O Satana, Nel verso mio, Se dal sen rompeni Sfidando il dio De rei pontefici De re cruenti; E come fulmine Scuoti le menti. A te, Agramainiio, Adone, Astarte E marmi vissero E tele e carte, Quando le ioniche Aure serene Beo la Venere Anadiomene A te del Libano Premean le piante, De lalma Cipride Ristorto amante:

spent worlds, the angels drop from the firmament In unsleeping matter, king of phenomena, monarch of form, Satan alone lives. He holds sway in the tremulous flash of some dark eye, Or the eye which languidly turns and resists, or which, bright and moist, provokes, insists. He shines in the bright blood of grapes, by which transient joy persists, Which restores fleeting life, keeps grief at bay, and inspires us with love You breathe, O Satan in my verses, when from my heart explodes a challenge to the god Of wicked pontiffs, bloody kings; and like lightning you shock mens minds. Sculpture, painting and poetry first lived for you, Ahriman, Adonis and Astarte, When Venus Anadyomene blessed the clear Ionian skies For you the trees of Lebannon shook, resurrected lover of the holy Cyprian:

to Earth from the heavens.

Satan is king of the physical, material realm.

Satans realm or empire (impero) can be perceived wherever the lifeforce is in evidence: in the flashing eye of a woman in a state of arousal, in the glimmer of a glass of wine, which makes us happy,

and even in the blasphemous rebllious power of the poets own words. Both popes and kings - the heads of authoritarian regimes - were loathed by the republican Carducci.

Venus Andadyomene (i.e. emergent) born from the foam of the seas around Cyprus represents Greek civilization. Adonis, the lover of Venus (holy Cyprian) was killed by a boar but resurrected by Jupiter at Venus


A te ferveano Le danze e i cori, A te ii virginei Candidi amori, Tra la odorifere Palme dIdume Dove biancheggiano Le cipre spume. Che val se barbaro Il nazareno Furor de lagapi Dal rito osceno Con sacra fiaccola I templi tarse E ii segni argolici A terr sparse? Te accolse profugo Tra gli dei lari La plebe memore Ne I casolari Quindi un femineo Sen palpitante Empiendo, fervido Nume ed amante, La strega pallida Deterna cura Volgi a soccorrere Legra naura. Tu a locchio immobile De lalchimista tu de lindocile Mago a la vista, Del chiostro torpido Oltre I cancelli, riveli I fulgidi Ciele novelli. A la Tebaide Te ne le cose Fuggendo, Il monaco Triste sascose

For you wild dances were done and choruses swelled for you virgins offered their spotless love, Amongst the perfumed palms of Idumea where the Cyprian seas foam. To what avail did the barbarous Christian fury of agape, in obscene ritual, With holy torch burn down your temples, scattering their Greek statuary? You, a refugee, the mindful people welcomed into their homes amongst their household gods Thereafter filling the throbbing female heart with your fervor as both god and lover You inspired the witch, pallid from endless enquiry, to succor suffering nature You, to the intent gaze of the alchemist, and to the skeptical eye of the sorcerer, You revealed bright new heavens beyond the confines of the drowsy cloister. Fleeing from material things, where you reside, the dreary monk took refuge in the Theban desert.

Carducci understands the Greek festivals of Adonis as having originated along the Syria/Lebannon coast and its hinterland (Idumea) - the region of ancient Phoenicia. He points out that the Christian fanatic destruction of Satans pagan temples was of no avail because the Satanic religion of rationalism, fleshly pleasure, material good, and free inquiry survived underground.

Carducci sees the origin of modern medicine in the witchs craft which healed the sick in olden times. He also sees the beginnings of modern science in the essentially rationalist and secular fields of sorcery and alchemy.

The Theban desert of middle Egypt was a favored ascetic suffering ground for early Coptic Christian


O dal tuo tramite Alma divisa, Benigno e Satana; Ecco Eloisa.

To you O soul with your sprig severed, Satan is benign: he gives you your Heloise.

In van ti maceri Ne laspro sacco: Il verso ei mormora Di Maro e Flacco Tra la davidica Nenia ed il pianto; E, forme delfiche, A te da canto Rosee ne lorrida Compagnia nera, Mena Licoride, Mena Glicera Ma daltre imagini Deta piu bella Talor si popola Linsonne cella Ei, da le pagine Di Livio, ardenti Tribuni, consoli, Turbe frementi Sveglia; e fantastico Ditalo orgoglio Te spinge, o monaco, Su l Campidoglio E voi, che il rabido Rogo non strusse, Voci fatidiche, Wicleff ed Husse, A laura il vigile Grido mandate: Sinnova il secolo Piena e letate

You mortify yourself to no purpose, in your rough sackcloth: Satan still murmurs to you lines from Maro and Flaccus Amidst the dirge and wailing of the Psalms; and he brings to your side the divine shapes, Roseate amidst that horrid black crowd, of Lycoris and Glycera But other shapes from a more glorious age fitfully fill the sleepless cell. Satan, from pages in Livy, conjures fervent tribunes, consuls, restless throngs; And he thrusts you, O monk, with your memories of Italys proud past upon the Capitol. And you whom the raging pyre could not destroy, voices of destiny, Wycliffe and Huss, You lift to the winds your waning cry: The new age is dawning, the time has come.

The poet here speaks to Abelard, a 13th c. Franciscan monk whose rational philosophy angered the church. His affair with Heloise got him castrated and exiled, but his Satan-given love of her persisted. Maro and Flaccus are the poets Virgil and Horace. Licoris and Glycera are beautiful women of which they wrote..

In his cell, the monks sleep is interrupted by Sataninspired nightmarish visions of crowds and leaders from Livys history of Rome. For his treason against Romes true roots, the monk dreams, he is impaled. John Wycliffe and Jan Huss, early reformers and martyrs of the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

E gia gia tremano Mitre e corone: Dal chiostro brontola La ribellione, E pugna e predica Sotto la stola Di fra Girolamo Savonarola Gitto la tonaca Martin Lutero Gitta ii tuoi vincoli Uman pensiero, E splendi e folgora Di fiame cinto; Materia, inalzati: Satana ha vinto. Un bello e orrible Mostro si sferra, Corre gli oceani Corre la terra: Corusco e fumido Come ii vlucani, I monti supera, Divora I piani; Sovola ii baratri; Poi si nasconde Per antri incogniti, Per vie profonde; Ed esce; e indomito Di lido in lido Come di turbine Manda il suo grido, Come di turbine Lalito spande: Ei passa, o popli, Satani il grande Passa benefico Di loco in loco Su linfrenabile Carro del foco

And already mitres and crowns tremble: from the cloister rebellion rumbles Preaching defiance in the voice of the cassocked Girolamo Savonarola As Martin Luther threw off his monkish robes, so throw off your shackles, O mind of man, And crowned with flame, shoot lightning and thunder; Matter, arise; Satan has won. Both beautiful and awful a monster is unleashed it scours the oceans is scours the land Glittering and belching smoke like a volcano, it conquers the hills it devours the plains. It flies over chasms, then burrows into unknown caverns along deepest paths; To re-emerge, unconquerable from shore to shore it bellows out like a whirlwind, Like a whirlwind it spews its breath: It is Satan, you peoples, Great Satan passes by. He passes by, bringing blessing from place to place, upon his unstoppable chariot of fire

The poet alludes to the existence of secret rebels inside the church. Savonarola was a defiant reformist monk who was burned at the stake in 1499. The poet chooses Martin Luther as an example here explicitly because using him as an example would infuriate the church more than any other name.

The Church had proclaimed the steamengine train to be a tool of the Devil and the poet here embraces the symbolism. He sees it as a man-made, science-derived invention that would deliver prosperity to the secular people of Italy. In the new age of industry Satan (humanitys ingenuity unfettered by the chains of church) destroys Jehova and thereby the oppressive and restricting

tyranny of the Pope.

Salute, o Satana O ribellione, O forza vindice De la ragione! Sacri a te salgano Glincensi e ii voti! Hai vinto il Geova De ii sacerdoti.

Hail, O Satan O rebellion, O you avenging force of human reason! Let holy incense and prayers rise to you! You have utterly vanquished the Jehova of the Priests.