“The following poems are 'found' poems, taken from Dante's Il Convito, or The Banquet. Dante Alighieri was a resident of Florence; it was here that he wrote his most famous work: the Divine Comedy. Our creative writing students used Dante's words to make their own poems. The poems are meditations on the links between love and loss, power, and objectification, and the search for an authentic voice.”
Alyssa Northrop, Teacher of the Creative Writing Course
Il Convito (The Banquet) by Dante Alighieri
Ye who the third Heaven move, intent of thought,
Hear reasoning that is within my heart,
Thoughts that to none but you I can impart:
Heaven, that is moved by you, my life has brought
To where it stands, therefore I pray you heed
What I shall say about the life I lead.
To you I tell the heart's new cares: always
The sad Soul weeps within it, and there hears
Voice of a Spirit that condemns her tears,
A Spirit that descends in your star's rays.
Thought that once fed the grieving heart was sweet,
Thought that oft fled up to your Father's feet.
There it beheld a Lady glorified,
Of whom so sweetly it discoursed to me
That the Soul said, "With her I long to be!"
Now One appears that drives the thought aside,
And masters me with so effectual might
That my heart quivers to the outward sight.
This on a Lady fixes my regard
And says, "Who seeks where his salvation lies
Must gaze intently in this Lady's eyes,
Nor dread the sighs of anguish!" O, ill-starred!
Such opposite now breaks the humble dream
Of the crowned angel in the glory beam.
Still, therefore, the Soul weeps, "The tender stir,"
It says, "of thought that once consoled me flies!"
That troubled one asks, "When into thine eyes
Looked she? Why doubted they my words of her?"
I said, "Her eyes bear death to such as I:
Yet, vainly warned, I gaze on her and die.
"Thou art not dead, but in a vain dismay,
Dear Soul of ours so lost in thy distress,"
Whispers a spirit voice of tenderness.
"This Lady's beauty darkens all your day,
Vile fear possesses you; see, she is lowly
Pitiful, courteous, though so wise and holy.
"Think thou to call her Mistress evermore:
Save thou delude thyself, then shall there shine
High miracles before thee, so divine
That thou shalt say, O Love, when I adore,
True Lord, behold the handmaid of the Lord,
Be it unto me according to thy Word!"
My song, I do believe there will be few
Who toil to understand thy reasoning;
But if thou pass, perchance, to those who bring
No skill to give thee the attention due,
Then pray I, dear last-born, let them rejoice
To find at least a music in my voice.
Our Students’ Re-Workings
The Banquet by Johanna Von Maack
Ye who move within my heart
heaven is you.
My life has new cares
you discoursed to me,
with her I long to be.
My heart quivers to the
Lady, I gaze intently in the Lady's eyes.
When into thine eyes
I gaze on her and die.
Thou art not dead
whispers a spirit voice
she is so wise and holy.
Found by Anna Westwig
My heart quivers, now crowned.
Grieving is to bear tenderness,
a courteous beauty once fed
glorified anguish, thy distress
within my heart. I pray you heed
whispers: the mistress possesses you.
O love, understand thy toil
is so divine but a dream it breaks.
Ill-starred lady shall delude thee
reasoning new cares and vile music.
My eyes find death, wise and holy
you tender handmaid master me.
The Banquet by Nicholas Perez
Heaven thought reasoning my heart
I pray you lead always, condemn
tears. Spirit once fed up
Lady glorified whom so sweetly said: I long to be!
One that drives and masters might
This lady fixes my regard, says intently
dread the signs of anguish, O
the crowned angel
therefore consoled me.
one asks why doubt her such as I?
I gaze on her not dead, but in a vain
tenderness. This lady possesses,
she is so wise and holy.
by Edie Lipsey
Move, intent within my heart
to impart Heaven. You, my life, you--
the heart's sad soul condemns her tears
a star's rays sweet
glorifies so sweetly to me.
The Soul said I long to be one and masters
Says who lies in this Lady's eyes
anguish ill-starred breaks the humble dream
still the soul weeps
troubled doubted my words
her eyes bear death
vainly I gaze on her and die.
Dead in vain dear soul so lost in distress,
whispers beauty darkens all
vile lowly pitiful and holy
think to call her, delude thyself shine
miracles so divine
O love behold me
My song will be few who understand
but pray I to find music in my voice