by Giacomo Leopardi

Ever dear to me, this lonely hill
And this hedge, which on all sides, almost,
Bars from view the last horizon.
But sitting and looking out, in my thoughts
I conjure up the unbounded spaces beyond,
And unearthly silences and deepest calm
Where but for little the heart is not afraid.
And as I hear the wind
Rustle among the leaves, I set
That infinite silence against this voice:
And I think of the eternal
And the dead seasons, and this present
Living season, and its sound. So, in this
Immensity my thoughts are drowned:
And to be drowned is sweet in such a sea.

—translated from the Italian by Beverley Bie Brahic

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 39 Number 8, on page 43
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