going back to Folengo

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A few years ago, a joint effort on ATF produced a translation for this “famous” sonnet by Teofilo Folengo (published in 1527), in which all the trumps are mentioned (and Fame, as a bonus):

1. AMOR, sotto'l cui IMPERO molte imprese
2. van senza TEMPO sciolte da FORTUNA
3. vide MORTE su'l CARRO orrenda e bruna
4. volger fra quanta gente al MONDO prese.

5. - Per qual GIUSTIZIA – disse -a te si rese
6. né PAPA mai, né s'è PAPESSA alcuna? -
7. Rispose: - chi col SOL fece la LUNA
8. tolse contro mie FORZE lor difese.

9. - SCIOCCO, qual sei, (è) quel FOCO - disse Amore -
10. ch'or ANGIOL or DEMONIO appare, come
11. TEMPRAR sannosi altrui sotto mia STELLA.

12. Tu IMPERATRICE ai corpi sei, ma un cuore
13. benchè SOSPENDI, non uccidi, e un nome
14. sol d'alta fama tienti una BAGATELLA.


Translation:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.ph ... ge=1&pp=10

1 Love, under whose Empire many deeds
2 go without Time and without Fortune,
3 saw ugly and dark Death on a Chariot,
4 going between the people it took away from the World.

5 Death said: no Pope nor Papesse was ever won
6 by you. Do you call this Justice?
7 Love answered: Him who made the Sun and the Moon
8 defended them from my Strength.

9 You are a Fool, continued Love, my Fire,
10 that can appear as an Angel or as a Devil,
11 can be Tempered by those who live under my Star.

12 You are the Empress of bodies. But you cannot kill hearts,
13 you only Suspend them. You have a name of high Fame,
14 but you are nothing but a Trickster.


On the internet there are two slightly different versions of the sonnet:
http://www.tarock.info/renier.htm
http://www.bibliotecaitaliana.it/reposi ... 6_0315.jpg

A the time, we where not sure of the meaning of the Sonnet. I ask now for some help in order to understand what makes more sense. I have being playing with a Visconti-Sforza deck, placing the trumps on the table as I repeat the sonnet: fun :) But it would be better if I understood the meaning of the poem!

Questions:
A. Who speaks first? This is a dialogue between Love and Death, but it is not clear who asks the initial question (verses 5 and 6) The subject of the first four verses is Love, so from the grammatical point of view it would make more sense if the question were asked by Love. But what does it mean that no Pope ever surrendered to (or was won by) Death? And in the other case, what does it mean that no Pope was ever won by Love? The only (legendary) Popess we know of definitely was won by Love...

B. Who answers? We don't know who asks the question, so we don't know who speaks at verses 7 and 8. From verse 9 to the end, it is clear that Love is speaking. At line 9, the literal translation would be "said Love", instead of "continued Love". It is not clear that at verses 7 and 8 Love is speaking.

C. Al line 9 Love is speaking, and he says “Sciocco” (masculine for fool). But Death (Morte) if feminine, and she is always addressed with feminine terms (“orrenda”, “bruna”, “Imperatrice”). How do you interpret the fact that in this case the masculine is used?

Finally, I have seen the thread where “SOL FAMA” in the context of the Vieville deck is discussed.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=165&p=1971&hilit=fama#p1971
Here we have “sol d'alta fama”, which is quite similar. I am now considering a very different translation for the last three verses, where sol is read “sole” (sun) not “solo” (only):

You are the Empress of bodies, you can
suspend an heart, but you cannot kill it, nor a name
(which is a) sun of high fame. You are nothing but a Trickster.


This would express the petrarchian concept of Fame trumping Death.
Here is how Petrarch introduces Fame in the corresponding Triumph:
http://petrarch.petersadlon.com/read_tr ... ge=IV-I.en

Then, as I gazed across the grassy vale
I saw appearing on the other side
Her who saves man from the tomb, and gives him life.
As at the break of day an amorous star
Comes from the east before the rising sun,
Who gladly enters her companionship,
Thus came she.


D. Do you think that this new translation for verses 12-14 is more appropriate?

Marco

Re: going back to Folengo

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Hi Marco,

I want to discuss this more, but I have a pressing engagement just at this moment. I'll be back soon (a couple of hours).

I think Folengo does deserve his own thread.

For the translation, I'll have to think about it, but I think it deserves to be explored, given the resonance with Petrarch's "Fama" imagery - but what do I know?

Ross
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Re: going back to Folengo

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* Molto grato caro amicci !

-E una piu buona contribuzione Marco !

( My godfather from my father side is from Agrigento,Sicilia. / My surname is Cossentino (yes,with double S,so not from Calabria )


Addio !
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Re: going back to Folengo

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Hi, Marco,
marco wrote:A few years ago, a joint effort on ATF produced a translation for this “famous” sonnet by Teofilo Folengo (published in 1527), in which all the trumps are mentioned (and Fame, as a bonus):

1. AMOR, sotto'l cui IMPERO molte imprese
2. van senza TEMPO sciolte da FORTUNA
3. vide MORTE su'l CARRO orrenda e bruna
4. volger fra quanta gente al MONDO prese.

5. - Per qual GIUSTIZIA – disse -a te si rese
6. né PAPA mai, né s'è PAPESSA alcuna? -
7. Rispose: - chi col SOL fece la LUNA
8. tolse contro mie FORZE lor difese.

9. - SCIOCCO, qual sei, (è) quel FOCO - disse Amore -
10. ch'or ANGIOL or DEMONIO appare, come
11. TEMPRAR sannosi altrui sotto mia STELLA.

12. Tu IMPERATRICE ai corpi sei, ma un cuore
13. benchè SOSPENDI, non uccidi, e un nome
14. sol d'alta fama tienti una BAGATELLA.


... it would be better if I understood the meaning of the poem!

Questions:
A. Who speaks first? This is a dialogue between Love and Death, but it is not clear who asks the initial question (verses 5 and 6) The subject of the first four verses is Love, so from the grammatical point of view it would make more sense if the question were asked by Love. But what does it mean that no Pope ever surrendered to (or was won by) Death? And in the other case, what does it mean that no Pope was ever won by Love? The only (legendary) Popess we know of definitely was won by Love...

B. Who answers? We don't know who asks the question, so we don't know who speaks at verses 7 and 8. From verse 9 to the end, it is clear that Love is speaking. At line 9, the literal translation would be "said Love", instead of "continued Love". It is not clear that at verses 7 and 8 Love is speaking.

C. At line 9 Love is speaking, and he says “Sciocco” (masculine for fool). But Death (Morte) if feminine, and she is always addressed with feminine terms (“orrenda”, “bruna”, “Imperatrice”). How do you interpret the fact that in this case the masculine is used?
The gist of the poem seems pretty clear, although some of the English translations are too free and and therefore line-to-line comparisons are obscured. That makes it difficult for folks like me to follow, but the basic idea seems pretty clear.

Cupid [the boy], under whose Imperium [Emperor] many imprese pass outside of Time and Fortune, saw Death [the woman] on a Chariot, ugly and dark, going with the people of the World she took away. She asked the boy, by what Justice is it that no Pope nor Popess succumbed to Cupid's powers. [In other words, how is it that the clergy remain chaste?] The boy replied, He who made the Sun and Moon [i.e., God] protected them from my Strength. You are a Fool. My Fire, the boy continued, can be Tempered by those who live under my Star. You are the Empress only of bodies, not of hearts. You only suspend them. You have a name of great Fame, but you are only a Bagatella.

Love saw a pageant of Death, was challenged by Death's impertinent question, and started trash-talking in response.

Amor is disrespecting Morte.

At least, that is a very simple and intelligible reading, and appears (to illiterate moi) consistent with the text. As to how it is translated, literally, freely, or somewhere between, that's another matter. What I would most like to see is one of each -- a free translation and a line-by-line version to explain the reasons for the free translation.

With regard to the gender of the Fool... one could play with the reading and punctuation, make that statement an interjection by Death, but Love's preceding statement doesn't seem foolish unless it too is interpreted rather differently.

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. This may be too obvious to mention, but Cupid/Amor's reference to "my Star" would refer to Venus. However, it seems unlikely that such details add to the overall understanding of the poem. The author was VERY free with his use of the trump subjects, such as turning Lightning or the Fire from Heaven into the fire of Love, calling Death the Empress and Charlatan (Bagatella), and so on, clearly indicates that the challenge was simply to employ all the subjects in a reasonably coherent fashion. And the theme used to connect those subjects was Death taunting Love, then getting slapped down in turn.
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: going back to Folengo

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Hi, Marco,

Okay, let me try. I'm obviously way over my head, and can only attempt a free translation based on others translations, (mainly yours), but it may be useful as a point of reference for others to criticize, improve, or compare to their own readings.

1. AMOR, sotto'l cui IMPERO molte imprese
2. van senza TEMPO sciolte da FORTUNA
3. vide MORTE su'l CARRO orrenda e bruna
4. volger fra quanta gente al MONDO prese.

Cupid, under whose Imperium many deeds pass beyond Time and Fortune, saw Death on a Chariot, ugly and dark, going with the people of the World she took away.

This refers to Love's sovereignty over Mankind, conferring a fame that triumphs over Time and Fortune. This also refers to a female personification of Death, as in Petrarch and some Triumph of Death illustrations. These various allegories and their varying triumphs over each other are themes of Petrarch, Boccaccio, and many subsequent writers and artists. They are common currency of the day.

5. - Per qual GIUSTIZIA – disse -a te si rese
6. né PAPA mai, né s'è PAPESSA alcuna? -
7. Rispose: - chi col SOL fece la LUNA
8. tolse contro mie FORZE lor difese.

She [Death] asked, "By what Justice is it that no Pope nor Popess is won by you?" He [Cupid] replied, "He who made the Sun and the Moon protected them from my Strength."

Death challenges Cupid, noting that Death's power is universal and in that sense just -- Death is the great leveler -- whereas some escape the power of Love. The assumption here is that the clergy are chaste, and that is confirmed by Cupid's reply, noting that God protects them. It is in that sense respectful of the Church.

9. - SCIOCCO, qual sei, (è) quel FOCO - disse Amore -
10. ch'or ANGIOL or DEMONIO appare, come
11. TEMPRAR sannosi altrui sotto mia STELLA.

"You are a Fool; my Fire", continued Cupid, "that can seem as Angel or Devil, can be Tempered by those who live under my Star."

This can be taken two ways. While one reading has Love as Cupid/Amor and the Star as Venus, it is also true that "Deus Caritas Es" (1-Jn 4:16), God is Love, and Jesus is the Star: "A star shall rise out of Jacob and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel", (Num 24:17); "I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star", (Apoc 22:16). Thus, the poem works on either the Humanist or the Christian levels.

12. Tu IMPERATRICE ai corpi sei, ma un cuore
13. benchè SOSPENDI, non uccidi, e un nome
14. sol d'alta fama tienti una BAGATELLA.

"You are Empress of bodies, but you cannot kill hearts, you only Suspend them. You have a name of great fame, but you are only a Charlatan."

As Mary put it last year, although Death rules the physical body, Love never dies and therefore death is but a sham. This is a charming secular sentiment, or a profound religious one. The great problem with the religious reading is that it makes hash of the line, "God protected them from my Strength". Therefore, that religious reading can only be a secondary allusion at best.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: going back to Folengo

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Michael,
thank you for your comments.

I provide here a literal translation, hoping that it can still be understood by English speaking people :)

Love, under whose Empire many deeds
go without Time disjoint from Fortune,
saw Death on the Chariot, ugly and dark,
going between all the people she took away from the World .

"By what Justice”, [she / he] said, “did no Pope nor any Popess
ever surrender to you?"
[He / She] replied, "He who made the Sun with the Moon
took their defence against my Strength."

"You are a Fool! that Fire", said Love,
“that now as Angel now as Devil seems, how
to Temper know others under my Star."

"You are Empress of bodies, but an heart
though you Suspend, you do not kill, and a name
[only / sun] of high Fame consider yourself a Trifle."


I agree that your interpretation makes a lot of sense. In particular, I agree that Amor is disrespecting Morte. In the last six verses he calls her a Fool and a Charlatan (BTW, also Bagatella is used as masculine: "un Bagatella"). It is very likely that the sonnet is hard to read because it was hard to write: fitting all the trumps in it must have been difficult. Folengo completely disregards the meaning of the trumps, he is only using the words corresponding to their names. Fire, Suspend, Strength, Empire and Empress are all used with a meaning that is different from that of the corresponding card.

I am still not convinced about the "only" / "sun" ambiguity. Translating "you have a name of great fame", "you have" is missing from the Italian text. On the other hand, some punctuation would be needed after Fame, to make the other interpretation more clear. Yesterday I have checked Berti's "Storia dei Tarocchi" and seen that he translates the Vieville "SOL FAMA" as "Sole della fama" (Sun of Fame).

I also think that "altrui" (other people) at verse 11 is important. At lines 7 and 8, Love answers to the specific question by Death about Pope and Popess. From a certain point of view, the question is a good one, and receives a theological answer. From another point of view, the question is foolish, because it implies that only Popes and Popesses are not conquered by Love: this is not true. Love considers himself better than Death because, thanks to Temperance, people can live with him, under his star. Without having to fight as they have to do against Death (who anyway is not able to kill their hearts / souls).

Marco

Re: going back to Folengo

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I agree with both of you that the general sense is clear, but I still have particular ambiguities. Michael, you'll be happy to know that in the Renda edition (the only one with this part of the Caos I think (emended to say - no, it's in Portioli 1889 too, but apparently pretty defectively)), in the margin as a gloss to "mia Stella" it reads "Venere" (these must be Folengo's own glosses as printed in the first edition).

What does "tienti" mean in this last line? (keep, stay, hold to?). I can't get the exact verb form - isn't it tenere? And Bagatella - I think "trifle" would be better than "trickster" or "charlatan" (I don't know for sure, but I have the impression that Bagatella isn't a word describing a person/ job description).

So, maybe
"You are Empress of bodies, but although you
can Hang a heart, you can't kill it, and (you are) only
a name of high fame: you remain a trifle."

I'm copying out the context of the sonnet from Folengo for fuller discussion.

Ross
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Re: going back to Folengo

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Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:That's great Marco - I just noticed you had the exact same thought I did about the meaning of "bagatella"!

Am I to take the "ti" of "tienti" as a reflexive suffix of some sort - "hold yourself"? (hence "consider yourself" "you hold yourself to be important, but you are only a trifle.")
:) I am trying to make the translation in the previous post as literal as possible. I agree that a Trifle is more appropriate to Bagatella, even if that word is so hard to translate that possibly it would be better to leave it as it is "Bagat" or something.

About "tienti", you are right. It is a reflexive imperative from "tenere". The modern form would be "tieniti" i.e. "tieni te". Keep yourself. I am quite sure that in this context it means: consider yourself (a Trifle).

I would like to see an older version of this text. I am quite sure the two versions I have seen on the web are not reliable. In particular
http://www.bibliotecaitaliana.it/reposi ... 6_0315.jpg
adds a meaningless "è" in verse 9.

Marco

Re: going back to Folengo

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marco wrote: About "tienti", you are right. It is a reflexive imperative from "tenere". The modern form would be "tieniti" i.e. "tieni te". Keep yourself. I am quite sure that in this context it means: consider yourself (a Trifle).
Excellent - so yes, as imperative, it is saying "you have... only a name of high fame: (but) consider yourself merely a trifle." Love is dismissing Death contemptuously.
I would like to see an older version of this text. I am quite sure the two versions I have seen on the web are not reliable. In particular
http://www.bibliotecaitaliana.it/reposi ... 6_0315.jpg
adds a meaningless "è" in verse 9.

Marco
The Cordié edition of the Caos del Triperuno that I have (Opere di Teofilo Folengo, Milan, Riccardo Ricciardi, 1977), doesn't print the second dialogue of this Selva, being based on the 1527 Venice edition, which omitted it (the edition passes silently from the first to the third dialogue). In the critical notes at the end he mentions the 1526 (first) edition, however, which has the whole section:
L'editio princeps, secondo un rarissimo esemplare della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Fondo Rossiano 6848, è stato segnalato e illustrato da Carlo Filosa, Intorno all' "editio princeps" del "Caos del Triperuno" (nel volume dello stesso autore Nuove ricerche e studi su Teofilo Folengo, Venezia, Libreria Emiliana Editrice, 1953, pp. 5-18).

Il Caos, a opera dei medesimi stampatori (the Sabio brothers), uscì nel 1546. Tale edizione reca il testo completo del famoso sonetto politico Luna, Appiccato, Papa, Imperatore, Papessa che si legge completo nell'edizione del 1526, ma non in quella del 1527, dove è lacunoso.

Riproduzione meccanica dell'edizione del 1546 (come si nota da varietà grafiche e da refusi non emendati) è quella inserita da A. Portioli nella sua citata silloge de Le opere maccheroniche di Merlin Cocai, al volume III (Mantova, Casa Editrice G. Mondovi, 1889), parte II, con propria numerazione pp. IV-I/204. Non sono riprodotte le glosse marginali.
This Portioli edition, using the 1546 text, is the one used by Renier (your first link).

Given the differences in text, I presume that the Renda edition uses instead the editio princeps. The lack of marginal glosses in Portioli might be a clue that this is the case, so the redundant "è" in Renda might be his misprint or a misprint from the original 1526 edition.

Ross
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