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  • The Apparition of Dante
    Page 2
    Continued from page 1

    "'Dante, che eri
    La gran poeta,
    Siei morto, ma vero,
    II tuo spirito
    E sempre rimasto,
    Sempre per nostro
    Nostro aiuto.

    "'Ti chiamo, ti prego !
    E ti scongiuro !
    A voler aiutarmi.
    Questa poesia
    Voglio imparare ;
    Di più ancora,
    Non voglio soltanto
    Imparar la a cantare,
    Ma voglio imparare
    Di mia testa
    Foter le scrivere,
    E cosi venire
    Un bravo poeta !'

    "'Thou Dante, who wert
    Such a great poet,
    Art dead, but thy spirit
    Is truly yet with us,
    Here and to aid us.

    "'I call thee, I pray thee,
    And I conjure thee !
    Give me assistance !
    I would learn perfectly
    All of this poetry.
    And yet, moreover,
    I would not only
    Learn it to sing it,
    But I would learn too
    How I may truly
    From my head write it,
    And become really
    An excellent poet !'

    "And then a form of a man will approach from around the statue (da canto), advancing gently-piano-piano-to the causeway, and will sit on it like any ordinary person, and begin to read the book, and the young man who has invoked the poet will not fail to obtain his wish. And the one who has come from the statue is no other indeed than Dante himself.

    "And it is said that if in any public place of resort or inn (bettola) any poet sings the poems of Dante, he is always present among those who listen, appearing as a gentleman or poor man-secondo il locale-according to the place.

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    Leland, Charles Godfrey. Legends of Florence: Collected from the People And Re-told. New York: Macmillan and Co., 1895. 62-65

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