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Anna Akhmatova – Dante

Frederic Leighton, Dante in exile, 1864

He did not return, even after his death, to
 that ancient city he was rooted in.
Going away, he did not pause for breath
 nor look back. My song is for him.
 Torches, night, a last embrace,
fate, a wild howl, at his threshold.
Out of hell he sent her his curse
 and in heaven could not forget her.
But never in a penitential shirt did
 he walk with a lighted candle and barefoot
 through beloved Florence he could not betray,
perfidious, base, and self-deserted.

Neppure dopo morto ritornò
 nella sua vecchia Firenze.
Partendo non si volse indietro,
 ed io a lui canto questo canto.
Fiaccole, notte, ultimo abbraccio,
 oltre la soglia, selvaggio il grido del destino.
 Le scagliò dall’ inferno il suo anatema,
 non la potè scordare in paradiso.
 Ma scalzo, in panni da penitente
 e cero acceso, non passò mai
 per la sua Firenze agognata,
 perfida, vile, attesa così a lungo.