Giuseppe Gioachino BELLI

Subbito c'un zovrano de la terra
Crede c'un antro j'abbi tocco un fico,
Disce ar popolo suo: “Tu sei nimmico
Der tale o der tar re; ffàjje la guerra.”

E er popolo, per sfugge la galerra
O cquarc'antra grazzietta che nnun dico,
Pijja lo schioppo, e vviaggia com'un prico
Che spedischino in Francia o in Inghirterra.

Ccusì, pe li crapicci d'una corte
Ste pecore aritorneno alla stalla
Co mmezza testa e cco le gamme storte.

E cco le vite sce se ggiuca a ppalla,
Come quela puttana de la morte
Nun vienissi da lei senza scercalla.
23 maggio 1834

As soon as a sovereign of the world,
Thinks another king touched him a trifle,
He tells his people: “This or that king
Is your enemy: let make war on him.”

And the people, just to escape the jail
Or some other cuddle I don't tell,
Takes his musket, and travel as a parcel
That is shipped to England or to France.

Then, for the caprice of a palace
These sheep return towards their fold
With splitted head and twisted legs.

So they play ball with your lives,
As if that bitch death didn't come
By herself without seeking her.
May 23th 1834

From: Giuseppe Gioachino BELLI – Er Giorno der Giudizzio. Edited by Giorgio Vigolo. Mondadori, Milan, Italy, 1952
translation: Andrea Gaddini

Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791-1863) is the most important poet in Roman dialect (called "Romanesco"), even if he also wrote poems in Italian language.
Belli wrote more than 2,000 sonnets in Romanesco, like the one you can read above, which are his masterpiece.

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   page created: April 10th 2014 and last updated: April 25th 2014