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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Renaissance made it better

Qui mira e qui ti specchia,
secol superbo e sciocco,
che il calle insino allora
dal risorto pensier segnato innanti
abbandonasti, e volti addietro i passi,
del ritornar ti vanti,
e procedere il chiami.
---from Giacomo Leopardi, La Ginestra ("The Broom," 1836)

Look here (*) as in your mirror,
you proud and silly century
who left the path until then
marked by the risen thought, (**)
and by taking backward steps, (***)
you boast about moving back
while defining it "advancement."

(*) The towns destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in the year 79 AD.
(**) The Renaissance, paraphrasing the Risen Christ in a secular key.
(***) See Dante, Purgatorio 10.123.