Quotations by Ariosto, Ludovico


Of ladies, knights, of passions and of wars,
of courtliness, and of valiant deeds I sing.

[Le donne i cavallier, l’arme, gli amori,
Le cortesie, l’audaci imprese io canto.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 1, st. 1 (1532) [tr. Slavitt]

Alt. trans.:
  • "Dames, knights, and arms, and love! the deeds that spring / From courteous minds, and venturous feats, I sing!" [tr. Hoole (1807)]
  • "Of loves and ladies, knights and arms, I sing, / Of courtesies, and many a daring feat ...." [tr. Rose (1831)]
Added on 13-Apr-20 | Last updated 13-Apr-20
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For when the water is up to your neck you must be truly stubborn not to cry for help.

[Che chi ne l’acqua sta fin’alla gola
Ben’e ostinato se merce non grida.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 1, st. 50, l. 353 (1532) [tr. Waldman]

Alt. trans.:
  • "For who, when circling waters round him spread / And menace present death, impores not aid?" [tr. Hoole (1807)]
  • "For the poor drowning caitiff, who, chin-deep, / Implores not help, is obstinate indeed." [tr. Rose (1831)]
  • "The drowning man who waits to be exhorted / To cry for help must be a man of pride!" [tr. Reynolds (2006)]
Added on 16-Mar-20 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
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What a man sees, Love can make invisible —
And what is invisible, that can Love make him see.

[Quel che l’huom vede Amor gli fa invisibile
E l’invisibil fa vedere Amore.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 1, st. 56 [ll. 396-97] (1532) [tr. Waldman]

Alt. trans.:
  • "Love, what we can see, can from our sight remove, / And things invisible are seen by Love." [tr. Hoole (1807)]
  • "Since love, who sees without one guiding gleam, / Spies in broad day but that which likes him best." [tr. Rose (1831)]
Added on 23-Mar-20 | Last updated 30-Mar-20
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Do not only look
For gentlefolk in castles: everywhere,
In humble dwellings and in haylofts, too,
The hearts of men are often kind and true.

[Che non pur per cittadi e per castella,
Ma per tuguri ancora e per fenili
Spesso si trovan gli uomini gentili.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 14, st. 62 (1532) [tr. Reynolds (1973)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "For not alone dwells Hospitality / In court and city; but ofttimes we find / In loft and cottage men of gentle kind." [tr. Rose (1831)]
Added on 30-Mar-20 | Last updated 30-Mar-20
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Ill doers in the end shall ill receive.

[Chi mal opra, male al fine aspetta.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 37, st. 106, l. 6 (1532) [tr. Rose (1831)]
    (Source)
Added on 4-May-20 | Last updated 4-May-20
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As nought good endures beneath the skies,
So ill endures no more.

[Come cosa buona non si trova
Che duri sempre, così ancor né ria.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 37, st. 7 (1532) [tr. Rose (1831)]
    (Source)

Alt trans.: "For learn this truth, by just experience found, / Nor good, nor ill has one eternal round." [tr. Hoole (1807), l. 51]
Added on 20-Apr-20 | Last updated 20-Apr-20
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Want is a master which can sometimes make
A man the gravest sacrilege commit.

[Perché il bisogno a dispogliar gli altari
ra’ l’uom talvolta, che sel trova avere.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 43, st. 90 (1532) [tr. Reynolds (1973)]

Alt. trans.: "For man, alas, will sometimes disarray / The altar, when he finds himself in need ...." [tr. Rose (1831)]
Added on 11-May-20 | Last updated 11-May-20
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From history’s examples we conclude,
And modern instances teach us the same:
Good follows Evil, Evil follows Good,
Shame ends in glory, glory ends in shame.
Thus it is evident that no man should
Put trust in victories or wealth or fame,
Nor yet despair if Fortune is adverse:
She turns her wheel for better, as for worse.

Si vede per gli esempi di che piene
Sono l’antiche e le moderne istorie,
Che ‘l ben va dietro al male, e ‘l male al bene,
E fin son l’un de l’altro e biasmi e glorie;
E che fidarsi a l’uom non si conviene
In suo tesor, suo regno e sue vittorie,
Né disperarsi per Fortuna avversa,
Che sempre la sua ruota in giro versa.

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 45, st. 4 (1532) [tr. Reynolds (1973)]

Alt. trans. [Rose (1831)]:
'Tis plain to sight, through instances that fill
The page of ancient and of modern story,
That ill succeeds to good, and good to ill;
That glory ends in shame, and shame in glory;
And that man should not trust, deluded still,
In riches, realm, or field of battle, gory
With hostile blood, nor yet despair, for spurns
Of Fortune; since her wheel for ever turns.
Added on 18-May-20 | Last updated 18-May-20
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Man proposes, and God disposes.

[Ordina l’uomo e Dio dispone.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 46, st. 35 (1532)
    (Source)
Added on 26-May-20 | Last updated 26-May-20
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