FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || FLORIN WEBSITE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New: Dante vivo || White Silence



AUREO ANELLO POETS' CORNER




Because our English Cemetery in Florence, like that in Rome, inspires so many poets we have decided to create a Poets' Corner. We welcome poems and offerings from all over the world that they may come to rest here, flowering anew and travel again throughout the globe.

Our first is an Italian, Bianca Maria Quadri, who brought to our library this scrapbook based on Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry about Florence.








This last reflecting also Elizabeth's poem 'The Musical Instrument' and its figure of the god Pan. For which see http://www.florin.ms/ebbdeath.html and its discussion of Lord Leighton's designs for her tomb.



Our second is also Italian, by Fabio degl'Innocenti of Ponte a Ema, where Claire Claremont is buried.

Il Cimitero degli Inglesi

Sorge sopra una montagnola
discarica del centro storico
Ha forma d'uovo
fasciato con nastro di asfalto

Ci introduca una suorina
morbida
come le tate de cartoons.
Sosto dinanzi alla tomba di E.B.B.
da cui evaporano
appena evocati
i suoi indimenticati versi
E se devi amare per null'altro sia
che per amore.

Il carosella di auto
si ferma ad ascoltare
Il sole prima scontroso
si accende nel mattino.


Our third is English, and from long ago:

Florence: The English Cemetery

Not the place for a photograph: best to settle
Instead for a well-picked phrase, just to maintain
That all is as the guide book said. A plain
Truth, like the camera, can only lie a little.

Here, even the light stagnates in the iron angles
Of railings and even the marble stains
Less easily than the memory. A soft rain's
Tingle is sharper than all their lives' titles.

One Browning, Landor, Clough, the details run
Like an anthology of minor verse
With pages yet uncut. As the stiff gates slam
Comes a thin bell-note through the winter sun.
Our practised phrase reckoning their germ of grace,
Summing each life up, terse as an epigram.

Donald Thomas, The Times Literary Supplement, 19 October 1962.
Contributed, Mark Roberts, Harold Acton Library, Florence

Then Monica Negri gave us her book Di questo immenso fragilità (Firenze: Phasar Editoriale, 2007) in which is this poem:

Il Cimitero degli Inglesi (com'era)

I libri raccolto nel braccio
traversi leggera i sentieri
leggendo quei nomi scolpit
da tempo su pietra corrosa.
D'intorno colori a dozzine
di fiori e di prati inattesi
disegnano spicchi di luce
tra il grigio di lapidi scure.
Seduta tra nomi lontani
si muove la penna distratta
da voli di insetti già sazi
posati su petali in fiore.
Trascorre lo sguardo stupito
mancando qualunque presenza
o suoni di voci ammirate
di un angolo unico al mondo.
I libri raccolti nel braccio
un mazzo di fiori di lilla
le ombre più lunghe e sottili
traversi il cancelo al tramonto,

I then composed the following:

Greek Epitaphs for Tombs in
Florence's Swiss-Owned 'English' Cemetery


I, wife to Mr Browning, mother to Pen,
lay my weary bones here.
Many poems I wrote to him.
He one of murdering me.

I, Hiram, of Vermont and Cincinnatti,
sculpted 'America', the 'Greek
Slave', the 'Last of her Tribe'.
A Swedenborgian, I hated slavery.

I, Nadezhda De Santis, came
to Florence from Nubia at fourteen,
a Black Slave.

I, Elizabeth Shinner, maid
to the Trollopes, was given by
them a fine funeral
and touching epitaph. Read it.

I am Theodore Parker,
preacher against slavery.
To my grave came
Frederick Douglass.

I, Maurice Baruch,
librarian at Holy Trinity,
loved books
and am a blessing.

I, James Lorimer Graham,
American, my bones shattered
in shipwreck, give all
my books and art to New York's
Century Club.

I am Isa, friend to Browning,
friend to India's Viceroy,
friend to all, but none
would marry me.

John Sinclair of Edinburgh
I am, son of a soldier,
a soldier. Another John
Sinclair joins me here
in Florence

I am William Somerville. My
wife Mary discovered two
planets for which I and
her son are members of
the Royal Society.

I am Louisa Adams Kuhn.
Read of my dying in my brother
Henry's book, its 'Chaos' chapter.

Southwood Smith, doctor, am I,
who worked against employing,
abusing, children in mines and
factories. Read my epitaph
by Leigh Hunt.

I could not face celibacy,
I could not face marriage.
Arthur Hugh Clough am I,
beneath Champollion's
winged globe.

I, Henry Savage Landor,
journey Everywhere,
then die where I was
born.

I, Robert Davidsohn,
write Florence's history
out from her archives. Read my books
to understand Dante.

I am Theodosia Garrow Trollope.
My mother Hebrew, my father
the son of an Indian princess,
my daughter Bice.

I, Walter Savage Landor,
wrote many quatrains for
my tomb. Instead, Algernon
Swinburne's epitaph
is on it.

I, Giampietro Vieusseux,
work for Florentine freedom,
but do not let women enter
my reading room.


I am Major William Sewell,
son of a king, friend to a
fellow soldier, husband
of Georgina.

I stepped out of Jane Austen's
pages, came to Florence
to die in childbirth.
Sarah MacCalmont
is my name.

My husband paints me,
sculpts my tomb, my son
Benoni lives, I am Fanny
Holman Hunt.
                                                     JBH


Next Anna Vicente sent us from Lisbon her ancestor Bessie Rayner Parkes' (1829-1925) Poems, published in 1854, one on Elizabeth Barrett Browning, another on Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D.


To Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I was a child when first I read your books,
And loved you dearly, so far as I could see
Your obvious meanings, your more subtle depths
Being then (as still, perhaps,) a mystery.
I had no awe of you, so much does love,
In simple daring, all shy fears transcend;
And when they told me, 'You shall travel south',
I chiefly though, 'In Florence dwells my friend!'
In those first days I seldom heard your name,
You seem'd in my strange fancy all my own,
Or else as if you were some saint in Heaven
Whose image took my bookcase for a throne.
As time went on, your words flew far and wide,
I heard them quoted, critically scann'd
With grave intentness, learnt, half mournfully,
That you were a great Poet in the land,
So far, so far from me, who loved you so,
And never might one human blessing claim;
Yet oh! how I rejoiced that you were great,
And all my heart exulted in your fame;
A woman's fame, and yours! I use no words
Of any careful beauty, being plain
As earnestness, and quiet as that Truth
Which shrinks from any flattering speech with pain.
Indeed, I should not dare - but that this love,
Long nursed, demands expression, and alone
Speaks by love's dear strength - to approach near you
In words so weak and poor beside your own.


And ninety-year-old Inger Laub, now living in retirement in England, who had studied at the school which is now Villa Donatello, sent us her painting she had done in the archway of the Gatehouse, in Mussolini's time:




In 2012 arrived

L'Isola dei Morti

Chiamata dei morti è l'isola strana,
non scogli aguzzi né verde del mare,
né spersa nei luoghi scoperti recente
è nella Florentia un canto centrale.

lì volgo lo sguardo distoglie affrettato:
pensare non puote se non al passato,
scorgendo il cancello da un secolo chiuso
prosegue credendo la morte aggirare:

illustri persone dimoran là sotto
c'é chi riposando sta steso cent'anni,
nessuno arriva dai tempo lontano
perchè il cimitero è stato serrato.

Vialetto lasciato a triste destino,
poiché raccontano di storie hai tante,
permettimi ora il triste cammino
tra anime queste che io vedo sante:

guardando la tomba di un giovan bambino
le lacrime scorron se amico mi fu
ma lui è vissuto un quei giorni sano
e scivola mano su quel vbianco marmo:

corolla di fiori che tocco sfiorando
io chiedo soltanto risposta verace,
su come il candore tyu hai conservato
restando fiorita parvendo la vita

risposta non giunge o fiore silente
ma vedo dei cocci cader come foglie
e allora capisco che nel tuo mutare
mai secca sarai ma polvere opaca:

distolgo la mano salvarti tentando:
malgrado la morte non ha il nero manto
scandisca la falce raschiando sicura,
il cerchio si chiude l'origini tornano.

Nicole Cassandra Riva

Not only do we seek poets' offerings for this web page; we also hope to turn our Cemetery as well into a sculpture garden and a poetry garden, such as I once saw in Ireland. Already we have placed plaques with lines from EBB's poems on our Gatehouse walls. Next we should like to place quatrains by Walter Savage Landor about the place.

My favourite among them:

Death stands above me, whispering low
  I know not what into my ear;
Of his strange language all I know
  Is, there is not a word of fear.

See also Epitaphs, Italian Sonnet, Poems Pennyeach

And hear http://www.umilta.net/poemspennyeach.mp3


FLORIN WEBSITE © JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || FLORIN WEBSITE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New: Dante vivo || White Silence