[Sca-cooks] On the poor diet of a son away in the city

Daniel & Elizabeth Phelps dephelps at embarqmail.com
Sun Dec 20 12:07:02 PST 2009

>>  Costor vissuti sono un mese e pine
>> a noci, a fichi, a fave, a carne secca;
>> tal ch'ella fia malizia e non cilecca
>> el far si lunga stanza costa' sue.
>>  Come 'l bue fiesolan guarda a l'ingiue
>> Arno, assetato, e' mocci se ne lecca,
>> cosi fanno ei l'uova ch'ha la trecca
>> e, col beccaio del castrone, e del bue.
Was requested:
> Funny passage. Citation, if possible?
Found it in "The Life of Niccolo Machiavelli" by Roberto Ridolfi on pages 34 
and 35.  It is part of a sonnet written by Niccolo to his father regards the 
occasion of the father having sent in from the country the gift of a fat 
goose because he worries about his son's city diet of dried meat and dried 
fruit or even just "bread and the taste of the knife".  The quote is 
incomplete and after skipping a bit, presumably including the part about the 
bread and knife, it ends with:

Al fin del giuoco pol,
messer Bernardo mio, vol comprerete
paperi ed oche e non ne mangerete.

In the end you, messer Bernardo, will be buying ducks and geese and not 
eating any yourself.

The edition I have is an English translation from the Italian and the sense 
of some of the passages regards the sonnet are complicated by the fact that 
Niccolo's brother-in-law appears to have been named Bernardo as well.

The foot note in its regard, lacking in clarification, states:

The sonnet, "A messer Bernardo suo padre, in villa a S. Casciano", is in 
Opp. MC, p 870, where lines 15-17  should more correctly read;

Dite a quel mio fratello
che venga a trionfar con esso noi
l'oca che avemmo giovedi da voi.

Sorry but I cannot find my Italian/English Dictionary, so no translation of 
the passage.  French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Breton to English 
dictionaries are all on the shelf but where the Italian has gotten to I do 
not know.

The book lacks a bibliography as such but does say Opp. MC.=Niccolo 
Machiavelli, Tutte le opere storiche e letterarie, ed, Guido Mazzoni and 
Mario Casella, Florence, G. Barbera, 1929.


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