Archive for January 16th, 2019

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

A.N. to Niccolò de Facina of Vicenza, who suspected that she had not composed the poem she sent to him, but had borrowed it from elsewhere by Angela Nogarola

It does not please me to place others’ clothes
On my limbs and to circle my arms with another’s
Light feathers: I know the story of the painted crow.
Nor do I care to mount the praises for virtue
and to ascribe the laurels of the ancient poets to myself.
I have modesty and love of virtue and decorum of thought.
But no wonder moves my mind, that (the lines)
are not thought by anyone (?) to have been forged by my bellows
and are denied to have been made in my ancestral…
For the cohorts of women begin their practice,
because in modern times it is said no women has tasted
the Gorgons’ waters and heard the learned sisters,
But Nature, creator of all with equal reason,
you are said to form the male and female soul equally
and are accustomed to infuse them with equal minds.
Therefore, you do not need, O woman, to call on the ancient poets.
Nature’s gift has endowed both sexes.

From: Parker, Holt N., “Angela Nogarola (ca. 1400) and Isotta Nogarola (1418-1466): Thieves of Language” in Churchill, Laurie J., Brown, Phyllis R. and Jeffrey, Jane E., Women Writing Latin: From Roman Antiquity to Early Modern Europe, Volume 3, Early Modern Women Writing Latin, 2002, Routledge: New York, p. 25.

Date: c1400 (original in Latin); 2002 (translation in English)

By: Angela Nogarola (1380-1436)

Translated by: Holt N. Parker (1956- )