[Milton-L] The Creaxion offa World

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Tue Jun 25 16:13:26 EDT 2013

Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791 - 1863) has been the greatest poet in
the dialect of Rome together with Carlo Alberto Salustri aka Trilussa
(1871 - 1950). His 'serious' works, now forgotten, included many
religious subjects, but what gave him immortality in the Temple of
Italian Poetry are his satirical sonnets, more than 2,000, written in
an untranslatable people's language, which anyway often deal with
religious Biblical and Christian topics in a (then) shocking and
(still) brilliant way. As a sample, here's GG Belli's "La creazzione
der monno," sort of "The Creaxion offa World," unfortunately here
rendered in a quite flat English. It was written in Terni, midway
between Rome and Perugia where I live, on October 4, 1831.

L'anno che Ggesucristo impastò er monno,
Ché ppe impastallo ggià cc'era la pasta,
Verde lo vorze fà, ggrosso e rritonno,
All'uso d'un cocomero de tasta.

Fesce un zole, una luna, e un mappamonno,
Ma de le stelle poi di' una catasta:
Sù uscelli, bbestie immezzo, e ppesci in fonno:
Piantò le piante, e ddoppo disse: "Abbasta".

Me scordavo de dì cche ccreò ll'omo,
E coll'omo la donna, Adamo e Eva;
E jje proibbì de nun toccajje un pomo.

Ma appena che a mmagnà ll'ebbe viduti,
Strillò per dio con cuanta vosce aveva:
"Ommini da venì, sséte futtuti".

- - - - -

The year Jesus Christ kneaded the world
- And to knead it, the dough was there already -
He decided to made it green and big and round
Just like a watermelon, well ripe.

He made a sun, a moon, and a world map,
But the stars, you may say in heaps:
Birds above, beasts in the midst, fish below;
He planted plants, and then He said, "Now stop."

I almost forgot to say He created man too,
And with man the woman, Adam and Eve;
And He forbade them to touch an apple of His.

But as soon as He saw them eating,
He - by God! - cried with all of His voice:
"Men to come, you are fu**d!"

The most interesting detail is perhaps the fact that "the dough was
already there": any reference to Milton? Belli was an employee of the
then Papal State, that occupied the central part of Italy, but he, or
a side of him at least liked to joke not only with superstition but
also with Catholic tenets, and his readings were of many kinds . . .
Meanwhile, in 1811, the most classic Italian translation of PL had
been published.

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