By John M. Ganim, Shayne Aaron Legassie (eds.)
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E se lo f lore te plaxe plu de lo fructo aleçi lo f lore. per lo f lore tu di intendere la materia del libro la quale e asai bella e deletevele de audire. per lo fructo tu di intendere la utilite ela maistramento che nase [fol. 3v] e che segue de la materia. Che si como lo f lore ingenera e parturisse lo fructo cosi la materia li amaistramenti e li belli notabili . . Et avegna deo che le parole siano leve e quasi nude de utilitade e per amor de ço elle portano honesto incarego de costumi e de T H E M E T ROP OL I S A N D I T S L A NG UAG E S 31 amaistramenti [fol.
19 Italians adopted Occitan for the writing of lyric poetry. 20 French, too, was used as a literary language in the Veneto—in a regional varietal, with a large pinch of Italian coloring. 23 Marco Polo’s book about his travels to the east was written in French (and only later translated into Italian) by a ghostwriter whom Marco had met when they were imprisoned by the Genoese, Rustichello da Pisa. The choice of language allowed them to market the work to both domestic and international audiences.
Most striking, however, is the compound nature of the text. 26 Such a splendid wealth of wisdom! Surely the complexity of the work—the combination of languages, of prose and poetry—gives multiple meaning to this passage, from the translator’s Italian gloss on Gualterus’s introductory poem about allegory: [fol. 3r] Questo ortese lo parturese insembrementre lo fructo con lo f lore. lo f lore elo fructo. acquista et acompera lo favore. Questo çoe lo f lore resp[l]ende et ole. Equelo çoe lo fructo si e bono e dolce da gustare.