The Sovrans of the Old World

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Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

The Sovrans of the Old World (Italian original title: Li soprani der monno vecchio) is an 1831 sonnet in the Romanesco dialect of Rome, by Italian poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli. It is part of the collection Sonetti romaneschi, sometimes listed as number 361[2][3][4] or 362.[5][6][7]

Content[edit]

Il Marchese del Grillo, film directed by Mario Monicelli in which Alberto Sordi plays the famous words of the sonnet

The short satirical content shows, but in a real way, the Italian situation in 1800. However Belli, analyzing aspects of raw and crude politics of his time, traces the history of the whole of Italy, and especially of his people from the moment they began to suffer losses and invasions by other peoples. In fact, in the sonnet a voice in the third person, tells of how power functions in our society. A king one day his vassals condemned deprived of all his possessions quest and when asked why, replied the monarch with a vulgar phrase, but a living reality. Thus Belli from this brief anecdote part to analyze the particular condition of the populace and mediocre Italian which, because of its same condition of choice, is always found to suffer and to keep the head bent in front of who is more powerful. As it says in the sonnet the author, who is not a Pope, King or Emperor in our society, and that counts for nothing less than the earth we walk. And so, returning to speak feudal monarch, warns the people who dared to question his statutes and cruelty that was out of the mouth, it would have been put to death, because perhaps the Executioner was the only honest work to do, if you had not powerful, says the king. And the people, stupid, inferior, stupid and gullible, cheering applauding the king's words.

Among the translators of the sonnet, Peter Nicholas Dale, which translated it into Strine, the Australian English dialect of the 1960s, in which title is rendered as The Lieders a the Old World.[8]

The verse Io sò io, e vvoi nun zete un cazzo (literally "I am I, and you are fucking nothing") was famously appropriated by Mario Monicelli in his 1981 movie Il Marchese del Grillo, in which it is rendered in modern Romanesco dialect as "io sò io e voi nun siete un cazzo,"[9] and has since then become a frequent quote of contemporary Italian culture.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Translation from Norse (1956)
  2. ^ Coarelli (2000) pp.14-5 quote:

    La «turba» che forma il coro plaudente alle banali sciocchezze pronunciate dal papa rappresenta, piuttosto che una generica opinione pubblica, la cultura ufficiale dei «cento archidetti e antiquari della corte» presenti alla scena, la legione degli «intellettuali» cortigiani proni all'adulazione e al servilismo (ieri come oggi), immortalati forse anche nel sonetto 361 (Li soprani der monno vecchio) dove, l'affermazione perentoria del re «Io so io, e voi nun zete un cazzo», trova l'immediato consenso dei sudditi «è vero, è vero»

  3. ^ Giordani (1975) quote:

    Dei tre sonetti favolistici (Li soprani der monno vecchio, 361; Uelezzione nova, 1393; La favola der lupo, 1567) leggeremo il primo, che è direttamente ispirato alla reazione europea dopo il '31.

  4. ^ Muscetta (2002) p.151
  5. ^ Vighi (1992) p.290
  6. ^ Teodonio (1991) p.141
  7. ^ Malato (1998) p.1015
  8. ^ [1] [2]
  9. ^ Monicelli (2009) quote:

    Monicelli: "Ricorda la battuta travolgente del Marchese del Grillo: -…io so’ io e voi nun siete un cazzo-"?

    Interviewer: Certo. Monicelli: "Quello è un sonetto del Belli. Se scrivi qualcosa su Roma il Belli non lo puoi non conoscere"

    .
  10. ^ Berselli (2010) quote:

    Intanto Berlusconi prosegue nella sua partita ideologica. Ha plasmato la società italiana facendole capire che leggi e regole non sono niente (proprio come il marchese del Grillo, “io so’ io e voi nun siete un cazzo”).

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]