|(1) Postquam non omnes versificantes, sed tantum excellentissimos, illustre uti vulgare debere astruximus, consequens est astruere, utrum omnia ipso tractanda sint, aut non; et si non omnia, que ipso digna sunt segregatim ostendere.
||(1) Now that I have explained that not all poets, but only the very best of them, should use the illustrious vernacular, it becomes necessary to establish whether or not it can be used to discuss all subjects; and, if not, to show separately which subjects are worthy of it. ||
|(2) Circa quod primo reperiendum est id quod intelligimus per illud quod dicimus dignum. Et dicimus dignum esse quod dignitatem habet, sicut nobile quod nobilitatem; et si cognito habituante habituatum cognoscitur in quantum huiusmodi, cognita dignitate cognoscemus et dignum.
||(2) To this end, it will first be necessary to decide what we mean when we say something is 'worthy'. Now we call 'worthy' that which possesses worthiness, as we do 'noble' that which possesses nobility; and if, having learned to recognise distinguishing features, we can recognise the object they distinguish in so far as it is of its kind, so, having learned to recognise worthiness, we shall also be able to recognise what is worthy. ||
|(3) Est etenim dignitas meritorum effectus sive terminus: ut, cum quis bene meruit, ad boni dignitatem profectum esse dicimus, cum male vero, ad mali; puta bene militantem ad victorie dignitatem, bene autem regentem, ad regni, nec non mendacem ad ruboris dignitatem, et latronem ad eam que est mortis.
||(3) Worthiness is, in fact, the effect or culmination of what one has deserved; so that, when someone has deserved well of us, we say that he has achieved worthiness of good, or, if the contrary is true, of evil. So a good soldier achieves worthiness of victory, or a good ruler of his kingdom, just as a liar achieves worthiness of shame or a thief of death. ||
|(4) Sed cum in bene merentibus fiant comparationes, et in aliis etiam, ut quidam bene, quidam melius, quidam optime -- quidam male, quidam peius, quidam pessime mereantur, et huiusmodi comparationes non fiant nisi per respectum ad terminum meritorum, quem dignitatem dicimus, ut dictum est, manifestum est ut dignitates inter se comparentur secundum magis et minus, ut quedam magne, quedam maiores, quedam maxime sint; et per consequens, aliquid dignum, aliquid dignius, aliquid dignissimum esse constat.
||(4) But, since comparisons can be made among those who have deserved well (as well as among others), so that some deserve well, some better, and some the best (or some badly, some worse, and some the worst), and since comparisons of this kind can only be made on the basis of the culmination of merit that we call worthiness (as has been said), it is plain that degrees of worthiness, greater and lesser, can be established by comparing them with each other, so that some are great, some greater, and some greatest. It follows that some things are worthy, some worthier, and some most worthy. ||
|(5) Et cum comparatio dignitatum non fiat circa idem obiectum, sed circa diversa, ut dignius dicamus quod maioribus, dignissimum quod maximis dignum est, quia nichil eodem dignius esse potest, manifestum est quod optima optimis, secundum rerum exigentiam, digna sunt. Unde cum hoc quod dicimus illustre sit optimum aliorum vulgarium, consequens est ut sola optima digna sint ipso tractari, que quidem tractandorum dignissima nuncupamus. Nunc autem que sint ipsa venemur.
||(5) And since this comparison of degrees of worthiness is not applied to a single object, but to different ones, so that we can call 'worthier' what is worthy of greater things and 'most worthy' what is worthy of the greatest (because nothing can be worthier of the same), it is clear that the best is worthy of the best, according to the intrinsic nature of things. So since the vernacular I call illustrious is the best of all vernaculars, it follows that only the best subjects are worthy to be discussed in it, and those, of the subjects that can be discussed, are the ones we call most worthy. Now, however, let us track down what they are. ||
|(6) Ad quorum evidentiam sciendum est quod sicut homo tripliciter spirituatus est, videlicet vegetabili, animali et rationali, triplex iter perambulat. Nam secundum quod vegetabile quid est, utile querit, in quo cum plantis comunicat; secundum quod animale, delectabile, in quo cum brutis; secundum quod rationale, honestum querit, in quo solus est, vel angelice nature sociatur. Propter hec tria quicquid agimus agere videmur.
||(6) In order to define them accurately, it is necessary first to know that, just as human beings possess a soul with three aspects - vegetative, animal, and rational - so they follow a threefold path. For in so far as they are vegetable beings, they seek the useful, and they have this in common with plants; in so far as they are animal, they seek pleasure, and this they share with beasts; and in so far as they are rational, they seek the good, and in this they stand alone, or may be related to the nature of angels. Clearly, it is in pursuit of these three ends that we do whatever we do; ||
|(7) Et quia in quolibet istorum quedam sunt maiora, quedam maxima, secundum quod talia, que maxima sunt maxime pertractanda videntur, et per consequens maximo vulgari.
||(7) and because in each area there are some things of greater importance and some of greatest, they are to be treated according to their importance, the most important in the loftiest mode and, therefore, in the highest form of vernacular. ||
|(8) Sed disserendum est, que maxima sint. Et primo in eo quod est utile: in quo, si callide consideremus intentum omnium querentium utilitatem, nil aliud quam salutem inveniemus. Secundo, in eo quod est delectabile: in quo dicimus illud esse maxime delectabile quod per preciosissimum obiectum appetitus delectat: hoc autem venus est. Tertio, in eo quod est honestum; in quo nemo dubitat esse virtutem. Quare hec tria, Salus videlicet, Venus et Virtus, apparent esse illa magnalia que sint maxime pertractanda, hoc est ea que maxime sunt ad ista, ut armorum probitas, amoris accensio, et directio voluntatis.
||(8) But we must discuss what these things of greatest importance may be. To begin with what is useful: here, if we carefully ponder the goal of all those who seek what is useful, we will find that it is nothing other than their own well-being. Secondly, what is pleasurable: here I say that what is most pleasurable is what is the most highly valued object of our desires; and this is love. Thirdly, what is good: and here no-one will doubt that the most important thing is virtue. So these three things, well-being, love, and virtue, appear to be those most important subjects that are to be treated in the loftiest style; or at least this is true of the themes most closely associated with them, prowess in arms, ardour in love, and control of one's own will. ||
|(9) Circa que sola, si bene recolimus, illustres viros invenimus vulgariter poetasse; scilicet Bertramum de Bornio, arma; Arnaldum Danielem, amorem; Gerardum de Bornello, rectitudinem; Cinum Pistoriensem, amorem; amicum eius, rectitudinem. Bertramus etenim ait Non posc mudar c'un cantar non exparja. Arnaldus: L'aura amara -- fal bruol brancuz -- clarir. Gerardus: Per solaz reveillar Che s'es trop endormitz. Cinus: Digno sono eo de morte. Amicus eius: Doglia mi reca ne lo core ardire.
Arma vero nullum latium adhuc invenio poetasse.
||(9) On these themes alone, if I remember rightly, we find that illustrious individuals have written poetry in the vernacular: Bertran de Born on arms, Arnaut Daniel on love, Giraut de Borneil on integrity; Cino da Pistoia on love, his friend on integrity. So Bertran says: Non posc mudar c'un cantar non exparia; [I cannot refrain from sending forth my song] Arnaut: L'aura amara fa.l bruol brancuz clarzir [The bitter breeze makes the leafy copses whiten] Giraut: Per solaz reveilar che s'es trop endormiz; [To re-awaken the joys of company which have sunk into too sound a sleep] Cino: Digno sono eo di morte; [I am worthy of death] his friend: Doglia mi reca ne lo core ardire. [Grief brings boldness to my heart] As for arms, I find that no Italian has yet treated them in poetry. ||
|(10) Hiis proinde visis, que canenda sint vulgari altissimo innotescunt.
||(10) Having seen this, then, the subjects fit for poetry in the highest form of vernacular will become clear. ||