Subject: Italian • Group: Languages • Class IV • Time: 30 minutes
By Helen E. Pollard
The Parents’ Review, 1909, pp. 709-710
I. To increase the girls’ interest in the narrative by pointing out one of the leading thoughts of the century.
II. To increase their vocabulary.
III. To help them in the construction of Italian sentences by noticing grammatical points, and by retranslation.
Step I.—Ask the girls to narrate very shortly what they know of Pellico’s life, noticing specially his literary powers, and the liberality of his opinions. The latter, in addition to the fact that he was a member of the “Carbonari” brought him into disfavour with the Austrians. He was thrown into prison and kept there for ten years. He died in 1854.
Step II.—Ask the girls to sketch shortly the condition of Italy at this time.
She had long been under the Austrian yoke, the task of liberating herself being rendered all the more difficult by internal dissension, the strength of the Papal power, and lack of co-operation between all the different States. The idea of “United Italy” came to Mazzini, its fulfilment was rendered possible by the working and planning of Cavour, and the final blows were struck by Garibaldi.
Step III.—Point out the working of the idea “Nationalism,” i.e., that each nation should be looked upon as a State, and as such be allowed to govern itself. This idea was potent throughout the last century—Greece, Italy, Belgium. The Italian struggle was one of the most interesting, also one of the longest.
Step IV.—Ask the girls to tell what they remember of the last lesson.
Step V.—Ask the girls to look over the new passage, and note any new words, write these on the blackboard, getting the girls to copy and learn them.
Step VI.—Read over and translate the new passage, first literally, then in good English.
“Ora, nel carcere, mi risovvenivano quello spavento quell’ angoscia; mi risovvenivano tutte le parole udite, tre mesi innanzi, da’ genitori. Quel lamento della madre: Ah! il nostro Silvio non è venuto a Tomio per veder noi! mi ripiombava sul enore. To mi rimproverava di non essermi mostrato loro mille volte piu tenero. Si amo cotanto, e cio dissi loro cosi delsolmente!
Non dovea mai piu vederli, e mi saziai cosi poco de’ loro cari volti! e fui cosi avaro delle testimonianze dell’ amor mio!
“Questi pensieri mi straziavano l’anima.
“Chuisi la fuestra, passeggia un’ ora, credendo di non aver requie totte la notte. Mi posi a letto, e la stanchezza m’addormento.
“So svegliarsi la prima notte in carcere è cosa orrenda. Possibile (dissi ricordandomi dove io fossi) possibile! Io qui? E non è ora un sogno il mio? Jeri dunque m’ arrestarono? Jeri mi facero quel lungo interragatorio, che domani, e chi sa fiu quando dovra continuarsi? Jer sera, avanti di addormentarmi, io piausi tanto, pensando a miei genitori?”
“Then in the prison I remembered that fear, that anguish; I remembered all the words uttered three months before by my parents. That lament of my mother’s: Ah! our Silvio has not come to Turin to see us, filled my heart. I reproached myself for not having been a thousand times more tender. Such great love, and I had responded to it so feebly! I might never see them again, and had satisfied so little their dear wishes! and I had been so niggardly with proofs of my love. These thoughts distracted me.
“I closed the window, walked about for an hour, believing that I would not have any rest during the whole night. I lay down on the bed and weariness sent me to sleep.
“To awake the first night in prison is dreadful. Is it possible, I said, reminding myself where I was, is it possible! I, here! Is it not then a dream of mine? Was it yesterday they arrested me? Was it yesterday they questioned me for so long? Was it last night before falling asleep that I wept on thinking of my parents?”
Step VII.—Point out that some verbs are reflexive in Italian though not in English: addormentarri, svegliarsi, slzarsi, etc.
Notice the infinitives and past participles of some of the verbs.
Step VIII.—Ask the girls to translate the first two sentences from English into Italian.