13th century italian poetry in seventies punk music

While reading about thirteenth century poet Cecco Angiolieri (in the excellent La Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales) I found myself recognizing the words of his most famous poem S’ì fosse foco. The lines felt vaguely familiar, something I thought was strange – italian poetry is not usually my thing. Finally, it was the last line that made me realize where I had come across them before:

The original:
E vecchi’ e laide lasserei altrui

In English:
And the old and the ugly everybody else get

And in Swedish:
Och dom fula och dom gamla, dom får alla andra

The Swedish line is from a somewhat well known seventies punk recording Jag är ingenting (I am nothing) by the band KSMB. When I looked it up, it turns out that the entire song is a translation of Angiolieri’s poem. Apparently the singer Alonzo found, translated and modernized it.

So, which version do you prefer?


  1. Mohit

    My boys listened to a copule of her books on tape a copule of summers ago when we drove to South Dakota, where my late father-in-law’s family is originally from. The boys were 8 and 10 at the time. We actually stopped in the little town of DeSmet, SD, where Laura actually lived as a young girl. She uses DeSmet as the setting in By the Shores of Silver Lake and in every other book until the end of the series. Even though I’m the only female in the household at the moment, I managed to convince my husband and sons to spend two nights in a covered wagon at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead, which operates as a working farm. My kids, who initially protested visiting some old fashioned girl’s house , loved working on the farm and being with the farm animals. We’d do it again in a second. They do like Farmer Boy.Keep up the good work on your blog and thanks for writing it. I feel like I am visiting an old friend every time I read it!

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