Né più mai toccherò le sacre sponde
ove il mio corpo fanciulletto giacque,
Zacinto mia, che te specchi nell'onde
del greco mar da cui vergine nacque
Venere, e fea quelle isole feconde
col suo primo sorriso, onde non tacque
le tue limpide nubi e le tue fronde
l'inclito verso di colui che l'acque
cantò fatali, ed il diverso esiglio
per cui bello di fama e di sventura
baciò la sua petrosa Itaca Ulisse.
Tu non altro che il canto avrai del figlio,
o materna mia terra; a noi prescrisse
il fato illacrimata sepoltura.
Never will I touch your sacred shore again
where my young form reclined at rest,
Zakynthos, regarding yourself in waves
of the Greek sea, where Venus was
virgin born, and made those islands bloom
with her first smile; nor did he bypass
your lacy clouds and leafy fronds
in glorious verse, the one who sang
of fatal seas, and of the broad exile
after which, exalted by fame and by adventure,
Ulysses kissed his rocky native Ithaca.
You will have nothing of your son but his song,
motherland of mine: and our fate already
written, the unmourned grave.
The sonnet is about the poet's feelings: when he wrote the poem he was in exile, so he knew that his remains would have been buried far away from his natal island, Zante, and nobody would have cried on his grave. The poet compares himself to Odysseus and finds a difference: the Greek hero, after the Trojan War and his long travel to home, returned to Ithaca and was buried there. The word giacque, that is "reclined, lay" (second line), is an anticipation of the theme of death, which the last stanza focuses on.
In the sonnet there are both neoclassical and romantic elements: references to the classical tradition (Aphrodite, Homer and Odysseus) are typical of neoclassicism and the focus on the poet, the theme of graves and remains and the homesickness are typical of romanticism.
The sonnet is made up of two quatrains and two tercets of hendecasyllables. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, ABAB, CDE, CED. In the poem we can find enjambments, alliterations, apostrophes, synecdoches, anastrophes and a litotes.