Nicola Chetta
| Saturday, 07.07.2007, 12:34 PM |  

BIOGRAPHY

Nicola Chetta
Italo-Albanian writer and poet Nicola Chetta (1740?-1803), Alb. Nikollë Keta, was born in Contessa Entellina (Alb. Kundisa), the oldest Albanian settlement in Sicily, founded between 1450 and 1467. He was educated at the Greek seminary in Palermo. In 1777, Chetta himself became rector of the seminary himself. As a poet, he wrote both religious and secular verse in Albanian and Greek, and has the honour of having composed the first Albanian sonnet (1777).

POETRY

Of honourable lineage

Of honourable lineage in Contessa was born
Nick Chetta, a scion of the Albanian soil.
He went to Palermo, to the Albanian home
Which received him like a featherless bird in a nest.

It clothed him, girded him with manners, with wisdom,
In the heat it refreshed him with its shade, like
The vine-stock readorning its withered branches,
And now a priest, the church took him for her spouse.

Like a lost bird he stretched his two wings
In Palermo and Contessa, both here and there
He sought honour for the Albanians in all his writings.

Like a silkworm he exhausted himself
And wove, embellished and wrote this treasure
To enrich Albania in every possible way.

[Farie së ndeerme në Kuntisë u bii, 1777, translated into English by Robert Elsie, and first published in English in History of Albanian literature, New York 1995, vol. 1, p. 147]

I Travelled the Earth

I travelled the earth in search of treasures,
Caused all Albania to blush at my sins,
Alas, how this hellish life deceived me,
Promised me honours, gold and pleasures.

On the verge of seizing that golden trove,
Those vile wooden boards enclosed my worn body...
Around my tomb weep the folk of Contessa,
I beg you, Lord, forgive them their sins.

[Po rraha dhera, from the volume Tesoro di notizie su de' Macedoni, 1777. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]



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