Canto Examples

Canto

Canto comes from the Latin "cantus," which means song. A canto is a division of a narrative or epic poem. Similar to stanzas, cantos break the poem into smaller parts that have a thematic connection. Cantos can help the reader navigate the longer poem and better understand the meaning.

Examples of Canto:

Examples of Cantos In Literature


From The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spencer:


i
A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Y cladd in mightie armes and silver shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruell markes of many a bloudy fielde;
Yet armes till that time did he never wield:
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.


ii
But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead as living ever him ador'd:
Upon his shield the like was also scor'd,
For soveraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;
Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.


Dante's Inferno, Canto I Excerpt:


Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.


Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.


So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.


I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way.


But after I had reached a mountain's foot,
At that point where the valley terminated,
Which had with consternation pierced my heart,


Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders,
Vested already with that planet's rays
Which leadeth others right by every road.


Then was the fear a little quieted
That in my heart's lake had endured throughout
The night, which I had passed so piteously.


And even as he, who, with distressful breath,
Forth issued from the sea upon the shore,
Turns to the water perilous and gazes;


So did my soul, that still was fleeing onward,
Turn itself back to re-behold the pass
Which never yet a living person left.


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