Gabriello Chiabrera, (b. June 18, 1552, Savona [Italy]—d.
Oct. 14, 1638, Savona), Italian poet whose introduction of
new metres and a Hellenic style enlarged the range of lyric
forms available to later Italian poets.
philosophy in Rome, lived for a time in the household of a
cardinal, and then returned to Savona, where civic and
diplomatic posts and the protection of several princes gave
him the leisure to write a prodigious amount of poetry in
various forms: lyrics, narrative poems, eclogues, epitaphs,
epics, tragedies, and satires. His canzones (lyrics derived
from Provençal poetry) introduced stylistic innovations. His
best works, however, are his graceful, musical canzonettas;
these are lighthearted compositions, apparently influenced
by the 16th-century French Pléiade poets, in which he
experiments with the introduction of 4-, 5-, 6-, 8-, and
9-syllable lines (rather than the 11- and 7-syllable lines
of previous practice) and with varieties of syllabic stress.
Because of the success of Chiabrera’s experiments,
subsequent poets had a choice of many new lyric types. His
work was imitated by the 18th-century Italian Arcadian poets
and was admired by the 19th-century Romantic poet William
Wordsworth, who translated some of his epitaphs.