Understand Italian used by Leonardo da Vinci: fable 2

Favola 2

L’inchiostro e la carta

L’inchiostro displezzato per la sua nerezza dalla bianchezza della carta, la quale da quello si vide imbrattare. Vedendosi la carta tutta macchiata dalla oscura negrezza dell’inchiostro, di quello si dole; el quale mostra a essa che per le parole, ch’esso sopra lei compone, essere cagione della conservazione di quella.

— Leonardo da Vinci

Here is my translation of the fable:

The ink and the paper
The whiteness of the paper despises the blackness of the ink, for she sees herself dirtied by him. Upon seeing herself stained by the dark blackness of the ink, the paper laments. The ink thus shows the paper that the words he composes upon her lead to her safekeeping.

For study purposes, here now is a literal translation of the fable, including accents in the Italian to show the stressed syllable of a word:

L’inchiòstro e la càrta (the ink and the paper)
L’inchiòstro displezzàto per la sùa nerézza (the ink despised for its blackness) dàlla bianchézza délla càrta (by the whiteness of the paper), la quàle da quéllo si vìde imbrattàre (who by him sees herself dirtied). Vedèndosi la càrta tùtta macchiàta (the paper seeing herself all stained) dàlla oscùra negrézza dell’inchiòstro (by the dark blackness of the ink), di quéllo si dòle (of this she laments); el quàle móstra a éssa che per le paròle (he shows her that because of the words), ch’ésso sópra lei compóne (that he upon her composes), èssere cagióne délla conservazióne di quélla (to be the cause of the conservation of her).

Displezzato is a variation of the modern disprezzato, meaning despised, looked down upon.

The Italian word for paper is carta, a feminine noun. The word for ink is the masculine inchiostro. In the wording la quale da quello si vide imbrattare (who by him sees herself dirtied), la quale refers to the feminine paper, and da quello refers to the masculine ink.

In the text, there are two similar but different words for blackness; these are la nerezza and la negrezza. La bianchezza, on the other hand, is whiteness.

The expression essere cagione di means to be the cause of, where the feminine noun cagione means cause, reason. Essere cagione della conservazione di quella, then, means to be the cause of the conservation of her (that is, to be the reason for her conservation).

The verb dolersi (to be displeased, to lament, to complain) is conjugated here in the presente as si dole, which is a variation of si duole. Other verbs to learn from this fable include: imbrattare (to dirty, to soil), macchiare (to stain), mostrare (to show), comporre (to compose).