ANON., OX., 1795.
Alas! that touching glance, that beauteous face! Alas! that dignity with sweetness fraught! Alas! that speech which tamed the wildest thought! That roused the coward, glory to embrace! Alas! that smile which in me did encase That fatal dart, whence here I hope for nought— Oh! hadst thou earlier our regions sought, The world had then confess'd thy sovereign grace! In thee I breathed, life's flame was nursed by thee, For I was thine; and since of thee bereaved, Each other woe hath lost its venom'd sting: My soul's blest joy! when last thy voice on me In music fell, my heart sweet hope conceived; Alas! thy words have sped on zephyrs' wings!
Che debb' io far? che mi consigli, Amore?
HE ASKS COUNSEL OF LOVE, WHETHER HE SHOULD FOLLOW LAURA, OR STILL ENDURE EXISTENCE.
What should I do? what, Love, dost thou advise? Full time it is to die: And longer than I wish have I delay'd. My mistress is no more, and with her gone my heart; To follow her, I must need Break short the course of my afflictive years: To view her here below I ne'er can hope; and irksome 'tis to wait. Since that my every joy By her departure unto tears is turn'd, Of all its sweets my life has been deprived.
Thou, Love, dost feel, therefore to thee I plain, How grievous is my loss; I know my sorrows grieve and weigh thee down, E'en as our common cause: for on one rock We both have wreck'd our bark; And in one instant was its sun obscured. What genius can with words Rightly describe my lamentable state? Ah, blind, ungrateful world! Thou hast indeed just cause with me to mourn; That beauty thou didst hold with her is fled!
Fall'n is thy glory, and thou seest it not; Unworthy thou with her, While here she dwelt, acquaintance to maintain. Or to be trodden by her saintly feet; For that, which is so fair, Should with its presence decorate the skies But I, a wretch who, reft Of her, prize nor myself nor mortal life, Recall her with my tears: This only of my hope's vast sum remains; And this alone doth still support me here.
Ah, me! her charming face is earth become, Which wont unto our thought To picture heaven and happiness above! Her viewless form inhabits paradise, Divested of that veil, Which shadow'd while below her bloom of life, Once more to put it on, And never then to cast it off again; When so much more divine, And glorious render'd, 'twill by us be view'd, As mortal beauty to eternal yields.
More bright than ever, and a lovelier fair, Before me she appears, Where most she's conscious that her sight will please This is one pillar that sustains my life; The other her dear name, That to my heart sounds so delightfully. But tracing in my mind, That she who form'd my choicest hope is dead E'en in her blossom'd prime; Thou knowest, Love, full well what I become: She I trust sees it too, who dwells with truth.
Ye sweet associates, who admired her charms, Her life angelical, And her demeanour heavenly upon earth For me lament, and be by pity wrought No wise for her, who, risen To so much peace, me has in warfare left; Such, that should any shut The road to follow her, for some length of time, What Love declares to me Alone would check my cutting through the tie; But in this guise he reasons from within:
"The mighty grief transporting thee restrain; For passions uncontroll'd Forfeit that heaven, to which thy soul aspires, Where she is living whom some fancy dead; While at her fair remains She smiles herself, sighing for thee alone; And that her fame, which lives In many a clime hymn'd by thy tongue, may ne'er Become extinct, she prays; But that her name should harmonize thy voice; If e'er her eyes were lovely held, and dear." Fly the calm, green retreat; And ne'er approach where song and laughter dwell, O strain; but wail be thine! It suits thee ill with the glad throng to stay, Thou sorrowing widow wrapp'd in garb of woe.
Rotta e l' alta Colonna, e 'l verde Lauro.
HE BEWAILS HIS DOUBLE LOSS IN THE DEATHS OF LAURA, AND OF COLONNA.
Fall'n that proud Column, fall'n that Laurel tree, Whose shelter once relieved my wearied mind; I'm reft of what I ne'er again shall find, Though ransack'd every shore and every sea: Double the treasure death has torn from me, In which life's pride was with its pleasure join'd; Not eastern gems, nor the world's wealth combined, Can give it back, nor land, nor royalty. But, if so fate decrees, what can I more, Than with unceasing tears these eyes bedew, Abase my visage, and my lot deplore? Ah, what is life, so lovely to the view! How quickly in one little morn is lost What years have won with labour and with cost!
My laurell'd hope! and thou, Colonna proud! Your broken strength can shelter me no more! Nor Boreas, Auster, Indus, Afric's shore, Can give me that, whose loss my soul hath bow'd: My step exulting, and my joy avow'd, Death now hath quench'd with ye, my heart's twin store; Nor earth's high rule, nor gems, nor gold's bright ore, Can e'er bring back what once my heart endow'd But if this grief my destiny hath will'd, What else can I oppose but tearful eyes, A sorrowing bosom, and a spirit quell'd? O life! whose vista seems so brightly fill'd, A sunny breath, and that exhaling, dies The hope, oft, many watchful years have swell'd.
Amor, se vuoi ch' i' torni al giogo antico.
UNLESS LOVE CAN RESTORE HER TO LIFE, HE WILL NEVER AGAIN BE HIS SLAVE.
If thou wouldst have me, Love, thy slave again, One other proof, miraculous and new, Must yet be wrought by you, Ere, conquer'd, I resume my ancient chain— Lift my dear love from earth which hides her now, For whose sad loss thus beggar'd I remain; Once more with warmth endow That wise chaste heart where wont my life to dwell; And if as some divine, thy influence so, From highest heaven unto the depths of hell, Prevail in sooth—for what its scope below, 'Mid us of common race, Methinks each gentle breast may answer well— Rob Death of his late triumph, and replace Thy conquering ensign in her lovely face!
Relume on that fair brow the living light, Which was my honour'd guide, and the sweet flame. Though spent, which still the same Kindles me now as when it burn'd most bright; For thirsty hind with such desire did ne'er Long for green pastures or the crystal brook, As I for the dear look, Whence I have borne so much, and—if aright I read myself and passion—more must bear: This makes me to one theme my thoughts thus bind, An aimless wanderer where is pathway none, With weak and wearied mind Pursuing hopes which never can be won. Hence to thy summons answer I disdain, Thine is no power beyond thy proper reign.
Give me again that gentle voice to hear, As in my heart are heard its echoes still, Which had in song the skill Hate to disarm, rage soften, sorrow cheer, To tranquillize each tempest of the mind, And from dark lowering clouds to keep it clear; Which sweetly then refined And raised my verse where now it may not soar. And, with desire that hope may equal vie, Since now my mind is waked in strength, restore Their proper business to my ear and eye, Awanting which life must All tasteless be and harder than to die. Vainly with me to your old power you trust, While my first love is shrouded still in dust.
Give her dear glance again to bless my sight, Which, as the sun on snow, beam'd still for me; Open each window bright Where pass'd my heart whence no return can be; Resume thy golden shafts, prepare thy bow, And let me once more drink with old delight Of that dear voice the sound, Whence what love is I first was taught to know. And, for the lures, which still I covet so, Were rifest, richest there my soul that bound, Waken to life her tongue, and on the breeze Let her light silken hair, Loosen'd by Love's own fingers, float at ease; Do this, and I thy willing yoke will bear, Else thy hope faileth my free will to snare.
Oh! never my gone heart those links of gold, Artlessly negligent, or curl'd with grace, Nor her enchanting face, Sweetly severe, can captive cease to hold; These, night and day, the amorous wish in me Kept, more than laurel or than myrtle, green, When, doff'd or donn'd, we see Of fields the grass, of woods their leafy screen. And since that Death so haughty stands and stern The bond now broken whence I fear'd to flee, Nor thine the art, howe'er the world may turn, To bind anew the chain, What boots it, Love, old arts to try again? Their day is pass'd: thy power, since lost the arms Which were my terror once, no longer harms.
Thy arms were then her eyes, unrivall'd, whence Live darts were freely shot of viewless flame; No help from reason came, For against Heaven avails not man's defence; Thought, Silence, Feeling, Gaiety, Wit, Sense, Modest demeanour, affable discourse, In words of sweetest force Whence every grosser nature gentle grew, That angel air, humble to all and kind, Whose praise, it needs not mine, from all we find; Stood she, or sat, a grace which often threw Doubt on the gazer's mind To which the meed of highest praise was due— O'er hardest hearts thy victory was sure, With arms like these, which lost I am secure.
The minds which Heaven abandons to thy reign, Haply are bound in many times and ways, But mine one only chain, Its wisdom shielding me from more, obeys; Yet freedom brings no joy, though that he burst. Rather I mournful ask, "Sweet pilgrim mine, Alas! what doom divine Me earliest bound to life yet frees thee first: God, who has snatch'd thee from the world so soon, Only to kindle our desires, the boon Of virtue, so complete and lofty, gave Now, Love, I may deride Thy future wounds, nor fear to be thy slave; In vain thy bow is bent, its bolts fall wide, When closed her brilliant eyes their virtue died.
"Death from thy every law my heart has freed; She who my lady was is pass'd on high, Leaving me free to count dull hours drag by, To solitude and sorrow still decreed."
L' ardente nodo ov' io fui, d' ora in ora.
ON THE DEATH OF ANOTHER LADY.
That burning toil, in which I once was caught, While twice ten years and one I counted o'er, Death has unloosed: like burden I ne'er bore; That grief ne'er fatal proves I now am taught. But Love, who to entangle me still sought, Spread in the treacherous grass his net once more, So fed the fire with fuel as before, That my escape I hardly could have wrought. And, but that my first woes experience gave, Snared long since and kindled I had been, And all the more, as I'm become less green: My freedom death again has come to save, And break my bond; that flame now fades, and fails, 'Gainst which nor force nor intellect prevails.
La vita fugge, e non s' arresta un' ora.
PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE ARE NOW ALIKE PAINFUL TO HIM.
Life passes quick, nor will a moment stay, And death with hasty journeys still draws near; And all the present joins my soul to tear, With every past and every future day: And to look back or forward, so does prey On this distracted breast, that sure I swear, Did I not to myself some pity bear, I were e'en now from all these thoughts away. Much do I muse on what of pleasures past This woe-worn heart has known; meanwhile, t' oppose My passage, loud the winds around me roar. I see my bliss in port, and torn my mast And sails, my pilot faint with toil, and those Fair lights, that wont to guide me, now no more.
ANON., OX., 1795.
Life ever flies with course that nought may stay, Death follows after with gigantic stride; Ills past and present on my spirit prey, And future evils threat on every side: Whether I backward look or forward fare, A thousand ills my bosom's peace molest; And were it not that pity bids me spare My nobler part, I from these thoughts would rest. If ever aught of sweet my heart has known, Remembrance wakes its charms, while, tempest tost, I mark the clouds that o'er my course still frown; E'en in the port I see the storm afar; Weary my pilot, mast and cable lost, And set for ever my fair polar star.
Che fai? che pensi? che pur dietro guardi.
HE ENCOURAGES HIS SOUL TO LIFT ITSELF TO GOD, AND TO ABANDON THE VANITIES OF EARTH.
What dost thou? think'st thou? wherefore bend thine eye Back on the time that never shall return? The raging fire, where once 'twas thine to burn, Why with fresh fuel, wretched soul, supply? Those thrilling tones, those glances of the sky, Which one by one thy fond verse strove to adorn, Are fled; and—well thou knowest, poor forlorn!— To seek them here were bootless industry. Then toil not bliss so fleeting to renew; To chase a thought so fair, so faithless, cease: Thou rather that unwavering good pursue, Which guides to heaven; since nought below can please. Fatal for us that beauty's torturing view, Living or dead alike which desolates our peace.
Datemi pace, o duri miei pensieri.
HE COMPARES HIMSELF TO A BESIEGED CITY, AND ACCUSES HIS OWN HEART OF TREASON.
O tyrant thoughts, vouchsafe me some repose! Sufficeth not that Love, and Death, and Fate, Make war all round me to my very gate, But I must in me armed hosts enclose? And thou, my heart, to me alone that shows Disloyal still, what cruel guides of late In thee find shelter, now the chosen mate Of my most mischievous and bitter foes? Love his most secret embassies in thee, In thee her worst results hard Fate explains, And Death the memory of that blow, to me Which shatters all that yet of hope remains; In thee vague thoughts themselves with error arm, And thee alone I blame for all my harm.
Occhi miei, oscurato e 'l nostro sole.
HE ENDEAVOURS TO FIND PEACE IN THE THOUGHT THAT SHE IS IN HEAVEN.
Mine eyes! our glorious sun is veil'd in night, Or set to us, to rise 'mid realms of love; There we may hail it still, and haply prove It mourn'd that we delay'd our heavenward flight. Mine ears! the music of her tones delight Those, who its harmony can best approve; My feet! who in her track so joy'd to move. Ye cannot penetrate her regions bright! But wherefore should your wrath on me descend? No spell of mine hath hush'd for ye the joy Of seeing, hearing, feeling, she was near: Go, war with Death—yet, rather let us bend To Him who can create—who can destroy— And bids the ready smile succeed the tear.
O my sad eyes! our sun is overcast,— Nay, rather borne to heaven, and there is shining, Waiting our coming, and perchance repining At our delay; there shall we meet at last: And there, mine ears, her angel words float past, Those who best understand their sweet divining; Howe'er, my feet, unto the search inclining, Ye cannot reach her in those regions vast. Why, then, do ye torment me thus, for, oh! It is no fault of mine, that ye no more Behold, and hear, and welcome her below; Blame Death,—or rather praise Him and adore, Who binds and frees, restrains and letteth go, And to the weeping one can joy restore.
Poiche la vista angelica serena.
WITH HER, HIS ONLY SOLACE, IS TAKEN AWAY ALL HIS DESIRE OF LIFE.
Since her calm angel face, long beauty's fane, My beggar'd soul by this brief parting throws In darkest horrors and in deepest woes, I seek by uttering to allay my pain. Certes, just sorrow leads me to complain: This she, who is its cause, and Love too shows; No other remedy my poor heart knows Against the troubles that in life obtain. Death! thou hast snatch'd her hence with hand unkind, And thou, glad Earth! that fair and kindly face Now hidest from me in thy close embrace; Why leave me here, disconsolate and blind, Since she who of mine eyes the light has been, Sweet, loving, bright, no more with me is seen?
S' Amor novo consiglio non n' apporta.
HE DESCRIBES HIS SAD STATE.
If Love to give new counsel still delay, My life must change to other scenes than these; My troubled spirit grief and terror freeze, Desire augments while all my hopes decay. Thus ever grows my life, by night and day, Despondent, and dismay'd, and ill at ease, Harass'd and helmless on tempestuous seas, With no sure escort on a doubtful way. Her path a sick imagination guides, Its true light underneath—ah, no! on high, Whence on my heart she beams more bright than eye, Not on mine eyes; from them a dark veil hides Those lovely orbs, and makes me, ere life's span Is measured half, an old and broken man.
Nell' eta sua piu bella e piu fiorita.
HE DESIRES TO DIE, THAT HIS SOUL MAY BE WITH HER, AS HIS THOUGHTS ALREADY ARE.
E'en in youth's fairest flower, when Love's dear sway Is wont with strongest power our hearts to bind, Leaving on earth her fleshly veil behind, My life, my Laura, pass'd from me away; Living, and fair, and free from our vile clay, From heaven she rules supreme my willing mind: Alas! why left me in this mortal rind That first of peace, of sin that latest day? As my fond thoughts her heavenward path pursue, So may my soul glad, light, and ready be To follow her, and thus from troubles flee. Whate'er delays me as worst loss I rue: Time makes me to myself but heavier grow: Death had been sweet to-day three years ago!
Se lamentar augelli, o Verdi fronde.
SHE IS EVER PRESENT TO HIM.
If the lorn bird complain, or rustling sweep Soft summer airs o'er foliage waving slow, Or the hoarse brook come murmuring down the steep, Where on the enamell'd bank I sit below With thoughts of love that bid my numbers flow; 'Tis then I see her, though in earth she sleep! Her, form'd in heaven! I see, and hear, and know! Responsive sighing, weeping as I weep: "Alas," she pitying says, "ere yet the hour, Why hurry life away with swifter flight? Why from thy eyes this flood of sorrow pour? No longer mourn my fate! through death my days Become eternal! to eternal light These eyes, which seem'd in darkness closed, I raise!"
Where the green leaves exclude the summer beam, And softly bend as balmy breezes blow, And where with liquid lapse the lucid stream Across the fretted rock is heard to flow, Pensive I lay: when she whom earth conceals As if still living to my eye appears; And pitying Heaven her angel form reveals To say, "Unhappy Petrarch, dry your tears. Ah! why, sad lover, thus before your time In grief and sadness should your life decay, And, like a blighted flower, your manly prime In vain and hopeless sorrow fade away? Ah! yield not thus to culpable despair; But raise thine eyes to heaven and think I wait thee there!"
Moved by the summer wind when all is still, The light leaves quiver on the yielding spray; Sighs from its flowery bank the lucid rill, While the birds answer in their sweetest lay. Vain to this sickening heart these scenes appear: No form but hers can meet my tearful eyes; In every passing gale her voice I hear; It seems to tell me, "I have heard thy sighs. But why," she cries, "in manhood's towering prime, In grief's dark mist thy days, inglorious, hide? Ah! dost thou murmur, that my span of time Has join'd eternity's unchanging tide? Yes, though I seem'd to shut mine eyes in night, They only closed to wake in everlasting light!"
Mai non fu' in parte ove si chiar' vedessi.
Nowhere before could I so well have seen Her whom my soul most craves since lost to view; Nowhere in so great freedom could have been Breathing my amorous lays 'neath skies so blue; Never with depths of shade so calm and green A valley found for lover's sigh more true; Methinks a spot so lovely and serene Love not in Cyprus nor in Gnidos knew. All breathes one spell, all prompts and prays that I Like them should love—the clear sky, the calm hour, Winds, waters, birds, the green bough, the gay flower— But thou, beloved, who call'st me from on high, By the sad memory of thine early fate, Pray that I hold the world and these sweet snares in hate.
Never till now so clearly have I seen Her whom my eyes desire, my soul still views; Never enjoy'd a freedom thus serene; Ne'er thus to heaven breathed my enamour'd muse, As in this vale sequester'd, darkly green; Where my soothed heart its pensive thought pursues, And nought intrusively may intervene, And all my sweetly-tender sighs renews. To Love and meditation, faithful shade, Receive the breathings of my grateful breast! Love not in Cyprus found so sweet a nest As this, by pine and arching laurel made! The birds, breeze, water, branches, whisper love; Herb, flower, and verdant path the lay symphonious move.
Quante fiate al mio dolce ricetto.
HER FORM STILL HAUNTS HIM IN SOLITUDE.
How oft, all lonely, to my sweet retreat From man and from myself I strive to fly, Bathing with dewy eyes each much-loved seat, And swelling every blossom with a sigh! How oft, deep musing on my woes complete, Along the dark and silent glens I lie, In thought again that dearest form to meet By death possess'd, and therefore wish to die! How oft I see her rising from the tide Of Sorga, like some goddess of the flood; Or pensive wander by the river's side; Or tread the flowery mazes of the wood; Bright as in life; while angel pity throws O'er her fair face the impress of my woes.
Alma felice, che sovente torni.
HE THANKS HER THAT FROM TIME TO TIME SHE RETURNS TO CONSOLE HIM WITH HER PRESENCE.
O blessed spirit! who dost oft return, Ministering comfort to my nights of woe, From eyes which Death, relenting in his blow, Has lit with all the lustres of the morn: How am I gladden'd, that thou dost not scorn O'er my dark days thy radiant beam to throw! Thus do I seem again to trace below Thy beauties, hovering o'er their loved sojourn. There now, thou seest, where long of thee had been My sprightlier strain, of thee my plaint I swell— Of thee!—oh, no! of mine own sorrows keen. One only solace cheers the wretched scene: By many a sign I know thy coming well— Thy step, thy voice and look, and robe of favour'd green.
When welcome slumber locks my torpid frame, I see thy spirit in the midnight dream; Thine eyes that still in living lustre beam: In all but frail mortality the same. Ah! then, from earth and all its sorrows free, Methinks I meet thee in each former scene: Once the sweet shelter of a heart serene; Now vocal only while I weep for thee. For thee!—ah, no! From human ills secure. Thy hallow'd soul exults in endless day; 'Tis I who linger on the toilsome way: No balm relieves the anguish I endure; Save the fond feeble hope that thou art near To soothe my sufferings with an angel's tear.
Discolorato hai, Morte, il piu bel volto.
HER PRESENCE IN VISIONS IS HIS ONLY CONSOLATION.
Death, thou of fairest face hast 'reft the hue, And quench'd in deep thick night the brightest eyes, And loosed from all its tenderest, closest ties A spirit to faith and ardent virtue true. In one short hour to all my bliss adieu! Hush'd are those accents worthy of the skies, Unearthly sounds, whose loss awakes my sighs; And all I hear is grief, and all I view. Yet oft, to soothe this lone and anguish'd heart, By pity led, she comes my couch to seek, Nor find I other solace here below: And if her thrilling tones my strain could speak And look divine, with Love's enkindling dart Not man's sad breast alone, but fiercest beasts should glow.
Thou hast despoil'd the fairest face e'er seen— Thou hast extinguish'd, Death, the brightest eyes, And snapp'd the cord in sunder of the ties Which bound that spirit brilliantly serene: In one short moment all I love has been Torn from me, and dark silence now supplies Those gentle tones; my heart, which bursts with sighs, Nor sight nor sound from weariness can screen: Yet doth my lady, by compassion led, Return to solace my unfailing woe; Earth yields no other balm:—oh! could I tell How bright she seems, and how her accents flow, Not unto man alone Love's flames would spread, But even bears and tigers share the spell.
Si breve e 'l tempo e 'l pensier si veloce.
THE REMEMBRANCE OF HER CHASES SADNESS FROM HIS HEART.
So brief the time, so fugitive the thought Which Laura yields to me, though dead, again, Small medicine give they to my giant pain; Still, as I look on her, afflicts me nought. Love, on the rack who holds me as he brought, Fears when he sees her thus my soul retain, Where still the seraph face and sweet voice reign, Which first his tyranny and triumph wrought. As rules a mistress in her home of right, From my dark heavy heart her placid brow Dispels each anxious thought and omen drear. My soul, which bears but ill such dazzling light, Says with a sigh: "O blessed day! when thou Didst ope with those dear eyes thy passage here!"
Ne mai pietosa madre al caro figlio.
HER COUNSEL ALONE AFFORDS HIM RELIEF.
Ne'er did fond mother to her darling son, Or zealous spouse to her beloved mate, Sage counsel give, in perilous estate, With such kind caution, in such tender tone, As gives that fair one, who, oft looking down On my hard exile from her heavenly seat, With wonted kindness bends upon my fate Her brow, as friend or parent would have done: Now chaste affection prompts her speech, now fear, Instructive speech, that points what several ways To seek or shun, while journeying here below; Then all the ills of life she counts, and prays My soul ere long may quit this terrene sphere: And by her words alone I'm soothed and freed from woe.
Ne'er to the son, in whom her age is blest, The anxious mother—nor to her loved lord The wedded dame, impending ill to ward, With careful sighs so faithful counsel press'd, As she, who, from her high eternal rest, Bending—as though my exile she deplored— With all her wonted tenderness restored, And softer pity on her brow impress'd! Now with a mother's fears, and now as one Who loves with chaste affection, in her speech She points what to pursue and what to shun! Our years retracing of long, various grief, Wooing my soul at higher good to reach, And while she speaks, my bosom finds relief!
Se quell' aura soave de' sospiri.
SHE RETURNS IN PITY TO COMFORT HIM WITH HER ADVICE.
If that soft breath of sighs, which, from above, I hear of her so long my lady here, Who, now in heaven, yet seems, as of our sphere, To breathe, and move, to feel, and live, and love, I could but paint, my passionate verse should move Warmest desires; so jealous, yet so dear O'er me she bends and breathes, without a fear, That on the way I tire, or turn, or rove. She points the path on high: and I who know Her chaste anxiety and earnest prayer, In whispers sweet, affectionate, and low, Train, at her will, my acts and wishes there: And find such sweetness in her words alone As with their power should melt the hardest stone.
Sennuccio mio, benche doglioso e solo.
ON THE DEATH OF HIS FRIEND SENNUCCIO.
O friend! though left a wretched pilgrim here, By thee though left in solitude to roam, Yet can I mourn that thou hast found thy home, On angel pinions borne, in bright career? Now thou behold'st the ever-turning sphere, And stars that journey round the concave dome; Now thou behold'st how short of truth we come, How blind our judgment, and thine own how clear! That thou art happy soothes my soul oppress'd. O friend! salute from me the laurell'd band, Guitton and Cino, Dante, and the rest: And tell my Laura, friend, that here I stand, Wasting in tears, scarce of myself possess'd, While her blest beauties all my thoughts command.
Sennuccio mine! I yet myself console, Though thou hast left me, mournful and alone, For eagerly to heaven thy spirit has flown, Free from the flesh which did so late enrol; Thence, at one view, commands it either pole, The planets and their wondrous courses known, And human sight how brief and doubtful shown; Thus with thy bliss my sorrow I control. One favour—in the third of those bright spheres. Guido and Dante, Cino, too, salute, With Franceschin and all that tuneful train, And tell my lady how I live, in tears, (Savage and lonely as some forest brute) Her sweet face and fair works when memory brings again.
I' ho pien di sospir quest' aer tutto.
VAUCLUSE HAS BECOME TO HIM A SCENE OF PAIN.
To every sound, save sighs, this air is mute, When from rude rocks, I view the smiling land Where she was born, who held my life in hand From its first bud till blossoms turn'd to fruit: To heaven she's gone, and I'm left destitute To mourn her loss, and cast around in pain These wearied eyes, which, seeking her in vain Where'er they turn, o'erflow with grief acute; There's not a root or stone amongst these hills, Nor branch nor verdant leaf 'midst these soft glades, Nor in the valley flowery herbage grows, Nor liquid drop the sparkling fount distils, Nor savage beast that shelters in these shades, But knows how sharp my grief—how deep my woes.
L' alma mia fiamma oltra le belle bella.
HE ACKNOWLEDGES THE WISDOM OF HER PAST COLDNESS TO HIM.
My noble flame—more fair than fairest are Whom kind Heaven here has e'er in favour shown— Before her time, alas for me! has flown To her celestial home and parent star. I seem but now to wake; wherein a bar She placed on passion 'twas for good alone, As, with a gentle coldness all her own, She waged with my hot wishes virtuous war. My thanks on her for such wise care I press, That with her lovely face and sweet disdain She check'd my love and taught me peace to gain. O graceful artifice! deserved success! I with my fond verse, with her bright eyes she, Glory in her, she virtue got in me.
Come va 'l mondo! or mi diletta e piace.
HE BLESSES LAURA FOR HER VIRTUE.
How goes the world! now please me and delight What most displeased me: now I see and feel My trials were vouchsafed me for my weal, That peace eternal should brief war requite. O hopes and wishes, ever fond and slight, In lovers most, which oftener harm than heal! Worse had she yielded to my warm appeal Whom Heaven has welcomed from the grave's dark night. But blind love and my dull mind so misled, I sought to trespass even by main force Where to have won my precious soul were dead. Blessed be she who shaped mine erring course To better port, by turns who curb'd and lured My bold and passionate will where safety was secured.
Alas! this changing world! my present joy Was once my grief's dark source, and now I feel My sufferings pass'd were but my soul to heal Its fearful warfare—peace's soft decoy. Poor human wishes! Hope, thou fragile toy To lovers oft! my woe had met its seal, Had she but hearken'd to my love's appeal, Who, throned in heaven, hath fled this world's alloy. My blinded love, and yet more stubborn mind, Resistless urged me to my bosom's shame, And where my soul's destruction I had met: But blessed she who bade life's current find A holier course, who still'd my spirit's flame With gentle hope that soul might triumph yet.
Quand' io veggio dal ciel scender l' Aurora.
MORN RENDERS HIS GRIEF MORE POIGNANT.
When from the heavens I see Aurora beam, With rosy-tinctured cheek and golden hair, Love bids my face the hue of sadness wear: "There Laura dwells!" I with a sigh exclaim. Thou knowest well the hour that shall redeem, Happy Tithonus, thy much-valued fair; But not to her I love can I repair, Till death extinguishes this vital flame. Yet need'st thou not thy separation mourn; Certain at evening's close is the return Of her, who doth not thy hoar locks despise; But my nights sad, my days are render'd drear, By her, who bore my thoughts to yonder skies, And only a remember'd name left here.
When from the east appears the purple ray Of morn arising, and salutes the eyes That wear the night in watching for the day, Thus speaks my heart: "In yonder opening skies, In yonder fields of bliss, my Laura lies!" Thou sun, that know'st to wheel thy burning car, Each eve, to the still surface of the deep, And there within thy Thetis' bosom sleep; Oh! could I thus my Laura's presence share, How would my patient heart its sorrows bear! Adored in life, and honour'd in the dust, She that in this fond breast for ever reigns Has pass'd the gulph of death!—To deck that bust, No trace of her but the sad name remains.
Gli occhi di ch' io parlai si caldamente.
HIS LYRE IS NOW ATTUNED ONLY TO WOE.
The eyes, the face, the limbs of heavenly mould, So long the theme of my impassion'd lay, Charms which so stole me from myself away, That strange to other men the course I hold; The crisped locks of pure and lucid gold, The lightning of the angelic smile, whose ray To earth could all of paradise convey, A little dust are now!—to feeling cold! And yet I live!—but that I live bewail, Sunk the loved light that through the tempest led My shatter'd bark, bereft of mast and sail: Hush'd be for aye the song that breathed love's fire! Lost is the theme on which my fancy fed, And turn'd to mourning my once tuneful lyre.
The eyes, the arms, the hands, the feet, the face, Which made my thoughts and words so warm and wild, That I was almost from myself exiled, And render'd strange to all the human race; The lucid locks that curl'd in golden grace, The lightening beam that, when my angel smiled, Diffused o'er earth an Eden heavenly mild; What are they now? Dust, lifeless dust, alas! And I live on, a melancholy slave, Toss'd by the tempest in a shatter'd bark, Reft of the lovely light that cheer'd the wave. The flame of genius, too, extinct and dark, Here let my lays of love conclusion have; Mute be the lyre: tears best my sorrows mark.
Those eyes whose living lustre shed the heat Of bright meridian day; the heavenly mould Of that angelic form; the hands, the feet, The taper arms, the crisped locks of gold; Charms that the sweets of paradise enfold; The radiant lightning of her angel-smile, And every grace that could the sense beguile Are now a pile of ashes, deadly cold! And yet I bear to drag this cumbrous chain, That weighs my soul to earth—to bliss or pain Alike insensible:—her anchor lost, The frail dismantled bark, all tempest-toss'd, Surveys no port of comfort—closed the scene Of life's delusive joys;—and dry the Muse's vein.
Those eyes, sweet subject of my rapturous strain! The arms, the hands, the feet, that lovely face, By which I from myself divided was, And parted from the vulgar and the vain; Those crisped locks, pure gold unknown to stain! Of that angelic smile the lightening grace, Which wont to make this earth a heavenly place! Dissolved to senseless ashes now remain! And yet I live, to endless grief a prey, 'Reft of that star, my loved, my certain guide, Disarm'd my bark, while tempests round me blow! Stop, then, my verse—dry is the fountain's tide. That fed my genius! Cease, my amorous lay! Changed is my lyre, attuned to endless woe!
S' io avessi pensato che si care.
HIS POEMS WERE WRITTEN ONLY TO SOOTHE HIS OWN GRIEF: OTHERWISE HE WOULD HAVE LABOURED TO MAKE THEM MORE DESERVING OF THE FAME THEY HAVE ACQUIRED.
Had I e'er thought that to the world so dear The echo of my sighs would be in rhyme, I would have made them in my sorrow's prime Rarer in style, in number more appear. Since she is dead my muse who prompted here, First in my thoughts and feelings at all time, All power is lost of tender or sublime My rough dark verse to render soft and clear. And certes, my sole study and desire Was but—I knew not how—in those long years To unburthen my sad heart, not fame acquire. I wept, but wish'd no honour in my tears. Fain would I now taste joy; but that high fair, Silent and weary, calls me to her there.
Oh! had I deem'd my sighs, in numbers rung, Could e'er have gain'd the world's approving smile, I had awoke my rhymes in choicer style, My sorrow's birth more tunefully had sung: But she is gone whose inspiration hung On all my words, and did my thoughts beguile; My numbers harsh seem'd melody awhile, Now she is mute who o'er them music flung. Nor fame, nor other incense, then I sought, But how to quell my heart's o'erwhelming grief; I wept, but sought no honour in my tear: But could the world's fair suffrage now be bought, 'Twere joy to gain, but that my hour is brief, Her lofty spirit waves me to her bier.
Soleasi nel mio cor star bella e viva.
SINCE HER DEATH, NOTHING IS LEFT TO HIM BUT GRIEF.
She stood within my heart, warm, young, alone, As in a humble home a lady bright; By her last flight not merely am I grown Mortal, but dead, and she an angel quite. A soul whence every bliss and hope is flown, Love shorn and naked of its own glad light, Might melt with pity e'en a heart of stone: But none there is to tell their grief or write; These plead within, where deaf is every ear Except mine own, whose power its griefs so mar That nought is left me save to suffer here. Verily we but dust and shadows are! Verily blind and evil is our will! Verily human hopes deceive us still!
'Mid life's bright glow she dwelt within my soul, The sovereign tenant of a humble cell, But when for heaven she bade the world farewell, Death seem'd to grasp me in his fierce control: My wither'd love torn from its brightening goal— My soul without its treasure doom'd to dwell— Could I but trace their grief, their sorrow tell, A stone might wake, and fain with them condole. They inly mourn, where none can hear their woe Save I alone, who too with grief oppress'd, Can only soothe my anguish by my sighs: Life is indeed a shadowy dream below; Our blind desires by Reason's chain unbless'd, Whilst Hope in treacherous wither'd fragments lies.
Soleano i miei pensier soavemente.
HE COMFORTS HIMSELF WITH THE HOPE THAT SHE HEARS HIM.
My thoughts in fair alliance and array Hold converse on the theme which most endears: Pity approaches and repents delay: E'en now she speaks of us, or hopes, or fears. Since the last day, the terrible hour when Fate This present life of her fair being reft, From heaven she sees, and hears, and feels our state: No other hope than this to me is left. O fairest miracle! most fortunate mind! O unexampled beauty, stately, rare! Whence lent too late, too soon, alas! rejoin'd. Hers is the crown and palm of good deeds there, Who to the world so eminent and clear Made her great virtue and my passion here.
My thoughts were wont with sentiment so sweet To meditate their object in my breast— Perhaps her sympathies my wishes meet With gentlest pity, seeing me distress'd: Nor when removed to that her sacred rest The present life changed for that blest retreat, Vanish'd in air my former visions fleet, My hopes, my tears, in vain to her address'd. O lovely miracle! O favour'd mind! Beauty beyond example high and rare, So soon return'd from us to whence it came! There the immortal wreaths her temples bind; The sacred palm is hers: on earth so fair Who shone by her own virtues and my flame.
I' mi soglio accusare, ed or mi scuso.
HE GLORIES IN HIS LOVE.
I now excuse myself who wont to blame, Nay, more, I prize and even hold me dear, For this fair prison, this sweet-bitter shame, Which I have borne conceal'd so many a year. O envious Fates! that rare and golden frame Rudely ye broke, where lightly twined and clear, Yarn of my bonds, the threads of world-wide fame Which lovely 'gainst his wont made Death appear. For not a soul was ever in its days Of joy, of liberty, of life so fond, That would not change for her its natural ways, Preferring thus to suffer and despond, Than, fed by hope, to sing in others' praise, Content to die, or live in such a bond.
Due gran nemiche insieme erano aggiunte.
THE UNION OF BEAUTY AND VIRTUE IS DISSOLVED BY HER DEATH.
Two mortal foes in one fair breast combined, Beauty and Virtue, in such peace allied That ne'er rebellion ruffled that pure mind, But in rare union dwelt they side by side; By Death they now are shatter'd and disjoin'd; One is in heaven, its glory and its pride, One under earth, her brilliant eyes now blind, Whence stings of love once issued far and wide. That winning air, that rare discourse and meek, Surely from heaven inspired, that gentle glance Which wounded my poor heart, and wins it still, Are gone; if I am slow her road to seek, I hope her fair and graceful name perchance To consecrate with this worn weary quill.
Within one mortal shrine two foes had met— Beauty and Virtue—yet they dwelt so bright, That ne'er within the soul did they excite Rebellious thought, their union might beget: But, parted to fulfil great nature's debt, One blooms in heaven, exulting in its height; Its twin on earth doth rest, from whose veil'd night No more those eyes of love man's soul can fret. That speech by Heaven inspired, so humbly wise— That graceful air—her look so winning, meek, That woke and kindles still my bosom's pain— They all have fled; but if to gain her skies I tardy seem, my weary pen would seek For her blest name a consecrated reign!
Quand' io mi volgo indietro a mirar gli anni.
THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE PAST ENHANCES HIS MISERY.
When I look back upon the many years Which in their flight my best thoughts have entomb'd, And spent the fire, that, spite her ice, consumed, And finish'd the repose so full of tears, Broken the faith which Love's young dream endears, And the two parts of all my blessing doom'd, This low in earth, while heaven has that resumed, And lost the guerdon of my pains and fears, I wake, and feel me to the bitter wind So bare, I envy the worst lot I see; Self-terror and heart-grief on me so wait. O Death, O Fate, O Fortune, stars unkind! O day for ever dark and drear to me! How have ye sunk me in this abject state!
When memory turns to gaze on time gone by (Which in its flight hath arm'd e'en thought with wings), And to my troubled rest a period brings, Quells, too, the flame which long could ice defy; And when I mark Love's promise wither'd lie, That treasure parted which my bosom wrings (For she in heaven, her shrine to nature clings), Whilst thus my toils' reward she doth deny;— I then awake and feel bereaved indeed! The darkest fate on earth seems bliss to mine— So much I fear myself, and dread its woe! O Fortune!—Death! O star! O fate decreed! O bitter day! that yet must sweetly shine, Alas! too surely thou hast laid me low!
Ov' e la fronte che con picciol cenno.
HE ENUMERATES AND EULOGISES THE GRACES OF LAURA.
Where is the brow whose gentlest beckonings led My raptured heart at will, now here, now there? Where the twin stars, lights of this lower sphere, Which o'er my darkling path their radiance shed? Where is true worth, and wit, and wisdom fled? The courteous phrase, the melting accent, where? Where, group'd in one rich form, the beauties rare, Which long their magic influence o'er me shed? Where is the shade, within whose sweet recess My wearied spirit still forgot its sighs, And all my thoughts their constant record found? Where, where is she, my life's sole arbitress?— Ah, wretched world! and wretched ye, mine eyes (Of her pure light bereft) which aye with tears are drown'd.
Where is that face, whose slightest air could move My trembling heart, and strike the springs of love? That heaven, where two fair stars, with genial ray, Shed their kind influence on life's dim way? Where are that science, sense, and worth confess'd? That speech by virtue, by the graces dress'd? Where are those beauties, where those charms combined, That caused this long captivity of mind? Where the dear shade of all that once was fair, The source, the solace, of each amorous care— My heart's sole sovereign, Nature's only boast? —Lost to the world, to me for ever lost!
Quanta invidia ti porto, avara terra.
HE ENVIES EARTH, HEAVEN, AND DEATH THEIR POSSESSION OF HIS TREASURE.
O earth, whose clay-cold mantle shrouds that face, And veils those eyes that late so brightly shone, Whence all that gave delight on earth was known, How much I envy thee that harsh embrace! O heaven, that in thy airy courts confined That purest spirit, when from earth she fled, And sought the mansions of the righteous dead; How envious, thus to leave my panting soul behind! O angels, that in your seraphic choir Received her sister-soul, and now enjoy Still present, those delights without alloy, Which my fond heart must still in vain desire! In her I lived—in her my life decays; Yet envious Fate denies to end my hapless days.
What envy of the greedy earth I bear, That holds from me within its cold embrace The light, the meaning, of that angel face, On which to gaze could soften e'en despair. What envy of the saints, in realms so fair, Who eager seem'd, from that bright form of grace The spirit pure to summon to its place, Amidst those joys, which few can hope to share; What envy of the blest in heaven above, With whom she dwells in sympathies divine Denied to me on earth, though sought in sighs; And oh! what envy of stern Death I prove, That with her life has ta'en the light of mine, Yet calls me not,—though fixed and cold those eyes.
Valle che d' lamenti miei se' piena.
ON HIS RETURN TO VAUCLUSE AFTER LAURA'S DEATH.
Valley, which long hast echoed with my cries; Stream, which my flowing tears have often fed; Beasts, fluttering birds, and ye who in the bed Of Cabrieres' wave display your speckled dyes; Air, hush'd to rest and soften'd by my sighs; Dear path, whose mazes lone and sad I tread; Hill of delight—though now delight is fled— To rove whose haunts Love still my foot decoys; Well I retain your old unchanging face! Myself how changed! in whom, for joy's light throng, Infinite woes their constant mansion find! Here bloom'd my bliss: and I your tracks retrace, To mark whence upward to her heaven she sprung, Leaving her beauteous spoil, her robe of flesh behind!
Ye vales, made vocal by my plaintive lay; Ye streams, embitter'd with the tears of love; Ye tenants of the sweet melodious grove; Ye tribes that in the grass fringed streamlet play; Ye tepid gales, to which my sighs convey A softer warmth; ye flowery plains, that move Reflection sad; ye hills, where yet I rove, Since Laura there first taught my steps to stray;— You, you are still the same! How changed, alas, Am I! who, from a state of life so blest, Am now the gloomy dwelling-place of woe! 'Twas here I saw my love: here still I trace Her parting steps, when she her mortal vest Cast to the earth, and left these scenes below.
Levommi il mio pensier in parte ov' era.
SOARING IN IMAGINATION TO HEAVEN, HE MEETS LAURA, AND IS HAPPY.
Fond fancy raised me to the spot, where strays She, whom I seek but find on earth no more: There, fairer still and humbler than before, I saw her, in the third heaven's blessed maze. She took me by the hand, and "Thou shalt trace, If hope not errs," she said, "this happy shore: I, I am she, thy breast with slights who tore, And ere its evening closed my day's brief space. What human heart conceives, my joys exceed; Thee only I expect, and (what remain Below) the charms, once objects of thy love." Why ceased she? Ah! my captive hand why freed? Such of her soft and hallow'd tones the chain, From that delightful heaven my soul could scarcely move.
Thither my ecstatic thought had rapt me, where She dwells, whom still on earth I seek in vain; And there, with those whom the third heavens contain, I saw her, much more kind, and much more fair. My hand she took, and said: "Within this sphere, If hope deceive me not, thou shalt again With me reside: who caused thy mortal pain Am I, and even in summer closed my year. My bliss no human thought can understand: Thee only I await; and, that erewhile You held so dear, the veil I left behind."— She ceased—ah why? Why did she loose my hand? For oh! her hallow'd words, her roseate smile In heaven had well nigh fix'd my ravish'd mind!
Amor che meco al buon tempo ti stavi.
HE VENTS HIS SORROW TO ALL WHO WITNESSED HIS FORMER FELICITY.
Love, that in happier days wouldst meet me here Along these meads that nursed our kindred strains; And that old debt to clear which still remains, Sweet converse with the stream and me wouldst share: Ye flowers, leaves, grass, woods, grots, rills, gentle air, Low valleys, lofty hills, and sunny plains: The harbour where I stored my love-sick pains, And all my various chance, my racking care: Ye playful inmates of the greenwood shade; Ye nymphs, and ye that in the waves pursue That life its cool and grassy bottom lends:— My days were once so fair; now dark and dread As death that makes them so. Thus the world through On each as soon as born his fate attends.
ANON., OX., 1795.
On these green banks in happier days I stray'd With Love, who whisper'd many a tender tale; And the glad waters, winding through the dale, Heard the sweet eloquence fond Love display'd. You, purpled plain, cool grot, and arching glade; Ye hills, ye streams, where plays the silken gale; Ye pathless wilds, you rock-encircled vale Which oft have beard the tender plaints I made; Ye blue-hair'd nymphs, who ceaseless revel keep, In the cool bosom of the crystal deep; Ye woodland maids who climb the mountain's brow; Ye mark'd how joy once wing'd each hour so gay; Ah, mark how sad each hour now wears away! So fate with human bliss blends human woe!
Mentre che 'l cor dagli amorosi vermi.
HAD SHE NOT DIED SO EARLY, HE WOULD HAVE LEARNED TO PRAISE HER MORE WORTHILY.
While on my heart the worms consuming prey'd Of Love, and I with all his fire was caught; The steps of my fair wild one still I sought To trace o'er desert mountains as she stray'd; And much I dared in bitter strains to upbraid Both Love and her, whom I so cruel thought; But rude was then my genius, and untaught My rhymes, while weak and new the ideas play'd. Dead is that fire; and cold its ashes lie In one small tomb; which had it still grown on E'en to old age, as oft by others felt, Arm'd with the power of rhyme, which wretched I E'en now disclaim, my riper strains had won E'en stones to burst, and in soft sorrows melt.
ANON., OX., 1795.
Anima bella, da quel nodo sciolta.
HE PRAYS LAURA TO LOOK DOWN UPON HIM FROM HEAVEN.
Bright spirit, from those earthly bonds released, The loveliest ever wove in Nature's loom, From thy bright skies compassionate the gloom Shrouding my life that once of joy could taste! Each false suggestion of thy heart has ceased, That whilom bade thee stem disdain assume; Now, all secure, heaven's habitant become, List to my sighs, thy looks upon me cast. Mark the huge rock, whence Sorga's waters rise; And see amidst its waves and borders stray One fed by grief and memory that ne'er dies But from that spot, oh! turn thy sight away Where I first loved, where thy late dwelling lies; That in thy friends thou nought ungrateful may'st survey!
Blest soul, that, loosen'd from those bands, art flown— Bands than which Nature never form'd more fair, Look down and mark how changed to carking care From gladdest thoughts I pass my days unknown. Each false opinion from my heart is gone, That once to me made thy sweet sight appear Most harsh and bitter; now secure from fear Here turn thine eyes, and listen to my moan. Turn to this rock whence Sorga's waters rise, And mark, where through the mead its waters flow, One who of thee still mindful ceaseless sighs: But leave me there unsought for, where to glow Our flames began, and where thy mansion lies, Lest thou in thine shouldst see what grieved thee so.
ANON., OX., 1795.
Quel sol che mi mostrava il cammin destro.
LOVE AND HE SEEK LAURA, BUT FIND NO TRACES OF HER EXCEPT IN THE SKY.
That sun, which ever signall'd the right road, Where flash'd her own bright feet, to heaven to fly, Returning to the Eternal Sun on high, Has quench'd my light, and cast her earthly load; Thus, lone and weary, my oft steps have trode, As some wild animal, the sere woods by, Fleeing with heavy heart and downcast eye The world which since to me a blank has show'd. Still with fond search each well-known spot I pace Where once I saw her: Love, who grieves me so, My only guide, directs me where to go. I find her not: her every sainted trace Seeks, in bright realms above, her parent star From grisly Styx and black Avernus far.
Io pensava assai destro esser sull' ale.
UNWORTHY TO HAVE LOOKED UPON HER, HE IS STILL MORE SO TO ATTEMPT HER PRAISES.
I thought me apt and firm of wing to rise (Not of myself, but him who trains us all) In song, to numbers fitting the fair thrall Which Love once fasten'd and which Death unties. Slow now and frail, the task too sorely tries, As a great weight upon a sucker small: "Who leaps," I said, "too high may midway fall: Man ill accomplishes what Heaven denies." So far the wing of genius ne'er could fly— Poor style like mine and faltering tongue much less— As Nature rose, in that rare fabric, high. Love follow'd Nature with such full success In gracing her, no claim could I advance Even to look, and yet was bless'd by chance.
Quella per cui con Sorga ho cangiat' Arno.
HE ATTEMPTS TO PAINT HER BEAUTIES, BUT NOT HER VIRTUES.
She, for whose sake fair Arno I resign, And for free poverty court-affluence spurn, Has known to sour the precious sweets to turn On which I lived, for which I burn and pine. Though since, the vain attempt has oft been mine That future ages from my song should learn Her heavenly beauties, and like me should burn, My poor verse fails her sweet face to define. The gifts, though all her own, which others share, Which were but stars her bright sky scatter'd o'er, Haply of these to sing e'en I might dare; But when to the diviner part I soar, To the dull world a brief and brilliant light, Courage and wit and art are baffled quite.
L' alto e novo miracol ch' a di nostri.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO DESCRIBE HER EXCELLENCES.
The wonder, high and new, that, in our days, Dawn'd on the world, yet would not there remain, Which heaven but show'd to us to snatch again Better to blazon its own starry ways; That to far times I her should paint and praise Love wills, who prompted first my passionate strain; But now wit, leisure, pen, page, ink in vain To the fond task a thousand times he sways. My slow rhymes struggle not to life the while; I feel it, and whoe'er to-day below, Or speak or write of love will prove it so. Who justly deems the truth beyond all style, Here silent let him muse, and sighing say, Blessed the eyes who saw her living day!
Zefiro torna, e 'l bel tempo rimena.
RETURNING SPRING BRINGS TO HIM ONLY INCREASE OF GRIEF.
Zephyr returns; and in his jocund train Brings verdure, flowers, and days serenely clear; Brings Progne's twitter, Philomel's lorn strain, With every bloom that paints the vernal year; Cloudless the skies, and smiling every plain; With joyance flush'd, Jove views his daughter dear; Love's genial power pervades earth, air, and main; All beings join'd in fond accord appear. But nought to me returns save sorrowing sighs, Forced from my inmost heart by her who bore Those keys which govern'd it unto the skies: The blossom'd meads, the choristers of air, Sweet courteous damsels can delight no more; Each face looks savage, and each prospect drear.
The spring returns, with all her smiling train; The wanton Zephyrs breathe along the bowers, The glistening dew-drops hang on bending flowers, And tender green light-shadows o'er the plain: And thou, sweet Philomel, renew'st thy strain, Breathing thy wild notes to the midnight grove: All nature feels the kindling fire of love, The vital force of spring's returning reign. But not to me returns the cheerful spring! O heart! that know'st no period to thy grief, Nor Nature's smiles to thee impart relief, Nor change of mind the varying seasons bring: She, she is gone! All that e'er pleased before, Adieu! ye birds ye flowers, ye fields, that charm no more!
Returning Zephyr the sweet season brings, With flowers and herbs his breathing train among, And Progne twitters, Philomela sings, Leading the many-colour'd spring along; Serene the sky, and fair the laughing field, Jove views his daughter with complacent brow; Earth, sea, and air, to Love's sweet influence yield, And creatures all his magic power avow: But nought, alas! for me the season brings, Save heavier sighs, from my sad bosom drawn By her who can from heaven unlock its springs; And warbling birds and flower-bespangled lawn, And fairest acts of ladies fair and mild, A desert seem, and its brute tenants wild.
Zephyr returns and winter's rage restrains, With herbs, with flowers, his blooming progeny! Now Progne prattles, Philomel complains, And spring assumes her robe of various dye; The meadows smile, heaven glows, nor Jove disdains To view his daughter with delighted eye; While Love through universal nature reigns, And life is fill'd with amorous sympathy! But grief, not joy, returns to me forlorn, And sighs, which from my inmost heart proceed For her, by whom to heaven its keys were borne. The song of birds, the flower-enamell'd mead, And graceful acts, which most the fair adorn, A desert seem, and beasts of savage prey!
Quel rosignuol che si soave piagne.
THE SONG OF THE NIGHTINGALE REMINDS HIM OF HIS UNHAPPY LOT.
Yon nightingale, whose bursts of thrilling tone, Pour'd in soft sorrow from her tuneful throat, Haply her mate or infant brood bemoan, Filling the fields and skies with pity's note; Here lingering till the long long night is gone, Awakes the memory of my cruel lot— But I my wretched self must wail alone: Fool, who secure from death an angel thought! O easy duped, who thus on hope relies! Who would have deem'd the darkness, which appears, From orbs more brilliant than the sun should rise? Now know I, made by sad experience wise, That Fate would teach me by a life of tears, On wings how fleeting fast all earthly rapture flies!
Yon nightingale, whose strain so sweetly flows, Mourning her ravish'd young or much-loved mate, A soothing charm o'er all the valleys throws And skies, with notes well tuned to her sad state: And all the night she seems my kindred woes With me to weep and on my sorrows wait; Sorrows that from my own fond fancy rose, Who deem'd a goddess could not yield to fate. How easy to deceive who sleeps secure! Who could have thought that to dull earth would turn Those eyes that as the sun shone bright and pure? Ah! now what Fortune wills I see full sure: That loathing life, yet living I should see How few its joys, how little they endure!
ANON., OX., 1795.
That nightingale, who now melodious mourns Perhaps his children or his consort dear, The heavens with sweetness fills; the distant bourns Resound his notes, so piteous and so clear; With me all night he weeps, and seems by turns To upbraid me with my fault and fortune drear, Whose fond and foolish heart, where grief sojourns, A goddess deem'd exempt from mortal fear. Security, how easy to betray! The radiance of those eyes who could have thought Should e'er become a senseless clod of clay? Living, and weeping, late I've learn'd to say That here below—Oh, knowledge dearly bought!— Whate'er delights will scarcely last a day!
Ne per sereno cielo ir vaghe stelle.
NOTHING THAT NATURE OFFERS CAN AFFORD HIM CONSOLATION.
Not skies serene, with glittering stars inlaid, Nor gallant ships o'er tranquil ocean dancing, Nor gay careering knights in arms advancing, Nor wild herds bounding through the forest glade, Nor tidings new of happiness delay'd, Nor poesie, Love's witchery enhancing, Nor lady's song beside clear fountain glancing, In beauty's pride, with chastity array'd; Nor aught of lovely, aught of gay in show, Shall touch my heart, now cold within her tomb Who was erewhile my life and light below! So heavy—tedious—sad—my days unblest, That I, with strong desire, invoke Death's gloom, Her to behold, whom ne'er to have seen were best!
Nor stars bright glittering through the cool still air, Nor proud ships riding on the tranquil main, Nor armed knights light pricking o'er the plain, Nor deer in glades disporting void of care, Nor tidings hoped by recent messenger, Nor tales of love in high and gorgeous strain, Nor by clear stream, green mead, or shady lane Sweet-chaunted roundelay of lady fair; Nor aught beside my heart shall e'er engage— Sepulchred, as 'tis henceforth doom'd to be, With her, my eyes' sole mirror, beam, and bliss. Oh! how I long this weary pilgrimage To close; that I again that form may see, Which never to have seen had been my happiness!
Passato e 'l tempo omai, lasso! che tanto.
HIS ONLY DESIRE IS AGAIN TO BE WITH HER.
Fled—fled, alas! for ever—is the day, Which to my flame some soothing whilom brought; And fled is she of whom I wept and wrote: Yet still the pang, the tear, prolong their stay! And fled that angel vision far away; But flying, with soft glance my heart it smote ('Twas then my own) which straight, divided, sought Her, who had wrapp'd it in her robe of clay. Part shares her tomb, part to her heaven is sped; Where now, with laurel wreathed, in triumph's car She reaps the meed of matchless holiness: So might I, of this flesh discumbered, Which holds me prisoner here, from sorrow far With her expatiate free 'midst realms of endless bliss!
Ah! gone for ever are the happy years That soothed my soul amid Love's fiercest fire, And she for whom I wept and tuned my lyre Has gone, alas!—But left my lyre, my tears: Gone is that face, whose holy look endears; But in my heart, ere yet it did retire, Left the sweet radiance of its eyes, entire;— My heart? Ah; no! not mine! for to the spheres Of light she bore it captive, soaring high, In angel robe triumphant, and now stands Crown'd with the laurel wreath of chastity: Oh! could I throw aside these earthly bands That tie me down where wretched mortals sigh,— To join blest spirits in celestial lands!
Mente mia che presaga de' tuoi danni.
HE RECALLS WITH GRIEF THEIR LAST MEETING.
My mind! prophetic of my coming fate, Pensive and gloomy while yet joy was lent, On the loved lineaments still fix'd, intent To seek dark bodings, ere thy sorrow's date! From her sweet acts, her words, her looks, her gait, From her unwonted pity with sadness blent, Thou might'st have said, hadst thou been prescient, "I taste my last of bliss in this low state!" My wretched soul! the poison, oh, how sweet! That through my eyes instill'd the burning smart, Gazing on hers, no more on earth to meet! To them—my bosom's wealth! condemn'd to part On a far journey—as to friends discreet, All my fond thoughts I left, and lingering heart.
Tutta la mia fiorita e verde etade.
JUST WHEN HE MIGHT FAIRLY HOPE SOME RETURN OF AFFECTION, ENVIOUS DEATH CARRIES HER OFF.
All my green years and golden prime of man Had pass'd away, and with attemper'd sighs My bosom heaved—ere yet the days arise When life declines, contracting its brief span. Already my loved enemy began To lull suspicion, and in sportive guise, With timid confidence, though playful, wise, In gentle mockery my long pains to scan: The hour was near when Love, at length, may mate With Chastity; and, by the dear one's side, The lover's thoughts and words may freely flow: Death saw, with envy, my too happy state, E'en its fair promise—and, with fatal pride, Strode in the midway forth, an armed foe!
Now of my life each gay and greener year Pass'd by, and cooler grew each hour the flame With which I burn'd: and to that point we came Whence life descends, as to its end more near; Now 'gan my lovely foe each virtuous fear Gently to lay aside, as safe from blame; And though with saint-like virtue still the same, Mock'd my sweet pains indeed, but deign'd to hear Nigh drew the time when Love delights to dwell With Chastity; and lovers with their mate Can fearless sit, and all they muse of tell. Death envied me the joys of such a state; Nay, e'en the hopes I form'd: and on them fell E'en in midway, like some arm'd foe in wait.
ANON., OX., 1795.
Tempo era omai da trovar pace o tregua.
HE CONSOLES HIMSELF WITH THE BELIEF THAT SHE NOW AT LAST SYMPATHISES WITH HIM.
'Twas time at last from so long war to find Some peace or truce, and, haply, both were nigh, But Death their welcome feet has turn'd behind, Who levels all distinctions, low as high; And as a cloud dissolves before the wind, So she, who led me with her lustrous eye, Whom ever I pursue with faithful mind, Her fair life briefly ending, sought the sky. Had she but stay'd, as I grew changed and old Her tone had changed, and no distrust had been To parley with me on my cherish'd ill: With what frank sighs and fond I then had told My lifelong toils, which now from heaven, I ween, She sees, and with me sympathises still.
My life's long warfare seem'd about to cease, Peace had my spirit's contest well nigh freed; But levelling Death, who doth to all concede An equal doom, clipp'd Time's blest wings of peace: As zephyrs chase the clouds of gathering fleece, So did her life from this world's breath recede, Their vision'd light could once my footsteps lead, But now my all, save thought, she doth release. Oh! would that she her flight awhile had stay'd, For Time had stamp'd on me his warning hand, And calmer I had told my storied love: To her in virtue's tone I had convey'd My heart's long grief—now, she doth understand, And sympathises with that grief above.
Tranquillo porto avea mostrato Amore.
DEATH HAS ROBBED HIM IN ONE MOMENT OF THE FRUIT OF HIS LIFE.
From life's long storm of trouble and of tears Love show'd a tranquil haven and fair end 'Mid better thoughts which riper age attend, That vice lays bare and virtue clothes and cheers. She saw my true heart, free from doubts and fears, And its high faith which could no more offend; Ah, cruel Death! how quick wert thou to rend In so few hours the fruit of many years! A longer life the time had surely brought When in her chaste ear my full heart had laid The ancient burthen of its dearest thought; And she, perchance, might then have answer made, Forth-sighing some blest words, whilst white and few Our locks became, and wan our cheeks in hue.
Al cader d' una pianta che si svelse.
UNDER THE ALLEGORY OF A LAUREL HE AGAIN DEPLORES HER DEATH.
As a fair plant, uprooted by oft blows Of trenchant spade, or which the blast upheaves, Scatters on earth its green and lofty leaves, And its bare roots to the broad sunlight shows; Love such another for my object chose, Of whom for me the Muse a subject weaves, Who in my captured heart her home achieves, As on some wall or tree the ivy grows That living laurel—where their chosen nest My high thoughts made, where sigh'd mine ardent grief, Yet never stirr'd of its fair boughs a leaf— To heaven translated, in my heart, her rest, Left deep its roots, whence ever with sad cry I call on her, who ne'er vouchsafes reply.
I di miei piu leggier che nessun cervo.
HIS PASSION FINDS ITS ONLY CONSOLATION IN CONTEMPLATING HER IN HEAVEN.
My days more swiftly than the forest hind Have fled like shadows, and no pleasure seen Save for a moment, and few hours serene, Whose bitter-sweet I treasure in true mind. O wretched world, unstable, wayward! Blind Whose hopes in thee alone have centred been; In thee my heart was captived by her mien Who bore it with her when she earth rejoin'd: Her better spirit, now a deathless flower, And in the highest heaven that still shall be, Each day inflames me with its beauties more. Alone, though frailer, fonder every hour, I muse on her—Now what, and where is she, And what the lovely veil which here she wore?
Oh! swifter than the hart my life hath fled, A shadow'd dream; one winged glance hath seen Its only good; its hours (how few serene!) The sweet and bitter tide of thought have fed: Ephemeral world! in pride and sorrow bred, Who hope in thee, are blind as I have been; I hoped in thee, and thus my heart's loved queen Hath borne it mid her nerveless, kindred dead. Her form decay'd—its beauty still survives, For in high heaven that soul will ever bloom, With which each day I more enamour'd grow: Thus though my locks are blanch'd, my hope revives In thinking on her home—her soul's high doom: Alas! how changed the shrine she left below!
Sente l' aura mia antica, e i dolci colli.
HE REVISITS VAUCLUSE.
I feel the well-known gale; the hills I spy So pleasant, whence my fair her being drew, Which made these eyes, while Heaven was willing, shew Wishful, and gay; now sad, and never dry. O feeble hopes! O thoughts of vanity! Wither'd the grass, the rills of turbid hue; And void and cheerless is that dwelling too, In which I live, in which I wish'd to die; Hoping its mistress might at length afford Some respite to my woes by plaintive sighs, And sorrows pour'd from her once-burning eyes. I've served a cruel and ungrateful lord: While lived my beauteous flame, my heart be fired; And o'er its ashes now I weep expired.
Once more, ye balmy gales, I feel you blow; Again, sweet hills, I mark the morning beams Gild your green summits; while your silver streams Through vales of fragrance undulating flow. But you, ye dreams of bliss, no longer here Give life and beauty to the glowing scene: For stern remembrance stands where you have been, And blasts the verdure of the blooming year. O Laura! Laura! in the dust with thee, Would I could find a refuge from despair! Is this thy boasted triumph. Love, to tear A heart thy coward malice dares not free; And bid it live, while every hope is fled, To weep, among the ashes of the dead?
E questo 'l nido in che la mia Fenice.
THE SIGHT OF LAURA'S HOUSE REMINDS HIM OF HIS MISERY.
Is this the nest in which my phoenix first Her plumage donn'd of purple and of gold, Beneath her wings who knew my heart to hold, For whom e'en yet its sighs and wishes burst? Prime root in which my cherish'd ill had birth, Where is the fair face whence that bright light came. Alive and glad which kept me in my flame? Now bless'd in heaven as then alone on earth; Wretched and lonely thou hast left me here, Fond lingering by the scenes, with sorrows drown'd, To thee which consecrate I still revere. Watching the hills as dark night gathers round, Whence its last flight to heaven thy soul did take, And where my day those bright eyes wont to make.
Is this the nest in which her wings of gold, Of gold and purple plume, my phoenix laid? How flutter'd my fond heart beneath their shade! But now its sighs proclaim that dwelling cold: Sweet source! from which my bliss, my bane, have roll'd, Where is that face, in living light array'd, That burn'd me, yet my sole enjoyment made? Unparallel'd on earth, the heavens now hold Thee bless'd!—but I am left wretched, alone! Yet ever in my grief return to see And honour this sweet place, though thou art gone. A black night veils the hills, whence rising free Thou took'st thy heavenward flight! Ah! when they shone In morning radiance, it was all from thee!
Mai non vedranno le mie luci asciutte.
TO THE MEMORY OF GIACOMO COLONNA, WHO DIED BEFORE PETRARCH COULD REPLY TO A LETTER OF HIS.
Ne'er shall I see again with eyes unwet, Or with the sure powers of a tranquil mind, Those characters where Love so brightly shined, And his own hand affection seem'd to set; Spirit! amid earth's strifes unconquer'd yet, Breathing such sweets from heaven which now has shrined, As once more to my wandering verse has join'd The style which Death had led me to forget. Another work, than my young leaves more bright, I thought to show: what envying evil star Snatch'd thee, my noble treasure, thus from me? So soon who hides thee from my fond heart's sight, And from thy praise my loving tongue would bar? My soul has rest, sweet sigh! alone in thee.
Oh! ne'er shall I behold with tearless eye Or tranquil soul those characters of thine, In which affection doth so brightly shine, And charity's own hand I can descry! Blest soul! that could this earthly strife defy, Thy sweets instilling from thy home divine, Thou wakest in me the tone which once was mine, To sing my rhymes Death's power did long deny. With these, my brow's young leaves, I fondly dream'd Another work than this had greeted thee: What iron planet envied thus our love? My treasure! veil'd ere age had darkly gleam'd; Thou—whom my song records—my heart doth see; Thou wakest my sigh, and sighing, rest I prove.
Standomi un giorno solo alla finestra.
UNDER VARIOUS ALLEGORIES HE PAINTS THE VIRTUE, BEAUTY, AND UNTIMELY DEATH OF LAURA.
While at my window late I stood alone, So new and many things there cross'd my sight, To view them I had almost weary grown. A dappled hind appear'd upon the right, In aspect gentle, yet of stately stride, By two swift greyhounds chased, a black and white, Who tore in the poor side Of that fair creature wounds so deep and wide, That soon they forced her where ravine and rock The onward passage block: Then triumph'd Death her matchless beauties o'er, And left me lonely there her sad fate to deplore.
Upon the summer wave a gay ship danced, Her cordage was of silk, of gold her sails, Her sides with ivory and ebon glanced, The sea was tranquil, favouring were the gales, And heaven as when no cloud its azure veils. A rich and goodly merchandise is hers; But soon the tempest wakes, And wind and wave to such mad fury stirs, That, driven on the rocks, in twain she breaks; My heart with pity aches, That a short hour should whelm, a small space hide, Riches for which the world no equal had beside.
In a fair grove a bright young laurel made —Surely to Paradise the plant belongs!— Of sacred boughs a pleasant summer shade, From whose green depths there issued so sweet songs Of various birds, and many a rare delight Of eye and ear, what marvel from the world They stole my senses quite! While still I gazed, the heavens grew black around, The fatal lightning flash'd, and sudden hurl'd, Uprooted to the ground, That blessed birth. Alas! for it laid low, And its dear shade whose like we ne'er again shall know.
A crystal fountain in that very grove Gush'd from a rock, whose waters fresh and clear Shed coolness round and softly murmur'd love; Never that leafy screen and mossy seat Drew browsing flock or whistling rustic near But nymphs and muses danced to music sweet. There as I sat and drank With infinite delight their carols gay, And mark'd their sport, the earth before me sank And bore with it away The fountain and the scene, to my great grief, Who now in memory find a sole and scant relief.
A lovely and rare bird within the wood, Whose crest with gold, whose wings with purple gleam'd, Alone, but proudly soaring, next I view'd, Of heavenly and immortal birth which seem'd, Flitting now here, now there, until it stood Where buried fount and broken laurel lay, And sadly seeing there The fallen trunk, the boughs all stripp'd and bare, The channel dried—for all things to decay So tend—it turn'd away As if in angry scorn, and instant fled, While through me for her loss new love and pity spread.
At length along the flowery sward I saw So sweet and fair a lady pensive move That her mere thought inspires a tender awe; Meek in herself, but haughty against Love, Flow'd from her waist a robe so fair and fine Seem'd gold and snow together there to join: But, ah! each charm above Was veil'd from sight in an unfriendly cloud: Stung by a lurking snake, as flowers that pine Her head she gently bow'd, And joyful pass'd on high, perchance secure: Alas! that in the world grief only should endure.
My song! in each sad change, These visions, as they rise, sweet, solemn, strange, But show how deeply in thy master's breast The fond desire abides to die and be at rest.
Amor, quando fioria.
HIS GRIEF AT SURVIVING HER IS MITIGATED BY THE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT SHE NOW KNOWS HIS HEART.
Yes, Love, at that propitious time When hope was in its bloomy prime, And when I vainly fancied nigh The meed of all my constancy; Then sudden she, of whom I sought Compassion, from my sight was caught. O ruthless Death! O life severe! The one has sunk me deep in care, And darken'd cruelly my day, That shone with hope's enlivening ray: The other, adverse to my will, Doth here on earth detain me still; And interdicts me to pursue Her, who from all its scenes withdrew: Yet in my heart resides the fair, For ever, ever present there; Who well perceives the ills that wait Upon my wretched, mortal state.
Yes, Love, while hope still bloom'd with me in pride, While seem'd of all my faith the guerdon nigh, She, upon whom for mercy I relied, Was ravish'd from my doting desolate eye. O ruthless Death! O life unwelcome! this Plunged me in deepest woe, And rudely crush'd my every hope of bliss; Against my will that keeps me here below, Who else would yearn to go, And join the sainted fair who left us late; Yet present every hour In my heart's core there wields she her old power, And knows, whate'er my life, its every state!
Tacer non posso, e temo non adopre.
HE RECALLS HER MANY GRACES.
Fain would I speak—too long has silence seal'd Lips that would gladly with my full heart move With one consent, and yield Homage to her who listens from above; Yet how can I, without thy prompting, Love, With mortal words e'er equal things divine, And picture faithfully The high humility whose chosen shrine Was that fair prison whence she now is free? Which held, erewhile, her gentle spirit, when So in my conscious heart her power began. That, instantly, I ran, —Alike o' th' year and me 'twas April then— From these gay meadows round sweet flowers to bind, Hoping rich pleasure at her eyes to find.
The walls were alabaster, the roof gold, Ivory the doors, the sapphire windows lent Whence on my heart of old Its earliest sigh, as shall my last, was sent; In arrowy jets of fire thence came and went Arm'd messengers of love, whereof to think As then they were, with awe —Though now for them with laurel crown'd—I shrink Of one rare diamond, square, without a flaw, High in the midst a stately throne was placed Where sat the lovely lady all alone: In front a column shone Of crystal, and thereon each thought was traced In characters so clear, and quick, and true, By turns it gladden'd me and grieved to view.
To weapons such as these, sharp, burning, bright, To the green glorious banner waved above, —'Gainst which would fail in fight Mars, Polypheme, Apollo, mighty Jove— While still my sorrow fresh and verdant throve, I stood defenceless, doom'd; her easy prey She led me as she chose Whence to escape I knew nor art nor way; But, as a friend, who, haply, grieves yet goes, Sees something still to lure his eyes and heart, Just so on her, for whom I am in thrall, Sole perfect work of all That graced her age, unable to depart, With such desire my rapt regards I set, As soon myself and misery to forget.
On earth myself, my heart in Eden dwelt, Lost in sweet Lethe every other care, As my live frame I felt To marble turn, watching that wonder rare; When old in years, but youthful still in air, A lady briefly, quietly drew nigh, And thus beholding me, With reverent aspect and admiring eye, Kind offer made my counsellor to be: "My power," she said, "is more than mortals know— Lighter than air, I, in an instant, make Their hearts exult or ache, I loose and bind whate'er is seen below; Thine eyes, upon that sun, as eagles', bend, But to my words with willing ears attend.
"The day when she was born, the stars that win Prosperity for man shone bright above; Their high glad homes within Each on the other smiled with gratulant love; Fair Venus, and, with gentle aspect, Jove The beautiful and lordly mansions held: Seem'd as each adverse light Throughout all heaven was darken'd and dispell'd, The sun ne'er look'd upon a day so bright; The air and earth rejoiced; the waves had rest By lake and river, and o'er ocean green: 'Mid the enchanting scene One distant cloud alone my thought distress'd, Lest sometime it might be of tears the source Unless kind Heaven should elsewhere turn its course.
"When first she enter'd on this life below, Which, to say sooth, not worthy was to hold, 'Twas strange to see her so Angelical and dear in baby mould; A snowy pearl she seem'd in finest gold; Next as she crawl'd, or totter'd with short pace, Wood, water, earth, and stone Grew green, and clear, and soft; with livelier grace The sward beneath her feet and fingers shone; With flowers the champain to her bright eyes smiled; At her sweet voice, babbling through lips that yet From Love's own fount were wet, The hoarse wind silent grew, the tempest mild: Thus clearly showing to the dull blind world How much in her was heaven's own light unfurl'd.
"At length, her life's third flowery epoch won, She, year by year, so grew in charms and worth, That ne'er, methinks, the sun Such gracefulness and beauty saw on earth; Her eyes so full of modesty and mirth, Music and welcome on her words so hung, That mute in her high praise, Which thine alone may sound, is every tongue: So bright her countenance with heavenly rays, Not long thy dazzled vision there may rest; From this her fair and fleshly tenement Such fire through thine is sent (Though gentler never kindled human breast), That yet I fear her sudden flight may be Too soon the cause of bitter grief to thee."
This said, she turn'd her to the rapid wheel Whereon she winds of mortal life the thread; Too true did she reveal The doom of woe which darken'd o'er my head! A few brief years flew by, When she, for whom I so desire to die, By black and pitiless Death, who could not slay A fairer form than hers, was snatch'd away!
Or hai fatto l' estremo di tua possa.
DEATH MAY DEPRIVE HIM OF THE SIGHT OF HER BEAUTIES, BUT NOT OF THE MEMORY OF HER VIRTUES.
Now hast thou shown, fell Death! thine utmost might. Through Love's bright realm hast want and darkness spread, Hast now cropp'd beauty's flower, its heavenly light Quench'd, and enclosed in the grave's narrow bed; Now hast thou life despoil'd of all delight, Its ornament and sovereign honour shed: But fame and worth it is not thine to blight; These mock thy power, and sleep not with the dead. Be thine the mortal part; heaven holds the best, And, glorying in its brightness, brighter glows, While memory still records the great and good. O thou, in thine high triumph, angel blest! Let thy heart yield to pity of my woes, E'en as thy beauty here my soul subdued.
Now hast thou shown the utmost of thy might, O cruel Death! Love's kingdom hast thou rent, And made it poor; in narrow grave hast pent The blooming flower of beauty and its light! Our wretched life thou hast despoil'd outright Of every honour, every ornament! But then her fame, her worth, by thee unblent, Shall still survive!—her dust is all thy right; The rest heaven holds, proud of her charms divine As of a brighter sun. Nor dies she here— Her memory lasts, to good men ever dear! O angel new, in thy celestial sphere Let pity now thy sainted heart incline, As here below thy beauty vanquish'd mine!
L' aura e l' odore e 'l refrigerio e l' ombra.
HER OWN VIRTUES IMMORTALISE HER IN HEAVEN, AND HIS PRAISES ON EARTH.
The air and scent, the comfort and the shade Of my sweet laurel, and its flowery sight, That to my weary life gave rest and light, Death, spoiler of the world, has lowly laid. As when the moon our sun's eclipse has made, My lofty light has vanish'd so in night; For aid against himself I Death invite; With thoughts so dark does Love my breast invade. Thou didst but sleep, bright lady, a brief sleep, In bliss amid the chosen spirits to wake, Who gaze upon their God, distinct and near: And if my verse shall any value keep, Preserved and praised 'mid noble minds to make Thy name, its memory shall be deathless here.
The fragrant gale, and the refreshing shade Of my sweet laurel, and its verdant form, That were my shelter in life's weary storm, Have felt the power that makes all nature fade: Now has my light been lost in gloomy shade, E'en as the sun behind his sister's form: I call for Death to free me from Death's storm, But Love descends and brings me better aid! He tells me, lady, that one moment's sleep Alone was thine, and then thou didst awake Among the elect, and in thy Maker's arms: And if my verse oblivion's power can keep Aloof, thy name its place on earth-will take Where Genius still will dote upon thy charms!
L' ultimo, lasso! de' miei giorni allegri.
HE REVERTS TO THEIR LAST MEETING.
The last, alas! of my bright days and glad —Few have been mine in this brief life below— Had come; I felt my heart as tepid snow, Presage, perchance, of days both dark and sad. As one in nerves, and pulse, and spirits bad, Who of some frequent fever waits the blow, E'en so I felt—for how could I foreknow Such near end of the half-joys I have had? Her beauteous eyes, in heaven now bright and bless'd With the pure light whence health and life descends, (Wretched and beggar'd leaving me behind,) With chaste and soul-lit beams our grief address'd: "Tarry ye here in peace, beloved friends, Though here no more, we yet shall there be join'd."
Ah me! the last of all my happy days (Not many happy days my years can show) Was come! I felt my heart as turn'd to snow, Presage, perhaps, that happiness decays! E'en as the man whose shivering frame betrays, And fluttering pulse, the ague's coming blow; 'Twas thus I felt!—but could I therefore know How soon would end the bliss that never stays? Those eyes that now, in heaven's delicious light, Drink in pure beams which life and glory rain, Just as they left mine, blinded, sunk in night, Seem'd thus to say, sparkling unwonted bright,— "Awhile, beloved friends, in peace remain, Oh, we shall yet elsewhere exchange fond looks again!"
O giorno, o ora, o ultimo momento.
HE MOURNS HIS WANT OF PERCEPTION AT THAT MEETING.
O Day, O hour, O moment sweetest, last, O stars conspired to make me poor indeed! O look too true, in which I seem'd to read. At parting, that my happiness was past; Now my full loss I know, I feel at last: Then I believed (ah! weak and idle creed!) 'Twas but a part alone I lost; instead, Was there a hope that flew not with the blast? For, even then, it was in heaven ordain'd That the sweet light of all my life should die: 'Twas written in her sadly-pensive eye! But mine unconscious of the truth remain'd; Or, what it would not see, to see refrain'd, That I might sink in sudden misery!