Sonnet CLVI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Passa la nave mia colma d' oblio.

UNDER THE FIGURE OF A TEMPEST-TOSSED VESSEL, HE DESCRIBES HIS OWN SAD STATE.


My bark, deep laden with oblivion, rides
O'er boisterous waves, through winter's midnight gloom,
'Twixt Scylla and Charybdis, while, in room
Of pilot, Love, mine enemy, presides;
At every oar a guilty fancy bides,
Holding at nought the tempest and the tomb;
A moist eternal wind the sails consume,
Of sighs, of hopes, and of desire besides.
A shower of tears, a fog of chill disdain
Bathes and relaxes the o'er-wearied cords,
With error and with ignorance entwined;
My two loved lights their wonted aid restrain;
Reason or Art, storm-quell'd, no help affords,
Nor hope remains the wish'd-for port to find.

CHARLEMONT.


My lethe-freighted bark with reckless prore
Cleaves the rough sea 'neath wintry midnight skies,
My old foe at the helm our compass eyes,
With Scylla and Charybdis on each shore,
A prompt and daring thought at every oar,
Which equally the storm and death defies,
While a perpetual humid wind of sighs,
Of hopes, and of desires, its light sail tore.
Bathe and relax its worn and weary shrouds
(Which ignorance with error intertwines),
Torrents of tears, of scorn and anger clouds;
Hidden the twin dear lights which were my signs;
Reason and Art amid the waves lie dead,
And hope of gaining port is almost fled.

MACGREGOR.

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