Sonnet II.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Per far una leggiadra sua vendetta.


For many a crime at once to make me smart,
And a delicious vengeance to obtain,
Love secretly took up his bow again,
As one who acts the cunning coward's part;
My courage had retired within my heart,
There to defend the pass bright eyes might gain;
When his dread archery was pour'd amain
Where blunted erst had fallen every dart.
Scared at the sudden brisk attack, I found
Nor time, nor vigour to repel the foe
With weapons suited to the direful need;
No kind protection of rough rising ground,
Where from defeat I might securely speed,
Which fain I would e'en now, but ah, no method know!


One sweet and signal vengeance to obtain
To punish in a day my life's long crime,
As one who, bent on harm, waits place and time,
Love craftily took up his bow again.
My virtue had retired to watch my heart,
Thence of weak eyes the danger to repell,
When momently a mortal blow there fell
Where blunted hitherto dropt every dart.
And thus, o'erpower'd in that first attack,
She had nor vigour left enough, nor room
Even to arm her for my pressing need,
Nor to the steep and painful mountain back
To draw me, safe and scathless from that doom,
Whence, though alas! too weak, she fain had freed.


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