Sonnet VIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

A piè de' colli ove la bella vesta.


Beneath the verdant hills--where the fair vest
Of earthly mould first took the Lady dear,
Who him that sends us, feather'd captives, here
Awakens often from his tearful rest--
Lived we in freedom and in quiet, blest
With everything which life below might cheer,
No foe suspecting, harass'd by no fear
That aught our wanderings ever could molest;
But snatch'd from that serener life, and thrown
To the low wretched state we here endure,
One comfort, short of death, survives alone:
Vengeance upon our captor full and sure!
Who, slave himself at others' power, remains
Pent in worse prison, bound by sterner chains.


Beneath those very hills, where beauty threw
Her mantle first o'er that earth-moulded fair,
Who oft from sleep, while shedding many a tear,
Awakens him that sends us unto you,
Our lives in peacefulness and freedom flew,
E'en as all creatures wish who hold life dear;
Nor deem'd we aught could in its course come near,
Whence to our wanderings danger might accrue.
But from the wretched state to which we're brought,
Leaving another with sereneness fraught,
Nay, e'en from death, one comfort we obtain;
That vengeance follows him who sent us here;
Another's utmost thraldom doomed to bear,
Bound he now lies with a still stronger chain.


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