To Laura In Death. Sonnet XV.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Discolorato hai, Morte, il più bel volto.


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.


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