Ballata IV.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Perchè quel che mi trasse ad amar prima.


Though cruelty denies my view
Those charms which led me first to love;
To passion yet will I be true,
Nor shall my will rebellious prove.
Amid the curls of golden hair
That wave those beauteous temples round,
Cupid spread craftily the snare
With which my captive heart he bound:
And from those eyes he caught the ray
Which thaw'd the ice that fenced my breast,
Chasing all other thoughts away,
With brightness suddenly imprest.
But now that hair of sunny gleam,
Ah me! is ravish'd from my sight;
Those beauteous eyes withdraw their beam,
And change to sadness past delight.
A glorious death by all is prized;
Tis death alone shall break my chain:
Oh! be Love's timid wail despised.
Lovers should nobly suffer pain.


Though barr'd from all which led me first to love
By coldness or caprice,
Not yet from its firm bent can passion cease!
The snare was set amid those threads of gold,
To which Love bound me fast;
And from those bright eyes melted the long cold
Within my heart that pass'd;
So sweet the spell their sudden splendour cast,
Its single memory still
Deprives my soul of every other will.
But now, alas! from me of that fine hair
Is ravish'd the dear sight;
The lost light of those twin stars, chaste as fair,
Saddens me in her flight;
But, since a glorious death wins honour bright,
By death, and not through grief,
Love from such chain shall give at last relief.


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