Sestina III.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

L' aere gravato, e l' importuna nebbia.


The overcharged air, the impending cloud,
Compress'd together by impetuous winds,
Must presently discharge themselves in rain;
Already as of crystal are the streams,
And, for the fine grass late that clothed the vales,
Is nothing now but the hoar frost and ice.

And I, within my heart, more cold than ice,
Of heavy thoughts have such a hovering cloud,
As sometimes rears itself in these our vales,
Lowly, and landlock'd against amorous winds,
Environ'd everywhere with stagnant streams,
When falls from soft'ning heaven the smaller rain.

Lasts but a brief while every heavy rain;
And summer melts away the snows and ice,
When proudly roll th' accumulated streams:
Nor ever hid the heavens so thick a cloud,
Which, overtaken by the furious winds,
Fled not from the first hills and quiet vales.

But ah! what profit me the flowering vales?
Alike I mourn in sunshine and in rain,
Suffering the same in warm and wintry winds;
For only then my lady shall want ice
At heart, and on her brow th' accustom'd cloud,
When dry shall be the seas, the lakes, and streams.

While to the sea descend the mountain streams,
As long as wild beasts love umbrageous vales,
O'er those bright eyes shall hang th' unfriendly cloud
My own that moistens with continual rain;
And in that lovely breast be harden'd ice
Which forces still from mine so dolorous winds.

Yet well ought I to pardon all the winds
But for the love of one, that 'mid two streams
Shut me among bright verdure and pure ice;
So that I pictured then in thousand vales
The shade wherein I was, which heat or rain
Esteemeth not, nor sound of broken cloud.

But fled not ever cloud before the winds,
As I that day: nor ever streams with rain
Nor ice, when April's sun opens the vales.


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