Sestina VII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Non ha tanti animali il mar fra l' onde.


Nor Ocean holds such swarms amid his waves,
Not overhead, where circles the pale moon,
Were stars so numerous ever seen by night,
Nor dwell so many birds among the woods,
Nor plants so many clothe the field or hill,
As holds my tost heart busy thoughts each eve.

Each day I hope that this my latest eve
Shall part from my quick clay the sad salt waves,
And leave me in last sleep on some cold hill;
So many torments man beneath the moon
Ne'er bore as I have borne; this know the woods
Through which I wander lonely day and night.

For never have I had a tranquil night,
But ceaseless sighs instead from morn till eve,
Since love first made me tenant of the woods:
The sea, ere I can rest, shall lose his waves,
The sun his light shall borrow from the moon,
And April flowers be blasted o'er each hill.

Thus, to myself a prey, from hill to hill,
Pensive by day I roam, and weep at night,
No one state mine, but changeful as the moon;
And when I see approaching the brown eve,
Sighs from my bosom, from my eyes fall waves,
The herbs to moisten and to move the woods.

Hostile the cities, friendly are the woods
To thoughts like mine, which, on this lofty hill,
Mingle their murmur with the moaning waves,
Through the sweet silence of the spangled night,
So that the livelong day I wait the eve,
When the sun sets and rises the fair moon.

Would, like Endymion, 'neath the enamour'd moon,
That slumbering I were laid in leafy woods,
And that ere vesper she who makes my eve,
With Love and Luna on that favour'd hill,
Alone, would come, and stay but one sweet night,
While stood the sun nor sought his western waves.

Upon the hard waves, 'neath the beaming moon,
Song, that art born of night amid the woods,
Thou shalt a rich hill see to-morrow eve!


Count the ocean's finny droves;
Count the twinkling host of stars.
Round the night's pale orb that moves;
Count the groves' wing'd choristers;
Count each verdant blade that grows;
Counted then will be my woes.

When shall these eyes cease to weep;
When shall this world-wearied frame,
Cover'd by the cold sod, sleep?--
Sure, beneath yon planet's beam,
None like me have made such moan;
This to every bower is known.

Sad my nights; from morn till eve,
Tenanting the woods, I sigh:
But, ere I shall cease to grieve,
Ocean's vast bed shall be dry,
Suns their light from moons shall gain.
And spring wither on each plain.

Pensive, weeping, night and day,
From this shore to that I fly,
Changeful as the lunar ray;
And, when evening veils the sky,
Then my tears might swell the floods,
Then my sighs might bow the woods!

Towns I hate, the shades I love;
For relief to yon green height,
Where the rill resounds, I rove
At the grateful calm of night;
There I wait the day's decline,
For the welcome moon to shine.

Oh, that in some lone retreat,
Like Endymion I were lain;
And that she, who rules my fate,
There one night to stay would deign;
Never from his billowy bed
More might Phoebus lift his head!

Song, that on the wood-hung stream
In the silent hour wert born,
Witness'd but by Cynthia's beam.
Soon as breaks to-morrow's morn,
Thou shalt seek a glorious plain,
There with Laura to remain!


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