Sestina VIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Là ver l' aurora, che sì dolce l' aura.


When music warbles from each thorn,
And Zephyr's dewy wings
Sweep the young flowers; what time the morn
Her crimson radiance flings:
Then, as the smiling year renews,
I feel renew'd Love's tender pain;
Renew'd is Laura's cold disdain;
And I for comfort court the weeping muse.

Oh! could my sighs in accents flow
So musically lorn,
That thou might'st catch my am'rous woe,
And cease, proud Maid! thy scorn:
Yet, ere within thy icy breast
The smallest spark of passion's found,
Winter's cold temples shall be bound
With all the blooms that paint spring's glowing vest.

The drops that bathe the grief-dew'd eye,
The love-impassion'd strain
To move thy flinty bosom try
Full oft;--but, ah! in vain
Would tears, and melting song avail;
As vainly might the silken breeze,
That bends the flowers, that fans the trees,
Some rugged rock's tremendous brow assail.

Both gods and men alike are sway'd
By Love, as poets tell;--
And I, when flowers in every shade
Their bursting gems reveal,
First felt his all-subduing power:
While Laura knows not yet the smart;
Nor heeds the tortures of my heart,
My prayers, my plaints, and sorrow's pearly shower!

Thy wrongs, my soul! with patience bear,
While life shall warm this clay;
And soothing sounds to Laura's ear
My numbers shall convey;
Numbers with forceful magic charm
All nature o'er the frost-bound earth,
Wake summer's fragrant buds to birth,
And the fierce serpent of its rage disarm.

The blossom'd shrubs in smiles are drest,
Now laughs his purple plain;
And shall the nymph a foe profest
To tenderness remain?
But oh! what solace shall I find,
If fortune dooms me yet to bear
The frowns of my relentless Fair,
Save with soft moan to vex the pitying wind?
In baffling nets the light-wing'd gale
I'd fetter as it blows,
The vernal rose that scents the vale
I'd cull on wintery snows;
Still I'd ne'er hope that mind to move
Which dares defy the wiles of verse, and Love.

ANON. 1777.

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