Sonnet CCXVI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

I' pur ascolto, e non odo novella.


Still do I wait to hear, in vain still wait,
Of that sweet enemy I love so well:
What now to think or say I cannot tell,
'Twixt hope and fear my feelings fluctuate:
The beautiful are still the marks of fate;
And sure her worth and beauty most excel:
What if her God have call'd her hence, to dwell
Where virtue finds a more congenial state?
If so, she will illuminate that sphere
Even as a sun: but I--'tis done with me!
I then am nothing, have no business here!
O cruel absence! why not let me see
The worst? my little tale is told, I fear,
My scene is closed ere it accomplish'd be.


No tidings yet--I listen, but in vain;
Of her, my beautiful belov├Ęd foe,
What or to think or say I nothing know,
So thrills my heart, my fond hopes so sustain,
Danger to some has in their beauty lain;
Fairer and chaster she than others show;
God haply seeks to snatch from earth below
Virtue's best friend, that heaven a star may gain,
Or rather sun. If what I dread be nigh,
My life, its trials long, its brief repose
Are ended all. O cruel absence! why
Didst thou remove me from the menaced woes?
My short sad story is already done,
And midway in its course my vain race run.


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