Sonnet CIX.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Amor che nel pensier mio vive e regna.


The long Love that in my thought I harbour,
And in my heart doth keep his residence,
Into my face pressèth with bold pretence,
And there campèth displaying his bannèr.
She that me learns to love and to suffèr,
And wills that my trust, and lust's negligence
Be rein'd by reason, shame, and reverence,
With his hardiness takes displeasure.
Wherewith Love to the heart's forest he fleeth,
Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry,
And there him hideth, and not appearèth.
What may I do, when my master fearèth,
But in the field with him to live and die?
For good is the life, ending faithfully.


Love, that liveth and reigneth in my thought,
That built its seat within my captive breast;
Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought,
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
She, that me taught to love, and suffer pain;
My doubtful hope, and eke my hot desire
With shamefaced cloak to shadow and restrain,
Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
And coward love then to the heart apace
Taketh his flight; whereas he lurks, and plains
His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
For my lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pains.
Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove:
Sweet is his death, that takes his end by love.


Love in my thought who ever lives and reigns,
And in my heart still holds the upper place,
At times come forward boldly in my face,
There plants his ensign and his post maintains:
She, who in love instructs us and its pains,
Would fain that reason, shame, respect should chase
Presumptuous hope and high desire abase,
And at our daring scarce herself restrains,
Love thereon to my heart retires dismay'd,
Abandons his attempt, and weeps and fears,
And hiding there, no more my friend appears.
What can the liege whose lord is thus afraid,
More than with him, till life's last gasp, to dwell?
For who well loving dies at least dies well.


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