Sonnet CL.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Se 'l dolce sguardo di costei m' ancide.


If thus the dear glance of my lady slay,
On her sweet sprightly speech if dangers wait,
If o'er me Love usurp a power so great,
Oft as she speaks, or when her sun-smiles play;
Alas! what were it if she put away,
Or for my fault, or by my luckless fate,
Her eyes from pity, and to death's full hate,
Which now she keeps aloof, should then betray.
Thus if at heart with terror I am cold,
When o'er her fair face doubtful shadows spring,
The feeling has its source in sufferings old.
Woman by nature is a fickle thing,
And female hearts--time makes the proverb sure--
Can never long one state of love endure.


If the soft glance, the speech, both kind and wise,
Of that beloved one can wound me so,
And if, whene'er she lets her accents flow,
Or even smiles, Love gains such victories;
Alas! what should I do, were those dear eyes,
Which now secure my life through weal and woe,
From fault of mine, or evil fortune, slow
To shed on me their light in pity's guise?
And if my trembling spirit groweth cold
Whene'er I see change to her aspect spring,
This fear is only born of trials old;
(Woman by nature is a fickle thing,)
And hence I know her heart hath power to hold
But a brief space Love's sweet imagining!


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