Sonnet CLXVI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

O bella man, che mi distringi 'l core.


O beauteous hand! that dost my heart subdue,
And in a little space my life confine;
Hand where their skill and utmost efforts join
Nature and Heaven, their plastic powers to show!
Sweet fingers, seeming pearls of orient hue,
To my wounds only cruel, fingers fine!
Love, who towards me kindness doth design,
For once permits ye naked to our view.
Thou glove most dear, most elegant and white,
Encasing ivory tinted with the rose;
More precious covering ne'er met mortal sight.
Would I such portion of thy veil had gain'd!
O fleeting gifts which fortune's hand bestows!
'Tis justice to restore what theft alone obtain'd.


O beauteous hand! which robb'st me of my heart,
And holdest all my life in little space;
Hand! which their utmost effort and best art
Nature and Heaven alike have join'd to grace;
O sister pearls of orient hue, ye fine
And fairy fingers! to my wounds alone
Cruel and cold, does Love awhile incline
In my behalf, that naked ye are shown?
O glove! most snowy, delicate, and dear,
Which spotless ivory and fresh roses set,
Where can on earth a sweeter spoil be met,
Unless her fair veil thus reward us here?
Inconstancy of human things! the theft
Late won and dearly prized too soon from me is reft!


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