A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Onde tolse Amor l' oro e di qual vena.


Whence could Love take the gold, and from what vein,
To form those bright twin locks? What thorn could grow
Those roses? And what mead that white bestow
Of the fresh dews, which pulse and breath obtain?
Whence came those pearls that modestly restrain
Accents which courteous, sweet, and rare can flow?
And whence those charms that so divinely show,
Spread o'er a face serene as heaven's blue plain?
Taught by what angel, or what tuneful sphere,
Was that celestial song, which doth dispense
Such potent magic to the ravish'd ear?
What sun illumed those bright commanding eyes,
Which now look peaceful, now in hostile guise;
Now torture me with hope, and now with fear?


Say, from what vein did Love procure the gold
To make those sunny tresses? From what thorn
Stole he the rose, and whence the dew of morn,
Bidding them breathe and live in Beauty's mould?
What depth of ocean gave the pearls that told
Those gentle accents sweet, though rarely born?
Whence came so many graces to adorn
That brow more fair than summer skies unfold?
Oh! say what angels lead, what spheres control
The song divine which wastes my life away?
(Who can with trifles now my senses move?)
What sun gave birth unto the lofty soul
Of those enchanting eyes, whose glances stray
To burn and freeze my heart--the sport of Love?


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