Sonnet CXCVI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Vincitore Alessandro l' ira vinse.


What though the ablest artists of old time
Left us the sculptured bust, the imaged form
Of conq'ring Alexander, wrath o'ercame
And made him for the while than Philip less?
Wrath to such fury valiant Tydeus drove
That dying he devour'd his slaughter'd foe;
Wrath made not Sylla merely blear of eye,
But blind to all, and kill'd him in the end.
Well Valentinian knew that to such pain
Wrath leads, and Ajax, he whose death it wrought.
Strong against many, 'gainst himself at last.
Wrath is brief madness, and, when unrestrain'd,
Long madness, which its master often leads
To shame and crime, and haply e'en to death.


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