Sonnet CXLIX.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Amor che 'ncende 'l cor d' ardente zelo.


'Tis Love's caprice to freeze the bosom now
With bolts of ice, with shafts of flame now burn;
And which his lighter pang, I scarce discern--
Or hope or fear, or whelming fire or snow.
In heat I shiver, and in cold I glow,
Now thrill'd with love, with jealousy now torn:
As if her thin robe by a rival worn,
Or veil, had screen'd him from my vengeful blow
But more 'tis mine to burn by night, by day;
And how I love the death by which I die,
Nor thought can grasp, nor tongue of bard can sing:
Not so my freezing fire--impartially
She shines to all; and who would speed his way
To that high beam, in vain expands his fluttering wing.


Love with hot zeal now burns the heart within,
Now holds it fetter'd with a frozen fear,
Leaving it doubtful to our judgment here
If hope or dread, if flame or frost, shall win.
In June I shiver, burn December in,
Full of desires, from jealousy ne'er clear;
E'en as a lady who her loving fee
Hides 'neath a little veil of texture thin.
Of the two ills the first is all mine own,
By day, by night to burn; how sweet that pain
Dwells not in thought, nor ever poet sings:
Not so the other, my fair flame, is shown,
She levels all: who hopes the crest to gain
Of that proud light expands in vain his wings.


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