Sonnet CXLVII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Po, ben puo' tu portartene la scorza.


Thou Po to distant realms this frame mayst bear,
On thy all-powerful, thy impetuous tide;
But the free spirit that within doth bide
Nor for thy might, nor any might doth care:
Not varying here its course, nor shifting there,
Upon the favouring gale it joys to glide;
Plying its wings toward the laurel's pride,
In spite of sails or oars, of sea or air.
Monarch of floods, magnificent and strong,
That meet'st the sun as he leads on the day,
But in the west dost quit a fairer light;
Thy curvèd course this body wafts along;
My spirit on Love's pinions speeds its way,
And to its darling home directs its flight!


Po, thou upon thy strong and rapid tide,
This frame corporeal mayst onward bear:
But a free spirit is concealèd there,
Which nor thy power nor any power can guide.
That spirit, light on breeze auspicious buoy'd,
With course unvarying backward cleaves the air--
Nor wave, nor wind, nor sail, nor oar its care--
And plies its wings, and seeks the laurel's pride.
'Tis thine, proud king of rivers, eastward borne
To meet the sun, as he leads on the day;
And from a brighter west 'tis thine to turn:
Thy hornèd flood these passive limbs obey--
But, uncontrollèd, to its sweet sojourn
On Love's untiring plumes my spirit speeds its way.


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