Sonnet CXXI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Le stelle e 'l cielo e gli elementi a prova.


The stars, the elements, and Heaven have made
With blended powers a work beyond compare;
All their consenting influence, all their care,
To frame one perfect creature lent their aid.
Whence Nature views her loveliness display'd
With sun-like radiance sublimely fair:
Nor mortal eye can the pure splendour bear:
Love, sweetness, in unmeasured grace array'd.
The very air illumed by her sweet beams
Breathes purest excellence; and such delight
That all expression far beneath it gleams.
No base desire lives in that heavenly light,
Honour alone and virtue!--fancy's dreams
Never saw passion rise refined by rays so bright.


The stars, the heaven, the elements, I ween,
Put forth their every art and utmost care
In that bright light, as fairest Nature fair,
Whose like on earth the sun has nowhere seen;
So noble, elegant, unique her mien,
Scarce mortal glance to rest on it may dare,
Love so much softness and such graces rare
Showers from those dazzling and resistless een.
The atmosphere, pervaded and made pure
By their sweet rays, kindles with goodness so,
Thought cannot equal it nor language show.
Here no ill wish, no base desires endure,
But honour, virtue. Here, if ever yet,
Has lust his death from supreme beauty met.


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