Sonnet CXXIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

I' vidi in terra angelici costumi.


On earth reveal'd the beauties of the skies,
Angelic features, it was mine to hail;
Features, which wake my mingled joy and wail,
While all besides like dreams or shadows flies.
And fill'd with tears I saw those two bright eyes,
Which oft have turn'd the sun with envy pale;
And from those lips I heard--oh! such a tale,
As might awake brute Nature's sympathies!
Wit, pity, excellence, and grief, and love
With blended plaint so sweet a concert made,
As ne'er was given to mortal ear to prove:
And heaven itself such mute attention paid,
That not a breath disturb'd the listening grove--
Even æther's wildest gales the tuneful charm obey'd.


Yes, I beheld on earth angelic grace,
And charms divine which mortals rarely see,
Such as both glad and pain the memory;
Vain, light, unreal is all else I trace:
Tears I saw shower'd from those fine eyes apace,
Of which the sun ofttimes might envious be;
Accents I heard sigh'd forth so movingly,
As to stay floods, or mountains to displace.
Love and good sense, firmness, with pity join'd
And wailful grief, a sweeter concert made
Than ever yet was pour'd on human ear:
And heaven unto the music so inclined,
That not a leaf was seen to stir the shade;
Such melody had fraught the winds, the atmosphere.


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