Sonnet CXXIV.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Quel sempre acerbo ed onorato giorno.


That ever-painful, ever-honour'd day
So left her living image on my heart
Beyond or lover's wit or poet's art,
That oft to it will doting memory stray.
A gentle pity softening her bright mien,
Her sorrow there so sweet and sad was heard,
Doubt in the gazer's bosom almost stirr'd
Goddess or mortal, which made heaven serene.
Fine gold her hair, her face as sunlit snow,
Her brows and lashes jet, twin stars her eyne,
Whence the young archer oft took fatal aim;
Each loving lip--whence, utterance sweet and low
Her pent grief found--a rose which rare pearls line,
Her tears of crystal and her sighs of flame.


That ever-honour'd, yet too bitter day,
Her image hath so graven in my breast,
That only memory can return it dress'd
In living charms, no genius could portray:
Her air such graceful sadness did display,
Her plaintive, soft laments my ear so bless'd,
I ask'd if mortal, or a heavenly guest,
Did thus the threatening clouds in smiles array.
Her locks were gold, her cheeks were breathing snow,
Her brows with ebon arch'd--bright stars her eyes,
Wherein Love nestled, thence his dart to aim:
Her teeth were pearls--the rose's softest glow
Dwelt on that mouth, whence woke to speech grief's sighs
Her tears were crystal--and her breath was flame.


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