Sonnet CXXXIV.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Quando Amor i begli occhi a terra inchina.


If Love her beauteous eyes to earth incline,
And all her soul concentring in a sigh,
Then breathe it in her voice of melody,
Floating clear, soft, angelical, divine;
My heart, forth-stolen so gently, I resign,
And, all my hopes and wishes changed, I cry,--
"Oh, may my last breath pass thus blissfully,
If Heaven so sweet a death for me design!"
But the rapt sense, by such enchantment bound,
And the strong will, thus listening to possess
Heaven's joys on earth, my spirit's flight delay.
And thus I live; and thus drawn out and wound
Is my life's thread, in dreamy blessedness,
By this sole syren from the realms of day.


Her bright and love-lit eyes on earth she bends--
Concentres her rich breath in one full sigh--
A brief pause--a fond hush--her voice on high,
Clear, soft, angelical, divine, ascends.
Such rapine sweet through all my heart extends,
New thoughts and wishes so within me vie,
Perforce I say,--"Thus be it mine to die,
If Heaven to me so fair a doom intends!"
But, ah! those sounds whose sweetness laps my sense,
The strong desire of more that in me yearns,
Restrain my spirit in its parting hence.
Thus at her will I live; thus winds and turns
The yarn of life which to my lot is given,
Earth's single siren, sent to us from heaven.


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