A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Più volte già dal bel sembiante umano.


Oft as her angel face compassion wore,
With tears whose eloquence scarce fails to move,
With bland and courteous speech, I boldly strove
To soothe my foe, and in meek guise implore:
But soon her eyes inspire vain hopes no more;
For all my fortune, all my fate in love,
My life, my death, the good, the ills I prove,
To her are trusted by one sovereign power.
Hence 'tis, whene'er my lips would silence break,
Scarce can I hear the accents which I vent,
By passion render'd spiritless and weak.
Ah! now I find that fondness to excess
Fetters the tongue, and overpowers intent:
Faint is the flame that language can express!


Oft have I meant my passion to declare,
When fancy read compliance in her eyes;
And oft with courteous speech, with love-lorn sighs,
Have wish'd to soften my obdurate fair:
But let that face one look of anger wear,
The intention fades; for all that fate supplies,
Or good, or ill, all, all that I can prize,
My life, my death, Love trusts to her dear care.
E'en I can scarcely hear my amorous moan,
So much my voice by passion is confined;
So faint, so timid are my accents grown!
Ah! now the force of love I plainly see;
What can the tongue, or what the impassion'd mind?
He that could speak his love, ne'er loved like me.

ANON. 1777.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Sonnet CXXXVII.' by Francesco Petrarca

comments powered by Disqus