L' aspettata virtù che 'n voi fioriva.
TO PAUDOLFO MALATESTA, LORD OF RIMINI.
Sweet virtue's blossom had its promise shed
Within thy breast (when Love became thy foe);
Fair as the flower, now its fruit doth glow,
And not by visions hath my hope been fed.
To hail thee thus, I by my heart am led,
That by my pen thy name renown should know;
No marble can the lasting fame bestow
Like that by poets' characters is spread.
Dost think Marcellus' or proud Cæsar's name,
Or Africanus, Paulus--still resound,
That sculptors proud have effigied their deed?
No, Pandolph, frail the statuary's fame,
For immortality alone is found
Within the records of a poet's meed.
The flower, in youth which virtue's promise bore,
When Love in your pure heart first sought to dwell,
Now beareth fruit that flower which matches well,
And my long hopes are richly come ashore,
Prompting my spirit some glad verse to pour
Where to due honour your high name may swell,
For what can finest marble truly tell
Of living mortal than the form he wore?
Think you great Cæsar's or Marcellus' name,
That Paulus, Africanus to our days,
By anvil or by hammer ever came?
No! frail the sculptor's power for lasting praise:
Our study, my Pandolfo, only can
Give immortality of fame to man.