Sonnet VI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Sì traviato è 'l folle mio desio.


So wayward now my will, and so unwise,
To follow her who turns from me in flight,
And, from love's fetters free herself and light,
Before my slow and shackled motion flies,
That less it lists, the more my sighs and cries
Would point where passes the safe path and right,
Nor aught avails to check or to excite,
For Love's own nature curb and spur defies.
Thus, when perforce the bridle he has won,
And helpless at his mercy I remain,
Against my will he speeds me to mine end
'Neath yon cold laurel, whose false boughs upon
Hangs the harsh fruit, which, tasted, spreads the pain
I sought to stay, and mars where it should mend.


My tameless will doth recklessly pursue
Her, who, unshackled by love's heavy chain,
Flies swiftly from its chase, whilst I in vain
My fetter'd journey pantingly renew;
The safer track I offer to its view,
But hopeless is my power to restrain,
It rides regardless of the spur or rein;
Love makes it scorn the hand that would subdue.
The triumph won, the bridle all its own,
Without one curb I stand within its power,
And my destruction helplessly presage:
It guides me to that laurel, ever known,
To all who seek the healing of its flower,
To aggravate the wound it should assuage.


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