Sonnet XCVII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Dicesett' anni ha già rivolto il cielo.


The seventeenth summer now, alas! is gone,
And still with ardour unconsumed I glow;
Yet find, whene'er myself I seek to know,
Amidst the fire a frosty chill come on.
Truly 'tis said, 'Ere Habit quits her throne,
Years bleach the hair.' The senses feel life's snow,
But not less hot the tides of passion flow:
Such is our earthly nature's malison!
Oh! come the happy day, when doom'd to smart
No more, from flames and lingering sorrows free,
Calm I may note how fast youth's minutes flew!
Ah! will it e'er be mine the hour to see,
When with delight, nor duty nor my heart
Can blame, these eyes once more that angel face may view?


For seventeen summers heaven has o'er me roll'd
Since first I burn'd, nor e'er found respite thence,
But when to weigh our state my thoughts commence
I feel amidst the flames a frosty cold.
We change the form, not nature, is an old
And truthful proverb: thus, to dull the sense
Makes not the human feelings less intense;
The dark shades of our painful veil still hold.
Alas! alas! will e'er that day appear
When, my life's flight beholding, I may find
Issue from endless fire and lingering pain,--
The day which, crowning all my wishes here,
Of that fair face the angel air and kind
Shall to my longing eyes restore again?


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