Sonnet XCVIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Quel vago impallidir che 'l dolce riso.


That witching paleness, which with cloud of love
Veil'd her sweet smile, majestically bright,
So thrill'd my heart, that from the bosom's night
Midway to meet it on her face it strove.
Then learnt I how, 'mid realms of joy above,
The blest behold the blest: in such pure light
I scann'd her tender thought, to others' sight
Viewless!--but my fond glances would not rove.
Each angel grace, each lowly courtesy,
E'er traced in dame by Love's soft power inspired,
Would seem but foils to those which prompt my lay:
Upon the ground was cast her gentle eye,
And still methought, though silent, she inquired,
"What bears my faithful friend so soon, so far away?"


There was a touching paleness on her face,
Which chased her smiles, but such sweet union made
Of pensive majesty and heavenly grace,
As if a passing cloud had veil'd her with its shade;
Then knew I how the blessed ones above
Gaze on each other in their perfect bliss,
For never yet was look of mortal love
So pure, so tender, so serene as this.
The softest glance fond woman ever sent
To him she loved, would cold and rayless be
Compared to this, which she divinely bent
Earthward, with angel sympathy, on me,
That seem'd with speechless tenderness to say,
"Who takes from me my faithful friend away?"

E. (New Monthly Magazine.)

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