Sonnet XIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Io mi rivolgo indietro a ciascun passo.


With weary frame which painfully I bear,
I look behind me at each onward pace,
And then take comfort from your native air,
Which following fans my melancholy face;
The far way, my frail life, the cherish'd fair
Whom thus I leave, as then my thoughts retrace,
I fix my feet in silent pale despair,
And on the earth my tearful eyes abase.
At times a doubt, too, rises on my woes,
"How ever can this weak and wasted frame
Live from life's spirit and one source afar?"
Love's answer soon the truth forgotten shows--
"This high pure privilege true lovers claim,
Who from mere human feelings franchised are!"


I look behind each step I onward trace,
Scarce able to support my wearied frame,
Ah, wretched me! I pantingly exclaim,
And from her atmosphere new strength embrace;
I think on her I leave--my heart's best grace--
My lengthen'd journey--life's capricious flame--
I pause in withering fear, with purpose tame,
Whilst down my cheek tears quick each other chase.
My doubting heart thus questions in my grief:
"Whence comes it that existence thou canst know
When from thy spirit thou dost dwell entire?"
Love, holy Love, my heart then answers brief:
"Such privilege I do on all bestow
Who feed my flame with nought of earthly fire!"


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