Sonnet XLI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Perch' io t' abbia guardato di menzogna.


Although from falsehood I did thee restrain
With all my power, and paid thee honour due,
Ungrateful tongue; yet never did accrue
Honour from thee, but shame, and fierce disdain:
Most art thou cold, when most I want the strain
Thy aid should lend while I for pity sue;
And all thy utterance is imperfect too,
When thou dost speak, and as the dreamer's vain.
Ye too, sad tears, throughout each lingering night
Upon me wait, when I alone would stay;
But, needed by my peace, you take your flight:
And, all so prompt anguish and grief t' impart,
Ye sighs, then slow, and broken breathe your way:
My looks alone truly reveal my heart.


With all my power, lest falsehood should invade,
I guarded thee and still thy honour sought,
Ungrateful tongue! who honour ne'er hast brought,
But still my care with rage and shame repaid:
For, though to me most requisite, thine aid,
When mercy I would ask, availeth nought,
Still cold and mute, and e'en to words if wrought
They seem as sounds in sleep by dreamers made.
And ye, sad tears, o' nights, when I would fain
Be left alone, my sure companions, flow,
But, summon'd for my peace, ye soon depart:
Ye too, mine anguish'd sighs, so prompt to pain,
Then breathe before her brokenly and slow,
And my face only speaks my suffering heart.


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