Sonnet XLIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Se col cieco desir che 'l cor distrugge.


Either that blind desire, which life destroys
Counting the hours, deceives my misery,
Or, even while yet I speak, the moment flies,
Promised at once to pity and to me.
Alas! what baneful shade o'erhangs and dries
The seed so near its full maturity?
'Twixt me and hope what brazen walls arise?
From murderous wolves not even my fold is free.
Ah, woe is me! Too clearly now I find
That felon Love, to aggravate my pain,
Mine easy heart hath thus to hope inclined;
And now the maxim sage I call to mind,
That mortal bliss must doubtful still remain
Till death from earthly bonds the soul unbind.


Counting the hours, lest I myself mislead
By blind desire wherewith my heart is torn,
E'en while I speak away the moments speed,
To me and pity which alike were sworn.
What shade so cruel as to blight the seed
Whence the wish'd fruitage should so soon be born?
What beast within my fold has leap'd to feed?
What wall is built between the hand and corn?
Alas! I know not, but, if right I guess,
Love to such joyful hope has only led
To plunge my weary life in worse distress;
And I remember now what once I read,
Until the moment of his full release
Man's bliss begins not, nor his troubles cease.


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