Sonnet XXIX.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

S' io credessi per morte essere scarco.


Had I believed that Death could set me free
From the anxious amorous thoughts my peace that mar,
With these my own hands which yet stainless are,
Life had I loosed, long hateful grown to me.
Yet, for I fear 'twould but a passage be
From grief to grief, from old to other war,
Hither the dark shades my escape that bar,
I still remain, nor hope relief to see.
High time it surely is that he had sped
The fatal arrow from his pitiless bow,
In others' blood so often bathed and red;
And I of Love and Death have pray'd it so--
He listens not, but leaves me here half dead.
Nor cares to call me to himself below.


Oh! had I deem'd that Death had freed my soul
From Love's tormenting, overwhelming thought,
To crush its aching burthen I had sought,
My wearied life had hasten'd to its goal;
My shivering bark yet fear'd another shoal,
To find one tempest with another bought,
Thus poised 'twixt earth and heaven I dwell as naught,
Not daring to assume my life's control.
But sure 'tis time that Death's relentless bow
Had wing'd that fatal arrow to my heart,
So often bathed in life's dark crimson tide:
But though I crave he would this boon bestow,
He to my cheek his impress doth impart,
And yet o'erlooks me in his fearful stride.


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