To Laura In Death. Sonnet I.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Oimè il bel viso! oimè il soave sguardo!


Woe for the 'witching look of that fair face!
The port where ease with dignity combined!
Woe for those accents, that each savage mind
To softness tuned, to noblest thoughts the base!
And the sweet smile, from whence the dart I trace,
Which now leaves death my only hope behind!
Exalted soul, most fit on thrones to 've shined,
But that too late she came this earth to grace!
For you I still must burn, and breathe in you;
For I was ever yours; of you bereft,
Full little now I reck all other care.
With hope and with desire you thrill'd me through,
When last my only joy on earth I left:--
But caught by winds each word was lost in air.

ANON., OX., 1795.

Alas! that touching glance, that beauteous face!
Alas! that dignity with sweetness fraught!
Alas! that speech which tamed the wildest thought!
That roused the coward, glory to embrace!
Alas! that smile which in me did encase
That fatal dart, whence here I hope for nought--
Oh! hadst thou earlier our regions sought,
The world had then confess'd thy sovereign grace!
In thee I breathed, life's flame was nursed by thee,
For I was thine; and since of thee bereaved,
Each other woe hath lost its venom'd sting:
My soul's blest joy! when last thy voice on me
In music fell, my heart sweet hope conceived;
Alas! thy words have sped on zephyrs' wings!


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