To Laura In Death. Sonnet IV.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

La vita fugge, e non s' arresta un' ora.


Life passes quick, nor will a moment stay,
And death with hasty journeys still draws near;
And all the present joins my soul to tear,
With every past and every future day:
And to look back or forward, so does prey
On this distracted breast, that sure I swear,
Did I not to myself some pity bear,
I were e'en now from all these thoughts away.
Much do I muse on what of pleasures past
This woe-worn heart has known; meanwhile, t' oppose
My passage, loud the winds around me roar.
I see my bliss in port, and torn my mast
And sails, my pilot faint with toil, and those
Fair lights, that wont to guide me, now no more.

ANON., OX., 1795.

Life ever flies with course that nought may stay,
Death follows after with gigantic stride;
Ills past and present on my spirit prey,
And future evils threat on every side:
Whether I backward look or forward fare,
A thousand ills my bosom's peace molest;
And were it not that pity bids me spare
My nobler part, I from these thoughts would rest.
If ever aught of sweet my heart has known,
Remembrance wakes its charms, while, tempest tost,
I mark the clouds that o'er my course still frown;
E'en in the port I see the storm afar;
Weary my pilot, mast and cable lost,
And set for ever my fair polar star.


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