To Laura In Death. Sonnet LVI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

L' aura e l' odore e 'l refrigerio e l' ombra.


The air and scent, the comfort and the shade
Of my sweet laurel, and its flowery sight,
That to my weary life gave rest and light,
Death, spoiler of the world, has lowly laid.
As when the moon our sun's eclipse has made,
My lofty light has vanish'd so in night;
For aid against himself I Death invite;
With thoughts so dark does Love my breast invade.
Thou didst but sleep, bright lady, a brief sleep,
In bliss amid the chosen spirits to wake,
Who gaze upon their God, distinct and near:
And if my verse shall any value keep,
Preserved and praised 'mid noble minds to make
Thy name, its memory shall be deathless here.


The fragrant gale, and the refreshing shade
Of my sweet laurel, and its verdant form,
That were my shelter in life's weary storm,
Have felt the power that makes all nature fade:
Now has my light been lost in gloomy shade,
E'en as the sun behind his sister's form:
I call for Death to free me from Death's storm,
But Love descends and brings me better aid!
He tells me, lady, that one moment's sleep
Alone was thine, and then thou didst awake
Among the elect, and in thy Maker's arms:
And if my verse oblivion's power can keep
Aloof, thy name its place on earth-will take
Where Genius still will dote upon thy charms!


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