To Laura In Death. Sonnet XLII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Zefiro torna, e 'l bel tempo rimena.


Zephyr returns; and in his jocund train
Brings verdure, flowers, and days serenely clear;
Brings Progne's twitter, Philomel's lorn strain,
With every bloom that paints the vernal year;
Cloudless the skies, and smiling every plain;
With joyance flush'd, Jove views his daughter dear;
Love's genial power pervades earth, air, and main;
All beings join'd in fond accord appear.
But nought to me returns save sorrowing sighs,
Forced from my inmost heart by her who bore
Those keys which govern'd it unto the skies:
The blossom'd meads, the choristers of air,
Sweet courteous damsels can delight no more;
Each face looks savage, and each prospect drear.


The spring returns, with all her smiling train;
The wanton Zephyrs breathe along the bowers,
The glistening dew-drops hang on bending flowers,
And tender green light-shadows o'er the plain:
And thou, sweet Philomel, renew'st thy strain,
Breathing thy wild notes to the midnight grove:
All nature feels the kindling fire of love,
The vital force of spring's returning reign.
But not to me returns the cheerful spring!
O heart! that know'st no period to thy grief,
Nor Nature's smiles to thee impart relief,
Nor change of mind the varying seasons bring:
She, she is gone! All that e'er pleased before,
Adieu! ye birds ye flowers, ye fields, that charm no more!


Returning Zephyr the sweet season brings,
With flowers and herbs his breathing train among,
And Progne twitters, Philomela sings,
Leading the many-colour'd spring along;
Serene the sky, and fair the laughing field,
Jove views his daughter with complacent brow;
Earth, sea, and air, to Love's sweet influence yield,
And creatures all his magic power avow:
But nought, alas! for me the season brings,
Save heavier sighs, from my sad bosom drawn
By her who can from heaven unlock its springs;
And warbling birds and flower-bespangled lawn,
And fairest acts of ladies fair and mild,
A desert seem, and its brute tenants wild.


Zephyr returns and winter's rage restrains,
With herbs, with flowers, his blooming progeny!
Now Progne prattles, Philomel complains,
And spring assumes her robe of various dye;
The meadows smile, heaven glows, nor Jove disdains
To view his daughter with delighted eye;
While Love through universal nature reigns,
And life is fill'd with amorous sympathy!
But grief, not joy, returns to me forlorn,
And sighs, which from my inmost heart proceed
For her, by whom to heaven its keys were borne.
The song of birds, the flower-enamell'd mead,
And graceful acts, which most the fair adorn,
A desert seem, and beasts of savage prey!


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