To Laura In Death. Sonnet XLIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Quel rosignuol che sì soave piagne.


Yon nightingale, whose bursts of thrilling tone,
Pour'd in soft sorrow from her tuneful throat,
Haply her mate or infant brood bemoan,
Filling the fields and skies with pity's note;
Here lingering till the long long night is gone,
Awakes the memory of my cruel lot--
But I my wretched self must wail alone:
Fool, who secure from death an angel thought!
O easy duped, who thus on hope relies!
Who would have deem'd the darkness, which appears,
From orbs more brilliant than the sun should rise?
Now know I, made by sad experience wise,
That Fate would teach me by a life of tears,
On wings how fleeting fast all earthly rapture flies!


Yon nightingale, whose strain so sweetly flows,
Mourning her ravish'd young or much-loved mate,
A soothing charm o'er all the valleys throws
And skies, with notes well tuned to her sad state:
And all the night she seems my kindred woes
With me to weep and on my sorrows wait;
Sorrows that from my own fond fancy rose,
Who deem'd a goddess could not yield to fate.
How easy to deceive who sleeps secure!
Who could have thought that to dull earth would turn
Those eyes that as the sun shone bright and pure?
Ah! now what Fortune wills I see full sure:
That loathing life, yet living I should see
How few its joys, how little they endure!

ANON., OX., 1795.

That nightingale, who now melodious mourns
Perhaps his children or his consort dear,
The heavens with sweetness fills; the distant bourns
Resound his notes, so piteous and so clear;
With me all night he weeps, and seems by turns
To upbraid me with my fault and fortune drear,
Whose fond and foolish heart, where grief sojourns,
A goddess deem'd exempt from mortal fear.
Security, how easy to betray!
The radiance of those eyes who could have thought
Should e'er become a senseless clod of clay?
Living, and weeping, late I've learn'd to say
That here below--Oh, knowledge dearly bought!--
Whate'er delights will scarcely last a day!


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