To Laura In Death. Sonnet XVII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Nè mai pietosa madre al caro figlio.


Ne'er did fond mother to her darling son,
Or zealous spouse to her belovèd mate,
Sage counsel give, in perilous estate,
With such kind caution, in such tender tone,
As gives that fair one, who, oft looking down
On my hard exile from her heavenly seat,
With wonted kindness bends upon my fate
Her brow, as friend or parent would have done:
Now chaste affection prompts her speech, now fear,
Instructive speech, that points what several ways
To seek or shun, while journeying here below;
Then all the ills of life she counts, and prays
My soul ere long may quit this terrene sphere:
And by her words alone I'm soothed and freed from woe.


Ne'er to the son, in whom her age is blest,
The anxious mother--nor to her loved lord
The wedded dame, impending ill to ward,
With careful sighs so faithful counsel press'd,
As she, who, from her high eternal rest,
Bending--as though my exile she deplored--
With all her wonted tenderness restored,
And softer pity on her brow impress'd!
Now with a mother's fears, and now as one
Who loves with chaste affection, in her speech
She points what to pursue and what to shun!
Our years retracing of long, various grief,
Wooing my soul at higher good to reach,
And while she speaks, my bosom finds relief!


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