To Laura In Death. Sonnet XXIII.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Quand' io veggio dal ciel scender l' Aurora.


When from the heavens I see Aurora beam,
With rosy-tinctured cheek and golden hair,
Love bids my face the hue of sadness wear:
"There Laura dwells!" I with a sigh exclaim.
Thou knowest well the hour that shall redeem,
Happy Tithonus, thy much-valued fair;
But not to her I love can I repair,
Till death extinguishes this vital flame.
Yet need'st thou not thy separation mourn;
Certain at evening's close is the return
Of her, who doth not thy hoar locks despise;
But my nights sad, my days are render'd drear,
By her, who bore my thoughts to yonder skies,
And only a remember'd name left here.


When from the east appears the purple ray
Of morn arising, and salutes the eyes
That wear the night in watching for the day,
Thus speaks my heart: "In yonder opening skies,
In yonder fields of bliss, my Laura lies!"
Thou sun, that know'st to wheel thy burning car,
Each eve, to the still surface of the deep,
And there within thy Thetis' bosom sleep;
Oh! could I thus my Laura's presence share,
How would my patient heart its sorrows bear!
Adored in life, and honour'd in the dust,
She that in this fond breast for ever reigns
Has pass'd the gulph of death!--To deck that bust,
No trace of her but the sad name remains.


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