To Laura In Death. Sonnet XXVI.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Soleasi nel mio cor star bella e viva.


She stood within my heart, warm, young, alone,
As in a humble home a lady bright;
By her last flight not merely am I grown
Mortal, but dead, and she an angel quite.
A soul whence every bliss and hope is flown,
Love shorn and naked of its own glad light,
Might melt with pity e'en a heart of stone:
But none there is to tell their grief or write;
These plead within, where deaf is every ear
Except mine own, whose power its griefs so mar
That nought is left me save to suffer here.
Verily we but dust and shadows are!
Verily blind and evil is our will!
Verily human hopes deceive us still!


'Mid life's bright glow she dwelt within my soul,
The sovereign tenant of a humble cell,
But when for heaven she bade the world farewell,
Death seem'd to grasp me in his fierce control:
My wither'd love torn from its brightening goal--
My soul without its treasure doom'd to dwell--
Could I but trace their grief, their sorrow tell,
A stone might wake, and fain with them condole.
They inly mourn, where none can hear their woe
Save I alone, who too with grief oppress'd,
Can only soothe my anguish by my sighs:
Life is indeed a shadowy dream below;
Our blind desires by Reason's chain unbless'd,
Whilst Hope in treacherous wither'd fragments lies.


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