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Title: The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch
Author: Petrarca, Francesco, 1304-1374
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch" ***

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[Illustration: PETRARCH.]









[_Reprinted from Stereotype plates._]


The present translation of Petrarch completes the Illustrated Library
series of the Italian Poets emphatically distinguished as "I Quattro
Poeti Italiani."

It is rather a singular fact that, while the other three Poets of this
world-famed series--Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso--have each found several
translators, no complete version of the fourth, and in Italy the most
popular, has hitherto been presented to the English reader. This lacune
becomes the more remarkable when we consider the great influence which
Petrarch has undoubtedly exercised on our poetry from the time of
Chaucer downwards.

The plan of the present volume has been to select from all the known
versions those most distinguished for fidelity and rhythm. Of the more
favourite poems, as many as three or four are occasionally given; while
of others, and those by no means few, it has been difficult to find even
one. Indeed, many must have remained entirely unrepresented but for the
spirited efforts of Major Macgregor, who has recently translated nearly
the whole, and that with great closeness both as to matter and form. To
this gentleman we have to return our especial thanks for his liberal
permission to make free use of his labours.

Among the translators will be found Chaucer, Spenser, Sir Thomas Wyatt,
Anna Hume, Sir John Harington, Basil Kennett, Anne Bannerman, Drummond
of Hawthornden, R. Molesworth, Hugh Boyd, Lord Woodhouselee, the Rev.
Francis Wrangham, the Rev. Dr. Nott, Dr. Morehead, Lady Dacre, Lord
Charlemont, Capel Lofft, John Penn, Charlotte Smith, Mrs. Wrottesley,
Miss Wollaston, J.H. Merivale, the Rev. W. Shepherd, and Leigh Hunt,
besides many anonymous.

The order of arrangement is that adopted by Marsand and other recent
editors; but to prevent any difficulty in identification, the Italian
first lines have been given throughout, and repeated in an alphabetical

The Life of Petrarch prefixed is a condensation of the poet Campbell's
two octavo volumes, and includes all the material part of that work.

York Street, Covent Garden,
  June 28, 1869.



1. PORTRAIT OF PETRARCH                           to face title.

2. VIEW OF NAPLES                                           xliv

3. VIEW OF NICE                                               li

4. COAST OF GENOA                                           lxvi

5. BRIDGE OF SIGHS, VENICE                               lxxviii

6. VICENZA                                               lxxxiii

7. MILAN CATHEDRAL                                           cvi

8. LIBRARY OF ST. MARK'S, VENICE                             cxv

9. FERRARA. THE OLD DUCAL PALACE                          cxxiii

10. PORTRAIT OF LAURA                                          1

11. VIEW OF ROME--ST. PETER'S IN THE DISTANCE                 66

12. SOLITUDES OF VAUCLUSE (where Petrarch wrote most of
his Sonnets)                                                 105

13. GENOA AND THE APENNINES                                  124

14. AVIGNON (where Laura resided)                            189

15. SELVA PIANA (where Petrarch received the news of
Laura's death)                                               232

16. PETRARCH'S HOUSE AT ARQUA (where he wrote his
Triumphs)                                                    322


 A.D.                                                           PAGE

1304. Born at Arezzo, the 20th of July.                           ix

1305. Is taken to Incisa at the age of seven months, where
        he remains seven years.                                    x

1312. Is removed to Pisa, where he remains seven months.           x

1313. Accompanies his parents to Avignon.                         xi

1315. Goes to live at Carpentras.                                 xi

1319. Is sent to Montpelier.                                      xi

1323. Is removed to Bologna.                                     xii

1326. Returns to Avignon--loses his parents--contracts a
        friendship with James Colonna.                          xiii

1327. Falls in love with Laura.                                 xvii

1330. Goes to Lombes with James Colonna--forms acquaintance
        with Socrates and Lælius--and returns to Avignon to
        live in the house of Cardinal Colonna.                 xviii

1331. Travels to Paris--travels through Flanders and Brabant,
        and visits a part of Germany.                           xxiv

1333. His first journey to Rome--his long navigation as
        far as the coast of England--his return to Avignon.   xxxiii

1337. Birth of his son John--he retires to Vaucluse.            xxxv

1339. Commences writing his epic poem, "Africa."             xxxviii

1340. Receives an invitation from Rome to come and be
        crowned as Laureate--and another invitation, to
        the same effect, from Paris.                            xlii

1341. Goes to Naples, and thence to Rome, where he is
        crowned in the Capitol--repairs to Parma--death
        of Tommaso da Messina and James Colonna.               xliii

1342. Goes as orator of the Roman people to Clement VI.
        at Avignon--Studies the Greek language under
        Barlaamo.                                             xlviii

1343. Birth of his daughter Francesca--he writes his
        dialogues "De secreto conflictu curarum
        suarum"--is sent to Naples by Clement VI. and
        Cardinal Colonna--goes to Rome for a third and
        a fourth time--returns from Naples to Parma.              li

1344. Continues to reside in Parma.                            lviii

1345. Leaves Parma, goes to Bologna, and thence to
        Verona--returns to Avignon.                            lviii

1346. Continues to live at Avignon--is elected canon of
        Parma.                                                   lix

1347. Revolution at Rome--Petrarch's connection with the
        Tribune--takes his fifth journey to Italy--repairs
        to Parma.                                               lxiv

1348. Goes to Verona--death of Laura--he returns again
        to Parma--his autograph memorandum in the
        Milan copy of Virgil--visits Manfredi, Lord of
        Carpi, and James Carrara at Padua.                     lxvii

1349. Goes from Parma to Mantua and Ferrara--returns
        to Padua, and receives, probably in this year, a
        canonicate in Padua.                                  lxxiii

1350. Is raised to the Archdeaconry of Parma--writes to
        the Emperor Charles IV.--goes to Rome, and, in
        going and returning, stops at Florence.               lxxiii

1351. Writes to Andrea Dandolo with a view to reconcile
        the Venetians and Florentines--the Florentines
        decree the restoration of his paternal property,
        and send John Boccaccio to recall him to his
        country--he returns, for the sixth time, to
        Avignon--is consulted by the four Cardinals, who
        had been deputed to reform the government of Rome.      lxxx

1352. Writes to Clement VI. the letter which excites against
        him the enmity of the medical tribe--begins
        writing his treatise "De Vita Solitaria."            lxxxvii

1353. Visits his brother in the Carthusian monastery of
        Monte Rivo--writes his treatise "De Otio
        Religiosorum"--returns to Italy--takes up his
        abode with the Visconti--is sent by the Archbishop
        Visconti to Venice, to negotiate a peace between the
        Venetians and Genoese.                                    xc

1354. Visits the Emperor at Mantua.                             xcix

1355. His embassy to the Emperor--publishes his "Invective
        against a Physician."                                   xcix

1360. His embassy to John, King of France.                      cxii

1361. Leaves Milan and settles at Venice--gives his library
        to the Venetians.                                      cxiii

1364. Writes for Lucchino del Verme his treatise "De Officio
        et Virtutibus Imperatoris."                            cxvii

1366. Writes to Urban V. imploring him to remove the
        Papal residence to Rome--finishes his treatise
        "De Remediis utriusque Fortunæ."                      cxviii

1368. Quits Venice--four young Venetians, either in this
        year or the preceding, promulgate a critical judgment
        against Petrarch--repairs to Pavia to negotiate
        peace between the Pope's Legate and the
        Visconti.                                               cxix

1370. Sets out to visit the Pontiff--is taken ill at Ferrara--
        retires to Arquà among the Euganean hills.             cxxii

1371. Writes his "Invectiva contra Gallum," and his
        "Epistle to Posterity."                               cxxiii

1372. Writes for Francesco da Carrara his essay "De Republica
        optime administranda."                                  cxxx

1373. Is sent to Venice by Francesco da Carrara.                cxxx

1374. Translates the Griseldis of Boccaccio--dies on the
        18th of July in the same year.                         cxxxi


The family of Petrarch was originally of Florence, where his ancestors
held employments of trust and honour. Garzo, his great-grandfather, was
a notary universally respected for his integrity and judgment. Though he
had never devoted himself exclusively to letters, his literary opinion
was consulted by men of learning. He lived to be a hundred and four
years old, and died, like Plato, in the same bed in which he had been

Garzo left three sons, one of whom was the grandfather of Petrarch.
Diminutives being customary to the Tuscan tongue, Pietro, the poet's
father, was familiarly called Petracco, or little Peter. He, like his
ancestors, was a notary, and not undistinguished for sagacity. He had
several important commissions from government. At last, in the
increasing conflicts between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines--or, as
they now called themselves, the Blacks and the Whites--Petracco, like
Dante, was obliged to fly from his native city, along with the other
Florentines of the White party. He was unjustly accused of having
officially issued a false deed, and was condemned, on the 20th of
October, 1302, to pay a fine of one thousand lire, and to have his hand
cut off, if that sum was not paid within ten days from the time he
should be apprehended. Petracco fled, taking with him his wife, Eletta
Canigiani, a lady of a distinguished family in Florence, several of whom
had held the office of Gonfalonier.

Petracco and his wife first settled at Arezzo, a very ancient city of
Tuscany. Hostilities did not cease between the Florentine factions till
some years afterwards; and, in an attempt made by the Whites to take
Florence by assault, Petracco was present with his party. They were
repulsed. This action, which was fatal to their cause, took place in the
night between the 19th and 20th days of July, 1304,--the precise date of
the birth of Petrarch.

During our poet's infancy, his family had still to struggle with an
adverse fate; for his proscribed and wandering father was obliged to
separate himself from his wife and child, in order to have the means of
supporting them.

As the pretext for banishing Petracco was purely personal, Eletta, his
wife, was not included in the sentence. She removed to a small property
of her husband's, at Ancisa, fourteen miles from Florence, and took the
little poet along with her, in the seventh month of his age. In their
passage thither, both mother and child, together with their guide, had a
narrow escape from being drowned in the Arno. Eletta entrusted her
precious charge to a robust peasant, who, for fear of hurting the child,
wrapt it in a swaddling cloth, and suspended it over his shoulder, in
the same manner as Metabus is described by Virgil, in the eleventh book
of the Æneid, to have carried his daughter Camilla. In passing the
river, the horse of the guide, who carried Petrarch, stumbled, and sank
down; and in their struggles to save him, both his sturdy bearer and the
frantic parent were, like the infant itself, on the point of being

After Eletta had settled at Ancisa, Petracco often visited her by
stealth, and the pledges of their affection were two other sons, one of
whom died in childhood. The other, called Gherardo, was educated along
with Petrarch. Petrarch remained with his mother at Ancisa for seven

The arrival of the Emperor, Henry VII., in Italy, revived the hopes of
the banished Florentines; and Petracco, in order to wait the event, went
to Pisa, whither he brought his wife and Francesco, who was now in his
eighth year. Petracco remained with his family in Pisa for several
months; but tired at last of fallacious hopes, and not daring to trust
himself to the promises of the popular party, who offered to recall him
to Florence, he sought an asylum in Avignon, a place to which many
Italians were allured by the hopes of honours and gain at the papal
residence. In this voyage, Petracco and his family were nearly
shipwrecked off Marseilles.

But the numbers that crowded to Avignon, and its luxurious court,
rendered that city an uncomfortable place for a family in slender
circumstances. Petracco accordingly removed his household, in 1315, to
Carpentras, a small quiet town, where living was cheaper than at
Avignon. There, under the care of his mother, Petrarch imbibed his first
instruction, and was taught by one Convennole da Prato as much grammar
and logic as could be learned at his age, and more than could be learned
by an ordinary disciple from so common-place a preceptor. This poor
master, however, had sufficient intelligence to appreciate the genius of
Petrarch, whom he esteemed and honoured beyond all his other pupils. On
the other hand, his illustrious scholar aided him, in his old age and
poverty, out of his scanty income.

Petrarch used to compare Convennole to a whetstone, which is blunt
itself, but which sharpens others. His old master, however was sharp
enough to overreach him in the matter of borrowing and lending. When the
poet had collected a considerable library, Convennole paid him a visit,
and, pretending to be engaged in something that required him to consult
Cicero, borrowed a copy of one of the works of that orator, which was
particularly valuable. He made excuses, from time to time, for not
returning it; but Petrarch, at last, had too good reason to suspect that
the old grammarian had pawned it. The poet would willingly have paid for
redeeming it, but Convennole was so much ashamed, that he would not tell
to whom it was pawned; and the precious manuscript was lost.

Petracco contracted an intimacy with Settimo, a Genoese, who was like
himself, an exile for his political principles, and who fixed his abode
at Avignon with his wife and his boy, Guido Settimo, who was about the
same age with Petrarch. The two youths formed a friendship, which
subsisted between them for life.

Petrarch manifested signs of extraordinary sensibility to the charms of
nature in his childhood, both when he was at Carpentras and at Avignon.
One day, when he was at the latter residence, a party was made up, to
see the fountain of Vaucluse, a few leagues from Avignon. The little
Francesco had no sooner arrived at the lovely landscape than he was
struck with its beauties, and exclaimed, "Here, now, is a retirement
suited to my taste, and preferable, in my eyes, to the greatest and most
splendid cities."

A genius so fine as that of our poet could not servilely confine itself
to the slow method of school learning, adapted to the intellects of
ordinary boys. Accordingly, while his fellow pupils were still plodding
through the first rudiments of Latin, Petrarch had recourse to the
original writers, from whom the grammarians drew their authority, and
particularly employed himself in perusing the works of Cicero. And,
although he was, at this time, much too young to comprehend the full
force of the orator's reasoning, he was so struck with the charms of his
style, that he considered him the only true model in prose composition.

His father, who was himself something of a scholar, was pleased and
astonished at this early proof of his good taste; he applauded his
classical studies, and encouraged him to persevere in them; but, very
soon, he imagined that he had cause to repent of his commendations.
Classical learning was, in that age, regarded as a mere solitary
accomplishment, and the law was the only road that led to honours and
preferment. Petracco was, therefore, desirous to turn into that channel
the brilliant qualities of his son; and for this purpose he sent him, at
the age of fifteen, to the university of Montpelier. Petrarch remained
there for four years, and attended lectures on law from some of the
most famous professors of the science. But his prepossession for Cicero
prevented him from much frequenting the dry and dusty walks of
jurisprudence. In his epistle to posterity, he endeavours to justify
this repugnance by other motives. He represents the abuses, the
chicanery, and mercenary practices of the law, as inconsistent with
every principle of candour and honesty.

When Petracco observed that his son made no great progress in his legal
studies at Montpelier, he removed him, in 1323, to Bologna, celebrated
for the study of the canon and civil law, probably imagining that the
superior fame of the latter place might attract him to love the law. To
Bologna Petrarch was accompanied by his brother Gherardo, and by his
inseparable friend, young Guido Settimo.

But neither the abilities of the several professors in that celebrated
academy, nor the strongest exhortations of his father, were sufficient
to conquer the deeply-rooted aversion which our poet had conceived for
the law. Accordingly, Petracco hastened to Bologna, that he might
endeavour to check his son's indulgence in literature, which
disconcerted his favourite designs. Petrarch, guessing at the motive of
his arrival, hid the copies of Cicero, Virgil, and some other authors,
which composed his small library, and to purchase which he had deprived
himself of almost the necessaries of life. His father, however, soon
discovered the place of their concealment, and threw them into the fire.
Petrarch exhibited as much agony as if he had been himself the martyr of
his father's resentment. Petracco was so much affected by his son's
tears, that he rescued from the flames Cicero and Virgil, and,
presenting them to Petrarch, he said, "Virgil will console you for the
loss of your other MSS., and Cicero will prepare you for the study of
the law."

It is by no means wonderful that a mind like Petrarch's could but ill
relish the glosses of the Code and the commentaries on the Decretals.

At Bologna, however, he met with an accomplished literary man and no
inelegant poet in one of the professors, who, if he failed in persuading
Petrarch to make the law his profession, certainly quickened his relish
and ambition for poetry. This man was Cino da Pistoia, who is esteemed
by Italians as the most tender and harmonious lyric poet in the native
language anterior to Petrarch.

During his residence at Bologna, Petrarch made an excursion as far as
Venice, a city that struck him with enthusiastic admiration. In one of
his letters he calls it "_orbem alterum_." Whilst Italy was harassed, he
says, on all sides by continual dissensions, like the sea in a storm,
Venice alone appeared like a safe harbour, which overlooked the tempest
without feeling its commotion. The resolute and independent spirit of
that republic made an indelible impression on Petrarch's heart. The
young poet, perhaps, at this time little imagined that Venice was to be
the last scene of his triumphant eloquence.

Soon after his return from Venice to Bologna, he received the melancholy
intelligence of the death of his mother, in the thirty-eighth year of
her age. Her age is known by a copy of verses which Petrarch wrote upon
her death, the verses being the same in number as the years of her life.
She had lived humble and retired, and had devoted herself to the good of
her family; virtuous amidst the prevalence of corrupted manners, and,
though a beautiful woman, untainted by the breath of calumny. Petrarch
has repaid her maternal affection by preserving her memory from
oblivion. Petracco did not long survive the death of this excellent
woman. According to the judgment of our poet, his father was a man of
strong character and understanding. Banished from his native country,
and engaged in providing for his family, he was prevented by the
scantiness of his fortune, and the cares of his situation, from rising
to that eminence which he might have otherwise attained. But his
admiration of Cicero, in an age when that author was universally
neglected, was a proof of his superior mind.

Petrarch quitted Bologna upon the death of his father, and returned to
Avignon, with his brother Gherardo, to collect the shattered remains of
their father's property. Upon their arrival, they found their domestic
affairs in a state of great disorder, as the executors of Petracco's
will had betrayed the trust reposed in them, and had seized most of the
effects of which they could dispose. Under these circumstances, Petrarch
was most anxious for a MS. of Cicero, which his father had highly
prized. "The guardians," he writes, "eager to appropriate what they
esteemed the more valuable effects, had fortunately left this MS. as a
thing of no value." Thus he owed to their ignorance this treatise, which
he considered the richest portion of the inheritance left him by his

But, that inheritance being small, and not sufficient for the
maintenance of the two brothers, they were obliged to think of some
profession for their subsistence; they therefore entered the church; and
Avignon was the place, of all others, where preferment was most easily
obtained. John XXII. had fixed his residence entirely in that city since
October, 1316, and had appropriated to himself the nomination to all the
vacant benefices. The pretence for this appropriation was to prevent
simony--in others, not in his Holiness--as the sale of benefices was
carried by him to an enormous height. At every promotion to a bishopric,
he removed other bishops; and, by the meanest impositions, soon amassed
prodigious wealth. Scandalous emoluments, also, which arose from the
sale of indulgences, were enlarged, if not invented, under his papacy,
and every method of acquiring riches was justified which could
contribute to feed his avarice. By these sordid means, he collected such
sums, that, according to Villani, he left behind him, _in the sacred
treasury_, twenty-five millions of florins, a treasure which Voltaire
remarks is hardly credible.

The luxury and corruption which reigned in the Roman court at Avignon
are fully displayed in some letters of Petrarch's, without either date
or address. The partizans of that court, it is true, accuse him of
prejudice and exaggeration. He painted, as they allege, the popes and
cardinals in the gloomiest colouring. His letters contain the blackest
catalogue of crimes that ever disgraced humanity.

Petrarch was twenty-two years of age when he settled at Avignon, a scene
of licentiousness and profligacy. The luxury of the cardinals, and the
pomp and riches of the papal court, were displayed in an extravagant
profusion of feasts and ceremonies, which attracted to Avignon women of
all ranks, among whom intrigue and gallantry were generally
countenanced. Petrarch was by nature of a warm temperament, with vivid
and susceptible passions, and strongly attached to the fair sex. We must
not therefore be surprised if, with these dispositions, and in such a
dissolute city, he was betrayed into some excesses. But these were the
result of his complexion, and not of deliberate profligacy. He alludes
to this subject in his Epistle to Posterity, with every appearance of
truth and candour.

From his own confession, Petrarch seems to have been somewhat vain of
his personal appearance during his youth, a venial foible, from which
neither the handsome nor the homely, nor the wise nor the foolish, are
exempt. It is amusing to find our own Milton betraying this weakness, in
spite of all the surrounding strength of his character. In answering one
of his slanderers, who had called him pale and cadaverous, the author of
Paradise Lost appeals to all who knew him whether his complexion was not
so fresh and blooming as to make him appear ten years younger than he
really was.

Petrarch, when young, was so strikingly handsome, that he was frequently
pointed at and admired as he passed along, for his features were manly,
well-formed, and expressive, and his carriage was graceful and
distinguished. He was sprightly in conversation, and his voice was
uncommonly musical. His complexion was between brown and fair, and his
eyes were bright and animated. His countenance was a faithful index of
his heart.

He endeavoured to temper the warmth of his constitution by the
regularity of his living and the plainness of his diet. He indulged
little in either wine or sleep, and fed chiefly on fruits and

In his early days he was nice and neat in his dress, even to a degree of
affectation, which, in later life, he ridiculed when writing to his
brother Gherardo. "Do you remember," he says, "how much care we
employed in the lure of dressing our persons; when we traversed the
streets, with what attention did we not avoid every breath of wind which
might discompose our hair; and with what caution did we not prevent the
least speck of dirt from soiling our garments!"

This vanity, however, lasted only during his youthful days. And even
then neither attention to his personal appearance, nor his attachment to
the fair sex, nor his attendance upon the great, could induce Petrarch
to neglect his own mental improvement, for, amidst all these
occupations, he found leisure for application, and devoted himself to
the cultivation of his favourite pursuits of literature.

Inclined by nature to moral philosophy, he was guided by the reading of
Cicero and Seneca to that profound knowledge of the human heart, of the
duties of others and of our own duties, which shows itself in all his
writings. Gifted with a mind full of enthusiasm for poetry, he learned
from Virgil elegance and dignity in versification. But he had still
higher advantages from the perusal of Livy. The magnanimous actions of
Roman heroes so much excited the soul of Petrarch, that he thought the
men of his own age light and contemptible.

His first compositions were in Latin: many motives, however, induced him
to compose in the vulgar tongue, as Italian was then called, which,
though improved by Dante, was still, in many respects, harsh and
inelegant, and much in want of new beauties. Petrarch wrote for the
living, and for that portion of the living who were least of all to be
fascinated by the language of the dead. Latin might be all very well for
inscriptions on mausoleums, but it was not suited for the ears of beauty
and the bowers of love. The Italian language acquired, under his
cultivation, increased elegance and richness, so that the harmony of his
style has contributed to its beauty. He did not, however, attach himself
solely to Italian, but composed much in Latin, which he reserved for
graver, or, as he considered, more important subjects. His compositions
in Latin are--Africa, an epic poem; his Bucolics, containing twelve
eclogues; and three books of epistles.

Petrarch's greatest obstacles to improvement arose from the scarcity of
authors whom he wished to consult--for the manuscripts of the writers of
the Augustan age were, at that time, so uncommon, that many could not be
procured, and many more of them could not be purchased under the most
extravagant price. This scarcity of books had checked the dawning light
of literature. The zeal of our poet, however, surmounted all these
obstacles, for he was indefatigable in collecting and copying many of
the choicest manuscripts; and posterity is indebted to him for the
possession of many valuable writings, which were in danger of being lost
through the carelessness or ignorance of the possessors.

Petrarch could not but perceive the superiority of his own understanding
and the brilliancy of his abilities. The modest humility which knows not
its own worth is not wont to show itself in minds much above mediocrity;
and to elevated geniuses this virtue is a stranger. Petrarch from his
youthful age had an internal assurance that he should prove worthy of
estimation and honours. Nevertheless, as he advanced in the field of
science, he saw the prospect increase, Alps over Alps, and seemed to be
lost amidst the immensity of objects before him. Hence the anticipation
of immeasurable labours occasionally damped his application. But from
this depression of spirits he was much relieved by the encouragement of
John of Florence, one of the secretaries of the Pope, a man of learning
and probity. He soon distinguished the extraordinary abilities of
Petrarch; he directed him in his studies, and cheered up his ambition.
Petrarch returned his affection with unbounded confidence. He entrusted
him with all his foibles, his disgusts, and his uneasinesses. He says
that he never conversed with him without finding himself more calm and
composed, and more animated for study.

The superior sagacity of our poet, together with his pleasing manners,
and his increasing reputation for knowledge, ensured to him the most
flattering prospects of success. His conversation was courted by men of
rank, and his acquaintance was sought by men of learning. It was at this
time, 1326, that his merit procured him the friendship and patronage of
James Colonna, who belonged to one of the most ancient and illustrious
families of Italy.

"About the twenty-second year of my life," Petrarch writes to one of his
friends, "I became acquainted with James Colonna. He had seen me whilst
I resided at Bologna, and was prepossessed, as he was pleased to say,
with my appearance. Upon his arrival at Avignon, he again saw me, when,
having inquired minutely into the state of my affairs, he admitted me to
his friendship. I cannot sufficiently describe the cheerfulness of his
temper, his social disposition, his moderation in prosperity, his
constancy in adversity. I speak not from report, but from my own
experience. He was endowed with a persuasive and forcible eloquence. His
conversation and letters displayed the amiableness of his sincere
character. He gained the first place in my affections, which he ever
afterwards retained."

Such is the portrait which our poet gives of James Colonna. A faithful
and wise friend is among the most precious gifts of fortune; but, as
friendships cannot wholly feed our affections, the heart of Petrarch, at
this ardent age, was destined to be swayed by still tenderer feelings.
He had nearly finished his twenty-third year without having ever
seriously known the passion of love. In that year he first saw Laura.
Concerning this lady, at one time, when no life of Petrarch had been yet
written that was not crude and inaccurate, his biographers launched
into the wildest speculations. One author considered her as an
allegorical being; another discovered her to be a type of the Virgin
Mary; another thought her an allegory of poetry and repentance. Some
denied her even allegorical existence, and deemed her a mere phantom
beauty, with which the poet had fallen in love, like Pygmalion with the
work of his own creation. All these caprices about Laura's history have
been long since dissipated, though the principal facts respecting her
were never distinctly verified, till De Sade, her own descendant, wrote
his memoirs of the Life of Petrarch.

Petrarch himself relates that in 1327, exactly at the first hour of the
6th of April, he first beheld Laura in the church of St. Clara of
Avignon,[A] where neither the sacredness of the place, nor the solemnity
of the day, could prevent him from being smitten for life with human
love. In that fatal hour he saw a lady, a little younger than himself[B]
in a green mantle sprinkled with violets, on which her golden hair fell
plaited in tresses. She was distinguished from all others by her proud
and delicate carriage. The impression which she made on his heart was
sudden, yet it was never effaced.

Laura, descended from a family of ancient and noble extraction, was the
daughter of Audibert de Noves, a Provençal nobleman, by his wife
Esmessenda. She was born at Avignon, probably in 1308. She had a
considerable fortune, and was married in 1325 to Hugh de Sade. The
particulars of her life are little known, as Petrarch has left few
traces of them in his letters; and it was still less likely that he
should enter upon her personal history in his sonnets, which, as they
were principally addressed to herself, made it unnecessary for him to
inform her of what she already knew.

While many writers have erred in considering Petrarch's attachment as
visionary, others, who have allowed the reality of his passion, have
been mistaken in their opinion of its object. They allege that Petrarch
was a happy lover, and that his mistress was accustomed to meet him at
Vaucluse, and make him a full compensation for his fondness. No one at
all acquainted with the life and writings of Petrarch will need to be
told that this is an absurd fiction. Laura, a married woman, who bore
ten children to a rather morose husband, could not have gone to meet him
at Vaucluse without the most flagrant scandal. It is evident from his
writings that she repudiated his passion whenever it threatened to
exceed the limits of virtuous friendship. On one occasion, when he
seemed to presume too far upon her favour, she said to him with
severity, "I am not what you take me for." If his love had been
successful, he would have said less about it.

Of the two persons in this love affair, I am more inclined to pity Laura
than Petrarch. Independently of her personal charms, I cannot conceive
Laura otherwise than as a kind-hearted, loveable woman, who could not
well be supposed to be totally indifferent to the devotion of the most
famous and fascinating man of his age. On the other hand, what was the
penalty that she would have paid if she had encouraged his addresses as
far as he would have carried them? Her disgrace, a stigma left on her
family, and the loss of all that character which upholds a woman in her
own estimation and in that of the world. I would not go so far as to say
that she did not at times betray an anxiety to retain him under the
spell of her fascination, as, for instance, when she is said to have
cast her eyes to the ground in sadness when he announced his intention
to leave Avignon; but still I should like to hear her own explanation
before I condemned her. And, after all, she was only anxious for the
continuance of attentions, respecting which she had made a fixed
understanding that they should not exceed the bounds of innocence.

We have no distinct account how her husband regarded the homage of
Petrarch to his wife--whether it flattered his vanity, or moved his
wrath. As tradition gives him no very good character for temper, the
latter supposition is the more probable. Every morning that he went out
he might hear from some kind friend the praises of a new sonnet which
Petrarch had written on his wife; and, when he came back to dinner, of
course his good humour was not improved by the intelligence. He was in
the habit of scolding her till she wept; he married seven months after
her death, and, from all that is known of him, appears to have been a
bad husband. I suspect that Laura paid dearly for her poet's idolatry.

No incidents of Petrarch's life have been transmitted to us for the
first year or two after his attachment to Laura commenced. He seems to
have continued at Avignon, prosecuting his studies and feeding his

James Colonna, his friend and patron, was promoted in 1328 to the
bishopric of Lombes in Gascony; and in the year 1330 he went from
Avignon to take possession of his diocese, and invited Petrarch to
accompany him to his residence. No invitation could be more acceptable
to our poet: they set out at the end of March, 1330. In order to reach
Lombes, it was necessary to cross the whole of Languedoc, and to pass
through Montpelier, Narbonne, and Toulouse. Petrarch already knew
Montpelier, where he had, or ought to have, studied the law for four

Full of enthusiasm for Rome, Petrarch was rejoiced to find at Narbonne
the city which had been the first Roman colony planted among the Gauls.
This colony had been formed entirely of Roman citizens, and, in order to
reconcile them to their exile, the city was built like a little image of
Rome. It had its capital, its baths, arches, and fountains; all which
works were worthy of the Roman name. In passing through Narbonne,
Petrarch discovered a number of ancient monuments and inscriptions.

Our travellers thence proceeded to Toulouse, where they passed several
days. This city, which was known even before the foundation of Rome, is
called, in some ancient Roman acts, "Roma Garumnæ." It was famous in the
classical ages for cultivating literature. After the fall of the Roman
empire, the successive incursions of the Visigoths, the Saracens, and
the Normans, for a long time silenced the Muses at Toulouse; but they
returned to their favourite haunt after ages of barbarism had passed
away. De Sade says, that what is termed Provençal poetry was much more
cultivated by the Languedocians than by the Provençals, properly so
called. The city of Toulouse was considered as the principal seat of
this earliest modern poetry, which was carried to perfection in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, under the patronage of the Counts of
Toulouse, particularly Raimond V., and his son, Raimond VI. Petrarch
speaks with high praise of those poets in his Triumphs of Love. It has
been alleged that he owed them this mark of his regard for their having
been so useful to him in his Italian poetry; and Nostradamus even
accuses him of having stolen much from them. But Tassoni, who understood
the Provençal poets better than Nostradamus, defends him successfully
from this absurd accusation.

Although Provençal poetry was a little on its decline since the days of
the Dukes of Aquitaine and the Counts of Toulouse, it was still held in
honour; and, when Petrarch arrived, the Floral games had been
established at Toulouse during six years.[C]

Ere long, however, our travellers found less agreeable objects of
curiosity, that formed a sad contrast with the chivalric manners, the
floral games, and the gay poetry of southern France. Bishop Colonna and
Petrarch had intended to remain for some time at Toulouse; but their
sojourn was abridged by their horror at a tragic event[D] in the
principal monastery of the place. There lived in that monastery a young
monk, named Augustin, who was expert in music, and accompanied the
psalmody of the religious brothers with beautiful touches on the organ.
The superior of the convent, relaxing its discipline, permitted Augustin
frequently to mix with the world, in order to teach music, and to
improve himself in the art. The young monk was in the habit of
familiarly visiting the house of a respectable citizen: he was
frequently in the society of his daughter, and, by the express
encouragement of her father, undertook to exercise her in the practice
of music. Another young man, who was in love with the girl, grew jealous
of the monk, who was allowed to converse so familiarly with her, whilst
he, her lay admirer, could only have stolen glimpses of her as she
passed to church or to public spectacles. He set about the ruin of his
supposed rival with cunning atrocity; and, finding that the young woman
was infirm in health, suborned a physician, as worthless as himself, to
declare that she was pregnant. Her credulous father, without inquiring
whether the intelligence was true or false, went to the superior of the
convent, and accused Augustin, who, though thunderstruck at the
accusation, denied it firmly, and defended himself intrepidly. But the
superior was deaf to his plea of innocence, and ordered him to be shut
up in his cell, that he might await his punishment. Thither the poor
young man was conducted, and threw himself on his bed in a state of

The superior and the elders among the friars thought it a meet fate for
the accused that he should be buried alive in a subterranean dungeon,
after receiving the terrific sentence of "_Vade in pace_." At the end of
several days the victim dashed out his brains against the walls of his
sepulchre. Bishop Colonna, who, it would appear, had no power to oppose
this hideous transaction, when he was informed of it, determined to
leave the place immediately; and Petrarch in his indignation exclaimed--

     "Heu! fuge crudeles terras, fuge littus avarum."--VIRG.

On the 26th of May, 1330, the Bishop of Lombes and Petrarch quitted
Toulouse, and arrived at the mansion of the diocese. Lombes--in Latin,
Lombarium--lies at the foot of the Pyrenees, only eight leagues from
Toulouse. It is small and ill-built, and offers no allurement to the
curiosity of the traveller. Till lately it had been a simple abbey of
the Augustine monks. The whole of the clergy of the little city, singing
psalms, issued out of Lombes to meet their new pastor, who, under a rich
canopy, was conducted to the principal church, and there, in his
episcopal robes, blessed the people, and delivered an eloquent
discourse. Petrarch beheld with admiration the dignified behaviour of
the youthful prelate. James Colonna, though accustomed to the wealth and
luxury of Rome, came to the Pyrenean rocks with a pleased countenance.
"His aspect," says Petrarch, "made it seem as if Italy had been
transported into Gascony." Nothing is more beautiful than the patient
endurance of our destiny; yet there are many priests who would suffer
translation to a well-paid, though mountainous bishopric, with patience
and piety.

The vicinity of the Pyrenees renders the climate of Lombes very severe;
and the character and conversation of the inhabitants were scarcely more
genial than their climate. But Petrarch found in the bishop's abode
friends who consoled him in this exile among the Lombesians. Two young
and familiar inmates of the Bishop's house attracted and returned his
attachment. The first of these was Lello di Stefani, a youth of a noble
and ancient family in Rome, long attached to the Colonnas. Lello's
gifted understanding was improved by study; so Petrarch tells us; and he
could have been no ordinary man whom our accomplished poet so highly
valued. In his youth he had quitted his studies for the profession of
arms; but the return of peace restored him to his literary pursuits.
Such was the attachment between Petrarch and Lello, that Petrarch gave
him the name of Lælius, the most attached companion of Scipio. The other
friend to whom Petrarch attached himself in the house of James Colonna
was a young German, extremely accomplished in music. De Sade says that
his name was Louis, without mentioning his cognomen. He was a native of
Ham, near Bois le Duc, on the left bank of the Rhine between Brabant and
Holland. Petrarch, with his Italian prejudices, regarded him as a
barbarian by birth; but he was so fascinated by his serene temper and
strong judgment, that he singled him out to be the chief of all his
friends, and gave him the name of Socrates, noting him as an example
that Nature can sometimes produce geniuses in the most unpropitious

After having passed the summer of 1330 at Lombes, the Bishop returned to
Avignon, in order to meet his father, the elder Stefano Colonna, and his
brother the Cardinal.

The Colonnas were a family of the first distinction in modern Italy.
They had been exceedingly powerful during the popedom of Boniface VIII.,
through the talents of the late Cardinal James Colonna, brother of the
famous old Stefano, so well known to Petrarch, and whom he used to call
a phoenix sprung up from the ashes of Rome. Their house possessed also
an influential public character in the Cardinal Pietro, brother of the
younger Stefano. They were formidable from the territories and castles
which they possessed, and by their alliance and friendship with Charles,
King of Naples. The power of the Colonna family became offensive to
Boniface, who, besides, hated the two Cardinals for having opposed the
renunciation of Celestine V., which Boniface had fraudulently obtained.
Boniface procured a crusade against them. They were beaten, expelled
from their castles, and almost exterminated; they implored peace, but in
vain; they were driven from Rome, and obliged to seek refuge, some in
Sicily and others in France. During the time of their exile, Boniface
proclaimed it a capital crime to give shelter to any of them.

The Colonnas finally returned to their dignities and property, and
afterwards made successful war against the house of their rivals, the

John Colonna, the Cardinal, brother of the Bishop of Lombes, and son of
old Stefano, was one of the very ablest men at the papal court. He
insisted on our poet taking up his abode in his own palace at Avignon.
"What good fortune was this for me!" says Petrarch. "This great man
never made me feel that he was my superior in station. He was like a
father or an indulgent brother; and I lived in his house as if it had
been my own." At a subsequent period, we find him on somewhat cooler
terms with John Colonna, and complaining that his domestic dependence
had, by length of time, become wearisome to him. But great allowance is
to be made for such apparent inconsistencies in human attachment. At
different times our feelings and language on any subject may be
different without being insincere. The truth seems to be that Petrarch
looked forward to the friendship of the Colonnas for promotion, which he
either received scantily, or not at all; so it is little marvellous if
he should have at last felt the tedium of patronage.

For the present, however, this home was completely to Petrarch's taste.
It was the rendezvous of all strangers distinguished by their knowledge
and talents, whom the papal court attracted to Avignon, which was now
the great centre of all political negotiations.

This assemblage of the learned had a powerful influence on Petrarch's
fine imagination. He had been engaged for some time in the perusal of
Livy, and his enthusiasm for ancient Rome was heightened, if possible,
by the conversation of old Stefano Colonna, who dwelt on no subject with
so much interest as on the temples and palaces of the ancient city,
majestic even in their ruins.

During the bitter persecution raised against his family by Boniface
VIII., Stefano Colonna had been the chief object of the Pope's
implacable resentment. Though oppressed by the most adverse
circumstances, his estates confiscated, his palaces levelled with the
ground, and himself driven into exile, the majesty of his appearance,
and the magnanimity of his character, attracted the respect of strangers
wherever he went. He had the air of a sovereign prince rather than of an
exile, and commanded more regard than monarchs in the height of their

In the picture of his times, Stefano makes a noble and commanding
figure. If the reader, however, happens to search into that period of
Italian history, he will find many facts to cool the romance of his
imagination respecting all the Colonna family. They were, in plain
truth, an oppressive aristocratic family. The portion of Italy which
they and their tyrannical rivals possessed was infamously governed. The
highways were rendered impassable by banditti, who were in the pay of
contesting feudal lords; and life and property were everywhere insecure.

Stefano, nevertheless, seems to have been a man formed for better times.
He improved in the school of misfortune--the serenity of his temper
remained unclouded by adversity, and his faculties unimpaired by age.

Among the illustrious strangers who came to Avignon at this time was our
countryman, Richard de Bury, then accounted the most learned man of
England. He arrived at Avignon in 1331, having been sent to the Pope by
Edward III. De Sade conceives that the object of his embassy was to
justify his sovereign before the Pontiff for having confined the
Queen-mother in the castle of Risings, and for having caused her
favourite, Roger de Mortimer, to be hanged. It was a matter of course
that so illustrious a stranger as Richard de Bury should be received
with distinction by Cardinal Colonna. Petrarch eagerly seized the
opportunity of forming his acquaintance, confident that De Bury could
give him valuable information on many points of geography and history.
They had several conversations. Petrarch tells us that he entreated the
learned Englishman to make him acquainted with the true situation of the
isle of Thule, of which the ancients speak with much uncertainty, but
which their best geographers place at the distance of some days'
navigation from the north of England. De Bury was, in all probability,
puzzled with the question, though he did not like to confess his
ignorance. He excused himself by promising to inquire into the subject
as soon as he should get back to his books in England, and to write to
him the best information he could afford. It does not appear, however,
that he performed his promise.

De Bury's stay at the court of Avignon was very short. King Edward, it
is true, sent him a second time to the Pope, two years afterwards, on
important business. The seeds of discord between France and England
began to germinate strongly, and that circumstance probably occasioned
De Bury's second mission. Unfortunately, however, Petrarch could not
avail himself of his return so as to have further interviews with the
English scholar. Petrarch wrote repeatedly to De Bury for his promised
explanations respecting Thule; but, whether our countryman had found
nothing in his library to satisfy his inquiries, or was prevented by his
public occupations, there is no appearance of his having ever answered
Petrarch's letters.

Stephano Colonna the younger had brought with him to Avignon his son
Agapito, who was destined for the church, that he might be educated
under the eyes of the Cardinal and the Bishop, who were his uncles.
These two prelates joined with their father in entreating Petrarch to
undertake the superintendence of Agapito's studies. Our poet, avaricious
of his time, and jealous of his independence, was at first reluctant to
undertake the charge; but, from his attachment to the family, at last
accepted it. De Sade tells us that Petrarch was not successful in the
young man's education; and, from a natural partiality for the hero of
his biography, lays the blame on his pupil. At the same time he
acknowledges that a man with poetry in his head and love in his heart
was not the most proper mentor in the world for a youth who was to be
educated for the church. At this time, Petrarch's passion for Laura
continued to haunt his peace with incessant violence. She had received
him at first with good-humour and affability; but it was only while he
set strict bounds to the expression of his attachment. He had not,
however, sufficient self-command to comply with these terms. His
constant assiduities, his eyes continually riveted upon her, and the
wildness of his looks, convinced her of his inordinate attachment; her
virtue took alarm; she retired whenever he approached her, and even
covered her face with a veil whilst he was present, nor would she
condescend to the slightest action or look that might seem to
countenance his passion.

Petrarch complains of these severities in many of his melancholy
sonnets. Meanwhile, if fame could have been a balm to love, he might
have been happy. His reputation as a poet was increasing, and his
compositions were read with universal approbation.

The next interesting event in our poet's life was a larger course of
travels, which he took through the north of France, through Flanders,
Brabant, and a part of Germany, subsequently to his tour in Languedoc.
Petrarch mentions that he undertook this journey about the twenty-fifth
year of his age. He was prompted to travel not only by his curiosity to
observe men and manners, by his desire of seeing monuments of antiquity,
and his hopes of discovering the MSS. of ancient authors, but also, we
may believe, by his wish, if it were possible, to escape from himself,
and to forget Laura.

From Paris Petrarch wrote as follows to Cardinal Colonna. "I have
visited Paris, the capital of the whole kingdom of France. I entered it
in the same state of mind that was felt by Apuleias when he visited
Hypata, a city of Thessaly, celebrated for its magic, of which such
wonderful things were related, looking again and again at every object,
in solicitous suspense, to know whether all that he had heard of the
far-famed place was true or false. Here I pass a great deal of time in
observation, and, as the day is too short for my curiosity, I add the
night. At last, it seems to me that, by long exploring, I have enabled
myself to distinguish between the true and the false in what is related
about Paris. But, as the subject would be too tedious for this occasion,
I shall defer entering fully into particulars till I can do so _vivâ
voce_. My impatience, however, impels me to sketch for you briefly a
general idea of this so celebrated city, and of the character of its

"Paris, though always inferior to its fame, and much indebted to the
lies of its own people, is undoubtedly a great city. To be sure I never
saw a dirtier place, except Avignon. At the same time, its population
contains the most learned of men, and it is like a great basket in which
are collected the rarest fruits of every country. From the time that its
university was founded, as they say by Alcuin, the teacher of
Charlemagne, there has not been, to my knowledge, a single Parisian of
any fame. The great luminaries of the university were all strangers;
and, if the love of my country does not deceive me, they were chiefly
Italians, such as Pietro Lombardo, Tomaso d'Aquino, Bonaventura, and
many others.

"The character of the Parisians is very singular. There was a time when,
from the ferocity of their manners, the French were reckoned barbarians.
At present the case is wholly changed. A gay disposition, love of
society, ease, and playfulness in conversation now characterize them.
They seek every opportunity of distinguishing themselves; and make war
against all cares with joking, laughing, singing, eating, and drinking.
Prone, however, as they are to pleasure, they are not heroic in
adversity. The French love their country and their countrymen; they
censure with rigour the faults of other nations, but spread a
proportionably thick veil over their own defects."

From Paris, Petrarch proceeded to Ghent, of which only he makes mention
to the Cardinal, without noticing any of the towns that lie between. It
is curious to find our poet out of humour with Flanders on account of
the high price of wine, which was not an indigenous article. In the
latter part of his life, Petrarch was certainly one of the most
abstemious of men; but, at this period, it would seem that he drank good
liquor enough to be concerned about its price.

From Ghent he passed on to Liege. "This city is distinguished," he says,
"by the riches and the number of its clergy. As I had heard that
excellent MSS. might be found there, I stopped in the place for some
time. But is it not singular that in so considerable a place I had
difficulty to procure ink enough to copy two orations of Cicero's, and
the little that I could obtain was as yellow as saffron?"

Petrarch was received at most of the places he visited, and more
particularly at Cologne, with marks of great respect; and he was
agreeably surprised to find that his reputation had acquired him the
partiality and acquaintance of several inhabitants. He was conducted by
his new friends to the banks of the Rhine, where the inhabitants were
engaged in the performance of a superstitious annual ceremony, which,
for its singularity, deserves to be recorded.

"The banks of the river were crowded with a considerable number of
women, their persons comely, and their dress elegant. This great
concourse of people seemed to create no confusion. A number of these
women, with cheerful countenances, crowned with flowers, bathed their
hands and arms in the stream, and uttered, at the same time, some
harmonious expressions in a language which I did not understand. I
inquired into the cause of this ceremony, and was informed that it arose
from a tradition among the people, and particularly among the women,
that the impending calamities of the year were carried away by this
ablution, and that blessings succeeded in their place. Hence this
ceremony is annually renewed, and the ablution performed with
unremitting diligence."

The ceremony being finished, Petrarch smiled at their superstition, and
exclaimed, "O happy inhabitants of the Rhine, whose waters wash out your
miseries, whilst neither the Po nor the Tiber can wash out ours! You
transmit your evils to the Britons by means of this river, whilst we
send off ours to the Illyrians and the Africans. It seems that our
rivers have a slower course."

Petrarch shortened his excursion that he might return the sooner to
Avignon, where the Bishop of Lombes had promised to await his return,
and take him to Rome.

When he arrived at Lyons, however, he was informed that the Bishop had
departed from Avignon for Rome. In the first paroxysm of his
disappointment he wrote a letter to his friend, which portrays strongly
affectionate feelings, but at the same time an irascible temper. When he
came to Avignon, the Cardinal Colonna relieved him from his irritation
by acquainting him with the real cause of his brother's departure. The
flames of civil dissension had been kindled at Rome between the rival
families of Colonna and Orsini. The latter had made great preparations
to carry on the war with vigour. In this crisis of affairs, James
Colonna had been summoned to Rome to support the interests of his
family, and, by his courage and influence, to procure them the succour
which they so much required.

Petrarch continued to reside at Avignon for several years after
returning from his travels in France and Flanders. It does not appear
from his sonnets, during those years, either that his passion for Laura
had abated, or that she had given him any more encouragement than
heretofore. But in the year 1334, an accident renewed the utmost
tenderness of his affections. A terrible affliction visited the city of
Avignon. The heat and the drought were so excessive that almost the
whole of the common people went about naked to the waist, and, with
frenzy and miserable cries, implored Heaven to put an end to their
calamities. Persons of both sexes and of all ages had their bodies
covered with scales, and changed their skins like serpents.

Laura's constitution was too delicate to resist this infectious malady,
and her illness greatly alarmed Petrarch. One day he asked her
physician how she was, and was told by him that her condition was very
dangerous: on that occasion he composed the following sonnet:[E]--

    This lovely spirit, if ordain'd to leave
    Its mortal tenement before its time,
    Heaven's fairest habitation shall receive
    And welcome her to breathe its sweetest clime.
    If she establish her abode between
    Mars and the planet-star of Beauty's queen,
    The sun will be obscured, so dense a cloud
    Of spirits from adjacent stars will crowd
    To gaze upon her beauty infinite.
    Say that she fixes on a lower sphere,
    Beneath the glorious sun, her beauty soon
    Will dim the splendour of inferior stars--
    Of Mars, of Venus, Mercury, and the Moon.
    She'll choose not Mars, but higher place than Mars;
    She will eclipse all planetary light,
    And Jupiter himself will seem less bright.

I trust that I have enough to say in favour of Petrarch to satisfy his
rational admirers; but I quote this sonnet as an example of the worst
style of Petrarch's poetry. I make the English reader welcome to rate my
power of translating it at the very lowest estimation. He cannot go much
further down than myself in the scale of valuation, especially if he has
Italian enough to know that the exquisite mechanical harmony of
Petrarch's style is beyond my reach. It has been alleged that this
sonnet shows how much the mind of Petrarch had been influenced by his
Platonic studies; but if Plato had written poetry he would never have
been so extravagant.

Petrarch, on his return from Germany, had found the old Pope, John
XXII., intent on two speculations, to both of which he lent his
enthusiastic aid. One of them was a futile attempt to renew the
crusades, from which Europe had reposed for a hundred years. The other
was the transfer of the holy seat to Rome. The execution of this plan,
for which Petrarch sighed as if it were to bring about the millennium,
and which was not accomplished by another Pope without embroiling him
with his Cardinals, was nevertheless more practicable than capturing
Jerusalem. We are told by several Italian writers that the aged Pontiff,
moved by repeated entreaties from the Romans, as well as by the remorse
of his conscience, thought seriously of effecting this restoration; but
the sincerity of his intentions is made questionable by the fact that he
never fixed himself at Rome. He wrote, it is true, to Rome in 1333,
ordering his palaces and gardens to be repaired; but the troubles which
continued to agitate the city were alleged by him as too alarming for
his safety there, and he repaired to Bologna to wait for quieter times.

On both of the above subjects, namely, the insane crusades and the more
feasible restoration of the papal court to Rome, Petrarch wrote with
devoted zeal; they are both alluded to in his twenty-second sonnet.

The death of John XXII. left the Cardinals divided into two great
factions. The first was that of the French, at the head of which stood
Cardinal Taillerand, son of the beautiful Brunissende de Foix, whose
charms were supposed to have detained Pope Clement V. in France. The
Italian Cardinals, who formed the opposite faction, had for their chief
the Cardinal Colonna. The French party, being the more numerous, were,
in some sort, masters of the election; they offered the tiara to
Cardinal de Commenges, on condition that he would promise not to
transfer the papal court to Rome. That prelate showed himself worthy of
the dignity, by refusing to accept it on such terms.

To the surprise of the world, the choice of the conclave fell at last on
James Founder, said to be the son of a baker at Savordun, who had been
bred as a monk of Citeaux, and always wore the dress of the order. Hence
he was called the White Cardinal. He was wholly unlike his portly
predecessor John in figure and address, being small in stature, pale in
complexion, and weak in voice. He expressed his own astonishment at the
honour conferred on him, saying that they had elected an ass. If we may
believe Petrarch, he did himself no injustice in likening himself to
that quadruped; but our poet was somewhat harsh in his judgment of this
Pontiff. He took the name of Benedict XII.

Shortly after his exaltation, Benedict received ambassadors from Rome,
earnestly imploring him to bring back the sacred seat to their city; and
Petrarch thought he could not serve the embassy better than by
publishing a poem in Latin verse, exhibiting Rome in the character of a
desolate matron imploring her husband to return to her. Benedict
applauded the author of the epistle, but declined complying with its
prayer. Instead of revisiting Italy, his Holiness ordered a magnificent
and costly palace to be constructed for him at Avignon. Hitherto, it
would seem that the Popes had lived in hired houses. In imitation of
their Pontiff, the Cardinals set about building superb mansions, to the
unbounded indignation of Petrarch, who saw in these new habitations not
only a graceless and unchristian spirit of luxury, but a sure indication
that their owners had no thoughts of removing to Rome.

In the January of the following year, Pope Benedict presented our poet
with the canonicate of Lombes, with the expectancy of the first prebend
which should become vacant. This preferment Petrarch is supposed to have
owed to the influence of Cardinal Colonna.

The troubles which at this time agitated Italy drew to Avignon, in the
year 1335, a personage who holds a pre-eminent interest in the life of
Petrarch, namely, Azzo da Correggio, who was sent thither by the
Scaligeri of Parma. The State of Parma had belonged originally to the
popes; but two powerful families, the Rossis and the Correggios, had
profited by the quarrels between the church and the empire to usurp the
government, and during five-and-twenty years, Gilberto Correggio and
Rolando Rossi alternately lost and won the sovereignty, till, at last,
the confederate princes took the city, and conferred the government of
it on Guido Correggio, the greatest enemy of the Rossis.

Gilbert Correggio left at his death a widow, the sister of Cane de la
Scala, and four sons, Guido, Simone, Azzo, and Giovanni. It is only with
Azzo that we are particularly concerned in the history of Petrarch.

Azzo was born in the year 1303, being thus a year older than our poet.
Originally intended for the church, he preferred the sword to the
crozier, and became a distinguished soldier. He married the daughter of
Luigi Gonzagua, lord of Mantua. He was a man of bold original spirit,
and so indefatigable that he acquired the name of Iron-foot. Nor was his
energy merely physical; he read much, and forgot nothing--his memory was
a library. Azzo's character, to be sure, even with allowance for
turbulent times, is not invulnerable at all points to a rigid scrutiny;
and, notwithstanding all the praises of Petrarch, who dedicated to him
his Treatise on a Solitary Life in 1366, his political career contained
some acts of perfidy. But we must inure ourselves, in the biography of
Petrarch, to his over-estimation of favourites in the article of morals.

It was not long ere Petrarch was called upon to give a substantial proof
of his regard for Azzo. After the seizure of Parma by the confederate
princes, Marsilio di Rossi, brother of Rolando, went to Paris to demand
assistance from the French king. The King of Bohemia had given over the
government of Parma to him and his brothers, and the Rossi now saw it
with grief assigned to his enemies, the Correggios. Marsilio could
obtain no succour from the French, who were now busy in preparing for
war with the English; so he carried to the Pope at Avignon his
complaints against the alleged injustice of the lords of Verona and the
Correggios in breaking an express treaty which they had made with the
house of Rossi.

Azzo had the threefold task of defending, before the Pope's tribunal,
the lords of Verona, whose envoy he was; the rights of his family, which
were attacked; and his own personal character, which was charged with
some grave objections. Revering the eloquence and influence of Petrarch,
he importuned him to be his public defender. Our poet, as we have seen,
had studied the law, but had never followed the profession. "It is not
my vocation," he says, in his preface to his Familiar Epistles, "to
undertake the defence of others. I detest the bar; I love retirement; I
despise money; and, if I tried to let out my tongue for hire, my nature
would revolt at the attempt."

But what Petrarch would not undertake either from taste or motives of
interest, he undertook at the call of friendship. He pleaded the cause
of Azzo before the Pope and Cardinals; it was a finely-interesting
cause, that afforded a vast field for his eloquence. He brought off his
client triumphantly; and the Rossis were defeated in their demand.

At the same time, it is a proud trait in Petrarch's character that he
showed himself on this occasion not only an orator and a lawyer, but a
perfect gentleman. In the midst of all his zealous pleading, he stooped
neither to satire nor personality against the opposing party. He could
say, with all the boldness of truth, in a letter to Ugolino di Rossi,
the Bishop of Parma, "I pleaded against your house for Azzo Correggio,
but you were present at the pleading; do me justice, and confess that I
carefully avoided not only attacks on your family and reputation, but
even those railleries in which advocates so much delight."

On this occasion, Azzo had brought to Avignon, as his colleague in the
lawsuit, Guglielmo da Pastrengo, who exercised the office of judge and
notary at Verona. He was a man of deep knowledge in the law; versed,
besides, in every branch of elegant learning, he was a poet into the
bargain. In Petrarch's many books of epistles, there are few letters
addressed by him to this personage; but it is certain that they
contracted a friendship at this period which endured for life.

All this time the Bishop of Lombes still continued at Rome; and, from
time to time, solicited his friend Petrarch to join him. "Petrarch would
have gladly joined him," says De Sade; "but he was detained at Avignon
by his attachment to John Colonna and his love of Laura:" a whimsical
junction of detaining causes, in which the fascination of the Cardinal
may easily be supposed to have been weaker than that of Laura. In
writing to our poet, at Avignon, the Bishop rallied Petrarch on the
imaginary existence of the object of his passion. Some stupid readers of
the Bishop's letter, in subsequent times, took it into their heads that
there was a literal proof in the prelate's jesting epistle of our poet's
passion for Laura being a phantom and a fiction. But, possible as it may
be, that the Bishop in reality suspected him to exaggerate the flame of
his devotion for the two great objects of his idolatry, Laura and St.
Augustine, he writes in a vein of pleasantry that need not be taken for
grave accusation. "You are befooling us all, my dear Petrarch," says the
prelate; "and it is wonderful that at so tender an age (Petrarch's
tender age was at this time thirty-one) you can deceive the world with
so much art and success. And, not content with deceiving the world, you
would fain deceive Heaven itself. You make a semblance of loving St.
Augustine and his works; but, in your heart, you love the poets and the
philosophers. Your Laura is a phantom created by your imagination for
the exercise of your poetry. Your verse, your love, your sighs, are all
a fiction; or, if there is anything real in your passion, it is not for
the lady Laura, but for the laurel--_that is_, the crown of poets. I
have been your dupe for some time, and, whilst you showed a strong
desire to visit Rome, I hoped to welcome you there. But my eyes are now
opened to all your rogueries, which nevertheless, will not prevent me
from loving you."

Petrarch, in his answer to the Bishop,[F] says, "My father, if I love
the poets, I only follow, in this respect, the example of St. Augustine.
I take the sainted father himself to witness the sincerity of my
attachment to him. He is now in a place where he can neither deceive nor
be deceived. I flatter myself that he pities my errors, especially when
he recalls his own." St. Augustine had been somewhat profligate in his
younger days.

"As to Laura," continues the poet, "would to Heaven that she were only
an imaginary personage, and my passion for her only a pastime! Alas! it
is a madness which it would be difficult and painful to feign for any
length of time; and what an extravagance it would be to affect such a
passion! One may counterfeit illness by action, by voice, and by manner,
but no one in health can give himself the true air and complexion of
disease. How often have you yourself been witness of my paleness and my
sufferings! I know very well that you speak only in irony: it is your
favourite figure of speech, but I hope that time will cicatrize these
wounds of my spirit, and that Augustine, whom I pretend to love, will
furnish me with a defence against a Laura who does not exist."

Years had now elapsed since Petrarch had conceived his passion for
Laura; and it was obviously doomed to be a source of hopeless torment to
him as long as he should continue near her; for she could breathe no
more encouragement on his love than what was barely sufficient to keep
it alive; and, if she had bestowed more favour on him, the consequences
might have been ultimately most tragic to both of them. His own
reflections, and the advice of his friends, suggested that absence and
change of objects were the only means likely to lessen his misery; he
determined, therefore, to travel once more, and set out for Rome in

The wish to assuage his passion, by means of absence, was his principal
motive for going again upon his travels; but, before he could wind up
his resolution to depart, the state of his mind bordered on distraction.
One day he observed a country girl washing the veil of Laura; a sudden
trembling seized him--and, though the heat of the weather was intense,
he grew cold and shivered. For some time he was incapable of applying to
study or business. His soul, he said, was like a field of battle, where
his passion and reason held continual conflict. In his calmer moments,
many agreeable motives for travelling suggested themselves to his mind.
He had a strong desire to visit Rome, where he was sure of finding the
kindest welcome from the Bishop of Lombes. He was to pass through Paris
also; and there he had left some valued friends, to whom he had promised
that he would return. At the head of those friends were Dionisio dal
Borgo San Sepolcro and Roberto Bardi, a Florentine, whom the Pope had
lately made chancellor of the Church of Paris, and given him the
canonship of Nôtre Dame. Dionisio dal Borgo was a native of Tuscany, and
one of the Roberti family. His name in literature was so considerable
that Filippo Villani thought it worth while to write his life. Petrarch
wrote his funeral eulogy, and alludes to Dionisio's power of reading
futurity by the stars. But Petrarch had not a grain of faith in
astrology; on the contrary, he has himself recorded that he derided it.
After having obtained, with some difficulty, the permission of Cardinal
Colonna, he took leave of his friends at Avignon, and set out for
Marseilles. Embarking there in a ship that was setting sail for Civita
Vecchia, he concealed his name, and gave himself out for a pilgrim going
to worship at Rome. Great was his joy when, from the deck, he could
discover the coast of his beloved Italy. It was a joy, nevertheless,
chastened by one indomitable recollection--that of the idol he had left
behind. On his landing he perceived a laurel tree; its name seemed to
typify her who dwelt for ever in his heart: he flew to embrace it; but
in his transports overlooked a brook that was between them, into which
he fell--and the accident caused him to swoon. Always occupied with
Laura, he says, "On those shores washed by the Tyrrhene sea, I beheld
that stately laurel which always warms my imagination, and, through my
impatience, fell breathless into the intervening stream. I was alone,
and in the woods, yet I blushed at my own heedlessness; for, to the
reflecting mind, no witness is necessary to excite the emotion of

It was not easy for Petrarch to pass from the coast of Tuscany to Rome;
for war between the Ursini and Colonna houses had been renewed with more
fury than ever, and filled all the surrounding country with armed men.
As he had no escort, he took refuge in the castle of Capranica, where he
was hospitably received by Orso, Count of Anguillara, who had married
Agnes Colonna, sister of the Cardinal and the Bishop. In his letter to
the latter, Petrarch luxuriates in describing the romantic and rich
landscape of Capranica, a country believed by the ancients to have been
the first that was cultivated under the reign of Saturn. He draws,
however, a frightful contrast to its rural picture in the horrors of war
which here prevailed. "Peace," he says, "is the only charm which I could
not find in this beautiful region. The shepherd, instead of guarding
against wolves, goes armed into the woods to defend himself against men.
The labourer, in a coat of mail, uses a lance instead of a goad, to
drive his cattle. The fowler covers himself with a shield as he draws
his nets; the fisherman carries a sword whilst he hooks his fish; and
the native draws water from the well in an old rusty casque, instead of
a pail. In a word, arms are used here as tools and implements for all
the labours of the field, and all the wants of men. In the night are
heard dreadful howlings round the walls of towns, and and in the day
terrible voices crying incessantly to arms. What music is this compared
with those soft and harmonious sounds which. I drew from my lute at

On his arrival at Capranica, Petrarch despatched a courier to the Bishop
of Lombes, informing him where he was, and of his inability to get to
Rome, all roads to it being beset by the enemy. The Bishop expressed
great joy at his friend's arrival in Italy, and went to meet him at
Capranica, with Stefano Colonna, his brother, senator of Rome. They had
with them only a troop of one hundred horsemen; and, considering that
the enemy kept possession of the country with five hundred men, it is
wonderful that they met with no difficulties on their route; but the
reputation of the Colonnas had struck terror into the hostile camp. They
entered Rome without having had a single skirmish with the enemy.
Stefano Colonna, in his quality of senator, occupied the Capitol, where
he assigned apartments to Petrarch; and the poet was lodged on that
famous hill which Scipio, Metellus, and Pompey, had ascended in triumph.
Petrarch was received and treated by the Colonnas Like a child of their
family. The venerable old Stefano, who had known him at Avignon, loaded
our poet with kindness. But, of all the family, it would seem that
Petrarch delighted most in the conversation of Giovanni da S. Vito, a
younger brother of the aged Stefano, and uncle of the Cardinal and
Bishop. Their tastes were congenial. Giovanni had made a particular
study of the antiquities of Rome; he was, therefore, a most welcome
cicerone to our poet, being, perhaps, the only Roman then alive, who
understood the subject deeply, if we except Cola di Rienzo, of whom we
shall soon have occasion to speak.

In company with Giovanni, Petrarch inspected the relics of the "eternal
city:" the former was more versed than his companion in ancient history,
but the other surpassed him in acquaintance with modern times, as well
as with the objects of antiquity that stood immediately before them.

What an interesting object is Petrarch contemplating the ruins of Rome!
He wrote to the Cardinal Colonna as follows:--"I gave you so long an
account of Capranica that you may naturally expect a still longer
description of Rome. My materials for this subject are, indeed,
inexhaustible; but they will serve for some future opportunity. At
present, I am so wonder-struck by so many great objects that I know not
where to begin. One circumstance, however, I cannot omit, which has
turned out contrary to your surmises. You represented to me that Rome
was a city in ruins, and that it would not come up to the imagination I
had formed of it; but this has not happened--on the contrary, my most
sanguine expectations have been surpassed. Rome is greater, and her
remains are more awful, than my imagination had conceived. It is not
matter of wonder that she acquired universal dominion. I am only
surprised that it was so late before she came to it."

In the midst of his meditations among the relics of Rome, Petrarch was
struck by the ignorance about their forefathers, with which the natives
looked on those monuments. The veneration which they had for them was
vague and uninformed. "It is lamentable," he says, "that nowhere in the
world is Rome less known than at Rome."

It is not exactly known in what month Petrarch left the Roman capital;
but, between his departure from that city, and his return to the banks
of the Rhone, he took an extensive tour over Europe. He made a voyage
along its southern coasts, passed the straits of Gibraltar, and sailed
as far northward as the British shores. During his wanderings, he wrote
a letter to Tommaso da Messina, containing a long geographical
dissertation on the island of Thule.

Petrarch approached the British shores; why were they not fated to have
the honour of receiving him? Ah! but who was there, then, in England
that was capable of receiving him? Chaucer was but a child. We had the
names of some learned men, but our language had no literature. Time
works wonders in a few centuries; and England, _now_ proud of her
Shakespeare and her Verulam, looks not with envy on the glory of any
earthly nation. During his excitement by these travels, a singular
change took place in our poet's habitual feelings. He recovered his
health and spirits; he could bear to think of Laura with equanimity, and
his countenance resumed the cheerfulness that was natural to a man in
the strength of his age. Nay, he became so sanguine in his belief that
he had overcome his passion as to jest at his past sufferings; and, in
this gay state of mind, he came back to Avignon. This was the crowning
misfortune of his life. He saw Laura once more; he was enthralled anew;
and he might now laugh in agony at his late self-congratulations on his
delivery from her enchantment. With all the pity that we bestow on
unfortunate love, and with all the respect that we owe to its constancy,
still we cannot look but with a regret amounting to impatience on a man
returning to the spot that was to rekindle his passion as recklessly as
a moth to the candle, and binding himself over for life to an affection
that was worse than hopeless, inasmuch as its success would bring more
misery than its failure. It is said that Petrarch, if it had not been
for this passion, would not have been the poet that he was. Not,
perhaps, so good an amatory poet; but I firmly believe that he would
have been a more various and masculine, and, upon the whole, _a greater
poet_, if he had never been bewitched by Laura. However, _he did_ return
to take possession of his canonicate at Lombes, and to lose possession
of his peace of mind.

In the April of the following year, 1336, he made an excursion, in
company with his brother Gherardo, to the top of Mount Ventoux, in the
neighbourhood of Avignon; a full description of which he sent in a
letter to Dionisio dal Borgo a San Sepolcro; but there is nothing
peculiarly interesting in this occurrence.

A more important event in his life took place during the following year,
1337--namely, that he had a son born to him, whom he christened by the
name of John, and to whom he acknowledged his relationship of paternity.
With all his philosophy and platonic raptures about Laura, Petrarch was
still subject to the passions of ordinary men, and had a mistress at
Avignon who was kinder to him than Laura. Her name and history have been
consigned to inscrutable obscurity: the same woman afterwards bore him a
daughter, whose name was Francesca, and who proved a great solace to him
in his old age. His biographers extol the magnanimity of Laura for
displaying no anger at our poet for what they choose to call this
discovery of his infidelity to her; but, as we have no reason to suppose
that Laura ever bestowed one favour on Petrarch beyond a pleasant look,
it is difficult to perceive her right to command his unspotted faith. At
all events, she would have done no good to her own reputation if she had
stormed at the lapse of her lover's virtue.

In a small city like Avignon, the scandal of his intrigue would
naturally be a matter of regret to his friends and of triumph to his
enemies. Petrarch felt his situation, and, unable to calm his mind
either by the advice of his friend Dionisio dal Borgo, or by the perusal
of his favourite author, St. Augustine, he resolved to seek a rural
retreat, where he might at least hide his tears and his mortification.
Unhappily he chose a spot not far enough from Laura--namely, Vaucluse,
which is fifteen Italian, or about fourteen English, miles from Avignon.

Vaucluse, or Vallis Clausa, the shut-up valley, is a most beautiful
spot, watered by the windings of the Sorgue. Along the river there are
on one side most verdant plains and meadows, here and there shadowed by
trees. On the other side are hills covered with corn and vineyards.
Where the Sorgue rises, the view terminates in the cloud-capt ridges of
the mountains Luberoux and Ventoux. This was the place which Petrarch
had visited with such delight when he was a schoolboy, and at the sight
of which he exclaimed "that he would prefer it as a residence to the
most splendid city."

It is, indeed, one of the loveliest seclusions in the world. It
terminates in a semicircle of rocks of stupendous height, that seem to
have been hewn down perpendicularly. At the head and centre of the vast
amphitheatre, and at the foot of one of its enormous rocks, there is a
cavern of proportional size, hollowed out by the hand of nature. Its
opening is an arch sixty feet high; but it is a double cavern, there
being an interior one with an entrance thirty feet high. In the midst of
these there is an oval basin, having eighteen fathoms for its longest
diameter, and from this basin rises the copious stream which forms the
Sorgue. The surface of the fountain is black, an appearance produced by
its depth, from the darkness of the rocks, and the obscurity of the
cavern; for, on being brought to light, nothing can be clearer than its
water. Though beautiful to the eye, it is harsh to the taste, but is
excellent for tanning and dyeing; and it is said to promote the growth
of a plant which fattens oxen and is good for hens during incubation.
Strabo and Pliny the naturalist both speak of its possessing this

The river Sorgue, which issues from this cavern, divides in its progress
into various branches; it waters many parts of Provence, receives
several tributary streams, and, after reuniting its branches, falls into
the Rhone near Avignon.

Resolving to fix his residence here, Petrarch bought a little cottage
and an adjoining field, and repaired to Vaucluse with no other
companions than his books. To this day the ruins of a small house are
shown at Vaucluse, which tradition says was his habitation.

If his object was to forget Laura, the composition of sonnets upon her
in this hermitage was unlikely to be an antidote to his recollections.
It would seem as if he meant to cherish rather than to get rid of his
love. But, if he nursed his passion, it was a dry-nursing; for he led a
lonely, ascetic, and, if it were not for his studies, we might say a
savage life. In one of his letters, written not long after his settling
at Vaucluse, he says, "Here I make war upon my senses, and treat them as
my enemies. My eyes, which have drawn me into a thousand difficulties,
see no longer either gold, or precious stones, or ivory, or purple; they
behold nothing save the water, the firmament, and the rocks. The only
female who comes within their sight is a swarthy old woman, dry and
parched as the Lybian deserts. My ears are no longer courted by those
harmonious instruments and voices which have so often transported my
soul: they hear nothing but the lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep,
the warbling of birds, and the murmurs of the river.

"I keep silence from noon till night. There is no one to converse with;
for the good people, employed in spreading their nets, or tending their
vines and orchards, are no great adepts at conversation. I often content
myself with the brown bread of the fisherman, and even eat it with
pleasure. Nay, I almost prefer it to white bread. This old fisherman,
who is as hard as iron, earnestly remonstrates against my manner of
life; and assures me that I cannot long hold out. I am, on the
contrary, convinced that it is easier to accustom one's self to a plain
diet than to the luxuries of a feast. But still I have my
luxuries--figs, raisins, nuts and almonds. I am fond of the fish with
which this stream abounds, and I sometimes amuse myself with spreading
the nets. As to my dress, there is an entire change; you would take me
for a labourer or a shepherd.

"My mansion resembles that of Cato or Fabricius. My whole
house-establishment consists of myself, my old fisherman and his wife,
and a dog. My fisherman's cottage is contiguous to mine; when I want him
I call; when I no longer need him, he returns to his cottage.

"I have made two gardens that please me wonderfully. I do not think they
are to be equalled in all the world. And I must confess to you a more
than female weakness with which I am haunted. I am positively angry that
there is anything so beautiful out of Italy.

"One of these gardens is shady, formed for contemplation, and sacred to
Apollo. It overhangs the source of the river, and is terminated by
rocks, and by places accessible only to birds. The other is nearer my
cottage, of an aspect less severe, and devoted to Bacchus; and what is
extremely singular, it is in the midst of a rapid river. The approach to
it is over a bridge of rocks; and there is a natural grotto under the
rocks, which gives them the appearance of a rustic bridge. Into this
grotto the rays of the sun never penetrate. I am confident that it much
resembles the place where Cicero went to declaim. It invites to study.
Hither I retreat during the noontide hours; my mornings are engaged upon
the hills, or in the garden sacred to Apollo. Here I would most
willingly pass my days, were I not too near Avignon, and too far from
Italy. For why should I conceal this weakness of my soul? I love Italy,
and I hate Avignon. The pestilential influence of this horrid place
empoisons the pure air of Vaucluse, and will compel me to quit my

It is clear that he was not supremely contented in his solitude with his
self-drawn mental resources. His friends at Avignon came seldom to see
him. Travelling even short distances was difficult in those days. Even
we, in the present day, can remember when the distance of fourteen miles
presented a troublesome journey. The few guests who came, to him could
not expect very exquisite dinners, cooked by the brown old woman and her
husband the fisherman; and, though our poet had a garden consecrated to
Bacchus, he had no cellar devoted to the same deity. His few friends,
therefore, who visited him, thought their angel visits acts of charity.
If he saw his friends seldom, however, he had frequent visitants in
strangers who came to Vaucluse, as a place long celebrated for its
natural beauties, and now made illustrious by the character and
compositions of our poet. Among these there were persons distinguished
for their rank or learning, who came from the farthest parts of France
and from Italy, to see and converse with Petrarch. Some of them even
sent before them considerable presents, which, though kindly meant, were
not acceptable.

Vaucluse is in the diocese of Cavaillon, a small city about two miles
distant from our poet's retreat. Philip de Cabassoles was the bishop, a
man of high rank and noble family. His disposition, according to
Petrarch's usual praise of his friends, was highly benevolent and
humane; he was well versed in literature, and had distinguished
abilities. No sooner was the poet settled in his retirement, than he
visited the Bishop at his palace near Vaucluse. The latter gave him a
friendly reception, and returned his visits frequently. Another much
estimated, his friend since their childhood, Guido Sette, also repaired
at times to his humble mansion, and relieved his solitude in the shut-up

Without some daily and constant occupation even the bright mind of
Petrarch would have rusted, like the finest steel when it is left
unscoured. But he continued his studies with an ardour that commands our
wonder and respect; and it was at Vaucluse that he either meditated or
wrote his most important compositions. Here he undertook a history of
Rome, from Romulus down to Titus Vespasian. This Herculean task he never
finished; but there remain two fragments of it, namely, four books, De
Rebus Memorandis, and another tract entitled Vitarum Virorum Illustrium
Epitome, being sketches of illustrious men from the founder of Rome down
to Fabricius.

About his poem, Africa, I shall only say for the present that he began
this Latin epic at Vaucluse, that its hero is his idolized Roman, Scipio
Africanus, that it gained him a reputation over Europe, and that he was
much pleased with it himself, but that his admiration of it in time
cooled down so much, that at last he was annoyed when it was mentioned
to him, and turned the conversation, if he could, to a different
subject. Nay, it is probable, that if it had not been for Boccaccio and
Coluccio Salutati, who, long after he had left Vaucluse, importuned him
to finish and publish it, his Africa would not have come down to

Petrarch alludes in one of his letters to an excursion which he made in
1338, in company with a man whose rank was above his wisdom. He does not
name him, but it seems clearly to have been Humbert II., Dauphin of the
Viennois. The Cardinal Colonna forced our poet into this pilgrimage to
Baume, famous for its adjacent cavern, where, according to the tradition
of the country, Mary Magdalen passed thirty years of repentance. In
that holy but horrible cavern, as Petrarch calls it, they remained three
days and three nights, though Petrarch sometimes gave his comrades the
slip, and indulged in rambles among the hills and forests; he composed a
short poem, however, on St. Mary Magdalen, which is as dull as the cave
itself. The Dauphin Humbert was not a bright man; but he seems to have
contracted a friendly familiarity with our poet, if we may judge by a
letter which Petrarch indited to him about this time, frankly
reproaching him with his political neutrality in the affairs of Europe.
It was supposed that the Cardinal Colonna incited him to write it. A
struggle that was now impending between France and England engaged all
Europe on one side or other. The Emperor Lewis had intimated to Humbert
that he must follow him in this war, he, the Dauphin, being
arch-seneschal of Arles and Vienne. Next year, the arch-seneschal
received an invitation from Philip of Valois to join him with his troops
at Amiens as vassal of France. The Dauphin tried to back out of the
dilemma between his two suitors by frivolous excuses to both, all the
time determining to assist neither. In 1338 he came to Avignon, and the
Pope gave him his palace at the bridge of the Sorgue for his habitation.
Here the poor craven, beset on one side by threatening letters from
Philip of Valois, and on the other by importunities from the French
party at the papal court, remained in Avignon till July, 1339, after
Petrarch had let loose upon him his epistolary eloquence.

This letter, dated April, 1339, is, according to De Sade's opinion, full
of powerful persuasion. I cannot say that it strikes me as such. After
calling Christ to witness that he writes to the Dauphin in the spirit of
friendship, he reminds him that Europe had never exhibited so mighty and
interesting a war as that which had now sprung up between the kings of
France and England, nor one that opened so vast a field of glory for the
brave. "All the princes and their people," he says, "are anxious about
its issue, especially those between the Alps and the ocean, who take
arms at the crash of the neighbouring tumult; whilst you alone go to
sleep amidst the clouds of the coming storm. To say the truth, if there
was nothing more than shame to awaken you, it ought to rouse you from
this lethargy. I had thought you," he continues, "a man desirous of
glory. You are young and in the strength of life. What, then, in the
name of God, keeps you inactive? Do you fear fatigue? Remember what
Sallust says--'Idle enjoyments were made for women, fatigue was made for
men.' Do you fear death? Death is the last debt we owe to nature, and
man ought not to fear it; certainly he ought not to fear it more than
sleep and sluggishness. Aristotle, it is true, calls death the last of
horrible things; but, mind, he does not call it the most horrible of
things." In this manner, our poet goes on moralizing on the blessings of
an early death, and the great advantage that it would have afforded to
some excellent Roman heroes if they had met with it sooner. The only
thing like a sensible argument that he urges is, that Humbert could not
expect to save himself even by neutrality, but must ultimately become
the prey of the victor, and be punished like the Alban Metius, whom
Tullus Hostilius caused to be torn asunder by horses that pulled his
limbs in different directions. The pedantic epistle had no effect on

Meanwhile, Italy had no repose more than the rest of Europe, but its
troubles gave a happy occasion to Petrarch to see once more his friend,
Guglielmo Pastrengo, who, in 1338, came to Avignon, from Mastino della
Scala, lord of Verona.

The moment Petrarch heard of his friend's arrival he left his hermitage
to welcome him; but scarcely had he reached the fatal city when he saw
the danger of so near an approach to the woman he so madly loved, and
was aware that he had no escape from the eyes of Laura but by flight. He
returned, therefore, all of a sudden to Vaucluse, without waiting for a
sight of Pastrengo. Shortly after he had quitted the house of Lælius,
where he usually lodged when he went to Avignon, Guglielmo, expecting to
find him there, knocked at the door, but no one opened it--called out,
but no one answered him. He therefore wrote him a little billet, saying,
"My dear Petrarch, where have you hid yourself, and whither have you
vanished? What is the meaning of all this?" The poet received this note
at Vaucluse, and sent an explanation of his flight, sincere indeed as to
good feelings, but prolix as usual in the expression of them. Pastrengo
sent him a kind reply, and soon afterwards did him the still greater
favour of visiting him at Vaucluse, and helping him to cultivate his

Petrarch's flame for Laura was in reality unabated. One day he met her
in the streets of Avignon; for he had not always resolution enough to
keep out of the western Babylon. Laura cast a kind look upon him, and
said, "Petrarch, you are tired of loving me." This incident produced one
of the finest sonnets, beginning--

          _Io non fut d' amar voi lassato unquanco._

    Tired, did you say, of loving you? Oh, no!
    I ne'er shall tire of the unwearying flame.
    But I am weary, kind and cruel dame,
    With tears that uselessly and ceaseless flow,
    Scorning myself, and scorn'd by you. I long
    For death: but let no gravestone hold in view
    Our names conjoin'd: nor tell my passion strong
    Upon the dust that glow'd through life for you.
    And yet this heart of amorous faith demands,
    Deserves, a better boon; but cruel, hard
    As is my fortune, I will bless Love's bands
    For ever, if you give me this reward.

In 1339, he composed among other sonnets, those three, the lxii.,
lxxiv., and lxxv., which are confessedly master-pieces of their kind, as
well as three canzoni to the eyes of Laura, which the Italians call the
three sister Graces, and worship as divine.[H] The critic Tassoni
himself could not censure them, and called them the queens of song. At
this period, however seldom he may have visited Avignon, he evidently
sought rather to cherish than subdue his fatal attachment. A celebrated
painter, Simone Martini of Siena, came to Avignon. He was the pupil of
Giotto, not exquisite in drawing, but famous for taking spirited

Petrarch persuaded Simone to favour him with a miniature likeness of
Laura; and this treasure the poet for ever carried about with him. In
gratitude he addressed two sonnets to the artist, whose fame, great as
it was, was heightened by the poetical reward. Vasari tells us that
Simone also painted the pictures of both lovers in the chapel of St.
Maria Novella at Florence; that Simone was a sculptor as well as a
painter, and that he copied those pictures in marbles which, according
to Baldelli, are still extant in the house of the Signore Pruzzi.

An anecdote relating to this period of Petrarch's life is given by De
Sade, which, if accepted with entire credence, must inspire us with
astonishment at the poet's devotion to his literary pursuits. He had
now, in 1339, put the first hand to his epic poem, the Scipiade; and one
of his friends, De Sade believes that it was the Bishop of Lombes,
fearing lest he might injure his health by overzealous application, went
to ask him for the key of his library, which the poet gave up. The
Bishop then locked up his books and papers, and commanded him to abstain
from reading and writing for ten days. Petrarch obeyed; but on the first
day of this literary Ramazan, he was seized with ennui, on the second
with a severe headache, and on the third with symptoms of fever; the
Bishop relented, and permitted the student to return to his books and

Petrarch was at this time delighted, in his solitude of Vaucluse, to
hear of the arrival at Avignon of one of his dearest friends. This was
Dionisio dal Borgo a San Sepolcro, who, being now advanced in years, had
resigned his pulpit in the University of Paris, in order to return to
his native country, and came to Avignon with the intention of going by
sea to Florence. Petrarch pressed him strongly to visit him at Vaucluse,
interspersing his persuasion with many compliments to King Robert of
Naples, to whom he knew that Dionisio was much attached; nor was he
without hopes that his friend would speak favourably of him to his
Neapolitan Majesty. In a letter from Vaucluse he says:--"Can nothing
induce you to come to my solitude? Will not my ardent request, and the
pity you must have for my condition, bring you to pass some days with
your old disciple? If these motives are not sufficient, permit me to
suggest another inducement. There is in this place a poplar-tree of so
immense a size that it covers with its shade not only the river and its
banks, but also a considerable extent beyond them. They tell us that
King Robert of Naples, invited by the beauty of this spot, came hither
to unburthen his mind from the weight of public affairs, and to enjoy
himself in the shady retreat." The poet added many eulogies on his
Majesty of Naples, which, as he anticipated, reached the royal ear. It
seems not to be clear that Father Dionisio ever visited the poet at
Vaucluse; though they certainly had an interview at Avignon. To
Petrarch's misfortune, his friend's stay in that city was very short.
The monk proceeded to Florence, but he found there no shady retreat like
that of the poplar at Vaucluse. Florence was more than ever agitated by
internal commotions, and was this year afflicted by plague and famine.
This dismal state of the city determined Dionisio to accept an
invitation from King Robert to spend the remainder of his days at his

This monarch had the happiness of giving additional publicity to
Petrarch's reputation. That the poet sought his patronage need not be
concealed; and if he used a little flattery in doing so, we must make
allowance for the adulatory instinct of the tuneful tribe. We cannot
live without bread upon bare reputation, or on the prospect of having
tombstones put over our bones, prematurely hurried to the grave by
hunger, when they shall be as insensible to praise as the stones
themselves. To speak seriously, I think that a poet sacrifices his
usefulness to himself and others, and an importance in society which may
be turned to public good, if he shuns the patronage that can be obtained
by unparasitical means.

Father Dionisio, upon his arrival at Naples, impressed the King with so
favourable an opinion of Petrarch that Robert wrote a letter to our
poet, enclosing an epitaph of his Majesty's own composition, on the
death of his niece Clementina. This letter is unhappily lost; but the
answer to it is preserved, in which Petrarch tells the monarch that his
epitaph rendered his niece an object rather of envy than of lamentation.
"O happy Clementina!" says the poet, "after passing through a transitory
life, you have attained a double immortality, one in heaven, and another
on earth." He then compares the posthumous good fortune of the princess
to that of Achilles, who had been immortalized by Homer. It is possible
that King Robert's letter to Petrarch was so laudatory as to require a
flattering answer. But this reverberated praise is rather overstrained.

Petrarch was now intent on obtaining the honour of Poet Laureate. His
wishes were at length gratified, and in a manner that made the offer
more flattering than the crown itself.

Whilst he still remained at Vaucluse, at nine o'clock in the morning of
the 1st of September, 1340, he received a letter from the Roman Senate,
pressingly inviting him to come and receive the crown of Poet Laureate
at Rome. He must have little notion of a poet's pride and vanity, who
cannot imagine the flushed countenance, the dilated eyes, and the
joyously-throbbing heart of Petrarch, whilst he read this letter. To be
invited by the Senate of Rome to such an honour might excuse him for
forgetting that Rome was not now what she had once been, and that the
substantial glory of his appointment was small in comparison with the
classic associations which formed its halo.

As if to keep up the fever of his joy, he received the same day, in the
afternoon, at four o'clock, another letter with the same offer, from
Roberto Bardi, Chancellor of the University of Paris, in which he
importuned him to be crowned as Poet Laureate at Paris. When we consider
the poet's veneration for Rome, we may easily anticipate that he would
give the preference to that city. That he might not, however, offend his
friend Roberto Bardi and the University of Paris, he despatched a
messenger to Cardinal Colonna, asking his advice upon the subject,
pretty well knowing that his patron's opinion would coincide with his
own wishes. The Colonna advised him to be crowned at Rome.

The custom of conferring this honour had, for a long time, been
obsolete. In the earliest classical ages, garlands were given as a
reward to valour and genius. Virgil exhibits his conquerors adorned with
them. The Romans adopted the custom from Greece, where leafy honours
were bestowed on victors at public games. This coronation of poets, it
is said, ceased under the reign of the Emperor Theodosius. After his
death, during the long subsequent barbarism of Europe, when literature
produced only rhyming monks, and when there were no more poets to crown,
the discontinuance of the practice was a natural consequence.

At the commencement of the thirteenth century, according to the Abbé
Resnel, the universities of Europe began to dispense laurels, not to
poets, but to students distinguished by their learning. The doctors in
medicine, at the famous university of Salerno, established by the
Emperor Frederic II., had crowns of laurel put upon their heads. The
bachelors also had their laurels, and derived their name from a baculus,
or stick, which they carried.

Cardinal Colonna, as we have said, advised him, "_nothing loth_," to
enjoy his coronation at Rome. Thither accordingly he repaired early in
the year 1341. He embarked at Marseilles for Naples, wishing previously
to his coronation to visit King Robert, by whom he was received with all
possible hospitality and distinction.

Though he had accepted the laurel amidst the general applause of his
contemporaries, Petrarch was not satisfied that he should enjoy this
honour without passing through an ordeal as to his learning, for laurels
and learning had been for one hundred years habitually associated in
men's minds. The person whom Petrarch selected for his examiner in
erudition was the King of Naples. Robert _the Good_, as he was in some
respects deservedly called, was, for his age, a well-instructed man,
and, for a king, a prodigy. He had also some common sense, but in
classical knowledge he was more fit to be the scholar of Petrarch than
his examiner. If Petrarch, however, learned nothing from the King, the
King learned something from Petrarch. Among the other requisites for
examining a Poet Laureate which Robert possessed, was _an utter
ignorance of poetry_. But Petrarch couched his blindness on the subject,
so that Robert saw, or believed he saw, something useful in the divine
art. He had heard of the epic poem, Africa, and requested its author to
recite to him some part of it. The King was charmed with the recitation,
and requested that the work might be dedicated to him. Petrarch
assented, but the poem was not finished or published till after King
Robert's death.

His Neapolitan Majesty, after pronouncing a warm eulogy on our poet,
declared that he merited the laurel, and had letters patent drawn up, by
which he certified that, after a _severe_ examination (it lasted three
days), Petrarch was judged worthy to receive that honour in the Capitol.
Robert wished him to be crowned at Naples; but our poet represented that
he was desirous of being distinguished on the same theatre where Virgil
and Horace had shone. The King accorded with his wishes; and, to
complete his kindness, regretted that his advanced age would not permit
him to go to Rome, and crown Petrarch himself. He named, however, one of
his most eminent courtiers, Barrilli, to be his proxy. Boccaccio speaks
of Barrilli as a good poet; and Petrarch, with exaggerated politeness,
compares him to Ovid.

When Petrarch went to take leave of King Robert, the sovereign, after
engaging his promise that he would visit him again very soon, took off
the robe which he wore that day, and, begging Petrarch's acceptance of
it, desired that he might wear it on the day of his coronation. He also
bestowed on him the place of his almoner-general, an office for which
great interest was always made, on account of the privileges attached to
it, the principal of which were an exemption from paying the tithes of
benefices to the King, and a dispensation from residence.

Petrarch proceeded to Rome, where he arrived on the 6th of April, 1341,
accompanied by only one attendant from the court of Naples, for Barrilli
had taken another route, upon some important business, promising,
however, to be at Rome before the time appointed. But as he had not
arrived on the 7th, Petrarch despatched a messenger in search of him,
who returned without any information. The poet was desirous to wait for
his arrival; but Orso, Count of Anguillara, would not suffer the
ceremony to be deferred. Orso was joint senator of Rome with Giordano
degli Orsini; and, his office expiring on the 8th of April, he was
unwilling to resign to his successor the pleasure of crowning so great a

[Illustration: NAPLES.]

Petrarch was afterwards informed that Barrilli, hastening towards Rome,
had been beset near Anaguia by robbers, from whom he escaped with
difficulty, and that he was obliged for safety to return to Naples. In
leaving that city, Petrarch passed the tomb traditionally said to be
that of Virgil. His coronation took place without delay after his
arrival at Rome.

The morning of the 8th of April, 1341, was ushered in by the sound of
trumpets; and the people, ever fond of a show, came from all quarters to
see the ceremony. Twelve youths selected from the best families of Rome,
and clothed in scarlet, opened the procession, repeating as they went
some verses, composed by the poet, in honour of the Roman people. They
were followed by six citizens of Rome, clothed in green, and bearing
crowns wreathed with different flowers. Petrarch walked in the midst of
them; after him came the senator, accompanied by the first men of the
council. The streets were strewed with flowers, and the windows filled
with ladies, dressed in the most splendid manner, who showered perfumed
waters profusely on the poet[I]. He all the time wore the robe that had
been presented to him by the King of Naples. When they reached the
Capitol, the trumpets were silent, and Petrarch, having made a short
speech, in which he quoted a verse from Virgil, cried out three times,
"Long live the Roman people! long live the Senators! may God preserve
their liberty!" At the conclusion of these words, he knelt before the
senator Orso, who, taking a crown of laurel from his own head, placed it
on that of Petrarch, saying, "This crown is the reward of virtue." The
poet then repeated a sonnet in praise of the ancient Romans. The people
testified their approbation by shouts of applause, crying, "Long
flourish the Capitol and the poet!" The friends of Petrarch shed tears
of joy, and Stefano Colonna, his favourite hero, addressed the assembly
in his honour.

The ceremony having been finished at the Capitol, the procession, amidst
the sound of trumpets and the acclamations of the people, repaired
thence to the church of St. Peter, where Petrarch offered up his crown
of laurel before the altar. The same day the Count of Anguillara caused
letters patent to be delivered to Petrarch, in which the senators, after
a flattering preamble, declared that he had merited the title of a great
poet and historian; that, to mark his distinction, they had put upon his
head a laurel crown, not only by the authority of Kong Robert, but by
that of the Roman Senate and people; and that they gave him, at Rome and
elsewhere, the privilege to read, to dispute, to explain ancient books,
to make new ones, to compose poems, and to wear a crown according to his
choice, either of laurel, beech, or myrtle, as well as the poetic
habit. At that time a particular dress was affected by the poets. Dante
was buried in this costume.

Petrarch continued only a few days at Rome after his coronation; but he
had scarcely departed when he found that there were banditti on the road
waiting for him, and anxious to relieve him of any superfluous wealth
which he might have about him. He was thus obliged to return to Rome
with all expedition; but he set out the following day, attended by a
guard of armed men, and arrived at Pisa on the 20th of April.

From Pisa he went to Parma, to see his friend Azzo Correggio, and soon
after his arrival he was witness to a revolution in that city of which
Azzo had the principal direction. The Scalas, who held the sovereignty
of Parma, had for some time oppressed the inhabitants with exorbitant
taxes, which excited murmurs and seditions. The Correggios, to whom the
city was entrusted in the absence of Mastino della Scala, profited by
the public discontent, hoisted the flag of liberty, and, on the 22nd of
May, 1341, drove out the garrison, and made themselves lords of the
commonwealth. On this occasion, Azzo has been accused of the worst
ingratitude to his nephews, Alberto and Mastino. But, if the people were
oppressed, he was surely justified in rescuing them from misgovernment.
To a great degree, also, the conduct of the Correggios sanctioned the
revolution. They introduced into Parma such a mild and equitable
administration as the city had never before experienced. Some
exceptionable acts they undoubtedly committed; and when Petrarch extols
Azzo as another Cato, it is to be hoped that he did so with some mental
reservation. Petrarch had proposed to cross the Alps immediately, and
proceed to Avignon; but he was prevailed upon by the solicitations of
Azzo to remain some time at Parma. He was consulted by the Correggios on
their most important affairs, and was admitted to their secret councils.
In the present instance, this confidence was peculiarly agreeable to
him; as the four brothers were, at that time, unanimous in their
opinions; and their designs were all calculated to promote the welfare
of their subjects.

Soon after his arrival at Parma, he received one of those tokens, of his
popularity which are exceedingly expressive, though they come from a
humble admirer. A blind old man, who had been a grammar-school master at
Pontremoli, came to Parma, in order to pay his devotions to the
laureate. The poor man had already walked to Naples, guided in his
blindness by his only son, for the purpose of finding Petrarch. The poet
had left that city; but King Robert, pleased with his enthusiasm, made
him a present of some money. The aged pilgrim returned to Pontremoti,
where, being informed that Petrarch was at Parma, he crossed the
Apennines, in spite of the severity of the weather, and travelled
thither, having sent before him a tolerable copy of verses. He was
presented to Petrarch, whose hand he kissed with devotion and
exclamations of joy. One day, before many spectators, the blind man said
to Petrarch, "Sir, I have come far to see you." The bystanders laughed,
on which the old man replied, "I appeal to you, Petrarch, whether I do
not see you more clearly and distinctly than these men who have their
eyesight." Petrarch gave him a kind reception, and dismissed him with a
considerable present.

The pleasure which Petrarch had in retirement, reading, and reflection,
induced him to hire a house on the outskirts of the city of Parma, with
a garden, beautifully watered by a stream, a _rus in urbe_, as he calls
it; and he was so pleased with this locality, that he purchased and
embellished it.

His happiness, however, he tells us, was here embittered by the loss of
some friends who shared the first place in his affections. One of these
was Tommaso da Messina, with whom he had formed a friendship when they
were fellow-students at Bologna, and ever since kept up a familiar
correspondence. They were of the same age, addicted to the same
pursuits, and imbued with similar sentiments. Tommaso wrote a volume of
Latin poems, several of which were published after the invention of
printing. Petrarch, in his Triumphs of Love, reckons him an excellent

This loss was followed by another which affected Petrarch still more
strongly. Having received frequent invitations to Lombes from the
Bishop, who had resided some time in his diocese, Petrarch looked
forward with pleasure to the time when he should revisit him. But he
received accounts that the Bishop was taken dangerously ill. Whilst his
mind was agitated by this news, he had the following dream, which he has
himself related. "Methought I saw the Bishop crossing the rivulet of my
garden alone. I was astonished at this meeting, and asked him whence he
came, whither he was going in such haste, and why he was alone. He
smiled upon me with his usual complacency, and said, 'Remember that when
you were in Gascony the tempestuous climate was insupportable to you. I
also am tired of it. I have quitted Gascony, never to return, and I am
going to Rome.' At the conclusion of these words, he had reached the end
of the garden, and, as I endeavoured to accompany him, he in the kindest
and gentlest manner waved his hand; but, upon my persevering, he cried
out in a more peremptory manner, 'Stay! you must not at present attend
me.' Whilst he spoke these words, I fixed my eyes upon him, and saw the
paleness of death upon his countenance. Seized with horror, I uttered a
loud cry, which awoke me. I took notice of the time. I told the
circumstance to all my friends; and, at the expiration of
five-and-twenty days, I received accounts of his death, which happened
in the very same night in winch he had appeared to me."

On a little reflection, this incident will not appear to be
supernatural. That Petrarch, oppressed as he was with anxiety about his
friend, should fall into fanciful reveries during his sleep, and imagine
that he saw him in the paleness of death, was nothing wonderful--nay,
that he should frame this allegory in his dream is equally conceivable.
The sleeper's imagination is often a great improvisatore. It forms
scenes and stories; it puts questions, and answers them itself, all the
time believing that the responses come from those whom it interrogates.

Petrarch, deeply attached to Azzo da Correggio, now began to consider
himself as settled at Parma, where he enjoyed literary retirement in the
bosom of his beloved Italy. But he had not resided there a year, when he
was summoned to Avignon by orders he considered that he could not
disobey. Tiraboschi, and after him Baldelli, ascribe his return to
Avignon to the commission which he received in 1342, to go as advocate
of the Roman people to the new Pope, Clement VI., who had succeeded to
the tiara on the death of Benedict XII., and Petrarch's own words
coincide with what they say. The feelings of joy with which Petrarch
revisited Avignon, though to appearance he had weaned himself from
Laura, may be imagined. He had friendship, however, if he had not love,
to welcome him. Here he met, with reciprocal gladness, his friends
Socrates and Lælius, who had established themselves at the court of the
Cardinal Colonna. "Socrates," says De Sade, "devoted himself entirely to
Petrarch, and even went with him to Vaucluse." It thus appears that
Petrarch had not given up his peculium on the Sorgue, nor had any one
rented the field and cottage in his absence.

Benedict's successor, Clement VI., was conversant with the world, and
accustomed to the splendour of courts. Quite a contrast to the plain
rigidity of Benedict, he was courteous and munificent, but withal a
voluptuary; and his luxury and profusion gave rise to extortions, to
rapine, and to boundless simony. His artful and arrogant mistress, the
Countess of Turenne, ruled him so absolutely, that all places in his
gift, which had escaped the grasp of his relations, were disposed of
through her interest; and she amassed great wealth by the sale of

The Romans applied to Clement VI., as they had applied to Benedict XII.,
imploring him to bring back the sacred seat to their capital; and they
selected Petrarch to be among those who should present their
supplication. Our poet appealed to his Holiness on this subject, both in
prose and verse. The Pope received him with smiles, complimented him on
his eloquence, bestowed on him the priory of Migliorino, but, for the
present, consigned his remonstrance to oblivion.

In this mission to Clement at Avignon there was joined with Petrarch the
famous Nicola Gabrino, better known by the name Cola di Rienzo, who,
very soon afterwards, attached the history of Rome to his biography. He
was for the present comparatively little known; but Petrarch, thus
coming into connection with this extraordinary person, was captivated
with his eloquence, whilst Clement complimented Rienzo, admitted him
daily to his presence, and conversed with him on the wretched state of
Rome, the tyranny of the nobles, and the sufferings of the people.

Cola and Petrarch were the two chiefs of this Roman embassy to the Pope;
and it appears that the poet gave precedency to the future tribune on
this occasion. They both elaborately exposed the three demands of the
Roman people, namely, that the Pope, already the acknowledged patron of
Rome, should assume the title and functions of its senator, in order to
extinguish the civil wars kindled by the Roman barons; that he should
return to his pontifical chair on the banks of the Tiber; and that he
should grant permission for the jubilee, instituted by Boniface VIII.,
to be held every fifty years, and not at the end of a century, as its
extension to the latter period went far beyond the ordinary duration of
human life, and cut off the greater part of the faithful from enjoying
the institution.

Clement praised both orators, and conceded that the Romans should have a
jubilee every fifty years; but he excused himself from going to Rome,
alleging that he was prevented by the disputes between France and
England. "Holy Father," said Petrarch, "how much it were to be wished
that you had known Italy before you knew France." "I wish I had," said
the Pontiff, very coldly.

Petrarch gave vent to his indignation at the papal court in a writing,
entitled, "A Book of Letters without a Title," and in several severe
sonnets. The "Liber Epistolarum sine Titulo" contains, as it is printed
in his works (Basle edit., 1581), eighteen letters, fulminating as
freely against papal luxury and corruption as if they had been penned by
Luther or John Knox. From their contents, we might set down Petrarch as
the earliest preacher of the Reformation, if there were not, in the
writings of Dante, some passages of the same stamp. If these epistles
were really circulated at the time when they were written, it is matter
of astonishment that Petrarch never suffered from any other flames than
those of love; for many honest reformers, who have been roasted alive,
have uttered less anti-papal vituperation than our poet; nor, although
Petrarch would have been startled at a revolution in the hierarchy, can
it be doubted that his writings contributed to the Reformation.

It must be remembered, at the same time, that he wrote against the
church government of Avignon, and not that of Rome. He compares Avignon
with the Assyrian Babylon, with Egypt under the mad tyranny of Cambyses;
or rather, denies that the latter empires can be held as parallels of
guilt to the western Babylon; nay, he tells us that neither Avernus nor
Tartarus can be confronted with this infernal place.

"The successors of a troop of fishermen," he says, "have forgotten their
origin. They are not contented, like the first followers of Christ, who
gained their livelihood by the Lake of Gennesareth, with modest
habitations, but they must build themselves splendid palaces, and go
about covered with gold and purple. They are fishers of men, who catch a
credulous multitude, and devour them for their prey." This "Liber
Epistolarum" includes some descriptions of the debaucheries of the
churchmen, which are too scandalous for translation. They are
nevertheless curious relics of history.

In this year, Gherardo, the brother of our poet, retired, by his advice,
to the Carthusian monastery of Montrieux, which they had both visited in
the pilgrimage to Baume three years before. Gherardo had been struck
down with affliction by the death of a beautiful woman at Avignon, to
whom he was devoted. Her name and history are quite unknown, but it may
be hoped, if not conjectured, that she was not married, and could be
more liberal in her affections than the poet's Laura.

Amidst all the incidents of this period of his life, the attachment of
Petrarch to Laura continued unabated. It appears, too, that, since his
return from Parma, she treated him with more than wonted complacency. He
passed the greater part of the year 1342 at Avignon, and went to
Vaucluse but seldom and for short intervals.

In the meantime, love, that makes other people idle, interfered not with
Petrarch's fondness for study. He found an opportunity of commencing the
study of Greek, and seized it with avidity. That language had never been
totally extinct in Italy; but at the time on which we are touching,
there were not probably six persons in the whole country acquainted with
it. Dante had quoted Greek authors, but without having known the Greek
alphabet. The person who favoured Petrarch with this coveted instruction
was Bernardo Barlaamo, a Calabrian monk, who had been three years before
at Avignon, having come as envoy from Andronicus, the eastern Emperor,
on pretext of proposing a union between the Greek and Roman churches,
but, in reality for the purpose of trying to borrow money from the Pope
for the Emperor. Some of Petrarch's biographers date his commencement of
the study of Greek from the period of Barlaamo's first visit to Avignon;
but I am inclined to postpone it to 1342, when Barlaamo returned to the
west and settled at Avignon. Petrarch began studying Greek by the
reading of Plato. He never obtained instruction sufficient to make him a
good Grecian, but he imbibed much of the spirit of Plato from the labour
which he bestowed on his works. He was very anxious to continue his
Greek readings with Barlaamo; but his stay in Avignon was very short;
and, though it was his interest to detain him as his preceptor,
Petrarch, finding that he was anxious for a settlement in Italy, helped
him to obtain the bishopric of Geraci, in Calabria.

[Illustration: NICE.]

The next year was memorable in our poet's life for the birth of his
daughter Francesca. That the mother of this daughter was the same who
presented him with his son John there can be no doubt. Baldelli
discovers, in one of Petrarch's letters, an obscure allusion to her,
which seems to indicate that she died suddenly after the birth of
Francesca, who proved a comfort to her father in his old age.

The opening of the year 1343 brought a new loss to Petrarch in the death
of Robert, King of Naples. Petrarch, as we have seen, had occasion to be
grateful to this monarch; and we need not doubt that he was much
affected by the news of his death; but, when we are told that he
repaired to Vaucluse to bewail his irreparable loss, we may suppose,
without uncharitableness, that he retired also with a view to study the
expression of his grief no less than to cherish it. He wrote, however,
an interesting letter on the occasion to Barbato di Sulmona, in which he
very sensibly exhibits his fears of the calamities which were likely to
result from the death of Robert, adding that his mind was seldom true in
prophecy, unless when it foreboded misfortunes; and his predictions on
this occasion were but too well verified.

Robert was succeeded by his granddaughter Giovanna, a girl of sixteen,
already married to Andrew of Hungary, her cousin, who was but a few
months older. Robert by his will had established a council of regency,
which was to continue until Giovanna arrived at the age of twenty-five.
The Pope, however, made objections to this arrangement, alleging that
the administration of affairs during the Queen's minority devolved upon
him immediately as lord superior. But, as he did not choose to assert
his right till he should receive more accurate information respecting
the state of the kingdom, he gave Petrarch a commission for that
purpose; and entrusted him with a negotiation of much importance and

Petrarch received an additional commission from the Cardinal Colonna.
Several friends of the Colonna family were, at that time, confined in
prison at Naples, and the Cardinal flattered himself that Petrarch's
eloquence and intercession would obtain their enlargement. Our poet
accepted the embassy. He went to Nice, where he embarked; but had nearly
been lost in his passage. He wrote to Cardinal Colonna the following
account of his voyage.

"I embarked at Nice, the first maritime town in Italy (he means the
nearest to France). At night I got to Monaco, and the bad weather
obliged me to pass a whole day there, which by no means put me into
good-humour. The next morning we re-embarked, and, after being tossed
all day by the tempest, we arrived very late at Port Maurice. The night
was dreadful; it was impossible to get to the castle, and I was obliged
to put up at a little village, where my bed and supper appeared
tolerable from extreme weariness. I determined to proceed by land; the
perils of the road appeared less dreadful to me than those by sea. I
left my servants and baggage in the ship, which set sail, and I remained
with only one domestic on shore. By accident, upon the coast of Genoa, I
found some German horses which were for sale; they were strong and
serviceable. I bought them; but I was soon afterwards obliged to take
ship again; for war was renewed between the Pisans and the Milanese.
Nature has placed limits to these States, the Po on one side, and the
Apennines on the other. I must have passed between their two armies if I
had gone by land; this obliged me to re-embark at Lerici. I passed by
Corvo, that famous rock, the ruins of the city of Luna, and landed at
Murrona. Thence I went the next day on horseback to Pisa, Siena, and
Rome. My eagerness to execute your orders has made me a night-traveller,
contrary to my character and disposition. I would not sleep till I had
paid my duty to your illustrious father, who is always my hero. I found
him the same as I left him seven years ago, nay, even as hale and
sprightly as when I saw him at Avignon, which is now twelve years. What
a surprising man! What strength of mind and body! How firm his voice!
How beautiful his face! Had he been a few years younger, I should have
taken him for Julius Cæsar, or Scipio Africanus. Rome grows old; but not
its hero. He was half undressed, and going to bed; so I stayed only a
moment, but I passed the whole of the next day with him. He asked me a
thousand questions about you, and was much pleased that I was going to
Naples. When I set out from Rome, he insisted on accompanying me beyond
the walls.

"I reached Palestrina that night, and was kindly received by your nephew
John. He is a young man of great hopes, and follows the steps of his

"I arrived at Naples the 11th of October. Heavens, what a change has the
death of one man produced in that place! No one would know it now.
Religion, Justice, and Truth are banished. I think I am at Memphis,
Babylon, or Mecca. In the stead of a king so just and so pious, a little
monk, fat, rosy, barefooted, with a shorn head, and half covered with a
dirty mantle, bent by hypocrisy more than by age, lost in debauchery
whilst proud of his affected poverty, and still more of the real wealth
he has amassed--this man holds the reins of this staggering empire. In
vice and cruelty he rivals a Dionysius, an Agathocles, or a Phalaris.
This monk, named Roberto, was an Hungarian cordelier, and preceptor of
Prince Andrew, whom he entirely sways. He oppresses the weak, despises
the great, tramples justice under foot, and treats both the dowager and
the reigning Queen with the greatest insolence. The court and city
tremble before him; a mournful silence reigns in the public assemblies,
and in private they converse by whispers. The least gesture is punished,
and _to think_ is denounced as a crime. To this man I have presented the
orders of the Sovereign Pontiff, and your just demands. He behaved with
incredible insolence. Susa, or Damascus, the capital of the Saracens,
would have received with more respect an envoy from the Holy See. The
great lords imitate his pride and tyranny. The Bishop of Cavaillon is
the only one who opposes this torrent; but what can one lamb do in the
midst of so many wolves? It is the request of a dying king alone that
makes him endure so wretched a situation. How small are the hopes of my
negotiation! but I shall wait with patience; though I know beforehand
the answer they will give me."

It is plain from Petrarch's letter that the kingdom of Naples was now
under a miserable subjection to the Hungarian faction, aid that the
young Queen's situation was anything but enviable. Few characters in
modern history have been drawn in such contrasted colours as that of
Giovanna, Queen of Naples. She has been charged with every vice, and
extolled for every virtue. Petrarch represents her as a woman of weak
understanding, disposed to gallantry, but incapable of greater crimes.
Her history reminds us much of that of Mary Queen of Scots. Her youth
and her character, gentle and interesting in several respects, entitle
her to the benefit of our doubts as to her assent to the death of
Andrew. Many circumstances seem to me to favour those doubts, and the
opinion of Petrarch is on the side of her acquittal.

On his arrival in Naples, Petrarch had an audience with the Queen
Dowager; but her grief and tears for the loss of her husband made this
interview brief and fruitless with regard to business. When he spoke to
her about the prisoners, for whose release the Colonnas had desired him
to intercede, her Majesty referred him to the council. She was now, in
reality, only a state cypher.

The principal prisoners for whom Petrarch was commissioned to plead,
were the Counts Minervino, di Lucera, and Pontenza. Petrarch applied to
the council of state in their behalf, but he was put off with perpetual
excuses. While the affair was in agitation he went to Capua, where the
prisoners were confined. "There," he writes to the Cardinal Colonna, "I
saw your friends; and, such is the instability of Fortune, that I found
them in chains. They support their situation with fortitude. Their
innocence is no plea in their behalf to those who have shared in the
spoils of their fortune. Their only expectations rest upon you. I have
no hopes, except from the intervention of some superior power, as any
dependence on the clemency of the council is out of the question. The
Queen Dowager, now the most desolate of widows, compassionates their
case, but cannot assist them."

Petrarch, wearied with the delays of business, sought relief in
excursions to the neighbourhood. Of these he writes an account to
Cardinal Colonna.

"I went to Baiæ," he says, "with my friends, Barbato and Barrilli.
Everything concurred to render this jaunt agreeable--good company, the
beauty of the scenes, and my extreme weariness of the city I had
quitted. This climate, which, as far as I can judge, must be
insupportable in summer, is delightful in winter. I was rejoiced to
behold places described by Virgil, and, what is more surprising, by
Homer before him. I have seen the Lucrine lake, famous for its fine
oysters; the lake Avernus, with water as black as pitch, and fishes of
the same colour swimming in it; marshes formed by the standing waters of
Acheron, and the mountain whose roots go down to hell. The terrible
aspect of this place, the thick shades with which it is covered by a
surrounding wood, and the pestilent odour which this water exhales,
characterize it very justly as the Tartarus of the poets. There wants
only the boat of Charon, which, however, would be unnecessary, as there
is only a shallow ford to pass over. The Styx and the kingdom of Pluto
are now hid from our sight. Awed by what I had heard and read of these
mournful approaches to the dead, I was contented to view them at my feet
from the top of a high mountain. The labourer, the shepherd, and the
sailor, dare not approach them nearer. There are deep caverns, where
some pretend that a great deal of gold is concealed; covetous men, they
say, have been to seek it, but they never return; whether they lost
their way in the dark valleys, or had a fancy to visit the dead, being
so near their habitations.

"I have seen the ruins of the grotto of the famous Cumæan sybil; it is a
hideous rock, suspended in the Avernian lake. Its situation strikes the
mind with horror. There still remain the hundred mouths by which the
gods conveyed their oracles; these are now dumb, and there is only one
God who speaks in heaven and on earth. These uninhabited ruins serve as
the resort of birds of unlucky omen. Not far off is that dreadful cavern
which leads, _they say_, to the infernal regions. Who would believe
that, close to the mansions of the dead, Nature should have placed
powerful remedies for the preservation of life? Near Avernus and Acheron
are situated that barren land whence rises continually a salutary
vapour, which is a cure for several diseases, and those hot-springs that
vomit hot and sulphureous cinders. I have seen the baths which Nature
has prepared; but the avarice of physicians has rendered them of
doubtful use. This does not, however, prevent them from being visited by
the invalids of all the neighbouring towns. These hollowed mountains
dazzle us with the lustre of their marble circles, on which are engraved
figures that point out, by the position of their hands, the part of the
body which each fountain is proper to cure.

"I saw the foundations of that admirable reservoir of Nero, which was to
go from Mount Misenus to the Avernian lake, and to enclose all the hot
waters of Baiæ.

"At Pozzuoli I saw the mountain of Falernus, celebrated for its grapes,
whence the famous Falernian wine. I saw likewise those enraged waves of
which Virgil speaks in his Georgics, on which Cæsar put a bridle by the
mole which he raised there, and which Augustus finished. It is now
called the Dead Sea. I am surprised at the prodigious expense the Romans
were at to build houses in the most exposed situations, in order to
shelter them from the severities of the weather; for in the heats of
summer the valleys of the Apennines, the mountains of Viterbo, and the
woods of Umbria, furnished them with charming shades; and even the ruins
of the houses which they built in those places are superb."

Our poet's residence at Naples was evidently disagreeable to him, in
spite of the company of his friends, Barrilli and Barbato. His
friendship with the latter was for a moment overcast by an act of
indiscretion on the part of Barbato, who, by dint of importunity,
obtained from Petrarch thirty-four lines of his poem of Africa, under a
promise that he would show them to nobody. On entering the library of
another friend, the first thing that struck our poet's eyes was a copy
of the same verses, transcribed with a good many blunders. Petrarch's
vanity on this occasion, however, was touched more than his anger--he
forgave his friend's treachery, believing it to have arisen from
excessive admiration. Barbato, as some atonement, gave him a little MS.
of Cicero, which Petrarch found to contain two books of the orator's
Treatise on the Academics, "a work," as he observes, "more subtle than

Queen Giovanna was fond of literature. She had several conversations
with Petrarch, which increased her admiration of him. After the example
of her grandfather, she made him her chaplain and household clerk, both
of which offices must be supposed to have been sinecures. Her letters
appointing him to them are dated the 25th of November, 1343, the very
day before that nocturnal storm of which I shall speedily quote the
poet's description.

Voltaire has asserted that the young Queen of Naples was the pupil of
Petrarch; "but of this," as De Sade remarks, "there is no proof." It
only appears that the two greatest geniuses of Italy, Boccaccio and
Petrarch, were both attached to Giovanna, and had a more charitable
opinion of her than most of their contemporaries.

Soon after his return from the tour to Baiæ, Petrarch was witness to a
violent tempest at Naples, which most historians have mentioned, as it
was memorable for having threatened the entire destruction of the city.

The night of the 25th of November, 1343, set in with uncommonly still
weather; but suddenly a tempest rose violently in the direction of the
sea, which made the buildings of the city shake to their very
foundations. "At the first onset of the tempest," Petrarch writes to the
Cardinal Colonna, "the windows of the house were burst open. The lamp of
my chamber"--he was lodged at a monastery--"was blown out--I was shaken
from my bed with violence, and I apprehended immediate death. The friars
and prior of the convent, who had risen to pay their customary
devotions, rushed into my room with crucifixes and relics in their
hands, imploring the mercy of the Deity. I took courage, and accompanied
them to the church, where we all passed the night, expecting every
moment to be our last. I cannot describe the horrors of that dreadful
night; the bursts of lightning and the roaring of thunder were blended
with the shrieks of the people. The night itself appeared protracted to
an unnatural length; and, when the morning arrived, which we discovered
rather by conjecture than by any dawning of light, the priests prepared
to celebrate the service; but the rest of us, not having yet dared to
lift up our eyes towards the heavens, threw ourselves prostrate on the
ground. At length the day appeared--a day how like to night! The cries
of the people began to cease in the upper part of the city, but were
redoubled from the sea-shore. Despair inspired us with courage. We
mounted our horses and arrived at the port. What a scene was there! the
vessels had suffered shipwreck in the very harbour; the shore was
covered with dead bodies, which were tossed about and dashed against the
rocks, whilst many appeared struggling in the agonies of death.
Meanwhile, the raging ocean overturned many houses from their very
foundations. Above a thousand Neapolitan horsemen were assembled near
the shore to assist, as it were, at the obsequies of their countrymen. I
caught from them a spirit of resolution, and was less afraid of death
from the consideration that we should all perish together. On a sudden a
cry of horror was heard; the sea had sapped the foundations of the
ground on which we stood, and it was already beginning to give way. We
immediately hastened to a higher place, where the scene was equally
impressive. The young Queen, with naked feet and dishevelled hair,
attended by a number of women, was rushing to the church of the Virgin,
crying out for mercy in this imminent peril. At sea, no ship escaped the
fury of the tempest: all the vessels in the harbour--one only
excepted--sunk before our eyes, and every soul on board perished."

By the assiduity and solicitations of Petrarch, the council of Naples
were at last engaged in debating about the liberation of Colonna's
imprisoned friends; and the affair was nearly brought to a conclusion,
when the approach of night obliged the members to separate before they
came to a final decision. The cause of this separation is a sad proof of
Neapolitan barbarism at that period. It will hardly, at this day, seem
credible that, in the capital of so flourishing a kingdom, and the
residence of a brilliant court, such savage licentiousness could have
prevailed. At night, all the streets of the city were beset by the young
nobility, who were armed, and who attacked all passengers without
distinction, so that even the members of the council could not venture
to appear after a certain hour. Neither the severity of parents, nor the
authority of the magistrates, nor of Majesty itself, could prevent
continual combats and assassinations.

"But can it be astonishing," Petrarch remarks, "that such disgraceful
scenes should pass in the night, when the Neapolitans celebrate, even in
the face of day, games similar to those of the gladiators, and with more
than barbarian cruelty? Human blood is shed here with as little remorse
as that of brute animals; and, while the people join madly in applause,
sons expire in the very sight of their parents; and it is considered the
utmost disgrace not to die with becoming fortitude, as if they were
dying in the defence of their religion and country. I myself, ignorant
of these customs was once carried to the Carbonara, the destined place
of butchery. The Queen and her husband, Andrew, were present; the
soldiery of Naples were present, and the people flocked thither in
crowds. I was kept in suspense by the appearance of so large and
brilliant an assembly, and expected some spectacle worthy of my
attention, when I suddenly heard a loud shout of applause, as for some
joyous incident. What was my surprise when I beheld a beautiful young
man pierced through with a sword, and ready to expire at my feet! Struck
with horror, I put spurs to my horse, and fled from the barbarous sight,
uttering execrations on the cruel spectators.

"This inhuman custom has been derived from their ancestors, and is now
so sanctioned by inveterate habit, that their very licentiousness is
dignified with the name of liberty.

"You will cease to wonder at the imprisonment of your friends in this
city, where the death of a young man is considered as an innocent
pastime. As to myself, I will quit this inhuman country before three
days are past, and hasten to you who can make all things agreeable to me
except a sea-voyage."

Petrarch at length brought his negotiations respecting the prisoners to
a successful issue; and they were released by the express authority of
Andrew. Our poet's presence being no longer necessary, he left Naples,
in spite of the strong solicitations of his friends Barrilli and
Barbato. In answer to their request that he would remain, he said, "I
am but a satellite, and follow the directions of a superior planet;
quiet and repose are denied to me."

From Naples he went to Parma, where Azzo Correggio, with his wonted
affection, pressed him to delay; and Petrarch accepted the invitation,
though he remarked with sorrow that harmony no longer reigned among the
brothers of the family. He stopped there, however, for some time, and
enjoyed such tranquillity that he could revise and polish his
compositions. But, in the following year, 1345, his friend Azzo, having
failed to keep his promise to Luchino Visconti, as to restoring to him
the lordship of Parma--Azzo had obtained it by the assistance of the
Visconti, who avenged himself by making war on the Correggios--he
invested Parma, and afflicted it with a tedious siege. Petrarch,
foreseeing little prospect of pursuing his studies quietly in a
beleaguered city, left the place with a small number of his companions;
but, about midnight, near Rheggio, a troop of robbers rushed from an
ambuscade, with cries of "Kill! kill!" and our handful of travellers,
being no match for a host of brigands, fled and sought to save
themselves under favour of night. Petrarch, during this flight, was
thrown from his horse. The shock was so violent that he swooned; but he
recovered, and was remounted by his companions. They had not got far,
however, when a violent storm of rain and lightning rendered their
situation almost as bad as that from which they had escaped, and
threatened them with death in another shape. They passed a dreadful
night without finding a tree or the hollow of a rock to shelter them,
and had no expedient for mitigating their exposure to the storm but to
turn their horses' backs to the tempest.

When the dawn permitted them to discern a path amidst the brushwood,
they pushed on to Scandiano, a castle occupied by the Gonzaghi, friends
of the lords of Parma, which they happily reached, and where they were
kindly received. Here they learned that a troop of horse and foot had
been waiting for them in ambush near Scandiano, but had been forced by
the bad weather to withdraw before their arrival; thus "_the pelting of
the pitiless storm_" had been to them a merciful occurrence. Petrarch
made no delay here, for he was smarting under the bruises from his fall,
but caused himself to be tied upon his horse, and went to repose at
Modena. The next day he repaired to Bologna, where he stopped a short
time for surgical assistance, and whence he sent a letter to his friend
Barbato, describing his misadventure; but, unable to hold a pen himself,
he was obliged to employ the hand of a stranger. He was so impatient,
however, to get back to Avignon, that he took the road to it as soon as
he could sit his horse. On approaching that city he says he felt a
greater softness in the air, and saw with delight the flowers that adorn
the neighbouring woods. Everything seemed to announce the vicinity of
Laura. It was seldom that Petrarch spoke so complacently of Avignon.

Clement VI. received Petrarch with the highest respect, offered him his
choice among several vacant bishoprics, and pressed him to receive the
office of pontifical secretary. He declined the proffered secretaryship.
Prizing his independence above all things, excepting Laura, he remarked
to his friends that the yoke of office would not sit lighter on him for
being gilded.

In consequence of the dangers he had encountered, a rumour of his death
had spread over a great part of Italy. The age was romantic, with a good
deal of the fantastical in its romance. If the news had been true, and
if he had been really dead and buried, it would be difficult to restrain
a smile at the sort of honours that were paid to his memory by the less
brain-gifted portion of his admirers. One of these, Antonio di Beccaria,
a physician of Ferrara, when he ought to have been mourning for his own
deceased patients, wrote a poetical lamentation for Petrarch's death.
The poem, if it deserve such a name, is allegorical; it represents a
funeral, in which the following personages parade in procession and
grief for the Laureate's death. Grammar, Rhetoric, and Philosophy are
introduced with their several attendants. Under the banners of Rhetoric
are ranged Cicero, Geoffroy de Vinesauf, and Alain de Lisle. It would
require all Cicero's eloquence to persuade us that his comrades in the
procession were quite worthy of his company. The Nine Muses follow
Petrarch's body; eleven poets, crowned with laurel, support the bier,
and Minerva, holding the crown of Petrarch, closes the procession.

We have seen that Petrarch left Naples foreboding disastrous events to
that kingdom. Among these, the assassination of Andrew, on the 18th of
September, 1345, was one that fulfilled his augury. The particulars of
this murder reached Petrarch on his arrival at Avignon, in a letter from
his friend Barbato.

From the sonnets which Petrarch wrote, to all appearance, in 1345 and
1346, at Avignon or Vaucluse, he seems to have suffered from those
fluctuations of Laura's favour that naturally arose from his own
imprudence. When she treated him with affability, he grew bolder in his
assiduities, and she was again obliged to be more severe. See Sonnets
cviii., cix., and cxiv.

During this sojourn, though he dates some of his pleasantest letters
from Vaucluse, he was projecting to return to Italy, and to establish
himself there, after bidding a final adieu to Provence. When he
acquainted his nominal patron, John Colonna, with his intention, the
Cardinal rudely taxed him with madness and ingratitude. Petrarch frankly
told the prelate that he was conscious of no ingratitude, since, after
fourteen years passed in his service, he had received no provision for
his future livelihood. This quarrel with the proud churchman is, with
fantastic pastoral imagery, made the subject of our poet's eighth
Bucolic, entitled Divortium. I suspect that Petrarch's free language in
favour of the Tribune Rienzo was not unconnected with their alienation.

Notwithstanding Petrarch's declared dislike of Avignon, there is every
reason to suppose that he passed the greater part of the winter of 1346
in his western Babylon; and we find that he witnessed many interesting
scenes between the conflicting cardinals, as well as the brilliant fêtes
that were given to two foreign princes, whom an important affair now
brought to Avignon. These were the King of Bohemia, and his son Charles,
Prince of Moravia, otherwise called Charles of Luxemburg.

The Emperor Lewis of Bavaria, who had previously made several but
fruitless attempts to reconcile himself with the Church, on learning the
election of Clement VI., sent ambassadors with unlimited powers to
effect a reconcilement; but the Pope proposed conditions so hard and
humbling that the States of the German Empire peremptorily rejected
them. On this, his Holiness confirmed the condemnations which he had
already passed on Lewis of Bavaria, and enjoined the Electors of the
empire to proceed to a new choice of the King of the Romans. "John of
Luxemburg," says Villani, "would have been emperor if he had not been
blind." A wish to secure the empire for his son and to further his
election, brought him to the Pope at Avignon.

Prince Charles had to thank the Pontiff for being elected, but first his
Holiness made him sign, on the 22nd of April, 1346, in presence of
twelve cardinals and his brother William Roger, a declaration of which
the following is the substance:--

"If, by the grace of God, I am elected King of the Romans, I will fulfil
all the promises and confirm all the concessions of my grandfather Henry
VII. and of his predecessors. I will revoke the acts made by Lewis of
Bavaria. I will occupy no place, either in or out of Italy, belonging to
the Church. I will not enter Rome before the day appointed for my
coronation. I will depart from thence the same day with all my
attendants, and I will never return without the permission of the Holy
See." He might as well have declared that he would give the Pope all his
power, as King of the Romans, provided he was allowed the profits; for,
in reality, Charles had no other view with regard to Italy than to make

This concession, which contrasts so poorly with the conduct of Charles
on many other occasions, excited universal indignation in Germany, and a
good deal even in Italy. Petrarch exclaimed against it as mean and
atrocious; for, Catholic as he was, he was not so much a churchman as to
see without indignation the papal tiara exalted above the imperial

In July, 1346, Charles was elected, and, in derision, was called "the
Emperor of the Priests." The death of his rival, Lewis of Bavaria,
however, which happened in the next year, prevented a civil war, and
Charles IV. remained peaceable possessor of the empire.

Among the fêtes that were given to Charles, a ball was held at Avignon,
in a grand saloon brightly illuminated. Thither came all the beauties of
the city and of Provence. The Prince, who had heard much of Laura,
through her poetical fame, sought her out and saluted her in the French

Petrarch went, according to his custom, to pass the term of Lent at
Vaucluse. The Bishop of Cavaillon, eager to see the poet, persuaded him
to visit his recluse residence, and remained with Petrarch as his guest
for fifteen days, in his own castle, on the summit of rocks, that seemed
more adapted for the perch of birds than the habitation of men. There is
now scarcely a wreck of it remaining.

It would seem, however, that the Bishop's conversation made this
retirement very agreeable to Petrarch; for it inspired him with the idea
of writing a "Treatise on a Solitary Life." Of this work he made a
sketch in a short time, but did not finish it till twenty years
afterwards, when he dedicated and presented it to the Bishop of

It is agreeable to meet, in Petrarch's life at the shut-up valley, with
any circumstance, however trifling, that indicates a cheerful state of
mind; for, independently of his loneliness, the inextinguishable passion
for Laura never ceased to haunt him; and his love, strange to say, had
mad, momentary hopes, which only deepened at their departure the
returning gloom of despair. Petrarch never wrote more sonnets on his
beloved than during the course of this year. Laura had a fair and
discreet female friend at Avignon, who was also the friend of Petrarch,
and interested in his attachment. The ideas which this amiable
confidante entertained of harmonizing success in misplaced attachment
with honour and virtue must have been Platonic, even beyond the feelings
which Petrarch, in reality, cherished; for, occasionally, the poet's
sonnets are too honest for pure Platonism. This lady, however, whose
name is unknown, strove to convince Laura that she ought to treat her
lover with less severity. "She pushed Laura forward," says De Sade, "and
kept back Petrarch." One day she recounted to the poet all the proofs of
affection, and after these proofs she said, "You infidel, can you doubt
that she loves you?" It is to this fair friend that he is supposed to
have addressed his nineteenth sonnet.

This year, his Laura was seized with a defluxion in her eyes, which made
her suffer much, and even threatened her with blindness. This was enough
to bring a sonnet from Petrarch (his 94th), in which he laments that
those eyes which were the sun of his life should be for ever eclipsed.
He went to see her during her illness, having now the privilege of
visiting her at her own house, and one day he found her perfectly
recovered. Whether the ophthalmia was infectious, or only endemic, I
know not; but so it was, that, whilst Laura's eyes got well, those of
her lover became affected with the same defluxion. It struck his
imagination, or, at least, he feigned to believe poetically, that the
malady of her eyes had passed into his; and, in one of his sonnets, he
exults at this welcome circumstance.[J] "I fixed my eyes," he said, "on
Laura; and that moment a something inexpressible, like a shooting star,
darted from them to mine. This is a present from love, in which I
rejoice. How delightful it is thus to cure the darling object of one's

Petrarch received some show of complacency from Laura, which his
imagination magnified; and it was some sort of consolation, at least,
that his idol was courteous to him; but even this scanty solace was
interrupted. Some malicious person communicated to Laura that Petrarch
was imposing upon her, and that he was secretly addressing his love and
his poetry to another lady under a borrowed name. Laura gave ear to the
calumny, and, for a time, debarred him from her presence. If she had
been wholly indifferent to him, this misunderstanding would have never
existed; for jealousy and indifference are a contradiction in terms. I
mean true jealousy. There is a pseudo species of it, with which many
wives are troubled who care nothing about their husbands' affection; a
plant of ill nature that is reared merely to be a rod of conjugal
castigation. Laura, however, discovered at last, that her admirer was
playing no double part. She was too reasonable to protract so unjust a
quarrel, and received him again as usual.

I have already mentioned that Clement VI. had made Petrarch Canon of
Modena, which benefice he resigned in favour of his friend, Luca
Christino, and that this year his Holiness had also conferred upon him
the prebend of Parma. This preferment excited the envy of some persons,
who endeavoured to prejudice Ugolino de' Rossi, the bishop of the
diocese, against him. Ugolino was of that family which had disputed for
the sovereignty of Parma with the Correggios, and against whom Petrarch
had pleaded in favour of their rivals. From this circumstance it was
feared that Ugolino might be inclined to listen to those maligners who
accused Petrarch of having gone to Avignon for the purpose of
undermining the Bishop in the Pope's favour. Petrarch, upon his
promotion, wrote a letter to Ugolino, strongly repelling this
accusation. This is one of the manliest epistles that ever issued from
his pen. "Allow me to assure you," he says, "that I would not exchange
my tranquillity for your troubles, nor my poverty for your riches. Do
not imagine, however, that I despise your particular situation. I only
mean that there is no person of your rank whose preferment I desire; nor
would I accept such preferment if it were offered to me. I should not
say thus much, if my familiar intercourse with the Pope and the
Cardinals had not convinced me that happiness in that rank is more a
shadow than a substance. It was a memorable saying of Pope Adrian IV.,
'that he knew no one more unhappy than the Sovereign Pontiff; his throne
is a seat of thorns; his mantle is an oppressive weight; his tiara
shines splendidly indeed, but it is not without a devouring fire.' If I
had been ambitious," continues Petrarch, "I might have been preferred to
a benefice of more value than yours;" and he refers to the fact of the
Pope having given him his choice of several high preferments.

Petrarch passed the winter of 1346-47 chiefly at Avignon, and made but
few and short excursions to Vaucluse. In one of these, at the beginning
of 1347, when he had Socrates to keep him company at Vaucluse, the
Bishop of Cavaillon invited them to his castle. Petrarch returned the
following answer:--

"Yesterday we quitted the city of storms to take refuge in this harbour,
and taste the sweets of repose. We have nothing but coarse clothes,
suitable to the season and the place we live in; but in this rustic
dress we will repair to see you, since you command us; we fear not to
present ourselves in this rustic dress; our desire to see you puts down
every other consideration. What matters it to us how we appear before
one who possesses the depth of our hearts? If you wish to see us often
you will treat us without ceremony."

His visits to Vaucluse were rather infrequent; business, he says,
detained him often at Avignon, in spite of himself; but still at
intervals he passed a day or two to look after his gardens and trees. On
one of these occasions, he wrote a pleasing letter to William of
Pastrengo, dilating on the pleasures of his garden, which displays
liveliness and warmth of heart.

Petrarch had not seen his brother since the latter had taken the cowl in
the Carthusian monastery, some five years before. To that convent he
paid a visit in February, 1347, and he was received like an angel from
heaven. He was delighted to see a brother whom he loved so much, and to
find him contented with the life which he had embraced. The Carthusians,
who had heard of Petrarch, renowned as the finest spirit of the age,
were flattered by his showing a strong interest in their condition; and
though he passed but a day and a night with them, they parted so
mutually well pleased, that he promised, on taking leave, to send them a
treatise on the happiness of the life which they led. And he kept his
word; for, immediately upon his return to Vaucluse, he commenced his
essay "_De Otio Religioso_--On the Leisure of the Religious," and he
finished it in a few weeks. The object of this work is to show the
sweets and advantages of their retired state, compared with the
agitations of life in the world.

From these monkish reveries Petrarch was awakened by an astounding
public event, namely, the elevation of Cola di Rienzo to the tribuneship
of Rome. At the news of this revolution, Petrarch was animated with as
much enthusiasm as if he had been himself engaged in the enterprise.
Under the first impulse of his feelings, he sent an epistolary
congratulation and advice to Rienzo and the Roman people. This letter
breathes a strongly republican spirit. In later times, we perceive that
Petrarch would have been glad to witness the accomplishment of his
darling object--Rome restored to her ancient power and magnificence,
even under an imperial government. Our poet received from the Tribune an
answer to his epistolary oration, telling him that it had been read to
the Roman people, and received with applause. A considerable number of
letters passed between Petrarch and Cola.

When we look back on the long connection of Petrarch with the Colonna
family, his acknowledged obligations, and the attachment to them which
he expresses, it may seem, at first sight, surprising that he should
have so loudly applauded a revolution which struck at the roots of their
power. But, if we view the matter with a more considerate eye, we shall
hold the poet in nobler and dearer estimation for his public zeal than
if he had cringed to the Colonnas. His personal attachment to _them_,
who were quite as much honoured by _his_ friendship as _he_ was by
_theirs_, was a consideration subservient to that of the honour of his
country and the freedom of his fellow-citizens; "for," as he says in his
own defence, "we owe much to our friends, still more to our parents, but
everything to our country."

Retiring during this year for some time to Vaucluse, Petrarch composed
an eclogue in honour of the Roman revolution, the fifth in his Bucolics.
It is entitled "La Pieta Pastorale," and has three speakers, who
converse about their venerable mother Rome, but in so dull a manner,
that, if Petrarch had never written better poetry, we should not,
probably, at this moment, have heard of his existence.

In the midst of all this political fervour, the poet's devotion to Laura
continued unabated; Petrarch never composed so many sonnets in one year
as during 1347, but, for the most part, still indicative of sadness and
despair. In his 116th sonnet, he says:--

    "Soleo onde, e 'n rena fondo, e serivo in vento."
    I plough in water, build on sand, and write on air.

If anything were wanting to convince us that Laura had treated him,
during his twenty years' courtship, with sufficient rigour, this and
other such expressions would suffice to prove it. A lover, at the end of
so long a period, is not apt to speak thus despondingly of a mistress
who has been kind to him.

It seems, however, that there were exceptions to her extreme reserve. On
one occasion, this year, when they met, and when Petrarch's eyes were
fixed on her in silent reverie, she stretched out her hand to him, and
allowed him to detain it in his for some time. This incident is alluded
to in his 218th sonnet.

If public events, however, were not enough to make him forget his
passion for Laura, they were sufficiently stirring to keep his interest
in them alive. The head of Rienzo was not strong enough to stand the
elevation which he had attained. Petrarch had hitherto regarded the
reports of Rienzo's errors as highly exaggerated by his enemies; but the
truth of them, at last, became too palpable; though our poet's
charitable opinion of the Tribune considerably outlasted that of the
public at large.

When the papal court heard of the multiplied extravagances of Rienzo,
they recovered a little from the panic which had seized them. They saw
that they had to deal with a man whose head was turned. His summonses
had enraged them; and they resolved to keep no measures with him.
Towards the end of August, 1347, one of his couriers arrived without
arms, and with only the symbol of his office, the silver rod, in his
hand. He was arrested near Avignon; his letters were taken from him and
torn to pieces; and, without being permitted to enter Avignon, he was
sent back to Rome with threats and ignominy. This proceeding appeared
atrocious in the eyes of Petrarch, and he wrote a letter to Rienzo on
the subject, expressing his strongest indignation at the act of outrage.

[Illustration: COAST OF GENOA.]

Petrarch passed almost the whole of the month of September, 1347, at
Avignon. On the 9th of this month he obtained letters of legitimation
for his son John, who might now be about ten years old. John is
entitled, in these letters, "a scholar of Florence." The Pope empowers
him to possess any kind of benefice without being obliged, in future, to
make mention of his illegitimate birth, or of the obtained dispensation.
It appears from these letters that the mother of John was not married.
He left his son at Verona under the tuition of Rinaldo di Villa Franca.
Before he had left Provence in this year, for the purpose of visiting
Italy, he had announced his intention to the Pope, who wished to retain
him as an honour to his court, and offered him his choice of several
church preferments. But our poet, whose only wish was to obtain some
moderate benefice that would leave him independent and at liberty,
declined his Holiness's _vague_ offers. If we consider that Petrarch
made no secret of his good wishes for Rienzo, it may seem surprisingly
creditable to the Pontiff's liberality that he should have even
_professed_ any interest in the poet's fortune; but in a letter to his
friend Socrates, Petrarch gives us to understand that he thought the
Pope's professions were merely verbal. He says: "To hold out treasures
to a man who demands a small sum is but a polite mode of refusal." In
fact, the Pope offered him _some_ bishopric, knowing that he wanted
only _some_ benefice that should be a sinecure.

If it be asked what determined him now to leave Avignon, the
counter-question may be put, what detained him so long from Italy? It
appears that he had never parted with his house and garden at Parma; he
hated everything in Avignon excepting Laura; and of the solitude of
Vaucluse he was, in all probability, already weary.

Before he left Avignon, he went to take leave of Laura. He found her at
an assembly which she often frequented. "She was seated," he says,
"among those ladies who are generally her companions, and appeared like
a beautiful rose surrounded with flowers smaller and less blooming." Her
air was more touching than usual. She was dressed perfectly plain, and
without pearls or garlands, or any gay colour. Though she was not
melancholy, she did not appear to have her wonted cheerfulness, but was
serious and thoughtful. She did not sing, as usual, nor speak with that
voice which used to charm every one. She had the air of a person who
fears an evil not yet arrived. "In taking leave of her," says Petrarch,
"I sought in her looks for a consolation of my own sufferings. Her eyes
had an expression which I had never seen in them before. What I saw in
her face seemed to predict the sorrows that threatened me."

This was the last meeting that Petrarch and Laura ever had.

Petrarch set out for Italy, towards the close of 1347, having determined
to make that country his residence for the rest of his life.

Upon his arrival at Genoa he wrote to Rienzo, reproaching him for his
follies, and exhorting him to return to his former manly conduct. This
advice, it is scarcely necessary to say, was like dew and sunshine
bestowed upon barren sands.

From Genoa he proceeded to Parma, where he received the first
information of the catastrophe of the Colonna family, six of whom had
fallen in battle with Rienzo's forces. He showed himself deeply affected
by it, and, probably, was so sincerely. But the Colonnas, though his
former patrons, were still the enemies of a cause which he considered
sacred, much as it was mismanaged and disgraced by the Tribune; and his
grief cannot be supposed to have been immoderate. Accordingly, the
letter which he wrote to Cardinal Colonna on this occasion is quite in
the style of Seneca, and more like an ethical treatise than an epistle
of condolence.

It is obvious that Petrarch slowly and reluctantly parted with his good
opinion of Rienzo. But, whatever sentiments he might have cherished
respecting him, he was now doomed to hear of his tragic fall.

The revolution which overthrew the Tribune was accomplished on the 15th
of December, 1347. That his fall was, in a considerable degree, owing
to his faults, is undeniable; and to the most contemptible of all
faults--personal vanity. How hard it is on the great mass of mankind,
that this meanness is so seldom disjoined from the zeal of popular
championship! New power, like new wine, seems to intoxicate the
strongest heads. How disgusting it is to see the restorer of Roman
liberty dazzled like a child by a scarlet robe and its golden trimming!
Nevertheless, with all his vanity, Rienzo was a better friend to the
republic than those who dethroned him. The Romans would have been wise
to have supported Rienzo, taking even his foibles into the account. They
re-admitted their oligarchs; and, if they repented of it, as they did,
they are scarcely entitled to our commiseration.

Petrarch had set out late in 1347 to visit Italy for the fifth time. He
arrived at Genoa towards the end of November, 1347, on his way to
Florence, where he was eagerly expected by his friends. They had
obtained from the Government permission for his return; and he was
absolved from the sentence of banishment in which he had been included
with his father. But, whether Petrarch was offended with the Florentines
for refusing to restore his paternal estate, or whether he was detained
by accident in Lombardy, he put off his expedition to Florence and
repaired to Parma. It was there that he learned the certainty of the
Tribune's fall.

From Parma he went to Verona, where he arrived on the evening of the
25th of January, 1348. His son, we have already mentioned, was placed at
Verona, under the tuition of Rinaldo di Villa Franca. Here, soon after
his arrival, as he was sitting among his books, Petrarch felt the shock
of a tremendous earthquake. It seemed as if the whole city was to be
overturned from its foundations. He rushed immediately into the streets,
where the inhabitants were gathered together in consternation; and,
whilst terror was depicted in every countenance, there was a general cry
that the end of the world was come. All contemporary historians mention
this earthquake, and agree that it originated at the foot of the Alps.
It made sad ravages at Pisa, Bologna, Padua, and Venice, and still more
in the Frioul and Bavaria. If we may trust the narrators of this event,
sixty villages in one canton were buried under two mountains that fell
and filled up a valley five leagues in length. A whole castle, it is
added, was exploded out of the earth from its foundation, and its ruins
scattered many miles from the spot. The latter anecdote has undoubtedly
an air of the marvellous; and yet the convulsions of nature have
produced equally strange effects. Stones have been thrown out of Mount
Ætna to the distance of eighteen miles.

The earthquake was the forerunner of awful calamities; and it is
possible that it might be physically connected with that memorable
plague in 1348, which reached, in succession, all parts of the known
world, and thinned the population of every country which it visited.
Historians generally agree that this great plague began in China and
Tartary, whence, in the space of a year, it spread its desolation over
the whole of Asia. It extended itself over Italy early in 1348; but its
severest ravages had not yet been made, when Petrarch returned from
Verona to Parma in the month of March, 1348. He brought with him his son
John, whom he had withdrawn from the school of Rinaldo di Villa Franca,
and placed under Gilberto di Parma, a good grammarian. His motive for
this change of tutorship probably was, that he reckoned on Parma being
henceforward his own principal place of residence, and his wish to have
his son beside him.

Petrarch had scarcely arrived at Parma when he received a letter from
Luchino Visconti, who had lately received the lordship of that city.
Hearing of Petrarch's arrival there, the Prince, being at Milan, wrote
to the poet, requesting some orange plants from his garden, together
with a copy of verses. Petrarch sent him both, accompanied with a
letter, in which he praises Luchino for his encouragement of learning
and his cultivation of the Muses.

The plague was now increasing in Italy; and, after it had deprived
Petrarch of many dear friends, it struck at the root of all his
affections by attacking Laura. He describes his apprehensions on this
occasion in several of his sonnets. The event confirmed his melancholy
presages; for a letter from his friend Socrates informed him that Laura
had died of the plague on the 1st of April, 1348. His biographers may
well be believed, when they tell us that his grief was extreme. Laura's
husband took the event more quietly, and consoled himself by marrying
again, when only seven months a widower.

Petrarch, when informed of her death, wrote that marginal note upon his
copy of Virgil, the authenticity of which has been so often, though
unjustly, called in question. His words were the following:--

"Laura, illustrious for her virtues, and for a long time celebrated in
my verses, for the first time appeared to my eyes on the 6th of April,
1327, in the church of St. Clara, at the first hour of the day. I was
then in my youth. In the same city, and at the same hour, in the year
1348, this luminary disappeared from our world. I was then at Verona,
ignorant of my wretched situation. Her chaste and beautiful body was
buried the same day, after vespers, in the church of the Cordeliers. Her
soul returned to its native mansion in heaven. I have written this with
a pleasure mixed with bitterness, to retrace the melancholy remembrance
of 'MY GREAT LOSS.' This loss convinces me that I have nothing
now left worth living for, since the strongest cord of my life is
broken. By the grace of God, I shall easily renounce a world where my
hopes have been vain and perishing. It is time for me to fly from
Babylon when the knot that bound me to it is untied."

This copy of Virgil is famous, also, for a miniature picture expressing
the subject of the Æneid; which, by the common consent of connoisseurs
in painting, is the work of Simone Memmi. Mention has already been made
of the friendly terms that subsisted between that painter and our poet;
whence it may be concluded that Petrarch, who received this precious MS.
in 1338, requested of Simone this mark of his friendship, to render it
more valuable.

When the library of Pavia, together with the city, was plundered by the
French in 1499, and when many MSS. were carried away to the library of
Paris, a certain inhabitant of Pavia had the address to snatch this copy
of Virgil from the general rapine. This individual was, probably,
Antonio di Pirro, in whose hands or house the Virgil continued till the
beginning of the sixteenth century, as Vellutello attests in his article
on the origin of Laura. From him it passed to Antonio Agostino;
afterwards to Fulvio Orsino, who prized it very dearly. At Orsino's
death it was bought at a high price by Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, and
placed in the Ambrosian library, which had been founded by him with much
care and at vast expense.

Until the year 1795, this copy of Virgil was celebrated only on account
of the memorandum already quoted, and a few short marginal notes,
written for illustrations of the text; but, a part of the same leaf
having been torn and detached from the cover, the librarians, by chance,
perceived some written characters. Curiosity urged them to unglue it
with the greatest care; but the parchment was so conglutinated with the
board that the letters left their impression on the latter so palely and
weakly, that the librarians had great difficulty in making out the
following notice, written by Petrarch himself: "Liber hic furto mihi
subreptus fuerat, anno domini mcccxxvi., in Kalend. Novembr., ac deinde
restitutus, anno mcccxxxvii., die xvii. Aprilis, apud Aivino."

Then follows a note by the poet himself, regarding his son: "Johannes
noster, natus ad laborem et dolorem meum, et vivens gravibus atque
perpetuis me curis exercuit, et acri dolore moriens vulneravit, qui cum
paucos et lætos dies vidisset in vita sua, decessit in anno domini 1361,
ætatis suæ xxv., die Julii x. seu ix. medio noctis inter diem veneris et
sabbati. Rumor ad me pervenerat xiiio mensis ad vesperam, obiit autem
Mlni illo publico excidio pestis insolito, quæ urbem illam, hactenus
immunem, talibus malis nunc reperit atque invasit. Rumor autem primus
ambiguus 8vo. Augusti, eodem anno, per famulum meum Mlno redeuntem,
mox certus, per famulum Domni Theatini Roma venientem 18me. mensis
ejusdem Mercurii, sero ad me pervenit de obitu Socratis mei amici,
socii fratrisque optimi, qui obiisse dicitur Babilone seu Avenione, die
mense Maii proximo. Amisi comitem ac solatium vitæ meæ. Recipe Xte Ihu,
hos duos et reliquos quinque in eterna tabernacula tua."[K] He alludes
to the death of other friends; but the entire note is too long to be
quoted, and, in many places, is obscured by contractions which make its
meaning doubtful.

The perfect accordance of these memoranda with the other writings of the
poet, conjoined with historical facts, show them incontestably to have
come from the hand of Petrarch.

The precious MS. of Virgil, containing the autograph of Petrarch, is no
longer in Italy. Like many other relics held sacred by the Italians, it
was removed by the French during the last conquest of Italy.

Among the incidents of Petrarch's life, in 1348, we ought to notice his
visits to Giacomo da Carrara, whose family had supplanted the Della
Scalas at Padua, and to Manfredi Pio, the Padrone of Carpi, a beautiful
little city, of the Modenese territory, situated on a fine plain, on the
banks of the Secchio, about four miles from Correggio. Manfredi ruled it
with reputation for twenty years. Petrarch was magnificently received by
the Carraras; and, within two years afterwards, they bestowed upon him
the canonicate of Padua, a promotion which was followed in the same year
by his appointment to the archdeaconry of Parma, of which he had been
hitherto only canon.

Not long after the death of Laura, on the 3rd of July of the same year,
Petrarch lost Cardinal Colonna, who had been for so many years his
friend and patron. By some historians it is said that this prelate died
of the plague; but Petrarch thought that he sank under grief brought on
by the disasters of his family. In the space of five years the Cardinal
had lost his mother and six brothers.

Petrarch still maintained an interest in the Colonna family, though that
interest was against his own political principles, during the good
behaviour of the Tribune. After the folly and fall of Rienzo, it is
probable that our poet's attachment to his old friends of the Roman
aristocracy revived. At least, he thought it decent to write, on the
death of Cardinal Colonna, a letter of condolence to his father, the
aged Stefano, who was now verging towards his hundredth year. Soon after
this letter reached him, old Stefano fell into the grave.

The death of Cardinal Colonna was extremely felt at Avignon, where it
left a great void, his house having been the rendezvous of men of
letters and genius. Those who composed his court could not endure
Avignon after they had lost their Mæcenas. Three of them were the
particular friends of Petrarch, namely, Socrates, Luca Christine and
Mainardo Accursio. Socrates, though not an Italian, was extremely
embarrassed by the death of the Cardinal. He felt it difficult to live
separated from Petrarch, and yet he could not determine to quit France
for Italy. He wrote incessantly the most pressing letters to induce our
poet to return and settle in Provence. Luca and Mainardo resolved to go
and seek out Petrarch in Italy, in order to settle with him the place on
which they should fix for their common residence, and where they should
spend the rest of their lives in his society. They set out from Avignon
in the month of March, 1349, and arrived at Parma, but did not find the
poet, as he was gone on an excursion to Padua and Verona. They passed a
day in his house to rest themselves, and, when they went away, left a
letter in his library, telling him they had crossed the Alps to come and
see him, but that, having missed him, as soon as they had finished an
excursion which they meant to make, they would return and settle with
him the means of their living together. Petrarch, on his return to
Parma, wrote several interesting letters to Mainardo. In one of them he
says, "I was much grieved that I had lost the pleasure of your company,
and that of our worthy friend, Luca Christino. However, I am not without
the consoling hope that my absence may be the means of hastening your
return. As to your apprehensions about my returning to Vaucluse, I
cannot deny that, at the entreaties of Socrates, I should return,
provided I could procure an establishment in Provence, which would
afford me an honourable pretence for residing there, and, at the same
time, enable me to receive my friends with hospitality; but at present
circumstances are changed. The Cardinal Colonna is dead, and my friends
are all dispersed, excepting Socrates, who continues inviolably attached
to Avignon.

"As to Vaucluse, I well know the beauties of that charming valley, and
ten years' residence is a proof of my affection for the place. I have
shown my love of it by the house which I built there. There I began my
Africa, there I wrote the greater part of my epistles in prose and
verse, and there I nearly finished all my eclogues. I never had so much
leisure, nor felt so much enthusiasm, in any other spot. At Vaucluse I
conceived the first idea of giving an epitome of the Lives of
Illustrious Men, and there I wrote my Treatise on a Solitary Life, as
well as that on religious retirement. It was there, also, that I sought
to moderate my passion for Laura, which, alas, solitude only cherished.
In short, this lonely valley will for ever be pleasing to my
recollections. There is, nevertheless, a sad change, produced by time.
Both the Cardinal and everything that is dear to me have perished. The
veil which covered my eyes is at length removed. I can now perceive the
difference between Vaucluse and the rich mountains and vales and
flourishing cities of Italy. And yet, forgive me, so strong are the
prepossessions of youth, that I must confess I pine for Vaucluse, even
whilst I acknowledge its inferiority to Italy."

Whilst Petrarch was thus flattering his imagination with hopes that were
never to be realized, his two friends, who had proceeded to cross the
Apennines, came to an untimely fate. On the 5th of June, 1349, a
servant, whom Petrarch had sent to inquire about some alarming accounts
of the travellers that had gone abroad, returned sooner than he was
expected, and showed by his face that he brought no pleasant tidings.
Petrarch was writing--the pen fell from his hand. "What news do you
bring?" "Very bad news! Your two friends, in crossing the Apennines,
were attacked by robbers." "O God! what has happened to them?" The
messenger replied, "Mainardo, who was behind his companions, was
surrounded and murdered. Luca, hearing of his fate, came back sword in
hand. He fought alone against ten, and he wounded some of the
assailants, but at last he received many wounds, of which he lies almost
dead. The robbers fled with their booty. The peasants assembled, and
pursued, and would have captured them, if some gentlemen, unworthy of
being called so, had not stopped the pursuit, and received the villains
into their castles. Luca was seen among the rocks, but no one knows what
is become of him." Petrarch, in the deepest agitation, despatched fleet
couriers to Placenza, to Florence, and to Rome, to obtain intelligence
about Luca.

These ruffians, who came from Florence, were protected by the Ubaldini,
one of the most powerful and ancient families in Tuscany. As the murder
was perpetrated within the territory of Florence, Petrarch wrote
indignantly to the magistrates and people of that State, intreating them
to avenge an outrage on their fellow citizens. Luca, it appears, expired
of his wounds.

Petrarch's letter had its full effect. The Florentine commonwealth
despatched soldiers, both horse and foot, against the Ubaldini and their
banditti, and decreed that every year an expedition should be sent out
against them till they should be routed out of their Alpine caverns. The
Florentine troops directed their march to Monte Gemmoli, an almost
impregnable rock, which they blockaded and besieged. The banditti issued
forth from their strongholds, and skirmished with overmuch confidence in
their vantage ground. At this crisis, the Florentine cavalry, having
ascended the hill, dismounted from their horses, pushed forward on the
banditti before they could retreat into their fortress, and drove them,
sword in hand, within its inmost circle. The Florentines thus possessed
themselves of Monte Gemmoli, and, in like manner, of several other
strongholds. There were others which they could not take by storm, but
they laid waste the plains and cities which supplied the robbers with
provisions; and, after having done great damage to the Ubaldini, they
returned safe and sound to Florence.

While Petrarch was at Mantua, in February, 1350, the Cardinal Guy of
Boulogne, legate of the holy see, arrived there after a papal mission to
Hungary. Petrarch was much attached to him. The Cardinal and several
eminent persons who attended him had frequent conversations with our
poet, in which they described to him the state of Germany and the
situation of the Emperor.

Clement VI., who had reason to be satisfied with the submissiveness of
this Prince, wished to attract him into Italy, where he hoped to oppose
him to the Visconti, who had put themselves at the head of the Ghibeline
party, and gave much annoyance to the Guelphs. His Holiness strongly
solicited him to come; but Charles's situation would not permit him for
the present to undertake such an expedition. There were still some
troubles in Germany that remained to be appeased; besides, the Prince's
purse was exhausted by the largesses which he had paid for his election,
and his poverty was extreme.

It must be owned that a prince in such circumstances could hardly be
expected to set out for the subjugation of Italy. Petrarch, however,
took a romantic view of the Emperor's duties, and thought that the
restoration of the Roman empire was within Charles's grasp. Our poet
never lost sight of his favourite chimera, the re-establishment of Rome
in her ancient dominion. It was what he called one of his principles,
that Rome had a right to govern the world. Wild as this vision was, he
had seen Rienzo attempt its realization; and, if the Tribune had been
more prudent, there is no saying how nearly he might have approached to
the achievement of so marvellous an issue. But Rienzo was fallen
irrecoverably, and Petrarch now desired as ardently to see the Emperor
in Italy, as ever he had sighed for the success of the Tribune. He wrote
to the Emperor a long letter from Padua, a few days after the departure
of the Cardinal.

"I am agitated," he says, "in sending this epistle, when I think from
whom it comes, and to whom it is addressed. Placed as I am, in
obscurity, I am dazzled by the splendour of your name; but love has
banished fear: this letter will at least make known to you my fidelity,
and my zeal. Read it, I conjure you! You will not find in it the insipid
adulation which is the plague of monarchs. Flattery is an art unknown to
me. I have to offer you only complaints and regrets. You have forgotten
us. I say more--you have forgotten yourself in neglecting Italy. We had
high hopes that Heaven had sent you to restore us our liberty; but it
seems that you refuse this mission, and, whilst the time should be spent
in acting, you lose it in deliberating.

"You see, Cæsar, with what confidence an obscure man addresses you, a
man who has not even the advantage of being known to you. But, far from
being offended with the liberty I take, you ought rather to thank your
own character, which inspires me with such confidence. To return to my
subject--wherefore do you lose time in consultation? To all appearance,
you are sure of the future, if you will avail yourself of the present.
You cannot be ignorant that the success of great affairs often hangs
upon an instant, and that a day has been frequently sufficient to
consummate what it required ages to undo. Believe me, your glory and the
safety of the commonwealth, your own interests, as well as ours, require
that there be no delay. You are still young, but time is flying; and old
age will come and take you by surprise when you are at least expecting
it. Are you afraid of too soon commencing an enterprise for which a long
life would scarcely suffice?

"The Roman empire, shaken by a thousand storms, and as often deceived by
fallacious calms, places at last its whole hopes in you. It recovers a
little breath even under the shelter of your name; but hope alone will
not support it. In proportion as you know the grandeur of the
undertaking, consummate it the sooner. Let not the love of your
Transalpine dominions detain you longer. In beholding Germany, think of
Italy. If the one has given you birth, the other has given you
greatness. If you are king of the one, you are king and emperor of the
other. Let me say, without meaning offence to other nations, that here
is the head of your monarchy. Everywhere else you will find only its
members. What a glorious project to unite those members to their head!

"I am aware that you dislike all innovation; but what I propose would be
no innovation on your part. Italy is as well known to you as Germany.
Brought hither in your youth by your illustrious sire, he made you
acquainted with our cities and our manners, and taught you here the
first lessons of war. In the bloom of your youth, you have obtained
great victories. Can you fear at present to enter a country where you
have triumphed since your childhood?

"By the singular favour of Heaven we have regained the ancient right of
being governed by a prince of our own nation.[L] Let Germany say what
she will, Italy is veritably your country * * * * * Come with haste to
restore peace to Italy. Behold Rome, once the empress of the world, now
pale, with scattered locks and torn garments, at your feet, imploring
your presence and support!" Then follows a dissertation on the history
and heroes of Rome, which might be wearisome if transcribed to a modern
reader. But the epistle, upon the whole, is manly and eloquent.

A few days after despatching his letter to the Emperor, Petrarch made a
journey to Verona to see his friends. There he wrote to Socrates. In
this letter, after enumerating the few friends whom the plague had
spared, he confesses that he could not flatter himself with the hope of
being able to join them in Provence. He therefore invokes them to come
to Italy, and to settle either at Parma or at Padua, or any other place
that would suit them. His remaining friends, here enumerated, were only
Barbato of Sulmona, Francesco Rinucci, John Boccaccio, Lælius, Guido
Settimo, and Socrates.

Petrarch had returned to Padua, there to rejoin the Cardinal of
Boulogne. The Cardinal came back thither at the end of April, 1350, and,
after dispensing his blessings, spiritual and temporal, set out for
Avignon, travelling by way of Milan and Genoa. Petrarch accompanied the
prelate out of personal attachment on a part of his journey. The
Cardinal was fond of his conversation, but sometimes rallied the poet on
his enthusiasm for his native Italy. When they reached the territory of
Verona, near the lake of Guarda, they were struck by the beauty of the
prospect, and stopped to contemplate it. In the distance were the Alps,
topped with snow even in summer. Beneath was the lake of Guarda, with
its flux and reflux, like the sea, and around them were the rich hills
and fertile valleys. "It must be confessed," said the Legate to
Petrarch, "that your country is more beautiful than ours." The face of
Petrarch brightened up. "But you must agree," continued the Cardinal,
perhaps to moderate the poet's exultation, "that ours is more tranquil."
"That is true," replied Petrarch, "but we can obtain tranquillity
whenever we choose to come to our senses, and desire peace, whereas you
cannot procure those beauties which nature has lavished _on us_."

Petrarch here took leave of the Cardinal, and set out for Parma. Taking
Mantua in his way, he set out from thence in the evening, in order to
sleep at Luzora, five leagues from the Po. The lords of that city had
sent a courier to Mantua, desiring that he would honour them with his
presence at supper. The melting snows and the overflowing river had made
the roads nearly impassable; but he reached the place in time to avail
himself of the invitation. His hosts gave him a magnificent reception.
The supper was exquisite, the dishes rare, the wines delicious, and the
company full of gaiety. But a small matter, however, will spoil the
finest feast. The supper was served up in a damp, low hall, and all
sorts of insects annoyed the convivials. To crown their misfortune an
army of frogs, attracted, no doubt, by the odour of the meats, crowded
and croaked about them, till they were obliged to leave their unfinished

Petrarch returned next day for Parma. We find, from the original
fragments of his poems, brought to light by Ubaldini, that he was
occupied in retouching them during the summer which he passed at Parma,
waiting for the termination of the excessive heats, to go to Rome and
attend the jubilee. With a view to make the journey pleasanter, he
invited Guglielmo di Pastrengo to accompany him, in a letter written in
Latin verse. Nothing would have delighted Guglielmo more than a journey
to Rome with Petrarch; but he was settled at Verona, and could not
absent himself from his family.

In lieu of Pastrengo, Petrarch found a respectable old abbot, and
several others who were capable of being agreeable, and from their
experience, useful companions to him on the road. In the middle of
October, 1350, they departed from Florence for Rome, to attend the
jubilee. On his way between Bolsena and Viterbo, he met with an accident
which threatened dangerous consequences, and which he relates in a
letter to Boccaccio.

"On the 15th of October," he says, "we left Bolsena, a little town
scarcely known at present; but interesting from having been anciently
one of the principal places in Etruria. Occupied with the hopes of
seeing Rome in five days, I reflected on the changes in our modes of
thinking which are made by the course of years. Fourteen years ago I
repaired to the great city from sheer curiosity to see its wonders. The
second time I came was to receive the laurel. My third and fourth
journey had no object but to render services to my persecuted friends.
My present visit ought to be more happy, since its only object is my
eternal salvation." It appears, however, that the horses of the
travellers had no such devotional feelings; "for," he continues, "whilst
my mind was full of these thoughts, the horse of the old abbot, which
was walking upon my left, kicking at my horse, struck me upon the leg,
just below the knee. The blow was so violent that it sounded as if a
bone was broken. My attendants came up. I felt an acute pain, which made
me, at first, desirous of stopping; but, fearing the dangerousness of
the place, I made a virtue of necessity, and went on to Viterbo, where
we arrived very late on the 16th of October. Three days afterwards they
dragged me to Rome with much trouble. As soon as I arrived at Rome, I
called for doctors, who found the bone laid bare. It was not, however,
thought to be broken; though the shoe of the horse had left its

However impatient Petrarch might be to look once more on the beauties of
Rome, and to join in the jubilee, he was obliged to keep his bed for
many days.

The concourse of pilgrims to this jubilee was immense. One can scarcely
credit the common account that there were about a million pilgrims at
one time assembled in the great city. "We do not perceive," says
Petrarch, "that the plague has depopulated the world." And, indeed, if
this computation of the congregated pilgrims approaches the truth, we
cannot but suspect that the alleged depopulation of Europe, already
mentioned, must have been exaggerated. "The crowds," he continues,
"diminished a little during summer and the gathering-in of the harvest;
but recommenced towards the end of the year. The great nobles and ladies
from beyond the Alps came the last."

[Illustration: BRIDGE OF SIGHS,--VENICE.]

Many of the female pilgrims arrived by way of the marshes of Ancona,
where Bernardino di Roberto, Lord of Ravenna, waited for them, and
scandal whispered that his assiduities and those of his suite were but
too successful in seducing them. A contemporary author, in allusion to
the circumstance, remarks that journeys and indulgences are not good for
young persons, and that the fair ones had better have remained at home,
since the vessel that stays in port is never shipwrecked.

The strangers, who came from all countries, were for the most part
unacquainted with the Italian language, and were obliged to employ
interpreters in making their confession, for the sake of obtaining
absolution. It was found that many of the pretended interpreters were
either imperfectly acquainted with the language of the foreigners, or
were knaves in collusion with the priestly confessors, who made the poor
pilgrims confess whatever they chose, and pay for their sins
accordingly. A better subject for a scene in comedy could scarcely be
imagined. But, to remedy this abuse, penitentiaries were established at
Rome, in which the confessors understood foreign languages.

The number of days fixed for the Roman pilgrims to visit the churches
was thirty; and fifteen or ten for the Italians and other strangers,
according to the distance of the places from which they came.

Petrarch says that it is inconceivable how the city of Rome, whose
adjacent fields were untilled, and whose vineyards had been frozen the
year before, could for twelve months support such a confluence of
people. He extols the hospitality of the citizens, and the abundance of
food which prevailed; but Villani and others give us more disagreeable
accounts--namely, that the Roman citizens became hotel-keepers, and
charged exorbitantly for lodgings, and for whatever they sold. Numbers
of pilgrims were thus necessitated to live poorly; and this, added to
their fatigue and the heats of summer, produced a great mortality.

As soon as Petrarch, relieved by surgical skill from the wound in his
leg, was allowed to go out, he visited all the churches.

After having performed his duties at the jubilee, Petrarch returned to
Padua, taking the road by Arezzo, the town which had the honour of his
birth. Leonardo Aretino says that his fellow-townsmen crowded around
him with delight, and received him with such honours as could have been
paid only to a king.

In the same month of December, 1350, he discovered a treasure which made
him happier than a king. Perhaps a royal head might not have equally
valued it. It was a copy of Quintilian's work "De Institutione
Oratoria," which, till then, had escaped all his researches. On the very
day of the discovery he wrote a letter to Quintilian, according to his
fantastic custom of epistolizing the ancients. Some days afterwards, he
left Arezzo to pursue his journey. The principal persons of the town
took leave of him publicly at his departure, after pointing out to him
the house in which he was born. "It was a small house," says Petrarch,
"befitting an exile, as my father was." They told him that the
proprietors would have made some alterations in it; but the town had
interposed and prevented them, determined that the place should remain
the same as when it was first consecrated by his birth. The poet related
what had been mentioned to a young man who wrote to him expressly to ask
whether Arezzo could really boast of being his birthplace. Petrarch
added, that Arezzo had done more for him as a stranger than Florence as
a citizen. In truth, his family was of Florence; and it was only by
accident that he was born at Arezzo. He then went to Florence, where he
made but a short stay. There he found his friends still alarmed about
the accident which had befallen him in his journey to Rome, the news of
which he had communicated to Boccaccio.

Petrarch went on to Padua. On approaching it, he perceived a universal
mourning. He soon learned the foul catastrophe which had deprived the
city of one of its best masters.

Jacopo di Carrara had received into his house his cousin Guglielmo.
Though the latter was known to be an evil-disposed person, he was
treated with kindness by Jacopo, and ate at his table. On the 21st of
December, whilst Jacopo was sitting at supper, in the midst of his
friends, his people and his guards, the monster Guglielmo plunged a
dagger into his breast with such celerity, that even those who were
nearest could not ward off the blow. Horror-struck, they lifted him up,
whilst others put the assassin to instant death.

The fate of Jacopo Carrara gave Petrarch a dislike for Padua, and his
recollections of Vaucluse bent his unsettled mind to return to its
solitude; but he tarried at Padua during the winter. Here he spent a
great deal of his time with Ildebrando Conti, bishop of that city, a man
of rank and merit. One day, as he was dining at the Bishop's palace, two
Carthusian monks were announced: they were well received by the Bishop,
as he was partial to their order. He asked them what brought them to
Padua. "We are going," they said, "to Treviso, by the direction of our
general, there to remain and establish a monastery." Ildebrando asked
if they knew Father Gherardo, Petrarch's brother. The two monks, who did
not know the poet, gave the most pleasing accounts of his brother.

The plague, they said, having got into the convent of Montrieux, the
prior, a pious but timorous man, told his monks that flight was the only
course which they could take: Gherardo answered with courage, "Go
whither you please! As for myself I will remain in the situation in
which Heaven has placed me." The prior fled to his own country, where
death soon overtook him. Gherardo remained in the convent, where the
plague spared him, and left him alone, after having destroyed, within a
few days, thirty-four of the brethren who had continued with him. He
paid them every service, received their last sighs, and buried them when
death had taken off those to whom that office belonged. With only a dog
left for his companion, Gherardo watched at night to guard the house,
and took his repose by day. When the summer was over, he went to a
neighbouring monastery of the Carthusians, who enabled him to restore
his convent.

While the Carthusians were making this honourable mention of Father
Gherardo, the prelate cast his eyes from time to time upon Petrarch. "I
know not," says the poet, "whether my eyes were filled with tears, but
my heart was tenderly touched." The Carthusians, at last discovering who
Petrarch was, saluted him with congratulations. Petrarch gives an
account of this interview in a letter to his brother himself.

Padua was too near to Venice for Petrarch not to visit now and then that
city which he called the wonder of the world. He there made acquaintance
with Andrea Dandolo, who was made Doge in 1343, though he was only
thirty-six years of age, an extraordinary elevation for so young a man;
but he possessed extraordinary merit. His mind was cultivated; he loved
literature, and easily became, as far as mutual demonstrations went, the
personal friend of Petrarch; though the Doge, as we shall see, excluded
this personal friendship from all influence on his political conduct.

The commerce of the Venetians made great progress under the Dogeship of
Andrea Dandolo. It was then that they began to trade with Egypt and
Syria, whence they brought silk, pearls, the spices, and other products
of the East. This prosperity excited the jealousy of the Genoese, as it
interfered with a commerce which they had hitherto monopolized. When the
Venetians had been chased from Constantinople by the Emperor Michael
Paleologus, they retained several fortresses in the Black Sea, which
enabled them to continue their trade with the Tartars in that sea, and
to frequent the fair of Tana. The Genoese, who were masters of Pera, a
suburb of Constantinople, would willingly have joined the Greeks in
expelling their Italian rivals altogether from the Black Sea; and
privateering hostilities actually commenced between the two republics,
which, in 1350, extended to the serious aspect of a national war.

The winter of that year was passed on both sides in preparations. The
Venetians sent ambassadors to the King of Arragon, who had some
differences with the Genoese about the Island of Sardinia, and to the
Emperor of Constantinople, who saw with any sensation in the world but
delight the flag of Genoa flying over the walls of Pera. A league
between those three powers was quickly concluded, and their grand,
common object was to destroy the city of Genoa.

It was impossible that these great movements of Venice should be unknown
at Padua. Petrarch, ever zealous for the common good of Italy, saw with
pain the kindling of a war which could not but be fatal to her, and
thought it his duty to open his heart to the Doge of Venice, who had
shown him so much friendship. He addressed to him, therefore, the
following letter from Padua, on the 14th of March, 1351:--

"My love for my country forces me to break silence; the goodness of your
character encourages me. Can I hold my peace whilst I hear the symptoms
of a coming storm that menaces my beloved country? Two puissant people
are flying to arms; two flourishing cities are agitated by the approach
of war. These cities are placed by nature like the two eyes of Italy;
the one in the south and west, and the other in the east and north, to
dominate over the two seas that surround them; so that, even after the
destruction of the Roman empire, this beautiful country was still
regarded as the queen of the world. I know that proud nations denied her
the empire of the land, but who dared ever to dispute with her the
empire of the sea?

"I shudder to think of our prospects. If Venice and Genoa turn their
victorious arms against each other, it is all over with us; we lose our
glory and the command of the sea. In this calamity we shall have a
consolation which we have ever had, namely, that if our enemies rejoice
in our calamities, they cannot at least derive any glory from them.

"In great affairs I have always dreaded the counsels of the young.
Youthful ignorance and inexperience have been the ruin of many empires.
I, therefore, learn with pleasure that you have named a council of
elders, to whom you have confided this affair. I expected no less than
this from your wisdom, which is far beyond your years.

"The state of your republic distresses me. I know the difference that
there is between the tumult of arms and the tranquillity of Parnassus. I
know that the sounds of Apollo's lyre accord but ill with the trumpets
of Mars; but if you have abandoned Parnassus, it has been only to fulfil
the duties of a good citizen and of a vigilant chief. I am persuaded, at
the same time, that in the midst of arms you think of peace; that you
would regard it as a triumph for yourself, and the greatest blessing you
could procure for your country. Did not Hannibal himself say that a sure
peace was more valuable than a hoped-for victory! If truth has extorted
this confession from the most warlike man that ever lived, is it not
plain that a pacific man ought to prefer peace even to a certain
victory? Who does not know that peace is the greatest of blessings, and
that war is the source of all evils?

"Do not deceive yourself; you have to deal with a keen people who know
not what it is to be conquered. Would it not be better to transfer the
war to Damascus, to Susa, or to Memphis? Think besides, that those whom
you are going to attack are your brothers. At Thebes, of old, two
brothers fought to their mutual destruction. Must Italy renew, in our
days, so atrocious a spectacle?

"Let us examine what may be the results of this war. Whether you are
conqueror or are conquered, one of the eyes of Italy will necessarily be
blinded, and the other much weakened; for it would be folly to flatter
yourself with the hopes of conquering so strong an enemy without much
effusion of blood.

"Brave men, powerful people! (I speak here to both of you) what is your
object--to what do you aspire? What will be the end of your dissensions?
It is not the blood of the Carthaginians or the Numantians that you are
about to spill, but it is Italian blood; the blood of a people who would
be the first to start up and offer to expend their blood, if any
barbarous nation were to attempt a new irruption among us. In that
event, their bodies would be the bucklers and ramparts of our common
country; they would live, or they would die with us. Ought the pleasure
of avenging a slight offence to carry more weight with you than the
public good and your own safety? Let revenge be the delight of women. Is
it not more glorious for men to forget an injury than to avenge it? to
pardon an enemy than to destroy him?

"If my feeble voice could make itself heard among those grave men who
compose your council, I am persuaded that you would not only _not_
reject the peace which is offered to you, but go to meet and embrace it
closely, so that it might not escape you. Consult your wise old men who
love the republic; they will speak the same language to you that I do.

"You, my lord, who are at the head of the council, and who govern your
republic, ought to recollect that the glory or the shame of these events
will fall principally on you. Raise yourself above yourself; look into,
examine everything with attention. Compare the success of the war with
the evils which it brings in its train. Weigh in a balance the good
effects and the evil, and you will say with Hannibal, that an hour is
sufficient to destroy the work of many years.

"The renown of your country is more ancient than is generally believed.
Several ages before the city of Venice was built, I find not only the
name of the Venetians famous, but also that of one of their dukes. Would
you submit to the caprices of fortune a glory acquired for so long a
time, and at so great a cost? You will render a great service to your
republic, if, preferring her safety to her glory, you give her incensed
and insane populace prudent and useful counsels, instead of offering
them brilliant and specious projects. The wise say that we cannot
purchase a virtue more precious than what is bought at the expense of
glory. If you adopt this axiom, your character will be handed down to
posterity, like that of the Duke of the Venetians, to whom I have
alluded. All the world will admire and love you.

[Illustration: VICENZA.]

"To conceal nothing from you, I confess that I have heard with grief of
your league with the King of Arragon. What! shall Italians go and
implore succour of barbarous kings to destroy Italians? You will say,
perhaps, that your enemies have set you the example. My answer is, that
they are equally culpable. According to report, Venice, in order to
satiate her rage, calls to her aid tyrants of the west; whilst Genoa
brings in those of the east. This is the source of our calamities.
Carried away by the admiration of strange things, despising, I know not
why, the good things which we find in our own climate, we sacrifice
sound Italian faith to barbarian perfidy. Madmen that we are, we seek
among venal souls that which we could find among our own brethren.

"Nature has given us for barriers the Alps and the two seas. Avarice,
envy, and pride, have opened these natural defences to the Cimbri, the
Huns, the Goths, the Gauls, and the Spaniards. How often have we recited
the words of Virgil:--

    "'Impius hæc tam culta novalia miles habebit,
    Barbarus has segetes.'

"Athens and Lacedemon had between them a species of rivalship similar to
yours: but their forces were not by any means so nearly balanced.
Lacedemon had an advantage over Athens, which put it in the power of the
former to destroy her rival, if she had wished it; but she replied, 'God
forbid that I should pull out one of the eyes of Greece!' If this
beautiful sentiment came from a people whom Plato reproaches with their
avidity for conquest and dominion, what still softer reply ought we not
to expect from the most modest of nations!

"Amidst the movements which agitate you, it is impossible for me to be
tranquil. When I see one party cutting down trees to construct vessels,
and others sharpening their swords and darts, I should think myself
guilty if I did not seize my pen, which is my only weapon, to counsel
peace. I am aware with what circumspection we ought to speak to our
superiors; but the love of our country has no superior. If it should
carry me beyond bounds, it will serve as my excuse before you, and
oblige you to pardon me.

"Throwing myself at the feet of the chiefs of two nations who are going
to war, I say to them, with tears in my eyes, 'Throw away your arms;
give one another the embrace of peace! unite your hearts and your
colours. By this means the ocean and the Euxine shall be open to you.
Your ships will arrive in safety at Taprobane, at the Fortunate Isles,
at Thule, and even at the poles. The kings and their people will meet
you with respect; the Indian, the Englishman, the Æthiopian, will dread
you. May peace reign among you, and may you have nothing to fear!'
Adieu! greatest of dukes, and best of men!"

This letter produced no effect. Andrea Dandolo, in his answer to it,
alleges the thousand and one affronts and outrages which Venice had
suffered from Genoa. At the same time he pays a high compliment to the
eloquence of Petrarch's epistle, and says that it is a production which
could emanate only from a mind inspired by the divine Spirit.

During the spring of this year, 1351, Petrarch put his last finish to a
canzone, on the subject still nearest to his heart, the death of his
Laura, and to a sonnet on the same subject. In April, his attention was
recalled from visionary things by the arrival of Boccaccio, who was sent
by the republic of Florence to announce to him the recall of his family
to their native land, and the restoration of his family fortune, as well
as to invite him to the home of his ancestors, in the name of the
Florentine republic. The invitation was conveyed in a long and
flattering letter; but it appeared, from the very contents of this
epistle, that the Florentines wished our poet's acceptance of their
offer to be as advantageous to themselves as to him. They were
establishing a University, and they wished to put Petrarch at the head
of it. Petrarch replied in a letter apparently full of gratitude and
satisfaction, but in which he by no means pledged himself to be the
gymnasiarch of their new college; and, agreeably to his original
intention, he set out from Padua on the 3rd of May, 1351, for Provence.

Petrarch took the road to Vicenza, where he arrived at sunset. He
hesitated whether he should stop there, or take advantage of the
remainder of the day and go farther. But, meeting with some interesting
persons whose conversation beguiled him, night came on before he was
aware how late it was. Their conversation, in the course of the evening,
ran upon Cicero. Many were the eulogies passed on the great old Roman;
but Petrarch, after having lauded his divine genius and eloquence, said
something about his inconsistency. Every one was astonished at our
poet's boldness, but particularly a man, venerable for his age and
knowledge, who was an idolater of Cicero. Petrarch argued pretty freely
against the political character of the ancient orator. The same opinion
as to Cicero's weakness seems rather to have gained ground in later
ages. At least, it is now agreed that Cicero's political life will not
bear throughout an uncharitable investigation, though the political
difficulties of his time demand abundant allowance.

Petrarch departed next morning for Verona, where he reckoned on
remaining only for a few days; but it was impossible for him to resist
the importunities of Azzo Correggio, Guglielmo di Pastrengo, and his
other friends. By them he was detained during the remainder of the
month. "The requests of a friend," he said, on this occasion, "are
always chains upon me."

Petrarch arrived, for the sixth time, at Vaucluse on the 27th of June,
1351. He first announced himself to Philip of Cabassoles, Bishop of
Cavaillon, to whom he had already sent, during his journey, some Latin
verses, in which he speaks of Vaucluse as the most charming place in the
universe. "When a child," he says, "I visited it, and it nourished my
youth in its sunny bosom. When grown to manhood, I passed some of the
pleasantest years of my life in the shut-up valley. Grown old, I wish to
pass in it my last years."

The sight of his romantic hermitage, of the capacious grotto which had
listened to his sighs for Laura, of his garden, and of his library, was,
undoubtedly, sweet to Petrarch; and, though he had promised Boccaccio to
come back to Italy, he had not the fortitude to determine on a sudden
return. He writes to one of his Italian friends, "When I left my native
country, I promised to return to it in the autumn; but time, place, and
circumstances, often oblige us to change our resolutions. As far as I
can judge, it will be necessary for me to remain here for two years. My
friends in Italy, I trust, will pardon me if I do not keep my promise to
them. The inconstancy of the human mind must serve as my excuse. I have
now experienced that change of place is the only thing which can long
keep from us the _ennui_ that is inseparable from a sedentary life."

At the same time, whilst Vaucluse threw recollections tender, though
melancholy, over Petrarch's mind, it does not appear that Avignon had
assumed any new charm in his absence: on the contrary, he found it
plunged more than ever in luxury, wantonness, and gluttony. Clement VI.
had replenished the church, at the request of the French king, with
numbers of cardinals, many of whom were so young and licentious, that
the most scandalous abominations prevailed amongst them. "At this time,"
says Matthew Villani, "no regard was paid either to learning or virtue;
and a man needed not to blush for anything, if he could cover his head
with a red hat. Pietro Ruggiero, one of those exemplary new cardinals,
was only eighteen years of age." Petrarch vented his indignation on this
occasion in his seventh eclogue, which is a satire upon the Pontiff and
his cardinals, the interlocutors being Micione, or Clement himself, and
Epi, or the city of Avignon. The poem, if it can be so called, is
clouded with allegory, and denaturalized with pastoral conceits; yet it
is worth being explored by any one anxious to trace the first fountains
of reform among Catholics, as a proof of church abuses having been
exposed, two centuries before the Reformation, by a Catholic and a

At this crisis, the Court of Avignon, which, in fact, had not known very
well what to do about the affairs of Rome, were now anxious to inquire
what sort of government would be the most advisable, after the fall of
Rienzo. Since that event, the Cardinal Legate had re-established the
ancient government, having created two senators, the one from the house
of Colonna, the other from that of the Orsini. But, very soon, those
houses were divided by discord, and the city was plunged into all the
evils which it had suffered before the existence of the Tribuneship.
"The community at large," says Matthew Villani, "returned to such
condition, that strangers and travellers found themselves like sheep
among wolves." Clement VI. was weary of seeing the metropolis of
Christianity a prey to anarchy. He therefore chose four cardinals, whose
united deliberations might appease these troubles, and he imagined that
he could establish in Rome a form of government that should be durable.
The cardinals requested Petrarch to give his opinion on this important
affair. Petrarch wrote to them a most eloquent epistle, full of
enthusiastic ideas of the grandeur of Rome. It is not exactly known what
effect he produced by his writing on this subject; but on that account
we are not to conclude that he wrote in vain.

Petrarch had brought to Avignon his son John, who was still very young.
He had obtained for him a canonicate at Verona. Thither he immediately
despatched him, with letters to Guglielmo di Pastrengo and Rinaldo di
Villa Franca, charging the former of these friends to superintend his
son's general character and manners, and the other to cultivate his
understanding. Petrarch, in his letter to Rinaldo, gives a description
of John, which is neither very flattering to the youth, nor calculated
to give us a favourable opinion of his father's mode of managing his
education. By his own account, it appears that he had never brought the
boy to confide in him. This was a capital fault, for the young are
naturally ingenuous; so that the acquisition of their confidence is the
very first step towards their docility; and, for maintaining parental
authority, there is no need to overawe them. "As far as I can judge of
my son," says Petrarch, "he has a tolerable understanding; but I am not
certain of this, for I do not sufficiently know him. When he is with me
he always keeps silence; whether my presence is irksome and confusing to
him, or whether shame for his ignorance closes his lips. I suspect it is
the latter, for I perceive too clearly his antipathy to letters. I
never saw it stronger in any one; he dreads and detests nothing so much
as a book; yet he was brought up at Parma, Verona, and Padua. I
sometimes direct a few sharp pleasantries at this disposition. 'Take
care,' I say, 'lest you should eclipse your neighbour, Virgil.' When I
talk in this manner, he looks down and blushes. On this behaviour alone
I build my hope. He is modest, and has a docility which renders him
susceptible of every impression." This is a melancholy confession, on
the part of Petrarch, of his own incompetence to make the most of his
son's mind, and a confession the more convincing that it is made

In the summer of 1352, the people of Avignon witnessed the impressive
spectacle of the far-famed Tribune Rienzo entering their city, but in a
style very different from the pomp of his late processions in Rome. He
had now for his attendants only two archers, between whom he walked as a
prisoner. It is necessary to say a few words about the circumstances
which befell Rienzo after his fall, and which brought him now to the
Pope's tribunal at Avignon.

Petrarch says of him at this period, "The Tribune, formerly so powerful
and dreaded, but now the most unhappy of men, has been brought hither as
a prisoner. I praised and I adored him. I loved his virtue, and I
admired his courage. I thought that Rome was about to resume, under him,
the empire she formerly held. Ah! had he continued as he began, he would
have been praised and admired by the world and by posterity. On entering
the city," Petrarch continues, "he inquired if I was there. I knew not
whether he hoped for succour from me, or what I could do to serve him.
In the process against him they accuse him of nothing criminal. They
cannot impute to him having joined with bad men. All that they charge
him with is an attempt to give freedom to the republic, and to make Rome
the centre of its government. And is this a crime worthy of the wheel or
the gibbet? A Roman citizen afflicted to see his country, which is by
right the mistress of the world, the slave of the vilest of men!"

Clement was glad to have Rienzo in his power, and ordered him into his
presence. Thither the Tribune came, not in the least disconcerted. He
denied the accusation of heresy, and insisted that his cause should be
re-examined with more equity. The Pope made him no reply, but imprisoned
him in a high tower, in which he was chained by the leg to the floor of
his apartment. In other respects he was treated mildly, allowed books to
read, and supplied with dishes from the Pope's kitchen.

Rienzo begged to be allowed an advocate to defend him; his request was
refused. This refusal enraged Petrarch, who wrote, according to De Sade
and others, on this occasion, that mysterious letter, which is found in
his "Epistles without a title." It is an appeal to the Romans in behalf
of their Tribune. I must confess that even the authority of De Sade does
not entirely eradicate from my mind a suspicion as to the spuriousness
of this inflammatory letter, from the consequences of which Petrarch
could hardly have escaped with impunity.

One of the circumstances that detained Petrarch at Avignon was the
illness of the Pope, which retarded his decision on several important
affairs. Clement VI. was fast approaching to his end, and Petrarch had
little hope of his convalescence, at least in the hands of doctors. A
message from the Pope produced an imprudent letter from the poet, in
which he says, "Holy father! I shudder at the account of your fever;
but, believe me, I am not a flatterer. I tremble to see your bed always
surrounded with physicians, who are never agreed, because it would be a
reproach to the second to think like the first. 'It is not to be
doubted,' as Pliny says, 'that physicians, desiring to raise a name by
their discoveries, make experiments upon us, and thus barter away our
lives. There is no law for punishing their extreme ignorance. They learn
their trade at our expense, they make some progress in the art of
curing; and they alone are permitted to murder with impunity.' Holy
father! consider as your enemies the crowd of physicians who beset you.
It is in our age that we behold verified the prediction of the elder
Cato, who declared that corruption would be general when the Greeks
should have transmitted the sciences to Rome, and, above all, the
science of healing. Whole nations have done without this art. The Roman
republic, according to Pliny, was without physicians for six hundred
years, and was never in a more flourishing condition."

The Pope, a poor dying old man, communicated Petrarch's letter
immediately to his physicians, and it kindled in the whole faculty a
flame of indignation, worthy of being described by Molière. Petrarch
made a general enemy of the physicians, though, of course, the weakest
and the worst of them were the first to attack him. One of them told
him, "You are a foolhardy man, who, contemning the physicians, have no
fear either of the fever or of the malaria." Petrarch replied, "I
certainly have no assurance of being free from the attacks of either;
but, if I were attacked by either, I should not think of calling in

His first assailant was one of Clement's own physicians, who loaded him
with scurrility in a formal letter. These circumstances brought forth
our poet's "Four Books of Invectives against Physicians," a work in
which he undoubtedly exposes a great deal of contemporary quackery, but
which, at the same time, scarcely leaves the physician-hunter on higher
ground than his antagonists.

In the last year of his life, Clement VI. wished to attach our poet
permanently to his court by making him his secretary, and Petrarch,
after much coy refusal, was at last induced, by the solicitations of
his friends, to accept the office. But before he could enter upon it, an
objection to his filling it was unexpectedly started. It was discovered
that his style was too lofty to suit the humility of the Roman Church.
The elevation of Petrarch's style might be obvious, but certainly the
humility of the Church was a bright discovery. Petrarch, according to
his own account, so far from promising to bring down his magniloquence
to a level with church humility, seized the objection as an excuse for
declining the secretaryship. He compares his joy on this occasion to
that of a prisoner finding the gates of his prison thrown open. He
returned to Vaucluse, where he waited impatiently for the autumn, when
he meant to return to Italy. He thus describes, in a letter to his dear
Simonides, the manner of life which he there led:--

"I make war upon my body, which I regard as my enemy. My eyes, that have
made me commit so many follies, are well fixed on a safe object. They
look only on a woman who is withered, dark, and sunburnt. Her soul,
however, is as white as her complexion is black, and she has the air of
being so little conscious of her own appearance, that her homeliness may
be said to become her. She passes whole days in the open fields, when
the grasshoppers can scarcely endure the sun. Her tanned hide braves the
heats of the dog-star, and, in the evening, she arrives as fresh as if
she had just risen from bed. She does all the work of my house, besides
taking care of her husband and children and attending my guests. She
seems occupied with everybody but herself. At night she sleeps on
vine-branches; she eats only black bread and roots, and drinks water and
vinegar. If you were to give her anything more delicate, she would be
the worse for it: such is the force of habit.

"Though I have still two fine suits of clothes, I never wear them. If
you saw me, you would take me for a labourer or a shepherd, though I was
once so tasteful in my dress. The times are changed; the eyes which I
wished to please are now shut; and, perhaps, even if they were opened,
they would not _now_ have the same empire over me."

In another letter from Vaucluse, he says: "I rise at midnight; I go out
at break of day; I study in the fields as in my library; I read, I
write, I dream; I struggle against indolence, luxury, and pleasure. I
wander all day among the arid mountains, the fresh valleys, and the deep
caverns. I walk much on the banks of the Sorgue, where I meet no one to
distract me. I recall the past. I deliberate on the future; and, in this
contemplation, I find a resource against my solitude." In the same
letter he avows that he could accustom himself to any habitation in the
world, except Avignon. At this time he was meditating to recross the

Early in September, 1352, the Cardinal of Boulogne departed for Paris,
in order to negotiate a peace between the Kings of France and England.
Petrarch went to take his leave of him, and asked if he had any orders
for Italy, for which he expected soon to set out. The Cardinal told him
that he should be only a month upon his journey, and that he hoped to
see him at Avignon on his return. He had, in fact, kind views with
regard to Petrarch. He wished to procure for him some good establishment
in France, and wrote to him upon his route, "Pray do not depart yet.
Wait until I return, or, at least, until I write to you on an important
affair that concerns yourself." This letter, which, by the way, evinces
that our poet's circumstances were not independent of church promotion,
changed the plans of Petrarch, who remained at Avignon nearly the whole
of the months of September and October.

During this delay, he heard constant reports of the war that was going
on between the Genoese and the Venetians. In the spring of the year
1352, their fleets met in the Propontis, and had a conflict almost
unexampled, which lasted during two days and a tempestuous night. The
Genoese, upon the whole, had the advantage, and, in revenge for the
Greeks having aided the Venetians, they made a league with the Turks.
The Pope, who had it earnestly at heart to put a stop to this fatal war,
engaged the belligerents to send their ambassadors to Avignon, and there
to treat for peace. The ambassadors came; but a whole month was spent in
negotiations which ended in nothing. Petrarch in vain employed his
eloquence, and the Pope his conciliating talents. In these
circumstances, Petrarch wrote a letter to the Genoese government, which
does infinite credit to his head and his heart. He used every argument
that common sense or humanity could suggest to show the folly of the
war, but his arguments were thrown away on spirits too fierce for

A few days after writing this letter, as the Cardinal of Boulogne had
not kept his word about returning to Avignon, and as he heard no news of
him, Petrarch determined to set out for Italy. He accordingly started on
the 16th of November, 1352; but scarcely had he left his own house, with
all his papers, when he was overtaken by heavy falls of rain. At first
he thought of going back immediately; but he changed his purpose, and
proceeded as far as Cavaillon, which is two leagues from Vaucluse, in
order to take leave of his friend, the Bishop of Cabassole. His good
friend was very unwell, but received him with joy, and pressed him to
pass the night under his roof. That night and all the next day it rained
so heavily that Petrarch, more from fear of his books and papers being
damaged than from anxiety about his own health, gave up his Italian
journey for the present, and, returning to Vaucluse, spent there the
rest of November and the whole of December, 1352.

Early in December, Petrarch heard of the death of Clement VI., and this
event gave him occasion for more epistles, both against the Roman court
and his enemies, the physicians. Clement's death was ascribed to
different causes. Petrarch, of course, imputed it to his doctors.
Villani's opinion is the most probable, that he died of a protracted
fever. He was buried with great pomp in the church of Nôtre Dame at
Avignon; but his remains, after some time, were removed to the abbey of
Chaise Dieu, in Auvergne, where his tomb was violated by the Huguenots
in 1562. Scandal says that they made a football of his head, and that
the Marquis de Courton afterwards converted his skull into a

It need not surprise us that his Holiness never stood high in the good
graces of Petrarch. He was a Limousin, who never loved Italy go much as
Gascony, and, in place of re-establishing the holy seat at Rome, he
completed the building of the papal palace at Avignon, which his
predecessor had begun. These were faults that eclipsed all the good
qualities of Clement VI. in the eyes of Petrarch, and, in the sixth of
his eclogues, the poet has drawn the character of Clement in odious
colours, and, with equal freedom, has described most of the cardinals of
his court. Whether there was perfect consistency between this hatred to
the Pope and his thinking, as he certainly did for a time, of becoming
his secretary, may admit of a doubt. I am not, however, disposed to deny
some allowance to Petrarch for his dislike of Clement, who was a
voluptuary in private life, and a corrupted ruler of the Church.

Early in May, 1353, Petrarch departed for Italy, and we find him very
soon afterwards at the palace of John Visconti of Milan, whom he used to
call the greatest man in Italy. This prince, uniting the sacerdotal with
the civil power, reigned absolute in Milan. He was master of Lombardy,
and made all Italy tremble at his hostility. Yet, in spite of his
despotism, John Visconti was a lover of letters, and fond of having
literary men at his court. He exercised a cunning influence over our
poet, and detained him. Petrarch, knowing that Milan was a troubled city
and a stormy court, told the Prince that, being a priest, his vocation
did not permit him to live in a princely court, and in the midst of
arms. "For that matter," replied the Archbishop, "I am myself an
ecclesiastic; I wish to press no employment upon you, but only to
request you to remain as an ornament of my court." Petrarch, taken by
surprise, had not fortitude to resist his importunities. All that he
bargained for was, that he should have a habitation sufficiently distant
from the city, and that he should not be obliged to make any change in
his ordinary mode of living. The Archbishop was too happy to possess him
on these terms.

Petrarch, accordingly, took up his habitation in the western part of the
city, near the Vercellina gate, and the church of St. Ambrosio. His
house was flanked with two towers, stood behind the city wall, and
looked out upon a rich and beautiful country, as far as the Alps, the
tops of which, although it was summer, were still covered with snow.
Great was the joy of Petrarch when he found himself in a house near the
church of that Saint Ambrosio, for whom he had always cherished a
peculiar reverence. He himself tells us that he never entered that
temple without experiencing rekindled devotion. He visited the statue of
the saint, which was niched in one of the walls, and the stone figure
seemed to him to breathe, such was the majesty and tranquillity of the
sculpture. Near the church arose the chapel, where St. Augustin, after
his victory over his refractory passions, was bathed in the sacred
fountain of St. Ambrosio, and absolved from penance for his past life.

All this time, whilst Petrarch was so well pleased with his new abode,
his friends were astonished, and even grieved, at his fixing himself at
Milan. At Avignon, Socrates, Guido Settimo, and the Bishop of Cavaillon,
said among themselves, "What! this proud republican, who breathed
nothing but independence, who scorned an office in the papal court as a
gilded yoke, has gone and thrown himself into the chains of the tyrant
of Italy; this misanthrope, who delighted only in the silence of fields,
and perpetually praised a secluded life, now inhabits the most bustling
of cities!" At Florence, his friends entertained the same sentiments,
and wrote to him reproachfully on the subject. "I would wish to be
silent," says Boccaccio, "but I cannot hold my peace. My reverence for
you would incline me to hold silence, but my indignation obliges me to
speak out. How has Silvanus acted?" (Under the name of Silvanus he
couches that of Petrarch, in allusion to his love of rural retirement.)
"He has forgotten his dignity; he has forgotten all the language he used
to hold respecting the state of Italy, his hatred of the Archbishop, and
his love of liberty; and he would imprison the Muses in that court. To
whom can we now give our faith, when Silvanus, who formerly pronounced
the Visconti a cruel tyrant, has now bowed himself to the yoke which he
once so boldly condemned? How has the Visconti obtained this truckling,
which neither King Robert, nor the Pope, nor the Emperor, could ever
obtain? You will say, perhaps, that you have been ill-used by your
fellow-citizens, who have withheld from you your paternal property. I
disapprove not your just indignation; but Heaven forbid I should believe
that, righteously and honestly, any injury, from whomsoever we may
receive it, can justify our taking part against our country. It is in
vain for you to allege that you have not incited him to war against our
country, nor lent him either your arm or advice. How can you be happy
with him, whilst you are hearing of the ruins, the conflagrations, the
imprisonments, the deaths, and the rapines, that he spreads around him?"

Petrarch's answers to these and other reproaches which his friends sent
to him were cold, vague, and unsatisfactory. He denied that he had
sacrificed his liberty; and told Boccaccio that, after all, it was less
humiliating to be subservient to a single tyrant than to be, as he,
Boccaccio, was, subservient to a whole tyrannical people. This was an
unwise, implied confession on the part of Petrarch that he was the slave
of Visconti. Sismondi may be rather harsh in pronouncing Petrarch to
have been all his life a Troubadour; but there is something in his
friendship with the Lord of Milan that palliates the accusation. In
spite of this severe letter from Boccaccio, it is strange, and yet,
methinks, honourable to both, that their friendship was never broken.

Levati, in his "_Viaggi di Petrarca_," ascribes the poet's settlement at
Milan to his desire of accumulating a little money, not for himself, but
for his natural children; and in some of Petrarch's letters, subsequent
to this period, there are allusions to his own circumstances which give
countenance to this suspicion.

However this may be, Petrarch deceived himself if he expected to have
long tranquillity in such a court as that of Milan. He was perpetually
obliged to visit the Viscontis, and to be present at every feast that
they gave to honour the arrival of any illustrious stranger. A more than
usually important visitant soon came to Milan, in the person of Cardinal
Egidio Albornoz, who arrived at the head of an army, with a view to
restore to the Church large portions of its territory which had been
seized by some powerful families. The Cardinal entered Milan on the 14th
of September, 1353. John Visconti, though far from being delighted at
his arrival, gave him an honourable reception, defrayed all the expenses
of his numerous retinue, and treated him magnificently. He went out
himself to meet him, two miles from the city, accompanied by his nephews
and his courtiers, including Petrarch. Our poet joined the suite of
Galeazzo Visconti, and rode near him. The Legate and his retinue rode
also on horseback. When the two parties met, the dust, that rose in
clouds from the feet of the horses, prevented them from discerning each
other. Petrarch, who had advanced beyond the rest, found himself, he
knew not how, in the midst of the Legate's train, and very near to him.
Salutations passed on either side, but with very little speaking, for
the dust had dried their throats.

Petrarch made a backward movement, to regain his place among his
company. His horse, in backing, slipped with his hind-legs into a ditch
on the side of the road, but, by a sort of miracle, the animal kept his
fore-feet for some time on the top of the ditch. If he had fallen back,
he must have crushed his rider. Petrarch was not afraid, for he was not
aware of his danger; but Galeazzo Visconti and his people dismounted to
rescue the poet, who escaped without injury.

The Legate treated Petrarch, who little expected it, with the utmost
kindness and distinction, and, granting all that he asked for his
friends, pressed him to mention something worthy of his own acceptance.
Petrarch replied: "When I ask for my friends, is it not the same as for
myself? Have I not the highest satisfaction in receiving favours for
them? I have long put a rein on my own desires. Of what, then, can I
stand in need?"

After the departure of the Legate, Petrarch retired to his _rus in
urbe_. In a letter dated thence to his friend the Prior of the Holy
Apostles, we find him acknowledging feelings that were far distant from
settled contentment. "You have heard," he says, "how much my peace has
been disturbed, and my leisure broken in upon, by an importunate crowd
and by unforeseen occupations. The Legate has left Milan. He was
received at Florence with unbounded applause: as for poor me, I am again
in my retreat. I have been long free, happy, and master of my time; but
I feel, at present, that liberty and leisure are only for souls of
consummate virtue. When we are not of that class of beings, nothing is
more dangerous for a heart subject to the passions than to be free,
idle, and alone. The snares of voluptuousness are _then_ more dangerous,
and corrupt thoughts gain an easier entrance--above all, love, that
seducing tormentor, from whom I thought that I had now nothing more to

From these expressions we might almost conclude that he had again fallen
in love; but if it was so, we have no evidence as to the object of his
new passion.

During his half-retirement, Petrarch learned news which disturbed his
repose. A courier arrived, one night, bringing an account of the entire
destruction of the Genoese fleet, in a naval combat with that of the
Venetians, which took place on the 19th of August, 1353, near the island
of Sardinia. The letters which the poet had written, in order to
conciliate those two republics, had proved as useless as the
pacificatory efforts of Clement VI. and his successor, Innocent.
Petrarch, who had constantly predicted the eventual success of Genoa,
could hardly believe his senses, when he heard of the Genoese being
defeated at sea. He wrote a letter of lamentation and astonishment on
the subject to his friend Guido Settimo. He saw, as it were, one of the
eyes of his country destroying the other. The courier, who brought these
tidings to Milan, gave a distressing account of the state of Genoa.
There was not a family which had not lost one of its members.

Petrarch passed a whole night in composing a letter to the Genoese, in
which he exhorted them, after the example of the Romans, never to
despair of the republic. His lecture never reached them. On awakening in
the morning, Petrarch learned that the Genoese had lost every spark of
their courage, and that the day before they had subscribed the most
humiliating concessions in despair.

It has been alleged by some of his biographers that Petrarch suppressed
his letter to the Genoese from his fear of the Visconti family. John
Visconti had views on Genoa, which was a port so conveniently situated
that he naturally coveted the possession of it. He invested it on all
sides by land, whilst its other enemies blockaded it by sea; so that the
city was reduced to famine. The partizans of John Visconti insinuated to
the Genoese that they had no other remedy than to place themselves under
the protection of the Prince of Milan. Petrarch was not ignorant of the
Visconti's views; and it has been, therefore, suspected that he kept
back his exhortatory epistle from his apprehension, that if he had
despatched it, John Visconti would have made it the last epistle of his
life. The morning after writing it, he found that Genoa had signed a
treaty of almost abject submission; after which his exhortation would
have been only an insult to the vanquished.

The Genoese were not long in deliberating on the measures which they
were to take. In a few days their deputies arrived at Milan, imploring
the aid and protection of John Visconti, as well as offering him the
republic of Genoa and all that belonged to it. After some conferences,
the articles of the treaty were signed; and the Lord of Milan accepted
with pleasure the possession that was offered to him.

Petrarch, as a counsellor of Milan, attended these conferences, and
condoled with the deputies from Genoa; though we cannot suppose that he
approved, in his heart, of the desperate submission of the Genoese in
thus throwing themselves into the arms of the tyrant of Italy, who had
been so long anxious either to invade them in open quarrel, or to enter
their States upon a more amicable pretext. John Visconti immediately
took possession of the city of Genoa; and, after having deposed the doge
and senate, took into his own hands the reins of government.

Weary of Milan, Petrarch betook himself to the country, and made a
temporary residence at the castle of St. Columba, which was now a
monastery. This mansion was built in 1164, by the celebrated Frederick
Barbarossa. It now belonged to the Carthusian monks of Pavia. Petrarch
has given a beautiful description of this edifice, and of the
magnificent view which it commands.

Whilst he was enjoying this glorious scenery, he received a letter from
Socrates, informing him that he had gone to Vaucluse in company with
Guido Settimo, whose intention to accompany Petrarch in his journey to
Italy had been prevented by a fit of illness. Petrarch, when he heard of
this visit, wrote to express his happiness at their thus honouring his
habitation, at the same time lamenting that he was not one of their
party. "Repair," he said, "often to the same retreat. Make use of my
books, which deplore the absence of their owner, and the death of their
keeper" (he alluded to his old servant). "My country-house is the temple
of peace, and the home of repose."

From the contents of his letter, on this occasion, it is obvious that he
had not yet found any spot in Italy where he could determine on fixing
himself permanently; otherwise he would not have left his books behind

When he wrote about his books, he was little aware of the danger that
was impending over them. On Christmas day a troop of robbers, who had
for some time infested the neighbourhood of Vaucluse, set fire to the
poet's house, after having taken away everything that they could carry
off. An ancient vault stopped the conflagration, and saved the mansion
from being entirely consumed by the flames. Luckily, the person to whose
care he had left his house--the son of the worthy rustic, lately
deceased--having a presentiment of the robbery, had conveyed to the
castle a great many books which Petrarch left behind him; and the
robbers, believing that there were persons in the castle to defend it,
had not the courage to make an attack.

As Petrarch grew old, we do not find him improve in consistency. In his
letter, dated the 21st of October, 1353, it is evident that he had a
return of his hankering after Vaucluse. He accordingly wrote to his
friends, requesting that they would procure him an establishment in the
Comtat. Socrates, upon this, immediately communicated with the Bishop of
Cavaillon, who did all that he could to obtain for the poet the object
of his wish. It appears that the Bishop endeavoured to get for him a
good benefice in his own diocese. The thing was never accomplished.
Without doubt, the enemies, whom he had excited by writing freely about
the Church, and who were very numerous at Avignon, frustrated his

After some time Petrarch received a letter from the Emperor Charles IV.
in answer to one which the poet had expedited to him about three years
before. Our poet, of course, did not fail to acknowledge his Imperial
Majesty's late-coming letter. He commences his reply with a piece of
pleasantry: "I see very well," he says, "that it is as difficult for
your Imperial Majesty's despatches and couriers to cross the Alps, as it
is for your person and legions." He wonders that the Emperor had not
followed his advice, and hastened into Italy, to take possession of the
empire. "What consoles me," he adds, "is, that if you do not adopt my
sentiments, you at least approve of my zeal; and that is the greatest
recompense I could receive." He argues the question with the Emperor
with great force and eloquence; and, to be sure, there never was a
fairer opportunity for Charles IV. to enter Italy. The reasons which his
Imperial Majesty alleges, for waiting a little time to watch the course
of events, display a timid and wavering mind.

A curious part of his letter is that in which he mentions Rienzo.
"Lately," he says, "we have seen at Rome, suddenly elevated to supreme
power, a man who was neither king, nor consul, nor patrician, and who
was hardly known as a Roman citizen. Although he was not distinguished
by his ancestry, yet he dared to declare himself the restorer of public
liberty. What title more brilliant for an obscure man! Tuscany
immediately submitted to him. All Italy followed her example; and Europe
and the whole world were in one movement. We have seen the event; it is
not a doubtful tale of history. Already, under the reign of the Tribune,
justice, peace, good faith, and security, were restored, and we saw
vestiges of the golden age appearing once more. In the moment of his
most brilliant success, he chose to submit to others. I blame nobody. I
wish neither to acquit nor to condemn; but I know what I ought to think.
That man had only the title of Tribune. Now, if the name of Tribune
could produce such an effect, what might not the title of Cæsar

Charles did not enter Italy until a year after the date of our poet's
epistle; and it is likely that the increasing power of John Visconti
made a far deeper impression on his irresolute mind than all the
rhetoric of Petrarch. Undoubtedly, the petty lords of Italy were fearful
of the vipers of Milan. It was thus that they denominated the Visconti
family, in allusion to their coat of arms, which represented an immense
serpent swallowing a child, though the device was not their own, but
borrowed from a standard which they had taken from the Saracens. The
submission of Genoa alarmed the whole of Italy. The Venetians took
measures to form a league against the Visconti; and the Princes of
Padua, Modena, Mantua, and Verona joined it, and the confederated lords
sent a deputation to the Emperor, to beg that he would support them; and
they proposed that he should enter Italy at their expense. The
opportunity was too good to be lost; and the Emperor promised to do all
that they wished. This league gave great trouble to John Visconti. In
order to appease the threatening storm, he immediately proposed to the
Emperor that he should come to Milan and receive the iron crown; while
he himself, by an embassy from Milan, would endeavour to restore peace
between the Venetians and the Genoese.

Petrarch appeared to John Visconti the person most likely to succeed in
this negotiation, by his eloquence, and by his intimacy with Andrea
Dandolo, who governed the republic of Venice. The poet now wished for
repose, and journeys began to fatigue him; but the Visconti knew so well
how to flatter and manage him, that he could not resist the proposal.

At the commencement of the year 1354, before he departed for Venice,
Petrarch received a present, which gave him no small delight. It was a
Greek Homer, sent to him by Nichola Sigeros, Prætor of Romagna. Petrarch
wrote a long letter of thanks to Sigeros, in which there is a remarkable
confession of the small progress which he had made in the Greek
language, though at the same time he begs his friend Sigeros to send him
copies of Hesiod and Euripides.

A few days afterwards he set out to Venice. He was the chief of the
embassy. He went with confidence, flattering himself that he should find
the Venetians more tractable and disposed to peace, both from their fear
of John Visconti, and from some checks which their fleet had
experienced, since their victory off Sardinia. But he was unpleasantly
astonished to find the Venetians more exasperated than humbled by their
recent losses, and by the union of the Lord of Milan with the Genoese.
All his eloquence could not bring them to accept the proposals he had to
offer. Petrarch completely failed in his negotiation, and, after passing
a month at Venice, he returned to Milan full of chagrin.

Two circumstances seem to have contributed to render the Venetians
intractable. The princes with whom they were leagued had taken into
their pay the mercenary troops of Count Lando, which composed a very
formidable force; and further, the Emperor promised to appear very soon
in Italy at the head of an army.

Some months afterwards, Petrarch wrote to the Doge of Venice, saying,
that he saw with grief that the hearts of the Venetians were shut
against wise counsels, and he then praises John Visconti as a lover of
peace and humanity.

After a considerable interval, Andrea Dandolo answered our poet's
letter, and was very sarcastic upon him for his eulogy on John Visconti.
At this moment, Visconti was arming the Genoese fleet, the command of
which he gave to Paganino Doria, the admiral who had beaten the
Venetians in the Propontis. Doria set sail with thirty-three vessels,
entered the Adriatic, sacked and pillaged some towns, and did much
damage on the Venetian coast. The news of this descent spread
consternation in Venice. It was believed that the Genoese fleet were in
the roads; and the Doge took all possible precautions to secure the
safety of the State.

But Dandolo's health gave way at this crisis, vexed as he was to see the
maiden city so humbled in her pride. His constitution rapidly declined,
and he died the 8th of September, 1354. He was extremely popular among
the Venetians. Petrarch, in a letter written shortly after his death,
says of him: "He was a virtuous man, upright, full of love and zeal for
his republic; learned, eloquent, wise, and affable. He had only one
fault, to wit, that he loved war too much. From this error he judged of
a cause by its event. The luckiest cause always appeared to him the most
just, which made him often repeat what Scipio Africanus said, and what
Lucan makes Cæsar repeat: 'Hæc acies victum factura nocentem.'"

If Dandolo had lived a little longer, and continued his ethical theory
of judging a cause by its success, he would have had a hint, from the
disasters of Venice, that his own cause was not the most righteous. The
Genoese, having surprised the Venetians off the island of Sapienza,
obtained one of the completest victories on record. All the Venetian
vessels, with the exception of one that escaped, were taken, together
with their admiral. It is believed that, if the victors had gone
immediately to Venice, they might have taken the city, which was
defenceless, and in a state of consternation; but the Genoese preferred
returning home to announce their triumph, and to partake in the public
joy. About the time of the Doge's death, another important public event
took place in the death of John Visconti. He had a carbuncle upon his
forehead, just above the eyebrows, which he imprudently caused to be
cut; and, on the very day of the operation, October 4th, 1354, he
expired so suddenly as not to have time to receive the sacrament.

John Visconti had three nephews, Matteo, Galeazzo, and Barnabo. They
were his heirs, and took possession of his dominions in common, a few
days after his death, without any dispute among themselves. The day for
their inauguration was fixed, such was the superstition of the times, by
an astrologer; and on that day Petrarch was commissioned to make to the
assembled people an address suited to the ceremony. He was still in the
midst of his harangue, when the astrologer declared with a loud voice
that the moment for the ceremony was come, and that it would be
dangerous to let it pass. Petrarch, heartily as he despised the false
science, immediately stopped his discourse. The astrologer, somewhat
disconcerted, replied that there was still a little time, and that the
orator might continue to speak. Petrarch answered that he had nothing
more to say. Whilst some laughed, and others were indignant at the
interruption, the astrologer exclaimed "that the happy moment was come;"
on which an old officer carried three white stakes, like the palisades
of a town, and gave one to each of the brothers; and the ceremony was
thus concluded.

The countries which the three brothers shared amongst them comprehended
not only what was commonly called the Duchy, before the King of Sardinia
acquired a great part of it, but the territories of Parma, Piacenza,
Bologna, Lodi, Bobbio, Pontremoli, and many other places.

There was an entire dissimilarity among the brothers. Matteo hated
business, and was addicted to the grossest debaucheries. Barnabo was a
monster of tyranny and cruelty. Petrarch, nevertheless, condescended to
be godfather to one of Barnabo's sons, and presented the child with a
gilt cup. He also composed a Latin poem, on the occasion of his godson
being christened by the name of Marco, in which he passes in review all
the great men who had borne that name.

Galeazzo was very different from his brothers. He had much kindliness of
disposition. One of his greatest pleasures was his intercourse with men
of letters. He almost worshipped Petrarch, and it was his influence that
induced the poet to settle at Milan. Unlike as they were in
dispositions, the brothers, nevertheless, felt how important it was that
they should be united, in order to protect themselves against the
league which threatened them; and, at first, they lived in the greatest
harmony. Barnabo, the most warlike, was charged with whatever concerned
the military. Business of every other kind devolved on Galeazzo. Matteo,
as the eldest, presided over all; but, conscious of his incapacity, he
took little share in the deliberations of his brothers. Nothing
important was done without consulting Petrarch; and this flattering
confidence rendered Milan as agreeable to him as any residence could be,
consistently with his love of change.

The deaths of the Doge of Venice and of the Lord of Milan were soon
followed by another, which, if it had happened some years earlier, would
have strongly affected Petrarch. This was the tragic end of Rienzo. Our
poet's opinion of this extraordinary man had been changed by his later
conduct, and he now took but a comparatively feeble interest in him.
Under the pontificate of Clement VI., the ex-Tribune, after his fall,
had been consigned to a prison at Avignon. Innocent, the succeeding
Pope, thought differently of him from his predecessor, and sent the
Cardinal Albornoz into Italy, with an order to establish him at Rome,
and to confide the government of the city to him under the title of
senator. The Cardinal obeyed the injunction; but after a brief and
inglorious struggle with the faction of the Colonnas, Rienzo perished in
a popular sedition on the 8th of October, 1354.

War was now raging between the States of the Venetian League and Milan,
united with Genoa, when a new actor was brought upon the scene. The
Emperor, who had been solicited by one half of Italy to enter the
kingdom, but who hesitated from dread of the Lord of Milan, was
evidently induced by the intelligence of John Visconti's death to accept
this invitation. In October, 1354, his Imperial Majesty entered Italy,
with no show of martial preparation, being attended by only three
hundred horsemen. On the 10th of November he arrived at Mantua, where he
was received as sovereign. There he stopped for some time, before he
pursued his route to Rome.

The moment Petrarch heard of his arrival, he wrote to his Imperial
Majesty in transports of joy. "You are no longer," he said, "king of
Bohemia. I behold in you the king of the world, the Roman emperor, the
true Cæsar." The Emperor received this letter at Mantua, and in a few
days sent Sacromore de Pomieres, one of his squires, to invite Petrarch
to come and meet him, expressing the utmost eagerness to see him.
Petrarch could not resist so flattering an invitation; he was not to be
deterred even by the unprecedented severity of the frost, and departed
from Milan on the 9th of December; but, with all the speed that he could
make, was not able to reach Mantua till the 12th.

The Emperor thanked him for having come to him in such dreadful weather,
the like of which he had scarcely ever felt, even in Germany. "The
Emperor," says Petrarch, "received me in a manner that partook neither
of imperial haughtiness nor of German etiquette. We passed sometimes
whole days together, from morning to night, in conversation, as if his
Majesty had had nothing else to do. He spoke to me about my works, and
expressed a great desire to see them, particularly my 'Treatise on
Illustrious Men.' I told him that I had not yet put my last hand to it,
and that, before I could do so, I required to have leisure and repose.
He gave me to understand that he should be very glad to see it appear
under his own patronage, that is to say, dedicated to himself. I said to
him, with that freedom of speech which Nature has given me, and which
years have fortified, 'Great prince, for this purpose, nothing more is
necessary than, virtue on your part, and leisure on mine.' He asked me
to explain myself. I said, 'I must have time for a work of this nature,
in which I propose to include great things in a small space. On your
part, labour to deserve that your name should appear at the head of my
book. For this end, it is not enough that you wear a crown; your virtues
and great actions must place you among the great men whose portraits I
have delineated. Live in such a manner, that, after reading the lives of
your illustrious predecessors, you may feel assured that your own life
shall deserve to be read by posterity.'

"The Emperor showed by a smile that my liberty had not displeased him, I
seized this opportunity of presenting him with some imperial medals, in
gold and in silver, and gave him a short sketch of the lives of those
worthies whose images they bore. He seemed to listen to me with
pleasure, and, graciously accepting the medals, declared that he never
had received a more agreeable present.

"I should never end if I were to relate to you all the conversations
which I held with this prince. He desired me one day to relate the
history of my life to him. I declined to do so at first; but he would
take no refusal, and I obeyed him. He heard me with attention, and, if I
omitted any circumstances from forgetfulness or the fear of being
wearisome, he brought them back to my memory. He then asked me what were
my projects for the future, and my plans for the rest of my life. 'My
intentions are good,' I replied to him, 'but a bad habit, which I cannot
conquer, masters my better will, and I resemble a sea beaten by two
opposite winds,' 'I can understand that,' he said; 'but I wish to know
what is the kind of life that would most decidedly please you?' 'A
secluded life,' I replied to him, without hesitation. 'If I could, I
should go and seek for such a life at its fountain-head; that is, among
the woods and mountains, as I have already done. If I could not go so
far to find it, I should seek to enjoy it in the midst of cities.'

"The Emperor differed from me totally as to the benefits of a solitary
life. I told him that I had composed a treatise on the subject. 'I know
that,' said the Emperor; 'and if I ever find your book, I shall throw it
into the fire.' 'And,' I replied, 'I shall take care that it never falls
into your hands.' On this subject we had long and frequent disputes,
always seasoned with pleasantry. I must confess that the Emperor
combated my system on a solitary life with surprising energy."

Petrarch remained eight days with the King of Bohemia, at Mantua, where
he was witness to all his negotiations with the Lords of the league of
Lombardy, who came to confer with his Imperial Majesty, in that city, or
sent thither their ambassadors. The Emperor, above all things, wished to
ascertain the strength of this confederation; how much each principality
would contribute, and how much might be the sum total of the whole
contribution. The result of this inquiry was, that the forces of the
united confederates were not sufficient to make head against the
Visconti, who had thirty thousand well-disciplined men. The Emperor,
therefore, decided that it was absolutely necessary to conclude a peace.
This prince, pacific and without ambition, had, indeed, come into Italy
with this intention; and was only anxious to obtain two crowns without
drawing a sword. He saw, therefore, with satisfaction that there was no
power in Italy to protract hostilities by strengthening the coalition.

He found difficulties, however, in the settlement of a general peace.
The Viscontis felt their superiority; and the Genoese, proud of a
victory which they had obtained over the Venetians, insisted on hard
terms. The Emperor, more intent upon his personal interests than the
good of Italy, merely negotiated a truce between the belligerents. He
prevailed upon the confederates to disband the company of Count Lando,
which cost much and effected little. It cannot be doubted that Petrarch
had considerable influence in producing this dismissal, as he always
held those troops of mercenaries in abhorrence. The truce being signed,
his Imperial Majesty had no further occupation than to negotiate a
particular agreement with the Viscontis, who had sent the chief men of
Milan, with presents, to conclude a treaty with him. No one appeared
more fit than Petrarch to manage this negotiation, and it was
universally expected that it should be entrusted to him; but particular
reasons, which Petrarch has not thought proper to record, opposed the
desires of the Lords of Milan and the public wishes.

The negotiation, nevertheless, was in itself a very easy one. The
Emperor, on the one hand, had no wish to make war for the sake of being
crowned at Monza. On the other hand, the Viscontis were afraid of seeing
the league of their enemies fortified by imperial power. They took
advantage of the desire which they observed in Charles to receive this
crown without a struggle. They promised not to oppose his coronation,
and even to give 50,000 florins for the expense of the ceremony; but
they required that he should not enter the city of Milan, and that the
troops in his suite should be disarmed.

To these humiliating terms Charles subscribed. The affair was completed
during the few days that Petrarch spent at Mantua. The Emperor strongly
wished that he should be present at the signature of the treaty; and, in
fact, though he was not one of the envoys from Milan, the success of the
negotiation was generally attributed to him. A rumour to this effect
reached even Avignon, where Lælius then was. He wrote to Petrarch to
compliment him on the subject. The poet, in his answer, declines an
honour that was not due to him.

After the signature of the treaty, Petrarch departed for Milan, where he
arrived on Christmas eve, 1354. He there found four letters from Zanobi
di Strata, from whom he had not had news for two years. Curious persons
had intercepted their letters to each other. Petrarch often complains of
this nuisance, which was common at the time.

The Emperor set out from Mantua after the festivities of Christmas. On
arriving at the gates of Milan, he was invited to enter by the
Viscontis; but Charles declined their invitation, saying, that he would
keep the promise which he had pledged. The Viscontis told him politely
that they asked his entrance as a favour, and that the precaution
respecting his troops by no means extended to his personal presence,
which they should always consider an honour. The Emperor entered Milan
on the 4th of January, 1355. He was received with the sound of drums,
trumpets, and other instruments, that made such a din as to resemble
thunder. "His entry," says Villani, "had the air of a tempest rather
than of a festivity." Meanwhile the gates of Milan were shut and
strictly guarded. Shortly after his arrival, the three brothers came to
tender their homage, declaring that they held of the Holy Empire all
that they possessed, and that they would never employ their possessions
but for his service.

Next day the three brothers, wishing to give the Emperor a high idea of
their power and forces, held a grand review of their troops, horse and
foot; to which, in order to swell the number, they added companies of
the burgesses, well mounted, and magnificently dressed; and they
detained his poor Majesty at a window, by way of amusing him, all the
time they were making this display of their power. Whilst the troops
were defiling, they bade him look upon the six thousand cavalry and ten
thousand infantry, which they kept in their pay for his service, adding
that their fortresses and castles were well furnished and garrisoned.
This spectacle was anything but amusing to the Emperor; but he put a
good countenance on the matter, and appeared cheerful and serene.
Petrarch scarcely ever quitted his side; and the Prince conversed with
him whenever he could snatch time from business, and from the rigid
ceremonials that were imposed on him.

On the 6th of January, the festival of Epiphany, Charles received at
Milan the iron crown, in the church of St. Ambrosio, from the hands of
Robert Visconti, Archbishop of Milan. They gave the Emperor fifty
thousand florins in gold, two hundred beautiful horses, covered with
cloth bordered with ermine, and six hundred horsemen to escort him to

The Emperor, who regarded Milan only as a fine large prison, got out of
it as soon as he could. Petrarch accompanied him as far as five miles
beyond Pìacenza, but refused to comply with the Emperor's solicitations
to continue with him as far as Rome.

The Emperor departed from Sienna the 28th of March, with the Empress and
all his suite. On the 2nd of April he arrived at Rome. During the next
two days he visited the churches in pilgrim's attire. On Sunday, which
was Easter day, he was crowned, along with his Empress; and, on this
occasion, he confirmed all the privileges of the Roman Church, and all
the promises that he had made to the Popes Clement VI. and Innocent VI.
One of those promises was, that he should not enter Rome except upon the
day of his coronation, and that he should not sleep in the city. He kept
his word most scrupulously. After leaving the church of St. Peter, he
went with a grand retinue to St. John's di Latrana, where he dined, and,
in the evening, under pretext of a hunting-party, he went and slept at
St. Lorenzo, beyond the walls.

The Emperor arrived at Sienna on the 29th of April. He had there many
conferences with the Cardinal Albornoz, to whom he promised troops for
the purpose of reducing the tyrants with whom the Legate was at war. His
Majesty then went to Pisa, where, on the 21st of May, 1355, a sedition
broke out against him, which nearly cost him his life. He left Tuscany
without delay, with his Empress and his whole suite, to return to
Germany, where he arrived early in June. Many were the affronts he met
with on his route, and he recrossed the Alps, as Villani says, "with his
dignity humbled, though with his purse well filled."

Lælius, who had accompanied the Emperor as far as Cremona, quitted him
at that place, and went to Milan, where he delivered to Petrarch the
Prince's valedictory compliments. Petrarch's indignation, at his
dastardly flight vented itself in a letter to his Imperial Majesty
himself, so full of unmeasured rebuke, that it is believed it was never

Shortly after the departure of the Emperor, Petrarch had the
satisfaction of hearing, in his own church of St. Ambrosio, the
publication of a peace between the Venetians and Genoese. It was
concluded at Milan by the mediation of the Visconti, entirely to the
advantage of the Genoese, to whom their victory gained in the gulf of
Sapienza had given an irresistible superiority. It cost the Venetians
two hundred thousand florins. Whilst the treaty of peace was
proceeding, Venice witnessed the sad and strange spectacle of Marino
Faliero, her venerable Doge, four-score years old, being dragged to a
public execution. Some obscurity still hangs over the true history of
this affair. Petrarch himself seems to have understood it but
imperfectly, though, from his personal acquaintance with Faliero, and
his humane indignation at seeing an old man whom he believed to be
innocent, hurled from his seat of power, stripped of his ducal robes,
and beheaded like the meanest felon, he inveighs against his execution
as a public murder, in his letter on the subject to Guido Settimo.

Petrarch, since his establishment at Milan, had thought it his duty to
bring thither his son John, that he might watch over his education. John
was at this time eighteen years of age, and was studying at Verona.

The September of 1355 was a critical month for our poet. It was then
that the tertian ague commonly attacked him, and this year it obliged
him to pass a whole month in bed. He was just beginning to be
convalescent, when, on the 9th of September, 1355, a friar, from the
kingdom of Naples, entered his chamber, and gave him a letter from
Barbato di Salmone. This was a great joy to him, and tended to promote
the recovery of his health. Their correspondence had been for a long
time interrupted by the wars, and the unsafe state of the public roads.
This letter was full of enthusiasm and affection, and was addressed to
_Francis Petrarch, the king of poets_. The friar had told Barbato that
this title was given to Petrarch over all Italy. Our poet in his answer
affected to refuse it with displeasure as far beyond his deserts. "There
are only two king-poets," he says, "the one in Greece, the other in
Italy. The old bard of Mæonia occupies the former kingdom, the shepherd
of Mantua is in possession of the latter. As for me, I can only reign in
my transalpine solitude and on the banks of the Sorgue."

Petrarch continued rather languid during autumn, but his health was
re-established before the winter.

Early in the year 1356, whilst war was raging between Milan and the
Lombard and Ligurian league, a report was spread that the King of
Hungary had formed a league with the Emperor and the Duke of Austria, to
invade Italy. The Italians in alarm sent ambassadors to the King of
Hungary, who declared that he had no hostile intentions, except against
the Venetians, as they had robbed him of part of Sclavonia. This
declaration calmed the other princes, but not the Viscontis, who knew
that the Emperor would never forget the manner in which they had treated
him. They thought that it would be politic to send an ambassador to
Charles, in order to justify themselves before him, or rather to
penetrate into his designs, and no person seemed to be more fit for this
commission than Petrarch. Our poet had no great desire to journey into
the north, but a charge so agreeable and flattering made him overlook
the fatigue of travelling. He wrote thus to Simonides on the day before
his departure:--"They are sending me to the north, at the time when I am
sighing for solitude and repose. But man was made for toil: the charge
imposed on me does not displease me, and I shall be recompensed for my
fatigue if I succeed in the object of my mission. The Lord of Liguria
sends me to treat with the Emperor. After having conferred with him on
public affairs, I reckon on being able to treat with him respecting my
own, and be my own ambassador. I have reproached this prince by letter
with his shameful flight from our country. I shall make him the same
reproaches, face to face, and _vivâ voce_. In thus using _my own_
liberty and his patience, I shall avenge at once Italy, the empire, and
my own person. At my return I shall bury myself in a solitude so
profound that toil and envy will not be able to find me out. Yet what
folly! Can I flatter myself to find any place where envy cannot

[Illustration: MILAN CATHEDRAL.]

Next day he departed with Sacromoro di Pomieres, whose company was a
great solace to him. They arrived at Basle, where the Emperor was
expected; but they waited in vain for him a whole month. "This prince,"
says Petrarch, "finishes nothing; one must go and seek him in the depths
of barbarism." It was fortunate for him that he stayed no longer, for, a
few days after he took leave of Basle, the city was almost wholly
destroyed by an earthquake.

Petrarch arrived at Prague in Bohemia towards the end of July, 1356. He
found the Emperor wholly occupied with that famous Golden Bull, the
provisions of which he settled with the States, at the diet of
Nuremberg, and which he solemnly promulgated at another grand diet held
at Christmas, in the same year. This Magna Charta of the Germanic
constitution continued to be the fundamental law of the empire till its

Petrarch made but a short stay at Prague, notwithstanding his Majesty's
wish to detain him. The Emperor, though sorely exasperated against the
Visconti, had no thoughts of carrying war into Italy. His affairs in
Germany employed him sufficiently, besides the embellishment of the city
of Prague. At the Bohemian court our poet renewed a very amicable
acquaintance with two accomplished prelates, Ernest, Archbishop of
Pardowitz, and John Oczkow, Bishop of Olmütz. Of these churchmen he
speaks in the warmest terms, and he afterwards corresponded with them.
We find him returned to Milan, and writing to Simonides on the 20th of

Some days after Petrarch's return from Germany, a courier arrived at
Milan with news of the battle of Poitiers, in which eighty thousand
French were defeated by thirty thousand Englishmen, and in which King
John of France was made prisoner.[M] Petrarch was requested by Galeazzo
Visconti on this occasion to write for him two condoling letters, one to
Charles the Dauphin, and another to the Cardinal of Boulogne. Petrarch
was thunderstruck at the calamity of King John, of whom he had an
exalted idea. "It is a thing," he says, "incredible, unheard-of, and
unexampled in history, that an invincible hero, the greatest king that
ever lived, should have been conquered and made captive by an enemy so

On this great event, our poet composed an allegorical eclogue, in which
the King of France, under the name of Pan, and the King of England,
under that of Articus, heartily abuse each other. The city of Avignon is
brought in with the designation of Faustula. England reproaches the Pope
with his partiality for the King of France, to whom he had granted the
tithes of his kingdom, by which means he was enabled to levy an army.
Articus thus apostrophizes Faustula:--

    Ah meretrix oblique tuens, ait Articus illi--
    Immemorem sponsæ cupidus quam mungit adulter!
    Hæc tua tota fides, sic sic aliena ministras!
    Erubuit nihil ausa palam, nisi mollia pacis
    Verba, sed assuetis noctem complexibus egit--

    Ah, harlot! squinting with lascivious brows
    Upon a hapless wife's adulterous spouse,
    Is this thy faith, to waste another's wealth.
    The guilty fruit of perfidy and stealth!
    She durst not be my foe in open light.
    But in my foe's embraces spent the night.

Meanwhile, Marquard, Bishop of Augsburg, vicar of the Emperor in Italy,
having put himself at the head of the Lombard league against the
Viscontis, entered their territories with the German troops, and was
committing great devastations. But the brothers of Milan turned out,
beat the Bishop, and took him prisoner. It is evident, from these
hostilities of the Emperor's vicar against the Viscontis, that
Petrarch's embassy to Prague had not had the desired success. The
Emperor, it is true, plainly told him that he had no thoughts of
invading Italy in person. And this was true; but there is no doubt that
he abetted and secretly supported the enemies of the Milan chiefs.
Powerful as the Visconti were, their numerous enemies pressed them hard;
and, with war on all sides, Milan was in a critical situation. But
Petrarch, whilst war was at the very gates, continued retouching his
Italian poetry.

At the commencement of this year, 1356, he received a letter from
Avignon, which Socrates, Lælius, and Guido Settimo had jointly written
to him. They dwelt all three in the same house, and lived in the most
social union. Petrarch made them a short reply, in which he said,
"Little did I think that I should ever envy those who inhabit Babylon.
Nevertheless, I wish that I were with you in that house of yours,
inaccessible to the pestilent air of the infamous city. I regard it as
an elysium in the midst of Avernus."

At this time, Petrarch received a diploma that was sent to him by John,
Bishop of Olmütz, Chancellor of the Empire, in which diploma the Emperor
created him a count palatine, and conferred upon him the rights and
privileges attached to this dignity. These, according to the French
abridger of the History of Germany, consisted in creating doctors and
notaries, in legitimatizing the bastards of citizens, in crowning poets,
in giving dispensations with respect to age, and in other things. To
this diploma sent to Petrarch was attached a bull, or capsule of gold.
On one side was the impression of the Emperor, seated on his throne,
with an eagle and lion beside him; on the other was the city of Rome,
with its temples and walls. The Emperor had added to this dignity
privileges which he granted to very few, and the Chancellor, in his
communication, used very flattering terms. Petrarch says, in his letter
of thanks, "I am exceedingly grateful for the signal distinction which
the Emperor has graciously vouchsafed to me, and for the obliging terms
with which you have seasoned the communication. I have never sought in
vain for anything from his Imperial Majesty and yourself. But I wish not
for your gold."

In the summer of 1357, Petrarch, wishing to screen himself from the
excessive heat, took up his abode for a time on the banks of the Adda at
Garignano, a village three miles distant from Milan, of which he gives a
charming description. "The village," he says, "stands on a slight
elevation in the midst of a plain, surrounded on all sides by springs
and streams, not rapid and noisy like those of Vaucluse, but clear and
modest. They wind in such a manner, that you know not either whither
they are going, or whence they have come. As if to imitate the dances of
the nymphs, they approach, they retire, they unite, and they separate
alternately. At last, after having formed a kind of labyrinth, they all
meet, and pour themselves into the same reservoir." John Visconti had
chosen this situation whereon to build a Carthusian monastery. This was
what tempted Petrarch to found here a little establishment. He wished at
first to live within the walls of the monastery, and the Carthusians
made him welcome to do so; but he could not dispense with servants and
horses, and he feared that the drunkenness of the former might trouble
the silence of the sacred retreat. He therefore hired a house in the
neighbourhood of the holy brothers, to whom he repaired at all hours of
the day. He called this house his Linterno, in memory of Scipio
Africanus, whose country-house bore that name. The peasants, hearing him
call the domicile _Linterno_, corrupted the word into _Inferno_, and,
from this mispronunciation, the place was often jocularly called by that

Petrarch was scarcely settled in this agreeable solitude, when he
received a letter from his friend Settimo, asking him for an exact and
circumstantial detail of his circumstances and mode of living, of his
plans and occupations, of his son John, &c. His answer was prompt, and
is not uninteresting. "The course of my life," he says, "has always been
uniform ever since the frost of age has quenched the ardour of my youth,
and particularly that fatal flame which so long tormented me. But what
do I say?" he continues; "it is a celestial dew which has produced this
extinction. Though I have often changed my place of abode, I have always
led nearly the same kind of life. What it is, none knows better than
yourself. I once lived beside you for two years. Call to mind how I was
then occupied, and you will know my present occupations. You understand
me so well that you ought to be able to guess, not only what I am doing,
but what I am dreaming.

"Like a traveller, I am quickening my steps in proportion as I approach
the term of my course. I read and write night and day; the one
occupation refreshes me from the fatigue of the other These are my
employments--these are my pleasures. My tasks increase upon my hands;
one begets another; and I am dismayed when I look at what I have
undertaken to accomplish in so short a space as the remainder of my
life. * * * My health is good; my body is so robust that neither ripe
years, nor grave occupations, nor abstinence, nor penance, can totally
subdue that _kicking ass_ on whom I am constantly making war. I count
upon the grace of Heaven, without which I should infallibly fall, as I
fell in other times. All my reliance is on Christ. With regard to my
fortune, I am exactly in a just mediocrity, equally distant from the two
extremes * * * *

"I inhabit a retired corner of the city towards the west. Their ancient
devotion attracts the people every Sunday to the church of St. Ambrosio,
near which I dwell. During the rest of the week, this quarter is a

"Fortune has changed nothing in my nourishment, or my hours of sleep,
except that I retrench as much as possible from indulgence in either. I
lie in bed for no other purpose than to sleep, unless I am ill. I hasten
from bed as soon as I am awake, and pass into my library. This takes
place about the middle of the night, save when the nights are shortest.
I grant to Nature nothing but what she imperatively demands, and which
it is impossible to refuse her.

"Though I have always loved solitude and silence, I am a great gossip
with my friends, which arises, perhaps, from my seeing them but rarely.
I atone for this loquacity by a year of taciturnity. I mutely recall my
parted friends by correspondence. I resemble that class of people of
whom Seneca speaks, who seize life in detail, and not by the gross. The
moment I feel the approach of summer, I take a country-house a league
distant from town, where the air is extremely pure. In such a place I am
at present, and here I lead my wonted life, more free than ever from the
wearisomeness of the city. I have abundance of everything; the peasants
vie with each other in bringing me fruit, fish, ducks, and all sorts of
game. There is a beautiful Carthusian monastery in my neighbourhood,
where, at all hours of the day, I find the innocent pleasures which
religion offers. In this sweet retreat I feel no want but that of my
ancient friends. In these I was once rich; but death has taken away some
of them, and absence robs me of the remainder. Though my imagination
represents them, still I am not the less desirous of their real
presence. There would remain but few things for me to desire, if fortune
would restore to me but two friends, such as you and Socrates. I confess
that I flattered myself a long time to have had you both with me. But,
if you persist in your rigour, I must console myself with the company of
my religionists. Their conversation, it is true, is neither witty nor
profound, but it is simple and pious. Those good priests will be of
great service to me both in life and death. I think I have now said
enough about myself, and, perhaps, more than enough. You ask me about
the state of my fortune, and you wish to know whether you may believe
the rumours that are abroad about my riches. It is true that my income
is increased; but so, also, proportionably, is my outlay. I am, as I
have always been, neither rich nor poor. Riches, they say, make men poor
by multiplying their wants and desires; for my part, I feel the
contrary; the more I have the less I desire. Yet, I suppose, if I
possessed great riches, they would have the same effect upon me as upon
other people.

"You ask news about my son. I know not very well what to say concerning
him. His manners are gentle, and the flower of his youth holds out a
promise, though what fruit it may produce I know not. I think I may
flatter myself that he will be an honest man. He has talent; but what
avails talent without study! He flies from a book as he would from a
serpent. Persuasions, caresses, and threats are all thrown away upon him
as incitements to study. I have nothing wherewith to reproach myself;
and I shall be satisfied if he turns out an honest man, as I hope he
will. Themistocles used to say that he liked a man without letters
better than letters without a man."

In the month of August, 1357, Petrarch received a letter from
Benintendi, the Chancellor of Venice, requesting him to send a dozen
elegiac verses to be engraved on the tomb of Andrea Dandolo. The
children of the Doge had an ardent wish that our poet should grant them
this testimony of his friendship for their father. Petrarch could not
refuse the request, and composed fourteen verses, which contain a sketch
of the great actions of Dandolo. But they were verses of command, which
the poet made in despite of the Muses and of himself.

In the following year, 1358, Petrarch was almost entirely occupied with
his treatise, entitled, "De Remediis utriusque Fortunæ," (A Remedy
against either extreme of Fortune.) This made a great noise when it
appeared. Charles V. of France had it transcribed for his library, and
translated; and it was afterwards translated into Italian and Spanish.

Petrarch returned to Milan, and passed the autumn at his house, the
Linterno, where he met with an accident, that for some time threatened
dangerous consequences. He thus relates it, in a letter to his friend,
Neri Morandi:--"I have a great volume of the epistles of Cicero, which I
have taken the pains to transcribe myself, for the copyists understand
nothing. One day, when I was entering my library, my gown got entangled
with this large book, so that the volume fell heavily on my left leg, a
little above the heel. By some fatality, I treated the accident too
lightly. I walked, I rode on horseback, according to my usual custom;
but my leg became inflamed, the skin changed colour, and mortification
began to appear. The pain took away my cheerfulness and sleep. I then
perceived that it was foolish courage to trifle with so serious an
accident. Doctors were called in. They feared at first that it would be
necessary to amputate the limb; but, at last, by means of regimen and
fomentation, the afflicted member was put into the way of healing. It is
singular that, ever since my infancy, my misfortunes have always fallen
on this same left leg. In truth, I have always been tempted to believe
in destiny; and why not, if, by the word destiny, we understand

As soon as his leg was recovered, he made a trip to Bergamo. There was
in that city a jeweller named Enrico Capri, a man of great natural
talents, who cherished a passionate admiration for the learned, and
above all for Petrarch, whose likeness was pictured or statued in every
room of his house. He had copies made at a great expense of everything
that came from his pen. He implored Petrarch to come and see him at
Bergamo. "If he honours my household gods," he said, "but for a single
day with his presence, I shall be happy all my life, and famous through
all futurity." Petrarch consented, and on the 13th of October, 1358, the
poet was received at Bergamo with transports of joy. The governor of the
country and the chief men of the city wished to lodge him in some
palace; but Petrarch adhered to his jeweller, and would not take any
other lodging but with his friend.

A short time after his return to Milan, Petrarch had the pleasure of
welcoming to his house John Boccaccio, who passed some days with him.
The author of the Decamerone regarded Petrarch as his literary master.
He owed him a still higher obligation, according to his own statement;
namely, that of converting his heart, which, he says, had been frivolous
and inclined to gallantry, and even to licentiousness, until he received
our poet's advice. He was about forty-five years old when he went to
Milan. Petrarch made him sensible that it was improper, at his age, to
lose his time in courting women; that he ought to employ it more
seriously, and turn towards heaven, the devotion which he misplaced on
earthly beauties. This conversation is the subject of one of
Boccaccio's eclogues, entitled, "Philostropos." His eclogues are in the
style of Petrarch, obscure and enigmatical, and the subjects are muffled
up under emblems and Greek names.

After spending some days with Petrarch, that appeared short to them
both, Boccaccio, pressed by business, departed about the beginning of
April, 1359. The great novelist soon afterwards sent to Petrarch from
Florence a beautiful copy of Dante's poem, written in his own hand,
together with some indifferent Latin verses, in which he bestows the
highest praises on the author of the Inferno. At that time, half the
world believed that Petrarch was jealous of Dante's fame; and the rumour
was rendered plausible by the circumstance--for which he has accounted
very rationally--that he had not a copy of Dante in his library.

In the month of May in this year, 1359, a courier from Bohemia brought
Petrarch a letter from the Empress Anne, who had the condescension to
write to him with her own hand to inform him that she had given birth to
a daughter. Great was the joy on this occasion, for the Empress had been
married five years, but, until now, had been childless. Petrarch, in his
answer, dated the 23rd of the same month, after expressing his sense of
the honour which her Imperial Majesty had done him, adds some
common-places, and seasons them with his accustomed pedantry. He
pronounces a grand eulogy on the numbers of the fair sex who had
distinguished themselves by their virtues and their courage. Among these
he instances Isis, Carmenta, the mother of Evander, Sappho, the Sybils,
the Amazons, Semiramis, Tomiris, Cleopatra, Zenobia, the Countess
Matilda, Lucretia, Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, Martia, Portia,
and Livia. The Empress Anne was no doubt highly edified by this
muster-roll of illustrious women; though some of the heroines, such as
Lucretia, might have bridled up at their chaste names being classed with
that of Cleopatra.

Petrarch repaired to Linterno, on the 1st of October, 1359; but his stay
there was very short. The winter set in sooner than usual. The constant
rains made his rural retreat disagreeable, and induced him to return to
the city about the end of the month.

On rising, one morning, soon after his return to Milan, he found that he
had been robbed of everything valuable in his house, excepting his
books. As it was a domestic robbery, he could accuse nobody of it but
his son John and his servants, the former of whom had returned from
Avignon. On this, he determined to quit his house at St. Ambrosio, and
to take a small lodging in the city; here, however, he could not live in
peace. His son and servants quarrelled every day, in his very presence,
so violently that they exchanged blows. Petrarch then lost all patience,
and turned the whole of his pugnacious inmates out of doors. His son
John had now become an arrant debauchee; and it was undoubtedly to
supply his debaucheries that he pillaged his own father. He pleaded
strongly to be readmitted to his home; but Petrarch persevered for some
time in excluding him, though he ultimately took him back.

It appears from one of Petrarch's letters, that many people at Milan
doubted his veracity about the story of the robbery, alleging that it
was merely a pretext to excuse his inconstancy in quitting his house at
St. Ambrosio; but that he was capable of accusing his own son on false
grounds is a suspicion which the whole character of Petrarch easily
repels. He went and settled himself in the monastery of St. Simplician,
an abbey of the Benedictines of Monte Cassino, pleasantly situated
without the walls of the city.

He was scarcely established in his new home at St. Simplician's, when
Galeazzo Visconti arrived in triumph at Milan, after having taken
possession of Pavia. The capture of this city much augmented the power
of the Lords of Milan; and nothing was wanting to their satisfaction but
the secure addition to their dominions of Bologna, to which Barnabo
Visconti was laying siege, although John of Olegea had given it up to
the Church in consideration of a pension and the possession of the city
of Fermo.

This affair had thrown the court of Avignon into much embarrassment, and
the Pope requested Nicholas Acciajuoli, Grand Seneschal of Naples, who
had been sent to the Papal city by his Neapolitan Majesty, to return by
way of Milan, and there negotiate a peace between the Church and Barnabo
Visconti. Acciajuoli reached Milan at the end of May, very eager to see
Petrarch, of whom he had heard much, without having yet made his
acquaintance. Petrarch describes their first interview in a letter to
Zanobi da Strada, and seems to have been captivated by the gracious
manners of the Grand Seneschal.

With all his popularity, the Seneschal was not successful in his
mission. When the Seneschal's proposals were read to the impetuous
Barnabo, he said, at the end of every sentence "Io voglio Bologna." It
is said that Petrarch detached Galeazzo Visconti from the ambitious
projects of his brother; and that it was by our poet's advice that
Galeazzo made a separate peace with the Pope; though, perhaps, the true
cause of his accommodation with the Church was his being in treaty with
France and soliciting the French monarch's daughter, Isabella, in
marriage for his son Giovanni. After this marriage had been celebrated
with magnificent festivities, Petrarch was requested by Galeazzo to go
to Paris, and to congratulate the unfortunate King John upon his return
to his country. Our poet had a transalpine prejudice against France; but
he undertook this mission to its capital, and was deeply touched by its
unfortunate condition.

If the aspect of the country in general was miserable, that of the
capital was still worse. "Where is Paris," exclaims Petrarch, "that
metropolis, which, though inferior to its reputation, was, nevertheless,
a great city?" He tells us that its streets were covered with briars and
grass, and that it looked like a vast desert.

Here, however, in spite of its desolate condition, Petrarch witnessed
the joy with which the Parisians received their King John and the
Dauphin Charles. The King had not been well educated, yet he respected
literature and learned men. The Dauphin was an accomplished prince; and
our poet says that he was captivated by his modesty, sense, and

Petrarch arrived at Milan early in March, 1361, bringing letters from
King John and his son the Dauphin, in which those princes entreat the
two Lords of Milan to persuade Petrarch by every means to come and
establish himself at their court. No sooner had he refused their
pressing invitations, than he received an equally earnest request from
the Emperor to accept his hospitality at Prague.

At this period, it had given great joy in Bohemia that the Empress had
produced a son, and that the kingdom now possessed an heir apparent. His
Imperial Majesty's satisfaction made him, for once, generous, and he
distributed rich presents among his friends. Nor was our poet forgotten
on this occasion. The Emperor sent him a gold embossed cup of admirable
workmanship, accompanied by a letter, expressing his high regard, and
repeating his request that he would pay him a visit in Germany. Petrarch
returned him a letter of grateful thanks, saying: "Who would not be
astonished at seeing transferred to my use a vase consecrated by the
mouth of Cæsar? But I will not profane the sacred gift by the common use
of it. It shall adorn my table only on days of solemn festivity." With
regard to the Imperial invitation, he concludes a long apology for not
accepting it immediately, but promising that, as soon as the summer was
over, if he could find a companion for the journey, he would go to the
court of Prague, and remain as long as it pleased his Majesty, since the
presence of Cæsar would console him for the absence of his books, his
friends, and his country. This epistle is dated July 17th, 1861.

Petrarch quitted Milan during this year, a removal for which various
reasons are alleged by his biographers, though none of them appear to me
quite satisfactory.

He had now a new subject of grief to descant upon. The Marquis of
Montferrat, unable to contend against the Visconti, applied to the Pope
for assistance. He had already made a treaty with the court of London,
by which it was agreed that a body of English troops were to be sent to
assist the Marquis against the Visconti. They entered Italy by Nice. It
was the first time that our countrymen had ever entered the Saturnian
land. They did no credit to the English character for humanity, but
ravaged lands and villages, killing men and violating women. Their
general appellation was the bulldogs of England. What must have been
Petrarch's horror at these unkennelled hounds! In one of his letters he
vents his indignation at their atrocities; but, by-and-by, in the same
epistle, he glides into his bookworm habit of apostrophizing the ancient
heroes of Rome, Brutus, Camillus, and God knows how many more!


The plague now again broke out in Italy; and the English and other
predatory troops contributed much to spread its ravages. It extended to
many places; but most of all it afflicted Milan.

It is probable that these disasters were among the causes of Petrarch's
leaving Milan. He settled at Padua, when the plague had not reached it.
At this time, Petrarch lost his son John. Whether he died at Milan or at
Padua is not certain, but, wherever he died, it was most probably of the
plague. John had not quite attained his twenty-fourth year.

In the same year, 1361, he married his daughter Francesca, now near the
age of twenty, to Francesco di Brossano, a gentleman of Milan. Petrarch
speaks highly of his son-in-law's talents, and of the mildness of his
character. Boccaccio has drawn his portrait in the most pleasing
colours. Of the poet's daughter, also, he tells us, "that without being
handsome, she had a very agreeable face, and much resembled her father."
It does not seem that she inherited his genius; but she was an excellent
wife, a tender mother, and a dutiful daughter. Petrarch was certainly
pleased both with her and with his son-in-law; and, if he did not live
with the married pair, he was, at least, near them, and much in their

When our poet arrived at Padua, Francesco di Carrara, the son of his
friend Jacopo, reigned there in peace and alone. He had inherited his
father's affection for Petrarch. Here, too, was his friend Pandolfo
Malatesta, one of the bravest condottieri of the fourteenth century, who
had been driven away from Milan by the rage and jealousy of Barnabo.

The plague, which still continued to infest Southern Europe in 1362, had
even in the preceding year deprived our poet of his beloved friend
Socrates, who died at Avignon. "He was," says Petrarch, "of all men the
dearest to my heart. His sentiments towards me never varied during an
acquaintance of thirty-one years."

The plague and war rendered Italy at this time so disagreeable to
Petrarch, that he resolved on returning to Vaucluse. He, therefore, set
out from Padua for Milan, on the 10th of January, 1362, reckoning that
when the cold weather was over he might depart from the latter place on
his route to Avignon. But when he reached Milan, he found that the state
of the country would not permit him to proceed to the Alps.

The Emperor of Germany now sent Petrarch a third letter of invitation to
come and see him, which our poet promised to accept; but alleged that he
was prevented by the impossibility of getting a safe passage. Boccaccio,
hearing that Petrarch meditated a journey to the far North, was much
alarmed, and reproached him for his intention of dragging the Muses into
Sarmatia, when Italy was the true Parnassus.

In June, 1362, the plague, which had begun its ravages at Padua, chased
Petrarch from that place, and he took the resolution of establishing
himself at Venice, which it had not reached. The course of the
pestilence, like that of the cholera, was not general, but unaccountably
capricious. Villani says that it acted like hail, which will desolate
fields to the right and left, whilst it spares those in the middle. The
war had not permitted our poet to travel either to Avignon or into
Germany. The plague had driven him out of Milan and Padua. "I am not
flying from death," he said, "but seeking repose."

Having resolved to repair to Venice, Petrarch as usual took his books
along with him. From one of his letters to Boccaccio, it appears that it
was his intention to bestow his library on some religious community,
but, soon after his arrival at Venice, he conceived the idea of offering
this treasure to the Venetian Republic. He wrote to the Government that
he wished the blessed Evangelist, St. Mark, to be the heir of those
books, on condition that they should all be placed in safety, that they
should neither be sold nor separated, and that they should be sheltered
from fire and water, and carefully preserved for the use and amusement
of the learned and noble in Venice. He expressed his hopes, at the same
time, that the illustrious city would acquire other trusts of the same
kind for the good of the public, and that the citizens who loved their
country, the nobles above all, and even strangers, would follow his
example in bequeathing books to the church of St. Mark, which might one
day contain a great collection similar to those of the ancients.

The procurators of the church of St. Mark having offered to defray the
expense of lodging and preserving his library, the republic decreed that
our poet's offer did honour to the Venetian state. They assigned to
Petrarch for his own residence a large palace, called the Two Towers,
formerly belonging to the family of Molina. The mansion was very lofty,
and commanded a prospect of the harbour. Our poet took great pleasure in
this view, and describes it with vivid interest. "From this port," he
says, "I see vessels departing, which are as large as the house I
inhabit, and which have masts taller than its towers. These ships
resemble a mountain floating on the sea; they go to all parts of the
world amidst a thousand dangers; they carry our wines to the English,
our honey to the Scythians, our saffron, our oils, and our linen to the
Syrians, Armenians, Persians, and Arabians; and, wonderful to say,
convey our wood to the Greeks and Egyptians. From all these countries
they bring back in return articles of merchandise, which they diffuse
over all Europe. They go even as far as the Tanais. The navigation of
our seas does not extend farther north; but, when they have arrived
there, they quit their vessels, and travel on to trade with India and
China; and, after passing the Caucasus and the Ganges, they proceed as
far as the Eastern Ocean."

It is natural to suppose that Petrarch took all proper precautions for
the presentation of his books; nevertheless, they are not now to be seen
at Venice. Tomasini tells us that they had been placed at the top of the
church of St. Mark, that he demanded a sight of them, but that he found
them almost entirely spoiled, and some of them even petrified.

Whilst Petrarch was forming his new establishment at Venice, the news
arrived that Pope Innocent VI. had died on the 12th of September. "He
was a good, just, and simple man," says the continuator of Nangis. A
simple man he certainly was, for he believed Petrarch to be a sorcerer
on account of his reading Virgil. Innocent was succeeded in the
pontificate, to the surprise of all the world, by William Grimoard,
abbot of St. Victor at Marseilles, who took the title of Urban V. The
Cardinals chose him, though he was not of their Sacred College, from
their jealousy lest a pope should be elected from the opposite party of
their own body. Petrarch rejoiced at his election, and ascribed it to
the direct interference of Heaven. De Sade says that the new Pope
desired Petrarch to be the apostolic secretary, but that he was not to
be tempted by a gilded chain.

About this time Petrarch received news of the death of Azzo Correggio,
one of his dearest friends, whose widow and children wrote to him on
this occasion, the latter telling him that they regarded him as a

Boccaccio came to Venice to see Petrarch in 1363, and their meeting was
joyous. They spent delightfully together the months of June, July, and
August, 1363. Boccaccio had not long left him, when, in the following
year, our poet heard of the death of his friend Lælius, and his tears
were still fresh for his loss, when he received another shock in being
bereft of Simonides. It requires a certain age and degree of experience
to appreciate this kind of calamity, when we feel the desolation of
losing our accustomed friends, and almost wish ourselves out of life
that we may escape from its solitude. Boccaccio returned to Florence
early in September, 1363.

In 1364, peace was concluded between Barnabo Visconti and Urban V.
Barnabo having refused to treat with the Cardinal Albornoz, whom he
personally hated, his Holiness sent the Cardinal Androine de la Roche to
Italy as his legate. Petrarch repaired to Bologna to pay his respects to
the new representative of the Pope. He was touched by the sad condition
in which he found that city, which had been so nourishing when he
studied at its university. "I seem," he says, "to be in a dream when I
see the once fair city desolated by war, by slavery, and by famine.
Instead of the joy that once reigned here, sadness is everywhere spread,
and you hear only sighs and wailings in place of songs. Where you
formerly saw troops of girls dancing, there are now only bands of
robbers and assassins."

Lucchino del Verme, one of the most famous condottieri of his time, had
commanded troops in the service of the Visconti, at whose court he made
the acquaintance of Petrarch. Our poet invited him to serve the
Venetians in the war in which they were engaged with the people of
Candia. Lucchino went to Venice whilst Petrarch was absent, reviewed the
troops, and embarked for Candia on board the fleet, which consisted of
thirty galleys and eight large vessels. Petrarch did not return to
Venice till the expedition had sailed. He passed the summer in the
country, having at his house one of his friends, Barthelemi di
Pappazuori, Bishop of Christi, whom he had known at Avignon, and who had
come purposely to see him. One day, when they were both at a window
which overlooked the sea, they beheld one of the long vessels which the
Italians call a galeazza, entering the harbour. The green branches with
which it was decked, the air of joy that appeared among the mariners,
the young men crowned with laurel, who, from the prow, saluted the
standard of their country--everything betokened that the galeazza
brought good news. When the vessel came a little nearer, they could
perceive the captured colours of their enemies suspended from the poop,
and no doubt could be entertained that a great victory had been won. The
moment that the sentinel on the tower had made the signal of a vessel
entering the harbour, the people flocked thither in crowds, and their
joy was even beyond expectation when they learned that the rebellion had
been totally crushed, and the island reduced to obedience. The most
magnificent festivals were given at Venice on this occasion.

Shortly after these Venetian fêtes, we find our poet writing a long
letter to Boccaccio, in which he gives a curious and interesting
description of the Jongleurs of Italy. He speaks of them in a very
different manner from those pictures that have come down to us of the
Provençal Troubadours. The latter were at once poets and musicians, who
frequented the courts and castles of great lords, and sang their
praises. Their strains, too, were sometimes satirical. They amused
themselves with different subjects, and wedded their verses to the sound
of the harp and other instruments. They were called Troubadours from the
word _trobar_, "to invent." They were original poets, of the true
minstrel breed, similar to those whom Bishop Percy ascribes to England
in the olden time, but about the reality of whom, as a professional
body, Ritson has shown some cause to doubt. Of the Italian Jongleurs,
Petrarch gives us a humble notion. "They are a class," he says, "who
have little wit, but a great deal of memory, and still more impudence.
Having nothing of their own to recite, they snatch at what they can get
from others, and go about to the courts of princes to declaim verses, in
the vulgar tongue, which they have got by heart. At those courts they
insinuate themselves into the favour of the great, and get subsistence
and presents. They seek their means of livelihood, that is, the verses
they recite, among the best authors, from whom they obtain, by dint of
solicitation, and even by bribes of money, compositions for their
rehearsal. I have often repelled their importunities, but sometimes,
touched by their entreaties, I have spent hours in composing productions
for them. I have seen them leave me in rags and poverty, and return,
some time afterwards, clothed in silks, and with purses well furnished,
to thank me for having relieved them."

In the course of the same amusing correspondence with Boccaccio, which
our poet maintained at this period, he gives an account of an atheist
and blasphemer at Venice, with whom he had a long conversation. It ended
in our poet seizing the infidel by the mantle, and ejecting him from his
house with unceremonious celerity. This conclusion of their dialogue
gives us a higher notion of Petrarch's piety than of his powers of

Petrarch went to spend the autumn of 1365 at Pavia, which city Galeazzo
Visconti made his principal abode. To pass the winter till Easter, our
poet returned first to Venice, and then to Padua, according to his
custom, to do the duties of his canonry. It was then that his native
Florence, wishing to recall a man who did her so much honour, thought of
asking for him from the Pope the canonry of either Florence or Fiesole.
Petrarch fully appreciated the shabby kindness of his countrymen. A
republic that could afford to be lavish in all other expenses, limited
their bounty towards him to the begging of a canonicate for him from his
Holiness, though Florence had confiscated his father's property. But the
Pope had other views for him, and had actually appointed him to the
canonry of Carpentras, when a false rumour of his death unhappily
induced the Pontiff to dispose not only of that living, but of Parma and
others which he had resigned to indigent friends.

During the February of 1366 there was great joy in the house of
Petrarch, for his daughter, Francesca, the wife of Francesco di
Brossano, gave birth to a boy, whom Donato degli Albanzani, a
peculiarly-favoured friend of the poet's, held over the baptismal font,
whilst he was christened by the name of Francesco.

Meanwhile, our poet was delighted to hear of reformations in the Church,
which signalized the commencement of Urban V.'s pontificate. After some
hesitation, Petrarch ventured to write a strong advice to the Pope to
remove the holy seat from Avignon to Rome. His letter is long, zealous,
superstitious, and, as usual, a little pedantic. The Pope did not need
this epistle to spur his intentions as to replacing the holy seat at
Rome; but it so happened that he did make the removal no very long time
after Petrarch had written to him.

On the 20th of July, 1366, our poet rose, as was his custom, to his
matin devotions, and reflected that he was precisely then entering on
his sixty-third year. He wrote to Boccaccio on the subject. He repeats
the belief, at that time generally entertained, that the sixty-third
year of a man's life is its most dangerous crisis. It was a belief
connected with astrology, and a superstitious idea of the influence of
numbers; of course, if it retains any attention at present, it must
subsist on practical observation: and I have heard sensible physicians,
who had no faith in the influence of the stars, confess that they
thought that time of life, commonly called the grand climacteric, a
critical period for the human constitution.

In May, 1367, Pope Urban accomplished his determination to remove his
court from Avignon in spite of the obstinacy of his Cardinals; but he
did not arrive at Rome till the month of October. He was joyously
received by the Romans; and, in addition to other compliments, had a
long letter from Petrarch, who was then at Venice. Some days after the
date of this letter, our poet received one from Galeazzo Visconti. The
Pope, it seems, wished, at whatever price, to exterminate the Visconti.
He thundered this year against Barnabo with a terrible bull, in which he
published a crusade against him. Barnabo, to whom, with all his faults,
the praise of courage cannot be denied, brought down his troops from the
Po, in order to ravage Mantua, and to make himself master of that city.
Galeazzo, his brother, less warlike, thought of employing negotiation
for appeasing the storm; and he invited Petrarch to Pavia, whither our
poet arrived in 1368. He attempted to procure a peace for the Visconti,
but was not successful.

It was not, however, solely to treat for a peace with his enemies that
Galeazzo drew our poet to his court. He was glad that he should be
present at the marriage of his daughter Violante with Lionel, Duke of
Clarence, son of Edward III. of England. The young English prince,
followed by many nobles of our land, passed through France, and arrived
at Milan on the 14th of May. His nuptials took place about a month
later. At the marriage-dinner Petrarch was seated at the table where
there were only princes, or nobles of the first rank. It is a curious
circumstance that Froissart, so well known as an historian of England,
came at this time to Milan, in the suite of the Duke of Clarence, and
yet formed no acquaintance with our poet. Froissart was then only about
thirty years old. It might have been hoped that the two geniuses would
have become intimate friends; but there is no trace of their having even
spoken to each other. Petrarch's neglect of Froissart may not have been
so wonderful; but it is strange that the latter should not have been
ambitious to pay his court to the greatest poet then alive. It is
imaginable, however, that Petrarch, with all his natural gentleness, was
proud in his demeanour to strangers; and if so, Froissart was excusable
for an equally-proud reserve.

In the midst of the fêtes that were given for the nuptials of the
English prince, Petrarch received news of the death of his grandchild.
This little boy had died at Pavia, on the very day of the marriage of
Lionel and Violante, when only two years and four months old. Petrarch
caused a marble mausoleum to be erected over him, and twelve Latin lines
of his own composition to be engraved upon it. He was deeply touched by
the loss of his little grandson. "This child," he says, "had a singular
resemblance to me, insomuch that any one who had not seen its mother
would have taken me for its father."

A most interesting letter from Boccaccio to our poet found Petrarch at
Pavia, whither he had retired from Milan, wearied with the marriage
fêtes. The summer season was now approaching, when he was accustomed to
be ill; and he had, besides, got by the accident of a fall a bad
contusion on his leg. He was anxious to return to Padua, and wished to
embark on the Po. But war was abroad; the river banks were crowded with
troops of the belligerent parties; and no boatmen could be found for
some time who would go with him for love or money. At last, he found the
master of a vessel bold enough to take him aboard. Any other vessel
would have been attacked and pillaged; but Petrarch had no fear; and,
indeed, he was stopped in his river passage only to be loaded with
presents. He arrived in safety at Padua, on the 9th of June, 1368.

The Pope wished much to see our poet at Rome; but Petrarch excused
himself on account of his health and the summer season, which was always
trying to him. But he promised to repair to his Holiness as soon as his
health should permit, not to ask benefices of the holy father, but only
his blessing. During the same year, we find Petrarch complaining often
and painfully of his bodily infirmities. In a letter to Coluccio
Salutati, he says:--"Age, which makes others garrulous, only makes me
silent. When young, I used to write many and long letters. At present, I
write only to my particular friends, and even to them very short
letters." Petrarch was now sixty-four years old. He had never seen Pope
Urban V., as he tells us himself; but he was very desirous of seeing
him, and of seeing Rome adorned by the two great luminaries of the
world, the Pope and the Emperor. Pope Urban, fearing the heats of Italy,
to which he was not accustomed, had gone to pass the dog-days at
Monte-Fiascone. When he returned to Rome, in October, on his arrival at
the Colline gate, near the church of St. Angelo, he found the Emperor,
who was waiting for him. The Emperor, the moment he saw his Holiness,
dismounted from his horse, took the reins of that of the Pope, and
conducted him on foot to the church of St. Peter. As to this submission
of civil to ecclesiastical dignity, different opinions were entertained,
even at Rome; and the wiser class of men disapproved of it. Petrarch's
opinion on the subject is not recorded; but, during this year, there is
no proof that he had any connection with the Emperor; and my own opinion
is that he did not approve of his conduct. It is certain that Petrarch
condemned the Pope's entering Rome at the head of 2000 soldiery. "The
Roman Pontiff," he remarks, "should trust to his dignity and to his
sanctity, when coming into our capital, and not to an army with their
swords and cuirasses. The cross of Jesus is the only standard which he
ought to rear. Trumpets and drums were out of place. It would have been
enough to have sung hallelujahs."

Petrarch, in his letter to Boccaccio, in the month of September, says
that he had got the fever; and he was still so feeble that he was
obliged to employ the hand of a stranger in writing to him. He indites
as follows:--"I have had the fever for forty days. It weakened me so
much that I could not go to my church, though it is near my house,
without being carried. I feel as if my health would never be restored.
My constitution seems to be entirely worn out." In another letter to the
Cardinal Cabassole, who informed him of the Pope's wish to see him, he
says: "His Holiness does me more honour than I deserve. It is to you
that I owe this obligation. Return a thousand thanks to the holy father
in your own name and in mine." The Pope was so anxious to see Petrarch
that he wrote to him with his own hand, reproaching him for refusing his
invitation. Our poet, after returning a second apology, passed the
winter in making preparations for this journey; but before setting out
he thought proper to make his will. It was written with his own hand at

In his testament he forbids weeping for his death, justly remarking that
tears do no good to the dead, and may do harm to the living. He asks
only prayers and alms to the poor who will pray for him. "As for my
burial," he says, "let it be made as my friends think fit. What
signifies it to me where my body is laid?" He then makes some bequests
in favour of the religious orders; and he founds an anniversary in his
own church of Padua, which is still celebrated every year on the 9th of

Then come his legacies to his friends. He bequeathes to the Lord of
Padua his picture of the Virgin, painted by Giotto; "the beauty of
which," he says, "is little known to the ignorant, though the masters of
art will never look upon it without admiration."

To Donato di Prato Vecchio, master of grammar at Venice, he leaves all
the money that he had lent him. He bequeathes the horses he may have at
his death to Bonzanello di Vigoncia and Lombardo da Serigo, two friends
of his, citizens of Padua, wishing them to draw lots for the choice of
the horses. He avows being indebted to Lombardo da Serigo 134 golden
ducats, advanced for the expenses of his house. He also bequeathes to
the same person a goblet of silver gilt (undoubtedly the same which the
Emperor Charles had sent him in 1362). He leaves to John Abucheta,
warden of his church, his great breviary, which he bought at Venice for
100 francs, on condition that, after his death, this breviary shall
remain in the sacristy for the use of the future priests of the church.
To John Boccaccio he bequeathes 50 gold florins of Florence, to buy him
a winter-habit for his studies at night. "I am ashamed," he adds, "to
leave so small a sum to so great a man;" but he entreats his friends in
general to impute the smallness of their legacies to that of his
fortune. To Tomaso Bambasi, of Ferrara, he makes a present of his good
lute, that he may make use of it in singing the praises of God. To
Giovanni Dandi, physician of Padua, he leaves 50 ducats of gold, to buy
a gold ring, which he may wear in remembrance of him.

[Illustration: FERRARA.]

He appoints Francesco da Brossano, citizen of Milan, his heir, and
desires him, not only as his heir, but as his dear son, to divide into
two parts the money he should find--the one for himself, the other for
the person to whom it was assigned. "It would seem by this," says De
Sade, "that Petrarch would not mention his daughter by name in a public
will, because she was not born in marriage." Yet his shyness to name her
makes it singular that he should style Brossano his son. In case
Brossano should die before him, he appoints Lombardo da Serigo his
eventual heir. De Sade considers the appointment as a deed of trust.
With respect to his little property at Vaucluse, he leaves it to the
hospital in that diocese. His last bequest is to his brother Gherardo, a
Carthusian of Montrieux. He desires his heir to write to him immediately
after his decease, and to give him the option of a hundred florins of
gold, payable at once, or by five or ten florins every year.

A few days after he had made this will, he set out for Rome. The
pleasure with which he undertook the journey made him suppose that he
could support it. But when he reached Ferrara he fell down in a fit, in
which he continued thirty hours, without sense or motion; and it was
supposed that he was dead. The most violent remedies were used to
restore him to consciousness, but he says that he felt them no more than
a statue.

Nicholas d'Este II., the son of Obizzo, was at that time Lord of
Ferrara, a friend and admirer of Petrarch. The physicians thought him
dead, and the whole city was in grief. The news spread to Padua, Venice,
Milan, and Pavia. Crowds came from all parts to his burial. Ugo d'Este,
the brother of Nicholas, a young man of much merit, who had an
enthusiastic regard for Petrarch, paid him unremitting attention during
his illness. He came three or four times a day to see him, and sent
messengers incessantly to inquire how he was. Our poet acknowledged that
he owed his life to the kindness of those two noblemen.

When Petrarch was recovering, he was impatient to pursue his route,
though the physicians assured him that he could not get to Rome alive.
He would have attempted the journey in spite of their warnings, if his
strength had seconded his desires, but he was unable to sit his horse.
They brought him back to Padua, laid on a soft seat on a boat. His
unhoped-for return caused as much surprise as joy in that city, where he
was received by its lords and citizens with as much joy as if he had
come back from the other world. To re-establish his health, he went to a
village called Arquà, situated on the slope of a hill famous for the
salubrity of its air, the goodness of its wines, and the beauty of its
vineyards. An everlasting spring reigns there, and the place commands a
view of pleasingly-scattered villas. Petrarch built himself a house on
the high ground of the village, and he added to the vines of the country
a great number of other fruit-trees.

He had scarcely fixed himself at Arquà, when he put his last hand to a
work which he had begun in the year 1367. To explain the subject of this
work, and the circumstances which gave rise to it, I think it necessary
to state what was the real cause of our poet's disgust at Venice. He
appeared there, no doubt, to lead an agreeable life among many friends,
whose society was delightful to him. But there reigned in this city what
Petrarch thought licentiousness in conversation. The most ignorant
persons were in the habit of undervaluing the finest geniuses. It fills
one with regret to find Petrarch impatient of a liberty of speech,
which, whatever its abuses may be, cannot be suppressed, without
crushing the liberty of human thought. At Venice, moreover, the
philosophy of Aristotle was much in vogue, if doctrines could be called
Aristotelian, which had been disfigured by commentators, and still worse
garbled by Averroes. The disciples of Averroes at Venice insisted on the
world having been co-eternal with God, and made a joke of Moses and his
book of Genesis. "Would the eternal architect," they said, "remain from
all eternity doing nothing? Certainly not! The world's youthful
appearance is owing to its revolutions, and the changes it has undergone
by deluges and conflagrations." "Those free-thinkers," Petrarch tells
us, "had a great contempt for Christ and his Apostles, as well as for
all those who did not bow the knee to the Stagirite." They called the
doctrines of Christianity fables, and hell and heaven the tales of
asses. Finally, they believed that Providence takes no care of anything
under the region of the moon. Four young Venetians of this sect had
attached themselves to Petrarch, who endured their society, but opposed
their opinions. His opposition offended them, and they resolved to
humble him in the public estimation. They constituted themselves a
tribunal to try his merits: they appointed an advocate to plead for him,
and they concluded by determining that he was a good man, but

This affair made a great stir at Venice. Petrarch seems at first to have
smiled with sensible contempt at so impertinent a farce; but will it be
believed that his friends, and among them Donato and Boccaccio, advised
and persuaded him to treat it seriously, and to write a book about it?
Petrarch accordingly put his pen to the subject. He wrote a treatise,
which he entitled "De sui ipsius et aliorum Ignorantia--" (On his own
Ignorance, and on that of others).

Petrarch had himself formed the design of confuting the doctrines of
Averroes; but he engaged Ludovico Marsili, an Augustine monk of
Florence, to perform the task. This monk, in Petrarch's opinion,
possessed great natural powers, and our poet exhorts him to write
against that rabid animal (Averroes) who barks with so much fury against
Christ and his Apostles. Unfortunately, the rabid animals who write
against the truths we are most willing to believe are difficult to be

The good air of the Euganean mountains failed to re-establish the health
of Petrarch. He continued ill during the summer of 1370. John di Dondi,
his physician, or rather his friend, for he would have no physician,
would not quit Padua without going to see him. He wrote to him
afterwards that he had discovered the true cause of his disease, and
that it arose from his eating fruits, drinking water, and frequent
fastings. His medical adviser, also, besought him to abstain from all
salted meats, and raw fruits, or herbs. Petrarch easily renounced salted
provisions, "but, as to fruits," he says, "Nature must have been a very
unnatural mother to give us such agreeable food, with such delightful
hues and fragrance, only to seduce her children with poison covered over
with honey."

Whilst Petrarch was thus ill, he received news very unlikely to forward
his recovery. The Pope took a sudden resolution to return to Avignon.
That city, in concert with the Queen of Naples and the Kings of France
and Arragon, sent him vessels to convey him to Avignon. Urban gave as a
reason for his conduct the necessity of making peace between the crowns
of France and England, but no one doubted that the love of his own
country, the difficulty of inuring himself to the climate of Rome, the
enmity and rebellious character of the Italians, and the importunities
of his Cardinals, were the true cause of his return. He was received
with great demonstrations of joy; but St. Bridget had told him that if
he went to Avignon he should die soon afterwards, and it so happened
that her prophecy was fulfilled, for the Pope not long after his arrival
in Provence was seized with a mortal illness, and died on the 19th of
December, 1370. In the course of his pontificate, he had received two
singular honours. The Emperor of the West had performed the office of
his equerry, and the Emperor of the East abjured schism, acknowledging
him as primate of the whole Christian Church.

The Cardinals chose as Urban's successor a man who did honour to their
election, namely, Pietro Rogero, nephew of Clement VI., who took the
name of Gregory XI. Petrarch knew him, he had seen him at Padua in 1307,
when the Cardinal was on his way to Rome, and rejoiced at his accession.
The new Pontiff caused a letter to be written to our poet, expressing
his wish to see him, and to be of service to him.

In a letter written about this time to his friend Francesco Bruni, we
perceive that Petrarch is not quite so indifferent to the good things of
the world as the general tenor of his letters would lead us to imagine.
He writes:--"Were I to say that I want means to lead the life of a
canon, I should be wrong, but when I say that my single self have more
acquaintances than all the chapter put together, and, consequently, that
I am put to more expenses in the way of hospitality, then I am right.
This embarrassment increases every day, and my resources diminish. I
have made vain efforts to free myself from my difficulties. My prebend,
it is true, yields me more bread and wine than I need for my own
consumption. I can even sell some of it. But my expenses are very
considerable. I have never less than two horses, usually five or six
amanuenses. I have only three at this moment. It is because I could find
no more. Here it is easier to find a painter than an amanuensis. I have
a venerable priest, who never quits me when I am at church. Sometimes
when I count upon dining with him alone, behold, a crowd of guests will
come in. I must give them something to eat, and I must tell them amusing
stories, or else pass for being proud or avaricious.

"I am desirous to found a little oratory for the Virgin Mary; and shall
do so, though I should sell or pawn my books. After that I shall go to
Avignon, if my strength permits. If it does not, I shall send one of my
people to the Cardinal Cabassole, and to you, that you may attempt to
accomplish what I have often wished, but uselessly, as both you and he
well know. If the holy father wishes to stay my old age, and put me into
somewhat better circumstances, as he appears to me to wish, and as his
predecessor promised me, the thing would be very easy. Let him do as it
may please him, much, little, or nothing; I shall be always content.
Only let him not say to me as Clement VI. used to do, 'ask what you wish
for.' I cannot do so, for several reasons. In the first place, I do not
myself know exactly what would suit me. Secondly, if I were to demand
some vacant place, it might be given away before my demand reached the
feet of his Holiness. Thirdly, I might make a request that might
displease him. His extreme kindness might pledge him to grant it; and I
should be made miserable by obtaining it.

"Let him give me, then, whatever he pleases, without waiting for my
petitioning for it. Would it become me, at my years, to be a solicitor
for benefices, having never been so in my youth? I trust, in this
matter, to what you may do with the Cardinal Sabina. You are the only
friends who remain to me in that country. These thirty years the
Cardinal has given me marks of his affection and good-will. I am about
to write to him a few words on the subject; and I shall refer him to
this letter, to save my repeating to him those miserable little details
with which I should not detain you, unless it seemed to be necessary."

A short time afterwards, Petrarch heard, with no small satisfaction, of
the conduct of Cardinal Cabassole, at Perugia. When the Cardinal came to
take leave of the Pope the evening before his departure for that city,
he said, "Holy father, permit me to recommend Petrarch to you, on
account of my love for him. He is, indeed, a man unique upon earth--a
true phoenix." Scarcely was he gone, when the Cardinal of Boulogne,
making pleasantries on the word phoenix, turned into ridicule both the
praises of Cabassole and him who was their object. Francesco Bruni, in
writing to Petrarch about the kindness of the one Cardinal, thought it
unnecessary to report the pleasantries of the other. But Petrarch, who
had heard of them from another quarter, relates them himself to Bruni,
and says:--"I am not astonished. This man loved me formerly, and I was
equally attached to him. At present he hates me, and I return his
hatred. Would you know the reason of this double change? It is because
he is the enemy of truth, and I am the enemy of falsehood; he dreads the
liberty which inspires me, and I detest the pride with which he is
swollen. If our fortunes were equal, and if we were together in a free
place, I should not call myself a phoenix; for that title ill becomes
me; but he would be an owl. Such people as he imagine, on account of
riches ill-acquired, and worse employed, that they are at liberty to say
what they please."

In the letter which Bruni wrote to Petrarch, to apprize him of
Cabassole's departure, and of what he had said to the Pope in his
favour, he gave him notice of the promotion of twelve new cardinals,
whom Gregory had just installed, with a view to balance the domineering
authority of the others. "And I fear," he adds, "that the Pope's
obligations to satiate those new and hungry comers may retard the
effects of his good-will towards you." "Let his Holiness satiate them,"
replied Petrarch; "let him appease their thirst, which is more than the
Tagus, the Pactolus, and the ocean itself could do--I agree to it; and
let him not think of me. I am neither famished nor thirsty. I shall
content myself with their leavings, and with what the holy father may
think meet to give, if he deigns to think of me."

Bruni was right. The Pope, beset by applications on all hands, had no
time to think of Petrarch. Bruni for a year discontinued his
correspondence. His silence vexed our poet. He wrote to Francesco,
saying, "You do not write to me, because you cannot communicate what you
would wish. You understand me ill, and you do me injustice. I desire
nothing, and I hope for nothing, but an easy death. Nothing is more
ridiculous than an old man's avarice; though nothing is more common. It
is like a voyager wishing to heap up provisions for his voyage when he
sees himself approaching the end of it. The holy father has written me a
most obliging letter: is not that sufficient for me? I have not a doubt
of his good-will towards me, but he is encompassed by people who thwart
his intentions. Would that those persons could know how much I despise
them, and how much I prefer my mediocrity to the vain grandeur which
renders them so proud!" After a tirade against his enemies in purple,
evidently some of the Cardinals, he reproaches Bruni for having dwelt so
long for lucre in the ill-smelling Avignon; he exhorts him to leave it,
and to come and end his days at Florence. He says that he does not write
to the Pope for fear of appearing to remind him of his promises. "I have
received," he adds, "his letter and Apostolic blessing; I beg you to
communicate to his Holiness, in the clearest manner, that I wish for no

From this period Petrarch's health was never re-established. He was
languishing with wishes to repair to Perugia, and to see his dear friend
the Cardinal Cabassole. At the commencement of spring he mounted a
horse, in order to see if he could support the journey; but his weakness
was such that he could only ride a few steps. He wrote to the Cardinal
expressing his regrets, but seems to console himself by recalling to his
old friend the days they had spent together at Vaucluse, and their long
walks, in which they often strayed so far, that the servant who came to
seek for them and to announce that dinner was ready could not find them
till the evening.

It appears from this epistle that our poet had a general dislike to
cardinals. "You are not," he tells Cabassole, "like most of your
brethren, whose heads are turned by a bit of red cloth so far as to
forget that they are mortal men. It seems, on the contrary, as if
honours rendered you more humble, and I do not believe that you would
change your mode of thinking if they were to put a crown on your head."
The good Cardinal, whom Petrarch paints in such pleasing colours, could
not accustom himself to the climate of Italy. He had scarcely arrived
there when he fell ill, and died on the 26th of August in the same year.

Of all the friends whom Petrarch had had at Avignon, he had now none
left but Mattheus le Long, Archdeacon of Liege, with whom his ties of
friendship had subsisted ever since they had studied together at
Bologna. From him he received a letter on the 5th of January, 1372, and
in his answer, dated the same day at Padua, he gives this picture of his
condition, and of the life which he led:--

"You ask about my condition--it is this. I am, thanks to God,
sufficiently tranquil, and free, unless I deceive myself, from all the
passions of my youth. I enjoyed good health for a long time, but for two
years past I have become infirm. Frequently, those around me have
believed me dead, but I live still, and pretty much the same as you have
known me. I could have mounted higher; but I wished not to do so, since
every elevation is suspicious. I have acquired many friends and a good
many books: I have lost my health and many friends; I have spent some
time at Venice. At present I am at Padua, where I perform the functions
of canon. I esteem myself happy to have quitted Venice, on account of
that war which has been declared between that Republic and the Lord of
Padua. At Venice I should have been suspected: here I am caressed. I
pass the greater part of the year in the country, which I always prefer
to the town. I repose, I write, I think; so you see that my way of life
and my pleasures are the same as in my youth. Having studied so long it
is astonishing that I have learnt so little. I hate nobody, I envy
nobody. In that first season of life which is full of error and
presumption, I despised all the world except myself. In middle life, I
despised only myself. In my aged years, I despise all the world, and
myself most of all. I fear only those whom I love. I desire only a good
end. I dread a company of valets like a troop of robbers. I should have
none at all, if my age and weakness permitted me. I am fain to shut
myself up in concealment, for I cannot endure visits; it is an honour
which displeases and wears me out. Amidst the Euganean hills I have
built a small but neat mansion, where I reckon on passing quietly the
rest of my days, having always before my eyes my dead or absent friends.
To conceal nothing from you, I have been sought after by the Pope, the
Emperor, and the King of France, who have given me pressing invitations,
but I have constantly declined them, preferring my liberty to

In this letter, Petrarch speaks of a sharp war that had arisen between
Venice and Padua. A Gascon, named Rainier, who commanded the troops of
Venice, having thrown bridges over the Brenta, established his camp at
Abano, whence he sent detachments to ravage the lands of Padua. Petrarch
was in great alarm; for Arquà is only two leagues from Abano. He set out
on the 15th of November for Padua, to put himself and his books under
protection. A friend at Verona wrote to him, saying, "Only write your
name over the door of your house, and fear nothing; it will be your
safeguard." The advice, it is hardly necessary to say, was absurd. Among
the pillaging soldiery there were thousands who could not have read the
poet's name if they had seen it written, and of those who were
accomplished enough to read, probably many who would have thought
Petrarch as fit to be plundered as another man. Petrarch, therefore,
sensibly replied, "I should be sorry to trust them. Mars respects not
the favourites of the Muses; I have no such idea of my name, as that it
would shelter me from the furies of war." He was even in pain about his
domestics, whom he left at Arquà, and who joined him some days

Pandolfo Malatesta, learning what was passing in the Paduan territory,
and the danger to which Petrarch was exposed, sent to offer him his
horses, and an escort to conduct him to Pesaro, which was at that time
his residence. He was Lord of Pesaro and Fossombrone. The envoy of
Pandolfo found our poet at Padua, and used every argument to second his
Lord's invitation; but Petrarch excused himself on account of the state
of his health, the insecurity of the highways, and the severity of the
weather. Besides, he said that it would be disgraceful to him to leave
Padua in the present circumstances, and that it would expose him to the
suspicion of cowardice, which he never deserved.

Pandolfo earnestly solicited from Petrarch a copy of his Italian works.
Our poet in answer says to him, "I have sent to you by your messenger
these trifles which were the amusement of my youth. They have need of
all your indulgence. It is shameful for an old man to send you things of
this nature; but you have earnestly asked for them, and can I refuse you
anything? With what grace could I deny you verses which are current in
the streets, and are in the mouth of all the world, who prefer them to
the more solid compositions that I have produced in my riper years?"
This letter is dated at Padua, on the 4th of January, 1373. Pandolfo
Malatesta died a short time after receiving it.

Several Powers interfered to mediate peace between Venice and Padua, but
their negotiations ended in nothing, the spirits of both belligerents
were so embittered. The Pope had sent as his nuncio for this purpose a
young professor of law, named Uguzzone da Thiene, who was acquainted
with Petrarch. He lodged with our poet when he came to Padua, and he
communicated to him some critical remarks which had been written at
Avignon on Petrarch's letter to Pope Urban V., congratulating him on his
return to Rome. A French monk of the order of St. Bernard passed for the
author of this work. As it spoke irreverently of Italy, it stirred up
the bile of Petrarch, and made him resume the pen with his sickly hand.
His answer to the offensive production flows with anger, and is harsh
even to abusiveness. He declaims, as usual, in favour of Italy, which he
adored, and against France, which he disliked.

After a suspension the war was again conducted with fury, till at last a
peace was signed at Venice on the 11th of September, 1373. The
conditions were hard and humiliating to the chief of Padua. The third
article ordained that he should come in person, or send his son, to ask
pardon of the Venetian Republic for the insults he had offered her, and
swear inviolable fidelity to her. The Carrara sent his son Francesco
Novello, and requested Petrarch to accompany him. Our poet had no great
wish to do so, and had too good an excuse in the state of his health,
which was still very fluctuating, but the Prince importuned him, and he
thought that he could not refuse a favour to such a friend.

Francesco Novello, accompanied by Petrarch, and by a great suite of
Paduan gentlemen, arrived at Venice on the 27th of September, where they
were well received, especially the poet. On the following day the chiefs
of the maiden city gave him a public audience. But, whether the majesty
of the Venetian Senate affected Petrarch, or his illness returned by
accident, so it was that he could not deliver the speech which he had
prepared, for his memory failed him. But the universal desire to hear
him induced the Senators to postpone their sitting to the following day.
He then spoke with energy, and was extremely applauded. Franceso Novello
begged pardon, and took the oath of fidelity.

Francesco da Carrara loved and revered Petrarch, and used to go
frequently to see him without ceremony in his small mansion at Arquà.
The Prince one day complained to him that he had written for all the
world excepting himself. Petrarch thought long and seriously about what
he should compose that might please the Carrara; but the task was
embarrassing. To praise him directly might seem sycophantish and fulsome
to the Prince himself. To censure him would be still more indelicate. To
escape the difficulty, he projected a treatise on the best mode of
governing a State, and on the qualities required in the person who has
such a charge. This subject furnished occasion for giving indirect
praises, and, at the same time, for pointing out some defects which he
had remarked in his patron's government.

It cannot be denied that there are some excellent maxims respecting
government in this treatise, and that it was a laudable work for the
fourteenth century. But since that period the subject has been so often
discussed by minds of the first order, that we should look in vain into
Petrarch's Essay for any truths that have escaped their observation.
Nature offers herself in virgin beauty to the primitive poet. But
abstract truth comes not to the philosopher, till she has been tried by
the test of time.

After his return from Venice, Petrarch only languished. A low fever,
that undermined his constitution, left him but short intervals of
health, but made no change in his mode of life; he passed the greater
part of the day in reading or writing. It does not appear, however, that
he composed any work in the course of the year 1374. A few letters to
Boccaccio are all that can be traced to his pen during that period.
Their date is not marked in them, but they were certainly written
shortly before his death. None of them possess any particular interest,
excepting that always in which he mentions the Decameron.

It seems at first sight not a little astonishing that Petrarch, who had
been on terms of the strictest friendship with Boccaccio for twenty-four
years, should never till now have read his best work. Why did not
Boccaccio send him his Decameron long before? The solution of this
question must be made by ascribing the circumstance to the author's
sensitive respect for the austerely moral character of our poet.

It is not known by what accident the Decameron fell into Petrarch's
hands, during the heat of the war between Venice and Padua. Even then
his occupations did not permit him to peruse it thoroughly; he only
slightly ran through it, after which he says in his letter to Boccaccio,
"I have not read your book with sufficient attention to pronounce an
opinion upon it; but it has given me great pleasure. That which is too
free in the work is sufficiently excusable for the age at which you
wrote it, for its elegant language, for the levity of the subject, for
the class of readers to whom it is suited. Besides, in the midst of much
gay and playful matter, several grave and pious thoughts are to be
found. Like the rest of the world, I have been particularly struck by
the beginning and the end. The description which you give of the state
of our country during the plague, appeared to me most true and most
pathetic. The story which forms the conclusion made so vivid an
impression on me, that I wished to get it by heart, in order to repeat
it to some of my friends."

Petrarch, perceiving that this touching story of Griseldis made an
impression on all the world, had an idea of translating it into Latin,
for those who knew not the vulgar tongue. The following anecdote
respecting it is told by Petrarch himself:--"One of his friends, a man
of knowledge and intellect, undertook to read it to a company; but he
had hardly got into the midst of it, when his tears would not permit him
to continue. Again he tried to resume the reading, but with no better

Another friend from Verona having heard what had befallen the Paduan,
wished to try the same experiment; he took up the composition, and read
it aloud from beginning to end without the smallest change of voice or
countenance, and said, in returning the book, "It must be owned that
this is a touching story, and I should have wept, also, if I believed it
to be true; but it is clearly a fable. There never was and there never
will be such a woman as Griseldis."[N]

This letter, which Petrarch sent to Boccaccio, accompanied by a Latin
translation of his story, is dated, in a MS. of the French King's
library, the 8th of June, 1374. It is perhaps, the last letter which he
ever wrote. He complains in it of "mischievous people, who opened
packets to read the letters contained in them, and copied what they
pleased. Proceeding in their licence, they even spared themselves the
trouble of transcription, and kept the packets themselves." Petrarch,
indignant at those violators of the rights and confidence of society,
took the resolution of writing no more, and bade adieu to his friends
and epistolary correspondence, "Valete amici, valete epistolæ."

Petrarch died a very short time after despatching this letter. His
biographers and contemporary authors are not agreed as to the day of his
demise, but the probability seems to be that it was the 18th of July.
Many writers of his life tell us that he expired in the arms of Lombardo
da Serigo, whom Philip Villani and Gianozzo Manetti make their authority
for an absurd tradition connected with his death. They pretend that when
he breathed his last several persons saw a white cloud, like the smoke
of incense, rise to the roof of his chamber, where it stopped for some
time and then vanished, a miracle, they add, clearly proving that his
soul was acceptable to God, and ascended to heaven. Giovanni Manzini
gives a different account. He says that Petrarch's people found him in
his library, sitting with his head reclining on a book. Having often
seen him in this attitude, they were not alarmed at first; but, soon
finding that he exhibited no signs of life, they gave way to their
sorrow. According to Domenico Aretino, who was much attached to
Petrarch, and was at that time at Padua, so that he may be regarded as
good authority, his death was occasioned by apoplexy.

The news of his decease made a deep impression throughout Italy; and, in
the first instance, at Arquà and Padua, and in the cities of the
Euganean hills. Their people hastened in crowds to pay their last duties
to the man who had honoured their country by his residence. Francesco da
Carrara repaired to Arquà with all his nobility to assist at his
obsequies. The Bishop went thither with his chapter and with all his
clergy, and the common people flocked together to share in the general

The body of Petrarch, clad in red satin, which was the dress of the
canons of Padua, supported by sixteen doctors on a bier covered with
cloth of gold bordered with ermine, was carried to the parish church of
Arquà, which was fitted up in a manner suitable to the ceremony. After
the funeral oration had been pronounced by Bonaventura da Praga, of the
order of the hermits of St. Augustin, the corpse was interred in a
chapel which Petrarch himself had erected in the parish church in honour
of the Virgin. A short time afterwards, Francesco Brossano, having
caused a tomb of marble to be raised on four pillars opposite to the
same church, transferred the body to that spot, and engraved over it an
epitaph in some bad Latin lines, the rhyming of which is their greatest
merit. In the year 1637, Paul Valdezucchi, proprietor of the house and
grounds of Petrarch at Arquà, caused a bust of bronze to be placed above
his mausoleum.

In the year 1630, his monument was violated by some sacrilegious
thieves, who carried off some of his bones for the sake of selling them.
The Senate of Venice severely punished the delinquents, and by their
decree upon the subject testified their deep respect for the remains of
this great man.

The moment the poet's will was opened, Brossano, his heir, hastened to
forward to his friends the little legacies which had been left them;
among the rest his fifty florins to Boccaccio. The answer of that most
interesting man is characteristic of his sensibility, whilst it
unhappily shows him to be approaching the close of his life (for he
survived Petrarch but a year), in pain and extreme debility. "My first
impulse," he says to Brossano, "on hearing of the decease of my master,"
so he always denominated our poet, "was to have hastened to his tomb to
bid him my last adieu, and to mix my tears with yours. But ever since I
lectured in public on the Divina Commedia of Dante, which is now ten
months, I have suffered under a malady which has so weakened and changed
me, that you would not recognise me. I have totally lost the stoutness
and complexion which I had when you saw me at Venice. My leanness is
extreme, my sight is dim, my hands shake, and my knees totter, so that I
can hardly drag myself to my country-house at Certaldo, where I only
languish. After reading your letter, I wept a whole night for my dear
master, not on his own account, for his piety permits us not to doubt
that he is now happy, but for myself and for his friends whom he has
left in this world, like a vessel in a stormy sea without a pilot. By my
own grief I judge of yours, and of that of Tullia, my beloved sister,
your worthy spouse. I envy Arquà the happiness of holding deposited in
her soil him whose heart was the abode of the Muses, and the sanctuary
of philosophy and eloquence. That village, scarcely known to Padua, will
henceforth be famed throughout the world. Men will respect it like Mount
Pausilippo for containing the ashes of Virgil, the shore of the Euxine
for possessing the tomb of Ovid, and Smyrna for its being believed to be
the burial-place of Homer." Among other things, Boccaccio inquires what
has become of his divine poem entitled Africa, and whether it had been
committed to the flames, a fate with which Petrarch, from excess of
delicacy, often threatened his compositions.

From this letter it appears that this epic, to which he owed the laurel
and no small part of his living reputation, had not yet been published,
with the exception of thirty-four verses, which had appeared at Naples
through the indiscretion of Barbatus. Boccaccio said that Petrarch kept
it continually locked up, and had been several times inclined to burn
it. The author of the Decameron himself did not long survive his master:
he died the 21st of December, 1375.

Petrarch so far succeeded in clearing the road to the study of
antiquities, as to deserve the title which he justly retains of the
restorer of classical learning; nor did his enthusiasm for ancient
monuments prevent him from describing them with critical taste. He gave
an impulse to the study of geography by his Itinerarium Syriacum. That
science had been partially revived in the preceding century, by the
publication of Marco Polo's travels, and journeys to distant countries
had been accomplished more frequently than before, not only by religious
missionaries, but by pilgrims who travelled from purely rational
curiosity: but both of these classes of travellers, especially the
religionists, dealt profusely in the marvellous; and their falsehoods
were further exaggerated by copyists, who wished to profit by the sale
of MSS. describing their adventures. As an instance of the doubtful
wonders related by wayfaring men, may be noticed what is told of
Octorico da Pordenone, who met, at Trebizond, with a man who had trained
four thousand partridges to follow him on journeys for three days
together, who gathered around like chickens when he slept, and who
returned home after he had sold to the Emperor as many of them as his
imperial majesty chose to select.

His treatise, "De Remediis utriusque Fortunæ" (On the Remedies for both
Extremes of Fortune) was one of his great undertakings in the solitude
of Vaucluse, though it was not finished till many years afterwards, when
it was dedicated to Azzo Correggio. Here he borrows, of course, largely
from the ancients; at the same time he treats us to some observations on
human nature sufficiently original to keep his work from the dryness of

His treatise on "A Solitary Life" was written as an apology for his own
love of retirement--retirement, not solitude, for Petrarch had the
social feeling too strongly in his nature to desire a perfect hermitage.
He loved to have a friend now and then beside him, to whom he might say
how sweet is solitude. Even his deepest retirement in the "shut-up
valley" was occasionally visited by dear friends, with whom his
discourse was so interesting that they wandered in the woods so long and
so far, that the servant could not find them to announce that their
dinner was ready. In his rapturous praise of living alone, our poet,
therefore, says more than he sincerely meant; he liked retirement, to be
sure, but then it was with somebody within reach of him, like the young
lady in Miss Porter's novel, who was fond of solitude, and walked much
in Hyde Park by herself, with her footman behind her.

His treatise, "De Otio Religiosorum," was written in 1353, after an
agreeable visit to his brother, who was a monk. It is a commendation of
the monastic life. He may be found, I dare say, to exaggerate the
blessing of that mode of life which, in proportion to our increasing
activity and intelligence, has sunk in the estimation of Protestant
society, so that we compare the whole monkish fraternity with the drones
in a hive, an ignavum pecus, whom the other bees are right in expelling.

Though I shall never pretend to be the translator of Petrarch, I recoil
not, after writing his Life, from giving a sincere account of the
impression which his poetry produces on my mind. I have studied the
Italian language with assiduity, though perhaps at a later period of my
life than enables the ear to be _perfectly_ sensitive to its harmony,
for it is in youth, nay, almost in childhood alone, that the melody and
felicitous expressions of any tongue can touch our deepest sensibility;
but still I have studied it with pains--I believe I can thoroughly
appreciate Dante; I can perceive much in Petrarch that is elevated and
tender; and I approach the subject unconscious of the slightest
splenetic prejudice.

I demur to calling him the first of modern poets who refined and
dignified the language of love. Dante had certainly set him the example.
It is true that, compared with his brothers of classical antiquity in
love-poetry, he appears like an Abel of purity offering innocent incense
at the side of so many Cains making their carnal sacrifices. Tibullus
alone anticipates his tenderness. At the same time, while Petrarch is
purer than those classical lovers, he is never so natural as they
sometimes are when their passages are least objectionable, and the
sun-bursts of his real, manly, and natural human love seem to me often
to come to us straggling through the clouds of Platonism.

I will not expatiate on the _concetti_ that may be objected to in many
of his sonnets, for they are so often in such close connection with
exquisitely fine thoughts, that, in tearing away the weed, we might be
in danger of snapping the flower.

I feel little inclined, besides, to dwell on Petrarch's faults with that
feline dilation of vision which sees in the dark what would escape other
eyes in daylight, for, if I could make out the strongest critical case
against him, I should still have to answer this question, "How comes it
that Petrarch's poetry, in spite of all these faults, has been the
favourite of the world for nearly five hundred years?"

So strong a regard for Petrarch is rooted in the mind of Italy, that his
renown has grown up like an oak which has reached maturity amidst the
storms of ages, and fears not decay from revolving centuries. One of the
high charms of his poetical language is its pure and melting melody, a
charm untransferable to any more northern tongue.

No conformation of words will charm the ear unless they bring silent
thoughts of corresponding sweetness to the mind; nor could the most
sonorous, vapid verses be changed into poetry if they were set to the
music of the Spheres. It is scarcely necessary to say that Petrarch has
intellectual graces of thought and spiritual felicities of diction,
without which his tactics in the mere march of words would be a
worthless skill.

The love of Petrarch was misplaced, but its utterance was at once so
fervid and delicate, and its enthusiasm so enduring, that the purest
minds feel justified in abstracting from their consideration the
unhappiness of the attachment, and attending only to its devout
fidelity. Among his deepest admirers we shall find women of virtue above
suspicion, who are willing to forget his Laura being married, or to
forgive the circumstance for the eloquence of his courtship and the
unwavering faith of his affection. Nor is this predilection for Petrarch
the result of female vanity and the mere love of homage. No; it is a
wise instinctive consciousness in women that the offer of love to them,
without enthusiasm, refinement, and _constancy_, is of no value at all.
Without these qualities in their wooers, they are the slaves of the
stronger sex. It is no wonder, therefore, that they are grateful to
Petrarch for holding up the perfect image of a lover, and that they
regard him as a friend to that passion, on the delicacy and constancy of
which the happiness, the most hallowed ties, and the very continuance of
the species depend.

In modern Italian criticism there are two schools of taste, whose
respective partizans may be called the Petrarchists and the Danteists.
The latter allege that Petrarch's amatory poetry, from its platonic and
mystic character, was best suited to the age of cloisters, of dreaming
voluptuaries, and of men living under tyrannical Governments, whose
thoughts and feelings were oppressed and disguised. The genius of Dante,
on the other hand, they say, appeals to all that is bold and natural in
the human breast, and they trace the grand revival of his popularity in
our own times to the re-awakened spirit of liberty. On this side of the
question the most eminent Italian scholars and poets are certainly
ranged. The most gifted man of that country with whom I was ever
personally acquainted, Ugo Foscolo, was a vehement Danteist. Yet his
copious memory was well stored with many a sonnet of Petrarch, which he
could repeat by heart; and with all his Danteism, he infused the deepest
tones of admiration into his recitation of the Petrarchan sonnets.

And altogether, Foscolo, though a cautious, is a candid admirer of our
poet. He says, "The harmony, elegance, and perfection of his poetry are
the result of long labour; but its original conceptions and pathos
always sprang from the sudden inspiration of a deep and powerful
passion. By an attentive perusal of all the writings of Petrarch, it may
be reduced almost to a certainty that, by dwelling perpetually on the
same ideas, and by allowing his mind to prey incessantly on itself, the
whole train of his feelings and reflections acquired one strong
character and tone, and, if he was ever able to suppress them for a
time, they returned to him with increased violence; that, to
tranquillize this agitated state of his mind, he, in the first instance,
communicated in a free and loose manner all that he thought and felt, in
his correspondence with his intimate friends; that he afterwards reduced
these narratives, with more order and description, into Latin verse; and
that he, lastly, perfected them with a greater profusion of imagery and
more art in his Italian poetry, the composition of which at first served
only, as he frequently says, to divert and mitigate all his afflictions.
We may thus understand the perfect concord which prevails in Petrarch's
poetry between Nature and Art; between the accuracy of fact and the
magic of invention; between depth and perspicuity; between devouring
passion and calm meditation. It is precisely because the poetry of
Petrarch originally sprang from the heart that his passion never seems
fictitious or cold, notwithstanding the profuse ornament of his style,
or the metaphysical elevation of his thoughts."

I quote Ugo Foscolo, because he is not only a writer of strong poetic
feeling as well as philosophic judgment, but he is pre-eminent in that
Italian critical school who see the merits of Petrarch in no exaggerated
light, but, on the whole, prefer Dante to him as a poet. Petrarch's
love-poetry, Foscolo remarks, may be considered as the intermediate link
between that of the classics and the moderns. * * * * Petrarch both
feels like the ancient and philosophizes like the modern poets. When he
paints after the manner of the classics, he is equal to them.

I despair of ever seeing in English verse a translation of Petrarch's
Italian poetry that shall be adequate and popular. The term adequate, of
course, always applies to the translation of genuine poetry in a subdued
sense. It means the best that can be expected, after making allowance
for that escape of etherial spirit which is inevitable in the transfer
of poetic thoughts from one language to another. The word popular is
also to be taken in a limited meaning regarding all translations.
Cowper's ballad of John Gilpin is twenty times more popular than his
Homer; yet the latter work is deservedly popular in comparison with the
bulk of translations from antiquity. The same thing may be said of
Cary's Dante; it is, like Cowper's Homer, as adequate and popular as
translated poetry can be expected to be. Yet I doubt if either of those
poets could have succeeded so well with Petrarch. Lady Dacre has shown
much grace and ingenuity in the passages of our poet which she has
versified; but she could not transfer into English those graces of
Petrarchan diction, which are mostly intransferable. She could not bring
the Italian language along with her.

Is not this, it may be asked, a proof that Petrarch is not so genuine a
poet as Homer and Dante, since his charm depends upon the delicacies of
diction that evaporate in the transfer from tongue to tongue, more than
on hardy thoughts that will take root in any language to which they are
transplanted? In a general view, I agree with this proposition; yet,
what we call felicitous diction can never have a potent charm without
refined thoughts, which, like essential odours, may be too impalpable to
bear transfusion. Burns has the happiest imaginable Scottish diction;
yet, what true Scotsman would bear to see him _done_ into French? And,
with the exception of German, what language has done justice to

The reader must be a true Petrarchist who is unconscious of a general
similarity in the character of his sonnets, which, in the long perusal
of them, amounts to monotony. At the same time, it must be said that
this monotonous similarity impresses the mind of Petrarch's reader
exactly in proportion to the slenderness of his acquaintance with the
poet. Does he approach Petrarch's sonnets for the first time, they will
probably appear to him all as like to each other as the sheep of a
flock; but, when he becomes more familiar with them, he will perceive an
interesting individuality in every sonnet, and will discriminate their
individual character as precisely as the shepherd can distinguish every
single sheep of his flock by its voice and face. It would be rather
tedious to pull out, one by one, all the sheep and lambs of our poet's
flock of sonnets, and to enumerate the varieties of their bleat; and
though, by studying the subject half his lifetime, a man might classify
them by their main characteristics, he would find they defy a perfect
classification, as they often blend different qualities. Some of them
have a uniform expression of calm and beautiful feeling. Others breathe
ardent and almost hopeful passion. Others again show him jealous,
despondent, despairing; sometimes gloomily, and sometimes with touching
resignation. But a great many of them have a mixed character, where, in
the space of a line, he passes from one mood of mind to another.

As an example of pleasing and calm reflection, I would cite the first of
his sonnets, according to the order in which they are usually printed.
It is singular to find it confessing the poet's shame at the retrospect
of so many years spent.

          _Voi ch' ascoltate in rime sparse il suono._

    Ye who shall hear amidst my scatter'd lays
    The sighs with which I fann'd and fed my heart.
    When, young and glowing, I was but in part
    The man I am become in later days;
    Ye who have mark'd the changes of my style
    From vain despondency to hope as vain,
    From him among you, who has felt love's pain,
    I hope for pardon, ay, and pity's smile,
    Though conscious, now, my passion was a theme,
    Long, idly dwelt on by the public tongue,
    I blush for all the vanities I've sung,
    And find the world's applause a fleeting dream.

The following sonnet (cxxvi.) is such a gem of Petrarchan and Platonic
homage to beauty that I subjoin my translation of it with the most
sincere avowal of my conscious inability to do it justice.

    In what ideal world or part of heaven
    Did Nature find the model of that face
    And form, so fraught with loveliness and grace,
    In which, to our creation, she has given
    Her prime proof of creative power above?
    What fountain nymph or goddess ever let
    Such lovely tresses float of gold refined
    Upon the breeze, or in a single mind,
    Where have so many virtues ever met,
    E'en though those charms have slain my bosom's weal?
    He knows not love who has not seen her eyes
    Turn when she sweetly speaks, or smiles, or sighs,
    Or how the power of love can hurt or heal.

Sonnet lxix. is remarkable for the fineness of its closing thought.

    Time was her tresses by the breathing air
    Were wreathed to many a ringlet golden bright,
    Time was her eyes diffused unmeasured light,
    Though now their lovely beams are waxing rare,
    Her face methought that in its blushes show'd
    Compassion, her angelic shape and walk,
    Her voice that seem'd with Heaven's own speech to talk;
    At these, what wonder that my bosom glow'd!
    A living sun she seem'd--a spirit of heaven.
    Those charms decline: but does my passion? No!
    I love not less--the slackening of the bow
    Assuages not the wound its shaft has given.

The following sonnet is remarkable for its last four lines having
puzzled all the poet's commentators to explain what he meant by the
words "Al man ond' io scrivo è fatta arnica, a questo volta." I agree
with De Sade in conjecturing that Laura in receiving some of his verses
had touched the hand that presented them, in token of her gratitude.[O]

    In solitudes I've ever loved to abide
    By woods and streams, and shunn'd the evil-hearted,
    Who from the path of heaven are foully parted;
    Sweet Tuscany has been to me denied,
    Whose sunny realms I would have gladly haunted,
    Yet still the Sorgue his beauteous hills among
    Has lent auxiliar murmurs to my song,
    And echoed to the plaints my love has chanted.
    Here triumph'd, too, the poet's hand that wrote
    These lines--the power of love has witness'd this.
    Delicious victory! I know my bliss,
    She knows it too--the saint on whom I dote.

Of Petrarch's poetry that is not amatory, Ugo Foscolo says with justice,
that his three political canzoni, exquisite as they are in versification
and style, do not breathe that enthusiasm which opened to Pindar's grasp
all the wealth of imagination, all the treasures of historic lore and
moral truth, to illustrate and dignify his strain. Yet the vigour, the
arrangement, and the perspicuity of the ideas in these canzoni of
Petrarch, the tone of conviction and melancholy in which the patriot
upbraids and mourns over his country, strike the heart with such force,
as to atone for the absence of grand and exuberant imagery, and of the
irresistible impetus which peculiarly belongs to the ode.

Petrarch's principal Italian poem that is not thrown into the shape of
the sonnet is his Trionfi, or Triumphs, in five parts. Though not
consisting of sonnets, however, it has the same amatory and constant
allusions to Laura as the greater part of his poetry. Here, as
elsewhere, he recurs from time to time to the history of his passion,
its rise, its progress, and its end. For this purpose, he describes
human life in its successive stages, omitting no opportunity of
introducing his mistress and himself.

1. Man in his youthful state is the slave of love. 2. As he advances in
age, he feels the inconveniences of his amatory propensities, and
endeavours to conquer them by chastity. 3. Amidst the victory which he
obtains over himself, Death steps in, and levels alike the victor and
the vanquished. 4. But Fame arrives after death, and makes man as it
were live again after death, and survive it for ages by his fame. 5. But
man even by fame cannot live for ever, if God has not granted him a
happy existence throughout eternity. Thus Love triumphs over Man;
Chastity triumphs over Love; Death triumphs over both; Fame triumphs
over Death; Time triumphs over Fame; and Eternity triumphs over Time.

The subordinate parts and imagery of the Trionfi have a beauty rather
arabesque than classical, and resembling the florid tracery of the later
oriental Gothic architecture. But the whole effect of the poem is
pleasing, from the general grandeur of its design.

In summing up Petrarch's character, moral, political, and poetical, I
should not stint myself to the equivocal phrase used by Tacitus
respecting Agricola: _Bonum virum facile dixeris, magnum libenter_, but
should at once claim for his memory the title both of great and good. A
restorer of ancient learning, a rescuer of its treasures from oblivion,
a despiser of many contemporary superstitions, a man, who, though no
reformer himself, certainly contributed to the Reformation, an Italian
patriot who was above provincial partialities, a poet who still lives in
the hearts of his country, and who is shielded from oblivion by more
generations than there were hides in the sevenfold shield of Ajax--if
this was not a great man, many who are so called must bear the title
unworthily. He was a faithful friend, and a devoted lover, and appears
to have been one of the most fascinating beings that ever existed. Even
when his failings were admitted, it must still be said that _even his
failings leaned to virtue's side_, and, altogether we may pronounce that

    His life was gentle, and the elements
    So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
    And say to all the world, "This was a man!"

[Footnote A: Before the publication of De Sade's "Mémoires pour la vie
de Petrarque" the report was that Petrarch first saw Laura at Vaucluse.
The truth of their first meeting in the church of St. Clara depends on
the authenticity of the famous note on the M.S. Virgil of Petrarch,
which is now in the Ambrosian Library at Milan.]

[Footnote B: Petrarch, in his dialogue with St. Augustine, states that
he was older than Laura by a few years.]

[Footnote C: "The Floral games were instituted in France in 1324. They
were founded by Clementina Isaure, Countess of Toulouse, and annually
celebrated in the month of May. The Countess published an edict, which
assembled all the poets of France, in artificial arbours, dressed with
flowers; and he that produced the best poem was rewared with a violet of
gold. There were, likewise, inferior prizes of flowers made in silver.
In the meantime, the conquerors were crowned with natural chaplets of
their own respective flowers. During the ceremony degrees were also
conferred. He who had won a prize three times was pronounced a doctor
'_en gaye science_,' the name of the poetry of the Provençal
Troubadours. This institution, however fantastic, soon became common,
through the whole of France."--_Warton's History of English Poetry_, vol
i. p 467.]

[Footnote D: I have transferred the following anecdote from Levati's
Viaggi di Petrarea (vol. i. p. 119 et seq.). It behoves me to confess,
however, that I recollect no allusion to it in any of Petrarch's
letters, and I have found many things in Levati's book which make me
distrust his authority.]

[Footnote E: Quest' anima gentil che si disparte.--Sonnet xxiii.]

[Footnote F: Dated 21st December. 1335.]

[Footnote G: Guido Sette of Luni, in the Genoese territory, studied law
together with Petrarch; but took to it with better liking. He devoted
himself to the business of the bar at Avignon with much reputation. But
the legal and clerical professions were then often united; for Guido
rose in the church to be an archbishop. He died in 1368, renowned as a
church luminary.]

[Footnote H: Canzoni 8, 9, and 10.]

[Footnote I: Valery, in his "Travels in Italy" gives the following note
respecting out poet. I quote from the edition of the work published at
Brussels in 1835:--"Petrarque rapporte dans ses lettres latines que le
laurier du Capitole lui avait attiré une multitude d'envieux; que le
jour de son couronnement, au lieu d'eau odorante qu'il était d'usage de
répandre dans ces solennités, il reçut sur la tête une eau corrosive,
qui le rendit chauve le reste de sa vie. Son historien Dolce raconte
même qu'une vieille lui jetta son pot de chambre rempli d'une acre
urine, gardée, peut-être, pour cela depuis sept semaines."]

[Footnote J: Sonnet cxcvi.]

[Footnote K: _Translation._--In the twenty-fifth year of his age, after
a short though happy existence, our John departed this life in the year
of Christ 1361, on the 10th of July, or rather on the 9th, at the
midhour between Friday and Saturday. Sent into the world to my
mortification and suffering, he was to me in life the cause of deep and
unceasing solicitude, and in death of poignant grief. The news reached
me on the evening of the 13th of the same month that he had fallen at
Milan, in the general mortality caused by that unwonted scourge which at
last discovered and visited so fearfully this hitherto exempted city. On
the 8th of August, the same year, a servant of mine returning from Milan
brought me a rumour (which on the 18th of the same fatal month was
confirmed by a servant of _Dominus Theatinus_) of the death of my
Socrates, my companion, my best of brothers, at Babylon (Avignon, I
mean) in the month of May. I have lost my comrade and the solace of my
life! Receive, Christ Jesus, these two, and the five that remain, into
thy eternal habitations!]

[Footnote L: Petrarch's words are: "civi servare suo;" but he takes the
liberty of considering Charles as--adoptively--Italian, though that
Prince was born at Prague.]

[Footnote M: Most historians relate that the English, at Poitiers,
amounted to no more than eight or ten thousand men; but, whether they
consisted of eight thousand or thirty thousand, the result was
sufficiently glorious for them, and for their brave leader, the Black

[Footnote N: This is the story of the patient Grisel, which is familiar
in almost every language.]

[Footnote O: Cercato ho sempre solitaria vita.--Sonnet 221, De Sade,
vol. ii. p. 8.]

[Illustration: LAURA.]





_Voi, ch' ascoltate in rime sparse il suono._


      Ye who in rhymes dispersed the echoes hear
    Of those sad sighs with which my heart I fed
    When early youth my mazy wanderings led,
    Fondly diverse from what I now appear,
    Fluttering 'twixt frantic hope and frantic fear,
    From those by whom my various style is read,
    I hope, if e'er their hearts for love have bled,
    Not only pardon, but perhaps a tear.
    But now I clearly see that of mankind
    Long time I was the tale: whence bitter thought
    And self-reproach with frequent blushes teem;
    While of my frenzy, shame the fruit I find,
    And sad repentance, and the proof, dear-bought,
    That the world's joy is but a flitting dream.


      O ye, who list in scatter'd verse the sound
    Of all those sighs with which my heart I fed,
    When I, by youthful error first misled,
    Unlike my present self in heart was found;
    Who list the plaints, the reasonings that abound
    Throughout my song, by hopes, and vain griefs bred;
    If e'er true love its influence o'er ye shed,
    Oh! let your pity be with pardon crown'd.
    But now full well I see how to the crowd
    For length of time I proved a public jest:
    E'en by myself my folly is allow'd:
    And of my vanity the fruit is shame,
    Repentance, and a knowledge strong imprest,
    That worldly pleasure is a passing dream.


      Ye, who may listen to each idle strain
    Bearing those sighs, on which my heart was fed
    In life's first morn, by youthful error led,
    (Far other then from what I now remain!)
    That thus in varying numbers I complain,
    Numbers of sorrow vain and vain hope bred,
    If any in love's lore be practisèd,
    His pardon,--e'en his pity I may obtain:
    But now aware that to mankind my name
    Too long has been a bye-word and a scorn,
    I blush before my own severer thought;
    Of my past wanderings the sole fruit is shame,
    And deep repentance, of the knowledge born
    That all we value in this world is naught.



_Per far una leggiadra sua vendetta._


      For many a crime at once to make me smart,
    And a delicious vengeance to obtain,
    Love secretly took up his bow again,
    As one who acts the cunning coward's part;
    My courage had retired within my heart,
    There to defend the pass bright eyes might gain;
    When his dread archery was pour'd amain
    Where blunted erst had fallen every dart.
    Scared at the sudden brisk attack, I found
    Nor time, nor vigour to repel the foe
    With weapons suited to the direful need;
    No kind protection of rough rising ground,
    Where from defeat I might securely speed,
    Which fain I would e'en now, but ah, no method know!


      One sweet and signal vengeance to obtain
    To punish in a day my life's long crime,
    As one who, bent on harm, waits place and time,
    Love craftily took up his bow again.
    My virtue had retired to watch my heart,
    Thence of weak eyes the danger to repell,
    When momently a mortal blow there fell
    Where blunted hitherto dropt every dart.
    And thus, o'erpower'd in that first attack,
    She had nor vigour left enough, nor room
    Even to arm her for my pressing need,
    Nor to the steep and painful mountain back
    To draw me, safe and scathless from that doom,
    Whence, though alas! too weak, she fain had freed.



_Era 'l giorno ch' al sol si scoloraro._


      'Twas on the morn, when heaven its blessed ray
    In pity to its suffering master veil'd,
    First did I, Lady, to your beauty yield,
    Of your victorious eyes th' unguarded prey.
    Ah! little reck'd I that, on such a day,
    Needed against Love's arrows any shield;
    And trod, securely trod, the fatal field:
    Whence, with the world's, began my heart's dismay.
    On every side Love found his victim bare,
    And through mine eyes transfix'd my throbbing heart;
    Those eyes, which now with constant sorrows flow:
    But poor the triumph of his boasted art,
    Who thus could pierce a naked youth, nor dare
    To you in armour mail'd even to display his bow!


      'Twas on the blessed morning when the sun
    In pity to our Maker hid his light,
    That, unawares, the captive I was won,
    Lady, of your bright eyes which chain'd me quite;
    That seem'd to me no time against the blows
    Of love to make defence, to frame relief:
    Secure and unsuspecting, thus my woes
    Date their commencement from the common grief.
    Love found me feeble then and fenceless all,
    Open the way and easy to my heart
    Through eyes, where since my sorrows ebb and flow:
    But therein was, methinks, his triumph small,
    On me, in that weak state, to strike his dart,
    Yet hide from you so strong his very bow.



_Quel ch' infinita providenza ed arte._


      He that with wisdom, goodness, power divine,
    Did ample Nature's perfect book design,
    Adorn'd this beauteous world, and those above,
    Kindled fierce Mars, and soften'd milder Jove:
    When seen on earth the shadows to fulfill
    Of the less volume which conceal'd his will,
    Took John and Peter from their homely care,
    And made them pillars of his temple fair.
    Nor in imperial Rome would He be born,
    Whom servile Judah yet received with scorn:
    E'en Bethlehem could her infant King disown,
    And the rude manger was his early throne.
    Victorious sufferings did his pomp display,
    Nor other chariot or triumphal way.
    At once by Heaven's example and decree,
    Such honour waits on such humility.


      The High Eternal, in whose works supreme
    The Master's vast creative power hath spoke:
    At whose command each circling sphere awoke,
    Jove mildly rose, and Mars with fiercer beam:
    To earth He came, to ratify the scheme
    Reveal'd to us through prophecy's dark cloak,
    To sound redemption, speak man's fallen yoke:
    He chose the humblest for that heavenly theme.
    But He conferr'd not on imperial Rome
    His birth's renown; He chose a lowlier sky,--
    To stand, through Him, the proudest spot on earth!
    And now doth shine within its humble home
    A star, that doth each other so outvie,
    That grateful nature hails its lovely birth.


      Who show'd such infinite providence and skill
    In his eternal government divine,
    Who launch'd the spheres, gave sun and moon to shine,
    And brightest wonders the dark void to fill;
    On earth who came the Scriptures to maintain,
    Which for long years the truth had buried yet,
    Took John and Peter from the fisher's net
    And gave to each his part in the heavenly reign.
    He for his birth fair Rome preferr'd not then,
    But lowly Bethlehem; thus o'er proudest state
    He ever loves humility to raise.
    Now rises from small spot like sun again,
    Whom Nature hails, the place grows bright and great
    Which birth so heavenly to our earth displays.



_Quand' io movo i sospiri a chiamar voi._


      In sighs when I outbreathe your cherish'd name,
    That name which love has writ upon my heart,
    LAUd instantly upon my doting tongue,
    At the first thought of its sweet sound, is heard;
    Your REgal state, which I encounter next,
    Doubles my valour in that high emprize:
    But TAcit ends the word; your praise to tell
    Is fitting load for better backs than mine.
    Thus all who call you, by the name itself,
    Are taught at once to LAUd and to REvere,
    O worthy of all reverence and esteem!
    Save that perchance Apollo may disdain
    That mortal tongue of his immortal boughs
    Should ever so presume as e'en to speak.



_Sì traviato è 'l folle mio desio._


      So wayward now my will, and so unwise,
    To follow her who turns from me in flight,
    And, from love's fetters free herself and light,
    Before my slow and shackled motion flies,
    That less it lists, the more my sighs and cries
    Would point where passes the safe path and right,
    Nor aught avails to check or to excite,
    For Love's own nature curb and spur defies.
    Thus, when perforce the bridle he has won,
    And helpless at his mercy I remain,
    Against my will he speeds me to mine end
    'Neath yon cold laurel, whose false boughs upon
    Hangs the harsh fruit, which, tasted, spreads the pain
    I sought to stay, and mars where it should mend.


      My tameless will doth recklessly pursue
    Her, who, unshackled by love's heavy chain,
    Flies swiftly from its chase, whilst I in vain
    My fetter'd journey pantingly renew;
    The safer track I offer to its view,
    But hopeless is my power to restrain,
    It rides regardless of the spur or rein;
    Love makes it scorn the hand that would subdue.
    The triumph won, the bridle all its own,
    Without one curb I stand within its power,
    And my destruction helplessly presage:
    It guides me to that laurel, ever known,
    To all who seek the healing of its flower,
    To aggravate the wound it should assuage.



_La gola e 'l sonno e l' oziose piume._


      Torn is each virtue from its earthly throne
    By sloth, intemperance, and voluptuous ease;
    E'en nature deviates from her wonted ways,
    Too much the slave of vicious custom grown.
    Far hence is every light celestial gone,
    That guides mankind through life's perplexing maze;
    And those, whom Helicon's sweet waters please,
    From mocking crowds receive contempt alone.
    Who now would laurel, myrtle-wreaths obtain?
    Let want, let shame, Philosophy attend!
    Cries the base world, intent on sordid gain.
    What though thy favourite path be trod by few;
    Let it but urge thee more, dear gentle friend!
    Thy great design of glory to pursue.


      Intemperance, slumber, and the slothful down
    Have chased each virtue from this world away;
    Hence is our nature nearly led astray
    From its due course, by habitude o'erthrown;
    Those kindly lights of heaven so dim are grown,
    Which shed o'er human life instruction's ray;
    That him with scornful wonder they survey,
    Who would draw forth the stream of Helicon.
    "Whom doth the laurel please, or myrtle now?
    Naked and poor, Philosophy, art thou!"
    The worthless crowd, intent on lucre, cries.
    Few on thy chosen road will thee attend;
    Yet let it more incite thee, gentle friend,
    To prosecute thy high-conceived emprize.



_A piè de' colli ove la bella vesta._


      Beneath the verdant hills--where the fair vest
    Of earthly mould first took the Lady dear,
    Who him that sends us, feather'd captives, here
    Awakens often from his tearful rest--
    Lived we in freedom and in quiet, blest
    With everything which life below might cheer,
    No foe suspecting, harass'd by no fear
    That aught our wanderings ever could molest;
    But snatch'd from that serener life, and thrown
    To the low wretched state we here endure,
    One comfort, short of death, survives alone:
    Vengeance upon our captor full and sure!
    Who, slave himself at others' power, remains
    Pent in worse prison, bound by sterner chains.


      Beneath those very hills, where beauty threw
    Her mantle first o'er that earth-moulded fair,
    Who oft from sleep, while shedding many a tear,
    Awakens him that sends us unto you,
    Our lives in peacefulness and freedom flew,
    E'en as all creatures wish who hold life dear;
    Nor deem'd we aught could in its course come near,
    Whence to our wanderings danger might accrue.
    But from the wretched state to which we're brought,
    Leaving another with sereneness fraught,
    Nay, e'en from death, one comfort we obtain;
    That vengeance follows him who sent us here;
    Another's utmost thraldom doomed to bear,
    Bound he now lies with a still stronger chain.



_Quando 'l pianeta che distingue l' ore._


      When the great planet which directs the hours
    To dwell with Taurus from the North is borne,
    Such virtue rays from each enkindled horn,
    Rare beauty instantly all nature dowers;
    Nor this alone, which meets our sight, that flowers
    Richly the upland and the vale adorn,
    But Earth's cold womb, else lustreless and lorn,
    Is quick and warm with vivifying powers,
    Till herbs and fruits, like these I send, are rife.
    --So she, a sun amid her fellow fair,
    Shedding the rays of her bright eyes on me,
    Thoughts, acts, and words of love wakes into life--
    But, ah! for me is no new Spring, nor e'er,
    Smile they on whom she will, again can be.


      When Taurus in his house doth Phoebus keep,
    There pours so bright a virtue from his crest
    That Nature wakes, and stands in beauty drest,
    The flow'ring meadows start with joy from sleep:
    Nor they alone rejoice--earth's bosom deep
    (Though not one beam illumes her night of rest)
    Responsive smiles, and from her fruitful breast
    Gives forth her treasures for her sons to reap.
    Thus she, who dwells amid her sex a sun,
    Shedding upon my soul her eyes' full light,
    Each thought creates, each deed, each word of love:
    But though my heart's proud mastery she hath won
    Alas! within me dwells eternal night:
    My spirit ne'er Spring's genial breath doth prove.



_Gloriosa Colonna, in cui s' appoggia._


      Glorious Colonna! still the strength and stay
    Of our best hopes, and the great Latin name
    Whom power could never from the true right way
    Seduce by flattery or by terror tame:
    No palace, theatres, nor arches here,
    But, in their stead, the fir, the beech, and pine
    On the green sward, with the fair mountain near
    Paced to and fro by poet friend of thine;
    Thus unto heaven the soul from earth is caught;
    While Philomel, who sweetly to the shade
    The livelong night her desolate lot complains,
    Fills the soft heart with many an amorous thought:
    --Ah! why is so rare good imperfect made
    While severed from us still my lord remains.


      Glorious Colonna! thou, the Latins' hope,
    The proud supporter of our lofty name,
    Thou hold'st thy path of virtue still the same,
    Amid the thunderings of Rome's Jove--the Pope.
    Not here do human structures interlope
    The fir to rival, or the pine-tree's claim,
    The soul may revel in poetic flame
    Upon yon mountain's green and gentle slope.
    And thus from earth to heaven the spirit soars,
    Whilst Philomel her tale of woe repeats
    Amid the sympathising shades of night,
    Thus through man's breast love's current sweetly pours:
    Yet still thine absence half the joy defeats,--
    Alas! my friend, why dim such radiant light?



_Lassare il velo o per sole o per ombra._


      Never thy veil, in sun or in the shade,
    Lady, a moment I have seen
    Quitted, since of my heart the queen
    Mine eyes confessing thee my heart betray'd
    While my enamour'd thoughts I kept conceal'd.
    Those fond vain hopes by which I die,
    In thy sweet features kindness beam'd:
    Changed was the gentle language of thine eye
    Soon as my foolish heart itself reveal'd;
    And all that mildness which I changeless deem'd--
    All, all withdrawn which most my soul esteem'd.
    Yet still the veil I must obey,
    Which, whatsoe'er the aspect of the day,
    Thine eyes' fair radiance hides, my life to overshade.


      Wherefore, my unkind fair one, say,
    Whether the sun fierce darts his ray,
    Or whether gloom o'erspreads the sky,
    That envious veil is ne'er thrown by;
    Though well you read my heart, and knew
    How much I long'd your charms to view?
    While I conceal'd each tender thought,
    That my fond mind's destruction wrought,
    Your face with pity sweetly shone;
    But, when love made my passion known,
    Your sunny locks were seen no more,
    Nor smiled your eyes as heretofore;
    Behind a jealous cloud retired
    Those beauties which I most admired.
    And shall a veil thus rule my fate?
    O cruel veil, that whether heat
    Or cold be felt, art doom'd to prove
    Fatal to me, shadowing the lights I love!



_Se la mia vita dall' aspro tormento._


      If o'er each bitter pang, each hidden throe
    Sadly triumphant I my years drag on,
    Till even the radiance of those eyes is gone,
    Lady, which star-like now illume thy brow;
    And silver'd are those locks of golden glow,
    And wreaths and robes of green aside are thrown,
    And from thy cheek those hues of beauty flown,
    Which check'd so long the utterance of my woe,
    Haply my bolder tongue may then reveal
    The bosom'd annals of my heart's fierce fire,
    The martyr-throbs that now in night I veil:
    And should the chill Time frown on young Desire.
    Still, still some late remorse that breast may feel,
    And heave a tardy sigh--ere love with life expire.


      Lady, if grace to me so long be lent
    From love's sharp tyranny and trials keen,
    Ere my last days, in life's far vale, are seen,
    To know of thy bright eyes the lustre spent,
    The fine gold of thy hair with silver sprent,
    Neglected the gay wreaths and robes of green,
    Pale, too, and thin the face which made me, e'en
    'Gainst injury, slow and timid to lament:
    Then will I, for such boldness love would give,
    Lay bare my secret heart, in martyr's fire
    Years, days, and hours that yet has known to live;
    And, though the time then suit not fair desire,
    At least there may arrive to my long grief,
    Too late of tender sighs the poor relief.



_Quando fra l' altre donne ad ora ad ora._


      Throned on her angel brow, when Love displays
    His radiant form among all other fair,
    Far as eclipsed their choicest charms appear,
    I feel beyond its wont my passion blaze.
    And still I bless the day, the hour, the place,
    When first so high mine eyes I dared to rear;
    And say, "Fond heart, thy gratitude declare,
    That then thou had'st the privilege to gaze.
    'Twas she inspired the tender thought of love,
    Which points to heaven, and teaches to despise
    The earthly vanities that others prize:
    She gave the soul's light grace, which to the skies
    Bids thee straight onward in the right path move;
    Whence buoy'd by hope e'en, now I soar to worlds above."


      When Love, whose proper throne is that sweet face,
    At times escorts her 'mid the sisters fair,
    As their each beauty is than hers less rare,
    So swells in me the fond desire apace.
    I bless the hour, the season and the place,
    So high and heavenward when my eyes could dare;
    And say: "My heart! in grateful memory bear
    This lofty honour and surpassing grace:
    From her descends the tender truthful thought,
    Which follow'd, bliss supreme shall thee repay,
    Who spurn'st the vanities that win the crowd:
    From her that gentle graceful love is caught,
    To heaven which leads thee by the right-hand way,
    And crowns e'en here with hopes both pure and proud."



_Occhi miei lassi, mentre ch' io vi giro._


      My wearied eyes! while looking thus
    On that fair fatal face to us,
    Be wise, be brief, for--hence my sighs--
    Already Love our bliss denies.
    Death only can the amorous track
    Shut from my thoughts which leads them back
    To the sweet port of all their weal;
    But lesser objects may conceal
    Our light from you, that meaner far
    In virtue and perfection are.
    Wherefore, poor eyes! ere yet appears,
    Already nigh, the time of tears,
    Now, after long privation past,
    Look, and some comfort take at last.



_Io mi rivolgo indietro a ciascun passo._


      With weary frame which painfully I bear,
    I look behind me at each onward pace,
    And then take comfort from your native air,
    Which following fans my melancholy face;
    The far way, my frail life, the cherish'd fair
    Whom thus I leave, as then my thoughts retrace,
    I fix my feet in silent pale despair,
    And on the earth my tearful eyes abase.
    At times a doubt, too, rises on my woes,
    "How ever can this weak and wasted frame
    Live from life's spirit and one source afar?"
    Love's answer soon the truth forgotten shows--
    "This high pure privilege true lovers claim,
    Who from mere human feelings franchised are!"


      I look behind each step I onward trace,
    Scarce able to support my wearied frame,
    Ah, wretched me! I pantingly exclaim,
    And from her atmosphere new strength embrace;
    I think on her I leave--my heart's best grace--
    My lengthen'd journey--life's capricious flame--
    I pause in withering fear, with purpose tame,
    Whilst down my cheek tears quick each other chase.
    My doubting heart thus questions in my grief:
    "Whence comes it that existence thou canst know
    When from thy spirit thou dost dwell entire?"
    Love, holy Love, my heart then answers brief:
    "Such privilege I do on all bestow
    Who feed my flame with nought of earthly fire!"



_Movesi 'l vecchierel canuto e bianco._


      The palmer bent, with locks of silver gray,
    Quits the sweet spot where he has pass'd his years,
    Quits his poor family, whose anxious fears
    Paint the loved father fainting on his way;
    And trembling, on his aged limbs slow borne,
    In these last days that close his earthly course,
    He, in his soul's strong purpose, finds new force,
    Though weak with age, though by long travel worn:
    Thus reaching Rome, led on by pious love,
    He seeks the image of that Saviour Lord
    Whom soon he hopes to meet in bliss above:
    So, oft in other forms I seek to trace
    Some charm, that to my heart may yet afford
    A faint resemblance of thy matchless grace.


      As parts the aged pilgrim, worn and gray,
    From the dear spot his life where he had spent,
    From his poor family by sorrow rent,
    Whose love still fears him fainting in decay:
    Thence dragging heavily, in life's last day,
    His suffering frame, on pious journey bent,
    Pricking with earnest prayers his good intent,
    Though bow'd with years, and weary with the way,
    He reaches Rome, still following his desire
    The likeness of his Lord on earth to see,
    Whom yet he hopes in heaven above to meet;
    So I, too, seek, nor in the fond quest tire,
    Lady, in other fair if aught there be
    That faintly may recall thy beauties sweet.



_Piovonmi amare lagrime dal viso._


      Down my cheeks bitter tears incessant rain,
    And my heart struggles with convulsive sighs,
    When, Laura, upon you I turn my eyes,
    For whom the world's allurements I disdain,
    But when I see that gentle smile again,
    That modest, sweet, and tender smile, arise,
    It pours on every sense a blest surprise;
    Lost in delight is all my torturing pain.
    Too soon this heavenly transport sinks and dies:
    When all thy soothing charms my fate removes
    At thy departure from my ravish'd view.
    To that sole refuge its firm faith approves
    My spirit from my ravish'd bosom flies,
    And wing'd with fond remembrance follows you.


      Tears, bitter tears adown my pale cheek rain,
    Bursts from mine anguish'd breast a storm of sighs,
    Whene'er on you I turn my passionate eyes,
    For whom alone this bright world I disdain.
    True! to my ardent wishes and old pain
    That mild sweet smile a peaceful balm supplies,
    Rescues me from the martyr fire that tries,
    Rapt and intent on you whilst I remain;
    Thus in your presence--but my spirits freeze
    When, ushering with fond acts a warm adieu,
    My fatal stars from life's quench'd heaven decay.
    My soul released at last with Love's apt keys
    But issues from my heart to follow you,
    Nor tears itself without much thought away.



_Quand' io son tutto volto in quella parte._


      When I reflect and turn me to that part
    Whence my sweet lady beam'd in purest light,
    And in my inmost thought remains that light
    Which burns me and consumes in every part,
    I, who yet dread lest from my heart it part
    And see at hand the end of this my light,
    Go lonely, like a man deprived of light,
    Ignorant where to go; whence to depart.
    Thus flee I from the stroke which lays me dead,
    Yet flee not with such speed but that desire
    Follows, companion of my flight alone.
    Silent I go:--but these my words, though dead,
    Others would cause to weep--this I desire,
    That I may weep and waste myself alone.


      When all my mind I turn to the one part
    Where sheds my lady's face its beauteous light,
    And lingers in my loving thought the light
    That burns and racks within me ev'ry part,
    I from my heart who fear that it may part,
    And see the near end of my single light,
    Go, as a blind man, groping without light,
    Who knows not where yet presses to depart.
    Thus from the blows which ever wish me dead
    I flee, but not so swiftly that desire
    Ceases to come, as is its wont, with me.
    Silent I move: for accents of the dead
    Would melt the general age: and I desire
    That sighs and tears should only fall from me.



_Son animali al mondo di sì altera._


      Creatures there are in life of such keen sight
    That no defence they need from noonday sun,
    And others dazzled by excess of light
    Who issue not abroad till day is done,
    And, with weak fondness, some because 'tis bright,
    Who in the death-flame for enjoyment run,
    Thus proving theirs a different virtue quite--
    Alas! of this last kind myself am one;
    For, of this fair the splendour to regard,
    I am but weak and ill--against late hours
    And darkness gath'ring round--myself to ward.
    Wherefore, with tearful eyes of failing powers,
    My destiny condemns me still to turn
    Where following faster I but fiercer burn.



_Vergognando talor ch' ancor si taccia._


      Ashamed sometimes thy beauties should remain
    As yet unsung, sweet lady, in my rhyme;
    When first I saw thee I recall the time,
    Pleasing as none shall ever please again.
    But no fit polish can my verse attain,
    Not mine is strength to try the task sublime:
    My genius, measuring its power to climb,
    From such attempt doth prudently refrain.
    Full oft I oped my lips to chant thy name;
    Then in mid utterance the lay was lost:
    But say what muse can dare so bold a flight?
    Full oft I strove in measure to indite;
    But ah, the pen, the hand, the vein I boast,
    At once were vanquish'd by the mighty theme!


      Ashamed at times that I am silent, yet,
    Lady, though your rare beauties prompt my rhyme,
    When first I saw thee I recall the time
    Such as again no other can be met.
    But, with such burthen on my shoulders set.
    My mind, its frailty feeling, cannot climb,
    And shrinks alike from polish'd and sublime,
    While my vain utterance frozen terrors let.
    Often already have I sought to sing,
    But midway in my breast the voice was stay'd,
    For ah! so high what praise may ever spring?
    And oft have I the tender verse essay'd,
    But still in vain; pen, hand, and intellect
    In the first effort conquer'd are and check'd.



_Mille fiate, o dolce mia guerrera._


      A thousand times, sweet warrior, have I tried,
    Proffering my heart to thee, some peace to gain
    From those bright eyes, but still, alas! in vain,
    To such low level stoops not thy chaste pride.
    If others seek the love thus thrown aside,
    Vain were their hopes and labours to obtain;
    The heart thou spurnest I alike disdain,
    To thee displeasing, 'tis by me denied.
    But if, discarded thus, it find not thee
    Its joyless exile willing to befriend,
    Alone, untaught at others' will to wend,
    Soon from life's weary burden will it flee.
    How heavy then the guilt to both, but more
    To thee, for thee it did the most adore.


      A thousand times, sweet warrior, to obtain
    Peace with those beauteous eyes I've vainly tried,
    Proffering my heart; but with that lofty pride
    To bend your looks so lowly you refrain:
    Expects a stranger fair that heart to gain,
    In frail, fallacious hopes will she confide:
    It never more to me can be allied;
    Since what you scorn, dear lady, I disdain.
    In its sad exile if no aid you lend
    Banish'd by me; and it can neither stay
    Alone, nor yet another's call obey;
    Its vital course must hasten to its end:
    Ah me, how guilty then we both should prove,
    But guilty you the most, for you it most doth love.



_A qualunque animale alberga in terra._


      To every animal that dwells on earth,
    Except to those which have in hate the sun,
    Their time of labour is while lasts the day;
    But when high heaven relumes its thousand stars,
    This seeks his hut, and that its native wood,
    Each finds repose, at least until the dawn.

    But I, when fresh and fair begins the dawn
    To chase the lingering shades that cloak'd the earth,
    Wakening the animals in every wood,
    No truce to sorrow find while rolls the sun;
    And, when again I see the glistening stars,
    Still wander, weeping, wishing for the day.

    When sober evening chases the bright day,
    And this our darkness makes for others dawn,
    Pensive I look upon the cruel stars
    Which framed me of such pliant passionate earth,
    And curse the day that e'er I saw the sun,
    Which makes me native seem of wildest wood.

    And yet methinks was ne'er in any wood,
    So wild a denizen, by night or day,
    As she whom thus I blame in shade and sun:
    Me night's first sleep o'ercomes not, nor the dawn,
    For though in mortal coil I tread the earth,
    My firm and fond desire is from the stars.

    Ere up to you I turn, O lustrous stars,
    Or downwards in love's labyrinthine wood,
    Leaving my fleshly frame in mouldering earth,
    Could I but pity find in her, one day
    Would many years redeem, and to the dawn
    With bliss enrich me from the setting sun!

    Oh! might I be with her where sinks the sun,
    No other eyes upon us but the stars,
    Alone, one sweet night, ended by no dawn,
    Nor she again transfigured in green wood,
    To cheat my clasping arms, as on the day,
    When Phoebus vainly follow'd her on earth.

    I shall lie low in earth, in crumbling wood.
    And clustering stars shall gem the noon of day,
    Ere on so sweet a dawn shall rise that sun.


      Each creature on whose wakeful eyes
    The bright sun pours his golden fire,
    By day a destined toil pursues;
    And, when heaven's lamps illume the skies,
    All to some haunt for rest retire,
    Till a fresh dawn that toil renews.
    But I, when a new morn doth rise,
    Chasing from earth its murky shades,
    While ring the forests with delight,
    Find no remission of my sighs;
    And, soon as night her mantle spreads,
    I weep, and wish returning light
    Again when eve bids day retreat,
    O'er other climes to dart its rays;
    Pensive those cruel stars I view,
    Which influence thus my amorous fate;
    And imprecate that beauty's blaze,
    Which o'er my form such wildness threw.
    No forest surely in its glooms
    Nurtures a savage so unkind
    As she who bids these sorrows flow:
    Me, nor the dawn nor sleep o'ercomes;
    For, though of mortal mould, my mind
    Feels more than passion's mortal glow.
    Ere up to you, bright orbs, I fly,
    Or to Love's bower speed down my way,
    While here my mouldering limbs remain;
    Let me her pity once espy;
    Thus, rich in bliss, one little day
    Shall recompense whole years of pain.
    Be Laura mine at set of sun;
    Let heaven's fires only mark our loves,
    And the day ne'er its light renew;
    My fond embrace may she not shun;
    Nor Phoebus-like, through laurel groves,
    May I a nymph transform'd pursue!
    But I shall cast this mortal veil on earth,
    And stars shall gild the noon, ere such bright scenes have birth.



_Nel dolce tempo della prima etade._


      In the sweet season when my life was new,
    Which saw the birth, and still the being sees
    Of the fierce passion for my ill that grew,
    Fain would I sing--my sorrow to appease--
    How then I lived, in liberty, at ease,
    While o'er my heart held slighted Love no sway;
    And how, at length, by too high scorn, for aye,
    I sank his slave, and what befell me then,
    Whereby to all a warning I remain;
    Although my sharpest pain
    Be elsewhere written, so that many a pen
    Is tired already, and, in every vale,
    The echo of my heavy sighs is rife,
    Some credence forcing of my anguish'd life;
    And, as her wont, if here my memory fail,
    Be my long martyrdom its saving plea,
    And the one thought which so its torment made,
    As every feeling else to throw in shade,
    And make me of myself forgetful be--
    Ruling life's inmost core, its bare rind left for me.

    Long years and many had pass'd o'er my head,
    Since, in Love's first assault, was dealt my wound,
    And from my brow its youthful air had fled,
    While cold and cautious thoughts my heart around
    Had made it almost adamantine ground,
    To loosen which hard passion gave no rest:
    No sorrow yet with tears had bathed my breast,
    Nor broke my sleep: and what was not in mine
    A miracle to me in others seem'd.
    Life's sure test death is deem'd,
    As cloudless eve best proves the past day fine;
    Ah me! the tyrant whom I sing, descried
    Ere long his error, that, till then, his dart
    Not yet beneath the gown had pierced my heart,
    And brought a puissant lady as his guide,
    'Gainst whom of small or no avail has been
    Genius, or force, to strive or supplicate.
    These two transform'd me to my present state,
    Making of breathing man a laurel green,
    Which loses not its leaves though wintry blasts be keen.

    What my amaze, when first I fully learn'd
    The wondrous change upon my person done,
    And saw my thin hairs to those green leaves turn'd
    (Whence yet for them a crown I might have won);
    My feet wherewith I stood, and moved, and run--
    Thus to the soul the subject members bow--
    Become two roots upon the shore, not now
    Of fabled Peneus, but a stream as proud,
    And stiffen'd to a branch my either arm!
    Nor less was my alarm,
    When next my frame white down was seen to shroud,
    While, 'neath the deadly leven, shatter'd lay
    My first green hope that soar'd, too proud, in air,
    Because, in sooth, I knew not when nor where
    I left my latter state; but, night and day,
    Where it was struck, alone, in tears, I went,
    Still seeking it alwhere, and in the wave;
    And, for its fatal fall, while able, gave
    My tongue no respite from its one lament,
    For the sad snowy swan both form and language lent.

    Thus that loved wave--my mortal speech put by
    For birdlike song--I track'd with constant feet,
    Still asking mercy with a stranger cry;
    But ne'er in tones so tender, nor so sweet,
    Knew I my amorous sorrow to repeat,
    As might her hard and cruel bosom melt:
    Judge, still if memory sting, what then I felt!
    But ah! not now the past, it rather needs
    Of her my lovely and inveterate foe
    The present power to show,
    Though such she be all language as exceeds.
    She with a glance who rules us as her own,
    Opening my breast my heart in hand to take,
    Thus said to me: "Of this no mention make."
    I saw her then, in alter'd air, alone,
    So that I recognised her not--O shame
    Be on my truant mind and faithless sight!
    And when the truth I told her in sore fright,
    She soon resumed her old accustom'd frame,
    While, desperate and half dead, a hard rock mine became.

    As spoke she, o'er her mien such feeling stirr'd,
    That from the solid rock, with lively fear,
    "Haply I am not what you deem," I heard;
    And then methought, "If she but help me here,
    No life can ever weary be, or drear;
    To make me weep, return, my banish'd Lord!"
    I know not how, but thence, the power restored,
    Blaming no other than myself, I went,
    And, nor alive, nor dead, the long day past.
    But, because time flies fast,
    And the pen answers ill my good intent,
    Full many a thing long written in my mind
    I here omit; and only mention such
    Whereat who hears them now will marvel much.
    Death so his hand around my vitals twined,
    Not silence from its grasp my heart could save,
    Or succour to its outraged virtue bring:
    As speech to me was a forbidden thing,
    To paper and to ink my griefs I gave--
    Life, not my own, is lost through you who dig my grave.

    I fondly thought before her eyes, at length,
    Though low and lost, some mercy to obtain;
    And this the hope which lent my spirit strength.
    Sometimes humility o'ercomes disdain,
    Sometimes inflames it to worse spite again;
    This knew I, who so long was left in night,
    That from such prayers had disappear'd my light;
    Till I, who sought her still, nor found, alas!
    Even her shade, nor of her feet a sign,
    Outwearied and supine,
    As one who midway sleeps, upon the grass
    Threw me, and there, accusing the brief ray,
    Of bitter tears I loosed the prison'd flood,
    To flow and fall, to them as seem'd it good.
    Ne'er vanish'd snow before the sun away,
    As then to melt apace it me befell,
    Till, 'neath a spreading beech a fountain swell'd;
    Long in that change my humid course I held,--
    Who ever saw from Man a true fount well?
    And yet, though strange it sound, things known and sure I tell.

    The soul from God its nobler nature gains
    (For none save He such favour could bestow)
    And like our Maker its high state retains,
    To pardon who is never tired, nor slow,
    If but with humble heart and suppliant show,
    For mercy for past sins to Him we bend;
    And if, against his wont, He seem to lend,
    Awhile, a cold ear to our earnest prayers,
    'Tis that right fear the sinner more may fill;
    For he repents but ill
    His old crime for another who prepares.
    Thus, when my lady, while her bosom yearn'd
    With pity, deign'd to look on me, and knew
    That equal with my fault its penance grew,
    To my old state and shape I soon return'd.
    But nought there is on earth in which the wise
    May trust, for, wearying braving her afresh,
    To rugged stone she changed my quivering flesh.
    So that, in their old strain, my broken cries
    In vain ask'd death, or told her one name to deaf skies.

    A sad and wandering shade, I next recall,
    Through many a distant and deserted glen,
    That long I mourn'd my indissoluble thrall.
    At length my malady seem'd ended, when
    I to my earthly frame return'd again,
    Haply but greater grief therein to feel;
    Still following my desire with such fond zeal
    That once (beneath the proud sun's fiercest blaze,
    Returning from the chase, as was my wont)
    Naked, where gush'd a font,
    My fair and fatal tyrant met my gaze;
    I whom nought else could pleasure, paused to look,
    While, touch'd with shame as natural as intense,
    Herself to hide or punish my offence,
    She o'er my face the crystal waters shook
    --I still speak true, though truth may seem a lie--
    Instantly from my proper person torn,
    A solitary stag, I felt me borne
    In wingèd terrors the dark forest through,
    As still of my own dogs the rushing storm I flew
    My song! I never was that cloud of gold
    Which once descended in such precious rain,
    Easing awhile with bliss Jove's amorous pain;
    I was a flame, kindled by one bright eye,
    I was the bird which gladly soar'd on high,
    Exalting her whose praise in song I wake;
    Nor, for new fancies, knew I to forsake
    My first fond laurel, 'neath whose welcome shade
    Ever from my firm heart all meaner pleasures fade.



_Se l' onorata fronde, che prescrive._


      If the world-honour'd leaf, whose green defies
    The wrath of Heaven when thunders mighty Jove,
    Had not to me prohibited the crown
    Which wreathes of wont the gifted poet's brow,
    I were a friend of these your idols too,
    Whom our vile age so shamelessly ignores:
    But that sore insult keeps me now aloof
    From the first patron of the olive bough:
    For Ethiop earth beneath its tropic sun
    Ne'er burn'd with such fierce heat, as I with rage
    At losing thing so comely and beloved.
    Resort then to some calmer fuller fount,
    For of all moisture mine is drain'd and dry,
    Save that which falleth from mine eyes in tears.



_Amor piangeva, ed io con lui talvolta._


      Love grieved, and I with him at times, to see
    By what strange practices and cunning art,
    You still continued from his fetters free,
    From whom my feet were never far apart.
    Since to the right way brought by God's decree,
    Lifting my hands to heaven with pious heart,
    I thank Him for his love and grace, for He
    The soul-prayer of the just will never thwart:
    And if, returning to the amorous strife,
    Its fair desire to teach us to deny,
    Hollows and hillocks in thy path abound,
    'Tis but to prove to us with thorns how rife
    The narrow way, the ascent how hard and high,
    Where with true virtue man at last is crown'd.



_Più di me lieta non si vede a terra._


      Than me more joyful never reach'd the shore
    A vessel, by the winds long tost and tried,
    Whose crew, late hopeless on the waters wide,
    To a good God their thanks, now prostrate, pour;
    Nor captive from his dungeon ever tore,
    Around whose neck the noose of death was tied,
    More glad than me, that weapon laid aside
    Which to my lord hostility long bore.
    All ye who honour love in poet strain,
    To the good minstrel of the amorous lay
    Return due praise, though once he went astray;
    For greater glory is, in Heaven's blest reign,
    Over one sinner saved, and higher praise,
    Than e'en for ninety-nine of perfect ways.



_Il successor di Carlo, che la chioma._


      The high successor of our Charles,[P] whose hair
    The crown of his great ancestor adorns,
    Already has ta'en arms, to bruise the horns
    Of Babylon, and all her name who bear;
    Christ's holy vicar with the honour'd load
    Of keys and cloak, returning to his home,
    Shall see Bologna and our noble Rome,
    If no ill fortune bar his further road.
    Best to your meek and high-born lamb belongs
    To beat the fierce wolf down: so may it be
    With all who loyalty and love deny.
    Console at length your waiting country's wrongs,
    And Rome's, who longs once more her spouse to see,
    And gird for Christ the good sword on thy thigh.


[Footnote P: Charlemagne.]


_O aspettata in ciel, beata e bella._


      O spirit wish'd and waited for in heaven,
    That wearest gracefully our human clay,
    Not as with loading sin and earthly stain,
    Who lov'st our Lord's high bidding to obey,--
    Henceforth to thee the way is plain and even
    By which from hence to bliss we may attain.
    To waft o'er yonder main
    Thy bark, that bids the world adieu for aye
    To seek a better strand,
    The western winds their ready wings expand;
    Which, through the dangers of that dusky way,
    Where all deplore the first infringed command,
    Will guide her safe, from primal bondage free,
    Reckless to stop or stay,
    To that true East, where she desires to be.

      Haply the faithful vows, and zealous prayers,
    And pious tears by holy mortals shed,
    Have come before the mercy-seat above:
    Yet vows of ours but little can bestead,
    Nor human orison such merit bears
    As heavenly justice from its course can move.
    But He, the King whom angels serve and love,
    His gracious eyes hath turn'd upon the land
    Where on the cross He died;
    And a new Charlemagne hath qualified
    To work the vengeance that on high was plann'd,
    For whose delay so long hath Europe sigh'd.
    Such mighty aid He brings his faithful spouse,
    That at its sound the pride
    Of Babylon with trembling terror bows.

      All dwellers 'twixt the hills and wild Garonne,
    The Rhodanus, and Rhine, and briny wave,
    Are banded under red-cross banners brave;
    And all who honour'd guerdon fain would have
    From Pyrenees to the utmost west, are gone,
    Leaving Iberia lorn of warriors keen,
    And Britain, with the islands that are seen
    Between the columns and the starry wain,
    (Even to that land where shone
    The far-famed lore of sacred Helicon,)
    Diverse in language, weapon, garb and strain,
    Of valour true, with pious zeal rush on.
    What cause, what love, to this compared may be?
    What spouse, or infant train
    E'er kindled such a righteous enmity?

      There is a portion of the world that lies
    Far distant from the sun's all-cheering ray,
    For ever wrapt in ice and gelid snows;
    There under cloudy skies, in stinted day,
    A people dwell, whose heart their clime outvies
    By nature framed stern foemen of repose.
    Now new devotion in their bosom glows,
    With Gothic fury now they grasp the sword.
    Turk, Arab, and Chaldee,
    With all between us and that sanguine sea,
    Who trust in idol-gods, and slight the Lord,
    Thou know'st how soon their feeble strength would yield;
    A naked race, fearful and indolent,
    Unused the brand to wield,
    Whose distant aim upon the wind is sent.

      Now is the time to shake the ancient yoke
    From off our necks, and rend the veil aside
    That long in darkness hath involved our eyes;
    Let all whom Heaven with genius hath supplied,
    And all who great Apollo's name invoke,
    With fiery eloquence point out the prize,
    With tongue and pen call on the brave to rise;
    If Orpheus and Amphion, legends old,
    No marvel cause in thee,
    It were small wonder if Ausonia see
    Collecting at thy call her children bold,
    Lifting the spear of Jesus joyfully.
    Nor, if our ancient mother judge aright,
    Doth her rich page unfold
    Such noble cause in any former fight.

      Thou who hast scann'd, to heap a treasure fair,
    Story of ancient day and modern time,
    Soaring with earthly frame to heaven sublime,
    Thou know'st, from Mars' bold son, her ruler prime,
    To great Augustus, he whose waving hair
    Was thrice in triumph wreathed with laurel green,
    How Rome hath of her blood still lavish been
    To right the woes of many an injured land;
    And shall she now be slow,
    Her gratitude, her piety to show?
    In Christian zeal to buckle on the brand,
    For Mary's glorious Son to deal the blow?
    What ills the impious foeman must betide
    Who trust in mortal hand,
    If Christ himself lead on the adverse side!

      And turn thy thoughts to Xerxes' rash emprize,
    Who dared, in haste to tread our Europe's shore,
    Insult the sea with bridge, and strange caprice;
    And thou shalt see for husbands then no more
    The Persian matrons robed in mournful guise,
    And dyed with blood the seas of Salamis,
    Nor sole example this:
    (The ruin of that Eastern king's design),
    That tells of victory nigh:
    See Marathon, and stern Thermopylæ,
    Closed by those few, and chieftain leonine,
    And thousand deeds that blaze in history.
    Then bow in thankfulness both heart and knee
    Before his holy shrine,
    Who such bright guerdon hath reserved for thee.

      Thou shalt see Italy and that honour'd shore,
    O song! a land debarr'd and hid from me
    By neither flood nor hill!
    But love alone, whose power hath virtue still
    To witch, though all his wiles be vanity,
    Nor Nature to avoid the snare hath skill.
    Go, bid thy sisters hush their jealous fears,
    For other loves there be
    Than that blind boy, who causeth smiles and tears.


      O thou, in heaven expected, bright and blest,
    Spirit! who, from the common frailty free
    Of human kind, in human form art drest,
    God's handmaid, dutiful and dear to thee
    Henceforth the pathway easy lies and plain,
    By which, from earth, we bless eternal gain:
    Lo! at the wish, to waft thy venturous prore
    From the blind world it fain would leave behind
    And seek that better shore,
    Springs the sweet comfort of the western wind,
    Which safe amid this dark and dangerous vale,
    Where we our own, the primal sin deplore,
    Right on shall guide her, from her old chains freed,
    And, without let or fail,
    Where havens her best hope, to the true East shall lead.

      Haply the suppliant tears of pious men,
    Their earnest vows and loving prayers at last
    Unto the throne of heavenly grace have past;
    Yet, breathed by human helplessness, ah! when
    Had purest orison the skill and force
    To bend eternal justice from its course?
    But He, heaven's bounteous ruler from on high,
    On the sad sacred spot, where erst He bled,
    Will turn his pitying eye,
    And through the spirit of our new Charles spread
    Thirst of that vengeance, whose too long delay
    From general Europe wakes the bitter sigh;
    To his loved spouse such aid will He convey,
    That, his dread voice to hear,
    Proud Babylon shall shrink assail'd with secret fear.

      All, by the gay Garonne, the kingly Rhine,
    Between the blue Rhone and salt sea who dwell,
    All in whose bosoms worth and honour swell,
    Eagerly haste the Christian cross to join;
    Spain of her warlike sons, from the far west
    Unto the Pyrenee, pours forth her best:
    Britannia and the Islands, which are found
    Northward from Calpe, studding Ocean's breast,
    E'en to that land renown'd
    In the rich lore of sacred Helicon,
    Various in arms and language, garb and guise,
    With pious fury urge the bold emprize.
    What love was e'er so just, so worthy, known?
    Or when did holier flame
    Kindle the mind of man to a more noble aim?

      Far in the hardy north a land there lies,
    Buried in thick-ribb'd ice and constant snows,
    Where scant the days and clouded are the skies,
    And seldom the bright sun his glad warmth throws;
    There, enemy of peace by nature, springs
    A people to whom death no terror brings;
    If these, with new devotedness, we see
    In Gothic fury baring the keen glaive,
    Turk, Arab, and Chaldee!
    All, who, between us and the Red Sea wave,
    To heathen gods bow the idolatrous knee,
    Arm and advance! we heed not your blind rage;
    A naked race, timid in act, and slow,
    Unskill'd the war to wage,
    Whose far aim on the wind contrives a coward blow.

      Now is the hour to free from the old yoke
    Our gallèd necks, to rend the veil away
    Too long permitted our dull sight to cloak:
    Now too, should all whose breasts the heavenly ray
    Of genius lights, exert its powers sublime,
    And or in bold harangue, or burning rhyme,
    Point the proud prize and fan the generous flame.
    If Orpheus and Amphion credit claim,
    Legends of distant time,
    Less marvel 'twere, if, at thy earnest call,
    Italia, with her children, should awake,
    And wield the willing lance for Christ's dear sake.
    Our ancient mother, read she right, in all
    Her fortune's history ne'er
    A cause of combat knew so glorious and so fair!

      Thou, whose keen mind has every theme explored,
    And truest ore from Time's rich treasury won,
    On earthly pinion who hast heavenward soar'd,
    Well knowest, from her founder, Mars' bold son,
    To great Augustus, he, whose brow around
    Thrice was the laurel green in triumph bound,
    How Rome was ever lavish of her blood,
    The right to vindicate, the weak redress;
    And now, when gratitude,
    When piety appeal, shall she do less
    To avenge the injury and end the scorn
    By blessed Mary's glorious offspring borne?
    What fear we, while the heathen for success
    Confide in human powers,
    If, on the adverse side, be Christ, and his side ours?

      Turn, too, when Xerxes our free shores to tread
    Rush'd in hot haste, and dream'd the perilous main
    With scourge and fetter to chastise and chain,
    --What see'st? Wild wailing o'er their husbands dead,
    Persia's pale matrons wrapt in weeds of woe,
    And red with gore the gulf of Salamis!
    To prove our triumph certain, to foreshow
    The utter ruin of our Eastern foe,
    No single instance this;
    Miltiades and Marathon recall,
    See, with his patriot few, Leonidas
    Closing, Thermopylæ, thy bloody pass!
    Like them to dare and do, to God let all
    With heart and knee bow down,
    Who for our arms and age has kept this great renown.

      Thou shalt see Italy, that honour'd land,
    Which from my eyes, O Song! nor seas, streams, heights,
    So long have barr'd and bann'd,
    But love alone, who with his haughty lights
    The more allures me as he worse excites,
    Till nature fails against his constant wiles.
    Go then, and join thy comrades; not alone
    Beneath fair female zone
    Dwells Love, who, at his will, moves us to tears or smiles.



_Verdi panni, sanguigni, oscuri o persi._


      Green robes and red, purple, or brown, or gray
    No lady ever wore,
    Nor hair of gold in sunny tresses twined,
    So beautiful as she, who spoils my mind
    Of judgment, and from freedom's lofty path
    So draws me with her that I may not bear
    Any less heavy yoke.

    And if indeed at times--for wisdom fails
    Where martyrdom breeds doubt--
    The soul should ever arm it to complain
    Suddenly from each reinless rude desire
    Her smile recalls, and razes from my heart
    Every rash enterprise, while all disdain
    Is soften'd in her sight.

    For all that I have ever borne for love,
    And still am doom'd to bear,
    Till she who wounded it shall heal my heart,
    Rejecting homage e'en while she invites,
    Be vengeance done! but let not pride nor ire
    'Gainst my humility the lovely pass
    By which I enter'd bar.

    The hour and day wherein I oped my eyes
    On the bright black and white,
    Which drive me thence where eager love impell'd
    Where of that life which now my sorrow makes
    New roots, and she in whom our age is proud,
    Whom to behold without a tender awe
    Needs heart of lead or wood.

    The tear then from these eyes that frequent falls--
    HE thus my pale cheek bathes
    Who planted first within my fenceless flank
    Love's shaft--diverts me not from my desire;
    And in just part the proper sentence falls;
    For her my spirit sighs, and worthy she
    To staunch its secret wounds.

    Spring from within me these conflicting thoughts,
    To weary, wound myself,
    Each a sure sword against its master turn'd:
    Nor do I pray her to be therefore freed,
    For less direct to heaven all other paths,
    And to that glorious kingdom none can soar
    Certes in sounder bark.

    Benignant stars their bright companionship
    Gave to the fortunate side
    When came that fair birth on our nether world,
    Its sole star since, who, as the laurel leaf,
    The worth of honour fresh and fragrant keeps,
    Where lightnings play not, nor ungrateful winds
    Ever o'ersway its head.

    Well know I that the hope to paint in verse
    Her praises would but tire
    The worthiest hand that e'er put forth its pen:
    Who, in all Memory's richest cells, e'er saw
    Such angel virtue so rare beauty shrined,
    As in those eyes, twin symbols of all worth,
    Sweet keys of my gone heart?

    Lady, wherever shines the sun, than you
    Love has no dearer pledge.



_Giovane donna sott' un verde lauro._


      A youthful lady 'neath a laurel green
    Was seated, fairer, colder than the snow
    On which no sun has shone for many years:
    Her sweet speech, her bright face, and flowing hair
    So pleased, she yet is present to my eyes,
    And aye must be, whatever fate prevail.

    These my fond thoughts of her shall fade and fail
    When foliage ceases on the laurel green;
    Nor calm can be my heart, nor check'd these eyes
    Until the fire shall freeze, or burns the snow:
    Easier upon my head to count each hair
    Than, ere that day shall dawn, the parting years.

    But, since time flies, and roll the rapid years,
    And death may, in the midst, of life, assail,
    With full brown locks, or scant and silver hair,
    I still the shade of that sweet laurel green
    Follow, through fiercest sun and deepest snow,
    Till the last day shall close my weary eyes.

    Oh! never sure were seen such brilliant eyes,
    In this our age or in the older years,
    Which mould and melt me, as the sun melts snow,
    Into a stream of tears adown the vale,
    Watering the hard roots of that laurel green,
    Whose boughs are diamonds and gold whose hair.

    I fear that Time my mien may change and hair,
    Ere, with true pity touch'd, shall greet my eyes
    My idol imaged in that laurel green:
    For, unless memory err, through seven long years
    Till now, full many a shore has heard my wail,
    By night, at noon, in summer and in snow.

    Thus fire within, without the cold, cold snow,
    Alone, with these my thoughts and her bright hair,
    Alway and everywhere I bear my ail,
    Haply to find some mercy in the eyes
    Of unborn nations and far future years,
    If so long flourishes our laurel green.

    The gold and topaz of the sun on snow
    Are shamed by the bright hair above those eyes,
    Searing the short green of my life's vain years.



_Quest' anima gentil che si diparte._


      That graceful soul, in mercy call'd away
    Before her time to bid the world farewell,
    If welcomed as she ought in the realms of day,
    In heaven's most blessèd regions sure shall dwell.
    There between Mars and Venus if she stay,
    Her sight the brightness of the sun will quell,
    Because, her infinite beauty to survey,
    The spirits of the blest will round her swell.
    If she decide upon the fourth fair nest
    Each of the three to dwindle will begin,
    And she alone the fame of beauty win,
    Nor e'en in the fifth circle may she rest;
    Thence higher if she soar, I surely trust
    Jove with all other stars in darkness will be thrust.



_Quanto più m' avvicino al giorno estremo._


      Near and more near as life's last period draws,
    Which oft is hurried on by human woe,
    I see the passing hours more swiftly flow,
    And all my hopes in disappointment close.
    And to my heart I say, amidst its throes,
    "Not long shall we discourse of love below;
    For this my earthly load, like new-fall'n snow
    Fast melting, soon shall leave us to repose.
    With it will sink in dust each towering hope,
    Cherish'd so long within my faithful breast;
    No more shall we resent, fear, smile, complain:
    Then shall we clearly trace why some are blest,
    Through deepest misery raised to Fortune's top,
    And why so many sighs so oft are heaved in vain."


      The nearer I approach my life's last day,
    The certain day that limits human woe,
    I better mark, in Time's swift silent flow,
    How the fond hopes he brought all pass'd away.
    Of love no longer--to myself I say--
    We now may commune, for, as virgin snow,
    The hard and heavy load we drag below
    Dissolves and dies, ere rest in heaven repay.
    And prostrate with it must each fair hope lie
    Which here beguiled us and betray'd so long,
    And joy, grief, fear and pride alike shall cease:
    And then too shall we see with clearer eye
    How oft we trod in weary ways and wrong,
    And why so long in vain we sigh'd for peace.



_Già fiammeggiava l' amorosa stella._


      Throughout the orient now began to flame
    The star of love; while o'er the northern sky
    That, which has oft raised Juno's jealousy,
    Pour'd forth its beauteous scintillating beam:
    Beside her kindled hearth the housewife dame,
    Half-dress'd, and slipshod, 'gan her distaff ply:
    And now the wonted hour of woe drew nigh,
    That wakes to tears the lover from his dream:
    When my sweet hope unto my mind appear'd,
    Not in the custom'd way unto my sight;
    For grief had bathed my lids, and sleep had weigh'd;
    Ah me, how changed that form by love endear'd!
    "Why lose thy fortitude?" methought she said,
    "These eyes not yet from thee withdraw their light."


      Already in the east the amorous star
    Illumined heaven, while from her northern height
    Great Juno's rival through the dusky night
    Her beamy radiance shot. Returning care
    Had roused th' industrious hag, with footstep bare,
    And loins ungirt, the sleeping fire to light;
    And lovers thrill'd that season of despight,
    Which wont renew their tears, and wake despair.
    When my soul's hope, now on the verge of fate,
    (Not by th' accustomed way; for that in sleep
    Was closed, and moist with griefs,) attain'd my heart.
    Alas, how changed! "Servant, no longer weep,"
    She seem'd to say; "resume thy wonted state:
    Not yet thine eyes from mine are doom'd to part."


      Already, in the east, the star of love
    Was flaming, and that other in the north,
    Which Juno's jealousy is wont to move,
    Its beautiful and lustrous rays shot forth;
    Barefooted and half clad, the housewife old
    Had stirr'd her fire, and set herself to weave;
    Each tender heart the thoughtful time controll'd
    Which evermore the lover wakes to grieve,
    When my fond hope, already at life's last,
    Came to my heart, not by the wonted way,
    Where sleep its seal, its dew where sorrow cast--
    Alas! how changed--and said, or seem'd to say,
    "Sight of these eyes not yet does Heaven refuse,
    Then wherefore should thy tost heart courage lose?"



_Apollo, s' ancor vive il bel desio._


      O Phoebus, if that fond desire remains,
    Which fired thy breast near the Thessalian wave;
    If those bright tresses, which such pleasure gave,
    Through lapse of years thy memory not disdains;
    From sluggish frosts, from rude inclement rains.
    Which last the while thy beams our region leave,
    That honour'd sacred tree from peril save,
    Whose name of dear accordance waked our pains!
    And, by that amorous hope which soothed thy care,
    What time expectant thou wert doom'd to sigh
    Dispel those vapours which disturb our sky!
    So shall we both behold our favorite fair
    With wonder, seated on the grassy mead,
    And forming with her arms herself a shade.


      If live the fair desire, Apollo, yet
    Which fired thy spirit once on Peneus' shore,
    And if the bright hair loved so well of yore
    In lapse of years thou dost not now forget,
    From the long frost, from seasons rude and keen,
    Which last while hides itself thy kindling brow,
    Defend this consecrate and honour'd bough,
    Which snared thee erst, whose slave I since have been.
    And, by the virtue of the love so dear
    Which soothed, sustain'd thee in that early strife,
    Our air from raw and lowering vapours clear:
    So shall we see our lady, to new life
    Restored, her seat upon the greensward take,
    Where her own graceful arms a sweet shade o'er her make.



_Solo e pensoso i più deserti campi._


      Alone, and lost in thought, the desert glade
    Measuring I roam with ling'ring steps and slow;
    And still a watchful glance around me throw,
    Anxious to shun the print of human tread:
    No other means I find, no surer aid
    From the world's prying eye to hide my woe:
    So well my wild disorder'd gestures show,
    And love lorn looks, the fire within me bred,
    That well I deem each mountain, wood and plain,
    And river knows, what I from man conceal,
    What dreary hues my life's fond prospects dim.
    Yet whate'er wild or savage paths I've ta'en,
    Where'er I wander, love attends me still,
    Soft whisp'ring to my soul, and I to him.

    ANON., OX., 1795.

      Alone, and pensive, near some desert shore,
    Far from the haunts of men I love to stray,
    And, cautiously, my distant path explore
    Where never human footsteps mark'd the way.
    Thus from the public gaze I strive to fly,
    And to the winds alone my griefs impart;
    While in my hollow cheek and haggard eye
    Appears the fire that burns my inmost heart.
    But ah, in vain to distant scenes I go;
    No solitude my troubled thoughts allays.
    Methinks e'en things inanimate must know
    The flame that on my soul in secret preys;
    Whilst Love, unconquer'd, with resistless sway
    Still hovers round my path, still meets me on my way.

    J.B. TAYLOR.

      Alone and pensive, the deserted plain,
    With tardy pace and sad, I wander by;
    And mine eyes o'er it rove, intent to fly
    Where distant shores no trace of man retain;
    No help save this I find, some cave to gain
    Where never may intrude man's curious eye,
    Lest on my brow, a stranger long to joy,
    He read the secret fire which makes my pain
    For here, methinks, the mountain and the flood,
    Valley and forest the strange temper know
    Of my sad life conceal'd from others' sight--
    Yet where, where shall I find so wild a wood,
    A way so rough that there Love cannot go
    Communing with me the long day and night?



_S' io credessi per morte essere scarco._


      Had I believed that Death could set me free
    From the anxious amorous thoughts my peace that mar,
    With these my own hands which yet stainless are,
    Life had I loosed, long hateful grown to me.
    Yet, for I fear 'twould but a passage be
    From grief to grief, from old to other war,
    Hither the dark shades my escape that bar,
    I still remain, nor hope relief to see.
    High time it surely is that he had sped
    The fatal arrow from his pitiless bow,
    In others' blood so often bathed and red;
    And I of Love and Death have pray'd it so--
    He listens not, but leaves me here half dead.
    Nor cares to call me to himself below.


      Oh! had I deem'd that Death had freed my soul
    From Love's tormenting, overwhelming thought,
    To crush its aching burthen I had sought,
    My wearied life had hasten'd to its goal;
    My shivering bark yet fear'd another shoal,
    To find one tempest with another bought,
    Thus poised 'twixt earth and heaven I dwell as naught,
    Not daring to assume my life's control.
    But sure 'tis time that Death's relentless bow
    Had wing'd that fatal arrow to my heart,
    So often bathed in life's dark crimson tide:
    But though I crave he would this boon bestow,
    He to my cheek his impress doth impart,
    And yet o'erlooks me in his fearful stride.



_Si è debile il filo a cui s' attene._


      The thread on which my weary life depends
    So fragile is and weak,
    If none kind succour lends,
    Soon 'neath the painful burden will it break;
    Since doom'd to take my sad farewell of her,
    In whom begins and ends
    My bliss, one hope, to stir
    My sinking spirit from its black despair,
    Whispers, "Though lost awhile
    That form so dear and fair,
    Sad soul! the trial bear,
    For thee e'en yet the sun may brightly shine,
    And days more happy smile,
    Once more the lost loved treasure may be thine."
    This thought awhile sustains me, but again
    To fail me and forsake in worse excess of pain.

    Time flies apace: the silent hours and swift
    So urge his journey on,
    Short span to me is left
    Even to think how quick to death I run;
    Scarce, in the orient heaven, yon mountain crest
    Smiles in the sun's first ray,
    When, in the adverse west,
    His long round run, we see his light decay
    So small of life the space,
    So frail and clogg'd with woe,
    To mortal man below,
    That, when I find me from that beauteous face
    Thus torn by fate's decree,
    Unable at a wish with her to be,
    So poor the profit that old comforts give,
    I know not how I brook in such a state to live.

    Each place offends, save where alone I see
    Those eyes so sweet and bright,
    Which still shall bear the key
    Of the soft thoughts I hide from other sight;
    And, though hard exile harder weighs on me,
    Whatever mood betide,
    I ask no theme beside,
    For all is hateful that I since have seen.
    What rivers and what heights,
    What shores and seas between
    Me rise and those twin lights,
    Which made the storm and blackness of my days
    One beautiful serene,
    To which tormented Memory still strays:
    Free as my life then pass'd from every care,
    So hard and heavy seems my present lot to bear.

    Alas! self-parleying thus, I but renew
    The warm wish in my mind,
    Which first within it grew
    The day I left my better half behind:
    If by long absence love is quench'd, then who
    Guides me to the old bait,
    Whence all my sorrows date?
    Why rather not my lips in silence seal'd?
    By finest crystal ne'er
    Were hidden tints reveal'd
    So faithfully and fair,
    As my sad spirit naked lays and bare
    Its every secret part,
    And the wild sweetness thrilling in my heart,
    Through eyes which, restlessly, o'erfraught with tears,
    Seek her whose sight alone with instant gladness cheers.

    Strange pleasure!--yet so often that within
    The human heart to reign
    Is found--to woo and win
    Each new brief toy that men most sigh to gain:
    And I am one from sadness who relief
    So draw, as if it still
    My study were to fill
    These eyes with softness, and this heart with grief:
    As weighs with me in chief
    Nay rather with sole force,
    The language and the light
    Of those dear eyes to urge me on that course,
    So where its fullest source
    Long sorrow finds, I fix my often sight,
    And thus my heart and eyes like sufferers be,
    Which in love's path have been twin pioneers to me.

    The golden tresses which should make, I ween,
    The sun with envy pine;
    And the sweet look serene,
    Where love's own rays so bright and burning shine,
    That, ere its time, they make my strength decline,
    Each wise and truthful word,
    Rare in the world, which late
    She smiling gave, no more are seen or heard.
    But this of all my fate
    Is hardest to endure,
    That here I am denied
    The gentle greeting, angel-like and pure,
    Which still to virtue's side
    Inclined my heart with modest magic lure;
    So that, in sooth, I nothing hope again
    Of comfort more than this, how best to bear my pain.

    And--with fit ecstacy my loss to mourn--
    The soft hand's snowy charm,
    The finely-rounded arm,
    The winning ways, by turns, that quiet scorn,
    Chaste anger, proud humility adorn,
    The fair young breast that shrined
    Intellect pure and high,
    Are now all hid the rugged Alp behind.
    My trust were vain to try
    And see her ere I die,
    For, though awhile he dare
    Such dreams indulge, Hope ne'er can constant be,
    But falls back in despair
    Her, whom Heaven honours, there again to see,
    Where virtue, courtesy in her best mix,
    And where so oft I pray my future home to fix.

    My Song! if thou shalt see,
    Our common lady in that dear retreat,
    We both may hope that she
    Will stretch to thee her fair and fav'ring hand,
    Whence I so far am bann'd;
    --Touch, touch it not, but, reverent at her feet,
    Tell her I will be there with earliest speed,
    A man of flesh and blood, or else a spirit freed.



_Orso, e' non furon mai fiumi nè stagni._


      Orso, my friend, was never stream, nor lake,
    Nor sea in whose broad lap all rivers fall,
    Nor shadow of high hill, or wood, or wall,
    Nor heaven-obscuring clouds which torrents make,
    Nor other obstacles my grief so wake,
    Whatever most that lovely face may pall,
    As hiding the bright eyes which me enthrall,
    That veil which bids my heart "Now burn or break,"
    And, whether by humility or pride,
    Their glance, extinguishing mine every joy,
    Conducts me prematurely to my tomb:
    Also my soul by one fair hand is tried,
    Cunning and careful ever to annoy,
    'Gainst my poor eyes a rock that has become.



_Io temo sì de' begli occhi l' assalto._


      So much I fear to encounter her bright eye.
    Alway in which my death and Love reside,
    That, as a child the rod, its glance I fly,
    Though long the time has been since first I tried;
    And ever since, so wearisome or high,
    No place has been where strong will has not hied,
    Her shunning, at whose sight my senses die,
    And, cold as marble, I am laid aside:
    Wherefore if I return to see you late,
    Sure 'tis no fault, unworthy of excuse,
    That from my death awhile I held aloof:
    At all to turn to what men shun, their fate,
    And from such fear my harass'd heart to loose,
    Of its true faith are ample pledge and proof.



_S' amore o morte non dà qualche stroppio._


      If Love or Death no obstacle entwine
    With the new web which here my fingers fold,
    And if I 'scape from beauty's tyrant hold
    While natural truth with truth reveal'd I join,
    Perchance a work so double will be mine
    Between our modern style and language old,
    That (timidly I speak, with hope though bold)
    Even to Rome its growing fame may shine:
    But, since, our labour to perfèct at last
    Some of the blessed threads are absent yet
    Which our dear father plentifully met,
    Wherefore to me thy hands so close and fast
    Against their use? Be prompt of aid and free,
    And rich our harvest of fair things shall be.



_Quando dal proprio sito si rimove._


      When from its proper soil the tree is moved
    Which Phoebus loved erewhile in human form,
    Grim Vulcan at his labour sighs and sweats,
    Renewing ever the dread bolts of Jove,
    Who thunders now, now speaks in snow and rain,
    Nor Julius honoureth than Janus more:
    Earth moans, and far from us the sun retires
    Since his dear mistress here no more is seen.
    Then Mars and Saturn, cruel stars, resume
    Their hostile rage: Orion arm'd with clouds
    The helm and sails of storm-tost seamen breaks.
    To Neptune and to Juno and to us
    Vext Æolus proves his power, and makes us feel
    How parts the fair face angels long expect.



_Ma poi che 'l dolce riso umile e piano._


      But when her sweet smile, modest and benign,
    No longer hides from us its beauties rare,
    At the spent forge his stout and sinewy arms
    Plieth that old Sicilian smith in vain,
    For from the hands of Jove his bolts are taken
    Temper'd in Ætna to extremest proof;
    And his cold sister by degrees grows calm
    And genial in Apollo's kindling beams.
    Moves from the rosy west a summer breath,
    Which safe and easy wafts the seaward bark,
    And wakes the sweet flowers in each grassy mead.
    Malignant stars on every side depart,
    Dispersed before that bright enchanting face,
    For which already many tears are shed.



_Il figliuol di Latona avea già nove._


      Nine times already had Latona's son
    Look'd from the highest balcony of heaven
    For her, who whilom waked his sighs in vain,
    And sighs as vain now wakes in other breasts;
    Then seeking wearily, nor knowing where
    She dwelt, or far or near, and why delay'd,
    He show'd himself to us as one, insane
    For grief, who cannot find some loved lost thing:
    And thus, for clouds of sorrow held aloof,
    Saw not the fair face turn, which, if I live,
    In many a page shall praised and honour'd be,
    The misery of her loss so changed her mien
    That her bright eyes were dimm'd, for once, with tears,
    Thereon its former gloom the air resumed.



_Quel che 'n Tessaglia ebbe le man sì pronte._


      He who for empire at Pharsalia threw,
    Reddening its beauteous plain with civil gore,
    As Pompey's corse his conquering soldiers bore,
    Wept when the well-known features met his view:
    The shepherd youth, who fierce Goliath slew,
    Had long rebellious children to deplore,
    And bent, in generous grief, the brave Saul o'er
    His shame and fall when proud Gilboa knew:
    But you, whose cheek with pity never paled,
    Who still have shields at hand to guard you well
    Against Love's bow, which shoots its darts in vain,
    Behold me by a thousand deaths assail'd,
    And yet no tears of thine compassion tell,
    But in those bright eyes anger and disdain.



_Il mio avversario, in cui veder solete._


      My foe, in whom you see your own bright eyes,
    Adored by Love and Heaven with honour due,
    With beauties not its own enamours you,
    Sweeter and happier than in mortal guise.
    Me, by its counsel, lady, from your breast,
    My chosen cherish'd home, your scorn expell'd
    In wretched banishment, perchance not held
    Worthy to dwell where you alone should rest.
    But were I fasten'd there with strongest keys,
    That mirror should not make you, at my cost,
    Severe and proud yourself alone to please.
    Remember how Narcissus erst was lost!
    His course and thine to one conclusion lead,
    Of flower so fair though worthless here the mead.


      My mirror'd foe reflects, alas! so fair
    Those eyes which Heaven and Love have honour'd too!
    Yet not his charms thou dost enamour'd view,
    But all thine own, and they beyond compare:
    O lady! thou hast chased me at its prayer
    From thy heart's throne, where I so fondly grew;
    O wretched exile! though too well I knew
    A reign with thee I were unfit to share.
    But were I ever fix'd thy bosom's mate,
    A flattering mirror should not me supplant,
    And make thee scorn me in thy self-delight;
    Thou surely must recall Narcissus' fate,
    But if like him thy doom should thee enchant,
    What mead were worthy of a flower so bright?



_L' oro e le perle, e i fior vermigli e i bianchi._


      Those golden tresses, teeth of pearly white,
    Those cheeks' fair roses blooming to decay,
    Do in their beauty to my soul convey
    The poison'd arrows from my aching sight.
    Thus sad and briefly must my days take flight,
    For life with woe not long on earth will stay;
    But more I blame that mirror's flattering sway,
    Which thou hast wearied with thy self-delight.
    Its power my bosom's sovereign too hath still'd,
    Who pray'd thee in my suit--now he is mute,
    Since thou art captured by thyself alone:
    Death's seeds it hath within my heart instill'd,
    For Lethe's stream its form doth constitute,
    And makes thee lose each image but thine own.


      The gold and pearls, the lily and the rose
    Which weak and dry in winter wont to be,
    Are rank and poisonous arrow-shafts to me,
    As my sore-stricken bosom aptly shows:
    Thus all my days now sadly shortly close,
    For seldom with great grief long years agree;
    But in that fatal glass most blame I see,
    That weary with your oft self-liking grows.
    It on my lord placed silence, when my suit
    He would have urged, but, seeing your desire
    End in yourself alone, he soon was mute.
    'Twas fashion'd in hell's wave and o'er its fire,
    And tinted in eternal Lethe: thence
    The spring and secret of my death commence.



_Io sentia dentr' al cor già venir meno._


      I now perceived that from within me fled
    Those spirits to which you their being lend;
    And since by nature's dictates to defend
    Themselves from death all animals are made,
    The reins I loosed, with which Desire I stay'd,
    And sent him on his way without a friend;
    There whither day and night my course he'd bend,
    Though still from thence by me reluctant led.
    And me ashamed and slow along he drew
    To see your eyes their matchless influence shower,
    Which much I shun, afraid to give you pain.
    Yet for myself this once I'll live; such power
    Has o'er this wayward life one look from you:--
    Then die, unless Desire prevails again.

    ANON., OX., 1795.

      Because the powers that take their life from you
    Already had I felt within decay,
    And because Nature, death to shield or slay,
    Arms every animal with instinct true,
    To my long-curb'd desire the rein I threw,
    And turn'd it in the old forgotten way,
    Where fondly it invites me night and day,
    Though 'gainst its will, another I pursue.
    And thus it led me back, ashamed and slow,
    To see those eyes with love's own lustre rife
    Which I am watchful never to offend:
    Thus may I live perchance awhile below;
    One glance of yours such power has o'er my life
    Which sure, if I oppose desire, shall end.



_Se mai foco per foco non si spense._


      If fire was never yet by fire subdued,
    If never flood fell dry by frequent rain,
    But, like to like, if each by other gain,
    And contraries are often mutual food;
    Love, who our thoughts controllest in each mood,
    Through whom two bodies thus one soul sustain,
    How, why in her, with such unusual strain
    Make the want less by wishes long renewed?
    Perchance, as falleth the broad Nile from high,
    Deafening with his great voice all nature round,
    And as the sun still dazzles the fix'd eye,
    So with itself desire in discord found
    Loses in its impetuous object force,
    As the too frequent spur oft checks the course.



_Perch' io t' abbia guardato di menzogna._


      Although from falsehood I did thee restrain
    With all my power, and paid thee honour due,
    Ungrateful tongue; yet never did accrue
    Honour from thee, but shame, and fierce disdain:
    Most art thou cold, when most I want the strain
    Thy aid should lend while I for pity sue;
    And all thy utterance is imperfect too,
    When thou dost speak, and as the dreamer's vain.
    Ye too, sad tears, throughout each lingering night
    Upon me wait, when I alone would stay;
    But, needed by my peace, you take your flight:
    And, all so prompt anguish and grief t' impart,
    Ye sighs, then slow, and broken breathe your way:
    My looks alone truly reveal my heart.


      With all my power, lest falsehood should invade,
    I guarded thee and still thy honour sought,
    Ungrateful tongue! who honour ne'er hast brought,
    But still my care with rage and shame repaid:
    For, though to me most requisite, thine aid,
    When mercy I would ask, availeth nought,
    Still cold and mute, and e'en to words if wrought
    They seem as sounds in sleep by dreamers made.
    And ye, sad tears, o' nights, when I would fain
    Be left alone, my sure companions, flow,
    But, summon'd for my peace, ye soon depart:
    Ye too, mine anguish'd sighs, so prompt to pain,
    Then breathe before her brokenly and slow,
    And my face only speaks my suffering heart.



_Nella stagion che 'l ciel rapido inchina._


      In that still season, when the rapid sun
    Drives down the west, and daylight flies to greet
    Nations that haply wait his kindling flame;
    In some strange land, alone, her weary feet
    The time-worn pilgrim finds, with toil fordone,
    Yet but the more speeds on her languid frame;
    Her solitude the same,
    When night has closed around;
    Yet has the wanderer found
    A deep though short forgetfulness at last
    Of every woe, and every labour past.
    But ah! my grief, that with each moment grows,
    As fast, and yet more fast,
    Day urges on, is heaviest at its close.

    When Phoebus rolls his everlasting wheels
    To give night room; and from encircling wood,
    Broader and broader yet descends the shade;
    The labourer arms him for his evening trade,
    And all the weight his burthen'd heart conceals
    Lightens with glad discourse or descant rude;
    Then spreads his board with food,
    Such as the forest hoar
    To our first fathers bore,
    By us disdain'd, yet praised in hall and bower,
    But, let who will the cup of joyance pour,
    I never knew, I will not say of mirth,
    But of repose, an hour,
    When Phoebus leaves, and stars salute the earth.

    Yon shepherd, when the mighty star of day
    He sees descending to its western bed,
    And the wide Orient all with shade embrown'd,
    Takes his old crook, and from the fountain head,
    Green mead, and beechen bower, pursues his way,
    Calling, with welcome voice, his flocks around;
    Then far from human sound,
    Some desert cave he strows
    With leaves and verdant boughs,
    And lays him down, without a thought, to sleep.
    Ah, cruel Love!--then dost thou bid me keep
    My idle chase, the airy steps pursuing
    Of her I ever weep,
    Who flies me still, my endless toil renewing.

    E'en the rude seaman, in some cave confined,
    Pillows his head, as daylight quits the scene,
    On the hard deck, with vilest mat o'erspread;
    And when the Sun in orient wave serene
    Bathes his resplendent front, and leaves behind
    Those antique pillars of his boundless bed;
    Forgetfulness has shed
    O'er man, and beast, and flower,
    Her mild restoring power:
    But my determined grief finds no repose;
    And every day but aggravates the woes
    Of that remorseless flood, that, ten long years,
    Flowing, yet ever flows,
    Nor know I what can check its ceaseless tears.


      What time towards the western skies
    The sun with parting radiance flies,
    And other climes gilds with expected light,
    Some aged pilgrim dame who strays
    Alone, fatigued, through pathless ways,
    Hastens her step, and dreads the approach of night
    Then, the day's journey o'er, she'll steep
    Her sense awhile in grateful sleep;
    Forgetting all the pain, and peril past;
    But I, alas! find no repose,
    Each sun to me brings added woes,
    While light's eternal orb rolls from us fast.

    When the sun's wheels no longer glow,
    And hills their lengthen'd shadows throw,
    The hind collects his tools, and carols gay;
    Then spreads his board with frugal fare,
    Such as those homely acorns were,
    Which all revere, yet casting them away,
    Let those, who pleasure can enjoy,
    In cheerfulness their hours employ;
    While I, of all earth's wretches most unblest,
    Whether the sun fierce darts his beams,
    Whether the moon more mildly gleams,
    Taste no delight, no momentary rest!

    When the swain views the star of day
    Quench in the pillowing waves its ray,
    And scatter darkness o'er the eastern skies
    Rising, his custom'd crook he takes,
    The beech-wood, fountain, plain forsakes,
    As calmly homeward with his flock he hies
    Remote from man, then on his bed
    In cot, or cave, with fresh leaves spread,
    He courts soft slumber, and suspense from care,
    While thou, fell Love, bidst me pursue
    That voice, those footsteps which subdue
    My soul; yet movest not th' obdurate fair!

    Lock'd in some bay, to taste repose
    On the hard deck, the sailor throws
    His coarse garb o'er him, when the car of light
    Granada, with Marocco leaves,
    The Pillars famed, Iberia's waves,
    And the world's hush'd, and all its race, in night.
    But never will my sorrows cease,
    Successive days their sum increase,
    Though just ten annual suns have mark'd my pain;
    Say, to this bosom's poignant grief
    Who shall administer relief?
    Say, who at length shall free me from my chain?

    And, since there's comfort in the strain,
    I see at eve along each plain.
    And furrow'd hill, the unyoked team return:
    Why at that hour will no one stay
    My sighs, or bear my yoke away?
    Why bathed in tears must I unceasing mourn?
    Wretch that I was, to fix my sight
    First on that face with such delight,
    Till on my thought its charms were strong imprest,
    Which force shall not efface, nor art,
    Ere from this frame my soul dispart!
    Nor know I then if passion's votaries rest.

    O hasty strain, devoid of worth,
    Sad as the bard who brought thee forth,
    Show not thyself, be with the world at strife,
    From nook to nook indulge thy grief;
    While thy lorn parent seeks relief,
    Nursing that amorous flame which feeds his life!



_Poco era ad appressarsi agli occhi miei._


      Had but the light which dazzled them afar
    Drawn but a little nearer to mine eyes,
    Methinks I would have wholly changed my form,
    Even as in Thessaly her form she changed:
    But if I cannot lose myself in her
    More than I have--small mercy though it won--
    I would to-day in aspect thoughtful be,
    Of harder stone than chisel ever wrought,
    Of adamant, or marble cold and white,
    Perchance through terror, or of jasper rare
    And therefore prized by the blind greedy crowd.
    Then were I free from this hard heavy yoke
    Which makes me envy Atlas, old and worn,
    Who with his shoulders brings Morocco night.



_Non al suo amante più Diana piacque._


      Not Dian to her lover was more dear,
    When fortune 'mid the waters cold and clear,
    Gave him her naked beauties all to see,
    Than seem'd the rustic ruddy nymph to me,
    Who, in yon flashing stream, the light veil laved,
    Whence Laura's lovely tresses lately waved;
    I saw, and through me felt an amorous chill,
    Though summer burn, to tremble and to thrill.



_Spirto gentil che quelle membra reggi._


      Spirit heroic! who with fire divine
    Kindlest those limbs, awhile which pilgrim hold
    On earth a Chieftain, gracious, wise, and bold;
    Since, rightly, now the rod of state is thine
    Rome and her wandering children to confine,
    And yet reclaim her to the old good way:
    To thee I speak, for elsewhere not a ray
    Of virtue can I find, extinct below,
    Nor one who feels of evil deeds the shame.
    Why Italy still waits, and what her aim
    I know not, callous to her proper woe,
    Indolent, aged, slow,
    Still will she sleep? Is none to rouse her found?
    Oh! that my wakening hands were through her tresses wound.

    So grievous is the spell, the trance so deep,
    Loud though we call, my hope is faint that e'er
    She yet will waken from her heavy sleep:
    But not, methinks, without some better end
    Was this our Rome entrusted to thy care,
    Who surest may revive and best defend.
    Fearlessly then upon that reverend head,
    'Mid her dishevell'd locks, thy fingers spread,
    And lift at length the sluggard from the dust;
    I, day and night, who her prostration mourn,
    For this, in thee, have fix'd my certain trust,
    That, if her sons yet turn.
    And their eyes ever to true honour raise.
    The glory is reserved for thy illustrious days!

    Her ancient walls, which still with fear and love
    The world admires, whene'er it calls to mind
    The days of Eld, and turns to look behind;
    Her hoar and cavern'd monuments above
    The dust of men, whose fame, until the world
    In dissolution sink, can never fail;
    Her all, that in one ruin now lies hurl'd,
    Hopes to have heal'd by thee its every ail.
    O faithful Brutus! noble Scipios dead!
    To you what triumph, where ye now are blest,
    If of our worthy choice the fame have spread:
    And how his laurell'd crest,
    Will old Fabricius rear, with joy elate,
    That his own Rome again shall beauteous be and great!

    And, if for things of earth its care Heaven show,
    The souls who dwell above in joy and peace,
    And their mere mortal frames have left below,
    Implore thee this long civil strife may cease,
    Which kills all confidence, nips every good,
    Which bars the way to many a roof, where men
    Once holy, hospitable lived, the den
    Of fearless rapine now and frequent blood,
    Whose doors to virtue only are denied.
    While beneath plunder'd Saints, in outraged fanes
    Plots Faction, and Revenge the altar stains;
    And, contrast sad and wide,
    The very bells which sweetly wont to fling
    Summons to prayer and praise now Battle's tocsin ring!

    Pale weeping women, and a friendless crowd
    Of tender years, infirm and desolate Age,
    Which hates itself and its superfluous days,
    With each blest order to religion vow'd,
    Whom works of love through lives of want engage,
    To thee for help their hands and voices raise;
    While our poor panic-stricken land displays
    The thousand wounds which now so mar her frame,
    That e'en from foes compassion they command;
    Or more if Christendom thy care may claim.
    Lo! God's own house on fire, while not a hand
    Moves to subdue the flame:
    --Heal thou these wounds, this feverish tumult end,
    And on the holy work Heaven's blessing shall descend!

    Often against our marble Column high
    Wolf, Lion, Bear, proud Eagle, and base Snake
    Even to their own injury insult shower;
    Lifts against thee and theirs her mournful cry,
    The noble Dame who calls thee here to break
    Away the evil weeds which will not flower.
    A thousand years and more! and gallant men
    There fix'd her seat in beauty and in power;
    The breed of patriot hearts has fail'd since then!
    And, in their stead, upstart and haughty now,
    A race, which ne'er to her in reverence bends,
    Her husband, father thou!
    Like care from thee and counsel she attends,
    As o'er his other works the Sire of all extends.

    'Tis seldom e'en that with our fairest scheme
    Some adverse fortune will not mix, and mar
    With instant ill ambition's noblest dreams;
    But thou, once ta'en thy path, so walk that I
    May pardon her past faults, great as they are,
    If now at least she give herself the lie.
    For never, in all memory, as to thee,
    To mortal man so sure and straight the way
    Of everlasting honour open lay,
    For thine the power and will, if right I see,
    To lift our empire to its old proud state.
    Let this thy glory be!
    They succour'd her when young, and strong, and great,
    He, in her weak old age, warded the stroke of Fate.
    Forth on thy way! my Song, and, where the bold
    Tarpeian lifts his brow, shouldst thou behold,
    Of others' weal more thoughtful than his own,
    The chief, by general Italy revered,
    Tell him from me, to whom he is but known
    As one to Virtue and by Fame endear'd,
    Till stamp'd upon his heart the sad truth be,
    That, day by day to thee,
    With suppliant attitude and streaming eyes,
    For justice and relief our seven-hill'd city cries.



_Perchè al viso d' Amor portava insegna._


      Bright in whose face Love's conquering ensign stream'd,
    A foreign fair so won me, young and vain,
    That of her sex all others worthless seem'd:
    Her as I follow'd o'er the verdant plain,
    I heard a loud voice speaking from afar,
    "How lost in these lone woods his footsteps are!"
    Then paused I, and, beneath the tall beech shade,
    All wrapt in thought, around me well survey'd,
    Till, seeing how much danger block'd my way,
    Homeward I turn'd me though at noon of day.



_Quel foco, ch' io pensai che fosse spento._


      That fire for ever which I thought at rest,
    Quench'd in the chill blood of my ripen'd years,
    Awakes new flames and torment in my breast.
    Its sparks were never all, from what I see,
    Extinct, but merely slumbering, smoulder'd o'er;
    Haply this second error worse may be,
    For, by the tears, which I, in torrents, pour,
    Grief, through these eyes, distill'd from my heart's core,
    Which holds within itself the spark and bait,
    Remains not as it was, but grows more great.
    What fire, save mine, had not been quench'd and kill'd
    Beneath the flood these sad eyes ceaseless shed?
    Struggling 'mid opposites--so Love has will'd--
    Now here, now there, my vain life must be led,
    For in so many ways his snares are spread,
    When most I hope him from my heart expell'd
    Then most of her fair face its slave I'm held.



_Se col cieco desir che 'l cor distrugge._


      Either that blind desire, which life destroys
    Counting the hours, deceives my misery,
    Or, even while yet I speak, the moment flies,
    Promised at once to pity and to me.
    Alas! what baneful shade o'erhangs and dries
    The seed so near its full maturity?
    'Twixt me and hope what brazen walls arise?
    From murderous wolves not even my fold is free.
    Ah, woe is me! Too clearly now I find
    That felon Love, to aggravate my pain,
    Mine easy heart hath thus to hope inclined;
    And now the maxim sage I call to mind,
    That mortal bliss must doubtful still remain
    Till death from earthly bonds the soul unbind.


      Counting the hours, lest I myself mislead
    By blind desire wherewith my heart is torn,
    E'en while I speak away the moments speed,
    To me and pity which alike were sworn.
    What shade so cruel as to blight the seed
    Whence the wish'd fruitage should so soon be born?
    What beast within my fold has leap'd to feed?
    What wall is built between the hand and corn?
    Alas! I know not, but, if right I guess,
    Love to such joyful hope has only led
    To plunge my weary life in worse distress;
    And I remember now what once I read,
    Until the moment of his full release
    Man's bliss begins not, nor his troubles cease.



_Mie venture al venir son tarde e pigre._


      Ever my hap is slack and slow in coming,
    Desire increasing, ay my hope uncertain
    With doubtful love, that but increaseth pain;
    For, tiger-like, so swift it is in parting.
    Alas! the snow black shall it be and scalding,
    The sea waterless, and fish upon the mountain,
    The Thames shall back return into his fountain,
    And where he rose the sun shall take [his] lodging,
    Ere I in this find peace or quietness;
    Or that Love, or my Lady, right wisely,
    Leave to conspire against me wrongfully.
    And if I have, after such bitterness,
    One drop of sweet, my mouth is out of taste,
    That all my trust and travail is but waste.


      Late to arrive my fortunes are and slow--
    Hopes are unsure, desires ascend and swell,
    Suspense, expectancy in me rebel--
    But swifter to depart than tigers go.
    Tepid and dark shall be the cold pure snow,
    The ocean dry, its fish on mountains dwell,
    The sun set in the East, by that old well
    Alike whence Tigris and Euphrates flow,
    Ere in this strife I peace or truce shall find,
    Ere Love or Laura practise kinder ways,
    Sworn friends, against me wrongfully combined.
    After such bitters, if some sweet allays,
    Balk'd by long fasts my palate spurns the fare,
    Sole grace from them that falleth to my share.



_La guancia che fu già piangendo stanca._


      Thy weary cheek that channell'd sorrow shows,
    My much loved lord, upon the one repose;
    More careful of thyself against Love be,
    Tyrant who smiles his votaries wan to see;
    And with the other close the left-hand path
    Too easy entrance where his message hath;
    In sun and storm thyself the same display,
    Because time faileth for the lengthen'd way.
    And, with the third, drink of the precious herb
    Which purges every thought that would disturb,
    Sweet in the end though sour at first in taste:
    But me enshrine where your best joys are placed,
    So that I fear not the grim bark of Styx,
    If with such prayer of mine pride do not mix.



_Perchè quel che mi trasse ad amar prima._


      Though cruelty denies my view
    Those charms which led me first to love;
    To passion yet will I be true,
    Nor shall my will rebellious prove.
    Amid the curls of golden hair
    That wave those beauteous temples round,
    Cupid spread craftily the snare
    With which my captive heart he bound:
    And from those eyes he caught the ray
    Which thaw'd the ice that fenced my breast,
    Chasing all other thoughts away,
    With brightness suddenly imprest.
    But now that hair of sunny gleam,
    Ah me! is ravish'd from my sight;
    Those beauteous eyes withdraw their beam,
    And change to sadness past delight.
    A glorious death by all is prized;
    Tis death alone shall break my chain:
    Oh! be Love's timid wail despised.
    Lovers should nobly suffer pain.


      Though barr'd from all which led me first to love
    By coldness or caprice,
    Not yet from its firm bent can passion cease!
    The snare was set amid those threads of gold,
    To which Love bound me fast;
    And from those bright eyes melted the long cold
    Within my heart that pass'd;
    So sweet the spell their sudden splendour cast,
    Its single memory still
    Deprives my soul of every other will.
    But now, alas! from me of that fine hair
    Is ravish'd the dear sight;
    The lost light of those twin stars, chaste as fair,
    Saddens me in her flight;
    But, since a glorious death wins honour bright,
    By death, and not through grief,
    Love from such chain shall give at last relief.



_L' arbor gentil che forte amai molt' anni._


      The graceful tree I loved so long and well,
    Ere its fair boughs in scorn my flame declined,
    Beneath its shade encouraged my poor mind
    To bud and bloom, and 'mid its sorrow swell.
    But now, my heart secure from such a spell,
    Alas, from friendly it has grown unkind!
    My thoughts entirely to one end confined,
    Their painful sufferings how I still may tell.
    What should he say, the sighing slave of love,
    To whom my later rhymes gave hope of bliss,
    Who for that laurel has lost all--but this?
    May poet never pluck thee more, nor Jove
    Exempt; but may the sun still hold in hate
    On each green leaf till blight and blackness wait.



_Benedetto sia 'l giorno e 'l mese e l' anno._


      Blest be the day, and blest the month, the year,
    The spring, the hour, the very moment blest,
    The lovely scene, the spot, where first oppress'd
    I sunk, of two bright eyes the prisoner:
    And blest the first soft pang, to me most dear,
    Which thrill'd my heart, when Love became its guest;
    And blest the bow, the shafts which pierced my breast,
    And even the wounds, which bosom'd thence I bear.
    Blest too the strains which, pour'd through glade and grove,
    Have made the woodlands echo with her name;
    The sighs, the tears, the languishment, the love:
    And blest those sonnets, sources of my fame;
    And blest that thought--Oh! never to remove!
    Which turns to her alone, from her alone which came.


      Blest be the year, the month, the hour, the day,
    The season and the time, and point of space,
    And blest the beauteous country and the place
    Where first of two bright eyes I felt the sway:
    Blest the sweet pain of which I was the prey,
    When newly doom'd Love's sovereign law to embrace,
    And blest the bow and shaft to which I trace,
    The wound that to my inmost heart found way:
    Blest be the ceaseless accents of my tongue,
    Unwearied breathing my loved lady's name:
    Blest my fond wishes, sighs, and tears, and pains:
    Blest be the lays in which her praise I sung,
    That on all sides acquired to her fair fame,
    And blest my thoughts! for o'er them all she reigns.



_Padre del ciel, dopo i perduti giorni._


      Father of heaven! after the days misspent,
    After the nights of wild tumultuous thought,
    In that fierce passion's strong entanglement,
    One, for my peace too lovely fair, had wrought;
    Vouchsafe that, by thy grace, my spirit bent
    On nobler aims, to holier ways be brought;
    That so my foe, spreading with dark intent
    His mortal snares, be foil'd, and held at nought.
    E'en now th' eleventh year its course fulfils,
    That I have bow'd me to the tyranny
    Relentless most to fealty most tried.
    Have mercy, Lord! on my unworthy ills:
    Fix all my thoughts in contemplation high;
    How on the cross this day a Saviour died.


      Father of heaven! despite my days all lost,
    Despite my nights in doting folly spent
    With that fierce passion which my bosom rent
    At sight of her, too lovely for my cost;
    Vouchsafe at length that, by thy grace, I turn
    To wiser life, and enterprise more fair,
    So that my cruel foe, in vain his snare
    Set for my soul, may his defeat discern.
    Already, Lord, the eleventh year circling wanes
    Since first beneath his tyrant yoke I fell
    Who still is fiercest where we least rebel:
    Pity my undeserved and lingering pains,
    To holier thoughts my wandering sense restore,
    How on this day his cross thy Son our Saviour bore.



_Volgendo gli occhi al mio novo colore._


      Late as those eyes on my sunk cheek inclined,
    Whose paleness to the world seems of the grave,
    Compassion moved you to that greeting kind,
    Whose soft smile to my worn heart spirit gave.
    The poor frail life which yet to me is left
    Was of your beauteous eyes the liberal gift,
    And of that voice angelical and mild;
    My present state derived from them I see;
    As the rod quickens the slow sullen child,
    So waken'd they the sleeping soul in me.
    Thus, Lady, of my true heart both the keys
    You hold in hand, and yet your captive please:
    Ready to sail wherever winds may blow,
    By me most prized whate'er to you I owe.



_Se voi poteste per turbati segni._


      If, but by angry and disdainful sign,
    By the averted head and downcast sight,
    By readiness beyond thy sex for flight,
    Deaf to all pure and worthy prayers of mine,
    Thou canst, by these or other arts of thine,
    'Scape from my breast--where Love on slip so slight
    Grafts every day new boughs--of such despite
    A fitting cause I then might well divine:
    For gentle plant in arid soil to be
    Seems little suited: so it better were,
    And this e'en nature dictates, thence to stir.
    But since thy destiny prohibits thee
    Elsewhere to dwell, be this at least thy care
    Not always to sojourn in hatred there.



_Lasso, che mal accorto fui da prima._


      Alas! this heart by me was little known
    In those first days when Love its depths explored,
    Where by degrees he made himself the lord
    Of my whole life, and claim'd it as his own:
    I did not think that, through his power alone,
    A heart time-steel'd, and so with valour stored,
    Such proof of failing firmness could afford,
    And fell by wrong self-confidence o'erthrown.
    Henceforward all defence too late will come,
    Save this, to prove, enough or little, here
    If to these mortal prayers Love lend his ear.
    Not now my prayer--nor can such e'er have room--
    That with more mercy he consume my heart,
    But in the fire that she may bear her part.



_L' aere gravato, e l' importuna nebbia._


      The overcharged air, the impending cloud,
    Compress'd together by impetuous winds,
    Must presently discharge themselves in rain;
    Already as of crystal are the streams,
    And, for the fine grass late that clothed the vales,
    Is nothing now but the hoar frost and ice.

    And I, within my heart, more cold than ice,
    Of heavy thoughts have such a hovering cloud,
    As sometimes rears itself in these our vales,
    Lowly, and landlock'd against amorous winds,
    Environ'd everywhere with stagnant streams,
    When falls from soft'ning heaven the smaller rain.

    Lasts but a brief while every heavy rain;
    And summer melts away the snows and ice,
    When proudly roll th' accumulated streams:
    Nor ever hid the heavens so thick a cloud,
    Which, overtaken by the furious winds,
    Fled not from the first hills and quiet vales.

    But ah! what profit me the flowering vales?
    Alike I mourn in sunshine and in rain,
    Suffering the same in warm and wintry winds;
    For only then my lady shall want ice
    At heart, and on her brow th' accustom'd cloud,
    When dry shall be the seas, the lakes, and streams.

    While to the sea descend the mountain streams,
    As long as wild beasts love umbrageous vales,
    O'er those bright eyes shall hang th' unfriendly cloud
    My own that moistens with continual rain;
    And in that lovely breast be harden'd ice
    Which forces still from mine so dolorous winds.

    Yet well ought I to pardon all the winds
    But for the love of one, that 'mid two streams
    Shut me among bright verdure and pure ice;
    So that I pictured then in thousand vales
    The shade wherein I was, which heat or rain
    Esteemeth not, nor sound of broken cloud.

    But fled not ever cloud before the winds,
    As I that day: nor ever streams with rain
    Nor ice, when April's sun opens the vales.


[Illustration: CASTLE OF ST. ANGELO & ST. PETERS.]


_Del mar Tirreno alla sinistra riva._


      Upon the left shore of the Tyrrhene sea,
    Where, broken by the winds, the waves complain,
    Sudden I saw that honour'd green again,
    Written for whom so many a page must be:
    Love, ever in my soul his flame who fed,
    Drew me with memories of those tresses fair;
    Whence, in a rivulet, which silent there
    Through long grass stole, I fell, as one struck dead.
    Lone as I was, 'mid hills of oak and fir,
    I felt ashamed; to heart of gentle mould
    Blushes suffice: nor needs it other spur.
    'Tis well at least, breaking bad customs old,
    To change from eyes to feet: from these so wet
    By those if milder April should be met.



_L' aspetto sacro della terra vostra._


      The solemn aspect of this sacred shore
    Wakes for the misspent past my bitter sighs;
    'Pause, wretched man! and turn,' as conscience cries,
    Pointing the heavenward way where I should soar.
    But soon another thought gets mastery o'er
    The first, that so to palter were unwise;
    E'en now the time, if memory err not, flies,
    When we should wait our lady-love before.
    I, for his aim then well I apprehend,
    Within me freeze, as one who, sudden, hears
    News unexpected which his soul offend.
    Returns my first thought then, that disappears;
    Nor know I which shall conquer, but till now
    Within me they contend, nor hope of rest allow!



_Ben sapev' io che natural consiglio._


      Full well I know that natural wisdom nought,
    Love, 'gainst thy power, in any age prevail'd,
    For snares oft set, fond oaths that ever fail'd,
    Sore proofs of thy sharp talons long had taught;
    But lately, and in me it wonder wrought--
    With care this new experience be detail'd--
    'Tween Tuscany and Elba as I sail'd
    On the salt sea, it first my notice caught.
    I fled from thy broad hands, and, by the way,
    An unknown wanderer, 'neath the violence
    Of winds, and waves, and skies, I helpless lay,
    When, lo! thy ministers, I knew not whence,
    Who quickly made me by fresh stings to feel
    Ill who resists his fate, or would conceal.



_Lasso me, ch i' non so in qual parte pieghi._


      Me wretched! for I know not whither tend
    The hopes which have so long my heart betray'd:
    If none there be who will compassion lend,
    Wherefore to Heaven these often prayers for aid?
    But if, belike, not yet denied to me
    That, ere my own life end,
    These sad notes mute shall be,
    Let not my Lord conceive the wish too free,
    Yet once, amid sweet flowers, to touch the string,
    "Reason and right it is that love I sing."

    Reason indeed there were at last that I
    Should sing, since I have sigh'd so long and late,
    But that for me 'tis vain such art to try,
    Brief pleasures balancing with sorrows great;
    Could I, by some sweet verse, but cause to shine
    Glad wonder and new joy
    Within those eyes divine,
    Bliss o'er all other lovers then were mine!
    But more, if frankly fondly I could say,
    "My lady asks, I therefore wake the lay."

    Delicious, dangerous thoughts! that, to begin
    A theme so high, have gently led me thus,
    You know I ne'er can hope to pass within
    Our lady's heart, so strongly steel'd from us;
    She will not deign to look on thing so low,
    Nor may our language win
    Aught of her care: since Heaven ordains it so,
    And vainly to oppose must irksome grow,
    Even as I my heart to stone would turn,
    "So in my verse would I be rude and stern."

    What do I say? where am I?--My own heart
    And its misplaced desires alone deceive!
    Though my view travel utmost heaven athwart
    No planet there condemns me thus to grieve:
    Why, if the body's veil obscure my sight,
    Blame to the stars impart.
    Or other things as bright?
    Within me reigns my tyrant, day and night,
    Since, for his triumph, me a captive took
    "Her lovely face, and lustrous eyes' dear look."

    While all things else in Nature's boundless reign
    Came good from the Eternal Master's mould,
    I look for such desert in me in vain:
    Me the light wounds that I around behold;
    To the true splendour if I turn at last,
    My eye would shrink in pain,
    Whose own fault o'er it cast
    Such film, and not the fatal day long past,
    When first her angel beauty met my view,
    "In the sweet season when my life was new."



_Perchè la vita è breve._


      Since human life is frail,
    And genius trembles at the lofty theme,
    I little confidence in either place;
    But let my tender wail
    There, where it ought, deserved attention claim,
    That wail which e'en in silence we may trace.
    O beauteous eyes, where Love doth nestling stay!
    To you I turn my insufficient lay,
    Unapt to flow; but passion's goad I feel:
    And he of you who sings
    Such courteous habit by the strain is taught,
    That, borne on amorous wings,
    He soars above the reach of vulgar thought:
    Exalted thus, I venture to reveal
    What long my cautious heart has labour'd to conceal.

    Yes, well do I perceive
    To you how wrongful is my scanty praise;
    Yet the strong impulse cannot be withstood,
    That urges, since I view'd
    What fancy to the sight before ne'er gave,
    What ne'er before graced mine, or higher lays.
    Bright authors of my sadly-pleasing state,
    That you alone conceive me well I know,
    When to your fierce beams I become as snow!
    Your elegant disdain
    Haply then kindles at my worthless strain.
    Did not this dread create
    Some mitigation of my bosom's heat,
    Death would be bliss: for greater joy 'twould give
    With them to suffer death, without them than to live.

    If not consumèd quite,
    I the weak object of a flame so strong:
    'Tis not that safety springs from native might,
    But that some fear restrains,
    Which chills the current circling through my veins;
    Strengthening this heart, that it may suffer long.
    O hills, O vales, O forests, floods, and fields,
    Ye who have witness'd how my sad life flows,
    Oft have ye heard me call on death for aid.
    Ah, state surcharged with woes!
    To stay destroys, and flight no succour yields.
    But had not higher dread
    Withheld, some sudden effort I had made
    To end my sorrows and protracted pains,
    Of which the beauteous cause insensible remains.

    Why lead me, grief, astray
    From my first theme to chant a different lay?
    Let me proceed where pleasure may invite.
    'Tis not of you I 'plain,
    O eyes, beyond compare serenely bright;
    Nor yet of him who binds me in his chain.
    Ye clearly can behold the hues that Love
    Scatters ofttime on my dejected face;
    And fancy may his inward workings trace
    There where, whole nights and days,
    He rules with power derived from your bright rays:
    What rapture would ye prove,
    If you, dear lights, upon yourselves could gaze!
    But, frequent as you bend your beams on me,
    What influence you possess you in another see.

    Oh! if to you were known
    That beauty which I sing, immense, divine.
    As unto him on whom its glories shine!
    The heart had then o'erflown
    With joy unbounded, such as is denied
    Unto that nature which its acts doth guide.
    How happy is the soul for you that sighs,
    Celestial lights! which lend a charm to life,
    And make me bless what else I should not prize!
    Ah! why, so seldom why
    Afford what ne'er can cause satiety?
    More often to your sight
    Why not bring Love, who holds me constant strife?
    And why so soon of joys despoil me quite,
    Which ever and anon my tranced soul delight?

    Yes, 'debted to your grace,
    Frequent I feel throughout my inmost soul
    Unwonted floods of sweetest rapture roll;
    Relieving so the mind,
    That all oppressive thoughts are left behind,
    And of a thousand only one has place;
    For which alone this life is dear to me.
    Oh! might the blessing of duration prove,
    Not equall'd then could my condition be!
    But this would, haply, move
    In others envy, in myself vain pride.
    That pain should be allied
    To pleasure is, alas! decreed above;
    Then, stifling all the ardour of desire,
    Homeward I turn my thoughts, and in myself retire.

    So sweetly shines reveal'd
    The amorous thought within your soul which dwells,
    That other joys it from my heart expels:
    Hence I aspire to frame
    Lays whereon Hope may build a deathless name,
    When in the tomb my dust shall lie conceal'd.
    At your approach anguish and sorrow fly;
    These, as your beams retire, again draw nigh;
    Yet outward acts their influence ne'er betray,
    For doting memory
    Dwells on the past, and chases them away.
    Whatever, then, of worth
    My genius ripens owes to you its birth.
    To you all honour and all praise is due--
    Myself a barren soil, and cultured but by you.

    Thy strains, O song! appease me not, but fire,
    Chanting a theme that wings my wild desire:
    Trust me, thou shalt ere long a sister-song acquire.


      Since mortal life is frail,
    And my mind shrinks from lofty themes deterr'd,
    But small the trust which I in either feel:
    Yet hope I that my wail,
    Which vainly I in silence would conceal,
    Shall, where I wish, where most it ought, be heard.
    Beautiful eyes! wherein Love makes his nest,
    To you my song its feeble descant turns,
    Slow of itself, but now by passion spurr'd;
    Who sings of you is blest,
    And from his theme such courteous habit learns
    That, borne on wings of love,
    Proudly he soars each viler thought above;
    Encouraged thus, what long my harass'd heart
    Has kept conceal'd, I venture to impart.

    Yet do I know full well
    How much my praise must wrongful prove to you,
    But how the great desire can I oppose,
    Which ever in me grows,
    Since what surpasses thought 'twas mine to view,
    Though that nor others' wit nor mine can tell?
    Eyes! guilty authors of my cherish'd pain,
    That you alone can judge me, well I know,
    When from your burning beams I melt like snow,
    Haply your sweet disdain
    Offence in my unworthiness may see;
    Ah! were there not such fear,
    To calm the heat with which I kindle near,
    'Twere bliss to die: for better far to me
    Were death with them than life without could be.

    If yet not wasted quite--
    So frail a thing before so fierce a flame--
    'Tis not from my own strength that safety came,
    But that some fear gives might,
    Freezing the warm blood coursing through its veins,
    To my poor heart better to bear the strife.
    O valleys, hills, O forests, floods, and plains,
    Witnesses of my melancholy life!
    For death how often have ye heard me pray!
    Ah, miserable fate!
    Where flight avails not, though 'tis death to stay;
    But, if a dread more great
    Restrain'd me not, despair would find a way,
    Speedy and short, my lingering pains to close,
    --Hers then the crime who still no mercy shows.

    Why thus astray, O grief,
    Lead me to speak what I would leave unsaid?
    Leave me, where pleasure me impels, to tread:
    Not now my song complains
    Of you, sweet eyes, serene beyond belief,
    Nor yet of him who binds me in such chains:
    Right well may you observe the varying hues
    Which o'er my visage oft the tyrant strews,
    And thence may guess what war within he makes,
    Where night and day he reigns,
    Strong in the power which from your light he takes:
    Blessèd ye were as bright,
    Save that from you is barr'd your own dear sight:
    Yet often as to me those orbs you turn,
    What they to others are you well may learn.

    If, as to us who gaze
    Were known to you the charms incredible
    And heavenly, of which I sing the praise,
    No measured joy would swell
    Your heart, and haply, therefore, 'tis denied
    Unto the power which doth their motions guide.
    Happy the soul for you which breathes the sigh,
    Best lights of heaven! for whom I grateful bless
    This life, which has for me no other joy.
    Alas! so seldom why
    Give me what I can ne'er too much possess?
    Why not more often see
    The ceaseless havoc which love makes of me?
    And why that bliss so quickly from me steal,
    From time to time which my rapt senses feel?

    Yes, thanks, great thanks to you!
    From time to time I feel through all my soul
    A sweetness so unusual and new,
    That every marring care
    And gloomy vision thence begins to roll,
    So that, from all, one only thought is there.
    That--that alone consoles me life to bear:
    And could but this my joy endure awhile,
    Nought earthly could, methinks, then match my state.
    Yet such great honour might
    Envy in others, pride in me excite:
    Thus still it seems the fate
    Of man, that tears should chase his transient smile:
    And, checking thus my burning wishes, I
    Back to myself return, to muse and sigh.

    The amorous anxious thought,
    Which reigns within you, flashes so on me,
    That from my heart it draws all other joy;
    Whence works and words so wrought
    Find scope and issue, that I hope to be
    Immortal made, although all flesh must die.
    At your approach ennui and anguish fly;
    With your departure they return again:
    But memory, on the past which doting dwells,
    Denies them entrance then,
    So that no outward act their influence tells;
    Thus, if in me is nurst
    Any good fruit, from you the seed came first:
    To you, if such appear, the praise is due,
    Barren myself till fertilized by you.

    Thy strains appease me not, O song!
    But rather fire me still that theme to sing
    Where centre all my thoughts--therefore, ere long,
    A sister ode to join thee will I bring.



_Gentil mia donna, i' veggio._


      Lady, in your bright eyes
    Soft glancing round, I mark a holy light,
    Pointing the arduous way that heavenward lies;
    And to my practised sight,
    From thence, where Love enthroned, asserts his might,
    Visibly, palpably, the soul beams forth.
    This is the beacon guides to deeds of worth,
    And urges me to seek the glorious goal;
    This bids me leave behind the vulgar throng,
    Nor can the human tongue
    Tell how those orbs divine o'er all my soul
    Exert their sweet control,
    Both when hoar winter's frosts around are flung,
    And when the year puts on his youth again,
    Jocund, as when this bosom first knew pain.

    Oh! if in that high sphere,
    From whence the Eternal Ruler of the stars
    In this excelling work declared his might,
    All be as fair and bright,
    Loose me from forth my darksome prison here,
    That to so glorious life the passage bars;
    Then, in the wonted tumult of my breast,
    I hail boon Nature, and the genial day
    That gave me being, and a fate so blest,
    And her who bade hope beam
    Upon my soul; for till then burthensome
    Was life itself become:
    But now, elate with touch of self-esteem,
    High thoughts and sweet within that heart arise,
    Of which the warders are those beauteous eyes.

    No joy so exquisite
    Did Love or fickle Fortune ere devise,
    In partial mood, for favour'd votaries,
    But I would barter it
    For one dear glance of those angelic eyes,
    Whence springs my peace as from its living root.
    O vivid lustre! of power absolute
    O'er all my being--source of that delight,
    By which consumed I sink, a willing prey.
    As fades each lesser ray
    Before your splendour more intense and bright,
    So to my raptured heart,
    When your surpassing sweetness you impart,
    No other thought of feeling may remain
    Where you, with Love himself, despotic reign.

    All sweet emotions e'er
    By happy lovers felt in every clime,
    Together all, may not with mine compare,
    When, as from time to time,
    I catch from that dark radiance rich and deep
    A ray in which, disporting, Love is seen;
    And I believe that from my cradled sleep,
    By Heaven provided this resource hath been,
    'Gainst adverse fortune, and my nature frail.
    Wrong'd am I by that veil,
    And the fair hand which oft the light eclipse,
    That all my bliss hath wrought;
    And whence the passion struggling on my lips,
    Both day and night, to vent the breast o'erfraught,
    Still varying as I read her varying thought.

    For that (with pain I find)
    Not Nature's poor endowments may alone
    Render me worthy of a look so kind,
    I strive to raise my mind
    To match with the exalted hopes I own,
    And fires, though all engrossing, pure as mine.
    If prone to good, averse to all things base,
    Contemner of what worldlings covet most,
    I may become by long self-discipline.
    Haply this humble boast
    May win me in her fair esteem a place;
    For sure the end and aim
    Of all my tears, my sorrowing heart's sole claim,
    Were the soft trembling of relenting eyes,
    The generous lover's last, best, dearest prize.

    My lay, thy sister-song is gone before.
    And now another in my teeming brain
    Prepares itself: whence I resume the strain.



_Poichè per mio destino._


      Since then by destiny
    I am compell'd to sing the strong desire,
    Which here condemns me ceaselessly to sigh,
    May Love, whose quenchless fire
    Excites me, be my guide and point the way,
    And in the sweet task modulate my lay:
    But gently be it, lest th' o'erpowering theme
    Inflame and sting me, lest my fond heart may
    Dissolve in too much softness, which I deem,
    From its sad state, may be:
    For in me--hence my terror and distress!
    Not now as erst I see
    Judgment to keep my mind's great passion less:
    Nay, rather from mine own thoughts melt I so,
    As melts before the summer sun the snow.

    At first I fondly thought
    Communing with mine ardent flame to win
    Some brief repose, some time of truce within:
    This was the hope which brought
    Me courage what I suffer'd to explain,
    Now, now it leaves me martyr to my pain:
    But still, continuing mine amorous song,
    Must I the lofty enterprise maintain;
    So powerful is the wish that in me glows,
    That Reason, which so long
    Restrain'd it, now no longer can oppose.
    Then teach me, Love, to sing
    In such frank guise, that ever if the ear
    Of my sweet foe should chance the notes to hear,
    Pity, I ask no more, may in her spring.

    If, as in other times,
    When kindled to true virtue was mankind,
    The genius, energy of man could find
    Entrance in divers climes,
    Mountains and seas o'erpassing, seeking there
    Honour, and culling oft its garland fair,
    Mine were such wish, not mine such need would be.
    From shore to shore my weary course to trace,
    Since God, and Love, and Nature deign for me
    Each virtue and each grace
    In those dear eyes where I rejoice to place.
    In life to them must I
    Turn as to founts whence peace and safety swell:
    And e'en were death, which else I fear not, nigh,
    Their sight alone would teach me to be well.

    As, vex'd by the fierce wind,
    The weary sailor lifts at night his gaze
    To the twin lights which still our pole displays,
    So, in the storms unkind
    Of Love which I sustain, in those bright eyes
    My guiding light and only solace lies:
    But e'en in this far more is due to theft,
    Which, taught by Love, from time to time, I make
    Of secret glances than their gracious gift:
    Yet that, though rare and slight,
    Makes me from them perpetual model take;
    Since first they blest my sight
    Nothing of good without them have I tried,
    Placing them over me to guard and guide,
    Because mine own worth held itself but light.

    Never the full effect
    Can I imagine, and describe it less
    Which o'er my heart those soft eyes still possess!
    As worthless I reject
    And mean all other joys that life confers,
    E'en as all other beauties yield to hers.
    A tranquil peace, alloy'd by no distress,
    Such as in heaven eternally abides,
    Moves from their lovely and bewitching smile.
    So could I gaze, the while
    Love, at his sweet will, governs them and guides,
    --E'en though the sun were nigh,
    Resting above us on his onward wheel--
    On her, intensely with undazzled eye,
    Nor of myself nor others think or feel.

    Ah! that I should desire
    Things that can never in this world be won,
    Living on wishes hopeless to acquire.
    Yet, were the knot undone,
    Wherewith my weak tongue Love is wont to bind,
    Checking its speech, when her sweet face puts on
    All its great charms, then would I courage find,
    Words on that point so apt and new to use,
    As should make weep whoe'er might hear the tale.
    But the old wounds I bear,
    Stamp'd on my tortured heart, such power refuse;
    Then grow I weak and pale,
    And my blood hides itself I know not where;
    Nor as I was remain I: hence I know
    Love dooms my death and this the fatal blow.

    Farewell, my song! already do I see
    Heavily in my hand the tired pen move
    From its long dear discourse with her I love;
    Not so my thoughts from communing with me.



_Io son già stanco di pensar siccome._


      I weary me alway with questions keen
    How, why my thoughts ne'er turn from you away,
    Wherefore in life they still prefer to stay,
    When they might flee this sad and painful scene,
    And how of the fine hair, the lovely mien,
    Of the bright eyes which all my feelings sway,
    Calling on your dear name by night and day,
    My tongue ne'er silent in their praise has been,
    And how my feet not tender are, nor tired,
    Pursuing still with many a useless pace
    Of your fair footsteps the elastic trace;
    And whence the ink, the paper whence acquired,
    Fill'd with your memories: if in this I err,
    Not art's defect but Love's own fault it were.



_I begli occhi, ond' i' fui percosso in guisa._


      The bright eyes which so struck my fenceless side
    That they alone which harm'd can heal the smart
    Beyond or power of herbs or magic art,
    Or stone which oceans from our shores divide,
    The chance of other love have so denied
    That one sweet thought alone contents my heart,
    From following which if ne'er my tongue depart,
    Pity the guided though you blame the guide.
    These are the bright eyes which, in every land
    But most in its own shrine, my heart, adored,
    Have spread the triumphs of my conquering lord;
    These are the same bright eyes which ever stand
    Burning within me, e'en as vestal fires,
    In singing which my fancy never tires.


      Not all the spells of the magician's art,
    Not potent herbs, nor travel o'er the main,
    But those sweet eyes alone can soothe my pain,
    And they which struck the blow must heal the smart;
    Those eyes from meaner love have kept my heart,
    Content one single image to retain,
    And censure but the medium wild and vain,
    If ill my words their honey'd sense impart;
    These are those beauteous eyes which never fail
    To prove Love's conquest, wheresoe'er they shine,
    Although my breast hath oftenest felt their fire;
    These are those beauteous eyes which still assail
    And penetrate my soul with sparks divine,
    So that of singing them I cannot tire.



_Amor con sue promesse lusingando._


      By promise fair and artful flattery
    Me Love contrived in prison old to snare,
    And gave the keys to her my foe in care,
    Who in self-exile dooms me still to lie.
    Alas! his wiles I knew not until I
    Was in their power, so sharp yet sweet to bear,
    (Man scarce will credit it although I swear)
    That I regain my freedom with a sigh,
    And, as true suffering captives ever do,
    Carry of my sore chains the greater part,
    And on my brow and eyes so writ my heart
    That when she witnesseth my cheek's wan hue
    A sigh shall own: if right I read his face,
    Between him and his tomb but small the space!



_Per mirar Policleto a prova fiso._


      Had Policletus seen her, or the rest
    Who, in past time, won honour in this art,
    A thousand years had but the meaner part
    Shown of the beauty which o'ercame my breast.
    But Simon sure, in Paradise the blest,
    Whence came this noble lady of my heart,
    Saw her, and took this wond'rous counterpart
    Which should on earth her lovely face attest.
    The work, indeed, was one, in heaven alone
    To be conceived, not wrought by fellow-men,
    Over whose souls the body's veil is thrown:
    'Twas done of grace: and fail'd his pencil when
    To earth he turn'd our cold and heat to bear,
    And felt that his own eyes but mortal were.


      Had Polycletus in proud rivalry
    On her his model gazed a thousand years,
    Not half the beauty to my soul appears,
    In fatal conquest, e'er could he descry.
    But, Simon, thou wast then in heaven's blest sky,
    Ere she, my fair one, left her native spheres,
    To trace a loveliness this world reveres
    Was thus thy task, from heaven's reality.
    Yes--thine the portrait heaven alone could wake,
    This clime, nor earth, such beauty could conceive,
    Where droops the spirit 'neath its earthly shrine:
    The soul's reflected grace was thine to take,
    Which not on earth thy painting could achieve,
    Where mortal limits all the powers confine.



_Quando giunse a Simon l' alto concetto._


      When, at my word, the high thought fired his mind,
    Within that master-hand which placed the pen,
    Had but the painter, in his fair work, then
    Language and intellect to beauty join'd,
    Less 'neath its care my spirit since had pined,
    Which worthless held what still pleased other men;
    And yet so mild she seems that my fond ken
    Of peace sees promise in that aspect kind.
    When further communing I hold with her
    Benignantly she smiles, as if she heard
    And well could answer to mine every word:
    But far o'er mine thy pride and pleasure were,
    Bright, warm and young, Pygmalion, to have press'd
    Thine image long and oft, while mine not once has blest.


      When Simon at my wish the proud design
    Conceived, which in his hand the pencil placed,
    Had he, while loveliness his picture graced,
    But added speech and mind to charms divine;
    What sighs he then had spared this breast of mine:
    That bliss had given to higher bliss distaste:
    For, when such meekness in her look was traced,
    'Twould seem she soon to kindness might incline.
    But, urging converse with the portray'd fair,
    Methinks she deigns attention to my prayer,
    Though wanting to reply the power of voice.
    What praise thyself, Pygmalion, hast thou gain'd;
    Forming that image, whence thou hast obtain'd
    A thousand times what, once obtain'd, would me rejoice.



_Se al principio risponde il fine e 'l mezzo._


      If, of this fourteenth year wherein I sigh,
    The end and middle with its opening vie,
    Nor air nor shade can give me now release,
    I feel mine ardent passion so increase:
    For Love, with whom my thought no medium knows,
    Beneath whose yoke I never find repose,
    So rules me through these eyes, on mine own ill
    Too often turn'd, but half remains to kill.
    Thus, day by day, I feel me sink apace,
    And yet so secretly none else may trace,
    Save she whose glances my fond bosom tear.
    Scarcely till now this load of life I bear
    Nor know how long with me will be her stay,
    For death draws near, and hastens life away.



_Chi è fermato di menar sua vita._


      Who is resolved to venture his vain life
    On the deceitful wave and 'mid the rocks,
    Alone, unfearing death, in little bark,
    Can never be far distant from his end:
    Therefore betimes he should return to port
    While to the helm yet answers his true sail.

    The gentle breezes to which helm and sail
    I trusted, entering on this amorous life,
    And hoping soon to make some better port,
    Have led me since amid a thousand rocks,
    And the sure causes of my mournful end
    Are not alone without, but in my bark.

    Long cabin'd and confined in this blind bark,
    I wander'd, looking never at the sail,
    Which, prematurely, bore me to my end;
    Till He was pleased who brought me into life
    So far to call me back from those sharp rocks,
    That, distantly, at last was seen my port.

    As lights at midnight seen in any port,
    Sometimes from the main sea by passing bark,
    Save when their ray is lost 'mid storms or rocks;
    So I too from above the swollen sail
    Saw the sure colours of that other life,
    And could not help but sigh to reach my end.

    Not that I yet am certain of that end,
    For wishing with the dawn to be in port,
    Is a long voyage for so short a life:
    And then I fear to find me in frail bark,
    Beyond my wishes full its every sail
    With the strong wind which drove me on those rocks.

    Escape I living from these doubtful rocks,
    Or if my exile have but a fair end,
    How happy shall I be to furl my sail,
    And my last anchor cast in some sure port;
    But, ah! I burn, and, as some blazing bark,
    So hard to me to leave my wonted life.

    Lord of my end and master of my life,
    Before I lose my bark amid the rocks,
    Direct to a good port its harass'd sail!



_Io son sì stanco sotto 'l fascio antico._


      Evil by custom, as by nature frail,
    I am so wearied with the long disgrace,
    That much I dread my fainting in the race
    Should let th' original enemy prevail.
    Once an Eternal Friend, that heard my cries,
    Came to my rescue, glorious in his might,
    Arm'd with all-conquering love, then took his flight,
    That I in vain pursued Him with my eyes.
    But his dear words, yet sounding, sweetly say,
    "O ye that faint with travel, see the way!
    Hopeless of other refuge, come to me."
    What grace, what kindness, or what destiny
    Will give me wings, as the fair-feather'd dove,
    To raise me hence and seek my rest above?


      So weary am I 'neath the constant thrall
    Of mine own vile heart, and the false world's taint,
    That much I fear while on the way to faint,
    And in the hands of my worst foe to fall.
    Well came, ineffably, supremely kind,
    A friend to free me from the guilty bond,
    But too soon upward flew my sight beyond,
    So that in vain I strive his track to find;
    But still his words stamp'd on my heart remain,
    All ye who labour, lo! the way in me;
    Come unto me, nor let the world detain!
    Oh! that to me, by grace divine, were given
    Wings like a dove, then I away would flee,
    And be at rest, up, up from earth to heaven!



_Io non fu' d' amar voi lassato unquanco._


      Yet was I never of your love aggrieved,
    Nor never shall while that my life doth last:
    But of hating myself, that date is past;
    And tears continual sore have me wearied:
    I will not yet in my grave be buried;
    Nor on my tomb your name have fixèd fast,
    As cruel cause, that did the spirit soon haste
    From the unhappy bones, by great sighs stirr'd.
    Then if a heart of amorous faith and will
    Content your mind withouten doing grief;
    Please it you so to this to do relief:
    If otherwise you seek for to fulfil
    Your wrath, you err, and shall not as you ween;
    And you yourself the cause thereof have been.


      Weary I never was, nor can be e'er,
    Lady, while life shall last, of loving you,
    But brought, alas! myself in hate to view,
    Perpetual tears have bred a blank despair:
    I wish a tomb, whose marble fine and fair,
    When this tired spirit and frail flesh are two,
    May show your name, to which my death is due,
    If e'en our names at last one stone may share;
    Wherefore, if full of faith and love, a heart
    Can, of worst torture short, suffice your hate,
    Mercy at length may visit e'en my smart.
    If otherwise your wrath itself would sate,
    It is deceived: and none will credit show;
    To Love and to myself my thanks for this I owe.



_Se bianche non son prima ambe le tempie._


      Till silver'd o'er by age my temples grow,
    Where Time by slow degrees now plants his grey,
    Safe shall I never be, in danger's way
    While Love still points and plies his fatal bow
    I fear no more his tortures and his tricks,
    That he will keep me further to ensnare
    Nor ope my heart, that, from without, he there
    His poisonous and ruthless shafts may fix.
    No tears can now find issue from mine eyes,
    But the way there so well they know to win,
    That nothing now the pass to them denies.
    Though the fierce ray rekindle me within,
    It burns not all: her cruel and severe
    Form may disturb, not break my slumbers here.



_Occhi, piangete; accompagnate il core._


      Playne ye, myne eyes, accompanye my harte,
    For, by your fault, lo, here is death at hand!
    Ye brought hym first into this bitter band,
    And of his harme as yett ye felt no part;
    But now ye shall: Lo! here beginnes your smart.
    Wett shall you be, ye shall it not withstand
    With weepinge teares that shall make dymm your sight,
    And mystic clowdes shall hang still in your light.
    Blame but yourselves that kyndlyd have this brand,
    With suche desyre to strayne that past your might;
    But, since by you the hart hath caught his harme,
    His flamèd heat shall sometyme make you warme.


    _P._   Weep, wretched eyes, accompany the heart
         Which only from your weakness death sustains.
    _E._ Weep? evermore we weep; with keener pains
         For others' error than our own we smart.
    _P._ Love, entering first through you an easy part,
         Took up his seat, where now supreme he reigns.
    _E._ We oped to him the way, but Hope the veins
         First fired of him now stricken by death's dart.
    _P._ The lots, as seems to you, scarce equal fall
         'Tween heart and eyes, for you, at first sight, were
         Enamour'd of your common ill and shame.
    _E._ This is the thought which grieves us most of all;
         For perfect judgments are on earth so rare
         That one man's fault is oft another's blame.



_Io amai sempre, ed amo forte ancora._


    I always loved, I love sincerely yet,
    And to love more from day to day shall learn,
    The charming spot where oft in grief I turn
    When Love's severities my bosom fret:
    My mind to love the time and hour is set
    Which taught it each low care aside to spurn;
    She too, of loveliest face, for whom I burn
    Bids me her fair life love and sin forget.
    Who ever thought to see in friendship join'd,
    On all sides with my suffering heart to cope,
    The gentle enemies I love so well?
    Love now is paramount my heart to bind,
    And, save that with desire increases hope,
    Dead should I lie alive where I would dwell.



_Io avrò sempre in odio la fenestra._


      Always in hate the window shall I bear,
    Whence Love has shot on me his shafts at will,
    Because not one of them sufficed to kill:
    For death is good when life is bright and fair,
    But in this earthly jail its term to outwear
    Is cause to me, alas! of infinite ill;
    And mine is worse because immortal still,
    Since from the heart the spirit may not tear.
    Wretched! ere this who surely ought'st to know
    By long experience, from his onward course
    None can stay Time by flattery or by force.
    Oft and again have I address'd it so:
    Mourner, away! he parteth not too soon
    Who leaves behind him far his life's calm June.



_Sì tosto come avvien che l' arco scocchi._


      Instantly a good archer draws his bow
    Small skill it needs, e'en from afar, to see
    Which shaft, less fortunate, despised may be,
    Which to its destined sign will certain go:
    Lady, e'en thus of your bright eyes the blow,
    You surely felt pass straight and deep in me,
    Searching my life, whence--such is fate's decree--
    Eternal tears my stricken heart overflow;
    And well I know e'en then your pity said:
    Fond wretch! to misery whom passion leads,
    Be this the point at once to strike him dead.
    But seeing now how sorrow sorrow breeds,
    All that my cruel foes against me plot,
    For my worse pain, and for my death is not.



_Poi che mia speme è lunga a venir troppo._


      Since my hope's fruit yet faileth to arrive,
    And short the space vouchsafed me to survive,
    Betimes of this aware I fain would be,
    Swifter than light or wind from Love to flee:
    And I do flee him, weak albeit and lame
    O' my left side, where passion racked my frame.
    Though now secure yet bear I on my face
    Of the amorous encounter signal trace.
    Wherefore I counsel each this way who comes,
    Turn hence your footsteps, and, if Love consumes,
    Think not in present pain his worst is done;
    For, though I live, of thousand scapes not one!
    'Gainst Love my enemy was strong indeed--
    Lo! from his wounds e'en she is doom'd to bleed.



_Fuggendo la prigione ov' Amor m' ebbe._


      Fleeing the prison which had long detain'd,
    Where Love dealt with me as to him seem'd well,
    Ladies, the time were long indeed to tell,
    How much my heart its new-found freedom pain'd.
    I felt within I could not, so bereaved,
    Live e'en a day: and, midway, on my eyes
    That traitor rose in so complete disguise,
    A wiser than myself had been deceived:
    Whence oft I've said, deep sighing for the past,
    Alas! the yoke and chains of old to me
    Were sweeter far than thus released to be.
    Me wretched! but to learn mine ill at last;
    With what sore trial must I now forget
    Errors that round my path myself have set.



_Erano i capei d' oro all' aura sparsi._


      Loose to the breeze her golden tresses flow'd
    Wildly in thousand mazy ringlets blown,
    And from her eyes unconquer'd glances shone,
    Those glances now so sparingly bestow'd.
    And true or false, meseem'd some signs she show'd
    As o'er her cheek soft pity's hue was thrown;
    I, whose whole breast with love's soft food was sown,
    What wonder if at once my bosom glow'd?
    Graceful she moved, with more than mortal mien,
    In form an angel: and her accents won
    Upon the ear with more than human sound.
    A spirit heavenly pure, a living sun,
    Was what I saw; and if no more 'twere seen,
    T' unbend the bow will never heal the wound.

    ANON., OX., 1795.

      Her golden tresses on the wind she threw,
    Which twisted them in many a beauteous braid;
    In her fine eyes the burning glances play'd,
    With lovely light, which now they seldom show:
    Ah! then it seem'd her face wore pity's hue,
    Yet haply fancy my fond sense betray'd;
    Nor strange that I, in whose warm heart was laid
    Love's fuel, suddenly enkindled grew!
    Not like a mortal's did her step appear,
    Angelic was her form; her voice, methought,
    Pour'd more than human accents on the ear.
    A living sun was what my vision caught,
    A spirit pure; and though not such still found,
    Unbending of the bow ne'er heals the wound.


      Her golden tresses to the gale were streaming,
    That in a thousand knots did them entwine,
    And the sweet rays which now so rarely shine
    From her enchanting eyes, were brightly beaming,
    And--was it fancy?--o'er that dear face gleaming
    Methought I saw Compassion's tint divine;
    What marvel that this ardent heart of mine
    Blazed swiftly forth, impatient of Love's dreaming?
    There was nought mortal in her stately tread
    But grace angelic, and her speech awoke
    Than human voices a far loftier sound,
    A spirit of heaven,--a living sun she broke
    Upon my sight;--what if these charms be fled?--
    The slackening of the bow heals not the wound.



_La bella donna che cotanto amavi._


      The beauteous lady thou didst love so well
    Too soon hath from our regions wing'd her flight,
    To find, I ween, a home 'mid realms of light;
    So much in virtue did she here excel
    Thy heart's twin key of joy and woe can dwell
    No more with her--then re-assume thy might,
    Pursue her by the path most swift and right,
    Nor let aught earthly stay thee by its spell.
    Thus from thy heaviest burthen being freed,
    Each other thou canst easier dispel,
    And an unfreighted pilgrim seek thy sky;
    Too well, thou seest, how much the soul hath need,
    (Ere yet it tempt the shadowy vale) to quell
    Each earthly hope, since all that lives must die.


      The lovely lady who was long so dear
    To thee, now suddenly is from us gone,
    And, for this hope is sure, to heaven is flown,
    So mild and angel-like her life was here!
    Now from her thraldom since thy heart is clear,
    Whose either key she, living, held alone,
    Follow where she the safe short way has shown,
    Nor let aught earthly longer interfere.
    Thus disencumber'd from the heavier weight,
    The lesser may aside be easier laid,
    And the freed pilgrim win the crystal gate;
    So teaching us, since all things that are made
    Hasten to death, how light must be his soul
    Who treads the perilous pass, unscathed and whole!



_Piangete, donne, e con voi pianga Amore._


      Weep, beauteous damsels, and let Cupid weep,
    Of every region weep, ye lover train;
    He, who so skilfully attuned his strain
    To your fond cause, is sunk in death's cold sleep!
    Such limits let not my affliction keep,
    As may the solace of soft tears restrain;
    And, to relieve my bosom of its pain,
    Be all my sighs tumultuous, utter'd deep!
    Let song itself, and votaries of verse,
    Breathe mournful accents o'er our Cino's bier,
    Who late is gone to number with the blest!
    Oh! weep, Pistoia, weep your sons perverse;
    Its choicest habitant has fled our sphere,
    And heaven may glory in its welcome guest!


      Ye damsels, pour your tears! weep with you. Love!
    Weep, all ye lovers, through the peopled sphere!
    Since he is dead who, while he linger'd here,
    With all his might to do you honour strove.
    For me, this tyrant grief my prayers shall move
    Not to contest the comfort of a tear,
    Nor check those sighs, that to my heart are dear,
    Since ease from them alone it hopes to prove.
    Ye verses, weep!--ye rhymes, your woes renew!
    For Cino, master of the love-fraught lay,
    E'en now is from our fond embraces torn!
    Pistoia, weep, and all your thankless crew!
    Your sweetest inmate now is reft away--
    But, heaven, rejoice, and hail your son new-born!



_Più volte Amor m' avea già detto: scrivi._


      White--to my heart Love oftentimes had said--
    Write what thou seest in letters large of gold,
    That livid are my votaries to behold,
    And in a moment made alive and dead.
    Once in thy heart my sovran influence spread
    A public precedent to lovers told;
    Though other duties drew thee from my fold,
    I soon reclaim'd thee as thy footsteps fled.
    And if the bright eyes which I show'd thee first,
    If the fair face where most I loved to stay,
    Thy young heart's icy hardness when I burst,
    Restore to me the bow which all obey,
    Then may thy cheek, which now so smooth appears,
    Be channell'd with my daily drink of tears.



_Quando giugne per gli occhi al cor profondo._


      When reaches through the eyes the conscious heart
    Its imaged fate, all other thoughts depart;
    The powers which from the soul their functions take
    A dead weight on the frame its limbs then make.
    From the first miracle a second springs,
    At times the banish'd faculty that brings,
    So fleeing from itself, to some new seat,
    Which feeds revenge and makes e'en exile sweet.
    Thus in both faces the pale tints were rife,
    Because the strength which gave the glow of life
    On neither side was where it wont to dwell--
    I on that day these things remember'd well,
    Of that fond couple when each varying mien
    Told me in like estate what long myself had been.



_Così potess' io ben chiuder in versi._


      Could I, in melting verse, my thoughts but throw,
    As in my heart their living load I bear,
    No soul so cruel in the world was e'er
    That would not at the tale with pity glow.
    But ye, blest eyes, which dealt me the sore blow,
    'Gainst which nor helm nor shield avail'd to spare
    Within, without, behold me poor and bare,
    Though never in laments is breathed my woe.
    But since on me your bright glance ever shines,
    E'en as a sunbeam through transparent glass,
    Suffice then the desire without the lines.
    Faith Peter bless'd and Mary, but, alas!
    It proves an enemy to me alone,
    Whose spirit save by you to none is known.



_Io son dell' aspectar omai sì vinto._


      Weary with expectation's endless round,
    And overcome in this long war of sighs,
    I hold desires in hate and hopes despise,
    And every tie wherewith my breast is bound;
    But the bright face which in my heart profound
    Is stamp'd, and seen where'er I turn mine eyes,
    Compels me where, against my will, arise
    The same sharp pains that first my ruin crown'd.
    Then was my error when the old way quite
    Of liberty was bann'd and barr'd to me:
    He follows ill who pleases but his sight:
    To its own harm my soul ran wild and free,
    Now doom'd at others' will to wait and wend;
    Because that once it ventured to offend.



_Ahi bella libertà, come tu m' hai._


      Alas! fair Liberty, thus left by thee,
    Well hast thou taught my discontented heart
    To mourn the peace it felt, ere yet Love's dart
    Dealt me the wound which heal'd can never be;
    Mine eyes so charm'd with their own weakness grow
    That my dull mind of reason spurns the chain;
    All worldly occupation they disdain,
    Ah! that I should myself have train'd them so.
    Naught, save of her who is my death, mine ear
    Consents to learn; and from my tongue there flows
    No accent save the name to me so dear;
    Love to no other chase my spirit spurs,
    No other path my feet pursue; nor knows
    My hand to write in other praise but hers.


      Alas, sweet Liberty! in speeding hence,
    Too well didst thou reveal unto my heart
    Its careless joy, ere Love ensheathed his dart,
    Of whose dread wound I ne'er can lose the sense
    My eyes, enamour'd of their grief intense,
    Did in that hour from Reason's bridle start,
    Thus used to woe, they have no wish to part;
    Each other mortal work is an offence.
    No other theme will now my soul content
    Than she who plants my death, with whose blest name
    I make the air resound in echoes sweet:
    Love spurs me to her as his only bent,
    My hand can trace nought other but her fame,
    No other spot attracts my willing feet.



_Orso, al vostro destrier si può ben porre._


      Orso, a curb upon thy gallant horse
    Well may we place to turn him from his course,
    But who thy heart may bind against its will
    Which honour courts and shuns dishonour still?
    Sigh not! for nought its praise away can take,
    Though Fate this journey hinder you to make.
    For, as already voiced by general fame,
    Now is it there, and none before it came.
    Amid the camp, upon the day design'd,
    Enough itself beneath those arms to find
    Which youth, love, valour, and near blood concern,
    Crying aloud: With noble fire I burn,
    As my good lord unwillingly at home,
    Who pines and languishes in vain to come.



_Poi che voi ed io più volte abbiam provato._


      Still has it been our bitter lot to prove
    How hope, or e'er it reach fruition, flies!
    Up then to that high good, which never dies,
    Lift we the heart--to heaven's pure bliss above.
    On earth, as in a tempting mead, we rove,
    Where coil'd 'mid flowers the traitor serpent lies;
    And, if some casual glimpse delight our eyes,
    'Tis but to grieve the soul enthrall'd by Love.
    Oh! then, as thou wouldst wish ere life's last day
    To taste the sweets of calm unbroken rest,
    Tread firm the narrow, shun the beaten way--
    Ah! to thy friend too well may be address'd:
    "Thou show'st a path, thyself most apt to stray,
    Which late thy truant feet, fond youth, have never press'd."


      Friend, as we both in confidence complain
    To see our ill-placed hopes return in vain,
    Let that chief good which must for ever please
    Exalt our thought and fix our happiness.
    This world as some gay flowery field is spread,
    Which hides a serpent in its painted bed,
    And most it wounds when most it charms our eyes,
    At once the tempter and the paradise.
    And would you, then, sweet peace of mind restore,
    And in fair calm expect your parting hour,
    Leave the mad train, and court the happy few.
    Well may it be replied, "O friend, you show
    Others the path, from which so often you
    Have stray'd, and now stray farther than before."



_Quella fenestra, ove l' un sol si vede._


      That window where my sun is often seen
    Refulgent, and the world's at morning's hours;
    And that, where Boreas blows, when winter lowers,
    And the short days reveal a clouded scene;
    That bench of stone where, with a pensive mien,
    My Laura sits, forgetting beauty's powers;
    Haunts where her shadow strikes the walls or flowers,
    And her feet press the paths or herbage green:
    The place where Love assail'd me with success;
    And spring, the fatal time that, first observed,
    Revives the keen remembrance every year;
    With looks and words, that o'er me have preserved
    A power no length of time can render less,
    Call to my eyes the sadly-soothing tear.


      That window where my sun is ever seen,
    Dazzling and bright, and Nature's at the none;
    And that where still, when Boreas rude has blown
    In the short days, the air thrills cold and keen:
    The stone where, at high noon, her seat has been,
    Pensive and parleying with herself alone:
    Haunts where her bright form has its shadow thrown,
    Or trod her fairy foot the carpet green:
    The cruel spot where first Love spoil'd my rest,
    And the new season which, from year to year,
    Opes, on this day, the old wound in my breast:
    The seraph face, the sweet words, chaste and dear,
    Which in my suffering heart are deep impress'd,
    All melt my fond eyes to the frequent tear.



_Lasso! ben so che dolorose prede._


      Alas! well know I what sad havoc makes
    Death of our kind, how Fate no mortal spares!
    How soon the world whom once it loved forsakes,
    How short the faith it to the friendless bears!
    Much languishment, I see, small mercy wakes;
    For the last day though now my heart prepares,
    Love not a whit my cruel prison breaks,
    And still my cheek grief's wonted tribute wears.
    I mark the days, the moments, and the hours
    Bear the full years along, nor find deceit,
    Bow'd 'neath a greater force than magic spell.
    For fourteen years have fought with varying powers
    Desire and Reason: and the best shall beat;
    If mortal spirits here can good foretell.


      Alas! I know death makes us all his prey,
    Nor aught of mercy shows to destined man;
    How swift the world completes its circling span,
    And faithless Time soon speeds him on his way.
    My heart repeats the blast of earth's last day,
    Yet for its grief no recompense can scan,
    Love holds me still beneath its cruel ban,
    And still my eyes their usual tribute pay.
    My watchful senses mark how on their wing
    The circling years transport their fleeter kin,
    And still I bow enslaved as by a spell:
    For fourteen years did reason proudly fling
    Defiance at my tameless will, to win
    A triumph blest, if Man can good foretell.



_Cesare, poi che 'l traditor d' Egitto._


      When Egypt's traitor Pompey's honour'd head
    To Cæsar sent; then, records so relate,
    To shroud a gladness manifestly great,
    Some feigned tears the specious monarch shed:
    And, when misfortune her dark mantle spread
    O'er Hannibal, and his afflicted state,
    He laugh'd 'midst those who wept their adverse fate,
    That rank despite to wreak defeat had bred.
    Thus doth the mind oft variously conceal
    Its several passions by a different veil;
    Now with a countenance that's sad, now gay:
    So mirth and song if sometimes I employ,
    'Tis but to hide those sorrows that annoy,
    'Tis but to chase my amorous cares away.


      Cæsar, when Egypt's cringing traitor brought
    The gory gift of Pompey's honour'd head,
    Check'd the full gladness of his instant thought,
    And specious tears of well-feign'd pity shed:
    And Hannibal, when adverse Fortune wrought
    On his afflicted empire evils dread,
    'Mid shamed and sorrowing friends, by laughter, sought
    To ease the anger at his heart that fed.
    Thus, as the mind its every feeling hides,
    Beneath an aspect contrary, the mien,
    Bright'ning with hope or charged with gloom, is seen.
    Thus ever if I sing, or smile betides,
    The outward joy serves only to conceal
    The inner ail and anguish that I feel.



_Vinse Annibal, e non seppe usar poi._


      Hannibal conquer'd oft, but never knew
    The fruits and gain of victory to get,
    Wherefore, dear lord, be wise, take care that yet
    A like misfortune happen not to you.
    Still in their lair the cubs and she-bear,[Q] who
    Rough pasturage and sour in May have met,
    With mad rage gnash their teeth and talons whet,
    And vengeance of past loss on us pursue:
    While this new grief disheartens and appalls,
    Replace not in its sheath your honour'd sword,
    But, boldly following where your fortune calls,
    E'en to its goal be glory's path explored,
    Which fame and honour to the world may give
    That e'en for centuries after death will live.


[Footnote Q: _Orsa_. A play on the word _Orsim_.]


_L' aspettata virtù che 'n voi fioriva._


      Sweet virtue's blossom had its promise shed
    Within thy breast (when Love became thy foe);
    Fair as the flower, now its fruit doth glow,
    And not by visions hath my hope been fed.
    To hail thee thus, I by my heart am led,
    That by my pen thy name renown should know;
    No marble can the lasting fame bestow
    Like that by poets' characters is spread.
    Dost think Marcellus' or proud Cæsar's name,
    Or Africanus, Paulus--still resound,
    That sculptors proud have effigied their deed?
    No, Pandolph, frail the statuary's fame,
    For immortality alone is found
    Within the records of a poet's meed.


      The flower, in youth which virtue's promise bore,
    When Love in your pure heart first sought to dwell,
    Now beareth fruit that flower which matches well,
    And my long hopes are richly come ashore,
    Prompting my spirit some glad verse to pour
    Where to due honour your high name may swell,
    For what can finest marble truly tell
    Of living mortal than the form he wore?
    Think you great Cæsar's or Marcellus' name,
    That Paulus, Africanus to our days,
    By anvil or by hammer ever came?
    No! frail the sculptor's power for lasting praise:
    Our study, my Pandolfo, only can
    Give immortality of fame to man.



_Mai non vo' più cantar, com' io soleva._


      Never more shall I sing, as I have sung:
    For still she heeded not; and I was scorn'd:
    So e'en in loveliest spots is trouble found.
    Unceasingly to sigh is no relief.
    Already on the Alp snow gathers round:
    Already day is near; and I awake.
    An affable and modest air is sweet;
    And in a lovely lady that she be
    Noble and dignified, not proud and cold,
    Well pleases it to find.
    Love o'er his empire rules without a sword.
    He who has miss'd his way let him turn back:
    Who has no home the heath must be his bed:
    Who lost or has not gold,
    Will sate his thirst at the clear crystal spring.

    I trusted in Saint Peter, not so now;
    Let him who can my meaning understand.
    A harsh rule is a heavy weight to bear.
    I melt but where I must, and stand alone.
    I think of him who falling died in Po;
    Already thence the thrush has pass'd the brook
    Come, see if I say sooth! No more for me.
    A rock amid the waters is no joke,
    Nor birdlime on the twig. Enough my grief
    When a superfluous pride
    In a fair lady many virtues hides.
    There is who answereth without a call;
    There is who, though entreated, fails and flies:
    There is who melts 'neath ice:
    There is who day and night desires his death.

    Love who loves you, is an old proverb now.
    Well know I what I say. But let it pass;
    'Tis meet, at their own cost, that men should learn.
    A modest lady wearies her best friend.
    Good figs are little known. To me it seems
    Wise to eschew things hazardous and high;
    In any country one may be at ease.
    Infinite hope below kills hope above;
    And I at times e'en thus have been the talk.
    My brief life that remains
    There is who'll spurn not if to Him devote.
    I place my trust in Him who rules the world,
    And who his followers shelters in the wood,
    That with his pitying crook
    Me will He guide with his own flock to feed.

    Haply not every one who reads discerns;
    Some set the snare at times who take no spoil;
    Who strains too much may break the bow in twain.
    Let not the law be lame when suitors watch.
    To be at ease we many a mile descend.
    To-day's great marvel is to-morrow's scorn.
    A veil'd and virgin loveliness is best.
    Blessed the key which pass'd within my heart,
    And, quickening my dull spirit, set it free
    From its old heavy chain,
    And from my bosom banish'd many a sigh.
    Where most I suffer'd once she suffers now;
    Her equal sorrows mitigate my grief;
    Thanks, then, to Love that I
    Feel it no more, though he is still the same!

    In silence words that wary are and wise;
    The voice which drives from me all other care;
    And the dark prison which that fair light hides:
    As midnight on our hills the violets;
    And the wild beasts within the walls who dwell;
    The kind demeanour and the dear reserve;
    And from two founts one stream which flow'd in peace
    Where I desire, collected where I would.
    Love and sore jealousy have seized my heart,
    And the fair face whose guides
    Conduct me by a plainer, shorter way
    To my one hope, where all my torments end.
    O treasured bliss, and all from thee which flows
    Of peace, of war, or truce,
    Never abandon me while life is left!

    At my past loss I weep by turns and smile,
    Because my faith is fix'd in what I hear.
    The present I enjoy and better wait;
    Silent, I count the years, yet crave their end,
    And in a lovely bough I nestle so
    That e'en her stern repulse I thank and praise,
    Which has at length o'ercome my firm desire,
    And inly shown me, I had been the talk,
    And pointed at by hand: all this it quench'd.
    So much am I urged on,
    Needs must I own, thou wert not bold enough.
    Who pierced me in my side she heals the wound,
    For whom in heart more than in ink I write;
    Who quickens me or kills,
    And in one instant freezes me or fires.


[Footnote R: This, the only known version, is included simply from a
wish to represent the original completely, the poem being almost
untranslateable into English verse. Italian critics are much divided as
to its object. One of the most eminent (Bembo) considers it to be
nothing more than an unconnected string of proverbs.]


_Nova angeletta sovra l' ale accorta._


      From heaven an angel upon radiant wings,
    New lighted on that shore so fresh and fair,
    To which, so doom'd, my faithful footstep clings:
    Alone and friendless, when she found me there,
    Of gold and silk a finely-woven net,
    Where lay my path, 'mid seeming flowers she set:
    Thus was I caught, and, for such sweet light shone
    From out her eyes, I soon forgot to moan.



_Non veggio ove scampar mi possa omai._


      No hope of respite, of escape no way,
    Her bright eyes wage such constant havoc here;
    Alas! excess of tyranny, I fear,
    My doting heart, which ne'er has truce, will slay:
    Fain would I flee, but ah! their amorous ray,
    Which day and night on memory rises clear,
    Shines with such power, in this the fifteenth year,
    They dazzle more than in love's early day.
    So wide and far their images are spread
    That wheresoe'er I turn I alway see
    Her, or some sister-light on hers that fed.
    Springs such a wood from one fair laurel tree,
    That my old foe, with admirable skill,
    Amid its boughs misleads me at his will.



_Avventuroso più d' altro terreno._


      Ah, happiest spot of earth! in this sweet place
    Love first beheld my condescending fair
    Retard her steps, to smile with courteous grace
    On me, and smiling glad the ambient air.
    The deep-cut image, wrought with skilful care,
    Time shall from hardest adamant efface,
    Ere from my mind that smile it shall erase,
    Dear to my soul! which memory planted there.
    Oft as I view thee, heart-enchanting soil!
    With amorous awe I'll seek--delightful toil!
    Where yet some traces of her footsteps lie.
    And if fond Love still warms her generous breast,
    Whene'er you see her, gentle friend! request
    The tender tribute of a tear--a sigh.

    ANON. 1777.

      Most fortunate and fair of spots terrene!
    Where Love I saw her forward footstep stay,
    And turn on me her bright eyes' heavenly ray,
    Which round them make the atmosphere serene.
    A solid form of adamant, I ween,
    Would sooner shrink in lapse of time away,
    Than from my mind that sweet salute decay,
    Dear to my heart, in memory ever green.
    And oft as I return to view this spot,
    In its fair scenes I'll fondly stoop to seek
    Where yet the traces of her light foot lie.
    But if in valorous heart Love sleepeth not,
    Whene'er you meet her, friend, for me bespeak
    Some passing tears, perchance one pitying sigh.



_Lasso! quante fiate Amor m' assale._


      Alas! how ceaselessly is urged Love's claim,
    By day, by night, a thousand times I turn
    Where best I may behold the dear lights burn
    Which have immortalized my bosom's flame.
    Thus grow I calm, and to such state am brought,
    At noon, at break of day, at vesper-bell,
    I find them in my mind so tranquil dwell,
    I neither think nor care beside for aught.
    The balmy air, which, from her angel mien,
    Moves ever with her winning words and wise,
    Makes wheresoe'er she breathes a sweet serene
    As 'twere a gentle spirit from the skies,
    Still in these scenes some comfort brings to me,
    Nor elsewhere breathes my harass'd heart so free.



_Perseguendomi Amor al luogo usato._


      As Love his arts in haunts familiar tried,
    Watchful as one expecting war is found,
    Who all foresees and guards the passes round,
    I in the armour of old thoughts relied:
    Turning, I saw a shadow at my side
    Cast by the sun, whose outline on the ground
    I knew for hers, who--be my judgment sound--
    Deserves in bliss immortal to abide.
    I whisper'd to my heart, Nay, wherefore fear?
    But scarcely did the thought arise within
    Than the bright rays in which I burn were here.
    As thunders with the lightning-flash begin,
    So was I struck at once both blind and mute,
    By her dear dazzling eyes and sweet salute.



_La donna che 'l mio cor nel viso porta._


      She, in her face who doth my gone heart wear,
    As lone I sate 'mid love-thoughts dear and true,
    Appear'd before me: to show honour due,
    I rose, with pallid brow and reverent air.
    Soon as of such my state she was aware,
    She turn'd on me with look so soft and new
    As, in Jove's greatest fury, might subdue
    His rage, and from his hand the thunders tear.
    I started: on her further way she pass'd
    Graceful, and speaking words I could not brook,
    Nor of her lustrous eyes the loving look.
    When on that dear salute my thoughts are cast,
    So rich and varied do my pleasures flow,
    No pain I feel, nor evil fear below.




_Sennuccio, i' vo' che sappi in qual maniera._


      To thee, Sennuccio, fain would I declare,
    To sadden life, what wrongs, what woes I find:
    Still glow my wonted flames; and, though resign'd
    To Laura's fickle will, no change I bear.
    All humble now, then haughty is my fair;
    Now meek, then proud; now pitying, then unkind:
    Softness and tenderness now sway her mind;
    Then do her looks disdain and anger wear.
    Here would she sweetly sing, there sit awhile,
    Here bend her step, and there her step retard;
    Here her bright eyes my easy heart ensnared;
    There would she speak fond words, here lovely smile;
    There frown contempt;--such wayward cares I prove
    By night, by day; so wills our tyrant Love!

    ANON. 1777.

      Alas, Sennuccio! would thy mind could frame
    What now I suffer! what my life's drear reign;
    Consumed beneath my heart's continued pain,
    At will she guides me--yet am I the same.
    Now humble--then doth pride her soul inflame;
    Now harsh--then gentle; cruel--kind again;
    Now all reserve--then borne on frolic's vein;
    Disdain alternates with a milder claim.
    Here once she sat, and there so sweetly sang;
    Here turn'd to look on me, and lingering stood;
    There first her beauteous eyes my spirit stole:
    And here she smiled, and there her accents rang,
    Her speaking face here told another mood.
    Thus Love, our sovereign, holds me in control.



_Qui dove mezzo son, Sennuccio mio._


      Friend, on this spot, I life but half endure
    (Would I were wholly here and you content),
    Where from the storm and wind my course I bent,
    Which suddenly had left the skies obscure.
    Fain would I tell--for here I feel me sure--
    Why lightnings now no fear to me present;
    And why unmitigated, much less spent,
    E'en as before my fierce desires allure.
    Soon as I reach'd these realms of love, and saw
    Where, sweet and pure, to life my Laura came,
    Who calms the air, at rest the thunder lays;
    Love in my soul, where she alone gives law,
    Quench'd the cold fear and kindled the fast flame;
    What were it then on her bright eyes to gaze!



_Dell' empia Babilonia, ond' è fuggita._


      Yes, out of impious Babylon I'm flown,
    Whence flown all shame, whence banish'd is all good,
    That nurse of error, and of guilt th' abode,
    To lengthen out a life which else were gone:
    There as Love prompts, while wandering alone,
    I now a garland weave, and now an ode;
    With him I commune, and in pensive mood
    Hope better times; this only checks my moan.
    Nor for the throng, nor fortune do I care,
    Nor for myself, nor sublunary things,
    No ardour outwardly, or inly springs:
    I ask two persons only: let my fair
    For me a kind and tender heart maintain;
    And be my friend secure in his high post again.


      From impious Babylon, where all shame is dead,
    And every good is banish'd to far climes,
    Nurse of rank errors, centre of worst crimes,
    Haply to lengthen life, I too am fled:
    Alone, at last alone, and here, as led
    At Love's sweet will, I posies weave or rhymes,
    Self-parleying, and still on better times
    Wrapt in fond thoughts whence only hope is fed.
    Cares for the world or fortune I have none,
    Nor much for self, nor any common theme:
    Nor feel I in me, nor without, great heat.
    Two friends alone I ask, and that the one
    More merciful and meek to me may seem,
    The other well as erst, and firm of feet.



_In mezzo di duo amanti onesta altera._


      'Tween two fond lovers I a lady spied,
    Virtuous but haughty, and with her that lord,
    By gods above and men below adored--
    The sun on this, myself upon that side--
    Soon as she found herself the sphere denied
    Of her bright friend, on my fond eyes she pour'd
    A flood of life and joy, which hope restored
    Less cold to me will be her future pride.
    Suddenly changed itself to cordial mirth
    The jealous fear to which at his first sight
    So high a rival in my heart gave birth;
    As suddenly his sad and rueful plight
    From further scrutiny a small cloud veil'd,
    So much it ruffled him that then he fail'd.



_Pien di quella ineffabile dolcezza._


      O'erflowing with the sweets ineffable,
    Which from that lovely face my fond eyes drew,
    What time they seal'd, for very rapture, grew.
    On meaner beauty never more to dwell,
    Whom most I love I left: my mind so well
    Its part, to muse on her, is train'd to do,
    None else it sees; what is not hers to view,
    As of old wont, with loathing I repel.
    In a low valley shut from all around,
    Sole consolation of my heart-deep sighs,
    Pensive and slow, with Love I walk alone:
    Not ladies here, but rocks and founts are found,
    And of that day blest images arise,
    Which my thought shapes where'er I turn mine eyes.



_Se 'l sasso ond' è più chiusa questa valle._


      If, which our valley bars, this wall of stone,
    From which its present name we closely trace,
    Were by disdainful nature rased, and thrown
    Its back to Babel and to Rome its face;
    Then had my sighs a better pathway known
    To where their hope is yet in life and grace:
    They now go singly, yet my voice all own;
    And, where I send, not one but finds its place.
    There too, as I perceive, such welcome sweet
    They ever find, that none returns again,
    But still delightedly with her remain.
    My grief is from the eyes, each morn to meet--
    Not the fair scenes my soul so long'd to see--
    Toil for my weary limbs and tears for me.



_Rimansi addietro il sestodecim' anno._


      My sixteenth year of sighs its course has run,
    I stand alone, already on the brow
    Where Age descends: and yet it seems as now
    My time of trial only were begun.
    'Tis sweet to love, and good to be undone;
    Though life be hard, more days may Heaven allow
    Misfortune to outlive: else Death may bow
    The bright head low my loving praise that won.
    Here am I now who fain would be elsewhere;
    More would I wish and yet no more I would;
    I could no more and yet did all I could:
    And new tears born of old desires declare
    That still I am as I was wont to be,
    And that a thousand changes change not me.



_Una donna più bella assai che 'l sole._


      A lady, lovelier, brighter than the sun,
    Like him superior o'er all time and space,
    Of rare resistless grace,
    Me to her train in early life had won:
    She, from that hour, in act, and word and thought,
    --For still the world thus covets what is rare--
    In many ways though brought
    Before my search, was still the same coy fair:
    For her alone my plans, from what they were,
    Grew changed, since nearer subject to her eyes;
    Her love alone could spur
    My young ambition to each hard emprize:
    So, if in long-wish'd port I e'er arrive,
    I hope, for aye through her,
    When others deem me dead, in honour to survive.

    Full of first hope, burning with youthful love,
    She, at her will, as plainly now appears,
    Has led me many years,
    But for one end, my nature best to prove:
    Oft showing me her shadow, veil, and dress,
    But never her sweet face, till I, who right
    Knew not her power to bless,
    All my green youth for these, contented quite,
    So spent, that still the memory is delight:
    Since onward yet some glimpse of her is seen,
    I now may own, of late,
    Such as till then she ne'er for me had been,
    She shows herself, shooting through all my heart
    An icy cold so great
    That save in her dear arms it ne'er can thence depart.

    Not that in this cold fear I all did shrink,
    For still my heart was to such boldness strung
    That to her feet I clung,
    As if more rapture from her eyes to drink:
    And she--for now the veil was ta'en away
    Which barr'd my sight--thus spoke me, "Friend, you see
    How fair I am, and may
    Ask, for your years, whatever fittest be."
    "Lady," I said, "so long my love on thee
    Has fix'd, that now I feel myself on fire,
    What, in this state, to shun, and what desire."
    She, thereon, with a voice so wond'rous sweet
    And earnest look replied,
    By turns with hope and fear it made my quick heart beat:--

    "Rarely has man, in this full crowd below,
    E'en partial knowledge of my worth possess'd
    Who felt not in his breast
    At least awhile some spark of spirit glow:
    But soon my foe, each germ of good abhorr'd,
    Quenches that light, and every virtue dies,
    While reigns some other lord
    Who promises a calmer life shall rise:
    Love, of your mind, to him that naked lies,
    So shows the great desire with which you burn,
    That safely I divine
    It yet shall win for you an honour'd urn;
    Already one of my few friends you are,
    And now shall see in sign
    A lady who shall make your fond eyes happier far."

    "It may not, cannot be," I thus began;
    --When she, "Turn hither, and in yon calm nook
    Upon the lady look
    So seldom seen, so little sought of man!"
    I turn'd, and o'er my brow the mantling shame,
    Within me as I felt that new fire swell,
    Of conscious treason came.
    She softly smiled, "I understand you well;
    E'en as the sun's more powerful rays dispel
    And drive the meaner stars of heaven from sight,
    So I less fair appear,
    Dwindling and darken'd now in her more light;
    But not for this I bar you from my train,
    As one in jealous fear--
    One birth, the elder she, produced us, sisters twain."

    Meanwhile the cold and heavy chain was burst
    Of silence, which a sense of shame had flung
    Around my powerless tongue,
    When I was conscious of her notice first:
    And thus I spoke, "If what I hear be true,
    Bless'd be the sire, and bless'd the natal day
    Which graced our world with you!
    Blest the long years pass'd in your search away!
    From the right path if e'er I went astray,
    It grieves me more than, haply, I can show:
    But of your state, if I
    Deserve more knowledge, more I long to know."
    She paused, then, answering pensively, so bent
    On me her eloquent eye,
    That to my inmost heart her looks and language went:--

    "As seem'd to our Eternal Father best,
    We two were made immortal at our birth:
    To man so small our worth
    Better on us that death, like yours, should rest.
    Though once beloved and lovely, young and bright,
    So slighted are we now, my sister sweet
    Already plumes for flight
    Her wings to bear her to her own old seat;
    Myself am but a shadow thin and fleet;
    Thus have I told you, in brief words, whate'er
    You sought of us to find:
    And now farewell! before I mount in air
    This favour take, nor fear that I forget."
    Whereat she took and twined
    A wreath of laurel green, and round my temples set.

    My song! should any deem thy strain obscure,
    Say, that I care not, and, ere long to hear,
    In certain words and clear,
    Truth's welcome message, that my hope is sure;
    For this alone, unless I widely err
    Of him who set me on the task, I came,
    That others I might stir
    To honourable acts of high and holy aim.



_Or vedi, Amor, che giovinetta donna._


      Now, Love, at length behold a youthful fair,
    Who spurns thy rule, and, mocking all my care,
    'Mid two such foes, is safe and fancy free.
    Thou art well arm'd, 'mid flowers and verdure she,
    In simplest robe and natural tresses found,
    Against thee haughty still and harsh to me;
    I am thy thrall: but, if thy bow be sound,
    If yet one shaft be thine, in pity, take
    Vengeance upon her for our common sake.



_Quelle pietose rime, in ch' io m' accorsi._


      Those pious lines wherein are finely met
    Proofs of high genius and a spirit kind,
    Had so much influence on my grateful mind
    That instantly in hand my pen I set
    To tell you that death's final blow--which yet
    Shall me and every mortal surely find--
    I have not felt, though I, too, nearly join'd
    The confines of his realm without regret;
    But I turn'd back again because I read
    Writ o'er the threshold that the time to me
    Of life predestinate not all was fled,
    Though its last day and hour I could not see.
    Then once more let your sad heart comfort know,
    And love the living worth which dead it honour'd so.



_Dicesett' anni ha già rivolto il cielo._


      The seventeenth summer now, alas! is gone,
    And still with ardour unconsumed I glow;
    Yet find, whene'er myself I seek to know,
    Amidst the fire a frosty chill come on.
    Truly 'tis said, 'Ere Habit quits her throne,
    Years bleach the hair.' The senses feel life's snow,
    But not less hot the tides of passion flow:
    Such is our earthly nature's malison!
    Oh! come the happy day, when doom'd to smart
    No more, from flames and lingering sorrows free,
    Calm I may note how fast youth's minutes flew!
    Ah! will it e'er be mine the hour to see,
    When with delight, nor duty nor my heart
    Can blame, these eyes once more that angel face may view?


      For seventeen summers heaven has o'er me roll'd
    Since first I burn'd, nor e'er found respite thence,
    But when to weigh our state my thoughts commence
    I feel amidst the flames a frosty cold.
    We change the form, not nature, is an old
    And truthful proverb: thus, to dull the sense
    Makes not the human feelings less intense;
    The dark shades of our painful veil still hold.
    Alas! alas! will e'er that day appear
    When, my life's flight beholding, I may find
    Issue from endless fire and lingering pain,--
    The day which, crowning all my wishes here,
    Of that fair face the angel air and kind
    Shall to my longing eyes restore again?



_Quel vago impallidir che 'l dolce riso._


      That witching paleness, which with cloud of love
    Veil'd her sweet smile, majestically bright,
    So thrill'd my heart, that from the bosom's night
    Midway to meet it on her face it strove.
    Then learnt I how, 'mid realms of joy above,
    The blest behold the blest: in such pure light
    I scann'd her tender thought, to others' sight
    Viewless!--but my fond glances would not rove.
    Each angel grace, each lowly courtesy,
    E'er traced in dame by Love's soft power inspired,
    Would seem but foils to those which prompt my lay:
    Upon the ground was cast her gentle eye,
    And still methought, though silent, she inquired,
    "What bears my faithful friend so soon, so far away?"


      There was a touching paleness on her face,
    Which chased her smiles, but such sweet union made
    Of pensive majesty and heavenly grace,
    As if a passing cloud had veil'd her with its shade;
    Then knew I how the blessed ones above
    Gaze on each other in their perfect bliss,
    For never yet was look of mortal love
    So pure, so tender, so serene as this.
    The softest glance fond woman ever sent
    To him she loved, would cold and rayless be
    Compared to this, which she divinely bent
    Earthward, with angel sympathy, on me,
    That seem'd with speechless tenderness to say,
    "Who takes from me my faithful friend away?"

    E. (_New Monthly Magazine_.)


_Amor, Fortuna, e la mia mente schiva._


      Love, Fortune, and my melancholy mind,
    Sick of the present, lingering on the past,
    Afflict me so, that envious thoughts I cast
    On those who life's dark shore have left behind.
    Love racks my bosom: Fortune's wintry wind
    Kills every comfort: my weak mind at last
    Is chafed and pines, so many ills and vast
    Expose its peace to constant strifes unkind.
    Nor hope I better days shall turn again;
    But what is left from bad to worse may pass:
    For ah! already life is on the wane.
    Not now of adamant, but frail as glass,
    I see my best hopes fall from me or fade,
    And low in dust my fond thoughts broken laid.


      Love, Fortune, and my ever-faithful mind,
    Which loathes the present in its memoried past,
    So wound my spirit, that on all I cast
    An envied thought who rest in darkness find.
    My heart Love prostrates, Fortune more unkind
    No comfort grants, until its sorrow vast
    Impotent frets, then melts to tears at last:
    Thus I to painful warfare am consign'd.
    My halcyon days I hope not to return,
    But paint my future by a darker tint;
    My spring is gone--my summer well-nigh fled:
    Ah! wretched me! too well do I discern
    Each hope is now (unlike the diamond flint)
    A fragile mirror, with its fragments shed.



_Se 'l pensier che mi strugge._


      Oh! that my cheeks were taught
    By the fond, wasting thought
    To wear such hues as could its influence speak;
    Then the dear, scornful fair
    Might all my ardour share;
    And where Love slumbers now he might awake!
    Less oft the hill and mead
    My wearied feet should tread;
    Less oft, perhaps, these eyes with tears should stream;
    If she, who cold as snow,
    With equal fire would glow--
    She who dissolves me, and converts to flame.

    Since Love exerts his sway,
    And bears my sense away,
    I chant uncouth and inharmonious songs:
    Nor leaves, nor blossoms show,
    Nor rind, upon the bough,
    What is the nature that thereto belongs.
    Love, and those beauteous eyes,
    Beneath whose shade he lies,
    Discover all the heart can comprehend:
    When vented are my cares
    In loud complaints, and tears;
    These harm myself, and others those offend.

    Sweet lays of sportive vein,
    Which help'd me to sustain
    Love's first assault, the only arms I bore;
    This flinty breast say who
    Shall once again subdue,
    That I with song may soothe me as before?
    Some power appears to trace
    Within me Laura's face,
    Whispers her name; and straight in verse I strive
    To picture her again,
    But the fond effort's vain:
    Me of my solace thus doth Fate deprive.

    E'en as some babe unties
    Its tongue in stammering guise,
    Who cannot speak, yet will not silence keep:
    So fond words I essay;
    And listen'd be the lay
    By my fair foe, ere in the tomb I sleep!
    But if, of beauty vain,
    She treats me with disdain;
    Do thou, O verdant shore, attend my sighs:
    Let them so freely flow,
    That all the world may know,
    My sorrow thou at least didst not despise!

    And well art thou aware,
    That never foot so fair
    The soil e'er press'd as that which trod thee late;
    My sunk soul and worn heart
    Now seek thee, to impart
    The secret griefs that on my passion wait.
    If on thy margent green,
    Or 'midst thy flowers, were seen
    Some traces of her footsteps lingering there.
    My wearied life 'twould cheer,
    Bitter'd with many a tear:
    Ah! now what means are left to soothe my care?

    Where'er I bend mine eye,
    What sweet serenity
    I feel, to think here Laura shone of yore.
    Each plant and scented bloom
    I gather, seems to come
    From where she wander'd on the custom'd shore:
    Ofttimes in this retreat
    A fresh and fragrant seat
    She found; at least so fancy's vision shows:
    And never let truth seek
    Th' illusion dear to break--
    O spirit blest, from whom such magic flows!

    To thee, my simple song,
    No polish doth belong;
    Thyself art conscious of thy little worth!
    Solicit not renown
    Throughout the busy town,
    But dwell within the shade that gave thee birth.



_Chiare, fresche e dolci acque._


      Ye limpid brooks, by whose clear streams
    My goddess laid her tender limbs!
    Ye gentle boughs, whose friendly shade
    Gave shelter to the lovely maid!
    Ye herbs and flowers, so sweetly press'd
    By her soft rising snowy breast!
    Ye Zephyrs mild, that breathed around
    The place where Love my heart did wound!
    Now at my summons all appear,
    And to my dying words give ear.

    If then my destiny requires,
    And Heaven with my fate conspires,
    That Love these eyes should weeping close,
    Here let me find a soft repose.
    So Death will less my soul affright,
    And, free from dread, my weary spright
    Naked alone will dare t' essay
    The still unknown, though beaten way;
    Pleased that her mortal part will have
    So safe a port, so sweet a grave.

    The cruel fair, for whom I burn,
    May one day to these shades return,
    And smiling with superior grace,
    Her lover seek around this place,
    And when instead of me she finds
    Some crumbling dust toss'd by the winds,
    She may feel pity in her breast,
    And, sighing, wish me happy rest,
    Drying her eyes with her soft veil,
    Such tears must sure with Heaven prevail.

    Well I remember how the flowers
    Descended from these boughs in showers,
    Encircled in the fragrant cloud
    She set, nor midst such glory proud.
    These blossoms to her lap repair,
    These fall upon her flowing hair,
    (Like pearls enchased in gold they seem,)
    These on the ground, these on the stream;
    In giddy rounds these dancing say,
    Here Love and Laura only sway.

    In rapturous wonder oft I said,
    Sure she in Paradise was made,
    Thence sprang that bright angelic state,
    Those looks, those words, that heavenly gait,
    That beauteous smile, that voice divine,
    Those graces that around her shine:
    Transported I beheld the fair,
    And sighing cried, How came I here?
    In heaven, amongst th' immortal blest,
    Here let me fix and ever rest.


      Ye waters clear and fresh, to whose blight wave
    She all her beauties gave,--
    Sole of her sex in my impassion'd mind!
    Thou sacred branch so graced,
    (With sighs e'en now retraced!)
    On whose smooth shaft her heavenly form reclined!
    Herbage and flowers that bent the robe beneath,
    Whose graceful folds compress'd
    Her pure angelic breast!
    Ye airs serene, that breathe
    Where Love first taught me in her eyes his lore!
    Yet once more all attest,
    The last sad plaintive lay my woe-worn heart may pour!

    If so I must my destiny fulfil,
    And Love to close these weeping eyes be doom'd
    By Heaven's mysterious will,
    Oh! grant that in this loved retreat, entomb'd,
    My poor remains may lie,
    And my freed soul regain its native sky!
    Less rude shall Death appear,
    If yet a hope so dear
    Smooth the dread passage to eternity!
    No shade so calm--serene,
    My weary spirit finds on earth below;
    No grave so still--so green,
    In which my o'ertoil'd frame may rest from mortal woe!

    Yet one day, haply, she--so heavenly fair!
    So kind in cruelty!--
    With careless steps may to these haunts repair,
    And where her beaming eye
    Met mine in days so blest,
    A wistful glance may yet unconscious rest,
    And seeking me around,
    May mark among the stones a lowly mound,
    That speaks of pity to the shuddering sense!
    Then may she breathe a sigh,
    Of power to win me mercy from above!
    Doing Heaven violence,
    All-beautiful in tears of late relenting love!

    Still dear to memory! when, in odorous showers,
    Scattering their balmy flowers,
    To summer airs th' o'ershadowing branches bow'd,
    The while, with humble state,
    In all the pomp of tribute sweets she sate,
    Wrapt in the roseate cloud!
    Now clustering blossoms deck her vesture's hem,
    Now her bright tresses gem,--
    (In that all-blissful day,
    Like burnish'd gold with orient pearls inwrought,)
    Some strew the turf--some on the waters float!
    Some, fluttering, seem to say
    In wanton circlets toss'd, "Here Love holds sovereign sway!"

    Oft I exclaim'd, in awful tremor rapt,
    "Surely of heavenly birth
    This gracious form that visits the low earth!"
    So in oblivion lapp'd
    Was reason's power, by the celestial mien,
    The brow,--the accents mild--
    The angelic smile serene!
    That now all sense of sad reality
    O'erborne by transport wild,--
    "Alas! how came I here, and when?" I cry,--
    Deeming my spirit pass'd into the sky!
    E'en though the illusion cease,
    In these dear haunts alone my tortured heart finds peace.

    If thou wert graced with numbers sweet, my song!
    To match thy wish to please;
    Leaving these rocks and trees,
    Thou boldly might'st go forth, and dare th' assembled throng.


      Clear, fresh, and dulcet streams,
    Which the fair shape, who seems
    To me sole woman, haunted at noon-tide;
    Fair bough, so gently fit,
    (I sigh to think of it,)
    Which lent a pillar to her lovely side;
    And turf, and flowers bright-eyed,
    O'er which her folded gown
    Flow'd like an angel's down;
    And you, O holy air and hush'd,
    Where first my heart at her sweet glances gush'd;
    Give ear, give ear, with one consenting,
    To my last words, my last and my lamenting.

    If 'tis my fate below,
    And Heaven will have it so,
    That Love must close these dying eyes in tears,
    May my poor dust be laid
    In middle of your shade,
    While my soul, naked, mounts to its own spheres.
    The thought would calm my fears,
    When taking, out of breath,
    The doubtful step of death;
    For never could my spirit find
    A stiller port after the stormy wind;
    Nor in more calm, abstracted bourne,
    Slip from my travail'd flesh, and from my bones outworn.

    Perhaps, some future hour,
    To her accustom'd bower
    Might come the untamed, and yet the gentle she;
    And where she saw me first,
    Might turn with eyes athirst
    And kinder joy to look again for me;
    Then, oh! the charity!
    Seeing amidst the stones
    The earth that held my bones,
    A sigh for very love at last
    Might ask of Heaven to pardon me the past:
    And Heaven itself could not say nay,
    As with her gentle veil she wiped the tears away.

    How well I call to mind,
    When from those boughs the wind
    Shook down upon her bosom flower on flower;
    And there she sat, meek-eyed,
    In midst of all that pride,
    Sprinkled and blushing through an amorous shower
    Some to her hair paid dower,
    And seem'd to dress the curls,
    Queenlike, with gold and pearls;
    Some, snowing, on her drapery stopp'd,
    Some on the earth, some on the water dropp'd;
    While others, fluttering from above,
    Seem'd wheeling round in pomp, and saying, "Here reigns Love."

    How often then I said,
    Inward, and fill'd with dread,
    "Doubtless this creature came from Paradise!"
    For at her look the while,
    Her voice, and her sweet smile,
    And heavenly air, truth parted from mine eyes;
    So that, with long-drawn sighs,
    I said, as far from men,
    "How came I here, and when?"
    I had forgotten; and alas!
    Fancied myself in heaven, not where I was;
    And from that time till this, I bear
    Such love for the green bower, I cannot rest elsewhere.



_In quella parte dov' Amor mi sprona._


      When Love, fond Love, commands the strain,
    The coyest muse must sure obey;
    Love bids my wounded breast complain,
    And whispers the melodious lay:
    Yet when such griefs restrain the muse's wing,
    How shall she dare to soar, or how attempt to sing?

    Oh! could my heart express its woe,
    How poor, how wretched should I seem!
    But as the plaintive accents flow,
    Soft comfort spreads her golden gleam;
    And each gay scene, that Nature holds to view,
    Bids Laura's absent charms to memory bloom anew.

    Though Fate's severe decrees remove
    Her gladsome beauties from my sight,
    Yet, urged by pity, friendly Love
    Bids fond reflection yield delight;
    If lavish spring with flowerets strews the mead,
    Her lavish beauties all to fancy are displayed!

    When to this globe the solar beams
    Their full meridian blaze impart,
    It pictures Laura, that inflames
    With passion's fires each human heart:
    And when the sun completes his daily race,
    I see her riper age complete each growing grace.

    When milder planets, warmer skies
    O'er winter's frozen reign prevail;
    When groves are tinged with vernal dyes,
    And violets scent the wanton gale;
    Those flowers, the verdure, then recall that day,
    In which my Laura stole this heedless heart away.

    The blush of health, that crimson'd o'er
    Her youthful cheek; her modest mien;
    The gay-green garment that she wore,
    Have ever dear to memory been;
    More dear they grow as time the more inflames
    This tender breast o'ercome by passion's wild extremes!

    The sun, whose cheering lustre warms
    The bosom of yon snow-clad hill,
    Seems a just emblem of the charms,
    Whose power controls my vanquish'd will;
    When near, they gild with joy this frozen heart,
    Where ceaseless winter reigns, whene'er those charms depart.

    Yon sun, too, paints the locks of gold,
    That play around her face so fair--
    Her face which, oft as I behold,
    Prompts the soft sigh of amorous care!
    While Laura smiles, all-conscious of that love
    Which from this faithful breast no time can e'er remove.

    If to the transient storm of night
    Succeeds a star-bespangled sky,
    And the clear rain-drops catch the light,
    Glittering on all the foliage nigh;
    Methinks her eyes I view, as on that day
    When through the envious veil they shot their magic ray.

    With brightness making heaven more bright,
    As then they did, I see them now;
    I see them, when the morning light
    Purples the misty mountain's brow:
    When day declines, and darkness spreads the pole;
    Methinks 'tis Laura flies, and sadness wraps my soul.

    In stately jars of burnish'd gold
    Should lilies spread their silvery pride,
    With fresh-blown roses that unfold
    Their leaves, in heaven's own crimson dyed;
    Then Laura's bloom I see, and sunny hair
    Flowing adown her neck than ivory whiter far.

    The flowerets brush'd by zephyr's wing,
    Waving their heads in frolic play,
    Oft to my fond remembrance bring
    The happy spot, the happier day,
    In which, disporting with the gale, I view'd
    Those sweet unbraided locks, that all my heart subdued.

    Oh! could I count those orbs that shine
    Nightly o'er yon ethereal plain,
    Or in some scanty vase confine
    Each drop that ocean's bounds contain,
    Then might I hope to fly from beauty's rays,
    Laura o'er flaming worlds can spread bright beauty's blaze.

    Should I all heaven, all earth explore,
    I still should lovely Laura find;
    Laura, whose beauties I adore,
    Is ever present to my mind:
    She's seen in all that strikes these partial eyes,
    And her dear name still dwells in all my tender sighs.

    But soft, my song,--not thine the power
    To paint that never-dying flame,
    Which gilds through life the gloomy hour,
    Which nurtures this love-wasted frame;
    For since with Laura dwells my wander'd heart,
    Cheer'd by that fostering flame, I brave Death's ebon dart.

    ANON 1777.

[Illustration: GENOA.]


_Italia mia, benchè 'l parlar sia indarno._


      O my own Italy! though words are vain
    The mortal wounds to close,
    Unnumber'd, that thy beauteous bosom stain,
    Yet may it soothe my pain
    To sigh forth Tyber's woes,
    And Arno's wrongs, as on Po's sadden'd shore
    Sorrowing I wander, and my numbers pour.
    Ruler of heaven! By the all-pitying love
    That could thy Godhead move
    To dwell a lowly sojourner on earth,
    Turn, Lord! on this thy chosen land thine eye:
    See, God of Charity!
    From what light cause this cruel war has birth;
    And the hard hearts by savage discord steel'd,
    Thou, Father! from on high,
    Touch by my humble voice, that stubborn wrath may yield!

    Ye, to whose sovereign hands the fates confide
    Of this fair land the reins,--
    (This land for which no pity wrings your breast)--
    Why does the stranger's sword her plains invest?
    That her green fields be dyed,
    Hope ye, with blood from the Barbarians' veins?
    Beguiled by error weak,
    Ye see not, though to pierce so deep ye boast,
    Who love, or faith, in venal bosoms seek:
    When throng'd your standards most,
    Ye are encompass'd most by hostile bands.
    O hideous deluge gather'd in strange lands,
    That rushing down amain
    O'erwhelms our every native lovely plain!
    Alas! if our own hands
    Have thus our weal betray'd, who shall our cause sustain?

    Well did kind Nature, guardian of our state,
    Rear her rude Alpine heights,
    A lofty rampart against German hate;
    But blind ambition, seeking his own ill,
    With ever restless will,
    To the pure gales contagion foul invites:
    Within the same strait fold
    The gentle flocks and wolves relentless throng,
    Where still meek innocence must suffer wrong:
    And these,--oh, shame avow'd!--
    Are of the lawless hordes no tie can hold:
    Fame tells how Marius' sword
    Erewhile their bosoms gored,--
    Nor has Time's hand aught blurr'd the record proud!
    When they who, thirsting, stoop'd to quaff the flood,
    With the cool waters mix'd, drank of a comrade's blood!

    Great Cæsar's name I pass, who o'er our plains
    Pour'd forth the ensanguin'd tide,
    Drawn by our own good swords from out their veins;
    But now--nor know I what ill stars preside--
    Heaven holds this land in hate!
    To you the thanks!--whose hands control her helm!--
    You, whose rash feuds despoil
    Of all the beauteous earth the fairest realm!
    Are ye impell'd by judgment, crime, or fate,
    To oppress the desolate?
    From broken fortunes, and from humble toil,
    The hard-earn'd dole to wring,
    While from afar ye bring
    Dealers in blood, bartering their souls for hire?
    In truth's great cause I sing.
    Nor hatred nor disdain my earnest lay inspire.

    Nor mark ye yet, confirm'd by proof on proof,
    Bavaria's perfidy,
    Who strikes in mockery, keeping death aloof?
    (Shame, worse than aught of loss, in honour's eye!)
    While ye, with honest rage, devoted pour
    Your inmost bosom's gore!--
    Yet give one hour to thought,
    And ye shall own, how little he can hold
    Another's glory dear, who sets his own at nought
    O Latin blood of old!
    Arise, and wrest from obloquy thy fame,
    Nor bow before a name
    Of hollow sound, whose power no laws enforce!
    For if barbarians rude
    Have higher minds subdued,
    Ours! ours the crime!--not such wise Nature's course.

    Ah! is not this the soil my foot first press'd?
    And here, in cradled rest,
    Was I not softly hush'd?--here fondly rear'd?
    Ah! is not this my country?--so endear'd
    By every filial tie!
    In whose lap shrouded both my parents lie!
    Oh! by this tender thought,
    Your torpid bosoms to compassion wrought,
    Look on the people's grief!
    Who, after God, of you expect relief;
    And if ye but relent,
    Virtue shall rouse her in embattled might,
    Against blind fury bent,
    Nor long shall doubtful hang the unequal fight;
    For no,--the ancient flame
    Is not extinguish'd yet, that raised the Italian name!

    Mark, sovereign Lords! how Time, with pinion strong,
    Swift hurries life along!
    E'en now, behold! Death presses on the rear.
    We sojourn here a day--the next, are gone!
    The soul disrobed--alone,
    Must shuddering seek the doubtful pass we fear.
    Oh! at the dreaded bourne,
    Abase the lofty brow of wrath and scorn,
    (Storms adverse to the eternal calm on high!)
    And ye, whose cruelty
    Has sought another's harm, by fairer deed
    Of heart, or hand, or intellect, aspire
    To win the honest meed
    Of just renown--the noble mind's desire!
    Thus sweet on earth the stay!
    Thus to the spirit pure, unbarr'd is Heaven's way!

    My song! with courtesy, and numbers sooth,
    Thy daring reasons grace,
    For thou the mighty, in their pride of place,
    Must woo to gentle ruth,
    Whose haughty will long evil customs nurse,
    Ever to truth averse!
    Thee better fortunes wait,
    Among the virtuous few--the truly great!
    Tell them--but who shall bid my terrors cease?
    Peace! Peace! on thee I call! return, O heaven-born Peace!


       *       *       *       *       *

      See Time, that flies, and spreads his hasty wing!
    See Life, how swift it runs the race of years,
    And on its weary shoulders death appears!
    Now all is life and all is spring:
    Think on the winter and the darker day
    When the soul, naked and alone,
    Must prove the dubious step, the still unknown,
    Yet ever beaten way.
    And through this fatal vale
    Would you be wafted with some gentle gale?
    Put off that eager strife and fierce disdain,
    Clouds that involve our life's serene,
    And storms that ruffle all the scene;
    Your precious hours, misspent in others' pain,
    On nobler deeds, worthy yourselves, bestow;
    Whether with hand or wit you raise
    Some monument of peaceful praise,
    Some happy labour of fair love:
    'Tis all of heaven that you can find below,
    And opens into all above.



_Di pensier in pensier, di monte in monte._


      From hill to hill I roam, from thought to thought,
    With Love my guide; the beaten path I fly,
    For there in vain the tranquil life is sought:
    If 'mid the waste well forth a lonely rill,
    Or deep embosom'd a low valley lie,
    In its calm shade my trembling heart's still;
    And there, if Love so will,
    I smile, or weep, or fondly hope, or fear.
    While on my varying brow, that speaks the soul,
    The wild emotions roll,
    Now dark, now bright, as shifting skies appear;
    That whosoe'er has proved the lover's state
    Would say, He feels the flame, nor knows his future fate.

    On mountains high, in forests drear and wide,
    I find repose, and from the throng'd resort
    Of man turn fearfully my eyes aside;
    At each lone step thoughts ever new arise
    Of her I love, who oft with cruel sport
    Will mock the pangs I bear, the tears, the sighs;
    Yet e'en these ills I prize,
    Though bitter, sweet, nor would they were removed
    For my heart whispers me, Love yet has power
    To grant a happier hour:
    Perchance, though self-despised, thou yet art loved:
    E'en then my breast a passing sigh will heave,
    Ah! when, or how, may I a hope so wild believe?

    Where shadows of high rocking pines dark wave
    I stay my footsteps, and on some rude stone
    With thought intense her beauteous face engrave;
    Roused from the trance, my bosom bathed I find
    With tears, and cry, Ah! whither thus alone
    Hast thou far wander'd, and whom left behind?
    But as with fixed mind
    On this fair image I impassion'd rest,
    And, viewing her, forget awhile my ills,
    Love my rapt fancy fills;
    In its own error sweet the soul is blest,
    While all around so bright the visions glide;
    Oh! might the cheat endure, I ask not aught beside.

    Her form portray'd within the lucid stream
    Will oft appear, or on the verdant lawn,
    Or glossy beech, or fleecy cloud, will gleam
    So lovely fair, that Leda's self might say,
    Her Helen sinks eclipsed, as at the dawn
    A star when cover'd by the solar ray:
    And, as o'er wilds I stray
    Where the eye nought but savage nature meets,
    There Fancy most her brightest tints employs;
    But when rude truth destroys
    The loved illusion of those dreamed sweets,
    I sit me down on the cold rugged stone,
    Less coid, less dead than I, and think, and weep alone.

    Where the huge mountain rears his brow sublime,
    On which no neighbouring height its shadow flings,
    Led by desire intense the steep I climb;
    And tracing in the boundless space each woe,
    Whose sad remembrance my torn bosom wrings,
    Tears, that bespeak the heart o'erfraught, will flow:
    While, viewing all below,
    From me, I cry, what worlds of air divide
    The beauteous form, still absent and still near!
    Then, chiding soft the tear,
    I whisper low, haply she too has sigh'd
    That thou art far away: a thought so sweet
    Awhile my labouring soul will of its burthen cheat.

    Go thou, my song, beyond that Alpine bound,
    Where the pure smiling heavens are most serene,
    There by a murmuring stream may I be found,
    Whose gentle airs around
    Waft grateful odours from the laurel green;
    Nought but my empty form roams here unblest,
    There dwells my heart with her who steals it from my breast.



_Poi che 'l cammin m' è chiuso di mercede._


      Since mercy's door is closed, alas! to me,
    And hopeless paths my poor life separate
    From her in whom, I know not by what fate,
    The guerdon lay of all my constancy,
    My heart that lacks not other food, on sighs
    I feed: to sorrow born, I live on tears:
    Nor therefore mourn I: sweeter far appears
    My present grief than others can surmise.
    On thy dear portrait rests alone my view,
    Which nor Praxiteles nor Xeuxis drew,
    But a more bold and cunning pencil framed.
    What shore can hide me, or what distance shield,
    If by my cruel exile yet untamed
    Insatiate Envy finds me here concealed?



_Io canterei d' Amor sì novamente._


      Ways apt and new to sing of love I'd find,
    Forcing from her hard heart full many a sigh,
    And re-enkindle in her frozen mind
    Desires a thousand, passionate and high;
    O'er her fair face would see each swift change pass,
    See her fond eyes at length where pity reigns,
    As one who sorrows when too late, alas!
    For his own error and another's pains;
    See the fresh roses edging that fair snow
    Move with her breath, that ivory descried,
    Which turns to marble him who sees it near;
    See all, for which in this brief life below
    Myself I weary not but rather pride
    That Heaven for later times has kept me here.



_S' Amor non è, che dunque è quel ch' i' sento?_


      If no love is, O God, what fele I so?
    And if love is, what thing and which is he?
    If love be gode, from whence cometh my woe?
    If it be wicke, a wonder thinketh me
    When every torment and adversite
    That cometh of him may to me savory thinke:
    For aye more thurst I the more that I drinke.
    And if that at my owne lust I brenne,
    From whence cometh my wailing and my pleinte?
    If harme agre me whereto pleine I thenne?
    I not nere why unwery that I feinte.
    O quickè deth, O surelè harme so quainte,
    How may I see in me such quantite,
    But if that I consent that so it be?


      If 'tis not love, what is it feel I then?
    If 'tis, how strange a thing, sweet powers above!
    If love be kind, why does it fatal prove?
    If cruel, why so pleasing is the pain?
    If 'tis my will to love, why weep, why plain?
    If not my will, tears cannot love remove.
    O living death! O rapturous pang!--why, love!
    If I consent not, canst thou o'er me reign?
    If I consent, 'tis wrongfully I mourn:
    Thus on a stormy sea my bark is borne
    By adverse winds, and with rough tempest tost;
    Thus unenlightened, lost in error's maze,
    My blind opinion ever dubious strays;
    I'm froze by summer, scorched by winter's frost.

    ANON. 1777.


_Amor m' ha posto come segno a strale._


      Love makes me as the target for his dart,
    As snow in sunshine, or as wax in flame,
    Or gale-driven cloud; and, Laura, on thy name
    I call, but thou no pity wilt impart.
    Thy radiant eyes first caused my bosom's smart;
    No time, no place can shield me from their beam;
    From thee (but, ah, thou treat'st it as a dream!)
    Proceed the torments of my suff'ring heart.
    Each thought's an arrow, and thy face a sun,
    My passion's flame: and these doth Love employ
    To wound my breast, to dazzle, and destroy.
    Thy heavenly song, thy speech with which I'm won,
    All thy sweet breathings of such strong controul,
    Form the dear gale that bears away my soul.


      Me Love has placed as mark before the dart,
    As to the sun the snow, as wax to fire,
    As clouds to wind: Lady, e'en now I tire,
    Craving the mercy which never warms thy heart.
    From those bright eyes was aim'd the mortal blow,
    'Gainst which nor time nor place avail'd me aught;
    From thee alone--nor let it strange be thought--
    The sun, the fire, the wind whence I am so.
    The darts are thoughts of thee, thy face the sun,
    The fire my passion; such the weapons be
    With which at will Love dazzles yet destroys.
    Thy fragrant breath and angel voice--which won
    My heart that from its thrall shall ne'er be free--
    The wind which vapour-like my frail life flies.



_Pace non trovo, e non ho da far guerra._


      I fynde no peace and all my warre is done,
    I feare and hope, I bourne and freese lyke yse;
    I flye above the wynde, yet cannot ryse;
    And nought I have, yet all the worlde I season,
    That looseth, nor lacketh, holdes me in pryson,
    And holdes me not, yet can I escape no wyse.
    Nor lets me leeve, nor die at my devyce,
    And yet of death it giveth none occasion.
    Without eye I see, and without tongue I playne;
    I desyre to perishe, yet aske I health;
    I love another, and yet I hate my self;
    I feede in sorrow and laughe in all my payne,
    Lykewyse pleaseth me both death and lyf,
    And my delight is cawser of my greif.


[Footnote S: Harrington's Nugæ Antiquæ.]

      Warfare I cannot wage, yet know not peace;
    I fear, I hope, I burn, I freeze again;
    Mount to the skies, then bow to earth my face;
    Grasp the whole world, yet nothing can obtain.
    His prisoner Love nor frees, nor will detain;
    In toils he holds me not, nor will release;
    He slays me not, nor yet will he unchain;
    Nor joy allows, nor lets my sorrow cease.
    Sightless I see my fair; though mute, I mourn;
    I scorn existence, and yet court its stay;
    Detest myself, and for another burn;
    By grief I'm nurtured; and, though tearful, gay;
    Death I despise, and life alike I hate:
    Such, lady, dost thou make my wayward state!



_Qual più diversa e nova._


      Whate'er most wild and new
    Was ever found in any foreign land,
    If viewed and valued true,
    Most likens me 'neath Love's transforming hand.
    Whence the bright day breaks through,
    Alone and consortless, a bird there flies,
    Who voluntary dies,
    To live again regenerate and entire:
    So ever my desire,
    Alone, itself repairs, and on the crest
    Of its own lofty thoughts turns to our sun,
    There melts and is undone,
    And sinking to its first state of unrest,
    So burns and dies, yet still its strength resumes,
    And, Phoenix-like, afresh in force and beauty blooms.

    Where Indian billows sweep,
    A wondrous stone there is, before whose strength
    Stout navies, weak to keep
    Their binding iron, sink engulf'd at length:
    So prove I, in this deep
    Of bitter grief, whom, with her own hard pride,
    That fair rock knew to guide
    Where now my life in wreck and ruin drives:
    Thus too the soul deprives,
    By theft, my heart, which once so stonelike was,
    It kept my senses whole, now far dispersed:
    For mine, O fate accurst!
    A rock that lifeblood and not iron draws,
    Whom still i' the flesh a magnet living, sweet,
    Drags to the fatal shore a certain doom to meet.

    Neath the far Ethiop skies
    A beast is found, most mild and meek of air,
    Which seems, yet in her eyes
    Danger and dool and death she still does bear:
    Much needs he to be wise
    To look on hers whoever turns his mien:
    Although her eyes unseen,
    All else securely may be viewed at will
    But I to mine own ill
    Run ever in rash grief, though well I know
    My sufferings past and future, still my mind
    Its eager, deaf and blind
    Desire o'ermasters and unhinges so,
    That in her fine eyes and sweet sainted face,
    Fatal, angelic, pure, my cause of death I trace.

    In the rich South there flows
    A fountain from the sun its name that wins,
    This marvel still that shows,
    Boiling at night, but chill when day begins;
    Cold, yet more cold it grows
    As the sun's mounting car we nearer see:
    So happens it with me
    (Who am, alas! of tears the source and seat),
    When the bright light and sweet,
    My only sun retires, and lone and drear
    My eyes are left, in night's obscurest reign,
    I burn, but if again
    The gold rays of the living sun appear,
    My slow blood stiffens, instantaneous, strange;
    Within me and without I feel the frozen change!

    Another fount of fame
    Springs in Epirus, which, as bards have told,
    Kindles the lurking flame,
    And the live quenches, while itself is cold.
    My soul, that, uncontroll'd,
    And scathless from love's fire till now had pass'd,
    Carelessly left at last
    Near the cold fair for whom I ceaseless sigh,
    Was kindled instantly:
    Like martyrdom, ne'er known by day or night,
    A heart of marble had to mercy shamed.
    Which first her charms inflamed
    Her fair and frozen virtue quenched the light;
    That thus she crushed and kindled my heart's fire,
    Well know I who have felt in long and useless ire.

    Beyond our earth's known brinks,
    In the famed Islands of the Blest, there be
    Two founts: of this who drinks
    Dies smiling: who of that to live is free.
    A kindred fate Heaven links
    To my sad life, who, smilingly, could die
    For like o'erflowing joy,
    But soon such bliss new cries of anguish stay.
    Love! still who guidest my way,
    Where, dim and dark, the shade of fame invites,
    Not of that fount we speak, which, full each hour,
    Ever with larger power
    O'erflows, when Taurus with the Sun unites;
    So are my eyes with constant sorrow wet,
    But in that season most when I my Lady met.

    Should any ask, my Song!
    Or how or where I am, to such reply:
    Where the tall mountain throws
    Its shade, in the lone vale, whence Sorga flows,
    He roams, where never eye
    Save Love's, who leaves him not a step, is by,
    And one dear image who his peace destroys,
    Alone with whom to muse all else in life he flies.



_Fiamma dal ciel su le tue treccie piova._


      Vengeaunce must fall on thee, thow filthie whore
    Of Babilon, thow breaker of Christ's fold,
    That from achorns, and from the water colde,
    Art riche become with making many poore.
    Thow treason's neste that in thie harte dost holde
    Of cankard malice, and of myschief more
    Than pen can wryte, or may with tongue be tolde,
    Slave to delights that chastitie hath solde;
    For wyne and ease which settith all thie store
    Uppon whoredome and none other lore,
    In thye pallais of strompetts yonge and olde
    Theare walks Plentie, and Belzebub thye Lorde:
    Guydes thee and them, and doth thye raigne upholde:
    It is but late, as wryting will recorde,
    That poore thow weart withouten lande or goolde;
    Yet now hathe golde and pryde, by one accorde,
    In wickednesse so spreadd thie lyf abrode,
    That it dothe stincke before the face of God.

    (?) WYATT.[T]

[Footnote T: Harrington's Nugæ Antiquæ.]

      May fire from heaven rain down upon thy head,
    Thou most accurst; who simple fare casts by,
    Made rich and great by others' poverty;
    How dost thou glory in thy vile misdeed!
    Nest of all treachery, in which is bred
    Whate'er of sin now through the world doth fly;
    Of wine the slave, of sloth, of gluttony;
    With sensuality's excesses fed!
    Old men and harlots through thy chambers dance;
    Then in the midst see Belzebub advance
    With mirrors and provocatives obscene.
    Erewhile thou wert not shelter'd, nursed on down;
    But naked, barefoot on the straw wert thrown:
    Now rank to heaven ascends thy life unclean.



_L' avara Babilonia ha colmo 'l sacco._


      Covetous Babylon of wrath divine
    By its worst crimes has drain'd the full cup now,
    And for its future Gods to whom to bow
    Not Pow'r nor Wisdom ta'en, but Love and Wine.
    Though hoping reason, I consume and pine,
    Yet shall her crown deck some new Soldan's brow,
    Who shall again build up, and we avow
    One faith in God, in Rome one head and shrine.
    Her idols shall be shatter'd, in the dust
    Her proud towers, enemies of Heaven, be hurl'd,
    Her wardens into flames and exile thrust,
    Fair souls and friends of virtue shall the world
    Possess in peace; and we shall see it made
    All gold, and fully its old works display'd.



_Fontana di dolore, albergo d' ira._


      Spring of all woe, O den of curssed ire,
    Scoole of errour, temple of heresye;
    Thow Pope, I meane, head of hypocrasye,
    Thow and thie churche, unsaciat of desyre,
    Have all the world filled full of myserye;
    Well of disceate, thow dungeon full of fyre,
    That hydes all truthe to breed idolatrie.
    Thow wicked wretche, Chryste cannot be a lyer,
    Behold, therefore, thie judgment hastelye;
    Thye first founder was gentill povertie,
    But there against is all thow dost requyre.
    Thow shameless beaste wheare hast thow thie trust,
    In thie whoredome, or in thie riche attyre?
    Loe! Constantyne, that is turned into dust,
    Shall not retourne for to mayntaine thie lust;
    But now his heires, that might not sett thee higher,
    For thie greate pryde shall teare thye seate asonder,
    And scourdge thee so that all the world shall wonder.

    (?) WYATT.[U]

[Footnote U: Harrington's Nugæ Antiquæ.]

      Fountain of sorrows, centre of mad ire,
    Rank error's school and fane of heresy,
    Once Rome, now Babylon, the false and free,
    Whom fondly we lament and long desire.
    O furnace of deceits, O prison dire,
    Where good roots die and the ill-weed grows a tree
    Hell upon earth, great marvel will it be
    If Christ reject thee not in endless fire.
    Founded in humble poverty and chaste,
    Against thy founders lift'st thou now thy horn,
    Impudent harlot! Is thy hope then placed
    In thine adult'ries and thy wealth ill-born?
    Since comes no Constantine his own to claim,
    The vext world must endure, or end its shame.



_Quanto più desiose l' ali spando._


      The more my own fond wishes would impel
    My steps to you, sweet company of friends!
    Fortune with their free course the more contends,
    And elsewhere bids me roam, by snare and spell
    The heart, sent forth by me though it rebel,
    Is still with you where that fair vale extends,
    In whose green windings most our sea ascends,
    From which but yesterday I wept farewell.
    It took the right-hand way, the left I tried,
    I dragg'd by force in slavery to remain,
    It left at liberty with Love its guide;
    But patience is great comfort amid pain:
    Long habits mutually form'd declare
    That our communion must be brief and rare.



_Amor che nel pensier mio vive e regna._


      The long Love that in my thought I harbour,
    And in my heart doth keep his residence,
    Into my face pressèth with bold pretence,
    And there campèth displaying his bannèr.
    She that me learns to love and to suffèr,
    And wills that my trust, and lust's negligence
    Be rein'd by reason, shame, and reverence,
    With his hardiness takes displeasure.
    Wherewith Love to the heart's forest he fleeth,
    Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry,
    And there him hideth, and not appearèth.
    What may I do, when my master fearèth,
    But in the field with him to live and die?
    For good is the life, ending faithfully.


      Love, that liveth and reigneth in my thought,
    That built its seat within my captive breast;
    Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought,
    Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
    She, that me taught to love, and suffer pain;
    My doubtful hope, and eke my hot desire
    With shamefaced cloak to shadow and restrain,
    Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
    And coward love then to the heart apace
    Taketh his flight; whereas he lurks, and plains
    His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
    For my lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pains.
    Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove:
    Sweet is his death, that takes his end by love.


      Love in my thought who ever lives and reigns,
    And in my heart still holds the upper place,
    At times come forward boldly in my face,
    There plants his ensign and his post maintains:
    She, who in love instructs us and its pains,
    Would fain that reason, shame, respect should chase
    Presumptuous hope and high desire abase,
    And at our daring scarce herself restrains,
    Love thereon to my heart retires dismay'd,
    Abandons his attempt, and weeps and fears,
    And hiding there, no more my friend appears.
    What can the liege whose lord is thus afraid,
    More than with him, till life's last gasp, to dwell?
    For who well loving dies at least dies well.



_Come talora al caldo tempo suole._


      As when at times in summer's scorching heats.
    Lured by the light, the simple insect flies,
    As a charm'd thing, into the passer's eyes,
    Whence death the one and pain the other meets,
    Thus ever I, my fatal sun to greet,
    Rush to those eyes where so much sweetness lies
    That reason's guiding hand fierce Love defies,
    And by strong will is better judgment beat.
    I clearly see they value me but ill,
    And, for against their torture fails my strength.
    That I am doom'd my life to lose at length:
    But Love so dazzles and deludes me still,
    My heart their pain and not my loss laments,
    And blind, to its own death my soul consents.



_Alia dolce ombra de le belle frondi._


      Beneath the pleasant shade of beauteous leaves
    I ran for shelter from a cruel light,
    E'en here below that burnt me from high heaven,
    When the last snow had ceased upon the hills,
    And amorous airs renew'd the sweet spring time,
    And on the upland flourish'd herbs and boughs.

    Ne'er did the world behold such graceful boughs,
    Nor ever wind rustled so verdant leaves,
    As were by me beheld in that young time:
    So that, though fearful of the ardent light,
    I sought not refuge from the shadowing hills,
    But of the plant accepted most in heaven.

    A laurel then protected from that heaven:
    Whence, oft enamour'd with its lovely boughs,
    A roamer I have been through woods, o'er hills,
    But never found I other trunk, nor leaves
    Like these, so honour'd with supernal light,
    Which changed not qualities with changing time.

    Wherefore each hour more firm, from time to time
    Following where I heard my call from heaven,
    And guided ever by a soft clear light,
    I turn'd, devoted still, to those first boughs,
    Or when on earth are scatter'd the sere leaves,
    Or when the sun restored makes green the hills.

    The woods, the rocks, the fields, the floods, and hills,
    All that is made, are conquer'd, changed by time:
    And therefore ask I pardon of those leaves,
    If after many years, revolving heaven
    Sway'd me to flee from those entangling boughs,
    When I begun to see its better light.

    So dear to me at first was the sweet light,
    That willingly I pass'd o'er difficult hills,
    But to be nearer those beloved boughs;
    Now shortening life, the apt place and full time
    Show me another path to mount to heaven,
    And to make fruit not merely flowers and leaves.

    Other love, other leaves, and other light,
    Other ascent to heaven by other hills
    I seek--in sooth 'tis time--and other boughs.



_Quand' io v' odo parlar si dolcemente._


      Whene'er you speak of her in that soft tone
    Which Love himself his votaries surely taught,
    My ardent passion to such fire is wrought,
    That e'en the dead reviving warmth might own:
    Where'er to me she, dear or kind, was known
    There the bright lady is to mind now brought,
    In the same bearing which, to waken thought,
    Needed no sound but of my sighs alone.
    Half-turn'd I see her looking, on the breeze
    Her light hair flung; so true her memories roll
    On my fond heart of which she keeps the keys;
    But the surpassing bliss which floods my soul
    So checks my tongue, to tell how, queen-like, there,
    She sits as on her throne, I never dare.



_Nè così bello il sol giammai levarsi._


      Ne'er can the sun such radiance soft display,
    Piercing some cloud that would its light impair;
    Ne'er tinged some showery arch the humid air,
    With variegated lustre half so gay,
    As when, sweet-smiling my fond heart away,
    All-beauteous shone my captivating fair;
    For charms what mortal can with her compare!
    But truth, impartial truth! much more might say.
    I saw young Cupid, saw his laughing eyes
    With such bewitching, am'rous sweetness roll,
    That every human glance I since despise.
    Believe, dear friend! I saw the wanton boy;
    Bent was his bow to wound my tender soul;
    Yet, ah! once more I'd view the dang'rous joy.

    ANON. 1777.

      Sun never rose so beautiful and bright
    When skies above most clear and cloudless show'd,
    Nor, after rain, the bow of heaven e'er glow'd
    With tints so varied, delicate, and light,
    As in rare beauty flash'd upon my sight,
    The day I first took up this am'rous load,
    That face whose fellow ne'er on earth abode--
    Even my praise to paint it seems a slight!
    Then saw I Love, who did her fine eyes bend
    So sweetly, every other face obscure
    Has from that hour till now appear'd to me.
    The boy-god and his bow, I saw them, friend,
    From whom life since has never been secure,
    Whom still I madly yearn again to see.



_Pommi ove 'l sol occide i fiori e l' erba._


      Place me where herb and flower the sun has dried,
    Or where numb winter's grasp holds sterner sway:
    Place me where Phoebus sheds a temperate ray,
    Where first he glows, where rests at eventide.
    Place me in lowly state, in power and pride,
    Where lour the skies, or where bland zephyrs play
    Place me where blind night rules, or lengthened day,
    In age mature, or in youth's boiling tide:
    Place me in heaven, or in the abyss profound,
    On lofty height, or in low vale obscure,
    A spirit freed, or to the body bound;
    Bank'd with the great, or all unknown to fame,
    I still the same will be! the same endure!
    And my trilustral sighs still breathe the same!


      Place me where Phoebus burns each herb, each flower;
    Or where cold snows, and frost o'ercome his rays:
    Place me where rolls his car with temp'rate blaze;
    In climes that feel not, or that feel his power.
    Place me where fortune may look bright, or lour;
    Mid murky airs, or where soft zephyr plays:
    Place me in night, in long or short-lived days,
    Where age makes sad, or youth gilds ev'ry hour:
    Place me on mountains high, in vallies drear,
    In heaven, on earth, in depths unknown to-day;
    Whether life fosters still, or flies this clay:
    Place me where fame is distant, where she's near:
    Still will I love; nor shall those sighs yet cease,
    Which thrice five years have robb'd this breast of peace.

    ANON. 1777.

      Place me where angry Titan burns the Moor,
    And thirsty Afric fiery monsters brings,
    Or where the new-born phoenix spreads her wings,
    And troops of wond'ring birds her flight adore:
    Place me by Gange, or Ind's empamper'd shore,
    Where smiling heavens on earth cause double springs:
    Place me where Neptune's quire of Syrens sings,
    Or where, made hoarse through cold, he leaves to roar:
    Me place where Fortune doth her darlings crown,
    A wonder or a spark in Envy's eye,
    Or late outrageous fates upon me frown,
    And pity wailing, see disaster'd me.
    Affection's print my mind so deep doth prove,
    I may forget myself, but not my love.



_O d' ardente virtute ornata e calda._


      O mind, by ardent virtue graced and warm'd.
    To whom my pen so oft pours forth my heart;
    Mansion of noble probity, who art
    A tower of strength 'gainst all assault full arm'd.
    O rose effulgent, in whose foldings, charm'd,
    We view with fresh carnation snow take part!
    O pleasure whence my wing'd ideas start
    To that bless'd vision which no eye, unharm'd,
    Created, may approach--thy name, if rhyme
    Could bear to Bactra and to Thule's coast,
    Nile, Tanaïs, and Calpe should resound,
    And dread Olympus.--But a narrower bound
    Confines my flight: and thee, our native clime
    Between the Alps and Apennine must boast.


      With glowing virtue graced, of warm heart known,
    Sweet Spirit! for whom so many a page I trace,
    Tower in high worth which foundest well thy base!
    Centre of honour, perfect, and alone!
    O blushes! on fresh snow like roses thrown,
    Wherein I read myself and mend apace;
    O pleasures! lifting me to that fair face
    Brightest of all on which the sun e'er shone.
    Oh! if so far its sound may reach, your name
    On my fond verse shall travel West and East,
    From southern Nile to Thule's utmost bound.
    But such full audience since I may not claim,
    It shall be heard in that fair land at least
    Which Apennine divides, which Alps and seas surround.



_Quando 'l voler, che con duo sproni ardenti._


      When, with two ardent spurs and a hard rein,
    Passion, my daily life who rules and leads,
    From time to time the usual law exceeds
    That calm, at least in part, my spirits may gain,
    It findeth her who, on my forehead plain,
    The dread and daring of my deep heart reads,
    And seeth Love, to punish its misdeeds,
    Lighten her piercing eyes with worse disdain.
    Wherefore--as one who fears the impending blow
    Of angry Jove--it back in haste retires,
    For great fears ever master great desires;
    But the cold fire and shrinking hopes which so
    Lodge in my heart, transparent as a glass,
    O'er her sweet face at times make gleams of grace to pass.



_Non Tesin, Po, Varo, Arno, Adige e Tebro._


      Not all the streams that water the bright earth,
    Not all the trees to which its breast gives birth,
    Can cooling drop or healing balm impart
    To slack the fire which scorches my sad heart,
    As one fair brook which ever weeps with me,
    Or, which I praise and sing, as one dear tree.
    This only help I find amid Love's strife;
    Wherefore it me behoves to live my life
    In arms, which else from me too rapid goes.
    Thus on fresh shore the lovely laurel grows;
    Who planted it, his high and graceful thought
    'Neath its sweet shade, to Sorga's murmurs, wrote.



      Nor Arne, nor Mincius, nor stately Tiber,
    Sebethus, nor the flood into whose streams
    He fell who burnt the world with borrow'd beams;
    Gold-rolling Tagus, Munda, famous Iber,
    Sorgue, Rhone, Loire, Garron, nor proud-bank'd Seine,
    Peneus, Phasis, Xanthus, humble Ladon,
    Nor she whose nymphs excel her who loved Adon,
    Fair Tamesis, nor Ister large, nor Rhine,
    Euphrates, Tigris, Indus, Hermus, Gange,
    Pearly Hydaspes, serpent-like Meander,--
    The gulf bereft sweet Hero her Leander--
    Nile, that far, far his hidden head doth range,
    Have ever had so rare a cause of praise
    As Ora, where this northern Phoenix stays.



_Di tempo in tempo mi si fa men dura._


      From time to time more clemency for me
    In that sweet smile and angel form I trace;
    Seem too her lovely face
    And lustrous eyes at length more kind to be.
    Yet, if thus honour'd, wherefore do my sighs
    In doubt and sorrow flow,
    Signs that too truly show
    My anguish'd desperate life to common eyes?
    Haply if, where she is, my glance I bend,
    This harass'd heart to cheer,
    Methinks that Love I hear
    Pleading my cause, and see him succour lend.
    Not therefore at an end the strife I deem,
    Nor in sure rest my heart at last esteem;
    For Love most burns within
    When Hope most pricks us on the way to win.


      From time to time less cruelty I trace
    In her sweet smile and form divinely fair;
    Less clouded doth appear
    The heaven of her fine eyes and lovely face.
    What then at last avail to me those sighs,
    Which from my sorrows flow,
    And in my semblance show
    The life of anguish and despair I lead?
    If towards her perchance I bend mine eyes,
    Some solace to bestow
    Upon my bosom's woe,
    Methinks Love takes my part, and lends me aid:
    Yet still I cannot find the conflict stay'd,
    Nor tranquil is my heart in every state:
    For, ah! my passion's heat
    More strongly glows within as my fond hopes increase.



_Che fai, alma? che pensi? avrem mai pace?_


    _P._   What actions fire thee, and what musings fill?
         Soul! is it peace, or truce, or war eterne?
    _H._ Our lot I know not, but, as I discern,
         Her bright eyes favour not our cherish'd ill.
    _P._ What profit, with those eyes if she at will
         Makes us in summer freeze, in winter burn?
    _H._ From him, not her those orbs their movement learn.
    _P._ What's he to us, she sees it and is still.
    _H._ Sometimes, though mute the tongue, the heart laments
         Fondly, and, though the face be calm and bright,
         Bleeds inly, where no eye beholds its grief.
    _P._ Nathless the mind not thus itself contents,
         Breaking the stagnant woes which there unite,
         For misery in fine hopes finds no relief.


    _P._   What act, what dream, absorbs thee, O my soul?
         Say, must we peace, a truce, or warfare hail?
    _H._ Our fate I know not; but her eyes unveil
         The grief our woe doth in her heart enrol.
    _P._ But that is vain, since by her eyes' control
         With nature I no sympathy inhale.
    _H._ Yet guiltless she, for Love doth there prevail.
    _P._ No balm to me, since she will not condole.
    _H._ When man is mute, how oft the spirit grieves,
         In clamorous woe! how oft the sparkling eye
         Belies the inward tear, where none can gaze!
    _P._ Yet restless still, the grief the mind conceives
         Is not dispell'd, but stagnant seems to lie.
         The wretched hope not, though hope aid might raise.



_Nom d' atra e tempestosa onda marina._


      No wearied mariner to port e'er fled
    From the dark billow, when some tempest's nigh,
    As from tumultuous gloomy thoughts I fly--
    Thoughts by the force of goading passion bred:
    Nor wrathful glance of heaven so surely sped
    Destruction to man's sight, as does that eye
    Within whose bright black orb Love's Deity
    Sharpens each dart, and tips with gold its head.
    Enthroned in radiance there he sits, not blind,
    Quiver'd, and naked, or by shame just veil'd,
    A live, not fabled boy, with changeful wing;
    Thence unto me he lends instruction kind,
    And arts of verse from meaner bards conceal'd,
    Thus am I taught whate'er of love I write or sing.


      Ne'er from the black and tempest-troubled brine
    The weary mariner fair haven sought,
    As shelter I from the dark restless thought
    Whereto hot wishes spur me and incline:
    Nor mortal vision ever light divine
    Dazzled, as mine, in their rare splendour caught
    Those matchless orbs, with pride and passion fraught,
    Where Love aye haunts his darts to gild and fine.
    Him, blind no more, but quiver'd, there I view,
    Naked, except so far as shame conceals,
    A winged boy--no fable--quick and true.
    What few perceive he thence to me reveals;
    So read I clearly in her eyes' dear light
    Whate'er of love I speak, whate'er I write.



_Questa umil fera, un cor di tigre o d' orsa._


      Fiercer than tiger, savager than bear,
    In human guise an angel form appears,
    Who between fear and hope, from smiles to tears
    So tortures me that doubt becomes despair.
    Ere long if she nor welcomes me, nor frees,
    But, as her wont, between the two retains,
    By the sweet poison circling through my veins,
    My life, O Love! will soon be on its lees.
    No longer can my virtue, worn and frail
    With such severe vicissitudes, contend,
    At once which burn and freeze, make red and pale:
    By flight it hopes at length its grief to end,
    As one who, hourly failing, feels death nigh:
    Powerless he is indeed who cannot even die!



_Ite, caldi sospiri, al freddo core._


      Go, my warm sighs, go to that frozen breast,
    Burst the firm ice, that charity denies;
    And, if a mortal prayer can reach the skies,
    Let death or pity give my sorrows rest!
    Go, softest thoughts! Be all you know express'd
    Of that unnoticed by her lovely eyes,
    Though fate and cruelty against me rise,
    Error at least and hope shall be repress'd.
    Tell her, though fully you can never tell,
    That, while her days calm and serenely flow,
    In darkness and anxiety I dwell;
    Love guides your flight, my thoughts securely go,
    Fortune may change, and all may yet be well;
    If my sun's aspect not deceives my woe.


      Go, burning sighs, to her cold bosom go,
    Its circling ice which hinders pity rend,
    And if to mortal prayer Heaven e'er attend,
    Let death or mercy finish soon my woe.
    Go forth, fond thoughts, and to our lady show
    The love to which her bright looks never bend,
    If still her harshness, or my star offend,
    We shall at least our hopeless error know.
    Go, in some chosen moment, gently say,
    Our state disquieted and dark has been,
    Even as hers pacific and serene.
    Go, safe at last, for Love escorts your way:
    From my sun's face if right the skies I guess
    Well may my cruel fortune now be less.



_Le stelle e 'l cielo e gli elementi a prova._


      The stars, the elements, and Heaven have made
    With blended powers a work beyond compare;
    All their consenting influence, all their care,
    To frame one perfect creature lent their aid.
    Whence Nature views her loveliness display'd
    With sun-like radiance sublimely fair:
    Nor mortal eye can the pure splendour bear:
    Love, sweetness, in unmeasured grace array'd.
    The very air illumed by her sweet beams
    Breathes purest excellence; and such delight
    That all expression far beneath it gleams.
    No base desire lives in that heavenly light,
    Honour alone and virtue!--fancy's dreams
    Never saw passion rise refined by rays so bright.


      The stars, the heaven, the elements, I ween,
    Put forth their every art and utmost care
    In that bright light, as fairest Nature fair,
    Whose like on earth the sun has nowhere seen;
    So noble, elegant, unique her mien,
    Scarce mortal glance to rest on it may dare,
    Love so much softness and such graces rare
    Showers from those dazzling and resistless een.
    The atmosphere, pervaded and made pure
    By their sweet rays, kindles with goodness so,
    Thought cannot equal it nor language show.
    Here no ill wish, no base desires endure,
    But honour, virtue. Here, if ever yet,
    Has lust his death from supreme beauty met.



_Non fur mai Giove e Cesare sì mossi._


      High Jove to thunder ne'er was so intent,
    So resolute great Cæsar ne'er to strike,
    That pity had not quench'd the ire of both,
    And from their hands the accustom'd weapons shook.
    Madonna wept: my Lord decreed that I
    Should see her then, and there her sorrows hear;
    So joy, desire should fill me to the brim,
    Thrilling my very marrow and my bones.
    Love show'd to me, nay, sculptured on my heart,
    That sweet and sparkling tear, and those soft words
    Wrote with a diamond on its inmost core,
    Where with his constant and ingenious keys
    He still returneth often, to draw thence
    True tears of mine and long and heavy sighs.



_I' vidi in terra angelici costumi._


      On earth reveal'd the beauties of the skies,
    Angelic features, it was mine to hail;
    Features, which wake my mingled joy and wail,
    While all besides like dreams or shadows flies.
    And fill'd with tears I saw those two bright eyes,
    Which oft have turn'd the sun with envy pale;
    And from those lips I heard--oh! such a tale,
    As might awake brute Nature's sympathies!
    Wit, pity, excellence, and grief, and love
    With blended plaint so sweet a concert made,
    As ne'er was given to mortal ear to prove:
    And heaven itself such mute attention paid,
    That not a breath disturb'd the listening grove--
    Even æther's wildest gales the tuneful charm obey'd.


      Yes, I beheld on earth angelic grace,
    And charms divine which mortals rarely see,
    Such as both glad and pain the memory;
    Vain, light, unreal is all else I trace:
    Tears I saw shower'd from those fine eyes apace,
    Of which the sun ofttimes might envious be;
    Accents I heard sigh'd forth so movingly,
    As to stay floods, or mountains to displace.
    Love and good sense, firmness, with pity join'd
    And wailful grief, a sweeter concert made
    Than ever yet was pour'd on human ear:
    And heaven unto the music so inclined,
    That not a leaf was seen to stir the shade;
    Such melody had fraught the winds, the atmosphere.



_Quel sempre acerbo ed onorato giorno._


      That ever-painful, ever-honour'd day
    So left her living image on my heart
    Beyond or lover's wit or poet's art,
    That oft to it will doting memory stray.
    A gentle pity softening her bright mien,
    Her sorrow there so sweet and sad was heard,
    Doubt in the gazer's bosom almost stirr'd
    Goddess or mortal, which made heaven serene.
    Fine gold her hair, her face as sunlit snow,
    Her brows and lashes jet, twin stars her eyne,
    Whence the young archer oft took fatal aim;
    Each loving lip--whence, utterance sweet and low
    Her pent grief found--a rose which rare pearls line,
    Her tears of crystal and her sighs of flame.


      That ever-honour'd, yet too bitter day,
    Her image hath so graven in my breast,
    That only memory can return it dress'd
    In living charms, no genius could portray:
    Her air such graceful sadness did display,
    Her plaintive, soft laments my ear so bless'd,
    I ask'd if mortal, or a heavenly guest,
    Did thus the threatening clouds in smiles array.
    Her locks were gold, her cheeks were breathing snow,
    Her brows with ebon arch'd--bright stars her eyes,
    Wherein Love nestled, thence his dart to aim:
    Her teeth were pearls--the rose's softest glow
    Dwelt on that mouth, whence woke to speech grief's sighs
    Her tears were crystal--and her breath was flame.



_Ove ch' i' posi gli occhi lassi o giri._


      Where'er I rest or turn my weary eyes,
    To ease the longings which allure them still,
    Love pictures my bright lady at his will,
    That ever my desire may verdant rise.
    Deep pity she with graceful grief applies--
    Warm feelings ever gentle bosoms fill--
    While captived equally my fond ears thrill
    With her sweet accents and seraphic sighs.
    Love and fair Truth were both allied to tell
    The charms I saw were in the world alone,
    That 'neath the stars their like was never known.
    Nor ever words so dear and tender fell
    On listening ear: nor tears so pure and bright
    From such fine eyes e'er sparkled in the light.



_In qual parte del cielo, in quale idea._


      Say from what part of heaven 'twas Nature drew,
    From what idea, that so perfect mould
    To form such features, bidding us behold,
    In charms below, what she above could do?
    What fountain-nymph, what dryad-maid e'er threw
    Upon the wind such tresses of pure gold?
    What heart such numerous virtues can unfold?
    Although the chiefest all my fond hopes slew.
    He for celestial charms may look in vain,
    Who has not seen my fair one's radiant eyes,
    And felt their glances pleasingly beguile.
    How Love can heal his wounds, then wound again,
    He only knows, who knows how sweet her sighs,
    How sweet her converse, and how sweet her smile.


      In what celestial sphere--what realm of thought,
    Dwelt the bright model from which Nature drew
    That fair and beauteous face, in which we view
    Her utmost power, on earth, divinely wrought?
    What sylvan queen--what nymph by fountain sought,
    Upon the breeze such golden tresses threw?
    When did such virtues one sole breast imbue?
    Though with my death her chief perfection's fraught.
    For heavenly beauty he in vain inquires,
    Who ne'er beheld her eyes' celestial stain,
    Where'er she turns around their brilliant fires:
    He knows not how Love wounds, and heals again,
    Who knows not how she sweetly smiles, respires
    The sweetest sighs, and speaks in sweetest strain!



_Amor ed io sì pien di maraviglia._


      As one who sees a thing incredible,
    In mutual marvel Love and I combine,
    Confessing, when she speaks or smiles divine,
    None but herself can be her parallel.
    Where the fine arches of that fair brow swell
    So sparkle forth those twin true stars of mine,
    Than whom no safer brighter beacons shine
    His course to guide who'd wisely love and well.
    What miracle is this, when, as a flower,
    She sits on the rich grass, or to her breast,
    Snow-white and soft, some fresh green shrub is press'd
    And oh! how sweet, in some fair April hour,
    To see her pass, alone, in pure thought there,
    Weaving fresh garlands in her own bright hair.



_O passi sparsi, o pensier vaghi e pronti._


      O scatter'd steps! O vague and busy thoughts!
    O firm-set memory! O fierce desire!
    O passion powerful! O failing heart!
    O eyes of mine, not eyes, but fountains now!
    O leaf, which honourest illustrious brows,
    Sole sign of double valour, and best crown!
    O painful life, O error oft and sweet!
    That make me search the lone plains and hard hills.
    O beauteous face! where Love together placed
    The spurs and curb, to strive with which is vain,
    They prick and turn me so at his sole will.
    O gentle amorous souls, if such there be!
    And you, O naked spirits of mere dust,
    Tarry and see how great my suffering is!



_Lieti flori e felici, e ben nate erbe._


      Gay, joyous blooms, and herbage glad with showers,
    O'er which my pensive fair is wont to stray!
    Thou plain, that listest her melodious lay,
    As her fair feet imprint thy waste of flowers!
    Ye shrubs so trim; ye green, unfolding bowers;
    Ye violets clad in amorous, pale array;
    Thou shadowy grove, gilded by beauty's ray,
    Whose top made proud majestically towers!
    O pleasant country! O translucent stream,
    Bathing her lovely face, her eyes so clear,
    And catching of their living light the beam!
    I envy ye her actions chaste and dear:
    No rock shall stud thy waters, but shall learn
    Henceforth with passion strong as mine to burn.


      O bright and happy flowers and herbage blest,
    On which my lady treads!--O favour'd plain,
    That hears her accents sweet, and can retain
    The traces by her fairy steps impress'd!--
    Pure shrubs, with tender verdure newly dress'd,--
    Pale amorous violets,--leafy woods, whose reign
    Thy sun's bright rays transpierce, and thus sustain
    Your lofty stature, and umbrageous crest;--
    O thou, fair country, and thou, crystal stream,
    Which bathes her countenance and sparkling eyes,
    Stealing fresh lustre from their living beam;
    How do I envy thee these precious ties!
    Thy rocky shores will soon be taught to gleam
    With the same flame that burns in all my sighs.



_Amor, che vedi ogni pensiero aperto._


      Love, thou who seest each secret thought display'd,
    And the sad steps I take, with thee sole guide;
    This throbbing breast, to thee thrown open wide,
    To others' prying barr'd, thine eyes pervade.
    Thou know'st what efforts, following thee, I made,
    While still from height to height thy pinions glide;
    Nor deign'st one pitying look to turn aside
    On him who, fainting, treads a trackless glade.
    I mark from far the mildly-beaming ray
    To which thou goad'st me through the devious maze;
    Alas! I want thy wings, to speed my way--
    Henceforth, a distant homager, I'll gaze,
    Content by silent longings to decay,
    So that my sighs for her in her no anger raise.


      O Love, that seest my heart without disguise,
    And those hard toils from thee which I sustain,
    Look to my inmost thought; behold the pain
    To thee unveil'd, hid from all other eyes.
    Thou know'st for thee this breast what suffering tries;
    Me still from day to day o'er hill and plain
    Thou chasest; heedless still, while I complain
    As to my wearied steps new thorns arise.
    True, I discern far off the cheering light
    To which, through trackless wilds, thou urgest me:
    But wings like thine to bear me to delight
    I want:--Yet from these pangs I would not flee,
    Finding this only favour in her sight,
    That not displeased my love and death she see.



_Or che 'l ciel e la terra e 'l vento tace._


      O'er earth and sky her lone watch silence keeps,
    And bird and beast in stirless slumber lie,
    Her starry chariot Night conducts on high,
    And in its bed the waveless ocean sleeps.
    I wake, muse, burn, and weep; of all my pain
    The one sweet cause appears before me still;
    War is my lot, which grief and anger fill,
    And thinking but of her some rest I gain.
    Thus from one bright and living fountain flows
    The bitter and the sweet on which I feed;
    One hand alone can harm me or can heal:
    And thus my martyrdom no limit knows,
    A thousand deaths and lives each day I feel,
    So distant are the paths to peace which lead.


      'Tis now the hour when midnight silence reigns
    O'er earth and sea, and whispering Zephyr dies
    Within his rocky cell; and Morpheus chains
    Each beast that roams the wood, and bird that wings the skies.
    More blest those rangers of the earth and air,
    Whom night awhile relieves from toil and pain;
    Condemn'd to tears and sighs, and wasting care.
    To me the circling sun descends in vain!
    Ah me! that mingling miseries and joys,
    Too near allied, from one sad fountain flow!
    The magic hand that comforts and annoys
    Can hope, and fell despair, and life, and death bestow!
    Too great the bliss to find in death relief:
    Fate has not yet fill'd up the measure of my grief.



_Come 'l candido piè per l' erba fresca._


      As o'er the fresh grass her fair form its sweet
    And graceful passage makes at evening hours,
    Seems as around the newly-wakening flowers
    Found virtue issue from her delicate feet.
    Love, which in true hearts only has his seat,
    Nor elsewhere deigns to prove his certain powers,
    So warm a pleasure from her bright eyes showers,
    No other bliss I ask, no better meat.
    And with her soft look and light step agree
    Her mild and modest, never eager air,
    And sweetest words in constant union rare.
    From these four sparks--nor only these we see--
    Springs the great fire wherein I live and burn,
    Which makes me from the sun as night-birds turn.



_S' io fossi stato fermo alla spelunca._


      Still had I sojourn'd in that Delphic cave
    Where young Apollo prophet first became,
    Verona, Mantua were not sole in fame,
    But Florence, too, her poet now might have:
    But since the waters of that spring no more
    Enrich my land, needs must that I pursue
    Some other planet, and, with sickle new,
    Reap from my field of sticks and thorns its store.
    Dried is the olive: elsewhere turn'd the stream
    Whose source from famed Parnassus was derived.
    Whereby of yore it throve in best esteem.
    Me fortune thus, or fault perchance, deprived
    Of all good fruit--unless eternal Jove
    Shower on my head some favour from above.



_Quando Amor i begli occhi a terra inchina._


      If Love her beauteous eyes to earth incline,
    And all her soul concentring in a sigh,
    Then breathe it in her voice of melody,
    Floating clear, soft, angelical, divine;
    My heart, forth-stolen so gently, I resign,
    And, all my hopes and wishes changed, I cry,--
    "Oh, may my last breath pass thus blissfully,
    If Heaven so sweet a death for me design!"
    But the rapt sense, by such enchantment bound,
    And the strong will, thus listening to possess
    Heaven's joys on earth, my spirit's flight delay.
    And thus I live; and thus drawn out and wound
    Is my life's thread, in dreamy blessedness,
    By this sole syren from the realms of day.


      Her bright and love-lit eyes on earth she bends--
    Concentres her rich breath in one full sigh--
    A brief pause--a fond hush--her voice on high,
    Clear, soft, angelical, divine, ascends.
    Such rapine sweet through all my heart extends,
    New thoughts and wishes so within me vie,
    Perforce I say,--"Thus be it mine to die,
    If Heaven to me so fair a doom intends!"
    But, ah! those sounds whose sweetness laps my sense,
    The strong desire of more that in me yearns,
    Restrain my spirit in its parting hence.
    Thus at her will I live; thus winds and turns
    The yarn of life which to my lot is given,
    Earth's single siren, sent to us from heaven.



_Amor mi manda quel dolce pensero._


      Love to my mind recalling that sweet thought,
    The ancient confidant our lives between,
    Well comforts me, and says I ne'er have been
    So near as now to what I hoped and sought.
    I, who at times with dangerous falsehood fraught,
    At times with partial truth, his words have seen,
    Live in suspense, still missing the just mean,
    'Twixt yea and nay a constant battle fought.
    Meanwhile the years pass on: and I behold
    In my true glass the adverse time draw near
    Her promise and my hope which limits here.
    So let it be: alone I grow not old;
    Changes not e'en with age my loving troth;
    My fear is this--the short life left us both.



_Pien d' un vago pensier, che me desvia._


      Such vain thought as wonted to mislead me
    In desert hope, by well-assurèd moan,
    Makes me from company to live alone,
    In following her whom reason bids me flee.
    She fleeth as fast by gentle cruelty;
    And after her my heart would fain be gone,
    But armèd sighs my way do stop anon,
    'Twixt hope and dread locking my liberty;
    Yet as I guess, under disdainful brow
    One beam of ruth is in her cloudy look:
    Which comforteth the mind, that erst for fear shook:
    And therewithal bolded I seek the way how
    To utter the smart I suffer within;
    But such it is, I not how to begin.


      Full of a tender thought, which severs me
    From all my kind, a lonely musing thing,
    From my breast's solitude I sometimes spring,
    Still seeking her whom most I ought to flee;
    And see her pass though soft, so adverse she,
    That my soul spreads for flight a trembling wing:
    Of armèd sighs such legions does she bring,
    The fair antagonist of Love and me.
    Yet from beneath that dark disdainful brow,
    Or much I err, one beam of pity flows,
    Soothing with partial warmth my heart's distress:
    Again my bosom feels its wonted glow!
    But when my simple hope I would disclose,
    My o'er-fraught faltering tongue the crowded thoughts oppress.



_Più volte già dal bel sembiante umano._


      Oft as her angel face compassion wore,
    With tears whose eloquence scarce fails to move,
    With bland and courteous speech, I boldly strove
    To soothe my foe, and in meek guise implore:
    But soon her eyes inspire vain hopes no more;
    For all my fortune, all my fate in love,
    My life, my death, the good, the ills I prove,
    To her are trusted by one sovereign power.
    Hence 'tis, whene'er my lips would silence break,
    Scarce can I hear the accents which I vent,
    By passion render'd spiritless and weak.
    Ah! now I find that fondness to excess
    Fetters the tongue, and overpowers intent:
    Faint is the flame that language can express!


      Oft have I meant my passion to declare,
    When fancy read compliance in her eyes;
    And oft with courteous speech, with love-lorn sighs,
    Have wish'd to soften my obdurate fair:
    But let that face one look of anger wear,
    The intention fades; for all that fate supplies,
    Or good, or ill, all, all that I can prize,
    My life, my death, Love trusts to her dear care.
    E'en I can scarcely hear my amorous moan,
    So much my voice by passion is confined;
    So faint, so timid are my accents grown!
    Ah! now the force of love I plainly see;
    What can the tongue, or what the impassion'd mind?
    He that could speak his love, ne'er loved like me.

    ANON. 1777.


_Giunto m' ha Amor fra belle e crude braccia._


      Me Love has left in fair cold arms to lie,
    Which kill me wrongfully: if I complain,
    My martyrdom is doubled, worse my pain:
    Better in silence love, and loving die!
    For she the frozen Rhine with burning eye
    Can melt at will, the hard rock break in twain,
    So equal to her beauty her disdain
    That others' pleasure wakes her angry sigh.
    A breathing moving marble all the rest,
    Of very adamant is made her heart,
    So hard, to move it baffles all my art.
    Despite her lowering brow and haughty breast,
    One thing she cannot, my fond heart deter
    From tender hopes and passionate sighs for her.



_O Invidia, nemica di virtute._


      O deadly Envy, virtue's constant foe,
    With good and lovely eager to contest!
    Stealthily, by what way, in that fair breast
    Hast entrance found? by what arts changed it so?
    Thence by the roots my weal hast thou uptorn,
    Too blest in love hast shown me to that fair
    Who welcomed once my chaste and humble prayer,
    But seems to treat me now with hate and scorn.
    But though you may by acts severe and ill
    Sigh at my good and smile at my distress,
    You cannot change for me a single thought.
    Not though a thousand times each day she kill
    Can I or hope in her or love her less.
    For though she scare, Love confidence has taught.



_Mirando 'l sol de' begli occhi sereno._


      Marking of those bright eyes the sun serene
    Where reigneth Love, who mine obscures and grieves,
    My hopeless heart the weary spirit leaves
    Once more to gain its paradise terrene;
    Then, finding full of bitter-sweet the scene,
    And in the world how vast the web it weaves.
    A secret sigh for baffled love it heaves,
    Whose spurs so sharp, whose curb so hard have been.
    By these two contrary and mix'd extremes,
    With frozen or with fiery wishes fraught,
    To stand 'tween misery and bliss she seems:
    Seldom in glad and oft in gloomy thought,
    But mostly contrite for its bold emprize,
    For of like seed like fruit must ever rise!



_Fera stella (se 'l cielo ha forza in noi)._


      Ill-omen'd was that star's malignant gleam
    That ruled my hapless birth; and dim the morn
    That darted on my infant eyes the beam;
    And harsh the wail, that told a man was born;
    And hard the sterile earth, which first was worn
    Beneath my infant feet; but harder far,
    And harsher still, the tyrant maid, whose scorn,
    In league with savage Love, inflamed the war
    Of all my passions.--Love himself more tame,
    With pity soothes my ills; while that cold heart,
    Insensible to the devouring flame
    Which wastes my vitals, triumphs in my smart.
    One thought is comfort--that her scorn to bear,
    Excels e'er prosperous love, with other earthly fair.


      An evil star usher'd my natal morn
    (If heaven have o'er us power, as some have said),
    Hard was the cradle where I lay when born,
    And hard the earth where first my young feet play'd;
    Cruel the lady who, with eyes of scorn
    And fatal bow, whose mark I still was made,
    Dealt me the wound, O Love, which since I mourn
    Whose cure thou only, with those arms, canst aid.
    But, ah! to thee my torments pleasure bring:
    She, too, severer would have wished the blow,
    A spear-head thrust, and not an arrow-sting.
    One comfort rests--better to suffer so
    For her, than others to enjoy: and I,
    Sworn on thy golden dart, on this for death rely.



_Quando mi vene innanzi il tempo e 'l loco._


      The time and scene where I a slave became
    When I remember, and the knot so dear
    Which Love's own hand so firmly fasten'd here,
    Which made my bitter sweet, my grief a game;
    My heart, with fuel stored, is, as a flame
    Of those soft sighs familiar to mine ear,
    So lit within, its very sufferings cheer;
    On these I live, and other aid disclaim.
    That sun, alone which beameth for my sight,
    With his strong rays my ruin'd bosom burns
    Now in the eve of life as in its prime,
    And from afar so gives me warmth and light,
    Fresh and entire, at every hour, returns
    On memory the knot, the scene, the time.



_Per mezzo i boschi inospiti e selvaggi._


      Through woods inhospitable, wild, I rove,
    Where armèd travellers bend their fearful way;
    Nor danger dread, save from that sun of love,
    Bright sun! which darts a soul-enflaming ray.
    Of her I sing, all-thoughtless as I stray,
    Whose sweet idea strong as heaven's shall prove:
    And oft methinks these pines, these beeches, move
    Like nymphs; 'mid which fond fancy sees her play
    I seem to hear her, when the whispering gale
    Steals through some thick-wove branch, when sings a bird,
    When purls the stream along yon verdant vale.
    How grateful might this darksome wood appear,
    Where horror reigns, where scarce a sound is heard;
    But, ah! 'tis far from all my heart holds dear.

    ANON. 1777.

      Amid the wild wood's lone and difficult ways,
    Where travel at great risk e'en men in arms,
    I pass secure--for only me alarms
    That sun, which darts of living love the rays--
    Singing fond thoughts in simple lays to her
    Whom time and space so little hide from me;
    E'en here her form, nor hers alone, I see,
    But maids and matrons in each beech and fir:
    Methinks I hear her when the bird's soft moan,
    The sighing leaves I hear, or through the dell
    Where its bright lapse some murmuring rill pursues.
    Rarely of shadowing wood the silence lone,
    The solitary horror pleased so well,
    Except that of my sun too much I lose.



_Mille piagge in un giorno e mille rivi._


      Love, who his votary wings in heart and feet,
    To the third heaven that lightly he may soar,
    In one short day has many a stream and shore
    Given to me, in famed Ardennes, to meet.
    Unarm'd and single to have pass'd is sweet
    Where war in earnest strikes, nor tells before--
    A helmless, sail-less ship 'mid ocean's roar--
    My breast with dark and fearful thoughts replete;
    But reach'd my dangerous journey's far extreme,
    Remembering whence I came, and with whose wings,
    From too great courage conscious terror springs.
    But this fair country and belovèd stream
    With smiling welcome reassures my heart,
    Where dwells its sole light ready to depart.



_Amor mi sprona in un tempo ed affrena._


      Love in one instant spurs me and restrains,
    Assures and frightens, freezes me and burns,
    Smiles now and scowls, now summons me and spurns,
    In hope now holds me, plunges now in pains:
    Now high, now low, my weary heart he hurls,
    Until fond passion loses quite the path,
    And highest pleasure seems to stir but wrath--
    My harass'd mind on such strange errors feeds!
    A friendly thought there points the proper track,
    Not of such grief as from the full eye breaks,
    To go where soon it hopes to be at ease,
    But, as if greater power thence turn'd it back,
    Despite itself, another way it takes,
    And to its own slow death and mine agrees.



_Geri, quando talor meco s' adira._


      When my sweet foe, so haughty oft and high,
    Moved my brief ire no more my sight can thole,
    One comfort is vouchsafed me lest I die,
    Through whose sole strength survives my harass'd soul;
    Where'er her eyes--all light which would deny
    To my sad life--in scorn or anger roll,
    Mine with such true humility reply,
    Soon their meek glances all her rage control,
    Were it not so, methinks I less could brook
    To gaze on hers than on Medusa's mien,
    Which turn'd to marble all who met her look.
    My friend, act thus with thine, for closed I ween
    All other aid, and nothing flight avails
    Against the wings on which our master sails.



_Po, ben puo' tu portartene la scorza._


      Thou Po to distant realms this frame mayst bear,
    On thy all-powerful, thy impetuous tide;
    But the free spirit that within doth bide
    Nor for thy might, nor any might doth care:
    Not varying here its course, nor shifting there,
    Upon the favouring gale it joys to glide;
    Plying its wings toward the laurel's pride,
    In spite of sails or oars, of sea or air.
    Monarch of floods, magnificent and strong,
    That meet'st the sun as he leads on the day,
    But in the west dost quit a fairer light;
    Thy curvèd course this body wafts along;
    My spirit on Love's pinions speeds its way,
    And to its darling home directs its flight!


      Po, thou upon thy strong and rapid tide,
    This frame corporeal mayst onward bear:
    But a free spirit is concealèd there,
    Which nor thy power nor any power can guide.
    That spirit, light on breeze auspicious buoy'd,
    With course unvarying backward cleaves the air--
    Nor wave, nor wind, nor sail, nor oar its care--
    And plies its wings, and seeks the laurel's pride.
    'Tis thine, proud king of rivers, eastward borne
    To meet the sun, as he leads on the day;
    And from a brighter west 'tis thine to turn:
    Thy hornèd flood these passive limbs obey--
    But, uncontrollèd, to its sweet sojourn
    On Love's untiring plumes my spirit speeds its way.



_Amor fra l' orbe una leggiadra rete._


      Love 'mid the grass beneath a laurel green--
    The plant divine which long my flame has fed,
    Whose shade for me less bright than sad is seen--
    A cunning net of gold and pearls had spread:
    Its bait the seed he sows and reaps, I ween
    Bitter and sweet, which I desire, yet dread:
    Gentle and soft his call, as ne'er has been
    Since first on Adam's eyes the day was shed:
    And the bright light which disenthrones the sun
    Was flashing round, and in her hand, more fair
    Than snow or ivory, was the master rope.
    So fell I in the snare; their slave so won
    Her speech angelical and winning air,
    Pleasure, and fond desire, and sanguine hope.



_Amor che 'ncende 'l cor d' ardente zelo._


      'Tis Love's caprice to freeze the bosom now
    With bolts of ice, with shafts of flame now burn;
    And which his lighter pang, I scarce discern--
    Or hope or fear, or whelming fire or snow.
    In heat I shiver, and in cold I glow,
    Now thrill'd with love, with jealousy now torn:
    As if her thin robe by a rival worn,
    Or veil, had screen'd him from my vengeful blow
    But more 'tis mine to burn by night, by day;
    And how I love the death by which I die,
    Nor thought can grasp, nor tongue of bard can sing:
    Not so my freezing fire--impartially
    She shines to all; and who would speed his way
    To that high beam, in vain expands his fluttering wing.


      Love with hot zeal now burns the heart within,
    Now holds it fetter'd with a frozen fear,
    Leaving it doubtful to our judgment here
    If hope or dread, if flame or frost, shall win.
    In June I shiver, burn December in,
    Full of desires, from jealousy ne'er clear;
    E'en as a lady who her loving fee
    Hides 'neath a little veil of texture thin.
    Of the two ills the first is all mine own,
    By day, by night to burn; how sweet that pain
    Dwells not in thought, nor ever poet sings:
    Not so the other, my fair flame, is shown,
    She levels all: who hopes the crest to gain
    Of that proud light expands in vain his wings.



_Se 'l dolce sguardo di costei m' ancide._


      If thus the dear glance of my lady slay,
    On her sweet sprightly speech if dangers wait,
    If o'er me Love usurp a power so great,
    Oft as she speaks, or when her sun-smiles play;
    Alas! what were it if she put away,
    Or for my fault, or by my luckless fate,
    Her eyes from pity, and to death's full hate,
    Which now she keeps aloof, should then betray.
    Thus if at heart with terror I am cold,
    When o'er her fair face doubtful shadows spring,
    The feeling has its source in sufferings old.
    Woman by nature is a fickle thing,
    And female hearts--time makes the proverb sure--
    Can never long one state of love endure.


      If the soft glance, the speech, both kind and wise,
    Of that beloved one can wound me so,
    And if, whene'er she lets her accents flow,
    Or even smiles, Love gains such victories;
    Alas! what should I do, were those dear eyes,
    Which now secure my life through weal and woe,
    From fault of mine, or evil fortune, slow
    To shed on me their light in pity's guise?
    And if my trembling spirit groweth cold
    Whene'er I see change to her aspect spring,
    This fear is only born of trials old;
    (Woman by nature is a fickle thing,)
    And hence I know her heart hath power to hold
    But a brief space Love's sweet imagining!



_Amor, Natura, e la bell' alma umile._


      Love, Nature, Laura's gentle self combines,
    She where each lofty virtue dwells and reigns,
    Against my peace: To pierce with mortal pains
    Love toils--such ever are his stern designs.
    Nature by bonds so slight to earth confines
    Her slender form, a breath may break its chains;
    And she, so much her heart the world disdains,
    Longer to tread life's wearying round repines.
    Hence still in her sweet frame we view decay
    All that to earth can joy and radiance lend,
    Or serve as mirror to this laggard age;
    And Death's dread purpose should not Pity stay,
    Too well I see where all those hopes must end,
    With which I fondly soothed my lingering pilgrimage.


      Love, Nature, and that gentle soul as bright,
    Where every lofty virtue dwells and reigns,
    Are sworn against my peace. As wont, Love strains
    His every power that I may perish quite.
    Nature her delicate form by bonds so slight
    Holds in existence, that no help sustains;
    She is so modest that she now disdains
    Longer to brook this vile life's painful fight.
    Thus fades and fails the spirit day by day,
    Which on those dear and lovely limbs should wait,
    Our mirror of true grace which wont to give:
    And soon, if Mercy turn not Death away,
    Alas! too well I see in what sad state
    Are those vain hopes wherein I loved to live.



_Questa Fenice dell' aurata piuma._


      This wondrous Phoenix with the golden plumes
    Forms without art so rare a ring to deck
    That beautiful and soft and snowy neck,
    That every heart it melts, and mine consumes:
    Forms, too, a natural diadem which lights
    The air around, whence Love with silent steel
    Draws liquid subtle fire, which still I feel
    Fierce burning me though sharpest winter bites;
    Border'd with azure, a rich purple vest,
    Sprinkled with roses, veils her shoulders fair:
    Rare garment hers, as grace unique, alone!
    Fame, in the opulent and odorous breast
    Of Arab mountains, buries her sole lair,
    Who in our heaven so high a pitch has flown.



_Se Virgilio ed Omero avessin visto._


      Had tuneful Maro seen, and Homer old,
    The living sun which here mine eyes behold,
    The best powers they had join'd of either lyre,
    Sweetness and strength, that fame she might acquire;
    Unsung had been, with vex'd Æneas, then
    Achilles and Ulysses, godlike men,
    And for nigh sixty years who ruled so well
    The world; and who before Ægysthus fell;
    Nay, that old flower of virtues and of arms,
    As this new flower of chastity and charms,
    A rival star, had scarce such radiance flung.
    In rugged verse him honour'd Ennius sung,
    I her in mine. Grant, Heaven! on my poor lays
    She frown not, nor disdain my humble praise.



_Giunto Alessandro alla famosa tomba._


      The son of Philip, when he saw the tomb
    Of fierce Achilles, with a sigh, thus said:
    "O happy, whose achievements erst found room
    From that illustrious trumpet to be spread
    O'er earth for ever!"--But, beyond the gloom
    Of deep Oblivion shall that loveliest maid,
    Whose like to view seems not of earthly doom,
    By my imperfect accents be convey'd?
    Her of the Homeric, the Orphèan Lyre,
    Most worthy, or that shepherd, Mantua's pride,
    To be the theme of their immortal lays;
    Her stars and unpropitious fate denied
    This palm:--and me bade to such height aspire,
    Who, haply, dim her glories by my praise.


      When Alexander at the famous tomb
    Of fierce Achilles stood, the ambitious sigh
    Burst from his bosom--"Fortunate! on whom
    Th' eternal bard shower'd honours bright and high."
    But, ah! for so to each is fix'd his doom,
    This pure fair dove, whose like by mortal eye
    Was never seen, what poor and scanty room
    For her great praise can my weak verse supply?
    Whom, worthiest Homer's line and Orpheus' song,
    Or his whom reverent Mantua still admires--
    Sole and sufficient she to wake such lyres!
    An adverse star, a fate here only wrong,
    Entrusts to one who worships her dear name,
    Yet haply injures by his praise her fame.



_Almo Sol, quella fronde ch' io sola amo._


      O blessed Sun! that sole sweet leaf I love,
    First loved by thee, in its fair seat, alone,
    Bloometh without a peer, since from above
    To Adam first our shining ill was shown.
    Pause we to look on her! Although to stay
    Thy course I pray thee, yet thy beams retire;
    Their shades the mountains fling, and parting day
    Parts me from all I most on earth desire.
    The shadows from yon gentle heights that fall,
    Where sparkles my sweet fire, where brightly grew
    That stately laurel from a sucker small,
    Increasing, as I speak, hide from my view
    The beauteous landscape and the blessèd scene,
    Where dwells my true heart with its only queen.



_Passa la nave mia colma d' oblio._


      My bark, deep laden with oblivion, rides
    O'er boisterous waves, through winter's midnight gloom,
    'Twixt Scylla and Charybdis, while, in room
    Of pilot, Love, mine enemy, presides;
    At every oar a guilty fancy bides,
    Holding at nought the tempest and the tomb;
    A moist eternal wind the sails consume,
    Of sighs, of hopes, and of desire besides.
    A shower of tears, a fog of chill disdain
    Bathes and relaxes the o'er-wearied cords,
    With error and with ignorance entwined;
    My two loved lights their wonted aid restrain;
    Reason or Art, storm-quell'd, no help affords,
    Nor hope remains the wish'd-for port to find.


      My lethe-freighted bark with reckless prore
    Cleaves the rough sea 'neath wintry midnight skies,
    My old foe at the helm our compass eyes,
    With Scylla and Charybdis on each shore,
    A prompt and daring thought at every oar,
    Which equally the storm and death defies,
    While a perpetual humid wind of sighs,
    Of hopes, and of desires, its light sail tore.
    Bathe and relax its worn and weary shrouds
    (Which ignorance with error intertwines),
    Torrents of tears, of scorn and anger clouds;
    Hidden the twin dear lights which were my signs;
    Reason and Art amid the waves lie dead,
    And hope of gaining port is almost fled.



_Una candida cerva sopra l' erba._


      Beneath a laurel, two fair streams between,
    At early sunrise of the opening year,
    A milk-white fawn upon the meadow green,
    Of gold its either horn, I saw appear;
    So mild, yet so majestic, was its mien,
    I left, to follow, all my labours here,
    As miners after treasure, in the keen
    Desire of new, forget the old to fear.
    "Let none impede"--so, round its fair neck, run
    The words in diamond and topaz writ--
    "My lord to give me liberty sees fit."
    And now the sun his noontide height had won
    When I, with weary though unsated view,
    Fell in the stream--and so my vision flew.


      A form I saw with secret awe, nor ken I what it warns;
    Pure as the snow, a gentle doe it seem'd, with silver horns:
    Erect she stood, close by a wood, between two running streams;
    And brightly shone the morning sun upon that land of dreams!
    The pictured hind fancy design'd glowing with love and hope;
    Graceful she stepp'd, but distant kept, like the timid antelope;
    Playful, yet coy, with secret joy her image fill'd my soul;
    And o'er the sense soft influence of sweet oblivion stole.
    Gold I beheld and emerald on the collar that she wore;
    Words, too--but theirs were characters of legendary lore.
    "Cæsar's decree hath made me free; and through his solemn charge,
    Untouch'd by men o'er hill and glen I wander here at large."
    The sun had now, with radiant brow, climb'd his meridian throne,
    Yet still mine eye untiringly gazed on that lovely one.
    A voice was heard--quick disappear'd my dream--the spell was broken.
    Then came distress: to the consciousness of life I had awoken.



_Siccome eterna vita è veder Dio._


      As life eternal is with God to be,
    No void left craving, there of all possess'd,
    So, lady mine, to be with you makes blest,
    This brief frail span of mortal life to me.
    So fair as now ne'er yet was mine to see--
    If truth from eyes to heart be well express'd--
    Lovely and blessèd spirit of my breast,
    Which levels all high hopes and wishes free.
    Nor would I more demand if less of haste
    She show'd to part; for if, as legends tell
    And credence find, are some who live by smell,
    On water some, or fire who touch and taste,
    All, things which neither strength nor sweetness give,
    Why should not I upon your dear sight live?



_Stiamo, Amor, a veder la gloria nostra._


      Here stand we, Love, our glory to behold--
    How, passing Nature, lovely, high, and rare!
    Behold! what showers of sweetness falling there!
    What floods of light by heaven to earth unroll'd!
    How shine her robes, in purple, pearls, and gold,
    So richly wrought, with skill beyond compare!
    How glance her feet!--her beaming eyes how fair
    Through the dark cloister which these hills enfold!
    The verdant turf, and flowers of thousand hues
    Beneath yon oak's old canopy of state,
    Spring round her feet to pay their amorous duty.
    The heavens, in joyful reverence, cannot choose
    But light up all their fires, to celebrate
    Her praise, whose presence charms their awful beauty.


      Here tarry, Love, our glory to behold;
    Nought in creation so sublime we trace;
    Ah! see what sweetness showers upon that face,
    Heaven's brightness to this earth those eyes unfold!
    See, with what magic art, pearls, purple, gold,
    That form transcendant, unexampled, grace:
    Beneath the shadowing hills observe her pace,
    Her glance replete with elegance untold!
    The verdant turf, and flowers of every hue,
    Clustering beneath yon aged holm-oak's gloom,
    For the sweet pressure of her fair feet sue;
    The orbs of fire that stud yon beauteous sky,
    Cheer'd by her presence and her smiles, assume
    Superior lustre and serenity.



_Pasco la mente d' un sì nobil cibo._


      I feed my fancy on such noble food,
    That Jove I envy not his godlike meal;
    I see her--joy invades me like a flood,
    And lethe of all other bliss I feel;
    I hear her--instantly that music rare
    Bids from my captive heart the fond sigh flow;
    Borne by the hand of Love I know not where,
    A double pleasure in one draught I know.
    Even in heaven that dear voice pleaseth well,
    So winning are its words, its sound so sweet,
    None can conceive, save who had heard, their spell;
    Thus, in the same small space, visibly, meet
    All charms of eye and ear wherewith our race
    Art, Genius, Nature, Heaven have join'd to grace.


      Such noble aliment sustains my soul,
    That Jove I envy not his godlike food;
    I gaze on her--and feel each other good
    Engulph'd in that blest draught at Lethe's bowl:
    Her every word I in my heart enrol,
    That on its grief it still may constant brood;
    Prostrate by Love--my doom not understood
    From that one form, I feel a twin control.
    My spirit drinks the music of her voice,
    Whose speaking harmony (to heaven so dear)
    They only feel who in its tone partake:
    Again within her face my eyes rejoice,
    For in its gentle lineaments appear
    What Genius, Nature, Art, and Heaven can wake.



_L' aura gentil che rasserena i poggi._


      The gale, that o'er yon hills flings softer blue,
    And wakes to life each bud that gems the glade,
    I know; its breathings such impression made,
    Wafting me fame, but wafting sorrow too:
    My wearied soul to soothe, I bid adieu
    To those dear Tuscan haunts I first survey'd;
    And, to dispel the gloom around me spread,
    I seek this day my cheering sun to view,
    Whose sweet attraction is so strong, so great,
    That Love again compels me to its light;
    Then he so dazzles me, that vain were flight.
    Not arms to brave, 'tis wings to 'scape, my fate
    I ask; but by those beams I'm doom'd to die,
    When distant which consume, and which enflame when nigh.


      The gentle air, which brightens each green hill,
    Wakening the flowers that paint this bowery glade,
    I recognise it by its soft breath still,
    My sorrow and renown which long has made:
    Again where erst my sick heart shelter sought,
    From my dear native Tuscan air I flee:
    That light may cheer my dark and troubled thought,
    I seek my sun, and hope to-day to see.
    That sun so great and genial sweetness brings,
    That Love compels me to his beams again,
    Which then so dazzle me that flight is vain:
    I ask for my escape not arms, but wings:
    Heaven by this light condemns me sure to die,
    Which from afar consumes, and burns when nigh.



_Di dì in dì vo cangiando il viso e 'l pelo._


      I alter day by day in hair and mien,
    Yet shun not the old dangerous baits and dear,
    Nor sever from the laurel, limed and green,
    Which nor the scorching sun, nor fierce cold sear.
    Dry shall the sea, the sky be starless seen,
    Ere I shall cease to covet and to fear
    Her lovely shadow, and--which ill I screen--
    To like, yet loathe, the deep wound cherish'd here:
    For never hope I respite from my pain,
    From bones and nerves and flesh till I am free,
    Unless mine enemy some pity deign,
    Till things impossible accomplish'd be,
    None but herself or death the blow can heal
    Which Love from her bright eyes has left my heart to feel.



_L' aura serena che fra verdi fronde._


      The gentle gale, that plays my face around,
    Murmuring sweet mischief through the verdant grove,
    To fond remembrance brings the time, when Love
    First gave his deep, although delightful wound;
    Gave me to view that beauteous face, ne'er found
    Veil'd, as disdain or jealousy might move;
    To view her locks that shone bright gold above,
    Then loose, but now with pearls and jewels bound:
    Those locks she sweetly scatter'd to the wind,
    And then coil'd up again so gracefully,
    That but to think on it still thrills the sense.
    These Time has in more sober braids confined;
    And bound my heart with such a powerful tie,
    That death alone can disengage it thence.


      The balmy airs that from yon leafy spray
    My fever'd brow with playful murmurs greet,
    Recall to my fond heart the fatal day
    When Love his first wound dealt, so deep yet sweet,
    And gave me the fair face--in scorn away
    Since turn'd, or hid by jealousy--to meet;
    The locks, which pearls and gems now oft array,
    Whose shining tints with finest gold compete,
    So sweetly on the wind were then display'd,
    Or gather'd in with such a graceful art,
    Their very thought with passion thrills my mind.
    Time since has twined them in more sober braid,
    And with a snare so powerful bound my heart,
    Death from its fetters only can unbind.



_L' aura celeste che 'n quel verde Lauro._


      The heavenly airs from yon green laurel roll'd,
    Where Love to Phoebus whilom dealt his stroke,
    Where on my neck was placed so sweet a yoke,
    That freedom thence I hope not to behold,
    O'er me prevail, as o'er that Arab old
    Medusa, when she changed him to an oak;
    Nor ever can the fairy knot be broke
    Whose light outshines the sun, not merely gold;
    I mean of those bright locks the curlèd snare
    Which folds and fastens with so sweet a grace
    My soul, whose humbleness defends alone.
    Her mere shade freezes with a cold despair
    My heart, and tinges with pale fear my face;
    And oh! her eyes have power to make me stone.



_L' aura soave ch' al sol spiega e vibra._


      The pleasant gale, that to the sun unplaits
    And spreads the gold Love's fingers weave, and braid
    O'er her fine eyes, and all around her head,
    Fetters my heart, the wishful sigh creates:
    No nerve but thrills, no artery but beats,
    Approaching my fair arbiter with dread,
    Who in her doubtful scale hath ofttimes weigh'd
    Whether or death or life on me awaits;
    Beholding, too, those eyes their fires display,
    And on those shoulders shine such wreaths of hair,
    Whose witching tangles my poor heart ensnare.
    But how this magic's wrought I cannot say;
    For twofold radiance doth my reason blind,
    And sweetness to excess palls and o'erpowers my mind.


      The soft gale to the sun which shakes and spreads
    The gold which Love's own hand has spun and wrought.
    There, with her bright eyes and those fairy threads,
    Binds my poor heart and sifts each idle thought.
    My veins of blood, my bones of marrow fail,
    Thrills all my frame when I, to hear or gaze,
    Draw near to her, who oft, in balance frail,
    My life and death together holds and weighs,
    And see those love-fires shine wherein I burn,
    And, as its snow each sweetest shoulder heaves,
    Flash the fair tresses right and left by turn;
    Verse fails to paint what fancy scarce conceives.
    From two such lights is intellect distress'd,
    And by such sweetness weary and oppress'd.



_O bella man, che mi distringi 'l core._


      O beauteous hand! that dost my heart subdue,
    And in a little space my life confine;
    Hand where their skill and utmost efforts join
    Nature and Heaven, their plastic powers to show!
    Sweet fingers, seeming pearls of orient hue,
    To my wounds only cruel, fingers fine!
    Love, who towards me kindness doth design,
    For once permits ye naked to our view.
    Thou glove most dear, most elegant and white,
    Encasing ivory tinted with the rose;
    More precious covering ne'er met mortal sight.
    Would I such portion of thy veil had gain'd!
    O fleeting gifts which fortune's hand bestows!
    'Tis justice to restore what theft alone obtain'd.


      O beauteous hand! which robb'st me of my heart,
    And holdest all my life in little space;
    Hand! which their utmost effort and best art
    Nature and Heaven alike have join'd to grace;
    O sister pearls of orient hue, ye fine
    And fairy fingers! to my wounds alone
    Cruel and cold, does Love awhile incline
    In my behalf, that naked ye are shown?
    O glove! most snowy, delicate, and dear,
    Which spotless ivory and fresh roses set,
    Where can on earth a sweeter spoil be met,
    Unless her fair veil thus reward us here?
    Inconstancy of human things! the theft
    Late won and dearly prized too soon from me is reft!



_Non pur quell' una bella ignuda mano._


      Not of one dear hand only I complain,
    Which hides it, to my loss, again from view,
    But its fair fellow and her soft arms too
    Are prompt my meek and passive heart to pain.
    Love spreads a thousand toils, nor one in vain,
    Amid the many charms, bright, pure, and new,
    That so her high and heavenly part endue,
    No style can equal it, no mind attain.
    That starry forehead and those tranquil eyes,
    The fair angelic mouth, where pearl and rose
    Contrast each other, whence rich music flows,
    These fill the gazer with a fond surprise,
    The fine head, the bright tresses which defied
    The sun to match them in his noonday pride.



_Mia ventura ed Amor m' avean sì adorno._


      Me Love and Fortune then supremely bless'd!
    Her glove which gold and silken broidery bore!
    I seem'd to reach of utmost bliss the crest,
    Musing within myself on her who wore.
    Ne'er on that day I think, of days the best,
    Which made me rich, then beggar'd as before,
    But rage and sorrow fill mine aching breast.
    With slighted love and self-shame boiling o'er;
    That on my precious prize in time of need
    I kept not hold, nor made a firmer stand
    'Gainst what at best was merely angel force,
    That my feet were not wings their flight to speed,
    And so at last take vengeance on the hand,
    Make my poor eyes of tears the too oft source.



_D' un bel, chiaro, polito e vivo ghiaccio._


      The flames that ever on my bosom prey
    From living ice or cold fair marble pour,
    And so exhaust my veins and waste my core,
    Almost insensibly I melt away.
    Death, his stern arm already rear'd to slay,
    As thunders angry heaven or lions roar,
    Pursues my life that vainly flies before,
    While I with terror shake, and mute obey.
    And yet, were Love and Pity friends, they might
    A double column for my succour throw
    Between my worn soul and the mortal blow:
    It may not be; such feelings in the sight
    Of my loved foe and mistress never stir;
    The fault is in my fortune, not in her.



_Lasso, ch' i' ardo, ed altri non mel crede!_


      Alas, with ardour past belief I glow!
    None doubt this truth, except one only fair,
    Who all excels, for whom alone I care;
    She plainly sees, yet disbelieves my woe.
    O rich in charms, but poor in faith! canst thou
    Look in these eyes, nor read my whole heart there?
    Were I not fated by my baleful star,
    For me from pity's fount might favour flow.
    My flame, of which thou tak'st so little heed,
    And thy high praises pour'd through all my song,
    O'er many a breast may future influence spread:
    These, my sweet fair, so warns prophetic thought,
    Closed thy bright eye, and mute thy poet's tongue,
    E'en after death shall still with sparks be fraught.


      Alas! I burn, yet credence fail to gain
    All others credit it save only she
    All others who excels, alone for me;
    She seems to doubt it still, yet sees it plain
    Infinite beauty, little faith and slow,
    Perceive ye not my whole heart in mine eyes?
    Well might I hope, save for my hostile skies,
    From mercy's fount some pitying balm to flow.
    Yet this my flame which scarcely moves your care,
    And your warm praises sung in these fond rhymes,
    May thousands yet inflame in after times;
    These I foresee in fancy, my sweet fair,
    Though your bright eyes be closed and cold my breath,
    Shall lighten other loves and live in death.



_Anima, che diverse cose tante._


      Soul! with such various faculties endued
    To think, write, speak, to read, to see, to hear;
    My doting eyes! and thou, my faithful ear!
    Where drinks my heart her counsels wise and good;
    Your fortune smiles; if after or before,
    The path were won so badly follow'd yet,
    Ye had not then her bright eyes' lustre met,
    Nor traced her light feet earth's green carpet o'er.
    Now with so clear a light, so sure a sign,
    'Twere shame to err or halt on the brief way
    Which makes thee worthy of a home divine.
    That better course, my weary will, essay!
    To pierce the cloud of her sweet scorn be thine,
    Pursuing her pure steps and heavenly ray.



_Dolci ire, dolci sdegni e dolci paci._


      Sweet scorn, sweet anger, and sweet misery,
    Forgiveness sweet, sweet burden, and sweet ill;
    Sweet accents that mine ear so sweetly thrill,
    That sweetly bland, now sweetly fierce can be.
    Mourn not, my soul, but suffer silently;
    And those embitter'd sweets thy cup that fill
    With the sweet honour blend of loving still
    Her whom I told: "Thou only pleasest me."
    Hereafter, moved with envy, some may say:
    "For that high-boasted beauty of his day
    Enough the bard has borne!" then heave a sigh.
    Others: "Oh! why, most hostile Fortune, why
    Could not these eyes that lovely form survey?
    Why was she early born, or wherefore late was I?"


      Sweet anger, sweet disdain, and peace as sweet,
    Sweet ill, sweet pain, sweet burthen that I bear,
    Sweet speech as sweetly heard; sweet speech, my fair!
    That now enflames my soul, now cools its heat.
    Patient, my soul! endure the wrongs you meet;
    And all th' embitter'd sweets you're doomed to share
    Blend with that sweetest bliss, the maid to greet
    In these soft words, "Thou only art my care!"
    Haply some youth shall sighing envious say,
    "Enough has borne the bard so fond, so true,
    For that bright beauty, brightest of his day!"
    While others cry, "Sad eyes! how hard your fate,
    Why could I ne'er this matchless beauty view?
    Why was she born so soon, or I so late?"

    ANON. 1777.


_S' il dissi mai, ch' i' venga in odio a quella._


      Perdie! I said it not,
    Nor never thought to do:
    As well as I, ye wot
    I have no power thereto.
    And if I did, the lot
    That first did me enchain
    May never slake the knot,
    But strait it to my pain.

    And if I did, each thing
    That may do harm or woe,
    Continually may wring
    My heart, where so I go!
    Report may always ring
    Of shame on me for aye,
    If in my heart did spring
    The words that you do say.

    And if I did, each star
    That is in heaven above,
    May frown on me, to mar
    The hope I have in love!
    And if I did, such war
    As they brought unto Troy,
    Bring all my life afar
    From all his lust and joy!

    And if I did so say,
    The beauty that me bound
    Increase from day to day,
    More cruel to my wound!
    With all the moan that may
    To plaint may turn my song;
    My life may soon decay,
    Without redress, by wrong!

    If I be clear from thought,
    Why do you then complain?
    Then is this thing but sought
    To turn my heart to pain.
    Then this that you have wrought,
    You must it now redress;
    Of right, therefore, you ought
    Such rigour to repress.

    And as I have deserved,
    So grant me now my hire;
    You know I never swerved,
    You never found me liar.
    For Rachel have I served,
    For Leah cared I never;
    And her I have reserved
    Within my heart for ever.


      If I said so, may I be hated by
    Her on whose love I live, without which I should die--
    If I said so, my days be sad and short,
    May my false soul some vile dominion court.
    If I said so, may every star to me
    Be hostile; round me grow
    Pale fear and jealousy;
    And she, my foe,
    As cruel still and cold as fair she aye must be.

    If I said so, may Love upon my heart
    Expend his golden shafts, on her the leaden dart;
    Be heaven and earth, and God and man my foe,
    And she still more severe if I said so:
    If I said so, may he whose blind lights lead
    Me straightway to my grave,
    Trample yet worse his slave,
    Nor she behave
    Gentle and kind to me in look, or word, or deed.

    If I said so, then through my brief life may
    All that is hateful block my worthless weary way:
    If I said so, may the proud frost in thee
    Grow prouder as more fierce the fire in me:
    If I said so, no more then may the warm
    Sun or bright moon be view'd,
    Nor maid, nor matron's form,
    But one dread storm
    Such as proud Pharaoh saw when Israel he pursued.

    If I said so, despite each contrite sigh,
    Let courtesy for me and kindly feeling die:
    If I said so, that voice to anger swell,
    Which was so sweet when first her slave I fell:
    If I said so, I should offend whom I,
    E'en from my earliest breath
    Until my day of death,
    Would gladly take,
    Alone in cloister'd cell my single saint to make.

    But if I said not so, may she who first,
    In life's green youth, my heart to hope so sweetly nursed,
    Deign yet once more my weary bark to guide
    With native kindness o'er the troublous tide;
    And graceful, grateful, as her wont before,
    When, for I could no more,
    My all, myself I gave,
    To be her slave,
    Forget not the deep faith with which I still adore.

    I did not, could not, never would say so,
    For all that gold can give, cities or courts bestow:
    Let truth, then, take her old proud seat on high,
    And low on earth let baffled falsehood lie.
    Thou know'st me, Love! if aught my state within
    Belief or care may win,
    Tell her that I would call
    Him blest o'er all
    Who, doom'd like me to pine, dies ere his strife begin.

    Rachel I sought, not Leah, to secure,
    Nor could I this vain life with other fair endure,
    And, should from earth Heaven summon her again,
    Myself would gladly die
    For her, or with her, when
    Elijah's fiery car her pure soul wafts on high.



_Ben mi credea passar mio tempo omai._


      As pass'd the years which I have left behind,
    To pass my future years I fondly thought,
    Amid old studies, with desires the same;
    But, from my lady since I fail to find
    The accustom'd aid, the work himself has wrought
    Let Love regard my tempter who became;
    Yet scarce I feel the shame
    That, at my age, he makes me thus a thief
    Of that bewitching light
    For which my life is steep'd in cureless grief;
    In youth I better might
    Have ta'en the part which now I needs must take,
    For less dishonour boyish errors make.

    Those sweet eyes whence alone my life had health
    Were ever of their high and heavenly charms
    So kind to me when first my thrall begun,
    That, as a man whom not his proper wealth,
    But some extern yet secret succour arms,
    I lived, with them at ease, offending none:
    Me now their glances shun
    As one injurious and importunate,
    Who, poor and hungry, did
    Myself the very act, in better state
    Which I, in others, chid.
    From mercy thus if envy bar me, be
    My amorous thirst and helplessness my plea.

    In divers ways how often have I tried
    If, reft of these, aught mortal could retain
    E'en for a single day in life my frame:
    But, ah! my soul, which has no rest beside,
    Speeds back to those angelic lights again;
    And I, though but of wax, turn to their flame,
    Planting my mind's best aim
    Where less the watch o'er what I love is sure:
    As birds i' th' wild wood green,
    Where less they fear, will sooner take the lure,
    So on her lovely mien,
    Now one and now another look I turn,
    Wherewith at once I nourish me and burn.

    Strange sustenance! upon my death I feed,
    And live in flames, a salamander rare!
    And yet no marvel, as from love it flows.
    A blithe lamb 'mid the harass'd fleecy breed.
    Whilom I lay, whom now to worst despair
    Fortune and Love, as is their wont, expose.
    Winter with cold and snows,
    With violets and roses spring is rife,
    And thus if I obtain
    Some few poor aliments of else weak life,
    Who can of theft complain?
    So rich a fair should be content with this,
    Though others live on hers, if nought she miss.

    Who knows not what I am and still have been,
    From the first day I saw those beauteous eyes,
    Which alter'd of my life the natural mood?
    Traverse all lands, explore each sea between,
    Who can acquire all human qualities?
    There some on odours live by Ind's vast flood;
    Here light and fire are food
    My frail and famish'd spirit to appease!
    Love! more or nought bestow;
    With lordly state low thrift but ill agrees;
    Thou hast thy darts and bow,
    Take with thy hands my not unwilling breath,
    Life were well closed with honourable death.

    Pent flames are strongest, and, if left to swell,
    Not long by any means can rest unknown,
    This own I, Love, and at your hands was taught.
    When I thus silent burn'd, you knew it well;
    Now e'en to me my cries are weary grown,
    Annoy to far and near so long that wrought.
    O false world! O vain thought!
    O my hard fate! where now to follow thee?
    Ah! from what meteor light
    Sprung in my heart the constant hope which she,
    Who, armour'd with your might,
    Drags me to death, binds o'er it as a chain?
    Yours is the fault, though mine the loss and pain.

    Thus bear I of true love the pains along,
    Asking forgiveness of another's debt,
    And for mine own; whose eyes should rather shun
    That too great light, and to the siren's song
    My ears be closed: though scarce can I regret
    That so sweet poison should my heart o'errun.
    Yet would that all were done,
    That who the first wound gave my last would deal;
    For, if I right divine,
    It were best mercy soon my fate to seal;
    Since not a chance is mine
    That he may treat me better than before,
    'Tis well to die if death shut sorrow's door.

    My song! with fearless feet
    The field I keep, for death in flight were shame.
    Myself I needs must blame
    For these laments; tears, sighs, and death to meet,
    Such fate for her is sweet.
    Own, slave of Love, whose eyes these rhymes may catch,
    Earth has no good that with my grief can match.


[Illustration: AVIGNON.]


_Rapido fiume che d' alpestra vena._


      Impetuous flood, that from the Alps' rude head,
    Eating around thee, dost thy name obtain;[V]
    Anxious like me both night and day to gain
    Where thee pure nature, and me love doth lead;
    Pour on: thy course nor sleep nor toils impede;
    Yet, ere thou pay'st thy tribute to the main,
    Oh, tarry where most verdant looks the plain,
    Where most serenity the skies doth spread!
    There beams my radiant sun of cheering ray,
    Which deck thy left banks, and gems o'er with flowers;
    E'en now, vain thought! perhaps she chides my stay:
    Kiss then her feet, her hand so beauteous fair;
    In place of language let thy kiss declare
    Strong is my will, though feeble are my powers.


      O rapid flood! which from thy mountain bed
    Gnawest thy shores, whence (in my tongue) thy name;[V]
    Thou art my partner, night and day the same,
    Where I by love, thou art by nature led:
    Precede me now; no weariness doth shed
    Its spell o'er thee, no sleep thy course can tame;
    Yet ere the ocean waves thy tribute claim,
    Pause, where the herb and air seem brighter fed.
    There beams our sun of life, whose genial ray
    With brighter verdure thy left shore adorns;
    Perchance (vain hope!) e'en now my stay she mourns.
    Kiss then her foot, her lovely hand, and may
    Thy kiss to her in place of language speak,
    The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.


[Footnote V: Deriving it from _rodere_, to gnaw.]


_I' dolci colli ov' io lasciai me stesso._


      The loved hills where I left myself behind,
    Whence ever 'twas so hard my steps to tear,
    Before me rise; at each remove I bear
    The dear load to my lot by Love consign'd.
    Often I wonder inly in my mind,
    That still the fair yoke holds me, which despair
    Would vainly break, that yet I breathe this air;
    Though long the chain, its links but closer bind.
    And as a stag, sore struck by hunter's dart,
    Whose poison'd iron rankles in his breast,
    Flies and more grieves the more the chase is press'd,
    So I, with Love's keen arrow in my heart,
    Endure at once my death and my delight,
    Rack'd with long grief, and weary with vain flight.


      Those gentle hills which hold my spirit still
    (For though I fly, my heart there must remain),
    Are e'er before me, whilst my burthen's pain,
    By love bestow'd, I bear with patient will.
    I marvel oft that I can yet fulfil
    That yoke's sweet duties, which my soul enchain,
    I seek release, but find the effort vain;
    The more I fly, the nearer seems my ill.
    So, like the stag, who, wounded by the dart,
    Its poison'd iron rankling in his side,
    Flies swifter at each quickening anguish'd throb,--
    I feel the fatal arrow at my heart;
    Yet with its poison, joy awakes its tide;
    My flight exhausts me--grief my life doth rob!



_Non dall' Ispano Ibero all' Indo Idaspe._


      From Spanish Ebro to Hydaspes old,
    Exploring ocean in its every nook,
    From the Red Sea to the cold Caspian shore,
    In earth, in heaven one only Phoenix dwells.
    What fortunate, or what disastrous bird
    Omen'd my fate? which Parca winds my yarn,
    That I alone find Pity deaf as asp,
    And wretched live who happy hoped to be?
    Let me not speak of her, but him her guide,
    Who all her heart with love and sweetness fills--
    Gifts which, from him o'erflowing, follow her,
    Who, that my sweets may sour and cruel be,
    Dissembleth, careth not, or will not see
    That silver'd, ere my time, these temples are.



_Voglia mi sprona; Amor mi guida e scorge._


      Passion impels me, Love escorts and leads,
    Pleasure attracts me, habits old enchain,
    Hope with its flatteries comforts me again,
    And, at my harass'd heart, with fond touch pleads.
    Poor wretch! it trusts her still, and little heeds
    The blind and faithless leader of our train;
    Reason is dead, the senses only reign:
    One fond desire another still succeeds.
    Virtue and honour, beauty, courtesy,
    With winning words and many a graceful way,
    My heart entangled in that laurel sweet.
    In thirteen hundred seven and twenty, I
    --'Twas April, the first hour, on its sixth day--
    Enter'd Love's labyrinth, whence is no retreat.


      By will impell'd, Love o'er my path presides;
    By Pleasure led, o'ercome by Habit's reign,
    Sweet Hope deludes, and comforts me again;
    At her bright touch, my heart's despair subsides.
    It takes her proffer'd hand, and there confides.
    To doubt its blind disloyal guide were vain;
    Each sense usurps poor Reason's broken rein;
    On each desire, another wilder rides!
    Grace, virtue, honour, beauty, words so dear,
    Have twined me with that laurell'd bough, whose power
    My heart hath tangled in its lab'rinth sweet:
    The thirteen hundred twenty-seventh year,
    The sixth of April's suns--in that first hour,
    My entrance mark'd, whence I see no retreat.



_Beato in sogno, e di languir contento._


      Happy in visions, and content to pine,
    Shadows to clasp, to chase the summer gale,
    On shoreless and unfathom'd sea to sail,
    To build on sand, and in the air design,
    The sun to gaze on till these eyes of mine
    Abash'd before his noonday splendour fail,
    To chase adown some soft and sloping vale,
    The wingèd stag with maim'd and heavy kine;
    Weary and blind, save my own harm to all,
    Which day and night I seek with throbbing heart,
    On Love, on Laura, and on Death I call.
    Thus twenty years of long and cruel smart,
    In tears and sighs I've pass'd, because I took
    Under ill stars, alas! both bait and hook.



_Grazie ch' a pochi 'l ciel largo destina._


      Graces, that liberal Heaven on few bestows;
    Rare excellence, scarce known to human kind;
    With youth's bright locks age's ripe judgment join'd;
    Celestial charms, which a meek mortal shows;
    An elegance unmatch'd; and lips, whence flows
    Music that can the sense in fetters bind;
    A goddess step; a lovely ardent mind,
    That breaks the stubborn, and the haughty bows;
    Eyes, whose refulgence petrifies the heart,
    To glooms, to shades that can a light impart,
    Lift high the lover's soul, or plunge it low;
    Speech link'd by tenderness and dignity;
    With many a sweetly-interrupted sigh;
    Such are the witcheries that transform me so.


      Graces which liberal Heaven grants few to share:
    Rare virtue seldom witness'd by mankind;
    Experienced judgment with fair hair combined;
    High heavenly beauty in a humble fair;
    A gracefulness most excellent and rare;
    A voice whose music sinks into the mind;
    An angel gait; wit glowing and refined,
    The hard to break, the high and haughty tear,
    And brilliant eyes which turn the heart to stone,
    Strong to enlighten hell and night, and take
    Souls from our bodies and their own to make;
    A speech where genius high yet gentle shone,
    Evermore broken by the balmiest sighs
    --Such magic spells transform'd me in this wise.



_Anzi tre di creata era alma in parte._


      Life's three first stages train'd my soul in part
    To place its care on objects high and new,
    And to disparage what men often prize,
    But, left alone, and of her fatal course
    As yet uncertain, frolicsome, and free,
    She enter'd at spring-time a lovely wood.

    A tender flower there was, born in that wood
    The day before, whose root was in a part
    High and impervious e'en to spirit free;
    For many snares were there of forms so new,
    And such desire impell'd my sanguine course,
    That to lose freedom were to gain a prize.

    Dear, sweet, yet perilous and painful prize!
    Which quickly drew me to that verdant wood,
    Doom'd to mislead me midway in life's course;
    The world I since have ransack'd part by part,
    For rhymes, or stones, or sap of simples new,
    Which yet might give me back the spirit, free.

    But ah! I feel my body must be free
    From that hard knot which is its richest prize,
    Ere medicine old or incantations new
    Can heal the wounds which pierced me in that wood,
    Thorny and troublous, where I play'd such part,
    Leaving it halt who enter'd with hot course.

    Yes! full of snares and sticks, a difficult course
    Have I to run, where easy foot and sure
    Were rather needed, healthy in each part;
    Thou, Lord, who still of pity hast the prize,
    Stretch to me thy right hand in this wild wood,
    And let thy sun dispel my darkness new.

    Look on my state, amid temptations new,
    Which, interrupting my life's tranquil course,
    Have made me denizen of darkling wood;
    If good, restore me, fetterless and free,
    My wand'ring consort, and be thine the prize
    If yet with thee I find her in blest part.

    Lo! thus in part I put my questions new,
    If mine be any prize, or run its course,
    Be my soul free, or captived in close wood.



_In nobil sangue vita umile e queta._


      High birth in humble life, reserved yet kind,
    On youth's gay flower ripe fruits of age and rare,
    A virtuous heart, therewith a lofty mind,
    A happy spirit in a pensive air;
    Her planet, nay, heaven's king, has fitly shrined
    All gifts and graces in this lady fair,
    True honour, purest praises, worth refined,
    Above what rapt dreams of best poets are.
    Virtue and Love so rich in her unite,
    With natural beauty dignified address,
    Gestures that still a silent grace express,
    And in her eyes I know not what strange light,
    That makes the noonday dark, the dusk night clear,
    Bitter the sweet, and e'en sad absence dear.


      Though nobly born, so humbly calm she dwells,
    So bright her intellect--so pure her mind--
    The blossom and its bloom in her we find;
    With pensive look, her heart with mirth rebels:
    Thus by her planets' union she excels,
    (Nay--His, the stars' proud sov'reign, who enshrined
    There honour, worth, and fortitude combined!)
    Which to the bard inspired, his hope dispels.
    Love blooms in her, but 'tis his home most pure;
    Her daily virtues blend with native grace;
    Her noiseless movements speak, though she is mute:
    Such power her eyes, they can the day obscure,
    Illume the night,--the honey's sweetness chase,
    And wake its stream, where gall doth oft pollute.



_Tutto 'l di piango; e poi la notte, quando._


      Through the long lingering day, estranged from rest,
    My sorrows flow unceasing; doubly flow,
    Painful prerogative of lover's woe!
    In that still hour, when slumber soothes th' unblest.
    With such deep anguish is my heart opprest,
    So stream mine eyes with tears! Of things below
    Most miserable I; for Cupid's bow
    Has banish'd quiet from this heaving breast.
    Ah me! while thus in suffering, morn to morn
    And eve to eve succeeds, of death I view
    (So should this life be named) one-half gone by--
    Yet this I weep not, but another's scorn;
    That she, my friend, so tender and so true,
    Should see me hopeless burn, and yet her aid deny.



_Già desiai con sì giusta querela._


      Erewhile I labour'd with complaint so true,
    And in such fervid rhymes to make me heard,
    Seem'd as at last some spark of pity stirr'd
    In the hard heart which frost in summer knew.
    Th' unfriendly cloud, whose cold veil o'er it grew,
    Broke at the first breath of mine ardent word
    Or low'ring still she others' blame incurr'd
    Her bright and killing eyes who thus withdrew
    No ruth for self I crave, for her no hate;
    I wish not this--_that_ passes power of mine:
    Such was mine evil star and cruel fate.
    But I shall ever sing her charms divine,
    That, when I have resign'd this mortal breath,
    The world may know how sweet to me was death.



_Tra quantunque leggiadre donne e belle._


      Where'er she moves, whatever dames among,
    Beauteous or graceful, matchless she below.
    With her fair face she makes all others show
    Dim, as the day's bright orb night's starry throng.
    And Love still whispers, with prophetic tongue,--
    "Long as on earth is seen that glittering brow,
    Shall life have charms: but she shall cease to glow
    And with her all my power shall fleet along,
    Should Nature from the skies their twin-lights wrest;
    Hush every breeze, each herb and flower destroy;
    Strip man of reason--speech; from Ocean's breast
    His tides, his tenants chase--such, earth's annoy;
    Yea, still more darken'd were it and unblest,
    Had she, thy Laura, closed her eyes to love and joy."


      Whene'er amidst the damsels, blooming bright,
    She shows herself, whose like was never made,
    At her approach all other beauties fade,
    As at morn's orient glow the gems of night.
    Love seems to whisper,--"While to mortal sight
    Her graces shall on earth be yet display'd,
    Life shall be blest; 'till soon with her decay'd,
    The virtues, and my reign shall sink outright."
    Of moon and sun, should nature rob the sky,
    The air of winds, the earth of herbs and leaves,
    Mankind of speech and intellectual eye,
    The ocean's bed of fish, and dancing waves;
    Even so shall all things dark and lonely lye,
    When of her beauty Death the world bereaves!



_Il cantar novo e 'l pianger degli augelli._


      The birds' sweet wail, their renovated song,
    At break of morn, make all the vales resound;
    With lapse of crystal waters pouring round,
    In clear, swift runnels, the fresh shores among.
    She, whose pure passion knows nor guile nor wrong,
    With front of snow, with golden tresses crown'd,
    Combing her aged husband's hoar locks found,
    Wakes me when sportful wakes the warbling throng.
    Thus, roused from sleep, I greet the dawning day,
    And its succeeding sun, with one more bright,
    Still dazzling, as in early youth, my sight:
    Both suns I've seen at once uplift their ray;
    This drives the radiance of the stars away,
    But that which gilds my life eclipses e'en his light.


      Soon as gay morn ascends her purple car,
    The plaintive warblings of the new-waked grove,
    The murmuring streams, through flowery meads that rove,
    Fill with sweet melody the valleys fair.
    Aurora, famed for constancy in love,
    Whose face with snow, whose locks with gold compare.
    Smoothing her aged husband's silvery hair,
    Bids me the joys of rural music prove.
    Then, waking, I salute the sun of day;
    But chief that beauteous sun, whose cheering ray
    Once gilt, nay gilds e'en now, life's scene so bright.
    Dear suns! which oft I've seen together rise;
    This dims each meaner lustre of the skies,
    And that sweet sun I love dims every light.

    ANON. 1777.


_Onde tolse Amor l' oro e di qual vena._


      Whence could Love take the gold, and from what vein,
    To form those bright twin locks? What thorn could grow
    Those roses? And what mead that white bestow
    Of the fresh dews, which pulse and breath obtain?
    Whence came those pearls that modestly restrain
    Accents which courteous, sweet, and rare can flow?
    And whence those charms that so divinely show,
    Spread o'er a face serene as heaven's blue plain?
    Taught by what angel, or what tuneful sphere,
    Was that celestial song, which doth dispense
    Such potent magic to the ravish'd ear?
    What sun illumed those bright commanding eyes,
    Which now look peaceful, now in hostile guise;
    Now torture me with hope, and now with fear?


      Say, from what vein did Love procure the gold
    To make those sunny tresses? From what thorn
    Stole he the rose, and whence the dew of morn,
    Bidding them breathe and live in Beauty's mould?
    What depth of ocean gave the pearls that told
    Those gentle accents sweet, though rarely born?
    Whence came so many graces to adorn
    That brow more fair than summer skies unfold?
    Oh! say what angels lead, what spheres control
    The song divine which wastes my life away?
    (Who can with trifles now my senses move?)
    What sun gave birth unto the lofty soul
    Of those enchanting eyes, whose glances stray
    To burn and freeze my heart--the sport of Love?



_Qual mio destin, qual forza o qual inganno._


      What destiny of mine, what fraud or force,
    Unarm'd again conducts me to the field,
    Where never came I but with shame to yield
    'Scape I or fall, which better is or worse?
    --Not worse, but better; from so sweet a source
    Shine in my heart those lights, so bright reveal'd
    The fatal fire, e'en now as then, which seal'd
    My doom, though twenty years have roll'd their course
    I feel death's messengers when those dear eyes,
    Dazzling me from afar, I see appear,
    And if on me they turn as she draw near,
    Love with such sweetness tempts me then and tries,
    Tell it I cannot, nor recall in sooth,
    For wit and language fail to reach the truth!



_Liete e pensose, accompagnate e sole._


    _P._   Pensive and glad, accompanied, alone,
         Ladies who cheat the time with converse gay,
         Where does my life, where does my death delay?
         Why not with you her form, as usual, shown?
    _L._ Glad are we her rare lustre to have known,
         And sad from her dear company to stay,
         Which jealousy and envy keep away
         O'er other's bliss, as their own ill who moan.
    _P._ Who lovers can restrain, or give them law?
    _L._ No one the soul, harshness and rage the frame;
         As erst in us, this now in her appears.
         As oft the face, betrays the heart, we saw
         Clouds that, obscuring her high beauty, came,
         And in her eyes the dewy trace of tears.



_Quando 'l sol bagna in mur l' aurato carro._


      When in the sea sinks the sun's golden light,
    And on my mind and nature darkness lies,
    With the pale moon, faint stars and clouded skies
    I pass a weary and a painful night:
    To her who hears me not I then rehearse
    My sad life's fruitless toils, early and late;
    And with the world and with my gloomy fate,
    With Love, with Laura and myself, converse.
    Sleep is forbid me: I have no repose,
    But sighs and groans instead, till morn returns,
    And tears, with which mine eyes a sad heart feeds;
    Then comes the dawn, the thick air clearer grows,
    But not my soul; the sun which in it burns
    Alone can cure the grief his fierce warmth breeds.


      When Phoebus lashes to the western main
    His fiery steeds, and shades the lurid air;
    Grief shades my soul, my night is spent in care;
    Yon moon, yon stars, yon heaven begin my pain.
    Wretch that I am! full oft I urge in vain
    To heedless beings all those pangs I bear;
    Of the false world, of an unpitying fair,
    Of Love, and fickle fortune I complain!
    From eve's last glance, till morning's earliest ray,
    Sleep shuns my couch; rest quits my tearful eye;
    And my rack'd breast heaves many a plaintive sigh.
    Then bright Aurora cheers the rising day,
    But cheers not me--for to my sorrowing heart
    One sun alone can cheering light impart!

    ANON. 1777.


_S' una fede amorosa, un cor non finto._


      If faith most true, a heart that cannot feign,
    If Love's sweet languishment and chasten'd thought,
    And wishes pure by nobler feelings taught,
    If in a labyrinth wanderings long and vain,
    If on the brow each pang pourtray'd to bear,
    Or from the heart low broken sounds to draw,
    Withheld by shame, or check'd by pious awe,
    If on the faded cheek Love's hue to wear,
    If than myself to hold one far more dear,
    If sighs that cease not, tears that ever flow,
    Wrung from the heart by all Love's various woe,
    In absence if consumed, and chill'd when near,--
    If these be ills in which I waste my prime,
    Though I the sufferer be, yours, lady, is the crime.


      If fondest faith, a heart to guile unknown,
    By melting languors the soft wish betray'd;
    If chaste desires, with temper'd warmth display'd;
    If weary wanderings, comfortless and lone;
    If every thought in every feature shown,
    Or in faint tones and broken sounds convey'd,
    As fear or shame my pallid cheek array'd
    In violet hues, with Love's thick blushes strown;
    If more than self another to hold dear;
    If still to weep and heave incessant sighs,
    To feed on passion, or in grief to pine,
    To glow when distant, and to freeze when near,--
    If hence my bosom's anguish takes its rise,
    Thine, lady, is the crime, the punishment is mine.



_Dodici donne onestamente lasse._


      Twelve ladies, their rare toil who lightly bore,
    Rather twelve stars encircling a bright sun,
    I saw, gay-seated a small bark upon,
    Whose like the waters never cleaved before:
    Not such took Jason to the fleece of yore,
    Whose fatal gold has ev'ry heart now won,
    Nor such the shepherd boy's, by whom undone
    Troy mourns, whose fame has pass'd the wide world o'er.
    I saw them next on a triumphal car,
    Where, known by her chaste cherub ways, aside
    My Laura sate and to them sweetly sung.
    Things not of earth to man such visions are!
    Blest Tiphys! blest Automedon! to guide
    The bark, or car of band so bright and young.



_Passer mai solitario in alcun tetto._


      Never was bird, spoil'd of its young, more sad,
    Or wild beast in his lair more lone than me,
    Now that no more that lovely face I see,
    The only sun my fond eyes ever had.
    In ceaseless sorrow is my chief delight:
    My food to poison turns, to grief my joy;
    The night is torture, dark the clearest sky,
    And my lone pillow a hard field of fight.
    Sleep is indeed, as has been well express'd.
    Akin to death, for it the heart removes
    From the dear thought in which alone I live.
    Land above all with plenty, beauty bless'd!
    Ye flowery plains, green banks and shady groves!
    Ye hold the treasure for whose loss I grieve!



_Aura, che quelle chiome bionde e crespe._


      Ye laughing gales, that sporting with my fair,
    The silky tangles of her locks unbraid;
    And down her breast their golden treasures spread;
    Then in fresh mazes weave her curling hair,
    You kiss those bright destructive eyes, that bear
    The flaming darts by which my heart has bled;
    My trembling heart! that oft has fondly stray'd
    To seek the nymph, whose eyes such terrors wear.
    Methinks she's found--but oh! 'tis fancy's cheat!
    Methinks she's seen--but oh! 'tis love's deceit!
    Methinks she's near--but truth cries "'tis not so!"
    Go happy gale, and with my Laura dwell!
    Go happy stream, and to my Laura tell
    What envied joys in thy clear crystal flow!

    ANON. 1777.

      Thou gale, that movest, and disportest round
    Those bright crisp'd locks, by them moved sweetly too,
    That all their fine gold scatter'st to the view,
    Then coil'st them up in beauteous braids fresh wound;
    About those eyes thou playest, where abound
    The am'rous swarms, whose stings my tears renew!
    And I my treasure tremblingly pursue,
    Like some scared thing that stumbles o'er the ground.
    Methinks I find her now, and now perceive
    She's distant; now I soar, and now descend;
    Now what I wish, now what is true believe.
    Stay and enjoy, blest air, the living beam;
    And thou, O rapid, and translucent stream,
    Why can't I change my course, and thine attend?



_Amor con la man destra il lato manco._


      My poor heart op'ning with his puissant hand,
    Love planted there, as in its home, to dwell
    A Laurel, green and bright, whose hues might well
    In rivalry with proudest emeralds stand:
    Plough'd by my pen and by my heart-sighs fann'd,
    Cool'd by the soft rain from mine eyes that fell,
    It grew in grace, upbreathing a sweet smell,
    Unparallel'd in any age or land.
    Fair fame, bright honour, virtue firm, rare grace,
    The chastest beauty in celestial frame,--
    These be the roots whence birth so noble came.
    Such ever in my mind her form I trace,
    A happy burden and a holy thing,
    To which on rev'rent knee with loving prayer I cling.



_Cantai, or piango; e non men di dolcezza._


      I sang, who now lament; nor less delight
    Than in my song I found, in tears I find;
    For on the cause and not effect inclined,
    My senses still desire to scale that height:
    Whence, mildly if she smile or hardly smite,
    Cruel and cold her acts, or meek and kind,
    All I endure, nor care what weights they bind,
    E'en though her rage would break my armour quite.
    Let Love and Laura, world and fortune join,
    And still pursue their usual course for me,
    I care not, if unblest, in life to be.
    Let me or burn to death or living pine,
    No gentler state than mine beneath the sun,
    Since from a source so sweet my bitters run.



_I' piansi, or canto; che 'l celeste lume._


      I wept, but now I sing; its heavenly light
    That living sun conceals not from my view,
    But virtuous love therein revealeth true
    His holy purposes and precious might;
    Whence, as his wont, such flood of sorrow springs
    To shorten of my life the friendless course,
    Nor bridge, nor ford, nor oar, nor sails have force
    To forward mine escape, nor even wings.
    But so profound and of so full a vein
    My suff'ring is, so far its shore appears,
    Scarcely to reach it can e'en thought contrive:
    Nor palm, nor laurel pity prompts to gain,
    But tranquil olive, and the dark sky clears,
    And checks my grief and wills me to survive.



_I' mi vivea di mia sorte contento._


      I lived so tranquil, with my lot content,
    No sorrow visited, nor envy pined,
    To other loves if fortune were more kind
    One pang of mine their thousand joys outwent;
    But those bright eyes, whence never I repent
    The pains I feel, nor wish them less to find,
    So dark a cloud and heavy now does blind,
    Seems as my sun of life in them were spent.
    O Nature! mother pitiful yet stern,
    Whence is the power which prompts thy wayward deeds,
    Such lovely things to make and mar in turn?
    True, from one living fount all power proceeds:
    But how couldst Thou consent, great God of Heaven,
    That aught should rob the world of what thy love had given?



_Vincitore Alessandro l' ira vinse._


      What though the ablest artists of old time
    Left us the sculptured bust, the imaged form
    Of conq'ring Alexander, wrath o'ercame
    And made him for the while than Philip less?
    Wrath to such fury valiant Tydeus drove
    That dying he devour'd his slaughter'd foe;
    Wrath made not Sylla merely blear of eye,
    But blind to all, and kill'd him in the end.
    Well Valentinian knew that to such pain
    Wrath leads, and Ajax, he whose death it wrought.
    Strong against many, 'gainst himself at last.
    Wrath is brief madness, and, when unrestrain'd,
    Long madness, which its master often leads
    To shame and crime, and haply e'en to death.



_Qual ventura mi fu, quando dall' uno._


      Strange, passing strange adventure! when from one
    Of the two brightest eyes which ever were,
    Beholding it with pain dis urb'd and dim,
    Moved influence which my own made dull and weak.
    I had return'd, to break the weary fast
    Of seeing her, my sole care in this world,
    Kinder to me were Heaven and Love than e'en
    If all their other gifts together join'd,
    When from the right eye--rather the right sun--
    Of my dear Lady to my right eye came
    The ill which less my pain than pleasure makes;
    As if it intellect possess'd and wings
    It pass'd, as stars that shoot along the sky:
    Nature and pity then pursued their course.



_O cameretta che già fosti un porto._


      Thou little chamber'd haven to the woes
    Whose daily tempest overwhelms my soul!
    From shame, I in Heaven's light my grief control;
    Thou art its fountain, which each night o'erflows.
    My couch! that oft hath woo'd me to repose,
    'Mid sorrows vast--Love's iv'ried hand hath stole
    Griefs turgid stream, which o'er thee it doth roll,
    That hand which good on all but me bestows.
    Not only quiet and sweet rest I fly,
    But from myself and thought, whose vain pursuit
    On pinion'd fancy doth my soul transport:
    The multitude I did so long defy,
    Now as my hope and refuge I salute,
    So much I tremble solitude to court.


      Room! which to me hast been a port and shield
    From life's rude daily tempests for long years,
    Now the full fountain of my nightly tears
    Which in the day I bear for shame conceal'd:
    Bed! which, in woes so great, wert wont to yield
    Comfort and rest, an urn of doubts and fears
    Love o'er thee now from those fair hands uprears,
    Cruel and cold to me alone reveal'd.
    But e'en than solitude and rest, I flee
    More from myself and melancholy thought,
    In whose vain quest my soul has heavenward flown.
    The crowd long hateful, hostile e'en to me,
    Strange though it sound, for refuge have I sought,
    Such fear have I to find myself alone!



_Lasso! Amor mi trasporta ov' io non voglio._


      Alas! Love bears me where I would not go,
    And well I see how duty is transgress'd,
    And how to her who, queen-like, rules my breast,
    More than my wont importunate I grow.
    Never from rocks wise sailor guarded so
    His ship of richest merchandise possess'd,
    As evermore I shield my bark distress'd
    From shocks of her hard pride that would o'erthrow
    Torrents of tears, fierce winds of infinite sighs
    --For, in my sea, nights horrible and dark
    And pitiless winter reign--have driven my bark,
    Sail-less and helm-less where it shatter'd lies,
    Or, drifting at the mercy of the main,
    Trouble to others bears, distress to me and pain.



_Amor, io fallo e veggio il mio fallire._


      O Love, I err, and I mine error own,
    As one who burns, whose fire within him lies
    And aggravates his grief, while reason dies,
    With its own martyrdom almost o'erthrown.
    I strove mine ardent longing to restrain,
    Her fair calm face that I might ne'er disturb:
    I can no more; falls from my hand the curb,
    And my despairing soul is bold again;
    Wherefore if higher than her wont she aim,
    The act is thine, who firest and spur'st her so,
    No way too rough or steep for her to go:
    But the rare heavenly gifts are most to blame
    Shrined in herself: let her at least feel this,
    Lest of my faults her pardon I should miss.



_Non ha tanti animali il mar fra l' onde._


      Nor Ocean holds such swarms amid his waves,
    Not overhead, where circles the pale moon,
    Were stars so numerous ever seen by night,
    Nor dwell so many birds among the woods,
    Nor plants so many clothe the field or hill,
    As holds my tost heart busy thoughts each eve.

    Each day I hope that this my latest eve
    Shall part from my quick clay the sad salt waves,
    And leave me in last sleep on some cold hill;
    So many torments man beneath the moon
    Ne'er bore as I have borne; this know the woods
    Through which I wander lonely day and night.

    For never have I had a tranquil night,
    But ceaseless sighs instead from morn till eve,
    Since love first made me tenant of the woods:
    The sea, ere I can rest, shall lose his waves,
    The sun his light shall borrow from the moon,
    And April flowers be blasted o'er each hill.

    Thus, to myself a prey, from hill to hill,
    Pensive by day I roam, and weep at night,
    No one state mine, but changeful as the moon;
    And when I see approaching the brown eve,
    Sighs from my bosom, from my eyes fall waves,
    The herbs to moisten and to move the woods.

    Hostile the cities, friendly are the woods
    To thoughts like mine, which, on this lofty hill,
    Mingle their murmur with the moaning waves,
    Through the sweet silence of the spangled night,
    So that the livelong day I wait the eve,
    When the sun sets and rises the fair moon.

    Would, like Endymion, 'neath the enamour'd moon,
    That slumbering I were laid in leafy woods,
    And that ere vesper she who makes my eve,
    With Love and Luna on that favour'd hill,
    Alone, would come, and stay but one sweet night,
    While stood the sun nor sought his western waves.

    Upon the hard waves, 'neath the beaming moon,
    Song, that art born of night amid the woods,
    Thou shalt a rich hill see to-morrow eve!


      Count the ocean's finny droves;
    Count the twinkling host of stars.
    Round the night's pale orb that moves;
    Count the groves' wing'd choristers;
    Count each verdant blade that grows;
    Counted then will be my woes.

    When shall these eyes cease to weep;
    When shall this world-wearied frame,
    Cover'd by the cold sod, sleep?--
    Sure, beneath yon planet's beam,
    None like me have made such moan;
    This to every bower is known.

    Sad my nights; from morn till eve,
    Tenanting the woods, I sigh:
    But, ere I shall cease to grieve,
    Ocean's vast bed shall be dry,
    Suns their light from moons shall gain.
    And spring wither on each plain.

    Pensive, weeping, night and day,
    From this shore to that I fly,
    Changeful as the lunar ray;
    And, when evening veils the sky,
    Then my tears might swell the floods,
    Then my sighs might bow the woods!

    Towns I hate, the shades I love;
    For relief to yon green height,
    Where the rill resounds, I rove
    At the grateful calm of night;
    There I wait the day's decline,
    For the welcome moon to shine.

    Oh, that in some lone retreat,
    Like Endymion I were lain;
    And that she, who rules my fate,
    There one night to stay would deign;
    Never from his billowy bed
    More might Phoebus lift his head!

    Song, that on the wood-hung stream
    In the silent hour wert born,
    Witness'd but by Cynthia's beam.
    Soon as breaks to-morrow's morn,
    Thou shalt seek a glorious plain,
    There with Laura to remain!



_Là ver l' aurora, che sì dolce l' aura._


      When music warbles from each thorn,
    And Zephyr's dewy wings
    Sweep the young flowers; what time the morn
    Her crimson radiance flings:
    Then, as the smiling year renews,
    I feel renew'd Love's tender pain;
    Renew'd is Laura's cold disdain;
    And I for comfort court the weeping muse.

    Oh! could my sighs in accents flow
    So musically lorn,
    That thou might'st catch my am'rous woe,
    And cease, proud Maid! thy scorn:
    Yet, ere within thy icy breast
    The smallest spark of passion's found,
    Winter's cold temples shall be bound
    With all the blooms that paint spring's glowing vest.

    The drops that bathe the grief-dew'd eye,
    The love-impassion'd strain
    To move thy flinty bosom try
    Full oft;--but, ah! in vain
    Would tears, and melting song avail;
    As vainly might the silken breeze,
    That bends the flowers, that fans the trees,
    Some rugged rock's tremendous brow assail.

    Both gods and men alike are sway'd
    By Love, as poets tell;--
    And I, when flowers in every shade
    Their bursting gems reveal,
    First felt his all-subduing power:
    While Laura knows not yet the smart;
    Nor heeds the tortures of my heart,
    My prayers, my plaints, and sorrow's pearly shower!

    Thy wrongs, my soul! with patience bear,
    While life shall warm this clay;
    And soothing sounds to Laura's ear
    My numbers shall convey;
    Numbers with forceful magic charm
    All nature o'er the frost-bound earth,
    Wake summer's fragrant buds to birth,
    And the fierce serpent of its rage disarm.

    The blossom'd shrubs in smiles are drest,
    Now laughs his purple plain;
    And shall the nymph a foe profest
    To tenderness remain?
    But oh! what solace shall I find,
    If fortune dooms me yet to bear
    The frowns of my relentless Fair,
    Save with soft moan to vex the pitying wind?
    In baffling nets the light-wing'd gale
    I'd fetter as it blows,
    The vernal rose that scents the vale
    I'd cull on wintery snows;
    Still I'd ne'er hope that mind to move
    Which dares defy the wiles of verse, and Love.

    ANON. 1777.


_Real natura, angelico intelletto._


      A kingly nature, an angelic mind,
    A spotless soul, prompt aspect and keen eye,
    Quick penetration, contemplation high
    And truly worthy of the breast which shrined:
    In bright assembly lovely ladies join'd
    To grace that festival with gratulant joy,
    Amid so many and fair faces nigh
    Soon his good judgment did the fairest find.
    Of riper age and higher rank the rest
    Gently he beckon'd with his hand aside,
    And lovingly drew near the perfect ONE:
    So courteously her eyes and brow he press'd,
    All at his choice in fond approval vied--
    Envy through my sole veins at that sweet freedom run.


      A sovereign nature,--an exalted mind,--
    A soul proud--sleepless--with a lynx's eye,--
    An instant foresight,--thought as towering high,
    E'en as the heart in which they are enshrined:
    A bright assembly on that day combined
    Each other in his honour to outvie,
    When 'mid the fair his judgment did descry
    That sweet perfection all to her resign'd.
    Unmindful of her rival sisterhood,
    He motion'd silently his preference,
    And fondly welcomed her, that humblest one:
    So pure a kiss he gave, that all who stood,
    Though fair, rejoiced in beauty's recompense:
    By that strange act nay heart was quite undone!



_I' ho pregato Amor, e nel riprego._


      Oft have I pray'd to Love, and still I pray,
    My charming agony, my bitter joy!
    That he would crave your grace, if consciously
    From the right path my guilty footsteps stray.
    That Reason, which o'er happier minds holds sway,
    Is quell'd of Appetite, I not deny;
    And hence, through tracks my better thoughts would fly,
    The victor hurries me perforce away,
    You, in whose bosom Genius, Virtue reign
    With mingled blaze lit by auspicious skies--
    Ne'er shower'd kind star its beams on aught so rare!
    You, you should say with pity, not disdain;
    "How could he 'scape, lost wretch! these lightning eyes--
    So passionate he, and I so direly fair?"



_L' alto signor, dinanzi a cui non vale._


      The sovereign Lord, 'gainst whom of no avail
    Concealment, or resistance is, or flight,
    My mind had kindled to a new delight
    By his own amorous and ardent ail:
    Though his first blow, transfixing my best mail
    Were mortal sure, to push his triumph quite
    He took a shaft of sorrow in his right,
    So my soft heart on both sides to assail.
    A burning wound the one shed fire and flame,
    The other tears, which ever grief distils,
    Through eyes for your weak health that are as rills.
    But no relief from either fountain came
    My bosom's conflagration to abate,
    Nay, passion grew by very pity great.



_Mira quel colle, o stanco mio cor vago._


    _P._   Look on that hill, my fond but harass'd heart!
         Yestreen we left her there, who 'gan to take
         Some care of us and friendlier looks to dart;
         Now from our eyes she draws a very lake:
         Return alone--I love to be apart--
         Try, if perchance the day will ever break
         To mitigate our still increasing smart,
         Partner and prophet of my lifelong ache.
    _H._ O wretch! in whom vain thoughts and idle swell,
         Thou, who thyself hast tutor'd to forget,
         Speak'st to thy heart as if 'twere with thee yet?
         When to thy greatest bliss thou saidst farewell,
         Thou didst depart alone: it stay'd with her,
         Nor cares from those bright eyes, its home, to stir.



_Fresco ambroso fiorito e verde colle._


      O hill with green o'erspread, with groves o'erhung!
    Where musing now, now trilling her sweet lay,
    Most like what bards of heavenly spirits say,
    Sits she by fame through every region sung:
    My heart, which wisely unto her has clung--
    More wise, if there, in absence blest, it stay!
    Notes now the turf o'er which her soft steps stray,
    Now where her angel-eyes' mild beam is flung;
    Then throbs and murmurs, as they onward rove,
    "Ah! were he here, that man of wretched lot,
    Doom'd but to taste the bitterness of love!"
    She, conscious, smiles: our feelings tally not:
    Heartless am I, mere stone; heaven is thy grove--
    O dear delightful shade, O consecrated spot!


      Fresh, shaded hill! with flowers and verdure crown'd,
    Where, in fond musings, or with music sweet,
    To earth a heaven-sent spirit takes her seat!
    She who from all the world has honour found.
    Forsaking me, to her my fond heart bound
    --Divorce for aye were welcome as discreet--
    Notes where the turf is mark'd by her fair feet,
    Or from these eyes for her in sorrow drown'd,
    Then inly whispers as her steps advance,
    "Would for awhile that wreteh were here alone
    Who pines already o'er his bitter lot."
    She conscious smiles. Not equal is the chance;
    An Eden thou, while I a heartless stone.
    O holy, happy, and beloved spot!



_Il mal mi preme, e mi spaventa il peggio._


      Evil oppresses me and worse dismay,
    To which a plain and ample way I find;
    Driven like thee by frantic passion, blind,
    Urged by harsh thoughts I bend like thee my way.
    Nor know I if for war or peace to pray:
    To war is ruin, shame to peace, assign'd.
    But wherefore languish thus?--Rather, resign'd,
    Whate'er the Will Supreme ordains, obey.
    However ill that honour me beseem
    By thee conferr'd, whom that affection cheats
    Which many a perfect eye to error sways,
    To raise thy spirit to that realm supreme
    My counsel is, and win those blissful seats:
    For short the time, and few the allotted days.


      The bad oppresses me, the worse dismays,
    To which so broad and plain a path I see;
    My spirit, to like frenzy led with thee,
    Tried by the same hard thoughts, in dotage strays,
    Nor knows if peace or war of God it prays,
    Though great the loss and deep the shame to me.
    But why pine longer? Best our lot will be,
    What Heaven's high will ordains when man obeys.
    Though I of that great honour worthless prove
    Offer'd by thee--herein Love leads to err
    Who often makes the sound eye to see wrong--
    My counsel this, instant on Heaven above
    Thy soul to elevate, thy heart to spur,
    For though the time be short, the way is long.



_Due rose fresche, e colte in paradiso._


      Two brilliant roses, fresh from Paradise,
    Which there, on May-day morn, in beauty sprung
    Fair gift, and by a lover old and wise
    Equally offer'd to two lovers young:
    At speech so tender and such winning guise,
    As transports from a savage might have wrung,
    A living lustre lit their mutual eyes,
    And instant on their cheeks a soft blush hung.
    The sun ne'er look'd upon a lovelier pair,
    With a sweet smile and gentle sigh he said,
    Pressing the hands of both and turn'd away.
    Of words and roses each alike had share.
    E'en now my worn heart thrill with joy and dread,
    O happy eloquence! O blessed day!



_L' aura che 'l verde Lauro e l' aureo crine._


      The balmy gale, that, with its tender sigh,
    Moves the green laurel and the golden hair,
    Makes with its graceful visitings and rare
    The gazer's spirit from his body fly.
    A sweet and snow-white rose in hard thorns set!
    Where in the world her fellow shall we find?
    The glory of our age! Creator kind!
    Grant that ere hers my death shall first be met.
    So the great public loss I may not see,
    The world without its sun, in darkness left,
    And from my desolate eyes their sole light reft,
    My mind with which no other thoughts agree,
    Mine ears which by no other sound are stirr'd
    Except her ever pure and gentle word.



_Parrà forse ad alcun, che 'n lodar quella._


      Haply my style to some may seem too free
    In praise of her who holds my being's chain,
    Queen of her sex describing her to reign,
    Wise, winning, good, fair, noble, chaste to be:
    To me it seems not so; I fear that she
    My lays as low and trifling may disdain,
    Worthy a higher and a better strain;
    --Who thinks not with me let him come and see.
    Then will he say, She whom his wishes seek
    Is one indeed whose grace and worth might tire
    The muses of all lands and either lyre.
    But mortal tongue for state divine is weak,
    And may not soar; by flattery and force,
    As Fate not choice ordains, Love rules its course.



_Chi vuol veder quantunque può Natura._


      Who wishes to behold the utmost might
    Of Heaven and Nature, on her let him gaze,
    Sole sun, not only in my partial lays,
    But to the dark world, blind to virtue's light!
    And let him haste to view; for death in spite
    The guilty leaves, and on the virtuous preys;
    For this loved angel heaven impatient stays;
    And mortal charms are transient as they're bright!
    Here shall he see, if timely he arrive,
    Virtue and beauty, royalty of mind,
    In one bless'd union join'd. Then shall he say
    That vainly my weak rhymes to praise her strive,
    Whose dazzling beams have struck my genius blind:--
    He must for ever weep if he delay!


      Stranger, whose curious glance delights to trace
    What Heaven and Nature join'd to frame most rare;
    Here view mine eyes' bright sun--a sight so fair,
    That purblind worlds, like me, enamour'd gaze.
    But speed thy step; for Death with rapid pace
    Pursues the best, nor makes the bad his care:
    Call'd to the skies through yon blue fields of air,
    On buoyant plume the mortal grace obeys.
    Then haste, and mark in one rich form combined
    (And, for that dazzling lustre dimm'd mine eye,
    Chide the weak efforts of my trembling lay)
    Each charm of person, and each power of mind--
    But, slowly if thy lingering foot comply,
    Grief and repentant shame shall mourn the brief delay.



_Qual paura ho, quando mi torna a mente._


      O Laura! when my tortured mind
    The sad remembrance bears
    Of that ill-omen'd day,
    When, victim to a thousand doubts and fears,
    I left my soul behind,
    That soul that could not from its partner stray;
    In nightly visions to my longing eyes
    Thy form oft seems to rise,
    As ever thou wert seen,
    Fair like the rose, 'midst paling flowers the queen,
    But loosely in the wind,
    Unbraided wave the ringlets of thy hair,
    That late with studious care,
    I saw with pearls and flowery garlands twined:
    On thy wan lip, no cheerful smile appears;
    Thy beauteous face a tender sadness wears;
    Placid in pain thou seem'st, serene in grief,
    As conscious of thy fate, and hopeless of relief!
    Cease, cease, presaging heart! O angels, deign
    To hear my fervent prayer, that all my fears be vain!


      What dread I feel when I revolve the day
    I left my mistress, sad, without repose,
    My heart too with her: and my fond thought knows
    Nought on which gladlier, oft'ner it can stay.
    Again my fancy doth her form portray
    Meek among beauty's train, like to some rose
    Midst meaner flowers; nor joy nor grief she shows;
    Not with misfortune prest but with dismay.
    Then were thrown by her custom'd cheerfulness,
    Her pearls, her chaplets, and her gay attire,
    Her song, her laughter, and her mild address;
    Thus doubtingly I quitted her I love:
    Now dark ideas, dreams, and bodings dire
    Raise terrors, which Heaven grant may groundless prove!



_Solea lontana in sonno consolarme._


      To soothe me distant far, in days gone by,
    With dreams of one whose glance all heaven combined,
    Was mine; now fears and sorrow haunt my mind,
    Nor can I from that grief, those terrors fly:
    For oft in sleep I mark within her eye
    Deep pity with o'erwhelming sadness join'd;
    And oft I seem to hear on every wind
    Accents, which from my breast chase peace and joy.
    "That last dark eve," she cries, "remember'st thou,
    When to those doting eyes I bade farewell,
    Forced by the time's relentless tyranny?
    I had not then the power, nor heart to tell,
    What thou shalt find, alas! too surely true--
    Hope not again on earth thy Laura's face to see."



_O misera ed orribil visione._


      O misery! horror! can it, then, be true,
    That the sweet light before its time is spent,
    'Mid all its pains which could my life content,
    And ever with fresh hopes of good renew?
    If so, why sounds not other channels through,
    Nor only from herself, the great event?
    No! God and Nature could not thus consent,
    And my dark fears are groundless and undue.
    Still it delights my heart to hope once more
    The welcome sight of that enchanting face,
    The glory of our age, and life to me.
    But if, to her eternal home to soar,
    That heavenly spirit have left her earthly place,
    Oh! then not distant may my last day be!



_In dubbio di mio stato, or piango, or canto._


      Uncertain of my state, I weep and sing,
    I hope and tremble, and with rhymes and sighs
    I ease my load, while Love his utmost tries
    How worse my sore afflicted heart to sting.
    Will her sweet seraph face again e'er bring
    Their former light to these despairing eyes.
    (What to expect, alas! or how advise)
    Or must eternal grief my bosom wring?
    For heaven, which justly it deserves to win,
    It cares not what on earth may be their fate,
    Whose sun it was, where centred their sole gaze.
    Such terror, so perpetual warfare in,
    Changed from my former self, I live of late
    As one who midway doubts, and fears and strays.



_O dolci sguardi, o parolette accorte._


      O angel looks! O accents of the skies!
    Shall I or see or hear you once again?
    O golden tresses, which my heart enchain,
    And lead it forth, Love's willing sacrifice!
    O face of beauty given in anger's guise,
    Which still I not enjoy, and still complain!
    O dear delusion! O bewitching pain!
    Transports, at once my punishment and prize!
    If haply those soft eyes some kindly beam
    (Eyes, where my soul and all my thoughts reside)
    Vouchsafe, in tender pity to bestow;
    Sudden, of all my joys the murtheress tried,
    Fortune with steed or ship dispels the gleam;
    Fortune, with stern behest still prompt to work my woe.


      O gentle looks! O words of heavenly sound!
    Shall I behold you, hear you once again?
    O waving locks, that Love has made the chain,
    In which this wretched ruin'd heart is bound!
    O face divine! whose magic spells surround
    My soul, distemper'd with unceasing pain:
    O dear deceit! O loving errors vain!
    To hug the dart and doat upon the wound!
    Did those soft eyes, in whose angelic light
    My life, my thoughts, a constant mansion find,
    Ever impart a pure unmixed delight?
    Or if they have one moment, then unkind
    Fortune steps in, and sends me from their sight,
    And gives my opening pleasures to the wind.



_I' pur ascolto, e non odo novella._


      Still do I wait to hear, in vain still wait,
    Of that sweet enemy I love so well:
    What now to think or say I cannot tell,
    'Twixt hope and fear my feelings fluctuate:
    The beautiful are still the marks of fate;
    And sure her worth and beauty most excel:
    What if her God have call'd her hence, to dwell
    Where virtue finds a more congenial state?
    If so, she will illuminate that sphere
    Even as a sun: but I--'tis done with me!
    I then am nothing, have no business here!
    O cruel absence! why not let me see
    The worst? my little tale is told, I fear,
    My scene is closed ere it accomplish'd be.


      No tidings yet--I listen, but in vain;
    Of her, my beautiful belovèd foe,
    What or to think or say I nothing know,
    So thrills my heart, my fond hopes so sustain,
    Danger to some has in their beauty lain;
    Fairer and chaster she than others show;
    God haply seeks to snatch from earth below
    Virtue's best friend, that heaven a star may gain,
    Or rather sun. If what I dread be nigh,
    My life, its trials long, its brief repose
    Are ended all. O cruel absence! why
    Didst thou remove me from the menaced woes?
    My short sad story is already done,
    And midway in its course my vain race run.



_La sera desiar, odiar l' aurora._


      Tranquil and happy loves in this agree,
    The evening to desire and morning hate:
    On me at eve redoubled sorrows wait--
    Morning is still the happier hour for me.
    For then my sun and Nature's oft I see
    Opening at once the orient's rosy gate,
    So match'd in beauty and in lustre great,
    Heaven seems enamour'd of our earth to be!
    As when in verdant leaf the dear boughs burst
    Whose roots have since so centred in my core,
    Another than myself is cherish'd more.
    Thus the two hours contrast, day's last and first:
    Reason it is who calms me to desire,
    And fear and hate who fiercer feed my fire.



_Far potess' io vendetta di colei._


      Oh! that from her some vengeance I could wrest
    With words and glances who my peace destroys,
    And then abash'd, for my worse sorrow, flies,
    Veiling her eyes so cruel, yet so blest;
    Thus mine afflicted spirits and oppress'd
    By sure degrees she sorely drains and dries,
    And in my heart, as savage lion, cries
    Even at night, when most I should have rest.
    My soul, which sleep expels from his abode,
    The body leaves, and, from its trammels free,
    Seeks her whose mien so often menace show'd.
    I marvel much, if heard its advent be,
    That while to her it spake, and o'er her wept,
    And round her clung, asleep she alway kept.



_In quel bel viso, ch' i' sospiro e bramo._


      On the fair face for which I long and sigh
    Mine eyes were fasten'd with desire intense.
    When, to my fond thoughts, Love, in best reply,
    Her honour'd hand uplifting, shut me thence.
    My heart there caught--as fish a fair hook by,
    Or as a young bird on a limèd fence--
    For good deeds follow from example high,
    To truth directed not its busied sense.
    But of its one desire my vision reft,
    As dreamingly, soon oped itself a way,
    Which closed, its bliss imperfect had been left:
    My soul between those rival glories lay,
    Fill'd with a heavenly and new delight,
    Whose strange surpassing sweets engross'd it quite.



_Vive faville uscian de' duo bei lumi._


      Live sparks were glistening from her twin bright eyes,
    So sweet on me whose lightning flashes beam'd,
    And softly from a feeling heart and wise,
    Of lofty eloquence a rich flood stream'd:
    Even the memory serves to wake my sighs
    When I recall that day so glad esteem'd,
    And in my heart its sinking spirit dies
    As some late grace her colder wont redeem'd.
    My soul in pain and grief that most has been
    (How great the power of constant habit is!)
    Seems weakly 'neath its double joy to lean:
    For at the sole taste of unusual bliss,
    Trembling with fear, or thrill'd by idle hope,
    Oft on the point I've been life's door to ope.



_Cercato ho sempre solitaria vita._


      Still have I sought a life of solitude;
    The streams, the fields, the forests know my mind;
    That I might 'scape the sordid and the blind,
    Who paths forsake trod by the wise and good:
    Fain would I leave, were mine own will pursued,
    These Tuscan haunts, and these soft skies behind,
    Sorga's thick-wooded hills again to find;
    And sing and weep in concert with its flood.
    But Fortune, ever my sore enemy,
    Compels my steps, where I with sorrow see
    Cast my fair treasure in a worthless soil:
    Yet less a foe she justly deigns to prove,
    For once, to me, to Laura, and to love;
    Favouring my song, my passion, with her smile.


      Still have I sought a life of solitude--
    This know the rivers, and each wood and plain--
    That I might 'scape the blind and sordid train
    Who from the path have flown of peace and good:
    Could I my wish obtain, how vainly would
    This cloudless climate woo me to remain;
    Sorga's embowering woods I'd seek again,
    And sing, weep, wander, by its friendly flood.
    But, ah! my fortune, hostile still to me,
    Compels me where I must, indignant, find
    Amid the mire my fairest treasure thrown:
    Yet to my hand, not all unworthy, she
    Now proves herself, at least for once, more kind,
    Since--but alone to Love and Laura be it known.



_In tale Stella duo begli occhi vidi._


      In one fair star I saw two brilliant eyes,
    With sweetness, modesty, so glistening o'er,
    That soon those graceful nests of Love before
    My worn heart learnt all others to despise:
    Equall'd not her whoever won the prize
    In ages gone on any foreign shore;
    Not she to Greece whose wondrous beauty bore
    Unnumber'd ills, to Troy death's anguish'd cries:
    Not the fair Roman, who, with ruthless blade
    Piercing her chaste and outraged bosom, fled
    Dishonour worse than death, like charms display'd;
    Such excellence should brightest glory shed
    On Nature, as on me supreme delight,
    But, ah! too lately come, too soon it takes its flight.



_Qual donna attende a gloriosa fama._


      Feels any fair the glorious wish to gain
    Of sense, of worth, of courtesy, the praise?
    On those bright eyes attentive let her gaze
    Of her miscall'd my love, but sure my foe.
    Honour to gain, with love of God to glow,
    Virtue more bright how native grace displays,
    May there be learn'd; and by what surest ways
    To heaven, that for her coming pants, to go.
    The converse sweet, beyond what poets write,
    Is there; the winning silence, and the meek
    And saint-like manners man would paint in vain.
    The matchless beauty, dazzling to the sight,
    Can ne'er be learn'd; for bootless 'twere to seek
    By art, what by kind chance alone we gain.

    ANON., OX., 1795.


_Cara la vita, e dopo lei mi pare._


      Methinks that life in lovely woman first,
    And after life true honour should be dear;
    Nay, wanting honour--of all wants the worst--
    Friend! nought remains of loved or lovely here.
    And who, alas! has honour's barrier burst,
    Unsex'd and dead, though fair she yet appear,
    Leads a vile life, in shame and torment curst,
    A lingering death, where all is dark and drear.
    To me no marvel was Lucretia's end,
    Save that she needed, when that last disgrace
    Alone sufficed to kill, a sword to die.
    Sophists in vain the contrary defend:
    Their arguments are feeble all and base,
    And truth alone triumphant mounts on high!



_Arbor vittoriosa e trionfale._


      Tree, victory's bright guerdon, wont to crown
    Heroes and bards with thy triumphal leaf,
    How many days of mingled joy and grief
    Have I from thee through life's short passage known.
    Lady, who, reckless of the world's renown,
    Reapest in virtue's field fair honour's sheaf;
    Nor fear'st Love's limed snares, "that subtle thief,"
    While calm discretion on his wiles looks down.
    The pride of birth, with all that here we deem
    Most precious, gems and gold's resplendent grace.
    Abject alike in thy regard appear:
    Nay, even thine own unrivall'd beauties beam
    No charm to thee--save as their circling blaze
    Clasps fitly that chaste soul, which still thou hold'st most dear.


      Blest laurel! fadeless and triumphant tree!
    Of kings and poets thou the fondest pride!
    How much of joy and sorrow's changing tide
    In my short breath hath been awaked by thee!
    Lady, the will's sweet sovereign! thou canst see
    No bliss but virtue, where thou dost preside;
    Love's chain, his snare, thou dost alike deride;
    From man's deceit thy wisdom sets thee free.
    Birth's native pride, and treasure's precious store,
    (Whose bright possession we so fondly hail)
    To thee as burthens valueless appear:
    Thy beauty's excellence--(none viewed before)
    Thy soul had wearied--but thou lov'st the veil,
    That shrine of purity adorneth here.



_I' vo pensando, e nel pensier m' assale._


      Ceaseless I think, and in each wasting thought
    So strong a pity for myself appears,
    That often it has brought
    My harass'd heart to new yet natural tears;
    Seeing each day my end of life draw nigh,
    Instant in prayer, I ask of God the wings
    With which the spirit springs,
    Freed from its mortal coil, to bliss on high;
    But nothing, to this hour, prayer, tear, or sigh,
    Whatever man could do, my hopes sustain:
    And so indeed in justice should it be;
    Able to stay, who went and fell, that he
    Should prostrate, in his own despite, remain.
    But, lo! the tender arms
    In which I trust are open to me still,
    Though fears my bosom fill
    Of others' fate, and my own heart alarms,
    Which worldly feelings spur, haply, to utmost ill.

    One thought thus parleys with my troubled mind--
    "What still do you desire, whence succour wait?
    Ah! wherefore to this great,
    This guilty loss of time so madly blind?
    Take up at length, wisely take up your part:
    Tear every root of pleasure from your heart,
    Which ne'er can make it blest,
    Nor lets it freely play, nor calmly rest.
    If long ago with tedium and disgust
    You view'd the false and fugitive delights
    With which its tools a treacherous world requites,
    Why longer then repose in it your trust,
    Whence peace and firmness are in exile thrust?
    While life and vigour stay,
    The bridle of your thoughts is in your power:
    Grasp, guide it while you may:
    So clogg'd with doubt, so dangerous is delay,
    The best for wise reform is still the present hour.

    "Well known to you what rapture still has been
    Shed on your eyes by the dear sight of her
    Whom, for your peace it were
    Better if she the light had never seen;
    And you remember well (as well you ought)
    Her image, when, as with one conquering bound,
    Your heart in prey she caught,
    Where flame from other light no entrance found.
    She fired it, and if that fallacious heat
    Lasted long years, expecting still one day,
    Which for our safety came not, to repay,
    It lifts you now to hope more blest and sweet,
    Uplooking to that heaven around your head
    Immortal, glorious spread;
    If but a glance, a brief word, an old song,
    Had here such power to charm
    Your eager passion, glad of its own harm,
    How far 'twill then exceed if now the joy so strong."

    Another thought the while, severe and sweet,
    Laborious, yet delectable in scope,
    Takes in my heart its seat,
    Filling with glory, feeding it with hope;
    Till, bent alone on bright and deathless fame,
    It feels not when I freeze, or burn in flame,
    When I am pale or ill,
    And if I crush it rises stronger still.
    This, from my helpless cradle, day by day,
    Has strengthen'd with my strength, grown with my growth,
    Till haply now one tomb must cover both:
    When from the flesh the soul has pass'd away,
    No more this passion comrades it as here;
    For fame--if, after death,
    Learning speak aught of me--is but a breath:
    Wherefore, because I fear
    Hopes to indulge which the next hour may chase,
    I would old error leave, and the one truth embrace.

    But the third wish which fills and fires my heart
    O'ershadows all the rest which near it spring:
    Time, too, dispels a part,
    While, but for her, self-reckless grown, I sing.
    And then the rare light of those beauteous eyes,
    Sweetly before whose gentle heat I melt,
    As a fine curb is felt,
    To combat which avails not wit or force;
    What boots it, trammell'd by such adverse ties,
    If still between the rocks must lie her course,
    To trim my little bark to new emprize?
    Ah! wilt Thou never, Lord, who yet dost keep
    Me safe and free from common chains, which bind,
    In different modes, mankind,
    Deign also from my brow this shame to sweep?
    For, as one sunk in sleep,
    Methinks death ever present to my sight,
    Yet when I would resist I have no arms to fight.

    Full well I see my state, in nought deceived
    By truth ill known, but rather forced by Love,
    Who leaves not him to move
    In honour, who too much his grace believed:
    For o'er my heart from time to time I feel
    A subtle scorn, a lively anguish, steal,
    Whence every hidden thought,
    Where all may see, upon my brow is writ.
    For with such faith on mortal things to dote,
    As unto God alone is just and fit,
    Disgraces worst the prize who covets most:
    Should reason, amid things of sense, be lost.
    This loudly calls her to the proper track:
    But, when she would obey
    And home return, ill habits keep her back,
    And to my view portray
    Her who was only born my death to be,
    Too lovely in herself, too loved, alas! by me.

    I neither know, to me what term of life
    Heaven destined when on earth I came at first
    To suffer this sharp strife,
    'Gainst my own peace which I myself have nursed,
    Nor can I, for the veil my body throws,
    Yet see the time when my sad life may close.
    I feel my frame begin
    To fail, and vary each desire within:
    And now that I believe my parting day
    Is near at hand, or else not distant lies,
    Like one whom losses wary make and wise,
    I travel back in thought, where first the way,
    The right-hand way, I left, to peace which led.
    While through me shame and grief,
    Recalling the vain past on this side spread,
    On that brings no relief,
    Passion, whose strength I now from habit, feel,
    So great that it would dare with death itself to deal.

    Song! I am here, my heart the while more cold
    With fear than frozen snow,
    Feels in its certain core death's coming blow;
    For thus, in weak self-communing, has roll'd
    Of my vain life the better portion by:
    Worse burden surely ne'er
    Tried mortal man than that which now I bear;
    Though death be seated nigh,
    For future life still seeking councils new,
    I know and love the good, yet, ah! the worse pursue.



_Aspro core e selvaggio, e cruda voglia._


      Hard heart and cold, a stern will past belief,
    In angel form of gentle sweet allure;
    If thus her practised rigour long endure,
    O'er me her triumph will be poor and brief.
    For when or spring, or die, flower, herb, and leaf.
    When day is brightest, night when most obscure,
    Alway I weep. Great cause from Fortune sure,
    From Love and Laura have I for my grief.
    I live in hope alone, remembering still
    How by long fall of small drops I have seen
    Marble and solid stone that worn have been.
    No heart there is so hard, so cold no will,
    By true tears, fervent prayers, and faithful love
    That will not deign at length to melt and move.



_Signor mio caro, ogni pensier mi tira._


      My lord and friend! thoughts, wishes, all inclined
    My heart to visit one so dear to me,
    But Fortune--can she ever worse decree?--
    Held me in hand, misled, or kept behind.
    Since then the dear desire Love taught my mind
    But leads me to a death I did not see,
    And while my twin lights, wheresoe'er I be,
    Are still denied, by day and night I've pined.
    Affection for my lord, my lady's love,
    The bonds have been wherewith in torments long
    I have been bound, which round myself I wove.
    A Laurel green, a Column fair and strong,
    This for three lustres, that for three years more
    In my fond breast, nor wish'd it free, I bore.


[Illustration: SELVA PIANA, NEAR PARMA.]



_Oimè il bel viso! oimè il soave sguardo!_


      Woe for the 'witching look of that fair face!
    The port where ease with dignity combined!
    Woe for those accents, that each savage mind
    To softness tuned, to noblest thoughts the base!
    And the sweet smile, from whence the dart I trace,
    Which now leaves death my only hope behind!
    Exalted soul, most fit on thrones to 've shined,
    But that too late she came this earth to grace!
    For you I still must burn, and breathe in you;
    For I was ever yours; of you bereft,
    Full little now I reck all other care.
    With hope and with desire you thrill'd me through,
    When last my only joy on earth I left:--
    But caught by winds each word was lost in air.

    ANON., OX., 1795.

      Alas! that touching glance, that beauteous face!
    Alas! that dignity with sweetness fraught!
    Alas! that speech which tamed the wildest thought!
    That roused the coward, glory to embrace!
    Alas! that smile which in me did encase
    That fatal dart, whence here I hope for nought--
    Oh! hadst thou earlier our regions sought,
    The world had then confess'd thy sovereign grace!
    In thee I breathed, life's flame was nursed by thee,
    For I was thine; and since of thee bereaved,
    Each other woe hath lost its venom'd sting:
    My soul's blest joy! when last thy voice on me
    In music fell, my heart sweet hope conceived;
    Alas! thy words have sped on zephyrs' wings!



_Che debb' io far? che mi consigli, Amore?_


      What should I do? what, Love, dost thou advise?
    Full time it is to die:
    And longer than I wish have I delay'd.
    My mistress is no more, and with her gone my heart;
    To follow her, I must need
    Break short the course of my afflictive years:
    To view her here below
    I ne'er can hope; and irksome 'tis to wait.
    Since that my every joy
    By her departure unto tears is turn'd,
    Of all its sweets my life has been deprived.

    Thou, Love, dost feel, therefore to thee I plain,
    How grievous is my loss;
    I know my sorrows grieve and weigh thee down,
    E'en as our common cause: for on one rock
    We both have wreck'd our bark;
    And in one instant was its sun obscured.
    What genius can with words
    Rightly describe my lamentable state?
    Ah, blind, ungrateful world!
    Thou hast indeed just cause with me to mourn;
    That beauty thou didst hold with her is fled!

    Fall'n is thy glory, and thou seest it not;
    Unworthy thou with her,
    While here she dwelt, acquaintance to maintain.
    Or to be trodden by her saintly feet;
    For that, which is so fair,
    Should with its presence decorate the skies
    But I, a wretch who, reft
    Of her, prize nor myself nor mortal life,
    Recall her with my tears:
    This only of my hope's vast sum remains;
    And this alone doth still support me here.

    Ah, me! her charming face is earth become,
    Which wont unto our thought
    To picture heaven and happiness above!
    Her viewless form inhabits paradise,
    Divested of that veil,
    Which shadow'd while below her bloom of life,
    Once more to put it on,
    And never then to cast it off again;
    When so much more divine,
    And glorious render'd, 'twill by us be view'd,
    As mortal beauty to eternal yields.

    More bright than ever, and a lovelier fair,
    Before me she appears,
    Where most she's conscious that her sight will please
    This is one pillar that sustains my life;
    The other her dear name,
    That to my heart sounds so delightfully.
    But tracing in my mind,
    That she who form'd my choicest hope is dead
    E'en in her blossom'd prime;
    Thou knowest, Love, full well what I become:
    She I trust sees it too, who dwells with truth.

    Ye sweet associates, who admired her charms,
    Her life angelical,
    And her demeanour heavenly upon earth
    For me lament, and be by pity wrought
    No wise for her, who, risen
    To so much peace, me has in warfare left;
    Such, that should any shut
    The road to follow her, for some length of time,
    What Love declares to me
    Alone would check my cutting through the tie;
    But in this guise he reasons from within:

    "The mighty grief transporting thee restrain;
    For passions uncontroll'd
    Forfeit that heaven, to which thy soul aspires,
    Where she is living whom some fancy dead;
    While at her fair remains
    She smiles herself, sighing for thee alone;
    And that her fame, which lives
    In many a clime hymn'd by thy tongue, may ne'er
    Become extinct, she prays;
    But that her name should harmonize thy voice;
    If e'er her eyes were lovely held, and dear."
    Fly the calm, green retreat;
    And ne'er approach where song and laughter dwell,
    O strain; but wail be thine!
    It suits thee ill with the glad throng to stay,
    Thou sorrowing widow wrapp'd in garb of woe.



_Rotta è l' alta Colonna, e 'l verde Lauro._


      Fall'n that proud Column, fall'n that Laurel tree,
    Whose shelter once relieved my wearied mind;
    I'm reft of what I ne'er again shall find,
    Though ransack'd every shore and every sea:
    Double the treasure death has torn from me,
    In which life's pride was with its pleasure join'd;
    Not eastern gems, nor the world's wealth combined,
    Can give it back, nor land, nor royalty.
    But, if so fate decrees, what can I more,
    Than with unceasing tears these eyes bedew,
    Abase my visage, and my lot deplore?
    Ah, what is life, so lovely to the view!
    How quickly in one little morn is lost
    What years have won with labour and with cost!


      My laurell'd hope! and thou, Colonna proud!
    Your broken strength can shelter me no more!
    Nor Boreas, Auster, Indus, Afric's shore,
    Can give me that, whose loss my soul hath bow'd:
    My step exulting, and my joy avow'd,
    Death now hath quench'd with ye, my heart's twin store;
    Nor earth's high rule, nor gems, nor gold's bright ore,
    Can e'er bring back what once my heart endow'd
    But if this grief my destiny hath will'd,
    What else can I oppose but tearful eyes,
    A sorrowing bosom, and a spirit quell'd?
    O life! whose vista seems so brightly fill'd,
    A sunny breath, and that exhaling, dies
    The hope, oft, many watchful years have swell'd.



_Amor, se vuoi ch' i' torni al giogo antico._


      If thou wouldst have me, Love, thy slave again,
    One other proof, miraculous and new,
    Must yet be wrought by you,
    Ere, conquer'd, I resume my ancient chain--
    Lift my dear love from earth which hides her now,
    For whose sad loss thus beggar'd I remain;
    Once more with warmth endow
    That wise chaste heart where wont my life to dwell;
    And if as some divine, thy influence so,
    From highest heaven unto the depths of hell,
    Prevail in sooth--for what its scope below,
    'Mid us of common race,
    Methinks each gentle breast may answer well--
    Rob Death of his late triumph, and replace
    Thy conquering ensign in her lovely face!

    Relume on that fair brow the living light,
    Which was my honour'd guide, and the sweet flame.
    Though spent, which still the same
    Kindles me now as when it burn'd most bright;
    For thirsty hind with such desire did ne'er
    Long for green pastures or the crystal brook,
    As I for the dear look,
    Whence I have borne so much, and--if aright
    I read myself and passion--more must bear:
    This makes me to one theme my thoughts thus bind,
    An aimless wanderer where is pathway none,
    With weak and wearied mind
    Pursuing hopes which never can be won.
    Hence to thy summons answer I disdain,
    Thine is no power beyond thy proper reign.

    Give me again that gentle voice to hear,
    As in my heart are heard its echoes still,
    Which had in song the skill
    Hate to disarm, rage soften, sorrow cheer,
    To tranquillize each tempest of the mind,
    And from dark lowering clouds to keep it clear;
    Which sweetly then refined
    And raised my verse where now it may not soar.
    And, with desire that hope may equal vie,
    Since now my mind is waked in strength, restore
    Their proper business to my ear and eye,
    Awanting which life must
    All tasteless be and harder than to die.
    Vainly with me to your old power you trust,
    While my first love is shrouded still in dust.

    Give her dear glance again to bless my sight,
    Which, as the sun on snow, beam'd still for me;
    Open each window bright
    Where pass'd my heart whence no return can be;
    Resume thy golden shafts, prepare thy bow,
    And let me once more drink with old delight
    Of that dear voice the sound,
    Whence what love is I first was taught to know.
    And, for the lures, which still I covet so,
    Were rifest, richest there my soul that bound,
    Waken to life her tongue, and on the breeze
    Let her light silken hair,
    Loosen'd by Love's own fingers, float at ease;
    Do this, and I thy willing yoke will bear,
    Else thy hope faileth my free will to snare.

    Oh! never my gone heart those links of gold,
    Artlessly negligent, or curl'd with grace,
    Nor her enchanting face,
    Sweetly severe, can captive cease to hold;
    These, night and day, the amorous wish in me
    Kept, more than laurel or than myrtle, green,
    When, doff'd or donn'd, we see
    Of fields the grass, of woods their leafy screen.
    And since that Death so haughty stands and stern
    The bond now broken whence I fear'd to flee,
    Nor thine the art, howe'er the world may turn,
    To bind anew the chain,
    What boots it, Love, old arts to try again?
    Their day is pass'd: thy power, since lost the arms
    Which were my terror once, no longer harms.

    Thy arms were then her eyes, unrivall'd, whence
    Live darts were freely shot of viewless flame;
    No help from reason came,
    For against Heaven avails not man's defence;
    Thought, Silence, Feeling, Gaiety, Wit, Sense,
    Modest demeanour, affable discourse,
    In words of sweetest force
    Whence every grosser nature gentle grew,
    That angel air, humble to all and kind,
    Whose praise, it needs not mine, from all we find;
    Stood she, or sat, a grace which often threw
    Doubt on the gazer's mind
    To which the meed of highest praise was due--
    O'er hardest hearts thy victory was sure,
    With arms like these, which lost I am secure.

    The minds which Heaven abandons to thy reign,
    Haply are bound in many times and ways,
    But mine one only chain,
    Its wisdom shielding me from more, obeys;
    Yet freedom brings no joy, though that he burst.
    Rather I mournful ask, "Sweet pilgrim mine,
    Alas! what doom divine
    Me earliest bound to life yet frees thee first:
    God, who has snatch'd thee from the world so soon,
    Only to kindle our desires, the boon
    Of virtue, so complete and lofty, gave
    Now, Love, I may deride
    Thy future wounds, nor fear to be thy slave;
    In vain thy bow is bent, its bolts fall wide,
    When closed her brilliant eyes their virtue died.

    "Death from thy every law my heart has freed;
    She who my lady was is pass'd on high,
    Leaving me free to count dull hours drag by,
    To solitude and sorrow still decreed."



_L' ardente nodo ov' io fui, d' ora in ora._


      That burning toil, in which I once was caught,
    While twice ten years and one I counted o'er,
    Death has unloosed: like burden I ne'er bore;
    That grief ne'er fatal proves I now am taught.
    But Love, who to entangle me still sought,
    Spread in the treacherous grass his net once more,
    So fed the fire with fuel as before,
    That my escape I hardly could have wrought.
    And, but that my first woes experience gave,
    Snarèd long since and kindled I had been,
    And all the more, as I'm become less green:
    My freedom death again has come to save,
    And break my bond; that flame now fades, and fails,
    'Gainst which nor force nor intellect prevails.



_La vita fugge, e non s' arresta un' ora._


      Life passes quick, nor will a moment stay,
    And death with hasty journeys still draws near;
    And all the present joins my soul to tear,
    With every past and every future day:
    And to look back or forward, so does prey
    On this distracted breast, that sure I swear,
    Did I not to myself some pity bear,
    I were e'en now from all these thoughts away.
    Much do I muse on what of pleasures past
    This woe-worn heart has known; meanwhile, t' oppose
    My passage, loud the winds around me roar.
    I see my bliss in port, and torn my mast
    And sails, my pilot faint with toil, and those
    Fair lights, that wont to guide me, now no more.

    ANON., OX., 1795.

      Life ever flies with course that nought may stay,
    Death follows after with gigantic stride;
    Ills past and present on my spirit prey,
    And future evils threat on every side:
    Whether I backward look or forward fare,
    A thousand ills my bosom's peace molest;
    And were it not that pity bids me spare
    My nobler part, I from these thoughts would rest.
    If ever aught of sweet my heart has known,
    Remembrance wakes its charms, while, tempest tost,
    I mark the clouds that o'er my course still frown;
    E'en in the port I see the storm afar;
    Weary my pilot, mast and cable lost,
    And set for ever my fair polar star.



_Che fai? che pensi? che pur dietro guardi._


      What dost thou? think'st thou? wherefore bend thine eye
    Back on the time that never shall return?
    The raging fire, where once 'twas thine to burn,
    Why with fresh fuel, wretched soul, supply?
    Those thrilling tones, those glances of the sky,
    Which one by one thy fond verse strove to adorn,
    Are fled; and--well thou knowest, poor forlorn!--
    To seek them here were bootless industry.
    Then toil not bliss so fleeting to renew;
    To chase a thought so fair, so faithless, cease:
    Thou rather that unwavering good pursue,
    Which guides to heaven; since nought below can please.
    Fatal for us that beauty's torturing view,
    Living or dead alike which desolates our peace.



_Datemi pace, o duri miei pensieri._


      O tyrant thoughts, vouchsafe me some repose!
    Sufficeth not that Love, and Death, and Fate,
    Make war all round me to my very gate,
    But I must in me armèd hosts enclose?
    And thou, my heart, to me alone that shows
    Disloyal still, what cruel guides of late
    In thee find shelter, now the chosen mate
    Of my most mischievous and bitter foes?
    Love his most secret embassies in thee,
    In thee her worst results hard Fate explains,
    And Death the memory of that blow, to me
    Which shatters all that yet of hope remains;
    In thee vague thoughts themselves with error arm,
    And thee alone I blame for all my harm.



_Occhi miei, oscurato è 'l nostro sole._


      Mine eyes! our glorious sun is veil'd in night,
    Or set to us, to rise 'mid realms of love;
    There we may hail it still, and haply prove
    It mourn'd that we delay'd our heavenward flight.
    Mine ears! the music of her tones delight
    Those, who its harmony can best approve;
    My feet! who in her track so joy'd to move.
    Ye cannot penetrate her regions bright!
    But wherefore should your wrath on me descend?
    No spell of mine hath hush'd for ye the joy
    Of seeing, hearing, feeling, she was near:
    Go, war with Death--yet, rather let us bend
    To Him who can create--who can destroy--
    And bids the ready smile succeed the tear.


      O my sad eyes! our sun is overcast,--
    Nay, rather borne to heaven, and there is shining,
    Waiting our coming, and perchance repining
    At our delay; there shall we meet at last:
    And there, mine ears, her angel words float past,
    Those who best understand their sweet divining;
    Howe'er, my feet, unto the search inclining,
    Ye cannot reach her in those regions vast.
    Why, then, do ye torment me thus, for, oh!
    It is no fault of mine, that ye no more
    Behold, and hear, and welcome her below;
    Blame Death,--or rather praise Him and adore,
    Who binds and frees, restrains and letteth go,
    And to the weeping one can joy restore.



_Poichè la vista angelica serena._


      Since her calm angel face, long beauty's fane,
    My beggar'd soul by this brief parting throws
    In darkest horrors and in deepest woes,
    I seek by uttering to allay my pain.
    Certes, just sorrow leads me to complain:
    This she, who is its cause, and Love too shows;
    No other remedy my poor heart knows
    Against the troubles that in life obtain.
    Death! thou hast snatch'd her hence with hand unkind,
    And thou, glad Earth! that fair and kindly face
    Now hidest from me in thy close embrace;
    Why leave me here, disconsolate and blind,
    Since she who of mine eyes the light has been,
    Sweet, loving, bright, no more with me is seen?



_S' Amor novo consiglio non n' apporta._


      If Love to give new counsel still delay,
    My life must change to other scenes than these;
    My troubled spirit grief and terror freeze,
    Desire augments while all my hopes decay.
    Thus ever grows my life, by night and day,
    Despondent, and dismay'd, and ill at ease,
    Harass'd and helmless on tempestuous seas,
    With no sure escort on a doubtful way.
    Her path a sick imagination guides,
    Its true light underneath--ah, no! on high,
    Whence on my heart she beams more bright than eye,
    Not on mine eyes; from them a dark veil hides
    Those lovely orbs, and makes me, ere life's span
    Is measured half, an old and broken man.



_Nell' età sua più bella e più fiorita._


      E'en in youth's fairest flower, when Love's dear sway
    Is wont with strongest power our hearts to bind,
    Leaving on earth her fleshly veil behind,
    My life, my Laura, pass'd from me away;
    Living, and fair, and free from our vile clay,
    From heaven she rules supreme my willing mind:
    Alas! why left me in this mortal rind
    That first of peace, of sin that latest day?
    As my fond thoughts her heavenward path pursue,
    So may my soul glad, light, and ready be
    To follow her, and thus from troubles flee.
    Whate'er delays me as worst loss I rue:
    Time makes me to myself but heavier grow:
    Death had been sweet to-day three years ago!



_Se lamentar augelli, o Verdi fronde._


      If the lorn bird complain, or rustling sweep
    Soft summer airs o'er foliage waving slow,
    Or the hoarse brook come murmuring down the steep,
    Where on the enamell'd bank I sit below
    With thoughts of love that bid my numbers flow;
    'Tis then I see her, though in earth she sleep!
    Her, form'd in heaven! I see, and hear, and know!
    Responsive sighing, weeping as I weep:
    "Alas," she pitying says, "ere yet the hour,
    Why hurry life away with swifter flight?
    Why from thy eyes this flood of sorrow pour?
    No longer mourn my fate! through death my days
    Become eternal! to eternal light
    These eyes, which seem'd in darkness closed, I raise!"


      Where the green leaves exclude the summer beam,
    And softly bend as balmy breezes blow,
    And where with liquid lapse the lucid stream
    Across the fretted rock is heard to flow,
    Pensive I lay: when she whom earth conceals
    As if still living to my eye appears;
    And pitying Heaven her angel form reveals
    To say, "Unhappy Petrarch, dry your tears.
    Ah! why, sad lover, thus before your time
    In grief and sadness should your life decay,
    And, like a blighted flower, your manly prime
    In vain and hopeless sorrow fade away?
    Ah! yield not thus to culpable despair;
    But raise thine eyes to heaven and think I wait thee there!"


      Moved by the summer wind when all is still,
    The light leaves quiver on the yielding spray;
    Sighs from its flowery bank the lucid rill,
    While the birds answer in their sweetest lay.
    Vain to this sickening heart these scenes appear:
    No form but hers can meet my tearful eyes;
    In every passing gale her voice I hear;
    It seems to tell me, "I have heard thy sighs.
    But why," she cries, "in manhood's towering prime,
    In grief's dark mist thy days, inglorious, hide?
    Ah! dost thou murmur, that my span of time
    Has join'd eternity's unchanging tide?
    Yes, though I seem'd to shut mine eyes in night,
    They only closed to wake in everlasting light!"



_Mai non fu' in parte ove sì chiar' vedessi._


      Nowhere before could I so well have seen
    Her whom my soul most craves since lost to view;
    Nowhere in so great freedom could have been
    Breathing my amorous lays 'neath skies so blue;
    Never with depths of shade so calm and green
    A valley found for lover's sigh more true;
    Methinks a spot so lovely and serene
    Love not in Cyprus nor in Gnidos knew.
    All breathes one spell, all prompts and prays that I
    Like them should love--the clear sky, the calm hour,
    Winds, waters, birds, the green bough, the gay flower--
    But thou, beloved, who call'st me from on high,
    By the sad memory of thine early fate,
    Pray that I hold the world and these sweet snares in hate.


      Never till now so clearly have I seen
    Her whom my eyes desire, my soul still views;
    Never enjoy'd a freedom thus serene;
    Ne'er thus to heaven breathed my enamour'd muse,
    As in this vale sequester'd, darkly green;
    Where my soothed heart its pensive thought pursues,
    And nought intrusively may intervene,
    And all my sweetly-tender sighs renews.
    To Love and meditation, faithful shade,
    Receive the breathings of my grateful breast!
    Love not in Cyprus found so sweet a nest
    As this, by pine and arching laurel made!
    The birds, breeze, water, branches, whisper love;
    Herb, flower, and verdant path the lay symphonious move.



_Quante fiate al mio dolce ricetto._


      How oft, all lonely, to my sweet retreat
    From man and from myself I strive to fly,
    Bathing with dewy eyes each much-loved seat,
    And swelling every blossom with a sigh!
    How oft, deep musing on my woes complete,
    Along the dark and silent glens I lie,
    In thought again that dearest form to meet
    By death possess'd, and therefore wish to die!
    How oft I see her rising from the tide
    Of Sorga, like some goddess of the flood;
    Or pensive wander by the river's side;
    Or tread the flowery mazes of the wood;
    Bright as in life; while angel pity throws
    O'er her fair face the impress of my woes.



_Alma felice, che sovente torni._


      O blessed spirit! who dost oft return,
    Ministering comfort to my nights of woe,
    From eyes which Death, relenting in his blow,
    Has lit with all the lustres of the morn:
    How am I gladden'd, that thou dost not scorn
    O'er my dark days thy radiant beam to throw!
    Thus do I seem again to trace below
    Thy beauties, hovering o'er their loved sojourn.
    There now, thou seest, where long of thee had been
    My sprightlier strain, of thee my plaint I swell--
    Of thee!--oh, no! of mine own sorrows keen.
    One only solace cheers the wretched scene:
    By many a sign I know thy coming well--
    Thy step, thy voice and look, and robe of favour'd green.


      When welcome slumber locks my torpid frame,
    I see thy spirit in the midnight dream;
    Thine eyes that still in living lustre beam:
    In all but frail mortality the same.
    Ah! then, from earth and all its sorrows free,
    Methinks I meet thee in each former scene:
    Once the sweet shelter of a heart serene;
    Now vocal only while I weep for thee.
    For thee!--ah, no! From human ills secure.
    Thy hallow'd soul exults in endless day;
    'Tis I who linger on the toilsome way:
    No balm relieves the anguish I endure;
    Save the fond feeble hope that thou art near
    To soothe my sufferings with an angel's tear.



_Discolorato hai, Morte, il più bel volto._


      Death, thou of fairest face hast 'reft the hue,
    And quench'd in deep thick night the brightest eyes,
    And loosed from all its tenderest, closest ties
    A spirit to faith and ardent virtue true.
    In one short hour to all my bliss adieu!
    Hush'd are those accents worthy of the skies,
    Unearthly sounds, whose loss awakes my sighs;
    And all I hear is grief, and all I view.
    Yet oft, to soothe this lone and anguish'd heart,
    By pity led, she comes my couch to seek,
    Nor find I other solace here below:
    And if her thrilling tones my strain could speak
    And look divine, with Love's enkindling dart
    Not man's sad breast alone, but fiercest beasts should glow.


      Thou hast despoil'd the fairest face e'er seen--
    Thou hast extinguish'd, Death, the brightest eyes,
    And snapp'd the cord in sunder of the ties
    Which bound that spirit brilliantly serene:
    In one short moment all I love has been
    Torn from me, and dark silence now supplies
    Those gentle tones; my heart, which bursts with sighs,
    Nor sight nor sound from weariness can screen:
    Yet doth my lady, by compassion led,
    Return to solace my unfailing woe;
    Earth yields no other balm:--oh! could I tell
    How bright she seems, and how her accents flow,
    Not unto man alone Love's flames would spread,
    But even bears and tigers share the spell.



_Sì breve è 'l tempo e 'l pensier sì veloce._


      So brief the time, so fugitive the thought
    Which Laura yields to me, though dead, again,
    Small medicine give they to my giant pain;
    Still, as I look on her, afflicts me nought.
    Love, on the rack who holds me as he brought,
    Fears when he sees her thus my soul retain,
    Where still the seraph face and sweet voice reign,
    Which first his tyranny and triumph wrought.
    As rules a mistress in her home of right,
    From my dark heavy heart her placid brow
    Dispels each anxious thought and omen drear.
    My soul, which bears but ill such dazzling light,
    Says with a sigh: "O blessed day! when thou
    Didst ope with those dear eyes thy passage here!"



_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!



_Se quell' aura soave de' sospiri._


      If that soft breath of sighs, which, from above,
    I hear of her so long my lady here,
    Who, now in heaven, yet seems, as of our sphere,
    To breathe, and move, to feel, and live, and love,
    I could but paint, my passionate verse should move
    Warmest desires; so jealous, yet so dear
    O'er me she bends and breathes, without a fear,
    That on the way I tire, or turn, or rove.
    She points the path on high: and I who know
    Her chaste anxiety and earnest prayer,
    In whispers sweet, affectionate, and low,
    Train, at her will, my acts and wishes there:
    And find such sweetness in her words alone
    As with their power should melt the hardest stone.



_Sennuccio mio, benchè doglioso e solo._


      O friend! though left a wretched pilgrim here,
    By thee though left in solitude to roam,
    Yet can I mourn that thou hast found thy home,
    On angel pinions borne, in bright career?
    Now thou behold'st the ever-turning sphere,
    And stars that journey round the concave dome;
    Now thou behold'st how short of truth we come,
    How blind our judgment, and thine own how clear!
    That thou art happy soothes my soul oppress'd.
    O friend! salute from me the laurell'd band,
    Guitton and Cino, Dante, and the rest:
    And tell my Laura, friend, that here I stand,
    Wasting in tears, scarce of myself possess'd,
    While her blest beauties all my thoughts command.


      Sennuccio mine! I yet myself console,
    Though thou hast left me, mournful and alone,
    For eagerly to heaven thy spirit has flown,
    Free from the flesh which did so late enrol;
    Thence, at one view, commands it either pole,
    The planets and their wondrous courses known,
    And human sight how brief and doubtful shown;
    Thus with thy bliss my sorrow I control.
    One favour--in the third of those bright spheres.
    Guido and Dante, Cino, too, salute,
    With Franceschin and all that tuneful train,
    And tell my lady how I live, in tears,
    (Savage and lonely as some forest brute)
    Her sweet face and fair works when memory brings again.



_I' ho pien di sospir quest' aer tutto._


      To every sound, save sighs, this air is mute,
    When from rude rocks, I view the smiling land
    Where she was born, who held my life in hand
    From its first bud till blossoms turn'd to fruit:
    To heaven she's gone, and I'm left destitute
    To mourn her loss, and cast around in pain
    These wearied eyes, which, seeking her in vain
    Where'er they turn, o'erflow with grief acute;
    There's not a root or stone amongst these hills,
    Nor branch nor verdant leaf 'midst these soft glades,
    Nor in the valley flowery herbage grows,
    Nor liquid drop the sparkling fount distils,
    Nor savage beast that shelters in these shades,
    But knows how sharp my grief--how deep my woes.



_L' alma mia fiamma oltra le belle bella._


      My noble flame--more fair than fairest are
    Whom kind Heaven here has e'er in favour shown--
    Before her time, alas for me! has flown
    To her celestial home and parent star.
    I seem but now to wake; wherein a bar
    She placed on passion 'twas for good alone,
    As, with a gentle coldness all her own,
    She waged with my hot wishes virtuous war.
    My thanks on her for such wise care I press,
    That with her lovely face and sweet disdain
    She check'd my love and taught me peace to gain.
    O graceful artifice! deserved success!
    I with my fond verse, with her bright eyes she,
    Glory in her, she virtue got in me.



_Come va 'l mondo! or mi diletta e piace._


      How goes the world! now please me and delight
    What most displeased me: now I see and feel
    My trials were vouchsafed me for my weal,
    That peace eternal should brief war requite.
    O hopes and wishes, ever fond and slight,
    In lovers most, which oftener harm than heal!
    Worse had she yielded to my warm appeal
    Whom Heaven has welcomed from the grave's dark night.
    But blind love and my dull mind so misled,
    I sought to trespass even by main force
    Where to have won my precious soul were dead.
    Blessèd be she who shaped mine erring course
    To better port, by turns who curb'd and lured
    My bold and passionate will where safety was secured.


      Alas! this changing world! my present joy
    Was once my grief's dark source, and now I feel
    My sufferings pass'd were but my soul to heal
    Its fearful warfare--peace's soft decoy.
    Poor human wishes! Hope, thou fragile toy
    To lovers oft! my woe had met its seal,
    Had she but hearken'd to my love's appeal,
    Who, throned in heaven, hath fled this world's alloy.
    My blinded love, and yet more stubborn mind,
    Resistless urged me to my bosom's shame,
    And where my soul's destruction I had met:
    But blessèd she who bade life's current find
    A holier course, who still'd my spirit's flame
    With gentle hope that soul might triumph yet.



_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.



_Gli occhi di ch' io parlai sì caldamente._


      The eyes, the face, the limbs of heavenly mould,
    So long the theme of my impassion'd lay,
    Charms which so stole me from myself away,
    That strange to other men the course I hold;
    The crispèd locks of pure and lucid gold,
    The lightning of the angelic smile, whose ray
    To earth could all of paradise convey,
    A little dust are now!--to feeling cold!
    And yet I live!--but that I live bewail,
    Sunk the loved light that through the tempest led
    My shatter'd bark, bereft of mast and sail:
    Hush'd be for aye the song that breathed love's fire!
    Lost is the theme on which my fancy fed,
    And turn'd to mourning my once tuneful lyre.


      The eyes, the arms, the hands, the feet, the face,
    Which made my thoughts and words so warm and wild,
    That I was almost from myself exiled,
    And render'd strange to all the human race;
    The lucid locks that curl'd in golden grace,
    The lightening beam that, when my angel smiled,
    Diffused o'er earth an Eden heavenly mild;
    What are they now? Dust, lifeless dust, alas!
    And I live on, a melancholy slave,
    Toss'd by the tempest in a shatter'd bark,
    Reft of the lovely light that cheer'd the wave.
    The flame of genius, too, extinct and dark,
    Here let my lays of love conclusion have;
    Mute be the lyre: tears best my sorrows mark.


      Those eyes whose living lustre shed the heat
    Of bright meridian day; the heavenly mould
    Of that angelic form; the hands, the feet,
    The taper arms, the crispèd locks of gold;
    Charms that the sweets of paradise enfold;
    The radiant lightning of her angel-smile,
    And every grace that could the sense beguile
    Are now a pile of ashes, deadly cold!
    And yet I bear to drag this cumbrous chain,
    That weighs my soul to earth--to bliss or pain
    Alike insensible:--her anchor lost,
    The frail dismantled bark, all tempest-toss'd,
    Surveys no port of comfort--closed the scene
    Of life's delusive joys;--and dry the Muse's vein.


      Those eyes, sweet subject of my rapturous strain!
    The arms, the hands, the feet, that lovely face,
    By which I from myself divided was,
    And parted from the vulgar and the vain;
    Those crispèd locks, pure gold unknown to stain!
    Of that angelic smile the lightening grace,
    Which wont to make this earth a heavenly place!
    Dissolved to senseless ashes now remain!
    And yet I live, to endless grief a prey,
    'Reft of that star, my loved, my certain guide,
    Disarm'd my bark, while tempests round me blow!
    Stop, then, my verse--dry is the fountain's tide.
    That fed my genius! Cease, my amorous lay!
    Changed is my lyre, attuned to endless woe!



_S' io avessi pensato che sì care._


      Had I e'er thought that to the world so dear
    The echo of my sighs would be in rhyme,
    I would have made them in my sorrow's prime
    Rarer in style, in number more appear.
    Since she is dead my muse who prompted here,
    First in my thoughts and feelings at all time,
    All power is lost of tender or sublime
    My rough dark verse to render soft and clear.
    And certes, my sole study and desire
    Was but--I knew not how--in those long years
    To unburthen my sad heart, not fame acquire.
    I wept, but wish'd no honour in my tears.
    Fain would I now taste joy; but that high fair,
    Silent and weary, calls me to her there.


      Oh! had I deem'd my sighs, in numbers rung,
    Could e'er have gain'd the world's approving smile,
    I had awoke my rhymes in choicer style,
    My sorrow's birth more tunefully had sung:
    But she is gone whose inspiration hung
    On all my words, and did my thoughts beguile;
    My numbers harsh seem'd melody awhile,
    Now she is mute who o'er them music flung.
    Nor fame, nor other incense, then I sought,
    But how to quell my heart's o'erwhelming grief;
    I wept, but sought no honour in my tear:
    But could the world's fair suffrage now be bought,
    'Twere joy to gain, but that my hour is brief,
    Her lofty spirit waves me to her bier.



_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.



_Soleano i miei pensier soavemente._


      My thoughts in fair alliance and array
    Hold converse on the theme which most endears:
    Pity approaches and repents delay:
    E'en now she speaks of us, or hopes, or fears.
    Since the last day, the terrible hour when Fate
    This present life of her fair being reft,
    From heaven she sees, and hears, and feels our state:
    No other hope than this to me is left.
    O fairest miracle! most fortunate mind!
    O unexampled beauty, stately, rare!
    Whence lent too late, too soon, alas! rejoin'd.
    Hers is the crown and palm of good deeds there,
    Who to the world so eminent and clear
    Made her great virtue and my passion here.


      My thoughts were wont with sentiment so sweet
    To meditate their object in my breast--
    Perhaps her sympathies my wishes meet
    With gentlest pity, seeing me distress'd:
    Nor when removed to that her sacred rest
    The present life changed for that blest retreat,
    Vanish'd in air my former visions fleet,
    My hopes, my tears, in vain to her address'd.
    O lovely miracle! O favour'd mind!
    Beauty beyond example high and rare,
    So soon return'd from us to whence it came!
    There the immortal wreaths her temples bind;
    The sacred palm is hers: on earth so fair
    Who shone by her own virtues and my flame.



_I' mi soglio accusare, ed or mi scuso._


      I now excuse myself who wont to blame,
    Nay, more, I prize and even hold me dear,
    For this fair prison, this sweet-bitter shame,
    Which I have borne conceal'd so many a year.
    O envious Fates! that rare and golden frame
    Rudely ye broke, where lightly twined and clear,
    Yarn of my bonds, the threads of world-wide fame
    Which lovely 'gainst his wont made Death appear.
    For not a soul was ever in its days
    Of joy, of liberty, of life so fond,
    That would not change for her its natural ways,
    Preferring thus to suffer and despond,
    Than, fed by hope, to sing in others' praise,
    Content to die, or live in such a bond.



_Due gran nemiche insieme erano aggiunte._


      Two mortal foes in one fair breast combined,
    Beauty and Virtue, in such peace allied
    That ne'er rebellion ruffled that pure mind,
    But in rare union dwelt they side by side;
    By Death they now are shatter'd and disjoin'd;
    One is in heaven, its glory and its pride,
    One under earth, her brilliant eyes now blind,
    Whence stings of love once issued far and wide.
    That winning air, that rare discourse and meek,
    Surely from heaven inspired, that gentle glance
    Which wounded my poor heart, and wins it still,
    Are gone; if I am slow her road to seek,
    I hope her fair and graceful name perchance
    To consecrate with this worn weary quill.


      Within one mortal shrine two foes had met--
    Beauty and Virtue--yet they dwelt so bright,
    That ne'er within the soul did they excite
    Rebellious thought, their union might beget:
    But, parted to fulfil great nature's debt,
    One blooms in heaven, exulting in its height;
    Its twin on earth doth rest, from whose veil'd night
    No more those eyes of love man's soul can fret.
    That speech by Heaven inspired, so humbly wise--
    That graceful air--her look so winning, meek,
    That woke and kindles still my bosom's pain--
    They all have fled; but if to gain her skies
    I tardy seem, my weary pen would seek
    For her blest name a consecrated reign!



_Quand' io mi volgo indietro a mirar gli anni._


      When I look back upon the many years
    Which in their flight my best thoughts have entomb'd,
    And spent the fire, that, spite her ice, consumed,
    And finish'd the repose so full of tears,
    Broken the faith which Love's young dream endears,
    And the two parts of all my blessing doom'd,
    This low in earth, while heaven has that resumed,
    And lost the guerdon of my pains and fears,
    I wake, and feel me to the bitter wind
    So bare, I envy the worst lot I see;
    Self-terror and heart-grief on me so wait.
    O Death, O Fate, O Fortune, stars unkind!
    O day for ever dark and drear to me!
    How have ye sunk me in this abject state!


      When memory turns to gaze on time gone by
    (Which in its flight hath arm'd e'en thought with wings),
    And to my troubled rest a period brings,
    Quells, too, the flame which long could ice defy;
    And when I mark Love's promise wither'd lie,
    That treasure parted which my bosom wrings
    (For she in heaven, her shrine to nature clings),
    Whilst thus my toils' reward she doth deny;--
    I then awake and feel bereaved indeed!
    The darkest fate on earth seems bliss to mine--
    So much I fear myself, and dread its woe!
    O Fortune!--Death! O star! O fate decreed!
    O bitter day! that yet must sweetly shine,
    Alas! too surely thou hast laid me low!



_Ov' è la fronte che con picciol cenno._


      Where is the brow whose gentlest beckonings led
    My raptured heart at will, now here, now there?
    Where the twin stars, lights of this lower sphere,
    Which o'er my darkling path their radiance shed?
    Where is true worth, and wit, and wisdom fled?
    The courteous phrase, the melting accent, where?
    Where, group'd in one rich form, the beauties rare,
    Which long their magic influence o'er me shed?
    Where is the shade, within whose sweet recess
    My wearied spirit still forgot its sighs,
    And all my thoughts their constant record found?
    Where, where is she, my life's sole arbitress?--
    Ah, wretched world! and wretched ye, mine eyes
    (Of her pure light bereft) which aye with tears are drown'd.


      Where is that face, whose slightest air could move
    My trembling heart, and strike the springs of love?
    That heaven, where two fair stars, with genial ray,
    Shed their kind influence on life's dim way?
    Where are that science, sense, and worth confess'd?
    That speech by virtue, by the graces dress'd?
    Where are those beauties, where those charms combined,
    That caused this long captivity of mind?
    Where the dear shade of all that once was fair,
    The source, the solace, of each amorous care--
    My heart's sole sovereign, Nature's only boast?
    --Lost to the world, to me for ever lost!



_Quanta invidia ti porto, avara terra._


      O earth, whose clay-cold mantle shrouds that face,
    And veils those eyes that late so brightly shone,
    Whence all that gave delight on earth was known,
    How much I envy thee that harsh embrace!
    O heaven, that in thy airy courts confined
    That purest spirit, when from earth she fled,
    And sought the mansions of the righteous dead;
    How envious, thus to leave my panting soul behind!
    O angels, that in your seraphic choir
    Received her sister-soul, and now enjoy
    Still present, those delights without alloy,
    Which my fond heart must still in vain desire!
    In her I lived--in her my life decays;
    Yet envious Fate denies to end my hapless days.


      What envy of the greedy earth I bear,
    That holds from me within its cold embrace
    The light, the meaning, of that angel face,
    On which to gaze could soften e'en despair.
    What envy of the saints, in realms so fair,
    Who eager seem'd, from that bright form of grace
    The spirit pure to summon to its place,
    Amidst those joys, which few can hope to share;
    What envy of the blest in heaven above,
    With whom she dwells in sympathies divine
    Denied to me on earth, though sought in sighs;
    And oh! what envy of stern Death I prove,
    That with her life has ta'en the light of mine,
    Yet calls me not,--though fixed and cold those eyes.



_Valle che d' lamenti miei se' piena._


      Valley, which long hast echoed with my cries;
    Stream, which my flowing tears have often fed;
    Beasts, fluttering birds, and ye who in the bed
    Of Cabrieres' wave display your speckled dyes;
    Air, hush'd to rest and soften'd by my sighs;
    Dear path, whose mazes lone and sad I tread;
    Hill of delight--though now delight is fled--
    To rove whose haunts Love still my foot decoys;
    Well I retain your old unchanging face!
    Myself how changed! in whom, for joy's light throng,
    Infinite woes their constant mansion find!
    Here bloom'd my bliss: and I your tracks retrace,
    To mark whence upward to her heaven she sprung,
    Leaving her beauteous spoil, her robe of flesh behind!


      Ye vales, made vocal by my plaintive lay;
    Ye streams, embitter'd with the tears of love;
    Ye tenants of the sweet melodious grove;
    Ye tribes that in the grass fringed streamlet play;
    Ye tepid gales, to which my sighs convey
    A softer warmth; ye flowery plains, that move
    Reflection sad; ye hills, where yet I rove,
    Since Laura there first taught my steps to stray;--
    You, you are still the same! How changed, alas,
    Am I! who, from a state of life so blest,
    Am now the gloomy dwelling-place of woe!
    'Twas here I saw my love: here still I trace
    Her parting steps, when she her mortal vest
    Cast to the earth, and left these scenes below.



_Levommi il mio pensier in parte ov' era._


      Fond fancy raised me to the spot, where strays
    She, whom I seek but find on earth no more:
    There, fairer still and humbler than before,
    I saw her, in the third heaven's blessèd maze.
    She took me by the hand, and "Thou shalt trace,
    If hope not errs," she said, "this happy shore:
    I, I am she, thy breast with slights who tore,
    And ere its evening closed my day's brief space.
    What human heart conceives, my joys exceed;
    Thee only I expect, and (what remain
    Below) the charms, once objects of thy love."
    Why ceased she? Ah! my captive hand why freed?
    Such of her soft and hallow'd tones the chain,
    From that delightful heaven my soul could scarcely move.


      Thither my ecstatic thought had rapt me, where
    She dwells, whom still on earth I seek in vain;
    And there, with those whom the third heavens contain,
    I saw her, much more kind, and much more fair.
    My hand she took, and said: "Within this sphere,
    If hope deceive me not, thou shalt again
    With me reside: who caused thy mortal pain
    Am I, and even in summer closed my year.
    My bliss no human thought can understand:
    Thee only I await; and, that erewhile
    You held so dear, the veil I left behind."--
    She ceased--ah why? Why did she loose my hand?
    For oh! her hallow'd words, her roseate smile
    In heaven had well nigh fix'd my ravish'd mind!



_Amor che meco al buon tempo ti stavi._


      Love, that in happier days wouldst meet me here
    Along these meads that nursed our kindred strains;
    And that old debt to clear which still remains,
    Sweet converse with the stream and me wouldst share:
    Ye flowers, leaves, grass, woods, grots, rills, gentle air,
    Low valleys, lofty hills, and sunny plains:
    The harbour where I stored my love-sick pains,
    And all my various chance, my racking care:
    Ye playful inmates of the greenwood shade;
    Ye nymphs, and ye that in the waves pursue
    That life its cool and grassy bottom lends:--
    My days were once so fair; now dark and dread
    As death that makes them so. Thus the world through
    On each as soon as born his fate attends.

    ANON., OX., 1795.

      On these green banks in happier days I stray'd
    With Love, who whisper'd many a tender tale;
    And the glad waters, winding through the dale,
    Heard the sweet eloquence fond Love display'd.
    You, purpled plain, cool grot, and arching glade;
    Ye hills, ye streams, where plays the silken gale;
    Ye pathless wilds, you rock-encircled vale
    Which oft have beard the tender plaints I made;
    Ye blue-hair'd nymphs, who ceaseless revel keep,
    In the cool bosom of the crystal deep;
    Ye woodland maids who climb the mountain's brow;
    Ye mark'd how joy once wing'd each hour so gay;
    Ah, mark how sad each hour now wears away!
    So fate with human bliss blends human woe!

    ANON. 1777.


_Mentre che 'l cor dagli amorosi vermi._


      While on my heart the worms consuming prey'd
    Of Love, and I with all his fire was caught;
    The steps of my fair wild one still I sought
    To trace o'er desert mountains as she stray'd;
    And much I dared in bitter strains to upbraid
    Both Love and her, whom I so cruel thought;
    But rude was then my genius, and untaught
    My rhymes, while weak and new the ideas play'd.
    Dead is that fire; and cold its ashes lie
    In one small tomb; which had it still grown on
    E'en to old age, as oft by others felt,
    Arm'd with the power of rhyme, which wretched I
    E'en now disclaim, my riper strains had won
    E'en stones to burst, and in soft sorrows melt.

    ANON., OX., 1795.


_Anima bella, da quel nodo sciolta._


      Bright spirit, from those earthly bonds released,
    The loveliest ever wove in Nature's loom,
    From thy bright skies compassionate the gloom
    Shrouding my life that once of joy could taste!
    Each false suggestion of thy heart has ceased,
    That whilom bade thee stem disdain assume;
    Now, all secure, heaven's habitant become,
    List to my sighs, thy looks upon me cast.
    Mark the huge rock, whence Sorga's waters rise;
    And see amidst its waves and borders stray
    One fed by grief and memory that ne'er dies
    But from that spot, oh! turn thy sight away
    Where I first loved, where thy late dwelling lies;
    That in thy friends thou nought ungrateful may'st survey!


      Blest soul, that, loosen'd from those bands, art flown--
    Bands than which Nature never form'd more fair,
    Look down and mark how changed to carking care
    From gladdest thoughts I pass my days unknown.
    Each false opinion from my heart is gone,
    That once to me made thy sweet sight appear
    Most harsh and bitter; now secure from fear
    Here turn thine eyes, and listen to my moan.
    Turn to this rock whence Sorga's waters rise,
    And mark, where through the mead its waters flow,
    One who of thee still mindful ceaseless sighs:
    But leave me there unsought for, where to glow
    Our flames began, and where thy mansion lies,
    Lest thou in thine shouldst see what grieved thee so.

    ANON., OX., 1795.


_Quel sol che mi mostrava il cammin destro._


      That sun, which ever signall'd the right road,
    Where flash'd her own bright feet, to heaven to fly,
    Returning to the Eternal Sun on high,
    Has quench'd my light, and cast her earthly load;
    Thus, lone and weary, my oft steps have trode,
    As some wild animal, the sere woods by,
    Fleeing with heavy heart and downcast eye
    The world which since to me a blank has show'd.
    Still with fond search each well-known spot I pace
    Where once I saw her: Love, who grieves me so,
    My only guide, directs me where to go.
    I find her not: her every sainted trace
    Seeks, in bright realms above, her parent star
    From grisly Styx and black Avernus far.



_Io pensava assai destro esser sull' ale._


      I thought me apt and firm of wing to rise
    (Not of myself, but him who trains us all)
    In song, to numbers fitting the fair thrall
    Which Love once fasten'd and which Death unties.
    Slow now and frail, the task too sorely tries,
    As a great weight upon a sucker small:
    "Who leaps," I said, "too high may midway fall:
    Man ill accomplishes what Heaven denies."
    So far the wing of genius ne'er could fly--
    Poor style like mine and faltering tongue much less--
    As Nature rose, in that rare fabric, high.
    Love follow'd Nature with such full success
    In gracing her, no claim could I advance
    Even to look, and yet was bless'd by chance.



_Quella per cui con Sorga ho cangiat' Arno._


      She, for whose sake fair Arno I resign,
    And for free poverty court-affluence spurn,
    Has known to sour the precious sweets to turn
    On which I lived, for which I burn and pine.
    Though since, the vain attempt has oft been mine
    That future ages from my song should learn
    Her heavenly beauties, and like me should burn,
    My poor verse fails her sweet face to define.
    The gifts, though all her own, which others share,
    Which were but stars her bright sky scatter'd o'er,
    Haply of these to sing e'en I might dare;
    But when to the diviner part I soar,
    To the dull world a brief and brilliant light,
    Courage and wit and art are baffled quite.



_L' alto e novo miracol ch' a dì nostri._


      The wonder, high and new, that, in our days,
    Dawn'd on the world, yet would not there remain,
    Which heaven but show'd to us to snatch again
    Better to blazon its own starry ways;
    That to far times I her should paint and praise
    Love wills, who prompted first my passionate strain;
    But now wit, leisure, pen, page, ink in vain
    To the fond task a thousand times he sways.
    My slow rhymes struggle not to life the while;
    I feel it, and whoe'er to-day below,
    Or speak or write of love will prove it so.
    Who justly deems the truth beyond all style,
    Here silent let him muse, and sighing say,
    Blessèd the eyes who saw her living day!



_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!



_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!



_Nè per sereno cielo ir vaghe stelle._


      Not skies serene, with glittering stars inlaid,
    Nor gallant ships o'er tranquil ocean dancing,
    Nor gay careering knights in arms advancing,
    Nor wild herds bounding through the forest glade,
    Nor tidings new of happiness delay'd,
    Nor poesie, Love's witchery enhancing,
    Nor lady's song beside clear fountain glancing,
    In beauty's pride, with chastity array'd;
    Nor aught of lovely, aught of gay in show,
    Shall touch my heart, now cold within her tomb
    Who was erewhile my life and light below!
    So heavy--tedious--sad--my days unblest,
    That I, with strong desire, invoke Death's gloom,
    Her to behold, whom ne'er to have seen were best!


      Nor stars bright glittering through the cool still air,
    Nor proud ships riding on the tranquil main,
    Nor armed knights light pricking o'er the plain,
    Nor deer in glades disporting void of care,
    Nor tidings hoped by recent messenger,
    Nor tales of love in high and gorgeous strain,
    Nor by clear stream, green mead, or shady lane
    Sweet-chaunted roundelay of lady fair;
    Nor aught beside my heart shall e'er engage--
    Sepulchred, as 'tis henceforth doom'd to be,
    With her, my eyes' sole mirror, beam, and bliss.
    Oh! how I long this weary pilgrimage
    To close; that I again that form may see,
    Which never to have seen had been my happiness!



_Passato è 'l tempo omai, lasso! che tanto._


      Fled--fled, alas! for ever--is the day,
    Which to my flame some soothing whilom brought;
    And fled is she of whom I wept and wrote:
    Yet still the pang, the tear, prolong their stay!
    And fled that angel vision far away;
    But flying, with soft glance my heart it smote
    ('Twas then my own) which straight, divided, sought
    Her, who had wrapp'd it in her robe of clay.
    Part shares her tomb, part to her heaven is sped;
    Where now, with laurel wreathed, in triumph's car
    She reaps the meed of matchless holiness:
    So might I, of this flesh discumberèd,
    Which holds me prisoner here, from sorrow far
    With her expatiate free 'midst realms of endless bliss!


      Ah! gone for ever are the happy years
    That soothed my soul amid Love's fiercest fire,
    And she for whom I wept and tuned my lyre
    Has gone, alas!--But left my lyre, my tears:
    Gone is that face, whose holy look endears;
    But in my heart, ere yet it did retire,
    Left the sweet radiance of its eyes, entire;--
    My heart? Ah; no! not mine! for to the spheres
    Of light she bore it captive, soaring high,
    In angel robe triumphant, and now stands
    Crown'd with the laurel wreath of chastity:
    Oh! could I throw aside these earthly bands
    That tie me down where wretched mortals sigh,--
    To join blest spirits in celestial lands!



_Mente mia che presaga de' tuoi danni._


      My mind! prophetic of my coming fate,
    Pensive and gloomy while yet joy was lent,
    On the loved lineaments still fix'd, intent
    To seek dark bodings, ere thy sorrow's date!
    From her sweet acts, her words, her looks, her gait,
    From her unwonted pity with sadness blent,
    Thou might'st have said, hadst thou been prescient,
    "I taste my last of bliss in this low state!"
    My wretched soul! the poison, oh, how sweet!
    That through my eyes instill'd the burning smart,
    Gazing on hers, no more on earth to meet!
    To them--my bosom's wealth! condemn'd to part
    On a far journey--as to friends discreet,
    All my fond thoughts I left, and lingering heart.



_Tutta la mia fiorita e verde etade._


      All my green years and golden prime of man
    Had pass'd away, and with attemper'd sighs
    My bosom heaved--ere yet the days arise
    When life declines, contracting its brief span.
    Already my loved enemy began
    To lull suspicion, and in sportive guise,
    With timid confidence, though playful, wise,
    In gentle mockery my long pains to scan:
    The hour was near when Love, at length, may mate
    With Chastity; and, by the dear one's side,
    The lover's thoughts and words may freely flow:
    Death saw, with envy, my too happy state,
    E'en its fair promise--and, with fatal pride,
    Strode in the midway forth, an armèd foe!


      Now of my life each gay and greener year
    Pass'd by, and cooler grew each hour the flame
    With which I burn'd: and to that point we came
    Whence life descends, as to its end more near;
    Now 'gan my lovely foe each virtuous fear
    Gently to lay aside, as safe from blame;
    And though with saint-like virtue still the same,
    Mock'd my sweet pains indeed, but deign'd to hear
    Nigh drew the time when Love delights to dwell
    With Chastity; and lovers with their mate
    Can fearless sit, and all they muse of tell.
    Death envied me the joys of such a state;
    Nay, e'en the hopes I form'd: and on them fell
    E'en in midway, like some arm'd foe in wait.

    ANON., OX., 1795.


_Tempo era omai da trovar pace o tregua._


      'Twas time at last from so long war to find
    Some peace or truce, and, haply, both were nigh,
    But Death their welcome feet has turn'd behind,
    Who levels all distinctions, low as high;
    And as a cloud dissolves before the wind,
    So she, who led me with her lustrous eye,
    Whom ever I pursue with faithful mind,
    Her fair life briefly ending, sought the sky.
    Had she but stay'd, as I grew changed and old
    Her tone had changed, and no distrust had been
    To parley with me on my cherish'd ill:
    With what frank sighs and fond I then had told
    My lifelong toils, which now from heaven, I ween,
    She sees, and with me sympathises still.


      My life's long warfare seem'd about to cease,
    Peace had my spirit's contest well nigh freed;
    But levelling Death, who doth to all concede
    An equal doom, clipp'd Time's blest wings of peace:
    As zephyrs chase the clouds of gathering fleece,
    So did her life from this world's breath recede,
    Their vision'd light could once my footsteps lead,
    But now my all, save thought, she doth release.
    Oh! would that she her flight awhile had stay'd,
    For Time had stamp'd on me his warning hand,
    And calmer I had told my storied love:
    To her in virtue's tone I had convey'd
    My heart's long grief--now, she doth understand,
    And sympathises with that grief above.



_Tranquillo porto avea mostrato Amore._


      From life's long storm of trouble and of tears
    Love show'd a tranquil haven and fair end
    'Mid better thoughts which riper age attend,
    That vice lays bare and virtue clothes and cheers.
    She saw my true heart, free from doubts and fears,
    And its high faith which could no more offend;
    Ah, cruel Death! how quick wert thou to rend
    In so few hours the fruit of many years!
    A longer life the time had surely brought
    When in her chaste ear my full heart had laid
    The ancient burthen of its dearest thought;
    And she, perchance, might then have answer made,
    Forth-sighing some blest words, whilst white and few
    Our locks became, and wan our cheeks in hue.



_Al cader d' una pianta che si svelse._


      As a fair plant, uprooted by oft blows
    Of trenchant spade, or which the blast upheaves,
    Scatters on earth its green and lofty leaves,
    And its bare roots to the broad sunlight shows;
    Love such another for my object chose,
    Of whom for me the Muse a subject weaves,
    Who in my captured heart her home achieves,
    As on some wall or tree the ivy grows
    That living laurel--where their chosen nest
    My high thoughts made, where sigh'd mine ardent grief,
    Yet never stirr'd of its fair boughs a leaf--
    To heaven translated, in my heart, her rest,
    Left deep its roots, whence ever with sad cry
    I call on her, who ne'er vouchsafes reply.



_I dì miei più leggier che nessun cervo._


      My days more swiftly than the forest hind
    Have fled like shadows, and no pleasure seen
    Save for a moment, and few hours serene,
    Whose bitter-sweet I treasure in true mind.
    O wretched world, unstable, wayward! Blind
    Whose hopes in thee alone have centred been;
    In thee my heart was captived by her mien
    Who bore it with her when she earth rejoin'd:
    Her better spirit, now a deathless flower,
    And in the highest heaven that still shall be,
    Each day inflames me with its beauties more.
    Alone, though frailer, fonder every hour,
    I muse on her--Now what, and where is she,
    And what the lovely veil which here she wore?


      Oh! swifter than the hart my life hath fled,
    A shadow'd dream; one winged glance hath seen
    Its only good; its hours (how few serene!)
    The sweet and bitter tide of thought have fed:
    Ephemeral world! in pride and sorrow bred,
    Who hope in thee, are blind as I have been;
    I hoped in thee, and thus my heart's loved queen
    Hath borne it mid her nerveless, kindred dead.
    Her form decay'd--its beauty still survives,
    For in high heaven that soul will ever bloom,
    With which each day I more enamour'd grow:
    Thus though my locks are blanch'd, my hope revives
    In thinking on her home--her soul's high doom:
    Alas! how changed the shrine she left below!



_Sente l' aura mia antica, e i dolci colli._


      I feel the well-known gale; the hills I spy
    So pleasant, whence my fair her being drew,
    Which made these eyes, while Heaven was willing, shew
    Wishful, and gay; now sad, and never dry.
    O feeble hopes! O thoughts of vanity!
    Wither'd the grass, the rills of turbid hue;
    And void and cheerless is that dwelling too,
    In which I live, in which I wish'd to die;
    Hoping its mistress might at length afford
    Some respite to my woes by plaintive sighs,
    And sorrows pour'd from her once-burning eyes.
    I've served a cruel and ungrateful lord:
    While lived my beauteous flame, my heart be fired;
    And o'er its ashes now I weep expired.


      Once more, ye balmy gales, I feel you blow;
    Again, sweet hills, I mark the morning beams
    Gild your green summits; while your silver streams
    Through vales of fragrance undulating flow.
    But you, ye dreams of bliss, no longer here
    Give life and beauty to the glowing scene:
    For stern remembrance stands where you have been,
    And blasts the verdure of the blooming year.
    O Laura! Laura! in the dust with thee,
    Would I could find a refuge from despair!
    Is this thy boasted triumph. Love, to tear
    A heart thy coward malice dares not free;
    And bid it live, while every hope is fled,
    To weep, among the ashes of the dead?



_E questo 'l nido in che la mia Fenice._


      Is this the nest in which my phoenix first
    Her plumage donn'd of purple and of gold,
    Beneath her wings who knew my heart to hold,
    For whom e'en yet its sighs and wishes burst?
    Prime root in which my cherish'd ill had birth,
    Where is the fair face whence that bright light came.
    Alive and glad which kept me in my flame?
    Now bless'd in heaven as then alone on earth;
    Wretched and lonely thou hast left me here,
    Fond lingering by the scenes, with sorrows drown'd,
    To thee which consecrate I still revere.
    Watching the hills as dark night gathers round,
    Whence its last flight to heaven thy soul did take,
    And where my day those bright eyes wont to make.


      Is this the nest in which her wings of gold,
    Of gold and purple plume, my phoenix laid?
    How flutter'd my fond heart beneath their shade!
    But now its sighs proclaim that dwelling cold:
    Sweet source! from which my bliss, my bane, have roll'd,
    Where is that face, in living light array'd,
    That burn'd me, yet my sole enjoyment made?
    Unparallel'd on earth, the heavens now hold
    Thee bless'd!--but I am left wretched, alone!
    Yet ever in my grief return to see
    And honour this sweet place, though thou art gone.
    A black night veils the hills, whence rising free
    Thou took'st thy heavenward flight! Ah! when they shone
    In morning radiance, it was all from thee!



_Mai non vedranno le mie luci asciutte._


      Ne'er shall I see again with eyes unwet,
    Or with the sure powers of a tranquil mind,
    Those characters where Love so brightly shined,
    And his own hand affection seem'd to set;
    Spirit! amid earth's strifes unconquer'd yet,
    Breathing such sweets from heaven which now has shrined,
    As once more to my wandering verse has join'd
    The style which Death had led me to forget.
    Another work, than my young leaves more bright,
    I thought to show: what envying evil star
    Snatch'd thee, my noble treasure, thus from me?
    So soon who hides thee from my fond heart's sight,
    And from thy praise my loving tongue would bar?
    My soul has rest, sweet sigh! alone in thee.


      Oh! ne'er shall I behold with tearless eye
    Or tranquil soul those characters of thine,
    In which affection doth so brightly shine,
    And charity's own hand I can descry!
    Blest soul! that could this earthly strife defy,
    Thy sweets instilling from thy home divine,
    Thou wakest in me the tone which once was mine,
    To sing my rhymes Death's power did long deny.
    With these, my brow's young leaves, I fondly dream'd
    Another work than this had greeted thee:
    What iron planet envied thus our love?
    My treasure! veil'd ere age had darkly gleam'd;
    Thou--whom my song records--my heart doth see;
    Thou wakest my sigh, and sighing, rest I prove.



_Standomi un giorno solo alla finestra._


      While at my window late I stood alone,
    So new and many things there cross'd my sight,
    To view them I had almost weary grown.
    A dappled hind appear'd upon the right,
    In aspect gentle, yet of stately stride,
    By two swift greyhounds chased, a black and white,
    Who tore in the poor side
    Of that fair creature wounds so deep and wide,
    That soon they forced her where ravine and rock
    The onward passage block:
    Then triumph'd Death her matchless beauties o'er,
    And left me lonely there her sad fate to deplore.

    Upon the summer wave a gay ship danced,
    Her cordage was of silk, of gold her sails,
    Her sides with ivory and ebon glanced,
    The sea was tranquil, favouring were the gales,
    And heaven as when no cloud its azure veils.
    A rich and goodly merchandise is hers;
    But soon the tempest wakes,
    And wind and wave to such mad fury stirs,
    That, driven on the rocks, in twain she breaks;
    My heart with pity aches,
    That a short hour should whelm, a small space hide,
    Riches for which the world no equal had beside.

    In a fair grove a bright young laurel made
    --Surely to Paradise the plant belongs!--
    Of sacred boughs a pleasant summer shade,
    From whose green depths there issued so sweet songs
    Of various birds, and many a rare delight
    Of eye and ear, what marvel from the world
    They stole my senses quite!
    While still I gazed, the heavens grew black around,
    The fatal lightning flash'd, and sudden hurl'd,
    Uprooted to the ground,
    That blessed birth. Alas! for it laid low,
    And its dear shade whose like we ne'er again shall know.

    A crystal fountain in that very grove
    Gush'd from a rock, whose waters fresh and clear
    Shed coolness round and softly murmur'd love;
    Never that leafy screen and mossy seat
    Drew browsing flock or whistling rustic near
    But nymphs and muses danced to music sweet.
    There as I sat and drank
    With infinite delight their carols gay,
    And mark'd their sport, the earth before me sank
    And bore with it away
    The fountain and the scene, to my great grief,
    Who now in memory find a sole and scant relief.

    A lovely and rare bird within the wood,
    Whose crest with gold, whose wings with purple gleam'd,
    Alone, but proudly soaring, next I view'd,
    Of heavenly and immortal birth which seem'd,
    Flitting now here, now there, until it stood
    Where buried fount and broken laurel lay,
    And sadly seeing there
    The fallen trunk, the boughs all stripp'd and bare,
    The channel dried--for all things to decay
    So tend--it turn'd away
    As if in angry scorn, and instant fled,
    While through me for her loss new love and pity spread.

    At length along the flowery sward I saw
    So sweet and fair a lady pensive move
    That her mere thought inspires a tender awe;
    Meek in herself, but haughty against Love,
    Flow'd from her waist a robe so fair and fine
    Seem'd gold and snow together there to join:
    But, ah! each charm above
    Was veil'd from sight in an unfriendly cloud:
    Stung by a lurking snake, as flowers that pine
    Her head she gently bow'd,
    And joyful pass'd on high, perchance secure:
    Alas! that in the world grief only should endure.

    My song! in each sad change,
    These visions, as they rise, sweet, solemn, strange,
    But show how deeply in thy master's breast
    The fond desire abides to die and be at rest.



_Amor, quando fioria._


      Yes, Love, at that propitious time
    When hope was in its bloomy prime,
    And when I vainly fancied nigh
    The meed of all my constancy;
    Then sudden she, of whom I sought
    Compassion, from my sight was caught.
    O ruthless Death! O life severe!
    The one has sunk me deep in care,
    And darken'd cruelly my day,
    That shone with hope's enlivening ray:
    The other, adverse to my will,
    Doth here on earth detain me still;
    And interdicts me to pursue
    Her, who from all its scenes withdrew:
    Yet in my heart resides the fair,
    For ever, ever present there;
    Who well perceives the ills that wait
    Upon my wretched, mortal state.


      Yes, Love, while hope still bloom'd with me in pride,
    While seem'd of all my faith the guerdon nigh,
    She, upon whom for mercy I relied,
    Was ravish'd from my doting desolate eye.
    O ruthless Death! O life unwelcome! this
    Plunged me in deepest woe,
    And rudely crush'd my every hope of bliss;
    Against my will that keeps me here below,
    Who else would yearn to go,
    And join the sainted fair who left us late;
    Yet present every hour
    In my heart's core there wields she her old power,
    And knows, whate'er my life, its every state!



_Tacer non posso, e temo non adopre._


      Fain would I speak--too long has silence seal'd
    Lips that would gladly with my full heart move
    With one consent, and yield
    Homage to her who listens from above;
    Yet how can I, without thy prompting, Love,
    With mortal words e'er equal things divine,
    And picture faithfully
    The high humility whose chosen shrine
    Was that fair prison whence she now is free?
    Which held, erewhile, her gentle spirit, when
    So in my conscious heart her power began.
    That, instantly, I ran,
    --Alike o' th' year and me 'twas April then--
    From these gay meadows round sweet flowers to bind,
    Hoping rich pleasure at her eyes to find.

    The walls were alabaster, the roof gold,
    Ivory the doors, the sapphire windows lent
    Whence on my heart of old
    Its earliest sigh, as shall my last, was sent;
    In arrowy jets of fire thence came and went
    Arm'd messengers of love, whereof to think
    As then they were, with awe
    --Though now for them with laurel crown'd--I shrink
    Of one rare diamond, square, without a flaw,
    High in the midst a stately throne was placed
    Where sat the lovely lady all alone:
    In front a column shone
    Of crystal, and thereon each thought was traced
    In characters so clear, and quick, and true,
    By turns it gladden'd me and grieved to view.

    To weapons such as these, sharp, burning, bright,
    To the green glorious banner waved above,
    --'Gainst which would fail in fight
    Mars, Polypheme, Apollo, mighty Jove--
    While still my sorrow fresh and verdant throve,
    I stood defenceless, doom'd; her easy prey
    She led me as she chose
    Whence to escape I knew nor art nor way;
    But, as a friend, who, haply, grieves yet goes,
    Sees something still to lure his eyes and heart,
    Just so on her, for whom I am in thrall,
    Sole perfect work of all
    That graced her age, unable to depart,
    With such desire my rapt regards I set,
    As soon myself and misery to forget.

    On earth myself, my heart in Eden dwelt,
    Lost in sweet Lethe every other care,
    As my live frame I felt
    To marble turn, watching that wonder rare;
    When old in years, but youthful still in air,
    A lady briefly, quietly drew nigh,
    And thus beholding me,
    With reverent aspect and admiring eye,
    Kind offer made my counsellor to be:
    "My power," she said, "is more than mortals know--
    Lighter than air, I, in an instant, make
    Their hearts exult or ache,
    I loose and bind whate'er is seen below;
    Thine eyes, upon that sun, as eagles', bend,
    But to my words with willing ears attend.

    "The day when she was born, the stars that win
    Prosperity for man shone bright above;
    Their high glad homes within
    Each on the other smiled with gratulant love;
    Fair Venus, and, with gentle aspect, Jove
    The beautiful and lordly mansions held:
    Seem'd as each adverse light
    Throughout all heaven was darken'd and dispell'd,
    The sun ne'er look'd upon a day so bright;
    The air and earth rejoiced; the waves had rest
    By lake and river, and o'er ocean green:
    'Mid the enchanting scene
    One distant cloud alone my thought distress'd,
    Lest sometime it might be of tears the source
    Unless kind Heaven should elsewhere turn its course.

    "When first she enter'd on this life below,
    Which, to say sooth, not worthy was to hold,
    'Twas strange to see her so
    Angelical and dear in baby mould;
    A snowy pearl she seem'd in finest gold;
    Next as she crawl'd, or totter'd with short pace,
    Wood, water, earth, and stone
    Grew green, and clear, and soft; with livelier grace
    The sward beneath her feet and fingers shone;
    With flowers the champain to her bright eyes smiled;
    At her sweet voice, babbling through lips that yet
    From Love's own fount were wet,
    The hoarse wind silent grew, the tempest mild:
    Thus clearly showing to the dull blind world
    How much in her was heaven's own light unfurl'd.

    "At length, her life's third flowery epoch won,
    She, year by year, so grew in charms and worth,
    That ne'er, methinks, the sun
    Such gracefulness and beauty saw on earth;
    Her eyes so full of modesty and mirth,
    Music and welcome on her words so hung,
    That mute in her high praise,
    Which thine alone may sound, is every tongue:
    So bright her countenance with heavenly rays,
    Not long thy dazzled vision there may rest;
    From this her fair and fleshly tenement
    Such fire through thine is sent
    (Though gentler never kindled human breast),
    That yet I fear her sudden flight may be
    Too soon the cause of bitter grief to thee."

    This said, she turn'd her to the rapid wheel
    Whereon she winds of mortal life the thread;
    Too true did she reveal
    The doom of woe which darken'd o'er my head!
    A few brief years flew by,
    When she, for whom I so desire to die,
    By black and pitiless Death, who could not slay
    A fairer form than hers, was snatch'd away!



_Or hai fatto l' estremo di tua possa._


      Now hast thou shown, fell Death! thine utmost might.
    Through Love's bright realm hast want and darkness spread,
    Hast now cropp'd beauty's flower, its heavenly light
    Quench'd, and enclosed in the grave's narrow bed;
    Now hast thou life despoil'd of all delight,
    Its ornament and sovereign honour shed:
    But fame and worth it is not thine to blight;
    These mock thy power, and sleep not with the dead.
    Be thine the mortal part; heaven holds the best,
    And, glorying in its brightness, brighter glows,
    While memory still records the great and good.
    O thou, in thine high triumph, angel blest!
    Let thy heart yield to pity of my woes,
    E'en as thy beauty here my soul subdued.


      Now hast thou shown the utmost of thy might,
    O cruel Death! Love's kingdom hast thou rent,
    And made it poor; in narrow grave hast pent
    The blooming flower of beauty and its light!
    Our wretched life thou hast despoil'd outright
    Of every honour, every ornament!
    But then her fame, her worth, by thee unblent,
    Shall still survive!--her dust is all thy right;
    The rest heaven holds, proud of her charms divine
    As of a brighter sun. Nor dies she here--
    Her memory lasts, to good men ever dear!
    O angel new, in thy celestial sphere
    Let pity now thy sainted heart incline,
    As here below thy beauty vanquish'd mine!



_L' aura e l' odore e 'l refrigerio e l' ombra._


      The air and scent, the comfort and the shade
    Of my sweet laurel, and its flowery sight,
    That to my weary life gave rest and light,
    Death, spoiler of the world, has lowly laid.
    As when the moon our sun's eclipse has made,
    My lofty light has vanish'd so in night;
    For aid against himself I Death invite;
    With thoughts so dark does Love my breast invade.
    Thou didst but sleep, bright lady, a brief sleep,
    In bliss amid the chosen spirits to wake,
    Who gaze upon their God, distinct and near:
    And if my verse shall any value keep,
    Preserved and praised 'mid noble minds to make
    Thy name, its memory shall be deathless here.


      The fragrant gale, and the refreshing shade
    Of my sweet laurel, and its verdant form,
    That were my shelter in life's weary storm,
    Have felt the power that makes all nature fade:
    Now has my light been lost in gloomy shade,
    E'en as the sun behind his sister's form:
    I call for Death to free me from Death's storm,
    But Love descends and brings me better aid!
    He tells me, lady, that one moment's sleep
    Alone was thine, and then thou didst awake
    Among the elect, and in thy Maker's arms:
    And if my verse oblivion's power can keep
    Aloof, thy name its place on earth-will take
    Where Genius still will dote upon thy charms!



_L' ultimo, lasso! de' miei giorni allegri._


      The last, alas! of my bright days and glad
    --Few have been mine in this brief life below--
    Had come; I felt my heart as tepid snow,
    Presage, perchance, of days both dark and sad.
    As one in nerves, and pulse, and spirits bad,
    Who of some frequent fever waits the blow,
    E'en so I felt--for how could I foreknow
    Such near end of the half-joys I have had?
    Her beauteous eyes, in heaven now bright and bless'd
    With the pure light whence health and life descends,
    (Wretched and beggar'd leaving me behind,)
    With chaste and soul-lit beams our grief address'd:
    "Tarry ye here in peace, beloved friends,
    Though here no more, we yet shall there be join'd."


      Ah me! the last of all my happy days
    (Not many happy days my years can show)
    Was come! I felt my heart as turn'd to snow,
    Presage, perhaps, that happiness decays!
    E'en as the man whose shivering frame betrays,
    And fluttering pulse, the ague's coming blow;
    'Twas thus I felt!--but could I therefore know
    How soon would end the bliss that never stays?
    Those eyes that now, in heaven's delicious light,
    Drink in pure beams which life and glory rain,
    Just as they left mine, blinded, sunk in night,
    Seem'd thus to say, sparkling unwonted bright,--
    "Awhile, beloved friends, in peace remain,
    Oh, we shall yet elsewhere exchange fond looks again!"



_O giorno, o ora, o ultimo momento._


      O Day, O hour, O moment sweetest, last,
    O stars conspired to make me poor indeed!
    O look too true, in which I seem'd to read.
    At parting, that my happiness was past;
    Now my full loss I know, I feel at last:
    Then I believed (ah! weak and idle creed!)
    'Twas but a part alone I lost; instead,
    Was there a hope that flew not with the blast?
    For, even then, it was in heaven ordain'd
    That the sweet light of all my life should die:
    'Twas written in her sadly-pensive eye!
    But mine unconscious of the truth remain'd;
    Or, what it would not see, to see refrain'd,
    That I might sink in sudden misery!


      Dark hour, last moment of that fatal day!
    Stars which to beggar me of bliss combined!
    O faithful glance, too well which seem'dst to say
    Farewell to me, farewell to peace of mind!
    Awaken'd now, my losses I survey:
    Alas! I fondly thought--thoughts weak and blind!--
    That absence would take part, not all, away;
    How many hopes it scatter'd to the wind.
    Heaven had already doom'd it otherwise,
    To quench for ever my life's genial light,
    And in her sad sweet face 'twas written so.
    Surely a veil was placed around mine eyes,
    That blinded me to all before my sight,
    And sank at once my life in deepest woe.



_Quel vago, dolce, caro, onesto sguardo._


      That glance of hers, pure, tender, clear, and sweet,
    Methought it said, "Take what thou canst while nigh;
    For here no more thou'lt see me, till on high
    From earth have mounted thy slow-moving feet."
    O intellect than forest pard more fleet!
    Yet slow and dull thy sorrow to descry,
    How didst thou fail to see in her bright eye
    What since befell, whence I my ruin meet.
    Silently shining with a fire sublime,
    They said, "O friendly lights, which long have been
    Mirrors to us where gladly we were seen,
    Heaven waits for you, as ye shall know in time;
    Who bound us to the earth dissolves our bond,
    But wills in your despite that you shall live beyond."



_Solea dalla fontana di mia vita._


      I who was wont from life's best fountain far
    So long to wander, searching land and sea,
    Pursuing not my pleasure, but my star,
    And alway, as Love knows who strengthen'd me,
    Ready in bitter exile to depart,
    For hope and memory both then fed my heart;
    Alas! now wring my hands, and to unkind
    And angry Fortune, which away has reft
    That so sweet hope, my armour have resign'd;
    And, memory only left,
    I feed my great desire on that alone,
    Whence frail and famish'd is my spirit grown.

    As haply by the way, if want of food
    Compel the traveller to relax his speed,
    Losing that strength which first his steps endued,
    So feeling, for my weary life, the need
    Of that dear nourishment Death rudely stole,
    Leaving the world all bare, and sad my soul,
    From time to time fair pleasures pall, my sweet
    To bitter turns, fear rises, and hopes fail,
    My course, though brief, that I shall e'er complete:
    Cloudlike before the gale,
    To win some resting-place from rest I flee,
    --If such indeed my doom, so let it be.

    Never to mortal life could I incline,
    --Be witness, Love, with whom I parley oft--
    Except for her who was its light and mine.
    And since, below extinguish'd, shines aloft
    The life in which I lived, if lawful 'twere,
    My chief desire would be to follow her:
    But mine is ample cause of grief, for I
    To see my future fate was ill supplied;
    This Love reveal'd within her beauteous eye
    Elsewhere my hopes to guide:
    Too late he dies, disconsolate and sad,
    Whom death a little earlier had made glad.

    In those bright eyes, where wont my heart to dwell,
    Until by envy my hard fortune stirr'd
    Rose from so rich a temple to expel,
    Love with his proper hand had character'd
    In lines of pity what, ere long, I ween
    The issue of my old desire had been.
    Dying alone, and not my life with me,
    Comely and sweet it then had been to die,
    Leaving my life's best part unscathed and free;
    But now my fond hopes lie
    Dead in her silent dust: a secret chill
    Shoots through me when I think that I live still.

    If my poor intellect had but the force
    To help my need, and if no other lure
    Had led it from the plain and proper course,
    Upon my lady's brow 'twere easy sure
    To have read this truth, "Here all thy pleasure dies,
    And hence thy lifelong trial dates its rise."
    My spirit then had gently pass'd away
    In her dear presence from all mortal care;
    Freed from this troublesome and heavy clay,
    Mounting, before her, where
    Angels and saints prepared on high her place,
    Whom I but follow now with slow sad pace.

    My song! if one there be
    Who in his love finds happiness and rest,
    Tell him this truth from me,
    "Die, while thou still art bless'd,
    For death betimes is comfort, not dismay,
    And who can rightly die needs no delay."



_Mia benigna fortuna e 'l viver lieto._


      My favouring fortune and my life of joy,
    My days so cloudless, and my tranquil nights,
    The tender sigh, the pleasing power of song,
    Which gently wont to sound in verse and rhyme,
    Suddenly darken'd into grief and tears,
    Make me hate life and inly pray for death!

    O cruel, grim, inexorable Death!
    How hast thou dried my every source of joy,
    And left me to drag on a life of tears,
    Through darkling days and melancholy nights.
    My heavy sighs no longer meet in rhyme,
    And my hard martyrdom exceeds all song!

    Where now is vanish'd my once amorous song?
    To talk of anger and to treat with death;
    Where the fond verses, where the happy rhyme
    Welcomed by gentle hearts with pensive joy?
    Where now Love's communings that cheer'd my nights?
    My sole theme, my one thought, is now but tears!

    Erewhile to my desire so sweet were tears
    Their tenderness refined my else rude song,
    And made me wake and watch the livelong nights;
    But sorrow now to me is worse than death,
    Since lost for aye that look of modest joy,
    The lofty subject of my lowly rhyme!

    Love in those bright eyes to my ready rhyme
    Gave a fair theme, now changed, alas! to tears;
    With grief remembering that time of joy,
    My changed thoughts issue find in other song,
    Evermore thee beseeching, pallid Death,
    To snatch and save me from these painful nights!

    Sleep has departed from my anguish'd nights,
    Music is absent from my rugged rhyme,
    Which knows not now to sound of aught but death;
    Its notes, so thrilling once, all turn'd to tears,
    Love knows not in his reign such varied song,
    As full of sadness now as then of joy!

    Man lived not then so crown'd as I with joy,
    Man lives not now such wretched days and nights;
    And my full festering grief but swells the song
    Which from my bosom draws the mournful rhyme;
    I lived in hope, who now live but in tears,
    Nor against death have other hope save death!

    Me Death in her has kill'd; and only Death
    Can to my sight restore that face of joy,
    Which pleasant made to me e'en sighs and tears,
    Balmy the air, and dewy soft the nights,
    Wherein my choicest thoughts I gave to rhyme
    While Love inspirited my feeble song!

    Would that such power as erst graced Orpheus' song
    Were mine to win my Laura back from death,
    As he Eurydice without a rhyme;
    Then would I live in best excess of joy;
    Or, that denied me, soon may some sad night
    Close for me ever these twin founts of tears!

    Love! I have told with late and early tears,
    My grievous injuries in doleful song;
    Not that I hope from thee less cruel nights;
    And therefore am I urged to pray for death,
    Which hence would take me but to crown with joy,
    Where lives she whom I sing in this sad rhyme!

    If so high may aspire my weary rhyme,
    To her now shelter'd safe from rage and tears,
    Whose beauties fill e'en heaven with livelier joy,
    Well would she recognise my alter'd song,
    Which haply pleased her once, ere yet by death
    Her days were cloudless made and dark my nights!

    O ye, who fondly sigh for better nights,
    Who listen to love's will, or sing in rhyme,
    Pray that for me be no delay in death,
    The port of misery, the goal of tears,
    But let him change for me his ancient song,
    Since what makes others sad fills me with joy!

    Ay! for such joy, in one or in few nights,
    I pray in rude song and in anguish'd rhyme,
    That soon my tears may ended be in death!



_Ite, rime dolenti, al duro sasso._


      Go, plaintive verse, to the cold marble go,
    Which hides in earth my treasure from these eyes;
    There call on her who answers from yon skies,
    Although the mortal part dwells dark and low.
    Of life how I am wearied make her know,
    Of stemming these dread waves that round me rise:
    But, copying all her virtues I so prize,
    Her track I follow, yet my steps are slow.
    I sing of her, living, or dead, alone;
    (Dead, did I say? She is immortal made!)
    That by the world she should be loved, and known.
    Oh! in my passage hence may she be near,
    To greet my coming that's not long delay'd;
    And may I hold in heaven the rank herself holds there!


      Go, melancholy rhymes! your tribute bring
    To that cold stone, which holds the dear remains
    Of all that earth held precious;--uttering,
    If heaven should deign to hear them, earthly strains.
    Tell her, that sport of tempests, fit no more
    To stem the troublous ocean,--here at last
    Her votary treads the solitary shore;
    His only pleasure to recall the past.
    Tell her, that she who living ruled his fate,
    In death still holds her empire: all his care,
    So grant the Muse her aid,--to celebrate
    Her every word, and thought, and action fair.
    Be this my meed, that in the hour of death
    Her kindred spirit may hail, and bless my parting breath!



_S' onesto amor può meritar mercede._


      If Mercy e'er rewardeth virtuous love,
    If Pity still can do, as she has done,
    I shall have rest, for clearer than the sun
    My lady and the world my faith approve.
    Who fear'd me once, now knows, yet scarce believes
    I am the same who wont her love to seek,
    Who seek it still; where she but heard me speak,
    Or saw my face, she now my soul perceives.
    Wherefore I hope that e'en in heaven she mourns
    My heavy anguish, and on me the while
    Her sweet face eloquent of pity turns,
    And that when shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Her way to me with that fair band she'll wend,
    True follower of Christ and virtue's friend.


      If virtuous love doth merit recompense--
    If pity still maintain its wonted sway--
    I that reward shall win, for bright as day
    To earth and Laura breathes my faith's incense.
    She fear'd me once--now heavenly confidence
    Reveals my heart's first hope's unchanging stay;
    A word, a look, could this alone convey,
    My heart she reads now, stripp'd of earth's defence.
    And thus I hope, she for my heavy sighs
    To heaven complains, to me she pity shows
    By sympathetic visits in my dream:
    And when this mortal temple breathless lies,
    Oh! may she greet my soul, enclosed by those
    Whom heaven and virtue love--our friends supreme.



_Vidi fra mille donne una già tale._


      'Mid many fair one such by me was seen
    That amorous fears my heart did instant seize,
    Beholding her--nor false the images--
    Equal to angels in her heavenly mien.
    Nothing in her was mortal or terrene,
    As one whom nothing short of heaven can please;
    My soul well train'd for her to burn and freeze
    Sought in her wake to mount the blue serene.
    But ah! too high for earthly wings to rise
    Her pitch, and soon she wholly pass'd from sight:
    The very thought still makes me cold and numb;
    O beautiful and high and lustrous eyes,
    Where Death, who fills the world with grief and fright,
    Found entrance in so fair a form to come.



_Tornami a mente, anzi v' è dentro quella._


      Oh! to my soul for ever she returns;
    Or rather Lethe could not blot her thence,
    Such as she was when first she struck my sense,
    In that bright blushing age when beauty burns:
    So still I see her, bashful as she turns
    Retired into herself, as from offence:
    I cry--"'Tis she! she still has life and sense:
    Oh, speak to me, my love!"--Sometimes she spurns
    My call; sometimes she seems to answer straight:
    Then, starting from my waking dream, I say,--
    "Alas! poor wretch, thou art of mind bereft!
    Forget'st thou the first hour of the sixth day
    Of April, the three hundred, forty eight,
    And thousandth year,--when she her earthly mansion left?"


      My mind recalls her; nay, her home is there,
    Nor can Lethean draught drive thence her form,
    I see that star's pure ray her spirit warm,
    Whose grace and spring-time beauty she doth wear.
    As thus my vision paints her charms so rare,
    That none to such perfection may conform,
    I cry, "'Tis she! death doth to life transform!"
    And then to hear that voice, I wake my prayer.
    She now replies, and now doth mute appear,
    Like one whose tottering mind regains its power;
    I speak my heart: "Thou must this cheat resign;
    The thirteen hundred, eight and fortieth year,
    The sixth of April's suns, his first bright hour,
    Thou know'st that soul celestial fled its shrine!"



_Questo nostro caduco e fragil bene._


      This gift of beauty which a good men name,
    Frail, fleeting, fancied, false, a wind, a shade,
    Ne'er yet with all its spells one fair array'd,
    Save in this age when for my cost it came.
    Not such is Nature's duty, nor her aim,
    One to enrich if others poor are made,
    But now on one is all her wealth display'd,
    --Ladies, your pardon let my boldness claim.
    Like loveliness ne'er lived, or old or new,
    Nor ever shall, I ween, but hid so strange,
    Scarce did our erring world its marvel view,
    So soon it fled; thus too my soul must change
    The little light vouchsafed me from the skies
    Only for pleasure of her sainted eyes.



_O tempo, o ciel volubil che fuggendo._


      O Time! O heavens! whose flying changes frame
    Errors and snares for mortals poor and blind;
    O days more swift than arrows or the wind,
    Experienced now, I know your treacherous aim.
    You I excuse, myself alone I blame,
    For Nature for your flight who wings design'd
    To me gave eyes which still I have inclined
    To mine own ill, whence follow grief and shame.
    An hour will come, haply e'en now is pass'd,
    Their sight to turn on my diviner part
    And so this infinite anguish end at last.
    Rejects not your long yoke, O Love, my heart,
    But its own ill by study, sufferings vast:
    Virtue is not of chance, but painful art.


      O Time! O circling heavens! in your flight
    Us mortals ye deceive--so poor and blind;
    O days! more fleeting than the shaft or wind,
    Experience brings your treachery to my sight!
    But mine the error--ye yourselves are right;
    Your flight fulfils but that your wings design'd:
    My eyes were Nature's gift, yet ne'er could find
    But one blest light--and hence their present blight.
    It now is time (perchance the hour is pass'd)
    That they a safer dwelling should select,
    And thus repose might soothe my grief acute:
    Love's yoke the spirit may not from it cast,
    (With oh what pain!) it may its ill eject;
    But virtue is attain'd but by pursuit!



_Quel, che d' odore e di color vincea._


      That which in fragrance and in hue defied
    The odoriferous and lucid East,
    Fruits, flowers and herbs and leaves, and whence the West
    Of all rare excellence obtain'd the prize,
    My laurel sweet, which every beauty graced,
    Where every glowing virtue loved to dwell,
    Beheld beneath its fair and friendly shade
    My Lord, and by his side my Goddess sit.
    Still have I placed in that beloved plant
    My home of choicest thoughts: in fire, in frost
    Shivering or burning, still I have been bless'd.
    The world was of her perfect honours full
    When God, his own bright heaven therewith to grace,
    Reclaim'd her for Himself, for she was his.



_Lasciato hai, Morte, senza sole il mondo._


      Death, thou the world, since that dire arrow sped,
    Sunless and cold hast left; Love weak and blind;
    Beauty and grace their brilliance have resign'd,
    And from my heavy heart all joy is fled;
    Honour is sunk, and softness banishèd.
    I weep alone the woes which all my kind
    Should weep--for virtue's fairest flower has pined
    Beneath thy touch: what second blooms instead?
    Let earth, sea, air, with common wail bemoan
    Man's hapless race; which now, since Laura died,
    A flowerless mead, a gemless ring appears.
    The world possess'd, nor knew her worth, till flown!
    I knew it well, who here in grief abide;
    And heaven too knows, which decks its forehead with my tears.


      Thou, Death, hast left this world's dark cheerless way
    Without a sun: Love blind and stripp'd of arms;
    Left mirth despoil'd; beauty bereaved of charms;
    And me self-wearied, to myself a prey;
    Left vanish'd, sunk, whate'er was courteous, gay:
    I only weep, yet all must feel alarms:
    If beauty's bud the hand of rapine harms
    It dies, and not a second views the day!
    Let air, earth, ocean weep for human kind;
    For human kind, deprived of Laura, seems
    A flowerless mead, a ring whose gem is lost.
    None knew her worth while to this orb confined,
    Save me her bard, whose sorrow ceaseless streams,
    And heaven, that's made more beauteous at my cost.



_Conobbi, quanto il ciel gli occhi m' aperse._


      So far as to mine eyes its light heaven show'd,
    So far as love and study train'd my wings,
    Novel and beautiful but mortal things
    From every star I found on her bestow'd:
    So many forms in rare and varied mode
    Of heavenly beauty from immortal springs
    My panting intellect before me brings,
    Sunk my weak sight before their dazzling load.
    Hence, whatsoe'er I spoke of her or wrote,
    Who, at God's right, returns me now her prayers,
    Is in that infinite abyss a mote:
    For style beyond the genius never dares;
    Thus, though upon the sun man fix his sight,
    He seeth less as fiercer burns its light.



_Dolce mio caro e prezioso pegno._


      Dear precious pledge, by Nature snatch'd away,
    But yet reserved for me in realms undying;
    O thou on whom my life is aye relying,
    Why tarry thus, when for thine aid I pray?
    Time was, when sleep could to mine eyes convey
    Sweet visions, worthy thee;--why is my sighing
    Unheeded now?--who keeps thee from replying?
    Surely contempt in heaven cannot stay:
    Often on earth the gentlest heart is fain
    To feed and banquet on another's woe
    (Thus love is conquer'd in his own domain),
    But thou, who seest through me, and dost know
    All that I feel,--thou, who canst soothe my pain,
    Oh! let thy blessed shade its peace bestow.



_Deh qual pietà, qual angel fu sì presto._


      What angel of compassion, hovering near,
    Heard, and to heaven my heart grief instant bore,
    Whence now I feel descending as of yore
    My lady, in that bearing chaste and dear,
    My lone and melancholy heart to cheer,
    So free from pride, of humbleness such store,
    In fine, so perfect, though at death's own door,
    I live, and life no more is dull and drear.
    Blessèd is she who so can others bless
    With her fair sight, or with that tender speech
    To whose full meaning love alone can reach.
    "Dear friend," she says, "thy pangs my soul distress;
    But for our good I did thy homage shun"--
    In sweetest tones which might arrest the sun.



_Del cibo onde 'l signor mio sempre abbonda._


      Food wherewithal my lord is well supplied,
    With tears and grief my weary heart I've fed;
    As fears within and paleness o'er me spread,
    Oft thinking on its fatal wound and wide:
    But in her time with whom no other vied,
    Equal or second, to my suffering bed
    Comes she to look on whom I almost dread,
    And takes her seat in pity by my side.
    With that fair hand, so long desired in vain,
    She check'd my tears, while at her accents crept
    A sweetness to my soul, intense, divine.
    "Is this thy wisdom, to parade thy pain?
    No longer weep! hast thou not amply wept?
    Would that such life were thine as death is mine!"


      With grief and tears (my soul's proud sovereign's food)
    I ever nourish still my aching heart;
    I feel my blanching cheek, and oft I start
    As on Love's sharp engraven wound I brood.
    But she, who e'er on earth unrivall'd stood,
    Flits o'er my couch, when prostrate by his dart
    I lie; and there her presence doth impart.
    Whilst scarce my eyes dare meet their vision'd good,
    With that fair hand in life I so desired,
    She stays my eyes' sad tide; her voice's tone
    Awakes the balm earth ne'er to man can give:
    And thus she speaks:--"Oh! vain hath wisdom fired
    The hopeless mourner's breast; no more bemoan,
    I am not dead--would thou like me couldst live!"



_Ripensando a quel ch' oggi il ciel onora._


      To that soft look which now adorns the skies,
    The graceful bending of the radiant head,
    The face, the sweet angelic accents fled,
    That soothed me once, but now awake my sighs
    Oh! when to these imagination flies,
    I wonder that I am not long since dead!
    'Tis she supports me, for her heavenly tread
    Is round my couch when morning visions rise!
    In every attitude how holy, chaste!
    How tenderly she seems to hear the tale
    Of my long woes, and their relief to seek!
    But when day breaks she then appears in haste
    The well-known heavenward path again to scale,
    With moisten'd eye, and soft expressive cheek!


      'Tis sweet, though sad, my trembling thoughts to raise,
    As memory dwells upon that form so dear,
    And think that now e'en angels join to praise
    The gentle virtues that adorn'd her here;
    That face, that look, in fancy to behold--
    To hear that voice that did with music vie--
    The bending head, crown'd with its locks of gold--
    _All, all_ that charm'd, now but sad thoughts supply.
    How had I lived her bitter loss to weep,
    If that pure spirit, pitying my woe,
    Had not appear'd to bless my troubled sleep,
    Ere memory broke upon the world below?
    What pure, what gentle greetings then were mine!
    In what attention wrapt she paused to hear
    My life's sad course, of which she bade me speak!
    But as the dawn from forth the East did shine
    Back to that heaven to which her way was clear,
    She fled,--while falling tears bedew'd each cheek.



_Fu forse un tempo dolce cosa amore._


      Love, haply, was erewhile a sweet relief;
    I scarce know when; but now it bitter grows
    Beyond all else. Who learns from life well knows,
    As I have learnt to know from heavy grief;
    She, of our age, who was its honour chief,
    Who now in heaven with brighter lustre glows,
    Has robb'd my being of the sole repose
    It knew in life, though that was rare and brief.
    Pitiless Death my every good has ta'en!
    Not the great bliss of her fair spirit freed
    Can aught console the adverse life I lead.
    I wept and sang; who now can wake no strain,
    But day and night the pent griefs of my soul
    From eyes and tongue in tears and verses roll.



_Spinse amor e dolor ove ir non debbe._


      Sorrow and Love encouraged my poor tongue,
    Discreet in sadness, where it should not go,
    To speak of her for whom I burn'd and sung,
    What, even were it true, 'twere wrong to show.
    That blessèd saint my miserable state
    Might surely soothe, and ease my spirit's strife,
    Since she in heaven is now domesticate
    With Him who ever ruled her heart in life.
    Wherefore I am contented and consoled,
    Nor would again in life her form behold;
    Nay, I prefer to die, and live alone.
    Fairer than ever to my mental eye,
    I see her soaring with the angels high,
    Before our Lord, her maker and my own.


      My love and grief compell'd me to proclaim
    My heart's lament, and urged me to convey
    That, were it true, of her I should not say
    Who woke alike my song and bosom's flame.
    For I should comfort find, 'mid this world's shame,
    To mark her soul's beatified array,
    To think that He who here had own'd its sway,
    Doth now within his home its presence claim.
    And true I comfort find--myself resign'd,
    I would not woo her back to earthly gloom;
    Oh! rather let me die, or live still lone!
    My mental eye, that holds her there enshrined,
    Now paints her wing'd, bright with celestial bloom,
    Prostrate beneath our mutual Heaven's throne.



_Gli angeli eletti e l' anime beate._


      The chosen angels, and the spirits blest,
    Celestial tenants, on that glorious day
    My Lady join'd them, throng'd in bright array
    Around her, with amaze and awe imprest.
    "What splendour, what new beauty stands confest
    Unto our sight?"--among themselves they say;
    "No soul, in this vile age, from sinful clay
    To our high realms has risen so fair a guest."
    Delighted to have changed her mortal state,
    She ranks amid the purest of her kind;
    And ever and anon she looks behind,
    To mark my progress and my coming wait;
    Now my whole thought, my wish to heaven I cast;
    'Tis Laura's voice I hear, and hence she bids me haste.


      The chosen angels, and the blest above,
    Heaven's citizens!--the day when Laura ceased
    To adorn the world, about her thronging press'd,
    Replete with wonder and with holy love.
    "What sight is this?--what will this beauty prove?"
    Said they; "for sure no form in charms so dress'd,
    From yonder globe to this high place of rest,
    In all the latter age, did e'er remove!"
    She, pleased and happy with her mansion new,
    Compares herself with the most perfect there;
    And now and then she casts a glance to view
    If yet I come, and seems to wish me near.
    Rise then, my thoughts, to heaven!--vain world, adieu!
    My Laura calls! her quickening voice I hear!



_Donna che lieta col Principio nostro._


      Lady, in bliss who, by our Maker's feet,
    As suited for thine excellent life alone,
    Art now enthroned in high and glorious seat,
    Adorn'd with charms nor pearls nor purple own;
    O model high and rare of ladies sweet!
    Now in his face to whom all things are known,
    Look on my love, with that pure faith replete,
    As long my verse and truest tears have shown,
    And know at last my heart on earth to thee
    Was still as now in heaven, nor wish'd in life
    More than beneath thine eyes' bright sun to be:
    Wherefore, to recompense the tedious strife,
    Which turn'd my liege heart from the world away,
    Pray that I soon may come with thee to stay.


      Lady! whose gentle virtues have obtain'd
    For thee a dwelling with thy Maker blest,
    To sit enthroned above, in angels' vest
    (Whose lustre gold nor purple had attain'd):
    Ah! thou who here the most exalted reign'd,
    Now through the eyes of Him who knows each breast,
    That heart's pure faith and love thou canst attest,
    Which both my pen and tears alike sustain'd.
    Thou, knowest, too, my heart was thine on earth,
    As now it is in heaven; no wish was there
    But to avow thine eyes, its only shrine:
    Thus to reward the strife which owes its birth
    To thee, who won my each affection'd care,
    Pray God to waft me to his home and thine!



_Da' più begli occhi e dal più chiaro viso._


      The brightest eyes, the most resplendent face
    That ever shone; and the most radiant hair,
    With which nor gold nor sunbeam could compare;
    The sweetest accent, and a smile all grace;
    Hands, arms, that would e'en motionless abase
    Those who to Love the most rebellious were;
    Fine, nimble feet; a form that would appear
    Like that of her who first did Eden trace;
    These fann'd life's spark: now heaven, and all its choir
    Of angel hosts those kindred charms admire;
    While lone and darkling I on earth remain.
    Yet is not comfort fled; she, who can read
    Each secret of my soul, shall intercede;
    And I her sainted form behold again.


      Yes, from those finest eyes, that face most sweet
    That ever shone, and from that loveliest hair,
    With which nor gold nor sunbeam may compare,
    That speech with love, that smile with grace replete,
    From those soft hands, those white arms which defeat.
    Themselves unmoved, the stoutest hearts that e'er
    To Love were rebels; from those feet so fair,
    From her whole form, for Eden only meet,
    My spirit took its life--now these delight
    The King of Heaven and his angelic train,
    While, blind and naked, I am left in night.
    One only balm expect I 'mid my pain--
    That she, mine every thought who now can see,
    May win this grace--that I with her may be.



_E' mi par d' or in ora udire il messo._


      Methinks from hour to hour her voice I hear:
    My Lady calls me! I would fain obey;
    Within, without, I feel myself decay;
    And am so alter'd--not with many a year--
    That to myself a stranger I appear;
    All my old usual life is put away--
    Could I but know how long I have to stay!
    Grant, Heaven, the long-wish'd summons may be near!
    Oh, blest the day when from this earthly gaol
    I shall be freed, when burst and broken lies
    This mortal guise, so heavy yet so frail,
    When from this black night my saved spirit flies,
    Soaring up, up, above the bright serene,
    Where with my Lord my Lady shall be seen.



_L' aura mia sacra al mio stanco riposo._


      On my oft-troubled sleep my sacred air
    So softly breathes, at last I courage take,
    To tell her of my past and present ache,
    Which never in her life my heart did dare.
    I first that glance so full of love declare
    Which served my lifelong torment to awake,
    Next, how, content and wretched for her sake,
    Love day by day my tost heart knew to tear.
    She speaks not, but, with pity's dewy trace,
    Intently looks on me, and gently sighs,
    While pure and lustrous tears begem her face;
    My spirit, which her sorrow fiercely tries,
    So to behold her weep with anger burns,
    And freed from slumber to itself returns.



_Ogni giorno mi par più di mill' anni._


      Each day to me seems as a thousand years,
    That I my dear and faithful star pursue,
    Who guided me on earth, and guides me too
    By a sure path to life without its tears.
    For in the world, familiar now, appears
    No snare to tempt; so rare a light and true
    Shines e'en from heaven my secret conscience through,
    Of lost time and loved sin the glass it rears.
    Not that I need the threats of death to dread,
    (Which He who loved us bore with greater pain)
    That, firm and constant, I his path should tread:
    'Tis but a brief while since in every vein
    Of her he enter'd who my fate has been,
    Yet troubled not the least her brow serene.



_Non può far morte il dolce viso amaro._


      Death cannot make that beauteous face less fair,
    But that sweet face may lend to death a grace;
    My spirit's guide! from her each good I trace;
    Who learns to die, may seek his lesson there.
    That holy one! who not his blood would spare,
    But did the dark Tartarean bolts unbrace;
    He, too, doth from my soul death's terrors chase:
    Then welcome, death! thy impress I would wear.
    And linger not! 'tis time that I had fled;
    Alas! my stay hath little here avail'd,
    Since she, my Laura blest, resign'd her breath:
    Life's spring in me hath since that hour lain dead,
    In her I lived, my life in hers exhaled,
    The hour she died I felt within me death!



_Quando il suave mio fido conforto._


      When she, the faithful soother of my pain,
    This life's long weary pilgrimage to cheer,
    Vouchsafes beside my nightly couch to appear,
    With her sweet speech attempering reason's strain;
    O'ercome by tenderness, and terror vain,
    I cry, "Whence comest thou, O spirit blest?"
    She from her beauteous breast
    A branch of laurel and of palm displays,
    And, answering, thus she says.
    "From th' empyrean seat of holy love
    Alone thy sorrows to console I move."

    In actions, and in words, in humble guise
    I speak my thanks, and ask, "How may it be
    That thou shouldst know my wretched state?" and she
    "Thy floods of tears perpetual, and thy sighs
    Breathed forth unceasing, to high heaven arise.
    And there disturb thy blissful state serene;
    So grievous hath it been,
    That freed from this poor being, I at last
    To a better life have pass'd,
    Which should have joy'd thee hadst thou loved as well
    As thy sad brow, and sadder numbers tell."

    "Oh! not thy ills, I but deplore my own,
    In darkness, and in grief remaining here,
    Certain that thou hast reach'd the highest sphere,
    As of a thing that man hath seen and known.
    Would God and Nature to the world have shown
    Such virtue in a young and gentle breast,
    Were not eternal rest
    The appointed guerdon of a life so fair?
    Thou! of the spirits rare,
    Who, from a course unspotted, pure and high,
    Are suddenly translated to the sky.

    "But I! how can I cease to weep? forlorn,
    Without thee nothing, wretched, desolate!
    Oh, in the cradle had I met my fate,
    Or at the breast! and not to love been born!"
    And she: "Why by consuming grief thus worn?
    Were it not better spread aloft thy wings,
    And now all mortal things,
    With these thy sweet and idle fantasies,
    At their just value prize,
    And follow me, if true thy tender vows,
    Gathering henceforth with me these honour'd boughs?"

    Then answering her:--"Fain would I thou shouldst say
    What these two verdant branches signify."
    "Methinks," she says, "thou may'st thyself reply,
    Whose pen has graced the one by many a lay.
    The palm shows victory; and in youth's bright day
    I overcame the world, and my weak heart:
    The triumph mine in part,
    Glory to Him who made my weakness strength!
    And thou, yet turn at length!
    'Gainst other powers his gracious aid implore,
    That we may be with Him thy trial o'er!"

    "Are these the crisped locks, and links of gold
    That bind me still? And these the radiant eyes.
    To me the Sun?" "Err not with the unwise,
    Nor think," she says, "as they are wont. Behold
    In me a spirit, among the blest enroll'd;
    Thou seek'st what hath long been earth again:
    Yet to relieve thy pain
    'Tis given me thus to appear, ere I resume
    That beauty from the tomb,
    More loved, that I, severe in pity, win
    Thy soul with mine to Heaven, from death and sin."

    I weep; and she my cheek,
    Soft sighing, with her own fair hand will dry;
    And, gently chiding, speak
    In tones of power to rive hard rocks in twain;
    Then vanishing, sleep follows in her train.



_Quell' antiquo mio dolce empio signore._


      Long had I suffer'd, till--to combat more
    In strength, in hope too sunk--at last before
    Impartial Reason's seat,
    Whence she presides our nobler nature o'er,
    I summon'd my old tyrant, stern and sweet;
    There, groaning 'neath a weary weight of grief,
    With fear and horror stung,
    Like one who dreads to die and prays relief,
    My plea I open'd thus: "When life was young,
    I, weakly, placed my peace within his power,
    And nothing from that hour
    Save wrong I've met; so many and so great
    The torments I have borne,
    That my once infinite patience is outworn,
    And my life worthless grown is held in very hate!

    "Thus sadly has my time till now dragg'd by
    In flames and anguish: I have left each way
    Of honour, use, and joy,
    This my most cruel flatterer to obey.
    What wit so rare such language to employ
    That yet may free me from this wretched thrall.
    Or even my complaint,
    So great and just, against this ingrate paint?
    O little sweet! much bitterness and gall!
    How have you changed my life, so tranquil, ere
    With the false witchery blind,
    That alone lured me to his amorous snare!
    If right I judge, a mind
    I boasted once with higher feelings rife,
    --But he destroy'd my peace, he plunged me in this strife!

    "Less for myself to care, through him I've grown.
    And less my God to honour than I ought:
    Through him my every thought
    On a frail beauty blindly have I thrown;
    In this my counsellor he stood alone,
    Still prompt with cruel aid so to provoke
    My young desire, that I
    Hoped respite from his harsh and heavy yoke.
    But, ah! what boots--though changing time sweep by,
    If from this changeless passion nought can save--
    A genius proud and high?
    Or what Heaven's other envied gifts to have,
    If still I groan the slave
    Of the fierce despot whom I here accuse,
    Who turns e'en my sad life to his triumphant use?

    "'Twas he who made me desert countries seek,
    Wild tribes and nations dangerous, manners rude,
    My path with thorns he strew'd,
    And every error that betrays the weak.
    Valley and mountain, marsh, and stream, and sea,
    On every side his snares were set for me.
    In June December came,
    With present peril and sharp toil the same;
    Alone they left me never, neither he,
    Nor she, whom I so fled, my other foe:
    Untimely in my tomb,
    If by some painful death not yet laid low.
    My safety from such doom
    Heaven's gracious pity, not this tyrant, deigns,
    Who feeds upon my grief, and profits in my pains!

    "No quiet hour, since first I own'd his reign,
    I've known, nor hope to know: repose is fled
    From my unfriendly bed,
    Nor herb nor spells can bring it back again.
    By fraud and force he gain'd and guards his power
    O'er every sense; soundeth from steeple near,
    By day, by night, the hour,
    I feel his hand in every stroke I hear.
    Never did cankerworm fair tree devour,
    As he my heart, wherein he, gnawing, lurks,
    And, there, my ruin works.
    Hence my past martyrdom and tears arise,
    My present speech, these sighs,
    Which tear and tire myself, and haply thee,
    --Judge then between us both, thou knowest him and me!"

    With fierce reproach my adversary rose:
    "Lady," he spoke, "the rebel to a close
    Is heard at last, the truth
    Receive from me which he has shrunk to tell:
    Big words to bandy, specious lies to sell,
    He plies right well the vile trade of his youth,
    Freed from whose shame, to share
    My easy pleasures, by my friendly care,
    From each false passion which had work'd him ill,
    Kept safe and pure, laments he, graceless, still
    The sweet life he has gain'd?
    And, blindly, thus his fortune dares he blame,
    Who owes his very fame
    To me, his genius who sublimed, sustain'd,
    In the proud flight to which he, else, had dared not aim?

    "Well knows he how, in history's every page,
    The laurell'd chief, the monarch on his throne,
    The poet and the sage,
    Favourites of fortune, or for virtue known,
    Were cursed by evil stars, in loves debased,
    Soulless and vile, their hearts, their fame, to waste:
    While I, for him alone,
    From all the lovely ladies of the earth,
    Chose one, so graced with beauty and with worth,
    The eternal sun her equal ne'er beheld.
    Such charm was in her life,
    Such virtue in her speech with music rife,
    Their wondrous power dispell'd
    Each vain and vicious fancy from his heart,
    --A foe I am indeed, if this a foeman's part!

    "Such was my anger, these my hate and slights,
    Than all which others could bestow more sweet;
    Evil for good I meet,
    If thus ingratitude my grace requites.
    So high, upon my wings, he soar'd in fame,
    To hear his song, fair dames and gentle knights
    In throngs delighted came.
    Among the gifted spirits of our time
    His name conspicuous shines; in every clime
    Admired, approved, his strains an echo find.
    Such is he, but for me
    A mere court flatterer who was doom'd to be,
    Unmark'd amid his kind,
    Till, in my school, exalted and made known
    By her, who, of her sex, stood peerless and alone!

    "If my great service more there need to tell,
    I have so fenced and fortified him well,
    That his pure mind on nought
    Of gross or grovelling now can brook to dwell;
    Modest and sensitive, in deed, word, thought,
    Her captive from his youth, she so her fair
    And virtuous image press'd
    Upon his heart, it left its likeness there:
    Whate'er his life has shown of good or great,
    In aim or action, he from us possess'd.
    Never was midnight dream
    So full of error as to us his hate!
    For Heaven's and man's esteem
    If still he keep, the praise is due to us,
    Whom in its thankless pride his blind rage censures thus!

    "In fine, 'twas I, my past love to exceed,
    Who heavenward fix'd his hope, who gave him wings
    To fly from mortal things,
    Which to eternal bliss the path impede;
    With his own sense, that, seeing how in her
    Virtues and charms so great and rare combined,
    A holy pride might stir
    And to the Great First Cause exalt his mind,
    (In his own verse confess'd this truth we see,)
    While that dear lady whom I sent to be
    The grace, the guard, and guide
    Of his vain life"--But here a heart-deep groan
    I sudden gave, and cried,
    "Yes! sent and snatch'd her from me." He replied,
    "Not I, but Heaven above, which will'd her for its own!"

    At length before that high tribunal each--
    With anxious trembling I, while in his mien
    Was conscious triumph seen--
    With earnest prayer concluded thus his speech:
    "Speak, noble lady! we thy judgment wait."
    She then with equal air:
    "It glads me to have heard your keen debate,
    But in a cause so great,
    More time and thought it needs just verdict to declare!"



      I cited once t' appear before the noble queen,
    That ought to guide each mortal life that in this world is seen,
    That pleasant cruel foe that robbeth hearts of ease,
    And now doth frown, and then doth fawn, and can both grieve and please;
    And there, as gold in fire full fined to each intent,
    Charged with fear, and terror eke I did myself present,
    As one that doubted death, and yet did justice crave,
    And thus began t' unfold my cause in hope some help to have.

    "Madam, in tender youth I enter'd first this reign,
    Where other sweet I never felt, than grief and great disdain;
    And eke so sundry kinds of torments did endure.
    As life I loathed, and death desired my cursèd case to cure;
    And thus my woeful days unto this hour have pass'd
    In smoky sighs and scalding tears, my wearied life to waste;
    O Lord! what graces great I fled, and eke refused
    To serve this cruel crafty Sire that doubtless trust abused."

    "What wit can use such words to argue and debate,
    What tongue express the full effect of mine unhappy state;
    What hand with pen can paint t' uncipher this deceit;
    What heart so hard that would not yield that once hath seen his bate;
    What great and grievous wrongs, what threats of ill success,
    What single sweet, mingled with mass of double bitterness.
    With what unpleasant pangs, with what an hoard of pains,
    Hath he acquainted my green years by his false pleasant trains."

    "Who by resistless power hath forced me sue his dance,
    That if I be not much abused had found much better
    And when I most resolved to lead most quiet life, chance;
    He spoil'd me of discordless state, and thrust me in truceless strife.
    He hath bewitch'd me so that God the less I served,
    And due respect unto myself the further from me swerv'd;
    He hath the love of one so painted in my thought,
    That other thing I can none mind, nor care for as I ought.
    And all this comes from him, both counsel and the cause.
    That whet my young desire so much to th' honour of his laws."



_Dicemi spesso il mio fidato speglio._


      My faithful mirror oft to me has told--
    My weary spirit and my shrivell'd skin
    My failing powers to prove it all begin--
    "Deceive thyself no longer, thou art old."
    Man is in all by Nature best controll'd,
    And if with her we struggle, time creeps in;
    At the sad truth, on fire as waters win,
    A long and heavy sleep is off me roll'd;
    And I see clearly our vain life depart,
    That more than once our being cannot be:
    Her voice sounds ever in my inmost heart.
    Who now from her fair earthly frame is free:
    She walk'd the world so peerless and alone,
    Its fame and lustre all with her are flown.


      The mirror'd friend--my changing form hath read.
    My every power's incipient decay--
    My wearied soul--alike, in warning say
    "Thyself no more deceive, thy youth hath fled."
    'Tis ever best to be by Nature led,
    We strive with her, and Death makes us his prey;
    At that dread thought, as flames the waters stay,
    The dream is gone my life hath sadly fed.
    I wake to feel how soon existence flies:
    Once known, 'tis gone, and never to return.
    Still vibrates in my heart the thrilling tone
    Of her, who now her beauteous shrine defies:
    But she, who here to rival, none could learn,
    Hath robb'd her sex, and with its fame hath flown.



_Volo con l' ali de' pensieri al cielo._


      So often on the wings of thought I fly
    Up to heaven's blissful seats, that I appear
    As one of those whose treasure is lodged there,
    The rent veil of mortality thrown by.
    A pleasing chillness thrills my heart, while I
    Listen to her voice, who bids me paleness wear--
    "Ah! now, my friend, I love thee, now revere,
    For changed thy face, thy manners," doth she cry.
    She leads me to her Lord: and then I bow,
    Preferring humble prayer, He would allow
    That I his glorious face, and hers might see.
    Thus He replies: "Thy destiny's secure;
    To stay some twenty, or some ten years more,
    Is but a little space, though long it seems to thee."



_Morte ha spento quel Sol ch' abbagliar suolmi._


      Death has the bright sun quench'd which wont to burn;
    Her pure and constant eyes his dark realms hold:
    She now is dust, who dealt me heat and cold;
    To common trees my chosen laurels turn;
    Hence I at once my bliss and bane discern.
    None now there is my feelings who can mould
    From fire to frost, from timorous to bold,
    In grief to languish or with hope to yearn.
    Out of his tyrant hands who harms and heals,
    Erewhile who made in it such havoc sore,
    My heart the bitter-sweet of freedom feels.
    And to the Lord whom, thankful, I adore,
    The heavens who ruleth merely with his brow,
    I turn life-weary, if not satiate, now.



_Tennemi Amor anni ventuno ardendo._


      Love held me one and twenty years enchain'd,
    His flame was joy--for hope was in my grief!
    For ten more years I wept without relief,
    When Laura with my heart, to heaven attain'd.
    Now weary grown, my life I had arraign'd
    That in its error, check'd (to my belief)
    Blest virtue's seeds--now, in my yellow leaf,
    I grieve the misspent years, existence stain'd.
    Alas! it might have sought a brighter goal,
    In flying troublous thoughts, and winning peace;
    O Father! I repentant seek thy throne:
    Thou, in this temple hast enshrined my soul,
    Oh, bless me yet, and grant its safe release!
    Unjustified--my sin I humbly own.



_I' vo piangendo i miei passati tempi._


      Weeping, I still revolve the seasons flown
    In vain idolatry of mortal things;
    Not soaring heavenward; though my soul had wings
    Which might, perchance, a glorious flight have shown.
    O Thou, discerner of the guilt I own,
    Giver of life immortal, King of Kings,
    Heal Thou the wounded heart which conscience stings:
    It looks for refuge only to thy throne.
    Thus, although life was warfare and unrest,
    Be death the haven of peace; and if my day
    Was vain--yet make the parting moment blest!
    Through this brief remnant of my earthly way,
    And in death's billows, be thy hand confess'd;
    Full well Thou know'st, this hope is all my stay!


      Still do I mourn the years for aye gone by,
    Which on a mortal love I lavishèd,
    Nor e'er to soar my pinions balancèd,
    Though wing'd perchance no humble height to fly.
    Thou, Dread Invisible, who from on high
    Look'st down upon this suffering erring head,
    Oh, be thy succour to my frailty sped,
    And with thy grace my indigence supply!
    My life in storms and warfare doom'd to spend,
    Harbour'd in peace that life may I resign:
    It's course though idle, pious be its end!
    Oh, for the few brief days, which yet are mine,
    And for their close, thy guiding hand extend!
    Thou know'st on Thee alone my heart's firm hopes recline.



_Dolci durezze e placide repulse._


      O sweet severity, repulses mild,
    With chasten'd love, and tender pity fraught;
    Graceful rebukes, that to mad passion taught
    Becoming mastery o'er its wishes wild;
    Speech dignified, in which, united, smiled
    All courtesy, with purity of thought;
    Virtue and beauty, that uprooted aught
    Of baser temper had my heart defiled:
    Eyes, in whose glance man is beatified--
    Awful, in pride of virtue, to restrain
    Aspiring hopes that justly are denied,
    Then prompt the drooping spirit to sustain!
    These, beautiful in every change, supplied
    Health to my soul, that else were sought in vain.



_Spirto felice, che sì dolcemente._


      Blest spirit, that with beams so sweetly clear
    Those eyes didst bend on me, than stars more bright,
    And sighs didst breathe, and words which could delight
    Despair; and which in fancy still I hear;--
    I see thee now, radiant from thy pure sphere
    O'er the soft grass, and violet's purple light,
    Move, as an angel to my wondering sight;
    More present than earth gave thee to appear.
    Yet to the Cause Supreme thou art return'd:
    And left, here to dissolve, that beauteous veil
    In which indulgent Heaven invested thee.
    Th' impoverish'd world at thy departure mourn'd:
    For love departed, and the sun grew pale,
    And death then seem'd our sole felicity.


      O blessed Spirit! who those sun-like eyes
    So sweetly didst inform and brightly fill,
    Who the apt words didst frame and tender sighs
    Which in my fond heart have their echo still.
    Erewhile I saw thee, glowing with chaste flame,
    Thy feet 'mid violets and verdure set,
    Moving in angel not in mortal frame,
    Life-like and light, before me present yet!
    Her, when returning with thy God to dwell,
    Thou didst relinquish and that fair veil given
    For purpose high by fortune's grace to thee:
    Love at thy parting bade the world farewell;
    Courtesy died; the sun abandon'd heaven,
    And Death himself our best friend 'gan to be.



_Deh porgi mano all' affannato ingegno._


      Ah, Love! some succour to my weak mind deign,
    Lend to my frail and weary style thine aid,
    To sing of her who is immortal made,
    A citizen of the celestial reign.
    And grant, Lord, that my verse the height may gain
    Of her great praises, else in vain essay'd,
    Whose peer in worth or beauty never stay'd
    In this our world, unworthy to retain.
    Love answers: "In myself and Heaven what lay,
    By conversation pure and counsel wise,
    All was in her whom death has snatch'd away.
    Since the first morn when Adam oped his eyes,
    Like form was ne'er--suffice it this to say,
    Write down with tears what scarce I tell for sighs."



_Vago augelletto che cantando vai._


      Poor solitary bird, that pour'st thy lay;
    Or haply mournest the sweet season gone:
    As chilly night and winter hurry on,
    And day-light fades and summer flies away;
    If as the cares that swell thy little throat
    Thou knew'st alike the woes that wound my rest.
    Ah, thou wouldst house thee in this kindred breast,
    And mix with mine thy melancholy note.
    Yet little know I ours are kindred ills:
    She still may live the object of thy song:
    Not so for me stern death or Heaven wills!
    But the sad season, and less grateful hour,
    And of past joy and sorrow thoughts that throng
    Prompt my full heart this idle lay to pour.


      Sweet bird, that singest on thy airy way,
    Or else bewailest pleasures that are past;
    What time the night draws nigh, and wintry blast;
    Leaving behind each merry month, and day;
    Oh, couldst thou, as thine own, my state survey,
    With the same gloom of misery o'ercast;
    Unto my bosom thou mightst surely haste
    And, by partaking, my sad griefs allay.
    Yet would thy share of woe not equal mine,
    Since the loved mate thou weep'st doth haply live,
    While death, and heaven, me of my fair deprive:
    But hours less gay, the season's drear decline;
    With thoughts on many a sad, and pleasant year,
    Tempt me to ask thy piteous presence here.



_Vergine bella che di sol vestita._


    Beautiful Virgin! clothed with the sun,
    Crown'd with the stars, who so the Eternal Sun
    Well pleasedst that in thine his light he hid;
    Love pricks me on to utter speech of thee,
    And--feeble to commence without thy aid--
    Of Him who on thy bosom rests in love.
    Her I invoke who gracious still replies
    To all who ask in faith,
    Virgin! if ever yet
    The misery of man and mortal things
    To mercy moved thee, to my prayer incline;
    Help me in this my strife,
    Though I am but of dust, and thou heaven's radiant Queen!

    Wise Virgin! of that lovely number one
    Of Virgins blest and wise,
    Even the first and with the brightest lamp:
    O solid buckler of afflicted hearts!
    'Neath which against the blows of Fate and Death,
    Not mere deliverance but great victory is;
    Relief from the blind ardour which consumes
    Vain mortals here below!
    Virgin! those lustrous eyes,
    Which tearfully beheld the cruel prints
    In the fair limbs of thy beloved Son,
    Ah! turn on my sad doubt,
    Who friendless, helpless thus, for counsel come to thee!

    O Virgin! pure and perfect in each part,
    Maiden or Mother, from thy honour'd birth,
    This life to lighten and the next adorn;
    O bright and lofty gate of open'd heaven!
    By thee, thy Son and His, the Almighty Sire,
    In our worst need to save us came below:
    And, from amid all other earthly seats,
    Thou only wert elect,
    Virgin supremely blest!
    The tears of Eve who turnedst into joy;
    Make me, thou canst, yet worthy of his grace,
    O happy without end,
    Who art in highest heaven a saint immortal shrined.

    O holy Virgin! full of every good,
    Who, in humility most deep and true,
    To heaven art mounted, thence my prayers to hear,
    That fountain thou of pity didst produce,
    That sun of justice light, which calms and clears
    Our age, else clogg'd with errors dark and foul.
    Three sweet and precious names in thee combine,
    Of mother, daughter, wife,
    Virgin! with glory crown'd,
    Queen of that King who has unloosed our bonds,
    And free and happy made the world again,
    By whose most sacred wounds,
    I pray my heart to fix where true joys only are!

    Virgin! of all unparallel'd, alone,
    Who with thy beauties hast enamour'd Heaven,
    Whose like has never been, nor e'er shall be;
    For holy thoughts with chaste and pious acts
    To the true God a sacred living shrine
    In thy fecund virginity have made:
    By thee, dear Mary, yet my life may be
    Happy, if to thy prayers,
    O Virgin meek and mild!
    Where sin abounded grace shall more abound!
    With bended knee and broken heart I pray
    That thou my guide wouldst be,
    And to such prosperous end direct my faltering way.

    Bright Virgin! and immutable as bright,
    O'er life's tempestuous ocean the sure star
    Each trusting mariner that truly guides,
    Look down, and see amid this dreadful storm
    How I am tost at random and alone,
    And how already my last shriek is near,
    Yet still in thee, sinful although and vile,
    My soul keeps all her trust;
    Virgin! I thee implore
    Let not thy foe have triumph in my fall;
    Remember that our sin made God himself,
    To free us from its chain,
    Within thy virgin womb our image on Him take!

    Virgin! what tears already have I shed,
    Cherish'd what dreams and breathed what prayers in vain
    But for my own worse penance and sure loss;
    Since first on Arno's shore I saw the light
    Till now, whate'er I sought, wherever turn'd,
    My life has pass'd in torment and in tears,
    For mortal loveliness in air, act, speech,
    Has seized and soil'd my soul:
    O Virgin! pure and good,
    Delay not till I reach my life's last year;
    Swifter than shaft and shuttle are, my days
    'Mid misery and sin
    Have vanish'd all, and now Death only is behind!

    Virgin! She now is dust, who, living, held
    My heart in grief, and plunged it since in gloom;
    She knew not of my many ills this one,
    And had she known, what since befell me still
    Had been the same, for every other wish
    Was death to me and ill renown for her;
    But, Queen of Heaven, our Goddess--if to thee
    Such homage be not sin--
    Virgin! of matchless mind,
    Thou knowest now the whole; and that, which else
    No other can, is nought to thy great power:
    Deign then my grief to end,
    Thus honour shall be thine, and safe my peace at last!

    Virgin! in whom I fix my every hope,
    Who canst and will'st assist me in great need,
    Forsake me not in this my worst extreme,
    Regard not me but Him who made me thus;
    Let his high image stamp'd on my poor worth
    Towards one so low and lost thy pity move:
    Medusa spells have made me as a rock
    Distilling a vain flood;
    Virgin! my harass'd heart
    With pure and pious tears do thou fulfil,
    That its last sigh at least may be devout,
    And free from earthly taint,
    As was my earliest vow ere madness fill'd my veins!

    Virgin! benevolent, and foe of pride,
    Ah! let the love of our one Author win,
    Some mercy for a contrite humble heart:
    For, if her poor frail mortal dust I loved
    With loyalty so wonderful and long,
    Much more my faith and gratitude for thee.
    From this my present sad and sunken state
    If by thy help I rise,
    Virgin! to thy dear name
    I consecrate and cleanse my thoughts, speech, pen,
    My mind, and heart with all its tears and sighs;
    Point then that better path,
    And with complacence view my changed desires at last.

    The day must come, nor distant far its date,
    Time flies so swift and sure,
    O peerless and alone!
    When death my heart, now conscience struck, shall seize:
    Commend me, Virgin! then to thy dear Son,
    True God and Very Man,
    That my last sigh in peace may, in his arms, be breathed!






_Nel tempo che rinova i miei sospiri._

      It was the time when I do sadly pay
    My sighs, in tribute to that sweet-sour day,
    Which first gave being to my tedious woes;
    The sun now o'er the Bull's horns proudly goes,
    And Phaëton had renew'd his wonted race;
    When Love, the season, and my own ill case,
    Drew me that solitary place to find,
    In which I oft unload my chargèd mind:
    There, tired with raving thoughts and helpless moan,
    Sleep seal'd my eyes up, and, my senses gone,
    My waking fancy spied a shining light,
    In which appear'd long pain, and short delight.
    A mighty General I then did see,
    Like one, who, for some glorious victory,
    Should to the Capitol in triumph go:
    I (who had not been used to such a show
    In this soft age, where we no valour have,
    But pride) admired his habit, strange and brave,
    And having raised mine eyes, which wearied were,
    To understand this sight was all my care.
    Four snowy steeds a fiery chariot drew;
    There sat the cruel boy; a threatening yew
    His right hand bore, his quiver arrows held,
    Against whose force no helm or shield prevail'd.
    Two party-colour'd wings his shoulders ware;
    All naked else; and round about his chair
    Were thousand mortals: some in battle ta'en,
    Many were hurt with darts, and many slain.
    Glad to learn news, I rose, and forward press'd
    So far, that I was one amongst the rest;
    As if I had been kill'd with loving pain
    Before my time; and looking through the train
    Of this tear-thirsty king, I would have spied
    Some of my old acquaintance, but descried
    No face I knew: if any such there were,
    They were transform'd with prison, death, and care.
    At last one ghost, less sad than th' others, came,
    Who, near approaching, call'd me by my name,
    And said: "This comes of Love." "What may you be,"
    I answer'd, wondering much, "that thus know me?
    For I remember not t' have seen your face."
    He thus replied: "It is the dusky place
    That dulls thy sight, and this hard yoke I bear:
    Else I a Tuscan am; thy friend, and dear
    To thy remembrance." His wonted phrase
    And voice did then discover what he was.
    So we retired aside, and left the throng,
    When thus he spake: "I have expected long
    To see you here with us; your face did seem
    To threaten you no less. I do esteem
    Your prophesies; but I have seen what care
    Attends a lover's life; and must beware."
    "Yet have I oft been beaten in the field,
    And sometimes hurt," said I, "but scorn'd to yield."
    He smiled and said: "Alas! thou dost not see,
    My son, how great a flame's prepared for thee."
    I knew not then what by his words he meant:
    But since I find it by the dire event;
    And in my memory 'tis fix'd so fast,
    That marble gravings cannot firmer last.
    Meanwhile my forward youth did thus inquire:
    "What may these people be? I much desire
    To know their names; pray, give me leave to ask."
    "I think ere long 'twill be a needless task,"
    Replied my friend; "thou shalt be of the train,
    And know them all; this captivating chain
    Thy neck must bear, (though thou dost little fear,)
    And sooner change thy comely form and hair,
    Than be unfetter'd from the cruel tie,
    Howe'er thou struggle for thy liberty;
    Yet to fulfil thy wish, I will relate
    What I have learn'd. The first that keeps such state,
    By whom our lives and freedoms we forego,
    The world hath call'd him Love; and he (you know,
    But shall know better when he comes to be
    A lord to you, as now he is to me)
    Is in his childhood mild, fierce in his age;
    'Tis best believed of those that feel his rage.
    The truth of this thou in thyself shalt find,
    I warn thee now, pray keep it in thy mind.
    Of idle looseness he is oft the child;
    With pleasant fancies nourish'd, and is styled
    Or made a god by vain and foolish men:
    And for a recompense, some meet their bane;
    Others, a harder slavery must endure
    Than many thousand chains and bolts procure.
    That other gallant lord is conqueror
    Of conquering Rome, led captive by the fair
    Egyptian queen, with her persuasive art,
    Who in his honours claims the greatest part;
    For binding the world's victor with her charms,
    His trophies are all hers by right of arms.
    The next is his adoptive son, whose love
    May seem more just, but doth no better prove;
    For though he did his lovèd Livia wed,
    She was seducèd from her husband's bed.
    Nero is third, disdainful, wicked, fierce,
    And yet a woman found a way to pierce
    His angry soul. Behold, Marcus, the grave
    Wise emperor, is fair Faustina's slave.
    These two are tyrants: Dionysius,
    And Alexander, both suspicious,
    And yet both loved: the last a just reward
    Found of his causeless fear. I know y' have heard
    Of him, who for Creüsa on the rock
    Antandrus mourn'd so long; whose warlike stroke
    At once revenged his friend and won his love:
    And of the youth whom Phædra could not move
    T' abuse his father's bed; he left the place,
    And by his virtue lost his life (for base
    Unworthy loves to rage do quickly change).
    It kill'd her too; perhaps in just revenge
    Of wrong'd Theseus, slain Hippolytus,
    And poor forsaken Ariadne: thus
    It often proves that they who falsely blame
    Another, in one breath themselves condemn:
    And who have guilty been of treachery,
    Need not complain, if they deceivèd be.
    Behold the brave hero a captive made
    With all his fame, and twixt these sisters led:
    Who, as he joy'd the death of th' one to see,
    His death did ease the other's misery.
    The next that followeth, though the world admire
    His strength, Love bound him. Th' other full of ire
    Is great Achilles, he whose pitied fate
    Was caused by Love. Demophoon did not hate
    Impatient Phyllis, yet procured her death.
    This Jason is, he whom Medea hath
    Obliged by mischief; she to her father proved
    False, to her brother cruel; t' him she loved
    Grew furious, by her merit over-prized.
    Hypsipyle comes next, mournful, despised,
    Wounded to see a stranger's love prevail
    More than her own, a Greek. Here is the frail
    Fair Helena, with her the shepherd boy,
    Whose gazing looks hurt Greece, and ruin'd Troy.
    'Mongst other weeping souls, you hear the moan
    Oenone makes, her Paris being gone;
    And Menelaus, for the woe he had
    To lose his wife. Hermione is sad,
    And calls her dear Orestes to her aid.
    And Laodamia, that hapless maid,
    Bewails Protesilaus. Argia proved
    To Polynice more faithful than the loved
    (But false and covetous) Amphiaraus' wife.
    The groans and sighs of those who lose their life
    By this kind lord, in unrelenting flames
    You hear: I cannot tell you half their names.
    For they appear not only men that love,
    The gods themselves do fill this myrtle grove:
    You see fair Venus caught by Vulcan's art
    With angry Mars; Proserpina apart
    From Pluto, jealous Juno, yellow-hair'd
    Apollo, who the young god's courage dared:
    And of his trophies proud, laugh'd at the bow
    Which in Thessalia gave him such a blow.
    What shall I say?--here, in a word, are all
    The gods that Varro mentions, great and small;
    Each with innumerable bonds detain'd,
    And Jupiter before the chariot chain'd."



_Stanci già di mirar, non sazio ancora._

      Wearied, not satisfied, with much delight,
    Now here, now there, I turn'd my greedy sight,
    And many things I view'd: to write were long,
    The time is short, great store of passions throng
    Within my breast; when lo, a lovely pair,
    Join'd hand in hand, who kindly talking were,
    Drew my attention that way: their attire
    And foreign language quicken'd my desire
    Of further knowledge, which I soon might gain.
    My kind interpreter did all explain.
    When both I knew, I boldly then drew near;
    He loved our country, though she made it fear.
    "O Masinissa! I adjure thee by
    Great Scipio, and her who from thine eye
    Drew manly tears," said I; "let it not be
    A trouble, what I must demand of thee."
    He look'd, and said: "I first desire to know
    Your name and quality; for well you show
    Y' have heard the combat in my wounded soul,
    When Love did Friendship, Friendship Love control."
    "I am not worth your knowledge, my poor flame
    Gives little light," said I: "your royal fame
    Sets hearts on fire, that never see your face:
    But, pray you, say; are you two led in peace
    By him?"--(I show'd their guide)--"Your history
    Deserves record: it seemeth strange to me,
    That faith and cruelty should come so near."
    He said: "Thine own expressions witness bear,
    Thou know'st enough, yet I will all relate
    To thee; 't will somewhat ease my heavy state.
    On that brave man my heart was fix'd so much,
    That Lælius' love to him could be but such;
    Where'er his colours marchèd, I was nigh,
    And Fortune did attend with victory:
    Yet still his merit call'd for more than she
    Could give, or any else deserve but he.
    When to the West the Roman eagles came
    Myself was also there, and caught a flame,
    A purer never burnt in lover's breast:
    But such a joy could not be long possess'd!
    Our nuptial knot, alas! he soon untied,
    Who had more power than all the world beside.
    He cared not for our sighs; and though 't be true
    That he divided us, his worth I knew:
    He must be blind that cannot see the sun,
    But by strict justice Love is quite undone:
    Counsel from such a friend gave such a stroke
    To love, it almost split, as on a rock:
    For as my father I his wrath did fear,
    And as a son he in my love was dear;
    Brothers in age we were, him I obey'd,
    But with a troubled soul and look dismay'd:
    Thus my dear half had an untimely death,
    She prized her freedom far above her breath;
    And I th' unhappy instrument was made;
    Such force th' intreaty and intreater had!
    I rather chose myself than him t' offend,
    And sent the poison brought her to her end:
    With what sad thoughts I know, and she'll confess
    And you, if you have sense of love, may guess;
    No heir she left me, but my tedious moan;
    And though in her my hopes and joys were gone,
    She was of lower value than my faith!
    But now farewell, and try if this troop hath
    Another wonder; for the time is less
    Than is the task." I pitied their distress,
    Whose short joy ended in so sharp a woe:
    My soft heart melted. As they onward go,
    "This youth for his part, I perhaps could love,"
    She said; "but nothing can my mind remove
    From hatred of the nation." He replied,
    "Good Sophonisba, you may leave this pride;
    Your city hath by us been three times beat,
    The last of which, you know, we laid it flat."
    "Pray use these words t' another, not to me,"
    Said she; "if Africk mournèd, Italy
    Needs not rejoice; search your records, and there
    See what you gainèd by the Punic war."
    He that was friend to both, without reply
    A little smiling, vanish'd from mine eye
    Amongst the crowd. As one in doubtful way
    At every step looks round, and fears to stray
    (Care stops his journey), so the varied store
    Of lovers stay'd me, to examine more,
    And try what kind of fire burnt every breast:
    When on my left hand strayèd from the rest
    Was one, whose look express'd a ready mind
    In seeking what he joy'd, yet shamed to find;
    He freely gave away his dearest wife
    (A new-found way to save a lover's life);
    She, though she joy'd, yet blushèd at the change.
    As they recounted their affections strange,
    And for their Syria mourn'd; I took the way
    Of these three ghosts, who seem'd their course to stay
    And take another path: the first I held
    And bid him turn; he started, and beheld
    Me with a troubled look, hearing my tongue
    Was Roman, such a pause he made as sprung
    From some deep thought; then spake as if inspired,
    For to my wish, he told what I desired
    To know: "Seleucus is," said he, "my name,
    This is Antiochus my son, whose fame
    Hath reach'd your ear; he warrèd much with Rome,
    But reason oft by power is overcome.
    This woman, once my wife, doth now belong
    To him; I gave her, and it was no wrong
    In our religion; it stay'd his death,
    Threaten'd by Love; Stratonica she hath
    To name: so now we may enjoy one state,
    And our fast friendship shall outlast all date.
    She from her height was willing to descend;
    I quit my joy; he rather chose his end
    Than our offence; and in his prime had died,
    Had not the wise Physician been our guide;
    Silence in love o'ercame his vital part;
    His love was force, his silence virtuous art.
    A father's tender care made me agree
    To this strange change." This said, he turn'd from me,
    As changing his design, with such a pace,
    Ere I could take my leave, he had quit the place
    After the ghost was carried from mine eye,
    Amazedly I walk'd; nor could untie
    My mind from his sad story; till my friend
    Admonish'd me, and said, "You must not lend
    Attention thus to everything you meet;
    You know the number's great, and time is fleet."
    More naked prisoners this triumph had
    Than Xerxes soldiers in his army led:
    And stretchèd further than my sight could reach;
    Of several countries, and of differing speech.
    One of a thousand were not known to me,
    Yet might those few make a large history.
    Perseus was one; and well you know the way
    How he was catchèd by Andromeda:
    She was a lovely brownet, black her hair
    And eyes. Narcissus, too, the foolish fair,
    Who for his own love did himself destroy;
    He had so much, he nothing could enjoy.
    And she, who for his loss, deep sorrow's slave.
    Changed to a voice, dwells in a hollow cave.
    Iphis was there, who hasted his own fate,
    He loved another, but himself did hate;
    And many more condemn'd like woes to prove,
    Whose life was made a curse by hapless love.
    Some modern lovers in my mind remain,
    But those to reckon here were needless pain:
    The two, whose constant loves for ever last,
    On whom the winds wait while they build their nest;
    For halcyon days poor labouring sailors please.
    And in rough winter calm the boisterous seas.
    Far off the thoughtful Æsacus, in quest
    Of his Hesperia, finds a rocky rest,
    Then diveth in the floods, then mounts i' th' air;
    And she who stole old Nisus' purple hair
    His cruel daughter, I observed to fly:
    Swift Atalanta ran for victory,
    But three gold apples, and a lovely face,
    Slack'd her quick paces, till she lost the race;
    She brought Hippomanes along, and joy'd
    That he, as others, had not been destroyed,
    But of the victory could singly boast.
    I saw amidst the vain and fabulous host,
    Fair Galatea lean'd on Acis' breast;
    Rude Polyphemus' noise disturbs their rest.
    Glaucus alone swims through the dangerous seas,
    And missing her who should his fancy please,
    Curseth the cruel's Love transform'd her shape.
    Canens laments that Picus could not 'scape
    The dire enchantress; he in Italy
    Was once a king, now a pied bird; for she
    Who made him such, changed not his clothes nor name,
    His princely habit still appears the same.
    Egeria, while she wept, became a well:
    Scylla (a horrid rock by Circe's spell)
    Hath made infamous the Sicilian strand.
    Next, she who holdeth in her trembling hand
    A guilty knife, her right hand writ her name.
    Pygmalion next, with his live mistress came.
    Sweet Aganippe, and Castalia have
    A thousand more; all there sung by the brave
    And deathless poets, on their fair banks placed;
    Cydippe by an apple fool'd at last.



_Era sì pieno il cor di maraviglie._

      My heart was fill'd with wonder and amaze,
    As one struck dumb, in silence stands at gaze
    Expecting counsel, when my friend drew near,
    And said: "What do you look? why stay you here?
    What mean you? know you not that I am one
    Of these, and must attend? pray, let's be gone."
    "Dear friend," said I, "consider what desire
    To learn the rest hath set my heart on fire;
    My own haste stops me." "I believe 't," said he,
    "And I will help; 'tis not forbidden me.
    This noble man, on whom the others wait
    (You see) is Pompey, justly call'd The Great:
    Cornelia followeth, weeping his hard fate,
    And Ptolemy's unworthy causeless hate.
    You see far off the Grecian general;
    His base wife, with Ægisthus wrought his fall:
    Behold them there, and judge if Love be blind.
    But here are lovers of another kind,
    And other faith they kept. Lynceus was saved
    By Hypermnestra: Pyramus bereaved
    Himself of life, thinking his mistress slain:
    Thisbe's like end shorten'd her mourning pain.
    Leander, swimming often, drown'd at last;
    Hero her fair self from her window cast.
    Courteous Ulysses his long stay doth mourn;
    His chaste wife prayeth for his safe return;
    While Circe's amorous charms her prayers control,
    And rather vex than please his virtuous soul.
    Hamilcar's son, who made great Rome afraid,
    By a mean wench of Spain is captive led.
    This Hypsicratea is, the virtuous fair,
    Who for her husband's dear love cut her hair,
    And served in all his wars: this is the wife
    Of Brutus, Portia, constant in her life
    And death: this Julia is, who seems to moan,
    That Pompey lovèd best, when she was gone.
    Look here and see the Patriarch much abused
    Who twice seven years for his fair Rachel choosed
    To serve: O powerful love increased by woe!
    His father this: now see his grandsire go
    With Sarah from his home. This cruel Love
    O'ercame good David; so it had power to move
    His righteous heart to that abhorrèd crime,
    For which he sorrow'd all his following time;
    Just such like error soil'd his wise son's fame,
    For whose idolatry God's anger came:
    Here's he who in one hour could love and hate:
    Here Tamar, full of anguish, wails her state;
    Her brother Absalom attempts t' appease
    Her grievèd soul. Samson takes care to please
    His fancy; and appears more strong than wise,
    Who in a traitress' bosom sleeping lies.
    Amongst those pikes and spears which guard the place,
    Love, wine, and sleep, a beauteous widow's face
    And pleasing art hath Holophernes ta'en;
    She back again retires, who hath him slain,
    With her one maid, bearing the horrid head
    In haste, and thanks God that so well she sped.
    The next is Sichem, he who found his death
    In circumcision; his father hath
    Like mischief felt; the city all did prove
    The same effect of his rash violent love.
    You see Ahasuerus how well he bears
    His loss; a new love soon expels his cares;
    This cure in this disease doth seldom fail,
    One nail best driveth out another nail.
    If you would see love mingled oft with hate,
    Bitter with sweet, behold fierce Herod's state,
    Beset with love and cruelty at once:
    Enraged at first, then late his fault bemoans,
    And Mariamne calls; those three fair dames
    (Who in the list of captives write their names)
    Procris, Deidamia, Artemisia were
    All good, the other three as wicked are--
    Semiramis, Byblis, and Myrrha named,
    Who of their crooked ways are now ashamed
    Here be the erring knights in ancient scrolls,
    Lancelot, Tristram, and the vulgar souls
    That wait on these; Guenever, and the fair
    Isond, with other lovers; and the pair
    Who, as they walk together, seem to plain,
    Their just, but cruel fate, by one hand slain."
    Thus he discoursed: and as a man that fears
    Approaching harm, when he a trumpet hears,
    Starts at the blow ere touch'd, my frighted blood
    Retired: as one raised from his tomb I stood;
    When by my side I spied a lovely maid,
    (No turtle ever purer whiteness had!)
    And straight was caught (who lately swore I would
    Defend me from a man at arms), nor could
    Resist the wounds of words with motion graced:
    The image yet is in my fancy placed.
    My friend was willing to increase my woe,
    And smiling whisper'd,--"You alone may go
    Confer with whom you please, for now we are
    All stained with one crime." My sullen care
    Was like to theirs, who are more grieved to know
    Another's happiness than their own woe;
    For seeing her, who had enthrall'd my mind,
    Live free in peace, and no disturbance find:
    And seeing that I knew my hurt too late.
    And that her beauty was my dying fate:
    Love, jealousy, and envy held my sight
    So fix'd on that fair face, no other light
    I could behold; like one who in the rage
    Of sickness greedily his thirst would 'suage
    With hurtful drink, which doth his palate please,
    Thus (blind and deaf t' all other joys are ease)
    So many doubtful ways I follow'd her,
    The memory still shakes my soul with fear.
    Since when mine eyes are moist, and view the ground,
    My heart is heavy, and my steps have found
    A solitary dwelling 'mongst the woods,
    I stray o'er rocks and fountains, hills and floods:
    Since when such store my scatter'd papers hold
    Of thoughts, of tears, of ink; which oft I fold,
    Unfold, and tear: since when I know the scope
    Of Love, and what they fear, and what they hope;
    And how they live that in his cloister dwell,
    The skilful in their face may read it well.
    Meanwhile I see, how fierce and gallant she
    Cares not for me, nor for my misery,
    Proud of her virtue, and my overthrow:
    And on the other side (if aught I know),
    This lord, who hath the world in triumph led,
    She keeps in fear; thus all my hopes are dead,
    No strength nor courage left, nor can I be
    Revenged, as I expected once; for he,
    Who tortures me and others, is abused
    By her; she'll not be caught, and long hath used
    (Rebellious as she is!) to shun his wars,
    And is a sun amidst the lesser stars.
    Her grace, smiles, slights, her words in order set;
    Her hair dispersed or in a golden net;
    Her eyes inflaming with a light divine
    So burn my heart, I dare no more repine.
    Ah, who is able fully to express
    Her pleasing ways, her merit? No excess,
    No bold hyperboles I need to fear,
    My humble style cannot enough come near
    The truth; my words are like a little stream
    Compared with th' ocean, so large a theme
    Is that high praise; new worth, not seen before,
    Is seen in her, and can be seen no more;
    Therefore all tongues are silenced; and I,
    Her prisoner now, see her at liberty:
    And night and day implore (O unjust fate!)
    She neither hears nor pities my estate:
    Hard laws of Love! But though a partial lot
    I plainly see in this, yet must I not
    Refuse to serve: the gods, as well as men,
    With like reward of old have felt like pain.
    Now know I how the mind itself doth part
    (Now making peace, now war, now truce)--what art
    Poor lovers use to hide their stinging woe:
    And how their blood now comes, and now doth go
    Betwixt their heart and cheeks, by shame or fear:
    How they be eloquent, yet speechless are;
    And how they both ways lean, they watch and sleep,
    Languish to death, yet life and vigour keep:
    I trod the paths made happy by her feet,
    And search the foe I am afraid to meet.
    I know how lovers metamorphosed are
    To that they love: I know what tedious care
    I feel; how vain my joy, how oft I change
    Design and countenance; and (which is strange)
    I live without a soul: I know the way
    To cheat myself a thousand times a day:
    I know to follow while I flee my fire
    I freeze when present; absent, my desire
    Is hot: I know what cruel rigour Love
    Practiseth on the mind, and doth remove
    All reason thence, and how he racks the heart:
    And how a soul hath neither strength nor art
    Without a helper to resist his blows:
    And how he flees, and how his darts he throws:
    And how his threats the fearful lover feels:
    And how he robs by force, and how he steals:
    How oft his wheels turn round (now high, now low)
    With how uncertain hope, how certain woe:
    How all his promises be void of faith,
    And how a fire hid in our bones he hath:
    How in our veins he makes a secret wound,
    Whence open flames and death do soon abound.
    In sum, I know how giddy and how vain
    Be lovers' lives; what fear and boldness reign
    In all their ways; how every sweet is paid.
    And with a double weight of sour allay'd:
    I also know their customs, sighs, and songs;
    Their sudden muteness, and their stammering tongues:
    How short their joy, how long their pain doth last,
    How wormwood spoileth all their honey's taste.



_Poscia che mia fortuna in forza altrui._

      When once my will was captive by my fate,
    And I had lost the liberty, which late
    Made my life happy; I, who used before
    To flee from Love (as fearful deer abhor
    The following huntsman), suddenly became
    (Like all my fellow-servants) calm and tame;
    And view'd the travails, wrestlings, and the smart,
    The crooked by-paths, and the cozening art
    That guides the amorous flock: then whilst mine eye
    I cast in every corner, to espy
    Some ancient or modern who had proved
    Famous, I saw him, who had only loved
    Eurydice, and found out hell, to call
    Her dear ghost back; he named her in his fall
    For whom he died. Aleæus there was known,
    Skilful in love and verse: Anacreon,
    Whose muse sung nought but love: Pindarus, he
    Was also there: there I might Virgil see:
    Many brave wits I found, some looser rhymes,
    By others writ, hath pleased the ancient times:
    Ovid was one: after Catullus came:
    Propertius next, his elegies the name
    Of Cynthia bear: Tibullus, and the young
    Greek poetess, who is received among
    The noble troop for her rare Sapphic muse.
    Thus looking here and there (as oft I use),
    I spied much people on a flowery plain,
    Amongst themselves disputes of love maintain.
    Behold Beatrice with Dante; Selvaggia, she
    Brought her Pistoian Cino; Guitton may be
    Offended that he is the latter named:
    Behold both Guidos for their learning famed:
    Th' honest Bolognian: the Sicilians first
    Wrote love in rhymes, but wrote their rhymes the worst.
    Franceschin and Sennuccio (whom all know)
    Were worthy and humane: after did go
    A squadron of another garb and phrase,
    Of whom Arnaldo Daniel hath most praise,
    Great master in Love's art, his style, as new
    As sweet, honours his country: next, a few
    Whom Love did lightly wound: both Peters made
    Two: one, the less Arnaldo: some have had
    A harder war; both the Rimbaldos, th' one
    Sung Beatrice, though her quality was known
    Too much above his reach in Montferrat.
    Alvernia's old Piero, and Girault:
    Folchetto, who from Genoa was estranged
    And call'd Marsilian, he wisely changed
    His name, his state, his country, and did gain
    In all: Jeffray made haste to catch his bane
    With sails and oars: Guilliam, too, sweetly sung
    That pleasing art, was cause he died so young.
    Amarig, Bernard, Hugo, and Anselm
    Were there, with thousands more, whose tongues were helm,
    Shield, sword, and spear, all their offensive arms,
    And their defensive to prevent their harms.
    From those I turn'd, comparing my own woe,
    To view my country-folks; and there might know
    The good Tomasso, who did once adorn
    Bologna, now Messina holds his urn.
    Ah, vanish'd joys! Ah, life too full of bane!
    How wert thou from mine eyes so quickly ta'en!
    Since without thee nothing is in my power
    To do, where art thou from me at this hour?
    What is our life? If aught it bring of ease,
    A sick man's dream, a fable told to please.
    Some few there from the common road did stray;
    Lælius and Socrates, with whom I may
    A longer progress take: Oh, what a pair
    Of dear esteemèd friends to me they were!
    'Tis not my verse, nor prose, may reach thieir praise;
    Neither of these can naked virtue raise
    Above her own true place: with them I have
    Reach'd many heights; one yoke of learning gave
    Laws to our steps, to them my fester'd wound
    I oft have show'd; no time or place I found
    To part from them; and hope, and wish we may
    Be undivided till my breath decay:
    With them I used (too early) to adorn
    My head with th' honour'd branches, only worn
    For her dear sake I did so deeply love,
    Who fill'd my thoughts; but ah! I daily prove,
    No fruit nor leaves from thence can gather'd be:
    The root hath sharp and bitter been to me.
    For this I was accustomed much to vex,
    But I have seen that which my anger checks:
    (A theme for buskins, not a comic stage)
    She took the God, adored by the rage
    Of such dull fools as he had captive led:
    But first, I'll tell you what of us he made;
    Then, from her hand what was his own sad fate,
    Which Orpheus or Homer might relate.
    His winged coursers o'er the ditches leapt,
    And we their way as desperately kept,
    Till he had reached where his mother reigns,
    Nor would he ever pull or turn the reins;
    But scour'd o'er woods and mountains; none did care
    Nor could discern in what strange world they were.
    Beyond the place, where old Ægeus mourns,
    An island lies, Phoebus none sweeter burns,
    Nor Neptune ever bathed a better shore:
    About the midst a beauteous hill, with store
    Of shades and pleasing smells, so fresh a spring
    As drowns all manly thoughts: this place doth bring
    Venus much joy; 't was given her deity,
    Ere blind man knew a truer god than she:
    Of which original it yet retains
    Too much, so little goodness there remains,
    That it the vicious doth only please,
    Is by the virtuous shunn'd as a disease.
    Here this fine Lord insulteth o'er us all
    Tied in a chain, from Thule to Ganges' fall.
    Griefs in our breasts, vanity in our arms;
    Fleeting delights are there, and weighty harms:
    Repentance swiftly following to annoy:
    (Such Tarquin found it, and the bane of Troy)
    All that whole valley with the echoes rung
    Of running brooks, and birds that gently sung:
    The banks were clothed in yellow, purple, green,
    Scarlet and white, their pleasing springs were seen;
    And gliding streams amongst the tender grass,
    Thickets and soft winds to refresh the place.
    After when winter maketh sharp the air,
    Warm leaves, and leisure, sports, and gallant cheer
    Enthrall low minds. Now th' equinox hath made
    The day t' equal the night; and Progne had
    With her sweet sister, each their old task ta'en:
    (Ah! how the faith in fortune placed is vain!)
    Just in the time, and place, and in the hour
    When humble tears should earthly joys devour,
    It pleased him, whom th' vulgar honour so,
    To triumph over me; and now I know
    What miserable servitude they prove,
    What ruin, and what death, that fall in love.
    Errors, dreams, paleness waiteth on his chair,
    False fancies o'er the door, and on the stair
    Are slippery hopes, unprofitable gain,
    And gainful loss; such steps it doth contain,
    As who descend, may boast their fortune best;
    Who most ascend, most fall: a wearied rest,
    And resting trouble, glorious disgrace;
    A duskish and obscure illustriousness;
    Unfaithful loyalty, and cozening faith,
    That nimble fury, lazy reason hath:
    A prison, whose wide ways do all receive,
    Whose narrow paths a hard retiring leave:
    A steep descent, by which we slide with ease,
    But find no hold our crawling steps to raise:
    Within confusion, turbulence, annoy
    Are mix'd; undoubted woe, and doubtful joy:
    Vulcano, where the sooty Cyclops dwell;
    Liparis, Stromboli, nor Mongibel,
    Nor Ischia, have more horrid noise and smoke:
    He hates himself that stoops to such a yoke.
    Thus were we all throng'd in so strait a cage,
    I changed my looks and hair, before my age,
    Dreaming on liberty (by strong desire
    My soul made apt to hope), and did admire
    Those gallant minds, enslaved to such a woe
    (My heart within my breast dissolved like snow
    Before the sun), as one would side-ways cast
    His eye on pictures, which his feet hath pass'd.




      The fatal morning dawn'd that brought again
    The sad memorial of my ancient pain;
    That day, the source of long-protracted woe,
    When I began the plagues of Love to know,
    Hyperion's throne, along the azure field,
    Between the splendid horns of Taurus wheel'd;
    And from her spouse the Queen of Morn withdrew
    Her sandals, gemm'd with frost-bespangled dew.
    Sad recollection, rising with the morn,
    Of my disastrous love, repaid with scorn,
    Oppressed my sense; till welcome soft repose
    Gave a short respite from my swelling woes.
    Then seem'd I in a vision borne away,
    Where a deep winding vale sequester'd lay;
    Nor long I rested on the flowery green
    Ere a soft radiance dawn'd along the scene.--
    Fallacious sign of hope! for, close behind,
    Dark shades of coming woe were seen combined.
    There, on his car, a conqu'ring chief I spied,
    Like Rome's proud sons, that led the living tide
    Of vanquished foes, in long triumphal state,
    To Capitolian Jove's disclosing gate.
    With little joy I saw the splendid show,
    Spent and dejected by my lengthen'd woe;
    Sick of the world, and all its worthless train,
    That world, where all the hateful passions reign;
    And yet intent the mystic cause to find,
    (For knowledge is the banquet of the mind)
    Languid and slow I turn'd my cheerless eyes
    On the proud warrior, and his uncouth guise.
    High on his seat an archer youth was seen,
    With loaded quiver, and malicious mien
    Nor plate, nor mail, his cruel shaft can ward,
    Nor polish'd burganet the temples guard;
    His burning chariot seem'd by coursers drawn;
    While, like the snows that clothe the wintry lawn
    His waving wings with rainbow colour gay
    On either naked shoulder seem'd to play;
    And, filing far behind, a countless train
    In sad procession hid the groaning plain:
    Some, captive, seem'd in long disastrous strife,
    Some, in the deadly fray, bereft of life;
    And freshly wounded some. A viewless hand
    Led me to mingle with the mornful band,
    And learn the fortunes of the sentenced crew,
    Who, pierced by Love, had bid the world adieu.
    With keen survey I mark'd the ghostly show,
    To find a shade among the sons of woe
    To memory known: but every trace was lost
    In the dim features of the moving host:
    Oblivion's hand had drawn a dark disguise
    O'er their wan lineaments and beamless eyes.
    At length, a pallid face I seem'd to know;
    Which wore, methought, a lighter mask of woe;
    He call'd me by my name.--"Behold!" he cried,
    "What plagues the hapless thralls of Love abide!"--
    "How am I known by thee?" with new surprise
    I cried; "no mark recalls thee to my eyes."--
    "Oh, heavy is my load!" he seem'd to say;
    "Through this dark medium no detecting ray
    Assists thy sight; but I, like thee, can boast
    My birth on famed Etruria's ancient coast."--
    The secret which his murky mask conceal'd,
    His well-known voice and Tuscan tongue reveal'd;
    Thence to a lighter station we repair'd,
    And thus the phantom spoke, with mild regard:--
    "We thought to see thy name with ours enroll'd
    Long since; for oft thy looks this fate foretold."--
    "True," I replied; "but I survived the strife:
    His arrows reach'd me, but were short of life."--
    Pausing, he spoke:--"A spark to flame will rise,
    And bear thy name in glory to the skies."--
    His meaning was obscure, but in my breast
    I felt the substance of his words impress'd,
    As sculptured stone, or monumental brass,
    Keeps the firm record, or heroic face.
    With youthful ardour new, and hope inspired,
    Quick from my grave companion I required
    The name and fortunes of the passing train.
    And why in mournful pomp they trod the plain--
    "Time," he return'd, "the secret then will show,
    When thou shalt join the retinue of woe:
    But years shall sprinkle o'er thy locks with gray,
    And alter'd looks the signs of age betray,
    Ere at his powerful touch the fetters fall,
    Which many a moon thy captive limbs shall gall:
    Yet will I grant thy suit, and give to view
    The various fortunes of the captive crew:
    But mark their leader first, that chief renown'd--
    The Power of Love! by every nation own'd.
    His sway thou soon, as well as we, shalt know,
    Stung to the heart by goads of dulcet woe.
    In him unthinking youth's misgovern'd rage,
    Join'd with the cool malignity of age,
    Is known to mingle with insidious guile,
    Deep, deep conceal'd beneath an infant's smile.
    The child of slothful ease, and sensual heat--
    By sweet delirious thoughts, in dark retreat,
    Mature in mischief grown--he springs away,
    A wingèd god, and thousands own his sway.
    Some, as thou seest, are number'd with the dead,
    And some the bitter drops of sorrow shed
    Through lingering life, by viewless tangles bound,
    That link the soul, and chain it to the ground.
    There Cæsar walks! of Celtic laurels proud.
    Nor feels himself in sensual bondage bow'd:
    He treads the flowery path, nor sees the snare
    Laid for his honour by the Egyptian fair.
    Here Love his triumph shows, and leads along
    The world's great owner in the captive throng;
    And o'er the master of unscepter'd kings
    Exulting soars, and claps his purple wings.
    See his adopted son! he knew her guile,
    And nobly scorn'd the siren of the Nile;
    Yet fell by Roman charms and from her spouse
    The pregnant consort bore, regardless of her vows
    There, cruel Nero feels his iron heart
    Lanced by imperious Love's resistless dart;
    Replete with rage, and scorning human ties,
    He falls the victim of two conquering eyes;
    Deep ambush'd there in philosophic spoils,
    The little tyrant tries his artful wiles:
    E'en in that hallow'd breast, where, deep enshrined,
    Lay all the varied treasures of the mind,
    He lodged his venom'd shaft. The hoary sage,
    Like meaner mortals, felt the passion rage
    In boundless fury for a strumpet's charms,
    And clasp'd the shining mischief in his arms.--
    See Dionysius link'd with Pheræ's lord,
    Pale doubt and dread on either front abhorr'd.
    Scowl terrible! yet Love assign'd their doom;
    A wife and mistress mark'd them for the tomb!--
    The next is he that on Antandros' coast
    His fair Crëusa mourn'd, for ever lost;
    Yet cut the bonds of Love on Tyber's shore,
    And bought a bride with young Evander's gore.
    Here droop'd the victim of a lawless flame:
    The amorous frenzy of the Cretan dame
    He fled abhorrent, and contemn'd her tears,
    And to the dire suggestion closed his ears.
    But nought, alas! his purity avail'd--
    Fate in his flight the hapless youth assail'd,
    By interdicted Love to Vengeance fired;
    And by his father's curse the son expired.
    The stepdame shared his fate, and dearly paid
    A spouse, a sister, and a son betray'd:
    Her conscience, by the false impeachment stung,
    Upon herself return'd the deadly wrong;
    And he, that broke before his plighted vows,
    Met his deserts in an adulterous spouse.
    See! where he droops between the sister dames,
    And fondly melts--the other scorns his flames,--
    The mighty slave of Omphale behind
    Is seen, and he whom Love and fraud combined
    Sent to the shades of everlasting night;
    And still he seems to weep his wretched plight.--
    There, Phyllis mourns Demophoon's broken vows,
    And fell Medea there pursues her spouse;
    With impious boast, and shrill upbraiding cries,
    She tells him how she broke the holy ties
    Of kindred for his sake; the guilty shore
    That from her poignard drank a brother's gore;
    The deep affliction of her royal sire.
    Who heard her flight with imprecations dire.--
    See! beauteous Helen, with her Trojan swain--
    The royal youth that fed his amorous pain,
    With ardent gaze, on those destructive charms
    That waken'd half the warring world to arms--
    Yonder, behold Oenone's wild despair,
    Who mourns the triumphs of the Spartan fair!
    The injured husband answers groan for groan,
    And young Hermione with piteous moan
    Orestes calls; while Laodamia near
    Bewails her valiant consort's fate severe.--
    Adrastus' daughter there laments her spouse
    Sincere and constant to her nuptial vows;
    Yet, lured by her, with gold's seductive aid,
    Her lord, Eriphile, to death betray'd."

    And now, the baleful anthem, loud and long,
    Rose in full chorus from the passing throng;
    And Love's sad name, the cause of all their woes,
    In execrations seem'd the dirge to close.--
    But who the number and the names can tell
    Of those that seem'd the deadly strain to swell!--
    Not men alone, but gods my dream display'd--
    Celestial wailings fill'd the myrtle shade:
    Soft Venus, with her lover, mourn'd the snare,
    The King of Shades, and Proserpine the fair;
    Juno, whose frown disclosed her jealous spite;
    Nor, less enthrall'd by Love, the god of light,
    Who held in scorn the wingèd warrior's dart
    Till in his breast he felt the fatal smart.--
    Each god, whose name the learned Roman told,
    In Cupid's numerous levy seem'd enroll'd;
    And, bound before his car in fetters strong,
    In sullen state the Thunderer march'd along.



      Thus, as I view'd th' interminable host,
    The prospect seem'd at last in dimness lost:
    But still the wish remain'd their doom to know,
    As, watchful, I survey'd the passing show.
    As each majestic form emerged to light,
    Thither, intent, I turn'd my sharpen'd sight;
    And soon a noble pair my notice drew,
    That, hand in hand approaching, met my view.
    In gentle parley, and communion sweet--
    With looks of love, they seem'd mine eyes to meet;
    Yet strange was their attire--their tongue unknown
    Spoke them the natives of a distant zone;
    But every doubt my kind assistant clear'd,
    Instant I knew them, when their names were heard.
    To one, encouraged by his aspect mild,
    I spoke--the other with a frown recoil'd.--
    "O Masinissa!"--thus my speech began,
    "By Scipio's friendship, and the gentle ban
    Of constant love, attend my warm request."
    Turning around, the solemn shade address'd
    His answer thus:--"With like desire I glow
    Your lineage, name, and character, to know,
    Since you have learnt my name." With soft reply
    I said, "A name like mine can nought supply
    The notice of renown like yours to claim.
    No smother'd spark like mine emits a flame
    To catch the public eye, as you can boast--
    A leading name in Cupid's numerous host!
    Alike his future victims and the past
    Shall own the common tie, while time itself shall last.
    But tell me (if your guide allow a space
    The semblance of those tendant shades to trace)
    The names and fortunes of the following pair
    Who seem the noblest gifts of mind to share."--
    "My name," he said, "you seem to know so well
    That faithful Memory all the rest can tell;
    But as the sad detail may soothe my woes,
    Listen, while I my mournful doom disclose:--
    To Rome and Scipio's cause my faith was bound,
    E'en Lælius scarce a warmer friendship own'd:
    Where'er their ensigns fann'd the summer sky,
    I led my Libyans on, a firm ally;
    Propitious Fortune still advanced his name,
    Yet more than she bestow'd, his worth might claim.
    Still we advanced, and still our glory grew
    While westward far the Roman eagle flew
    With conquest wing'd; but my unlucky star
    Led me, unconscious, to the fatal snare
    Which Love had laid. I saw the regal dame--
    Our hearts at once confess'd a mutual flame.
    Caught by the lure of interdicted joys,
    Proudly I scorn'd the stern forbidding voice
    Of Roman policy; and hoped the vows
    At Hymen's altar sworn, might save my spouse.
    But, oh! that wondrous man, who ne'er would yield
    To passion's call, the cruel sentence seal'd,
    That tore my consort from my fond embrace,
    And left me sunk in anguish and disgrace.
    Unmoved he saw my briny sorrows flow,
    Unmoved he listen'd to my tale of woe!
    But friendship, waked at last, with reverent awe,
    Obsequious, own'd his mind's superior law;
    And to that holy and unclouded light,
    That led him on through passion's dubious night,
    Submiss I bow'd; for, oh! the beam of day
    Is dark to him that wants her guiding ray!--
    Love, hardly conquer'd, long repined in vain,
    When Justice link'd the adamantine chain;
    And cruel Friendship o'er the conquer'd ground
    Raised with strong hand th' insuperable mound.
    To him I owed my laurels nobly won--
    I loved him as a brother, sire, and son,
    For in an equal race our lives had run;
    Yet the sad price I paid with burning tears;--
    Dire was the cause that woke my gloomy fears!
    Too well the sad result my soul divined,
    Too well I knew the unsubmitting mind
    Of Sophonisba would prefer the tomb
    To stern captivity's ignoble doom.
    I, too, sad victim of celestial wrath,
    Was forced to aid the tardy stroke of death:
    With pangs I yielded to her piercing cries,
    To speed her passage to the nether skies;
    And worse than death endured, her mind to save
    From shame, more hateful than the yawning grave.--
    What was my anguish, when she seized the bowl,
    She knows! and you, whose sympathising soul
    Has felt the fiery shaft, may guess my pains--
    Now tears and anguish are her sole remains.
    That treasure, to preserve my faith to Rome,
    Those hands committed to th' untimely tomb;
    And every hope and joy of life resign'd
    To keep the stain of falsehood from my mind.
    But hasten, and the moving pomp survey,
    (The light-wing'd moments brook no long delay),
    To try if any form your notice claims
    Among those love-lorn youths and amorous dames."--
    With poignant grief I heard his tale of woe,
    That seem'd to melt my heart like vernal snow,
    When a low voice these sullen accents sung:--
    "Not for himself, but those from whom he sprung,
    He merits fate; for I detest them all
    To whose fell rage I owe my country's fall."
    "Oh, calm your rage, unhappy Queen!" I cried;
    "Twice was the land and sea in slaughter dyed
    By cruel Carthage, till the sentence pass'd
    That laid her glories in the dust at last."--
    "Yet mournful wreaths no less the victors crown'd;
    In deep despair our valour oft they own'd.
    Your own impartial annals yet proclaim
    The Punic glory and the Roman shame."
    She spoke--and with a smile of hostile spite
    Join'd the deep train, and darken'd to my sight.
    Then, as a traveller through lands unknown
    With care and keen observance journeys on;
    Whose dubious thoughts his eager steps retard,
    Thus through the files I pass'd with fix'd regard;
    Still singling some amid the moving show,
    Intent the story of their loves to know.
    A spectre now within my notice came,
    Though dubious marks of joy, commix'd with shame,
    His features wore, like one who gains a boon
    With secret glee, which shame forbids to own,
    O dire example of the Demon's power!
    The father leaves the hymeneal bower
    For his incestuous son; the guilty spouse
    With transport mix'd with honour, meets his vows!
    In mournful converse now, amidst the host,
    Their compact they bewail'd, and Syria lost!
    Instant, with eager step, I turn'd aside,
    And met the double husband, and the bride,
    And with an earnest voice the first address'd:--
    A look of dread the spectre's face express'd,
    When first the accents of victorious Rome
    Brought to his mind his kingdom's ancient doom.
    At length, with many a doleful sigh, he said,
    "You here behold Seleucus' royal shade.
    Antiochus is next; his life to save,
    My ready hand my beauteous consort gave,
    (From me, whose will was law, a legal prize,)
    That bound our souls in everlasting ties
    Indissolubly strong. The royal fair
    Forsook a throne to cure the deep despair
    Of him, who would have dared the stroke of Death,
    To keep, without a stain, his filial faith.
    A skilful leech the deadly symptoms guess'd;
    His throbbing veins the secret soon confess'd
    Of Love with honour match'd, in dire debate,
    Whenever he beheld my lovely mate;
    Else gentle Love, subdued by filial dread,
    Had sent him down among th' untimely dead."--
    Then, like a man that feels a sudden thought
    His purpose change, the mingling crowd he sought,
    And left the question, which a moment hung
    Scarce half suppress'd upon my faltering tongue.
    Suspended for a moment, still I stood,
    With various thoughts oppress'd in musing mood.
    At length a voice was heard, "The passing day
    Is yours, but it permits not long delay."--
    I turn'd in haste, and saw a fleeting train
    Outnumbering those who pass'd the surging main
    By Xerxes led--a naked wailing crew,
    Whose wretched plight the drops of sorrow drew
    From my full eyes.--Of many a clime and tongue
    Commix'd the mournful pageant moved along
    While scarce the fortunes or the name of one
    Among a thousand passing forms was known.
    I spied that Ethiopian's dusky charms,
    Which woke in Perseus' bosom Love's alarms;
    And next was he who for a shadow burn'd,
    Which the deceitful watery glass return'd;
    Enamour'd of himself, in sad decay--
    Amid abundance, poor--he look'd his life away;
    And now transform'd through passion's baneful power,
    He o'er the margin hangs, a drooping flower;
    While, by her hopeless love congeal'd to stone,
    His mistress seems to look in silence on;
    Then he that loved, by too severe a fate,
    The cruel maid who met his love with hate,
    Pass'd by; with many more who met their doom
    By female pride, and fill'd an early tomb.--
    There too, the victim of her plighted vows,
    Halcyone for ever mourns her spouse;
    Who now, in feathers clad, as poets feign,
    Makes a short summer on the wintry main.--
    Then he that to the cliffs the maid pursued,
    And seem'd by turns to soar, and swim the flood;--
    And she, who, snared by Love, her father sold,
    With her, who fondly snared the rolling gold;
    And her young paramour, who made his boast
    That he had gain'd the prize his rival lost.--
    Acis and Galatea next were seen,
    And Polyphemus with infuriate mien;--
    And Glaucus there, by rival arts assail'd,
    Fell Circe's hate and Scylla's doom bewail'd.--
    Then sad Carmenta, with her royal lord,
    Whom the fell sorceress clad, by arts abhorr'd,
    With plumes; but still the regal stamp impress'd
    On his imperial wings and lofty crest.--
    Then she, whose tears the springing fount supplied;--
    And she whose form above the rolling tide
    Hangs a portentous cliff--the royal fair,
    Who wrote the dictates of her last despair
    To him whose ships had left the friendly strand.
    With the keen steel in her determined hand.--
    There, too, Pygmalion, with his new-made spouse,
    With many more, I spied, whose amorous vows
    And fates in never-dying song resound
    Where Aganippe laves the sacred ground:--
    And, last of all, I saw the lovely maid
    Of Love unconscious, by an oath betray'd.



      Like one by wonder reft of speech, I stood
    Pond'ring the mournful scene in pensive mood,
    As one that waits advice. My guide in haste
    Began:--"You let the moments run to waste
    What objects hold you here?--my doom you know;
    Compell'd to wander with the sons of woe!"--
    "Oh, yet awhile afford your friendly aid!
    You see my inmost soul;" submiss I said.
    "The strong unsated wish you there can read;
    The restless cravings of my mind to feed
    With tidings of the dead."--In gentler tone
    He said, "Your longings in your looks are known;
    You wish to learn the names of those behind
    Who through the vale in long procession wind:
    I grant your prayer, if fate allows a space,"
    He said, "their fortunes, as they come, to trace.--
    See that majestic shade that moves along,
    And claims obeisance from the ghostly throng:
    'Tis Pompey; with the partner of his vows,
    Who mourns the fortunes of her slaughter'd spouse,
    By Egypt's servile band.--The next is he
    Whom Love's tyrannic spell forbade to see
    The danger by his cruel consort plann'd;
    Till Fate surprised him by her treacherous hand.--
    Let constancy and truth exalt the name
    Of her, t