Petrarch Laura Francesco Petrarch and Laura For a woman he would never know
For a woman he could never have
He should change the world forever
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Petrarch:The Canzoniere

Translated by: A.S.Kline
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Information on the sonnet is available here.
Looking for an analysis of a specific poem from the Canzoniere?
Read I go thinking an analysis of poem 264 by Holly Barbaccia.

A la dolce ombra de le belle frondi
corsi fuggendo un dispietato lume
che'nfin qua gi m'ardea dal terzo cielo;
et disgombrava gi di neve i poggi
l'aura amorosa che rinova il tempo,
et fiorian per le piagge l'erbe e i rami.

Non vide il mondo s leggiadri rami,
n mosse il vento mai s verdi frondi
come a me si mostrr quel primo tempo:
tal che, temendo de l'ardente lume,
non volsi al mio refugio ombra di poggi,
ma de la pianta pi gradita in cielo.

Un lauro mi difese allor dal cielo,
onde pi volte vago de' bei rami
da po' son gito per selve et per poggi;
n gi mai ritrovai tronco n frondi
tanto honorate dal supremo lume
che non mutasser qualitate a tempo.

Per pi fermo ognor di tempo in tempo,
seguendo ove chiamar m'udia dal cielo
e scorto d'un soave et chiaro lume,
tornai sempre devoto ai primi rami
et quando a terra son sparte le frondi
et quando il sol fa verdeggiar i poggi.

Selve, sassi, campagne, fiumi et poggi,
quanto creato, vince et cangia il tempo:
ond'io cheggio perdono a queste frondi,
se rivolgendo poi molt'anni il cielo
fuggir disposi gl' invescati rami
tosto ch'incominciai di veder lume.

Tanto mi piacque prima il dolce lume
ch'i' passai con diletto assai gran poggi
per poter appressar gli amati rami:
ora la vita breve e 'l loco e 'l tempo
mostranmi altro sentier di gire al cielo
et di far frutto, non pur fior' et frondi.

Altr'amor, altre frondi et altro lume,
altro salir al ciel per altri poggi
cerco, ch n' ben tempo, et altri rami.
Into the sweet shade of the lovely leaves
I ran fleeing from the pitiless light,
burning down on me from the third heaven:
and snow was already clearing from the hills
in the loving breeze that brought the new season,
and flowers to the fields, grass, and branches.

The world has never seen such graceful branches,
the wind has never stirred such emerald leaves
as were shown to me in that first season:
such that, trembling with the fierce light,
I did not turn for refuge to shadowed hills,
but to the tree that's noblest in heaven.

A laurel protected me from that heaven,
so that I've often, longing for lovely branches,
made my way through the woods and hills:
but never found a tree or leaves
so honoured by the supreme light,
that they do not alter with the season.

So, more constant, season after season,
I follow where I heard the call from heaven
and guided by a clear and gentle light,
I turn, devoted, to those first branches
when the earth is scattered with leaves
and when the sun brings green to the hills.

Woods, stones, fields, rivers and hills:
whatever is, is altered by the season:
so that I ask a pardon of these leaves,
if in the many circling years of heaven
I thought I could flee the clinging branches
as soon as I began to see the light.

I was so pleased at first by the light
that I passed with delight among vast hills,
so I might be near the beloved branches:
now the brief life, the place, and the season
show me another path to climb to heaven
and bear fruit not only flowers and leaves.

I seek another love, and leaves and light,
another path to heaven from other hills,
since it is the season, and other branches.

© Copyright 1999-2006
Peter Sadlon
Updated Sept 10th 2007

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