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
site map   contact  

  PETRARCH
  LAURA & OTHERS

  PICTURES
  WRITINGS
  BOOKS

  THE COLLECTION

  EVENTS
  PAPERS & ESSAYS
  MUSIC SETTINGS

  FAQs
  WEB LINKS
  SITE MAP

  CONTACT

Google


Search this Site
Search the Web



Petrarch:The Canzoniere

Translated by: A.S.Kline
Download them all in English or Italian
<<< PREVIOUS <<< Poem 264 of 366 >>> NEXT >>>
JUMP TO POEM

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.


ITALIAN ENGLISH
I' vo pensando, et nel penser m'assale
una piet s forte di me stesso,
che mi conduce spesso
ad altro lagrimar ch'i' non soleva:
ch, vedendo ogni giorno il fin pi presso,
mille fate chieste a Dio quell'ale
co le quai del mortale
carcer nostro intelletto al ciel si leva.
Ma infin a qui nente mi releva
prego o sospiro o lagrimar ch'io faccia:
e cos per ragion conven che sia,
ch chi, possendo star, cadde tra via,
degno che mal suo grado a terra giaccia.
Quelle pietose braccia
in ch'io mi fido, veggio aperte anchora,
ma temenza m'accora
per gli altrui exempli, et del mio stato tremo,
ch'altri mi sprona, et son forse a l'extremo.

L'un penser parla co la mente, et dice:
- Che pur agogni? onde soccorso attendi?
Misera, non intendi
con quanto tuo disnore il tempo passa?
Prendi partito accortamente, prendi;
e del cor tuo divelli ogni radice
del piacer che felice
nol p mai fare, et respirar nol lassa.
Se gi gran tempo fastidita et lassa
se' di quel falso dolce fugitivo
che 'l mondo traditor pu dare altrui,
a che ripon' pi la speranza in lui,
che d'ogni pace et di fermezza privo?
Mentre che 'l corpo vivo,
i tu 'l freno in bailia de' penser' tuoi:
deh stringilo or che pi,
ch dubbioso 'l tardar come tu sai,
e 'l cominciar non fia per tempo omai.

Gi sai tu ben quanta dolcezza porse
agli occhi tuoi la vista di colei
la qual ancho vorrei
ch'a nascer fosse per pi nostra pace.
Ben ti ricordi, et ricordar te 'n di,
de l'imagine sua quand'ella corse
al cor, l dove forse
non potea fiammma intrar per altrui face:
ella l'accese; et se l'ardor fallace
dur molt'anni in aspectando un giorno,
che per nostra salute unqua non vne,
or ti solleva a pi beata spene,
mirando 'l ciel che ti si volve intorno,
immortal et addorno:
ch dove, del mal suo qua gi s lieta,
vostra vaghezza acqueta
un mover d'occhi, un ragionar, un canto,
quanto fia quel piacer, se questo tanto? -

Da l'altra parte un pensier dolce et agro,
con faticosa et dilectevol salma
sedendosi entro l'alma,
preme 'l cor di desio, di speme il pasce;
che sol per fama glorosa et alma
non sente quand'io agghiaccio, o quand'io flagro,
s'i' son pallido o magro;
et s'io l'occido pi forte rinasce.
Questo d'allor ch'i' m'addormiva in fasce
venuto di d in d crescendo meco,
e temo ch'un sepolcro ambeduo chiuda.
Poi che fia l'alma de le membra ignuda,
non p questo desio pi venir seco;
ma se 'l latino e 'l greco
parlan di me dopo la morte, un vento:
ond'io, perch pavento
adunar sempre quel ch'un'ora sgombre,
vorre' 'l ver abbracciar, lassando l'ombre.

Ma quell'altro voler di ch'i'son pieno,
quanti press'a lui nascon par ch'adugge;
e parte il tempo fugge
che, scrivendo d'altrui, di me non calme;
e 'l lume de' begli occhi che mi strugge
soavemente al suo caldo sereno,
mi ritien con un freno
contra chui nullo ingegno o forza valme.
Che giova dunque perch tutta spalme
la mia barchetta, poi che 'nfra li scogli
ritenuta anchor da ta' duo nodi?
Tu che dagli altri, che 'n diversi modi
legano 'l mondo, in tutto mi disciogli,
Signor mio, ch non togli
omai dal volto mio questa vergogna?
Ch 'n guisa d'uom che sogna,
aver la morte inanzi gli occhi parme;
et vorrei far difesa, et non l'arme.

Quel ch'i' fo veggio, et non m'inganna il vero
mal conosciuto, anzi mi sforza Amore,
che la strada d'onore
mai nol lassa seguir, chi troppo il crede;
et sento ad ora ad or venirmi al core
un leggiadro disegno aspro et severo
ch'ogni occulto pensero
tira in mezzo la fronte, ov'altri 'l vede:
ch mortal cosa amar con tanta fede
quanta a Dio sol per debito convensi,
pi si disdice a chi pi pregio brama.
Et questo ad alta voce ancho richiama
la ragione svata dietro ai sensi;
ma perch'ell'oda, et pensi
tornare, il mal costume oltre la spigne,
et agli occhi depigne
quella che sol per farmi morir nacque,
perch'a me troppo, et a se stessa, piacque.

N so che spatio mi si desse il cielo
quando novellamente io venni in terra
a soffrir l'aspra guerra
che 'ncontra me medesmo seppi ordire;
n posso il giorno che la vita serra
antiveder per lo corporeo velo;
ma vararsi il pelo
veggio, et dentro cangiarsi ogni desire.
Or ch'i' mi credo al tempo del partire
esser vicino, o non molto da lunge,
come chi 'l perder face accorto et saggio,
vo ripensando ov'io lassai 'l vaggio
de la man destra, ch'a buon porto aggiunge:
et da l'un lato punge
vergogna et duol che 'ndietro mi rivolve;
dall'altro non m'assolve
un piacer per usanza in me s forte
ch'a patteggiar n'ardisce co la morte.

Canzon, qui sono, ed 'l cor via pi freddo
de la paura che gelata neve,
sentendomi perir senz'alcun dubbio:
ch pur deliberando vlto al subbio
gran parte omai de la mia tela breve;
n mai peso fu greve
quanto quel ch'i' sostengo in tale stato:
ch co la morte a lato
cerco del viver mio novo consiglio,
et veggio 'l meglio, et al peggior m'appiglio.
I go thinking, and so strong a pity
for myself assails me in thought,
that I'm forced sometimes
to weep with other tears than once I did:
for seeing my end nearer every day,
I've asked God a thousand times for those wings
with which our intellect
can rise from this mortal prison to heaven.
But till now nothing has eased me,
no prayers, or sighs, or tears I produce:
and that is what has to be,
since he who had strength to stand, but fell on the way,
deserves to lie on the ground and find his level.
I see those merciful arms,
I which I believe, still open wide,
but fear grips me
at other's example, and I tremble at my state,
that spurs me higher, and perhaps I near the end.

One thought speaks within me, and says:
'What do you hope for? Where do you seek help?
Wretch, are you not aware
how much to your dishonour the time passes?
Take the wise decision: take it:
and tear from your heart
each root of pleasure,
that brings no joy, and allows no breath.
If you've long been weary and disgusted
with that false fugitive sweetness
that the traitorous world grants more to others,
why place your hopes any longer
in what is free of peace and certainty?
While your body is alive,
you have your thoughts in your control:
grasp them while you may,
since it's dangerous to delay as you know,
and beginning now is not soon enough.

You know well what sweetness came
to your eyes at the sight of her
who I might still wish,
for our peace, had never been born.
Remember clearly, as you must,
how her image ran to your heart,
there where perhaps
the flame of no other torch could enter:
she kindled you: and if the deceiving fire
has lasted many years awaiting that day
that will never come, of our salvation,
lift your thoughts to a more blessed hope,
gaze at the heavens as they turn about,
immortal and adorned:
for if your longing, so happy at its ills,
can be eased down here
by the glance of an eye, by speech, or song,
what is that joy above, if this is such?'

From another side a sweet and bitter thought,
with its wearying and delightful burden,
seated in my soul,
oppresses the heart with desire, feeds it with hope:
that solely for glorious kindly fame,
feels nothing when I freeze or when I burn,
or if I'm pale and thin:
and if I kill it, it's reborn more fiercely.
From when I first slept in my cradle
it came to me, increasing day by day,
and I fear the tomb will enclose us both.
Yet when my soul is stripped of these limbs,
that desire cannot travel with it:
and if Latin or Greek
speak of me after death, it is mere air:
and so, because I fear
to always gather what an hour will scatter,
I wish to leave the shadows, grasp the true.

But that other desire with which I'm filled
seems to destroy the other as it is born:
and time is flying,
so that writing of her does not calm me:
and the light of lovely eyes that melts me
gently in their serene warmth,
controls me with a rein
against which no wit or force avails.
What joy then if my boat has all sails spread
if it's still dragged on the rocks
by those two cables?
You who free me from all other ties,
that bind me to the world in diverse ways,
my Lord, why will you not free
my face ever of this blush of shame?
Like a man who dreams,
death seems to be before my eyes:
and I would make defence, yet have no weapons.

I see what I have done, truth badly understood
does not deceive me, rather Love compels me,
he who never lets those who believe
in him too much follow the path of honour:
and I feel a gracious disdain, bitter and severe,
from time to time, in my heart,
that reveals every hidden thought
on my forehead, where others see:
to love a mortal being with such faith
as is owed to God alone, is the more
denied to those who seek more merit.
And it cries out still in a loud voice
to reason, lead astray by the senses:
but though mind hears, and thought
attends, habit spurs it on,
and pictures to the eyes
her who was born only to make me perish,
by pleasing me too much, and herself.

I do not know what span heaven allotted me
when I was newly come to this earth
to suffer the bitter war
that I contrive to wage against myself:
nor through the corporeal veil can I
anticipate the day that ends my life:
but I see my hair alter
and my desires change within me.
Now that I think the time for death
is near, or at least not far,
I'm like one that loss makes shrewd and wise,
thinking of how it was he left the path
of right, that brings us to our true harbour:
and I feel the goad
of shame and grief turning me about:
yet the other does not free me,
that pleasure so strong in me by custom
that it dares to bargain with death.

Song, you know I grow colder
with fear than frozen snow,
knowing I must truly die:
and that by indecision I've always turned
to ashes the best part of my life's brief thread:
nor was there ever a heavier burden
that that which I sustain in this state:
for with death at my side
I search for new help in living,
and see the better, and cling to the worst.


Note:
re: the last line, Seneca's'Inferna tetigit possit ut supera assequi.'


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

A Merentha Entertainment Project


PETRARCH LAURA PICTURES WRITINGS BOOKS EVENTS PAPERS SETTINGS FAQs CONTACT