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.

Là ver' l'aurora, che sí dolce l'aura
al tempo novo suol movere i fiori,
et li augelletti incominciar lor versi,
sí dolcemente i pensier' dentro a l'alma
mover mi sento a chi li à tutti in forza,
che ritornar convenmi a le mie note.

Temprar potess'io in sí soavi note
i miei sospiri ch'addolcissen Laura,
faccendo a lei ragion ch'a me fa forza!
Ma pria fia 'l verno la stagion de' fiori,
ch'amor fiorisca in quella nobil alma,
che non curò già mai rime né versi.

Quante lagrime, lasso, et quanti versi
ò già sparti al mio tempo, e 'n quante note
ò riprovato humilïar quell'alma!
Ella si sta com'aspr'alpe a l'aura
dolce, la qual ben move frondi et fiori,
ma nulla pò se 'ncontra maggior forza.

Homini et dèi solea vincer per forza
Amor, come si legge in prose e 'n versi:
et io 'l provai in sul primo aprir de' fiori.
Ora né 'l mio signor né le sue note
né 'l pianger mio né i preghi pòn far Laura
trarre o di vita o di martir quest'alma.

A l'ultimo bisogno, o misera alma,
accampa ogni tuo ingegno, ogni tua forza,
mentre fra noi di vita alberga l'aura.
Nulla al mondo è che non possano i versi;
et li aspidi incantar sanno in lor note,
nonché 'l gielo adornar con novi fiori.

Ridon or per le piagge herbette et fiori:
esser non pò che quella angelica alma
non senta il suon de l'amorose note.
Se nostra ria fortuna è di piú forza,
lagrimando et cantando i nostri versi
et col bue zoppo andrem cacciando l'aura.

In rete accolgo l'aura, e 'n ghiaccio i fiori,
e 'n versi tento sorda et rigida alma,
che né forza d'Amor prezza né note.
Towards the dawn when the sweet breeze
over the fresh spring earth stirs the flowers,
and the little birds begin their song,
I feel my thoughts stirred within my soul,
so sweetly by her who has them in her power,
that I must turn again to my own music.

If I could tune my sighs to such gentle music
as Laura makes with the sweetening breeze,
showing her the reason why I'm in her power!
But sooner will winter be the season of flowers,
than love will flourish in that noble soul,
that never cared for my rhymes or song.

How many tears, alas, and how much song
have I scattered in my time, and with what music
have I tried again and again to soften her soul!
She remains a harsh mountain in the breeze,
a sweet one that stirs the grass and flowers,
but has no strength against her greater power.

Men and gods were overcome by the power
of Love, as we read in prose and song:
and I proved at the first opening of the flowers.
Now neither my Lord nor his music
nor my tears or prayers can make this breeze
carry off, from life or torment, this my soul.

In time of greatest need, O wretched soul,
gather all your wits about you, and your power,
while among us there is still this living breeze
Nothing on earth's impossible for song,
and it can charm the serpent with its music,
besides adorning ice with fresh flowers.

Now the meadows smile with grass and flowers,
it cannot be that her angelic soul
does not hear the sound of loving music.
But if my cruel fate has the greater power,
sing and weep together will be our song,
and with a lame ox go to catch the breeze.

I catch the breeze with a net, seed ice with flowers,
and hold with song a deaf unyielding soul,
indifferent to Love's power and my music.

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

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