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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Francesco Petrarch To be sure, the Latin, in both prose and poetry, is undoubtedly the nobler language, but for that very reason it has been so thoroughly developed by earlier writers that neither we nor anyone else may expect to add very much to it. The vernacular, on the other hand, has but recently been discovered, and, though it has been ravaged by many, it still remains uncultivated, in spite of a few earnest labourers, and still shows itself capable of much improvement and enrichment. Stimulated by this thought, and by the enterprise of youth, I began an extensive work in that language. I laid the foundations of the structure, and got together my lime and stones and wood.

Below are English translations of books, poems and letters which Petrarch had written. If you know of any other translations on the Internet please let me know and I will include them here. Information on the sonnet is available here.

If you are looking for physical books, you may check out our books section which allows you to purchase the latest and greatest from the world of Petrarch.

The Canzoniere AKA: Rime sparse or Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Fragments of vernacular matters) Looking for a specific poem or sonnet? It's here. All 366 poems of the Canzoniere are here, both in their original Italian and translated into English by Tony Kline. Read them as either both versions facing each other line by line, or download the complete Canzoniere in either language.

Familiar Letters This collection of letters was started in 1359 and when completed contained 350 letters written between the years 1325 and 1366. It was Petrarch's first collection of letters. A few translations exist in this section.

Seniles Petrarch's second collection of letters. Begun in 1361 it contains 128 letters written between 1361 and 1373 and sorted into 17 books. The final letter, the first and only of the 18th book is his incomplete letter to Posterity. A handful of translations are available

Other Letters Other Letters by Petrarch as found elsewhere online. I do not at this time know where these letters belong with regard to Petrarch's original collections.

Secretum Petrarch's Secret. Begun in 1343, it is composed of three imaginary dialogues between Petrarch and St. Augustine, who speak in the presence of Lady Truth. The Secretum is a "secret" book, intended for private meditation; Petrarch kept it by him for the rest of his life. It reflects his sense of inner crisis and depression, resolved by Augustine's wise counsel and recollection of his readings, particularly Virgil, Ovid, and Augustine's Confessions.

Trionfi Petrarch's Triumphs. All of the triumphs are here, in Italian and now the compelte English translations as well.

Bucolicum Carmen Petrarch's Bucolicum Carmen is a poem written in 12 eglogues. Each poem deals with a different topic. Only in Latin at this time.

Africa The Epic poem of Scipio, the conqueror of Hannibal in the Second Punic War. Only in Latin at this time.

The Tale of Griselda This translation of the story was written by Petrarch after reading Boccaccio's version. It was Petrarch's wish that the such a wonderful story be written in Latin and so he translated it. This is an English translation of that Latin version.

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

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