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Petrarch - Petrarca, Life and Sonnets


Sonnets below in English and Italian








Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch in English)



Click on the logo or image above to go to a wonderful site dedicated to Petrarch.  Besides offering a wealth of information, the whole tone of the site is one of deep respect and admiration for the man many credit with being the father of Humanism. 



Petrarch was a lover of words, reading, writing and learning.  But like many fathers, he found his son was not interested in the same things.  Perhaps his son had a presentiment of his early death from the plague and decided not to spend his little time on earth studying?  Who knows?



Click on the above logo to go to a page explaining all about the Sonnet Form, offering examples from various sonnet writers, including Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, and Browning.



Avignon. The area was enriched during the time of the Avignon Popes, and remained a Papal property up to the time of the French Revolution.



Petrarch grew up near Avignon, and lived there for many years.  It is in Avignon that he saw and fell in love with Laura.


The Avignon city site is more informative.  Click on either image above of the Papal Palace to visit the site.


Visit the online exhibition Petrarch at 700 by Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Library.


The Life and Work of Petrarch

Books by or About Petrarch

Sonnets to Laura (extracts) from Il Canzoniere





There is a risk when I tackle a figure from Italian culture that I will repeat what has already been said or done elsewhere, and that I may do a worse job of it.  So I always look around to see whats out there and try to complement it and reference it for those who want to read more. 


In the case of Petrarca, or Petrarch, Ive come across a Petrarch site that is so good that I will not attempt to do much more there than offer you some of Petrarchs sonnets from his famous book of love sonnets to his unrequited love, Laura.




But by way of introduction, I will offer the excellent piece on Petrarch from the Columbia Encyclopedia.



The Life and Work of Petrarch


Francesco Petrarca, 130474, Italian poet and humanist, one of the great figures of Italian literature.


He spent his youth in Tuscany and Avignon and at Bologna. He returned to Avignon in 1326 (ed. When the Papacy was there instead of in Rome), may have taken lesser ecclesiastic orders, and entered the service of Cardinal Colonna, traveling widely but finding time to write numerous lyrics, sonnets, and canzoni (songs)


At Avignon in 1327 Petrarch first saw Laura, who was to inspire his great vernacular love lyrics. His verse won growing fame, and in 1341 he was crowned laureate at Rome. Petrarchs friendship with the republican Cola di Rienzi inspired the famous ode Italia mia.


In 1348 both Laura and Colonna died of the plague, and in the next years Petrarch devoted himself to the cause of Italian unification, pleaded for the return of the papacy to Rome, and served the Visconti of Milan. In his last years Petrarch enjoyed great fame, and even after his death and ceremonial burial at Arqu his influence continued to spread.



One of the greatest humanists, he was among the first to realize that Platonic thought and Greek studies provided a new cultural framework, and he helped to spread this Renaissance point of view through his criticism of scholasticism and through his wide correspondence and personal influence.


His discovery of Latin manuscripts also furthered the new learning. In his Secretum, a dialogue, Petrarch revealed the conflict he felt between medieval asceticism and individual expression and glory.


Yet in his poetry he ignored medieval courtly conventions and defined true emotions. In his portrait of Laura he surpassed the medieval picture of woman as a spiritual symbol and created the image of a real woman. He also perfected the sonnet form and is considered by many to be the first modern poet.


He influenced contemporary historiography through his epic Africa, which brought attention to the virtues of the Roman republic.


Petrarch had less pride in the vulgar tongue than in Latin, which he had mastered as a living language. Consequently he considered his Trionfi [triumphs] and the well-known lyrics of the Canzoniere [song book] less important than his Latin works, which include, besides Africa, Metrical Epistles, On Contempt for the Worldly Life, On Solitude, Eclogues, and the Letters.


However, he reached poetic heights in both tongues, and his delicate, melodious, and dignified style became an important model for Italian literature for three centuries.


Books by or About Petrarch

My list of books by or about Petrarch at

To broaden your search to the era or contemporaries, you can use this Search tool for  

Just enter 'Books' in the 'Search' field, and 'Petrarch' in the 'Keyword' field.  Then click on the 'Go' button to see what's available, what people's comments about the books are, and what they cost.

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Sonnets to Laura from Il Canzoniere


There are 366 sonnets that some say were written for a year of love poetry for his Laura.  But in reality, the poems were written over a period of at least 20 years, if not much of Petrarch's life, and many were written long after Laura had passed away.  During that time Petrarch passed through many phases in his love for Laura and in his own life, each expressed in his sonnets.

  • He sees Laura for the first time and falls in love through his eyes, (as its been said men tend to;  women tend to fall in love through their ears, the saying goes).

  • He praises her virtues but refrains from naming her until later, sometimes putting her name in code in the poem

  • He suffers when she discovers his passion and does not return it, and withdraws from his company to protect her honor.

  • There comes his agony at losing her to another while he wavered with timidity.  (This is an oddity, because I've read elsewhere that Laura was already married when he first saw her, but it doesn't sound like that here.)

  • There is his burning with unrequited love, suffering anger, hate, envy, self-pity, remorse.

  • Then he adulates her, sets her on a pedestal, and fantasizes about her everywhere it is beautiful; he glories her and creates of her a fiction to hold in his heart all his life long.

  • When she dies of the plague he grieves, suffers.

  • Then he tries to soften his pain by imagining her in heaven.  He wants to join her there.

  • But when he doesnt die from his grief, he begins to imagine he is with her because in heaven she can see into his heart and know his undying love for her, finally, and they can be together in this way; this thought comforts him.

  • Then, in his old age, he becomes life-weary, ready for his own death, in the end begging for death from the Virgin Mary herself.

The following are some of the sonnets I enjoyed that I thought you might enjoy too.  I report both the English translation and the Italian original.  For all the sonnets, visit this wonderful Petrarch site, or download them from Project Gutenberg



3. 'Era il giorno ch'al sol si scoloraro'


It was on that day when the sun's ray

was darkened in pity for its Maker,

that I was captured, and did not defend myself,

because your lovely eyes had bound me, Lady.


It did not seem to me to be a time to guard myself

against Love's blows: so I went on

confident, unsuspecting; from that, my troubles

started, amongst the public sorrows.


Love discovered me all weaponless,

and opened the way to the heart through the eyes,

which are made the passageways and doors of tears:


so that it seems to me it does him little honour

to wound me with his arrow, in that state,

he not showing his bow at all to you who are armed.


5. 'Quando io movo i sospiri a chiamar voi,'


When I utter sighs, in calling out to you,

with the name that Love wrote on my heart,

the sound of its first sweet accents begin

to be heard within the word LAUdable.


Your REgal state, that I next encounter,

doubles my power for the high attempt;

but: 'TAcit', the ending cries, 'since to do her honour

is for other men's shoulders, not for yours'.


So, whenever one calls out to you,

the voice itself teaches us to LAud, REvere,

you, O, lady worthy of all reverence and honour:


except perhaps that Apollo is disdainful

that morTAl tongue can be so presumptuous

as to speak of his eternally green branches.


7. 'La gola e 'l sonno et l'otose piume'


Greed and sleep and slothful beds

have banished every virtue from the world,

so that, overcome by habit,

our nature has almost lost its way.


And all the benign lights of heaven,

that inform human life, are so spent,

that he who wishes to bring down a stream

from Helicon is pointed out as a wonder.


Such desire for laurel, and for myrtle?

'Poor and naked goes philosophy',

say the crowd intent on base profit.


You'll have poor company on that other road:

So much the more I beg you, gentle spirit,

not to turn from your great undertaking.


11. 'Lassare il velo o per sole o per ombra'


I have not seen you, lady,

leave off your veil in sun or shadow,

since you knew that great desire in myself

that all other wishes in the heart desert me.


While I held the lovely thoughts concealed,

that make the mind desire death,

I saw your face adorned with pity:

but when Love made you wary of me,


then blonde hair was veiled,

and loving glances gathered to themselves.

That which I most desired in you is taken from me:


the veil so governs me

that to my death, and by heat and cold,

the sweet light of your lovely eyes is shadowed.


29. 'Verdi panni, sanguigni, oscuri o persi'


Green dresses, crimson, black or purple,

were never worn by ladies,

nor golden hair tied in a fair braid,

as beautifully as she who robs me

of my will, and takes away the path

of my liberty, so I cannot even

tolerate a lighter yoke.


And even if my spirit begins to grieve,

losing its judgement,

when suffering brings doubt,

the loose will is quickly restrained

by the sight of her, who razes from my heart

every mad project, and makes all

disdain sweet through seeing her. 


I will have revenge, for all that Love

has made me suffer, all I must still suffer

until she heals the heart she ravaged,

she, alien to pity, but still enticing,

unless Anger and Pride opposing Humility

close off and deny the way

that leads to her....

50. 'Ne la stagionche 'l ciel rapido inchina'

...While the sun turns his fiery wheel

to give space to the night,

while darker shadows fall from the highest peaks,

the greedy peasant gathers his tools,

and with the speech and music of the mountains,

frees every heaviness from his heart:

and then sets out the meal

of an impoverished life,

like those acorns in the Golden Age

that all the world rejects but honours.

But let whoever will be happy hour on hour

since I have never yet had rest an hour,

not to speak of happiness,

despite the wheeling of the sky and stars....

61. 'Benedetto sia 'l giorno, et 'l mese, et l'anno,'


Blessed be the day, and the month, and the year,

and the season, and the time, and the hour, and the moment,

and the beautiful country, and the place where I was joined

to the two beautiful eyes that have bound me:


and blessed be the first sweet suffering

that I felt in being conjoined with Love,

and the bow, and the shafts with which I was pierced,

and the wounds that run to the depths of my heart.


Blessed be all those verses I scattered

calling out the name of my lady,

and the sighs, and the tears, and the passion:


and blessed be all the sheets

where I acquire fame, and my thoughts,

that are only of her, that no one else has part of.


80. 'Chi fermato di menar sua vita' (Sestina)


He who is set on living out his life

on the treacherous sea and near the rocks,

saved from death by a little vessel,

cannot be far from his own end:

unless he knows how to return to port

while the tiller still directs the sails.


The gentle breeze to which my tiller and sails

were entrusted, entering beloved life

and hoping to reach a better port,

carried me then among a thousand rocks:

and the causes of my sorrowful end

were not just outside but inside the vessel.


Trapped for a long time in this blind vessel

I wandered, not lifting my eyes to the sails

carrying me, before my time, to my end:

then it pleased Him who brought me into life

to call me back, far enough from the rocks

that some way off I could see the port.


As a light at night, burning in port,

is seen on the high seas by any vessel

if it's not hidden by a storm or rocks,

so, from above my swelling sails,

I saw the emblem of that other life,

and then I sighed towards my end. 


Not that I am yet certain of my end:

who wishes while day remains, to reach port

make's a long voyage in so short a life:

I'm afraid, sailing so frail a vessel,

mostly I wish the wind not to fill my sails

that wind that drove me on the rocks.


If I escape alive from dangerous rocks,

and my exile comes to a good end,

I'd be content to furl my sails,

and cast anchor in any port!

If only I don't blaze, a burning vessel:

it's so hard for me to leave the old life.


Lord of my end, and of my life,

before my vessel shatters on the rocks,

drive me to port, with storm-tossed sails.


81. 'Io son s stanco sotto 'l fascio antico'


I'm so wearied by the ancient burden,

of these faults of mine, and my sinful ways,

that I've a deep fear of erring on the road,

and falling into my enemy's hands.


A great friend came to rescue me,

with noble and ineffable courtesy:

then flew away, far from my sight,

so that I strive to see him, but in vain.


But his voice still echoes down here:

'Come unto me: all you that labour

behold the path, if no one blocks the way.'


What grace, what love, O what destiny

will grant me the wings of a dove,

to lift from the earth, and be at rest?


89. 'Fuggendo la pregione ove Amor m'ebbe'


Fleeing the prison where Love for many years

had done with me whatever it was he wished,

it would be a long story to recount

how my newfound freedom troubled me.


My heart told me it did not know how

to live alone a day: and then that traitor Love

appeared in my path, so well disguised

he'd have deceived a wiser man than me.


So that many times, sighing within,

I said: 'Ah me, the yoke, the log, the chains,

were much sweeter than this walking free.


Alas for me, I saw my ills too late:

and how hard it is for me today to turn

away from error, where I entwined myself!


91 'La bella donna che cotanto amavi'


The lovely lady who you loved so dearly

has suddenly departed from us,

and has climbed to Heaven, I trust,

since every act of hers was sweet and gentle.


It is time to recover both the keys

of your heart, that in life she possessed,

and follow her on the swift true road:

no earthly charge should prevent you.


Now you are free from the greater burden,

the others may be easily laid down,

while you climb like a free pilgrim.


You know truly now how all creatures

run towards death, and how the soul

must be lightened for the perilous gate.


132. 'S'amor non , che dunque quel ch'io sento?


What do I feel if this is not love?

But if it is love, God, what thing is this?

If good, why this effect: bitter, mortal?

If bad, then why is every suffering sweet?


If I desire to burn, why tears and grief?

If my state's evil, what's the use of grieving?

O living death, O delightful evil,

how can you be in me so, if I do not consent?


And if I consent, I am greatly wrong in sorrowing.

Among conflicting winds in a frail boat

I find myself on the deep sea without a helm,


so light in knowledge, so laden with error,

that I do not know what I wish myself,

and tremble in midsummer, burn in winter.


194. 'L'aura gentil, che rasserena I pioggi'


I know the gentle breeze that clears the hills,

waking the flowers in that shadowy wood,

by its soft breath, through which my pain

and my fame must both increase together.


I flee from my sweet native Tuscan air

to find where my weary heart can rest:

I seek my sun that I hope to see today,

to light my dark and troubled thoughts.


It grants such sweetness that Love

brings me back to it with force:

till it so dazes me I'm slow to flee.


I'd ask for wings not weapons to escape:

but heaven consumes me with this light,

so I suffer at a distance, near to I burn.


259. 'Cercato sempre solitaria vita'


I've often sought the solitary life

(river-banks know it, and fields and woods)

to escape these dull and clouded minds,

who have lost the road to heaven:


and if my wish in this were granted,

beyond the sweet air of Tuscan country,

I'd still be among those misted hills

where the Sorgue aids my tears and song.


But my fortune, always my enemy,

returns me to this place where I hate

to see my lovely treasure in the dust.


Fate was a friend to the hand that wrote,

at that time, and perhaps not unworthily:

Love saw it, and I know, and my lady.


312. 'N per sereno ciel ir vaghe stelle,'


Not the stars that wander the calm sky,

nor ships scattered over the peaceful sea,

nor armoured knights crossing the field,

nor bright slender creatures among the trees:


nor fresh news of some hoped-for good

nor words of love in high and ornate style,

nor among clear fountains and green grass

the sweet singing of lovely virtuous women:


nor anything at all can touch the heart,

she buried with her in that sepulchre,

who was sole light and mirror to my eyes.


It pains me to live so heavily and long

who call for death, in my great desire, again,

to see one it were better never to have seen.


333. 'Ite, rime dolenti, al duro sasso'


My sad verse, go to the harsh stone

that hides my precious treasure in the earth,

call to her there, she will reply from heaven,

though her mortal part is in a low, dark place.


Say to her I'm already tired of living,

of navigating through these foul waves:

but gathering up the scattered leaves,

step by step, like this, I follow her,


only I go speaking of her, living and dead,

yet alive, and made immortal now,

so that the world can know of her, and love her.


Let it please her to watch for my passing,

that is near now: let us meet together, and her

draw me, and call me, to what she is in heaven.


339. 'Conobbi, quanto il ciel li occhi m'aperse,'


I knew, when Heaven opened my eyes,

when I learnt and Love unfurled my wings,

new gracious things, but mortal,

that the stars showered on one alone:


the rest of her was so other, so various

in form, noble, heavenly and immortal,

that my intellect was all unequal to it,

my weak sight could not endure it.


And whatever I have said of her or written,

so that now for that praise she prays to God

for me, was a little drop in an infinite ocean:


because our style cannot rise beyond our wit:

and when a man fixes his eyes on the sun,

the brighter it shines the less that he can see.


354. 'Deh porgi mano a l'affannato ingegno,'


Love, give your help to my troubled mind,

and my labouring and feeble pen,

to speak of her who is made immortal,

a citizen of the heavenly kingdom:


grant me, my lord, with my speech to hit

the target in praising her, as it could not alone,

since there's no virtue or beauty in the world

that she is not worthy of possessing.


He replies: 'Whatever heaven and I can give,

and good counsel and honest converse,

was all in her, whom death deprived us of.


No form was equal to hers since the day Adam

first opened his eyes: and now let this be enough:

I say it weeping, and weeping you must write.'


361. 'Dicemi spesso il mio fidato speglio,'


Often my faithful mirror shows me

my weary spirit, and my altered skin,

and my weakened skill and strength, saying:

'Don't fool yourself any more: you are old.


Obedience to Nature in everything is better

than to contest time and power with her.'

Suddenly then, as water quenches fire,

I wake from a long and heavy sleep:


and see how truly our life flies

and we cannot be here more than once:

and her words echo deeply in my heart,


she who is freed now from the lovely knot,

but was unique in her age of the world,

and stole, if I do not err, all others' fame.

363. 'Morte spento quel sol ch'abagliar suolmi,'


Death has quenched the sun that dazzled me,

and those eyes are in the darkness, fixed, entire:

she is earth, who made me hot and cold:

my laurels are bare, like the oaks and elms:


in all this I see my good: and yet I grieve.

There's no one now to make my thoughts

bold or timid, to make them burn or freeze,

to make them fill with hope, or brim with pain.


Out of the hand of him who hurt and healed me,

who once granted me so long a torment,

I find myself in sweet and bitter freedom:


and turn to the Lord I adore and thank,

who governs the world with a blink of his eye:

I'm weary of living, and sated with it too.

366. 'Vergin bella, che di sol vestita,' (His Prayer to the Virgin)

...The day is coming, and cannot be long,

time runs so fast, and flies,

Virgin, unique, alone,

remorse and death sting my heart.

Commend me to your Son, truly

Man, and truly God,

that he might receive my last breath, in peace.






Also see my pages:

Brownings - Italophile Poets

Poetess Mercedes Chiti




























Era il giorno ch'al sol si scoloraro

per la piet del suo factore i rai,

quando i' fui preso, et non me ne guardai,

ch i be' vostr'occhi, donna, mi legaro.


Tempo non mi parea da far riparo

contra colpi d'Amor: per m'andai

secur, senza sospetto; onde i miei guai

nel commune dolor s'incominciaro.


Trovommi Amor del tutto disarmato

et aperta la via per gli occhi al core,

che di lagrime son fatti uscio et varco:


per al mio parer non li fu honore

ferir me de saetta in quello stato,

a voi armata non mostrar pur l'arco.




Quando io movo i sospiri a chiamar voi,

e 'l nome che nel cor mi scrisse Amore,

LAUdando s'incomincia udir di fore

il suon de' primi dolci accenti suoi.


Vostro stato REal, che 'ncontro poi,

raddoppia a l'alta impresa il mio valore;

ma: TAci, grida il fin, ch farle honore

d'altri homeri soma che da' tuoi.


Cos LAUdare et REverire insegna

la voce stessa, pur ch'altri vi chiami,

o d'ogni reverenza et d'onor degna:


se non che forse Apollo si disdegna

ch'a parlar de' suoi sempre verdi rami

lingua morTAl presumptosa vegna.




La gola e 'l sonno et l'otose piume

nno del mondo ogni vert sbandita,

ond' dal corso suo quasi smarrita

nostra natura vinta dal costume;


et s spento ogni benigno lume

del ciel, per cui s'informa humana vita,

che per cosa mirabile s'addita

chi vl far d'Elicona nascer fiume.


Qual vaghezza di lauro, qual di mirto?

Povera et nuda vai philosophia,

dice la turba al vil guadagno intesa.


Pochi compagni avrai per l'altra via:

tanto ti prego pi, gentile spirto,

non lassar la magnanima tua impresa.




Lassare il velo o per sole o per ombra,

donna, non vi vid'io

poi che in me conosceste il gran desio

ch'ogni altra voglia d'entr'al cor mi sgombra.


Mentr'io portava i be' pensier' celati,

ch'nno la mente desando morta,

vidivi di pietate ornare il volto;

ma poi ch'Amor di me vi fece accorta,


fuor i biondi capelli allor velati,

et l'amoroso sguardo in s raccolto.

Quel ch'i' pi desiava in voi m' tolto:


s mi governa il velo

che per mia morte, et al caldo et al gielo,

de' be' vostr'occhi il dolce lume adombra.




Verdi panni, sanguigni, oscuri o persi

non vest donna unquancho

n d'or capelli in bionda treccia attorse,

s bella com' questa che mi spoglia

d'arbitrio, et dal camin de libertade

seco mi tira, s ch'io non sostegno

alcun giogo men grave.


Et se pur s'arma talor a dolersi

l'anima a cui vien mancho

consiglio, ove 'l martir l'adduce in forse,

rappella lei da la sfrenata voglia

sbita vista, ch del cor mi rade

ogni delira impresa, et ogni sdegno

fa 'l veder lei soave.


Di quanto per Amor gi mai soffersi,

et aggio a soffrir ancho,

fin che mi sani 'l cor colei che 'l morse,

rubella di merc, che pur l'envoglia,

vendetta fia, sol che contra Humiltade

Orgoglio et Ira il bel passo ond'io vegno

non chiuda et non inchiave.




...Come 'l sol volge le 'nfiammate rote

per dar luogo a la notte, onde discende

dagli altissimi monti maggior l'ombra,

l'avaro zappador l'arme riprende,

et con parole et con alpestri note

ogni gravezza del suo petto sgombra;

et poi la mensa ingombra

di povere vivande,

simili a quelle ghiande,

le qua' fuggendo tutto 'l mondo honora.

Ma chi vuol si rallegri ad ora ad ora,

ch'i' pur non ebbi anchor, non dir lieta,

ma riposata un'hora,

n per volger di ciel n di pianeta....




Benedetto sia 'l giorno, et 'l mese, et l'anno,

et la stagione, e 'l tempo, et l'ora, e 'l punto,

e 'l bel paese, e 'l loco ov'io fui giunto

da'duo begli occhi che legato m'nno;


et benedetto il primo dolce affanno

ch'i' ebbi ad esser con Amor congiunto,

et l'arco, et le saette ond'i' fui punto,

et le piaghe che 'nfin al cor mi vanno.


Benedette le voci tante ch'io

chiamando il nome de mia donna sparte,

e i sospiri, et le lagrime, e 'l desio;


et benedette sian tutte le carte

ov'io fama l'acquisto, e 'l pensier mio,

ch' sol di lei, s ch'altra non v' parte.




Chi fermato di menar sua vita

su per l'onde fallaci et per gli scogli

scevro da morte con un picciol legno,

non p molto lontan esser dal fine:

per sarrebbe da ritrarsi in porto

mentre al governo anchor crede la vela.


L'aura soave a cui governo et vela

commisi entrando a l'amorosa vita

et sperando venire a miglior porto,

poi mi condusse in pi di mille scogli;

et le cagion' del mio doglioso fine

non pur d'intorno avea, ma dentro al legno.


Chiuso gran tempo in questo cieco legno

errai, senza levar occhio a la vela

ch'anzi al mio d mi trasportava al fine;

poi piacque a lui che mi produsse in vita

chiamarme tanto indietro da li scogli

ch'almen da lunge m'apparisse il porto.


Come lume di notte in alcun porto

vide mai d'alto mar nave n legno

se non gliel tolse o tempestate o scogli,

cos di su da la gomfiata vela

vid'io le 'nsegne di quell'altra vita,

et allor sospirai verso 'l mio fine.


Non perch'io sia securo anchor del fine:

ch volendo col giorno esser a porto

gran vaggio in cos poca vita;

poi temo, ch mi veggio in fraile legno,

et pi che non vorrei piena la vela

del vento che mi pinse in questi scogli.


S'io esca vivo de' dubbiosi scogli,

et arrive il mio exilio ad un bel fine,

ch'i' sarei vago di voltar la vela,

et l'anchore gittar in qualche porto!

Se non ch'i' ardo come acceso legno,

s m' duro a lassar l'usata vita.


Signor de la mia fine et de la vita,

prima ch'i' fiacchi il legno tra gli scogli

drizza a buon porto l'affannata vela.




Io son s stanco sotto 'l fascio antico

de le mie colpe et de l'usanza ria

ch'i' temo forte di mancar tra via,

et di cader in man del mio nemico.


Ben venne a dilivrarmi un grande amico

per somma et ineffabil cortesia;

poi vol fuor de la veduta mia,

s ch'a mirarlo indarno m'affatico.


Ma la sua voce anchor qua gi rimbomba:

O voi che travagliate, ecco 'l camino;

venite a me, se 'l passo altri non serra.


Qual gratia, qual amore, o qual destino

mi dar penne in guisa di colomba,

ch'i' mi riposi, et levimi da terra?




Fuggendo la pregione ove Amor m'ebbe

molt'anni a far di me quel ch'a lui parve,

donne mie, lungo fra a ricontarve

quanto la nova libert m'increbbe.


Diceami il cor che per s non saprebbe

viver un giorno; et poi tra via m'apparve

quel traditore in s mentite larve

che pi saggio di me inganato avrebbe.


Onde pi volte sospirando indietro

dissi: Ohim, il giogo et le catene e i ceppi

eran pi dolci che l'andare sciolto.


Misero me, che tardo il mio mal seppi;

et con quanta faticha oggi mi spetro

de l'errore, ov'io stesso m'era involto!




La bella donna che cotanto amavi

subitamente s' da noi partita,

et per quel ch'io ne speri al ciel salita,

s furon gli atti suoi dolci soavi.


Tempo da ricovrare ambo le chiavi

del tuo cor, ch'ella possedeva in vita,

et seguir lei per via dritta expedita:

peso terren non sia pi che t'aggravi.


Poi che se' sgombro de la maggior salma,

l'altre puoi giuso agevolmente porre,

sallendo quasi un pellegrino scarco.


Ben vedi omai s come a morte corre

ogni cosa creata, et quanto all'alma

bisogna ir lieve al periglioso varco.




S'amor non , che dunque quel ch'io sento?

Ma s'egli amor, perdio, che cosa et quale?

Se bona, onde l'effecto aspro mortale?

Se ria, onde s dolce ogni tormento?


S'a mia voglia ardo, onde 'l pianto e lamento?

S'a mal mio grado, il lamentar che vale?

O viva morte, o dilectoso male,

come puoi tanto in me, s'io no 'l consento?


Et s'io 'l consento, a gran torto mi doglio.

Fra s contrari vnti in frale barca

mi trovo in alto mar senza governo,


s lieve di saver, d'error s carca

ch'i' medesmo non so quel ch'io mi voglio,

et tremo a mezza state, ardendo il verno.




L'aura gentil, che rasserena i poggi

destando i fior' per questo ombroso bosco,

al soave suo spirto riconosco,

per cui conven che 'n pena e 'n fama poggi.


Per ritrovar ove 'l cor lasso appoggi,

fuggo dal mi' natio dolce aere tosco;

per far lume al penser torbido et fosco,

cerco 'l mio sole et spero vederlo oggi.


Nel qual provo dolcezze tante et tali

ch'Amor per forza a lui mi riconduce;

poi s m'abbaglia che 'l fuggir m' tardo.


I' chiedrei a scampar, non arme, anzi ali;

ma perir mi d 'l ciel per questa luce,

ch da lunge mi struggo et da presso ardo.




Cercato sempre solitaria vita

(le rive il sanno, et le campagne e i boschi)

per fuggir questi ingegni sordi et loschi,

che la strada del cielo nno smarrita;


et se mia voglia in ci fusse compita,

fuor del dolce aere de' paesi toschi

anchor m'avria tra' suoi bei colli foschi

Sorga, ch'a pianger et cantar m'aita.


Ma mia fortuna, a me sempre nemica,

mi risospigne al loco ov'io mi sdegno

veder nel fango il bel tesoro mio.


A la man ond'io scrivo fatta amica

a questa volta, et non forse indegno:

Amor sel vide, et sa 'l madonna et io.




N per sereno ciel ir vaghe stelle,

n per tranquillo mar legni spalmati,

n per campagne cavalieri armati,

n per bei boschi allegre fere et snelle;


n d'aspettato ben fresche novelle

n dir d'amore in stili alti et ornati

n tra chiare fontane et verdi prati

dolce cantare honeste donne et belle;


n altro sar mai ch'al cor m'aggiunga,

s seco il seppe quella sepellire

che sola agli occhi miei fu lume et speglio.


Noia m' 'l viver s gravosa et lunga

ch'i' chiamo il fine, per lo gran desire

di riveder cui non veder fu 'l meglio.




Ite, rime dolenti, al duro sasso

che 'l mio caro thesoro in terra asconde,

ivi chiamate chi dal ciel risponde,

bench 'l mortal sia in loco oscuro et basso.


Ditele ch'i' son gi di viver lasso,

del navigar per queste horribili onde;

ma ricogliendo le sue sparte fronde,

dietro le vo pur cos passo passo,


sol di lei ragionando viva et morta,

anzi pur viva, et or fatta immortale,

a ci che 'l mondo la conosca et ame.


Piacciale al mio passar esser accorta,

ch' presso omai; siami a l'incontro, et quale

ella nel cielo a s mi tiri et chiame.




Conobbi, quanto il ciel li occhi m'aperse,

quanto studio et Amor m'alzaron l'ali,

cose nove et leggiadre, ma mortali,

che 'n un soggetto ogni stella cosperse:


l'altre tante s strane et s diverse

forme altere, celesti et immortali,

perch non furo a l'intellecto eguali,

la mia debil vista non sofferse.


Onde quant'io di lei parlai n scrissi,

ch'or per lodi anzi a Dio preghi mi rende,

fu breve stilla d'infiniti abissi:


ch stilo oltra l'ingegno non si stende;

et per aver uom li occhi nel sol fissi,

tanto si vede men quanto pi splende.




Deh porgi mano a l'affannato ingegno,

Amor, et a lo stile stancho et frale,

per dir di quella ch' fatta immortale,

et cittadina del celeste regno;


dammi, signor, che 'l mio dir giunga al segno

de le sue lode, ove per s non sale,

se vert, se belt non ebbe eguale

il mondo, che d'aver lei non fu degno.


Responde: - Quanto 'l ciel et io possiamo,

e i buon' consigli, e 'l conversar honesto,

tutto fu in lei, di che noi Morte privi.


Forma par non fu mai dal d ch'Adamo

aperse li occhi in prima; et basti or questo:

piangendo i' 'l dico, et tu piangendo scrivi.




Dicemi spesso il mio fidato speglio,

l'animo stanco, et la cangiata scorza,

et la scemata mia destrezza et forza:

- Non ti nasconder pi: tu se' pur vglio.


Obedir a Natura in tutto il meglio,

ch'a contender con lei il tempo ne sforza. -

Sbito allor, com'acqua 'l foco amorza,

d'un lungo et grave sonno mi risveglio:


et veggio ben che 'l nostro viver vola

et ch'esser non si p pi d'una volta;

e 'n mezzo 'l cor mi sona una parola


di lei ch' or dal suo bel nodo sciolta,

ma ne' suoi giorni al mondo fu s sola,

ch'a tutte, s'i' non erro, fama tolta.




Morte spento quel sol ch'abagliar suolmi,

e 'n tenebre son gli occhi interi et saldi;

terra quella ond'io ebbi et freddi et caldi;

spenti son i miei lauri, or querce et olmi:


di ch'io veggio 'l mio ben; et parte duolmi.

Non chi faccia et paventosi et baldi

i miei penser', n chi li agghiacci et scaldi,

n chi li empia di speme, et di duol colmi.


Fuor di man di colui che punge et molce,

che gi fece di me s lungo stratio,

mi trovo in libertate, amara et dolce;


et al Signor ch'i' adoro et ch'i' ringratio,

che pur col ciglio il ciel governa et folce,

torno stanco di viver, nonch satio.




...Il d s'appressa, et non pte esser lunge,

s corre il tempo et vola,

Vergine unica et sola,

e 'l cor or coscentia or morte punge.

Raccomandami al tuo figliuol, verace

homo et verace Dio,

ch'accolga 'l mo spirto ultimo in pace.