Petrarch on Love

francesco_petrarca00

 

Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good.

— Francesco Petrarch was born this day in 1304

 

 

 

 

 

A pie’ de’ colli ove la bella vesta
prese de le terrene membra pria
la donna che colui ch’a te ne ’nvia
spesso dal somno lagrimando desta, 

libere in pace passavam per questa
vita mortal, ch’ogni animal desia,
senza sospetto di trovar fra via
cosa ch’al nostr’andar fosse molesta. 

Ma del misero stato ove noi semo
condotte da la vita altra serena
un sol conforto, et de la morte, avemo: 

che vendetta è di lui ch’a ciò ne mena,
lo qual in forza altrui presso a l’extremo
riman legato con maggior catena. 

— Petrarch

At the foot of the hill where beauty’s garment
first clothed that lady with earthly members,
who has often sent wakefulness to him,
who sends us to you, out of melancholy sleep, 

we passed by freely in peace through this
mortal life, that all creatures yearn for,
without suspicion of finding, on the way,
anything that would trouble our going. 

But not content, we sought a state of misery,
wandered from that other serene life
til solace found we only in pale death: 

and so succumbed to fear’s vendetta, while
a peace awaited us, serene, awaiting
only that we step forth from our chains. 

— tr A. S. Kline

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