FIRST LOVE From "Il primo Amore" Metastasio Canz: 15.

FIRST LOVE
From "Il primo Amore" Metastasio Canz: 15. [1] 

Ah it is true! in vain we strive
To quench this first-felt amorous fire,
While life exists 'tis still alive,
And never, never can expire.
Concealed, oppressed, the secret flame,5
Smothered by ashes seemed to die,
A gentle breeze from Zephyr came,
Sudden it rose, and blazed on high.
So when I found my tranquil breast
Free from the anxious pains of love,10
My silent passions hushed to rest,
I thought my heart was free to rove.
Resolved another view to take,
I bad the cruel fair adieu,
That instant saw the fire awake15
With all its former powers anew.
A single glance decided my fate,
Again the lovely tyrant reigns,
My bosom feels unusual weight,
And frequent sighs confess its pains.20
Amazed I felt my fears revive
Each other wish at once resigned,
Nor other hopes, nor joys alive
And in her eyes my fate designed.
Their powerful sway I own once more,25
With anxious wishes pine again,
Again my hopeless love deplore
And gaze in silent, tender pain.
In vain to seek relief I fly,
To secret shades, or crowds, or noise,30
Her form still swims before my eye,
My heart still hears alone her voice.
Ah! what avails corporeal flight?
Some object, whereso'er I turn,
Brings her loved image to my sight,35
And busy memory bids me mourn.
Here I recal the time when first
The gentle spring of love I found,
In hopes soft arms then sweetly nursed
By fatal chains unconscious bound.40
When all enraptured at the sight
I watched each movement of her eye,
And in that mirror clear and bright,
Saw and adored my destiny.
This place was witness of the vow45
My timid heart in secret made,
And painfully reminds me now
With what delight those vows were paid.
There I remember how confused
In vain to tell my love I tried,50
My timid tongue the task refused,
The amorous sounds within me died.
Here I reflect on what I felt,
My love displeased, reserved the while,
And there in tenderness I melt55
In memory of a gracious smile.
That smile could ever fill my soul
With jealousy, or hope, or joy:
Its power my heart could still control
And the dark glooms of doubt destroy.60
Here I remember with a sigh
The transports of my throbbing breast,
When first, young love had timidly
Its trembling, raptured hopes confest.
Here I again my sorrows mourn65
Again my doubts and terrors bear,
While cruel Memory bids return
The hours of sad suspence & care.
While round me lovely nymphs appear,
And amorous youths their graces view,70
I praise their forms, their beauties rare,
The lilly and the rose's hue.
But while I speak of Celia's eyes,
Of Daphne's shape, or Chloe's face,
"Thy love," my whispering heart replies,75
"Has matchless beauty, matchless grace."
Thus every object food becomes
For the devouring flame I prove,
And fuel adds to what consumes
Each wish, each thought, each hope but Love.80
Each charm reminds me but of thee
Dear Idol of my constant heart!
And never shall that heart be free
From its sweet fetters to depart.
My soul no laws but thine receives85
Nor do I of my fate complain,
Sweet is his lot who only lives
A subject in thy gentle reign.

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "First Love From 'Il primo Amore' Metastasio Canz: 15" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is not dated in Verses. It presents a verse translation of Pietro Metastasio's 38-line Cantata 15, "Il Primo Amore" (sometimes identified as Cantata 16), whose first three lines declare “Ah it is too true! That amorous ardour / For another that warms the warms the breast the first time / Never ages, is never fully extinguished”:

Ah troppo è ver! Quell' amoroso ardore,
Che altrui scaldo la prima volta il seno,
Mai per età, mai non s' estingue appieno.
È un fuoco insidioso
Sotto il cenere ascoso. A suo talento5
Sembra talor che possa
Trattarlo ognun senza restarne offeso:
Ma se-un' aura lo scuote, eccolo acceso.
Sol che un istante io miri
La bella mia nemica,10
La dolce fiamma antica
Sento svegliarmi in sen.
Ritorno a' miei sospiri,
D'amor per lei mi moro;
Il mio destino adoro15
Negli occhi del mio ben.
Nè sol quando la miro,
Ardo per Nice: ove mi volga, io trovo
Esca all' incendio mio. Là mi ricordo
Quando m'innamorò; qui mi sovviene20
Come giurommi fede. Un luogo, oh Dio!
I suoi ricori, un mi riduce in mente
Le tenerezze sue: questo al pensiero
Tornar l' idea vivace
D' una guerra mi fa, quel d' una pace.25
Che più? Le Ninfe istesse,
Che a vagheggiar per ingannarmi io torno,
Fan ch' io pensi al mio ben. Di Silvia o Clori
Talor le grazie ammiro; il crin, la fronte
Lodo talor: ma quante volte il labbro30
Dice, questa è gentil, vezzosa è quella,
Nice, risponde il cor, Nice è più bella.
Bella fiamma del mio core,
Sol per te conobbi amore,
E te sola io voglio amar.35
Non mi lagno del mio fato;
Dolce sorte è l' esser nato
Sol per Nice a sospirar.
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