STANZAS from PETRARCA

STANZAS
from
PETRARCA [1] 

When smiling fate propitious to my prayer
Leads me with trembling joy to Laura's feet,
That soothing voice relieves my dark despair,
Which Love himself inspires with accents sweet.
Eager I catch each rapture-breathing sound,5
And gaze with transport on her smile benign,
The loves which in each rosy blush are found,
The sprinkled gold with which her tresses shine.
Ah! where is now the calm that once I felt,
No longer peace within this heart shall reign,10
In soft confusion at her sight I melt,
And feel what language never can explain.
Absent, her voice still vibrates in my ear,
Her image still my soul unkindled fires,
No other sound but this I seem to hear,15
No other form attraction e'er inspires.
But Ah! the passion which my bosom knows
My silent tongue must never dare express.
The still-consuming flame which inly glows
In secret ravished I must ne'er confess.20

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Stanzas from Petrarca" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is undated in Verses. It seems to present a very loose verse translation of Petrarch's Sonnet 143:

Quando io v'odo parlar sì dolcemente
com' Amor proprio a' suoi seguaci instilla,
l'acceso mio desir tutto sfavilla,
tal ch' e'nfiammar devria l'anime spente;
trovo la bella donna allor presente5
ovunque mi fu mai dolce o tranquilla,
ne l'abito ch'al suon non d'altra squilla
ma di sospir mi fa destar sovente.
Le chiome a l'aura sparse et lei conversa
indietro veggio, et cosi bella riede10
nel cor come colei che tien la chiave;
ma 'l soverchio piacer, che s'atraversa
a la mia lingua, qual dentro ella siede
di mostrarla in palese ardir non àve.
Mark Musa translates these lines as follows:
When I hear you speak words of so much sweetness,
as Love himself inspires in his flock,
glowing desire in me turns to sparks,
enough to set a dead soul all aflame;
and then I find the lovely lady present,5
whenever she was so sweet or kind to me,
appearing so that often I'm awakened
not by the sound of any bell but sighs.
Her hair free in the breeze I see, and she
turning to me: so lovely she comes back10
into my heart for which she has the key;
but too much joy, which is an obstacle
stopping my tongue, does not possess the courage
to clearly show what she is like inside.
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