Returning from its daily quest, my Spirit
Changed thoughts and vile in thee doth weep to find:
It grieves me that thy mild and gentle mind
Those ample virtues which it did inherit,
Has lost. Once thou didst loathe the multitude
Of blind and madding men: I then loved thee—
I loved thy lofty songs, and that sweet mood
When thou wert faithful to thyself and me.
I dare not now, through thy degraded state,
Own the delight thy strains inspire—in vain
I seek what once thou wert—we cannot meet
As we were wont. Again, and yet again,
Ponder my words: so the false Spirit shall fly,
And leave to thee thy true integrity.
Guido Cavalcanti (1255 – 1300) Italy
Translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley