Saturday, 11 August 2018

Canzone - Cino da Pistoia

  The loveliness, the glances soft and clear
Of sweetest eyes that e’er unveiled their glow,
Lost unto me, make this my life appear
So grievous that in heaviness I go;
Instead of the gay thoughts I used to know,
Because of love for her,
Now at my heart’s core stir
Thoughts that of Death are born
By reason of this parting whence I mourn.

   In the beginning, Love, alas, alas,
Why didst not wound me so that I might die?
Why didst not part from me, O Love, alas,
The tortured spirit whereon I rely?
In this my sorrow unconsoled am I:
Indeed, the more I yearn
The more regret doth burn,
Since gone away from me
Are the sweet eyes wherein I mirrored thee.

   Love, I have seen thee in those tender eyes,
Thinking on which to-day I am as slain:
Such mighty hosts of sorrow do arise
In memory that my soul cries out for pain,
Because, alas, Death doth not part us twain,
Even as I find me here
Parted both from that dear
Face and from all delight,
Because of the great strife ’twixt black and white.

   When haply I would greet with courtesy
Some gentle lady, lifting up my eyes,
I feel that all my valiancy doth flee
And cannot stem the tears that in them rise,
Calling in mind that now Madonna lies
Far distantly from me;
O mournful eyes, will ye
Not die for very rue?
Of your free will, if Love agree thereto.

   These eyes are saddened by what they behold,
Close them, O Love, with thy hand piteously
Since they no more their vision fair enfold.
When life by way of death is given to hold,
Death is a happy goal.
Thou knowest where my soul
Hereafter needs must go,
Thou knowest, too, what pity it will know.

   O Love, my torments do beseech of thee
Mercy in deadly wise,
As far as in me lies,
Let me death’s gladness learn
And to Pistoia let my soul return.

Cino da Pistoia (1270 – 1336) Italy
Translated by Lorna de’ Lucchi
Source:  An Anthology of Italian Poems 13th-19th Century selected and translated by Lorna de’ Lucchi, Alfred A. Knopf, 1922

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