Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Massacre of the Innocents - Vittoria Colonna

Pure innocents, your lord, revealed so late,
  Departs, and leaves you unprotected quite;
  He wills that on your heads the storm should light,
  Averted from His own. Thrice happy fate!
Herod, his dark and fell revenge to sate,
  Crops the sweet flowers in bud! O baffled spite!
  He gives you thus unfading fruits and bright,
  And by short suffering, joys of endless date.
Snatched from the breast, not words but feeble cries
  Proclaim the martyrs, whom his deed hath crowned
  With palm and laurel from celestial groves.
No sooner are your silken shoulders found
  Fledged with the wing, O dear and infant loves,
  Than up to heaven at the first flight you rise.

Vittoria Colonna (1490–1547) Italy
Translated by James Glassford, of Dougalston
Source: The Sonnets of Europe, edited by Samuel Waddington. Walter Scott, 1888

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