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So strongly it had mounted to my face,
Love made me turn to them distractedly;
And such was my complexion to the sight,
That it led others to discourse of death.
O let us comfort him,
Said each one to the other tenderly.
And oft they said to me,
What hast thou seen that has unmanned thee thus?
And when I had regained some strength, I said,
Ladies, to you I will relate the whole.
Whilst I lay pondering on my ebbing life,
And saw how brief its tenure and how frail,
Love wept within my heart, where he abides ;
For my unhappy soul was wandering so,
That sighing heavily, it said, in thought,
My lady too most certainly shall die.
Such consternation then my reason seized,
That my eyes closed through fear and heaviness;
And scattered far and wide
My spirits fled, and each in error strayed :
Bereft of understanding and of truth,
Showed me the forms of ladies in distress,
Who said to me, Thou die'st, ay, thou shalt die.
Many the doubtful things which next I saw,
While wandering in imagination's maze;
I seemed to be I know not in what place,
And to see ladies pass with hair all loose,
Some weeping, and some uttering loud laments,
Which darted burning grief into the soul.
And then methought I saw a thickening veil
Obscure the sun, and night's fair star appear,
And sun and star both weep;
Birds flying through the dusky air drop down,
And earth itself to shake;
And then appeared a man, feeble, and pale,
Saying, What dost thou here? Hast thou not heard ?
Dead is thy lady, she who was so fair.
I raised mine eyes, oppressed and batlied in tears,
And saw what like a shower of manna seemed,
And angels re-ascending up to heaven;
And spread before them was a little cloud,
Behind which they were chanting loud, Hosanna.
And if they more had added, you should hear.
Then Love thus spoke: Concealment here shall end ;
Come now and see our lady on her bier.
Deceitful fancy then
Conducted me to see my lady dead :
And while I gazed, I saw
That ladies with a veil were covering her;
And in her face humility so true
There was, it seemed to say, I am in peace.
So humble in my sorrow I became,
Seeing such humbleness in her expressed,
That I exclaimed, O Death! I hold thee sweet;
Thou must be deemed, henceforth, a gentle thing,
Since thou hast been united to my lady,
And pity thou should'st have, and not disdain :
Behold me so desirous to be on
Of thine, that I resemble thee in faith :
Come, for the heart entreats thee.
Then, all sad rites being o'er, I went my way;
And when I was alone,
I said, with eyes upraised to realms above;
Blesséd is he who sees thee, beauteous soul! .
'Twas then you called to me, thanks to your love.
Say, pilgrims, ye who go thus pensively,
Musing, perchance, on things that distant are,
Come ye from land and men so far away,
As by your outward mien ye show to us,
That ye weep not when passing through the midst
Of the dejected city, in her woe, ,
Seeming as persons who have never heard
Of the calamity oppressing her?
If ye remain and have the will to hear,
This heart of sighs assures me ye will then
Share in our grief, and weep when ye depart. The desolate city mourns her Beatrice,
And in the tale that may be told of her
Is virtue to force every one to weep.
Remembrance had brought back into my mind
That gentle lady for whom Love dotlı weep,
At the same instant that his influence
Drew your regard to what engagéd me.
Love, who perceived her presence in the mind,
Had waked from slumber in my wretched heart,
And calling to the sighs, exclaimed, Go forth !
They heard, and each departed mournfully.
Weeping they issued from my breast, with voice
Of grief, which often brings to the sad eyes
The bitter tears of my unhappiness.
But those which issued forth with greater pain
Went saying, Noble intellect, this day
Completes the year since thy ascent to heaven.
Farewell, alas ! farewell those tresses bright,
From whence the hills around
Drew and reflected tints of shining gold;
Farewell the beauteous cheer, and glances sweet,
Implanted in my heart
By those fair eyes on that thrice happy day;
Farewell the graceful bloom
Of sparkling countenance;
Farewell the soft sweet smile,
Disclosing pearls of snowy white, between
Roses of vermeil hue, throughout the year ;
Why without me, O Death,
These hast thou carried off in beauty's spring ?
Farewell the endearing mirth, and wise reserve,
The welcome frank and sweet;
The prudent mind, and well-directed heart;
Farewell the beautiful, meek, proud disdain,
Which strengthened my resolve
All baseness to detest, and greatness love.
Farewell desire, the child
Of beauty so abounding;
Farewell the aspiring hope,
Which every other made me leave behind,
And rendered light to me Love's heaviest load ;
These hast thou broken, Death,
As glass and me to living death exposed.
Lady, farewell! Of every virtue queen,
Goddess, for whom, through Love,
I have refused all others to adore;
Farewell! What column, of what precious stone,
On earth were worthy found
To build thy fane, and lift thee high in air?
Farewell ! thou vessel filled
With nature's miracles.
By fortune's evil turn
High on the rugged mountains thou wast led,
Where death has closed thee in the cruel tomb;
And of my eyes hath formed
Two fountains wearied with incessant tears.
Farewell! and O unpardonable Death,
Pity these sorrowing eyes, and own at least,
That till thy hand destroy me,
Endless should be my cry, Alas! Farewell!
As Petrarch was at his devotions in the church of Santa Clara of Avignon, on the morning of the 6th of April, 1327, he saw a lady near him in a green mantle sprinkled with violets. Her youth and beauty impressed him; he forgot the sacredness of the time and place, and, giving himself up to the feelings which she inspired, was soon in love with her. He awoke from his reverie when the service was over, and finding her gone, followed her and learned her name. It was Laura de Sade. She belonged to a noble Provençal family, and was the wife of Hugo de Sade, a rich citizen of Avignon. This last intelligence, which ought to have discouraged Petrarch, does not seem to have affected him much, for he was a priest, and could not have married her, even if she had been free. We are not told what her emotions were when she discovered, as she soon did, that she was loved by another than her husband, but considering the character of that gentleman, who had a habit of scolding her until she wept, it could not have grieved her very deeply. She did not exactly encourage Petrarch, for she was a good wife and mother, with a keen eye to the proprieties of life; but neither did she discourage him. As long as he kept within bounds, she admitted him to her society and friendship, but when he forgot himself, as he sometimes did, and devoured her with passionate looks, her virtue took the alarm, and she withdrew ; or, if that were not always practicable, covered her face with a veil. Their meetings were probably few and far between, or we should have heard more of them from Petrarch, who was as communicative in all that related to her as he well could be. It was her absence that made him a lover and a poet; in her presence he was a silent madman. He poured out his soul in song in the solitude of his study, ransacking heaven and earth for metaphors and comparisons. Her eyes were stars, her hair sunbeams. She was the Air; she was the Laurel. Her smile was his life, her frown his death. He ran up and down the gamut of passion as no poet before had ever done, and made himself and Laura famous, wherever the Italian language was spoken or read. Some of his friends doubted the reality of his passion, as they well might after reading some of his glittering conceits; others even questioned the existence