Rapido fiume che d' alpestra vena.
JOURNEYING ALONG THE RHONE TO AVIGNON, PETRARCH BIDS THE RIVER KISS LAURA'S HAND, AS IT WILL ARRIVE AT HER DWELLING BEFORE HIM.
Impetuous flood, that from the Alps' rude head,
Eating around thee, dost thy name obtain;[V]
Anxious like me both night and day to gain
Where thee pure nature, and me love doth lead;
Pour on: thy course nor sleep nor toils impede;
Yet, ere thou pay'st thy tribute to the main,
Oh, tarry where most verdant looks the plain,
Where most serenity the skies doth spread!
There beams my radiant sun of cheering ray,
Which deck thy left banks, and gems o'er with flowers;
E'en now, vain thought! perhaps she chides my stay:
Kiss then her feet, her hand so beauteous fair;
In place of language let thy kiss declare
Strong is my will, though feeble are my powers.
O rapid flood! which from thy mountain bed
Gnawest thy shores, whence (in my tongue) thy name;[V]
Thou art my partner, night and day the same,
Where I by love, thou art by nature led:
Precede me now; no weariness doth shed
Its spell o'er thee, no sleep thy course can tame;
Yet ere the ocean waves thy tribute claim,
Pause, where the herb and air seem brighter fed.
There beams our sun of life, whose genial ray
With brighter verdure thy left shore adorns;
Perchance (vain hope!) e'en now my stay she mourns.
Kiss then her foot, her lovely hand, and may
Thy kiss to her in place of language speak,
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
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