Già fiammeggiava l' amorosa stella.
LAURA, WHO IS ILL, APPEARS TO HIM IN A DREAM, AND ASSURES HIM THAT SHE STILL LIVES.
Throughout the orient now began to flame
The star of love; while o'er the northern sky
That, which has oft raised Juno's jealousy,
Pour'd forth its beauteous scintillating beam:
Beside her kindled hearth the housewife dame,
Half-dress'd, and slipshod, 'gan her distaff ply:
And now the wonted hour of woe drew nigh,
That wakes to tears the lover from his dream:
When my sweet hope unto my mind appear'd,
Not in the custom'd way unto my sight;
For grief had bathed my lids, and sleep had weigh'd;
Ah me, how changed that form by love endear'd!
"Why lose thy fortitude?" methought she said,
"These eyes not yet from thee withdraw their light.
Already in the east the amorous star
Illumined heaven, while from her northern height
Great Juno's rival through the dusky night
Her beamy radiance shot.
Had roused th' industrious hag, with footstep bare,
And loins ungirt, the sleeping fire to light;
And lovers thrill'd that season of despight,
Which wont renew their tears, and wake despair.
[Pg 37]When my soul's hope, now on the verge of fate,
(Not by th' accustomed way; for that in sleep
Was closed, and moist with griefs,) attain'd my heart.
Alas, how changed! "Servant, no longer weep,"
She seem'd to say; "resume thy wonted state:
Not yet thine eyes from mine are doom'd to part.
Already, in the east, the star of love
Was flaming, and that other in the north,
Which Juno's jealousy is wont to move,
Its beautiful and lustrous rays shot forth;
Barefooted and half clad, the housewife old
Had stirr'd her fire, and set herself to weave;
Each tender heart the thoughtful time controll'd
Which evermore the lover wakes to grieve,
When my fond hope, already at life's last,
Came to my heart, not by the wonted way,
Where sleep its seal, its dew where sorrow cast—
Alas! how changed—and said, or seem'd to say,
"Sight of these eyes not yet does Heaven refuse,
Then wherefore should thy tost heart courage lose?"