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[Pg 76] CANZONE X. Poichè per mio destino. IN PRAISE OF LAURA'S EYES: IN THEM HE FINDS EVERY GOOD, AND HE CAN NEVER CEASE TO PRAISE THEM. Since then by destinyI am compell'd to sing the strong desire,Which here condemns me ceaselessly to sigh,May Love, whose quenchless fireExcites me, be my guide and point the way,And in the sweet task modulate my lay:But gently be it, lest th' o'erpowering themeInflame and sting me, lest my fond heart mayDissolve in too much softness, which I deem,From its sad state, may be:For in me—hence my terror and distress!Not now as erst I seeJudgment to keep my mind's great passion less:Nay, rather from mine own thoughts melt I so,As melts before the summer sun the snow. At first I fondly thoughtCommuning with mine ardent flame to winSome brief repose, some time of truce within:This was the hope which broughtMe courage what I suffer'd to explain,Now, now it leaves me martyr to my pain:But still, continuing mine amorous song,Must I the lofty enterprise maintain;So powerful is the wish that in me glows,That Reason, which so longRestrain'd it, now no longer can oppose.Then teach me, Love, to singIn such frank guise, that ever if the earOf my sweet foe should chance the notes to hear,Pity, I ask no more, may in her spring. If, as in other times,When kindled to true virtue was mankind,The genius, energy of man could findEntrance in divers climes,Mountains and seas o'erpassing, seeking thereHonour, and culling oft its garland fair,[Pg 77]Mine were such wish, not mine such need would be.From shore to shore my weary course to trace,Since God, and Love, and Nature deign for meEach virtue and each graceIn those dear eyes where I rejoice to place.In life to them must ITurn as to founts whence peace and safety swell:And e'en were death, which else I fear not, nigh,Their sight alone would teach me to be well. As, vex'd by the fierce wind,The weary sailor lifts at night his gazeTo the twin lights which still our pole displays,So, in the storms unkindOf Love which I sustain, in those bright eyesMy guiding light and only solace lies:But e'en in this far more is due to theft,Which, taught by Love, from time to time, I makeOf secret glances than their gracious gift:Yet that, though rare and slight,Makes me from them perpetual model take;Since first they blest my sightNothing of good without them have I tried,Placing them over me to guard and guide,Because mine own worth held itself but light. Never the full effectCan I imagine, and describe it lessWhich o'er my heart those soft eyes still possess!As worthless I rejectAnd mean all other joys that life confers,E'en as all other beauties yield to hers.A tranquil peace, alloy'd by no distress,Such as in heaven eternally abides,Moves from their lovely and bewitching smile.So could I gaze, the whileLove, at his sweet will, governs them and guides,—E'en though the sun were nigh,Resting above us on his onward wheel—On her, intensely with undazzled eye,Nor of myself nor others think or feel. Ah! that I should desireThings that can never in this world be won,[Pg 78]Living on wishes hopeless to acquire.Yet, were the knot undone,Wherewith my weak tongue Love is wont to bind,Checking its speech, when her sweet face puts onAll its great charms, then would I courage find,Words on that point so apt and new to use,As should make weep whoe'er might hear the tale.But the old wounds I bear,Stamp'd on my tortured heart, such power refuse;Then grow I weak and pale,And my blood hides itself I know not where;Nor as I was remain I: hence I knowLove dooms my death and this the fatal blow. Farewell, my song! already do I seeHeavily in my hand the tired pen moveFrom its long dear discourse with her I love;Not so my thoughts from communing with me. Macgregor.
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