Sonnet 47

Benedetto sia ‘l giorno, e ‘l mese, e l’anno, E la stagione, e ‘l tempo, e l’ora, e ‘l punto E ‘l bel paese e ‘l loco, ov’io fui giunto Da’duo begli occhi che legato m’ànno;

E benedetto il primo dolce affanno Ch’i’ ebbi ad esser con Amor congiunto, E l’arco e la saette ond’ i’ fui punto, E le piaghe, ch’infino al cor mi vanno.

Benedette le voci tante, ch’io Chiamando il nome di Laura ho sparte, E i sospiri e le lagrime e ‘l desio.

E benedette sian tutte le carte Ov’io fama le acquisto, e il pensier mio, Ch’è sol di lei, si ch’altra non v’ha parte.

Blessed be the day, the month, the year, the season, the hour, the moment, the lovely scene, the spot when I was put in thrall by two lovely eyes which bind me fast.

And blessed be the first sweet pang I suffered when love overwhelmed me, the bows and arrows which stung me, and the wounds which pierce to my heart.

Blessed be the many voices which have echoed when I have called Laura’s name, the sighs and tears, the longing;

and blessed be all those writings in which I have spread her fame, and my thoughts, which stem from her and centre on her alone.

Sonnet 104

Pace non trovo, e non ho da far guerra, E temo, e spero, ed ardo, e son un ghiaccio: E volo sopra ‘l cielo, e giaccio in terra; E nulla stringo, e tutto ‘l mondo abbraccio.

Tal m’ha in priggion, che non m’apre, né serra, Né per suo mi ritien, né scioglie il laccio, E non m’uccide Amor, e non mi sferra; Né mi vuol vivo, né mi trahe d’impaccio.

Veggio senz’occhi; e non ho lingua e grido; E bramo di perir, e cheggio aita; Ed ho in odio me stesso, ed amo altrui:

Pascomi di dolor; piangendo rido; Egualmente mi spiace morte e vita. In questo stato son, Donna, per Voi.

I find no peace, but for war am not inclined; I fear, yet hope; I burn, yet am turned to ice; I soar in the heavens, but lie upon the ground; I hold nothing, though I embrace the whole world.

Love has me in a prison which he neither opens nor shuts fast; he neither claims me for his own nor loosens my halter; he neither slays nor unshackles me; he would not have me live, yet leaves me with my torment.

Eyeless I gaze, and tongueless I cry out; I long to perish, yet plead for succour; I hate myself, but love another.

I feed on grief, yet weeping, laugh; death and life alike repel me; and to this state I am come, my lady, because of you.

I fynde no peace and all my warre is done, I feare and hope, I bourne and freese lyke yse; I flye above the wynde, yet cannot ryse; And nought I have, yet all the worlde I season, That looseth, nor lacketh, holdes me in pryson, And holdes me not, yet can I escape no wyse. Nor lets me leeve, nor die at my devyce, And yet of death it giveth none occasion. Without eye I see, and without tongue I playne; I desyre to perishe, yet aske I health; I love another, and yet I hate my self; I feede in sorrow and laughe in all my payne, Lykewyse pleaseth me both death and lyf, And my delight is cawser of my greif.

WARFARE I cannot wage, yet know not peace; I fear, I hope, I burn, I freeze again; Mount to the skies, then bow to earth my face; Grasp the whole world, yet nothing can obtain. Pris’ner of one who deigns not to detain, I am not made his own, nor giv’n release. Love slays me not, nor yet will he unchain; Nor life allot, nor stop my harm’s increase.

Sightless I see my fair; though mute, I mourn; I scorn existence, yet I court its stay; Detest myself, and for another burn; By grief I’m nurtured; and, though tearful, gay; Death I despise, and life alike I hate: Such, lady, do you make my wretched state!

Sonnet 123

I’ vidi in terra angelici costumi, E celesti bellezze al mondo sole; Tal che di rimembrar mi giova, e dole: Che quant’io miro, par sogni, ombre, e fumi.

E vidi lagrimar que’ duo bei lumi, Ch’han fatto mille volte invidia al sole; Ed udì’ sospirando dir parole Che farian gir i monti, e stare i fiumi.

Amor! senno! valor, pietate, e doglia Facean piangendo un più dolce concento D’ogni altro, che nel mondo udir si soglia.

Ed era ‘l cielo all’armonia s’intento Che non si vedea in ramo mover foglia. Tanta dolcezza avea pien l’aer e ‘l vento.

I beheld on earth angelic grace, and heavenly beauty unmatched in this world, such as to rejoice and pain my memory, which is so clouded with dreams, shadows, mists.

And I beheld tears spring from those two bright eyes, which many a time have put the sun to shame, and heard words unered with such sighs as to move the mountains and stay the rivers.

Love, wisdom, excellence, pity and grief made in that plaint a sweeter concert than any other to be heard on earth.

And heaven on that harmony was so intent that not a leaf upon the bough was seen to stir, such sweetness had filled the air and winds.

I once beheld on earth celestial graces And heavenly beauties scarce to mortals known Whose memory lends nor joy nor grief alone But all things else bewilders and effaces I saw how tears had left their weary traces Within those eyes that once like sunbeams shone I heard those lips breathe low and plaintive moan Whose spell might once have taught the hills their places Love, wisdom, courage, tenderness and truth Made ill their mourning strains more high and dear Than ever wove sweet sounds for mortal ear And heaven seemed listening in such saddest ruth The very leaves upon the boughs to soothe Such passionate sweetness filled the atmosphere

On earth reveal’d the beauties of the skies, Angelic features, it was mine to hail; Features, which wake my mingled joy and wail, While all besides like dreams or shadows flies. And fill’d with tears I saw those two bright eyes, Which oft have turn’d the sun with envy pale; And from those lips I heard—oh! such a tale, As might awake brute Nature’s sympathies! Wit, pity, excellence, and grief, and love With blended plaint so sweet a concert made, As ne’er was given to mortal ear to prove: And heaven itself such mute attention paid, That not a breath disturb’d the listening grove— Even æther’s wildest gales the tuneful charm obey’d.