Later Poems

Amor, da che convien pur ch’io mi doglia
 
Amor, da che convien pur ch’io mi doglia
perché la gente m’oda,
e mostri me d’ogni vertute spento,
dammi savere a pianger come voglia,
sì che ‘l duol che si snoda                               5
portin le mie parole com’io ‘l sento.
Tu vo’ ch’io muoia, e io ne son contento:
ma chi mi scuserà, s’io non so dire
ciò che mi fai sentire?
chi crederà ch’io sia omai sì colto?                 10
E se mi dai parlar quanto tormento,
fa’, signor mio, che innanzi al mio morire
questa ria per me nol possa udire:
ché, se intendesse ciò che dentro ascolto,
pietà faria men bello il suo bel volto.                15
 
Io non posso fuggir ch’ella non vegna
ne l’imagine mia,
se non come il pensier che la vi mena.
L’anima folle, che al suo mal s’ingegna,
com’ella è bella e ria,                                    20
così dipinge, e forma la sua pena:
poi la riguarda, e quando ella è ben piena
del gran disio che de li occhi le tira,
incontro a sé s’adira,
c’ha fatto il foco ond’ella trista incende.           25
Quale argomento di ragion raffrena,
ove tanta tempesta in me si gira?
L’angoscia, che non cape dentro, spira
fuor de la bocca si ch’ella s’intende,
e anche a li occhi lor merito rende.                  30
 
La nimica figura, che rimane
vittoriosa e fera
e signoreggia la vertù che vole,
vaga di se medesma andar mi fane
colà dov’ella è vera,                                        35
come simile a simil correr sole.
Ben conosco che va la neve al sole,
ma più non posso: fo come colui
che, nel podere altrui,
va co’ suoi piedi al loco ov’egli è morto.            40
Quando son presso, parmi udir parole
dicer: “Vie via vedrai morir costui!”
Allor mi volgo per veder a cui
mi raccomandi; e ‘ntanto sono scorto
da li occhi che m’ancidono a gran torto.           45
 
Qual io divegno sì feruto, Amore,
sailo tu, e non io,
che rimani a veder me sanza vita;
e se l’anima torna poscia al core,
ignoranza ed oblio                                         50
stato è con lei, mentre ch’ella è partita.
Com’io risurgo, e miro la ferita
che mi disface quand’io fui percosso,
confortar non mi posso
sì ch’io non triemi tutto di paura.                     55
E mostra poi la faccia scolorita
qual fu quel trono che mi giunse a dosso;
che se con dolce riso è stato mosso,
lunga fiata poi rimane oscura,
perché lo spirto non si rassicura.                    60
 
Così m’hai concio, Amore, in mezzo l’alpi,
ne la valle del fiume
lungo il qual sempre sopra me se’ forte:
qui vivo e morto, come vuol, mi palpi,
merzé del fiero lume                                      65
che sfolgorando fa via a la morte.
Lasso, non donne qui, non genti accorte
veggio, a cui mi lamenti del mio male:
se a costei non ne cale,
non spero mai d’altrui aver soccorso.               70
E questa sbandeggiata di tua corte,
signor, non cura colpo di tuo strale:
fatto ha d’orgoglio al petto schermo tale,
ch’ogni saetta là spunta suo corso;
per che l’armato cor da nulla è morso.             75
 
O montanina mia canzon, tu vai;
O forse vedrai Fiorenza, la mia terra,
che fuor di sé mi serra,
vota d’amore e nuda di pietate;
se dentro v’entri, va’ dicendo: “Omai                 80
non vi può far lo mio fattor più guerra:
là ond’io vegno una catena il serra
tal, che se piega vostra crudeltate,
non ha di ritornar qui libertate”.
 
O Love, Since I Must Suffer More and More
 
O Love, since I must suffer more and more
so that the world may hear;
since I must show myself bereft of worth,
teach me to weep as copiously as I wish,
so that my words may tell                                    5
the unfolding of my grief such as I feel it.
My death you want, and I am glad you do;
but who’ll forgive me if I fail to say
the pain that comes from you?
Who will believe my love has bound me so?         10
If you can give as many words as pain,
see, lord almighty, that; before I die,
this wicked woman hear it not from me;
for, if she knew within me hear,
mercy would make her fair face much less fair.     15
 
I cannot run away, that she does not
come to my mind anew,
for ‘tis my very thought that brings her there.
Striving for its own harm, my foolish soul
paints her as fierce and fair                                 20
as she is still, and its own doom creates;
it looks and looks at her again until,
filled with the longing taken from her eyes,
with self-inflicted wrath
it blames itself for flames that burn anew.             25
What argument of reason can now quell
the ruthless tempest whirling in my heart?
The anguish, that no more can in me dwell,
exhales out of my mouth; she knows it well,
and gives my eyes the credit they deserve.          30
 
Thus the inimical image, which remains
victorious and fierce,
and also rules the faculty that wills,
in love with self, commands me soon to go
where its true being’s found,                               35
just as a thing to a like thing is bound.
Oh, I know well the snow runs to the sun,
but more I cannot do: I am like one
who, now in others’ power, with his own feet
walks to the place where he will meet his death.   40
As I draw near, I think I hear words saying:
“You’ll see this man in a few moments die.”
I turn around to see if someone’s there
I might implore for mercy, but, instead,
I meet the eyes that wrongly want me dead.        45
 
O Love, what all these wounds have made of me,
you know alone, not I,
for you remain to see me lifeless lie;
and if my soul returns then to my heart,
ignorance and oblivion                                        50
during its absence have been dwelling in her.
But as I rise and gaze upon the wound
that all of me unmade when I was struck,
no solace can I find,
and therefore I all over shake with fear.                 55
Pallor once more on this my face appears
as on that day when thunder on me broke;
for, though that thunder came from a sweet smile
darkened for a long time it does remain
because my spirit fails to trust again.                  60
 
This you have done to me, O Love—on mountains
as in the river’s valley
along which ever you must fiercely win me:
here, as you wish, you touch me, dead and dying,
thanks to the fearsome light                                65
that with its flashing clears the way to death.
No woman, ah, is here nor a wise man
to whom I may complain about my grief:
but, if she does not care,
never do I from others hope for help.                    70
This woman you have banished from your Court
ignores, O lord, the blows of all your darts;
her pride is such an armor round her breast,
all of your arrows, blunted, end their course,
and nothing can her shielded heart molest.          75
 
My song, born on a mountain, you can go:
you will perhaps see Florence, my own land,
that keeps me out of it,
stripped of all mercy, emptied of all love;
say, if you enter there, “The one who made me     80
can now not wage any more war on you:
there, where I come from, he is so enchained
that, even if he bends your cruelty,
he still would have no freedom to return.”

Notes:

O Love, Since I Must Suffer More and More / (Amor, da che convien purch’io mi doglia)
 
The accepted date for this canzone is 1307-1308 for it was sent to Moroello Malaspina along with a Latin epistle which relates how Dante , while walking along the Upper Arno near the Casentino, was struck by the beauty of such woman and was overwhelmed with love. The epistle functions like a Provençal razo. In the envoi the canzone is labeled “montanina,” having been written on the hills of the Casentino. Sadness and pain burst forth in these verses, even though Dante speaks of the knot of love which would keep him away from Florence, even if he were allowed to return.

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