Later Poems

Se vedi li occhi miei di pianger vaghi
 
Se vedi li occhi miei di pianger vaghi
per novella pietà che ‘l cor mi strugge,
per lei ti priego che da te non fugge,
Signor, che tu di tal piacere i svaghi;
 
con la tua dritta man, cioè, che paghi             5
chi la giustizia uccide e poi rifugge
al gran tiranno, del cui tosco sugge
ch’elli ha già sparto e vuol che ‘l mondo allaghi;
 
e messo ha di paura tanto gelo
nel cor de’ tuo’ fedei che ciascun tace.          10
Ma tu, foco d’amor, lume del cielo,
 
questa vertù che nuda e fredda giace,
levala su vestita del tuo velo,
ché sanza lei non è in terra pace.
 
If You Behold These Eyes that Long to Weep
 
If you behold these eyes that long to weep
for some new anguish tearing at my breast,
Lord, for the one who never leaves your sight,
oh, with this pleasure comfort them at least:
 
with your right hand pay those who slaughter justice 5
and then are welcomed by the mighty tyrant
whose venom soon they suck—the venom that,
already spread, will shortly flood the world,
 
and has with terror frozen so the hearts
of those who serve you, that to speak is ill.            10
But you, O fire of love, O light of heaven,
 
rouse, newly mantled in your veil, this virtue
now cold and naked lying on the ground,
for, if it dies, no peace on earth is found.

Notes:

If You Behold These Eyes That Long To Weep / (Se vedi li occhi miei di pianger vaghi)
 
The theme of this political sonnet is the restoration of Justice on God’s part. It was taken away by “those who slaughter” it (Philip the Fair) and then “are welcomed by the mighty tyrant” (probably Clement V). Contini places the sonnet between 1305-1314, thus excluding allusions to Charles of Valois and Boniface VIII.

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