Love Poems

E’ m’incresce di me sí duramente
 
E’ m’incresce di me sì duramente,
ch’altrettanto di doglia
mi reca la pietà quanto ‘l martiro,
lasso, però che dolorosamente
sento contro mia voglia                                 5
raccoglier l’aire del sezza’ sospiro
entro ‘n quel cor che i belli occhi feriro
quando li aperse Amor con le sue mani
per conducermi al tempo che mi sface.
Oimè, quanto piani,                                     10
soavi e dolci ver me si levaro,
quand’elli incominciaro
la morte mia, che tanto mi dispiace,
dicendo: “Nostro lume porta pace!”
 
“Noi darem pace al core, a voi diletto”,         15
diceano a li occhi miei
quel de la bella donna alcuna volta;
ma poi che sepper di loro intelletto
che per forza di lei
m’era la mente già ben tutta tolta,               20
con le insegne d’Amor dieder la volta;
sì che la lor vittorïosa vista
poi non si vide pur una fiata:
ond’è rimasa trista
l’anima mia che n’attendea conforto,           25
e ora quasi morto
vede lo core a cui era sposata,
e partir la convene innamorata.
 
lnnamorata se ne va piangendo
fora di questa vita                                      30
la sconsolata, ché‚ la caccia Amore.
Ella si move quince sì dolendo,
ch’anzi la sua partita
l’ascolta con pietate il suo fattore.
Ristretta s’è entro il mezzo del core            35
con quella vita che rimane spenta
solo in quel punto ch’ella si va via;
e ivi si lamenta
d’Amor, che fuor d’esto mondo la caccia;
e spessamente abbraccia                          40
li spiriti che piangon tuttavia,
però che perdon la lor compagnia.
 
L’imagine di questa donna siede
su ne la mente ancora,
là ‘ve la pose quel che fu sua guida;            45
e non le pesa del mal ch’ella vede,
anzi, vie più bella ora
che mai e vie più lieta par che rida;
e alza li occhi micidiali, e grida
sopra colei, che piange il suo partire:           50
“Vanne, misera, fuor, vattene omai”.
Questo grida il desire
che mi combatte così come sole,
avvegna che men dole,
però che’l mio sentire è meno assai             55
ed è più presso al terminar de’ guai.
 
Lo giorno che costei nel mondo venne,
secondo che si trova
nel libro de la mente che vien meno,
la mia persona pargola sostenne                 60
una passion nova,
tal ch’io rimasi di paura pieno;
ch’a tutte mie virtù fu posto un freno
subitamente, sì ch’io caddi in terra,
per una luce che nel cuor percosse:             65
 e se ‘l libro non erra,
lo spirito maggior tremò si forte,
che parve ben che morte
per lui in questo mondo giunta fosse:
ma or ne incresce a quei che questo mosse. 70
 
Quando m’apparve poi la gran biltate
che sì mi fa dolere,
donne gentili a cu’ i’ ho parlato,
quella virtù che ha più nobilitate,
mirando nel piacere,                                    75
s’accorse ben che ‘l suo male era nato;
e conobbe ‘l disio ch’era creato 
per lo mirare intento ch’ella fece;
si che piangendo disse a l’altre poi:
“Qui giugnerà, in vece                                  80
d’una ch’io vidi, la bella figura,
che già mi fa paura;
che sarà donna sopra tutte noi,
tosto che fia piacer de li occhi suoi”.
 
Io ho parlato a voi, giovani donne,                 85
che avete li occhi di bellezze ornati
e la mente d’amor vinta e pensosa,
perché raccomandati
vi sian li detti miei ovunque sono:
e ‘nnanzi a voi perdono                                90
la morte mia a quella bella cosa
che me n’ha colpa e mai non fu pietosa.
 
Such Grievous Pity for Myself I Feel
 
Such grievous pity for myself I feel
that bliss and agony
give me an equal share of suffering,
now that I must, alas, against my will,
so sorrowfully breathe                                            5
the trembling air of this my final sigh
here in the very heart your lovely eyes
wounded, when Love’s own hand first opened them
to bring me to this hour that marks my end.
How delicate and dear,                                          10
how tame and tender they appeared to me,
the day when they began
to set in motion this my death I dread,
saying, “’Tis in our light can peace be had.”
 
“Your heart shall now know peace, and you, delight,” 15
these eyes were more than one
by my fair lady’s told;
but when they could through intellect divine
that, drawn by all her might,
my whole mind had been snatched from me away     20
backward with Love’s own banners they took flight,
and nevermore was their victorious sight
ever to be beheld:
sad, and in great dismay,
my soul, that sought her solace, has been since;     25
and now this heart of mine,
to which my soul was bride, is almost dead,
seeing her, much in love, already fled.
 
In love, my soul is leaving now this life,
with tears of much distress,                                    30
for Love himself is bidding her depart.
Such is the grief with which she leaves this earth,
her very Maker hears,
before her journey, tenderly her plea.
Here, in the middle of my heart, she stays,              35
with still that bit of life that will be spent
the very moment she’ll be on her way;
and there does she lament
of Love, who sends her from this world away,
and oftentimes embraces                                       40
all of the spirits weeping bitterly
over the loss of their sweet company.
 
And still the image of this lady reigns
supreme above my mind,
there, where he placed her, who was once her guide. 45
About the harm she sees she does not care,
for more than ever fair,
and merrier, she seems to laugh at me.
Lifting her murderous eyes, she scolds and cries
over my soul that moans because it dies:                50
“Away, you wretch! Go from me fast away!”
So my desire cries out,
which fights me still as it has ever done,
although it hurts me less
all of my feelings being less intense                        55
and closer to the end of all distress.
 
The day this lady came unto this world,
judging by what is written
inside the book of this now failing mind,
although still very young, I felt and knew                  60
a passion strange and new,
that left me full of awe and terror-smitten.
All of my faculties were fast controlled,
and to the ground I fell
for one fast flash exploding in my heart:                   65
oh, if such book is right,
my greatest spirit knew so great a fright
one could most plainly see
that death had come for it upon this earth;
but sorry he’s now, who caused all this to be.          70
 
When the great beauty, then, appeared to me,
of what so makes me grieve,
O gentle ladies I have spoken to,
that virtue, full of all nobility,
watching a bliss so true,                                        75
was quick to see the dawning of its pain
and recognized the surging of desire
engendered by its own ecstatic gaze
and, therefore weeping, to all others said:
“Oh, not the one I saw,                                          80
but the fair image will at once be here,
which I already fear—
the one that lady of us all will be
as soon as her entrancing eyes agree.”
 
O youthful women, I have talked to you,                  85
who carry beauty in your lovely gaze,
and whom a thought of love can still subdue,
so that in every place
my words may be forever listened to.
Before you, I forgive                                               90
my very death, and do not even blame
that lovely thing whose mercy never came.

Notes:

Such Grievous Pity for Myself I Feel / (E m’incresce di me sì duramente)

This canzone, marked by an elegiac tone and a Cavalcantian influence, may have been one of the allegorical songs to be included in the Convivio. The first three stanzas employ the artifice known as “coblas capfinidas,” the repetition of the last word in the next stanza: “pace” (first and second stanza) and “innamorata” (third stanza). The protagonists of the canzone are really “the eyes” which appear in almost every stanza and in the envoi. They tell of the enamourement and the pain caused by the woman’s absconding which makes the lover suffer and desire death. Noteworthy in stanza V is the image of the “book of memory,” with which the Vita Nuova begins. The “greatest spirit” is the spirit of life “which resides in the most secret chamber of the heart.” (Vita Nuova, 2:4).


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