Poems from the Vita Nuova

Sì lungiamente m’ha tenuto Amore
 
Sì lungiamente m’ha tenuto Amore
E costumato a la sua segnoria,
Che sì com’elli m’era forte in pria,
Così mi sta soave ora nel core.
 
Però quando mi tolle sì ‘l valore                     5
Che li spiriti par che fuggan via,
Allor sente la frale anima mia
Tanta dolcezza che ‘l viso ne smore,
 
Poi prende Amore in me tanta vertute
Che fa li miei spiriti gir parlando,                   10
Ed escon for chiamando
 
La donna mia, per darmi più salute.
Questo m’avvene ovunque ella mi vede,
E sì è cosa umil, che nol si crede.
 
Love Still Retains Me in His Sovereignty
 
Love still retains me in his sovereignty,
to which I’ve been accustomed for so long
that, just as he before was harsh and strong,
he reigns now in my heart most tranquilly.
 
But when it robs me of my valiancy,                      5
and all my spirits seem a fleeting throng,
in my frail soul I tatste a bliss so strong
it makes my features pallid instantly;
 
and Love regains such power in me then,
he makes my every spirit fare about,                     10
talking and calling out
 
my lady, so that I more grace obtain.
Where’er she sees me, this occurs to me,
yet none believes how humble she can be.

Notes:

Love Still Retains Me In His Sovereignty — (Sì lungiamente m’ha tenuto Amore)—(XXVII)

The protagonist intended to compose a canzone to the lady’s influence (Convivio II, xii, 8) and how her virtue worked in him. For this purpose he thought a sonnet would not suffice. The canzone, however, was interrupted by Beatrice’s death. This also marks the end of the sequence of poems composed in praise of the “gentle lady” which began with the canzone “Ladies who understand Love’s every way” (Donne ch’avete intelletto d’amore). The poet intentionally wrote one stanza, for in effect it is a sonnet and it treats the theme he wanted to discuss.


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