Poems from the Vita Nuova

Videro li occhi miei quanta pietate
Videro li occhi miei quanta pietate
Era apparita in la vostra figura,
Quando guardaste li atti e la statura
Ch’io faccio per dolor molte fiate.
Allor m’accorsi che voi pensavate                  5
La qualità de la mia vita oscura,
Sì che mi giunse ne lo cor paura
Di dimostrar con li occhi mia viltate.
E tolsimi dinanzi a voi, sentendo
Che si movean le lagrime dal core,               10
Ch’era sommosso da la vostra vista.
Io dicea poscia ne l’anima trista:
“Ben è con quella donna quello Amore
Lo qual mi face andar così piangendo”.
These Eyes of Mine Could Very Plainly See
These eyes of mine could very plainly see
the great compassion in your person shown,
when all my acts and ways you looked upon,
so strange because of constant misery.
‘Twas then I noticed all your scrutiny                     5
of this my dark life’s present quality,
and I grew then afraid lest I make known
through every glance the abjection of my state.
So from your presence I went fast away,
feeling new tears arising from the heart,                 10
suddenly by your watching moved and stirred.
And then these words in my sad soul I heard,
“With that kind lady Love has come to stay,
ho keeps me weeping in my woeful smart.”


These Eyes of Mine Could Very Plainly See — (Videro li occhi miei quanta pietate) — (XXXV)
As the narrator and protagonist is in deep and painful thought of past events and of his gentle lady, he looks up and sees a young fair and gentle lady whose gaze is full of compassion. He composes the sonnet as if speaking to this lady of the window.

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