Poems from the Vita Nuova

Tutti li miei penser parlan d’Amore

Tutti li miei penser parlan d’Amore;
E hanno in lor sì gran varietate,
Ch’altro mi fa voler sua potestate,
Altro folle ragiona il suo valore,
 
Altro sperando m’apporta dolzore,                 5
Altro pianger mi fa spesse fiate;
E sol s’accordano in cherer pietate,
Tremando di paura che è nel core.
 
Ond’io non so da qual matera prenda;
E vorrei dire, e non so ch’io mi dica:             10
Così mi trovo in amorosa erranza.
 
E se con tutti voi’ fare accordanza,
Convenemi chiamar la mia nemica,
Madonna la Pietà, che mi difenda.
 

All of My Thoughts Can Only Speak of Love

All of my thoughts can only speak of Love,
greatly endowed with such variety
that one compels me all his might to see,
madly another does his valor prove,
 
another makes me hope as well as grieve,             5
and still another brings but tears to me:
on begging but for pity they agree,
such are the fears that in my heart still live.
 
Thus, with no subject wherefrom to commence,
I wish to speak, and know not what to say,           10
in such a lovely labyrinth am I!
 
And if for peaceful living now I sigh,
invoke I must my only foe today—
my Lady Mercy in my sole defense.

Notes:

All of My Thoughts Can Only Speak of Love — (Tutti li miei pensier parlan d’Amore) — (XIII)

The protagonist’s mind is troubled by four conflicting thoughts of Love which hinder his peace. The motif is part of Provençal tradition as in Peire Vidal’s “Tuiz mei cossir son d’amor et de chan.” The lover is confused and does not know which way to take. He must invoke Lady Piety, the woman, though she is his “foe,” being angry with him.


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