Poems from the Vita Nuova

Ciò che m’incontra ne la mente more
 
Ciò che m’incontra ne la mente more
Quand’i’ vegno a veder voi, bella gioia;
E quand’io vi son presso, i’ sento Amore
Che dice: “Fuggi, se ‘l perir t’è noia .
 
Lo viso mostra lo color del core,                    5
Che, tramortendo, ovunque pò s’appoia;
E per la ebrietà del gran tremore
Le pietre par che gridin: “Moia, moia’”.
 
Peccato face chi allora mi vide,
Se l’alma sbigottita non conforta,                  10
Sol dimostrando che di me li doglia,
 
Per la pietà, che ‘l vostro gabbo ancide,
La qual si cria ne la vista morta
De li occhi, c’hanno di lor morte voglia.
 
Whatever Meets Me, Dies Within My Mind
 
Whatever meets me, dies within my mind,
if I but see you, bliss so fair and great;
and when I’m near you, Love is close behind,
telling me “Run, if death you shun and hate.”
 
You on my features my heart’s color find,              5
spreading about though destined to abate;
and so much tremor seems the stones to bind,
“Die! Die!,” in madness they all seem to state.
 
Surely he does commit a grievous sin,
who, seeing me, soothes not my shaken soul,      10
if only by the token of a sigh
 
for Pity’s sake, which your deceit does kill,
and which appears in the extinguished sheen
of these my eyes that only whish to die.

Notes:

Whatever Meets Me, Dies Within My Mind — (Ciò che m’incontra, ne la mente more)— (XV)

Two thoughts take hold of the protagonist: he asks why does he attempt to see the woman even though when in front of her he is so ridiculed by others; his desire to see her is so strong that it overpowers any objection. The lover then describes the beloved’s effects on him when he sees her.


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