From Dante’s Vita Nova

O voi che per la via d’Amor passate,
Attendete e guardate
S’elli è dolor alcun, quanto mio grave;
E prego sol ch’audir mi sofferiate
E poi imaginate
S’io son d’ogni tormento ostale e chiave.
Amor, non già per mia poca bontate,
Ma per sua nobilitate,
Mi pose in vita sì dolce e soave
Ch’io mi sentia dir dietro spesse fiate:
“Deo, per qual dignitate
Così leggiadro questi lo core have?”
Or ho perduta tutta mia baldanza
Che si movea d’amoroso tesoro;
Ond’io pover dimoro,
In guisa che di dir mi ven dottanza,
Sì che volendo far come coloro
Che per vergogna celan lor mancanza,
Di fuor mostro allegranza
E dentro da lo core struggo e ploro.

* * * * *

O you who walk awhile along Love’s way,
wait here, and look, and say
if any grief there be to equal mine;
I beg that you will let my voice be heard,
reflecting, at each word,
if I of every woe am not the sign.
Love, not for any worth upon my part,
but through his noble heart,
ensconced me in a life that seemed divine;
thus many times I heard it said of me,
“This heart so light and free –
O God, within this man what virtues shine?”
But now, alas, my confidence is spent
that flowed from Love’s own treasury and store,
and I am thus left poor
and even fear to speak, lest I repent.
And so I wish to do as those who keep
their lack a secret, lest it bring disgrace;
I wear a cheerful face,
and in my heart I waste away and weep.


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