BEN TEMPO SARIA OMAI ... THERE COULD NOT BE A FITTER
TIME ...
Michelangelotrans. Peter Dean
Ben tempo saria omai
ritrarsi dal martire
ch'é l'età col desire non ben s'accorda;
ma l'alma, cieca e sorda,
Amor, come tu sai,
del tempo e del morire
che, contro a morte ancor, me la ricorda;
e se l'arco e la corda
avvien che tronchi o spezzi
in mille e mille pezzi,
prega te sol non manchi un de' suoi guai:
ché mai non muor chi non guarisce mai.
There could not be a fitter time
to disaffiliate myself from pain,
since age with hot desire does not accord:
but my soul, stone-blind, deaf as a board -
as you, Love, were familiar with in my prime -
at cost of hours and dying's daily gain,
right to death's door, reminders will afford;
and, even if your bow and cord
were to be shattered, cut and bent,
and into a thousand thousand pieces rent,
I beg you not to overlook her merest crime:
never dies one whose suffering stays sublime.

Trans. copyright © Peter Dean 2003


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