TANTO DI SÉ PROMETTE ... SHE HOLDS OUT PROMISE OF
HERSELF ...
Michelangelotrans. Peter Dean
Tanto di sé promette
donna pietosa e bella,
c'ancor mirando quella
sarie qual fu' per tempo, or vecchio e tardi.
Ma perc' ognor si mette
morte invidiosa e fella
fra' mie dolenti e' suo pietosi sguardi,
solo convien ch'i' ardi
quel picciol tempo che 'l suo volto oblio.
Ma poi che 'l pensior rio
pur la ritorna al consueto loco,
dal suo fier ghiaccio è spento il dolce foco.
She holds out promise of herself so much,
this charitable lady who is beautiful,
that, my eyes of her being full,
though halt I do and old I am, I renew.
But, since the spite of envious death is such
that he stands always between her bountiful
and my importunate glances without rue,
I burn with passion only in the few
brief moments when his presence I forget.
But then my dreaded thoughts return and set
him back in his accustomed place,
and my sweet fire's quelled by his icy face.

Trans. copyright © Peter Dean 2003


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