Francesco Petrarca tr. Peter Dean
Mia benigna fortuna e'l viver lieto,
I chiari giorni e le tranquille notti
E i soavi sospir e'l dolce stille
Che solea resonare in versi e'n rime,
Volti subitamente in doglia e'n pianto,
Odiar vita mi fanno, e bramar morte.

Crudele, acerba, inesorabil Morte,
Cagion mi dai di mai non esser lieto,
Ma di menar tutta mia vita in pianto,
E i giorni oscuri e le dogliose notti;
I miei gravi sospir non vanno in rime,
E'l mio duro martir vince ogni stille.
My happy circumstances, life untroubled,
clear running days and peacefullest of nights
and long-drawn sighs and cultivated style
much practised in my verses and my poems
are suddenly transformed to pain and weeping
and I to hate my life and long for death.

Most cruel, bitter, inexorable death,
you bring me cause forever to be troubled,
to spend my whole life now in endless weeping,
in darkened days and fearfullest of nights.
My deepest sighs no longer turn to poems
and my harsh suffering's proof against any style.

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Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2004

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