MIA BENIGNA FORTUNA (1) MY GREAT GOOD FORTUNE
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 great good fortune and my happy life,
Days of serenity and peaceful nights,
Untroubled breathing and unruffled style
Which once was evident in my verse and rhymes,
Turned suddenly to sadness and to tears,
Making me hate life and bid welcome death.

Cruel and harsh, inexorable Death,
You show me why I'll know no happy life
But rather why it all will end in tears,
In gloom-tormented days and sorrowful nights:
My laboured breath not being spent on rhymes
And my hard destiny too much for any style.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2004


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