I may have posted this before, I'm not sure but those who know me will know my enduring love of Petrarch's sublime Canzoniere
This particular verse was always a favourite but now it is more true to how I feel and it touches me more deeply to the quick than ever before:
37 Si e debile il filo a cui s’attene
“My heavy life is hanging by a thread,
a thread that is so worn
if help does not come soon
it will have run its course out to the end;
for, after I had suffered and had gone
from what I held most dear,
one hope alone remained,
one reason why I had to stay alive;
it said, ‘Since you must live
out of your loved one’s sight,
look to yourself, resist.
Who knows that better times will not return,
and much more happy days,
and you regain the good that you have lost?
This hope sustained me once upon a time:
now I indulge it like an empty dream.
Time passes, and the hours go by fast
to see life’s journey out
that I have not a moment
even to think about my race to death.
The sun has hardly risen in the East
before you see light break
on the opposing peak
arrived at by a long and curving track.
Life is so very short,
bodies of mortal men
so heavy and so weak,
that when I think how I am kept apart
from what I love, her face
such weakness in the wings of my desire
all customary comfort must fall short.
And how long can I live in such a state?
What things we mortals find to give us pleasure!
All too often we love
whatever is most strange
and brings along the biggest crowd of sighs!
I too am one whom weeping seems to please,
tiring my brains to fill
my eyes with tears, as all
my heart is brimming with unhappiness;
and since to speak of her
bright eyes augments desire,
and nothing touches me
so closely where my feelings run so deep,
I turn back to my theme
her eyes which lead my eyes to weep and weep;
so that my eyes are punished, having led
me all along the way which is Love’s road.
That golden hair, enough to make the sun
move enviously away,
and that bright glance, sublime
and yet so blazing with the rays of Love
it makes me fade away before my time,
that skilful way you speak,
rare in this world, unique,
which came to me so very courteously
all these are taken away.
I could more readily
pardon a worse offence
than lose that greeting like an angel’s greeting,
which used to raise my powers
with all the blazing of my heart’s desires;
and nothing I still hope to hear will rouse
me now to anything but heaving sighs."