A la dolce ombra

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Lyricist: Francesco Petrarca

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Text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

1  A la dolce ombra de le belle frondi
corsi fuggendo un dispietato lume
che'n fin qua giù m'ardea dal terzo cielo;
et disgombrava già di neve i poggi
l'aura amorosa che rinova il tempo,
et fiorian per le piagge l'erbe e i rami.

2  Non vide il mondo sì leggiadri rami,
né mosse il vento mai sì verdi frondi
come a me si mostrar quel primo tempo:
tal che, temendo de l'ardente lume,
non volsi al mio refugio ombra di poggi,
ma de la pianta più gradita in cielo.

3  Un lauro mi difese allor dal cielo,
Onde più volte vago de' bei rami
Da po' son gito per selve et per poggi;
Né giamai ritrovai tronco né frondi
Tanto honorate dal superno lume
Che non cangiasser qualitate a tempo.

4  Però più fermo ogni or di tempo in tempo,
Seguendo ove chiamar m’udia dal cielo
E scorto d’un soave e chiaro lume,
Tornai sempre devoto ai primi rami
E quando a terra son sparte le frondi
E quando il sol fa verdeggiar i poggi.

5  Selve, sassi, campagne, fiumi et poggi,
quanto è creato, vince et cangia il tempo:
ond'io cheggio perdono a queste frondi,
se rivolgendo poi molt'anni il cielo
fuggir disposi gl' invescati rami
tosto ch'incominciai di veder lume.

6  Tanto mi piacque prima il dolce lume
ch'i' passai con diletto assai gran poggi
per poter appressar gli amati rami:
ora la vita breve e 'l loco e 'l tempo
mostranmi altro sentier di gire al cielo
et di far frutto, non pur fior' et frondi.

Altr’amor, altre frondi et altro lume,
altro salir al ciel per altri poggi
cerco, ché n’é ben tempo, et altri rami.

Canzoniere 142

English.png English translation

1  Into the sweet shade of the lovely leaves
I ran fleeing from the pitiless light,
burning down on me from the third heaven:
and snow was already clearing from the hills
in the loving breeze that brought the new season,
and flowers to the fields, grass, and branches.

2  The world has never seen such graceful branches,
the wind has never stirred such emerald leaves
as were shown to me in that first season:
such that, trembling with the fierce light,
I did not turn for refuge to shadowed hills,
but to the tree that’s noblest in heaven.

3  A laurel protected me from that heaven,
so that I’ve often, longing for lovely branches,
made my way through the woods and hills:
but never found a tree or leaves
so honoured by the supreme light,
that they do not alter with the season.

4  So, more constant, season after season,
I follow where I heard the call from heaven
and guided by a clear and gentle light,
I turn, devoted, to those first branches
when the earth is scattered with leaves
and when the sun brings green to the hills.

5  Woods, stones, fields, rivers and hills:
whatever is, is altered by the season:
so that I ask a pardon of these leaves,
if in the many circling years of heaven
I thought I could flee the clinging branches
as soon as I began to see the light.

6  I was so pleased at first by the light
that I passed with delight among vast hills,
so I might be near the beloved branches:
now the brief life, the place, and the season
show me another path to climb to heaven
and bear fruit not only flowers and leaves.

I seek another love, and leaves and light,
another path to heaven from other hills,
since it is the season, and other branches.

Translation by Anthony S. Kline ©

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