Translations From Petrarch by George MacDonald

PART I. SONNET LIX.

I am so weary with the burden old
Of foregone faults, and power of custom base,
That much I fear to perish from the ways,
And fall into my enemy’s grim fold.
True, a high friend, to free me, not with gold,
Came, of ineffable and utmost grace–
Then straightway vanished from before my face,
So that in vain I strive him to behold.
But his voice yet comes echoing below:
O ye that labour, the way open lies!
Come unto me lest some one shut the gate!
–What heavenly grace–what love will–or what fate–
The pinions of a dove on me bestow
That I may rest, and from the earth arise?

PART II. SONNET LXXV.

The elect angels and the souls in bliss,
The citizens of heaven, when, that first day,
My lady passed from me and went their way,
Of marvel and pity full, did round her press.
“What light is this, and what new loveliness?”
They said among them; “for such sweet display
Did never mount, that from the earth did stray
To this high dwelling, all this age, we guess!”[1]
She, well content her lodging chang’d to find,
Shows perfect, by her peers most perfect placed;
And now and then half turning looks behind
To see if I walk in the way she traced:
Hence I lift heavenward all my heart and mind
Because I hear her pray me to make haste.

[Footnote 1: Pure English of Petrarch’s time.]

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