Capitolo 1

Veronica Franco

(From the Magnifico Marco Venier to Veronica Franco.)

If I love you as much as my own life,
cruel lady, why do you offer no relief
for my suffering in such great love?
And if I ask in vain for grace and pity,
why do not you at least end with death
this pain I endure for love of you?
I know you are not right to reward
my faithfulness in this way; but a wrong
that rights a greater wrong is well received;
my suffering is more bitter than any death,
and to die by your hand in this condition
would be a boon I long for and cherished.
But how ever can it be, in the tenderest part
of your body, that your fair, fine white breast
can enclose a heart so hard and pitiless?
How can it be that such a gay appearance
conceals desires and thoughts so cruel
that they disdain my humble devotion?
To use the great beauty given you by heaven
for the death and grief of a man who loves you-
what deed worse than this could you commit?
Let your natural desire be freed from all this
and let compassion fitting to your beauty
make its way into your mind instead.......

[ll. 1-24; pp. 51]

If you have any suggestions or questions regarding these poems please email me

Franco, Veronica Poems and Selected Letters.
2010 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
Tir Na nOg Poetry Community