(Franco to an unnamed man.)
Sir, your virtue and your great valor
and your eloquence had such power
that they freed my heart from another's hand;
and that heart I soon hope to see
placed within your noble breast,
and ruling there and doing your will.
What I most loved I now despise,
and I no longer value weak and frail beauty
and repent of ever having delighted in it.
Unhappy me, who loved a mortal shadow
that I should have hated and loved you instead,
endowed with infinite, undying virtue!
The sea does not have as many grains of sand
as the number of times I weep over this:
loving frail beauty, I disdained endless virtue.
Sighing I confess my mistake,
and I promise and swear to you truly
that I'll banish beauty in favor of virtue.
Longing for your virtue, I languish and die,
my heart freed from that evil chain,
with which the little archer god bound me;
once I followed my senses, now reason is my guide......
[ll. 1-22; pp. 85]
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