Capitolo 9

Veronica Franco

(By an unknown author, lamenting Franco's absence)

Lady, your absence has been to me,
your faithful servant and devoted lover,
a death as cruel as it was unexpected.
My soul and my enamored heart
are used to living in your gentle, angelic face
and in your eyes, so beautiful and blessed:
these were the bright and only sun
on my days, without them sad and dark,
and full of what grieves man by far the most,
as bereaved and weak as are my eyes

in this sepulcher of life, which, without you,
will not be restored to health.
With you my soul took leave of me,
or, rather, you are my spirit and soul
and all my vital strength conjoined in one;
and if a dead man is barred from speaking,
not I but my life, which you hold in your hands,
speaks here in exchange for me.
My life not only writes and speaks to you,
by a miracle of love, in such a way

that in my death, it lives in you;
not being divided from your heart,
it whispers secretly in your ear,
and describes my wretched state to you.
Nor do I win any ease for my pain,
except that it appears before your eyes
in a spectacle joyful and pleasant to you;
and as you sharpen and harden toward me,
in your cruelty to me you surpass
the monstrous wild beasts of nature.

Alas, that I cast my laments to the winds
rather, it's the beating of waves on a stone,
no matter how much I weep and complain.
Shaken, your pride grows haughtier still,
much like the blast of winds on the sea,
while I rightly complain of you to yourself.
And now, to make my torments more grievous still,
to deny me the comfort I used to feel,
close to you declaring my woe,
you flew away on a different path

when least expected, in order to appear
in all ways contrary and cruel to me.
Like snow in the sun, you vanished in tears,
with this mere trace of life and this vain shadow,
powerless to follow after you,
or rather, pursued and weighed down by my sighs,
it dissolved in the oncoming wind, which now,
blowing on your breast, perhaps holds you back.
Cruel fate, which has taken you away,
far from the sight of my ruin and pain,

which, endless, has settled in my heart through you!
I lived a life too proud and calm
to show you in person my great loyalty
and how close I was to weeping,
receiving in exchange the harshest reward
of these threats and rejections, contrary
to anything that pity demands.
Certainly, then, kind heaven indulged me,
and shone down upon me the light of your eyes,
now far too bright at the height of your scorn. ,

It was not right to enjoy this pleasure,
for seeing you, I felt, with all my wit,
my grief become ever more mortal and dire;
alas, now I lament my past misery,
when no delight was equal in sweetness
to the hard blows that I suffered for love.
Love struck me down with a violent blow,
of the kind that is totally deprived of pleasure,
when, my lady, he took you from me.
Before, my life was joyous and cheerful,

and now, as a test of my immense pain,
I feel my good as I am deprived of it.
Pray, return to see my flood of tears,
come to reopen my bitter wounds,
not letting me take a single breath;
by this all my wishes would be met and fulfilled:
that your kind, noble eyes, close by, should see
the pain that you constantly increase in me.
To me every pain will be a great joy,
and my heart will interpret torment as compassion

and every harsh injury as sweet relief,
provided that you come back to us soon.

[ll. 1-82; pp. 107-111]

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