Capitolo 10

Veronica Franco

(Franco's reply, written in the same rhymes)

I went away, departing from you,
in order to force you out of loving me,
not at all to seem thankless for so much love;
nor is it my fault if anyone boasts
of giving me favors in word or deed
without having received more than ample reward.
But if a man, following his heart's desire,
makes me regret it, which delights him even more,
he deserves nothing, and scorns and dishonors me.
But those are certainly love's just rewards

when, to please me, your sad days
turn to happy ones, on my account.
And yet you've heard with infinite sorrow
that any joy has ever come to me
since I was parted from your love.
My star forbade you to trap me in love's net,
for I was caught already by another man,
for woe or peace I do not know;
it's enough that my soul, to another enslaved,
intent and fixed on this other man,

rightly rebels against sharing your desire.
In spite of all this, and that my path to joy
was straight and direct, yet I was pushed off it
and all but slain by your persistence,
with a loving and tempered judgment,
I believed your love was as boundless
as, in fact, you failed to respect my will;
having taken loving care of you,
though you mixed bitter bile with your duty to me,
I was not harsh to you as a result;

and since toward you my mouth lacks the honey :
If the affection I feel in my breast,
which I must reveal only to another,
freely, as is my custom with you,
I told you that my thoughts were turned
elsewhere, and I showed you my regret.
Then, not to torture myself and you both,
since you tried in vain with your sorrowful words
to make me feel pity, at great cost to myself,
I left you; and though I was unable

to give you mercy, at least I was truthful,
not, as you want to label me, cruel.
Sometimes the worst one can do is be open,
though this is the act of a soul full of pity,
which others are likely to misunderstand!
Although your thought, straying from reason,
wanders aimless and disturbed,
following Love unimpeded by judgment,
even so, I am not to be held to blame
for anything that I did to help you,

on my side, as I curb your desire,
and I kept you from a precipitous fall.
On the contrary, the help I gave you
clearly shows my exceptional good will;
so if I fled from you, the reason was
that the refusals I am making now
were a firm guarantee to me then of your death.
And whenever my glance drove you away
or I looked at you with scorn, I know
that great pain tore your heart from your breast.

That I should see you, overwhelmed
with grief, die before me one day
such an extreme seemed wrong and unfit.
On the other hand, I could hardly return
your love, especially because
it was an attempt to fly without wings.
And how could I resist the power of that archer,
who, opposed to your desire, shot you
with a golden arrow, me with one of lead?
But earlier still, his gold shaft reached my heart,

as I stood firm, incautiously gazing
at the other man's celestial face.
There a light that robbed the sun of its pride
so dazzled me that never will my soul
be as contented by any other love.
And so my wavering style would no longer stray,
I left, to free you from love for me,
with feet eager and longing for flight.
I know that absence lessens love's fury;
and when you, having lived to the full,

still loving, decide to leave life behind,
with these eyes I'll not torture both you and myself.

[ll. 1-121, 73-82; pp. 113-117]

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