Capitolo 12

Veronica Franco

(Franco's response, in which she advises the poet to write in praise of Venice.)

Oh, how much better you would do
if you acknowledged with greater courtesy
the lofty intellect heaven gave you
by using it in a more fitting way,
disdaining the frail world, which more
disappoints a man the more he has faith in it:
and, if you had to praise a mortal thing,
leaving behind what pleases only the senses,
you were to praise what good judgment values more:
you praised Adria, the blessed, noble retreat,
which, earthly though it is, has the true form
of heaven on earth, precious and dear to God.
This was a subject fit for your intellect,
not wandering off in vain versifying,
forgetful of the pathway of primal truth.
Without running on in poetical fashion,
without using hyperbolic figures of speech,
which are all too clearly obvious lies,
you might have turned your attention instead
to praising Venice, the one and only
miracle and wonder of nature.
This high ruler of the sea,
lofty virgin, inviolate and pure,
without equivalent or peer in the world,
this is what you should have praised,
this gentle land, in which you were born,
and where I, too, thank God, was born;.......

[ll. 1-27; pp. 127]

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Franco, Veronica Poems and Selected Letters.
2010 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
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