Capitolo 20

Veronica Franco Under Revision

(Franco writes of unrequited love.)

-Ah, be my kindly guides to love;
open to me the way to my beloved within,
accustomed as you are to my nocturnal roaming.
And you, doorkeeper, full of death-like sleep,
awakened by the barking of your watchful dogs,
do not reject and disappoint my pleas
ah, lift your hand and, in pity, open the door;
so may the heavy, enslaving chains
fall from your feet and be taken off forever.
But what am I asking, unhappy woman?
"Be gone in peace," the watchman says,
"my master no longer resides here at night.
Making another happy and blessed
with his love, he lies and sleeps by her side,
while you, unhappy, waste away here in vain.
So go away, poor wretch, and if you find no peace,
you must then endure with steadfast soul
what unchangeable destiny is pleased to give you.".....

Alas! how cruelly heartless Love has struck me,
for to make me a living example of misery,
he still deceives me with misleading hope.
On one side I see my certain loss,
and, since least expected pain hurts most,
I fill myself with hope befitting vain desire.
If only you yourself did not wound
the human feeling in your noble breast,
or, alas, withhold all comfort from me!
I regret far less my own adversity
than seeing that the blame belongs to you
for all my languishing and pain in love.....

So though I lack confidence in my own gifts,
considering that you are a fine and famous man,
I don't abandon hope entirely.
Rather, even at the height of my bitterness,
flattering myself, I persist in expecting
shelter and refuge from you for my pain,
for my sorrow could bring you great honour,
if you are quick to come to my aid,
even as I complain about you to yourself.
If not, you'll see me, in misery, die.......

[ll. 31-48, 232-243, 259-268; pp. 197-211]

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