Capitolo 25

Veronica Franco Under Revision

(In praise of Fumane, the villa belonging to Count Marcantonio Della Torre, Canon of Verona.)

On one hand, I'd prefer never to have been
in that beautiful place only to leave,
as I did, before I'd properly arrived.
How burdensome a good thing can become,
given that the greater it is, the more grief
is born in us when we must leave it behind:
the pfeasure we enjoyed flies quickly away;
and giving no thought to past benefit,
we sadly remember only what we've lost.
And yet on the other hand I wouldn't want
not to have seen such a beautiful dwelling,
gracious and beloved to tranquility.
And, though I have not enjoyed it to the full,
the more I had, the more I'd have cherished it,
and the more leaving it would have brought me regret.
Even so, forming a bittersweet thought,
I return in memory to the infinite delights
that were there revealed to me:
I have that fair site always before my eyes,
and though absent from it in body,
in my mind I still dwell there, never departing.
Within me my soul feels wholly reborn
when such a joyful heaven on earth
presents itself for her contemplation.
My spirit, never quitting this place,
recalls its endless beauties again and again,
vanquished and conquered by the highest pleasure.
And while my eager spirit perceives these,
in it's own joy it brings pain to my senses. . . . . . . .
[ll. 1-29; pp. 253]
which at this distance, can no longer enjoy them.
So when it happens that I lovingly think
about that longed for, kindly home,
my heart must be split between joy and sorrow.
In this state I take up my pencil in ready hand
and to satisfy my longings, I depict
that place as truthfully as I can:
And though I know that I undertake a great task,
drawn onward by my own desire,
without art I paint and draw what I know.
Oh, what flowering and joyful beauty
nature there displays and unfolds,
which she rarely or never shows anywhere else!
Certainly this is the unique creation
into which, surpassing herself in every way,
she puts all her effort and all her care.
Heaven favouring such a work
pours down unendingly the greatest fame
of containing every good and joy in the world.
Here heaven sends down its favour from above,
and earth makes no less an effort to compete,
adorning this place with her own elements.
The imagination in every human art
is excelled by the arrangement of all the good
that, gathered together, is shared out here:
and yet the beautiful place preserves
clear reminders of the height attained
by the great skill of art to make beautiful things.
This is the way the stars resolved here
through lovely means to show men
how much they can shape and influence fate.
In this blessed, loving countryside
the ornaments of heaven appear on earth,
and descend to make it a paradise.
A circle adorned by joyfull hills enfolds
the infinite beauty of the lovely plain,
where Flora and Pomona dwell and roam.
. . . . . . .
[ll. 30-66; pp. 255]

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