by: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

      O the dim light and the large circle of shade
      I have clomb, and to the whitening of the hills,
      There where we see no color in the grass.
      Natheless my longing loses not its green,
      It has so taken root in the hard stone
      Which talks and hears as though it were a lady.
      Utterly frozen is this youthful lady,
      Even as the snow that lies within the shade;
      For she is no more moved than is the stone
      By the sweet season which makes warm the hills
      And alters from afresh from white to green
      Covering their sides again with flowers and grass.
      When on her hair she sets a crown of grass
      The thought has no more room for other lady,
      Because she weaves the yellow with the green
      So well that Love sits down there in the shade,--
      Love who has shut me in among low hills
      Faster than between walls of granite-stone.
      She is more bright than is a precious stone;
      The wound she gives may not be healed with grass:
      I therefore have fled far o'er plains and hills
      For refuge from so dangerous a lady;
      But from her sunshine nothing can give shade,--
      Not any hill, nor wall, nor summer-green.
      A while ago, I saw her dressed in green,--
      So fair, she might have wakened in a stone
      This love which I do feel even for her shade;
      And therefore, as one woos a graceful lady,
      I wooed her in a field that was all grass
      Girdled about with very lofty hills.
      Yet shall the streams turn back and climb the hills
      Before Love's flame in this damp wood and green
      Burn, as it burns within a youthful lady,
      For my sake, who would sleep away in stone
      My life, or feed like beasts upon the grass,
      Only to see her garments cast a shade.
      How dark so'er the hills throw out their shade,
      Under her summer-green the beautiful lady
      Covers it, like a stone cover'd in grass.

"Of the Lady Pietra degli Scrovigni" was translated into English by D.G. Rossetti (1828-1882).




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